Update: As of 5 PM today – I’m now online. And it was good. Finally.
I’ve mentioned my lack of Internet access quite a bit lately.
“I get it,” you’re saying. “You don’t have access to the ‘Net. You spent twelve and a half hours on the phone with AT&T. Stop friggin’ whining about it!”
When you’re on the phone with any large company, particularly a giant like AT&T, you’re going to spend a lot of time on hold. Typically, I’d use that time to browse around the web and find new time wasting games at Kongregate.
Without the ‘Net, I was forced to load up the only game disc I could find while I was unpacking: SimCity 3000.
I gotta be honest. I didn’t hate it. Not having Internet sucks, and staying on the phone with numbskulls who refuse to solve your problem four hours a day makes it all the more infuriating, but filling the interim hours playing SC3K made it bearable, I think.
It wasn’t my first time playing SC3K, but it’s been more than a handful of years since the last time I loaded it up. SimCity, in all it’s iterations, was always my favorite game growing up. Playing it on my current workhorse computer, the Sony Vaio laptop, meant it just simply screamed with no hitches whatsoever, and the game didn’t complain when I rapidly <alt> + <tab>’ed out to write some angry notes in Notepad each time I got a reprieve from hold music at 30 minute intervals.
Kinda Like When I Force Pictures of My Kids on You….
Given that I’ve invested a good deal of time in this city, I figured I’d give you the grand tour and offer it up to you for download, should one or two of you still have this game laying around somewhere.
Is that an incredibly geeky and goofy thing to do? Yes. But while I wait for the last 24 hours to slowly elapse while in expectation that an AT&T tech will be here to install service tomorrow, I’ve little other choice as I rack my brain for something to blog about.
So shaddup and enjoy the pretty graphics.
The Aeronautical District of Hopkins. Pictured: the Spaceport and West side of the Central Airport. Not pictured, but nearby: a Raytheon plant and a military base.
Town Name: Hopkins
Current City Population: 1,350,276
Current National Population: 25,340,060
Current Date: 4/29/2172
Founding Date: 1/01/1950
National Currency: the Simoleon.
Current tax rate: 0%, all sectors (at 3% taxrate, the city is revenue positive, but I cut the taxrates since the city is so far in the black it’s ridiculous).
I’ve got a lot of charts available that are really only interesting if you’re me, so I’ll just show you a couple. A few of you environmental nuts might sort of get into this kinda thing.
Hopkins City Junk
The first one is the waste disposal pie graph. Due to the fact that the city of Hopkins is a very high-end town, I’m guessing this contributes to the fact that my city produces an inordinate amount of garbage.
As you can see, about 40% of the garbage is recycled, and the rest is incinerated. A very miniscule amount is shipped to a neighboring city. This is interesting because I’ve made a very concerted effort to create a mostly “green” city. I’ve created an inordinate amount of recycling centers, and all the incineration facilities convert the waste matter back into energy to be plugged into the city grid. More on that later.
The west side of town – mostly garbage disposal and energy creation. In the center, eight of our fusion plants. To the lower right, a few waste-to-energy plants, and a few recycling centers just next to that.
Hopkins City Energy
Even with the twenty waste-to-energy plants I have in the city, it barely registers at 17% compared to the thirteen fusion plants I have (SimHistorical note: at some point around 2050, fusion power was perfected).
Your average fusion plant creates almost 50,000 MW-h /month of electricity, or almost double that of a nuclear fission plant.
The graph looks pretty plain now, but it got pretty interesting around 2060 as most of the nuclear fission plants started reaching their end-of-life dates, and were being gradually replaces by fission plants. By 2100,the last fission plant was phased out, and the threat of localized nuclear meltdown had passed.
Key Landmarks and Places of Note
Crime and Punishment
While we’re on the topic of garbage, fans of crime and punishment should be pleased to learn that I’ve taken a very pro-active approach to reforming the criminals of the city. Crime is pretty low in Hopkins, but a city of that size certainly requires a large number of jails. Each jail is situated next to a smelly recycling plant, bringing jail-as-a-deterrent to a whole new level.
Even the well behaved criminals won’t escape it, either, since trustees and other low-risk inmates can help out sorting trash.
Shown to the right, here, slightly left of center you can see the mayor’s mansion, built in 1965, in the middle of what has become an astronomically high class residential neighborhood.
Slightly above that, you can see the city hall, situated next to the Hopkins City reproduction of Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.
Directly below the planetarium and across the intersection, you’ll see a red building with a white-ish roof – that’s the county courthouse, which supposedly tries annually around 10,000 civil cases, and 3,500 criminal cases.
It’s an interesting area to me because it’s surrounded by some very large skyscrapers, and it’s rather odd to see such a posh neighborhood in the thick of such a thriving metropolis.
Also worthy of note, this 8×8 city block area was the first set of neighborhoods in Hopkins City and served as the template for the rest of the town.
Science and Medical Research Plaza
In 2021, Malcolm Landgraab of Landgraab Industries approached Hopkins City with an offer to build a medical research facility and a science research facilities. We took the opportunity, even though the partnership required a substantial investment on the part of the city.
As you can see, there’s an adjunct to the complex that bears a striking resemblance to the Lincoln Center.
I’m not sure exactly what sort of research goes on at the science plaza, but from the looks of the building, I’m pretty certain a stargate is involved, somehow.
This is the center for all that is fun in the city, located at the South end of town.
Pictured here (surrounding buildings cropped out) is (clockwise starting from nine o’clock): Geyser Park, Six Flags over Rizzn, the Hopkins City Rapscallions Stadium, Brookrose Havenhills Country Club and one of the dozen or so extensions of the Hopkins City Zoo system.
When this area was originally laid out, there was very little else other than some generic souvenir shops nearby. Since then, though, a sort of second downtown area has sprung up with some of the tallest buildings in Hopkins City located here.
They’re mostly commercial buildings containing technology companies, but there are some rather artsy (the architect describes them as “svelte”) residential towers just across from the country club.
The area is rife with posh parks and entertainment facilities, but curiously remains one of the few pockets in town where there is any measurable amount of crime.
Hopkins City is a coastal town, so of course I had to have fun designing the beach areas. I modeled this area of town after a spot I lived at for a number of years in Pompano beach named Lighthouse Point. It isn’t a one-to-one replica, but it captures the spirit and some of the features of the Pompano Beach strip here.
Originally, I had envisioned it being some-what geared towards middle-income folks, but it didn’t take much time at all for several large mansions to be built, and for them to buy up most of the beachfront property surrounding them and convert it to yard space.
The ‘tourist trap’ side of Lighthouse Point.
Much like in the actual Lighthouse Point of South Florida, the lighthouse itself acts as a sort of demarcation point between the skyscraper condos and hotels, and the more exclusive gated beach communities.
Right about the time the city hit about a million inhabitants, I realized two things. One was that at the current tax rates (around 6% at the time), the coffers were chock full of cash – far more than I could reasonably spend.
The other thing was that many city services were falling below acceptable levels, including hospital, public schools and colleges, museums and libraries were all getting failing grades. Given that Hopkins city had just undergone a rapid expansion phase leaving very little room to re-zone in residential neighborhoods for city services.
So in one of the last remaining undeveloped sectors of the city, I’ve zoned a hospital megaplex with 24 separate city block sized buildings, and an educational sector that spans grade school up to college level education (complete also with museum and library services) that lays out over several square miles.
Want to Play a Game?
There are a lot of other cool things I could show you a
city, but this post has run on long enough at this point. It was fun to escape for a bit, and though I didn’t get a chance to reach my goal of having a city population large enough to support an arcology, I think I designed a pretty efficient city, and one that would be enjoyable to live in despite it’s size.
I learned a lot of things playing around with the city planning simulation, like honing of some of my analytical skill and the value of proper organization.
Mostly, though, I learned that I need to update my PC game library so that the next time I go two weeks without an Internet connection, I don’t have to play a 10 year old game.