SimCity 5 City Specializations
Well, SimCity has been out a few days now, and everyone is starting to get further and further into the mid-end game. One of the most important and complex elements of a mature SimCity is the aspect of city specializations. Cities can specialize is several different areas, and these specializations affect all of your city’s metrics.
For example, a mining city will make loads of profit, but it will also suffer from pollution and be harder to attract wealthy Sims. On the other hand, a city that specializes in electronics production will breed wealthier, more educated Sims, but can drive your city to bankruptcy if the management is poor. Or, a gambling town may bring in loads of tourists and revenue, but suffer from crime and nasty traffic. Many of the specializations are complimentary, or even are required to have one of the other specialized buildings to function properly.
Processor Factories and Trading Depots
[update] Along with importing alloys, plastics, and metals you can generate them within your town with a recycling center!
I decided to create an electronics factory that produced computer processors. In theory, this seemed like a great idea. But, it ended being a finicky beast that may still drive my city to the poor house. You see, the processor factory requires materials to operate. It needs alloy, metals, and plastics. So, in order to obtain these I needed to build a trade depot. The trading centers are the hubs that allow you to export your goods and import supplies.
So, I setup my trade depot, and started importing the goods I needed to build processors. Whoa! I looked at my budget and out of nowhere I lost tens of thousands of Simoleans! This was a disaster. It turns out I was building my processors, but none of them were selling. To sell the processors, I had to repeat the process and build another trade depot that could store the processors and export them.
Each trade depot can import, export, and store four different materials. If I had known that, I could have just built one that handled everything. But I didn’t, and I ended up needing two trade depots to handle all of the importing and exporting. When you upgrade buildings, you do have a bulldozer option in the upgrade panel. So, if you make a mistake while upgrading you can always bulldoze and start over.
After setting up the second trading depot, I started to make my money back and then some. But, the whole cycle required coaxing and lots of attention. At one point, I was importing way more plastic than was being used. So, I setup my trading depot to export plastics. Nice, I started receiving extra cash from the plastic I was now importing. But, oh shoot – what’s that? Before I knew it, my processor factory shut down due to not having enough plastic. You need to keep a close eye on your supplies and really manage your imports and exports properly. Otherwise, your factories will shut down and you’ll be stuck with loads of materials that you can not use.
Mining Towns FTW
In order to get a better understanding of how this whole thing worked, I decided to setup a new town in my region that would focus on mining. This way, I could start sending over some of the ore and alloy instead of buying it on the open market. I think mining towns, be it oil, ore, or coal, are the best way for a beginner to start learning about city specializations. First, you setup the mine. Then, you setup a trade depot to export your goods. There is no need to worry about importing anything, and there is also no way to lose money!
Once your mining town starts becoming profitable, you can add factories that will process the raw goods into better materials. Raw ore can be processed into metals and alloys. Oil can be processed into .. good question. Maybe fuel? I’ll look into that for the next post. Also, you can use the goods in your town. For example, power plants can use the oil and coal you produce.
One note on mining buildings, many buildings allow you to build a service road. Mines can have a service road where you can place additional mining shafts. Also, garbage dumps have service roads where you can place additional dump sites. I bulldozed several dumps and built new ones because I didn’t realize you could make a service road to place more sites onto.
Viva Las Vegas
Another city specialization is gambling. Instead of importing and exporting physical goods, in a gambling town you import and export human goods. Or, Sim goods I guess. That said, gambling and transit are very complimentary. A good casino will generate a lot of traffic, and needs proper mass-transit tools to thrive.
The downside to gambling towns is crime. Casinos will draw more criminals to your city, and wealthy Sims do not like criminals. If you are hoping to recreate uptown New York or Beverly Hills, a casino is not going to draw the proper crowd.
A Note On Roads
One thing I noticed while building out my cities is the importance of building placement. I decided to put a university in my town. Now, I should mention that this university was not cheap. Not at all! But, I wanted to put one in so my processor factory would have a good supply of educated Sims to employ.
I decided to put my University towards the middle of my town because, well, why not? I’ll tell you why not … traffic. As my city grew, traffic started getting out of control. While I wanted to upgrade my roads, my main thorough-fair was attached directly to my college. So, if I wanted to upgrade it, I was going to have to tear down my very expensive university building!
With hindsight, expensive buildings should be placed on the off skirts of your town. Also, it might not be the worst idea to upgrade the road they sit on before you build them. You can always upgrade the connecting roads later.
Thanks for tuning in! If you have any other tips or suggestions, please leave a comment. Or, be the first person to join the TechnoBRED SimCity Forum! We would love to hear what’s been working for you!