Future City

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Even the most advanced player runs into problems now and then. We have collected several of the frequently asked questions and identified problems while playing the game and provided answers that we hope will get you through.  

  1. I'm losing too much money at the start of my city.
  2. My commute times are very high.
  3. No high tech industry is building in my city.
  4. There are no freight trucks in my city.
  5. I'm only getting one farm in a huge agriculture zone.
  6. My air and water pollution is very high.
  7. How can I tell how many recreation areas I have?
  8. My entire city is covered by healthcare/education/police/fire, but I'm still having problems.
  9. Do I need to cover industrial areas with education and healthcare?
  10. I have downloaded a premade region. Which spot do I need to build my city in?

I'm losing too much money at the start of my city.
The most common way of being in the red at the beginning of your city is overspending on public services. Your sims only need the following to develop at the start of your city:

  • Power
  • Road connection
  • Workplace (only if residential)

That's it! You do not need water, hospitals, education, fire stations, etc. You do not even need to fully fund your power plant. Chances are you will be using a tiny fraction of its output at the start. Note that you cannot underfund your other services such as your healthcare, education, fire, and police. They will go on strike if you do. You will eventually want and need the other services, but they are not required for a successful city in the beginning. 

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My commute times are very high.
Commute times are caused by your sims taking a long time to get to work. This is a combination of factors such as how far they need to travel, how congested those roads are, and what method of transportation they are using. By default, your sims will either walk or drive their car, depending on how far away their destination is (usually to and from their workplace). If your sims are walking, your commute times will generally be low since they will never travel far away on foot. The most common problem is that your roads are congested and they have a long way to go. 

The very best way to deal with high commute times is to avoid them from the start. If you plan your city around transportation, you can solve many common Future City requirements problems. One way to solve commute times is to have high capacity roads to workplaces that are right next door. This sounds simple in concept, but your sims generally do not want to live next to dirty industry or noisy places. High-tech industry can be next door without ill effect, but dirty industry will make sure no one wants to live next door. You will have to separate dirty industry and your residential areas, which will increase commute times, but allow higher class sims to move into your residential areas. 

Bus stations help reduce commute time by increasing the speed in which sims travel along the road. Note that your sims will not take a bus unless it is within walking distance of their home/workplace, and it must also be on the way. They will not travel backwards to a bus station. 

Highways are a great high speed way to get your sims moving along to their destination. You normally must plan for their existence ahead of time since they take a lot of money and take up a great deal of room. If you can get your sims using the highway, they will reach their destination in no time at all (provided it is close to the highway exit!) 

Trains, subways, monorails, etc. All of these forms of mass transit are great if you can get your sims to use it. Like the bus station, your sims will only use them if they are within walking distance, and they will not backtrack along their route to get to them. 

If you are still having trouble with commute times, use the route query tool to find out what path your sims are taking. Remember: your sims will always take the most direct route; not the fastest route! Go to your traffic graph and see what methods of transportation are being used. If everyone is using cars and no one is using your mass transit, it may be time for a transportation system redesign. 

If your commute times are very high and your city is already highly developed and large, it may require an entire restructuring of your city to bring them down. This is why it is best to plan ahead and prevent high commute times before they happen. 

To the left is a common example of a city with long commute times. While the separation method with blocks may work at the start, roads will begin to fill up quickly since many will be using a single road. While the sims right next to their work will have great commute times, the majority of your Sims will have long commute times being as they are on the further end of either the residential or industrial area. This leads to high average commute times. A better approach is to spread out the zones so there is a better transit time on average for everyone. The city layout to the right displays a city which will have better commute times than the one to the left. Although many roads are missing from both, the general idea is present. This is not the only design, there are many more than will produce good commute times. Experimenting and planning your city ahead of time will yield good commute times.

This city will have long commute times when large This city will have better commute times when large

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No high tech industry is building in my city.
The major factor in getting high tech industry to build in your city is education. Your sims must be educated before high tech industry will begin to appear. Unlike dirty industry, high tech will not move in anywhere. Your industrial zones will also need water and a high land value before they will develop. They don't like lots of pollution, so trying to encourage high tech industry right next to dirty industry will generally not work. 

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There are no freight trucks in my city.
Freight trucks require a path from your industrial areas to another city. That is, you must make a connection to a neighboring city. Then your industrial areas will transport goods to and from those connections. 

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I'm only getting one farm in a huge agriculture zone.
Unlike other zones, agricultural zones will develop into the largest farm possible given the provided space. This means that to meet the Future City requirements, you will not want to build one large zone. Rather, you will want to build multiple smaller zones for your farms. 

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My air and water pollution is very high.
The ultimate way of getting rid of air and water pollution is to have no dirty industry, no dirty power plants, no incinerator, no landfill, no high population areas, no roads... A lot of things that you need for other requirements produce pollution, which you are trying to avoid.
You must find the balance between these things. It is very hard to have a low pollution city in its beginnings, especially since all you have are wind turbines for clean power. Chances are your pollution will be high at the start, which is okay. As your city builds and cleaner power plants are unlocked, high tech industry wants to move in, and you have less overall pollution. You do not need a pollution free city; only one that has low pollution. Spreading out your polluting buildings will help bring a low pollution rating to your entire city. 

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How can I tell how many recreation areas I have?
You can see how many recreation areas you have at a glance by looking at your city beautification funding. You will see the number of recreation areas under its details. 

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My clinics/prisons/etc are complaining about low funding, but I'm giving them full funding.
This complaint will come up sometimes if you do not have enough room for new patients, inmates, etc. The solution to this problem is simply to build more clinics/prisons/etc near the troubled building to help ease the overcapacity. To find out which building is over capacity, you may click the building in the complaint message or use the query tool to check capacity. 

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My entire city is covered by healthcare/education/police/fire, but I'm still having problems.
Sometimes it is not enough just to cover an area with a single building. You will sometimes need to double up or build more advanced buildings to provide a wider range of support. A good example of this is education. You will need all types of education buildings to educate your sims. Libraries are a great way to make sure your sims stay sharp throughout their years. 

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Do I need to cover industrial areas with education and healthcare?
No, your industrial areas do not care about education and healthcare. 

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I have downloaded a premade region. Which spot do I need to build my city in?
No matter which region you download, the premade cities will be constructed in a circle around one particular area. There will be a blank, grassy area in the middle of the cities. That blank area is where you should build your city. 

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