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January 29, 2023, 06:09:16 PM

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SimCity 4 DE CTD

Started by commjack, December 07, 2022, 08:11:06 AM

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commjack

Hi Simmer2 (Nick),

My game crashes to desktop when I try plopping one of your LOTs or BATs.  I am running SimCity4 Deluxe Edition (Steam version) on Windows 10.  Any suggestions as to why this is happening?

Thanks, commjack (Jack)

Tarkus

Nick (Simmer2) moved his entire operation to Simtropolis about 1 1/2 years ago, but also hasn't been over there in a good 6 months, either.  Others here may still be able to assist in his absence, but we would need to know more about which files are specifically involved in the CTD, what else you have in your plugins, etc., in order to help diagnose the issue.

-Alex

Wiimeiser

I've placed a couple of his lots recently with no issues, off the top of my head, the Heritage Roundhouse and Coal Spur. See if those work for you.

And I hope Nick is doing alright, if he's on some kind of hiatus...
Pink horse, pink horse, she rides across the nation...

mgb204

Quote from: commjack on December 07, 2022, 08:11:06 AMHi Simmer2 (Nick),

My game crashes to desktop when I try plopping one of your LOTs or BATs.  I am running SimCity4 Deluxe Edition (Steam version) on Windows 10.  Any suggestions as to why this is happening?

Thanks, commjack (Jack)

Which one? It seems inconceivable to me given the amount of content made by SM2 that there would be a more general problem and it not have come to light already. Hard to help you without some specific information because we've no idea where to look.

commjack

I have about 300 files in my plugins, mostly older files with some newer ones.  When I try plopping any SM2 Utility file, my game CTD.  I installed the Heritage Roundhouse & plopped it in one of my cities with no problem. I also have the same issue when I plop building of the University of Clayhurst by JBSimio.  Please let me other info you need to solve the issue.

Thanks, commjack (Jack)

mgb204

Any SM2 utility still isn't specific enough for me to investigate the issue, give me a specific file/download, I don't actually have much of SM2s content installed, so I would literally have to go and find it to check. As you can imagine, I've no desire to spend a lot of time downloading/installing multiple files in order to do so.

commjack

SM2 Water Treatment Plant is one file that causes my game to CTD.

Thanks again

mgb204

So I only ran a quick test, but I installed the following three files:

SM2 Water Treatment Plant
SM2 Medium Water Treatment Plant
SM2 Large Water Treatment Plant

As you can see, all can be plopped without any problems:

SM2_WaterTreatment.jpg

So there certainly doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the content itself. Just for a sanity check, make sure you've the latest versions of the Dependencies for all of these lots, which are SM2 Mega Props vol1 & vol4 and the SM2 Essentials (I'm using v4, the latest).

I tested these in a blank city with only NAM45 and the lots/dependencies in question. You should do the same, it is possible something else in your Plugins folder is causing problems, although unusual. But at this point you should establish whether or not they work with an otherwise empty plugins folder too.

Tyberius06

One thing which came to my mind. Most of the SM2 creations are HD. Do you run your game in software or hardware mode? For HD contents you need to run your game in hardware mode.

Otherwise I do not know any reason why these would give you CTD, only if there was some other plugin there which is having a conflict with these...
You may find updates about my ongoing projects into my development thread here at SimCity 4 Devotion: Tyberius Lotting Experiments
or over there on Simtropolis into the Tyberius (Heretic Projects) Lotting and Modding Experiments.
I'm also member of the STEX Custodian and working on different restoration projects on behalf of non-anymore-active custom content creators.
Current projects: WMP Restoration and SimCity Polska Restoration.
Member of the NAM Team and RTMT Team.

mgb204

Quote from: Tyberius06 on December 12, 2022, 05:42:42 AMOne thing which came to my mind. Most of the SM2 creations are HD. Do you run your game in software or hardware mode? For HD contents you need to run your game in hardware mode.

Actually that isn't true of general models, only certain game textures like Terrain, Water, Rock, Beach mods (and one sidewalk mod by Gobias). The specific issue here is that Software Rendering (and OpenGL) is not able to render a texture beyond 256x256px in size, but all models use only this size and no larger, larger models just paste multiple textures together. Whereas some of the other mods I mentioned use up to 1024x1024px textures and Gobias' Sidewalk mod uses 512x512px textures. However in the event you try to use these without DirectX rendering, the game will CTD upon trying to load a city, so we can be pretty sure that's not the issue here.

Tarkus

#10
While mgb204 is correct about the FSH files not being at fault, due to how the BAT scripts work, I believe Tyberius06 was on the right track about there being something rather resource intensive going on here.

The models for the plain SM2 Water Treatment Plant are contained within SM2 Mega Prop Pack Vol. 1--the Medium and Large Water Treatment Plants use dependencies from SM2 Mega Prop Pack Vol. 1 and also Vol. 4.  I just took a look inside Vol. 1 in the Reader, and did a sort by filesize within the file.  Normally, FSH files are by far the heftiest subfiles within any sort of SC4 plugin, and while there are some large FSH files in here, much to my surprise, there were actually a total of 8 S3D files (which, to those uninitiated in internal SC4 file formats, is used for 3D models) that were actually larger than the largest FSH file.

The largest of these S3D models compressed within the .dat file happens to be almost 54KB (uncompressed, it's 98KB), and looking over it in closer detail, the number of polygons it contains is extraordinary.



Back in the day, I remember former modding pioneer (and NAM co-founder) redlotus remarking about the game having a polygon limit with S3D models, somewhere in the 500-600 range, above which a model can have a tendency to cause CTDs.  This figure was given back in 2004-2005, when computers were far less powerful than they are now, and we've seen plenty of cases where people can now load S3D models with more polygons without issue.

It appears this particular model within the prop pack has north of 5400 polygons (in a single group--not as a compound model), which is one of the highest figures I've ever seen on an S3D model.  Upon examination, it appears some of Simmer2's props in this set (including this one) are actually True 3D models, not BAT models (which use fixed perspective and texture baking to make simpler geometry look more complex, and have much lower polygon counts).

I don't know if this exact model is used on the Water Treatment Plant (I'd have to investigate the lot further), but based on my knowledge, I find it reasonable to speculate that a model like this could cause issues on some systems, and using Software Rendering would definitely up the likelihood.

-Alex

mgb204

Certainly if they are True 3D models, then those Poly Counts are potentially problematic. I only did a very quick test that I could plop them, but I know for True3D models the more realistic limit is in the 500 poly range (per group). That said, it really depends, whilst not as high as the figures here, Moonlight managed to go well in excess of the supposed limit with his Japanese El-Rail models. It does seem odd no one else has reported issues in all this time, but yes indeed I agree with Alex that it's most likely the models.

Of course, since we have the 3D models, it would be possible to re-render them as normal 2.5D BAT models, there really isn't any good reason why such models should be 3D in the first place.

Tyberius06

I'm not sure if those are actualy true 3d models at all. The S3D subfiles with those large sizes are part of two models which seems to be grouped as 20 s3d/group ID for each model (that indicates they are actually BAT/sc4model files) and they have the appropriate FSHs as textures. The two models/props are coming from the original SM2 Prop Pack vol04 and were used for the SM2 Power Pack. The very large s3d subfiles belong to the SM2 Wire Conduits C model/prop (which has a 547.25 KB size after I extracted it using reader and the "add to patch" option), the other model/prop would be the SM2 Substation Transfer box (which has a 204.78 KB size).
The very large FSHs are actualy night view textures for two of the substations from the same pack...
You may find updates about my ongoing projects into my development thread here at SimCity 4 Devotion: Tyberius Lotting Experiments
or over there on Simtropolis into the Tyberius (Heretic Projects) Lotting and Modding Experiments.
I'm also member of the STEX Custodian and working on different restoration projects on behalf of non-anymore-active custom content creators.
Current projects: WMP Restoration and SimCity Polska Restoration.
Member of the NAM Team and RTMT Team.

mgb204

#13
Well this is where things don't always look as they seem, because a True 3D model in an S3D just like any other, except when you look closer. Indeed the file at Num 12083 (S3D TGI #-89970CBA-#####430) is very large in terms of file size. But to see if a model is a typical 2D plane or a 3D one, all we need do is switch to Wireframe mode in the S3D preview, then click the rotation button and rotate the object. Typical BAT models only show properly in one perspective (Zoom and Rotation), but you can clearly see in this case it rotates without any distortion, i.e. it absolutely is a 3D model. Another name for this can be a LOD, so you could say it has a custom LOD, because any BAT that is more than a simple rectangle is a custom LOD, but in effect that is also a True 3D model (did I mention this is complex?)

Whether or not you are using a Custom LOD, a 3D model is a 3D model and the number of Verts, 3332, which make up 16428 tri's or Polygons is as Alex suggested probably in the limit where it has the potential to cause problems. There are a number of other objects which similarly are Custom LODs/True 3D models which too have very high Poly counts. Now in the case of the specific prop mentioned, there is probably a good reason for the Custom LOD, since I'd imagine it's to better handle situations where the pipes go underground. But quite a few of the models so far as I can tell really don't need such Custom LODs or such high poly-counts, they would be better realised as simple (regular) BATs, if nothing else for efficiency reasons.

Clearly simply having high poly counts isn't by and of itself causing CTDs, but from what I know about this issue there is probably another factor at play. It could be that a more general limit is being reached for all the content loaded or in use? It could be some GPUs/Drivers can handle such objects better than others. But by and large, it's known to be a problem and so I'm very confident Alex has indeed found the source of the problem.

I tried plopping lots and lots of these three lots in one city, went crazy rotating and zooming and could not trigger a CTD myself. Now, that's not to say they can't trigger one, but perhaps it's because I'm in a medium tile, it's a fairly empty test city or just that my machine is OK with them. But I certainly can not easily replicate the problem here.

What to do about it then, well that's rather less clear, the easiest solution is simply don't use the content if it causes problems for you. If you know how, you can import the 3D model and the texture into SC4 BAT and use it to create (render) an alternate 2.5 (regular BAT) version. But this is not exactly beginners stuff and you may need to alter textures to get a good result too. Plus finding all the affected models in a huge pack like this is itself a bit of a daunting task. I don't really have anything else to offer I'm affraid.

commjack

I've been playing the game on & off since the game came out but I'm still consider myself a beginner as far as creating BATs or 3D Models.  I've never created any LOTs or BATs but I'd like to learn & try.

So if I understand what's been said, the solutions are either don't use these files or upgrade the GPU (video card) & drivers.  I would probably need a better monitor too (?).

Thanks again

mgb204

Just to be clear, I would not personally recommend you upgrade your GPU, there is absolutely no guarantee that would make any difference. When I said "It could be some GPUs/Drivers can handle such objects better than others", that's not to say a more powerful GPU would help, more a different setup may act differently. The simple fact is that whilst we are aware that models with high poly-counts can lead to problems, we simply have no definitive reason for why.

Do you know what graphics card you have currently?, it might provide a useful baseline. I have a few machines knocking around, I may see if one of the lower-spec ones is more susceptible to the CTDs, but even that wouldn't be definitive.

commjack

My graphics card is a NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030.

mgb204

Amongst my various bits, I tend to have a lot of 'spares', I actually have a GT 630 card, which is pretty much an older version of your GPU. The system I used normally just runs on the Intel HD4600 iGPU, which is on balance quite equal to the GT 630. With either GPU I am again not able to replicate the CTDs you're having. In both cases, your newer GT 1030 wins out power-wise, so if nothing else this demonstrates the problem is not simply a lack of GPU power.

Again this is limited testing, plopping them in a mostly empty region with only NAM in my Plugins. However it might be interesting for you to make a similar test, since it might help provide some useful data. For example if you could plop them with a temporarily reduced Plugins set or before cities get built up, that would mostly rule out your hardware/drivers as the cause of the CTDs. On the flip-side, if that made no difference, perhaps your OS/Drivers are somewhat responsible. I wonder if in such cases you might benefit from using a DX Wrapper, which helps improve legacy DX compatibility problems common with newer hardware.