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Black Screen on New Computer


Apparition
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I have a new Alienware Aurora R12 desktop computer with Windows 10 Pro, 64 GBs of RAM, and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti video card.  I also have two new Dell 1440p gaming monitors, each set at 165 Hz.  Both monitors are the exact same model.  I'm saying all of this in case any of it is relevant.

 

I downloaded the Homecoming Launcher today and installed Homecoming.  I launched the game, and selected Ultra graphics.  I configured the graphics, moved the game to the second monitor in a borderless window, set FSAA at 4x, and maximized everything else.  I played around a little bit.  The game looked beautiful.  I eventually closed the game.

 

A little later, I restarted... and only got a black screen on the second monitor.  Eventually after a few minutes, a window popped up that City of Heroes was not responding, and asked if I wanted to close it.  I rebooted the computer, and tried again.  Same thing.

 

Out of curiosity, I went to the Homecoming directory, went to settings\live, and deleted the folder.  I opened Homecoming, and it worked.  It acted like I had not set it up before since I deleted all of the settings.  I reconfigured the graphics, moved the game to the second monitor in a borderless window, set FSAA at 4x, and maximized everything else.  I played around a bit.  It looked just fine.  I closed the game, and restarted.  Sure enough, a black screen again.

 

This time I just deleted the gfx.json file in the settings\live folder, and the game started fine on the first monitor.  It again asked me if I wanted quality or ultra graphics.  I selected ultra, but after that all I did this time was move the game to the second monitor in a borderless window again.  Nothing else.  I restarted the game and... black screen.

 

This time after deleting gfx.json yet again, I selected ultra graphics, set FSAA at 4x, and maximized everything else, but I left the game on the first monitor.  I restarted the game, and it came up.  However, the water effects, depth of field, bloom, and desaturation settings were all entirely disabled.

 

Any help with this issue would be appreciated.  I spent a lot of money on this new computer system, mostly in order to play Homecoming...

 

Edit: GM Kal just advised me to try the "Reset graphics on next run" option in the Homecoming launcher.  It basically did the same thing as deleting the gfx.json file.  It temporarily worked, but as soon I restarted the game... black screen.

Edited by Apparition
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I seem to recall someone saying something about the game not liking the second monitor or at least not unless it's in a windowed mode.

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9 minutes ago, WanderingAries said:

I seem to recall someone saying something about the game not liking the second monitor or at least not unless it's in a windowed mode.

 

 

I found this thread:

 

 

 

However, I did try windowed mode, and it made no difference.  The window was entirely black.  I'm curious though that both systems are Alienware, although the OP in the other thread has an older system.  Even then, it's not just the second monitor.  Water, desaturation, depth of field, and bloom were all disabled on the first monitor.

 

I'm beginning to wonder if it has something to do with the 1440p resolution and/or the 165 Hz refresh rate.

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Have seen several instances reported where the "Nividia GeoForce Experience" , if active, creates a conflict between the PC, Graphics Card, and game settings. The usual fix is to disable it and install only the Driver for the Graphics Card itself. Not sure if that is of any help, but it has caused similar issues.

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Also found this in a previous post:

 

"Ok, I got it to work after going down the blind alley of trying to use Dependency Walker, Process Explore, and the Nvidia GeForce Experience utility.  I had noticed that whenever I launched the game, of my 2 monitors it's always the one on the right which goes black.  That one is actually #1, but is configured as #2 in windows (i.e. they're switched, I just did it through software rather than mess with the cables to get the left one to be #1 and the right one be #2).

 

Anyway, I temporarily put them back that way and launched the game.  It still started on the right-side monitor, but it ran successfully, in fullscreen mode!  I was able to go into the game, switch to Windowed, and exit.  I put my monitors back the way I want them and now the game runs as it should." 

" When it's too tough for everyone else,

it's just right for me..."

( Unless it's Raining, or Cold, or Really Dirty

or there are Sappers, Man I hate those Guys...)

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Thank you, @Marine X and @Ura Hero .  I do not have GeForce Experience installed.  I learned a long time ago to either not install or uninstall that.

 

I discussed the issue with GM Crumpet on Discord late last night.  It turns out that GM Crumpet experiences the exact same issue as well, and it is believed to be an issue with newer Nvidia graphics cards and multiple monitors.  The only known workarounds at the moment are to either reset the game's graphics every single time I play, or to make sure that I move the game to the first monitor just before I close it every time, or to continue playing CoH on Shadow PC.

 

None of those three options are great.  Hopefully @Faultline and/or @Number Six will be able to find and develop a fix at some point as I imagine that this issue will impact more and more people as time goes on if it indeed is an issue with newer Nvidia graphics cards and multiple monitors.

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Yeah that is really strange! I've got a 1440p/165hz monitor and a cheapo 1080p for content viewing on the side. The reason I installed the GeForce nonsense was to manipulate the graphic options easier. I download new drivers every so often through the program too, but yeah it's a bit much. 

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I deleted the gfx.json file again, and this time selected "Quality" graphics instead of ultra, and moved the game to the second monitor.  I touched nothing else.  Restarted the game and... black screen.

 

I have since learned that a good friend of mine who also has an Alienware Aurora desktop computer experiences the exact same issue.  Since all three people reporting the issue are using Alienware computers, I'm wondering if this is something specific to Alienware or just newer Nvidia graphics cards in general.

 

Because I know that I'm forgetful and will more than likely usually forget to move CoH back to the first monitor before closing, I decided that I'd try adding "-gfxreset" to the Homecoming launcher's extra launch parameters.  The exact extra launch parameters I tried:

 

"-cov, -gfxreset, -maxinactivefps 15"

 

Except it didn't work.  I didn't receive any error message, but CoH opened a black screen.  I had to manually tick "Reset graphics settings on next run," in the Homecoming launcher.

 

Let me tell you, having to manually tick that and reconfigure my graphics settings each and every time I want to play is going to get really old, really quickly. :classic_sad:

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A couple of people suggested that just before I close CoH, I drag the screen back to the first monitor and then close it so I don't have to reset my graphics settings.  However, I tried that, and doing so disabled the water, desaturation, bloom, and depth of field effects so I still have to tinker with the graphics settings every time anyway.  It just feels like that CoH really dislikes either newer Alienware computers, newer Nvidia graphics cards, or both.

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I'll be watching this thread with interest. I've still come up with no resolution for the problem other than starting with "reset graphics" every time. I just never shut down further than the login screen unless forced to by a patch. Minimize the window and leave it running in background until I am playing again. Oddly enough, my Alienware laptop of the same vintage but running the same NVidia GTX 1080s does not exhibit this behavior. I am not quite sure WHAT to make of that. As I said in the other thread, I've seen the exact same behavior on the Ouroboros-based Rebirth code, too. I keep hoping whatever the heck is going on will get magically fixed by a driver or windoze update, but so far no luck.

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2 hours ago, TheHunterJLJ said:

I've seen the exact same behavior on the Ouroboros-based Rebirth code

 

That makes me think this has existed from the i24 code base then as that Should be the only thing we share

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5 hours ago, TheHunterJLJ said:

I'll be watching this thread with interest. I've still come up with no resolution for the problem other than starting with "reset graphics" every time. I just never shut down further than the login screen unless forced to by a patch. Minimize the window and leave it running in background until I am playing again. Oddly enough, my Alienware laptop of the same vintage but running the same NVidia GTX 1080s does not exhibit this behavior. I am not quite sure WHAT to make of that. As I said in the other thread, I've seen the exact same behavior on the Ouroboros-based Rebirth code, too. I keep hoping whatever the heck is going on will get magically fixed by a driver or windoze update, but so far no luck.

 

 

Yeah.  Out of a long time habit (dating back to live), I always restart the game after a raid (both Hamidon and mothership) to plug memory leaks, and considering I lead raids... well...  I'll just have to extend the intermission between mothership raids a few minutes to give myself time to reset and reconfigure graphics settings. 😛

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You know, a friend of mine just raised a valid point.  Paragon Studios introduced AlienFX/Alienware lighting support in Issue 18, and enhanced it in Issue 19.

 

Issue 18:

 

Quote

Alienware Lighting Support: There is a new AlienFX section under Menu -> Options -> Graphics and Audio.

  • AlienFX support is defaulted to “on” so any player with the AlienFX Command Center and appropriate hardware will instantly see color changes.
  • In City of Heroes / City of Villains, the lights will change as a player’s character changes their alignment from Hero to Vigilante to Villain to Rogue.
  • In Praetoria the lights will change as players make moral choices between Resistance or Loyalist.

 

 

Issue 19:

 

Quote

Alienware Lighting Support: In addition to the features introduced in I18 which changed the lighting to match the player's current alignment, in I19 more triggers will cause lighting FX. E.g., being low on HP will cause the keyboard to glow red and flash.

 

 

Since this issue seems to be on newer Alienware computers... is there some sort of incompatibility with the AlienFX/Alienware lighting support?  FWIW, the option is grayed out on my computer even though it is Alienware and AlienFX is installed and operational.

 

It may be entirely unrelated and due to some incompatibility with the motherboards Dell/Alienware uses perhaps, but it is interesting.  

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Could be something to do with AlienFX, but the laptop which does not have this problem also has AlienFX installed and enabled. I keep hoping some bright lad will figure out how to convert that RGB lighting functionality to something more general. I've got Corsair smart RGB keyboards on both machines, and there's plenty of other RGB keyboards out there. A lot less of a niche feature than it was back on live, and at least SOME of the hooks are already in there. There's a thread floating around here somewhere in the forum where we talked about that a bit. I had an Alienware back on live, too, and the low hit point warning flash especially I found very useful.

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  • 4 months later

Just FYI, someone mentioned on the Mids' Reborn Discord server a couple of days ago that he experiences the exact same issue, but his desktop computer was custom built, not Alienware.  So it doesn't appear that AlienFX is the culprit and this issue may be more widespread than Alienware machines.

 

I should also mention that, as @TheHunterJLJ mentioned, the issue crops up on every CoH server, not just Homecoming.  It hit me using the Sweet Tea launcher on Rebirth.  The only way to fix it is to run:

 

REG DELETE HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cryptic\CoH

 

each and every time I want to play on Rebirth.

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Just for gits and shiggles, try enabling NVSurround in the drivers.
Normal Windows multi-monitor still has "snap to window" for "full-screen".
Use NVSurround to actually treat both monitors as part of the same "screen".

Open up the NVIDIA control panel.

Under 3D settings, Configure Surround, PhysX.

Check "Span displays with Surround".
Click Configure
Just like with Windows, you can drag the monitors into whatever order you need them in.

Click Enable Surround.

If the monitors pop in out-of-order, you can continue to drag them a round and the setup will correct itself.

Try CoH at that point.

If this doesn't work, start CoH up in Windowed mode.
Drag the window across the whole screen.  I just recommend NOT covering the taskbar.

As I've noted elsewhere, NVSurround has its own problems.  And a spanned display will open only a single taskbar (or normally does, it can be squirrelly at times.  So there's no "perfect" solution.  Then again, this is Microsoft we're talking about.  It's not like we're dealing with a safe, sane or stable OS.



Also, if you are running the drivers that came with the machine at shipping, UPGRADE THE DAMN THINGS!
Don't just "update".  Do a full CLEAN INSTALL.

The Windows default drivers are a nasty piece of work.  And only violent masochists should run them (and not even then).

 

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5 hours ago, ZeeHero said:

I too have a new PC with a similar build at least my graphics card is the same model, I have had no such issue. It's likely not the card at fault.

Thats a good Information.. the Hardware was doubtful anyway, it would only matter if the GPU would not Support Open GL at all. Mostly its what Hyperstrike already said, nvr use Microsoft Drivers if there is an alternative for it. And for sure look for Graphic Drivers that have Open GL included.

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4 hours ago, ZeeHero said:

Maybe COH doesn't like trying to use more than one monitor?

I have dual monitors on my 6 year old laptop and run CoH fine.

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20 hours ago, Apparition said:

The only way to fix it is to run:

 

REG DELETE HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Cryptic\CoH

 

each and every time I want to play on Rebirth.

 

This would hint at the game settings then as this is where the stuff you find in the GFX JSON was at IIRC. To make the game portable, the JSONs were used is how I 'think' it works vs installing registry entries.

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15 hours ago, ZeeHero said:

I too have a new PC with a similar build at least my graphics card is the same model, I have had no such issue. It's likely not the card at fault.


No offense, this is never a certainty.
Generally the cards built for Dell are "decent".
But this IS Dell we're talking about.
 

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4 hours ago, TygerDarkstorm said:

I have dual monitors on my 6 year old laptop and run CoH fine.


Running full-screen or windowed?

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3 hours ago, Hyperstrike said:


Running full-screen or windowed?

Full-Screen. I've even dual boxed on this setup (though I think I probably turned at least one version of the game to windowed mode to move it to the second screen). I had to turn the graphics settings and stuff way down, but somehow my system managed.

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