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Let’s Play SimCity 4! (Part 2: Freshman Year)

September 18, 2011

: Okay. We go with natural gas.

: Aah, the cost!

: It costs 9,000 up front and 400 a month. We have 500,000 in the treasury, so unless we dip below 150,000 or we start hemorrhaging cash, I don’t want to hear about it. Neil, we need to get some zones set up. What do you suggest?

: You should zone for farms down south. There are a couple of ways we could go about this. We could start on this side of the river, we could bridge it and start on the other side, or if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, we could develop both sides of the river at once.

: I think we’re up to the challenge. I assume we should put the houses further up river?

: Got it in one.

: Jamil, how do we get them connected?

: Standard grid should suffice for now. Later we can put in subways and bus stations as the need arises.

: You’re going to need to bridge the river, too.

: And it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to bridge further up river by the housing developments, too.

: Good. Jonas, what’s your take on this?
: Well, you’re gonna have to run line out to the city…

: …and across the river, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

: Alright then. Neil, start drawing up some zoning maps. Think small, we’re looking for family farms, not agribusiness. Jonas, you need an extra pair of hands working on the lines?

: Naw, we can put the gypsy crew that comes to put up the plant on it.

: …Gypsy crew?

: Yeah, they don’t specialize in anything – they just go to where they’re needed.

I worry about Jonas sometimes.

: Okay then. Jamil, how about you, you need some help?

: Sure, I could always use a willing shovel.

Diary Entry #3 – Henningsdorf, January 6th, 2000, 9:54 AM GDT
The wandering crew came and went. It was remarkable, they did in a few days what would take any other crew at least a year. German manufacturing at its finest, I suppose. All the pieces showed up on trucks, and they just bolted the whole thing together. Amazing. We’ve been putting out the word about the new city, but so far we haven’t had any-

: Hey, Kevin? You might want to take a look at this.
: What’s up, Neil?
: Just come take a look.

My God, it was beautiful. There were finally signs of life in our fair city Henningsdorf, and not just in the farmlands.

: So, I guess our days of camping out are nearly over, huh?
: I guess so. Keep me updated, I’ve got to finish this entry.

Diary Entry #3 (cont’d.)
Scratch that. Neil just stopped by, showed me that people are moving in now. Henningsdorf is going to get on its feet and soon.

I leaned back and put my feet up, feeling like I’d earned a brief moment of rest when that little PDA I’d been given started to buzz. When I pulled it out, I saw the RCI icon blinking. I opened the app, figuring that it’d been updated.

I had moved into a house for rent as soon as one was available, and I was just getting settled in when Neil stopped by.

: Hey, boss, one of our new residents made a good point about there being nowhere to shop, and more importantly, nowhere to work except for the farms. You might want to start zoning for commercial buildings, maybe put it
somewhere between the houses and farms.
: I think I know just the place. Good lookin’ out, Neil.
: …Good lookin’ out?
: I don’t know, I heard it somewhere.

I called up Jamil, asked him to get the boys together to lay some new road. He got them on it, and I headed over to
Neil’s place to work out the new commercial zoning.

What I wasn’t expecting was for him to tell me that the townspeople had voted to build me a goddamn mansion.

: You’re never going to believe the news I just got!
: Well, what is it?
: Everyone had a meeting last night out at one of the farms. Seems like you’re pretty popular around here.
: What makes you say that?
: They’ve set aside money for you to build a mayoral mansion.
: Yeah, good one Neil. What’s the real story?
: That is the real story. Now that our population is over 500, the residents are opening their arms to you. We
don’t want them thinking you’re going to take off for greener pastures anytime soon, so think of this as a chance
to show you’re invested in the success of the community. Something like that gets you votes in an election.

I dropped the pen I was using to draw up plans for the new commercial zones. I really couldn’t believe this. They
were really paying for a mansion for me?

: Really?
: Really. All you need to do is pick a spot, get the plan together, and we’ll get the crew out there to build it.
: I’ve got some ideas. For one, I’ve always wanted to live by a river…

We spent the rest of the day working out the details with one of Neil’s architect friends.

: Ladies and gentlemen of Henningsdorf, let me start by thanking you for this gift you’ve seen fit to give me. It’s touching to see how you feel about me as your mayor given life. And now, without further ado, come in!

I don’t remember much beyond that.

After I got settled in, I invited Neil over to work out the details on the new commercial zones, and he mentioned something that I’d forgotten about.

: The town’s progressing, but there’s just something missing. We need some schools for the residential zones.
: Oh, crap! I completely forgot! Come on, let’s head out there and scout locations.

We decided to go with two schools. East Henningsdorf and West Henningsdorf, start creating the kinds of geographic rivalries that fueled high school sports teams and gang wars. While we were at it, we added some more residential zoning around my house. I was fiddling with the funding on one of the schools when Neil interrupted to show me an e-mail he’d just gotten.

: Seems like we’re starting to attract a few religious scholars.
: What makes you say that?
: Got an e-mail here, from a religious group asking for a zoning variance to put up their house of worship.

: I think we can accommodate them. I’ve got just the place in mind.

We were getting close to our first anniversary, and the city was starting to be able to take care of itself on a day-to-day basis, so most of my time was occupied planning the first annual festival. I’d had the whole team assembled to decide how to proceed.

: I recommend a street harvest festival. We just took in all those crops a couple of months ago, and it would be good for the town to remember the industry that got them all going.
: I can support that. It’d take some stress off the grid, and bein’ a country boy it’d give me a taste of home.
: It could also help with environmental awareness. Sounds like a perfectly reasonable event.
: Well, it’s unlikely to have any hidden costs, in fact, it might serve to provide revenues with sales taxes.
: There’s plenty of space by the mansion, and any overflow can go on the lawn, assuming you’re cool with that.
: Hey, it was my idea. Just make sure that we don’t block off the bridge.
: I think we can spare one of the side streets up there. Just make sure to let everyone living along that stretch plenty of advance warning so they can arrange their schedules accordingly. Oh, hell, that’s my phone. I’ve gotta take this.
: It would be a chance for the school kids to learn a little about the agricultural process. And the fresh air couldn’t hurt the masses either.
: It’d give the police volunteers a chance to make connections in the community too. Maybe get some leads about things in the works.
: Alright then. How does the saturday before New Year’s Eve sound?

Everyone nodded their agreement, all except for Jamil who was still on his phone. He flipped it closed and asked to talk to me in private.

: So, what’s up?
: My guys just compiled a survey we made of one of the roads on the east side of town. It’s not looking good.
: Lot of traffic?
: Too much. The volume is just too high for the cold mix asphalt and the thirty-five mile an hour zone and constant stop signs are really feeding into the congestion.
: Man…can you do anything about it?
: Not without approval from the city planner and mayor.

: Look, it’s cool. I want the congestion down just as much as you do. Draft a plan for me and get it on my desk. I’ll run through it with Neil, and we’ll get your guys working on an upgrade in no time.

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