Fastest Start Tips (Realistic Mode)
If you are on hard citizen reactions, then you pretty need to meet all needs and have monuments or their loyalty and productivity will tank. Leisure needs (praying, sports, drinking, culture) can be satisfied by a trip to certain attractions, but they have their own rules you need to observe if you plan on doing this.
Most other needs simply need to be met for survival, but certain services (school, hospital, university, justice) can be delayed for a few years.
Avoid the temptation of building industries close to residences, as even though this makes staffing easier, it increases the load on your hospitals and you lose a safety buffer for in case of a screw up, like inadequate heating.
Construction speed on realistic is mostly a function of how well you manage your vehicles and what construction projects you select and prioritize. Some tips include:
- Smaller buildings are faster to build because they need fewer truck/bus loads of materials/workers.
- Some constructions take a long time to complete with just a mechanism (like underground heating pipes), so start their construction early so you aren’t waiting on them later on or so you don’t have to inefficiently use foreign workers to speed things up.
- Road cranes and three mini buses typically provide enough labor for most early constructions. Tower cranes are only useful for large constructions that both need a lot of workdays to complete (keep in mind that you need enough material on hand to sustain this construction speed), and road cranes don’t waste truck’s time to get to a site.
- Using trucks for water and sewage eliminates the cost and time of building systems for them, especially if you like to spread out your buildings.
- Boards and gravel are relatively cheap to set up and this can be done simply to eliminate customs traffic, but don’t expect a huge profit from them. Keep your investment small, you really don’t need a huge production early on.
- Some people also like to maintain stockpiles of materials to limit customs traffic.
- Some buildings are immune to fire and thus can be built concurrently with fire stations. (Not updated yet, sadly.)
I would also recommend learning how to stockpile material for construction sites far from sources of material and workers, as this can greatly speed up their speed of construction. This is because you cannot deliver material for the next phase of a construction until the current phase begins, so construction will have to pause for long periods of time after a phase is completed while the materials and workers are brought from far away. This results in remote buildings taking ages to build just due to waiting times.
The way around this is to place one of the free COs and a free open storage near the construction site and stockpile the material and equipment for the next phase there. This way material can be transported to a spot nearby the construction site while the current phase is being worked on and the next phase can be started almost immediately, as the free CO can immediately start shuttling material over the last few hundred meters instead of from km away. If you do it right, you can also utilize your vehicles better as they can be moving more often with full loads, which means you can get more work done in a given amount of time with the same number of vehicles.
Asphalt and concrete cannot be stockpiled (not usefully anyway), but since they and gravel are usually only needed for the first phase anyway, you can often just have a dedicated dumper/concrete mixer CO near your asphalt/concrete plants and gravel source that delivers directly to the remote constructions sites during their first phase; meanwhile, you can have an open hull truck or two stockpile the materials for the next phase. Some buildings require concrete or asphalt in their later phases, but not many, and for some (like the concrete bridge or asphalt roads) you can use alternative buildings (like the prefab bridge or panel roads).
Covered hull goods can be stockpiled nearby too, but they will require a building to do so. Fortunately they aren’t required too often. You can also use helicopter COs to handle delivery of covered hull goods too.
For workers, it is easiest to simply replace them with machines, but that isn’t always an option. If you need workers, then you can place a station nearby the construction site and then try to time their arrival to when you expect the construction site to be ready for work, or you can deliver them quickly with helicopter COs. An interesting quirk of workers is that the longer they travel in a vehicle or wait at a station, the longer they work for (to a point), so making them get there via bus isn’t necessarily a bad idea.
Foreign workers can be “stockpiled” in a sense by connecting two stations with a dirt path and then linking the stations to each other with the “where should workers go?” mechanic (this will also make them ignore other buildings they could work at) and then having a CO bus collect them as needed. You can also use this station arrangement to gather all of the ones that spawn at a customs so that you have more of them available than the 20 to 40 that spawn each few days; just don’t allow the stations to fill up or they will start teleporting home and wasting the money you paid for them.