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Teleworking and automation in SimCity 4

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Imagine a city where most Sims  (or even all of them) can work from the comfort of their home, without having to commute twice a day. A city, where industries and farms can produce their products without workers, and where commercial buildings run as access warehouses from where you can get whatever you wish delivered by a drone. Sounds like a science fiction concept, but actually it's a reality which is approaching us day by day. This is what happens if you combine teleworking and automation.

Teleworking is the ability to work from wherever you want, even from your house. You don't have to spend time traveling by bus or car to get to your job. Just turn on your laptop, your smartphone or your PC and get to work. The benefits are enormous. Teleworking reduces traffic jams and air pollution, and make easier for the teleworkers to balance their family responsibilities and personal lifestyle, while protecting them from detrimental situations. In other words, teleworking allows you to work, listen to your favorite music and spend some time with your children, while you're protected from the rain and the seasonal influenza, all at the same time. Automation is the form of technology that can perform actions without human assistance. Automation today is at the center of a very hot debate. Some people claim that the technological unemployment it produces will eventually destroy our economic system and even our civilization, while others claim that automation can change our economic system to the better and liberate man from any kind of labor, allowing her/him to be free and pursue higher things.

So, can we play with teleworking and automation on Simcity? And if yes, what results we'll get? Let's find it out.

There is a mod named RCImulti made by @niloluiz. It's actually a pack with mini mods for various aspects of the game, like jobs and demand. The one I'm most interested about is the "homejobs", that deals with residential caps and adds jobs at the residential buildings, allowing Sims to actually work at home.

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OK, not exactly at their home. Technically, Sims can work at somebody else' home. This can simulate jobs like baby sitters and gardeners, but it's also the closest thing we can have for teleworking as well.

All homes and apartment buildings will keep housing their Sims, providing this time some jobs for other Sims as well. How many jobs depends on the file you'll choose to use. The "10pct_homejobs_uncapped.dat" will provide 10% of the building capacity in jobs, so an apartment building that houses 100 Sims will provide 10 residential jobs. The "25pct_homejobs_uncapped.dat" will provide, you guess it, 25%. But the most radical file is, hands down, the "100pct_homejobs_uncapped.dat". It gives all the capacity of the building in jobs. In other words, the apartment building of our example will house 100 Sims and give jobs to 100 Sims at the same time!

So, what will happen if all Sims can work at their home? What if all Sims can telework? I've made a little experiment to find it out, and the results are very interesting to say the least. For this experiment the only files I had in my plugins folder are the 100pct_homejobs_uncapped.dat and the Simoleon RH to get more money from taxes. No NAM, no CAM (although I'm not sure if the homejobs files are CAMpatible at all), no nothing. Only those two files.

First, we need a city. A big one, with plenty of Sims, traffic, and unemployment. And no mass transit. I'm too lazy to build one from scratch, so I used the Big City Tutorial city from the Timbuktu region. No teleworking, for now.

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I've changed many things at this city, like adding parks and police stations and bringing more heavy industries. And as you can see, the city remained a mess, with a lot of abandoned and dilapidated homes.

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We all know that Sims are too lazy to pick the fastest route instead the shortest one, but I thing the main reason why there are so many abandoned homes is the serious lack of jobs.

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As about the traffic, it's bad in some spots. This city has only streets and roads. Not even a single avenue.

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So yeah, this city is miserable, even with all those parks and hospitals I've build. But what if we use the teleworking trick? What if all Sims had the alternative of working at their home? Will this technology solve both the traffic and the unemployment problems at the same time? The answer, is yes!

After adding the 100pct_homejobs_uncapped.dat file at the plugins folder, I demolished all the abandoned and dilapidated homes to make room for new Sims to come. When that happened, the new Sims found a job. Instead of looking for a job at the offices and industries, finding nothing and leaving the city, they got residential jobs. In our case, they start teleworking. All Sims can now work, from factories or from their homes. Or from wherever they wish.

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Since Sims doesn't even have to get out of their homes, traffic has been having improved a lot. Safer streets, cleaner air...

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...and a serious drop of car use!

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While experimenting and playing around, I discovered that the mod will affect immediately only the new Sims and not the older ones, unless they lose their previous job. If a Sim has already a job at a factory, it will not abandon it to start teleworking. Unless you remove her/his factory. Which I did. I removed and reconstructed the heavy industries of the city, to see if Sims will keep working to those factories. The result was that Sims dropped their previous jobs and start teleworking. We can imagine that those Sims are still working for those factories, from their homes this time. If you're an industrial robots administrator, why not supervising those robots from your house? But even with no workers, those factories are still running and producing goods. The only way this can be happened is by replacing the workers with machines and AIs. Maybe automation is indeed possible on Simcity.

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And yet, some Sims will still keep working on those factories. Maybe it's a hint that even teleworking has it's limits.

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We have tested the concept of teleworking on an already established city. But what will happen in a new city? The results are the above, plus one. We can now build cities with not a single factory or shop in them! Cities where all Sims can telework for corporations that might be in a distant city or even on another country. Or not. Maybe they're working for themselves, using their house as the HQ for their corporation. Or maybe they don't work at all. Maybe they let the machines doing all the hard job, so they can live however they want in a money-free society. So many potential, so many stories.

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And all the above, without having NAM yet. What will happen if we mix teleworking with NAM? Will both mods contradict each other, or they can coexist and even collaborate? Who knows? Maybe I'll experiment with it soon.

Now I think we need a conclusion. For some of you, the above experiment is nothing more than a fun but unrealistic project with no practical use. For me, it's a small taste, an idea of the shape of things to come. The above idea might be a nice concept for making a futuristic city on Simcity, but it might also be how we'll be living in a not so distant future. Everything we take today as granted will be challenged and changed tomorrow. The story of our culture, our civilization and ourselves is also a story of change.

And by the way, I'm a teleworker too. *:D

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6 hours ago, CorinaMarie said:

Very clever idea! Does this also mean ploppable residential would work with 100% in home jobs?

I don't think so, as the ploppable issue is that the lots cannot spawn commuters, and as Terring shows, this mod works by making sims commute to work to nearby houses, not inside their own ones.

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  • Original Poster
  • 2 new experiments about fully teleworking. NAM and plopable residential buildings. What will happen? Let's see...

    What will happen if you have both NAM and the 100pct_homejobs_uncapped.dat file? Telework allows even the laziest Sim to find a job, while NAM encourages them to take the fastest route instead of the shortest one. Because of this, the result of having both of them is very interesting. By testing this at different cities (including cities with mass transit) I got no traffic jams at all (I have the Ultra simulator), a rise of car use, an even further drop of commuting time, and few to no use of mass transit. If every Sim can work from their homes (or, technical speaking, work at their neighbor's home), you'll have no reason to build highways, railroads, buses, subways, avenues, farms, shops, offices, factories, even roads. Just lay down some residential zones, give them power... and that's all. Your city is ready.

    But how about plopable residential buildings? There is a reason why we have plenty of plopable commercial buildings and only a couple of residential ones. Plopable buildings can only receive, never give. Plopable factories can't spawn trucks and plopable residential buildings can't spawn commuters. Because of that, after ploping a residential building it's only a matter of time to get dilapidated and abandoned. But will our trick solve this problem?

    Let's use a plopable residential building. Something futuristic, cool and badass. The Habitation Units from @hdorriker. I tested 3 cases.

    Case A: Place the building on growable residential buildings.
    Case B: Remove those buildings and wait for a while before building.
    Case C: Place the building on undeveloped terrain.

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    The results speak for themselves. The Case C abandoned in just a few months, while the rest cases are still here (even after 10 years) and provide some jobs to the nearest Sims, although the Case A provides slightly more jobs than Case B.

    I think it's time for a conclusion. 100% teleworking (or other kind of jobs like baby sitting etc) will indeed change the game radically. It might not help you solving the plopable residential problem, but it will obsolete the need of both commuting and mass transit. If this is what you want, go for it.

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    This is an interesting study though I can't imagine a time when no one wants to ever leave their home and even if robotics does take over the mundane tasks of manufacturing etc., you still need people to build and maintain the robots.

    As far as the traffic calming effect this is also evident when using the 10% home jobs version and mass transit only. I have been using the RCImulti mod for some time, in fact it and the NAM are the only reason my cities can exist.

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    2 hours ago, Terring said:

    I think it's time for a conclusion. 100% teleworking (or other kind of jobs like baby sitting etc) will indeed change the game radically. It might not help you solving the plopable residential problem, but it will obsolete the need of both commuting and mass transit. If this is what you want, go for it.

    With case A & B it might in fact solve the ploppable residential in most cases. As many peeps have discovered (and rediscovered) when plopping residentials on top of already grown ones they will survive providing the economic factors remain favorable. It's been said it's not worth doing in the long run because some situation will almost always occur which alters this just long enough for them to abandon and, ofc, they won't undilapidate after that. However, using your method where they work next door or across the street it seems the odds of abandoning would be so greatly reduced this now becomes a viable option.

    For instance you could grow your city normally without the mod in place so those Sims would find jobs at the industrial and commercial, save and exit, drop in the mod, and now you could zone, grow, and then overplop specific residential buildings for aesthetic purposes. Yes?

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