How to Fix Civilization 5 ‘Render Error’

Some Civilization V users playing the game on PC are frequently encountering a critical ‘Renderer Error‘ whenever they attempt to play the game. This problem is confirmed to occur on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.

Civilization 5 Renderer Error

After investigating the issue, this ‘renderer error‘ might occur due to several different reasons. Here’s a shortlist of potential culprits that might be responsible for this game-breaking error:

  • GPU Texture Decode is Enabled – As it turns out, there are a lot of low-end motherboard models that will trigger this error in Civilization V if a certain Video option called ‘GPU Texture Decode’ is enabled. To fix this problem, all you need to do is disable the option from the in-game settings.
  • Allocated GPU resources are not enough – It’s also possible to see this error in case your GPU is unable to handle the rendering of certain in-game elements. If this scenario is applicable, it might help to force your graphics card to prioritize maximum performance.
  • Full-Screen Glitch – As it turns out, there are some instances where it might help to run the game in windowed mode if you’re trying to avoid the renderer error. This has confirmed to be effective by several affected users dealing with this issue.
  • Missing DirectX package – Another fairly common problem that might cause this error is a missing DirectX package (versions that are not included by default on Windows 10). In this case, you can fix the issue by running the end-user runtime web installer to install any missing file.
  • Outdated GPU Driver – Under certain circumstances, you can also see this error popping up if you’re running a severely outdated GPU driver version when playing the game. To fix it, you’ll need to update the GPU driver to the latest version available.

Now that you know the potential causes, here are several methods that other affected users have used to fix the issue:

Method 1: Disabling GPU Texture Decode

As it turns out, this issue might be caused by a GPU setting that is enabled by default inside the game options. Some PC gamers that have encountered this issue have managed to fix the issue by disabling GPU Texture Decode in Video Options.

Game crashes caused by this particular GPU setting can be identified by the fact that the cursor remains on screen while the error occurs.

If you haven’t tried this yet, follow the instructions below to disable GPU Texture Decode from your game settings in order to fix the renderer error inside Civilization 5:

  1. Open Civilization V and wait until the initial startup sequence until you get to the main menu.
  2. From the main menu, click on Options from the vertical list in the middle.
    Accessing the Options menu
  3. Once you’re inside the Settings menu of Civilization V, click on Video Options from the horizontal menu at the top.
  4. From the Video Options menu, uncheck the box associated with GPU Texture Decode and click Accept to activate these changes.
    Disabling GPU Texture decode
  5. Once GPU Texture has been disabled, restart the game and see if the error code is now fixed.

If the same error code returns, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 2: Set Nvidia card to ‘Prefer Maximum Performance’

If you’re using an Nvidia GPU, you might experience the ‘Renderer Error’ with Civilization 5 due to the fact that your GPU is unable to handle the rendering of certain elements in the game. This is fairly common among low-tier GPUs.

One solution affected users found in this case is to force the GPU Manager (Nvidia Control Panel) to allocate the maximum amount of available resources when the system is rendering the game – This fix was confirmed to be effective by a lot of users that were facing this problem.

If you’re unsure on how to switch your GPU mode to Maximum performance, follow the instructions below:

  1. Look for the Nvidia Control Panel icon in your tray bar list (or Nvidia Experience).
  2. When you see the correct icon, right-click on the correct icon and choose Nvidia Control Panel from the list of available options.
    Accessing the Nvidia Control Panel program
  3. Once you’re inside Nvidia Control Panel, click on Adjust image settings with preview (under 3D settings) from the menu on the left-hand side.
    Accessing the Image Settings menu inside Nvidia Control Panel
  4. Next, move over to the right-hand section and select the Use my preference emphasizing toggle from the list of available options, then adjust the toggle to Performance before clicking Apply to save the changes.
  5. Finally, restart your computer and see if the problem is fixed once the next startup is complete.

If you’re still encountering the same ‘Renderer Error’ when playing Civilization V, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 3: Running the game in Windowed mode (Workaround)

As it turns out, there is one workaround that a lot of affected users have successfully used to avoid any new instances of the Renderer Error with Civilization V.

It involves modifying the game’s shortcut to run in Windowed mode – This might be a little inconvenient for some players, but it’s still better than having the game crash every few minutes.

If you don’t know how to force the game to run in Windowed mode, follow the instructions below to configure its shortcut to do launch in this mode at every startup:

  1. Open File Explorer (My Computer) and navigate to the location of the shortcut you use to launch the game.
  2. Next, right-click on the Civilization V shortcut and choose Properties from the newly appeared context menu.
    Accessing the Properties screen of the game executable
  3. Once you’re inside the Properties screen, access the Shortcut tab and look for the Target location. When you arrive at the correct location, simply add ‘_window’ (without quotes) after the target location like in the image below:
    Forcing the shortcut to work in -window mode

    Note: If you’re using an older GPU, It might also help to force the game to run using DirectX 9 by adding this command:

    -w 1280-H720 -window -novid -high -threads 4 -nojoy +cl_forcepreload 1 -nod3d9ex
  4. Click Apply to save the changes, then double-click on the shortcut to launch the game and see if the Renderer Error has been fixed.

If the same problem is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 4: Installing every Missing DirectX Package

According to some affected user reports, this issue can also occur due to a severely outdated DirectX version – this is only applicable if you’re encountering this issue immediately after you attempt to launch the game or if you recently upgraded your GPU card.

If one of the two scenarios outlined above is applicable, you should attempt to update your DirectX version to the latest available using the web installer. If you don’t know how to do this by yourself, follow the step-by-step instructions below:

  1. Open your default browser and access the official DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer download pageOnce you’re inside, select your preferred language and hit the Download button to commence the download.
    Downloading the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer
  2. After you get to the next screen, you can uncheck any unnecessary bloatware that Microsoft tries to push by clicking on No thanks and continue with DirectX End-User Runtime Web installer button.
  3. Wait until the dxwebsetup executable is successfully downloaded, then double-click on it and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update to the latest version of DirectX.
    Installing DirectX End-User Runtime
  4. Once the installation of every missing DirectX pack is complete, reboot your computer and open Civilization V once the next computer startup is complete to see if the problem is now fixed.

In case the same problem is still occurring, move down to the next method below.

Method 5: Update GPU Driver to the Latest Version

If you ensure that you’re running the latest DirectX version and you’re still encountering the same Renderer error, you should start considering a GPU driver issue. If your graphics card capabilities are more than enough to run the game in a stable manner, the most likely cause of the Renderer Error is a partially corrupted GPU driver or corrupted dependency.

In this case, you should be able to fix the problem by forcing your operating system to update your GPU driver or installing the most recent version by yourself.

Here’s a quick guide on how to perform a GPU update on a Windows computer:

Note: The instructions below are universal and will work regardless of your GPU manufacturer or the Windows version that you’re using.

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘devmgmt.msc’ and press Enter to open up Device Manager.
    Running Device Manager
  2. Inside Device Manager, scroll down through the list of installed devices, then expand the menu associated with Display Adapters.
  3. After you manage to reveal more information about Display Adapters, right-click on your dedicated GPU (the one that is actively handling the game) and click on Update driver from the context menu that just appeared.
    Updating Graphics Driver Manually
  4. At the next screen, start by clicking on Search Automatically for updated driver software. Once you get past the next screen, go ahead and follow the on-screen instructions to install the latest GPU drivers that the scan has managed to identify.
    Searching for the newest driver automatically
  5. If a new driver version is identified, follow through with the on-screen instructions to install the latest driver versions that the WU component just downloaded for you. Once the operation is complete, reboot your computer and wait for the next startup to complete.
  6. Next, launch the game again and see if the issue is still occurring.

    If you’re still getting the same renderer error or Device Manager didn’t find a new driver version, you should also consider using your GPU manufacturer proprietary tool to identify, download & install the latest driver version compatible with your GPU model:
    GeForce Experience – Nvidia
    Adrenalin – AMD
    Intel Driver – Intel

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.