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SimCity Great Works

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The Great Works are something of a contraversial and perhaps somewhat disappointing aspect of SimCity. Maxis intended these 'communal' spaces to be a source of cooperative, challenging gameplay between Mayors, to create a building which gives particular benefits to connected cities in the region, however the end result is perhaps less than spectacular.

The following sections can be found in this article:

  • Overview
  • Arcology
  • Space Center
  • International Airport
  • Solar Farm
  • Overview

    The point of the Great Works is to bring certain benefits to the cities it connects to, however these benefits are often fairly limited and (in my opinion) not really worth the expense and effort of building them. On a personal note I think it is a shame that the cut scenes upon completion were one of the many features disabled to help with the server access problem, because without it there's very little sense of accomplishment upon completion and once built, the Great Works site seems to be nothing more than a source of demands which Mayors have no direct way of fulfilling.

    Problems starting Great Works

    A lot of players seem to have trouble actually getting the Great Works started - this is perhaps because the process is not terribly well explained in the game, as well as being made worse by the poor response time showing Great Work site's progress to other cities.

    Once you have unlocked a Great Work you want to build (see below), then ONE of the local connected cities needs to pay the administration fee to start the work. This costs $1 million for the Arcology, Space Center and Airport, the Solar Farm is cheaper at $500000.

    The only way to split this cost between neighboring cities is if other cities send their share as a cash gift to the city that initiates the Great Work - you cannot individually contribute directly.

    It takes quite a while once the payment has been sent for the Great Works site to be operational, and even longer before connected cities who did not make the payment can actually see the site is active. Some players have reported lags of several days (actual days, not SimCity days) and in some instances the project stalls entirely due to server rollbacks when the game crashes.

    Eventually if all goes well, you should get to a point where the site becomes operational and ready to receive resources. In order to 'sign up' and start contributing resources you need to click the on/off buttons below each resource type so that they are green. Once you do this then any of those materials in your city which are set to 'use locally' in a trade depot, will be shipped (slowly) to the Great Works site.

    Problems delivering materials

    Intermittently the game will complain about construction being stalled about lack of materials. Most of the time this isn't true, it's just reminding you that you're building a Great Work. Sometimes there actually is a supply problem which needs investigating.

    There are 3 basic reasons for delivery problems:

    1. You don't have sufficient materials to actually send - they must be set to 'use locally' in a Trade Storage depot

    2. Materials are not being delivered because the delivery trucks are stuck in traffic, either in your city, or on the highway

    3. Materials are being delivered, but server lag has failed to display the information in your game correctly, or worse has 'lost' those material where your city and the Great Works site are no longer in sync.

    There is nothing you can do about the last issue (other than complain loudly to EA's tech support), but it's a good idea to check that you don't have supply issues within your city.

    The Trading data map is a useful way of identifying where materials of a particular type actually are in a city. By locating the appropriately colored blocks, you can see where it is being delivered to storage depots and where it is going after that. You may find that you have none of the material because of a supply problem with one of the materials required to make it (if your Great Work needs alloy, does your smelting factory have enough ore and coal)? Possibly the material is only being collected at one storage depot which is exporting it for sale, leaving none to ship to the Great Works site? The Trading data map also shows the locations of vehicles carrying your materials, if they are all stuck behind a stalled school bus on their way out of the city then they will need you to sort out the bus before they can get moving!

    Obviously if trucks are stuck on the highway, that is also something you have no control over (other than again to complain loudly to EA). Unfortunately the traffic fix Maxis added fairly early on has led to some unfortunate side-effects for vehicles coming in and out of the city, which is they will often get into a perpetual loop by deciding to take the 'faster' route out onto the highway before coming back into the traffic jam because it is the only route in (watch vehicles on your clogged highway, you'll see this in operation).

    For more information:

  • Government: Understanding Data Maps
  • Trading
  • Arcology

    Unlocking the Arcology

    The Arcology is the easiest to unlock, you simply need 58,000 population living in a region (at which point the game will probably nag you with an in-game challenge to build one relentlessly, even after you've completed some other Great Work).

    Requirements

  • 2,800 tons of Metal
  • 1,000 tons of Alloy
  • 60,000 crates of TVs
  • Benefits

    The Arcology will generate workers, shoppers and students to connected cities. In spite of the requirement for 60,000 crates of TV's (I wonder how many fit in a crate?), you don't get a huge number of any of these in exchange for the money and power that the Arcology requires. In SimCity 2000 the Arcology was something of a 'win' when they became part of the city, here it feels more like something to appease long term fans of the series for the sake of it (in my opnion).

    For more information:

  • Mining
  • Electronics
  • Space Center

    Unlocking the Space Center

    To unlock the Space Center you will need to place a University in a connected city, upgrade it once to place a School of Engineering and then complete the associated research project ($175000).

    Requirements

  • 170,000 barrels of Fuel
  • 1,400 tons of Alloy
  • 40,000 crates of Computers
  • Benefits

    The Space Center generates tourists and increases the education level of connecting cities. I found it generated very few tourists and needed a constant supply of workers to do so (like 30 tourists in exchange for 300 workers). It also has to be admitted that the education level required to produce computers, meant that my cities were already pretty well educated, so I'm not sure what the space center actually offered in that respect. No gold stars certainly! I also found the pop-up messages about satalites to be somewhat irritating.

    For more information:

  • Oil
  • Electronics
  • International Airport

    Unlocking the International Airport

    You will need a municipal airport in the region and 100 tourists traveling to that airport in a single day

    Requirements

  • 2,000 tons of Metal
  • 250,000 barrels of Oil
  • 1,500 tons of Alloy
  • Benefits

    The International Airport generates tourists (how many seems to depend on regional demand for tourists, so it won't help if you've got a failing casino town that isn't attracting visitors). It also accepts freight which is slightly useful if you have a city full of factories whining about shipping problems. I say 'slightly' because any freight shipping that occurs is done so via the stupid grid-locked regional highway.

    For more information:

  • Mining
  • Oil
  • Solar Farm

    Unlocking the Solar Farm

    This requires a University in the region with a School of Science which must completely the Solar Farm research project ($175,000)

    Requirements

  • 115,000 crates of Plastic
  • 600 tons of Alloy
  • 45,000 crates of Processors
  • Benefits

    The Solar farm generates a lot of cheap, green power. There's some debate as to how much it produces, it seems to be about 3000MW and at 300/hr it is considerably cheaper than all other forms of local energy production for that kind of quantity.

    For more information:

  • Electronics
  • Oil
  • Mining
  • Power
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