Frequently Asked Questions
I want to recreate New York City using Sim City 4. Is it possible? How do I go about it?
It is very possible to recreate New York City with Sim City 4. I've seen it done with amazing accuracy. The trick to recreating any real world city is to have the scale of the regions right. The New York region that comes with the game is not the correct scale, so you will have a tough time fitting everything in. I suggest using a region from http://www.rebel13.com/SimCity/Home.html. You can also try the MEX at Simtropolis.com. Once you get a region of the proper scale, you can start planning your city. Here, it is important to see the overall picture of things. Since Sim City does not allow you to develop all of New York at the same time, it must be broken up into pieces. Develop it a little bit at a time. Do not try to develop one section of the city, and then move on to another section. This approach would be much more challenging. Lay out the roads first, using the surrounding terrain and topography as a guide. Then add in zones. Eventually, you can add in landmarks to make it look more like New York. Of course, a map of New York City and some photographs of the city will be of extreme help. Be sure to check out the New York City Planning Department site will be a good thing for you to check out. They have everything about the city right there! It can be found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/. Good Luck!
What do landmarks do? They look cool, but other than that, is there any real point in putting them in?
All landmarks do is increase the desirability in commercial districts. However, some landmarks have more effect than others. For example, the Bank of America Building has a radius of 80 tiles, meaning that it will increase commercial desirability for all areas within 80 tiles of the building.
Should I put airports in my city? What function do they really serve?
Airports provide demand cap relief. This is the same function provided by making neighbor connections to your other cities with freeways, roads, avenues, rail, and subways. If you can achieve the same effect that an airport has by making neighbor connections, and therefore taking up less land, go for it! I find airports to be a big waste of space when the same effects can be obtained by building a few connections to neighbor cities. Also, airports built in neighbor cities will have no effect whatsoever on your core city.
How do I keep my budget in check? I can’t seem to make money.
Keeping a stable budget can be a challenge. It is important to micro budget all your city services, especially schools and hospitals. Using the query tool, click on every hospital and school and adjust the budget bar until you reduce the funding until the building provides the exact amount of the service the city needs. For example, if a school has 150 students, adjust the budget so that the school has space for about 150 students. This should help you balance your budget. Also, remove all unnecessary city services until you have enough monthly income to support them.
I’m having trouble with traffic, but sims won’t use my mass transit systems. What should I do?
The mass transit issues are very common. Generally, it is best to place routes along roads with congested traffic. Also, try placing the stations closer together. The closer the stations are to one another, the more sims will use the system.
How do I attract wealthy residents?
Try attracting high tech industrial jobs to the city. Also, if you have demand for other high paying jobs, like CO$$$ and CS$$$, add more commercial zones. As a last resort, try lowering your taxes to 7%, or maybe even lower if you can afford it. This should spur high wealth growth in your city.
My city is suck at 20,000 residents. How do I make it grow?
There are many possible reasons why your city is not growing. Check on your commute times. Commute times can kill any city. To lower commute times, place mass transit along heavily traveled roads. Also, make sure you have plenty of connections to neighbor cities. Neighbor connections are crucial in Sim City 4. Your desirability might also be a problem, but you can only deal with that once you have the money to. You can take out a loan to improve desirability, just be careful that it does not cause your city to start loosing money.
I can’t get high tech industry in my city. What am I doing wrong?
To get high tech industry, and to a lesser extent, manufacturing industry, you need highly educated sims in your city. Start off early with an elementary school and a library. As your city grows in population, add the high school and the community college. Also be sure to add in additional libraries, museums, and the like, as your city requires it. I place libraries in every single residential neighborhood, and museums in many neighborhoods. This helps you to achieve the education levels needed to get high tech industry in your city. You must remember that education is a slow process, so it may take as much as 30 years to raise your education level high enough. Also, don't forget that high tech industry does not like pollution or garbage, so keep those away from your high tech areas.
I’m running out of space to build in my main city. Is it ok to move the industry to a neighbor city?
I build so-called “industry only” cities all the time. In fact if you keep you dirty industry in your main city, over time it will begin to negatively affect your city. High tech industry and some manufacturing industry will not cause any negative effects in your main city if you leave them in it because of the lower pollution levels associated with those industries. The bad traffic & pollution in an industrial city does not matter. As long as there are no sims living there, your mayor rating won't matter. Hence, about the only city services you'll need to provide is fire protection. I tend to put incinerators, power plants, and other undesirable things in my industrial cities. Then I just sell power & water to the main city. It also provides a great place to put trash from the main city. Doing this will help keep the mayor rating in your main city high, because it will keep these undesirable things out.
My city is a slum. How do I get those high wealth residential skyscrapers?
It all starts with a high education level. Begin educating your sims as soon as you start your city. Add museums, libraries, and schools as you can afford it. Eventually your education level will be high, attracting medium & high wealth residents. Do not forget about healthcare either. That seems to be a major factor as well. A sufficient water system, many parks, and most importantly, demand for high wealth residential must also be present, or no luxury skyscrapers will be built in your city.