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Weird flickering when looking around/moving


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As the title says, when I look around and move in game the world lighting seems to flicker. It seems to switch between lighter and darker when I start and stop moving. I tried to record it but it doesn't show up as well in the recording I don't think. It's super noticeable as I play and I haven't figured out what settings affect it.


Specs and Settings are as follows:


R7 5800X

32GB Ram @ 3200MHz

RTX 3080 Ti

Playing @1440p 165Hz






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This sounds like black smearing. Check this video to see if that's what you're talking about.





I found out with 7 days to die, black smearing ended up being the game that brings the issue out the most for me on my current monitor. It's a slow transition of black. Best to look it up yourself. I switched to an old monitor before I got my ultra wide to check and black smearing was definitely present but at such a small amount I never noticed it so I never knew what it was. Some monitors have it worse than others. Regret grabbing this Samsung ultra

 wide after finding this issue because it can't be unseen lol 

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  • 5 months later...

I noticed this same issue on my "new" monitor in 7 Days to Die, even though I haven't noticed it at all in any other game. I have played more than 20 games published in the last 3 years on this same setup (so I know the problem CAN be avoided), but 7 Days to Die is the only one where I have noticed this, and it's bad enough to make the game unplayable.


What seems to cause it is what joshwa0816 suspected earlier, Black Smearing (my in-game experience with 7 Days to Die was almost as bad as the example in the video he linked). It seems to be a problem with almost all VA panels out there, and considering they are going to be more and more popular because of their low price for an otherwise great screen, this should be relatively high on the things to look into for the development team.


What made it better for me (but did NOT fix it), was to set Contrast 10% lower, and Brightness 10% higher from NVidia Control Panel. It does make the game look flat and dated in comparison, especially the shadows, but at least I can now play for over an hour in one go (I actually got a migraine attack after 10 minutes of play).

Edited by Henshaw (see edit history)
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On 12/31/2022 at 7:13 AM, SylenThunder said:

Take every option with the word reflection in it, and turn it off.

that was my suggestion as well. most lightning bugs I have encountered have been related to reflections/occlusion settings

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I have same issue. It's so bad that when I'm looking at the ground and looking left and right really fast I can watch the light from my monitor create a strobe effect on my walls. Disabling AA, and lowering resolution to from 1440 to 1080 helped, but it's still there. It's the only reason I quit playing 7d2d and I really wanna give the new update a go, but it's not fun to play like this.

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On 6/12/2023 at 4:22 PM, warmer said:

that was my suggestion as well. most lightning bugs I have encountered have been related to reflections/occlusion settings

I ignored that reply, because it is not the cause. I'm also not sure it qualifies as a bug when it only happens on certain hardware.


I have done extensive testing, although trying to find the cause was hard as 7 Days to Die is the only game this has been noticeable, but here it's unplayable without the aforementioned tweak I did. That also leads me to believe it's something that can be fixed, as other A-AAA games don't have the problem (and I have played literally more than 20 on this same screen), or at least not to the same extent.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

I have had the same problem. This is definitely "Black Smearing" and is a hardware related issue (the monitor).


7D2D is especially bad for black smearing (or especially good for 'testing' any tendency towards black smearing on a monitor).


It's not related to reflection settings. Occlusion settings are a good guess, but in this case it's not the problem either.


The reason it has bad black smearing, is because the textures in 7d2d at night have thousands of hard transitions from full black (0 of 255 in all colors), to more lit areas. Gives the game a very 'sandpaper' look, texture-wise. Very granular. This means that standing still maybe 20% of the screen is full black. but it's not a black area, it's a "pixel here, a pixel there" all over the screen. When you move the camera, you're moving those black pixels across your monitor, so different 'physical' pixels are displaying the full-black, as it moves across your panel. If your monitor has slow-ish pixel response this makes for a "smear" of black. When it's a black object on screen, this is pretty tolerable, gives the black object a slight "trail" behind it. But when it's a thousand individual pixels all over, basically the percentage of screen which is displaying black will double or triple when you move the mouse, as each 1 pixel of black becomes several pixels of black in a 'smear'.


Not all monitors will have this problem. And/or will not have this problem to a significant degree. OLED panels do not black smear. Pretty much all other panel types will black-smear, but they vary a lot in how severe or noticeable it is. VA panels are especially prone to black smear (but they do have lovely deep blacks for a cheap panel tech).


Anyway, MOST monitors have a much easier time going from very dark gray to lit up, than they do from true black to lit up (and vice versa). Going from a pixel illumination of say 75-32-162 to 0-0-0 and back, makes black smearing as noticeable as possible. while going from 76-33-163 to 1-1-1 and back, will "USUALLY" have much better performance, because your pixel isn't turning all the way "off".


So what you're going to want to do, is prevent any of your pixels (in game) from going "fully" to black (fully "off" state for that pixel).

Henshaw's suggestion will definitely work for that. But it does (as he pointed out) make the game look a lot more washed out.

I think with "most" monitors, you don't have to take things quite that far. (and I'm actually rather a fan of VA panels myself, so I'm in the 'problem zone' myself).

Instead of going to nvidia control panel, I would go to 2 main places to adjust:

- Your monitor brightness & contrast settings

- The in-game gamma setting


Normally I have my monitor very carefully calibrated for visual production work. So my 0-0-0 true-black pixels (in the pc's signal to the monitor) are displaying as 0-0-0 true-black on the monitor's physical pixels as well (extremely accurate calibration). And I very much like that a VA panel goes nice & dark for that. But for games, this tends to really bring out any black smearing. Sooo... for gaming, I adjust monitor brightness & contrast up, just slightly. Just enough that it's very nearly black, but not "true-black" in the darkest parts of the screen. So "none" of the pixels (the physical ones) are going fully 0-0-0 black (just very close to that).

This will make things look slightly washed out (like IPS panels look all of the time).


Now if you then go to the game's gamma setting, and turn that up some, you can bring out brighter highlights. This will visually make the dark areas (which now aren't "fully" black) look pretty black to the naked eye, by way of visual contrast. So your blacks aren't 'true black', but your user experience will see them as 'pretty darn black'.

Um, if you're in a very dark room, it might make the screen look a little bright, so consider turning on a small nightlight or something so it's not so glaring (it's better for your eyes anyway).


anti-aliasing can "slightly" blur the edges of the black pixels, and "slightly" alleviate the problem by allowing a little bit of the smear to exist in an area disguised by the faint blurry area. Softening the sharpness on the monitor may also do similar (and is generally less of a performance hit than anti-aliasing). But the usefulness of this vs. black smearing is Very limited. And in some cases it can make it worse. I think 7D2D looks good with some softening though, as it's textures are very granular.


IF that's not enough to eliminate the problem, try tweaking the monitor's brightness/contrast and in-game gamma settings slightly more. If that's STILL not enough, then start using Henshaw's approach as well. But i'd test it in baby steps, adjusting 1% at a time, until things look acceptable.


There is one other approach which might help. If you de-sync monitor frame rate from game frame rate (no v-sync), and you run the game at 60fps, but run the monitor at 120fps or so (if it can), you may see some improvement that way too. Depends on how many milliseconds of black-to-gray response time we're working with in your monitor. Overdrive settings on monitors 'may' also help, it's very model specific whether that's going to be a pro or a con, and to what extent.


Turning down your textures may help as well. I recently got a 4090, calibrated my monitor for visual work with it, and the following weekend cranked the F out the settings in 7d2d... and it was BAD black smear on this somewhat aged VA panel. But I was able to minimize it without an overly washed out look for the game.


The reason 7d2d has this issue, is very high fidelity textures with true-black bits in them (at least at night), and very granular textures. It's especially bad in the grass and in the 'old wood' textures in most burnt or rustic POI's. Most games just clip the true-black out of their textures, and use smoother textures, so the issue isn't as apparent (but it does "exist" in many many other games). I mean, go look at a vid of Overwatch gameplay. There is no black anywhere on the screen at any time. Voila they "fixed" it... but that kind of cartoony look doesn't suit a horror title ;) ARK has fairly noticeable black smearing too.


There may be approaches that I missed, but your google searching should be "minimizing black smearing on a monitor" and you can leave "7D2D" out of the search, since it's not a strictly 7D2D problem, it's just extra obvious in 7D2D. That'll get you to the best answers.


It is "mostly" fixable, so long as your monitor doesn't have really severe pixel response time problems. 7D2D would make a good benchmark for torture testing black-smear though ;) 


I'm confident enough in all this to say I'm 90% sure you have a VA panel ;) (which isn't in my view a bad thing, just a complicated matchup with 7D2D). If you're playing on a "TV" (one which isn't really optimized for gaming use), or a reeeaaallly slow pixel response VA panel, you may not be able to get a satisfactory result though. But if that's the case, you'd be seeing this problem in many titles, just not as severe.


PS: before getting too deep in it, try just turning up gamma in game. That may resolve the issue by itself. I can clearly see the black smearing in your posted video clip on my monitor. Many of the people responding can't see it in your video, because they have faster pixel response time. I prioritized gamma accuracy for visual work though.

Edited by K4te (see edit history)
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