With update 7.2.1 and onwards even into 7.3, many players playing on “Low” graphics settings have reported the graphics looking wrong – either too dark, too shiny, or otherwise broken or wrong. While we don’t have any verified fixes yet, here’s some things you can try and some information about the bug. It only seems to happen to players who are on the lowest graphics settings, and who were likely playing on “Very Low” before the update.
What does the Low Graphics bug look like?
“Since they took my low graphics options away, they don’t seem like the same graphics – everything looks dark and shiny wet like I live underwater now.”
“Yeah, I’m not having fun playing. I was doing FP yesterday and it was dark. My eyes hurt after 1 and I needed to do 2. I hope they do something quickly or I won’t be able to play.”
All my graphics were dark/shiny/messed up when the update first dropped, but changing my graphics up and back down fixed it.”
How to Fix the Low Graphics Bug
Unfortunately this issue has not yet been officially addressed by the Developers, so we only have player suggestions. The best ones I have seen so far involved trying to edit the .ini file. I have not tested this myself and can not guarantee it will work for you.
UPDATE from Devs, July 2023
The Developers posted a long message to players who are experiencing the low-quality graphics.
- LAPTOP players you may need to select GPU/graphics card manually, see below.
- NVIDIA graphics card, there is a setting you can change, see below
- Any card with less than 256MB of memory will use lower resolution textures, but see below
- Dynamic cards may not automatically be recognized as having enough memory – for example, Intel Iris
We’re seeing reports of players who have noticed a drop in quality in graphics and we wanted to offer some insight and also a few steps that players can take to improve quality.
As a reminder, as of 7.2.1, the “min specs” for SWTOR have been updated:
- OS: Windows 10 or later – 64-bit
- Processor AMD: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better
- Processor Intel: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz or better
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Graphics: Star Wars: The Old Republic requires a video card that has a minimum of 1 GB of on-board RAM as well as support for Shader 3.0 or better.
- Examples include:Intel HD 3000 or better/AMD Radeon HD 7450/Nvidia GeForce 610
- Storage: 75 GB available space
- Internet connection: Required to play
- For players who use laptops, the game will default to using the dedicated GPU.
For troubleshooting steps, a great place to start would be the Troubleshooting graphics on PC article from EA Help.
An important note for laptop players is that Windows has the ability to force which GPU your laptop uses. It can select the lower powered GPU if your laptop is either not plugged in or if you did not specify which GPU to use.
To select a specific GPU, follow the steps below:
- Click the Windows Start Menu
- Type “graphics settings”.
- Select “Desktop App” in the dropdown and select your swtor.exe.
- Click Options and select “high performance”
For players who use a NVIDIA graphics card, follow the steps below:
- Right click on your desktop and select “NVIDIA Control Panel”
- Click the Desktop tab
- Check the box “Add Desktop Context Menu”
- Right click SWTOR on your desktop and select “Run with graphics processor”
- Click on “High performance NVIDIA processor”
If you do not see the “Run with graphics processor” option when right clicking on the app, then you can specify the GPU the following way:
- Right click on your desktop and select “NVIDIA Control Panel”
- Select Manage 3D Settings
- Under “Preferred graphics processor”, select High performance NVIDIA processor”
To know what video card SWTOR was given by Windows to run with on the last run you can get this information from the client_settings.ini:
- That file will be located in C:\Users\(YOURACCOUNT)\AppData\Local\SWTOR\swtor\setting\client_settings.ini
- The following example shows what card the game ran:
- InfoGraphicsVendor = NVIDIA_GPU
- InfoGraphicsVideoMemoryMB = 8044
There is also a setting in that file that controls when the game switches to forced lower resolution textures:
- MinspecVramCutoffMB = 256
Note that any card with less than 256MB of memory will use lower resolution textures. However, if you change the above setting to below how much memory you have, that will turn off the forced lower texture resolution. This is a workaround to avoid the lower texture resolution, but it is highly recommended to use an updated video card for optimum overall performance.
.ini Settings File Fix
You will you need to edit your game’s setting file on your computer while the game is shut down.
The hard part is finding that file. To locate it, you’ll need to open your File Explorer, and find the drive your game is saved to, this is usually the C: drive which you can click on the left side of the screen. The second step is to find the Users folder, and from there choose the folder of your account on your computer.
Third is to open your AppData folder – if you can not see the AppData folder, it may be hidden, so to show hidden folders you need to click the “View” tab on the top left of the File Explorer, and check the checkbox that says “Hidden items” on the right.
From the AppData folder, you follow a set path: Local > SWTOR > swtor > settings.
You’re looking for a specific file in here, and if you have a lot of characters there may be a ton of files in this folder. The one you are looking for has your SWTOR account name – the one you log in with, followed by the word _Account.ini. So mine would look like swtorista_account.ini. If you double-click this file, it should hopefully open up as a text document automatically – if it doesn’t, right-click the file and choose “Open with” and choose “Notepad” from the list or “Choose another app” and find “Notepad” if it’s not on the little right-click dropdown.
Once it’s open, you’ll be able to see it’s just a little settings file, nothing too scary to edit.
You will be completely REPLACING the text in this file with the suggested settings by olagatonjedi on the forums.
[Renderer] AntiAliasingLevel = 0
AtlasQuality = 1
Buckets = 5
DYDDrawDistancePreset = 0
EnableSSAO = false
GraphicsDeviceId = 7200
GraphicsQuality = 0
Height = 1080
MeshLODQuality = 0
NativeHeight = 1080
NativeWidth = 1920
ShadowMapNumCascades = 4
ShadowMapResolution = 1024
SpeedTreeDistanceScale = 1.25
TextureAnisotropy = 1
Width = 1920
AllowColorRemapping = false
AllowDepthOfField = false
doBlobShadows = false
doShadows = false
EnableBloom = false
FxLightsLimit = 0
PlantDensity = 0
RefreshRate = 95
ShaderSet = 1
StaticLightsLimit = 1
TextureQuality = 4
WindowX = 0
WindowY = 0
CodeVersionChanged = false
LastCodeVersionRun = 2
NewBucket = 5
AmbientNPCCount = 15
DebugAdvEnviroLighting = false
DynamicLightsLimit = 0
EnableAdvEnviroLighting = false
EnableDistortion = false
FarClipScale = 0.1371195
LightEnvironmentShadows = false
UseMinSpecShaders = true
VerticalSyncState = false
doOmniShadows = false
HighShadowResolution = false
EnableHighShadowResolution = false
shadowQuality = 0
EnableDynamicShadowFiltering = false
DynamicShadowFiltering = false
EnableZPrepass = false
EnableAccumTrails = false
Save the file and close it.
A very important step, after you save and close, you need to right-click the .ini settings folder and choose “Properties”.
In this pop-up window, check the checkbox beside “Read-only”, or the game will try and re-write your new settings file.
Then cross your fingers and try launching the game and see if it works. That’s all I have for advice right now and can’t really test it myself!
I saw another player also say, “I fiddled with my monitor settings a bit and it’s looking far better now, thankfully.”
“Caused me to go back into the Radeon app to put the Contrast back to its default.”
If the ‘no shader’s look is something you can live with, and you want the lights, then here’s how to do it:
1. make a clean client settings (delete everything in the folder if you have changed anything), and use the in-game settings to put your graphics where you want them (low, high, custom,)
2. in the client settings
a. change ShaderSet =0 to ShaderSet = 1
b. add UseMinSpecShaders = True
3. adjust your monitor settings, ironically the no shaders makes some things too bright for me. I found just putting the colour setting to ‘warm’ (my monitor has a ‘night light’ setting that does that automatically) was all I needed to do.
thread by LD_Little_Dragon: https://forums.swtor.com/topic/928581-ultra-low-settings-aka-turn-the-lights-on/
- Big thread: https://forums.swtor.com/topic/928251-i-want-my-very-low-graphics-settings-back/
- another thread: https://forums.swtor.com/topic/928581-ultra-low-settings-aka-turn-the-lights-on/?do=findComment&comment=9750449
- possibly related: https://forums.swtor.com/topic/926969-low-gamma-when-using-fullscreen-windowed/?do=findComment&comment=9736371
- reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/1290rmd/are_the_developers_paying_attention/ (comments too)
- reddit 2: https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/1257tlf/someone_turned_off_the_lights/
- reddit 3: https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/1250l7w/custom_graphics_ini_tweaks/
- reddit 4: https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/126kif0/retuned_my_swtor_graphic_settings_after_patch_v721/ (comments)
- reddit 5 (unsure if related): https://www.reddit.com/r/swtor/comments/1268ftw/graphics_issues_crashing/