FAQ - Guide for SimTower

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SimTower FAQ 

This is the unofficial FAQ file for SimTower, including material from
the Macintosh version 1.2.

New this version: A few corrections to housekeeping, discussion of
bombs, location of the demo.


15   What are the system requirements? 
14   " But the manual says... " 
13   How do I get stars? How do I build Express Elevators (or anything)?
12   Where's the VIP? 
11   How many stairs (or whatever) can I build?
10   The SimTower 1.1 Updater (Pros and Cons)
9    How can I contact Maxis? 
8    The installer doesn't work on my Mac! I have a 68030! 
7    Room Types 
6    Elevators
5    Service Elevators 
4    Express Elevators
3    Disasters
2    SimTower Demo 
1    Easter Eggs 
B1   Trivia 

15. What are the system requirements?

SimTower requires a 68030 Mac or better to run. A 68040 is
"recommended."  SimTower runs *native* on a PowerMac. 256 colors are
required. System 7.0 or above is required. SimTower is compatible with
System 7.5. The program uses up 4.5 meg of RAM. Word on the street is
that SimTower works fine on docked Duo machines.

14. But the Manual says ...

The manual for SimTower gives many good guidelines, but many of the
figures are just plain wrong. The manual, no doubt, had to be printed
long before the game was ready, and many of the details of the program
changed right before release. The figures in this FAQ come from the
README files that come with the game, with the updater, and from
playing the game itself.

13. How do I get stars? How do I build things?

The following table lists the requirements to reach a given star
level, and the new things you can build at that level. You start the
game with one star and $2,000,000.

Stars      Population    Other Requirements     Building Enabled
=====      ==========    ==================     ================
  1            0               none             Lobby,Stair,Floor
  2          300               none             Single Room
                                                Service Elevator
  3         1000         1 security station     Double Room, Suite
                                                Retail, Restaurant
                                                Express, Clinic,
                                                Parking, Ramp, Recycling
                                                Ballroom, Theatre

  4         5000         VIP favor, 2 Suites,   Metro
                         Medical, Recycling OK

  5        10000         Metro placed,          Cathedral
                         Medical, Recycling OK

TOWER                    Cathedral placed on 100

12. Where's the VIP?

In order to get from three to four stars, the VIP must rate your
building. But first, he must get there! He will want to stay in a
suite, so you should build at least two. You must also have
underground parking available for the hotel customers who pay the big
bucks. Putting the Suites near an express elevator, and serving the
underground parking with the same express elevator is sometimes a good
idea. If you don't like your express going underground, change it back
after you get your rating!

After you have everything in order for the VIP's visit, you will just
have to wait.  After all, he's the VIP!

(As far as I know the VIP is always a he. MAXIS, you did that with the
mayor of SC2K, too.)

11. How Many Stairs (or whatever) can I Build?

The simulation has the following built-in limits (presumably to make
the game run at a tolerable speed).

Elevators (all kinds)        24  shafts total
Elevator Cars                 8  cars per shaft
Stairs + Escalators          64
Named Sims                   20
Security Stations            10
Medical Clinics              10
Theatres+Ballrooms           16
FastFood+Restaurants+Shops  512
Parking Spaces              512
Metro Station                 1
Cathedral                     1
Named Sims                   20

10. The SimTower Updater

The SimTower Updater can be found on the Maxis BBS or the Maxis FTP site. See
"Contacting Maxis." It can also be found on my SimTower home page, at 

10.1 What are the updater's benefits?

The updater takes care of : 

 1. Metro placement problems 
 2. Graphic glitches (the "metro crash") 
 3. Small monitors 
 4. Increased elevator capacity (from 17 to 21) 
 5. Rename businesses! 
 6. More sounds (parking, recycling) 
 7. People show up in housekeeping, security. 

10.2 What are the updater's problems? 

Charlotte Henkle < [email protected] > listed several problems
with the updater:

   The metro problem is *not* solved. I crashed the game out about 3
times before I found a good place to put the metro. When you do have a
metro, the people coming in will only go to shops/fast food/restaurant
on the first 2 floors, not to anything above that. [This is the
expected behaviour, I think.]  No matter how close fastfood places are
to elevators (They can be bisected by them), I get the message:
"Elevators are too far away". They complain about this until it starts
to rain, when they say "Access to trasportation is good". The must be
talking about arks ;) Also with fastfood places: Once they get enough
people to have business be average, in the comment window I get the
message "Business is average/ Opens tomorrow". It's been saying that
for 10 years now.  The hotel rooms seem to have random things in their
comment boxes, like "fastfood" or "office", even if these rooms are no
where near these places.  Rooms with random comments seem to be less
happy than non-commented rooms.

9. Contacting Maxis

   [email protected] 
   (510) 254-3869 

Thanks to Kevin Endo for keeping the addresses in the SC2K FAQ. 

8. The installer doesn't work on my Mac! I have a 68030!

From the "Read Me" that came with the updater: SYSTEM 7.5 AND 68030
MACS: If you are running System 7.5, the SimTower installer may report
that your Mac is not a 68030 when it really is. If the installer warns
you of this, simply click the Continue button. This will not affect
the performance of the game.

7. Room Types

The unit of width here is the size and shape of the "floor"
tool. Income and expenses are either daily (D), quarterly, (Q), yearly
(Y), or once only (!).

Type         Width   Price     Income/Expense       Population   
====         =====   =====     =============        ==========   
Floor           1     500           0                 0       
Lobby           1      5k       0/0/-3/?/?   (Q)      0         
Stair           8      5k                             0 
Escalator       8     20k           5k       (Q)      0         

Office          9     40k        2-5-10-15k  (Q)      6       
Condo          16     80k     50-100-150-200k(!)      3
Single          4     20k     500-1500-2k-3k (D)      0-1
Double          6     50k     800-2k-3k-4500 (D)      0-2
Suite          10    100k     1500-4k-6k-9k  (D)      0-2

Fast Food      16    100k        (-3k)-2k-5k (D)      10-50
Restaurant     24    200k          4k-6k-10k (D)      10-100
Retail Shop    12    100k     4k-10k-15k-20k (D)      20-50
Party Hall    24x2   100k         20k        (D)      50
Theatre       31x2   500k         0-2k-10k   (D)     120
Cathedral           3 Million      0                   0  
Housekeeping   15    50k               -10k  (Q)      not included
Security       16   100k               -20k  (Q)      not included
Medical        26   500k                0             not included
Parking         4     3k                0              0
Ramp           16    50k               -10k  (Q)       0
Recycling    25x2   500k      0        -50k  (Q)
Metro         ALL  1 Million          -100k  (Q)       0

Elevators:                                               Capacity
  Standard   4    200k+80k/car      -10k/car (Q)        17 (21 in update)
  Service    4    100k+50k/car      -10k/car (Q)        17 (21 in update)
  Express    6    400k+150k/car     -20k/car (Q)        34 (42 in update)


   Lobbies can only be placed on the first floor, and every fifteenth
floor after that. Residents will only change elevators on a lobby
floor, and even then, they will limit themselves to one change of
elevator. Your express elevators will stop in lobbies only. I have
experimented with putting shops on a lobby floor, along with part of a
lobby: it doesn't work well at all. It is much better to just make the
lobby the full width of the building.  At the higher star ratings
(3+), you must pay to maintain the lobby. I guess the Sims in the
high-rent district want a new Van Gogh every quarter.

   The two floors above and below a lobby (13 - 17, for instance) are
prime real-estate for shops and fast food. Theatres and ballrooms can
be placed just outside this range.

   Lobbies cost $5000 for a section the size of the floor tool. Add
another $500 for the floor itself. The lobby tool actually places 4
sections of lobby. Lobby sections can be built by dragging, but cannot
be destroyed.

  The floor tool builds the basic structure of your building. Use it
to even out sections that didn't come out quite right, or to build
whole empty floors for later development (as retail space, for
instance). When you build other rooms in areas that haven't been built
up before, you are charged for the floor sections required,
automatically. If you have enough money to build the room, but not the
floor it requires, you will be told so by the program status bar.

   Floor sections cost $500 for that little narrow piece the size of
the floor tool.  Once built, floor sections cannot be destroyed.

Stairs / Escalators 

   Stairs are very useful for reducing the burden on your
elevators. They are even better when they are stacked up neatly, so
Sims can travel them with a minimum of frustration. Sims will go up or
down *three* flights of stairs to get where they want to go. A
building without elevators is very possible, but limited to four
stories. One quick way to get your second star is with a long lobby,
one floor of fast food, and two floors of offices. Put staircases
every third or fourth office, and away you go!

   Staircases cost $5000, and can be built over the top of other types
of rooms (not over other transportation, though). They can support a
fairly small amount of traffic, but continuously.

   Escalators become available with your third star. They can only be
erected between lobbies and retail levels, but, once erected, they
stay put regardless of what you do to the surrounding areas. They
support a large amount of traffic, and Sims prefer them to elevators
when they are available. The SimManual states that Sims will take the
escalators up to seven times, but I guess this number is closer to 5.
Staircases and escalators block the paths of elevators, but they are
easily moved out of the way with the bulldozer tool.

   Office space will be your bread and butter, making much of your
cash in the early parts of the game. Each office holds 6 workers, who
like to eat out at lunch time, and to leave work on time. Most of the
work of the game consists in getting people to and from their offices.

   Office workers will complain about the noise if you mix them with
commercial establishments, such as fast food, retail, etc.

   Condos are not rented, as offices and hotel rooms are. Instead,
they are purchased by their residents, giving you a big chunk of cash
all at once.  Condos are also the lowest density use of your space,
with only three residents in a 16 meter piece of floor.  When you tear
out a condo, you must first buy it back from its owner. You are also
obliged to buy it back if the residents move out.

Single / Double / Suite 

   Single and double hotel rooms can give you the most income for your
space.  Single rooms are available once your tower gets 2 stars; the
others can be built after your third star. Suite residents will use
one or two parking spaces per room.


   SimHousekeepers are very efficient, presumably because they want to
get back to their "soaps" as quickly as possible. Because of this,
they are also very reluctant to leave the housekeeping area to get out
and clean the rooms. Each housekeeping area has enough supply carts
for six housekeepers. A single housekeeper will clean a floor of about
19 single rooms. These cleaning demons will fan out through your hotel
rooms, one per floor. Once finished with a floor, a housekeeper will
go to another floor, but only if there is not another housekeeper from
the same area on the floor.
   Your cleaning staff goes home at 5:00 on the dot, but they will not
begin cleaning a new room after 4:30. Any uncleaned rooms will stay
that way until the next day. Messy rooms are likely to be infested
with roaches, and require you to call the bulldozer/exterminator to
get rid of the problem. Housekeeping sections cannot be demolished.

   I don't worry much about security, since I have only had one fire,
and no bomb threats. [See the new section on disasters.] Since the
game limits you to 10 security offices, I think 1 for every 1000
residents is plenty. In the long run, I think it's cheaper to pay the
fire department when the time comes. Security offices cannot be
demolished. (One security station may prevent your entire building
from burning to the ground.  You need one to get the third star,

Fast Food / Restaurants 
   Fast food shops begin with 10 customers. These customers are
considered part of the population of your tower when the shop first
opens. When the shop closes at the end of the day, the income you
receive depends on the level of patronage that day in the shop.

   Level   Customers   Income  Population   
   =====   =========   ======  ==========
   Poor     0 - 24      -3k    Decreases
   Average  25 - 34     +2k    Stays the same
   Good     35 - 80     +5k    Increases   

   Fast food income is posted at 9:00 p.m. Population from fast food
is calculated at 10:00 a.m., when the shops open. This population
depends on the previous day's population, and the rating of the
establishment. If the rating is good, the population can increase to
double the previous day's population, to a maximum of 50 people. If it
is average, the population will stay pretty much the same. If poor,
the population will be reduced, but it will never drop below
10. Placing a fast food shop in the afternoon will cause the shop to
post a loss of 3k for the day. Place shops in the middle of the night
or the early morning to avoid this loss.

   Restaurants cost twice as much, make (or lose) twice as much money,
and have about twice the population.

Retail Shops
    Stores can bring in quite a bit of money, and bring a lot of
people to your tower. They rent from you on a quarterly basis, but
will leave if they don't get enough customers to pay the rent. Lower
the rents, and the stores will be able to lower their prices,
attracting customers. Then, when a store has become profitable, you
can raise the rents again.

Medical Center 
Ramps / Parking 
   A single row of parking spaces, the width of the screen, seems to
be enough for a five-star tower. I don't yet know if it is enough for
the TOWER level.  Parking spaces must be near a ramp, or near other
"good" spaces. "Good" spaces are those which are not marked with a big
red X. You are only allowed one column of ramps, so be careful with
your ramp and recycling placement.

Recycling Centers 
   After you reach the third star, you will need to do something about
removing the trash your sims generate. Since this is a modern tower,
you need to put in Recycling Centers. At 500k each, and with a 50k/yr
maintenance fee, you won't be placing more of these than you need.

   Does the service elevator need to reach the recycling center? 

   [email protected] (Craig Branson) Says: 
   No. I've tested this several times. Basically, place [recycling]
out of the way (I usuaully place it on B8). The only thing it requires
is placing a floor holder underground for it - no service elevator is
required, no road for the garbage trucks, no nothing (except
$500,000). Every once in a while, a garbage truck will come and pick
the trash up and leave. After a while, you'll need to build more

   Always save your game before you attempt to place a metro
station. The updater was supposed to fix the problem, but reports on
its success are varied at best.  The metro will bring a lot of new
customers to your tower, but these people don't want to use the
elevators. Place a couple of rows of stores and restaurants on the
same level as the metro station, and you will serve the commuters on
their way to/from work.  Do not build any floor sections on the bottom
level, where the metro tube needs to go. If you do, you will not be
able to build the metro, and will never get to five stars.

    The cathedral is required for reaching the TOWER level. Perhaps
our tower is being built in SimBabel?

6. Elevators 

As the foreword to the manual says, this game is a simulation of
elevators, and their use in getting people where they want to go. Each
elevator shaft can hold up to eight cars, and each car has a limited
capacity. Shafts cannot be placed very close to each other.  If people
start getting on your elevator, going a few floors, and getting right
back on the elevator (only more angry), they aren't finding a way to
where they want to be.  You may have just disabled access to a floor,
or removed a key staircase. Click on the people with the magnifying
glass, and see where they are trying to go. Then, either make their
way to the destination easy, or, if they are "supposed" to be taking a
different elevator, disable the problem elevator's service to the
floor where the sims are getting on. They will go to the other
elevator immediately. You can restore the service if you want, or just
leave it off.

5. Service Elevators 

Service elevators are used to get your cleaning staff to the hotel
rooms. The manual claims that a service elevator must reach the
recycling center, but apparently, this isn't the case. See
Housekeeping, Recycling. "Civilians" will not use the service elevator
for any reason.

4. Express Elevators 

Express elevators stop at the ground floor, all basement levels, and
every fifteenth above ground floor (1, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90). Sims
will take an express elevator to the sky lobby nearest their
destination, and take a local elevator from there. They won't change
elevators more than once. Many times, you will see a message like
"Sims on floor 66 need a path to floor 3." Sometimes, you can solve
these little problems by adding stairs from the nearest lobby or
changing the floors serviced by one of your elevators; sometimes there
is nothing you can do about it.

Sims like to take the closest elevator to them, if it will get them to
their destination.  Sometimes, this fact will cause them to prefer a
standard elevator to an express, if both elevators go to the same
floor. By restricting standard elevators to a single lobby, you can
force the Sims to take the express, leaving the standard elevators for
local traffic.

For some reason, Sims don't like to take an elevator in the opposite
direction from where they want to go. So, if you think those guys in
the offices on 40 can just take the elevator to 45, then get on the
express to go home, they won't. (I could be wrong here. Please let me
know if you think otherwise.)

3. Disasters

A bomb, if not found, can destroy an area of your tower which is at
least three condos wide, and five floors high. This block of 15 condos
cost me $3 million, putting me quickly into debt, and making me unable
to build for over a year.

Fires can spread quickly both in the same floor, and between
floors. As you might expect, fires only spread upward. The helicopter
will put out the fire before it spreads at all, so it might be
worthwhile if you didn't plan on remodelling that section of your

No, you cannot build additional security offices after a fire starts
or a terrorist threatens you.

2. SimTower Demo 

The SimTower Demo can be found on the various online services, or on
an info-mac mirror site such as

1. Easter Eggs 

1.1 Hold down "option" as you place your first lobby section. 
Dan Stenger [email protected]

B1. Trivia 

David Lee at University of Washington: But a great game. You can tell
its Japanese origin as the language can be heard spoken during the
office sound effect. Something "gozaimasu."

Last Modified Feb 14, 1995. 
Please send corrections/contributions/tower files to 
Brad Stuart [email protected] 

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