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Dr Zaius
18 Nov 02, 17:28
I'm wondering is everyone/anyone else is having the same difficulties I'm having.

I've been messing with the ATF demo for some time, but I haven't played a scenario to completion until tonight. I've noticed some strange performance issues before, but now I'm starting to have serious problems. I was playing the Death Valley: Defense scenario and everything was working fine until the battle really started heating up. Pretty soon the center of the map was littered with destroyed vehicles and wrecks and large numbers of enemy forces started showing up. This brought the game almost to a standstill. I could tell the simulation was still running because the "game clock" would just hang for lengthy periods, then suddenly jump forward three or four minutes. By the time the scenario was almost over the game was completely unplayable. Clicking on screen was pointless and eventually it got so bad I couldn't even stop the clock.

I tried several different things to troubleshoot this. I tried restarting the battle from an earlier save point and then zooming out, turning off individual vehicles, and turning off the sound effects. None of this appeared to make any difference. Once the battle really heated up game performance was atrocious.

I thought perhaps it was a video problem of some kind, but when I was able to pause the clock I could scroll around or jump using the mini-map with no problems at all. Scrolling was slightly slower in areas with a high concentration of vehicles or wrecks, but still quite acceptable. When the simulation was unpaused it seemed to almost choke.

The game clock should run smoothly and evenly, and it did, at first. But as the battle warmed up it would momentarily pause then jump forward, hang for a short period, then jump forward several minutes. At this point the simulation is no longer playable. This behavior leads me to believe it's an overall performance issue with the way the simulation is handling combat resolution and the other behind-the-scenes computations, rather than video or driver problems.

My computer is fairly powerful and I'm able to run even hardcore 3D games with almost all settings maxed out. This is the first game I have played in a while that seems to be able to bog my computer down like this. Here are my system specs:

CPU: Athlon 1800XP
RAM: 256 meg 2700DDR
O/S: Windows XP with service pack 1
Video card: Hercules Prophet III (Geforce 3 with 64 meg RAM)
Direct X version: Version 8.1 (4.08.01.0810)

Is anyone else having similar problems? Any help will be appreciated.

Dr Zaius
18 Nov 02, 17:29
By the way, I'm not running in compressed time or anything like that. I'm running in regular 1/1 time.

Pat Proctor
19 Nov 02, 01:15
Which scenario were you playing? (Defense or Attack)

Did you switch hardware acceleration off, perhaps to deal with the pink border problem? Try flipping it on.

Did you download the 1.1 upgrade? (The correct answer is "No" as this patch is for the game, not the demo).

What programs do you have running at the same time? Don't forget the ones in the SysTray (next to the clock).

If none of these questions lead to an answer, please send your saved game to:

techsupport@prosimco.com (it's in the savegame subdirectory of your install directory) and we will check it out.

Sorry for the problems.

Dr Zaius
19 Nov 02, 02:29
Originally posted by CPT Proctor
Which scenario were you playing? (Defense or Attack)

Defense.


Did you switch hardware acceleration off, perhaps to deal with the pink border problem? Try flipping it on.

No. I already had it turned back on to deal with the problems it was causing me in other programs.

By the way, the pink border problem is now gone thanks to V1.1.


Did you download the 1.1 upgrade? (The correct answer is "No" as this patch is for the game, not the demo).

When I started having these problems I only had the demo loaded. I now have the full version loaded with the 1.1 patch.


What programs do you have running at the same time? Don't forget the ones in the SysTray (next to the clock).

Norton AntiViris, Microsoft Money and a few othe programs are there. Do you think I am running short on RAM? I can fix that pretty easily by adding another 256 module.

I will shut everything down and try it again to see what happens.


If none of these questions lead to an answer, please send your saved game to:

techsupport@prosimco.com (it's in the savegame subdirectory of your install directory) and we will check it out.

Sorry for the problems.

Here is a zip file containing two of the savegames from about halfway through the game.

Pat Proctor
20 Nov 02, 01:23
Try shutting down these programs and running the save game again. If the problem does not persist, then memory or processor cycles, was the problem.

I'm still working with the save games trying to ID the problem.

Dr Zaius
20 Nov 02, 02:41
That helped to some extent. At least I can play the game now, although performance is still very sluggish from time to time.

I don't know how reliable it is, but I used the Windows XP performance graph to observe the system performance while ATF was running. During the 1001 hrs savegame that I included above the CPU was at 99% and the system memory wasn't far behind. I'll fix the memory problem in about a week with some more RAM. It seems like a mjor hassle to turn off all of my other programs every time I want to fire up ATF. I already have to change my color settings to play, and I don't need to do this for any other program.

I'll keep tweaking to see what happens.

Pat Proctor
20 Nov 02, 14:27
The hyper-realistic maps and statistics in ATF make for very CPU intensive calculations during combat involving a great deal of units. The computer opponent is also thinking about the outcome and reacting, which also takes up processor power.

The game is scaled to streamline this, according to processor speed and memory. Your system maxes out at the high end of the scale, so it is calculating EVERYTHING, for the most realistic result. The only problem is that the scaling calculation assumes that ATF is the only thing running. There is no easy way to figure out what resources other running programs are eating up.

We will re-address this and see what we can tweak.

Dr Zaius
20 Nov 02, 16:21
That's about what I expected. I probably am losing a good deal of RAM to these other applications. That's a fairly straitforward fix.

What concerns me more is that even with most everything turned off the game maxes out my CPU. All things being equal, I'm not complaining too awful much about that because I would rather have sluggish performance with great realism, rather than great performance and crappy realism. Within reason of course.

I'll add the additional RAM, turn off a few extra things running in the background, and then go from there. If the program still has difficulty running when there is intense combat between a lot of units then the software will probably need to be optimized a bit more with a future patch. I do understand the concept of scaling the performance to match the system specs. That's a sound idea, but it might also be useful to have some realism options of some type in the control panel. This way users could perhaps adjust the CPU load with a sliding scale or something like that.

The reason this concerns me is that the scenario in question is not a huge custom scenario or anything like that. It's a scenario that's included in both the demo and the full version. If performance is a real issue it could scare some users away from the system.

Thanks for the feedback. After I've added the additional RAM I'll post the results of that here.

Pat Proctor
16 Feb 03, 00:04
We're not too smart, so you have to kick us in the head once in a while.

This performance issue is a bug:mad: . We're hard at work on correcting it and should have a solution for the v 1.02 upgrade.

Dr Zaius
28 Feb 03, 08:25
That's good news. Strangely, I had noticed that I get better performance on ATF on my laptop than I do on my much more powerful PC. Strange.

Anyway, it's good news. Keep us posted.