I read a tweet or a post the other day that said they wanted to see more game play posts, and I thought that was a good idea (and idea I’ve already done). So, today we’re going to start up a new city in Cities Skylines.
I have a lot of mods. This game is playable without them, but there are so many quality of life mods out there, and so many good, new assets, that it’s kinda a pain to play without them. And I have so many, I’m not going to list them. If you want to know, just search out any recent “essential mods” list, and I’m sure most will show up. As for DLC, I don’t have the recent “Sunset Harbor,” nor the less-recent “University Life” expansions. And, this is actually my first game after the “Sunset Harbor” update, so we’ll see what we can do without that, but with its ruleset (as Paradox games are wont to do).
I’m going to pick this map, which I’ve never used. Thought I’d try something different. It’s a mod map, as shown by the Steam symbol on the side. And I’m just going to go with the RNG-generated name. It doesn’t really matter to me.
Load it all up…and it’s an awkward start, as shown by the top image. One of my roundabouts isn’t even accessible! Fortunately I have a mod that lets you place certain things outside of the city (as long as they’re not zonable streets), so it’s not too much of a problem. But a bigger problem is that the buildable area is bisected by the highway, and both sides are bounded. And the top part is bisected again by a railroad.
The plan is, then, to put the industry area at top, and the commercial and residential at the bottom. That highway ramp is actually pretty good, and the highway traffic won’t interfere with the traffic between the two sections of the city. I don’t have to worry about unlocking stuff, since I’ve played this before (unlocking stuff is a major bother, so it’s good you only have to do it once – though you can turn it off in the game settings if you want to start completely fresh), so I’m just going to go at it.
I’m just going to be doing efficient grids. There’s not enough room here for anything fancy, so I’m not going to be fancy. You’ll see above that I’m making 4×4 squares: this is to get the biggest building possible to fill the space. If you just fill in the whole area with zoning, you will get random smaller buildings, which won’t fill in the whole space behind it – a waste of space. Once those squares start building up, I’ll zone in the spaces between them. Though you do have to be careful…
It turns out, unlike industrial zones, residential zone squares placed in corners will fill in houses on both streets, so you get a bunch of small houses. If you look in all the squares in the corners there, you’ll see a bunch of houses, and an unoccupied 2×2 area behind all the houses. That’s what I’m trying to avoid (also, bigger houses look better, I think). This can be avoided by not putting in the cross streets, but leaving a space for them, like so:
In the center of the picture, you can see two 4×4 squares separated by a two-width space, which is where the street directly above will connect. (You can see the same gap one block up, on the left, where a left-right street will connect.) Also, you can see that I’m not doing the same thing across from that; you can’t see it, but there’s that mountain coming in at an angle at the bottom of the screen.
You might have noticed that, in the above two pictures, I have a wide street with the side streets branching off; the green (residential) is not on the wide street, but the blue (commercial) is. This is because that wide street is a main street, so the stores and stuff go there. Commercial not only gets citizen traffic from shopping and going to work, but they also get supply trucks; you need a bigger street to handle that traffic. I have the same separation on the industrial side, but this time with nothing on the main street. Industrial zones create a ton of traffic, with supply trucks coming and going, same with workers. The trucks stop at the factories, same as the shops, but much more often; you don’t want those trucks clogging up traffic on the main road, so there are no buildings on the main road. Below, you might also notice that I have one-way roads going in and out of the industrial areas from the main road; this is to spread out the trucks, so they’re not all in the same place at once. (I say “might notice,” because there’s a grain filter in this game that I don’t know how to get rid of.)
There isn’t much else to add to that. Just place essential services around (which includes parks and schools in the residential zones). The “Sunset Harbor” DLC changes the rules for citizens aging, requiring both child care and elder care buildings; fortunately, those buildings are included in the regular game update. The nice thing about grids like this is you can just expand in all directions as needed. Bad thing is it all looks the same, just bigger.
One special thing that I do is separate out the trash area. This is not only because of pollution (so you don’t want it in your residential areas), but because there are a lot of trucks coming and going, so you don’t want them in already high-traffic areas. For this particular city, I bought the left city square to expand the city limits (and get that other roundabout), and stuck the trash stuff off one of the spurs.
And that’s about it. Like I said, I was just starting a city, just to check out some of the changes. The only major difference I made after the beginning was to add some small commercial areas inside the residential areas, especially near the highways (commercial buildings are loud (sound pollution is almost as bad as actual pollution in this game), but they block the highway sounds). Looks pretty good, I’d say. If I were to give this city a story, it’d be “mining ghost town becomes a small-scale manufacturing center and pit stop on a lonely mountain highway.”