A Misacrope's Guide and Commentary for Yoot Tower
Author: Kirinn Bunnylin
Authoritative site: Bunnyworks
Version 1.41 "Lupsakka" 29-Oct-2016
Yoot Tower is a light business simulation by the zany Yutaka Saito and his
friends at OPeNBook9003. In it, you construct a tower or other multi-floor
building populated with offices, residences, shops, hotels, and various
supporting services. And elevators. Lots of elevators.
Yoot Tower is a sequel to The Tower, better known in the West as SimTower,
published by Maxis. Yoot Tower improves on SimTower in every way, but still
retains a good score of annoyances. I can not stress enough how miserable the
economy simulation, AI programming and user feedback are. Mysteriously, the
game itself still manages to be fun.
There is a third game in the series, for the Gameboy Advance: The Tower SP.
The screenshots look awfully cramped compared to the relatively clean, simple
interface in Sim and Yoot Towers.
There is at least one open source remake in the makes. Look for OpenTower.
Like so many community projects, it may result in something playable over the
next 4-6 years. Good luck to them! I have some ambition of making a game like
this myself, even.
What I write here is based on my experience on the Engrish-language Windows
version of Yoot Tower. The Mac and Japanese versions may be subtly different.
Due to the lacking quality of the localisation, some of the shoppers' and
residents' thoughts are terminated halfway with a strange symbol. I like to
think that everyone in the game is pretending to be a Stormtrooper and ending
everything they say with a static noise.
"Let's watch the movie with a cup of --KCHHH."
"Style in the fashion too. --KCHHH."
"This is the best stuff I've ever tas--KCHHH."
Notably, the Japanese version had many additional scenarios and add-on
plug-ins, none of which I have touched. OPeNBook's website has been dead for
a long time, so the plug-ins are not easily available. Investigation on the
internet suggests that even if you were able to find copies of the plug-ins,
they would only work with the original Japanese game.
A pity, as the plug-ins included the possibility of building a complex
inside the Statue of Liberty, as well as one at Kyoto Station and one
underground beneath the Tokyo Tower. Not to mention some kind of weird
Christmas-themed location with a few floors inside a humongous fir tree...
Changed from version 1.4:
- General polish, no significant content change
Changed from version 1.2:
- General polish
- A few notes on the plug-ins
- More thoughts on the hotel system, put in a separate section
- Clarified the traffic grid explanation
- Additions to Hawaii
Changed from version 1.1:
- General polish
- Added a diagram and more notes for the Kegon Falls scenario
- More detailed explanation of the hotel system
- Added a thought on elevator waiting times and direction prioritising
- More whitespace, since it's cheap
Changed from version 1.0:
- General polish
- Added a diagram to illuminate the compartmentalised block concept
- New authoritative site
On things to build:
(focusing on Tokyo; see "On the scenarios" for notes on the other two places)
Offices - the major money maker. Each comes with 6 battery-operated employees
programmed to gripe and moan when anything noisier than a mouse goes past
their office. This means that even the lowest level of visible traffic will
easily drop the office's happiness rating to yellow, even if rent is cut to
the minimum.
This means you can ignore their whining and charge them the maximum of
$4000, or $3000 once cash is flowing in smoothly. Keep the majority happy
with a good transportation system, and if some still complain, let them
find a better business center. Chances are, your next renters will be less
sociopathic, and meanwhile you have a few less jerks clogging up your
transport system.
The rent is accumulated monthly but paid quarterly, so a rent of $3000
means that at each turn of quarter the office pays you $9000.
Office workers want easy access to communal restrooms.
They sometimes go out for lunch or dinner in one of your restaurants,
alone or in small packs. Occasionally office workers also drop in at your
shops, at least at ice cream, coffee and book stores, and probably others.
Rental apartments - a minor money maker. Each comes with a single lonely
businessperson whose life consists of waking up at 7:00 every working day
and going to work, coming back at 17:00 sharp, and spending the rest of the
evening playing hentai games. About once a year they go out and splurge on
a manga or a coffee at your tower's shops, but never both on the same day.
Rental apartments also complain about the tiniest bit of traffic, which
is fine; they stress about it, so you don't have to.
The rent is, again, accumulated monthly and paid quarterly. Charging $700
nets you $2100 a quarter.
Judging by the game's people sprites, and the average height of Japanese
people as reported on Wikipedia, each apartment appears to be 2,6 m (8'6")
high, and a mere 3 m (9'10") wide. The third dimension could of course be
10 meters or more, hidden by the game's perspective, but it still feels
awfully cramped.
Condominiums - heinous waste. First you pay $100000 to build the apartment,
then "sell" it for anything up to $200000. You continue paying for
infrastructure maintenance while getting nothing more from the condo. Worse
yet, if the condo is destroyed for any reason, or if the tenants ever get
annoyed enough to be at red happiness when the quarter changes, they move
out and automatically take the condo's entire undepreciated price from your
account. Condos are like a twisted loan that you always pay back with
interest, though that may be useful if you need cash for fast investment.
Just remember: if, say, a fire or an explosion destroys a dozen condos,
you may find yourself suddenly 2 million bucks drier, AND have to rebuild
the section.
The man of the household has a standard 8-16 job. The child (who will
never grow up) has school 9-15. Everyone leaving the tower starts heading
out at 7:00 to allow for the slow commute. The housewife is locked in the
apartment, vacuums the entire place several times every day, and may only
go out with her husband's leave once a year to visit one of your tower's
many shops. A typical Japanese family?
Condo owners will eventually start bugging you to set up a school close
by for their kids. Ignoring this request invokes no sanction.
Grand Star Hotel - profitable fun for towers of two stars and upwards! You
need a front desk with access to hotel rooms, and a housekeeping area with
service access to the rooms. Guests will get easily annoyed if they have to
stand in queues or hear the slightest noise.
There are three room types in Tokyo, with analogues available at Kegon
Falls and Hawaii. The most cost-effective seems to be the double room, so
go heavy on those, with maybe one single room and suite per floor. There is
a notable bug in the hotel room functioning; more on that in the bug list.
A more thorough consideration of the hotel business is further below.
Parking spaces - somewhat pointless. Cheap to build and maintain, but you
will rarely see them get used. On a good day in a 3-star tower maybe 30% of
the spaces get used by various shoppers. On a normal day not a single one
gets used. Once you hit a 4-star tower, exceptional weekends may see a nice
80% of parking space get used, though most of the time a few wind-blown
rolling bushes are still the only visitors. The game's algorithm for
deciding how many car users stop by is very likely completely broken.
There is no real profit contribution, but you may want to have parking
space anyway for diversity and prestige.
The game's description says parking space is used by office visitors and
hotel guests. I have never seen either come by car, only shoppers do. In
addition, to retain exclusivity for marketing advantage and to minimise
temptation caused by excessive profit, the parking hall entrance is only
open between 12:00 and 16:00; cars are never let in at other times.
Subway - the mark of a commercial nexus. Ghastly expensive, very few visitors
seem to actually use this until your tower has a third star. Then you start
getting dozens of shoppers on every train that you pay to stop at your
station; one out of a hundred office workers will use the subway for
transit (far from credible in a Tokyo scenario), though it seems no one
ever arrives on the two or three first trains in the morning. Trying to
take the subway to get home, they may miss the last train, and then get
stressed and blame you instead of their own lack of time management skill.
Considering the huge investment needed for a completely upgraded metro
station, and the $100k quarterly maintenance, you are going to be losing
money hand over fist. The added shop traffic might cover 10% of the
maintenance on a really good day. But every self-respecting tower manager
must have a personal subway station, right?
Restrooms - cheap, and essential to stop shoppers and office workers from
complaining. Drop in one restroom for every two shops or restaurants, and
one per office floor. If restrooms are sparse, people start complaining
about them being crowded, not that it seems to affect anything.
Security rooms - these watchdogs always have a bad feeling about something.
They find and defuse terrorist bombs, and put out fires. The guards can run
to emergency locations pretty quickly, but for best performance, security
rooms should be spread around the complex. Have at least one in each
separate tower. I never bother to build any security underground, since
terrorists seem to suffer from fear of low places and never go down there.
The security people would really like to have a restroom somewhere close
by, presumably in case of loose bowels during a bomb threat. Just ignore
their pleas, that's what I do.
Power room - a nuclear power generator in the tower's basement. As soon as
you go up to three stars, the tenants start bugging you ceaselessly to set
them up a power room. There is no immediate benefit whatsoever, so you
might as well ignore it as long as possible. You will note the demands
change in tone once you have enough power gobblers to nearly exceed the
5000 MWatts available for free.
If you continue constructing past the 5000 MW limit, you will experience
a Power Down event. The entire tower goes dark. In fact, if you look at the
tower from the Outside view, in broad daylight, even the tower's outside
walls are dark.
Strangely, the power cut does not stop the elevators and escalators from
running normally, but the entire urban subway network grinds to a halt.
No one will enter your tower until power is restored.
Adding insult to injury, at this point your butler tells you that the
residents have fled through the fire exits. This is a lie. In reality,
everyone in the tower gets bumped up to maximum stress and the steaming
shoppers gradually stumble to the exit, painfully bumping into a lot of
things on the way. The actual residents, tower employees, and hotel guests
continue sitting sullenly in their gloomy rooms and no one is going
anywhere (probably thanks to the electrically operated blast doors
installed at every room). The tower effectively remains in stasis,
incurring only quarterly expenses, and no revenue whatsoever.
Eventually, if you destroy enough power-hungry tenants, or finally build
that power room, lights return and the unhappy residents are unleashed from
their apartments. Alternatively, take the money intended for building the
power room and move to another country.
Trash facility - the minute this becomes available, every restaurant starts
suddenly generating waste and will shut down in two days if they cannot get
access to a trash facility. Build a trash facility and connect it to every
restaurant level with a service elevator or normal stairs, and watch the
garbage pile up! In the mornings, a magic truck appears to take all the
trash to an unknown wonderland.
Doctor's office - the minute this becomes available, residents and office
workers suddenly start "getting sick," complete with a clearly faked
"Cough, Cough, Where is the Docter's --KCHHH."
There's not much point in building this expensive office, since all that
happens is that the ill people clog up your transit system heading to the
doctor's office, being miraculously cured, and then going home to rest. Why
they can't just go home and take some vitamins without a 15-minute checkup
at a $500000 facility is a well-guarded mystery. Wait until you feel rich
and generous before building this.
Want to know the secret of the medical facilities? Do you see any doctors
or nurses ever going to or from the place? No. Yet if you peek into the
office, you can see both hard at work. Clearly these are not human - they
are state-of-the-art Holo-Doctors! This explains both the rapid cure rate
and the high price tag. If they are employing the Dr. Bashir model, that
might even explain why the female workers suddenly start getting sick all
the time...
Movie theaters, event center - to make your tower the entertainment center of
the town, you need these! The idea of having a movie complex in your tower
is awesome, but why do you have to personally change the movie every few
months? If you do not, the movie will get old, and soon gets cancelled, and
the theater stops operating until you go and yell at them to go download
a new 10-second clip to show.
In the event center you get to set an event schedule, which at least has
the decency to loop around the year so you don't have to keep changing
events manually if you do not want to.
If you build these, a lot of shoppers will flock in to watch the glorious
256-color video clips that change depending on which movie or event you are
running. The clips get old really fast.
School - weird. If you for whatever reason have condominiums, you will note
that each one is populated by a perfectly average family with one child.
(Unless that blob every mother drags along is a toddler?) Once you earn
a four star rating, every condo family will erupt in a simultaneous wail at
5:00 at the beginning of every quarter. It goes a little something like
this: "ShwoZ'ss'EhEicent --KCHHH."
That means they want a school for their kids. Build one, and 55 lucky
boys and girls get to study in your tower! If you do not have enough kids
in your condominiums, the quota is filled from external sources. You never
see a yen of tuition fees or government subsidies, in any case. You do see
quarterly maintenance costs. Also, note that the school has a pretty short
access range; condominiums ten floors away may refuse to travel such a long
distance, and in protest will rather send their kid right past your school
to a competing tower's school on the edge of town.
The schools in your tower somehow keep the kids entertained from 9:00
until well past the end of the school day at 15:00; yet they never have
class trips, ever. This must be because the Holo-Teachers cannot leave the
Gathering area - decorative. People drop in here to kick back and take five.
Their total stress levels do not go down, however; indeed, the trip to the
gathering area probably increases stress a little. Also, people do not go
to the gathering area to rest in the middle of a long shopping day. No,
they come to your tower to check out the gathering area, then leave the way
they came without leaving a yen behind. Only about one out of a hundred
visitor groups will decide to go to a shop or restaurant afterward.
This is, therefore, a really cool idea left completely unexploited. You
pay 50 grand per quarter, and only get yet another small population boost
in return, just like every other similar structure. Not worth building
unless you are desperate for a bigger tower population.
Final item - a sort of decorative bonus that proves you are a real Tower
Tycoon (the investing kind, not the Pokemon kind). Each scenario has its
own special Final Item. It always goes on the highest possible floor, and
brings a few extra people in, but no significant revenue.
Advertisement billboards - lame. By switching to the "Outside" view of your
tower, you can set up billboards that cost $100000 each and have no
maintenance costs. You can then rent advertisement space to various product
placements and get essentially free money. Too easy for my elitist taste,
and those advertisements cheapen the tower's facade.
Shops and restaurants - interesting. Most of these are merely population
boosters, and bring negligible return on investment.
For example: the popular Video & DVD store occupies 40 space units, costs
$600000 plus infrastructure investment, and rakes in about $2000-$5000 per
month, for an annual ROI of 4-10%, and $600-$1500 revenue per space unit.
Compare this with a competitively priced office which occupies 9 space
units and costs $100000 plus infrastructure, and brings in a steady $2000
in monthly rent, for an annual ROI of 24%, and $2667 revenue per space
unit. Then realise that a more aggressive pricing policy nets you double
that per office.
But, you need the high population numbers shops and restaurants bring.
They also make for diversity, and round out your tower nicely. Just be sure
to start with the profitable ones and leave the others for later.
A good place for non-exclusive restaurants is wherever they can be
surrounded by lots of offices and some residences and maybe a few hotel
rooms, too. A sky cafe is cool to have; link the floor to all nearby
business blocks and add an express connection to the ground floor to
maximise visitors and profit. This may be the only way to get anyone to
ever come to the deeply untrendy noodle shops.
Every shop and restaurant has a random amount of visitors independent of
the existence of other shops and restaurants. Every shop is an island unto
itself. If you build one burger joint, you get about 100 shoppers a month.
If you build three, you get 300 shoppers a month. Somehow demand for goods
grows infinitely at the same rate as supply of said goods, making this game
an investment capitalist's sweet utopia.
(1-star tower)
- coffee.com: lucky to break even once a year, but very popular and cheap.
- Burger Land: small but steady profit, very popular.
- Ramen noodle house: the description in the game says it has many regular
customers... but there are barely ten per day even when located in the
middle of office blocks.
- Soba noodle house: likewise very unpopular, will hardly turn a profit at
$5 a bowl, but office people do go there sometimes.
- J-Pub: office people sometimes go there after work. Once you have lots of
offices this usually renders a nice profit.
- Mrs. Weinstein's Toffee: once you have a two-star tower, on average about
breaks even, quite popular. In a one-star, not so.
(2-star tower)
- Big Country: on average yields a small profit.
- Loco Taco: usually produces a steady, small profit, mildly popular.
- Jenny's: open around the clock, a people magnet, and usually gives a nice
profit. Becomes even better after your tower is open 24H a day starting at
the 3 star rating.
(3-star tower)
- Sushi-Man: not very popular, only mildly profitable, if at all.
- Mama Pizano's: popular, steady profit.
- Maharaja: small but steady profit. Better if lots of offices are around,
since workers seem to enjoy having lunch or dinner there sometimes.
- Korean barbeque: small but steady profit.
- Uncle Chow's: very popular and profitable! Almost always goes in the blue
happiness level even outside weekends.
- Eiffel Tower: exclusive, ie. few customers, but on average a tidy profit.
(1-star tower)
- Ice cream: small but steady profit, popular.
- Book store: small but steady profit, popular.
- 1-800-Flowers: small but steady profit.
- Barber shop: usually turns a small profit.
- Cigarette and juice vending machines: no maintenance costs, but also only
minimal profits. Set these up later in a small space somewhere.
- Orange Julius: bad at first, eventually turns a small profit on average.
- Record store: mostly just loses money, but must have to get to 2 stars.
(2-star tower)
- Drug store: lucky to break even once a year, high maintenance costs.
- Pet shop: on average a small profit, but varies a lot.
- Convenience store: varies, on average may turn a small profit, popular.
- Video & DVD: moderate and steady profit, very popular.
- Electronics store: lucky to ever break even, high maintenance, but must
have for 3 stars in Tokyo.
(3-star tower)
- Ladies' boutique: usually turns a nice profit.
- Men's clothing shop: lucky to break even once a year.
- Sporting goods: on average just about breaks even.
- Toy World: varies quite a lot, maybe slightly profitable, mildly popular.
- Supermarket: highly profitable, very popular.
(4-star tower)
- Gameworks arcade: huge 3-story thing, highly profitable and popular.
It is possible to adjust the ratio of goods categories offered in each shop.
Every shop has 4 kinds of goods available. It seems like each category should
appeal to a specific market segment, such as young people, businesspeople,
or housewives. In theory, you should figure out which goods are most in
demand and focus sales on those; or, you should tweak all shops to cater to
a specific market segment to attract your preferred kind of people in great
Unfortunately, the game does not offer sufficient market research or sales
analysis tools to allow any sort of educated decision. Interviewing the
little people marching around nets you a random response depending on the
place they are heading to. Sometimes they may adamantly repeat a specific
item they are hoping to buy; other times the same person changes their mind
every time you ask.
I ran some analysis to see if any goods were more popular than others; on
every game weekend without rain I wrote down the sales of each store set to
sell only one type of goods. Repeat a dozen times for each type of goods,
drop the highest and lowest values, and calculate an average. The end result
was that there was a small difference in favor of certain goods, but nowhere
near enough to be worth the effort.
If there is an actual economic model running in the game, it is exceedingly
poorly communicated to the player. Ignore the goods type ratios, except for
their flavor value.
On Hotels:
The only two things that can keep guests away are dirt and stress. Only clean
rooms can accept guests, and no one ever wants to stay in a room where
a previous occupant felt less than blue happiness. Every clean room at
excellent happiness has a 70-75% flat chance of getting a guest each day.
Therefore, the more rooms you construct and keep clean, the more guests you
To put it another way: you only start losing business if any rooms fall
below blue happiness, or if your housekeeping maids cannot keep up. Possible
causes are a queue at check-in or at the elevators, or not enough elevator
cars evenly spread out.
In the real world, such things as price, service quality, competition,
seasonality, holidays and marketing affect the amount of business you would
expect to get.
Not so in Yoot Tower. The hotel business works on an "if you build it, they
will come" basis. I did some light analysis in all three scenarios, and
concluded the following: there is no significant difference in room occupancy
rates in any scenario regardless of the time of year or room type. You would
think that the simulation would at least make less people show up at the
pretty Falls during off-season, but no.
Room price does seem to have a tiny effect, though. The cheapest price
seems to attract guests at a 75% chance, while the steepest price only brings
in people at a 70% chance. Considering how much more revenue the higher
prices bring, there is no point charging anything less than the maximum
price per room, unless your infrastructure cannot keep practically all rooms
at blue happiness. Lowering the price gives a small bonus multiplier to the
room's happiness score.
One oddity that can throw off the analysis is that during the first year or
so of running the hotel business, you get less guests than that 70-75% rate.
Some sort of hidden reputation counter, perhaps? After the first year,
though, hotel guests will come in droves.
The housekeeping maids are inefficient domestic drones who are probably paid
a salary without regard to performance. They are supposed to stay until
16:00, dynamically moving to clean rooms the moment guests vacate them.
Instead, they often stop work at 14:00 and chill out the rest of the
afternoon, even if there are still rooms to be cleaned. Rarely one maid will
stay overtime to take care of an extra room, and would deserve a bonus if I
had any say in the matter.
As for the dynamism... the housekeepers probably toss dice to decide who
gets which room to clean. Unfortunately this results in the maids hopping
from floor to floor and taking frequent breaks, a quarter of their working
time being wasted in stressful transit. It would be more efficient to assign
one floor per one maid and share the rest of the work in a supportive work
environment, but what can you do.
A single maid can handle about 6 rooms of any size in one day before
breaking in nervous jitters and leaving work unfinished. Each housekeeping
room holds six housekeepers in Tokyo, six in Hawaii, and four in Kegon Falls.
Considering that occupancy rates are 70-75%, you can allow for 8 rooms per
maid, since that leaves an average of 6 per day in need of cleaning.
A hotel block should have maybe 12-14 people per floor. More than that and
you risk noise pollution that will turn the rooms yellow and hence completely
unacceptable for guests.
Furthermore, a single front desk should not handle more than 50-60 rooms,
or check-in will get occasionally swamped. Check-out will always get bogged,
but that is fine, since customer annoyance does not count against you once
they leave their hotel rooms.
Taking all the above into consideration, a plan for a nice hotel block
presents itself. In Tokyo or Hawaii, you could use 8 floors of 6 rooms each.
At Kegon Falls all rooms house three people, so you could have 8 floors of
4 rooms each. Each block gets one front desk and one maid lair.
On happiness, elevators and transport:
In order to function usefully, every room must be accessible. There are two
kinds of access: one for people, and one for service drones. Standard
elevators, express elevators and escalators are only usable by normal people
and security guards. Service elevators are only usable by housekeepers on
duty and by the poor sods who drew the short straw and take out the garbage
bags from restaurants at the end of the day. Plain vanilla stairs, the great
equaliser, are usable by everyone and liked by no one.
Unlike in SimTower, the number of transportation methods is not limited in
Yoot Tower. You can have as many elevator shafts and escalators as you can
afford and fit in the tower.
Shoppers and residents of your tower are happy to take several modes of
transportation to reach their target, but each use makes them a little more
stressed. Simple stairs are terribly stressful to climb, escalators not so,
although there seems to be a maximum amount of people that can fit on an
escalator at one time, so queues may form at busy areas. Queues also form in
front of elevator landings.
Standing in queue is very stressful.
The key to a happy tower is making sure that people do not have to climb
stairs or stand in queues. They should also not be subjected to much noise.
This is easier said than done, since the elevators are amazingly stupid.
Whoever programmed the elevator operations should be punished in the name of
the moon. It is common to see elevator cars sitting still and empty on the
same floor with people queueing, because another car - with room for one more
person - is planning to head toward that floor sometime in the future from
eighty floors away.
This means that in larger towers it is impossible to have a smooth
transportation system and the tenants will barbeque you for it.
Furthermore, the tenants have a current Stress level, and an Avg. Stress
level. The latter is in fact a total sum of stress which falls slowly over
time. In any large tower, you will find that even a smooth pair of
express/normal elevator rides up, and another pair of rides back down creates
stress faster than the stress wears out. Thus your tenants will, over a few
years, accumulate enough stress to see red, and will move out and tell their
friends to hate your tower, too. I guess work exhaustion is a serious problem
in Japan but this is ridiculous.
As a side effect, one-time visitors are much easier to keep happy, since
there is no stress carry-over. And hotel guests only need to be kept happy
until they leave their room to check out, after which their complaints will
not hurt the room's happiness.
You will want to minimise the number of floors actively served by each
elevator shaft to give the AI as little chance as possible of screwing up
your fragile tenants' lives. The goal is to get everyone where they need to
go by taking one normal elevator and maybe one express. To do this, you need
to use nexus levels - people use an express elevator to get up there, then
switch to a normal elevator to reach one of several office/hotel/residence
blocks immediately around the nexus level.
The nexus level is also a prime spot for bonus rooms, such as a security
room, a doctor's office, a school, or an exclusive noodle restaurant.
Each block should be of a size that does not overburden the normal elevator,
while still generating enough revenue to cover the operating costs. On each
floor you should have not many more than 30-35 people, or they start making
enough noise to annoy each other.
A normal elevator can comfortably serve about 40 offices, if they are not
spread out across a full fifteen floors. Add to that another 40 rental
apartments, placed further from the nexus than the offices as less demanding
tenants. A good business block, then, might consist of 7 floors of 2 or 3
offices on both sides of the elevator and a restroom in the middle; then
3 floors of 10-15 rental apartments on both sides of the elevator.
Placing rental apartments in office blocks makes sense, because residents
and office workers generally use the elevators at different times. This
allows servicing a larger number of people with the same infrastructure.
Some elevator types allow adjusting the time an elevator box waits before
moving off. It is a small finetuning effect. For crowded elevators, it is
generally a good idea to keep the delay at 3-6 seconds, to allow an
intermittent stream of people to fill the elevator completely. Service
elevators are best operated with minimal waiting times. You can also
prioritise a movement direction based on times of day, but considering the
quality of elevator AI programming, you are probably better off not touching
those settings lest the elevator explode and your tenants blame you for that
An elevator with 4-5 boxes can easily handle any amount of people in
a compact hotel block. Office blocks and shopping areas, on the other hand,
require all the elevating capacity you can fit in.
Confused? Perhaps a rough blueprint will clarify things. From the lobby, you
can take an express elevator to the nexus level. Then you take a normal
elevator to get to any apartment or any office, or you walk over to the hotel
area. In the hotel area, you can move from the front desk to the rooms with
normal elevators.
In the diagram, there are two office/apartment blocks and two hotel blocks,
all accessible from a single skybridged nexus level. To avoid cluttering the
diagram, I did not draw the service elevator, but that would cover both hotel
blocks from the nexus level.
|              #             |
| apartments   #  apartments |
|              #             |        --------------------------
|--------------#-------------|        |   .      #       .     |
|              #             |        | s .  d   #  d    .  s  |
|              #             |        | i .  o   #  o    .  u  |
|              #             |        | n .  u   #  u    .  i  |
|  offices     #   offices   |        | g .  b   #  b    .  t  |
|     x3       #     x2      |        | l .  l   #  l    .  e  |
|              #             |        | e .  e   #  e    .     |
|              #             |        |   .      #       .     |
|     ##     # # NEXUS LEVEL            maids x2 # frontdesk x2|
|     ##     #               |        |     .      #       .   |
|     ##     #               |        |  s  .  d   #    d  . s |
|     ##     #               |        |  u  .  o   #    o  . i |
|  offices   #    offices    |        |  i  .  u   #    u  . n |
|    x2      #      x3       |        |  t  .  b   #    b  . g |
|     ##     #               |        |  e  .  l   #    l  . l |
|     ##     #               |        |     .  e   #    e  . e |
|-----##-----#---------------|        |     .      #       .   |
|     ##     #               |        |------------------------|
| apartments #  apartments   |        |                        |
|     ##     #               |        |                        |
|     ##                                                       |
|     ##    LOBBY                                              |
|     ##                                                       |
For the obsessive-compulsives out there, we can take optimisation further.
You will note that the smallest unit of distance is the size of a single step
of floor. All items you can build have a specific width in steps; most are
divisible by 4, but not all. Also, the minimum distance between towers is
9 steps. If you try to leave only 8 steps or less of empty space, the space
is automatically filled.
One problem with nexus levels is that you have to be careful with the
symmetry of your block design. Every transport mode needs four steps of empty
space on both sides. In order to fit one block with an express elevator and
two normal elevators (one up, one down), and maybe a service elevator for
garbage disposal if you have a sky café operation, you will have to squeeze
the elevators right next to each other or make uncomfortably wide towers. Too
wide towers means a tradeoff between wasted space and noise pollution. The
tower visitors seem to get no stress from plain lateral walking, thankfully,
though the higher traffic can annoy offices and residences.
Your basic plan should probably be 3-4 towers connected by sky bridges at
1-3 nexus levels.
Now, you cannot place the regular elevator landing too close to either
edge of a block, since then people are noisily stomping all the way across
the story. The pair of normal elevators must be close to the center, while
leaving the minimum required amount of space between the pair. Each shaft
takes 4 steps of space, and requires 4 steps on its both sides for queues.
A pair of elevators, then, occupies a total of 24 steps of space.
To make things more interesting, the game tracks traffic density on a 4-step
grid. Look at the Traffic view; see, how the red traffic intensity is aligned
in a square grid? Every time a person walks into a new square in the grid,
the square gets a bit noisier.
As noted above, an elevator covers 4 steps, and has a 4-step queue on both
sides. The queues cause noise like any other movement. If you place an
elevator so that the shaft covers two squares in that grid, then with the
queue space you are causing noise in a total of 4 traffic squares. If you
align the shaft precisely into the grid, however, only 3 traffic squares will
suffer noise.
Take this into account and you can make sure no offices or apartments or
other touchy tenants are annoyed by elevator traffic. Restrooms don't
complain (and probably benefit from masking noise), so lay them in the
high-traffic squares.
Still confused? Build a tower or two, then read this again, maybe it will
make more sense then.
On random events:
There are a few goofy events you will get to deal with. Some of them are
good, others not so. You may get a visit from crazy Uncle Reggae, or the
tower's mascot stray dog, Maru, who can somehow reach the top floor buttons
in an elevator by itself. Don't worry about those two.
Worry about the terrorists instead.
The most common event early on is the Terrorist Bomb Threat. Either pay the
terrorists lots of terror money and finance their terrorific activities, or
wake your security guys and have them eliminate the danger while the rest of
the building is evacuated. Once you reach four-star status, the terrorists
lose interest and don't want your filthy capitalist money anymore.
Another destructive event is a fire breaking out. It will destroy several
rooms, but can not spread over empty floor space. Your security goons will
put the fire out quickly, but by then you will have lost a few hundred
thousand Japanese dollars' worth of property, and the tower has been
evacuated. For whatever reason, it seems only guards from the first security
room you have built come with fire extinguishers; I had a fire break out on
the 33rd floor, and while the guys on the 27th kept drinking coffee, my
security ninjas from the 4th floor had to scale the sheer tower walls to
reach the fire site. They got there just in time to roast marshmallows over
the cooling rubble of 6 offices and 28 rental apartments. ($1160000 damages
If you have lots of money, you can summon a firefighting helicopter
instead; this results in a swift minigame where a helicopter slowly navigates
toward your cursor and you get to spew water all over the place. And here I
thought firefighting choppers used a foam of some kind. If your mouse-fu is
not up to scratch your whole tower may burn to cinder before you can put the
flames out. It is worth at least trying out, if you can afford the fee, which
is outrageous considering they can not even provide a trained firefighting
crew able to act without your hand-holding.
Due to lazy programmers, bad things only ever seem to happen at 9:00 in the
mornings, or at 12:00 sharp.
When your tower is evacuated, all residents and visitors make a beeline for
the exits, along the fire escape stairways on the sides of your building.
This generates some noisy traffic along the edges, and in larger towers may
be enough to annoy residents along the edges to leave your tower in a huff,
traumatised by the noisy environment. This is especially bad if you built
expensive condos along the tower edges since you get to refund every yen the
inhabitants paid for the condos.
Meanwhile, you will note that hotel guests also escape your tower WITHOUT
PAYING for their stay. Your housekeepers and front desk angels rush after the
guests and will only return the next morning with every guest's name, address
and wallet. Once midday rolls around, you will get what the guests should
have paid you, but you have already lost one day's hotel profits. From an
economic point of view it may make sense to pay off the terrorists, if your
daily intake from the hotel business is more than what they ask from you.
Of course, if you pay them, what makes you think they won't come back the
next week to ask for more? Once I did pay them, and what happened moments
later on that same game day? A fire broke out and caused several hundred
thousand worth of losses in addition to the terrorists' fee I paid. Probably
faulty wiring in their home-made suitcase bomb.
There are also happy events: when digging in the ground, you may uncover
a valuable treasure. At Kegon Falls, you will eventually find a hot spring in
the rock, enabling you to set up a spa. In Tokyo, in December you may spot
a figure in red zooming through the sky, ejaculating a demonic "Ho Ho Ho!"
VIP visits feel random enough to count as happy events - particularly as
you generally do not even need to do anything, just let them experience your
majestic tower. If you have a hard time getting a VIP to drop by, don't
despair. Even when all their demands have been met, it can take years before
one remembers your existence. VIPs are very busy people.
On the scenarios:
The easiest scenario - a hotel and spa dug into rock beside waterfalls.
Beautiful scenery all around.
The only way to make money is to quickly build lots of hotel rooms. After
that, you can't really go wrong. Keep building empty floorspace inside the
cliff until you find a hot spring, and can set up a spa.
Build more hotel rooms and round out the complex with interesting shops.
Note, however, that nobody at all seems to be interested in the Kids' Store,
the souvenir store, or the Old Time Cafe; these will just lose you money
continuously. The pickle farm retail outlet, photo studio, coin press
machine, traditional Japanese restaurant and juice bar are also not
particularly popular or profitable. The snacks bar and the ice cream stand
are the only shops bringing in a trickle of profit.
Once you have a spa, and a good bunch of hotel rooms, wait a decade or two
and a passing VIP may get lured in. He will take a refreshing hot bath in
preparation for a barrel ride down the falls, and you are granted a rating
After the first rating upgrade, you can build a fire department. This is
for those lousy guests who bring a water heater with them, and set the
curtains on fire. Happens once every thirty years or so, but the fire
department is fairly cheap to have and may limit the damage.
Also after the first rating upgrade, you can build a neat pagoda on top of
your entrance lobby. The pagoda visitors never seem to go to any of your
shops, but they do pay a small entrance fee that just covers the pagoda's
maintenance costs. After 200 visitors within one day, the pagoda gets
upgraded, and soon after that you get upgraded too, to the highest rating.
No new items become available.
The observatory can be destroyed, incidentally. Just click the sledgehammer
tool on it when no people are present. This makes no difference to rating
upgrades. Income from the observatory tickets is a drop in the ocean, anyway.
You can rebuild the observatory later, but due to constructor corruption and
concerned bureaucrats, it will cost a million, and can still only be placed
in the exact spot it was in originally.
Here is my suggested floorplan. Have one service elevator along the right
edge from the top restaurant level down to the trash room. Have one elevator
service the top shop levels and the top front desk. Connect another one from
the top to the lower front desks and the observatory level. Then connect the
front desks to the hotel rooms with yet another one or two elevators. Bonus
points for connecting the hotel rooms to the spa; occasionally a guest family
dares to go peeking in.
|#       Attractive PAGODA      |
| #  Lobby + ticket booths  #     |
| # shops     restaurants   #   $ |
|  # shops     restaurants   #   $ |
|   # shop  #         spa     #   $ |
|   # shop  #  front desk + maid  $ |
|           # 7 floors of     #   $ |
|           # 1 big and       #   $ |
|           # 4 small rooms   #   $ |
|           #                 #   $ |
|                #            #   $ |
|  7 floors of   #            #   $ |
|  1 big and     #            #   $ |
|  4 small rooms #            #   $ |
|  2 front desks # #  2 maids #   $ |
|  7 floors of     #          #   $ |
|  1 big and       #          #   $ |
|  4 small rooms   #          #   $ |
|                  #          #   $ |
|     fire dep. + trash room  #   $ |
--.|       shops                 #   $ |
Fairly straightforward - build a hotel/resort complex in Hawaii. At two
stars, you will get to build a boat deck, the local equivalent of a subway
station. It is two floors tall and 20 steps wide, and must be placed on the
very left edge of floors B1 and B2, so plan accordingly.
Hotel rooms are the only way to make money. Build lots. Avoid the
condominiums, obviously. Once the hotel business is bringing lots of revenue,
set up an array of interesting shops and restaurants.
The only condition for bringing in a high-class VIP would seem to be
reaching 500 population at any point. She will stay at a hotel suite room.
Next thing you know, you've snagged a rating upgrade and exciting new
The boat deck is an obvious boon at this point, though its boost to
businesses is unlikely to completely cover the deck's 50k quarterly
maintenance. The doctor's office is only visited by condo residents, so you
will not need one. As in Tokyo, the power room and parking spaces are not
Most shops and restaurants are the same as in Tokyo, and largely the same
descriptions apply. Except for Jenny's, which is stubbornly open around the
clock even though the Hawaii tower only admits shoppers between 07:00 and
Of the new stores, Ahab's restaurant, Japanese Cuisine and the Cocktail
Lounge are both popular and somewhat profitable. The Aloha shop and Duty Free
are OK on average. BCD-Mart, the Surf Shop and the miserable Fruit Stand are
visited by few and usually just lose money.
Use the express elevators to build two tall hotel towers, or whatever you
fancy. After 2000 population and a second VIP visit, you will go up to the
full rating. This nets you the blueprint for a popular and mildly profitable
Food Court, the super-popular Gameworks Arcade, a useless Gathering Area...
and you can build a cute chapel at the top of the tower. Keep playing and an
animated wedding will take place.
The epic challenge - build a business/residential/hotel complex! Here offices
are the chief source of income, although your operating costs will also be
pretty high. Try to keep the office and apartment rental fees high enough to
cover your maintenance costs and a bit extra, and use profits from the hotel
business to expand your tower.
You have plenty of space in all directions, so go crazy with 3-5 towers
looming over 90 stories high! Use the list of restaurants and shops presented
earlier to set up useful stores and restaurants early on and leave the rest
for later. Shops are not very profitable at all, but they do bring a good
amount of population to your tower, which is necessary to get those VIPs and
rating upgrades.
The first VIP will want a record store and 1000 people to applaud his exit
from the building. The second wants an electronics store and 2000 people.
The third wants a hotel suite room and some ladies, plus 5000 people. All
that done, you are running a four-star tower and can build a sky stadium.
The stadium is a massive dome, and houses what appear to be baseball games.
The stadium is open 12:00 to 23:00, and games are on daily from 18:00 to
21:00, April through October. Tickets per head per match are $100, no season
tickets or student discounts exist. There are a total of 400 seats available.
Bring your own hot dogs (conveniently available from nearby tower stores).
I imagine it's a bit hard to strike an epic home run in that dome.
Every stadium must have a home team, and yours is no exception. You even
get to name them! After that, you will never see a match without your team.
Keep building popular shops and other space wasters, and once your
population hits 12000 and your stadium has proven to be popular enough, you
are eligible for an instant upgrade to the greatest grade of them all:
The Tower II - Five Stars.
Draw an award diploma for yourself, get it printed and framed, and hang it
on your wall. I hope you enjoyed working your way to it, because that's the
only reward you get!
On bugs:
- The game crashes, rarely and seemingly randomly. Save often.
- Hotel rooms sometimes get "stuck" after evacuation due to terrorist threat
or fire... to test your rooms: wait for all rooms to be free and the
cleaning finished for the day, but no guests arriving yet - around 16:30.
Now switch to the Pricing view and open a front desk. Try changing room
prices. You may see that some rooms' prices do not change even though they
should. This condition is only cured when a new guest stays in that hotel
However, in case of evacuation, if the room is left at below excellent
happiness, chances are it will never recover on its own; normally the
happiness level in unoccupied rooms goes up slowly over time, but in case
of evacuation, the hotel room still thinks there is someone inside. The
trouble is, a hotel room with less than an excellent rating will rarely if
ever get guests who would reset the room. So, you may get stuck with an
unhappy hotel room that sits there looking lonely and useless.
Two solutions: set the price for rooms to the minimum at the front desk,
then release and reassign the room. The price changes, though the room
remains stuck. If the lower price was enough to push the happiness level
back up to excellent, the room has been saved, as a guest may now stay
there and unstick the room. Otherwise, all you can do is leave it be, or
demolish and rebuild the room.
- If there are too many (more than a hundred) hotel rooms available for
connecting to a single front desk, there may be some odd behavior. Avoid
this by designing the hotel area in compartmentalised blocks. It's also
more efficient that way.
- After a power down event, demolishing enough stuff to get the lights back
on, and building the power room, I found the game stopped responding in any
way to all construction commands. Saving, closing the game and reloading
solved this.
- Even if you turn game sounds off, the little video clips playing in an
endless loop for two hours at the movie theaters, and for all day at the
event center, will have audio enabled.
- Demolishing a shop may leave behind a few salespeople, still sheepishly
holding gift boxes, unable to leave the building. Possibly, since they want
to get from the shop to the lobby, and the shop has been wiped from
existence, they can not decide where to start pathfinding from. That, or
they insist on using a service elevator because they are on duty, and you
have not seen fit to connect that particular floor with one. Eventually,
disgusted with your tower, they snap their fingers and teleport with a puff
of smoke to the exit. (Or maybe they jump out a window? Fastest way out.)
- Allowing and disallowing elevators to service floors gets slower the bigger
the tower is. Fine, this is not a bug, just a slow algorithm, but it is
still annoying. I assume there is a pathfinding node network that gets
partially updated every time transportation routes change. With a big
building, the network probably grows exponentially, explaining the
slowdown. A smart programmer could update the network as a background task,
maybe even in a separate thread. Or use a better algorithm.
- Sometimes clicking on a person with the magnifying glass gives you
a default "null" person, a young man on his way to the first tenant you
ever built. This seems to happen when a person has just settled into queue
for an elevator or other ride. If you click again, the person has morphed
back into their everyday self and deny any knowledge of what just happened.
Is the Tower Matrix unstable, or do you have Agents sneaking around?
This strategy guide of sorts is offered on CC0 terms, and should be
considered freely distributable anywhere.