Mass Effect

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Mass Effect
Mass Effect cover
Developers
BioWare
Windows Demiurge Studios[1]
Publishers
Electronic Arts
Eastern Europe CD Projekt
Engines
Unreal Engine 3
Release dates
Windows May 28, 2008
Mass Effect guide on StrategyWiki
Mass Effect on Wikipedia
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2008
Mass Effect 2 2010
Mass Effect 3 2012
Mass Effect: Andromeda 2017

Key points

Use Mass Effect Mouse Fix to remove the game's mouse acceleration.
Requires installation of PhysX legacy driver to start reliably

General information

Official game site
Mass Effect Wiki
Steam Community Discussions

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Requires online activation
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
Can only be used x times
SecuROM 7 and SecuROM PA DRM, three machine limit.[2] A De-Authorization Tool is available.
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Windows
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
SafeDisc v4 DRM[Note 1]. Only in Hungary and Czech Republic. The provided keys are invalid to Origin, you need to contact Origin Support to verify them.
Windows
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
StarForce 5 DRM. Only in Russia.
Windows
Amazon.co.uk
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Windows
Gamesplanet
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Also available in the Mass Effect Trilogy.
Windows
Humble Store
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Mass Effect Trilogy.
Windows
Origin
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Included with Origin Access Basic.
Windows
Steam
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Some keys provided by Steam can be activated on Origin, while others may have trouble activating.
If your key fails to activate, you need to contact Origin Support.
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Windows
SafeDisc retail DRM no longer functions properly on Windows Vista and later (see above for affected versions).

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Origin version includes all DLC (existing Origin owners can install the latest update to get the DLC).
Separate installers have been made free and are available for other game releases
Name Notes
Bring Down the Sky
Windows
Pinnacle Station
Windows

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Skip intro videos[5]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\BioGame\CookedPC\Movies\.
  2. Delete or rename BWLogo.bik, db_standard.bik and ME_EAsig_720p_v2_raw.bik.
Skip relay videos[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\BioGame\CookedPC\Movies\.
  2. Delete or rename GLO_01_Relay.bik and UCW_Loading_Flyby.bik.

Patches[edit]

The latest patch is update 1.02 which fixes various issues. The Steam and Origin versions are already patched.

ME1 Recalibrated[edit]

Fixes bugs not resolved by the official patches

Game data[edit]

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

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Bioware\Mass Effect\Config\
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/17460/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Bioware\Mass Effect\Save\
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/17460/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Origin
[6]
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

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

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Fix camera FOV permanently with a key binding[7]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open BIOInput.ini.
  3. Find the [BIOC_Base.BioPlayerInput] section, and add the following period binding to it.
  4. Bindings=(Name="Period",Command="set BioCameraBehaviorFollow CAMERA_FOV 100 | set BioCameraBehaviorZoom CAMERA_FOV 40")
    
  5. Get to a stage when your Shepard can run around, and hit the . (period) key. You only need to do it once, then it works until you exit the game.

Notes

This fix sets the FOV to 100 and does not mess up conversations or cutscenes. You can try other values (default is 75).

Borderless fullscreen windowed[edit]

Force borderless windowed mode[citation needed]
  1. Set the game to run in windowed mode in the in-game video settings, make sure it's set to the same resolution as your desktop.
  2. Close the game. Make sure you haven't set the game to run in compatibility mode for XP nor Vista, the former causes borderless to be glitchy and the latter leads to a crash. Compatibility mode for 7 (if you're running 8+) is fine, should you need it.
  3. Install Borderless Gaming.
  4. Go to <path-to-game>\BioGame\Splash.
  5. Delete or rename Splash.bmp, this prevents Borderless Gaming from making the splash window borderless, as this causes a crash for unknown reasons. Be aware that the MEUITM mod adds a new splash image, so be sure to re-delete/rename it again should you choose to install/reinstall it.
  6. Run the game and wait for it to get to the main menu.
  7. Run Borderless Gaming, click Mass Effect on the left panel, click the arrow pointing to the right.
  8. In a few moments the game window should become borderless fullscreen. If Borderless Gaming isn't making the game borderless try running Borderless Gaming as administrator.[8]
If UI elements are clipping off-screen, in Bordlerless Gaming, right click Mass Effect under Favorites, and check No Size Change.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

High quality AF[9]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open BIOEngine.ini.
  3. Go to [SystemSettings] section and edit the following values like below
Trilinear=TRUE
MaxAnisotropy=16
High quality AF is automatically enabled by ALOT.

High frame rate[edit]

Change frame rate smoothing[5]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open BIOEngine.ini.
  3. Search and change bSmoothFrameRate to FALSE or raise MaxSmoothedFrameRate value.
  4. Save file.
For more information, see the Unreal Engine 3 page.

Depth of field[edit]

Disable DOF
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open BIOEngine.ini.
  3. Search and change DepthOfField to FALSE.

Input settings[edit]

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

Controller support[edit]

Add reinstated controller functionality[10]
  1. Download ME1 Controller Support mod
  2. Extract Config content in the configuration files location
  3. Extract Mass Effect content in <path-to-game>

Notes

Installing this MOD will break some elements of the keyboard and mouse support. The console will work fine. If you want to play with keyboard and mouse, uninstall this mod.
The ini substitutes are read only to prevent game from overwriting them. Unset this when adjusting options.
To change sensitivity go to the configuration files location, open BIOInput.ini and adjust following values.
LookRightScale=24
LookUpScale=20

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Dialog, music and sound effects.
Surround sound
By default, it can work only under XP. See No surround sound.
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Enabled by default, no way to disable.
EAX support
EAX 5.[11]

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Czech
Retail only. Patch for this release here. Doesn't contain translation for Pinnacle Station. Unofficial patch which brings localization to digital release here.[12][13][14]
French
German
Hungarian
Retail only, DLCs not included.[15]
Italian
Polish
Retail only[16]
Russian
Retail only. Digital version here
Spanish

No surround sound[edit]

Force native OpenAL device[9][17]
  1. Make sure to have a working non-Generic Software OpenAL implementation
  2. Make the game use updated OpenAL libraries
  3. Go to the configuration files location.
  4. Open BioEngine.ini.
  5. Search for [ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice] class
  6. Delete any value after DeviceName=

Notes

If needed, force a specific audio device by inserting its name (as reported by ALC_ENUMERATION_EXT in EnumerateWin32)
Changing any of the audio settings in-game will reset the last steps, which will have to be redone

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
See Helix Mod: Mass Effect for better support.
iZ3D
vorpX
G3D
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.

Issues unresolved[edit]

Some menu screens have sides "cut off" on 4:3 screen resolutions[edit]

Playing in 4:3 resolutions like 1600x1200(useful for non-widescreen monitors and projectors) results in some menu screens displaying incorrectly: the left and right hand sides of the screen are clipped (as if "zoomed in" too far), so important information cannot be seen (like journal details and the map legend). Screens affected include: Map, Party Selection, Planet details, and Journal. Currently the only known fix is to use a 16:9 screen resolution when playing, like 1920x1080.

People and objects become black[edit]

Disable lighting[18][citation needed]

Your squad, enemies, and objects that can be interacted with become boxy black blobs. This is a known problem on newer AMD processors - as the game uses the 3DNow! instruction set which was dropped in 2010 starting with the FX series of processors. To fix change the viewmode to unlit.

  1. First you will need to enable the developer console.
  2. Boot up Mass Effect, open the developer console by hitting ~ and type in viewmode unlit. Should be good to go.
It's possible these issues will only affect you in very specific areas, namely an area on Noveria and another on Ilos. After exiting these areas you can use viewmode lit to revert Mass Effect to its normal lighting. There's a possibility you will need to unequip then reequip armor to fix them after doing so.
Use FPS Counter[19][20][citation needed]
Not compatible with Mass Effect Mouse Fix, unless you rename FPS Counter's dinput8.dll to dinput8_Remote.dll

Black screen after loading a save[edit]

Black screen after loading a save[citation needed]

If the whole screen is black except for the UI, then Shepard fell through the Normandy and the save is bugged. Only happens on the Normandy, in the Engineering part of the ship. Never save there.

Use console command[citation needed]

Activate the console (instructions on how to enable the console further down) and type At BIOA_NOR00 Start_BIOA_NOR00_01 and press Enter. This will place you at the entrance to the Normandy and you will be able to save and load your game with no problems. If you fall through anywhere else in the game, pctweaks has a comprehensive list of all the "At string newArea" commands.

Issues fixed[edit]

TweakGuides has created a comprehensive guide for fixing issues in this game[5]

Game simply doesn't start[edit]

Crash after splash screen or black screen[edit]

Use updated OpenAL[22]
  1. Install latest OpenAL
  2. Delete or rename OpenAL32.dll and wrap_oal.dll from <path-to-game>\Binaries
Quit Riva Tuner Statistics Server or set Global Application Level to None

Launcher crashes (retail)[edit]

Install latest patch[citation needed]

Crash after ~5 minutes of play (NVIDIA)[edit]

If you receive a "General protection error" crash after a few minutes of play (duration seems to depend on settings/mods used), and you're using an NVIDIA card, the cause seems to be NVIDIA's driver config for MassEffect.exe.
Remove MassEffect.exe from the Mass Effect game profile
  1. Download & run Nvidia Profile Inspector.
  2. Navigate to the "Mass Effect" option in the drop-down box.
  3. Make sure "Mass Effect" is selected, then click the "Remove application from current profile" icon on the toolbar (hover over icons to see their description).
  4. Select "masseffect.exe" in the list that appears.
  5. Click the "Apply Changes" button, then restart your PC for it to take effect.

Game always asks for admin permissions (Windows 8.1 +)[edit]

This is also responsible for Steam Controller and Steam overlay not working.
Workaround broken Application Compatibility Engine and shim
  1. Open an elevated command prompt. Note that using Powershell will result in an error.
  2. Run the following command:
    FOR /F "skip=2 tokens=2,*" %A IN ('REG QUERY "HKLM\SOFTWARE\bioware\mass effect" /v Path /reg:32') DO REG ADD "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers" /v "%B"^\Binaries\MassEffect.exe /t REG_SZ /d RUNASINVOKER
  3. Accept the warning that this command will overwrite an existing value.

Notes

It's highly recommended to remove leftover registry values to avoid issues in other games.[23]

Failed to compile shader ** error[edit]

Retail: reinstall game[citation needed]
Steam: check local game cache[citation needed]
Origin: repair game[citation needed]

Therum missing textures[edit]

If when you get to Therum most of the ground is black, then you've got a common texture problem. Some of the black area is safe to drive on but some of it will kill you outright, making it quite hard to navigate.
Therum Missing Textures[24][citation needed]
  1. To restore the texture, go to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Published\CookedPC.
  2. Delete LocalShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk.
  3. Go to <path-to-game>\BioGame\CookedPC.
  4. Delete or rename LocalShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk.
  5. Restart and Therum should look fine.

Notes

The game will take longer to boot on the first run after performing the above steps. This is due to the engine recaching all of the textures. Following the first boot, each subsequent boot up should be as normal.
This issue is only found on Therum, so if the above steps do not solve the problem, you can continue to play as normal.

IGameExplorer --> Verify Access. Unable to verify access to the game[edit]

IGameExplorer --> Verify Access. Unable to verify access to the game.

If you receive this message, it may be fixed by running the .exe in compatibility mode for Windows XP Service Pack 2. Be sure to do this for the actual MassEffect.exe and not the launcher. The final folder tree will be \Mass Effect\Binaries\MassEffect.exe. The preceding folders will of course depend on how you installed the game (via Steam, via Origin etc.).

  1. To set the compatibility mode, right click the .exe, select properties.
  2. Go to the compatibility tab, select an option from the drop down list.

No high resolution option[edit]

No high resolution option[citation needed]

The resolution listbox in graphics options does have up/down arrows on the right side, which are easily overlooked, that allow you to choose higher resolutions like 1920x1080.

No audio at all (menu or ingame)[edit]

Disable hardware audio
  1. Un-check "Use Hardware" in in-game "Sound" settings
  2. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\BioEngine.ini
  3. Add or replace the following lines under the [ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice] section:
[ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice]
DeviceName=Generic Software
UseEffectsProcessing=True

Dialogue and other audio cutting out[edit]

Increase # of sound sources & update rate
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\BioEngine.ini
  2. Add or replace the following lines under the [ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice] section:
[ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice]
MaxChannels=128
TotalAvailableChannels=128
TimeBetweenHWUpdates=1
ReserveChannels=2

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Shader Model support 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Physics PhysX 2.7.2
Audio ISACT,[25] OpenAL
Interface Scaleform
Cutscenes Bink Video 1.8v

Large Address Aware[edit]

Improves stability on 64 bit systems with at least 3GB RAM by allowing the application to use more than 2GB RAM.

Large Adress Aware doesn't work with the current version of Origin unless you run it as administrator. The game simply doesn't launch. To solve this issue exit Origin, right-click the Origin short cut, choose properties, enter the compatibility tab and tick "Run as administrator"

Low res textures fix[edit]

Force highest quality textures[26]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\BioEngine.ini
  2. Replace the following three lines:
    TEXTUREGROUP_Character_Diff=(MinLODSize=32,MaxLODSize=512,LODBias=0)
    TEXTUREGROUP_Character_Norm=(MinLODSize=32,MaxLODSize=512,LODBias=0)
    TEXTUREGROUP_Character_Spec=(MinLODSize=32,MaxLODSize=256,LODBias=0)
  3. ...with these lines:
    TEXTUREGROUP_Character_Diff=(MinLODSize=512,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0)
    TEXTUREGROUP_Character_Norm=(MinLODSize=512,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0)
    TEXTUREGROUP_Character_Spec=(MinLODSize=256,MaxLODSize=4096,LODBias=0)
Similar high quality textures are automatically enabled by ALOT (ALOT sets the Min and Max LODSize to 4096).

Mods[edit]

ALOT for Mass effect 1 (complements MEUITM)[edit]

Install mod[citation needed]
  1. Download and install ALOT
A compilation of textures not covered in MEUITM. Regularly updated, applies LAA, indirectsound, and texture bioengine.ini tweaks automatically for the user (very user friendly).
MEUITM can be installed through ALOT.
Install all non-texture based content/mods (such as the free DLC or the ME1 Controller Support mod) before ALOT.

Mass Effect Updated/Improved Textures Mod[edit]

Install mod[citation needed]
  1. Download and install MEUITM
Regularly updated, applies LAA and texture bioengine.ini tweaks automatically for the user. Has mod options (picking different versions of textures) optional installs of ReShade, Indirectsound, and more (very user friendly).
Can be installed through ALOT.
Install all non-texture based content/mods (such as the free DLC or the ME1 Controller Support mod) before MEUITM.

Enable developer console[edit]

Edit BioInput.ini[27]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\BioInput.ini
  2. Add the following line below Engine.Console so that this section looks like:
[Engine.Console]
ConsoleKey=Tilde
If you have an AZERTY keyboard, the correct line is ConsoleKey=²

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2.0 GHz
System memory (RAM) 1 GB (XP)
2 GB (Vista)
Hard disk drive (HDD) 12 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 6800
ATI Radeon X1300 XT
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 3.0 support

Notes

  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[3] and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[4]
  2. 2.0 2.1 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>/17460/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (17460) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.

References

  1. Demiurge and BioWare Collaborate on Development for Mass Effect for the PC - IGN - last accessed on 2016-8-15
  2. Mass Effect Community - Mass Effect for PC System Specs, SecuROM and FAQ Part 2
  3. Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of - Microsoft Community - last accessed on 2017-01-16
  4. Microsoft - MS15-097: Description of the security update for the graphics component in Windows: September 8, 2015 - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 TweakGuides.com - Mass Effect Tweak Guide - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  6. Origin 8.5 Introduces Custom Avatars And Extends Cloud Storage - EA News
  7. How to actually fix FOV in Mass Effect · Eugene Homyakov
  8. Mass Effect 1 · Issue #205 · Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming - last accessed on 2016-10-30
  9. 9.0 9.1 Making the most of your ME1 PC Experience, maximizing graphics and sound. - The BioWare Forum - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  10. Nexus Mods
  11. The game is claimed to support up to 128 voices, so it must be using the fifth version.[citation needed]
  12. CDProjekt.cz - Mass Effect - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  13. http://cestinybeta.rpgcitadela.cz/portfolio/mass-effect-1/
  14. https://prekladyher.eu/preklady/mass-effect-1.329/
  15. CD Projekt - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  16. CD Projekt: Gra - Mass Effect - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  17. [PC] How to enable surround sound and environmental audio in Mass Effect - Answer HQ - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  18. Squad and enemies become black pixels - The BioWare Forum - last accessed on 2016-8-15
  19. Unexpectedly confirmed by Mirh
  20. Verified by User:Captain on 21-10-17
    Working on FX-4300 system, though attempted to repair game's original color palette (fixable with in-game menu)
  21. Mirh testing
  22. Game Failing to Launch ME1 :: Steam Community Discussions
  23. PhsyX, Mirror's Edge, and You - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  24. To fix missing lava textures on Therum - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  25. Exclusive Interview with the Sound Design Team of “Mass Effect 2″ | Designing Sound
  26. Low quality textures fix for Mass Effect - Steam forums (retrieved)
  27. PC Tweaks - Mass Effect Wiki