Mass Effect

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Mass Effect
Mass Effect cover
Developers
BioWare
Windows Demiurge Studios
Publishers
Electronic Arts
Engines
Unreal Engine 3
Release dates
Windows May 28, 2008
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2008
Mass Effect 2 2010
Mass Effect 3 2012
Mass Effect: Andromeda 2017

General information

Official game site
Official forums
Mass Effect Wiki
Steam Community Discussions
Steam Users' Forums for game series

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail Requires online activation DRM: SecuROM, three machine limit.[1] A De-Authorization Tool is available.
Amazon.com Requires online activation
Amazon.co.uk
GamersGate Requires online activation
Gamesplanet
Origin
Steam Steam DRM late v1.5. The key that Steam provides is invaild to Origin, need to contact EA Support
Uplay (US/Canada)
Uplay (EMEA/other)

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Origin version includes all DLC (existing Origin owners can install the latest update to get the DLC).
Name Notes
Bring Down the Sky Free download from Bring Down the Sky DLC Redemption or by activating the base game on Origin.
Pinnacle Station Activate the game on Origin for a free download. Not sold separately.

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip videos[edit]

Skip intro videos
  1. Navigate to <path-to-game>\BioGame\CookedPC\Movies\.
  2. Delete/move/rename BWLogo.bik, db_standard.bik and ME_EAsig_720p_v2_raw.bik.
Skip relay videos[citation needed]
  1. Navigate to <path-to-game>\BioGame\CookedPC\Movies\.
  2. Delete/move/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.

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.

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\

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Bioware\Mass Effect\Save\

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Origin
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Limited native support; use Flawless Widescreen to correct FOV and HUD issues.
Multi-monitor
Use Flawless Widescreen.
Field of view (FOV)
Use Flawless Widescreen.
Windowed
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See Borderless fullscreen windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Point, Linear and Anisotropic (Default is 4 samples, can be set up to 16 samples; see Anisotropic filtering (AF))
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Can be forced through the NVIDIA Control Panel/AMD Control Center.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS
120+ FPS
See High frame rate.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

High quality AF[2]
  1. Open BIOEngine.ini file located inside your configuration folder
  2. Navigate to [SystemSettings] section and edit the following values like below
Trilinear=TRUE
MaxAnisotropy=16

High frame rate[edit]

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

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[3]
  1. Download ME1 Controller Support mod
  2. Extract Config content in configuration files location
  3. Extract Mass Effect (or Mass Effect MEUITM if it's the case) content in <path-to-game>

Notes

The ini substitutes are read only to prevent game from overwriting them. Unset this when adjusting options.

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio options Native 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
EAX support
EAX 5.[4]

Localizations

Language UI Audio CC Notes
English
French
German
Italian
Russian
Spanish

No surround sound[edit]

Force native OpenAL device
  1. Make sure to have a working non-Generic Software OpenAL implementation
  2. Open BioEngine.ini with a text editor
  3. Search for [ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice] class
  4. 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)

VR support[edit]

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.

Black screen after loading a save[edit]

Black screen after loading a save

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.

FIX: 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. It can be found here.

Game simply doesn't start[edit]

Run the game as an admin
If you have the Steam version, run it as admin.
Update the game through Origin
This fix is for the Origin versions of the game.
  1. Go to "my games"
  2. Right click on the "Mass Effect" icon
  3. Click the "Check for Update" button"
  4. The latest update will be installed.
Use regedit[5]
  1. Open regedit
  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\AGEIA Technologies
  3. Edit the enableLocalPhysXCore REG_BINARY (create, if necessary)
  4. Assign this your actual network card MAC address as value

Notes

Your MAC address can be found by clicking the "Details" button in the "Status" of your network card (inside the Windows control panel). In case of multiple network cards you'd better try until you find the right one.

Launcher crashes (retail)[edit]

Install latest patch

Failed to compile shader ** error[edit]

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

Therum missing textures[edit]

Therum Missing Textures[6]

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.

  1. To restore the texture, go to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Published\CookedPC
  2. Delete LocalShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk.
  3. Restart and Therum should look fine.

If this however wouldn't fix the problem. The issue is not to be found anywhere else than on Therum.

People and objects become black[edit]

Disable lighting[7]

Your squad, enemies, and objects that can be interacted with become boxy black blobs. This is a known problem on newer AMD 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.

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

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.

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Shader Model support 3
64-bit executable

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Physics PhysX 2.7.2
Audio ISACT,[8] OpenAL
Interface Scaleform
Cutscenes Bink Video 1.8v

Low res textures fix[edit]

Force highest quality textures[9]
  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)

Mods[edit]

Mass Effect 1 Updated/Improved Textures Mod[edit]

Install mod
  1. Download and install MEUITM
  2. Enable Large Address Aware flag in game executable
  3. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\BioEngine.ini and:
DepthBias=0.006000
MinShadowResolution=32
MaxShadowResolution=4096
ShadowFilterQualityBias=4

Enable developer console[edit]

Edit BioInput.ini[10]
  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 / Vista
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ 2.0 GHz
Intel Pentium 4 2.6 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 3700+ 2.2+ GHz
System memory (RAM) 1 GB (XP)
2 GB (Vista)
2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 12 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 6800
ATI X1300 XT
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 3.0 support
Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX
ATI X1800 XL series
512 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 3.0 support

References

  1. Mass Effect Community - Mass Effect for PC System Specs, SecuROM and FAQ Part 2
  2. Making the most of your ME1 PC Experience, maximizing graphics and sound. - The BioWare Forum
  3. Nexus Mods
  4. The game is claimed to support up to 128 voices, so it must be using the fifth version.
  5. Mirh testing
  6. To fix missing lava textures on Therum - Steam forums
  7. Squad and enemies become black pixels - The BioWare Forum
  8. Exclusive Interview with the Sound Design Team of “Mass Effect 2″ | Designing Sound
  9. Low quality textures fix for Mass Effect - Steam forums
  10. PC Tweaks - Mass Effect Wiki