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John Malcolm

Tearing my hair out (CMBN not responding)

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I've just recently started my first CMBN PBEM game. I've had a turn from my opponent where I selected my troops, and then a turn in which I am to deploy.

I am having horrendous performance issues with doing this. I've tried roughly ten times to deploy my forces. I've restarted my PC, **** down unecessary progs, checked my video drivers are up to date, running as admin and even things like checking virtual memory. I've tried turning down settings, turning trees, shadows and even sound off.

The battle is an infantry only Medium Meeting Engagement on the QB019 map.

Here is the sequence of events:

1) Load CMBN

2) Click 'Saved Game'

3) Select the correct PBEM save game and hit 'OK'

4) Loading bar gets to around 15% (Read Data), the music stops and I get the Windows 7 cursor for a busy or non responding program. As far as Windows Task Manager is concered the program is not responding.

5) Wait. The progress bar ciontinues climbing (with no music)

6) I enter my password and hit OK. The sound effects have started up again.

7) I am shown the notes and hit OK

8) I am shown a medium height view of the battlefield - not centered or looking at my troops though for some reason.

9) At this point the real madness begins

10) Using my second monitor, with Task Manager and Resource Monitor and can see that right at the very start of setup CMBN is using 100% of one of my 4 cores and 359,280kb (and steadily rising depite the fact it's set up and I've done nothing, clicked nothing, moved nothing an given no orders)

11) The Resource Monitor shows the program running for around 5 or 6 seconds and then 'Not Responding' for about 8 to 12 seconds.

12) I find my units

13) I click on one... and wait for a good number of seconds until it's actually shown as selected.

14) I hit N or click the Move button. Again I have a good wait until the cursor changes.

15) I click to place the unit and wait some more seconds.

16) I hit + to select the next unit, and again have a wait.

17) This means that deploying one unit can take anywhere up to a minute.

18) Often simply trying to deselect a unit can take that long too.

The ground textures seem to get themselves into a neverending loop, blurring then unblurring. Trees also seem to get redrawn for some reason while keeping the camera still and not looking around. Added to all of this is the fact that during setup the troops are animated, shuffling around, lying prone, getting up and mouthing off. Clouds shadows cross the landscape and I'm sure that C2 links are constantly being re-evaluated while attempting to move squads around. The whole time CPU usage is showing that one core is getting hammered at 100% the whole time

Anyone have any ideas? Could it be as simple as a slighty corrupt save game?

I'm running it on a Windows 7 x64 machine with 8bg of RAM, AMD Phenom 9600 quad core, an Nvidia 9800GT with 4gb RAM and the latest Nvidia drivers (275.53).

I've tried setting up a one player game on the same map with approximately the same number of troops - which was fine. I have no problems like this up to now with any size of scenario, campaign battle or Quick Battle up to now. I had some trouble with the Out of Memory error before, but I know how to avoid that until it's fixed (keep an eye on CBMN memory usage)

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I tried getting my opponent to redo and resend the email file, just in case it was something to do with that. Still no joy. I tried the file on my old laptop and was able to deploy fast and smoothly. So performance is better on my laptop, an HP DV8395ea. 2ghz Intel Core Duo T2500, 2gb RAM, Nvidia Geoforce Go 7600 running Windows 95.

Does anyone have any ideas? The game worked perfectly well up till now. I can easily start a Large quick battle an play no problem. Why the problem with this single Medium PBEM game?

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Wow. If your old machine can load the PBEM file it sounds like a problem with your newer computer. I'll look into it. Can you provide the PBEM file, please? My email is just phil at battlefront.com.

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It's a long shot, but what anti-virus are you running? I had some issues with the game becoming non-responsive in the loading screen, as well as some BSOD boot crashes afterwards, when I was running Avast AV. Tracked it down as the culprit for the BSODs, but it was clearly something to do with how it and CMBN interacted; I never had a crash when I hadn't previously run the game. Switched over to AVG for the time being, all is well.

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CMBN will use only one core of a mulit-core CPU. So what you're seeing there is normal. However I'm not absolutely sure about the "100%" utilization of that one core though. This can quite possibly account for the performance you're seeing since a CPU/core that is max'ed out will definitely have VERY slow performance.

If you measure another game (QB, another scenario, etc.) that had been working perfectly before, does it still do so now or are all games now behaving the same ?

I assume that your laptop actually has something newer than Windows 95, which is extremely dated as far as OSes go. Perhaps Windows XP ?

What program are you using as the 'Resource Monitor' ? The copy-protection/DRM software used in CMBN can react pretty badly to some monitoring/debugging apps since they can be used for hacking attempts against the executable. However I assume that you saw this performance drop before running such monitoring apps.

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CMBN has always used 100% on my computers. I thought this was normal. In fact I've got a dual core now and it turns both of them on 100% until I found a way to tell it to only use one core. No use generating all that heat when the program can only use one core. :)

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I assume that your laptop actually has something newer than Windows 95, which is extremely dated as far as OSes go. Perhaps Windows XP ?

What program are you using as the 'Resource Monitor' ? The copy-protection/DRM software used in CMBN can react pretty badly to some monitoring/debugging apps since they can be used for hacking attempts against the executable. However I assume that you saw this performance drop before running such monitoring apps.

My mistake :) Why the hell did I put Win95. It's XP.

I was using the Resource Monitor that comes with Win7... and yes, only after the problem.

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Wow. If your old machine can load the PBEM file it sounds like a problem with your newer computer. I'll look into it. Can you provide the PBEM file, please? My email is just phil at battlefront.com.

Cheers Phil. It'll be on its way shortly. Meanwhile I'll try looking at the other suggestions like antivirus, etc.

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Here's a quick Youtube video which show the performance (or lack of it). It's just over 4 minutes long. I might go an add annotations to it shortly, but below are some notes on what you can see in it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFXUuJrYajw

1) Straight away as soon as the Designer's Notes were displayed I was getting lag for want of a better word. When I moused over the 'OK' button it took some time for that button to brighten.

2) From the moment the game was displayed up until 1:25 I made no mouse or keyboard inputs at all. You can see there's all sort of weirdness going on. Trees are disappearing and being redrawn, the cloud animations are stopping and starting. When recording this I could see moments where the FPS dropped fairly quickly to 0. After a while they go back up again, then back to 0... and so on.

3) When the FPS counter was not at zero I was able to move the camera around (and in other attempts move units around, make keyboard inputs, etc.)

4) After 1:25, any time the camera stops moving is because it had stopped accepting my input. These 0 FPS moments coincide with the CPU useage spikes and 'Not Responding' messages I observed earlier with the resource manager.

5) It's only this one PBEM game that seemed to be causing me problems. Apart from some Out of Memory issues with one single campaign battle (which I knew the workaround for) the game performs as I'd expect it in all single battles, quick battles and campaign battles.

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Have you installed the 1.01 patch yet to see if that makes any sort of difference with your PBEMs ? The 1.01 patch addresses a particular turn-based play memory bug that may be at the heart of your issue (or it may not...).

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Have you installed the 1.01 patch yet to see if that makes any sort of difference with your PBEMs ? The 1.01 patch addresses a particular turn-based play memory bug that may be at the heart of your issue (or it may not...).

Yes. The problem (seemingly with just this one PBEM game) started pre-patch. As I was in an orders giving phase (deployment) I thought I'd be OK to patch. The results after the patch were exactly the same. The video posted was captured post-patch.

In everything apart from this one game CMBN performs brilliantly. I did have the Out of Memory bug in one campaign scenario, but I knew the workaround (save, quit and reload before the game reaches a certain memory limit).

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Turn off all AA in both vid card and game.

Turn off shadows.

Turn off trees.

Set vid card to maximum performance.

Set texture quality to performance in vid card.

Use balance/balance in game.

A little more main memory couldn't hurt especially if you have other things running in background.

A vid card with a lot of mem couldn't hurt either.

Set vram to something high like 4 or 5 GB and see if it makes a difference (prolly not). If the game is doing a lot of reads/writes to HD then that is where you are getting hammered.

Make sure to put your game directory in the AV exclusion list.

Shadows, trees and bocage impact the system the hardest. Whats wierd is if I got a 1000FPS I would still use trees with trunks and probably no shadows.

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Turn off all AA in both vid card and game.

Turn off shadows.

Turn off trees.

Set vid card to maximum performance.

Set texture quality to performance in vid card.

Use balance/balance in game.

A little more main memory couldn't hurt especially if you have other things running in background.

A vid card with a lot of mem couldn't hurt either.

Set vram to something high like 4 or 5 GB and see if it makes a difference (prolly not). If the game is doing a lot of reads/writes to HD then that is where you are getting hammered.

Make sure to put your game directory in the AV exclusion list.

Shadows, trees and bocage impact the system the hardest. Whats wierd is if I got a 1000FPS I would still use trees with trunks and probably no shadows.

I've tried everything practical in that list. Just to re-state the problem again though. I am only having these weird performance problems with one single PBEM game file. All other scenarios, quick battles, campaign battles are absolutely fine.

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Have you tried to start a pbem game with yourself using the same setup. If it's not your machine then something is either interfering with your file like av or something or it is slightly corrupt which you could also have the guy deliver the file by some other means like drop box.

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