S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
|Developer(s)||GSC Game World|
GSC Game World (CIS)
|Engine||X-Ray Engine 1.0|
|First release date||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|
- Installing ZRP on a first playthrough is greatly recommended as it eliminates all remaining bugs after the final patch without modifying the game's experience.
- Large cult following with an active modding community.
The latest patch is version 1.0005.
Some mods only work with 1.0004. Steam auto-installs patch 1.0005 and if you end up having to downgrade manually, here is how you can do it:
Open your registry (windows key + R -> regedit) and navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\GSC Game World\STALKER-SHOC. If you can't find it there, search for "installvers". 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"). Then install the 1.0004 patch from above link which will install the files into a THQ folder in your Program Files by default, you can copy all these files into your STALKER installation's gamedata folder. 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. Finally, delete gamedata.dbc and gamedata.dbd as these are 1.0005 only files. Then disable automatic updates for SoC and you can run your 1.0004 installation through Steam.
The STALKER series have garnered a dedicated following which includes a very active modding community, much of which is based in Russia. Translations are available for most of the popular mods such as AMK and STALKERSOUP. The best way to determine which type of mod you will enjoy is by first playing the game vanilla (with ZRP for bugfixes), you will also appreciate the various improvements much more this way. Further below are some basic recommendations.
To use mods with STALKER, you will first need to edit your fsgame.ltx -file found under the game's install directory.
C:\Program Files (x86)\Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl\
or Steam version:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\stalker shadow of chernobyl\
Open this file with a text editor like Notepad, and find the following line:
$game_data$ = false| true| $fs_root$| gamedata
Change the false to true, i.e.:
$game_data$ = true| true| $fs_root$| gamedata
If the mod comes with an executable, you may need to point it manually to the correct installation directory. 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.
 Zone Reclamation Project (1.07 R3)
A bug fix mod that tries to keep the game as vanilla as possible, or not depending on how you set it up. Heavily recommended on a first playthrough.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s original shader code was and still is horrendous. Float32 adds many new features while increasing performance. It changes nothing about gameplay or looks (except high-quality effects, it doesn't change any models or textures) and is widely considered a must. It is also included in many large overhaul mods for SoC, so research first before trying to merge it with other mods.
 Shaders MAX
If you want to improve performance as well as how good the game looks, the best mod is Shaders MAX, which includes Float32 as a component, along with other various shader mods. Link below includes a more detailed "how to" for installation, a deeper knowledge on the components it includes and comparison screenshots Shaders MAX. Be wary once again when trying to combine with other mods which may already contain their own shader improvements.
 Complete Mod 2012
One of the most popular but also controversial mods. It contains major bug fixes, A.I improvements, upgraded shaders, new higher resolution textures, sounds, music, weather and visual effects but also a large amount of important changes to the gameplay core that may spoil the STALKER experience for some.
- All weapons have their accuracy increased by 10-20%.
- Damage done to everybody is decreased by various percentages, turning enemies into bullet-sponges.
- Weight limit is increased by 10kg, the maximum being 70kg. In vanilla, the Exo-suit enabled up to 80kg!
- Limits NPC's eye sight distance so they can't spot you from beyond ~100 meters. Said to remove enemies skill to spot you from "unrealistic distances," but really means you always see them first every time.
- Sound radius of the knife and other critical sounds such as death cries, falling dead bodies, night-vision goggles, grass, and footsteps are greatly reduced.
- Scientific suits with 90% rad protection now feature an anti-rad injection system.
- Bandages auto-apply at 10% health.
The following features are also available in other mods, but are usually balanced out with other forms of difficulty:
- You can bribe hostile factions to leave you alone.
- A repair kit that lets you service your armor and weapons without the need for a trader can be bought from traders.
- The bar trader and Screw now sell weapons and armor repair services.
- Elite Nightvision, essentially the black & white night vision based on the psy_antenna postprocess effect, replaces the original UV-based blue NV. Perfect vision in the dark is now possible, even without a real light source.
In short, it makes the game a bit easier than vanilla, which may be fine if you are a pure-FPS type of player.
An older version of ZRP is used for Complete 2009's bug fixes. It lacks the Permanent Radiation Bug fix but you can add that. Just search for the fix if you need it.
 AMK 1.4
An excellent overhaul mod to further explore the challenges of the Zone and greatly enhance its atmosphere and survival experience, while also increasing its difficulty. Here are some of the major features:
- Major A-Life modifications – Stalkers will loot corpses, look for artefacts and sell items to other stalkers
- Stalker PDA messaging – Stalkers will post messages to their PDAs which then are shown on the player’s HUD. They will send a message out on spotting enemies or mutants, overhearing gun battles and more.
- Dynamic anomalies that shift location after emissions
- New weapons and items
If you're playing on Steam / 1.0005 patch, you also need to do couple manual tweaks:
- First, locate a file called "xrs_grenade.script" in the gamedata/scripts, and delete it.
- Next, you need to add a sound-file names "groza_silenced.ogg" into gamedata/sounds/weapons. Either rip it from any other mod, or simply copy ANY soundfile and rename.
If even AMK was too easy, there is Zone of Alienation which expands upon AMK and adds features such as a manual magazine reloading system!
 FOV Editor (Field of View)
Collectin of DLL's that modify the STALKER Series field of view.
It is intended for: STALKER SHADOW OF CHERNOBYL v1.0003-v1.0006 STALKER build 3120 STALKER CLEAR SKY v1.5.04-1.5.07 (only versions with nodvd installed) STALKER CLEAR SKY v1.5.10 (only versions with nodvd installed) STALKER CALL of PRIPYAT v1.6.00-v1.6.02
Installation: Copy it to the game folder. BACKUP your original xrgame.dll somewhere. In the case of problems just copy it back. Run fov_switch.cmd Use the mouse wheel to scroll through all available variants. In the opened window enter the number from 1 till 58 depending on your game version and chosen FOV.
- TweakGuides has created a comprehensive guide for fixing issues in this game. It can be found here.
The in-game Anti-Aliasing slider DOES NOT WORK in SoC. You have got to force AA on through GPU's control panel. Avoid anything above 2x for minimal performance hit. Alternatively, try SweetFX.
Another easy way to improve visuals and reduce random stuttering is to lower Vision- and Lighting distance, plus Object-Quality bar to around 50%. Again quality difference is minimal, but fps improves.
Reducing the Grass Density a point or two also may help stuttering outdoors. Some stuttering is just the game switching stuff online.
 Remove head bob
- Go to
%USERPROFILE%\My Documents\Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl
0(or more if you only want a slight head bob).
- It can also be changed while in game using the console
cam_inert Xwhere X stand as a value, which you might want to translate into 0.1
- This is also useful for mods such as AMK to reduce the excessive "floaty" effect after getting hit.
 View FPS
You can see FPS-counter and other stats by typing in the console:
 Shorter load times
Use the line
-noprefetch in the game location or Steam launch options. This will make the game load some parts of the world while in game.
 Game data
|Windows (non-Steam)||C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\STALKER-SHOC\savedgames|
- You can modify the save game location. Open
fsgame.ltxin gamedata and edit the top line where you see C:\Stalker to the path of your choice.
 Video settings
|Field of view (FOV)|
|Borderless fullscreen windowed|
|Anisotropic filtering (AF)|
|Vertical sync (Vsync)|
 Input settings
 System requirements
|Operating system (OS)||Windows 2000, Windows XP||Windows 2000, Windows XP|
|Processor (CPU)||Pentium 4 2 GHz or AMD XP 2200+ Processor||Intel Core2 Duo E6400 or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Processor|
|System memory (RAM)||512 MB||1 GB|
|Video card (GPU)||128 MB nVidia GeForce 5700 or ATi Radeon 9600||256 MB nVidia GeForce 7900 or ATi Radeon X1850|
|Hard disk drive (HDD)||10 GB free||10 GB free|