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Stop blaming teeth for Cities: Skylines 2 performance problems, say devs

Word of mouth

A residential street, dotted with parked cars, in Cities Skylines 2.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Paradox Interactive

The psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl posited that humans are motivated, above almost all else, to search for meaning in their lives. He would probably be unsurprised, if more than slightly confused, to see that spirit manifest in a rumour that the rubbish performance of Cities: Skylines 2 is being caused by excessive teeth.

A widely-shared reddit post suggests that rendering the highly detailed chompers of Skylines 2’s citizenry, who lack the LOD (level of detail) implementation that would reduce their model quality at a distance, is a major cause behind the game’s inability to pump out frames per second. Developers Colossal Order disagree, and have put out a statement denying this "bizarre story."

"Citizen lifepath feature does not tie to citizen geometry and does not affect the performance figures of the characters," the statement reads. "We know the characters require further work, as they are currently missing their LODs which affect some parts of performance. We are working on bringing these to the game along general LODs improvements across all game assets. Characters feature a lot of details that, while seemingly unnecessary now, will become relevant in the future of the project."

The citizen lifepath system tracks the lives of individual townsfolk through key moments in their lives, from going to school and getting a job to perishing from old age. I guess the teeth rumour was partly fuelled by a belief that this feature extended to managing the physical attributes of citizens, eventually overloading our GPUs and CPUs via a cycle of tiny youthful teeth being replaced by an overwhelming supply of massive adult ones? Colossal Order do admit that citizens' missing LODs aren't helpful to performance, but if those high-rez molars are there for an intended future purpose, it is hard to see this as all one big, pearly white oversight.

My take is that these teeth are unlikely to be taking an especially large bite out of performance, mainly because Cities: Skylines 2 runs badly even before you start building the damn cities. At least the promised performance patches have already begun rolling out, though it will take a lot more of these updates to get the game into truly good shape - even if dentist work is off the schedule.

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