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SimCity 3000 (SC3K) is a city building simulation personal computer game and the third major installment in the SimCity series. It was published by Electronic Arts (EA) and developed by series creator Maxis, a wholly owned subsidiary of EA. It was released for Windows, Macintosh, and, through an arrangement with Loki Games, Linux.

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There were many changes between SimCity 3000 and its immediate predecessor SimCity 2000 (SC2K). These changes spanned both the integral city management aspects of the game, as well as its graphical and landscape aspects. These changes gave the game a feel greatly different from that of SC2K.

In a pattern which has continued throughout the SimCity franchise, the number and complexity of city services increased between SC2K and SC3K, and the graphics quality was greatly improved as well. The most notable change was the addition of the concept of waste management. In SC3K, once a city has a population greater than 1,000, garbage begins to accumulate, and must be disposed of at the expense of the city. Farms and agricultural structures were also introduced, appearing on large light industrial zones in a city with low land value and little pollution. A new zoning density was also added, totalling three densities, compared to SC2K's two. In addition to their limited life span, power plants were also made vulnerable to decreasing maximum output due to age.

Although the concept of neighbor cities was introduced in SC2K, it was greatly expanded upon in SC3K. For the first time, the player was able interact with his or her neighbor cities, negotiating rudimentary business deals with other mayors, such as the sale or purchase of water, electricity or waste management services. These generate a monthly charge which is either added to or subtracted from the player's treasury, in accordance with the deal. Canceling a neighbor deal would incur a substantial cash penalty.

Although not strictly a city management aspect, SimCity 3000 simulates the effect of land value on construction much more realistically than in SimCity 2000. In SC3K, land value creates very distinct neighborhoods which tend to contain narrow income bands, creating well-defined slums, middle class areas, and wealthy areas. Land value is also determined by the city center effect where buildings that are at the city center have higher land values and those buildings on the borders have lower land values.

Business deals were another new concept to SC3K; by allowing certain structures (a maximum security prison, casino, toxic waste conversion plant and Gigamall (a large shopping mall) to be built within the city, the player can receive a substantial amount of funds from them. Business deal structures, however, have serious negative effects on a city.

There were several changes to the graphical interface in SC3K. Although the game retained the pseudo-isometric dimetric perspective of its predecessor, the actual landscape became more complex and colorful. In SimCity and SC2K, the playable landscape is mostly brown, while in SC3K, the playable landscape is a more realistic green color, along with other colors that progressively change by height, from beige (beach sand) to green to brown (bare ground) to white (snow). In SC2K, land could either be flat or sloped, and all slopes were of the same steepness. In SC3K, there are five distinct steepness of slope, creating more varied landscapes. Also, there are different types of trees which can appear on the playable map. [edit] Advisors and petitioners

SimCity 3000 and its revision, Unlimited, feature seven advisors, each covering a specific issue, who help players make proper decisions in the game by providing recommendations and advice. As opposed to previous versions of SimCity, these advisors actually give in-depth advice, rather than brief summaries of the situation in their department.

There are also petitioners, many of whom are citizens of the city, that request players to modify city policies, such as lowering tax rates, or enacting an ordinance. Some are outside interests, often pushing proposals which would harm the city in exchange for a boost to its financial coffers.


News Tricks

In addition to advisors, a news ticker scrolls along the bottom of the screen, displaying pertinent information about the city in the form of news stories, such as indicating that the city needs more schools, or how well a particular city department is functioning. Generally, when things were going very well in a city, the news ticker would display headlines which are comical, or even nonsensical and often seemingly useless to the player. Examples of such headlines being: "Semicolon declared sexier than comma in grammarian's fête", or "(City Name) prints all wrong numbers in phone book, leads to 15 marriages" or quotes from a "Tommy B. Saif Sez." Other headlines may be labeled "(City Name) News Ticker" or "From the Desk of Wise Guy Sammy". On occasions, the ticker will even provide a foreshadowing of an approaching disaster, for example, sometimes reading "Did you feel that big truck pass by? What? It wasn't a truck?", "Tidal waves reported off coast", "strange sightings reported between Areas 50 and 52," "Mrs. SimLeary buys prize-winning cow," or perhaps another quote from a set range of different headlines before a disaster occurs.

Landmarks

Independent real-world landmarks were also introduced for the first time in SimCity 3000, but are mostly for aesthetic purposes (though placing a building would open up an option in the city ordinances window for tourism advertising), and are free of construction cost. Examples of landmarks featured in the original SC3K include the Parthenon, the CN Tower, Notre Dame, the Bank of China Tower, the Empire State Building, the Pharos of Alexandria and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center with each tower a separate building, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and even the Fernsehturm TV Tower in Berlin.

Disasters

The game features a number of disasters which the player or game could inflict upon one's city, including fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, riots and UFO attacks. The population may decrease if residential areas are destroyed by the disasters. As in past SimCity games, all disasters can be disabled. The effects of disasters are also more realistic, for example a major earthquake can cause a faultline to appear across the map.

Music

Another major change from SC2K was the addition of a live music score composed by Jerry Martin. The new jazz-inspired score adds greatly to the overall feel and depth of the game compared to the MIDI music in the previous game. The fifteen tracks from the game are also available as MP3s for download on EA's SC3K website for listening outside of the game.[2]

Development

Prior to the acquisition of Sim developer Maxis by Electronic Arts in 1997, plans were originally made in 1996 to develop SimCity 3000 as a fully 3D game, in tune with the emergence (at the time) of 3D computer and video games.[3] Although the idea was deemed impractical by employees for being too graphically demanding, Maxis management pushed for the concept, and the game was developed for a year.[3] A pre-release screenshot of the original version suggests graphics similar to those seen in both SimCopter and Streets of SimCity, and was intended to include extensive micromanagement.[citation needed] When the game was first unveiled in the 1997 E3, it was "an experience still regarded as an embarrassment."[3] The 3D version of the game was expected to become a flop, and its future release was even thought to be the fatal blow to an already poorly performing Maxis, which had failed to release profitable titles in the years since SimCity 2000.[3]

After EA completed acquisition of Maxis, Luc Barthelet was assigned by EA as the new general manager of Maxis.[4] He was troubled by the 3D SC3K, questioning the viability of a game with such graphics.[5] Eventually, the 3D version was completely scrapped, Lucy Bradshaw was brought in from EA in November 1997 to lead the SC3K project, and a new revision based on SC2K's pseudo-isometric dimetric projection and sprite-based graphics was redeveloped from scratch.[5] The new plan focused on retaining the core engine of the game, improving more minor features in the game instead, such as larger maps, new zoom levels, and additional gameplay parameters. The second version of SC3K would receive a more positive reception during its appearance in 1998 E3, and was well-received after its release in February 1999 (although Maxis originally intended the game to be released by Christmas 1998; regardless, EA willingly waited until the game was completed).

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