When I was playing the SimCity beta, the highest population I was ever able to reach was just over 15k sims. The majority of the time I was coming in closer to two or three thousand sims. Nothing to write home about but it’s enough of a jump that I can conquer with what Norman Chan talks about in his article.
All the ghettos I created initially were built on the grid system and while they were orderly and made my brain happy, they didn’t provide the room the houses needed to upgrade so they stayed little ghetto houses.
“In practice, the multiple times I tried using a straight rectangular grid layout in the beta, my city struggled to exceed 15,000 population in the hour played. I discovered that while the grid design lent itself to a high density of residential buildings per acre, it also had a high density of roads–which take up a fair amount of space. Yes, grids lend themselves to tons of intersections–minimizing traffic congestion–but it was probably more than the game needed for efficient traffic management.
Another problem was that I designed my grid for tightly packed houses at the start of the game, not realizing that these small shacks needed space to “upgrade” to larger estates and even apartment buildings as population and wealth grew. On some streets, an entire row of houses would renovate to mansions, leaving not enough room on the other side of the block to upgrade as well.”
I started to see growth once I started messing around with curved roads. I didn’t get as into it as Chan’s example of decentralized sprawl but I definitely saw an uptick in my population and the ghettofabulous houses were able to mature into something a bit more burb.
I ended up going with a mixture of curved roads, some cul-de-sacs and a few grids. I have a problem with not really thinking out my city before I start throwing down roads so sometimes there would be the odd straight road connecting some curved roads. The curves definitely gave the houses room to grow.
Read all of Chan’s article over on Tested.com where he included real and SimCity examples of different types of neighborhoods.
How do you build your cities? Do you stick with a grid? Do you stick to curved roads? Do you mix it up? And what was the max you reached on population?