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Bug Reports / Standalone Game Bug : Level Loading

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Wolf
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Posted: 9th Nov 2017 05:44
Hello!

I'd like to open this with a little comment, you can read the actual bug report after the munching cow emoticons if you don't care:
One of the biggest issues with GG's predecessor FPSC was a lack of functionality and stability of final releases. In fact, I have a 10 level project that decided to loop level 1. I also had to take 2 maps out of a larger release to get it to load and it still only worked for about half my player base. Bugsy has 2 very impressive projects that never worked once built. I have also yet to witness an FPSC title that loads without crash past level 5. I understand how hard it is to make "easy to use" and stable game creation software but that effort is only worth it if the end results work. We all want to make games that are larger in scope than 1 level at some point. GG is starting to show similar failures as FPSC has on this end and I find that concerning.


Levels not loading in their entirety and missing media.


Check out this release here Its a simple, straightforward shooter and it has 3 rather short levels. This is important because: A) Not a ton of media to load and B ) No advanced scripts or game logic to interfere with anything.

However, I know of half a dozen people that experienced media not loading after level 1. For most of them, the interface and HUD messages disappeared which isn't that big of a deal but that level 3 only loaded partially for some of them including myself is. Its quite a big deal if the game already breaks down on level 3. Especially since this happened on a variety of systems with different Specs. What happens is that entire chunks of level 3 are missing. Walls, entities, floors and only half the level is visible. The collision of these objects is still there so I assumed something related to the lightmapper...but then again, why does it load normally for other players?

Now the game worked flawlessly for most users but its still quite an issue.

Thanks for reading.


-Wolf
25-WATTS
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Posted: 9th Nov 2017 22:13 Edited at: 12th Nov 2017 11:59
Like most tools the users needs to know how that tool works to get the best results. No tool will do more than it was designed without it giving problems, and I'm afraid we see that with a lot of Game Guru users, you cannot just keep throwing things at the engine and expect it to keep working.

Game Guru can only work within the limits of your PC, and as we know most of our PC's are different but I don't think most know just how different they are.

You have AMD, Nvidia, Intel for graphics
CPUs from AMD and Intel
AMD for the APUs

They are not the same it's only the OS(Windows) that makes them look the same to the end user.

Most if not all of the faults Wolf points out are to do with memory problems, not system ram, I'm talking about video ram.

I've worked out that Game Guru would start running out of system ram with a level size taking about 6GB of video memory. The more entity's you put down the more system ram is used, so you can see system memory is never going to problem until we are using 6GB video cards and making 6GB levels by then Game Guru should be a 64Bit program.

Just one more point about system ram, the Game Guru engine .EXE is a 32Bit program and is limited to just 2GBs under Windows 64Bit or 32Bit but as I said above it never gets near that limit.

Just one thing you need to worry about is the video ram if you are making a Game Guru game, there would seem to be no limit to the amount of Video Ram a Game Guru game can use, the only limit is your Graphics Card, hit that limit and all the faults Wolf talks about above will kick in. I know I make them happen most weeks.

Here are a few problems...

When Game Guru loads a second level the first level seems to stay in the card video memory e.g. Load level one, check Video Memory 1GB used, load level two, check Video Memory 2Gb yet both levels are 1GB. It's like the Video memory is not flushed out before loading the next level.

It would be nice if Game Guru flagged up a message when loading to say out of Video Memory, instead it just omits the entity off the map or just puts down black ones.

Now the main problem with some games working for some people and not others is down to the type or make of graphic card in our systems. Nvidia and AMD/ATI just don't work the same, Nvidia cards don't seem to use dynamic memory, this is system ram that helps the video card out if it gets full, much like a onboard graphic chip uses system ram e.g. Intel HD Graphics.

I use a lot of Graphic Cards, just got another two this month a AMD RX550 and Nvidia GT1030 little more about these later.

I have found an old 512MB ATI/AMD cards will run map sizes of up to 3.5GB, but stick in a 2GB Nvidia card and you will get all of what Wolf is taiking about above, cut the map down to 2GB and the Nvidia card will run just fine. This is what I'm getting on four different Mainboards and 10 different graphic cards.

So run a program like TechpowerUp GPU-Z click the sensor tap look at memory use this can be locked at highest. run your game and check the reading after quiting. don't forget to start GPU-Z before Game Guru or it will crash Game Guru.

If you're running a Nvida Card only Memory Used shows in GPU-Z
If you're running a AMD/ATI Card, Memory Used and dynamic Memory Used will show.

If you look at level one of my WIP Game (the last call) it's a small level, but not far off 2GB, this may give you some idea what 2GB of video ram looks like being used in one level.

A little bit more info on the RX550 and GT1030, great cards both work great with Game Guru with a good fast CPU. Here's the thing the site we get our benchmarks from (VideocardBenchmarks.net) puts the GT1030 at 2200 score and the RX550 at 3500 score. Yet the GT1030 beats the RX550 in a lot of games, yet it should be a lot slower, can only think it's something to do with the very high GPU Core speed over 1700MHz on my card. So the score of the GT1030 is not a good indication of its real game performance.

GT1030 was £61 total power just 30 watts.
RX550 was £63 total power of 55 watts.

The thing I like about these cards is the power for the price, the RX550 is bit slower than a GTX750 ti. and one of these cost me £120 a few years ago.

Last note, I'm not sure about this, but I did get a very big level to load into the GT1030 2GB card without any problem, if I find out more I will update.

You have to keep checking your maps size and stop when it hits your Video Card memory size. and like me you should never have any problems.

Happy Gaming.
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cybernescence
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Posted: 11th Nov 2017 12:24
Quote: "When Game Guru load a second level the first level seems to stay in the card video memory e.g. Load level one, check Video Memory 1GB used, load level two, check Video Memory 2Gb yet both levels are 1GB. It's like the Video memory is not flush out before loading the next level."


Have you emailed Lee about this? Might be an easy fix?

Very nice informative post - thank you.

Cheers.
Duchenkuke
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Posted: 12th Nov 2017 11:39
Thanks for this thread and the good answer. Very informative.
You know you watched too many of Lee's Live Brodcasts when you're at work and have an earwig from his twitch intro music....

By the way, I am a Modder, Soundtrack Composer and now Game Developer. Well, sort of.

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Find some my work onYoutube:
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25-WATTS
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Posted: 12th Nov 2017 11:40 Edited at: 12th Nov 2017 12:07
Thanks cybernescence/Duchenkuke

As I'm using an old version of Game Guru V1.131 as it seems to suit me and my needs, I was thinking maybe it would be a good idea to give the most upto date version on Steam a quick try.

I saved the Game Guru Easter game as a standalone and did a test run with level one and two, and found the Video Memory reading about right, after playing level one, and after playing level two after level one, there was very little build up Vram used, infact after playing both levels the total Vram used was 1,214GB which is the Map size of Level two, so it was not holding onto level one data or it would shown something like 1.8GB. (test card was GT1030 and Windows 10)

This now means I have a lot of testing to do with maps on different versions of GG and different graphics cards and trying Windows 10 and Windows 7 computers. We do keep seeing on these boards that people (and me) have more problems the more levels that are loaded as Wolf states above. There are a few of Wolfs games that are more than one level so these will be good for bench testing.

Also just to add to my other post above all the info is based on a computer having 6/8Gb of system ram, having less then Game Guru .EXE could run into memory problems not because it's 32bit but because the ram has been used up by other programs and things like graphic cards. Only yesterday I was trying GG on a 2GB Computer and it would keep asking me to insert Disk into Drive D.

Game Guru is a great program in my view but we must keep an eye on our level size just like AAA games, if you test most games from a few years ago, most will clock under the 1GB of Vram used. These days most AAA games clock in under 2GB of Vram and this is what we must do if we want our games to work with the vast majority of other peoples computers.

I will keep testing over the coming months, but most of it will be a wast of time because the reset button will be pressed when the new GG version is released, but it may help those who stick with the old DX9 version of GG.
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Teabone
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Posted: 15th Nov 2017 06:42 Edited at: 6th Dec 2017 04:31
Your responses, 25-WATTS, are very very helpful with understanding what is happening. I have an incredibly large map that i tested n a "newer version" of GG and it locked up my whole computer. In older versions AI would stop working and other unusual problems like terrain tears, disappearing entities and even some variables from scripts not passing, resulting in errors. I guess i should put my semi-open world concepts to rest when considering making anything with GG. Not entirely a bad thing, just there isn't enough optimization tools for that sort of game.

I spend a lot of time making worlds in the Bethesda engines and its very interesting to see how they handle open world games. They have a complete LOD generator that maps out the entire world and creates LODs for the terrain, rocks and trees that you have placed on your map. Also the world is handled by cells. So basically a bunch of maps all stitched together. Even their 32 bit engines works really well as there are a lot of optimization controls and consideration going on not just within the editor but in the assets as well.

In Fallout 3 which is under the 32 bit GECK engine, it uses textures no bigger than 512x512 and for smaller objects it will actually use lower resolution textures. Skyrim does the exact same. Though their Special Edition now uses 1024x1024 option, which I believe runs under 64 bit.

In both Fallout and Skyrim they use Actor Fade which gives the player the option to control the distance at which entities with AI will function. I personally like the fading effect. In GG if you try to cull things yourself it just suddenly appears in view rather than emerges by fading in.



I have to play around more with the LODs in Game Guru and see if i can save up on any memory. This thread is helpful with understanding lightmapping issues as well.
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25-WATTS
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Posted: 16th Nov 2017 08:13
Hi Teabone, Great bit of info thanks, I found your post very interesting.

As you may know Lee put a get out of jail card in the file setup.ini the dividetexturesize=1 change it to dividetexturesize=2 can cut your Video Ram used by up to 50%, ok so your game textures may not look so good and I found it can turn guns black, well it did in Wolfs game, it's still a very good trade off, also helps slow graphic cards gives a few more FPS.

At least by trying dividetexturesize=2 users can rule out lack of Vram memory if things are going wrong, as I understand there maybe other problems when compiling a standalone. never had any problems myself.

I may do a short video to show how easy it is to watch System and Video ram at the same time when making a map. Which may help the new guys coming to Game Guru not too make the same mistakes I made with a level of 3.5GB of Vram.
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Wolf
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Posted: 26th Nov 2017 16:06
I see!! Thank you for the detailed answer 25 Watts.

Retaining level memory from the previous level must be exactly the issue.
I believe flushing the memory after a level load should be top priority then. As I said, we had similar issues with FPSC.
granada
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Posted: 3rd Dec 2017 17:57
What a great read 25-WATTS,even I can understand it great info thanks.

Dave
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AMD FX (tm)-9590 Eight-core Processor
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Duchenkuke
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Posted: 3rd Dec 2017 20:47
Please 25-Watts continue to investigate. This is very important for many of us! And Thank you for your info
Windows 10 64bit - Intel Core i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz, 8,0 GB Ram, Geforce GTX 1050ti
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Earthling45
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Posted: 8th Dec 2017 00:45
Thanks for pointing to this thread Wolf.

25-WATTS, very good analysis, when testing yesterday, the GG editor used about 1.2gb of system memory and slightly less when advanced to the second level which contains a path with trees and flowers to give it some substance including some buildings.

However, the memory usage was of course much higher and it is easy to see how some will run into trouble.

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