Author Topic: New Monitor - Bad Visuals  (Read 2007 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline AV8R

  • 28
New Monitor - Bad Visuals
So I just replaced my old 19" LCD monitor with a new 23" LED LCD IPS monitor. I figured the HD resolution, IPS color reproduction and 5ms response time would look great playing Freespace. So I got everything connected and fired up FSO and loaded a mission and instead got this (see attachments).

Look at the god-awful banding around the star. My old monitor never did this - but showed a perfect gradient of light around a bright star. It almost looks like the graphics settings are at 16-bit instead of 32-bit, but when I check Windows and nVidia's settings, they are both set to 1920x1080 @ 32-bit color.

I tried to tweak the brightness and contrast settings of the monitor to no avail and even ran a monitor calibration in Windows to try to tweak it further - with the same results.

Any suggestions?

[attachment DELETED!! by Strong Bad]

 

Offline niffiwan

  • 211
  • Eluder Class
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
What colour depth does your launcher have set? (I'd guess it hasn't changed, but doesn't hurt to check)
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
----
Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
----
m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
It's at 32-bit, for sure.

EDIT: Can you see the obvious gradient lines around the star?

EDIT2: I can't imagine why a higher quality monitor would show such a picture - unless the monitor isn't as high quality as I thought.   :(

EDIT3: I even changed it to 16-bit and checked the same mission and it looked far worse. I went back to 32-bit and it was the same as in the pics.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 08:59:46 pm by AV8R »

 

Offline niffiwan

  • 211
  • Eluder Class
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
I can see the banding, but I'm not sure what can be done to the monitor to fix/workaround the issue. Do you get the same issue with other pics? i.e. stuff outside FSO?
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
----
Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
----
m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
So if I grab a hi-res pic from the interwebs such as below, I see perfect gradient lighting on this monitor. So its seems that rendered scenes are not displayed as well as pre-rendered photos.

[attachment DELETED!! by Strong Bad]

 

Offline headdie

  • i don't use punctuation lol
  • 212
  • Lawful Neutral with a Chaotic outook
    • Minecraft
    • Skype
    • Twitter
    • Headdie on Deviant Art
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
does your monitor have dedicated drivers and are they installed?
Minister of Interstellar Affairs Sol Union - Retired
quote General Battuta - "FRED is canon!"
Contact me at [email protected]
My Release Thread, Old Release Thread, Celestial Objects Thread, My rubbish attempts at art

 
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Maybe the banding was always there but your old monitor was just so bad that it blurred it out for you :)

What mission is that? Ok, just did a quick test and in Surrender Belisarius the sun looks similar to yours, ie. the gradient isn't quite 100% smooth. Maybe an issue with the upgraded MediaVP pack which I assume you are also running?

 

Offline Fury

  • The Curmudgeon
  • 213
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Banding is clearly visible in numerous mediavps and other mod assets due to DXT texture compression. This is particularly noticeable in effects and maps that have gradients. The better your monitor is and the higher your resolution is, the more visible banding and other texture compression artifacts are.

There are three ways to reduce texture compression artifacts. All of which require effort from modders. You, as a player, can't do anything about it other than use higher quality assets if available.

1) Increase resolution of assets. The higher the resolution, the more information there is and the less lost information is visible to the naked eye. Unfortunately this is not so easy, original assets are often of same resolution as what you get in the "advanced" assets.  Not many artists have had the foresight to make their originals in high resolution from which released assets could be scaled down. Which is too bad, because our assets aren't going to look much good on 4k monitors and TVs, seeing as they already have visible quality issues in 1080p.

And speaking of advanced. If you aren't using mediavps advanced pack already, you should if your GPU is decent enough to run it smoothly.

2) Use better compression algorithm. Ufortunately the only viable alternative to DXT is ASTC. Support for ASTC appeared in OpenGL ES 3.0 and OpenGL 4.3, even then it has been optional. Vulkan has it as a requirement though. All this means that hardware support for ASTC is limited mostly to new hardware. This also would require FSO to support Vulkan, which I hope happens eventually anyway.

3) Use assets with no texture compression. If you have a discrete GPU with plenty on VRAM, you could opt to play with uncompressed assets. This might actually be viable now that there are 64-bit Windows FSO builds, since limitations of 32-bit applications also affect usable VRAM. AFAIK no assets have ever been publicly released uncompressed because of their size. This also has had an unfortunate side effect. Modders who have modified assets made by others, such as changing colors, had to work with already compressed asset, reducing quality further on every subsequent save of the file. Lossy compression algorithms lose information every time a file is saved. If you're working with already compressed file, resulting file will have even less information and thus will have reduced quality. Many of the original uncompressed assets have also been lost over time because they weren't distributed.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 01:57:07 am by Fury »

 

Offline zookeeper

  • *knock knock* Who's there? Poe. Poe who?
  • 210
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
If changing the monitor really causes a difference in screenshot contents, then that can't have anything to do with your monitor's settings or how it's calibrated, as screenshots are grabbed from a buffer on your GPU. If the monitor causes a difference, then that has to be due to for example the OS or the GPU or monitor driver figuring that the monitor needs to be fed with a lower bit depth or something. If your monitor was simply poorly displaying the information it receives, that wouldn't show up in screenshots.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Thanks for the explanations - it may be that my older monitor was so washed out I never noticed the gradient lines before, so this new monitor is going to show, what is most likely, compression artifacts, as Fury stated. And yes, the monitor's driver is indeed installed which is confirmed in Device Manager - the monitor shows with its proper name and not the generic "Plug and Play Monitor".

And yes, I am using MediaVPs 2014 and the 3.7.2 EXE. Although I am not using the Advanced VP file as it tends to crash my system with malloc errors when I use it - especially if a Sathanas is present in a mission (I can use the Advanced VP file to play any mission in FSPort, but with FSO when I reach a mission with a Sathanas the game will CTD). Maybe using the Advanced file would create a better gradient? Perhaps. I'll give it a try later.

System specs (just because):
Intel i5 3550 (3.1Ghz)
2GB of DDR3 1600 RAM
NVidia GeForce GTX-750 Ti w/ 1GB GDDR5 (PCIe 3.0)
Win7 x86 SP1

 
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
System specs (just because):
Intel i5 3550 (3.1Ghz)
2GB of DDR3 1600 RAM
NVidia GeForce GTX-750 Ti w/ 1GB GDDR5 (PCIe 3.0)
Win7 x86 SP1

If you are running 32-bit Win7, getting another 2GB of RAM is an option (4GB is the max a 32-bit OS can address). Would really help with loading times and overall performance.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Unfortunately, adding 2 more GBs of RAM with a 32-bit OS would be fruitless since only 4GBs are addressable. Since my system already has 2GB of RAM, 1GB of video RAM and a 1GB page file, all 4GB of addressable memory is already spoken for. I'd have migrate Windows to x64 to allow for additional RAM.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

  • 211
  • The Cthulhu programmer himself!
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Since my system already has 2GB of RAM, 1GB of video RAM and a 1GB page file, all 4GB of addressable memory is already spoken for.
That's... not really how that works.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
How so? Grant it, it's a terribly over-simplified way of saying it, but a typical x86 OS (read: Windows) can only utilize 4GB of memory address space including RAM, video RAM, PCI memory range, ACPI and (when or if in use) page file memory space.

Although, since the advent of processor features such as PAE, some x86 server platforms can utilize more than 4GB using specialized OS configuration and drivers. But since using such features can be cumbersome, it's easier just to implement an x64 platform if more than 4GB of addressable memory is needed for a particular system.

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
The page file doesn't count against available memory.

Why in hell are you still running an x86 OS anyway?
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
After more research, I stand corrected. Page file does not count against total addressable memory. So I could conceivably add another 1GB of RAM to my system or just ditch the 2x1GB sticks for a 2x2GB as suggested with a GB going to waste. Oh well, something to consider.

x86 because that's the license I bought when Windows 7 was released.  :nervous:
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 02:58:51 pm by AV8R »

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
You do know that keys for the x86 versions are valid for x64 as well, right? And that you can get the x64 install media here?
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Interesting - I'll see if my key works on the page later.

Thanks for the tip!  :yes:

EDIT: So getting back to the original issue, I'll just have to adjust my monitor settings as best I can to minimize the banding effect for now since there is no getting around the image compression issue that Fury mentioned - unless using the Advanced vp file might display the image more "gradiently"...
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 03:16:06 pm by AV8R »

 

Offline Fury

  • The Curmudgeon
  • 213
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Or you could upgrade to Windows 10. IIRC it was possible to do so till end of the month.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/software-download/windows10

 

Offline AV8R

  • 28
Re: New Monitor - Bad Visuals
Or you could upgrade to Windows 10. IIRC it was possible to do so till end of the month.
https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/software-download/windows10

I actually already have the ISOs for that. I've just been waiting to see how it shakes out with others first (I'm not the "early adopter" type, I suppose - too many past horror stories).