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Andrew Kulin

CM Loads Slowly (@ 29%)

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CMBN games seem to stall at 29% during the loading process. Not permanently, but takes a long time (minutes) to get past 29%, then once it gets past the hurdle finishes loading in seconds.

This is happening with all PBEM games I am playing, including CW Holy Ground which is a small scenario. I notice same thing with CMFI. I play on a PC.

Why?

Options settings on CMBN (ver 2.01):

  • Sound - On
  • Display - Desktop (2560x1440)
  • V-Sync - On
  • 3D Model - Best
  • 3D Texture - Best
  • Anti-Aliasing - On
  • High Priority Process - Off
  • ATI Left Click - On

PC Configuration:

  • Windows 7 X64 Ultimate (up-to-date)
  • Intel i7 3930K@4.0 GHz
  • ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboard
  • 64 GB DDR3 Quad Channel RAM (1866)
  • ASUS HD6970 Direct CuII (2 GB DDR5, 890 Mhz/ 1375 Mhz, Catalyst 13.1)
  • Dual Monitors
    • NEC MultiSync PA271W (main monitor that game plays on)
    • Dell 2405FPW

    [*]Storage - RevoDrive, SSDs

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I get hesitations in different places. Sometimes it's at 29%, sometimes at 36%, sometimes at 46%, sometimes at other locations. It can also hang permanently at any of those locations requiring a hard restart of the computer. I am curious about what is being loaded at each of those locations.

Michael

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I have a pet theory that the percentage depends (in part) on how many mods you have. It certainly seemed to me that as I added mods, the point at which it takes a long time changes.... I don't think the loading has anything to do with what is in the scenario, surely it is all about loading the data that is in the Data folders.

GaJ

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I have a theory that the percentage number where the loading bar pauses for a longer period is related to what part of the scenario/map/etc the game is loading.

For instance it seems to me that 29% usually is where the bar pauses when loading a scenario. But when I am previewing a map in the editor the bar is progressing more evenly without pausing for longer periods at certain numbers.

And when I preview a one of the "Dealership" files that has lots of units, but no AI plans and a completely empty map, the loading bar immidiately jumps to 97% and hangs there for quite a while.

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I have always wondered why CMSF scenarios load so much more quickly than CMBN/FI scenarios of the same size and complexity.

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I measured some load times for 3 PBEMS I am playing:

  • CW Holy Ground (small scenario):
    • 3510 KB, load time = 3:25 (~3:00 @29%)
    • 4224 KB, load time = 3:34 (~3:09 @ 29%)

    [*]CMBN - Med. City Map (non-scenario), ~3500 pts/side

    • 4239 KB, load time = 1:00 (did not stop watch 29%)

    [*]CMFI Hot Mustard - large (maybe huge scenario):

    • 27,515 KB, load time = 2:49 (~1:40 @29%)

So not all that consistent, and smallest scenario just hangs like crazy at 29%.

And I have absolutely no mods installed.

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Wow. So, has everyone compared specs and figured out where the bottle neck is?

I'm not seeing anything like those kind of load times, not even close.

i7 920 o/c to 3.6

Raptor 10k HD (but i'm installed to a 2nd 2TB drive for CM that is 7200rpm, so nothing special

there)

6GB RAM (so again, nothing significant there either)

Small scenario I'm playing right now, turns load in under 30 secs. I mean don't get me wrong, the thing hangs at 29% and maybe one or two other places, but it doesn't just sit there for 3 whole minutes, that's brutal.

So, what hardware are you using to run it?

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PC Configuration:

  • Windows 7 X64 Ultimate (up-to-date)
  • Intel i7 3930K@4.0 GHz
  • ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboard
  • 64 GB DDR3 Quad Channel RAM (1866)
  • ASUS HD6970 Direct CuII (2 GB DDR5, 890 Mhz/ 1375 Mhz, Catalyst 13.1)
  • Dual Monitors
    • NEC MultiSync PA271W (main monitor that game plays on)
    • Dell 2405FPW

    [*]Storage - RevoDrive, SSDs

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One thing I noticed, which you might take into account when comparing loading times, is that PBEMs take much longer to load than Single Player scenarios / campaigns.

This has probably to do with the fact that the AI is usually much more passive than a real opponent and gives much less orders to the troops.

I usually have loading times of 2-4 minutes for PBEM turns in medium to large scenarios. Just recently, I played a campaign scenario with two battalions (plus) involved and the AI attacking. This loads in around one minute, despite the map/force size.

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Well Andrew, doesn't look like it is hardware. And we were both playing a small scenario PBEM.

So, I don't know what other major variable we'd consider here?!

So, Mad Mike,

You think this is affected primarily by how many orders are being given?

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I decided to test out a number of scenarios as single player (turn-based) to see what if any differnce that makes. I timed both initial scenario load (39% seems to be typical bottleneck) and then saved first turn, Alt-Q'd and reloaded. I plotted no moves, just took initial set ups on all. These are the results:

  • CW Holy Ground (small) - this is same scenario I am currently playing with load times > 3 minutes:
    • Initial Load Time = 3:29 (@ 39% for 2:09)
    • Save File Load Time = 3:25 (@ 29% for 3:02) - 2,420 KB save file

    [*]CW 18 Platoon (Tiny):

    • Initial Load Time = 1:31 (@ 39% for 1:09)
    • Save File Load Time = 1:24 (@ 29% for 1:03) - 2,094 KB save file

    [*]Platoon Patrol (Tiny - CMBN not CW):

    • Initial Load Time = 0:45 (@ 39% too fast to bother)
    • Save File Load Time = 0:42 (@ 29% too fast to bother) - 1,094 KB save file

    [*]Bloody Dawn (Large - CMBN not CW):

    • Initial Load Time = 3:13 (@ 39% for 1:50)
    • Save File Load Time = 3:02 (@ 29% for 2:39) - 3,619 KB save file

    [*]CW Evil Unto Him (Huge):

    • Initial Load Time = 8:06 (@ 39% for 2:46) - approx 7:00 to get to ~ 50%
    • Save File Load Time = 4:37 (@ 29% for 3:24) - 28,109 KB save file

I am not sure what this tells me. I have the sense that CW scenarios may be less efficient at loading up, but I admit not enough data to say that with confidence.

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Just a thought: does the difficulty level make any difference to loading times? Are there additional layers of calculation that come into play with higher levels of FOW?

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One thing I noticed, which you might take into account when comparing loading times, is that PBEMs take much longer to load than Single Player scenarios / campaigns.

This has probably to do with the fact that the AI is usually much more passive than a real opponent and gives much less orders to the troops.

I usually have loading times of 2-4 minutes for PBEM turns in medium to large scenarios. Just recently, I played a campaign scenario with two battalions (plus) involved and the AI attacking. This loads in around one minute, despite the map/force size.

This should be easily verifiable. Set a turn up and run it once with orders for everybody and again with no orders at all.

PBEMs do seem to have different issues. Broadsword and I at one point played a game swapping a hotseat file when the PBEM file just would not run. What it adds and why I don't know

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So, Mad Mike,

You think this is affected primarily by how many orders are being given?

It was the first thing that came to my mind, but on second thought and also with the input provided here, I have another, slightly different theory.

With PBEM, with every turn the actual replay of the action is passed along in the file (except for the first two setup files). If you think about it, in all other Single Player Scenarios you will only be able to save a "static" situation at a certain point, from which any further action can then be calculated. This is done based on the "static" situation loaded into memory, therefore I expect it to be quite quick (as can be seen by watching the calculation bar for WeGo). But with PBEM, the loading and also preparation (calculation) happen at the same time, which apparently adds to loading times.

So I guess it has not so much to do with the number of orders after all.

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With PBEM, with every turn the actual replay of the action is passed along in the file (except for the first two setup files). If you think about it, in all other Single Player Scenarios you will only be able to save a "static" situation at a certain point, from which any further action can then be calculated. This is done based on the "static" situation loaded into memory, therefore I expect it to be quite quick (as can be seen by watching the calculation bar for WeGo). But with PBEM, the loading and also preparation (calculation) happen at the same time, which apparently adds to loading times.

I do not think that can be the case (at least it shouldn't be). I am currently involved with 3 PBEM games, and for one of the three, when I save the turn for my opponent after plotting moves, I get the blue calculation bar, and it does not take a lot of time (~30 seconds +/-). This suggests to me that the action is already calculated and saved within the turn file. Therefore it would appear to this simple user that the heavy lifting (calculations of the action) has already been done at the time of the save on one of the player's computer. This would then mean there should be no need for recalculating at the other end, and even if that was the case I cannot see why it would be coded in such a manner as to significantly add to the load time. I should think such calculations would simply be appended at the end of the process once all of the "world" had been loaded up.

The PBEM I referred to above (~30 sec calculation) also happens to be the ~3500 point battle (non-scenario, Med City with river - 912x800 m map) that is by far the quickest load time (1:00 minutes, see Post #7). Yet the other PBEM I am playing (CW Holy Ground - map size 512x512 m), takes about 3.5 the amount of time to load with a map that is about 1/3 the size (total area), and with a lot fewer individual units involved. And almost all of the time waiting is at 29%.

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Yeah, see those two examples just don't make any intuitive sense to me at all.

Unless of course load times have nothing to do with the size, number or orders given, calculations made, or complexity of the scenario.

In which case we're back at square one asking, so what does drive load times? And the corollary of course, the sticking points we see it get hung at as it loads.

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Yeah, see those two examples just don't make any intuitive sense to me at all.

Unless of course load times have nothing to do with the size, number or orders given, calculations made, or complexity of the scenario.

In which case we're back at square one asking, so what does drive load times? And the corollary of course, the sticking points we see it get hung at as it loads.

Well, in the examples provided by Andrew Kulin, other things might factor in as well. Without knowing the exact QB map, it could be that this map (city+river) is quite flat, with little vegetation like extended wooded areas etc.

On the other hand, CW Holy Ground has woods (not that many, but still), but also quite some elevation changes.

It could be that the longer loading time for the "smaller" map happens due to much more effort necessary to calculate and build correct LOS tables in memory, amongst other stuff. This should be much more complicated for maps which are not "pool billard flat", like a typical QB city map. Also, QB maps are much less full of features and elevations, at least the early ones.

So without exact knowledge of what is being loaded, it is indeed difficult if not impossible to guess. And my theories so far are only guesses, but the difference between loading scenarios/campaigns in single player and PBEMs is noticeable, i've done both probably more than a couple of thousand times.

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I am definitely having some sort of PC issue as this save file (CW Holy ground) only takes around 40 seconds or so to get to the password screen (i.e., load).

So can anyone say with confidence what system component may be taxed at the 29% mark? Might be helpful in focusing my troubleshooting efforts.

Thanks

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I don't think there's any point troubleshooting. It just takes ages to load. If you Alt-Tab out immediately you hit the "fight" button, you can do something else in the meantime. FWIW, my system always (and always has) stalls for the longest at the 29% mark when loading either PBEMs or vsAIs. I haven't noticed any particular bias to any given load stage when previewing maps in the editor (whether for deployment of 3D preview) or in the QB force selection stage; it just rattles through.

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The biggest things to effect loading times appears to be graphics settings (I changed both textures and 3d models together). On my laptop (i5-450M, ATI HD5850, 1GB DDR5) I loaded the the same scenario with different settings, these were the times.

Faster-17 seconds

balanced-30 seconds

improved 68 seconds

better 87 seconds.

Clearly a huge difference in loading times based on the graphics settings.

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