Industries DLC is, by far, the biggest workhorse of the Cities Skylines game. Once set properly, your industries will fund most of the requirements for your megalopolis.
If you like the core gameplay portion of this game, you want to make the maximum amount of money from your resources, this guide is for you.
Note on Unlimited Money, Detailers, and Role-players
I have seen people playing with Industries and unlimited money. Well. Their choice… Before I continue I want to say that I appreciate Detailers that push the boundaries of visuals in this game every day.
There were modding attempts to make this game more realistic via mods that affect population or to balance Industries better, they did an amazing job too.
To the Roleplayers: I have seen people playing/making green cities using only a small portion of the Industries, and not all, it is your choice, and skip this guide.
In the early game, your biggest concern in making money is rushing through milestones. To be frank, our biggest influx of extra money is through leveling up our city. We have to unlock Industry Zones first to be able to level them up. But we have to understand what we need and what we don’t need.
- Power, Water, and Drain – Yes we need them and build them accordingly. You will need early on some generic industry, but don’t go too far.
- Little Hamlet Milestone – You get Education, Healthcare, and Garbage. Build only garbage facilities, otherwise, people will leave, do not build Healthcare, and wait with education.
- Worthy Village Milestone – You get police and fire department, you may build one station each but don’t go too far on that either, we want to save as much money as we can. Start ignoring the Industry demand bar, let it fill to the max.
- Tiny Town Milestone – You get Industry zones here, but you are still on the low end with a budget, I suggest you rush through the next milestone in order to get Ore Industry open too and to have more money. At the next milestone, together with Ore, you will get cemeteries, build them accordingly.
The fun starts here. Hopefully, your green bar is at 0, and your industry bar is filled up. You may choose to start with Farming or Forestry, it doesn’t really matter.
All level 2 industries have one Unique Factory that is “Native” to its zone, which means that it is using ONLY resources from that zone. We want to build ALL zones to level 2 first, then let them level up, as additional factories that we build will always use some of the resources from other zones. This means:
- Level up the farm to level 2, build Tier2 processor (Flour) and Bakery Factory
- Level up forestry to level 2, build Tier2 processor (Paper) and Furniture Factory
- Level up ore to level 2, build Steel Factory (you don’t even need glass processor)
- Level up oil to level 2, build Tier2 processor (plastic) and Household Plastics Factory
- Once all zones are at level 2 and have their native factories built up, you will be able to fully develop.
If you want to develop all and to have a nice flow, do not ever try to level up one zone to level 5 without other ones built up.
Raw materials, crops, raw forests, ores, and oil are produced by the extractors. The best thing about extractors is that the most profitable ones are unlocked at level 1. Players tend to make mistakes and make too many extractors or to build new ones once unlocked. Before the Expansion point you need only:
- 9x Small Crop Fields (or Small Fruit, they are the same)
- 5x Small Tree Plantations
- 7x Small Ore Mines
- 7x Small Oil Pump
Yes, over the whole game, unless you are going for planned Expansion, you don’t need more than this. If you build more, you will get more traffic and cheap exports.
About Raw Storage
Every raw material needs raw storage. It handles distribution to the processor much better than extractors. It should be set to “balanced”. The good part about raw storage is that the most profitable ones are also level 1, so feel free to build them as needed as them being level 1, that means that they have fewer trucks, so you will need more than one for sure.
Since raw storage can be built outside of the zone, even if they are in the zone, their works do not count towards employment.
There are 2 types of processors for Forestry, Ore and Oil, and there are two tiers of them. In this case, contrary to extractors, the more profitable ones are higher tiers, so you will have to destroy old ones and build new ones.
Farming is a little bit different, it has only one tier for one type (Flour) and multiple tiers for another type (Animal Products). In the latter case, the tier1 processor (Small Animal Pasture) is the most profitable one, so you don’t care about the upgrades.
Note on Pollution
Farming and Forestry extractors are affected by pollution. Make sure to plan accordingly as they must be positioned properly so that processors and factories do not affect them. However, they both have at least one processor type that does not pollute and are not affected by pollution – Animal Pastures and Timber Production buildings that can act as buffer zones. Also, all storage and barracks options can act as buffers too to prevent pollution from reaching these zones.
There are many reports that zones do not work, especially at the start. This can be solved with a build sequence. So in the scenario that you built an extractor, storage, and processor, once your extractor finishes production, it will deliver it to storage, but the processor will still have an icon for waiting materials. Why does this happen? It is because it ordered resources from import, trucks are on the way, slots are filled (cannot request more) and you may think that your supply chain is not working. So how to solve this? With build sequence.
- Build 1st extractor, and wait a bit…
- Build 1st storage, and wait a bit…
- Build the rest of the extractors. And wait a bit…
- Truck No1 goes from extractor to storage.
- Build 1st processor
- Storage will send trucks to deliver to the processor.
If there are no raw materials in the storage, the processor will order materials from import for the first batch.
Leveling Up and Education
Each zone needs a certain number of resources produced and workers employed to level up. While education will make your employed numbers get up higher, it will cripple your budget for expansion.
I strongly advise refraining from any investment in education until you get farming and forestry at level 2. Ore and Oil need more educated people, so a good moment to place your first elementary school would be once you built your 2nd factory. For forestry and farms, it is not hard to get to 150 uneducated workers without any schools.
- Level 2 – Resources: 500 | Workers: 150
- Level 3 – Resources: 1,500 | Workers: 350
- Level 4 – Resources: 4,500 | Workers: 550
- Level 5 – Resources: 13,500 | Workers: 800
Fully Developed Zones
- 9x Small Crop Field (or Fruit)
- 6x Small Animal Pasture
- 2x Flour Mill
- 5x Small Tree Plantation
- 2x Engineered Wood Plant
- 3x Pulp Mill
- 7x Small Ore Mine
- 4x Rotary Kiln Plant
- 3x Fiberglass Plant
- 7x Small Oil Pump
- 2x Waste Oil Refining
- 5x Naphtha Cracker Plant
Zones built like this will make ALL of your Unique Factories (16) supplied and make the highest profit without too much surplus. I strongly suggest at least 9 warehouses, one for each processor material and one for unique factory products. If you need more jobs, do not build additional extractors or processors, go with barracks, it will increase effectiveness linearly without messing with the numbers.
Note on Positioning
Plastic goes into 12 out of 16 Unique factories. Try to build your zones with Oil production zone in the middle, it will reduce unnecessary transfers.
- Tier 2 factories only use materials from their native zones, as I said, build them next to the zone.
- Tier 3 factories use native materials + one additional, build them close to the zone in the direction of the zone of the additional material.
- Higher-level factories use 4 materials, place them somewhere in the middle.
Even Higher Profits
Ok everything is set, everything works, but you may want to make even higher profits. How? Well you don’t want to export raw materials and you want to avoid too much traffic, the idea is to focus on one tier 2 export per zone. The one that is more profitable than the other. These are:
- Animal Products
- Planed Timber
To do so you have to build in chunks:
- Farm chunk: 3x Small Pasture, 2x Farm Field (or Fruit)
- Forest chunk: 1x Small Plantation, 1x Wood Plant
- Ore chunk: 1x Small Ore Mine, 1x Klin Plant
- Oil chunk: 1x Small Oil Pump, 1x Waste Oil Refining
So once you set your production in equilibrium, you can build as many “chunks” as you want to increase your profit, and your profit will be based on Unique Factory Products and one secondary export per zone.
Arguably some chunks are more profitable than others, and for maximum, you may want to go all out on Petroleum for example but I listed them all per zone as you may be more interested in getting all zones in “the green”.
And that concludes this Cities: Skylines guide. Do you have any suggestions to improve this guide? Please let us know by leaving a comment below. For any other concerns, please reach us using the contact details found on the contact page.