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General FreeSpace => FreeSpace & FreeSpace Open Support => Topic started by: AcePilot on February 24, 2019, 01:22:46 pm

Title: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on February 24, 2019, 01:22:46 pm
Hi folks

I'm using the latest FSO and Knossos.

A number of Mods give me the "text flickering" issues that I believe others have had in the past but I've not seen any specific fix for it.

All the text flickers and is generally unreadable and produces diagonal line streaks across the screen.

In game the text is also garbled.

This only happens with certain mods.

I have played Blue Planet and Wing Commander Mods without any issues, both excellent.
Also played Storm Front and Sync with no issues.

However currently trying Between The Ashes and it has the flicker issue which makes it unplayable.

Doesn't matter what screen resolution I choose.

On another website where someone had posted about the same issues they said they fixed it by enabling a specific setting called "Fix Font Distortion Problem"

I don't see this setting anywhere in Knossos

Anyone know where it is or have any other ideas?

Cheers



Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: tomimaki on February 26, 2019, 09:57:43 am
Please post your fs2_open.log file.  Instructions on how to do this can be found in this post.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Novachen on February 26, 2019, 10:02:27 am
Most likely the TrueType Font Error that occurs with ATI Cards.

AFAIK there is no fix for that right now.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on February 26, 2019, 02:25:34 pm
Hi chaps

Thanks for the help

Log file here:
https://fsnebula.org/log/5c759f60cb0d3350aa7569bf

I see plenty of errors in there.   Nevertheless, the game runs, the voice sounds are ok, its just that the text is all garbled and unreadable.

Running on a Lenovo laptop

Intel Core i5-4200M CPU @ 2.50Ghz
Intel HD Graphics 4600
8GB RAM

This machine copes just fine with most other mods, no performance issues, no lag etc.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: ngld on February 27, 2019, 06:16:44 am
Can you post a screenshot? Also, can you play the most recent MediaVPs (3.8.x)?

On another website where someone had posted about the same issues they said they fixed it by enabling a specific setting called "Fix Font Distortion Problem"
If you hover over the BtA tile on your home screen, you shoukd notice a little arrow in the bottom-right corner. Click on that and select FSO Settings. There you can tweak the commandline flags for this mod. The option you mentioned is most likely in the Troubleshooting category.

According to the log you're using an Intel GPU so that's most likely not the same issue as the AMD problems we've seen recently. Most of the errors in the log you uploaded can be ignored ("known incorrect sRGB profile" is an error caused by PNGs with an incorrect ICC profile which at worst would cause those images to be displayed with slightly shifted colors).

BtA seems to use the new libRocket UI so the issue either lies in that implementation or in the TTF rendering code. The latter is also used in the recent MVPs so knowing if they display text correctly should help is figure out where the problem lies.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on February 27, 2019, 02:26:13 pm
1.  Unable to take a screenshot.  The PtrSc button when used in game always just takes a shot of the Knossos screen which is hiding in the background behind the game screen.  Is there some special way to take a screen shot of the actual game?

2.  The "Fix Font Distortion Problem" setting, if it truly ever existed, is not found anywhere in Knossos.  Been through every drop down option, Graphics, Gameplay, Hud, Audio, Troubleshooting etc etc.  No dice.

3.  The Media VPs 3.8 work just fine

More info to note.

a) In the FSO Settings for the BTA mod, I HAVE to select "Mod Default" for the FSO Build.   If I try to select the "FSO 3.8.0" build that is in the drop down list I get the error message "Error: Strings.tbl is in Unicode/UTF format and can not be read by Freespace Open.  Please convert it to ASCII/ANSI"

b)  I have the Wings Of Dawn mod downloaded.  I get exactly the same garbled text and flickering issue with this that I get with BTA.

c)  I have Fall Of Epsilon Pegasi downloaded.  I can not run this at all. I get the error message:

"Error: game_settings.tbl(line 2):
"Error: Missing required token: [#END]. Found [$Target Version:] instead."

Doubt this is related to the text flickering issues though.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: tomimaki on February 27, 2019, 03:08:25 pm
Could you update Intel graphic drivers?
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on February 27, 2019, 03:26:41 pm
I guess I could but TBH if I can play most Mods just fine but 2 or 3 are playing up then wouldn't that suggest it's a problem with the Mods?
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: ngld on February 27, 2019, 03:43:46 pm
1.  Unable to take a screenshot.  The PtrSc button when used in game always just takes a shot of the Knossos screen which is hiding in the background behind the game screen.  Is there some special way to take a screen shot of the actual game?
Click on the picture icon in Knossos (should be in the upper-right corner below the settings icon). If the game engine made any screenshots itself (which it should when you press the Print Screen key), they'll end up in that folder.

2.  The "Fix Font Distortion Problem" setting, if it truly ever existed, is not found anywhere in Knossos.  Been through every drop down option, Graphics, Gameplay, Hud, Audio, Troubleshooting etc etc.  No dice.
I just looked it up and apparently I misremembered and that setting indeed never existed. BTW, the options in the FSO settings section depend on the selected FSO version since each version can have different settings.

a) In the FSO Settings for the BTA mod, I HAVE to select "Mod Default" for the FSO Build.   If I try to select the "FSO 3.8.0" build that is in the drop down list I get the error message "Error: Strings.tbl is in Unicode/UTF format and can not be read by Freespace Open.  Please convert it to ASCII/ANSI"
That is to be expected since both BtA and the recent MediaVPs require a newer build than 3.8.0. The mod default is set to a recent nightly with which the mod works correctly.

b)  I have the Wings Of Dawn mod downloaded.  I get exactly the same garbled text and flickering issue with this that I get with BTA.
Wings Of Dawn uses TTF rendering and possibly other features which were added after FSO 3.8.0. So this is probably the same bug. Will have to double-check.

c)  I have Fall Of Epsilon Pegasi downloaded.  I can not run this at all. I get the error message:

"Error: game_settings.tbl(line 2):
"Error: Missing required token: [#END]. Found [$Target Version:] instead."
Same issue as BtA, tell Knossos to use a newer FSO version in your FSO settings and the mod should launch. If you can't select a newer version, go to your Knossos settings and switch your preferred stability to Nightly.

So... this sounds like an engine bug that a coder will need to fix. Still not sure if this is TTF rendering or libRocket causing issues.

I guess I could but TBH if I can play most Mods just fine but 2 or 3 are playing up then wouldn't that suggest it's a problem with the Mods?
The mods you're having problems with use newer engine features and thus different parts of the driver API. This is either a bug in the FSO engine (since it's a newer and less tested feature) or a driver bug (after all it works fine on other graphics cards). Either way, if it was an issue with the mod itself, it would affect more people.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on February 27, 2019, 03:48:36 pm
Appreciate the continuing help and investigations

Here are a couple of URLs to screen shots I took with mobile phone camera

One a pic of the In Game base Options screen and the other the New room screen.

As you can see, a lot of text is garbled and there are diagonal streaks all over the screen.

If it helps the investigation, I just played the "Burning Heaven" mod missions and whilst all the text is just fine in that mod, the cockpit radar had diagonal streaks coming from it.

http://tinypic.com/r/2m2b7ex/9

http://tinypic.com/r/2d267q1/9
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: ngld on February 27, 2019, 03:55:40 pm
That looks almost certainly like a driver issue. Try updating your graphics drivers. (I'd suggest updating FSO but you already have the latest version).
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on February 27, 2019, 04:23:10 pm
Screenshots from Knossos itself

BTA Newsroom
http://tinypic.com/r/xe281j/9

BTA Options
http://tinypic.com/r/2ljpd04/9

WoD Profile Selection
http://tinypic.com/r/14bofa/9

WoD Options Screen
http://tinypic.com/r/qyi8fq/9

WoD Targetting Options Screen
http://tinypic.com/r/2f069w4/9

WoD Misc Options Screen
http://tinypic.com/r/16a7a4o/9
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on February 27, 2019, 04:48:49 pm
Graphics drivers were already up-to-date.   There are no further drivers being produced for this card/chip.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 01, 2019, 06:46:52 am
That is to be expected since both BtA and the recent MediaVPs require a newer build than 3.8.0. The mod default is set to a recent nightly with which the mod works correctly.

I have switched Knossos to "nightly" setting but makes no difference.

Can you tell me which specific FSO Build  BtA requires please?

Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Spoon on March 01, 2019, 07:28:24 am
Now those are some interesting text issues  :lol:

For WoD, have you tried https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=95368.msg1879261#msg1879261
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 01, 2019, 01:48:32 pm
Now those are some interesting text issues  :lol:

For WoD, have you tried https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=95368.msg1879261#msg1879261

Hi cheers for the link

Tried that fonts file but didn't solve the problem.  :-(

Still stuck
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Spoon on March 01, 2019, 05:32:25 pm
Bugger :(

I'm afraid the only solution left then might just boil down to getting a new videocard.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 02, 2019, 03:15:48 am
Bugger :(

I'm afraid the only solution left then might just boil down to getting a new videocard.

Don't be daft !

Freespace itself runs absolutely perfectly
Wing Commander DD mod runs absolutely perfectly
Derelict mod runs perfectly
Blue Planet mod runs perfectly
Destiny Of Peace (Silent Threat etc) mod runs perfectly
Halls of Valhalla runs perfectly
Storm Front runs perfectly
Sync runs perfectly
Transcend runs perfectly

etc etc etc

Between The Ashes is however Daffy Ducked
As is Wings of Dawn

This clearly suggests that the developers of those mods have messed with something that they shouldn't have
That they have tweaked settings that are specific to certain hardware or software rather than leave things more generic
I'd like to play those mods, but FFS I'm not going to buy specific hardware to be able to, that's crazy. 
Even if I did, do they even know themselves what hardware is specifically needed? There's no recommended hardware that I know of.

If ALL mods were affected by this text garbage crap then yes, different hardware would be a reasonable suggestion.
Since most mods work perfectly then the problem lies very obviously with those 2 mods.  It's really up to the developers to fix it.





Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: niffiwan on March 02, 2019, 03:44:36 am
yeah... the issue is that a new text rendering feature with the FSO engine has issues on certain video cards. The feature is question is allowing the use of true-type fonts - which is a good thing as the old font handling was ugly and hard to work with. In any event it's certainly not the fault of the mod creators choosing to use that new feature. Throw stones at the SCP developers if you wish (yes, that includes me), equally I don't have access to an old Intel HD video card to even start trying to find & fix the issue.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 02, 2019, 05:28:58 am
The feature is question is allowing the use of true-type fonts - which is a good thing as the old font handling was ugly and hard to work with. .

Right, so by that reckoning it can be assumed that you think the much vaunted Blue Planet mod is "ugly" and Transcend, and Wing Commander DD and all the rest???

Call me Mr Picky but I thought all those mods were pretty stunning work and made for a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience.  The quality of the font was frankly not on my mind at all as I was gunning down enemy ships.

So we have on the one hand, Mod developers who are/have successfully created brilliant Mods using the, how shall we call it? "basic" font rendering capabilities of FSO, and we have Mod Developers trying to use a newer FS feature which is clearly unsupported on some platforms and thus prevents a portion of the playing audience from experiencing the Mod.   Struggling, honestly struggling to see the logic and strategy there.

If they can make brilliant Mods like BP and WCDD work just fine then surely other developers can do the same.

And YES it clearly IS a Mod choice because the Mod developer is choosing to use either specific versions of FSO or specific features of FSO which cause issues with certain hardware platforms.  Why limit the playing audience just for the questionable benefit of true type fonts?






Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Novachen on March 02, 2019, 05:48:21 am
Well, i do not see that he wrote, that the Mods are bad... only for a mod developer the classic font format is a pain in the ass. It is hard to include your favorite font into the game. So it is ugly to work with from a development point of view.

TrueType Fonts are easy... just put the .ttf file in the fonts folder, add it in the fonts.tbl and you are done for it.

Not to speak of, that TTF is the much better choice for localization. (have to say that, it is at least my main purpose here  :lol:)
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Spoon on March 02, 2019, 07:55:32 am
Oof, that's a lot of angry ignorant screaming. Silly me, trying to be helpful.

Don't be daft !
Take your own advice.

Freespace itself runs absolutely perfectly
Wing Commander DD mod runs absolutely perfectly
Derelict mod runs perfectly
Blue Planet mod runs perfectly
Destiny Of Peace (Silent Threat etc) mod runs perfectly
Halls of Valhalla runs perfectly
Storm Front runs perfectly
Sync runs perfectly
Transcend runs perfectly

etc etc etc

Between The Ashes is however Daffy Ducked
As is Wings of Dawn

This clearly suggests that the developers of those mods have messed with something that they shouldn't have
Yes, we've unearthed ancient secrets that were better left undisturbed. In our greed for wanting fonts that don't look like garbage, we've clearly messed with something that we shouldn't have.
/s


That they have tweaked settings that are specific to certain hardware or software rather than leave things more generic
Yeah, we added TTF f-
Oh niffiwan already explained this to you. Lemme just quote him again.

yeah... the issue is that a new text rendering feature with the FSO engine has issues on certain video cards. The feature is question is allowing the use of true-type fonts - which is a good thing as the old font handling was ugly and hard to work with. In any event it's certainly not the fault of the mod creators choosing to use that new feature. Throw stones at the SCP developers if you wish (yes, that includes me), equally I don't have access to an old Intel HD video card to even start trying to find & fix the issue.


I'd like to play those mods, but FFS I'm not going to buy specific hardware to be able to, that's crazy.
Don't be daft!
You're trying to play on weak, old hardware. The Intel(R) HD Graphics 4600 is a integrated video chip from 2013, it is not exactly a modern day powerhouse from which you can expect to run everything in full HD at 144 fps. You don't have to throw a tantrum when someone suggest you might want to get better hardware to play. Wings of Dawn is a new, modern release, which uses a lot of cutting edge SCP features. Having a semi-decent dedicated videocard is kind of a requirement to run it smoothly.
You are the only one who has this specific issue with fonts. Everyone who reported font issues while running with old AMD cards have been helped by the link I posted before (afaik). It's just your specific case that has the issue.
So from the point of the developer, the issue lies on your end. There's only so much I can do. 


Even if I did, do they even know themselves what hardware is specifically needed? There's no recommended hardware that I know of.
Because there's only so much hardware that we have available to us, that we can test it on.

The lowest specs I was able to test WoD on, which ran most of the game on 60fps (with shadows and the like disabled), except the final few missions. Was a i7-2670QM, 8GB Ram, with a GT 555M 2GB videocard.
This is an 8 year old laptop. WoD is a 2018-2019 release.


If ALL mods were affected by this text garbage crap then yes, different hardware would be a reasonable suggestion.
Since most mods work perfectly then the problem lies very obviously with those 2 mods.  It's really up to the developers to fix it.
Its up to you to use a machine that can handle the game.
I mean, I already gave you a solution to restore the old font, and that didn't fix it for you (are you sure you installed it correctly?). There is nothing else I can do for you on my end, I can't magically reach through the internet and make your old hardware suddenly up to requirement.

You also seem to keep making this mistake in assuming that "well, I can run this mod released in 2013 on my old hardware without issue, so clearly that must mean I should also be able to run a mod released in 2017-2018 without issue, if not, then the developer is at fault."
There has been a lot of advancements made in the engine over the years. Modern releases using modern versions of FSO are probably going to require more modern hardware to run. That's PC gaming.


Right, so by that reckoning it can be assumed that you think the much vaunted Blue Planet mod is "ugly" and Transcend, and Wing Commander DD and all the rest???
That is not even remotely close to what niffiwan said. What the heck are you even on about, buddy? Calm your tits and read his post again.
We're talking about the old ugly font, not about entire mods.


Call me Mr Picky but I thought all those mods were pretty stunning work and made for a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience.  The quality of the font was frankly not on my mind at all as I was gunning down enemy ships.

So we have on the one hand, Mod developers who are/have successfully created brilliant Mods using the, how shall we call it? "basic" font rendering capabilities of FSO, and we have Mod Developers trying to use a newer FS feature which is clearly unsupported on some platforms and thus prevents a portion of the playing audience from experiencing the Mod.   Struggling, honestly struggling to see the logic and strategy there.

If they can make brilliant Mods like BP and WCDD work just fine then surely other developers can do the same.

And YES it clearly IS a Mod choice because the Mod developer is choosing to use either specific versions of FSO or specific features of FSO which cause issues with certain hardware platforms.  Why limit the playing audience just for the questionable benefit of true type fonts?
I'm going to call you Mr Ignoramus rather that Mr Picky, because you keep making these assumptions out of ignorance.

A. You assume that we developers ~magically~ know every single bug and issue before hand. Surprise!
No.
We don't have 100 of Q&A testers all running different hardware that will allow us to identify some obscure issue with fonts on old hardware before release. It's not like we looked at TFF fonts and made some conscious deliberate choice to shaft people with certain hardware. Again, you're making this assumption of deliberate malice on the developer end or something. Kinda weird.

B. The portion of the playing audience that seems unable to play so far basically only seems to be... You.
All the other people who have reported having issues with the new TFF font have been helped by installing the provided Fonts.tbl to 'restore' the old font.

C. True type fonts provide a lot of readability over the old ugly font and make all of the menus look a lot nicer. That's not 'questionable' benefit. That's tangible benefit.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: ngld on March 02, 2019, 09:07:52 am
Plus TTF rendering uses vector graphics, which makes the font appear nice and crisp even on 4K monitors while the old bitmap font would be a blurry upscaled mess.

The fact that TTF rendering doesn't work on certain graphics cards was something which (as Spoon already pointed out) we only found out once users started complaining. AFAIK none of the devs ever ran into these problems.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 02, 2019, 10:21:51 am
Wow, plenty of fanboy angst there I see.

Bottom line remains same though despite all the spiel.  There are tons of very great Mods that excel at what they do without any fancy font rendering.  Why anyone would prioritise font sharpness for a game that is about space simulation and dogfighting is still beyond my comprehension.  It's like you turned up to a F1 race with an unreliable car but hey no worries because our sponsors decals are nice and sharp and funky font !

My rig has absolutely no performance issues whatsoever despite what you may think about it.  Fill the space with 100s of ships and it still plays Freespace 2 seamlessly.   I just completed another mod very much like that, an epic battle with 100s of fighters and lots of cap ships.   Laptop didn't hit a sweat.

I have no axe to grind here.   There are plenty of brilliant mods whose developers are concentrating on visual experience and gameplay and storyline.  Some truly excellent work that must have taken many many hours.   Their products are working.   BTA and WoD are not working.   So be it.

I guess if this were a commercial venture then your bosses might have something to say about the choice to lose sales by alienating older platforms at the expense of "sweeter fonts".   As it is, it's not commercial so up to developers how they want to prioritise.

BTW the issue is not simply with fonts.   The "bad" mods also have issues with the HUD radar which displays streaks/diagonal lines but hey ho.

GL with future work

Will leave this here.



Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: The E on March 02, 2019, 12:21:45 pm
Wow, plenty of fanboy angst there I see.

No. Spoon is completely correct in his assessment. We try to accommodate as wide an array of hardware and operating systems as we can, but all we can do is to stay within the standards the various APIs are setting. As far as we can tell, the engine isn't doing anything wrong, it's your particular system with the particular driver version you installed that's the issue.
Again, we are sorry for this. We would really like for everyone to be able to enjoy all the content produced here, but we cannot account for every variable.

Personally, I hate it whenever I stumble across an edge case in some open source project and it turns out that the only way to fix the issue is to get involved personally. But that is the reality here: We cannot fix this issue without having the hardware you do. So, this is your invitation to get involved and start solving the problem instead of getting angry at us over it.

Quote
Bottom line remains same though despite all the spiel.  There are tons of very great Mods that excel at what they do without any fancy font rendering.  Why anyone would prioritise font sharpness for a game that is about space simulation and dogfighting is still beyond my comprehension.  It's like you turned up to a F1 race with an unreliable car but hey no worries because our sponsors decals are nice and sharp and funky font !


Again: Spoon is right and you are wrong. We added ttf font rendering to solve real problems content creators like Spoon and Novachen had, and to give creators more options when they're setting the look and feel of their works.

We add features to the engine for two broad reasons: either because someone like spoon or MjnMixael requests it, or because one of the coders thinks it would be cool to have. The addition of a new ui library fits into both categories: content creators want the ability to customize the game flow, and us coders want a system that's easier to work with.
It is in no way a waste of resources. If you wish to blame anyone for it, blame me: As SCP project lead at the time these features were proposed and implemented, I could have stopped it. I didn't, for the reasons laid out above.

Quote
My rig has absolutely no performance issues whatsoever despite what you may think about it.  Fill the space with 100s of ships and it still plays Freespace 2 seamlessly.   I just completed another mod very much like that, an epic battle with 100s of fighters and lots of cap ships.   Laptop didn't hit a sweat.

I have no axe to grind here.   There are plenty of brilliant mods whose developers are concentrating on visual experience and gameplay and storyline.  Some truly excellent work that must have taken many many hours.   Their products are working.   BTA and WoD are not working.   So be it.

I guess if this were a commercial venture then your bosses might have something to say about the choice to lose sales by alienating older platforms at the expense of "sweeter fonts".   As it is, it's not commercial so up to developers how they want to prioritise.


As a professional developer with a bit of experience in amateur game dev, I can say that you are absolutely, provably wrong about this.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: tomimaki on March 03, 2019, 11:01:41 am
Could you try to install Intel standard driver, not from lenovo? Lenovo driver is from 2013, latest from intel for this hardware (https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/28163/Intel-Graphics-Driver-for-Windows-15-40-?product=81496) is newer.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 03, 2019, 11:40:05 am

We try to accommodate as wide an array of hardware and operating systems as we can, but all we can do is to stay within the standards the various APIs are setting. As far as we can tell, the engine isn't doing anything wrong, it's your particular system with the particular driver version you installed that's the issue.
Again, we are sorry for this. We would really like for everyone to be able to enjoy all the content produced here, but we cannot account for every variable.

You appear to be mis-informed.  This game breaking text flickering issue is not specific to me.  It's been around for YEARS.

Here's a link to the GOG forum from 2014

https://www.gog.com/forum/freespace_series/text_flickering

At least 4 people there all with exactly the same issue that I'm seeing now in 2019 !!!


And here's a link from this very forum from 2009

https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=60366.0

A number of people experiencing flickering bars and the like


Personally, I hate it whenever I stumble across an edge case in some open source project and it turns out that the only way to fix the issue is to get involved personally.

As above.  This is by no mean a singular issue.   It's an issue that's been around for years it seems with no consistent fix.   Despite the problems, lots of mod developers manage to make fantastic mods that don't cause the issue.   It's just that some developers are using certain features of FSO that result in these problems.  In a commercial environment they would be told NOT to use such features and to keep the platform stable and working across all platforms.

Again: Spoon is right and you are wrong. We added ttf font rendering to solve real problems content creators like Spoon and Novachen had, and to give creators more options when they're setting the look and feel of their works.

Understood but there are clearly issues with the features.   Other mod developers have managed to create great mods without the need for that.  Are Spoon, Novachen just not up to the task of creating great mods without the need for those features?

As I said before, I have no axe to grind here.  I have 30+ years experience in IT/Computing ranging from Software Development Houses to governmental core systems.   There are definitely long standing issues with Freespace and FSO regarding these particular problems.  You are choosing to ignore them in order to be able to use some features which frankly (imho) are nowhere near a priority for creating a great Space Simulation gaming experience.  I care about the visuals, the story line, the acting voices and variety and depth of missions.  I couldn't give a flying f**k what font the text is in to be honest. 

Your choice and it seems the choice is made so best of luck

I will play the great mods whose developers don't seem to have a need for these "features"
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 03, 2019, 11:41:19 am
Could you try to install Intel standard driver, not from lenovo? Lenovo driver is from 2013, latest from intel for this hardware (https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/28163/Intel-Graphics-Driver-for-Windows-15-40-?product=81496) is newer.

Hi tomimaki

I already went directly to the Intel website and download page.   It has a feature that detects your driver version and updates automatically.  I used it.

It told me I already had the most up-to-date driver.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: The E on March 03, 2019, 12:01:26 pm

You appear to be mis-informed.  This game breaking text flickering issue is not specific to me.  It's been around for YEARS.

Here's a link to the GOG forum from 2014

https://www.gog.com/forum/freespace_series/text_flickering

At least 4 people there all with exactly the same issue that I'm seeing now in 2019 !!!

I really am not.

Had you read the post you linked, you'd have realized that the person posting was a) using an ancient PC even by 2014 standards and b) had their issues fixed by using FSO.

Try again. Or rather, don't, and realize who you're talking to.

Quote
And here's a link from this very forum from 2009

https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=60366.0

A number of people experiencing flickering bars and the like

And?

Between that version of the engine and the one we're releasing right now, we replaced the entire rendering infrastructure.

So, again: Whatever problem these people had, they're not the same problem (albeit similar symptoms) that you're having. You're comparing apples to oranges.


Quote
As above.  This is by no mean a singular issue.   It's an issue that's been around for years it seems with no consistent fix.   Despite the problems, lots of mod developers manage to make fantastic mods that don't cause the issue.   It's just that some developers are using certain features of FSO that result in these problems.  In a commercial environment they would be told NOT to use such features and to keep the platform stable and working across all platforms.

There's no consistent fix because it's not a consistent problem.

Also, stop comparing FSO to what you think a commercial game developer would do. You are, again, absolutely and provably wrong about this, and above all we aren't selling a product you're buying. Trying to shame us into magically fixing your issue by pointing out how much money we're losing is utterly stupid and will not work.

Quote
Understood but there are clearly issues with the features.   Other mod developers have managed to create great mods without the need for that.  Are Spoon, Novachen just not up to the task of creating great mods without the need for those features?

You have issues. Most other people don't. We're sorry that it doesn't work for you, but unless we somehow get lucky and fix your issues while fixing something else, your issue won't get fixed. We have enough issues getting the engine to run well on AMD and nVidia drivers (there were times when both of those companies kept breaking their drivers in ways that broke FSO!) across 3 operating systems to particularly care about Intel Integrated chips.


Quote
As I said before, I have no axe to grind here.  I have 30+ years experience in IT/Computing ranging from Software Development Houses to governmental core systems.   There are definitely long standing issues with Freespace and FSO regarding these particular problems.  You are choosing to ignore them in order to be able to use some features which frankly (imho) are nowhere near a priority for creating a great Space Simulation gaming experience.  I care about the visuals, the story line, the acting voices and variety and depth of missions.  I couldn't give a flying f**k what font the text is in to be honest.

I have 11 years of experience working on FSO. I know this engine better than any other program I have ever interacted with (excluding those I've written entirely by myself, of course), and every single one of those years of experience allow me to state, categorically, that you. Are. Wrong.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 03, 2019, 12:13:51 pm
No problem.  Good luck with the nicely rendered fonts.  Clearly a priority for you guys for a Space Sim.

As stated, I'll just play the plethora of great mods that don't have these issues.  There are enough to be going on with TBH.

Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Mongoose on March 03, 2019, 01:03:40 pm
No problem.  Good luck with the nicely rendered fonts.  Clearly a priority for you guys for a Space Sim.

As stated, I'll just play the plethora of great mods that don't have these issues.  There are enough to be going on with TBH.


Do you not understand that you are the only person who has reported this particular issue? That the mod developers in question had absolutely no idea that their choice of fonts might impact someone? Is that not getting across to you? No one intentionally did this. Modders are using a feature that both improves the presentation of their mods and make their lives easier. No, it's not a major priority, but it still allows for more flexibility (like, say, making translating text FAR easier). No one deliberately went out of their way to alienate potential players. If you're having trouble accepting that, then at the end of the day, that's on you.

Here's the real bottom line, I suspect: integrated graphics solutions were never intended for serious PC gaming, and the results you'll get by using them are mediocre at best and horrific at worst. There have been some small gains made over time, but they're still a far inferior choice when compared to even a bottom-end dedicated graphics card. FSO can't, and indeed shouldn't, cater to garbage-tier hardware. At some point, it falls on the end-user to either upgrade or deal with whatever issues may arise.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: MitoPL on March 03, 2019, 02:07:33 pm
Oh, that reminds me of another veteran with 30 years of experience in the field on a different forum. Coming with a very basic and childish question, totally ignoring all the solutions (including the ones used in the industry just fine for over a decade) provided by users, being completely irrational and offending users to the left and right.

So basically, first TTF fonts were used in mods in early 2017, so there's no way that these topics you linked to are revelant. This leaves us with couple options:
1. Some kind of an ancient retail bug that went unnoticed for many years decided to manifest here for some reason.
2. It is the TTF issue but you somehow managed to mess up installing the Wings of Dawn fix.
3. It's a new bug, maybe something related to libRocket, but there's no way to be certain.

Now, a bunch of questions to you:
Are you sure you installed the Wings of Dawn fix properly?
Are you sure your laptop has got only the Intel HD 4600 graphics chip? It's possible that there's a second one, most likely made by AMD, that is used for heavy 3D rendering that might cause the issue, since older AMD GPUs cause these TTF bugs,
Are you launching these mods on one of the latest Nightly builds? (Knossos settings -> preferred engine stability -> Nightly; update mod called 'FSO'; in a mod's FSO Settings -> FSO build)
Are you 100% sure your drivers are up to date? These auto-detect programs aren't perfectly trustworthy and can make mistakes. The most issue resilient method is to download a dedicated driver install package and run it. If it still claims that it's fully up to date, you can use a piece of software called Display Driver Uninstaller to purge your system of (probably faulty) drivers so you can make a fresh installation of them (I 'fixed' a friend's artifacting and randomly crashing system with an RX480 that way, actually).

Edit: Also, both BtA and WoD are ones of the most resource-heavy FSO mods to date, and I believe you will have real issues with running these with playable framerates on the HD 4600, even with lighting and many details turned off.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: General Battuta on March 03, 2019, 03:15:53 pm
You can't expect to play games reliably on integrated graphics. It's just not what they're for.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 03, 2019, 05:07:08 pm
Now, a bunch of questions to you:
Are you sure you installed the Wings of Dawn fix properly?

Dumped the font file in the folder specified in the thread post

Are you sure your laptop has got only the Intel HD 4600 graphics chip?

Yup

3D rendering that might cause the issue, since older AMD GPUs cause these TTF bugs,

TTF bugs?  You're saying you already know of TTF bugs?  I thought I was supposed to be t he only one having issues?!

Are you launching these mods on one of the latest Nightly builds? (Knossos settings -> preferred engine stability -> Nightly; update mod called 'FSO'; in a mod's FSO Settings -> FSO build)

Yep, Knossos is set to Nightlies.   Tried various builds, Mod Default, Wing Of Dawn Builds 17.0.1 and Fs2_open_Wings_of_Dawn-EX17-SSE2.


Are you 100% sure your drivers are up to date?

Yep.  Drivers are no longer being updated for legacy Intel chips so nothing more recent to install.

Edit: Also, both BtA and WoD are ones of the most resource-heavy FSO mods to date, and I believe you will have real issues with running these with playable framerates on the HD 4600, even with lighting and many details turned off.

No absolutely no performance issues running any of the Mods.   Have you played the somewhat silly Freespace 3 mod? 
It's missions have literally 100s of fighters and cap ships and missiles, torpedoes and so on.   I have absolutely no performance
issues running that.   Other mods have much improved ship detail and I haven't had any issues with those either.



Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 03, 2019, 05:13:34 pm
So basically, first TTF fonts were used in mods in early 2017, so there's no way that these topics you linked to are revelant. .

Aerilon is Burning Mod - released 2017, updated 2018 - runs just fine

Homesick Mod - released Nov 2017 - updated 2018 - runs just fine

Sync Mod - released June 2017 - updated 2018 - runs just fine

Wing Commander 4 Mod - released 2018 - runs just fine


Do these mods use the FSO font features being mentioned? 
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: FrikgFeek on March 03, 2019, 06:51:00 pm
Homesick, Sync, and the WC4 demo are all Knossos releases of old campaigns. Homesick is from 2003, Sync is from 2004. The WC4 demo was just an extra to go with the FSO conversion of WCS. WCS is originally from 2012 but it forked the engine so a lot of things needed to be redone to make it compatible with "regular" FSO builds. Since all of these mods are originally much older than .ttf fonts none of them really use the feature.

Integrated GPUs are just not meant for gaming. Though if you consider 20ish FPS to be "fine" then you can run some modern mods on integrated.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Mongoose on March 03, 2019, 06:54:02 pm
If you're getting adequate framerates with an integrated card, I guarantee you have the more intensive engine features disabled.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Spoon on March 03, 2019, 07:15:56 pm
Ya'll wasting your time on this fellow ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 04, 2019, 08:04:22 am
Homesick, Sync, and the WC4 demo are all Knossos releases of old campaigns. Homesick is from 2003, Sync is from 2004. The WC4 demo was just an extra to go with the FSO conversion of WCS. WCS is originally from 2012 but it forked the engine so a lot of things needed to be redone to make it compatible with "regular" FSO builds. Since all of these mods are originally much older than .ttf fonts none of them really use the feature..


Ok tell you what folks.

Can any of you give me a list of all (or some) of the mods that you know definitely use the new FSO TTF features.

If I try a few of those I may find that either they all don't work, or some do, some don't which might help pin point the issue.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: tomimaki on March 04, 2019, 10:31:22 am
Could you try to install Intel standard driver, not from lenovo? Lenovo driver is from 2013, latest from intel for this hardware (https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/28163/Intel-Graphics-Driver-for-Windows-15-40-?product=81496) is newer.

Hi tomimaki

I already went directly to the Intel website and download page.   It has a feature that detects your driver version and updates automatically.  I used it.

It told me I already had the most up-to-date driver.
That's weird.
Which exactly Lenovo laptop you have?
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: wookieejedi on March 04, 2019, 12:04:29 pm
Just wanted to chime in that I use Intel Integrate Graphics 4600 and do not have the TFF issues listed, even though I use TFF in my mods.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: MitoPL on March 04, 2019, 12:34:41 pm
Yes, we know about TTF causing issues on certain hardware. Reports started flowing in when new Wings of Dawn was released, its dev team made a patch (that you were asked to use) that forces the game to use the old way of handling fonts. From what I know, no such patch was made for Between The Ashes, but it should be quite easy to make.
Right now, you are the only person for who the patch didn't help. This means that either, again, something went wrong with installing the patch or this issue isn't related to TTF at all. Maybe some details on where did you place the patch file would be useful.

Also, wouldn't radar wonkyness mean the problem doesn't necessary have to be what we think it is?

Also yes, please completely ignore my point about driver auto-detect possibly being stupid and misinforming you (for example, thinking that the driver Lenovo used for the laptop is the only available while ignoring purely Intel's drivers). Also, thank you very much for totally ignoring my suggestion of purging installed drivers with DDU and installing fresh ones, which would definitely eliminate the possiblity of a broken driver installment.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 04, 2019, 03:02:31 pm
Right now, you are the only person for who the patch didn't help. This means that either, again, something went wrong with installing the patch or this issue isn't related to TTF at all. Maybe some details on where did you place the patch file would be useful.

As per the instructions in the thread I was directed to, I dumped the fonts file in the \data\tables folder.   It didn't specify exactly where that was but the only place I found a data\tables folder was in the Retail Freespace area.   It that was wrong then some further clarification is needed.

Also, wouldn't radar wonkyness mean the problem doesn't necessary have to be what we think it is?

I tend to agree.  Or there could be 2 separate issues.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: wookieejedi on March 04, 2019, 04:07:06 pm
As per the instructions in the thread I was directed to, I dumped the fonts file in the \data\tables folder.   It didn't specify exactly where that was but the only place I found a data\tables folder was in the Retail Freespace area.   It that was wrong then some further clarification is needed.

To clarify, the actual .tff files should go in a folder called 'fonts' within the the 'data' folder. The 'fonts.tbl' file goes in the 'data\tables' folder.  :)
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: FrikgFeek on March 04, 2019, 04:38:41 pm
And none of that should be going in the retail freespace /data folder but the mod's own data/tables and data/fonts folders instead.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 04, 2019, 06:19:31 pm
To clarify, the actual .tff files should go in a folder called 'fonts' within the the 'data' folder. The 'fonts.tbl' file goes in the 'data\tables' folder.  :)

The link that was highlighted by Spoon only provided a fonts.tbl file.   There were no TFF files. 

Note also that there were no sub folders in the Mod folder.   

I created a data/tables folder in the BtA folder and put the fonts.tbl file in there.

On running the Mod I then get the error:

"Bitmap fonts are not supported in the Unicode model"

Task Manager is then required to kill the FS session as the error message will not disappear
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: wookieejedi on March 04, 2019, 06:33:51 pm
Well, that file Spoon gave you for Wings of Dawn won't work for BtA, so that is probably what the error is coming from.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: mjn.mixael on March 05, 2019, 04:47:34 pm
Yeah, that patch won't work for BtA. Also BtA is gonna be tough to run in integrated graphics in the first place. I suspect patching the font back to a .vf font would be the least of your concerns there.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 06, 2019, 04:09:16 am
Also BtA is gonna be tough to run in integrated graphics in the first place. I suspect patching the font back to a .vf font would be the least of your concerns there.

Disappointing to see people still harping on about system performance.  My laptop plays BTA just fine, at least the first opening mission was fine with the huge space station and cargo depot and various ships etc etc.  I don't get ANY performance issues with ANY freespace mission or mod mission I have ever played.  Nor do I get any issues with the Freespace 3 mod, which has 100s of ships and cap ships in its missions.

However BTA is unplayable for me simply because the text is unreadable.  Means in missions you can't target specific ships that you need to target to protect or chase them down.  Also means I can't set my pilot settings up because you can't see which option is which and so on.   Nothing wrong with the game itself, just the ****ing text. 

Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: Strygon on March 06, 2019, 04:24:12 am
Hardware does more than just affect overall performance of a game. Integrated graphics hate TTF fonts, so apply a patch that reverts it back to bitmaps. Of course it's gonna have to be specifically for the designated mod.
Also, FS3 is not a good benchmark for a PCs ability to run graphics well. Graphics are taken care of by a GPU, many ships mean many AI cycles running at the same time, meaning it puts the load on the CPU.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 06, 2019, 08:03:43 am
Understood Strygon

Nevertheless, I've managed to get through about 4-5 missions of BTA with no performance issues at all.   Still a royal PITA though not being able to see much of the text. 
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: wookieejedi on March 06, 2019, 08:28:24 am
I'm not part of the BtA team, but I took a peek at their font table and made a quick patch for you. It should work to restore the fonts.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: mjn.mixael on March 06, 2019, 09:33:38 am
Maybe I'm crazy.. but I find it very hard to believe that an integrated graphics laptop has zero issues with any mod including BtA. My big fancy rig with a GTX1080 and a 4.2Ghz processor even has occasional hiccups.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: wookieejedi on March 06, 2019, 09:36:35 am
You're not crazy... I have integrated graphics from 2014 and the only way I can get 25ish fps in any larger battle on most mods is ensuring all effects flags are disabled and the resolution is pretty low. Even then there are some hiccups when things explode or arrive.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 07, 2019, 03:59:35 pm
I'm not part of the BtA team, but I took a peek at their font table and made a quick patch for you. It should work to restore the fonts.

I appreciate the gesture WookieJedi

Unfortunately your files give me the following error message on running the Mod:

Error: fonts.tbl(line3)
Error: Bitmap fonts are not supported in Unicode text mode!
File: Parselo.cpp
Line: 303

Not sure if I installed correctly tho.

I went to the BtA-1.2.1 folder which contains a few vp files and a banner file etc.   There were no sub-folders in there.
So I created a data folder and fonts, tables folder beneath that and copied your files into the respective folders.

Was this correct?
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: wookieejedi on March 07, 2019, 04:17:52 pm
I'm not part of the BtA team, but I took a peek at their font table and made a quick patch for you. It should work to restore the fonts.

I appreciate the gesture WookieJedi

Unfortunately your files give me the following error message on running the Mod:

Error: fonts.tbl(line3)
Error: Bitmap fonts are not supported in Unicode text mode!
File: Parselo.cpp
Line: 303

Not sure if I installed correctly tho.

I went to the BtA-1.2.1 folder which contains a few vp files and a banner file etc.   There were no sub-folders in there.
So I created a data folder and fonts, tables folder beneath that and copied your files into the respective folders.

Was this correct?

Nah sounds like you did it correctly, I was just unaware BtA was using unicode text, so my fix won't work.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 08, 2019, 08:23:42 am
OK some good news

I managed to get Wings Of Dawn working.   That fonts.tbl patch file worked.

Problem was that for some reason, this Mod does not install into the same place as every other mod that Knossos manages.

I don't know why, maybe WoD just need their stuff somewhere else.  Anyway finally got the fonts.tbl file into the right place (after creating folders etc) and now the text flickering issue is fixed.

That leaves me with radar issues (constant streaks from pilot icons top right to the radar)
I'm pretty sure I've read other posts where people have experienced the same issue so will google.

Here's a screen shot

(http://oi63.tinypic.com/x0y82d.jpg)



So I guess I need a similar fonts patch file for BtA
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: m!m on March 08, 2019, 11:22:47 am
Unfortunately, there is no "similar" patch for BtA since that requires the Unicode mode provided by the engine which only works if TrueType fonts are used since the "old" bitmap fonts do not support the extended glyph range provided by Unicode. I think the initial release did not use that through so you might be able to use an older version of BtA with which the fonts.tbl patch may work but I'm not sure if unicode mode may always have been required.

As far as I can tell, the artifacts are always related to stuff rendered by NanoVG (a small library for rendering vector graphics which also does the TTF rendering) so that might be a possible indication where the problem originates from. However, without being able to reproduce it, I can not do much else unfortunately.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: AcePilot on March 08, 2019, 12:03:44 pm
Can those wingman/pilot icons at top right be removed/disabled anywhere in settings?
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: wookieejedi on March 08, 2019, 12:38:11 pm
Yes, under the HUD configuration settings. Though WoD uses my custom wingmen gauge script, which uses the fancy fonts. To disable that custom gauge, add this empty file to your data/tables folder:
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: niffiwan on March 08, 2019, 07:57:13 pm
Problem was that for some reason, this Mod does not install into the same place as every other mod that Knossos manages.

Yes, Wings of Dawn is a total conversion (aka TC) meaning that it doesn't need retail FS2 installed (i.e. it's completely free, as opposed to needing to buy a $10 copy of FS2 from GoG/Steam). It's the same as Diaspora in this respect. If you were to install either as a FS2 mod they probably won't work due to conflicting or additional FS2 files.

There's discussion in progress about Knossos making it clearer what is a TC vs a MOD, however RL means that the coders involved haven't been able to donate enough of their spare time to make these changes.
Title: Re: Text Flickering Issue
Post by: MitoPL on March 09, 2019, 06:18:51 pm
A question just in case - did you try reinstalling the graphics drivers (with the use of DDU and latest Intel driver package)? It possibly could fix something.