Hello, SimCity fans! My name is Jason Halvorson and I’m a gameplay scripter here at Maxis. In this blog I’d like to share one of my strategies when developing a city. One of the more crucial stages in any city’s development takes place right at the beginning. Sure, laying out a good road network and thinking ahead in terms of the layout of your future city is pinnacle for a successful city, but pacing the growth of your city will make the journey along the way enjoyable for both you and your Sims. As the Mayor you have several tools at your fingertips to control the how and when buildings increase in density. Let me show you.
When I’m playing SimCity, I’m constantly keeping my eye on the Detail tab of the Population window.
I try my best to make sure the citizens of my city have enough jobs and enough stores to shop in to ensure they’re being satisfied.
(Pro tip: Try to make sure your unemployed number is at 0. Having some unfilled jobs is perfectly fine as workplaces have the ability to employ more people than they require.)
For me, the problem would surface at the point when my city’s buildings density up. To my dismay, a large portion of my city would density up at nearly the same time. Not only would my numbers fall out of whack, but my reliance on utilities like power, water, and sewage disposal would increase at a rate that was difficult for me to keep up with!
To better pace the development of my city, I use the Dezone tool. I zone what type of buildings I want and as soon as they show up, I dezone the block. The simulation will no longer attempt to increase the density or wealth level of these buildings without my say so.
When you’re ready for your buildings to density up, check your Building Density Map.
The areas that are bright green are ready for a density upgrade. Upgrade the road to the density you desire and zone a stretch of Residential, Commercial or Industrial. The size of the zone you mapped out will determine how many buildings density up. Be careful not to zone too much if you only want one building of the next density level! Also, dezone as soon as the building shows up.
Aside from the pacing benefit, it’s helpful to be able to select where your higher density buildings show up for both aesthetic and utilitarian reasons.
I like to stagger the higher density buildings so they face opposite directions which I find helps with traffic. When buildings all face the same direction, they overload one side of the block which leaves the other side of the block underutilized.
Also, for those of us who prefer not to density their city up at all, this method also allows you to upgrade your roads without the buildings upgrading as well. It can come in handy when a lot of your traffic is being held up by busses or garbage trucks, but don’t want higher density buildings.
Well, that’s it! Hopefully you find this style of play useful in creating your cities. Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. I would also love to hear the any tips or strategies you’ve picked up along the way as well so please feel free to share them on our forums. Thanks everyone!