COLOSSAL ORDER’S STATEMENT:
Since publishing this news, Colossal Order has reached out to us, offering their official explanation of this question:
“Citizen lifepath feature does not tie to citizen geometry and does not affect the performance figures of the characters. 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.
For more details on Citizens, Lifepath, and more, our developer diaries are here.
- Paradox Interactive – Citizen Simulation Lifepath
- Paradox Forums: Dev Dairy Behind The Scenes 5 – Citizen Characters
Among the many criticisms of the Cities: Skylines sequel disastrous optimization occupies the (dis)honorable first place. Funnily enough, according to some players the cause of performance issues in Cities: Skylines 2 may be extremely peculiar and have to do with the teeth of the inhabitants of virtual metropolises.
As pointed out by Reddit user u/Hexcoder0, Cities: Skylines 2 constantly renders, among other things, the teeth of character models.
- Typically, developers use different levels of detail (LOD for short) depending on how far the camera is from the object. The less the object is visible, the less detailed the model is.
- Apparently, Colossal Order forgot about this "little thing," and made Cities: Skylines II always renders full models of the inhabitants. Including all teeth and underwear, as pointed out by another Reddit user.
- The same Internet user (u/MattyKane12) noted that the character models were procedurally generated and, as a result, were not optimized for the game. The Popul8 tool from Didmo was used for this purpose (vide Colossal Order article from October 21), and this was intended to increase the diversity of the inhabitants of virtual cities in the game.
The developer initially did not address the issue, but fans took it upon themselves to test the theory (via Twitter). Some players reported performance improvements, but not for all of them it was significant and universal enough to consider their cases as proof of the truth of the thesis.
- Cities: Skylines 2 Review - A Revolution, 2.0, or 1.5?
Several Internet users (including the alleged developer of games and mods for the first Cities: Skylines) have expressed doubts about this theory. He added that the teeth do disappear when the camera is zoomed out to an appropriate distance, although he did not post any footage to confirm it.
Moreover, the day after these speculations appeared, a small update to Cities: Skylines 2 was released. One of the items on the list of changes was "changing the level of detail to be independent of the rendering resolution in order to increase performance when playing at high resolutions." (via Steam). Comments of players indicate that after installing the hotfix the game runs noticeably better (albeit still worse than it should in their opinion).
Of course, the developers did not mention anything about teeth or underwear. Nevertheless, the aforementioned hotfix may suggest that the players' theory was not as absurd as it might seem. Anyway, let's hope that the developer will not rest on his laurels and will not make us wait long for further optimization fixes.