ToEE Front-End X 4.0 Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'ToEE Front-End X' started by Agetian, Jun 5, 2013.

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  1. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Well we can certainly yell at users not do do those things, yeah, but as you say, no one reads read-mes or even installation instructions anyway. ("How do I install the game?" is a common question, after all.) So I don't know how much good it will do. We can shrug our shoulders and just say that the blame falls on the user then, but the overall impression will nonetheless be that Co8 is unstable and to be avoided, etc. People may even as a result recommend homebrews - use the old .dll, use the old front end, etc. So I think we have a vested interest in getting this right - as right as possible anyway.

    I'm still having trouble understanding how apparently nothing in the new release (be it TFE-X or the modpack itself) is causing problems, and yet all these new issues have arrived with it. It's really too long a shot to be coincidental in common sense terms.

    I think we should do some fairly rigorous testing with the old .dll and even the old modpack itself (7.8 - known to be stable) with TFE-X4 to see what happens. (I'll post up the old .dll for you here later - sorry, I forgot.) Also maybe 7.9 with TFE-X3 (with new activations to avoid the issues you outlined above).
     
  2. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    @ Gaear: Yes, I agree with your points. Also, please note that, for instance, Sitra reports experiencing intermittent crashes with both TFE-X v3 and TFE-X v4 on the Co8 modpack in one of the posts above, which kind of seem to come and go. That's what's especially strange in all that. Yep, please post the 7.8.0 dll when you have time, I'll run some extra tests.

    P.S. Interestingly enough, on all three testing PCs that I have access to, I'm not experiencing any weird behavior with Co8 v7.9.0 and TFE-X v4.1 installed, neither on Windows or on any Linux. At least nothing out of ordinary - the modes which always crashed still crash, if the game crashed on exit on a certain PC it still crashes, you know, but there's nothing new in all that, and I'm not experiencing any game-breaking crashes that prevent me from starting the game or playing it :\

    - Agetian
     
  3. theEarlofSandwich

    theEarlofSandwich Fridge Raider

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    Hey guys, thanks for all the efforts over the years. After 10 years of playing TOEE on-and-off, my oldest son is starting to play ToEE with me. …appreciate everything you guys do here.
    Just some feedback, which may or may not be useful….
    I recently bought two new computers (several months apart), both with the following specs:
    HP Envy 700-059cb, i7-4770, running Windows 8 home premium
    Java 7 installed in both
    Norton 360 installed in both
    Resolutions used: always windowed mode; toggle between 800x600 and 1024x768 in both

    The difference between the two systems is that, on version 1 I installed:
    GOG ToEE with Circle of 8 Modpack 7.6 NC
    TFE-X version 3.0e
    Version 1 functions without issue on the new system, as it did on my previous system no longer in use. Initial set-up required disabling intro movies and some manual permissions in Norton Firewall, but afterward functioned/functions without issue.
    The other system is currently running:
    GOG ToEE with Circle of 8 Modpack 7.9
    TFE-X v4.0 Maywind
    When I tried Co8 Modpack 7.9 NC I was unable to get past CTD on start-up until I disabled intro movies, ran the troubleshooter and used a different environment (both Vista and XP service pak 3 versions worked).
    At this point I was able to get past start up and play, but every time I tried to quit ToEE, it would generate “Program not responding” error messages and I would have to kill it with Task Manager. I manage to somewhat sidestep this issue by pausing the Norton Firewall, and exit occurred normally for awhile.
    But not wanting to do that everytime I play, I tried re-downloading GOG ToEE and 7.9 NC and reinstalled, but at this point I could not even complete the activation of the 7.9 Module as it would always just hit a certain point (different points after several reinstalls) and freeze.
    Currently, after re-downloading GOG ToEE and Modpack 7.9 (not NC), in this version I have managed to reinstall, activate module 7.9 and play one brief session with no start-up or shutdown issues, or any issues whatsoever without pausing Norton Firewall….
    Not sure if any of that is useful, but that’s the best my non-tech brain can do….
     
  4. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    @theEarlofSandwich: Thanks for the input, it's appreciated. We're currently in the process of running some tests to try and investigate what exactly is troubling our users. We'll keep you posted! ;)

    - Agetian
     
  5. gazra_1971

    gazra_1971 Knights of Legend

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    Okay, Agetian and Gaear, through experimentation, I've figured out EXACTLY what the conditions are for the game to CTD on my computer while attempting to launch the game, and EXACTLY what the conditions are to avoid getting a CTD on my computer upon launching the game (without fail (i.e. the game behaves consistently without any deviation of results from the following procedures)):

    If I run TFE-X and left-click on the play "button" of the TFE-X user interface and don't input any keyboard or mouse commands thereafter, then the game will display the 3 advertising screens ('Atari', then 'Troika Games', and then 'Wizards of the Coast'), and then the game will ALWAYS CTD the instant that the splash screen was supposed to display (i.e. the screen that displays the text "CIRCLE OF EIGHT MODPACK 7.9.0 NC" and "Initializing sector data"). This happens EVERY time that I do exactly this! I ALWAYS receive the exact same following error report EVERY time that the game CTD while attempting to launch the game (see screenshot attached below).

    If I run TFE-X and left-click on the play "button" of the TFE-X user interface and keep pressing the Escape key whenever the 3 advertising screens ('Atari', then 'Troika Games', and then 'Wizards of the Coast') are displayed, then the game will ALWAYS load successfully! This happens EVERY time that I do exactly this (without fail)!

    My TFE-X settings:
    full-screen mode
    1680x1050 resolution
    intro enabled

    My computer's specifications:

    software:
    Windows XP Professional SP3 (32-bit)
    Java 7 Update 25
    TFE-X 4.0
    Circle of Eight Modpack 7.9.0 NC
    The Temple of Elemental Evil: A Greyhawk Adventure (patched with both Atari patch 1 and Atari patch 2)
    Norton Internet Security
    DirectX 9.0c

    hardware:
    Intel Core i7 920 processor (2.66 Ghz) (4 cores, 8 threads)
    Gigabyte EX58-UD3R motherboard (Intel X58 chipset)
    Sapphire Radeon HD 4770 graphics card (ATI Radeon HD 4770 GPU)
    3.25 GB RAM
    Dell 2408WFP monitor (1920x1200 native resolution)

    The following is the contents of the TFE-X.log after the game CTD while trying to launch the game:

     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  6. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    @ gazra_1971: Ok, now we're getting somewhere, I'm able to reproduce this. I'll see if I can pinpoint what is causing it.

    EDIT: This seems to happen regardless of whether I use TFE-X or not, so it's probably something other than the front-end... I'll keep testing to see if I can narrow down the source of the issue.

    EDIT 2: This stops happening if I activate vanilla, so it's definitely v7.9.0 modpack-specific.

    - Agetian
     
  7. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Ok fellas, the testing results are in! ;)
    Thanks to gazra_1971's detailed report and research of the issue I was able to reliably reproduce the problem and inspect it from all possible angles with the technology available to me. In particular, I was able to cross-test the issue on two different systems running Windows 7 64-bit and a system running Linux Mint KDE. I have come to the following conclusions:

    1) FACT: This issue has nothing to do with TFE-X. I was able to reliably induce the crash on game installations running TFE-X v4.1, TFE-X v3.0e, and no front-end at all. Also, running the game via the front-end or running the game directly, as well as changing various options in the front-end, has no effect on the issue. It still triggers under the described circumstances.

    2) FACT: This issue has nothing to do with the v7.9.0 DLL. The issue happens with the previous version of the modpack (v7.8.0) and it even happens with vanilla. It also happens on v7.9.0 installations post-patched with the v7.8.0 DLL.

    3) FACT: This issue has something to do with modeswitching. The issue is easily reproduced on two Windows 7 test systems by running the game in a big enough resolution (1680x1050 and 1280x960 were used for testing) and letting the intro videos play to the end. The game will then crash the moment the next video needs to be played (right after loading the sector data), potentially because it's unable to modeswitch to 800x600 for video playback anymore for whatever strange reason. This makes me feel sorry that we don't have any active DLL hackers anymore, because if someone were able to modify the code in a way that the game didn't switch to 800x600 for the video playback and, thus, had to modeswitch back and forth less than it currently does, the game stability on modern hardware and software would have increased.

    4) FACT: If the issue is triggered, it may last until the system is rebooted. At least on Windows 7 64-bit systems I've tested on, if the issue happens once and the game crashes this way, the game will keep crashing no matter what you do until you reboot the system. The possible (even though not definite) reason for this is that the operating system might cache certain game or system libraries or parameters in the state that induces a crash, thus causing the game to crash again the next time it's started until the system is completely rebooted. I'm not sure if this is the case on other operating systems, such as Windows XP, Vista, or 8.

    5) FACT: Linux systems seem to be affected less, possibly unaffected. I was unable to reproduce this issue on my Linux system (Linux Mint 15 KDE 64-bit) but I only tested on one system running Linux. Either Wine and the Linux binary drivers for the videocard work differently enough not to cause the crash, or I was lucky enough to run it on a system and software versions that were not affected.

    The potential causes of this problem are as of yet unknown, but it's most definitely not something that the Circle of Eight team has introduced with the recent modpack changes - at least everything points in this direction; after all, it's possible to make a vanilla GoG installation crash this way. A very probable reason for the outburst of this issue is the possible system software updates, especially video driver upgrades and possibly automatic Windows updates that might have broken something in the compatibility chain. All three systems I've tested on had modern NVIDIA videocards in them. Gazra's report indicates that this issue also affects ATI/AMD Radeon cards and an older operating system, however, so it may not be the video driver issue after all... There are enough weird facts in all this to still feel puzzled.

    Working around this issue involves either disabling the intro videos (which is a surgical solution to the problem because whatever event between the last video of the company logo and the first video of the pre-game intro causes it to crash simply never happens), skipping the intro videos by hitting Esc (the in-game videos seem not to be affected for some reason) or experimenting with video resolutions until a working mode is found. For example, I was unable to reproduce this crash on both Windows 7 systems when the game was set to run in 1280x1024. Its nearest neighbor and the classic original ToEE video mode, 800x600, crashed though, and so did 1280x960 and 1680x1050. It is as of yet unknown if anything else helps remedy the issue.

    I haven't tested the Windowed mode yet, but if I decide to do it, I'll report my findings here.

    - Agetian
     
  8. sirchet

    sirchet Force for Goodness Moderator Supporter

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    I wanted to add that now that I can run the game, although only with a system reboot, that all of the in game videos ie ... Temple Approach, Skull with throne sliding ... are playing normally.

    Again, I am running Win7 64 bit with an nVidian graphics card in full screen mode, scaling turned off and intro movies turned on, if I disable the intro video I can't get past the first selection screen, (New Game, Load Game).
     
  9. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    This is rather strange, it's either some kind of a different, albeit similar, issue or a different version of the same issue that I'm unable to reproduce/see as of yet. I haven't found anything new since the last test results were posted, so far all I have is up there... I'll keep testing.

    - Agetian
     
  10. twisty

    twisty Morose Marauder

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    You must admit though that it seems rather coincidental that so many of us have run into this issue since installing 7.9. I didn't have any issues with 7.6 which I was still playing a day before installing the new release so it's either a coincidence that some other update occurred around the same time (MS, NVidia etc.) or some other subtle change that has been introduced by the modpack or front end.
     
  11. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    It's possible though (even likely, given the test results so far) that the new routine has simply exposed these system-specific pitfalls/weaknesses more glaringly.

    I wonder about the possible involvement of varying video resolutions for ToEE's videos. I'm not looking at them right now, but I know they vary - many are 800x500/16:10 (the custom ones we make are), but others, like the intro cinematic, are something closer to a 4:3 aspect ratio. Maybe the differences in system responses are that they like one resolution but not another.
     
  12. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    @ twisty: The coincidence you're mentioning is what surprises me the most, to be honest, and what bothers me as well. Laying the blame on the front-end is quite far-fetched, though, because the old front-end and even a front-endless installation of the game behave the same way (== crash under the circumstances outlined above)... :\

    @ Gaear: Yes, it might certainly be, maybe it's worth testing that a bit (replacing all videos with a certain old video and looking if that fixes it), I'll see if I can schedule that over the next few days. ;)

    - Agetian
     
  13. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    FWIW, I duplicated gazra's crash conditions on my PC and still do not get any crashes ... :shrug: All videos play fine and the game launches without a hitch.

    Also FYI, game video specs are as follows:

    800x600/32

    Atari
    Troika
    WotC
    vignettes (all)
    Zuggtmoys (both)
    death

    800x500/32

    tutorials (all 3)
    Co8 custom (all)

    800x450/32

    intro cinematic
    Hommlets (all)

    720x486/32

    Temple

    720x480/32

    Throne


    Testing a different resolution on the intro cinematic would be easy. Just go to your ToEE/data/movies folder and rename 'introcinematic' to something else, and then copy the 'Death-Movie' movie and rename the copy to 'introcinematic'. Launch ToEE (with intros enabled) and see if the game still crashes. (If things are working 'normally,' you'll see the death movie instead of the intro cinematic.)
     
  14. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    @ Gaear: I'll play around with this information today and see if anything helps resolve the crashes. Thanks for the info! :thumbsup:

    - Agetian
     
  15. gazra_1971

    gazra_1971 Knights of Legend

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    Okay, using my same TFE-X settings that I stated in my above post, I replaced the AtariLogo.bik, TroikaLogo.bik, and WotCLogo.bik files with the Death-Movie.bik file (but kept the names AtariLogo.bik, TroikaLogo.bik, and WotCLogo.bik), then attempted to launch the game without inputting any keyboard or mouse commands after I left-clicked on "Play" in the TFE-X GUI, but the game CTD shortly after the splash screen displayed (so I managed to get slightly further in the game launch attempt than previously).

    I replaced the AtariLogo.bik, TroikaLogo.bik, and WotCLogo.bik files with the introcinematic.bik file (but kept the names AtariLogo.bik, TroikaLogo.bik, and WotCLogo.bik), then attempted to launch the game without inputting any keyboard or mouse commands after I left-clicked on "Play" in the TFE-X GUI, but the game CTD the instant that the splash screen was supposed to display.

    I selected Disable Intro in the TFE-X GUI, and attempted to launch the game, but the game CTD the instant after I left-clicked on "Play" in the TFE-X GUI.

    I can't even get the game to launch when I have the intro disabled. The only way that I can get the Co8 Modpack 7.9.0 NC to work on my computer using my TFE-X settings (full screen, 1680x1050) is to have the "Intro enabled" and by presing the Escape key when the AtariLogo.bik, TroikaLogo.bik, and WotCLogo.bik videos are playing during game launch.

    I replaced the introcinematic.bik file with the Death-Movie.bik file (but kept the name introcinematic.bik), then attempted to launch the game without inputting any keyboard or mouse commands after I left-clicked on "Play" in the TFE-X GUI, but the game CTD the instant that the splash screen was supposed to display.

    I used to be able to play much older versions of the Circle of Eight Modpack NC with the intro disabled, so something has changed in recent versions of the Circle of Eight Modpack NC (or it may be specifically version 7.9.0 NC) that is causing problems with the game's videos.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2013
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