Graphics/Spawn errors

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    • Markshire PCs:

    I think we have had this mentioned before but I cannot find the relevant post. So here’s a re-cap.

    Have noticed over the past couple of months a big increase in the frequency of non-appearance of vital, Foothold NPCs – Sir Aetion, Caravan Captain, Gustov, Bazaar en-stalled vendors (Manith, Noatun, etc), and west gate guards. Does not seem to affect NPCs anywhere else. The typical cure is to transit to another map or log-off for a couple of minutes and come back. If you have waited long enough they usually appear, sometimes not though.

    Similarly a huge increase in the “appearance” of invisible foes. The creature is there, it’s attacking but you cannot see it and so cannot respond to it unless you get a game engine generated Attack of Opportunity. Very random in nature – in a party it is possible for a char to have the invisible effect while others have no problem then at some other time or location the ‘roles’ are reversed. It affects several players at the same time and not all have the same type vid card or drivers. I am currently using Nvidia but am sure I had it with ATI as well.

    Did we ever get round to determining the cause of these effects? More to the point .. is there a cure for it?; both are getting badly frustrating.

    On a side note several players have noted lots of lag over the past few weeks too, especially in comms when having typed and returned, the text takes 6 or more seconds to appear. Long time when trying to give warnings or maintain a coherent conversation. Also affects Inventory; screen opens but stays blank for a several seconds. And warping giants – eg *peers into the distance* “Ah ,, I think there’s a .. WOAH ! Where’d he come from?!!” as you get said giant now very much ‘in your face’.

    Anything that can be done to correct or at least minimise frequency of all this?

    Regards, C

    • Markshire PCs:

    On the lag, Thrym can answer that better than I, but as for the non-appearing NPC’s…..
    When the last player leave an area, a timer begins to run. After 3 minutes, a script is started that double-checks to see that the area is really empty, and then “cleans” the area, removing old treasure drops, dead creatures, etc. When it is done, the area is pristine again, and ready for another go. This happens in the towns as well, ie. Foothold.
    It can happen that the cleaner isn’t finished when a player re-enters town. In that event, the spawns don’t happen, because the cleaner was interrupted. To fix this, all PC’s must leave the area for at least 3 minutes. Then, all is reset, and the spawns will regenerate.
    Another lag-issue is with the amount carried in a player’s inventory. The more a player carries, the longer it takes the server to display and move items in the inventory. In extreme cases, it can actually bomb the game because of a time-out error. Monty carries too much junk, and it happens to me a lot in Stonemark, when transitioning through the city.
    As I said Thrym knows more about the lag issues, but AFAIK, nothing has really changed with the server. Check your ping values and see if the latency has gone up, resulting in higher numbers.
    Let me know if you still have a problem, and I’ll mention it to Thrym as well.


    • Markshire PCs: Grottle, Gruzk, Ashimar

    The spawning issue is Script Lag. There is no cure. The system simply hasn’t reset the area yet and won’t spawn until the script fires.

    Script Lag is when the variety of scripts on the server start to skip command lines from lag. Lag can come from many things including server log size, number of players online, general Internet lag, and much, much more.

    Areas are “cleaned” when players have been gone from the area for more then 300 seconds plus a random number. Re-entering and leaving prior to the timer ending has no effect on it. So your best bet is to simply leave until 6 minutes have passed. Go to the bazaar or any one of the areas off of Foothold.

    This spawning error is minimized with resets and minimal Foothold traffic. We address this in MS2 by moving more of the key NPCs out of the open area and building better systems. Unfortunately, I can code till I am old and grey and not eliminate script lag in MS1. There are a ton of BioWare created scripts that cause lag and several of mine are still intensive.

    If we leave the NPCs there all the time THEY create lag and cause worse issues elsewhere. Catch 22.

    On to the Invisible Stalkers of the game. This is a rendering issue with NWN1. It has never been addressed because it’s a multiplayer issue and BioWare never cared to check on it. I checked 1.69 and that doesn’t address it either. Basically, the rendering engine (Aurora) skips a beat on spawned creatures when YOU are experiencing lag.

    The best thing to resolve this from your end … Update your graphic drivers. Update your sound drivers. Get a meatier graphics card and/or sound card. Sound cards are a HUGE benefit for individual player lag. Of course, additional RAM will benefit you as well.

    Here’s part of what we’ve done on our end to minimize lag…

    • Valhalla has 2 gigabytes of Ram
    • Valhalla is back on a fiber optic network with stupid high throughput and incredibly low ping
    • We typically reset the server daily (M-F around 9am; Sat & Sun as available)
    • We reset the server log when it reaches 1 MB or more.
    • We maintain 3 times the Module size in virtual memory allocated specifically to NWServer.exe
    • I spent nearly 400 hours on script cleanup and fine tuning to prevent lag
    • We purposefully maintained a minimal module size compared to many other PWs to stay inline with BioWare’s recommended module size of 50mb. Ours creeped up to 65mb. I’ve played on servers that were 5-10 times ours in size.

    Any recommendations beyond the above can be forwarded to me via PM.

    • Markshire PCs:

    Thank you, gentlemen both. Having a clearer idea of what is going on ‘under the bonnet’ at least makes it much less frustrating. Blood pressure will drop considerably now :).

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