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Thread: Dreamcast frame drop out during gameplay: hardware, disc, or game glitch?

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    Dc Dreamcast frame drop out during gameplay: hardware, disc, or game glitch?

    I was recently trying out Looney Tunes Space Race on my US Dreamcast on my US LCD TV via composite.

    - I played as Wile E Coyote.
    - I threw a bomb item at an opponent.
    - Frame drop out (black screen / no render) occurred for maybe a frame or so.
    - The game continued to play and there was no sound disruption during the event.
    - It didn't happen every time, but usually did so when a bomb exploded closer to my character.
    - Sometimes it occurred when the explosion was further away.
    - Sometimes it occurred when hit by a bomb thrown by enemies. I never tried to get hit so I don't know if it would happen every time an enemy bomb hits me.
    - Sometimes this frame drop out occurred when using the dual rocket weapon.

    The disc has quite a bit of scratches--none of them are deep--all which are those that can be seen only when you tilt the disc under light.

    I tested on a second Dreamcast using the same hookup cables, and the issue occurred on that system as well.

    One hypothesis that jumps to mind is that these scratches interfere with reading the data layer and an image or several images associated with an explosion effect (let's say you have several LODs for a texture) and the effect doesn't render properly, causing an error that continues the game but drops the frame.

    Another idea is that there is a game bug in the explosion effect when these items go off at certain distances (related to LODs?).


    I'd like to know if anyone else has these issues when playing the game on their Dreamcast or any ideas what may be causing this problem.

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    I attacked the problem again and I believe I eliminated whether it is related to my hardware or my retail disc.

    I tried a copy of the game which does not have any scratches and used the same setup. Guess what? I still have the frame drop out issue. I have not read any review on the internet that mentions what would be a common bug. The generally positive reviews make this seem odd, considering most people likely do not want to be blind-folded while racing.

    Does anyone else have this frame drop out issue?

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    Road Rasher Bibin's Avatar
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    It's your TV not liking something in the Dreamcast's video signal. Perhaps when a bomb goes off, the signal is very high (as the screen is bright) and something in the TV's analogue to digital conversion is getting upset as a result and stops pulling a sync signal from it. My only suggestion is to stop playing via Composite and get a VGA box, or at least upgrade to S-video. The image will be much clearer, and every step you can remove from the TV's processing of your signal the better in every way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bibin View Post
    It's your TV not liking something in the Dreamcast's video signal. Perhaps when a bomb goes off, the signal is very high (as the screen is bright) and something in the TV's analogue to digital conversion is getting upset as a result and stops pulling a sync signal from it. My only suggestion is to stop playing via Composite and get a VGA box, or at least upgrade to S-video. The image will be much clearer, and every step you can remove from the TV's processing of your signal the better in every way.
    I'll try using my s-video and see if that makes a difference. This is the first time anything like this has happened to me when using a TV.

    As an additional point, I want to clear up some of your misconceptions about the VGA signal. It is an analog signal and thus still requires processing to digitize, scale, and display on my LCD TV. I do agree that the VGA I used to get from my poor broken Blaze box was highly superior to the composite I was using in haste for testing purposes.

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    Raging in the Streets Blades's Avatar
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    Have you checked the port on the Dreamcast? I had a Saturn with a twitchy cable that would blank every once in a while.

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    I hooked up the DC via composite again and noticed some intermittent wavy lines (consistent with a loose cable). I did not see these lines before. Either way, I fiddled with the cable and noticed if the cable was weighted down, the contacts on the plug must have better contact with the video out port and the image "fizzled" a bit before clearing up. I did not see the frame drop problem after doing this.

    However, I also tested using S-Video and got the frame drop. This is probably due to a bad connection as well even though the picture looks clean and there are no wavy lines. I tested again via composite and saw a clean picture with no wavy lines, and the problem returned. I have heard of the loose plug theory before when I first discovered my VGA box wouldn't power on. No amount of fiddling made the power light come on then and I tried again this time by leveraging the cord. It didn't work.

    As stated in the first post, I tested the game and cables using two Dreamcasts. I believe I also have an official DC composite cable somewhere and will tested using that.

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