Contributor/author(s): Wren Weburg
SimCity 3000, with the Building Architect Tool installed, is capable of exporting a BMP thumbnail and a stat sheet for any SimCity 3000 city. There are two modes: single extraction and batch. In addition, there are parameters you can modify that change the extraction's behavior. Before continuing, ensure that you have the BAT updater installed (windows). The BAT updater upgrades SimCity 3000 to version 1.1, which is necessary to perform the extractions. You can find information on downloading BAT at http://www.sc3000.com/files.
It is not currently known if the Macintosh version has a similar feature. Mac users: play around with your copy of SimCity 3000 and see if you can perform the same exportation procedure detailed below. Some modifications may be necessary.
Extracting data from a single file
To extract a BMP and city stats from a city, load the desired city into SimCity 3000 as you normally would. Then press the F9 key. A BMP file and a TXT file will be saved to the directory that the loaded city resides in. The files will have the same name as the city file that was loaded. For example, "Super Metropolis.sc3" will produce "Super Metropolis.bmp" and "Super Metropolis.txt".
Modifying the parameters of the extraction
You can change the attributes of the bitmap that SimCity 3000 creates. To do so, use Notepad to open the file called "snapshot.ini". The file displays the following:
Under the [SnapShotSpecs] section, you can change the width, height, and background color used for the BMP files. The colors are set via RGB values. Above, the background color is white (RGB values of 255, 255, 255). Using a paint program, you should be able to obtain the desired RGB values for the background color of your choice.
Extracting data in batch mode (multiple files)
To extract a BMP and city stats for several cities at once, you need only to add an attribute to the snapshot.ini file mentioned above, and then press SHIFT + F9 when any city is loaded, instead of pressing just F9. You'll add the line "BulkDirectory=[directory path]" at the end of the snapshot.ini file. For example:
Pressing SHIFT + F9 with the above snapshot.ini file will tell SimCity 3000 to load all the cities in the Todo directory and export the BMP's and TXT's into that same directory. SimCity 3000 loads them one at a time and the process can tie up your computer for quite awhile. Note that it does not matter what city is loaded when you press SHIFT + F9; it can be any city, even a new city. Also note that the directory specified with the BulkDirectory attribute should exist and should have cities in it.
The files exported are open to the user's own interpretation. Maxis is basically saying "we'll have SimCity 3000 export the data, but it's up to you to handle the data thereafter." In other words, to get the BMP to show up on the Web, you'll need to covert the file to JPEG format, and to make any sense out of the text file's stats, you'll likely have to rewrite them somehow. These things are beyond the scope of this article and it is up to the end user to take over from here.
Note that as with all files and routines specified within SC3000.COM's Underground section, no support is provided for this routine, nor is any documentation or support provided by Maxis, Inc. Use this at your own risk and be prepared to do your own troubleshooting should a problem arise.
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