Image Credit: Bethesda
Forgot password
Enter the email address you used when you joined and we'll send you instructions to reset your password.
If you used Apple or Google to create your account, this process will create a password for your existing account.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Reset password instructions sent. If you have an account with us, you will receive an email within a few minutes.
Something went wrong. Try again or contact support if the problem persists.

SimCity: Learning the Lingo

All the SimCity terms you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.
This article is over 11 years old and may contain outdated information

Nurturing a small town to life and watching it grow into a bustling metropolis is just one of the many appeals of the SimCity experience. But before you start paving roads, plopping utilities, and laying out zones, it’s a good idea to establish a basic understanding of the game’s terminology. Here’s a quick rundown of some common terms you’ll come across during your career as an esteemed mayor.

Recommended Videos

Approval Rating: This communicates how happy your Sims are with how you’re running the city.

Building: Formerly ploppable, this describes anything you can place (or “plop”), which includes buildings, modules, and things like Water Towers. It does not include zones, roads, or things that are painted onto the terrain.

Challenge: This is a general term for the weekly/global challenges offered by the game.

City Site: This is a selectable area of a region in which a player can choose to build a city, before a city is built. Once a city site is claimed, it is simply referred to as a city.

City Specialization: This describes the way in which a city specializes, whether using big business (coal, tourism, ore) or a department of the government (education). See the Coal City Diagrams here.

Clean Industry: Refers to tech level 2 industrial (I) buildings.

Dirty Industry: Refers to tech level 1 industrial (I) buildings.

Edit Mode: The mode in which you edit a building to add/remove modules.

Factory: This is what develops in industrial (I) zones, regardless of wealth level.

Global Market: Resources can be imported and exported through a Trade Depot or Trade Port. Resources are bought and sold at the current market rate as determined by real-time supply and demand.

Great Works: This is the term for the multi-city projects, including the Arcology, International Airport, Solar Farm, and Space Center.

Great Works Site: The area in a region in which you can build Great Works.

High-Tech Industry: Refers to tech level 3 industrial (I) buildings. (See the High Tech City Diagrams here.)

Highway: The main regional thoroughfare that connects neighboring cities within a region.

House: This is what develops in residential (R) zones.

Mission: This is an optional objective, requiring you to complete a specific task as mayor.

Module: This is an additional structure/feature that can be added to a building to increase efficiency/output.

Natural Resources: A resource that is extracted from the map, such as raw ore, crude oil, or coal.

Power: The electricity or energy required to power buildings.

RCI: Short for Residential, Commercial, and Industrial zones.

Region: The area that contains your city, neighboring cities, and Great Works sites, connected by the regional highway.

Resource: Refers to any commodity that can be gifted or bought/sold on the global market. Resources include alloy, coal, computers, processors, fuel, metal, crude oil, raw ore, plastic, and TVs.

Sims: These are the citizens inhabiting each city in every region.

Simoleon: The global currency of SimCity World, it is represented in the game with the § symbol.

Shop: This is what develops in commercial (C) zones, whether they are shops, offices, big box stores, or gas stations.

Upgrade: The process used to change HQs (including Town/City Hall) or roads/bridges from one model to an improved version.

This is just the beginning of our SimCity coverage. For details on increasing your happiness, click here. If you want it all, check out the SimCity: Prima Official Game Guide available now.

Prima Games is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy