Getting Started In ‘SimCity’: A Handy Guide

Posted by on March 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm
No traffic on that street!

No traffic on that street!

So you’re finally able to start playing SimCity and don’t know where to begin? To help you out, I’m going to lay out some good starting points and explain some of the things I didn’t understand at first. I’d highly recommend playing with friends, who help tremendously in the creation of your city.

Where to Claim?

When you jump into a region map with your friends, you may be tempted to spread out. Be mindful of how the region works: if you are too far away from another city, you won’t be able to share resources. As a rule of thumb, claim areas closest to a Great Works site to share alloys, plastics, oil, and so on. If you can’t place next to other players, I would claim two spots next to each other so the cities can support each other.

Planning, Zoning and Population Control

Water is the first thing I think about when planning my city. If you hit up the water map, you can see where your water table resides. I keep my industrial areas, sewage and power away from my water source so I don’t contaminate it. I won’t spend money on upkeep for those if I can import those services from a neighboring city, but keep your water supply in mind as eventually your power demands may become too great or some terrible thing may happen to your neighbor, such as a natural disaster that knocks their power plant offline.

When laying your city streets, keep in mind that the size of the street directly affects how fast the population will grow. If you want to keep everything going at a nice pace, especially early on, start off with smaller streets. If you want to make no money and struggle then go with the high capacity avenues.

Zone in smaller clusters to alleviate traffic. If all of your Sims are going to the same area in your city, it’s going to cause traffic delays and emergency services won’t be able to respond quickly.

Helpful Stuff I Wish I Knew From the Beginning

  • Follow me on this one. When you zone residential, the demand for industrial rises. As residential rises, commercial rises, as does the number of Sims consuming goods from commercial. Commercial gets their goods from industrial and if there are not enough industrial then commercial businesses will close. Same thing goes if there isn’t enough commercial for industrial to send its freight. When you have more industrial than commercial, build a trade depot and the appropriate freight modules. This will automatically allow industrial to ship out freight.
  • Save up for water treatment instead of using sewage outflow pipes. These pipes contaminate the ground and you’ll need to spend extra money on filtration systems for your water pumps to clean the ground again.
  • Don’t rush to build police precincts, large fire stations or hospitals: the upkeep is huge amount and can cripple your income.
  • Don’t forget about trash incinerators: these things are miracle workers. Before I used them, I’d build more dumps that took up a ton of room. Now I only have one dump that is never full.
  • If your Sims are complaining about being sick all the time, look at your pollution map. Wind changes direction in game so you’ll never be able to have perfect placement. Planting trees/forests with the tree icon will help lower air pollution. You may notice your flora disappear because they die scrubbing the polluted air. Keep replacing them and they’ll eventually overtake your air pollution problem.

If you have any gameplay tips, let us know in the comments below or in the forum!

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