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(SC4) Embersan

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About this City Journal

A journal following my return to playing SC4.

Entries in this City Journal



Okay guys, I know I said my next city was going to be I-HT oriented... but to be honest, I wasn't really feeling it yet. I'm going to build that metropolis on a large city tile, and that requires a lot more planning. I want the city to be cohesive and flow together, and not act like several separate cities on the same tile. For a moment, I'm going to take a detour in the exact opposite direction! :P

Meet Eatstown. A rural, ocean side, farming community. It's built on a small city tile.


This place was going to be simple and quiet, so I also gave it a simple transportation system. I am so happy for those dirt streets, it REALLY just ties the whole rural atmosphere together. It would look horrible being concrete, ugh. I don't even want to think about it.


Of course, it really wouldn't be a city of mine without tons of trees, and at least two random parks unnecessarily right next to each other. That may actually end up being my signature style as I grow into being a better city builder, which I find kinda funny.


I've gotta say, building this town was so much fun! It popped up nearly instantly, and immediately I had a surplus. I could sit back and simply mess around with all the details for once. I spent a decent amount of time just trying to get all the farms to look natural, and not like some half thrown together jigsaw puzzle. What a difference! It was awesome.


I also loved the new diggs! I went on a STEX binge to find some good rural style stuff, and found this awesome thing of a mayors mansion. Complete with mini-golf, pool, and random orange orchard. This is the life! Just look at all my adoring fans.


I couldn't completely neglect my major duties, though. After much research, I found what seemed like the perfect educational institution for a community like this. It blends in perfectly as a horse-riding stable, and teaches my elementary age students. I also tried looking around for a good rural high school, but couldn't find one I liked. I'm fine without one though, as it really matches the simple atmosphere of the place. I can't always build a utopia.


... though I can sure try! This cool looking building here is a SkyFarm from the PEG Productions Utopia Project. It provides a small amount of I-HT to all my $$$ who refused to get their hands dirty and claimed there were no jobs available. Take that, lazy sims. $$$ jobs that still involve getting your hands dirty somehow!


Jokes aside, I really am enjoying this place. It's so peaceful and relaxing compared to the hustle and bustle of Asheville. Despite some oddly angled driveways.


A look at the road leading out of town, and the row of houses lined up along it. The land seems to be a little more stable here, thankfully. The region I rendered from the stex has tons of hidden hills and mountains, I've come to realize.


Believe it or not, this single wind powerplant provides energy to the entire city by itself, at 88% capacity. Perfect for my needs, and cheap! I was so happy.


You know, if I weren't mayor, I could see this switchgrass farm as my house. I had so much fun building this little farm community, that I simply must create another one, on a bigger tile next time. But not to worry friends, I'll get to your I-HT city next. Maybe. ;)


Thanks everyone who voted in my poll! It seems .jpg wins, 9-4. Which is pretty mixed actually, but it's still clear the majority of you guys prefer .jpg. I can barely tell the difference unless I squint, so I hope the change doesn't run off any fans. It certainly loads much quicker. :}


@dubaidude303: Agreed! I've gotta keep a real close eye on them from now on. Don't want them messing up the crime in my favorite city, it's got enough problems lol.

@Forthwall: Hah, I hadn't thought of that before! Hmm. :sly: Converting the images to .jpg isn't actually very difficult. I use Caesium for that, and it compresses them all in one go. While I'm a bit of a perfectionist and like the best quality, I also don't want my CJ's to run people off by being difficult to load. It's a weird line... but a 100% .jpg still seems good enough for the majority of people.


This was an interesting task to explore. Because of all my meandering streets and low density development, the average commute time was in the high 60s. There were two blocks in my city that had chronic 'abandoned due to commute time' problems. Even if they were right next to a commercial zone, or active landmark.


Here's the other, slightly smaller block. I placed a small CO-$$ landmark to help the situation, since only R-$$ seems to be having issues. Though, that was only slightly effective. I have a feeling these no-job zots are a symptom of a bigger problem.


What do you guys think of my decision for a subway station? Figured it's sleek, modern look was perfect for such a wealth oriented city as this one. Also, it's pretty decked out! It also works as a bus station, and parking station. I miss RalphaelNinja's


I sadly can't get nearly as many people to use it as I would like, though. I mean, my city has almost no traffic problems to speak of, but my sims really insist on using cars, and driving up their long commute times. Does the directness of the underground subway tunnel have any effect on how much it's used?


OKAY, now for the exciting surprise I've been wanting to show you guys. After building an epic subway network, and seeing that really didn't have much of an effect on anything, I decided to commission the building of another residential suburb. This time, aiming for great commute times in mind, I zoned two commercial 'town centers' in central locations around the residential district. It really kinda helped, and even lowered my average commute time by about 10 minutes.


I press play... and yep! Here come the moving trucks, streets are covered with them.


Here's a nice view of one of the Town Center's. I'd love to hang out here, it looks wonderful. Unfortunately though, these commercial zones sucked up what was left of any commercial demand. I considered rezoning some of the other suburbs in a similar fashion since it worked so well here... however, nothing would grow when I tried to.


Then out of freakin' nowhere, MY PRISON CAUGHT ON FIRE! I mean, seriously, this was completely unexpected. Absolutely hilarious, though. I bet this was some sort of botched escape attempt... I had to hastily connect a road so that my fire trucks could actually reach the place and put the fire out. I then quickly destroyed it, but I'm still suspicious. :sly:


After all that excitement, I had forgotten what I was actually going to do. So I snapped a picture of what seems like a random llama nosing around some of my houses in the new residential district. What an awesome backyard to have, huh?


OH YEAH, I was working on fixing my atrocious commute times. This is my second town center, next to one of the NYBT's fancy hotels. I chose it because I figured the colors went with the area quite well, and it added a nice amount of jobs in a rather needy place. I really hate having to rely on landmarks for job creation though, and it's killing my budget. I'm going to have to create a second city sometime soon to help with demand creation.


For my second city, I'm considering building it around I-HT. I've never liked the dirtier industries, and don't think they're worth it with the amount of pollution they generate. Though, that could be an interesting challenge for another time, if I discover that they boost commercial demand. Since I've never really played SC4 seriously before, I don't quite understand the interaction of RCI. I'm just kinda learning as I go. Any suggestions for what to name this I-HT city?

Also, I've made a change to how I touch this CJ's images. Before, I simply uploaded them in their raw state. But that caused long load times for some people, and I decided to change that. (This update was about 25MB uncompressed, 11MB compressed.) There is, however, a noticeable difference, since .jpg is a lossy format compared to .png, which is lossless. (The left is .png, the right is .jpg.) If this bugs you, let me know and I can figure something else out. I've added a poll up top so all you lurkers don't even have to break your cover. If not, that's cool too! I'm fine either way. :)


@B-more4: Thanks! I really enjoy designing road networks and neighborhoods. I like to create places I actually wouldn't mind living, so I put thought into them. It's hard to be proud of something just thrown together. And haha, no, not really. Though I have visited up there for a camping trip before... maybe it's subconscious.

@Adjiebrotot: Man, I'm still recovering from that massive expansion to help with that budget deficit. I'll be dealing with it for a while, but I'm glad you think it's developing nicely. And my internet sucks as well, so I understand how that can be. I've done some experimenting with .jpg compression, and I could shave about 50% off of the filesizes and still get a decent result. Has that helped any? The big CJ's like Schulmania already do this, so I didn't mind testing it out.

@supercitys354262: SC4 is a tricky little game at times. Fun, but really tricky. Asheville doesn't go great yet, but I'm sure we'll get there eventually! AND SO DO I SOMETIMES DON'T WORRY. CAPS LOCK PARTY BRO.

@Jimmy Buzaid Thanks!


This update is a testament to the saving grace that is a well placed landmark. Friends, meet The Bank of China Tower. It is awesome.


I placed that beauty with the last of my loan money, but it was worth it. All of the sudden, with all of the new CO-$$$ jobs, my R-$$$ demand exploded exponentially. A lot of the green zoned areas filled up, and my tax income skyrocketed. It was awesome. While I was still in a deficit, it wasn't as severe. More money went to paying off my 200,000 loan, and less to city services.


I decided to have fun with a little recreational statue placing for a moment. It didn't have much of an effect due to already being so close to my mansion, but it still looks cool. It greets people on the way to my house! Fun fun.


In the aftermath of the population 'splosion, tons of stuff was unlocked. Including this absolutely free, absolutely useful golf course! Sweet. High-capacity schools and whatnot were unlocked as well, but I have no need of them yet. Learning from previous mistakes, I picked smaller trees to surround the golf course with.


Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of my budget before the landmark 'splosion. But for those curious, this is what it looked like afterwards. Before, it was about a 1.5k income to over 8k in expenises. With some major budget cutting, I managed to shave 1k off of it temporarily. While it's only going to be a matter of time before that comes back to bite me, it's worth it. I've gotta survive on that measly 88k in the bank until I can pay back that loan. It's sucking me dry!

Okay, so I'm drowning in debt with no relief in sight. What should I do? Well, this is a city simulator. And I've got land. Build stuff, it is! New med-density residential district, coming up! This is the other side of my map, where I've got my water and biomass power plant.


You guys are going to yell at me, but even in crisis mode, I just can't help it. My inner city builder has to see green. It just doesn't feel right otherwise! Also, I'm using the asphalt streets from the SAM built into the NAM. In the future though, you will see I realized that was a bad idea for med-density, and I switched to roads.


Okay, so I hit play again. But things didn't turn out so well. No-job zots everywhere! I hastily built some commercial along the roads to try to help the situation, but that is not $$ and $$$ commercial. The landmark took over all the CO-$$$ in the other section of the city, and while I do have CS-$$$ and CS-$$ demand, it is very small. Not enough.


It seems I accidentally built some sort of slum, heh.


I'm not sure if this is going to have much of an effect on my city, but I did overspend on police protection. Hopefully the income can help a little bit, I'm quickly running out of ideas. For safety, I placed it at the very edge of my city, away from everything.


To be honest, I was about to just call it a night. This... is what I was left with. Even after trying out building an avenue to help with the no-job zot problem. It kinda helped, and after some more severe cuts, it left me with a $7 surplus. On cheetah speed, this alternates between a $200 deficit, and a $35 surplus.


Then... something amazing happened. Something incredible! It turns out, that teeny-tiny surplus was all I needed. I PAID BACK MY LOAN AND MY GOODNESS WAS IT AMAZING. This is what my budget looked like after letting this surplus run for a few years. Lesson learned people, do NOT take out a loan unless you 100% need it, it nearly wrecked my city. Go realism.

My next update will detail revamping my transportation system with this surplus. I'm considering a subway system, and hopefully I can still keep this surplus after returning adequate funding to many city services. Also, if you guys are curious why this City Journal is called Embersan, it's because that's the name of the region. I'm going to follow the creation of several different cities.




Wow, I had no idea about that mod, or the hotkey! Thanks. I figured the grid-lines where simply an issue with my graphics card or something. Thanks for enlightening me. Unfortunately, this update was captured before your comment. But the next updates will be yellothingy-less, and grid-less. I appreciate the encouragement. :D


Starting off insanely expensive is a way I like to challenge myself! Makes it much more exciting when I always have to watch my budget before I do something. Thanks! I hope you continue to like it.



It's been a while since I've really played this game, and decided to dive back into it with a more serious approach. Before, to be honest, I really just messed around, and tried to build the biggest, most successful cities. Now, I've decided to focus on detail and beauty. For example, my current goal for Asheville is to be a R$$$ and C$$$ dedicated city, and to figure out how to make that sustainable without cheats. I have used the name-changing cheat, to change Nijun to Asheville, but that's as far as I will go. I am using modds, though only SPAM and NAM so far. Now, without further ado, here are the pictures!

I started off simple, trying to build a kind of high density urban center. Smooth grids, 3 squares deep. Spent many unnecessary monies on city services because I enjoy being a benevolent dictator. Lets see if I can still get this sustainable.


Soon discovered the awesome that is the street addon mod built into NAM, and kinda went crazy. City budget manager is already yelling at me.


Right about here I discovered that CTRL-SHIFT-S took a screenshot. Whoo, awesome. I also have begun allowing the simulation to move forward a little. I built the airport to help increase CO-$$$... but still had to take out a loan, heh.


Here's a closeup of my suburban residential district. You can see my tiny cheapo mansion, dwarfed by the size of the others. I had no idea R-$$$ houses could get so darn big. O_O


Closeup of my teeny tiny mansion. Didn't feel safe living too far away from a police station with my financial adviser fuming the way she was earlier. On the upside, free doughnuts.


Closeup of the area high-school. I figured putting the soccer field nearby was a nice touch. Makes me feel like it has a specialty or something. Also, those freakin gigantic trees in the background are RedCedars. I planted them because they looked awesome, but I had no idea they grew to be so big! They dwarf like everything now.


More of another section of my residential district. Gigantic trees are still gigantic. I'm currently still trying to grow residential demand to fill up all of the zoned areas, but am running into commute time issues. Looking at my graph, it shows commute time to be less than 10 minutes, but those R-$$$ houses are abandoned due to it. Do sims get lazier the richer they grow? I may have to consider a subway system in the future.


Decorative plaza in one of my commercial zones. Starting to think I may be overdoing it on the trees... but I can't stop. They are just too awesome looking.


That's all so far, friends! What do you guys think of my city so far? Any suggestions or comments?

My city budget is currently absolutely atrocious, so that is what I will be working on in the next update.

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