The purpose of this thread is to compile the various fixes discussed in this Civ4 Tech Support forum. If you find something useful then let us know! Thanks to all contributors. Civ4 makes serious use of recent graphic and sound interfaces, like harware Transform and Lighting. This makes for a cool game, but unfortunately it pushes the limits of the typical PC. You will need the right hardware first and then the right software to run this game. The Fixes 1. New Hardware 2. OS Updates 3. Driver Updates 4. DirectX Update 5. System Settings 6. Virtual Memory 7. Game Settings 8. Render Error Fix 9. Art Pack Patch 10. XML Parse Error Fix 11. Clear the Game Cache 12. Restart the Game 13. Helper Apps 14. SafeDisk4 Fix 15. Admin Permissions 16. Hardware conflicts 17. New User Account 18. Other Measures 19. Debug Logging 1. New Hardware Take an honest look at the system requirements. The minimum is barely functional. You can save yourself some trouble by dealing with this up front. Baseline: Win2k/XP, 1.7GB, 4xCD-ROM, Sound Card, DirectX9.0c Minimum: 1.2GHz, 256MB(Win2k)/512MB(WinXP), Video 64MB T+L (GeForce2/Radeon7500 or better) Recommended: 1.8GHz, 512MB, Video 128MB pixel & vertex shaders To decipher the video terms, refer to this spec sheet. Look for 'Vertex shader' not empty (dash). If your video card is more than 3 years old then you probably need a new one. Recommendations are not easy, as it depends on your system resources and your wallet resources. See the Video Q+A thread for more on video cards. 2. OS Updates DirectX is tightly integrated to the Microsoft OS, so a new DirectX can expose OS problems. Here's a couple of examples from the WinXP SP2 fixes: Also, WinXP SP2 will be necessary for the Art Pack patch, so XP users should go ahead and do it. Win2k users should be interested in any patches relating to DirectX or hardware issues involving graphics and sound. 3. Driver Updates For proper DirectX support get the latest recommended drivers that you are comfortable installing. This includes video, sound and main board. This will be fundamental source of problems until you find a baseline with confidence. Video Drivers are critical, but the key seems to be finding the best driver, not necessarily the latest driver. ATI owners have reported better results with drivers from the older Catalyst version 4.12. There are also some comments from Take-2 about testing with older Nvidia drivers. Also, be sure to look for video drivers from the exact card maker first, as opposed to the generic ATI/Nvidia/S3/etc reference drivers. Some people have solved their problems by installing drivers that are tailored for their video card. Old Sound Card drivers can also cause issues, possibly due to the detailed settings found in XML files. A bad sound card driver can exhibit an XML error! Old main board drivers are not usually a problem, but I heard from one person who had no AGP driver (so it was acting like PCI). If you can't run your video card in 4x or 8x mode then check for updates. 4. DirectX Update You must have DirectX9.0c (it comes with the game). Start the DirectX Diagnostics (Start-Run-dxdiag) and run the Display and Sound tests to be sure your drivers are working. Notice the options on the Display and Sound tabs. Also, there is a DirectX9.0c October SDK update that contains runtime debug tools. You may get more details in your logs using this (it updates the DirectX runtime, too). 5. System Settings Try adjusting the various system settings that affect sound or video. For example, look at the AGP aperature in the BIOS (video cards with less memory need more). There are many video card options to try - Direct3D vs OpenGL, acceleration, anti-aliasing, etc. More controls are found in the DirectX Diagnostic (start-run-dxdiag). Some people report sucess with turning video acceleration off then stepping it back up. Other people report improvements from turning off sound acceleration in the Sound tab of DxDiag. For access to more video settings, try RivaTuner. This will access more features available with your video card driver. In particular, try adjusting the Pixel/Vertex Shader settings. 6. Virtual Memory Virtual memory is space on you hard drive that is used for active memory. When your system boots it creates the file (usually pagefile.sys). For good performance this should be set to custom with minimum equal to the maximum. This prevents the pagefile from becoming fragmented, which insures consistent performance. Generally the size should be double your RAM, up to 1G. I wouldn't go higher unless you see the need for more in taskmanager. To check your Virtual Memory settings (XP): Start - Settings - Control Panel - System - Advanced tab - Perfomance box - Settings - Advanced tab - Virtual Memory box - Change - Custom Size section. If you need to change this then you should consider defragmenting first, or you may get fragments in your pagefile. The defragger can analyze your disk and show you where you stand. The pagefile is part of the green (unmoveable) sections. The defragger is under Start - Settings - Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Computer Management - Disk Defragmenter. To speed things up you can delete and uninstall anything undesirable before defragging. 7. Game Settings There are reports of issues with permissions when installed in the Programs directory. If you have severe startup problems then you could try installing in another location (or another partion). Try changing the game settings to reduce graphic and memory loads. There are options for autosaves, wonder movies, etc. Window mode seems to one person with movie stuttering. Look in your installation directory for a file called "_Civ4Config" and open it in notepad. Here are some selected lines of interest. Code: ; Specify whether to play in fullscreen mode 0/1/ask FullScreen = 1 ; Specify the number of turns between autoSaves. 0 means no autosave. AutoSaveInterval = 1 ; Set to 1 for no in-game movies NoMovies = 1 Also, be very aware of your startup resolution setting! This can cause 'Failure to Initialize' errors if it is not valid for your current card+monitor.