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Sudden problem with frame rate in a game (user report, not Lasso bug, and fixed)

Started by pfred, April 22, 2015, 07:03:51 PM

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pfred

Hi, all

I'm not sure if this is a Process Lasso issue, but I'll go fishing here for help.  I have an older computer that was successfully running a game (Arma 2 DayZ Epoch, installed through Steam) with Process Lasso there to shepherd things along.  I was getting about 20 - 25 fps in the game online, which was usable, but only just.  Without Process Lasso it was a miserable 4 or 5 fps and unplayable.  Somewhere between (IIRC) April 10 and April 12 something changed and I was no longer getting useable performance.  I have reinstalled the games and addons, I have tried every performance tweak around, and nothing works.  The behavior is eerily reminiscent of when my free trial period with Steam expired.  At that time I spent a couple of days trying to figure out what was wrong, and then I noticed that I had no gaming mode with Steam any more.  Bought the license and activated, and my fps problems were immediately cured.

Now, I'm curious about the possibility that something may have changed that may be affecting the Process Lasso optimizations in some way.  Right at that time, I think there was a Windows update, there was a Steam update, there was a Process Lasso update, a video driver update, there was a lot of stuff going on.  I tried restoring back to an earlier point for Windows on the pc, but that didn't help.  I did notice that if I try to manually classify the Arma 2 OA process as a game, I got an error.  I believe it was complaining about an invalid process name, sorry I'm not at that computer right now for the exact wording.  The message indicated the cause could be inadequate permissions, or the process might have already terminated (not the case).  I also notice that if I listed the process path manually in configuring Gaming Mode, if I included the path all the way through Steam, gaming mode did not activate when I ran the executable directly.  Gaming mode did turn on, though, if I used wildcards in the configuration (*Arma2OA*).  I don't know if that's significant, though, not knowing how PL wants to treat processes running under Steam, I guess?

Anyway, does this sound like a Process Lasso issue, a Steam issue, or something else?  Anyone have any ideas how I might go about troubleshooting this?

Thanks,
Paul

edkiefer

Quote from: pfred on April 22, 2015, 07:03:51 PM
Hi, all

I'm not sure if this is a Process Lasso issue, but I'll go fishing here for help.  I have an older computer that was successfully running a game (Arma 2 DayZ Epoch, installed through Steam) with Process Lasso there to shepherd things along.  I was getting about 20 - 25 fps in the game online, which was usable, but only just.  Without Process Lasso it was a miserable 4 or 5 fps and unplayable.  Somewhere between (IIRC) April 10 and April 12 something changed and I was no longer getting useable performance.  I have reinstalled the games and addons, I have tried every performance tweak around, and nothing works.  The behavior is eerily reminiscent of when my free trial period with Steam expired.  At that time I spent a couple of days trying to figure out what was wrong, and then I noticed that I had no gaming mode with Steam any more.  Bought the license and activated, and my fps problems were immediately cured.

Now, I'm curious about the possibility that something may have changed that may be affecting the Process Lasso optimizations in some way.  Right at that time, I think there was a Windows update, there was a Steam update, there was a Process Lasso update, a video driver update, there was a lot of stuff going on.  I tried restoring back to an earlier point for Windows on the pc, but that didn't help.  I did notice that if I try to manually classify the Arma 2 OA process as a game, I got an error.  I believe it was complaining about an invalid process name, sorry I'm not at that computer right now for the exact wording.  The message indicated the cause could be inadequate permissions, or the process might have already terminated (not the case).  I also notice that if I listed the process path manually in configuring Gaming Mode, if I included the path all the way through Steam, gaming mode did not activate when I ran the executable directly.  Gaming mode did turn on, though, if I used wildcards in the configuration (*Arma2OA*).  I don't know if that's significant, though, not knowing how PL wants to treat processes running under Steam, I guess?

Anyway, does this sound like a Process Lasso issue, a Steam issue, or something else?  Anyone have any ideas how I might go about troubleshooting this?

Thanks,
Paul
there a lot going on in that post but i try and go through few things .
first would be see if game mode gets enabled w/o any path listed, it should work (there was some work few builds back ).
Your statement of huge difference with game mode and PL sounds weird , while PL is great for keeping response high with inputs, such high increase in FPS makes me think something else is going on .

List your hardware, it might be vid driver the game is not liking , maybe clock rates are not steady .
Best thing to do is monitor clock rate of CPU and GPU and see if any throttling , high temps or anything out of norm .

On graphic driver, if your running Nvidia, they store older driver , so you can easy go back a version , this depends on your HW .
Bitsum QA Engineer

Jeremy Collake

My first question, and please understand I am just going through this logically, how is it that you are determining actual performance? Your perception alone?

Assuming there is a performance loss due to a recent component update, it's a hard guessing game. First, we need to identify the bottleneck. Towards that end, let's just start question by question:

1. Is at least one CPU core fully utilized during periods where you feel performance lags?

If Yes, then the problem is CPU bound. If No, then the problem may be GPU or I/O bound.

Software Engineer. Bitsum LLC.

pfred

Hi, guys, thanks for responding

@ed, gaming mode is not activated if I don't use the wildcards.  As a matter of fact, I removed that config item and now gaming mode is not activating at all, when I run the program from the commonly used DayZ Commander game launcher.  That's suspicious looking.  That software is supposed to work hand in hand with Steam.  I may need to reinstall that again.

I did run the game straight from Steam and gaming mode has turned on, so I will see about DayZ Commander, maybe that's the issue.  But I'm pretty sure I reinstalled it at least once already.  Sigh.

@Jeremy, when the game is running and I'm connected to a server online, I am seeing both cores utilized up to 80%.  50% or a little more is the game process, 18% for Process Lasso, and the remainder for the BattleEye service (anti-cheat software) and other incidentals.  This is the case when I've logged in and my character is stationary, nothing going on.  The game has a debug monitor that offers an fps counter and when I enable it, it states I am running at 3-5 frames per second.

The error I get when trying to manually flag the process as a game is
     Error retrieving the process name.  This is probably due to insufficient access rights or perhaps the process has already terminated.
Do you think that is significant, perhaps?

Paul


Jeremy Collake

You know, Lasso will consume far fewer (as in almost none), resources when it's UI is minimized to the system tray. Keep that in mind.

The error you get is odd. I need to do some investigation here. Please hold and I'll get back to you.
Software Engineer. Bitsum LLC.

pfred

Yes, normally the PL UI would be closed, just in the tray.  I've had it open a lot lately trying to figure out what was going on.   :)
Thanks for taking a look.

Paul

Jeremy Collake

Are you running as a Limited User, or Administrator on this PC?
Software Engineer. Bitsum LLC.

edkiefer

Would be good to know hardware being used, even very basic if laptop or desktop and CPU and vid .
In general AFAIK ArMA line uses a lot CPU usage but whether that is bottleneck is another story and depends on Hardware .

Could it be something like updated patch or even updated driver changed your game settings .
ARMA has many settings with distance, which affect not only graphic use but CPU too , maybe check those to .
Bitsum QA Engineer

pfred

Hi, guys

@Jeremy, my account is set up as Administrator.

@ed, it's a Dell Inspiron 1720 laptop.
   Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GHz
   3 Mb RAM
   Windows 7 Professional
   Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT
   
I believe the video card (512 Mb RAM) falls below the minimum suggested for the game, and indeed without Lasso I would not have been able to play at all.  But with Lasso, it was okay, until a few days ago.

I have tinkered with the in-game video options and haven't found anything that helps performance.

Paul

pfred

I poked at it some more tonight and noticed a couple of things.  While I can get gaming mode in Lasso to turn on, by using wildcards in the path, the actual game process is not identified as a game.  There are 2 processes that start Arma2OA_BE.exe and Arma2OA.exe.  The BE starts the Battle Eye anti-cheat service, and the other is the actual game.  I set gaming mode to turn on for *Arma2OA*, and when I right click on the BE process, I see that Gaming Mode is checked.  When I right click on Arma2OA, gaming mode is not checked.  For some reason, that process is not available to Process Lasso in the same way that the other is.  Does this make sense?  Anything else I should look at?

Paul

edkiefer

#10
That does sound odd, but as long as game mode is being triggered on and game is the foreground app all should be fine (which it would in your example) .

Looking at your specs , is the game ever smooth even in single player mode, or does it take time and then the FPS drop , also did game ever play good on that system .
I take it you mean 3Gb of ram, and that is on low end for many games , how your free memory or working set while running ,you might be hitting swapfile .

On game settings there a few setting to keep in mind 3d resolution , visibility , quality preference and vid memory . first I would see what value for visibility (my guess something in 1000-1300 would be good for your system ) . If you have GPU-Z installed, run it with game and see how far memory usage goes if your pegging it you can set memory to low and maybe lower 3d res to see if it helps (that depends on what you run now) .

I hate to say this, but I think that game is going to give trouble on many laptops unless they have more cores and memory .

Ok, I did a Google search on ArmA II OA system specs and found this link
http://gamesystemrequirements.com/games.php?id=1237

So your on the low/min side which means setting need to be on low end .
I have run this game on XP with Intel core 2.1 (dual core desktop ) with 7900GTX and it ran choppy, at times in single player (was demo so never tried MP which tends to use more resources ).

Now if you had no troubles at all and all of sudden its running bad, I would look into maybe drivers or since it laptop check temps or if you hear fan running high or any change might need cleaning .
It kind of hard to pin down the issue from here ,even if we had the same system , so many variables between HW and software installed .

But to get back to PL as long as game mode is running with HP power profile  it should be fine , you could see if anything is getting restraint while gaming ,that might give a clue if it was software .
Bitsum QA Engineer

pfred

Oops, yes that was 3Gb of RAM!

Yes, this certainly is at the very low end of being up to running the game, and I know this game can be troublesome for much more powerful PCs, if you don't manage all the configuration properly.  I had done all that, and it ran okay in single player, and was usable in multiplayer, as long as Process Lasso was running.  The change was abrupt from one day to the next.

It did run okay in single player, not outstanding, just okay.  It didn't have sudden FPS drops, during play, but did have annoying pauses when it had to load up some big change when you arrived at a new location or situation.  I have toyed with every conceivable combination of the different video options.  It always did do better with a number of settings at lower values or disabled entirely.  Nothing seems to help now.  I do wonder about hardware.  It's an old machine, no denying that, it wouldn't be surprising to see something beginning to fail.

So, you're saying that if gaming mode is on, then any foreground process will benefit, even if it is not the app the triggered PL to go into gaming mode?

edkiefer

Quote from: pfred on April 24, 2015, 04:45:57 PM
Oops, yes that was 3Gb of RAM!

Yes, this certainly is at the very low end of being up to running the game, and I know this game can be troublesome for much more powerful PCs, if you don't manage all the configuration properly.  I had done all that, and it ran okay in single player, and was usable in multiplayer, as long as Process Lasso was running.  The change was abrupt from one day to the next.

It did run okay in single player, not outstanding, just okay.  It didn't have sudden FPS drops, during play, but did have annoying pauses when it had to load up some big change when you arrived at a new location or situation.  I have toyed with every conceivable combination of the different video options.  It always did do better with a number of settings at lower values or disabled entirely.  Nothing seems to help now.  I do wonder about hardware.  It's an old machine, no denying that, it wouldn't be surprising to see something beginning to fail.

So, you're saying that if gaming mode is on, then any foreground process will benefit, even if it is not the app the triggered PL to go into gaming mode?
Yes , technically you could just enable it with "game mode enabled" from right click options on PL tray icon , but having it setup with auto trigger is most convenient .
Oh, also I just checked, if you have no path for steam games game mode will be enabled but you won't see G next to the game processes , so that is normal .
Bitsum QA Engineer

pfred

Well, that all makes it sound less and less like the issue is due to Process Lasso not treating the app as a game.  If that's not it, I'm kind of at a loss.  I'm pretty sure I've covered everything conceivable in video config options, and have not gained anything.  I guess I can try reverting back to a previous Nvidia driver, if you say they are available.  I feel like I'm starting to run out of steam on this one.  Pretty soon it will be time to give up on the game or get a new computer.

Jeremy Collake

Whether Lasso treats it as a game really doesn't matter much. All that does is switch to Bitsum Highest Performance power plan and make sure ProBalance doesn't act on the game.
Software Engineer. Bitsum LLC.

pfred

Well, that was enough for a while.  When my PL trial period expired, I dropped to 4-5 fps.  As soon as I activated the license, the game ran back at about 20 fps.  Oh, well.  Thanks for listening, guys.  I need to go check with my banker and see where the PC replacement fund stands... ;)

Jeremy Collake

I will re-read and make sure i didn't miss anything in this thread when I get free from programming.
Software Engineer. Bitsum LLC.

pfred

I fixed it!  All I needed to do, apparently was enable Smart Trim.  I have a vague recollection of tinkering with things before the slump, I must have disabled Smart Trim at some point, and never thought to re-enable it any time after that.  It doesn't help that I don't really understand what Smart Trim is doing, but I'll probably go read up on that now.

Now the game loads in much faster, and fps when at rest is 20+, it dips down when a lot of stuff is going on, to a low of 10-12.  This compares to fps of 4-5 at rest without Smart Trim.

I'm still thinking about a new computer, though.  :)

Paul

Jeremy Collake

Quote from: pfred on April 30, 2015, 03:26:55 PM
I fixed it!  All I needed to do, apparently was enable Smart Trim.  I have a vague recollection of tinkering with things before the slump, I must have disabled Smart Trim at some point, and never thought to re-enable it any time after that.  It doesn't help that I don't really understand what Smart Trim is doing, but I'll probably go read up on that now.

Now the game loads in much faster, and fps when at rest is 20+, it dips down when a lot of stuff is going on, to a low of 10-12.  This compares to fps of 4-5 at rest without Smart Trim.

Great to hear it ;). Yes, we have SmartTrim disabled by default. Eventually, that policy may change, if it's settings are conservative enough and we've built up a big enough exclusion database.
Software Engineer. Bitsum LLC.