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How to Add Command Line Arguments to Steam, GoG, and the Epic Games Store

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A command line argument is a special string of text that you can add to a game’s startup sequence for various effects. These commands can be incredibly useful, but each digital game store has a different way of accessing them.

What is a command line argument and why should you care?

In the days of MS-DOS and other text-based operating systems, you started a game or application by typing its “executable” name. If you want, you can add special “arguments” after the executable name. For example, if you launched ID Software’s classic shooter DOOM with “doom -cdrom”, it would allow you to run the game directly from the CD-ROM disc. Very useful when you don’t have enough space for DOOM!

Today we don’t launch games from a command line; we use graphical interfaces to click on icons and buttons. However, command line arguments (also known as parameters) remain a common feature of modern games.

They allow you to gain access to features or fixes that simply aren’t available through the main game interface, or they can launch a game that won’t launch at all on your computer, since the command is there from the start and doesn’t work. It does not depend on the game that is already running.

You can find out what launch parameters are available for your games by doing a web search to see what the developer has posted or what other players have discovered. Once you have the parameters you want to use, follow these steps to implement them on the most popular PC game stores.

How to Add Command Line Arguments to Steam

Go to your Steam library and right click on the game you want to modify, then select “Properties”.

Selection of properties for the video game Stray on Steam

Under “Launch Options”, you can add any command line arguments you like.

Stray Steam Launch Option

In this case, we’re using “-dx12” with the game Stray, which unlocks the game’s experimental ray tracing mode. Close the properties window and start the game to see the results.

RELATED: How to hide or remove a game from your Steam library

How to add launch parameters to the Epic Game Store

In the Epic Games Store, click your profile icon in the top right of the app window, then click “Settings.”

Epic Games Store Setup

Scroll down until you see the name of the game you want to modify, then expand your entry and add the parameters of your choice to the text box.

Borderlands Parameter Settings on the Epic Game Store

Here we are using “-NOTEXTURSTREAMING” to force the game to preload all graphical textures, which solves the frame rate stutter for many players.

RELATED: How to Get Refunds for Epic Store Games

How to add custom arguments to GoG

In GoG Galaxy, right click on the game you want to modify and select Manage Installation > Configure.

Switch to the “Features” tab and then check the box next to “Custom Arguments/Executables”.

The GoG Game Features tab with the Custom Executable checkbox

From the list of executables, you can choose to duplicate an existing executable and then modify it, or use the “Add another executable/argument” option to create a blank list.

GoG Game settings add another executable option

You will need to choose the game executable using the open file explorer window that appears. Then add any arguments you want and give your modified executable a name in “My Tag”. Click “OK” to save your changes.

GoG game configuration arguments

Now go to your game library in GoG Galaxy and right click on the game, then go to “Additional Executables”.

Launch of the modified GoG game executable

Your modified executable should appear under the name you gave it.

If you encounter an argument causing a game not to start or other problems, you can always go back and remove your parameters. There are other ways to optimize your games, like with GeForce Experience.

RELATED: Why you should use GeForce Experience to optimize games

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