Cities: Skyline has been for some a savior after the "failed" launch of SimCity (2014). It's much more in-depth, going back more into SimCity 4 than the new SimCity. Lots of complex mechanics means lots of complex ways to fail, so we've put together ten amazing tips to help you get started in Cities: Skyline.
1) Ground pollution and air pollution don't move far. You don't have to be too afraid of zoning industrial next to residential. The only "gotcha" is to make sure that water input doesn't touch pollution, so put the sewage downstream and make sure any pumps aren't near any pollution.
2) Commercial needs residential in order to employ cims and make sales. Industry needs commercial to provide goods to and residential for workers. Residential doesn't like being near industry because it pollutes, but needs commercial / industry for jobs and shopping.
3) When you reach a net profit, you can "set it and forget it" if you have enough police, fire, and health coverage along with landfills and other services. You can easily leave the game in windowed mode and let it idle, collecting revenue to build your next expansion. Popups will pause the game which is a good thing, as your city levels up, the demands of your citizens will increase. The game will pause when your city "levels up" so that your cims don't leave with their new expectations. This is great at lower levels when you just want to get things unlocked and some cash to start really building.
4) Watch out for trash in your city, you need an effective trash management plan and you only have two outlets to get rid of trash - landfills, which fill up fast, and incinerators which create pollution. So you need to make sure you have enough trucks. Unused trucks will drive further but there is another gotcha here - they also follow traffic. So you need to make sure that traffic is working properly.
5) Traffic is the most important determination of your cities success, because once traffic hits you're going to be stuck in a situation where you're screwed and you'll probably never earn enough money to dig yourself out of it. There is too many traffic tips to mention, but remember that the major highway network that was laid out for you at the start is where most of your traffic pileups start at the intersection. Use bigger roads to move people around and smaller roads to keep costs low. One way roads help a lot and avoid the small roundabout, it clogs up too quickly. Intersections are evil and you should avoid them as much as possible, because red lights slow traffic.
6) Make sure to have enough crematoriums and cemeteries. Same rules apply in regards to traffic, the hearses can't move through traffic and you will reach a point where your cims age and begin to die, requiring you to have enough places for them to rest peacefully. Some will refuse to go into the crematorium, so make sure you have a mixture of both.
7) Land value affects tax income, the richer the area, the more tax they pay. However, there is a loss component - the additional taxes may not overtake the upkeep on any improvement. Be sure to place all improvements in areas where they touch as many zones as possible.
8) Medical isn't that important if you have enough clinics through your city. Likewise, fire is only an issue in areas where fire is very likely (industrial). Police coverage can be sparse, as long as patrol cars can get to an area, you'll be fine.
9) If you find yourself not making money ever, start building smaller. You have to lay the framework for when the city gets bigger, however, when you don't have much land or money, building out a small RCI area and letting the cash come in can help build a warchest for later in the game. Then slowly build out and expand from there.
10) Restarting should be a pleasure, not a sign of defeat. It takes a lot of iteration to get a general idea of where and how you want to build. Unlike SimCity (2014), you have a lot going on, so take awhile to get defeated by trash and pollution and restart, I promise it gets faster each go around. You can always window mode and let the game idle, hoping in every 10 minutes to clear burned down buildings and make sure nothing major has happened.
That's our ten tips to get started with! There is so much depth to the game, but it'll come over time. Oh and a lesson from SimCity 4: one-way roads are boss.
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