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The Witcher is a relatively demanding game, so it is only natural that users try to optimize their experience as much as possible. In addition, the game is built on Bioware's Aurora Engine, so it is inherently moddable. This article will contain information on these two technical aspects of the game.

Game engineEdit

The Witcher is powered by a new version of the BioWare Aurora Engine, modified for a single-player experience. A number of changes have been introduced to the original BioWare Aurora Engine, and some of them are described below.

World visualizationEdit

In BioWare's Aurora Engine, the world is designed exactly as it was envisioned rather than utilizing a tile-based system. Because of this, the visuals are claimed to be unique and rich in detail. All the environments are created in 3D Studio Max and then exported into the game engine.

  • Light maps
The CD Projekt's version of the engine supports lightmaps, generated in 3D Studio Max. Shadows generated this way are claimed to look more realistic and are faster performance-wise.
  • Texture paint
This is a special tool that enables to paint the environment using custom textures, with the purpose of saving time and promising a more natural look than ordinary mapping.
  • Skybox and water effects
New realistic skybox and water effects were added to the engine.

RenderingEdit

All the in game and tool set rendering is done using DirectX9, and the engine now supports many different shaders (water effect, bump mapping, environment mapping, etc). Additionally the whole rendering system has been unified and a new light manager was added.

Other changesEdit

Other important changes include the following: motion-captured animation, physics effects, new mechanics and combat system. There are also many other modifications, such as introduction of portals, additional graphical effects (glows, advanced dynamic shadows, blurs).

Modding Edit

Patches Edit

The latest version of the game is v1.5. The 1.5 patch is not a cumulative patch, like earlier patches. It requires a v1.4 installation of the game.

General performance tweaking Edit

  • The developers of the game recommend the following settings for graphics cards (provided you have a balanced system, with a CPU and memory that are at an equivalent level to your video card):
    • Low detail settings at 800x600:
      • ATI RADEON 9800 Series
      • ATI RADEON X700 Series
      • ATI RADEON X1300/X1550 Series
      • NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
      • NVIDIA GeForce 6600
    • Medium detail settings at 1024x768:
      • ATI RADEON X800 PRO
      • ATI RADEON X850 XT
      • ATI RADEON X1600 Series
      • ATI RADEON X1800 series
      • ATI RADEON X1950 Pro
      • ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS
      • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Series GPU
      • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS
      • NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT
    • High detail settings at 1024x768:
      • ATI RADEON X1950 XTX
      • ATI RADEON HD 2900 XT
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2
      • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS
      • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX
  • As with any recent game, anti-aliasing and shadow quality will be major factors in overall framerate. Try lowering those two settings before anything else.

Video Card ratings from The Witcher forum Edit

Recommended cards Edit

  • The best cards, starting from fastest, through minimum capability:
    • NVIDIA GeForce 8800 series
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT (between the 3870 and 3850)
    • ATI Radeon HD 3800 series
    • ATI Radeon HD 2900 series
    • ATI Radeon X1950 series
    • ATI Radeon X1900 series
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7900 series
  • The "recommended" video level is at least this fast:
    • ATI Radeon X1800 series
    • ATI Radeon X850 series
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7950
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2
    • ATI Radeon X800 series
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 series
    • NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GTS
    • ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT
    • NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra
    • ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro
    • NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GS
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT
    • ATI Radeon X1650 XT
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GS
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Vanilla (PCI-e version, 256 MB)
    • ATI Radeon 9800 XT
    • ATI Radeon X1650 Pro
    • ATI Radeon X1600 XT
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
    • NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GS
  • "Practical minimum" level:
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 (AGP version, 128 MB)
    • ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, 256 MB
    • ATI Radeon X1600 Pro (256 MBs, Max usable VRAM)
    • ATI Radeon X1300 XT (renamed X1600)
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 XT
    • ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, 128 MB (ATI Official Minimum Card)
  • "Borderline" cards:
    • ATI Radeon X700 series
    • ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
    • NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT
    • ATI Radeon X600 XT
    • ATI Radeon 9800 SE
    • ATI Radeon 9700 Vanilla
    • ATI Radeon 9500 Pro

Not recommended Edit

  • Low Quality & on downward from here:
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6600 <~ Vanilla, this is the (nVidia) Official Minimum
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT
    • ATI Radeon 9600 XT
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5950 Ultra
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
    • ATI Radeon X600 Pro
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900
    • ATI Radeon 9600 Pro
    • ATI Radeon X600 Vanilla
    • ATI Radeon X1300, all but XT
      • NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GS
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
    • ATI Radeon X1550 (renamed X1300, slightly detuned, "SE") not supported
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5900 LE, XT
    • ATI Radeon X600 SE

Suffixes Edit

Ever wonder what all those suffixes are about? Here they are, listed from good to awful:

Suffixes
Manufacturer Good >> >> >> >> >> >> >> >> Awful
ATI XTX XT XL Pro GTO Vanilla GT SE Hyper Anything
nVidia Ultra GTX GTS GT GS Vanilla LE = XT VE TC (Turbocache
any variety)

For the ATI HD 3*** cards, a 3850 = Vanilla, and 3870 = Pro.

For more information see video cards.

Load and Save Times Edit

The most frequent criticism about the game's performance is about the load times. Try these tips to help lower them.

  • Defragment your hard drive(s), preferably using a third-party tool instead of the Defrag utility that ships with Windows.

In addition, the game autosaves each time something changes in the Journal (added, updated or completed quest). Given the time it takes to save, many have asked that a future patch include a setting to disable autosave.

The time required to display the save or load screens apparently increases dramatically as the number of saves increases. Hence, it is recommended that the number of savegames be kept under control to avoid this. The saves are stored in My Documents\The Witcher\saves.

Many tweaks were made to reduce load times and change how autosave is handled in the 1.2 patch. Most notably, when going from a large zone (Vizima Temple Quarter for example) to inside a building (a house for example) and back, the load time will be much shorter than when initially loading the large zone. The game simply keeps the large zone cached in memory because it is almost certain that the player will return to it. This has helped considerably in reducing load times when exploring Vizima, for instance.

Cutscene performance Edit

It has been noted that even though most cutscenes use the game engine itself (rather than being pre-rendered), they often run very slowly.

  • Turning off Depth of Field may help, since that feature seems to be used exclusively in cutscenes.

Troubleshooting Edit

Windows Vista Edit

  • The Witcher may exhaust virtual address space when running on 32-bit Windows Vista. Microsoft has released a hotfix that addresses this problem. Please download the hotfix from the following location when playing the game on 32-bit Windows Vista: [1]
  • If you have patched your installation of Vista to SP1, then you already have this hotfix. KB940105 is already included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1.

TAGES Issues Edit

The game uses the TAGES copy protection system, which has has been found to conflict with disc image drive emulators and react similarly to presence of SCSI and SATA drivers in the system, leading to a number of occasions where the copy protection system has prevented users from running legitimately purchased copies of the game.

These problems can be usually avoided by uninstalling the TAGES driver with the official installation program and then starting the game (which will automatically install the appropriate driver version).

How to remove TAGES ? ( while using patch 1.5 ) Edit

Given that patch 1.5 removes the copy protection scheme known as TAGES from the game executable, here is how to remove TAGES from your system.

First of all you must establish if TAGES is needed by any other games that you have installed, unfortunately we can not do that for you, and no list of TAGES protected games was found by me (if you have such a list do share it so I can update this). Presuming that you do not have any other game that needs TAGES, you can carry on, get the latest TAGES executable, for your Windows 32bit or Windows 64bit, from here, and run it.

You will get one of two possible dialogue windows:

  • If you are asked if you want to install TAGES, it means that TAGES is not installed on your system, so you will just press NO and that is it (IIRC, the original game updated with patch 1.4 works even without the TAGES system files).
  • If you are asked if you want to uninstall TAGES, it means you have TAGES installed on your system, so you will just press yes and that is it. You might check by yourself if the files were removed, by searching for atksgt.sys and lirsgt.sys files in the WINDOWS\system32\drivers or WINDOWS\sysWOW64\drivers folder, and you could even do a Windows reboot just to be sure the devices are unloaded from the running system.

If you have other games that use TAGES, and you did remove TAGES from your system, when those games are run you might get:

  • The game asking for the DVD or just stop/crash, meaning that you need TAGES in your system, so you need to run the TAGES installer (again) and install TAGES in your system.
  • The game automatically installs the needed TAGES files without user input so you end up with a working game, but with TAGES in your system too.

Remember that patch 1.5 removes the need for the TAGES code/files only from The Witcher.

Windows 7 Edit

  • When installing The Witcher on Windows 7 it will tell you that the TAGES client is incompatible with your operating system. This is fine as long as you upgrade the game to the latest patch.
  • If you run the game normally through the launcher, the game may crash after 20 minutes or a few hours of gameplay, most notably when entering/exiting areas or battles with many opponents. See next note to prevent this.
  • You will need to run the game by right-clicking the witcher.exe file in the witcher\system folder and select Run as Administrator.
  • Editing the permissions for witcher.exe permanently and then running the game normally through the launcher does not seem to work.
  • Saved games can be found in c:\Users\[[username]]\Documents\The Witcher\saves.

Getting tech help on the forum Edit

Please do read this section before asking for help on The Witcher forum.

Modding Edit

Main article: Modding

Shortly after the 1.3 patch was released, CD Projekt RED provided the community with the D'jinni Adventure Editor to modify the game with. This works in a similar fashion to the Aurora toolset, however the community has since levelled some criticism at the developers for not providing sufficient aid in its use as there have been a wealth of new functions and D'jinni is not as intuitive and helpful as Aurora which would mark errors and provide a list of commands.

Information on the Engine's File Formats Edit

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