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
GSC Game World
X-Ray Engine
Release dates
Windows March 20, 2007
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 2010
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Lost Alpha (Unofficial) 2014

Key points

Installing ZRP is greatly recommended as it eliminates most bugs without modifying the game's experience.
Large modding community.[1][2]
Retail CD-keys and some of the Steam ones are now redeemable on GOG.com using the reclaim page.
Use the Multi-Patch to replace the GameSpy master server.

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
Steam Users' Forums
Official forums
TweakGuides guide


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Steam Some CD-keys listed in-game under Multiplayer can be redeemed on GOG.com.[3]

Essential improvements[edit]



The Multi-Patch replaces the GameSpy master servers and optionally forces Vsync. The Steam version is already patched.


This is the latest official patch for the game. It is best suited overall for Single Player as most multiplayer servers use v1.0006


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
For a guide on how to downgrade a copy of the game from v1.0005 to v1.0004, see Downgrading to v1.0004

Unofficial v1.0008 Patch[edit]


Downgrading to v1.0004[edit]

Downgrading to 1.0004
  1. Open the Registry Editor:
    • Vista and later: open the Start screen/Start menu, type regedit and press Enter.
    • Windows XP: press Win+R, type regedit and press Enter.
  3. If you can't find it there, search for "installvers".
  4. If there is no "InstallLang" value located here, you need to add a string and enter the language code you use (for the US version, this is "en").
  5. Install the 1.0004 patch from above links (choose the version corresponding to the main language used in-game) which will install the files into a THQ folder in your Program Files by default.
  6. Copy all these files into your STALKER installation's gamedata folder.
  7. If you encounter an error saying the patch can only be used for "[en]", then replace the aforementioned language value with whatever is it in the brackets in the error message.
  8. Delete gamedata.dbc and gamedata.dbd as these are 1.0006 only files.

Skip intro videos[edit]

Start game with -nointro parameter

Xetrill's Modified LuaJIT library[edit]

Users has reported increased performance, especially in script-heavy mods.
Use replacement files
  1. Download the modified library.
  2. Extract the content of LuaJIT_EXPERIMENTAL_latest.zip/bin in <path-to-game>\bin.


It is recommended to backup the conflicting files before replacement.


The STALKER series has garnered a dedicated following which includes a very active modding community, most of which is based in Russia. Translations are available for most of the popular mods. The best way to determine which type of mod you will enjoy is by first trying the vanilla game out (with ZRP for bugfixes). Below are some basic recommendations.
Preparing the game for mods

To use mods with STALKER, you will first need to edit your fsgame.ltx - file found under the game's install 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


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

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 (Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl or Stalker Clear Sky)
  2. Set up the right language, version and folder of the game
  3. Go to the gametab and install mods from .zip or folder.
Enable/Disable mods also possible in the manager

Zone Reclamation Project[edit]

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


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

Shaders MAX[edit]

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

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

Overhauls many game mechanics
Fixes many bugs present in the final game
Many improvements in visual quality
Comes with easy to use installer
Changes many core game mechanics

Lost Alpha[edit]

Restores game mechanics and levels cut from final game
Visual tweaks

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %PUBLIC%\Documents\STALKER-SHOC
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
You can modify the save game data location by editing fsgame.ltx in gamedata.

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
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 option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Some HUD elements may be stretched.
Some HUD elements may be stretched.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV)
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Use Borderless Gaming or similar software.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
A slider is included but doesn't actually work.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
In-game Vsync option is broken.[4] Use the Multi-Patch to fix it.
60 FPS
120+ FPS
No frame rate or refresh rate cap.[5]

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Install FOV Switcher
  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.


It's highly recommended not to play online with the FOV hack installed.
To restore the settings to default, use the patcher again.

Input settings[edit]

Controls menu
Controls menu

Audio settings[edit]

Audio menu
Audio menu
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
SFX and music only.
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 output[6]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 2.0


Language UI Audio CC Notes
Some unimportant non-conversation speech is Russian (e.g. jokes).
Some unimportant non-conversation speech is Russian (e.g. jokes).
Only available in Polish retail release. Not available digitally.
Steam version only has Russian in Russian version.
A Turkish fan patch is available here. (Mirror)
An official Ukrainian patch is available here, can be installed over the Russian version of the game only.


Multiplayer servers can optionally use BattlEye anti-cheat protection.

Multiplayer types

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

Connection types


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP (outbound) 3783, 6515, 6667, 13139, 27900, 28900, 29900, 29901

Issues fixed[edit]

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

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

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 8, 9 Running the game in DirectX 9 mode is only possible with dynamic lighting enabled.
64-bit executable


Middleware Notes
Physics Open Dynamics Engine
Audio OpenAL

Optimal settings[edit]

Lowering Vision- and Lightning distance, Object quality to 50% improves the performance without suffering major graphical visuals.
Reducing Grass Density a point or two may help stuttering issues.

Remove head bob[edit]

Edit User.LTX
  1. Open User.LTX with a text editor.
  2. Change cam_inert to 0.
  3. Save changes.


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

Enable FPS counter[edit]

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

Shorter load times[edit]

Start game with the -noprefetch parameter

Glitchy shadows using widescreen resolutions[edit]

Edit User.LTX
  1. Open User.LTX with a text editor.
  2. Change r2_sun_near to 20..
  3. Change r2_sun_near_border to 1..

Large Address Aware[edit]

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

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 2000 SP4, XP SP2
Processor (CPU) AMD Athlon XP 2200+
Intel Pentium IV 2.0 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
Intel Core 2 Duo E6400
System memory (RAM) 512 MB 1.5 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 10 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon 9600
Nvidia GeForce 5700
128 MB of VRAM
DirectX 8 compatible
ATI Radeon X1850
Nvidia GeForce 7900
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible


  1. Stalker Mods, Stalker Maps, Stalker Downloads
  2. Mods - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl Game - Mod DB
  3. Reclaim your games. DRM-Free!, page 4 - Forum - GOG.com
  4. TweakGuides.com - STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl Tweak Guide - In-Game Settings (Pt.2)
  5. New 120Hz Games Report
  6. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up