Rocket-Banana

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1 comment by Rocket-Banana on Apr 23rd, 2014

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


1) Improving Loading Times:

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!


2) CTD (Crash To Desktop) Prevention:

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.


3) (slight) Performance Boost! (a little bit) better framerates!:

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:

code:
%windir%\system32\cmd.exe /c start "DoW" /high /affinity 6

While on it, also add this after the path, also separated with a space:

code:
-nomovies -modname %Your_Favorite_Mod_Folder_Name%

So if when you first saw it it looked like this:

code:
"C:\Program Files\THQ\Dawn Of War - Soulstorm\Soulstorm.exe"

Now it would look like this:

code:
%windir%\system32\cmd.exe /c start "DoW" /high /affinity 6 "C:\Program Files\THQ\Dawn Of War - Soulstorm\Soulstorm.exe" -nomovies -modname %Your_Favorite_Mod_Folder_Name%

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':

code:
%windir%\system32\cmd.exe /c start "DoW" /high /affinity 6 "C:\Program Files\THQ\Dawn Of War - Soulstorm\Soulstorm.exe" -nomovies -modname dxp2

4) Misc Tweaks & Fixes:

- 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.

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Post comment Comments  (10 - 20 of 50)
Sakura Matou
Sakura Matou Mar 24 2014, 1:37pm says:

Hey your my favorite Mod now..or one of them...you know the one that made me join ModDB :P

+3 votes     reply to comment
Lord_Cylarne
Lord_Cylarne Mar 24 2014, 6:27pm replied:

Tenshi has a mod? Where???

+2 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Mar 11 2014, 11:12pm says:

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Rocket-Banana
Rocket-Banana Mar 12 2014, 6:48am replied:

Good question. Unfortunately it's mostly wishful thinking.
- First it's the issue of locating someone who was involved in the development of DoW. Personally, I have no idea how. All the info we got about these people is their names on the credits, and despite what paranoia might try to convince you about, a name alone isn't really useful to locate someone.
- Then (assuming you've found a DoW dev) it's the issue of establishing a communication AND most importantly: convincing the guy to conveniently ignore his contract with Relic and (assuming he has DoW's source code on his possession) leak the game's source code to the playerbase.
- THEN, assuming you have the source code, there's the matter of knowing what to do with it, and having the tools to do it. The tools themselves are a VERY rare sight and are pretty much unobtainable via legit means, due to how old they are (and many newer editions came out). Knowing what to do would be basically being a proficient programmer in C++.

BUT, granted all these conditions meet, we would get to see a significantly improved Soulstorm.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Mar 15 2014, 4:28am replied:

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Rocket-Banana
Rocket-Banana Mar 16 2014, 6:48am replied:

OK, so say if we seriously get to track the people behind DoW, we do find them easily.
>> I thought noone owns Dawn of war [...] I doubt the contract still valid
That's not how legal bureaucracy works, unfortunately. Firstly, if "no-one owned DoW", it wouldn't have a price tag on Steam (or anywhere for that matter). Secondly, legal documents are carefully designed to thoroughly cover each and every possibility, and they don't exactly "expire" :S

Finding a good programmer is indeed a piece of cake. Now, finding a good programmer who *is interested* AND willing to spend *his* time coding for *free*? Not so much.
There might indeed be someone in the DoW community able to do it, but not everyone is exactly generous and good-willing. AND again: Without Soulstorm's source code, the tools to make use of it, and knowing how to do that (all in one person who won't keep it for himself) we won't get very far.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Lord_Cylarne
Lord_Cylarne Mar 8 2014, 9:44pm says:

Your video section needs more love than your image section... :p

+5 votes     reply to comment
Rocket-Banana
Rocket-Banana Mar 12 2014, 7:15am replied:

I felt like posting another video, yaaay

+2 votes     reply to comment
Sakura Matou
Sakura Matou Feb 14 2014, 6:55am says:

Happy Valentine's day N2O4 Powered Musaceae!

+4 votes     reply to comment
KinQQz
KinQQz Jan 1 2014, 12:01pm says:

Happy new year!

+3 votes     reply to comment
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