How to improve ARK FPS

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You might be aware that ARK: Survival Evolved is an early access title, and as such is not as optimized as some other games that use the unreal engine.

That being said, there are some YouTube¬†videos floating out there that show ARK at 60+ FPS on some lower end graphics cards. I’d like to make it clear exactly what lowers FPS, and what you can do to make your game more enjoyable.

  1. Resolution Scale
    1. This has a medium to high impact on the look of your game. You’re basically downscaling your video, and blurring it a little to make it look like a lower resolution. I recommend not doing this, and selecting the resolution you want. Some monitors work better if you select a native resolution, and have the game do it.
  2. Shadow Level
    1. This has a high impact on the game, as well as a high impact on FPS. I use medium on my 980TI in order to get 60+ FPS in ARK. Unfortunately with a low shadow level, it has a shadow that precedes you and you can see it travelling across the map as you move.
  3. Render Distance
    1. The higher this is, the further away rocks, dinos, trees, etc. load. You want
  4. Shader Model
    1. Add -sm4 in your launch options (right click on the game, click properties, then launch options) . This instructs the game to use shader model 4 instead of 5 (directx 10 instead of 11)
    2. This has a significant effect in game. Ground clutter no longer works, and a lot of things look lower quality, but will double your FPS.
  5. Sky Effects
    1. I’d set this to 0, as the sky doesn’t look so different. Adds a few FPS.
  6. Ground Clutter
    1. Turns off grass, flowers, and other stuff on the ground. While it does look amazing it pings your FPS 3-10 depending on level. I turn this to low/medium on my 980TI, and off if I am streaming (because I use sm4)

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