Performance has always been an outstanding issue for PlanetSide 2, as it’s a beautiful and demanding MMO game that’s played on a huge variety of PCs.
This guide is a compilation of all available information regarding tuning PlanetSide 2 and will arm you with knowledge necessary for best possible looks and performance.
Healthy game on a healthy PC
Naturally, game’s performance depends on the quality of your computer’s software and hardware, so that’s where we will start.
Hardware for PlanetSide 2
Most games put higher load on GPU – the graphics card, rather than on CPU.
As MMO game with hundreds of people in a battle, PlanetSide 2 puts an unusually high load on CPU as well, so you may want to shift the balance of budget and power into CPU rather than GPU.
Currently, Intel processors of equal frequency perform better than AMD ones, but they also cost more.
Installing PlanetSide 2 on an SSD, If you can afford it, should improve loading times and potentially solve framerate drops / hitching after you first load into battle, if you have them.
Having OS and Windows Pagefile installed on an SSD should generally improve performance as well.
Building a PC
The situation on PC hardware market is always changing, new hardware is constantly replaced by newer hardware.
When deciding which hardware to choose, I always recommend Tom’s Hardware – it’s a community of PC geeks that have a lot of experience in picking best components for best prices.
Check out this “Build your own PC” article if you intend to build a new PC from scratch, but lack experience.
Tom’s Hardware also has a series of quarterly articles “System Builder Marathon“, where community members compete for creating a PC build with best performance-to-cost ratio.
Make sure that your Operating System is clean and has no viruses or malware:
DrWeb CureIt! is a free tool that scans for viruses. Unlike most antiviruses, you don’t have to keep it running all the time, you just download the latest version of the CureIt! and perform a scan once.
MalwareBytes Anti-Malware is a tool that scans for malware – the type of harmful trash programs that don’t qualify to be viruses, but still can cause issues. MalwareBytes has a free version that can be used the same way as CureIt!.
Install all relevant Windows updates by enabling WIndows Update in Control Panel.
Install fresh drivers for your hardware.
If your system has been running for several years, it may be a good idea to do some cleanup:
Kerish Doctor is a comprehensive solution for cleaning up Windows, and has useful functions like fixing registry errors. It has a 15 day free trial period, which should be enough time to get your OS in order.
Disable all unnecessary background programs while playing PS2. You can do it manually, or use Razer Gamebooster freeware to do it for you.
Choosing Operating System
- PlanetSide 2 will not run on any version of Windows XP.
- PlanetSide 2 requires a 64 bit OS.
There are no other hard requirements, and if you’re satisfied with your current version of Windows, there is no need to change it.
PlanetSide 2 and Windows 10
PlanetSide 2 runs well on Windows 10. Some players have reported a performance increase after switching to Windows 10. There’s a known issue with nVidia SLI causing screen artifacts on Windows 10, but it’s possible it has been fixed.
Unexpected problems may arise if your specific hardware doesn’t have compatible drivers for Win 10.
On a personal note, for reasons outlined in this article, I recommend to continue using Windows 7 x64.
PlanetSide 2 Performance
Now that you have a clean sparkly-fresh computer, it’s time to tune PlanetSide 2.
What each setting does
The [CPU] or [GPU] tag near setting’s name indicates whether the setting puts higher load on CPU or GPU respectively.
You can press “Alt + F” in game or type “/fps” in chat to enable FPS counter in the lower left corner of the screen. Use it to judge performance.
It will show [GPU] or [CPU] next to it, that will tell you what limits your performance right now.
Display Mode: changes between Windowed, Full Screen and Fullscreen Windowed.
Generally, it’s better to play in Full Screen mode, but if PS2 starts crashing after an update, it may be helpful to switch to Fullscreen Windowed for a while.
Different Display Modes also put different requirements on video recording software or non-Direct X crosshair overlays, if you want to use any of that.
[GPU] Resolution – click here if you don’t know what Resolution is.
It’s best to use native resolution for your display. Usually, this is the highest resolution that your monitor and graphics card can support. If that causes too much strain on your PC, reduce Render Quality.
[GPU] Render Quality sets the ratio between rendered resolution / displayed resolution.
Essentially, changing the Render Quality makes the game render at a different resolution, and then scales it to your current display resolution.
This is similar to just playing on a different resolution, but without affecting the size of HUD elements, such as crosshairs, menus, minimap, etc.
It’s possible to increase the render quality past 100% by editing UserOptions.ini, more on that below.
Brightness. PlanetSide 2 doesn’t give you access to Contrast settings, and increasing Brightness without changing Contrast will just make everything whiter.
If you need to make the game a bit brighter, it’s better to keep game’s Brightness at 0, and change your PC display’s brightness instead (thanks to st0mpeh for this info).
Generally, how bright you want your game to, be depends on your display, personal preference and how much outside light do you have in your room.
[All] Vertical Field of View determines your field of vision.
It is set to maximum value of 74 by default, and that’s where I recommend keeping it, unless you have a small display.
There’s more detailed information in a “Vertical Field of View” section below.
Wide View Mode – enable this for multi-monitor setups.
It’s hard to play PS2 on multiple monitors, as even with “Centralized HUD” enabled, the minimap and chat will remain in furthest left corners of your left monitor.
Vertical Sync synchronizes FPS to monitor’s refresh rate to prevent tearing.
Essentially, it reduces FPS to the nearest lower value of 30 or 60. For example, if your current FPS is 65, VSync will limit it to 60, and if your FPS is 57, VSync will limit it to 30.
Most nVidia GPUs have Adaptive VSync and AMD have Dynamic VSync, which can be enabled via GPU control panel. It automatically enables VSync if framerate exceeds display refresh rate, and disables it otherwise.
This helps to avoid the issue of being capped at 30 FPS while you could play on 57, but you can still see tearing while VSync is disabled.
You can read more about VSync here. Just keep in mind that PS2 is a DirectX game, and Triple Buffering can’t be enabled for it via legitimate means.
GPU Particle Quality is a remnant of old days, when PS2 had beautiful Physx particles.
Unfortunately, due to outstanding performance and stability issues, these particles had to be permanently disabled. Changing this setting will not affect anything.
[GPU] Render Distance sets the render distance for terrain.
Note that Render Distance has a hidden cap, depending on a continent, roughly ~2000-2500m. Setting render distance higher than that won’t affect anything. Setting of 1000m is recommend for primarily infantry players, and 1500-2000m for frequent vehicle pilots.
Render distance for players and vehicles cannot be set manually. It’s dynamic and adjusts automatically depending on PC and server load – basically, the number of people in a battle.
Players with long-range loadouts are rendered from longer ranges.
Smoothing sets a framerate cap of 60 FPS to provide you with stable framerate, even if you’ll have lower framerate on average.
Allegedly, it is better to play on stable 60 FPS than playing on FPS jumping between 60 and 90, so PS2 developers recommend enabling smoothing.
The only time I’d recommend disabling smoothing is if you have a high end PC that can sustain more than 60 FPS, and a monitor that supports refresh rate of higher than 60 Hz.
[GPU] Fog Shadows increase visibility on Hossin and Esamir, and when using a HS/NV scope.
[GPU] Ambient Occlusion – increases visual quality by adding shadows and contrast, even when shadows are disabled.
[GPU] Bloom (+video example) – adds contrast to bright light sources, mostly noticeable at night. It adds a lot to the “cinematic” feeling, but can make things harder to see, often almost blinding the player.
[All] Overall Quality – changes all other settings at once. As you can see, depending on settings, PlanetSide 2 can look very different.
[GPU / RAM] Texture Quality makes stuff prettier.
Allegedly, setting textures on Ultra can even increase performance and loading times, because lower quality textures are derived after recompressing ultra textures each time they need to be used.
This assumes that you have enough graphics memory (VRAM) to hold ultra textures. If I had to guess, I’d say 1GB VRAM should be enough.
[GPU] Lighting Quality will help find people by Muzzle Flashes and make stuff prettier. High setting looks notably better than low or medium.
[GPU] Shadows are controversial.
Seeing shadows can help you detect enemies, but they are one of the most performance-costing options, and they make everything look much darker, especially at night.
There seems to be little to no difference between shadow quality at different settings, so I don’t recommend trying to get a compromise. Either disable them completely, or set on high/ultra.
Disabling shadows also fixes a long-standing bug when players at long range warp all over the place.
[CPU] Particle Quality and [CPU] Effects Quality – affects quality of stuff like smoke puffs and bullet impact effects. Makes stuff prettier, but can negatively affect visibility.
Side to side comparison video (all other settings ultra).
[CPU] Terrain Quality is supposed to affect the quality of terrain geometry, but there’s no noticeable difference in performance / visuals. Up to you.
[GPU] Flora Quality affects the quality of grass and other foliage. Makes things prettier and more immersive, but at the possible cost to visibility, especially against Infiltrators and Light Assaults hiding on trees or foliage.
[GPU] Model Quality makes stuff prettier.
[GPU] Motion Blur smooths out transitions between frames, making action more fluid and pleasant to the eye. Motion Blur is disabled by default. To enable it, launch the game.
In main menu settings, set “Overall Quality” to ultra. You can lower individual settings after that. You have to do this each time you launch PS2.
There are some weird interactions with it. For example, when I set overall quality to ultra and log into a character and disable shadows, this disables Motion Blur as well. Then I set overall quality to ultra again, and that enables Motion Blur, but keeps shadows disabled.
Don’t trust the checkbox in settings menu. A surefire way to check if you have motion blur is to take a screenshot while rapidly turning your camera. If everything except your gun is blurry, you have motion blur.
[CPU] Maximum Voice Channels – located on the “Audio” tab of the Settings menu. Affects the number of sounds that can be played simultaneously.
You may want to reduce this setting if you have a weak CPU, but it may cost you in game, as you may not hear certain key sounds, like enemy shooting you in the back 🙂
Anti-Aliasing – PlanetSide 2 has really bad built-in anti-aliasing, that makes things harder to see. Unfortunately, there is no way to turn it off at this time.
Unfortunately, there is no up to date information on performance impact of each individual setting.
“PlanetSide 2 Tweak Guide” by nVidia is horribly outdated, as since its release in 2012, PlanetSide 2 underwent massive internal changes and performance optimizations.
It’s safe to say that Graphics Quality, Shadows and Resolution are the most demanding options, but to find out which setting does what to your framerate on your PC, you will just have to experiment.
In general, if you have a weak CPU, decrease CPU-dependent settings to increase performance.
Or if you have a powerful GPU, you can increase GPU-dependent settings at no performance cost.
There are multiple testimonies that putting certain settings on “low” gives little to no performance, and sometimes can even reduce it, so pay attention to what you’re changing and what results you’re getting.
For a weak PC
If you’re running on a toaster and seemingly cant hit 60 FPS steady, try out this UserOptions.ini.
It’s a public-friendly version of what I run with on my poor little laptop.
In both cases, adjust resolution and render quality as necessary.
To use these settings, find and open “UserOptions.ini” in your main PlanetSide 2 folder.
Then replace its contents with the contents of Sesususes’ pastebin links under [Display], [Rendering] and [Terrain] sections.
For a good PC
PlanetSide 2 can look incredibly good at all ultra settings. Cinematic, even. However, certain graphical settings can affect visibility. I find the settings below to be the best compromise between looks and performance.
The game will look good, but will not hold you back by throwing special effects all over your screen. You need at least entry-level gaming PC to have good performance with these settings.
In addition to tuning PlanetSide 2 performance, there are other, smaller things you can change to further customize the game for your own needs.
Graphical overlays, such as Recursion and Overwolf for TS3 are explicitly allowed.
Other ways to increase performance
Increase Planetside2.exe’s task priority with Windows Task Manager to “above average” or “high”. Do not set the priority to “real time”, this would allow PS2 to hog ALL resources, which can crash your system.
Disabling Core 0
If your CPU has 4 cores or more, you can disable the Core number 0 for PlanetSide 2.
This can potentially increase performance, because Windows primarily runs on Core 0, and thus when PlanetSide needs to do something it can be stuck in line behind those Windows processes.
By telling planetside to avoid Core 0 you avoid the problem altogether. The less planetside has to wait, the better your FPS.
Open your task manager by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Delete. Start up PlanetSide up to character select screen.
Press Alt + TAB to switch to task manager. Locate and right click the PlanetSide2_x64.exe process. Choose “Set Affinity”. Uncheck Core 0. Click OK. Done.
This can potentially give you a 10-30(!) FPS Boost, your mileage may vary.
Currently unknown if it will have any effect on Win 10.
This setting does not persist between PlanetSide sessions and restarts, you have to set it manually each time you launch PS2.
This needs to be done each time you launch PS2.
Try out this method and see if you get a performance boost. If it does help, you can use the mini-guide by Ahorns in the spoiler below to create a shortcut that will automatically launch PS2 with Core 0 disabled.
First, how many Cores do you have and are you using Hyperthreading? Remember this Hex number:
4 Cores = E
4 Cores with HT (8 Threads) = FC
6 Cores = 3E
6 Cores with HT (12 Threads) = FFC
8 Cores = FE
8 Cores with HT (16 Threads) = FFFC
Right click or press and hold on an empty area of your desktop, and click/tap on New and Shortcut. Type the command below into the location area, and click/tap on the Next button.
replace the # with your Hex Code and the destination with your launchpad destination, for me, that would be c:\ps2\launchpad.exe
cmd.exe /c start "Planetside 2" /affinity # "Full path of application file"
cmd.exe /c start "Planetside 2" /affinity 3E "c:\ps2\launchpad.exe"
click next and type in any name you want.
you can change the picture of that shortcut, too, if you like.
When you start this shortcut now, it starts the launchpad without core 0, which starts the game without core 0, and that’s what we want 😀
This can not damage your CPU, it will only take load off it.
To save power, most modern CPUs adjust their clock frequency depending on load. Basically, when there’s nothing to do frequency decreases to save power, and when there’s a lot of stuff to calculate, frequency increases.
However, these changes to frequency are not instant; delays are enough to cause framerate drops.
The easiest way to solve this is to just force your CPU to always run at maximum frequency.
Go to Windows Control Panel -> Power Options. There select “High Performance”.
Then click “Change plan settings” to right of it.
Click “Change advanced power settings”. A window will open.
In the list, find “Processor power management”.
Set “Minimum processor state” as “100%”
Set “System cooling policy” as “Active”
Set “Maximum processor state” as “100%”
Overclocking is a very “personal” matter; by how much you can overclock – if at all – depends on what PC components you have. For specific advice and instruction, you should search how to overclock your specific hardware components.
Planetside’s performance is more often than not held off by CPU rather than graphics card, so overclocking can help with that a lot.
Vertical Field of View
In Planetside 2 there is a setting called Vertical FoV, which is not the same as Horizontal FoV used in some of the other FPS games.
By default, Vertical FoV in Planetside 2 is 74 degrees.
To avoid motion sickness, FPS games should be played at a minimum of 90 Horizontal FOV. To get that 90 Horizontal FoV, set your Vertical FoV not lower than:
1024×768 or 4:3 – Horizontal 90 = Vertical 74
1920×1080 or 16:9 – Horizontal 90 = Vertical 59
1680×1050 or 16:10 – Horizontal 90 = Vertical 65
In PlanetSIde 2 settings menu, the maximum allowed Vertical FOV value is 74, but using UserOptions.ini, you can set it as high as 150, though it’s not recommended to go over 100. Check this video by ZoranTheBear for more info.
Higher FOV means you see more, there’s more stuff on the screen. But that “stuff” gets smaller, so if you set your FoV too high, it’ll be hard to make out individual details.
High FoV will also create a “fish eyes” or “fish bowl” effect, which can feel uncomfortable.
A couple of pictures for comparison:
UserOptions.ini located in PlanetSide 2 folder contains all of the graphical and performance settings that you can possibly customize, as well as the list of people that you muted (ignored) in game and mouse sensitivity settings, but not keybinds.
According to PlanetSide 2 development team, players can make any changes to UserOptions.ini without fearing a ban.
Here’s how this file typically looks:
A few noteworthy fields:
You can set this value to 1.410000 or 2.000000 to get Supersample Anti-Aliasing. 1.41 is equal to 2x and 2.0 is equal to 4x SSAA. Visit this page if you’d like to know what is Supersample Anti-Aliasing.
This will have a serious impact on your performance, but will make the game look a bit smoother. Not recommended unless you have a very powerful GPU.
Also, if you’re a proud owner of GTX 970 or GTX 980 (or any other nVidia GPU with Maxwell architecture) you can enable DSR in your nVidia Control Panel, which is basically the same thing as SSAA.
It’s possible that DSR can provide better visuals/performance than editing Render Quality, but as a side effect, DSR will scale down your HUD.
Sets the framerate cap.
Set this to whatever maximum refresh rate your monitor can offer. Common values are 60, 120 and 144.
To find out what refresh rate your monitor supports, right click on your desktop. Click “screen resolution”. Click advanced settings. Click the “Monitor” tab. It will then show you the refresh rate.
Allegedly, it’s better to set MaximumFPS a few frames lower than actual maximum refresh rate. I.e. if your monitor has 120 Hz refresh rate, set MaximumFPS to 115.
This value sets the render distance for particles, like tracers and explosions.
Lowering it to something like “0.000010” will make particles render only at close ranges and increase performance, but make it harder for you to play, because you won’t see things like weapon fire tracers and smoke puffs from damage vehicles.
This value can also be increased to increase the range where you can see particles, which can be important for aerial combat.
Generally there’s no reason to touch this setting for an average player.
Does “something” related to extremely weak hardware and how the game handles Level of Detail based on distance to an object.
Generally it’s better to disable this setting, unless you run extremely old and weak hardware (c) Billbacca the developer.
Disable automatic decloak
By default, infiltrators can decloak by pressing “fire” button. This wasn’t always this way, and oldschool players, who are used to decloaking manually, may find this annoying.
To disable automatic decloak, find or add this line in UserOptions.ini under [General]:
Disable ability queue
If your character is unable to perform a certain action, but becomes able to perform that action within a specified time frame, that action will be automatically performed later.
This is easier to explain on an example.
Let’s say you decloak, and try to throw a grenade while decloaking. The decloaking animation will prevent you from throwing the grenade.
If Ability Queue is set, for example, to 0.5 seconds, the game will remember that you were unable to throw the grenade, and if you will become able to throw the grenade in 0.5 seconds, your character will do that automatically when the decloaking animation completes.
However, this creates more problems than it solves.
The common occurrence is that you’d double tap the cloak key (or use the DecloakOnFire, but also hit the ability key) and uncloak, but have the AbilityQueue kick in and you’d wind up recloaked.
It basically plays out like you have lag anytime you’re decloaking and is a good way to cloak trap yourself or find yourself using an ability at a time it’s only going to get you killed.
When it was first added and enabled by default, it caused a lot of very frustrating moments and a lot of angry infils.
I’d strongly advise keeping Ability Queue at 0.0 because it ultimately will screw you over.
To disable ability queuing, find or add this line in UserOptions.ini under [General]:
Custom reflex reticle color
Credit: originally posted on reddit by MrRube.
UserOptions.ini has two lines you can use to change your reticule color.
The first is “TintModeReticuleStyle”. By default this is set to “0”. Changing it to “1” will allow you to use the second line to change the color of all your reticules.
The second line is “TintModeReticuleColor”. When “TintModeReticuleStyle” is set to “1”, you can set “TintModeReticuleColor” to a decimal color value.
For example, if you wanted all your reticules to be neon green, you would set it to “65280”.
Use this site to find out the decimal value for any color you want (thanks LordMcze).
So if you want all of your reticules to be neon green, put these values in [UI] section of your UserOptions:
Custom crosshair overlay
A custom crosshair overlay will add a secondary crosshair in the exact center of your screen. This will help you aim with hip fire better, spot enemies while being a passenger in a vehicle, fire your tank cannon in 3rd person view, and to be more precise while using a weapon with iron sights, which tend to wobble all over the place, even though the weapon itself always fires in the exact middle of the screen.
There are two common ways of creating your own custom crosshair overlay in PS2:
1. Using Overwolf, which is customizable overlay for TeamSpeak.
Install Teamspeak and Overwolf from the web, and download crosshair overlay from here.
2. Using Recursion Stat Tracker, which is a community-created tool for creating in-game overlay.
Change game’s font
The standard in-game font is called Geo-Md.tff.
To change it you have to copy another font into: […\PlanetSide 2\UI\Resource\Fonts\Geo-Md.ttf] after the launch pad updates the game.
It is a chore to do manually every time, so you can create a *.bat file in your game folder to do this for you. It can also run Recursion Stat Tracker (RTST) and TeamSpeak (TS), unless they are running already.
You can create the .bat file you need using the code from pastebin:
|What to launch||PasteBin link|
|PS2 (steam client)||http://pastebin.com/tAh2JZyw|
- Go to the “…\PlanetSide 2\UI\Resource\Fonts” folder.
- Copy a font that you would like to use in the game into this folder.
- Create a new text file and paste the code from the links above.
- In that code, change “verdana.ttf” to the name of your new font.
- If necessary, change the paths of the *.exe files. (Especially steam users: Make sure that if you make a shortcut to PS2 on your desktop, that it has the same ID. I don’t know if they will coincide.)
- Save the text file as Planetside2.bat
- Create a shortcut to your desktop or start menu.
- [OPTIONAL] Right click the shortcut, properties, change icon, browse to the installation folder and select LaunchPad.ico or select another *.ico file on your PC.
- Double click the shortcut. Wait for the Launcher to be done with updating. Press any key twice in the command line window.
- Enjoy PS2 (and have Recursion and TS started automatically) in Verdana, Comic Sans, or Windings.
Improving Image Quality
You can improve image quality at a negligible performance cost through GPU Control Panel in these two ways:
- Set Anisotropic Filtering to 16x.
- Allow Negative LoD Bias and set it somewhere between -0.3750 and -0.7500.
You can find more details in this reddit post by sixoo.
Required ports for Steam
If you play PlanetSide 2 through Steam, make sure these ports are open.
1) Get a mouse with a good sensor
There’s a great in-depth guide here, which will tell you what makes a good gaming mouse, along with a few examples.
And there’s another, very technical and comprehensive guide here.
2) Set up your mouse
Nawyria has a great guide on setting up your mouse sensitivity here.
The most reliable way to make sure everything works right is to go to Windows Control Panel -> Mouse, and set mouse sensitivity to sixth notch. This means that per one “dot” your mouse moves, your pointer will move by 1 pixel. Also disable “Enhance Pointer Precision”, as it can mess up your aiming.
In PlanetSide 2 settings, disable Mouse Acceleration and disable Use Raw Mouse Input.
- Allegedly, Raw Input can cause *issues* in *some games*. I do not know if PS2 has these issues, but one can never be too careful.
- Mouse Acceleration increases the distance mouse pointer travels if you move your mouse fast. This makes working out muscle memory for twitch aiming incredibly hard.
3) DPI Settings
- It is said that PS2 can’t handle DPI higher than 1600, so it’s better to keep DPI within that boundary, and adjust in-game sensitivity slider instead.
- Generally, it’s better to have high DPI and low in-game sensitivity than vice versa.
4) Find the right sensitivity
PlanetSide 2 has three sensitivity sliders:
- “Mouse sensitivity” – a general sensitivity slider. Applies to aiming from the hip.
- “Aimed sensitivity” – for aiming down sights with iron sights, 1x and 2x scopes.
- “Scoped sensitivity” – for aiming down sights with 3.4x and 4x scopes, and 6x – 12x sniper scopes.
Go to VR Training, and run around, taking aim at different targets. Try to do this in one fast mouse swipe (twitch aiming). Check out this video if you have a hard time figuring out what I mean.
- If you constantly move your aim too far, then you need to lower your sensitivity.
- If you feel like you need to move your hand too much, then increase it.
- This is the most important part. Just go with what feels right, and devote enough time to it.
- The “average” mouse sensitivity is 15-25 cm of moving the mouse per 360 degree turn in the game.
- High sensitivity is helpful for fast reaction turns in close quarters, and with lower sensitivity it’s more convenient to aim at enemies at range, especially when using low-magnification scopes.
Another exercise is to track moving targets with your mouse. It’s convenient to do on your allies. Again, if you constantly lose the target, lower the sensitivity, and if you have to move your hand around too much – increase it.
Adjusting to new sensitivity will be hard, and in the beginning you will often do worse than you would have done with the old sensitivity. Hopefully, the end result will be worth it.
5) Set ADS sensitivity : hip sensitivity ratio
In most FPSs with ADS mechanic, the ratio between ADS sensitivity and hip sensitivity is 0.5 : 1 or 0.66 : 1.
I.e., while ADSing your aim moves at half or 2/3rds of the speed compared to aiming from the hip.
However, PS2 has a bit different internal ratio. If you want to set up a specific ratio between hip aim sensitivity and ADS senstivity, check out this guide on reddit.
If you don’t want to get into details, it’s perfectly fine to just set Aimed sensitivity the same value as Mouse sensitivity.