5 Graphics Settings Worth Tweaking in Every PC Game

Adjusting the oft-ignored Field of View setting can help with this, provided your game offers it. Widening the field of view may add a slight fisheye effect to the edges of the screen, but you’ll be able to see more of the game world, and it may help reduce that nausea. (It’ll also hamper performance a bit, since the game has to render more objects.) The ideal field of view is dependent on the size of your screen, how close you sit to it, and your personal preferences, but anywhere from 90 to 110 degrees is usually a good starting point. Tweak the setting, give yourself some game time to get used to it, and tweak it again if need be.

Anti-Aliasing

Whitson Gordon via CD Projekt Red

Anti-aliasing is another one of those settings that isn’t quite so cut-and-dried. As its name suggests, it aims to fix aliasing, or jagged edges in certain objects or textures. If you’ve ever seen a blade of grass or window frame that looked like a blocky mess rather than straight lines, you know what I’m talking about.

There are many forms of anti-aliasing, each with their own pros and cons, and it’s hard to say one is better or worse than another. Most games will give you an option between a few of these. Super-sampling anti-aliasing, or SSAA, is the ideal solution, rendering objects at a higher resolution and then scaling them down—but this comes with a large performance penalty, so most people won’t have the graphical resources to devote to it.

That leaves you with the compromises: MSAA eliminates aliasing along edges, with a more moderate performance hit. TAA can remove the “shimmering” effect you see on some objects, at a lower performance penalty, but comes with some motion blur. FXAA and SMAA are even less resource-intensive, but add even more blur, to the point where I’d personally rather have jaggies than FXAA. And on top of that, many anti-aliasing settings also come with different levels (like 2X, 4X, or 8X) that offer heavier improvement at the cost of performance.

You can try each of these to see if you have a personal preference, or—if you’re already overwhelmed by these options—leave it off and start fiddling if you notice jagged edges or shimmering that are bugging you to death.

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Resolution Scaling, Adaptive Resolution, or DLSS

Whitson Gordon via EA

Anti-aliasing is useful if you have a little performance headroom to spare. But if you find yourself on the more graphically hindered side of the fence, lowering your resolution can actually gain back a lot of performance. For example, running modern games at 4K is hugely hardware-intensive, so if you’re playing on a 4K monitor or TV, lowering the resolution to 2560 x 1440 could keep things running smoothly.

That can, however, make the image a bit less sharp, so many modern games have features to mitigate the downsides of a lower resolution. Resolution Scaling, for example, renders the game world at a lower resolution, while keeping UI elements—like your health bar or mini-map—rendered at the display’s native resolution to keep them sharp. You’ll usually find Resolution Scaling presented as a slider or percentage of your main resolution.

Adaptive or Dynamic Resolution takes this idea even further, changing the game’s resolution as you play—if a particular scene is really intensive, it’ll scale down to keep performance up, while scaling up during less-demanding scenes. (You may be given the option to set a target frame rate for Adaptive Resolution, in which case I’d recommend the highest your monitor supports—though it’s up to you.)

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