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.. 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.