Most of the coverage of SimCity up until this point has been negative because let’s be honest, negative news sells and so does bashing on SimCity. But I’ve been hard at work in SimCity since Saturday and the game really is pretty impressive. So here are some tips for the early city builders out there.
Plan Your Roads
You’d think this is pretty obvious but it is amazing how quickly that great plan in your head disappears as soon as the alerts start popping up. The easiest plan is the good old fashioned block pattern. So to start stick with that and make sure you change your road drawing tool to the block tool to make sure your roads always fit.
The different road styles can be found to the left of your list of roads. Start with Medium Density if possible and remember to upgrade later on to ensure you get higher density residential towers forming.
Plan Your Areas
As above planning is crucial to a successful city. Residents don’t want to live next door to the Industrial sections and neither do commerce really. I’d recommend keeping your residential area as far as possible from the industrial section and remember you really want to increase density so when your guy tells you that you need more residential put more focus on going up rather than finding more space.
In this SimCity space is at a serious premium so learning how to increase density is crucial.
Three things will help aid your sims in increasing density and that is happiness, shopping and road density.
You won’t get skyscrapers on anything but high density roads and if you don’t have any nice parks or plazas in the area the skyscrapers will be more like slums than fancy Sandton residences.
Also a trick I didn’t realise at first; the density won’t hit full without some decent shops in the area which means you need commercial zoning inside your residential areas. These rich people want to shop. As a standard I put one large block of commercial with every 6 blocks of residential and it makes the world of difference.
And don’t forget if you hold CTRL down while choosing an area it will section the entire area quickly for you. It works with bulldozing as well, not always with the best results on that one though.
Plan Your Specialisation
Are you noticing a pattern here? One of the biggest changes in this version of SimCity is that you can now specialise your city in a number of ways. The most common being gambling and mining (of different things). When you choose your land you need to take a look at what minerals are available in that area and plan accordingly.
Also remember that all minerals, oils and ore will be depleted over time so plan ahead.
My current city is mining oil and now that it is starting to run out I’m slowly changing its specialisation to be education and research instead; which then unlocks higher technology industries and then micro processing.
Oh and don’t forget to always add a trade depot to your city! You are going to want to trade the stuff you mine and make. Right now I have 3 of them as you can only add 4 lots to each depot and you need a lot before you can trade in a commodity.
It’s a Regional Game
Cities do not live in isolation in real life and neither do they in SimCity. Plan your regions and what each city is going to offer to each region.
I’m now on my third city in the Lazygamer region (East Europe 3) and my current city still doesn’t have any power plants in it. People don’t like living next to power plants so I’ve decided to have my second failed city be the power house of the region and every time I start running out of power I add a new plant to that city and everyone else buys from it.
My other city is also close to becoming a police state as it mines out police forces to everyone. I’m not sure this is a good plan but you see where I am going. You can share pretty much everything between cities and most importantly you share government offices.
If I upgrade my town hall in city A to have a Financial Department then every other city in the area has access to what that brings. This means that with three cities working together you can pretty much unlock all the specialities in record time.
Education isn’t only important in real life (stay in school, kids!), but also in SimCity. You need to ensure your sims are educated so that they stop causing fires, getting sick so much and start increasing the technological advancement of your city.
Your sims will travel between cities to be educated, especially at higher levels, so plan for that as well.
I’ve put in 29 hours so far into SimCity and don’t feel like I’ve yet come close to scratching the surface of the intricacies of this game. Everything is micro-managed by the glassbox engine and you can be as detailed or as “larger picture” orientated as you like.
Also as you can see I never used Origin before so I have no friends which is depressing. Add me on Origin if you like (LazygamerZA) and come join my region. I need someone to send all my sewerage to.
Oh and here’s an oddity for one of our articles, this one is actually supported by the lovely people over at Incredible Connection. They reached out to me when they found out I still didn’t have a review copy and were only too happy to help out and make sure you, the readers got to hear more about this game.
So if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of SimCity and this article made you think about it then be a nice reader and see if you maybe would like to buy it from them?
And while we are at it how about giving them thanks via Twitter?
Keep an eye out for our review coming later this week.
PS: I shouldn’t need to say it but just in case, Incredible Connection had no say in the editorial content of this article. No one ever does. Hell I don’t even know what I’m going to write most of the time.
Last Updated: March 12, 2013