Please PM STomnibus if you have any questions about this article.
- Help! I can’t make a profit in my city, what’s wrong
- Are there any hints for a new player just starting out his city?
- Is there anything that can reduce pollution in my city?
- Is there any way to change the name of a region?
- I’ve gotten pretty far in the game and I would really like to get rid of all
polluting industries. How can I go about doing this?
- All my buildings are being abandoned, what is causing this?
- I have a huge empty map...where should I start?
- What is the best way to get rid of pollution?
- Should I put animals on my map, if so, how many?
- I hate having to pay to demolish buildings, is there another way to get rid of them?
- What are the Hotkeys?
- Does altitude of buildings do anything to affect the desirability of a zone?
- What is the best speed to play the game at?
- How long does it take to see skyscrapers in your city?
- Is there an easy way to find out how my population is divided up in terms of §, §§ and §§§?
Q: Help! I can’t make a profit in my city, what’s wrong?
A: There are many factors determining the profit or loss of your city. One of the main causes of people going into the red (or negative) is because they spend too much on services either too quickly or when they don’t need them. Reduce spending on services to barely above what is needed. Spending more than that will certainly place your city into hard times.
Q: Are there any hints for a new player just starting out his city?
A: There are no guarantees that your city will do well. Only one person is able to make your city profitable, you! These hints may or may not work for your playing style, as everyone is different. This being said, here are a couple of hints to get you started.
Start off slow. Low-density buildings bring in more taxes per-person than medium or high-density buildings do. As a result, you will bring in more tax dollars for less initial capital by using low-density zones for nearly everything. After your city is larger and making a decent amount of money consider re-zoning to medium-density. There is no benefit from zoning anything but low density when you first start, you will be spending more money than you need to for the higher density zones.
Many people think wind power is the way to go. This, however, is a common misconception. After placing 5 windmills, it is cheaper to have 1 coal power plant. Not only is it cheaper, it is able to produce a much larger amount of energy. This will end up saving you money in the long run.
Another way to cut down on spending is to place a waste -> power incinerator. While the initial cost of these is quite large, the money it will save you from month to month will eventually pay it off. Not only does it get rid of garbage, it turns it into power!
Q: Is there anything that can reduce pollution in my city?
A: First and foremost, remember that almost all of these solutions cost money. Be sure you can afford them before taking any action.
The only “free” way of reducing pollution is to keep polluting areas small. When you zone an industrial area, don’t make a huge one. This will eventually lead to horrible pollution. If you keep your industry away from residential and commercial areas, pollution is not as large of a factor.
There are several ways of reducing pollution that cost money. Placing things such as parks and trees will reduce the pollution in your city. The more of these you have, the less pollution you have. In addition to this, you can enact several ordinances that have a direct impact on pollution to get cleaner air. The ordinances that reduce pollution are:
Q: Is there any way to change the name of a region?
A: Yes, you can change the name of the region. Go to the folder where your region is saved. If it was the region "San Francisco" that came with the game you will find it here:
Simply change “Name = San Francisco” to “Name = New Desired Name”.
Q: I’ve gotten pretty far in the game and I would really like to get rid of all polluting industries. How can I go about doing this?
A: To ensure that you are only using High-tech industry, there are a few conditions that must be met. Low pollution, High education, and low freight times are a must. Inter-city connectivity and a high population are also helpful. Keep in mind there are no real easy or cheap ways to do this unless you wait for a very long time.
First, make sure you have at least 100-200 thousand simoleons in the bank and a high education level in at least 80% of your city. In general, these next steps are made easier while the game is on pause. This will allow you to carefully work on your plan without being distracted or interrupted. First, raise the taxes on § and §§ industry to 20%, and lower your §§§ Industry to below 7%. This ensures that you will never see development of polluting industry again. Depending on if you are looking for instant pollution reduction or if you don’t mind waiting it out, you have two choices you can make.
One choice would be to let the game run. This doesn’t reduce pollution very quickly, but the manufacturing plants and dirty industry will eventually leave due to high taxes. This will leave you with fresh air for all your high-tech industries. This will take a long time, but will end up saving lots of money.
Another choice would be to carefully I demolish every dirty and manufacturing industry building on my map. This will take a while, but will be essential in order to lower pollution. For the first 10 years or so you will have a large loss in tax revenue. This loss is why you will need the extra money on hand. After the zones start to fill back up, you will begin to make more money and increase the desirability citywide for high-wealth buildings. This will leave your city almost completely pollution-free, and demand will be drastically higher in the high-wealth brackets.
Q: All my buildings are being abandoned, what is causing this?
A: There are many possible reasons for abandonment of a building. These include, but are not limited to – tax rates, pollution, lack of services, long commutes, long freights and a whole slew of other potential problems. In general it is in your best interest to check the coverage of your services and make sure things are adequately funded. If your taxes are high (above 8-9%), try lowering them some. Also, it helps if you demolish abandoned buildings as they reduce desirability of an area.
Q: I have a huge empty map - where should I start?
A: In general it is a good idea to start in a corner of the map. This gives you easy access to at least two other neighboring cities, which will increase demand in your city across the board. This tactic also allows you to place a power plant in the adjacent corner, keeping it close, but at the same time allowing ¾ of your pollution to go off of your map.
Q: What is the best way to get rid of pollution?
A: The best way to get rid of pollution is by planting trees using rewards you get such as the country club, or using parks. Each of these will reduce pollution in your city. An even better way of reducing pollution in your city is by zoning small areas of industry all over the city instead of one huge patch. This will keep pollution down without having to spend cash monthly on pollution reducers.
Q: Should I put animals on my map, if so, how many?
A: It never hurts to have animals on your map. People living there will be happy since they see animals about and as a result, your environmental rating will be up. As a result, be sure to place at least a few patches of animals on your maps while in god mode before starting a new city.
Q: I hate having to pay to demolish buildings, is there another way to get rid of them?
A: You could demolish them with your bulldozer utility, but this costs money. A much more efficient way to get rid of unwanted buildings is by starting a fire on them. This way the building is demolished, but you didn’t have to pay a cent for it.
Q: What are the hotkeys?
F1 (God Mode)
F2 (Mayor Mode)
F3 (My Sim Mode)
+ (Zoom in one level)
- (Zoom out one level)
Press numbers 1 to 5 (Zoom levels 1 - farthest from city to 5 - closest to city)
Page Up (Rotate counter-clockwise)
Page Down (Rotate Clockwise)
Home (Rotate Building Clockwise)
End (Rotate Building Counter-Clockwise
Left Arrow / Right Arrow (Scroll Left/Right)
Ctrl+ Left Arrow/Ctrl+ Right Arrow(Scroll Left/Right Once)
Ctrl+Up Arrow/Ctrl+Down Arrow (Scroll up/down once)
Up Arrow/Down Arrow (Scroll Up/Down)
Spacebar (Center on Cursor)
Esc (Close Open Window/Release Tool)
/ (Query Tool)
Q (Zone Low D. Residential)
W (Zone Medium D. Residential)
E (Zone High D. Residential)
A (Zone Low D. Commercial)
S (Zone Medium D. Commercial)
D (Zone High D. Commercial)
Z (Zone Agricultrue)
X (Zone Medium D. Industrial)
C (Zone Heavy D. Industrial)
Y (Zone Landfill)
Ctrl+F (Dispatch Fire)
Ctrl+P (Dispatch Police)
R (Road Tool)
Alt+R (Street Tool)
Shift+R (Highway Tool)
Ctrl+Shift+R (Build Bus Stop)
T (Rail Tool)
Ctrl+Shift+T (Passenger Depot)
Ctrl+Alt+T (Freight Depot)
Shift+T (Subway Tool)
Shift+Alt+T (Subway Station)
L (Power Lines Tool)
I (Pipes Tool)
P (Build Small Police Station)
Alt+P (Build Large Police Station)
Shift+P (Build Jail)
F (Build Small Fire Station)
Alt+F (Build Large Fire Station)
H (Build Clinic)
Alt+H (Build Hospital)
K (Build Elementary School)
Alt+K (Build High School)
Shift+K (Build City College)
F5 (Day Only)
F6 (Night Only)
F7 (Night & Day)
F11 (Open Play Options Dialog)
F9 (Open Graphics Options Dialog)
F10 (Open Audio Options Dialog)
Ctrl+S (Save City)
F8 (Exit To Region)
F12 (Quit SimCity 4)
Num Lock (Hide/Show UI)
Ctrl+Shift+A (Open Photo Album)
Ctrl+Shift+S (Take Snapshots)
Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F (Full Screen Refresh)
Ctrl+X (Open Cheat Code Dialog)
Ctrl+Shift+C (Toggle Display of Terrain Contours)
Ctrl+Shift+O (Open Obliterate City Dialog)
Q: Does altitude of buildings do anything to affect the desirability of a zone?
A: Yes. Residential and especially commercial buildings love high altitudes. If you build a mesa in your city, this is where you will want to place commercial or residential zones. The demand for them is much higher there; you will get larger buildings faster in those locations. It’s never a bad idea to add at least one mesa to your city as it could greatly boost desirability in that area.
Q: What is the best speed to play the game at?
A: Normally rhino speed is perfect. It is not too fast that you are unable to get to problems fast enough, but it’s not so slow you are sitting there waiting for things to happen either. Cheetah is a little too fast and should normally only be used if you have everything under complete control. Normal speed is a little too slow, but it, as well as paused, are good for making changes to your city.
Q: How long does it take to see skyscrapers in your city?
A: This depends. If your city grows fast, it will take less time. It’s really a matter of how you zone your city and how fast it is growing. In general you will start seeing larger office buildings when your city is around 100,000 citizens or larger. This is not a set standard, but rather a generalization of when you will start to see them.
Q: Is there an easy way to find out how my population is divided up in terms of §, §§ and §§§?
A: If you go to your budget screen and expand your taxes, it will show you how much money you are making from each of your residential zones. It will show you the money you make from §, §§ and §§§, and as a result, will give you a general feel for which class makes up the majority of your population. Keep in mind that if your taxes are higher on one class than another, it may be that that class doesn’t have more people living in your city, it’s just that they are being taxed heavier. To get a more specific view of your population, go to the graphs page and look there. It’s hard to tell exact numbers on the sheet as a few of the lines look the same color, but it should at least give a general idea.