Fix For CityEngine Startup Crash

Posted: July 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Hardware, Tips/Tutorials
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Here’s a similar situation to the Cities In Motion issue, this particular CAD software also has a problem running on ATI/AMD drivers newer than Catalyst 10.4, or at least 10.4 looks reliable enough to function properly. After launching, amdkmdap has a driver reset when the 3d rendering panel appears, crashing the application.

The fix is nice and simple, just place the appropriate OpenGL driver into the program’s folder where CityEngine.exe is.

If you have any other OpenGL game or application that is crashing after 10.4, try this fix or the Cities in Motion one.

For 32-bit: atioglxx.dll
For 64-bit: atio6axx.dll

Your card should support 10.4 drivers in the first place, I have no idea what you would do if you’re using one of the latest Radeons or if you’re using an nVidia card.

Last Modified: July 19th, 2011

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Improving Hydrophobia: Prophecy Crossfire Performance

Posted: July 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Crossfire Scaling, Hardware, Software, Tips/Tutorials
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Once again, like the Section 8: Prejudice trick, grab RadeonPro (since it’s a steam game) and simply use the Half-Life 2 crossfire profile. Apparently other profiles flicker or do not scale as well.

Credit goes to spyre who noticed this… months ago. I’m not sure why it’s still not in the CAPs or drivers.

Last Modified: April 27th, 2012

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Improving Section 8: Prejudice Crossfire Performance

Posted: May 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Crossfire Scaling, Hardware, Software, Tips/Tutorials
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UPDATE: Another profile that scales and doesn’t flicker is Company of Heroes, RelicCOH.exe. It might even be a bit faster than Dark Void’s.

After a fair amount of testing, the Dark Void profile gives the performance boost of the FEAR profile without the flickering.

So what you need to do is grab RadeonPro so you can make a profile for the game. You can’t simply do the exe rename trick, as it has a launcher that blocks you from starting from the game exe directly.

Once inside RadeonPro, push the ‘add a new profile’ button and select S9-Win32-F.exe from the Binaries/Win32 folder of the game. Go to the tweaks tab and click ‘manage custom profiles’, then add Dark Void as ‘ShippingPC-SkyGame.exe‘. Now to fix the launcher issue, go to the launcher tab and select ‘Games for Windows Live’ from the dropdown, then pick the actual launcher exe, which is S9.exe in the root folder of the game.

This should do it until a profile gets built into the drivers. Enjoy!

Last Modified: April 27th, 2012

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Divinity 2 Stutter Fix

Posted: March 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Hardware, Tips/Tutorials
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Apparently, Divinity 2 has some kind of stuttering going on, making things look much worse than the actual framerate. This is not part of the game like the poor choice to lock the main menu at 30fps (which then unlocks once you’re in game, just like Enemy Territory Quake Wars).

Luckily, there’s a simple fix. If you haven’t seen this posted around, what you do is go to the compatibility tab in the properties window of the game’s exe and check on ‘disable desktop composition‘. I don’t think ‘run as administrator’ is needed, but you can check that on in addition to the desktop composition toggle.

No idea how widespread this is, if it’s just for Windows 7/Vista, or if it includes Nvidia cards, or if it’s tied to specific generations or drivers.

Last Modified: March 30th, 2011

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Cities in Motion (and possibly other OpenGL games) Startup Crash Fix For ATI/AMD Cards

Posted: February 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Hardware, Tips/Tutorials
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UPDATE: I was curious as to what this FAQ item was for Atom Zombie Smasher, so I tried the demo. Nothing appears, just the exe starts up. Seems the same atigktxx.dll trick does the job for this game as well, it loads up just fine now.

Looks like Cities in Motion is an OpenGL game with the exact same issue that The Polynomial had for a few months. On drivers after Catalyst 10.4, it appears crossfire is breaking the game from working, and there is no way to disable it on a 4870×2 like myself. Some single gpu cards may be affected, so you might as well try this, too.

The simple fix should be placing 10.4’s atigktxx.dll into the game folder. Here’s an alternative fix that may or may not work for you if you have tried this atigktxx trick.

Do note that the file is from the 64-bit Vista/7 drivers, I’m not sure what the effect will be on 32-bit, XP, or on the latest 6 series cards. If you have crashes or freezes that happen after the game menu has loaded, then you might have a different problem unrelated to this. The beta, demo, and final release all should act the same. If the demo worked before (on drivers after 10.4) while the final does not, then you probably have a different issue.

Last Modified: September 15th, 2011

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Fix For The Polynomial Startup Crash

Posted: November 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Hardware, Tips/Tutorials
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FINAL UPDATE: This post is a mess… this should not be a problem anymore for anyone. You should be on drivers newer than 11.2 or older than 10.5. This used to affect the BIT.TRIP games, but those run fine now as well. What has not yet been fixed in updated drivers is Cities in Motion.

FINAL FIX: Turns out you just need atigktxx.dll in the game folder! No mess, not even the main atioglxx.dll. Download the 10.4 dll here, place it where polynomial.exe is, done! I also noticed after installing Catalyst 11.2, the dll might not be needed anymore.

FIX ATTEMPT: I tried a brute force method, I put every driver file of 10.4 into the game folder. You can do this while still having whatever newer Catalyst you have installed, just run the 10.4 installer, cancel it, open a cmd prompt at C:\ATI\Support\10-4_vista64_win7_64_dd_ccc_wdm_enu\Packages\Drivers\ Display\W76A_INF\B_98282 or similar, then simply ‘expand -r *.* c:\pathtoyourgamefolder‘ and voila! I have not yet tried deleting any of the files 1 by 1 to see which ones are required to stop the BSOD so the game folder would look cleaner, but so far it works!

UPDATE2: mixed reports saying 10.12 is good, it’s almost a guarantee that it’s good for 5970 users that were stuttering, but it’s the same crash for me still on 10.12.

UPDATE: this might be affecting Bit.Trip Beat as well. Something to do with crossfire, but there are some reports of 5970s working fine.

So I finally attempted to try the demo of The Polynomial, but the driver is crashing on startup of the game (it’s in OpenGL). I’m trying this on a 4870×2, Catalyst 10.11 WHQL, latest CAP, Vista 64.

It might be something to do with crossfire, or at least in my case and this user. The developer is also active in that thread, and I’ll try to get some form of exposure to ATI/AMD, so we’ll see how this goes.

Workarounds

-The whole older driver package: refer to the working fix at the top of this page.

Current iD Tech games (with this side effect! depends on the visualizer options): doom3.exe, etqw.exe, prey.exe, quake4.exe, wolf2mp.exe

Riddick Butcher’s Bay profile looks like a bunch of detail is lost, and the bloom is lower resolution, yet the bright flashing lights are gone: sbzengine.exe

An older atioglxx.dll: I tried 10.2 and 10.4, the game launched without glitches, but has a BSOD soon after. This must be because crossfire changed at 10.5, as mixing dx10/11 dlls older than 10.5 would also BSOD in Shattered Horizon and Bad Company 2. If you’re ok with not having the latest drivers (if you don’t need the fixes in there), you may be able to get away with installing 10.4 and just the latest CAP.

RadeonPro recently added some OpenGL support, but the crossfire options are not functional just yet. I can’t think of any DX9 things to test if the ‘disable crossfire’ option is different from just disabling CatalystAI, but if it is, then this would end up a working solution once this app is updated.

Dark Athena, older Quakes, Unigine, FurMark, and a couple other profiles I attempted to launch act like the original game’s driver crash.

 

I will update this post if there’s a workaround better than the iD one, if there’s some combination of settings to try, or if either the drivers or game manage to fix it.

Last Modified: September 15th, 2011

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Disable Auto-Eject On Empty Drives

Posted: July 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Tips/Tutorials
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Have you tried to double click on a hard drive in MyComputer, only to accidentally click your optical drive and have it eject? This gets annoying if you’re trying to be quiet at night, or if you have one of those cases with a door that covers up the drive bays. Luckily it’s a simple fix, but you won’t be able to use the built in Windows burning functionality. You should be able to still use third-party burning tools like ImgBurn just fine. (In fact I need my options and project files, so I’m never using built in OS stuff anyway)

In the registry, go to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Add a DWORD called NoCDBurning and set it to 1.

That’s it. Log off and on again to make it work. This might be just a Vista and 7 feature, but try it on XP if it ejects as well.

Last Modified: July 6th, 2010

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BFBC2 Map Loading Times

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Hardware
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UPDATE2: You can just put atidxx32.dll into your game folder if you don’t want to install the whole 10.5HF package. Expand it from the installer or use the one I have posted here. Here’s my test again with 10.5WHQL, then placing the dll into the game’s folder.

10.5 – 29s
10.5 – 26s

HF dll – 10s
HF dll – 11s

HF dll – 12s (vsync)
HF dll – 11s (vsync)

OLD UPDATE: Apparently they aren’t in the WHQL 10.5s, no wonder.

ATI Catalyst 10.5 was supposed to fix the loading times for Battlefield Bad Company 2 when using 4800 series cards. I’m a 4870×2, but I didn’t really notice much difference. Maybe my 3.6ghz Q9550 or crossfire made it less noticeable. Oh well, at least it’s not the horror stories of 1 minute or more. I’ll have to check some single 4870 or 4850 user stories to compare, but here are my own results:

Panama Canal empty map and vsync with D3DOverrider, since the game’s option does not work. I load it once from a fresh start of the game, exit to the main menu, then load once more. The total time is from the fade to black on the server browser to the fade to black on the map loading screen. (This second time is from the first fade until the fps goes really high and hard drive usage relaxes.)

10.4 – 36s (25s)
10.4 – 34s (25s)

10.5 – 36s (25s)
10.5 – 34s (24s)
10.5 – 28s (23s) – Decided to close D3DOverrider so that the fps is unlocked, relaunched the game… seems that took off about ~6-8 seconds on the first time load.

I should have tested without vsync on 10.4, but still it’s just a few seconds difference. I wonder when they finally fix the in-game option if it will be any different.

Last Modified: February 14th, 2013

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Making Unreal Engine 3 Games Their Smoothest

Posted: May 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Software, Tips/Tutorials
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UPDATE: On some newer UE3 games, enabling vsync either in-game or from the .ini files causes severe stuttering, particularly in crossfire. If you run into such a game, you need to use D3DOverrider to force triple buffering. I can confirm this on a 4870×2 and a 570m in UDK, Tribes Ascend, Blacklight, Monday Night Combat, Hawken, and probably some others. Single GPU or Crossfire, same type of low framerate and stutter caused by vsync without triple buffering. Otherwise, no problems with a lot of older games like Borderlands.

Quick tip for Unreal Engine: Fix the awful defaults. Mainly, set the smooth framerate option to match your refresh, enable vsync, and disable mouse smoothing.

Any movement or animation on any monitor screen is visually smoothest when it’s synchronized to the screen’s output, or refresh, rate. Vsync does just that. The Aero theme of Vista/7 looks nice and smooth when things are moving because it always has vsync enabled. Similarly, games should also have it enabled whenever possible. This even applies if you’re getting lower fps that’s not completely aligned to your refresh. For example in Crysis, I’ve seen it go around 35-45 fps, but looking really jerky until vsync is enabled.

Watch out for increased input lag, however. This is when you push a button or move your mouse, the action that should appear on screen gets delayed. Different engines handle this side effect better than others. Source engine appears to get almost unplayable with vsync enabled, unless you cap the game with fps_max (removed in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2, so it’s a little more annoying). Unreal seems to be quite nice with vsync, especially since the engine can be set to render only up to your refresh to avoid the input lag seen in Left 4 Dead. Unreal also appears to have triple buffering built in, helping if your system cannot render as fast as your refresh: It won’t just jump straight down to half fps, but render as fast as it can with light ticking stutters.

Anyway, on with the Unreal tweaks. You’ll need the *Engine.ini and *Input.ini files for the game you’re adjusting. You’ll have to figure out where they’re located, but it’s usually either in MyDocuments or AppData. Here are a few:

Alien Breed 1 #MyDocs#\My Games\UnrealEngine3\AlienBreedEp1Game\Config\
Borderlands #MyDocs#\My Games\Borderlands\WillowGame\Config\
Homefront #MyDocs#\My Games\HOMEFRONT\GCGame\Config\
Mass Effect #MyDocs#\BioWare\Mass Effect\Config\
Medal of Honor #MyDocs#\EA Games\Medal of Honor\Config\
Mirror’s Edge #MyDocs#\EA Games\Mirror’s Edge\TdGame\Config\
Moonbase Alpha #MyDocs#\My Games\Moonbase Alpha\MoonBaseAlphaGame\Config\
Rock of Ages #MyDocs#\My Games\UnrealEngine3\BoulderGame\Config\
Sanctum #MyDocs#\My Games\Sanctum\SanctumGame\Config\
Section 8 #MyDocs#\My Games\Section8\S8Game\Config\
UT3 #MyDocs#\My Games\Unreal Tournament 3\UTGame\Config\

Under the Engine.ini, find the smooth framerate parameters. When set to false, I noticed lots of stuttering in Mirror’s Edge, so I always keep it on just as it is by default. I just put the min at 0. More importantly, fix the max since it’s always at 62 at default (why!), make it 60 or whatever your refresh rate is:

bSmoothFrameRate=TRUE
MinSmoothedFrameRate=0
MaxSmoothedFrameRate=60

Also find the vsync toggle if there is none in your in-game options, might as well do it now since you’re in the Engine.ini:

UseVsync=True (note the message at the top of this page)

Now go to the Input.ini. It seems that in Unreal Engine, when you’re fps starts dropping with mouse smoothing enabled (which is usually default), the mouse movement starts accelerating! This completely throws your aiming way off. Turn smoothing off and your movements should be the same on screen whether you’re 60, 40, 20, or any fps:

bEnableMouseSmoothing=false

Now your Unreal Engine based game is as smooth as it can be! Unless of course your system isn’t powerful enough to sustain 60/refresh framerates, but it’s still less jerky than if the image was tearing or your mouse control was changing speeds. Have fun!

Of course, this is all separate from any actual in-game options that raise or lower details. Even if you can’t stay at a constant 60 (or whatever your refresh is), these tweaks still apply to make it smoothest even at lower fps.

Last Modified: September 23rd, 2013

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Disable Network Thumbs.db Generation

Posted: May 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Tips/Tutorials
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When I got Vista, I noticed something ‘annoying’ when I was browsing some folders over the network/lan. A thumbs.db file was generated into any folder that included images inside, either from hovering over one with the mouse, or browsing it. This totally messes up your folder list if you need to arrange by the modified date instead of by name, and your folders are weeks/months/years old. This will be a ‘brute force’ method, blocking both network and local thumbs.db generation, without gpedit.msc or any reg keys. Windows 7 probably might work too.

Go here: C:\Users\YOURNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows (you can also paste %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows into your explorer address bar)

Go to Organize>Folder and Search Options>View (or Tools>Folder Options>View in the address bar, push Alt if your address bar is hidden)

(If you are hiding any files, enable the ‘Show hidden files and folders‘ option AND turn OFF ‘Hide protected operating system files‘.)

Enable ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails‘ for now. This will be so you can delete the existing local thumbs.db files. Go into the Explorer folder (so you’re in ‘…\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer‘). Delete everything in here, which should be a bunch of thumbs.db files pertaining to different pixel sizes.

Open the Properties of this Explorer folder and go to Security>Advanced>Permissions>Edit. Turn off ‘Include inheritable permissions from this object’s parent‘, then ‘Remove‘ on the dialogue that comes up. It should say that there are no groups or users with access to this object. Hit Apply/OK and keep OK’ing till you’re done with the properties of the Explorer folder.

Now you can re-enable your thumbnails by unticking ‘Always show icons, never thumbnails’ and go back to your preferred hidden files options as well.

That’s it. Thumbs.db is permanently blocked from being generated anywhere. The OS is blocked from generating them on each folder of a network share that you’re browsing, and also from taking up local space. According to a reply in this thread, they had some ‘save/save as’ issues in Word 2003, but I’m not seeing any issue on Word 2007 or any other application. If you have an issue, post a comment here, and we could probably adjust the permissions to work around that while still blocking thumbs.db generation.

Last Modified: August 29th, 2011

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