How to Improve FPS in Valheim
Valheim, the gorgeous open-world exploration and survival RPG title, has recently been in the news for selling millions of copies in record time. However, it still carries the “Early Access” tag, meaning that the developers aren’t done with polishing the game mechanics, fixing bugs and glitches, and optimizing the game for various PC configurations yet.
As much as we all love the gameplay and have spent hundreds of hours in Valheim at this point, one of the major annoyances is the poor and inconsistent performance on PC. Given the deliberate retro aesthetics of the game, it’s pretty strange to see even beefy PCs run it poorly.
Fortunately, if you are looking to gain a few extra frames on Valheim, there are a couple of community-approved ways you can improve the game’s performance. Pretty much all the following fixes in this guide are suggested by other players on various forums and subreddits, so you definitely should try them out until the devs iron out the optimization issues.
Improving Valheim performance with Vulkan
Vulkan support was added to the game with the rollout of Valheim’s 0.146.8 patch update back in February. For those who don’t know, Vulkan is a modern 3D graphics and computing API designed to run more efficiently than older APIs like OpenGL.
Since Vulkan is designed to provide more balanced CPU/GPU usage and higher performance without affecting visual fidelity, playing Valheim with Vulkan enabled should offer a noticeable uplift in framerates on both old and new PCs. In fact, you can possibly crank up the graphical sliders even higher for eye-candy visuals and still maintain playable framerates.
That said, Vulkan performance varies by hardware, so your mileage may also vary. Many players have claimed nearly doubling their initial framerates after enabling Vulkan in Valheim, while others have reported a smaller 5-10 FPS gain. Here’s how you can play Valheim with Vulkan:
- First, launch Steam from your desktop and visit Library from the navigation bar.
- Choose Valheim in your list of games, followed by clicking the Play button.
- A dialog box will prompt you whether you wish to Play Valheim or Play Valheim using Vulkan.
- Proceed with the Play Valheim using Vulkan option and hit Play.
Remember that Steam will not save your selection, so you will have to choose the following launch option manually every time you open the game.
Fixing FPS drops after terraforming in Valheim
If you have been playing Valheim for a while, most of you should already be aware of terraforming in Valheim. You can change the terrain’s height to your preference and give yourself more headroom for building massive bases.
However, hundreds of players have complained that terraforming a lot of land in a smaller area causes performance degradations, permanently lowering the framerates throughout the map. Luckily, the developers took notice immediately and somewhat mitigated the issue with the recent version 0.150.3 update.
Despite the changes, players will need to manually convert all the old terrain generation on their existing worlds to the new system with a straightforward command. The following steps will show you how to do it:
- Go to your Steam library, right-click on Valheim, and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
- In the “General” menu of the Properties window, select the field under Launch Options and type “-console” (without the quotes).
- Now close the window and launch Valheim in Vulkan mode as we suggested before.
- From the main menu, load up the world that’s suffering from terraforming-related performance problems.
- Once you are in the game, press F5 on the keyboard to open the console.
- Type “optterain” (again, without the quotes) in the console and press the Enter key.
Once you complete the steps, the console will show you what was optimized in your world. You can also repeat the steps for your other Valheim worlds that are having the same issue.
It’s worth noting that further terrain changes after the version 0.150.3 update will use the new optimized system, so you will have to run the command only one time on any world generated before the update.
Alternative ways to improve FPS in Valheim
As we mentioned before, Vulkan’s performance vastly varies by hardware. Depending on the PC’s configuration, players may run into frequent frame drops, crashes, and other game-breaking issues when playing Valheim in Vulkan mode.
In that case, we recommend you launch Valheim with the regular DirectX API. However, if you are still searching for ways to squeeze a bit more frames in DirectX mode, check out the following solutions:
Enable GPU scheduling
With the Windows 10 May 2020 Update, Microsoft introduced hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling. When enabled, it reduces driver overhead and decreases system latency, resulting in overall better performance and improving responsiveness.
Some Valheim players have reported that enabling GPU scheduling on Windows does provide a tangible boost in FPS and stability. Now it’s worth mentioning that not all PCs support this feature, but you should try turning it on if your PC allows you to.
- First, open the Start menu from your Windows taskbar.
- Visit the Settings app and select System on the main page.
- After that, scroll down the Display options and click Graphics settings.
- Now click the toggle switch under the Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling option. Make sure it says “On.”
Upon completing the steps, restart your PC and launch Valheim from Steam to check if you notice any performance improvements.
Play Valheim in exclusive windowed mode
A few players have found that running Valheim in exclusive windowed mode rather than fullscreen resolves the frequent FPS drops and increases stability. If you also want to try it out, all you have to do is perform the below steps.
- If you are currently playing Valheim, close it and go to your Steam library.
- Choose Valheim and right-click to open the drop-down menu, then select Properties.
- In the following General menu, select the text field under the “Launch Options” section and paste the following command: –window-mode exclusive
- Now close the Properties window and launch Valheim in either standard (DirectX) or Vulkan mode.
Some of Valheim’s advanced graphics settings are inaccessible in the game, but you can tweak them within the configuration file found in Valheim’s installation folder. A member named u/RustyB3ans over the r/valheim subreddit has discovered an FPS fix to improve framerates drastically without sacrificing visual quality. Here’s more in detail:
- Head over to Steam game library, right-click on Valheim, and select Properties in the drop-down menu.
- Select the Local Files tab in the left pane and hit the Browse button.
- Now go to the valheim_Data folder from the File Explorer window that opens up.
- Right-click the boot.config file and select “Open with” from the drop-down menu options.
- In the following window, click More apps to expand the options, then select Notepad and click OK.
- After you open the boot.config file in Notepad, make the following changes:
- Go to the top of the configuration lines and press the Enter key twice to add two new spaces for your custom commands.
- Paste the following command into the first space: gfx-enable-jobs=1
- Again, paste the following command into the second space: gfx-enable-native-gfx-jobs=1
- Now press Ctrl + S on your keyboard or go to the File tab above and click Save to confirm your changes.
- Once you do that, go to your Steam library and launch Valheim.
Make sure to launch the game in non-Vulkan mode for the changes to take effect. Hopefully, you should see a substantial increase in FPS and fewer performance hiccups than before.
If you happen to encounter any weird lighting or artifact issues in-game with the following commands applied, open Valheim’s boot.config file using Notepad and delete the “gfx-enable-native-gfx-jobs=1” command.