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Author Topic: Game freezes on large city  (Read 801 times)

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Offline tomvsotis

Game freezes on large city
« on: January 05, 2019, 08:31:04 PM »
Hey all,

Been having some trouble with my game, and it seems to be getting worse as the city I'm working on (which I'm really happy with, and really don't want to abandon) gets larger. Basically, after a certain amount of time -- an amount that decreases as the city size increases -- the game freezes. It doesn't CTD; it just stops taking input and requires a Ctrl-Alt-Delete force quit.

My guess is that it's memory-related; the freeze seems to occur as soon as the game gets to about 1.6GB of memory used. But this is just a guess.

I'm running SC4 Deluxe v1.1.641.0 on Windows 7, on a PC with an I5-6600K, a GTX 970, and 16GB RAM. I have 4.6GB of plugins.

I have the 4GB patch installed, and I've also done the following:
- Make sure my graphics card is set up in the Graphics Rules and Video Cards sgr files;
- Force the game to use DirectX hardware rendering;
- Set CPU priority to "high" and make sure the game is only using one core;
- Set the game to run in Window XP SP3 compatibility mode, disabling visual themes and desktop composition;
- Run the game as Administrator,
- Make sure only to use "Save", not "Save and Exit to Region" or "Save and Quit"; and
- DAT-pack as many plugins as possible.

Kinda out of ideas here; does anyone have any suggestions as to what might be wrong?


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Game freezes on large city
« on: January 05, 2019, 08:31:04 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Online Tarkus

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 09:07:03 PM »
Having recently had a similar experience, with a smaller city and some experimental plugins, which would freeze up for 10 minutes whenever a residential zone developed, I found that the culprit seemed to be improperly indexed .dat files in the Plugins folder.  DatPacking and re-indexing those files in the Reader ended up solving things.  If there's something that's recently grown/been built in your city prior to the freezing pattern starting, that might be the re-index candidate.

-Alex

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 09:07:03 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline dyoungyn

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 09:42:46 PM »
How would one "Force the Game to use Direct X"?  I have been having trouble with "Initializing Direct Draw" and from my research, Direct Draw is from Direct X. I have had this problem ever since I was forced to restore my AIO PC and I am sure I am not setting my Graphics Card correctly and only Games from recent times since 2010 my graphics card only recognizes. 

I have searched high a low for many months trying to figure out why I am having this small problem.  The game does indeed run and load fine with only one small exception.  Previously, when my CPU was cool, I would load SC4 and able to use the God mode of trees at any elevation. 

Since my restore I get Direct Draw error and can no longer do as such. 

I have installed Direct X many times and am not sure if SC4 uses the graphics card or the Windows 10 onboard graphics or not.  I must be doing something wrong with setups.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 09:45:17 PM by dyoungyn »

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2019, 09:42:46 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline tomvsotis

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 10:32:47 PM »
How would one "Force the Game to use Direct X"?
I claim no expertise here, but afaik the two ways are to add the switch " -d:DirectX" to your launch path/shortcut, or use a launcher to do the same thing.

And thanks, Tarkus. Unfortunately, this has been happening for long enough that I can't remember which plugin installation preceded its occurrence. Is there any way you'd recommend to spot an improperly indexed plugin?

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2019, 10:32:47 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline mgb204

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2019, 08:12:12 AM »
How would one "Force the Game to use Direct X"?  I have been having trouble with "Initializing Direct Draw" and from my research, Direct Draw is from Direct X. I have had this problem ever since I was forced to restore my AIO PC and I am sure I am not setting my Graphics Card correctly and only Games from recent times since 2010 my graphics card only recognizes.

DirectX is a Windows component, i.e. if you are running Windows, you already have DirectX installed. It may be the case that you need to install a newer version sometimes, but this is unlikely to be a problem with SC4, since it uses an older version, 9.0c. Unless you run Windows XP or older, you already have a newer version, which will include backwards compatibility for all older versions. Simply reinstalling something many times over is not going to get you anywhere.

Does your PC have more than one GPU? If it does, you may need to force which one SC4 uses through the software of the GPU. That will be NVidia Control Panel or ATI Catalyst depending on the card. But the specific error you are getting suggests that either the hardware or drivers being used don't support the legacy modes needed by SC4. I'd go through the problem solving list found here, which is pretty comprehensive.

Is there any way you'd recommend to spot an improperly indexed plugin?

It's very unlikely you'll be able to "spot" the problem. The quickest solution to locate such a problem file would be to do a binary search. I.e. removing approximately half your plugins folder, then run the game to see if the problem persists. Keep doing this until the crashes stop, the last batch of moved files, will likely contain any problem files. Just keep working through those until the problem file is identified. It sounds much more involved than it really is, usually it shouldn't take more than 20-30m to go through this method.

Have you set SC4 to run on just one CPU Core?, that's pretty much the #1 cause of CTDs with modern systems. Do also make 100% sure you've used the correct syntax, otherwise it won't work. Here is the correct command to add to your SC4 Shortcut:

-CPUCount:1

It's also worth making sure you've removed all non-SC4 files from your plugins folder. Having too many around can lead to instability in-game. We're talking readme's, image files and the like, such files should ideally be kept outside of your plugins folder.

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2019, 08:12:12 AM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline jeffryfisher

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2019, 01:25:18 PM »
If your game runs OK for a while and then freezes without crashing, then you might have something like seasonal flora choking your system every once in a while. Do you have a seasonal flora mod? Have you spammed thousands of trees? Does your city unfreeze after a few seconds / minutes?

You might try tweaking graphics settings -- things like shadows can be burdensome if you have thousands of trees trying to update all at the same time.
Then again, you might have a bad mod or incompatible mods. Something like BSC's Xports + PEG Ports = really bad stuff happens (e.g."crossing the streams" in Ghostbusters). The binary search will narrow that down but not tell you which case you have (one bad mod or two good ones that don't work together).
You can also gain some info from system tools. While frozen, is the game still burning CPU cycles, or has it halted?
Finally, your game can freeze because of failing hardware (e.g. disk or power supply). An aging power supply is especially tricky -- At the moment your power demand exceeds its declining capacity, the PS's low or "noisy" voltage can cause a symptom anywhere in the system. Then, when you kill the game, everything seems to be OK (because demand is gone). Never give up on a "failing" CPU, MB, disk or graphics card until you've tried a newer, more powerful PS (unless of course, if the failing component is giving off smoke).

Modding PC games since 1993 (back when we needed hex-editors)

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2019, 01:25:18 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline dyoungyn

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2019, 04:03:28 PM »
I once again have searched high and low on how to "Initialize Direct Draw" when loading SC4.  I have:

Digital Storm AIO Aura
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB RAM
16 GB Ram,
intel I7
Windows 10 Pro. 
Finally, I have Direct X 12 loaded.

If I do a "dxdiag" it tells me that

DirectDraw Acceleration is Enabled
Direct3d Acceleration  is Enabled
ACP Texture Acceleration is Enabled.   

How do I trick SC4 to load Direct X 12 or use the Graphics Card?

Again, before I was forced to restore to factory 6 months ago, the manufacturer was able to set the settings on the Graphics Card to would allow me to operate SC4 with no issues with Direct Draw.  I am convinced that the SC4 does not see my graphics card and using the card instead Windows 10 Pro settings. 

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2019, 04:03:28 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline tomvsotis

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 05:43:12 PM »
If your game runs OK for a while and then freezes without crashing, then you might have something like seasonal flora choking your system every once in a while. Do you have a seasonal flora mod? Have you spammed thousands of trees? Does your city unfreeze after a few seconds / minutes?
Hmmm. I do have a seasonal tree mod, and I am fond of trees (although I certainly don't have a gazillion of them on empty land.) However, I usually play on pause, so there aren't any transitions happening, and the game still freezes.

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2019, 05:43:12 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline tomvsotis

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2019, 05:46:36 PM »
It's very unlikely you'll be able to "spot" the problem. The quickest solution to locate such a problem file would be to do a binary search. I.e. removing approximately half your plugins folder, then run the game to see if the problem persists. Keep doing this until the crashes stop, the last batch of moved files, will likely contain any problem files. Just keep working through those until the problem file is identified. It sounds much more involved than it really is, usually it shouldn't take more than 20-30m to go through this method.
Ugh, yeah, I was afraid of that. It's annoying because the freeze doesn't happen until a few mins in, which rather extends the time that the whole exercise will take. But yeah, I'll give it a crack.

Have you set SC4 to run on just one CPU Core?, that's pretty much the #1 cause of CTDs with modern systems.
Yeah, I def have. I've Ctrl-Alt-Deleted out of the game and double checked core affinity and core usage to be sure.

It's also worth making sure you've removed all non-SC4 files from your plugins folder. Having too many around can lead to instability in-game. We're talking readme's, image files and the like, such files should ideally be kept outside of your plugins folder.
Ah, that's helpful advice. Thanks. I'll do that and see if it makes a difference.

Thanks for all your suggestions! :)

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2019, 05:46:36 PM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline mgb204

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2019, 03:28:54 AM »
I once again have searched high and low on how to "Initialize Direct Draw" when loading SC4.

You can't force this, it's not loading because SC4 was designed to work with DirectX 9.0c. It doesn't initialise, because your hardware/drivers don't work with the needed legacy modes.

Quote
Finally, I have Direct X 12 loaded.

Which is the default version that comes with Windows 10, it also includes DX support for all prior versions, i.e. if you have DX 12 installed, you have DX 9.0c already.

Quote
If I do a "dxdiag" it tells me that

DirectDraw Acceleration is Enabled
Direct3d Acceleration  is Enabled
ACP Texture Acceleration is Enabled.   

How do I trick SC4 to load Direct X 12 or use the Graphics Card?

All this is telling you is that your GPU supports DirectX 12's DirectDraw functions and that they are enabled. However, it doesn't necessarily follow that it supports the full range of DX 9.0c modes as well.

Quote
Again, before I was forced to restore to factory 6 months ago, the manufacturer was able to set the settings on the Graphics Card to would allow me to operate SC4 with no issues with Direct Draw.  I am convinced that the SC4 does not see my graphics card and using the card instead Windows 10 Pro settings.

Dual GPU set-ups are the norm today, but when SC4 was created, they were non-existent. SC4 has no option to pick which GPU to use, you must set this in the Graphics Card control panel. I linked in my last post to a set of instructions on how to do this, did you actually check this? You'll have both an Intel onboard GPU and an NVidia one. But, the drivers used for either must support DX 9.0c fully if you want to run SC4 with DirectX rendering. It's totally possible that newer graphics drivers removed legacy support. In any case, you need to go through the list of solutions I linked in my previous post to ensure SC4 will use your dedicated (NVidia) GPU. If at the end of that, it's still giving the error, I'd try some older drivers. All of this is covered fully in the linked walk through.

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2019, 03:28:54 AM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline Manjarrez

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 07:33:22 AM »
My game freezes up a lot when the city develops over the entire map. It's kind of underwhelming to read that I'm not the only one and that doesn't seem to be a solution. Did anyone here report the problem directly to the devs?

I've not touched my game for a couple of years and a lot changed on my computer I guess. I'll try the older drivers etc.

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 07:33:22 AM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline mgb204

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 10:08:29 AM »
It's a long standing myth that SC4 is somehow unstable. Fact: it is not when configured correctly.

This myth has come about because many less-technical people have problems, but simply don't bother to troubleshoot them, assuming the game is broken. Reporting it to the Dev's is not really an option, Maxis no longer exist. Not that this matters, they had long since stopped updating SC4, which is considered finished.

The #1 issue for instability is that modern PCs all have multiple CPU cores, which SC4 can not support, but Windows will automatically try to make use of. Manually disabling that with the command line switch mentioned a few posts back will prevent this.

There are other causes of CTDs too, but all of them can be fixed and you can have a reliable game. But not all problems are the same, so if you open a thread for help, we can go through everything to help you. Older drivers aren't necessarily related to CTDs though, usually it's needed for compatibility with DirectX. Because, being an older game, some newer hardware simply will not support it, either by design, or because of legacy modes being removed from the drivers.

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Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2019, 10:08:29 AM »

Re: Game freezes on large city

Offline Seaman

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2019, 12:28:23 PM »
It's a long standing myth that SC4 is somehow unstable. Fact: it is not when configured correctly.

This myth has come about because many less-technical people have problems, but simply don't bother to troubleshoot them, assuming the game is broken.

Although I would not count myself to the less-technical people, I can serve perfectly as an example for what mgb204 says. I am slow on adopting technical changes and found it more easy to just save the game frequently. But in the end, by following all advices, I did manage to bring my crashes down from 10+ an evening to maybe once or twice in half a year.

I just recently had an issue when I started to experience crashes again. But by systematically trying to find the issue and the help of this forum I was able to solve the issue swiftly. I encourage you to not accept the crashes and try to solve the issue(s) because makes playing the game so much more enjoyable.

Sim City 4 Devotion Forums

Re: Game freezes on large city
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2019, 12:28:23 PM »

 


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