SimCity (2013) is barely out the door, but we've cobbled together a few pointers to help players hit the ground running. This is especially useful for those that might be new to the franchise, but hopefully a little will be useful to those more experienced as well.


Start with Low Density Dirt Roads. These are the cheapest and smallest of the roads. Given the tiny initial population of any city, it makes little sense to plop down anything much more expensive.
Once the city's population rises, there will be a higher residential demand. To conserve some space, mayors can then upgrade their existing roads, which in turn will passively upgrade the sim homes to things like apartments.
For roads to power plants and other out-of-the-way facilities, low density dirt roads usually suffice.
User Interface
We've put together an in-depth overview of the user interface. It can get pretty confusing in the game to new players, so feel free to study the article and refer back to it often.
One thing to note is whether a menu icon has turned from its normal blue and white to yellow or red. These indicate areas that mayors need to focus on, red being in more immediate need.
Improvements (land/tech)
A quick note on land value and industry. If land is coastal, or if parks, schools, and police stations (to name a few) are placed nearby, land value increases. The amount of area parks can affect can be increased by linking parks together via the edit menu.
To increase your tech level for industry invest in schools to make your sims more educated. You'll need to unlock the Ministry of Education to do this (via upgrading City Hall).
Placement planning
Data maps are your friend! Especially for those newer to the game, be sure to check data maps before placing certain buildings. Wind direction can influence the happiness of sims if sewage or other polluting structures are placed nearby. And it makes no sense to place a water tower over an area that has an extremely low (or no) water table. The same can be said of coal, oil, and ore producing facilities.
Bus stops: when placing bus stops for school and/or the city bus route, areas that are in green are being serviced well; you'll want that green connection running throughout town.
Try to scope out your city using the data maps beforehand. This can help in planning where to place various zones, rather than having to come by and bulldoze everything later!
Be sure to add the fire alarm component to the fire station as soon as you build it, as it increases response time.
For buildings that house response vehicles (fire, police, hospital, garbage), add cars (parking lot) to maximum capacity before erecting another building to increase coverage.
If you have excess utilities or services, volunteer them to other cities for some extra money. This will not result in a decrease of coverage for your city; however, your hospital may have more patients, your jail will have more criminals, and your garbage dump will have to manage more garbage.
Check the bulldozer tool every now and then to see if there are any abandoned buildings or rubble to deal with. This protects land values and keeps the crime rate steady.
Money woes
If you become strapped for cash, there are a few options to consider, including taking out loans (three at a time max) or shutting off services (not bulldozing them!) that are not being used to full capacity.
You aren't locked into one specialization. Take advantage of being able to choose across a variety of features, so long as it is within your budget. Some of them tend to work well together.

There you have it. This isn't meant to be the end-all, be-all list, so feel free to add any other tips and tricks you learn in the comments section below if you want.

Happy city building!

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