Snow on Ground flickering
#1 27-01-2018 
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Hello all!

I think it's time to turn to the great people of Leefish for help!
(I'm just about ready to tear my hair out!)

I'll try to summarize everything the best I can...
Game ran beautifully up until Christmas, didn't play it for a month, now has all sorts of bizarre problems.
(Windows updated itself to 1709 earlier this month, I suspect this may be the problem but not sure...)

I have Sims 2 and all EPs installed from original discs +all patches.
At first the game just crashed every time, then I got it playable but with bad graphics, now it's playable with good graphics but still having issues/crashing.

The main problem right now is this Snow on Ground flickering issue (I'll attach a picture)
The dark spots on the ground flicker whenever I move the camera around.
Tried all sorts of different in-game graphics settings to no avail (although I can turn Snow on Ground Off as a temporary fix.)
(I haven't actually played it long enough to know how crashy it is yet, but it did already crash once just during testing...)

[Image: MTS_rocketcopter23-1743503-snowglitch.jpg]

Computer specs:
Windows 10 (ver. 1709)
Intel i7-7700HQ @2.80 GHz
16.0 GB RAM
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB)

Here are some of the things I've already done:

- all the usual in-game stuff like disabling custom content
- run as admin, tried various compatibility modes, told the game to use the good graphics card
- modified the video cards sgr to include my card
- modified the graphics rules sgr to include higher resolutions, increase texture memory, and "allow the driver to manage its own memory"
- using no CD patch and 4GB patch
- clean reinstall of graphics driver using DDU and manual reinstall from NVIDIA site
-did this step TWICE because it reverted somehow
- turned off Windows auto-update drivers and uninstalled GeForce experience (in case it was auto updating)

Here's a thread at MTS2 where I discuss everything I've already tried.

I've attached my config-log and I'm already noticing a couple weird things about it.
(never really looked at these before...)

1) It says OS version Windows NT 6.2...not Windows 10?

2) Under Graphics device info it says Intel® HD Graphics 630 <NOT FOUND IN DATABASE>
NOT my GTX 1060 even though I added it to Video Cards.sgr and it looks like it's using that card in-game (High graphics settings).

I'm so confused by all of this...hopefully someone can shed some light?
Any help is greatly appreciated!

Attached File(s)
.txt  DESKTOP-CBO7GJ7-config-log.txt (Size: 10.4 KB / Downloads: 431)

#2 27-01-2018 
Windows 1709 is most certainly a confirmed part of the problem. If you were to rollback to 1703, you'd most likely find the new problems disappearing.
Windows NT 6.2 is Windows 10. The internal naming scheme at MicroSoft is something of a mystery, but I guess it has to do with the fact that the heart of the OS is based mostly on NT.

#3 28-01-2018 
Mine says 6.2 as well for the reasons BoilingOil explained. Will see if anything in the files jumps out at me.

#4 28-01-2018 
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@BoilingOil Thank you for the reply!

Interesting, didn't know that about Windows naming system...
Yes I agree, I think 1709 is the culprit.

I looked into rolling back, and it doesn't seem like a good solution because...
1) It's been over 10 days so I would have to do a manual reinstall of Windows
2) I would have to back up all my data and reinstall all my programs again, which would be a massive headache
And even if I mustered up the strength for all that...
3) It would only solve the problem temporarily anyway, since updates can only be delayed for so long.

I'd do it in a second if it just meant using a restore point, but I don't think I want to completely start from scratch on my main computer right now.
(Correct me if I'm wrong about any of this...I only did a little research.)

I would much rather find a way to make this game playable as is.
However...I'm starting to realize that even if I get it working, a future update could always bork it again.
(I really don't want to live in a future where I can't play Sims 2!)

If anyone has any suggestions on the graphical problem, let me know!
I guess I could live without the snow effect, but I don't know how crashy it is yet...
(I won't have time to actually playtest it for a few days...)

I'm also realizing that I should probably playtest all my other games, since there's no telling how many games are borked now!

@CatOfEvilGenius Any more luck with your game? I've seen you popping up on all these threads lately...any new progress?

#5 28-01-2018 
I'll be posting any progress, or more likely, notes about what I tried that didn't help, in my thread here and at MTS. Right now, I'm asking Windows nicely to not let Game Bar and Game Mode and full screen optimization mess with my games. Then I'll ask less nicely by nuking those things in the registry. I will make a restore point first. Details and links in my thread. Have not finished those tests yet, will probably do most of them tomorrow. Sorry I'm not more help right now and good luck with anything you try. Fingers crossed.

#6 28-01-2018 
@rocketcopter23 I don't know where the belief is coming from that an update can only be delayed for so long. I've told my Windows to NEVER automatically update. When I feel I'm ready for some updates, I will go online, find MS' update pages, select what updates I think serve a purpose for me, and have only those installed! And I never do this more than once or twice a year! I've successfully got this working on Windows ME, later on SP, and now on W7.

And what goes for Windows, also goes for all the other programs on my system. So-called security updates? Screw that... I hardly ever update my browser, and I do NOT have any anti-virus or other malware protection installed. And yet, the only one time that my system was under the influence of malware, was the one time that I *deliberately* installed something that I *knew* was going to cause trouble. At no other time have I *ever* had to deal with intruders, worms, viruses or whatever else you can think of. So obviously, seeing as how little I seem to do to protect myself while still being safe, all those so-called security updates look like hogwash to me as well!

The only dung that one doesn't seem to get out of, is Adobe Flash updates. Because either Flash itself, or the browser, just blocks all access to online videos if you don't update within a specific time from the release of a new version. It just simply stops working, WHICH I THOROUGHLY OBJECT TO!

But apart from Adobe Flash, I can delay any update indefinitely, and there is NOTHING anybody can do to make me update anything that I don't WANT to update.

#7 28-01-2018 
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I'm pretty new to Windows 10, but from what I can tell they've completely changed their approach to updates. Basically, they're no longer optional.

Supposedly, this will be the last new version of Windows. Instead, they will just continue updating 10 forever. However, this means forcing updates on users (to keep everyone on the same version)

You can go into settings and tell it not to automatically update, but even that will only work so long. Certain major updates, like 1709 (aka the Creators Update) are considered mandatory.

It looks like the best you can do is delay for 180 days on Windows Pro, and on Windows Home (which I have) the only workaround is to set up a metered connection on Wi-Fi to keep it from updating. (which I'd rather not do)

I never even authorized my PC to install the Creator's Update. I just turned it on one day and it started installing it (I had updates turned on, but it looks like it wouldn't have mattered in the long run)

So it looks like if you plan on running Windows 10, you will eventually be installing all their updates.

So as avid Sims 2 players, it looks like here are our choices.
1) Figure out how to make it work on Windows 10 (despite Microsoft's best efforts)
2) Use a metered WiFi connection, and live without updates (or just never go online and use another PC entirely)
3) Keep a computer with a different/older OS around for simming.
4) Run a virtual machine? (I have no exp with this or if it would work)

I am hoping for option 1, but I am starting to wonder about option 3...just getting a dedicated TS2 computer with W7 (or even XP).
(I can't believe that an update took my game from perfect to unplayable overnight...)
However, I can't really afford such a purchase right now.

I'm hoping that the dedicated TS2 community can work together and find a solution. I didn't think there'd be so many people with similar problems, but that gives me hope that we can use teamwork and figure it out!

#8 28-01-2018 
Earlier versions of Windows did allow stopping updates, but Win 10 does not. It will even override the 180 day delay setting for updates it considers urgent. Microsoft doesn't seem to believe in affirmative consent either. I accidentally left my machine on during a vacation. When I came back, Win 10 was on it. I never agreed to this. I think it must have done that thing where it treats inaction as consent to install or it didn't even bother asking. Bad Microsoft, very bad.

I'm currently mucking about in the registry to try to disable things it installed without asking me (Game Mode being chief among them). I have, of course, made a restore point first. Have complained to Microsoft about them removing off switches for their 'features' and for treating customers like unpaid beta testers, something else I never agreed to. I was polite but I'm feeling rather grumpy towards them. We'll see if I get any response.


I should say something about flickery snow because I don't want to derail. Wink @rocketcopter23 - What is your lighting set to? High or medium? Try medium if it is high, see if that has any effect. You mentioned changing in game settings, I assume graphics settings? What happens if you play at the lowest graphics settings that still let you have snow? I'm guessing you already tried starting at the lowest, then increasing one at a time?

Today, I am testing with and without Game Bar and Game Mode (which you can't turn off anymore without wading into the registry). All I have to report is a bunch of crashes with the noCD exe which was limping along okay before but now is crashing more. I think I may have accidentally changed lighting to high again, need to check... I have not made registry changes yet to kill Game Bar and Game Mode, that's next for today.

#9 28-01-2018 
@rocketcopter23 @CatOfEvilGeniu Thank you for setting me straight, there. Well, at least that confirms my conviction that I should never ever 'downgrade' from W7. Because I'm f***ed if I ever let myself be told when to update. It's *my* computer, and *my* data connection, so *I* decide what happens to it. Not MS.

#10 29-01-2018 
Here's something about snow in the graphics rules sgr that might be relevant. I suspect it has to do with z buffering or depth buffering. z distance means is this in front of or behind something else as seen by the viewer? If two things are wrongly assigned the same z value, the game can't tell which is in front (or on top of) and you might see flicker. The raiseLightSnow property appears several times throughout the graphics rules sgr, here's one example.

#avoid z fighting with light snow
boolProp raiseLightSnowFF true

I would add this to the end of graphics rules sgr to see if your raiseLightSnow is true or false when you get to the end. I would also look in your config log for raiseLightSnow.

logSystemInfo "leefish - raiseLightSnowFF ${raiseLightSnowFF}"

The maybe experiment with setting it to the opposite of whatever it's set to and see if that makes a difference? I would set it at the end of the file.


Before you post requesting help
Information we need

  1. The -config-log.txt from the Logs folder in the My Documents\EA\The Sims2\ Click "full editor" below to attach a text file.
  2. Your operating System.
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