It’s been a while since Grand Theft Auto 4 was released but there still seem to be a lot of people out there searching for tips, tweaks and fixes for various problems with the game. GTA 4 does not seem to be that well optimized for the PC and runs a little slow even on some high end computers. I hope this article will help you better tweak the game and gain at least a few more FPS.
Note: The first part of this article can be found here. If you have problems with the game and still have not read the first part, I suggest you check for solutions and performance tips there first.
Note: Some of the methods below involve editing GTA 4 configuration files. If you enter wrong values or edit the wrong file, it could fcuk up the game completely - you will need to resintall. Proceed at your own risk.
How to unlock configuration files to manually edit GTA 4 settings
Unlike most other games, you can’t edit GTA 4 configuration settings by simply opening them up and editing them using a text editor. The game’s xlive (Windows Live) protection uses some kind of a hash check to detect modified files. If it detects edited files, the game will shut down at startup. Luckily the xlive protection, like all other protections out there, can be hoodwinked. Follow the steps below to unlock your GTA 4 configuration files for manual editing.
- If you have already tried modifying any GTA 4 configuration files (located in \Grand Theft Auto IV\common\data\ folder), you need to restore the original files. Reinstall if you have to.
- Download gtaiv.-magic.zip file from this link.(Link obtained from this thread – credit to original creator).
- Extract this zip file – there will be two files inside – magic.bat file and filelist.pak file.
- Copy the magic.bat file to your GTA 4 installation directory. i.e- X:\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto IV\
- Run magic.bat. This will create backups of your GTA 4 config files and prepare them for modding. You may need to right click magic.bat and ‘Run as Administrator’ on Windows Vista.
- Navigate to folder X:\….\Grand Theft Auto IV\pc\data\. Locate the filelist.pak file.
- Create a backup of filelist.pak. Then replace it with the filelist.pak file you extracted in step 3 above.
You will now be able to edit the configuration files. GTA 4 configuration files are located in the X:\…\Grand Theft Auto IV\common\data\ folder. Just open the .DAT files in this directory with a text editor and you are good to go. If you are looking to tweak graphics settings, edit visualsettings.dat file.
How to turn off/reduce Bloom effect in GTA 4?
If you were not aware, GTA 4 has the bloom effect enabled by default. Worst part is that there is no option to turn it off. If you have low end video hardware, having bloom enabled can cost you some FPS. Although Bloom can never really be turned off in GTA 4, it can be turned down by editing the config files. To turn Bloom down, follow the steps below:
- You need to prepare your configuration files for modding by following steps 1-7 in ‘How to unlock configuration files to manually edit GTA 4 settings’ topic above. If you have not done this already, do it now.
- Navigate to X:\…\Grand Theft Auto IV\common\data\ folder. Locate the visualsettings.dat file. Check if the file is marked read only. If it is, remove the read only attribute.
- Open visualsettings.dat with a text editor. Search for the following lines:
- Now carefully change these two lines to the ones given below: misc.BloomIntensityClamp.HD 0
- Save the file.
I cannot guarantee that you will always gain performance using the above method. On some video cards you will see a 5-10 FPS increase while on other cards there will be no noticeable performance increase at all.
P.S.- If GTA 4 crashes before intro screen when you launch the game after modding a file, something went wrong during the modding process. You may need to resintall.
How to use your own music tracks in GTA 4 vehicle radio
Just like in previous GTA games, you can use your own music tracks in GTA 4.
- Copy your music tracks to C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\Rockstar Games\GTA IV\User Music\ folder if using Windows Vista OR to My Documents\Rockstar Games\GTA IV\User Music\ folder if using Windows XP (MP3 format is preferred)
- Launch the game. Go to Options->Audio
- Select ‘Complete Scan’. The game will detect all your tracks.
- Start the game and get into a vehicle. Select Independence FM radio station – this is the station that will play user tracks.
How to hail a cab in GTA 4
Not exactly a technical issue but got several E-mails about this. You have to play an early storyline mission to unlock this ability. Once you do that, find a taxi on the road and press E. Nicko will whistle and sometimes you may get the text “A taxi has been hailed”. If the taxi stops, walk to it and press and hold F. If you simply press F, Nicko will carjack the Taxi. You need to press and hold F for this to work.