The Let's Play Archive

SimCity 3000

by The Deadly Hume

Part 1: INTRO

As many of you will know, SimCity has been around for in one form or another for a pretty long time. Although it saw its initial release in 1989, Will Wright had coded it a good six years earlier. Any you can read the Wikipedia entry on all that. Most people will have a fairly good idea of how it works, you plonk down roads and zones and utilities and try and build a city that doesn't go broke.

SimCity 2000 followed in 1993, and of course Moon Slayer and Deryl have just finished a Let's Play thread for that which was really good. I spent so much time playing that that its not funny.

It's followup, SimCity 3000 came out in 1999 and the gameplay isn't much different from SC2000, but there have been quite a few additions:
- It generally looks nicer, as you would expect.
- Three tiers of property density fior RCI zones rather than two
- You have to manage garbage as well as water and power which is the biggest pain in the arse about the game.
- You can get special buildings (as opposed to rewards like statues) that give you certain amount of income but have certain drawbacks as well, shit like casinos, max security prisons, megamalls, that sort of thing. We will be sure to encounter some of these as we go.
- And on top of that, landmarks that don't do anything, except sit there and look landmarky.

Having said that, SC3000 wasn't the great stylistic leap forward that the next version, SimCity 4 (which, with the Rush Hour expansion pack, is still my favourite version) but it's still worth looking up. I got the original version of SimCity 3000 when that came out, with a free t-shirt that I still have (but never wear in public, for obvious reasons).

A year later an updated version, SimCity 3000 Unlimited, came out, adding things like a scenario editor, the building architect (which makes buildings that look like ass) as well as two extra building sets, European and Asian, extra terrain choices plus a few other things, some of which are quite annoying like an annual street parade. That's what I'll be playing in this thread.

The introduction movie for SC3K Unlimited looks like thus:

I don't have any great angle for this LP, but I guess I'll be doing what Moon Slayer did in his thread and do most of the narrating from the viewpoint of the mayor. It won't be a blow-by-blow account since otherwise it'll drag on forever, but I'll try and cover the highlights of the development of the town and the council intrigue, with gameplay stuff discussed in italics per convention.

In any case, that means that I'm happy to take suggestions for setting up the city, of which we have a number of options:

City Name could be anything as long as it's not too stupid, I'm inclined to start at 1900 (which would give a nice, gradual introduction to the technologies) but we could go for 1950.
Then there's the colour of the terrain which seems to be: quite green, snowy, orange, yellow and very green. Then the kinds of trees, then the type of architecture which is vaguely North American, vaguely European, and quite Asian.

Then we get onto the ol' Reticulating Splines crap. Again, heaps of options.

The sliders are pretty vague, high "hills" means lots of hills, high "water" means lots of lakes, and trees are much of a muchness. We'll probably have heaps of trees I guess. Having things too hilly is a pain in the arse, as, unlike SimCity 4 but like SC2K, you can only build things on the flat. But having a few hills is nice for aesthetics and that.

We also have the choice of coastlines or land edges on all three sizes, and in the middle, a river, a big hill, or a big lake.

Once the big picture terraforming is carried out the details can be fiddled with as well so you can raise, level and lower terrain as usual, so we could have a river and a mountain, just that bespoke mountains will look a bit artificial. Some inland water supply is desirable for fresh water, as any coastlines will be salt water.

There is another possibility; there's a number of real-world terrain choices, covering the range from Sydney to Moscow to Los Angeles, and I could also import a greyscale bitmap to create terrain as well. I actually did this with a file I made for SimCity 4, but the rivers weren't wide enough for ports, which are FUN! So if people are after a vague ideal for the city, or wish it based on a real city as long as it's in the list, or if we can get geodata for it we can do that as well, I suppose, though it would takes a bit of tweaking.

A note about scale; the size of the map we'll be working on is 16kms to a side, with 16 tiles equalling one kilometre. This means that everything is too big, basically. (Technically, things were more realistically proportioned in SC4, but that meant that you had to work the city together as a patchwork of neighbourhoods.) If we go with a real-world map, various restrictions mean it's going to end up looking nothing like the actual city, anyway.

But anyway, have at it, I'm after suggestions for:
- city name
- starting date (1900, 1950, 2000)
- kind of architecture
- basic terrain ideas

I'll probably end up ignoring most of them as I'm capricious like that but in those cases where I'm sitting on the fence I'll take the will of the people into account.

Next: We meet the advisors!