Tropico 4: The Industrialist Guide
In Tropico 4, as mentioned in our short “10 Point Guide”, you have a number of different methods to make money. They all boil down to two options however, the “Industry” and Tourism. I have been personally a fan of Industry over Tourism due to having a more steady hand on supply, production and sales. In Tourism while a high Tourism Rating will provide you with the maximum possible number of tourists the revenue can fluctuate quickly, and during periods of certain forms of crisis you may lose a substantial amount of tourists. That is not to say that having a strong Industrial Empire means you are unstoppable. There are Random Event that can, and will, sabotage your production or cut your profits substantially. However, unlike the Tourist industry, the production of goods and raw materials can be easily increased. It is very hard to increase your Tourism income during, let us say, the Llama Flu. This Guide is dedicated to Industry, and its many different aspects.
You might also be interested in our “Modern Economy” Guide, although most of the tips and observations present there come from the Modern Times DLC.
Tropico 4: The Industry Production Cycle
Typically any Industry needs Raw Materials that can be then manufactured into practical, usable goods. In Tropico 4 this is not always the case. You can have countless factories producing goods without any mines, farms, lumber mills, fisheries, etc. This is because you can order goods through your Docks (Import). On the other hand this can be extremely taxing for your Economy, at the beginning. Factories are expensive, and certain types will need a lot of manpower to keep them efficient, and you will need to supply these factories with a lot of goods in order to make the handsome profit you desire.
Lumber Industry – You have a choice in terms of your Lumber Industry. You can chop down trees and sell the logs, or “refine” the logs at a Lumber Mill, selling more valuable Lumber. However, you may also choose to produce Furniture in a Furniture Factory, and unlike your ordinary Logs or Timber you will make much more money on Furniture than the previous two. There are a few issues with the Lumber Industry however. If you decide to start from the basics, and thus have a Lumber Camp or two you need forests to chop down. If your island lacks these (you may choose to play on an island with little to no vegetation) you may have problems starting your industry. If you have a Horiculture Station you may rapidly regenerate even the smallest forests on your island, granting your Lumber Industry a huge boost in productivity. From personal experience I found a slightly “odd” problem with Lumber. Logger Camps are efficient, but Lumber Mills are not. When I had a ratio of one logger camp to one Lumber Mill to one Furniture Factory I found the Lumber Mill to hold up production. You may even have two Lumber Mills for every Logger Camp, assuming that your workers are that efficient. A good idea is to have all the three building types close to each other. The pollution from the factories will not damage the forests, and you will complete the whole production cycle far quicker than if they were spread out.
“Canning” – Food Production is your least beneficial production line, unless you have a Cannery. From Fish, Pineapples and Coffee you can produce different Canned Goods. The Cannery can take any of these goods and will produce all three “end goods” at the same time. As such, you cannot create a specialized factory produced only Canned Coffee, unless you grow only Coffee on your island. The good news is that a Cannery can kick-start your economy if previously you relied on Fishing and Farming, since all the food you normally sold will now have a much higher value. Upgrading your building to produce Freeze-Dried Coffee will improve its income further.
Cars (Modern Times DLC) – Car Production appears much later in the game, and by that time you might have no more Iron and/or Bauxite on your island to produce Cars. However, if you are adamant on expanding your Industry, or you feel an upcoming event will greatly increase your Car Sales then go mad! Car Factories, I found, are very efficient, and their sales will benefit you greatly. Despite the small Worker Number they are also relatively small and thin structures, so they can fit in many odd spaces. Since they appear much later in the game you might disregard Car Production until such a time that your other Industrial Lines cannot develop further.
Cement Factory (Quick Dry Cement DLC) – Cement… it’s an odd thing to produce. The Factory itself will not produce much income, certain Farms will be more profitable. However, a Cement Factory increases the speed of construction, and later on in the game when you have a quick growing economy being able to construct new structures quicker will be a benefit. Oh, and Cement Factories do not need any basic product to operate. All you need is workers.
Chemical Plant – Just like the Cement Factory, the Chemical Plant does not need any basic resources in order to produce its goods. It does need power however. If you decide to upgrade it you can greatly improve the Island’s Healthcare and produce more expensive chemicals. Relatively profitable, but other industries can out-bid it.