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Several tips to start and keep a big, successful city #0255
Updated: 8/9/99 OS/platforms(s): All Versions: All

Contributor/author(s): Adam, edited and formatted by Wren Weburg

I have realized after all of my hard work on SimCity 3000 how to make a promising city without ever having to cheat again (unless you can't wait for a solar power plant or you really want a castle in your little haven)!

First things first. Follow the below instructions for immediate results:

  • Zone big zones (10x20): Hey, if they don't zone, build parks, trees, or water. They lower the city pollution average, thus increasing land value.

  • Start in corner: Easier to make connections for fast growth.

  • Oil power: More expensive, but will last you long enough so that you won't need to worry about money (and they are less polluting).

  • Grids: Although it would be nice to make a pretty German backcountry area like you see in Porsche or Volvo commercials, it's better to stick with the 1950's style. It saves space and costs less.

  • I+C=R: Oh no, not another algebra problem! Not to worry my friend, it's just an abbreviation. Basically, build an equal amount of residential to commercial and industrial. The demand for industrial in the beginning is somewhere around five times as high as commercial, so be on the look out for that too.

  • Room to grow: Doctors say you need at least 3 feet of space to be healthy (and sane). In SimCity 3000, you need about 10-15 tiles of space (between industrial and the rest). The local pollution that accumulates travels far, so build far away.

  • All aboard! Add a train system that runs through all three zones. But most importantly, have trains be the only thing that runs from R/C to I. It seems SimWorkers prefer trains the best for travel to/from industrial zones.

  • Ordinances: Most people start in 1900, leaving them with very few ordinances. To solve which one's to choose, choose the always free ordinances and the subsidized mass transit ordinances. They are either free or increase the amount of successful trips sims take.

  • Downtown-UP: Oxy-moron? I think not. If you really want quick cash, build high density commercial in the center of your city (not map; necessarily). They make big buildings with high land value.

  • Low densities: Disregarding what I said above, make sure to zone low every now and then (except for above) or you'll waste your money. Fine, don't believe me.

  • Land values = survivial: Not another math problem! Simply put, land values are the key to cash. Think about it, don't you think a beautiful little ice cream shop near some shady trees will generate more business (and cash for you) then an ice cream shop next to a Maximum Security Prison? I think you know what I mean.

  • Buy only garbage: That's right, you have more than enough space to hold someone else's garbage (you just started a city for cryin' out loud!). It's the best way to win some cash without any big drawbacks (that's how I kept my city alive!). If you are gullible enough to sell water or power without doing your homework and keeping an eye on things, you will get fined because deals like those are VERY sneaky and aren't visible (unlike garbage deals where you can see if your landfills are pilling up).

  • Don't build until you need to: Need I say more? For example, don't build a school, college, library and museum all at the same time! It costs a lot of money in the beginning with such a small budget, plus, the old people in town won't live long enough to have decay of IQ or LE. And don't build zones too fast. Wait until they are completely filled before you rezone or you will have lots of abandoned buildings.

OK, so maybe that was more than you could chew perhaps? Well, if you've done all of that, here are additional tips I have once your town is ready to become a mapped-out city (if you want):

  • 2 x 2 = 4: If buildings are starting to seriously abandoned (and you don't know why because you followed my directions), you might have residential zones too far away (because you are making them around the commercial zones in the corner of new city which most likely has only one side of industrial). Solution: make small industrial areas no bigger than 4x4 (Prima prefers 2x2 but I beg to differ) near or even in the residential areas that aren't even developing. This increases trips which increase population, but the NIMBY effects are very little.

  • Custom terrain: Although this is theoretically cheating, you might as well make your own terrain to suit your needs without having to spend a SimDime! According to Prima, above average terrain and water raise land value. So, make a map of a river in the middle of a huge canyon with lower land in the corners for industrial. This is the most complete way to maximize terrain: land value effectiveness of the land that is given to you.

  • Only 50 per customer please: Don't zone more than 50 tiles of airport. Why? Because there are other cheaper ways to transport people (and get rid of that stupid "zone more airports" tidbit). Plus, a spaceport is the best cap reliever which can only be given with 50 developed airport tiles and in the year 2050. Once you have the spaceport, you really don't need airports because it increases demand enough so that traffic will flow better than the Amazon on a rainy day. Plus it lowers pollution (well, the pollution generated from a spaceport is bigger and is more crime-prone, but airports sizes increase the radius of pollution and crime, which in the end is more of a pain in the butt).

  • NYC, NY: You mean you want me to only use the map New York City? Nope, actually I was referring to their famous subway system. The kind you could have (even better) if you build one. I suggest not building one until you have at least 250,000 sims because you need a lot of dough to mold this fine piece of mass transit. So in the mean time use train stations (because they are the same but are cheaper, take up more space, and are basically the same except they are above ground).

  • Don't ever do that again: You've heard your mom say that before, and it will apply to ordinances in SimCity 3000. Here are the ordinances you should NEVER pass unless you are in serious trouble or you hate happy sims (go figure):
    • Power & Water Conservation
    • Any money-boosting ordinances
    • Crossing Guards
    • Madatory Car Smogging
    • Alternate Day Driving
    • Lawn Chemicals Ban (all it does is lower water pollution which is pointless if you have a few Water Treatment Plants
    • Tourism Promotion
    • Conservation Corps

  • Take those deals: They give you lots of money a year, and their serious NIMBY effects can be solved!

    Waste to Energy Incinerators: I've realized they are very useful because they have relatively low NIMBY effects, their pollution levels can be contained, and they hold more garbage and power (basically a solar collector and an incinerator in one, but is less polluting).

    See also
    Big, well-planned cities--fast
    Simple cities for a beginner
    Increase your city's kitty
    Funding light density cities
    How to build a big, mass transit free city

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