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Cities Skylines Dev Diary #2 Looks at Zoning

Posted 8 Oct 2014 by at 4:10 am GMT
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Residential areas are the backbone of your city. Detached houses such as the ones on low density residential zones are inviting to older people and families with kids. High density residential apartment buildings on the other hand serve the needs of younger adults who value cheaper living costs among other things.

The Colossal Order team are back and in this second developer diary Henkka takes a look at the Cities Skylines zoning system. Cities: Skylines features a traditional RCI system for zoning so there’s nothing too complicated that city builder players won’t understand.

We did see some of the zoning in action during the recent live stream and the tools are particularly nice. I suggest you also watch that for additional details on how the tools work.

Hi there, you city builder aficionados! Once again it is the time for another exciting story from the pages of developer diaries. I am your humble host, Henkka, and I am here to talk about zoning. So, gather around by the fire and let your imagination fly…

Oh, and in case you missed the previous entry to the dev diaries, here it is: Dev Diary 1: Roads.

Basics of zoning (or “Why zoning instead of manually placing all buildings?”)
If the roads are the bones of the city, then the zones are the meat around the bones. Very early on in the development process it was clear that we wanted the game to feature a zoning tool instead of placing the myriad of the regular buildings manually. With zoning the player’s job is to rule where the different types of buildings appear but it is the citizens’ (that is the game’s) job to actually move in and build the new houses, shops and factories, all according to the different needs of the city. The player can determine what the city requires and when by using the RCI indicator in the GUI.

While discussing the possible ways to build a city a few ways emerged: placing buildings individually and zoning. While individual placing of buildings seemed interesting and in theory allowed the player to create the exact city they wanted it became clear that creating large cities would be difficult and cumbersome. The sheer amount of buildings needed to place would turn the game into an editor rather than a city builder. Also problems would arise with the needs of the city conflicting with the artistic visions of the player: the player would want to build 10 tenements in an area while the game calculated the city required only 3. Communicating this kind of information that is always changing as the game progresses would be impractical. And as the city grows and new technological levels are reached, the player would need to manually upgrade all the buildings in the city which in the end would mean going through thousands upon thousands of buildings.

Zoning on the other hand simulates more closely city planning on the higher level where the city planners lay down guidelines and rules for citizens and companies to work in. We decided that zoning is the way to go in a game of this scale. And clever city planners can take advantage of the various zoning tools and have more control over the zoneable buildings than just painting large areas if they so choose. For example, instead of zoning the full depth of the zone grid (4 cells) the player can zone thinner slices, like 2 cell deep areas, that spawn smaller building fitting the 2 cell deep restriction.

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Edited Infrastructure Video Released

Posted 30 Sep 2014 by at 10:48 pm GMT
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Segments from last week’s live stream have now been edited down to a thirteen minute video which has been released as “Infrastructure Highlights”. If you want to get a bite-sized chunk then watch this or you can watch the full thing which comes in at around hour long.

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Watch the Cities: Skylines live stream covering roads and basics

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 11:49 pm GMT
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It’s fantastic to see Cities: Skylines in action properly thanks to tonight’s live stream which covered game basics including zoning and road constructions. The stream lasts for about an hour so if you missed it earlier watch it below.

Watch live video from ParadoxInteractive on Twitch

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New Cities: Skylines trailer

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:28 pm GMT
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Ahead of tonight’s live stream, Colossal Order has released a new trailer for Cities: Skylines and it looks fantastic!

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The new Cities: Skylines FAQ

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 3:30 am GMT
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Cities: Skylines FAQ


Since Cities: Skylines was announced there has been numerous posts and updates from the Colossal Order and Paradox team. It’s not always easy to keep up with all the developments, news, game features and announcement posts so we plan to make life a little easier for fans. We have created a new Cities: Skylines FAQ.

We have poured over comments and forum posts to compile an extensive list of features in the following categories.

  • Terrain
  • Gameplay
  • Utilities
  • Services
  • Resources & Industry
  • Trade & Commerce
  • Transport
  • Beautification
  • Modding
  • Technical
  • Release & Beyond

All of these are now covered in the FAQ which will be continuously updated as development progresses. Community input is always important so if there is anything you want to see added or covered feel free to add notes to the comments in this post.

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Cities: Skylines Live Stream later today – Thursday 25 September

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:53 am GMT
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live stream

Good news Skylines fans, later today there will be a live stream with members of the team at 19:00 CEST. Here’s the details

We’re hosting a livestream this Thursday the 25th, talking about basic infrastructure, zoning, water and roads.

The stream will feature Colossal Order CEO/Mastermind Mariina Hallikainen and our Cities: Skylines Brand Manager; Jakob Munthe – as well as yours truly.

Whilst we do have a planned schedule on what to talk about, we would like to know what you want to know! So ask away in this thread (stuff related to the stream topic only!) and we might have answers for you in the stream!

You can find our channel here.


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First Cities: Skylines Developer Diary discusses roads

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:45 am GMT
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The Colossal Order team has posted their first Cities: Skylines Developer developer diary and the topic of discussion is the game’s roads. The diary covers the basics of road building, the different road types, parking, elevated roads, highways and ramps, and left/right side traffic. The diary has been put together by artist, designer and level designer Henkka.

It’s a lengthy update which comes with new shots to demonstrate how the road systems function.

Hi guys and gals! Welcome to the exciting world of Cities: Skylines development diaries! My name is Henkka and you might remember me from such dev diaries as ”Making the levels” and ”The Map Editor” for Cities in Motion 2 and ”Tower Bridge” for Cities in Motion. While you are taking a break from enjoying the screenshots and discussions about Cities: Skylines, you can take a look at the development processes behind the awesome game developed by us, Colossal Order and published by our friends at Paradox Interactive.

Now, put on a helmet, crawl up in a cannon and get ready to be shot into the wonderful land of Devvies!

Basics of road building
When we started designing the road building tool we wanted it to be as versatile as possible, aiming to recreate the possibilities of Cities in Motion 2’s road building tool. We also wanted to give the tool more accuracy so that creating square blocks for city centers would be easy.

When building the roads, the tool also creates the zoning grid on both sides of the road which indicates the area where zoneable buildings are built when the player uses the zoning tool. The grid is visible while building the roads which gives the player the ability to create optimal city blocks if they so choose.

Building a curved road.

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Wired Cities: Skylines Interview

Posted 25 Sep 2014 by at 1:31 am GMT
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A new interview on Wired talks to Colossal Order CEO Mariina Hallikainen about the Cities: Skylines. Here’s a snip:

What did you learn from the reaction to the most recent SimCity as to what the player base wants from city builders?

Well, we really liked the original 90s games. We used to play these games when we were younger — the 90s and early 2000s simulation games. It was the same thing with Cities in Motion, we loved Transport Tycoon, and we wanted to bring that kind of game to the modern day. This is a little bit of the same thing. We always wanted to make a city builder. When SimCity was announced, we were like “OK, that’s it, we’re never going to be able to do anything with this!” Then, it didn’t go exactly as they planned, probably, so we thought “there’s still hope!” We don’t like to be compared to the newest one; I think we’re really like classic, old-school SimCity.

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New screenshot demonstrates the UI

Posted 16 Sep 2014 by at 12:08 am GMT
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Another new screenshot today and this one is interesting because we get a much better look at the UI.

This time the bottom interface bar is a lot clearer and there’s also a information box for the residents of the house you can see highlighted with the semi transparent grey box. There’s plenty of information too about the inhabitants of the building such as education levels, offspring and age brackets.

Notice the “no levelup info available” message. The devs explain.

When you zone an area, you choose between low and high density (provided you already unlocked the high density zones). When some conditions are met, like educated citizens and high land value for instance (but not only), the buildings in the zone upgrade. The consequences are different for industrial, commercial and residential zones of course but overall, the buildings have better results for the city and for the citizens.

There’s no doubt there are some similarities to the SimCity interface but there’s a reason for this and that’s will be screen view. The positioning of the menu does keep the screen uncluttered and it’s much better than having any icon obstructing the top or bottom of the screen.

Regarding the big blue Twitter-like bird, well I have no idea what that is :)

Cities Skylines

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Tagged As: | Categories: Screenshots | 1 Comment


New Cities: Skylines shot shows airport in action

Posted 13 Sep 2014 by at 4:50 pm GMT
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The dev team has decided it’s time for a new Cities: Skylines screenshot, the first since Gamescom. This new image shows an airport in action but it’s hard to tell the actual size of the complex because you can’t see the end of the runway. If it was an international airport then it should take up a large chunk of space but it’s still early days and structure sizes will likely change based on what fits best in the game world.

Looking at the size of the aircraft they may seem quite large but if you put a real aircraft next to a house it would dwarf the structure so I think the scaling is not bad at all. Take a look and see what you think.

Cities: Skylines screenshot

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