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Old May 23, 2009, 05:53 PM   #1
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RobotJesus
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Question Crimson Skies - Big Black Squares In-Game

Hi.

So I've figured that ATI will never, ever fix support for Crimson Skies' text issues, but it would still be playable if only big black squares didn't "eat up" the in-game display, section by section.

It's difficult to explain, but if you've ever had a video playing on your PC, then switched into a 3D program and seen the video showing through in small patches, it's a little like that - except of course I don't have any videos open, and instead of being limited to small patches on the screen, it "spreads" as one plays until everything is black.

I've used all the tricks in compatibility mode, disabling Catalyst A.I., disabling AA, disabling AF, etc., etc.

I don't know what else to do for it.

Anyone else having this problem?
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Old May 23, 2009, 07:08 PM   #2
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Hmmm you want support for a game released 9 years ago... righttttttttt I am sure they will get right on that. sure.
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Old May 23, 2009, 07:44 PM   #3
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So ATI should be free to break support for all of my old games? And all the games that are coming out now, when they get old too?

Some people - people unlike you - play games for reasons other than to be dazzled by bloom and motion-blur and sparkly effects.

ATI's driver changes broke the game, and I just want to figure out how to work around this problem. So why be a prick at me because of that? Help or **** off.

All I want to know right now is whether anyone else with the latest catalyst drivers has this same problem with black squares.
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Old May 23, 2009, 08:47 PM   #4
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So use hardware that was around during the time of the game and drivers from then.

The text is messed up in that game as the cards dont do none power of two textures anymore. Use an older card if you want that.

The black blocks are there because the cards dont have a 16bit Z-buffer anymore either.
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Old May 23, 2009, 11:31 PM   #5
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First of all, thank you for taking a more decent tone in your reply to me, and for giving me the information I was asking for. I apologize for being impatient with you.

I don't need different hardware; the issue is with the drivers. Up until about Catalyst 7.5, they worked, but then support was dropped. If I switch back to 7.5, I get support back, even on my current hardware, but cannot play newer games properly.
ATI could easily have a profile to enable which would export a texture cap relating to non power of 2 textures.
Likewise ATI could have an option to run 16-bit Z-buffer games at a forced 24/32-bit resolution, interpreting the calls. A user-made patch for the Thief games has already proven that this can be done. Or they could just add the function back in with drivers.

So because ATI won't include some kind of compatibility mode that an advanced user can tweak and turn on, I have to track down and buy older ATI hardware that they don't support, and maintain it in a second system, which will be unable to do anything for me as a machine but compensate for ATI's short-sightedness. I don't dispute that my only option may in fact be that - but I assert that ATI is not operating responsibly if it forces that course of action upon a customer.

I wouldn't even mind if the ATI drivers required a restart to boot into a compatible mode; just so long as I didn't have to go through the tedious procedure of uninstalling, installing, uninstalling, then reinstalling just to switch between, and each time having to reestablish my preferences all over.

It's entirely within their means to help customers like me.

But in any case, this isn't a thread asking ATI to do something - this a thread trying to find a way to fix the problem, since ATI will not help now or ever.

I wanted to make sure that others were having the exact same issues, first of all. And secondly I wanted to see if anyone knew of workarounds, or hidden settings in ATI drivers that I could use, like those that RivaTuna enables for NVIDIA for example.

If nobody else responds with that information then I'll know that those aren't options.
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Old May 24, 2009, 04:11 AM   #6
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No there are no workarounds. Its unlikely to be looked at as modern games dont use none square textures and also dont use 16bit z buffers. It also wouldn't make economic sense to undertake the work for a limited amount of people who would still want to play such an old game on modern hardware. Full backwards compatiblity on the PC is a myth and always has been and always will be unfortunately. Things from even different DOS versions didnt work on newer ones, same for ALL the windows OS's and the same goes for hardware.

You wont do any better switching to Nvidia cards either since none power of 2 texture support was removed way back in the 6xxx Nvidia cards. Same goes for the 16Bit Z buffer that was removed too on Nvidia cards. So was the W-buffer, 8 bit palletized textures and a whole host of things that old games expect but are no longer present.
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Old May 24, 2009, 06:24 PM   #7
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does the opengl driver trick work for dx titles? (place old dll in game's exe folder so the game uses it, while rest of system uses later drivers)

what card is this anyway?
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Old May 25, 2009, 01:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kn00tcn View Post
does the opengl driver trick work for dx titles? (place old dll in game's exe folder so the game uses it, while rest of system uses later drivers)

what card is this anyway?
Don't you just love it when people ask for help but then don't even give you the basics of what's in their system?
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Old May 27, 2009, 12:36 PM   #9
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Because the question relates to DRIVERS and not Hardware, Dyre Straits. If you read, you would have known that.

I have 3850 Radeon.

I have tried switching out other DirectX/Direct3D dll's and hex-editing the Crimson Skies exe to use them, but this causes failure to execute the program, with crashes or error messages about needing to reinstall DirectX 7.

I can play DOS games perfectly fine with this card, even without using DosBox. Additionally, this card can play old games, such as Crimson Skies, just fine when I go back to earlier drivers. There's nothing stopping ATI from fixing this except the effort. Are they in such a dismal financial situation that they cannot even think of one option, one compromise? There are all sorts of ways to work around it. But that is not the point of this thread.

The fix for the Thief game hinges on the use of different .dll files and hex editing the exe to force it to use them. It is conceivable that a similar solution would work for Crimson Skies - but I have tried adapting the Thief .dll's for use with Crimson Skies and it does not work.
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Old May 27, 2009, 01:08 PM   #10
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I have decided to try to setup a Triple Boot, of my current Vista and XP OS's, plus either another XP or a 98SE installation. This is a more realistic way to proceed than either complaining about/to ATI or trying to hack the game's EXE to work with new DLL's - and it is also far more practical than buying a whole second system to use.
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Old May 27, 2009, 04:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobotJesus View Post
Because the question relates to DRIVERS and not Hardware, Dyre Straits. If you read, you would have known that.
....
I absolutely did read everything and still, it's quite important that anyone asking for help at least provide the system specs. I actually have Crimson Skies somewhere around here but haven't had it installed in ages.

You didn't bother to even tell what OS you're using.
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Old May 27, 2009, 06:37 PM   #12
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HKR,, POW2TextureCaps, %REG_SZ%, 1 in the driver inf file & reinstalling the drivers with the modified inf file will force both pow2 texture caps to true which will resolve the ingame text. I found out that the issue isn't that the none power of two textures arent supported its that they are supported fully ie unconditionally which ancient games dont expect since hardware around at the time couldnt do that.
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Old May 27, 2009, 10:56 PM   #13
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speaking of caps, 3danalyze might be another way to trick/fix the game

i've run fable on a geforce2 before, which is below the minimum requirements

as for the question relating to drivers, yes & no... my x800 could in theory use say cat9.3, so can my 4870x2, & let's say i wanted to use an older ogl dll (7.10) to fix some obscure open source app that doesnt like newer ogl dlls, it will work with my x800 but not the 4870, as the 4870 physically has different stuff in the core & wouldnt know how to work with certain driver requests
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Old May 30, 2009, 09:44 PM   #14
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Hello,

I have fixed the black squares by putting the atiumdag.dll files from an older set of ATI drivers into the same directory as the Crimson Skies exe program.

This is proof positive that the 16-bit Z-buffer issues are NOT hardware related but are in fact DRIVER related.

As for the text corruption, this still remains to be resolved, but hopefully Stryke's suggestion for adding a line to the .inf will work for this. I tried it earlier and got a BSOD Physical Memory Dump error when rebooting, but I will give it one more try just to be sure.

The strange thing about his suggested fix is that I have used DirectX Tweaker to force those caps on Crimson Skies and no change was noticed. If in fact the line must be added to the driver .inf, why is this so? Why cannot the feature be turned on and off as needed?
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Old May 31, 2009, 10:37 AM   #15
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With Spyre's suggested tweak of the .inf installation file, the text issues are now resolved in XP!

Unfortunately until the equivelant file for "atiumdag.dll" of Vista can be found for XP, there remains no way to resolve the black boxes in Crimson Skies under XP. I have not yet tested the text-fix driver tweak under Vista, but will soon. If it works in Vista too, then on Vista Crimson Skies will be fully functional.

But the important thing is that it has been finally proven that the tweaks required to get Crimson Skies working are relatively minor. This means that they are well within the abilities of the ATI driver team to resolve once and for all; it is obviously not a complicated task, if end-users can do it with a line of text and a juggled file.

There are no hardware issues. It is all software. This has been proven conclusively.

A fully working Crimson Skies - not to mention TIE Fighter series, Thief, etc - is well within the reach of ATI customers, if only the driver team will make a minimal effort and not obfuscate by blaming hardware!
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Old Jun 9, 2009, 04:37 AM   #16
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RobotJesus, could u post the DLL file to fix the black blocks somewhere?
Reinstalled this game last week but got the same glitches as you experienced.

specs:
hd4870
vista 64
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Old Dec 5, 2009, 08:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Niels- View Post
RobotJesus, could u post the DLL file to fix the black blocks somewhere?
Reinstalled this game last week but got the same glitches as you experienced.

specs:
hd4870
vista 64
There is a new fix here. It will fix the text issue on all cards. And it will fix graphics corruption on Nvidia cards only. Still no fix for black squares on new ATI cards under XP as far as I know.

http://timeslip.chorrol.com/ - Timeslip's page look for link for Crimson Skies
http://rapidshare.com/files/244045274/csfix2.7z - another link to fix
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Old Dec 16, 2009, 09:41 PM   #18
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I'm looking for the black boxes fix for Vista, can anyone point me towards the required atiumdag.dll file or any other solution?

Thanks
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 10:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMcFly View Post
I'm looking for the black boxes fix for Vista, can anyone point me towards the required atiumdag.dll file or any other solution?

Thanks
I believe there is a workaround for the black square bug, which is to put an older atiumdag.dll into the main gamedir. Thing is, noone seems kind enough to link to one that fixes it.

Me, and probably more people would really like for atleast someone to upload it somewhere. I've tried extracting it from older ati driver install files. Thing is, it aint there.

Last edited by lysergicaL : Jan 20, 2010 at 10:50 PM.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 12:50 AM   #20
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those links dont have it?

an old atiumdag dll wont help if you're on newer cards like me (4870x2)
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 04:33 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kn00tcn View Post
those links dont have it?

an old atiumdag dll wont help if you're on newer cards like me (4870x2)
Nah, haven't found it yet anywhere.

It doesn't? I have mutliple posts that suggest putting an older atiumdag.dll in the main game dit to fix the black squares issue under vista. Not sure for the card series it would go for, but I doubt it wouldn't work on the 4xx0 series.

My guess is, that if it works on vista it works on 7.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 09:20 AM   #22
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Many years ago I had a black squares issue with one game. It wasn't Crimson Skies for sure. I believe it was related to Star Wars. I fixed it enabling W Buffer, I'm sure about this. I cannot remember if I did it through the drivers or with Rage3D Tweak (I'm not even sure if it was an ATi card lol; if it wasn't, it was 3dfx).

ATi Tray Tools has an "Export W Buffer" option in its Advanced Tweaks section. It is w/o defined value by default, the same as the rest of D3D "advanced tweaks", except "Support for Non power of two size textures" (ticked) and "Primary Tiling" (ticked).

PS: I just remembered the game. It was Rogue Squadron .
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 10:10 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qualitier View Post
Many years ago I had a black squares issue with one game. It wasn't Crimson Skies for sure. I believe it was related to Star Wars. I fixed it enabling W Buffer, I'm sure about this. I cannot remember if I did it through the drivers or with Rage3D Tweak (I'm not even sure if it was an ATi card lol; if it wasn't, it was 3dfx).

ATi Tray Tools has an "Export W Buffer" option in its Advanced Tweaks section. It is w/o defined value by default, the same as the rest of D3D "advanced tweaks", except "Support for Non power of two size textures" (ticked) and "Primary Tiling" (ticked).
Hmm, I'll see if that has any impact on CS. I hope it works, then I can actually play for half a minute without my screen beaing eaten up by black squares and ultimately crashing my plane. :3

update:
Nah, wont work. I also tried forcing the Z-buffer into using 16bit only to no avail. Anyone got an old atiumdag.dll for me so I can atleast try it out?

Last edited by lysergicaL : Jan 21, 2010 at 10:30 AM.
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 08:11 PM   #24
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i meant older drivers cant work on cards released well after the old drivers were made

i've done this with atioglx.dll, where 1 version fixed a crashing app on my x800 & 9800 cards, but crashes on this 4870x2, since the dll is way too old

the files are there in the driver packages, you just have to 'unpack' or something like that

or install an older version (which is more annoying but that's a last resort, then copy out the dll)
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 08:20 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kn00tcn View Post
i meant older drivers cant work on cards released well after the old drivers were made

i've done this with atioglx.dll, where 1 version fixed a crashing app on my x800 & 9800 cards, but crashes on this 4870x2, since the dll is way too old

the files are there in the driver packages, you just have to 'unpack' or something like that

or install an older version (which is more annoying but that's a last resort, then copy out the dll)
Figured as much. Still wanted to try though, heh. Been desperate to play this game again for a while now.

I used to have enough old hardware to build an old-games box, thing is I gave most of it away to people who actually needed new hardware. not that I regret giving it away though. Most older games I want to play still work on winXP, and some work flawlessly on Win7. Just not this game.
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Old Feb 6, 2010, 08:07 AM   #26
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Default My fix

Hi guys, thanks for all the help posted here. I got Crimson Skies 1.02 working on Windows 7 x64.

I had an ATI HD4670. The fix above (updated version of crimson.exe etc.) fixed the text not appearing, but not the in-game black boxes and some other non-critical graphics artifacts. I did not have to change any of the settings in the .ini file that came with that fix.

I tried 9.x and 8.x versions of atiumdag.dll in the game dir as well as compat settings and turning off Catalyst AI - all no luck. Pre-8.x versions of atiumdag.dll did not even allow hardware video selection.

Now the bad news (for ATI owners). I switched to an nvidia 8600GT card and installed the latest nvidia drivers. With the fix above - it worked! No more black boxes in game, and no more graphics artifacts.

My research before had led me to believe nvidia's drivers were broken; I actually bought the HD4670 on clearance just to playy Crimson Skies. Ironic (and annoying) that it now turns out that nvidia works and ATI cannot. Grrr... time for a return. Oh well, good luck to all of you.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 12:11 PM   #27
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OK, part 2 to my prev. post. Back to (black) square 1.

Played Crimson Skies successfully - once. Next time - no changes, not even a reboot - white screen, no change after several minutes.

Several reboots and uninstall/reinstall of game and nvidia drivers later... still only white screen. No idea why it worked once and then no more.

So please don't go out and buy an nvidia card based on my prev. post.
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Old Feb 7, 2010, 02:23 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtguy01 View Post
There is a new fix here. It will fix the text issue on all cards. And it will fix graphics corruption on Nvidia cards only. Still no fix for black squares on new ATI cards under XP as far as I know.

http://timeslip.chorrol.com/ - Timeslip's page look for link for Crimson Skies
http://rapidshare.com/files/244045274/csfix2.7z - another link to fix
well it does say fixes corruption on nv only
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Old Apr 12, 2010, 04:28 PM   #29
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4870 win7 x64 10.3

issue confirmed. needs fix.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 12:14 AM   #30
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Well here's another guy who found his CS CD and wanted to remember good old times playing. Can't fix the black squares problem.

Radeon 4850, Cat. 10.6
I doubt it will ever be fixed but one can hope
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