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Thread: Thief2/Ss2: nVidia 8500/8600/8800 - Crappy colours/textures

  1. #101
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2003
    Location: United Kingdom
    Does Thief 2 look worse on an 8800GTS than it does on a 6600GT then, which also has bad skies and transparency issues. (I'll be getting an 8800GTS 320mb shortly)

    I'm not really bothered about it though, to be honest. I'd rather have a blistering graphics card and have crappy colours in T2, than a lower end card that displays nice colours in Thief!

    At the moment, I'm actually using a Radeon X800 XL 512mb, and the colours are perfect. The 6600GT is shoved in a box out of the way.
    Last edited by Sluggs; 24th Jun 2007 at 09:12.

  2. #102
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    People say it looks worse, but I have not seen a side by side comparison between the 6xxx and 8xxx cards. I would still like to see the side by side comparison, because from what I see in this thread the images of the 8800 look about the same as my 6800 GT and 7950 GT.

  3. #103
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2006
    Location: Moscow, Russia
    smithpd, with GF 5xxx - 7xxx and drivers not higher than 86.xx Thief-2 looks like on the second screenshot of the first post of this thread, except the sky is as on first one. I have 7600GT and it looks like that.

  4. #104
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    Thanks, DJ Riff, but I think that is not quite true. It is much more than just the sky. With the 6800 GT and the 7950 GT and any drivers that will work on those cards, all dark textures are rendered with limited color palette, resulting in banding and greenish color tint. You get the same thing with the Ti 4200 (a good card) and drivers on after 56xx. You need an older driver to make the Ti 4200 look good. I have posted shots of this dark texture problem elsewhere. I have to run now, but I will come back later and post them. In short, if you turn on a light, the textures look good, but if the room is darkened, they look bad. The ATI cards and the Ti 4200 with good drivers do not have this dark texture problem. The difference is in the use of dithering to blend the colors, which seems to be disabled in recent cards / drivers.

    The question that still remains (to me) is: "Is the 8800 really different?" I hear what people are saying, but I have seen no direct evidence. I would still like to see dark textures and light textures rendered with the same scene in a side-by-side comparison between the 6xxx or 7xxx cards and the 8800 series card.
    Last edited by smithpd; 24th Jun 2007 at 02:15.

  5. #105
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment

    comparison of dark and light textures

    These first four images are from a bedroom in Lord Alan's Fortress. The difference between the dark and light textures is that in the light images I have lit a flare. The flare itself has a greenish cast. An electric light would be more white light. The results are exactly the same with a Ti 4200 and recent drivers > 56.00, a 6800 GT (any driver that works), and a 7950 GT (any driver that works). I have all three cards, and I have compared these particular images when I have changed.


    Bed, dark texture


    Bed, light texture


    Window, dark texture


    Window, light texture

    The two images below were made by Nameless Voice using an ATI X300 Mobility card, the difference between them being that dithering was enabled or disabled in dromed. The "without dithering" case looks to me to be essentially the same as the dark texture problem that I have seen in the 6800 GT and the 7950 GT. This example shows that dithering is the likely cause of the problem.


    ATI X300 Mobility without dithering enabled in dromed


    ATI X300 Mobility with dithering enabled in dromed

    I do not have a side by side shot comparing 7950 GT or 6800 GT and the 8800 series in the same scene because I don't have an 8800 series card. I'll leave that to someone else, if they would be so kind.
    Last edited by smithpd; 24th Jun 2007 at 14:42. Reason: corrected information about last two images

  6. #106
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Quote Originally Posted by smithpd View Post
    The two images below were made by someone else using an 8800 series card, the difference between them being that dithering was enabled or disabled in dromed...
    Er, no. Those shots just demonstrated the difference between having dithering turned on and off on card that supports it, to contrast with how the game looks in the screenshots in the original post. I took them on an ATI X300 Mobility.
    I probably shouldn't have posted them at all, since Winter Cat showed basically the same thing before, but I had added them to my post to repeat his point.

  7. #107
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    OK, thanks NV. I'll edit my post to reflect the facts.

  8. #108
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2005
    Location: Hiding in Garrett's wardrobe.
    Some info that may be of interest:

    I have an 8800 and everything I have tried so far hasn't resolved the dithering issue as mentioned in this thread.

    Under Vista and 158.45 drivers I tried firing up Dromed and doing Alt-G/Shift-;/toggle_dithering and there was no noticeable difference - shadows were still way dark even at max Thief2 gamma.

    I removed the 8800 and installed a Radeon X1800XL with drivers "7-6_vista32_dd_ccc_wdm_enu_48645.exe". Thief2 looks as it should be - nice shadows and gamma that actually make a perceptible difference. I then tried firing up Dromed and did "Alt-G/Shift-;/toggle_dithering" - this disabling of dithering made things looks like it did on the 8800 (nasty dark shadows).

  9. #109

    make a sticky

    Admins..

    Would it be at all possible to sticky this thread? As we are still getting lots of people asking the same question which I have answered in this thread.

    ta.

    biker

  10. #110
    Is it possible to put an old 3DFX Voodoo card I have in one of the PCI slots as a secondary video card while my 8800 is in the PCI-e slot? I wish I had read this thread before upgrading to the 8800.....

    The green tint is just not acceptable.

  11. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by Biohazard View Post
    Is it possible to put an old 3DFX Voodoo card I have in one of the PCI slots as a secondary video card while my 8800 is in the PCI-e slot? I wish I had read this thread before upgrading to the 8800.....

    The green tint is just not acceptable.
    yes it is, but I imagine you might have some fun installing the voodoo driver -

    biker

  12. #112
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sluggs View Post
    I'd rather have a blistering graphics card and have crappy colours in T2, than a lower end card that displays nice colours in Thief!
    Them's fightin' words around here. I'd rather have a perfect, pristine T2 experience -- all other games be damned!!

    Ok, that's not entirely true, but if I could get T2 to look like it did in the old days, I'd be one happy taffer.

    I can't seem to get the "two graphics cards in my computer at the same time" trick to work. Even after installing the drivers for each one, I can't figure out how to switch displays. My LCD conks out when I tell my computer to start using my "secondary" card and then try to switch the cable to the second card, nothing happens except a watery blur of a black screen. Not sure what's happening...

  13. #113
    Well what is the secondary card you are trying to use?

  14. #114
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    Primary: PCI-e slot EVGA GeForce 7950GT
    Secondary: PCI slot GeForce FX5500

    They use the same drivers, so switching should be a cinch, eh?

    I should clarify that I can get the FX5500 to work, I just have to reboot my system. I thought (and was hoping) that I could do it on the fly.

  15. #115
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    Hit Deity,

    What drivers you are using on the FX5200? Can get the good sky back with those drivers? I had thought that you would need Nvidia drivers prior to 56.xx to get good sky, and those drivers would not work with the 7950GT. I could be wrong.

    Conversely, if you can't get the good sky back, then what is the advantage of using the FX5200? Won't the 7950GT work by itself? Recall that I posted a link in the "Last Nvidia Card" thread to a good version of 84.56 drivers that required no fooling around. Did you try that?

  16. #116
    I think Ill wade in on this one....

    As I have the same sorta setup as H-deity, what works for me should work for him.

    1. when you switch monitors using display properties in windows, windows may prompt you asking if you want to keep the second monitor as your primary, and what may be happening is by the time the second vga cable is plugged in the prompt times out, thus switching back to the original card.

    2. download a util such as "ultramon" which allows the switching of the monitor on the fly bypassing windows own controls.

    You can test either of the ebough buy borrowing a second monitor etc, or just persevere with your current setup.

    biker

  17. #117
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    Damn, thought I posted it already...

    No, it looked worse with the 7950GT in Hardware mode. At least, I think it was in Hardware mode (I re-commented the safe_texture_manager line) and it worked OK. It was the colors though, or mainly the views in the dark areas. Slightly worse as far as the dithering went - it was much more noticeable. And the sky was a little worse.

    I don't know what I was thinking, except that the FX5500 seemed to play T2 just fine on my kid's computer. Thought I'd try it. Oh, well.

  18. #118
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    Quote Originally Posted by Hit Deity View Post
    No, it looked worse with the 7950GT in Hardware mode. At least, I think it was in Hardware mode (I re-commented the safe_texture_manager line) and it worked OK. It was the colors though, or mainly the views in the dark areas. Slightly worse as far as the dithering went - it was much more noticeable. And the sky was a little worse.
    Sorry, Hit Deity, but I don't fully understand what "slightly worse" means.

    First, you were looking at hardware rendering because T2 has no software mode.

    FYI, I did a side-by-side A-B comparison, and there is no difference at all between a 6800GT and a 7950GT using 8xxx drivers. Both of those recent cards are obviously much worse (not just slightly worse) than a Ti 4200 using 51.66 drivers. The Ti 4200 has no bad sly / dark texture problem, but the recent cards do.

    So where does FX5200 lie in the spectrum of good vs. bad? I would like to see screen shots comparing the 7950GT (or 6800) with the FX5200, and I would also like to know what drivers you are using with both. What I am driving at is that I would like to actually see the benefits before I rush out and buy another video card.

    As for the drivers, is there any reason why you cannot use different drivers for the two video cards?

  19. #119
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    Quote Originally Posted by smithpd View Post
    Sorry, Hit Deity, but I don't fully understand what "slightly worse" means.
    I guess they're all "much worse" then since I don't remember T2 ever looking this crappy in the past. It doesn't matter at this point, since I have since done screenshot tests between the two cards and they look exactly the same. I couldn't tell any difference whatsoever between the two cards, at least not on my LCD monitor. I probably won't be able to do a true test until I can lay hands on a decent CRT monitor.

    Quote Originally Posted by smithpd View Post
    First, you were looking at hardware rendering because T2 has no software mode.
    What are the two modes called then, when T2 is run with safe_texture_manager enabled/disabled? We need something simple to refer to each of them by.

    (Just for reference: You keep saying FX5200, but it's an FX5500.) Which driver versions should I try with my FX5500? I'm willing to try anything at this point, but not too much more if nothing's going to improve.

    My screenshots are so mixed up now (name-wise) that I can't remember which ones are which now, but seeing as how they all look the same, it won't matter anyway. I can redo them however you would like. Just let me know.

    As it stands, I can't tell the difference between my 7950GT and FX5500 running 84.56 version drivers.

    Guru3d has version 56.55 drivers for FX5500s.

  20. #120
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    Quote Originally Posted by Hit Deity View Post
    What are the two modes called then, when T2 is run with safe_texture_manager enabled/disabled? We need something simple to refer to each of them by.
    safe_texture_manager is not a video mode, per se. It is a way of avoiding a crash with some video cards / drivers (all recent Nvidia). I think you would have to use that if it were not for your using a fixed exe that does the same thing automatically. Going back to the original EXE does not help, BTW.

    As it stands, I can't tell the difference between my 7950GT and FX5500 running 84.56 version drivers.

    Guru3d has version 56.55 drivers for FX5500s.
    Too bad the FX5500 is not an improvement, but I expected as much. I think it is an improvement only when compared with the 8800 series, the topic of this thread.

    The 56.55 drivers will probably make no difference. I think those drivers were right at the point where the bad sky was introduced. If you could find an earlier modified driver that recognizes your card, it might make a difference. It won't hurt to try 56.55, but that is my recollection.

  21. #121
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    Hit Deity,

    Why don't you try 45.23, which I found here. Nvidia has these supporting the FX series, but I don't know for sure if it will work for you. I also found some StarStorm 45.23 drivers that support FX5200 and FX5600, but no mention of FX5500 in the INF file.

  22. #122
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    Not yet...these are the supported FXs from those 45.23 drivers...


    GeForce FX 5900
    GeForce FX 5900 Ultra
    Quadro FX 3000 NV35
    GeForce FX 5200 Ultra
    GeForce FX 5200
    Quadro FX 500 NV34
    GeForce FX 5600 Ultra
    GeForce FX 5600
    GeForce FX 5600 SE
    NV31
    GeForce FX 5800 Ultra
    GeForce FX 5800
    Quadro FX 2000
    Quadro FX 1000

    How in the world...? The FX 5500 must have been one of those "Hey, we'll go back and release another FX series graphics card and just stick in there somewhere... FX 5500 sounds good!!"

    I'll keep looking. (I just LOVE how some of the drivers descriptions on some sites -Guru3d- say "All NVIDIA cards are supported". What a joke. )

    Something that would be very handy: Does anyone know of a way to find out what drivers were released with what card? I know that's a little vague, and it's such a dynamic thing, but it would be nice to know when a card was manufactured (approximately) without having to pull one and read the S/N off it, then search a website's help section to see what they all mean. It would be nice to find out when, say, an FX 5500 was "released" so the appropriate driver for that release would be easy to find. Just a thought.

    Or, what drivers were released with your card...like if you could find the CD with the drivers on it, which I can't. I need to get organized..with a Capital 'O'!!

    At the moment, I'm all the way up to v53.04 and NO FX5500 support...still looking.

    Allright, I got my FX 5500 working with 56.64 drivers and it looks pretty good. We needs us some comparison screenies. Something easy to get to, or those places in Lord Alan's Fortress? You decide. (Just in case you don't see this, I'm going to go poking around in Lord Alan's Fortress. I can't wait.
    Last edited by Hit Deity; 12th Aug 2007 at 20:54.

  23. #123
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...

    Well, there is a definite improvement in the sky's appearance with the 56.64 version drivers for my FX 5500. The clouds actually look like clouds!!

    As for textures, I took several outside screenshots of the detailed architecture and lights, and I can't see any difference there. I am going to try the views on a different monitor. Theoretically I should just be able to compare these screenshots on a better monitor for a preliminary comparison, but the real test will be at higher resolutions, with a "better" monitor, and then compare those.

    More to come...ok.

    If you think this is relevant to this thread: Can I email you some carefully labeled screenshots of the various differences once we get all the testing done? Or point me in the direction of a good free website. My Angelfire account is still there, but inaccessible at the moment.

    Alright, I did some "preliminary" testing by converting the exact same screenshots (loaded up several saved game positions and immediately took a screenshot) made on my FX 5500 (v.56.64 drivers) and my 7950GT (v.162.18 drivers) and there is a noticeable difference when viewed on a "good" CRT monitor: namely, the sky looks a lot better on the FX 5500, and the rest of the textures show slight improvement in bright conditions and more moderate improvements in low light conditions with the FX 5500.

    So, progress, but at a price. (Namely: I have to jump through several freakin' hoops just to get my vid cards "swapped" out. I can leave it on the FX 5500, but without a decent monitor, it's not much of an improvement.)
    Last edited by Hit Deity; 12th Aug 2007 at 23:36.

  24. #124
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2000
    Location: Land of enchantment
    Glad to hear you are making progress. So long as you are in Lord Alan's Fortress with your FX 5500, please take a screen shot in that dark bedroom on the second floor above the kitchen so we can compare it with the screen shots I posted above.

    I think the clouds in the Fortress look pretty decent anyway. The issue with the dark texture problem is the reduced range of color palette caused by lack of dithering. The reduced color palette for dark colors makes smooth color variation appear to be banded, and the hues look wrong -- generally too green or muddy in a dark room. See the bed above.

  25. #125
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    Alrighty dighty, here be the promised screenshots...

    This is my 7950GT 162.18 drivers bed with darkness:

    And my FX5500 56.64 drivers bed in darkness:


    And the 7950GT 162.18 drivers window in darkness:

    compared to the window with the FX 5500 and 56.64 drivers:


    And my 7950GT 162.18 drivers lit bed:

    with my FX 5500 56.64 lit bed:


    And last but not least, my 7950 GT 162.18 drivers lit window:

    with FX 5500 lit window:


    Not much difference between the lit ones (as expected), but it's amazing the clarity difference between the 56.64 driver-driven FX5500 and the 7950GT. Such a shame that a "new" card performs so poorly.

    Guess I should post some 84.56 version drivers for my 7950GT.

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