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Author Topic: AoD April update  (Read 7341 times)
Vince
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« on: April 24, 2013, 04:04:53 PM »

Memory leaks and loading:

We tried different things, including reviving Torque Memory Manager, but to no avail. We updated the engine to the latest version (March 2013), which comes with some bug fixes and neat features, but sadly does nothing about the memory problem.  

We used a 3rd party memory leak detector, which doesn’t show anything “leaking”. Torque eats a lot of resources by default and uses more every time you load a game, which is about 50MB per load. The base memory load-out is about 1.5GB, so ten reloads will push it to 2GB.

When Windows feels that it had enough, it refuses to throw more memory at the fucking thing and it crushes ignobly.

Nick decided to attack the problem from a different angle and wrote some code to support level specific datablocks loading, which reduced the overall memory usage to 1GB on the biggest locations and reduced the loading times by 50 to 90%, depending on what we’re loading, which makes a hell of a difference. Coincidentally, it reduced the memory per load to 10MB instead of 50, which should help a lot.

Stay tuned for more updates.

State of the game.

We’re doing the final Maadoran pass, going over loose ends and such, expanding the content a bit, etc. For example, if you pass a streetwise check in the merc vignette, the merchant refers you to a man in Maadoran:

“If you\'re ever in Maadoran, talk to Kemnebi and tell him I sent you. He’s a careful man and doesn\'t hire anyone without a recommendation from someone he trusts.”

So, we did a good quest involving there different raiders and merc companies down on their luck, but it’s sort of shame to restrict this quest only to mercs who passed a streetwise check. At the same time, if you let everyone get the quest, the reward for passing that check is meaningless. So it has to be something interesting.

Now, if you recall, we had plans to port the arena demo to the new engine and combat system, add more fights and release it as a stand-alone, 5-dollar game, but then decided against it. Still, I wrote a mini-story for the extra content, so we tweaked it a bit to allow more options (didn’t need many for a straight combat game) and are adding it to Maadoran, which will be a good way to arrange an alternative introduction to Kemnebi.

Sneak preview:

You find Basil talking to a well-dressed man, backed by two grim-faced guards. The guards look at you as if they consider your very existence an insult.

“As I was just explaining to Basileios,” says the man, smiling politely, “we have a bit a problem. We have a lot of interests in this districts, as well as the others,  and we employ local … collectors to keep things running smoothly. Imagine my surprise, when I was told that the collectors in this district have run into a problem and disappeared.

“We’re always concerned for the well-being of our employees, so we asked around and, well, here we are. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that mistakes were made, but let’s not dwell on the past. Moving forward is what I’m here to discuss.”
   “Who are you?”
The man raises an eyebrow. “I would have thought that it would be obvious. I represent the Forty Thieves guild. Now, we’re willing to overlook what happened,” he says looking at Basil. “Of course, payments would have to be resumed –”

“Of course,” says Basil quickly.

“ – and examples would have to be made,” continues the man, looking at you. Basil shrinks and looks away. The bodyguards move toward you.
   Start making examples of your own.

Wait, what about the beta-test?

Planning to start beta-testing Maadoran, related locations, and system changes in early June. Speaking of which:

R4

Looking better and better. Ivan's mostly working on DS these days, but he found some time to do the animation for the new 2H attacks: the "double-tap" and 'all-in" attacks. No, these are not their actual names.

Filler characters’ deadline:

We need them in by the end of May.  We’d like to thank everyone who wanted to expand the world we’ve created and add different viewpoints and opinions. If you’re thinking about or paid but didn’t have time to submit yet, now is the time.

I don’t have time to go through different characters now, so I’ll pick one of the last few to show you what you can expect:

"Hello.  I didn't originally plan on doing a filler character when I pre-ordered, and haven't paid for the privilege yet,  but this concept popped into my head while I was reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", and I thought I'd share it with you first and see if you think it's got legs.  If you like it, I'll pay.  (Great, now you're probably gonna say "Dude I love your shitty fanfic now GIVE ME MONIES!)  

Right, so basically I wanted to make a character that details the sad and sordid history of Antidas' lordship.  Antidas obviously feels great pride when he relates the history of his ancestry, but he's understandably quiet about his personal history, and all we know about it are sketchy details about how he lost an "Important Fort" against unnamed "Enemies of Daratan".  This conflict alone might make for an interesting history, but I thought it could be neat to have a personal account on how the aftermath of these battles affected Antidas.  I thought it was interesting how Antidas seemed so accepting of his past failures, calmly dismissing them as "the price for his arrogance", yet surely going from 2 legions (which is how many thousand men?) to 100 soldiers must have been a huge blow to him, especially with the weight of the prophecy bearing down on him.  I'd imagine he might have gone through quite a bout of despair and soul searching (and maybe some epic Fuhrer-bunker rages) before he regained the pride and sense of purpose which he displays when you first encounter him."

Coincidentally, that’s exactly what I had in mind when I’ve offered this option to people – someone playing the game, thinking of what we’ve shown,  trying to read between the lines and figure out what the missing pieces are, and writing them as a point of view.

"Yeah, I worked for Antidas.  Hell, it was more than just work.  I said the oath and meant every word, god help me.  It wasn't because I believed any of that 'Antidas, the last emperor' bullshit that his lordlings always went on about.  Bottom line for me was that Antidas actually gave a shit.  

“He'd actually go to the men, talk to them, tell them that the way he saw it, the prophecy wasn't just about him, he said we were all part the prophecy in our own small way, and that the prophecy was just so much empty blathering unless good men like us believed in it and followed his lead.  We were the foundation, the soil: common and unremarkable, yet essential all the same.  That was his perspective.  Fine words and he spoke them well, though I'd understand if you think it sounds like so much horseshit coming out of my mouth.  You weren't around back then.

“Anyway, things were really gearing up by the time I'd joined.  His father had left him the throne less than a year prior, you see, so Antidas was really chomping at the bit to get things rolling, and he wasn't at all happy about how cautious and miserly his father had been. He'd put out quite a bit of gold to up the pay of his soldiers, so that his recruiters could compete with the Imperial Guards.  It wasn't too long before his smiths were making armors in that grand old Imperial style. Antidas knew better than most how that old world’s charm could really grab hold of people, especially people living in a town like Teron.  It wasn't long before the ranks began to swell, and in a little over half a year, Antidas was ready to stake his claim.”

I haven’t really edited it yet, but rest assured that any possible inconsistencies will be ironed out.

Character of the month

I was going to show you something cool and creepy, involving an ancient oracle and deeds so despicable that only a rising star of the Commercium or a true Dark Lord of the Sith would have the stomach to order them done, but it seems that a lot of people liked Lorenza and wanted to see more of her.

Fortunately, we usually show important characters from different angles and at different times, which is a great way to truly show them, without breaking their character. Thus, what one PC sees could be very different from what another sees and that’s why you’ll need different playthroughs to understand characters better.

So, the merchant would have to try to get her on board of the conspiracy train, the assassin will be send to kill her, a praetor would see her if she gains power, and characters who are open to opportunities will see her when she rules.

Now, let’s see how the assassin deals with her:

















« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 03:50:24 AM by Nick » Logged
Scott
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 04:22:03 PM »

Haha, I'm on to your game now, Vince!  I'm not reading any more excerpts; the last one was too good not to experience in game.

Are the memory leaks not a problem for Dead State?
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Nick
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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2013, 05:37:43 PM »

Now I'm pretty sure it's not a memory leak in a conventional understanding of this term, i.e. memory being allocated and left undeleted by mistake. In any case, the impact is much smaller now and the game is much more stable, and we'll do more various and extensive tests when we have time. This applies to both projects.
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2013, 09:28:15 PM »

Haha, I'm on to your game now, Vince!  I'm not reading any more excerpts; the last one was too good not to experience in game.
Yes, love the updates but I'm not looking at screens any more.
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Secondly--MURDER? Merely because I had planned the duel and provoked the quarrel! Never had I heard anything so preposterous.
arkhometha
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2013, 11:30:04 PM »

Haha, I'm on to your game now, Vince!  I'm not reading any more excerpts; the last one was too good not to experience in game.
Yes, love the updates but I'm not looking at screens any more.
Haha, I never did it in the first place. Playing the R2 spoiled too much for me already.


And guys, did you try a x64 build? Would Windows crush the game even if it run in 64 bits?
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Dragatus
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 12:17:51 AM »

[...] and reduced the loading speed by 50 to 90%, depending on what we’re loading, which makes a hell of a difference.

Loading speed or loading times?

Quote
We need them in by the end of May.  We’d like to thank everyone who wanted to expand the world we’ve created and add different viewpoints and opinions. If you’re thinking about or paid but didn’t have time to submit yet, now is the time.

Do the filler characters need to be finalized before the end of may or just in? Because I wanted to place mine in Maadoran so I was waiting to first see what the palce is like in order to have a better idea where exactly to place him.
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SniperHF
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2013, 01:15:41 AM »

Now I'm pretty sure it's not a memory leak in a conventional understanding of this term, i.e. memory being allocated and left undeleted by mistake. In any case, the impact is much smaller now and the game is much more stable, and we'll do more various and extensive tests when we have time. This applies to both projects.



I basically know squat about programming, but the way Vince made it sound was you are hitting the 2Gb application wall and no more ram can be allocated to that process.  Your engine needs that RAM so *boom*

http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=112556

Could that work?  Wouldn't solve your ever growing memory demands on each re-load though and I suppose it would eventually crash at 4GB if it grew that big  Wallbang

Ya gotta admit though, it's pretty funny that a game which has so much re-loading in it actually has problems with re-loading  lol


 

We used a 3rd party memory leak detector, which doesn’t show anything “leaking”. Torque eats a lot of resources by default and uses more every time you load a game, which is about 50MB per load. The base memory load-out is about 1.5GB, so ten reloads will push it to 2GB.

When Windows feels that it had enough, it refuses to throw more memory at the fucking thing and it crushes ignobly.
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Nick
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2013, 03:55:44 AM »

[...] and reduced the loading speed by 50 to 90%, depending on what we’re loading, which makes a hell of a difference.
Loading speed or loading times?

Times.

Could that work?  Wouldn't solve your ever growing memory demands on each re-load though and I suppose it would eventually crash at 4GB if it grew that big  Wallbang

Maybe it could delay the crash, but it's not a solution. However, it may be a curious experiment, to see how much longer you can reload R3 with it, and if the pattern of the problem remains. Thanks for the link.
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"Oh, 'twould be marvelous if the world and its moral questions were like some game board, with plain black players and white, and fixed rules, and nary a shade of grey."
The Black Company. Shadows Linger.

"But is the best good enough?"
(c) Oscar
jamoecw
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2013, 04:51:32 AM »

infinity engine games had an issue with saved games increasing load times, it was weird but all it meant was that people would delete saves after they got too many, or saved over others so that they didn't accumulate too many.  so the question is, does the game take up memory every time the game boots up, or when resources are put onto RAM?  the later can sorta solved just by having the game save at intervals and then reboot itself, in fact so many games do this already that as long as it is timed well nobody will care or maybe even notice.  if it is the prior then you have a pretty small area to check with quite a deal of tools at your disposal (just checking what is different from one state to the next) that you shouldn't have too much trouble if you dissect the code to find why the differences exist (some obviously you want, some are junk).
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Vince
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2013, 06:52:11 AM »

Do the filler characters need to be finalized before the end of may or just in? Because I wanted to place mine in Maadoran so I was waiting to first see what the palce is like in order to have a better idea where exactly to place him.
Just in.
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GhanBuriGhan
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« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2013, 08:55:58 AM »

Gah, good call, I need to get off my Ass and design that filler NPC...
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l3loodAngel
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2013, 09:02:04 AM »

Now, if you recall, we had plans to port the arena demo to the new engine and combat system, add more fights and release it as a stand-alone, 5-dollar game, but then decided against it.

Why?
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2013, 09:56:51 AM »

Let there be a party-based dungeon crawler instead  8)
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Vince
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2013, 10:25:32 AM »

Now, if you recall, we had plans to port the arena demo to the new engine and combat system, add more fights and release it as a stand-alone, 5-dollar game, but then decided against it.
Why?
I was never comfortable with the idea of selling something that was free before, even if upgraded and expanded.
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2013, 12:03:25 PM »

Can't wait for R4.  I very much want to try the new system changes.  I suspect that there are a couple of build approaches that will be quite promising, but there just is not enough data released yet to know.
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