Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to make STALKER: Call of Pripyat (Steam) work

S.T.A.L.K.E.R is one of those weird games that is so awesome when it works, and frustrating as hell when it doesn’t. I am putting together a little guide here that should help you get your Steam version of the game work almost flawlessly.

I am sure most of what I write here can be applied to the regular version as well, but I haven’t tried it. I am also going to be assuming that you are using an Nvidia GPU, because that is what I have.

Here are the problems I had initially when I downloaded the game from Steam and tried to start it:

1. X-ray 1.6 crash – The game would start, and then it wouldn’t respond. If you end the game from the task manager, you will see a X-ray1.6 crash dialog box.

Quick fix for this – Disable Steam In-game overlay. The game will definitely start after doing so. There is still no guarantee that it would work right after that.

2. Extremely long load times. We are talking 10 minutes to load the game. 30 seconds to get to get the menu after hitting escape, kind of choppy frame rates.

Follow these few very simple steps, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat should work great for you.

1. Download and install the game from Steam

2. Get the complete mod. Click on this LINK to read more about it.

Download it HERE.

The complete mod does a fantastic job of improving the game in many ways. I can’t imagine playing the game without it.

The mod can be installed in two ways – Normal and Advanced. I installed the Advanced version because I have a good enough setup (Q9400, GeForce GTX 680 & 8GB RAM). Depending on the configuration of your system, chose the version that suits best.

Here are few screenshots before the mod was applied:

xrEngine 2012-04-10 21-01-55-37xrEngine 2012-04-10 21-01-56-88xrEngine 2012-04-10 21-02-00-88xrEngine 2012-04-10 21-02-03-40

Here are some screenshots after the mod was applied:

xrEngine 2012-04-11 19-04-11-83xrEngine 2012-04-11 19-04-13-76xrEngine 2012-04-11 19-04-15-18xrEngine 2012-04-11 19-29-30-53

It must be noted that previous save games won’t work after installing the mod.

3. Make sure that Steam is not running in compatibility mode. I was surprised to know that my Steam instance was working in Vista compatibility mode. I never knew this because until now, I had no reason to check.

Also, make sure you are running Steam as an Administrator.

Steam - Run as Administrator

4. It is important to remember that S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat should not be launched from Steam. Instead, do the following:

Go to this directory:

D:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\stalker call of pripyat\bin (Steam maybe installed on C drive on your machine)

Right click on xrEngine.exe and create a shortcut on the desktop. Go to the desktop, and right click on the shortcut, and change the Start in field to this directory:

"D:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\stalker call of pripyat\"


5. Start Steam, let it load fully.

6. Start S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Call of Pripyat from the shortcut on the desktop.

If you did all these steps right, including installing the right version of the complete mod, the game should work fine.

FYI, here is my system configuration:


Intel Q9400  @ 2.66GHz, 2667 Mhz, 4 Core(s)


Gigabyte EP45-UD3R

Graphics card EVGA Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 SC

Hope this tutorial helps. If it doesn’t, feel free to email me, and I will answer your questions.