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News on FS2004 and Black Screens!

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I just changed my motherboard and processor, and I'm now getting all sorts of problems now with FS2004. Hangs, machine resets, weird graphics, and -- black screens.

More importantly from the point of view of others, I can now actually generate a black screen problem using a very specific sequence of actions. Almost (but not quite) 100% of the time. This is how:

Make sure you have FS2004 loading in Full Screen mode. Then get into Windowed mode (whether maximised or not doesn't seem to matter) by using ALT + ENTER. Go and deal with another program (FS losing focus seems to be essential). You don't actually have to do anything, simply click on another program's window. Then go back to FS and before doing anything else, press ALT + ENTER to send it into Full Screen mode.

When I do this, it changes to a full screen sized black hole on my Windows desktop (my full screen resolution is lower than my Windows resolution). Note that it does not go wrong just continually using ALT + ENTER to switch modes -- the intervening access to another program (i.e. a loss of focus) is essential.

Interestingly, FS2004 is not actually hung. ALT brings up the menu, and going to the Options-Settings-Display-Hardware dialogue and changing anything there does recover it. FS does then go properly into full screen mode and redraws okay.

Aha! I thought. So, now I can reproduce it reliably, I can maybe work on some fix in FSUIPC? Maybe there's some activity in FSUIPC which I can stop when there's a loss or change of focus?

Bah! Wrong!As another test I removed all my own additional Modules, FSUIPC, WideServer, PFC.DLL, Advdisplay, AutoSave, GPSout, andit still did exactly the same thing!

The only other add-in modules I had left were FSNav.dll, ViMaCore2004.dll (for Venice scenery), and PMDGOptions.dll (for the PMDG 737). Now, if I remove those tooBingo! No problem!

So, a process of elimination is needed. Trying each one in turn (excepting WideServer and PFC, which depend on FSUIPC in any case so can't be installed alone):

ViMaCore2004 onlyproblem occurs!

PMDGOptions onlyno problem

FSNav onlyno problem

AdvDisplay only problem occurs!

AutoSave onlyno problem

GPSout onlyno problem

FSUIPC onlyproblem occurs!

none of the aboveno problem

Soit isn't specifically an FSUIPC problem, it is a problem related to something being done by at least a few disparate add-ins which is affecting FS badly during the changeover from windowed to full screen mode.

I want to see if there are any steps I can actually take, inside FSUIPC (and, apparently, AdvDisplay too), to minimise or even eliminate the possibility of these things happening. But at present I really haven't a clue about what I can do. I will continue to experiment. At least I have something to work on now I can reproduce it!

Watch the IMPORTANT announcement in this forum for any progress I may make.



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Okay. now I have been able to reproduce this black screen problem reliably, I've narrowed it down. It is related to the FS window subclassing order. Something is screwing up the subclass chain. This affects these modules of those I've tested:





It seems that, here at least, I can eliminate the problem by ensuring that the window subclassing is performed as early as possible. This can be done in FSUIPC simply by adding the parameter:


to the [General] section of the FSUIPC.INI file. Please, those of you with black screen problems, try this and let me know if it works. If it does seem like the correct solution, I will default this parameter in the next version of FSUIPC -- but only when it is run in FS2004.

Unfortunately the same easy change does not apply to AdvDisplay nor PFC. I will release revised versions soon. I will also write to Lago about the similar problem with ViMaCore2004.DLL.



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Regarding the black screens, I found the black screen problem went away after upgrading the screen drivers as mentioned on the "News" page within FS2004. (Scroll down below all the corporate tripe to find it).

Yes, as I said originally, the problems most definitely seem realted to video drivers. However, I was surprised when I upgraded my motherboard and processor. Using the exact same video drivers I went from not being able to reproduce the problem at all, no matter what I did, to being able to reproduce it at will, by using a specific sequence of actions.

So, although it is a driver (+ DX9) issue, it is a timing problem too I think -- my fast processor allowed me to replicate the problem. The benefit of that was that it did allow me to make adjustments in some of my modules to make that timing "better" again! :)

Thanks for the feedback!



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