Mass Effect

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Mass Effect
Masseffectbox.jpg
Developers
Publishers
Engines
Audio[1]
Facial animations
Graphics
Physics
Release dates
Windows
May 28, 2008
Mass Effect at Steam Charts
Mass Effect at SteamDB
 Mass Effect at Wikipedia
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2008
Bring Down the Sky
Pinnacle Station
Mass Effect 2 2010
Normandy Crash Site
Zaeed - The Price of Revenge
Firewalker Pack
Kasumi - Stolen Memory
Overlord
Lair of the Shadow Broker
Arrival
Mass Effect 3 2012
From Ashes
Extended Cut
Leviathan
Omega
Citadel

General information

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

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys
Steam Availability Table Icons - Steam.svg Steam gives product key which can be activated on Origin Availability Table Icons - Origin.svg
Origin Availability Table Icons - Origin.svg
Retail Requires online activation DRM: SecuROM, three machine limit.[2] A De-Authorization Tool is available. Availability Table Icons - Origin.svg

DLC[edit]

All DLC is pre-packaged for free in the base install of Mass Effect on Origin. People with purchases before the implementation of DLC into the base game can update their game on Origin to receive the DLC.

Bring Down the Sky can also be downloaded separately from Bring Down the Sky DLC Redemption without using Origin.

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Fix Delete/move/rename videosLink

  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

Patches[edit]

The latest patch is update 1.02 which fixes various issues. The Steam version is already patched.

Mods[edit]

User Catechrism has made a texture pack which improves the in-game graphics.

If you are just experiencing really low texture quality see low res textures fix and see if that helps as mod does effect game performance significally and has problems with under 4K monitors including "shimmering" effect.

Enable developer console[edit]

Fix Edit BioInput.ini[3]Link

  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

Game data[edit]

In-game general settings.

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

  Location 
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Bioware\Mass Effect\Config

Save game data location[edit]

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

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Origin Native
Steam Cloud Impossible
GameSave Manager Native

Video settings[edit]

In-game video settings.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution Hackable WSGF WS Bronze.svg Limited native support; use Flawless Widescreen to correct FOV and HUD issues.
Multi-monitor Hackable WSGF MM Bronze.svg Use Flawless Widescreen.
Field of view (FOV) Hackable Use Flawless Widescreen.
Windowed Native
Borderless fullscreen windowed Hackable Use GameCompanion or similar software.
Anisotropic filtering (AF) Native Default is 4x; see Anisotropic filtering (AF).
Anti-aliasing (AA) Hackable Can be forced through graphics driver.
Vertical sync (Vsync) Native
High frame rate Hackable See High frame rate.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

Fix High quality AF[4]Link

  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]

Fix Change frame rate smoothingLink

  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.
Information For more information, see the Unreal Engine 3 page.

Input settings[edit]

In-game general control settings.
In-game key map settings.
Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Remapping Native
Mouse acceleration Native Mouse acceleration can't be disabled
Mouse input in menus Native
Mouse Y-axis inversion Native
Controller
Controller support Hackable See Controller support.
Full controller support Impossible
Controller remapping Impossible
Controller Y-axis inversion Impossible

Controller support[edit]

Fix Add controller support[5]Link

Information The mouse is still needed for the tactical HUD and weapon upgrading.
  1. Download the configuration files.
  2. Extract to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config
  3. Plug in your controller and launch Mass Effect. The controller should now work.

Fix Add controller support (Alternative)Link

This mod allows controller support and also allows the tactical HUD and weapon upgrading without the mouse, however it requires a third party application, JoyToKey. Download here.

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls Native
Surround sound Hackable Nearly always bugged. See No surround sound.
Subtitles Native
Closed captions Impossible
Mute on focus lost Native
EAX support Native EAX 5.[6]

Localizations

Language UI Audio CC Notes
English Native Native Native
French Native Unknown Unknown
German Native Unknown Unknown
Italian Native Native Native
Spanish Native Unknown Unknown

No surround sound[edit]

Fix Edit BIOEngine.iniLink

It's possible you won't get surround sound if your hardware doesn't support EAX. If you have a supported sound card, you may be able to resolve the issue by first setting hardware audio on in the game options, then exiting the game and including the following info in the BioEngine.ini under the line [ISACTAudio.ISACTAudioDevice]:

MaxChannels=128
TimeBetweenHWUpdates=15.000000
MinOggVorbisDurationGame=20
MinOggVorbisDurationEditor=4
TotalAvailableChannels=128
DeviceName=
UseEffectsProcessing=True
ReserveChannels=2

Notes:

Disadvantage This may not work on some integrated sound chipsets.

Issues fixed[edit]

Information TweakGuides has created a comprehensive guide for fixing issues in this game. It can be found here.

Game simply doesn't start[edit]

Fix Install PhysX Legacy System Software

Fix Run the game as an adminLink

Information If you have the Steam version, run it as admin.

Fix Install the 1.02 patchLink

Information This fix is for the Origin versions of the game.
  1. Open a new notepad document and Save As.
  2. Point it to your Mass Effect installation directory and select All Files from the drop down box.
  3. Save the blank document as MassEffectLauncher.exe
  4. Download patch 1.02 and paste the file into the Mass Effect installation directory.
  5. Run the file.
  6. Run the game from the Origin launcher. It will need a key. If you don't have one yet, contact Origin support by any means and request a new key for Mass Effect.

Fix Place PhysX DLL inside PhysX folderLink

  1. Navigate to <path-to-game>\Binaries
  2. Copy PhysXCore.dll to C:\Program Files (x86)\NVIDIA Corporation\PhysX\Engine\v2.7.2

Fix Use regedit[7]Link

  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:

Information 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]

Fix Install latest patch

Failed to compile shader ** error[edit]

Fix Retail: reinstall gameLink

Fix Steam: check local game cache

Therum missing textures[edit]

Fix Therum Missing Textures[8]Link

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]

Fix Disable lighting[9]Link

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.
Information 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.

Low res textures fix[edit]

Fix Force highest quality textures[10]Link

If the game's textures seem too low-res for your tastes, you can raise the texture minimum size.

  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\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)

...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)

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

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

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]

Fix No high resolution optionLink

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.

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]

Fix Black screen after loading a saveLink

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.

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) XP Vista
Processor (CPU) AMD 2.0 GHz
Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz or faster
AMD 2.4+ GHz
Intel 2.6+ GHz
System memory (RAM) 1 GB (XP)
2 GB (Vista)
2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD)
12 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI X1300 XT
NVidia GeForce 6800
Shader model 3 support
ATI X1800 XL series
NVidia GeForce 7900 GTX
Information AMD video cards below minimum system requirements: ATI X1300, X1300 Pro, X1600 Pro, Radeon 2600 HD, HD 2400
Information NVidia video cards below minimum system requirements: GeForce 7300, 7600 GS, 8500

References

  1. Exclusive Interview with the Sound Design Team of “Mass Effect 2″ | Designing Sound
  2. Mass Effect Community - Mass Effect for PC System Specs, SecuROM and FAQ Part 2
  3. PC Tweaks - Mass Effect Wiki
  4. Making the most of your ME1 PC Experience, maximizing graphics and sound. - The BioWare Forum
  5. ME1 and ME2 XBOX 360 Controller Support - Steam Users' Forums
  6. The game is claimed to support up to 128 voices, so it must be using the fifth version.
  7. Mirh testing
  8. To fix missing lava textures on Therum - Steam forums
  9. Squad and enemies become black pixels - The BioWare Forum
  10. Low quality textures fix for Mass Effect - Steam forums