PC gaming is a cruel mistress. On the one hand, we have access to an unbelievably wide range of games not playable on the console. On the other hand, we need to maintain a PC to run these games with decent FPS numbers.
This isn’t always possible, mainly when GPUs are sold for two or three times the MSRP, like in 2021 and 2022.
So, we’ve got to be creative. If you’re a Terraria player looking for the best settings for better performance, we have some ways for you to milk some extra frames out of your game.
Best Video Settings for Performance in Terraria
- Lighting: Retro
- Quality: Low
- Background: Off
- Blood and Gore: Off
- Heat Distortion: Disabled
- Storm Effects: Disabled
- Waves Quality: Off
- Windy Environments: Disabled
As anyone with an outdated or otherwise poor-performing PC can tell you, the first thing to do to increase performance is to adjust the video settings.
Most games will detect your hardware and set your graphics quality accordingly automatically. However, these games will still leave on a bunch of extra display options that will tank your FPS regardless of your general rate being Low.
Given that how good your games run is all about your GPU, the less work that processor is required to do, the better your game will run.
For Terraria, that means turning off everything that doesn’t need to be on. It’ll make your game look a lot older and less advanced, but your performance will thank you for it.
First, you’re going to want to set your lighting to Retro. Terraria is no Last of Us Part II in the lighting department. It hasn’t got super-advanced ray tracing or anything like that. It still has light effects, though, and those effects change the way the game looks.
The better and cleaner the game looks, the more pixels your GPU has to render, and the lower your FPS goes. So, by changing your lighting to Retro, you’re minimizing the lighting effects that your graphics card has to produce and increasing your performance.
Of course, you’re going to want to change your general video quality to Low if the game hasn’t done this for you already.
This change should be self-explanatory. You’re telling the game to generate its graphics in the simplest way possible. You’ll be sacrificing a clean, high-resolution look for a more pixelated style, but this is going to improve your FPS immeasurably. If there’s one setting you change out of this entire list, it should be this one.
Turning Off the background might not seem like something that would affect performance, but it does. It doesn’t make a massive difference, but every little bit counts when you’re trying to make the game playable.
This will take away from the immersion and overall atmosphere of the game, but again, it means your GPU has fewer fancy graphics to render.
Blood and gore are set to Off do the same thing. It sacrifices style for FPS by decreasing the workload put on your graphics card or your integrated graphics.
Heat distortion is another quality-of-life graphics option that should be turned Off to maximize Terraria performance. Like more or less every other option on the list, heat distortion enables extra graphical effects for the sake of flair and immersion. These kinds of options need to be the first to go when we’re trying to make the game run at a stable FPS.
We shouldn’t have to tell you why turning storm effects Off will increase your performance. The fewer fancy, flashing graphics your game needs to produce, the better its overall performance. We know we’re beating you over the head with this point, but its importance can’t be understated. The very basics of getting better FPS in Terraria and other games come down to making the game’s graphics as essential as possible.
Anyone with experience optimizing game performance on a PC will tell you that water effects are a computer killer. Regardless of genre, style, or size, having realistic, high-quality water is an easy way to fry your FPS count.
This is true of Terraria, which is why we’re turning wave quality Off. This option will disable all of the fancy liquid effects in the game for when something hits or swims through water. So you would be surprised at how much this change can make.
Last but not least, we’re Disabling windy environments. Again, the different graphical effects add to certain game areas, tanking performance while you’re in said areas.
All of these changes together should, at the very least, double your FPS. You’re not done here, however. If you’re looking to get better performance in Terraria, you can do a few other things outside of the settings.
Close All Other Applications and Go Fullscreen
We’ve talked on and on about the importance of your GPU when it comes to Terraria performance, but that isn’t the only component that’s doing any work.
All of your PC parts come together to make a game work, including your RAM. Your computer’s RAM is responsible for holding or remembering data that your PC will need to work on actively. It’s different from storage that you save to because items stored in the RAM can be recalled and changed actively. This is important for game performance.
However, search engines are notorious RAM killers. Every engine from Chrome to Firefox will eat up almost all of the RAM you’ve got, especially if you’re the type of person to have a bunch of tabs open.
So, before you launch Terraria, close down your Google Chrome or whatever engine you’re using, as well as any applications you don’t need. This will free up RAM for Terraria, giving you a handful of extra frames per second.
The last thing you can do to increase performance in Terraria is to change your resolution. This is a desperate option that should only be done as a last resort.
For those who don’t know, your resolution calculates how many pixels are on a screen. The higher the resolution, the better the image, but the more pixels that need to be generated.
In Terraria, decreasing your resolution will dramatically increase performance, but it will also mess up the orientation and size of the UI and certain enemies, areas, and more.
The game will noticeably look worse, but if changing all of your video settings still doesn’t make it playable, this will.