Tidalis:Common Technical Support Questions

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License Key Problems

I bought the full game, but it says trial mode

Generally this just means you need to enter your license key. When you first run the game, it will always be trial mode, even if you bought it. When you purchased the game, you should have received an email from the game distributor that included a license key for you. Simply type that into the License Key textbox that pops up when Tidalis starts, or even cut-and-paste it in, and you're all set! Once the game accepts your license key, you'll be in the full version.

If you already entered your license key and now you have reverted to trial mode when you load the game again, this may mean that your settings.dat file has been erased or corrupted. The game keeps a backup of this file as settings.bak, so this is exceedingly rare. The settings.dat file also has your settings information and high scores, so those also would be gone in this case. In such an event, you can simply type in your license key again and you're good to go. But if this is happening, you might also want to check on your hard disk to make sure it's not going bad.

If you were in the full version of the game, but then connect to another player and went into trial mode, don't fret -- this is temporary. It simply means that the other player is in trial mode, and your game will act as if it were also in trial mode until you disconnect from that player. You won't lose any data or have any other problems. This is simply a convenience so that trial players can play with full version players without the full version players needing to revert their license keys out or anything like that.

The game won't accept my license key

Please make sure that you typed it exactly as it was shown in the email, with capital or lowercase letters, the dashes intact, and no spaces at the start, end, or anywhere in the middle of the text. Usually cutting and pasting the license key will solve any such problems. If you still have an issue, the problem is likely extra spaces at the start or end of the license key; sometimes that gets selected along with the license key, depending on your email client.


Visual Problems

The game looks squished or stretched

If the graphics look stretched or pinched, most likely the game is running at a resolution that is too wide or narrow for your monitor. Simply go under the Settings window from the main menu, and you can select a new screen resolution until you find one that looks correct.

I can't set my screen resolution on Mac OSX

Tidalis runs on the Unity 3D game engine, which is a wonderful engine and in fact started out on the Mac before becoming wildly more cross-platform. Unfortunately, the latest official version of Unity 3D (2.6.1) at the time that Tidalis was initially released has a bug that prevents us from being able to set your resolution or your fullscreen/windowed status from in-game.

When future versions of Unity comes out, we'll update Tidalis to use the new version so that this problem goes away for Mac players, but in the meantime there is fortunately a pretty simple workaround, and the Screen Resolution popup in the game will tell you about this: simply hold the Option key while clicking to open the game, and you can use the default Unity 3D screen-resolution-configuration interface to set your resolution and your fullscreen status.

I'm colorblind, and can't tell the blocks apart

Tidalis has six different block sets, some of which will be easier or harder to tell apart depending on your type of colorblindness. You should be able to find one that works for you. To change your block set, go under Settings from the main menu and there is a big "What style of blocks do you prefer?" dropdown that you can use to compare and choose the one that works best for you.

I'm sensitive to motion and flashing, and this is giving me a headache

Tidalis has a lot going on on the screen, to be sure. For most folks, this is exciting and no problem. But, we know that amount of visual flair can be both overwhelming and painful for some people. If you fall into either of those camps, no worries -- we've got you covered.

Once again, go into the Settings screen, and this time there are two options that may be of interest to you:

Reduce Visual Stimulation Checkbox

If you check this checkbox, then a lot of the special effects and animations on the game board will be removed. Fewer flares and victory explosions and background shakes and that sort of thing.

Use Static Backgrounds Checkbox

Normally the visual backgrounds while you are playing are full of life and motion. If you check this checkbox, then instead a non-moving image will be used. This is great for if you were finding the motion overwhelming, and it's also great for if you're playing on an older computer.

The non-moving backgrounds load faster, and put far less of a load on your computer's processor and memory. So if you're finding the game loads levels very slowly or stutters a lot while playing, you may want to use this option simply for that reason.

I set the screen resolution higher than 1280x768, and now I have black bars

This is the expected behavior. The game will not scale up the actual graphics on larger resolutions. There simply aren't any graphics for larger than 1280x768. If you want to see the graphics scaled up on your monitor, your best bet is to choose a smaller resolution.

Doing the scaling in the program (versus at the monitor, when you use a lower resolution on a monitor capable of a higher resolution) both uses CPU/GPU and looks far worse (we tried this way back with AI War, and it looked terrible).

Why is Tidalis so resolution-bound? Well, in a game like AI War, you have a "viewport" that looks into a much larger space than is actually visible at any given time. This is like any 3D game, for example, but specifically FPS games, 3D platformers, etc. For those sorts of games it is easy to be resolution-independent because you just show more of the game when the resolution is higher.

For a game like Tidalis, there is no viewport, and the entire game takes place onscreen at all times. So that makes it impossible to just show more of the game when you go outwards -- there's nothing there! The only option would be to scale up the existing graphics themselves, which the monitors are better at doing (via setting a lower resolution) compared to game code.

Is X fullscreen resolution supported?

It depends on what your OS and your graphics card report to Unity 3D. Tidalis will allow any resolution that is at least 800 pixels wide and 600 pixels tall. There is more flexibility in choosing a windowed resolution (you can set whatever windowed resolution you want), but for fullscreen resolutions it's based on what your OS and graphics card report as supported.


Windowing Mode Problems

Is it possible to run the game in windowed mode with no window toolbar/border?

Unfortunately, this is not a feature of the Unity 3D engine, on which Tidalis runs.

The game keeps playing when minimized or not in focus

In order to not cause issues during network play, this is the intended behavior of the game unless you have paused the game.

The game stops playing when minimized or not in focus

When you are paused while not connected to the network, this is the intended behavior of the game. We assume that you want those CPU cycles back so that you can look at other applications, and that you'd like the sound and music to stop so that you can potentially talk on the phone or do whatever else interrupted you. This doesn't kick in when you are on an active network connection, though, because that would cause the network connection to drop.

Known issue: Fullscreen mode with dual monitors can cause loss of focus

The dual-screen support of Unity 3D, the engine on which Tidalis runs, is pretty limited. If you have dual monitors and your mouse cursor goes off of one monitor and on to the other, and then you click, the game will minimize if it was in fullscreen mode. This is unavoidable with the current version of Unity 3D, but we hope to see it addressed in future versions of Unity. For the time being, we suggest either disabling the second monitor or playing in windowed mode.

Known issue: When windowed, the game pops up split between dual monitors

The dual-screen support of Unity 3D, the engine on which Tidalis runs, is pretty limited. We don't have any way of implementing our own workaround to this, and we hope to see this addressed in a future version of Unity 3D. For the time being, you'll unfortunately just have to drag the game to the position you want when you start it.


Network Troubles

All networking-related questions are answered on the Network Troubleshooting page.


Bug Reports

Did you find a bug? Please let us know at the Tidalis Bug Report Forums!


Technical Support Forums

Question not answered here? You'll want to head over to the Tidalis Technical Support Forums to search, and then ask if you don't see it answered there, either.