SIMCITY 3000 - Guide (version 1.0)


Written by Tim Wuyts (April 13th-14th, 1999)            E-mail: tim.wuyts@planetinternet.be

The author is also the webmaster of The Cheat Empire: http://home.planetinternet.be/~twuyts
Here you can always find the latest cheats & walkthroughs for PC Games.
(Copyright notice at the bottom)

-



* Introduction
* Updates
* General Building Tips
   - Layout
   - Transportation
   - Fire & Police
   - Education & Health
   - Recreational Facilities
   - Utilities
* Controlling the Budget
   - General Expenditures
      Loans
      Education
      Public Health
      Fire
      Roads
      Police
      Mass Transit
   - General Income
      Business Deals
      Transit Fares
      Residential Tax
      Commercial Tax
      Industrial Tax
   - Ordinances
      Utilities
      Health, Education & Aura
      Public Safety
      Environment
      City
      Transport
      Financial
* Neighbour Deals
   - Supplying
   - Offering
* Legal Notice

-


Introduction
============

Aaaaah, who doesn't remember the old Simcity series.  I remember sitting in front of my
monochrome monitor playing simcity for days ... sleep was irrelevant.  Times have changed,
these days everybody is getting swamped in nice graphics (and often less gameplay).  Simcity
3000 still offers exactly the same gameplay as the previous series with almost no changes
except the graphics.

This guide tries to both accomodate the newbies and the not-so newbies at playing simcity.
Experts don't really need this guide, since they already know everything.  Maybe some of
you can even give me a few more pointers.

I'm not going to explain how to start building your city, since that's pretty obvious.  Look
around you, what do you need?  Power, water, some recreation, no crime, no fire, roads, ...
you figure out what you need to get all of this in your city!
I will give you some general building tips and an explanation about cash management,
ordinances, neighbourhood deals, ...

If you are looking for building tips, I suggest you read the Sim City Guide of
Jarrod Hampton (jarrod_hampton@hotmail.com), who has written a nice section about this!


Updates
=======

Version 1.0 - The raw material


General Building Tips
=====================

Layout
------
This is generally a good layout for your city:

= : Road
R : Residential zone
C : Commercial zone
I : Industrial zone

=========================================
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
= R R R R = R R R R = C C C C = I I I I =
=========================================

2 residential zones, 1 commercial zone and 1 industrial zone.

Later on, you can mix the commercial zones and residential zones freely as needed (watch the
RCI indicator at the bottom).  Just remember to keep your residential areas far enough from
the industrial ones!

This is a very basic layout.  Keep in mind that you still have to place schools,
recreational facilities, ... 

I tend to build zones which are 4-6-8 x 4-6-8.  Don't use zones with an uneven tiling, since
most of the buildings are 2x2.  I also suggest not to build incredibly large zones all the
time (=larger than 8x8).  This might seem cost effective, but in the long term it could lead
to traffic congestions and it's harder to manage in general.  Sometimes I also build larger
zones (eg. 4x16 or 6x12) but not all of them should be extremely large! Some people might
disagree on this one ... but it works for me!

This layout is also good at the start of the game: your sims don't want to live near
pollution, so I use the commercial zone as a buffer against the industry.  Later on, you 
can build the industry at a secluded spot on the map, far away from your residential and
commercial zones.  But doing that recuires more money (more roads to connect them), so
it's not advisable to do this when you start the game!

Also keep in mind that your transportation capabilities will improve over time.  So when you
design a layout for your city you might as well reserve some space for railroads, highways, 
...  If you want to save some space for this, I suggest you do it in between the commercial
and the industrial zone, moving the pollution further away from your sims.

What about the seaport and airport zones?  The airport isn't that difficult to build, but
again ... not too close to your residential area.  In between industrial and commercial
zones seems to be perfect! Seaports need to be build at the water (surprised?).  Always make
sure you have a straight shore before you start building it and always make a connection
with at least one road and make sure that there is enough place to build piers.  So you'll
need at least 4-5 tiles of water in front of your seaport!

I tend to build it like this:

= : Road
W : Water
H : Harbour

... ===================== ...
... H H H H H H H H H H H ...
... H H H H H H H H H H H ...
... H H H H H H H H H H H ...
... H H H H H H H H H H H ...
... W W W W W W W W W W W ...
... W W W W W W W W W W W ...
... W W W W W W W W W W W ...
... W W W W W W W W W W W ...
... W W W W W W W W W W W ...

Transportation
--------------
Traffic jams can be very annoying, but a bit of planning might do wonders.  I usually base
my transportation on roads, train and subway.  I never tend to use highways, because
I find them expensive and they take up too much space.

Keep some open space to build a train station (2x2) and the rails.  A subway is even easier,
but also expensive, so I suggest you build it later on in the game when you have enough cash
at hand!
Just remember that the train and subway don't need to be as extensive as the road network.
Just install them at regular intervals in your city.

If you install the shuttle ordinance and later on maybe the mass transit subsidy.  You'll
have no traffic problems at all.

Fire & Police
-------------
Before you start building fire & police stations at random, it's wise to check the map of
your city in order to see the coverage.  Make sure that the coverage is adequate but also
make sure that it's not excessive ... maintaining police & fire stations is very costly.
So if you build an excess of stations, you'll receive a nice large bill of maintenance cost.

It's also wise to build your police stations near industrial areas, seaports or airports.
These are the places where there's usually a lot of crime.
The same goes for fire stations ... industry, seaports & airports are the most flammable
buildings, so build your fire station closer to these zones than to the residential ones.
Anyway, make sure you have good coverage of the residential areas too.

Education & Health
------------------
This is a huge drain for your budget.  So, DON'T LOSE CONTROL.  I've seen many people
building too many education and health facilities too early in the game.  Result: they
went broke.  There is a simple rule to follow here: build when asked, so check your advisor
at regular intervals!  In the beginning, especially in the hard level, you might want to
keep the education level at a lower level.  If you have cash at hand, you should always
thrive for a higher level of education, without overspending.

This is also one of the topics in the budget where you might want to cut if you are having
some financial difficulties.

Recreational Facilities
-----------------------
It's important to have these ... Sims want to have fun.  Not only are they necessary to 
increase a sims happiness, they also increase land value.  So build these at regular
times between your residential and commercial zones (not the industrial ones)!

Utilities
---------
By utilities I mean the water, electricity and garbage disposal.

It's pretty obvious that every house needs water and power.  So, make sure you supply every
zone with water and juice.  I hardly ever use power cables, because they are annoying and 
aren't really necessary.  The water pipes can cover a region of 7 tiles to each side, so 
don't start building a pipe at every tile.  Keeping a space of 14 tiles between every pipe
is sufficient to have good coverage, but you should make additional connections.  This is
for safety reasons, if an earthquake occurs, the pipes might break, so if you have only one
pipe, a whole part of your city will be without water!

Now about the structures.  If you build a power plant, there's more to keep in mind than
the cost/power ratio they deliver.  Also look at pollution.  If you don't have cash at hand
you usually have to build a more polluting plant (eg. coal).  If you do have the cash and
the technology, always build a fusion plant.  It's cheap and clean, unfortunately it's only
available later in the game.
I would never build a nuclear power plant.  Sure it gives a lot of juice at the time it is
invented but it is a hazard.  One little disaster on top of your plant and ... BOOM! ...
nuclear meltdown.  This results in an area of unusable land.  On top of that, some sims
don't like the idea of having a nuclear power plant in their town. (cfr. the nuclear-free
zone ordinance).  So only use at own risk!
Later on in the game don't build any more coal or oil power plants, since they are quite 
polluting ... there are better alternatives!

You don't need too worry too much about the water structures, they are safe.  What should
you choose?  The pumps are the best alternative ... they don't take up a lot of space and
provide a high volume of water.  Water towers are only to be used if you don't have any cash
to spare ... they take up larger chunks of land and don't provide much water.  If you are
close to salt water (check water with query button), you might want to use the
desalinization plant.  It works, but I prefer the pumps: desalinization takes up 3x3 tiles
and doesn't produce the same amount of water per tile, so ...

Garbage disposal is also important because it has a direct impact on the land value: too
much garbage means low land values and that's something we don't want.  To clear the water
you'll have to use the water treatment plants.
Garbage can be treated in 5 ways: landfills, incinerators, recycling centers,
waste-to-energy incinerators and neighbour deals.  I wouldn't recommend landfills, they
lower the land values and the aura in the surrounding area.  On top of that, you can't
remove it unless it's empty (trust me, this will give you a major headache).  Generally
speaking this is a no-do unless you have a cash issue.  Incinerators do the job they have to
do, but have a high air pollution.  As long as you place them at a remote location, you
won't experience too much troubles with your sims, the air pollution remains however.
Recycling centers are good: they do the job, but are too expensive and they don't have a
really high capacity.  You can never use them to dispose all of the garbage in your city!
The waste-to-energy incinerators are excellent!  They pollute a lot less than the normal
incinerators, have a higher capacity and produce energy.  They might look expensive, but are
well worth the money.
For the neighbour deals, check one of the sections below!


Controlling the Budget
======================

There are 2 sides to the budget: you have expenditures and income.  That's also the way I am
going to explain it too you.  I have given some special attention to the ordinances, since
they fall under both categories and are quite specific.

The main thing to remember when handling the budget is that you got to keep your balance
healthy ... that means at least break even, preferably positive.  Once you are in a negative
spiral it's hard to get out of without damaging your city (read: sims leaving your city
because you raised taxes too much or several years of without investments in your city).

So check the budget at least once a year, to see how you are doing and make adjustments
before the harm is done!

General Expenditures
--------------------

Like I already said, if you want more info about the ordinances or the neighbour deals check
the sections below.

LOANS

If possible, don't try to take a loan.  They are expensive and have an impact on your future
budget.  If you take too many loans, you might end up in a negative cash flow because of the
downpayments.

Are loans that bad?  No, not really ... they are needed at some points in the game.  If you
have to make an urgent replacement you didn't expect or if a disaster blows up a power plant
which is essential.  These are situations in which you might consider  a loan.  In all other
situations, try to avoid it, especially if it is spend on unnecessary buildings.  If you
want to build the stadium, but can't, don't take a loan, just wait a few years until you
have the cash.

EDUCATION

This part usually represents a large part of the expenses made.  That's also the reason why
this is the part which you have to cut back if you are in financial troubles ... but don't
do it for a long period of time!

PUBLIC HEALTH

Not such a large post on the budget ... and therefore also a less important one.  You can
save some cash on this topic too, should it be necessary.

FIRE

No cutbacks here, we don't want a city on fire burning down large chunks of the city.  When
you already have a high flammability in your city raising this will push the flammability
level downwards ... but remember, there are better ways of doing this!

ROADS

Depends on the density of your road network.  Usually not such a big post.  If it is, you
are overspending on roadconstruction.  CUT BACK, immediatly; not by reducing the budget,
which results in crappy roads, but by removing some unnecessary roads!

POLICE

No cutbacks, especially if you have a serious crime problem.  Usually overspending is not
necessary if you have a good, balanced police coverage.  In this case overspending might
leads to an oppressive police force, which means it's functioning too efficiently, but
basically you don't want to be put away in jail for cursing, so I wouldn't recommend it.

MASS TRANSIT

The cost of maintenance of your mass transit system ... if you have it of course.  Can be 
quite high if you have a dense network.  But like I said before, a mass transit system
doesn't need to be that extensive, a station here and there will suffice.  Remember, this
expense has nothing to do with mass transit fares!

General Income
--------------

The same goes here, if you want more info about the ordinances or the neighbour deals check
the sections below.

BUSINESS DEALS

Business deals are generated through offers you accepted.  eg. a casino, military base,
maximum prison facility, ...

You have to study the impact of every one of them.  It's hard to draw a line here.  I tend
to be more cautious and don't accept everything easily, since the city usually does survive
without it.  But it does come in handy at the beginning of the game.  I accept the prison
and the military base ... the rest depends on my financial situation.  If I do have a cash
problem I'm more easily tempted to accept a deal.  I never accept the Toxic Waste Dump
though, seems to have a too negative impact if you ask me.  Also keep in mind that the sims
might not like the deal ... making it harder to please them.  Just read the advice carefully
and never accept without taking a look at the negative side effects!

TRANSIT FARES

This is the income generated by your mass transit system.  It usually isn't that high, so
don't count on it that much.  It's way to small to cover the maintenance cost of the
transit system.  So, don't overexpand your mass transit.  The Subsidized Mass Transit 
ordinance also has an effect on this income, so if it seems extremely low, just check if the
ordinance is enacted!

DISASTER RELIEF

This means both good and bad news.  The good news is that you get some support, the bad news
is that you just had a disaster in your beautiful city!

RESIDENTIAL TAX

This will be your largest income source.  Keep this in mind when you start fiddling with
the tax percentage.  1% change can easily make a change of quite a large sum of money.  At a 
certain point sims will keep on complaining about the taxes being too high, even if they are
at an extremely low rate (2%-3%).  Don't listen to them anymore or reduce them for a short
period.  Remember that a large city requires more maintenance, so you'll need a higher
income than eg. 1,000$.
Also don't make abrupt changes.  Changing your taxes from 5% to 8% will give the sims quite
a little shock.  Result: Sims will start leaving your city!
In the beginning of the game the tax should be at higher levels, say 7%-10%.  Later on, when
you have enough income you might want to lower it to 4%-6%.  And if you are really lucky you
might even push it lower, but then it also requires a strict follow up.  Tax rates of 2% are
possible, but are hard to maintain if you don't have a good planning!

COMMERCIAL TAX

Commercial tax works the same as the residential tax but isn't as important.  A change in
this rate doesn't affect your budget too much.  That's why you can easily lower them to 2%
if you have too, since the residentials have the biggest importance.  That doesn't mean that
you have to lower it that much.  At some point these sims will keep complaining too.  It's
better to keep it a little higher and don't experience any troubles than to lower it to 2%
and having to push it a few % higher later on.

INDUSTRIAL TAX

Comparable to the commercial tax.  Not as important than the residential tax but more
important than the commercial tax.  A more careful planning is in order, but you shouldn't
worry that much!  Let's just say that you have to mix and shake the 2 previous tax incomes
to get a perfect blend.

Ordinances
----------

If you do have a budget problem, this is also a section at which you should take a look and
make some budget cuts.  If you have a good city, you can enable all of the ordinances if you
want to ... but the burden can get extremely high.  So don't be afraid to disable a few 
ordinances if you experience financial troubles!

UTILITIES

* Water Conservation

This lowers the water consumption in your city and it has a reasonable price tag.
However, don't enable it if you have water to spare or if you have a cash problem.

* Power Conservation

Does the same as the above but this one lowers the power consumption.  Same reasons to
enable it here too, don't if you have enough power or a shortage of money.

* Stairway Lighting

Also lowers the city power consumption, but is cheaper than the above.  So it might be a
good alternative if you have less money to spare.

* Mandatory Water Meters

Same as the above but for water.  Also cheaper than the conservation ordinance.


HEALTH, EDUCATION & AURA

* Free Clinics

Gives you an extra boost in health care.  Might prove to be worthwile, especially if you
have a lack in hospitals.  Doesn't cost all that much either.  Activate this one later on in
the game, once you can spare the money.

* Junior Sports

Gives a boost in education and lowers crime and all at a very low price.  All positive 
effects I should say.  This is a "MUST activate" even at an earlier point in the game.

* Nuclear Free Zone

Once you enact this ordinance you won't be allowed to build nuclear power plants any more.
It increases the aura in your city, so you sims feel safer.  I always enable this one, since
it hardly costs anything and it also doesn't pose any troubles to me, since I don't use
nuclear power plants in general.

* Pro Reading

Increases the education level at a low price.  I always enable this one at one point or
another.

* Public Smoking Ban

Although the advantages are obvious, it has one major drawback it is extremely expensive for
an ordinance.  I usually don't activate it, unless I really have enough cash at hand.  Don't
even think about activating this one if you don't have the cash.  This is only for the
richer, well organised cities out there!

PUBLIC SAFETY

* Neighborhood Watch

Lowers crime in the city.  I activate it if I have a crime problem (but I usually don't) or
to reach a perfect state of peace in my city (that means: NO crime).

* Mandatory Smoke Detectors

I always enable this ordinance.  A city on fire means the same as starting back from 
scratch. I can't stress the importance of a city with a low flammability.  Besides, a lower 
flammability make the sims happier.

* Youth Curfew

It has a moderate cost and lowers crime, but usually isn't necessary to make your city a
safe place to stay.  You can make a crimeless city without this ordinance, so why enact it?
I suggest trying out the neighborhood watch out first!

* Crossing Guards

This increases the health of your sims but has a huge drawback: traffic jams.  If I have to
make a choice between the health of my sims and no traffic problems, I choose the latter.
I never enable it and never will, your sims can be healthy without the crossing guards.


ENVIRONMENT

* Leaf Burning Can

Always enact this one.  It is FREE and lowers air pollution and the flammability of your
city.  Give me one good reason why you shouldn't enable it?

* Landfill Gas Recovery

Only usefull if you have landfills ... which I don't use.  So I don't enable it either.
If you do use landfills (which I consider a screw up) you might consider it, but it only
has a minimal impact.

* Industrial Waste Disposal Tax

The big advantage, finally an ordinance that makes money ... the disadvantage, polluting
industries tend to leave because of the extra burden. I usually enable it, since I want
to have the least pollution possible.  Don't worry about the industry, it will keep on
coming if you enable this option or not.

* Clean Air

Lowers the air pollution, which usually the most difficult one to lower and therefore also
a stronger polluter than the water or garbage!  I enable this one later on in the game,
because it's quite expensive.  But you can only get good things at a certain price!

* Trash Presort

This increases the efficiency of the recycling centers and, I usually build the centers, so
I also enable this ordinance.  It doesn't cost that much and has a positive effect.

* Lawn Chemical Plan

Agricultural industries will be less tempted to come to your city, but the water pollution
lowers also.  This is a trade off you have to make, set priorities: what do you want?
Water pollution can be solved by water treatment plants, but some of you don't want to 
develop agriculture, so basically it depends on the kind of city you want to build!

* Backyard Composting

Garbage can be a big problem if you don't have the money to remove it effectively!  This
might help removing it.  Enable if you are having garbage troubles!

* Paper Reduction Act

Does the same as the above but has a drawback.  Paperwork has an impact on the industry, so
enabling it will result in a complaint sooner or later.  Make sure you always enable the
composting first and if you still have a problem, you might consider enacting this one too.

* Tire Recycling

This ordinance costs practically nothing, so always enable it.  It lowers the garbage levels
in your city and lowers the road cost.


CITY

* Industrial Pollutant Impact Fee

Another ordinance that makes money for you.  I tend to enable it, since it brings up money
and it repels pollutant industries away.  Like I already said, the industry will continue to
settle in your city, enacting this ordonance has little to no effect on that.

* Electronics Tax Incentive

Used to attract clean industries to your city.  It kind of depends how much money you have
left.  There are similar incentives and I wonder if it's necessary to enable them all?!

* Homeless Shelter

This is not a bad ordinance.  Opening homeless shelters increases the land value in your
city, since it takes the riff-raff off the street.  Enable it ... always.

* Aerospace Tax Incentive

Has the same effect as the electronics tax incentive (=attracting clean industries).  But
like I already said, there are a few more similar projects and you probably don't have to
enable them all!

* Tourist Promotion

Should give a boost to your commerce, but also increases traffic problems.  I tend to enable
it from time to time, but not constantly.

* Farmers Market

Should attract more farmers to your city and gives your sims a recreational activity one day
a week.  Enable it, it doesn't cost anything so, why shouldn't you?

* Conservation Corps

This one is usually quite expensive, but as a trade-off it also generates a lot of positive
effects: the pollution lowers, you attract more clean industries and the crime rate lowers.
I usually activate it, but keep a close look at it.

* Electronics Job Fair

Again ... does the same as some of the other non-polluting tax incentives.  Take your pick.

* Earthquake Resistance and Retro Funding

This option gives your buildings a better resistance to earthquakes.  I always enable this
one: it hardly costs anything and gives a lot of protection.  It's better to pay this small
sum than to having to rebuild your entire city because of a little shake.

* Public Acces Cable

Once more ... cleaner industries.

* Clean Industry Association

This also attracts clean industries and keeps the polluting ones at a distance.  This also
can get pretty expensive, but I usually enable it sooner or later.

* Biotech Tax Incentives

Take a guess ...


TRANSPORT

* Alternate Day Driving

Enabling this ordinance kind of depends on the size of your traffic problem.  I usually
don't enable it, unless I have cash to spare!

* Subsidized Mass Transit

This doesn't seem to have an impact on your financial status, but it does.  You just can't
find it under the ordinances section.  At the income screen is a part called transit fares,
you'll see it drop 50% if you enable this.  Since Mass Transit fares aren't usually that
high, you might want to enable this.  Actually it doesn't really matter!

* Shuttle Service

I usually enable this one and quite early in the game too.  It is expensive but not as
expensive as the carpooling and it does offer a relief if you have a high traffic problem!

* Carpool Incentive

It does lower traffic, but usually it isn't really needed.  On top of that, it can become
quite expensive.  Try to solve your traffic problems in another way, if all else fails you
might consider activating it.

* Parking Fines

Activate this one from the beginning ... it does give a nice sum of extra money and it 
generally doesn't piss the sims of as much as they claim.  If you do get a complain, ignore
it.  It allows you to activate a lot of the other ordinances without actually having to pay
for them from other resources like taxes or business deals.


FINANCIAL

* Legalized Gambling

Don't activate this one if you already have a crime problem.  However if there is a good
police presence in your city, there is no objection to activating it!  Let the sims whine,
as long as you don't have a crime problem, it's ok.  This income can get pretty high too and
it's a good counter balance for most of the other ordinances for which you have to pay!


Neighbour Deals
===============

Supplying
---------
I'm generally not in favor of supplying anything (=water & power) to the neighbouring
cities.  Ok, you can make a bundle of money ... but Simcity 3000 lacks the charts which
allow you to have complete control.  Ok, you can see how much water and power you have left
but it's hard to label a quantity on it!  I once made a deal to supply water and the first
month I already didn't reach the required amount, resulting in a nice fine and no financial
gain at all.

What I do accept are garbage deals ... let them dump it all in my city.  Later on in the
game, you can build the waste-to-energy incinerators, which allow you to handle a large
amount of garbage.  This is profitable and is under your complete control, since you can
calculate the garbage handling capacity you need.

Offering
--------
The neighbours sometimes offer to supply you with water or power.  I never tend to accept
these deals, since they make you dependable.  It's better to build your own pumps and power
stations and be self-sufficient.

Again ... I accept garbage deals, but now they are taking my excess garbage to their town.
The combination with an import garbage deal is perfect.  You make money and if you don't
have the capacity you just dump it at your neighbour for the same price.  Watch out though,
those nasty ufo's tend to zap the incinerators quite a lot and that might make you
completely dependable on your neighbour and destabelizing your budget ... I can only advise
one thing in that situation: act swiftly!


Legal notice
============

This document is Copyright to Tim "Phoenix" Wuyts.  It may be reproduced electronically on the Internet or 
other on-line services so long as the content of this document is NOT altered in any way, and no fee is 
charged either directly or indirectly for the viewing of this document.  It may be printed or copied for 
PERSONAL, PRIVATE use only, and it may not be placed on a CD, typed up in a magazine, or otherwise
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document, contact the author at tim.wuyts@planetinternet.be.