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Troubleshooting - Blender Game Engine

Why does Blender crash everytime I try to play a game?

by blendenzo

Problem: "Every time I press 'P' to start the game engine, Blender crashes."

This is seen on Windows as a popup window alerting you of a problem and the need to close the program. On other operating systems it takes a variety of froms, but in all cases Blender immediately stops functioning. This article will attempt to help you resolve this issue by addressing some possible causes.

Graphics card related problems

It is my understanding that Blender crashing like this most likely has to do with the OpenGL support of your graphics driver. I would suggest you visit the card manufacturer's website and see if there are any driver updates available. Sometimes installing a newer driver will give you support that you did not previously have. I've had good success with getting significant speed increases in Blender performance by upgrading graphics drivers.

If you have an integrated chipset (like in a laptop or a PC where the monitor plugs into the motherboard instead of an expansion card), then you should check for either the motherboard manufacturer or the PC manufacturer. Visiting a PC or laptop manufacturer's website won't always turn up the newest driver, but it should help you identify what company manufactured the chipset and what model chipset is in your machine. Then you can download the latest driver directly from the manufacturer's website. I don't recommend downloading drivers from an online "all drivers" site, since you can't always be sure of what you're getting. If you do go to a drivers site as a last resort, be sure to read through all of the comments that other people have made about the driver and look at it's overall rating and the reliability of the source.

Also, try searching Google for OpenGL related problems that others have had using the same graphics card/chipset that you have. (The Blender Game Engine uses OpenGL to render its graphics.) You may be able to find a solution that worked for someone else that way.

If all else fails, it may be that your graphics card does not have sufficient OpenGL support to run the BGE (most do, though). I'm no expert on your particular situation, so I can't say for certain that that is the real problem, but it very well could be. If you can't get the BGE to work with your current card and you are still interested in making it work, you may want to consider investing in a new graphics card.

How to identify your graphics card model
If you have a brand name computer that you bought pre-built at a store, then you can usually find all the information you need on the computer manufacturer's website. Look for a "product support," "product documentation," or "drivers and downloads" section. Try to find the technical specifications and look for the graphics card listing. (NOTE: The drivers available on a computer manufacturer's website are not always the newest. For the latest drivers check the graphics card manufacturer's website.)

If you can't find the information you need on a computer manufacturer's website, or if you don't know who built your computer or what model number it is, you will need to find the technical information another way. In my opinion, the most accurate method of identifying the manufacturer and model of your graphics card is to open your computer and look at the graphics card (or the motherboard, if you have an integrated chipset). IMPORTANT: Do not touch anything inside your computer without electrically grounding yourself first! Usually the most important information to get is the model number. Look for names printed on the main chips, or for numbers and letters toward the outer edge of the card.

If you don't feel comfortable opening and looking inside your computer, look in your operating system's device manager to find out what card your computer thinks it is using (this is not always accurate). On Windows, you can find this information by following these steps: (This is from my memory, since I use Linux, so I might not have all of the tab names exactly correct. If you can't find the button I'm refering to, just look for the closest alternative.)
  • Right-click the desktop and choose "Properties".
  • Click the "Settings" Tab, then click the "Advanced" button.
  • Click the "Drivers" Tab on the window that appears.
  • Usually the driver name contains the model number of the graphics card it was designed for. The version number will help you determine whether drivers available online are newer or older than yours.

Other possible (but much less common) problems

The Blender Game Engine is only confirmed to work in the Windows, Linux, and Mac versions of Blender. I have heard reports that it does not work in the FreeBSD version, so if you are using FreeBSD that may be the problem.

If you are using Linux, there may be some error with the build you are using, or you may be lacking a certain dependency. Run Blender from the Terminal and see if it outputs any errors when it crashes. Errors will help you better determine the problem (or they will help you better explain the problem on a support forum).

If you built Blender from the source code yourself, then there may be something wrong with the way it built. I don't know much about that, so I can't offer much help. Try the standard build released for your operating system and see if that works.


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