SimCity 3000 (SC3K) is a city building simulation personal computer game and the third installment in the SimCity series. It was published by Electronic Arts (EA) and developed by series creator Maxis, a wholly owned subsidiary of EA. It was released for Windows, Macintosh, and, through an arrangement with Loki Games, Linux.
There were many changes between SimCity 3000 and its immediate predecessor SimCity 2000 (SC2K). These changes spanned both the integral city management aspects of the game, as well as its graphical and landscape aspects. These changes gave the game a feel greatly different from that of SC2K.
In a pattern which has continued throughout the SimCity franchise, the number and complexity of city services increased between SC2K and SC3K. The most notable change is that the concept of waste management is introduced in SC3K. In previous versions of SimCity, this aspect had been ignored. However, in SC3K, once a city has a population greater than 1,000, garbage would begin to accumulate and would have to be disposed of at the expense of the city. Farms and agriculture structures were also introduced, appearing on large light industrial zones in a city with low land value and little pollution. In Sim City 3000, there are three zoning densities, compared to SC2K's two. In addition to their limited life span, power plants are now vulnerable to decreasing maximum output at a constant rate after they have gone through about three quarters of their life span.
Although the concept of neighbor cities was introduced in SC2K, it was greatly expanded upon in SC3K. For the first time, the player could interact with his or her neighbor cities, negotiating rudimentary business deals with other mayors, such as the sale or purchase of water, electricity or waste management services. These generate a monthly charge which is either added to or subtracted from the player's treasury, in accordance with the deal. Canceling a neighbor deal will incur a substantial cash penalty. From time to time, the simulated mayors of neighboring cities call meetings to renegotiate the terms or price of these deals. Four different simulated mayors appear in the game.
Although not strictly a city management aspect, SimCity 3000 simulated the effect of land value on construction much more realistically than in SimCity 2000. In the latter, most buildings fell into a wide stratum that did not reflect land value very effectively; every building was more or less suited to neighborhoods of every economic disposition. In SC3K, land value created very distinct neighborhoods which tended to contain narrow income bands, creating well-defined slums, middle class areas, and wealthy areas. Land value is also determined by the city center effect where buildings that are at the city center have higher land values and those buildings on the borders have lower land values. The city center effect is determined by the location of buildings within the city. However, over time, land value "inflation" would cause almost every area of a city to become expensive, so that wealthy neighborhoods covered most if not all of the map.
Business deals were another new concept to SC3K. For allowing certain structures to be built within the city, the player can receive a substantial amount of funds from them. The four business deal structures are the maximum security prison, casino, toxic waste conversion plant and Gigamall (a large shopping mall). Business deal structures, however, have serious negative effects on a city. The toxic waste dump cripples both the land value and residential desirability in the area surrounding it and produces massive pollution. The prison dramatically decreases land value. The casino increases city-wide crime and the Gigamall weakens demand for local commerce.
There were several changes to the graphical interface in SC3K. Although the game retained the pseudo-isometric dimetric perspective of its predecessor, the actual landscape became more complex and colorful. In SimCity and SC2K, the playable landscape was brown, like the color of bare dirt. In SC3K, the playable landscape was a more realistic green color, simulating grassland, along with other colors that progressively change by height, from beige (beach sand) to green to brown (bare ground) to white (snow). In SC2K, land could either be flat or sloped, and all slopes were of the same steepness. In SC3K, there are five distinct steepness of slope, creating more varied landscapes. However, in SC3K, there are no waterfalls and hydroelectric dams, which are common in SC2K. Also, for the first time, there were different types of trees which could appear on the playable map. In SC2K, there were only pine trees, while in SC3K, oak trees prevail, but other types of trees exist, depending on the elevation of the terrain. In SC2K, trees would grow at random throughout the city where no buildings existed. This feature was removed in SC3K.