Neverwinter Nights 2 Performance Tweaks, Fixes and Extras


So long! And thanks for all the fish! No more updates as December 10th, 2006.

I tried. Really I did. I did everything I could do to help others with their problems with nwn2 and said all the positive things I could about the game. The fact is, it’s buggy and flat out unoptimized, even after the 1.03 patch. I’ve got a pretty good higher end system and I still have problems getting my FPS above 21 in Neverwinter with it dropping down to 14 at times. The horrible multiplayer support is just the topping on the cake. Maybe in 4-5 months when it’s patched and optimized I’ll give it another look. I’m sure there is a good story in there somewhere, but the horrible performance of the game renders it useless.

Very unhappy with Obsidian and by extension Bioware. My advice to Bioware is thus, if you’re going to have your name attached to a game in any manner, make sure it’s up to your own standards. This one wasn’t, and by extension, you share in the blame for a game not worthy of your reputation.




What’s New: Week of December 2 – December 8

New ATI beta drivers comes with new AA functionality that works in nwn2. Details here.

Evens AI. AI overhaul for the offical campaign that fixes many henchmen issues. Here.

DMFI Dungeon Master scripts. Great tool for anyone wanting more control over a campaign. Here.

Obsidian’s Guide to Better Framerates here.

Performance Tweaks and Improvement

How to remove Securom and get better performance

**Important caveat. While this method will improve performance, it has the potential to be inconvenient. Essentially, you are removing a copyright protection service running in the background on your machine. Once you remove it, you must boot the game with a no cd/dvd patch like the one from reloaded. This has some side effects. One, should you run the NWN2 Update program, it will return an error regarding a download. This is because the patcher is checking the .exe file to see what version you are running and it will find a mismatch. Multiplayer suffers a similar issue. When trying to enter multiplayer, it will inform you a new version is available. Clicking “yes” launches the updater and the above problem occurs. Saying “no” returns you to the main menu…however..clicking multiplayer *again* launches the server browser. What I’m not sure of is if you can still join a multiplayer game at that point, it hangs on me when I try. *Confirmed: You must be using the original .exe files to play multiplayer.

**IMPORTANT: If you have any other games that depend on securom, this will disable the copy protection as well, possibly leaving you unable to play the game without re-installing it.

If you are looking for a performance increase, and multiplayer isn’t an issue, just do the following:
Download this program discussed here. Follow the instructions in the first forum post at guru3d. This will remove the securom service from running on your machine.
Now, download the no CD/DVD patch here. Look for the one by “Reloaded”
Go to your NWN2 install directory. In my case it’s C:\Program Files\Atari\Neverwinter Nights 2
Create a folder called “bak”
Move the nwn2.exe and nwn2_amdxp.exe into the “bak” folder.
UN-Rar the patch from “Reloaded” and place the two .exes into your main NWN2 folder.
Boot the game normally; it will load up without a CD/DVD and without Securom.

When a patch is released, you will need to move the nwn2.exe and nwn2_amdxp.exe files from your install directory and replace them with the original ones now in “bak”. You can now patch. This will however re-install securom! You’ll need to rinse and repeat the above process after you’ve patched.

NWN2 cd/dvd not being authenticated. Fix here.
Unpacking module hang fix here.
Realtek HD Audio 7.1 enabeling EAX. Here.
NWN2 Offline patcher.
Patch your NWN2 without using the official patcher and patch it to whatever version you want. Here.
Turning “off” Object Fading under options appears to add a nice number of FPS to the game. Here.

A reader offers the following advice for those using anti-virus and running nwn2.

DO NOT RELAY ON SWITCHING YOUR ANTIVIRUS ONTO SLEEP MODE. I run eTrust Vet Antivirus and the sleep antivirus protection forget’s one crucial eliment, auto update and resources to still have the thing in the background. My advise is to shut down your antivirus protection all together before running nwn2.

If you use point lights, try setting them to 4 instead of >4. Discussion here.

XFIRE Performance problems TURN OFF XFIRE.
Even though it’s offered as an install with the game, it causes *massive* slow downs with just about everything. Alternatively, you can use the Xfire work around here.
Increase the amount of memory the game uses for the Special Effects System (SEF) . For 1 gig of memory or greater.

Open up you nwn.ini file in the C:\Documents and Settings\whateveruser\My Documents\Neverwinter Nights 2 folder.
Look for SEFCacheSize= and change the value to 50

SEFs are ‘special effects’ systems. In order to keep from having to load and parse the .SEF files that define special effects, there is a caching system in place.
Systems can fall out of the cache because the cache gets too full, or because they go for a certain length of time without being accessed.
I’m not sure if tuning those values will provide any performance improvements, as the default values are pretty reasonable.
Making those values larger makes it so that SEFs reside in memory longer, which will increase the memory footprint of the game slightly but reduce how often the game has to go to disk to load special effects. Lowering those values will reduce the memory footprint slightly, but make it so that the game has to load the special effects sytems from the disk more frequently, which may cause a performance hit. Hope that clears that up. 🙂 -Rich”

Original Developer Post here.

Single Card with Vsync Performance Tips using Triple Buffering here.
Possible performace increase for AMD users.
If you’re an AMD user. There is a nwn2main_amdxp.exe file in your install folder. Some AMD users say this helps them out considerably, others report no change.

NWN2 resets speakers to 2/2.1. Fix Here.
Logitech Camera drivers preventing Soundblaster X-Fi and EAX from functioning. Fix here.
Install the latest (October 2006) version of Dirext X.
The latest version of Direct X was released in October. Even if you have you think you have the latest version, if you installed it any time before October 2006 you should install *this* version because often newer games take advantage of and run better with the latest version of Direct X. Get it here. Discussion here.

Remove intro movies
Rename the .bik files in your movies folder, you’ll see which ones to rename, like wotclogo.bik, etc. This removed all the stupid movies that load when you boot the game.
Also, this appears to be an easier method suggested by a reader. “Open My Documents/Neverwinter Nights 2/nwn.ini and under [Display Options] add Disable Intro Movies=1”

Black chat box problem FIX here.
Gamecopy world has several NO DVD patches here.

*Note I do NOT condone piracy, but you have the right to play the game you paid for as you see fit and using a no dvd patch is not piracy anyway. The “reloaded” patch seems to be the one of choice.
**Additional Note: I’ve discovered that playing the game with the “reloaded” no dvd patch disables water effects. You can turn them on all you want but when you leave the menu, they reset to “off”. I have no idea why.

Nvidia Specific Tips

93.71 Nvidia drivers optimized for NWN2 actually decreases performance. The fix is here.

The Nvidia profile points to the wrong .exe file… change it and that will fix your low fps problems with the new patch – worked for me.

Performance tweaks for Nvidia users
Be sure to download the newest Nvidia drivers and use the Neverwinter Nights 2 profile that is now available.

Disable ATIWorkAround
Open the nwn.ini file in your my documents folder. Find “ATIWorkAroundForPointLightShadows=1”
Nvidia users report changing this to 0 really increases FPS

Nvidia SLI Tips for NW2 here.

“Install 93.71 drivers
2. Use Nhancer to add all .EXE files in NWN2 root directory to Neverwinter Nights 2 profile.
3. Vsync off
4. Leave pre-defined SLI profile as is (its awesome)
5. Verify with GPU balance bar that shadows and bloom don’t null SLI.
6. Currently, the water settings are still FPS killers
7. Have Fun as one of the very small percentage of players that can play the game in its glory This works miracle with this game as I can confirm with my Geforce 7950 GX2.
NB! Remember to untick the two water settings though.”


ATI Specific Tips


Use ATI TRAY TOOLS? Read this.

Reader advice on setting “Flip Queue Size” setting for ATI card using ATI Tray Tools to 2. Gives a performance increase.

—Flip Queue size—
MY Card: ATI Radeo 9600 Pro
Yes I know I should have purchased a new card ages ago but buy putting all settings onto low I have been able to play most games at 15 – 20 FPS therefore just getting buy. Anyway, My point here is to advise that with my setup by running ATI Tray Tools and setting all setting to High Performace Ive been able to run at 10 FPS. This has resulted in me trying to get the most out of my system thus finding that if you set the Flip Queue Size to “2″ I’m now running around at 15 – 30 FPS therfore allowing me to hold out until the Direct X 10 cards are out next year.

New ATI drivers based on the recently released 6.10. These have optimizations for NWN2 among other games. Get there here. Make sure you view the info on how to set them to run for NWN2. Also, new offical ATI drivers from ATI today. Here.

*The NWN2 profiles doesn’t require you to do anything:

“Neverwinter Nights 2 doesn’t have settings that can be altered from the registries. So, i had to put a config file in the driver. The file will be automatically placed in the right placed. Next time you start NWN2, it will use those settings. Check the installer box if you have NWN2 on your system.”

Windows Vista Specific Tips

Menu problems while running NWN2 in Vista. A fix or two here.

My totally subjective Vista RTM performance observations for nwn2. Here.

Things that make the game more fun to play

More advanced crafting system. You can plug it into the offical campagin. Here.

Smaller Minimap here.

Add up to 6 NPCs in your party in Chapter 1. Here.

Alternative AI for Henchmen. Here.

Even newer and improved UI. This stuff is good. Get it here.

Drive camera fix

In the nwn.ini file in My Documents, find
CameraFollowAlways” and make it “1” It will make the
drive camera no longer float off if you turn around.

Slates UI Mods here.
WoW Style camera controls here or here. How to “De-Level” and re-roll your character here.
How to play the official campaign without using henchmen (sorta) here.
UI changes to the text box here.
Get a full Watch uniform from the watch quests instead of just a cloak here.
No or little delay right context menu display

Go into Game Options | Gameplay/Audio and change the Context Menu Delay down to 0.10. After adjusting to the lowest setting, it’s a much more enjoyable UI and overall experience with the game.

Give your Tiefling characters a REAL tail here.
Edit your OC Characters (Save Games) here. This is related to the above post on tails.
Using the GFF Editor to change the skin tone and height of your character here.
Using the GFF editor mentioned in the tail tweak to set your helmet display status.

Look for a “neverdrawhelmet” draw helmet option. Setting this to 1 will make it so your helmet is never displayed, even when being worn. You can do the same for your companions buy editing their files. There is no “Universal” neverdrawhelmet tweak, it must be done on a character by character basis using the GFF editior.

Slim health bars. Thread here. Download Here.
Unlock the pre-order Merchants Friend and Blessed of Waukeen feats here.

“Go into the console (~) and type: DebugMode 1
givefeat 1765
givefeat 1764
DebugMode 0 1765 is BoW, 1764 is Merchants friend.”