S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl cover
Developers
GSC Game World
Publishers
THQ
Engines
X-Ray Engine
Release dates
Windows March 20, 2007
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl guide on StrategyWiki
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl on Wikipedia

Warnings

GameSpy online services have been shut down (see Network for solutions).
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl 2007
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky 2008
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat 2009
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Lost Alpha (Unofficial) 2014
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 2021

Key points

Installing Zone Reclamation Project is greatly recommended as it eliminates most bugs without modifying the game's experience.
Use the Multi-Patch to replace the GameSpy master server. The Steam version is already patched.
Large, dedicated modding community.[1]
Retail CD-keys are now redeemable on GOG.com or Steam using the reclaim page.

General information

Official website
The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Wiki
GOG.com Community Discussions for game series
GOG.com Support Page
Steam Community Discussions
Official forums
TweakGuides guide

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
TAGES DRM or SecuROM 7 DRM, depends on region.
Russian copies use StarForce 4 DRM[Note 1].
All DRM methods are removed in later patches.
GOG.com key
Icon overlay.png
Windows
GOG.com
DRM-free
Windows
Steam
Icon overlay.png
Some CD-keys listed in-game under Multiplayer can be redeemed on GOG.com.[4]
Windows
StarForce DRM for this game does not work on some versions of Windows (see above for affected versions).

Essential improvements[edit]

Patches[edit]

v1.0005[edit]

This is the latest official patch for the game. It is best suited for Single Player.
Download patch

v1.0006[edit]

Although this is an official patch, it was recalled by the developers due to the extra bugs it caused. It should only be used to gain the optimal multiplayer experience from the game (most servers use v1.0006). Do NOT install this patch otherwise.
Download patch

v1.0004[edit]

Some mods only work with v1.0004. Only use this patch if those mods have no updated version that work with newer versions of the game.
Download patch

Unofficial v1.0008 Patch[edit]

Download patch

Downgrading from v.10006[edit]

A guide on how to downgrade a copy of the game to v.10005 or v1.0004 can be found in the GOG.com Community Discussions.

Skip intro videos[edit]

Start game with -nointro parameter[5]

Xetrill's Modified LuaJIT library[edit]

Users have reported increased performance, especially with script-heavy mods but it can crash some more complex mods like those in the NS/Soup family.
Use replacement files[citation needed]
  1. Download the modified library.
  2. Extract the content of LuaJIT_EXPERIMENTAL_latest\release\bin in <path-to-game>\bin.[6]

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %PUBLIC%\Documents\stalker-shoc\
GOG.com %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Stalker-SHOC\
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/4500/pfx/[Note 2]
CD key, language and GameSpy ID are stored in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\GSC Game World\STALKER-SHOC

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %PUBLIC%\Documents\stalker-shoc\savedgames\
GOG.com %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Stalker-SHOC\savedgames\
Linux (Proton) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/4500/pfx/[Note 2]
You can modify the save game data location by editing fsgame.ltx in gamedata.

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

Basic video settings
Basic video settings
Advanced video settings (Vsync and 60 Hz frequency not visible)
Advanced video settings (Vsync and 60 Hz frequency not visible)
Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Some HUD elements may be stretched.
Multi-monitor
Some HUD elements may be stretched.
Ultra-widescreen
Gameplay is 21:9 but the HUD is 16:9 stretched.[7]
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
90° (65° Vertical) - See Field of view (FOV)
Windowed
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Use Borderless Gaming or similar software.
Note: The game prevents use of hotkeys, and tries keeping its window on-top.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Up to 16 samples.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Slider applies an FXAA-like blur filter.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
In-game Vsync option is broken.[8] Use the Multi-Patch to fix it.
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
No frame rate or refresh rate cap.[9]

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Install FOV Switcher[citation needed]
  1. Download FOV Switcher and extract it.
  2. Copy the appropriate exe file to the BIN folder inside of the installation folder and launch it.

Notes

It's highly recommended not to play online with the FOV hack installed.
To restore the settings to default, use the patcher again.
Clipping issues are more noticeable.[10]

Input settings[edit]

Controls menu
Controls menu
Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Remapping
Mouse acceleration
Only in Steam version. Disable through console with "cam_inert 0".
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.

Audio settings[edit]

Audio menu
Audio menu
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
SFX and music only.
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 output[11]
Subtitles
fan made subtitles and cc
Closed captions
fan made subtitles and cc
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 2.0. HRTF can be used without any audio card with some modification. See Use OpenAL Soft's HRTF.

Use OpenAL Soft's HRTF[edit]

Replace OpenAL32.dll file
  1. Set up OpenAL Soft HRTF by following these instructions. Place soft_oal.dll in bin folder of the game and rename it to OpenAL32.dll, replacing the existing one.
  2. Launch the game.
  3. Go to the Options→Sound and change the Sound driver to OpenAL Soft and restart the game.
  4. Open up the developer console using ~ and scroll up using the Page Up key, if the message says SOUND: OpenAL: Required device: OpenAL Soft. Created device: OpenAL Soft then the OpenAL Soft device is used and with it, HRTF mode as well.

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
Some unimportant non-conversation speech is Russian.
French
German
Some unimportant non-conversation speech is Russian.
Italian
Polish
Russian
Spanish
Turkish
Fan translation, download.
Ukrainian
Official translation patch from GSC, download.

Network[edit]

Multiplayer servers can optionally use BattlEye anti-cheat protection.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
32
Online play
32 Use the Multi-Patch to replace the GameSpy master server.

Connection types

Ports

Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 3783, 6515, 6667, 13139, 27900, 28900, 29900, 29901
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

VR support[edit]

Issues fixed[edit]

"Unable to connect to master server" error[edit]

The GameSpy master server has been shut down; use the Multi-Patch.

Toggle aim down sights[edit]

Create AutoHotkey script
  1. Download AutoHotkey
  2. Copy the code to the clipboard (CTRL+C).
  3. Open AutoHotkey, go to File>Edit script, paste the code in Notepad.
  4. Change "Fallout4" to the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl" in the code (for other games, edit by title written in start bar of running game).
  5. Go to File>Reload Script in AutoHotkey.

Notes

AutoHotKey must be run as administrator to work.[12]

Key bindings lost every game restart[edit]

Change savegame/config folder permision
  1. Find folder:

STALKER-SHOC

In Vista and above, in:

%USERPROFILE%\Documents\Stalker-STCS\ or %PUBLIC%\Documents\

In XP and in CoP:

%PUBLIC%\Public Documents\

Just copy and paste these locations to Windows address bar and press enter.

and RBM on folder>uncheck read only>apply for all>OK

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 8, 9 Bound to the lighting renderer. Running the game in DirectX 9 mode is only possible with dynamic lighting enabled.
Shader Model support 1.x, 2, 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Physics Open Dynamics Engine
Audio OpenAL
Multiplayer GameSpy

Optimal settings[edit]

Lowering vision distance, lightning distance, and object quality to 50% improves the performance with little to no loss in graphical fidelity.[13]
Reducing grass density may help reduce stuttering.[citation needed]

Disable head bob[edit]

Modify User.LTX[14]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open User.LTX with a text editor.
  3. Change cam_inert to 0.
  4. Save the file and launch the game.

Notes

It can also be changed while in game using the console cam_inert X where X stand as a value, which you might want to translate into 0.1
Change sway/bob values
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\gamedata\config\misc\
  2. Open effectors.ltx with a text editor.
  3. At the top will be values for amount of sway/bob for walking, running and limping.
  4. Changing run_amplitude to 0.0050 and walk_amplitude to 0.0040 works well.
  5. Save the file and launch the game.

Notes

Default values:
run_amplitude			=	0.0075
walk_amplitude			=	0.005
limp_amplitude			=	0.011

Enable FPS counter[edit]

Use command console[citation needed]
  1. Open the in-game console by pressing ~.
  2. Enter: rs_stats 1

Shorter load times[edit]

Start game with the -noprefetch parameter[citation needed]

Glitchy shadows using widescreen resolutions[edit]

Edit User.LTX[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open User.LTX.
  3. Change r2_sun_near to 20.. Value can go from 1 to 50 and experimentation with it might be required to avoid further shadow issues.
  4. Change r2_sun_near_border to 1..

Modifications[edit]

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series has garnered a dedicated following which includes a very active modding community, mostly in Russia, however translations are available for most of the popular mods (commonly found in the GSC forums). The best way to determine which type of mods you will enjoy is by first trying the vanilla game (with ZRP for bug fixes). Below are some basic recommendations.
Preparing the game for mods[citation needed]

To use mods with S.T.A.L.K.E.R., you will first need to edit your fsgame.ltx - file found under the installation folder.

  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Open fsgame.ltx with a text editor.
  3. Find line:
    $game_data$ = false| true| $fs_root$| gamedata
  4. Change it to:
    $game_data$ = true| true| $fs_root$| gamedata

Notes

If the mod comes with an executable, you may need to point it manually to the correct installation folder. If it comes as a file package, extract and copy the mod's contents into your gamedata folder.
To patch your mod or to add new ones on top, overwrite and merge your installation's gamedata folder with the new one.
Using Smart Mod Manager[citation needed]

Download the program at Codeplex. The program installs the mods from .zip or directly from the folder. It will warn you if there are issues with other mods combined; then you have to choose one of them.

  1. First select the game (S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky)
  2. Set up the right language, version and folder of the game
  3. Go to the game tab and install mods from .zip or folder.
Enable/Disable mods also possible in the manager

Zone Reclamation Project[edit]

Keeps the game as vanilla as possible.
Fixes many bugs present in final version of game.
Improved UI and controls.

L.U.R.K[edit]

Revamps many game mechanics, including enemy AI and ballistics.
Considered to be unforgiving in difficulty.

Shaders MAX[edit]

May be incompatible with some other mods that alter shaders.
Many improvements in visual quality.
Can be combined with other mods to increase visual fidelity.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R Complete[edit]

Overhauls many game mechanics.
Fixes many bugs present in the original game using an old version of ZRP.
Many improvements in visual quality.
Comes with a simple installer.
Not compatible with newer versions of ZRP.

Autumn Aurora[edit]

Overhauls the graphics, sound and gameplay.
Built on the newest Zone Reclamation Project's core.
Redesigned AtmosFear for ShoC to match the autumn style.
Holds an official new Absolute Nature for ShoC.

Oblivion Lost[edit]

Like Lost Alpha it focuses on getting closer to the old Oblivion Lost which was planned by GSC back in the days
Total Freeplay, Improved A-Life, New Levels, Extended Main Storyline, Reality Enhancement and Graphics Improvement.

Priboi Story[edit]

Total conversion mod with new storyline.

Old Good S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Evolution[edit]

New locations and weapons. Intended to recreate a highly atmospheric Zone with highest possible quality, stability of the game, rich gameplay and loyalty to the canons of the Sci-Fi genre.

Legend Returns[edit]

Set between the events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky. It includes a return to the atmosphere and general feeling of Shadow of Chernobyl, in addition to several new gameplay features, completely new questlines, a leveling system, and restored content from build versions of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 2000 SP4, XP SP2
Processor (CPU) AMD Athlon XP 2200+
Intel Pentium 4 2.0 GHz
System memory (RAM) 512 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 10 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon 9600
Nvidia GeForce 5700
128 MB of VRAM
DirectX 8 compatible

Notes

  1. This version of StarForce DRM does not work on Windows 8.1 or Windows 10.[2][3] For supported versions of Windows the StarForce driver may need to be updated manually using SFUPDATE.
  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>/4500/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (4500) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.

References