The Witcher 3 PC Optimization Guide: Tweaks For 60 FPS Gameplay

Witcher 3 PC Optimization

The Witcher 3 is one of the best games in recent history and with the release of the Netflix series it has more players than ever before. In this The Witcher 3 PC Optimization Guide we are going to go over how you can tweak the game to get the best possible performance.

The Witcher 3 PC Optimization And Tweaks

There are plenty of settings that you can tweak in The Witcher 3 to get better performance. The following are all the different settings that you can play around with to get better performance:

  • NVIDIA HairWorks
  • NVIDIA HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion
  • Anti-Aliasing
  • Bloom
  • Blur & Motion Blur
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Depth of Field
  • Detail Level
  • Foliage Visibility Range
  • Grass Density
  • Light Shafts
  • Number of Background Characters
  • PhysX
  • Shadow Quality
  • Sharpen
  • Terrain Quality
  • Texture Quality
  • Vignette
  • Water Quality

Nvidia Hairworks

This is a feature that improves the looks of hair and fur in different games. This is a PC exclusive feature. This adds tessellated hair strands to the character which improves the visual quality of the hair and fur. While this does look great, it can degrade the performance of the game. You can turn this setting off in order to get higher FPS in the game. Turning this setting off can get you an additional 15-20 FPS.

Nvidia HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion

This setting adds contact shadows where two surfaces or objects meet. Shadows are also added where an object blocks light from reaching another nearby game element. This setting affects the accuracy of shadows which increases the visual quality and realism of the game. As this setting affects the visual quality of the game the performance hit is around 4 frames.

Anti-Aliasing

This setting removes jagged edges from the objects and characters. With this setting on the objects in the game are well-rounded and the edges are smooth. Increasing this setting will cost you 5-10 FPS depending on the preset that you go with.

Bloom

This setting improves the quality of bright lights. With this effect off, the lighting can look flat and dull. The cost to performance is pretty low and you should keep this setting on.

Blur & Motion Blur

These effects create distortion when in action or when casting spells. Radial and Gaussian blur are added into the mix when Blur is turned on. While recording the performance effects is not accurate, the performance hit is only a few frames per second per fight. You can keep this setting on if you want an additional layer of realism.

Chromatic Aberration

This is an optional setting in the game that can be turned off. This ensures clear image quality. This setting has a very minute impact on performance and the hit is less than a frame per second.

Depth of Field

This setting adds a subtle out of focus look. This can help hide the low-quality elements of a game and aliasing. This is mostly for people that are interested in playing The Witcher 3 at 1080p. The performance hit is around 2 FPS.

Witcher 3 PC Optimization

Detail Level

The detail level is exactly what the name implies it is. It is the number of elements that can be seen on the screen at any given time. You can turn this setting down if your hardware is lagging behind but you should be fine if you have a relatively decent graphics card.

Foliage Visibility Range

This setting controls the number of trees or greenery that is rendered at any given time. The higher the setting the more foliage you are going to see around you. You can turn this setting down to increase in-game performance.

The performance hit is not significant in the cities but when you are in the woods or open fields then the performance hit is going to be much higher.

Grass Density

This setting controls the amount of grass that you can see around you. The grass added by turning this setting up is minimal and does not justify the loss in FPS. So keep that in mind when tinkering with this setting.

Light Shafts

These are also known as God Rays. These are the beams that project through the foliage. This setting has a minor impact on performance and you can keep it on if you have a decent graphics card.

Shadow Quality

This setting affects the quality of shadows in The Witcher 3. While there are plenty of options that you can choose, this setting does not significantly affect the image quality. The performance hit is minor as well so you can leave it on if you want.

Sharpen

Just as the name implies, this setting will sharpen the image but it can seem unnatural at times, so keep that in mind. The performance hit is minor at half a frame per second.

Texture Quality

This setting controls the quality of the textures for characters and the environment around you as well as objects. The lowest setting is low and you can bump it up to ultra. Most people are not going to notice the improvement in quality when moving from high to ultra so you should keep this setting at high unless you have plenty of VRAM at your disposal. Turning this setting down can get you a couple of additional frames.

Water Quality

No matter what the setting is the difference between rivers and ponds is very little. You can set this to high with water simulation as the impact on performance is little.

Tweaking Other Settings

Configure settings, then exit the game. Go to C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\The Witcher 3. Backup user.settings. Open user.settings with a text editor, and edit one or more of the values described below.

Save your modified file, and in Windows Explorer right-click on it, selecting Properties. Click “Read-only”, and finally, “Apply”. This will prevent The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from overriding your changes, allowing you to enjoy the tweaked visuals.

Detail Level Tweaks

The in-game Detail Level setting is limited to adjusting the visible range of static decals. In the config file you can further increase their visibility, and the visibility of other related items, too.

[LevelOfDetail]
DecalsHideDistance= [Ultra value: 80]
DynamicDecalsHideDistance= [Default value: 20]
DimmerHideDistance= [Default value: 60]
StripeHideDistance= [Default value: 60]
SwarmHideDistance= [Default value: 200]

DynamicDecals are the animated pools of blood that ooze out of slain monsters, but the other options we can only guess at given the limited time available to us.

In another section of the config file, you can increase the chance of decals spawning (not every sword strike results in an emitted decal on ‘1’), and increase the distance at which decals will spawn, allowing distant enemies to emit blood spatter when hit.

[Rendering]
DecalsSpawnDistanceCutoff= [Default value: 10]
DecalsChance= [Default value: 1]

You can also experiment with the cvMaxAllowedDecalsDynamic and cvMaxAllowedDecalsSS values under [Budget], which could result in an increased number of decals in large battles. We can’t say for sure though because battles and decal spawning are impossible to precisely replicate.

That is all for our Witcher 3 PC Optimization Guide. Stay tuned for more guides!

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