having noticed that there's a growing interest in the renowned Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series among members of this community, I've decided to create a suggestion thread recommending modifications I personally consider "essential".
There's also sections in which I explain how to play the games in borderless windowed display mode and how to troubleshoot common problems.
First of all, my recommendations only concern the GOG versions of the games (clean installations of the GOG versions will be used as references in this guide) and the English language selection. Therefore, I can't guarantee that any of the following methods are going to work on the non-GOG versions versions, especially the widescreen fixes.
Before you start applying mods, I highly recommend changing the main directory attributes of both games in question in order to avoid issues while overwriting and merging files. Just access the directory properties and uncheck "read-only" (image).
Reminder: In the following, I have provided download links to sources that may restrict your access to mod files if you don't have an existing account on the respective sites.
Knights of the Old Republic
"KotOR 1 Restoration" (K1R) is a major compilation of restoration efforts and bug fixes. It serves as a nice base mod.
Download it from here or here.
As with any mod installation, read the instructions (either included with the file and/or on the mod's download page) carefully.
Important: Copy the "dialog.tlk" file over to the game's directory prior to executing the TSLPatcher setup.
Up next are minor modifications that will improve the experience for players who want proper widescreen scaling. Feel free to skip if you prefer playing the game in its original 4:3 resolutions.
I recommend backing up your swkotor.exe before you start patching it with the Universal Widescreen Patcher (UniWS), which will also be used to patch the sequel's resolution.
Simply select KotOR in the tool's scroll menu, direct it to the game's installation directory and patch the game to your desired resolution (I have not tested any resolution outside of 16:9 aspect ratio yet).
Afterwards apply these fixes to scale the remainder of the UI elements (1920x1080 in my example):
KotOR High Resolution Menus
K1 Main Menu Widescreen Fix
After that, it's time to finalise the new resolution by adding it to the game's config file (same directory and name as the exe file) under the "Graphics Options" segment like this.
To eliminate the last potential issues gameplay-wise, also consider enabling "Windows XP SP2" or "Windows XP SP3" as compatibility mode for the game's executable (image).
Congratulations, I hope you're now familiar with basic mod installation using TSLPatcher setups and the process of copying specific files to the "Override" folder in order to apply mods that don't come with an TSLPatcher.
Before you start playing, I highly recommend consulting the "Troubleshooting" section at the end of this guide.
Here's some some additional mods selected by me. As always, read the instructions carefully.
- Additional KotOR mod recommendations [+] Show
Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
"TSL Restored Content Mod" (TSLRCM) is widely considered a must-have among many KotOR 2 players. It attempts to fill gaps left by the game's rushed development and includes many fixes, turning the game into what it might have been if Obsidian Entertainment created it under better circumstances.
Download it from here or here.
Don't forget about unchecking the game directory's "read-only" attribute before you run TSLRCM's installer.
If you want to play the game with proper widescreen scaling, once again use the Universal Widescreen Patcher, but select Knights of the Old Republic II in the tool's scroll menu instead and patch the game to your desired resolution.
Then, simply apply these to scale remaining UI elements:
Widescreen UI Fix
Improved Widescreen Experience
TSL Main Menu Model Fix
Finally, add the resolution parameters to the games config file under "Display Options" and "Graphics Options" (image).
Don't forget to change the game executable's compatibility to "Windows XP SP2/SP3".
With that, you've finished bringing KotOR 2 up to par. Don't forget to read the "Troubleshooting" section in order to minimise the risk of common issues.
Here's some of my additional mod recommendations before you start diving into yet another journey in a galaxy far, far away:
- Additional KotOR 2 mods [+] Show
Borderless windowed display mode
While this is completely optional, it may further eliminate issues with in-game video playback that are likely to occur during gameplay when not played at their native resolutions. The following method works for both games without introducing major issues.
First, you need to get the "Borderless Gaming" tool, which you can either buy on its Steam store page or simply download from its GitHub page.
Then, you need to open the config file and change all instances of "FullScreen=1" to "FullScreen=0" and add "AllowWindowedMode=1" (without quotation marks) under the "Graphics Options" section (image).
Afterwards, access the game executable's properties and switch to the compatibility tab. Finally, click on "Change settings for all users" and untick "High DPI scaling override" (image).
With Borderless Gaming installed and running, starting the game will now launch it windowed. To switch it to borderless windowed mode, simply return to your desktop, select the game's title in Borderless Gaming's window and click on the "Makes the currently-selected application borderless" button.
- You shouldn't update/verify/repair the games after mods have been applied. Doing so will restore the game's original files and in most cases you'll have to undergo the entire mod installation process again.
- Both games are very prone to sudden crashes, so here's an overview of the potential causes them and possible solutions in order to prevent them from happening again:
Crashes during dialogue or level transitions may be mitigated by opening the games' config files and removing the spaces in "Disable Vertex Buffer Objects=1" (it should now say "DisableVertexBufferObjects=1").
If you're playing in fullscreen mode and are experiencing constant crashes during or at the end of pre-rendered cutscenes, try playing the games with borderless windowed mode (instructions are in the section above). Attempting to skip cutscenes might also cause crashes under rare circumstances.
Note: Crashes might still occur regardless and at seemingly random times; save often and in different slots to avoid potential save corruption.
- High frame rates might cause issues that can be solved by enabling VSync or third party applications that have frame rate limiting capabilities (60 FPS is safe).
- While playing KotOR 2, you will most likely hear irritating buzz sounds when you're standing next or close to console panels. In order to remove those, delete "amb_elecwire_A" and "amb_elecwire_B" from the "StreamSounds" folder (here's an image highlighting the audio files in question).
Special thanks to Deadly Stream for hosting such a large selection of KotOR mods created by Star Wars fans. I wouldn't be able to imagine how the games' longevity would have been were it not for the dedicated people still creating content and enhancing the KotOR experience.
Of course, there's plenty of other mods you can browse on the abovementioned sites, but I purposely refrained from mentioning mods that might be potentially spoiling for newcomers and therefore are more appropriate for additional playthroughs.
Feel free to reach out to me if there are any questions.
May the Force be with you.