War Thunder Graphics Settings Guide

War Thunder Graphics Settings Guide by kaewon

Some of you may not be so graphics inclined so here is a guide to what each setting does. These are just short simple explanations. If you want more in depth info, just google it. You can also put your mouse over the setting (the scroll bar or checkbox) as some of them have a tooltip. *Most everything in game also has a tooltip, not just settings.* I have also put in blue what hardware it most affects but this is general for all games, not specifically tested on WT.

Launcher Settings

At the top you will see resolution, fullscreen (or windowed and full window), vsync, sound and graphics presets. Next to the graphics presets you will see a button with a gear on it, this is how you get to advanced settings.

Vsync – Syncs your monitor’s refresh rate with the game’s refresh rate. I’d suggest only turning this on if you are experiencing tearing as it increases input lag.

Anisotropy – Texture quality dependent on range and viewing angle. The farther and steeper it is the lower the quality. (vram)
Antialiasing – AA is used to get rid of jagged edges. This is multisampling AA. (gpu, vram. AA is probably the most taxing setting)
Extra AA – Just another AA type, this is FXAA. The difference is MSAA smooths only the edges of geometry while FXAA will smooth the whole screen. It is less taxing but also makes everything blurry.
Texture quality – Textures are the images on geometry, this will affect the level of detail of those images. Fyi geometry is the 3D model. (vram)
Shadow quality – Level of detail of shadows. (gpu. Shadows is one of the more taxing settings)
Background resolution – The background level of detail. Changing this will change the quality of everything farther away which is pretty much everything except your plane. Unless of course when you are landed. (everything)
Terrain resolution – The level of detail of the ground. Supersampling is similar to MSAA (which is a type of SSAA) but it doesn’t seem to do anything. (everything)
Trees range – The distance at which tree geometry will show. (cpu, gpu)
Grass – The amount of grass shown. (cpu, gpu)
Clouds resolution – The level of detail of the clouds.

Shadows – The plane’s cast shadow. (gpu)
Self Reflection – The plane’s reflection onto itself. (gpu)
Objects shadows – Other objects shadows which is everything except your own plane. (gpu)
Water reflections – Reflections on the water. (gpu)
Advanced Shore – Waves near shores. (gpu)
Motion Blur – Blurring when moving. (gpu)
Haze – Atmospheric effect as objects are farther in the distance, they become foggy. Note that there still is haze with it off. (gpu)
Soft particles – Softens particles when clipping. Particles are effects like smoke, fire, dust, etc. Clipping is when geometry intersect. (cpu)
FX reflections – Reflections of effects. (gpu)

Terrain far details – Higher detail terrain in the distance.

JPEG screenshots – Save screenshots as jpeg as opposed to tga.
Old videocards support – For if you have an old video card that is showing graphic anomalies or is very weak. The most noticeable difference is low settings you will still notice everything on the ground still has a shadow and this will turn those shadows off. That is probably the biggest change in performance. Other noticeable changes are significantly lower ground textures, water is no longer transparent, and less haze.

These debug settings are really more for debugging.
Render – I thought this would change directx version but it doesn’t on my windows 7. Since it is under debugging than it is safe to say that that is what it is for.
Instancing – Many objects, especially trees, use the same geometry and textures so get “duplicated” to save resources. If it is off, each one uses its own resources even though they are still “duplicates.” It may not make sense, but it’s more of a coding thing. I’d suggest leaving it on auto unless it is causing graphic issues.

In Game Post FX Settings

You can see these settings easily in game (preferably test flight), just set it to its minimum and then maximum for the most noticeable effect or click the arrows through the various selections. *For the ones with a bar, you can also double click and hold to drag up and down.* These are really just for video editing and don’t have much affect on performance, except for FXAA, so I will not go into detail. If you are a video editor you should understand these.

Vignette – A black “glow” on the outer edges of the screen.
FXAA – Same as extra aa in launcher settings.
Sharpen (TPS [Third Person Shooter], Gunner, Bomber, Cockpit) – Sharpens the whole image shown on screen.
LUT texture – Color schemes.
Tonemapping mode – Levels, similar to brightness and contrast.

(You will notice most settings affect the gpu as most games are gpu bound. The cpu just needs to be fast enough to feed the gpu. So this blue represents what is most affected since in raising gpu usage, it also raises cpu usage. In other games the cpu does some graphics calculations. I suspect ai calculations to be done by the cpu like other games so cpu should affect fps more in single player missions. Cpu should also deal with other players location/direction tracking, and physics but this is also dependent on internet since it has to sync with the server. If you lag even your own plane will jump/teleport or be uncontrollable.)

Here’s a comparison of low vs custom (true max) settings. You can’t truely max the game unless it is custom. Max or movie presets are not really max. Really the most noticeable differences is just textures and cloud resolution. **You can also see the other graphic options that I didn’t post a picture for.** (There wasn’t much difference in cpu usage, 5% increase at most. But gpu usage was 50% on low and 100% on max.)

By editing the config file you can get high res clouds, textures, and AF x16 with “old videocard support” on. But everything else is still overridden to min even though the config says they are on. Some ground textures are still ultra low. Just open the config.blk in notepad and change:



Then start the game from aces.exe. If you use the launcher, the config file gets overwritten.

*Thanks Al3xander*

Useful links –
Hierarchy charts for when they release requirements or at least compare specs for now.
http://www.tomshardw…iew,3107-7.html Gpu hierarchy chart (mostly desktop models, updated monthly)
http://www.tomshardw…ock,3106-5.html Desktop cpu hierarchy chart (updated monthly)
http://www.notebookc…List.844.0.html Mobile gpu hierarchy chart (can show some desktop models but I find those are not accurate in comparison to mobile models)
http://www.notebookc…ist.2436.0.html Mobile cpu hierarchy chart
*I have played the game on an intel hd 3000 which is about the minimum for low (just a personal opinion for now).

The available graphics settings has changed over the versions so this is subject to change. Hopefully I might find out what everything does exactly and what exact hardware it affects pertaining to WT. If something isn’t clear enough just say so.

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