Mass Effect

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Mass Effect
Mass Effect cover
Windows Demiurge Studios[1]
Electronic Arts
Eastern Europe CD Projekt
Unreal Engine 3
Release dates
Windows May 28, 2008
Mass Effect guide at StrategyWiki
Mass Effect at Wikipedia
Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2008
Mass Effect 2 2010
Mass Effect 3 2012
Mass Effect: Andromeda 2017

Key points

Use Mass Effect Mouse Fix to remove the game's mouse acceleration.
Requires installation of PhysX legacy driver to start reliably

General information

Official game site
Mass Effect Wiki
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Requires online activation
SecuROM PA DRM, three machine limit.[2] A De-Authorization Tool is available.
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Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
SafeDisc v4 DRM. Only in Hungary and Czech Republic. The provided CD-Keys are invalid to Origin, needs contact through Origin Support.
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Requires online activation
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Steam DRM late v1.5. The key that Steam provides is invalid to Origin, need to contact EA Support
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Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Origin version includes all DLC (existing Origin owners can install the latest update to get the DLC).
Separate installers have been made free and are available for other game releases
Name Notes
Bring Down the Sky
Pinnacle Station

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.


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
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.
Use Flawless Widescreen.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Use Flawless Widescreen.
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. 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.
  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. 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.
  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. If Borderless Gaming isn't making the game borderless try running Borderless Gaming as administrator.[5]

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

High quality AF[6]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open BIOEngine.ini.
  3. Go to [SystemSettings] section and edit the following values like below

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[7]
  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>


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, open BIOInput.ini and adjust following values.

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.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
EAX 5.[8]


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Retail only.[9][10] Patch for this release here. Doesn't contain translation for Pinnacle Station.[11] Unofficial patch which brings localization to digital release here.
Retail only[12]
Retail only[13]

No surround sound[edit]

Force native OpenAL device[6][14]
  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=


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

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[15][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 - as the game uses the 3DNow! instruction set which was dropped in 2010 starting with the FX series of 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[16][17][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.

Use console command[citation needed]

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]

Crash after splash screen or black screen[edit]

Use updated OpenAL[citation needed]
  1. Install latest OpenAL
  2. Delete or rename OpenAL32.dll and wrap_oal.dll from <path-to-game>\Binaries

Launcher crashes (retail)[edit]

Install latest patch[citation needed]

Game always asks for admin permissions (Windows 8.1 +)[edit]

This is also responsible for Steam Controller and Steam overlay not working.
Workaround broken Application Compatibility Engine and shim
  1. Open an elevated command prompt.
  2. Run the following command:
    FOR /F "skip=2 tokens=2,*" %A IN ('REG QUERY "HKLM\SOFTWARE\bioware\mass effect" /v Path /reg:32') DO REG ADD "HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers" /v "%B"^\Binaries\MassEffect.exe /t REG_SZ /d RUNASINVOKER


It's highly recommended to remove leftover registry values to avoid issues in other games.[19]

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[20][citation needed]
  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.


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]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Shader Model support 3
64-bit executable


Middleware Notes
Physics PhysX 2.7.2
Audio ISACT,[21] 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[22]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\BioEngine.ini
  2. Replace the following three lines:
  3. ...with these lines:


Mass Effect Updated/Improved Textures Mod[edit]

Install mod[citation needed]
  1. Download and install MEUITM

Regularly updated, applies LAA and texture bioengine.ini tweaks automatically for the user. Has mod options (picking different versions of textures) optional installs of ReShade, Indirectsound, and more. (very user friendly).

ALOT for Mass effect 1 (compliments MEUITM)[edit]

Install mod[citation needed]
  1. Download and install ALOT

A compilation of textures not covered in MEUITM. Regularly updated, applies LAA, indirectsound, and texture bioengine.ini tweaks automatically for the user (very user friendly).

Enable developer console[edit]

Edit BioInput.ini[23]
  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\BioInput.ini
  2. Add the following line below Engine.Console so that this section looks like:
If you have an AZERTY keyboard, the correct line is ConsoleKey=²

System requirements[edit]

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


  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 - Mass Effect Tweak Guide - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  4. Origin 8.5 Introduces Custom Avatars And Extends Cloud Storage - EA News
  5. Mass Effect 1 · Issue #205 · Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming - last accessed on 2016-10-30
  6. 6.0 6.1 Making the most of your ME1 PC Experience, maximizing graphics and sound. - The BioWare Forum - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  7. Nexus Mods
  8. The game is claimed to support up to 128 voices, so it must be using the fifth version.[citation needed]
  9. - Mass Effect - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  12. CD Projekt - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  13. CD Projekt: Gra - Mass Effect - last accessed on 2016-8-24
  14. [PC] How to enable surround sound and environmental audio in Mass Effect - Answer HQ - last accessed on 2016-8-9
  15. Squad and enemies become black pixels - The BioWare Forum - last accessed on 2016-8-15
  16. Unexpectedly confirmed by Mirh
  17. Verified by User:Captain on 21-10-17
    Working on FX-4300 system, though attempted to repair game's original color palette (fixable with in-game menu)
  18. Mirh testing
  19. PhsyX, Mirror's Edge, and You - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  20. To fix missing lava textures on Therum - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  21. Exclusive Interview with the Sound Design Team of “Mass Effect 2″ | Designing Sound
  22. Low quality textures fix for Mass Effect - Steam forums (retrieved)
  23. PC Tweaks - Mass Effect Wiki