FAQ/Strategy Guide by super_luigi16

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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by super_luigi16

    Version: 1.52 | Updated: 09/12/13 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    City-Building (Continued)


    So now you've got your large city of 30000 or so residents. Your transportation system may or may not be in shambles; if it isn't, then it will only be a matter of time before you start having traffic headaches that compromise the ability of certain services of zones to function. Hence, there is an inherent need to start upgrading your road network, especially if your city plans to specialize in Tourism, Trading, or Gambling. Any of those specializations require a sophisticated transportation network that is capable of handling large volumes of road traffic. Hence, you need to minimize the amount of road traffic YOUR city causes so that you can make way for these specializations.

    Finalizing Your Road Network

    First thing's first: your road network. In the last section about roads--Basic Transportation--I covered how to actually build your roads so as to conserve space and maximize efficiency. This section's all about improving and upgrading your road system to handle traffic problems, especially near the regional connection and other mass transportation stations. I'll also briefly cover high-density roads.

    High-density roads are the lifeblood of your big city. When you start getting those hi-rises where 1000 Sims live, you'll thank me for telling you that you need high-density roads. You want to comb through your city with your Road Upgrade tool and upgrade every single street to a high-density street and every single avenue to a high-density avenue. If you don't, you'll end up with disproportionate traffic on an uprepared road. Make sure your roads are uniformly high-density.

    The Regional Connection

    The regional highway connection is rather finicky. Remember how I told you to start out with one long avenue leading from the highway? Well, if you implemented that, you should be fine in one direction. If not, you have to do what I'm going to cover twice or even three times. Anyway, your regional connection is probably like mine: bloated with cars. Observe:

    Ouch. Look at that backup! Everyone's trying to go right!

    As you can notice, there is a steady stream of cars trying to go right. They're doing this for a variety of reasons--one being that I have an Expo Center over there--but, rather than contemplating why your Sims travel down that road, let's try to compensate for it. Instead of using a high-density street, let's try a high-denistry avenue. After some tinkering, I was able to come up with the following setup:

    Much better! Now there's a great traffic flow!

    I even have the option to cut down on MY traffic by adding Streetcar stops around that intersection. And, if I want to use the space between the high-density street and the high-density avenue, I can simply bulldoze the street and zone more commercial.

    So, in general, regional connections are very annoying. There are a few rules to building roads and buildings around this connection:

    1. In any direction that cars will want to turn, make sure the first turn is onto a high-density avenue. Many cars will simply take the first turn, meaning you need the most voulume for this first turn.
    2. Avoid placing desirable tourism buildings near your regional connection; this will simply entice massive traffic problems near your regional connection.
    3. Place Trading buildings--such as Depots and Ports--as close to the Regional Connection as possible. This will allow an exchange of goods that doesn't hinder traffic in the rest of your city.
    4. Try to place buildings that Sims coming from the region are heading to in different directions. This means that I would want to place, for instance, my bus terminal or tourist attractions in the opposite direction of my Expo Center.

    Not following my advice could lead to the above!


    Buses are the basic form of mass transit available for low- and medium-wealth Sims. High-wealth Sims will not commute via bus. Buses work best for cities with high low- and medium-wealth populations, and a sophisticated road network for these buses to work on. Setting up a regional bus system is highly recommended as it more easily allows interregional tourism, worker, freight, and shopping relationships. Buses aren't optimal for intracity mass transit nor interregional or interSimWorld travel, but they mix both of these aspects well to create a functional mass transit system.

    Shuttle Bus Depot

    NameCost# of BusesCapacityMaintenance
    Shuttle Bus Depot20000340/bus300/hr
    NameCost# of BusesCapacityMaintenance
    Shuttle Bus Lot7000340/bus100/hr

    Shuttle Bus Depots are good starting points for a basic transportation network, but they are in every way outclassed by the Bus Terminal. I highly recommend that you move to a Bus Terminal once that option becomes available. You can place a Bus Depot wherever you want as the Shuttle Buses will simply drive to bus stops and take Sims where they need to go. This means corners or edges of cities are okay for your Depots. You also don't need to leave room for expansion as the Shuttle Bus Lots simply go right on the Bus Depot itself. Happy busing!

    Bus Stop

    Bus Stop20012510/hr

    Bus Stops are necessary for any bus system ever. You must have bus stops connecting different zones for your busing system to be effective, and your bus stops should be strategically placed to cover the most distance with the least amount of stops. Something like what I have below would work well:

    An example of well-placed Bus Stops

    Park and Ride

    Park and Ride4008030/hr

    Park and Rides are only useful in low-density, low-wealth neighborhoods. Otherwise, Park and Rides are simply not worth it; place a few Bus Stops instead. Bus Stops also don't take up space whereas Park and Rides do. Furthermore, Park and Rides are eyesores in medium/high-wealth cities. Altogether, they're just not good. If you do want to place one, try to place it in the epicenter of slumminess.

    Bus Terminal

    NameCost# of BusesCapacityMaintenance
    Bus Terminal45000380/bus750/hr
    NameCost# of BusesCapacityMaintenance
    Municipal Bus Garage15000380/bus250/hr

    An example Bus Terminal.

    Bus Terminals are in every way superior to Shuttle Bus Depots; Bus Terminals allow you to connect with other bus systems in the region, and they allow you to take your Sims there and their Sims here. Furthermore, Bus Terminals can hold a greater volume of Sims as their buses can hold 80/bus instead of 40/bus. You still need bus stops, but Bus Terminals are far more workable. Again, place your Bus Terminal in the corner of your city as they can go practically anywhere. I usually place mine by the regional connection.


    My general rule-of-thumb is the following: wherever you have an avenue, it better the hell be(come) a high-density streetcar avenue! Streetcars allow Sims to easily commute within your city, and they will use the Streetcar if they live close to it. I highly recommend you make a sophisticated "box" layout of high-density streetcar avenues so that you can capitalize on the dual-transit these avenues afford. A sophisticated streetcar city can cut down on traffic tremendously.

    A Streetcar City

    That "box" method I was mentioning above is basically the following:

    Notice the "boxes" of streetcar lines?

    Yep, that streetcar system has 52000 riders per day. Streetcars are very efficient if you give them the right infrastructure. While a city like the one above requires a great deal of planning and initial investment in the medium-density avenues (I, like you, upgraded), it pays off a great deal when you have a city running efficiently like that one above. If you plan on having a large city, it is worth the initial investment to build the medium-density avenues even if you have to take out a bond or two to do so. Gifting works, too :)

    Streetcar Depot

    NameCost# of StreetcarsStreetcar CapacityMaintenance
    Streetcar Depot300003200/streetcar375/hr
    NameCost# of StreetcarsStreetcar CapacityMaintenance
    Streetcar Garage30002200/streetcar300/hr

    Realistically, you should only need one of these. However, if you have a city like the one pictured above, you will need to invest in another Streetcar depot to cut back on the 87 minute wait. Anyway, you need to place one of these to get your streetcar system working. Optimally, you'd place one of these at the center of your streetcar system, but it's quite alright to place a Depot at the end of the streetcar line. You shouldn't have any waiting problems if you have the sufficient of streetcars, no matter where your Depot is placed.

    Streetcar Stop

    Streetcar Stop50020030/hr

    Place these on every other block, and you should have a great streetcar system going. Fortunately, they are rather cost-effective, and the expenditures are comparatively low. Streetcar stops do not impede other development. Did I mention I love streetcars?

    Streetcar Track

    Streetcar Track10

    You should never have two sections of unconnected streetcar track EVER. Plan accordingly. You should connect two separate systems with avenues, not tracks. So, basically, that leaves you with the following: don't use streetcar tracks. They waste space.


    Rails are a good way to bring tourists into the edge of your city. Generally, I find it best to place lots of commercial around existing rail in your city as you can easily place a Passenger Train Station and capitalize on the incoming tourism. However, I do not recommend you expand your rail system beyond what is given to you, barring one special exception. Expanding your rail system, again, wastes space and is actually very costly. It is much easier to simply place a Train Station and have your tourists take other mass transit to their desitnation. Better yet--place tourist desintations near the Train Station!

    Passenger Train Station

    Passenger Train Station40000500/train375/hr

    A Passenger Train Station letting passengers off the train.

    Passenger Train Stations can hold a voluminous amount of tourists partly because you don't control how many trains there are. Trains are dervied from the region/world, so you can have two-thousand trains running; because they're regional, you don't have to worry about capacity. This is why I recommend you only build one Passenger Train Station; you only need one. Make sure to place other Mass Transit stops near the Train Station, though. This will allow tourists to get to other areas of the city. It will also allow commuters to get to their jobs.

    Heavy Rail Tracks

    Streetcar Track10

    You should never, ever place rail, barring one exception: to connect a nearby Trade Port. Rails are costly, and they take up space, so you should rely on Streetcars instead to handle your intracity needs.


    I usually don't recommend boats as your primary means of interregional transportation for a few reasons: not every city has water and your city design may not be cohesive with a ferry terminal. Let me explain the latter: you can't design every city around the water. Sometimes there are other resources or connections that make it difficult to put much of anything valuable near the water. Furthermore, you can't change the water if you really need to. Finally, ferries do not take many tourists into your city. Hence, I prefer Rail to ferries.

    Ferry Terminal

    Ferry Terminal310001000/ferry575/hr
    Passenger Ferry Dock60001000/ferry200/hr
    Cruise Ship Dock100002000/ferry375/hr

    Realistically, you should only place a Ferry Terminal as an alternative means to attract tourists; if that's the case, you'll want to place the Cruise Ship Dock expansion as soon as you build your Ferry Terminal. Try to get your Ferry Terminal as close to Mass Transit as possible, but I have no guarantees about how well that will work out. Again, I don't recommend Ferry Terminals really at all.


    As much as I love airports from SimCity games in the past, the Municipal Airport in this game has really left a sour taste in my mouth. Airports take up a LOT of space in this game, and that's something you don't have a lot of in this game. Furthermore, they don't actually carry that many tourists--around 1000 with maximum expansion. I would only place an airport in Tourism cities; otherwise, I would rely on the International Airpot Great Works to bring tourists from outside of the region.

    Airports can also help with freight shipments, but, again, there are more effective ways to ship freight. Trading offers better alternatives.

    Municipal Airport

    Municipal Airport85000200500/hr
    Cargo Terminal8000N/A300/hr
    Passenger Terminal8500N/A350/hr

    An example Airport.

    Airports are huge, as you can see. There is basically no other building that is as big as the airport. Hence, you need to plan appropriately when you're planning your city. Furthermore, while tourism, commercial, and industrial will be helped by the Municipal Airport, it is a NIMBY, meaning Residential wants nothing to do with it. Again, it would be much better to simply go with an International Airport Great Works to attract tourists.

    Synthesizing Your Mass Transit Network

    So, with all of these ways to move people more rapidly, how do we connect them all? Well, I earnestly recommend the following:

    • Buses - Bus Terminal with stops throughout city for low- and medium-wealth workers. Skip on Park and Ride. Make regional bus network.
    • Streetcars - "Box" method. Provide stops throughout city to connect residents. Better alternative to buses when implemented correctly.
    • Trains - Use as connection to region. Second-best way (after International Airport) to bring tourists to city. Do not expand beyond what is given. Good for freight with Trade Port.
    • Boats - Worse than Trains, equal with Planes. Place a Cruise Ship Dock to take full advantage of the Ferry Terminal. Not good for intraregional travel because of limited mobility/versatility.
    • Planes - Huge space wasters. Do not place unless it works perfectly in your city layout. Internation Airport outclasses Municipal for obvious reasons.


    So you should now have all of the tools to build your city up--what about expenses? Well, there are two approaches to handling the wave of expenses coming your way, and they work with varying effectiveness and varying difficulties. I will go through each of these approaches extensively toward the end of this section; first, I will cover just what expenses are coming your way, and how to, again, minimize your expenditures and invest wisely.

    Implementing Services Wisely

    A lot of the services covered in the Non-Essential Services section are now going to have to be implemented: Garbage, Fire, Health, and likely Police. However, as I mentioned multiple times in their respective sections, you're going to want to start small. Jumping right to a Hospital will tack on $1300 more expenses per hour than a Clinic. The same logic applies to Fire Stations, Recycling Centers, Police Stations, and Schools; you can't start tacking on services early. Only place services when they're necessary. Once we start building up income, then we can move onto optional services.

    Let's take a look at what exactly what expenses are coming our way. Hypothetically, let's say we have about $9000/hr in tax revenue and $3000/hr in expenses for Power, Water, and Sewage. PWS expenses are fixed, so we cannot change them. Right now, we have $6000/hr in profit. However, our health advisor informs us that we need a clinic to treat sick sims--that takes $400/hr out of our budget. We also decide to add an Ambulance Bay to deal with more injured Sims: another $200/hr. Our fire advisor tells us to build a Fire Station or our city will burn down. Because fire is more finicky, we build two more garages and an alarm, bringing our expenses up another $875/hr. Finally, we add a City Hall, Garbage Dump with four trucks, and a Police Station with an extra patrol car lot--that's $1525/hr. Altogehter, we've created $3000/hr worth of expenses just by doing what our advisors tell us to do. Our profit is down to $3000/hr, meaning it will take us over six hours to accrue enough money to buy a Shuttle Bus Depot.

    Hence, you should only implement services that are absolutely required at this point. The only exception is City Specialization buildings because those will generate enough revenue to more-than-compensate for their own cost--especially if you're going with Electronics, Mining, or Drilling. While services help your city grow, they are only part of the path to getting your city to generate more taxes. You should make investments that don't have month-to-month expenses first: roads, mass transit, and other basic infrastructure.

    Garnering Revenue Via City Specialization

    For more on the specifics regarding City Specialization, follow the link.

    To deal with the impending expenses outlined above, you need to generate significant revenue. Specialization is the first of two ways to effectively increase revenues, and it is by far the easiest and most effective. While this section does not cover the intricacies of developing each of the specializations--which is left to its respective section--this section will discuss the idea of investing for success.

    In general, specialization requires large upfront investments, moderate month-to-month expenditures, and plenty of space. However, it can generate enough money to cover a $20000/hr deficit! If you've been looking closely at some of the screenshots in this guide, you've seen some of my cities' financial statistics; one of them in particular loses $25000/hr, yet has $2000000. (Mind you, that's after gifting about six million Simoleons to my cash-strapped brother). This is because of advanced specialization. You see, I take raw materials, build them up to basic and advanced materials, and sell them on the open market, making millions of Simoleons. I'll use the following screenshot to guide my discussion:

    Income and expenditures for my Electronics city.

    Okay, so you can obviously see how far I am in the red: $28970/hr. That's even with 10% taxes on all incomes. However, if you look to the bottom-left, you'll see my monthly transactions--I'm $1336000 in the black. That means I make more than a million Simoleons in a day. If you look at the table in that Recent Transactions box, you'll see why; the most recent transaction was 1000 crates of TVs being sold for $197654. Farther down are two transactions selling 1000 crates of processors at $67000. That kind of income more than sustains the expenditures!

    Hence, if you take specialization seriously and pursue it to the fullest, you can make millions of dollars for your city, allowing you to pursue less lucrative paths in other cities. If you take out the expenditures for specialization (~$20000/hr), I'm still in the red by $8000/hr. Specialization sustains the investments and services I've provided in that city, but that's only because I pursued specialization to the fullest. So, case in point, if you pursue specialization, you can make more than enough money to offset services' expenses.

    Garnering Revenue Via Density

    This is the second of two ways to pilot your city. This is by-far the the harder, and you can see why if you read the previous section. Because you're not taking a bloated amount of revenue via specialization, you need to be very careful with how you spend your money, and you need to generate revenue quickly. This means that you need to efficiently facilitate the growth of your city's zones to high-density, and you need to pack in as many high-density buildings as possible. You absolutely must use space effectively, and you must keep service expenses as low as possible.

    Firstly, let me cover the revenue part of this equation. High-density buildings generate far more tax revenue. In this section, you live by that statement. Everything you do must be a calculated effort to increase the density of buildings; this means making RCI as happy as possible and giving it the perfect amount of space to expand to high-density buildings. For more on making RCI happy, see their respective sections in Getting Started; however, I will give you the gist of it here. You need to provide Residential a lot of the non-essential services along with adequate shopping, you need to provide Commercial with shoppers and workers, and you need to provide Industrial with workers and markets for freight. As I stated, all investments should be calculated efforts to improve the happiness of one of these zones. Don't provide a Grade School for the helluva it; increase road density to allow higher-density buildings. Don't place an Amphitheater because it looks cool; build a Passenger Train Station to improve tourism and provide shoppers for Commercial.

    I said earlier that the correct proportion between RCI was R = C + I. That's not really true, to be honest. While Maxis should've made the game like this, R = C + I is not the case. It's more along the lines of R > C + I. You see, only about 1/5 of your population actually works, so you should have about 3/4 of your city be Residential and 1/4 of it be Commercial/Industrial. You may have to adjust your original plan, and you may have to adjust the figures I gave you because of regional variances, but that is the general idea.

    I'll likely add more guidance to this section as I dissect the process of building a non-specialized city.


    If you've been reading the guide thus far, you've probably seen my multiple allusions to this section (especially in Money Making 101 and Money Making 201). While this section does not primarily concern itself with making money for your city, it does cover everything and anything related to each of the specializations: Mining, Drilling, Trading, Electronics, Tourism (Culture in-game), and Gambling. However, before I get to each of the Specializations, I want to cover the notion of specializing your city in the first place, and a small cost-benefit analysis of specialization: An In-Depth Look at Specialization.


    Specialization basically allows your city to engage in some sort of fine-tuning to better capitalize on a certain market. Basically, your city chooses to fulfill a certain niche. These niches can include smelting and mining, oil drilling and refining, electronics manufacturing, and so on. By taking advantage of specialization, you can capitalize on a potential windfall of money. However, specialization requires a huge investment on your part. And, if your specialization fails, it will cost your city dearly. Luckily, cities don't fail that often--especially with me around! Just kidding--I make cities crumble :)

    An In-Depth Look at Specialization

    So, specialization is not cheap. For certain specializations, you can spend hundreds of thousands of Simoleons just getting started; for others, you can completely use up an entire half of your city bringing your Specialization to fruition; for others, you can sacrifice the ability of your city to accomplish much of anything else. So, why would you specialize?

    Because the rewards are enormous.

    Frankly, the investments you make in specializing your city are paid back in full with enough interest to sustain your city for the rest of its life. There is literally no need to worry about money once you get your specialization humming along. The purview of this section is to get you started with your specialization, to grow your specialization to a point of self-sufficiency, and finally to realize your specialization's potential. So, let's take a look at the costs and benefits to specializing your city. Firstly, the costs:

    1. The initial investment can range from $50000 to $250000, meaning that it will take a lot of saving to start your specialization.
    2. Most specializations will make you define your city around them, meaning that you have little freedom to engineer your city otherwise.
    3. Specialization buildings are expensive to maintain.
    4. The continued initiative and commitment to your Specialization could steal resources from other services that need the attention/money.
    5. The impact on your Sims can be negative.

    However, there are many benefits, as well:

    1. While there is an initial sacrifice to fund specialization, it will usually pay for itself within the first few months/days.
    2. The payout after investing can fund other services indefinitely.
    3. Specialization buildings pay for themselves.
    4. Products produced by specialization can fulfill materials for Great Works.
    5. Specialization provides jobs for workers.
    6. It practically sustains itself after being established.
    7. The impact on your Sims can be positive.

    Generally, the latter tends to outweigh the former. Of course, you'll end up, for instance, paying $37500 for an Oil Well and another $10000 for a Trade Depot, but the oil you sell will pay for this investment quickly. Afterwards, that money can start paying for new investments or even month-to-month expenditures. Nevertheless, your profit will soar. Specialization allows your city to generate millions of simoleons in less than a month--regular planning/taxation cannot do that. Furthermore, specializaiton can support other planning/taxation cities by funding region-benefitting Great Works!

    Is Specialization Right for My City?

    Any city can be specialized in one way or another. The question of whether it's "right" for any one city falls upon the mayor. While I can state that any city can specialize in, say, Electronics, Gambling, or Tourism, it may not be right. You have to look at what other cities nearby are specialized for, if anything at all. You'll also want to look at the resources available to your city. Certain cities are more apt to support specialization--others are not. However, the major factor determining whether to specialize or not is you. No one else can make the decision. You have to consider whether you want to sacrifice things like flowable traffic, clean air, or a peaceful community. You also have to figure out what you want to do with your city. That's why, at the beginning of Money Making 101, I asked you to Come Up With a (Solid) Plan. If you sitll don't have one, I highly recommend you make one now.

    Which Specialization is Right for My City?

    This question is highly dependent on quite a few factors. Firstly, you have to look at the current regional layout. If a city nearby is already focusing on Mining, you probably shouldn't specialize in that aspect. It would be better to , for instance, focus on a specialization that could rely on the materials produced by a Mining town--Electronics. An Electronics city could use the alloy produced by a Mining town to produce processors. Of course, you could always choose a different specialization; I just wouldn't mimic a specialization that is already covered in the immediate vicinity.

    The other aspect you'll want to look at is what resources are provided in your city. This generally boils down to the following: Rail access, water access, and resource deposits. Here's what the following specializations need:

    Coal and Ore Deposits

    Coal and Ore deposits are (a) gauged by the city preview in region mode before claiming city and (b) depicted by the Coal and Ore Layers in the city itself. With the former, you can determine whether it is even feasible to build a Mining city; with the latter, you can determine where to corral off your future mines. When you first start out, I recommend that you immediately check to see where these deposits are. Maxis can be pretty brutal with placement of the deposits (i.e., they'll place them on islands or where the wind will blow them into the rest of the city), so you need to figure out how to plan your city around your mines. This usually means using Industrial as a buffer between your mines and your actual "city" (R + C), or you'll risk polluiton problems coupled with germs, etc. Be sure to leave the deposits themselves open for future mine development. Here's a sneak peak at the Coal and Ore Layers:

    The Coal Layer.

    The Ore Layer.

    Harvesting Black Gold: An Introduction

    After you determine how to plan your city, you should then make choices and planning decisions to follow this blueprint. You should make efforts to place Ore and Coal Mines immediately after establishing Fire and Health services. The initial investment for Coal/Ore Mines is not exuberant, and it can likely be attained in a few pay cycles. Thus, your first objective should be to start mining. This section will cover everything from building your first mine to upgrading the HQ.

    Firstly, you should try to mine both resources, if they are available to you. Later, you can use both resources to smelt, but more about that later. Anyway, so you should focus on Coal first as it can be used to sustain a Coal Power Plant (highly recommended that you choose Coal). Remember that you need to segregate your Mining operations from the rest of your city, or you'll risk pollution/germs problems. After you build your first Coal Mine, build a Trade Depot with both Coal and Ore Storage Lots. Set them both to export; after your funds recover (or you take out a bond--either is fine), build an Ore Mine on top of the resident Ore deposits. This should start generating a fair amount of income, considering 10 tons of Coal/Ore should sell for around $5000. Expand your mining operations to the fullest extent and add more mines as you see necessary. This is highly dependent on available Ore/Coal reserves, though.

    Secondly, you'll want to build the HQ; this means that you'll need to save up for the initial HQ investment of $37500. Attaining the first upgrade is rather easy so long as you increase your Mining operations adequately. Continue capitalizing on Coal/Ore production, and you should be fine. Also be sure to use Coal and Ore profits to maintain your city, but don't go making any rash purchases (e.g., Hospitals, Large Fire Stations, etc.). Utilities upgrades are highly recommended, though, as are road upgrades.

    Advance to the next section once you upgrade the HQ.

    Smelting to Success

    After you upgrade the HQ to a Co., you should start saving for the Smelting Division. While the HQ does offer two other Divisions--Engineering and Commerce--the Smelting Division is the only expansion that will afford you the necessary income to upgrade to the next level. Basically, the Smelting Division allows you to place Smelting Factories that convert Coal and Ore into Metal and Alloy. Metal and Alloy sell for five and ten times as much as Coal/Ore, respectively. Hence, you should make all reasonable efforts to expand your Mining operations into Smelting operations. You should try to use all available Coal and Ore reserves to make Metal and Alloy so that you can reach not only the second HQ upgrade, but the third as well. Be sure to expand your Smelting Factories as you place them.

    Furthermore, you'll want to invest in your city as you see fit. You will likely need a Hospital to deal with all of the Mining injuries, and you'll also want a Large Fire Station for industrial/Mining fires.

    Also, be sure to add a Trade Port when the option becomes available. You may even consider plopping a Trade HQ with a Mining Division to garner the necessary privelages. This will dramatically increase income from Mining, and I highly recommend that you do this when you have the funds. Finally, be sure to upgrade regular Coal Mines to Advanced Coal Mines when you place the Engineering Division. Seeing as Mining is very straightforward, I'll leave this section here. Please let me know if more guidance should be added for this section: Contact Me.


    Unit of Trade10tons
    Produced By(Advanced) Coal Mines
    Used BySmelting Factories


    Unit of Trade10tons
    Produced ByOre Mines
    Used BySmelting Factories


    SourceCoal + Ore
    Unit of Trade10tons
    Produced BySmelting Factories
    Used ByInternational Airport/Arcology Great Works


    SourceCoal + Ore
    Unit of Trade10tons
    Produced BySmelting Factories
    Used ByInternational Airport/Arcology Great Works


    Coal Mine

    NameCostProdcution RateMaintenance
    Coal Mine2250024tons/day100/hr
    NameCostProdcution RateMaintenance
    Coal Delivery Truck Garage10000One truck @ 5 tons/truck50/hr
    Coal Shaft1600024tons/day40/hr

    The Coal Mine is the starting mine for producing coal. I recommend that you simply plop it on top of existing coal reserves and add onto it as needed. Leave room for additions. Also, you'll want to be sure that your Coal Mine is located near Trade Depots, Smelting Factories, and Trade Ports, and you'll want to ensure that it does not negatively affect residential (i.e., don't place it near residential). Coal Mines produce pollution as well as causing more medical injuries for your Health system to handle.

    Ore Mine

    NameCostProdcution RateMaintenance
    Ore Mine2250024tons/day100/hr
    NameCostProdcution RateMaintenance
    Ore Delivery Truck Garage10000One truck @ 5 tons/truck50/hr
    Ore Shaft1600024tons/day40/hr

    An example of an Ore Mine. (Another Ore Mine is located across the street).

    Ore Mines are very similar to Coal Mines; simply place them on top of Ore reserves and expand to increase production. They also increase injury rates and produce pollution. Ensure that your Ore Mine has access to nearby Trade Depots and Trade Ports and that it isn't negatively influencing residential in your city.

    Metals HQ

    Metals HQ37500450/hr
    Commerce Division200000400/hr
    Engineering Division200000400/hr
    Smelting Division200000400/hr
    NumberMetals Profit

    An example Metals HQ.

    Metals HQs are very much like other HQs you'll find in this section; they act as support buildings that aid in the production of Metals by unlocking new buildings. For instance, the Engineering Division of this HQ allows you to build the Advanced Coal Mine (see below) while the Smelting Division allows you to build the Smelting Factory (see below). These additions can drastically increase your revenue and allow more HQ upgrades. Generally, I recommend that you upgrade the Metals HQ in the following manner: (1) Smelting Division, (2) Engineering Division, and (3) Commerce Division. You can place a Trade HQ with a Mining Division to bypass the need for the Commerce Division of the Metals HQ.

    Smelting Factory

    NameCostProduction RateMaintenance
    Smelting Factory5450024tons/day300/hr
    NameCostProduction RateMaintenance
    Smelting Delivery Truck Garage10000One truck @ 5tons50/hr
    Metal Furnace2100024tons/day50/hr
    Alloy Furnace3600024tons/day150/hr

    An example of a Smelting Factory that has a full metal lot.

    The Smelting Factory is your advanced goods plant for Mining; basically, it takes the raw resources produced by mines and converts them to refined goods that can sell at much, much higher prices. Hence, you should try to place as many Smelting Factories as possible so as to generate as much profit as possible. Alloy does tend to sell more than metal, so I would place more Alloy furnaces than Metal furnaces.

    Advanced Coal Mine

    NameCostProdcution RateMaintenance
    Advanced Coal Mine6000096tons/day400/hr
    NameCostProdcution RateMaintenance
    Coal Delivery Truck Garage20000One truck @ 5 tons/truck50/hr
    Advanced Coal Shaft5000048tons/day250/hr

    An example of an Advanced Coal Mine.

    Once you place the Engineering Division of your Mining HQ, I highly recommend that you replace all regular Coal Mines with Advanced Coal Mines; the advanced mines act almost exactly the same (see above), but they produce more coal.


    Regardless of your ethical/moral/environmental concerns with drilling oil, it's much more painless in SimCity. Oil can be extrated from the ground and later refined to plastic goods and fuel. Fortunately for us mayors, producing oil in SimCity generates much less pollution than in real life; unfortunately, it doesn't create as much profit as you would think. Nevertheless, any city can easily be supported by oil profits.

    Oil Deposits

    Before you even consider developing an oil city, you have to figure out if you have oil deposits and, if so, where said oil deposits are. Oil deposits, like Coal and Ore deposits, will define how your Drilling city develops. If you don't have oil deposits, stop reading and find a different specialization. However, if you do have oil deposits, evaluate where they are. For instance, in the city below, I have oil deposits right in the middle of my city:

    More oil is denoted by darker concentrations of black. This is the Oil Layer.

    So I definitely want to corral that section of the city off for future oil driling. However, let's check out which areas will be negatively impacted by these oil deposits by checking out the Wind Layer:

    The wind's blowing toward the shore in the Wind Layer.

    According to that layer, I should allow the oil pollution to make a B-line for the shore. Fortunately, I can just zone industrial down there or leave it open for the development of Oil Refineries. That means I want to maximize the development of Residential and Commercial in the rest of the city (in the background, foremostly). When you come across oil deposits in your city, you have to figure out how you want to design your city around said deposits. Make sure to try to separate your drilling/refining from your actual city-life, or you'll suffer from germ, pollution, and general unhappiness problems.

    Starting an Oil Empire

    Getting started with oil requires placing the Oil Well on top of your oil deposit(s) and subsequently placing a Trade Depot (see Trading). Realistically, you'll only need one of each because Oil Wells can be expanded out quite a bit. For example, here's the setup I have for my oil city thus far:

    Note the Trade Depot in the foreground.

    Take note of my city design: there's the Residential/Commerical in the background that is very segregated from my industry and oil drilling in the main landscape of the screenshot. You can also see how much space I've left for that one Oil Well to expand. While I may not be able to fill all of that space, I can always add more Oil Wells if I need to. Furthermore, there's all of that space to the left of the dividing road that I can mine, as well.

    So, the key to starting your Oil Empire is to place those two buildings. The oil mined by your oil well can be either be sold on the market, or sent to an Oil Power Plant, which I highly recommend you place. To sell your oil, you need to place the Trade Depot Oil Storage Lot and "Manage Global Market Delivieries." Oil will then begin to be exported, generating more revenue for future Oil Wells or expansions to your Oil Well. Here's a good checklist to go through when starting with oil:

    1. Build your first Oil Well.
    2. Build your first Trade Depot.
    3. Add a Crude Oil Storage Lot and set Oil to "export."
    4. Expand your first Oil Well with Pumpjacks.
    5. Add Delivery Truck Garages to both your Trade Depot and your Oil Well.
    6. Add more Oil Wells once the first Oil Well becomes fully expanded.

    This is what my Oil City looks like thus far.

    Once you get the Petroleum HQ, move onto the next section.

    Growing an Oil Empire

    Once you unlock the Petroleum HQ, you should start to work toward increasing your profit to the point of earning the Refinery. This means expanding your crude oil production with the goal of making $160000 in crude oil profits. Generally, this means that you need to have two or three fully expanded Oil Wells, though this highly varies depending on the oil deposits in your city. This section is to help you get from plopping the Petroleum HQ to expanding the Petroleum HQ; the next section concerns refining.

    An update.

    Growing your Oil Empire is rather straightforward--produce more oil. To produce more oil, you need more Oil Wells and Pumpjacks. Use profits from your first (few) Oil Well(s) to invest in more Oil Wells and Pumpjacks. Keep expanding and expanding as you generate profits. You may also consider adding another Crude Oil Storage Lot. Like I said, this section is very easy; you just have to wait around for the money to actually be earned. As soon as you get the first Petroleum HQ upgrade, move onto the next section.

    Finalizing an Oil Empire

    Now that you have the ability to add onto your HQ, you can start refining your Crude Oil into Plastic and Fuel. To do so, you need to add the Refining Division to the Petroleum Company; I highly recommend you choose the REfining Division over the Commerce Division because the only way you'll be able to meet the next upgrade is if you choose plastic/fuel over commerce. Plastic can be sold for more than triple what Crude Oil is sold for, and Fuel can be sold for more than five times what Crude Oil is sold for. Hence, Refining your oil can make attaining the next HQ upgrade much more possible.

    So, once you get around to placing the Refining Division (it puts a big dent in your Simoleon wallet), you should start placing Refineries amongst your Industry and near your oil deposits. This should allow your oil to easily migrate from the Oil Wells to your Refineries, and then allow you to move your refined products to your Trade Depot/Port for exporting. Considering you're already generating more than $160000 per day, you should be more than apt to buy at least one Refinery every day.

    This section is also rather straightforward; using your oil revenues, make investments to both better your city and improve your oil production. Place Refineries, abiding by the guidelines I set forth in the Buildings section. Also, place Oil Wells to maximize the potential oil production in your city. It will take a fair amount of refineries coupled with sustained production for an entire day to reach the $800000 for the next upgrade. Fortunately, by this point, your Oil Empire should be more than enough to keep your city afloat.

    My complete Oil City.

    Crude Oil

    NameCrude Oil
    Unit of Trade1000barrels
    Produced ByOil Wells
    Used ByRefineries


    SourceCrude Oil
    Unit of Trade1000crates
    Produced ByRefineries/Recycling Centers
    Used ByProcessor Factories


    SourceCrude Oil
    Unit of Trade1000barrels
    Produced ByRefineries
    Used BySpace Center Great Works


    Oil Well

    NameCostProduction RateMaintenance
    Oil Well375002.4kbarrels/day150/hr
    NameCostProduction Rate/# of TrucksMaintenance
    Service Road0N/A0
    Oil Delivery Truck Garage10000One truck @ 500 barrels/truck50/hr
    Oil Pumpjack100001.2kbarrels/day30/hr

    Some fully expanded Oil Wells on large oil deposits.

    Oil Wells are a necessary beginning to any Drilling city. While Oil Wells do have a Service Road for placing Pumpjacks on, I highly recommend that you simply expand them like I have in the above picture--linearly. This allows you to maintain uniformity, conserve space, and make it easier for intra-Well transportation. You also MUST place your Oil Wells on oil deposits for them to be effective. I also highly recommend that you expand an Oil Well to the fullest extent before building another one--it is unlikely that you'll have resource transportation issues with regards to getting your Oil to the Trade Depot.

    Petroleum HQ

    Petroleum HQ375000450/hr
    Refining Division400000400/hr
    Commerce Division400000400/hr
    NumberPetroleum Profits

    A not-fully-expanded Oil HQ.

    The Petroleum HQ--like all HQs--is simply a building that grants you privelages for your Oil City. The most important expansion is the Refining Division as it allows you to place Refineries (see below). The Commerce Division only allows placement of the Trade Port with accompanying Crude Oil, Plastic, and Fuel Storage Lots; however, the Trade Port isn't all that useful unless you're already producing Fuel and Plastic. Hence, I highly recommend that you expand in the following order: (1) Refining Division and (2) Commerce Division. An expansion may be placed for each upgrade.

    Oil Refinery

    NameCostProduction RateMaintenance
    Oil Refinery730002.4kbarrels/day300/hr
    NameCostProduction RateMaintenance
    Oil Refiniery Truck Garage10000One truck @ 200barrels/5tons50/hr
    Plastic Polymerizer300002400crates/day50/hr
    Fuel Distillation Unit460002.4kbarrels/day150/hr

    An example of two Oil Refineries.

    Oil Refineries are very annoyingly large. They take up such an inordinately large amount of space that you practically need to set eight square city blocks (two wide and four long) to fit two Refineries snuggly. See the picture above for a pictoral representation of what I'm talking about. The Fuel Distillation Units/Plastic Polymerizers only expand length-wise, making it so that there is no easy way to fit multiple expansions. The above is the best layout I've come up with. Nonetheless, I tend to recommend Fuel over Plastic unless you've got a nearby Electronics city that you're helping out. Both materials will sell for more than Crude Oil, though.


    Trading is basically supplemental to three of the other five specializations; it is nearly impossible to build a Trading Empire alone. You need some sort of resource that you produce to sell, whether it be in Mining, Drilling, or Electronics. Hence, this section will only focus on the buildings and their stats. I will not focus on their uses because (a) the game guides you rather well and (b) the buildings are fairly easy to understand. Goods go into your Trade Depots, goods get exported to market, money flows into coffers--it's that easy! Without any more delay, here are the Trading buildings!


    Trade Depot

    A Trade Depot specializing in .
    NameCostGlobal Market DeliveryMaintenance
    Trade Depot10000Every 60min75/hr
    Freight Truck Garage3000One truck @ 5 tons/truck50/hr
    Freight Shipping Warehouse200016.2tons15/hr
    Coal Storage Lot200020tons15/hr
    Crude Oil Storage Lot20002000barrels15/hr
    Raw Ore Storage Lot200020tons15/hr
    Metal Storage Lot200020tons15/hr
    Alloy Storage Lot200020tons15/hr
    Fuel Storage Lot20002000barrels15/hr
    Plastic Storage Lot20002000crates15/hr
    Processors Storage Lot20002000crates15/hr
    TV Storage Lot20002000crates15/hr
    Computer Storage Lot20002000crates15/hr

    Trade HQ

    Trade HQ37500450/hr
    Electronics Division500000400/hr
    Metals Division500000400/hr
    Petroleum Division500000400/hr
    NumberTrade Profit

    A slightly expanded Trade HQ.

    Trade Port

    NameCostGlobal Market DeliveryMaintenance
    Trade Port58000Every 60min225/hr
    NameCostGlobal Market Delivery/CapacityMaintenance
    Heavy Rail Tracks20N/A0
    Delivery Truck Garage3000One truck @ 5 tons/truck50/hr
    Freight Rail Terminal70000Every 5hrs400/hr
    Cargo Ship Dock100000Every 3hrs400/hr
    Freight Shipping Warehouse2000032.4tons150/hr
    Coal Storage Lot20000100tons150/hr
    Crude Oil Storage Lot2000010000barrels150/hr
    Raw Ore Storage Lot20000100tons150/hr
    Metal Storage Lot20000100tons150/hr
    Alloy Storage Lot20000100tons150/hr
    Fuel Storage Lot2000010000barrels150/hr
    Plastic Storage Lot2000010000crates150/hr
    Processors Storage Lot2000010000crates150/hr
    TV Storage Lot2000010000crates150/hr
    Computer Storage Lot2000010000crates150/hr

    A moderately-sized Trade Port. (Freigt Rail Terminal not pictured).


    Electronics do not rely on some inherent resource present in your city; rather, they rely on the city you build up and necessary investments that turn out to be very costly. Electronics basically requires you to import materials for their manufacturing, but the profits scored are amazing; it is very possible to make more than $5000000 in one day. Nevertheless, Electronics are difficult to implement when you're first starting out; they are high maintenance, and they require a lot of help to get started. Luckily, I'll point out all of the infrastructure required to build an Electronics Empire.