Ark: Survival Evolved FPS fix

We chase FPS and round em’ up to make sure your Ark experience starts off more pleasant than ours!

Initially I used Steam refund and gave up on Ark: Survival Evolved 20 minutes in. The game is hopelessly optimised and I thought I would have to wait a long time untill it was playable, but the game… Riding dinosaurs, 12 year old me would never forgive myself if I did not play! So instead of waiting I googled, youtubed, experimented and basically did everything to try and increase the FPS to a number expected and accepted by my PC MASTER RACE blood.

Out of the box experience

With standard settings Ark: Survival Evolved runs like crap on a stick. Unless of course you ask on some kind of general forum, where people will claim to have it running “on ultra/epic” on their 5 year old hardware.


In this fps guide for Ark: Survival Evolved we will attempt to get the maximum frames without compromising the graphics to a point where you are not competitive, eg. no 5 meter sight radius, still able to see at night, working lights and so on – basically, still able to enjoy the game!

Let’s get down to it Ark: Survival Evolved FPS fix

How to monitor

First we need to identify how much we are gaining (if any), this requires us to know how the game is running.
Follow these steps to see how your setup is faring:

    Open the console (Standard TAB)
    Input “stat fps” without the “” (yes, some people need that explained)

Now you have an FPS counter showing you how well the game runs, if you are generally above 60 blow your computer a kiss and keep reading.

As a reference we measure FPS with standard settings, the hardware we used is the typical “waiting to upgrade” gaming hardware.

    Intel i7 377K @ 4.4 Ghz
    8 GB Ram
    AMD R290

Our FPS with standard settings (screenshot below) were:
Minimum: 15
Maximum: 29
Average: 20,569

20… 20 FPS, not even kidding – completely unplayable (the goggles do nothing!). This was not near big bases or a dino orgy, it was running up and down a beach…All in all a horrible running game, not even console people would accept this performance as a standard setting with otherwise capable hardware.

But the standard settings do not stop harassing us here, they come with even more brainlag because in Ark: Survival Evolved you have the option to scale your resolution, setting the control bar at any less than 100% scales the game resolution down from the chosen one and makes the game appear grainy and distorted, not a useful setting at all – and it’s on by default… The standard setting also provides you with a lot of motion blur to make sure you have no idea what is up or down… ohhh DEVs, you are good in so many ways but the option screen is not one of them.

So! Let’s see about improving the measly average frame rate of ~20 to something playable!

Enter: Launch options
With launch options we alter the parameters for the game engine, with the following entered we gain “a bit” of the sweet stuff

-USEALLAVAILABLECORES -sm4 -nomansky (How to add launch options in Steam)

With the launch options above we and still standard settings we now have:

Standard with launch options
Minimum: 21
Maximum: 63
Average: 39,556

Yeah, if you live in Compton it’s ok to yell out “shiiiit son” as this doubles the FPS of the standard settings!

Ehm, what have we altered, what are we missing out on?

We force the shadow render down a notch (to DX10) and use a much less demanding sky which does lower graphic quality a bit, but seeing as it makes you able to play the game, I would say having slightly worse shadows and sky is a good trade off.

However, we still have resolution scaling and motion blur destroying every attempt at enjoying the game. We rectify that and see if it yields or costs anything:

-Motion blur -Resolution scaling
Full scale no motionblur
Minimum: 19
Maximum: 68
Average: 41,011

A small improvement over scaling and motion blur on. Even if this is an anomaly and the preformance is the same go ahead and turn those off, never to be turned on again! (EVER, IN ANY GAME, FOR ANY REASON!)

Serious business

Now let’s take it to the next level, we have been dating Ark: Survival Evolved for a while now and would like to “get down to business” as it were, which is why we are now tinkering with the ingame options. We adjusted as you can see below, let’s see if this bumped our fps up:

Minimum: 21
Maximum: 83
Average: 54,731

Hello! What do we have here?! A piece of software passable as a game you can enjoy?! Yes, yes we do!

By entering launch options and tweaking some settings we are now at almost triple the FPS compared to the out of the box experience, and this is without lowering stuff like draw distance making sure we are still able to enjoy the game while being competitive!

Ark has a lot of other options for you when you launch it, which might be useful, here we tried the 4GB ram mode:

Minimum: 35
Maximum: 100
Average: 57,553

As we can see it boosted the average FPS a bit. Play with the additional options and see what you can make of it. I have to get back to taming!

We will keep this post updated