Friday, January 11, 2013

DRIVERS - Things to That Can Happen When Upgrading

This is about what potential glitches can happen when upgrading drivers.

For reference, my desktop system:
  • WinXP SP3
  • Pentium 4 Hyper Threading 3 GHz CPU (near Du Core performance)
  • nVidia GeForce 7900 GS 512mb RAM
  • 2 Gig RAM
I have 3 specific examples of what can happen with driver upgrades, these are games:
  1. One of my favorite game series is "Thief" which is a stealth RPG.

    I loaded this series on an older system and had no problems. But when I upgraded my motherboard to what I have now (with P4 HT) the game had occasional crashes. Suspect the faster CPU speed was the problem.

    When I upgrade my nVidia drivers to the 300+ the game had constant crashes.

  2. Next is the original Splinter Cell series (first 3 games).

    On my present system, with nVidia with drivers 200+, there was only a minor rendering problem. The second game had a scene where spotlights are sweeping the area. Originally you could actually see the spotlight beams, but with the nVidia 200+ drivers you could NOT see the beams.

    After upgrading to nVidia 300+ drivers, very frequent crashes.

  3. Then there is the original Far Cry (aka Far Cry 1).

    Had no problems with the game until I upgraded to nVidia 300+ drivers. In scenes with outdoor views there were areas that were transparent. You see the sky where land should be.

Because of these issues I had to uninstall these games (sigh).

The problem in all these examples is the interface of the game engines with hardware and video drivers. Most of the problems were reported by other gamers. Also, I did try various tweaks to try to fix.

My research into tweaks for Far Cry 1 made me aware of something. The tweak guide and detailed listing of configuration entries that could be manually edited. BUT when I used nVidia Inspector to look at the calls for my card, many of the calls listed in the tweak guide were NOT there.

NOTE: nVidia Inspector latest version is Use Google to find download, I use the Major Geeks site. Also the ZIP file is the entire utility, you make a folder and put all the files there then create a shortcut to run the EXE.

This tells me that nVidia drivers MAY not be fully backwards compatible. Newer drivers may not have older function calls.

This means that game engines that have hard-coded calls to specific functions MAY not work with newer video drivers.

Note that my system has no problems with 'newer' games like Skyrim or Far Cry 2.

This is just a reminder that upgrading drivers is not always smooth.