Released in 2015, Cities: Skylines is Colossal Order and Paradox Interactive’s love letter to Maxis’ now all but defunct SimCity series. The ultimate city building game, it’s the sort of thing armchair municipal planners have been waiting for since the debut of the genre more than a quarter of a century ago. Though almost universally praised, it’s not without a few flaws and oversights. However, a robust modding community has stepped in to enhance the game beyond the developer’s original vision, and there are now tons of cheats and exploits available on the Steam workshop to make the game as customizable and intricate as possible.
10 Real Estate Tycoon
Cities: Skylines affords the player a relatively small amount of space to get started, but, as the game progresses and milestones are surpassed, more and more areas are unlockable. However, there’s a limit to how much land can be accessed in the vanilla game, and less than half of the twenty-five total zones are regularly available for purchase. This mod makes it so that the last milestone awards players with permission to buy seventeen new zones instead of just one, meaning that construction can continue for quite some time. The extra land can only be obtained after the last milestone, though, so players will still have to go through quite a bit of setup before they can begin work on their metropolis.
There’s nothing more annoying in Cities: Skylines than panning out to get a grand, sweeping view of your city only to have your vision obscured by an obnoxious amount of clouds, fog, and other obscuring effects. It may look realistic, but we don’t all play the game solely for the sake of realism. This mod allows players to selectively disable these features, which can make the player’s bird's eye view of the city much more appreciable. The mod will also disable industrial smog, which, though it will still have an impact on the game, will make heavy industrial zones much more pleasing to the eye.
8 Street View
The original SimCity titles, while endlessly entertaining, weren’t exactly graphic marvels. Releasing at a time when graphics only served as rough approximations of the ideas they were meant to represent, they weren’t exactly eye-catching. Cities: Skylines, on the other hand, is incredibly detailed - so much so that taking and sharing screenshots is a major part of the game for some.
Taking this aspect of the title even further, this mod allows players to explore their towns and cities from a first-person perspective. Akin to exploring a real-world city via Google’s Street View, it adds yet another dimension to an already wildly-detailed game.
7 Make It Rain
Cheating your way to an unlimited amount of cash and creating constructing some of the wildest creations imaginable was a major part of the appeal for some of the old Sims games. While it isn’t a cheat so much as another method of play, the Cities: Skylines devs pre-loaded the game with an unlimited funds mod which is accessible by default from the mods menu. Players who take the strategy and challenge of the game seriously probably won’t be interested, but it’s hard to deny the absolute joy of building a city free of any sort of monetary constraints. It’s a city planner's dream!
6 Who Cares About Milestones?
Anyone familiar with this city building sim will no doubt be familiar with the milestones mechanic through which players can unlock new areas and building elements. While gradually expanding the features available to the player over time is a nice way to increase the game’s complexity without overwhelming newcomers right at the beginning, it can be a little tedious for city planning veterans eager to get through the early stages of a new build. Fortunately, the developers included a mod which unlocks all milestones right at the beginning of the game, so players with enough know-how and experience won’t have to wait to get their hands on everything.
5 A Metro Exodus
While Cities: Skylines is a fairly robust sim, it does lack in a few areas, and amateur city designers experienced with titles like Cities in Motion 2 probably feel a little disappointed by the game’s relatively simple mass transit options. Fortunately, the community has stepped up and provided a mod which almost makes metro planning as in-depth and complicated as the rest of the game. Though the models used for the trains look ever so slightly out of place, this mod is a must-have for those who feel that the game could use an extra layer of depth when it comes to transit systems.
4 Move It
Much like real life, once things like buildings or foliage are constructed or planted, they aren’t all that easy to move, and sometimes uprooting certain features is pretty much impossible. That said, while it may break some of the hardcore crowd’s immersion, there is a mod available which allows players to pick up, move, and rotate major parts of towns and cities with the press of a few buttons.
Sure, it isn’t particularly realistic, but we all know how painful it can be to mess up a few details and be more or less forced to live with them as other aspects of the place begin to demand more attention.
3 Stop The Chirping
Chirpy is an in-game parody of Twitter by which players can read the thoughts and feelings of citizens of their new municipality. While it’s neat in concept and occasionally provides some relevant information, it’s also horribly annoying. We all groan when we see that little Chirpy notification pop up, and the developers have yet to acquiesce to the demands of frustrated players. Of course, there’s an easy fix available; one of the first publicly available mods on Steam’s workshop allowed players to silence that blue bird once and for all so they could finally plan out their cities without mobile-phone wielding tenants metaphorically breathing down their necks.
2 Prop Removal
As previously mentioned, some people take this city-building sim super seriously, and it can be annoying to have a well-constructed plan ruined by a litany of ridiculous props. After all, nothing ruins the iconic look of an American main street than a bunch of Chirpy holograms and 3D ice cream cones. While it’s a definite part of the game’s almost cartoonish aesthetic, bothered players can take to the Steam workshop and download a mod that offers control over which props can show up in the game. It may sound like a silly nitpick, but, while the older SimCity games were outlandish in some of their city destruction options, they were never quite so gaudy.
1 A Brush For Brush
One of the most tediousaspectst of many city planning sims is the implementation of foliage. While greenery is pretty important to the development of a realistic, livable urban space, planting a bunch of trees by hand gets to be beyond annoying after a while. It seems like the community came to this realization pretty quickly, and a mod is now available which allows players to plant trees via grand swaths of a brush rather than intricate, hand-picked selections. While it probably won’t help in confined situations, those looking to develop a massive central park or forest will need to give this one a look.