The Sim City Planning Commission Handbook (McGraw-Hill) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

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The Sim City Planning Commission Handbook
By McGraw Hill
Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Zzap #70

The Sim City Planning Commission Handbook

Here's a book that should reside on every Sim City enthusiast's book-shelf. The Handbook contains 193 pages of essential reading for any devotee.

Divided into nine chapters with two appendices, the book begins (after game boot-up instructions) with a description of each icon and its purpose, plus a description and explanation of the various reports presented. Chapter two presents a brief sketch of the historical development of cities, focusing on a variety of city patterns from the grid pattern used in American urban areas to the London pattern presented before the Great Fire in 1666. Chapter three discusses the double-edged sword of human resources in the context of human planning and how it can be applied to Sim City. Yes, population enhances production and trade but you also have to face crime, pollution, overcrowding, etc.

A whole chapter is then devoted to the sticky problem of heavy traffic. Actually 'real-life' urban planners have pointed towards the traffic-model as the most impressive part of the Sim City algorithm and that the routines in this part of the program are the most complex.

Ecology and Entropy fill chapter five. Ecological problems, a topical subject, are summarised here and explains how Sim City models those problems.

Crash Landing is the title of Chapter six that covers all types of Sim City disasters. The next chapter compares a real city with the game model and asks what significant aspects, if any, are missing from Sim City. Chapter eight takes a number of specific case study problems (such as falling land values) and discusses how to combat them. In a similar vein, the following chapter takes a look at classic mistakes made by other players and suggests solution to those problems. The first appendix discusses the terrain editor while the second appendix looks at selected cities entered into a few Sim City competitions held over in the States.

With an extensive bibliography and index, lots of photos, screendumps and graphs plus an offer for a free copy of the Maxis newsletter filled with Sim City hints and a disk that contains the cities mentioned in the book, the Handbook is not only an essential purchase for any Sim City player; it should be looked upon as the Sim City bible.