Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Dota 2 Launch Options for increased performance, optimized gameplay

Running Dota 2 using the default settings is fine, but the game offers several launch options to customize how the game client behaves as it launches. Many of these options can provide a dramatic increase in performance or make the game appear as you see fit. Here are some that I personally recommend.

How to Use Dota 2 Launch Options

Where is the Dota 2 Launch Option dialog box?

Before we proceed to the list of available options, here’s how you go to Dota 2’s Launch Option dialog box:

1. Open your Steam dashboard, proceed to the Library tab and find Dota 2 in your list of games.

2. Right-click Dota 2 and click Properties.

3. In the Dota 2 Properties window, click the General tab.

4. Click the Set Launch Options… button. The Launch Option dialog box appears.

The box says the options are for advanced users only. Fret not, since enabling the options is rather easy. Need pictures for these instructions? Check my guide on how to enable the Dota 2 console, which incidentally is one of the launch options.

How to Use Dota 2 Launch Options

With the dialog box now open, all you need to do is type the options that you want to use including their signs. Most options begin with the “-“ or minus sign, though some use a “+” or plus sign.

When using multiple options or commands, separate them with a blank space. Add a space between commands and parameters too. For instance, if you want to run Dota 2 with a forced resolution of 768 pixels in height and 1024 pixels in width, then you need to type -h 768 -w 1024 as seen in the image above.

If you need to disable a particular option, just remove it (and all its parameters, if there are any) from the dialog box.

It’s best to add launch commands one at a time. If you notice visual glitches and other problems in the game after adding a command, better disable it.

Recommended Dota 2 Launch Options

-console – Enables access to the console window, which itself gives you access to additional customization option for the game client.

-novid – Disables the introduction video, specifically the video showing a guy with a red valve attached to his bald head.

To speed up the game client:

-high – Makes the computer give Dota 2 a high priority in CPU usage. It’s similar to setting a higher priority to the application via Window’s Task Manager. Players on high-end gaming rigs need not use this, but those with lower end machines may notice a significant increase in performance.

-dxlevel 80 – With the parameter “80”, this forces Dota 2 to run using a DirectX level that is optimized for speed. Other parameters include 81, 90 and 95. The higher number you choose, the better the visuals (which naturally take a toll on performance). Don’t forget to install the latest DirectX distributable and update your video card driver.

-nod3d9ex or -nod3dex – Force Windows to disable DirectX 9 external rendering and Aero extensions in an effort to increase FPS. It may cause glitches though. They may reduce lag when switching windows (pressing Alt+Tab).

If you’re having doubts on whether these commands boost your game’s frame rate or not, try playing matches with and without them. Observe the average FPS in-game.

Other Dota 2 Launch Options

-autoconfig – Launches the game with settings that works best for the current hardware detected. While it remains enabled, it also bypasses any modified settings in config files. Use this option to help Dota 2 launch successfully, especially when you’ve copied the game from another machine (which means it already has pre-configured settings that may not work with your own machine).

-dashboard <parameter> – Uses the loading screen and menu interface of a specific event, such as The International tournament and New Bloom. Some of the available parameters are international_2012, international_2013, international_2014, frostivus_2013, newbloom_2014, and spirits_2013.

-noforcemaccel and -noforcemspd – Makes Dota 2 use Windows settings for mouse acceleration and speed, respectively. These options require using the launch option -useforcedmparms

-nomicsettings – Prevents Dota 2 from modifying microphone output settings. It may help solve problems when using Skype and other third-party software for voice chat.

There are many other launch options that can further speed up or optimize the game, but they can be enabled within the game menu itself. These include running in full screen or windowed mode and enabling/disabling vertical sync.