Nominated the best PC game of all time by PC Gamer, Deus Ex is a cyberpunk themed first person shooter with roleplaying and stealth elements. Originally released in 2000, the game has been supported by an enthusiastic community of modders and fans ever since. If you missed it first time around, or just want to revisit the classic game now that you have a more powerful PC, there has never been a better time to (re) enrol with the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition.
The game should install without any issues on a modern PC. Simply insert the CD-ROM into your computers optical drive and follow all the on-screen prompts. Our copy of the game was part of the Deus Ex Complete compilation, which is a reprint of the game and its sequel “Invisible War”, but we’re not aware of any issues with other versions of the game either.
Depending on which copy of the game you are installing, you may need to download and install the latest patch. If you have the Game of the Year edition or the Deus Ex Complete edition, you do not need to install any patches. If you have an earlier printing of the game, you should install the patch available here. Note that the correct patch is the second download on that page, the file entitled “DeusExMPPatch1112fm.exe”.
Once you have downloaded the patch, simply double click on it to run it and simply follow all the on-screen prompts, the patching process should then proceed automatically.
In a moment, we’ll look at the different ways you can play the game on a modern PC, but for now we need to load the game just once and then exit it, so that a few important configuration files can be created. To make sure the game can start on your modern PC, we strongly suggest downloading and installing “Deus Exe”. This is a replacement launcher for the game that fixes several compatibility problems. Download Deus Exe here. The program is downloaded as a zip file. What you need to do is copy all the files from the DeusExe zip file into your Deus Ex system folder. If you installed the game to the default directory, the path to this folder will be ‘C:\Deus Ex\System’. If you bought the game on Steam, it will typically be ‘C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Deus Ex\System’. When you have located the correct directory, drop all the files in, replacing any existing files.
Now, simply launch the game. For now, just click on “Play” and make sure the game starts. You only need get as far as the title screen and exit again.
Deciding how to play
Deus Ex has an active and enthusiastic modding community who have created all kinds of content for the game. Of course, you can feel free to explore this content and install any mods that take your fancy, but here at Play-Old-PC-Games.com we like to play what we would consider the definitive version of the game that’s closest to the developers original vision. There’s some debate in the Deus Ex fan communities as to what this entails, so we’ll go over all the options and let you make up your own mind.
Option 1 – Party like its 2000 – For this option, we’ll simply use the original game assets. We’ll show you how to configure the game for best visual quality, effectively with this setup you are playing the game exactly like it would have been on a super high-end PC back in the year 2000. If you want to take this approach, skip over “Installing enhanced textures” and “Installing Shifter”.
Option 2 – Texture packs and enhancements – Rather than stick with the games original low-res textures, we’ll put a few enhancements in just to make things look prettier. Core gameplay is unchanged. If you want to take this approach, simply skip the section “Installing Shifter”.
Option 3 – Shifter up a gear – Shifter is a popular mod for the game that claims to “Remove the suck” from the game by fixing bugs and “annoying design decisions”. While many players feel this is the definitive way to play the game, others feel it’s a step too far away from the original vision, or that certain weapons are no longer balanced correctly. Certainly you could think of Shifter as a fan-made patch, but one that goes further than just fixing bugs. Again, it’s up to you if you go with it or not. For this approach, follow the guide in its entirety, not missing out any sections.
Installing enhanced textures
For this step, we’re going to install two recommended texture packs, the High Definition Texture Pack (HDTP) and the Deus Ex New Vision texture pack. Optionally, you can install the newer HDTP beta version too. To get started, first download Release 1 of the HDTP from this link. Ignore the beta versions for now, we’ll come to those later. Run the “HDTP-Release1.exe” file and follow the on-screen prompts. This will install the texture pack automatically.
If you’re feeling brave, you can also install the latest beta version of the texture pack too. This is somewhat more awkward to install. Start by downloading the three files from the page here. There’s no easy installer file this time however. Start by opening the HDTPBeta01.zip file. Inside there is one file (HDTPPapers.u) and a Readme.txt file. The readme file tells you where to place the files, so read it carefully before you proceed. For reference, the files in each of the Zip folders should be copied to the following locations within your Deus Ex installation folder, overwriting any existing files:-
HDTPPapers.u -> DeusEx\System
HDTPCharacters.u -> DeusEx\System
HDTPDecos.u -> DeusEx\System
HDTPItems.u -> DeusEx\System
DeusEx.u -> DeusEx\HDTP\System
HDTPanim.utx – Copy this to DeusEx\Textures AND Deusex\HDTP\Textures
HDTPBookClosed.u -> DeusEx\System
HDTPBookOpen.u -> DeusEx\System
We can now move on and install the New Vision texture pack too. Download it from this page. Run the New Vision installer and follow the on-screen prompts. The New Vision installer will offer to install some additional components too, see the screenshot below.
If you’re running Windows Vista or later and have a DirectX 10 compatible graphics card, you can select the “Direct3D 10 renderer”. This option will give the best possible visual quality. Check the documentation that came with your video card or computer to determine if it supports DirectX 10.
Since we already took care of installing a replacement launcher when we installed Deus Exe, you can leave the last two options deselected. Click on “Next >” to continue with the installation and follow the on-screen prompts. Once installation for New Vision is complete, you’ve completed this step of the process.
Shifter is a fan made patch and enhancement for Deus Ex. Many players feel this is the definitive way to play the game (though some disagree!). If you want to install shifter, the first step is to download it. Visit this page and click on the Shifter v1.9 RC1 link. The file is downloaded as a zip file, so open the zip file once downloading is complete and follow the appropriate installation instructions.
There are two types of installation you can do for Shifter. The basic, easy installation works fine in the majority of cases, but if you want to play the game in multiplayer mode, there’s an advanced installation you can perform that lets you play both regular, vanilla Deus Ex and Shifter too. If you want to do this, you will need to follow the instructions detailed in the “Advanced.txt” file inside the Shifter zip file. To perform the basic installation, browse to your Deus Ex installation folder and open the System sub-folder. Find the files DeusEx.u and DeusEx.int and make backup copies of them both. Now, copy the DeusEx.int and DeusEx.u files from the Shifter zip file you downloaded into the DeusEx\System folder, overwriting the existing files. Shifter is now installed.
Tweaking visual quality
Before you start playing the game, you’re going to want to tweak some settings for the best visual quality and gameplay experience. You can tweak most settings from within the Deus Exe replacement launcher we installed at the start of the guide. If you installed the HDTP, start the game using the HDTP – Release 1 shortcut, otherwise, start the game from the Play Deus Ex shortcut. Either way, the Deus Exe launcher should then appear, click on “Configure”. The window shown below should then appear (click on the picture to see a bigger version).
The options you should be concerned with in each category are listed below.
Use OTP GUI scaling fix – This helps the HUD and other GUI elements scale correctly on larger displays. Generally this should be selected on modern PCs.
Renderer – If your graphics card supports it, choose “Direct3D 10 Support”. Direct3D 10 support is installed as part of the New Vision texture pack, but you can download and install it manually if necessary by visiting this site.
If your graphics card does not support DirectX 10, choose either OpenGL or Direct3D support. You may need to try them both to see which works best with your hardware.
FPS Limit – Make sure this is at least the refresh rate of your monitor. Monitors typically refresh at 60hz though some more expensive panels have a 120hz refresh rate. Alternatively, set it to 0 to remove any FPS limit.
Common: Choose this option and select your monitors native resolution from the drop-down box. For 1080p for instance, choose 1920×1080. The game will run just fine in Widescreen as long as you set Field of view to “Automatic” (see below).
Full-screen mode: Unless you want to play in a window make sure this is selected. If you are playing in DirectX 10 mode and want to configure the advanced options for DirectX 10, you might want to start the game in Windowed mode initially.
Make sure 32 bit color is selected and that Detail textures are enabled.
Field of view
Set this to Automatic.
When you’re done setting these options, click on “OK”. Now, click on “Play” and launch the game. We’re not quite done yet, so read on before you start a game.
From the games main menu, select “Settings”, now click on “Display”. These options should already be configured through the Deus Exe launcher, but it can’t hurt to check. The screenshot below shows how the options should be set.
Obviously, Screen Resolution will be set differently depending on your monitor, but the other options should be set exactly as shown here for best results. Once you have verified these settings, click on “OK” to go back up to the previous menu.
If you installed the HDTP, click on “HDTP Options” now (if not, skip ahead to DirectX 10 tweaks). The following menu will then appear.
If you installed ONLY the HDTP-Release1 upgrade, you can turn on all the HDTP characters. If you installed the beta HDTP you will need to set “MJ12” to FALSE for now, until the author gets around to fixing the issues with this character mesh. Click on “OK” when you are done and then “Previous Menu”.
DirectX 10 only tweaks
These settings only apply if you have a graphics card compatible with DirectX 10 and have set the game renderer to DirectX 10 mode. You may find this step goes more smoothly if you temporarily switch to windowed mode. Start a game (on the main menu, click on “Training” to quickly get into the game without any intro movies or suchlike), then press the “T” key on your keyboard. You’ll notice at the bottom of the screen, a little prompt will appear with the word “Say”. Use the backspace key and delete “Say”. Now, type “preferences” (without the quotes). An “Advanced Options” window should now appear. Locate the “Rendering” option and double click on it. Now, double click on “Drect3D 10 support”. The options shown in the picture below should now be displayed.
The default options will give you good results, but if you are the type of person who loves to tweak, visit this page and scroll down to near the bottom, you will find a detailed explanation of what every option does.
We’re finally done with visual settings now, so on to sound!
Tweaking sound settings
Unfortunately, like many games from this era, Deus Ex used hardware accelerated audio for surround sound and positional audio. Since support for hardware accelerated audio was dropped from Windows Vista onwards, there is unfortunately no way to completely restore surround sound and positional audio to the game in more modern versions of Windows. Depending on what hardware you have available, you have a number of options.
If your machine is running Windows Vista or later and/or you don’t have an X-Fi compatible sound card, you’re limited to stereo audio no matter what you do.
If your machine is running Windows Vista or later and you have a Creative audio sound card that can run the ALchemy software suite you can try enabling ALchemy for the game. If you want to do this, be sure to install the ALchemy files into the System sub-folder in the DeusEX game folder. This may make things better, but the sound quality is still not the same as it is under Windows XP.
If your machine can run Windows XP and you have a Creative Audio/X-Fi compatible sound card, you can play the game with full 3D surround sound. Under Windows XP, you cannot use the DirectX 10 renderer however.
If you want to use ALchemy or True X-Fi sound (on Windows XP), make sure that “Use DirectSound” is enabled in the Deus Exe launcher program. That’s the only audio option you need to configure from the launcher, the rest are configured in-game. Start the game and select “Settings” from the main menu. Now choose “Sound”. The picture below shows the settings you can configure.
Set the options in your game to match those shown here. If you are running under Windows XP or have enabled ALchemy, make sure “Hardware 3D Support” is set to “On”. Otherwise, make sure this setting is set to “Off”.
Everything is now configured, and you can start your cyberpunk adventure in the world of Deus Ex (phew!)
Deusex.ini – in the System folder within the Deus Ex installation folder you will find a file called Deusex.ini. This file contains the settings for the game. Obviously you should only edit this file if you know what you are doing, but for more advanced troubleshooting it certainly helps to know where it is. If you’re unfamiliar with editing text files, see this tutorial.
FloatProperty Streak error – This error can occur if you don’t have the latest patch installed. Make sure you download and install the DeusExMPPatch1112fm.exe patch.
Save games and cache folders – Deus Ex requires write access to its installation folder in order to save games and cache files. The default installation directory is C:\DeusEx (C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\deus ex for the Steam version) and there should be no problems reading AND writing to this folder. If you need to move the save game folder for any reason, you can edit the Deusex.ini file and change “SavePath=” to point to the desired directory.
References and further reading
Our guide is based loosely on the guide originally posted to Reddit here.
Thanks to the Vogons.org community for their help and advice concerning the games surround sound options.
Finally, thanks to all the talented modders in the Deus Ex fan community for their hard work patching and enhancing this classic game.
Click on any screenshot to enlarge it.