The Six Little PIGs and the Transparency Glitch from Hell

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Woolie Wool
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:23 am

The Six Little PIGs and the Transparency Glitch from Hell

Postby Woolie Wool » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:06 am

Some background on this bizarre problem I had with D2X-XL:

Some fairly long time ago (a year? The 1.15 release? Sometime in between 1.14 and today), I updated D2X-XL and ended up beset with a very bizarre glitch. All of the low-res textures and sprites with transparency suddenly gained solid black borders where the transparency would normally be. Doors, screens, HUD elements, 2D projectiles--they were all perfectly opaque. I reinstalled D2X-XL twice, copied new Descent II data over from working D2X-Rebirth installations, fiddled with just about every configuration setting and command line switch; nothing worked. After ages of trying to get it fixed, I just gave up and switched to D2X-Rebirth, occasionally downloading new D2X-XL versions only to find that the bug had not gone away. Hi-res textures fixed some of the issues, but I didn't want to use the hi-res textures (I set image quality to low to get the original retail textures with no filtering, combine that with basic colored lighting, debris, Pumo's effects mod, and glow effects for projectiles, and that's it), certain sprites and HUD elements had no hi-res replacements, and the engine would crash seemingly at random anyway.

Fast forward to a couple days ago. I had downloaded 1.15.270, and did the whole reinstall/copy new data/etc. thing again and the bug still wasn't gone. But I noticed something-- maskedtextures in Descent 1 maps that were unique to Descent 1 looked fine. They had no black boxes. Whatever the problem is, it was not global as I previously thought. At this point, all my Descent II installations had used the same data I had installed from my original retail Descent II CD five years ago. This time, I pulled out that CD, reinstalled a fresh copy of retail Descent II using DOSBox, patched it the old-fashioned DOS way, and copied everything over into my data directory, including silly things like the .386 files that I assume are some kind of DOS libraries.

The bug was gone. And so were the crashes.

before
after
(the Descent 1 robots are because this is a custom mission I hacked together replacing all the robots in Descent 2 with Descent 1 robots, because I had too much time on my hands)

In the final analysis, it was the PIGs that were at fault. They work fine with D2X-Rebirth, but something's just slightly off about them that makes D2X-XL draw everything incorrectly. I'm not sure if they're from an older version of Descent II or what, but I'd like to submit them for examination. Whatever's wrong with them, they used to play nice with D2X-XL a long time ago. The timestamps on them are from 2006 because the DOS installer is weird and timestamps your files to the time when you installed them.

Make these six little PIGgies go wee wee wee into your data folder, remove all hi-res textures, and prepare for ugly.

I think someone else on this forum had the exact same problem (can't remember the exact post) but I'd really like for no one to have to go through this incredibly vexing issue again.

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