SimCity 3000 Hacking tricks

 · 9 mins

Editorial note: SimCity 3000 Unlimited is also known as SimCity 3000 World Edition, SimCity 3000 Édition mondiale, SimCity 3000 Korea and SimCity 3000 Deutschland, and therefore only the “Unlimited” denomination will be used throughout this article.

SimCity 3000 and its Unlimited version are video games developed by EA Maxis, shortly after the acquisition of Maxis by EA, published in 1999 and 2000 respectively.

While SimCity 3000 Unlimited featured a lot of new content like Terrain Edition before starting a new city, new buildings and landmarks, new disasters and new music, some other content was actually removed from the game.

Now, throughout this article I will show you many things that were removed and how to restore them.

Hidden music

Concrete Jungle (Unlimited/World Edition only)

SimCity 3000 Unlimited doesn’t officially feature the music “Concrete Jungle” by Jerry Martin and Marc Russo, not being listed amongst the tracks played in the settings. However, it’s included in the game files (all versions). The base game SimCity 3000 did have the track enabled in the settings.

Now, how to restore it back?

  1. Make a backup just in case.
  2. Go to SimCity 3000 Unlimited’s installation folder
  3. Go now to Apps\Res\Sound
  4. Open AUDIO.INI under a text editor, the latter running as Administrator
  5. Go to Line 512, and find 0x0a="Concrete Jungle",0,"Music\3kp5.xa","",0,1,0,0 or 0x0a="Concrete Jungle",0,"Music\3kp5m.xa","",0,1,0,0

If it’s not 0x0a then find the line containing “Concrete Jungle”

  1. At the end, replace 0,1,0,0 by 0,1,0,1, and remove the ; from the beginning of the line
  2. Save the file

And now, when you start the game, it should now appear within the Preferences menu, and should now be able to play on the game.

SimCity 2000 Theme (both versions)

Now, there is another hidden music that’s in both versions of SimCity 3000 but always disabled. It’s the original SimCity 2000 Theme by Sue Kasper, Brian Conrad and Justin McCormick.

Now, to restore it back, there is a similar process to follow like “Concrete Jungle”

  1. Make a backup just in case.
  2. Go to SimCity 3000 Unlimited’s installation folder
  3. Go now to Apps\Res\Sound
  4. Open AUDIO.INI under a text editor, the latter running as Administrator
  5. Go to Line 512, and find 0x0f="SimCity 2000 Theme",0,"Music\SC2KBug.xa","",0,1,0,1 If it’s not 0x0f then find the line containing “SimCity 2000 Theme”
  6. At the end, replace 0,1,0,0 by 0,1,0,1, and remove the ; from the beginning of the line
  7. Save the file

After doing this, you should now be able to have the SimCity 2000 theme played in-game, just like Concrete Jungle.

Getting SIM Broadway back to SimCity 3000 Unlimited/World Edition

SIM Broadway is another music track from SimCity 3000, composed and played by Jerry Martin, but for unknown reasons, was left out of the Unlimited release of the game.

Edit: If you absolutely want this music track to be included in the Unlimited release, we will no longer provide any direct download link, but you may find full CD releases of SimCity 3000 on the Internet Archive and extract the necessary files from it. (even extracting from the demo works well)

Method 1: for versions of the game using a No-CD patch or the legit Good Old Games (GoG) version

You will first require a copy of the original SimCity 3000 game.

  1. Insert the SimCity 3000 CD-ROM into your CD reader.
  2. Go to \SC3\RES\Sound\MUSIC
  3. Copy 3kg2.xa to your desktop
  4. Eject the disk
  5. Move 3kg2.xa to \Apps\Res\Sound\Music inside the SimCity 3000 Unlimited installation
  6. Go back to \Apps\Res\Sound
  7. Open AUDIO.INI under a text editor, the latter running as Administrator.
  8. Go to Line 512 again, and replace the entire [Music] paragraph by
    [Music]
    ; name, type(0=sample,1=freshness), filename, demofilename, 1=high-performance, in song list, PathIsAbsolute, enabled
    0x01="SIM Broadway",0,"Music\3kg2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x02="Updown Town",0,"Music\3kj1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x03="Night Life",0,"Music\3kj2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x04="South Bridge",0,"Music\3kj3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x05="Central Park Sunday",0,"Music\3kj4.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x06="Building",0,"Music\3kp1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x07="Magic City",0,"Music\3kp2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x08="Illumination",0,"Music\3kp3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x09="New Terrain",0,"Music\3kp4.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0a="Concrete Jungle",0,"Music\3kp5.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0b="Power Grid",0,"Music\3kt1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0c="Infrastructure",0,"Music\3kt2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0d="Urban Complex",0,"Music\3kt3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0e="Window Washer's Dream",0,"Music\3kd1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0f="SimCity 2000 Theme",0,"Music\SC2KBug.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x10="The Howling Wind",0,"Music\3kse1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x11="Sixth Floor",0,"Music\3kse2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x12="Desert Sand",0,"Music\3kse3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x13="City Lights",0,"Music\3kse4.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x14="City of Dreams",0,"Music\3kse5.xa","",0,1,0,1
    

    This should also enable Concrete Jungle as well as the SimCity 2000 theme.

Edit: file names might vary depending on the version of SimCity 3000 Unlimited you dispose. Please make sure these are the correct ones. For instance, many files have an “m” appended to their file name such as Updown Town which file name is 3kj1m.xa instead of 3kj1.xa. Therefore, we trust you will notice those on all the necessary files and make the correct adjustments to the paragraph to copy. Furthermore, if you are using a No-CD patch, I’ll assume you copied beforehand all the CD’s contents on the hard disk and that you no longer use the CD to launch and play the game.

  1. Save the file.

Once you launch the game, all songs will be loaded and enabled within the game, and you will be able to listen to those missing music tracks once again :-)

Method 2: Absolute paths

If you have only a CD version of the game, you cannot edit the CD contents yourself (unless you ripped the CD, which is basically the same as Method 1 except that you need to copy it onto the disk, fortunately with the same folder structure) and therefore you will have to specify an absolute path for the music file of SIM Broadway.

You will first require a copy of the original SimCity 3000 game.

  1. Insert the SimCity 3000 CD-ROM into your CD reader.
  2. Go to \SC3\RES\Sound\MUSIC
  3. Copy 3kg2.xa to your desktop
  4. Eject the disk
  5. Go back to \Apps\Res\Sound
  6. Open AUDIO.INI under a text editor, the latter running as Administrator.
  7. Go to Line 512 again, and replace the entire [Music] paragraph by
    [Music]
    ; name, type(0=sample,1=freshness), filename, demofilename, 1=high-performance, in song list, PathIsAbsolute, enabled
    0x01="SIM Broadway",0,"Music\3kg2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x02="Updown Town",0,"Music\3kj1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x03="Night Life",0,"Music\3kj2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x04="South Bridge",0,"Music\3kj3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x05="Central Park Sunday",0,"Music\3kj4.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x06="Building",0,"Music\3kp1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x07="Magic City",0,"Music\3kp2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x08="Illumination",0,"Music\3kp3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x09="New Terrain",0,"Music\3kp4.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0a="Concrete Jungle",0,"Music\3kp5.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0b="Power Grid",0,"Music\3kt1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0c="Infrastructure",0,"Music\3kt2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0d="Urban Complex",0,"Music\3kt3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0e="Window Washer's Dream",0,"Music\3kd1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x0f="SimCity 2000 Theme",0,"Music\SC2KBug.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x10="The Howling Wind",0,"Music\3kse1.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x11="Sixth Floor",0,"Music\3kse2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x12="Desert Sand",0,"Music\3kse3.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x13="City Lights",0,"Music\3kse4.xa","",0,1,0,1
    0x14="City of Dreams",0,"Music\3kse5.xa","",0,1,0,1
    

    Now take a closer look at

    [Music]
    ; name, type(0=sample,1=freshness), filename, demofilename, 1=high-performance, in song list, PathIsAbsolute, enabled
    0x01="SIM Broadway",0,"Music\3kg2.xa","",0,1,0,1
    

    You see the “PathIsAbsolute” parameter? You will then have to write:

    0x01="SIM Broadway",0,"abspath\3kg2.xa","",0,1,1,1
    

    Replace abspath\3kg2.xa by an absolute path to the 3kg2.xa file

Edit: Again, file names might vary depending on the version of SimCity 3000 Unlimited you dispose. Please make sure these are the correct ones. For instance, many files have an “m” appended to their file name such as Updown Town which file name is 3kj1m.xa instead of 3kj1.xa. Therefore, we trust you will notice those on all the necessary files and make the correct adjustments to the paragraph to copy.

And finally, save the audio.ini file. Once you start the game, the SIM Broadway music track should be back and playable.

Method 3: The Landmark method

This method is already well-known in the community, featured on Simtropolis and SC3000.com, and very well documented on the latter.

This method has the flaw of not being automatically triggered and you must disable the music feature of SimCity 3000 Unlimited to fully enjoy it.

Trivia

As previously stated, SIM Broadway was pulled out from the Unlimited release, but was reintroduced again in SimCity DS, as the main menu music after reaching the 130K population cap. (Not the same as the Start theme of SimCity DS) It was then pulled out again from the SimCity DS 2 release. It seems EA has a love-hate relationship with that particular music.

Launch parameters (all versions)

Colored cursors

SimCity 3000 Unlimited for Mac has colored cursors, but the Windows version does not. Enabling it is very easy:

  1. Open the location of the shortcut to the game.
  2. Append its target to include -cursor:bmp
  3. Save the shortcut

Now, when you launch the game, and load a city, cursors should now be colored. However, on Windows, it’s been known to lag a lot, so if you need to remove the option then remove the -cursor:bmp argument from the shortcut.

Windowed feature

All you need to do is to follow the same process as the cursors, but instead of appending -cursor:bmp you just need to add -w and the game will launch in a Window. Even when you relaunch the game from within, the game will still remain windowed. It’s known to be much faster than the fullscreen version and the only fix against lagging on Windows 7 and later.

Easter eggs

Apart from the hidden music in SimCity 3000 Unlimited, there are also full-fledged easter eggs in the game.

Multiplayer mode

When opened in a hex editor, the game executable for SimCity 3000 contains strings for a possible multiplayer version of the game. It appears to have been scrapped early in development, but after the game revamp after SimCity 3000’s 1997 E3 failure.

Planet SIX AM

SIX AM is an anagram of “Maxis” actually spelled backwards. In a hidden string from the news ticker, again in the game executable, you can find TEXT TO REPLACEed Backwards Is SIX AM? Funnily enough, SIX AM is the name of an alien planet on the Sims 3 (though released much later).

Launch Arcology

Arcologies were present in SimCity 2000 as an effective means of housing lots of population, and according to leftover strings in the game executable as well as IXF text strings in \Apps\Res\UI they were meant to be there for the Unlimited version. The reason why there were scrapped is still unknown, but it’s present in the game code.

Conclusion

This is a flyover of the main SimCity 3000 hacks you can find, put them to good use for a better in-game experience!