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View Full Version : Game stalls for .5 sec frequently now


Nobear
01-03-2011, 09:10 PM
It didn't used to be this way. Aside from the internet-specific issues and new special effects slowdowns, this happens regardless of what I'm doing and even when I'm playing solo. I haven't put a stopwatch to it, but it seems like it stalls every 30 sec to 1 min or so, just for about half a second, but it's still annoying and if timed badly can result in death. My specs are:


MacBook4,1
Mac OS X Version 10.6.5
2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
Intel GMA X3100 Integrated graphics at 1280 X 800 (lol)
2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Western Digital Scorpio Black 500GB HD (WD5000BEKT)
Cox High Speed Internet (middle option: 15 Mb/sec)
Din's Curse Demon War with 1.012 beta

I wonder if this is a Mac only issue, or applies only to slow computers, or is specific to a certain OS version or what. Anyone else notice what I do?

EternalChampion
01-03-2011, 11:07 PM
I'm using a MacBook with no issues whatsoever after the 1.0.12 patch.

MacBook4,1
Intel Core 2 Duo
2.1 GHz
OS X 10.6.3
4GB RAM
GMA X3100

Nobear
01-03-2011, 11:16 PM
Only two things I see which could be causing mine to run slower, are that you've got more RAM and a different OS version. If you're not opposed, could you install all the Software Updates and see if you notice anything?

The only other program I typically run while playing Din's Curse is Safari, with a few tabs open. Shadow, do you think I'm RAM limited in my case?

Manumitted
01-03-2011, 11:56 PM
This may not be your particular issue, but it is a similar one. I have seen my original-version game stutter and stall briefly on a regular basis. As best I can determine, this is the cause:

Game is doing its regular background save, obstructed by one or more of these issues...
...on a slow computer
...to a slow hard drive
...to a fragmented hard drive partition
...while decompressing other content from one of those giant .ZIP files
...especially deeper-buried content (some of the vendors' files are really out of the way)

Streaming disk access, especially simultaneous read/writes, without bogging down a real-time application is harder than you'd think. I've had some success in reducing stuttering by keeping enough free space on the game drive for effective defragmentation (25%+). I don't know if the MacOS filesystem is as fragmentation-prone and free space-sensitive as my NTFS.

You might try increasing the autosave interval, 120 seconds by default. It's in the config file as AutoSaveTime or can also be changed at the console: AutoSaveTime $whateversecs

Aet
01-04-2011, 02:55 AM
Running MacBook Pro 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo myself, 3 GB RAM (the max this model will recognize) with OS X 10.6.5, ATI Radeon X1600 and a 320 GB HD with ~95 GB free. I generally have iTunes playing music in the background, Safari(aka RAM hog) in the background with a few windows of tabs I occasionally switch to for checking on stuff (love being able to cmd-tab out and back into the fullscreen program mid-dungeon at the drop of a hat - NEVER lose this feature!), and a few other misc applications that behave themselves. I don't have any such delays, though once upon a time I think multiplayer had this issue - way, way back and long-since fixed.

Can you open up Activity Monitor and see if some application is chewing through your CPU or RAM? Also, do you have enough free space available on your HD? It'll slow to a crawl/exhume general bugginess if you're running with less than 5 GB free, as the OS really needs some breathing room to work.

Totally unrelated, with Demon War installed the game shows a black screen for five or so seconds before the title screen initially loads up. Pre-expansion it did not delay. I seem to recall this happening only once before; I think a mod was involved and removal thereof fixed it.

EternalChampion
01-04-2011, 03:23 AM
I was going to mention the weird black screen delay... :o

I'm not sure if I want to go to 10.6.5 yet. There's some documented issues I don't feel like handling. Waiting for the "pure" Snow Leopard. If and when...

Just from the sound of it, it seems more like a hard drive issue?

fiesher
01-04-2011, 03:28 AM
After the 1.012 patch, I do realize the "stalling" issue frequently (Once every 2-3 mins?) as stated by Nobear.

I will be pressing a hotkey to do something and the game does not register my action; and I will have to wait until after the stall to register my command again.

Naturally, this is impacting my Hardcore character and I am playing very carefully (or less even) to wait for the next patch to solve this issue.

There is definitely a change from the smoothness of the 1.010-1.011 DC that I was playing, and the same "intermittent stalling" feedback was given by my brother who installed the expansion/1.012 patch on on his laptop.

Nobear
01-04-2011, 04:19 AM
First off, it's not a hard drive full issue, that's for sure. Just upgraded from 160GB to that 500GB HD, with 475GB still available (I've only transferred back Din's Curse saves and installed a few apps so far). The HD is also 7200 RPM, and this combo of factors plus a clean install of a newer, slimmer OS make this old MacBook a relative screamer in most tasks, including startup, application loads and web browsing. Gonna update with Activity Monitor results soon.

Nobear
01-04-2011, 04:35 AM
Ok I'm not sure how to read Activity Monitor. Din's Curse is by far the biggest CPU load, with around 20%. However, % Idle (at bottom in CPU tab) is hovering around 88%. Should the sum of the CPU loads plus % Idle = 100%, or am I missing something?

As for Real Memory, Safari with 3 tabs is taking 274.3 MB, Din's Curse is taking 109.3 MB, then kernel_task PID 0, then Finder, then everything else is 33 MB and under.

The System Memory tab reports 350 MB free and a total of 1.66 GB used, with 109.31 GB VM (gosh this seems huge, but I know next to nothing about the OS underpinnings). The page ins, page outs and swap used are all in the hundreds.

Anything I should look for in particular?

Aet
01-04-2011, 11:13 AM
The %User, %System and %Idle should add up to 100. Specific %CPU amounts per application can be more, because Core Duo means it'll have 200% to work with. The percentiles you mention fairly well match what I see - when watching Activity Monitor instead of playing the game. Switch the bottom portion to CPU so that you can see the graphs of both cores going, then switch back to Din's. Play through a few lag waves, then switch back and look at the CPU graphs. Basically I'm just curious if that time frame pegs both cores to the max or not (mine both get a hefty dose of use, but neither goes above ~85% on the graph).

I've never understood the VM size, as it is generally larger than the amount of HD space I actually have free (currently it's about half the size of my HD's total capacity) - so I generally just ignore that.

Shadow
01-04-2011, 03:19 PM
Hmm, I'll look into this. It would help if you played around with AutoSaveTime like Manumitted suggested and see if that is the culprit. Just change AutoSaveTime to 500 and see if your pauses get rarer and then change to something like 15 and see if they become more common.

Just remember to put it back to 120 or whatever you feel is a good number for you.

Manumitted
01-04-2011, 07:30 PM
Hmm, I'll look into this. It would help if you played around with AutoSaveTime like Manumitted suggested and see if that is the culprit. Just change AutoSaveTime to 500 and see if your pauses get rarer and then change to something like 15 and see if they become more common.

Just remember to put it back to 120 or whatever you feel is a good number for you.

Here's an idea to reduce the stutter-on-save issue in a future version. Once the autosave timer runs out, delay the save until the player leaves the current level. Stairs or gates already include a natural brief pause which could disguise the save time. The typical player doesn't spend much more than the default two minute autosave interval on a given level anyway, at least I don't.

Nobear
01-07-2011, 06:27 PM
Ok I found the culprit, by just watching the in-game clock when I noticed the stutter. Yes, it did always come in 2 minute intervals, meaning it's almost certainly because of the autosaving.

(Something annoying like this seems a lot more frequent than it is. It's an interesting psychological experiment to note that I estimated it between every 30 to 60 sec, when it's actually every 120.)

Well, I know what I must do (must being a funny word since I'm not being paid, but do enjoy knowing that I'm helping beta test a game). I never thought I'd be changing out my new hard drive so soon, but the scientist in me compels me to put the old one back in, upgrade to 1.013 with the expansion, and see if the stutter is there. If not, I guess I'll be upgrading to Snow Leapard on that HD to see if it's the OS or the HD. Not promising when I'll do this, but I am motivated.

Archon
01-08-2011, 07:24 PM
Din's Curse stutters for me on occasion although in my case most games that load 'on the fly' tend to stutter on my laptop ever since my brother upgraded my memory. One really cool option I like from Lord of The Rings Online is the "texture cache" slider that allows the game to keep a greater amount of textures and the like into memory which reduced stuttering for me significantly in that game. Not sure how plausible something like that is in Din's but it would be cool if texture cache could be implemented.

Shadow
01-09-2011, 12:04 PM
Din's Curse stutters for me on occasion although in my case most games that load 'on the fly' tend to stutter on my laptop ever since my brother upgraded my memory. One really cool option I like from Lord of The Rings Online is the "texture cache" slider that allows the game to keep a greater amount of textures and the like into memory which reduced stuttering for me significantly in that game. Not sure how plausible something like that is in Din's but it would be cool if texture cache could be implemented.

There is a user var that you can set from the config file or console that controls the max memory called m_maxThreshold. By default it is 192. Basically what it does: if the memory used is less than the setting it won't free unused, loaded assets assuming you will need them again later. If the memory used is above that mark then it will free unused assets that have been unused the longest.