A Bass-Ackward way to get great settings, fast!


Some settings make a huge difference, others not so much. So I thought to myself. “Self, why don’t you concentrate on the ones that matter and just max the rest out?”

Then I had another great epiphany. What if I maxed it all out and then started adjusting things from the biggest impact to the smallest, until I get the butter smooth framerates I want while flying between buildings in a Carbon Cub gone insane?

So I did, and I got what I was looking for in about five minutes. This is what worked for me:


  • Latest preview is on
  • Custom scaling 100
  • Reprojection is off ( I found I had a small stutter every 5-6 seconds when reprojection was on. )

Steam VR:

  • General: Resolution Per Eye 200% ( Don’t worry… it gets offset in the Scaling setting )
  • Video: Per application setting! Use the one for MSFS and set the Custom Resolution Multiplier to 200%

Go into MSFS VR settings and max it all out except for render scaling, start that at 60.

Now start reducing settings based on a combination of what affects things the most and what matters most to you personally. IE: If you fly high all the time and really love clouds, keep them high and skip down to reduce things like buildings and terrain shadows. But you don’t have to something all the way to the minimum before you move down the list. I dropped Clouds and Ambient Occlusion to medium, then went on to Buildings because I didn’t want to go any lower on Clouds or AO.

Keep reducing things that have a real impact, keeping as much of what matters to you as you can, until you get what you want.

Thanks to the great Bang for Buck post, we have a list of things that impact performance from the biggest impact to the least. Try to leave scaling alone at 60, unless you decide to increase it later. However, with the OpenXR and Steam settings we have, that probably won’t be necessary. You could even reduce it, but from what I understand reducing the scaling below 60 isn’t going to do much good.

Here’s the list:

  • Scaling
  • Clouds
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • Buildings
  • Reflections
  • Terrain Shadows
  • Anti Aliasing *** Leave at TAA when below 100 scaling if at all possible!
  • Light Shafts
  • Bloom
  • Terrain LOD
  • Contact Shadows
  • Max the rest…

I don’t care about frame rates, I’m looking for a butter-smooth experience. When I do a nap-of-the-earth flight and suddenly climb straight up, my spine should tighten and I should get that “oh ■■■■” feeling like I’m really there. Regardless of FPS, when I get that, I know it’s right.

Here’s a pic of my test flight at an airport in Africa that has a really appropriate code for gamers: HALO. When you can do this and it’s so smooth it feels like you’re there, then write down your settings and stop messing with them!

Dunno about that list because Terrain LOD is easily the most demanding setting.

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Indeed it is and if your cpu isn’t fast enough it can brick the entire sim.

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The list of most to least demanding was put together after exhaustive research and is available in the Bang for Buck guide.

If you’re having issues with Terrain LOD, it makes me wonder if your CPU or RAM might be struggling with all the polygons. In any event, the list above has been invaluable to many, including myself.

For me, Terrain LOD has been inconsequential while Clouds, Scaling and Terrain Shadows have been the killers… but I’m running an R7 with 32GB RAM. :man_shrugging:

This list is indeed invaluable to see what each setting is doing individually. However it is not telling at all what combinations of settings are doing and this is something you shouldn’t ignore because it takes just the combination of two settings to just be slightly over frame budget and dividing by 2 your fps in VR (less so in 2D).

I’ve commented and addressed this question a long time ago already here for 2D:
My 2070 SUPER 4K settings and suggestions - episode 2

And I’ve further confirmed in VR:
My 2070 SUPER VR settings and suggestion (Reverb G2 - WMR)
My 2070 SUPER VR settings and suggestions (Index - SteamVR)

Having said this I might give your approach a try, starting at high and reducing some I know interact badly, now that I’ve managed to taming the stutters and other system/driver gotchas.

NB: Terrain LOD is the most demanding but this depends on the API. With SteamVR OpenXR there is definitely a frame timing and synchronization problem I’ve documented using the SteamVR perf graphs, and with too much polygons FS2020 is most likely keeping the bus from RAM to VRAM too busy and making skip frames. Thus, with SteamVR OXR I must reduce Terrain LOD to 50% to keep the quantity of data to a level not interfering, whereas with WMR OXR and the G2 I can raise it to 100%… It is not just black and white!


It’s not just black and white!

Absolutely! And actually, I based a lot of this approach on things I learned from your posts. My approach is, quite literally, bass-ackward from everyone else’s because I start from high to low. Here’s the basic logic:

  1. Start with the best you could hope for
  2. When deciding what to give up, keep the things you want most
  3. Be ready to give up half or a third of three or four things rather than reduce one thing to Off or Low
  4. Reduce only as much as you absolutely have to in order to get the feel you want

For this to work, you have to know what will make the biggest difference and the next biggest, etc. etc., that’s where the list comes in. This way a person understands what matters… and if you know what things make a big difference when adjusted in tandem, that’s even better.

Maybe that’s the next list we need. Can we add it what has to be a long list of things you want to post about? :upside_down_face:

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