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Tips for a successful City Plan Contest entry!

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Knights of Spamalot
Hi Everyone,

Some of you have asked for pointers on how to make your entries better and more likely to win! After the initial March 2021 judging round, the CP Contest Management Team thought we would collect the judges' feedback and provide some tips on how to maximise your chances of winning the City Plan Competition.

Some of these will be familiar to previous contestants and some are new for season 3.

  • Number of Photos - To evaluate a settlement properly the judges need at least 10 daytime pictures of the settlement from different angles and locations highlighting any creative aspects of your competition plan entry. Fewer than that and it becomes hard to fully comprehend the potential awesomeness of your plan. Since the entries are now hosted on nexus there is no real upper limit on photos. But a minimum of 10 is strongly suggested.
    Additionally, for outdoor settlements, at least 1 daytime overhead shot of your plan, showing how the space is utilised is strongly suggested (Hint Hint).
  • Quality of Photos- After having reviewed thousands of photos over the previous seasons we have found the following works best.
    • Disable or Turn your ENB and Lighting Mods off. The judges generally don't use ENBs and prefer the natural game palette with the vanilla lighting.This also provides a level playing field for judging and the people who are evaluating your plan for download!
    • Set your game environment up for maximum clarity.. We recommend changing the game time to 11am and setting the weather to clear to maximize visibility. 1 or 2 night time shots are OK if you want to show off your elite lighting design skills but the majority of your pictures should be clear day time ones.
Either use the FO4 Photo Mod or the following console commands will help.
  • set gamehour to 11; fw 15e - will change in game time to to 11 AM and set the weather to clear.
  • set timescale to 0.1 - (that's zero point 1) which will effectively freeze time from advancing which is what triggers weather changes.
  • tm - Which will hide the UI. Once you are finished you can open the console again, type tm and hit enter to restore the UI.
  • Don’t use extensive Texture Replacers! Flora and Fauna overhauls may look awesome but they tend to distract from the judging process and you will generally lose points for distracting over vegetation. Try and keep it as close to vanilla as possible.

  • Include a Tour Video. - If you are successful in making the top 3 you need to produce a tour video to showcase their settlements and provide video for KG’s Youtube channel. While not required for the competition there is nothing stopping you (Hint Hint) from recording 5 minutes of footage of you wandering around your settlement and posting it on Youtube and then linking it in your mod description on Nexus! Even if you don’t make it to the top 3 users of your mod will definitely appreciate it! Why look at all these pictures when you just watch a 5 minute video.

  • Tips for a good tour video.
    • Do not use extensive texture replacers in your tour video.
    • Make your tour video in level 3 of your city plan.
    • Make your tour video during the day, and in clear weather.
    • Use the tfc console command to eliminate head bobbing.
    • Keep your raw tour footage. If you are a finalist, we will need it.

We recommend the following free video capture programs

  • OBS Studio (Open Source - Supports Multi GPU)
  • NVidia Shadowplay (NVida GPU - Part of the Geforce Experience Software)
  • AMD Radeon ReLive (AMD GPU)

Recommend capturing at 1080P 60FPS to be YouTube friendly.

If you need help producing a video let us know. We are always happy to help out.
  • Nexus Mod Naming - To help finding contest entries please use the following naming format for your Nexus Mod page
<Settlement Name> - Sim Settlements 2 City Plan Contest Entry - < Month Year>
Example: Croup Manor - Sim Settlements 2 City Plan Contest Entry - March 2021

This makes our life allot easier
  • Save Files.
    • Keep your save files. We will need them if you are a finalist.
    • Make named saves by using the save <name_here> console command.
      For example: save red_rocket_L3_final

Hopefully you find these guidelines helpful and this will spur you on to present your awesome creativity in the best light!

Sirlach, Yagisan and Kinggath.
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