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About this City Journal

Everybody celebrates the good life as one million people live in Widening.

Entries in this City Journal

needgames

Manufacturing returns

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There was a big celebration when the one millionth inhabitant came to Widening. People here have a lot to be happy about. Since the previous update overall satisfaction has risen by 2%, to 82%. This has happened for several reasons. Satisfaction with the environment has risen by 9% and is now at 40% because all buildings that cause pollution, but do not necessarily have to be in the city, have been moved to the other side of the map. Furthermore several service buildings have been moved to new locations and some new and improved services have been provided. One such new service is a large fire station, which is shown in the first picture of this update. It replaces the smaller fire control center.

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Another improved service building is the hospital, shown in the next picture. It replaces the medical institute, does a much better job, but is strangely enough cheaper in maintenance. Further investigation into the area services cover has revealed that the large variants of medical, police and fire protection services, as well as extra large leisure services, cover a very large area, larger than the current city. Schools and large leisure facilities cover a medium sized area, and small and medium sized leisure facilities cover a small area. The latter are the only kinds of services that have duplicates in the current city. As a result of this moving around of service buildings the city gained 20,000 in income, even though expensive new services have been added. Overall satisfaction didn’t suffer from it, except a 1% drop in satisfaction with leisure facilities. I think it’s worth the price.

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An impressive extra large leisure facility that has been added is the tall panoramic restaurant. It is shown in the next picture as it raises high above the city. Satisfaction with services is continuously dropping as the city grows. Things are all the time kept stable by adding new services when they are being unlocked. But soon no new buildings will become available, so I hope that the rate satisfaction drops with goes down, otherwise the growing city will at some point make people leave it, especially in the polluted areas. At the moment however happiness abounds in Widening, ranging from a 78% score for the elites to an 88% score for the unqualified workers.

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Besides new services some special buildings have been constructed as they were unlocked, tremendously improving Widening’s financial position. To the right in the next picture you can see Lloyds, which improves high tech productivity by 35%. To the left you can see the Communications Institute, which is another building that improves the productivity of offices, this time by 45%. As a result Widening is now selling 190 tokens of office services for the astounding sum of 663,700. Also 40 tokens of high tech industry are being sold for 139,200. These two buildings alone made the city’s income rise from 100,000 per turn to 300,000 per turn.

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Another building constructed is the huge and magnificent Fuji Television Headquarters. The next picture merely shows its entrance. This building improves leisure satisfaction by 10%, which results in an overall satisfaction increase of about 1%. With a cost of 114,000 per turn leisure is the most expensive category of services the city has to provide. This means that finding the right balance in providing what is needed at a reasonable cost is of tremendous importance in the long run. At the moment satisfaction with leisure facilities is at 68%, which is a result of the city expanding beyond the reach of existing services. A lack of leisure services is almost always the first problem arising when the city is growing.

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With so much money coming in each turn you might think that Widening can buy whatever it needs, but that is not true. First of all, the current big surplus is a one time event. It will soon be spent on new services, from which point on buying everything the city doesn’t want to produce will again result in a break even situation, leaving no money left to expand any further. Secondly, the trade capacity of the city is limited. You can only import and export so much over the intercity roads. Foreseeing these future bottlenecks city hall has decided that Widening again needs to have some manufacturing industry, so its needs for imports will diminish. Since not all needed tokens have to be produced here, it was thought that some manufacturing plants could be spread over the city, producing some tokens while worsening the environment only slightly. This appeared to be all wrong. Satisfaction with the environment dropped dramatically from just a few factories. Nevertheless here is a picture of a medium density manufacturing plant in the middle of the city.

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So again the solution to place manufacturing industry on the other side of the map was tried. This time however the city has enough money to build a decent road through the mountains. This means that everybody who works there can keep on living in the city, near the services. They have to travel a long way to work, but that doesn’t pose big problems. An expensive luxurious avenue with six bridges and one tunnel now connects the city with the industrial park far away. The next picture shows the most impressive bridge that has been constructed. The road, however, is already quite busy, so more roads might be needed soon. Also, the city will either expand in the direction of the industrial park to reduce travel times, or a highway will have to be constructed.

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The next picture shows an entrance to the long tunnel. On the right you can see an intercity connection. Widening now has fifteen intercity connections, for a trade capacity of 300 freight and 300 passengers, at a cost of 1500. Already most of this capacity is being used. Widening now buys 22 tokens of waste treatment and still has a shortage of 11. It buys 10 tokens of water and has nevertheless a shortage of 5. The city still buys 9 tokens of food, but thanks to its own production has no shortage. Of manufacturing industry Widening needs a lot: 33 tokens are being bought and still there is a shortage of 17. Of heavy industry the city needs less: it buys 21 tokens and has a shortage of 9. Also, shortages of heavy industry don’t impact happiness as much as shortages of manufacturing industry do. Finally, Widening buys 10 tokens of electricity and 7 tokens of holidays, leaving shortages of respectively 5 and 3 tokens.

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And of course we have a view of the inside of the tunnel, shown in the next picture. Tunnels and bridges are expensive in maintenance, but it’s unclear how much exactly. Roads cost the city 64,950, transportation costs the city 66,550, and infrastructures cost the city 260,000. I really have no clue as to what these numbers mean. All roads and bridges and so forth would be the same as infrastructures in my opinion, but apparently it is not. The best I can think of transportation is that it would be the total sum of public transports, but Widening has nothing of the kind. So if anyone has an idea what exactly is meant with these costs please tell me.

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The next picture shows the new industrial park. It is still small, and the most polluting factory is the one in the front: the oil processing factory. This one improves the productivity of nearby refineries, so all refineries have been moved here. These are the white buildings. With nine fuel extraction fields the city can have three such refineries, so fuel production in Widening has reached its maximum. At the moment 120 tokens of it are being sold to OmniCorp. Total profits are amounting to 247,000 per turn. This small industrial park produces a horrific amount of pollution which covers a large part of the map.

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Removing as many polluting industries from the city as possible has a clear impact on the environment, as the next overview of the city shows. The pollution you still see comes from nine oil extraction fields and traffic alone. It is still a lot, so I guess the idea of the creators of Cities XL is that if you have an oil field, and you’re going to use it, you don’t build a city on top of it. My guess is that it would be better to not dig for oil at all, build your city and buy the oil you need. However, the oil business brings in lots of money, which is in part why income per turn is now at an astonishing 499,526. The city’s treasury is coming up on one billion. I wonder if the bookkeepers of the city can cope with that much.

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Another new building that improves production is the Merchant Guild, shown in the next picture. It improves food production with 35%. In the case of Widening this meant three extra tokens of food, which makes the building profitable if you consider that buying these three tokens would cost the city 27,300.

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Since the previous update some new farms have been constructed and fields have been laid out, so here’s another nice picture of some farmland. No food deals have been canceled yet, but city hall hopes that some day Widening will export food instead of importing it.

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Already some time ago city hall has decided that only luxury business hotels would be constructed, since these generate more money than the low budget ones and are equally good in satisfying demand. The next picture shows two large ones. Not many of these will probably be constructed, since if you calculate the profit made per square foot the medium density hotels make much more profit.

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The final picture of this update is a nice view from a rooftop in the qualified workers area. In the distance you can see the panoramic restaurant. The composition of the population has remained constant, and will probably not have changed much when the next update arrives, which will be when Widening has one and a half million inhabitants.

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needgames

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Now that Widening has 754,129 inhabitants it is about time that city hall gets upgraded. The first picture of this update shows the building as it has reached its largest size. The city is doing quite well. Since the previous update many new high tech factories have been established. At the moment twenty tokens of it are being sold to OmniCorp for the sum of 69,600 per turn. Widening is still expanding its office sector, but only to accommodate the new factories.

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Widening has also greatly expanded on the services being supplied to the citizens. The next picture shows the new private school on the left. This is with its maintenance cost of 40,000 a very expensive service. Many thoughts have been spent on how to keep the city expanding without losing service coverage. At the moment expansion works well. As the city grows enough money becomes available to buy more tokens of what is needed, but soon new service buildings will have to be constructed and as things are going there will not be enough money to do so. To the right in this picture you can see city hall in the distance.

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In Cities XL there is no area of coverage for service buildings. Happiness of each citizen is in part determined by the distance of his or her home to the various service buildings. But that kind of creates an area of influence as well; since you can determine the distance it takes for a person to start complaining about lack of a particular kind of service. Doing this I found that leisure services have the smallest area of effect, so the buildings need to be quite close to each other. Police and health care buildings can be spaced over a much larger distance, while fire protection and educational buildings can be apart over a medium sized distance. This is a good thing, since now Widening will have to spend far less on services. The next picture shows the new skate park in front and the new science museum to the right of it. The museum is the tall, metallic tower.

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But even with a wider spacing of services Widening will have to make more money with each factory that is being established, otherwise at some point expansion will stop. Breaking even is not an option. So for this reason city hall has decided that from now on Widening will produce some of its own food. Each token of food that is being produced does not have to be bought. And since each token costs 9,100 this can create quite some money. It may not be enough, in which case there will need to be some manufacturing industry in the city, again. The next picture is a nice shot of a farm road in the new farming area. To the right are the farms and the fields, to the left are some low density homes.

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Another way for Widening to create some extra money is by expanding its fuel production. This is a good time to do so. Widening’s overcapacity has fallen dry, so soon shortages would arise. Furthermore, there is now access to relatively unpolluted areas close to the city, where new pollution can be created without damaging the environment so much that satisfaction drops dramatically. So a second refinery has been built, shown in the next picture, in the front. The large building behind it is the new Chemical Research Labs building. With its maintenance cost of 60,000 it is the most expensive building in the city, but it increases fuel production so much that it produces a nice profit. And it does that without creating pollution, so it is a really good service. Yet another building can be constructed to increase fuel production dramatically, but that one creates so much pollution that construction has been postponed till a really clean spot not too far away from the city can be found.

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Widening now sells 75 tokens of fuel for revenue of 261,300, whereas it costs the city 125,000 to produce it, so the oil business has become really profitable by now, and still there are five tokens in surplus to accommodate future growth of the city. The trade balance has further soared to -132,800. I guess having more high tech industry requires more manufacturing tokens to be bought. But income for the city has risen to 96,251 nevertheless, which is enough for a next set of fire protection and educational services. The city’s treasury now holds almost 400 million. The next picture shows the ultimate police protection service: the police headquarters.

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The main reason for developing the high tech sector is that the city wants to attract more elites. Otherwise it might have kept focusing on the office sector. And with a 7% share of the total population the elites are doing well. Another effect is that the number of executives keeps growing steadily, whereas the numbers of unqualified and qualified workers now are dropping. These are all considered desirable developments. The next picture shows one of those people the city wants to come here: an elderly elite woman in the neighborhood where she lives.

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The next picture shows the elite area from above. This reminds me so much of the old Caesar games. It looks just like a patrician neighborhood. Looking at this I would absolutely not be surprised if a dialog would pop up stating that Caesar demands wine. Those were fun games.

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Overall satisfaction has risen to 80%. This has only been made possible by lowering the income tax rate back to 10%, otherwise satisfaction would have dropped. Satisfaction with police and fire protection services has dropped dramatically. Fire protection has become inadequate since services have been spread over the city in a new way. It has top priority to get this service completely covering the city again. I have to take a look at the police services; I’m not quite sure what’s causing this to go down. Satisfaction with all the other services is somewhat stable. Satisfaction with the environment has dropped by 3%, to 31%, which is probably caused by the new refinery. Satisfaction with traffic flow has always been a bit above 90%. The next picture shows traffic flow in the city. The farm lands can be seen in the top right corner.

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Part of Widening’s financial difficulties is caused by the decision made a long time ago to always use large luxurious avenues. The avenues need to be large, as the above picture clearly shows, but them being luxurious only serves the eye, as the final picture of this update shows. I like the way this looks, so I’ll try to stick to the luxurious avenues. In order to get more money I tried raising the corporate tax rate. Since all businesses are 100% happy all of the time, that seemed a good thing to do. Let them be a bit unhappier, I thought. But raising the tax rate gives a lot of extra money for just a short while. I guess immediately their profits drop, and so does the city’s tax income. So there’s not much to be gained that way. There seems to be no point in changing the corporate tax rate, since there is no reason to lower it as well. Businesses are very easy to keep happy.

The next update will be when Widening reaches the amazing number of one million inhabitants. I hope my computer will keep things going. Widening surely puts it to the test.

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needgames

A new patron

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Soon after the last update it was discovered that the location chosen for the elites was not optimal. They began to complain about lack of leisure services, even though all services available were provided to them. So I guessed they were too far away from the buildings. Since Widening was going to expand anyway it seemed logical to build a second area with all service buildings. But this turned out to be very expensive. To come up with the necessary 120,000 per turn income tax rates had to be increased from 10% to 12%. This reduced satisfaction with tax rates by 10%. So making the few elites in the city happier did again cost the poor money and happiness. The first picture of this update shows such a poor soul in the unqualified workers area.

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Later on it was needed twice to raise the income tax rate again, both times by 1%. Construction of the new service buildings had left the city poor and it just couldn’t come up with enough money to buy all the necessary resources. But in both cases overall happiness improved, despite the dissatisfaction with the tax increases.

The financial future of Widening didn’t seem bright at all. City hall was thinking about building power plants, so it didn’t have to buy the expensive electricity from OmniCorp anymore. But that would not solve all problems, since maintenance costs for power plants are also high. Then someone got the bright idea to build an MBA. This facility not only improves satisfaction with education facilities by 5%, it also increases office production by 40%. And offices are what the city has a lot of. By far most people in Widening work in offices. The new MBA is shown in the next picture. It is located on the edge of the area with the new services.

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The new MBA was a big hit. It produced 35 tokens of office services right away. Four more intercity connections had to be built to be able to trade away all these new tokens. Now Widening is selling hundred tokens of office services to OmniCorp, for the magnificent sum of 350,000 per turn. Of this, 119,000 can be accredited to the MBA, which costs 40,000 per turn to maintain, but it’s worth it, because still it runs with a profit of 79,000.With an income of about 145,000 per turn the future seemed bright again. Cause for a celebration, so a new landmark was built, the Church of St. Nicholas, shown in the next picture, in the middle of the unqualified workers area, where it fits nicely, in my opinion.

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I think this church is a really beautiful building, so it is shown again in the next picture, now seen from above. And it has been decided that St. Nicholas should be Widening’s patron, now that it has this beautiful church dedicated to him.

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Overall satisfaction has taken a big hit due to the tax increases: happiness of the unqualified and the qualified workers dropped by almost 5%. Thanks to another landmark, the Kodak Theatre, shown in the next picture, happiness of the executives and the elites is somewhat stable at about 77%. Satisfaction with services is stable and good at about 90%. Leisure facilities however are not adequate, with a satisfaction of just 73%. Costly new investments will have to be made, so I’m not sure Widening can continue indefinitely on the chosen path. Maybe polluting industries are needed to compensate for the deficits that might be coming our way.

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Widening is expanding beyond the reach of the pollution of the oil extraction fields, so satisfaction with the environment is on the rise. It increased by 2% and is now at 34%. The next picture shows the entire city as it has 502,174 inhabitants.

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Widening now has its first high density buildings. The next picture shows a high density shop. There was at some point a serious problem with retail facilities. Even though demand was completely satisfied, satisfaction was very low. As it turned out having just medium density shops in the city is not enough, you need to have different kinds. So some shops were downgraded to low density shops, but this left lots of unqualified and qualified workers unemployed. So high density shops were constructed to provide for jobs. Now demand is saturated, but satisfaction is at 100%.

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Widening is now expanding into the hills. This creates nice looking streets, as the final picture of this update shows. The composition of the population is still stable, but that will probably change, since the focus will shift from offices to high tech industries. The latter create more jobs for elites, and since now medium density homes can be built for them it is my intention to attract more of them. High tech factories and elite homes bring in more taxes, but need the support of offices, so in that sense these are more costly as well. Nevertheless it is my hope that the net gain will be that Widening can continue to buy all the stuff it doesn’t want to produce. The next update will be when the city reaches 750,000 inhabitants, and hopefully it will be clear by then what the future beholds.

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needgames

Equalizing happiness

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People have been moved around in order to make the differences in happiness a bit smaller. The first picture of this update shows a satellite view of the city with the wealth overlay active. The brown areas in the middle show where the unqualified workers live. The dark blue area is the qualified workers area. The light blue homes are where the executives live, and the white area is the elite area. Finally the bright green buildings are businesses and services. You can clearly see how these are built alongside the avenues.

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The satisfaction of the elites was very bad compared to that of the unqualified workers, so the elite have been moved out of the center of the city, where there is much pollution, because the oil extraction fields are situated around it. Their new location has much better air. The satisfaction of the elite with the environment has risen from 19% to 44%, causing their overall satisfaction to rise from 74% to 77%. The unqualified workers were enjoying relatively clean air in the corner of the map, so they have been moved to the central area of the city, causing their appreciation of the environment to drop from 46% to 26%, and their overall satisfaction from 87% to 83%. Overall satisfaction of the qualified workers and the executives is stable. Average satisfaction of all citizens is stable as well, at about 81%.

The advantage of all this moving around is that I anticipate fewer problems in the future, as happiness is now more equally divided among the population. The next picture shows an executive taking a stroll through the new unqualified workers area in Widening downtown.

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As all this moving around had caused that some elites had moved too far away from the services the city offers, these have also been moved a bit. They’re located close to the new football pitch, as shown in the next picture. The football pitch is a leisure facility, increasing satisfaction with leisure facilities by about 3%, but it also increases health satisfaction by 5%. Overall satisfaction with services has dropped a bit, but is still good. Satisfaction with traffic flow is stable at 92%.

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Let me introduce you to a lady who lives in the executives area. In the next picture you can see her going for a little walk. She’s one of the 254,006 people that now live in Widening. The composition of the population is stable, with 46% qualified workers, 41% executives, 8% unqualified workers and 3% elites. When it comes to businesses there still are only offices and high tech factories in the city, but these are all 100% satisfied with their stay. The city’s trade balance has dropped to +14,400, which is still very good, seeing as how many shortages the city has to compensate for by buying stuff.

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But city hall keeps the city in a permanent state of want. It purposefully maximizes shortages to a point where people just don’t get annoyed. Because of this, income for the city has risen to 81,395 per turn. The vault now holds 168,065,750. But city hall means well. Pollution is kept to a minimum with no industry but the oil industry. And it will soon have to spend this surplus, since the growing city will require two of each service.

The next picture is taken in a Christmas market.

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The new elite neighborhood is built on a slope, providing the lucky few with an amazing sight of the city, as you can see in the final picture of this update. The next update will be when Widening has 500,000 inhabitants. It will hopefully show a new landmark.

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needgames

The Fuel Cartel

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The Fuel Cartel has noticed Widening. The tall building they constructed now dominates the skyline of the city. It is shown in the first picture of this update. The Cartel has methods to boost the fuel output of a city, and Widening now benefits from this. This building is an exceptional building. Exceptional buildings get unlocked when enough buildings of a particular kind have been built. This one increases fuel output by 35%.

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The first thing the Cartel did after branching out to Widening was to found the Institute of Petrochemicals. It is shown in the next picture. Currently this is Widening’s most expensive service with a maintenance cost of 40,000 per turn, but the city gets a lot in return for this. Not only does it boost education services by 5%, it also boosts fuel production by another 40%.

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At the moment there are nine fuel extraction fields in Widening. Each field comes with a gas station. One is shown in the next picture. All nine fields, the refinery, the Cartel and the Institute make possible that the city can sell forty tokens of fuel to OmniCorp, for revenue of 139,200. It costs however 110,000 to produce all this oil, so profits amount to just 29,200. This is a bit meager considering that it causes a lot of pollution and uses up a lot of the city’s freight capacity. Two new intercity roads had to be constructed to be able to get all the surplus oil out of the city and get enough imports in as well. Widening now has a total of five intercity roads, for a freight capacity of hundred tokens.

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The mayor of Widening has made a big discovery. When it comes to health, security and fire protection services, when a new building becomes available the old ones can be destroyed without causing a loss of satisfaction. So the health center and the clinic have been torn down, since the medical institute provides all the health services the city needs. At the moment overall satisfaction with health services is at 88%, which is a bit lower than at the time of the previous update, but that is because the city has grown.

For the same reason the sheriff’s office has been destroyed. Security satisfaction levels are however stable at 92%. The fire station has also been torn down, but was replaced by a fire control center, which is the building on the left in the next picture. Satisfaction with fire protection has however been on the rise and is now at 95%.

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All this destroying of services created room in the budget for adding new ones. When it comes to education, various buildings are needed, since each one serves another age group, so the money that had become available was spent on a high school, which is shown in the next picture. Because of this and the Institute of Petrochemicals, satisfaction with education services has risen tremendously, to a staggering 99%.

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The next picture shows three new buildings. To the right at the bottom is the new heliport, which is a leisure facility. To the left of that is the paintball facility, which was there already in the previous update, but to the left of it you can see the new Ford car dealership. The round building to the right of it is the new multiplex, which is a leisure facility.

The Ford car dealership is a shop which also reduces pollution in the city a bit. I guess we all should buy a Ford car to prevent world wide eco disaster. The building comes with a link to the Ford website, so this is clearly in game advertising.

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The next picture shows a close up of the multiplex early in the morning. Satisfaction with leisure facilities has also increased enormously. It is now at 88%, which is about 13% higher than in the previous update.

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Finally the satisfaction of the executives and the elites has been improved a bit by the Kodak Express Shop, shown in the next picture. This building also comes with a link; to the Kodak website this time, of course. It is a shop, an exceptional building and a landmark, all at the same time. So it improves happiness, it adds to the retail sector, it improves the local environment and it is now the most profitable business in the city with a tax revenue for the city of 1,500 per turn.

All in all Widening has been greatly improved. Overall satisfaction has risen by some 3%, despite the fact that the city is now 33% larger than it was in the previous update.

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And the fun thing about it is that in the meantime Widening has become richer than ever before with an income of 71,499 per turn. The city now has 134,056,135 available in the treasury. The offices in the city are by far the most profitable. Not only do they pay 161,990 in taxes, the selling of 35 tokens of office services pays another 121,600. Because of all this selling of fuel and office tokens the city’s trade balance has also improved tremendously, coming from a bad -60,800 in the previous update, to a nice +25,100 now. When it comes to income tax the executives take the lead. They pay 43,920 per turn, whereas the qualified workers pay just 24,740. The share of the executives in the composition of the population has again risen, to 41%, at the cost of a 2% drop in the share of the unqualified workers. Widening is becoming a rich city for rich people.

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This update ends with a nice night shot of Widening, taken from the roof of the tallest building in the city: the building of the Fuel Cartel. The next update will be when more than 250,000 people live in Widening.

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needgames

The very rich

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Some elites have settled in Widening, and they’re doing quite well. Given the fact that, due to several oil extraction fields near their neighborhood, pollution is quite heavy, their overall satisfaction is remarkably good with 70%. Of course their appreciation of the environment is very bad with 21%, but low taxes, lots of services and smooth traffic flow make them quite happy about their stay in the city. The first picture of this update shows a big elite mansion.

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Medium density high tech factories are the only businesses in Widening that employ elites, just one per factory, so at the moment there are not that many elites in the city. They constitute only 4% of the entire population. In a way that is a good thing, since it’s going to be a long time before the medium density elite housing will be unlocked, so using lots of these villas, if they came in large numbers, would take up a lot of space. So I suppose I’ll let this new group grow slowly as I also establish only high tech factories when needed, just to avoid shortages. The next picture shows a medium density high tech factory in the front, and a good looking medium density shop to the left of it.

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The next picture shows Widening’s first landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, located in the middle of the elite neighborhood. The Gate improved elite satisfaction by about 1%, as it works just like a very expensive park with its maintenance cost of 10,000 per turn. I don’t see any other benefit coming from this landmark.

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Widening’s trade balance is getting worse. Two updates ago it was at about -20,000, now it is at about -60,000. I had been postponing closing new trade contracts until it was really necessary, so now I have to make new deals very regularly, as I have already maxed out all shortages. This is impairing the number of new services I can offer, especially since these get more and more expensive. Adding to this the fact that I foresee that Widening’s trade capacity will soon fall short of what needs to be traded to get the current strategy going, I foresee that at some point the city will again have to produce some things that are now being bought, like electricity, or maybe even some manufacturing industry. For these reasons only one new service has been added since the previous update, a paintball facility, shown in the front in the next picture.

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Overall satisfaction is quite stable. The new paintball facility and the landmark improved it a bit; a small expansion of the fuel industry provided a small setback. The main problem is of course the pollution of the environment, with the satisfaction of all people lower than 45%. Services are becoming a real challenge as well, especially leisure. With an average score of about 71% on leisure there certainly is room for improvement. The elite value overall services at an average of 69%, the executives at 79%, the qualified workers at 92% and the unqualified workers at 95%. It is peculiar how being rich makes people unhappy in the CitiesXL universe. It seems being poor pays off in terms of happiness. The next picture shows some happy people in Widening talking to each other.

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The high tech industries now have risen to become the most profitable businesses in the city. As a sector the offices can of course not be beaten, since Widening focuses on this. Still the city runs with no unemployment, except the occasionally temporarily unemployed, just until a new business has been established. Also most of the time there are no job vacancies. The composition of the populace is stable, except that the introduction of the elites has diminished the shares of the unqualified and the qualified workers a bit. The final picture of today’s update shows a marketplace in the executives neighborhood by night. The Christmas decorations will probably soon be gone, so enjoy. The next update will be when Widening reaches 200,000 inhabitants. There will probably be some exceptional buildings in it.

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needgames

Steady growth

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As Widening has grown to 100,929 inhabitants nothing much interesting has happened, even the composition of the populace has remained exactly the same as more offices, and a couple of high tech factories, shops and hotels have been added to the city. Widening now sells 20 tokens of office services for the magnificent sum of 69,600. Oil sales have been stable at 15 tokens for a long time already. Selling this oil creates revenue of 52,000, while it costs still 40,000 to get it, so we’re actually making a profit now, especially when you consider that some oil that is produced is used by the city itself, which would cost 9,100 per token if it had to be bought. So Widening seems to be doing quite well. All this wealth shows clearly in the new city hall that has been constructed. It is shown in the first picture of this update.

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The downside of this all is still the enormous pollution of the environment. The next picture shows the city with the environment overlay active. Satisfaction with the environment for unqualified workers has gone down by 4% and is now at 47%. I’m not sure why this is happening. Pollution levels have not really changed, except that there are more cars on the roads now than in the previous update. The qualified workers still appreciate the environment by 27%, for the executives the rating has gone up a bit, by 2%, and is now at 30%, probably because new homes have been built in relatively unpolluted areas.

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Overall satisfaction is stable for now. The unqualified workers appreciate their life in Widening by 86%, the qualified workers by 80%, and the executives by 78%. I think given the bad situation concerning the environment these are good results. The citizens are content with the services the city offers, with leisure being the least appreciated. All groups value these with roughly 72%. The next picture shows one of those happy people in Widening. I don’t now her name, but she’s nice.

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In the last update I mentioned that maybe Widening would have its first landmark by now, but as it turned out that would be a bit too expensive if it was constructed at the moment. This is actually my fault. When new services became available I immediately built the medical institute, not checking first if others had become available as well. This institute is shown in the next picture. It is a nice looking building, but also the most expensive one of all services with a cost of 20,000. With this building medical facilities have become the most expensive part of the municipal budget, as total costs have risen to 35,000. Since soon new trade contracts have to be closed and only 20,522 in revenue each turn is available I’m going to go easy on offering new services. After all, with current satisfaction levels I don’t have to be in a hurry. Nevertheless it would have been better had I built a new leisure facility instead.

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With the 100,000 population threshold crossed it’s maybe nice to tell you what the city is actually consuming, as far as I can know that. At the moment Widening buys one token of food, but is short two tokens. It buys one token of water, and that is enough for the entire city. The same goes for electricity; the city buys one token and has no shortage. Waste treatment is really expensive: the city exports five tokens for 45,200, and still one token keeps on polluting the streets. The city is short of one token of holidays, which in time will have to be bought as well. Concerning the industry Widening buys three tokens of heavy industry for 27,300, and five tokens of manufacturing industry for 45,200. Nevertheless it lacks one token of heavy industry and two tokens of manufacturing industry. I cannot know how much fuel the city consumes, or how many office services. I can only know there is a surplus at the moment of one token of fuel and two tokens of office services. The next picture is taken in the qualified workers area.

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The final picture of this update shows part of the business district by night. The next update will be when Widening has reached 150,000 inhabitants and I expect it will show many new services and a landmark, probably some elite housing as well, although I do not know at the moment whether conditions in the city are good enough for the filthy rich.

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needgames

A wandering city

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No stone has been left unturned in Widening. Except for an oil extraction field no construction has been left standing since the previous update. This is the story of a city that has been moved again and again in an effort to battle pollution. But it met only with partial success. Except for the oil industry and one general utilities building all polluting industries have left the city. Still the environment is in a critical situation. But also Widening now has no low density homes left; all people have been moved to medium density buildings. One can only imagine how bad the situation would have been if there was still some heavy and manufacturing industry in this crowded area. The first picture of today’s update shows an overview of current Widening.

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As foretold in the previous update the first attempt at improving the situation was to move all the industry out of the city. It was decided to move it to a corner of the map, since then you only have to deal with a quarter of the pollution. The polluted area would then be filled with offices, and the homes placed so far away that they wouldn’t be bothered much by the pollution. Agreed, the offices would not make the maximum profit possible, but the land would at least generate some money, whereas if it would be left empty it would produce nothing. The next picture shows some industry back in those days, after all factories had been moved.

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This worked fine at first, but two problems soon became apparent. Widening is being built on top of an oil field, and since oil is an important resource the city has to gather as much of it as possible, meaning that even though all industries can be moved into a corner, oil extraction fields have to be placed in the living areas. And these are so polluting, that even when heavy and manufacturing industries are located elsewhere the environment satisfaction will move into the red.

The other problem that arose was that of clogged roads. With everybody having to travel to the industrial area in the corner, traffic flow on the avenues leading towards it showed up in yellow. Adding the offices to the area would soon make it turn red. Widening would have ended up in permanent traffic congestion. So another solution had to be found.

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Then it was decided to build a second village on the other side of the map. There would be just enough population there to keep the necessary industry going, while most people would live in the unpolluted area where the offices and the high tech industry would be, right on the spot of current Widening. An analysis of the financial situation revealed that two of each service building could be afforded, so a road was laid out, and factories and homes moved.

The location that was chosen was high up in the mountains, far away from flat lands that can be filled up with skyscrapers so nicely. Building a city in the mountains takes a lot of time, but it creates a nice looking city, as the next picture shows.

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But another problem showed. It appears that the citizens don’t care how long it takes them to travel to work and back. They travel to a workplace on the other side of the map as easily as to one next to their homes. The only thing they care about is how many cars they meet while driving to work. This is in itself no problem. If my citizens don’t care about their travel times, then why should I care? Well, I had to care.

There was one road between the two villages, of course, and the game would not bother to place people as close to their workplace as possible, so as the second village grew more and more people would take that one road. If I would have continued developing both villages, eventually so many people would want to take that road that permanent traffic congestion would again cause immense dissatisfaction.

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And this is when I decided to try to make do without heavy and manufacturing industry at all. The second village and all factories were gradually destroyed and replaced with offices. In the process the city was moved entirely to the corner of the map.

Since the heavy industry had been the most profitable sector of Widening’s economy this strategy seemed hopeless, but as more and more factories were destroyed the city needed less office services for its own use, making more of it available for sale to OmniCorp, generating a lot of money. In fact, with an income of more than 65,000 per turn Widening had become richer than ever before, even while the number of people had gradually dropped back to 50,000.

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Eventually it was decided to also get rid of all utilities, since these pollute as well, and to buy whatever the city needs. Now Widening still has an income of 15,527 per turn, but it is buying more waste treatment than it actually needs. The reason for this is that even though there are no factories left in the city, the oil extraction fields and the traffic create so much pollution that environment satisfaction is still in the red, ranging from 27% to 51%. Having enough waste treatment makes these numbers higher, so it is important to have enough of it at all times.

The next picture shows the new clinic next to an oil extraction field.

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With a share of 12% of Widening’s population of 76,250 the unqualified workers have become a clear minority in the city. This comes with the removal of all polluting industries. The number of executives has increased dramatically, from 9% to 38%. This is caused by all the medium density offices that have been established.

The few unqualified workers that are left are very content with their stay. Their satisfaction is at 88%. That is because they live in a relatively unpolluted area in the corner of the map. Their environment satisfaction is at 51%. For the qualified workers and the executives environment satisfaction is at about 27%, making for a total satisfaction of about 80%. It appears overall satisfaction has not changed very much since the previous update.

The next picture shows the new police station on the right, and the new sports museum to the left of it. These improve overall satisfaction a bit.

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Widening’s trade balance is at -22,800, which is very good. It sells lots and lots of oil and office services, and it buys heavy and manufacturing industry, electricity, waste treatment and food. Not accounted for in this number is the 40,000 it costs to get all the oil it sells. There are minor shortages in almost all things the city needs, but these have no ill effects. Despite all the pollution profit margins all appear in green. Traffic flow however appears in yellow on all avenues, and on all roads in the downtown area. Since the removal of all heavy industry the hotels have become the most profitable businesses in the city, but the offices are by far the most profitable sector of the economy.

The next picture shows a nice looking street in the executives neighborhood.

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Widening’s treasury now holds 106,243,041. The executives pay by far the most income tax with 21,920 per turn, even though there are more qualified workers in the city. With a cost of 19,000 per turn leisure services have become the most expensive services since the sports museum has been opened. Demand in all sectors is in the green, so there’s just enough of everything.

The next picture shows a street in the qualified workers area.

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The next update will be when the city reaches 100,000 inhabitants. Hopefully it will show Widening’s first landmark. We end this update with a picture taken from atop a roof on the edge of the city. It shows a large part of Widening.

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needgames

Don't breath

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The products the heavy industry produces are used by the manufacturing industry. Their products in turn are being used by the high tech industry. The high tech industry needs offices to do its job. You want to have high tech industry and offices in your city, because they are non-polluting, employ executives, bring in good money and make people happier. So Widening kept on creating shortages of heavy industry, which meant I added more of it in the living areas, creating more pollution, especially when I started using medium density heavy industry. Some of those are shown in the first picture of this update. These emit a massive amount of air pollution.

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I really wanted to keep my businesses in the living areas, since I think it looks nice, keeps traffic flow smooth, reduces travel times and is a very efficient way of using the available space. But Widening’s pollution got so bad, that I got these messages all the time that because of it species of plants and animals were going extinct. I was advised to lay out more parks. Although parks in themselves will not suck up pollution, they do improve the appreciation of the environment, and also, adding them spreads out polluting factories over a larger area, thereby reducing the pollution in any particular place. So Widening has been restructured tremendously, spreading out everything over a larger area, and this worked quite well, since I got the environment appreciation back into the green everywhere, be it dark green in the areas where there was heavy industry. Also, these parks make the city look like a much friendlier place to be, as the next picture shows.

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The next picture shows an overview of almost all of Widening. You can clearly see all the parks. Four large plazas, connected by avenues, make out the borders of what is now Widening downtown. You can clearly see that it is more built up compared to the more rural areas around it. All the services are now located at the center of the downtown area, for maximum efficiency. All offices have been placed around the large plazas and along the avenues. This can clearly be seen. In the top left corner is the executives area. It has fewer parks and more homes. As Widening grew it was found that fewer parks were needed than initially had been laid out for a maximum impact on the environment, so some have been removed again, starting with the executives neighborhood.

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But the need for more heavy industry kept growing, and eventually medium heavy industry was placed, as well as a refinery. These all produce lots of pollution, as you can see in the next overview of Widening with the environment overlay active. Most of the nice green areas have turned bright red. So my conclusion is that in CitiesXL it won’t work having industry in your neighborhoods. Again Widening will have to be thoroughly restructured, moving all heavy and manufacturing industry out of the city.

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A new development in Widening since the last update is that some medium density buildings have been used. Medium density homes house two workers, instead of one. The next picture shows some of them for unqualified workers. At the moment the city has 51,296 inhabitants. The qualified workers continue to take the lead with their 59% share. The share of unqualified workers has again been reduced, to 31% now, which is 8% less than in the previous update. This is because the number of executives has risen to 10%, thanks to town hall policies to have as few heavy and manufacturing factories as possible, and to invest most in offices and high tech industry.

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Another revolution has taken place in town hall. The philosophy of balanced growth has been abandoned. Seeing how much pollution the industry creates and how much money can be made by selling office services, it has been decided to sell five tokens of office services to OmniCorp, for the magnificent sum of 17,200 per turn. This means that Widening now follows a path where the amount of heavy and manufacturing industry will be kept as low as possible, just enough to supply its own needs, while environment friendly businesses like offices and high tech industry will be favored. The next picture shows some medium density offices on the left, which also employ executives, and some medium density shops on the right, which also employ qualified workers.

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New services and the use of parks and medium density shops have greatly improved the overall satisfaction of the citizens. Even though the numbers of environment satisfaction are well in the red, ranging from 15% for unqualified workers to 36% for qualified workers, overall satisfaction is in the green. For all groups it is at about 82%. Executives now value retail for 97%, which is a rise of 25% since the previous update. The next picture shows the new school, which raises the satisfaction of executives with educational services by 38% and that of the qualified workers by 17%. The middle school is however the most expensive service the city offers, with a maintenance cost of 10,000 per turn. Satisfaction with leisure services has dropped a bit since the previous update, despite the construction of a swimming pool, which is the most expensive leisure facility with its maintenance cost of 5,000 per turn.

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Since Widening has a lot of money and at some point satisfaction levels were quite low, income taxes rates have been reduced from 15% to its lowest setting of 10%. Despite of this Widening makes 42,252 per turn, and that is after the introduction of the new services. Before that it was at more than 63,000. This huge amount of money each turn has made the vault fill up to 57,323,193. The reason for this is that income taxes are with their revenues of 20,670 per turn not as important as the corporate taxes, which generate 84,967 per turn.

The next picture shows the new swimming pool amidst some medium density unqualified worker’s homes.

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Another big chunk of income for the city comes from the sales of oil, which generates 33,800 per turn. However, with currently seven oil fields in operation, it costs Widening 35,000 to produce all that oil. It seems we’re making a loss, but that is not entirely true, since some of the oil is used for the city’s own consumption. The next picture shows the new oil refinery. It increases oil production by at least 40%. It is impossible to know how many tokens of oil are exactly produced, since information on how much the city consumes is nowhere to be found. However, Widening was selling a surplus of ten tokens when the refinery added another four tokens to the production. A cost of this is a huge amount of pollution.

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It has also been decided that Widening will not treat its own waste. Given the fine financial situation the amount of pollution can be reduced by buying waste treatment from OmniCorp. At the moment the city spends 18,200 to sell two tokens of waste to OmniCorp, but already two more tokens are being produced, so soon new deals have to be made. It would have been nice to also buy all heavy industry tokens the city needs, but it is my guess that you can’t do that with a small town like this. You just don’t generate enough money for it.

The next picture shows Widening downtown seen from above.

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Widening has again several shortages, but without any ill effects.  The lack of two tokens of waste treatment, one token of water and two tokens of food do not reduce the happiness of the citizens. The lack of one token of heavy industry has no effect on the manufacturing industry.

The next picture shows a marketplace and some medium density offices.

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Due to the tax cuts the citizens now value the taxes by the full 100%. Job offers are also valued by 100%, which means, I guess, everyone can find a job close to home. Traffic flow is well appreciated with a satisfaction level of 92%. However, the avenues around the downtown area and towards the intercity connection now show up in yellow in the traffic overlay. Town hall will probably decide that when it is going to restructure the city it will use large avenues instead of small ones.

The next picture shows some new medium density low budget hotels alongside an avenue. Town hall succeeds usually to max out the number of business hotels, shops, offices and high tech industry.

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Since the hills have been reached I can now show you a nice skyline of this city as the final picture of this update. The next update will be when Widening reaches 75,000 inhabitants.

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needgames

New people

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The high tech industry has found a place in Widening, as you can see in the first picture of this update. As all other businesses are, they’re very happy with their stay in the city, since satisfaction is at 100%. This is a bit strange, though, since the factories are located near the polluting industry in the unqualified workers area, which results in a bit less than optimal profitability, so I don’t see them being one hundred percent satisfied.

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Where there is high tech industry there have to be executives, since one factory requires one qualified worker and one executive. These executives live in big houses in a small neighborhood next to the factories, as you can see in the next picture. Here the pollution is a bit less, but still the executives suffer from it a lot, since they appreciate their environment by just 58%.

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The next picture shows an environment satisfaction overlay of the entire city. You can clearly see the dark area in the middle where the unqualified workers area is with its polluting industries. At the bottom is a red area that I should probably do something about, maybe move a few manufacturing plants. On the left at the top is a bright green square that is the executives area. The strange thing is that it is green, since that would mean they like their environment a lot, but all the other information panels show otherwise: the color should be orange.

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The next picture shows an impressive home of an executive. With 78% satisfaction the executives are still quite happy about their stay in Widening. But they are hard to please. They enjoy the services the city offers for just 84%. They’re especially discontent about education and retail, with numbers going down to 62%. For the two other groups in the city satisfaction levels have gone up a bit, by about 2%, thanks to some new services that are now being offered. Also a couple more factories have been moved, resulting in a raise in the environment appreciation of the unqualified workers of 2%.

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With the arrival of the new and rich inhabitants town hall found that another display of Widening’s grandeur was needed, so again a large plaza was laid out, as you can see in the next picture. This time a modern urban plaza has been used. Widening’s population is now at 20,708, mainly qualified workers. Continuing investments in offices keeps their numbers rising. The executives account already for 4% of the population, which means that the unqualified workers have again given up some terrain.

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One of the new services the city offers now is a small fire protection, to be seen in the next picture. I really like this building. It does however not increase satisfaction levels, but it will protect against fires. It is among the most expensive services town hall has to finance.

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Widening finally has a real park, to be seen in the next picture. It is however not a real service to the city. It is meant as an avatar meeting place. When visiting a city that is saved online the avatar will be placed in such a park, so there is no point in having one in Widening, since it is played in solo mode. However, I like parks, and I like this park, so I’ll keep one in the city. At the moment it covers a heavily polluted area, which is a good thing, because otherwise I would have to put high tech industry there, which they wouldn’t like.

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One peculiar thing is that in the list of most profitable businesses the heavy industry is on top, except for the luxury hotels. I’d expect offices and the other types of industry to be wealthier, but that is not the case. Financially Widening is still doing great. For a long time income was at more than 36,000. Due to the introduction of new services it has dropped to 24,063. The total capital available to the city has risen to 15,688,942. There’s a lot you can do with that. It’s a pity you can’t convert this into tokens, because then I could buy a lot of stuff from OmniCorp.

The next picture shows a close up of a high tech factory.

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At the moment the remarkable situation occurs that while Widening produces three tokens of fuel it runs short one token. Apparently the general purpose utilities facility now also cannot produce all the fuel the city needs. I haven’t ended a contract with OmniCorp yet, because one of the first things that are going to be done is laying out new fuel extraction fields. Widening is going to drill for all the oil it can get. This means the executives and the qualified workers are going to face some more pollution, since their neighborhoods have been chosen as new drilling sites. There is no way around this; it has to be where they live.

The next picture makes me really happy. The real Santa is in Widening and is bringing gifts. I’m gonna get my presents after all.

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The final picture of this update is a night shot of the first large plaza and its surroundings. If you look closely you can discern the new leisure facility: a go-carting. It’s in the middle in the lower half and the people that live here enjoy it a lot.

We’re going to take bigger steps now. New buildings will be unlocked when Widening reaches 50,000 inhabitants, so that’s when a new update will be presented.

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needgames

It gets better

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As Widening has reached 15,065 inhabitants it is developing all kinds of shortages. The general purpose utilities building the city started with is now falling short when it comes to electricity production and waste treatment. Demand for electricity showed up in the red, so a small power plant has been constructed, to be seen in the first picture of this update. It produces a reasonable amount of power, but it is with its maintenance costs of 5,000 among the most expensive services the city offers. It also produces some pollution, but I’m not sure yet how much. Is it more like the heavy industry, or more like the manufacturing industry?

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Furthermore Widening now lacks one token of waste treatment. Since overall satisfaction still is in the green, I think I’m gonna leave that for a while. The same goes for the lack of one token of food. It will cost the city 9,100 to buy that from OmniCorp, so I’m gonna postpone that a bit too. Widening is located on the fertile plains, so there is a large area where agriculture is possible, but it is at some distance from the oil fields and I don’t want to put homes in an area far away from where the services are. I don’t think overall satisfaction is going to benefit from that. So when it really needs be I’ll buy the necessary food until the city has expanded so far that the fertile plains are near by.

The next picture is a nice shot of some heavy industry.

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Because I fail to supply these needs the city budget is doing really well. At the moment 20,153 is accumulated each turn, which has resulted in a total of 8,430,567 in the vaults of the city. The industry has with 17,820 paid each turn in taxes taken the lead in the race for the biggest tax payer, leaving the offices behind at 14,796, so the gap has widened considerably. The difference between corporate taxes paid and income taxes paid is also very large. All businesses together pay 36,648, while the citizens pay only 11,700. This seems very logical. Businesses of course have more money than individual people.

The next picture shows some manufacturing industry.

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Town hall has sought to supply the city with all the offices, shops and hotels it can possibly use, since these cause no pollution, and the quality of the environment is really in danger in Widening. It has succeeded at that. The city now produces three tokens of office services, and supply in these sectors is almost all the time more than satisfied. But town hall has not gone over the edge, since all businesses are still 100% satisfied with the city.

The next picture shows a nice office building next to one of the avenues.

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In the next picture of a qualified worker’s home you can see the three large, white luxury hotels the city has in the distance.

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I have been trying to improve the environment by moving some of the industry around in the unqualified workers area, so that the burden of bad air would be spread more evenly over the populace. This has worked. The unqualified workers appreciate their environment by 46% now, which is 6% more than in the previous update. I was thinking about putting some industry in the qualified worker’s area, but decided to not do that, since at the moment both groups are about equally happy, so it would only result in less happy qualified workers and happier unqualified workers. Qualified workers are already more difficult to satisfy, so let’s not make it harder. I wouldn’t want to create a situation where the unqualified workers are happier than the qualified workers. That just wouldn’t feel right and would probably cause more trouble than the current situation.

The next picture shows a part of the qualified workers area where there’s lots of clean air..

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Widening now can construct a new kind of plaza, the modern plaza, and it is shown in the next picture amidst some qualified worker’s homes. Satisfaction on the whole has stayed the same at about 82%. The satisfaction with the services the city offers is diminishing, probably because of growing distances to the homes, so at some point extra services have to be added, but not just yet. Also for some people the shops are maybe a bit far away, so it has been decided to not add shops any more to what is now the central area of the city, but to instead place them on what are currently the edges. Traffic flow in Widening is smooth, with a stable satisfaction level of about 91%. I guess the nice, geometric road layout, combined with keeping businesses close to homes, works very well. All in all things seem to stabilize. A downward trend in the levels of satisfaction has been stopped, for the moment. There will undoubtedly be more challenges ahead, but we’ll cross those bridges when we come to them.

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More and more qualified workers find their way to Widening. Their share of the total population has risen to 57%. This will probably continue, since town hall’s policy is to build as much offices and as little industry as possible when striving for a balanced growth. For this reason a new qualified workers area has been set up on the other side of the unqualified workers area. Next to it will be the area where the new high tech industry, that now wants to establish itself in the city, will be placed. This also means that from now on executives will come to live in Widening, as you will see in the next update, which will be when the city has more than 20,000 inhabitants.

The next picture shows a liquor store early in the morning.

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The final picture of this update shows an unqualified worker’s home I like a lot. There are nice little shops at ground level, even though the building has no shopping function in the game whatsoever, it’s just a home.

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needgames

Black gold

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As Widening grows it was felt that it now needed something to show for its stature, so it was decided to lay out a grand plaza where the two main avenues cross. It is shown in the first picture of this update. This now has become the official center of the city. All services and most shops are located at or near this utterance of splendor.

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New in Widening is the manufacturing industry. Most of it is shown in the next picture. Each business offers a job to one unqualified and one qualified worker. It produces a lot less pollution than the heavy industry, which is a good thing, since it allows more factories on a smaller plot of land in the unqualified workers area without pushing the satisfaction with the environment too much in the danger zone. This way there’s no need to put decorations in between homes and factories to prevent people from leaving the city.

The unqualified workers are beginning to hate me already because of the current situation. Their assessment of the environment is with its 40% satisfaction now officially in the red. It’s a good thing the city supplies them with all the other things they need, otherwise there would be real trouble. They still appreciate the services the city offers for the full 100%. Their job satisfaction has gone down a bit to 93%, with 75% satisfaction their quite pleased with the level of taxes, and they appreciate it a lot that they all live near their workplaces, since traffic flow is valued by 93%. Placing heavy industry far away from homes would have improved the environment quality where they live, but they would have disliked the time it took them to travel to work.

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And a great discovery has been made. It seems Widening is being built on top of a vast and very rich oil field, so immediately two fuel extraction fields have been laid out. One of them can be seen in the next picture. But nobody is getting rich because of it, since drilling for oil is very expensive. It is among the most expensive services the city has to finance. For 10,000 in costs Widening produces three tokens of fuel, but since the city doesn’t need to consume that much oil it is all sold to OmniCorp for a meager 10,200. Do the math yourself and see that the extra pollution the oil extraction fields produce come at a high price: everybody gets unhappy for nothing, since there’s nothing you can build with 200. The reason town hall wants those fields to be there is that it helps them planning the layout of this growing city, because in the future Widening is going to need that oil for its own supply.

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Financially Widening is doing very well. For a long time its income was at more than 18,000, making the treasury fill up to the staggering amount of 4,502,844. Introduction of new services, however, has reduced the city’s income to 11,548. But I do feel very comfortable with that. It seems to be enough for a bright future, at least on those days when there’s enough wind to make the smog blow away so the sun can shine on the city.

The height of the income could however be 7,000 larger. Widening now has so many offices that two tokens are being produced, while at the same time demand has not been completely satisfied. Selling these to OmniCorp would be very profitable, but it would disturb the demand curve, meaning that town hall would not have the proper information to have a balanced city growth. Since that is a priority, the services the offices provide will not be sold, which in turn prevents the construction of too many offices.

The next picture shows another expensive service the city offers now: the sheriff’s office.

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There are differences in how much a city needs of the different kinds of businesses before demand collapses. Offices are most important, closely followed by heavy industry. Of manufacturing industry it needs a lot less, and it needs shops a bit more than that. This shows in the amount of tax each sector pays. Since the introduction of manufacturing industry the first place in the ranking has seen the offices go and the industry introduced, but that is because heavy and manufacturing industry are combined. Together they pay 10,890. The offices pay just a bit less: 10,800. The hotels with 2,528 and the shops with 945 add only a little bit to the city’s revenues.

The next picture shows some manufacturing industry up close. I think the factory in the front is the nicest of all the manufacturing factories. To the right you can see a somewhat dilapidated unqualified workers home.

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The qualified worker’s satisfaction has also dropped again, by 3%. Contrary to the unqualified workers they are not completely satisfied with the services the city offers, but they do, on the other hand, appreciate the environment a lot with 73% satisfaction, which is almost double the appreciation the unqualified workers have. This is logical, of course, since they don’t breathe the same air.

The next picture is a nice shot taken standing on the new plaza. On the other side of the road you can see the new bowling alley, a not so expensive service the city now offers to its inhabitants.

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With a 52% share the qualified workers now make up the majority of Widening’s population of 10,378. And that shows in the tax revenues. With 6,180 they pay a lot more taxes than the unqualified workers do with their 2,760. All homes are still fully occupied, all jobs are taken and no one is unemployed. Furthermore the businesses have absolutely nothing to complain about.

The next picture is an overview of all of Widening in satellite view. You can clearly make out the grand plaza in what will soon be the center of the city, the four avenues spreading out from there in the four directions of the wind, and all the offices and shops that are stretched out alongside two of them.

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The next picture shows the city a bit more up close. Again you see the plaza and the avenues with the shops and offices alongside it. At the bottom is the qualified workers area, and on top the unqualified workers area, with the heavy industry located more on the right side and the manufacturing industry on the left side of the avenue that runs upwards. The fuel extraction fields can also be clearly marked out in the unqualified workers area. City services are all located centrally near the grand plaza, but you probably have to know where they are exactly to see them. Spreads out throughout the neighborhoods are small plazas, parks and marketplaces. You can clearly see them. The intercity connection is of course on the edge on the right side.

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The final shot of this update shows the plaza and its surroundings early in the morning, taken from a position on top of a roof. Enjoy it. The next update will be when Widening reaches 15,000 inhabitants.

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A grand tour

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When reaching 2,000 inhabitants Widening had become attractive enough to be able to build luxury hotels. You can see one in the first picture of this update. It’s the large tower alongside the avenue. It’s located in the middle of the business district, which stretches out along the whole length of the avenue. On the other side of the avenue are the low budget hotels.

Originally six of these towers were planned, but after one was constructed it became clear that the market had become satisfied, so offices were built here instead of hotels. The luxury hotel is the best tax payer in Widening, in terms of quantity. The hotels as a sector, however, come in third place in the ranking of most profitable businesses, after the offices and the industry, respectively in first and second place. The shops pay very little tax.

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At the moment Widening has 5,209 inhabitants, of which 57% are unqualified workers, so the balance is rapidly shifting in favor of the qualified workers, which is a good thing, since even though there are less of them, they pay more taxes. The next picture shows some of my favorite unqualified worker’s homes.

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Overall satisfaction of the unqualified workers has dropped again, by 3% this time. Widening is still not in danger, but the trend should change at some point. Although the unqualified workers are very pleased with their jobs and the services the city provides, their appreciation of the environment has greatly diminished, by 18%. The heavy industry they have to live close to is really becoming a nuisance. For some unqualified workers the satisfaction with the environment now shows in the red, in those locations where air pollution is really heavy. Let’s hope the manufacturing industry, that has recently discovered Widening as a good place for their operations, will emit a bit less bad smelling smoke. This picture shows one of the nicest looking bad guys, an old fashioned factory.

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Let’s move to the better parts of the city, the qualified workers area. The next picture shows some of their nicer homes late in the afternoon. The overall satisfaction of the qualified workers has developed a bit better: it dropped by just 1%. Their appreciation of the environment has even risen by 3%. I have no idea why that is. Their appreciation of the shops in Widening has however dropped from 100% to 89%. I don’t think there’s much to be done about that at the moment, since there is no more demand for that business type, and all qualified workers have shops very close to their homes.

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The next picture shows some really nice offices. In front of it you can see a billboard. These can be seen all over the city. I guess Monte Cristo gets paid for those.

In the near future the emphasis will be on establishing offices in Widening, since by now there is so much heavy industry that one token is produced. That is not a bad thing in itself, but for the moment I intend to let the city have a balanced development, so this one token will eventually be consumed by the city itself. There is not really a point in producing tokens of heavy industry at the moment, since in solo mode it can only be traded with OmniCorp, an unscrupulous company that pays almost nothing for tokens.

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Now that Widening has more than 5,000 inhabitants two new services have become available: the elementary school and the Ferris wheel, both to be seen in the next picture. Those kids must have really good lunch breaks. Before placing these services the city made almost 10,000 per turn, but that has been reduced to 2,561. Nevertheless the treasury has accumulated 1,407,270. I guess a turn is really short when you place buildings one by one.

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This update ends with a picture of some shops. The last piece of information for now is that the water shortage has magically disappeared. This confirms that it is a bug, since no water is being produced by something else than the utilities building, and a city that grows cannot reduce its water consumption.

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The next update will be when Widening reaches a population of 10,000.

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Santa is visiting

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Widening has reached 2,191 inhabitants. The unqualified workers area has greatly expanded, although now only 64% of the inhabitants are unqualified, compared to the 70% in the last update. The first picture shows a part of this neighborhood. In the bottom left corner some of the six new factories can be seen. The old ones can be seen in the distance to the left. Placing heavy industry in the middle of housing estates seems to work, as long as you spread it around. This way you won’t have areas where there is so much pollution that nobody wants to live there.

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Santa has come to Widening, as you can see in the next picture of a marketplace and some homes in the unqualified workers area. If you look closely you can even see two Santa’s. Despite the air pollution the unqualified workers are still for 90% satisfied, which is 3% lower than in the last update. Besides the pollution the time it takes them to get to work is a bit of a nuisance, and they would like their environment to become prettier, since their satisfaction with nature is at 85%.

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The next picture shows a prestigious plaza on the edge of the business district, which is to the left. On the other side of the plaza the qualified workers area is to be found. Here to you can see Santa strolling along. Still all homes are completely occupied, there’s no one unemployed and all jobs are taken.

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The next picture shows a little plaza with a fountain in the qualified workers area, and some homes and villagers of course. With a satisfaction of 88% the qualified workers are a bit more discontent than the unqualified workers, and they have the same grievances: the quality of the environment and the density of the traffic flow. This seems a bit strange, since the air in the better parts of Widening is also better.

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New in Widening are twelve low budget hotels. Some of them can be seen in the next picture. These are built in one big complex, and probably Santa is staying there. What else would he do in this neighborhood? The hotels are now the best tax payers in the city, pushing the offices to the second place. Widening’s treasury has almost doubled since the last update and is now at 690,848. For a long time the income was at almost 7,000, but recently it has dropped to 940.

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The main reason for this drop in income is the establishment of a small health center, to be seen in the next picture. This one costs the city 5,000 in maintenance. Gosh, I’m getting a bit confused with this many Santa’s around. Which one is the real one? Apparently one of them has been ill. I hope it’s one of the fakes. Who else is going to bring me my presents?

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With its 1,000 maintenance costs the new basketball court, to be seen in the next picture, is also a big drain on the city’s budget. I hope it is working well. All 2,191 inhabitants of Widening depend on this facility for their leisure. The basketball court has been laid down in one of the two shopping areas, which is a place anyone can easily get to.

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Talking of expensive facilities, we still haven’t seen city hall. So here’s a picture of it. It is placed on the edge of the city, which is actually on the edge of the map, so it is hard to get a good picture of it. I started the city on the edge of the map, so my initial costs would be as low as possible, and also to make it easy for businesses to get their supplies. If the tutorial can be trusted there’s going to be a more prestigious city hall available when the city gets bigger, so by then I will give it a more central location.

To the right in the picture you can see the first shopping area of Widening. Beyond that to the right is the first business district. To the left the qualified workers area can be seen.

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The business district has been expanded with six more offices, of which one of the nicest can be seen by night in the next picture. All businesses in Widening are still completely satisfied with the city.

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We close today with a night view of the largest shopping area of the city. Eleven more shops have been established since the previous update, and, according to market research, that is actually a little bit too much.

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At the moment Widening still runs with a shortage of one token of water. That will probably still be the case with the next update, which will be when the city reaches 5,000 inhabitants.

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A new beginning

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As the newly founded city of Widening has reached it’s break even point and is earning 104, which equals 1 token, I decided to show you guys some pictures and give a couple of stats. Widening is played in solo mode, since I have to wait for my new credit card, so I can pay for online play. At the moment Widening counts 137 souls, and 70% of them are unqualified workers. The first picture shows the relatively large unqualified workers area. You can clearly see the white marketplace in the center of it, which is a purely decorative thing that enhances the environment a bit.

Following the small avenue you can see the only way out of the city, clearly marked by the large green signs. This makes it possible to trade with the outside world. To the left of the exit you can see the all-purpose utility building, which provide all necessary utilities to a beginning city: it generates electricity, takes care of garbage disposal and even makes fuel. Unfortunately no water, so Widening has a shortage of 1 token of water, but I expect this to be a bug.

To the left of the utilities building the heavy industry is to be found. To the right of the avenue in the front are the offices, and beyond that the shops.

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The backbone of a new city is heavy industry. Widening has three factories, of which you can see two in the next picture. Beyond those you can find the utilities building. Heavy industry produces some air pollution, employs unqualified workers and pays a reasonable amount of tax.

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For big tax money you need offices. The next picture shows two of the three of those the city has, to the right of the avenue, in the front. Corporate taxes are what drive the municipal budget. The budget is mainly spent on utilities, which also includes the services town hall provides.

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Offices need qualified workers. The next picture shows the only street where qualified workers live. Only 30% of Widening’s population is qualified.

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Furthermore Widening has shops, to be seen in the next picture. Jobs are multi-purpose buildings: they provide jobs, pay taxes, while at the same time satisfying the citizen’s need for shopping. Of all the tax payers, however, the shops are the least profitable.

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At the moment Widening is covered in Christmas decorations. The next picture shows the avenue in the direction of the intercity connection, with an unqualified worker’s home to the left. Of the 400,000 in cash the city started with, still 357,995 is left. All homes are fully occupied, there is no unemployment and all jobs are taken.

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This first update ends with a building I guess is only available around Christmas: the small Christmas market, which lights up very nicely at night. It must be the season that makes everybody so happy. All inhabitants are for 93% happy. They really like their jobs and the services the city provides, but they’re somewhat discontent with the environment, which is probably caused by the pollution of the heavy industry. The high price of water might also be a reason for some discontent. All businesses, however, are completely satisfied with their newly found locations.

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This is it for now. The next update should be when Widening reaches 2,000 inhabitants, because then new buildings will be unlocked.

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