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How to get started with the PC version of Dark Souls
By Arbie
Fixes, setups, suggestions and tips to get the most out of the PC port of Dark Souls.
GFWL Removal is now in progress, see links for details.

The purpose of this guide is a quick start with some explanation on how to get the PC version of Dark Souls up to scratch for the player.

Before it was released, Dark Souls' developers said the PC version of Dark Souls would be bare bones basic and would have zero optimisation for the PC / Windows audience as they aren't experienced in developing games for this platform. After 13 minutes the fan-patch named DSFix fixed all major problems with the title and continued to be updated allowing a similar customisability that even most PC games lack these days.

I have published this guide to help any new players, I will try to expand on it whenever more should be known.
DSFix - How to adjust/fix resolution and rendering
The most essential modification that you need for Dark Souls is DSfix. It allows you to adjust your resolution, rendering quality and other things such as FPS limiting and your user interface.

1) Default settings, 1024x720 render resolution @ 1920x1080.

2) 1920x1080 render resolution @1920x1080, 1080 dof setting, no smaa

Download the latest version here: http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/?tag=dsfix
Dark Souls Nexus mirror: http://darksouls.nexusmods.com/mods/19/

Follow the instructions provided and disable anti-aliasing in-game. Tip: Enable save backups.

Information about the modification from the DSfix developer, Durante:
How do I use it?
Extract the files into the game's "\DATA\" directory. (The place where DARKSOULS.exe is)
You can open DSfix.ini with a text editor to adjust the desired internal resolution.

Will it work?
[...] I can not and will not guarantee that it will work for anyone else, or not have any adverse effect on your game/computer. Use at your own risk! If you encounter any issues that seem like they could be caused by DSfix, let me know.

Will it cause performance problems?
That depends on your system configuration. Usually, performance scales rather linearly with framebuffer size, and so far this game does not seem different. My 660 maintained a locked 30 FPS throughout ~ 1/2 hour of testing in the starting area of the game at 2560x1440.
Keyboard and Mouse Issues
There's a fix for the mouse below which will make things a lot easier.

Mouse fix
The default KB M controls are difficult to use. Consider this a salve for what ails you.

To install:
This is intended to be used with DSfix. After installing DSfix...
In DSfix.ini, find this line:
dinput8dllWrapper none

Make it look like this line:
dinput8dllWrapper dsmfix.dll

Then, unzip dsmfix08.zip; place all dsmfix* files in the DATA directory (~Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition\DATA).

Finally, open dsmfixgui.exe and make the desired adjustments (mouse over an option for relevant tooltips); or, edit dsmfix.ini by hand.

For additional information, please see http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~petska

Use number keys as keybinds
1) Open up your DarkSouls.ini located at \Users\(Your Windows Username)\AppData\Local\NBGI\DarkSouls\
2) Find the action you want to rebind
3) Replace the numbers with a corresponding.

Keyboard key = Function
'1' = 49
'2' = 50
'3' = 51
'4' = 52
'5' = 53
'6' = 54
'7' = 55
'8' = 56
'9' = 57
'0' = 48

4) Save

How to bind
To create the following binds using '1' for main weapon, '2' for secondary, '3' for spells' and '4' for items, it would be:

ChangeRightWep = 49
ChangeLeftWep = 50
ChangeGoods = 52
ChangeMagic = 51
Controller Issues
Sony Controller
If you're using a Dualshock I suggest using PCSX2 and the XInput Wrapper for DS3 and Play.com USB Dual DS2 Controller

Third Party Controller
If you're using another third party controller try x360ce

Windows/Xbox Controller
If you're using a supported controller such as the wired or wireless Windows/Xbox Controller, I suggest uninstalling and re-installing any drivers for them.
Changing Button Icons
You need DSFix. You can modify the controller icons in-game using the mods provided here by searching for "interface" or "buttons" mods. http://darksouls.nexusmods.com/
For example; you can download Playstation icons to replace the in-game Xbox 360 set.

The installation is normally popping the files into your "\DATA\dsfix\tex_override" folder and enabling texture overriding for DSFix like so:
enableTextureOverride 1
Crash Fixing
Dark Souls crashes referencing vsfilter.dll
Players have reported that renaming vsfilter.dll fixs this problem. Warning: Naturally changing a DLL may cause other programs to not work.

Dark Souls crashes and has a reference to XLive.dll
Ensure the Windows Live Sign-In Assistant is started. This should typically set to automatic, but it is required to log in to Live. You can find its status in the Services utility.

Can't install or run (Games For) Windows Live
If you have problems while trying to open GFWL after this was installed because you are not able to successfully install "Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant":
Click Start

This will allow assistant to get installed correctly.

Dark Souls crashes after the intro or endings
Rename the "movWW" folder in "\Steam\SteamApps\common\Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition\DATA".
Windows 8 - Games for Windows Live Fix

Update your GFWL client. http://www.xbox.com/LIVE/PC/DownloadClient

Alternative Fix
1) Download and extract DarkSoulsWin8Fix. http://www.mediafire.com/?zb29k94pa5l89fh
2) Run gfwlivesetupmin.exe.
3) Run Games For Windows Live and update.
4) Close the program.
5) Run and setup gfwlivesetup.exe.
6) Copy Xlive.dll to %windir%\system32\
7) Run the Games For Windows Live application.
8) Run Dark Souls.

Steam compatibility with Games for Windows Live
1) Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
2) Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
3) Install the free version of Microsoft Flight through Steam (MS Flight will solve GFWL compatibility, believe it or not).
4) Download this version of gfwlivesetup - sdrv.ms/O2WvBt.
5) Uncheck compatibility mode.
6) Go to steamapps\Common\Dark Souls\DATA.
7) right click DATA.exe and go to properties.
8) Go to compatibility tab and uncheck "Run as Administrator". Click Apply.
AMD / ATI Performance Fix
PhilDogTheMan from the steam forums published the following information on how to fix the performance issues on AMD/ATI graphics cards: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2902805
Back-up Your Saves
Automative save back-ups require versions of DSfix that support save file back-ups. DSfix provides (if you enable it) a "Time Machine" of 10 save game backups from the past, spaced 25 minutes apart. It's the only defense against corrupted save games, or hackers who can ruin your save file.

1) Open DSfix.ini with a text editor
2) Find/change enableBackups from 0 to 1
3) (Optional) Find/change backupInterval from 1500 to 600 so backups are 10 min. apart
4) Save DSfix.ini
5) Play.

Backups are in Users\(Your Windows Username)\NBGI\DarkSouls\ and your current save is DRAKS0005.sl2 (quit to title and rename backups to "DRAKS0005.sl2" to activate)
Multiplayer - Adjust and be aware to maximise your Dark Souls experience
Follow this guide to learn how the multi-player works in Dark Souls:

Install the Dark Souls Connectivity Fix

1. Install DSfix by Durante if you haven't done so already.
2. Download DSCfix and extract the files into your Dark Souls DATA directory (where DARKSOULS.exe is - for example: "\Steam\steamapps\common\Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition\DATA")
3. Open up DSfix.ini and search for the following line: dinput8dllWrapper none
4. Replace it with: dinput8dllWrapper dscfix.dll
5. Boot up Dark Souls, have a Windows Live friend also using DSCfix place a sign and/or invade you.

You have to use humanity so you can be in human form to request help (via summoning), but this comes with the risk of being invaded. You can lay down your white soapstone sign even when you're hollow, if you help someone kill a boss you get humanity points.


Sugestions on levels you need to be around to invade, help or be helped in an area:

Undead Burg 1-15
Undead Parish 1-20
Darkroot Garden 1-25
Lower Undead Burg 10-25
The Depths 10-30
Catacombs - 15-80
Blighttown 20-35
Sen's Fortress 25-42
Anor Londo 30-50
Painted World 30-80
Lord Soul Areas 40-80
Oolacile 50-80
Kiln 60-80
NG+ 80-120

Although I suggest playing by yourself on your first run, remember that these people will be waiting for you should you need help.

If you're having trouble with connecting to Windows Live try opening these ports:
TCP port 80
UDP & TCP port 3074
UDP port 88
UDP & TCP port 53
TCP port 443
Important Notes
DO NOT KILL INGWARD (New Londo sealer) IN NG+ MODE. He will not drop the Key to the Seal.

Recent versions of DSFix may impact your performance, please consider downgrading your DSFix until you find the version that is right for you.
Game Tips
  • Read orange soapstone signs. Press select on them and up-vote if they're handy or entertain you.
  • Take things slow, look around.
  • If you can, upgrade your weapons & armour before you increase your Soul Level stats. You'll find a blacksmith for this at one point.
  • Endurance is important, it allows you to perform more actions before stamina fatigue (40 endurance is stamina cap) and raises your equipment load, so you can use heavier weapons and armour without sacrificing your character's speed.
  • You can equip a spell with 10 attunement, pyromancy doesn't require you to invest in intelligence or faith points.
  • Consider taking the pendant as your starting gift.
  • If you find a broken pendant, you may want to check a lake in a basin, maybe twice, maybe three times if you've never seen one.
  • Play how you like. Don't look up walkthrough guides unless you're very stuck, you can beat the game with anything you want. I like to see creativity, so impress me.
  • Don't worry too much about your first character's build and stats, experiment and learn from any mistakes you come across.
  • If you want to make more characters, but don't have enough save slots, navigate to \Users\(Your Windows Username)\Documents\NBGI\DarkSouls\ and make a backup copy of the folder using copy & paste. Open Dark Souls, delete existing characters and make a new character. To use your old save, do the same thing again but re-name both folders to what file you want to use. I suggest making a txt file detailing the characters for each save in their respective folders.

Useful External Links & Credits
Useful External Links
Dark Souls Nexus, for your modding needs: http://darksouls.nexusmods.com/
Guide on making your face not ugly: http://imgur.com/a/SARvG
ENB's Lore Videos - When you're done with the game, watch these: http://www.tiny(remove)url.com/enblore (Remove spaces, dumb Steam/Valve censorship.)
DaS Steam forums: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=1442

DSfix's Durante - http://blog.metaclassofnil.com/
Mouse Fix's lebbers - http://www.cs.wisc.edu/~petska
jonaswashe for the network connectivity guide - http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2959611
PhilDogTheMan for the AMD Performance Fix thread: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2902805
That "Jolly Co-operation!" artist.
Puppymang - http://steamcommunity.com/id/puppymang
Gregster - http://steamcommunity.com/app/211420/discussions/0/864970587172231679
Singed - http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198066986758
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MeMosh Dec 16, 2014 @ 6:36pm 
Does DSMfix still works with the steamworks version?
Hectodux Dec 1, 2014 @ 10:32am 
In what you should rename the movWW folder?
The Master of Bored Nov 27, 2014 @ 4:17pm 
so is hte gfwl thing still acuurate or dose it need to be updated still
Much Doge Huge WOW Such Glamour Nov 25, 2014 @ 7:39pm 
they delayed GWFL death to dec rip :c
bagerman Nov 20, 2014 @ 10:59am 
is it only me who cant save the game when quiting??
bagerman Nov 17, 2014 @ 10:28am 
how do i save game on pc when it keeps saying im not signed in an i cant sign in ???????
The Reaper of Souls Nov 10, 2014 @ 11:13am 
when exactly is this update occuring?
Arbie  [author] Nov 8, 2014 @ 2:06am 
If it still persists the game is about to update this month and may fix a lot of issues.
The Reaper of Souls Nov 7, 2014 @ 10:28pm 
I am experiencing problems playing Dark Souls, when I open the "PC Setting" menu option, the game will crash immediately, as well as when (since this is the first time I'm playing Dark Souls on this computer) the opens this same menu automatically. If anyone knows what is happening, please let me know, I will also mention, this may be a problem with my Dark Souls itself and not the Mod.