Strange lines in my games

Ok, I have this weird problem, which I think might be video card related, but updating the drivers doesn’t help.

When I try to run CoH (first time playing it), I get the “loading” bar and then when the screen comes up (where you see the heroes) there are strange verticle lines in it, as if these lines weren’t drawn and are slightly shifted (like a printer that hasn’t been calibrated). I have experienced this problem with Dominions 2 as well, but not with other games.

So I updated my video drivers, restarted the computer and it seemd to work fine, until I got an error about some visual basic library file in City of Heroes. The program crashed, I reopen the program and bam…there are the lines again. Restart computer, fine, crash, lines. Update directx to 9.0c, same thing.

Any ideas?

More info:

I am running XP, with a geforce 3ti500 (yes, it is old, but it should run Dominions damnit!). The error I am getting with both titles is a Visual Basic C++ runtime error, specifically abnormal termination of the file (dominions, City of Heroes). It seems there might be a library problem, but I don’t know how to fix it.

Do you have Visual Studio on your machine?

Measure the heat of the back of the card right where the chip is soldered onto the video card. Is it very hot? It could be that your video memory is screwy. Also, you could run Memtest on it to make sure it isn’t your system RAM that is messing with you.

And for giggles, make sure all the fans are actually spinning, though I imagine your problems would be more drastic if they died like my Radeon fan did a while back.

I googled for hours last night, and I found that apparently a lot of people who use the nvidia chip with the VIA chipset (my setup) have this same problem. TONS of different solutions are offered, but none seems to work. My solution is to get a new video card. I was thinking of getting a 9800 pro anyway, since this geforce 3 is pretty dated. What is odd to me is that games like Dominions and CoH are the ones screwing up. They aren’t exactly system intensive, AFAIK. I’ll memtest the RAM too though, just in case.

Try Prime95 also – it does a phenomenal job of beating the living hell out of your CPU/RAM/chipset. Prime95 has helped me ferret out weird memory-related issues that made it past memtest86.

I updated my machine about a month ago. At that time, the GeForce 6600 GT and the ATI 9800 Pro were comparably priced ($190), but the 6600 GT had better benchmarks (using Tom’s Hardware Guide) compared with the 9800 Pro. I went with the GeForce and have been pleased.

I ordered the ATI because of the problems I am having with nvidia. Some seem to believe it has to do with openGL. I didn’t know games used openGL much anymore. Anyway, how can I order a program to use another standard besides GL?

Oops, my mistake; my brain added the entire phrase “This problem only occurs with older Nvidia cards” to your informative prior post.

I screwed around with my wife’s ATI Control Panel a bit and didn’t see an obvious way to force an entire standard – only the amount of anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering. There’s often a choice in the Options panel of games, but it tends to be limited to two options; a standard (Direct 3D or OpenGL) and software. None of the games I currently have on my machine give you both Direct 3D and OpenGL as options.

Hope the 9800 Pro solves the problem for you.

I know that CoH uses OpenGL only, so you can’t switch over to Direct3D, unfortunately.

That would explain why only Dominions and CoH screw up. I bet my other games default and/or allow D3D. Oh well, my 9800 will be here in a few days.

As an aside, I went by CompUSA today (I hate the place, but I wanted the video card now) and they wanted $299 for a 9800 pro! I thought I remember PCGamer saying it was half that. Sure enough, I got online and lots of sites are offering that card for $150. I can’t believe what these stores get away with.

Tell me about it… this one day I dropped by a CompUSA and they were selling a Sound Blaster Live! for $50.

Woooow, you could buy an Audigy 2 for that price! In fact, as cheap as $40 as a quick Froogle search proves :).