If you're using Knossos, there's a little drop down button for each mod you have installed. In that menu select "FSO Settings." Under the "Graphics" list there should be an item that says "Enable Shadows." It's a rather intensive feature that will slow down lower end GPUs.
Thank you for this. I'll experiment with it and see if it solves the problem(s).
EDIT: Oooooooooh-kay. So I went into the FSO settings and disabled shadows and pressed play. After waiting 15 minutes for the Freespace SCP screen to go away/finish loading/whatever, I alt-tabbed and saw an error message (didn't understand what it said) and pressed "Debug" 6 times, THEN Blue Planet activated and I went straight to the Tech Menu to see if the ships appeared properly.
Good news: they did.
Bad news: I couldn't switch campaigns out of The Blade Itself; it just wouldn't let me switch to any
other campaign in Blue Planet. I'd click on Freespace Blue or War in Heaven 1 or 2 or AoA and it just wouldn't take. I'm running a debug now, it says:
Error: game settings.tbl(line28):
Error: Missing required token: [#END]. Found [$Movie subtitle font: 1] instead.
Incidentally, this is the error message I got the first time.
Should I be running this in 19.0.0-RC2 instead of 3.8.0-3? What's the deal?