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Big, well-planned cities--fast #0461
Updated: 4/10/00 OS/platforms(s): All Versions: All

Contributor/author(s): monk

If you are feeling impatient and want to create a (relatively) large, successful city at the beginning of a game, here's one way (see the end of the entry for additional notes before beginning). In any case this method is best for players who have a clear notion of how they want their city laid out and are eager to see their vision realized. This is good for players who like to use highways also. However, if you like to build haphazardly then this method probably isn't for you.

1) You'll need to enter either the "I am weak" code, or take out a few loans. If you opt for the latter make sure you don't take out more than half the limit. You'll need the other half later. At any rate this method of course is very expensive so you will have to do one or the other to afford it. For people who hate codes, keep in mind that "I am weak" can be turned off by reentering the code whenever you like.

2) Build streets. It's best to stick with a specific grid formula. 8x8, etc. This will help save headaches later. Only deviate from the grid pattern when there is no alternative. Reshape the land if you need to but if a land or water formation is particularly beautiful then by all means keep it. Lay pipes beneath the streets.

3a) "I AM WEAK" players: Zone. Since money is no object, you have nothing to lose by zoning and then eating up zoned tiles with police stations and so on. This will make placement of residential and commercial buildings like schools and parks easier later since you will know in exactly which areas to put them.

3b) Loan players: Go to item 4.

4) Place bus stops, subway stations and train stations at REGULAR intervals, bus stops in the upper left corner of intersections for example. This way you are certain to have a good distribution. In my experience, bus stops are never or rarely used in industrial zones so don't put any there.

5) Build an adequate number fire stations, police stations, parks, hospitals, and all that. You will need A LOT of schools. If you, for example, grid your city into 8x8 blocks you will need one school about every two blocks in residential areas. You really probably will not appreciate how many schools you need for a city until you build one with this method. Don't forget to put fire stations slightly closer together than police stations. Also do not forget to build libraries, museums and parks, lots of parks. You will also need at least one zoo somewhere or the sims will complain. This may go for marinas, ballparks and the like as well. Zone if you haven't already.

6) Keep taxes at 7% or a little higher. Select all the free and money-making ordinances and ignore the rest for now. Because you will have far more public service buildings and mass transit stations than Sims to pay for them through taxes, you will lose money at an incredible rate so you don't want to make it worse with ordinances. The larger you make the city at the onset, the more likely it is to fail, not because your Sims are unhappy but because you have gone so deep into the red (-$150,000) that you are yanked from office.

7) Place power and water plants. Zone for landfill, airports and seaports if you haven't already, and place recycling centers. You might need water treatment plants as well so remember to build a few of those, between 4-8 should be enough. If you can afford it, plant as many trees as possible. Since you have to plant them on a tile at a time it's best to put them in unzoned areas, like hills, since it takes a long time create a well-forested city and you don't want to drive yourself crazy.

7) Start the simulation. Start taking out (more) loans when necessary, just enough to keep you in the black. Keep an eye on your budget so you will know how much to take out each year. When the number of Sims are high enough to support the city depends on how large you made your city and the number of the ensuing public facilities. I advise that, for large cities, you develop no more than half of the available terrain, or the loans might not be enough to keep you afloat until the city gets on its feet.

Accept every single deal that is offered if it will bring in money, or raise land value or aura. Preferably all three but most important is that it brings in cash every month. This includes things like the Gigamall and the toxic waste factory. Reject any deal that will require you to spend money, or if it is a building and you haven't used the "I am weak" code, hold off until you can afford to build it.

If you can afford it, build more power and water plants than you will need and make connections to your neighbors. This way when some one wants to buy from you, you will have enough excess to support both yours and their growing cities. Eventually, when they ask for more power or water but it doesn't seem like they are paying a fair amount for it, since you have more than enough resources anyway you can afford to keep letting them leech you.

If you want an idea of how well this plan works, I used it on a large city with about 1/5th-1/4th of the land developed at the start. I had enough Sims in the city (about 300,000) to start making money and paying off the loans in about 9 years. Soon after I was making around $100,000 every year. By then you will start having to incorporate ordinances, but will still be making tons of money right off the bat.

See also
Making money in the beginning
Several tips to start and keep a big, successful city
Increase your city's kitty

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