Best Mods for Cities: Skylines

What are the top user modifications for Paradox’s recent city builder?

There’s only so much a small team can produce. A team of a million plus, even if the majority aren’t involved, can produce a ton.

Cities: Skylines’ developer Colossal Order banked on this concept and unleashed their city builder with Steam Workshop support, and fan creations poured forth in a torrent well before the millionth copy sold. Here’s some of the best the community has created so far.

ChirpFilter 

Some people don’t like Chirpy. Can you believe that? Other, more reasonable people would prefer to cull his functionally useless messages. Enter ChirpFilter: the mod that removes every line not associated with the state of your city. He’ll subsequently only chime in when somebody is grumbling about something like a power outage or plumbing problem. Or, if you love the bird and want more fluff chirps…

Reddit for Chirpy
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...there’s Reddit for Chirpy! Choose your favorite subreddit and this one will identify new posts from your target and pull them into the game. Keep track of what’s going on in your area of interest, insert something utterly bizarre and incongruous, or link the dedicated chirpit subreddit https://www.reddit.com/r/chirpit for Skylines-flavored posts. Very clever.

TotalyMoo’s semi-official collections 

The community manager at Cities’ publisher Paradox, also known as TotalyMoo, has taken it upon himself to curate three separate collections of user mods. Each of these caters to a different preference for depth and type of content.

First is what he calls the “creme de la Creme” collection - it’s the limited few selections that he and co. think are “pretty much awesome”, including all sorts of assets, gameplay alterations, visual bumps, and more. This selection and the next “include certain things we aspire to add to the game ourselves”. That’s an endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.

The Mods & Functionality option is limited to gameplay, UI, functionality, and suchlike. This relatively simple option is asset-free and probably possesses a far smaller hard drive footprint.

Finally, I Want it All is, as you might expect, the kitchen sink approach to curating. It includes any and every asset that might be cool, even the potentially huge of file size or soul-sucking of resource hogs. Nothing here will actually influence gameplay - it’s just a mountain of extra stuff like maps, buildings, and roadwork presets.

First-person camera
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Prefer to explore your city at ground level? The basic camera doesn’t quite zoom low enough to satisfy some desires, and for those there’s a first-person version. Stroll - or rather, float - your way through metropolitan streets like a regular Cim or attach yourself to an existing one’s head to see through their eyes. Alternatively, a passive city walkthrough mode will randomly inhabit cars and civilians. This would make a pretty cool screensaver.

Route Query Tool 

Wrestling with traffic and road construction can be simultaneously one of the most satisfying and confounding elements of Skylines. If you’re having trouble figuring out why traffic is piling up, this might be the tool you need. Just select a vehicle to display its current route, choose a piece of road to spider out the paths of vehicles currently travelling it, or click on a building to see how people are getting there.

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AutoSave
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Configure the frequency with which your city is automatically saved for you. Useful for the forgetful and power outage prone.

Tree Brush 

Subscribe to reforestation made easy or inner city parks that don’t look so man-made. Rather than planting a single tree at a time, this lets you ramp up the process with an adjustable smear of green akin to what you’d find in with the district tool.

Automatic Bulldoze
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Cims autonomously build and expand existing structures, but are peculiarly leery of renovating anything damaged or unwanted. Automatic Bulldoze kicks their cimulated rears in gear and brings the inexorable march of progress to burned and abandoned structures by demolishing them for you. Consider this a quality of life upgrade for those exasperated by the constant need to manually remove the chaff.

Timboh’s Marvelous Interchange Emporium 

Traffic is the lifeblood of a city. Timboh loves interchanges. Like, a whole bunch. So much that he’s completed dozens of the buggers and assembled them into a great big collection of twisty altars to the transit god. There’s probably at least one here to suit your exact linkage needs.

Extended Public Transport UI
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Properly discovering the strength of public transportation and its effect on traffic density was a lovely experience. That said, its workings are perhaps not as eminently scrutable as one might like. This handy interface tweak sprouts useful information on your bus, metro, and train networks from their respective overlays.

Isometric Camera 

For the nostalgia trippers seeking a taste of the olden days, there’s the Isometric Camera mod. Toggle between the newfangled default perspective built in to the game and a classic one with an easy visit to the F8 menu.

All 25 Areas purchaseable
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I don’t know how many of you have managed to fill the default nine spaces available. I’ve made it half that distance. As it happens, you’re only allowed to carve a subsection from a much larger patch of land by default. If you want the whole kit and kaboodle, you’ll need a mod like this.

No More Purple Pollution [Brown Grass] 

If you think smoke stacks spewing fuschia and garbage dumps seeping indigo into the ground is weird, you could always change things to a nice, natural, gross brown color.

Citizen Tracker
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If you’re anything like me, one of the first things you did was find cims and homesteads to name after people you know, followed closely by lamenting your inability to keep tabs on them. They were lost in a sea of anonymous people. Citizen Tracker will let you play internet stalker with your population and choose individual cims to keep an eye on. Each followed individual will be added to a favorites list. Find them instantly, see who they live with, or plop moving icons above their heads.