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Beamdog - Please don't forget about performance/stability!

Our PW is loving the updates you've done to NWN so far. The creature and placeable scaling in particular has been an enormous boon for us. However, our players have recently started to encounter more performance and stability issues, to the point where they're becoming a problem in regular play. Many are reporting 3-4 hard crashes per play session, as well as heavy lag spikes in our more traveled areas. Personal experience is that these have gotten a lot worse over the course of the last few EE patches. And it's reaching the point where it's becoming a problem for regular play.

Some of the biggest crash and slowdown issues my players have reported are:

-Frequent hard crashes and major slowdowns that seem to be tied to the Castle Exterior and Rural Exterior areas. These are definitely worse in some areas than others, but we haven't isolated a specific cause. Multiple players have reported crashes in these areas, and it seems to happen most with heavy fog. Some of the symptoms seems to be either gradual framedrops into a hard crash when transitioning, crashes on the first attack, or just long periods not receiving any server updates. We've also seen a much increased number of "Just standing around talking" hard crashes that seem to occur in every area about equally.

-Heavier lag and hard crashes around AoE spells. This seems especially bad with fog effects, but also is a factor around large AoEs like Evard's. This always caused some lag, but seems much more pronounced over the last few patches.

-Long wait times on server updates in general. Enemy positions or models not appearing to the player yet, even when they're attacking you, only to lag back into place at some later point.

Both of these seem much more pronounced in the last EE patch. I mention them here since I'm not sure if other servers are seeing the same. And it's hard to get a sense of such things through the bug tracker alone.

If there's anything I can do, or have my players do, to help track down crashing or stability issues, let us know! They're not as glamorous as new features, but still hugely important to the player experience.

JuliusBorisovDerpCityTalime

Comments

  • tfoxtfox Member Posts: 86
    edited January 9
    Squidget said:


    Both of these seem much more pronounced in the last EE patch. I mention them here since I'm not sure if other servers are seeing the same. And it's hard to get a sense of such things through the bug tracker alone.

    Since the last stable patch I've been noting memory usage just continues to creep up and up (where before I'd struggle to see NWN:EE hit 600-700 Mbyte usage after several hours I'm now regularly seeing 1100 + after an hour) on both the player and dm client until eventually the game either becomes unplayable due to fps issues or comes up with a run time error and crashes hard to desktop for myself. This seems more pronounced if one runs into lots of other players and/or NPCs and happens to myself on modules with no custom content or even other players, I can just leave the game afk and in the foreground and it slowly creeps closer and closer to crashing.

    Might be worth checking if that's happening in your case as well.

    JuliusBorisovGrymlorde
  • GrymlordeGrymlorde Member Posts: 90
    edited January 14
    @tfox - I'm having the same experience on single-player modules.

    @JuliusBorisov - can we get a bug raised for this, please?

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,796
    I have discussed the issues mentioned here. We'd like to have a look at the detailed report on Redmine, including which PW it is, what mod components are used, what hardware do people have.

    Also, please note that we're working on the new renderer, which will help improve the performance of the game greatly.

    ricoyung
  • GrymlordeGrymlorde Member Posts: 90
    @JuliusBorisov - just bear in mind that it also happens on single player modules as well.

  • ricoyungricoyung Member Posts: 79
    I have also experienced this issue on a PW (realmsofremembrance) and it seems to happen in "some" areas and circumstances going from a 60fps to 12-21fps in certain areas mostly but not always, so it's infrequent but very noticeable when it happens, I have had the game lock up on me twice (had to task manager to quit) but not recently.
    As for OC I thought I had some issues at one time but I have not been able to reproduce since.
    This has been reported here: https://support.baldursgate.com/issues/38339
    and maybe here?: https://support.baldursgate.com/issues/38162

  • TalimeTalime Member Posts: 64
    edited January 17
    I can confirm these issues.

    Currently developing a PW (cormanthor.de) and even there on a small mod we experience major client crashes on a random basis.
    Approximately 5 per day per player.

    Major fps drops for a second and stuttering randomly aproximately every 30sec-1min.

    And unsusually long loading times on maps.

    Granted some issues can probably traced back to bad scripting and overbuilt maps, but again these issues also occour on smaller maps, with no scripting and singe player modules and we all are using better computers and graphic cards then back in the days so it deffinately is a client issue.


    Graphic adjustments don't improve the situation at all and all experimental shaders are tuned off.
    The game unfortuntaely feels very unstable and with a way worse performence than the original one.

    The new renderer might help but given the recent dev blog it is up to several months till we even hear something about that. I don't think the game can live through that with this perfomence. So fixes are in dire need no matter that the new renderer is developed. In my opinion at least.

    Best whishes,
    Talime/Leaf

    Post edited by Talime on
    DerpCity
  • TalimeTalime Member Posts: 64
    This might be subjective but once I began to force the game to start in admin mode, the hard crahes got less. But are still there.

    It also might be related to a very high placeable count (like 5000 on one 24x23 map) or custom tilesets like "medieval rural" which have a higher dip on performence.
    Yet it still happens on the OOC Starting area which is only 8x8 and with less placeables.

    In terms of scripting, I don't run a single onHeartbeat script other than the ones nwn uses itself.
    If it helps feel free to log into cormanthor.de:5121 to experience it (To advance from teh OOC area, just talk to the NPC "Sommerwind" to complete the starting quest). Maybe it helps to figure out where performence or client issues still persist.
    The module ha sonly like 10 or 20 maps yet.
    Not sure how else I could provide you with more relieable information or data.

    The issue is: The crashes and performence drops occour randomly and thus it hard to reproduce them forcefully.

    If it would just occour on my server i'd say it is just me being to stupid to get it stabile, but several people are reporting this behaviour so it might be something else.

    So if you need anything specific in terms of data or stuff, I try to provide it if you like. The PW module is not publicly accessable though and still in Alpha state maybe I can send it somehow but since it uses haks nwsync might be an easier approach to get them.

  • ricoyungricoyung Member Posts: 79
    Also I noticed recently; I can enter a map and get 6fps thru the whole map until I trans to next map then back to 60fps....and sometimes maybe minutes later I can return to the 6fps map and it's back to 60fps...sometimes not. Very random/erratic.

  • AaezilAaezil Member Posts: 166
    edited January 21
    Its probably either bad pw scripts or custom tileset haks you guys are using thats causing slowdowns. Try to reproduce it on something like the OC and see if it still happens.

  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 711
    Aaezil said:

    Its probably either bad pw scripts or custom tileset haks you guys are using thats causing slowdowns. Try to reproduce it on something like the OC and see if it still happens.

    If that were the case it would mean that Beamdog introduced instability to the handling of scripts and/or tilesets in an update. In most cases people are not expressing care about hosting the OC but instead about specifically playing on customized persistent world. Further if we entertain the notion of "bad" scripts or tilesets we should consider why they had not been a problem before and are a problem now.

    DerpCity
  • SherincallSherincall Member Posts: 348

    Further if we entertain the notion of "bad" scripts or tilesets we should consider why they had not been a problem before and are a problem now.

    I'm taking this statement out of context, but it is perfectly expected that there be issues where there previously "weren't". One of the great things about using modern tools to build the game is that it now crashes (more) reliably. A bunch of issues that weren't crashes in 1.69 will become crashes in EE.
    This might seem like a step backwards, but keep in mind that they were bugs in 1.69 too - just rather than crashing immediately when they happen, they likely caused some issue in another part of the system. _Usually_, this would be nothing, or maybe it would cause a strand of grass to lean the wrong way, or possibly mess up a description for an object, or not handle a click event. Or it could emit a "drink potion" event when you really didn't want it to, or it could steal your credit card data.

    And I am serious here. I can make a broken custom model that will crash EE, but that will actually install a virus on your PC in 1.69.


    How to handle "bad" tilesets is a different issue. If EE just decides to crash or to not render those, it breaks "backwards compatibility". But each item could be "bad" in its own way, so fixing them on the fly is prohibitively difficult. And obviously, 1.69 behavior is out of the question.

    DerpCity
  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 711
    Well I've never heard of anyone losing their credit card info because of a 3D model breaking in NWN but I'll have to take your word for it. Either way Beamdog should certainly provide a means and method where custom content can reliably be used and give appropriate error messages to explain why and when it doesn't work well. Otherwise the entire venture, supposing this is even the case, would be completely useless. The entire purpose of the module creation and pw functionality is so that they can use custom content reliably.

    I'm sure we could umm and ahh about the complexities all year but I think most people agree that when you buy a product you expect that it is able to function in a certain way. Whether instability is introduced by patches or whether it is because now it functions properly and can't handle improper input seems more like an argument for pedants. I think it's reasonable for people to expect that they can use the product for the purpose it was built, perhaps with trouble shooting and diagnostics tools to help correct issues and so 3D models and the like can be certified by a utility program.

    Then again it could be entirely unrelated to custom content and even to NWNX plugin/script functions. I don't think it's helpful to just tell people to stop using that stuff in the meantime, a solution should be found instead.

    Keep in mind I'm just spitballing and wildly speculating here, because it doesn't seem like anyone really knows what's going on.

  • ricoyungricoyung Member Posts: 79
    Well in my case I don't play at PW's that require download haks, and the main reason I mentioned the issue was for helping bug tracking, I also know that for every 3 bugs fixed you can create 1 bug (something like that) Anyways was just a heads up from me, and it is on the bug list as a random "unknown"
    :o wooo wooo (*ghost sound)

  • TalimeTalime Member Posts: 64
    edited January 24
    I had a strange issue yesterday that makes me believe it is indeed a script/tileset/custom content related issue:

    I was adding a portrait of a player to our hak packs but the portrait was strange to beginn with, it was upside down, yet for him shown norally. I still added it to the haks and after that the server crashed all the time.
    Fiddleing around and readding it several time made the server stale againe but the every client crashed 4 out of 5 times on logging in.
    (Funnyly exactly the issue said player had himself before)
    So I removed the portrait again and things went back to normal.


    Conclusion:
    While I do think there are some instabilities in the game, it might be impossible for Beamdog to find out as they are related to custom content and how the game reacts to minor issues and errors.
    The game seems to react more sensetive than the original one, yes, but Beamdog can't be held resposible for custom content. Especially content that was created way before NWN:EE

    It is a bit sad to say that, but we probably have to live with it or using content that was explicitly created for nwn:ee and tested with it.


    Best whishes,
    Leaf
    (I need to change my nick somehow ...mhmf)

  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 711
    I think what the greater issue would be with custom content instability is that if you could not say what changed, and what about the content is causing the problem, then you can't guarantee that new content will comply with these unknown standards. The one thing logically follows from the other.

    The issue would presumably not be backwards compatibility but also forwards compatibility. If people knew what the issue was then they could update old content. The fact that it was made 15 years ago or 15 days ago has less to do with it than whether it's compliant with a hypothetical unknown change in standards.

    tfoxZwerkules
  • TalimeTalime Member Posts: 64
    Before i forget it:

    We have figured out what is causing teh crashes, and unfortunately BeamDog can't do an awefull lot about that.

    These client crashes are allways caused by corrupted, or badly made custom content that doesn't follow the rules.
    It can be a placeable or a script, a head model or a weapon model.

    A few examples I personally have had:
    Clientcrashed because of a badly made head model that only occoured once the npc got spawned via script.
    Crahes because of scaling a badly made placeable.
    Crahes because of a awefully designed script.

    Unfortunately CEP, Project Q and pretty much every hak pack out there will suffer from that, as their composed models do have a lot of corrupted ones in there.
    The reason is: previous NWN versions were, for some reaon, a bit more tolerant in terms of errors. At least they didn't result in hard crashes but other performence issues.

    That led to the problem that these issues with custom content were just overseen and never fixed or noticed. Simply because the issues weren't causing these dramatic effects instandly.


    TL:DR
    Client crashes are most certainly 100%ly caused by errors in old, sometimes badly made custom content that was previously not noticed by the creators.

    JuliusBorisov
  • FreshLemonBunFreshLemonBun Member Posts: 711
    If that were true it would probably spell the end for NWN:EE.

  • ProlericProleric Member Posts: 494
    Talime wrote: »
    I had a strange issue yesterday that makes me believe it is indeed a script/tileset/custom content related issue:

    I was adding a portrait of a player to our hak packs but the portrait was strange to beginn with, it was upside down, yet for him shown norally. I still added it to the haks and after that the server crashed all the time...
    You can download a free utility called TGA Flipper that fixes this. When the TGA is consistently upside-down, running it once will do the job, but if the TGA appears normal in some contexts but not others, running it twice (once on the original, then once on the output) generally works.

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