S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: AMK Retranslated - A lightweight addon for AMK that fixes the broken English translation
A guide to installing AMK from scratch, with the AMK Retranslated dialogue fix and other, optional addons. UPDATED 11/04/2011 to be much more up to date and comprehensive.
Posted by Elsolar on Aug 7th, 2011
Step 1: Installing AMK
The first step in installing AMK is, obviously, to download the AMK 1.4 installer, as well as the 2.0.94 FINAL patch and run them. You'll notice that AMK is heavily configurable, simply choose whichever options seem the most appealing. A few things to remember:
Step 2: Installing the AMK for 1.0005 compatibility patch
AMK 1.4 is only compatible with version 1.0004 of the base game, so if you're running version 1.0005 or higher, you'll need to download this compatibility patch. If you're unsure which version of the game you're running, simply start it up and look in the bottom-left corner of the main menu. It will state your game version there. If you're running version 1.0004, you can move on to step 3 without installing the patch. If you're on 1.0005 or 1.0006, however, you'll need to download and install the patch.
Optional Step 3: Installing AMK Complete with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Weather Overhaul 3.1
AMK is great for improving S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s already stellar gameplay, but it does little to improve the game's aging visuals. Fortunately for us, AMK Complete exists. AMK Complete is a popular method of installing the textures, meshes, shaders, and sounds of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Complete 2009 as a stand-alone graphics mod with AMK 1.4. This method also includes S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Weather Overhaul 3.1 as part of the merge, which is an excellent mod that overhauls S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s outdoor lighting and weather effects. This process is simple, but contains multiple steps. Your game won't work until you complete them all.
Note: S.T.A.L.K.E.R Weather Overhaul is a great mod even if you're not installing AMK Complete. SWO 3.1 doesn't have a compatibility patch for AMK other than the AMK Complete merge, but SWO 2.2 is a reasonable substitute. Don't forget the 2.2.1 patch.
Optional Step 4: Installing Absolute Nature/Structures
Even with the Complete 2009 visuals installed, there's more work to be done visually. The "Absolute" series of textures packs are limited in their scope, but unsurpassed in their quality. And because they don't upscale the texture resolutions at all, they work wonderfully even on modest PCs. Grab Absolute Nature and Absolute Structures and install them.
Optional Step 5: Installing S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shaders MAX
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. isn't a terrible looking game by any means, but you'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't agree that it looks a little dated. Part of the reason for this is that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. doesn't support many of the advanced shader effects that are associated with modern computer graphics. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shaders MAX fixes this by updating and optimizing S.T.A.L.K.E.R's shaders, as well as adding new shading and postprocessing effects like shadow jittering, SSAO, motion blur, depth of field, and even sun shafts, among others. Download the mod, install it, then install a graphical preset. Don't forget to customize the mod by editing the configuration file (gamedata\shaders\r2\ShaderSettings.txt). All of the options are described in comments, so they're simple and easy to edit.
Optional Step 6: Installing L.U.R.K. Animations for AMK
If there's one thing that Holden's L.U.R.K. mod does better than any other, it's weapon skins and animations. They're so good, in fact, that a fellow by the name of Robbie has taken them and packaged them as a stand-alone addon for AMK. They really are fantastic and breath new life into the game's visuals. You can grab them here.
Step 7: Installing AMK Retranslated
AMK is a great mod, perhaps the greatest ever made for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. But it has one glaring weakness, one major flaw that can disturb or even ruin the playing experience. It was originally developed in Russian, and the default English translation for it is simply terrible. Entire conversations are completely unreadable, untranslated, or simply missing. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: AMK Retranslated fixes this by overhauling the English text, replacing it with much more readable, immersive, and grammatically-correct text. Download it and install it by copying over the provided gamedata folder.
At this point it's a good idea to open your game and make sure that it works.
Step 8: Configuring S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl through the user.lxt
At this point you're done downloading and installing things, but if you want the ultimate S.T.A.L.K.E.R. experience, your work is hardly done. These edits and configuration tweaks can be a little confusing if you're not used to modding or PC gaming, but come highly recommended. Whenever I refer to your "user.lxt", I am referring to the file located in My Documents\stalker-shoc\. It won't have any programs associated with it by default, but can be read with notepad.
At this point, your installation of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is configured with AMK and ready to be played. If you have any difficulties following these instructions, problems with compatibility, or comments regarding the quality of this guide, please don't hesitate to post them below. Thanks for reading and good hunting, stalker!