Feb 6, 2024 3 min read

Lethal Company: Performance and Best Settings on Steam Deck

Lethal Company, the indie-game phenomenon, runs on the Steam Deck. But with Timo's settings, it will run even better.

Lethal Company on Steam Deck

Lethal Company, the indie-game phenomenon, runs on the Steam Deck. But with Timo's settings, it will run even better.

It sounds like a reasonable pitch: Gather your workmates and land on mysterious moons to scavenge scrap and bring it back to the mother base. Just try not to die – or experience worse. That's what Lethal Company, a new horror co-op phenomenon developed by a young solo dev, is all about.

Yet despite its deliberate retro-jank look, it does not run flawlessly on Steam Deck, so let's get to work.

Creepy Retreat with Technical Flaws

Lethal Company's look doesn't immediately give it away, but the indie title runs on the Unity3D engine. While the engine's hardware requirements are usually relatively low, and considering this particular game isn't that pretty, it still throws some load at the Steam Deck's APU.

I guess that's just the lack of proper optimization, which we can, of course, expect with future updates further down the road.

Furthermore, this hyped-up horror co-op title has no extensive graphics settings menu. 'Display mode' and 'Frame rate cap' are all you get. Without any changes, the game defaults to Fullscreen, with V-Sync enabled, resulting in a – for the lack of a better word – reasonably usable experience. 60 FPS with regular dips into the low 30s, especially inside the crew's ship on a moon's surface.

Don't get me wrong; this is totally fine and within my expectations, given that Lethal Company is an early-access title with a single developer. You could cap the FPS to 40 at 40Hz on an LCD Steam Deck or at 45 FPS at 90Hz on an OLED Deck, respectively, and call it a day.

Still… as you know, we prefer solid frame pacing for a smoother experience – even in such a scenario.

An Unexpected Fix

Weirdly enough, the fix to the aforementioned frame time spikes turned out to be simpler than I thought: Disabling V-Sync altogether by setting the game's framerate option to 'uncapped' smoothened out all major spikes, resulting in a much-improved experience.

Remember: SteamOS comes with its own V-Sync solution to eliminate screen tearing.

Unfortunately, you will still see dips into the 40 FPS region occasionally, especially when heavy visual effects are involved – such as being outside with multiple teammates and heavy fog on screen.

Thankfully, I'm an advocate of the Golden40 / Golden45 rule, so let's stick to that framerate target and enjoy venturing into abandoned moons. Without further ado, these settings give you a locked 40/45 FPS:

In-Game Settings
Frame rate cap Uncapped
Display mode Fullscreen
Quick Action Menu
Framerate Limit 40/45 FPS

Locking the framerate at all is, of course, optional, as 70% of your time is inside structures — where you'll rarely see any significant performance dips.

'Happy' scavenging, employee!

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