BioShock

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BioShock
BioShock cover
Developers
Irrational Games
2K Australia
macOS (OS X) Feral Interactive
macOS (OS X) Robosoft Technologies
Publishers
2K Games
OS X Feral Interactive
Engines
Unreal Engine 2.5
Release dates
Windows August 21, 2007
macOS (OS X) October 7, 2009
BioShock guide on StrategyWiki
BioShock on Wikipedia
BioShock
BioShock 2007
BioShock 2 2010
BioShock Infinite 2013
BioShock Remastered 2016
BioShock 2 Remastered 2016

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

Warnings

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.

Key points

BioShock may crash on startup on Windows 7 and later. See Crash on startup.
Physics and some animations are locked at 30 FPS. See below how to modify the lock.

General information

Official Forum
BioShock Wiki - Large wiki for the BioShock series
GOG.com Community Discussions for game series
GOG.com Support Page
Steam Community Discussions

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
Requires online activation
SecuROM 7 and SecuROM PA DRM.
Windows
Amazon.co.uk
Icon overlay.png
Windows
GOG.com
DRM-free
Bundled with BioShock Remastered.
Windows
Green Man Gaming
Icon overlay.png
Windows
Humble Store
DRM-free
Icon overlay.png
Windows
Steam
Icon overlay.png
Bundled with BioShock Remastered.
Windows
The retail version uses SecuROM DRM. There is no activation limit.[1] An internet connection is required for installation.
The Mac OS X version is no longer sold digitally.
All remaining Windows versions except GOG.com and Humble Store require Steam DRM.
A demo is available. Note that the 1.1 patch is not available for the demo.

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Name Notes
Plasmid Pack Free, included with patch 1.1
Windows
macOS (OS X)

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Launch the game with -nointro parameter[citation needed]

Remove physics and animation frame rate cap[edit]

By default, physics and some animations are capped to 30 FPS.
Use Bioshock Physics Unlocker[2]
  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 your desired frame rate, and push Enter.

BioShock Tweaker[edit]

Allows you to change settings that are not normally adjustable from the options menu (i.e. 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. For these the author provides a separate version available in the local download, above.
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 `=`.

Patches[edit]

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

Game data[edit]

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

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

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

Save game data location[edit]

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

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.
Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Multi-monitor
See Field of view (FOV).
Ultra-widescreen
Requires Patch 1.1 and Horizontal FOV Lock disabled for Hor+ FOV, or the 16:9 reference view will be stretched horizontally.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV).
Windowed
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Use Borderless Gaming.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See Anisotropic filtering (AF).
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.[3] See above how to modify the lock.
No FPS or refresh rate cap.

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

3rd party fixes[citation needed]
Custom key binding[4]
  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
    F11=ResetFOV

Notes

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)[edit]

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.
[D3DDrv.D3DRenderDevice]
LevelOfAnisotropy=16

[D3DDrv10.D3DRenderDevice10]
LevelOfAnisotropy=16

Make HBAO work in DX9 mode[edit]

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".

Input settings[edit]

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

Mouse acceleration[edit]

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[edit]

Instructions[5]
  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[edit]

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:

[Default]
[GathererChoice]
[ContainerUIActive]
[MovementOnly] (can skip ZoomHold)
[NoJump]
[NoMovement]
[OnlyMedHypoAndMovement] (can skip ZoomHold)
[NoPlasmids]
[EverythingExceptWeaponAndPlasmids] (can skip ZoomHold)
[InResurrectionStation]

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

Rightmouse=ZoomCycle

And change it to:

Rightmouse=ZoomHold
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 doesn't 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 won't allow to rebind 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[edit]

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

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Up to 7.1[6][7]
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 5[8]

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
French
German
Hungarian
Fan translation, download.
Italian
Brazilian Portuguese
Fan translation, download.
Polish
Official localization by Cenega – retail only. Patch for digital release here.
Russian
Official localization by «1C-Softclub» – retail only. Patch for digital release here.
Russian
Fan translation by «DK Team»
Spanish

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Native 3D
Nvidia 3D Vision
See Helix Mod: Bioshock.
TriDef 3D
iZ3D
vorpX
G3D, DirectVR
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
Devices Native Notes
3RD Space Gaming Vest

Issues unresolved[edit]

Minor spoilers ahead.

Arcadia: Langford's Safe[edit]

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[edit]

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.[9]

Fort Frolic: Rapture Records[edit]

When attempting to kill Silas Cobb, using the Hypnotize plasmid, as doing so will prevent a scripted task from triggering, thus trapping the player in Rapture Records.[10] In order to fix this issue, you must kill yourself (e.g., through the use of the Incinerate! plasmid), or reload an older save.

Notes

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[edit]

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

Crash on startup[edit]

Update OpenAL or use OpenAL Soft[citation needed]

Crash upon autosave/quicksave[edit]

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

Crashing applies default settings[edit]

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.

Notes

Additionnal 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[edit]

Force DirectX 9[citation needed]

Launch the game with -dx9 parameter.

Audio cutting out[edit]

Edit the maximum number of channels[11]
  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.
MaxChannels=128
Enable EAX[12]
  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 (steamapps\common\bioshock\Builds\Release\).
  4. Rename this file openal32.dll.
  5. Enable EAX audio in the in-game options.

Crashing upon changing resolution[edit]

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.
FullscreenViewportX=YourWidth
FullscreenViewportY=YourHeight
MenuViewportX=YourWidth
MenuViewportY=YourHeight
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)[edit]

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.

Notes

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

Frame rate stuttering[edit]

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[edit]

Enable Stereo Mix in sound control panel[13]
  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)[edit]

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[14]

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9, 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
Windows
macOS (OS X)
32-bit only.[15]

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio FMOD, OpenAL
Interface Flash
Cutscenes Bink Video, Flash

Mods[edit]

Currently three gameplay mods are available:

System requirements[edit]

Windows
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
Known to run on Windows 2000 using the tricks listed here. Separate patch for the demo version found here.
macOS (OS X)
Minimum
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.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/7670/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (7670) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.

References