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graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

by ajduckie
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graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

★★★★★ Apprentice

I haven't been able to find a thread on this exact issue, but in the past two days I've actually found 2 other Mac-users who have experienced the same issue, one of whom was the actual Apple representative that I spoke with today over the phone. So I figured I'd post the details here to see if there's anyone else who's experienced it. According to what the Apple rep told me while viewing the issue in my game and his, it's most likely a problem on EA's end that occurred with one of the latest patches. According to the reps I've spoken with over the past week, it's not an issue with my hardware or my computer's capabilities. That said, here are my mac specs:

 

- iMac 21.5 inch, Retina 4K, 2017

- 3.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor

- 8 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 Memory

- Radeon Pro 560 4GB Graphics

- Built-in Retina Display, resolution 4096x2304

- 1TB Storage (Fusion Drive), 700GB available

- currently running OS Catalina, version 10.15.2

 

And here's a little info on the graphic issue:

The visual effect itself is hard for me to describe, but it seems to occur on any object in-game that has even a slightly reflective surface texture. Weirdly enough though, I haven't noticed the effect on mirrors. But glass tables, metal appliances, shiny stone steps, windows, shiny wallpapers or wooden floors - from what I can tell which exact objects the effect appears on varies. And for me, the effect first appeared on 3 CC television screens and a CC refrigerator, and nothing else. No other CC, no EA items (that I looked at). More recently, the effect suddenly appeared on EVERYTHING that had a slightly reflective or shiny surface, as described above. The effect can vary in its pattern, but for me it's most often a pattern of dots, as you'll see in my pictures below. However, on some objects, it appears as densely packed lines (this is how it appeared on the one CC refrigerator when I first noticed the glitch). Apparently, both of these effects are forms of artifacting, according to the Apple rep who looked at the effect in my game. Out of curiosity he checked his own game on his 2019 iMac desktop, and he gets the same exact effect on TV screens in his game. The one other person I spoke to who has seen this effect in their game on wallpapers. The visual effect shifts as you move your camera around, zoom in and out, etc.

 

I have tried a multitude of things to resolve this issue or gain more understand of what the exact problem is. Some of the things I've tried are listed below.

- repaired my game via Origin

- removed all mods and custom content

- completed a folder refresh and tested without any of my saves, tray files, etc.

- adjusted all graphics settings, to lowest and highest available, as well as combinations of various settings

- adjusted resolution settings, played in windowed and fullscreen modes, with and without retina-optimization on

- reset the SMC on my Mac

- rebooted in safe mode

- tested in a new user account on my computer

- ran first aid on my disk image and hard drive

- reinstalled the operating system on my Mac

 

The only things I have not yet tried, but will be trying tonight:

- full uninstall of TS4 and Origin

 

I will update here if the full uninstall/reinstall makes any difference!

 

I'm sure there's plenty more info that could be helpful - if there's anything, please just ask and I'll answer the best I can!

 

3 images (linked via Imgur, because I already had to lower the file size a lot and decreasing it further might make it difficult to see the effect)

https://imgur.com/KIWApqK

https://imgur.com/M2HFbdS

https://imgur.com/El6PfFO

 

Please do let me know if anyone else has experienced this issue! From what I'm told the only fix from EA's end, so we need to let them know it's happening in order to solve the problem.

 

Thanks! AJ

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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

@ajduckie @Hephaestion02 @Shh-speechless 

 

I ended up replacing the cube map texture with a simple black 128x128 PNG in S4S and it fixed the issue, I'm back to a normal TV again. 

 

01-12-20_9:09:11 PM.png

 

I replaced this:

 

cube.png

 

with this:

 

cube2.png


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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

@ajduckie

An Apple support person happened to have the game installed on their Mac and could see the same thing?? What are the odds on that I wonder...

CC items with this are up to the creator to fix, if it is an object issue, but it shouldn't happen on all EA items with a reflective surface. I cannot reproduce on my 2017 15" MacBook Pro which has the same GPU as your iMac, and 2019 27" iMac with AMD Radeon Pro 580X 8Gb. Could you specify a couple of items it's happening on so I can check them specifically?

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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

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@Bluebellflora 

 

warning: really long message ahead. get comfy. sorry in advance...

 

Yeah - I'd been talking with a few different Apple support reps over the last week about the issue, and this last one that I got connected with happened to be a pretty avid gamer. I showed him the graphics issue in a screenshot and he recognized that it was TS4 and asked me to pull it up in the game. When he saw the effect in game he had his roommate load up his game on his Mac (2019 iMac, I believe he said it was the "same as mine" but 2019 so I guess a 21.5 inch?, not positive) - and sure enough the effect was visible on television screens for him. It wasn't covering all/any reflective/shiny surfaces as it was in my own game, however. Instead, it was only on TV screens, like it was when the issue first appeared in my game. Anyways, I was thrilled in general that I happened to be connected with someone who not only knew computers well, but knew Macs well, and knew gaming well, and knew The Sims games well... I really didn't want to let him get away because I knew his knowledge would be super helpful/revealing for this issue. My only hope now is that perhaps he's an EA guru or something and maybe he'll stumble across this post.

 

Anyways, from the testing I've been doing, I have a little more info to add to the overall issue. Still super confused, but maybe someone else can make sense of this information I've gathered. Heads up, this is going to be a LONG post. The issue is so beyond my comprehension and there are SO many different factors that seem to weigh into it, that I just have to provide all the little info I can in the hopes that some of it will help us find an answer to this problem.

 

I completed a full uninstall/reinstall of TS4 and Origin. Upon reinstalling, I loaded up the game completely fresh, with none of my mods, cc, saves, tray files, options, etc. Totally new game. No graphics issue. Then I threw my mods folder in there without any of my saves/tray/options. Graphics issue appeared.

 

Quick reminder: when I tested BEFORE uninstalling/reinstalling, after doing a repair and folder refresh and removing all mods/saves/tray files, the graphic issue remained. The only thing that was different in these two cases was that I totally uninstalled and reinstalled my game and Origin. anyways..

 

After seeing the graphics issue, I closed the game, took my mods folder back out, and reloaded the game, totally bare game again, no cc, saves, options, mods, tray, etc. No graphic glitch! So then I went about loading in my saves and tray files bit by bit. As far as I could tell, the glitch did not appear. When I got to my mods folder, I went 1 mod at a time until I got all my major mods in there without seeing any glitching. Next I put my CAS folder in there, tested again, still no glitch. Basically, I got down to a few specific subfolders inside of my Buy Mode folder that seemed to contain "troublesome content."

 

Now here's where it gets a bit confusing. When I was doing my testing, I went in game and looked for the major glitch issue - that is, the effect appearing on any/all reflective, glass, or shiny surfaces. I did not go through each and every object in the game to look to see if the effect appeared on those objects. While testing, if I did not see the graphic effect appear on the windows and appliances that were on the lot I was viewing, I considered that "no glitch" and kept moving through my CC folders. With that said, I later found a couple more pieces of CC that had the effect appear on them, without causing the effect to spread throughout the rest of the game and onto non-CC surfaces. Anyways, more on that in a minute.

 

So, listed below are the pieces of "problem" CC that I got pointed to by moving my CC into my game one subfolder at a time - these were the items that, when in my game, caused the graphic effect to spread to ALL shiny/reflective surfaces, including EA textures.

- Peacemaker's Caine Living Television

- IllogicalSims Contemporary Living Television

- Luumia's Curved UHD TV

- LittleDica's Modern Kitchen Pack refrigerators, filenames are H&B Portal 4 and H&B Portal 4 Plus

 

Now, these five items are the same five items that I first noticed the effect on. Actually, the three televisions used to work perfectly fine in my game. It wasn't until trying out the two refrigerators sometime after the Discover University release that I noticed the glitch. I don't know exactly when the televisions started showing the effect, but they were definitely working fine before any DU patches/hotfixes. Anyways, with these five items out of my mods folder, the graphic glitch did not appear on the appliances and windows on the lot I was viewing in-game during testing.

 

However, I noticed soon afterwards that the graphic glitch DID appear on a few objects alone, without spreading to other objects, textures, etc. The objects that displayed the graphic glitch but did not seem to spread it to other content were:

- Luumia's iSimPad

- LittleDica's Modern Kitchen Pack tablet holder TV

- Peacemaker's Glass Splashback Wall Tiles

- DreamTeamSim's Chalkboard Mural Wall

 

Please note that these objects previously worked totally fine in my game, and the graphic issue first started appearing on them when it spread to all appliances, shiny surfaces, etc. At that time, the graphic issue spread to not only these two objects but all similar objects in game, including EA ones. But now, for whatever reason, they retained the graphic glitch without causing it to spread to all other surfaces.

 

Since noticing the effect still appearing on certain objects without "infecting" all other reflective surfaces in my game, I've done some hunting through my build/buy catalogs to really search for anything that could display the effect. That's how I found the above 4 items. There could be more I haven't found. As of right now, the 9 objects listed above are out of my game. Those CC televisions are the only ones I had in my game, so I have not been able to test out whether or not the issue occurs with any other CC televisions. I did not find out from the Apple rep if the tv objects he saw the effect on were CC, EA, or both. Another Mac-user on Discord sent me a photo of the effect visible on their TV screens, plus all over their walls. I'll post that picture on this reply. I've reached out to them to try to find out exactly which objects are affected in their game but I haven't yet heard back. Unfortunately there's no way to reach out/find the Apple rep specifically, though I really wish there was because he seemed to have a much better understanding of the issue than I did. When I asked if there would be a way to reach out to him later, he told me that unfortunately there wasn't. I think this is due to regulations about releasing personal information between client and Apple support reps, though I'm not sure.

 

All of this said, I have had some PC-users try out the 5 items that I listed above (the refrigerators and televisions) and the effect did not appear at all in their games.

 

I guess I'll wrap up with a couple of my own unorganized thoughts about this... to me, it seems that at some point, something went wrong with how the game is coded to handle graphics on Mac. From what I can tell, from that point on the effect appeared only on certain pieces of CC, maybe these pieces of CC are particularly difficult to render graphically, who knows. But like I said before, the television screens all worked perfectly fine in my game for months, and the ONLY change I made to my game, computer, or settings around the time of seeing the effect appear on those televisions was the addition of the CC refrigerators by LittleDica. But even upon removing those refrigerators immediately, the effect remained on those TVs. Then suddenly, the effect began appearing on anything reflective/shiny, EA or otherwise. So to me, this error feels somehow progressive? I don't even know if that's possible - I know little-to-nothing about computers and graphics. All I can do is report what I've observed from my gameplay/testing. Right now, my game seems to be back at the point it was at around the time of the DU hotfixes/patches. The glitch isn't all over every surface, but it sometimes appears on a random piece of CC, and if I see it, I remove the CC to be safe. It's as if the game stopped being able to properly process the graphics of certain items after a patch, and then if I left too many of those items in my game, the effect spread and the game was unable to process any reflective/shiny textures at all. Again, not sure if this is possible, but that's what it feels like is happening, from a non-computer-savvy person.

 

I'm sorry again for the long post and the rambling. This is just such a complex issue and it's really hard to process it myself, let alone write it all out in a clear and concise way. I've been trying to get the word out and encourage any Mac-users who use CC to look for this issue and report it here when they see it, but I also don't want to spam various Discord channels in the hope I'll find another Mac-user willing to test this stuff out with me. But so far, the three other Mac and moderate-heavy CC users that I've come across have seen the issue in some variation in their game. So I know it's not just my computer. I'm hoping I can get them to post here with their specs and also with the items that they're seeing the effect on. The one person said they would but like I said earlier, I haven't heard from them in a couple days. Maybe will try again tonight. Anyways it's time for me to shut up. Thanks so much for anyone who takes the time to read through this. --AJ

 

 

 

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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

@ajduckie 

 

Wow, that was...... long! But helpful Standard smile

 

I love Peacy's stuff and have it all. I'm still not seeing it like in your screenshot. I also have MXIMS TVs and they are fine.

 

01-04-20_10:50:02 PM.png

 

What are your in-game graphics settings? Can you screenshot them and post it here? My MBP with the same GPU as yours are:

 

Screenshot 2020-01-04 at 22.56.39.png

 

Do you have a screenshot of the issue on an EA object?


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Message 4 of 44 (2,598 Views)
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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

@ajduckie

Been researching this more because it frustrates me when I can’t repro an issue on the same hardware. It could be possible that the CC creator(s) did a default replacement of the lighting texture file which could cause the issues you’re seeing - http://sims4studio.com/thread/16555/create-custom-reflection-cube-maps

The only way to be sure is to do the 50/50 method on your Mods folder. Move it all out and back in in very small batches until you isolate the CC causing the issue.

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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

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@Bluebellflora 

 

thanks for the reply! sorry again for that long message. about my settings in-game - i've got everything set to the highest possible settings. Uncompressed sim textures is on, post processing effects are on, laptop mode off, retina display on, vertical sync on, and usually I play in fullscreen mode at the resolution setting that's around 4k (it's the first 4k listed resolution). That said, I've adjusted my graphics settings to all lower options, have adjusted the resolution settings as well, tried in windowed mode, etc. 

 

Also - for a screenshot of the effect on an EA texture - in my first post the window I shared a picture of is an EA window.

 

As for the 50/50, when I first got the issue on the fridges and the three TV screens, I did a repair, folder refresh, and a full 50/50. When I had nothing in my game besides those five objects, they still appeared with the effect. And at this time, the effect had never before spread to every surface in my game. That didn't occur until later on (only change in those circumstances was progression of time). 

 

After my uninstall/reinstall, I did a sort of backwards 50/50 again, and was pointed to the fridges and those TVs again. At that point (the date of my first post here), having those five objects in my game was causing the effect to spread to all textures in the game, including those EA windows. Once those five objects were out of my game, the effect was only visible on certain objects (the ones I listed later in my last post.

 

Additionally, I've identified another object that has the exact same visual effect that is seen on the two refrigerators in the image on my first post - the one with a dark and empty apartment. That same effect appeared last night on a CC sink, from that same LittleDica Modern Kitchen Pack. Only the countertop sink displayed the effect - the standalone sink looked totally fine. 

 

About the cube map stuff you shared - that looks EXACTLY like the effect that I see on the TV screens, windows, computer screens, etc. In my game last night I even started to notice that effect, very subtly, on Peacemaker's desktop computer from the Vara Office set. 

 

I read through the post you shared but other than recognizing the look of the cube map, I wasn't really able to understand much of what that means for this issue. If these same objects are not showing the effect in other people's games, then it can't be a matter of messed up CC can it? I've also tried redownloading all the CC in question of course, but no change.

 

Ugh, I really hope we can figure out what the issue here is. EA, please help!! I want my Peacemaker CC back in my game! And of course LittleDica released another CC set today, and I'm guessing that stuff would show up with glitches in my game as well. I have no clue why. I really don't understand why the effect shows up on certain pieces and not others, and then why it suddenly jumps to all other textures, CC or EA.

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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

★★★★★ Apprentice

Wow, weirdly enough, that tutorial on S4S Forums is actually written by littledica! I wonder if they can help us understand what's going on with this issue.

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Re: graphics issue with any reflective/shiny surface

[ Edited ]

@ajduckie

I would be 99% definite that the issue is not with Peacy's CC. He is the most responsible creator and always test and updates his stuff, plus I have everything of his and am not experiencing it on my Macs.

It is definitely a CC issue and may be just one piece of CC causing it. When you do the 50/50 method you should also trash the localthumbcache file each time.

You should probably jump into that thread at S4S and ask, they are way better equipped for CC issues and that thread definitely seems to be the right one. Let me know how you get on! Standard smile


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Sorry for another reply here, but I found another interesting thread about cube maps over on S4S forums. http://sims4studio.com/thread/14566/solved-object-specular-different-update

 

Peacemaker actually weighs in on this one too - looks like the original poster was getting two overlapping cube maps and that caused a version of the effect I'm seeing to appear on their metallic table.

 

So in my game, the effect looks as if instead of properly rendering the reflective surface, I'm seeing a scaled down version of the cube map repeating itself over and over... I'm not sure. I really don't understand this stuff. But it's definitely related to the cube maps. I just don't understand why it's occurring on certain items, especially ones created by two cc-makers who obviously understand a great deal about cube maps and how they are supposed to work!! And why it spreads...? This is all so confusing..

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@Bluebellflora 

 

I agree - I couldn't possibly believe that this was a case of bad CC from Peacemaker. He's arguably my most trusted CC creator. I know his content is good and I know how hard it works to make it work correctly! That's why I'm so confused by the issue! Why are his objects showing the glitch, even without any other CC in my game? It just doesn't make any sense!

 

I also posted some info in Athena's Mac Help discord server, I think you're in there? Sorry for so many spontaneous updates... Hard to keep everything organized here..

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