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    Gameplay FAQ by Mazer327


    ***Needs Anchor Links***

    Part 1

    Gameplay FAQ

    by Mazer327

    General Questions

      1. How do I connect my road/rail/subway/water pipe/power line to a neighboring city?
      2. Why does it take so long for trees to grow?
      3. What are ZOTS?
      4. Where are my screen-captures saved?
      5. Why is the starting date 00?
      6. What does the RCI graph mean?
      7. What is Demand Cap?
      8. I am a SimCity guru; will I dominate SimCity 4?
      9. Why do sections of my city have the no work ZOT above their buildings when sections right next to it have work?
      10. Is it possible to import SimCity 3000 cities into SimCity 4?

      Terraforming

      1. Is there an easy way to reconcile edges on a map without messing everything you’ve already done up?

      2. Do trees grow into forests?

      Region Related

      1. I’ve been hearing the term “regional play”. What does this mean?

      2. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using regions?

      3. Do I have to use regional play?

      4. Should I put all RCI in one city or spread RCI across different cities? What works best?

      5. My neighboring connections aren’t letting me start neighbor deals! Why?

      6. Do I have to use my entire region to be successful?

      7. If I have 2 cities in my region and I am working on one of them, is the other one still growing?

      8. Why do sections of my city have the no work ZOT above their buildings when sections right next to it have work?
      9. How does RCI demand work in a region?
      10. If my sim commutes to another city to work, how does it determine commute times?

      Business Deals

      1. What are business deals?
      2. Should I accept every business deal that comes along?
      3. How do I get the Casino business deal?
      4. Do I need to run roads, water pipes and power lines to these buildings in order for me to get the money?
      5. What effects on my city do business deals have?

      General Questions

      Q: How do I connect my road/rail/subway/water pipe/power line to a neighboring city?

      A: Just drag the line to the edge of the screen. It will ask you if you wish to make a connection to the neighbor, simply click yes.

      gameguide-connections.jpg

      Power, water pipe, road, rail, highway and subway connections to neighbor.

      Q: Why does it take so long for trees to grow?

      A: Trees, just like in real life, take a while to reach their full height and size. Depending on the location of the trees, they will either create more trees as time goes on, or will die off. Each type of tree can live in different locations. Depending on the amount of water they get, the height they are placed at and the wind direction in the city, you will get different trees.

      If you wish, you can place some trees at the terraforming stage, speed up time and watch a ’natural’ forest begin to flourish and expand.

      Q: What are ZOTS?

      A: ZOTS are the icons that appear above people’s houses when there is a problem.

      ZOTS include:

      zot-nowater.gif

      This unit has no access to water. Fix by connecting a water pipe to the trouble area or building a water tower or water pump. zot-nopower.gif

      This unit has no power. Fix by drawing some powerlines to the area or building a power plant nearby. zot-nojobs.gif

      The people who live here have no jobs. Encourage industrial or commercial growth to create more jobs. zot-noroad.gif

      No road access. Fix by drawing a road adjacent to the cell.

      Q: Where are my screen-captures saved?

      A: The screenshots you take go into you’re My Documents folder under your C: drive. The full path for the pictures varies based upon what version of windows you are using. For example for people using windows 98:

      C:\My Documents\SimCity 4\Albums

      here.

      In this folder you will see folders with the names of regions on them. To view a picture from a specific region, go to that regions folder and all the pictures will be in it. All the screenshots are in .png form. To be able to view these, you will either need to open SimCity 4 and view them in your photo album there, or you can change them to a .gif or .jpg format. A freeware program that can do this for you is called pic2pic. You can get it for free

      Q: Why is the starting date 00? Is there a way to change the starting date of your new city?

      A: The game starts with the current date, as this is the day you took over as mayor. Each year after that is only a chronological marker as to how many years you have been mayor. When you are terraforming, time will also pass, unless you have it paused.

      With the architecture, it has been designed to show the development of your city. It was based on a turn-of-the-century Chicago style, a 1950s New York City style and a 2000 ultramodern Houston look. All 3 types can exist at once (as the city develops). These were the styles included in the game, as the designers feel these are significant examples of architecture. The design doesn’t want to be tied into a specific era. This way every city can have a unique look and feel about them. This is just as true I believe with the different forms of transport/vehicles that come on a bonus CD from certain distributors. As it can take some time for your city to develop, a certain style of car or plane would be obsolete if you restricted it to our ’real world’ time frame.

      Q: What does the RCI graph mean?

      A: The RCI graph represents an average for demands on Residential, Commercial and Industrial zones in your city. The higher the RCI bar is, the higher the need for those types of zones. This is an average however and doesn’t tell you exactly what the break down is. Sometimes one of the bars will be down, but you still have high desirability for that zone in your city. To find out what types of specific zones you need, click on the RCI bar to see an expanded version. Check this expanded graph quite often, as it is the true level of demand in your city for zones.

      Q: What is Demand Cap?

      A: Demand cap stands for demand capacity. A city starts off being able to hold a certain number of people as well as places to work. Through things like city beautification, rewards and connections to other cities, you can raise this number. If your city is no longer growing, but has all the services it needs, this generally means you have hit your demand cap.

      Q: I am a SimCity guru; will I dominate SimCity 4?

      A: SimCity 4 is drastically different from the previous versions of SimCity. You will definitely have a leg up on many of the newer players, but there is still a lot to get used to in the latest version.

      Q: Why do sections of my city have the no work ZOT above their buildings when sections right next to it have work?

      A: Possibly the EQ (education quotient) of the workers in the lot is different than the EQ required by the job. You can try to zone new areas for them to work in, or wait until their education level rises. It’s a question of whether you have enough money to support new zoning and if you would like to have these lower education jobs in your city. They normally pollute and may cause more damage to your city than having workers without jobs.

      Q: Is it possible to import SimCity 3000 cities into SimCity 4?

      A: At this point in time it is not possible. There may be a program that will be released at some point that will allow for this. Right now however, there is no such thing.

      Terraforming

      Q: Is there an easy way to reconcile edges on a map without messing everything you’ve already done up?

      A: The only “easy” way to reconcile edges on a map is to start in one city, change the terrain the way you like it and do not reconcile edges. Save it and go to your next city. Immediately reconcile edges on that map. This will leave your original city alone, but make the current city up-to-date. This will at a bare minimum keep you from having to go back and reconcile edges on cities you have already completed.

      Q: Do trees grow into forests?

      A: Yes. If you place a clump of trees and fast-forward time (say 30-50 years) you will see the clump grow out and become a forest. Trees grow faster if they have adequate moisture and are on reasonable altitude. Density also affects how fast (or if at all) a clump of trees will grow. The denser they are, the more chance they have at propogating. Less dense clumps of trees will die over time.

      Region Play

      Q: I’ve been hearing the term “regional play”. What does this mean?

      A: Regional play refers to using many different cities for separate goals. For instance, make one city dedicated to industry and commerce, and make a neighboring city just for residential. Connect them so they have road access to each other and your sims in your residential city will begin to look for work in the industrial/commercial city, and commute back. Jump back and forth between your two cities as you develop them. A more thorough analysis of neighboring city dynamics will be covered in a later article.

      Q: Do I have to use regional play?

      A: No. You are free to choose your own style of play, be it consolidating everything you need into one city, using regional play to specialize cities, or a mix of both.

      Q: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using regions?

      A: Regional play does have its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages, to name a few, are that you can isolate pollution as well as have areas designed to provide specific types of businesses or housing. You can also choose to provide specific services, such as trash removal, power and water through neighbor deals. The drawbacks, to name a few, are that you have to work out neighbor deals if you want to have things like water in one location, power in another and garbage in yet another. You also have to switch between the cities in your region if you want them to truly grow. It’s not like being in a self-contained city where everything grows when it wants to. You actually have to keep an eye on things.

      Q: Should I put all RCI in one city or spread RCI across different cities? What works best? What works best?

      A: The game is designed to work either way. It’s really just a matter of personal preference as to which you should do. Regional play has its advantages and disadvantages, so play the way you like, this always produces the best results.

      Q: My neighboring connections aren’t letting me start neighbor deals! Why?

      A: All of the neighboring deals have a set of requirements that must be filled in order for the deal to show up. The requirements are -

      Trash deals

      Must have a road or highway from the area with trash zones in it to the place you want to remove trash from. You must have enough excess space zoned out for trash so it can take not only the cities trash where the landfill is located, but also for the neighboring city who’s importing trash. (Meaning build a decent sized landfill or incinerator, whichever you prefer)

      NOTE
      : You must have enough money to cover a 1-year supply of the service or the option for the deal will not be presented.

      Power Deals

      Must have power lines to the city that will need power. You have to have enough extra power to support both cities simultaneously. You must have enough money to cover a 1-year supply for the service.

      Water Deals

      Must have pipes to the city that requires water. You must have enough extra water to support both cities simultaneously. You must have enough money to cover a 1-year supply for the service.

      Q: Do I have to use my entire region to be successful?

      A: No! You can have one city that contains everything you need to be successful. Regional play is meant to be an option for use in the game. There are many drawbacks and advantages to using regional play.

      Q: If I have 2 cities in my region and I am working on one of them, is the other one still growing?

      A: While you are working on one city, the game uses “extrapolation” to simulate growth in the city you are not working on. This does not mean buildings are being built while you are gone, rather it means that it will assume the buildings will be built because of the increased demand next time you visit that city. When you leave one city to work on another, all information from your city is saved before you leave, and the simulation uses that saved information to extrapolate how demand might be satisfied in your currently active city.

      Q: Why do sections of my city have the no work ZOT above their buildings when sections right next to it have work?

      A: Possibly the EQ (education quotient) of the workers in the lot is different than the EQ required by the job. You can try to zone new areas for them to work in, or wait until their education level rises. It’s a question of whether you have enough money to support new zoning and if you would like to have these lower education jobs in your city. They normally pollute and may cause more damage to your city than having workers without jobs.

      Q: How does RCI demand work in a region?

      A: In region play, RCI demand is shared across all your cities. For example, if you have one city that has started demand for IHT (high tech industry), you can start a new neighboring city, zone industrial, make a road connection to your first city and high-tech will start to pop up in your new city, satisfying the demand of the city that it is connected to. Using this concept you can create ’bedroom communities’: wait for your residential demand to climb in one city, then start a neighboring city, connect with to your first city by road, and zone residential and watch as your sims move in to live in your new city and commute to the other city to work.

      Q: If my sim commutes to another city to work, how does it determine commute times?

      A: When you create a connection to another city, say, by road, and you do not immediately go to the other city to connect the remaining ’stub’ to that city’s road structure, the simulation will attempt to estimate the commute time to the work place in the other city and add it on the exiting commute time. This estimate will often by inordinately high, giving you the result of long commute times. To remedy this, make sure that the connection ’stub’ in your other city is connected to the road structure. The simulator will then be able to recall more accurately the average commute times.

      Business Deals

      Q: What are business deals?

      A: Business deals are offered to you when you are financially in the red for extended periods of time. Aside from providing a fairly lucrative monthly income, business deals may also have the following effects, mostly negative: contribute to air and water pollution, radiation and garbage, increase commercial demand as well as crime rate, affects desirability for all sectors, and decreases your mayor rating.

      Q: Should I accept every business deal that comes along?

      A: No, you should carefully pick and choose which business deals you will take. Any business deal that is in red is a negative deal, meaning in general that it will give you money, but has a negative affect on surrounding areas as well as your mayor rating.

      Q: How do I get the Casino business deal?

      A: The casino business deal requires that you have enacted the Legalize Gambling ordinance. Warning: If you repeal the ordinance, your casino will be automatically demolished. (If you want, save yourself the cost of bulldozing the casino (§15,000) by repealing the legalize gambling ordinance).

      Q: Do I need to run roads, water pipes and power lines to these buildings in order for me to get the money?

      A: No. Once you place any of the business deal buildings, you start getting money right away. However, in order for these buildings to help supply your city with jobs, you need roads connected to them. Providing water to them will reduce the structure’s flammability (roads also ensure that firetrucks can get there if needed).

      Q: What effects on my city do business deals have?

      A: The following chart details the available business deals, what they provide, and their impact on your city:

      Business Deals

      Size, IncomePre-RequisitesPositive Effects Negative EffectsArmy Base

      (12x12)

      §350/mont

      1. your funds are less than §7000
      2. funds less than 40% less than three previous years
      3. dedicated expenses greater than income
      4. population greater than 2000
      Jobs for R§ sims,

      Increase

      Commercial

      desirability Lowers Mayor Rating,

      lowers residential and

      high-tech desirability,

      adds to water and air

      pollution, increases crime.Casino

      (6x3)

      §300/month

      1. Legalize Gambling Ordinance enacted
      2. total poluation greater than 24,000
      Creates commercial

      demand and adds

      commercial desirability Lowers Mayor Rating,

      lowers residential and

      high-tech desirability,

      increases crime.

      Drains power.Federal Prison

      (4x4)

      §250/month

      1. funds less than §7000
      2. funds dropped by half in last 2 years
      3. expenses greater than income
      4. population greater than 5000
      Provides jobs for

      R§ sims Lowers Mayor Rating,

      lowers residential,

      commercial and

      high-tech desirability,

      increases crime.Missile Range

      (4x4)

      §450/month

      1. funds less than §1000
      2. funds dropped by at least 20% in last 6 months
      3. expenses greater than income
      4. population greater than 500
      None Lowers Mayor Rating,

      lowers residential,

      commercial and

      high-tech desirability,

      high air and water

      pollution, chance of

      Missile Misfire

      Disaster (not good)Toxic Waste Dump

      (4x4)

      §400/month

      1. funds less than -§1000
      2. expenses greater than income
      None Lowers Mayor Rating,

      lowers residential,

      commercial and

      high-tech desirability,

      high radiation,

      lowers air and water

      pollution, very flammable.

      Even dirty industries

      don’t want to be near it!

      Zoning

      1. What good are farms?

      2. What do the different types of zones (Co, Cs, etc) mean?

      3. Can landfills be de-zoned, rezoned or demolished?

      4. Sometimes when I re-zone areas, it doesn’t change all the zones. Is there a way to change them all easily?

      5. How can I get high-wealth citizens to move in?

      6. How far will people travel to get to work?

      7. How much beautification do I need in my city?

      8. If my zoned area is full of buildings, should I zone more?

      9. Why are there no big buildings in my city even though I’ve zoned high-density?

      10. After my city runs for a few years, my industry seems to be abandoned. What is causing this?
      11. Should I use auto-streets or lay my own roads when I zone?
      12. Some of the zones I have created are empty. What is causing this?
      13. How do I determine how long a freight trip will be from an industrial zone?
      14. Will low density hold only low class, or will they hold others as well?
      15. Why are my high-wealth buildings being taken over by low-wealth sims?
      Budget

      1. In my budget, I see §, §§ and §§§. What do they mean?

      2. What should I set my taxes to?

      3. What are the effects of overfunding?
      4. What are the effects of underfunding?

      Transit

      Q: No one is using my bus stops and/or subways! What am I doing wrong?

      A: In order for busses and trains- and even subways for that matter – to work, you need to place them in locations that are congested with traffic. In general, it is a wise decision to place these mass-transit buildings on major roads that lead from residential to commercial or industrial districts. Remember, Sims riding on these will have to walk after they leave the station. Place them so they don’t have to walk too far, or they will not get used.

      Q: My train tracks won’t turn, why not?

      A: The train tracks are unable to turn on a dime. In order for you to make a turn, the turn must be gradual. There are two ways of doing this.

      1. Make the tracks go where you want them to end up on each side of the turn. Then, from one of the ends of the track, click and drag a new track to the end of the other, this will create a turn.

      2. Make gradual turns as you go, click and drag to a 45-degree angle and let go. Do this twice and you have a turn.

      Q: How do you get a highway cloverleaf to work?

    A: A simple way to get a highway cloverleaf to work is by deciding where you would like the two highways to intersect. Make one of the two highways go entirely through. (Fig. 1) To complete the cloverleaf, start building the second highway over the first. If you have not gone far enough on one side or the other, it will show up red. (Fig. 2) Make sure you get enough of the highway so it will turn blue. (Fig. 3) After you release, it will ask if you want a cloverleaf. (Fig. 4)

    gameguide-cloverleaf.jpg

    Q: My traffic is horrible and I have nothing but roads, how can I lighten traffic?

    A: The only way to lighten traffic at this point is by placing mass transit services in your city. These include highways, subways, trains and busses. To use these effectively, you must place them in highly congested areas. People that take a bus for instance, will be walking on foot after they get off the bus. As a result, be sure to place all mass transit items in locations people will not have to walk far from to get where they want to go.

    Q: How do I build onramps to the highway?

    A: There are two ways of going about this. One is to simply place the onramp next to a highway in your city. When the ramp turns green, you are able to place it. The other way, which may be easier, is to make a road that goes under the highway where you would like the onramp to go. Once it is created, it will ask you if you want to add onramps. Click on accept and the onramps will be placed for you.

    Q: When should I consider adding highways and/or subways?

    A: These are great ways of lowering the traffic in your city. The drawback to these is that both of them cost a lot. Once you have a large surplus of funds in your city, these are certainly viable options to lowering the traffic. As a result, the best time to place these is later on in your city’s lifetime. When you have quite a few residents (no less than 100,000 normally) it might be a good idea to start adding these forms of transportation. Highways should be in highly used areas as a main connection. Normally it’s best to have these span your city to give access to central locations. Highways should also be used to connect your cities across your region.

    The subway, on the other hand, can be placed throughout the city in many locations. It is a lot easier to place the subway, as only one square above ground needs to be used to place a stop, while the rest of the track goes underground. As a result, if you can afford it, subway is a great alternative to connecting neighbors as well as providing transportation within your city.

    City Services

    Q: What is a service?

    A: A city service is anything from an elementary school to a landfill to a power plant. These are all things your city needs in order to function and thrive. Each of these services cost money, be careful what you put in. Be sure you have enough cash to cover the expenses before taking any action. When placing services, especially at the start of your game, immediately adjust the funding slider (use the query tool) so you are not wasting money on unnecessary resources.

    Q: Where should I put a water treatment plant?

    A: Water treatment plants should be used when your water pollution starts to get out of control, or if you just want to clean up. Put them anywhere where there is high water pollution and near water towers and pumps, as this structure acts as a water purifier and has a very large radius. With enough water treatment plants placed throughout your city, you can clean up all your water pollution.

    Q: Where should I put water pumps?

    A: The further away from pollution they are, the more efficient they are. If they are kept away from pollution entirely, they will last longer and produce more.

    Q: What are the parks good for?

    A: Parks, as well as other city beautification items are good for quite a few things. They are able to increase your population limits as well as add desirability to your surrounding zones. Parks are also able to reduce pollution in surrounding areas. It is not a bad idea to place them near dirty industries, as this can increase the desirability since pollution is lower.

    Q: Elementary school or high school?

    A: You do need both high schools as well as elementary schools. Once people leave elementary, some choose to continue their education in high school. You’ll also need colleges eventually. In order to get high-tech industry as well as better jobs/higher class citizens in your city, you’ll eventually need all forms of education. (Library, museum, college, high school, elementary school, even the university when you get the chance.) Education is very important if you want to eventually develop clean high tech industry.

    Q: Some of my services have no range of affect. Why is this?

    A: Museums, colleges and universities have no real range. They affect the entire city. The same goes for main library, major art museums and opera houses.

    Q: I have a ton of wind power plants, when is it too many?

    A: After 5 windmills, you will be spending more a month than a fully funded coal power plant would cost, and will not be producing as much power. As a result, if you get to this point, it is a good idea to blow them up and put in a more cost-efficient way to power your city. Of course, a coal power plant produces far more pollution.

    Q: Should I put water funding down when my pump is not running at full capacity?

    A: You should never lower water funding as a rule as you’ll tend to suffer more than you’ll save. When you reduce the spending on water services, you are reducing the spending on pipe maintenance. This will lead to water pipes bursting all over your city and reduce the effectiveness of the pipes providing water to buildings. It’s best to keep your water funding at 100% all the time, regardless of the amount of water used.

    Q: Do I really need to cover every square inch of the map with fire and police stations?

    A: It is definitely not necessary to cover every part of your map with fire and police coverage. You may not even have any. This will lead to problems though, and quickly. At the bare minimum you will want a fire station in a central location. Fires will break out in your city quite often and without proper protection, you will get burned. It’s a good idea to wait until your first fire breaks out in your city to place a fire station. This way you are not paying a monthly fee for something your city doesn’t need yet. Eventually crime levels and lack of fire protection will halt the growth of your city. Put them in only when you can afford them, ie. not when you first start your city.

    Q: My service workers are striking! Why?

    A: If people are going on strike in your city, it is because you have not provided enough funding to support the need. Query the building on strike and increase funding to stop the strike. For example, doctors will strike if there are more patients than their funding will allow them to handle. Increase funding so that the maximum number of patients is a bit more than the current amount of patience, and eventually, they’ll quite down.

    Q: How can I tell if I am using all of my power/water/garbage?

    A: If you click on the graph button, you will be able to click on power, water and garbage to see how much capacity you have at the moment, as well as how much of the service you are using. If you click on the power button to see how much power you are using and the usage is very close to the capacity, it’s either time to increase funding on power, or time to add a new power plant.

    Q: Do power plants ever die like they did in previous versions of SimCity?

    A: Power plants can blow up just like they did in the previous versions of SimCity. They blow up for different reasons in SimCity 4 though. As time goes on, the effectiveness of buildings such as power, water and garbage disposal will decrease. The better funded the building is, the longer it will take for the effectiveness to go down. If the effectiveness gets very low, you are spending a lot of money on something that is not doing a lot of good for you. It’s best to blow it up and build a new one that will produce more for the same monthly cost. If your buildings ever catch on fire, they may explode, and in the case of the nuclear power plant, this will lead to a city-ending event. A bad thing.

    Q: Should I start off with large or small fire/police stations, and clinics or hospitals?

    A: Some people think small is the way to start off, and later advance to large. Others think that starting off with large will save you in the long run. Well, the truth to the matter is that both do work. Depending on how you zone your city in the start should determine if you should start with large or small services. If you have zoned large areas of low-density, it’s probably going to be most cost-effective to cover it all with one large service instead of a few smaller ones. On the other hand, if you start of with smaller zones, it is most beneficial to build small services. Be sure to use the radius of the service to the max. Avoid placing a service where its radius isn’t being used (i.e. at the edge of the map), as this lowers its cost-effectiveness.

    Q: Where is the best place to put an airport?

    A: Airports help increase your commercial demand cap, as well as increase traffic in surrounding areas. Since you would like for your commercial zones to have traffic, it’s a wise idea to place the airport relatively close to commercial zones, or easily accessible by road. Keep in mind that airports generate pollution, so you might want to surround it with trees or some parks here and there to keep the pollution down.

    Zoning

    Q: What good are farms?

    A: Farms create food for the simcitizens, jobs, cargo to ship off to neighbor cities for money, and yes the flip side is they pollute the water, lower the land value and there is no tax bracket for them. A good idea might be to make a neighboring city on a small map mostly farms. You will get a farmer’s market after a while, which will provide increased health for your sims, as they eat natural food.

    Q: What do the different types of zones mean? I keep seeing CO and ID, but I have no clue what they mean.

    A: Here’s a break-down of the terminology:

    IA – Industry Agriculture (low wealthindustry)

    ID – Industry Dirty (low wealth industry)

    IM – Industry Manufacturing (middle wealth industry)

    IT – Industry High-Tech (high wealth industry)

    Co– Commercial Office (medium and high wealth commercial)

    Cs– Commercial Service (low, medium and high wealth commercial)

    R§ - Low Wealth Housing

    R§§ - Medium Wealth Housing

    R§§§ - High Wealth Housing

    Q: Can landfills be de-zoned, rezoned or demolished?

    A: In order to de-zone, re-zone a landfill area, you must wait for garbage to disappear (decompose). A quick way to get them empty is to erase the road leading to them. If there is no way to get to the landfill, they can’t put trash there. You are unable to demolish landfills while they are full.

    Q: Sometimes when I re-zone areas, it doesn’t change all the zones. Is there a way to change them all easily?

    A: If you change to your zone overlay, you can easily re-zone areas. It will show you exactly where you are re-zoning as well as give you a good idea of what types of zones you already have.

    Q: How can I get high-wealth citizens to move in?

    A: In order for high-wealth citizens to want to move to your city, you need to have high levels of education as well as health which creates demand for higher wealth citizens. In SimCity 4, there is a direct correlation between wealth and education - essentially, the lower wealth citizens begin their lives with lower education quotient, than more wealthier sims. (However, low-wealth sims can still become highly educated, but takes more time.) You will also need places for them to work. To be sure you can satisfy their work requirements, zone new areas for them as demand for high-wealth commerce and industry rises. Be sure to zone them in the most desirable places. Check your overlays to see desirable areas.

    Q: How far will people travel to get to work?

    A: They will travel quite a ways to get to work. The further away they have to travel though, the less desirable the area is to live in however, and eventually they will not want to live there at all if the commute gets too bad. To check the commute time, query any residential building. The shorter, the more desirable. Commuter trains may help alleviate long commute areas.

    Q: How much beautification do I need in my city?

    A: This is something that is left up to the mayor. A general rule-of-thumb though is that you don’t need it until later. City beautification increases the desirability of areas and increases your demand cap for your city. Each time you add a park, playground, plaza or any other type of city beautification, you are spending money that could be used on more zoning. As a result, be careful when placing these items. Make sure you have enough money and enough demand to justify the cost of building the item, as well as the monthly maintenance. Beautification will be very necessary to attract commercial office and hightech industries later on.

    Q: If my zoned area is full of buildings, should I zone more?

    A: In general, it is a good idea to expand your city with more zones. If your city is already fairly large, then maybe it is a better idea to get more use out of your current zones. Re-zone the areas from low to medium density to get more money out of the same amount of space. Be sure to have a lot of your map covered by low-density before changing to medium density, as low density makes the most money per person, giving you the biggest taxes possible. Always zone low-density everything when you start. For example, there is absolutely no benefit to zoning high density industrial, until your industrial population (jobs) reaches 2447.

    Q: Why are there no big buildings in my city even though I’ve zoned high-density?

    A: Just because an area is zoned for high density does not mean the demand for larger buildings is there. Your city will take quite some time to need high-density zones in it and as a result, it’s best to start with low-density and gradually increase as your city grows. Even a medium-density zone can hold large skyscrapers holding upwards of 2,000 people in it. Before you start zoning for high-density, be sure your city needs it and your services are well funded.

    Q: After my city runs for a few years, my industry seems to be abandoned. What is causing this?

    A: In many cases, your industry is being abandoned because your citizens EQ (or Education Quotient) has risen. As a result they will want to move up to a higher-wealth job (manufacturing or high-tech) which could leave much of your dirty industries abandoned. If you can afford it, it will benefit you to demolish these buildings as it will not only free up space for the new industries, but also create new demand for that area.

    Q: Should I use auto-streets or lay my own roads when I zone?

    A: There are benefits and drawbacks to doing this. If you lay out your streets at first and then place zones, you are able to set the size of your zones as well as keep traffic problems down somewhat. (Since you can avoid the unnecessary intersections occasionally created by auto-streets). The drawback is that it takes a lot of time and effort to plan correctly. You’ll also have to ensure that each lot is within reach of a road.

    When laying the zone, be sure to watch how it’s zoning. Sometimes you will need to change the area you start/finish at to make all the areas of the new zone touch the road. If you zoom in to one of the closest two views, it is much easier to see how your zones are being laid out and pick exactly how big or small you want the zones to be.

    Q: Some of the zones I have created are empty. What is causing this?

    A: The desirability of the zone is low, and as a result no one wants to build there. Check to ensure the zone has proper service coverage. If it does, try adding in a few things like parks to the area. This will increase the desirability of the area and new people should start moving in shortly afterwards.

    Q: How do I determine how long a freight trip will be from an industrial zone?

    A: Industrial zones have to freight their cargos to one of the following – neighbor connection, freight train station, seaports and in some cases airports. The closer the industry is to one of these types of connections to the outside world, the shorter the freight trip.

    Q: Will low density hold only low class, or will they hold others as well?

    A: Low density, just as any other density, can hold all classes. Low, medium and upper class citizens will move into and work in low, medium and high-density zones.

    Q: Why are my high-wealth buildings being taken over by low-wealth sims?

    A: The most proabably cause is reduction in desirability. Buildings tend to degrade when desirability decreases, rich sims move out, low-wealth sims move in. (low-wealth sims will live anywhere). Check your desirability and make sure your NIMBYs are far away from your affluent neighborhoods. Add ammenities to increase desirability, check for things like commute time, or traffic noise which also reduces desirability.

    Budget

    Q: In my budget, I see §, §§ and §§§. What do they mean?

    A:

    § = Low-wealth citizens

    §§ = Medium-wealth citizens

    §§§ = High-wealth citizens

    Q: What should I set my taxes to?

    A: You can set your taxes as high as 9% without lowering demand for your zones. As your city gets larger, this number decreases. Any number higher than this will decrease demand, while and number lower will increase demand. The more drastic the change, the more drastic the demand change. Use taxes to make money, but remember, they have a minimum effect of 3 game months even if you change your mind immediately after. So don’t expect to be able to make some quick cash, and then reduce tax rates without hurting demand.

    Q: What are the effects of overfunding?

    A: Overfunding is when your funding slider bar is beyond the white mark. Be cautious what you overfund as it may just end up being a waste of money. For most buildings, overfunding will slightly increase effectiveness by about 10% (police stations, fire stations) or provide increased capacity (schools, health clinics).

    Q: What are the effects of underfunding?

    A: Underfunding is when your funding slider is before the white mark. In most cases, under-funding will cause no harm if the structure’s usage does not exceed its capacity (example, underfunding a power plant will save you money but decrease its lifespan). For other buidings (schools, police stations, fire stations) that have a radius effect, underfunding will decrease the size of the radius. If an underfunded building begins to have more volume than the funding capacity will allow, strikes will break and your workers will stop working until you’ve rectified the problem.


    Part 2

    By: Mazer327

    Please PM STomnibus with any questions related to this article.

    Transit Systems

    1. No one is using my bus stops and/or subways! What am I doing wrong?
    2. My train tracks won’t turn, why not?
    3. How do you get a highway cloverleaf to work?
    4. My traffic is horrible and I have nothing but roads, how can I lighten traffic?
    5. How do I build onramps to the highway?
    6. When should I consider adding highways and/or subways?
    Services

    1. What is a service?

    Where should I put a water treatment plant?

    Where should I put water pumps?

    What are the parks good for?

    Elementary school or high school?

    Some of my services have no range of affect. Why is this?

    I have a ton of wind power plants, when is it too many?

    Should I put water funding down when my pump is not running at full capacity?

    Do I really need to cover every square inch of the map with fire and police stations?

    My services workers are striking! Why?

    How can I tell if I am using all of my power/water/garbage?

    Do power plants ever die like they did in previous versions of SimCity?

    Should I start off with large or small fire/police stations, and clinics or hospitals?Where is the best place to put an airport?


    User Feedback


    Q: What good are farms? A: ... and there is no tax bracket for them.

    Huh?  There appears to be a tax bracket for them and I do collect taxes from them, so what does this mean?

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    Q: What good are farms? A: ... and there is no tax bracket for them.

    Huh?  There appears to be a tax bracket for them and I do collect taxes from them, so what does this mean?

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