The Witcher 2 tweaks and fixes guide

The Witcher 2 has been out since 17 May 2011 – a PC exclusive title that should satiate hardcore RPG fans and Andrzej Sapkowski fans alike. Unfortunately, its launch hasn’t been without problems. A horrible game launcher, product key activation issues, DLC CRC errors, false-positives with anti-virus programs – the list of gripes goes on.

The Witcher 2 is certainly a visually impressive game and looks gorgeous when cranked up to full – unfortunately many people are struggling to get decent performance out of the game, and it is lacking in certain key configuration areas. It is a difficult task to get a game running smoothly on such a wide array of hardware as exists in the PC market.

CD Projekt Red Game Director Adam Badowski has noted the problems and said: “While we did our best to avoid complications for our players, it’s clear that on the complex PC platform, we need to go the extra mile to ensure that everything works flawlessly. We are aware of the issues.”

Badowski promised that “next week`s patch will solve the majority of [the problems], including those involving activation and DLC. For now, I can also recommend the many [work-arounds] available on our tech support page, and promise that a much more complete solution will arrive next week. And of course, we kindly ask anyone having problems to accept our sincere apology.”

While CD Projekt Red is hard at work on the first patch for the game, hopefully these home remedy fixes and tweaks will keep everyone happily monster hunting until then.

GPU drivers and settings

It might seem obvious, but make sure you have the latest drivers for your 3D card. It has been suggested that ensuring one has the latest version of their motherboard chipset drivers is also a good idea.

For those experiencing resolution problems, note that the game can currently only handle 16:9 ratio resolutions no wider than 1920. Those struggling to correctly run the game at lower than native monitor resolution to eke out performance, lower your desktop resolution to the same desired game resolution setting.

Nvidia

For Nvidia users this means grabbing the GeForce beta drivers – version 275.27 released on 17 May 2011.

Nvidia SLI setup

SLI is currently not supported, so it is suggested to disable it to run the game. However, there is a ‘fix’ out there.

1.    Download Nvidia Inspector. Install as administrator. Run Nvidia Inspector.
2.    Halfway down the window look for “Driver Version: [Your driver]”. Next to that find and click the config button (it looks like a crossed screwdriver and wrench icon).
3.    At the top is a dropdown menu with ‘Global Driver Profile’ as the default. Find ‘The Witcher 2’ profile and open it.
4.    Find “Multichip Rendering Mode” option. In the middle column delete the current value (some numbers and the words The Witcher 2) and insert 0x02C04205
5.    Apply Changes.

There is at least one known bug with this workaround – interior lights occasionally shine through walls.

ATI/Radeon/AMD

For AMD GPU users, the latest driver package is a must while AMD works on a hotfix specifically for The Witcher 2. This hotfix should also resolve Crossfire issues. When available, it will be up on the AMD Catalyst hotfix page

In the Catalyst Control Centre application: disable anisotropic filter; disable antialiasing and adaptive antialiasing; disable Catalyst A.I. Turn all settings to ‘Application Controlled.’

Windowed mode might offer better performance.

For two cards linked in crossfire, turn off one of the cards or use the Dirt 2 profile until the hotfix is released. 

The Witcher 2 graphics settings detailed

Below is an explanation for The Witcher 2 video settings found in the launcher. Adjusting these settings may help squeeze out extra performance. Most importantly, don’t even bother with Ubersampling unless you have a ridiculously high-end machine.

•    Texture downscaling: higher values result in lower texture quality.
•    Texture memory size: sets the amount of graphics card memory allocated to textures. Larger values will decrease the amount of streaming that occurs in game and will make the game run more smoothly, but they can also cause the graphics card to run out of memory and even result in game crashes. Choose a reasonable value based on the amount of memory available on your graphics card.
•    Shadow quality: affects graphics performance. Consumes GPU power without affecting CPU performance.
•    Number of shadowed lights: set the maximum number of lights that cast shadows. Affects graphics performance. Consumes GPU power without affecting CPU performance.
•    LOD distance: distance scale for level of detail on meshes. Lower values improve game performance but result in reduced detail on models.
•    Bloom: effect greatly improves quality of game graphics without placing excess demands on GPU.
•    Light shafts: visual effect recommended for medium-high/high-end machines. Should be disabled on older systems.
•    Anti-aliasing: demanding effect that can significantly reduce performance, so it should be disabled on medium and low-end machines.
•    Blur effects: special blur and radial blur visual effects that are quite demanding on hardware but used rarely in the game.
•    Depth of field – gameplay: subtle visual effect. Option determines appearance of effect only during gameplay sequences and does not affect DoF in cutscenes.
•    Vignette: aesthetic option that produces a photographic vignette around the game screen. Does not affect performance.
•    Rain, Wet surfaces rain effect: modest impact on performance.
•    SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion): lighting effect that is important to the game but unfortunately places significant demands on the GPU.
•    Motion blur: blur effect on camera movement, demanding on the GPU.
•    Cinematic depth of field: provides movie-like depth of field in cutscenes and dialogue sequences. Extremely detailed but demands significant power. Should only be enabled on machines equipped with top-end graphics cards.
•    Depth of field – cutscenes: option only affects cutscenes and dialogue sequences, does not affect gameplay performance.
•    Dangling objects limit: limiter for physical animation of character components like Geralt’s hair. Disabling this option places greater demands on the CPU.
•    Ubersampling: high quality rendering mode under which whole scenes are rendered multiple times to provide the best possible textures, object details and anti-aliasing (superior to anti-alias and anisotropy even on the highest settings). Use with caution, only on top-end computers (best possible in terms of both GPU and CPU).
•    Vertical sync: helps eliminate “screen tearing” during camera movements and blinking on very quick animations (e.g., bright explosions), but can cause somewhat slower rendering and short input lags.
•    Decals: enabling decals like dust or blood on characters can affect CPU performance.

AMD Athlon 64 x2 processor

Some users with AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core CPUs are experiencing erratic game performance. This includes graphical glitches and sudden changes in game speed. These problems are usually caused by missing drivers for AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core processors.

Install the latest versions of these programs:

•    AMD Dual-Core Optimizer
•    AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Driver

Input settings

Always make a backup of any configuration files before fiddling.

Invert mouse

There’s an easy way, and a complex way to do this. The complex way adds more control over sensitivity settings.

Easy mode

1.    Open with Notepad the user.ini file located in [User]\Documents\Witcher 2\Config
2.    Find the section labelled [MouseInput]
3.    Add the following setting:

       [MouseInput]
       Invert=1

4.    Save the file. Launch the game. Slay monsters.

Complex mode

1.    Open with Notepad the user.ini file located in [User]\Documents\Witcher 2\Config
2.    Find the section labelled [MouseInput]
3.    Add the following settings:

       [MouseInput]
       MouseSensitivityX=0.5
       MouseSensitivityY=-0.5
       SensitivityX=0.5
       SensitivityY=0.5
       Smoothness=1

4.    Adjust the sensitivity settings to your liking. The negative value for MouseSensitivityY inverts that axis.
5.    Save the file. Launch the game. Slay monsters.

Invert Xbox 360 controller

1.    Open with Notepad the user.ini file located in [User]\Documents\Witcher 2\Config
2.    Look for these two lines:

       IK_Pad_RightAxisX=(GameKey=”GI_AxisRightX”,Value=1 )

       IK_Pad_RightAxisY=(GameKey=”GI_AxisRightY”,Value=1 )

3.    The first line is for X axis, the second one is for Y. If you wish to invert either axis, change the value to negative 1 ( -1 ).

Remap key bindings

While the built in key-maps are fine for most, some of our southpaw brethren are having a hard time. Always make a backup of any configuration files before fiddling. Of course, the first The Witcher 2 patch will remedy this otherwise laborious process.

To remap the input settings one will have to carefully read through the user.ini file and take note of the various key settings they wish to alter. One of the standard key-maps will have to be chosen to be altered. For example, the QWERTY line that reads:

       IK_W=(Gamekey=GI_AxisLeftY,Value=1.000000)

This is the setting for the W key to move forward.

To remap this to the arrow keys one will replace the value for the up arrow:

       IK_Up=(GameKey=”GI_Up”,Value=1)

Replace with:

       IK_Up=(Gamekey=GI_AxisLeftY,Value=1.000000)

This can also be done to get the numpad working. Note that the capitalisation of config settings is necessary:

       IK_1=(Gamekey=GI_Steel,Value=1.000000)

Replace with:

       IK_NumPad1=(Gamekey=GI_Steel,Value=1.000000).

Click through to the MyGaming forum for an example users.ini config.

Audio issues

Occassionally certain audio elements will disappear. This can be solved through a reboot. It has been suggested that saving during certain audio cues can cause this problem. Hopefully the patch will fix this.

If the problem persists, one can try disabling all other sound devices other than the one to be used by the game. Ensure hardware acceleration is enabled for the sound device in Windows Control Panel. Switching down to 5.1 sound and even stereo can also help.

The Witcher 2 G35 Headset No Sound Fix

1.    Open the control panel; open up the device manager;
2.    Right click the g35 and select “update drivers”;
3.    Click on “browse my computer for driver software”;
4.    Click on “let me pick from a list…”;
5.    You should now be able to choose “USB Audio Device” as the driver and install it.

Do you have any other The Witcher 2 performance tweaks? << Please share them on the MyGaming forum

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The Witcher 2 tweaks and fixes guide