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Ah SimCity, teaching children everywhere that Euclidean planning is the only way. The requirement of buildings to face a particular street can be annoying, but it makes sense. In SimCity there was none of this, so buildings just faced the same direction no matter what side of the street they were on, and it was very unrealistic looking.

The original programming of the game compensated for this by making the various road and rail networks have very low capacities, so they became congested at a much lower threshold. Other problems have to do with the way the traffic simulator treats neighboring cities. You get large traffic volumes cutting through the corners of the cities while centrally located business districts have no workers or traffic despite high demand. Another big problem in my mind, and one that rarely seems to come up in criticisms, is that people only travel to their jobs and nowhere else.

This severely limits traffic to commercial areas, hospitals, schools, stadiums, convention centers, airports, and the like because the only people who go there are employees. There are NO shoppers in SimCity! This is a big oversight. Better pathfinding residents searching for jobs requires more computing horsepower.

The lack of shoppers, the endless commuter loop around neighboring cities, finding the closest job rather than the best fit job, these were all done to make the game actually playable by reducing overhead. Otherwise it would spend all its time trying to calculate traffic patterns. The NAM actually lets you choose certain pathfinding engines to better suit your own gameplay but also to tailor it to the capabilities of your computer. The more interesting aspect of the game is that you tend to build cities much more densely than you usually see in real life.

Part of the reason is because creating huge sprawling suburbs and exurbs in SimCity is just plain boring. The medium and high density zones get used a lot more in the game than they would in reality, which generates more traffic so you can have more fun managing it with the various road and highway networks, subways, elevated rails, mainline railroad, and with the NAM, you get to build overpasses, roundabouts, light rail and streetcars too. With the right mods and the enormous library of custom buildings and even transit vehicles, you have a lot more freedom to build what you want, it just takes some time to figure out how to do it.

One other point I forgot to mention relates to creating better transit networks. Yes, I would like to create actual bus routes and set frequencies and fares too, but this also brings up the computing horsepower problem. It may not sound that complicated, but since pathfinding computation is the biggest hit on the computer, this would add yet another layer of complexity to those already monstrous equations. The game models trips, eg. You have control over how many vehicles you send on a route and you can force them to maintain vague frequencies, very important otherwise you can get severe bunching.


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At least when I play the local transit only exists as a feeder for the highly profitable long distance trips. Cities in Motion will be another potentially interesting alternative. Not released yet though, so you can finish the book first. Simcity 4 has always frustrated me because I want to route the buses and trains, set the schedules according to demand or to shape the city. Neither does CitiesXL While this has a bit more control, you can establish 3 different size of buses on your routes and you can place bus stops and develop specific routes, you still can control the schedule.

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And you can even build a bus route until you reach 50, people and a metro at a much higher number. For network simulation, the best by far has to be the open source Simutrans. While you cannot schedule buses and trains, you can set up an integrated multi-modal network, including bus routes and stops, trams, trains, LRT, etc, and passengers have specific destinations and will change buses or trains, or whatever at transfer locations. It is hard to get started as the operational costs are high and it takes time to attract passenger traffic. Still, it is a lot of fun to play around with.

The forthcoming game Cities In Motion looks interesting from a transport simulation perspective. I am pretty familiar with Sim City 4 and yeah — the limitations with transportation frustrate me. I think the thing that annoys me most and this goes for car traffic as well if that traffic always takes the shortest route — even if you build a freeway, everyone will still cram on to the little road or worse, the street.

Same deal with subway stations. Which all gets me wondering: just what role did Sim City play in sparking our first interest in urban planning and design? For me SC clearly christened me into the congregation of Urbanophiles no offense, Mr. I loved the cheery Euro playfulness and watching the trams go back and forth and trying not to tick off too many passengers… The sad thing for me about SimCity is how each version kind of bored me more than the last, despite the growing number of bells and whistles.

I guess I just moved on to other things. But then I switched to a Mac in which eliminated the option to easily play most of these games though SimCity 4 for Mac does exist, and run — for awhile, anyway. Have to check it out. Another Simutrans devotee here. I also played Sim City 1 on the Super Nintendo. A few of the problems mentioned above can be fixed fairly easily in the binary without a big hit to cpu load.

The problem with endless looping from city to city can be fixed by allowing a sim to leave a city only in case the other city has a higher propotion of jobs to residents than the current city. This is just plain silly. Yeah, without the Network Add-on Mod, the simulator is pretty much broken — people will take about 2 hours to commute 2 miles. Correspondingly, all buildings hold about 10 times too many people. The mod fixes this by allowing the sims in the game to commute reasonable distances. Unfortunately, the largest maps are 4 x 4 kilometers, but you can have several linked maps together.

I play Sim City 4 in various strategies since , I find that the best strategy to be succesful are; 1 Right city grid size and design. Its not perfect but we have to remember that SimCity is an abstract device to helps us understand how to efficiently design the built environment, it will never be programmed finely enough to simulate the mixed use development overlays. And as Chuck said, while it may not be accurate, it probably has done a good job of getting people interested in urban design.

With newer computer technology, all the modeling can be more sophisticated. Simutrans here! It was very pretty, too. Judging by screenshots it looks like the new version should have trains. I ended up at Simutrans as well. SimCity was never about transportation. OK, people, why are you all using the old version of SimCity? SimCity Societies actually addresses several of the issues discussed here. In the demo version l placed a number of buildings without roadway access, just pavement for a pedestrian plaza—and people used it.

I could see people milling around my plaza, even riding their bicycles on the roadway. People go to many more places than just work-home, as an integral part of Societies is happiness and you have to build bars and restaurants and bowling alleys and parks to give the people something to do. Both are totally addictive AND an education in economics. Missile Range 7. Alcatraz simcity. When you're ready, read the rest of this guide to make the move from veteran to expert. It can alert you to problems that can fester if unnoticed. A thick layer of yellow smog means air pollution, snarled traffic means a traffic problem, and graffiti on the walls means crime.

Set it to Cheetah speed only if you want to quickly see what effect an action has. You will see an increase in crime, but it won't matter on a small scale that's easy to cover with a few Police Stations. As the city grows, this "neutral" tax rate will drop to eight percent. Reduce funding to cover current demand and check back for changes. This will save you money. If your city is in the red and you can't cut expenses, a loan may be your only way through tough times. Also, financing an expensive but beneficial capital improvement project such as building a Subway is a good reason for a loan.

This is meant to encourage the preservation of old development. Getting rid of them could send demand into the negative. Instead, click on it to see RCI broken down by developer type. It can be tempting to go with the demand for space in your city, but resist the temptation; more Sims obligate you to provide more services that cost money every month. Until then, connections go to SimNation. As density increases, tax revenue per occupant drops. Therefore, a large city of low density yields more revenue than a geographically smaller city of the same popula- tion with high density.

They're expen- sive and their effect on demand can be unpredictable for the inexperienced. Landfills, Business Deal buildings, and any structure with a strong negative proximity effect. This means you can and in some instances, should zone Residential in areas of high pollution or near NIMBYs, areas that only low-wealth Sims find desirable.

Three-fourths of their pollution will drift off your map and out of your global pollution level. Don't worry, it doesn't seep over into neighbor cities. This keeps them linearly close together linked by a tunnel while providing a barrier to pollution; the higher the hill, the more pollution it can contain. If you raise your Sims' EQ, crime will be impacted.

However, the increased traffic volume this creates makes nearby Residential tracts less desirable and increases pollution. The more Sims you can get out of their cars, the better. The shorter they have to go for their freight trips out of town, the more desirable your zones will be. The traffic problems the potholes create are never worth the savings. This puts transit stops "on the way" by default and increases the chances of a Sim using mass transit.

There must be stops for boarding and exiting. This raises their capacity but reduces surrounding Desirablity. Use long, straight roads. Thus, if you suffer from rolling blackouts, your water supply won't be down for a month or more. Plan ahead. Because a small city uses a fraction of the power provided by a plant for a long time, much of what is spent on power is wasted money.

If you strike a deal for the minimum amount, it will cost you less in the short term. Not only does this shut up your Advisor, but it reduces the risk of fire. It's also required for the growth of larger and wealthier buildings. If you want to decommission them in the future, you don't want to have to tear down something important or lose some good strategic land. The trash decays over time. When the Landfill is empty, it can be dezoned.


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A meltdown is game-over! Don't put Water Pumps or Water Towers anywhere near them. They're expensive. Buildings that affect the map e. Universities can go anywhere. Police and fire can't dispatch if not on a Road. Fire stations lose 20 percent of their effectiveness and radius if they're not on a Road.

Plus, jobs added by these buildings won't be accessible unless there's Road access. Aboveground, it's a slab of concrete, so it's fireproof. Roads, or power. Water, however, reduces their flammability which is high and Roads allow dispatch if there's a fire. The length of time you hold down the button dictates the damage done by the Disaster. If the Disaster has destroyed them, the fire trucks won't be able to get in.

Keep it high in your city tracts and you'll never get a riot. Zoom out and watch which way the smoke moves to predict where it will blow. Don't rush to fiddle with tax rates and lay down roads; there's plenty of time for that. Get a feel for the general powers available to you by discussing the three over- arching modes of play and the tools within them. Next, learn about playing in the dirt to mold the earth into a host for your city. Never, however, has it been as explicit or as powerful as in SimCity 4.

SimCity 4 offers a new way to interact with and read your city: My Sim Mode. His or her lifetime success and day-to-day problems and complaints provide you an unprecedented level of insight into how your city is faring. It's like being a citizen of your own city. Which hat you wear deity, ruler, or ruled — and when — is a fundamental part of playing SimCity 4 successfully and creatively. Here we outline these three modes, and how and when to use each.

In this mode you can shape the earth freely until it's just right. In pre-city God Mode, you have a full slate of tools. The Terraform menu You can raise the terrain to form cliffs, mesas, mountains, steep hills, or small hills. The Raise Terrain menu simcity. Use the tools to dig deeply enough to hit the subter- ranean water table and make lakes, rivers, and coastlines. You can wipe the slate clean with the Quick Level Brush, and make your landscapes look more realistic with the Erosion and Soften tools.

You can't choose which variety of tree you'll get; the elevation and character of the terrain dictates that. Finally, you can populate your city with primordial residents with the Create Fauna tools. Woodland Animals, Horses, or Wild Animals can be spawned in vast herds in your unspoiled landscape. These global controls affect the entire landscape with one click.

Erode enacts the erosion effect all over the map to make your land look as though it has been through many centuries of evolu- tion. Erosion is essential for realistic landscapes. Smoothing has a similar but opposite effect, softening the edges to create a land that looks as though it has been shaped by some prehis- toric water, an old flood-plain, or dried-up lake, long since receded.

Raise Terrain Level ups every elevation on the map one level. All raised and lowered portions of the landscape persist, with every- thing at a higher altitude. This affects the kind of trees that will grow and how far away the water table and sea level are. Lower Terrain Level has the opposite effect.

It matches the edges of the current city to the same elevations as the neighboring cities, creating continuous terrain features in Region View. The primary use for this tool is creating terrain features that span two or more cities, like a region-traversing river or a gigantic mountain range. This is one of the pre-city God Mode menus that is accessible after you establish your city. In the pre-city phase, two Disasters in particular Meteor and Volcano can give your landscape a great broken-in look. Use them now to add some meteor craters or dormant volca- noes without worrying about the consequences.

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Clap off! You can manually switch the lighting to day or night or toggle the automatic cycling of light. This control remains avail- able after city establishment. You give up a bit of your god-like power when you incarnate as mayor. The eons necessary for mountain building and erosion are beyond your control, but you retain power to inflict catastrophic events and even stop the earth from turning. With a wave of your hand, all man-made structures and zones evaporate into thin air. Be careful with Obliterate City; it can't be undone.

The Obliterate City button simcity. The only difference is that you have to be careful of any city elements you place in the areas to be leveled. If you've built near the edges and you enact edge reconciliation, anything within the highlighted red band will be destroyed. However, you need to comprehend the impact of these Disasters on your structures in this context. For full details, see Chapter Beyond the cool nighttime lighting effects, it is informative to watch the day pass. It's totally independent.

Many activities in your city are triggered by the passage of these solar days rush hours, school attendance, etc. TIP There is a cheat that allows you to access full God Mode controls even after you've established your city. Do it correctly to see the pre-city God Mode menu. This may not seem like a big deal, but it means you can terraform for free even after establishing your city. Post-establishment terraforming via the limited Mayor Mode Landscape tools is expensive, so this cheat saves you Simoleons and gives you more terraforming flexibility.

On the other hand, it empowers you to accidentally decimate your city with one erroneous tap of your finger, so be careful. The majority of what you need is in this mode of play. All your management, infor- mational, financial, and struc- tural controls are found here. The most crucial differ- ence is that using them in Mayor Mode costs Simoleons. Use these tools to in a more limited fashion than in God Mode raise, lower, and level terrain. We're talking engi- neering projects here, not divine creation.

It's better to spend more time in pre-city God Mode and massage the terrain for free. Landscaping tools give a level of control over flora placement that you don't get in God Mode. Most simply, you can choose what kind of trees you'd like to place. Want palm trees on your mountaintops? If you've got the money, go ahead. You also have precise control of placement, so that you can plant decorative groves and rows.

But it's difficult for a Mayor to replant old- growth trees — you have to plant saplings that in time will pay off. These trees take anywhere from three to five years to grow from saplings to full-grown trees. In time, the full-grown trees will be replaced by saplings, and the whole cycle starts over again. The Zone Tools menu simcity. You select Airports and Sea- ports here, too. Several Reward power structures will be grayed- out until earned see Chapter Demolishing struc- tures costs you Simoleons. The Bulldoze button In keeping with SimCity 4's emphasis on the persistence of structures if not their original conditions , you have to pay fees to demolish buildings.

The point is to make you think twice before wantonly tearing down existing structures. There is a difference between RCI structures and civic buildings. RCIs are more expensive because bulldozing them obligates you to pay fair market value for the destroyed prop- erty. As Mayor, you "own" civic buildings, so the demolition cost is considerably less. So too is the fee, which is added to the cost of the new building. TIP There are low-cost ways to tear down even the most demolition- pricey buildings.

See Chapters 26 and 27 for some ideas. You can go to the Disaster site and cycle through all active Disasters and dispatch fire and police units. These are not your only sources of hard infor- mation and one of your best is in its own all-new mode: My Sim Mode. It's now possible to know what your citizens living in a precise area think about their city and neighborhood.

Plus, though their houses won't be highlighted with the floating "so-and-so lives here" word bubble, doing a query on a house inhabited by a My Sim shows their portrait. In My Sim Mode, you can choose or import a Sim and decide where he or she will initially live. Add or select My Sims in the basic menu bar. Normally, someone of your stature would interact with the populace only selectively, such as when they petition you to do some- thing. These "squeaky wheels" aren't exactly a representative sample of your people.

Now you can get inside their heads and know what they want and what concerns them. It's like having spies in your city or the ability to tap into the subconsciousnesses of your Sims. When you establish a My Sim, click on his or her portrait to pinpoint that Sim's location in the city, check his or her Profile, and view a list of his or her most recent News messages. However you want to view it. My Sim Mode is where you manage your set of up to five representative citizens.

See Part 8 for details. Every My Sim has a home, though it might not be the one you originally chose. In My Sim Mode, each My Sim's house is high- lighted by a word bubble "Artful Dodger lives here" and the current location of each My Sim at home, on the road, or at work is shown by the portrait pointer icon. Click on the Sim's portrait to zoom to his current location and follow him. To follow a My Sim as she goes through her daily routine, click on her portrait in her Infor- mation Panel. Your view follows her wherever she goes.

The word bubbles show which My Sim lives where, and the portrait bubbles show the Sims' current location. When properly enjoyed, this phase can dictate your success in the simulation years ahead. That's what this chapter is all about: how to till the soil so your city will grow to its full potential. NOTE You can be successful without spending too much time in the pre-city phase.

SimCity 4 comes with several pre-terraformed regions. You can alter them, but you also could jump into city-building without mucking about in the pre-city phase. The choice is yours.

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If you desire to make your city and the cities around it your own, read on. You can load up one of the pre-terraformed Regions provided with SimCity 4, or begin with a clean slate and create your own. Beginners should use one of the ready-made Regions. Even experienced SimCity players should begin with a premade Region, then alter it to suit their pleasure.

Working from a totally clean slate is primarily for dedicated landscape artists. In brief, SimCity 4 is designed for an unprecedented level of complexity and Regional inter- dependence. Though you begin with one city, you can build several more within the Region and create connections between them. A Region is a collection of individual city squares. This one approxi- mates the topography of San Francisco. For example, one city could develop to be your Commercial down- town, home to a forest of skyscrapers, while the one next door could serve as an urban Residential neighborhood with funky, retail shops mixed in.

Still another adjacent city could be home to your Industrial base. The decisions you make, therefore, about your Region are important as time goes on. If you, for example, choose to begin your first city on an isolated island, later Regional expansion becomes more challenging and expensive. Regional strategy requires considerable foresight or the ability to make decisions that leave open the maximum possible future opportunities. We can help you with both of these. The size and location of a city is impor- tant to how it will grow.

NOTE The tiles you see in cities measure 1 6 meters by 1 6 meters. What size you choose doesn't matter if you plan to make a small city. But, if your goals are grander, use medium and small cities to form discreet districts in your future megalopolis. Begin your city on a city square that has the maximum available number of adjacent city squares. A medium-sized city square could have as many as eight adjacent small city squares.

Such an arrangement gives you eight possible partners for Neighbor Deals. Several adjoining cities are the right size to act as specialized add-ons to your main city see Chapter In a ready-made Region, geography plays a role in your choice of location. Choose city squares that offer sufficient buildable ground not too many mountains or large bodies of water and as many neighbors as possible.

To enhance land value in your city, find city squares with a fair amount of high ground and numerous tiles adjoining water. A large body of water is also mandatory for building a Seaport — an essential element for a thriving Industrial sector. That Is So 3k! Your water supply system no longer requires open bodies of water; all water supply comes through the subterranean water table.

As such, there's no water supply draw- back to building on a city square with no visible water. This city has both high ground and waterfront for some potentially high land values. This city square is promising with lots of waterfront and three adja- cent city squares. With one gesture of your hand, you can raise a towering, craggy mountain or punch through the ground to reveal an underground lake.

You can smooth the terrain to create a gentle coastline or wish a thick forest of trees into existence. All this power is yours in God Mode. If you have the imagination and dedication, you can turn your raw earth into a work of art. The circle represents the area of terrain affected when you push the left mouse button.

The effect created by each tool is strongest near its center and dissipates toward the circle's outer edge. Each Terraform tool is a large circle in which the tool's strongest effect is at the center. The Terraform menu simcity. You can control the size and inten- sity of this circle in several ways: 1. Zoom: The level of your zoom dictates how much terrain the tool will cover.

The closer in you zoom, the more focused and gentle the effect will be. The farther out you zoom, the more expan- sive and violent the effect. If you want to do delicate work, do it in tight zooms. Conversely, holding [Ctrl 1 reduces its size and intensity. Your level of zoom dictates the relative size of the tool [Shift! The mountain on the left was made from a far zoom level, the right from in close.

Changing the tool size has an obvious effect. The mountains from left to right are made with the brush set at 1, 5, and 9 using the number with [Shift! The longer you hold the left-mouse button, the longer the tool's effect lasts. To make a tall moun- tain, pick a spot and hold the button for a long time. For a tiny hill, tap the left mouse button. Really high cliffs develop water at the base. The gradual side of the cliff can be zoned, with houses on the edge seeing enhanced land value.

Control which way the cliff faces with the direction you draw the cliff; the sheer face is to the right of the direction in which you draw. You can't build on a mountain, though you may be able to run tunnels through it and roads up it using switchbacks. They're useful for making small mountain ranges. Even small steep hills are difficult to build on best to do it with narrow steppes. These hills are easy to build on and around and run transporta- tion over.

The Cliff tool creates these stunning sheer-faced hills. The mesa is a towering and useful terrain feature. Mountains show what's possible with terraforming. Make them as big as you want and run long ranges of them across the map. NOTE Higher-than-average-altitude land is more valuable than land at lower elevations. The high land value is more attractive to high-wealth Residential Sims and, once occupied, generates more tax revenue. The steep valley on the left is sharper and more V-shaped The Crater tool lifts terrain on the outside and drops it in the center, than the valley in the center or the softer and wider shallow valley on the right.

The shallow canyon left is narrower with more gradual slopes, while the normal canyon right has a wider bottom and steeper sides. The sides of these valleys are gently sloped, though if you dig deeply enough, the sides will become steep. Use it for medium sized rivers. Steep valleys consume less space than shallow ones, but the terrain around the valley is too steep to build on. You can zone within them and run roads over their ridges. Unlike valleys, shallow canyons raise the terrain around them to form a ridge. Smoother, flatter areas are better for development.

Sometimes Terrain tools leave extra lumps that become more obvious as roads and rail roll over them. Smooth and flatten the areas you intend to develop with these tools to insure more smoothly developed cities. The edges of the resulting city plateau are steep. The edges of the resulting city squares are gentle slopes. When you want to flatten everything tall and fill in everything low, this is the easiest way. Clicking-and-holding the left mouse button remembers the elevation at the center of the tool and applies that elevation anywhere you drag it.

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The effect is a blunting of sharp terrain features. The effect is a cutting of lines through the terrain to make it look more weathered. It also deposits sediment in low-lying areas, raising them. Point to a location and press the Seed Forests button. The longer you hold the button, the thicker and denser the forest will be; or, tap the button for a few isolated trees.

The interesting thing about trees in SimCity 4 is how they start and how they spread. When placed with the Seed Forest tool, they're lush and mature unlike the seedlings you must plant in the Mayor Mode's Landscaping tools. Over time, they spread seeds nearby. If the condi- tions are right, these seeds grow into new trees. The rate at which trees grow and reproduce, and what kind of trees deciduous, coniferous, or scrub you get when you seed a forest depend on the "tree happiness" factor.

High elevations favor scrub, medium elevations lean toward conif- erous trees, and low elevations default to deciduous trees. These baseline relation- ships can be changed by the second factor, the degree of moisture. The happiness of a tree is dictated by a combination of both factors. If a spot of high elevation is moist due to wind direction and being in a hollow , it may sprout the normally low- elevation deciduous trees.

But, if a low altitude area is dry due to shielding from a large terrain feature , it sprouts coniferous trees. If an area is marginal for specific tree happiness, a tree may sprout but will likely die. If it hangs on, it will produce few seeds. Isolated trees rather than ones in large clusters tolerate marginal conditions best, but won't live long or reproduce much. Once a tree is established, its reproduction is dictated by its happiness, but also other factors. Generally, a happy tree one that's suited for its moisture and elevation will grow quickly and propagate many seeds over large distances.

The density of a cluster of trees factors into tree propagation. Isolated or small groups of trees don't live as long or propagate as widely as trees that live in large, dense clusters. Forests thrive, while a grove dies out over time. Any trees you place, however, won't grow or propagate; after you establish your city, that behavior can't be restored.

Trees placed with the post-city-establishment Plant Flora tool start out as small saplings and grow over time though they don't reproduce , but they cost money to plant. Growth and propagation of trees generated with this tool continues until you establish your city. When you click into Mayor Mode for the first time and name your city, all natural growth seems to stop — tree spread is harder to see when you're not living in deity time. If you desire a lush and naturally grown forest, use the Seed Forest tool, then crank up to full speed for a long time.

When the forest has grown to your liking, establish your city. You can create larger herds by click-dragging and multiple left-clicks. Whether or not animals spawn where you choose depends on the elevation. If it's too high, using the tool has no effect. The animals you spawn in this phase don't last long; placing them is just for fun. NOTE Dense clusters of trees spawn wildlife throughout the simulation; so, seed some thick forests while you have the chance see Seed Forests.

TIP Use combinations of erode and soften to get the right terrain "texture. Water cuts sharp lines in whatever it touches and deposits sediment in low-lying areas raising the floor of valleys and canyons ; that's what using this tool does. On a broader aesthetic level, it makes your terrain look more realistic and "lived in. Unlike water, wind erosion smoothes and rounds the ground it touches.

This doesn't change the relative elevations of mountains or valleys, but it changes their absolute elevation. Raise or lower the level enough, and tall features will flatten or disappear under water. This is an unsupported tool. This landscape stays the same when you lower or raise the terrain level via the Terrain Effects, but the elevation of every point increases by one level. It looks at the edges of surrounding cities and conforms the edges of the current map to match. If the adjoining tile has a deep river running to its western edge, the eastern edge of your city square once Reconciled shows the end of that river valley.

This indicates the location of the river so you may continue to draw it as it courses across your current city square. This is done using the Reconcile Edges tool. Draw a river up to the edge of a city square. Then save and exit to the Region. Enter the adjacent Region and accept the Edge Reconciliation.

You find the river's end drawn into the adjacent Region. From the Region View, it looks like this. To see how this system works, check out the prefabricated Regions that come with SimCity 4. Two of the user-initiated Disasters Volcano and Meteor can be used as violent and unpre- dictable Terraforming tools in this pre-city stage. The Volcano Disaster leaves a gigantic dormant volcano that can serve as the centerpiece of an interesting city The Meteor Disaster punches a gaping, charred hole in the earth.

Pockmark your landscape with these meteor craters to give the Sim geolo- gists who move into your city something to ponder. A plummeting meteor leaves an indelible scar on your city. At this point, you can name your city and give yourself the perfect Mayoral moniker. To put all terraforming behind you, click the Mayor Mode button and name your city and yourself. To make further changes to the earth under your city, you'll have to pay. NOTE Technically, you can't change your city or Mayor name once you start your city, but there is a secret way. See "Cheats" in Chapter The lower the skill level, the easier it'll be to start and build your city.

When in doubt, choose Easy. The number of stars below the mayor name in the city's region view info bubble reflects the skill level you chose. With your city established, have a blast with tax rates, zones, ordinances, and all those things that make being a Mayor as opposed to a deity fun.

Obliterating wipes the slate clean. That's why there's the Obliterate City button in God Mode. With one push of a button and a confirmation box to make sure you mean it , you evaporate the man-made parts of your city. After obliteration, you're left with the raw terrain you had when you entered Mayor Mode.

Above all, SimCity 4 is about attracting and fostering Residential, Commercial, and Industrial structures. All other buildings, at their core, serve this purpose. Understanding SimCity 4 means understanding the complex and interconnected web of factors that make RCI grow and change. To avoid confusion, these topics are presented in the order they occur in the simulation with a brief stop for some important definitions first. You'll find repetition and overlap as you read these chapters, but it's for the sake of clarity.

SimCity veterans and newbies alike should digest this information. Both these concepts combine to "inhabit" your city, creating both economic classes among your Sims and a street-level indication of the desirability of your city. If you know what to look for, you'll never need more than this visual information to measure a tract's desirability. It's helpful to grasp both these concepts before moving onto the more complex quagmires of demand, desirability, and development. As applied to Sims, developer types equate with social or economic classes, dictating a Sim's affinities, aversions, base education, base life expectancy, and tendency toward criminality NOTE The term "Sim" as used in SimCity 4 and this guide refers not only to Residential Sims walking and driving the streets of your city, but also to the Sims who set up Commercial businesses and Industrial operations.

As applied to buildings, developer types reflect the kind of Sim for which the structure was orig- inally built. Buildings are, therefore, associated with various developer types, but can shift developer types based on changes of occupancy. NOTE Structures can downgrade but can't upgrade. In this situation, the house would be demolished and redeveloped. Your developer types desire different things in their real estate.

Look to the Desirability Data View to find out who wants to be where. Every building has a developer type, as shown in its Query box. The three wealth classes share affinities for various factors parks, land-value enhancements , but differ in how much they value some factors and how much they'll tolerate things such as pollution, commute time, or crime. Different Residential wealth levels demand different Commercial and Industrial levels and in different proportions.

Residential demand for business needs works similarly, with each type distributing business demand among the available C and I types based on EQ. These can range in wealth level from the most basic a greasy spoon or dollar store to the high end a swanky boutique. Commercial Office, on the other hand, comprises your city's white collar and profes- sional establishments.

Because these businesses are, by nature, higher on the wealth continuum, there are only two classes: medium-wealth and high-wealth. Both varieties of the Commercial population create jobs for your Residential Sims. A Commercial building's developer class dictates its employment profile. A low-wealth Commercial Service business will, for example, require low-wealth Residential Sims.

A high-wealth Commercial Office business, on the other hand, requires predominantly medium-wealth Residential Sims professionals , some low-wealth clerical and support staff , and a smattering of high- wealth management. As with Residential buildings. Commercial structures downgrade if their land stops being desirable to their current inhabitants. When the building changes hands, it assumes the devel- oper type of its new occupants. It may look similar with perhaps a different storefront or more distressed , but everything about it changes when it shifts developer type.

Industrial Sims are different. Industrial developer types aren't broken down in terms of wealth, but in terms of function and pollution level. Agricultural AI is in a class by itself. It is, like ID below , low-wealth Industry. Dirty Industry ID is traditional heavy smokestack industry and represents the lowest rung on the Industrial scale. Each also offers a small number of middle-wealth Residential jobs. Their hallmark, however, is the massive amounts of water and air pollution they produce.

Commercial Office buildings serve your Sims employment needs. A few high-wealth Sims populate the management suites above the production floors. It's wealthy, it's clean minimal pollution , and it employs the cream of the crop: mostly middle-wealth and equally small numbers of high- and low-wealth Residential Sims.

High-Tech is demanded only by a population with a large and long-standing Mayoral commitment to education. Because these businesses demand a smart job base, you see this developer type inhabit your previously filthy Industrial zones only after you educate your populace. While Industrial developer types aren't tied to wealth, they do correspond to the model of low-, medium-, and high-wealth.

Dirty Industry represents low-wealth. Manufacturing repre- sents medium-wealth, and High-Tech embodies high-wealth Industry. This is important when setting tax rates — set individually for low-, medium-, and high-wealth. When you lay out your zones, there's no obvious way to tell which developer type you will see.

There are ways, however, to predict and even control developer type when zoning. If there's high demand for one type and none or negative demand for others, you can be certain about what will grow. If you can pick areas to zone that will appeal to a developer type, the chances of that type locating there increase. Display desirability by activating the Desirability Data View — this view shows developer type desir- ability of both zoned and unzoned land. Even, therefore, if you have Commercial demand through the roof, you won't get high-wealth Commercial Office if demand for it is flat.

The basic demand relationships between R, C, I, and IA are the same among developer types of the same kind, i. For example. Residential Sims demand Industry to provide their jobs. Which Industrial devel- oper type they demand and in what quantity, however, differs by wealth level. For greater detail on demand, see Chapter 8. If a building ceases to be desirable to a given developer type, the building drops in occupancy and becomes abandoned. If, after abandonment, the building is desirable to a lower developer type, it becomes reoccu- pied in direct proportion to amount of desirability to the highest possible developer type.

If desirability is low, but still enough to occupy, occupancy will be low. If desirability is low for all Residential types, the house will stay abandoned. For more on desirability, see Chapter One of the first issues in development is which developer type to choose. This points out that, even at this most basic level of development, it's not whether the zone is R, C, or I that matters, it's what kind of R, C, or I. If the development simulator is thinking in these terms, so should you.

Residential developer type initially has a profound impact on education and health. A city of low-wealth Sims can achieve as much as high-wealth ones, but they take longer to do it. Crime levels, too, are affected by, among other things. Residential developer type. This effect can be mitigated with higher EQ, and is made worse by unemployment. TIP This relationship between criminality and wealth-level is important in providing an incentive to educate your Sims.

Unless you find an alternate way to reduce crime, universal education is your best hope. The easiest way is to query a building. Doing so shows you its development type and its rating in several important desirability factors. For Industrial buildings, developer type is stated in the building's character Agriculture, Dirty, Manufacturing, or High- Tech rather than wealth per se.

The list below the line shows how this structure is doing on several crucial desirability factors. When problems arise, check this first. After you know what to look for, you can identify a building's developer type by looking at it. In Industrial zones, the dirtiness of the building speaks to its developer type — Dirty Industry looks dirty.

Manufacturing looks cleaner but not immaculate, High-Tech looks sparkling clean, and Agricultural looks like a farm. Don't, however, confuse "dirtiness" with signs of distress and abandonment. Commercial and Residential buildings show their developer type in the "props" located on their lots. See a swanky car?

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See a junker with primer-colored panels? Commercial buildings display changeable storefronts; the basic box of the buildings stays the same but the awning and front window reveal the kind of business. The physical size of the building dictates the number of Sims assigned to a building.

In Residential buildings, the less well-off occupying Sims are, the less space they require and the more Sims can occupy a lot. Because Industrial buildings can't shift between developer types an ID building can't become an IM building; it must be demolished and redeveloped , their occupancy stays the same. Where you see the change in an Industrial building is in its actual occupancy: the number of Sims working there. This figure is tied to the building's desirability.

If desirability is low, occu- pancy will be low. If desirability is high, the building will be filled. As youTl see in the "Demand" section Chapter 8 , every Commercial and Industrial building comes with a certain workforce demand profile. In this way, occupancy makes the ebb and flow of SimCity 4 more complex and responsive. Though it seems more complicated, the insight and control this system provides allows unprecedented ease in diagnosing problems. It, however, resembles Residential demand in the tendency of buildings to downgrade to lower-wealth occupants if circumstances force out the higher-wealth occupants.

You see these shifts as changes in storefront. No matter how high demand for Commercial or Industrial is, nothing new develops if new areas have low desirability and existing structures are suffering low occupancy. Look for the number of "props" strewn about a building e. Sparse props mean no one's home. This can happen for myriad reasons, but it always means that either the desirability or demand for this building is so bad that no one can inhabit it.

This can happen, for example, if desirability for the building's wealth level drops and there is no demand for lower wealth levels. It can also happen if the building is denied power, its commute time is long, or the inhabitant can't find a job. In abandonment, you learn how important occupancy is. Having someone in a building decreases its flammability and brings it into the tax base.

This ID building, like many around it, has been abandoned. All the important stats in the Query box seem OK, so the problem must be deeper. The state of these buildings is what should spur you to investigate. But what drives them? What motivates everyone in SimCity 4 is demand. Demand for jobs begets demand for housing begets demand for jobs, etc.

It's a big circle. Understanding how these forces play out is critical to riding the wave of demand and keeping your city healthy and thriving. When you understand how demand works, you can control it. Demand is now based on the desire for structures, not zones. Zoning no longer, in and of itself, satisfies demand. Demand is the need for construction of a specific developer R, C, or I. Residential demand calls for Residential buildings. Industrial demand calls for Industrial buildings, and Commercial demand calls for Commercial buildings. Your job is to help satisfy this demand by placing zones likely to produce the demanded buildings.

With demand red hot, it won't be long before this zone fills with new Residential buildings. Well, that depends on what kind of demand you mean. Residential demand is formed and shaped by Workforce demand, while Commercial and Industrial demand are propelled by Business demand. NOTE The "workforce" of your city is a fraction of your Residential population presumed to be in the workforce.

In other words, half the Residential Sims are available to work. Thus, when a business demands workers, it sends out demand for roughly two Residential Sims for each job. Every C or I building comes with a fixed number of jobs usually proportional to the build- ings' size. Each job creates demand for roughly two Residential Sim as dictated by the work- force percentage , a. If there is an oversupply of each type of resident out there the unemployed , the demand will be satisfied immediately If not, the demand meters for unfilled jobs' Residential developer type will rise to show the unmet demand.

To satisfy this demand, zone Residential in a location that's desirable to the wealth level you wish to attract. Business demand is the need by Residential Sims for businesses to provide their employment. It serves as the force behind the various Industrial and Commercial demands. Whenever a Residential building is constructed, it demands jobs from businesses. Different Residential wealth and educational levels dictate what jobs the occupants of the buildings will demand. If all goes well, a business building will appear that satisfies the demand and brings down the appropriate RCI Demand Meter.

If there's a glut of jobs in any or all the developer types, all or part of this demand will be satisfied immediately If not, the RCI Demand Graph bars for each developer type would rise to reflect the unmet demand. To meet unmet demand, you must zone land that will be desirable to the developer type you're trying to satisfy. It is of no use in specifically gauging what your city needs; it's a rough indi- cation of the current state of affairs. This bar graph breaks down demand into its most useful form: by developer type. Here you can see, on a relative scale of -1, to 1,, how much unsatisfied call there is for each developer type.

Negative demand causes mass abandonment and other ugliness. Negative demand occurs when there's an over- supply of a demanded developer type.


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  8. Say, for instance, there's high demand for Residential. If you zone to meet this demand and something subsequently changes in your Commercial or Industrial zones that cause Residential demand to drop, you may have more workers than your other developer types can absorb. Oversupply causes the simulation to take over and restore equilibrium between supply and demand. Its only tool is mass exodus of popu- lation. All of the excess inhabitants abandon their buildings and move out of the city to restore demand to 0.

    Abandonment can be a sign of many things. Negative demand is one of them. It's not a precise process, so bad things are bound to ensue. Underreact to demand. To see why, consider the concept of overdevelopment. If, in moving to satisfy demand, you provide too much of the demanded zones, your Sims may develop too enthusiastically. Sim developers are inclined toward overdevelopment, so keep them on a tight leash.

    This is problematic with high-density zoning where one building can contain several thousand occu- pants demand satisfaction. Too much development can become negative demand see "Negative Demand" and this can lead to abandonment. As a rule, zone less than you think you need, especially if you're dealing with high-density zones and their potential for high-capacity buildings.

    You can also increase taxes to temper overdevelopment. If desirability is low, occupancy will be equally low; they're directly proportional. Low occu- pancy, in turn, eventually stagnates demand. If your occupancy numbers are low, don't zone more to meet outstanding demand. Read Chapter 10 to see what you can do to enliven desirability instead. If you fail to tend to it, demand for your city will dry up.

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    Demand Caps are fixed ceilings beyond which a population cannot grow, overriding actual demand. With every increase in the population, you move one step closer to the cap and the maximum demand pushes down. They don't span a Region nor affect other cities in the Region. In other words, population can grow to 20, and no further without some relief. When you get to 20,, demand can't register above zero. If you did nothing about Demand Caps, your city would be incapable of growing beyond these points.

    Fortunately, there's something you can do. To permit population to grow beyond 40, and demand to rise above , add more Demand Cap Relief. What provides Demand Cap Relief for each developer type population differs, reflecting what each population desires. Without these things, your city is unattractive to newcomers they expect a city of your size to have certain things. These are listed in the tables below. Though most such buildings affect all Residential Sims equally, the effect can vary by wealth level.

    A few buildings offer relief as well. For a neighboring city to have a role in Regional Play, you must connect it. That's a subject for Chapter Connections can come in various forms: High- way, Subway, Road, and Rail. These connect to a specified neighbor. This counts as a connection for Demand Cap Relief, but is useless for all other purposes Neighbor Deals, Regional play, etc.

    The first connection to each neighbor you make of each type of transportation provides an amount of Demand Cap Relief. It can grow without relief. Additional connections to different neighbors or to already-connected neighbors via different transportation types snare the full amount of Demand Cap Relief per connection. Make connections to each possible neighbor by each possible transportation type. Just because a connection doesn't offer its full effect doesn't mean it isn't worth making: Demand Cap Relief is Demand Cap Relief. The relief is limited by the kind of Airport.

    The Commercial Demand Cap Relief offered by Seaports is a presumed amount of commercial sea traffic based on the current Industrial freight going through the port. The more trips arrive at the connections, the more Demand Cap Relief is provided.