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Default Mass Effect - Installation Woes - If All Else Fails…

June 1st, 2008, 01:42
BioWare seems to be having some issues with the Mass Effect installer and also with Vista's UAC security feature.
Here's a post from programmer Owen Borstad on a complicated last-resort manual installation procedure:
Hi All,

There is a way to install the game manually if you can't get the game installed for some reason (installer error, saferun, etc).

You will need:
1) access to the contents of the data directory (either off CD, download, temp files, etc)
2) WinRar or 7zip or any tool that can extract .rar files.

Steps:
1) Create a folder on your system somewhere. Default for the installer is "C:\Program Files\Mass Effect\" or a games folder.
2) Open each .rar file in the utility chosen (WinRar for e.g.)
3) Extract each .rar file into this folder. If you are using an English build, you won't need to extract any .rar file that has a different language code (_es, _fr, _de, _it, etc)
4) After extracting all files, your folder should look like this:
…\Mass Effect\Binaries\
…\Mass Effect\BioGame\
…\Mass Effect\data\
…\Mass Effect\docs\
…\Mass Effect\Engine\
…\Mass Effect\MassEffectLauncher.exe

5) Run the MassEffectLauncher.exe and quit immediately.
6) Run the "Mass Effect (tm)_code.exe" from the data folder. Enter your CD Key, click next, it will exit out.
7) Run the Launcher again, hit "Config". under the "Repair" tab, you can re-create your shortcuts if running XP. If running Vista, I'm sorry, you can't add the game to the Game Explorer in these instructions.
9) Quit back to the launcher.
10) Play! (everything should work nicely now)


I hope that helps some people!

Owen.
…and if you've installed successfully but it crashes when you run it in Vista, you may need to disable UAC for the first run:
Windows Vista users with UAC (User Access Control) enabled may experience a crash to desktop when running Mass Effect after installation.
The solution to this problem is to disable UAC, run Mass Effect PC once and then enable UAC on your Windows Vista Control Panel. Once the procedure has been completed, you will not have to repeat the it unless Windows Vista is reinstalled. […]
More information.

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June 1st, 2008, 01:42
Actually, there are many, many more issues with this game than those mentioned above. One of the most serious ones is constant black screens, freezes, lock-ups, etc. that are - ridiculously enough - seem to be hardware specific, as mostly GF 8800GT owners are affected. Not to mention being unable to save, corrupted save files, et al.

This is a joke, really. Either it's bad programming or their 'fantastic' copy protection (which got cracked in a single day, btw) causes the game to go fubar.

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June 1st, 2008, 13:01
Personally, I wouldn't blame graphics issues to copy protection.
But I'm not experienced programmer, of course …

This - by the way - supports my very personal view of the GeForce 8 series to be actually a step back, than forwards.

I have experienced several issues with my 8600 GT as well, which result in not being able to play some older games.
NWN1 also had some issues with it.

I fear that I might need to buy a second graphics card - from their competors, of course.

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June 1st, 2008, 13:36
Sad… really sad.

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June 1st, 2008, 13:39
There's nothing wrong with the GeForce 8 series — I've had my 8800GT for like half a year now, and never, ever had any problems with it, even with older titles. Truth is, the 8600 is a pretty weak card, but still: BW or the PC conversion team most likely suck in terms of programming the UE3 engine. I mean c'mon, there's even word going about on the official forums that freezes are quite probably related to onboard soundchips and Realtek drivers. Just how lame is that, considering that not everyone owns an X-fi or whatever (with X-fi owners reporting problems as well)? Seems to me that amidst all the "polishing", they forgot to thoroughly bugtest the game. Of course, when it comes to low sales in the future, all will be blamed on piracy…

But suit yourself, go ahead and buy an ATi VGA. Granted, you won't be able to play half of the games out there, due to texture corruptions and whatnot.

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June 1st, 2008, 13:50
Well, on my system won't run The Westerner, and Majesty as well, and yesterday I found out the Psychonauts won't run as well, and even worse, Battlefront II with the latest patch applied as well ! (I'm playing it unpatched, therefore.)

I do blame the graphics card for this - although I must admit that any other thing could be responsible for this.

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June 1st, 2008, 15:04
My 8800GTS640 runs all games except two first total war games. Havent tested if they would run on newer drivers.
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June 1st, 2008, 16:48
Older games might have problems running because of your OS, not necessarily due to your hardware. If a game was written for Win98, it is highly improbable that it'll run on XP, for example.

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June 1st, 2008, 17:55
Originally Posted by r3dshift View Post
Older games might have problems running because of your OS, not necessarily due to your hardware. If a game was written for Win98, it is highly improbable that it'll run on XP, for example.
The total wars worked just fine on XP. It was not until I changed my graphics card to 8800 (the original release 1.5 years ago) that they ceased to work. The drivers were bad at start. Many other games had similar problems. Since then they have improved the drivers quite a bit.
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June 1st, 2008, 18:02
Its not necessarily the OS that's at fault but nVidia's drivers. Most of the latest NWN1 problems are due poorly tested drivers rushed out to the market too soon.

My only argument for nVidia is, why should they have to be compatible with a (then) 5 year old game? The answer, of course, is that a lot of noisy people were still playing it.

This latest series of problems seems inexcusable to me.

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June 1st, 2008, 20:37
I kept getting the install errors when I did the default install. The first time I tried a custom install it fully installed and played fine til it crashed about 4 hours into it.
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June 1st, 2008, 22:34
Originally Posted by r3dshift View Post
Older games might have problems running because of your OS, not necessarily due to your hardware. If a game was written for Win98, it is highly improbable that it'll run on XP, for example.
I know that. I'm no fool.

Psychonauts is from 2004, and Battlefront too, I think.

The sad thing is that others report Majesty running just fine on Winxp - with a different nvdidia driver. One that is too old for my card.

Maybe I should go and buy the re-released version of this game just to see whether something has changed.

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June 1st, 2008, 22:47
Originally Posted by r3dshift View Post
I mean c'mon, there's even word going about on the official forums that freezes are quite probably related to onboard soundchips and Realtek drivers. Just how lame is that, considering that not everyone owns an X-fi or whatever (with X-fi owners reporting problems as well)?
Frankly, I'm getting pretty annoyed at Realtek and Creative. They've now had a year and a half since Vista's commercial release, and two years since the public beta, to get their drivers fully compliant with it, but there are still problems.

(And no, it's not Microsoft's fault that they fixed the egregiously bad, buggy, and insecure driver model in NT/2000/XP, although it certainly is their fault that it was bad, buggy, and insecure to start with.)
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June 1st, 2008, 22:53
Maybe I should de-activate my Realtek sound driver and activate the one of my old "SB Live! Value" card instead ?

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June 1st, 2008, 23:42
I have an onboard realtek sound card and I am using Vista and have no problems at all. I have no problems running any games I have and I'll be checking out Mass Effect in a few minutes and I don't expect to have any problems there either.
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June 1st, 2008, 23:51
I've got no love for Realtek at all. It seems like that's the cheapo onboard soundcard all the mfrs. seem to like and they do themselves a disservice. I wouldn't blame the game developer for a problem with sound if I was using an onboard Realtek (and I have before. I had a nightmare trying to get drivers for it in the past for XP 64).

And I am in agreement with PJ on Creative. For all their market dominance they are seriously not caring about their core product anymore having the gall to actually blame nVidia for their clicking problems. We had a long discussion about it in the Tech forum.

So that leaves a question: what is a good sound card these days? I haven't had much luck with Soundblaster compatibles even up to 9 years ago.

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June 1st, 2008, 23:52
All of this is not necessarily BioWare's fault or automatically sloppy programming by the conversion team. I mean, seriously. Do people really need to start screaming and yelling "incompetence! rushed!" at the developer when some people are having a few problems this bad?
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June 2nd, 2008, 00:39
I'm sorry Thaurin, the UAC error is just plain sloppy. Whether BioWare or Demiurge or EA is the real culprit is splitting hairs, since one is a subsidiary and the other a contractor to the others.

A huge deal? No. But really, really sloppy.

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June 2nd, 2008, 09:17
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Maybe I should de-activate my Realtek sound driver and activate the one of my old "SB Live! Value" card instead ?
It's worth a try, I think.
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June 2nd, 2008, 09:18
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I have an onboard realtek sound card and I am using Vista and have no problems at all. I have no problems running any games I have and I'll be checking out Mass Effect in a few minutes and I don't expect to have any problems there either.
Good luck. You do know that the Realtek driver has known incompatibilities with Vista SP1, which won't be offered to you on Microsoft Update if the driver is present on your system?
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