See our root page for more Cities Skylines information, guides and tutorials.
By default Cities Skylines has a few addon modifications (mod) from the developers, you can find these from in-game main menu "Content Manager" under category "mods". These mods are: hard mode, unlimited money, unlimited oil and ore, unlimited soil and unloack all (progression milestones, achievements). Using unlimited oil and ore is highly recommended because otherwise those industry areas are all but useless.
What is RCI?
Buldozering / deleting objects if you hold down LMB and move mouse around it will only delete the first type of object mouse pointer was over on.
In real life water pipes are placed under roads. However in this game you can place them where ever you want heh.
Polluting buildings like coal power plant can be placed relatively close to residential areas, just check the circle of pollution and know how close you can place residential zone so they wont catch any pollution.
Commercial zone should / need be around collector road, main roads with a lot of "visibility". You can also buffer industrial zones with commercial zone because commercial is not that sensitive for pollution as residential. Commercial zones should be placed in small pockets on road intersections, no huge mega blobs but just small almost individual building sizes city blocks, this prevents huge traffic jams and allows citizens to walk into these zones. However lateron you are "forced" to place commercial zones to where ever you have free space, so its not exact science.
Painting zones is nicely done with the drag a box tool instead of pencil or bucket fill.
Industrial zone should NOT be in the location which has to go through residential zone to access highway as heavy vehicles like semi-trucks cause a lot of noise pollution. But industrial zone can still be rather close to residential zone, just keep buffer zone of commercial, office or just empty zone. Buffer zone needs to be 8 units long / wide, pollution will get to your residents if its only 4 units distance.
Office buildings generate a lot of traffic, private cars gridlock. Try to maximize public transport for office zones.
Residential zone once your city grows change low density to high density zone. Realistic city should have about 70% residential zones as low density for single houses, unless you are creating downtown manhattan.
Medical clinic / elementary school is wrong to place on collector road, four lane collector road has median and ambulances have to make a U-turn to get into the building. Place medical clinic into local road.
Tax rate of 12% is good, above that and you get abandonment issues.
Park playground next to a elementary school. Parks increase entertainment and land value, which increases citizens happiness.
Entertainment value, parks etc, is not required for functional city, that stuff is completely optional, up to you if you want to make a pretty city with parks and such.
Citizens like to walk if the distance is not that long, but make sure they can cross roads safely and even residential, commercial or industrial zones, create pedestrian paths or bicycle lanes. It is amazing how far your citizens are willing to walk, do not underestimate the power of a brisk walk
Landscaping and disasters; paths, pavement paths, its easiest to click toggle snapping and snap to: all OFF when you create pedestrian walking paths precisely and freely to the zoning unit squares, or anywhere you wish. Note that when you start or end pedestrian pavement path very near a road then it will get that red warning that it cannot be placed there, just move it slightly away from the road until red warning disappears.
Train station create both passenger and cargo train stations at the same time, connect the tracks to each other and obviously for outside connection as well. Note that you can create intercity railroads too, even though traditional thinking is that trains are for "the long haul", its perfectly fine to place cargo train terminals for industrial and commercial zones far apart in Cities Skylines terrain.
Forestry industry; district and areas icon, paint industry area, then place forestry main building into the painted industry area. Then place few of the small tree plantation buildings. Then place one small log yard. Then create several saw mills. Try to look at the production and processing rates and match those. And finally create warehouse for the goods, you must set the storage mode for the warehouses.
Farming industry; same as forestry, paint industry area, place main farm building, yadi yada heh.
You see import / export values in top left corner. info views -> outside connections
The difference between low and high density residential areas is that if you want to max out population do high density which causes traffic problems unless you really focus on roads, if you want to make more realistic pleasing looking city place low density in the outskirts as suburbs like in real life, there are no city in real life which is tall skyscrapers from one edge to another, in Cities Skylines ... its really up to you
Cities Skylines is not an reactive game, its preventive. For example crime or fire, if you do not setup your police and fire departments properly that they do not have a road access, once crime happens or fire breaks out, its too late. More over with fire than crime but anyways mostly the same, you cannot fix the issue for right now, you can do changes that in the future this is prevented, but if your roads suck and fire department is nowhere near, you are not going to fix the problem by quickly placing down a fire house near the fire. This is awesome, you design, plan and setup the city when everything is OK, then just sit back and watch how its ran for you by the service people
Don't create huge blob commercial or industry districts as they are vehicle magnets.
Creating new high density residential zone, even a single 4 x 4 unit building size zone will generate batch of private cars, a convoy of sorts, traveling through highway to your city. Or if you have passenger airport, bus or train terminals then citizens arrive through those. If you zone huge amounts of high density commercial zone then you get box truck and van traffic arriving to fill all those shops. Advice is: never ever zone large amount of high density commercial and residential at the same time, otherwise you get traffic jam gridlock and associated problems through out the city. You should never zone commercial of any density away from generic industry areas where the deliveries are coming from, add great public transport to the commercial zone so people can travel there without private cars. This seems to be the only way to do big stuff without massive traffic jams.
See also Highway, HOWTO Fix Road Not Connected.
Megawatts per price tag efficiency increases by each better equipment / building. Oil power plant is the most efficient, it requires oil semi-truck tanker trailer deliveries though where wind turbines require nothing.
All in all, traffic free best "place and forget" electricity source is advanced wind turbine in the ocean / water. It doesn't need roads or anything in the land as its on water, its out of the way, you can spam these as many as you have money for, usually water / ocean has good winds so its 20 MW output everywhere, rivers might be a different thing.
Of course nuclear power plant is a whole another beast, requires no semi-truck vehicle deliveries and provides whopping 650 MW of juice. Its quite large building and requires road and water pipes obviously.
Small wind turbine 8 MW is pretty much useless you come to realize when your city grows. I used to place them on high hilltops where you cannot build any roads, so one turbine is 8 MW it is peanuts in grand scheme of things once your usage is above 200 MW or so. Avoid these, use them more like nice landscape theme reason instead of actually getting electricity.
Coal and oil power plants that require raw material deliveries, be aware that if you have traffic jams then your electricity will be cut if you run out of ore or oil products. If your industry can produce ore or oil, then those products can be used by these power plants, being self sufficient is always nice. Traffic is the enemy of ore / oil power plants.
Walk the electric. So here I wanted to place fire station (the big building with 25 fire trucks) in middle of this new industrial commercial area, so I walked the electric from the cargo train terminal and initial industrial buildings using other service buildings which are also good to have in this area so far away from our main city.
When you zone high density residential in large amount you get incredible number of uneducated citizens, these can find work only from generic industry and low density commercial. Yes some of them get jobs from other places but for example offices have very few uneducated jobs as its mostly highly educated.