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Thread: Best HDR settings for Thief games/Dark mod?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002

    Best HDR settings for Thief games/Dark mod?

    I just got my first OLED monitor and I love it. I've never had a monitor with HDR before, so I am getting a crash course right now on how it works.

    Has anyone gone down the rabbit hole figuring out the best HDR settings for the original 3 games and The Dark Mod?

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    One thing to note is that none of these games have native HDR support (to the best of my knowledge; not 100% sure with The Dark Mod). Windows 10/11 offers auto HDR, but that's not the same as actual HDR support that's done individually for each game that offers it. I don't think Windows offers much in the way of settings for auto HDR, and the settings for your screen would depend a lot on what brand/model you're using.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    For sure, I am in the Hammer Cathedral mission in Deadly Shadows right now. Despite trying multiple HDR profiles it just plain looks way better with HDR off. Perhaps if I was an expert on tweaking HDR I could get better results.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Svperstar View Post
    For sure, I am in the Hammer Cathedral mission in Deadly Shadows right now. Despite trying multiple HDR profiles it just plain looks way better with HDR off. Perhaps if I was an expert on tweaking HDR I could get better results.
    Set the game up in Special K Just download here https://www.special-k.info read this post here https://wiki.special-k.info/en/HDR/Retrofit on how to use it (All 3 games look great in HDR on my HDR monitor with Special K)
    Last edited by morgan; 13th Feb 2024 at 08:02.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by morgan View Post
    Set the game up in Special K Just download here https://www.special-k.info read this post here https://wiki.special-k.info/en/HDR/Retrofit on how to use it (All 3 games look great in HDR on my HDR monitor with Special K)
    Thanks! I had no idea specialk even had HDR support. After my post I fooled around more with different brightness and gamma settings and eventually got something that looked OK but I am sure specialk looks way better.

  6. #6
    I've never heard of SpecialK, but would the "Windows HDR Calibration" app published by Microsoft Corp help calibrate for 2D HDR? Or is it just for 3D gaming. I'm not sure... but may be worth looking into, as well

    Good call on going OLED for Thief, though, assuming it does good with black pixels and dark areas. In a good OLED monitor, I think individual pixels can actually turn off when they need to display black. Infinite blacks, I think it's called? Either way, individual pixels only illuminate wherever they're needed in a good OLED monitor, too... rather than entire regions of the monitor or the whole screen sometimes.

    On the other hand, I cannot recommend a Samsung Odyssey G7 28" 4K monitor for Thief at all, which is IPS (LCD?), I believe. I saw someone playing Thief / Black Parade on it, and it was pretty bad. If there were no light sources in your view, it actually looked pretty good (nice dark shadows and dark areas). But as soon as a bright torch, bright stained glass window, or lamp entered your view, even by just a few pixels, the ENTIRE screen brightened, became awash, with that annoying luminescent grey inherent with LCD monitors ("raised black," it might be called?), which is not at all conducive to Thief gaming. So as you moved and looked around, the screen would jarringly go from nice dark areas with nice contrasts and quickly flicker to luminous grey across the entire screen, and then back to nice darks. (Even if there were only 20 bright pixels on the far-right of the screen, the rest of your screen would become awash in raised blacks.) Part of this was due to some "auto contrast" type of setting in the monitor, but even if you disabled that, the whole screen would then just permanently get the luminous grey raised blacks with no controls whatsoever to make shadows or black areas actually lose their LCD luminance. In other words, if you disabled the "auto contrast" it just permanently went into some type of "raised black" mode that you couldn't fix by manually adjusting Contrast, Brightness, etc. There was just no way to achieve the deep black that the "Auto Contrast" setting was able to do. The monitor, in general, also flickered a lot when just browsing web pages.

    LG UltraGear 27" OLED for Thief is much more impressive, imo. The HDR is probably not as bright(?) as the Odyssey G7 and it is 1440p not 4K, but honestly, it looks quite good. I've heard the color accuracy is also better in the LG UltraGear. It flickers a little bit on web pages sometimes when scrolling or whatever, and for YouTube videos where "ambient mode" is auto-enabled on every video these days that is pretty annoying with the glowing pixels around the exterior of videos unless you disable the setting in YouTube, but the flickers are still not nearly as jarring or frequent as the Odyssey G7's.
    Disclaimer: Only seen 5 or 10 mins of Thief gameplay on it. But it seemed nice once settings were good, which included a couple NVidia Control Panel Brightness and Gamma tweaks.

    I think a step up from the Odyssey G7 on the Samsung side is the Odyssey Neo G8 which is some sort of LED tech (OLED?), so it might actually work better for Thief (I'm not sure), but it is larger (32") and so not too conducive to sitting on a desk a couple feet from your face, imo. (Though, I've personally never tried such a large monitor. I just know that my small desk that is not very deep, so I think it would not be good for me at least.)

    All these options seem very expensive to me, but wanted to share some recent observations in case prices come down someday, techs improve, or Thief gaming with dark shadows is important to the player reading this (i.e., cost/benefit analysis)
    Last edited by Darkness_Falls; 21st Feb 2024 at 01:20.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkness_Falls View Post
    All these options seem very expensive to me, but wanted to share some recent observations in case prices come down someday, techs improve, or Thief gaming with dark shadows is important to the player reading this (i.e., cost/benefit analysis)
    I went with the new Alienware 27" QD-OLED panel that just came out in January. I got a new PC as well with a 4080 Super. I haven't taken the time yet to setup SpecialK with the Thief games as I am in the middle of Cyberpunk 2077. Its for sure on my list.

    Also want to play through The Black Parade again because it was so damn good.

  8. #8
    Congratulations Svperstar! I bet that's a great monitor

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by morgan View Post
    Set the game up in Special K Just download here https://www.special-k.info read this post here https://wiki.special-k.info/en/HDR/Retrofit on how to use it (All 3 games look great in HDR on my HDR monitor with Special K)
    I downloaded SpecialK and it detects Thief Gold and Deadly Shadows, but I am using AngelLoader to manage the games. When I launch the base game or a custom mission from inside AngelLoader SpecialK doesn't work. Inside the SpecialK launcher is just says "Waiting for game..."

    Have you had any luck getting SpecialK to work with launchers? If I can't play custom maps with the Thief games it kinda ruins it.

  10. #10
    I don't have an HDR capable monitor so I can't test that specifically, but I tried Special K itself and was able to get the in-game overlay to show up in Thief 2 with an FM loaded:

    -Open Special K and add Thief 2
    -Click the "compact" button or whatever it's called in the top-right of the title bar
    -Uncheck the "Stop automatically" check box
    -Click the "Service" button so the green text says "Running"
    -Start AngelLoader and run an FM. The overlay shows up in-game signifying that Special K is working (I guess)

    Are your Thief executables in AngelLoader the same ones as in Special K? Do you have multiple installs?
    Last edited by FenPhoenix; 25th Feb 2024 at 16:46. Reason: Clarification

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by FenPhoenix View Post
    I don't have an HDR capable monitor so I can't test that specifically, but I tried Special K itself and was able to get the in-game overlay to show up in Thief 2 with an FM loaded:

    -Open Special K and add Thief 2
    -Click the "compact" button or whatever it's called in the top-right of the title bar
    -Uncheck the "Stop automatically" check box
    -Click the "Service" button so the green text says "Running"
    -Start AngelLoader and run an FM. The overlay shows up in-game signifying that Special K is working (I guess)

    Are your Thief executables in AngelLoader the same ones as in Special K? Do you have multiple installs?
    Thanks for the help. I also reached out for some official help with Special K, they recommended similar things.

    I do have multiple installs for Thief Gold and Thief 2 but not Deadly Shadows. DS is in the Steam folder. I tried pointing Special K at these other installs.

    Anyway, I did exactly what you did. I unchecked autoclose and checked to enable the service.

    When I launch Deadly Shadows nothing happens, it just closes. When I launch Thief Gold running The Black Parade or Thief 2 they load fine, however SpecialK doesn't launch nor does the hotkey work. I've restarted multiple times.

    Running a 4080 Super, nothing strange. I have MSI Afterburner installed but its closed.

    Weird.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Svperstar View Post
    Thanks for the help. I also reached out for some official help with Special K, they recommended similar things.

    I do have multiple installs for Thief Gold and Thief 2 but not Deadly Shadows. DS is in the Steam folder. I tried pointing Special K at these other installs.

    Anyway, I did exactly what you did. I unchecked autoclose and checked to enable the service.

    When I launch Deadly Shadows nothing happens, it just closes. When I launch Thief Gold running The Black Parade or Thief 2 they load fine, however SpecialK doesn't launch nor does the hotkey work. I've restarted multiple times.

    Running a 4080 Super, nothing strange. I have MSI Afterburner installed but its closed.

    Weird.
    If your system meets the requirements which it looks like it does download this App https://www.nvidia.com/en-gb/software/nvidia-app/ and uninstall Special K + Nvidia Experience you will need the latest Drivers from Nvidia for your graphics card for it to work. It will set up all your games on your system to run on HDR automatically including Thief 1-2 -3 (Deadly Shadows) and AngelLoader and believe me Thief and the rest of your games will look so much better using this App instead of Special K and don't forget to download and Calibration your HDR Monitor https://apps.microsoft.com/detail/9n...hl=en-us&gl=US after setting everything up in the Nvidia App that you downloaded. Make sure you don't reinstall Nvidia Experience when installing new Drivers. If using Windows 11 which you need for this to work you must also turn off Auto HDR in Display settings in windows but leave use HDR setting on and you also have to make sure you turn off Native HDR in games don't worry you will still get your games running in HDR. One last thing you have to do in Nvidia Control Panel scroll down to Display: Adjust desktop size and position then turn No Scaling on then Video-Adjust video image settings and make sure RTX Video Enhancement and High Dynamic Range have been checked with a tick leave Quality at Auto and don't worry if it says Status: Inactive that makes no difference to your games and will become Active if you are using Google Chrome to browse the internet it's just to enhance video on U Tube and other such sites.

    One last thing you will have to do if using this app with Thief Deadly Shadows is copy this file into the games directory to make it work in True HDR https://github.com/crosire/d3d8to9/releases/tag/v1.12.0 you want d3d8.dll (121kb) make sure you put it in the right directory (Example "D:\Games\Thief - Deadly Shadows\System\d3d8.dll" )
    Last edited by morgan; 28th Feb 2024 at 07:00. Reason: Added more Info

  13. #13
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by morgan View Post
    It will set up all your games on your system to run on HDR automatically including Thief 1-2 -3 (Deadly Shadows) and AngelLoader and believe me Thief and the rest of your games will look so much better using this App instead of Special K
    Can you post a couple screenshots how it looks like compared to vanilla? Maybe into imgsli or something similar.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2009
    Give me a while and i will upload some pictures

    I can not upload the files to online picture sites because of their format so i uploaded them to Mega where you can download them to your computer and look at them, i could only do the pictures with HDR running as i could not get them to save without sorry. Here is the link i will try again when i have more time hope it's alright with you......some of the pictures look white at the site but when you download them they are fine. https://mega.nz/folder/cOdgVS4S#RJ_h0RBbbXq9dP5YcrL9fg
    Last edited by morgan; 28th Feb 2024 at 13:50. Reason: Add to post link

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by morgan View Post
    If your system meets the requirements which it looks like it does download this App https://www.nvidia.com/en-gb/software/nvidia-app/ and uninstall Special K + Nvidia Experience you will need the latest Drivers from Nvidia for your graphics card for it to work. It will set up all your games on your system to run on HDR automatically including Thief 1-2 -3 (Deadly Shadows) and AngelLoader and believe me Thief and the rest of your games will look so much better using this App instead of Special K and don't forget to download and Calibration your HDR Monitor https://apps.microsoft.com/detail/9n...hl=en-us&gl=US after setting everything up in the Nvidia App that you downloaded. Make sure you don't reinstall Nvidia Experience when installing new Drivers. If using Windows 11 which you need for this to work you must also turn off Auto HDR in Display settings in windows but leave use HDR setting on and you also have to make sure you turn off Native HDR in games don't worry you will still get your games running in HDR. One last thing you have to do in Nvidia Control Panel scroll down to Display: Adjust desktop size and position then turn No Scaling on then Video-Adjust video image settings and make sure RTX Video Enhancement and High Dynamic Range have been checked with a tick leave Quality at Auto and don't worry if it says Status: Inactive that makes no difference to your games and will become Active if you are using Google Chrome to browse the internet it's just to enhance video on U Tube and other such sites.

    One last thing you will have to do if using this app with Thief Deadly Shadows is copy this file into the games directory to make it work in True HDR https://github.com/crosire/d3d8to9/releases/tag/v1.12.0 you want d3d8.dll (121kb) make sure you put it in the right directory (Example "D:\Games\Thief - Deadly Shadows\System\d3d8.dll" )
    Thanks for the link.......thing is I already have the Nvidia App installed and I am using RTX HDR and it works perfectly fine in other games...........however I am not having any luck in Thief 3 or Thief Gold.

    I have Thief 3 running at DX11 via dgVoodoo, that is how I streamed it on Twitch. When I launch RTX HDR it says relaunch the game to see this effect and "Go fullscreen to use this effect"....I have Deadly Shadows set to fullscreen in the Sneaky Tweaker.

    For Thief Gold and The Black Parade when I load it its DX9 and it says "load a supported game". I have tried dgVoodoo and DXVK trying to up the version of DirectX......but the version of DX never changes from 9. Its strange, does AngelLoader have its own version of DX for Thief Gold running fan missions? Not sure.

    Thanks for the tips........really wish RTX HDR worked with the Thief games cuz it looks amazing in everything else.
    Last edited by Svperstar; 28th Feb 2024 at 21:29.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Svperstar View Post
    Its strange, does AngelLoader have its own version of DX for Thief Gold running fan missions? Not sure.
    AngelLoader literally just runs the game executable. If you've chosen to run the game through Steam then it will run Steam.exe instead and pass it the appropriate command line arguments to have it start the game, otherwise it just starts the game executable directly. If you've set any option overrides in the Patch & Customize tab then it will pass those along as command line arguments. Otherwise none. I should note also that running the game through Steam works for me as well.

    So are you saying if you start the game executable by itself - loading FMSel in the process and then either clicking "Skip FM" or "Play FM" - that works?

    Also, what version of Windows are you on? And what version of AngelLoader?

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Svperstar View Post
    Thanks for the link.......thing is I already have the Nvidia App installed and I am using RTX HDR and it works perfectly fine in other games...........however I am not having any luck in Thief 3 or Thief Gold.

    I have Thief 3 running at DX11 via dgVoodoo, that is how I streamed it on Twitch. When I launch RTX HDR it says relaunch the game to see this effect and "Go fullscreen to use this effect"....I have Deadly Shadows set to fullscreen in the Sneaky Tweaker.

    For Thief Gold and The Black Parade when I load it its DX9 and it says "load a supported game". I have tried dgVoodoo and DXVK trying to up the version of DirectX......but the version of DX never changes from 9. Its strange, does AngelLoader have its own version of DX for Thief Gold running fan missions? Not sure.

    Thanks for the tips........really wish RTX HDR worked with the Thief games cuz it looks amazing in everything else.
    I'm sure you know what your doing but try this anyway..... you don't need dgvoodo or DXVK to make any of your games run in (HDR with the new Nvidia App) you need to delete them from the games directory and any files associated with them i.e d3d9.dll and any config files they create to change the game to direct x 11 make sure you replace the original direct x d3d9.dll files with the correct game ones even if you have to reinstall the game this is very important. Turn on HDR in the New Nvidia App which you do by picking any game it has detected Under Graphics. Try Thief Gold look for Program settings at the top on the right hand side of the App screen and look for RTX HDR you should see something like Peak Brightness,1000 Middle Gray..... click on that and set it to on by default it's set to Use-global on by default make sure you change it to on then click Apply don't take any notice if you see any of the Thief games on the left hand side with a white ! mark at the side of them saying not optermised this just means it can't set up that game or any other game like it to run at optimized settings it will still run them in True HDR you only have to do this for one game as it applies the changes to all the others. If any of the Thief games are not on the list just pick them in add a program and click on the games.exe file this will add them for good you don't need to do anything else close the App and run any of the Thief games and when running press Alt-Z on your keyboard this will open a on screen display with a few things you need to look for click game filter and you should see Active Filters depending how many there is RTX HDR shoud on if not add it (This will not apply to Thief 3 but it will still be running in HDR) and your good to go this applies to nearly any game the only thing you will have to do to make Thief 3 run in HDR is add a file called d3d8.dll into into the right directory (Example "D:\Games\Thief - Deadly Shadows\System\) there should not be any files to overwrite if there is go ahead and over write them. Check post above for a link where to download it this will not apply to any of your other games it's just because Thief 3 uses Direct X 8 by default and that is not supported by HDR don't forget you must run all your games in full screen and make sure have ticked in the old Nvidia Control Panel RTX Video Enhancement and High Dynamic Range and Uninstall Geforce Experience if you have it installed when you setup the new drivers that part is as well important. One last thing set Native HDR in all games to off then your good to go and yes it works with AngelLoader and all the Thief games 1/2/3 including THIEF - Definitive Edition and Fan Missions ever made. Most games will work in True HDR with this app and more will be supported in the future Good luck, and if you have anymore problems getting them to work please post them here and i will do my best to help you
    Last edited by morgan; 29th Feb 2024 at 14:56. Reason: corrected spelling mistakes

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2002
    I appreciate you two took the time to type these long replies, I took a break from messing with Thief Gold / Thief 3 and getting HDR to work.

    I completely gave up on getting SpecialK to work. Nothing they told me in the official SpecialK discord was any help. Its funny I remember using SpecialK with Nier Automata back in 2016 and it went smooth with no issues. I guess the solution to getting SpecialK to work with Thief 1/2/3 and AngelLoader would be to copy it directly to the game folder but I didn't try that.

    Since RTX HDR released it appears to be the superior solution over SpecialK.

    A new Beta version of Nvidia App came out and a new Nvidia driver in early march and one of the bugs it fixed was "RTX HDR running at Gamma 2.0 not Gamma 2.2". Now when I launch Thief The Black Parade it looks amazing.

    I think RTX HDR has a bigger performance hit then SpecialK but in such old games and with a 4080 Super the performance hit is irrelevant.

    Thief 3 is currently not working when I use DX8toDX8 or DXVK or DgVoodoo2, it launches and says Loading... then closes immediately. If I leave it at DX8 it works fine....but HDR doesn't work with DX8, I haven't taken the step of uninstalling and reinstalling it but thats the next step. I'm going to completely delete the Thief 3 folder leaving no trace as well as any .inis it creates then start over from scratch, but lately I have been playing the FF7 Remake on PC and Alan Wake 2. Both look great with native HDR btw.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: May 2015
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    Jon Stewart makes fun of Tuckums's face. And of his slavish bootlicking of a dictator. But also his face.
    Don't post this trash here, people play video games to escape from the madness of every day reality.
    Also if you vote, you have no right to complain!

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, it was just posted in the wrong forum by accident. Must have had several tabs open and switched to this accidentally when copypasting.

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