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    • Battlefront.com

      Special Upgrade 4 Tech Tips   12/27/2016

      Hi all! Now that Upgrade 4 is out and about in large quantities we have now discovered a few SNAFUs that happen out in the scary, real world that is home computing.  Fortunately the rate of problems is extremely small and so far most are easily worked around.  We've identified a few issues that have similar causes which we have clear instructions for work arounds here they are: 1.  CMRT Windows customers need to re-license their original key.  This is a result of improvements to the licensing system which CMBN, CMBS, and CMFB are already using.  To do this launch CMRT with the Upgrade and the first time enter your Engine 4 key.  Exit and then use the "Activate New Products" shortcut in your CMRT folder, then enter your Engine 3 license key.  That should do the trick. 2.  CMRT and CMBN MacOS customers have a similar situation as #2, however the "Activate New Products" is inside the Documents folder in their respective CM folders.  For CMBN you have to go through the process described above for each of your license keys.  There is no special order to follow. 3.  For CMBS and CMFB customers, you need to use the Activate New Products shortcut and enter your Upgrade 4 key.  If you launch the game and see a screen that says "LICENSE FAILURE: Base Game 4.0 is required." that is an indication you haven't yet gone through that procedure.  Provided you had a properly functioning copy before installing the Upgrade, that should be all you need to do.  If in the future you have to install from scratch on a new system you'll need to do the same procedure for both your original license key and your Upgrade 4.0 key. 4.  There's always a weird one and here it is.  A few Windows users are not getting "Activate New Products" shortcuts created during installation.  Apparently anti-virus software is preventing the installer from doing its job.  This might not be a problem right now, but it will prove to be an issue at some point in the future.  The solution is to create your own shortcut using the following steps: Disable your anti-virus software before you do anything. Go to your Desktop, right click on the Desktop itself, select NEW->SHORTCUT, use BROWSE to locate the CM EXE that you are trying to fix. The location is then written out. After it type in a single space and then paste this:

      -showui

      Click NEXT and give your new Shortcut a name (doesn't matter what). Confirm that and you're done. Double click on the new Shortcut and you should be prompted to license whatever it is you need to license. At this time we have not identified any issues that have not been worked around.  Let's hope it stays that way Steve
    • Battlefront.com

      Forum Reorganization   10/12/2017

      We've reorganized our Combat Mission Forums to reflect the fact that most of you are now running Engine 4 and that means you're all using the same basic code.  Because of that, there's no good reason to have the discussion about Combat Mission spread out over 5 separate sets of Forums.  There is now one General Discussion area with Tech Support and Scenario/Mod Tips sub forums.  The Family specific Tech Support Forums have been moved to a new CM2 Archives area and frozen in place. You might also notice we dropped the "x" from distinguishing between the first generation of CM games and the second.  The "x" was reluctantly adopted back in 2005 or so because at the time we had the original three CM games on European store shelves entitled CM1, CM2, and CM3 (CMBO, CMBB, and CMAK).  We didn't want to cause confusion so we added the "x".  Time has moved on and we have to, so the "x" is now gone from our public vocabulary as it has been from our private vocabulary for quite a while already.  Side note, Charles *NEVER* used the "x" so now we're all speaking the same language as him.  Which is important since he is the one programming them
Hister

Irratic Framerate Issue

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I for one would above everything else like to see the patch that fixes the odd performance issues some of us have with the CM games. It should be high on the priority list me thinks. It can't be that some older hardware combos produce much more smoother gameplay (higher frames per second and no stuttering) on the same screen size then newer, more powerful components for example.

It should have been acknowledged by you devs and tried fixed. I don't know what is the percentage of the players that are affected but in my case I have mostly stopped playing your games due to having very low framerates on most of the scenarios (below 20 frames, sometimes only as low as 3 frames), also the tiny sized ones. 

Cheering to see something being done on this front eventually. :D

    

Edited by Hister

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22 minutes ago, Hister said:

I for one would above everything else like to see the patch that fixes the odd performance issues some of us have with the CM games. It should be high on the priority list me thinks. It can't be that some older hardware combos produce much more smoother gameplay (higher frames per second and no stuttering) on the same screen size then newer, more powerful components for example.

Humm. I don't have a view on the support issues list but there have not been that many persistent problems with that level of bad performance. Are there any others? And no not being able to get the "minimum to bother with a game of 60fps" does not count :) I'm talking about the really bad 3 to 20 numbers on small and medium maps that cannot be fixed with performance tuning of the graphics card.

I get that you have had a problem but it doesn't seem like there are a lot of examples. Certainty not the numbers that would warrant a drop everything approach to the problem.

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20 minutes ago, Hister said:

I for one would above everything else like to see the patch that fixes the odd performance issues some of us have with the CM games. It should be high on the priority list me thinks.

If it is reproducible and not limited to one or two people, sure.  We spent several years making performance improvements.  As far as we know there's no significant performance problems out there.

20 minutes ago, Hister said:

It can't be that some older hardware combos produce much more smoother gameplay (higher frames per second and no stuttering) on the same screen size then newer, more powerful components for example.

Actually, it can be.  Individual systems can have software that slows things down or internal components that are not top quality.  Remember, chip speed is only one thing that determines speed, there's far more than that

Then there is the problem with OpenGL support.  Some cards are good, some cards aren't as good.  Some have good drivers, some do not.  Some "silent revisions" of a particular brand/model of card can be a problem in ways that another one with the same brand/model but different revision is not.

Cramming a card with tons of unnecessarily high resolution Mods can also screw things up.

Etc.

The only valid way to compare speeds is if there's an issue with two exactly the same systems.  Since that's difficult to do, we ask people to focus on the video cards using identical scenarios with identical card and game settings.  If both have problems then we have something to focus on.  If one performs differently, then the customer has something to focus on.

20 minutes ago, Hister said:

It should have been acknowledged by you devs and tried fixed. I don't know what is the percentage of the players that are affected but in my case I have mostly stopped playing your games due to having very low framerates on most of the scenarios (below 20 frames, sometimes only as low as 3 frames), also the tiny sized ones.

 

20 for a big scenario with lots going on doesn't sound bad to me, but 3 indicates a hardware/software problem that isn't directly CM related.  I say this because what tends to produce dramatic reductions is a particular call that CM makes to the video card.  If the card or driver has a problem or there's some OS flaw or software running in the background that has an issue, that call might not be processed in the video card at all, but instead diverted to the CPU or just tied up in knots on the video card.

I can't say what the cause of the problem you're having because I've got squat for information to go on.  All I can say is that it shouldn't be happening and we're not looking into anything right now because we've seen no reason to.  Explore your video card issues with some of the people here, including testers, and perhaps they can help you isolate the issue.  As I said, I very much suspect it's something that is on your end and not ours.  Otherwise we'd have a lot of people complaining about 3fps.

Steve

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9 minutes ago, IanL said:

I get that you have had a problem but it doesn't seem like there are a lot of examples. Certainty not the numbers that would warrant a drop everything approach to the problem.

Yes, it's like asking the police to drop everything because one person has a problem with their land lady.  It doesn't work that way :D  Now, if the land lady is suspected of being a mass murderer, then the police should investigate to the extent the evidence supports the claim.  But someone calling into a police station and saying "my land lady IS a murder because she's not very nice to me" isn't really the same thing.

Hister, I don't doubt you have a problem that needs solving.  But don't insist that our sole focus should be fixing a problem that we don't know if it even exits.  If we did that for every person with a complaint we'd still be working on CMSF v1.01.

Steve

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9 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

I can't say what the cause of the problem you're having because I've got squat for information to go on.  All I can say is that it shouldn't be happening and we're not looking into anything right now because we've seen no reason to.  Explore your video card issues with some of the people here, including testers, and perhaps they can help you isolate the issue.  As I said, I very much suspect it's something that is on your end and not ours.  Otherwise we'd have a lot of people complaining about 3fps.

So, @Hister there is a plan of attack we can take. What video card do you have? Perhaps we can find someone that has the same one and we can compare card settings and driver versions and test the SAME scenario on both. With the hope that we can figure out where the bottleneck is.

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Thank you IanL and especially Steve to have taken the time to directly answer me, much appreciated! 

Ha ha, I must have came out as a little crybaby, not my original intention. Although I admit that I am annoyed by the situation I am experiencing and at unease after Steve's reply. 

I am hardly alone experiencing this as the forum testifies (there have been a bunch of performance issues posts in these years by different people sporting different hardware) but what is the percentage of players that gets hit with very poor performance is beyond me and by your answer Steve also probably beyond you (tech help requests might give  a better inside knowledge on this then us outsiders can ever have).

Another layer of goo with this is that for someone having 15 FPS is just fine when for others like me is a no go. I am able to clearly see a difference in frames from 10 to 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 with my eyes. Must have something to do with the way eyes receive and brains process the image - we ain't all made equal. I get a very not nice physical feeling inside me when frames drop below 25-23 and the worse it gets the lower the frames. I don't feel good after watching such low frames for even a short timespan.  I haven't checked if there is any medical reasoning behind this. I get irritated and drop the scenario or try to avoid camera angles that drop the frames too low. That said I don't play this game from top down like many do, I like to be "personal" with them troops, having the camera on the ground and trying to see what my soldiers see). :)

I also know the game isn't made to be played on 60 frames (those frames I get when I pan the camera towards the map edge and have only a few units and trees in my view, oh the visual smoothness!) but as soon as I pan camera around the frames drop dramatically even on tiny scenarios. Having 20 to 30 is considered a normal for these games and I can play without any issues when frames are above 25, 30. I have been around CM for many years now and have been monitoring the forum and often also engaged in different debates.

So I have had 2 different hardware combos on which I have played the CM games (both on AMD CPU's and Nvidia GPU cards - I never had an Intel CPU and AMD GPU combo).  Both rigs have been giving me the same low frames issues. At this point I still have expectation that the game will run fine when I buy myself a new rig but am trying not to get myself too disappointed if this doesn't realize since it seems more to be a hit and miss thing then a "this rig combo or this CPU or this GPU will give you problems".  

The current GPU I have was kindly given to me by Baneman (who himself didn't experience the low framerates with it). It is a GTX 660Ti. Previous one that I had was GTX 550Ti (ingame shadows were drawn much more nicely with it then with the current one but I am getting no increase on frames with it). 

My CPU is AMD's 6300 FX. I have 8 gigs of RAM. Games are installed on SSD and on a hard disk. I have windows 7. Latest Nvidia drivers. All computer device drivers are the latest.  

I have Juju's mod installed but experiencing the same issues also without it. 

Ingame settings are set to balanced, balanced, no shaders and no shadows, tree detail is low, vertical synch is on, high priority process is off (no change if I set it to on). I play the game on native resolution which is 2560x1080. I have played it on lower resolutions with my old monitors with exact same settings and experienced 2 or 3 more frames on the same scenarios only so not a drastic change.

 

I have CMBN, CMRT and CMBS, all modules and packs (minus the newest one for CMBS that hasn't been officially announced yet).   

I started up The Copse which is a tiny map scenario with 3 tanks, 2 halftracks and one Kangaroo, all in all 6 vehicles  and 1 platoon of units sitting inside the vehicles.  

 

I position my camera on the ground level just behind my allied units looking towards the enemy positions. I get 22 frames per second.  See attached screenshot. I don't know why frames are not shown on the screenshot, ussualy they were. I am using Fraps to measure frames.  

 

  

 

 

CM Normandy The Copse scenario 22 frames in this camera position.jpg

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2 hours ago, Hister said:

Ha ha, I must have came out as a little crybaby, not my original intention. 

No, no not at all. What I thought was that you had the wrong idea about the prevalence of what you were experiencing. I get it. Some may recall I had a lot of trouble with movement orders near bridges. I reported the problem several times. Finally I posted a are you guys ever going to fix this post and the response was fix what. It turns out it was very nearly only me that had the problem. I worked with Ken and Steve and we figured out the issue and the fix.

Quote

I am hardly alone experiencing this as the forum testifies (there have been a bunch of performance issues posts in these years by different people sporting different hardware) 

Yeah but there are two classes of issues (my categories) those that think the game is broken if they cannot get 60 fps. Clearly they are both out to lunch and never going to be satisfied. Those that get sub 10 fps and stuttering camera controls. Typically they find game and card settings that resolve the issue. I am not aware of people who cannot get a reasonable frame rate to play. Hence I was surprised by your post. There simply are not a ton of people who cannot play the game due to frame rates. Again not counting people with unreasonable expectations.

Note I am not saying that performance is perfect by any means I am just saying that people have mostly been able to get to good enough.

Quote

Another layer of goo with this is that for someone having 15 FPS is just fine when for others like me is a no go. 

...

I get a very not nice physical feeling inside me when frames drop below 25-23 and the worse it gets the lower the frames. 

An added challenge.

Quote

I started up The Copse which is a tiny map scenario with 3 tanks, 2 halftracks and one Kangaroo, all in all 6 vehicles  and 1 platoon of units sitting inside the vehicles.  

 

I position my camera on the ground level just behind my allied units looking towards the enemy positions. I get 22 frames per second.  See attached screenshot. I don't know why frames are not shown on the screenshot, ussualy they were. I am using Fraps to measure 

Sadly for me my internet is down which means I am spending my day with support and replacing hardware. So, posting on my phone and not able to post screen shots.

What you are starting is a good strategy. 

I have an Intel i5 4670 3.4Ghz with a GTX 760 card. I'll have to report back with the frame rate I see tomorrow ish.

I am not sure if my cpu is more or less powerful but my graphics card is. I am not sure if there are any testers with similar cards. I'll have to ask.

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My more detailed specs:
 
Power Supply: 550W XFX P1-550S-XXB9  
Motherboard: Asus AM3+ M5A97 (970 ATX) [90-MIBFSO-G0AAY007]  
CPU: AMD FX-6300 BOX 3,5 GHz - 14MB Cache - 95W with stock cooler 
RAM: DDR3 1600 8GB CL8 Corsair 2x4GB Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2X1600C8B 
Hard Disk(SSD): Samsung 840 Pro 128GB (MZ-7PD128BW)
11 minutes ago, kklownboy said:

to derail this thread a bit more...  Hister and IanL you forgot the most important part,

your Motherboards.... Brand, Type and firmware version.

 I don't know where is my original mobo box - firmware version is written on it right? Or can I also find it on the motherboard somewhere? 

 

2 hours ago, rocketman said:

I think there is a setting in FRAPS to turn on/off FPS display and where on the screen it is shown. Try that.

Correct,thanx! I did turn it on but the screenshots now say I had 0 frames while I had 22 in reality. Anyway, I do think you guys don't think I'm making this all up. I get 22 frames when in that position. The thing that baffles me is that when I start that scenario and just lower my camera from the original position to get to where the screenshot was taken I always have higher framerate (around 30 or more) but when I pan the camera around my starting units always having them in sight when I get back to the original position then I get much lower frames - 22 in this case. If I then press the windows button to get me in my desktop and click on the game again my frames go up again to where they originally were when I started the game. I make another circle around my units and frames drop again to 22. Looks like a memory leak of some kind to me, doesn't it? It is the same with every map I play, as soon as I start looking around the frames drop from the starting ones.       

My nvidia control panel settings:

Everything that can be application controlled is application controlled, FXAA is OFF, gamma correction is ON, antialiasing transparency is OFF, power management mode is max performance, shader catch is ON, anisotropic sample optimization is on OFF, negative lod bias is on CLAMP, texture filtering quality is set on QUALITY, trilinear optimization is OFF, triple buffering is ON (due to me using ingame vertical sync).

 

26 minutes ago, IanL said:

No, no not at all. What I thought was that you had the wrong idea about the prevalence of what you were experiencing. I get it. Some may recall I had a lot of trouble with movement orders near bridges. I reported the problem several times. Finally I posted a are you guys ever going to fix this post and the response was fix what. It turns out it was very nearly only me that had the problem. I worked with Ken and Steve and we figured out the issue and the fix.

Ha, crazy, I remember this episode of yours. You must have felt very special... ;) 

34 minutes ago, IanL said:

Yeah but there are two classes of issues (my categories) those that think the game is broken if they cannot get 60 fps. Clearly they are both out to lunch and never going to be satisfied. Those that get sub 10 fps and stuttering camera controls. Typically they find game and card settings that resolve the issue. I am not aware of people who cannot get a reasonable frame rate to play. Hence I was surprised by your post. There simply are not a ton of people who cannot play the game due to frame rates. Again not counting people with unreasonable expectations.

Note I am not saying that performance is perfect by any means I am just saying that people have mostly been able to get to good enough.

I know, some people have the 60 frames idea embedded in their head and anything less on their powerful rigs is an insult. I am not one of them. I would be happy if I would be getting 30+ frames on balanced/balanced in the vanilla stock scenarios/campaigns/maps no matter where my camera is looking at. 

35 minutes ago, IanL said:

Sadly for me my internet is down which means I am spending my day with support and replacing hardware. So, posting on my phone and not able to post screen shots.

What you are starting is a good strategy. 

I have an Intel i5 4670 3.4Ghz with a GTX 760 card. I'll have to report back with the frame rate I see tomorrow ish.

I am not sure if my cpu is more or less powerful but my graphics card is. I am not sure if there are any testers with similar cards. I'll have to ask.

Thank you very much Ian for the engagement, if you do find someone do let me know, so that we can compare frames. Your CPU is also more powerful. Mine would be in the range of Intel's  i3's. 

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Edit: "The current GPU I have was kindly given to me by Baneman (who himself didn't experience the low framerates with it). It is a GTX 660Ti."

It was George MC who gave me the GPU and not Baneman. I mixed up the names.  

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3 minutes ago, rocketman said:

@Hister If you haven't already, try the Nvidia program "Nvidia Inspector" to fine tune graphic card settings. I had progress using it, especially capping FPS to 30-35, which smoothes out the variation a bit. I'll try to dig up the settings I have in case you want to try it.

Sure why not! Thanx. 

Still, something is way off and I doubt Nvidia Inspector will make it go away. I fired up the biggest map scenario in CMBN and got 9 frames while the visuals themselves were degraded immensely. Take a look for yourself. Plus it was very hard to move around with the camera...

CM Normandy 2017-10-21 23-59-54-48.jpg

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Here are my results. I normally run with Best, Best, Tree Detail High and Shaders on

20171022181216-4ada79b3.jpg

I loaded up the big scenario (BP1 - Op LINNET II (a - USabn UKgnd).btt) and as you can see I got 8fps. Not great by any means. The camera movement was not to bad mostly smooth but slow. It had some jerky moments. This one is big enough that I might consider dropping the quality down to help make playing smoother.

20171022181218-c502cd36.jpg

 

The small scenario (BP1 - The Copse.btt) performed excellent. With units in the view I got 30fps and moving around the map was effortless and spiked as high as 80fps. Wait that's strange I thought I had the frame rate limited to half the refresh rate. More on that later...

20171022181222-bd17c101.jpg

 

Changing the settings to Balanced, Balanced, Trees on low detail and shaders off.

20171022181224-e5ff1b4e.jpg

 

Did not effect the lowest frame rate for the big scenario but with less units on screen the fps rate was better and camera movement was better too.

20171022181227-059fab23.jpg

 

The smaller scenario was even faster. Wait 40fps that's unexpected again. I checked my Nvida card settings and found all my customizations were gone.

20171022181230-7f92ac57.jpg

 

Luckely I used Nvidea Inspector and backed them up so I could get them back.

Now even the small scenario stayed at 30fps. The frame rate for the big scenario was not different so no additional screen shot.

20171022181233-9cc6fb1c.jpg

 

 

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Thank you very much IanL for taking the time for the test! When you updated your Nvidia drivers you probably left the "clean install" option checked and that is what makes all the custom made game profiles go away. Don't forget to uncheck it next time. :) 

The difference in your testing is that you have antialias/multisample set to off (I had it turned on), vertical sync is on off (I had it on) and you use shadows (if I turn them on the framerate plummets a lot so I don't use them plus they look way more jerky on this newer GPU then they have looked with my previous one).

Let me do the test with your settings (balanced/balanced/vertical sync and antialias/multisample on off/shadows on). I get 18 frames. When I turn off the shadows I get back on 22 frames which means that vertical sync set to on and antialias/multisample set to on gives me precisely the same framerate so these two do not affect the framerate in this particular scenario. This holds true also when I lower the 3D model and texture quality - sync set to on and antialias/multisample set to on do not dip my frames when compared to being set on off at least in this scenario. Got yet to test this with bigger scenarios. 

I can play The Copse scenario on 37+ framerate when I set the 3D model quality to fastest and 3D texture quality to fast. 

 

Can anyone confirm to have more then 9 frames on BP1 - Op LINNET II (a - USabn UKgnd).btt scenario when facing all the units? 

 

 

Edited by Hister

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About what turn would that be?

In Op-Linnet at start-up I'm getting 27-30FPS, with 'moderate' detail etc.

Intel I7-3770 3.4 - 3.9Ghz, Win7, NVidea GeForce 660GTX (old drivers), 16GB Ram

PS - I've played the 'All American' variant of Op Linnet to completion and don't recall noticing any slowing down or jerkiness. 

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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I did my test at start up too. I had to move the camera across the map to get the same / similar view as @Hister.

The current CM2 games can only use 4Gb of main memory. Having lots of extra memory means you can have several CM games loaded up along with Photoshop too :) it does not allow all that memory to be used by CM.

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Is CM2 really large address aware? I haven't really looked to see, but the normal limit for 32 bit programs was 2 gb, less than 32 bits would have you believe. I think this had something to do with  leaving RAM for  the OS and background apps to keep them front crashing, but don't quote me on that!

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The 2Gb limit on 32 bit programs was yet another arbitrary limit imposed by Microsoft. No one will ever need more the 360Kb :) . I thought I saw a post that CM2 was large address space aware (which is M$ speak for allowing it to skip that limit). If I am wrong then it is limited to 2Gb instead.

Those limits do not apply to the Mac version, BTW.

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45 minutes ago, HerrTom said:

Is CM2 really large address aware? I haven't really looked to see, but the normal limit for 32 bit programs was 2 gb, less than 32 bits would have you believe. I think this had something to do with  leaving RAM for  the OS and background apps to keep them front crashing, but don't quote me on that!

It turns out I have the power. I checked the .exe headers for CMBS and yes it is large address aware. So it can access 4Gb.

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