A guide to help you manage the mods and assets you use, keeping your RAM usage and loading times down.
Anyone who’s experimented with mods and assets in Cities: Skylines knows how quickly things can get out of control. Your RAM usage explodes, loading times become several minutes, and your game becomes a stuttering, unplayable mess.
Luckily, there are a few easy things you can do to manage the bloat of workshop content.
There is only so much that can be done by managing your mod and asset usage. You can follow this guide and still run into serious issues if your computer isn’t up to the task.
This guide is not a substitute for upgrading your computer.
If you have a CPU that is 10 years old and your city slows down beyond a certain population, or if you have 8GB of RAM and you want to use a load of custom assets, it’s simply not going to happen. You need to upgrade.
With that said, you don’t need a $3,000 high-end gaming rig to run Cities: Skylines at its best. A recent CPU and dedicated GPU with 32GB of RAM will give you the ability to run a heavily modded city without any issues.
Two essential mods
I’ll start out by recommending two mods that all players should be using.
Keep both of these mods enabled and subscribed at all times.
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=667342976 – [steamcommunity.com]
Loading Screen Mod has a number of highly useful functions. First, here are some options you should have enabled:
- Load enabled assets
- Load used assets
- Share textures
- Share materials
- Share meshes
- Save reports in this directory
Simply sharing textures, meshes and materials will immediately decrease the RAM you’re using. The savings will depend on the assets you’re using, and whether they use identical textures between them (i.e. networks).
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=814498849 – [steamcommunity.com]
Improved Content Manager changes the design of the Content Manager. It adds some crucial features which we will use later in the guide.
Make a shortcut to your reports folder
With the Loading Screen Mod enabled and configured as above, load an existing or new city to completion. This will generate the folder where LSM will store reports of any missing assets that your city needs.
Let’s find the reports folder, and make a shortcut to it for easier access in future.
- Open a new File Explorer window.
- Click on the address bar.
- Paste the following and hit enter:
In this folder, you will see a folder named Report. Right click on the Report folder, and go to Send to -> Desktop.
- Open a new Finder window.
- Press the keys: Command + Shift + G
- Paste the following and hit enter:
~/Library/Application Support/Colossal Order/Cities_Skylines
In this folder, you will see a folder named Report. Right click on the Report folder, and go to Make Alias. Drag the new alias to your desktop.
I will assume *nix users know how to navigate their file system and create symlinks.
You will find your Report folder here:
Consider making a symlink somewhere easy for you to remember.
Do NOT unsubscribe
This guide will teach you how to easily disable and enable mods and assets so that you only have what you need in your city.
It assumes you will keep all of your mods and assets subscribed. You should not unsubscribe from a mod or asset unless:
- You know you won’t be using it at any point, and it isn’t required by another mod/asset; or
- It is incompatible with a mod/asset you intend to use; or
- It is deprecated, outdated, or otherwise unusable.
Before you play
Now we’ll start with a simple workflow you should follow each time you want to load up the game.
Make a list of mods and assets you want to use
Use your favourite note-taking software (OneNote is good), or even pen and paper if you prefer, and make a list of the mods and assets you want to use today.
You do not need to list assets you’ve already placed in your city.
Because you enabled “Load used assets” in Loading Screen Mod, as long as you are still subscribed to the asset, these will be automatically loaded for you. Easy!
Please note that this does not include assets provided by mods. You will need to enable the mod, or the asset will not load.
Add any missing assets
In Prerequisites –  , we went over how to create a report of missing assets in your city, and how to access those reports.
Now you’ll want to browse to your Report folder, and open your most recent report in a web browser. Subscribe to any missing assets, and also make a note to enable them on your list.
Note on missing assets
Sometimes you will have missing assets that do not have a link. In some cases, these are assets provided by mods (Network Extensions 2 for example), and you’ll need to figure out which mod and enable it.
In other cases it’s simply an asset which is no longer on the workshop, because the author has taken it down. You will need to judge whether or not the asset that requires it can still function without its dependencies, and whether to remove it or keep it.
A good place to start is the page for the asset in question. Usually you’ll find other people with the same issue, and you might find a note from the author saying whether this will cause an issue or not. If the asset has a yellow bar stating “This asset is not compatible with Cities: Skylines,” that’s a good sign that you should unsubscribe.
Otherwise it’s up to your judgment. Sorry, it’s a bit of a complex issue, so I can’t give you a definitive answer on what you should do here.
Disable all of your assets
Open Cities: Skylines. Browse to Content Manager -> Addons, and hit Disable All.
If you have a large number of assets, this may take several minutes. Go grab a cup of coffee while you wait. 🙂
Important: Once you’ve successfully clicked Disable All, DO NOT CLICK anywhere in the window, and DO NOT tab out to another program. Doing this will hard lock your game.
To check if the process has started, hover over the list of content types on the left without clicking. If they change colours when you hover over them, it’s finished, or your clicking of Disable All did not register. If they don’t change colours, continue waiting.
Disable any mods you no longer want
Unfortunately the process for managing mods is a bit more complicated. It generally involves leaving all mods enabled, and then disabling mods as you discover that you no longer need or want them.
In general, mods will cause more impact on your CPU usage than your RAM, with the exception of mods which are just collections of assets (Network Extensions 2). If you have plenty of CPU overhead (e.g. your game still runs at 3x speed), you generally don’t need to disable any mods, unless you want to.
Enable the assets you want
Once Disable All is finished, search for and enable all of the assets and other things you want to use in your city. When you click Enable All, only the assets currently showing according to your search will be enabled.
Again, if you have a number of assets to enable, this may take a while. Repeat until all of your assets are enabled.
Load and save your game
Once you’ve got everything enabled that you want to use, load your game. Once it’s finished, immediately save, so that you can easily recover your current list of mods and assets in case of crashes etc.
Now you’re done. Simply repeat this process each time you load Cities: Skylines, and enjoy your game!
Sometimes, Cities: Skylines freaks out, and disables all of your mods and assets. You’ll open the game and it says 0/0 mods enabled. You reopen it, your mods are back, but everything is disabled.
This happens because something is triggering the game’s safe mode, causing it to remove all of your mods and assets temporarily.
I’ve certainly experienced this issue a number of times, so here is how you can prevent it, and recover if it happens to you.
Firstly, keep the following mod enabled at all times:
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2037888659 – [steamcommunity.com]
Whenever you open the game, never close the game without first doing the following:
- Load into a city, even a new game.
- Save your game.
- Open the menu and quit to desktop.
If you cannot quit to desktop for whatever reason (your game is frozen), do not terminate the process. This is almost guaranteed to trigger safe mode.
Instead, perform a hard shutdown of your computer by holding down the power button for several seconds, and then restart. If you’re lucky, your mods and assets will remain untouched.
If the worst has happened, don’t fret. There are ways to recover your enabled mods and assets.
If you’ve followed the above advice, you should have a save game of your city where all of your mods and assets are enabled.
- Open up Content Manager.
- Go to Savegames, and find your save file in the list.
- Next to your save file, click on Enable All.
- Wait several minutes.
Et voilà! Your mods and assets should be safely restored. Immediately load into your game before the issue happens again.
Here is a collection of miscellaneous tips to reduce resource usage:
Lower texture quality
On my computer, High textures adds 6GB to my RAM usage compared to Low textures. The impact may vary depending on how much VRAM you have.
Basically, try lowering texture quality if you’re low on RAM.
Map themes are another big source of RAM spikes, as they generally include much higher resolution textures. Consider switching your map to a vanilla theme to save RAM.
Workshop content in Cities: Skylines can be a dizzying experience, and managing all of it can be confusing for new players.
Despite playing on an iMac from 2013, I’m able to play Cities: Skylines with more than 100 mods and 2,000 assets by simply following the tips in this guide, i.e. disabling assets that aren’t needed and removing mods that I no longer want.
While this guide might seem a little intimidating at first, I highly recommend reading over it a few times. It boils down to a few steps that you should take whenever you play the game, and while these steps can take several minutes, they will likely save you a lot of hassle when you actually get into the game. You might even recover the time spent through faster loading times.
Please feel free to drop any questions you have in the comments. No question is silly.
Here we come to an end for Cities: Skylines Mods Configuration & Assets + Workshop hope you enjoy it. If you think we forget something to include or we should make an update to the post let us know via comment, and we will fix it asap! Thanks and have a great day!
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