Game Making & Editing FAQ/Q&A

Below are answers to common questions and problems, or Frequently Asked Questions, that often go unanswered that User Generated Content creators or game developers need answering that haven't been elsewhere. For a full list click here »

MXM graphics upgrade (heatsink)

February 22, 2018, 08:17:33 AM by kat
The process below relates to making a simple custom heatsink with limited tool access for an ATI/AMD 6700M MXM graphics card (AMD 5950M recognised by the system as an 6700M) to fit inside a HP Elitedesk 800 G1 USDT (Ultra-Small/Slim Desk Top) computer. Notwithstanding the heat-sink itself, to actually run an MXM card an 180W external power adapter is needed (Part No. #613766-001 or alternatively #613766-002).

Parts used/needed;
- AMD/nVidia Type III MXM card[1].
- Copper or aluminium plate or sheet[2].
- 40 x 40 x 30mm aluminium heatsink[3].
- 3M double-sided thermal adhesive pad/tape[4].
- CPU/GPU thermal pad/s (silicone)[5].

Optionally;
- Machine screws/bolts; M2 (2mm x 8mm) and M1.6 (1.6mm x 5mm)[6].

Tools used for the job
- junior hacksaw with metal blade.
- standard bastard file for metal.
- needle files (round).
- 2mm drill bit for metal.
- pin-vice.
- wet-n-dry fine grit.
- craft knife.
- scissors.

Making the heat-sink
To keep the process as simple as possible, the plan is to mount the aluminium heatsink square on a section of plate that’s cut to size and drilled so it can be mounted to the posts for the MXM card on the motherboard. To avoid waste and keep the amount of work to a minimum, the baseplate will first be draw to size on a sheet of paper or thin card. This will then be cut out, placed on the metal sheet, which will be marked and cut based on this, mounting holes included.

The basic MXM heatsink with aluminium block and copper baseplate

First mark the mounting holes to determine base-plate actual size.
The simplest way to do this is use the MXM cards mounting bracket (if the MXM board has no mounting bracket use the holes the bracket will attach to). Hold a piece of paper over the bracket (board underside) and poke holes through where the mounts are. Double-check position and alignment (cf. #1 below).

Holes puched in paper to double-check measurements for baseplate

With holes punched, the distance between them should be;

 - 46mm centre-to-centre

Using at minimum a 2mm drill-bit to match the M2 mounting bolts/screws, this makes the inside edge-to-edge measurement 45mm, with an outside edge-to-edge of 47mm[7] (cf. below).

Basic measurements for the copper baseplate - 46mm centre-to-centre, 56x56mm

Knowing mounting hole size and placement the heatsink plate can be drawn relative to the MXM card’s overall size and the GPU’s position on the board[8].
Using 2mm thick copper or aluminium plate[9] and the centre-to-centre mount hole distance of 46mm, add another 5mm hole-centre to outside edge, making the plate 56mm x 56mm[10] overall (5mm from hole-centre to outside plate edge). This forms the template and should look similar to the image below;

Paper and card templates used to draw/scribe copper baseplate

Once drawn the MXM heatsink template can be cut out and transferred.
Double-checks measurements after initial layout then cut paper or card template using a craft knife and straightedge or steel ruler. Place on copper or aluminium plate and mark or scribe the baseplates outline and centre-punch the mounting holes [11].

The basic heatsink baseplate marked on 2mm thick copper plate

Cut to shape and drill mounting holes.
Using a metal cutting saw cut as close to the outside edge of the heatsink as possible (the outer border)[12] to minimise the amount of excess material that need to be removed. Once cut, confirm the mounting hole centres are clearly punched and drill using a 2mm or 3mm drill-bit for metal[13]. Finish up using a metal file to finalise the shape, and remove any heavily scribed lines or marks on the upper surface with wet-n-dry sanding paper or other abrasive.

Cooper (2mm) baseplate scribed, drilled and sized

Clean, de-oxidise and de-grease surfaces.
To make sure the heat-resistant double-sided tape sticks the aluminium heat-sink block and baseplate firmly together clean and de-grease using surface cleaners and/or alcohol[14] – this is critical for lasting adhesion. Apply the tape to the underside of the heatsink block – cut to shape/size and/or trim excess where needed. Centre the block over the plate and press down firmly[15]. The MX heatsink unit is now ready to install.

The basic MXM cooling unit with aluminium heatsink block and copper baseplate

Installing the custom MXM heat-sink.
The final step is to install the MXM heat-sink unit. Apply thermal grease to the GPU, alternatively use a silicone thermal pad. Position the heat-sink and fasten using standard M2 bolt/screws – although pressure ensures a tight fit between GPU chip and heat-sink be aware of gaps that may form when fastening pressure is unevenly applied[16].

The custom made MXM heatsink installed in a HP 800 G1 USDT
Hardware properties of AMD Catalyst in Windows 10


Footnotes:
[1] although "Type III" MXM graphics cards may physically fit the available MXM motherboard slot, they may not be system or Operating system compatible, a condition that might not be discovered until booting up.

[2] metal plate or sheet material for baseplate should be a minimum thickness of 1.2mm to limit distortion and flexing – thicker material can be used but will typically affect ease of production.

[3] heatsink dimensions are largely determined by the height from GPU to underside of the case lid, and reduced width/depth as allowed for access to mounting holes – larger prefabbed heatsinks can be used but will need altering to allow for mounting point access.

[4] thermal tape is often used to ‘stick’ heatsinks to chips mitigating mounting pins and brackets. Success depends explicitly on clean surfaces. Thermal adhesives are not the same as silicon heatsink pads that aid heat transfer between surfaces.

[5] thermal pads made from silicone should be preferred to thermal past as the spongy resistance is used to ‘tension’ the heatsink once mounted instead of springs as might normally be used.

[6] to mount the heatsink itself to the MXM bracket the same type of M2 screws/bolts used in laptops can be used. To mount the MXM card itself to the motherboard MXM mounts M1.6 screws/bolts are needed. These requirements may vary depending on motherboard and card mounting brackets or posts.

[7] as the holes related to M2 threaded bolts/screws they will need to be slightly larger to ensure the mounting bolts have wiggle room if needed to fit the mounting plate. Drilled with a 3mm bit, or a 2mm then expanded using a needle file, either/or subject to availability, this makes the inside edge-to-edge measurement between 44mm (maximum) to 45mm (minimum) – ideally 44.5mm, and/or an outside edge-to-edge of 47mm (minimum) to 48mm (maximum) – ideally 47.5mm.

[8] ] GPU chip placement is not always centred within the space defined by the brocket and holes, or perpendicular to the MXM board edges.

[9] baseplate should be a minimum of 1.2mm thick to minimise flexing when fastened to the MXM mounting bracket.

[10] the size described here is based on defining an area that allows enough room to fully support the mounting holes without undue bending or twisting of the plate (depending on plate thickness and tempering) – the heatsink baseplate could be made large or smaller depending on the space available and/or whether partially or fully covered other onboard chips and modules is possible (they don’t obstruct the baseplate).

[11] it will be easier to mark or scribe around a card version of the template using an indelible pen, fine-line marker, or pointed object. If scribing, initial markings should be light so corrections can be made with relative ease.

[12] depending on the metal used for the base plate, use a powered, ‘junior’ or full-sized hacksaw with metal-cutting blade (teeth close together). To be absolutely sure of mounting hole placement, positioned the MXM card on top of the plate and marked down through the holes double-checking their position relative to those marked. Do this before cutting out the raw baseplate.

[13] drill one hole and double-check the diagonal (e.g. bottom-left to top-right) for placement and accuracy before drilling the opposite corner. To allow some wiggle room, use of a 3mm bit is recommended else holes may be too tight (alternatively a needle file can used to clean up or widen the holes). Countersink holes to de-burr.

[14] for copper plate in particular use Brasso or similar branded or off-brand, mild abrasive, surface cleaner/metal polish before clearing any residue with (isopropyl) alcohol or nail-polish remover.

[15] use a table and once positioned, apply full weight to the unit for a moment to ensure absolutely fast adhesion. Test by checking for any play or wiggle – if tape comes unstuck the surfaces would not properly cleaned and prepared.

[16] ideally fasteners should be spring loaded in that a long bolt is fastened to the mounting bracket under the MXM board which is then tensioned by the presence of compression springs. Unfortunately, these types of fittings are not readily available for MXM cards so the use of silicon thermal pads is recommended to provide adequate thermal transfer and compressive resistance to the downward pressure of the fixings that are used.

VideoStudio Poor Snapshot and Preview Quality

April 01, 2017, 05:33:53 PM by kat
Poor video quality in VideoStudio

Problem
When editing a project and video is paused in Corel VideoStudio, the playback Preview screen/area displays blurry, pixelated or otherwise poor quality video still images (video Snapshot quality is also affected - "Edit » Take a Snapshot"). Original or source clips don't appear to be affected by the problem, typically displaying clear of any of the pixelation or poor quality visual artifacts when paused or played (subject to project settings).

Solution
Assuming there are no other issues related to hardware (drivers etc.), poor quality video in VideoStudio's preview screen is typically the result of using the applications "Smart Proxy"  feature ("Settings » Smart Proxy Manager » Enable Smart Proxy" or "Settings » Preferences » Performance") which reduces project quality to speed up the editing process - to save resources and memory when working with larger HD video files, with "Smart Proxy" enabled, VideoStudio creates low resolution, low quality 'proxy' files to aid the process. When enabled this results in the 'poor quality' video images seen in the Preview screen.
Quote
Smart Proxy creates lower resolution working copies of larger source files. These smaller files are called “proxy” files. Using proxy files speeds up editing of high resolution projects (for example, projects that have HDV and AVCHD source files). [VSPx9 manual - pg.59]

To address the problem Smart Proxy needs to be disabled forcing VideoStudio to process and utilise clips as raw and uncompressed as possible. Once Smart Proxy is disabled Snapshots, images taken of a clip as a still image, also clear up reflecting the original quality of source and/or as determined in "Settings » Project Properties".

Video Studio won't start after Windows Update

March 22, 2016, 01:02:03 PM by kat
[image courtesy Corel]
Problem
Corel Video Studio (Pro) won't run after Windows Update (For Feb/Mar 2016) has been run. Program also does not respond to being placed in Compatibility or other mode (right-click vstudio.exe, select "Compatibility"). The issue is caused by a number of updates to a Windows sub-system that essentially breaks a link in the necessary chain of events needed by Video Studio (Pro). Problem appears to affect Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 to a lesser degree.

Solution
A 'HotFix' for Video Studio x7 or above is available from Corel here.

For Video Studio x6 or below, or in instances where a HotFix cannot be utilised, try uninstalling the following Windows Update files (important: Corel no longer supports v6);

For Video Studio (Pro) x7 and above uninstall 3126587 and 3126593. For Video Studio x6 or below 3140410 may additionally need to be removed. Be sure to disable or 'hide' removed updates to prevent their re-install on reboot. For Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 updates this may necessitate switching Windows Update to 'manual'.

To see and uninstall Windows 7 updates;
- from "Control Panel" select "Programs" then under "Programs and Features" click "View installed updates".

To see and uninstall Windows 8/8.1 updates;
- from "Control Panel" select "Programs" then under "Programs and Features" select "View installed updates" bottom-left.

To see and uninstall Windows 10 updates;
- click "Start", then the "Settings" icon, then "Update & Security". On the "Windows Update" page select "Advanced Options" bottom of the page, then on "View your update history" on the following page. Click "Uninstall Updates" top of the page to remove.



Alternative Solution
An unsupported/unofficial 'fix' (which may be removed as a result) is available for Video Studio v6 or v5 users here. Download "MUIHelper.zip" and extract the contents. Copy the included file "MUIHelper.dll" to the root directory of Video Studio (Pro), typically "Program Files/Corel/..." - this overwrites an existing file of the same name, rename the original to archive it before copying over the new file. Video Studio should now start (note it may also be possible to install the previously removed updates).

What is/does getting "FOXed" mean?

February 24, 2016, 04:15:54 AM by kat
Q: What is/does getting "FOX'ed" mean?

A: The term "FOX'ed" is a colloquialism to mean something has been 'taken-down' (often without warning) due to an infringement of Copyright pursuant receipt of Cease-and-Desist Notice. Although C&D Notices have a long history of being issued by Rights holders against others deemed to be misappropriating their Intellectual Property, it wasn't until 20th Century FOX issued a Take-down Notice on a Quake (1) modification, Alien Quake, that the practice became more widely known, and subsequently referred to simply as "FOX'ed" - at the time the Alien Quake mod was capitalizing on the popularity of the "Alien" franchise, Property owned by FOX (primary factor), who were actively working on their own materials (secondary factor).
Quote
The Alien Quake project has been discontinued by 20th Century Fox. I received an email on April 11th, 1997, from a 20th Century Fox representative that ordered us to cease all activity. The Alien Quake project was using copyrighted material without permission and this makes Alien Quake an unauthorized and illegal production. Therefore, you are hereby ordered to remove all your Alien Quake files from your computer storage. You must also remove all references to Alien Quake from any WWW pages or internet sites you keep or maintain. All distribution of Alien Quake is illegal and you should know that the Alien Quake team are under obligation to report the name and URL of any distributor to 20th Century Fox. Please let us know if you know the URL of a distributor or potential distributor.

Thank you for your co-operation. [source (dead link removed)]

Learn more about Copyright, Fan Art, DMCA Take-down Notices, and selling games with GPL'd content.

Windows 10 randomly booting computer

September 17, 2015, 04:05:19 AM by kat
Problem
Windows 10 appears to be randomly starting systems that have been shut-down without user input.

Description
When a PC is shut-down from Windows 10 "Power" Start menu option ("Start » Power » Shut-down"), systems may restart on their own without user input (the user pressing the power button) anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours after the action. There may be no immediate or apparent reason(s) or causes for the computer to start-up unassisted.

Solution
There are potentially a number of reasons why a computer may boot and start-up unassisted.

If the PC successfully boots into Windows, to find out what initiated the boot call, from the "Command Prompt" ("Start » All apps » Windows System » Command Prompt" (right-click "Run as administrator") type "powercfg -lastwake". This will report the last item to initialise the computer and narrow down the device or service making the call.

Wake on LAN
If nothing is listed using "powercfg - lastwake" check to make sure the system is not set to "Wake on Lan". This may need to be done in both Windows 10 "Device Manager" and the systems BIOS (usually "F2" or "F10" to access on start-up). To access "Device Manager" click "Start » Settings » System » About (bottom-left menu) » Device Manager (bottom-right panel)". In Device Manager click the arrow (">") to the left of "Network adapters" to access the available hardware, right-click each entry in turn, select "Properties" and in their respective "Power Management" settings check that "Allow this device to wake the computer" is DISABLED (NO checkbox).

Additionally (and depending on availability, optionally), when checking the PCIe Lan properties (settings associated with a hardwired connection to the PC and not the Wireless device) click "Advanced" and scroll down the options shown to "Wake on Magic Packet"; set the "Value:" to "Disabled". Similarly for "Wake on pattern match"; set it to "Disabled". This essentially turns off 'wake' calls received over Lan.

Fast Boot
If the above fail it may be Windows 10 "Fast Boot" ("Fast start-up") feature design is causing the issue (may also applicable to Windows 8.1). With this enabled when a system is shut-down from the Power menu options it does not fully power-off the machine but instead goes into a state similar to "Hibernation" (as opposed to "Sleep" mode) where certain features, services and devices are kept alive in memory to speed to the boot process - from a 'cold boot', all system devices have to be initialised which can take some time to do, "Fast Boot" relieves this by keeping some services in memory requiring fewer to be started on boot, thus reducing boot time. For "Fast Boot" to work, PC's are shut-down but not completely powered-off (so memory can remain active). This 'state' may result in systems randomly booting up without user input or prompting.

The "Fast Boot" ("Fast start-up") feature is part of Windows 10 "Power & sleep" settings and can be disabled (admin rights required). To access click "Start » Settings » System » Power & sleep (left menu)" then under "Related Settings" to the right click "Additional power settings". When "Power Options" opens click "Choose what the power buttons do" on the left then at the top of the page click "Change settings that are currently unavailable" (admin rights required). Scroll to the bottom of the page and under "Shut-down settings" disable "Turn on fast start-up (recommended)" (no checkbox).

Windows Update Reboots
It's also possible that apparent random system reboots are the result of Windows 10 automatically rebooting on schedule or after downloading and installing updates. Depending on the options set this cannot be fully disabled as Windows 10 (currently) downloads and installs updates automatically, rebooting from which can be delayed but not completely disabled (as is possible with Windows 7). To check, click "Settings » Update & security » Advanced options".
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