How to make games actually work – [En]


Every time a new game appears people complain that it does not work.
And not because they don’t meet the sys requirements, but because there’s something else wrong.
I haven’t yet encountered a game so tough not to manage to make it work, so I’ll list here what may be missing for your required software pack.
Although the games do have their redist pack, sometimes there are incompatibilities or others things that are required.

0. DirectX
The most important thing to have up to date.
It is a mess; having DX11 may still require a lot of missing DX9 components so it’s best that you install any new version you find in the latest games redist packages.

1. AMD Dual-core optimizer
Have it installed even if you have intel and/or any quad or more cores.

2.a. MS .Net Framework 4 or later or the latest version supported by your OS.
It’s mandatory that you have .Net Framework 2.0 with SP2 and .Net Framework 3.0 with SP1 also. Files sometimes required from them are not present in version 4.
2.b. MS XNA Framework Redistributable 4 Refresh
XNA is another set of tools with a managed runtime environment that facilitates video game development and management and it’s required for some games.

3. MS Games for Windows – Live redistributable
It is required for some MS-supported games.

4. MS Silverlight
Don’t remember what few games wanted something from this, but it certainly must be there at a point.

5.a. MS Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable
5.b. MS Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable x86
5.c. MS Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable x64
5.d. MS Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable x86
5.e. MS Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable x64
5.f. MS Visual C++ 2012 Redistributable x86
5.g. MS Visual C++ 2012 Redistributable x64
5.h MS Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable x86
5.i MS Visual C++ 2013 Redistributable x64

You need both x86 and x64 for 64-bit OS. For 32-bit, only x86.
Be aware that they may be patched at a point so you can end up with 10+ installs in W7 x64.

6. nVidia PhysX
This is by far the biggest nightmare.
Its often very bugged even if you have nV video card.
Newer versions may fail while older ones could make the game you want to work, but latest games do sometimes require a very new and bad version of the driver.
Worst case, you’ll need to use an older version for some games and a new one for others and you have no choice but to keep reinstalling and swapping between them.

7. OpenAL
Rare but you may need it when least expected.

8. Steam
A lot of games work via this one so it’s a must.

9. U-play
Something Ubi invented.
It’s needed for their latest games.

10. Windows Live ID Sign-in Agent
Another fail. What happened to the classic login ?
Anyway, have it around.

11. EA Origin client
Another company, another P.O.Software.
This one is needed for assimilating their games and DLCs.

12. MSXML
XML Support for JS, VBs. Rarely needed.

13. Various codecs.
Some games did not bother to go bink/smk or game-engine mode and use external codecs like some obsolete version of media player’s MPEG decoder.
This can be encountered and it manifests by blank/black screen when cinematics occur in-game.
Usually a monster pack of codecs does the job, but I don’t recommend installing mega-packs. Try something smaller like K-Lite or Combined Community Codec Pack.

14. Updated Drivers
Except all the above, always have the latest drivers for video and audio (plus rat and keyboard if you have some high-tech ones).
Many times drivers are a pain and you may need to use an older one for an older game, but usually latest is the best solution.

That’s about it. Everything should work if your video card meets the system requirements.
If I missed anything important, feel free to comment.

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