Crysis 3 Tweaks Guide – Graphics and Performance

By   /   Feb 20, 2013

Surely, it is games like Crysis that depict what it means to be a PC gamer – with liberty at your fingertips that empowers you to make the most subtle visual and performance changes.

It’s been a lovable little advantage that comes with the power-hungry and visually stunning Crysis games, and Crytek’s been benevolent to once again give the control-adoring users options to twist and tweak a heck lot of the performance-related variables in Crysis 3 according to their liking.

Sure, you could go in the options menu and mess around with the common anisotropic filtering and anti aliasing settings, but a true PC gamer knows that those options are but the mere tip of the iceberg of tweaking, and there’s a lot more one can do with the ever-flexible configuration files and commands.

Crysis 3 Graphics and Performance Tweaks

A Word of Caution: Fiddling with the config commands and files can be risky business if you don’t know what you’re doing. We don’t take responsibility if there is any negative effect on your game by the alteration of the commands.

Ways to Tweak
Unlike its predecessors, Crysis 3 gives the option of manipulating the way the game looks and feels either from the Tilde key (~) while in-game, or by meddling with the values of the different commands hidden deep within the config files.

We obviously like the latter method much more, as it opens up options in a great number of ways.

The CVar Configurator Software
In fact, there is a clever third option, courtesy of Crytek, which comes in the form of software: the Crysis 3 CVar Configurator, which can be downloaded here.

This little program gives you access to a bunch of otherwise unseen options (except for in the config files) that you can mess around with according to your likings. It also comes with a generous list of commands with the respective descriptions – a good manual for the fellows who aren’t sure of what does what.

Crysis 3 Tweaks – Console Commands
Supposing you’ve downloaded the CVar Configurator, let’s have a look at the individual command options, and also in-parallel try to spot them in the configurations files. You can find the config files (.cfg) in the Crysis 3 root directory.

Gameplay Commands

Field of View
There are actually multiple field of view commands. The recommended place for them is the system.cfg file.

cl_FOV – This controls the main Field of View. The default value is 60. Experienced FPS gamers prefer higher field of view values, usually in the range of 80-110. If you’re one of them, I insist on changing.

r_DrawNearFOV – This is the field of view for nearby objects, such as held weapons and visible body parts. I recommend keeping the value same as that of cl_FOV to nullify visual abnormalities.

pl_movement.power_sprint_targetFOV – This longish command is the FOV when you are sprinting. Usually, this is a touch higher than the standard FOV in other games. However, if you want to avoid virtual motion sickness, I recommend keeping it the same as cl_FOV.


Your HUD can be altered in a couple of ways. The recommended place for the HUD commands is the system.cfg file.

cl_bobhud – This command determines whether there is any bobbing of the HUD while you walk/sprint. Default value is 1. I wouldn’t change it unless it makes you feel dizzy.

hud_canvas_width_adjustment – You can adjust the width of the HUD canvas if you’re playing on multiple monitors. This option however appears to work only in multiplayer. Default value is 1. Increasing value multiplies the size by that specific amount.

hud_hide – This is off by default, and there doesn’t seem to be a reason why you’d want to enable it. It will hide your HUD. The feature itself isn’t reliable, and can get reset when loading save files.

Volume Adjustments

There are plenty of commands for volume adjustment, ranging from the music to FX. These really don’t need to be changed by commands, as the option is available in the in-game audio settings.

Input Commands

Mouse Properties

These are recommended to be placed in the system.cfg.

i_mouse_smooth – Determines how smooth your mouse movement is. Default is 0. Some people prefer slight smoothing, for which value 1 is suitable. However, don’t go overboard with values like 30.

i_mouse_accel – Determines acceleration during mouse movement. I highly recommend 0 value.

cl_sensitivity – A highly arbitrary value that really depends on the player. Default is 3.


cl_zoomToggle – Set whether zoom will be toggled or not. Default is on. Adjust according to taste.

cl_crouchToggle – Same story as above except it’s for crouch. Default is on. Adjust according to taste.

Graphics Feature Options
Although many of the features have independent commands to themselves, the variables under the Graphic Features tab in the CVar Configurator are all available in the in-game graphic options. It’s best to adjust these from there.

Graphics Tweaks
Graphics Tweaking on the other hand are subtle changeable variables that can greatly alter the performance of your game. We’ll go in detail with each command. The tweaks are to be kept in the autoexec.cfg file.

r_Sharpening ­– Determines the amount of sharpening of the image. Default value is 0.25. 0 means off. I recommend a value in between 0.25-0.4 at max. Anything higher will make everything appear too edgy.

r_HDRGainAmount – This adds a film grain effect on the final image to help alleviate artifacts that lack good color. Default value is 0.0 (off). You might want to apply something around 0.25-0.4 if the colors on your screen seem washed out.

r_ChromaticAberration – Determines the amount of post-processing chromatic aberration. This greatly affects visuals and performance. If you want to improve FPS, consider reducing the value. Default value is 1.5; there’s no need to go beyond that.

r_HDRBloomRatio – Determines the amount of blooming of over-bright areas. The defeault value is 0.15. This effect is also influenced by the contrast ratio, so you might want to increase/decrease on the basis of how exaggerated the light bloom is.

r_ssao – This is the command for the Ambient Occlusion. Default is SSAO (Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion). A very high version of this is SSDO, which greatly enhances the effect but reduces performance.

e_GsmCache – This increases performance by reducing the amount of times distant shadows are updated.

r_TexturesStreamPoolSize – This is the set size of Virtual RAM that is available for texture streaming. Default value is 384. Set to 192 to decrease VRAM, which may increase performance but lower visual quality, or set to 512 for higher quality visuals but lowered performance.

e_ShadowsResScale – This controls the resolution of shadow maps for the individual shadow casting lights. Default value is 3.4. Max value is 40, which is very high. Higher values decrease performance but improve shadow quality.

e_ShadowsPoolSize – This is the size of the shadow pool render target. Increasing size enhances shadow resolution but greatly decreases performance. Default value is 2048. 4096 is highest value.

e_ShadowsMaxTexRes – This is the sun shadow map size. Increasing size improves resolution of sun-casted shadows, but reduces performance. Default value is 512. Max value is 1024.

e_GICache – Sets the number of frames to cache GI results for before regenerating. A value of 0 disables all caching and regenerates GI every frame. Default value is 7, which is recommended.

e_GIIterations – This controls number of iterations to perform when calculating Global Illumination. A higher number will reduce bleeding and lengthen the light propagation distance, but will reduce performance. Default value is 10.

e_TessellationMaxDistance – This determines the distance in meters after which object tessellations will not occur. Decreasing this improves performance but decreases distant visual quality. Default value is 30.

r_TessellationTriangleSize – This is the length of the triangle edges in pixels to aim for tessellation. It’s best if we don’t mess with it.

e_MergedMeshesInstanceDist – This is the distance after which the grass instances will stop animating. Default value is 4.5. Max value is 8. Decreasing this slightly improves performance.

e_MergedMeshesViewDistRatio – Multiplier controlling where chunks of interactive grass instances will disappear in the distance. Default value is 50. It is best to leave this alone.

e­_LODRatio – Controls how close objects are when they drop to lower level details. Default value is 4. Values of 20 and 40 are mid and high respectively.

e_ViewDistRatio – Controls how close objects will stop rendering in the distance. Default value is 25. Values of 35 and 100 are mid and high respectively.

e_ViewDistRatioVegetation – Similar to above command, except that it is for vegetation objects. Default is 31, which is medium. 100 is max.

Miscellaneous Controls
These commands are recommended to be kept in the system.cfg file.

g­_skipIntro – Skip the intro movies that play before game menu. Default is off. I’d recommend on as they can get annoying.

r_FullscreenWindow – When enabled, selecting ‘fullscreen’ in the menus will use a window that fills the screen, allowing easy alt-tab. Windowed mode behaves as normal.

r_FullscreenPreemption – When enabled, background popups will not minimize the game. Default is on.

r_overrideDXGIOutput – Gives the number of display to use when creating the game window. 0 is the default/primary monitor and 1, 2, etc are displays after that. Default value is 0.

r_MGPU – Control whether multiple GPU is off, auto-detected, or forced. Default is auto-detect.

r_Gamma – Changes the hardware gamma levels. Also affects the desktop. Default value is 1.

e_CoverageBufferReproj – Controls internal occlusion culling. There is no need to modify this unless there is any popping with rapid movement, in which case you should try and disable this.

g_blaze_gamePort – This is the port on which the game connections will be made.

net_blaze_voip_enable – Toggle whether the Blaze VOIP is enabled or not.

net_blaze_voip_enable_ptt – Toggles whether Blaze VOIP Push-to-talk is enabled or not.

net_blaze_voip_playback_volume – Sets the Blaze VOIP playback volume, in the range 0.0 to 1.0. Default is 1, which is max volume.

Found something missing? Add your graphics or performance tweaks by commenting below!

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