Overview - Work In Progress
The purpose of this page is to act as a guide to Cities XL. In reality, that is far more than can be achieved in one page, so it will inevitably serve as a portal to specific areas of game content.
Just bought Cities XL and don't know what to do? Check out the Beginner's Guide and grasp the essentials of the game in no time!
This section of the guide will focus on the various aspects of the Cities XL playing environment.
The Planet is the Menu for creating and selecting your cities. Here you can see all Maps available, with general description for each one. Here you'll also find a Save/Load button, and a Trade button for accessing the trade interface without entering a particular city.
Various maps have various resources. These are the Tokens Fuel, Water, Fertile Land, and Holidays. There are also metrics for flat land surface (percentage of map suitable for construction), transportation (percentage of perimeter of maps with City Links, and difficulty.
You can filter maps by terrain type, difficulty, or natural resources.
You can search for maps based on name, tokens, or map type.
Since Cities XL 2011, it has been possible to set a different tax for each occupant (office, agribusiness, heavy industry, manufacturing industry, high tech industry, shops, business hotels, holiday hotels, and each of the classes of citizens. Lowering taxes increases profits and satisfaction of the occupants and raising taxes lowers them. If you want a large amount of land to develop quickly, trade to get a favorable token balance and lower taxes for the desired occupant.
Loans are a generally bad idea because they give a bonus to the amount of money in your treasury but take away some of your cash flow (cash tokens). There are mods that give you banks that are pretty much loans in the opposite direction: they cost a lot to build and generate a sizable profit once fully staffed.
Omnicorp is the default in game trade partner with near limitless tokens and money.
You can form trade networks between cities for direct resource exchange. Make sure that you are producing an excess of tokens overall between all your cities so you only export to OmniCorp and never import from them.
Freight & Passengers
This is the practical representation of your Inter-city trade network. Make sure you've established enough City-links in each city to allow for all its tokens to be traded. Also, make sure your City-links provide in-city businesses with good freight and passenger services to ensure smooth transport of goods and services and increase profits. More information in the Freight and Passenger Services and Game Economics articles.
Transportation: See the page linked.
Roads provide access to buildings. The City Hall needs to be hooked up to roads, your Citizens need to be hooked up to roads, your services need to be hooked up to roads in order for them to work.
Highways can carry a large number of cars quickly and provide a large amount of freight and passengers when hooked to a city link. Unfortunately, you can only do them curved so few people use them.
Bridges & Tunnels
Bridges and tunnels allow you to build roads above features (just make sure the support columns do not go over buildings) and tunnels under anything where you only need clearance for the entrance and for the tunnels to be lower than the foundations.
Currently, public transport is limited to buses and metro but they are very complex and allow you to do more than you could with the bus or subway system of any other game. The Network Expansion XL (NEXL) plans on improving this even further.
Air and Sea Transit
These are your various ports for large amounts of freight and passengers. There are seaports both small and large and airports both small and large. Airports provide only passenger services.
See Unskilled Workers
See Skilled Workers
Low density housing is the first to unlock and holds up to one worker each. Low density zones are 40x40 meters. This gives 1 worker 1600 square meters of land.
Medium density housing has harder requirements and holds up to two workers each. Medium density zones are 40x40 meters like low density. This gives 1 worker 800 square meters of land on average.
High density is the last to unlock and the hardest to maintain (satisfaction and traffic wise) but the most efficient, with 5 workers each. High density zones are 60x60 meters. This gives 1 worker 720 square meters of land on average.
Industries are your city's main source of tax income and economic growth. They also provide very important resources, needed for the functioning of the entire economy. Farming
Heavy Industry is a basic industry that unlocks early in the game. It hires the poorest workers and pollutes the most. Its products are required by Manufacturing industry and citizens. Heavy industry is powered by Fuel.
Manufacturing Industry is a middle tier industry that unlocks later in game. Large zones hire workers of all classes but also pollute both locally and city wide so are hard to build unless Heavy industry is imported. Manufacturing industry runs on Electricity, buys from Heavy Industry and sells to High Tech Industry and citizens.
High Tech Industry is the wealthiest industry. It hires skilled workers and executives in the smallest zoning and hires many Elites in large zones. It buys manufactured goods and sells to larger offices and citizens, especially the wealthier ones. These factories tend to be electricity hogs.
Offices are a basic workplace that unlock in the beginning of the game. Low density zones hire skilled workers exclusively (just as low density heavy industry hires unskilled workers exclusively). Larger offices hire wealthier citizens but also use High Tech products. Office Services are used by all factory industries. Because offices are a workplace that produce tokens and no satisfaction, they are in the industry sub menu.
These are the first to unlock and they hire the fewest and poorest workers.
These unlock later and hire a couple of workers of the next qualification/ wealth level as managers as well as hiring more basic workers. These buildings produce more tokens, often with a greater proportion of tokens produced than used. Offices seem to be the exception because they don't use high tech products in low density.
These unlock late in the game and hire a couple of workers from 2 qualification/ wealth levels higher as CEOs, hire far more workers from the 2nd wealth level higher and hire the same or fewer basic workers than middle density zones. These industries produce the most tokens but often have the greatest negative side effects (such as Air Pollution) or are resource heavy (offices requiring high tech products and high tech factories being electricity hogs.
These are usually token multipliers or special offices that increase satisfaction.
Shops and Restaurants that produce Retail Goods and provide shop satisfaction.
Hotels provide beds for visiting citizens to sleep while they enjoy their trip for business or pleasure.
Business Hotels are required for offices to help far away workers and managers provide advice and synergy.
Holiday Hotels are required for your wealthier citizens to escape their busy lives of hard work and tedious shopping. Executives and especially Elites love going on vacations in clean cities in stunning locations, such as tropical beach destinations, or cultural and historical havens, like Paris full of landmarks and natural beauty. When building these locations, remember the real estate agents' motto "It's all about location, location, location." You need to place them in holiday rich areas with absolutely no Air Pollution or excessive Noise Pollution.
Citizens get bored without leisure. The types of shops that move in to the Cities XL Planet only provide food and industrial products and are rather boring.
Sports Leisure Keeps your citizens active and healthy, and most importantly entertained and productive.
Cultural Leisure Provides plenty of fun entertainment, such as amusement park rides, breath taking views, major motion pictures, and fine art.
Low density shops include basic grocery stores, fast food restaurants, mom and pop stores, quicky marts, and dive bars. They hire a handful of unskilled workers and provide a basic service acceptable for small cities.
Medium density shopping include supermarkets, mini malls, large restaurants, fancy bars, large boutiques, and various large stores. These hire a handful of unskilled workers and a few skilled workers to manage these large retail locations to make sure they provide excellent service for medium sized cities.
High density shopping provides the best in urban malls. Here you can experience fine dining, food courts, large grocery stores, megamarts, department stores, and more all in one 60x60 meter location.
Every city needs a set of basic infrastructure networks to ensure its basic functions. All four utility networks are invisible (that is, you don't need to actually build power lines or water pipes), but you need to manage the central production and storage facilities for each one.
These can be produced by various sizes of oil power plants that use fuel and produce Air Pollution as a side effect, Windmill power plants that have no employees but produce Noise Pollution (so they can be placed anywhere far away enough from wealthy citizens, and Nuclear Power Plants, which are MegaStructures that produce 10 tokens.
These require water pumping towers to be placed over land with plenty of ground water. Once placed and time passed, the ground water is depleted and you cannot place water towers nearby. You can cheat the system by pausing the game.
Basic landfills produce the same amount of recycling/waste processing resources and pollution regardless of size so try to make these as small as possible to conserve space.
Like water, fuel requires pumps to be placed on top of oil rich land. Fuel pumps are zoned free form like waste landfills.
Build clinics and hospitals to help increase the health of citizens. Wealthier citizens have higher demands (so they can have happier, longer lives, less aches and pains, and a little bit of cosmetic surgery) and larger cities have higher demands per capita to combat the negative effects from increased likelihood of outbreaks, higher pollution, and smaller living spaces.
Build schools, universities, and resource institutes to increase the education level of citizens. Wealthier citizens have higher demands so that they can be qualified for their high paying jobs and larger cities have higher demands per capita because larger industries require more qualified workers and larger cities need high education to be competitive, happy, and efficient.
The police protect your citizens from crime and make them feel better and safer. Wealthier citizens are more paranoid and have nicer stuff to steal so they need more security. Larger cities have higher security demands because of the sheer amount of places for criminals to hide and the large amount of citizens that can pretend to be law abiding.
Even though Cities XL has a special technology to prevent fires from burning down buildings, citizens require fire services to help cats out of trees and to help with burnt food.
Environment, also known as Quality of Life is the satisfaction of the health and beauty of the nature and landmarks in your city. Environment satisfaction is decreased by Air Pollution and Noise Pollution and increased by parks, landmarks, and certain MegaStructures. Wealthier citizens like cleaner air, peace and quiet, and lovely landmarks so make sure their neighborhoods have low pollution and enough parks and landmarks for them to enjoy.
These are about changing the environment, either by changing elevation or increasing Quality of Life
These provide a small landmark effect and thus a tiny boost to Quality of Life. They need to be surrounded on most sides by road or buildings in order to have a defined shape. Players have made beautiful art through creative usage of roads to make free form parks with paved paths.
These are theme-oriented selections of buildings, allowing creation of themed neighborhoods. There are 5 Packs currently:
These are mostly American buildings with a generic feel. This includes many famous American Landmarks and Blueprints and the Nuclear Power Plant. There is also a sizeable amount of buildings to be constructed over water, a path to give the buildings transportation, and some buildings to be placed on the shore
These are mostly medieval buildings from Europe.
These are mostly beach Themed buildings, most of them can be placed on shores or over water and have special, realistic foundations as opposed to sitting on giant squares. There are also wood pathways/piers.
Ski Resort buildings for snow specific maps.
Gameplay Tips, Tricks, Techniques & Exploits
Issues relating to purchase, install, running the game etc. are dealt with in our Technical FAQ . We are in the process of making this the central place to address technical matters within the Cities XL community.