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Combat Mission Black Sea black screen on startup


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I saw the Combat Mission Black Sea game on steam, and some people said there was a demo. So I downloaded the demo and tried it. Unfortunately, when I opened it up, it had a black screen with only the green mouse available. I searched it up, and apparently there was another user a while ago who had the same issue, and it had something to do with a prefs file in the root directory. So I checked my own root directory and low and behold, no prefs file. This other user got a prefs file emailed to them, and I was wondering if I could get something similar.

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Until the game launches AND closes properly there will be no Prefs file. This is true of every installation; it is not a file that is initially present in any install. The default resolution, 'desktop', usually works for almost everyone (there are only a couple of discrete resolutions listed other than 'Desktop'). Do you have an unique resolution or a multi-monitor setup ?

What actually might be happening here, somehow, is that the executable file is in a location where the data .BRZ files are not at. So it has no graphics files to load up for the screens. Typically there should be a 'Data' directory where the executable file is at and in here will be the .BRZ data files (the executable file for the game will be OUTSIDE of this directory). The only common reason I can think of that would cause a situation like this is that the executable file was possibly moved to the Desktop (rather than a shortcut to this file) and now the game executable can't find the data files.

Edited by Schrullenhaft
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Um, that didn't work, I checked and the exe is inside the root directory of the game. When I moved it, rather than launching with no graphics it simply said it could not find the BRZ file, so I can only assume a missing BRZ file isn't the issue, especially since the demo only has one

 

 

Edited by EastUkraine
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Yes, the EXE should NOT be inside the Data directory. If you haven't modified the location of any of the files, then they typically should be in their proper places after an install.

Are you trying to run the game on a laptop ? The integrated video in some laptops might have a problem with the CM games (typically some Intel integrated video and the drivers that might come from some laptop manufacturers).

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Yep I'm on a similar integrated chip, and it works great for CM... at the lowest settings. ;)

However the UDH620 is a laptop chip, and may suffer until set up correctly. This is a widely known issue around here. IDK how to fix it though.

Edited by Artkin
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The issue with Intel GPUs is not necessarily the hardware (though it is far slower than many Nvidia and AMD GPUs), but the OpenGL drivers. Intel seems to drop the ball a bit on the OpenGL drivers and their support for classic (2.x) OpenGL calls. Some drivers may work, while others may experience problems. I don't know which specific version of the UHD620 drivers may be best for CM. Do you know if you can use Intel-provided drivers or do you have to use what comes from your laptop manufacturer ? Sometimes the only way to tell is to attempt an install of the Intel-provided drivers, which may end in an error about being unable to install with OEM hardware, etc. In which case you may need to check your laptop manufacturer's support site and see if they have an updated driver (many, unfortunately, do not update their drivers from initial release).

If you can use the Intel-provided drivers, then these are the latest for the UHD series (which should include your 620) under Windows 10 64-bit (the Beta drivers may work, but you may want to try the standard release first - the top-most driver):

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/product/211968/Intel-UHD-Graphics-Family

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I used the auto update tool, and I'm using the latest drivers. Someone else mentioned configuring the game, which I'm pretty sure is the issue. What's weird is that this is the first game I have ever had problems with using an intel chip with. Is it just due to age? 

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8 minutes ago, EastUkraine said:


I'm certain this dude had the same issue as me, and he got it fixed by configuring using a config file or something that was emailed.

yooo that post is almost 20 years old LMAO we are on a TOTALLY new game

@Schrullenhaft was helping the guy there too.. amazing....

Edited by Artkin
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Yeah, that was for CMBO (the first Battlefront game) that used DirectX 5/6 and the user in this case had a GeForce with the 30.82 driver. The Prefs file in this case set the resolution (which had to be a discrete setting - 'Desktop' wasn't available).

The Prefs file for CMBS will hold the resolution selection and a couple of other Options settings in the game. Generally the issue you're experiencing shouldn't be affected by settings in the Prefs file. The display appears to be coming up (you can see the game mouse cursor), but there are no other graphic images to be seen and you simply have a black screen.

I installed the Black Sea  Demo 1.02 on another computer and it worked fine (so the download is good, if you got it from Battlefront and their Sharefile server).

I installed it to the default directory (C:\Program Files (x86)\Battlefront\Combat Mission Black Sea Demo). The major files of importance are:

CM black sea demo.exe  (10,398KB in size)

in the 'Data' subdirectory is the BRZ file:  Black sea v102 demo.brz   (1,808,977 KB in size). There's also a hotkeys.txt file and an intro.wmv file in the Data subdirectory.

The game also installs files in to your user account's Documents folder (C:\Users\{your user account}\Documents\Battlefront\Combat Mission\Black Sea Demo). Within here are the two directories with the scenarios, emails and campaigns and the other with a hotkeys file. Within the root of this directory is the 'display size.txt' file and the 'Preferences.pfc' preferences file. The 'display size.txt' file potentially holds custom resolutions (CM only offers a few discrete resolutions). The file is in the format of:

0 0 0              This is the 'horizontal resolution' (space) 'vertical resolution' (space) 'vertical refresh rate' (in Hz). I can't remember off hand if this resolution is used automatically if the settings are defined or if it has to be selected within the Options settings (which you haven't seen yet). Again, 'Desktop' is typically the default and should work for most people.

When you launch the game it should run the 'intro.wmv' movie which is just the Battlefront logo of an M48 firing in the dark with audio playing. You should then be dumped to the main menu screen with audio playing. Do you hear anything at all when launching the game ? Typically just seeing the mouse only suggests that the game can't read the BRZ data file to get the graphics and audio.

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The preferences file will not be created until you successfully exit the game in a normal manner, which won't be possible since you can't see the menu (there's no keyboard shortcut to my knowledge). You can manually create a 'display size.txt' file with the three zeros and a space between each (0 0 0) and no other characters (including a line return/enter at the end of the line) or you can specify your resolution in it in a form of:

1920 1080 60

That would be 1920 x 1080 at 60Hz (I don't know if your laptop's display is that resolution though). However since you can see the mouse, I doubt specifying a particular resolution is going to change what you're seeing. Do you see the initial splash screen of the Battlefront logo (which is the 'intro.wmv' playing with audio) ?

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The download file from Battlefront for the CMBS Demo v 1.02 is 1,051,868,252 bytes in size (NOT 'size on disk') and is a .zip archive. If there's a chance that the extraction didn't complete properly, you may want to use a program like 7Zip or Bandizip just to make sure. There have been problems in the past with the extraction of .zip files not completing properly (though that would seem fairly rare).

These are the directories that exist with the CMBS v. 1.02 Demo that has been installed (installer downloaded from Battlefront):

cmbs-demo-main-directory.png.622f14abcdc6218d1dd650f77aa61828.pngcmbs-demo-data-directory.png.cea2e6982dae9bb91286643822bd3a93.png

cmbs-demo-userdata-directory.png

cmbs-demo-user-documents-directory.png

cmbs-demo-user-gamefiles-directory.png

cmbs-demo-user-scenarios-directory.png

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Is the display you are attempting to run CMBS on actually capable of 1920 x 1080 at 60Hz vertical refresh ? If not, then change the settings in the 'display size.txt' file back to '0 0 0' or put in settings that actually match your display. If you really believe that the Preferences file will fix your issue, then you need to tell me what resolution you are attempting to run the game at. The default will typically be your Desktop resolution (with the game querying Windows to find out what that is). Again, this file typically doesn't exist UNTIL you run the game and successfully exit it (which is impossible to do without seeing the menus).

At this rate I suggest uninstalling CMBS (deleting files and directories manually, if the uninstaller doesn't delete them). Double-check your download file (which I assume you got from the Battlefront server) and make sure it is the same size as what I listed in the above post. Use another program to extract the files rather than what is built-into Windows. Temporarily disable any security software that you may have running and then run the installer. With your security software still disabled, try to run the game and see if the screens come up or if you still get a black screen. I suggested adding the game executable and/or directories to your exceptions list for your security software to hopefully make sure that it doesn't interfere (though this black-screen problem is unlikely to be security software interfering).

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Crashing actually appears to be a worse issue. Previously the game was running, just without any graphics. So the intro video had the sound (built into the .wmv file), but once you see the mouse cursor and the black screen do you hear any sort of music or simply nothing ? Hearing and seeing nothing suggest some sort of problem accessing the .brz data file. If you hear music (different from the short intro video), but see nothing then that could be a video driver issue or another problem with the .brz data file.

The download is from Battlefront, did you get yours somewhere else ? I put a link to the download in my above post ('installer download from Battlefront') with the screenshots. The size information for the downloaded .zip file is by right-clicking on that file, selecting 'Properties' and it is the 'Size' parameter (and NOT the 'Size on disk' one). If your file is different, then something is wrong with it and you'll need to re-download it. If you constantly get a different file size, then you may have something wrong with your PC. It would sound like a classic virus that attaches itself to every file (increasing it size). This will often corrupt the file and with a compressed file that may mean part of the extraction may not be correct (if it extracts at all, which it apparently has in this case).

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I checked and my zip file is the same size you listed, so no issues there. The few KB larger thing was the extracted version (pardon my stupidity.)

I can indeed hear music during the black screen, and I can move the green mouse cursor too. I noticed the crashing only started when I switched my refresh rate to a higher option. I am 100% certain the BRZ is fine since it's identical to the one you listed. Additionally, I use 7 zip for the extraction and I already reinstalled the game. I'm starting to suspect it might have to do with some bug, because I don't think I've had display issues with any other game I have played.  

Capture.PNG

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The closest GPU I have to the Intel UHD 620 is an i5 8500 with an UHD 630. Using the 27.20.100.8854 driver from 10/14/2020 I was able to run the CMBS v.1.02 Demo (with the usual issues of some text/bitmap corruption). I don't know if this is exactly applicable to what you have. To my knowledge both UHD 620 and 630 will use the same drivers. Interestingly the Intel website lists the 27.20.100.8853 driver as the closest to this version (suggesting I probably got this particular version via a Windows Update). Another possible difference is that this system is running Windows 10 64-bit v. 1909, rather than the latest release of 20H2.

I'll try the latest driver (27.20.100.9466, which will hopefully work) and see if it changes anything. I'll also see about upgrading to 20H2, which is now available for my work computer (it's taken Microsoft a long time to offer it via Windows Update).

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Well, that was painful... Attempting to upgrade the work computer from Windows 10 v. 1909 to v. 20H2 resulted in a roll back and a non-booting computer. Managed to fix it eventually (after a lot of swearing and threating of the computer). So testing was still done with Windows 10 v. 1909 rather than something newer. It turns out that the 27.20.100.8854 driver I had previously (and not specifically listed on Intel's downloads) was an HP-provided driver.

I was able to install the 27.20.100.9466 driver and CMBS worked fine with it too. I couldn't completely discern what the differences are between the UHD 620 and the UHD 630. The 630 is the GPU on the Coffee Lake CPUs while the UHD 620 is on the Kaby Lake Refresh ultra-low-power CPUs. The specs between them are very similar and to my knowledge they use the same drivers (though I don't know if Intel configures something different for each GPU).

In the Intel Graphics Command Center (which was unnecessary to run before running CMBS successfully, in my case) at the 'Home' menu you can add CMBS to the program list (browsing for it). Once setup, you can click on the 'three dots' (...) and select 'Edit Settings'. Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering and Vertical Sync are all set to 'Application Controlled'. You can set any of these to 'Always Off' and see if that makes a difference. Beyond that the Graphics Command Center doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of configuring the Intel drivers for game options.

I tried CMBS on an older computer with an i5 4570 and the Intel HD Graphics 4600 GPU. With the latest drivers for that from Intel (15.40.48.5171, dated 2/5/2021, running on Windows 10 64-bit v. 20H2) CMBS also worked. Upgrading this PC to Windows 10 64-bit v. 21H1 (just released), the driver seems to have been updated (backdated ?) to v. 20.19.15.5171 (11/4/2020) and CMBS worked with that too.

I assume that this is a laptop that you have connected to the HP display. Have you attempted disconnecting the external display and running CMBS on the internal laptop display to see if it would behave any differently ?

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