Simcity Blog: How I Mayor: Trade City

Via Simcity Blog


My name is Scott Clarke and I am a Software Engineer and JavaScript developer for the SimCity UX team. I thought it would be fun to do a few posts this week about a city in a region I’ve been playing with my 6-year-old daughter after work. It’s been fun to play the game with her, though her sense of city design tends to leave out important things like building industries and commerce to create jobs and allow freight to be sold for profit. I’m happy she even wants to play, so I am not going to bore her trying to explain those needs. Instead, I decided that after she went to sleep I would just build a neighboring city which would be a heavy industry with no cares to pollution or its residents. That will help balance out her utopia of parks and trees which resulted in a glut of high-wealth houses and shops.

Unfortunately, the best spot for an industrial city on the region map was now taken by my daughter’s city, so I settled with a neighboring spot with some coal and decided I would just trade for everything else I needed. There is also another neighboring city I have been using to test out various things, so it will also benefit nicely from an industrial city nearby.

First thing first, find the coal deposits using the coal data layer (they appear as black marks on the ground) and make sure I have major roads leading up to them for the coal mines. It’s too early to start mining just yet; I have to build a town of some sort first so that I have workers, power, and water to support a mine. Workers also need shops, and shops need freight from industry, so I need to get all that rolling before I can plop a mine.


Now that I have the Simoleons and infrastructure to support a mine, I go ahead a plop it. Too bad for those shops across the street—hope they don’t mind the pollution (Muahahahahah!!)! The mine will start operating as soon as workers arrive, so I need to find something to do with all the coal the mine will produce. I could plop a coal power plant, but I don’t want to start paying for that just yet, so I decide to plop a trade depot instead. The trade depot gives me extra space to store coal and lets me trade it on the Global Market for additional income outside of taxes. I will be able to import and export other resources at the trade lot, too, but for now, all I care about is coal.

With the trade depot placed and trading on the Global Market, I turn my focus back to the coal mine and bump up the output on that by adding extra mine shafts. This will help to unlock the Metals Headquarters faster and boost income a bit via trade. I want the HQ so I can then unlock the Smelting Plant, which lets me create Alloy and Metal from Coal and Ore. Metals sell at higher prices than just coal, so it should be worth it to get a Smelting Factory up and running.


While I wait for unlocks, I take the time to build more residential, commercial, and industrial to boost income from taxes while also adding new workers. Health is always a big problem in industry-based cities so I place a health clinic as my first way to combat all the germs that the pollution is spreading. It’s not going to solve my city’s health problem, but since it’s expandable with ploppables (like the option to add more ambulances or patient rooms as needed) it does at least give me a way to relieve the pressure to help keep my residential zones from going completely abandoned.


Now I have the Metal and Trade headquarters unlocked and placed. This will let me place my Smelting Factory and a Trade Port, which is an upgraded version of the Trade Depot. The Trade Depot lets me import and export resources via both rail and water instead of just roads, which is going to allow me to make a lot more money. I also setup both a bus system and a passenger rail station to help get commuting workers in and out of the city faster.


My industrial city is up and running. Its budget is suffering because I had to import ore to keep my Smelting Factories running (I sadly don’t have any to mine in my own city), but otherwise the city is humming along nicely with some help from its neighbors. In turn, it’s providing jobs, freight, as well as water, sewage, and garbage services to its neighbors. All those neighbors have also worked together to build one of our Great Works! Pretty impressive.