Advanced Settings

The advanced settings are available through configuration files on both the server and the client. The configuration file is stored in the same directory as the software. There is a link in the Parsec Application to the advanced settings where you can add any of these settings to your configuration file. Before changing these, please try some of the more basic settings. Here's a helpful link to get you started optimizing your settings. All settings must be on their own line. Most settings are managed through the client except those listed in the server settings section of this document.

Client Settings

The majority of the advanced settings are controlled via the Parsec Client. To edit these settings, please visit the config.txt file stored in the same directory as the Parsec Client. On Macs, this directory can be found by right clicking on the Parsec Application in your Applications folder and choosing "Show Package Contents". On Windows, you can search for the Parsec Server folder.

VIDEO SETTINGS

  • Shortcut For Quality Settings

    You can define the quality of the video versus lowering latency via our shortcut quality settings. The LAN setting only applies to local connections, and the WAN setting only applies to connections made when you are not in the same network as your server. The three settings are Performance (lower quality video, lower latency), Balanced (balanced between video quality and latency), and Quality (higher quality video, lower priority on latency). The values are 1 = Performance, 2 = Balanced, and 3 = Quality. The default is always 1. This setting changes a lot of other encoder settings and your bitrate automatically.

    app_lan_quality=1

    app_wan_quality=1

  • Max Bitrate Setting

    This setting determines the maximum amount of bandwidth Parsec will use when streaming video to your client. The default value is 10.

    encoder_bitrate=10

  • Video Stream Frames Per Second

    If you'd like to lower the FPS of your stream without impacting the server display refresh rate, you can change this setting. The default value is 0, which means it will match your display refresh rate. But if you want to force 30 FPS, you can add 30. The maximum for this value is the server refresh rate, which is automatically set at 60.

    encoder_fps=0

  • Encoder Video Output Quality

    The quality of video can be set with encoder_min_qp. The higher this value is, the more 'blurred' the image will become. A value below 5 probably is not especially noticeable to the human eye. Parsec automatically scales this value based on network performance. The default value for this is 25. If you're still seeing blurry video, try increasing your max bandwidth in the settings tab of the app.

    encoder_min_qp=25

  • Encoder Quality

    The encoder quality can be separately managed. This defines how much pressure you want to put on your encoder to meet the demands of streaming. If you have an older GPU, setting this value to 3 will put a lot of pressure on your encoder. You can set this value to 1, 2, 3 with 3 being the highest quality.

    encoder_quality=1

NETWORKING SETTINGS

  • Overriding Network Discovery

    Override the IPv4 discovery functionality in Parsec by definining the exact IP address or network adapter you want your client to use. This is handy if you have multiple adapters on the same network and you want to choose a specific one. These options are available on both the client and the server. You should use this to help with IP discovery issues when the client or the server is having issues finding the right network adapter. This is usually only an issue if you have a VPN.

    network_adapter=1

    network_ip_address=192.168.10.50

  • Force LAN connection

    If you would like to force a LAN (Local Area Network) connection please set the try LAN variable to 1.

    network_try_lan=0

  • Ports

    The client or the server can connect to each other. If you manually manage port forwarding for the client, you'll need to forward ports 9000-9002 for UDP traffic. Once you forward those ports to UDP traffic on your router. If you want multiple connections, you will need to open more ports (three for each connection). We recommend opening 9000-9040 in case you want to have a bunch of friends connect to you at some point.

    network_client_start_port=9000

  • Max Concurrent Connections

    You can set the maximum number of friends connecting to your machine concurrently. The default max is 5. Remember, for every connection, you will be sharing bandwidth. For example, if the first connection was set at 30mbps and you have 5 friends connected, each friend will only get a 6mbps stream, which will be pretty low quality in fast action games.

    server_max_clients=5

PARSEC WINDOW SETTINGS

  • VSync Setting For Parsec Window

    Parsec runs VSync on the client. This adds latency, but removes tearing. On some Intel decoders, you can actually turn this option off and continue to play without tearing. If you would like to lower latency further, and if you are willing to have tearing, try turning VSync off. The default value of 1 signals that VSync is on, use 0 to turn client VSync off.

    client_vsync=1

  • Fullscreen

    The Parsec Client runs in borderless windowed mode normally (default=0). You can set it to fullscreen mode if you'd like to use "Spaces" on Mac or other features that are only supported on fullscreen applications. Set this value to 1 to enter fullscreen mode.

    client_fullscreen=0

  • Windowed Mode

    The Parsec Client can run in a window. The default is to run the client fullscreen with 0, but you can turn on windowed mode with 1.

    client_windowed=0

  • Window Size

    When you run the Parsec Client in a window, you can also change the window resolution size.

    client_window_x=1280

    client_window_y=800

  • Parsec Button

    You can turn off the Parsec button by default with the overlay option. Setting this to 1 will automatically hide the Parsec overlay.

    client_overlay=0

LATENCY SETTINGS

  • Software vs. Hardware Decoding

    We use hardware decoding by default (0). Hardware decoding is great for many reasons. But most importantly, it really brings the latency down on your games. That being said, if your computer doesn't have a hardware decoder, you can try using software decoding. But remember, Parsec on software decoding is not awesome. To run software decoding, set the value to 1.

    decoder_software=0

  • Zero-copy

    The zero-copy option is only applicable to Mac clients. The zero-copy option tells your client to keep all video data in the GPU memory rather than moving it to system memory. When zero-copy is on, the data stays in video RAM and is rendered directly from video memory to the screen. If it's not zero-copy, the video data is decoded into video memory, copied to system memory, then copied back into video memory, and then rendered. Zero-copy is currently default off (value of the setting is 0). If you want to lower your latency on a Mac, please set the value to 1.

    decoder_zero_copy=0

SERVER DISPLAY SETTINGS

  • Force Server Display Resolutions

    When you're in admin mode (you own the server or your friend gave you admin privileges - silly them), the server screen resolution will scale to match your client display. You can force specific resolutions here, but please don't exceed 2560x1440 (1440p). When you're not an admin, the server screen resolution will not change because we assume the admin is controlling the server screen resolution. If you get a display resolution error with this, it is because Windows does not have the resolution you are requesting available. You will have to manually add that resolution to the available resolutions or choose a different resolution.

    server_resolution_x=1920

    server_resolution_y=1080

  • Refresh Rate Of Server

    You can set the refresh rate of the server display. The default is 60 hz. This will also be the maximum of the encoder FPS, which is defaulted to be equal to your server refresh rate.

    server_refresh_rate=60

AUDIO SETTINGS

  • Audio Buffer

    Controls the delay on the audio. Our default value is 20000. Increasing the value increases the buffer/delay on the audio.

    client_audio_buffer=20000

  • Muting The Remote Server

    By default, if an admin is connecting to a host PC, Parsec mutes the audio on the host computer's speakers. If you'd like to turn this default off, please set the server_admin_mute value to 0.

    server_admin_mute=1

KEYBOARD PASSTHROUGH

If you want to pass hotkeys to your server (alt+tab for instance), you'll want to be in "Immersive Mode". Immersive Mode is default off with the setting at 0. If you want to turn it default on, you'll have to change the setting to 1. You can also use the hot key ctrl + alt + i to quickly toggle Immersive Mode on/off.

client_immersive=0

SUBSCRIBE TO UPDATED VERSIONS OF PARSEC

We release new versions of Parsec roughly every two weeks (unless we do something really stupid and have an emergency bug fix). If you'd like to test newer versions of the software, you can subscribe to the 'Warp' release (set value to warp). Please note, you'll have to subscribe to Warp on both the Parsec Client and Parsec Server to make a connection. Also, the Warp release is our internal testing tool, so you could be getting some buggy software. Please be aware of that before subscribing to this channel. You cannot move back after updating to Warp. The only way to go back to the current production release is to re-download the software from the website.

app_channel=release

Server Side

FORCE BROADCAST IP

Connection errors can be caused by Parsec choosing the wrong network adapter by default. This is a frequent issue on VPNs. To change the default network adapter, you can either choose a number (1,2,3) in your list of adapters or the specific IP you are trying to connect to. You can also set a specific IP address for the server to broadcast to. We only support IPv4 at this time.

network_adapter=1

network_ip_address=192.168.10.50

SUBSCRIBE TO UPDATED VERSIONS OF PARSEC

We release new versions of Parsec roughly every two weeks (unless we do something really stupid and have an emergency bug fix). If you'd like to test newer versions of the software, you can subscribe to the 'Warp' release (set app_channel value to warp). Please note, you'll have to subscribe to Warp on both the Parsec Client and Parsec Server to make a connection. Also, the Warp release is our internal testing tool, so you could be getting some buggy software. Please be aware of that before subscribing to this channel. Additionally, you cannot move back after updating to Warp. The only way to go back to the current production release is to re-download the software from the website.

app_channel=release

Launching From The Command Line

USING THE COMMAND LINE

Parsec can be run via the command line. This is especially important to Raspberry Pi users, but anyone can use the command line to launch the Parsec Client. All of the settings above can be included when launching from there. Each setting should be separated by a colon.

parsec server_id=YOUR_SERVER_ID network_protocol=1:server_resolution_x=2560:server_resolution_y=1440

If you installed Parsec before the new deb package system, you will need to run that command in the client-rpi directory like this:

./client server_id=YOUR_SERVER_ID network_protocol=1:server_resolution_x=2560:server_resolution_y=1440