SimCity 3000
Publisher(s)EA Games
Designer(s)Will Wright
Platform(s)Windows, Linux, Macintosh, iPhone OS, Nintendo DS
Release date(s)USAflagNorth America: January 31, 1999
Genre(s)Construction and management simulation, city-building
Rating(s)ERSB: E (Everyone)
MediaCD, DS game card.
InputKeyboard, mouse

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 (until SimCity Societies), the number and complexity of city services increased between SC2K and SC3K. The most notable change was that the concept of waste management was introduced in SC3K. In previous versions of SimCity, this aspect had been ignored. However, in SC3K, once a city has a population greater than 1,000, garbage would begin to accumulate and would have to be disposed of at the expense of the city. Farms and agriculture structures were also introduced, appearing on large light industrial zones in a city with low land value and little pollution. In Sim City 3000, there are three zoning densities compared to "SC2K's" 2 density model. In addition to their limited life span, power plants are now vulnerable to decreasing maximum output at a constant rate after they have gone through about three quarters of their life span.

Although the concept of neighbor cities was introduced in SC2K, it was greatly expanded upon in SC3K. For the first time, the player could 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 will incur a substantial cash penalty. From time to time, the simulated mayors of neighboring cities will call meetings to renegotiate the terms or price of these deals.

Although not strictly a city management aspect, SimCity 3000 simulated the effect of land value on construction much more realistically than in SimCity 2000. In the latter, most buildings fell into a wide stratum that did not reflect land value very effectively; every building was more or less suited to neighborhoods of every economic disposition. In SC3K, land value created very distinct neighborhoods which tended 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. The city center effect is determined by the location of buildings within the city. However, over time, land value "inflation" would cause almost every area of a city to become expensive, so that wealthy neighborhoods covered most if not all of the map.

Business deals were another new concept to SC3K. For allowing certain structures to be built within the city, the player can receive a substantial amount of funds from them. The four business deal structures are the maximum security prison, casino, toxic waste conversion plant, and the Gigamall (a large shopping mall). Business deal structures however have serious negative effects on a city. The toxic waste dump cripples both the land value and residential desirability in the area surrounding it and produces massive pollution. The prison dramatically decreases land value. The casino increases city wide crime and the Gigamall weakens demand for local commerce.

There were several changes to the graphical interface in SC3K. Although the game retained the pseudo-isometric diametric perspective of its predecessor, the actual landscape became more complex and colorful. In SimCity and SC2K, the playable landscape was brown, like the color of bare dirt. In SC3K, the playable landscape was a more realistic green color, simulating grassland, 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 were five distinct steepness of slope, creating more varied landscapes. However, in SC3K, there are no waterfalls and hydroelectric dams, which are common in SC2K. Also, for the first time, there were different types of trees which could appear on the playable map. In SC2K, there were only pine trees, while in SC3K, oak trees prevail, but other types of trees exist, depending on the elevation of the terrain.

Advisors and petitioners Edit

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, the advisors actually give in-depth advice which is helpful to the player. In SimCity 2000, the advisors' advice usually consisted of the advisor discouraging the player from even considering budget cuts to that advisor's department.

There are also petitioners, many of whom are citizens of the players' cities, 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 tickers Edit

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. O'Leary buys prize-winning cow," or perhaps another quote from a set range of different headlines before an earthquake occurs. There are various cheats that can cause the news ticker to display strange headings. Entering the cheat "simon says [text top be displayed]" allows one to display custom headlines. More humorous, typing the word "bat" should be done by every player. There are many others as well.

Landmarks Edit

Independent real-world landmarks were also introduced for the first time in sim city 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. In SC3K, a maximum of ten landmarks can be built in one city (a cheat code in the game may disable this limit), while Unlimited imposes no limit whatsoever. 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.

Disasters Edit

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. However, there never appears to be any casualties (Sims are disrupted but not killed). The population only decreases if they are forced to move when residential areas are destroyed by the disasters. Certain cheat codes can invoke special disasters. As in past SimCity games, all disasters can be disabled.


Like SimCity 2000's SimCity Urban Renewal Kit (SCURK) tool, SimCity 3000 had its own building modifier called the BAT (Building Architect Tool). However, the BAT was based on the idea of building blocks (not unlike LEGO bricks). Because of the negative reactions on the limited possibilities with the SCURK, BAT2 (Building Architect Tool Plus) was introduced with the ability to add custom-made props.

Despite the huge amount of buildings and artists involved with the BAT, it has not gained the cult-status the SCURK did. Another possible reason is that the BAT did not allow people to create and edit cities by placing buildings free-of-charge, unlike the SCURK's city editor, thus lessening the BAT's appeal.

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