SimCity 199: Menus, Settings, and HUDs

SimCity seems to me to be very well laid out. I had very few times when I couldn't figure out where something was. You'll spend the predominant part of your time in the city HUD noodling with your town. Occasionally, you'll head out to the region map if you need to get something from your neighbors or if you need to obtain another location to build an additional town.

City Planning HUDs

Heads-up displays (HUDs) are the network of icons that border your screen that allow you to do stuff in a game. I have collected here screenshots of all the various flavors of the main city HUD (like power, crime, etc) so you can see how the icons are laid out.

City Specialization HUDs

To customize your city, go to the city customization HUD -- located just below the primary city planning HUD on the left side of the HUD bar.


The menus may change before the launch of the game, so I'm going to wait until March 5th.


The settings will probably change before the launch of the game, so come back after the launch.

SimCity 198: Hotkeys

Sure, you can point and click on everything if you feel strongly about it. But you can really zoom through the game by learning some or all of the following hotkey shortcuts.

Video: Best Hotkeys

So here is a little video I threw together to showcase some of the more important hotkeys you're going to be using on a regular basis.

Hotkeys: Camera Controls

Camera controls operate the camera that controls your first-person view of the world. Using these keys, you can dolly, zoom, strafe, and rotate around the map.

Hotkeys: Gameplay

These are miscellaneous gameplay shortcuts.

Hotkeys: Data Overlay

You can access a number of data overlay maps using a shortcut or two. You can even cycle through all of them.

Hotkeys: Menus

Quickly bring up menus.

Hotkeys: Resources

Resource maps are incredibly important when first setting up your game in determining where you're going to put your RCI zones and your ploppables. These shortcut keys are very handy.

Hotkeys: Roads

After you have selected which road you are going to lay down, you can swap between road types (curved, straight, box, etc) using just shortcut keys. This will allow you to draw out your city very fast.

Hotkeys: Speed

You can accelerate how quickly your city operates by jacking up the speed to "cheetah" or pausing the action entirely.

Hotkeys: Sandbox

When playing in sandbox mode, there are several keystrokes that turn off and on certain features. Additionally, [ALT] + [W] will add $100,000 in money to your coffers.

SimCity 192: Data Map Overlays

One of the most important features of the new SimCity 5 is the map overlay mechanic. Basically, in the bottom right-hand corner there is a pop-up menu with thirty icons that correspond to each of the available data maps that allow you to see -- in real time -- the breakdown of statistics for your city. These maps cover analysis for each of the following categories:

  • Top Line - Population Map
  • Top Line - Happiness Map
  • Top Line - Building Density Map
  • Second Line - Residential Map
  • Second Line - Commercial Map
  • Second Line - Industrial Map
  • Second Line - Land Value Map
  • Second Line - Industrial Tech Map
  • Third Line - Power Map
  • Third Line - Water Table Map
  • Third Line - Sewage Map
  • Fourth Line - Waste Disposal Map
  • Fourth Line - Fire Risk Map
  • Fourth Line - Health Map
  • Fourth Line - Crime Map
  • Fourth Line - Education Map
  • Fifth Line - Germs Map*
  • Fifth Line - Air Pollution Map*
  • Fifth Line - Ground Pollution Map*
  • Fifth Line - Wind Map*
  • Fifth Line - Radiation Map*
  • Sixth Line - Bus Map*
  • Sixth Line - Train Map*
  • Sixth Line - Streetcar Map*
  • Sixth Line - Boat Map*
  • Seventh Line - Coal Map*
  • Seventh Line - Ore Map*
  • Seventh Line - Oil Map*
  • Seventh Line - Recycling Map*
  • Seventh Line - Tourism Map*

* Because the beta didn't have things like streetcars and boats, I didn't bother to take screenshots of those feature maps (they were empty). Once the game launches, I'll update this page.

Here are screenshots of the data map overlays that were populated on a city I threw together for the purpose: