ThatDarnOwl's fix for Arcanum on Steam, Windows 10

Discussion in 'Arcanum Hints & Tips' started by Dark Elf, Jul 24, 2017.

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  1. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

    Likes Received:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Many thanks to ThatDarnOwl for allowing me to share this:
    Link to original text.


    Arcanum used Direct X 7, which is an old graphics API that Windows has since depreciated. Instead what Windows does is it emulates Direct X 7. Usually this doesn't cause issues but in Arcanum's case it slows the game down considerably whenever it uses any 3D elements. This can be very easily seen if you visit the cave outside the crash site of the IFS Zephyr. The game was also designed for single core computers and runs very slowly when loading the game and when moving the camera.

    Fortunately this can be fixed. The reported fix is to run -no3d and -doublebuffer in the properties under "Set Launch Options". Unfortunately this does not work because the Steam client launches the game's Launcher and not the game's .exe. However there is a way to tell the Launcher to run these commands.

    This is a relatively easy fix however this requires doing all of the steps I've outlined. Otherwise it will not work.

    Step 1: Navigate to your Arcanum steam folder

    After installing Arcanum it should appear in your steamapps folder. This is commonly found under

    C:\program files (x86)\Steam\Steamapps\common\arcanum
    After navigating there it should look something like this:


    Step 2: Modify the SierraLauncher ini file

    Underneath the file "SierraLauncher.exe" there's a .ini file.


    Right click this icon and select "Edit"

    Next notepad should pop up. Navigate down to "Game1Cmd=" and type in "-no3d -doublebuffer" next to it. So it reads

    Game1Cmd= -no3d -doublebuffer

    Optionally you can also include

    -scrolldist:0 -scrollfps:70

    -scrolldist:0 will allow you to scroll infinitely in any direction. Wheras -scrollsfps should optimize framerate. Although I haven't seen much of a difference.

    Step 3: Remove ddraw.dll

    You will now need to remove ddraw.dll. I've noticed the effect doesn't really kick in until you remove it entirely.

    Navigate to the "Arcanum" folder inside the Arcanum folder. It is commonly located in

    C:\program files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum
    Now find "ddraw.dll"


    Right click the file and press "Delete"

    Step 4: Install custom .dll

    Note that removing the .dll will increase fps considerably. However if you want the game to run faster it's best to install a custom made .dll.

    Go to and download the DLL by clicking the link at the top.

    Now open the .zip. Navigate to the ddrawfix folder, into the wined3d folder and extract these three files:


    Extract those into your Arcanum/Arcanum folder.

    If done correctly the game should launch and should run much, much faster and loading times should be near instant.


    That should be it. However there are some issues I've noticed that can arise.

    The biggest issue I've found is deleting ddraw.dll without inputting -no3d and -doublebuffer. This causes the game to not display the mouse at the main menu, making it unplayable.


    To return the game back to the way it was. Right click the game in Steam and go to "Properties"


    Next navigate to "Local files" and then press the "Verify Integrity of game cache"


    This will restore the game back to the way it was.
    Transparent Painting likes this.
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