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Education experiment

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Recently, there have been some posts about education("questions about education," "the 550 year education experiment"), so I decided to perform a little experiment:

First, I made a new area, and on the small grids, I built 5 different cities, all zoned kinda based on a post I made several months ago called "new neighborhood design," though I think I have modified it some since I made that post.

In the first city's "city center", I put in a police station, fire station, harbor clinic hospital(that was overkill, but I will discuss that a bit more in my conclusion), and no educational facilities whatsoever.  Then I built a city with the same "city center", but with an elementary school, then a third with both an elemetary and high school, then another with both types of schools, and the other educational facilities of branch library, museum, and community college.  I decided also to build another city with not only all the educational facilities that come at the start of the game, but also the educational facilities that come with the "you don't deserve it" cheat.

For the schools, I upped the amount they are funded from whatever the default is to the maximal amount, for other educational facilities  (such as the branch library), I left the funding at the default level.

In each city I put an "infinite money park" and let the city run for 2-3 months before I started zoning, so I would not have to worry about whether the city made or lost money.  I also used the "cosmic neutrino power plant" so I did not have to worry about water or electricity (which also comes in a "business deal form that gives $50000/month), and I plonked down a hyperspace garbage disposal so I did not have to worry about that either.
I hope this is an adequate description of the zoning I did in each city, but after I zoned them, I let them run for 20 game years, declining any rewards that I earned, though I think the only rewards I got were the upgraded pumps and schools, neither of which I needed (the upgraded schools would be very improtant if I had used high-density residential, but not with the medium-density that I did use).  I also got the mayor's house, which probably does make some difference, but probably not a lot, and I wanted to be as consistent as I could from city to city.

These are my results.  Many of the numbers are my "best guess" from the appropriate graph, and I hope that I got them all transcribed correctly:

No Education:
Population: $-5600 $$-650 $$$-100
Industrial: D-3000 M-160  HT-0
C. Service: $-1200 $$-110 $$$-7
C. Office:         $$-140 $$$-15
EQ: 0, Mayor Rating: 50, Cashflow (w/o mods) per month: -$3000

Population: $-3200 $$-2400 $$$-480
Industrial: D-1600 M-820  HT-9
C. Service: $-700 $$-400 $$$-28
C. Office:         $$-660 $$$-87
EQ: 50, Mayor Rating: 65, Cashflow (w/o mods) per month: -$200

Elementary + High
Population: $-4800 $$-4500 $$$-800
Industrial: D-1800 M-1100  HT-280
C. Service: $-450 $$-850 $$$-140
C. Office:         $$-1200 $$$-500
EQ: 110, Mayor Rating: just over60, Cashflow (w/o mods) per month: +$500

Elementary + High + Other(comm. coll., library, museum)
Population: $-11000 $$-5900 $$$-1500
Industrial: D-3000 M-1600  HT-1200
C. Service: $-24 $$-330 $$$-330
C. Office:         $$-1200 $$$-1900
EQ: 140, Mayor Rating: just over 60, Cashflow (w/o mods) per month: -$400

All Education + "you don't deserve it" education cheats
Population: $-1200 $$-2500 $$$-650
Industrial: D-280 M-200  HT-700
C. Service: $-0 $$-550 $$$-260
C. Office:         $$-590 $$$-1100
EQ: almost 200, Mayor Rating: ~69, Cashflow (w/o mods) per month: -$2000

These are the conclusions I draw from the results of this experiment:

One of the questions asked was whether it makes a difference if the coverage area of schools needs to cover inustrial/commercial areas.  I don't think so, and the reason why I don't is that if you go to "data views", and select "education," stats ("low," "med," "high," etc) are shown for residential areas, but no education stats, positive or negative, are shown for industrial/commercial areas, though I suppose an experiment with educational coverage in just the residential areas vs. a city with coverage in all areas (residential or not), could be devised to determine this.

I think overall the cities got "slightly better" in the cited statistics as educational facilities were added in, at least until the last city with the "you don't deserve it" cheats.  Perhaps, using the cheat invoked some kind of penalty, that at least in the short term, made things "worse," I just don't know.

However, I got to thinking, and although after a short amount of game years (20) the city with the "you don't deserve it" cheats was "almost as bad" in most of its stats as the "no education" city, I think that if the cities had run for a longer amount of time (100, 200, 500, or even 1000 game years), the 
"no education city" would not have gone much past where it was based on its stats (EQ=0, mayor rating = 50), but the "you don't deserve it" cheat city was poised to expand in terms of r$$$ population and HT indstry based on its stats (EQ=almost 200, mayor rating = 69.)

I also think that without the mods (infinite money park, hyperspace garbage dump, cosmic neutrino power plant), each of these cities could have been tweaked (zoning, money spent on health care, education) to make money.  As I mentioned before, the harbor clinic hospital was overkill because I looked the number of patients in the hospitals, and the number could have been handled by either a fully funded clinic or partially funded general hospital, both of which are cheaper than even the lowest level of funding for the harbor clinic hospital (I think).

I also got to thinking about it and I think my final statistic, that I called "cashflow (w/o mods)" is perhaps a bit misleading. The reason I say this is because I subtracted the $50000 is got from the business deal of the cosmic neutrino plant and then compared the city income vs. city expenses.  However, it is not quite this simple because I would have not had essentially free power and water either, but would have had to factor in the cost (both envirinmental and monetary) of having a power plant and water pumps supplied by the game.

So my final conclusion is that educational facilities are not necessary at all, at least if the goal is to make money, as I think any of my "test" cities could be tweaked to make money without it.  If the goal is to make the most money possible get a high EQ, or to attract rich people, or HT industry, they are essential. 

As to a question asked in the thread "question about education," whether high schools are necessary, the answer depends on your goal in playing the game.  The city can probably be tweaked to make money without them, and in the short run they will cost money both to build and to operate.  However in the long run they will increase the overall EQ, and thus increase the proportion of R$$$, HT industry, CS$$$, and CO$$$, all of which will increase your income.  If your goals are something else, such as mayor rating, or whatever, increasing the EQ with more schools will probably help as well.

Brian Christiansen

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  • Original Poster
  • 31 minutes ago, APSMS said:


    Some pictures would really assist us in understanding the details of this experiment but overall it's nicely executed.


    I considered putting in some pictures, but in the end I wasn't sure of exactly what to put in - pictures of the way I zoned the cities, I am pretty sure I zoned all the cities the same so I could do that with basically 1 picture, the "city service centers" I built for each city, which would be 5 pictures, or pictures of the different graphs of how the various things (R$$$, HT etc,) grew and changed over the 20 years that I ran each city, though by doing a quick count, I am pretty sure that would be well over 50 pictures.  If you perhaps give me some hints about what pictures would be most helpful, I will start working on taking the appropriate screen shots and posting them to my flickr account, though I have no idea how long it will take me to do so

    Brian Christiansen

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    11 hours ago, brianc1327 said:

    I considered putting in some pictures, but in the end I wasn't sure of exactly what to put in

    As one experimenter to another I generally try to provide before and after pics as a minimum. Even tho things can be explained fully in text I feel it helps peeps visualize what's going on as if they had their game up on the screen. Possible suggestions then might be:

    • Here's how I set up city 1 just before I turned on time and showing the education radii.
    • Here it is at year xxx and showing the education graph.
    • And then the same for each separate experiment.

    On one hand those may seem redundant since you've already explained it, but also I feel those pics draw the reader in so they are more engaged in what it all looks like. I might also suggest showing what it looks like much later in time like 100 years. The ups and downs of the EQ graph can tie in with how stable the population is. (If that's part of what we are learning. Or how an unstable population is affected if the Sims are moving in and out a lot.)

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  • Original Poster
  • Here are some pictures of my education experiment, which I redid under windows.  I redid the experiment under windows for 2 reasons: to see if it made much difference going from linux/wine to windows (it didn't, really), and a technical problem I am having with taking linux screenshots.

    Before I show the pictures, I suppose I ought to try to explain the problem I am having with taking linux screen shots.  It is only when playing SC4 that I am having this problem.  Normally, under linux, when I press the print screen key, a window comes up in about the middle of the screen that has the options of copying it to the clipboard (presumably to open it in GIMP or Inkscape) or to save it as a file called "screenshot from mm/dd/yyyy.png," though it can be renamed, and what directory to save it to.

    When I am playing SC4, when I press the print screeen button, instead of a window in the middle of the screen, the window from the screenshot is full screen, with only the screenshot visible on the left side of the screen, just blankness on the right side of the screen.  The buttons for copying to the clipboard and saving to a file are not visible, and I can't figure out any way get rid of the "print screen" screenshot other than  to restart the computer with the power button.

    I have tried a few troubleshooting steps.  I have tried the "-W" switch on the command to start linux, but under linux/wine that command doesn't seem to do anything, at least not on my system.  I ran "wincfg"  to see if there is anything I can do there, but I didn't see anything.  Since I did not find a solution (at least yet), I decided it would just be easier to run it again in windows.

    Well, any way my first picture is of how I set up my towns.  I originally thought I would put up pictures of how I set up all of my towns, but decided that would be a waste of server space since my second town, called "elementary," was the same in zoning and the "city center", just with an elementary school added, the next town, called "High School," had a High School added, my next town, called "All," had the branch library, the community college, and the museum added, and my final town had  the educational facilities from the "You don't deserve it" cheat added as well (the branch library and the city museum were totally replaced with the main library and the major art museum".  I also think the pictures that I have showing the RCI trends show I changed the "city centers as well."

    How I zoned my cities as shown by the "no education" city. The zones (RCI) are all medium density, if I were "really playing" this city, I would probably tweak that some, as I will discuss at the end of this message:

    no education zoning

    Here are the pictures showing the RCI trends of my cities over 20 years.  I decided that  20 years for each city was enough, because the graphs indicate, at least to me, that they had reached and equilibrium, and would not have changed much if I had run them longer, such as 100 game years

    No education:

    no education - 20 yrs - pop growthno education - 20 yrs - comm svc growthno education - 20 yrs - comm office growth


    no education -20 yrs- industrial growth



    elementary = 20 yr - population


    elementary - 20 yr - commercial offices


    elementary - 20 yr - commercial serviceselementary - 20 yr - industrial


    High School (I messed up a few of these screen shots, but since they conveyed the information I wanted, I decided not to redo them):

    High School - 20 yr - populationHigh School - 20 yr - commercial offices


    High School - 20 yr - commercial services


    High School - 20 yr - industrial

    All educational facilities:

    All - 20 yr - populationAll - 20 yr - commercial offices


    All - 20 yr - commercial services


    All - 20 yr - industrial

    All + "you don't deserve it cheat

    You don't deserve it - 20 yrs - population


    You don't deserve it - 20 yrs - commercial services


    You don't deserve it - 20 yrs - commercial offices


    You don't deserve it - 20 yrs - industry


    I think this mostly conveys somewhat the same information as I presented in the chart in my original post, just hopefully in an easier to understand format.  I did not include graph of the educational level in each town, because the point of my experiment was to see how adding in the educational facilities changed the RCI ratios and demand levels, and not the EQ itself.

    Obviously, as can be seen by the money amounts in each picture, I used the "Infinite money park" and the business deal form of the "Cosmic Neutrino Power Plant", so whether my city was or was not making money was not an issue.

    I only ran each city for ~20 game years, as I did not think it would make much difference if I ran them for longer, such as 100 game years.  I, however, thought about what I would do if I played the the "no education" city for 100 game years, and this is what I would do, at least at first:

    1. Build the rewards I had won so far, the mayor's house and the church (I think) as these seem to have a positive influence on RCI demand.
    2. Increase the agriculture tax to 20% so as to kill any demand for that.
    3. Tweak the zoning as follows: Change the residential from medium density to high density, perhaps change some of the Industrial to residential, and change the medium density industrial to high density industrial since this town is not going to attract much HT industry, so I might as well zone it to attract the large factories that high density zoning is supposed to attract.
    4. If money were a concern, I would either reduce the funding for the Harbor Clinic hospital to the absolute minimum I could, or replace it with either the in-game clinic or medical center.

    Brian Christiansen

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    I believe one aspect of the game this experiment shows is the Maxis programmers really intended for Mayors to use all the educational facilities. Using the Meta-Chart site I created bar charts of the Residential population based on the numbers from your original post:

    R$ Pop Chart.jpg

    R$$ Pop Chart.jpg

    R$$$ Pop Chart.jpg


    Someone with skill in charts could prolly do it all in one where each of the three could be grouped together for the 5 different educational facilities.

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  • Original Poster
  • Yes, I did not analyze it the same way, but it was quite noticeable, even after only 20 game years, that the R$$$, Co$$$, Cs$$$, and HT (which I suppose could be called I$$$) go up quite a bit when using all the educational facilities.  That is why I really don't like to build a city without them, even if I do not use the "infinite money park" and the Cosmic Neutrino power plant and money is an issue.  I just have to be a bit more methodical in building the city, and a little more careful about my education/health funding levels (I can't just set them to the max and not worry about it, I have to gradually increase them, the hospital/school going on strike being my indication about when to increase the funding or build a new one).

    Brian Christiansen

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  • Original Poster
  • I also wanted to add that I might use the meta-chart facility in the future I devise another experiment to present some of my results.  It looks like it fairly easy to use and somewhat similar to the "bar graph" functionality of Word or LibreOffice. 

    Brian Christiansen

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