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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. Contents 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 Office,Condo,Fast-Food Elevator 2 300 none Single Room Housekeeping,Security 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 http://www.cfar.umd.edu/~brad/simtower.html. 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@example.com > 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 FTP ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/ma/maxis WWW ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/ma/maxis/http/maxis.html Telephone 1-800-33-MAXIS E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org BBS (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) Lobby 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. Floor 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 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. Condo 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. Housekeeping 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. Security 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, anyway.) 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. Ballroom Theatre 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@example.com (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 centers. Metro 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. Cathedral 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 tower. 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 ftp://mrcnext.cso.uiuc.edu/pub/info-mac/game/com/sim-tower-demo.hqx. 1. Easter Eggs 1.1 Hold down "option" as you place your first lobby section. Dan Stenger DStenger@aol.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org