I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty good at Sim City.
Like, I can get a city going very quickly and it usually thrives. My boyfriend is actually impressed, and I don’t impress much when it comes to games, but I think it’s because he goes bankrupt within half a day.
I thought I’d share some of the key things to a successful city when you’re just starting out, if anyone out there is interested.
Here’s a video, so you can see how things were done step by step, it’s quite long so I’ve also broken it down into a list below:
- Connect your road
So, first things first, you need to connect your city to the main road. I usually extend the main road a little and have everything running off a medium density avenue, it makes things easier later when buildings start to automatically upgrade.
2. Move in your residents
Your city will only thrive if you have people living there, paying taxes and contributing to the industrial and commercial areas. As soon as that first road is connected start placing green residential areas and watch your income go into the positive.
3. Provide power
Once those first few residents move in they’re going to complain about not having power but choose wisely when deciding on the power source you intend on using. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best ones:
Wind – Cheap, clean energy but only good for a little while because the bigger your city grows the more turbines you’ll need to keep buildings running. Check on the city before claiming it and confirm whether it has plenty of wind available before choosing this source.
Coal – Reliable and its fuel is available to mine yourself, if your city has plenty underground – or you can buy it in from other cities. It does cause pollution and sickness though for nearby residents, so be prepared to increase clinic capacities and have people complaining outside town hall about the air if your power plant is a big one.
Oil – Similar to coal, but a high polluter too.
I usually go for coal, because it’s easy to get your hands on the fuel it needs to keep going and you rarely have to upgrade it to increase power production. I usually allow the global purchase of coal for the first opening stages of the game, then when I have enough money I will start mining for my own and turn this off to save some cash.
4. Provide water
This city has a lot of clean water available, but it’s a good idea to check where you place that first water tank to ensure you’re pumping enough. Use the water map to determine the best position, the darker the blue the more there is underground.
5. Add industrial buildings
Your low wealth residents need somewhere to work, so industrial areas are needed to provide jobs. Bear in mind that these areas do cause a lot of pollution, so if you have people living nearby be prepared for sickness.
Industrial buildings also provide freight for commercial buildings, which you also need to add. These offer jobs to people, as well as help boost the tourism industry – Sims like to shop!
I usually try and keep all my polluting buildings together which brings me on to my next point…
6. Sewage and garbage
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Ensure there’s somewhere for your resident’s ‘business’ to go. At this point you’ll only be able to add a sewage dump, which is a very high polluter, so try to place this away from everything. I usually place my garbage dump next door because no one wants to live near that either.
7. Pay attention to maps
The map options on Simcity are a huge help when it comes to working out your next move or deciding what needs to be added to an area. The land value map is great if you’re trying to increase the wealth in an area and the pollution maps are good for working out where to avoid placing residential.
Parks are a great way of increasing the land value in an area, they come in three wealth categories, so if you want to create a higher wealth residential road for example then add some $$$ parks.
The maps are just a great way of seeing a more focused aspect of your city, as demonstrated above.
Challenges are set by residents and officials in your town, but be sure you can complete them before taking them on, otherwise you could just be causing more issues and expense for yourself. The garbage challenge for example is a great one because you receive 25,000 Simoleons at the end of it but if you don’t have enough trucks you’re going to just end up with a stinky city and no pay out.
Think carefully before saying yes, if you aren’t sure just hit ‘ask later’ and complete it when you’re more capable.
9. Editing buildings
Over time certain buildings are going to be at maximum capacity and require an upgrade. Simply click on the building and then the edit button (the little hammer and chisel symbol), then you can add whatever rooms or facilities required. The school for example is always asking for more classrooms and if crime is high in your city the police station will need extra jail cells adding or criminals will be released back out onto the streets.
If you’re budget is looking a little low you can always increase taxes slightly to improve your money situation. I’d only increase it by 1% at a time though, otherwise you’re going to have unhappy residents and that’s not the aim of the game – or maybe you like being a ruthless all powerful tyrant?
Simply hit the Simoleon tab at the bottom of the screen and it will bring up your budget information.
11. Emergency services
It’s important you have a clinic, a fire station and a police station in your city to keep residents safe and well. Clinics and fire stations cost 20,000 Simoleons while police stations are a little more expensive at 30,000 – decide what is needed most by checking what is being flagged as an issue below. Your residents and officials are quick to tell you what’s going wrong.
12. Increasing density
As your city becomes more established buildings will start upgrading themselves, help things along by increasing the road densities. Simply click on the road tab, then the arrow button and select roads you want to upgrade, this should then increase the rate that buildings improve themselves. At this early stage, because my roads were high density, my commercial buildings had started to upgrade:
Eventually buildings will upgrade into skyscrapers! Which is exciting. If you’re into that sort of thing
The key to Simcity is patience, you will be waiting around for money to add up and for changes you make to have an impact but it’s important you don’t blow your budget in those first few minutes which is easy to do.
Listen to the residents and make careful decisions about what is needed, you might think that all the emergency services is an important purchase but you can usually hold out for a while before actually needing to purchase these.
Work on improving your money situation by increasing residential capacity, upping taxes if needed and improving employment opportunities by upgrading roads.
Check out the video at the top of this post for a detailed run through of a young city and if this post gets enough interest I will create a follow up showing you the next stages!
And hey, if you’ve created a city and don’t think the careful gameplay is for you then just chuck a couple of giant lizards in and be done with it…
Do you have any other tips?
All images have been screengrabbed from the game, but are credited to EA and Maxis.