Sim City 5 Tips and Tricks

SimCity 5 Tips and Tricks

Well, I just spent the last few hours building out my first city in SimCity 5 and it was a ton of fun! While I don’t want to date myself, I have been playing SimCity since the first version! Getting back into the game tonight was more than a heavy dose of nostalgia.

So, you want to know how to pimp out your city? Maximize your income? Put out the fires, stop the criminals, and kill the attack lizards? Well, you came to the right place. I will be periodically updating this post with all of the latest and greatest techniques for creating a thriving city.

Forget Pretty Go For Efficiency

simcity2[update] Well, with hindsight, this advice isn’t the best. You will want to provide some extra space so that later in the game larger buildings can be built. High-rises and skyscrapers need more room than single family homes.

When you look at the example city in the intro tutorial. You’ll notice how nicely spaced out everything is. While I might want to live in a city like that, I don’t want to be mayor of one. Want to know why? Because, it’s not as profitable! More money, means more expansion and bigger/better building – and more space means less money! All zoning spaces need to be against a road, so make your roads in tight grids to minimize the amount of space taken. Will this technique backfire once your Sims have moved in and are encroaching on each others space? Maybe, but you’ll be rolling in so much dough to notice. Besides, you can always rearrange things later on.

Use Bigger Roads To Attract High-Density Zones

In past versions of SimCity, you could zone for low, medium, or high density. In SimCity 5, the density of your zones is dependent on the road they are up against. When building roads, look at the density that is supported and choose accordingly. The higher the density, the more people it can support and the more tax revenue you’ll receive.

Look At The Most Successful Cities

The new SimCity allows you to checkout the leader boards of who is doing the best. From there, you can actually go visit the top notch cities and analyze how they have structured their town! This is a really cool feature, and I am sure we are going to see some amazing and innovative techniques spring up very soon. I am curious how this all works in the sense that, Sim time essentially stops if you aren’t playing. So, is there an advantage to leaving your SimCity while you AFK to help build out resources? It’s a fun time to be playing as all of these unanswered questions need time and effort to figure out.

Keep Your Sims Happy Early

Your Sims are going to need some basic services. Police, fire, health, schools, water, waste removal, et cetera. If you can afford it, it is best to provide these services before you Sims get unhappy without them. Keep an eye on your charts and see if your services are starting to slack in certain areas. Put in an extra fire station before a big fire storm. Or, put in a school before your Sims demand it to help attract wealthier tenants.

Separate Your Industry and Residential

simcity1The more SimCity 5 I play, the more I realize how in-depth and realistic it is. A good rule of thumb is, imagine you are a Sim in your city, how would you feel? I personally would be bummed if a high-polluting factory moved in behind my house, and your Sims would be to. Separate the industry and residential zones in your city, and in between them, maybe add a few parks or service buildings. This will keep residential pollution low, and your Sim’s spirits high.

Again, I will be constantly updating this post as I learn more about the game. It would be a good one to book mark and revisit as there is surely much to be discovered. Do you have some Sim City tips that I didn’t mention, please leave a comment or come by our SimCity Forum and let us know. Thanks for reading mayor, have fun!


Tomorrow I am off of my non-mayoral work, so I decided to spend tonight on an all out SimCity binge!  I am at a population of 110k and I’ve learned a few tips and tricks that I can share. First, city density. I wrote earlier that  you need to have roads that can support high-density buildings in order for those buildings to be built. I started up a new city, used nothing but high-density roads, and eagerly awaited my high rise buildings to start popping up. Unfortunately, it took a bit more than that. Basically, high-density buildings won’t start showing up until there is a demand for them. Naturally, this coincides about with the same time that you start running out of room.

City Specializations

City specializations add a really cool layer of complexity to the game. But, they can be a bit daunting. I decided to start an electronics processing plant in my city. But, this meant that I needed some addition resources like plastics and alloy. To get those resources you can either mine/create them, or import them. To do either, you need somewhere to store said resources. So, I had to build a trade depot. Trade depots allow you to import and export goods, as well as store goods that are mined in your city. Once my processor plant had all the materials it needed to start up production, I had to setup another trade depot to handle the storage and shipping of the proccessors themselves.

For more on city specializations, see this article: Sim City Specializations

Import/Export & Trade

The whole import/export trade depot setup took a bit of time to figure out, and a few mistakes along the way. I built a bunch of storage space in my trade depots for things I don’t need. But, the good news is once I had everything setup, the simoleans really started rolling in! Also, while I was making money so were the Sims in my town. I started getting more medium income Sims than I had before! This is good as they pay better taxes, are smarter and less accident prone!

As I am writing this update, my population has jumped up to 170k! It’s getting really fun now that I have some simoleans in the bank and some experience under my belt. I am very temped to start another city that will compliment this one, perhaps a mining town so I don’t have to import so many supplies from the outside!

I hope you found this article helpful, thanks for reading. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. Also, stay tuned as I will be periodically updating this article as I learn more about the game!

1 Comment

  1. Ed says:

    I always like lose a lot of money in the begginging and never get any income. I put residential and a town hall and commercial and industry but I never make money.

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