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June update + Antialiasing glitch

Well I’ve been getting some requests for updates. I haven’t posted more because the situation is still the same; I’m still busy on the next CP episode and the website is still in development. I know It might seem like I’m not doing anything, but I’ve actually been making a lot of progress; it’s just an inherently slow process to produce episodes at the quality level I strive for in Civil Protection. Each episode is much more than just recording and editing, it’s more like a minature mod for the game.

On that note, I’ve been getting pressure on all sides to produce more episodes of Freeman’s Mind. I’m still not producing any more until I finish the current CP episode, but after that, I may alter my plans to make it first priority and have them come up at a much more rapid rate. Many of you have said you prefer it over Civil Protection. I think you’re only saying that because you don’t know everything I have envisioned for the series. My imagination far exceeds my production capacity. On that same note however, I’m not even attempting the “jaw dropping” episodes in the near future because of how much more work they would entail. So due to the time involved with making those, I’ll probably focus on easier projects, like FM. In the meantime, I’ll continue blazing away on the next episode.

The next part of this post only applies to 3D graphics geeks, so you can skip it if you’re just here for the videos. The glitch I’m listing below will NOT hold up production on the next episode.

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I’ve run into a minor nuisance in production that simply hasn’t gone away. I’m a sucker for antialiasing; I think it cleans up the look of a 3D scene immensely. However I’ve gone through multiple generations of graphics cards and keep running into the same glitch when I enable antialiasing. For lack of a better term, I’m calling it “shimmering”. This glitch seems to be especially noticeable in the Source engine in certain situations. It’s similar to looking at a road in the distance on a hot day, giving the illusion of a puddle. It causes lines or gaps or something to be rendered that should not be there. It only happens for me for surfaces in the distance with antialiasing enabled. It’s best seen in motion, but it’s noticeable in screenshots. I recommend downloading “On A Rail” if you want to see it in action. Here is an example where it occurs from that video:


That’s not just a reflection from the lights, this glitch occurs in 100% dark tunnels. While I’m on a Geforce 8800 right now, this has happened to me on multiple cards in the past and I’ve witnessed it happening on a friend’s computer with a Radeon 4850. The ONLY solution I’ve found to this is to either turn off antialiasing completely or to render the scene using supersampling entirely; no multisampling whatsoever. This is not an ideal solution as supersampling is immensely slower and requires too much memory to hit the same quality levels as other antialiasing methods. If ANYONE knows what’s causing this or can demonstrate a solution, please contact me at [email protected] or post here.

Feel free to test this for yourself! If you have a copy of Half-Life 2, a good spot to test this is on the first canal level (d1_canals_01) looking back at the dark train tunnel you see once you get outside. Here’s an example of the effect for that level:


If this problem doesn’t affect you, great, but I’m trying to find out WHY. Ask people who know a lot about 3D graphics. Ask ATI. Ask Nvidia. Ask on tech forums, it’ll be a favor to me. Again, this glitch won’t hold up production of any episodes, it’s just a personal quest of mine to find out how to fix it and I’m hoping someone out there knows more about it than I do.

Viewer Carl Johnson (not the one from Grand Theft Auto) has made me aware that disabling AA and AF through the driver control panel, then setting the AA settings in-game will prevent this problem on ATI cards. Unfortunately I tried this and it didn’t seem to have the same effect for me (since I’m currently on an Nvidia one), but that’s encouraging to know this is fixable.

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