ARMA 3 is a tactical open-world game with a focus on first-person shooter combat, although playable from the third-person perspective, too. Military fans and veterans alike praise it for portraying warfare accurately, with all its pros and cons. It’s also life-like regarding showing all complexities involved in completing missions. This includes issuing commands, working solo and as a team, and doing activities such as driving, flying, sneaking, running, and oftentimes hiding patiently for an ambush. But to seize every opportunity, whether in single-player or multiplayer, you must know how to increase FPS in ARMA 3. That’s where we come in.
Increase FPS in ARMA 3 from the game
We begin our journey to smoother performance in ARMA 3 from an obvious starting point, the in-game settings. Here’s what you can change from within ARMA 3:
1. Tweak in-game settings
While you can certainly turn everything off and go with the Lowest settings, there’s little joy in playing a rudimentary-looking game. Instead, open the following sections Video Options in the main menu and go to:
The General tab lets you play many settings, but pay special attention to the following:
- Sampling. Defines the percentage of your screen resolution the game will render. So, at 200%, ARMA 3 renders double the number of total pixels at the current resolution. Thus, ensure it’s at 100%.
- Texture. Play around with this setting to find the right texture quality. The more VRAM GPU, the higher you can go.
- Objects. ARMA3 is notorious for having bad occlusion culling. The game can still render objects that are occluded (hidden) by another object or texture, despite not being visible to the player.
- Shadow. Shadows may be more trouble than they’re worth. Setting it to Medium or Low can make little difference visually but noticeably increase ARMA 3 FPS.
- Cloud. How often do you look at the sky and for how long? Set this to Low and you may not even notice.
- HDR. Keep it on if you have a gaming monitor that supports HDR. But does the FPS drop justify visual enhancements? Test and decide for yourself.
- Visibility. Another name for Draw Distance, i.e., the range at which the game engine begins to fade out objects. Keep Overall and Object in the 1500-2500 range and Shadow at about 100. There are 4 reasons for this:
- You’ll still see enough to take a shot with a sniper.
- ARMA 3 won’t need to render shadows or landscapes in the far distance.
- ARMA 3 is densely packed with trees, foliage, and buildings, so you’ll spend a lot of your time checking your vicinity.
- If you play multiplayer, a lot of servers manually configure the maximum distance between clients. Thus, you won’t render areas where you can’t even see anyone.
AA & PP
Switching to the AA & PP tab unveils a host of post-processing options. You can play with blur, bloom, depth of field, sharpen, and color correction. But the more important settings are in the bottom right corner, in the “Antialiasing” section. Here’s a brief explanation of the 4 key settings:
- FSAA (Full Screen Anti-Aliasing) oversamples every pixel before scaling it back to the original resolution, resulting in a sharper image and refined edges. As such, it has the most significant negative impact on FPS in ARMA 3.
- ATOC (Alpha to Coverage) works in unison with MSAA, helping it conceal transparent objects. It has a moderate effect on performance.
- PPAA (Post Process Anti Aliasing) works after the frame is rendered and is light on ARMA 3 resources. Unfortunately, it can produce on-screen artifacts and is thus used with one of the 3:
- FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing) on Nvidia and MLAA (Morphological Anti-Aliasing) on AMD. They barely affect FPS, making them a top choice.
- SMAA (Subpixel Morphological Anti-Aliasing). A more effective alternative that reduces FPS by about 5% to 10% more than the one above.
- CMAA (Conservative Morphological Anti-Aliasing). Intel’s technique that provides a substantially better image quality yet is between FXAA and SMAA in computation cost. A middle-ground, we should say.
- ANISO. FILTERING stands for Anisotropic filtering. Ranges between 2x and 16x, and shouldn’t have a massive impact. Only worth considering when you must squeeze out a few frames to reach the mark like 60 fps or 120 fps.
2. Configure startup parameters (Optional)
Startup parameters aren’t in-game per se but are available in the official launcher and tied to its behavior. The key ones should be auto-detected. However, you can set them manually to double down or boost or reduce the system resources available to the game. There are 3 safe ways to do that:
- Steam. Right-click on ARMA 3 in the Steam Library. Select Properties. Find the Launch Options portion of the “General” tab. Enter them in the text field.
- ARMA 3 Launcher. After opening the ARMA 3 Launcher, you’ll find the Parameters tab on the left.
- Command-line. Right-click on ARMA 3 shortcut on Windows. Add them in the text field next to Target: separated by blank space after “/arma3.exe”.
Now, here’s a list of all available Arma 3 parameters. You might find these particularly useful:
- -cpuCount= (number of cores your CPU has, e.g., 6).
- -exThreads= (Core count, for instance, quad-core CPUs use number 7).
- -maxVRAM= (GPU VRAM you want the game to have. Enter in MB).
- -maxMem= (Same as above but for RAM).
Increase FPS in ARMA 3 outside the game
Here are two prominent ways to boost FPS that aren’t within ARMA 3:
1. Tweak ARMA 3 configuration
ARMA 3 also uses a configuration file to determine a wide array of game settings. You can find arma3.cfg by going to “C:\Users\[username]\Documents\Arma3\”. This lets you configure things unavailable in-game or impossible to set with precision. Two such settings many gamers suggest changing is:
2. Reduce scene complexity
Lowering scene complexity lets you set Object Visibility below the Low setting available in-game. This isn’t as prominent as you think, especially on jungle or city combat maps. On the other hand, it can boost performance significantly, sometimes even as much as 20 fps. Plus, zooming with a weapon scope instantly restores quality so there are no issues with long-range combat. Here’s what to do:
- Visit the location we mentioned above, and open your game profile file, named Your-Profile-Name.Arma3Profile, in a text editor.
Tip. You might also have to go to the Arma 3 – Other Profiles folder inside “Documents”.
- Search for “sceneComplexity” and edit its value before saving.
The Low setting is around 400000 so any value below, e.g., sceneComplexity=150000, should work.