Gameplay questions I'm still wrestling with.

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Otis85402

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Dec 21, 2023
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What do welfare offices do?

How does the game decide what kind of industrial building to spawn? Is it random or based on demand at the time?

Similarly, how does a commercial business decide what good they want to sell? Is this based on perceived or actual customer demand or is it random?

What options do you have to deal with the homeless problem?

Do high schools, colleges, and universities have an effective area? Only elementary schools seem to show one on the UI with a red/yellow/green coverage indicator. "Walking distance to elementary school" gives a bonus, but not "walking distance to high school/college/university".

When designing outside connections is any preference given to the reachability of the city through road, rail, sea, or air? Assume all costs are set to zero for passenger routes.

When designing routes to outside connections does the origination point of the route matter? That is, if I originate the route at an outside connection and bring it to an Airport, Rail, or Ship destination versus if I originate the route at one of those terminals and bring it outside? Airports and trains have different schedules for "Arrivals" and "Departures". Does this rubric apply to the game or is an outside connection considered to be equal regardless of which side you clicked first?

When importing or exporting, how is the method of transportation chosen? It makes no sense, for example, for rock and concrete to be sent by air but they do.

How does a citizen decide whether to live in single family, row, medium, or high density residential?

For medium density zoning, is equal priority given to row housing, medium density, and mixed-use or are they tiered in some order of preference?
 
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Good list!

> How does the game decide what kind of industrial building to spawn? Is it random or based on demand at the time?

Additionally, if modifying taxes for a particular industry does alter the spawn likelihood of a particular industry building type, how long does it take for that tax change to take effect?
 
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What do welfare offices do?
They improve well-being in the area which prevents citizens from turning into Robbers or leaving the city.
How does the game decide what kind of industrial building to spawn? Is it random or based on demand at the time?
Demand.
Similarly, how does a commercial business decide what good they want to sell? Is this based on perceived or actual customer demand or is it random?
Also, demand.
What options do you have to deal with the homeless problem?
Citizens in your city automatically become homeless when you demolish a residential building and it takes time for them to find a new place to live (or they decide leave the city). As long as you're able to zone and build new housing, most citizens will eventually find a home.
Do high schools, colleges, and universities have an effective area? Only elementary schools seem to show one on the UI with a red/yellow/green coverage indicator. "Walking distance to elementary school" gives a bonus, but not "walking distance to high school/college/university".
Somewhat. If a citizen has a path from their home to an available school, they'll "register" at that school. However, if it takes too long for them to actually travel to that school, there's a chance they'll drop out and not attain that education level. Alternatively, Teens and Adults can relocate to housing that's closer to their school if there's some available. Children obviously can't really relocate on their own so its up to their families as a whole to relocate near the school, hence why there's a walking distance bonus.
When designing outside connections is any preference given to the reachability of the city through road, rail, sea, or air? Assume all costs are set to zero for passenger routes.
Preferences are tied to speed and comfort levels. In other words, citizens will prefer to travel by airplane since it's the fastest and the airport upgrades increase the comfort level. However, if there's a rail line that by passes the airport and gets closer to their destination, they will usually prefer that. But if neither air or rail are any faster to their destination than using a car or taxi, then they'll use that.

This is also assume all options are available to them. Otherwise, incoming citizens will spend time switching to whatever options are available to enter the city (in other words, less connections will mean slower growth of the city).
When designing routes to outside connections does the origination point of the route matter? That is, if I originate the route at an outside connection and bring it to an Airport, Rail, or Ship destination versus if I originate the route at one of those terminals and bring it outside? Airports and trains have different schedules for "Arrivals" and "Departures". Does this rubric apply to the game or is an outside connection considered to be equal regardless of which side you clicked first?
Either way doesn't matter. As long as it forms a loop.
When importing or exporting, how is the method of transportation chosen?
Generally the fastest or closest route is chosen for export. Import is based on what's cheapest and/or closest to transport. In either case, transport costs eat into business profits so they want to keep that low.
It makes no sense, for example, for rock and concrete to be sent by air but they do.
If it's the fastest and/or the most cost-effective way for a business to export that by air, then there's not anything technically preventing them from doing so. But generally what should prevent it is the fact that its very expensive to go that route compared to every other option.
How does a citizen decide whether to live in single family, row, medium, or high density residential?
Families prefer single family homes, however they can get expensive very quickly if the land value goes up. Rowhouses are a bit more affordable, but don't offer as much space as a single family home. Medium and high density offer less living space, but is most affordable in high land value areas and therefore are preferred by Students and Adults without kids.
For medium density zoning, is equal priority given to row housing, medium density, and mixed-use or are they tiered in some order of preference?
Not really. Row housing is basically the middle tier between single family housing and medium density. Won't get as expensive as SFH, but doesn't offer as much living space. Medium density offers even less living space, but better affordability in high land value areas. Mixed-use is slightly more affordable than stand-alone medium density, but the commercial businesses on the first floor will generate noise pollution which negatively affects other residential zones.

Citizens will generally fill any space that is available provided it meets some of their other needs such as proximity to work and rent costs.
Good list!

> How does the game decide what kind of industrial building to spawn? Is it random or based on demand at the time?

Additionally, if modifying taxes for a particular industry does alter the spawn likelihood of a particular industry building type, how long does it take for that tax change to take effect?
It depends on how profitable those businesses will be after the tax change. A bigger change will see a more immediate affect. It also depends on the profitability of goods upstream of the supply chain.

For example, cutting taxes on automobile production won't do a whole lot if it's still expensive for steel and plastic production. There might be more automobile producers open up, but they're likely to import the goods they need which eats into profits and might make a tax cut negligible if its not big enough.
 
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Thanks, this actually helped a lot. I had been wondering why there were so many gates at the airport and why the train station needed potentially six train lines going through there and since the only thing that seems to matter is connectivity that simplified what I was trying to do when it came to moving people into the city.

To wit:

International Airport has 18 gates for passenger aircraft. I took all nine of the ones on the left side and sent them to outside connection #1 using only one plane line - Gate 1 to outside connection 1 but returns to gate 2, then goes back outside to connection 1, then returns to gate 3 ... when you get to gate 9, you build one last connection and then "complete" the connection back on Gate 1 and viola, you now have nine daily flights to that outside connection but with the benefit of only needing ONE passenger line for it. I repeated the same for the right side to outside connection #2. I now have a full and busy airport and only two plane lines, one to each outside connection.

Same thing applies to train. I have six train platforms and three outside connections. There I started with Outside Connection #1, brought it to platform 1, then sent that train to Outside Connection #2, then back to platform 2, then Outside connection #3, platform 3, back to Outside connection 2 for platform 4, outside connection 3 for platform 5, outside connection 2 once again for platform 6, and then I finally complete the loop back at outside connection #1. Now I have a very busy train station with only ONE LINE and many hundreds of passengers able to get to/from the city.

I don't know if this idea is novel or whether everyone does it, but I just wanted to relate this experience to anyone reading to let them know that this is a Thing You Can Do.
 
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The problem with saying demand when it comes to what commercial stores sell is that they just told us that households don't actually care what they have, they just need generic supplies, so where does the demand factor come in when it doesn't matter what fills up the supply meter?

Households should need at least three things, food, household supplies (furniture, clothes, various sundries), and entertainment ( books, software, other media).
 
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Citizens in your city automatically become homeless when you demolish a residential building

It would appear that this also applies to abandoned buildings. I was sitting here wondering why I would have homeless given that in this city I haven't demolished a single home, but what I have noticed is that sometimes cims will abandon their homes and it would seem voluntarily become homeless? I will admit I am not deep enough in the game to know this, but I do know that I hadn't evicted anyone but definitely had random houses and apartments become vacant and condemned.
 
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I don't know if this idea is novel or whether everyone does it, but I just wanted to relate this experience to anyone reading to let them know that this is a Thing You Can Do.
I do it when I first build an airport, but over time I noticed it becomes inefficient because more passengers would be waiting at the outside connection stops than the total capacity of the planes.

The problem with saying demand when it comes to what commercial stores sell is that they just told us that households don't actually care what they have, they just need generic supplies, so where does the demand factor come in when it doesn't matter what fills up the supply meter?

Households should need at least three things, food, household supplies (furniture, clothes, various sundries), and entertainment ( books, software, other media).
I think when the Devs said that, they meant that citizens don't have a physical stockpile of the goods they buy. So like, if they buy electronics, they don't have a storage of electronics. What they buy disappears into the ether. However, it still counts towards a "Household Wealth" meter that fills up with the more stuff they buy (or it might even just translate directly to a monetary number).

It would appear that this also applies to abandoned buildings. I was sitting here wondering why I would have homeless given that in this city I haven't demolished a single home, but what I have noticed is that sometimes cims will abandon their homes and it would seem voluntarily become homeless? I will admit I am not deep enough in the game to know this, but I do know that I hadn't evicted anyone but definitely had random houses and apartments become vacant and condemned.
I should have clarified that "Homeless" is basically any citizen in your city that isn't a tourist but doesn't yet have a residence in your city. So yea, in situations where a building becomes abandoned, or other cases if they can't afford rent and can't find a new home, they'll become homeless. Though usually after a while they either leave the city or manage to find a new home.
 
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I do it when I first build an airport, but over time I noticed it becomes inefficient because more passengers would be waiting at the outside connection stops than the total capacity of the planes.


I think when the Devs said that, they meant that citizens don't have a physical stockpile of the goods they buy. So like, if they buy electronics, they don't have a storage of electronics. What they buy disappears into the ether. However, it still counts towards a "Household Wealth" meter that fills up with the more stuff they buy (or it might even just translate directly to a monetary number).


I should have clarified that "Homeless" is basically any citizen in your city that isn't a tourist but doesn't yet have a residence in your city. So yea, in situations where a building becomes abandoned, or other cases if they can't afford rent and can't find a new home, they'll become homeless. Though usually after a while they either leave the city or manage to find a new home.

I'm not expecting to see a warehouse-type list, but if there is just one generic supply needed for a household, it could be satisfied by only shopping at a plastics store and nothing else.
 
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They improve well-being in the area which prevents citizens from turning into Robbers or leaving the city.

Just to follow up on this, I had always assumed these offices would apply to Residential but noticed that Commercial and Industrial respond approvingly when I deploy coverage to their area as well. I tend to blanket my cities with coverage but am uncertain of what this actually does. It seems like a good thing to do, but there's not much for me to know or interact with to help decide how best to deploy this asset.
 
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Just to follow up on this, I had always assumed these offices would apply to Residential but noticed that Commercial and Industrial respond approvingly when I deploy coverage to their area as well. I tend to blanket my cities with coverage but am uncertain of what this actually does. It seems like a good thing to do, but there's not much for me to know or interact with to help decide how best to deploy this asset.
If you think about it, the employees of those businesses would appreciate the well-being boost. And indeed citizen Well-Being does contribute to company efficiency so it makes sense in that regard.

I do wish citizens would visit the welfare office once in a while or it sends out a van representing welfare workers visiting citizens whose well-being is terribly low. It does kinda feel like a city-service building to just place around town just to checkmark a particular city-service.
 
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I'm not expecting to see a warehouse-type list, but if there is just one generic supply needed for a household, it could be satisfied by only shopping at a plastics store and nothing else.
That's certainly possible. Though I think because citizens desire to be "wealthy", or at least attain a household wealth that's relative to their income, there's always demand for more goods after any given amount of time.
 
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I figured I would post more here rather than starting a new thread, since I had some new questions on my mind:

1. What does it mean for certain assets, i.e. Radio Telescope, to be 143% efficient? Does it mean that instead of the +5 University Graduation Chance (city-wide) that it actually increases the graduation chance by 7.15%?

2. Why do I have low density residential units with a single child (and their dog, obv) living by themselves and who are also somehow "highly educated"? Though their wealth is 'wretched'. Sure am glad I have that welfare office nearby.

3. What makes an industrial warehouse decide to level up? They seem to level up now after the last patch but I am hard-pressed to understand the process through which it happens. In a processing building it's pretty clear cut and they behave the same as other building types with actual employees. Warehouses leveling up I don't understand.

4. Is there any way to discourage rampant taxi use from out-of-towners (I've already maxed out the 'taxi minimum fare' in City Policies)? I have air, ship, rail, and bus lines all bringing people in but they seem to overwhelmingly prefer the taxi.

5. Are trams supposed to be faster than cars? I just thought that was amusing to see - trams are (I thought) supposed to be "slow" but I watched a tram leave a minivan in the dust driving down a normal road. Side-note on trams, they all spawn in as purple and if you change the paint color you have to mouse over the tram for it to take effect. (This also applies to if you create a new tram line with the game paused and zero trams have spawned yet and you have already changed the color to something else)

6. Is there an occupancy level at which a residential multifamily home will be abandoned? As cims move from medium to high density or low to high or high to low or whatever direction the exodus happens, they will abandon their apartment unit. However, at some point it seems that even though people still live there, the building will become abandoned. In absence of a way to deal with this, I'm just wondering if I can maybe know when it's imminent because my ideal situation is zero abandoned buildings (I know, maybe not realistic, I just want to try and avoid it).
 
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You've asked some really good questions, which unfortunately have no solid answers.

Most of this is just answered by the game is still incredibly broken and should never have been released in this state.

We really don't know the real answers. We don't know what's intended by a game mechanic. We don't know how the various failsafes affect it. And we don't know if one or more confirmed or unconfirmed bugs affects any of it.

You're better off just treating it as a city painter. If you don't like it, as the CEO said, "If you dislike the simulation, this game just might not be for you".
 
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4. Is there any way to discourage rampant taxi use from out-of-towners (I've already maxed out the 'taxi minimum fare' in City Policies)? I have air, ship, rail, and bus lines all bringing people in but they seem to overwhelmingly prefer the taxi.
Seems like using a taxi is still to convenient for you folks to move in. Keep the road part of their route as short as possible.
I've established park & ride subway stations right at the edges of my maps where the highway connections are. A bus line brings the passengers to the subway line so they get faster to the city center than they could by car.

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There are literally no more taxis in my city and those who come drop their passenger at the park& ride:

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Hope this helps.
 
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Also remember that different Cims (Teen, Adult, Senior) prefer different elements. For example Teens prefer the cheapest, Adults prefer the quickest time, and Seniors prefer whats more comfortable.
 
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Seems like using a taxi is still to convenient for you folks to move in. Keep the road part of their route as short as possible.
I've established park & ride subway stations right at the edges of my maps where the highway connections are. A bus line brings the passengers to the subway line so they get faster to the city center than they could by car.

There are literally no more taxis in my city and those who come drop their passenger at the park& ride:

Hope this helps.
This behavior also exists in CS1

Also, adding U turns close to map edges, will made that some traffic return to the spawn city (fake/decorative traffic)
 
Abandoned residential buildings that are partly/mostly full is the bane of my existence. I build these nice neighborhoods but even when I let them level up, there is still an exodus when I zone new residential somewhere else in the city, and that feels like an unfair game mechanic if you want to try and plan things out.

I also learned that you don't need to zone ANY low density residential housing. I would always bemoan - "why don't they move into my row houses?" and so out of desperation I just said "fine, no low density for you, let's see how you like it now". Well, turns out that they were perfectly willing to fill up my row houses, and I now have a new and growing city of 54,000 (currently) with not a single low density house on the map. It's all medium and high. High density continues to be the most difficult to zone because I do not know why people choose it over medium density. The game seems overeager to develop massive amounts of buildings for high density so I've adopted a strategy of zoning a single HD building at a time, waiting a while, and then trying again.

I will continue to repeat my desire to understand how people choose housing, and my frustration that they are so eager to abandon it. It makes city planning difficult.

But at least I learned I don't have to deal with single family homes if I don't want to. The RCI bars really need some kind of update or intelligence behind them. It's only through mods like Info_Loom that I get something of a peek inside the demand process.
 
Seems like using a taxi is still to convenient for you folks to move in. Keep the road part of their route as short as possible.
I've established park & ride subway stations right at the edges of my maps where the highway connections are. A bus line brings the passengers to the subway line so they get faster to the city center than they could by car.

I don't love this solution but I have to admit it solves this problem. I resisted at first. Thought I could outsmart the game some other way, maybe. Nope, this works really well.
 
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I will continue to repeat my desire to understand how people choose housing, and my frustration that they are so eager to abandon it. It makes city planning difficult.
Yeah, this is the frustrating one to keep informing people about because it's both a critical game breaking bug and hard to identify because it takes hours and hours of game time on the same save to start manifesting - but this issue you're running into is the "residential suitability" or "land value" bug, and basically it will eventually kill your city.
It's the same bug City Planner Plays is running into.
I originally wrote a thread on it here as well.
 
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