SIMCITY 3000 - Guide (version 1.0) Written by Tim Wuyts (April 13th-14th, 1999) E-mail: The author is also the webmaster of The Cheat Empire: 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 (, 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. 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