SimCity 3000 Hints & Tips

Techniques to starting cities

Written By: Rand Huck
Saturday, July 27, 2002

I've been receiving several emails asking which is the best way to start a city without going fast into the red, sprialing down into forced resignation. Like so many other aspects to SimCity 3000 there is no one way, so I'll highlight some quick tips and a few plans to get you started.

Fundamental Tips

Land values are not a number one priority

...as a matter of fact, it should not be a priority or even a goal early in the game. Cities that have just been started very rarely have plots that are above medium land values, no matter how good-looking they may seem to you. Your goal should be focused on maintaining a population that will build tax revenue greater than the monthly expenses, which brings me to the next tip.

Don't build ANY services, besides roads

Services are the buildings found in the health, education, fire, and police menus. Remember that these buildings don't only cost you money to build, but also carry a monthly expense to pay for labor and equipment. Sims will have to hold out of the luxuries of having police and fire protection for the time being, since you don't have enough income to support these monthly expenses.

When's the best time to begin building services? I usually do it when I have a cashflow of 2,000 simoleans per year.

Don't be afraid of business opprotunities

If your cash position is below 1,500, open the petitioner window and wait for a business opprotunity offer. (Prison, Waste Plant, Gigamall, and Casino) When you give them road access, power, and water, you'll be given a great monthly revenue, which will most likely give you a good cashflow, enough so that you may be able to build the police and fire stations. When you feel that you can support a good cashflow without these buildings, you can always demolish it anytime.

Don't give up if you are in the red

Unless it is seriously hopeless, to the point where your loans are maxed out, you have no electricity, and there is no way to attract new citizens, being in the hole is not the end of the world. You can go to the budget window and lower funding for some services, enact income-worthy ordinances like gambling and parking fines, or raise taxes.

Use loans wisely

Read my other article, "How to make loans work for you" for tips on loans.

Techniques These techniques can be used in conjunction to another, of course.

The small-town to big town technique

New York City was once a tiny village, albeit centuries ago. Remember that cities cannot just build up all at once. I usually don't build many, if any, dense zones. If I do, I use it on industrial and one or two 3x3 residential plots. You can't expect these dense zones to be filled with highrises just yet, either. I hardly ever even do a medium commercial zone until later on. Once you have money to burn, you may start experimenting on where to put dense zones. Also, remember that zoning anything denser than light is useless without water.

The neighbor-alliance technique

If you want, you can build three coal plants, a large landfill zone, and then make power and road connections to your nearest neighbor. You might have a smaller amount of money at the beginning to spend on development, but neighbors will ask for your excess power and garbage space for money. This is one of those "sacrifise the present state for a better future state" kind of things. The only downside to this is you need to keep track of your power plants and landfills to make sure they don't overflow, leading to expensive cancellation fees. Also, you'd need to sacrifise land to accomodate the zones and plants.

Note that I didn't mention water deals. This is because I've found that water has been almost impossible to keep up because the neighbor will cancel the deal without warning, claiming the city isn't getting enough water, when there surely is enough, and end up charging you for the termination.

The Zone Everything Technique

In contradiction to the last technique, this involves buying power and exporting garbage. But, you have much more money to start off with to zone a lot more. Make sure you don't zone too much of one thing. If you do, you won't see development on them, because of the low demand, and you've just lost on your investment. If enough gets developed, tax income will exceed the expenses of the deals. Just keep in mind that until everything is developed, you will probably be on the negative side for a year or two. If you want, you could cash in on a business deal if one comes around.

That is about it for the techniques. I am open for additional techniques or tips you may have, however. If you email me with additional ones, and the technique proves to be successful, I might add it here with your name on it. Just email me here.

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