So does anyone have SimCity 4 yet?

And if so, will you tell us all about it? :stuck_out_tongue: I really want it, but until I get a non-temp job I can’t afford it(although I might be able to get it cheaper on ebay, maybe). I really want to hear all about the part where you get to use your Sims, though. And if the irritating water pipes from SimCity3000 that had to be laid one row at a time have been improved upon. And…

My friend has it. I’ll tell you more when i hear from him. Apparently this game had a stealth release - almost no coverage and then WHAM! It was out.

I have it.


  1. The graphics are beautiful but the game is VERY hard on your machine. If you have a slow computer don’t bother. My PIII-1000 just barely keeps up with most of the options off.

  2. The game has a lot of crashing issues on some machines (not on mine, tho) and a lot of people simply cannot run it. Wait for a patch.


  1. The game is much harder than any previous version. If you go in and slap down a starter city a la SimCity 3000, you will be bankrupt in eighteen months. You have to grow slowly.

  2. There are more rewards and special buildings.

  3. There are still landmarks but now you have to pay for them, AND they actually have positive effects. So if you want the CN Tower, it’ll cost you $240,000 plus about $450 a month in upkeep, but it boosts commercial demand.

  4. Fire stations, hospitals, police stations, and schools are individually funded, and they have funding bars for both bus range/emergency response range AND effectiveness. Unlike SC3000, you can’t just line up 15 elementary schools at the mapedge; they have a range they cover.

  5. There are now small and large fire stations and police stations; small and large hospitals; elementary schools, high schools, colleges, small and large libraries, and a university you get as a reward.

  6. EVERYTHING HAS AN UPKEEP COST. Even rewards cost you money up front AND a monthly upkeep. Your new City Hall? $16,000 plus $350 a month, pal. Every park you place has upkeep, every length of pipe, EVERYTHING.

  7. When you lay zones, the game lays basic streets for you. You can upgrade them to Roads, which carry more traffic, or leave them as is.

  8. The budget cycle is monthly, not yearly.

  9. There’s no starting year with specific things activated in certain years. You start in Year 1 and go from there.


SimCity 4 is designed to look and play a lot like “The Sims.” To pick a city you first see a “Region” (it comes with a lot of regions) and then you click on a square within that “Region” to begin a city there.

If you click the first square in a new region you will not have any neighbours and so cannot start neighbour deals. You actually have to go to those other city squares and start cities there to have neighbours! Cities can specialize in various things and their demands affect each other.

I can’t stress this enough, but the ‘downward spiral’ phenomenon that’s endemic to the SimCity games is terrifically magnified in SimCity 4. If you make a tiny mistake in the early planning of our city (zoning your beginning neighborhoods in anything but light density, for example, or overeducating your early population) you can and will pay for it with a deserted city 10 to fifty years down the line.

Build slow. Build smart. It’s a great game, with a bit of a steeper learning curve than prior SimCity games…at least to those familiar with the series. Newbies to the series might have an easier time of it.

You choose from a list of available Sims; some are included with the game and the others are from your hard drive if The Sims is installed. You choose a residential building to move them into. They choose a random job in your city, and you can see them drive their car from their house to their job and back again each day. They basically act as localized advisors, telling you about problems in the areas of the city around where they live.

The water system is a good bit simpler. (I’m not sure what the irritating “one-row-at-a-time” problem is; I never had much problem with water in SC3K.) There’s no surface water in SC4, just sea level, so you no longer have to place your pumps & water towers near lakes or rivers. A pipe services every building within a 5-or-6 (or more?) tile radius around it, so you just have to lay big stretches and make sure they’re not polluted. The biggest difference I can see is that the towers & pumps & pipes have a monthly cost associated with them, so you have to be careful only to place as much as you need.

It’s not the processor speed that’s the biggest bottleneck. With SC4, your biggest concerns are RAM, graphics card, and RAM. And RAM. I’d recommend at least 512MB.

You can (and must) adjust the funding for individual buildings to support just as much as you need, or else they’ll waste money. Once you have the proportions set up correctly, you can adjust funding globally and it’ll affect all your stations/schools/hospitals proportionally.

Correct; the rewards are based off of city milestones instead of months/years. So for instance the nuclear power plant is only available once your city reaches 85,000 population, etc. They work a lot like rewards in that sense.

Right, you can have one city act as your industry center, draw a neighbor connection to the edge (which is now free), and then set up a suburb in an adjacent city. The RCI demand is shared across the neighbor connection, so you could build your suburbs with no industry; all the residents will commute to the adjacent city. Some people have been describing strategies where one city provides all water for the region, another imports everyone else’s garbage, etc. Some of the rewards, too, are based off of regional population, so you’re encouraged to develop the region as one big metropolis.

The official web site came up yesterday and has the normal marketing stuff, plus lots of tips and tricks.

[sub](including an article written by yours truly)[/sub]

*Originally posted by SolGrundy *
It’s not the processor speed that’s the biggest bottleneck. With SC4, your biggest concerns are RAM, graphics card, and RAM. And RAM. I’d recommend at least 512MB./QUOTE]
I do have 512MB of RAM; it’s still a deathly slow game, and prone to hanging on some machines. It’s a very graphics-hard game and isn’t yet reliable.

Be careful you don’t start a strike, however. Boy, that was unpleasant.

Another note for any SC3K fans is that landfill, well, fills up faster. I find it convenient to sell excess water and pay to export my trash.

Another fascinating trick is that it’s often the case that you can IMPORT trash and be paid to do so and then EXPORT trash to a different city for less money than you made importing it! (If you have the right neighbours.) My current city turns a profit doing this every month.

About the regions, one of my pet peeves is that new regions can’t have the city sizes adjusted… any quite a few of the city squares are absurdly small, so making a city there feels like a waste of time, yet you have no choice if you want a big region and the rewards that come with it. In a new region you only get 2-4 of the large city squares suitable for building a really nice, big city; everything else is in smaller squares either 1/4 or 1/16th the size.

I’ve never played a SimCity game. How is the replayability? Would it fit into the genre of real-time strategy or is it more a sim?

It is more of a simulation. There is no set goals, except what you could devise.

Thanks for the info! I’ll pick it up when I can, but it shouldn’t be too hard to wait since I’m still fixated on Zoo Tycoon (I got the most recent expansion last month, oooh!) at the moment :slight_smile:

Can you make a decent amount of money in this one? I always expanded too ast in previous versions, leading to a loss of tax revenue. With all the continuous expenses, can you make $$ easier?

I never really played 3K and played 2K too long ago to remember, but from the reviews I’ve read and things along those lines making money seems to be harder in SC4. I’ve noticed myself that the game is rather challenging, but I can’t really compare it with previous versions.

Are there arcologies? I felt sort of sad when SC3K didn’t include them–I have fond memories of growing 2K cities to the “absurdly rich” phase and converting them entirely to a field of the things.

I was really good at SIM2000 and completely sucked at SIM3000.

Any idea how I’d do with 4000?

Sim City 4 is much harder than SC3K. The menus are like in 3K, in that they keep expanding when clicked upon untill you get to what you need. I just got it today, and still haven’t been able to build a city that makes money. Argh. After the absurdly easy way to make money in 3K, this is a very big challenge.

I skipped sc3k but I lived for SimCity 2000. One of my favorite games. Any chance someone can compare SimCity4 to SimCity2000?

Oh, something else I think I should add. I don’t know if this is a bug, but between me and my friends all playing the game, we have determined that no matter how big your city gets, the sims living in it ALWAYS want farms. ALWAYS. It sucks, because farms rake in almost no cash. Stupid sims…

I never played 3k once in my life but I kept 2k on my harddrive all the way until this summer (I unfortunately had to delete it for the harddrive space), someone please compare 4k to 2k. And I simply MUST know if there are any arcologies in 4k, those things were awesome.

I never played 3k once in my life but I kept 2k on my harddrive all the way until this summer (I unfortunately had to delete it for the harddrive space). I have many fond memories of that game. Someone please compare 4 and 2k. And I simply MUST know if there are any arcologies in 4, those things were awesome.

No, there are no arcologies; they looked cool but didn’t add much to the game, IMHO. There’s a heck of a lot SC2000 didn’t have, however. Read my first message in this thread for most of the major differences. Graphically, SC2000 is certainly very primitive compared to this.

Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder why in hell they didn’t put difficulty levels into the game; unless you’re willing to sink a lot of hours every day into playing this, it’s ridiculously hard. I have found something of a bug, though; if you sign a contract to IMPORT garbage for money and leave the contract alone, the amount paid sometimes begins to multiply to ridiculous levels until a city is paying you thousands and thousands of dollars a month for a service worth maybe twenty bucks. IF you touch the contract, however, it reverts to a normal level. I saved up $100,000 this way. I cannot imagine otherwise how you can build a decent sized city without quitting your job to work on it.

It’s sort of the reverse of “SimGolf,” which took me about 4 minutes to completely master; you have to wonder why they did not implement the basic step of having difficulty levels.

Definitely not! Just the opposite in fact; The key to playing SC4 is to expand slowly, much more so than in 3K. Because everything has a maintenance cost, you can’t build more than your city’s tax base can support. A lot of the people on the internet who are complaining about the game being too hard are saying that because they’re trying to play it just like they played SimCity 3000 and are quickly running out of money.

In 3K, you’d get in the habit of zoning a piece of land, then plop all kinds of support buildings (schools, police, etc.) around it to build up land value, to encourage sims to move in. In SC4, the RCI desirability and demand simulator is a lot more sophisticated, and realistic. You can’t just go into a blank plot of land and have New York City within 50 years; you’ve got to grow the city up gradually. Because of the regions, though, once you’ve got one stable city you can build suburban cities around it relatively quickly.

SimCity 3K had the tuning problem where it would be too hard at the beginning of a city and then too easy after that. After a certain point in any city in 3000, the money just started pouring in and you could basically build whatever you wanted with no consideration. I basically “finished” exactly one city in 3000 – I’d covered every tile on the map, had every reward building I was interested in, and was still making 1000’s of simoleans a year. After that, I just lost interest. What was the point of starting a different city if any city can end up having every single thing the game has to offer and every city’s going to look the same?

The challenge in SC4 stays consistent. It’s tricky to get a balanced budget at the beginning (especially if you want your city to stay relatively small), but once you do it’s more rewarding. And you can definitely focus your cities more, to avoid the feeling that they’re all the same. I’ve got dirty industrial towns, farming communities, affluent suburbs, port towns, all in the same region.