At first, thriving in Cities Skylines can seem like a daunting task because of the tons of variables you have to take care of. However, once you get accustomed to the basics of the game, you’ll be creating a city that will flourish in more than one way.
The basics of Cities Skylines are more or related to the infrastructure of the city – core aspects that need to be handled before anything and everything else in order to keep your profits up and your city thriving.
For more help on Cities Skylines, read our Transportation System Guide, Best Power Plants and Pollution Control Guide.
Cities Skylines Beginner’s Guide
Our guide will help you by going over the basic requirements of your town, how to tackle them, and how to manage the initial few hours of your young city.
The first thing you’ll need to address is power. Initially, you’re given the choice of either wind turbines or a coal power plant. The latter is extremely expensive, so the best choice is to start off with wind turbines.
Unlike coal power plants, wind turbines will not generate a consistent amount of energy. Their output ranges from 1-8MW, depending on the wind speeds in different regions. In order to get the highest output out of your wind turbines, check the wind map and observe places that are highlighted darker than others.
These are regions where the wind speeds are ideal for your wind turbines. Ideally, you should construct the turbines in clusters. Once you have enough money, make sure you go for a coal power plant to allow for expansion of your city.
You can read more about different types of power plants, energy generation, and about power lines in our Power Plants and Power Lines.
Handling the water supply of your city can be a tricky business, and is probably the second or third thing you’ll be addressing. Whenever water pipelines are drawn, they will have two lines. One will be the supply to your city, while the other is the sewage system.
For the pipes to supply to your city, you’ll need to construct a water tower or pump to extract water from the rivers. Make sure you do this well outside the city parameters to reduce noise levels.
The second line – whether you like it or not – has to go to a river. Yes, you’re basically dumping your wastes into the river the runs nearest to your city. The environmentalists may have a thing or two to say about this in real life, but in Cities Skylines this is your only option.
You’ll have to be careful about where you place your sewage drain pipe’s end though. Rivers will flow downstream, and you have to make sure that the water pump supply is placed upstream relative to the sewage system.
If you’re not careful about this, the citizens will have to be drinking polluted water and will fall very ill. Not good! Later on, you can add a Water Treatment Plant, which will reduce water pollution by a massive 85%.
Generally, it’s a good idea to skip Water Towers altogether and use various Water Pumps near rivers. This will result in lengthier supply lines, but it will produce much more water than a tower.
Waste Disposal and Pollution
One of the things that truly sets Cities Skylines apart from other similar sandbox/management games is the importance of Waste and Pollution. An inexperienced player will see the wrong side of waste management’s essentiality when all the citizens start to leave and you go towards bankruptcy.
Waste Disposal and Pollution are mostly carried out by certain buildings and facilities, but it is extremely important to plan beforehand as well. Make sure all your highways are constructed in such a way that they are far away from residential areas to prevent noise pollution.
If that is not possible, try using sound barriers. You also need to make sure you build industrial buildings far from residential areas to reduce air pollution within the city.
Garbage and land pollution is handled by garbage trucks, which can have a negative impact on your traffic.
You can read all about the different types of pollutions and how to tackle them in our Cities Skylines Pollution Guide
Roads, Transportation, and Zoning
While Power and water are two essential parts of a city, the most important element is road design. Roads will not only aid in transportation, but will also create the structure and layout of your city.
In addition to this, they are also the primary method through which you do Zoning. Zoning is basically creating zones in which buildings of various types are constructed.
You can read all about road design and management in our Cities Skylines Roads guide, and also about Zoning in our Cities Skylines Zoning Guide.
Transportation is another important part of your city’s infrastructure. Although it is a more advanced task to create different buses and ultimately an airport, you will have to keep all these things in mind while initially constructing your roads.
Leave a large part of land for an airport in the future, and also leave vacant zones for bus stations, train stations, and rail tracks.
Once the time is right, you can read all about our Cities Skylines Transportation Guide.
Facilities are more advanced parts of Cities Skylines, but they are ones that form a core part of the game. The three major facilities you will need to consider are Health Care, ‘Death Care’, and Education.
Health Care can provided to the citizens by either constructing clinics or hospitals. The latter are much more expensive, but have a very large coverage. These buildings will send out ambulances to residential or office zones to aid the sick.
Ambulances can be a nuisance in small two-lane or general one-way roads, so make sure that you don’t have an excess amount of health facilities than required.
Hospitals are overkill for the larger part of the game, so having one or two clinics is generally adequate enough. Only consider constructing a hospital when your city has grown a lot.
A rather interesting and unique facility that is surprisingly important in Cities Skylines is a cemetery or crematorium. Death is a rather serious matter in the game, not because of how sad it is but because death also creates ‘waste’ in the form of human bodies.
The game’s approach to death is rather cold and heartless, but that’s the way it is. You’ll need to construct cemeteries and crematoriums where the dead bodies can be ‘disposed of’. Like clinics, these cemeteries send out hearses, and it takes around 2 days to load a dead body into one.
Cemeteries will generally act like ‘landfills’, so you will need to create more than one as the dead bodies start to pile up.
Last but not least are the educational facilities. Strangely enough, education does not have as big an impact as it does in Sim City. However, in order to make your city thrive and look good, you’ll need better buildings, and that is only possible through education.
Construct lots of elementary schools, a couple of High Schools, and in the later stages a University in your city. High Schools will serve the industrial part of your city, whereas University will allow for advanced buildings and structures and improved output from your business and industries.