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SimCity 4


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#1 of 8 OFFLINE   David Rogers

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Posted January 15 2003 - 03:26 AM

SimCity4

Surely some of you are playing this? I know there isn't much traffic in the gaming section of HTF, but I'm hopeful.

I have it, but I'm not sure if I like it yet. For one, autoroads are quite irritating. And no option to turn them off; I'd rather count squares and manually do a road grid vs fight with the autoroads all the time. I figured out the reason for autoroads, the lot parceling requires road/street frontage, so the zoning fills these in. My major complaint about autoroads is the lack of consistency. If I zone something like this:

***|******|******| (* zone, | road)

One would think autoroads will maintain that pattern when I zone another block in next to it. Oh no, it wants to often do things that result in roads curving and crossbacking here and there. It wants to do Y roads that waste space and add needless intersections. This kind of thing often ends up happening:

***|******|******|
***----------******|
***|******|******|
***|******|******|
***|******|******|
------------------------
|******|***|******|

Etc.. Posted Image Irritating, and screws up my planning, and looks like crap a lot too.

However, other than this interface thing, I do like the simulation, I think. It seems to be much more realistic than the prior incarnations of SC. The budget is a huge factor now, before it wasn't as hard to stabilize the simulation fiscally. Now the first major hurdle is to develop a city that provides all the services and can pay for them. Water alone is a major expense compared to prior hits. Water pollution is even more expensive. School is *very* expensive (but WORTH IT, just like real life).

I have the guide, which is in large part what the manual should be. The manual, for those who haven't picked up yet, is a tiny useless thing that tells you absolutely nothing about the game. They expect you'll either know how to play from previous SCs, or you'll buy the guide like you're "supposed to" for the extra US$20. /rude EA for making US$70 games.

That aside as well, there is some useful text on how demand and city growth occurs now. Previously, taxes and growth were tied to land value and demand alone. Demand generated from the ratio of zones to one another (zone types), and land value directly translated to taxes. Now demand generates much more realistically, tracking the population of each type (poor, middle, or rich residential, commercial services vs commercial office, and also dirty/manufacturing/high-tech industry) and matching them against one another for jobs (needed and provided). The caps for each pop type are more subtle and less artifical.

After a lot of fiddling, I've currently got a city grown to 21K folks. Took a while for it to grow. I think I clicked off around ten years when it was capped against a growth ceiling here and there waiting for more growth. I've got most of the map zoned out, with a space for a ring highway that cuts through the Industrial sector. I have full educational and health services covering 95%+ of my residential, have police down, have fire coverage on industrial, and have all the reward buildings they've offered on the map. My limits are jobs right now, and it's slow going to get I or C developed to push more R. I've had a few waves of park investment, putting things here and there to try and ek out more cap room for growth.

Right now I'm pondering where to go next. I basically have no room to zone more. Growth will have to come from zones crunching higher, but I can't make them do this. They have to form the right conditions to want to build skyscrapers and such. I'm pondering putting a landing strip in, and/or a seaport, but dunno. I only have room on the other side of the map from my industrial for either, and I have no mega commerce block as there never has been demand until JUST NOW for commerce. As expensive as services are, I don't have space to rezone even a few blocks of Residential to Commerce without wasting 1/4-1/3 of a school set's coverage area on non-R. Yet I believe either port would provide cap relief to my job sectors.

One thing I know I could do is link regions together, but it seems too cheap the way even the guide advocates doing it. The regions, when connected (road/highway/power/etc..) link their demands and can feed one another. In other words, you can create a city that literally has only power and garbage and a slew of dirty industry, and connect it to the next city over. Play the connected city and buy your power from the cheese factory, sell your garbage to them, and use your road connection to the cheese industry to enable R demand in your town for Rs who will commute next door to work. Basically, the connected city gets all the good stuff and never has to take the hits for anything bad (sprawl, pollution, low-tech industry, garbage aura, nothing), while the connectING city exists only as a civic dumping/feeder ground.

With real cities connecting, it's cool. With cheese stuff, it isn't. Rubs me the wrong way.

So I don't want to start linking regions unless I feel I have a good handle on how to build believable and stable cities. Maybe I do, I could probably duplicate my current 21K city next door to it, especially if I fiddled with the terrain some. But I'd end up with two cities zoned out save for ports and highway room, waiting for traffic to build to require busses/subways, with demand that won't fill since they won't crunch up zones.

Maybe the region thing isn't so bad, but it smacks (sigh). Writing this, I'm beginning to suspect if I did a neighbor city that was half industrial and a quarter commercial, and connected it to my main town, I'd see residential pile on there due to the jobs.

Anyone have anything to say or discuss about how to build and grow a city? Want a discussion if possible. Let me hear your thoughts. Posted Image
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#2 of 8 OFFLINE   David Ely

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Posted January 15 2003 - 04:39 AM

Unfortunately I don't have time for such an indepth post, but I will say that I'll defiantely look for the strategy guide.

I've been playing SimCity since its inital release and I've NEVER had this hard a time having a city that makes money. During three sperate attempts I continue to fall in to deep debt.

Until I can figure out all the changes in gameplay, SimCity 4 shall be shelved.
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#3 of 8 OFFLINE   ben hunt

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Posted January 15 2003 - 07:09 AM

I've started 3 cities so far and deleted them all. None of them had any population to speak of yet...but I did figure out a couple things...

1. start slow, you won't need it all right at the beginning and you wont have to pay for it either.

2. I built just power water and Medium industry at first and it filled up very fast...maybe 20 or so squares almost immediately. Then I move a few inches on the map and built residential once the industry was beefy for a small town and that quickly filled up also. Then I moved on to commercial and the same thing happened...then I blew up the city because I was just messing around but I'm gonna try it again when I get off work.

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   David Rogers

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Posted January 15 2003 - 07:31 AM

Definitely, you have to grow into full services. Water isn't needed until you need "stage 3" buildings, and even with the SG I'm confused exactly how to figure out what stage my zones are in. I've grown a city to like 9K without water, FWIW. Water is expensive. You also only need the one pump to get going.

The new simulation looks very interesting, but I agree it's frustrating trying to launch a city. My roommate was going to take his copy back to EBotique, but decided finally to keep looking at it. I think he watched me struggling with it, and then when I managed to get a few failed cities into 10K+ people, he rethought. I'm on my 10th or 12th right now, and still don't know if it works well or not. On my most recent restart, I planned all Rs around the coverage of the Educational/Health buildings (which was tricky since I wasn't exactly sure of their radii until I started putting them down). Now I'm hovering at 21K pop and am stumped trying to grow, but my citizens are nearly 120EQ after only 27years of simulation. I have no fire coverage except over Industrial, and crime coverage just went down and covers only Rs. I have three little sections of like three-four blocks each of medium/high Commerical, but they're slow filling. I also have open Industrial still, even though there's I demand. I dun get it yet.
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#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Jason Quillen

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Posted January 15 2003 - 10:21 AM

Zoning seems to be whats getting me. It seems like I zone half the map (a medium sized region square)low density Residential and have still have a low population. When is everyone building medium and high density residential and is it boosting your population by much?
JQ

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeremy Brown

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Posted January 16 2003 - 04:38 AM

I agree that the auto-roads can be annoying, but it is definitely nice when you are laying out large zones. That beings said, I have found that you can lay all your roads, and then place your zones on top of the prelaid roads. If your roads/streets are close enough together, it won't add the auto-roads. I have done this a few times in areas where I want things to be neat and orderly, but have pretty much given up on doing this. The auto-roads may not look the prettiest, but they are effective, and when your city gets big enough, you really don't see the roads. In addition, I can't say that the mismatched roads are causing my traffic problems, so as long as those Sims can travel, they are happy.

So far, I'm really happy with the gave, save for a few random crashes. I haven't actually built a city that's been successful without cheating though, so I think I need to try again.

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeff D.

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Posted January 16 2003 - 04:45 PM

Picked up the game tonight...I'm a long time SimCity fan. Anyway, I didn't play for too long, but I think I may have found a solution to the auto-road problem. Instead of zoning a large area at one time, simply zone by clicking one square at a time - I did that and I never saw any auto-roads. But as I said, didn't play for long, not sure if that's a for sure fix. Posted Image

/Jeff

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeff Peake

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Posted January 16 2003 - 05:51 PM

I have been playing alot. I have 3 cities.

City 1 took me 140 game years to reach 60k population. It earns about $1,000 / month now, but is in the medium sized city square so it probably wont get too much bigger.

After spending lots of time on city 1, I decided to create an entirely new region. I found that if you create a region from scratch, you get several larger zones to build cities in. My 2nd city was built in one of the large zones.

After 60 games years my population is 200,000. I have 100,000 commercial jobs and only about 10,000 industrial. This city earns 5,000 to $10,000 depending on which neighbor deals I have running. Importing trash nets me $1700 and selling power another 3,000. I have many rather large high-rises, but am still in the early building set. I cant wait to start getting modern skyscrapers. My biggest building is a residential high-rise with 6300 residents! My biggest office is 1300 workers.

My 3rd city I just started today. It is entirely high-tech industry. It is also in one of the medium sized city blocks. I set taxes to 11% for dirty and mfg. industry, and left it at 7% for High-Tech. Zoned most of the map in medium density industry to start, and now have 30,000 high tech industrial jobs. Given the very low level of industry in my huge city, i needed this one to provide jobs.

My advice to those struggling to make money:

- Make sure you are not over-funding power and water. If you build a few water pumps early on make sure you set thier funding level to match your needs. You can see how much water you are producing in the GRAPH screen. If it is too high, cut funding as much as possible. Same with Power.

- Dont build High-Density anything until your city is pretty big. Especially industry, high-density doesnt do much to help you. I started with low density stuff, and moved to medium residential and commercial after i had about 10k people.

- Raise taxes. I have heard that 9% is the point at which taxes neither help nor hurt demand. Personally, I had taxes set to 8.3% across the board on my big city and demand is always high.

- Monitor local funding of schools and hospitals. This will save you tons of cash. I usually fund my schools so they can handle 150% of thier currrent enrollment.

- Build parks in your residential areas and plazas in your commercial zones. Keeps demand high.

- Use the region. Having my first city created really made my 2nd city get very big very fast. I hit 100,000 people in the first 40 game years. The key to this: IMPORT GARBAGE IN YOUR 2ND CITY. Build about 20 or so landfill squares and connect your cities with a road. I was earning $1,500 a month on garbage, which is HUGE for a small city. With that kind of cash flow coming in I was able to really expand at a steady rate.

- Leave some open squares. You will need to add subway stops, bus stops and rail stations later in the game. Make sure you leave some room for them, or you may have to knock down huge buildings to add them later on.

- Keep on eye on Water Pumps. They seem to age quickly. Once thier "CONDITION" starts to get bad, it will cost you a ton of cash to keep them running. Bulldoze the old ones and add new ones.

- Look at your residential buildings. If the COMMUTE is long, you should build some commercial or industrial zones nearby. Not only does this keep your sims employed, but it will reduce traffic (traffic becomes rather difficult to manage later on).

Wow, this post got long! The one thing that got my city so big was importing garbage at the beginning. Try it.