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MKate

Always just getting by

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So I've been playing Sim City 4 for quite some time. I've just recently gotten back into it. I have always started on Easy until now to try and challenge myself a bit more. I think I have been doing pretty well. I have managed to always keep a surplus going and the money is always being made. I am now in my 32nd year and I have built up a pretty great residential city with 2 industrial neighboring cities for my sims to work. The issue I am having is that I am always just "getting by". I always have to wait until I have enough revenue to put in a new school or clinic or whatever is necessary. I can never afford anything else. I cannot afford anything that has a monthly cost of over 1500 it seems. My answer was always adding new residential zones and commercial zones, but I am running out of room. I have upped it to medium density but it doesn't seem to be doing the trick what so ever. I also have neighbor deals but that still isn't making enough. I tried to raise the taxes but the demand dipped and never came back up. Buildings are now being abandoned due to low demand. I was doing so well for so long and now, I have hit trouble and I need help! Thank you.

 

MKate

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Have you try the microbudget tactic to solve those problem? Remember, you only have to pay around $20-30 for the school buses and ambulances, and reduce your spending on schools and hospitals until the max. capacity reduced to the point when it is just slightly above the used capacity (as long as there is still more capacity than used capacity, no strike would be happened). By simply doing that, you will have to be able to cut quite some unnecessary expenses. However, never try to reduce the funding for police, firefighters, and road maintenance, or be prepared to face the consequences. While for other things, you can check your ordinances, remove most money-consuming ordinances that may bring your city to bankruptcy, and I suggest you to legalizing gambling, +$100 is not really that bad, especially when you are in need of more extra incomes. I hope this would help you to figure out how to solve your problem.

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To add to what Jason already said: main income from game comes from CS and R$$, then R$$$ and CO, R$ and transport.
I don't know how big is your city, but taxes on R$, R$$, and C$$$ should be 0,1% smaller than Enough to boost demand and still have decent profit. Also, as strange it may sound, lower taxes on CO$$-$$$ to about 7-7,5%. In long run it means higher demand for R$$-R$$$ workforce (more R$$-R$$$ houses = higher income, more R$$-R$$$ residents, more CS structures = even more income), educated workforce, so don't neglect your schools/libraries. Build toll booths near exits from city as you probably have enough commuters to make it worthwhile.

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Yes, there's no need to invest when there isn't enough demand to support. Otherwise it's basically money going down the drain. Try to keep an eye on the supply vs. demand for each service (e.g. schools, clinics, power). I suggest to leave the used capacity some margin for expansion, which will increase along with your city's population.

 

With taxes, always proceed with caution, making small adjustments. If there's a high amount from a specific wealth type (e.g. lots of ID - dirty industrial), increasing the tax % can generate a larger increase. But sometimes, it's best to consider the effect on the building types, rather than just the added income. Raising them too much can neutralise demand, and cause other problems.

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Just to add a bit more in case anyone else kind of missed the meaning of micromanaging. 

 

Make sure to query each individual civic building (education, safety, power) to adjust the funding locally. Only fund enough to cover the demand, and don't waste money on overlapping buses/ambulances, at least till you have the surplus to cover them.

 

I wouldn't use the budget menu to adjust the budget globally for those civic types. From what I've read, I believe when you adjust the global budget, it then sets all the local budgets to the same %. That can throw your civic buildings out of balance and cause wasted spending or over usage without you even knowing till you check each building locally again.

 

Some more money saving advice, don't be afraid to lower your Parks&Recs budget, as well as the Gov Buildings budget. If you place a lot of parks, you'll eat up a good portion of your income if you don't lower those budgets in the early stages of building a city. 

 

After time, you'll know when you have enough surplus to start slowly increasing said budget types till they're back to 100%. 

 

EDIT: Allowing gambling should one of the first things you do when starting a new region. That $100mth comes in handy. And I wouldn't worry about ordinances till you see the Sims calling for it in the New ticker.

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  • Original Poster
  • Thanks for the tips, guys. I have done some of that already such as lower the school budgets to only cover what is needed. I also did the same with the power plant as was advised from someone else. I did not think of lowering the higher wealth taxes like AcronShirna suggested. I was thinking the other way around but it makes sense! Let me see if it works and I hope it does!!

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    Taxes can be a bit tricky and definitely harder to give advice on. 

     

    I personally have 90% of my budget still above neutral (9.0% until a certain population before that number starts to drop) in my regions 2nd Century (220years/120kpop). Only lower it when I have a surplus worthy of lowering it. Or if I notice a certain demand dropping for what ever reason. That'll usually spawn me to decrease it a bit more. But usually only in 2/10 increments. Don't sway the taxes heavily in any direction or it could have an adverse effect on your city. At least for while till the sim balances out again. But that can take some time before it happens.

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    In addition to the foregoing, have you thought of putting tolls on your neighbour connections?  Great source of revenue and with NAM, only slows the traffic slightly.  I have a couple of electronic toll booths the operate unmanned and they are a great help.  Look for them by Goldiva.

     

    The other thing to be watchful about is the ageing population.  After 32 Sim Years you shouldn't be having this yet, but it will come.  Take a look at the Population by Age display.  Maybe some of the money you are spending on schools should be for museums, libraries, parks and recreational facilities.  Demand for this shows as blue in that display.  As your need for schools drops, you can replace some of them with museums.

     

    Also, keep some areas for low level workers and jobs.  As your Sims age out, you will need somewhere for the young Sims to work.  Try to keep some CS$ and even a home farm or two.  Dirty industry can be phased out (raise taxes to 20%), but keep good industrial around, but not too much.  Remember you can expropriate farms as things go along, but you have to keep jobs for the R$ entering the workforce.

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  • Original Poster
  • In addition to the foregoing, have you thought of putting tolls on your neighbour connections?  Great source of revenue and with NAM, only slows the traffic slightly.  I have a couple of electronic toll booths the operate unmanned and they are a great help.  Look for them by Goldiva.

     

    The other thing to be watchful about is the ageing population.  After 32 Sim Years you shouldn't be having this yet, but it will come.  Take a look at the Population by Age display.  Maybe some of the money you are spending on schools should be for museums, libraries, parks and recreational facilities.  Demand for this shows as blue in that display.  As your need for schools drops, you can replace some of them with museums.

     

    Also, keep some areas for low level workers and jobs.  As your Sims age out, you will need somewhere for the young Sims to work.  Try to keep some CS$ and even a home farm or two.  Dirty industry can be phased out (raise taxes to 20%), but keep good industrial around, but not too much.  Remember you can expropriate farms as things go along, but you have to keep jobs for the R$ entering the workforce.

     

    Thanks for this as well! I don't actually have NAM or any mods or CC installed. (Not because I don't want them, just because my old computer can't handle it!) I do however thank you for the advice about the older folks. It never really occurred to me what to do with my aging population, and yes I do have one! One of my elementary schools in my first neighborhoods has 1 student and I wasn't sure what to do about that. I definitely will put museums and such in. I don't want to completely get rid of the school yet because I was thinking that eventually a younger crowd will move in. Am I correct in thinking this? (Although, demolishing it and then rebuilding in the same place later on might be an option so I won't be paying the extra for it not being used, but is that more costly to do so?)

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    Thanks for this as well! I don't actually have NAM or any mods or CC installed. (Not because I don't want them, just because my old computer can't handle it!)

     

    The lack of the NAM traffic simulator is really holding you back, and without it, certain problems are insurmountable.  Try downloading the NAM and then choose the "Traffic Simulator Only" option in the installer.  This will add only 2K to your game - a completely insignificant amount.  But the difference in the game play will be quite significant indeed.

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  • Original Poster
  • Yes, I know what I am missing and it is frustrating! My old (but newer) computer was annihilated and I had NAM and other things on it. I'll try just the simulator out but my computer itself only has about 500MB RAM (told up it was old!) So I am still not sure it can handle it.

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    Yes, I know what I am missing and it is frustrating! My old (but newer) computer was annihilated and I had NAM and other things on it. I'll try just the simulator out but my computer itself only has about 500MB RAM (told up it was old!) So I am still not sure it can handle it.

    My seven year old Mac only has 512 mb and I use the NAM and 2 gigs of custom content, so you should be able to swing a little.

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    Get the NAM, install the traffic controller, and live a little.  If you need to, you can turn off your Internet connection while playing.  I think running full screen will use less than running in a window.  The game, on my machine, takes only 650 MB with about 1 GB of plugins and around 150000 Sims (Measurements are right now). 

     

    The basic text is much smaller, around 300 MB.  If you are running XP or later, this will swap to your virtual (I hope).  I ran with small memory for several years.  Remember that as your plugins are processed they are reduced to table entries in the in-memory data base, often only a few bytes and sometimes they overlay other things.  It is a matter of experimentation.  It is a bit of a challenge.

     

    On the other hand, a newer box with more RAM would certainly help your situation.  This box cost me less than $500 Cdn over 3 years ago, and it has dual Athlon X2 with 4 GB RAM and a half TB HDD.

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    Here's a mod that won't slow down your computer one bit and will save you lots of money on ambulances and school buses:

      

    It doubles the radius of effect for Maxis civic buildings and I think it makes the game more realistic.

     

    Personally, I would leave the taxes alone; it's not worth the changes to demand that comes with micromanaging them. My cities usually do OK with money, but I don't plop landmarks or city hall, etc. until much later. Could that be part of the problem?

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