My experience with SC2k

Home Forums Previous Months 03 – May 2017: SimCity 2000 My experience with SC2k

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  • sorceress

    I played SC2k today for the first time since my teenage years in school, and I can say it is exactly as i remember it! The game was instantly familiar… almost too familiar to feel nostalgic.

    My experiences from then and now are the same, so can be summarised together:

    – I remember it is important to do everything in moderation, and don’t neglect nor go overboard with any one technology. For example, too many roads is bad, as are too few.

    – When a zone is in demand, I allocate more land to that zone, and ensure it is well located, and with a power and water supply. However, often land will remain unused, even if it is in demand. What is more, the demand bars will drift up and down by themselves without me doing anything. The game doesn’t respond immediately, nor in an easy to understand way, imo. It’s often hard to know what to do for the best.

    – After we spend our initial capital, the game quickly slows down because our expenses and revenue are pretty much balanced, leaving us with only a trickle of money to play with. This isn’t much fun! At this stage, it’s tempting to take loans, to speed the game up a bit. But I find that loans are almost always a bad idea, because our spending spree doesn’t lead to much more revenue. And if that’s less than our loan interest payments cost us (likely), then it will be a fast road to bankruptcy!

    – So what tends to happen now is austerity: we cut back on public services and/or increase taxation. But these will both have a depressing impact on our city. Demands fall as residents leave town. The commercial sector collapses, and industry stagnates. Derelict buildings in abundance.

    – Economically paralysed, we can either :

    a) ride the recession out, and hope the power station doesn’t blow up, or an earthquake doesnt hit, which it invariably will, and fire will gut the city. Game over.

    b) take our more loans, just so that we can see that airport or motorway go up, while simultaneously sealing our fate.


    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.


    Some remarks on your points:

    1. It seems commercial should be the one you try to separate and have the highest land values. Both residential and industrial zones nearby seem to lower the value of commercial, and I think the distance to residential doesn’t affect commercial as much as industrial growth

    3. Underfunding fire departments directly increases the chance of a fire (less prevention) so ideally you keep that at 100%

    4. I prefer having lower taxes and saving money gradually over several years, for refunding power stations

    5. Sea and rail affect industry demand, road and airport affect commerce demand

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Home Forums Previous Months 03 – May 2017: SimCity 2000 My experience with SC2k