Finding the optimal Elite Dangerous HUD colours for the Oculus Rift


    If you’re playing Elite Dangerous in VR and fancy changing the cockpit colours to something with a friendlier contrast on your eyes, then read on.

    Elite Dangerous is without a doubt the most impressive game to make use of the Oculus Rift, it’s truly immersive and gives the player a real advantage in combat. Coupled with a HOTAS setup such as the Saitek X52, the game feels fantastic in VR.

    There is one gripe I have with the game though, and that’s the UI menus when using the Oculus Rift. I decided that it was time for some experimentation with the UI colours to see if the in-cockpit menu system could be made a bit more legible and less of a strain on the eyes in VR.

    Before I get to what I found was the best scheme for the UI when using the Rift, I’ll explain quickly how it can be changed for anyone who hasn’t tweaked the colours yet.

    Inside the Elite Dangerous game folder, where it was installed, go to:

    Elite Dangerous > Products > FORC-FDEV-D-1002

    Inside this folder looks for a file called GraphicConfiguration.xml. Open this file in an text editor and look for the following lines.

    <MatrixRed>                     1, 0, 0 </MatrixRed>
    <MatrixGreen>                0, 1, 0 </MatrixGreen>
    <MatrixBlue>    0, 0, 1 </MatrixBlue>

    The Matrix lines in the code indicate the Red, Green and Blue colour settings and these are the lines which will be changed.

    Important: A quick reminder, It’s always a good idea to create a backup of the GraphicConfiguration.xml file before you make any changes just in case it all goes horribly wrong.

    It’s bit of a pain trying to figure out what to change but thankfully there’s a very handy tool you can use on the Intertubes which allows you mess with the colours using sliders. Head to this page and you can play around with the settings.

    Once you have what you want copy the text from the box in the bottom left of the page and then replace the “Matrix” lines in the GraphicConfiguration.xml file with the new values shown in the box.

    With that done, load the game up and the UI will have changed colour to your new values.

    After messing about with this for around four hours, and experimenting with different values in the rift, there was one that stood out. Before we get to the best one, I’ll share a few of the others that didn’t work quite as well in the Rift.


    I had to try a pink one first, but while the text was OK it really was just too gaudy to explore space with.

    elite dangerous pink

    <MatrixRed> 1, 0, 0.51 </MatrixRed>
    <MatrixGreen> 0, 1, 0 </MatrixGreen>
    <MatrixBlue> 1, 0.29, 0.41 </MatrixBlue>


    While the blue looks quite nice, the text on the HUD was really not that clear when shifting the HUD brightness up and down in the game.

    elite dangerous blue

    <MatrixRed> 0, 0, 1 </MatrixRed>
    <MatrixGreen> 0, 1, 0 </MatrixGreen>
    <MatrixBlue> 1, 0.28, 0.41 </MatrixBlue>


    The green scheme wasn’t too bad and would probably be a good second choice for Rift users.

    elite dangerous green

    <MatrixRed> 0, 0.35, 0 </MatrixRed>
    <MatrixGreen> 0.04, 0.03, 0 </MatrixGreen>
    <MatrixBlue> 1, 0, 0 </MatrixBlue>


    The white wasn’t bad either and quite clear in the Rift, but tended to feel a little blurry and was a little overwhelming in its intensity, which was surprising.

    elite dangerous white

    <MatrixRed> 1, 1, 1 </MatrixRed>
    <MatrixGreen> 1, 1, 0 </MatrixGreen>
    <MatrixBlue> 1, 1, 0 </MatrixBlue>


    While I thought the red could be the one, the text tended to bleed so that was scrapped.

    elite dangerous red

    <MatrixRed> 0.42, 0, 0 </MatrixRed>
    <MatrixGreen> 0, 0, 0 </MatrixGreen>
    <MatrixBlue> 1, 0.25, 0.07 </MatrixBlue>

    And so to the final choice, the one scheme that I thought worked best in the Oculus Rift for text legibility. It may not be the most obvious choice, but it worked extremely well for me. The wining colour scheme is this yellow one below.


    While it may not be the most attractive looking colour scheme, the text really stands out in the Rift making the menus easier to read at the lowered resolution.

    elite dangerous yellow

    <MatrixRed> 1, 0.97, 0 </MatrixRed>
    <MatrixGreen> 1, 0, 0 </MatrixGreen>
    <MatrixBlue> 1, 0, 0 </MatrixBlue>

    Everybody’s eyes are different, so it’s probably best to experiment with the ones in this quick guide and play around with it yourself. It is fairly time consuming (as you have to quit out of the game each time you want to change the colours,) but well worth it if you intend to utilise the Rift for lengthy play sessions.

    Even if you don’t own a Rift then it may still be worthwhile changing the cockpit colours for a change of scenery. Hopefully Frontier have plans to add some in-game sliders to make tweaking the cockpit a little simpler. For now though, a little but of file editing can go a long way to improving the experience, especially in the Oculus Rift.

    1 Comment

    1. Surprising, I expected one of the base colours to be best.
      Actually I recently sold my DK2, hope the next one will get a proper rgb display and much higher resolution.

      1. Yeh, the res is so close to being OK but it’s still not good for gaming. It’s super frustrating. Crap res on VR has always been its biggest downfall which makes it poor for gaming at the moment. Still, Elite Dangerous does a damn fine job considering what the hardware can actually do at the moment..

        1. Unfortunately the dark colour scheme of elite brings out the worst in the pentile display, but the main issue for me was getting nauseous from all the spinning space stations :p

          In general the brighter games tend to look better, and like elite, games where you’re sitting in a cockpit helps when it comes to vr sickness.

          My best vr experience was in iRacing, didn’t make me sick and looked alright. Never used it for a race though, as the fov is too low (compared to triples) and impossible to make out what’s going on in the mirrors.
          Bottom line for me is that the experience is not awesome enough to outweigh the discomfort.

    2. You made a big mistake, the same the developers made.
      Read here:

      You can double the effective resolution of your DK2 on Elite by using the right colors, I posted the right matrix settings in the same thread.
      The reason is that DK2 uses a Pentile matrix which has an uneven number of color pixels and an usymmetric distribution of the pixel positions.

      The article here should be updated with the information in my thread.

      1. Nice post Lirezh and makes sense and pretty much matches my findings. It’s a toss up between the green and yellow for me for visibility. I will say that I have Keratoconus which is probably why my findings may be slightly different, but green also seems like a solid choice. Hopefully people will also find your link useful as it’s a good explanation.

        1. Thanks;)
          It also helps to turn the hud light to maximum, it’s a setting of the spaceship (right side menu). By default the brightness is only 50%.
          Mainly when using the Matrix I wrote in the thread it helps to also make the red colors still visible. (friend/foe)

          1. Yeh I messed a lot with the brightness and it does make a huge difference to some schemes.


      Lets you ‘test them out’ without running the game, much faster than relogging each time..

    4. This is what I’m using, a reddit user came up with, it’s called ‘Blue Stahli’ not that that matters particularly. It’s my favourite out of the ones I’ve tried. It’s a mixture of blues and whites.

      0.15, 0.25, 0.9
      0.62, 1, 0.32
      0.48, 0, 0

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