Reply To: My experience with SC2k
What I’ve learned so far this month…
0. Choose one quadrant of the map, relatively flat with lake/river. Start near the centre of that quadrant.
1. R/C/I all need to be close to one another to function well. (eg, within a 10 tile radius or so.) But you have to be careful with arrangements because too much scattering will affect pollution, and whether 3×3 buildings will fit. Which is ultimately going to dent land value and revenue. About 50% of your zones need to be residential, 30% industrial, and 20% commercial. There also needs to be roads touching these three zones so people can travel between them.
2. I feel it’s important to build at a steady rate, and not go under/overboard with any one type of zone, just because it’s currently in decline/demand. The R/C/I bar graphs don’t change instantly. Effects can be delayed, and to some extent will drift over time of their own accord. Also your construction workers need steady jobs, not stops and spurts. Without paying attention to this I feel there is more likely to be recessions, unemployment, and rises in crime.
3. Educational and recreational areas (and trees) should be near residential zones to increase land value. Police stations (and lakes) in commercial zones (to protect commercial demand), and fire stations in industrial zones (as fires usually break out there). Don’t skimp on any of these, but they don’t have to be 100% funded. 75% seems to work just as well.
With these guidelines you can grow cities to 25k without seeing any recessions. And while there is strong demand for all zones, you can keep taxes relatively high at 10% or so, which means you can grow relatively quickly and at a consistent rate. Interruptions to revenue flow can have a feedback effect on (2), triggering a recession, and further loss of revenue.
4. Once your power station is 40 years old, slow spending and start saving for a replacement. You should be getting >$1000/year, which gives you plenty of time to save for a new coal plant. I find that coal remains the best option for a long time. (Supplement with wind and hydro later when possible. You do need a lot of windmills to match one coal plant, but they don’t wear out, so they can be worth it long term.)
5. Commercial seems to play a greater role as the game progresses, and it can be hard to maintain demand for it. This is where you need to start buying road/rail connections to your neighbours, seaport, (and later airports). When building road connections, you need property along the road, up to the edge of the map, otherwise there is no incentive for travel. Starting near a corner means you have two neighbours nearby.
6. If revenue allows it, start a second city in another quadrant of the map with another power plant there. You can grow both cities separately and merge them later. Same with waterfalls – you can start isolated communities around a hydro plant. To grow your city up to 60k you’ll probably need 2 power plants anyway. Once you get up near that population, your revenue will be high enough that you can afford to replace power plants with just 1 year’s revenue.