hide results

    FAQ by SpookS

    Version: 2.0 | Updated: 04/27/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Author: SpookS
    Version 2.0
    1. Introduction
    2. Disclaimer
    3. Sim City 4 General Issues
    4. Sim City 4 City Startup Guide
    5. Technical Author Info.
    Let me start off by saying that Sim City 4 is yet again a masterpiece of 
    the Sim City trend. While there must always be praise for such awe inspiring 
    games, there also has to be criticism. For the most part, most players of 
    Sim City 4 have discovered something beyond all previous versions of Sim 
    City, that this Sim City is actually a challenge. Often it is a challenge 
    that many have given up on. But that is the reason for guides such as this. 
    The inspiration for making a guide to sim city started from my own troubles 
    of wanting too much too fast for my city and ending up with nothing short 
    of a horrible disaster. Thus, after much trial, and many a failing, I have 
    discovered a formula that works. Is this to say, it is the be all and end 
    all of guides for sim city 4? I doubt it! But will it help those of you 
    troubled souls with some of the finer points of the game? For sure! After 
    running a Sim City 4 website and posting an online guide there, only to 
    have the site taken down by the isp due to massive bandwidth issues, I feel 
    that I can help by submitting a comprehensive guide to better help those 
    struggling with some of the finer points of making a successful city.
    Ok well as with most original pieces of information, they are protected 
    under copyright rules. All trademarks and copyrights contained within 
    this document are owned by their respective trademarks and copyright 
    owners. Copyright Andrew Mac 2003.
    Simple put it's just a legal disclaimer of ownership. All things being 
    fair, I dont care whether this gets posted all over the net on 100 
    different sites so long as I receive accreditation for it and none of 
    this is altered in any way. After all this is my work.
    If you disagree with any part of this guide/faq then that is your right. 
    The view of this guide is merely that, one viewpoint! It is not intended 
    to bring a consensus or even suggest that the views held within this 
    document are the only possible viewpoint.
    Ok well many people jumped right into SC4 without understanding some of 
    the finer points of the game. If you have played the earlier versions 
    of sim city, or even if you haven't, then there are various issues in 
    SC4 that need to be evaluated and explained to help you grasp and succeed 
    at the game. These are:
    -=Megopolis or Mini-Mart=-
    Sim City 4 is all about regions and understanding how they work. In earlier 
    Sim City games you have had a vast expanse at your bidding to create and 
    devastate what you like. You had the option to build a Megopolis with as 
    many simolians that you could squeeze into what land you could. Or you 
    could try to create your own paradise, a refined and trobule free city 
    that adores your great mayoral magnificance. However, all this has changed 
    in SC 4. The change was evidently coming when EA & Maxis released SC 3000 
    and now is an integral part of SC 4. Small cities now make up your entire 
    So what are regions exactly you ask? And what are cities? 
    A region is now not just neighbouring cities, it is a combination of 
    multiple cities that neighbour each other to form a region! SC 4 decided in 
    order to make SC 4 function smoothly it would divide your full sized map 
    into many varied cities. Instead of having to develop one huge land mass 
    you now have to develop each city on smaller states or provinces, in order 
    to make a region. To put it simply, a region is like a country! Take the 
    USA for example. In the USA you have many states, and in those states are 
    cities! Thus, your region = USA, and you have the ability to develop cities 
    in the many states of your region(USA). 
    -=Mastering Regional Development=-
    Ok so now you understand the wierd new concept of regions, states, and 
    cities, but now you want to understand how they apply. For those who played 
    SC 3000 then they should grasp the concept here easily. Your states are not 
    huge masses of land, so therefore in order to really thrive and amass large 
    cities you need to work all your cities in the entire region together. To 
    put it in real simple terms, you have to think of the big picture. That is, 
    there is not a great deal of reasoning in making multiple mini cities that 
    encompass your region. You need to make you individual cities that are part 
    of a bigger picture. You won't really be able to make a megopolis in one 
    state, so you need to pretend that your region is a big jigsaw puzzle. 
    Paint the picture of how you would like you region to look and then start 
    making the individual cities in that image. 
    You can literally make one entire state out of a city of all agricultural 
    industry. Then the state neighbouring it maye have a small commercial zone 
    and mostly residential zones. It's up to you how you want it to appear. 
    Fundamentally, states can run only one zone type seperately and survive, 
    and better yet thrive! But this is a difficult challenge, and one most 
    people will fail there first time trying. Remember the one golden rule: 
    Make your states/cities work together! Not only is this important if you 
    are trying to create my prevoius scenario but it is also important in 
    helping any city thrive. There are many benefits in creating connectivity 
    with your neighbouring states and cities. That is why it is important to 
    make new cities in neighbouring states, to help cash strapped or job hungry 
    neighbours or simply to help establish your neighbouring cities to become 
    -=Fiscal Sensibility=-
    Ok before you go looking for cheats to give you cash, think about this: 
    What am "I" doing wrong? Before you give up on your bankrupting grab at 
    creating the ultimate of cities, realise that you must learn to crawl 
    before you can walk. Learn to walk before you can climb. And fundamentally, 
    learn to climb before you can fly! Ok well now I might be taking things a 
    little far, but if you heed this advice you will soon enough learn to 
    create a city that will budgetarily learn to fly! 
    Ok talking budgets, lets talk taxes! 
    Taxes are in laymens terms, a must! We all pay taxes, or at least 
    regretably at some point in our lives we will. Therefore, to be able to 
    understand tax rates in SC 4 you need to understand one fundamental 
    principle which applies in real life just as it does in SC 4. No one likes 
    to pay taxes! Not even your simoleons! As such, taxes don't make a huge 
    impact on your simoleons or your rating as mayor so long as you don't cross 
    that invisible white line. Once you go beyond this line, your simoleons may 
    revolt! They may decide you're too greedy and will just leave your city. In 
    turn, leaving a large amount of buildings vacant and decrepid. Generally 
    taxes are not a big issue, it doesn't take a genius to figure out a good 
    tax level. Gerneally speaking it isn't worth the drama of raising levels 
    above 10 percent. Unless of course, you need to soak every cent out of your 
    simoleons, and then if you have the desire you can try and milk them for 
    slightly higher rates. But remember low taxes help keep simoleons in your 
    city, and also help encourage more simoleons into your city, so play your 
    cards right and you'll have a city envious to all! Let's face it, taxes are 
    the reason you make profit, without simoleons to pay taxes you will be soon 
    fighting a losing budgetary battle. 
    -=Minimal Costing=-
    Ok here's something to keep in mind. Generally people think that in order to 
    make a budget work you have to scrimp and save everywhere. Not true! Part of 
    managing a budget is having simoleons in your city to pay the taxes that 
    make you money as we just discussed. So how do you get simoleons into your 
    cities? Make them livible! Even the most minor things can have simoleons 
    flocking to your city. One such thing is parks and ordances. It is often an 
    overlooked aspect of the game, but parks and small ordances can help a cities 
    value or appeal increase dramatically. Very early on, sure, no one expects to 
    see a vast array of parks of city ordances in place. But once you've made a 
    start at your city, you should bring them into place. The reasoning behind 
    this strategic move is simple, parks and minor city ordances are very very 
    cost effective. It doesn't cost a lot to implement them into your city each 
    month but the reward form them is amazing! Therefore, it can be seen to be 
    cost effective to implement them into your city ASAP! 
    -=Loans - Saviour or Stupidity=-
    In the last section we talked about minimal costing, i.e. doing things that 
    doesn't cost a lot of money but have good reward. Loans can be both a saving 
    grace or a very stupid move! Loans are particularly nasty traps that too 
    many people fall into. If you are losing money prior to taking out a loan 
    then it makes no sense to want to loose more! Having said this, the saying 
    "You got to spend money to make money" falls into a risky category. 
    Technically, if you aren't too far in the red you can take out a loan in the 
    hope that future growth can save you. But be warned, this is a very risky 
    financial move and 99% of the time, you will lose the battle. 
    However, on the up side, loans can help to rapidly develop a budgetly sound 
    city. That is, so long as you have your budget running a surplus, a loan can 
    help you accumulate a large sum of money quicker than it would to simple 
    save. Again however, there is always a major risk to this theory! If you 
    ever consider a loan, you need to realise that loans arent something that 
    just disappear. Loans exist as part of a 10 Year agreement! Thus, in 3 years 
    time the money you are paying in repayments may end up hurting your fiscal 
    budget. Another point of interest is that loans change depending on how much 
    you borrow. Therefore, repayments for loans vary depending on the amount you 
    borrow, so weigh up all the options before you go and loan money. As a general 
    rule, try every other method to reduce expenses before opting for a loan, and 
    if all esle fails, and you want to risk the red tape then do so at your own 
    -=Making A Profit=-
    Ok so you've skimmed through all the budgetary advice and stumbled to this 
    point. Well this seems to be the most talked about topic of the game so far! 
    In 'Fiscal Sensibility' we discussed the need to not jump the gun and just 
    start building everything and anything! You need to build up slowly and cheaply 
    at first, and not spend money on things that aren't really required. Things 
    like police, fire, prisons, colleges are all non-essentials when you first 
    start. Why you ask? Because the fundamental rule is these buildings cost you 
    money! After all, why spend that sort of money while you are waiting on people 
    moving in! Once the game gets going and you start to get those issues arising 
    then adress them! By issues we mean, until you start to get complaints from 
    simoleons about crime or lack of fire service etc then why spend money on it! 
    Unless you can fiscally afford to incorporate these then don't! The idea is to 
    build up a city to get people in, then and only then, once enough people move 
    in, then you may start to tinker with some essentials and non-essentials. This 
    all depends on your budget. A key principle in money matters is: "Don't spend 
    what you can't afford!" 
    Another hugely important issue in relation to both budget and you overall city 
    layout is that of the overall effect. What overall effect? Well if you have yet 
    to discover, SC4 evolves around a key prinicple of life, equality! Thats right,
    if you think, ok I can afford to implement a particular service eg police into
    my city. Think again! When you decide it's budgetarily time for police to start
    policing your city, then you better be prepared to fully equip your entire city
    with police stations. Why? Equality! Part of keeping simoleans in your city is
    providing "ALL" sims with equal opportunity of services. Besides, would you like
    to live in a city that has police coverage for certain areas and not others? Well
    maybe if you lived in the covered zone, but otherwise you'd pack your bags and 
    leave for a safer city. The same goes for all services within SC4. 
    -=Mayor: Mahem or Master=-
    Being Mayor is a tough job! Fact is, if the simoleons are yelling abuse at you 
    for something you have or haven't done then you're probably not playing the right 
    cards. Simoleons are pushy, especially about certain matters eg health, education, 
    fire services, and crime. In fact, if they can find something to complain about 
    then they probably will! But, this is where we seperate the masters from the 
    mahems. Simoleons are easily manipulated, if you push the right buttons. Push 
    the wrong ones and watch out! They can have a varying range of responses, to 
    verbal disguist, to all out rioting! "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, 
    and hate leads to suffering." Believe me, Yoda was right! 
    There isn't really too much to tell about mayoral responsibilities, other than 
    that the Simoleons are usually right. Ok you ask, then how are they manipulated? 
    Easy, simoleons may push buttons, but unless things get drastic, then usually all 
    they will do is complain. Ignore them! What do they know! You're boss around here, 
    don't let them make you do things you don't want to. If you're keeping things out 
    of cival unrest and if simoleons aren't fleeing from your tyrany then you must be 
    doing something right! 
    Untimately, it comes back to the budget! You can't satisfy them with everything 
    and anything. Realistically, costs restrict what you can and can't achieve early 
    on. So as long as you keep order and avoid chaos then take this approach: Slow and 
    steady wins the race! 
    -=Zoning Zelot=-
    Zoning in SC 4 is as critical as the budget, maybe even more so! Zoning requires 
    the consideration of a number of factors, otherwise known as the 3 D's. Demand, 
    Desirability, and Demographics. These in turn inpact on your income! Demand: one 
    of the most overlooked features of SC 4. 
    Demand is critical in ensuring simoleons come to your city. When you first start 
    you need to know what exactly your simoleons want! To find out you simply click 
    on the RCI Bar in the middle of the menu o the bottom of your screen. First you 
    need to know what this menu option outlines. When you click on the RCI menu it 
    will produce a graph outlining 9 columns. 3 green (Residential), 3 blue (Commercial), 
    and 3 yellow (Industrial). In each group of 3 they have a dollar sign - either 1, 2, 
    or 3 dollar signs depending on whether it is low ($), medium ($$), or high wealth 
    ($$$). Therefore a green bar with $ on it equals low wealth residential eg. These 
    columns can either rise above or fall below a line in the middle of the graph. Above 
    the line and this zone is in demand, below the line and there is no demand! Very 
    simple! So before you zone anything always make sure you check to find out exactly 
    what is in demand.
    Desirability is also another important aspect that requires common sense when you 
    are in the town planning stage. No one wants to live next to a garbage dump, 
    similarly no one wants to live near a pollution chugging industrial factory. Think 
    before you act! Use common sense and your simoleons will praise your town planning 
    skills and move in. 
    Demographics refers to your simoleons. Are they educated, are they wealthy, are 
    they healthy etc. Demographics affects your demand and desirability. While this 
    isn't fundamental in the early growth of your city, it becomes important later on 
    so keep it in mind. 
    One last zoning issue. When your simoleons have become educated and wealthier etc 
    you can instead of zoning new high density, rezone your older low density or medium 
    density zones depending on the demand levels. That is, if the demand for low 
    density is not in demand ie below the line in the graph, you can rezone that to 
    high density if that is in demand by selecting the high denisity zoning tool and 
    rezoning over the top of the old one. It doesn't matter if there are already low 
    density buildings in place, once rezoned they will soon tranform into high density. 
    Also, on the issue of zoning low, medium or high density zones. It doesn't really 
    make a huge difference in terms of gameplay whether you start the game by zoning 
    either of these zoning types. Some people may prefer to zone high density zones as
    opposed to low density to simple for-go a later cost of rezoning their zones. Others
    may not want their entire city to become skyscrapers and may opt to have a suburban
    effect within their city. It really comes down to choice, but it also means you need
    to give some thought to the financial aspect of how many zones you can afford 
    depending on what density you want. Higher density zones cost more, but they can 
    be used from the very beginning of your city.
    -=Goverment Services=-
    Government Services relates to the build tab that allows for the contruction of 
    police stations, fire stations etc as well as the understanding of how best to keep 
    these buildings working for you. While taxes are the haul of your income, govt. 
    buildings are the main reason for expenditure. In fact, if it wasn't for the govt. 
    buildings, then SC 4 would be a lot easier to manage financially. Police & Fire 
    stations, Hospitals, Power & Water sources, Schools, and Sanitation are all hefty 
    burdens in the general running of a city. They are essential elements but they are 
    also very expensive. On top of this, you have to manage all of these so that, not 
    only are they running effectively, but so they are running efficiently as well. 
    It's one thing to have your police effectively preventing crime, but if you have 
    stations overlapping each others zones then they are costing you extra money and 
    thus not running efficiently. 
    So what can you do, you ask? The answer is not an easy one unfortunately. The 
    reality is, the answer lies in micro-management and good town planning. First off, 
    when you start a city you must have a plan in place of how you want your city to 
    develop in order to create order and functionality. The same goes for govt. 
    buildings, you must plan ahead and know where you are going to get the best 
    efficiency and effectivness from. Not only this, but you need to constantly review 
    these buildings in able to maintain efficiency. There is no point having a hospital 
    running at a high capacity whereby it can cope with 1000 patients and yet it is 
    only actually handling 300 patients at present. Micro-management requires your 
    constant attention. Just as there is no point having a surplus of hospital care, 
    it is not ideal to lower the care ratio and then not keep it monitored and then 
    have it become understaffed and unable to handle the patients. 
    I guess the most important and critical element of SC4 is mirco-management. If you
    add a service into your city, then you will need to constantly be checking whether 
    it is running at an efficient cost-service ratio. This is one of my biggest hates
    of the game to date, actually having to work! :D If only those creative folk at 
    Maxis had made a micro-management control panel where you could set schools, 
    hopsitals etc at a certain rate above efficiency. That is, have a panel that allows 
    you to choose a percentage ratio to allow for these eg Effiency panel: XYZ percent 
    above capacity (where XYZ is a numbered assigned by you). So you can choose to have 
    hospitals running at 5% above their current capacity used ratios. And that this 
    control panel would automatically update as the capacity increases or decreases.
    Ah, but such if life! :D
    4. Sim City 4 City Startup Guide.
    Ok well forget all the other perravel, you want to know how to go about setting up
    a city that will actually work. A town plan as such, that you can use to create a
    starting base for your own city. Well you've come to the right place. Our town plan
    has been tested and has been 100% successfull so far in over 50 tests. The guide 
    itself is one merely to get you started, after all we don't want to do all the work 
    for you. It will give you a substantial starting base that you will be able to 
    expand on. It will take you through step by step in detail so that you can 
    understand the basic concepts of creating a successful city that runs with a profit.
    First let me say one thing before we start. PAUSE the game. Once you select on a 
    location to start your city, pause the game before you even start forming what you
    want your land to look like. Besides, you don't want time to start before you have 
    created your first stage of development.
    Welcome to the beginning of what should prove to be the creation of many awesome SC4 
    cities. As with any city creation, the main point to consider is planning! Town 
    planning is an issue that helps save costs and effectively make your cities look 
    better. Your very beginning should start with roads and streets. Create your ideal 
    formation whether it be blocks of 4x4 or blocks of 2x20. It is your masterpiece 
    and your creativity that will ultimately scope how your city will look. Town 
    planning should be related to a jigsaw puzzle. Decide what picture you want to 
    make, and then, peice by peice put it together! But keep in mind, jigsaws can be 
    complex! For this guide we will run with the formula that has worked well for us. 
    Roads and zoning should take this basic formula: 
    Zoning in general should not exceed any greater width than 4 blocks. In this diagram 
    you will note that we have made: Road; 4 blocks of zone; Road; 4 of blocks zone; 
    road. The only exception to this 4 block width rule is agriculture which may be 
    zoned from a minimum of 4x4, or till you are advised the zone is too large. Also, 
    in the diagram you will note that the length of our layout can be fairly long. This 
    is really up to you. If you want to make city block of 4 x 4 then got for it. The 
    reasoning behind our long layout is due to traffic congestion. Eventually when you 
    get your city flourishing enough to rezone to high density zones you are going to 
    need either a very effective road system or a very effective mass transit system. 
    The more intersections you have in your city, the more traffic will congest. 
    Therefore, making a city of entirely 4x4 city blocks will mean major headaches for 
    your sims on the roads later. 
    Also another point to make here is that we have not allocated spacing for mass 
    transit or highways etc. Realistically it depends on whether you want to plan for 
    the future now or have to re-organise later. And the structure of how you want to
    include space for mass transit and/or highways is also up to you. Initially, the 
    reason we have left this to you is because this is a simple guide to get you started.
    Whatever you have in mind for your big picture is how you should base you start. We
    are merely starting you out on a simple non-future planned formula to show you what
    to consider effective on the small scale.
    The next concept you need to grasp also deals with layout. Where and what zones go 
    where? This really is up to you! But again for purposes of this guide we are going 
    to assume that you may want some advice on what a good layout is. The general 
    principle of zoning is actually rather simple. 
    It is our belief that residential zoning should generally only expand the size of 
    one elementary school. That is, if you were to place an elementary school down, 
    whatever the coverage that school has, is what you should zone as residential. We 
    like to call this area a 'suburb'. Of course this is not to say you cannot have 
    suburbs beside each other. But as a good rule you shouldn't have an area of 
    residential equal to 1.5 suburbs. The reasoning behind this is simple. When you 
    first start off, layout of zones, especially residential, can impact on costs 
    dramatically. Thus if you zone 1.5 residential suburbs then that means you will 
    need to provide 2 lots of education to cover them. Thus wasting 50% of your 
    Commercial, Industrial and Agricultural don't have this same drama, as the only 
    services they need are police and fire. But the concerns these have relate to 
    where you put them and not how you put them. As a general rule, industrial should 
    never been seen next to residential. Neither should agricultural for that matter. 
    Therefore the only solution is via commercial. Residential should always be 
    beside commercial. The exception to this doesn't come untill later in the game, 
    when high tech prevails. Then you can have residential and industrial together 
    without affect. 
    A few matters relating to zoning. My belief is that you should choose what you 
    want your city to look like. The whole concept of thinking of the big picture. 
    We prefer either of these 2 options when building your city. Either you build 
    residential, commercial and industrial, or you build residential, industrial, 
    and agricultural. Therefore either you choose commercial or agricultural as your 
    cities 3rd zone as the starter to your city. (Note this is only a start plan, 
    you may opt to include these later once you have gotten your city up and running)
    However, the choice has no big impact on much more than what you envision for 
    your city. If you choose to zone agriculture then you provide sims with an extra 
    source of employment. However, this choice means water polution, no tax income 
    and it helps to keep uneducated sims in your city. If you choose commercial, you 
    will be providing sims with no other alternative but to get smart and get a good 
    commerce job. However, this choice means very limited growth early on and very 
    little tax income. 
    The option is yours, but to provide a little insight to our thinking, we choose 
    commerce over agriculture. The reason is because if you play your cards right, 
    commerce can boom a lot earlier in the game than it should. Our policy when it 
    comes to commerce is give it away! You don't make money from agriculture, and 
    untill commerce booms you won't really make money from it either. Thereforem, give 
    your sims a commerce dream, almost free tax rates! That's right, we apply these 
    tax rates to our commerce from the beginning: $ - 3.0%; $$ - 2.0%; $$$ - 1.0% 
    This helps generate a lot more interest in commercial jobs than would normally be 
    the case. Therefore, commerce will boom earlier than it would normally. Besides 
    who wouldn't want to set up a commercial business which almost no tax! But 
    ultimately, some creators want to have agriculture in their cities just for the 
    look. Either way, both provide around the same benefit early in the game. It is 
    only when you want to build up that you may run into some difficulty. 
    Ok, so you want to get on with it. Well here is where things go ugly! You've 
    decided on your road layout, and you've zoned everywhere and everything you 
    want. Now all that is left to do is provide the very limited services to get 
    your city running. 
    The only requirements you now need are: a power plant; a landfill; and 1 fire 
    As a general rule, we put our power plant away from everything bar industrial. 
    The reason is because of polution. So what power plant should I use? This is a 
    common question, and one that a lot of people disagree on. We recommend economy 
    over ecology. Before you start thinking we hate the planet, we are talking 
    purely about the game! SC4 is all about choices, if you feel the planet deserves 
    your respect with clean power sources then we are not going to stop you. But 
    this game is purely dictated by economy early in the development, so the best 
    option is also the most poluting one: the Coal Power Plant! For the power to 
    cost ratio you cannot go past it! 
    Enough said about power, now you need a landfill. We like clean cities! 
    Hypocrytes as we are, after just saying polute! But no one wants trash in their 
    yard, so to start you should build a small (approx. 6x6 blocks) landfill. Place 
    this near the power plant. No one wants to live near a dump either! 
    So what else, protection against fire! Again a hot item. Whether you agree or 
    not, fires happen, even very early on in the game. In fact, we have seen a fire 
    happen on occasion before the first year had even past. However, we aren't going 
    to get fire station crazy. You only need 1, as it should cover you whole area, it 
    just may take longer to get there, but that is an acceptable risk - cost ratio. 
    Placement too is important here. Your first station should be placed in your main 
    industrial sector. We made 2 industrial sectors, but we put our fire station in 
    the largest one. Why you ask? The no.1 fire hazard comes from industrial, 
    unwatered industrial especiallly. 
    Ok well at this point, you might be thinking, so how does or should our layout
    look? Ok well this is a general layout that we used to create our cities:
       RppppR    RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       RppppR    RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       RppppR    RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       RppppR    RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         RiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiRiiiiR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         R    R    R    R    RccccRccccRccccRccccR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
    R = Road (note not street-no point wasting money)
    p = Power Station (this diagram indictes a 4x4 Power Grid ie 1 Power Station)
    i = Industrial Zone
    c = Commercial Zone
    r = Residential zone
    Note: This diagram does not indicate spacing left for mass transit or highways.
    Also, the size of the residential as we indicated equals the size that is 
    covered by a elementary school therefore:
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
       R         RrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrRrrrrR
    this should be equal to the coverage of an elementary school and is thus not 100
    percent accurate in this diagram. Scaling of this above section we have labelled 
    as a "suburb" for ease of reference.
    So you've designed your layout, zoned, powered, and provided some services. Then 
    you're ready to roll. Lights! Camera! Action! Unpause and away you go! Wait! 
    wait! wait! Before you jump ahead on your own, there are a few more issues you 
    will need to know. 
    When you do click that unpause button on your city and let the influx begin, you 
    need to know that first up, for maybe a year, sometimes even longer, you WILL 
    lose money! That's right, the first few months you will be losing money and you 
    might start to panic. Don't! I have never ever started a city and made money from 
    the word go! I don't believe it is possible, in fact I would love to see anyone 
    disprove this! A year is a general timetable, and the reason behind this is, sims 
    like us, take a while to move! Anyone that has moved houses or apartments will 
    know that packing, building your new sim house, settling in and unpacking all 
    takes time. Therefore you won't make income via tax untill you get a lot of 
    residents. This is a critical principle: Residents are your biggest income 
    source! Jobs will eventually bring in the mula but residents is where it is at! 
    So that is why we region more residential zones. Ka-ching! 
    Besides, your money loss at the beginning has its rewards. Income rewards are an 
    excellent way to boost that income! There is no real reason not to accept an 
    income reward. Yes, they are neagtive features that make your mayoral rating go 
    down, but they do not provide such a detrimental affect that you need to worry 
    about them. So build the missile silo's, army base's, and whatever else you get 
    thrown your way. You can also take note.....you are building a city to get you 
    started. Money is critical in helping you get things moving, so by accepting 
    these income rewards as they come doesn't mean you're a horrible mayor. You can 
    easily remove them later on in the game if you like. So why not make the best of 
    it while you can.
    Our city, only 8 months into the game, with 2 income rewards and a population of 
    only 640 sims was what you can expect. Patience is a virtue you need at first. We 
    have also started making $200 approx. profit each month, so things are now in the 
    green financially.
    So what's next in our hit list? Well, development requires one other utility, 
    water! And the best way to do this is by a simple idea we discussed in the 
    general issues section previously. Don't spend what you don't have! Your city 
    is still probably growing, like our example, it takes time to really get growth 
    and thus get a good income. So we let our city run and now our city, at the end 
    of the second year, was rolling in cash. 
    Here's how our city looked at the end of the 2nd year, with still 2 income 
    rewards and a population of 4,800 sims. Guess what? We are now making a very nice 
    profit! $1,400 a month, and we still have space still to be developed! 
    So with all this money we will develop our water system! First, we will lay out 
    our pipes, which is expensive to cover all your zones. So it may take a few more 
    months, so keep saving and eventually with your nice income you will afford it 
    and have your pipes fully covering your zones. Then add a Water Pump! Thats' 
    right, not a tower, a pump. Again the cost to water ratio is too good to pass up. 
    Besides you have a good enough income by know that you can afford this no porblem. 
    Now, the final development we will take you through is the provision of services. 
    By services we mean expanding your fire coverage to cover all your regions, 
    providing elementary schools, clinics and a library or two. Two Major points to 
    note! First, check your finances to make sure you have cash in hand to buy, and 
    second, make sure that when you add these services that your budget can handle 
    So start providing, build extra fire stations, school your suburbs and also put a 
    clinic in each suburb too. Then, add a library or two, depending on how tight your 
    budget is. Remember, schools, libraries and clinics only need to go in residential
    But WAIT! So you've put your schools, clinics and library(s) in. But did you 
    remember the most commonly overlooked issue with these? Select the help cursor 
    and right click on each of these buildings to view the coverage funding stats. You 
    will notice that ALL education and ALL medical services can adjust funding levels 
    to suit the population. Thus, if you have a school that says there are 130 
    students attending then drop your schools funding to cover this need but provide a 
    sufficient growth factor, eg fund the capacity for 160 students! The same applies 
    across the board to your libraries, hospitals etc. But NEVER change police, fire, 
    power, water, or transport funding levels. These are critical services that can 
    bring your city pain for years to come if you reduce their funding levels.
    Now, let your city grow some more and watch your sims get happier and your budget 
    get fiscally stronger. However, sometimes in a city that hasn't grown fully, you 
    may find you will have a loss again, it may only be small, but untill you get more 
    growth then it will remain intact. But again, don't panic... you will most likely 
    get another opportunity to add income rewards, so take them and wait out the loss 
    period. Sims are probably still moving in, and we found this to be the case in our 
    test cities. But after riding out another couple of years we were booming once 
    Here's how our city looked at February in the 5th year, with now 3 income rewards 
    and a population of 11,000 sims. We are still making a very nice profit! $1,100 a 
    month, with $10,000 in the bank, and we still aren't fully developed! 
    So now you have discovered the basics of how to make a successful and profitable 
    city, you can go out and learn from this. Experience will bring you bigger and 
    better cities. Remember, once you have built your base you may expand, but be 
    cautious, keep the constant observation in mind. "don't spend what you don't 
    have", and "Never give what you cannot account for" ie don't let your income get 
    overtaken by your expenses, and save before you spend! 
    Good luck, and let's hope you all become buzzing town planners. 
    5. Technical Author Info.
    This document was written by SpookS all rights reserved. Should you have any 
    questions or comments on this faq, email me at spooks_amac@yahoo.com.au
    This document has been written as version 2.0 due to the origianl faq's and 
    information being put together from my old sim city 4 web site. I hope this faq
    helps even one person understand sim city 4 better and enables them to achieve 
    a successful city as a result. Cheers!

    View in: