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Penumbra Troubleshooting Guide
plutomaniac Offline
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Posts: 6,368
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Solved: 8 Years, 4 Months, 3 Weeks ago Exclamation  Penumbra Troubleshooting Guide

Problem A: Penumbra won't start

1. Make sure your graphics card supports the game and that you have updated drivers

Because Penumbra uses OpenGL, your graphics card may not support the minimum version required or your drivers may be outdated even though you can run most other games (which use Direct3D). In order to learn more visit the Graphics Card Troubleshooting Guide.

2. Make sure the game is updated

Penumbra updates can be found HERE. The Steam version updates automatically.

3. Reset game settings

Sometimes changes you have made can cause problems with the game. In order to fix this you need to reset the game's settings. Go to the game's save directory and remove the settings.cfg file. Then start the game again without changing anything. If all works, you can exit the game and carefully change a few settings at a time. The save directories are mentioned below, at Problem X.

4. Background program interferences

It has been reported that sometimes background programs like:

Spoiler below!
ATI Tray Tools
Camtasia Studio
Emsisoft Online Armor
Open Broadcasting Software
Origin Overlay
Steam Overlay
Teamspeak Overlay
Wii U drivers
can make the game crash at startup or even randomly. Since there are bound to be more, if you have tried all of the above then it might be worth manually closing everything running in the background including any antivirus/firewall and try again.

5. Bad file permissions

Sometimes the game might crash because of bad file permissions. To fix this, run as Administrator (Windows Vista) or set so the Penumbra executable has write permission on the install directory.

6. Wrong display settings

Make sure that your display supports the resolution you set in-game and that your desktop color depth is set to 32-bit. Also, make sure your DPI is set to default 100%.

Problem B: Penumbra is slow / occasionally freezes

1. Make sure that you have updated graphics card drivers

Check Problem A1

2. Make sure the game is updated

Check Problem A2

3. Disable performance demanding features

Shadows: You can disable this for a big performance boost.

4. Background program interferences

Check Problem A4

Problem C: Penumbra has weird or upside-down graphics / everything is black except the menu / random colors or discoloration

1. Make sure that you have updated graphics card drivers

Check Problem A1

Note: This is the proper fix for upside-down graphics as well for the black screen issue that Intel HD cards experience.

2. Make sure the game is updated

Check Problem A2

3. Turn off post effects

Go to Options > Graphics > Advanced and here you can turn on/off all of the different effects in the game. No restart of the game is needed for these changes, so simple go back to game and see if it has been fixed.

4. Increase or Decrease Shader Quality

Go to Options > Graphics > Advanced and try different Shader quality options. Restart the game and see if it has been fixed.

5. Reset game settings

Check Problem A3

Problem D: Fullscreen does not work

Check Problem A6

Problem E: vSync makes the game crash

For some cards, vSync does not work properly and can make the game crash. To sidestep this issue, force vSync to be enabled at the graphics card control panel and not in-game. It might also help to turn off triple buffering as well.

Problem F: The game crashes / freezes during gameplay

1. Write permission fail

This crash would happen during loading of new map. Check Problem A5.

2. Bad game caches

It might be that some of the game cache files are corrupted. Uninstall the game, then reinstall and see if that helps. For Steam users, check Problem I on how to do a file integrity check.

3. Turn off post effects

Check Problem C3

4. Background program interferences

Check Problem A4

5. Make sure the game is updated

Check Problem A2

Problem G: The screen is cropped and edges are not visible / Black Screen and freeze at intro logos

Check Problem A6

Problem H: I cannot change the Gamma (it always resets to default)

This is due to certain background programs interfering. Most noticeably gamma/brightness calibrators such as f.lux. Check Problem A4 for known interfering programs.

Problem I: I was told to do a Steam File Integrity Check or Local Content Deletion. How do I do that?

When it comes to Steam, usually most problems can be solved by verifying integrity of game cache (file integrity check) or by deleting local content (game uninstall).

Spoiler below!
Steam File Integrity Check
  1. Right-Click the game in your Steam library
  2. Click "Properties"
  3. Navigate to "Local Files" tab
  4. Click "Verify integrity of game cache"
Steam Local Content Deletion
  1. Right-Click the game in your Steam library
  2. Click "Delete Local Content"
  3. Install the game again

Problem J: Should I trust sites that tell me whether I can run the game or not?

No. You cannot trust any site that offers to scan your computer, detect your hardware and tell you whether the game will run or not. A typical example is the famous site "Can You Run it?". While such sites can be helpful with other games, that's not the case with Penumbra. It provides an estimation on whether you can run the game and thus in some cases it either tells you that the game will work when it doesn't or tells you that your computer is below requirements when you shouldn't have any issues.

Problem K: Alt-tabbing out of the game and back in does not work (mouse stuck at top left corner)

This is a known problem of an older version of SDL.dll library. In order to fix the issue go HERE.

Problem X: Nothing helps. What information do you need to help me?

1) Start a new thread and describe in detail the problem you are having.
2) Attach the file HPL.log located at the folders mentioned below.

Spoiler below!
Penumbra Overture:

Windows XP & Vista: My Documents\Penumbra Overture\Episode1\
Linux: .frictionalgames/Penumbra Overture/Episode1/
Mac OS X: ~/Library/Preferences/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Overture/
Mac OS X <= 10.6 (App Store): ~/Library/Application Support/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Overture/
Mac OS X >= 10.7 (App Store): ~/Library/Containers/com.frictionalgames.PenumbraCollection/Data/Library/Application Support/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Overture/

Penumbra Black Plague:

Windows XP & Vista: My Documents\Penumbra\Black Plague\
Linux: .frictionalgames/Penumbra/Black Plague/
Mac OS X: ~/Library/Preferences/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Black Plague/
Mac OS X <= 10.6 (App Store): ~/Library/Application Support/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Black Plague/
Mac OS X >= 10.7 (App Store): ~/Library/Containers/com.frictionalgames.PenumbraCollection/Data/Library/Application Support/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Black Plague/

Penumbra Requiem:

Windows XP & Vista: My Documents\Penumbra\Requiem\
Linux: .frictionalgames/Penumbra/Requiem/
Mac OS X: ~/Library/Preferences/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Requiem/
Mac OS X <= 10.6 (App Store): ~/Library/Application Support/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Requiem/
Mac OS X >= 10.7 (App Store): ~/Library/Containers/com.frictionalgames.PenumbraCollection/Data/Library/Application Support/Frictional Games/Penumbra/Requiem/
(This post was last modified: 01-27-2015, 04:58 PM by plutomaniac.)
07-01-2013, 11:29 PM

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Penumbra Troubleshooting Guide - by plutomaniac - 07-01-2013, 11:29 PM

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