[D2 v1.2 DOS] Flash Missile white out
#1
[Originally posted on the Descent Rangers forum. Hawkins recommended I make a bug report here as well, but I'm not certain it's a Rebirth bug...It could be some sort of driver glitch, like the black screenshot thing reported a while back.]

Today, Verran and I were in a free-for-all with several other pilots. Every time a Flash Missile would hit him or Flip directly, their screen would white out completely, rendering even simple navigation impossible. Dravis and I, on the other hand, didn't have this problem and couldn't understand what was the matter. This discrepancy piqued Verran's and my interest, and we each took some screenshots to confirm that our Flashes were performing differently:

descent_2_flash_test.zip

Files in the ZIP:
  • "flash_ryusei_d2_*.png": As a baseline, I ran MS-DOS D2 in DOSBox and took some shots of Flashes hitting me at different angles. All shots were taken milliseconds after a Flash hit me (whatever my reaction rate was). It seems Flashes don't need to hit a player's windshield to blind them fully--hitting the ship's flank worked just fine.
  • "flash_ryusei_d2x_rebirth.png": This is what I see in D2X-Rebirth when a single Flash pegs me in the face. Again, taken ASAP after the Flash hit me. Seems virtually identical to the MS-DOS game.
  • "flash_verran_d2x_rebirth.png": This is Verran's white out. Same circumstances as "flash_ryusei_d2x_rebirth.png". All that is visible is a few pixels of...something...near the top left.
  • "flash_ryusei_mod_*.png": Verran tried modifying the source code to reduce the Flash intensity, but it didn't make much of a difference on his screen. We both ran his modified executable, and in these images, he rained Flashes on my ship while I took a slideshow of screenshots. The mod reduced the Flash intensity on my screen, despite it having no noticeable effect on Verran's.

We experimented with various game options, such as HUD mode, resolution, texture filtering, transparency, colored lighting, and multisampling--since I usually play in nostalgia mode and cockpit HUD, while Verran keeps the graphics modern with fullscreen HUD. (EDIT: Also, both of us were using the OpenGL build, not the software renderer.) None of these options consistently changed the Flash intensity. There were a couple random instances in which I got full white out just like Verran, but I have no clue what caused it.

So...we're stumped as to why this issue affects certain players, but others get the correct behavior. Could it be a problem with certain GPU drivers? Mine is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M in an Optimus setup. Verran's is an Nvidia GeForce GTX 460. We might run more tests in the future, but we'd also like to hear everyone else's thoughts on this.
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#2
Verran and I completed our tests. The game's brightness setting is affecting the Flash intensity, as zico suspected. (Out of all the game options I checked with Verran, why the fudge didn't I think to check that? :Smile ) It's also a legacy quirk--running D2 in DOSBox, if I set my brightness to max, I can totally white out my screen for several seconds by firing two Flashes into the wall.
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#3
It probably disregards MAX of color dynamic range when scaling the flash missile effect with brightness. I suspect the duration of the effect is kind of the same, but for the most time, it's complete white because it does not ramp it properly at high brightness settings. Ryu, it's not so much an issue when changing brightness from outside the game, right?
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#4
My results:

Brightness set halfway:
[Image: verran_brightness_halfway.jpg?dl=1]

Brightness set lowest:
[Image: verran_brightness_lowest.jpg?dl=1]
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#5
this happens in singleplayer too.
at first i thought it was normal, but 6 seconds of nothing but whitescreen has to be a bug.

might have something to do with transparency = on.


WinXP32
nVidia 8400GS
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#6
@ThugsRook:
It *should* not have something to do with transparency as the brightness and flash effects use a different blending method.

But Hawkins and Ryusei are right: The brightness effects just add up to each other. So the higher your ingame Brightness, the more hefts the flash missile effect. I'll take a look on how this can be sorted out best.
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#7
(08-11-2013, 08:39 AM)Trent Hawkins link Wrote:Ryu, it's not so much an issue when changing brightness from outside the game, right?

Aha, increasing my display driver's brightness or gamma also caused Flash white out. That is, the white out happens when my luminance graph looks like either of these:

Backlight brightness obviously had no effect on it, though.
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#8
Do you think display brightness/gamma is cumulative with in-game brightness? Does setting each one individually double the effect (I know it'd be hard to determine) or does the effect remain the same regardless of which ones are set to max?
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#9
As a matter of fact, Rebirth is using the system's capabilities so any software/driver changing of brightness, gamma that help flattening in the upper limit of the dynamic range will have the same white out effect. The very way in which the flash out happens from Rebirth's source needs to be change to scale accordingly, instead of just adding up to brightness.

FOr now, if you want to remedy this effect, only hardware (monitor) settings can do you any good.
Descent Rangers
Captain of Black Lions squadron

The Stalker 21.126
Zica Laser
Guided Micro Bombs
Microcorp HXS Class C
Gravitron PulseWave
Zica SuperCharger
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#10
I've always been bothered by flash missile whiteouts.  Their existence alone is the main reason I consider the level 16 boss in D2 to be the hardest in the game.

I did a couple tests where I went up against him to see what his missiles would do.

In dosbox, no matter what my in game brightness settings, system gamma and luminence settings, or monitor conditions, every mega flash missile he hit me with caused a total whiteout of the screen.

In rebirth, if I set the brightness in game at its lowest, with my default monitor settings, I can see well enough to aim and fire at the boss.  If I adjust my monitor and system settings, I find a setting where I can see him as well as see just well enough to navigate.

So maybe this is another homer argument here.  What is the default behavior of the flash effect in d2 dos and is it identical in rebirth?
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