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General Category => AI War Classic => AI War Classic - Technical Support => Topic started by: Bud Backer on September 20, 2014, 02:01:17 AM

Title: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on September 20, 2014, 02:01:17 AM
I've observed a peculiar flicker in the graphics in planet view.

At first it seemed as of the ships, when fully zoomed out, were jumping back and forth. This is more distinct when zoomed in, when I had too low energy and so had numbers overlaid on all units. Then, it was the numbers that kept hopping one way and back again. It's only a few pixels but it's quite distracting!
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Kahuna on September 20, 2014, 01:33:16 PM
Yep. I've been having this too.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on September 20, 2014, 08:13:44 PM
Yep. I've been having this too.

But it's new, right? I don't remember this from before 8.014.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on September 22, 2014, 03:46:20 PM
Are you referring to only in far zoom?
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on September 22, 2014, 06:42:14 PM
Are you referring to only in far zoom?



No, it's not only far zoom, even when I zoom in somewhat I see some jumping around, though fully zoomed in it is no longer apparent.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: TechSY730 on September 23, 2014, 04:23:37 PM
Is this about "boxed overlay text style" that is used for things like energy usage of a ship when energy is low or cooldown after move timers of fortresses and mobile space docks, and how they can "jump around" a bit when not zoomed in enough to make the "close" sprites appear?

If so, then I've seen that ever since, well, the switch to the Unity engine.

I've found that if you zoom all the way in to the ship or structure having the issue, wait a bit for everything to load, then the problem is fixed for that unit type even if you zoom back out.
If this "workaround" works for the issue you are describing, then we are likely talking about the same issue.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on September 25, 2014, 08:30:30 PM
Is this about "boxed overlay text style" that is used for things like energy usage of a ship when energy is low or cooldown after move timers of fortresses and mobile space docks, and how they can "jump around" a bit when not zoomed in enough to make the "close" sprites appear?

If so, then I've seen that ever since, well, the switch to the Unity engine.

I've found that if you zoom all the way in to the ship or structure having the issue, wait a bit for everything to load, then the problem is fixed for that unit type even if you zoom back out.
If this "workaround" works for the issue you are describing, then we are likely talking about the same issue.


Perhaps there are two issues. The one you describe is one of the ones I was reporting, but the other is that ships clustered together seem to flicker and hop around slightly.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on September 26, 2014, 04:08:56 AM
When you are in far zoom and ships icons overlap they flicker as it is trying to draw both of them on top of each other so you see it transparent, this is the best way to describe it. It may have something to do with the removing of the sort ship textures option I never used it but it almost like it is “on” now if I am not mistaken that’s what could happen if you used it. I know this never happen before this option was removed. Not sure if that was the cause or not. Also this does not seem to happen when you are zoomed in and can see the ships textures, or not that I could see.

Edit: It is not just far zoom its anytime you can see the ship icons in your player color or another player and the icons overlap each other.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on September 26, 2014, 12:28:11 PM
Odd sometimes the graphics flicker and sometimes it does not. I tried this with and without v sync on and at times only a few ships icons will flicker and sometimes none even if there a lot of ships in a group.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: TechSY730 on September 26, 2014, 03:19:08 PM
Hmm, did any of you have "sort ship textures" on before the change to remove the option went in?
I wonder if the game still honors this setting if present in the settings file, but just no longer shows the option to enable/disable it.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on September 26, 2014, 03:22:25 PM
Hmm, did any of you have "sort ship textures" on before the change to remove the option went in?
I wonder if the game still honors this setting if present in the settings file, but just no longer shows the option to enable/disable it.

No I did not I thought of that too but I never even used that option before at all.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on September 29, 2014, 09:43:17 AM
I also tried starting a new game and it does it on there as well, depending on what zoom you are in. It appears to only happen if ships overlap and even then it does not always make their icons fickler and if you zoom out a little it seems to stop. Only the icons will flicker not the ship graphics if you are zoomed in to them.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on October 02, 2014, 02:09:14 PM
It appears to only happen if ships overlap and even then it does not always make their icons fickler and if you zoom out a little it seems to stop.

I observed this as well. It does seem to happen primarily when there are overlapping ship icons.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: The Hunter on October 02, 2014, 09:29:49 PM
Actually noticed it too in last game, "fighting for who is going on the top" happened between some units of same type to say.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 03, 2014, 12:28:28 PM
Actually noticed it too in last game, "fighting for who is going on the top" happened between some units of same type to say.

Yep that is what you could call it. It looks like it only happens if the units are all the same like you said now that I think about it.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 03, 2014, 01:57:17 PM
I posted this on the Mantis I looked to see if anyone else did I did not see any so if their was sorry about that here is the post.

http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=15922
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on October 06, 2014, 08:12:36 PM
Thanks!

* Ported over the "sorted batched" sprite logic that is used for shots and ships in The Last Federation.  This is now used for far zoom icons and shots and similar in AI War, and prevents the bulk of that flickering that previously could be seen.

* Far Zoom Icon Combination Distance is now default of 0 (and will automatically reset itself to that for everyone), rather than a default of 12.
** This causes the combination of far zoom icons to lower the number of draw calls to cease.  This actually saves you some CPU, which is great, and it shows you literal icons for every ship rather than combining nearby ships into one kind of compound icon.
** This also solves the remainder of the flicker problem that has been reported in recent builds.  Why this aspect of the flicker is only showing up recently is not entirely clear, but it seems related to the overall higher framerates and thus the higher rate of recalculation of these groups.
** Most importantly of all, these groups really are not important for performance reasons now, because the game is now doing the sprite batching that these were trying to work around the lack of previously.  We still have the feature available in case someone does turn out to need it, but this is not expected.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on October 06, 2014, 10:30:34 PM
Just found you posted here too do I'll repeat what I said in the announcement thread:

On my system the flickering is worse, not better, when ships overlap. Only at far zoom, but much more common even with just three ships where before it was for larger groups only.

In case you're wondering:

MacBookPro Retina Edition
I7 Quad-Core 2.7GHz
Nvidia GT650M 1 GB
16 GB RAM
OSX 10.9.5
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 07, 2014, 06:28:31 AM
It seemed to fix it for me thanks will have to experiment more later also now any ship with modules it will show the modules mark levels and now their icons on far zoom. This may be why Bud Backer is still having that problem but I would not know.

Edit: I made a new Mantis post just in case about the modules icons in far zoom.

http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=15947

Also this is probably why this is happening now "This causes the combination of far zoom icons to lower the number of draw calls to cease.  This actually saves you some CPU, which is great, and it shows you literal icons for every ship rather than combining nearby ships into one kind of compound icon" The modules count as ships so this is most likely what is causing this new modules mark icons on modular ships now. Also will re post this in the mantis just in case.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on October 07, 2014, 10:38:59 AM
I have fixed the modules thing for the next version, and I'm looking into the flicker bit.  The only flickering I'm seeing is when the icon border colors are shifting back and forth.  So I'm working on that one (it's a pain), and we'll see how that does.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on October 07, 2014, 11:10:35 AM
Thanks!

* Fixed the remaining flicker of far zoom icons, which could happen when ships of one sort changed icon colors.  So if something was changing icon colors periodically in particular, you'd notice icon flicker at that point.
** The solution to that was actually making these into dictionaries in-memory, and the way that this is done actually leads to even MORE efficiency gains through more batching.  So yay, even more performance. :)
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Kahuna on October 07, 2014, 02:18:50 PM
Wiiiii
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on October 09, 2014, 09:55:13 PM
Thanks!

* Fixed the remaining flicker of far zoom icons, which could happen when ships of one sort changed icon colors.  So if something was changing icon colors periodically in particular, you'd notice icon flicker at that point.
** The solution to that was actually making these into dictionaries in-memory, and the way that this is done actually leads to even MORE efficiency gains through more batching.  So yay, even more performance. :)

Hi Chris;

I'm getting some flicker again that seemed eradicated in 8.017. The Knowledge number beside a Science Lab was bouncing up and down  (Perhaps 1/4 the height of a character). And I've had fighters and engineers that overlaps flicker at a rather high speed. It's less than it was before you started working on this in terms of how often it happens, but more than it was in 8,017 when I don't recall seeing it even once.

I tried changing the ship spacing (trying all the way to 12) and it made no difference whatsoever, so I put it back at default (0).
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on October 10, 2014, 08:39:00 AM
The knowledge number definitely wouldn't be related, that would be something else.

As for the fighters and engineers, that's really odd.  You might try changing your performance settings up some and see if that fixes it; if so, then it's probably the framerate limiter that is causing the issue for you (for reasons unknown to me).  I wouldn't go to Insane, but if you go to High or Very High that might solve it.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on October 10, 2014, 09:02:41 AM
I'll give it a try when I get home. I'm concerned what raising the performance profile will do once I have larger fleets.

The problem only arises when one is zoomed out to max or near max. Zoom in half way or more and it isn't present, if that tells you anything.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on October 10, 2014, 09:29:42 AM
Hmm, that's very odd.  You might try also shifting vsync on.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on October 11, 2014, 10:07:09 AM
Hmm, that's very odd.  You might try also shifting vsync on.

I only had time to play for a few minutes last night so I didn't get to see if turning vsync was helpful. Are there any potential downsides to having it on?
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 11, 2014, 05:10:19 PM
I can confirm I am seeing it to but is not consistent at all. One time it was with raid star ships then when I reloaded it stopped. I tried it with V Sync on noticed no difference also tried a higher profile makes no difference also for the science labs number or exhausted bouncing thing, it always seems to do this once in awhile I am pretty sure it happened in version 7.001 some times but I cannot remember. The flickering is very rare now and it seems random in far zoom or close to far zoom. It also does not do it all the time so its kind of hard to explain. I just wanted to confirm I am seeing it too. I also set my refresh rate to 0 to see if that made a difference it does not but like I said its random well to me it seems to be random.

Edit: I also tried loading an older game at first it did not do it at all and then I exited and reloaded and only a few ships flickered so like I said its not consistent. I have noticed that when you start the game the game seems to load the planet icons only when you select the planet for the first time I also noticed this with other icons as well. I think this is because its loading them from the disk they appear in about a second or so. Also after they load this does not happen until you exit AI War and reload for the planet icons. I also have not played much since version 8.017 and on that version I do not think this happened but I did not play it much as I was playing The Last Federation more at that time.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on October 11, 2014, 06:58:40 PM
Gotcha -- I am not sure what to think, then.  I'm afraid I have some personal stuff coming up, so I'm going to need to resume talking about this in a week and a half ago.  Sorry about that.  If there's any information that folks accumulate during that time, I'll definitely check it out when I'm able to be at a computer more.  Thanks for understanding!
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 11, 2014, 07:01:06 PM
Ok If I see anything else in my testing I will post it here then.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: x4000 on October 11, 2014, 07:02:16 PM
Thank you!
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 11, 2014, 07:06:16 PM
No problem thank you for all your time with this if I can figure out anything that seems to be causing it I will make a Mantis ticket about it for review, but I would not be sure what to put now, hope everything goes ok for you, have a nice week!
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Bud Backer on October 11, 2014, 10:04:36 PM
I can confirm I am seeing it to but is not consistent at all. One time it was with raid star ships then when I reloaded it stopped. I tried it with V Sync on noticed no difference also tried a higher profile makes no difference also for the science labs number or exhausted bouncing thing, it always seems to do this once in awhile I am pretty sure it happened in version 7.001 some times but I cannot remember. The flickering is very rare now and it seems random in far zoom or close to far zoom. It also does not do it all the time so its kind of hard to explain. I just wanted to confirm I am seeing it too. I also set my refresh rate to 0 to see if that made a difference it does not but like I said its random well to me it seems to be random.

Edit: I also tried loading an older game at first it did not do it at all and then I exited and reloaded and only a few ships flickered so like I said its not consistent. I have noticed that when you start the game the game seems to load the planet icons only when you select the planet for the first time I also noticed this with other icons as well. I think this is because its loading them from the disk they appear in about a second or so. Also after they load this does not happen until you exit AI War and reload for the planet icons. I also have not played much since version 8.017 and on that version I do not think this happened but I did not play it much as I was playing The Last Federation more at that time.

Mr Fleet, thank you. You just confirmed I'm not going mad. As I was playing with settings and zoom levels and trying to see what would eliminate the problem, I found that it would...go away...and come back and I could not see why. Certainly makes diagnostics a tricky affair, but I'm glad it's not just me.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 11, 2014, 10:23:17 PM
No problem I just started playing AI War again I was playing The Last Federation new expansion pack for the past few days I also know that in version 8.017 everything seemed to work like you said. Also Icon grouping does not seem to make a difference now, like when I tried higher than zero on those older versions it flickered like it used to, but now setting it at zero does not seem to help but it does not always flicker it seems to be random now also kinda of rare at times.

Edit: I also did not notice it right away when I stated playing I would see it on and off but it always seemed to stop so at first I kinda thought I was seeing things too, also when I zoomed out farther or zoomed in really fast sometimes it seemed to stall or hesitate when I zoomed in too fast this only seemed to happen when I first started the game after a while I did not notice the slight hesitation when I zoomed in or out fast. I think it was still loading some items from the disk.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 18, 2014, 06:03:07 PM
I really have nothing new to report on the icon flicker, it happens sometimes and at times it does not, but I also noticed sometime when ships are firing you see a black box when a weapon is fired this would indicate that maybe a graphic file is missing or something. This rarely happens I have only seen it a few times and I am not sure what ship or ships shots is causing it or if it is even ships firing at all I just thought I would post it here.
Title: Re: Odd flicker of graphics
Post by: Fleet Unity on October 19, 2014, 12:54:16 PM
I really have nothing new to report on the icon flicker, it happens sometimes and at times it does not, but I also noticed sometime when ships are firing you see a black box when a weapon is fired this would indicate that maybe a graphic file is missing or something. This rarely happens I have only seen it a few times and I am not sure what ship or ships shots is causing it or if it is even ships firing at all I just thought I would post it here.

Also for this black box thing it may have been a graphic tear as I had v sync off at the time when I turned it on, I have not noticed it anymore so it may have been that, but for the icon flicker its too random to really see a cause so it may just have something to do with how the icons are now not combined, but you rarely see it at icon grouping zero so it may not be that, also even if you change the icon spacing from the new default zero to a higher setting you will see the icon flicker more.

Edit: I did see the black box with the v sync on its very rare I am also not sure what is causing it, it seems to be when ships fire but it is always different it may have something to do when the graphics are loading when you select a planet when you first change your view after loading the game it seems to take a while to load the icons on a planet when you first select it.