Graphics problems

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See also Graphics hardware.

Topicscape won't start

Visit this page for links to the main manufacturers' driver download sites. You may also refer to the section Very slow performance below for more information.

Topicscape locks up the PC

Topicscape itself cannot lock up the machine, it does not have a low enough level of access to the hardware and operating system to do this. Lock up rarely occurs, but when it does we have always been able to identify it as the graphics driver (usually an out of date one) that causes the lock up.

Drivers do have low-level access to the system. Topicscape calls the driver and uses advanced features that most software does not. If the driver has a problem, this may be one that causes the PC to lock up. In the past we have worked with Intel, and nVIDIA after demonstrating problems in certain (rare) versions of drivers and verifying correct operation of new releases of this drivers. ATI/AMD just said that a driver we found problems with was not meant to support OpenGL (even though the graphics hardware specification said that it did).

Topicscape screen looks weird!

"I have quite up to date 3D hardware (Intel® Q35 Express)and the latest graphics driver, but Topicscape doesn't look right. Here's a screenshot:


This is probably caused by a settings problem.

The following applies only to Intel graphics cards.

  • Press right-click on the desktop and select Graphics Properties.
  • Choose 3D Settings. This opens the control panel dialog box for OpenGL Settings. You can change the value of each OpenGL setting or attribute or restore the default values to all attributes.
  • The one causing the problem is probably "Driver Memory Footprint". Set this to 'normal' or 'high', and Topicscape can run. Once changed, press the Apply button to save your changes.

If it is set to 'low' it will cause problems for Topicscape loading textures (as the image indicates).

The following link contains Intel's formal detail about these settings and default values.

My screen has turned upside down. Help!

Try this: Press Ctrl+Alt+down-arrow and if that doesn't work, try Press Ctrl+Alt+up-arrow.

It is very probable that you pressed one of the above key combinations by mistake when flying with the cursor keys in Topicscape. To provide full 3D flying capabilities, Topicscape uses Ctrl+arrow keys and Alt+arrow keys. To avoid screen inversion in future you can disable the rotation functions as follows:

Right-click on your desktop and choose Properties; click on Settings; click Advanced; click on Intel Extreme Graphics; click on Graphics Properties; click Display Settings; UNCHECK Enable Rotation; click the Apply button.

If you do not have Intel Graphics, or you find that Enable Rotation is already unchecked, this is a new problem and should be reported to us.

Very slow performance

Having an out-of-date driver for your graphics adapter can cause 3D Topicscape to run slowly after a period of use.

Worst of all, is when Microsoft's default driver is in use instead of the driver supplied by the video graphics hardware maker. Then, performance can be extremely slow indeed, making Topicscape unusable and displaying the scene without textures - in other words with flat color.

Solution: You should check the computer and graphics adapter model and download the driver from the vendor's web site.

To find the graphics adapter's name, right-click on the desktop and click Properties from the pop-up menu, then click on the Settings tag and the graphics adapter's name and model should be shown in the 'Display' box. Then visit the computer manufacturer's site or the graphics adapter maker's site, and if a later driver is available, download and install it.

If the graphic adapter maker has no information, it should be possible to find the latest drivers on the chip-set manufacturer's site. Visit this page for links to the main manufacturers' driver download sites.

Flat color on cones

See "Very slow performance" above.

Somewhat slow performance

On some graphics cards, 3D Topicscape will run slowly if you have the graphics color quality set to 16-bit.

Solution: Please try changing it to 32-bit color. To do this, right-click on the desktop, select Properties, then in the Display Properties Panel, click on the Settings tab, and in the Color Quality selector change to 32-bit in the drop-down.

If, with your adapter, speed is not affected, then using 16-bit color will have a minor affect on appearance.

Can't select items in the 'Scape / periodic crashes with Intel graphics

"Why can't I select items on the search hit list or the history list? Selection of a topic cone is also a problem! I am using an Intel graphics display in Windows XP."

Another problem related to this: "My Topicscape scene appears outside the Topicscape window."

These two issues are caused by a past problem with Intel graphics, that has now been resolved but if you are using an older PC and have not updated your video graphics driver recently, you may experience it.

We found problems with Intel® graphics during our testing and got in touch with Intel® about it. A new driver has since been released to fix it.

Please go to the Intel site to download the driver, and then install it.

If you experience any problems after installation, please roll back to your existing driver. This can be done from the Control Panel: System > Hardware > Device Manager > Display adapters > double-click on the entry for your Intel® adapter > Driver > Roll Back Driver

This wiki article applies to the following chipsets:

  • Intel® 945G Express Chipset
  • Intel® 946GZ Express Chipset
  • Intel® G965 Express Chipset
  • Intel® Q963 Express Chipset
  • Intel® Q965 Express Chipset
  • Mobile Intel® 940GML Express Chipset
  • Mobile Intel® 943GML Express Chipset
  • Mobile Intel® 945GM Express Chipset
  • Mobile Intel® 945GMS Express Chipset

. . . and if you are using any of the following driver versions:

  • 14.25.50 (chipset driver version**:
  • 14.27 (chipset driver version**:
  • 14.27.2 (chipset driver version**: or later

. . . you will probably experience this problem.

Please make a System Restore checkpoint as a double safety measure in case you decide to revert to your present driver.

** This can be verified with Start > Control Panel > Appearance and Themes > Display > Settings > Advanced > Adapter > Properties > Driver. It's labelled "Driver Version".

Topicscape window "bursts through" to another window

Using one specific and rather old graphics adapter, we have occasionally experienced a "rendering" problem. What happens is that while Topicscape is running, if you put another window partly in front of the Topicscape window, then the contents of the Topicscape window will occasionally burst through onto the other window. This is a driver problem and hasn't been reported for a couple of years as at June 2009. We note it here in case you have an older PC.

Solution: Restarting the computer will fix this temporarily. If this happens, please ensure that you have installed the latest graphics driver software for your graphics card.

Sometimes works, sometimes doesn't

A user was using Topicscape on a laptop. Most of the time he was docked and using high resolution monitors. He found that if he pulled the laptop out of the docking station Topicscape would not launch when just on the laptop screen. It turned out to be because the screen and drivers for the laptop were not compatible.

This was confirmed by returning the laptop to the docking station, when it worked fine.

Tiny window

The above-mentioned user also found that when he pulled the laptop out of the docking station, then the Topicscape window becomes tiny, like this:

Laptop pulled out of docking station
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