Please PM soldyne if you have any questions about this article.
The number one question asked on the forums by many new and old players alike is "How do I make money?" The easy answer is to just give a link to the STEX and tell them to use a money cheat. Well, the better way is to build your city efficiently and to learn how the game works, which is what this tutorial is designed to teach you.
First I must say that I have a ton of plugins going on in my game but 90% of them are for aesthetics. The only mod I have that affects game play is the Network Addon Mod which only affects traffic. Since this tutorial is about getting a city started and how to make money in the early stages, that mod will have little effect on the outcomes.
With that said, this tutorial is designed to be replicated by anyone even if all they have is the vanilla version of SC4. I also try to give a few hints on how to start a new region, what to think about when planning a city and I even give a few city building design tips along the way. For the most part though, this tutorial is about making money and creating an efficent city. City design is really up to each individual player as that is the fun of the whole game.
Before we start, I also want to inform the reader that I have a small reference guide in the Omnibus which will be very handy in developing a new city called Money Saving Tips For Any City Design. The best way to make money is to not spend it!
Also, a quick note on challenge. I always use the easy setting, and this tutorial is done on that setting as well. For a tutorial/experiment on making money with high challenge (or at least not going bankrupt) check out Voar Tok's experimental CJ here Never Go Bankrupt Again!
The first thing to consider when starting a new region is where you want your city to develop. Think ahead as to where your downtown and central business districts (CBD) will be. Then consider the surrounding areas.
Here is a nice small region which is actually the Fairview region included with the game by Maxis:
I would like my CBD to be along the shore line as many real life cities grow up near water and rivers. Since it will be impossible to get skyscrapers at this point, we need to consider to outlying areas first such as the industrial and suburban areas. These areas will be used to build our region population and to feed demand for our CBD later on.
Here is a good place for a nice bedroom community.
Right next to it is a great place to start an industrial city with power and trash support for the region.
It is important to mention that with region play in SC4 it is an excellent idea to segregate your zones right from the start. Keep all the pollution in its own private city square like dirty and manufacturing industry, power production and trash handling. Make neighbor deals right from the start for power and trash as this will help save money in our residential city... no point in paying full price for 6000 MW if we are not going to use it all, right? Not only that, the neighbor deal will help the industrial city pay for the power upkeep and help reduce maintenance costs. it sounds like a good deal all around doesn't it?
In our suburban city, this looks like a very nice open area to start our development
Since we wish to have our industrial neighbor connected to the east and our CBD to the south we should start in the south east corner of the map.
The next thing to do now is consider how you want your road network to look. In a suburb, avenues and streets are your main tools. Avenues are your main roadways where your commercial will be. The streets make up your neighborhoods and connect to the avenues. In a suburb we will not want to go beyond low density. In some cases, depending on your design, you may want a few small areas to be medium density, but low density is the main zone size for a suburb. Also, we will probably want to keep lot sizes to 1x1 or 2x2.
If you zone 3x3 you run the risk of attracting R$ sims. These guys give a lot of money, and we want money, but R$ sims have a lot of disadvantages for a new region. They are very demanding, will only work in very particular commercial zones (and High Tech-IHT to some degree) and they take up a lot of space and have a low population count. The main disadvantage of R$ in a new community is the job preference. We are not going to have any jobs for the R$ for quite a while, so what will happen is that they will move in, displace all the industrial workers, then abandon and you have a nice big, dilapidated city.
In other words, R$ is bad news for a new region, so, we will use lot sizes in our suburbs to limit R$ growth. (technically, R$ won't grow without water, but, the job problem is real and will become a big problem later on when we put in water, so, it is a good idea to plan ahead now and keep zones too small for R$ to develop. When we are ready for R$ we can zone bigger.)
I have chosen the following layout for my initial suburb. Notice I have two avenues with connections to the south and the east and use streets for the res zones which are only 1x1 in size. I put a tile between the zones to add parks and trees later on, but for now it will remain as empty space.
Something else to consider at this point is mass transit. This is something that most people overlook early on in a city's development. Here in a suburb though, mass transit is usually not used to a great degree. I prefer to use bus stops in my suburbs along with highways. I sometimes use subways but not too much. Mass transit will become a much bigger factor later on in our CBD however, so just keep it in mind and dont forget about it.
Now that we have our zones we need power.
To get power, we need to talk to our neighbor. Here, in Powerton, we can see our avenue connection from suburbia.
While we are here we can plop a coal plant, an incinerator and make a connection with some wires. One point of interest here is the incinerator. If you drop funding of the incinerator to $0 you can still burn trash but it just wont produce any power. Some people find this to be cheating, but, you will still be paying money for the trash in a "pick up and delivery" charge in your utilities menu. The $1000 maintenance fee is just for the power production which we don't need right now.
Also while we are here, we can zone for some industial jobs to prepare for our new residents. Let the simulator run for a month or two to allow the game to realize that you have placed a power plant, incinerator and industrial zones. Some of the zones may begin to grow and this is ok. After a few months, save and exit to region. Dont worry about the temporary loss of funds, we will fix that in just a bit.
Back in Suburbia we start things up and make a neighbor deal. Some people say they have trouble making neighbor deals. I usually don't. If you are having trouble making a deal for power and trash at this point read over this checklist:
- is there a powerline connection to the proper cities?
- is the selling city producing a surplus?
- is the buying city in a deficit? This question is weird. If you have a power plant somewhere in the buying city and the total power produced is enough to power your city (even though it may not be connected) to all the zones then the game will not allow you to buy power from a neighbor. This includes far away wind generators which may be powering distant areas. Make sure that your buying city has a total power deficit by checking the power graph.
- is there a road or avenue connection to each city and does the selling city have an incinerator/landfill with road access? If there is no road access then no deal can be made.
- does the buying city have a need to export its trash? This is the same situation as described above for power.
Now hopefully, you can make some neighbor deals. At this point I will assume you have and we can move on. Let the simulation run for a bit and you should get some houses popping up. One of two possiblities will occur at this point; either you will get a flood of people moving in or you will get one or two houses to develop and thats it. If you only get a few homes, dont worry, this is expected. The way SC4 deals with neighbors and development is complicated, you have to remember that even though we have industrial zones in our neighbor, there are not that many of them. The game will try to extrapolate a projected growth of zones in the neighbor city, but only up to a certain point.
Either way our next goal is to expand. Since this is a suburb we want to expand outward, not upward. Start to expand your road network out and keep your avenues free for commercial development and leave plenty of space for residential neighborhoods and future parks. Hopefully, after you have expanded with enough res zones, the simulator will start extrapolating jobs in the neighbor and you will start to see houses growing all over the place.
I call this the "popcorn effect." Once the demand starts to fill in the popcorn will stop popping and that is when you need to start working on something else.
At this point, you may gaze down at the budget and realize that you are making money!
But dont get ahead of yourself, we are just beginning.
Uh oh! A lot of our new residence are complaining about commute times. Huh? Commute times? They are no more than 5 minuets from the industrial city! What are they complaining about?
Abandonment due to commute times is also a sign of unemployment. Sims will drive around all day until they find work, if they dont find work then they complain that work is too far and start to leave. The briefcase can also be an indication that there are not enough of the right kind of jobs available. This is the problem that R$ brings. R$ will only work in very high class jobs and will complain about commute times even if there is a commercial zone with available jobs right next to them only because they dont want to work at bob's grease pit.
In our current case, we really dont have enough jobs, so back to the neighbor to develop more work!
Things are developing nicely! Oh no, whats this? Its a FIRE! Well we knew this would happen eventually. Place a small fire station next to the fire and it will dissapear eventually.
A few people have complained that they hate having to put fires out all the time. What those people fail to realize is that a fire will never break out in your city within the radius of a well funded fire station. If you have an area that is fire prone, put in a station and the problem will dissapear.
And whats this? Even with a coal plant, incinerator, and fire station, this little industrial center is actually turning a profit!
Once the industrial popcorn is done popping save and exit and go back to suburbia.
The next thing to do is to keep expanding. We want more neighborhoods and thus more people. Remember to keep your main roads clear for commercial develeopment later on and just have fun with the neighborhood designs.
Notice that until now, we have not put in any civic services of any kind. The sims dont need them. Sure they want them, and our city will remain dumb and sick until we put them in, but the goal of a young city is to get your cities roots firmly planted first, then make people happy. Usually, the first civic building you will place will be...
A fire station!
The pattern you may have noticed here is that we expand the res zones until we have a drop in the popcorn and they start complaining about jobs. Then we develop the industrial sector and go back for more people. This is the leap frog technique of region play going back and forth between city squares to let the game update the neighbor cities.
Our next goal is to start working on education and building up demand in commercial and IHT. For now, you can look at your population and budget and see that making money is as easy as fixing a bag of popcorn!
This ends Chapter 1. Chapter 2 will cover the addition of civic services, manufacturing industry and commercial development. We will also disscuss the effects of education and wealth levels on demand and developer types.
Chapter 2: Pop 5,000 - 25,000 (Education and Manufacturing)
Please PM soldyne if you have any questions about this article.
To recap where we are now we have about 7000 sims in the Fairview region living in a nice quite suburban community with an industrial neighbor next door providing the much need jobs.
Suburbia is still in need of jobs:
...and Powerton has room to spare:
But, we are starting to out grow our standard leap frog routine of "zone and switch" which got us this far. Now we need to start attracting some big business. To do that we need to add some water:
Notice that I put the water pump as far from the industry as I could (well maybe I could have put it further but you get the idea). I also gave the pump its own power supply. This is important since we dont want our water supply to be dependant on our main power source. As our cities grow we may experience rolling brown outs where certain sections of the city lose power for a short time. This could be catastrophic if our water pumps shut down all of sudden. So always give the pumps their own power.
Now that we have water big industries can start to build but for now we have no more demand and must go back to suburbia and make more homes:
LET THERE BE WORK and so there was and the people saw that this was good and wanted to move in to our city! There was much rejoicing http://www.simtropolis.com/forum/i/expressions/4.gif
At this point it will be a good habit to start checking all of your graphs for important information. check on power usage, water usage (none yet), garbage levels, and anything else you can think of. If your city is starting to get close to running out of any of those then renegotiate your neighbor deals or build more utilities.
Our current situation is good. Things are stable and everyone is mostly happy. However, we dont want a small low class suburb forever so we need to start thinking about bigger and better things.
Just like in Powerton, we need water to get to the next stage in development. In our case we want more R$ to move in. The reason for wanting R$ is not because they pay more taxes (although that is nice). We want R$ because they are the driving force for all things in SC4. They produce the most demand for manufacturing, IHT and most of the Commercial sector, also, they prefer to use mass transit more than any other wealth class. Ultimatly R$ is what will support our region and will eventually make up the bulk of our population.
So our first step in attaining all of that is water:
Since we are doing so well with income and have plenty of money to spare I suggest we layout all of our pipes ahead of time. This will save us a lot of stress later when we start to expand as all areas of the map will already be watered.
Lay out your pipes with 12 spaces in between each. This will provide the most efficient coverage.
The next step in providing for R$ is education. Education coverage will not only increase desirability for R$ but it will also affect how our demand will change. The more educated our sims are the more sophisticated their tastes in jobs becomes. As it stands all of our population is demanding farms and ID. If we want IM and IHT as well as more commercial demand (so we can begin on our CBD to the south) we need to have high education.
To get the most out of your education system you have to understand how the game works. Different education structures provide different amounts of education to different age groups. In a young city with no health coverage, there will be many young sims. This means that we need an elementary school. Right now, a HS or college will do us no good as there are not enough older sims living here to take advantage of them.
One thing you can add at this point is a library. Libraries affect nearly all age groups the same by providing a bonus to EQ at every age level. Not only that libraries are cheap.
Unfortunately, education does not come without a price. Please note, that I am using the Large Elementary School which is unlocked as a reward. By now your city should be big enough to have unlocked it . If you have not unlocked it yet, then keep expanding until you do:
Another thing to think about when placing schools is coverage. Make sure that most of your sims are covered by your schools and libraries. We dont need to cover everyone just most of them for now. For the moment we only need 2 sets to get the best coverage:
By now you may be worrying about the high cost of the school system. Not to fret! Using the query tool click on one of the schools. You will see that there are two sliders here, one for staff funding and the other for bus funding. For now our bus coverage is acceptable. It is the staff funding we want to reduce. Slide the bar to the left until the total student capacity is reduced to a number that matches the current usage (if current usage is 0 then let the simulation run for a month or two). Then add about 200 for wiggle room. Do this for the libraries and other schools and now we are making money yet again:
Now we need some direction. Lets look at our demand graph. AH HA! The education system is already at work. Now we are starting to see some Industrial Manufacturing (IM) demand:
So to satisfy that demand we go back to Powerton. When we arrive the first thing we should do (for any city) is check our graphs. By now we may need to add another power plant and possibly another incinerator. If you are using the 0 funding technique for the incinerator then make sure to reset the power funding levels on all new utilities that get plopped.
Another interesting concept to mention here is the idea of industrial parcelization. Most of the time when you zone industry it does not make those little boxes with arrows (parcels). This lets the industry grow randomly and can create a lot of litle 1x1 industry buildings. To encourage big industry to grow we need to parcelize the zones.
We do this by holding down the CTRL key when we zone. Holding down CTRL and ALT will cause the zone to face in a different direction (for instances when zoning on a corner). Just experiment and you will eventually see what I mean. For more information on Industrial parcelization see StarrDarcy's thread on the subject:
And now we have our big industry moving in:
And our first IM building!
Back in Suburbia we do what we do best; EXPAND! This is a good time to relax and enjoy the music. Be creative, have fun and make interesting neighborhoods. We want to take our time here because the education system we just put in is going to take a while to get up to speed.
After a while we will see that more and more manufacturing demand is comming our way:
It seems that back in powerton we have quite a few big industries popping in and all of our parcels are filling up nicely:
So guess what? We expand some more and keep expanding until we have 0 industrial demand:
I want to point out that water pollution is a real issue in an industrial city. Notice that no matter how much I expand I do not put industry any where near my water pumps. Industry can cause quite a bit of water pollution and even at this distance it looks pretty bad:
So I suggest adding a bunch of trees (with god mode if you like) just to be safe. The reason we do this is to prevent our needing a water treatment plant which happens to be very expensive. So long as the query tool says that the water pollution is acceptable then we are good to go.
Meanwhile, back in Suburbia: our education is on the rise:
Hmmm, whats this? Industrial High Tech Demand along with IM! Our schools are doing very well! Also take note of the ID demand. It is in the negative. This is because all of the ID workers are starting to get an education and are looking for jobs in IM . Are we starting to see how the whole education/demand thing works?
And just to keep on track we are doing very well on income:
Now that we have some IHT demand it is important to go back to powerton and start manipulating the taxes. In powerton we want a strong IM labor market NOT IHT. If IHT starts moving in then the pollution will cause them to abandon and we are left with a bunch of buildings that have nothing in them. So to prevent IHT from moving into powerton we set IHT taxes to 20%, and while we are here we might as well relieve some more IM demand:
OK, Back to Suburbia (getting dizzy yet?). Things in our little burb are looking good and income is high. Now is the time to start thinking about health care.
Not all sims in a population of any city will be old enough to work. With poor health care the average age of the city will be low and people will die off before they have a chance to retire. To help increase the number of sims in our city that are of working age we need good health care. In other words a city of 10,000 sims and low health care will have fewer workers and lower demand than a city of 10,000 sims and high health care.
So here is the cycle of things with health care: better health means a higher percentage of workers in a given population. More workers means more demand for jobs. More jobs means more demand for workers and thus higher population. The cycle continues and grows and that is how we build a region.
Our city so far will need 2 hospitals for best coverage. Again, manipulate funding of the hospitals to ensure that our expenses remain below our income.
Another important aspect of the game which needs to be addressed at this time is that of Demand Caps. Demand Caps are a whole article unto themselves so I will only discuss them briefely here. When a population gets to a certain size the game has a cap which forces the demand to drop and no more of that developer type will grow. If demand cap relief is provided the cap is raised and more of that developer can come into the city.
The initial demand cap for R$ is set to 2000. We are getting very close to that now so we need some relief or else our city growth will stall. The best relief for residential is parks. The large flower garden and the large plaza provide the best demand cap relief. Thats right, plazas provide demand cap relief for residential not commercial. commercial gets demand cap relief from neighbor connections and airports.
One of each park should give us about 16,000 demand cap relief for all wealth levels.
Our next concern is commercial development. Our sims are getting more educated and are starting to demand more commerce. Zone your commerce along your main roads and let the sims build to their hearts content:
Another thing we can do while we are here in suburbia is to start providing for some of that IHT demand we have been saving up. IHT is nearly pollution free and has the same desirability requirements that residential does. We can very easily build a small IHT district right here in the city which will help by reducing commute times for the those people on the west side.
Before we start to zone, however, we must set taxes for ID and IM to 20% each or we might get a few stray IM buildings in the mix which can really screw us up (because of pollution).
OK, great, our city is off and running. By now we need to check on our education levels and by the looks of it, education is starting to level off. This could be due to many things such as abandonment or it could be due to our population getting older.
When a residential building abandons and new sims move in all of their statistics are reset to 0. this means 0 EQ and 0 HQ. So when we have lots of abandonment (common in a new city) the average education and health will seem to stagnate or fall. At this point in our city's evolution stability will be difficult.
To address the issue of our population getting older we can simply add a High School. One HS should be sufficient for our small town:
All of our primary services are now provided for and everything is going according to plan. Now we just keep expanding and growing our population. Add a new set of schools to cover any new development. Keep a close watch on power, water, garbage, demand and jobs. Remember that when adding new residents to the city our average education and health will seem to stagnate or fall. Give the game a few years to allow the new population to get up to speed before making any rash judgements.
Now that suburbia is starting to stabilize lets check in on powerton one more time. It seems that even with extra power plants, incinerators, and lots of water pumps we are making quite a profit:
Before we end this chapter there is one last concept to cover: mass transit. Our region is growing quite a bit now and the people on the west side of suburbia have quite a trek in the morning to get to the east side of powerton.
Our first and best option at this point is bus stops:
Once we put in bus stops in powerton we must let the simulation run for about a month or two to let the game realize what is there. When you start to see some busses on the roads then you should be ok to save, exit, and go back to Suburbia to set up some bus stations there.
There are many guides, FAQs and topics about mass tranist already on the forums so I will try to make this brief. Mass transit needs at least two stations to work; one in a residential area, and one in a job area (commercial or industrial). Try to have stations no more than 12 tiles from each other as sims are too lazy to walk more than 6 or so to get to them. Don't expect to make a profit off of mass transit in a suburb. The population density is not high enough for it. When we start getting into medium density and more that is when we will start to see profit in mass transit systems.
For now, our mass transit system is here to help reduce commute times and help stabilize the city.
As we end this chapter on making money I want to show a few graphs about where we are. We are starting to see more commercial, IM and IHT demand, our education is steadily rising, our R$ population is looking healthy, and above all we are MAKING MONEY!
At this point you can start to decorate your city. Parks are more than just eye candy. They provide much needed residential demand cap relief. Don't go overboard though since you will have to pay for it all. also, your population should be stabilizing which means that while you decorate your education should be increasing steadily.
In Chapter 3 we will start to focus on commerical development, IHT growth, and try to build up some more neighbors to help our regional demand.
CHAPTER 3: Commercial Development and High Density Zoning
Please PM soldyne if you have any questions about this article.
So far in this guide we have taken a new region, untouched by human actions, and built a quaint little burg of single family residences supported by heavy industry and corner grocers. The region is starting to become a rather popular place though, and the mayor (that's us) has high hopes for high rises. In this chapter we will be exploring the more advanced aspects of city building where we start to attract tall buildings, crowded populations and advanced technologies.
The only way to get our Central Business District up and running is to build a healthy supporting region. There are two main reasons why we need a large, stable region: increased demand, and stage caps.
We have already discussed demand and all the intricate ways in which it is influenced including health and education. One thing about demand which is important enough to mention again is how each developer type influences demand of the others. Demand influence is a big circle; a resident from a certain wealth level and education level will demand a certain percentage of both commercial and industrial type jobs. Even though this one resident will only work at one of these jobs he will still create demand for both. When we zone for both types we will get businesses to move in to fill the demand. when the businesses (comm and ind) move in they in turn generate their own demand for more workers of a particular type. So, to fill this demand we zone more residential and the cycle continues. This is how the simulator is designed and this is how we build our region. I call it the "Leap Frog Effect". This is also why a new city is so hard to get started because we have so few workers and jobs generating such a little amount of demand. It is difficult to start but once the demand ball gets rolling it will be hard to stop.
Knowing this important bit of info is integral in controlling how your region will develop. If you want your city to develop in a certain way then you must affect your residents with varying civic services (health levels, education levels, wealth levels) to generate the right kind of demand in other areas. For instance high and medium wealth citizens of high education will create more demand for CO$ and CO$ (for our CBD) where as low education and low wealth will demand more CS$ and ID. The Prima Guide for SimCity 4 actually has a very nice chart which details the relationships between wealth levels, education levels and demand generation by developer type. Get this guide if you don't have it already and get to know this table very well.
The next concept to understand is that of stage caps. Don't confuse stage caps with demand caps. Demand caps will limit the growth of your population overall within a single city. These can be increased by placing rewards, parks, making neighbor connections and just doing what it is you are supposed to do anyway to make a city healthy and stable. Where a demand cap is related to population size within a city, a stage cap is realted to building size within a region. stage caps are a way for the game to limit the size of your buildings and is directly related to your population size and so is limited by demand caps as well. In other words, to get skyscrappers you need to have a very large population. The game will not allow (without cheating) high rises in a region of 30,000 people, it just wont happen. The good news is, that your total region population counts toward the stage caps in every city in that region. If you have a region with 1 million people and start a new map you can easily start zoning with high density and get skyscrappers right away (so long as you have the right kind of demand, desirability and utilities).
There are 8 building stages. Low density zoning will allow for stages 1-3. Medium density zoning will allow for stages 1-5 and high density zoning will allow for all stage sizes (6-8 being your sky scrappers). Tto even start thinking about stage 6-8 buildings we need a population of at least 100,000 sims. So you have 100,000 sims in your region and still don't have a sky scrapper jungle? This is because you can only have a certain percentage of your buildings in each stage level. The percentage of level 1-3 buildings is much higher than larger buildings in a small city. when the population grows the percentages shift toward the taller buildings. Even with 100,000 sims you might only be allowed to have 1-2% of your buildings as stage 6 buildings but still not be allowed stage 7 or 8. So for every 100 buildings only 1-2 of them are allowed to be stage 6 (as an example). As the population increases the percentages for taller buildings increase. If you want a large high rise forest then you are going to need at least a 500,000 or higher population and even then most of your buildings will still be in the 5-6 range.
The good news is that once sky scrappers start showing up they come with quite a bit of capacity. A high rise may have as many as 1000-2000 people in it, all of which will create demand for more jobs which in turn create demand for more residents. Best of all, each new skyscrapper that builds adds its large population to your overall region total. So, you can easily see that once a region starts growing it can be very easy to keep it growing. The biggest problem then is to make sure it does not grow out of hand or collapse under its own weight. but, I am getting ahead of myself.
Back in Fairview we still have a small region size. Our overall goal in all of this (other than making a profit) is to build a CBD on the north riverbank (to the south of suburbia). But to do this we will need a much higher population. So our current goal is to attract more people.
The best way to attract more people is to ensure that our commercial and industrial demands are always satisfied (near zero). If we have demand for either of these types then we must zone more area for them to develop. We can also spend some time zoning for more residential, but, keep in mind that the more residential you zone for the more unemployment you will have.
Here is what I have done with suburbia to finish it off. I added some high class citizens to help increase our CO$ and CS$ demand and I added more suburbs to help bolster the overall population.
Fariview is actually a rather small region with many small maps. This will make it difficult for us to satisfy our demand in the surrounding areas. Remember though that a true artist will not see obstacles, only opportunities! Use what you have here and use all the information from the previous chapters and other guides out there to start expanding the region around suburbia.
I have chosen to satisfy IHT demand by building Industrial parks to the west. One thing to remember here is that power can only be be bought or sold, not both. This means that each new city you start must also be touching a power producing city or produce its own power. This can be good if you want to start a new ID or IM city, but with a res, comm, or IHT city it can get a little hairy. Do your best and use your imagination but try to use the techniques you have learned up to this point to keep each new city in the black and making a profit.
With IHT taken care of we can start concentrating on increasing population. Gridburg to the south west of suburbia will be our first attempt at a more urban landscape. We will give this area a more gridded and planned feel with the road layout and zone all of our areas ahead of time. Here we are going to start right off with medium density. our region population is big enough right now to afford us a decent number of stage 4 or 5 buildings. We are lucky that the city just to the west of gridburg is just big enough to provide for one power plant and one incinerator to get us up and running.
Once we get some power and water into our city we can let the simulator loose and see what happens. With our region population and neighbor demand feeding our city we are blessed with an inundation of 27,000 people in just under 6 years! This is the effect of region play; new city to urban sprawl in the blink of an eye (don't you just love popcorn?).
Don't forget to allow room for education and health. in a city with medium density you will start to have a problem with overcrowding in your civic buildings (health care especially). if you have overcrowding just build another building of the same type in the area. the load will be spread nearly evenly between the multiple buildings. You can also experiment with the bus/ambulance radius funding.
A smaller radius will be responsible for less people. A good tactic for urban areas is to have many civic buildings with a $0 bus/ambulance funding level. This will allow the service to concentrate on a small area and allow you to create small neighborhoods and reduce overcrowding. It can also be a great money saver!
One of the problems with larger buildings is that they tend to eat up a lot of power and make a lot of trash. The good news is that with 27,000 R$ and R$ in the city we qualify for a solar plant! the solar plant allows us to produce home grown power with no pollution. This is what I like to think of as a tactical use of reward buildings.
At this point we can start planning our CBD (finaly!). Here we are also going to want a grid layout but with more avenues. Remember this will be a true CBD meaning that it will have no residential or commercial buildings at all. We are going to have a lot of traffic comming into the city so we need to plan mass transit and roads ahead of time. To save money we will only build avenues in one direction and roads in the other. this will help reduce maintenance costs overall and will give us a guidline when we zone. We will lay out our zones facing along the avenues and leave the roads as though they were alleyways between the buildings which will give our CBD a more NYC look and feel (IMHO). Of course, this part is all about design which is up to you. but, it is important to think about mass transit and your road layout before the developers start building. Once you get high rises in there it will not be very easy or cheap to upgrade roads to avenues.
Another problem we have is that we dont have a small city next to our CBD in which we can build a power town. We do have an empty city to the east but this would be better served as another medium/high density res city to help increase population and demand. So, how do we handle power and trash?
Power is easy. Remember that gridburg won the right to build solar power plants. these plants will produce enough energy for the city and plenty left over to sell to the CBD. the CBD will have power and gridburg will have extra money to pay for the upkeep.
The trash however, will be more complicated. We will need to export the trash from Downtown to its neighbors. the neighbors then need to export that same trash to either another neighbor or a trash town. By now we have two or three trash towns, so the difficulty will be in getting the right amount of trash exported to the right place before it piles up and starts driving people away.
in addition to avenues and roads we will want to have some mass transit here. With the kind of large population we are expecting we are going to need something more than just bus stops. Rush Hour offers many forms of mass transit, but, subway is (IMHO) the best choice. it takes up very little space on the surface (stations mostly), it is the second fastest form of transportation (monorail being fastest) and is the easiest to lay out (you can have 90 degree intersections with subway, all the other mass transit forms need gentle sloping curves which take up more space). Maintenance is not that bad on subway but the initial cost is the killer.
When layout out your new zones and networks leave ample space for mass transit stations. also remember to go back to your residential cities and add subway and bus stops there too. At first only connect a few subway stations up and wait for the simulator catch up. also, make sure not to overspend. Ensure you are still making a profit and let the bank account build for a bit before finishing your subway masterpiece.
At this point in the game our CBD will be quite small and sickly. We dont have nearly enough demand or population to have the kind of city we want. Our next step is to do what we have been doing from start; expand, grow, and develop. Increase you population and raise your demand and stage caps.
Here is how I expanded my region and started to get high rises (stage 6 buildings). I built another residential town to the east of the CBD and built some more industrial areas to the east of that. I then expanded to the south bank of the river and started building on the south side.
Here is waffleton. 53,000 sims in just under 13 years. As always profit is a standard.
South Ville is directly south of downtown across the river. it was very difficult to connect this city to downtown via the bridge. it took some fancy terrain modification to make things work out, but I got it and now this city is growing like crazy; 67,000 sims in 11 game years! Also, notice that I am now starting to get stage 6 buildings for my residential population. Just one step closer to our CBD!
Finally we go back to our Downtown CBD and we can see that demand and stage caps are working in our favor. the CBD is building up just as planned but we are still not seeing many large buildings. this is just a matter of not having enough commercial population in the region, and, by now, we should all know what to do about that; expand, expand, expand!
One last thing you should know is that demand is only shared between cities if there is a land connection between them. this means that for city A to share its demand with City B there must be a road, highway or avenue connection between them. Ferries will not work, nor will airports. I am not sure if subways, rail or monorail will work, but you can experiment with this if you like. road connections are not only important for commercial and industrial demand cap relief but they are also vital to the concept of regional demand.
This particular region is not the best for developing huge CBDs. it was merely chosen to be a quick easy tutorial region. once you are confident that you have learned all the lessons presented in this guide feel free to try larger regions or even design your own. the more space you have for building the easier it will be to get he megalopolis of your dreams.
There is really nothing more I can teach you at this point.
- You know about the demand cycle and how education, health, and developer types influence demand.
- You know about stage caps and region population.
- You know about buying and selling resources and why its important to keep pollution away from the populace.
- You know about demand caps and how to increase them; parks for residential, connections for commercial and industrial.
- You know how to manipulate funding for utilities and civic buildings and why it is important and how it affects your bottom line.
- You know the basics of mass transit and why it is important to plan for the future right from the start.
- You how to start small, build slowly, make short and long term goals.
- You know why it is important to keep your demand satisfied as much as possible and how to influence your employment rates using health and education.
- You know how to manipulate developer types and wealth levels with zone sizes and tax manipulation.
- Best of all, you now know how to Make Money The Easy Way!
Good luck and keep playing and experimenting. you can always contact me through a PM or start a thread in the forums for a public discussion about my guide. If you have a good question then I am sure there are many others who can benefit from its answer.