Free Flowing Traffic Tips

by Jamie Ramsey of the Skylines Nation Guild

How to avoid traffic lights and reduce stops on major roads:
These are the principals used in my Free Flow Grids
1. Highway to 6-lane or 4 lane junctions doesn't create traffic lights.
2. Highway to Highway do not create traffic lights.
3. A 2-lane to Highway does not create traffic lights, but 2-lane to 6-lane or 4-lane creates traffic lights.
4. A off ramp to 6-lane will create traffic lights.
5. 6-lane to 6-lane junctions create traffic lights.
6. A off ramp to a 4-lane or 2-lane road also doesn't create traffic lights
7. Roundabouts using Highways at any major intersection can create a free flow intersection/junction without stop lights.
8. Traffic should be divided in tiers as follows: 
  • Tier One: 2-way roads or walking paths 
  • Tier Two: 4-way and 6-way roads, 
  • Tier 3: Highways.
9. The goal in number eight is to confine zoning to the 2-way roads and channel traffic to the 4-way and 6-way roads and from there to the Highways.
10. Where the tiers meet Highways, roundabouts will ensure traffic flows smoothly.
11. Placing walking paths along major roads is a good way to prevent zoning where you don't want it without using a mod.
12. Finally, don't worry about space, especially if you use a mod that provides access to all 25 squares. A million people can fit in HALF that area so feel free to spread things out!

Steam Workshop Navigation Tips

Navigating the Steam Workshop
by Jamie Ramsey of the Skylines Nation Guild

This game is designed for modding. So much so that on day one there was already thousands of mods to choose from.  Anyone that is capable of playing the game is also capable of creating new content. This leads to a absolute flood of material, much of it repeats. However, the flood is easy to manage.
1. Remember mods, assets, maps, and saves are different items.
  • Mods actually make a change in the game like adding new UI elements
  • Assets are building or road items built in the Asset Editor using primarily stock items
  • Maps are custom maps made in the Map Editor
2. Once you know what you are looking for, choose the right category.
3. You can filter mods based on tags, but most authors haven't added them. So it is better to search via keywords.
4. There are many players that do the filtering and sorting of mods for you like Skylines Nation Guild member Andy Go who create customized lists of favorites.
5. For those categories that are just too huge. Use the Recent, Popular, and Top Rated filters to show only what you want to see.
7. There is a sub-group of the Skylines Nation Guild that is just about mods, so requests can be made in either group. The sub-group is just lower traffic to make things easier to find.

Tips About Fluid Dynamics

by Jamie Ramsey of the Skylines Nation Guild

Skylines has an interesting layer to the game that is not very obvious at first. The thing is that unlike most city builders the water is dynamic i.e. it changes and actually flows! 

1. Make sure that water buildings are upstream from sewage buildings
2. Don't dump sewage into still water as it will just sit there and spread out
3. Be careful dams can Stop AND Reverse the flow of rivers not to mention draining the river beds dry.
4. Dams can also cause flooding in parts of your map!
5. Water pumps can drain or lower bodies of water if too many are used in one place.
6. If you just want to be evil you can dam a river, drain it dry, then run your sewage into the dry river bed for a river of poo!

Miscellaneous Tips

by Jamie Ramsey of the Skylines Nation Guild

Rotation Tips

Do you use a single right click to rotate a building or intersection? Do you ever think why can I only rotate something 45 degrees at a time? Want more freedom of rotation?
  1. Turn off grid snap (You must turn it off from the road section before switching to intersections for example.)
  2. Click and Hold the right mouse button
  3. Drag the object left or right to rotate
  4. You can release right click to check rotation as the object will stay attached to the cursor and the last angle.
  5. Simply left click to place the newly rotated object when you are done
Highway Connection Tips

Connections between highways roads and ramps need to be smooth. If you have too much of an angle in your ramps, cars will have to stop and make a hard turn. It slows traffic down considerably! Smooth curves are best!

Hidden Benefit of the Asset Manager

The Asset Editor is great not only because the interface is simple, requires no coding or modding skill, and because you can check the stats on buildings, which can help with building efficiently.

Custom Map: Boulder Rapids by Scotland Tom

Boulder Rapids by Scotland Tom has been a popular map on the workshop. It has two larger rivers perfect for hydroelectric dams, flatland near the coast and some mountainous highlands upstream.

Boulder Rapids
Note: Boulder Rapids differs from the default game maps in that it starts you off near the southern end of the map.

Natural Resources
Southern Coast
Middle Coast
Looking upstream on northern river

Looking upstream on southern river

Southern river highlands (looking upstream)

Southern river highlands (looking downstream)
Find Boulder Rapids in the Steam Workshop

Show me all of Scotland Tom's maps and shared files in the Steam Workshop

Custom Maps: Northern Asteria by Vii

If you're looking for an interesting fantasy map, take a look at Northern Asteria by Vii. Lots of waterfalls, interesting cliffs, yet still some buildable area makes this one a stand out. Note that there is both a Northern and Southern Asteria. The only difference is the starting point.

Northern Asteria by Vii
The starting plot of the Northern map is centered on the northern coastline. I thought this was a difficult starting point due to the water and sewer needing to be fairly close.
Natural Resources
The main valley is flanked by waterfalls both big and small
Looking up the northern valley

Same valley, looking at the far end

Looking down at the other beach. I like how there's buildable area throughout

I like how the train hangs along the central valley's cliffs then breaks through to the upper lake
The southern beach is the starting point of Southern Asteria.
Find Northern Asteria in the Steam Workshop

Show me all of Vii's maps and shared files in the Steam Workshop

Guide to Importing Heightmaps

In this guide, I'm going to show step-by-step how to find a height map on and then import it into the Map Editor of Cities:Skylines.

What is is a website which simplifies the method of finding and importing heightmap data for any spot on the globe.

What is a heightmap?
A heightmap is a .png image file that is shaded in a way that will tell Cities:Skylines what elevation the terrain is.

1. Let's get started. You can either browse to or click on the link which I have saved in the left sidebar.

2. starts you off with this screen, centered in Finland. You can zoom in and out using the buttons on the left. You can also toggle to full screen mode with the button on the right.

3. Pan the mouse over to whatever location you'd like to investigate. While doing so, the Map View button on the right can provide you with different views. For instance, if you'd prefer to see a satelite view instead of a road map, you can change to that.

San Diego MapQuest Street View
San Diego MapQuest Satellite
USGS Shaded Relief

4. If you click on the Export button, it will ask you if you'd like to re-center the map from Finland to your current view. Click OK.

5. It will also bring up a dialog asking you to name the location.

6. Once the grid is re-centered you can also change the size of the grid using the plus and minus button on the right.

7. A .zip file will be downloaded. It will contain multiple heightmap files. Generally, the one labeled (Merged) will be the most accurate.

8. Save the heightmap file to the appropriate file location listed below.

C:\Users\<you>\AppData\Local\Colossal Order\Cities_Skylines\Addons\MapEditor\Heightmaps

~/Library/Application Support/Colossal Order/Cities_Skylines/Addons/MapEditor/Heightmaps/

9. Open up Cities:Skylines and go to the Tools menu

10. Then Map Editor, New

11. Select the theme that you'd like to give the map.

12.Select "Import Heightmap" once the map editor is open.

13. It should list the file that you copied in. If you don't see anything, return to step 8.

14. After clicking on Import, the heightmap will be imported. Note that there is no water at first.

15. Select the Raise Sea Level tool

16. Adjust the slider or left click and mouse up/down to raise and lower the sea level

17. As you raise sea level, you'll see water creep into the low lying areas of your map.

18. Once you're happy with the sea level, the import of your heightmap is complete! You'll have to continue on using the terrain editing tools to make the map playable though. That's a guide for another day.