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Xoid

Geneforge 1-3 slowdowns, Geneforge 1-2,5 crashes

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System Specifications

.OS: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 2

CPU: Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor E4300 @ stock speed

RAM: 2GB PC2-3200 @ stock speed

HDD: 320 GB Seagate Barracuda

 

Video card: ATI Radeon HD 5700

...Drivers: Catalyst 9.10

..Direct X: 9.0c

 

Yes, I'm aware both my versions of Direct X and the Catalyst drivers are out of date. I don't fix what isn't broken; Geneforge 1-4 have all run perfectly fine on this computer in the past. If anything I believe it's the sole change in hardware that's causing the problem: I switched from an ASUS 8800 GTX to an ATI Radeon HD 5700 when the GTX decided to ingloriously choke and die on me.

 

Geneforge 1-3 run at regular speeds except when I bring up the menu or make area transitions. They're still playable but the slowdowns are noticeable and I find myself planning trips to and from zones in order to avoid the transitions. (Loading seems to work just fine, as does saving—it has to be the transitions that are causing the problem here).

Alt-tabbing didn't cause problems in the past but it now causes the occasional crash with a nonsensical (and always changing) unhandled exception error in Geneforge 1-2.

 

On a barely-related note, I'm getting the occasional VPU crash caused by Geneforge 5 when it switches resolutions. ATI's automatic VPU recovery kicks in and the resolution is changed successfully but will not revert once I close Geneforge 5.

For the record I use the non-Direct X executable, and if I set my resolution correctly before firing up Geneforge 5 the VPU does not crash.

 

The other Spiderweb Software games I play (Avernum 1-3, Blades of Avernum, Geneforge 4) run without issue.

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I have the same issue regarding saving and leaving areas in G1-G3.

 

It takes 10 seconds to get the menu up and 15 seconds to leave an area, its blatantly annoying.

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I don't know if this is the problem, but it's entirely possible that the outdated drivers were not an issue on your previous card, but are an issue with your current one. Updating them is worth a try.

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Ahem, I didn't make any driver changes, it worked fine before, but now I don't know why it takes so much to open the menu.

 

And no, my computer isn't old. It can run Crysis.

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Originally Posted By: vstef96
Ahem, I didn't make any driver changes, it worked fine before, but now I don't know why it takes so much to open the menu.

And no, my computer isn't old. It can run Crysis.


You switched from an Nvidia card to an ATI card. You weren't using the same drivers with your old card. Updating the drivers will not make your computer explodes, and it might help, so why not give it a try?

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Look at my name, now look at topic poster, now look at your post and mine.

 

I'm just saying I did not make any hardware changes and out of a sudden the game has problems.

 

This is not an isolated case, it might be a problem for many other players.

 

My theory is that the install from the main site might be missing something?

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Originally Posted By: vstef96
Ahem, I didn't make any driver changes, it worked fine before, but now I don't know why it takes so much to open the menu.

And no, my computer isn't old. It can run Crysis.
Your computer's age isn't the issue. I've run the entire Geneforge series on a computer that's comparable to (and probably older than) yours.

Slarty and Tyranicus are right; update your drivers, and everything should be running smoothly again. If you're concerned about any potential mishaps from updating the drivers, you can always create a system restore point before updating.

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Thanks. I updated the drivers, but it didn't seem to fix the problem.

 

Btw, I run Windows XP SP2 with ATI Radeon HD 4600 Series.

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Spiderweb's web site has an "Email Us" link:

 

spidweb@spiderwebsoftware.com

 

Instead of being snippy with other users who are going out of their way to try and help you, you could take action yourself and email the company. Spiderweb is pretty good about getting back to its customers quickly.

 

You will probably want to include the following information:

- Game

- Game version

- Operating system

- Operating system version

- Computer model

- Graphics card

- Graphics drivers

- Graphics drivers versions

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5 Days passed, what is the average reply time?

 

I am just trying to get the attention of other people, this might occur to other people aswell.

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Sorry for double post, but I have to say this:

 

I got the mail, I was suggested to completely wipe Geneforge 3 and reinstall, it didn't work out, but this one time when I alt tabbed I got an error:

 

Unhandled Exception: c0000005

At Address: 00404c2a

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thee could be some error on your harddrive so open command prompt (start--->run--->cmd) and type chkdsk/r and reboot.

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Or it could be a conflict between the game and the ATI card, because I and the OP have ATI cards and experience the same issue.

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My old comp which has Radeon 7000 played all Avernums from 1 to 5 well and Avernum and Geneforge share engine.

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Originally Posted By: Earth Empires
the[r]e could be some error on your harddrive so open command prompt (start--->run--->cmd) and type chkdsk/r and reboot.
Done, didn't make a scrap of difference. Not that it would, I do this sort of thing regularly.

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Originally Posted By: Earth Empires
My old comp which has [a] Radeon 7000…
Which is more than an entire generation behind. When someone with a Radeon made within the same time-frame and running on the same operating system as the people having problems manages to run the older Geneforges without incident for extended periods of time they then will have made a point.

<long mostly irrelevant rant>
Originally Posted By: Earth Empires
…Avernum and Geneforge share [an] engine.
"Technically", so does Unreal and Unreal Tournament 3. Nonetheless, it would be disingenuous to unequivocally state that those two both run on the same engine.
  • Nethergate ('99) and Avernum ('00) share an engine.
  • Avernum 2 ('00) and Geneforge ('01-'02) are different engines that partially share a code base.
  • Geneforge ('01-'02) and Avernum 3 ('02) are different engines that partially share a code base.
  • Geneforge ('01) and Geneforge 2 ('03) share an engine.
  • Geneforge 2 ('03) and Blades of Avernum ('04) are different engines that partially share a code base.
  • Geneforge 2 ('03) and Geneforge 3 share an engine.
  • Geneforge 3 ('03) and Avernum 4 ('04) share an engine.
  • Blades of Avernum ('04) and Nethergate Resurrection ('07) share an engine.
† Hard to tell definitively. On the one hand Nethergate is just plain old, and would share oodles of code with Avernum, on the other most of that code could be easily replaced with the latest from Blades of Avernum and appears to have been. It's a fairly safe bet that Blades and Nethergate Resurrection share more code than the two Nethergates.

All the games partially share assets, all the games are developed from the same ever-evolving code base; only some of them share an engine. It's not an exclusive thing either, some games could be considered to share an engine with two others that would themselves not share an engine; said game would be the 'missing link' between the two. If Jeff either put out more games or licensed the engine to others you'd start to get enough disparate games that you could get some really convoluted distinctions between which shared an engine and which did not ending in an A > B > C > A-esque paradox.

It would appear based on system requirements, age, etc., that of the Avernum and Geneforge games that Avernum 5 and Geneforges 4-5 share the most code.
</long mostly irrelevant rant>

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Originally Posted By: Xoid
[*] Nethergate ('99) and Avernum ('00) share an engine

 

I'm not sure that I would say that. While the Avernum engine is very clearly derived from the engine used for Nethergate, there are significant differences between the two. In many ways, the original Nethergate code is halfway between that of Blades of Exile and that of Avernum. I would say Nethergate and A1 considerably less similar than N:R and BoA, which really do share an engine.

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Xoid, I find your choice of comparisons somewhat confusing. I would make the following engine distinctions:

 

Group 1:

* Exile 1-3 and Blades of Exile.

 

Group 2:

* Nethergate.

* Avernum 1-3 -- similar to Nethergate both in terms of graphics and mechanics, but with some clear differences.

* Blades of Avernum and Nethergate: Resurrection. Similar to Avernum 1-3 especially in terms of graphics.

 

Group 3:

* Geneforge 1-5 -- a single engine which evolved in terms of graphics. Changes were relatively minor through Geneforge 3, but there were larger changes in graphics code for Geneforge 4 and 5. Mechanics nearly identical throughout.

* Avernum 4-6 -- identical to the Geneforge engine in some ways, but with some clear differences mainly in terms of graphics code.

 

As far as shared code and assets go, we KNOW that games up through at least Nethergate: Resurrection contain assets that date back to at least Exile 2 -- you can find them in the resource fork of the Mac applications.

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I was always under the impression that Jeff has only ever wrote one actual "engine" and has only made major changes to graphics (2d -> 3D) and a few other under-the-hood tweaks. I mean, sure, it looks totally different, but I'd be willing to bet that much of the code and base programming are similar if not totally identical.

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Well, we know what the Blades of Exile source code looks like, and it seems totally implausible that much of it could have been used for Nethergate. The dialogue engine was unchanged. But neither the graphics code, nor the combat code, applied at all. I suspect that lines, and maybe occasional segments of code were copied in, for dialogue and certain UI elements like item description boxes. But the vast majority of the BoE code simply could not be converted into Nethergate, it would have to be rewritten entirely.

 

For Geneforge 1, it is more plausible that certain snippets of graphics code, for example, were reused. I still suspect it was a ground-up rewrite with copy-and-paste moments.

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I tested GF 1-3 and 5 demos (1st 2-3 areas) on my newish computer (C2Q and Radeon 4870 1GB so quite near of Xoid's computer) and no problems on speed or crashing so either problems are on Xoid's computer or problems appear later on game than starting areas.

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Our* As both I and him have the issue and we are not connected to each other.

 

It happens anywhere: Starting Area or Later Area.

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"But the vast majority of the BoE code simply could not be converted into Nethergate, it would have to be rewritten entirely."

Original Nethergate uses the BoE special node system, mostly identical to BoE. (It has a few extra node types like "Is Party Roman"...)

It uses the BoE dialog system, basically unchanged apart from one extra column.

Like BoE, and unlike BoA, it has variable length storage for text.

It has no scripting of any kind.

So it would use some of the code, I can't say about the finer points of combat code.

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Since you quoted out of context,

Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES
Well, we know what the Blades of Exile source code looks like, and it seems totally implausible that much of it could have been used for Nethergate. The dialogue engine was unchanged. But neither the graphics code, nor the combat code, applied at all. I suspect that lines, and maybe occasional segments of code were copied in, for dialogue and certain UI elements like item description boxes. But the vast majority of the BoE code simply could not be converted into Nethergate, it would have to be rewritten entirely.

 

The point is that graphics (including location maps and tilesets, as well as most display code) and combat -- which make up the vast majority of the BoE code -- do not apply at all.

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Original Nethergate uses menus like BoE, but menus don't occupy much space in the source code.

Combat code is hard to compare because we don't have both sets. I suspect that Jeff would have retained the code where he could, Action Points? Other code would have been rewritten. From what I saw of the special nodes and dialog nodes, Jeff retained the original code where he could. Original Nethergate is halfway between BoE and BoA, especially when you look at the town records.

Comparing BoE source code with BoA Scenario Editor code would enable you to guess the differences involved in the terrain and monster graphics. Original Nethergate used BoA-style graphics, most Original Nethergate graphics went on to feature in Avernum 1.

Graphics are the vast majority of BoE? I have not looked into that.

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I've also been having this problem with Geneforge, and I too am running Windows XP SP2 on a modern-ish ATI card (Radeon 4650). Tried a number of things that didn't help: turning off ATI GPU scaling, turning it back on but setting it to "Use centered timings", setting the Windows desktop to 16 bit color, and setting Geneforge's processor affinity in Task Manager to only use one processor.

 

What finally did "fix" it was disabling my second monitor; I put fix in quotes for the obvious reason that a real fix wouldn't require breaking(/disabling – same difference) something else. Furthermore, my ADD requires that I have that second monitor constantly showing detailed checklists and reminders ("play plans" I call them) in order to make any kind of enjoyable progress in an RPG.

 

So, here's hoping for a real fix.

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I have this exact same problem. I've suffered through it through about 40 hours in geneforge 1 and it drives me crazy.

 

Windows XP SP3 ATI Radeon 5700. No obvious fix works and nothing mentioned in this thread works.

 

Game runs fine other than this, the problem is that hitting escape to bring up the menu causes the game to freeze for 10+ seconds and so does transitioning an area. There appears to be no fix. Running latest drivers, made every conceivable change to my video settings. Nothing affects it.

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Seems this issue is still unresolved so I'll offer up some tips that worked for me, running every game (demo) that SpiderWeb Software has made on a Win7 box with a non-integrated video card. If you have integrated graphics than you can try this but it might not work for you. Such chipsets always seem to be made with cheap components that get stressed really easily, so stick to browser games. Laptops were never meant for gaming, get over it. tongue

 

-Before updating video drivers, be they Nvidia or ATI, you must uninstall the old ones, then you need to boot into Windows Safe Mode and run a software called 'Driver Cleaner' to clean the remnants.

 

-Otherwise, you run the risk of random errors and incompatibilities.

 

-Nvidia drivers do make an effort to give you the option of 'clean install' but it is always a good idea not to risk issues.

 

-Once you've confirmed everything is completely uninstalled (Win7 just installs a 'VGA driver' by default in my case, leave that alone if that happens to you) then just install the new ones (make sure you aren't in Safe Mode when installing and be sure you RUN AS ADMINISTRATOR even if you had UAC disabled. Good idea do to this with every trusted program that you install so they get proper write permissions.

 

-Update your DirectX from Microsoft's website, both DX9 and DX10/11 or whatever.

 

-If the issue persists, you need further tech support to figure out your motherboard and get updated drivers for those as well. Ask your local computer geek to do it, as it can screw you up badly if a non-professional attempts to do so and messes it up.

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