Neverwinter Nights 2 Tweak Guide
[Page 3] Troubleshooting Tips
This section contains specific troubleshooting tips which address many of the common problems experienced by Neverwinter Night 2 players. I can't stress enough the importance of taking the time to go through the checklist of advice below if you're having a problem with the game.
Official Support: If you have a problem with the game, the first place to check is the Readme.rtf file found in your \Program Files\Atari\Neverwinter Nights 2\Documentation directory, paying close attention to the game's minimum hardware requirements as well as known issues. An electronic copy of the NWN2 Manual can be also be found in the same directory, as well as help documentation for the NWN2 Toolset. If none of these help, go to the Atari Support Page for NWN2. If you still can't find your issue listed, try posting on the Official Obsidian NWN2 Forums or the Official Atari NWN2 Forums. Obviously make sure to read through this page, and this guide (along with linked resources) carefully as typically a solution is almost always provided for most major issues.
Windows Vista Users: If you're having problems running this game under Windows Vista, first make sure that you're using the latest Vista graphics and audio drivers for your hardware, and the latest version of this game (see page 4 for patch details). Next, make sure you don't change your UAC settings after the game has been installed, as due to Virtualization this can change the location of the game files and settings. If you can't launch the game successfully when UAC is enabled, you will need to run the game with full Admin privileges. To do this either right-click on the launch icon and select 'Run as Administrator', or right-click on the launch icon, select Properties and under the Compatibility tab tick 'Run this program as an administrator' then click OK. I strongly recommend that you refer to the TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for Windows Vista for more information - in particular check the 'Gaming in Vista' section of the Graphics & Interface chapter; the UAC section of the PC Security chapter; and the 'Personal Folders' and 'Directory Junctions & Symbolic Links' sections of the Windows Explorer chapter. These will tell you how you can fix game-related issues and also explain the relevant differences of Vista.
SecuROM Startup Issues: The SecuROM copy protection system used for NWN2 is known to cause startup issues on some systems, so much so that many users are Petitioning Atari to remove it. For the moment however the only legal solutions for those having problems launching the game is to check the SecuROM Support Page. In particular make sure to disable any drive emulation or similar such tools as these are known to be incompatible with SecuROM. Often times removing the game disk from the drive, reinserting it and retrying to launch the game works. If or when the SecuROM disk check is removed from NWN2, I will report it on page 4 of this guide.
Update: As of the 1.23 Patch, the disc check component of SecuROM has been removed - see Page 4 for more details. This means you no longer need to keep the DVD in the drive to play, and it also resolves many SecuROM-related issues.
Lag/Framerate Issues: Most people referring to 'lag' in NWN2 actually mean low framerates. This is not a bug as such, it is simply the nature of the game and its engine. The only real solution to increasing framerates is to go through this guide and gain a clear understanding of the options, then adjust them to improve your average FPS. However importantly make sure to also read the Framerate Boost tip on the last page of this guide, and also either disable XFire if it's running in the background, or use this fix, as it is known to cause framerate problems with NWN2.
AMD AthlonXP CPU Fix: If you run an original AthlonXP CPU, then the game will use an alternate executable file called nwn2main_amdxp.exe, found under your \Program Files\Atari\Neverwinter Nights 2 directory. This is likely because the Athlon XP CPUs did not support the most recent features of modern CPUs, such as the SSE2 instruction set. You should not need to use this executable if you have a more recent AMD CPU, however some people claim that doing so provides a boost in FPS. I haven't found this to be the case, but you can try for yourself if you wish.
Dual Core CPU Issues: See the last page of this guide for full details of NWN2 and dual core CPUs. These issues should not exist in the latest versions of Windows XP and Vista.
Known Bugs & Issues: There are a wide range of known bugs, quest glitches and issues with Neverwinter Nights 2 being reported, as evident on the Official NWN2 Tech Support Forums. Most of these are being progressively patched out of the game. It is vital that you update your game to the latest official version - see page 4 for details. The latest patch fixes a range of issues, and I would recommend it to all users who are having problems with NWN2.
Patch Update Problems: If you can't use the online updater to update your game to the latest version (See page 4), there are a couple of solutions for you. Firstly, for those whose version of the game incorrectly reports as 0.95, and hence cannot be updated, you will need to edit your Registry according to the details here - note that changing the version number to 1.01 also works if using 1.00 doesn't. If you're not sure how to edit the Registry, see the Windows Registry chapter of my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for full details. If on the other hand you want to download and install the patches manually instead of using the updater, you can download the various ones here and use the instructions here to install them.
Stuttering: Stuttering is something common to most recent games, and is simply loading pauses as new information is being loaded up from your hard drive into RAM and/or into the graphics card's Video RAM. The real solution involves general system optimization (refer to the guides on the previous page), and also reducing the Texture Resolutions in-game setting, along with checking out the MaxCachedSounds and SEFCacheSize options in the Advanced Tweaking section of this guide. Finally, make absolutely certain to defragment your hard drive regularly, especially after the installation of any patches/updates, as this has a marked impact on reducing stutter.
Background Programs: Disable all background applications - especially virus, trojan and spyware scanners and messaging utilities. These applications can and do use up valuable CPU resources, take up precious RAM, cause memory conflicts and crashes to desktop, but most importantly they interfere with read/writes to your hard drive effectively slowing it down and causing even more in-game stuttering and longer loading times. Full instructions on how to identify your startup programs and services and how to correctly disable unnecessary ones are in my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion. This is a very important step you should not miss.
Overclocking: If you've overclocked any components on your system and are having problems such as crashes, reboots and graphical anomalies, the first thing to do is set everything back to default speeds and try running the game. If you don't experience the same problems at default speed, or they're reduced in severity, then your overclock is the primary culprit. Either permanently reduce your overclock and/or increase cooling to regain stability. Don't assume that because other games run with stability, that Neverwinter Nights 2 will work fine as well.
That's just a basic rundown of troubleshooting tips. Read the remainder of this guide for more specific settings and tweaks which can help improve your performance and resolve any problems.