All Cities Skylines cheats & how to enable developer UI

All Cities Skylines cheats & how to enable developer UI
Images via Colossal Order

Written by 

Harry Boulton

Last updated 

14th Feb 2024 15:41

Sometimes you just can't be bothered to go through the effort of building up your own city, so the cheats available in Cities Skylines are perfect for saving us all some time in-game.

From Unlimited Money to the full suite of items at your disposal, you can really let your creative juices flow with cheats enabled - so why not have a little bit of fun and turn them on every once in a while - they're there to be used after all.

How to enable cheats in Cities Skylines

To unlock and enable cheats in Cities Skylines 2, all you need to do is turn them on in the content manager section of the main menu. Instead of inputting them in a cheat box in every new save, the cheats act almost like built-in mods from the developer that can just be turned on and off at will.

Image showing the cheats available in Cities Skylines
Click to enlarge

They are grouped in with any other mods you have downloaded, but an easy way to find all the cheats if you want to turn any on or off is to sort by author, as the cheats themselves will be the only ones without an actual creator so will sit at the top.

All cheats & what they do

There are currently five available cheats in Cities Skylines to enable, and they are as follows:

  • Hard Mode
  • Unlimited Money
  • Unlimited Oil and Ore
  • Unlimited Soil
  • Unlock All

There is no restriction on how many of these you can have on at any one time, so you could enable them all and enjoy an entirely restricted gameplay experience if you wanted. One thing to note is that enabling any of the cheats does disable the ability to earn achievements or trophies, but there is a Steam Workshop mod to circumvent this, if you want to fully embrace the cheating lifestyle.

Hard Mode

The hard mode cheat is the one selection that actually has a negative effect on your experience. If you’re a bit bored with the standard city-building experience and want a bit more of a challenge, then the hard mode is definitely for you. If you’re wondering what the hard mode actually does though, it enables the following:

  • Building and maintenance cost is increased by 25%
  • Relocation costs are increased
  • Building destruction only gives you half the normal amount back
  • RCI demand has been reduced
  • Slower level-up process for buildings

Unlimited Money

What reputable cheats selection does not have an unlimited money option? This is incredibly self-explanatory though, as enabling this mod will give you endless funds, and you can build to your heart’s content.

Unlimited Oil and Ore

Acting in a similar function to the unlimited money cheat, unlimited oil and ore prevent the drain of any oil and ore resources in your city. In the vanilla game, any natural resources would eventually be consumed by industry over time, but with this enabled, you can extract the earth for as long as possible.

Unlimited Soil

Enabling this mod removes the cost from any landscaping activities you are able to undertake. This includes terraforming and planting trees or any natural items. This is a very handy mod to have on that doesn’t induce too many game-altering mechanics, allowing you to mould your city to suit your needs without having to worry too much about funds.

Unlock All

If you were to play the game without this cheat, you would have to gradually increase your population and complete specific tasks in order to continually unlock various items and services for your city. However, enabling the 'unlock all' cheat gives you access to every single item at the start of the game, so this is the perfect mod to combine with unlimited money if you’re after a purely creative sandbox experience.

Best cheats for beginners

If you're new to Cities Skylines then I'd recommend turning on Unlimited Money for your first save, as it can save a lot of headaches when it comes to the rather steep learning curve.

It can take some practice to learn your limits - even for seasoned city builders, and you will often find yourself in the red in the early stages with no real understanding of how you got there. Expanding too quickly or not having the population to support your new developments can very easily lead to a haemorrhaging balance, so having the parachute of unlimited money makes learning how to play the game a lot easier.

Some might recommend enabling Unlock All too, but I'd steer clear of that as a beginner unless you want to go full creative mode, as it's better to learn the game at the pace indicated by the progression path.

How to enable developer UI in Cities Skylines

Image showing you how to enable the developer UI in Cities Skylines
Click to enlarge

To unlock the developer UI in Cities Skylines, navigate to your Steam launch options by right-clicking on the game and selecting properties, and then the general tab. Enter -enable-dev-ui into the launch options, and the developer UI should be active the next time you launch the game.

This gives you far greater power over your cheating in-game, allowing you to be more precise with actions like monetary gain, unlocks, building progression and much more.

If you ever want to turn it off again, all you need to do is remove this line from your launch options and it will be removed. You do need to be careful to not tamper too far though, and remember to save frequently, as pushing the game too much is liable to cause crashes.

Once you've finished your cheating in-game, make sure to check out our Cities Skylines homepage for more guides like this, including all of the best maps and how to use the first person camera.

Harry is a Guides Writer at GGRecon, having completed a Masters of Research degree in Film Studies. Previously a freelance writer for PCGamesN, The Loadout, and Red Bull Gaming, he loves playing a wide variety of games from the Souls series to JRPGs, Counter-Strike, and EA FC. When not playing or writing about games and hardware, you're likely to find him watching football or listening to Madonna and Kate Bush.

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