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How to play any game in VR

We’re always updating our game guide with the best settings for playing games in VR, but if there’s a gap we haven’t covered yet you can use this guide to work through the settings to focus on.

System/SteamVR settings

The very first thing to check is your Windows power mode is set to High Performance rather than anything else such as Power Saver - these modes will dramatically inhibit performance and leave you extremely confused.

Double check your headset is running in Direct Mode - if it isn’t, your SteamVR will show a warning that performance will be degraded. You can try toggle this by heading to SteamVR settings, then Developer and scroll down to Enable Direct Mode which requires a restart of SteamVR.

General game settings

It’s hard to cover every setting that might appear in your game, so here’s a set of common ones we tend to change:

  • Anti-aliasing: The easiest target, as AA is the most GPU-intensive processing you can use. It’s also diminishing returns - right now AA is less useful as headsets have lower resolutions and you likely can’t see rough edges. We recommend disabling AA entirely inside your game.
  • Supersampling: Also incredibly GPU-intensive, we recommend setting this to off or low.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or 2560 x 1440. Higher resolutions will push your GPU to the limit.
  • Post-processing: Disabled
  • Effects: Medium
  • Reflections: Off
  • Vsync: Enabled
  • Texture filtering: 8X or less
  • Frame rate cap: 60

Bigscreen settings

There’s a bunch of settings you can adjust in Bigscreen to optimize performance for games with higher demands, such as Overwatch.

The absolute best environment for performance focused gamers is Bigscreen’s Void - it’s optimized for playing in VR and has minimal effects. Others, such as Andromeda are marked with a green leaf and are optimized for gaming as well, but still have a performance impact.

We recommend working through these options, from top to bottom, but only once you’ve tried adjusting your game:

Anti-aliasing: Disable it entirely and you may see a marginal improvement in performance.

Supersampling: This method renders games at higher resolutions than are available, then down-samples the image to the native resolution of your headset. We recommend either 1.0x or 0.5x if your PC is unable to maintain a stable 60 FPS.

Other software

f.lux: Some users have reported f.lux can interfere with performance, particularly as your game launches or adjusts window resolution. We recommend disabling it before jumping in, if this happens to you.

Anything else?

If you’ve found a setting that makes a big difference to your game’s performance, or maybe the perfect setup for getting Civilization V to work in VR, we’d love to talk. Just hit one of the buttons below and say hello.

Need more help?

If you’re still stuck, or the advice above doesn't help, we’d love to talk. Jump into our Discord, join our Reddit or create a thread on Steam and we’ll help you on your way. You can also email us at [email protected]