Rocket-Banana

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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest Blog: How to improve performance on Dawn Of War - Soulstorm

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  (30 - 40 of 50)
Sakura Matou
Sakura Matou Nov 2 2013, 9:28am says:

*waves*

+3 votes     reply to comment
Rocket-Banana
Rocket-Banana Nov 4 2013, 3:35am replied:

Hello! :3

*checks date* Belatedly.

+3 votes     reply to comment
ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp
ʇɐuʞɐʇǝp Oct 29 2013, 4:07pm says:

Danke! Go to fliptext.org and learn the secret.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Lord_Cylarne
Lord_Cylarne Sep 13 2013, 11:14am says: Online

Weeeeeeee...

Tenshi how dare you! When I get my priorities straight I am going to steal your rocket and give it right back, I promise. :3

+3 votes     reply to comment
moddlord1
moddlord1 May 31 2013, 9:06pm says:

If the path to salvation leads throught he halls of purgatory, then so be it. join us... Moddb.com

+3 votes     reply to comment
Deuce_Savage
Deuce_Savage May 22 2013, 3:14pm says:

If you want real lifelike firey & water effects you ask me & i will send you the simple, easy to use files & you could install into the next patch that will enhance your UA mod 100x to your fans!!!

When i post my next screen shots from my mod, you will see dust clouds stirred up by troops/vehicles & koolest, seems so real, fire & water effects!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Rocket-Banana
Rocket-Banana May 27 2013, 11:34pm replied:

Sorry I didn't reply, I'm in a sort of "low season" for DoW and barely (if) visit ModDB. I'll relay your idea to the UA team right now though, never too much shineyz.
My only worry is the very, very bad DoW engine performance and how these visual improvements would affect framerate however. Hopefully this can be implemented without a significant performance loss.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Deuce_Savage
Deuce_Savage May 20 2013, 8:02am says:

Hello R-B! I have some small simple to use kick @zz graphic enhancement files & packages that you could put into your UA mod to make it appear 100x AWSOME! So when people dl your UA mod they are going to be thrilled & excited by a spectacular game! If you like them, pm me...its free!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Rocket-Banana
Rocket-Banana Apr 9 2013, 6:47pm replied:

Yeah, that's doable. Vanilla has much tighter caps however, you don't get to spam superheavies and Leman Russes there, at least just 1 Baneblade and 2 russes are enough for what you have in mind, we'll need a mod for increased caps.
Send me the files via PM, I purposely don't post my email address to avoid spam bots.
Ah! I'm kind of busy with a conjunction of real life, the UA mod and miscellaneous stuff lately, tell me by when you want the screenshots taken too, otherwise I'll postpone it forever xP

+1 vote     reply to comment
Deuce_Savage
Deuce_Savage Apr 19 2013, 6:53pm replied:

I dont want to compromise your email address now that wierdos are coming out of the woodworks here, darn them! Well i looked at your pic & decided to give it a go. I am only allowed to upload 25 mb max by email & files are too big but i have an idea, thanx anyways.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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