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Question Do YOU want an unofficial patch?
Answers
Yes, I'm desperate!
Yeh, why not...
I don't care either way.
Could easily do without it...
Decane, stop spamming the forums with your dumb ideas! NO!
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  21:52:27  24 September 2007
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
Messages: 4268
Okay, I have a new feature working that I think may prove useful: There's a menu button for "Save level game" above "Save game" now.* It creates a named save of the form "levelname_gametime" when you click it. Example: l07_military_20120515_072545.sav/.dds

You are then immediately returned to the game, so it's only slightly more work than a quicksave, and very convenient for making those pre- and post-level-transition saves.

The "get auto-quests from trader dialog" works, but it's a bit annoying. As an alternative, how about the auto-quests being offered, but you can't fail them? In other words: you are notified of the task in the usual way, but if you don't do them, you get "Task rescinded" instead of "Task failed" and nothing is added to your Failed Tasks list.

Also, I'm thinking of an auto-quest variable multiplier to go along with my quest_days quest time limit variable. If the quest_days variable is set to 2, and the autoquest_factor is 3, then the number of days to complete the automatic task is 6. You would be able to set these variables at the top of the task_manager.script file.

To turn off auto-quests for now, simply comment out this line in bind_stalker.script, function actor_binder:update(delta) with a pair of hyphens:

		task_manager.actor_update()


so that it looks like this:

		-- task_manager.actor_update()


ras2, most weapons are automatically stored in the backpack for you in this patch. The lag at the hangar might be fire-barrel shader lag if you don't see the disk icon flash.

_____________
*I was looking at the code and saw that pressing "q" in the save/load menu will quit the game.
  10:02:47  23 September 2007
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ras2
(Novice)
 
On forum: 06/11/2007
Messages: 11

---QUOTATION---
Decane's sticky topic "A Guide To Help Eliminate Stutter!" in the "Single player bugs" forum section is quite useful for reducing the lag, as a start.

I keep seeing incremental improvements in this as we discover what is going on. I may have a bit of an improvement in that specific area.

Lag causes and treatments:

1) Coming within switch_distance of a stash with stuff in it. This is related to item 4. You should not stash ammo in normal stashes; each bullet is an object just like a gun. You could also try increasing switch_distance in alife.ltx, although that will switch on some events earlier than you might expect.

2) Unsightly body buildup. Make bodies disappear faster.
---END QUOTATION---


yeah, I need to find a suitable setting for this; sometimes it's nice to be able to come back and pick up the stuff you couldn't carry the first time.

It seems pretty random anyway. I made a short trek into Yantar to buy a proper suit after saving Kruglov and when I came back to Wild Territory, all the bodies from the last bout had already gone, even if I hadn't even been away for half a day.
But things were a bit odd in other ways, so perhaps that had something to do with it; there were the usual Mercs on top of the unfinished concrete building and a few bandits, but no mutants. When I got to the exit, a mixed crowd of rodents and pseudodogs suddenly spawned, followed by four snorks, then a horde of normal dogs and then two bandits and a neutral stalker and finished off by another bunch of rodents. Never seen that many spawns in one place before.


---QUOTATION---
3) Tossed weapons that never go away. Put the weapon back in the dead NPC's backpack.
---END QUOTATION---


yes, I spend a lot of time doing that.

Even if permanent bodies are better for stashing things in than normal stash objects, it must be a good idea to 'empty' them for things you don't want to keep (i.e. move Makarovs and other stuff to bodies that will disappear), right?

<...>


---QUOTATION---
This is not an exhaustive list. You might be experiencing the first four, ras2. Some of these, like item 1, you can fix or improve yourself.

The major lag in that section is likely due to the bandits coming back on-line about 150-200 meters west of your position. Some are created with harmonicas, medkits, and bandages that they never use, and that are destroyed when they die. The game creates a new set of resources for you, except for the gun(s) and special items like flash keys.
---END QUOTATION---


That would explain why the cutoff of the area where the slowdown starts is so sharp, at least.
In a new game last night I came from Agroprom into Garbage, killed the bandits attacking the factory from behind and then, after I'd gotten the quest solved message, went into the factory. When I reached the
defensive line where the stalkers usually stay, I suddenly got the same slowdown again. There were only two stalkers left (aside from the two guards outside) and this was too close for it to be caused by the activation switch, so it seemed rather odd. It went away when I got just outside the factory hall again (just two steps out seemed to fix it).

I should also mention that when I get this kind of lag, the 'loading' icon doesn't show, but then, I don't know how reliable that is either.


---QUOTATION---
P.S. Those stalkers are "uselessly guarding the front door" because you are good at keeping the bandits on the west side. Let a couple get around you, and the stalkers prove to be of some value. They do seem to be deaf to what's going on behind them, however!
---END QUOTATION---


yes, extremely. Also a bit unfair because the current couple is more experienced and have better weapons than those inside the factory
(I have problems getting those rookie stalkers who're crouching at the defensive line to pick up new weapons).
  23:42:26  22 September 2007
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
Messages: 4268
Thanks for the feedback, silverpower. Some useful stuff there.

I found that "-nodistort" helps to reduce the stutter, but it turns Burner anomalies into real surprises. There are still some post-process shader problems -- I fixed a crash I was experiencing in Army Warehouses by disabling one of the stacked post processing effects when the Controller is nearby (where the screen flashes red).

I thought dynamic lighting effects didn't use lightmaps (which are needed for static lighting). But they definitely use more CPU, GPU, VRAM, etc. I'll put up with the slowdown just to be able to know where the baddies are at night.

I was already using "-noprefetch" because I didn't like the longer load times, but your research leads me to conclude that prefetching is wasted. Typical "peephole optimization" consequence...

While jjwalker's efforts are primarily on appearance, he has worked on FPS improvements, and has mentioned addressing the FPS drop due to shader processing. But I agree that it is doubtful he'll fix the shader lag. I just expect more from folks outside the developers for fixing these problems.

I am under the impression that some Russian folks like to use 1500 for switch_distance. The game takes longer to get out of "Synchronizing", NPCs are hyper-sensitive to stuff happening across the map, and some fights start up long before you get there -- but the spawn lag is gone.
  21:08:16  22 September 2007
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silverpower
short-haired anarchist hippy scum
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 08/26/2007
Messages: 790

---QUOTATION---

5) Thrashing due to the above, where the RAM is fragmented or occupied enough to force disk swapping. Especially bad with low VRAM, but high VRAM tends to have mirrored caches (MS has a recent Vista "fix" to eliminate one of these caches, making it like XP.) Get more RAM, tweak cache usage, reduce memory requirements by lower texture quality and lower resource utilization like special effects, background sounds, weather, etc.

---END QUOTATION---



I've been running the game on a 512MB/128MB system for quite a while (I now have 256MB VRAM, apparently, but I'm not 100% sure - ATi Tray Tools could be futzing with my head). The most important thing you can do is watch your memory statistics via ATi Tray Tools (the OSD may work on nVidia, not sure). It can show you VRAM free, texture memory free and system memory used. On a system like this, Stalker is *extremely* I/O-intensive. To combat this, I run an LOD hack via a modified external.ltx that lets me run *some* textures at 100% and the rest at a lower level. This is important, because you only have room for so many lightmaps, terrains and other suchlike, so it's best to prioritize. Don't run AI dynamic lighting / NPC flashlights - those need lightmaps, CPU and GPU time, and most importantly, VRAM, which you may not have.

I haven't tried using prefetch, but I've noticed that 1.0004's new garbage collection sometimes dumps all the prefetched data out of memory as soon as it starts pulling in the level (Loading CFORM).


---QUOTATION---

6) Low-efficiency shader processing (e.g., fires, flickering lights, portals). Bug the devs to fix this or give you the option to bypass shaders. Maybe jjwalker of Float32 fame will fix this.

---END QUOTATION---



Doubtful. His shaders are tuned for appearance, not performance. The shaders you're referring to can be killed via using -nodistort. Using Redux-style anomalies may help with this, too.


---QUOTATION---

7) Dynamic resource loading. Ironically, the "-noprefetch" switch makes this worse, although it helps in other ways. You'll see lag while the game loads a sound effect from a database file, just before it plays it: wind rushing, thunder, growls, etc. It's probably unpacking the sounds each time, too. Maybe extracting/unpacking the sounds from the database files might help. Removing some of the sounds does help.

---END QUOTATION---



I've noticed slightly less stutter when firing/drawing a new weapon when I'm running a sound pack. I'd concur with this assessment.

Oh, and since the switch_distance is around 150, there's little point to having view distance set higher than you need for 200m or so - *unless* you have the system for it.
  20:20:42  22 September 2007
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
Messages: 4268
Decane's sticky topic "A Guide To Help Eliminate Stutter!" in the "Single player bugs" forum section is quite useful for reducing the lag, as a start.

I keep seeing incremental improvements in this as we discover what is going on. I may have a bit of an improvement in that specific area.

Lag causes and treatments:

1) Coming within switch_distance of a stash with stuff in it. This is related to item 4. You should not stash ammo in normal stashes; each bullet is an object just like a gun. You could also try increasing switch_distance in alife.ltx, although that will switch on some events earlier than you might expect.

2) Unsightly body buildup. Make bodies disappear faster.

3) Tossed weapons that never go away. Put the weapon back in the dead NPC's backpack.

4) Entities going on-line (object creation, memory allocation) or off-line (object destruction, garbage collection), primarily as a function of switch_distance. Increase switch_distance (see item 1), reduce entities (ugh), stagger entity creation, or lighten entity burden. Pausing the game a bit from time to time has been suggested to improve background garbage collection.

5) Thrashing due to the above, where the RAM is fragmented or occupied enough to force disk swapping. Especially bad with low VRAM, but high VRAM tends to have mirrored caches (MS has a recent Vista "fix" to eliminate one of these caches, making it like XP.) Get more RAM, tweak cache usage, reduce memory requirements by lower texture quality and lower resource utilization like special effects, background sounds, weather, etc.

6) Low-efficiency shader processing (e.g., fires, flickering lights, portals). Bug the devs to fix this or give you the option to bypass shaders. Maybe jjwalker of Float32 fame will fix this.

7) Dynamic resource loading. Ironically, the "-noprefetch" switch makes this worse, although it helps in other ways. You'll see lag while the game loads a sound effect from a database file, just before it plays it: wind rushing, thunder, growls, etc. It's probably unpacking the sounds each time, too. Maybe extracting/unpacking the sounds from the database files might help. Removing some of the sounds does help.

This is not an exhaustive list. You might be experiencing the first four, ras2. Some of these, like item 1, you can fix or improve yourself.

The major lag in that section is likely due to the bandits coming back on-line about 150-200 meters west of your position. Some are created with harmonicas, medkits, and bandages that they never use, and that are destroyed when they die. The game creates a new set of resources for you, except for the gun(s) and special items like flash keys.

I've made some strides with improving the effects of items 2, 3, 4, and 7 (which implies item 5 as a consequence).

_____________
P.S. Those stalkers are "uselessly guarding the front door" because you are good at keeping the bandits on the west side. Let a couple get around you, and the stalkers prove to be of some value. They do seem to be deaf to what's going on behind them, however!

Keywords for future searches: CausesOfLag, LagCauses, ThatRunDownFeeling
  12:05:42  22 September 2007
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ras2
(Novice)
 
On forum: 06/11/2007
Messages: 11
Wondering if other people have noticed some odd and seemingly unprovoked slow downs in certain areas and if so, whether there's some way to fix them (and if so, whether such fixes might be appropriate for this project...).

For example, in the stalker's camp at Garbage, I sometimes get really serious lag as soon as I pass through the gate to the hall itself (i.e. when I pass the two stalkers who're uselessly guarding the wrong door). FPS drop to around 3-4 until I pass through the other opening, making it rather impossible to fight off the bandits.
It doesn't always happen and I haven't been able to spot any patterns; it doesn't seem to matter how many stalkers are around, what they're doing or whether there is a bandit attack in progress or whether I use nightvision or what time of day it is.
I may notice it more than others because of my underpowered system, but this is definitely not merely graphics lag, though, as it doesn't always happen (sometimes the factory can be full of stalkers and a full bandit attack can be in progress while a bunch of stalkers coming from the direction of the junkyard are attacking the bandits from the flank and no particular slow down is noticeable).

It also happens in a few other areas, but I forget which right now.
I get the impression that it might perhaps be caused by the engine trying to determine an action for a stalker or such and not being able to sort of reach a conclusion. Or something.

...

Does this sound familiar to anybody or is it just happening for me?
  10:53:17  22 September 2007
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
Messages: 4268
THE ZONE RECLAMATION PROJECT

Okay, we're going with Hawk's f) Trader/Leader option mission where possible. I tested this with the Barkeep's "Eliminate the Mercs and bandits in Rostok" and "Destroy the lair of wild dogs" by Sakharov. It works fine, other than a "Prior" value needs to be set because the conditions (e.g., must be in Rostok after Yantar psi emitter quest complete) need to be removed.

What that means is that Sakharov can offer you the "lair of wild dogs" quest before you finish X16, unless I rewrite a bit of code to do the processing there. There may be iterations on this release; I've got to get something out the door.

But you wouldn't see Voronin's "Kill the zombies" quest until after you could talk to him anyway, so some of these issues are minor.

---QUOTATION---
NatVac, are your fixes going to be included into future bardak's bug fix attempt(s)? Are you and bardak working on a new one right now?
---END QUOTATION---


One or two fixes might be, Decane, if bardak thinks they are as useful as the reputation bug fix. He updates his patch as needed to address the known serious problems as they are discovered. Modders then integrate the patch into their mods. I'm merging and testing my language updates and code tweaks for what amounts to a minor Unofficial Patch 1.0005 for vanilla (English), but I don't expect much to make it into any future patch, being mainly textual changes.

Now that the 1.0006 patch has been announced (why do I have this feeling of deja vu?), bardak will likely have a "bug fix attempt" for that version as well. We'll probably go through the cycle again.

The "bfa" already includes fixes by Red75 and others, already fixing a few of your published bugs like the three broken missions, the wild reputation swing, the rookie behavior in Cordon during/after Merc attack, empty secret stashes, NPC barbecues. It also fixes the known repeatable game-based crashes (other than the process-space crash).

________________________
Some things already fixed in addition to bardak's patch fixes:

The major annoying sounds don't happen any more, except the ones you can fix yourself by completing a quest (Duty warrant officer in Garbage, Bar hunter).

Inventory/trade grids have more squares => less scrolling.

A lot of text corrections and clarifications. A lot! Cap's dialog was the first thing I fixed. "Shell" instead of "Battery" was the second. And it's "during the raid", not "during the rain", "attic" and not "cellar", "hole in my hide" instead of "hold in my hide", etc. Unfortunately I'm finding more all the time...

Zombies run from grenades much more slowly.

The GP37 can have a grenade launcher and silencer attached, courtesy SiriusStarr.

Less memory usage, due to some optimizations.

Cosmetic tweaks, like colors on secrets information, with optional info on what level the secret exists (default on), and optional info on contents (default off).

Some usability tweaks. Interfaces require less mouse movement. Optional cleanup features include bodies disappearing faster and most weapons stashed in backpack upon NPC death (remember the key word optional) to reduce lag.

Bes conversation fixed. X16 "no hint" marker fixed.

The Strelok quest you start with can be completed. The ecologist's quests have the correct targets. Max's "Get the crazy's flash" quest really has a Black Kite reward.

Optional: Less boring secrets. Better ammo on bodies later in the game. If they shoot you with AP, you'll find AP. (And more will shoot you with AP.) Same with the rocket launcher dudes.

No more lights shining through the floor or ground. Quick hack for the modders: delete the "torch" line in gamedata\gameplay\character_items.ltx. I gave most a torch and removed the file include for speed and because I was making other tweaks.

________________________
To be fixed before release:

Adjustable time limits on quests without having to replace files; just change a single value. What's a good default? Two days? Five? That would be the number "2" or "5" to set the number of days.

Conversion of most if not all trader/leader auto-quests to optional side quests. This will need some testing. (Optional)

________________________
Planned fixes:

The duck-and-change-levels in southern Agroprom mil base near NE sniper tower. The Dark Valley-to-Garbage transition, which prompts you for a return to DV. Unfortunately, these require changes to the all.spawn file, so it might be part of the Alternities 1 update...

________________________
May eventually be fixed by script or configuration change:

Removal of the sticky markers for certain locations and people and objects like the Bulldog. I've done it for a couple of items, but finding what goes to what is a bit of a mess. For example, esc_fabric is a reference to the Cordon factory (as in fabrication, not cloth).

Weapon changes to binoculars when changing levels.

PDA log entries not remembered.

Duty not ever done saying "They're done" in Army Warehouses when coming from the Bar.

Nightvision turning off when getting armor or making a level transition.

*** Anything else? ***

________________________
Not fixed: Engine problems, level problems, texture bugs, other issues: Grass shadows in 1.0004, NPCs walking through solid objects, decals, bodies disappearing, physics, NPCs blocking doorways (although being able to jump high enough is a sufficient workaround), monsters show as friendly after searching friend's corpse, shots through walls (armor-piercing to an extreme).
  07:36:18  22 September 2007
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Decane
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 04/04/2007
Messages: 1690
NatVac, are your fixes going to be included into future bardak's bug fix attempt(s)? Are you and bardak working on a new one right now?
  03:45:15  22 September 2007
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hawk318
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/17/2007
Messages: 275
Hmm...

I always thought the auto tasks that were no more than side quests were a pain in the ass.
They should have been just a trader option, like the other side missions.
Take 'em....leave 'em, not shoved down our throats

Nats...Yep think you're right on the lights. Some civilian groups like spelunkers have detachable lights they can lay on the ground if they play to stay in one spot. Pointing upward they light an area, in the hand of on head gear they give a more directed beam.... Maybe that's what the devs were going for?
  04:32:35  21 September 2007
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
 

Message edited by:
NatVac
09/21/2007 6:15:08
Messages: 4268
I was thinking of having a variable in the task manager to dynamically set the time limit on tasks, a multiplier of the default one-day value. So a value of 5 would give you five days, while a value of 0 would give you unlimited time. I was also thinking of doubling the time limit on auto-tasks, but it is also easy to not give them at all, and it might be not that difficult to change their nature to be a dialog-based task.

Comments?

On other items from your other threads:

1) I'm pretty sure those lights in the ground are from dropped flashlights, and I'm pretty sure the reason is that the templates give some NPCs a torch, and then include "gameplay\character_items.ltx", which has a 50% chance of giving the NPC another torch. There's only room for one in slot 10, I think, so they drop the other. You generally only see this on smooth surfaces; rough surfaces let the torch fall out of the level, the way your body might do when you die due to the late collision detection.

I'm currently taking the duplicates out of the character_desc_xxxx.xml files. Would it be okay if I also removed the harmonica for the first release? I have a feeling that some optimization here would reduce lag in places like the Bar and Freedom base, since the NPCs come on line as you approach and all those objects are created and given to them. Also, when they are killed or go off-line as you leave the area, the objects are destroyed.

2) Want to stop zombies from running like greyhounds from grenades?

For some brain-dead* reason, in the file gamedata\config\creatures\m_stalker_zombied.ltx, after they say zombies can't run, the devs have set panic_stand_run_forward, in the section [stalker_zombied_movement_speeds], to 7.0! Change it to something like 0.8, 1.0 or 1.2. Edit: This doesn't stop the running animation; it just changes the speed. I guess the best thing here is just to prevent panic...

__________________
*Maybe there really is a scrambled-brain effect from the Yantar psi emitter... Edit: There sure is one with this stupid forum software!
 
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