Namdoc:What is the NAM?

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What Is The NAM? Frequently Asked Questions

The Network Addon Mod, or NAM, as it is more commonly known, is the largest and most-downloaded mod for the 2003 EA/Maxis game SimCity 4 Deluxe. The main purposes behind the NAM are:

  • to greatly expand the array of transportation options available in-game.
  • to fix issues with the transportation systems in the base game, including those pertaining to the underlying traffic simulation.

Q: Where can I find the NAM?

A: The NAM is available through our three official distribution partners: ModDB, SimCity 4 Devotion and Simtropolis.

Q: What do I need to run the NAM?

A: In theory, any computer that can run SimCity 4 Deluxe can run the NAM, including systems running Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. As the game was released in 2003, the specifications required are easily surpassed on most computers today. In order to be certain that one has enough space to extract the installer, ensure that you have at least 1.1GB of hard drive space available. The installation itself may take up substantially less space, especially if one selects the most basic option ("Traffic Simulator and Maxis Fixes Only").

Additionally, one must ensure that they have a valid, legal copy of the game, which has been patched to at least Version 1.1.638 (except for Mac OS X users, see note). Installing patches is only required if one is running a disc copy of the game, as digital retail versions, including those from, Steam, and Origin, are all pre-patched to Version 1.1.641. If your game is a disc copy that has not been updated, the NAM installer will alert you to this fact, and link you to the patch at SC4 Devotion. Please ensure that you install the proper SKU for your copy of the game. Hacked and/or pirated copies (i.e. "No CD" executables) will not read as valid and will prevent the NAM from installing, in part because the installer cannot fully verify that the game's .DAT files have been properly updated.

NOTE: If you are running the Aspyr port on Mac OS X, obtained through Steam or the Apple App Store, Aspyr has refused to issue a proper patch along with EA Maxis' original EP1 Update 1. The Mac version of the NAM will install properly in spite of this.

Q: How does the NAM fix issues with the base game and its traffic simulation?

A: The NAM contains several "flavors" of an updated version of the game's traffic simulator exemplar. The key difference between the NAM version and the base version is the fact that its pathfinding heuristic has been re-tuned, to make the transportation system operate in a manner more similar to what Maxis originally intended. In order to be able to accommodate lower minimum requirements for the game at launch, Maxis sharply downtuned the pathfinding heuristic. This created bizarre situations in which a nice wide, fast (and more expensive) Avenue may go unused, while one's sims instead crowd a residential street, simply because the Street route is a couple tiles shorter than using the Avenue. The NAM's re-tuning restores what was actually a solid traffic simulation engine, the sims to see that the Avenue is in fact much faster, and routes traffic accordingly.

Additionally, the NAM fixes pathing issues that may have prevented some intersections from working properly.

Q: What are the new transportation features that the NAM adds?

A: Too many to list :) But we'll try anyway to produce a partial listing:

  • New overpasses and viaducts
  • A ground light rail system
  • Turning lanes
  • Roundabouts
  • Wider roads and highways, through the Network Widening Mod (NWM) and RealHighway (RHW) packages
  • A modular means of building intersections with the RealHighway (RHW) system
  • High Speed Rail
  • Single-Track Rail and a variety of new switches
  • New and updated transit stations
  • Pedestrian Malls
  • Improved road and rail textures.

The list goes on . . .

Q: How do I install the NAM?

A: It depends on your operating system. For Windows users, see here. For Mac OS X users, see here.

Q: Who develops the NAM?

A: The NAM is developed by a small but dedicated team of developers who, appropriately enough, are known as the NAM Team. The membership has changed over the years, but the team has remained an active part of the SimCity 4 community since the very first NAM release on April 24, 2004.

Q: Where do I go if I need help with the mod, or want to see what the NAM Team is up to with development on the new version?

The NAM Team has been based out of SC4 Devotion since 2007. Our official support board can be found here.

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