Game Completely Unplayable

For when your guns are jammed, your lasers are misfiring, or you forgot where you put that pesky trench ladder again...
Calmdown
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Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Calmdown » Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:30 pm

Hi

I've just purchased the game and I'm having problems running it. The symptoms are:

constant stuttering or lockups for 1-5 seconds at a time (during battles), particularly when there is combat or when I place a new turret/troops (looks to me like just as the sprite appears on the screen).
once battle is full on, it pretty much just constantly freezes with the occasionally 1-2 sec burst of something actually moving
audio tracks 'jumping' and small 1 sec freezes whilst in the game menus

My system is an MSI GT780DX laptop. Its got more oomph than most desktops, although it obviously has different hardware:

i5-2430M processor
GTX570M gfx card


So far I've tried the following:

Running GTB direct from the exe instead of Steam
Turning off all settings, and then turning down resolution to smallest, turning on all settings one by one in various configurations
Turning off music, sound, etc
Running in fullscreen and windowed
Disabling every irrelevent service on my computer (started with the audio services but have disabled literally everything nonessential)


I'm pretty much at my wits' end trying to make this work; I'm assuming its either:

Driver incompatibility (maybe no one else has used similar hardware to this yet?)
Bugs


Any time I change from fullscreen to windowed, I get the 'failed to initialise engine' error. Which leads me further to believe that this may be related to the game having issues with the GeForce mobile drivers.


Any help would be greatly appreciated as I've been very much looking forward to this game :)
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Redphang » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:34 pm

Something that has caused trouble in just about every game I've ever played on my various laptops...shadows. Always seems to be a problem with the Nvidia laptop chipsets for some reason. Don't know if this will solve your problem in this game, but one of the first things I do after installing a game on my laptop is uncheck or turn off any shadow settings. Try turning off shadows and shadow maps under the video options...my laptop didn't like the drifting smoke either, but the video card is about 2.5 years old (GT240M)

Works great on the desktop though.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Calmdown » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:09 am

Redphang wrote:Something that has caused trouble in just about every game I've ever played on my various laptops...shadows. Always seems to be a problem with the Nvidia laptop chipsets for some reason. Don't know if this will solve your problem in this game, but one of the first things I do after installing a game on my laptop is uncheck or turn off any shadow settings. Try turning off shadows and shadow maps under the video options...my laptop didn't like the drifting smoke either, but the video card is about 2.5 years old (GT240M)

Works great on the desktop though.


As I said, every option has been turned off with no joy. Thanks for trying to help though!
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby cliffski » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:25 am

Interesting... I'd love to get the game working good for you. You say you have tried launching the game from outside steam, have you tried actually physically exiting steam, so steam itself is definitely not running, then trying the game? I would be very interested to know if that makes a difference.
UI have the game running quite happily (without full options) on an asus ultrabook with relatively poor video, so I suspect it's either drivers, or some steam-integration related issue.

If runnign without steam in the background fixes it PLEASE email em or post here to tell me.
if it does not, could you email the debug files to cliff AT positech dot co dot uk
they are found here:

\my documents\my games\gratuitous tank battles\debug


GTB shadows are very simple. The thing that will crush performance is the 'distortion' effect and the shadowmaps.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Calmdown » Sat Jun 16, 2012 1:24 pm

Definitely not a Steam thing - even tried restarting with Steam services disabled, and got the same issue.

As I said - every setting turned off (and in fact, turned back on one by one in a huge number of combinations!).

Cheers
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Redphang » Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:43 pm

Well, I always hate it when someone suggests this to me, and it's only worked once on a different game but:

Have you tried uninstalling/wiping the game and redownloading from steam? As I recall once you've bought a steam game you can redownload it at no cost, and sometimes the files get screwy downloading.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby cliffski » Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:42 am

I looked at the debug files and cannot find any problems, which suggests that it is either buggy drivers or just raw lack of performance, I'm not familiar enough with that video card to know if it should be performing well or not.
Do you have your windows experience score or 3dmark score tests for comparison?

I'm assuming only a low end, or mobile video chipset would have this sort of problem.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Calmdown » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:00 pm

cliffski wrote:I looked at the debug files and cannot find any problems, which suggests that it is either buggy drivers or just raw lack of performance, I'm not familiar enough with that video card to know if it should be performing well or not.
Do you have your windows experience score or 3dmark score tests for comparison?

I'm assuming only a low end, or mobile video chipset would have this sort of problem.


It's not a lack of performance. The gfx chip is pretty much one step down from top end in mobile and the rest of the machine is pretty monstrous. I'm gonna assume its driver related. I'll do some testing and see if I can find out anything useful.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Calmdown » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:50 pm

FYI, it was pretty quick to narrow down the culprit of the game freezes;

After a brief run of perfmon with most of the relevant performance counters turned on, its evident that when GTB is running, there are an inordinate number of DPCs queued on the core that it's bound to.

On my machine, this is in the region of 2-3k average, spiking up to around 8k max. At around 5-6k, the CPU chokes on the volume of incoming DPCs it's trying to process and the game locks up. Its consistent and reproducible. Either this is something that GTB is doing (unlikely) or a driver issue with GTB specifically (most likely).

When I have some more time to diagnose I'll work out which driver is causing my issue.

Thanks
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby cliffski » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:51 pm

very interesting, please let me know what you discover.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Calmdown » Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:42 pm

The driver throwing the interrupts is this one:

Nvidia Verde R300 301.42

Seems that this is an incompatibility issue between this latest NVidia Driver and GTB.

Cliff; would you notify NVidia of this so it can be fixed?
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby cliffski » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:44 pm

I've asked them about it...Cheers.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Akark » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:24 am

I'm getting the exact same issue. When I place a turret, change screens in the main menu, or am in a battle in general the game...stutters. It freezes up for 1-5 seconds, and it does this often enough that it is completely unplayable.

For reference I have done everything Calmdown did, re-installing the game, setting all graphics settings to lowest, etc. with no effect. In case it is relivent, I have:

Phenom 9950 quad core CPU
GTS 250 gfx

I do not know how to verify if it is a driver issue or not, but I am checking to see if updating them does anything.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby Akark » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:25 am

While the drivers were downloading, I choose to try running the game without steam. The problem went away instantly for me. So it might not be the exact same issue.
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Re: Game Completely Unplayable

Postby cliffski » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:06 pm

Akark, would you be prepared to run a little diagnostic tool from valve that might help us (me and valve) to identify the cause? We can't reproduce the problem, and we need someone like you to help. If so, Can I email you the details? (or rather, get jason from valve to do so...)
Cheers!

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