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Old 07-02-2008, 12:47 PM   #1
Digital9x

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Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
*** Game now works - See Solution at the bottom ***


Hello everyone,

I recently purchased Prey (Limited Collector's Edition). During each attempt to launch the game, I am presented with a full-screen black window, then the desktop re-appears. I read where one posted how to edit the launch shortcut so that the game will create a log file. I have attached that and my DirectX info to this message. I used Winzip 11 to combine the two files.

Here are my PC specs, and things I've tried to do:

CURRENT GAMES THAT I PLAY WITH NO ISSUES:
- Command and Conquer (the entire series)
- Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War
- Need For Speed: Carbon
- Battlefield 2142
- Genesis Rising
- Call of Duty 2
- Star Wars: Empire at War (with all expansion packs)
- JTF: Joint Task Force
- World of War Craft
- Crysis
- Roller Coaster Tycoon 3

NOTE: Listed the games above so you'd know my PC can handle the "resource
hogging" titles.

System (Computer)
- Alienware Area-51 7500
- Motherboard: P5N32-Sli-SE-Deluxe
- Processors: Intel Core 2 Duo (2 Intel 2133 MHz processors).
- Motherboard Manufacturer: Asustek Computer Inc.
- BIOS Vendor: American Megatrends INC.
- Installed RAM: 4 Gigs (PC recognizes 3.25 gigs of RAM).
- Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT

NOTE: Video driver used is 175.16_geforce_winxp_32bit_english_whql.exe
(Released May 2008)

- Monitor: 22 Inch SyncMaster 225BW (using DVI connection)



ISSUE AT HAND:

- Launching game causes my screen to go black for a few seconds, then my
desktop returns. I only get to see the game's launch window.

STEPS TAKEN TO TRY AND RESOLVE ISSUE:
- Installed Game (Prey)
- Rebooted PC afterwards
- Tried to launch game.
- Screen turned black for a few seconds, and desktop returned.
- Downloaded and installed patch 1.2 for Prey.
- Rebooted PC
- Tried to launch game.
- Screen turns black, and desktop returns.
- Uninstalled game.
- Rebooted PC
- Downloaded newest Nvidia GeForce 7950 GT driver (released May '08)
- Installed video driver
- Rebooted as required.
- Re-installed Prey
- Rebooted PC
- Tried to launch Prey.
- Black screen appears, then desktop showed back up.
- Installed Prey patch 1.2.
- Rebooted PC
- Tried to launch Prey again.
- Same routine (black screen - desktop reappears).
- Set desktop resolution to 1024x768 - same result
- Set desktop resolution to 800x600 - same result

Thanks for any suggestion you can provide. I'm surely overlooking something.

Christopher (Digital9x)
Attached Files
File Type: zip Prey-info-files-Digital9x.zip (14.7 KB, 2 views)
Last edited by Digital9x; 07-03-2008 at 01:41 PM. Reason: added the fact that the game now works.
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Old 07-02-2008, 11:35 PM   #2
Malgon

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Try downloading the Prey 1.4 patch from here first. I'll keep looking around and see what I can find for you.

Edit: I also noticed there's a sticky at the top of the forums here. It may lead to finding a solution.
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Last edited by Malgon; 07-02-2008 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:21 AM   #3
Digital9x

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Thanks for the link to the 1.4 patch. I applied it, and unfortunately ended up with the same result.

I'm getting the run-a-around from 2K Games. I submitted the issue to them as well. They are basically copy and pasting info to me information that I've already read.

Steps I added to my troubleshooting this issue are as follows:

- removed USB game controller device
- removed my router from my network temporarily (testing for the firewall freeze - though I added the UDP information to my router's setup previously).
- was told to add the Prey command line to any software firewalls (I always have the Windows Firewall disabled and my Norton Firewall disabled. Otherwise, I can't see the other 4 computers on my home network).

This is the first game my Alienware has not been able to launch. Considering I can play "Crysis", which is a severely resource hogging game, with no hassles - drag - or lagginess, it puzzles me why Prey will not launch completely.

I've sent word to Alienware and Nvidia as well. Haven't heard anything back from them. I got so frustrated with this problem, that I went back to Wal-Mart to get a refund for the game ($64). However, I hit a brick wall when they said "due to copyright laws we can't take it back since it's been opened." 2K Games also stated "sorry, we don't provide refunds."

Looks like if a working solution doesn't present itself soon (other than reformatting my machine like one person did on here that corrected the same problem), I'm going to have to wip out my shrink wrap material and shrink wrap heating air gun, and pass it back to the other local Wal-Mart. The only reason I bought the game is because I have it for my Xbox 360, and would like to go online with it with my PC to play with friends of mine that don't own a 360.

Normally, I'm the one that solves these issues. I've been an online game tech since the days of Heat.net where folks could get online and play against one another. Paying members got points per hour they played, and those points could be used to purchase games. I was HeatNewbieHelper-A, just incase there's anyone on the board remembers that website and ran across me for help back in the day. Heat.net was based in California, and I lived in North Carolina at the time. Mplayer.com was the competitor, and Heat.net had to close it's California office and servers due to lack of funds.

So, it's more frustrating to me that I can't figure out this game on my own system. My Alienware is the only PC I have that is "souped" up for gaming. My HP's and Compaq PCs, and my Acer laptop can't handle this game. BTW, I've had a computer since the days of the 8088 IBM PC and the days of the Radio Shack Color Computer 2. Though, I'm only 38, so don't think I'm walking with a cane just yet - hahaha (I'll have a game controller in my hand when I hit 90 - hahaha).

If anyone has another possible suggestion that I am missing, feel free to toss it at me.

Christopher.
Last edited by Digital9x; 07-03-2008 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 07-03-2008, 09:51 AM   #4
Steve

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Have you installed and played any other Doom 3 engine based games to see if you run into the same problem? Doom 3, Quake 4, etc. Do you have any antivirus software running in the background?
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:13 AM   #5
Wellenreiter

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
1. Are you using xfire?

2. Did you try to install OpenAL manually?

3. And please, uninstall the Norton Firewall. It is known to make trouble, even when disabled. You don't need it anyway.

4. Another thing: Your mainboard has it's own firewall, called ActiveArmor. I don't know if this still valid, but they used to give a lot of trouble. Check if it active/installed.
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:55 AM   #6
Altered Reality

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
If everything fails, try running Prey with Linux.
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:56 AM   #7
Digital9x

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
I have Norton Antivirus Suite 2008 installed, and the firewall was disabled just after I installed it. I don't believe in software firewalls, when the router will do the job.

To make sure nothing in my startup of drivers and software could be narrowed down as a possible culprit, I went to my MSCONFIG and disabled every startup item in there. I had to remove my Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard and attach a regular mouse/keyboard combo to do so.

The game would still not launch (just the same ol' black screen - then desktop bounces back.)

I should have mentioned Quake and Unreal in my earlier game listings. I have all versions installed. Hey, that's where all of the FPS games came from. Well, I think Duke Nukem was first back in the days of DOS. My "Orange Box" of games work as well. My Tom Clancy series of games play just fine too.

I think it's just not meant to be for my Alienware to play this game.

Christopher.
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Old 07-03-2008, 11:29 AM   #8
Wellenreiter

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Is there an option to uninstall the Norton firewall?

Do you use xfire?

Did you try to install OpenAL manually?

Quote:
To make sure nothing in my startup of drivers and software could be narrowed down as a possible culprit, I went to my MSCONFIG and disabled every startup item in there.
You may need to disable all non-Microsoft services, too.

AppArmor is a hardware firewall, is it disabled in BIOS?
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Old 07-03-2008, 12:12 PM   #9
Digital9x

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
There is no separate uninstall for Norton Firewall (it was an all in one install - Antivirus and Firewall). Considering I disabled it's services and loading processes from the MSCONFIG, it's as if Norton doesn't exist. The firewall you mentioned in the BIOS is not enabled. I would think if it were, the other games I play online would never work.

So, Norton and the BIOS are out of the picture now. I have Xfire installed, but have not used it. Disabling non-MS services makes sense, so I have now done that, and no success. Heck, if we had to always do that, it wouldn't be worth buying PC games, just stick to the console versions.

Christopher
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Last edited by Digital9x; 07-03-2008 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 07-03-2008, 01:40 PM   #10
Digital9x

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Thumbs up Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Game now works!!! I even think I read this fix on this forum, but forgot about it. The tech from 2K Games replied again, and told me to apply this statement to the command line.

+set s_forceNoOpenAL 1

That fired the game right up. Plus, the game was able to set the resolution at 1024x768 from my desktop's preset 1280x1024 resolution, and used the "highest detail" mode. Plus, I had already returned all of my startup items to the "enabled status" plus the processes running in the background.

And I was about to walk out the door with the game already re-shrink wrapped for return, and just happenned to check my e-mail one more time before leaving. The game fired up without the disc since I applied the 1.4 patch.

Inside the game, I saw why Wellenreiter asked about the OpenAL installation. The game said I needed to update that driver, so now, that's done, and the game fires up without the command line addition.

After launching the game again, with the command line gone, it fired up in windowed mode. Had to do the "alt-Enter" to get it back to fullscreen.

Digital9x (Christopher)
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Last edited by Digital9x; 07-03-2008 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:55 PM   #11
Wellenreiter

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
That's why I insisted on checking OpenAL, should have delivered a link though.

Good it works now!
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Old 07-03-2008, 04:53 PM   #12
Digital9x

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Here's where I got the OpenAL update. If you know of a newer release, zap it to me. This one was newer than was what installed on my PC.

http://connect.creativelabs.com/open...ds/oalinst.zip

- Download the file
- Run the enclosed file

Here's the info about it.
Updated Summer 2007 : Version 2.0.3

The OpenAL Installer for Windows will install the OpenAL 1.1 libraries, enabling support for core OpenAL operations as well as extensions such as EAX and EFX. The installer supports both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.

DLL Version numbers:

* OpenAL32.dll version 6.14.357.22
* wrap_oal.dll version 2.1.8.1

Changes and Bugfixes

* Added new enumeration extension (ALC_ENUMERATE_ALL_EXT) to use AL on any soundcard / audio endpoint
* "Generic Hardware" device only appears in the enumeration string if it can be used
* Fixed alcGetIntegerv's requirement for an active context
* Fixed alcCaptureOpenDevice so that it returns 'NULL' if the capture device fails to open
* Fixed software reverb bugs (Reflection Delay and Air Absorption HF)

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Last edited by Digital9x; 07-03-2008 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 07-06-2008, 10:54 PM   #13
Malgon

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Good to see you got it sorted out dude. Wellenreiter was on the right track.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:47 PM   #14
Digital9x

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
All that for a trip to the Sun. That was an amazing game!! Glad I watched the credits - 6 months later - here comes part 2. Going have to see if it's out already. That will surely be a must-buy game next.

Yeap, I've played it since my last post, and solved it. From the graphics to the story line, every click of the mouse was well worth it.

Digital9x
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Old 07-08-2008, 05:23 AM   #15
Malgon

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Re: Black Screen appears - no gameplay possible.
Glad to see you enjoyed it after the hassles.
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