Game Quirks

More useful info:
Troubleshooting FAQ
Crashes Still in the Patched Game
What You Know That Ain't So
"S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - SoC" Stuff

Quirks in the game

This is another work in progress. Please report any quirks you have experienced but don't see in this list. Warning: Some spoilers.

Quick Links Reloading saves or new levels
Time and Space
The Permanent Radiation Bug -- and Its Cure
The Game Cheats

Reloading saves or new levels:

Reloading a saved game in the presence of NPCs will usually alert them to your presence. This is partly due to the fact that your character will "equip" a weapon or tool (e.g., binocs) in a noisy manner. If somebody died nearby before you made that save, reloading it will cause enemy NPCs to move to the location you occupied when the last death occurred. For details, see the "Question about enemy vision AI" thread at the GSC forum.

Dying while the controller's roar is playing will not remove the roar when you reload the last save made on that level. The vanilla workaround is to exit the game completely and restart the game, or go to another level.*

Conversely, the rain sound will be disabled if you change levels.

Going up or down ladders will put your assault weapon away on most levels. If you are changing levels, then this means that you will enter the new level with binoculars instead of the weapon you were holding. To prevent this, equip a first-slot weapon or jump into a hole to change levels.

Active night vision is not preserved on level changes and reloads of previous saves, and is turned off when you pick up a suit.

The "Last save" button uses the name preserved from the last good exit from the game when the user.ltx file was properly written. After a crash, you should use "Load game".

Be careful with quicksaves. It is bad ergonomic design to put the quicksave key next to the quickload key; consider moving them apart. But you can lose some functionality and even corrupt your game if you save too quickly after a load, before the game has finished initializing.

One problem is that not all "schemes" are properly attached to entities in the game. An example is the door control scheme; if missing this breaks the underground bunker door to Sidorovich the Cordon trader, as well as the doors elsewhere. The breaking of doors in Dark Valley is a showstopper because you can't get the X18 quest update.*


Some NPC bodies will fly violently across the map when they die. This is due to a collision detection correction performed by the physics engine; it pushes the body violently away from the spot of the collision. This can be caused by impact or the sudden addition or removal of inventory from the NPC.

Should you (the player) die and find yourself flung into a level changer, DO NOT click the "Yes" button, or you will be respawned in the next level as a body -- and the autosave will only have your dead body in it.

A related collision-detection issue can occur when you are struck by a pseudodog on a leap. You might be flung violently into the air. This can be reduced by lowering the pseudodog's Accel_Aggressive parameter in config\creatures\m_pseudodog.ltx. (This is already tweaked a bit in the latest ZRP versions.)

Some NPC bodies will drop through the ground when they die. They might reappear moments later, or when you move over them. If not, center your HUD white spot over the grey spot of the missing stalker, crouch, and slowly rotate around while looking down. When you are over the body, you will see a "Search body" prompt. You can pick up the body and drag it to a spot where it will stay above the surface, or you can simply search it.*

Stuff that is "in boxes" is created when the box is broken -- except that it might not become physical enough before dropping through the floor where the box was resting.* Electro artifacts like the Moonlight can be created when some crates are broken, but you won't know this if you break the crate between 5 a.m and midnight.* Sometimes items fall out of the level when spawned, but will reappear when you return to the area later.

Related to this is the disappearance of items that are in contact with the ground. Examples are the RG6 grenade launcher and the special artifacts in Red Forest. You can pull them out of the ground with a ZRP debug command as a temporary workaround.

Time and Space:

Sometimes you will accomplish a quest without doing anything, as targets die by other causes (e.g., mutants kill bandits or mercs). Some autoquests will become completed due to gulag state changes, as when the camp switches from daytime status to nighttime.

Then again, sometimes you will fail a quest because of Alife traffic. For example, certain bandits might be escorting a prisoner by design, but Alife bandits moving to another area see that prisoner as an enemy and shoot him. Or you come upon the Cordon bridge guards when they are engaged in battle, so they shoot at you, too, even though they normally would let you speak to them first. Workaround: Avoid the area for a while, to let the threat pass by so that the game can return to normal.

There are also some arbitrary rules which can cause a task failure. For example, going south of the farmstead west of the Freedom base will automatically fail any pending Freedom tasks if you were neutral with Freedom, as you are made an enemy.*

Some places have invisible walls and ceilings. For examples, see Pripyat, or throw a grenade from the hills north of the entrance to the Agroprom level toward the tall trees.

Over time, some permanent corpses will stretch out. You can fix a stretched NPC by picking up the body and dropping it.

The Permanent Radiation Bug -- and Its Cure:

It is possible to become afflicted with permanent radiation sickness. It happens on the outer areas of the map where the devs do not want you to go. It also happens on the south side of the Garbage train tunnel. While you can eliminate the damage from radiation, you will still receive a hitch in walking or running every second.

Why does this happen? Well, the game detects when you enter and leave the radiation barrier areas, but not reliably. It's an edge trigger that doesn't always fire, so you are considered to still be in the radiation zone.

A cure is available in the ZRP as of version 1.07. Or you can mod your game yourself; see the end of the first post on page 195 in the ZRP discussion at GSC.

The best vanilla treatment is to load a save from prior to the affliction, so save often, occasionally to named saves. The ZRP has a quick named save option: Press ESC followed by S.

The Game Cheats:

Shooting at NPCs while they are in their hit animations may seem like you are not doing any damage. You might not be; various parts of their bodies (like fingers) don't take damage in vanilla. Also, your shots might not be going where you think they are. Wait a moment for your aim to settle, then go for the headshot. (There is a debug feature in ZRP 1.07 that you can use to see an enemy's health as you fire upon him.)

If you go back to the Bar after rescuing Kruglov (so that he makes it to Yantar) without going to visit Sakharov first, you won't get the "real scientist's suit" that Kruglov promised.

The Duty equivalent of the SEVA suit has a quirk that prevents you from carrying bodies. This is fixed in a few mods, primarily by increasing capture_force in kombez_kupol_damage_med.ltx in the gamedata\config\models\capture\ subdirectory.*

Reloading a weapon is not considered done until the ammo count changes even though the animation has finished.

Some NPCs will aim to their left when targeting you. When they fire, their bullets will come your way even though the gun is pointing somewhere off to your right.*

The "Find the weapon of the Dutyer" task will mark the weapon at the spot where the weapon was last "visible", usually at the spawn point of the one carrying the weapon. While this weapon is put away, the game does not update the coordinates of the rifle until you are on the same level as the weapon bearer, close enough for him to be online.

Why is that a cheat? Well, the one that usually carries the rifle will change levels when a "lager" (camp) opens up that will accept him -- but the weapon marker won't change at all until you get close to him.


A grenade or other explosive might temporarily mess up the animation of NPCs so that they appear to "slide" as they move -- they're walking, but the animation isn't working.

Sometimes grenades are not selectable via keystroke. The workarounds include dropping a grenade from inventory and picking it up, or selecting then unselecting another weapon via keystroke (e.g., press 3 3). After either of these, grenades should be selectable again.


Sometimes stalkers go online in a "zone fugue" state; they just stand there, usually near a campfire. If you can't talk to them and you think you should be able to: Go out of "switch distance" (default is 150 meters) to switch them offline. This usually resets the problem stalker. Alternatively, save/reload.*

On rare occasions you will not be able to select items in grids when searching NPCs. A quicksave/quickload should fix this.

As of 1.0004, bodies seem to "eat" food and drink when you use them for storage. Or bodies seem to spawn new food or drink when later examined. The bodies are just temporarily hiding a food or drink item.

Some resolutions (800x600 for sure, and 1440x900) don't display text announcements reliably. You can try a different resolution to see if that helps.

Quite a few quirks are mentioned elsewhere, like NPCs roasting in fires or found dead for no reason, due to lack of spawn points around a campfire or simply the intersection of two NPCs in their random positioning when switched online.*


*These issues are (or can be) addressed with fixes or workarounds in ZRP 1.07 R5 or later. See also the Bugs In STALKER page.

Last page update: October 16, 2020
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