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How To Develope Farms

Howdy, Mayor. I hear tell thereís trouble down to the south forty. Some Mayors canít seem to attract any Sim farmers to their cities, and others have trouble getting them to stay down on their farms once they develop. Reminds me of the old line, ďhow are you going to keep them down on the farm, now that theyíve seen Paree?Ē

Getting Farms to Appear

Sim farmers will only plant their crops in low land value, low-density industrial zones. They need a lot of room, too -- they figure itís only worth their while to plant in areas that are 8x8 or larger. Farmers need power to run the machinery in their barns, but they donít need underground water pipes--farms come with their own wind-powered wells and irrigation.

Farmers are finicky about the size of their farms, and also about the roads nearby. They need to have a road along at least one side of a farm. On the other hand, they donít like to have roads all the way around its edges, or even along three edges. If you surround a 10x10 block with roads, and fill it with low density industrial, no farm will grow. If you put only an 8x8 block of low density industrial inside this 10x10 road area, or even a 9x9 block or 9x10 -- so that one edge does not touch the road -- a farm may grow.

It gets trickier with very large blocks. Farms have a minimum, and also a maximum size -- 18x18. Farms will appear in blocks larger than 18x18, and sometimes sit next to each other to cover a very large area, but any particular farm will max out at 18x18. If you surround a 20x20 area with roads, and fill it with low density industrial zones, a farm may grow somewhere inside. In a large enough block, more than one farm may appear. Speaking of finicky, all Sims are choosy about the purity of their food. Therefore, farmers wonít bother to grow anything unless air and water pollution are low. Trying to get farms to build on an area that was previously dirty industry will not work, if the pollution is still there -- even if itís only on one tile and the rest are clean. Even where a farm does get established, it will go out of business if air or water pollution increase to Medium rating in the area (you can see the pollution level though the Query tool, or by viewing the pollution map).

One more thing to ensure that farms appear whenever possible: Pass the Farmerís Market Ordinance. Farms are very likely to appear if conditions are right for them, but passing this ordinance makes it a certainty.

Keeping Them Down on the Farm

Now that you have a farm, how do you get it to stay that way? For one thing, you should put your farms in low-lying areas on the outskirts of town, wherever land values tend to be lowest and pollution the least (nowhere near your power plant!). Sim farmers are not terribly devoted to their jobs. As soon as the land value under a farm goes up, they tend to sell out to slick downtown real estate speculators who replace the wheat fields with smelly warehouses and the like. Pretty soon the whole area starts to get polluted and the farms disappear.

Itís not good to let other kinds of industrial development mix with farms. Suppose a farm develops in a block of low-density industrial, but it doesnít entirely fill the block. If the block is large enough for another farm to appear, it will, but there still may be areas left over that arenít big enough for farms. If some smelly, polluting industry then moves in, pretty soon the farmers next door will head off for greener pastures, and the whole area will fill with motor oil recycling businesses, storage sheds and the like.

What to do? As soon as a farm appears, stop the simulator and trim out any leftover zones around it. Demolish any polluting industry that has shown up and de-zone all the extra land.

If youíre really dedicated to keeping part of your city rural, you can declare a farm historically preserved. Since you do that through the query window, the process can take some time -- youíll have to query every last barn, silo and chunk of field, one at a time!

Historical preservation guarantees that nothing else will come in and replace the farm, but it doesnít guarantee that it will stay in business. If your city experiences negative industrial demand, the farm might end up abandoned, and abandoned farms -- even historically preserved ones -- are as blighted as any other abandoned area. But when industrial demand picks up again, the farm will spruce up and return to its cheerful bucolic state.

How To build Tunnels

Good day, Mayor. Down at the Transportation department, we've been fielding quite a few calls about building tunnels, so here's the dirt:

My engineers will automatically offer a tunnel as an option, whenever a Mayor tries to run a road up a steep slope. The slope has to be the steepest kind -- a "slope four" in road-crew jargon. Also, if youíre running a road from a flat plain up to a hill, you wonít get a tunnel right at the base of the hill. Tunnels have to start at the second steep slope above the flats, or higher.

Release the mouse at this point and weíll ask you whether you want to spring for the simoleons needed. Tunnel-building is expensive, so it pays to be careful about where you go digging. If you tell us ďno way,Ē weíll go ahead and do our best to make a road up the side of the hill. Like as not weíll have to hack around with the terrain to make it flat enough for Sims to drive on. If you say ďyes,Ē we get out our spades and dynamite.

Another thing to watch carefully is where the tunnelís going to emerge on the other side of the hill. We take our orders from you, and we canít guarantee that digging a tunnel through a particular hill is a good idea. If itís too steep on the other side for you to run a road to the tunnel mouth, youíve just paid a whole lot of money for a nice hole to nowhere. Maybe youíll be able to salvage it by jiggling some terrain on the other side, but that can drain the treasury almost as fast as tunnel-building.

How To Build On-Ramps

Hello again, Mayor! Transportation Advisor Moe Biehl, here, to answer another of the top how-to questions our department hears about. Hereís my advice for building on-ramps:

First of all, in SimCity 3000 itís the Mayorís job to place those nice, fancy on-ramps, off-ramps and highway intersections. They all get made with the same On-Ramp tool.

You can put this tool to work in two different situations. One is in the corners of the intersection between two highways. Poke your on-ramp tool snug in the corner there, and if the tiles turn blue youíre all set to build an interchange. That is, if youíve been taking care of business and have enough money in the treasury.

The other situation is where a road crosses under a highway. You canít put a ramp on just any stretch of highway. There has to be a road to drive on from, or off to -- otherwise some poor sap of a Sim would drive off the highway into nothing, and Iíd have to send out a crew to clean up the mess. Hey, Iíve got enough to worry about, thank you very much. The main trick is to point your On-ramp tool a tile or two to the side of the road, right next to the highway. Once again, if it turns blue youíre in business.

If it stays red, there are a couple of things to look for. One is uneven terrain. Though my construction crews can make highways go over all sorts of bumpy terrain, for an on-ramp they need at least three flat tiles, at the same elevation as the highway, counting from the spot where the road and the highway intersect. Oh, and if thereís anything built on one of those tiles -- a park, say, or a zone with something already built on it? Uh-uh. My teams are under strict instructions not to tear down anyoneís property in order to put in road stuff. Only the Mayor can demolish public or private property to make way for highway construction.

How To Develop Seaports

Ahoy, Mayor! Hereís the scuttlebutt on making your seaports shipshape. First of all, you can only zone a seaport along the shore of a navigable stretch of water. That means by an ocean, a river, or a lake connected to a river. Weíre talking real water, too -- though you can make what looks like a lake or a river with the Surface Water tool, all youíve really done is make a large puddle, and no self-respecting Sim ship captain is going to set sail on a puddle.

    Seaports obey several other rules, as well:
  1. There needs to be enough room in the water (5 tiles) for piers to appear, otherwise, seaports won't develop
  2. The seaport zone must be at least 5 tiles wide at its narrowest point
  3. The shore must be straight
  4. The shore zoning needs to be at least 5 tiles long
  5. The shore zoning must be close to sea level. If the dirt isnít sand-colored or light-green colored, itís not low enough
  6. The zone needs to be powered, watered and within 6 tiles of a road, or some other form of Sim transportation (such as a rail or subway station)

How To Build Bridges

Greetings, Mayor! There are a few tricks you ought to know about building bridges. As your Transportation Advisor, I count myself an expert.

First off, you make a bridge by dragging across water with the road or highway tool. Make sure to give your new bridge plenty of room for construction. Often my construction crews will have to modify the terrain at the waterís edge, so that the bridge can go in flat. If there are any buildings or other stuff close by, my crews will refuse to build until you demolish them. You may have to do some terrain modifying yourself, as well. Iíll talk about that later, but letís start with basics.

You need to start at least five tiles back from the water when youíre making a road -- four, if youíre building a highway. Donít be confused if the drop-shadow goes red when you drag out onto the water, thatís just to let you know you canít build a bridge only halfway across. Oh, and donít bother trying to make a diagonal bridge, either. My construction crews are pretty clever, but they havenít figured that one out yet.

Keep dragging to the other side, and then drag another five tiles onto the land. If my crews think thereís a good chance of the bridge getting built, the shadow will turn blue. Thatís when to release the mouse.

Weíll tell you how much of a hit the bridge will make on the city treasury, and let you decide whether to go ahead or not.

If everything is on the level, a nice new bridge will appear across the gap. What kind of bridge depends on how wide the span.

When I say ďon the level,Ē I mean it, because thatís where it gets a little tricky. My crews have trouble building where the angle of the tiles at the edge of the water is too steep on either side. Safest is to build your bridge pretty close to the waterís surface -- if either side is more than three steep tiles higher than the waterís surface, the construction boss will try to blow you off with a complaint about not wanting to damage the surrounding buildings. Even if there arenít any buildings -- go figure. It helps to have straight, parallel shores on either side, too. For all these reasons, you may want to fiddle with raising, lowering or leveling the terrain at the waterís edge before you try crossing it with a bridge.

Another thing my crews balk at is building a bridge over surface water on flat ground. Maybe theyíre just trying to save the city money, figuring itís a waste to build a bridge over a puddle. If you really want to make a surface-water bridge, use ďlower terrainĒ to carve out a stream. Drop your surface water onto the stream bed, and then weíll be happy to put a bridge over it for you.

Happy bridge-building! Oh, and if you decide to use the Washington, D.C., terrain for your city -- make sure you build a bridge to the 21st century. Thatís one I really want to see.

How To Develop High Tech Industry *NEW*

Hello again, Mayor. My office has been getting gigabytes of email asking how to get high-tech industry to develop. I guess everyone wants a Silicon Alley within their city limits. Well, there are basically four factors that influence the development of high-tech industries: current date, Education Quotient (education level of your sims), ordinances and land value. The best strategy for developing high-tech is to leverage as many of these factors as you can afford to at the same time.

It Takes Time

As SimNation develops new and better technologies through the years, your city is better able to develop high-tech industries. There is a limit to how much industry in your city can be high-tech, based on the year. In 1900 there is only a 1% chance of high-tech industry developing in your city. In the year 2200, it is possible for 100% of your cityís industry to develop as high-tech.

Between 1900 and 2200, the maximum chance of high-tech is scaled linearly between those two years; so, for example, in 2050 there is up to a 50% chance of high-tech development.

Hit the Books

Of course, working in high-tech requires a certain amount of smarts, so education level affects whether you can achieve that maximum percentage of clean industry for the current year. All other factors aside, the target percentage of high-tech industry developed in your city is equal to your current Education Quotient (EQ) divided by the maximum EQ (which is 150). So if you can get your EQ to 150 through consistently supporting and improving your cityís schools, colleges, libraries and museums, you are guaranteed to have the maximum possible chance of high-tech development according to the current year.

Red Tape

You can also affect the percentage of high-tech by passing certain ordinances. The following ordinances increase the target percentage of high-tech:

Tourist Promotion

Conservation Corps

Clean Industry Association

Electronics Tax Incentive

Aerospace Tax Incentive

Electronics Job Fair

BioTech Tax Incentives

Public Access Cable

You can also discourage low-tech (polluting) industry from developing by passing the following ordinances:

Clean Air

Industrial Pollutant Impact Fee

Clean Industry Association

Note that discouraging low-tech does not necessarily mean that high-tech will be developed instead. If you have not encouraged high-tech industries enough, you may end up with empty zones.

Land Value

Finally, land value has some effect on whether high-tech or low-tech will develop -- and how tall the buildings that do develop will be. Basically, low-tech will only develop in fairly low land value, although taller low-tech buildings will develop under slightly higher land value if there is enough demand and water supply. High-tech can develop on more-valuable land than low-tech, but can't develop under extremely low land value. So, for example, if you have high land value industrial zones but don't meet the qualifications for high-tech industry, you may not have any industry develop at all. But once you qualify for high-tech, your city will hum with production from your techie factories.

Last Updated Sunday, March 28, 1999

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