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ZRP - A joint effort in fixing S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

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Question Do YOU want an unofficial patch?
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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Question/AnswerMake Oldest Up Sort by Ascending
  20:20:42  22 September 2007
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Senior Resident

On forum: 06/15/2007
Messages: 4297
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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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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Senior Resident

On forum: 06/15/2007
Messages: 4297

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.

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?

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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Senior Resident

On forum: 04/04/2007
Messages: 1705
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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Senior Resident

On forum: 06/17/2007
Messages: 275

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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Senior Resident

On forum: 06/15/2007

Message edited by:
09/21/2007 6:15:08
Messages: 4297
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.


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!
  03:31:42  20 September 2007
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Senior Resident

On forum: 05/21/2005

Message edited by:
09/20/2007 3:32:10
Messages: 1089

i just HAD to say lol @ "S.T.L.A.K.E.R"

I've forgotten the label given to the ability of ones brain to 'automatically correct' grammatical errors, without one necessarily being aware of the fact that there was an error there at all - I think that the 'trick' can best be played when viewing the names of colors that are colored differently to the name.

EDIT/ Sorry - way off topic...yes, it would be nice to see Stalker free of bugs.
  23:52:56  19 September 2007
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On forum: 04/30/2007
Messages: 92
i just HAD to say lol @ "S.T.L.A.K.E.R" it sounds funny ...and on topic: if you make a general fixing up of S.T.L.A.K.E.R it better be good!! because i have tried many mods for many games and they just arent as well made as official stuff im im realy picky about little things...i dunno it may be better as stalker has all these retarded bugs/glitches
  11:17:55  19 September 2007
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Senior Resident

On forum: 08/13/2007
Messages: 226
I"m not a SP lover, but STALKER have trapped me. But anyway, I like more to play MP games with my mates, than playing alone in SP.
The thing is that, IMO if a group of coders/modders get in contact with GSC to develop some kind of help fixing STALKER, that would be very positive for MultiPlayer developing, and even more for Clear Sky, as more resources can be send to them.

Hope that this can be done. Have all fun, sincerely,
  18:54:43  17 September 2007
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5 Shots 1 Kill
On forum: 04/05/2007
Messages: 102
Is there some way you can make it so the auto quests are given when you go near the place? Not right when you enter the map, but when your close to the area. Also I like your b, because I hate doing a random quest in garbage and having to go to either sid or barkeep for the reward. If your there you should help out your buddies, but you should also be able to just, uh, avoid the whole situation and go around. Agreed on the dog things, I hate killing dogs.
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