1994 A Tale of Three Cites

A Tale of Three Cites: SimCity 2000 Let’s You Build a City That Reflects Your Personality. Electronic Entertainment Magazine. 1994. Defunct Technology magazine.

tale-of-two-cities-ee-mag-mar-1994-1 tale-of-two-cities_electronic_entertainment_03_mar_1994






tale-of-two-cities-ee-mag-mar-1994-7 tale-of-two-cities-ee-mag-mar-1994-8

Raw text retrieved from the Internet Archive


laying God — or Mayor, for that matter — 
ain’t what it used to be. 

Building and managing your own unique 
SimCity has always been more than a game, more 
than a matter of who makes the most money or figures 
out the ultimate zoning mix. When you build a city, it becomes a 
manifestation of who you are. It’s what you fantasize about. 
It’s how you feel. 

But in SimCity 2000, a sequel to the classic that’s even more 
powerful than the original, you can express yourself like never 
before. To demonstrate the flexibility and power of the new ver- 
sion, we asked three veteran city builders to try their hand at con- 
structing their vision of the ideal urban area. 

Chris Bence built Christon, aiming for natural beauty and 
environmental sustainability. Matt Kim designed Mattropolis as a 
high-density paean to efficiency and order. And in a vain attempt 
to outsmart the simulator, Ocean Quigley built Harsh City, 
which he hoped would launch itself into outer space. Turn the 
page to take a look at the results. 


SIMTTF Parks raise 
property values only in 
the four-tile area around 
them. So it’s better to 
scatter small parks 
around the city rather 
than putting them 


Be careful 

when you build subways; 
you can’t blow them up 
to get rid of them. Avoid 
mistakes by putting in the 
stations before laying 
the track. 

SHVITIP: Bus stations 
reduce traffic better than 
subways and rail systems. 

hen Chris Bence started planning Christon — “The Small 
Pretty City” — her goal was to build a place you’d travel through and 
say “I’d love to live here.” 

Bence likes to go camping, so she started with lots of mountains, trees, 
and rivers. Then she created Power Island. The idea was to construct 
a clean power source way out in the ocean, so nobody would 
have to live next to an ugly, dangerous power plant. 

Power Island features large, symmetrical water- 
falls for hydroelectric power and two large 
plateaus to hold windmills and 
microwave generators. When 
it became clear that 
Power Island 

more than 
enough power for 

Christon, Bence scaled irfft 

back the island to a single T/r C 

The main city nestles comfortably 
on a flat plain between the ocean and a 
majestic mountain range. To make sure everyone 

knew whose city it was, Bence added a large area of vir- . e , 

gin forest with a lake in the form of a giant C — for Chris — - ,,, I ' T 

right in the middle. 

Next came College Island: two universities, a little light commercial and 
industrial development, its own power source, and some high-density residential 
areas for the dorms. The only way to get there is to sail, and bicycles rule once you arrive. 

Bence believes that college and cars don’t mix. And in a nod to her San Francisco Bay Area 
home, Bence tossed in her own Alcatraz island, complete with prison. It’ll be good for tourism later. 
When a SimCity’s population reaches 2000, you can place the Mayor’s house anywhere you want. 



SIMTIP: Some buildings 
let you microsimulate. 
Schools can tell you how 
many students are attend- 
ing and what kind of edu- 
cation they’re getting. But 
each city is limited to 150 
micro-simulation buildings. 

Aurac 0 

SMT1P: Hydroelectric 
and wind power work 
great in remote places 
where you don't want to 
run ugly-and costly- 
power lines. 

SIMTIP: Do as much 
planning as possible in 
the terra-forming stage. 
Scatter waterfalls for 
future hydroelectric power 
plants, plan your grids, 
and leave plenty of 
buildable space. 


SIMTIP: While police 
and fire stations cover 
only the specific areas 
around them, hospitals, 
schools, and libraries 
serve the entire city. Put 
them anywhere that’s 
convenient or looks good, 
or simply bunch them all 
in a corner somewhere. 

SIMTIP: Sims won’t 
build more than 3 
squares from a road. 

A 1 3-by-6-tile layout with 
interlocking roads is an 
efficient approach. 

EFORE attempting TO BUILD HIS OWN CITY, Matt Kim spent hours carefully 
observing other players create their own visions. He read the manual 
twice and practiced optimal grid utilization on graph paper. 

Once Kim began playing, he trashed his first nine practice 
cities. Only then did he start work on his ultimate creation, 

dubbed Mattropolis. 

Mattropolis is divided into 12 boxes separated 
by one-tile-high, waterfall-edged crosses. 

The waterfalls are for hydroelectric 
power, water pumps, and — 
though he hates to admit 
it — aesthetics. 

Within the 

game s 
tile area, each box is 
made up of three 13-by-6- 
tile rectangles interlinked with 
roads and 6-by-6-tile squares to make 
one big perfect square. Roads surround and 
bisect the squares. Industrial zones ring the out- 
side of the squares, with schools and hospitals placed in 
the corners. This arrangement is simple, attractive, orderly, 
and efficiently utilizes the one corner tile in each square that is too 
far from a road to be developed otherwise. 

Kim put water pumps behind the schools because in the simulation young 
Sims aren’t affected by pollution. (Bence says she can see their eyes tearing from the 
smog.) Kim placed hydroelectric plants on the falls as needed and located four identical 
square ports on each side of the city. 

Unfortunately, when Kim finished the first version of his masterpiece, he realized that the entire city 
was one tile off from being completely symmetrical. Obsessed with perfection, Kim spent another 30 hours 
reconstructing it to fix the tiny problem. 

The final version of Mattropolis is austerely beautiful. Each map window displays patterns that look more like the 
view through a kaleidoscope or some Tibetan mandala than the efficient breeding ground they were designed to be. The entire 
city is perfectly balanced down to the last tile, and the happy residents cheerfully pour money into the government coffers. 



SimCity 2000 includes several specific scenarios of common urban ills. 
Here’s how to handle them. 

: Pause the game. Build water pumps in the swamps, 
then rebuild the connections to other cities and put more ramps on the 
freeway system. Then let the simulation run, keeping taxes low while 
you create dense zoning in areas damaged by the hurricane. 

l&uUiViUb: Pause the game. Lower taxes to zero until the popula- 
tion is big enough to make you money. Then build dense using 1 3-by- 
6-tile zoning. Take out a bond if you have to. 

ttiht: Click on the book for property taxes, and set industrial taxes 
to zero. Find a good hangout and wait 

Control the fires the monster sets and after he leaves, 
lower property taxes to zero. Then go see a movie. 

fifikltiMl: Control the fire using bulldozers to clear a fire break 
and just ignore the Sims’ complaints. Then set taxes as low as you can 
and build dense in the empty area by Lake Temescal. 

SIMTiP: Don't over- 
spend. Remember, your 
power plants blow up every 
fifty years. If you don't have 
enough cash to replace 
them you’ll find yourself 
back in the Dark Ages. 

SIMTIP: Avoid diagonal 
roads and rail lines. 
They’re wasteful. 

SIMTIP: Highways sit on 
their own phantom four- 
square grid, so you cant 
just plop them down any- 
where. This can be a real 
problem when the highway 
grid doesnt match up with 
the space available in a 
developed city. 

Hill Velleu ?] 


mil Val;«u6l 

overnight Just make sure 
you’ve deployed the 
police and fire depart- 
ments and turned off the 
disaster function. 

SiMTIP; Politics aside, 
military bases are good 
for quelling riots, fighting 
off monsters, and boost- 
ing commercial zones. 

Newton 7 1 

Newton 9 1 

“launch” '< — ^ 

assumed that if he built enough Launch Arcologies, ^ 

they would spontaneously begin the Exodus process. jg W 1 

Quigley started with totally flat terrain, the only water being a - 

three-tile- thick border for ports and water pumps. He added marinas • 5' H ■- "C fjj fi a j fc fe|i| f 

only because the Sims demanded them. The city’s zoning layout consists of a ~ 

13-by-6 grid of interlocking tiles surrounded by roads. Initial power came from coal- 't; Ml 

fired generating plants — who cares about the pollution? Eventually, when he needed more 

power, he replaced the coal-burning power stations with a pair of clean but expensive fusion plants. -^=d 

To keep pollution down in his high-density city, Quigley scattered low-density industrial zones 
among residential areas. He stressed education, but only to stimulate industry. 

The goal was to push population in order to support the Launch, and with SimCity 2000’s three-quarter 
perspective view, it soon became hard to find the Mayor’s house and City Hall among all the tall buildings. 

As soon as Harsh City was big enough to allow Launch Arcologies, Quigley’s sole priority became putting them in prime 

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^fifOT / Mt 

V:\lp ' 

S8IVITIP: To get rich 

1 i 

bM “quick,” save your game 

L -1! ' JURTt m 

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SIMTIP: Use low-den- 
sity zoning to lower pollu- 
tion and raise land values. 

SIMTIP: Find the right 
zoning ratios. Two residen- 
tial to one commercial and 
one industrial is a good 
rule of thumb. As your 
city's Education Quotient 
goes up you’ll need fewer 
industrial zones. 

Type CASS 
(for SimCity designer 
Will Wright’s daughter, 
Cassidy) and you’ll get 
$250, but you'll also face a 
1 in 1 8 chance of a major 
disaster hitting the center 
of your grid. The old Shift- 
FUND cheat that garnered 
a cool $1 0,000 in SimCity 
has been made honest In 
SimCity 2000 it issues a 
bond at a whopping 25 
percent interest 

He was sure 

.'Ml . • -- 1 -■ 

i 1 ' 

• .• 

C-- ’ 


* Exodus had 

| • , k :£:■ to happen soon. 

, r . ' But when Harsh City’s 

•' - ■< . , ' I population hit 5 million and 

*' < ' no launches had taken place, he 

- , called Maxis’s technical-support line, 

f* ^ To Quigley’s horror, the tech representative 

said it was all a joke. There is no Exodus in SimCity 
2000! He added that future revisions of the game might 
change the offending message in the Launch Arcology dialog box. 
Crushed, Quigley immediately loosed a space monster on Harsh City 
hoping to destroy it. “Eventually I’ll build my ultimate city,” Quigley promises, 
“which will look more like Nova Scotia.” 


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