Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines

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Mac Troubleshooting Guide - Cities Skylines
By leftbehind
This guide shows how to solve common problems you may encounter with Cities Skylines on an Apple Mac.

Note: This guide covers Mac-specific issues only; for other issues see Main Troubleshooting FAQ.
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Common Fixes
Last checked: August 2019

Reminder: This guide only covers issues unique to Macs, there are other troubleshooting guides that cover more general issues - see link in description above.

Almost all problems on a Mac can be fixed by one or more of these solutions...

Disable Steam Overlay (recommended for all Mac users)

Fixes green or grey pixellated main menu and nearly all crash bugs.

In Steam, choose Settings then select the In-Game tab. Un-tick "Enable Steam Community In-Game" checkbox.

Note: It will re-enable every time there is a Steam update and often when there is a game update too. You can block it more permanently via Accessibility prefs pane then un-tick Steam.

Different Graphics Modes

Fixes most graphics issues.

If you are getting any graphics glitches that are not fixed by disabling Steam Overlay (see above), then the next most likely cause is your graphics mode. Macs struggle with DirectX 9, which is what the game uses by default.

To fix most of those issues, drop to a lower graphics mode using the launch options listed below.

Important: Only one of these options can be active at a time; try one and if that doesn't work remove it and try the next one, and so on.
  • -force-d3d9
  • -force-opengl
  • -force-gfx-metal

Use native screen resolution

Only do this if necessary: Make sure the game is running in a screen resolution that's natively supported by your graphics card or display. Two ways to work out what that is:
  • From the Apple menu, open System Preferences then click Displays icon. Select "Scaled" option and you'll see the native resolution highlighted in the list (you can put it back to "Default for display" after making a note of the scaled resolution)
  • Alternate: There's a free app in the App Store called "Display Menu[apps.apple.com]" that will list all native screen resolutions for your Mac.
The 16:9 resolutions tend to work best, and it's generally better to avoid full screen resolution if you want game to run faster.

You can either set the resolution via the Options screen in the game, or via Launch Parameters such as:

-screen-width 800 -screen-height 600

Verify game cache

If you suspect the game files are corrupt, Refresh Steam Files then Verify Game Cache.

Loading Screen Mod (everyone should use this!!)

Subscribe and enable Loading Screen Mod (LSM) - it loads game faster, reduces RAM consumption and handles loading errors much better. It is an absolute MUST HAVE mod. If you use lots of workshop assets, you can use LSM to skip the ugly vanilla assets which makes loading even faster and saves even more RAM. Read the mod workshop page for more details.

Game running slow?

Macs are not good for gaming as they often have outdated graphics drivers. To make things faster, work through the Performance Tuning Guide.
My keyboard doesn't have Page Up / Page Down keys
Last checked: June 2019
  • fn + Up Arrow = Page Up
  • fn + Down Arrow = Page Down
You can customise keybaord shortcuts in the game's Options screen.
Reduce RAM consumption
Updated: August 2019

Subscribe and enable the Loading Screen Mod. It drastically reduces RAM consumption.

You can also try `-force-glcore` launch option and set graphics quality to Medium to save lots of RAM (Thanks to Spectrum for this tip!):
  • High textures and no launch options: 30GB of RAM usage
  • Medium textures and -force-glcore: 15GB of RAM usage

For lots of other ways to reduce RAM consumption, see Performance Tuning Guide.
Startup crash: Green pixellated main menu
Last checked: June 2019

If the main menu looks like this...



...disable Steam Overlay as described at start of this guide.
Startup crash: Black screen with white blocks
Last checked: June 2019

If you see white blocks on a black screen when launching the game...



...disable Steam Overlay.

If you see the app titlebar, try clicking the green maximise window button. Alternatively, click anywhere on the window to select it, then from the menu bar at top of screen choose Window > Full Screen.

If problems persist, use a natively supported screen resolution as described at top of this guide.

Some users report that adding the `-windowed` launch option then restarting the game helps.
Startup crash: Completely black window
Last checked: August 2019

If launching C:S results in a black window, it's likely you've used a non-native screen resolution that is confusing your graphics card.

Solition #1 - Do you see the app title bar?

Quit the game, verify game cache, then launch the game. If you still see the app title bar, click the green maximise window button (you might need to do it a few times before it works) or from the menu bar choose Window > Full Screen.

Solution #2 - Force a valid screen resolution

Force a native screen resolution using Launch Options as described at the start of this guide.

Solution #3 - Change graphics mode

Try different Graphics Modes as described in the Common Fixes section at top of this guide.
Startup crash: White screen with black, green & pink bars
Last checked: August 2019

If you see something like this...



It's due to Intel Iris graphics card in some Macs. The game doesn't support Intel graphics (as they are not real graphics cards - they use CPU and normal RAM which is a disaster for games like C:SL).

You might be able to get it working by changing Graphics Modes as described in the Common Fixes section at top of this guide.

Also, be sure to go through the Performance Tuning Guide as you'll need to do everything possible to reduce load on your graphics card, RAM and CPU.
Startup crash: Garbled deskop image
Last checked: June 2019

If you see something like this...



...this affects older Macs such as Late 2011 Macbooks. Fix it as follows:
  • From the Apple menu, open System Preferences then click Displays icon
  • Select "Scaled" option and you'll see the native resolution highlighted in the list (you can put it back to "Default for display" after making a note of the scaled resolution)
  • Use the -screen-width and -screen-height Launch Parameters to force that exact screen resolution
  • For best performance, avoid using full screen. Once you've got it working right, you can remove the Launch Parameters.
(Huge thanks to /u/UnknownIdent for this solution!)
Random crashes or reboots
Last checked: June 2019

Note: You might need to reboot your Mac after making changes to clear away any issues caused by previous crashes.

Crashes or reboots when launching app

Disable Steam Overlay and use native screen resolution as described at top of this guide.

Avoid using screen recording apps (such as ScreenFlow) or anything else that eats lots of RAM (browsers, Skype, etc). You can start these apps once you're in-game.

Crashes in-game

If while playing the game you get random crashes, disable Steam Overlay as described at top of this guide.

If you get crashes whilst in overlay mode (where all the buildings turn white) that's something different and we don't currently have a fix for that :/
Graphics issue: Screen dims / darkens
Last checked: June 2019

If you see something like this...


...it's an issue with Mac OS 10.10.3 and AMD graphics card: Use a native screen resolution as described at top of this guide, and if that doesn't work the only other option currently is to either downgrade to Mac OS 10.10.2, upgrade to a more recent Mac OS, or run the game in a virtual Windows machine (e.g. using Boot Camp / Parallels).
Graphics Issue: Glitch lines in water
If you see something like this:



Add the `-force-opengl` launch option then restart the game.
Stuck on chirper screen when starting or loading a game
Last checked: June 2019

When starting a new game, or loading a saved game, the chirper screen gets stuck...



Note: There is always a delay before the image background is shown, and there's always a delay when the progress bar reaches 50%.

If the delay is never-ending, try the following...

Subscribe and enable the Loading Screen Mod.

Close all non-essenetial apps before starting the game, in particular things like screen recorders (eg. ScreenFlow), web browsers, Skype, etc. Anything that uses lots of RAM will likely cause problems when the game is loading. Wait until you're in-game and only then load the other apps if necessary.

If you get stuck on the black loading screen (image background never gets loaded) make sure you've disabled Steam Overlay. If that doesn't solve it, your save game might be corrupted.

If you get stuck at 50% loaded, it's likely you've installed too many workshop assets; it can take up to several minutes if you've installed loads of assets. Do you have a subscription addiction?
In-game graphics: Weird flickering when clicking buttons
Last updated: August 2019

If you see something like this, often temporarily while clicking buttons...


It's due to Intel Iris graphics card in some Macs. The game doesn't support Intel graphics (as they are not real graphics cards - they use CPU and normal RAM which is a disaster for games like C:SL).

You might be able to get it working by changing Graphics Modes as described in the Common Fixes section at top of this guide.

Also, be sure to go through the Performance Tuning Guide as you'll need to do everything possible to reduce load on your graphics card, RAM and CPU.
In-game graphics: Black triangles or pixels on map
Last checked: August 2019

If you see something like this...



It's due to Intel Iris graphics card in your Mac. The game doesn't support Intel graphics (as they are not real graphics cards - they use CPU and normal RAM which is a disaster for games like C:SL). However, you might be able to scrape by using launch options. Try one at a time, in the order shown - if it doesn't fix it, remove it and try next one:
  • -force-d3d9
  • -force-opengl
  • -force-gfx-metal
(Thanks to AndrewT[forum.paradoxplaza.com] for this tip)
In-game graphics: Dashed lines or squares on roads
Last checked: August 2019

If your roads/sidewalks have dashed lines on them like this...



...it's caused by the "Alternate Pavement Texture" setting within the American Roads mod. You can disable the setting via Content Manager > Mods > American Roads > Options. (Thanks to donshontz for this tip).
In-game graphics: Strange Shadow Patterns
Last checked: August 2019

If you see something like this...


...there's currently no cure[forum.paradoxplaza.com] but try reducing shadow distance or turning off Shadows.
In-game graphics: Blurry or small text
Last checked: June 2019

Make sure the game is running in a native screen resolution as described at top of this guide.

You can make text bigger or different font with these mods:

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=412149127
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=408286108
Very slow, low fps, etc.
Last edited: June 2019

Make sure you're not running screen recording apps. Quit all non-essenital apps while playing (especially things like web browsers, Skype, etc).

Running in windowed mode (set via game's Options screen) can improve performance.

Run the game in a Boot Camp (Windows) partition.

Lots of other tips here in the Performance Tuning Guide:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=465790009
Older Macs struggle...

Here's a rough guide based on when your Mac was made:
  • 2010 or earlier: The game won't run, or if it does it will be unplayable
  • Late 2011: Struggles above 20k–30k population
  • Late 2012: Struggles above 50k population
  • Late 2013: Struggles above 100k population
  • Late 2014: Struggles above 200k population
  • 2018 or later: Should be mostly OK
CPU speed is the main bottleneck on Macs.
Problem not solved?
Last checked: August 2019

Try running the game in a "Boot Camp" Windows partition. It will be a bit faster and generally work better in most cases. Note, however, that some Macs can't use Boot Camp so do some googling to find out more.

If the problem isn't listed above, try the Main Troubheshooting FAQ.

You can get official tech support via the official C:SL Discord chat server[discord.gg] or Paradox support forums[forum.paradoxplaza.com].

You can often get help from other users in the main Steam discussion forum. Also, the developers of TM:PE mod have compiled a useful Troubleshooting Guide[github.com] that might help (it's not just for TM:PE, most of the issues are caused by other mods, assets, game bugs, or just common mistakes made by users).
.
42 Comments
coxinha Mar 14 @ 7:02pm 
same here! can't click
):
OskarZyg Feb 21 @ 11:48am 
Do you have a solution for being unable to click anything? Hover works, clicks aren’t recognised.
mycoolalley Mar 25, 2020 @ 10:37am 
Using "-force-opengl" totally fixed my issue, thank you!!!
rpf779 Mar 17, 2020 @ 2:18pm 
Also my mods and assets wont show up in the content manager but it says i am still subscribed to them. What works is downloading a new mod but this is really annoying. I play on a mac not a pc.
rpf779 Mar 17, 2020 @ 2:11pm 
I searched all over the internet and i can't find out what is happening. The problem is my screen size is set to a smaller setting than full screen mode and it shows a full screen in the smaller window. I can't access the buttons to change the screen resolution so it is stuck like that. I have no clue what is going on.
mea Feb 17, 2020 @ 8:13am 
Hi, I have problems with opening the game. I press play and it says it is launching but then it stops and reverts back to play. I tried many of the tips in here, but it still doesn't work.
I have played the game many times, but now it just doesn't work. Does anyone know anything that might help?
skippingrock Jan 12, 2020 @ 10:45am 
@alencah I think all you have to do is go into the Options and remove (delete) the text. That's what I did.
Jose Alencar Dec 6, 2019 @ 5:47am 
"Important: Only one of these options can be active at a time; try one and if that doesn't work remove it and try the next one, and so on.
-force-d3d9
-force-opengl
-force-gfx-metal"

OK, how do I remove it??
December23_ Sep 21, 2019 @ 9:55am 
Mentioned above in the Random crashes or reboot:

Crashes in-game

If while playing the game you get random crashes, disable Steam Overlay as described at top of this guide.

If you get crashes whilst in overlay mode (where all the buildings turn white) that's something different and we don't currently have a fix for that :/ "

> I believe that this is what is happening with me but what is this problem that doesn't have a fix yet? Is this something that I should be concerned about?

Appreciate the help, very new to Steam.
epicanova Jun 13, 2019 @ 9:10pm 
The author of this guide might like to mention lowering texture quality and using --open-glcore to reduce RAM usage.


High textures and no launch options: 30GB of RAM usage

Medium textures and --force-glcore: 15GB of RAM usage



Of course framerates are still horrible, the game runs significantly better on boot camp, but it's at least playable with these two tweaks.