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"Cannot Initialize Graphics Card"

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Hello all,

I'm having an issue with my SimCity 4 I purchased recently from Steam. It's giving me an error saying that it cannot initialize graphics card. Anyone know what that's about and how do I go about fixing it? I have a EVGA GTX 460.

Thanks in advance.

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I also am having issues with Simcity 4 Deluxe that I purchased on Steam.

When I launch the game thru Steam, it goes to a black screen then immediately back to desktop giving the "Cannot initialize graphics card" box. The game has to be closed through task manager.

I have a AMD Radeon HD 6800 series graphics card, and I have attempted to reinstall the game. This has not solved the problem.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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I assume that you've been able to start the game before? And that you've changed the Graphics Options to the highest the game has?

If you've done that, you've made a bit of a mistake. The highest resolution that the game supports if 1600x1200, a very high 4:3 resolution that most modern monitors don't support.

Now that you've done that, you can't change it back the normal way because your Graphics Card is freaking out.

What you need to do is open up the Properties window for SC4 in Steam and click the "Set Launch Options" button. A window will pop up. Paste the below line into the text box in that window.

-CustomResolution:enabled -rWxHx16 -CPUCount:1

Substitute the W and H after the -r with your resolution. For example, 1080p would be -r1920x1080x16. Most laptops use 1366x768, so you would use -r1366x768x16 instead.

Restricting the graphics to 16-Bit has resulted in reduced crashes with no noticeable graphics degradation.

  Edited by jdenm8  

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I wasn't able to start the game before, but still your solution worked sorta.

I have a quad-core cpu, so the graphics card message I was getting was gone when I switched to 1 CPU. Instead I got a "Software Driver will be used next time" which put me in another continuous nonstarting loop. When I put in your launch options however, it worked and my game starts!


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Change the last parameter on your custom resolution set to 32. There is no reason to run 16 bit colour.

To make the single processor option permanent add -cpucount:1 to your options list (don't forget the leading space).

To try hardware mode again, add the option -d:directx

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