Mass Effect

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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
Mass Effect 2008
Mass Effect 2 2010
Mass Effect 3 2012
Mass Effect: Andromeda 2017

General information

Official game site
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.[2] A De-Authorization Tool is available.
Retail DRM: SafeDisc 4. Only in Hungary and Czech Republic. The provided CD-Keys are invalid to Origin, needs contact through Origin Support.
Amazon.com Requires online activation
Amazon.co.uk
Gamesplanet
Origin
Steam Steam DRM late v1.5. The key that Steam provides is invalid to Origin, need to contact EA Support

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 or download it separately for the Steam version. Pinnacle Station download

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Skip intro videos[3]
  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.

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.

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.
  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.
  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.
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.
If Borderless Gaming isn't making the game borderless try running Borderless Gaming as administrator.[4]
Additionally, you may want to set Borderless Gaming to run on startup, you can access that and other useful options in the Options menu in the program window. Note that if you install the admin version (which may help issues with the game refusing to go borderless) you'll need to create a scheduled task to run the tool with admin privilege on logon.
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.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

High quality AF[5]
  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 frame rate[edit]

Change frame rate smoothing[3]
  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.

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[6]
  1. Download ME1 Controller Support mod
  2. Extract Config content in the 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.
To change sensitivity go to the configuration files location and open BIOInput.ini.
LookRightScale=24
LookUpScale=20

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.[7]

Localizations

Language UI Audio CC Notes
English
Czech
Retail only[8][citation needed]
French
German
Hungarian
Retail only[9]
Italian
Polish
Retail only[10]
Russian
Spanish

No surround sound[edit]

Force native OpenAL device[5][11]
  1. Make sure to have a working non-Generic Software OpenAL implementation
  2. Go to the configuration files location.
  3. Open BioEngine.ini.
  4. Search for [ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice] class
  5. 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]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Native 3D
Nvidia 3D Vision
See Helix Mod: Mass Effect for better support.
TriDef 3D
iZ3D

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[12][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. 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[13][citation needed]

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.

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[3]

Game simply doesn't start[edit]

Launcher crashes (retail)[edit]

Install latest patch[citation needed]

Game always asks for admin permissions[edit]

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Allow the game to run as admin the first time
  2. Rename the game executable to ut3.exe

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[15]
  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.

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,[16] 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.

Low res textures fix[edit]

Force highest quality textures[17]
  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[citation needed]
  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[18]
  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 Radeon X1300 XT
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 3.0 support
Nvidia GeForce 7900 GTX
ATI Radeon X1800 XL
512 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
Shader model 3.0 support

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. 3.0 3.1 3.2 TweakGuides.com - Mass Effect Tweak Guide - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  4. Mass Effect 1 · Issue #205 · Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming - last accessed on 2016-10-30
  5. 5.0 5.1 Making the most of your ME1 PC Experience, maximizing graphics and sound. - The BioWare Forum - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  6. Nexus Mods
  7. The game is claimed to support up to 128 voices, so it must be using the fifth version.[citation needed]
  8. CDProjekt.cz - Mass Effect - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  9. CD Projekt - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  10. CD Projekt: Gra - Mass Effect - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  11. [PC] How to enable surround sound and environmental audio in Mass Effect - Answer HQ - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  12. Squad and enemies become black pixels - The BioWare Forum - last accessed on 2016-8-15
  13. Unexpectedly confirmed by Mirh
  14. Mirh testing
  15. To fix missing lava textures on Therum - Steam forums
  16. Exclusive Interview with the Sound Design Team of “Mass Effect 2″ | Designing Sound
  17. Low quality textures fix for Mass Effect - Steam forums
  18. PC Tweaks - Mass Effect Wiki