In the game ARK: Survival Evolved there are some Steam launch options that you can use to get even more FPS, for example. Even after the full release of ARK, it may still be necessary to use these launch options, especially on slightly older computers.
What is it all about? You’ve never heard of Steam launch options or simply haven’t had to use them yet? Then here is a crash course. Steam launch options allow you to change or even override certain game options before the game launches. This is one of the most effective methods to undo incompatible graphics settings or to get even more performance out of a game.
In the following, we will first introduce you to the most important, default Steam launch options for ARK: Survival Evolved. After that, we’ll move on to the individual settings, which can lead to significant improvements in terms of performance and FPS.
You can choose these preset launch options for Ark
As soon as you start ARK: Survival Evolved, you get some preset launch options in a small additional window. Only one of these can be selected.
Important: If you use individually set launch options – more about this later – then you simply select “Launch ARK” here in principle.
- Launch ARK (DirectX 10, Low-End Graphics): Here, ARK is started with DirectX 10 and low graphics settings to enable playing on weaker hardware. This is especially noticeable for the shaders, which almost disappear with this setting.
- Launch ARK with NVIDIA Ansel: This option enables the Nvidia Ansel technology for particularly beautiful screenshots.
- Launch ARK (Extremely Low Memory): These options use the -sm4 command and force the game to use DX10 Shader Model 4. Also, all advanced options are overwritten and disabled. If your computer only has 4GB of memory, this option is recommended.
- Launch ARK (No Sky Effects): With this option you start the game without sky effects. You will see no clouds and fewer stars in the night sky. The same effect is achieved with the launch property “-nomansky”.
- Reset Game Resolution: This resets the resolution at startup.
- Launch ARK (Reset Active Total Conversion): This option is only interesting for you if you have subscribed to a Total Conversion Mod (for example Valhalla) via the Steam Workshop. It ensures that the default ARK map is loaded again.
Custom Steam launch options & settings
In the forums, you will often come across that players for ARK: Survival Evolved advise to set the startup properties of the game individually. Quite often the following line is mentioned – “-USEALLAVAILABLECORES -sm4 -d3d10 -nomansky -lowmemory”. In the following, we will explain what these commands mean and how to set them.
Once you have Steam open, click on your library. Right-click on ARK: Survival Evolved and click on “Properties” at the bottom. In the newly opened window you will find the button “Set launch options…” directly on the first tab page “General”. If you click on this button, another window will open. You can now enter the desired startup options in the line that can be seen.
Important: As soon as you define settings here, you will always start ARK: Survival Evolved with “Launch ARK”. All other preset launch options will otherwise overwrite your individually defined launch properties.
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This command does not affect the graphics of the game, but it can still give you a few FPS. It should also make the game and content load faster. You only get a really big FPS gain with this command if your main processor would throttle your GPU without the setting.
This gives ARK: Survival Evolved a higher priority for the RAM and CPU. For older and slow systems, this can prevent FPS drops and crashes.
As mentioned before, this will not display sky effects (like clouds or numerous stars). With this you can expect an FPS increase again.
With this command, ARK: Survival Evolved will only load with Shader Model 4 (DirectX 10) instead of Shader Model 5 (DirectX 11). This will give you a gain of about 15-20 FPS, but you will also see this clearly in the graphics. Additionally, all advanced options in the game will be hidden and cannot be activated. Compared to DirectX 11, it will also be a bit darker at night and due to the “bloom effect” it might happen from time to time that for example the snow dazzles strongly.
Side note: You can reduce the glare a bit via two in-game commands (TAB) – “r.bloomquality 0” and “r.lightshafts 0”.
This will make ARK: Survival Evolved run completely with DirectX10 – the command “-sm4” is completely included. You will be able to achieve up to 30 FPS more, but at the same time you will have to live with significantly worse graphics.
As mentioned before, this command makes the game run with about 4GB of memory. Up to 10 FPS can be gained here. Additionally, all advanced options and shadows are turned off.
This command sets the language of the game. Simply replace the dots here with the abbreviations of the desired translation (e.g. en for English, de for German).
At this point, we would like to refer to the English guide for improving the FPS by Acandri – to be found under this link.
Looking for more helpful guides on ARK: Survival Evolved? Then take a look at our ARK guide overview, where you will find more of our dinosaur, crafting, resource, and technology guides. You can also chat with us and other players on our Discord server. We’re looking forward to see you!