North King said:
It's very much worth it, if your computer can run it. A bit of advice, though, don't immediately try to get skyscrapers. That just plows your money into the dirt.
Unless you already have a well-developed region.
Case in point: Centerville, Terra Nova (one of my cities, mayor name Bill Plains). I had spent a lot of time developing another large tile (called Sylvan Shore, Mayor Name Francis Sylvester Johnson) to a respectable metropolis (1,000,100 population--Manhattan in other words) and developed Centerville, another large tile immediately to the north which I had nonetheless neglected. I was developing this region with a friend of mine, and Centerville bordered, or at least was very close to, several other cities of substantial proportions, particularly Paris (my friend's large city) to the north, and a four-medium-tile conglomeration we call "New Egypt", dominated by Heliopolis (population 230,000), but also consisting of Thebes, Memphis, and Elephantine (all 150,000+) and all ruled by mayor Imhotep Thoth (me, in one of my various guises--I NEVER rule in my own name!) to the west, and of course Sylvan Shore to the south. So I try building high-density in Centerville, and within six months, the skyscrapers are rising. I am fast approaching 1,000,000, and what took Sylvan shore 100+ years is likely to take Centerville only about 75 (current game year is about 60), judging by my growth rate of 2000 per month. Not as spectacular as Pheonix or Las Vegas, but still. And I have built up a respectable treasury, and at least 10% of the land in the city is still completely unused, even unzoned, so it is likely to surpass Sylvan Shore in the near future.
Clearly Centerville is a success story. How? Because I built up skyscrapers early, which I could do because of the fact that I had a well-developed region
. So if your region is well-developed, you are likely to succeed even if you begin with high-density, in spite of the costs involved. However, the key phrase is well-developed. There should be a large proportion of incorporated tiles, each with cities of at least 10,000 for small and 100,000 for medium and large. If the majority of your city is already zoned high-density and closely resembles Manhattan, then zone everything high-d immediately--they will want it badly enough, and you will be wasting time and money going through various zone types.
Another bit of advice: keep to a plan. It can be flexible, but it's far better than a natural-growth city, which can lead to a traffic nightmare. And nothing ticks Sims off more than traffic.