SimCity 4 (SC4) is a city-building simulation computer game developed by Maxis, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts. It was released on January 14, 2003. It is the fourth installment in the SimCity series. SimCity 4 has a single expansion pack known as Rush Hour which adds additional features to the game. SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition contained the original game and Rush Hour combined as a single product.
The game allows players to create a region of land by terraforming, and then to design and build a settlement which can grow into a city. Players can zone different areas of land as commercial, industrial, or residential development, as well as build and maintain public services, transport and utilities. For the success of a city players must manage its finances, environment, and quality of life for its residents. SimCity 4 introduces night and day cycles and other special effects for the first time in the SimCity series. External tools such as the Building Architect Tool (BAT) allow custom third party buildings and content to be added to the gameplay.
SimCity 4 was praised for being the second game in the SimCity series to primarily use a 3D engine to render its graphics, the first being SimCity 64 for the ill-fated Nintendo 64DD. It received widespread acclaim, won several awards, and was one of the top ten selling PC games of 2003. It was however criticised for the difficulty of gameplay and computer performance.
As with previous SimCity titles, SimCity 4 places players in the role of a mayor (or several mayors), tasked with populating and developing tracts of lands into cities, while fulfilling the needs of fellow Sims that live in the cities. Cities are now located in regions that are divided into segments, each of which can be developed. The player has the option of starting the city in a segment of any of three area sizes, in real measurement the smallest has a length of 1 kilometers on a side, and the largest has a length of 4 kilometers on a side. The size of a region and its layout of segments can be changed in a bitmap file provided for each region.
Neighbor cities play a larger role than in the previous versions of the game. For example, neighbor deals can be established, where a city can exchange resources such as water, electricity, garbage disposal with other cities for money. Players may develop several inter-dependent cities at the same time, eventually populating the entire region.