OpenGL 2.0 graphics support is required

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Postby Nicholas » 10-21-16 3:11 am

Starting with Synthesia 10.3, the Windows version of Synthesia now requires graphics hardware that is capable of meeting the OpenGL 2.0 standard.

I've spoken a little more about the reasons, here, but the short answer is that despite our best efforts to maintain compatibility for as many users on older hardware for as long as possible, it becomes less feasible as that hardware grows beyond 10 years old.

If you receive this error, there is still a chance your hardware is actually compatible. We've heard from users running the generic Microsoft graphics driver instead of the "real" driver for their hardware. Usually, this seems to be on systems with integrated Intel graphics. Intel's driver page has a utility that can find the latest drivers for your system.

There is a special situation worth mentioning where upgrading to Windows 10 actually limits your graphics capabilities: Intel routinely stops supporting hardware after a certain number of years. So, 10 year old systems haven't had any driver updates since the release of Windows 10. This is trouble, because Windows 10 requires new drivers made specifically for Windows 10. Because Intel doesn't provide updated drivers but Windows 10 requires an updated driver... you are stuck with the generic Microsoft driver. So, even though the hardware may support the OpenGL standard that Synthesia requires, Windows 10 doesn't know how to utilize it. This is a rather unfortunate situation and a fairly good reason not to attempt using the latest operating system on a very old machine.

In any event, if all else fails and you are stuck using a Windows computer that is incompatible with Synthesia 10.3 or later, the previous release should continue to work:

Download Synthesia 10.2 for Windows
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Postby jimhenry » 10-21-16 1:15 pm

Nicholas wrote:In any event, if all else fails and you are stuck using a Windows computer that is incompatible with Synthesia 10.3 or later, the previous release should continue to work

But you will be locked out of Synthesia 11 with the sheet music upgrades, which will be a major new feature for many users. Avoiding a thoughtless upgrade to Windows 10 is probably the best solution.

But if you are stuck with a lack of OpenGL 2.0 support, I think there is a chance to prop up your Windows desktop computer by adding a LOW end graphics card such as one based on the GeForce 710. The reasons for suggesting a low end card are low price, maybe less than US$40, and low power requirements. Older computers often have power supplies that don't have enough unused capacity to power higher end graphics cards. The graphic card manufacturers generally recommend having a power supply of 300W or more with a 20A 12V supply, which is more than you will find in many older computers. However, that is conservative and you will likely be able to add a low end graphics card to a system with as little as a 235W power supply. There are power supply calculators available, such as http://powersupplycalculator.net/, that allow you to check the size of power supply needed for a given PC configuration.

If you have an older Windows laptop, you might be able to use a USB connected external graphics card. But, I am not sure if that will work or if it would be cost effective. You might be able to acquire a used 5 year old laptop with OpenGL 2.0 support for almost nothing.
Jim Henry
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Postby Nicholas » 10-21-16 11:22 pm

jimhenry wrote:You might be able to acquire a used 5 year old laptop with OpenGL 2.0 support for almost nothing.

This isn't a bad idea. When one user gave the model number of a tiny Dell desktop from 2010 with specs right on the edge of being compatible, I was able to find one on eBay in perfect condition for $58. That was for the whole computer! There is a ton of old (but still reasonably fast) hardware out there at very low prices.
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Postby suli » 11-21-16 6:06 am

I have a problem:(. My new Notebook Intel 6700hq Intel 530 HD Graphics - Driver is actully / MSI GP 72 6qf 16GB DDR4, Win 10, Nvidea 960m. This have black lines in the display when i open Synthesia list menü (this line switch in 1 second between 5 or circa 10). When i play Synthesia, this is not problem? When i switch to my Nvidea 960m is this not problem. Show my screenschot. What i can do?

Spoiler:
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Postby Nicholas » 11-21-16 3:19 pm

What a strange visual glitch. Hmm.

If it works with the Nvidia 960m graphics, is there a reason you can't always leave that enabled?
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Postby Pianotehead » 02-11-17 6:31 pm

I can testify, that it worked on my system to downgrade to Synthesia 10.2, as suggested by Nicholas in the top post.

System: Desktop Intel i7-2600K 3.40Hz, Intel HD-Graphics 3000, 8GB RAM, Samsung 850 Evo 250 GB SSD. Windows 10, 64 bit.

I couldn't understand why the falling bars were stuttering down my screen, on my system, which I consider having very good specs. Then I found this thread, and the likely explanation, that although my setup is not bad, it is quite old, except for the SSD. I bought this computer in 2010 or 2011. After I downgraded to Synthesia 10.2, it feels like I have a 4K display, when using Synthesia. No stuttering, whatsoever.

I have one question, though. Since I have Windows 10, am I stuck with the generic Microsoft graphics driver, which can't make full use of my hardware? I can see that on the Intel's driver page, there are no drivers for my system, except for Windows 8, 64 bit. Am I to take it that the Windows 8 drivers available on Intel's download center, will not work for Windows 10?
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Postby Nicholas » 02-12-17 1:34 am

Pianotehead wrote:Am I to take it that the Windows 8 drivers available on Intel's download center, will not work for Windows 10?

I'm actually not sure. I know different versions of Windows have varying compatibility with other nearby versions. That said, I know next to nothing about Windows 10 so I'm not sure if a Win8 driver will work there.
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Postby Pianotehead » 02-12-17 4:17 pm

Thanks for your reply, Nicholas.

I did a Google search for Intel HD Graphics 3000 Windows 10, and the Intel representatives clearly state that there is no support for Windows 10, when it comes to this CPU with Intel HD Graphics 3000. A lot of members of the Intel forum criticized the company for dropping support for only four years old hardware. The Intel guys answered by claiming they cannot support their hardware for all operating systems, for years and years.

Just wanted to share this information, if other Synthesia users with a similar system as I have, have ran into some graphic problems. There are some suggestions for workarounds, but I haven't tried them, and wouldn't trust them. Better to have an older Synthesia than a broken system altogether. :D

I'm fine with running Synthesia 10.2, at least until version 11 is released. I have a newer laptop with Intel HD Graphics 4600, and, as far as I know, that graphic card doesn't have this problem. I prefer to have a desktop dedicated to my digital piano, and maybe it's time to face the music and get a new desktop, anyway.
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Postby Nicholas » 02-12-17 5:45 pm

Pianotehead wrote:Better to have an older Synthesia than a broken system altogether. :D

Better yet to have an older, actually-supported OS. :lol:

I begrudgingly have a little (literally; it's a tiny Intel NUC) Windows 10 test system, but it's the only Win10 installation at my disposal. I even keep it unplugged. :D

Anytime someone has to push as hard as Microsoft did, you start to wonder whose best interests it's actually in. Pair that with the blatant lack of hardware support (this Intel stuff is just the tip of the iceberg). And the final nail in the coffin is their new attitude of "we'll finish it when we get a chance": at launch Calculator was missing modes and buttons, MIDI was completely broken, system tray right-click -> Customize Notification Icons just crashed Explorer anytime you tried it, and more.

It didn't seem like anything that needed to be adopted right away. So I haven't. And all of my stuff still works. ;)
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Postby Pianotehead » 02-12-17 6:20 pm

I've had problems with Windows 10 before, which I didn't have with Windows 8, but I just loathe Win8 too much, to ever go back to it. :D I've managed to solve them or work around them, but I know many digital piano owners simply stay with W7/8, because of problems with W10.
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Postby KaleidonKep99 » 11-24-17 7:27 pm

Maybe you could take the GLDirect code, and implement something like that for the Windows release of Synthesia.
It might be useful for people stuck with the generic Microsoft driver, which DOES support DirectX 11.
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Postby Nicholas » 11-25-17 12:18 am

So far the feedback we've seen over the last year is that missing OpenGL support/drivers is already very rare and when it does actually come up, almost everyone is able to find more recent drivers. The case where it's missing and no drivers are available (or the hardware genuinely doesn't support OpenGL 2.0) seems to be affecting a vanishingly small percentage of all users. Even better: this is a problem that becomes even smaller as time passes and older hardware continues to be retired.

So at this point I don't have any plans to spend more effort on this (still unfortunate) situation.

That said, some of the work they did in GLDirect to support things like shaders is pretty impressive! I hadn't heard of that before. That's a cool project.
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