Work out an overall plan and then stick to it. At the start either take a
chance and accept whatever terrain the PC throws at you or terraform the
landscape to provide better city-building conditions. Flat land is ideal
although distant hills provide sites for solar power stations later on.
Always build near a river. As soon as your city reaches a decent size you'll
need a port to increase trade with other sim cities. Don't worry about
clearing any nearby forests though. This costs money and makes you unpopular.
Your sims will cut them down as soon as they start running out of space
Don't build huge industrial sites next to residential areas and try not to
build commercial centres miles away from your population centres. Sims would
rather walk to work given the choice. Build small clusters of industrial
commercial and residential zones - it's easier to keep abreast of exactly how
your city is developing. Parks and sporting facilities can be added to
enhance your neighbourhoods and increase the value of adjacent land.
Policing is important if you want to attract big business and hordes of
tourists but can you afford the stations? The neighbourhood watch scheme is a
good way to cut down on crime and is cheaper than funding a police station.
Plan an even distribution of police stations throughout your city - each has
its own zone of influence and any land falling outside this area is liable to
attract unsavoury characters.
Only use bonds when there's an emergency such as a major disaster or power
faliure. Once your city's up and running you can usually afford to have three
or four bonds on the go - but the amount of interest you pay will limit your
ability for expansion.
The biggest problem is finding the space to lay the railway lines or build a
depot. Bus stations are a cheap resource but they soon become under
increasing pressure as your city expands. If you have enough cash go for a
subway. Don't forget you need to set up sub-stations along the way otherwise
nobody will use the system. If gridlock persists take some drastic action.
Demolish parts of your city and build surface rail links.
Setting a realistic tax rate is probably the biggest challenge. Set it too
high and no one will want to come and live in your city. Conversely set it
too low and you'll quickly run out of funds. It's best to set an initial tax
rate of 6% to stimulate growth then whack it up to 8% per annum to keep the
readies rolling in.
Electronics play an increasingly dominant role so encourage early growth. If
you set a low overall tax rate for the electronics industry - around 1%
you'll encourage electronics firms to move into the area. Once the industry
shows signs of strong growth you can increase the tax rate to hive off some
of the profits.
Dealing with disasters
FIRE: It might sound obvious but fires must be dealt with swiftly unless you
want to see your city disappear in a raging inferno. If your fire stations
are a bit thin on the ground and things are rapidly getting out of hand try
demolishing a ring of buildings to create a natural fire-break. It'll save
you a lot of money and rebuilding in the long run.
FLOOD: If your city is in danger of being transformed into the Lost City of
Atlantis use the 'Raise terrain' option to put some dirt between the flood
waters and your precious sims.
MONSTERS: There's not much you can do about a rampaging monster unless you've
already established an army base. Even then the dumb critter might hand out
in your downtown area setting fire to anything and everything.
AIR CRASH: This is a minor disaster - unless you're one of the sims on the
plane. If you have four or more fire-stations you should be able to cope with
RIOTS: Should the populace rise up in revolt send in the riot police to sort
things out. Democracy? Never heard of it mate.
Taking a breather
One of the most useful tools you have is the pause mode. As soon as you start
a new city - pause the game and plan your first few zones. When there's a
disaster you can still deploy your fire and police units with the game
paused. This is useful for fire-related disasters and chemical spills which
spread quickly if you don't control them properly.
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