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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by ixtapolapoquetl

    Version: 0.03 | Updated: 02/06/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    SimCity FAQ Ver 0.03
    02/06/2003
    
    by John Jung (simcity4faq@yahoo.com)
    
    Legal Disclaimer: This guide is copyrighted work. The content may not be
    changed in any way. Please ask me permission before posting it to your web site
    or displaying it publicly. Thank you.
    
    /*******************************************************
     * 1. Introduction                                     *
     *******************************************************/
    
    SimCity 4 is the latest in the famous SimCity games. It's been quite a while
    since SimCity 3000 was released, and Maxis has made it worth the wait. The most
    likable and the least likable quality is the difficulty of the game. This first
    draft is written for those that need a quick fix to enjoy the game and see how
    it works, as well as some explanation of how the job market works.
    
    I'll write with the idea of staring you on the road to building the biggest
    population possible (a bunch of skyscrapers), with the only industry being the
    clean, high-tech industries. If you want to have a less crowded city, just
    simply use medium or low density zones instead of the high ones I suggest.
    
    /*******************************************************
     * 2. A Basic City                                     *
     *******************************************************/
    
    Your first goal is to generate profit (duh). After naming your city and mayor,
    hit pause.
    
    First, activate the Legalized Gambling ordinance. You'll get an extra
    $100/month. The catch is that there is a 20% corresponding increase in crime,
    but since your city is small, don't worry about it.
    
    Second, raise all taxes to 7.5-8.0%. You may want to lower them later, but
    people will flock to your quaint little town even with the  raised tax.
    
    /****************************
     * Residential              *
     ****************************/
    
    The very first thing I would do in building a residential area is placing an
    elementary school. Select it from the menu on the left.  See the circle? That's
    the area of residential zones that the building will eventually cover. With
    this in mind, place the school. Now, build a library and a high school nearby;
    since the area is larger for the library/high school, for now I would suggest
    something like this:
    
    +----------------------------------------+
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                  /-------\             |
    |               /-+-------\ \            |
    |              /-+----\    \ \           |
    |             / /      \    \ \          |
    |            | |       H|   | |          |
    |            | |   E  L |   | |          |
    |            | |        |   | |          |
    |             \ \     M/    | |          |
    |              \-+----/    / /           |
    |               \ \-------+-/            |
    |                \-------/               |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    +----------------------------------------+
    
    So you'll want to build your residential area where all three areas overlap.
    Get the idea?
    
    Now do the same for a Medical building. I would place a Large medical center.
    It's costly at first, but you'll appreciate not having to rezone later. But
    it's ok to use the smaller one too. Don't tell me I didn't warn you! =)
    
    Now you should have four circles overlapping. Right now these buildings should
    be costing you a ton of money, if left untouched. So now, with the Query tool
    you want to decrease funding for each of these buildings.
    
    Elementary School:
    - Set to a capacity of 75-150 kids
    
    High School:
    - Set to a capacity of 25-50 teens (the wee Sims will take some years to grow
    up)
    
    Library:
    - Set to about 500-1000 books
    
    Medical Center:
    - Set to about 150-200 patients
    
    We've sliced off quite a good portion of the budget... but let's tinker with it
    a little further. Revisit the schools and the medical center, and tinkering
    with the Bus/Ambulance funding, try to make all three circles overlap about the
    same area. The  elementary school's circle is naturally smaller, so it'll limit
    you a bit for now. Once you set the circles, this will indicate the exact area
    that you want to build your Residential zones in. Start from near the four
    buildings, then work your way further out. I recommend using High Density,
    because then you won't have to re-zone the buildings later when you want a huge
    population.
    
    When you're done planning where your Residential zones will be, lay some road
    and some Residential zones (see below for a suggested layout).
    
    /****************************
     * Commercial               *
     ****************************/
    
    Unless you have a thriving city next to you (of course, if you're reading this
    section of the guide, you probably haven't), commercial demand will be low.
    Start out by having about a fourth to a fifth as many Commercial as there is
    Residential. So if you have 100 squares of Residential, try laying 20-25
    Commercial zones.
    
    Now, remember the Residential circles? Try to avoid zoning Commercial zones in
    your planned Residential area because you want your 4 services (2 schools,
    library, medical) to cover as much ground as possible so you don't have to
    build new ones. This'll keep your costs down. So zone outside of those circles
    if at all possible, and also move toward the outer edge of your city rather
    than toward the middle.
    
    /****************************
     * Industrial               *
     ****************************/
    
    Let's start things off by making room for air pollution! =) Your first city
    will have to deal with polluting industries at least for a little while. It'll
    be some time before they'll go away. Try to move even farther away from your
    Commercial zones, closer to the edge of your city.
    
    You can distance it a good amount, but don't overdo it or later you'll pay
    later with heavy traffic jams. Just know that these buildings are gonna
    generate a lot of air pollution so keep these buildings far enough away from
    where your Sims will live. For now, start by laying about 40-50 squares of
    Industrial for every 100 squares of Residential.
    
    /****************************
     * Services                 *
     ****************************/
    
    So now we have the RCI zones, as well as some services for the Residential.
    Let's round out the services with the Police and Fire Stations, as well as the
    two essential utilities, water and power.
    
    Get a small fire station and cover as much industrial area as possible (they're
    the most frequent source of fires). Firefighters tend to be sensitive to
    striking, so keep them at full funding.
    
    Get a small police station and try your best to cover as many zones as
    possible. Industrial areas generate more crime, but you also want to make your
    Residential areas safe. If you think you can afford it, a Large police station
    works too.
    
    Now in the corner of the city, put a Coal plant down and lay some power lines
    out to the nearest (should be Industrial) area. Then make sure to connect the
    rest of the city. Power lines and powered zones give power to anything within 4
    squares of it, so you shouldn't have to lay too much power lines.
    
    Go back and Query the plant: set the capacity to about 1/4 of its max output
    (~1500 MWh). You won't need much in the beginning. You're probably gonna be ok
    even with 1/5 or a little lower.
    
    Now in between your Residential and Commercial areas, put down a Water Tower
    and stretch pipes out to cover all of the areas you zoned. Each pipe has a
    radius of 6 squares that it reaches out to. Don't bother running a pipe to the
    power plant; it can run without water.
    
    By now, every basic service should be covered. Here's an example of how it
    might look:
    
    +----------------------------------------+
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |                  rr rr rr              |
    |<====#=====#==#==#==#==#==              |
    |iiiii|     |cc|  |rr|rr|rr              |
    |iiiii|     |cc|  |rr|rH|r               |
    |iiiii|    P|cc|W |Er|Lr|rr              |
    |<====#=====#==#==#==#==#==              |
    |iiiii|  F  |cc|  |rr|Mr|rr              |
    |iiiii|     |cc|  |rr|rr|r               |
    |iiiii|     |cc|  |rr|rr|rr              |
    |<====#===========#==#==#==              |
    |                  rr rr rr              |
    |                                        |
    |                                        |
    |              (one tile = 3x3 area city)|
    +----------------------------------------+
    
    r = Residential Zone
    c = Commercial Zone
    i = Industrial Zone
    
    F = Fire Station
    P = Police Station
    M = Medical Center
    E = Elementary School
    H = High School
    W = Water Pump
    < = Neighbor Connection
    
    /****************************
     * Get the ball rolling!    *
     ****************************/
    
    Ready? Go ahead and hit the Turtle or Rhino speed and your city will start to
    grow. Watch it grow. As your population grows, casually check your service
    buildings to make sure you've either not falling short of demand or giving too
    much capacity. Always try to keep a little bit ahead: if there's 200 students
    at the school, set the capacity to about 230-250 (10-25% over demand). As you
    play more, you'll get a feel for this.
    
    After a few months, you'll get enough population to make money, maybe earn your
    first House of Worship and a Mayor's Statue. These are good things to put near
    Residential areas, as they make people want to move near them. When you get a
    profit, accumulate some cash and *slowly* build out. From what you've observed
    thus far, have fun an experiment on your own - I think your first city is most
    fun built with minimal help.
    
    (Hint: Get rid of the polluting industries by gradually increasing their taxes;
    be careful that you don't go under because of a lack of taxes from them! And
    remember that high tech doesn't like to be around pollution.)
    
    /*******************************************************
     * 3. Zone Types, Desirability and Demand              *
     *******************************************************/
    
    So by growing the city above for a few years, now you have a decent 5,000 -
    15,000 size city. You get the general idea of how this game works. But how does
    it all work? Maybe your city is having trouble growing beyond 20,000. But by
    knowing how the simulator works, you won't have to spend money aimlessly.
    
    /****************************
     * Zone Types               *
     ****************************/
    
    Your primary source of income, taxes, has 9 different types of taxes:
    
    R$, R$$, R$$$
    C$, C$$, C$$$
    I$, I$$, I$$$
    
    The three Residential types represent the low, middle and high-income citizens
    of your city.
    
    The three Commercial types represent the services and offices of the
    corresponding citizens: for instance, a R$ citizen shops at the Cs$ store, and
    R$$ citizens at a Cs$$ and are often hired to work at Co$$ office buildings. A
    R$$$ is unlikely to want to work or shop at a Cs$ store.
    
    The three Industrial types represent Dirty (ID: I$), Manufacturing (IM: I$$),
    and High-Tech (IHT: I$$$). Essentially, as you move from lower wealth to higher
    wealth, pollution produced by the industry decreases. Agricultural (IA: $) is
    not affected by taxes; they don't pay any taxes at all.
    
    So these are the different types of people, businesses and industries that
    interact with each other to populate your city. How are these buildings that
    house these types constructed when you lay down zones for them to build on?
    
    /****************************
     * Desirability             *
     ****************************/
    
    Under the Data View, perhaps the most useful tool is the Desirability view. It
    shows you exactly where buildings of certain types like to be built on. You
    might see that for Residential areas, any polluted areas are Red and the area
    next to the water is green. And as you move up in wealth, the Green dissipates,
    as the wealthier citizens/businesses are more selective about their living and
    working conditions.
    
    Residential zones prefer:
    
    - Low pollution
    - Low crime
    - Low garbage
    - Low traffic noise
    - High education
    - High healthcare
    - Short commute
    - Matching land value (R$ = low, R$$ = medium, etc)
    - Proximity to Residents of similar wealth
    - Proximity to Residential YIMBY buildings
    
    Commercial services (Cs) prefer:
    
    - Low pollution
    - Low crime
    - Low garbage
    - Proximity to high traffic
    - Proximity to Residents of similar wealth
    - Proximity to Commercial YIMBY buildings
    
    Commercial offices (Co) prefer:
    
    - Low pollution
    - Low crime
    - Low garbage
    - Proximity to high traffic
    - Proximity to similar wealth Commercial Office (Co) buildings
    - Proximity to Commercial YIMBY buildings
    
    Agricultural industries (IA) prefer:
    
    - Low air pollution
    - Low crime
    - Low garbage
    - Low land value
    - Low traffic
    - Short freight trip length
    - Flat slope
    
    Dirty industries (ID) prefer:
    
    - Low crime
    - Low garbage
    - Low land value
    - Flat slope
    - Short freight trip length
    
    Manufacturing industries (IM) prefer:
    
    - Medium to Low pollution
    - Low crime
    - Low garbage
    - Medium land value
    - Flat slope
    - Short freight trip length
    
    High-Tech industries (IHT) prefer:
    
    - Low pollution
    - Low crime
    - Low garbage
    - High land value
    - Flat slope
    - Short freight trip length
    - Proximity to Residential YIMBY buildings
    
    All properties don't want any Radiation. So if you've got any squares with
    squirrels that can shoot lasers out of its eye, don't bother trying to
    developing things near it.
    
    Most of the stuff above makes common sense. Numerically, let's look at things
    like exactly how much of an effect a Small Park Green has compared to its
    Medium and Large brothers.
    
    /****************************
     * Residential/Commercial   *
     * NIMBY Chart              *
     ****************************/
    
                               +--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
    +--------------------------+  Bdg.  | Com.   | Effect | Res.   | Effect |
    | Building                 |  Type  | YIMBY  | Radius | YIMBY  | Radius |
    +--------------------------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
    | Advanced Research Center | Reward |     50 |     22 |    -50 |     22 |
    | Alamo                    | LdMark |     40 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    | Alcatraz                 | LdMark |     10 |     24 |      0 |      0 |
    | Amalienborg              | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Army Base                | B.Deal |     25 |      9 |    -90 |     30 |
    | Bank of America          | LdMark |     80 |     28 |      0 |      0 |
    | Bank of China Tower      | LdMark |    100 |     48 |      0 |      0 |
    | Basketball Court         | Park   |      0 |      0 |     30 |     30 |
    | Beach                    | Park   |     50 |     10 |     80 |     10 |
    | Big Ben                  | LdMark |     40 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    | Bureau of Bureaucracy    | LdMark |     25 |     17 |    -50 |     22 |
    | California Plaza         | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Casino                   | B.Deal |     50 |     22 |    -65 |     25 |
    | Cemetery                 | Reward |      0 |      0 |     40 |     20 |
    | Chrysler Building        | LdMark |    100 |     48 |      0 |      0 |
    | City Hall                | Reward |     50 |     22 |      0 |      0 |
    | City Zoo                 | Reward |     50 |     14 |     25 |     17 |
    | CN Tower                 | LdMark |     80 |     28 |      0 |      0 |
    | Coit Tower               | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Colossal Mayor's Statue  | Reward |    100 |     48 |    100 |     48 |
    | Community Garden         | Park   |      0 |      0 |     40 |     35 |
    | Convention Center        | Reward |    100 |     32 |    -50 |     22 |
    | Country Club             | Reward |      0 |      0 |     75 |     27 |
    | Courthouse               | Reward |     70 |     26 |      0 |      0 |
    | Disease Research Lab     | Reward |     40 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    | Empire State Building    | LdMark |    100 |     48 |      0 |      0 |
    | Faneuil Hall             | LdMark |     20 |     16 |      0 |      0 |
    | Farmer's Market          | Reward |     50 |     22 |     75 |     27 |
    | Federal Prison           | B.Deal |    -70 |     26 |    -90 |     30 |
    | Fernsehturm              | LdMark |     50 |     22 |      0 |      0 |
    | Gateway Arch             | LdMark |     50 |     22 |      0 |      0 |
    | Gazebo                   | Park   |     20 |     10 |     40 |     40 |
    | Great Pyramid            | LdMark |     70 |     26 |      0 |      0 |
    | Guggenheim Museum        | LdMark |     70 |     26 |      0 |      0 |
    | Hagia Sofia              | LdMark |     40 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    | Hollywood Sign           | LdMark |     20 |     16 |      0 |      0 |
    | House of Worship         | Reward |      0 |      0 |     80 |     28 |
    | Impress. Mayor's Statue  | Reward |     50 |     14 |     50 |     22 |
    | Independence Hall        | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Jefferson Memorial       | LdMark |     50 |     22 |      0 |      0 |
    | John Hancock Center      | LdMark |     90 |     30 |      0 |      0 |
    | Landfill                 | Zone   |   -100 |     32 |   -100 |     32 |
    | Large Flower Garden      | Park   |     35 |     10 |     85 |     45 |
    | Large Park Green         | Park   |     30 |     15 |     75 |     45 |
    | Large Plaza              | Park   |     80 |     15 |     35 |     30 |
    | Lincoln Memorial         | LdMark |     50 |     22 |      0 |      0 |
    | Living Mall              | LdMark |     80 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    | Magnif. Mayor's Statue   | Reward |     75 |     27 |     75 |     27 |
    | Main Library             | Reward |     50 |     22 |     50 |     22 |
    | Major Art Museum         | Reward |     70 |     26 |     50 |     22 |
    | Major League Stadium     | Reward |     75 |     27 |    -50 |     20 |
    | Mayor's House            | Reward |    100 |     48 |    100 |     48 |
    | Mayor's Statue           | Reward |     25 |     17 |     25 |     17 |
    | Medium Flower Garden     | Park   |     20 |     10 |     70 |     30 |
    | Medium Park Green        | Park   |     20 |     15 |     60 |     30 |
    | Medium Playground        | Park   |      0 |      0 |     75 |     25 |
    | Medium Plaza             | Park   |     60 |     15 |     25 |     25 |
    | Minor League Stadium     | Reward |     50 |     22 |    -20 |     16 |
    | Missile Range            | B.Deal |    -50 |     22 |   -100 |     48 |
    | Movie Studio             | Reward |     50 |     14 |      0 |      0 |
    | Open Grass Area          | Park   |     20 |     10 |     30 |     15 |
    | Open Paved Area          | Park   |     30 |     10 |     10 |     10 |
    | Opera House              | Reward |     50 |     22 |      0 |      0 |
    | Palace of Fine Arts      | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Palacio Real             | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Playground               | Park   |      0 |      0 |     60 |     15 |
    | Private School           | Reward |      0 |      0 |     60 |     24 |
    | Radio Station            | Reward |     25 |     17 |      0 |      0 |
    | Ranger Station           | Park   |      0 |      0 |     20 |     80 |
    | Resort Hotel             | Reward |     25 |     17 |      0 |      0 |
    | Rotes Rathaus            | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Skateboard Park          | Park   |      0 |      0 |     30 |     60 |
    | Small Flower Garden      | Park   |     20 |     10 |     60 |     15 |
    | Small Park Green         | Park   |     30 |     15 |     50 |     15 |
    | Small Plaza              | Park   |     50 |     15 |     25 |     15 |
    | Smith Tower              | LdMark |     40 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    | Soccer Field             | Park   |     20 |      5 |     30 |     50 |
    | Softball Field           | Park   |     20 |      5 |     30 |     50 |
    | Sphinx                   | LdMark |     20 |     16 |      0 |      0 |
    | St. Basil's              | LdMark |     60 |     24 |      0 |      0 |
    | State Fair               | Reward |     50 |     14 |    -25 |     17 |
    | Statue of Liberty        | LdMark |     60 |     24 |      0 |      0 |
    | Stock Exchange           | Reward |     70 |     26 |      0 |      0 |
    | Taj Mahal                | LdMark |     60 |     24 |      0 |      0 |
    | Television Studio        | Reward |     50 |     22 |    -25 |     17 |
    | Tennis Court             | Park   |      0 |      0 |     30 |     30 |
    | Tokyo Tower              | LdMark |     80 |     28 |      0 |      0 |
    | Tourist Trap             | Reward |     50 |     36 |    -25 |     17 |
    | Tower of London          | LdMark |     30 |     18 |      0 |      0 |
    | Toxic Waste Dump         | B.Deal |    -60 |     24 |   -100 |     48 |
    | U.S. Capitol Building    | LdMark |     80 |     28 |      0 |      0 |
    | University               | Reward |     50 |     22 |     50 |     22 |
    | Washington Monument      | LdMark |     40 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    | White House              | LdMark |     40 |     20 |      0 |      0 |
    +--------------------------+--------+--------+--------+--------+--------+
    
    /****************************
     * Demand                   *
     ****************************/
    
    Ok, so we know what factors help construct the buildings that are geared for a
    certain crowd. But what keeps all these things balanced? How exactly do the
    people get a job and where?
    
    When you look at the detailed RCI meter, you see the demand for all the
    different types of buildings. So even though desirability needed for a R$$$
    building is met by a residential zone, if there's only demand for R$ housing,
    only R$ housing will be built on that particular zone.
    
    Essentially, high desirability leads to demand, which is satisfied by the
    construction of buildings. The building constructed will demand things
    (Residential demands jobs, Commercial/Industrial demands people to hire) which
    will affect desirability, which will affect demand again... and so forth.
    
    Residents demand jobs depending on their income and education level. The
    percentages break down like this:
    
    +------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
    |      |  EQ | Cs$ | Cs$$|Cs$$$| Co$$|Co$$$|  IA |  ID |  IM | IHT |
    +------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
    | R$   |  30 |  25 |     |     |     |     | 100 |  75 |     |     |
    | R$   |  60 |  25 |     |     |     |     |     |  50 |  25 |     |
    | R$   |  90 |  20 |   5 |     |  15 |     |     |  25 |  35 |     |
    | R$   | 120 |  15 |  10 |     |  45 |  15 |     |     |  15 |     |
    +------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
    | R$$  |  30 |  10 |  15 |     |  20 |     |  80 |  20 |  35 |     |
    | R$$  |  60 |   5 |  20 |     |  30 |   5 |     |  10 |  30 |     |
    | R$$  |  90 |     |  25 |     |  15 |  15 |     |     |  20 |  25 |
    | R$$  | 120 |     |  20 |   5 |  10 |  30 |     |     |     |  35 |
    +------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
    | R$$$ |  30 |   5 |  15 |   5 |  40 |  15 |     |  10 |  10 |     |
    | R$$$ |  60 |     |  10 |  15 |  40 |  30 |     |     |   5 |     |
    | R$$$ |  90 |     |   5 |  20 |  20 |  40 |     |     |     |  15 |
    | R$$$ | 120 |     |     |  25 |     |  50 |     |     |     |  25 |
    +------+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
    
    EQ is the range of education the Sim has. So the first group of R$ would be the
    Sims who have an EQ of 0-30, then the next group has an EQ of 30-60, and so on.
    
    So going from right to left, the values add up to 100%. So if you had 100
    working-age R$ Sims of EQ 30-60 (the second row), then 25 of them would create
    demand (want to work) for at Cs$, 50 at ID, and 25 at IM.
    
    Businesses/Industries demand Sims according to the percentages in this chart:
    
    +-------+------+------+------+
    |       |   R$ |  R$$ | R$$$ |
    +-------+------+------+------+
    | Cs$   |  100 |      |      |
    | Cs$$  |   68 |   27 |    5 |
    | Cs$$$ |   62 |   30 |    8 |
    +-------+------+------+------+
    | Co$$  |   40 |   50 |   10 |
    | Co$$$ |   20 |   65 |   15 |
    +-------+------+------+------+
    | IA    |  100 |      |      |
    | ID    |  100 |      |      |
    | IM    |   50 |   45 |    5 |
    | IHT   |   10 |   80 |   10 |
    +-------+------+------+------+
    
    Therefore a Co$$$ building with a capacity of 300 would demand 60 working-age
    R$ Sims, 195 working-age R$$ Sims, and 45 working-age R$$$ Sims.
    
    So the preferences for the two groups mix together to create a job market and
    stay active: this fluctuating interaction is what makes this game so much more
    in-depth than before.
    
    <coming up next: Demand Caps>
    
    /*******************************************************
     * 4. Acknowledgments                                 *
     *******************************************************/
    
    Thanks and kudos to:
    
    - Will Wright and Maxis for developing such a sweet game.
    
    - Greg Kramer's excellent SimCity4 strategy guide
    (http://www.primagames.com/strategy/book/6110/) for helping me understand the
    depth of this game and for some of the factual information about SimCity4.
    
    - Open Source developers. Fight the power!
    
    - Phil Vogel, Jessica Garzon, Steve Kester, Mat Davis, Dave Moore, Adam Watson,
    Patrick Hughes for being such great goats.
    
    - Fellow [RS] Clan members/associates Bambi, Mongo, Major Minor, Shiva Smith,
    Fishstick and DESTROYER!!! for great Q3 fun.
    
    Copyright 2003 by John Jung. All Rights Reserved.

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