Monday 27 August 2007

Bioshock: DirectX 10/Vista black screen problem FIX

I'm sure you'll all be happy to hear that I had a good holiday despite all of the problems in my previous post. Despite the fact that we stayed in the grubbiest, dirtiest, most run-down youth hostel in the western hemisphere (my fault), we all managed to get used to it and have a great time. I even managed to get some surfing in (I'm still crap at it). Plus, I've just been refunded the money from my bank - yay! In fact, the trip itself was quite revelatory, in a personal way... Anyway, I digress.

This is just a quick post for the thousands of people struggling to run the recently released game, Bioshock, and hopefully, if you're searching for a solution, this might be the one for you. (If not, then there's little of interest below - sorry!)

For myself, this is the problem I've been having: In Windows Vista with a DirectX 10 graphics card, the game crashes to an faint (almost black) loading screen after I've chosen the difficulty level.

The first workaround was to run the game in DirectX 9 mode (right click Bioshock's icon in Vista's Game Profiles screen and choose 'Play DirectX 9'). This worked long enough for me to get to the Medical Pavilion, but then it crashed horribly, plus it was kind of annoying not being able to take full advantage of DirectX 10. The second workaround involved running the game in windowed mode, which for some reason worked fine.

Never mind all that though, because here is the 100% solution to the black screen hanging problem in Vista (the solution is actually step 4, but it's worth doing 1-3 while you're at it):
  • 2. Next up, make sure you're running the versions of the NVidia drivers listed for Bioshock on the NZone website.
  • 3. Then make sure you're running the latest version of DirectX for Vista by installing the updater from Microsoft's website. (There was a recent update, so you should definitely do this.)
Now for the real fix:
  • 4. Go to Control Panel. Then choose Programs, followed by Turn Windows Features On or Off. Uncheck Tablet PC Optional Components and restart your computer when you're asked to.
That's it! You should be able use Fullscreen with DirectX 10 and the game should run fine now, if you've been having same the problem I've been (there are many different problems with Bioshock, unfortunately, so this may not help you at all). Hopefully the patch will stop the need to disable the optional components (which, incidentally don't stop you using your graphics tablet, should you have one), but for the time being... enjoy!

Thanks to Nobula for discovering this and sharing it with us all! (Sadly due to the chaos of the 2k technical support forums, it was lost almost immediately.)

Saturday 4 August 2007

Sunny, beach holiday blues...

Is it just me or am I having a really bad run of luck? I know it's nothing catastrophic and I know there's people out there going through worse, but! I'm beginning to feel like I'm cursed at the moment...

Tomorrow I leave for Newquay for a holiday I've had booked since March. It's the longest I've ever had a holiday planned in my life, and in theory, having given myself so much time to prepare, everything should go smoothly, right?

The trip is for two weeks and it's supposed to be a relaxing reunion of old friends mingled with some attempts at surfing. In fact, I've been so looking forward to the trying-to-surf part that I've pre-booked the equipment for the whole two weeks.

The main goal of this trip was always to de-stress, and given some recent events in my personal life, it couldn't have come along at a better time.

So, what could go wrong?

Well, two weeks ago I woke up with a crick in my neck which took two days to go away. Not a big deal (other than how surprisingly painful it was), these things happen from time to time, after all. Bizarrely, though, it decided to return this week as I was leaving a particularly stressful day at work. By the time I'd ridden the tube home my neck was killing me again. As I write this, four days later, I'm still turning my whole upper-body to look at things, like some badly designed robot. What the hell?

A crick in the neck, it turns out, is a stretched ligament which can take 10 - 14 days to heal fully, if you're sensible. I don't remember not being sensible at any point, but in some unknown way I must have agitated it, and it's decided to come back. With a vengeance. I'm hoping to prove medical science wrong, but even the most optimistic person has to admit that it puts a bit of a dampener on my ambition of spending the next two weeks surfing - I don't think it's covered under 'sensible'. (I have images of damaging it further and being, not only a self-conscious amateur, but the only surfer in a neck-brace.)

Now, ok, that's annoying, but when you add the following to the mix, you can understand why I'm feeling particularly unlucky at the moment: Last week I discovered that someone in Croatia has stolen £865 ($1,740) from my bank account using a fake debit card.

All my holiday money.

Bloody hell. I've never even been to Croatia, let alone knowingly shared my PIN number with someone from there, and yet I'm told they must have gotten it somehow. Still, thankfully I should get my money back. The only problem is that it's going to take the HSBC several weeks to investigate my claim. Brilliant, except, if you recall, I leave tomorrow.

All is not lost, in theory, as I still have my overdraft from my long gone student days and some kindly friends have even offered to lend me money. Again, fantastic, except I had to cancel my debit card when I reported the fraud, so I no longer have any access to any money.

Luckily I gave the HSBC a week's notice to send me my replacement, which was just long enough for me to get it before I left, or at least it would have been if there didn't happen to be a mail strike on this week.

No card, no money, and I'm off tomorrow morning.

Oh, and I did I mention the shark?

So much for planning in advance. Next time I'm booking it last minute and flying by the seat of my pants. In fact, for my next holiday I might just turn up at the train station/airport blindfolded and ask the person behind the desk to surprise me. As a friend once said to me; if you don't make any plans, nothing can technically go 'wrong'.

I know there are worse things happening out there, and you might well be going through much more difficult things yourself, but considering how much I've been looking forward to de-stressing over the next two weeks, I can't help but feel the irony.