The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Startup Issues
Eric Hunting
Posted 2012-11-14 18:03
Early PowerMac with 2 dual-core 2.66 GHz Xeon, Nvidia Geforce 7300 GT 256mb, 2GB RAM. OSX 10.7.5.

Followed installation instructions to the letter, all peculiarities with install as noted in the instructions. Only deviations were that CrossOver didn't report the error it was noted to. Also, couldn't purchase the game in Steam under CrossOver because the payment page HTML was messed-up and would not display properly. (a bit annoyed that I had to install from Steam when I could have bought the base game for $20 less at Amazon...)

First-time run was exactly as anticipated. No problem except the anticipated first-time crash noted in the Tips section. Program hung at the new game 1st level loading page. (where the dragon statue is zooming in and out, random tips and story notes are displayed on the bottom, gray bar labeled 'Level 1' at the top. No mouse cursor visible and can't use CrossOver menus. Keyboard completely unresponsive. Forced to do a system restart. Hoping this is what was 'supposed' to happen...

Second run, startup menu opens normally, opening screen goes black after partially displaying Bethesda logs, then displays a broken-up image of the opening screen dragon logo, then a blown-up pixelated image of the Steam logo from the Steam community pop-up, then tiled images of random icons. Music is playing normally. Game is obviously running but the graphics mode is wrong. No mouse control but I can hear the music feedback sounds of menu selections. Figure out how to cleanly quit the game by sound from the opening screen.

Subsequent run attempts; check video options at startup screen and see my video card correctly identified. Thing is defaulting to small screen aspect ratio but not showing any resolution. Start experimenting with the windowed modes. Not a single windowed mode resolution works. They all open to a black screen. But I can hear the sound and, with that, quickly exit to try other modes.

Discover that I can select to start a new game by listening to the sounds and quickly start hearing wagon wheel sounds--I remember that's the opening game story sequence! (thanks Robbaz, King of Sweden...) The game is running normally and went past that 1st level load screen immediately--whereas when I could see the load screen it was hanging around for a long time before the slow image-zooming stopped and the game crashed.

Experiment further with video modes, I switch back to full-screen and force the game to wider screen 9:10 aspect ratio. Opening screen displays as normal, credits page displays, mouse cursor works fine. Still hangs at exactly the same place in the new game 1st level loading screen. Discover I can get the normal Mac mouse restored by repeatedly clicking and moving it upward toward the CrossOver menu bar--which works but is sluggish. I can now quit by closing CrossOver but it always complains there are two processes not responding to simulated shut-down. (Skyrim and Steam?) Discover that the game will try to default to the earlier wrong video mode after every crash. You have to manually set to one of the two wide screen aspect ratios to see the opening screen and restore the cursor--even if the video options appears to be set at one of those aspect ratios. It's lying. Unless you touch that menu and click on a wide screen mode, it will run in the wrong mode. Easy to see why people seem so stuck with this black screen problem--the program itself lies to you!

Experiment with different quality modes in the video options, none make any difference. They're all for 3D rendering and I can't get past the new game load screen if the video mode is in anything I can actually see.

So here's where I am; I can get the game to run (sort of...) if I let it go to that wrong video mode where the opening screen goes black. (which would be fine, it this was the game Papa Sangre and not Skyrim...) If I use a video mode where I can see the opening screen, it will crash on the new game load screen before it gets to 3D graphics. It's that point of transition from the 2D graphics mode the game uses to display menus and the mode used to do 3D graphics where the game crashes. I seem to have encountered most of the same issues other people are complaining about in this forum and they all seem to be related to this.

Seems these problems have been around for a while. Can we get some of those many staff that the instructional video claims are playing this game in here on this? Do they all use the same model Mac?

Silviu Cojocaru
Silviu Cojocaru Omniscient Mystical Exalted Nigh-invincible Supreme Raging Atomic Dragon Turbo Chief Senior Advocate, Rank 8
Posted 2012-11-14 18:20
That 7300GT is very old and does not meet even the minimum required VRAM size. On this wiki page they recommend setting everything to the lowest setting when it comes to graphics for the chip. And that is on a Windows install.

Sometimes games are tricky with more recent and better supported cards. You should open a support ticket but I would not get my hopes up.
Eric Hunting
Posted 2012-11-15 19:13
Thanks for the advice. I was afraid the card might be too old. May just have to wait to upgrade--whenever Apple decides to release the next MacPro.

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