Selecting Options brings up the main options page:
Controls how much of the game world is visible on the screen. Also known as Field of View. Ranges from 70° (Regular) to 110° (Quake Pro)
Set the Difficulty level from the choice of Peaceful, Easy, Normal, and Hard. (Note that the difficulty cannot be changed if playing Hardcore Mode. On a server, difficulty can only be changed by commands or editing the server.properties file.)
From the main options page, one can click down to Video Settings:
Fancy enables higher quality graphic effects, such as transparentleaves, simple shadows for players/mobs, 3D rendering for dropped items, volumetric clouds, biome-colored side grass blocks, 2-passed water rendering, full-screen Vignette effect. Fast disables those effects for better performance.
The maximum distance at which Minecraft will load chunks. If your render distance is high, then it might lower your FPS. For more info see render distance.
Lighting is smoothed across the blocks (ambient occlusion), or each block has a distinctive light level. This setting does not change the gameplay in any way, but it has a slight effect on performance.
Limits the FPS. It is suggested to limit FPS to the screen's refresh rate, usually 60 Hz, as setting it higher results in frames being drawn that you won't see, overworking the GPU, and slowing the loading of chunks.
Toggles the "bobbing" motion of the camera as the player is walking.
Controls the GUI (Graphical User Interface) scale. This also controls the HUD (Heads Up Display) size. Using the "Auto" GUI scale can set the normally un-obtainable "Larger" GUI scale, if playing with a large resolution.
Enables or disables occlusion culling (requires a graphics card supporting OpenGL 2.0 or better). Enabling it improves performance on computers with a fast GPU, as the game doesn't render what is obstructed. However, the "don't render what isn't in field of view" rule always applies (also known as view frustum culling).
Dims down or lights up the game's surfaces, even if fully dark. It has no effect on gameplay, it is only a visual effect. Works in any dimension and affects the Night Vision potion effect..
Allows particles effects such as sprinting particles, falling particles and particles from lava and water drips. Block breaking particles are not affected. Hearts appearing around mobs in Love Mode do not appear in "Minimal" particle setting.
Allows Minecraft to download resource packs from servers.
Puts Minecraft into Fullscreen mode, keeping it off keeps it in a window. Can also be changed with F11.
Limits your frames per second to the screen's refresh rate, which is usually 60 Hz, 75 Hz on some CRT screens, or 120 to 144 Hz on some gaming-targeted screens. Enabling VSync fixes tearing, but increases input latency and causes stuttering if one's computer cannot draw enough frames per second.
The higher the level, the more the textures look "smooth". Textures from far away can look bland if used with Anistoropic Filtering disabled.
Restores detail lost from mipmapping and has a small impact on performance, especially at higher levels.
The "Super Secret Settings" button now creates a shader effect on the game's display, in the following order: FXAA, Art, Bumpy, Blobs_2, Pencil, Color_Convolve, Deconverge, Flip, Invert, NTSC, Outline, Phosphor, Scan_Pincushion, Sobel, Bits, Desaturate, Green, Blur, Wobble, Blobs, Antialias, Default.
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