A Misacrope's Guide and Commentary for Yoot Tower --=================================================-- Author: Mimu Bunnylin Authoritative site: http://mooncore.eu/mimu/ Version 1.3 "Jorpakko" 02-May-2011 Yoot Tower is a light business simulation by the zany Yutaka Saito and his friends at OPeNBook9003. In it, you construct a tower or other multi-floor building populated with offices, residences, shops, hotels, and various supporting services. And elevators. Lots of elevators. Yoot Tower is a sequel to The Tower, better known in the West as SimTower, published by Maxis. Yoot Tower improves on SimTower in every way, but still retains a good score of annoyances. I can not stress enough how miserable the economy simulation, AI programming and user feedback are. Mysteriously, the game itself still manages to be fun. There is a third game in the series, for the Gameboy Advance: The Tower SP. The screenshots look awfully cramped, though, compared to the relatively clean if not very friendly interface in Sim and Yoot Towers. There is at least one open source remake in the makes. Look for OpenTower. Like so many community projects, it may result in something playable over the next 4-6 years. Good luck to them! What I write here is based on my experience on the Engrish-language Windows version of Yoot Tower. The Mac and Japanese versions may be subtly different. Due to the lacking quality of the localisation, some of the shoppers' and residents' thoughts are terminated halfway with a strange symbol. I like to think that everyone in the game is pretending to be a Stormtrooper and ending everything they say with a static noise. "Let's watch the movie with a cup of --KCHHH." "Style in the fashion too. --KCHHH." "This is the best stuff I've ever tas--KCHHH." Notably, the Japanese version had many additional scenarios and add-on plug-ins, none of which I have touched. OPeNBook's website has been dead for a long time, so the plug-ins are not easily available. Investigation on the internet suggests that even if you were able to find copies of the plug-ins, they would only work with the original Japanese game. A pity, as the plug-ins included the possibility of building a complex inside the Statue of Liberty, as well as one at Kyoto Station and one underground beneath the Tokyo Tower. Not to mention some kind of weird Christmas-themed location with a few floors inside a humongous fir tree... Changed from version 1.2: - General polish - A few notes on the plug-ins - More thoughts on the hotel system, put in a separate section - Additions to Hawaii Changed from version 1.1: - General polish - Added a diagram and more notes for the Kegon Falls scenario - More detailed explanation of the hotel system - Added a thought on elevator waiting times and direction prioritising - More whitespace, since it's cheap Changed from version 1.0: - General polish - Added a diagram to illuminate the compartmentalised block concept - New authoritative site On things to build: =================== (focusing on Tokyo; see "On the scenarios" for notes on the other two places) Offices - the major money maker. Each comes with 6 battery-operated employees programmed to gripe and moan when anything noisier than a mouse goes past their office. This means that even the lowest level of visible traffic will easily drop the office's happiness rating to yellow, even if rent is cut to the minimum. This means you can ignore their whining and charge them the maximum of $4000, or $3000 once cash is flowing in smoothly. Keep the majority happy with a good transportation system, and if some still complain, let them find a better business center. Chances are, your next renters will be less sociopathic, and meanwhile you have a few less jerks clogging up your transport system. The rent is accumulated monthly but paid quarterly, so a rent of $3000 means that at each turn of quarter the office pays you $9000. Office workers want easy access to communal restrooms. They sometimes go out for lunch or dinner in one of your restaurants, alone or in small packs. Occasionally office workers also drop in at your shops, at least at ice cream, coffee and book stores, and probably others. Rental apartments - a minor money maker. Each comes with a single lonely businessperson whose life consists of waking up at 7:00 every working day and going to work, coming back at 17:00 sharp, and spending the rest of the evening playing hentai games. About once a year they go out and splurge on a manga or a coffee at your tower's shops, but never both on the same day. Rental apartments also complain about the tiniest bit of traffic, which is fine; they stress about it, so you don't have to. The rent is, again, accumulated monthly and paid quarterly. Charging $700 nets you $2100 a quarter. Judging by the game's people sprites, and the average height of Japanese people as reported on Wikipedia, each apartment appears to be 2,6 m (8'6") high, and a mere 3 m (9'10") wide. The third dimension could of course be 10 meters or more, hidden by the game's perspective, but it still feels awfully cramped. Condominiums - heinous waste. First you pay $100000 to build the apartment, then "sell" it for anything up to $200000. You continue paying for infrastructure maintenance while getting nothing more from the condo. Worse yet, if the condo is destroyed for any reason, or if the tenants ever get annoyed enough to be at red happiness when the quarter changes, they move out and automatically take the condo's entire undepreciated price from your account. Condos are like a twisted loan that you always pay back with interest, though that may be useful if you need cash for fast investment. Just remember: if, say, a fire or an explosion destroys a dozen condos, you may find yourself suddenly 2 million bucks drier, AND have to rebuild the section. The man of the household has a standard 8-16 job. The child (who will never grow up) has school 9-15. Everyone leaving the tower starts heading out at 7:00 to allow for the slow commute. The housewife is locked in the apartment, vacuums the entire place several times every day, and may only go out with her husband's leave once a year to visit one of your tower's many shops. A typical Japanese family? Condo owners will eventually start bugging you to set up a school close by for their kids. Ignoring this request invokes no sanction. Grand Star Hotel - profitable fun for towers of two stars and upwards! You need a front desk with access to hotel rooms, and a housekeeping area with service access to the rooms. Guests will get easily annoyed if they have to stand in queues or hear the slightest noise. There are three room types in Tokyo, with analogues available at Kegon Falls and Hawaii. The most cost-effective seems to be the double room, so go heavy on those, with maybe one single room and suite per floor. There is a notable bug in the hotel room functioning; more on that in the bug list. A more thorough consideration of the hotel business is further below. Parking spaces - somewhat pointless. Cheap to build and maintain, but you will rarely see them get used. On a good day in a 3-star tower maybe 30% of the spaces get used by various shoppers. On a normal day not a single one gets used. Once you hit a 4-star tower, exceptional weekends may see a nice 80% of parking space get used, though most of the time a few wind-blown rolling bushes are still the only visitors. The game's algorithm for deciding how many car users stop by is very likely completely broken. There is no real profit contribution, but you may want to have parking space anyway for diversity and prestige. The game's description says parking space is used by office visitors and hotel guests. I have never seen either come by car, only shoppers do. In addition, to retain exclusivity for marketing advantage and to minimise temptation caused by excessive profit, the parking hall entrance is only open between 12:00 and 16:00; cars are never let in at other times. Subway - the mark of a commercial nexus. Ghastly expensive, very few visitors seem to actually use this until your tower has a third star. Then you start getting dozens of shoppers on every train that you pay to stop at your station; one out of a hundred office workers will use the subway for transit (far from credible in a Tokyo scenario), though it seems no one ever arrives on the two or three first trains in the morning. Trying to take the subway to get home, they may miss the last train, and then get stressed and blame you instead of their own lack of time management skill. Considering the huge investment needed for a completely upgraded metro station, and the $100k quarterly maintenance, you are going to be losing money hand over fist. The added shop traffic might cover 10% of the maintenance on a really good day. But every self-respecting tower manager must have a personal subway station, right? Restrooms - cheap, and essential to stop shoppers and office workers from complaining. Drop in one restroom for every two shops or restaurants, and one per office floor. If restrooms are sparse, people start complaining about them being crowded, not that it seems to affect anything. Security rooms - these watchdogs always have a bad feeling about something. They find and defuse terrorist bombs, and put out fires. The guards can run to emergency locations pretty quickly, but for best performance, security rooms should be spread around the complex. Have at least one in each separate tower. I never bother to build any security underground, since terrorists seem to suffer from fear of low places and never go down there. The security people would really like to have a restroom somewhere close by, presumably in case of loose bowels during a bomb threat. Just ignore their pleas, that's what I do. Power room - a nuclear power generator in the tower's basement. As soon as you go up to three stars, the tenants start bugging you ceaselessly to set them up a power room. There is no immediate benefit whatsoever, so you might as well ignore it as long as possible. You will note the demands change in tone once you have enough power gobblers to nearly exceed the 5000 MWatts available for free. If you continue constructing past the 5000 MW limit, you will experience a Power Down event. The entire tower goes dark. In fact, if you look at the tower from the Outside view, in broad daylight, even the tower's outside walls are dark. Strangely, the power cut does not stop the elevators and escalators from running normally, but the entire urban subway network grinds to a halt. No one will enter your tower until power is restored. Adding insult to injury, at this point your butler tells you that the residents have fled through the fire exits. This is a lie. In reality, everyone in the tower gets bumped up to maximum stress and the steaming shoppers gradually stumble to the exit, painfully bumping into a lot of things on the way. The actual residents, tower employees, and hotel guests continue sitting sullenly in their gloomy rooms and no one is going anywhere (probably thanks to the electrically operated blast doors installed at every room). The tower effectively remains in stasis, incurring only quarterly expenses, and no revenue whatsoever. Eventually, if you destroy enough power-hungry tenants, or finally build that power room, lights return and the unhappy residents are unleashed from their apartments. Alternatively, take the money intended for building the power room and move to another country. Trash facility - the minute this becomes available, every restaurant starts suddenly generating waste and will shut down in two days if they cannot get access to a trash facility. Build a trash facility and connect it to every restaurant level with a service elevator or normal stairs, and watch the garbage pile up! In the mornings, a magic truck appears to take all the trash to an unknown wonderland. Doctor's office - the minute this becomes available, residents and office workers suddenly start "getting sick," complete with a clearly faked "Cough, Cough, Where is the Docter's --KCHHH." There's not much point in building this expensive office, since all that happens is that the ill people clog up your transit system heading to the doctor's office, being miraculously cured, and then going home to rest. Why they can't just go home and take some vitamins without a 15-minute checkup at a $500000 facility is a well-guarded mystery. Wait until you feel rich and generous before building this. Want to know the secret of the medical facilities? Do you see any doctors or nurses ever going to or from the place? No. Yet if you peek into the office, you can see both hard at work. Clearly these are not human - they are state-of-the-art Holo-Doctors! This explains both the rapid cure rate and the high price tag. If they are employing the Dr. Bashir model, that might even explain why the female workers suddenly start getting sick all the time... Movie theaters, event center - to make your tower the entertainment center of the town, you need these! The idea of having a movie complex in your tower is awesome, but why do you have to personally change the movie every few months? If you do not, the movie will get old, and soon gets cancelled, and the theater stops operating until you go and yell at them to go download a new 10-second clip to show. In the event center you get to set an event schedule, which at least has the decency to loop around the year so you don't have to keep changing events manually if you do not want to. If you build these, a lot of shoppers will flock in to watch the glorious 256-color video clips that change depending on which movie or event you are running. The clips get old really fast. School - weird. If you for whatever reason have condominiums, you will note that each one is populated by a perfectly average family with one child. (Unless that blob every mother drags along is a toddler?) Once you earn a four star rating, every condo family will erupt in a simultaneous wail at 5:00 at the beginning of every quarter. It goes a little something like this: "ShwoZ'ss'EhEicent --KCHHH." That means they want a school for their kids. Build one, and 55 lucky boys and girls get to study in your tower! If you do not have enough kids in your condominiums, the quota is filled from external sources. You never see a yen of tuition fees or government subsidies, in any case. You do see quarterly maintenance costs. Also, note that the school has a pretty short access range; condominiums ten floors away may refuse to travel such a long distance, and in protest will rather send their kid right past your school to a competing tower's school on the edge of town. The schools in your tower somehow keep the kids entertained from 9:00 until well past the end of the school day at 15:00; yet they never have class trips, ever. This must be because the Holo-Teachers cannot leave the premises. Gathering area - decorative. People drop in here to kick back and take five. Their total stress levels do not go down, however; indeed, the trip to the gathering area probably increases stress a little. Also, people do not go to the gathering area to rest in the middle of a long shopping day. No, they come to your tower to check out the gathering area, then leave the way they came without leaving a yen behind. Only about one out of a hundred visitor groups will decide to go to a shop or restaurant afterward. This is, therefore, a really cool idea left completely unexploited. You pay 50 grand per quarter, and only get yet another small population boost in return, just like every other similar structure. Not worth building unless you are desperate for a bigger tower population. Final item - a sort of decorative bonus that proves you are a real Tower Tycoon (the investing kind, not the Pokιmon kind). Each scenario has its own special Final Item. It always goes on the highest possible floor, and brings a few extra people in, but no significant revenue. Advertisement billboards - lame. By switching to the "Outside" view of your tower, you can set up billboards that cost $100000 each and have no maintenance costs. You can then rent advertisement space to various product placements and get essentially free money. Too easy for my elitist taste, and those advertisements cheapen the tower's facade. Shops and restaurants - interesting. Most of these are merely population boosters, and bring negligible return on investment. For example: the popular Video & DVD store occupies 40 space units, costs $600000 plus infrastructure investment, and rakes in about $2000-$5000 per month, for an annual ROI of 4-10%, and $600-$1500 revenue per space unit. Compare this with a competitively priced office which occupies 9 space units and costs $100000 plus infrastructure, and brings in a steady $2000 in monthly rent, for an annual ROI of 24%, and $2667 revenue per space unit. Then realise that a more aggressive pricing policy nets you double that per office. But, you need the high population numbers shops and restaurants bring. They also make for diversity, and round out your tower nicely. Just be sure to start with the profitable ones and leave the others for later. A good place for non-exclusive restaurants is wherever they can be surrounded by lots of offices and some residences and maybe a few hotel rooms, too. A sky cafι is cool to have; link the floor to all nearby business blocks and add an express connection to the ground floor to maximise visitors and profit. This may be the only way to get anyone to ever come to the deeply untrendy noodle shops. Every shop and restaurant has a random amount of visitors independent of the existence of other shops and restaurants. Every shop is an island unto itself. If you build one burger joint, you get about 100 shoppers a month. If you build three, you get 300 shoppers a month. Again, somehow demand for goods is directly related to supply of said goods, instead of the real-world inverse relation. Restaurants: (1 star tower) - coffee.com: lucky to break even once a year, but very popular and cheap. - Burger Land: small but steady profit, very popular. - Ramen noodle house: the description in the game says it has many regular customers... but there are barely ten per day even when located in the middle of office blocks. - Soba noodle house: likewise very unpopular, will hardly turn a profit at $5 a bowl, but office people do go there sometimes. - J-Pub: office people sometimes go there after work. Once you have lots of offices this usually renders a nice profit. - Mrs. Weinstein's Toffee: once you have a two-star tower, on average about breaks even, quite popular. In a one-star, not so. (2 star tower) - Big Country: on average yields a small profit. - Loco Taco: usually produces a steady, small profit, mildly popular. - Jenny's: open around the clock, a people magnet, and usually gives a nice profit. Becomes even better after your tower is open 24H a day starting at the 3 star rating. (3 star tower) - Sushi-Man: not very popular, only mildly profitable, if at all. - Mama Pizano's: popular, steady profit. - Maharaja: small but steady profit. Better if lots of offices are around, since workers seem to enjoy having lunch or dinner there sometimes. - Korean barbeque: small but steady profit. - Uncle Chow's: very popular and profitable! Almost always goes in the blue happiness level even outside weekends. - Eiffel Tower: exclusive, ie. few customers, but on average a tidy profit. Shops: (1 star tower) - Ice cream: small but steady profit, popular. - Book store: small but steady profit, popular. - 1-800-Flowers: small but steady profit. - Barber shop: usually turns a small profit. - Cigarette and juice vending machines: no maintenance costs, but also only minimal profits. Set these up later in a small space somewhere. - Orange Julius: bad at first, eventually turns a small profit on average. - Record store: lucky to break a few times a year, but must have for 2 stars. (2 star tower) - Drug store: lucky to break even once a year, high maintenance costs. - Pet shop: on average a small profit, but varies a lot. - Convenience store: varies, on average may turn a small profit, popular. - Video & DVD: moderate and steady profit, very popular. - Electronics store: lucky to ever break even, high maintenance, but must have for 3 stars in Tokyo. (3 star tower) - Ladies' boutique: usually turns a nice profit. - Men's clothing shop: lucky to break even once a year. - Sporting goods: on average just about breaks even. - Toy World: varies quite a lot, maybe slightly profitable, mildly popular. - Supermarket: highly profitable, very popular. (4 star tower) - Gameworks arcade: huge 3-story thing, highly profitable and popular. It is possible to adjust the ratio of goods categories offered in each shop. Every shop has 4 kinds of goods available. It seems like each category should appeal to a specific market segment, such as young people, businesspeople, or housewives. In theory, you should figure out which goods are most in demand and focus sales on those; or, you should tweak all shops to cater to a specific market segment to attract your preferred kind of people in great numbers. Unfortunately, the game does not offer sufficient market research or sales analysis tools to allow any sort of educated decision. Interviewing the little people marching around nets you a random response depending on the place they are heading to. Sometimes they may adamantly repeat a specific item they are hoping to buy; other times the same person changes their mind every time you ask. I ran some analysis to see if any goods were more popular than others; on every game weekend without rain I wrote down the sales of each store set to sell only one type of goods. Repeat a dozen times for each type of goods, drop the highest and lowest values, and calculate an average. The end result was that there was a small difference in favor of certain goods, but nowhere near enough to be worth the effort. If there is an actual economic model running in the game, it is exceedingly poorly communicated to the player. Ignore the goods type ratios, except for their flavor value. On Hotels: ========== The only two things that can keep guests away are dirt and stress. Only clean rooms can accept guests, and no one ever wants to stay in a room where a previous occupant felt less than blue happiness. Every clean room at excellent happiness has a 70-75% flat chance of getting a guest each day. Therefore, the more rooms you construct and keep clean, the more guests you get. To put it another way: you only start losing business if any rooms fall below blue happiness, or if your housekeeping maids cannot keep up. Possible causes are a queue at check-in or at the elevators, or not enough elevator cars evenly spread out. In the real world, such things as price, service quality, competition, seasonality, holidays and marketing affect the amount of business you would expect to get. Not so in Yoot Tower. The hotel business works on an "if you build it, they will come" basis. I did some light analysis in all three scenarios, and concluded the following: there is no significant difference in room occupancy rates in any scenario regardless of the time of year or room type. You would think that the simulation would at least make less people show up at the pretty Falls during off-season, but no. Room price does seem to have a tiny effect, though. The cheapest price seems to attract guests at a 75% chance, while the steepest price only brings in people at a 70% chance. Considering how much more revenue the higher prices bring, there is no point charging anything less than the maximum price per room, unless your infrastructure cannot keep practically all rooms at blue happiness. Lowering the price gives a small bonus multiplier to the room's happiness score. One oddity that can throw off the analysis is that during the first year or so of running the hotel business, you get less guests. Some sort of hidden reputation counter, perhaps? After the first year, though, hotel guests will come in droves. The housekeeping maids are inefficient domestic drones who are probably paid a salary without regard to performance. They are supposed to stay until 16:00, dynamically moving to clean rooms the moment guests vacate them. Instead, they often stop work at 14:00 and chill out the rest of the afternoon, even if there are still rooms to be cleaned. Rarely one maid will stay overtime to take care of an extra room, and would deserve a bonus if I had any say in the matter. As for the dynamism... the housekeepers probably toss dice to decide who gets which room to clean. Unfortunately this results in the maids hopping from floor to floor and taking frequent breaks, a quarter of their working time being wasted in stressful transit. It would be more efficient to assign one floor per one maid and share the rest of the work in a supportive work environment, but what can you do. A single maid can handle about 6 rooms of any size in one day before breaking in nervous jitters and leaving work unfinished. Each housekeeping room holds six housekeepers in Tokyo, six in Hawaii, and four in Kegon Falls. Considering that occupancy rates are 70-75%, you can allow for 8 rooms per maid, since that leaves an average of 6 per day in need of cleaning. A hotel block should have maybe 12-14 people per floor. More than that and you risk noise pollution that will turn the rooms yellow and hence completely unacceptable for guests. Furthermore, a single front desk should not handle more than 50-60 rooms, or check-in will get occasionally swamped. Check-out will always get bogged, but that is fine, since customer annoyance does not count against you once they leave their hotel rooms. Taking all the above into consideration, a plan for a nice hotel block presents itself. In Tokyo or Hawaii, you could use 8 floors of 6 rooms each. At Kegon Falls all rooms house three people, so you could have 8 floors of 4 rooms each. Each block gets one front desk and one maid lair. On happiness, elevators and transport: ====================================== In order to function usefully, every room must be accessible. There are two kinds of access: one for people, and one for service drones. Standard elevators, express elevators and escalators are only usable by normal people and security guards. Service elevators are only usable by housekeepers on duty and by the poor sods who drew the short straw and take out the garbage bags from restaurants at the end of the day. Plain vanilla stairs, the great equaliser, are usable by everyone and liked by no one. Unlike in SimTower, the number of transportation methods is not limited in Yoot Tower. You can have as many elevator shafts and escalators as you can afford and fit in the tower. Shoppers and residents of your tower are happy to take several modes of transportation to reach their target, but each use makes them a little more stressed. Simple stairs are terribly stressful to climb, escalators not so, although there seems to be a maximum amount of people that can fit on an escalator at one time, so queues may form at busy areas. Queues also form in front of elevator landings. Standing in queue is very stressful. The key to a happy tower is making sure that people do not have to climb stairs or stand in queues. They should also not be subjected to much noise. This is easier said than done, since the elevators are amazingly stupid. Whoever programmed the elevator operations should be punished in the name of the moon. It is common to see elevator cars sitting still and empty on the same floor with people queueing, because another car - with room for one more person - is planning to head toward that floor sometime in the future from eighty floors away. This means that in larger towers it is impossible to have a smooth transportation system and the tenants will barbeque you for it. Furthermore, the tenants have a current Stress level, and an Avg. Stress level. The latter is in fact a total sum of stress which falls slowly over time. In any large tower, you will find that even a smooth pair of express/normal elevator rides up, and another pair of rides back down creates stress faster than the stress wears out. Thus your tenants will, over a few years, accumulate enough stress to see red, and will move out and tell their friends to hate your tower, too. I guess work exhaustion is a serious problem in Japan but this is ridiculous. As a side effect, one-time visitors are much easier to keep happy, since there is no stress carry-over. And hotel guests only need to be kept happy until they leave their room to check out, after which their complaints will not hurt the room's happiness. You will want to minimise the number of floors actively served by each elevator shaft to give the AI as little chance as possible of screwing up your fragile tenants' lives. The goal is to get everyone where they need to go by taking one normal elevator and maybe one express. To do this, you need to use nexus levels - people use an express elevator to get up there, then switch to a normal elevator to reach one of several office/hotel/residence blocks immediately around the nexus level. The nexus level is also a prime spot for bonus rooms, such as a security room, a doctor's office, a school, or an exclusive noodle restaurant. Each block should be of a size that does not overburden the normal elevator, while still generating enough revenue to cover the operating costs. On each floor you should have not many more than 30-35 people, or they start making enough noise to annoy each other. A normal elevator can comfortably serve about 40 offices, if they are not spread out across a full fifteen floors. Add to that another 40 rental apartments, placed further from the nexus than the offices as less demanding tenants. A good business block, then, might consist of 7 floors of 2 or 3 offices on both sides of the elevator and a restroom in the middle; then 3 floors of 10-15 rental apartments on both sides of the elevator. Placing rental apartments in office blocks makes sense, because residents and office workers generally use the elevators at different times. This allows servicing a larger number of people with the same infrastructure. Some elevator types allow adjusting the time an elevator box waits before moving off. It is a small finetuning effect. For crowded elevators, it is generally a good idea to keep the delay at 3-6 seconds, to allow an intermittent stream of people to fill the elevator completely. Service elevators are best operated with minimal waiting times. You can also prioritise a movement direction based on times of day, but considering the quality of elevator AI programming, you are probably better off not touching those settings lest the elevator explode and your tenants blame you for that too. An elevator with 4-5 boxes can easily handle any amount of people in a compact hotel block. Office blocks and shopping areas, on the other hand, require all the elevating capacity you can fit in. Confused? Perhaps a rough blueprint will clarify things. From the lobby, you can take an express elevator to the nexus level. Then you take a normal elevator to get to any apartment or any office, or you walk over to the hotel area. In the hotel area, you can move from the front desk to the rooms with normal elevators. In the diagram, there are two office/apartment blocks and two hotel blocks, all accessible from a single skybridged nexus level. To avoid cluttering the diagram, I did not draw the service elevator, but that would cover both hotel blocks from the nexus level. ------------------------------ | # | | apartments # apartments | | # | -------------------------- |--------------#-------------| | . # . | | # | | s . d # d . s | | # | | i . o # o . u | | # | | n . u # u . i | | offices # offices | | g . b # b . t | | x3 # x2 | | l . l # l . e | | # | | e . e # e . | | # | | . # . | |--------------#-------------|========|----------#-------------| | ## # # NEXUS LEVEL maids x2 # frontdesk x2| |-----##-----#---------------|========|------------#-----------| | ## # | | . # . | | ## # | | s . d # d . s | | ## # | | u . o # o . i | | offices # offices | | i . u # u . n | | x2 # x3 | | t . b # b . g | | ## # | | e . l # l . l | | ## # | | . e # e . e | |-----##-----#---------------| | . # . | | ## # | |------------------------| | apartments # apartments | | | | ## # | | | |-----##-------------------------------------------------------| | ## | | ## LOBBY | | ## | ------------------------------------------------------------------ For the obsessive-compulsives out there, we can take optimisation further. The minimum distance between towers is 9 steps. If you try to leave only 8 steps or less of empty space, floor will be automatically built there. One problem with nexus levels is that you have to be careful with the symmetry of your block design. Every transport mode needs four steps of empty space on both sides. In order to fit one block with an express elevator and two normal elevators (one up, one down), and maybe a service elevator for garbage disposal if you have a sky cafι operation, you will have to squeeze the elevators right next to each other or make uncomfortably wide towers. Too wide towers means a tradeoff between wasted space and noise pollution. The tower visitors seem to get no stress from plain lateral walking, thankfully. Your basic plan should probably be 3-4 towers connected by sky bridges at 1-3 nexus levels. Now, you cannot place the regular elevator landing too close to either edge of a block, since then people are noisily stomping all the way across the story. Thus the normal elevators must be close to the center, but not exactly at the center because of the 4-step space requirement - that would block the opposing block's elevator access. To make things more interesting, the game tracks traffic on a 4-step grid. Look at the Traffic view; see, how all the red traffic blocks are aligned in a square grid? Wherever you place an elevator, the grid blocks occupied by the elevator, and one block on both sides, will get traffic and noise. If you place the elevator overlapping two grid blocks, it will spread noise over 4 blocks. If you place the shaft exactly on a grid block, it will only spread noise over 3 blocks. Take this into account and the tenants closest to the elevator will be slightly happier. Also, do not put offices or apartments right in the grid blocks beside the elevator, since you know there is going to be noise in that area. Lay the restrooms there instead. Still confused? Build a tower or two, then read this again, maybe it will make more sense then. On random events: ================= There are a few goofy events you will get to deal with. Some of them are good, others not so. You may get a visit from crazy Uncle Reggae, or the tower's mascot stray dog, Maru, who can somehow reach the top floor buttons in an elevator by itself. Don't worry about those two. Worry about the terrorists instead. The most common event early on is the Terrorist Bomb Threat. Either pay the terrorists lots of terror money and finance their terrorific activities, or wake your security guys and have them eliminate the danger while the rest of the building is evacuated. Once you reach four-star status, the terrorists lose interest and don't want your filthy capitalist money anymore. Another destructive event is a fire breaking out. It will destroy several rooms, but can not spread over empty floor space. Your security goons will put the fire out quickly, but by then you will have lost a few hundred thousand Japanese dollars' worth of property, and the tower has been evacuated. For whatever reason, it seems only guards from the first security room you have built come with fire extinguishers; I had a fire break out on the 33rd floor, and while the guys on the 27th kept drinking coffee, my security ninjas from the 4th floor had to scale the sheer tower walls to reach the fire site. They got there just in time to roast marshmallows over the cooling rubble of 6 offices and 28 rental apartments. ($1160000 damages incurred.) If you have lots of money, you can summon a firefighting helicopter instead; this results in a swift minigame where a helicopter slowly navigates toward your cursor and you get to spew water all over the place. And here I thought firefighting choppers used a foam of some kind. If your mouse-fu is not up to scratch your whole tower may burn to cinder before you can put the flames out. It is worth at least trying out, if you can afford the fee, which is outrageous considering they can not even provide a trained firefighting crew able to act without your hand-holding. Due to lazy programmers, bad things only ever seem to happen at 9:00 in the mornings, or at 12:00 sharp. When your tower is evacuated, all residents and visitors make a beeline for the exits, along the fire escape stairways on the sides of your building. This generates some noisy traffic along the edges, and in larger towers may be enough to annoy residents along the edges to leave your tower in a huff, traumatised by the noisy environment. This is especially bad if you built expensive condos along the tower edges since you get to refund every yen the inhabitants paid for the condos. Meanwhile, you will note that hotel guests also escape your tower WITHOUT PAYING for their stay. Your housekeepers and front desk angels rush after the guests and will only return the next morning with every guest's name, address and wallet. Once midday rolls around, you will get what the guests should have paid you, but you have already lost one day's hotel profits. From an economic point of view it may make sense to pay off the terrorists, if your daily intake from the hotel business is more than what they ask from you. Of course, if you pay them, what makes you think they won't come back the next week to ask for more? Once I did pay them, and what happened moments later on that same game day? A fire broke out and caused several hundred thousand worth of losses in addition to the terrorists' fee I paid. Probably faulty wiring in their home-made suitcase bomb. There are also happy events: when digging in the ground, you may uncover a valuable treasure. At Kegon Falls, you will eventually find a hot spring in the rock, enabling you to set up a spa. In Tokyo, in December you may spot a figure in red zooming through the sky, ejaculating a demonic "Ho Ho Ho!" VIP visits feel random enough to count as happy events - particularly as you generally do not even need to do anything, just let them experience your majestic tower. If you have a hard time getting a VIP to drop by, don't despair. Even when all their demands have been met, it can take years before one remembers your existence. VIPs are very busy people. On the scenarios: ================= KEGON FALLS: The easiest scenario - a hotel and spa dug into rock beside waterfalls. Beautiful scenery all around. The only way to make money is to quickly build lots of hotel rooms. After that, you can't really go wrong. Keep building empty floorspace inside the cliff until you find a hot spring, and can set up a spa. Build more hotel rooms and round out the complex with interesting shops. Note, however, that nobody at all seems to be interested in the Kids' Store, the souvenir store, or the Old Time Cafe; these will just lose you money continuously. The pickle farm retail outlet, photo studio, coin press machine, traditional Japanese restaurant and juice bar are also not particularly popular or profitable. The snacks bar and the ice cream stand are the only shops bringing in a trickle of profit. Once you have a spa, and a good bunch of hotel rooms, wait a decade or two and a passing VIP may get lured in. He will take a refreshing hot bath in preparation for a barrel ride down the falls, and you are granted a rating upgrade. After the first rating upgrade, you can build a fire department. This is for those lousy guests who bring a water heater with them, and set the curtains on fire. Happens once every thirty years or so, but the fire department is fairly cheap to have and may limit the damage. Also after the first rating upgrade, you can build a neat pagoda on top of your entrance lobby. The pagoda visitors never seem to go to any of your shops, but they do pay a small entrance fee that just covers the pagoda's maintenance costs. After 200 visitors within one day, the pagoda gets upgraded, and soon after that you get upgraded too, to the highest rating. No new items become available. The observatory can be destroyed, incidentally. Just click the sledgehammer tool on it when no people are present. This makes no difference to rating upgrades. Income from the observatory tickets is a drop in the ocean, anyway. You can rebuild the observatory later, but due to constructor corruption and concerned bureaucrats, it will cost a million, and can still only be placed in the exact spot it was in originally. Here is my suggested floorplan. Have one service elevator along the right edge from the top restaurant level down to the trash room. Have one elevator service the top shop levels and the top front desk. Connect another one from the top to the lower front desks and the observatory level. Then connect the front desks to the hotel rooms with yet another one or two elevators. Bonus points for connecting the hotel rooms to the spa; occasionally a guest family dares to go peeking in. --------------------------------- |# Attractive PAGODA | --#-------------------------------- | # Lobby + ticket booths # | --#-------------------------#------ | # shops restaurants # | | # shops restaurants # | | # shop # spa # | | # shop # front desk + maid | |-----------#-----------------#----| | # 7 floors of # | | # 1 big and # | | # 4 small rooms # | | # # | |-----------------------------#----| | # # | | 7 floors of # # | | 1 big and # # | | 4 small rooms # # | |----------------#------------#----| | 2 front desks # # 2 maids # | |------------------#----------#----| | 7 floors of # # | | 1 big and # # | | 4 small rooms # # | | # # | |-----------------------------#----| | fire dep. + trash room # | --.| shops # | ======================================== HAWAII: Fairly straightforward - build a hotel/resort complex in Hawaii. At two stars, you will get to build a boat deck, the local equivalent of a subway station. It is two floors tall and 20 steps wide, and must be placed on the very left edge of floors B1 and B2, so plan accordingly. Hotel rooms are the only way to make money. Build lots. Avoid the condominiums, obviously. Once the hotel business is bringing lots of revenue, set up an array of interesting shops and restaurants. The condition for bringing in a high-class VIP would seem to be reaching 1000 population at any point. She will stay at a hotel suite room. Next thing you know, you've snagged a rating upgrade and exciting new blueprints. Start with the boat deck, obviously. The doctor's office is only visited by condo residents, so you will not need one. As in Tokyo, the power room and parking spaces are not important. Most shops and restaurants are the same as in Tokyo, and largely the same descriptions apply. Except for Jenny's, which is stubbornly open around the clock even though the Hawaii tower only admits shoppers between 07:00 and 22:00. Of the new stores, Ahab's restaurant, Japanese Cuisine and the Cocktail Lounge are both popular and somewhat profitable. The Aloha shop and Duty Free are OK on average. BCD-Mart, the Surf Shop and the miserable Fruit Stand are visited by few and usually just lose money. The boat deck gives a nice boost to businesses, though it is unlikely to be sufficient to cover the deck's 50k quarterly maintenance. Use the express elevators to build two tall hotel towers, or whatever you fancy. After a second VIP visit, you will go up to the full rating, and can build a cute chapel at the top of the tower. Keep going and an animated wedding will take place. TOKYO: The epic challenge - build a business/residential/hotel complex! Here offices are the chief source of income, although your operating costs will also be pretty high. Try to keep the office and apartment rental fees high enough to cover your maintenance costs and a bit extra, and use profits from the hotel business to expand your tower. You have plenty of space in all directions, so go crazy with 3-5 towers looming over 90 stories high! Use the list of restaurants and shops presented earlier to set up useful stores and restaurants early on and leave the rest for later. Shops are not very profitable at all, but they do bring a good amount of population to your tower, which is necessary to get those VIPs and rating upgrades. The first VIP will want a record store and 1000 people to applaud his exit from the building. The second wants an electronics store and 2000 people. The third wants a hotel suite room and some ladies, plus 5000 people. All that done, you are running a four-star tower and can build a sky stadium. The stadium is a massive dome, and houses what appear to be baseball games. The stadium is open 12:00 to 23:00, and games are on daily from 18:00 to 21:00, April through October. Tickets per head per match are $100, no season tickets or student discounts exist. There are a total of 400 seats available. Bring your own hot dogs (conveniently available from nearby tower stores). I imagine it's a bit hard to strike an epic home run in that dome. Every stadium must have a home team, and yours is no exception. You even get to name them! After that, you will never see a match without your team. Keep building popular shops and other space wasters, and once your population hits 12000 and your stadium has proven to be popular enough, you are eligible for an instant upgrade to the greatest grade of them all: The Tower II - Five Stars. Draw an award diploma for yourself, get it printed and framed, and hang it on your wall. I hope you enjoyed working your way to it, because that's the only reward you get! On bugs: ======== - The game crashes, rarely and seemingly randomly. Save often. - Hotel rooms sometimes get "stuck" after evacuation due to terrorist threat or fire... to test your rooms: wait for all rooms to be free and the cleaning finished for the day, but no guests arriving yet - around 16:30. Now switch to the Pricing view and open a front desk. Try changing room prices. You may see that some rooms' prices do not change even though they should. This condition is only cured when a new guest stays in that hotel room. However, in case of evacuation, if the room is left at below excellent happiness, chances are it will never recover on its own; normally the happiness level in unoccupied rooms goes up slowly over time, but in case of evacuation, the hotel room still thinks there is someone inside. The trouble is, a hotel room with less than an excellent rating will rarely if ever get guests who would reset the room. So, you may get stuck with an unhappy hotel room that sits there looking lonely and useless. Two solutions: set the price for rooms to the minimum at the front desk, then release and reassign the room. The price changes, though the room remains stuck. If the lower price was enough to push the happiness level back up to excellent, the room has been saved, as a guest may now stay there and unstick the room. Otherwise, all you can do is leave it be, or demolish and rebuild the room. - If there are too many (more than a hundred) hotel rooms available for connecting to a single front desk, there may be some odd behavior. Avoid this by designing the hotel area in compartmentalised blocks. It's also more efficient that way. - After a power down event, demolishing enough stuff to get the lights back on, and building the power room, I found the game stopped responding in any way to all construction commands. Saving, closing the game and reloading solved this. - Even if you turn game sounds off, the little video clips playing in an endless loop for two hours at the movie theaters, and for all day at the event center, will have audio enabled. - Demolishing a shop may leave behind a few salespeople, still sheepishly holding gift boxes, unable to leave the building. Possibly, since they want to get from the shop to the lobby, and the shop has been wiped from existence, they can not decide where to start pathfinding from. That, or they insist on using a service elevator because they are on duty, and you have not seen fit to connect that particular floor with one. Eventually, disgusted with your tower, they snap their fingers and teleport with a puff of smoke to the exit. (Or maybe they jump out a window? Fastest way out.) - Allowing and disallowing elevators to service floors gets slower the bigger the tower is. Fine, this is not a bug, just a slow algorithm, but it is still annoying. I assume there is a pathfinding node network that gets partially updated every time transportation routes change. With a big building, the network probably grows exponentially, explaining the slowdown. A smart programmer could update the network as a background task, maybe even in a separate thread. Or use a better algorithm. - Sometimes clicking on a person with the magnifying glass gives you a default "null" person, a young man on his way to the first tenant you ever built. This seems to happen when a person has just settled into queue for an elevator or other ride. If you click again, the person has morphed back into their everyday self and deny any knowledge of what just happened. Is the Tower Matrix unstable, or do you have Agents sneaking around? ========--- This strategy guide of sorts should be considered freely distributable anywhere, as long as the author is duly credited.