How do I build large, healthy cities in Simcity 4?
Every time I play Simcity 4, my cities usually end up broke and overpolluted by the time they reach 100k citizens. What's the best way to try and get a happy, healthy, and profitable large city?
Good question! Last time I played I kept running out of cash within 10 minutes :D And yet I was doing okay in SimCity 2000
Almost all of my successful cities ended up being ones surrounded by broke, over-polluted failed cities -- to which I could export all my pollution and garbage. :)
Actually, now that I remember it, one thing that definitely helped was planting lots and lots of trees. It was tedious and time-consuming but eventually had a significant effect on pollution which in turn brought in high-tech industry which brought in more money.
Why am I reading this question ? I have no time to play. Arrrg I can't resist, I'm going to play... Nice question by the way :-)
My #1 tip: create an adjacent "dump city" that you fill up with coal power plants, water pumps, an international airport, landfills, and unfunded waste-to-energy plants. Then, connect the four adjacent cities through here by subway, railroad, car, water, power, etc. But, don't place any zones in this dump city. Then, save the dump city and start your real city in an adjacent tile. In your real city, simply make neighboring deals to purchase all your water, power, and garbage disposal from the dump city. Then, all your problems will magically go away.
There are two ways I commonly break my cities:
Spending Money On Things Before Sims Want Them
Sims want things... schools, hospitals, parks... but they want some things more than others, and if you build them in the wrong order you are WASTING YOUR MONEY, because they don't have their full effect. On the quick reference guide, as well as buried deep in the Sim City Manual under the desirability chart, is possibly the most important information to the game that no one knows:
What (Sim City) Sims Want
Although you can’t directly affect the types of occupants that develop in your city, you do have indirect control by affecting the desirability of the zoned areas of your city. The following actions can be taken to improve the desirability for each of these occupant types:
This chart is ORDERED. Residential Sims want police more than hospitals. Dirty/Manufacturing industry wants police, then shorter fright trips, then NOTHING else, they're happy. After you've taken care of the basics that every zone wants, power and water for higher density/$$$, take care of problems in this order and you'll spend less money, attract more Sims, and make more money. I'll repeat once more:
I think this is the most important info people are missing to building a great city.
Not Replacing Dying Utilites
The utilities buildings, water pumps, power plants, and incinerators age over time, more for the more they are used. They gradually cost more to maintain and have lower output. Eventually, you are paying out the nose for nothing. Replace them as soon as you can.
Special note, if you are using Waste To Energy incinerators, turn them down to producing no power and have them only dispose of waste. This prevents the plant from aging in any noticeable amount, and you can then buy your power from a cheaper plant. The downside is that your power budget will not be at 100%, so 1) new plants will start at whatever the budget is set to overall, and 2) there is a chance of fire on all power lines. So just don't use any... use low density commercial zone instead. Same power spread, no cost, possible income.