Flickering shadows in “Cities Skylines 2” can be a nuisance, detracting from the immersive experience of city-building. This issue can be caused by various factors, from in-game settings to hardware limitations. In this guide, we’ll delve into the causes of shadow flickering and provide comprehensive solutions to address them.


Note: Make sure to enable Auto Save to protect your progress and manually save the game before trying any of the fixes.

Fix #1: In-Game Settings Adjustments

a. Reduce Shadow Quality

The game’s shadow quality setting can be a primary culprit. High-quality shadows require more graphical processing, which can lead to flickering if your hardware is struggling.

  • Solution: Navigate to the game’s settings, find the ‘Graphics’ tab, and reduce the shadow quality. This can significantly reduce or eliminate flickering.

b. Turn Off Dynamic Shadows

Dynamic shadows change based on the time of day and movement of objects. While they add realism, they can also cause flickering.

  • Solution: In the ‘Graphics’ settings, turn off or reduce the dynamic shadows option.

Fix #2: Graphics Driver Updates

Outdated or incompatible graphics drivers can cause a myriad of graphical issues, including shadow flickering.

  • Solution: Ensure your graphics drivers are up-to-date. Visit the official website of your graphics card manufacturer (NVIDIA, AMD, Intel) and download the latest driver version. Remember to restart your computer after updating.

Fix #3: Hardware Limitations

If your PC doesn’t meet the game’s recommended hardware specifications, especially the graphics card, you might experience graphical glitches.

  • Solution: Consider upgrading your graphics card or ensuring that other demanding applications aren’t running simultaneously with the game.

Fix #4: Screen Refresh Rate Mismatch

A mismatch between the game’s frame rate and your monitor’s refresh rate can cause flickering.

  • Solution:
    • Sync the game’s frame rate with your monitor’s refresh rate.
    • Enable V-Sync in the game settings. This will lock the game’s frame rate to match your monitor’s refresh rate.

Fix #5: External Software Interference

Third-party software, especially screen recording or overlay software, can interfere with the game’s rendering.

  • Solution: Disable or uninstall any unnecessary third-party software running in the background while playing the game.

Fix #6: Game File Integrity

Corrupted or missing game files can lead to graphical anomalies.

  • Solution: If you’re using a platform like Steam, use the ‘Verify Integrity of Game Files’ option. This will check and repair any corrupted or missing files.

Fix #7: Understanding Shadow Flickering

Shadow flickering, in technical terms, often arises due to “Z-fighting.” This occurs when two or more objects occupy the same space and the game engine struggles to determine which one should be displayed, leading to rapid switches between them. In “Cities Skylines 2”, this can happen with shadows when two surfaces are very close to each other.

Fix #8: Advanced Solutions

For advanced users comfortable with tweaking game files:

  • Solution: Navigate to the game’s configuration files and manually adjust shadow distance and resolution parameters. This can offer a more fine-tuned control over shadows, but always remember to back up any files before making changes.

Shadow flickering can be a jarring experience, but with the above solutions, you should be able to enjoy “Cities Skylines 2” with smooth, flicker-free shadows. Always remember to keep your game and drivers updated, and consider consulting the game’s official forums or support channels if problems persist.