Amstrad Computer User1st January 1991
Published in Amstrad Computer User #74
Crime is rife, the residents are leaving in droves. What now, Mr Mayor?
Have you ever sat back and wondered what it must be like for developers of new towns like Milton Keynes? I mean, you can't just come around a corner, see a nice spot of land and think: "Hmmm, that'll do nicely. We'll stick a few concrete cows in that field over there and we'll be a thriving community in no time."
No. In order to create a self-contained urban development, capable of supporting itself and trading on an external market for profit, there are a fair number of problems that need to be considered, none of which can be successful unless they are considered in conjunction with others.
Am I making sense? Who knows. Anyway and basically, if you fancy becoming a renowned town planner, then you'd better get hold of Sim City, a particularly brilliant simulator that'll help you get to grips with everything you need to know about putting your name on the map.
To start off, choose your level of difficulty. This will determine how much money you can spend on your city to start with and then choose between an existing terrain or create your own. Clear some land, lay a ring road to surround your city and then get started on laying out the residential areas.
These, of course, are where the Sims will live but, in order to keep them there, you now have to provide commercial shopping areas, where they can buy their daily bread; industrial areas, where they can work and some all important power stations to light up their lives.
All pretty basic stuff, you might thing, and so it is. Building your first city may seem a piece of cake, but the skill factor comes in when you try and make it survive.
What about getting your people to work? Better build some good transport systems. What about rising crime? A few police stations should help. Then there's fire, natural disaster and, of course, setting taxes to make your profits.
Before you know it, things start getting incredibly complex. Getting your variables right will mean the difference between a booming population, happy with their surroundings, and a pollution-rife ghetto, where no self-respecting citizen would like to bring up his or her kids.
The decisions are yours. Use your money wisely and be careful to set up good ratios between zones, especially when it comes to transport and policing. If you manage to develop your city, you could even consider a seaport or airport to boost revenues, but beware of the cost. Pay attention to your citizen's gripes at the end of each year as well keep them happy and your city will continue to thrive.
Using easily controlled icon menus, Sim City is an incredibly complex simulation which you can leave and come back to as you choose. Develop city after city, experimenting with different factors each time to find out the best results. Remember, a well laid out, smaller city, with lots of lovely parkland, will attract more people than a massive urban sprawl and bulldozing for redevelopment costs money you could well afford not to spend.
If you do get fed up with one of your cities, why not try a little natural disaster to spice things up? You can make these things happen, but it's the poor Sims who have to live with it, so create the right conditions for them and they'll do you proud.
Sim City is an excellent offering; totally addictive and full of surprises for the novice developer. If you're looking for something totally different on the games scene, go and buy it now.