Saturday, December 28, 2013

Quick Tip: Medieval II Total War - 'Fatal Graphics Error' [Possible Fix]

I first bought this great game as a DVD Retail Box and then later on purchased it through Direct2Drive [when Direct2Drive was around, then that service became GameFly (2015 Edit: and now it's D2D again)]. I also have it on Steam as a backup digital download source - it's too hard to resist those really cheap Steam Sales! Recently, I was Re-Installing M2TW, to begin conquering the world once again... However, I was surprised to see nothing but an error message (on Windows7):

The "Fatal Graphics Error" message, when starting MTW2

I personally found this error humorous, as it complained about Graphic Settings - and I couldn't even start/get into the game to change or even set them in the first place! So, I started Troubleshooting....

Apparently, a lot of people, on many forums, have been getting and asking about this error - and still are - so here is a great chance to share this Quick Tip on a simple 'fix' for it I eventually found, simply by playing with the Shortcut Properties:

Right-Clicking on the Shortcut for the game and editing the Compatibility Tab to match these settings,
is how I fixed the Fatal Graphics Error problem when I played M2TW recently. Try it out!
Click image to see Full Size

After making these changes to the Shortcut that runs the game (adding two quick checkmarks in the checkboxes shown above), after launching it should show a black screen [detecting settings?] momentarily and then load up the game properly (you may have to click on the icon in the Taskbar [Windows] to bring it up a second time) but that's it!
Hopefully that works for you all, as it did for me.

See You In The Games!


  1. how do you get into Medeival properties?

  2. @Anonymous said...
    how do you get into...

    I'm sorry - I seem to have completely skipped that very first step - thank you for bringing it to my attention! :)
    All you have to do [in Windows] is Right-Click the Shortcut (the icon, the little picture) that is on your Desktop (the background area, where most people put an image over it)- that is, the icon that you usually click on to start the game - and then after Right-Clicking on it, ['regular'] Left-Click on the word Properties in the Menu that pops up.
    I'll try to add that step in the article soon; thanks again and I hope that starts the process for you!

  3. My only problem is that when I right click the Medieval 2 Total War icon on the desktop is that it doesn't come up with the 'Compatibility' tab it comes up with the following 4 tabs: 'General', 'Web Document', 'Security' and 'Details' and after looking for a while through the following tabs I can't find anything that looks like the screenshot you put up nor can I find the 'Compatibility' tab. Is it because I have windows 8? (64 bit). I should also add that I have medieval 2 on steam and disk (Both Gold) and installed it on Steam first. I also checked the properties tab on Steam but couldn't find the 'Compatibility' tab anywhere. Do you know what to do next for me? Or could you direct me to a webpage/forum which I could possibly get help on?

  4. @Johnnie Felstead said...
    My only problem is that when I...

    Ah, those four tabs usually come up when the Shortcut is a web link (in Windows 7 or 8). What you could do, to get new/clean Shortcuts is:

    A) If your game is from Steam, delete the shortcuts for the game you have now, and go into the Steam interface and right-click on the game in your Library list, and choose "Create Desktop Shortcut", which will give you a brand new Shortcut to launch the game with. Then those tabs should show up.

    B) If your game is installed from the Disc, delete the shortcuts for the game you have now, and then open up the Disc drive in Windows Explorer and find the executable file (.EXE) to run the Launcher [I think it is just 'Launcher.exe'] and right click the file and chose COPY, then right-click your desktop and choose "Paste Shortcut", which will give you a brand new Shortcut to launch the game with. Then those tabs should show up.

    Whether you go the (A) or (B) route, you should then have a brand new pointer to the game (Shortcut) that you can configure the settings for. I hope that works out for you!

    1. ive tried doing that for (A) but it doesnt work is there any other way?

    2. @Unknown

      Sorry, which part?

      The Shortcuts are not being Created by Steam?
      The Shortcut tabs are not showing up?

      Something you can try for now, is use "Troubleshoot Compatibility", which should give you similar choices (earlier version of Windows, etc) as a Wizard (steps with selections to choose)... and see if that helps at all

  5. Okay so I found the 'launcher.exe' file except it was labelled launcher but when I right click it says 'launcher.exe' so i'm assuming that's the file. So anyway I went to change the compatibility settings as you sent in the screenshot above and I went to launch the game and it came up with the same error message as before: 'a fatal graphics error has occured' and so on, anything I could do now? Maybe try running my games through everywhere where I have it installed (Disk, Steam) but I just tried the disk version and that's what it said :(

    1. same problem with me.. no matter what i do same message about fatal graphics error. maybe they force us to re-buy the game from steam?

  6. @Johnnie Felstead said...
    Okay so I found the 'launcher.exe' file...

    Hmmm, that's odd... Were you able to run the game without problem in the past, or is this your first time playing the game on this system/install?

    I doubt your system specs are too low to run this now-somewhat-older game, but check that they are more than the minimum, just to make sure. You can use a site like this, that lists them:(

    Other things you can do are:

    A) Put a checkmark in more boxes in the Compatibility Tab, to assist in Windows starting up the game, such as "Disable Visual Themes" and "Disable Desktop Composition" and "Run in 640x480 Resolution" (that last one, just to get the game running, then if it is able to, you can change your Resolution settings in the game (just be sure to remove the checkmark before you run the game again or it will restrict your setting)).

    B) Yes, try running from other installations, such as Steam. (Note that when using steam, the Shortcut is more of a Web Link and will show only those tabs you talked about earlier, "General, Web Document, Security.."). With Steam, you would have to go and find the Executable file (eg. LaunchGTAIV.exe) and Right-Click on that, to change the Compatibility Settings.

    Try one or both of those out and see if that works for you, J.

  7. Doesn't work for me... I'm not sure why I can't run this game, I've had it since it first came out and played it on computers much worst than the one I'm using currently. It worked just fine on this computer for two years and just started acting up this year.

    To play I have to go and lower my resolution, but I'm looking for a more permanent fix because its a pain in the butt to have to change my screen resolution every time I want to play the game and reset it every time I quit.

  8. @Anonymous said...
    Doesn't work for me...

    Dang, that's too bad you have to do that every time... I know that some people have to put a checkmark in the "Run in 640x480 screen resolution" box, but the other checkmarks are what got it to get past the "black screen" for me. Most of my Tips I share here are simply things that I have personally run into and want to share how I got past it with others in case it helps them. I'm sorry I haven't run into that problem with changing the resolution, so I am not sure what the exact fix/workaround would be.

    A few little tidbits of info and ideas that might help (but I'm not sure of course):

    - I was running an ATi/AMD GPU at the time (not sure how that might help, but it could be something with the drivers... Sometimes I would have more of a problem with an AMD GPU with a certain game, and then other times I would have more of a problem with an NVIDIA GPU). Try older drivers too, if the most recent ones don't work for whatever GPU you have at the time

    - As Windows changes over the generations (XP, 7, 8, etc) and as Windows Updates get applied to libraries in Windows, sometimes things 'break' or have trouble. You could try re-installing things like DirectX (from Microsoft) and re-installing the game (if it has been awhile since you first installed it), and see if that 'refreshes' any graphic libraries (support files)

    - As things change all-together (GPUs, drivers, Windows, etc), Patches might not come out for aging games as often (or anymore) and they are left-behind as far as modern system support goes... There was, a couple of months ago, an update for M2TW that changed the Multiplayer portion, since GameSpy servers were shutting down. Although it was more concerned with the Steam version of the game, you could try that update and see if it helps your graphic problem at all

    Just throwing out ideas... Maybe one of those might help you a bit. It's difficult to get/keep game working as they age - until someone 'picks them up' and dusts them off, like or the company updates them for more modern systems. Hopefully a permanent fix for you will come out for you soon.

    Take care

  9. ok I just got the game never played it before and was wondering how to delete shortcuts????

    1. Do you mean deleting the 'Shortcuts' on your Desktop (the background area)? Or do you mean "Undelete shortcuts", as in, you deleted them by accident and want to get them back? I'll answer both!

      To delete shortcuts (the pointers to the programs, that allow you to start them) that are on your desktop/background, you can Right-Click on them and select Delete. You can also 'drag' them to the Recycle Bin, if that is showing on your desktop/background.

      To UNdelete shortcuts, you can double-click on the Recycle Bin (on the desktop, if it's showing) and open it, where it should list the recently-deleted Shortcuts (pointer files that start the programs for you). If the Recycle Bin isn't showing on your desktop, you can open Windows Explorer (by clicking on the File Folder looking icon on your Taskbar, or use the Start Button, then click on Computer), and in Windows Explorer, go down to the bottom on the left side, where you should see the Recycle Bin.
      Opening the Recycle Bin and seeing your Shortcuts in there, you can Right-Click on them and choose Restore. If they were originally on your Desktop [for example], they will be restored/undeleted and put back on your Desktop once again (or 'restored' to wherever they were before).

      I hope that helps you out! ^_^

  10. searched the web for hours and all that would run it, was using compatibility mode in shortcut properties. Yet that only played game in left hand corner window mode. So I read about lowering settings in the CFG file in steam/steamapps/common/Medievil II Total War. That did not help either, BUT raising them to 1920 1080 did!. Open the CFG file with notepad and look for campaign_resolution and change it to 1920 1080 and save. Clicked my exe and viola!. I was borderline ready to ask steam for a refund until I figured it out. Hope this helps guys, because I feel you pain.

    Edit:This must also be done for battle_resolution. So to recap right click Steam and choose open file location. Once there go to steamapps/common/Medievil Total War II and look for a file medieval2.preference and open this with notepad. Look down the line until you see battle_resolution and change that to 1920 1080 or whatever your screen resolution is set at on your screen. Then under that look for campaign_resolution change that as well. My game has run flawlessly since (3hrs tested). Good Luck

    1. Haven't tried this yet - but thanks for sharing your Tip with everyone, Nuke!

    2. Bro, I can't open the medieval2.preference anywhere... it is nowhere... only "medieval2" ... and I can't open it on notepad... what to do?

    3. @Anonymous said:
      Bro, I can't open the medieval2.preference anywhere...
      The file is called medieval2.preference.cfg, so you may not be seeing the Extensions (the potions past the ".") in the file names.

      To turn this on in Windows Explorer, go to the View tab in the ribbon, and under Options, click "Change folder and search options". Then in the Folder Options window, select the View tab in there, and remove the checkmark in "Hide extensions for known file types".

      Now, you should be able to see ".cfg" files (such as this one) and other types of extensions as well.

    4. yeah. I've found it, but.. there is still no medieval2.preference.cfg file in this location neither in the whole explorer. i dont know what to do... :(

    5. @Unknown said:
      yeah. I've found it, but..
      I'm sorry I took a bit to get back to you, but I double-checked that location (the steam installation folder) and I did find a "medieval2.preference.cfg" present there, that is odd that you cannot see one...

      You can try Verifying the Local Files within Steam for the game (right-click the game > Properties > Local Files tab > Verify Integrity Of Game Cache... ) and see if it Downloads any missing files you may need. You could also try running the game a few times (even if it just gives this error) to see if it 'creates it', even if it does got get far enough to use it... but these are just ideas I am 'throwing out there'...

      If none of these things work, I can also upload my medieval2.preference.cfg file to my Google Drive for you to Download from there - perhaps just copying it in your local folder will allow the game to run (and then you can change it to what suits your system), if that will work - I'd be happy to try.

  11. It didnt fix it for me are there any other ways to fix it

    1. Sorry to hear that...

      - You could try other options in the Settings category (for instance, putting a checkmark in the '640x480 screen resolution' option

      - You could also run the Compatibility Wizard for Windows, which will try to autodetect what settings would help it to run (Start>ControlPanel>Programs>Run Programs Made For Previous Versions Of Windows)

      - You could also try Nukecell's contribution above, editing the .CFG ('configuration') file, to see if that helps by changing the graphic settings

      - You could also try running the game in a Virtual Machine (a little computer/Windows running inside your Windows, using programs like Microsoft's Virtual PC or Virtualbox or VMware's VM Player (all of these can be used for free) but this option can suffer a large performance loss, as you are running both the 'simulated computer' and then the 'game inside of the simulated computer'

      - You could try a Dual-Boot with Windows XP or other older OS (esp. if you have the CDs for it), a quick Search can show you instructions on how to set up your system for it

      There are many other options, but hopefully one of the more 'simpler' ones above will work for you - good luck with it!

  12. I did what you said but it doesn't start, I don't get the same error message though.. I recently upgraded my windows 7 to windows 10 and since that the game doesn't work.. I've tried to mark '640x480 screen resolution' option and all that but still the same error.. I did what Nuke said and changed the campain resolution to '1920 1080' and it did work but it was very laggy and I could barely play it.. :(

    1. :(
      I'm sorry to hear that... I redid my system and set up a Dual-Boot with Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 just recently - I should be able to reinstall and try M2TW this weekend.
      I will put it into Windows 10 and see if I encounter the same thing, to see if I can help with figuring out what's wrong with it, hang in there!

    2. Hmm... I just tried to play a few rounds of Campaign and a Battle - and it all seemed to work OK in Windows 10.
      I did a fresh download/installation of M2TW (Steam Version) and it installed some DirectX drivers (popped up automatically) and that was it. It worked great, actually.

      There could be other things interfering with your M2TW. Just to throw a few ideas out there:
      - What type of GPU do you have (onboard, CPU-based, discrete/separate GPU card)?
      - Try uninstalling/deleting M2TW and reinstalling it (this sometimes helps if files got corrupted on the drive, etc), related to that is the next point
      - Try checking for Updates (Steam or Disc version) to make sure that you have the latest files, or possibly 'undo' any Patches that may have issues by uninstalling/reinstalling the game
      - Update Display Drivers, or possibly Roll-Back Drivers to an older one that worked in the past (I went and looked, and I am running Catalyst 14.12 Omega Drivers for my AMD R9 280 GPU in the Windows 10 bootup/partition)
      - Try installing the game to a different drive (just in case that one is having issues or getting older, if you have other drives in the system)
      - Try removing all Compatibility checkmarks (I looked and this fresh installation of M2TW actually has no checkmarks anywhere in the Shortcut, in Windows 10 - since it just worked for me, try it that way)

      Hopefully these ideas will at least start you off with getting it to work - good luck with it - and feel free to come back if it isn't working for you.