Originally developed for Company of Heroes by Relic Entertainment, the later versions of The Essence Engine features many new graphical effects, including High Dynamic Range lighting, dynamic lighting and shadows, advanced shader effects and normal mapping. The Essence Engine is also one of the first RTS engines to create detailed faces with facial animations.

In Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, the Essence Engine was further improved to include weather effects, and also added support for DirectX 10 for Windows Vista.

Dawn of War II uses an updated version of Essence Engine (Essence 2.0) which allows for more detailed models and textures; more advanced lighting and shading effects; more complex "sync-kills" than those in Dawn of War; and better support for multi-processor systems.

Essence v1.0
Company of Heroes
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor
Company of Heroes Online

Essence v2.0
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Chaos Rising
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution

Essence v3.0
Company of Heroes 2

  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
Post article RSS Related Articles

Introduction

volume icon 19471


This article is about the infamous soundbug (SB) and provides an actual working solution that stops the SB about 95% after months of testing and feedback from players from the Elite Mod.

The TLDR answer is the main primary solution is to cap the game at 58 FPS or some other value using Steam's launch options, using the shortcut target properties or the Nvidia Control Panel for Nvidia GPU users. This is primarily for Windows OS users.

If the soundbug still occurs on a slim chance, there are other possible and tested fixes included in another link (although less reliable).

Note: If you play on Linux with Proton GE 6.1 build, you'll be free from soundbug and Linux desync and you won't need to limit your fps (from Guest in the comments).


~ Finally, salvation has been delivered to us! ~



What is the Soundbug?

Ah. The dreaded and TRICE cursed infamous soundbug.

No other bug has caused so much pain and misery among the Dawn of War II Retribution community, while lasting this long for more than a decade.

So what is this horrible bug that every DOW2 player has at least experienced once or a thousand times in their lives?

  • It starts off with a looping in-game sound or music.
  • Meanwhile, other sound effects have been override by the looping.
  • This continues for a while at least a minute, and players are able to play.
  • Then the game crashes to your desktop screen and gives the Relic Splat Error Bug.
  • It is known to happen everywhere in-game, whether in Campaign, Multiplayer, Army Painter, Lobby, playing or at the menu etc. As long as you are in the game, you can be the victim of the soundbug massacre.

The worst part is, the bug came about in one of the last latest patches done by Relic, and was not able to be fixed. So, it is no surprise that the players were left exasperated and upset beyond belief.

To provide further context (as someone who read up on the topic over all) back in the day and to give Relic all due credit, the dev team at Relic did do an exhaustive search on finding out what caused the soundbug. Despite their efforts, but they were not able to replicate / reproduce the bug. At the time, they were in the midst of THQ's bankruptcy, so it was a difficult time for them. So things were left as they were, and the community of players were left to endure this horrific malady until now.

Origins of the Soundbug

Most people initially believe it is a memory leak issue, as the memory leak issues were observed to be prevalent in as far as Dawn of War Soulstorm, Company of Heroes 1, Dawn of War 2 series and even Company of Heroes 2 etc.

Additionally, it is understood that CoH1 and CoH2 has a version of the dreaded soundbug itself.

So, players and modders theorized that the it was a game engine related issue, and it was further narrowed down to the sound engine (FMOD) at least (see section "How it Works" for more explanation).

However, we cannot discount the fact that it is entirely possible that the theorized origin of the SB actually has multiple contributing sources, rather than one single contributing area (though that would be amazing if its isolated to this one root problem). The idea being, memory optimization is not well done, so it could contribute or even aggravate the problem further.

Actual Working Solution

The solution is to cap the game at 58 FPS or some other value (eg: 60 and 144 have been also reported as working for several players, however 58 FPS has the best working results so far) using the shortcut target properties or the Nvidia Control Panel for Nvidia GPU users.

This solution came about from the Elite Mod community, devs and players testing it out. After months of playing and testing, this came out to be the best viable working solution in a decade, that can actually be properly explained! (and not the work of some Chaos influence).

1. At Steam

Step 1: Go to your steam library, and right click on DOW2 Retribution, then click on properties.

DOW 2 Ret1

Step 2: Set -refresh 58 at Launch Options. Save, exit and you're all good to go to play!

DOW 2 Ret2

2. At the shortcut (eg: Elite Mod)

Step 1: Find your Elite Mod shortcut, and right click it and click properties.

DOW 2 Elite Mod0


Step 2: Find for target, and move to the end of the filepath line.

DOW 2 Elite Mod


Step 3: Set -refresh 58 at the end of it. Then click okay, and you're ready to play!

DOW 2 Elite Mod2


3. For Nvidia GPU users (you can use either the 1st or 2nd method as well, however this has been reported to work too).

Step 1: Go to your Nvidia Control Panel (you can find for it using "Search" or Google how to do it).Then click on "Manage 3D Settings" and click on "Program Settings".

DOW 2 Nvidia1

Step 2: Select "Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II Retribution".

DOW 2 Nvidia2

Step 3: Scroll down all the way to Max Frame Rate. Then, set it to 58 FPS. Click okay, save and you're good to go!

DOW 2 Nvidia3

So there you have it! For those that just want the solution, hope it helps and enjoy!

If that doesn't work, I have a compiled guide of other fixes that may or may not help you out further:

Sound Bug Fixes : Huge List of Possible Solutions / Band-Aids to Reduce the Infamous Bug
Steamcommunity.com

How it Works?

Disclaimer: I'm going to be honest in that, as the author of this article myself, I don't quite fully understand the technicalities of the solution or even the game engine environment. As such, smarter people who understand the technical aspects better have their explanations quoted (with some edits) here. Thank you to the people who furnished me with these answers!

So, firstly, the origin of the soundbug was narrowed down to the sound engine and DOW2 game engine. Now, how exactly does the soundbug affect the DOW2 game engine that causes the crash? And.. why would the 58 FPS cap work as a solution?

Here's a more technical explanation of it, and what they have to say.

From enlargingcloud, one of Elite Mod's devs:

Dawn of War 2's sound and audio are linked. The camera which you view through has a "listener" program that periodically checks the distance between the camera and areas where sounds were triggered. An example of this is how sounds vary based on where the camera is.

Each visual frame is a moment where the "listener" calculates the distance, so the higher fps you have, the more calculations it needs to perform. The sound engine then has a limiter on how many sounds it will keep track of in total (though this can be modified with one of our fixes).

Therefore, capping the frame rate using the shortcut command or in NVIDIA to 58 fps seems to keep the frame rate within a range that causes significantly less soundbugs overall.

-----

By understanding how it works now, there are several related concepts that affect the soundbug occurences.

1. FMOD

For example, the fmodex.dll (in a github repo we have) is a file that swaps the old FMOD sound limit to something higher, which would reduce bugs related to too many sounds being played at once. This is one of our fixes that has helped players. Supporting this is the fact that there are a lot of examples of non-relic games that use FMOD, and it seems there are bugs that were fixed by frame rate capping.

The general idea is that FMOD has files that restrict how many total sounds or actions it will allow. Having the sound channels successfully closed seems to be important in order for it to not over-cap itself. Maximumgame and Nah (two of our players) have talked about this and then made the file which alters FMOD's limit for sounds. It also seems that FMOD being integrated into the animation engine (Havok) and the visuals of games, causing the bugs.. could potentially be a combined result.

2. G-Sync

G-Sync is a NVIDIA technology that seems to automatically check the game's output frame and sync it with your display refresh rate. There are some other aspects of this feature that I don't fully understand since I haven't researched it in depth, but it seems to be reported to be helping a lot of people, who can use it without capping fps. So, if your computer has it, give it a try!

3. Sound and Visual FXs

I think the way the sound and visual FXs were attached in DOW2 could also be optimized. Normally, sounds should originate from one location, but many sound settings use "random marker" for their origin, forcing the game to randomize whether a bolt pistol sound effect comes from say, the pistol, or his feet. This might cause unnoticeable sound differences, but adds work to the "listener" program. Therefore, ambient FX and dead bodies as well as some weapons.. might be producing many instances of these, thereby placing additional gradual strain on the "listener" program.

-----

Overall, the goal is to prevent sync errors / soundbugs by helping computers manage the different visual/audio elements, while tidying up other things in the game as well, to see if those help further.

From one of our players:

My general thinking was it may cause weird frame-spike where audio can desync with some VFX or SFX, that's why people have it in menu and maybe in games, but not every time, as setting consistent load and frame-time is hard to reproduce. So, lowering framerate actually puts less data and load on hardware and software. That's why people have been asked to lower the FPS even further to lower acceptable levels to test, like 45 fps or so. Back then hardware wasn't really optimized for 60fps in FHD animation, and even with a 5000$ setup, sometimes the game barely gives you even 100 fps.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.

After a decade and more, a viable working solution for the soundbug actually is available! (at least until if Relic decides to reopen this old game and investigate the soundbug, to solve it).

With that, we hope the solution helps and enjoy gaming in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium!


Credits

  • The techpriests of the Elite Mod Team (in particular, Noot, Garrick and enlargingcloud) and whoever attempted to investigate this Chaos Adeptus Mechanicus bug monstrosity.
  • Maximumgame and Nah for investigating the soundbug on their own dedicated free time, plus coming up with the Profiller.dll and SMOL fixes as potential working fixes (which do help!)
  • Special thanks to the dev and player for explaining the FMOD it in terms that even I could understand. You know who you are!
  • Special thanks to Gorbles or Gorbs and to whoever wrote the forum posts on the soundbug. I can't remember where I read them, but it was really helpful to understand what Relic was going through.
  • To everyone else that contributed to a working solution!
K-J Christmas Game Contest Confirmed 2017

K-J Christmas Game Contest Confirmed 2017

News 9 comments

Is this going to be the last K-J Christmas contest?

Company of Heroes: Back to Basics v4.0

Company of Heroes: Back to Basics v4.0

Company of Heroes: Back to Basics 3 comments

The long awaited v4.0 update of Company of Heroes: Back to Basics is now available!

Protectors of the Homeland

Protectors of the Homeland

ZombieMod 39 comments

You've waited so patiently for it, so without further ado, the ZombieMod team presents the first complete doctrine - Protectors of the Homeland.

February 1st Update

February 1st Update

ZombieMod 21 comments

February 1st is my birthday, so I thought it would be a nice treat to share some content with you guys. Enjoy!

Add game Games
Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes

Real Time Strategy

Delivering a visceral WWII gaming experience, Company of Heroes redefines real time strategy gaming by bringing the sacrifice of heroic soldiers, war-ravaged...

Age of Empires IV

Age of Empires IV

Real Time Strategy

One of the most beloved real-time strategy games returns to glory with Age of Empires IV, putting you at the center of epic historical battles that shaped...

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts

Real Time Strategy

The next chapter in the #1 rated RTS franchise thrusts players into a hellish war torn landscape to command two battle-hardened armies in relentless campaigns...

Dawn of War II

Dawn of War II

Real Time Tactics

It is the 41st Millennium in Sub-Sector Aurelia, a cluster of worlds on the edge of the Galaxy, and a battle of epic proportions is about to begin. Ancient...

Dawn of War II: Retribution

Dawn of War II: Retribution

Real Time Tactics

Command any of the six unique factions in the next stand alone expansion of the critically acclaimed Dawn of War franchise. Build a massive army or lead...

Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising

Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising

Real Time Tactics

Chaos Rising is set one year after the events of Dawn of War II and the defeat of the Tyranid invasion of sub-sector Aurelia. The game campaign features...

Company of Heroes 2

Company of Heroes 2

Real Time Strategy

Moves the battle away from the common Western Front focus of World War II and refocuses on some of history’s most brutal and devastating conflicts on...

Company of Heroes 3

Company of Heroes 3

Real Time Strategy

The legendary strategy franchise is back! Company of Heroes 3 is the ultimate package of action, tactics and strategy. Take charge in the heat of real-time...

Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor

Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor

Real Time Strategy

Tales of Valor includes new units, additional maps and further multiplayer modes, such as 'Stonewall', where the player commands a small number of troops...

Dawn of War III

Dawn of War III

Real Time Strategy

Step into a brutal battle between three warring factions. In Dawn of War III you will have no choice but to face your foes when a catastrophic weapon...

Comments
xiedongli
xiedongli

This engine is great

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
moddlord1
moddlord1

waz up! i am the dawn of war!! COH also very cool

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
tastyjerk
tastyjerk

Hawt.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
EL-dude-LOCO
EL-dude-LOCO

I love this company for bringing us homeworld

Reply Good karma Bad karma+7 votes
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Twitter

Latest tweets from @relicgames, @cohnews

RT @CompanyOfHeroes: PAX West 2022 was a great experience for the whole CoH3 team! In this video we recap our time there, along with the… T.co

Sep 21 2022 by relicgames

FYI: Dawn of War and Dawn of War II servers will be down for approximately 60 minutes today at 2PM PT for regularly scheduled maintenance.

Sep 13 2022 by relicgames

RT @AgeOfEmpires: ⚠️ Server Maintenance ⚠️ September 7, 2022 2PM PT / 5PM ET / 21:00 UTC TOMORROW, multiplayer servers for Age I, II… T.co

Sep 7 2022 by relicgames

We'll be sharing new Company of Heroes 3 updates all month on @IGN First. Check out this look into the two campaign… T.co

Sep 7 2022 by relicgames

RT @CompanyOfHeroes: Come visit us in Hall 9! We’re excited to meet you all in person 🙌 T.co

Aug 26 2022 by relicgames

RT @AgeOfEmpires: Coming soon: The Ottomans and the Malians join #AgeofEmpiresIV in the Anniversary Update on October 25th! Did we m… T.co

Aug 23 2022 by relicgames

RT @AgeOfEmpires: Excited to see you all there! ⚔️ Be sure to stop by and say hello. T.co

Aug 11 2022 by relicgames

Huge congrats to our colleagues at @TwoPointStudios on the stellar reviews for #TwoPointCampus! We can't wait to di… T.co

Aug 5 2022 by relicgames

RT @AgeOfEmpires: Age of Empires IV's latest patch is now live! ⚔️ Be sure to check out yesterday's notes if you missed them yester… T.co

Aug 4 2022 by relicgames

Look what arrived at the Relic office! We were so excited that Age of Empires IV won Best Strategy/Sim Game at last… T.co

Aug 3 2022 by relicgames