Performance Solutions

In this section we look at any kind of performance related problem. This includes slow performance, choppy performance, crashes to desktops, blue screens of death, mouse lag, mouse trails, sound problems and more of the kind

We do not look at crashes that happen when you keep crashing when trying to open a saved campaign game. This is most likely due to a corruption in the saved game for which I have no solution. Latest news is that the developers are looking into that.


But first, a little check

Before I take you on a journey into pc and driver maintenance, let's first figure out whether you have a hardware related problem, or whether the problem is caused by asking too much of your hardware.

Some settings in the game are not to be played with unless you have top of the line hardware. If you use these settings with anything but the latest hardware you may experience problems no matter what you try. Let's have a look at these first. To do that we'll use the preferences.txt file that you find in the folder where you installed the game. If you installed to the default location, you should find it in C:\Program Files\Activision\Rome - Total War\. Open that file now and compare my recommendations with your current settings. Below my list you will get the option to download some custom preferences.txt files you could try.

Preferences Settings

To determine whether the ingame settings are the cause of your problems, I suggest you download this zipfile. It contains the preferences files that are generated by the game when using the three in-built default settings:

Download Preferences Files (right click - Save as)

Speed Low Quality, High Performance
Balanced Balance between Quality and Performance
Quality High Quality, Low Performance

Make a backup of your current preferences.txt file. Then take the SPeed Preferences.txt from the zip file, rename that to preferences.txt, put that in your game folder and start a new campaign. Don't continue an old campaign, that will reset some values. If you can play your campaign with those preferences, it appears that your problems before were caused by using settings that strained your hardware too much. In that case you can of course change some settings to higher values again, but keep the notes above in mind. Especially the AA setting and the Unit Size are better left at AA_OFF and 40 max. Believe me, it's still a very nice game with those settings.

If however you still experience problems, well, read on, that's what the rest of this site is for.


Windows Media Player problems

This can cause problems with full motion video in the game and when you start the game, it can cause mouse trail problems, probably some black screens here or there, and maybe some more I haven't heard about yet.

To exclude this as a possible cause of problems, make sure about 2 things:

1 - Make sure the SAFE_REFRESH:TRUE line is definitely set to TRUE in the preferences.txt file

2 - Determine your version of Windows Media Player. You should have either Windows Media Player version 9 or 10. Then do the following:

In case you're using Windows Media Player version 9, browze to the \Extras\Redist\ folder on cd1 of the game and run the file called wmfdist.exe. This will reset some codec settings that are needed for the game.

In case you're using Windows Media Player version 10, download it again if you don't have it anymore (Download Media Player 10) and reinstall it. This resets some initial settings as well that might cause problems with the game.

Now try your game again, and the same applies. If your problems are solved, happy gaming, but if they are not, then once again, read on. We have eliminated the most obvious causes, now it's time to take a good look at pc maintenance.


Proceed to PC Maintenance