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CITY EDITOR:

What makes a city a good place to live? Integrated transport? Plenty of flashy skyscrapers? Well funded schools? A zoo in every neighbourhood? Tomorrow's launch of computer game SimCity 3000 gives the chance to test ideas without spending millions.

SimCity 3000 is the latest in a line of simulations in which players juggle the tools of urban life to create and run a city. Where trains and roads are built, what kind of power stations are best and what tax rates should be are all down to you.

The computer game's predecessor, SimCity 2000, proved popular with NCE readers four years ago when 900 took part in the HepCity Challenge competition, which ran for six months.

The new game is packed with extra detail and options to make the virtual worlds more absorbing than ever. New aspects include making deals to supply water to neighbouring cities, coping with mountains of rubbish, and more detailed visualisation including the option to recreate real buildings - anything from the Pyramids to the Petronas Towers.

The full story of the game's development will be in NCE on 25 February, including details of how readers can make their mark on the new game through an exclusive competition.

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