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Full Version: ATI driver problems: 7.12 and 8.1
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The short version is that version 7.11 of the ATI drivers and Catalyst center seem to be the latest that function correctly with Penumbra on my system (Radeon X1650XT). 7.12 and 8.1 have problems.

Long version:

I downloaded the demo for Black Plague a few days ago, and the opening screen of the game (where you wake up looking at the ceiling and fluorescent light) had bizzare graphical anomalies (the textures were twitching and jumping as the camera moved). Some of the errors would not reappear when you looked at the same spot again. Looking around would sometimes reveal other anomalies that would be distorted and then suddenly go back to normal.

The tutorial also had strange anomalies, the most obvious being the blood splatter on the ground was flickering (e.g., looked 50% transparent because it was only showing up every other frame).

I loaded Penumbra Overture, and it suddenly developed the same problem (I played through the game with no issues a few months ago). The wall with the portholes had a strange texture that would not move with the camera, had about 16 porthole-shaped blue circles that stretched at an angle, and eventually went away once you looked at it enough.

Turning off Post Effects solved the majority of the graphical issues (all but a couple flickering or incorrectly-lit textures here and there), but also disables Bloom (which looks so good!). This was with version 8.1 of the ATI driver and Catalyst center.

I uninstalled the video drivers and installed version 7.12. Same problem. Uninstalled again, installed version 7.11, and the problems are gone (both games run flawlessly as Overture did when I first played it). If I put either new version of the drivers back, the problems reappear.

I have no idea what has changed with the OpenGL portion from version 7.11 to 7.12, but whatever it is seems to break Penumbra. Since downgrading to older drivers is more like a temporary fix, I thought I'd post this so that it could be looked into.

For reference, my video cards are two Radeon X1650XT in Crossfire. I have access to a system with an X1950XT, but haven't tested whether it experiences the same problem (I can if you think it would be useful).
Thanks for detailed and useful report!

This is more or less related to these threads about graphics glitches:

By the looks of it this only works for X1000 series and not the latest HD cards.
Yep, those look almost exactly like what I was seeing. The shifting/skewed textures on many things, the freezer pipes look odd, lines in the lighting where there shouldn't be, etc.

I might play around a little more with the various drivers and see if I can come up with anything else.
I just tried catalyst 7.11. It does not fix the problem at all. Actually it makes more problems. When i pressed escape in the game to go to the main menu, my system blocked completely and i had to reset it. I also tried catalyst 7.10. The textures looked just as bad as before, but this time the escape button worked and the system did not block.

So in conclusion, neither driver (8.1, 7.12(omega), 7.11, 7.10) fixed anything.
(on my hd2600 pro)
Hm. I did a little more testing and found out that if I replace atioglxx.dll with the version from the 7.11 drivers, the problem goes away. Version of atioglxx.dll works, but version does not.

I have attached the working file to this message (MD5 0a532c28eb674d8a09b88cae57d2b31a), perhaps someone could replace their version of the file (located in C:\Windows\System32, make a backup of the original of course) with this one and see if it helps.

e.g., rename the original atioglxx.dll to atioglxx.old, unzip the DLL from attached ZIP into System32. No restart is required, just load Penumbra and start a new game (with Post Effects turned on). See if anything improves.

Again, I'm not using an HD card, I have two X1650XT cards.

Finally, to avoid up any confusion about nomenclature with the ATI drivers, I say "Catalyst" to refer to the red application used to customize driver settings, and "Driver" to refer to the 32 files in Windows\System32 folder totaling about 36MB. They are actually two separate things, and installing a version of the Catalyst center will not change the actual drivers (unless you have a combined package).

The most important file for Penumbra is atioglxx.dll, the OpenGL part of the drivers. Digressing a little... if you are using Crossfire, you may be interested to know that if you modify one of the strings in this file (like "swkotor2.exe") with a hex editor to be "penumbra.exe", it will use the faster alternate frame rendering (AFR) Crossfire method, instead of scissor mode. This would solve the problem of a miscolored line being visible in the middle of the screen (which doesn't happen all the time, and when it does, it seems to only be on bright things like the lightning in the intro and the bloomed portholes in Overture). Also, upgrading the BIOSes of each video card so that they are identical solves other Crossfire issues with Penumbra (line issue in scissor mode, incorrect black levels, swapped or distorted frame order in AFR mode).

Anyway, that is off topic. If anyone can try the OpenGL driver I have attached, I would be interested to know if that fixes the problem, and what hardware you have.

edit: Attachment won't upload. Finding a place to host it... Ok, this might work.
I tried that file. But the structure of my display driver differs. I have a hd2600 pro and i do not have atioglxx.dll in system32. I have atioglx2.dll. I still tried renaiming your file atioglx2 and started the game. But it doesnt start. It says that no pixel shader was detected. So i guess this solution should work with almost all radeon cards before the HD series.
Interesting... I did not realize they used that file, I thought the oglx1 and oglx2 files were for compatibility. If you want to try, I uploaded the atioglx2.dll from the working driver set to . Maybe it's worth a try, although you said you already tried version 7.11 driver.
I tried your second file, but this time the game doesnt even start. I pressed the game exe and nothing happens. Anyway, i stayed up last night and tried every atioglx2/atioglx1/atioglxx dll from almost all catalysts. The first one to support HD was 7.6. But i also gave it the old college try and started to put dlls from catalyst 7.1 up till 8. Although 7.1 to 7.5 do not support this card, i extracted the dll and renamed it in all hope something might make a difference. Sadly ... it didnt. I now have installed catalyst 7.10 because i saw a performance increase in 3d mark 2006 from catalyst 8.1. But if anybody has other suggestions, im willing to try them.

PS - i remembered about The FireGL series of cards that ati makes all of which use the same GPU that the normal consumer cards use. My Hd 2600pro has the RV630. I searched and found out that FireGL 3600 and 5600 have this exact same GPU. So i got the drivers, tried their dll, but it just gives me some errors and the game doesn't start.... so now im back to square one.
I just realized that we might not be using the same operating system. I am running Windows XP Professional, are you using the same?
Yes, windows Xp Professional Service Pack 2

PS - i just got the full game. But i cant play it like this. i mean with all the artifacts. It is way to horrible. I cant even distinguesh things in the room, let alone solve puzzles. Ati should get its act together and start fixing stuff otherwise nvidia is going to come knocking at my door ... soon.

Dont get me wrong, I am a Ati fan, i've never used nvidia. But i get more dissapointed every year with the pile-up of problems their cards are having. You dont know how radical of a step this is for me to go with nvidia. But these driver problems have got to end. And im not only talking about this game. There are other games with other problems and a common source (ati drivers).
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