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Greetings,

(Feel free to scroll down a bit if you want to go straight for the screenshots and PC specs - I tend to prefer to write down too much rather than risk writing too little, just in case, so if you're not interested in my life's story, I understand.)

I have a bit of an odd problem, that's not necessarily limited to The Witcher 2 (I seem to recall it happening in other games before, such as The Lord of the Rings Online). What happens is that when I run around in the game world, the high detail textures of minor models such as foliage and ground 'clutter' textures (skulls, rocks etc.), only show when I am very close to them; quickly being replaced by gradually lower-detail ones as I move farther away. This affects animations of the models as well, such as the leaves blowing in the wind - if I stand a few steps back, the lower-quality model loads and thus don't display the animation, but if I step closer (really quite close), the high detail one finally loads and it all displays properly. Also affects by this is the lighting, and the shadows; basically, proper lighting and shadows is drawn in as I move forward, in gradual levels - kind of like I'm seeing the proper textures being drawn in before my eyes, only a couple of feet ahead of me.

I'm not sure how better to describe it, than to say that it looks like there's a rather small 'box' around the character (in this case Geralt), and only within this small box do I see the full textures as they should be displayed. What's even weirder is that I don't recall this happening during my first playthrough. It's possible I simply wasn't paying attention, but I think I would notice quite quickly if this was present before; again, hard to convey just how obvious it is, describing it in writing, but I'm telling you, once you spot it while playing, it's almost impossible to ignore it. It eats away at you, at your soul... ruining what otherwise is one of the most gorgeous games ever made.

Anyway, so I tried to figure out what I had done with my machine lately that might have caused it. I had downloaded the new beta drivers from Nvidia, but rolling back to the previous (non-beta) version didn't make a difference, so I decided to rule that out. I also installed the latest important updates for Windows, but that's not something I'd happily try to roll back - I don't see how they would affect the graphics in such a manner, anyway, but what do I know?

Since it's hard to explain exactly what it looks like, and uploading a video of it in motion would take a long time to record and edit. The best I could do was to take three screenshots of an example where large shadows cast by nearby trees, pop in and out of view as I move only a step or two farther away from them; the behaviour seems very much related to what I experience elsewhere through normal gameplay. They're spoiler-free.

Screenshot 1 - On the left half of the screen, you can see two large shadows cast by some nearby trees/bushes. One quite close to Geralt, the other one farther away, merging with the static shadow of the cliff up ahead.
Screenshot 2 - Taking just one step to the right made the nearest shadow completely disappear.
Screenshot 3 - Taking yet another step to the right, and the other shadow is gone as well.

So, this doesn't show how foliage and ground clutter is affected by it, but the behaviour is the same. It appears to be a limited radius around Geralt, in which all the high detail textures and shadows and so forth, are shown properly. Rocks pop into view and gradually get better textures, while other clutter such as skulls and bones might be entirely gone and are painted in before me as I move forward, only a few feet ahead, obviously ruining parts of the experience.

Does this behaviour ring a bell for anyone at all? Does anyone have any idea what might be causing this, and what I could possibly do about it? Apart from rolling back graphics drivers, I've obviously also fiddled with the settings for the game: No matter where I go, low or high, nothing seems to remedy the situation. With lower settings, it isn't as prominent, naturally, but it's still there. I can still envision this 'box' around Geralt. I've also tried to check the settings in the Nvidia control panel, but I haven't touched those in years. Pretty much everything is set to off or application controlled, only forcing Triple Buffering and Vsync, leaving the rest to each game application to set for me.

I'm no expert, so I might have missed something. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about my system or settings, and I'll do my best to dig up an answer. Thank you so much in advance - if there's a solution to be had, I'll be eternally indebted. :)

Intel Core i5 CPU 750 @ 2.67GHz (4 CPUs)
4 GB DDR3
GeForce GTX 470 (driver version: 275 beta, but also tested with 270.)
Windows 7 Ultimate, 64-bit

DxDiag (you never know!)


Video Examples
Video 1 (New!)
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4 (TW1)
Post edited June 28, 2011 by Kindo
No posts in this topic were marked as the solution yet. If you can help, add your reply
Games do this because your hardware wouldn't be able to handle it if everything as far as your eye can see was at max detail. I'm not really sure what your issue is.
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revial: Games do this because your hardware wouldn't be able to handle it if everything as far as your eye can see was at max detail. I'm not really sure what your issue is.
Oh, yes, of course. LOD and distant textures and all that, but surely it's not meant to apply to textures a couple of feet ahead of you; especially if I have the settings on max? Like I wrote, I only see the snazzy high detail stuff and animations if I'm really close and at the right angle. The examples given in the screenshots exhibit how it might not always be distance, but also angle that plays a part.
Post edited May 26, 2011 by Kindo
I read your post and took a look at your screenshots. I have no idea how to help you.

I have a very similar system too (Win7 64-bit, i3, 460, beta drivers).
Post edited May 26, 2011 by BakedGoods
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BakedGoods: I read your post and took a look at your screenshots. I have no idea how to help you.

I have a very similar system too (Win7 64-bit, i3, 460, beta drivers).
Alright, that's fine. I got a bit worried there, after revial's post, that this was working as intended or something. You agree it's not supposed to be this way, and you yourself don't experience excessive drawn-in textures like what I describe?
Yes it is definitely strange and something I have not seen before. With my setup (everything's OC'ed) I am able to run 1080 everything on high. Similarly, your hardware should have no problems managing this game. Looks like a strange glitch coming from a driver/directx or something.
Post edited May 26, 2011 by BakedGoods
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BakedGoods: Yes it is definitely strange and something I have not seen before. With my setup (everything's OC'ed) I am able to run 1080 everything on high. Similarly, your hardware should have no problems managing this game. Looks like a strange glitch coming from a driver/directx or something.
Thank you. I'm still wondering if I just failed to see it, or if this issue definitely wasn't there during my first playthrough... And like I said, I've seen this happen in other games as well, so I guess it's not striclty TW2-related. Still, I'd appreciate any help anyone might be able to offer.

Another example, showing the ground clutter this time (still spoiler-free):
Screenshot 4 - In front of and to the side of that white-red shield thingie, you can see a few rocks, a helmet, and other random clutter you're all probably used to seeing. The interesting thing is that this is exactly how close I must be in order to see it; if I only take two steps back...
Screenshot 5 - ... they're all gone! The shield/oar thing is still there, but the other clutter has mysteriously vanished.

Does it have something to do with LOD distance setting? Something I might be able to alter manually in the config file? I'm at my wits' end... I guess it's not really game-breaking, but a bit annoying, nevertheless. I'll try updating/re-installing some DX drivers, and maybe try the graphics drivers again.
Post edited May 26, 2011 by Kindo
make sure you start with the Ultra preset in the graphics settings, and then disable/enable stuff as usual. there are some hidden settings (LOD, texture size) that only max when you start with Ultra , and not when starting with low/medium
Post edited May 26, 2011 by mippoh
Could be that you are running dx11 on your machine
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Migaloo: Could be that you are running dx11 on your machine
It's not a DirectX 11 game it uses the DirectX 9 API, simply having a higher version of D3D installed doesn't make a difference.
Post edited May 26, 2011 by joshykins
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mippoh: make sure you start with the Ultra preset in the graphics settings, and then disable/enable stuff as usual. there are some hidden settings (LOD, texture size) that only max when you start with Ultra , and not when starting with low/medium
Aye, I found that out, myself, when I noticed some people had a higher texture resolution. I used the Ultra preset, confirmed and exited the options panel, opened up the config to make sure all was well, then manually lowered values and such from there. No matter how low or high I go, this anomaly still occurs in the game.
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Migaloo: Could be that you are running dx11 on your machine
Yes, but like joshykins mentioned, that wouldn't make a difference, would it? I have the drivers for DX9 installed as well, of course.
Well, my fiddling so far has yielded no results. I was thinking about the known issue which corrupts graphics if you play an .avi file before starting up the game. Does anyone know exactly how these corrupt graphics manifest themselves? I doubt it's that, though. I've had several reboots to no avail...
There's a discussion on NeoGAF, and there seems to be more people experiencing weird pop-ins and draw-ins. Check this reply out, where the author even supplied some video examples; this way you can more easily see what I mean. Link

Oddly enough, the fellows talking there are attributing this to the patch, and swear it started happening as soon as they had updated the game. I, on the other hand, am almost certain that this was happening even before I the patch was released. :/

Link to the thread
Post edited May 27, 2011 by Kindo
If you haven't done so, try disabling the Depth of Field options (not heard of these causing problems in the Witcher, but DOF certainly did cause similar problems in Two Worlds so it may be worth a go).

Aside from that though, the best bet (given you are certain things were OK previously) would be to either roll-back Windows updates (focusing on any DirectX/graphics related ones) or take a full image backup of your system (Drive Snapshot is one option here, the free demo version should suffice for this purpose) and re-install Windows, progressively applying updates. If the re-install goes amiss or doesn't help, restore the backup.
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AstralWanderer: If you haven't done so, try disabling the Depth of Field options (not heard of these causing problems in the Witcher, but DOF certainly did cause similar problems in Two Worlds so it may be worth a go).
Yes, I've tried disabling/enabling everything I can think of, but nothing seems to help. And I do not want to perform a bunch of system restores or Windows re-installations; I'm not that desperate! Since others are experiencing the same problem (at least a few on NeoGAF, as I wrote earlier - they won't let me register there, so I can't join in on the discussion, unfortunately), I remain hopeful that there's some error within the game, and not my system.

In the meanwhile, I can supply another example of how this manifests itself. Be warned that these particular screenshots contain possible spoilers for the end of Chapter 2, a quest called The Eternal Battle.

Picture 1
- Up ahead you see an out-of-place bare patch on the ground. That area is supposed to contain several clutter textures, acting as remains of smoldering trebuchet boulder.
Picture 2 - We take one step forward, and a few of these clutter textures start appearing.
Picture 3 - Another step gives us a few more textures.
Picture 4 - A third step, and even more textures suddenly pop in.
Picture 5 - And finally, the fourth and final step has me finally being able to see the entire remains of boulder.

This is how close I have to be, and I'm telling you, seeing textures like this being drawn up right in front of you, almost literally at your feet, is a bit of an immersion-breaker. You can also notice in the examples above, how a shadow up ahead gradually disappears as I keep moving forward. Imagine weird stuff like this going on all around, at all times... ground clutter, foliage, shadows and lighting, all are very awkwardly altered or changed, or even drawn in from nothing, as I move around in the environment. What the heck is causing this, and why didn't I notice it during my first playthrough?