The base game of Cities: Skylines is really good. Throw in the official DLC and you've got a great management simulator. Adding in community-created mods into the mix takes things to the next level. We've compiled a list of some of the mods we use on the PC version of Cities: Skylines. If you've played through the game a number of times and wish to look at adding something new to the experience, take a gander at our recommendations.
Automatic Bulldoze (v2)
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This mod is actually a spin-off of the original Automatic Bulldoze mod, which is no longer supported by the developer. Luckily, Mexahuk took over and released a new version in the Workshop to allow mayors to continue taking full advantage of the automated removal of buildings. Why is this mod so important? When running a large city with thousands of people, it becomes a chore to spot and remove abandoned buildings. This handy tool takes care of it.
Colossal Order improved the road tools in the most recent free update rolled out with the Mass Transit DLC, but it hasn't gone far enough to replace everything Precision Engineering brings to the table. The mod adds angle and distance measurements when laying down asphalt, as well as height (relative to ground level). It actually works well with the latest version of Cities: Skylines, though there is a slight overlap.
City Vitals Watch
This is one of my favorites. City Vitals Watch gives you a glance-friendly overlay of all important statistics regarding city management. There are level indications for electricity, water, sewage, employment, trash, and more. This saves clicking on each services tab to see just how departments are performing.
This is the big one. I don't recommend playing Cities: Skylines without Rush Hour enabled, it's that good. Unfortunately, the mod has yet to be updated to take advantage of natural disasters, let alone Mass Transit, but we're hopeful the developer will return to bring us up-to-date magic. Here's just a taster of what Rush Hour brings to the table:
- User-creatable events, allowing for buildings to have events of their own.
- Special random events that draw in a large number of "cims".
- Population reacts to the time of day (schools and jobs are more accurate), which progresses slower than vanilla — hence the mod name.
The last highlight we've covered is the main feature of Rush Hour, which offers more challenges to even more experienced city planners. Prepare your road network!
Traffic Manager: President Edition
Traffic Manager: President Edition adds a number of new features to — unsurprisingly — help better manage traffic. With this mod active, it's possible to toggle traffic lights and yield/stop signs at junctions, set up timed signals, modify speed restrictions, and even disallow vehicles on certain roads. My favorite feature is the ability to connect lanes to switch up which lanes vehicles need to be in to use a junction exit. Also, with this mod installed and the setting enabled, it's not required to install a dedicated no vehicle despawn mod.
Prop & Tree Anarchy
This is a super simple mod that simply allows for the placement of trees and props in-game under water, on roads or within building footprints. While this can lead to strange encounters where traffic moves through foliage stuck on roads if not removed, it's an incredible piece of kit that allows for a more realistic-looking city. Here's a helpful hint: use the More Beautification mod below with this one to get the most out of Prop & Tree Anarchy.
Network Extensions 2
Should you happen to find yourself with a lack of roads to choose from, Network Extensions 2 is your golden solution. This mod adds a number of new road types, including highways, residential roads, and even some dedicated public transport types.
This mod does exactly what it says in the name. With it installed it's possible to move all manner of things, including buildings, trees, props, and nodes (for roads, quays, etc.).
Other Must-have Mods
Here are some other mods that are worthy of honorable mention, so be sure to check them out alongside our main feature list to see if any catch your attention.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.