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malt66

Avernum 6- processor and fans run at 100%

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I am running Avernum 6 on a Macbook Pro 2.4 ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4 GB RAM and 10.6.2, using the integrated graphics card. Every time I start the game, it immediately taxes the processor fully and the fans start within just a few minutes. I can play the game fine, but it's really not a very visually intense game and shouldn't turn my laptop into a fire hazard. Does anyone have any ideas of what I could try to keep the game from ramping up the processor and fans immediately?

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Yeah, this is basically just what the game does: it will hog all the processing power available to it. If you're willing to pay $10, you can get CoolBook, which allows you to force your CPU to underclock itself.

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Count me in as someone who is annoyed with this behavior. I like to listen to music while playing spiderweb games, and I don't want my fans blaring at the same time.

 

For G4 (if i remember correctly), G5, and A6 the main thread will try and draw as fast as possible so one of your cores will always be pegged at 100%.

 

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but if we could set a framerate cap then at least A6 wouldn't be using 100% CPU in underground/simpler areas. IMHO, running the animations at more than 30FPS looks silly anyways since it just causes movement and spells to happen more quickly instead of being any smoother.

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I understand that the game will use available resources, but to use it up to 100% no longer adds to the experience. It really detracts when I can't use my laptop on my lap, and the fans are running very loudly. Are there graphical limits I can set in the app to help keep this under control? I don't want this to keep me from playing, but it definitely prevents me from sitting on the couch and playing or getting in a few minutes before bed, which is a shame since it really seems like a game that I'd like.

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There is a lot of long-standing confusion on this issue, so I'll add an entry to the support page.

 

On CPU Usage and Laptop Heat

 

There have been a lot of questions over the years about high CPU usage and laptop heat for our games. Hopefully the following will clear up questions on this issue. There isn't much we can do to make things better, I'm afraid, but we might be able to illuminate the issues involved.

 

Our games, while relatively low-budget, are still games. To maintain a high frame rate, they require a lot of processing power. To fill all of the pixels on a monitor and run the game itself (the combat, the AI, the movement, etc) at a high rate of speed requires a lot of energy, whether the graphics themselves are 3-D or icon based.

 

That is why, if you look at your activity monitor while playing, you will note that our games take up all of the available CPU power. This doesn't mean that our game keeps anything else from running. Our games just take up all of the processor energy that isn't playing music, checking e-mail, etc. If you switch out of our game and run something, it should work more or less normally.

 

Alas, many models of Macintosh laptop have, historically, had a problem with heat management. This problem that has shown up in many models running many different applications. This means that, when playing our games, the fans might start to spin. If you are having a problem with this, there might be tips online to solve the problem. Do a Google search for your laptop model and "heat issues" and something useful might come up. Sadly, there is little we can do about how Apple engineers its laptops.

 

Hopefully this clears up some of these issues. I'm sorry that we can't be of more help.

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I'm not a developer, so there may be roadblocks to this suggestion that aren't apparent to me. But I have other games of similar graphical and mechanical intensity that have an option to limit CPU usage to a certain amount of the available power, say, 50%. This does not directly control the fans on my laptop, but the effect on the system is pretty clear.

 

FWIW, on my MacBook with the same crappy GMA 950 video card, A6 runs fine and doesn't even cause my fans to turn on.

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This has been bugging me too, but a little websearch revealed this nifty little unix command: nice. (I found it on an apple discussion page). All you need to do is load up the terminal and type

Code:
nice -n 18 /Applications/Avernum\ 6\ ƒ/Avernum\ 6\ v1.0.app/Contents/MacOS/Avernum\ 6

or whatever the path to your program might be. If the path to the program is too cumbersome to type, just type the command and then drag and drop the program (note that you have to dig into the package contents) onto the terminal window. For me and my new macbook pro, this cut CPU usage from 100% down to 10% with no noticeable drop in performance.

 

[edit: drat. Didn't work. This will make it so that if you run the game in a window and go to another application then Avernum will only use a small percentage of the CPU (which it didn't do before), but once you switch back to the game it will be back at 100%. Oh well, at least I learned a new Unix command. [\edit]

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Switching to the partial graphics option seems to have done the trick. I don't notice any difference in quality and it's much easier on my computer.

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Just wanted to add a few more comments to this thread for those with Macbooks / Macbook Pros who are having fan and heat issues.

 

I've been meaning to try Coolbook for about a year now, and I finally bought a copy over the holidays. After maybe an hour of testing (and a few kernel panics) I was able to find some good voltage/frequency pairs that are stable on my CPU. In some cases I was able to reduce my CPUs operating voltage by almost 0.2V over the factory defaults. Not only does my computer now use less power (resulting in longer battery life), but it also runs much cooler! When playing A6 my fans are much quieter than ever before.

 

Its also very helpful for other demanding tasks such as 1080p video playback, flash video (come on adobe, could you make it a bit faster on mac!), or encoding using handbrake. So, if you have $10 to spend and a bit of time to test the settings out you should see a big improvement. It almost feels like I have a brand new machine!

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Originally Posted By: Spidweb
There is a lot of long-standing confusion on this issue, so I'll add an entry to the support page.

On CPU Usage and Laptop Heat

There have been a lot of questions over the years about high CPU usage and laptop heat for our games. Hopefully the following will clear up questions on this issue. There isn't much we can do to make things better, I'm afraid, but we might be able to illuminate the issues involved.

Our games, while relatively low-budget, are still games. To maintain a high frame rate, they require a lot of processing power. To fill all of the pixels on a monitor and run the game itself (the combat, the AI, the movement, etc) at a high rate of speed requires a lot of energy, whether the graphics themselves are 3-D or icon based.

That is why, if you look at your activity monitor while playing, you will note that our games take up all of the available CPU power. This doesn't mean that our game keeps anything else from running. Our games just take up all of the processor energy that isn't playing music, checking e-mail, etc. If you switch out of our game and run something, it should work more or less normally.

Alas, many models of Macintosh laptop have, historically, had a problem with heat management. This problem that has shown up in many models running many different applications. This means that, when playing our games, the fans might start to spin. If you are having a problem with this, there might be tips online to solve the problem. Do a Google search for your laptop model and "heat issues" and something useful might come up. Sadly, there is little we can do about how Apple engineers its laptops.

Hopefully this clears up some of these issues. I'm sorry that we can't be of more help.

Sorry for the necro-post, but I'm experiencing this issue on the Windows version of Avadon and have what I feel is some important feedback:

Why this is a problem:

From what I know of game engine design, I cannot reasonably believe that it is legitimately pegging one of my CPU cores at 100%. I strongly feel that it is much more likely that one of the main loops of the Avadon game engine is spending most of the time simply running in a tight loop that is doing little to nothing.

As others have mentioned, this is potentially very bad for desktops and especially laptops because it needlessly wastes power and generates a lot of excess heat that can potentially lower device life and cause fans to run loud and often. What hasn't been mentioned, however, is that hogging the CPU in this way can actually be bad for game performance/smoothness as well, because it can force the OS to preempt the game engine at less opportune times in order to give CPU time to other running applications that need it.

What can be done about it:

The kicker here is that the solution is probably simple: Most modern game engines at least run a 0-1 millisecond sleep command once per loop (which is less than 6% of the 16.7 milliseconds of time available per frame when rendering at a full 60fps). This allows the OS to either temporarily halt the CPU when there is nothing to do (minimizing power usage and heat generation), or else give some time to another application while the game doesn't really need it.

I'll bet that if something like this is added to Spiderweb's game engines, it would largely mitigate the issue.

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Dunno what kind of computer you have but on my computer (C2Q 2.83GHz, Radeon HD 4870, 2 GB RAM) Avadon doesn't use processor much after game has started.

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I'll check again to be sure. I'm running it on a >2GHz Core 2 Duo laptop with nVidia 8700M GT SLI (with SLI disabled), 2GB RAM and Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit.

 

Keep in mind that with a quad-core CPU, you're only going to see 12-25% combined CPU usage even if the game is hogging an entire core.

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I'm sure that there are Windows equivalents to the previously discussed programs that will underclock your processor. There should also be ways to limit how much processing power an application can take. I don't know any, but I'm sure they're not too hard to find.

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Originally Posted By: Master1
I'm sure that there are Windows equivalents to the previously discussed programs that will underclock your processor. There should also be ways to limit how much processing power an application can take. I don't know any, but I'm sure they're not too hard to find.

Thanks, but I'm not looking for a workaround (my laptop is a few years old now, so I wouldn't be devastated if it burned up). I just wanted to point out that there's a very simple fix that can likely be made to the games' source code to make them behave much better.

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Jeff doesn't often read these boards; he only really comes around when a game has been released (though he does pop by from time to time when the fancy takes him). If you want to suggest this idea to him, then, you'd be best off sending a quick email to him. Even if it's something he's thought of and dismissed, he'll probably thank you for the time, so you're not losing anything.

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Thanks, I saw someone say something similar in another thread too, so I dropped him a line.

 

To follow up on previous posts:

 

My CPU is an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 2.5GHz.

 

I just fired up Avadon while watching the CPU usage on my G15 keyboard. After loading my saved game and waiting for a minute or so for things to settle, it appears to keep one core running at 100% while running the other at ~10%. Interestingly, hitting Esc to open the in-game main menu makes the ~10% core jump up to ~80% in fullscreen or ~50% in windowed.

 

Alt+Tabbing the game to the background in fullscreen or windowed appears to pause it, which causes my CPU usage to drop to 0-1%.

 

As for temperatures, SpeedFan shows that my CPU runs at about 42 degC while idle. After letting the game run without being touched for around a half-hour, my CPU temperature was around 64 degC. That's a significant increase, but nothing to worry about. Of course, other computers may react differently.

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Originally Posted By: Earth Empires
temp rising isn't good so your laptop's fan isn't doing its work properly.
Temperature rising when the CPU is at load is normal, even with good cooling. The temperatures mentioned aren't anything about which to be worried.

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Originally Posted By: Tyranicus
Temperature rising when the CPU is at load is normal, even with good cooling.
Speak for yourself on this one. My laptop idles at around 110°F, and used to do that even when it was brand new with no software installed and running other than Windows Vista.

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Originally Posted By: The Mystic
Originally Posted By: Tyranicus
Temperature rising when the CPU is at load is normal, even with good cooling.
Speak for yourself on this one. My laptop idles at around 110°F, and used to do that even when it was brand new with no software installed and running other than Windows Vista.
I'm not quite sure what your point is here. He says his CPU runs at 42º C when idle, which is lower than 110º F.

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Oh.

 

The point is I apparently misread his post (and probably the better part of this thread), and that I need to clean my glasses a bit more often. Put simply, never mind, and disregard my earlier post.

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On a related note, what temperature is ideal for CPU and disk temps? I would assume as low as possible, but at what point should I be worried about heat?

 

Right now all I can get smartd and acpi to tell me is that two of my three hdds are at 35°C and 38°C. I cannot get info on the third disk, or my processor, memory, fan speeds, and all that.

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Originally Posted By: Earth Empires
Core2s (and most likely Core Is too) 65 celsius is safe and for hdds its around 40 celsius.
The first gen Core i7 runs considerably hotter than that. Mine goes into the low 90s Celsius when at load for an extended period, and I have a ridiculously good heatsink.

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my core2quad's temp at idle is 16-17 c and at Avadon castle it is 19-20 c.

 

graphic card's temp is 53 c at idle and at Avadon castle its same..

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I'm willing to wager that you aren't getting that temperature without water cooling or undervolting. Stock Core 2 chips with stock coolers simply do not run that cool.

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Liquid cooling or a cold house. Or both!

 

—Alorael, whose laptop often starts up at 20º C. It doesn't stay there long.

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1. its bit cold on my room (around 10c cause I keep balcony door open).

 

2. chassis fan is on full.

 

3. Intel's stock cooler designed for c2quad.

 

4. speedfan got those temps so no idea if right numbers.

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Well, the best possible air cooling can only get your computer's temperature to the temperature of the surrounding area. If your fan's on full, it's a good fan, and you're not demanding much from the computer, it's not impossible.

 

—Alorael, who is more impressed by your room's cooling than your computer's. You can stand sitting in a ten degree room? That's a temperature at which it can be uncomfortable to use a computer at all because your fingers get stiff in the cold.

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I'm under blanket.

 

Most demanding tasks for my computer are 2 games (Avadon is 1 of those, just need to finish it by killing Redbeard and other game is nearly 10 years old so not that demanding compared to Avadon) and malware scannning.

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