Troubleshooting / Debugging Issues (QA)

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Last modified on October 20, 2010

13 Responses to “Troubleshooting / Debugging Issues (QA)”

  1. admin Says:

    Is there a way to incorporate these HAK packs into the module directly without having to solicit the player to having to manually download them one at a time?

    – Aleanne’s Female clothing packs

    – Arsan’s Hood

    – Barrel of Monkeys’s Hair Extensions

    – Chimneyfish’s HAK packs

    – Cleitanious’ Tintable Clothing Compilation Pack

    – Kaedrin’s PRC pack

    – MaeBe’s Female Hair

    – Oblivion to NWN2

  2. admin Says:

    The Electron Toolset is taking a toll on production with the number of system crashes it has put us through.

    It may well be a compatibility issue with Windows 7 or the NVIDIA drivers are flaking out; whatever the reason it is counter-productive to say the least to have to restart the application almost every time an area needs to be rendered. Frankly, it is frustrating and digging for a solution is taking most of the day away.

  3. admin Says:

    From all appearances, if the rendering is performed on a MOD file under ~26 MB, the engine is stable. Hopefully this is per area, not the aggregate number of areas.

  4. admin Says:

    Under the Computer Management Center, and looking at the Windows logs, there is an application error for the Toolset directed at

    NWN2_MemoryMgr_amdxp.dll

    the log reads:
    Faulting application name: NWN2ToolsetLauncher.exe, version: 1.0.23.1765, time stamp: 0x4a89fba1
    Faulting module name: NWN2_MemoryMgr_amdxp.dll, version: 1.0.23.1765, time stamp: 0x4a89f7ec
    Exception code: 0xc0000005
    Fault offset: 0x00006fc5

    reinstalled DirectX 11, .NET client manager and uninstalled the NVIDIA video card, just to reinstall with updated (same) drivers. No improvement to report.

  5. admin Says:

    Tried resizing the virtual memory paging file without success.

    Most folks at the Social Bioware forum seem to think it is a .NET issue. Will clean the registry and reinstall…

  6. admin Says:

    Tried reinstalling .NET framework 1.1, 2.0, 3.5 and ultimately 4.0. Installed DirectX 9.0c which I am told can peacefully coexist with DX11.

    Removed video drivers and installed four replacement drivers from NVIDIA; two of which wouldn’t get out of the gate (“cannot find any suitable drivers for the hardware listed”) and one of which is a few months older than what the machine came supplied.

    Changed resolution of the screen to 800 x 600, no effect.

    Cleaned the registry for .NET inconsistencies. This was the ONLY occasion where I could load a 50MB+ module and have an area successfully render, if for just a few seconds.

  7. admin Says:

    -from Electron Toolset comment:

    Microsoft incorporated a new security feature from Windows XP SP2 and onward that is called DEP (Data Execution Prevention). Many programs that dynamically generate code do not tag the memory allocated as being executable memory, so DEP catches it and terminates the process, throwing 0xc0000005 as the exception code. Thankfully, it is possible to add exceptions to DEP so that it will allow some programs to do whatever they want when it comes to memory management.

    Thanks for the effort; It was a good theory, but after evoking the changes you suggested there is still no change.

    I have changed the affinity to a single processor, and the priority to High and Real Time.

    I changed the properties of the Toolset launcher to run in XPsp2, sp3, and every other Windows version down to ’95. The Toolset would not even load on Windows versions under XP. There are more details here.

    Will attempt to reinstall the NWN2 package, and updates next. I do not believe it is a hardware issue, at least in terms of performance; the specs seem to jive with minimum requirements and other user’s platforms in the community.

  8. admin Says:

    Ran “GameBooster” to allocate my memory resources more efficiently… and it worked, I could render a 55 MB erf file (a download from the NWN Vault called Arabel) and had FULL and stable functionality. Alas, I have yet to repeat this, but it has convinced me that resources are not being properly allocated.

    I am still committed to thinking this is a memory management issue. There are precious few complaints about Windows 7, but I suspect that Toolset users are from the land of XP less 7, since I am thinking the life-cycle for a dedicated NWN2 module can span the better part of a couple years, Windows 7 hadn’t been conceived yet. But there have been a plethora of Windows Vista complaints from developers. Windows 7 is what Vista was supposed to be upon release.

    In my travels, I found that NWN2 does not support dual core processors, which I think is daft but another matter. Still, even after setting the affinity of the processor to single-core, I’m getting the same errors with the Toolset. I am still a little befuddled as to how the CPU and RAM aren’t getting along together, but a weak CPU would have some issues in allocating proper memory space, which is what we have here, so it’s a possibility worth pursuing.

    My processor is a less than modest Intel Duo Core 1.8 GHz chip. With only one core operating, I’m thinking that the threaded processes are locked into a small “compartment’ without the “oomph” to get the job done.
    I have ordered a T9300 processor, which is the top of the line for the 6860FX Gateway to replace the CPU on my system. It was time anyhow. This may do the job, seeing as a single core would have higher overhead. At the very least performance will improve during gameplay.

    In the meantime I have installed XP as a VMWare virtual machine. The developers tout that XP runs better that XP every did. I am loathe to have two copies of NWN on one laptop, but with the reinstall issues I have no choice.

  9. admin Says:

    Too many roadblocks to reinstall the NWN2 package. The “Installshield” is unforgiving, in spite of the changes made to the registry. I do not dare remove the program forcibly, in the event a reinstall should fail. In the meantime, I am keeping close watch on the memory requirements for each area.

  10. admin Says:

    While waiting for the processor upgrade, the terrain for the startup region has finally been fleshed out. Some dialog has been introduced and journal entries for at least two encounters are working. Some automation has yet to be tweaked, i.e. allowing a member to join the party, transition points etc… but in the meantime, one is free to roam across the landscape. Soon that individual will be able to enter a few buildings… once the interior designs are finished. Safe to say this product is in an alpha state.

    As promised to the initiates at /social.bioware.com/forum, for a short while at least here is the alpha “startup” module for Neverdarklands. I will dispense with the usual disclaimers about ownership (because there’s no need being a community effort after all), and about undercooked elements of gameplay (unfinished conversations, character stats and the like) and of course, the need for quality assurance (in other words “bugs”, why the file is here for testing in the first place).

    Plainly speaking, this is an unfinished product not deserving of too much scrutiny, so I want to normalize the expectations of the tester in advance. The goal here is to see if anyone else is having the kind of issues described on these boards, in terms of Toolset efficiency and rendering stability. Frankly, I would prefer to put some polish on the product before a public showing, but on the other hand I’m surprised it’s come this far given the troubleshooting woes of late.

    Please submit comments on this thread, and thank-you in advance for tending to the QA needs of this project! It really helps.

  11. admin Says:

    Upgraded the dual core CPU from 1.7 GHz to 2.5 GHz. Alas, my rendering problem remains but the overall performance has improved greatly:

    Toolset loads in 30 sec as opposed to 90 sec before.

    NWN2 performs better; I’d say frame rates have improved about 50% overall

    Windows CPU performance gauge went from 4.6 to 6.0.

  12. admin Says:

    This problem has been solved.

    A hardware upgrade and OS re-installation and the NWN2 project is back on schedule. Check the front page for a formal announcement.

  13. admin Says:

    Seems the two steps forward one step back approach is dominating the stage once again. The Toolset is no longer an issue, but there were system freezes at regular 30 minute intervals which were counterproductive to say the least. Drilling into the alert logs, the OS was Bluescreening without the BSOD splash most developers are used to seeing. Typically, this means poor memory management or conflicting CPU processes; about as generic as it gets. The following catalogs some troubleshooting steps should others be in the same quandry. Herein is a solution:

    Presuming hardware failure, and taking note of the 0x000124 and 0X00000005 sequences in the dump files, the usual suspects were deployed: driver re-installs, upgrading of Direct X and updating .NET 3.5 (to a higher grade, but no invitation for ver 4.0 at this point)… the same system crash kept recurring.

    Then it struck me that this was a chronic problem, systemic to be sure, but at regular intervals. I put on my engineer’s cap once more and deduced that these issues were symptomatic of an overheat. I monitored the temperature of the CPU until failure and discovered a correlation (sys dump above Tj = 84 °C, which is the low end an overheat) Therefore, I reset the CPU and added a liberal amount of thermal paste and indeed, it made a difference. At the least the temperature rarely exceeds 77 °C now. The problem was minimized, yes, but after testing would still recur, and at the most inopportune times.

    I finally set the affinity of the Toolset to run on a single core (CPU 0) and THAT did the trick. Temperature is kept under 77 °C and CPU 1 is left to handle the administrative overhead of Windows processes at less than 30% load.

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