How to Optimize Graphics Settings in Cities: Skylines II for Maximum Performance

How to Optimize Graphics Settings in Cities: Skylines II for Maximum Performance 1 -
How to Optimize Graphics Settings in Cities: Skylines II for Maximum Performance 1 -

How to Optimize Graphics Settings in Cities: Skylines II for Maximum Performance

Hey there, fellow gamer! Are you ready to dive into Cities: Skylines II without the lag dragging you down? Let’s crank those settings for the best frames per second (FPS) your system can handle. It’s all about that sweet spot of gorgeous visuals and smooth gameplay. Ready? Game on!

How Do We Track FPS Anyway?

First things first: knowing your FPS. You’ve gotta see where you stand before tweaking those settings, right? Don’t sweat it; Steam’s got your back with an in-built FPS counter. It’s like your gaming speedometer! We measured the juice over 10 seconds, ditching the top and bottom 10% (because outliers are party poopers). That left us with the real deal averages. Trusty, isn’t it?

Now, why is this important? Picture this: you’re building your city, placing every park and streetlight with care, and boom – a wild lag appears! It’s the bane of gaming, the dreaded freeze-frame. Knowing your FPS helps you slap that lag away. You want the ‘buttery smooth’ in your game, not just your popcorn, right?

So, Where to Start with Graphics Settings?

Here comes the fun part! Tweaking the settings. Think of it as giving your game a tailor-made suit, stitching it to fit just right. We’re going to fine-tune those graphics settings so your cities look snazzy and run like wind. But remember, it’s a balancing act – like not toppling your tower of pizza boxes. Too high, and your game might crawl. Too low, and it looks like potato art. We want a feast for the eyes, not a fast for the frames!

  • Quality: This isn’t just about high-res textures; it’s about the soul of your city. Crisp shadows, realistic water, the works! But heavy on the system. Dial it back a notch, maybe?
  • Detail: Who doesn’t love details? But remember, every little blade of grass takes up space. Find that ‘Goldilocks’ zone.
  • Effects: Explosions, light shows, all the razzle-dazzle. Super cool, super demanding. Pick your battles, chief.

How to Fix Low FPS in Cities: Skylines II

  • Clouds Quality – Medium or lower
  • Volumetrics Quality – Medium or lower
  • Global Illumination – DISABLE
  • Depth of Field – DISABLE

Graphic Settings Optimization

Baseline configuration:
Resolution – 3840×2160
Global Graphics Quality – Very Low

Baseline result: 181 FPS

Depth of Field HIGH: 125 FPS (31% reduction)
Depth of Field LOW: 156 FPS

Global Illumination DISABLED: BASELINE
Global Illumination HIGH: 134 FPS (26% reduction)
Global Illumination MEDIUM: 142 FPS
Global Illumination LOW: 148 FPS

Ambient Occlusion DISABLED: BASELINE
Ambient Occlusion HIGH: 167 FPS (8% reduction)
Ambient Occlusion MEDIUM: 168 FPS
Ambient Occlusion LOW: 175 FPS

Dynamic Resolution CONSTANT: BASELINE
Dynamic Resolution AUTOMATIC: 121 FPS (33% reduction)
Dynamic Resolution DISABLED: 121 FPS

Anti-Aliasing HIGH SMAA: 166 FPS (8% reduction)
Anti-Aliasing LOW SMAA: 164 FPS
Anti-Aliasing FXAA: 166 FPS (Note: possibly conflicts with Dynamic Resolution setting, needs clarification)

Clouds Quality HIGH: 145 FPS (20% reduction)
Clouds Quality MEDIUM: 150 FPS
Clouds Quality LOW: 166 FPS

Fog Quality ENABLED: 164 FPS (9% reduction)

Volumetrics Quality DISABLED: BASELINE
Volumetrics Quality HIGH: 172 FPS (5% reduction)
Volumetrics Quality MEDIUM: 172 FPS
Volumetrics Quality LOW: 174 FPS

Reflections Quality DISABLED: BASELINE
Reflections Quality HIGH: 158 FPS (13% reduction)
Reflections Quality MEDIUM: 158 FPS
Reflections Quality LOW: 161 FPS

Motion Blur Quality DISABLED: BASELINE
Motion Blur HIGH: 168 FPS (7% reduction)
Motion Blur MEDIUM: 169 FPS
Motion Blur LOW: 169 FPS (Note: test scene is static, result may not worth much)

Shadow Quality HIGH: 163 FPS (10% reduction)
Shadow Quality MEDIUM: 168 FPS
Shadow Quality LOW: 178 FPS (Note: high FPS variation with this setting enabled)

Terrain Quality HIGH: 161 FPS (11% reduction)
Terrain Quality MEDIUM: 161 FPS
Terrain Quality LOW: BASELINE

Water Quality HIGH: 169 FPS (7% reduction)
Water Quality MEDIUM: 164 FPS (???)
Water Quality LOW: BASELINE

Level of Detail HIGH: 150 FPS (17% reduction)
Level of Detail MEDIUM: 150 FPS
Level of Detail LOW: 158 FPS
Level of Detail VERY LOW: BASELINE

Animation Quality HIGH: 175 FPS (3% reduction)
Water Quality MEDIUM: BASELINE (Note: test scene is static, result may not worth much)

Texture Quality HIGH: 169 FPS (7% reduction)
Texture Quality MEDIUM: 174 FPS
Texture Quality LOW: 176 FPS
Texture Quality VERY LOW: BASELINE


  • 0 Population
  • Game on Pause
  • Camera is pointing in the way to have a horizon line on top 10% of the screen
  • Trees, roads, water, sky, mountains in line of sight
  • Save file (TODO: share the save file)

Get the picture? It’s all about compromise. Tinker, test, and see what your rig can handle. And when your city’s skyline shines bright and your game’s as smooth as your moves? That’s when you know you’ve nailed it. High-five, gamer!

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