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This page is for the original version. For the remastered version, see BioShock Remastered.

BioShock cover
2K Boston
2K Australia
macOS (OS X) Feral Interactive
macOS (OS X) Robosoft Technologies
2K Games
OS X Feral Interactive
Unreal Engine 2.5
Release dates
Windows August 21, 2007
macOS (OS X) October 7, 2009
Metacritic 96
Monetization One-time game purchase
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Shooter, Immersive sim
Art styles Realistic, Stylized
Themes Sci-fi, Steampunk
Series BioShock
BioShock on HowLongToBeat
BioShock on IGDB
BioShock guide on StrategyWiki
BioShock on MobyGames
BioShock on Wikipedia
BioShock 2007
BioShock 2 2010
BioShock Infinite 2013
BioShock Remastered 2016
BioShock 2 Remastered 2016


The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.

BioShock is a singleplayer first-person shooter and immersive sim game in the BioShock series.

The game may crash on startup on Windows 7 and later, requiring a workaround. Physics and some animations are locked at 30 FPS, which can be unlocked.

General information

Official Forum
Official support knowledgebase Community Discussions for game series Support Page
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
Requires online activation
SecuROM 7 and SecuROM PA DRM.
Icon overlay.png
Bundled with BioShock Remastered.
Green Man Gaming
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Humble Store
Icon overlay.png
Icon overlay.png
Bundled with BioShock Remastered.
Windows (unavailable)
Icon overlay.png
Games for Windows Marketplace (unavailable)
Icon overlay.png
The retail version uses SecuROM DRM. There is no activation limit.[2] An internet connection is required for installation.
The Mac OS X version is no longer sold digitally.
All remaining Windows versions except and Humble Store require Steam DRM.
A demo is available. Note that the 1.1 patch is not available for the demo.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
Plasmid Pack Free, included with patch 1.1
macOS (OS X)
The PC version is missing Challenge Rooms from console versions

Essential improvements

Skip intro videos

Launch the game with -nointro parameter[citation needed]

Remove physics and animation frame rate cap

By default, physics and some animations are capped to 30 FPS.
Use Bioshock Physics Unlocker[3]
  1. Download Bioshock Physics Unlocker.
  2. Extract BioshockPhysicsUnlocker.exe to the game's executable folder (typically located in <path-to-game>\Builds\Release\).
  3. Open BioshockPhysicsUnlocker.exe, type the desired frame rate, and press Enter.

BioShock Tweaker

Allows you to change settings that are not normally adjustable from the options menu (e.g. custom resolution). Point the program at the game's configuration file location.
The tweaker may not work on DRM-free versions of the game such as those from GOG or Humble Bundle.
The tweaker will modify your BioShock configuration files; you should back them up before running it.
The tweaker may add extra spaces inside your configuration files. If BioShock refuses to start after running the tweaker, open your configuration files and replace all instances of ` = ` with `=`.


Patch 1.1 - Steam,, and DRM-free Humble Bundle versions are already patched.

Game data

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows %APPDATA%\Bioshock
macOS (OS X)
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/7670/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game data location

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Bioshock\SaveGames\
macOS (OS X)
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/7670/pfx/[Note 1]

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Requires enabling backup of the Documents folder in OneDrive on all computers.
Steam Cloud


In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
The intended 16:9 aspect ratio the game was designed for will be used by default.[4] Using Patch 1.1 and a disabled Horizontal FOV Lock allows for wider Hor+ FOV.
See Field of view (FOV).
Requires Patch 1.1 and Horizontal FOV Lock disabled for Hor+ FOV, or the 16:9 reference view will be stretched horizontally.[5]
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Defaults to 4. See Anisotropic filtering (AF) for changing it.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Can be forced through the Nvidia Control Panel/AMD Control Center. Only in DX9 mode. Nvidia users can also use the flag 0x000010C1 in Nvidia Profile Inspector for SGSSAA.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Physics and animations are locked at 30 FPS.[6] See above how to modify the lock.
No FPS or refresh rate cap.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.
Ray tracing (RT)

Field of view (FOV)

3rd party fixes
Custom key binding[7]
  1. Go to %APPDATA%\Bioshock\.
  2. Make a backup copy of user.ini.
  3. Open the original copy and locate the keybinds by searching for "F10=".
  4. From here, you may use any unassigned keybinds to set a desired FOV, or to reset the FOV to its default value. For example, to make F10 set the FOV to 120, you'd change the line "F10=" to
    F10=SetFOV 120
    To make F11 reset the FOV, you'd change the line "F11=" to


The game may automatically reset your FOV upon loading or after cinematics. You may still use your custom keybinds to change the FOV to your desired value.
Process can be automated using this tool.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)

Anisotropic filtering[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open bioshock.ini.
  3. Find the following lines, and set them to these values.


Make HBAO work in DX9 mode

Use Nvidia Profile Inspector[citation needed]
  1. Use inspector as per usual (open Bioshock profile, etc.) and change flag 0x00020000 to 0x0002002D adding a "2D" at the end.
  2. If you get issues you could also try it with a "23" at the end instead. Also if DX10 mode gives you issues you could replace the "02" in the middle of the flag with "14".


In-game general control settings.
In-game general control settings.
In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.

Mouse acceleration

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open User.ini.
  3. Find the following aliases:
Aliases[2]=(Command="Axis aBaseY SpeedBase=1.0 Speed=+1200.0|HACK_TriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved|onRelease HACK_UnTriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved",Alias=MoveForward)
Aliases[3]=(Command="Axis aBaseY SpeedBase=1.0 Speed=-1200.0|HACK_TriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved|onRelease HACK_UnTriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved",Alias=MoveBackward)
Aliases[4]=(Command="Axis aStrafe SpeedBase=1.0 Speed=-1200.0|HACK_TriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved|onRelease HACK_UnTriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved",Alias=StrafeLeft)
Aliases[5]=(Command="Axis aStrafe SpeedBase=1.0 Speed=+1200.0|HACK_TriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved|onRelease HACK_UnTriggerEffectEvent PlayerMoved",Alias=StrafeRight)

Then add | set Engine.PlayerInput MouseAccelThreshold 0.0 | set Engine.PlayerInput MouseSmoothingMode 0 to each of them within the quotes.

You can download this small script in order to automate the process.

Mouse sensitivity

  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open User.ini.
  3. Find the following lines and edit the speed values of all 10 occurrences:
MouseX=IF_MOUSE_LOOK_ENABLED Count bXAxis | IF_MOUSE_LOOK_ENABLED Axis aMouseX Speed=2500.0
MouseY=IF_MOUSE_LOOK_ENABLED Count bYAxis | IF_MOUSE_LOOK_ENABLED Axis aMouseY Speed=2500.0
You can download this small script in order to automate the process.
  1. You also need to edit the speed values for the following lines under the [MovementOnly] header:
MouseX=Count bXAxis | Axis aMouseX Speed=2500.0
MouseY=Count bYAxis | Axis aMouseY Speed=2500.0

Replace toggle binds with hold binds

Instructions[citation needed]
It is strongly recommended to make a backup of the .ini file, because these tweaks can lead to some issues (see below)
  1. Go to the configuration file location.
  2. Open User.ini.
  3. Find the Alias section and add the following:
Aliases[57]=(Command="ZoomCycle | onRelease ZoomCycle",Alias=ZoomHold)
Aliases[58]=(Command="ToggleWalk | onRelease ToggleWalk",Alias=WalkHold)
Aliases[59]=(Command="DuckKeyPressed | onRelease DuckKeyReleased | onRelease Jump",Alias=DuckHold)

4. Bind each alias to a key in the following sections:

[MovementOnly] (can skip ZoomHold)
[OnlyMedHypoAndMovement] (can skip ZoomHold)
[EverythingExceptWeaponAndPlasmids] (can skip ZoomHold)

Example: find the key you want to change, for example, zoom (Aiming Down Sights, Right Mouse Button in this case):


And change it to:

If you change any Toggle key (Zoom, Crouch, Walk), you will encounter issues like ADS reverting to Toggle or being stuck in Crouch or Walk mode. Save and reload do not fix this. Save and go back to the main menu then load your saved game to fix the issue.
The in-game "Customize Binding" menu will not allow rebinding any key that has been changed from Toggle to Hold using this method. This can be fixed by adding a ReplaceableAction= for each in the sections that are relevant to them.

Pick individual items from containers

Pick individual items from containers[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open User.ini.
  3. Scroll down to the [ContainerUIActive] section and bind CollectContainerItemInSlot 0, CollectContainerItemInSlot 1 and CollectContainerItemInSlot 2 to any unused keys. Can be bound over existing keys so long as they aren't used in the container interface (i.e. Hack and Reload). Note that, much like the hold binds, binding over other bind can make you unable to change them in the menus. the fix is to add the following ReplaceableAction= to the [ContainerUIActive] section:
ReplaceableAction=CollectContainerItemInSlot 2
ReplaceableAction=CollectContainerItemInSlot 1
ReplaceableAction=CollectContainerItemInSlot 0


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Up to 7.1[9][10]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 5[11]
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Retail only. link #1
Fan translation, download.
Retail only.
Official localization by Cenega – retail only. Fan patch which corrects some issues of the original translation here.
Brazilian Portuguese
Fan translation, download.
Official localization by «1C-Softclub» – retail only. Patch for digital release here.
Fan translation by «DK Team»

VR support

3D modes State GG3D Notes
Native 3D
Nvidia 3D Vision
See Helix Mod: Bioshock.
TriDef 3D
G3D, DirectVR
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
3RD Space Gaming Vest

Issues unresolved

Minor spoilers ahead.

Arcadia: Langford's Safe

In Arcadia, searching Langford's safe with the Scrounger tonic equipped will cause the safe's contents—including an essential quest item—to disappear.

Fort Frolic: Bathysphere

In Fort Frolic, leaving the area by using the bathysphere adjacent to the entry bathysphere causes the stage curtains to close upon returning to the area, rendering the Cohen's Masterpiece quest un-completeable, and preventing the player from accessing the exit bathysphere.[12]

Fort Frolic: Rapture Records

Attempting to kill Silas Cobb using the Hypnotize plasmid will prevent a scripted task from triggering, thus trapping the player in Rapture Records.[13] In order to fix this issue, you must kill yourself (e.g., through the use of the Incinerate! plasmid), or reload an older save.


If your saves do not go far back enough, then the first two issues are game-ending. Technically, modifying the save file or using a trainer would also fix the issue, but neither solution has been documented.

Issues fixed

TweakGuides has created a comprehensive guide for fixing issues in this game.

Crash on startup

Update OpenAL or use OpenAL Soft[citation needed]
Using OpenAL Soft will break EAX support[14]

Crash upon autosave/quicksave

Delete last autosave/quicksave in save game data location and configuration file(s) location[citation needed]

Crashing applies default settings

Set configuration files to read only[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. In properties, set bioshock.ini and User.ini to read only.


Additional changes to settings cannot be made while files are set to read only.
Delete Running.ini before restarting[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Trash the file Running.ini.
Process must be repeated after each crash, can be automated with an "if exist" batch script.

Video settings not saving

Force DirectX 9[citation needed]

Launch the game with -dx9 parameter.

In-game Brightness Slider Not Working

Brightness Slider Not Working[15]

If running multiple monitors, disconnect all but one. The in-game brightness slider will now adjust brightness correctly. The slider breaks if the game detects multiple monitors.

Audio cutting out

On some computers, user audio will cut out during combat sequences.
Issue can be lessened slightly by not using constant-fire weapons such as lasers / hacked sentry bots, or increasing max sound channels in BioShock.ini and Default.ini
Edit the maximum number of channels[16]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open bioshock.ini.
  3. Find the following line, under [FMODAudio.FMODAudioSubsystem], and increase the number of channels.
Enable EAX[17]
  1. Install OpenAL.
  2. Go to %WINDIR%\System32 (or %WINDIR%\SysWoW64 for x64 OS's).
  3. Copy over wrap_oal.dll into the same folder where BioShock's executable is located (<path-to-game>\Builds\Release\).
  4. Rename this file to openal32.dll.
  5. Enable EAX audio in the in-game options.

Crashing upon changing resolution

Edit default resolution[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open bioshock.ini.
  3. Find the following lines, and set the desired values.
Change resolutions while in windowed mode[citation needed]
  1. Push Alt+ Enter, before entering the Video Options menu.
  2. Set the desired resolution, then apply the changes.
  3. Leave the Video Options menu, then push Alt+ Enter again.

Excessive screen tearing (Nvidia)

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Go to the Nvidia Control Panel. Open the 3D Settings menu.
  2. Add Bioshock.exe to the list. Enable FXAA and V-Sync.


This should be necessary due to "somewhat broken MLAA"[citation needed]

Frame rate stuttering

Disable V-Sync[citation needed]
Force DirectX 9[citation needed]

Launch the game with -dx9 parameter.

Can't enable EAX in game after updating OpenAL and copying wrap_oal.dll to BioShock folder and renaming it to OpenAL32.dll

Enable Stereo Mix in sound control panel[18]
  1. Right-click the speaker symbol on the bottom right of your desktop.
  2. Click "Recording devices".
  3. Right-click in the box and click "Show Disabled Devices".
  4. Right-click "Stereo Mix" and click "Enable".
  5. Now you should be able to turn on EAX in the BioShock sound menu.

Sound missing after intro sequence (Windows 8 or Windows 10)

In Windows 8 and later, BioShock may have no sound, and it may be impossible to progress past the bathysphere scene as the NPCs become stuck and won't move.
Run the game in Windows XP SP3 compatibility mode[19]

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9.0c, 10
OpenGL 2.0 OS X only.
Shader Model support 3, 4 A shader model 2.0 hack is available here. Note that there were other attempts in the past besides this one though most links are dead, unfortunately.
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)
32-bit only.[20]


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio FMOD, OpenAL OpenAL only used for EAX[14]
Interface Adobe Flash
Cutscenes Bink Video, Flash

Performance tweak (Havok)

Improving Havok physics engine performance[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\Build\Final\.
  2. Open Default.ini.
  3. Edit the line HavokNumThreads=2 to represent the number of cores in your machine's CPU. For example, using a quad-core CPU, change the line to HavokNumThreads=4.
  4. Some systems may require doing the same with Bioshock.ini, located in %APPDATA%\Bioshock\.
Improving Engine Memory usage[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\Build\Final\.
  2. Open Default.ini.
  3. Search for [Engine.GameEngine] and increase the CacheSizeMegs value under it (maxes out at 512).
  4. Some systems may require doing the same with Bioshock.ini, located in %APPDATA%\Bioshock\.


Currently three gameplay mods are available:

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP SP2
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
System memory (RAM) 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 8 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 6600
ATI Radeon X1300
128 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 3.0 support
Sound (audio device) DirectX 9.0c compatible
Known to run on Windows 2000 using the tricks listed here. Separate patch for the demo version found here.
macOS (OS X)
Operating system (OS) 10.5.8
Processor (CPU) 1.4 GHz
System memory (RAM) 1.5 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 8 GB
Video card (GPU) 128 MB of VRAM
Requires an Intel processor. The game does not support Intel GMA integrated video chipsets (older Mac minis and MacBooks), but does run on GeForce 9400M graphics cards or better.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Notes regarding Steam Play (Linux) data:


  1. Bioshock - Games for Windows - last accessed on 19 August 2022
  2. Activation limits removed on BioShock for the PC - 2K Forums - last accessed on May 2023
  3. Choppy Physics Fix - last accessed on May 2023
  4. 2K Games - The Cult of Rapture - The Truth About Widescreen - last accessed on 2021-05-15
    • BioShock was primarily developed and tuned for widescreen mode. Artists and designers worked with widescreen displays and chose a field of view (FOV) that best reflected their intentions with respect to the way the world is perceived, the perceived speed of movement of the player relative to the world and the amount of the world they wanted to be viewed for the best game-play experience. We went through dozens of iterations and finally settled upon a widescreen aspect ratio that best suited the gameplay experience.
    • [...]
    • Once this FOV was established, we chose to keep exactly the same horizontal FOV for standard def displays, so as not to in any way alter the gameplay experience.
    • Instead of cropping the FOV for 4:3 displays and making all 4:3 owners mad in doing so, we slightly extended the vertical FOV for standard def mode: we never wanted to have black bars on people's displays. (This way, everybody is happy) This does mean that people playing on a standard def display see slightly more vertical space, but, this does not significantly affect the game-play experience and, we felt that it best served our goal of keeping the game experience as close as possible to the original design and art vision on both types of displays. Reports of the widescreen FOV being a crop of the 4:3 FOV are completely false."
  5. Verified by User:Aemony on 2019-04-29
  6. New 120Hz Games Report - last accessed on May 2023
  7. adjusting FOV in bioshock 1 - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  8. Verified by User:Flang on 2019-07-21
  9. Sound Blaster Gaming: BioShock Audio Guide (retrieved)
  10. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up - last accessed on May 2023
  11. Techgage - Creative EAX vs Asus DS3D GX 2.0 - last accessed on May 2023
  12. Known Bioshock Issues - last accessed on May 2023
  13. Fort Frolic - The BioShock Wiki - last accessed on May 2023
  14. 14.0 14.1 Bioshock with EAX and virtual surround sound 🎧 (CMSS-3D Headphone)
  15. Reference
  16. Steam Community Guide - Fix audio cutting out - last accessed on 2017-02-12
  17. Sound cutting out in Bioshock 1 - last accessed on May 2023
  18. Win 10 and no sound - last accessed on May 2023
  19. Steam Community - last accessed on May 2023
  20. Last chance to buy these Mac classics! | Feral News