How to fix choppiness and stutters in GTA IV Complete Edition 2020 v188.8.131.52 in Windows 10
If your game starts OK but stutters like crazy when you’re driving in Algonquin near the park or flying in a helicopter near a bridge, read on.
After some research I came to the conclusion that the game itself is not the culprit here and choppiness/stutter is clearly a renderer issue as many people report that enabling steam overlay helped them and – surprise - DXVK works magic on GTA IV, e.g. even translating Direct3D calls to Vulkan is faster and has consistent fps+frametime! So I researched further and found that this crappy legacy D3D/DDraw renderer problem is very common with older games. It is usually solved by:
Fixing native Windows D3D9 renderer with DDrawCompat – game looks as intended, gameplay is pretty smooth
Avoiding crappy native renderer altogether and translating output to superior DX11, OpenGL or Vulkan renderers – game looks nearly as intended, gameplay is silky smooth, 3-5 fps may be lost in translation 8) but DXVK method may even yield fps!
I tried different methods from two groups above with GTA IV and they were the only reliable ones that helped to achieve smooth gameplay and consistent frametime in Algonquin.
So here’s quick-n-dirty method that fixes native D3D renderer
Install Ultimate ASI Loader (already installed in FitGirl repack)
Download dxwrapper, unpack dxwrapper.asi/.ini into GTA IV folder or plugins subfolder
DDrawCompat = 1
ATTENTION: DDrawCompat on multi-core CPU will load 1st core at 100% by default. To load cores evenly the following must be enabled in dxwrapper.ini:
DDrawCompatNoProcAffinity = 1
Optionally may enable antialiasing here if it is not already enabled in nVidia/AMD driver settings:
AntiAliasing = 1
For extensive research of different methods to fix choppiness and stutters in GTA IV see my blog post