D3 movie issues

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Insectoid
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D3 movie issues

Post by Insectoid » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:01 pm

Been a long while since I posted here... :P I'm not sure if this belongs in this forum or the Single-Player forum, but it's a little technical, so I'll stick it here.

Anyhow, just this week, for the first time in over a decade of playing, I beat D3: Retribution, destroying the Hellion boss with a tip from someone on here (involving using a temporary anti-virus). Imagine my disappointment when the level ended without showing the end movie that I very much wanted to see!

I knew it was entirely possible that I hadn't done a "Full" installation in the beginning, but I had installed the No-CD patch and copied all of the movies manually. As far as I can tell, the only movies that will play are the intro movie (when I run without the -nointro option) and the level 5 movie. Starting at level 1, even with a new pilot, simply skips straight to the briefing. As for level 15, the level merely ends and dumps me back at the main menu.

My system is a Core i5-2400 3.1GHz, 8GB DDR3 RAM, with a 22" LCD on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB card, running Win 7 64-bit. Somewhere on here I found the recommended settings for MAIN.EXE in the NV control panel (including vsync=off), and they work reasonably well, though there are still the known bugs in the NV OpenGL driver that affect the low-res parts of the game (menus, briefings, and automap), but I put up with those.

My usual D3 command line is:

Code: Select all

-launched -nointro -nooutragelogo -nomotionblur -playermessages -z32bit -framecap 120 -nocompress -width 1920 -height 1080 -aspect 1.78 -pilot Insectoid
MAIN.EXE is set up to disable Win 7 themes and desktop composition. (Which, by the way, seems to have fixed a persistent bug I'd been having, involving D3 crashing in certain outdoor engagements on levels 7, 10, and 15.)

I did do a complete reinstallation this afternoon (D3, then Merc, then the 1.4 No-CD patch). Same problem with the missing movies.

Maybe one of you can shed some light on this issue?
For those curious: my avatar is an artistic rendering of a spaceship I drew for a primitive (by today's or even Descent's standards) multiplayer online game called XPilot. (More about both on my website.)

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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Krom » Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:19 pm

Copied the movies manually to where? They should be in the \Descent3\movies\ folder or they probably won't work.

Files that should be present in that folder:
dolby1.mv8
End.mve
intro.mve
Level1.mve
level5.mve
mainmenu.mve
ME.MVE
MI.MVE
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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Insectoid » Wed Jul 30, 2014 7:48 pm

Correct. Manually copied them (the first time) to C:\Games\Descent3\movies. And as I mentioned, did a full re-installation, which likewise copies all 8 movies.
For those curious: my avatar is an artistic rendering of a spaceship I drew for a primitive (by today's or even Descent's standards) multiplayer online game called XPilot. (More about both on my website.)

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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Krom » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:14 pm

When you reinstalled D3, did you delete (or rename) the old folders first? That behavior sounds like what D3 would do if the movie files were missing, it would just silently skip them without throwing any errors. If they aren't missing, then the next most likely possibility is that access to them is being denied: check the file/folder permissions, see if the permissions on the movies that play are different from the ones that won't play.
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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Insectoid » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:16 pm

I completely uninstalled D3, and deleted what was left of the Descent3 folder before reinstalling, while saving important files like my pilot file, saved games, etc. I will check the permissions.
For those curious: my avatar is an artistic rendering of a spaceship I drew for a primitive (by today's or even Descent's standards) multiplayer online game called XPilot. (More about both on my website.)

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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Krom » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:22 pm

Hmmm, if there was an issue with permissions, doing that should have fixed it. I'll have to think on this some more (its been decades and several changes in operating system since I've last actually installed D3, I always just copy the folder around and use a registry key to make mercenary work properly).
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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Insectoid » Thu Jul 31, 2014 3:31 am

By the way, I forgot to mention that I tried starting level 1 before I applied the 1.4 No-CD patch (and still no movie), so I don't think that's the problem. I should try on our XP box and see if I get a different result.
For those curious: my avatar is an artistic rendering of a spaceship I drew for a primitive (by today's or even Descent's standards) multiplayer online game called XPilot. (More about both on my website.)

Bzzz.
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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Insectoid » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:58 am

Update:
I tried level 1 and the end of level 15 on our XP box, and both movies work fine!

I checked the movies installed on the XP box against the ones on my Win 7 box, and discovered only one oddity: the file timestamps on the XP match those on the CDs, but on the Win 7 nearly all of them (except for the Merc movies) were off by several hours, despite having just installed them from the CDs! Correcting them (by manually re-copying the movie files from the CD) did not fix the problem, however. Capitalization (or lack of) of the files doesn't matter either.

I also went to the trouble of doing a file-by-file comparison of certain files (d3.mn3, d3_2.mn3, and main.exe), just to make sure everything was the same on both machines; it is. I tweaked the permissions and ownership of the files on Win 7, and even ran main.exe as administrator, to no avail.

I am as puzzled as ever. At least I know my pilot file and saved games aren't to blame, as I tried both on the XP box. (And at least I got to watch the end movie. Buh-bye, Dravis! :D)
For those curious: my avatar is an artistic rendering of a spaceship I drew for a primitive (by today's or even Descent's standards) multiplayer online game called XPilot. (More about both on my website.)

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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Krom » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:08 am

This weekend I'll try triggering the various movies on my PC and see what happens.

The difference in the time stamps are likely because Windows XP displays the timestamp as is, while Windows 7 displays the timestamp as if it was GMT and then corrects it to your PCs local time. The main reasons for that is if two people in different time zones were working over the internet on one file, or if two computers in different time zones were synchronizing files, the timestamps would be shown correctly for the local time on both computers.
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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Krom » Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:54 pm

Well, I just tried flying around a bit myself, which could have been a bit easier if the hat switch on my joystick wasn't worn out (I'll have to replace the switches in it this weekend I guess). But anyway, it isn't just you, the movies also don't play on my system. The intro (and dolby) movies would play, but none of the other ones would, even the main menu screen which is actually one of the movies wasn't playing on my system.

Anyway, found the fix: problem is using OpenGL as the rendering API, switch to Direct3D (or, since Direct3D corrupts the menus horribly, use a glide wrapper like nGlide to enable 3Dfx Glide) and the movies will play normally. (Setup in the launcher ---> Video tab ---> Redetect available rendering devices ---> check Direct3D [or 3Dfx Glide] ---> uncheck the other two ---> hit scan and it should be good.)
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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Insectoid » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:16 pm

I've never been keen on using the D3D renderer, as it's buggy and usually not as good as OpenGL (in spite of OpenGL's issues on NVIDIA cards). However, I'll look into the nGlide wrapper.

This afternoon I tried D3 on my Toshiba laptop (which is a Core i5 M460 2.53GHz with 8GB RAM and Intel HD Graphics running Win 7 64-bit), and the suspect movies played without issues. Therefore, I'm beginning to suspect the video configuration on my main Win 7 box as the culprit.

Maybe something in how I set up the NVIDIA Control Panel is messing things up. For the record, I got the suggested configuration for NVIDIA somewhere on this board; I thought it was the "D3 on newer machines" thread, but can't find the link in there. So I'll re-post it...
Nv_D3.png
Also worth noting might be the video res of the machines I've tried (all specified in the D3 command line): my Win 7 box is set to run D3 at 1920x1080 (aspect 1.78), and the laptop is 1366x768 (aspect 1.78). The XP box is 1280x1024 (aspect 1.25) and has a NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT card, which uses the older 163.75 driver that plays nice with the D3 menus.
For those curious: my avatar is an artistic rendering of a spaceship I drew for a primitive (by today's or even Descent's standards) multiplayer online game called XPilot. (More about both on my website.)

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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Krom » Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:49 pm

The actual cause of it is that when D3 attempts to play a movie in OpenGL mode, it selects some resolution or color depth combination that is not supported by the OS/graphics driver or perhaps D3 itself (for instance 32 bit color barely works in D3D or Glide, and doesn't work at all in OpenGL). I was only able to pick up on that because I have a second monitor and the way it blinks and refreshes when D3 tried to play a movie, even while the desktop and D3 were set at 640x480 and shouldn't be switching modes is a tell for the video driver rejecting a video mode switch.
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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Insectoid » Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:47 am

Hmm well... I tried the nGlide wrapper with D3, and the movies work, but the game will not switch to 1920x1080 resolution (despite my command-line options, and even if I tell nGlide to use that resolution in the config program, which just makes the D3 menus look awful). It seems to be stuck in 640x480, because I tried D3's choice of resolutions up to 1280x960, and it refuses to switch to any of them.

(Curiously, this browser window was open while I was testing D3, and when I quit to finish this post, noticed that the window size hasn't been affected, as with OpenGL!)
For those curious: my avatar is an artistic rendering of a spaceship I drew for a primitive (by today's or even Descent's standards) multiplayer online game called XPilot. (More about both on my website.)

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Re: D3 movie issues

Post by Krom » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:37 am

Yeah, if you tell nGlide to force the resolution, then it just scales the D3 menus to fill the screen and also D3 assumes you are running 640x480 while actually playing the game so the HUD elements and font are also scaled like that, however the game itself will properly render at the resolution you set nGlide at. I get the same behavior on my PC, but my primary monitor is 1920x1200 resolution instead of 1920x1080, so I can set nGlide to a 4:3 aspect and set D3 to 1600x1200 in the in-game menu and it works perfectly.
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