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Black screen upon launching Civ 4 BTS on laptop win 11

Rafaelito

Warlord
Joined
Aug 13, 2014
Messages
135
I was playing civ 4 just fine on my HP omen 16-inch RTX 3070 intel windows 11, and then suddenly I get only black screen upon launching the game, I can alt tab and hear the game sound but nothing else.

Tried everything I could find online like downloading direct X 9.0, running as admin, compatible mode, reinstall the game, verify game files on steam but to no avail. Also, these things should not matter as I was playing just fine a few days ago. My drivers are up to date as well as windows. Any ideas?
 
Are you running any mods? What version of civ are you running, i.e., whered’ya get it?
 
Are you running any mods? What version of civ are you running, i.e., whered’ya get it?
Only Mod I have is RFC Dawn of Civilization, but the game failed to lunch on vanilla BTS. Version is 3.19 and playing on steam.
 
Are you running the beta version of steam bts? If not, you must.
 
Not sure, hoe can I check this?
Go to properties > Beta on BTS in Steam. Choose “original release “. It will reinstall.

Note: always run bts from the exe

And change compatibility mode to Win 7 on the exe
 
Did the beta just now and the problem remained. Also, when I click on the exe after changing to beta the game doesn't launch at all due to an error, regardless if a change compatibility or not
 
Did the beta just now and the problem remained. Also, when I click on the exe after changing to beta the game doesn't launch at all due to an error, regardless if a change compatibility or not
You might need to do a complete reinstall from scratch. The beta install can be a bit wonky if not done from a clean slate. Completely delete BTS > Reinstall > Switch to Beta. Also, delete your custom asset folder in my documents.

And I would recommend deleting and reinstalling any mods you use. (Note: If you use BUG in Custom Assets , it can conflict with other mods, which is one reason to delete the CA folder- no worries, game automatically generates a fresh folder)
 
I have followed these steps, uninstalled the game, reinstalled and selected beta, removed the only mod I have (RFC dawn of civilization) and still the black screen remains. There is no custom asset folder in my documents for CIV 4.

I also noticed that occasionally the game runs, as if I restart the machine 5 times it will eventually work (1 out of 5).
 
Below is a screenshot illustrating the issue I'm experiencing all the time.

1720493258949.png
 
The BtS log files don't seem terribly verbose when it comes to the graphics engine, but perhaps still worth a shot to check. The "Logs" folder is normally under "My Games", same place as the "Saves" folder. Will need to set LoggingEnabled = 1 in CivilizationIV.ini (in the same place as Logs and Saves). init.log looks like the only good candidate; mine says:
Spoiler :
Code:
[2559.359] DBG: CIV Init
[2559.375] VERSION: App: C:\Program Files (x86)\Sid Meier's Civilization 4\Beyond the Sword\Civ4BeyondSword.exe
[2559.375] VERSION: Build: Thu May 14 16:17:10 2009
[2559.375] VERSION: 3.1.9.0 (128100)
[2559.375] VERSION: Mod Loaded: none
[2559.390] DBG: FILE Cat Init
[2560.437] DBG: NOT Using XML cache, failed to find crc.dat file
[2560.437] DBG: Game Init
[2560.453] DBG: Multiplayer Init BEGIN
[2560.515] DBG: Multiplayer Init END
[2560.515] DBG: Audio Init
[2561.140] DBG: ArtFileMgr Init
[2561.140] DBG: Python Init
[2564.546] VERSION: CIV Version: 319
[2564.546] VERSION: Minimum Version: 0
[2564.546] VERSION: Save Version: 302
[2564.546] DBG: Input Init
[2564.546] DBG: Engine Init
[2564.562] DBG: Checking available screen resolution
[2564.718] DBG: Validating screen resolution
[2564.718] DBG: Creating rendererer
[2565.281] DBG: Engine: renderer Initialized
[2565.296] DBG: Engine: Shaders Initialized
[2565.515] DBG: Engine: Scene Lights Initialized
[2565.531] DBG: Music Start
[2565.546] DBG: Font Init
[2565.578] DBG: Begin MenuManager
[2565.578] DBG: Total Frame MS: 6321.0  FPS: 000  Min:000 Max:000 Avg:000  SampleFilter:10.000000
 Time   :   Ave  :  Min% :  Max% : Num : Profile Name
-----------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------
Maybe some error message instead of "renderer Initialized" on your end?

Windows logs (Event viewer - but I don't know how to get to those on Win11) could also be worth checking for warnings and errors, maybe also Run > dxdiag – though I don't know what sort of problems would get displayed there.

No problems with other games? The Civ 4 base game (if this is a complete edition)?
 
yeah, the steps I outlined are important, especially when running mods. It may be related to Win 11, but I don't use that OS, at least for gaming...yet.

Not sure what you mean by no Custom Asset folder since there should always be one. It would be located under something like my documents>bts or my documents>my games>bts on your c: drive.
 
Mine says this

[160.250] DBG: CIV Init
[160.250] VERSION: App: D:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Sid Meier's Civilization IV Beyond the Sword\beyond the sword\Civ4BeyondSword.exe
[160.250] VERSION: Build: Thu May 29 12:28:49 2014
[160.250] VERSION: 3.1.9.0 (128100)
[160.296] VERSION: Mod Loaded: none
[160.296] DBG: FILE Cat Init


No problem with other games but Civ 4 is the only old game that I play.

I've found the custom asset folder, mine is in the game folder (Bts > customasset) instead of my documents. I deleted it and the problem still remains.
 
Are you sure that LoggingEnabled is set to 1? Because I get the same output if I disable logging. (My guess is that really no log output is supposed to be generated then, and that those few bits are accidental.) My complete edition fwiw has multiple files CivilizationIV.ini (\Documents\My Games\Beyond the Sword for BtS, \Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 4 for the base game, \Documents\My Games\Warlords for WL).

[Edit: Hm, or maybe the launch process really hangs somewhere early on, i.e. doesn't proceed far enough for the log message about the XML cache to get displayed. I had assumed that the game launches and that it's only the graphics that don't show up. Because you wrote that you do hear sound. I don't think there is sound while the the splash screen with the progress bar is still shown; only once the opening menu appears.]

Another idea: Resetting the user profile. Some graphical settings get stored there, and I'm guessing that a reinstall doesn't delete the profiles (though it might). Removing all .pfl files from \AppData\Local\My Games\Beyond the Sword\Profiles (so this is in quite a different place than the logs and saves - at least for the old disc version) should accomplish that. The game should generate a new profile upon launch then. The fact that it sometimes works makes me suspect that it's a system/ hardware issue, but, then, who can say that bad game settings couldn't also have that result.
 
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Are you sure that LoggingEnabled is set to 1? Because I get the same output if I disable logging. (My guess is that really no log output is supposed to be generated then, and that those few bits are accidental.) My complete edition fwiw has multiple files CivilizationIV.ini (\Documents\My Games\Beyond the Sword for BtS, \Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 4 for the base game, \Documents\My Games\Warlords for WL).

[Edit: Hm, or maybe the launch process really hangs somewhere early on, i.e. doesn't proceed far enough for the log message about the XML cache to get displayed. I had assumed that the game launches and that it's only the graphics that don't show up. Because you wrote that you do hear sound. I don't think there is sound while the the splash screen with the progress bar is still shown; only once the opening menu appears.]

Another idea: Resetting the user profile. Some graphical settings get stored there, and I'm guessing that a reinstall doesn't delete the profiles (though it might). Removing all .pfl files from \AppData\Local\My Games\Beyond the Sword\Profiles (so this is in quite a different place than the logs and saves - at least for the old disc version) should accomplish that. The game should generate a new profile upon launch then. The fact that it sometimes works makes me suspect that it's a system/ hardware issue, but, then, who can say that bad game settings couldn't also have that result.
I've found the profile folder you mentioned and deleted its pfi file inside it. Upon trying to launch civ 4 bts, got the same black screen again. I can hear the sound and even press enter and hear the ticks as if I was selecting something in the menu, but can't see anything because my screen is just showing that black screen
 
I see. (No pun intended. :() Then I can't quite make sense of the meager log output. Well, I was at best expecting some form of "graphics are broken," so it probably doesn't really matter.
 
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