Underscan, overscan, won’t you work please   Leave a comment

Maybe they’re made from the things that the everyday coders leave behind?

Edit: Seems I’m getting views from people with Battlefield underscan problems, so to save their reading my rubbish: if you’re running an AMD card, this little system tray program that monitors screen resolution changes and applies your set underscan level is probably what you want. Not by me, but hope it helps. Oh, it might be worth checking to see if it’s decided to run in interlaced rather than progressive scan; try adding the 1080p60 option in the “force resolutions” bit of the HDTV settings in CCC. That fixed it for me in Civ V, at least.

If you’re running an nVidia card: You lucky person.

Edit ends, normal service resumes.

Sunday started so well. Sunbathing and reading, lying on my bed (south facing windows are a Good Thing, and the grubbiness is pretty much factor 30). After an hour or so, getting up and brandifying the Christmas cake.

Still haven’t seen 76.3kg again; on Saturday I was 77.6, on Sunday 76.6. Occasionally weighing yourself every day can be fun, showing just how variable it is even when you’re trying to keep everything the same.

Then I thought I’d play a game for a bit. I’d downloaded the Battlefield 3 beta out of curiosity, as I’d never played a game in the series before and they have quite the enthusiastic following. Unfortunately, my graphics card drivers decided they didn’t want to be my friend. Not that ATi/AMD’s drivers have ever wanted to be anyone’s friend. And Catalyst Control Center – their nuisance/bloatware control-panel – started life as a car crash and has been trying for multiple pile-up status ever since.

The particular problem on Sunday was one I’d had before, over a year ago; for reasons unfathomable, some genius decreed the default underscan for fullscreen on an HDTV would be 7 or 8%. Just enough to muck the image up completely. And that this setting would never, ever save. So I’d have my desktop running at 1920×1080, set the underscan to 0% as it should be set on any functional display, and then load the game. Which obviously runs at a slightly different flavour of 1080p, so bam! 7% underscan. Right, alt-tab out, reset the setting. It’s back to 0%. Alt-tab back to game, underscan resets.

Fortunately, some enterprising individual has a fix. Not for AMD’s programmers being useless cocking morons, alas, but there’s only so much one man can do, and not even Michael Knight could make a difference there. He (not Michael Knight) has, however, written a little system tray program that monitors screen resolution changes and applies your set underscan level (ie. 0%).

So yeah, this guy can get the value you set in Catalyst Cocking Catastrophe, but AMD’s own driver programmers can’t. Twunts.

In the end, once the damn thing was finally working, it turned out that not only was I both utterly clueless and laughably useless at the game (it does lack any kind of tutorial or manual, being a beta), but it runs like a pig on my system. Rarely over 30fps with the graphics turned off? Not promising. Likely culprit? Guess, go on. Yep, the drivers for my AMD Radeon 4870. The “improved” AMD Beta drivers only claim to help for 5xxx or 6xxx cards, and I’ve no evidence they’re lying. Oh well!

(Later in the week, Rage was released. By all accounts, it was also a complete, unplayable disaster on any kind of AMD card. I was entirely unsurprised. I’m looking forward to playing the game, but it won’t be for a while yet. Maybe after my next upgrade. To a card starting with “n”. After Sunday’s mucking around, I was fairly tempted by a GTX 560, and if the watercooling weren’t a bit of a nuisance I might have caved in and bought one. Besides, I have so many older games to play anyway, and the 4870 (if/when the drivers work) is still really quite decent. Sigh. I do hope Skyrim works reasonably promptly, though*.)

So then I thought I’d make dinner. I’d bought a chicken, so a nice roast dinner would cheer me up, right? Roast chicken, loads of roast spuds, carrots. Sounds pretty good.

As soon as I move the bag the chicken’s in, I can smell it. This doesn’t bode well. Especially as the chicken’s in its own wrapping inside the bag. But it’s only the 2nd, and it was Use By the 5th, and I’d smelt worse in KFC’s fridge when it was grubby. Maybe it just needed a wash? It’d been wrapped up in plastic, that never makes things smell nice. So I give it a good rinse and dry. It still smells a bit iffy, but I put it in the oven – I’ve done all the work now, and it’s getting late – figuring that it can cook whilst I check it out on the internet, just in case. It should be fine, right? It’s still well in date.

So I check the internet. I ‘phone mum and ask her opinion. for once, both sources agree, and I wind up chucking an entire chicken in the bin.

I wasn’t terribly chuffed. And to add injury to insult, I nicked the end of my left index finger when sorting the bird out, so that’s been stinging whenever I’ve typed anything all week.

Fortunately, I’d hedged my bets and put the veg in to roast in a different pan, and I happened to have some pork medallions in the fridge. They weren’t ideal for roasting, but that’s what they got.

For pudding, and another attempt at cheering myself up (and using up my calorie allowance), I had half a pack of clotted-cream shortbread, my last biscuits from Cornwall. They were OK, but a bit disappointing; too soft for my liking. I preferred the shortbread I made the other week. Some days you just can’t win.

At least my laptop’s memory upgrade made that significantly more responsive. Just as well I plugged it in on Saturday; no doubt I’d have fried the DIMMs with static or something on Sunday.

* Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.


Posted 8 October 2011 by Colthor in Diary

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