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Below there's a compilation of all the knowledge I've gathered on my quest to get half decent framerates on modded Dawn of War, all nice and tidy in one place. Enjoy
We're well aware of how very slowly Soulstorm loads. Everything from starting, loading a skirmish, clicking the Campaign option in the Main Menu and it taking 2 minutes on a high end system...
This tweak addresses precisely that.
The actual improvement varies a lot from system to system, so I can't efficiently guarantee you'll get say, 3x faster loading times. Yet very large loading speed improvements are possible (I do get 3x faster loading speed for example). Also worth noting the 2nd time you launch Soulstorm it loads much faster.
If you have Soulstorm on Steam, you can skip this particular tweak. On my tests, Build 379 (updated via Steam) loads pretty fast, I couldn't find a way to make it load even faster yet.
-Windows Vista/7/8 users: If you have Soulstorm installed on the default directory (Program Files in the C drive) and UAC enabled, you won't be able to modify the game executable. To overcome this either:
A) Disable UAC.
B) Make a copy of your Soulstorm executable and place it somewhere UAC won't get in the way (a folder in your desktop for example). Make the changes on the copy and then replace the original with the tweaked one.
C) Run the CFF Explorer as Administrator.
The tweak itself:
- Download the Explorer suite from NTCore.com. Install it.
- Right click your Soulstorm.exe and select "Open with CFF Explorer"
- You will see a big window full of good ol' number-y crypticness. Don't panic :). On the left panel, left click "Import Directory".
- The section at the right of the window should change to different number-y crypticness. Fortunately all we need is on the column that says "Module Name". I advice stretching the window until you can see all entries at the same time.
- Then, right-click on .dll names and select "Move Up" or "Move Down" to re-order the list so it looks like on this picture.
- Save changes, and that's it! Faster loading times!
This is a quick one, and spares you a lot of interrupted epic battles.
The tweak itself:
- Download the Explorer suite from NTCore.com. Install it.
- Right click your Soulstorm.exe and select "Open with CFF Explorer".
- On the left panel, select "Nt Headers" (click the + symbol), you should see "File Header".
- Then left-click File Header and in it, there is a box that says "Click Here". Let's do that.
- You will get a little window full of checkboxes. There's one that says: App can handle >2Gb Address space. Mark that one.
- Click OK, save the changes and... Done! Your Soulstorm.exe will no longer run out of memory!
To apply this on Steam installs, simply save the executable with a different name (remember to keep ".exe" at the end of the file name to save it correctly) and run the modified executable.
Steam in-game overlay and Friends In-Game status retain their functions, too.
- To be extra sure, repeat this process with rsss.dll (located in the Soulstorm directory). This one can also run out of memory and cause crashes the same way as the game executable. This dll isn't present on the Steam version as of the latest patch.
Important note!: This requires at least 3 cpu cores to work. It will not make any improvement on systems with dual or single core cpu's.
Make a shortcut to your game executable. Right click it and select Properties.
On the Shortcut tab, edit its Target field and add the following before the existing path between quotes and separating it with a space:
While on it, also add this after the path, also separated with a space:
So if when you first saw it it looked like this:
Now it would look like this:
Click OK. That shortcut now launches a specific mod bypassing the intro movies, setting the Soulstorm executable on high system resource priority and set to not work on CPU core 1. As most applications load on the first core by default this core is busier and has less free cycles to run cpu intensive apps (such as DoW). By avoiding running DoW on the busier Core 1 altogether you can get a slight performance boost.
For example, if you want to make a shortcut with all that code to the vanilla game which also has a "mod name", 'DXP2':
- Right click your Soulstorm executable. On the Compatibility tab, select Windows XP SP3. Click Apply. This helps with performance and stability by a tiny bit.
- If on Windows Vista/7 (8 unconfirmed), on that same Compatibility tab, check the "Disable desktop composition" checkbox. This will disable the transparency When Soulstorm is running and prevent it from freezing when alt-tabbing. Works partially on the latest Steam version update. I'm looking into it.
- Install Visual Basic Runtime. This runtime prevents a rather nasty bug that appears every now and then and makes the game unplayable (very bad performance, models render incorrectly, etc). Mediafire.com I would link you to the Microsoft download page but they keep moving it around and I can no longer find it. Plus I don't want to re-link to it every time they move it again.
If running WIndows Vista/7/8, run in compatibility mode for Windows XP SP2.
That's all folks! I will add more if I encounter more tweaks or I happen to have forgotten some.
Too long? TL;DR version below at the bottom!
QUICK UPDATE THING:
Succeeded on (re)installing Unbuntu Linux on a larger partition and things are going smoothly for a welcomed change. I've still to install many other programs though (such as Skype, DoW, and so on XP)
Gah, where to start. ...Chronological beginning, why not. It all started 23 years ago, when I was born and the universe determined I was to be unnaturally capable with computers, but also cursed with statistically impossible bad luck when using my PC.
Seriously now, this were the last few days on my end:
Tired sick of Window$ being overall crap, freezing at random intervals, bad performance, its purposely poorly implemented UI and mostly; unwilling to live with the fear it someday would catastrophically fail and I would not have a Plan B, I decided to prepare a dual boot with Linux.
I have many hard drives on my comp. All of them in good shape, S.M.A.R.T. reports 0 reallocated sectors (and similar indicators of impending disaster) on all of them. For simplification purposes, let's call them drives 1, 2 and 3. Since drive 1 was too small and full of other data, and drive 3 is huge and used exclusively for non-program data so far, I decided to make a new partition and install Linux in drive 2, which was like a happy medium. After preparing a bootable flashdrive with Kubuntu (a Linux distro), I reboot on my GParted disk, possibly the best possible application for the job. Then make a 20GB free area in drive 2 to install Kubuntu (worth noting Linux OS' aren't nearly as a hard drive hog as Windows, making 20GB more than enough, plus can read Windows-created files and pretty much every drive formatting system). Then I reboot back to Windows. OH! SURPRISE! The NTFS file system on one of my drives appears to be damaged! Fortunately (in a way) this had happened me before so I could recognize the error code-less screen showing nothing more than a few colorful lines.
Rebooted back to GParted. Drive "3", which I had not even looked at, had one of its partitions messed up. How did that happen? Don't ask me, what am I, Tzeentch?
Anyways, I (physically) take this trolly drive to another windows computer to fix it. Btw helpful hint: Hitting the Run command on start menu (Windows key + R works too), then entering "chkdsk /f". Without the quotes ofc. That checks the system drive for errors, so it is done at the next reboot. If it is a partition/secondary drive (such as D:\ drive) it's "chkdsk d: /f".
Fixed drive 3. Took it back to my comp. Booted back into Windows. Same error. WELL LUCKY ME I HAVE ALREADY SEPARATED THE HARD DRIVE SPACE AND GOT A BOOTABLE LINUX USB AT HAND! Or that's what I though.
I installed Kubuntu. Didn't take me long to notice 98% of the knowledge and experience I had gathered using Window$ accounted for nothing using Kubuntu. I didn't know how to do jack. Now, after around 6-8 hours of continued frustration, I had managed to accidentally remove the equivalent to the Start Button, and was struggling to find a way to restore it. While on that, I right click the Taskbar, I click properties, and (this is for real, as ridiculous it might sound) I TRY clicking a checkbox that iirc said "Highlight Window\". That was the last thing I got to do in Kubuntu. Upon clicking that checkbox, it immediately crashed, leaving me with no option but to reboot. Upon reboot, I was greeted with a sign, stating the following:
An "okay" button, then a black screen. Upon pressing the power button to shutdown the system, the message "Requesting all remaining processes to terminate" (common to every Linux distro I've used so far) showed a "fail" status.
I JUST HAD A LINUX SETUP DIE ON ME WITHIN 12 HOURS OF INSTALL.
My stubbornness forbids me to take any kind of rest (at least I need to eat/sleep to be able to focus) from a task that's presenting resistance until it's done, but over 24 hours of a whole new level of catastrophically bad events managed to get me reading an actual book printed on paper for a few hours.
So I used another computer to download Ubuntu (without the 'k', and evidently a huge difference in my experience) and make a new bootable USB. Installed it, replacing Kubuntu. Then, after setting up my "base of operations" under a constant fear everything would suddenly shatter and crumble again, I decided it was time to start setting up gaming. "But Mr. Rocket-Banana." You may ask. "What games you can play on Linux?" Well, WAY more than you think. "But Borderlands 2 isn't on that list, and you really like playing it." That it isn't on the list doesn't make it impossible. "But that's a lot of steps". I've been my own tech service for a few years now, I can handle an illustrated tutorial.
Then, the next problem creeped up. Apparently PlayOnLinux doesn't like the games' data being on a different drive than the program itself. The program itself was installed on the 20GB hard drive area I separated for Linux, and I haven't found a way to change that (then again, I know reallly little about Linux and how to tweak it). Borderlands 2 is 13.8GB. In other words, I can't afford installing games in a 20GB partition. So I need to start over and install Ubuntu in a bigger partition.
So, I'm currently FINALLY making that complete manual data cleanup on all my drives, to then completely free up drive 1 (which is the "smallest", but still 320 GB), to then install Ubuntu there. This will take time. Say at least 2 days.
TL;DR version: SEVERE technical issues, including catastrophic Window$ failure. Moving to Ubuntu Linux, but obstacles emerge at a nearly constant basis D: Don't expect much activity from me for at least a couple days.
Also, if you happen to know know a way to get PlayOnLinux accepting game data from a different drive than the one where it is installed, I'll thank you forever.
Things I forgot to mention:
- Soulstorm is compatible with Linux (or more like the other way around lol), so no need to worry about that.
- There's native installment of both Hamachi and Dropbox for Linux. No need to worry about that either.
- Skype I will use Window$ version 5.0.0 with the WINE compatibility layer (reported to work) as Linux native version is so bad it's reportedly crashing/freezing systems.
For one, I have a in great part different computer now. So very worth noting it's way more powerful.
Yay for cpu-ram-mobo upgrades. Now my once powerful graphics card is considerably below everything else's level xP
As this blog entry is mostly to replace the ye olde previous one, and I'm in a hurry due to rl stuffs, I'm not exactly flowing with ideas, so I'll just drop some suggestions and stuff on overall improvements you can do with your system.
For one, the reason always I prefer local media over streamed video: SVP (Smooth Video Project).
An awesome, easy to use software that... what does it do? Well, to put it on simple terms:
When you play videogames, you want your framerate as high as possible, ideally as high as your monitor can display. But videos generally are fixed to 24 frames per second. On videgame standards that'd be very bad, but we're used to watch movies like that. I'm used to watch movies at 60 frames per second, because that's what SVP does 8-)
Beware though, this program is quite intensive on your hardware, I do not advise you try running it on laptops or older/budget desktops. Ideally you'll want a quad core cpu (pretty much any multicore-happy cpu will do, a powerful 2 (or 3) core cpu, a graphics card that's not very old helps too.)
I'll attach pics of the configuration setups that work the best for me later (edit)... eventually?
On another cool thingy: If you have surround speakers you will know that feel of "what a waste" of only having sound from two of your speakers. Well, there's an actually working, actually not messing your audio up, and actually not shareware plugin that fits exactly the needs of us 5.1 speakers users for Foobar2000! By the simple name of Channel Mixer. Surprisingly easy to configure as well.
Awesome system diagnosis? HWiNFO. There are WAY more sensors and thermometers in your computer than you think.
Best of all? Everything I linked there is glorious freeware. Enjoy.
Ok, firstly: I didn't write the rest of the article yet and I'm already almost sure that it won't follow a solid continuity on one subject. More like it'll be what comes to my mind, in order of arrival.
In shorter terms... This'll be a mess. There will also be a lot of parenthesis.
Then it became a "rage vent" blog entry. At least you find others' frustration amusing, don't say I didn't warn you. I'm told I express my frustration in entertaining ways though. I tried to put that on assorted links because you can't actually see or hear me through text.
I have gotten to the conclusion that I'm finally writing a blog entry in ModDB (and not playing Far Cry 2) because I found out that Spess Mehreen not necessarily will disconnect me in 2 minutes or less (unlike the previous times I tried), and a friend invited me to play.
Why am I not playing Spess Mehreen then? Well, according to Steam I'm In-game, but I alt-tabbed. And before that I had to reboot in the middle of the game. Didn't have much choice since my graphics card went retarded mode and killed the video signal. Nothing to worry about my trolly gpu, it's not broken/about to be broken, it's (an insanely "wtfuuuuu" one) issue with using an hdmi cord only.
I know this sounds beyond stupid, but basically:
If I use a hdmi cord only to connect the display = perfect image, signal may randomly die, sometimes until reboot, others in extremely infuriating patterns, such as for 1 second after every click/folder opened
If I use a dvi cord only to connect the display = image has gamma messed up, signal stable
If I connect both dvi and hdmi, using hdmi signal = best of both worlds.
Why? I have no idea.
My friend playing Spess Mehreen went offline a few seconds 10 minutes ago :(
And why wasn't I playing with him after rebooting? Well, he was unresponsive.
Let's make this blog entry a rage vent about the numerous failz my computer has/had despite I put truckloads of moneys on it.
Let's see... The previous motherboard I had failed to boot at all (not even BIOS) 2 of 3 times. I changed my power supply several times (until I moved to my current overkill uber-psu), that was not the problem.
Changed the motherboard (all other components unchanged): Problem solved.
PS: BIOS update didn't fix it either.
You may (or may not at all) know about the great overclockability of some AMD processors. Like the Phenom II 955. Well mine is clocked at 3.2 Ghz by default (as any 955) but... Say I put it to 3.3Ghz. I am an overclocking wizard. Windows boots. Yay. Launch ANYTHING = trolldows freezes. Completely.
Same if I use AMD Overdrive.
Logically I'm not using the obnoxiously loud retail heatsink & fan, I got the best I could afford.
I also got me nice, overclockable RAM. So I have no idea on what's locking me on 3.2Ghz.
What else... Well my current setup takes almost 2 minutes to get to desktop. At least 20 seconds are on the incredibly slow BIOS. Then, despite I have a solid state drive (and pretty much the fastest there is for that matter), the thing takes it's nice slow time at a speed barely faster than on a regular drive. Now, I know that Windows XP is "not specifically designed with SSD's in mind" and all that buy Windows 6.1*cough* I mean 7 or else propaganda everyone does against software that isn't the very latest barely tested and in desperate need of patches version, but I think I must clarify my Windows barely resembles XP. "Classic" look with custom colors, lotsa registry tweaking (and 100% bsod free), junction links to prevent C drive's temp folders growing beyond my ssd's storage capacity and wearing it unnecessarily (I do video encoding, so I sort of need that), but that seemingly only prevents it to fail even more.
It seems I nuked the screenie I had, but sometimes, on either a pattern I haven't figured out yet, or just randomly, the tray icon tooltips appear behind the taskbar.
Not my computer's fault, but game developers' too busy making a game shiney and not optimizing it properly. My Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 Vapor-X can run about any 2008-2010 game in almost if not maxed settings on 1080p, but I didn't really expect to run Nexuiz (a 2012 game) with 8x antialias...
It's much worse than "just" not playing it on high settings.
Anything above lowest quality = My gpu overheats. Horribly (about... 95ºC). And Nexuiz on medium quality doesn't by far look as nice as "older" games on maxed settings. At least the game isn't a gigantic pile of gigabytes to install...
Well, I do not know what else to complain about (at least I warned ya it's a rage-vent-ranty blog entry), so I'll end this here xP
PS: I am not what you'd call a "certified expert" on computers, because no one gave me any title, I just was in front of a computer keyboard since I was 5 years old. As I progressively used the computer for... everything, I found myself in the need of learning how to use it properly. So strictly speaking I'm an "experienced user". One that could teach many so called "technicians" quite a few things D:<
Yeah, only a few of the people who do tech support actually have a clear idea of what are they doing. They won't tell you that ofc. They won't tell you stuff like what I (just had the idea) am going to tell you in my next entry. Like how much (in average) time takes to repair a PC.
EDIT: lol, I wonder when I'll finally write that 2nd blog entry xD