Want to substantially improve image quality whilst immersed in your HTC Vive? Here’s details of a new tweak that allows you to engage supersampling in SteamVR and compatible games with the resulting differences impressive – as long as your system can handle it.

Update (2/7/17): This free utility makes supersampling on the Vive much easier.

Recently we published a report explaining how to use the Oculus SDK debug tool to increase rendering ‘pixel density’ in many games running through Oculus Home and just how much the process improved the resulting image quality once inside VR.

htc-vive-lens-adjustment
See Also: HTC Vive Has a Hidden Mechanism to Maximize Field of View

Now, the enterprising crew over at the Eagle.ru forums have discovered a config entry for SteamVR that similarly allows players (assuming they have the GPU grunt) to tweak pixel density to add Supersampling to the image pushed to the Vive on a sliding scale. That is, rendering the image at a higher resolution than the Vive’s native 2160 x 1200 before finally downsampling and displayed in the VR headset.

Unlike the tweak for the Oculus Rift, there’s no need to engage an extra tool to get this running either and performing the changes will engage it for all SteamVR launched titles globally. Here’s how.


  • Open your Steam’s install folder. This will vary depending on where you put Steam when first installing – for me it’s ‘C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam’.
  • Open the ‘Config’ directory and open the ‘steamvr.vrsettings’ file (make a backup first ideally) using Notepad or your chosen text editor (click for larger version of image below which indicates file location).
SEE ALSO
GameFace Starts Dev Kit Pre-orders for Standalone Headset with Tethered SteamVR Support, Powerful NVIDIA Chip

steamvr-supersampling-1

  • You’ll be confronted by a scary looking JSON config file, but don’t worry, you’re interested only in the section towards the bottom labelled “steamvr”.
  • You then need to add the following line to the end of that section:
"renderTargetMultiplier": 2.5
  • Add a comma (,) to the end of the line immediately before the new line you just added.
  • Once you’re done, your config file should look something like this (note, your pre-existing lines may not be identical to what’s seen here):

htc vive supersampling config line 2

  • Save the file and fire up your favourite VR experience.

Please note that depending on your GPU’s reserve power, you may need to reduce the multiplier from ‘2.5’ to something lower and fair warning, you will need some grunt to keep your VR game’s frame rate above the hallowed 90FPS and avoid judder and general discomfort. Try reducing by .1 increments to find a sweet spot (or indeed increasing should you have the power – although diminishing qualitative returns will be felt above this).

That’s it! Let us know your experiences in the comments section below and your system configurations. It’d be interesting to see what kinds of success people achieve with their hardware.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.


  • Johan Thallauer

    running the multiplier at 2.2 did it for me, it is big a difference, thank you for sharing!

    • cknight91

      What CPU and GPU do you have? What games did you try?

      • Johan Thallauer

        I have an intel i7-5820K CPU and a GeForce Gtx Titan X 12GB. I tested Work simulator, Holopoint and The Solus Project.

        • cory

          u reckon a i7 4770 and gtx 980ti could run 1.5?

  • Torben Bojer Christensen

    Cool, will try it out ASAP when i get home

    • wcalderini

      Just tried and it DOES make a big difference. I’m running a Gigabyte 1080 Gaming 1. I set it at 2.5 per instructions. I wonder if that’s too high, just right, or not enough. Are there any rules that apply here? The Vive menu looked a LOT cleaner and Pool VR seemed on point as well. (Did get a little jerking and tearing when I pulled up the Steam menu within the game though, but as long as it was only having to process one screen at a time all seems to be working well)

      • e92m3

        If performance is not impairing your experience, it’s either just right or ‘too low’.

        Beyond ~2-3x, you’ll see minimal benefit to image quality.

        • Torben Bojer Christensen

          It’s beautiful, but tweakwise pehaps only for the more patient “high-end” gamer, as each game has it’s own sweetpoint in regard to qulity/performance. I am using a superclocked EVGA GTX 1080, and i can only do around 1.3 in a game like iomoon, beforce it gets too jittery, while other games blasts away at much higher settings.

          So I have already made shortcuts to the folder and different vrsettings files, that can quickly be copied to the C:Program Files(x86)Steam folder to be taken into action – Any better ideas for quick switching? …Maybe even one that does not require a restart?

          At least now there will even be a reason to buy the 1080ti for the Vive when it arrives ;-)

  • Anony Anonymous

    Some questions:
    1- It is necessary for the test have the hdm- “htc vive”?.
    2 – In the event of not being necessary, “steamvr.settings” I do not appear or does not exist.

  • John Stevens

    This caused a major problem for me. The image looked fantastic but the lighthouses were frequently losing sync, something that has NEVER happened to me before. Didn’t matter how high or low I enabled supersampling. I had to delete and reinstall steam vr, unplug and replug everything and reinstall drivers. I’m using 2 980ti’s (sli was disabled) and i7 4970k at 4.4 ghz. What a bummer.

    • e92m3

      Why would you need to delete and reinstall steamVR? Just delete the line you added…

  • Rick Whelan

    It’s very easy to mess up the edit of a config file. For those looking for an app that makes the process simple go here..

    https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/4q4bu3/update_chaperone_switcher_on_the_fly/

    • John Stevens

      did you guys put a space in between the quotations like this “renderTargetMultiplier”: 2.5 or without a space like this
      “renderTargetMultiplier”:2.5

      I did it with a space and made sure i put a comma after “true” right above it.

      thanks

    • Raphael

      It just says error and that it can’t find the steamvr file. Apparently someone else had the same problem and the author released a newer version and said he’d linked to it. I can’t find any newer version.

      • Rick Whelan
        • Raphael

          Hi, thanks. Tried it but it says the same: “looks like your steam vr settings is either missing or corrupt. Please check file and try again”

          The steamvr.vrsettings file is present and appears to be working normally inside the steam/config folder. It differs in content from the one shown here though.

          I’m on windows 10 and my steam is installed default C location.

          Edit: Bilago has built a new beta version now based on my steamvr. No crashy.

          • Legion

            You mean:”looks like your steam vr settings is either missing or corrupt. Please suck cock and try again”

    • Rob Haskins

      dang I feel bad for people who can’t paste a line into a text document, especially when its laid out in steps with pictures.

  • Zerofool

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for ways to increase the render target resolution for the past week, but without success. Thanks for sharing!
    Also thank you Rick Whelan!
    Can’t wait to get back home to give these a try.

  • Thanks for the tip! It work on my GTX 980Ti :)

  • Michał Wachułka

    Did it like in the guide. I dont see the diffrence. gtx970

  • Raphael

    Edited as per instructions but can’t see any difference. Without AA enabled everything looks just as jagged. I know what supersampling looks like because I use it on Assetto Corsa. My steamvr.vr file doesn’t look the same as the one shown here.

    • Albert.CR

      I just built a beefy PC (gtx1070X, i7-6700k, 32GB DDR4… etc) and my Vive should arrive shortly. My main goal is to play Assetto Corsa in VR, would you be so kind as to advising the steps you followed to make it work with the Vive with the best possible image quality?. Thank you in advance for your insight.

      • e92m3

        AC folder>cfg>oculus.ini

        PIXEL_PER_DISPLAY=1.0

        1.0 is default. 1.5 and or better 2.0+ improves fidelity to an amazing extent. My 290x can’t handle more than 2.0 with large grids, though it’s game on for pushing beyond two once mgpu support is added to the public OVR builds aside from benchmark.

        in-game AA looks rather fuzzy, as does the PP filter. I suggest turning those off.

        AC is way better than I expect in VR. I was already pretty quick and consistent (minorating A-B) but the vive has really brought a new edge to sense of speed and awareness.

        At the very least, I find it much more exciting and immersive than trackir on 2160p 28″. Also, I’ve found the vive less fatiguing for some reason. I just don’t feel like I’m working as hard, it’s just that much closer to actual driving.

        Remember, if you edit the vive config, you should probably leave AC-specific SS off.

        • Albert.CR

          Thank you so much for your help. I can’t wait to do some laps in Nurburgring fully inmersed for the first time (the 2d monitor breaks the enchantment…)

          • e92m3

            No problem!

            I’ve enabled always-on re-projection as well since I wrote that and it has given me significantly more render-time to work with in AC and the tracking feels the same for this kind of game.

  • Yaniv Ben David

    Works like a charm on my gtx 970. Maybe I will lower it later on to 2.2 because of my ‘slow’ gpu.

  • The result is great, the image quality is better but my GTX 970 is far too slow… will try in some months with a new GFX card… :(

  • Bounty-Torn

    Small correction: the file name should be “steamvr.vrsettings”.

    Just did this on my i7-5820K, 32gb ddr4, single 970 and it seemed to work. The visuals do seem better and no lag or stuttering in Tilt Brush.

    • Thank you. Corrected.

    • Spike

      That is identical to my build. What multiplier are you using? I want to try this out but not cripple my game play.

      • Bounty-Torn

        I went with the suggested 2.5 multiplier

  • Badelhas

    Does anyone with a nvidia GTX 1070 or equivalent tried this? Are the results really noticeable? What about performance impact?
    Cheers

    • Raphael

      I have 1070 and have set to 2.5 or actually 3 at the moment. I think it does improve but I have to test more. I know that when using SS in Elite D via it’s options menu that makes big difference. Same with Assetto Corsa and LibreVR (editing corsa video config.ini)

      • Badelhas

        No impact on performance, then? That’s great to hear. It’s a pity we have to mess with config files to set it up.
        Do you believe that this will somehow be available in a easier way through steamVR settings in the future? That would be perfect. I mean, if some of us have the graphics processing power to improve the perceived resolution (Nvidia 1070 or 1080) without dropping from the minimum 90fps why dosent Valve allows without needing this “hack”?! I don’t get it.

        • Raphael

          Valve will never make it a feature you can adjust. It should be in game settings for each game. Elite Dangerous has it. Some other games too.

          I haven’t noticed any performance hit so far. I will test it further today. I am overclocking my 1070 so that might help. 235mhz on core and 200mhz on vram currently.

      • J.C.

        I have a 970 and a Vive, and had seen reports that Elite:D runs like crap on it, despite running decently on the Rift. so I haven’t fired it up yet. Are you running E:D on a Vive or a Rift? I’m assuming it runs pretty decently? I’m looking to grab a 1070 or 1080 when stores stop gouging on their pricing.

        • Robert Löfgren

          E:D runs fine on the 970 with settings set to very high. When running on Ultra i get a bit of jittering.

      • e92m3

        Yeah AC looks very nice with SS on vive. It’s actually a really amazing VR game, very pleased one of my favorite sims works this well, runs excellently on 290x.

  • John Stevens

    Thanks for the download link. The results seem to vary wildly depending on the game. Some look terrific and play silky smooth, some are unplayable. It does not seem to work with any games using revive. Still a great option to play with. Thanks!

    • Some games have SS options in their own config files. Assetto Corsa has an “oculus.ini” which contains an option for supersampling (and is of course a Revive compatible game).

      • e92m3

        No need for revive though imo. It does very well with the default option and is honestly one of the best vr experiences around i think

        The AC-specific .ini tweak is really handy, we really need this option to be game-specific.

  • Jake Watson

    Go to ncix us all of the 1070s are in stock

  • dannyhefc69

    Works great :) have to set it to 1.5, 2.5 is to taxing on my system and causes my vives’s displays to flash and tear. I can see the biggest difference in steam, text is so much cleaner. Only game i haven’t seen any change is pool nation vr?
    My specs- i7 4790, R9 290X, 16gb ram, win 10

  • Orlando

    This worked very well for me with i5 4690k 980 Ti. honestly it makes a big difference.. Colors are even more vibrant. 2.0 works for me but i feel more comfortable with 1.5.

  • Konchu

    A warning to people doing this it is a great feature but seems multiplicative. So if you have the setting jacked up on a game this will multiply those in some cases, with my 1080 I was able to take The gallery to max settings and max HMD resolution,before upping text was hard to read on the cassettes but was great on high. But with my settings set to 2.1 the game was choppy, setting my quality down to low did not diminish the text quality nor did taking HMD resolution, lowering these settings did help the frame rate. may have to play with to see if I am missing anything else by reducing these settings. Also Chronos on revive was playable on epic but with this setting it was Bad. Setting to defaults made it playable and saw no major difference to epic with my initial tests.

    On a secondary note those wanted to play with the settings might want to download the New Retro Arcade Neon Demo it has a FPS counter bound to one of the grips (was left for me) and has some posters on the wall that are good for seeing the difference. the back row of arcade machines is also taxing on video I am staying above 80 ish in this bad area at 2.1 this may not be a good test as this could be code related performance though.

  • PianoMan

    My file contents are very different, exact location and identical file but all it contains is this:

    {
    “steamvr”: {
    “background”: “F:\Games\Steam & VR\Steam\steamapps\common\SteamVR\resources\backgrounds\viveNight.png”
    }
    }

    • e92m3

      Then try:

      {
      “steamvr”: {
      “background”: “F:\Games\Steam & VR\Steam\steamapps\common\SteamVR\resources\backgrounds\viveNight.png”,
      “renderTargetMultiplier”: 2.5
      }
      }

      • Tumbler

        I had something very similar, did the above and it works – i5 / GTX 980 Xtreme / 16Gb 300 tried 2.5 / 2.0 with irrational exuberance, was better both times, but both a little juddery

        • e92m3

          Glad it worked. Anything above 1.0 is going to improve aliasing at least very slightly.

          try 1.2 and above as well, I find it’s better to trade off some lighting detail and especially post processing in favor of super-sampling.

          In case someone else sees this, my last message is cut off a bit now for some reason.
          {
          “steamvr”: {
          “background”: “F:\Games\Steam & VR\Steam\steamapps\common\SteamVR\resources
          \backgrounds\viveNight.png”,
          “renderTargetMultiplier”: 2.5
          }
          }

          The comma after the proceeding argument (ends with vivNight.png”) is the important bit.

  • Waji Anwar

    Made a big difference thanks so much. Even the text is that much clearer

  • Is there a possibility that steam updates will overwrite the added code?

  • Peter

    I don’t recommend doing this with a 2.5 multiplier for anyone. I have a dual gtx 1080 hbsli setup and the edit still caused bad jittering in space pirate trainer and portal stories vr, the only two apps I tried while I had the extra line in my configuration file. It did sharpen the view for text but obviously not worth the trade off.

    • Psycold

      I have a 980 TI extreme overclocked edition with a 6700k @ 4.6ghz and 32gb of DDR4 @ 2200mhz and I get horrible judder in all the games I tried using the multiplier. Only the SteamVR menu is smooth. Even 1.6 seemed to give me judder. To me personally, it’s a much better experience losing a little screen clarity and having constant 90fps so reprojection doesn’t kick on. I’m glad this feature has been discovered because it will be great when I upgrade in the future.

      • DougP

        Did you try anything lower than 1.6 that worked well enough a variety of titles?

        I’ve got similar (maybe slightly beefier) specs:
        Zotac’s crazy Amp Extreme! 980ti – OC’d a bit beyond already OC’d
        5930K OC’d 4.2 to 4.4
        64Gb 2666mhz mem OC’d

        So from what I’ve read of “success stories” with this tweak, I was expecting that my rig could handle 1.5+ easily.

        Now after reading your comment I’m concerned about even trying it.
        Turning it on-and-off, just for games where it works well & makes enough of a difference wouldn’t be a bad option….IF it works on fairly top-tier systems like ours.

    • DougP

      I don’t believe the dual (SLI) part of your config is currently supported or having an affect on your results.

      Did you try it at anything lower where you had success? 2.0? less?

      • Peter

        I didn’t try anything lower yet but will attempt it at some point soon and post about it. Thanks for letting me know about the sli support issue – I’m going to look into that too.

  • While oculus doesn’t have a global supersampling option, many games have their own config for it. Assetto Corsa has it in it’s oculus.ini (and is Revive compatible).

  • Daemon Hunt

    I have dual GTX1080 FE’s and they can barely handle 2.0x SSAA in Elite:Dangerous set to VR High. This is mostly because E:D doesn’t work in SLI so one card gets loaded up and the result is jitter. Someone suggested using the 2.0 multiplier in the Vive config, and then using 0.65 multiplier in E:D but it seems a bit odd to me to do this, and too finnicky as the multiplier in the Vive config is ‘system-wide’. So I just leave it at the default multiplier and play E:D at Ultra instead. No issues, but could be sharper! I would like to set set SSAA at a per-application basis and am digging around figuring how to do this. I’m currently exploring SSAA in Unreal Engine 4 on a per-project basis, and looking forward to SMP, Single Pass Stereo, Lens Matched Shading and VR SLI being fully enabled in UE4 going forward.

    • Daemon Hunt

      Reply to my own post. Found how to do SSAA per-application: nVidia Profile Inspector. Tadaaa! *cough*

  • Benjamen Ter-wiel

    there was no steamvr section can i just add it

  • DLAROC

    Will this work with Oculus Rift games you play on Vive? Or only games in Steam?

  • HENRY CHAN

    After yesterday SteamVR Update, The system will ignore the (“renderTargetMultiplier”: 2.5) setting.. or if you set at 1.5 , System will change it to 2 for you .

  • Rex Thorne

    Upgrading from a 970 to an overclocked Strix 1080, and then setting the multiplier to 1.5 is a huge visual improvement. The card cost almost as much as the Vive, but it’s worth it.

  • Robbie DeRoo

    At the time of writing this, they had taken the “SteamVR” section out of the JSON config file. You can always add it back in again like I did. This is the entire contents of my config file:

    {
    “modelskins”: {
    “stage”: “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\workshop\content\250820\722654545\root\root.obj”,
    “stage_PublishedFileId”: “722654545”
    },
    “steamvr”: {
    “mirrorViewGeometry”: “0 0 1080 600”,
    “showStage”: true,
    “allowReprojection”: true,
    “renderTargetMultiplier”: 0.75
    }
    }

    • Robbie DeRoo

      Yes, I am using 0.75. Only because the recent SteamVR updates seem to have made a lot of games start to jutter, whereas before they did not; (on my gtx 980ti, i7 6700K).

  • Steve Gregory Webb

    I have a 1080 card as well as a i7-4790K so I was assuming I would not have any issues super-sampling at 2.5 or higher but I find the images are not as smooth when tracking,even the slightest head movement will cause a slight lag and focus issues , If I keep still images will become sharp.
    Do I need to overclock the card or CPU?
    I installed MSI Afterburner but am unsure on how to proceed

  • Roxconn

    Sorry I’m probably just a moron but what does he mean by need grunt?

  • You can know grab a SteamVR Dashboard add-on called “OpenVR Advanced Settings” that’ll let you easily change this and other ‘hidden’ settings:

    https://github.com/matzman666/OpenVR-AdvancedSettings

  • Tom Daigon

    A much easier and more powerful way to alter settings. https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/5hgtuz/release_openvr_advanced_settings_v21/

  • StarLightPL

    This is long obsoleted by OpenVR advanced settings: https://github.com/matzman666/OpenVR-AdvancedSettings/releases

  • StarLightPL

    Don’t do that, use OpenVR advanced settings. It starts a settings page inside VR. No more messy text files.