Fixing a slow game

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My Oblivion runs slow what can I do to fix it?

Edit, 11/29/09 Added link to Game Booster. Added Win7 to Tweak Guides listing. New Quiet Feet and LowPoly Grass links - contributed by ptbptb


Edit 2/1/10 Added link to Oblivion Stutter Remover. Suggested by ytsejam91


Note: this is a work in progress, so please feel free to criticize and make suggestions for improvements as well as to correct any bad information.


I see this for good systems as well as low end systems. There is no one answer to fit all.

What are the PC system requirements?

First, does your system meet the requirements to run the game? Here it is, right from the Bethesda site.


Recommended:

  • 3 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
  • 1 GB System RAM
  • ATI X800 series, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 series, or higher video card


Minimum System Requirements:

  • Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows XP 64-bit
  • 512MB System RAM
  • 2 Ghz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
  • 128MB Direct3D compatible video card
  • and DirectX 9.0 compatible driver;
  • 8x DVD-ROM drive
  • 4.6 GB free hard disk space
  • DirectX 9.0c (included)
  • DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
  • Keyboard, Mouse


Note that the recommended requirements are much higher then the minimum requirements. And that this is several years old. There have been 2 new generations of video cards since the list was made.


You may also try this site to see if you can run it: Can You Run It?

If your system is capable

Run your Antivirus scan, then an anti-spyware scan. If you are infected it WILL slow things down.


Do a hard drive cleanup. Get rid of junk files and old programs you no longer need.


Run a registry cleaning program such as Ccleaner


Run the Hard drive defrag program, a fragmented HD will run slower.

After cleaning and defraging

For troubleshooting, turn off everything running in the background, including any Instant messaging, auto defraging, internet browser, MS Indexing and anything you can in the services. If you can, even disconnect from the internet (unplug the cable or turn off the wifi) and disable any antivirus and antispyware programs you have running.


An easy way to do this is to do a 'clean boot' .

For WinXP: How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state

For Vista: Perform a clean startup to determine whether background programs are interfering with your game or program


This runs Windows with the minimum of background processes. Now start Oblivion. If some background process is causing the slow down, You will see a big improvement in fps. Then you have to figure out which background process is doing it and remove it.


Video card drivers can also be a source of slow games. First check to see if you have the latest video drivers installed. If not, go to your card manufacturers help site and download the drivers.


Sometimes, the newest drivers are the problem. If you have the latest drivers, try rolling back to an earlier driver. Usually these problems with new drivers are fixed quickly, check back in about a week to see if they have issued a patch or released another new driver.


You may be trying to run at too high video settings. Turn them way down to see how much effect the video settings have in game. One step lower on screen resolution can sometimes make a big improvement. Turn off HDR, Bloom lighting and Anti aliasing. Move sliders to the left. Grass distance can make a big difference in fps in wilderness. Move all shadow sliders to the far left, either turn off or turn down all water settings. You can turn the ones you must have back on or up after you have decided this is not the problem.


Another cause of low fps can be the sound system, again, if you do not have a separate sound card, it steals resources from the system. A quick way to test for this is to turn off the sound in the game. This is done in the Oblivion.ini file. NOT the one in the Oblivion folder, but the one where the saved games are located


For WinXP C:\documents and Settings\User name\My documents\My games\Oblivion

For Vista: C:\Users\user name\My Documents\My Games\Oblivion


Replace the user name with the user name you picked when you set up your account on this computer. You open the Oblivion.ini using either notepad or a word processor. Either scroll down or use the search function to find

bMusicEnabled=1
bSoundEnabled=1


Change them to:

bMusicEnabled=0
bSoundEnabled=0


Then save and exit – try the game to see if there is an improvement. There may not be anything you can do about this unless you can get a new audio board, or are willing to play without the music playing in the background, and/or the game sounds and voices enabled.


If you still either need or want to try to squeeze a little more fps out of your game, I recommend TweakGuides


There are tweakguides here for Oblivion, Fallout3, WinXp, Vista Win7 and both Nvidia and ATI video cards. And now a link to a tweakguide for Fallout: New Vegas.


I recommend doing the tweaks for your system first, then for your video card, and the game last.

Mods that can help improve fps

Don't expect miracles these cannot fix real problems.


Streamline


And recommended by ptbptb

Quiet Feet MAX

Quiet Feet MAX OMOD and Conversion Data

Low Poly Grass


Recommended by ytsejam91

Oblivion Stutter remover


You may also try the Free program Game Booster


I have seen mixed reviews on it some say it helped quite a bit, others say no noticable improvement.