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A4 Windows 99% cpu time

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The demo version of Avernum 4 for Windows takes 99% of my 2GHz AMD64 Venice Core, rendering the game very sluggish. I've tried reinstallment of the game, as well as the latest nVidia drivers. What to do next?

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The problem may be an old computer.

Which windows version is it?

If your on an XP, you shouldn't be having any problems.

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Does this happen even when you don't have any other programs running?

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The computer is quite new, hence the AMD64 Venice Core @ 2GHz. I also have 2 gigs of RAM and SATA-disks, as well as a kick-ass GPU. I'm running Windows XP.

 

I would guess it is an unpaused thread in the game that is causing this problem. However, it is most strange that no one else have reported this "bug" or whatever it is. I'll look into what might be the problem, it's probably software related since I notice the same sluggishness on my other (fairly new) computer.

 

Good news though: For some reason, the sluggishness stopped somewhere in the first little Goblin Lair. Very strange.

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I have a similar problem occasionally. The game was sluggish when doing anything.

 

I solve it by either:

 

a) Re-setting my computer

B) Leaving the computer

or

c) Closing all other programs

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The Avernum 4 demo also goes rather sluggish on my computer as well.

It's a new computer with Windows XP, AMD64 1.8ghz, 1gb RAM & Geforce 6800 256mb.

The worst part is clicking on the menu button to save or load the game because it freezes for a couple of seconds.

I tried closing all other programs but there was no difference in performance.

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I haven't had time to actually play the game yet, but I did a test, and my cpu is pushed to 100 % usage during A4 as well. I didn't see any sluggishness, however. Nothing beyond what geneforge displays anyway.

 

How is the sluggishness displayed? Does the game actually take time to react to your commands, or does it only display a kind of "lazy" movement all around? If it's the latter, then I believe all is running as well as it can.

 

My system is very similar to that of Dexter (2,2 GHz AMD64, 2 GB RAM, good graphics card, Windows XP SP2).

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I'm sure I get the "lazy" one but clicking the menu to save and load freezes the game for a few seconds.

Geneforge 3 has a very similar behavior.

But I'm confused because my new computer can easily handle new games like FEAR and Black & White 2.

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Same problem here. It also freezes for some seconds when I move the party more than just a few steps. I'm on a 2.5GHz Athlon with Win2k.

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Unfortunately, I've found that A4 (in Windows) hogs the CPU like crazy - even when its in the task bar. Not 99%, but just as much as it can get with Firefox and Google Desktop running - which is still around 60%-70% on occasion.

 

It doesn't freeze usually, however - only pauses briefly when changing levels, and when autosaving.

 

It does freeze when I've got a lot of things open, but that is to be expected.

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Quote:
Originally written by When in the course of Nathan Ashby:
It doesn't freeze usually, however - only pauses briefly when changing levels, and when autosaving.
For me, it's only that it pauses for a second whilst autosaving, and loading new scripts. Everything else is fine, and I'm using far worse computers than you for running it.

Is it something to do with how scripts are loaded? With the scrolling nature, they need to be loaded and unloaded for more rapidly, and now during game play, than before.

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Quote:
Originally written by Few probed waitress:
I checked as well, 100% usage.

Something is desperately wrong with this game and how it interacts with the CPU on Windows computers.
I've written small and short programs in C++ myself and I've noticed something similar. I believe it is more of a problem with Windows than with the game. Really it is not a serious problem. How many people are going to run an intensive program in the background while playing the game? tongue

Like others it has paused temporarily for me while autosaving and loading difference sections of the map. Good reason too - the save games around around 20MB and up!

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The problem with heavy loads on the CPU is the intense heat that is generated. Make sure that your fans are working and that there is a minimum of dust accumulated inside the box.

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Quote:
Originally written by Few probed waitress:
The problem with heavy loads on the CPU is the intense heat that is generated. Make sure that your fans are working and that there is a minimum of dust accumulated inside the box.
Ah yes, this happened with me on BoA. My computer was so hot, I actualy endded up staying away from it, just to be on the safe side...
smile

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Yea, I also noticed that the savegames are close to 20 Mb. A4 seems to be very inefficient in CPU usage as well. Even while idling and typing this post, A4 managed to eat up just under 50% CPU time. Saving also produces some sort of lag spike, but I expect that.

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I had an issue of the game running incredibly slow on the character stats window and dialog screens while having random slow downs during the game. I checked the task manager and it seemed the game was constantly sucking up more memory. I killed the game when it had over 100MBs of RAM allocated tongue . Then I turned off my second display and tried again and everything ran fine. So I'm guessing the game doesn't handle several displays right and leaks memory like crazy if you have more than one display set up. Not sure if it is your problem but if you have more than one display set up turn off all but one when running the game.

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This has nothing to do with Avernum 4, but I too remember having problems with Geneforge 3 in Dhonal's keep in town mode : sometimes the game paused and the characters started moving extremely slowly for seemingly no reason for a few seconds (especially when I was near a golem).

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Quote:
The problem with heavy loads on the CPU is the intense heat that is generated.
Yes, and that can kill your motherboard, if you don't take care. So this is something that should be looked into, especially if it is true that a lot of JV's customers are young kids, who wouldn't know about such things and how to handle them.

edit: I checked again: I had A4 just sitting minimized in the taskbar and nothing else running. Even so it eats the full 100% of my CPU.

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I would like to make note of the fact that the mac OS X versions of Avernum 2, Blades of Avernum, and Avernum 4 all behave in this same way; when sitting totally idle, they use up all available cpu time. I noted that the BoA Editor was doing the same thing, and possessing the source code for that program I was able to fix the problem by altering it to not poll constantly for events. I suspect that Jeff used similar event handling in his other programs.

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I'd just like to point out that all games by their nature use ~100% of the CPU time because they are either using most resources exclusively when in focus and even when idle, run a nonterminating main loop. Hence the CPU usage. Not a bad thing. The CPU usage is likely unrelated to your problem.

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A turn-based RPG designed to work well on older computers has absolutely no reason to hog the CPU of a modern computer. In fact, hogging the CPU too much on modern computers can be counterproductive, since the OS will try to take back CPU time by hook or by crook.

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Quote:
Originally written by Red_Sage:
I'd just like to point out that all games by their nature use ~100% of the CPU time because they are either using most resources exclusively when in focus and even when idle, run a nonterminating main loop. Hence the CPU usage. Not a bad thing. The CPU usage is likely unrelated to your problem.
Not all games. Decently developed ones cap the framerate and sleep inbetween finishing one frame and starting the next if there is spare time in between. Granted most games just take every cpu cycle they can get and if you want them to cooperate with other apps you need to drop their priority.

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I just checked A1 and A2, they both are sparing in their use of resources. G2 hogs the resources, and G3 crashed while I was checking, but it was around 96%. My sense is that somewhere around A3 things started getting used differently. It may be with more stuff happening within the game the engine isn't being as efficient as possible. Or Jeff doesn't think it matters too much. And he may be right.

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Quote:
Originally written by Bored flak:
I just checked A1 and A2, they both are sparing in their use of resources. G2 hogs the resources, and G3 crashed while I was checking, but it was around 96%.
Think of it this way. How much does the Avernum engine update in the background when you aren't moving? And how much does the Geneforge engine?

Also take into considering that the mouse is software-based meaning everytime you move it, the screen has to do a complete redraw. Redrawing isn't a quick and low-resource application when you have so much on the screen.
wink

Edit: The above is taking into account that the software doesn't refresh unless input is received. I doubt that's the case - it probably refreshes constantly. tongue

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The Avernum engine isn't actually doing anything except checking over and over to see if it needs to do anything, I think. It's not a very efficient system, and there are better ways to do event handling.

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Some people have reported a strange slowness in the game. It should really run swiftly on the machines being reported (and should be fast on a brand new machine). It seems to be a very uncommon problem, related to some weird interaction without some video card or piece of installed software or something.

 

At this point, I really don't know what to do about it, because I have no idea what might be causing the problem. Since the vast majority of machines run the game with no problem, it's pretty unlikely to be a problem with my code.

 

The best thing I can recommend is to play the game after a fresh restart and without any other programs running. Some other program might be trying to grab some resource the game needs.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I had problems all though the beta with random slowness on my machine, mostly when I tried doing a screen capture. (On a Mac) Whole system would slow to a crawl. And most of the time, I couldn't get the screen capture to work on the first try, I had to keep jabbing the key repeatedly.

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I've often gotten CPU usage at around 97-99% when using any Spiderweb game that came after Avernum 2, including the A4 demo I fleeting tried out.

 

I'll use an example where I can actually remember the details: Blades of Avernum slowed down to less than snail's pace when an NPC was trying to return to their starting position and couldn't. CPU load went from almost nothing (20~%) to almost everything (97-99%).

 

Regardless of whether this is an issue with Jeff's code, or the OS itself, It would be nice if he done a little experimenting and tried to find a work-around of some sort.

 

Personally, seeing some of his source from the BoA Editor, I'd be inclined to say that it is an issue with Jeff's code in general. While it might work fine in most circumstances, truly well written code can almost always compensate for an OS's deficiencies.

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When the game is being played, it will grab as much of the CPU as it can. This is a game thing, and it's not going to change. Getting a good FPS rate is a processor-intensive thing.

 

When the game isn't in the foreground, it is taking up most of the CPU, but it shouldn't. I am working on making this stop happening. The next release of Avernum 4 for Mac will be well-behaved when running in the background. I'll work on Windows next.

 

What I am most interested in, now, is Avernum 4 specifically for Windows specifically. A small number of people are reporting slowness on very up-to-date machines, and I'm trying to track down why. I will post something shortly on this issue.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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I've found that my anti-virus program (AntiVir) interacts strangely with my graphics card (NVidia GeForce), not only when playing games, also in some other cases. Would some of you who run anti-virus software in the background turn it off and watch, if that makes a difference? It could just be my software that's creating a problem for me, or it could be a more generalized weirdness.

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I tried mef, but it was very similar. I use Norton AV Corp 7.6 and Norton Firewall 2005, but turned both off and re-ran A4. It still stutters when going on a long walk, even when there are no obstacles. The oddest thing (Jeff, listen) is that after alt-tabbing back to A4 from the Task Manager, the left-mouse button does not function as a left mouse button. Instead it gives info on objects (like it was the right button), but it will click through a check box.

 

Something wierd this way comes.

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