SimCity 4

From Before I Play
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  • There's so much to say but I'll keep my brief. When building a city with Avenues do not connect many roads to them. Avenues are the arteries of your city and can carry lots of traffic, by connecting roads or streets to them you are adding stoplights that slow down traffic. For long stretches only connect one or two roads into the ave (don't forget to connect BOTH lanes or else only one side of the road will have access). Use one way roads to connect the areas between your avenues. Normal roads will become highly congested once you get away from the avenues so instead make them one ways and place them in a circular fashion so that traffic can flow in and out.
  • Along these lines the above advice works best if you have a major mass transit network. From day one of your city sink big bucks into subways and bus systems even if they have few riders. You will lose big bucks for awhile but once the city takes off you will have the infrastructure in place to handle lots of people trying to get to work. Basically, plan ahead.
  • While in no way realistic or ascetically pleasing the grid system is your friend. Diagonal roads will fuck up your placement and make it harder to build a coherent city. A good grid system with few stop lights on avenues, one ways and major mass transit system is easy to build and better yet easy to plan out. Traffic won't get out of control and your city will prosper. It may look pretty sterile but damn will it be easy to manage.
  • The above items only apply if you have the Rush Hour expansion.
  • Get the expansion and seriously consider getting at least the NAM add-on and a terrain re-texturing.
  • Don't build in a grid because it's both ugly and not functional, build like you would a real city, with closed neighborhoods that are not attractive for traffic to use as shortcuts to divert air pollution from cars away from residential areas.
  • Guide your traffic from the residential areas to the industrial areas via the commercial areas.
  • The easiest cities to maintain are the ones based on high tech industry, but conversely high tech industry loathes pollution (and doesn't produce any itself) so it's very difficult to get an industrial area to turn high tech once the dirty and manufacturing industries are already there. instead, crank up taxes for d&m industries up to the max at the beginning and focus on high education so your city has a hightech economy from the start. the cost of your education is easily bridged with some cash-rewarding missions or a large amount of commercial zones.
  • Once your city starts turning a profit, let it run for a while to get it to flesh out and grow you a nice budget.
  • Don't forget to get rid of trash, preferably to a neighboring dirty city to get it out of your rich guy areas.
  • This is not a "game" so much as a creative program or a simulator. a mature city should turn a huge profit, the real challenge in SimCity 4 is not to beat the game but to build something that looks cool.