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Step-by-step guide to installing Arcanum under Windows 10, 64-bit
By Raptor
Important update, see below

A step-by-step guide to getting the Steam version (GOG might work as well) to work under Windows 10, 64-bit with better graphics, higher quality music, higher level-cap (optional) and no slow-downs. The existing guides did not entirely cover all my problems and I ran into some situations that were ambigious.

This guide is largely based on the one written by Drog[] with a few adjustments that worked for me and weren't mentioned there.

Important update:

Grog has released a new unofficial patch (1.5.1 as of this writing) that you can obtain from his website[]. This patch might make my guide obsolete as it includes the following:

  • UAP Base
    All the bug fixes plus Extra Animations, Extended Ambient Tracks, HQ Townmaps and HQ Music.
  • High Resolution Patch
    Allows the game to be played at any resolution. Defaults to 720p. Improves Windows 10 compatibility.
  • Official DLC
    Adds 7 additional mini-campaigns. You can choose them in Options -> Game -> Module.
  • Beta Content
    Various things restored from pre-release versions of Arcanum.
  • Misc Mods
    Various miscellaneous mods and additions.

First, we'll have to download a few files and you'll need a program to unpack some of them.
I recommend 7-zip. It is free, open-source and comes without advertising.

Shopping list:
I will also make some assumptions:
  • You have Arcanum installed in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum
  • You want the character level-cap to be altered (if not, skip that step)
  • You want better graphics, higher quality music and the latest version of the unofficial patch.
  • You realize that there is a folder called 'arcanum' inside the 'arcanum' folder (this is important).
Tip: Creating a shortcut inside your downloads folder pointing to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum will save you some going back and forth.

1. Unofficial patch
Execute the unofficial patch (UAP091225.exe) and point it to:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\

2. HQ Townmaps
Install HQ_Townmaps.exe and point it to:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\
and tell Windows the program installed correctly if prompted (if not prompted, don't worry)

3. HQ Music pack
Install HQ_Music_MP3.exe and point it to:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\
and once again tell windows the program installed correctly if prompted

4. Level-cap remover
Unzip (Right click on the file > 7-Zip -> Extract to "arcanum50patch-0.0.1-127\") and do the following:
  1. Copy arcanum50patch.exe to:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\

  2. Go into the below folder and create a new folder called rules:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\

  3. Copy xp_level.mes and xp_level-100.mes into:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\rules\

  4. Execute arcanum50patch.exe in:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\arcanum50patch.exe

    The following menu should appear:

    Type in whatever level cap you desire (maximum is 127) and press enter

5. High resolution patch
Unzip (Right click on the file > 7-Zip -> Extract to "Highres1.5\") and do the following:

Note: it is important to NOT copy the HighRes1.5 folder! Only its subfolder HighRes.

  1. Copy the folder HighRes that is inside
    and paste it into
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\

  2. Open the file config.ini with notepad:
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\HighRes\config.ini

    adjust the following lines to reflect your desired resolution:

  3. Execute install.bat
    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\HighRes\install.bat

    Note: The screen will quickly disappear again. If you notice a directory not found error it is most likely because the batch file checks for directories that are likely to not exist. This is not a problem

6. Ddraw wrapper
Unzip (Right click on the file > 7-Zip -> Extract to "ddraw\") and copy the file ddraw.dll from
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\ddraw.dll

Say yes when it asks you whether or not you wish to overwrite the existing file.

7. Creating a shortcut to Arcanum.exe
For some reason, the launcher will not work for me when executing the game after applying the high resolution patch but launching Arcanum.exe directly does:

Right click on Arcanum.exe in
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\Arcanum\Arcanum.exe
and Copy to -> Desktop
Wrapping it up
Arcanum should now launch. There are a few things you can still tweak and need to know that you will find in the notes below.

  • The ddwrapper included with the high resolution patch does not work for me

  • You can no longer launch the game through Steam, only through the shortcut you created in step 7.

  • Videos will still be low-resolution and so will the GUI.

  • Each time you make a change to config.ini in the high res folder, you have to run uninstall.bat, make your changes to config.ini and run install.bat again. There are a few things you can configure here that I did not mention in the guide:
    • ScrollDist to 0 allows for infinite scrolling
    • DoubleBuffer is set to 1 by default. This negates the need to add it to the launcher.
    • You can set Logos and Intro to 0 to skip them each time you start the game
    • Increasing DialogFont to 2 might make text a bit more readable for you
    • Do not set DDrawWrapper to 1

  • If the game refuses to launch after having re-installed the high resolution patch, re-apply the ddraw wrapper (step 6) and make sure you're using arcanum.exe and not the launcher.

  • Some mention that adding -no3d and -doublebuffer to the launcher by editing SierraLauncher.ini with notepad will help prevent slowdowns. Unfortunately, the launcher doesn't work for me but having DoubleBuffer set to 1 with use of the high resolution patch should solve half of that.

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Arcanum\SierraLauncher.ini
Having problems? Perhaps someone else has solved the same problem already. Comments edited for brevity.

Nvidia users with G-sync enabled:

Originally posted by MeanManMyers:
Everything works completely fine if the high-res patch isn't installed. As soon as I install it everything stops working. I run Arcanum.exe and I get a black screen for a few seconds with no sounds and it crashes and takes me to my desktop

Originally posted by MeanManMyers:
I have a G-Sync monitor. I disabled G-Sync completely in the NVIDIA control panel. Worked immediately.

"The launcher will not work for me when executing the game after applying the high resolution patch."

Originally posted by Torgo:
I found a fix for this, by just going to SierraLauncher.exe in the Arcanum directory, and checking the box "Run As Administrator" in Compatibility Settings.
< >
pikapp515 Mar 27 @ 5:55pm 
now when I open the game the screen flashes very fast. I can tell the graphics are updated but it's unplayable with the rapid flashing.
Insubordination Jan 29 @ 10:51am 
I tried that other guide but it caused graphical problems so I came here and all I needed was that DLL on top of Drog's patch. Thanks dude.
KorvaxScientist Jan 28 @ 9:36am 
Thank you, Raptor, for responding so quickly to my query. Once you're free I would appreciate to see if the guide would need updating or not. Perhaps my issues are purely coincidental and not indicative of the guide not working. Hopefully my responses won't be to latent as I am in the PST zone, it's early morning for me.
Raptor  [author] Jan 28 @ 6:03am 
I haven't tried installing the game for years, I'll give it a shot again in the near future and see if the guide needs updating as I now also have a QWHD monitor available to me.
KorvaxScientist Jan 28 @ 12:10am 
I appreciate the effort put into this guide but it appears that my own ineptitude with formatting has brought me to my own issues. When I launch Arcanum.exe as administrator the game opens as normal for a couple of seconds. Issues:

1. When starting the game I am given my native resolution of 2560x1440 but the game itself seems to be in its original resolution. The game is centered with large black boxes on its edges.

2. The home screen of the game cannot be interacted with at all. I can move my mouse from my first monitor to the other but I cannot interact with the game.

Apologies for the inconvenience, I would appreciate the assistance.
Insubordination Jan 20 @ 5:01pm 
There's a newer version of the patch out.
Raptor  [author] Aug 5, 2021 @ 9:13am 
Torgo, thanks. I added your comment to the troubleshooting section.
Torgo Aug 4, 2021 @ 7:05pm 
"For some reason, the launcher will not work for me when executing the game after applying the high resolution patch."

I found a fix for this, by just going to SierraLauncher.exe in the Arcanum directory, and checking the box "Run As Administrator" in Compatibility Settings.
Karsteski Jul 10, 2021 @ 8:55am 
Thank you for this!
Klinsk Nov 25, 2020 @ 11:11am 
Thanks for this guide, works like a charm.