‘There’s No Real Benefit to 60FPS in a City Builder’


Last week, the developers of Cities: Skylines 2 raised eyebrows when they announced their much-anticipated city builder sequel would launch on the previously scheduled date even with performance missing the intended targets.

In a pre-launch AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit, Colossal Order’s co_damsku revealed that the target was actually ‘a steady 30FPS’ on all platforms. That’s because the studio reckons there’s no real benefit to targeting 60FPS in this genre of games.

It is worth mentioning for a game like this, the performance target is to run at a steady 30FPS minimum (not 60 or more). The target is 30fps because of the nature of the game, (arguably) there are no real benefit in a city builder to aim for higher FPS (unlike a multiplayer shooter) as a growing city with inevitably become CPU bound. What matters more with this type of game is to avoid stutters and have responsive UI.
For that reason, our simulation is also built around an expected update rate given 30fps. However, it does not hurt to get 60 fps as it can contribute to better visuals in relation to temporal effects, so while our target is 30fps, we don’t intend on limiting or stopping the optimization work just because we reach it on recommended hardware. We just don’t believe there would be a long term benefit in setting the target to 60fps, especially because we face rendering challenges both from close up and far distances.

The statement is sure to draw the ire of many PC gamers. However, co_damsku also reassured Cities: Skylines 2 players that performance improvements are coming, such as:

  • Removing stutters, generally caused by some synchronization condition in the simulation and can greatly vary from one CPU to another, as well as how your city is built.
  • Optimizing and balancing GPU performances by reducing the amount of vertices processed per frame and optimizing/balancing the effects that affect fillrate (mainly Depth of Field, Global Illumination, and Volumetrics), which you can turn off or reduce in the settings for the time being to get a decent FPS.
  • Push any CPU optimizations that are not already done that we come across in this process.

Cities: Skylines 2 launches today on PC (Steam). The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S|X versions have been delayed to Spring 2024.

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