What is Vulkan mode in Valheim?

Vulkan is a cross-platform API which is available for Valheim players who want to improve their gameplay experience. Essentially, Vulkan is a mode that you can play Valheim in which aims to make improvements to framerate and stuttering. This can be a problem for some players especially in busier areas of the map, such as the Swamp or the Ocean, or during some of the more hectic boss fights. Vulkan does not change anything except the performance of Valheim.

It has been available since the 0.146.8 patch which released on 25th February 2021.

What is an API?

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a system which allows programs to integrate and communicate more effectively.

Playing using Vulkan will allow your computer to more effectively sort tasks in your CPU and GPU, and overall be more efficient, therefore streamlining the game’s performance.

How to activate Vulkan?

Much like activating freefly camera in Valheim, you need to go into console mode. This can be done by typing in ‘-console’ into the General settings on Steam account, which will allow you to enter the game in Vulkan mode. It can also be done by typing in ‘-force-vulkan’, but it will work the same either way.

  1. Go to your Library and select Valheim
  2. Click on the Settings icon called ‘Manage’
  3. Click ‘Properties’

Once you’ve followed these steps, the below popup window will appear:

Steam general settings window
General setting pop-up window

Type in ‘-console’ (or ‘-force-vulkan’) and then close the window. Once you have done this, click on play, and the below screen should appear.

Click on ‘Play Valheim using Vulkan’ and then Play. Your game will now launch using Vulkan.

What happens in Vulkan mode?

Valheim will run the same way as before and you will see no changes to gameplay or the game. But you will most likely see some FPS improvements, and if you were having trouble with stuttering (particularly during boss fights), that should disappear or at least improve.

How do I check framerate?

Checking framerate in Valheim can be done a few ways, but by far the easiest and quickest way is by pressing F2 (only when you are in console mode). This will bring up the screen below:

Valheim has an internal FPS counter
Valheim has an internal FPS counter

Here you will be able to check exactly the FPS your game is running at and compare it to when you are using Vulkan. Entering areas that caused your FPS to drop, despite having the sufficient PC requirements, should see an improvement.

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