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Attn: DELL OWNERS!!


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First, let me say, I LOVE Dell computers. I have four of them at home ranging from a P3500 (my first, much loved CM:BO machine) to a flame-throwing 2.53MgHz beastie...so this is NOT Dell-bashing...

That said: Dell owners, do your CM:BB soldiers stand at curious attention during set-up and orders phase?

Do your soliders, when they move, move in a herky-jerky fashion?

Does your game clock get all wierd during replays?

Do your tanks suddenly wander all over the field during replays that run well past 1 minute?

Based on other comments made in this forum, I made a number of inquiries and believe I have, indeed located the problem, at least for SOME Dell users.

There's an internal Uptime Clock (hereafter UC) in the innards of these PC behemoths. Its function is extremely confusing to me (and I've tried to have tech-savvy friends 'splain it to me) but the bottom line is that on SOME Dells, this clock does not reset properly. This affects more than CM:BB and CM:BO. It screws up Cossacks and Crimson Skies as well (and there may be more).

How can you tell if this is your problem? Download a teeny executable called "Uptime" from www.cnet.com. It is not a TSR. It just calls your UC and checks how long the UC THINKS your PC has been "up". You may be surprised at what you see (I sure was).

Solution? Regrettably, I have not been able to find one other than leaving your PC up for 45 minutes to an hour at which point your PC resets the UC and all is well.

My question, and the real reason for this post, is, hey guys at BFC, what does this clock DO that so cocks up CM:BO and BB? I honestly don't expect a fix since the flaw isn't fatal, but, frankly, it's so wierd that I got curious.

Any insight much appreciated.

Regards,

Jim

"Cyrano"

:/7)

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I've got a Dimension 4500 2.0 GHZ with a P4 processor with an Nvidia 64 MB Geforce4 MX 420 ( I think I got it right?! ) graphics card. I don't seem to experience the problems you're having though. Both games seem to run alright. The only complaint I've got is that I'm unable to defrag the CMBO bmp folder ( I'm using XP home ). Sometimes I have to select an icon from CMMOS twice to be sure it'll show up in the game. I attribute that to the fact that I've got a hell of a lot of stuff in that bmp folder.

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Originally posted by Rob Murray:

I've got a Dimension 4500 2.0 GHZ with a P4 processor with an Nvidia 64 MB Geforce4 MX 420 ( I think I got it right?! ) graphics card. I don't seem to experience the problems you're having though. Both games seem to run alright. The only complaint I've got is that I'm unable to defrag the CMBO bmp folder ( I'm using XP home ). Sometimes I have to select an icon from CMMOS twice to be sure it'll show up in the game. I attribute that to the fact that I've got a hell of a lot of stuff in that bmp folder.

Do you know if XP home edition on Dell's ships with NTFS or FAT formatted drives? I was just researching NTFS tonight (yes, I'm a geek) and found that NTFS can almost not be fragmented. It will always search for a section of drive space big enough for the file, and then leave a little room at the front and back of the file for small changes without having to move the file or split it up. Unless your NTFS drive doesn't have enough room for the file you are saving in 1 piece, NTFS will never fragment files. Very cool. Now if Dell ships with FAT32 drives, then it could be fragmented. But I doubt that's your problem.
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I have a Dell Dimension 8200 and also have this extremely frustrating problem. Clock goes funky (displays **** like 0:0-1286), FWD ceases to function properly, soldiers stand perfectly erect at start, soldier movement animations go all wacky, as do tree animations, yet otherwise the game seems to function normally. Once it happens(and it does not happen consistently, just after playing for several days), I find I have to completely reinstall in the game to get it to work. I've already reinstalled CMBB twice so far. I also recall having this problem with CMBO on my old Dell. BTS, is there any solution to this problem???

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Originally posted by Andrew Hedges:

I assumed it had something to do with the fact that I have 50 gigs free on an 80 gig drive.

Yeah, that's probably why. I was very impressed by the description of NTFS. On FAT drive, you could have 50 Gig free on an 80Gig and still have tons of fragmented files. If you try and save a file, the drive will find the first open space and start writing the file.. once it runs out of space, it searches for the next piece of open space and starts writing... and on and on. So if you are trying to save a 100MB file, you may have it fragmented in many pieces even if you have tons of free space. NTFS will find a single space big enough for the file AND additional space at the beginning and the end (101MB or whatever) and then write. Very smart.

Also, if the file is really small, I don't remember how small, it doesn't even write it to the storage area of the drive, it writes it in the drive's directory because it will take less space just putting tiny files in the directory than describing the file and where it is. I though that was interesting.

Boy, you learn something new about computers every day.

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yes, I have had this happen, and it sucks!!!!!! a second by second countdown from 3500 seconds to watch a 60 sec movie clip is ridiculous~! Makes me not even want to play PBEM anymore, and that to bad, because it was very fun :( In the first post in this thread, it says if you leave you comp running for 45 min to an hour it will be OK< is this true? I ran the timer program mentioned and it says my comp has been up for 45 days, when really its only 45 minutes :(

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All -

MadMatt mentions that the thread shows that this problem shows up in games other that CM games, but I don't see that mentioned anywhere. I, too, have such problems with the timer in CMBB PBEM games that I can't play turns at all.

I'm using a newer Sony desktop machine, and as far as I know, all drivers are up to date, and all of the latest and greatest from Microsoft has been applied as well. I can't play movies at all now on the desktop box - the clock now just jumps from 0 to 60 seconds during movie playback, though earlier turns could be 'forced' to work by hitting the fwd & start buttons a few times until the normal timer showed up and the long numbers disappeared. Everything else on the machine works fine.

Interestingly, I have a new Sony laptop, and the same PBEM movie turn plays just fine on it.

So, it seems that the problem is being experienced by more that a few CMBB users, and it's not hardware specific. We now have Dell users, homebrew machine users and Sony users experiencing the same problem. I don't know how the uptime program mentioned in the thread tries to calculate system uptime (it's obviously wrong), but that's not the problem here. Regardless of how the uptime program works, the quartz clock that's in everybody's machine works the same (perhaps with a bit of variation), and 'timers' for games like CMBB are created and destroyed by the program itself, not by the uptime counter or by any other 'clock' on the machine. Ask yourselves this - of all of you who are experiencing the 'clock issue' in CMBB, do any of the clocks in your Windows system tray ever show the wrong time the way CMBB does? I'll bet a squad of Soviets against a batallion of Romanians the answer is 'no' - so the uptime thing is probably a red herring. smile.gif

One thing that would be interesting to know is which dll's CMBB calls when it works, what video cards people are using (though I'll bet the timer problem is unrelated to the jerky video problem mentioned in the thread). And... a better description of the play that causes the problem might help. I've only noticed the problem during PBEM, though I don't play solo much, and never have played TCP/IP. Also, I never saw the problem playing the beta scenarios - but I am having this problem with 'The Seam' scenario. Maybe with that information, we can start to figure out how all of the problem machines are similar and we might find an answer. CM is the greatest infantry combat game that exists - I sure hope we can figure out how to make it work on all 'approved' machines instead of most, because I don't want to have to give it up!

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There seems to be two different but somewhat similar issues here.

The first issue, which is what this thread was about, is a bug with some Dells in how they report their UPTIME to Windows. This timer gets confused and reports faulty timing. This affects CM as it looks to the clock to synch up the playback. Thats why garbarge is displayed in the timer or playbacks seem to play very fast or slow. For THAT issue, there is nothing we can do. Some of the work arounds mentioned seem to work though with leaving the computer running for a while (approx 45 minutes or more) before running CM. This issue also affects Crimson Skies, Cossaks and some other games.

Now a second issue is the one reported directly above. As I understand it this person is only having this issue with PBEM. Now this *could* be related to some PBEM issues we uncovered recently and are patching in the forthcoming v1.01 update. It depends on if his opponent is on a CDV version or not.

In the past we have seen other timer issues which were related to video drivers and in some cases mouse drivers. Some older Intillieye drivers from Microsoft could cause the timer to jump back and forth throughout a playback. Some video cards also displayed garbage in the timer window.

The best thing to do is to ensure you have the most up to date (but not beta) drivers for your video card and mouse.

It is very important to be careful before you lump in your specific problem with another persons reported issue.

Madmatt

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