System Shock 2

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System Shock 2
System Shock 2 cover
Irrational Games
Looking Glass Studios
Electronic Arts
Night Dive Studios
Dark Engine
Release dates
Windows August 11, 1999
OS X June 18, 2013
Linux April 1, 2014
System Shock
System Shock 1994
System Shock 2 1999

Key points

Install SS2Tool to add widescreen/multi-monitor support and fix various compatibility and performance issues.
Install outside C:\Program Files (x86)\ to avoid problems.[1]

General information

Modding guide on The Port Report
SHODANPEDIA - A wiki for the System Shock series
TTLG Forums - System Shock Series Forum Forum - SS2 Troubleshooting Guide Community Discussions for game series Support Page
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Humble Store
OS X and Linux versions use Wine.

Essential improvements[edit]


Essential patcher which integrates the NewDark patch and fixes various issues.
Use SS2Tool for all versions of the game.

Recommended mods[edit]

Modding guide available on The Port Report.
  • SHTUP - 'Shock Texture Upgrade Project' enhances object texture quality.
  • Rebirth Beta 03a - enhances polygons of enemies, gore and gibs.

OS X version[edit]

Modding the Wineskin version can be done by firstly installing the Windows version in a virtual machine, patching it and installing all desired modifications and then replacing the System Shock 2 installation within the Wineskin version with the custom version. If you are using the Steam version it may be necessary to deactivate Steam's "Keep up to date" function for this to work.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\*.cfg
OS X <path-to-game>/Contents/Resources/drive_c/Games/System Shock 2/
Linux ~/.systemshock2/systemshock2/drive_c/Program Files/SystemShock2/*.cfg
cam.cfg contains game settings.
cam_ext.cfg is the configuration file for the game once patched using SS2Tool.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\
Save games are kept in multiple folders, e.g. \save_0\, \save_1\

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud

Video settings[edit]

General settings.
General settings.
FOV of 150.
FOV of 150.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Native for digital versions; for retail versions install SS2Tool.
Native for digital versions; for retail versions install SS2Tool.
4K Ultra HD
Native for digital versions;[2] for retail versions install SS2Tool.
Field of view (FOV)
Edit cam_ext.cfg. See Field of view (FOV).
Edit cam_ext.cfg. See Windowed.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Enable Windowed mode, then use desktop resolution in-game.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Native for digital distribution versions; for retail versions install SS2Tool.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Native for digital distribution versions; for retail versions install SS2Tool.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
See Vertical sync (Vsync).
60 FPS
120+ FPS
See High frame rate.


Edit cam_ext.cfg to change windowed mode
  1. Open System Shock 2\cam_ext.cfg using Notepad.
  2. Change ;force_windowed to force_windowed

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Edit cam_ext.cfg to change field of view (FOV)
  1. Open System Shock 2\cam_ext.cfg using Notepad.
  2. Change ;fov 90 to fov # (any number).

Vertical sync (Vsync)[edit]

Enable vsync

Disable vsync in the video card control panel.

High frame rate[edit]

The game may run too fast at 120 Hz without this change.
Edit cam_ext.cfg to change timings
  1. Open System Shock 2\cam_ext.cfg using Notepad.
  2. Change ;vsync_mode 7 to vsync_mode 7

Input settings[edit]

Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Full remapping available, but no 'default' can be loaded.[3] (although in the steam version there is a "standard FPS" preset available)
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Touchscreen optimised

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 output[4]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX (2[citation needed]) and A3D. For further info refer to this thread


Language UI Audio CC Notes
See here


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
4 Co-op
Online play
4 Co-op

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Direct IP


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP (outbound) 2300-2400, 28800-28900
UDP (outbound) 2300-2400, 28800-28900
UPNP support status is unknown.

Issues fixed[edit]

Random crashing[edit]

Use SS2Tool

See SS2Tool.

Left-clicking or dragging does not work[edit]

Use SS2Tool

See SS2Tool.

Small game window or black screen[edit]

Edit cam_ext.cfg to disable multisampling
  1. Open System Shock 2\cam_ext.cfg using Notepad.
  2. Comment out and change multisampletype 8 to ;multisampletype 8


Enable SS2Tool Safe Mode
  1. Download and run the SS2Tool installer.
  2. At the Choose Components installation step, enable Safe Mode.
  3. Click Install and finish installing.

UI too small on high screen resolutions[edit]

Edit cam_ext.cfg to enable ui scaling
  1. Open cam_ext.cfg in notepad or any other text editor.
  2. Uncomment the line ;d3d_disp_scaled_2d_overlay 64 by removing the semicolon.

Note: If the above does not fix the issue, you may try scaling the ui to arbitrary resolutions by re-commenting out the above line (add back in the semicolon), uncommenting the line ;d3d_disp_scaled_2d_overlay 640 480 and adjusting the 640 and the 480 to your desired resolution. However, this may cause the ui to become blurry/pixelated, so try the initial fix first.

Runs too fast at 120Hz[edit]

Edit cam_ext.cfg to change timings

See High frame rate.

System requirements[edit]

Operating system (OS) XP, Vista, 7, 8
Processor (CPU) 1.8 GHz
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB
Video card (GPU) DirectX 9.0c compatible
Operating system (OS) 10.7.0
Processor (CPU) Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GHz
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 2 GB
Video card (GPU) 256 MB of VRAM


  2. Does the steam version of System Shock 2 support 4k resolution? : pcgaming
  4. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up