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Simoleman

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  1. I still play it because I found SimCity 2013 to be awful, for the same reasons others found it so: having to be online to play, city areas being way to small, cartoonish graphics, and the game kept crashing. There's a realism about the look of 4 that's addictive. I agree absolutely with an earlier post -- old or new matters not. Quality is quality. I have downloaded NAM and some custom content, but I would dearly love to find someone else local (Washington DC/Northern Virginia area) who could sit down with me (Starbucks or some similar venue, the coffee and snacks are on me) and do some teaching about how to download and use more. Anyone out there??? I'd also like someone to teach me how to make a city map similar to the one PaleTexan made of his city Civitas years ago. (You can still find his old city journal online.) I know there are instructions for various mapping methods online, but I'd learn much faster from an actual human being. Thanks! Simoleman
  2. Welcome to Worthington

    Hey, folks -- I love the dirt roads, which are perfect for my outlying rural/farm areas... but obviously I need some education. They don't work like regular roads, where you can just drag them across each other to make an intersection. I read about "starter pieces," but don't really know what that means or how to access them. Are there particular starter pieces for particular types of roads? Is there a comprehensive tutorial on NAM that you would recommend? Thanks!
  3. WORTHINGTON, January Yr201 – If you’re a mayor considering instituting a bus system in your city to relieve traffic congestion, you might want to do it for another reason: Public transit can make you a lot of money! Let’s take our Worthington City (WC) as an example. Its citizens enjoy a tax rate of 6.5% -- which is 28% less than the standard Sim 9%. WC enjoys a host of services, including plenty of well-funded hospitals (plus free clinics), schools, parks etc. Its Treasury takes in $134.1 million a month and has expenses of $128.8 million, for a monthly surplus of $5.3 million. What makes all those services possible at that price is the bus system. WC public transit takes in $27.6 million a month, with expenses of $0.9 million, for a whopping surplus of $26.7 million. Transit system profits make up almost one-fifth of the city’s revenue. Without that transit money, the tax rate would need to be increased to 7.8% (which is still low by Sim standards) to make up the difference. Toll plazas can make an even bigger impact. In the town of New Bain, the local government takes in $26.6 million a month, with expenses of $23.5 million, for a surplus of $3.1 million – this despite a residential tax rate of zero, and a miniscule business/industrial tax rate of 2.8%. Part of the reason for these extraordinary figures is New Bain’s small government philosophy – low taxes/fewer services. But most of the reason is the toll plazas present at all but one entrance to/exit from the city. Because almost roughly 70% of New Bain is made up of business districts, and because so many of the workers at these businesses live outside its borders, city fathers decided several years ago to shift more of the cost of running the city from its locals to commuters by charging tolls. They had no idea how profitable that decision would be. Last month, New Bain took in $15.8 million from tolls – 59.4% (!) of the city’s total revenue. It should be noted that unlike bus fares, which pay for a specific, optional service, tolls are in effect taxes. But they are a tax burden shared by those who work in the city as well as those who live there. PICTURED: A typical bus stop, this one at Gallery Plaza, the entrance to the National Gallery of Art in Worthington City.
  4. Welcome to Worthington

    Thank you for the comments, Akallan and kschmidt, In regard to same... Re: referencing dates, I've changed 2200 to Yr200 and will use that type of notation going forward. Too bad SimCity doesn't account for centuries of modernization, as, say, the Civ games. If I could've, I'd have started in the year 1600 with thatched-roof huts, dirt paths, and small tobacco farms, a la Jamestown VA in 1607. As it is, if I stick with this region, I guess it'll wind up being hundreds of years old but never growing up -- like Bart Simpson. Re: modifying the game, I've done some of that, from the STEX discs... you'll see that in later posts. Blocking all Maxis content seems a little extreme, and I'm not ready to go there yet. Not sure my laptop would ever be ready, but I'm not particularly tech savvy, so I don't know. Would love to sit down with someone like Haljackey, who's stuff is an amazing mix of Maxis and custom, and just have him install everything he has on my PC. I can't compete with y'all there, but I can slowly work more of it in. And I will check out the URL you sent. Someone calling himself Mas on Blogger once chose his top 10 city journals, and his #1 was Civitas by PaleTexan, which had NO custom content at all. His journals for Civitas and Carthage look almost like guides to real cities. He's kind of my inspiration here. Of course, his cities/regions weren't that big, so building repetition wasn't such a problem. Re custom content I'm looking for right now: Bike paths and dirt roads. Please let me know if you have any recommendations. Will peruse your journals, too, when time allows for leisurely looks... Thank u, Simoleman
  5. Welcome to Worthington

    WORTHINGTON, January 2200 – Greater Worthington (GW) is a thriving county of approximately 3.6 million people, located at the base of the Altavista Mountains in American Simolay. Founded by British expatriates in 2000, GW is celebrating its bicentennial this year with plenty of fireworks, concerts, and athletic events. GW is a collection of 42 semi-autonomous townships and 34 hamlets, each with its own set of ordinances and tax structure. Each has its distinct personality as well. For example, Worthington City is GW’s center of government. Teldar is its high-tech industrial heart. And Charlestowne is sometimes called the Las Vegas of Simolay. (What happens in Charlesowne… well, some of it leaks out.) While mostly urban, GW also is home to many suburban, rural, and farming communities, as well as hundreds of acres of undeveloped forest land. The county’s diverse $100 billion a year economy provides virtually full employment. Average and median incomes exceed the national average. As is true of most large urban areas, some citizens struggle to make ends meet, but abject poverty and homelessness are virtually non-existent in GW. GW’s public school system provides tuition-free education for students from kindergarten through high school, and through college for qualified in-county residents. The University of Worthington – home of the Wolverines – features two main campuses and numerous satellite facilities throughout the county. Healthcare provided by GW’s numerous hospitals and clinics is heavily subsidized by the government, and most localities feature free clinics. Additionally, most communities offer free CPR and other medical training. The county government provides numerous parks, playgrounds, pools and other options for people to spend their leisure time. The crown jewels include a county fair, world class indoor and outdoor performance venues, sports stadiums, museums, zoos, and the largest art gallery in Simolay. Residents and visitors also can choose from a wide variety of restaurants, theaters, hotels, spas and other popular spots. Like any major metropolitan area, GW has its share of problems. Traffic tie-ups are common, especially on the few bridges crossing the Stribley River, which runs through the heart of the county. Pollution, particularly air contamination, is an issue in some more congested locales. But by most accounts, significant progress has been made over the last generation or so on that front. As of January 2200, GW’s power needs have been served by 99.75% renewable energy sources – hydrogen, solar, and wind. GW is a complex, diverse region. Whether you are relocating here or just visiting, this Website offers a comprehensive guide to the latest news from, and key aspects of life in, Greater Worthington. We hope you will find it enjoyable, informative, and useful. For the full story, visit simple-city.org –SimTraveller, January 2200
  6. PLAYING POLITICS WITH SIMCITY I agree -- whatever political stuff they give us, I'm gonna eat it up. And whatever they don't give us much, or give us anything... how do I put this... I'll create the politics in my own mind, and in my own cities. For example, I've run some cities as socialist utopias (lots of well-funded government services, and steeply progressive tax rates) and some as libertairan ones (obviously, low taxes and minimal services). And I've pretend regional elections every 5 years, with different political philosophies vying for power. My Social Democrats impose region-wide mandates; my Integra Coalition (basically akin to American "conservatism") basically allows cities to run themselves as they see fit. I understand one very cool feature of Sim2013 is you can take money from one city and give it to another. With this, I can simulate taxing-and-spending, with the regional government (in the form of the regional capital) taking in a certain percentage of every city's wealth and then expending it on various projects/mandates. Every 5 years, if the mayoral rating in any given city were below 50%, I'd change its form of government -- throw the bums out! -- but in Sim4, I've never had a mayoral rating below 50%. The game is easier than Sim2000 in that regard. Bottm line...the more politics, the better.
  7. The United Cities*4th Birthday and Retirement!*

    Nathan, you've got a heck of an imagination -- love it! I think the stories are sometimes as cool as the cities. ... Keep it up.
  8. Whoever wrote that he'd like to be able to place dense zones next to narrower roads (e.g. New York City) or light zones next to avenues (e.g. Los Angeles), I second that. It seems strange to me not to be able to control the density of zones.
  9. Good afternoon, all. I add my thanks to Dirktator for the report. Because at least one Maxisser reads these things, I thought I'd throw in my 2-or-3 cents. First of all, Sim City 4 was tremendous. I got hours of enjoyment out of it. And now I'm ready for the next generation. Here are my impressions about what I've read... 1. I LOVE the fact that I don't have to dispatch fire trucks any more. I'm the Mayor, not the friggin fire chief, any more than I'm the police chief. 2. I LOVE the fact that I don't have to lay water pipes anymore. Boooorrrrrrring. 3. I like the fact now we have to deal with sewage. Real. 4. I LOVE the fact (if it is a fact) that one city can give money to another within the region. Sometimes a city is flush with cash; sometimes another is struggling. I like being able to give (or lend) money from one city to the other. Or pretend the capital of the region is taxing money away from the other cities, and then paying for the inter-city roads and rail. 5. I like the fact that suburban houses will no longer show 17 to 23 people living in one house. 6. Perhaps following on from #5, I LOVE that traffic will be much more realistic -- that Sims will find the smartest route, not necessarily use the shortest. Okay, on to what concerns me. 1. I want the best of both worlds. I read that cities no longer border each other. Why can't we have it that WE can decide whether a city will border another or not? Sim4 had the opposite problem. You could not connect two cities w/out creating a third one in the middle just to have the road/rail between them... unless, of course, you plopped down a "cheat" every time more money was needed to run that road-only "city" that had no income to fund it. 2. Add my voice to those who would rather not have to play online. This game is an escape from "real" people for me. I have enough different scenarios and pretend friction between various of my cities inside my head w/out inviting anyone else to play.. In short, I like sharing the experiences online, but I don't want to share my region. And I would rather have the convenience of not having to play online because, well, server-s**** happens. It's beyond me why we don't have the option to do it either way.
  10. Overcoming "The Peanut Butter Point"

    That is a very good point: Developing surrounding cities will help your "stuck" city in-stick. One of the problems with my big city is that, of the eight localities surrounding it, I made the mistake of limiting growth in five of them. If (when) I start another region, I'll make sure the cities or towns whose smaller character I wish to preserve will not border my big city. Thanks!
  11. In Search Of:

    I have played enough Sim City now to feel fairly comfortable making suggestions for a more perfect game. I suppose I could go on and on, tweak here and tweak there, but I'll stick to what, for me, are the big ones, and hold it to a Top 10 List. So here they are, the top ten things I would want to see in the next generation of city sim games, in no particular order: 1. Kill the unemployment zots. Unemployment is a realistic fact of life. A briefcase with a line through it appearing over a building is not. The unemployment rate in a city should be visible in graph form, of course, and maybe in a data view screen. 2. More realistic -- i.e. LESS traffic. 3.. Make it a given that sims will take the smartest route to their destinations, not the shortest. E.g. take the highway or bypass rather than the clogged street closest to them. 4. Allow for viewing of 2 more more cities within a region simultaneously, and easy toggle between the two, to make connections between the cities easier to work on. 5. Create a lighter residential zone, one that maxes out single family dwellings at no more than, say, 7-10 residents. 6. Provide an option for a more controlling regional government, one that could impose taxes or laws on its ciies, and could also provide services and money (either in the form of loans or grants). A regional police force would also be cool. 7. Do whatever you can to stop the crash to desktop thing so many of us have had a problem with, to one degree or another. 8. When adding complexity, keep playability in mind as well. The Stratomatic Game Company, makers or sports simution games, gets this right. 9. Make add-ons easy. Those of us who love the game but aren't techies would be willing to pay more for more options, but we don't like all that dependency nonsense. 10. Fix the neighbor deal problem. Meaning if a city suddenly doesn't have enough of the commodity it's selling to another city, don't just nix the deal. Give the selling city A CHANCE to fix the problem. That covers it. Thoughts welcome.
  12. DEALING WITH "THE PEANUT BUTTER POINT" THE EASY WAY So you've been building a city, steadily adding zones and watching its population grow. Until it doesn't seem to want to grow anymore. The empty green and blue and yellow zones mock you. Maybe you're even seeing a few of your buildings abandoned. And you can't figure out why. Someone dubbed this phenomenon "the peanut butter point," that place where a city just seems to get stuck. There have been various suggestions for dealing with this problem, but at least some of them are overly complicated, or more than a little risky. Allow me to share my experience, which I think is instructive, and to offer a simple solution. I had planned my City of Worthington to be the crown jewel of my region, and grow it to at least 500,000. But when it got to 420,000, it stopped growing, and even began to shrink. I don't know why. Maybe its simcitizens found life in neibhboring localities more appealing. Of course, one thing to try would be to do everything you can to make life in those neighboring cities less appealing. But really, that strikes me as being akin to using "cheats." It's just not realistic, and I try to make the game as realistic as possible. I tried stuffing more amenities into the city. More landmarks. More parks and plazas. More trees. (Actually, you'd be surprised how often planting about 100 trees every simyear does help.) An art gallery. An opera house. A baseball stadium. All met with a collective yawn. And all that stuff was costing money. My treasury was beginning to lose money. My dream of creating something of a simtopia was fading. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. On the advice of a little supply-side economist in my head, I wiped out all of the nice but expensive ordinances, lowered the tax rates by about a third (from 9% to 6%), and pretty soon, presto! People started moving in and the demand bars started moving back up. Now, I've got a thriving, very profitable city of 550,000, and its growing. I have little doubt that if I had not gradually added back the ordinances, and the taxes to pay for them, it would be even bigger. My experience with Worthington and some of my other cities leads me to this inescapable conclusion: The tax rates matter more, by far, than any other factor or combination of factors in the game. My City of Enterprise has little in the way of schools and hospitals, and has NO public parks or plazas or other public amenities. But from the beginning, it's been a boom town. Because the tax rate is about 2% for commercial and 5.5% for residential/industrial. The only prerequisite to this strategy is that you should have enough money in your treasury to sustain some early negative cash flow from the tax cuts. Cutting out the ordinances is the only serious budget cutting I would do; I didn't hear a peep out of 'em about that. But if you start cutting into the fire department or sanitation or hospitals or schools, things can get nasty. The positive effects might not be immediate, but if taxes are low enough, then (to paraphrase Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams), "Zone it, and they will come." And there's even more good news. Once residents or businesses/industries have located in the city, they're unlikely to leave if you gradually raise the rates back to reasonable levels (I'd recommend nothing over 9%). More development... more people... more money.... It's win, win, win.
  13. need advice to develop big city

    I don't seem to have any problem getting skyscrapers, so maybe I can offer some things to try. My most densely populated city, Burlington, has about 290,000 residents on one of the smaller standard plots, which means there are a lot of tall buildings. I did it by first zoning almost entirely industry and residential, then slowly rezoning industrial sections in favor of commercial. By then, there was plenty of demand. This takes time, but patience has its rewards. Put plazas of various sizes in your commercial zones. Put parks etc. in your residential zones. Place bus stops every couple of blocks or so. (A nice bonus to a lot of bus stops is that your transportation infrastructure winds up making money -- lots of it -- not losing it. Between the bus lines and the tollbooths, Burlington's transportation sector shows a 90% profit margin! It's making the difference between a surplus budget and a deficit.) And I tend to intermix commercial and residential zoning (see Arlington, Virginia), which keeps commute times down. Build a region, not just a city or two. The cities contribute to each other's growth. An underappreciated aspect of the game, I think, is the power of tax rates. As economists say, if you tax something less, you're likely to get more of it. My City of Enterprise (population approx 180,000) also has a lot of skyscrapers, simply because tax rates are low -- about 2% for commercial and 5.5% for residential. This covers for a lot of "sins" -- e.g. very little in the way of healthcare and schools and NO amenities (parks, plazas, playgrounds, libraries, or anything else). I notice there are a lot of rooftop pools and tennis courts, so the well-enough-to-do get their amenities that way. Of course, there are some pretty drab places where "the other half" lives. Getting past the "peanut butter point". One knowledgable player somewhere on the Simtropolis site posted some interesting suggestions for dealing with a city that seems to be "stuck" (like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth, I think), and just doesn't want to grow. I had that trouble with my mega-city, Worthington, which seemed to top out at 400,000. I tried stuffing more amenities into it, and that didn't help. I was losing money, too. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. I cleared the books of all the nice but expensive ordinances, cut taxes radically, and presto...growth. As the city began growing I began putting the ordinances back in and slowly raising the tax rates. Now it's up to 550,000 and I'm sure would grow faster if I were more concerned with growth and skyscrapers and less with quality of life issues. Beware unbalanced growth, While the RCI demand bars are a nice guide to what your sims are looking for, they're not the be all and end all. Unless you have neighboring cities that provide RCI your city does not, then it's wise to more or less balance the number of jobs (industrial/commercial zones) with the number of residents. Otherwise, you're likely to get some buildings that go dark because there's not enough demand. While there might be nothing more beautiful to you than a gleaming new skyscraper, there's nothing uglier than one that's been abandoned. Hope that's food for thought.
  14. Thanks -- all good advice. If you do NOTHING else, just get in the habit of saving at specified times. If I'm running a city on slow speed, which means I'm doing detailed things and taking my time, I'll save after every sim-year. Or if I've just completed a major project -- for example, installing a new rail line with turns and intersections -- I'll save after that. I'll even save after creating one-way streets through dense development. Or if I've just made extensive budget changes. I don't want to have to do that stuff twice. I'll save less often if I'm not really doing much but planting trees. (I do a lot of that. If I've got nothing else in particular I want to do with a city in a given sim-year, I'll plant 500 or so trees. It is surprising how much that spurs better and faster development in adjacent zones. And I try to look at the bright side. When the game crashes (which, fortunately, is rare), it gives me a chance to go back and do whatever I was doing better.
  15. The Barony

    This is great stuff. If my dear friend Clayton -- the brown tabby I found and nursed back to health, my shadow for six years -- had not gotten lost a year ago, he would be ruling my Region of York with his fondness eating plants and taking naps in suitcases and chasing birds off the balcony. I hope the little guy is okay, wherever he is. (Last seen in Prior Lake, MN.)
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