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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by PyroFalkon

    Version: 1 | Updated: 02/26/04 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    SimCity 4: Rush Hour (PC)
    Full Strategy Guide
    Document written by PyroFalkon (pyrofalkon@hotmail.com)
    Latest update: 26 February 2004
    Current version: 1
    v1 (26 February 2004)
    First release, yo. (What does "yo" mean, anyway?)
     1. Intro
     2. Claiming Your Land
     3. What do these buttons do?
        a. Landscaping
        b. Zones
        c. Transportation
        d. Utilities
        e. Civic Buildings
        f. Bulldozer
        g. The Panic Button
        h. Everything Else
     4. Getting Started
        a. Infrastructure
        b. Recon
        c. Expanding
     5. Small Towns
     6. Medium Cities
     7. Metropolises and Beyond
     8. The Peanut Butter Point
        a. What To Do About It
        b. An Alternate Method
     9. My Sim Mode
        a. The Microphone
        b. U-Drive It
    10. Power Plants
    11. Ordinances
    12. Zones
        a. Residential Zones
        b. Commercial Zones
        c. Industrial Zones
        d. General Zoning Advice
    13. Education
    14. Transportation
        a. Asphalt
        b. Highways
        c. Mass Transit
        d. Bridges and Tunnels
        e. Seaports and Airports
    15. You Are Not Alone
    16. Reader Strategies
    17. God Mode Tools
        a. Landscaping
        b. Winds and Global Changes
        c. Reconcile Edges
        d. Disasters
        e. Day/Night Cycle
    18. God Mode Strategies and Effects
    19. Contributors
    20. Version History
    21. Copyright Info
    22. Contact Info
    |                PART 1: INTRODUCTION                |
    ||1. INTRO||
    I've owned Rush Hour since it was released several months ago, but I never took 
    the time to update my FAQ for SC4. Why? Probably because I didn't want to. But 
    now, I'm a little bored tonight, so what the hey. (And besides, I've been 
    getting a lot of mail lately about SC4 and Rush Hour, so maybe I can help some 
    people out.)
    If you've read my FAQs before, you know what to expect: accurate, reliable 
    information; my personal opinions on strategies and techniques; and attempts at 
    comedy. As my inspiration told me forever ago, if the game is meant to be fun, 
    why not the FAQ too?
    This FAQ is going to be a minor overhaul of my pre-expansion SC4 FAQ. In my 
    guides for The Sims, I merely added to the content when a new expansion came 
    out. For this pair, I won't merely add because I never checked my SC4 FAQ as 
    thoroughly as I do most of my guides. In short, if you're used to how things 
    are arranged in my original guide, it'll take you a little time to get used to 
    the new order, but no content was slashed.
    As good of a mayor as you are, there's no way you can start your plans without 
    some place to build. All cities start the same way: grabbing a hunk of earth.
    The game has no formal title screen. Instead, you're thrown to the region 
    screen. This is SimNation, a big huge plot of land that represents not one 
    city, but a county, or state, or country, whatever you want it to be. See all 
    those gray borders? Every single box is one place where a city can go. Yeah, 
    regions are that big.
    You could spend your entire SimCity career without touching the topography, and 
    that's fine. I was itching to get in the driver's seat and start building 
    skyscrapers, so I ignored God Mode and such entirely for awhile. Assuming you 
    think like that, I'm touching on Mayor Mode first. That's where you'll be 
    spending most of your time anyway.
    In the very top-left corner is a compass. Notice that north is to your upper-
    right, but it's not at a perfect 45-degree angle. This gives you a rather 
    unique view, one you may curse at until you get used to it.
    There are four buttons at the top. The one on the left is the Region View 
    options. Here you can turn the grid lines on and off, as well as show or not 
    show the city names, and even see a region-wide transportation map. You can 
    also create a new region from here, load an existing one, or nuke your present 
    one off your hard drive.
    The second button is only useful if you're on the Net at the same time. It's a 
    shortcut to connect you to the official SimCity website, where you can exchange 
    regions and cities.
    The third button is your quit button. You're not ready to finish already, are 
    The fourth button is your options button, where you set the more mundane things 
    like graphics details and audio volume, along with a few game assists.
    In the bottom-left corner is the name of the region that's loaded, along with 
    its total population.
    All right, now that you've got all that down, it's time to get some grass. I 
    personally recommend that you make a new region (set it to grass), so you have 
    a clean slate to work with. Your first town (and any other experimental towns 
    or testing towns) you make should be on paper-flat land with no water. That 
    gives you the most room to work and gives your sims far fewer problems from the 
    outset. Also, by making a region and giving it your own name, it customizes and 
    personalizes your playing experience. I'm big on stuff like that.
    Once you have a new region or choose to stick with what's loaded, take a look 
    at the borders. Notice all the different sizes you can choose. Like a lot of 
    spam e-mail tries to make you believe, size does matter. However, unlike that 
    same spam e-mail states, bigger is not always better. A huge plot of land can 
    get eaten up pretty quickly, and it's quite easy to get carried away in this 
    game, especially if you're used to the old SimCities. The smallest plots don't 
    provide much room, especially to learn the game, so go with the second-smallest 
    plot for now.
    Once you click a plot, you're given a few options. If you had clicked an 
    existing town, it would give a population, service, and job count, along with 
    the town name and city funds. You can also remove it permanently from memory. 
    For a new town, you have the option of importing a town you downloaded, or just 
    starting from scratch. Obviously, we're starting from scratch here, so hit that 
    play button.
    |            PART 2: MAYOR MODE BASICS               |
    I debated with myself about whether to start out talking about God Mode or 
    Mayor Mode first. I decided that if you're reading this, you MIGHT want help 
    with God Mode, but you WILL want help on Mayor Mode. Considering that you could 
    ignore God Mode entirely and be all right, it made my decision easier.
    I write the rest of this document with the SimCity rookie in mind. If you're a 
    SimCity 3000 vet, you could skip a bunch of this, but it really would be best 
    to read it, or at least skim it. I'm a SimCity 3000 vet myself, and I sure 
    could have used this info back when I started due to the amount of changes that 
    have been incorporated.
    Initially, once you claim land, you can alter it to any way you see fit. We're 
    going to ignore that for now and just jump into Mayor Mode, the meat-and-
    potatoes of the game. Click the second button in the big three, the one with 
    the top hat and rolled-up paper.
    A box will pop up asking for the city name, mayor name, and difficulty level. 
    The mayor name field is sticky, so if you enter, say, "PyroFalkon," it will 
    default to that ANY TIME you make a new city. You can change it, though, so 
    you're not locked into it in case you have multiple people playing the same 
    For city names, I use the finger method. I close my eyes, spin in circles, and 
    point to something. I then open my eyes and name my city after whatever I'm 
    pointing at. So, let me demonstrate... Okay, I'm pointing at my stapler. I'd 
    name my city Stapleton, or Staplepolis, or Stable City... or if you're a fan of 
    the Lakers or Clippers, Stables Center will do. Be creative!
    The difficulty affects a number of things. In Easy Mode, you start with 500K. 
    In Medium, you've got 200K. In Hard, you've got 100K. It's more than the money, 
    though. The harder the difficulty, the less advice your receivers give you, and 
    the slower the city grows. Now, prior to the expansion pack, we only had one 
    difficulty, and it was the equivalent of Hard, which means Maxis "newbified" 
    the game. Bah. I'm a grizzled old veteran. Anyway, once you fill out all that 
    crap, hit OK.
    Okay, you're in the game now. Fireworks light the sky, marking the debut of 
    your term in office! Where to start, where to start?
    On the left side of the screen are the mayor's tools. These five huge and two 
    tiny buttons together mark everything you can build and zone. I'll go over them 
    in detail, but I will not give details to the individual buildings... that 
    comes in a later section.
    I won't go over the finer points of things yet; this is just button and tool 
    explanations. We'll get into the strategies soon.
    |3a. Landscaping|
    The first big button of the group of five is the landscaping tool. Though you 
    have left God Mode, you can still raise and lower the land as you see fit. 
    However, it's pretty expensive, and completely unnecessary for your first town. 
    Something that does have value though is the tree planter. Throw down a few 
    trees here and there to suck up pollution and generally make your city a 
    prettier place to live. Of course, that too costs money, so don't go nuts.
    New via the expansion pack is the sign and label tools. You can plant signs and 
    lay labels anywhere free of charge. I tend to do this to "reserve" land for 
    buildings. That is, I have a short memory, so I leave signs as reminders for 
    future development. You can lay labels directly on streets and things too, in 
    case you want to name specific streets.
    |3b. Zones|
    The bread and butter of the city, zones are areas that you designate to contain 
    certain buildings. The zones are divided into three major categories: 
    residential, commercial, and industrial. Residential zones are where homes are, 
    where your happy little sims eat, sleep, and poop on a daily basis. Commercial 
    zones are office space or stores. Industrial zones are where things are 
    Zones are further divided by densities. It used to be that higher densities 
    meant richer clients, but that's not the case anymore. Now, a zone's density 
    affects ONLY the size of the building. That has a few indirect effects, though. 
    If you have a large building, you'll get more people in it than a small 
    building. So, although a higher density won't necessarily make richer people 
    get in, it will make a higher number of people get in, so you may end up 
    getting more money... and more problems. I'll explain.
    Low-density residential zones are where most of you probably live. Those zones 
    hold places for single homes, anything from trailers to mansions. The taxes you 
    generate from here are smaller than from higher densities, but there won't be 
    that many sims to take care of, so you won't have super-high traffic or 
    anything. Medium residential zones contain small apartment buildings. The high-
    density residential zones hold buildings that kiss the sky, so you'll have a 
    lot of money coming in, but a lot of people to take care of.
    Light commercial zones are for local businesses. These include things like 
    local donut shops, auto stores, ice cream parlors, fast food joints, and the 
    like. Medium commercial zones contain small corporate shops, such as Wal-Mart, 
    K-Mart, Radio Shack, or Best Buy. They also house small office buildings. Dense 
    commercial zones hold malls and offices that touch the clouds.
    Industrial zones are a little different. The first zone type is agricultural 
    zones. Unlike the other industrial zones, these zones can be as big as you want 
    them to be. Agricultural zones are nothing but farms that employ few people. 
    They give off no pollution, but they provide very few jobs. After the expansion 
    pack, farms now pay taxes, but it's not nearly enough to provide a living for 
    your city. Do not build farms if you're looking for cash.
    Medium-density industrial zones are mostly dirty industries. There are horribly 
    polluting industries like resource gatherers, toxic waste dumps, and other 
    nasty places. They pay a bit in taxes, but you'll be spending a lot of that 
    money on ways to combat the crime and pollution that come with it. 
    Manufacturing industries, like car shops, exist in some medium-density zones as 
    well. These pollute, but not nearly as bad, and they pay more. The most dense 
    zones accommodate cleaner manufacturing industries, as well as the fantastic 
    high-tech industries. These don't pollute but do produce vast amounts of money 
    for your coffers. Maxis, EA, Microsoft, and such would be in high-tech zones.
    |3c. Transportation|
    People hate walking, and so do sims. We're in the year 2001 and beyond for 
    SimCity 4, so gone are the days of dirt roads and horses. Instead, we've got 
    cars and subways!
    The top button of the transportation tier gives standard asphalt options. You 
    can build roads, streets, one-way roads, and avenues. All four will be 
    explained later in the strategy section.
    The second button of the transportation tier allows the construction of 
    highways. These beefy boys are six-lane elevated roads designed to get sims 
    from point A to point B with optimal speed and minimal stops. You need to 
    connect highways to asphalt, and to do that requires on-ramps. Highways can 
    also be linked to each other via a cloverleaf or T-section, and you build those 
    through here too.
    The third button lets you ride the rails. You can place down train or monorail 
    tracks, but they won't run without stations. Stations, it goes without saying, 
    must be directly next to tracks to work. Unlike bus stops, you have to build 
    train stations everywhere you want the train to stop, so you'll have to do some 
    planning to get it to work. You can also build freight train stations, which 
    carry goods to and from the city, but that's an advanced strategy that we don't 
    need to deal with at the moment.
    The fourth button allows you to build other forms of mass transportation and 
    other, transportation-related buildings. We're talking subways, bus stops, 
    elevated "el-" trains, toll booths, and parking garages. All of it will be 
    covered later.
    The fifth button allows you to build an airport. Airports bring massive demand 
    to your city because of the tourists and/or businessmen aboard. Again, it's not 
    necessary to worry about it for a small city. Airports are a fixed size, unlike 
    they were in SimCity 3000.
    The sixth and last button lets you build a few sea things. Seaports, like 
    airports, help commercial and industrial demands. They need water to work, so 
    if you took my advice and started a new region without water, you won't be 
    using them for now. Like airports, they're a fixed size, and they're pretty 
    darn expensive. You can also build ferries for either sims, or sims and their 
    cars. This gives an alternate method for crossing a river aside from long (and 
    expensive) bridges, although obviously no ferry can possibly have the same 
    capacity. Finally, you can build Marinas here, which gives you access to all 
    the water vehicles and attracts rich sims to your city.
    |3d. Utilities|
    This ain't the stone age. People want TVs and computers, and they need some 
    place to power those things.
    The first button lets you build a large variety of power plants, along with 
    power lines to link the plant to your zones. Most of the power plants are 
    grayed out for now because they have prerequisites that go with them, and 
    obviously as a young city you don't have much going for you. Explanations of 
    the plants come later.
    The second button lets you build water structures. There's not much there, and 
    we'll go into more details when water becomes important. Until then, your sims 
    can suck water out of the ground after it rains.
    The third button is for garbage disposal. The quick and dirty (literally) way 
    to deal with trash is to zone for landfills the same way you zone for other 
    things. You can also build incinerators to burn trash, though that gets 
    expensive and stinky. You could also get a waste-to-energy converter to make 
    trash into electricity. Finally, you can plop down a couple recycling centers 
    around the city and hope your sims give a hoot and save a tree.
    |3e. Civic Buildings|
    Civic buildings give services to your sims. They have specific sizes and uses, 
    and require some planning to be used effectively. The Big Four services that 
    every large city needs is police protection, fire protection, education, and 
    health care. All that is taken care of here.
    The first button lets you slap down a few police stations and jails (sorry, no 
    donut shops). You can go with small stations at first, but soon the crime will 
    be a little too large and will need a bigger place to deal with things. All 
    stations aside from the new Police Kiosk have small internal jails, but those 
    will quickly fill up, so you eventually need to build jails eventually to keep 
    criminals behind bars and off the streets.
    The second button is your fire department selection. Again, you can make a 
    little station that serves a neighborhood or two, but large cities need large 
    stations or airfields.
    The third button is your educational department. Schools come in three major 
    varieties: elementary schools for the kids, high schools for the adolescents, 
    and city colleges for the young adults. Education is pretty expensive, so make 
    sure your other needs are suited to first. You can also build libraries and 
    museums here, which assist adults and senior citizens from getting stupider 
    than rocks.
    The fourth button of the civic buildings tier is for the city's health. You can 
    build tiny clinics, or decent hospitals. You'll also eventually be able to 
    build a disease research center, which assists your other health buildings in 
    extending your sims' lives.
    The fifth button leads to real-world landmarks that help attract tourists and 
    businesses to the town. Unlike in SimCity 3000, these cost, both in initial 
    price and maintenance, and some are astronomical. You can only have one of each 
    per town.
    The sixth button gives you access to rewards... once you meet the requirements, 
    anyway. You can also build business-deal buildings such as casinos and malls, 
    although those aren't listed initially.
    The seventh and final button is where you can build recreational buildings and 
    sites. Green cities make the environmentalists happy, especially because they 
    cut down the pollution poisoning the city.
    |3f. Bulldozer|
    The first of the smaller buttons is the bulldozer. This is your destruction 
    tool, used for taking out trees, buildings, pipes, power lines, and everything 
    else in your way. This does NOT remove zones. To do that, go into any tool that 
    lets you BUILD zones, and you'll see a tool called De-Zone. Using that, you 
    will remove the zone entirely, including buildings on it.
    A note: You cannot de-zone a landfill unless it is empty of trash. If you need 
    to get rid of a landfill, first isolate it by destroying all roads touching it. 
    After a few game years, the trash will fully decompose, and THEN you can de-
    zone it.
    |3g. The Panic Button|
    During a disaster, you have to react fast and send out the appropriate 
    emergency teams. Whenever there's an emergency, used the options in here to 
    send your boys in blue and/or yellow to their targets. In SimCity 3000, there 
    was an emergency siren here as well, used to warn the city when a tornado or 
    alien attack threatened their lives. It's been removed, so you don't have to 
    stress about hitting a warning button the instant disaster looms.
    |3h. Everything Else|
    The buttons under the tools won't be messed with too much, but I'll explain 
    The button on the left re-enters God Mode. However, it's a VERY limited 
    version. You can start disasters, reconcile the city edges (talked about in the 
    God Mode section), or nuke the city. If you decide to nuke your city, it's a 
    PERMANENT decision, so be really careful with that command. You can also enable 
    or disable the day/night cycle the graphics go through. If you have a dark 
    monitor, you may want to force the world to stay in the day the whole time so 
    you can see what you're doing. Doing so will not change the internal clock that 
    your sims live by.
    The middle button takes you to Mayor Mode, with the tools. The third button 
    takes you to My Sim Mode, which I'll get into later.
    Below that is a pair of buttons with question marks. Those are your query 
    tools. The top one is your standard query. Click that, then click a building to 
    get some REALLY valuable information about it. (Added to the expansion is a 
    power of that query button. If you query an abandoned building, you'll now be 
    told WHY it was abandoned, so you can fix the problem.)
    The other query tool is the route query. Clicking any piece of transportation 
    will tell you where cars or whatever are coming from and where they're going to 
    if they travel over that piece of road or rail. Clicking a building shows any 
    and all vehicles that come to or from the building and what route they take. 
    The query tool alone is almost worth the price of the expansion pack, and can 
    be used to plan mass transit routes. I'll get into that later.
    In the very bottom-left corner is a mini-map. There are arrows where you can 
    rotate it, or zoom in and out. There are also speed settings near there, in 
    case you want time to fly.
    Finally, you have your options button. You can save the city, exit to the 
    region, exit to Windows, or alter your options.
    Okay, now you know how to at least throw down buildings, so let's start zoning 
    |4a. Infrastructure|
    The first thing you need is a power plant, so click the Utilities tool, then 
    the Electricity button.
    As a new city, you have access to only the most basic plants: wind, coal, 
    natural gas, and oil. This is your first big decision: what are you most 
    interested in? If you want a clean city, stick with wind or natural gas. If you 
    just want to get a high population quickly or want to save money, go for coal.
    Whatever you choose, find a nice corner of the map and plop it down. City edges 
    are absolute, and pollution that spills off your map does NOT enter adjacent 
    cities. This way you can remove almost half of the building's pollution from 
    the start. If you chose windmill plants, you'll need several, but if you chose 
    anything else, just one will do.
    Now that you've got some power, you'll need to zone land so your sims know what 
    to build where. Sims, like real humans, have the NIMBY opinion when it comes to 
    power plants: Not In My BackYard. Do you want to live next to a stinky coal 
    plant? Neither do sims.
    Go a fair distance away from the plant and build your first industrial zone. I 
    always start with dirty industrial zones to get a solid foundation of the city, 
    then expand outward. Your industrial zone or zones should be large enough to 
    support a decent influx of people, but they shouldn't be so large that your 
    town is flooded with smoke. I normally go with two or three 8x8 zones that are 
    fully enclosed with roads (not streets).
    Those will go up, but they have no place to give their finished goods. You need 
    to build some commercial zones, but right now you'll have nothing but tiny 
    local businesses. Go some more away from the industrial zone in the direction 
    opposite the power plant, and build a few commercial zones of light density. 
    Let the computer build streets as it needs to; you can take finer control of 
    that aspect later, once you get more accustomed to the way things work.
    Once that's ready, both the industrial zones and commercial zones need workers. 
    Build a large number of light or medium residential zones as close to the 
    commercial zones as possible on the side opposite the industries. That way, 
    your people won't be smelling like smoke TOO badly, if at all. Again, let the 
    computer build streets as it needs to. However, make sure you build roads that 
    connect all the zones to each other. You'll also need one road that links the 
    power plant with the rest of the city.
    Within a month or three, you should be getting your first people and 
    businesses! Woo hoo! Let your city run awhile, because you'll have to wait for 
    things to happen before you can take additional steps. If you're impatient, 
    speed the game until you have a few hundred or few thousand people.
    |4b. Recon|
    A mayor is only as good as his or her information. You need to be provided with 
    detailed maps and such of situations, and luckily, it's all there for you!
    With Mayor Mode active, check out the stuff to the right of the buttons (on the 
    bottom edge of the screen). You're presented with several things: your mayor 
    rating, the city's cash, the city's population, the RCI meter, six status bars, 
    and six small buttons that provide information.
    Your mayor rating is based on a scale from what I guess is -1000 to +1000 that 
    rates your overall general performance. The six status bars to the right are 
    heavily weighed for your mayor rating, but it's not that simple of a 
    The money and population counts are self explanatory, but the RCI meter is not. 
    The RCI meter provides you with a GENERAL opinion of the situation of the city. 
    The taller the bar, the more that zone is in demand. The lower the bar, the 
    less it's demanded. Bear in mind that no other situation is taken into account: 
    even if you fill up every square inch of your city's boundaries with something, 
    the RCI meter will still be active. You can click the RCI meter to get even 
    more detail about what's hot and what's not, but don't get too dependent on the 
    details. For example, if nothing but farms are being asked for in the industry 
    zones, but you don't want farms, just ignore the demands. The sims will just 
    have to deal.
    Okay, onto the six small buttons. The first one, in the top-left corner, is the 
    building style control. Here you can affect the appearance of buildings that 
    are built in your city, and when they rotate. Once you click the button, be 
    sure to click the title to expand the window so you can see the four styles 
    The second button, the one with a person, is your advisor screen. They give 
    frequent reports about everything in their departments. If their picture is on 
    a green background, they're happy about things. If the background is red, 
    they're none too pleased. If it's blue, they don't care one iota either way.
    Click on any one of their pictures to get a list of their reports. As a new 
    mayor, their first reports are just introductory resumes, where they tell you 
    what they do and what they watch for. As time goes on, they'll make real 
    reports about different things as they need to.
    The third button takes you to your budget. You're given a simple chart of your 
    current money, your monthly expenses, your monthly income, and your projected 
    total after the month ends. Obviously, you want your income to be higher than 
    your expenses, but young cities will struggle in doing so.
    You can get a more detailed look at your budget by clicking the small report. 
    The screen will expand and show your expenses and incomes, and you can further 
    go into detail. I'll worry about that later as well. For now, just click the 
    fourth button in that group, the one in the top-right corner with the grid.
    This is your data view, or map. You can see various aspects of your city 
    through this to hunt down problems or see successes. As an example, click the 
    traffic option. You'll see which roads and streets are more traveled than 
    others. Red routes mean the path should be upgraded, whether that means 
    changing a street to a road, or adding bus stops, or something else.
    The fifth button takes you to a bunch of charts and grafts. This is where you 
    can get a general breakdown of people or services. Wanna know how your crime 
    rate compared to five years ago? You can do that here. The sixth button of the 
    group takes you back to your mayor rating and the six general city status bars.
    Use this information as much as you need to. There's plenty of trouble that can 
    happen, and the sooner and more you know about it, the better. Don't use it 
    just to figure out what's wrong, though. See what's right, and make sure you 
    don't tinker with what's working.
    |4c. Expanding|
    With the city doing its thing, it's time to start planning for improvements. 
    The Big Four Services are still not needed, but the time is coming short. For 
    now, just look to see what can be expanded. Plan out new neighborhoods, new 
    industrial zones, and new business sectors. Zone them once you can see them in 
    your head. Don't bother zoning for new places if the ones you already have 
    aren't full. My experience tells me that residential zones will fill up 
    fastest, so you'll have to be zoning for more houses first.
    The only thing aside from zones you'll want to build at this second is a 
    landfill. Garbage becomes a problem fairly early, so you'll need to take of 
    that one as quickly as possible. Build a sizeable landfill (one worth about 
    $1000) near the power plant. Make sure to give it road access as well.
    ||5. SMALL TOWNS||
    Once your population hits around 500 people, your people will give you a 
    mayor's house. 2000 people later, they will start grumbling about cops and 
    firemen. Not one to be heartless (especially after the neat gift they gave to 
    you), you need to take your sims' lives out of your hands and put them in 
    someone else's. Education isn't much of an issue at the moment, but your sims' 
    safety is. After all, if they get burned up, who's going to be around to pay 
    The first thing you need to build is a fire department. Click the appropriate 
    buttons, then select a small fire department. Take a look at it as you drag it 
    around the landscape. See the big circle around it? That's the range the fire 
    department has access to. It's scalable, so a fire starting two doors away will 
    have a better chance of being stopped than a fire on the fringe of the radius. 
    Place the building in such a way where you can cover the whole town (especially 
    the power plant) if you can. The worst fire hazard is probably in the 
    industrial zone. If your city is really large, place a second small fire 
    department directly next to your power plant. The last thing you need this 
    early is the complete loss of power.
    That second fire department does not need to cover its full radius if it's 
    right next to the plant, so I'll teach you how to make it a little more 
    efficient. Click the query tool (the upper question mark button near the mini-
    map), then click the station. There's a bar that lists its local funding, which 
    is currently $125 per month. That's way too expensive for a station that has 
    only one objective, so let's fix that. Click and drag the little box to the 
    left to lower the building's funding. Notice that the radius shrinks as you do 
    so. Don't lower it too much, or else the people will go on strike.
    I'm sure you have a large amount of money left, so build a police station now. 
    Get a small one and place it so it too covers the whole city if possible. Favor 
    the residential zones if you have to; dirty industries can operate well even 
    with limited crime, but the residents can't.
    By now, your people should be going along smoothly, and your people are ready 
    for new challenges. You don't have much for kids to do, so build a few parks or 
    plazas around the town. Unlike previous SimCity games, each rec area costs 
    monthly, so don't go nuts. About five small parks will do for now.
    Kids can't just play, of course. You'll need to give them some knowledge to 
    fill those little sims heads... so they can then get good jobs and pay you 
    fortunes in taxes.
    I need to stress this, though...
    It's VERY easy to go overboard in SC4, especially if you're used to SC3000 or 
    before. The thing you have to realize is that sims, especially in the early 
    stages, do NOT need schools or health care. (For that matter, they don't need 
    police protection this early either, but police coverage is cheap, unlike the 
    other two.)
    The reason most cities fail is because their mayor tries to go too big, too 
    fast, and that causes major losses in finance. You can gauge your city's 
    financial progress using a simple method. Do not build any school or medical 
    clinic until you are making at least $1000 PROFIT PER MONTH. Any less, don't 
    even bother.
    Once you are making at least $1000 per month, it's time to address the 
    education issue. Build a SMALL elementary school, and make sure you place it so 
    it only covers residential areas. Commercial and industrial zones don't breed 
    little sim kids, so it would be a waste to put a school too close to those 
    Once the school is placed, grab your query tool and examine the building. The 
    radius is determined by the bus fund, and lowering it any will catch up with 
    you in the end unless you monitor it VERY carefully. The main funding affects 
    how many students it can hold.
    I have a simple formula for determining school funding. First, make sure the 
    radius can cover the whole residential area. Only take away bus funding if 
    shrinking the radius will not uncover any residential area. Second, use maximum 
    funding for 3 months. That'll hurt your budget a bit, but you'll be okay. 
    (That's why you should be making at least $1000 a month before starting this: 
    to ensure that you have plenty left over.) Third, after three months pass, 
    check the funding again. Adjust it so you have enough capacity to hold 50 more 
    students than you currently have. From then on, any time you're alerted that 
    the funding is too low, bring it up again to make it 50 more than the current 
    number of students. If you put in more funding than that, you're just wasting 
    it, and at this stage, every simoleon counts... especially with schools, where 
    the costs are so bloody high that you might wonder why you bother with it in 
    the first place. Trust me, though, that education will pay off... you just 
    won't see it in the short-term.
    After you initially build your school, there's nothing more to do for now. Let 
    your city run itself for awhile. Hope for a profit, but know that your large 
    treasury will hold out for awhile as long as you didn't go crazy with building 
    things earlier.
    Do nothing until you're again making $1000 profit a month. With the school in 
    place and running smoothly, land values will rise, and all residents that the 
    school covers will start paying much more in taxes without complaint. (I think 
    real life is like that too. Most people don't mind paying more in taxes as long 
    as the money actually goes to something worthwhile.)
    Anyawy, once you're making the money you need, put down a hospital (NOT A 
    CLINIC) to cover the residential area. The radii of hospitals have increased 
    thanks to the expansion, so they reach a much larger area for the same price. 
    Still, adjust the ambulance funding to make the radius tightly cover the 
    residential zones, like you did the school. Once a few months pass, adjust the 
    main funding to hold the current number of patients plus 100.
    Placing the hospital too will increase land value and taxes further, and the 
    hospital will soon pay for itself as well.
    Sim the game for awhile until you get roughly 3000 people. (If your population 
    deadlocks before that, you probably have too few residential zones). Once you 
    hit that milestone, your sims' throats will feel a little too parched. Fix that 
    by giving up some cash to build a water pump. Water towers are cheaper, but 
    offer much less water. (Only use towers if you're playing a city in the 
    smallest land size.) Choose a site far away from pollution, or else black 
    liquid will come out of the faucets, and I'm not talking about oil.
    Once the pump is placed, use water pipes to connect your tower to the rest of 
    the city. Water pipes have a six-tile radius, so you don't have to cover every 
    square inch of your land. An old strategy that I used to subscribe to is to 
    line your roads with water pipes; that way, you can guarantee that every 
    building is watered. However, since you have a monthly fee for every section of 
    pipe that is laid in the city, you can't do that anymore, at least not starting 
    Sometime during this part, you'll probably be offered to build a church and/or 
    graveyard. They take up valuable land and don't pay taxes, but they improve 
    your people's morale. As everything, it's up to you; personally, I always build 
    All right, your sims now have the Big Four Services, as well as garbage 
    disposal and water. Everything is in place to make your city run... but there's 
    probably one major problem you've got, and it plagues all young towns no matter 
    how well experienced the mayor is: money.
    ||6. MEDIUM CITIES||
    With the services in place, you're probably making more than enough to fund 
    those services, but you may not be making enough to really get a nice nest egg 
    going to expand the city. That's what this section covers: getting enough cash 
    to expand to the next level.
    For the first step, I'll teach you about a really, really nice tool. Click the 
    Data View tab (the top-right one in the batch of sixth), then click the 
    Desirability category. Here you can see which class of people want which plots 
    of land. Generally, the low class will be happy anywhere, and the rich class 
    will only be happy with places provided with the Big Four Services.
    If you built your police station, fire department, school, and hospital 
    relatively close to each other, the land value for the radii is astronomical. 
    High land values attract richer people, but you can't soak their cash from 
    their rich little fingers if they have nowhere to live. Either start spending 
    money to expand zones outward (make more zones), or expand the zones upward 
    (make them denser). Spend any remaining money you have to do so. Remember that 
    if you want to make them more dense, you DO NOT have to destroy the existing 
    Once you've upgraded the residential zones, upgrade your commercial zones as 
    well. Be aware that you'll need more commercial zones also; your city gets more 
    and more commercial as the years go by, especially in the early days. Reasons 
    are explained later. With all that expansion, you cannot neglect your 
    industrial zones. Expand, expand, expand.
    Your city is gaining physical size pretty quickly, so consider upgrading your 
    fire department and police station to their larger cousins. One large police 
    station or fire department covers almost an entire city built in the smallest 
    city size. If you took my advice and are playing on the second-smallest plot, a 
    large station effectively covers a quarter of the map. Feel free to upgrade 
    your police station and primary fire department, but you may want to leave your 
    small fire station that is guarding your power plant. Of course, if you CAN 
    eliminate it through intelligent fire coverage, feel free. Unlike zones, you'll 
    have to destroy the original building to replace it with a bigger version.
    Avoid upgrading your school for now. It will just eat up your money. However, 
    you SHOULD increase its funding if it's running at or over capacity. Your 
    hospital should be doing fine, although you need to watch its funding as well. 
    Don't build a second hospital yet, as it would just eat up money quickly.
    For better or for worse, the rest of the game is reactionary. I've found that 
    generally the more you try to make things happen (the Peanut Butter Point 
    excepted), the worse they get. Don't force the issue; if you're impatient, just 
    speed up the sim time for awhile.
    The goal of the game is whatever you want it to be. Assuming you want a 
    friggin' large city, then you'll have go slow and steady. From your medium city 
    that you've got running, expand outward. Try to fully envelop the radii of your 
    services before seeking out new places to conquer. Keep those land values up, 
    the rate of expansion down, and you'll have success!
    After you get done upgrading your services, you may find yourself in the red. 
    Rest assured that it's normal and easy to recover from if you're smart. Take 
    out a loan, then prioritize zoning or building money-making ventures. The 
    easiest way to gain cash is through taxes, so keep those zones filled at all 
    times. Only stop zoning if you're short on cash or there are still empty zones 
    for you.
    Keep tabs on the population by listening to your advisors. They really do know 
    what they're talking about, although catering to everyone's wishes will leave 
    you broke. Pick and choose what you believe will be the most effective 
    strategy, whether that means blitzing for cash, or blitzing for people, or 
    One thing that I've noticed make people more happy than anything is education. 
    I detail education and its entire role in your city in a later section.
    In all four SimCity games, there's always been one problem that stumps most 
    rookies and many vets alike (myself included). Unless you've got a tiny city or 
    are ridiculously lucky, you will come to a point where the city will simply 
    stop growing. Your education levels will level out, your hospitals will be 
    exactly where you want them, all zones will be filled but no more will be asked 
    for, and you'll be getting a steady income with average-or-less complaints 
    about tax rates. The city becomes stagnant as far as growth goes; it becomes a 
    sticky trap, where nobody comes in, no one leaves, and everyone reproduces 
    enough to replace the dead. The stickiness is what I call the "Peanut Butter 
    Point." Get the pun? Ha ha ha!
    A-hem. Anyway, the Peanut Butter Point is deadly, because you may think your 
    game is over. It seems that if you try to make any additional zones or other 
    things, no one wants them. If you take stuff away, then you're defeating the 
    purpose. What's the point of continuing? Of course, you can always start a new 
    city, but I don't like doing that until every single tile within city limits 
    has a purpose.
    Okay, let's say you've got a good-sized city going. Even if it seems no one is 
    moving in, you may not have hit your Peanut Butter Point yet. Here's a 
    -Are ALL your schools funded enough to avoid overcrowding?
    -Are ALL your hospitals funded enough to avoid over crowding?
    -Are ALL your libraries and museums funded enough to give the people what they 
    -Do you have enough police stations and fire stations to cover your whole city?
    -Do you have enough jails so they have room to accommodate more prisoners?
    -Is your trash amount under your capacity?
    -Are you getting few (if any) complaints on the tax rate?
    -Are all zones and buildings powered and watered?
    If the answer to any of those questions are no, then the problem(s) is/are easy 
    to fix. Of course, if you answered yes to all those questions, here's the 
    second (shorter) list...
    -Are ALL your zones set to maximum density? (assuming you want maximum density; 
    farms can't be in areas that dense, of course)
    -Do you have an airport complimenting your commercial sector?
    -Do you have a seaport complimenting your industrial sector? (assuming you've 
    got water access)
    If the answers to those questions are "yes" also, then you've hit your Peanut 
    Butter Point.
    |8a. What To Do About It|
    The Peanut Butter Point is not the end of your game; in fact, it's the start of 
    a whole new set of challenges. I personally love dealing with it.
    The first thing you need to do when hitting that point is not to panic. In my 
    rookie days, I used to think that the reason people weren't coming in was 
    because there was something wrong with my policies. So, I lowered tax rates, 
    issued more ordinances, built tons of parks, and generally threw in a whole 
    bunch of stuff to make everyone happy... or so I thought. Between the lowered 
    tax and new ordinances, though, my money well quickly ran dry.
    The question you're asking by now is, how can you make your city overcome that 
    Peanut Butter Point. A common phrase in comedy and the entertainment industry 
    in general is "Leave your audience wanting more."
    Concentrate on what is RIGHT in your town. There is very, VERY seldom the 
    perfect city. If you've hit the Peanut Butter Point, it's not because the city 
    is too bad, nor is it that your city is too good; it's because there's too much 
    of a balance between what you have right and what you have wrong. I hate saying 
    this, but for the sims' own good, the best way to make your city get out of its 
    sticky trap is to piss everyone off.
    Before starting, make sure you have plenty of cash. This method can get a bit 
    Find the best part of town. Just check the map and look for whatever place has 
    the highest land value and highest city aura. If you have multiple spots, pick 
    an area that is pretty big, but not the biggest. Call this place "Ground Zero." 
    Find out why the land value is so high; it's usually high education and low 
    crime. Grab the keys to your trusty bulldozer, start that MF'er up, and give 
    the kiddies a permanent vacation from school--break open the jails too, while 
    you're at it.
    I know it sounds crazy, but trust me. Let the city be confused for awhile. 
    They'll complain and yell about how crappy the town is, but believe it or not, 
    that's what you want temporarily. Take some money (in your coffers, if you can, 
    NOT a loan), and go to some land that is unoccupied. Start a "new city" over in 
    that corner. Pretend you're starting a new game, just with an inflated bank 
    account. Build a new, cheap power plant. Build some zones of all three flavors, 
    use streets instead of roads, avoid any police or fire coverage, and refuse to 
    give them any education. Meanwhile, head back to Ground Zero and take out a few 
    dozen parks or so... Do NOT re-zone or destroy any existing RCI buildings.
    After a few months, the city aura and value in Ground Zero will just absolutely 
    plummet. However, your sims try to move across town before across the nation. 
    They'll see that new little area you've got developing in the corner of the 
    map, and they'll take interest. While they're thinking of the good ol' days, 
    cut off their water.
    Back at the new colony, start giving the most basic of the Big Four Services: 
    one elementary school, one clinic (not a hospital yet), one small police 
    station, and no fire stations... well, maybe a small one, if you feel sorry for 
    'em, and to protect the power plant. You MIGHT already have a few people coming 
    in, but still not enough to make you get out of your trap.
    After that little colony is established, expand it out. Again, pretend it's a 
    new city; just ignore that big mess of people on the other side of the river. 
    Build some parks and other recreational areas, and raise the zones' densities 
    now and then. Once it looks pretty solid, build a road that connects this 
    little colony to the main city. Get a subway connecting the two also if you can 
    to make any commuter stupid enough to make THAT trip happy.
    People will start to come into the new colony SLOWLY. This is not an instant 
    method here, it takes some time. But, while you're biding that time, you can 
    help out other sectors. For example, one thing that's commonly overlooked in 
    SimCity 4 is your industrial zones' distances to freight access. They like 
    being close to extra-city connections, especially railroads. If that's not an 
    option, they want a freight station (linked to a railroad going out of town, of 
    course) that's very close by. Try to improve that too.
    Eventually, the demand will be met for the colony, but because it was smaller 
    than Ground Zero, there will still be demand for the city as a whole. Your 
    instinct will be to start upgrading stuff around the colony (like bigger police 
    stations and such), but don't. If you feel the need to give them SOMETHING, let 
    'em have water. Otherwise, that's the ghetto of your city; let it suffer for 
    So, to fill the rest of that demand, you need to restore Ground Zero. Work 
    backwards: give them back water, then parks, then their services. Do it slowly 
    enough that the area doesn't get flooded, but work fast enough that no one 
    forgets the place exists. I find that restoring one part of Ground Zero ever 
    three to four months works the best. In time, people who moved to the colony 
    will move back, or the newcomers who started in the colony will move into 
    Ground Zero. That will free up room in the colony, and it's STILL cheap land 
    for the poorer classes to afford.
    Once Ground Zero is restored, start upgrading the colony to make it a full-
    fledged suburb, or maybe a large city of its own. The main thing is to keep low 
    land value areas that are ripe for the poor to live in. This way, you're always 
    "leaving your sims wanting more." They want better education or whatever in the 
    new colonies; don't give it to them unless 1) it's all that's left for your 
    city borders, or 2) you have plenty of low-value area as well.
    |8b. An Alternate Method|
    The thing about the above method is that it's risky. If your Ground Zero is the 
    heart of the city, then everything will end up collapsing, and you may never 
    recover. It's ridiculously expensive too, because you'll be going on 
    abbreviated taxes until everything gets restored.
    There are a couple more tips I can offer if you don't want to risk the above 
    technique, or you don't have the cash. This is a little less sure and slower, 
    but if the sims don't bite, you won't lose nearly as much. The basic thing is 
    that you still have to force the sims' polygonal hands. There's no Utopia; all 
    cities can be improved. You have to isolate one part of the city and make it so 
    damned attractive that anyone who's anyone will want to live there.
    Find an area like Ground Zero above, the best of the best districts in your 
    city. Double-check all its civic buildings and services. Check the roads and 
    intersections. Check freight times for industrial zones and commute times for 
    residential zones. Improve the obvious first.
    Next, look for ANY spot of yellow on the crime map. It doesn't matter how big 
    or small. Take out whatever building is on top of the area no matter what it is 
    and plop down a large police station with $250/month funding. If there's a 
    region of parks, take them out and try to get in zoos or stadiums or something 
    bigger instead. Find the corner of the area that's just the SLIGHTEST below 
    maximum value, take out all buildings directly at the area, and purchase a 
    landmark to put there. If you put a landmark near that high-value area, 
    especially near the fringe, then you'll really make people want it.
    You can also look to steal people away from other cities. Enact a few tourist 
    ordinances, give them a year to kick in, then zone and build a colony like I 
    stated above. The tourists will stop by and see your city, drool over it, and 
    want to be a part of it. Give them a place to go, and you'll have growth faster 
    than you can say "Choosy moms choose Jif."
    Oh, one more thing. Get rid of any business deal buildings if you can, such as 
    casinos or toxic waste dumps. Large cities shouldn't need them, and you'll make 
    the general aura of the ENTIRE city better by tossing them. That alone can do 
    wonders for growth.
    ||9. MY SIM MODE||
    By clicking the third button in the main group of three (it's to the right of 
    Mayor Mode--it has a picture of a pair of sims), you can insert a sim into your 
    city and get one-on-one advice. This provides you with exacting detail about 
    one part of town, and you can hear about problems a little sooner from your 
    little sim than your advisors. I normally keep about two or three in my larger 
    cities to stay on track, though I normally know about their problems before 
    they tell me.
    Prior to the Rush Hour expansion, the My Sim Mode fell partially short of its 
    goals. Your sim was fairly worthless about giving you problem reports, with 
    information limited to "no school," "no police protection," and the like. 
    My Sim Mode has gotten beefed up, though. Your sim is very helpful now, 
    accurately telling you how to run the part of town he lives in. You can also 
    send him out to a particular part of the city (of your choosing), and you'll 
    see a word bubble over his head as he tells you what's good and bad about that 
    part. Finally, you can give him a destination, and he'll drive it, which will 
    show you what route he takes and whether there's any traffic problems along the 
    Also, your sims are no longer stuck in the same house forever. You can now move 
    your sims in and out from houses and jobs on a whim. The only catch is that you 
    have to keep a sim's status in mind. That is, you cannot move a sim from a 
    trailer to a mansion. This helps though if the neighborhood your sim lives in 
    is really good, and you want to move the sim to a less developed area for 
    assistance there.
    If you're lucky enough to also own a copy of The Sims and/or any of its seven 
    expansions, you can put your created sims in the game. However, any sim is like 
    any other sim: the ones that ship with SimCity 4 are no better or worse than 
    your own creations.
    Anyway, to start off, click the My Sim Mode button. You'll get five empty 
    portraits; click one to bring up the list of available sims. Your sims from The 
    Sims aren't on the list at the start. To get them there, click the Import Sims 
    button, the one that looks like a computer. SimCity 4 quickly scans you're the 
    Sims directory and adds any and all sims to your roster (except for any CPU-
    created for populating Downtown, Vacation Island, Studio Town, and Magic Town). 
    You'll only have to do this once, unless you make more sims in The Sims and 
    want to move them in. Select any sim, but be advised that they're only faces 
    and names. A kid sim will be no different in your town than an adult.
    Once you select a sim, you'll get an arrow. Point it to the house you want the 
    sim to move into. Doing that will immediately make them take on the personality 
    of the house... if you move them to a rich house, they will have mucho dinero 
    and high education. They'll take a job based on their class, and you can see 
    them drive to and from work every day.
    You'll get reports on their lives through the main news screen, or you can 
    click their portrait in My Sim Mode. You can choose to just ignore them and let 
    them deal with your decisions, or you can actively try to kill their problems 
    and improve their assets. They'll keep you guessing, sometimes changing 
    careers, sometimes moving across town... check out their reaction if you 
    bulldoze their house while they're at work. ^_^
    Your sims have life spans, and once they reach a certain age, they'll snuff it. 
    Luckily, they'll be replaced with a new sim with the same name, just with a 
    number. (Pyro Falkon's replacement is Pyro Falkon the 2nd, whose replacement is 
    Pyro Falkon the 3rd, etc.)
    |9a. The Microphone|
    New to the expansion is the microphone. This is a simple tool in My Sim Mode. 
    All you have to do is click the microphone button, and then click any sim in 
    your city. That sim will immediately tell you what he thinks about the current 
    area he's standing in. It's nowhere near as detailed as actually having a sim 
    in a house in that area, but it's good for a quick survey.
    |9b. U-Drive It|
    The new U-Drive It mode is almost a game within itself. When you build certain 
    buildings, you get access to vehicles and can run missions with them. These 
    missions are not merely busy work. You can get access to build advanced 
    buildings by completing missions so you don't have to worry about getting all 
    the prerequisites!
    The controls of all the vehicles take some getting used to, so play around a 
    bit. The nice thing about U-Drive It is that you can do Free Drive, which is 
    where you choose one vehicle and joy ride as long as you want.
    I will not tell you how to complete missions because they're totally random. 
    For example, if you choose the police mission that has you following clues, a 
    number of random houses around your city will actually contain the clues, and 
    it would be different each time. If you made your transportation lines really 
    well, you should be able to reach any point within the time limit. If you 
    didn't... well, this'll be a good way to see what's wrong.
    I will also not tell you what the missions are. You can find a complete list in 
    the back of the manual that you got with your game.
    U-Drive It missions are definitely worth it in the beginning. When you start 
    making $10,000 profit per month, then it's probably not that big of a deal.
    I do have a couple pieces of advice for you on the missions in general.
    First, whenever you do aerial missions, try to stay between 50-100 units above 
    the ground. (I say "units" because I don't know whether they're measuring in 
    feet or meters or what.) Any more and you'll lose track of your footprint; any 
    less and you run the risk of smashing into a building.
    (As a side note, no matter how hard you try, you can't actually crash into a 
    building with any aerial vehicle because the vehicles have infinite hit points. 
    Something tells me that Maxis has done the same thing Microsoft did after 
    Second, don't accept any train missions unless your tracks go in a complete 
    circle. Trains can't go backwards, and a lot of times when I accept missions, 
    I'll start at the end of track with nowhere to go. It's a good idea to have a 
    complete circle of tracks anyway: very efficient.
    |                 PART 3: REFERENCE                  |
    This part of the FAQ deals with a database of power plants, their costs, and 
    value, along with personal comments. Also is a description of the various 
    ordinances in the game. However, this section is NOT strategy... that comes 
    ||10. POWER PLANTS||
    Here I list all the power plants alphabetically, their requirements (if any), 
    their costs, their values, and my opinion on their operation and efficiency.
    |Coal Power Plant|
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    6,000 MWh
    24 MWh/$1
    The power plant with the best value is also the dirtiest. Its low monthly cost, 
    however, and high value make it perfect for young cities. At the beginning, 
    avoid this one only if you're bound and determined to keep your grass green 
    from start to finish.
    |Hydrogen Power Plant|
    4,000+ high-tech jobs
    30,000+ MWh/month demanded
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    50,000 MWh
    5 MWh/$1
    By the time you CAN build it, you can probably afford it. It's extremely clean 
    and totally reliable. There are other alternatives, but for its capacity and 
    cleanliness, you can't get a better deal.
    |Natural Gas Power Plant|
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    3,000 MWh
    7.5 MWh/$1
    Although cheaper than a coal power plant, it makes far less power. Then again, 
    it's MUCH cleaner, and you can get your people to live just a BIT closer to it. 
    A nice alternative to coal if you're starting out.
    |Nuclear Power Plant|
    85,000+ overall population
    25,000+ MWh/month demanded
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    16,000 MWh
    5.3 MWh/$1
    Nuclear power doesn't pollute much, but there's a chance that the plant will 
    meltdown, especially if it catches fire. If it does that, it will make a rather 
    large radius of land radioactive, and you can't do anything with radioactive 
    land for the rest of the game. Although that's a high risk, if your power plant 
    is well covered with fire stations, you'll be fine.
    |Oil Power Plant|
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    7,000 MWh
    11.7 MWh/$1
    The second-best deal on the market has a high initial price tag. It's cleaner 
    than coal, so you may want to trash your coal plant in favor of oil once you're 
    making a large profit.
    |Solar Power Plant|
    3,000+ high-class residents
    +55 or better Mayor Rating
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    5,000 MWh
    5 MWh/$1
    Cleaner than your grandma's kitchen, this plant is a reward for having rich 
    people inhabiting your town. People have little problem living next to it. The 
    problem is that it's darn expensive for clean power, and one little solar plant 
    doesn't produce nearly enough power to keep a large town satisfied. Only build 
    these if you're simply expanding your power, not replacing it.
    |Waste-to-Energy Plant|
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    5,000 MWh
    5 MWh/$1
    A cheaper version of the solar power plant, this type is available from the 
    start. However, its initial cost is a little high for young cities, and the 
    pollution it generates is ridiculous. It reduces garbage, but don't look here 
    for a permanent waste OR permanent energy solution.
    Initial Cost:
    Monthly Cost:
    Power Generated:
    200 MWh
    4 MWh/$1
    The cleanest form of power is the worst deal. However, windmill plants are 
    excellent to use if you need temporary bursts of power when you don't have the 
    money or desire to get a full-sized plant. Unless you want to lose a bunch on 
    money, don't rely fully on these.
    ||11. ORDINANCES||
    This is a complete list of all the ordinances in the game. To access 
    ordinances, click your budget tab, then expand it, and click the eye beside the 
    City Ordinances line.
    Ordinances should not be used to fully stop problems. Ordinances basically cure 
    the symptoms, not the disease. If your city has insane pollution, you can enact 
    every pollution-cutting ordinance, but it won't help that much. You need to 
    first clean up your industries before ordinances will help.
    Except for the legalized gambling ordinance, small towns shouldn't even bother 
    with them. The problems faced by tiny towns don't warrant ordinances and are 
    easy to stop. Besides, all ordinances cost cash, and in the beginning, every 
    simoleon counts.
    Ordinances are listed here in alphabetical order.
    |Automobile Emission Reduction Act|
    That's a mouthful, isn't it? Enacting this will set standards for cars so their 
    pollution is reduced. This cuts air pollution to a pretty large degree, but 
    only around busy streets. There are no negatives aside from the cost, although 
    this won't cut down on traffic like other ordinances will. Still, I enact it 
    once I can afford to.
    |Carpool Incentive Program|
    This funds little things like carpool lanes and other benefits for sims who 
    decide to carpool to and from work. This cuts down on road congestion, which 
    also cuts down on air pollution, especially around main streets. This isn't too 
    bad of an alternative to busses, though both can be used in tandem for best 
    |Clean Air Act|
    This money is used to set standards for air pollution. This will cut down air 
    pollution from industries pretty well, but it will tick off all dirty and 
    manufacturing industries. Of course, if your aim is to have a clean, high-tech 
    city, go for it. The cost is rather steep, but the payoff is worth it once you 
    can afford it.
    |Community CPR Training Program|
    A small amount of money is taken from the treasury to teach people how to 
    perform CPR. This increases the life span of all sims, and it improves their 
    overall attitude. I recommend it once your city gets going smoothly to assist 
    your health clinics and hospitals, but not from the outset of the game.
    |Commuter Shuttle Service|
    The city creates and maintains mini-busses to help people get to mass transit 
    stations like bus stops and train stations. This gives people more of an 
    incentive to ride mass transit, which reduces traffic and air pollution along 
    the busiest streets. However, you'll need SOME mass transit in place for this 
    to work; don't bother enacting the ordinance if you have no bus stops or train 
    |Free Clinic Program|
    Places are set up throughout the city to give free medical treatment to your 
    poorer sims. City-wide health greatly increases at a monetary expense. I don't 
    like this one, because I prefer to have rich people in my cities who can afford 
    to go to hospitals. If you have a lot of lower class sims, though, go for it.
    |Junior Sports Program|
    The city funds schools for uniforms and other sports equipment. This cuts crime 
    because the kids have something to do in the afternoons aside from holding up 
    7-Elevens, and it increases schools' effectiveness because the kids want to 
    work hard and maintain good grades to keep their athletic eligibility. This 
    comes at a mediocre cost to your budget.
    |Legalized Gambling|
    The only ordinance that will actually make money instead of costing it, this 
    will put a guaranteed $100 in your bank every month. The problem is that it's 
    not scalable, and once you hit several thousand people, $100 per month isn't 
    going to be worth much. Still, young cities seriously benefit from it, and it 
    leads to getting a casino business deal.
    |Neighborhood Watch Program|
    Your vigil sims will assist the cops in cutting crime in residential zones. Not 
    too bad of an option, considering its relatively low cost, but I don't normally 
    use it.
    |Nuclear Free Zone|
    For a fee, you can declare your city as being nuclear free. This eliminates the 
    option to build nuclear power plants and toxic waste dumps, but the 
    environmentalists will be happy, and aura will improve city-wide. This ticks 
    off the dirty industries, but not to a very large degree.
    |Paper Waste Reduction Program|
    The paper waste reduction program cuts down garbage and ticks off industries in 
    the process. Don't enact it if there are industrial zones empty, because it 
    will be that much harder to get businesses to move in. Use this one to support 
    your sanitation department, but only if you're desperate for a higher 
    environment score.
    |Power Conservation Act|
    This one reduces city-wide power usage, so you get more out of your power 
    plants. However, this ticks everyone off--especially industries--and comes with 
    a nasty price tag.
    |Pro-Reading Campaign|
    This gives assist money to libraries and schools, which improves education. It 
    does not impact museums.
    |Smoke Detector Program|
    This program installs smoke detectors on all buildings. This cuts down on city-
    wide flammability, assisting your fire departments. The only downfall is the 
    cost, which isn't much at all. I recommend you enact this one as soon as you 
    |Tire Recycling Program|
    This reduces pollution and generally improves city aura and beauty. In SimCity 
    3000, this also reduced road costs by $1 per section, which REALLY added up. 
    Sadly, that discount is no longer a part of it.
    |Tourism Promotion Program|
    This one advertises your city to other cities. More people will come to check 
    out your town, which adds to your commercial sectors' coffers. This increases 
    your commercial demand, but can congest your roads when people come to visit. 
    Also, you should have some good attractions (landmarks or rewards) in your town 
    before enacting this, or it won't work as well.
    |Water Conservation Program|
    Money is spent to reduce the amount of water all buildings use. Residents don't 
    have a problem with it, but industries don't like it one bit. This reduces the 
    industry demand, but seriously increases your water capacity. It comes with a 
    hefty price tag, though.
    |Youth Curfew Act|
    All young sims have to be in their homes in the late evening. This highly cuts 
    crime, but it ticks off every kid in the city. Be careful; it's a good assist 
    for the police, but you'll have issues with city morale.
    |                  PART 4: STRATEGY                  |
    Come on, admit it: this is the reason you clicked this FAQ in the first place, 
    isn't it?
    ||12. ZONES||
    Here I'll talk about the different zones and their densities in detail. I'll 
    also talk about what each type looks for when choosing land.
    |12a. Residential Zones|
    Residential zones come in three flavors: light, medium, and dense. Generally 
    speaking, as you get more dense, you get more money through taxes, but that is 
    not a rule set in stone.
    Don't confuse light, medium, and dense with poor, middle-class, and wealthy. 
    Wealthy people can live in light density zones and the poor can live in dense 
    zones. Densities are only related to the physical size of the building. Light 
    density buildings are single-family homes, but that can be anything from 
    townhouses to mansions. Dense buildings are sky scrapers and can hold thousands 
    of sims.
    The wealth of your cliental depends on services. Poor sims don't really care 
    where they live, and will consequently take houses in crummy neighborhoods with 
    high crime or low health care. They never make much money, so you can't get too 
    much in the way of taxes from them. However, at the beginning of your city's 
    life, they are your lifeblood. These sims will take low-caliber jobs like fast 
    food cooks or factory workers.
    Middle-class sims need water and at least one or two of the Big Four Services. 
    It's cheap to get fire protection, so you'll probably have some middle-class 
    sims coming in even in the beginning. They make some more money than the poor, 
    and they'll take jobs in pretty much any position.
    Wealthy sims need at least three of the Big Four Services, water, and garbage 
    disposal. They also need to have jobs available to tax their brains, so if you 
    have nothing but farms, no rich sims will move in no matter how nice the 
    residential areas are. You'll get plenty of cash out these sims, even if 
    they're in single-family homes.
    |12b. Commercial Zones|
    Commercial zones come in the same three flavors of residential zones.
    Light commercial zones provide local shops. These offer cheap services for 
    cheap prices, employ cheap people, and pay cheap taxes. You see things like ice 
    cream parlors and car dealerships here. They will set up practically anywhere, 
    so long as they're relatively close to customers.
    Medium commercial zones hold two types of buildings: services and office 
    buildings. Services employ workers who are paid a little more than the local 
    shops, but still less than other forms of commercial areas. They require 
    workers with minimal education, and the buildings do very well around pollution 
    as long as they're not on top of industrial zones.
    Office buildings employ white-collar workers who are paid a good wage. They pay 
    more in taxes and employ workers who have decent education. Office buildings 
    must be farther from pollution than services.
    Dense commercial zones hold both offices and services, too. Your tallest 
    buildings will probably come from dense commercial zones. Businesses include 
    malls, which accommodate customers from all classes, and which make absurd 
    amounts of money that you can tax to death. They've got to be practically on 
    top of customers, and very far away from pollution. Offices are even more picky 
    than businesses, and employ more educated sims.
    |12c. Industrial Zones|
    Industrial zones come in the same three flavors as well, but there's a slightly 
    different spin on the way the buildings are made and the way taxes are 
    collected. These zones will provide the most jobs to your city, and in the 
    beginning will be in higher demand than commercial zones.
    Light industrial zones, also called agricultural zones, are areas that you zone 
    for farms only. Farms, unlike all other zones, can be as big as you want them 
    to be. They don't employ too many people, but they're pretty and are required 
    for larger cities (although cities can share that demand, but more on that 
    later). Prior to the expansion pack, you got no taxes from farms. That's 
    changed, but you still don't get much. So, if you're short of cash, don't even 
    consider it. Farms appear once given road access, provided there's little to no 
    pollution. After they're created, only pollution will shut them down.
    Medium and dense industrial zones can house any of the other three industrial 
    buildings: dirty, manufacturing, or high-tech. Again, the density difference 
    only affects the physical size of the buildings.
    Dirty industries employ sims with little to no education, and they pay low 
    wages. You'll be relying on dirty industries in the beginning of the life of a 
    city. They pollute badly and throw crime all over the place, and they are 
    always horrible fire hazards. Still, they'll set up anywhere, especially where 
    land values are low so they get deals on the land.
    Manufacturing industries employ slightly smarter sims who in turn get paid 
    more. Manufacturing industries don't pollute as much as dirties, nor do they 
    produce as much crime. They are far and away safer as far as fire is concerned. 
    They'll setup practically anywhere, though they tend to dislike heavy 
    High-tech industries are clean and rich. You'll need well-educated sims in the 
    city for high-tech industries to hire. HT industries hate pollution, so you'll 
    never see any HT industry next to a dirty one. HT industries get along with 
    manufacturing industries, but HTs still prefer to be totally isolated from 
    pollution. They give tremendous taxes, little crime, no pollution, and 
    practically no fire hazard.
    If you ever want to switch a large industrial zone from housing dirty 
    industries to clean ones, you'll need to actually DESTROY all the dirty 
    industries. If you don't, there will be some pollution, and HT industries will 
    definitely not move in. This will cost you a lot of money because while those 
    industrial zones are empty, you're not gaining any taxes. However, if you have 
    plenty of money in the treasury, then try it because the money you gain from HT 
    industries will more than make up for any you lost during the switch.
    Industrial zones (farms excluded) need two additional things to grow. There has 
    to be some way for the goods to get from your industrial zones to your 
    commercial zones and other cities. All industrial zones make freight trucks 
    that follow your roads, but there's a more effective way.
    For maximum speed and effectiveness, you'll need trains. Place a rail DIRECTLY 
    NEXT TO industrial zones. As long as the industry building is in a zone 
    directly touching a rail, the building will have the shortest freight time. If 
    you cannot do that, place a rail line anyway as close to the industrial zone as 
    possible, then place a freight train station linking the rail to a road. The 
    industries will ship their goods by truck to the freight train station, which 
    will then in turn carry it away. Be aware that the longer the freight time, the 
    more ticked off industries will be.
    Freight stations, by the way, are departure-only stops. You do not need to 
    place them at destinations, so don't, or you'll be losing cash with the monthly 
    cost for no reason.
    |12d. General Zoning Advice|
    Zones need to be directly touching roads to function. Every individual plot of 
    residential or commercial land has to have road access at its FRONT DOOR 
    (putting a road at the side of the house only isn't going to help). Industrial 
    zones can be up to four tiles away as long as the zone is unbroken and one part 
    of it touches the road.
    Zones expand and grow (in terms of building size) when provided with the right 
    services. If a dense zone doesn't seem to be developing, query it to see the 
    problem, and try to fix it.
    Zones can be re-zoned to something more dense without the buildings having to 
    be destroyed. Just "paint" over the existing zone with the new one.
    One strategy is to use the densest zone type right from the beginning. That 
    prevents you having to spend additional money on re-zoning later. I believe, 
    however, that the initial cost of the expensive zone is too great; young cities 
    won't see the potential of dense zones, so there's no point in building them. 
    However, that IS just my opinion... if you can get it to work with dense zones 
    from the outset, go for it.
    Young cities favor industrial zones because industries are looking for the 
    cheap land. As cities grow, they become more self-sufficient, so they favor 
    more commercial zones. Adjust your zones and zoning techniques as you need to 
    based on your population.
    ||13. EDUCATION||
    While we're on the subject of highly educated sims, we should discuss how to go 
    about getting those little sim brains filled with big sim thoughts. Educational 
    buildings are divided into four classes: young kids, old kids, young adults, 
    and adults to old people.
    Elementary schools educate the young kids. Small schools hold a maximum of 500 
    students, and the deluxe ones can hold 3000. No matter the size, they have a 
    radius that represents the bus range (no more stacking all your schools in one 
    corner of the map like in SimCity 3000). Place them in the hearts of your 
    residential areas, because no one from businesses or industries will be heading 
    to school. Deluxe schools have a much larger radius than their small cousins, 
    and the bus fund is accordingly higher.
    High schools educate old kids. Small schools hold a maximum of 750 students, 
    and the deluxe versions hold 4500 students. High schools further increase sims' 
    EQ as they become old kids. They also have a radius representing buses, so plop 
    these in the middle of residential areas too. Again, the deluxe version has a 
    larger radius and higher bus fund than the small version. 
    City colleges and universities help out the young adults. Getting a degree is 
    one of the greatest feelings in life for a lot of people, and it opens the 
    doors to higher-paying jobs (which in turn leads to more money you can bleed 
    from your populace). Colleges hold a maximum of 7,000 students, more than 
    enough room to hold quite a few generations. Also, the college does not have a 
    radius since most people will live on campus. Universities hold no students, 
    but instead act to assist and improve colleges to make their education better.
    Local branch libraries and the Main Library let sims of all ages (excluding the 
    seniors) maintain their education. Libraries are essential to keeping adults 
    from forgetting everything they learned in college, which could lead to a loss 
    of job or status in the city. Local branch libraries hold a number of books, 
    which represent its radius. Main libraries assist the local branches.
    City museums and Major Art Museums offer relics of old for the people who 
    routinely tell kids to get off their lawns. The presence of museums assists the 
    schools and prevents seniors' brains from turning as mushy as the rest of their 
    bodies. Don't bother with them until you have a fair number of years behind 
    In my experience, you can do without libraries and museums until your city is 
    25 years old and/or having a population of 10,000 people. Also, you can do 
    without high schools entirely as long as you have a strong college. Although EQ 
    will be a little lower, it won't be low enough to prevent sims from getting 
    those super-high paying jobs in high-tech industries or wealthy offices.
    Here I'll talk about the nuances of bridges and tunnels, along with all other
    stuff relating to moving sims from point A to point B.
    |14a. Asphalt|
    You know what the best way is to punish a 16-year-old? Take away his keys.
    Sims love driving as much as humans do. There are twice as many cars on the 
    road as there are people if not more, but no one is going to be moving their 
    gas guzzlers without roads.
    Streets are minor, low-capacity and low-speed routes. You probably live on a 
    street as opposed to a road; the best indication is the presence or lack of a 
    line painted down the pavement. Streets have no line, because the drivers 
    should be going slow enough that no one is in danger of hitting anything. Use 
    streets to connect out-of-the-way neighborhoods to main roads. Streets cost 
    less, both initially and monthly, so use them when you can, especially in the 
    Roads are the basic route to get sims around. These are medium-capacity and 
    medium-speed paths, designed as major linking paths between zones. All vehicles 
    will spend the majority of time on roads, so make sure they're well kept. Any 
    street you have can be easily replaced with a road by "painting" over it, and 
    the original street will not have to be destroyed. If you can afford it, you 
    may want to just get rid of streets entirely once you have a medium-large city. 
    It makes transit quicker, and it's just a little more orderly. Your advisors 
    (and sims) will complain that there are no streets (and therefore no 
    "neighborly feeling"), but screw 'em.
    One-way roads are just that. They have the capacity and speed limit of roads, 
    but only allow travel in one direction. You can regulate the flow of traffic 
    very easily with these. When used properly, sims can get from any point in the 
    city to any other point in the city with minimal fuss. You'll find that one-way 
    roads are usually used extensively in the morning or evening, but not both.
    Avenues are basically pairs of one-way streets. They are high-capacity, high-
    speed routes that handle MUCH more traffic than roads, but don't cost as much 
    as highways, and connect much easier to roads and streets. If you need to 
    connect two major sections of your city, avenues are the way to go.
    The only problem with avenues is that it's hard to turn a road into one because 
    of the size difference. If you think you'll be using an avenue, you may want to 
    build it from the beginning. It'll be a waste of money at the beginning, but 
    you won't have to do anything really destructive later.
    Another problem with avenues is the median. Cars cannot hop over the median, so 
    if you have a house on an avenue, its occupants will have to go the LONG way 
    around to get home. Avenues should not be used for routes to and from houses; 
    they should only be used as links between two sections of the city.
    |14b. Highways|
    Highways are extreme-speed, extreme-capacity monsters that can accommodate huge 
    quantities of cars and shoot them across the landscape in a matter of moments. 
    Seldom are highways clogged, unless it's the only route to get between zones. 
    If given the choice, sims will always take the faster route, so running a 
    highway parallel to a busy road (or just replacing the road entirely) will 
    guarantee its usage. Highways are expensive though, so don't bother with them 
    until you can foot the bill.
    To get onto a highway, you need an on-ramp. On-ramps, in short, connect roads 
    to highways. There's massive strategy to on-ramps because they come in two 
    flavors and have to be placed on both sides of the road at the arrival AND 
    destination. That's four on-ramps at least for any given stretch of highway... 
    although the payoff in low traffic density is worth it.
    The two on-ramp types are overpass and side. Side on-ramps let drivers hop from 
    the road to the highway without slowing, allowing smooth transfers and minimal 
    congestion. Overpass on-ramps usually force drivers to bottleneck at that 
    point, but the drivers can get to the other side of the highway by cutting 
    under it. Your on-ramp choice depends heavily on your zones. If you have the 
    highway simply as a link between zones, you can get away with a side on-ramp. 
    However, if there are zones actually AROUND the highway, then an overpass on-
    ramp is the best way to go to avoid forcing commuters to taking longer trips 
    than necessary.
    If you have multiple highways, you can link them provided they cross at 90-
    degree angles. One has to be going north-south, and the other east-west. Once 
    an intersection is created, use a cloverleaf or T-section to combine both into 
    one super highway. Commuters can hop from one highway to the other with little 
    to no delay.
    With the expansion pack, you can now build T-sections, cloverleaves, and on-
    ramps before the actual highway itself. That way you can plan highways before 
    spending obscene amounts of money.
    Also new with the expansion pack are ground highways (as opposed to the normal 
    elevated highways). They cost only a third as much as elevated highways 
    initially, although they cost the same in maintenance. The only downside to 
    ground-level highways is that you can't cross them other types of 
    transportation, like railroad tracks.
    |14c. Mass Transit|
    Cars produce insane pollution. Even with the Automobile Emission Reduction Act 
    active, a large city will produce many drivers who are all polluting. To combat 
    that, bring in mass transit, which by definition has many sims using the same 
    bus or train or whatever to get places.
    Buses are the cheapest way to cut traffic. Sims will board at a bus stop, but 
    they can get off anywhere, so you don't have to litter your landscape with 
    stations. Sims don't like walking to bus stops, though, so make sure there are 
    enough to give sims plenty of places to board. Rich sims hate the bus, and poor 
    sims love it, so adjust the number of your buses depending on your population.
    Trains take more passengers than buses, and are faster. They can travel much 
    farther too, but they cost more. First, you'll need to build rails where you 
    want the trains to go. Also, unlike buses, you'll need to put a train station 
    for every place you want the train to stop. Rich sims don't mind riding trains 
    as much as they do buses, so use trains all you can. Besides, you can combine 
    passenger routes with freight routes for maximum efficiency around your 
    industrial zones. 
    Subways are underground trains. They operate like trains in practice, but 
    they're more expensive. They take more people, though, and are even faster than 
    trains. They're small, so they won't take as much room as train stations. Best 
    of all, because the tracks are underground, you can make direct lines to each 
    station, and you won't be wasting valuable real estate upstairs where it 
    counts. Rich sims LOVE subways, so they're great for rich neighborhoods. The 
    thing about subways is that they are EXTREMELY expensive.
    A new mass transit system is elevated trains, usually called "el-trains," or 
    sometimes just "the el." Chicago is a prime example of how effective el-trains 
    are. El-trains hold the most passengers, and the rich love them. El-train 
    tracks can link to subway lines too, which makes for a great system. You can 
    use the el as long as you can, but if you run into zones you don't want to 
    demolish, you can slip underground until you're on the other side.
    The other new mass transit system is the monorail. The monorail cannot hold as 
    many people as the el or subways, but it absolutely screams across the 
    landscape at full speed. If you have a long-distance to go, monorails rock.
    Placing a parking garage adjacent to any mass transit station will increase 
    that station's usage. Instead of sims having to walk to the station, they can 
    just drive to the garage, park their car, then use the station. Parking garages 
    are absolutely fantastic, so try to put one next to every mass transit station 
    you make.
    If any station of any of the five mass transit types fails for whatever reason, 
    your transportation advisor will inform you with a hyperlink to the offending 
    station. He alerts you to the stations that make no profit, which means, as the 
    game puts it, are black holes of money. Take them out with your trusty 
    bulldozer to stop losing the cash.
    Placement for mass transit stations requires some degree of planning. The easy 
    way is to build the mass transit routes first, then build around them.
    You can't do that without a lot of money, and at the beginning, you won't have 
    it. So, you'll probably be doing most of your mass transit lines after you have 
    established routes. Until now, it's been almost impossible to know where to put 
    stations. Luckily, the new route query tool is totally invaluable for this. 
    Here's the process:
    1. Open your Data View screen.
    2. View traffic congestion.
    3. Route-query a piece of road that is orange or red.
    4. Turn off Data View.
    5. A bunch of lines will pop up indicating routes. Look for a bunch of arrows 
    going to the same area.
    6. Place a station in the area. Bulldoze a couple buildings if you have to.
    7. Route-query a building in that area.
    8. Different arrows will appear. Follow them backwards from the place you just 
    9. Look for a "pocket" of arrows at the end of the line.
    10. Place a station there, too.
    11. Link the two stations however you can (bus stops excluded). 
    |14d. Bridges and Tunnels|
    If there's a body of water or a mountain in your way, you have three options. 
    The first is to go over it, the second is to go around it, and the third is to 
    go through it.
    Mountains can have roads and rails over it, but this will make for a horrible 
    driving experience, and some trains won't be able to make some climbs. Going 
    around the mountain is an option, but that can be a long and expensive trip. 
    The best solution is to just drill through the mountain to make a tunnel, 
    giving your cars and trains a flat path to zip along.
    Bodies of water are similar. Again, you could go around it, but some rivers may 
    take the length of the map. Build a bridge to get your cars past the 
    obstruction and get them on their way.
    To build either a bridge or a tunnel, first plan on where you want it. They can 
    get expensive, and you don't want to continually be destroying and re-building 
    them. Make a strip of road where you want the tunnel or bridge by dragging OVER 
    the mountain or river. Go a little farther along the land until your highlight 
    turns green.
    After you let go of the left mouse button, you'll be given the cost of the 
    bridge or tunnel, and you'll be asked to confirm its construction. If you 
    decline to build a tunnel, the game will make the road you selected, but it 
    will be going OVER the mountain. Declining bridge construction makes your 
    engineers build the road you drew minus the bridge itself.
    Bridges cannot cross each other, but tunnels KIND OF can. If you build a tunnel 
    through a mountain, you can still build a road ON the mountain as well. You 
    can't make two tunnels on the same level cross, but you can make two or more 
    tunnels run parallel if you need to.
    Highways, roads, and rails can all tunnel or bridge.
    By the way, you can also bridge over a canyon. One of my prides and joys is 
    Canyon City, which features a huge canyon splitting two huge mesas. The 
    northern mesa has the industrial sector and other pollutants, and the southern 
    mesa has everything else. Highways bridge the two mesas, giving people easy 
    access to their jobs.
    I lost all my old cities, including Canyon City, last year on July 11, 2003 
    when I fried my computer. As of this writing, I haven't re-made Canyon City yet 
    in Rush Hour, but I plan to. I'm going to see if it works with el-trains and 
    monorails and things. 
    |14e. Seaports and Airports|
    Seaports and airports do help send sims this way and that, but they are mostly 
    Seaports assist your industries by hauling their goods across the oceans and 
    rivers of your region. Although passenger boats aren't rare, you'll get far 
    more people with neighbor connections than sea routes (more on that in a 
    second). By building a seaport or two, the demand for your industry of all 
    types increases. They pollute heavily and are expensive, so take care.
    Airports provide more people than seaports, but they help commercial zones 
    instead of industrial zones. Airports bring in planes with tourists, who will 
    add to the coffers of your city's businesses. You'll get more tourists with 
    more landmarks and rewards, so don't be too stingy.
    ||15. YOU ARE NOT ALONE||
    SimCity is not the isolated lonely existence it once was. It's not even as 
    lonely as it was with SimCity 3000 (although until you make more than one city, 
    you will feel a little isolated). After getting your one city running well, 
    save it and exit to the region. Start a new city within the confines of a plot 
    of land adjacent to your first city.
    Once you have two cities, you can link them in a number of ways. Two cities can 
    very easily support each other, so just imagine when you link up a city to four 
    other cities or more! The basic way to link cities is by road or highway. 
    You'll have to have room on both sides of the border to accommodate the road 
    connection, but it only takes one or two tiles. With a simple road connection, 
    all sorts of things happen.
    First and most importantly is the shared demand. Two cities that are linked 
    share their RCI meters. If City A has a bunch of farms, and City B desires 
    farms, linking them will benefit both. Residents from one city DO cross the 
    border to work at other cities as well. There's no hard number to get an actual 
    fix on how many people are doing so, but you can route-query the connection to 
    see how many vehicles are hopping the border.
    (By the way, using the route query tool, I found out that sims will actually 
    travel to MULTIPLE towns. I traced a sim who went on a highway from City A to 
    City B, changed highways, then went to City C to work.)
    Second, the cities can import or export each other's trash. If one city has the 
    landfill to spare, it can take garbage at a cost of the exporting city. It's a 
    pretty lucrative way to get a profit in the early days.
    Third, the cities will share tourists. If one city has enough tourist traps 
    like landmarks and rewards, its commercial sector will get a boost when the 
    second city's people come to visit.
    You can also link cities via water pipes to share water, power lines to share 
    electricity, and rails to share people and industrial goods. A lot of the 
    sharing happens without your knowledge in the background, so if you make two 
    identical cities, one linked and the other not, the linked city will probably 
    prosper better.
    There are also business deals you can make internally with your own city only. 
    If you ever find yourself in debt, you are usually given the opportunity to 
    build a building at no cost that will net you a decent monthly income. Young 
    cities will have to practically depend on these buildings to survive, and 
    there's no shame in using them. However, they all bring their own problems, so 
    if you can sustain yourself without them, do so.
    Back by popular demand from my FAQs on the The Sims series, I'm providing this 
    section of the FAQ for any strategy you may have. Send it to 
    pyrofalkon@hotmail.com, and I'll post it here with all due credit. Unlike I've 
    done in the past, I reserve the right to edit your submission for grammar, 
    spelling, and profanity, but I will NOT edit the game content.
    |                  PART 5: GOD MODE                  |
    So... much... power...!
    After clicking a plot of land without a city, you are given the power to change 
    the land to your liking WITHOUT COST. Beware, because once you engage Mayor 
    Mode, God Mode becomes extremely limited and nearly worthless. Plan your city 
    now before you make some mistake that you'll regret once in-game.
    ||17. GOD MODE TOOLS||
    There are plenty of fun buttons to play with here! I'll go over everything for 
    your reference.
    |17a. Landscaping|
    The first button on the God Mode list is the Landscaping tool. It features 
    Raise Land, Lower Land, Level Land, Add Trees, and Add Animals.
    If you choose to raise your land, there's a variety of ways you can do so. 
    Create cliffs to mark sheer raises and drops in altitude; make several to 
    create a stair-step effect. Mesas raise a circle of land and top them off, 
    giving a nice area to plop down a landmark, but denying direct access from the 
    bottom. Mountains are just that, and you can make them as tall as you want; to 
    get a mountain range, just slowly drag the mouse across the landscape. Steep 
    hills and gentle hills are self-explanatory.
    Lowering your land is pretty fun too, and lowering it enough makes bodies of 
    water. Shallow valleys, valleys, and steep valleys give downward slopes to your 
    land. Craters lower the land at the center of the tool but also steeply raise 
    the land at the tool's edges. This creates a nifty little in-mountain lake or 
    something. You can also add shallow or regular canyons, which lower land in a 
    very small area.
    Leveling your land is not a one-option affair, either. Using the plateau tool 
    lets you make an area all the same altitude with extreme edges. Plains level 
    the terrain too, but the edges will be gently sloped. The quick level brush 
    allows you to easily get your land all the same altitude with extreme edges; 
    useful if you made a mistake. Erosion gives your beaches and cliffs a rocky 
    appearance, whereas the soften tool makes those beaches and cliffs smoother.
    Adding trees gives your city some personality from the start. The more trees 
    there, the bigger the danger of fire, but the less pollution there is. Adding 
    animals is cosmetic only.
    |17b. Winds and Global Changes|
    The second button gives you access to the wind tools, and gives you the ability 
    to make extreme changes. You can issue the erosion command to make your cliffs 
    and beaches rocky, or you can use the soften tool to give everything a much 
    cleaner appearance. Finally, you can raise or lower the entire city's terrain 
    by one whole level. This is useful if you made a couple mistakes but still want 
    the basic shape of your created land.
    |17c. Reconcile Edges|
    To make the game more realistic and give your region a cleaner look, you're 
    given this tool. It compares the borders of your city with all the ones around 
    it, and it changes your current city's land to match its adjacent borders. This 
    way you don't have, say, half a mountain on one side of the border and nothing 
    on the other side.
    This is optional; you never HAVE to reconcile edges. If you do want to but 
    don't want to bother hitting the button, there's an option in the options 
    screen called Auto Reconcile Edges, which does what it says it does.
    The reconcile edges option is one that is still available in Mayor Mode.
    |17d. Disasters|
    What would be the fun in making cities if you couldn't whack them now and then? 
    This tool stays in its entirety even after the city has been established. Two 
    new disasters were added for Rush Hour: Autosaurus Wrecks and the always-
    popular UFO.
    Magically summon a monster composed of a variety of vehicles. It will stomp 
    buildings flat, and you can control its path with click-dragging.
    Summon a flaming comet from space. On impact, it will set fire to a bunch of 
    stuff and make a small crater in the ground. If you throw a couple down before 
    the city gets established, you'll have a pretty nifty land shape.
    Point and click to make a tiny tremor. Or, for more fun, click and hold the 
    mouse button for a few seconds, THEN release. That will rip the map apart, 
    sending buildings flying and sims screaming. Woo hoo!
    The basics are back. Point and click, and whatever unlucky object you choose 
    catches flames. Fire leaps from one flammable object to another, so trees and 
    buildings are all subject to heat.
    This is a quickie. Summon a bolt of lightning to any object you choose, and 
    that object will catch fire and/or be destroyed. It's like the fire disaster, 
    but it's a little more precise.
    Servo is fed up from doing all the chores for all the sim families. He's 
    managed to make himself 10 stories tall (that's like 70 to 100 feet, you math 
    whizzes), and now he's launching grenades randomly. You can control him 
    yourself and direct him to specific parts of the city you want to level.
    I live in Xenia, Ohio. We got hit by two rather devastating tornados: one in 
    1974, and one in 2000. Luckily, neither was this bad! You can change the 
    tornado's direction to send it to different buildings to take it out. Although 
    it sets some things on fire, its primary purpose is to cause destruction.
    The closest thing you're going to get to a nuclear strike in SimCity 4, the UFO 
    disaster will first summon the mother ship to the point of the city where you 
    click. (It'll take a few seconds to arrive, so don't panic when you don't see 
    it at first.) Once it settles over your city, it'll charge its laser beam and 
    absolutely demolish anything around, a la Independence Day. After that, three 
    tiny UFOs will pop out and start randomly shooting at things. You can control 
    the direction of the little UFOs to a degree, but you have no control over what 
    they fire at. 
    A miniature mountain springs up and erupts lava. The lava will flow down the 
    hill and burn up everything in its path, including buildings. You get to choose 
    where you want the volcano to appear: just point and click. If you ever get 
    ticked off, make a volcano appear in the center of downtown.
    |17e. Day/Night Cycle|
    The game has a clock so you can see your sims going to and from work. (You can 
    see what sim time it is by hovering your mouse over the date display.) The sun 
    rises and sets, and it changes the color of the land with it as it does so. 
    Also, buildings will get lit up at night. Call me a sucker, but seeing from a 
    distance a huge skyline all lit up is one of the greatest sights in 
    existence... SimCity 4 does a darn good job emulating it, but I digress.
    You can keep the passage of time, or you can elect to force the city to spend 
    all its time in daylight or nightlight. The night brings beautiful graphics, 
    but the day lets you see what you're doing better. If you're working on a lot 
    of zoning, you may want to leave the sun turned on until you're done.
    No matter what you choose here, the time will still proceed. It just affects 
    what you see.
    Unless you're just learning about the tools, avoid just screwing around with 
    God Mode. If you mess around too much, then the city you establish will have 
    its own set of problems... which is why I recommended that you start your first 
    city on a totally flat piece of land.
    Sims both like and dislike hills. Houses build on hills or mesas are 
    automatically valued more due to their view. Windmill power plants also produce 
    just a LITTLE more energy the higher they are. However, sims hate driving up 
    and down steep slopes, and if you make your cliff too steep, it can't be 
    traversed at all.
    Water is a slightly different issue. Sims love water as much as they love 
    hills. Property values around water are higher, which leads to higher taxes, 
    and lakes can easily be driven over or around. Oceans give you access to 
    seaports, which help industries, which add money. The problem is that for every 
    tile that is occupied with water, that's one less tile for something else, like 
    a house or road.
    Unless you have some specific strategy in mind, you need to find a balance 
    between aesthetics and efficiency. A couple of lakes, a few gentle hills, and 
    one or two steep hills in an otherwise flat area is fantastic. Having a little 
    of everything lets a lot of different sims be happy, and as they say, variety 
    is the spice of life.
    That's not to say that specific strategies are bad. If you want to make an 
    island, you'll have to give up a lot of land to do it... but maybe that's your 
    idea. Your city is your city... just make sure that whatever you do in God Mode 
    won't bite you in the butt later. As long as you know what you're doing and 
    what you're limiting yourself from, you'll be fine.
    The only thing I always recommend is trees. Trees won't catch fire by 
    themselves, and they'll cut down pollution from the start. It doesn't cost that 
    much more to build things over trees (there is an added cost to compensate 
    tearing the trees down), and it costs absolutely nothing to zone over trees 
    (because the land owners will cut their own trees down). Besides, trees add 
    land value too. If there's any space on your map that has no trees, you don't 
    have enough.
    |                 PART 6: FAQ STUFF                  |
    This part of the FAQ is about the document itself.
    ||19. CONTRIBUTORS||
    This is where I'll list everyone who has contributed anything to me. I'll list 
    your name, e-mail address (unless you tell me not to), and what you 
    contributed, along with what version of the FAQ you did so. Send all 
    contributions to pyrofalkon@hotmail.com.
    v1 (26 February 2004)
    First release, yo. (What does "yo" mean, anyway?)
    ||21. COPYRIGHT INFO||
    This document is copyright 2004 for J. "PyroFalkon" Habib. If you plan to use 
    any of it as part of another FAQ, you need my permission first. However, if you 
    plan to post it on a website or e-mail it to someone or whatnot, you may do so 
    without my permission AS LONG AS IT IS NOT ALTERED IN ANY WAY. I'd like you to 
    drop me an e-mail so I know where you're going to take it, but I will not 
    require you to do so. You may download it or print it at your leisure.
    The most updated version will always be found at these sites:
    Other sites may have up-to-date versions, but check GameFAQs or IGN first.
    ||22. CONTACT INFO||
    If any information is incorrect, or you wish to submit something, please e-mail 
    me. My address is found on the bottom of the FAQ. Credit will be given where 
    it's due.
    Do not ask me for the serial number to SimCity 4. I will delete your e-mail and 
    insult you.
    If you submit something to me, I will credit you by the name you signed in the 
    message body or by the name attached to your e-mail. I will also post your e-
    mail address unless you specifically tell me not to.
    If you wish to be e-mailed when this FAQ is updated, send your request to me. 
    If you have a junk mail protector on your e-mail program, make sure you put my 
    e-mail address on the safe list, or my messages may not get through.
    Good luck in SimCity 4: Rush Hour, and may all you enjoy your rides through 
    your cities!

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