| Brad Stuart
| URL: http://www.cfar.umd.edu:80/~brad/
| SimTower FAQ, Diplomacy, Pinball links, and even some real work.
SimTower FAQ version 0.5
Please send corrections/contributions to Brad Stuart .
This is the unofficial FAQ file for SimTower, including material from the
Macintosh version 1.1.
15 What are the system requirements?
14 "But the manual says ..."
13 What are the star level requirements/capabilities?
12 Where's the VIP?
11 How many stairs (or whatever) can I build?
10 Where can I get the Updater?
9 How can I contact Maxis?
8 The installer doesn't work on my Mac! I have a 68030!
7 Room Types
5 Service Elevators
4 Express Elevators
2 SimTower Demo
1 Easter Eggs
15. What are the system requirements?
SimTower requires a 68030 Mac or better to run. A 68040 is
"recommended." SimTower runs *native* on a PowerMac. 256 colors
are required. System 7.0 or above is required. SimTower is
compatible with System 7.5. The program uses up 4.5 meg of RAM.
RAMDoubler / SimTower are not compatible. I would place the blame
on the former, personally.
14. "But the Manual says ..."
The manual for SimTower gives many good guidelines, but many of the
figures are just plain wrong. The manual, no doubt, had to be printed
long before the game was ready, and many of the details of the program
changed right before release. The figures in this FAQ come from the
README files that come with the game, with the updater, and from
playing the game itself.
13. How do I get N stars?
The following table lists the requirements to reach a given
star level, and the new things you can build at that level. You start
the game with one star and $2,000,000.
Stars Population Other Requirements Building Enabled
===== ========== ================== ================
1 0 none Lobby,Stair,Floor
2 300 none Single Room
3 1000 1 security station Double Room, Suite
Parking, Ramp, Recycling
4 5000 VIP favor, 2 Suites, Metro
Medical, Recycling OK
5 10000 Metro placed, Cathedral
Medical, Recycling OK
TOWER Cathedral placed on 100
12. Where's the VIP?
In order to get from three to four stars, the VIP must rate your
building. But first, he must get there! He will want to stay in a
suite, so you should build at least two. You must also have
underground parking available for the hotel customers who pay the big
bucks. Putting the Suites near an express elevator, and serving the
underground parking with the same express elevator is sometimes a good
idea. If you don't like your express going underground, change it back
after you get your rating!
After you have everything in order for the VIP's visit, you will just
have to wait. After all, he's the VIP!
(As far as I know the VIP is always a *he*. MAXIS, you did that with
the mayor of SC2K, too.)
11. How Many Stairs (or whatever) can I Build?
The simulation has the following built-in limits (presumably to
make the game run at a tolerable speed).
Elevators (all kinds) 24 shafts total
Elevator Cars 8 cars per shaft
Stairs + Escalators 64
Named Sims 20
Security Stations 10
Medical Clinics 10
Parking Spaces 512
Metro Station 1
Named Sims 20
10. The SimTower Updater
The SimTower Updater can be found on the Maxis BBS or the Maxis FTP
site. See "Contacting Maxis."
The updater takes care of :
1) Metro placement problems
2) Graphic glitches (the "metro crash")
3) Small monitors
4) Increased elevator capacity (from 17 to 21)
5) Rename businesses!
9. Contacting Maxis
The maxis FTP site is at: ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/ma/maxis
WWW access: ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/ma/maxis/http/maxis.html
Telephone access: 1-800-33-MAXIS
E-mail Access: ???
AOL Access: ???
8. The installer doesn't work on my Mac! I have a 68030!
From the "Read Me" that came with the updater:
SYSTEM 7.5 AND 68030 MACS: If you are running System 7.5, the SimTower
installer may report that your Mac is not a 68030 when it really is.
If the installer warns you of this, simply click the Continue button.
This will not affect the performance of the game.
SimTower won't work with RAMDoubler.
7. Room Types
The unit of width here is the size and shape of the "floor" tool.
Income and expenses are either daily (D), quarterly, (Q),
yearly (Y), or once only (!).
Type Width Price Income/expense Population
==== ===== ===== ============= ==========
Floor 1 500 0 0
Lobby 1 5k 0/0/-3/?/? (Y) 0
Stair 8 5k 0
Escalator 8 20k 5k (Q) 0
Office 9 40k 2-5-10-15k (Q) 6
Condo 16 80k 50-100-150-200k(!) 3
Single 4 20k 500-1500-2k-3k (D) 0-1
Double 6 50k 800-2k-3k-4500 (D) 0-2
Suite 10 100k 1500-4k-6k-9k (D) 0-2
Fast Food 16 100k (-3k)-2k-5k (D) 10-50
Restaurant 24 200k 4k-6k-10k (D) 10-
Retail Shop 12 100k 4k-10k-15k-20k (D) 20-50
Party Hall 24x2 100k 20k (D) 50
Theatre 31x2 500k ??? (D) 120
Cathedral 3 Million
Housekeeping 15 50k -10k (Y) not included
Security 16 100k -20k (Y) not included
Medical 26 500k 0 not included
Parking 4 3k 0
Ramp 16 50k -10k (Y)
Recycling 25x2 500k -50k (Y)
Metro ALL 1 Million -100k (Y)
Standard 4 200k+80k/car -10k/car (Q) 17 (21 in update)
Service 100k+50k/car -10k/car (Q) 17 (21 in update)
Express 6 400k+150k/car -20k/car (Q) 34 (42 in update)
Lobbies can only be placed on the first floor, and every fifteenth
floor after that. Residents will only change elevators on a lobby
floor, and even then, they will limit themselves to one change of
elevator. Your express elevators will stop in lobbies only. I have
experimented with putting shops on a lobby floor, along with part
of a lobby: it doesn't work well at all. It is much better to just
make the lobby the full width of the building.
At the higher star ratings (3+), you must pay to maintain the lobby.
I guess the Sims in the high-rent district want a new Van Gogh every
The two floors above and below a lobby (13 - 17, for instance) are
prime real-estate for shops and fast food. Theatres and ballrooms can
be placed just outside this range.
Lobbies cost $5000 for a section the size of the floor tool. Add
another $500 for the floor itself. The lobby tool actually places 4
sections of lobby. Lobby sections can be built by dragging, but cannot
The floor tool builds the basic structure of your building. Use it to
even out sections that didn't come out quite right, or to build whole
empty floors for later development (as retail space, for instance).
When you build other rooms in areas that haven't been built up before,
you are charged for the floor sections required, automatically. If you
have enough money to build the room, but not the floor it requires,
you will be told so by the program status bar.
Floor sections cost $500 for that little narrow piece the size of the
floor tool. Once built, floor sections cannot be destroyed.
7.3 Stairs / Escalators
Stairs are very useful for reducing the burden on your elevators.
They are even better when they are stacked up neatly, so Sims can
travel them with a minimum of frustration. Sims will go up or down
*three* flights of stairs to get where they want to go. A building
without elevators is very possible, but limited to four stories. One
quick way to get your second star is with a long lobby, one floor of
fast food, and two floors of offices. Put staircases every third or
fourth office, and away you go!
Staircases cost $5000, and can be built over the top of other types
of rooms (not over other transportation, though). They can support
a fairly small amount of traffic, but continuously.
Escalators become available with your third star. They can only be
erected between lobbies and retail levels, but, once erected, they
stay put regardless of what you do to the surrounding areas. They support
a large amount of traffic, and Sims prefer them to elevators when they
are available. The SimManual states that Sims will take the escalators
up to seven times, but I guess this number is closer to 5.
Office space will be your bread and butter, making much of your cash
in the early parts of the game. Each office holds 6 workers, who like
to eat out at lunch time, and to leave work on time. Most of the work
of the game consists in getting people to and from their offices.
Office workers will complain about the noise if you mix them with
commercial establishments, such as fast food, retail, etc.
Condos are not rented, as offices and hotel rooms are. Instead, they
are purchased by their residents, giving you a big chunk of cash all
at once. Condos are also the lowest density use of your space, with
only three residents in a 16 meter piece of floor.
When you tear out a condo, you must first buy it back from its
owner. You are also obliged to buy it back if the residents move out.
7.6 Single / Double / Suite
Single and double hotel rooms can give you the most income for your
space. Single rooms are available once your tower gets 2 stars; the others
can be built after your third star. Suite rooms require one parking space
SimHousekeepers are very efficient, presumably because they want to
get back to their "soaps" as quickly as possible. Because of this,
they are also very reluctant to leave the housekeeping area to get out
and clean the rooms. Each housekeeping area has enough supply carts
for six housekeepers. These cleaning demons will fan out through your
hotel rooms, one per floor. Once finished with a floor, a housekeeper
will go to another floor, but only if there is not another housekeeper
from the same area on the floor. They gossip enough back at the base.
A housekeeper will not go to a floor which is more than 10 floors away
from the base.
(This last part needs to be double-checked. Anyone building maid
quarters in the basement?)
Your cleaning staff goes home at 5:00 on the dot. Any uncleaned rooms
will stay that way until the next day. Messy rooms are likely to be
infested with roaches, and require you to call the
bulldozer/exterminator to get rid of the problem. Housekeeping
sections cannot be demolished.
(How many singles can a housekeeper clean in a day?)
I don't worry much about security, since I have only had one fire, and
no bomb threats. Since the game limits you to 10 security offices, I
think 1 for every 1000 residents is plenty. In the long run, I think
it's cheaper to pay the fire department when the time comes. Security
offices cannot be demolished. (One security station may prevent your
entire building from burning to the ground. You need one to get the
third star, anyway)
7.9 Fast Food / Restaurants
Fast food shops begin with 10 customers. These customers are
considered part of the population of your tower when the shop first
opens. When the shop closes at the end of the day, the income you
receive depends on the level of patronage that day in the shop.
Level Customers Income Population
===== ========= ====== ==========
Poor 0 - 24 -3k Decreases
Average 25 - 34 +2k Stays the same
Good 35 - 80 +5k Increases
Fast food income is posted at 9:00 p.m. Population from fast food is
calculated at 10:00 a.m., when the shops open. Placing a fast food
shop in the afternoon will cause the shop to post a loss of 3k for the
day. Place shops in the middle of the night or the early morning to
avoid this loss.
Restaurants cost more, hold more customers, and generate more profits.
7.10 Retail Shops
7.13 Medical Clinic
7.14 Ramps / Parking
After you reach the third star, you will need to do something about
removing the trash your sims generate. Since this is a modern tower,
you need to put in Recycling centers. At 500k each, and with a 50k/yr
maintenance fee, you won't be placing more of these than you need.
Does the service elevator need to reach the recycling center?
firstname.lastname@example.org (Craig Branson) Says:
I've tested this several times. Basically, place [recycling] out of
the way (I usuaully place it on B8). The only thing it requires is
placing a floor holder underground for it - no service elevator is
required, no road for the garbage trucks, no nothing (except
$500,000). Every once in a while, a garbage truck will come and pick
the trash up and leave. After a while, you'll need to build more
As the foreword to the manual says, this game is a simulation of
elevators, and their use in getting people where they want to go.
Each elevator shaft can hold up to eight cars, and each car has a
If people start getting on your elevator, going a few floors, and
getting right back on the elevator (only more angry), they aren't
finding a way to where they want to be. You may have just disabled
access to a floor, or removed a key staircase. Click on the people
with the magnifying glass, and see where they are trying to go. Then,
either make their way to the destination easy, or, if they are
"supposed" to be taking a different elevator, disable the problem
elevator's service to the floor where the sims are getting on. They
will go to the other elevator immediately. You can restore the
service if you want, or just leave it off.
5. Service Elevators
Service elevators are used to get your cleaning staff to the hotel
rooms. The manual claims that a service elevator must reach the
recycling center, but apparently, this isn't the case. See
Housekeeping, Recycling. "Civilians" will not use the service
elevator for any reason.
4. Express Elevators
Express elevators stop at the ground floor, all basement levels, and
every fifteenth above ground floor (1, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90). Sims
will take an express elevator to the sky lobby nearest their
destination, and take a local elevator from there. They won't change
elevators more than once. Many times, you will see a message like
"Sims on floor 66 need a path to floor 3." Sometimes, you can solve
these little problems by adding stairs from the nearest lobby;
sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.
I have only had a single fire in one of my largest towers. I would
like to know how bad a fire/bombing can be.
2. SimTower Demo
I have not seen a demo, nor do I know of any in existence.
1. Easter Eggs
1.1 Hold down "option" as you place your first lobby section.
But a great game. You can tell its Japanese origin as the
language can be hear spoken during the office sound effect.
David Lee at University of Washington