Tips and Tricks for SimCity 4

Posted in Gaming, Personal on Jun 23, 2019 by Zach Schneider

I wouldn't consider myself a gamer, even though I've built my own computer, have Steam installed on it, or because I own an aging PS3. Although, I still play somewhat older games, such as SimCity 4 Deluxe, from late 2003. I would have only been three years old at the time. My first copy of this game came on two CDs (yes, two!). This also would have been the era of Windows XP, so it's quite surprising that the game even runs properly on Windows 10, 16 years later! Although, my CD copies of the game no longer work, as once of the discs is scrathed, I've purchased it on Steam instead.

I'm compiling a list of things that I like to do to get my installation runnning the way I like it. There's going to be "cheats" and "mods" because there are some aspects of the game that I don't want to deal with or that are problamatic in the long run (looking at you, landfills!).

Setting Launch Parameters

Changing Game Resolution

Since the days of the 1280x1024 monitor are well past, I'll need to enable a custom resolution (as there are a limited number of options available in-game). For my 1920x1080 screen, I'll add the following to my Steam Launch Options for the game:

-CustomResolution:enabled -r1920x1080x32

The 32 at the end specifies colour depth, and is required.

Turning off the Intro

While we're here, we can turn off the intro (because if you play this game as much as me, you don't need to see it more than once):

-intro:off

Restricting CPU Count

The game is known to crash if you have more than one CPU core available. The solution is limiting the game to using only one CPU:

-CPUCount:1

Mods!

Or "Modifications" if you prefer the long form of the word.

Garbage

Garbage in SimCity 4 is annoying. You only have a few options, sell it to a neighbour who then has to deal with it, burn in for energy (thus creating air pollution), create a landfill that endlessly grows, or chuck if off the side of the map! I'll be chosing the last option, made possible by the PEG Garbage Chute.

City Names

I mostly use online name generators for this. I found a good city name generator at namegenerator2.com. Here's an example of some names it came up with:

Strongcliff

Easthall

Blackdell

Norfield

Irongate

Westville

Southpine

Icemill

Lochport

Brightshore

Easthill

Northbridge

Not incredibly boring, but not too fancy either! They also have a country name generator for your regions.