General Information

Understanding Video Settings

Whether you're a beginner or well-versed in regards to graphical tuning, it is important to understand how video settings affect overall visual quality and performance. This overview will explain the basic and advanced settings you need to know about in order to get the most out of your system when playing Insurgency: Sandstorm.

Finding a balance between a custom preset that looks amazing and one that plays smoothly is a game in its own right. Even the best gaming PCs can improve the way they play Insurgency: Sandstorm if you experiment with the settings. Below, we have provided an overview of each video setting available in Sandstorm, along with some quality versus performance tips.


  • Display Mode: This option determines what display mode in which the game will run. Fullscreen is always recommended, as running the game in either Windowed mode will result in your frames per second (FPS) being capped at your monitor’s refresh rate.
  • Resolution: This option sets which resolution at which the game will run. Please note that resolutions higher than 1920x1080 are especially demanding, even if your hardware supports it. We only recommend these settings for high-end computers.
  • Vertical Sync: Enabling this option may reduce screen tearing. It may also result in a slightly lower framerate, but the performance for many hardware setups can be noticeably smoother and more consistent when enabled.
  • Gamma: Adjusts the luminance of the final frame displayed on the screen, affecting the game’s overall brightness.


  • Field of View: The Field of View (FOV) setting will determine how zoomed in or out the game camera is. A higher FOV setting allows you to have a wider picture of your surroundings but may make distant objects harder to see. You can tune this to your own preference depending on setup, monitor, and play style.


  • Presets: The presets in-game allow you to quickly configure the game’s quality and performance. The auto preset will tune the game’s graphical settings to what is recommended for your hardware.
  • Anti-Aliasing: These options will set which anti-aliasing method to use. Anti-aliasing smooths jagged edges on geometry in-game. Some of these AA techniques are more processor-demanding than others. For example, FXAA has great performance, while SMAA T2X has great quality.
  • View Distance Quality: This option controls the detail of objects based on their distance from the camera.
  • Texture Quality: The Texture Quality can be adjusted in the game to tune quality versus performance depending on your hardware. Low texture quality is recommended for those with lower-end GPUs or only 8GB of system.
  • Effects Quality: The Effects Quality will determine the level of detail aggressiveness, particle FX performance, and whether tessellation is enabled by default. Low Effects Quality reduces the stress on both CPU and GPU.
  • Foliage Quality: This option will determine the quality of foliage such as trees, bushes, and so on.
  • Shadow Quality: Shadow Quality has a pretty major impact on performance versus quality. The higher the setting, the more visually beautiful, but also more demanding on your hardware. Lowering this setting will give major performance benefits.
  • Post-Processing Quality: This option will determine the quality versus performance trade-off of various post-process settings in the game, including ambient occlusion, depth of field, eye adaptation, tone mapping, and lens flares.


  • Frame Rate Smoothing: When enabled, the frame rate is interpolated over longer periods of time to reduce stutters caused by sudden increases in the number of frames per second (FPS).
  • Frame Limiter: If you are finding your frames per second (FPS) fluctuating and would prefer a more consistent frame rate, we recommend setting a frame limit. By capping your FPS below somewhere between your min and max FPS, your FPS fluctuations will appear less extreme, and your frame times will be more consistent.
  • Resolution Scale: This slider can be used to increase and decrease the resolution the scene is rendered at. Allowing you to use SSAA or to lighten the load on our GPU when it is being used a lot. Values below a hundred percent will improve your performance if you’re GPU-bound at the cost of resolution, while values above a hundred percent will enable SSAA.
  • Motion Blur: Determines the quality of the motion blur effect that represents the changes in velocity of the camera and objects in between frames.
  • Scope Settings: There are two scope settings available in-game. Normal will zoom the whole screen in, while picture-in-picture only zooms inside the scope itself. The picture-in-picture method may significantly reduce your framerate, so it is only recommended for higher-end PCs.
  • Dismemberment: Determines whether or not severe amounts of damage should cost you an arm and leg and leave your enemies bathing in gnarly puddles of gore.
  • Ragdoll Count: Determines the amount of character ragdolls that can exist in the world at any time.
  • Foliage Interactions: This option will set whether or not foliage will interact with player movement and explosions.
  • Ambient Occlusion: This option will enable or disable Ambient Occlusion, depending on preference. Ambient Occlusion is a post-process shader that attempts to calculate how exposed each point in a scene is to ambient lighting.
  • Anisotropic Filtering: This option allows you to fine-tune the anisotropic filtering value to your preference. Anisotropic filtering determines how detailed the textures look in-game.
  • Tessellation: This option will enable or disable Tessellation in the game. Tessellation is a material shader that makes certain surfaces in the game appear to have extra depth and realism. This is used heavily for the terrain textures in the game.
  • Screen Space Reflections: This option will set the quality of Screen Space Reflections in the game. Screen Space Reflections use screen-space data to calculate reflections on materials in the world.
  • Dynamic Shadow Resolution: This option will set the resolution of dynamic shadows. Since the shadows are very hardware demanding, it is recommended to lower this setting if you are looking for performance gains.
  • Cascaded Shadow Map Resolution: This option will set the resolution of cascaded shadow maps (CSM). Since CSM is very hardware demanding, it is recommended to lower this setting if you are looking for performance gains.
  • Texture Streaming Pool: To reduce memory cost, the engine will stream textures from the disk into memory and out when they are unused. The size of the texture streaming pool determines how much texture data can be stored in memory at once. When set to High, the pool size allocated is 1 GB. When set to Low, it is configured to allocate only 400 MB. Disabling with option will make the pool unconstrained in size while still allowing it to stream out unused texture.
  • Hierarchical LOD Transition Method: Determines what method is used to calculate the distance at which structures in a level transition to their simplified Hierarchical LOD meshes. The field of view method allows for greater detail of distant buildings when viewing them through optics but with an increased performance cost.