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Thread: Problem with particle rendering in some games

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    Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Hi Everyone,

    I made a post last August with a technical problem but despite some extremely helpful advice never found out what was causing the problem – until now I think. To recap, in some of my PC games I was getting what I described as large translucent swirling snowflakes mainly in outdoor scenes. This annoyed me in the extreme and ruined all immersion. The worst culprits were the original Assassin’s Creed – the one set in the Holy Land, the original Call of Juarez – the cowboy shooter and most recently Wolfenstein. Other games such as the first Bioshock had the problem occasionally but not to the same extent. I completely replaced every component to isolate the problem to no avail – I then realized I had enough spare kit to build another rig so now have two gaming rigs (bit greedy in a recession) – I’ll put the specs at the end.

    Anyway, I was playing around with Assassin’s Creed recently and found the .ini file hidden in the Users\My name\AppData etc location. I started to experiment with the various settings and found if I turned off “particles” by setting it to zero the snowflakes disappeared. This setting controls dust clouds, chimney smoke etc so I’ve lost those effects unfortunately which added to the realism. I then went back to Call of Juarez and after some digging found a video.scr file which is the equivalent of an .ini file. By changing “post process” from normal to simple I managed to get rid of the snowflakes here also. Unfortunately as well as removing all the smoke etc effects it also ruins all the transparency effects so glass windows and water are all black and it doesn’t look very realistic.

    What I can’t understand is why this is happening identically on two very different rigs? If you look at my two systems one is LGA 775, the other LGA 1366 – one uses a Radeon, the other a GeForce – one uses DDR2 memory, the other DDR3. I bought another copy of Call of Juarez and Assassin's Creed but the snowflakes were the same so I’ve ruled out a faulty copy of the software. I’ve trawled the games forums and the internet and can’t find anyone with the same problem as me. The only similarity between my systems is they use 64 bit operating systems – one uses Vista Home Basic 64 bit the other Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit (these are effectively the same operating system technologically as I understand it). I've tried dual booting with XP 32 bit but the snowflakes are the same as before. My hard discs are both from Western Digital but I don't see that as significant.

    Has anyone experienced similar problems rendering particle effects? Because the snowflakes appear in the same parts of games and can be removed by turning off a certain setting it seems to me something on the hard disc is being processed incorrectly rather than this being some strange form of interference.

    Any help would be appreciated as this has issue has been driving me daft for ages.

    System specs:

    Main rig

    CPU: Core i7 920 DO stepping (at stock speed)
    RAM: 6GB OCZ Gold DDR 3 1600Mhz
    GPU: 2GB Palit GeForce GTX 285 (at stock speed with up to date drivers)
    Hard Disc: 300GB WD Velociraptor
    PSU: 1250W Enermax Revolution 85+
    Motherboard: Gigabyte EX58 UD3R
    Sound card: Asus Xonar DX
    Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit/Windows XP Home 32 bit
    Case: Antec 1200

    Back up rig

    CPU: Core2 Quad Q6600 GO stepping (overclocked to 3.4Ghz)
    RAM: 4GB Corsair Dominator DDR 2 1333Mhz
    GPU: 1GB Sapphire Radeon 4870 (at stock speeds with up to date drivers)
    Hard Disc: 640GB WD Caviar Black
    PSU: 650W Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro
    Motherboard: Asus P5Q-E
    Sound card: Creative X-Fi Soundblaster
    Operating system: Windows Vista Home Basic 64 bit
    Case: Antec 600

    P.s – I’ve just thought of some additional points

    1) Both systems use Antec cases with extra fans installed so overheating is not an issue
    2) All software – operating system and games – is fully legal – I don’t use pirate rubbish
    3) I use up to date virus software which I disable along with many background services when gaming
    4) I use driver sweeper to get a clean install of graphics drivers – I’ve also tried using older drivers but with no success
    5) Each rig has a different monitor and DVI cable


    Thanks in advance

    Mag

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Tbh i highly dout its anything to do with the rigs as they have nothing in common, when you say snowflakes what do you mean? anyway you can get a screenshot and post it for us.

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    I've seen loads of minor particle rendering errors that were due to specific driver or hardware versions, but never exactly the same across such different systems.

    Is the anti-virus program the same for both? You say you disable it, but it's quite hard to properly disable AVs usually, and it could be that it's already done something to the files from a system sweep.

    Along similar lines, is there anything else that could pick up specific types of files/file extensions and knobble them slightly? (Thinking things like codecs, movie players/image editors etc.)

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Hi Jasp

    Thanks for replying so quickly. The snowflakes look like Will O' the Wisps or moonbeams that are white and see through and swirl normally quite slowly. In some areas there are only a few but in other areas it becomes an epidemic. I've been taking some screenshots using Fraps but can't see how I can put an attachment onto this reply. Any ideas?

    Regards

    Mag

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Hi Kalniel

    Thanks for replying so quickly. At the moment I'm not using anti-virus on either rig - I only connect them to the net for once-only online activations. I use my laptop for surfing as now. I close other background programs with "Gamebooster" a fairly well known app. Being a minimalist I don't have many other apps on my gaming rigs - just things like CC cleaner and VS Revo Uninstaller and some other utilities. The last time I installed Assassin's Creed to test it I created a new partition for Windows XP, installed the Nvidia video driver and the Asus sound driver then the game - that was it - I thought this would give me a clean start. The result was the same - lots of "snow" in outdoor areas.

    Is it possible even the drivers could cause a faulty installation? I could try reinstalling the operating system then the game then the drivers to see if that works. Is it possible I need to do something to optimise the operating systems for games as I simply install and leave the os at default settings?

    Any further ideas would be much appreciated.

    Regards

    Mag

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    You should be able to upload the photos to somewere like photobucket or imageshack then post them here.

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Thanks Jasp I'll try that

    Mag

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    I've received a reply from Ubisoft regarding my problems with Assassin's Creed and they seem to think it could be because both my rigs use a quad core cpu. What do you think chaps - I thought if a quad core was used on an app that wasn't coded for it the other cores were simply redundant rather than interfering. I'm prepared to have a go though - the LGA 775 Core 2 Duo at £130 looks ok for a test - it will fit the same socket as my Q6600 on my back up rig.

    I've tried the "change affinity" trick (alt tab out of a game then use Ctrl-Alt-Del to get to to the game exe) to try to change my quads back to duals but no luck.

    As you can see I'm going to solve this whether it kills me or not!

    Regards

    Mag

    Mag

  9. #9
    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Try disabling additional cores in BIOS - should be quicker than swapping in/out components!

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Hi Kalniel

    Thanks for your reply. I tried switching off cores in the bios but the computer didn't like it - it wouldn't even try to boot so I had to short a couple of pins to reset the CMOS to default. Why did it do that I wonder?

    Regards

    Mag

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    !

    I have no idea, sounds like a bug in the BIOS - I'd report it to the motherboard manufacturer (as a courtesy - unless you're a review site nothing's likely to come of it). Doubt it would be related to your particle problem though.

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Hi Kalniel

    I managed to turn off some cores by running msconfig and also by alt-tabbing and using set affinity - surprise - exactly the same. So much for that idea.

    Regards

    Mag

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Hi Jasp

    I think I've managed to sort some screenshots. What the pictures can't show is the constant movement of the snowflakes/moonbeams.

    http://s799.photobucket.com/albums/yy273/MagRRR/

    Regards

    Mag

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    Re: Problem with particle rendering in some games

    Looked at the screenshots and i really can't tell tbh, wondering if its the particle effect of light bounching off bits of dust in the air, as such its supposed to be their, sadly don't have assassins creed to test.

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