View Full Version : Bad Nvidia graphics, particularly 8000 series

1st Oct 2007, 05:32
There has been an extensive discussion at TTLG for some time concerning bad rendering of Thief 2 on Nvidia cards. This has risen to the surface now because Nvidia's 8000 series cards look just terrible when playing Thief 2. Previous cards in the 6000 and 7000 series are not good but tolerable. The ATI 2000 series are equally bad as the Nvidia 8000 series, so it is not just a question of switching to ATI. Anyway, the bad sky vs. bad fog issue has been extensively debated, and I don't want to start that again here. Please refrain from promoting ATI here. The point of this thread is that Nvidia users are trying to persuade Nvidia to fix the problem. Below is the information you need to get involved.

First, there is a petition to Nvidia (http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116914) with one post per person to register complaints. Sign it if you have an Nvidia card and want to see better graphics.

Bikerdude started a thread about crappy colors (http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113501) with the 8000 series.

I started a thread about what is the last reliable Nvidia card to run all versions of Thief (http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113157). I concluded that the 7950 GT is the one, but it needs some special custom drivers to play T1.

Bikerdude also started a thread at the Nvidia forums about crappy colors (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=35500). This was an attempt to get Nvidia involved. That thread contains lots of screen shots and news about people (including me) contacting Nvidia. This issue has recently been raised to the second level, but we have heard nothing since.

I have made lots of posts in Bikerdude's threads about how the problem is more extensive than just the 8000, although the 8000 is by far the worst. The following three posts contain screen shots from five combinations of Nvidia cards and drivers and an explanation of the rendering errors in three different scenes:

Running interference, start of mission (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=35500&view=findpost&p=258970)

Eavesdropping, Karras' loft, first level (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=35500&view=findpost&p=258972)

Eavesdropping, Karras' loft, second level (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=35500&view=findpost&p=258976)

The above links show the gradual degradation of Thief 2 graphics with higher models of Nvidia video cards and drivers.

Here are two pictures of Nvidia at its worst. Click on the small image to display a full sized image.

8800GTS, Running Interference start, 1024 x 768
Clearly the worst of the lot.
Lack of dithering in dark areas obliterates some color variations.
The dark wall behind Basso has fewer features. Shadow has bad green colors and banding.
The light texture of the building in the background still looks OK.
http://home.comcast.net/~smithpd1/thief/small_running_interference_8800GTS.jpg (http://home.comcast.net/~smithpd1/thief/running_interference_8800GTS.jpg)

8800GTS, Eavesdropping, second floor of Karras' loft
All textures (in a dark room) are bad.
http://home.comcast.net/~smithpd1/thief/small_eavesdropping_karras_loft_2_8800GTS.jpg (http://home.comcast.net/~smithpd1/thief/eavesdropping_karras_loft_2_8800GTS.jpg)

Join the discussion if you like, and please sign the petition (the first link).

1st Oct 2007, 22:47
I did see a thread about fixing the problem on TTLG but didn't read it as I don't have nVidia cards. I assumed it was a work-around ILO the complaints about them. I guess the bottom line is either keeping an older machine as a back-up for the older games or a fancy machine that can support two different cards on a duel boot system (if that's even possible)? I don't think nVidia is going to jump on the problem simply because these are older games and they're all trying to work on the new stuff...via MS et al... :( As far as I know the latest (which isn't really all that latest) but my ATI x800 (850's) support Thief2...not sure about TG as I don't have it installed on that machine. I don't know of any of the X1000's + have any issues but it would be interesting to hear from those folks as well (for future upgrading to those cards).

I am sorry to hear about ATI's 2000 cards as well. I'll venture to guess they will not be in a hurry about Thief or older games for the same reasons...they want to push the newer hardware/games/MS's OS.

I wish you all good luck and hope you will get some results for your efforts! :)

ef di
2nd Oct 2007, 06:01
I don't think nVidia is going to jump on the problem simply because these are older games and they're all trying to work on the new stuff...via MS et al... :(

That's what most of us believed until Nvidia recently fixed an issue with Aliens versus Predator 1. Basically, ever since the GeForce 6xxx cards, AvP and AvP Gold crashed on launch. This was fixed about 1 month ago with the 163.44 drivers, due to extensive complaints from the community (lots of threads about this on the Nvidia forums, including a 17 page one). AvP is older then Thief 2, and if this problem was fixed, maybe our problem will too. Clearly, age is not an issue here, only the amount of people that complain about the problem.

Our best bet is to carry all discussions about this issue on the Nvidia forums, on Bikerdude's thread about crappy colors (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=35500), in order to attract Nvidia's attention.

I wish you all good luck and hope you will get some results for your efforts! :)

Thanks! :) I do hope we get to fix this in the end...

benny's taffer boy
14th Nov 2007, 04:32
wow, those screen shots look REALLY bad...hmmm, well, I've had 0 issues getting Thief 2 to work right on my Geforce 7800 GS (AGP) however, it does have a problem with my Dual-core processor. However, I figured out that if you make Thief 2 work only on one processor it fixes the problem. I'll take some screen shots and post them for you guys to compare. Possibly if someone can scrounge up some photos of Thief being played on an old Geforce 4 or an FX 5 or something, maybe even a Radeon 9800, we could send that to nVidia as a comparison because that 8800 screenshot is just plain horrible, and there's no reason why it should look so bad.

23rd Nov 2007, 23:05
Here is an update of the situation.

Timeslip has written a patch to the Thief 2 EXE called DDFIX that changes the target of the direct draw calls made by Thief 2. With this, the sky and dark textures are rendered correctly with all Nvidia cards! You get to see the stars again, too, something that has been missing for years. This is great news for T2 players having Nvidia cards. Thanks Timeslip! :D See here for details (http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=117616).

There are a few negatives about DDFIX. It is awkward returning to Thief after an Pause/Break exit to desktop. You need to click ESC-Continue because the graphics do not appear immediately. Also, some people have had performance issues, but not I. Also, some textures like doors look more grainy (sharper, unfiltered). But overall, it is great. I keep the old EXE around for beta testing, in which I am going back and forth to desktop to make notes.

Another major thing in the Nvidia front is that they have released a version of their video drivers, 163.71, that does not crash when running Thief 1 (TDP and Gold). To make this work, you need to deinstall completely your old drivers, reboot, and install 163.71.

DDFIX is a band-aid fix. What is really wanted is for Nvidia to step up to the plate and fix their drivers so that DDFIX is no longer needed. This would have broader benefits than just an improvement to T2. In that department, several people have made requests to Nvidia to fix their drivers. They have responded to only one of us, user "ef di" on the Nvidia forum (frogdude at TTLG). Nvidia have not done anything yet to fix the T2 rendering problem. They are making some changes to accommodate old games, so maybe they will eventually. See here for details (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?showtopic=35500&st=220).

24th Dec 2007, 19:01
Hey hey Mr. Peter Smith,
This is interesting stuff. Will have to try the fix out and see how it does for me. Have been reading all about it. Thanks for the post. I signed the petition.

Merry Christmas

30th Dec 2007, 03:35
Merry Christmas, Sneak. :)

Two further updates:

Nvidia's 169.xx drivers break Thief 2 and System Shock 2 completely, including versions with DDFIX applied. Lots of games are broken, including Doom 3 (The Dark Mod). Nvidia may fix this owing to its broad extent. We will see. In any case, 163.75 is a good driver that plays T1. Don't upgrade beyond 163.75 without testing T1 and T2 and being willing to go back.

ATI's latest drivers 7.11 and above are reported to solve the fog problem. So now ATI cards up to X1950 have perfect rendering for T2, whereas all Nvidia cards 6xxx and later are broken to some extent. We are still waiting for information as to whether ATI's HD series DX-10 cards will work with good rendering. If anyone knows, please post a screen shot here. The starting scene from Running Interference, looking at Basso in the shadows, is a good indicator.

If ATI's HD series render T2 well with the latest drivers, then it may be "bye bye Nvidia."

20th Sep 2010, 02:04
I'm getting a grainy graphic with my new LCD monitor (at resolution 1920x1200), but this worths not only for Thief 2, but also for Thief 3, movies, and images. I got an nVidia GeForce 7600, gifted by a friend of mine. This friend, recently, when I've told him that I shold pass from a CRT montior to a recent LCD monitor, has told me to but a new graphic card too, since for this kind of monitor a digital connection should have to be required. I didn't listen him, so I've kept his old video card, but the image is distorted, especially when there is the color black in the main part of the screen, in which a kinf of analogic "distortion" is present (to make a comparison, do you remember in the old analogic television transmission when you got a bad transmission?).

More: in Thief - Deadly Shadows I'm playing with the multi-sampling level to two (something that I guess it's the anti-aliasing filter, and that normally is to one), but I get a flicky graphic: the NPCs, in the most part of the scenes, moves around to 6-15 FPS.

Do you advise me to buy a new graphic card? And nVidia or ATI, for optimizing the results with both the games?

Other technical properties:

CPU Athlon 3200+



26th Sep 2010, 17:24
nVidia GeForce 7600
Other technical properties:

CPU Athlon 3200+



Digital connection is definitely needed for 1920x1200 resolution, an analog cable doesn't have the bandwidth high enough. But I'm surprised to hear that there's a modification of GF 7600 without a digital connector. My GF 7600GT has two of them, and I need to use an adapter to plug in an analog cable.

As for a flicky graphic graphic with multisampling, it looks like a conflict between game and driver settings. Set AA and AF in nVidia's settings to "application defined".

1st Oct 2010, 12:57
Thank you DJ Riff, you solved my problem!! :)

11th Nov 2011, 17:43
I played thief & thief 2 with nvidia fx5200, then upgraded to 6800 and had no problems. Since then i have lost that computer but actually running a similar system with ati300 something,
I will keep this computer when i upgrade as i will inevitably eventually want to return to my pastime games at some point.
When i do upgrade i'll be getting nvidia 4xx or 5xx probably, do the newest graphics cards not run the old thiefs?