In some older games using older directx i experience much distortion of text, which makes playing those games painful.
Two of those games are "I-War 2: Edge of Chaos" and "Might & Magic 9".
I tried to play those games under Windows 7 x64 on my Asus N82jv (i5 M520 with nVidia Optimus technology GT 335M, Intel HM55).
Two pictures as example, they are NOT scaled and are direct screenshots from the framebuffer:
As I was unable to post bigger screenshots you couldn't see that the first screenshot was made in the native resolution of the notebook display: 1366x768. The second screenshot was made in the default resolution of the game: 800x600.
The issue isn't relating to scaling as far as I can tell and only specific graphics elements (the text and the drawn boxes around the text) are distorted. You might imagine how hard it would to play a space simulator like "i-war 2" with such a distorted HUD interface. The roleplaying game Might & Magic IX is even harder to play with those glitches.
These two games are likely not the only ones, i guess these problems arise with a group of games from around that date using some then popular DirectX API function, both games are using DirectX 8 so this is likely. I-War uses it's own engine but MM9 uses a lithtech engine (a popular engine back then used by many games).
When i start those games on my desktop pc (nVidia graphics card, but also windows 7 x64 and core2 duo cpu) i don't have those problems.
It maybe those problems are related to nVidias "Optimus technology" even if I doubt so. It would be hard to test this for me as i don't own another laptop or desktop with i5 graphics only.
If you need further information, such as dxdiag files for instance, I would happily provide them.
In the last weeks I had used the last two or even three (including the now recent) versions of the Intel HD graphics driver as well as the nVidia Optimus driver from the optimus page, which is outdated, as well as the 258.96 WHQL driver and, in the moment, the 260.63 beta driver (which is quite buggy). No combination of these drivers in the timeframe of the last 2-3 months fixed the issue. I've also installed the most recent DirectX via the webupdater (so i have all DirectX 9 files up to date). As far as i can tell it should be some problem in the Intel drivers.
Unfortunately i can't force those game to use the nVidia graphics, but even if I could: if the problem is related to the Intel HD Graphics driver other customers of yours would also be experiencing those problems.
No, they are pure windows applications. DirectX is a windows API, so games using DirectX wouldn't be based upon DOS. Furthermore any 64 bit operating system from Microsoft drops 16 bit DOS compatibility: you can't start an 16 bit application under any x64 Windows. 32 bit console applications are another thing, but those use the Windows API and aren't DOS based.
I tried both: windowed and fullscreen. The distorted graphics elements are the same. Could anybody here, who posess an i5 driven laptop WITH Intel HD Graphics and one of the two games i mentioned (or possibly any other game powered by the lithtech engine), test for those distortions?
The 3D elements are absolutely fine, the problem are the "2D" GUI/Text elements. If you forward those thread to your driver programming team, they will surely have an idea what i'm talking about. My guess, if i have to make wild technical guesses, is: elements drawn with a low Z value (the depth information in a three dimensional coordinates system), maybe even negative, get somehow distorted by the driver. My guess is, the menus and texts are 3D objects in the very foreground (low Z axis, maybe even negative to be REALLY in the front of everything else) and might be victim of some kind of optimization in the driver which didn't take such cases into account.
I'm really sure everybody using these drivers for this hardware (intel CPUs with integrated graphics of the HD series) are getting the same result on games or other software using the same technique to display 2D-alike 3D objects (my guess) in the very front. If i'm right, then this WILL get an issue as more and more laptops are sold with Intel HD graphics and the likelyhood that more customers are trying to play their (g)oldies is rising with time. If your QA team needs any proof, testcases, information to verify this is in fact a driverproblem: contact me and i'm happily providing all information needed.
This laptop with Intel HD graphics is the only computer behaving like this. I tested it against another (much older) laptop with ATI graphics and 2 desktops with nVidia graphics (one running Windows 7 x64, the other Windows XP 32bit).
If i happen to have too much spare time i could give my netbook a try, which would sponsor an Intel graphics card (chipset based though).