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[2013-03-13/14 UPDATE] How to make Soulstorm load faster

  1. #1
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    [2013-03-13/14 UPDATE] How to make Soulstorm load faster

    Hi there! This quick tutorial will show you how to modify the way Soulstorm loads so it loads much faster. It might seem like advanced, complex coding, but it's just clicking stuff.
    A quite convenient procedure actually. Spend a few minutes clicking on a list, then save countless more minutes of waiting for the game to load.

    Performance-wise "disclaimer":
    The improvement in loading speed is dependent on several factors, including each user's computer hardware. Due to this, it is impossible for me to accurately tell how faster will Soulstorm load for you. It most likely will be at least twice as fast though.
    Also, this does not affect framerate, the game engine will still be all laggy when many units are on screen. I don't know how to fix that.

    About Soulstorm on Steam compatibility:
    If something (like the tweaks in this tutorial) requires changes on the game executable (Soulstorm.exe), it cannot be applied on the Steam version. This is due to the Steam version has a different executable tied to the Steam client to prevent precisely, changes from the user. Usually this makes for a good anti-cheating/piracy/etc protection, but in this case is an unfortunate nuisance.

    If you have very slow loading times and have the money to spare on an extra Soulstorm, you may want to get it on another online store too.
    I've went through the effort of tracking down the likely last two online stores besides Steam that still sell Dawn of War: Soulstorm via digital download. Gametap and GamersGate.
    The tutorial:
    Some notes:
    -Windows Vista/7/8 users: If you have Soulstorm installed on the default directory (Program Files in the C drive) and UAC enabled, you won't be able to modify the game executable. To overcome this either:
    A) Disable UAC.
    B) Make a copy of your Soulstorm executable and place it somewhere UAC won't get in the way (a folder in your desktop for example). Make the changes on the copy and then replace the game's original with the tweaked one.
    C) Run the CFF Explorer as Administrator.
    -This tutorial is for the patched (1.20) version of Soulstorm (same applies for Dark Crusade tweaks) only. You can try with 1.00 but the lists won't match and stuff.

    How to make Soulstorm load faster. Dark Crusade too.


    And as a bonus...

    How to prevent crashes on big battles!


    On an additional note, while using Windows 7 I've noticed that Aero effects and Dawn of War don't mix really well. Disabling Aero effects greatly reduced the frequency Soulstorm went "(Not Responding)" just because. Or due to intense alt+tabbing...

    After some further research on the matter, I've found that it is not possible to simply slap multithreading into Soulstorm without rewriting part of Soulstorm's own source code. So... yeah.
    I was doing my own custom version of a multithreading dll that actually did something, then I find out about this... :c Feel free to undo the "retribution multithreading backport" changes.

    I think I should credit the page where I found out about the Explorer suite and kind of inspired me to fiddle with the .exe/.dll files. It's also the "original" tutorial on how to get Soulstorm to use more than 2 Gb of memory. PoK on ModDB.

    Credit to Corncobman for pointing out a step on the multithreading tutorial I forgot.

    Many credity bits and pieces to Gorb for accurate feedback with the Steam version and stuff.
    Last edited by PsykoTenshi; 3rd Mar 14 at 2:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nice guide comrade!!!
    -In search of Papasmurf...

  3. #3
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    Im going to try it on a win7 64 i3 4gb ram, shared vids laptop.

    And I will record the difference in seconds.

    69 secs -> 15 secs.. wtf man?

    Yah faster development tiimes here I come.
    Last edited by RT2; 17th Jan 12 at 8:58 PM.

  4. #4
    All right! Nothing exploded! (and it loaded quicker).

  5. Modding Senior Member Tabletop Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #5
    Retired Compliance Fairy Gorb's Avatar
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    That's really odd.

    Still, useful! Will test it myself later.

    EDIT: doesn't work on Steam, though I may be able to work around this.

    EDITEDIT: nope, no workaround. Modifying the file results in an Error Code 51.
    Last edited by Gorb; 18th Jan 12 at 6:57 AM.
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  6. #6
    It's not really that odd. Probably one of the first few dll's is helping to help load up other things more quickly, after all. But it's a very clever find.

  7. #7
    Member Reaper R66's Avatar
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    'Steam Error

    Application load error 3:0000065432'

    Yeah didn't work for me, unlucky for us steam users

  8. Modding Senior Member Tabletop Senior Member Boardwars Senior Member  #8
    Retired Compliance Fairy Gorb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chiu ChunLing View Post
    It's not really that odd. Probably one of the first few dll's is helping to help load up other things more quickly, after all. But it's a very clever find.
    Which begs the question why they were so distinctly re-ordered in the first place

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    did you have to reoreder the filesystem.??? call?

    that was my main issue.
    Anyone else?

  10. #10
    can fps be unlocked to more than 60,so when we have more units on map tha pc dont slow down???

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    Retired Compliance Fairy Gorb's Avatar
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    If your PC slows down when more units are on the map, it's because your PC isn't good enough for the number of units you're trying to render.

    Please take all new requests to a new topic. Thanks

  12. #12
    Actually, don't take this particular request to a new topic, because it is a pointless idea. FPS is limited to 60 because typically a monitor doesn't refresh at more than 60-75 hertz. This means that if your computer generates more frames than this, you never even see them, the processing power used to generate them is a complete waste.

    So removing the FPS limit wouldn't improve your performance when a lot of units were on the map, it would only mean that you'd ALWAYS have sucky performance no matter how little calculation was needed per frame because your computer would be wasting its cycles generating frames that you would never even see.

  13. #13
    The 22nd Hyperspace Core Corsix's Avatar
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    It's not really that odd. Probably one of the first few dll's is helping to help load up other things more quickly, after all.
    My money would be on the DLL load order affecting which DLLs get their default base address, and which ones don't and therefore have to be rebased.

  14. #14
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    My money would be on the DLL load order affecting which DLLs get their default base address, and which ones don't and therefore have to be rebased.
    Would this mean that changing teh filesystem.??? would slow down the game ingame?
    Hmm i didnt notice it.

  15. #15
    I noticed no changes after doing this.

  16. #16
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    Wow, I feel a bit genius-ish. I even summoned some of the best programming tech-adepts to my thread

    @ RMX: No changes? At all? Not even a tiny bit faster? Note that this mostly aids with load times, it won't make an intel atom suddenly be able to stand maxed settings at 1920x1080

    Also, there's another performance improvement I applied on my Soulstorm. Though this one is waaay more complicated and while it sounds truly promising, it doesn't really do much. Basically I kind of managed to backport much? the multithreading from DoW II Retribution to Soulstorm. Unfortunately the overall performance wasn't improved significantly... Got about 2-5 more fps (5 being optimistic) and while still a very uneven cpu load, SS no longer puts full load on one core. Maybe some of the kind geniuses who visited this thread could help me get more out of this?

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    as someone with multiple cores I am curious about this.

    Please pm or new thread?

    I think If this is done it could be put in tuorial about speeding load times or cpus usage.
    Anyone else desire this information?

    Edir: what would be good is being able to asign a player per core.

  18. #18
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    Well, I had high expectations on getting Soulstorm multithreaded, since I'm running on a quad core and Retribution loads stuff in even 4 seconds for me.
    But the difference I got was going from 8-11 fps with 400 guardsmen on screen and recording (to a video file, as with fraps) to 10-14 fps. And instead of 95% load on 1 core, I now get about 65% load and the rest distributed on the other three.
    You are also required to have the Retribution .dll's, copy three of them to the SS dir, add an entry to Soulstorm.exe, change the name of two of those dll's, edit the import list of the dll's... anyhow, lotsa stuff!
    Just to get an improvement which difference can barely be seen with tools, like an fps counter and/or the task manager :/

    However, if you NEED every bit of performance you can get I guess you could make use of this. In my case I'm a bit of a performance maniac

  19. #19
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    interesting.

  20. #20
    Member Whiteshield's Avatar
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    @PsykoTenshi - I have Retribution. Can you PM me what DLLs I need to import and what to do afterwards?

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Whiteshield View Post
    @PsykoTenshi - I have Retribution. Can you PM me what DLLs I need to import and what to do afterwards?
    he will put here,so we all can see and psyho type what configuration you exactlyhave,what quad core intel amd??what graphic card?'

    i got e8400 3,6 4 gb ram and gtx 260.

  22. #22
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    yep as a multi core person with retribution I am curious as well.

    I know the polycore UA developers would love it.
    being one of them ofcourse.

    I think we all want PM

  23. #23
    Shouldn't we be looking into why the map loading speeds and such go faster? (I'm surprised no one mentioned) Perhaps the reason why the DC dll library script "runs faster" is because it is importing less things into the game, hence some needed things for Soulstorm will not be there. I'm sure there is a reason why SS is less flashy then DC for several reasons.

    Meanwhile feel free to report the DC dll problems within SS.

    I forgot to mention that Psyko Tenshi is brilliant.
    Last edited by Cylarne_04; 19th Jan 12 at 10:07 PM.
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  24. #24
    Corsix suggested it might be because the DC load order allows the more important DLLs to get their default base address, which would improve their performance by reducing access times on their function calls. If so, that should make the whole game run faster which would have to be tested by someone patient enough to switch back to the crappy loading performance from before.

    All the DLLs are still present, just the order is changed. So nothing should actually be broken (I hope).

    I think that Psyko Tenshi often walks a fine line between genius and madness...I would never have just started screwing around with the executable like that, but the results are very impressive.

  25. #25
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    I dont think anything is broke.
    I am getting faster loading throughout the game no matter the race and no mass mulltiplayer conflicts about units not being loaded.
    Armypainter works okay, except for some of teh dodgy models I am putting in there thats my fault. :P

    I will make a lareg assumptionj and asume we all have poly core processors?

    also as i rambled on about before it was filesystem I had to move down the sequence, thinking taht means teh filesetup loading is set later after the les intensive dlls are loaded.

    Just guessing.

    ----------

    Ah! so its like a puzzle.

    you show us the dll order above and we figure out what dlls are missing and get them from Retribution

    I thought it was just that I was using a non-cd requiring exe that some of the files were missing?

    Or do I need to get some Guarana and wake up?

    ----------

    OLEAUT32.dll
    SHLWAPI.dll
    NetConfig.dll
    ole32.dll

    I that them?

  26. #26
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    My apologies, my ISP failed me and got me offline for some time. Also, I updated the first post with some newz.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chiu ChunLing
    I think that Psyko Tenshi often walks a fine line between genius and madness
    That proves the "Psyko" part of my user name is in a good place. And that I'm also a genious. The crazy scientist type

    But now seriously, I'm rather flattered to be recognized like this, specially considering I have no programming experience whatsoever.
    I'm just an experienced user (in front of a keyboard since I was 5) who's not afraid of .ini files and that kind of stuff, but never took classes on computing or anything, just experience and googling.

  27. #27
    Yay! I have improved performance on a Toshiba Satellite P745. The game also no longer crashes during epic battles and loading up to 8 different races doesnt take an eternity

  28. #28
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    Ive upgraded to >2gb of ram in the exe.

    I was just thinking that as unassociated as this thread might seem sit is all based around optimisation of dc/ss.
    So anything that would incerease game playability would fit in here.

    ----------

    errr game kick me in skirmish 8 player with eight different races.
    Not sure why.
    I was at teir 4 in UA. Space marines.
    this is just inconclusive feedback.

  29. #29
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    @ RT2: Worry not, it will be very associated soon.

    On that 8 player skirmish crash, depending on what error you get in your ErrorLog it could be related to this or be completely another thing. The first line on the ErrorLog(s) you should be getting is the best info you can provide in this case.

    If you're getting a No Memory error (I think they were called like that, haven't seen one in a while ), simply check on which module (it should be a .dll in the Soulstorm directory) and make that dll over 2 Gb capable as well. Then, if you continue to run into No Memory errors, you either are running 32 bit windows and Ntdll.dll is bottlenecking you (no solution to that aside from moving to 64 bit afaik) or you indeed have too little system memory


    @ Predalienator: In the particular case of the model number you mentioned, it's a bit difficult to guess how much of a computer you have, since I know someone who has a Toshiba Satellite P755-S#### (and my memory fails me on those four numbers), but on the P755 line, those numbers determine the difference between a dual core-4Gb ram-integrated graphics laptop and the massive beast with a freakin i7 quad core, 6 Gb ram, and a Nvidia 540M this lucky person has.
    Also, what do Toshiba laptops mean? Bloatware! Be sure of uninstalling/disabling/closing everything you don't need for gaming, and your system performance in Soulstorm will be even better (by a little bit, of course. It mostly prevents crashes/sudden slowdowns).


    Extra note: HUGE update on the 1st post.
    Last edited by PsykoTenshi; 21st Jan 12 at 6:48 AM.

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    15:01:37.86 SimulationController::GenerateSyncCmd - couldn't send all commands, 2 binned
    15:01:42.86 SimulationController::GenerateSyncCmd - couldn't send all commands, 1 binned
    15:04:16.96 SimulationController::GenerateSyncCmd - couldn't send all commands, 2 binned
    15:06:55.82 SimulationController::GenerateSyncCmd - couldn't send all commands, 1 binned
    15:09:14.30 SimulationController::GenerateSyncCmd - couldn't send all commands, 1 binned
    15:09:47.69 SimulationController::GenerateSyncCmd - couldn't send all commands, 1 binned
    15:13:49.82 SimulationController::GenerateSyncCmd - couldn't send all commands, 2 binned

    Yep I think you are riight.

  31. #31
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    ... I'm a bit confused, are you absolutely sure those are the 1st line on files like this?:

    1-16-2012_22_07_30_ErrorLog.txt


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    w40k.exe caused an Access Violation in module WXPMod.dll at 0023:12df33c8.

    My bad, wrong file. :P

    og and my exe has had it named changed for a speshul reason.
    it is soulstorm with an exe name change.

  33. #33
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    ow, Access Violation errors. I'm unaware of a solution to those. Actually, I just opened all of my ErrorLogs, and every single one of them said "Access Violation"
    The only variant was on which "module". It doesn't seem to follow a pattern, but Soulstorm.exe (Yes, Soulstorm.exe caused and Access Violation in module Soulstorm.exe. derp) and SimEngine.dll are the most common. Occasionally Ntdll.dll, spDx9.dll and d3d9.dll pop up as well, but they're very unusual.

  34. #34
    [url]http://www.moddb.com/mods/purgation-of-kaurava/tutorials/increase-soulstorm-ram-handle-limit-only-for-64x-os[/url



    didnt even know that was the same,because you didnt said it will increase performance on x64 systems,must try on my win 7 x64 ultimate.
    Last edited by demetrius; 21st Jan 12 at 8:58 AM.

  35. #35
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    ..... yeah, that's the tutorial I linked to in the 1st post

    You're confusing me demetrius.

  36. #36
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    pitty some of the other fellows wouldnt give some feed back to as that would make it easier to determine what it is.

    the Direct x 9 issues you are having I understand.... spDx9.dll and d3d9.dll
    Video issues.
    Where did you install your directx9 from?

    Ntdll.dll is to do with the fact that I think you might have a 64bit system
    as that has come up in other areas of games from having a 64bit system.... I could be worng.

    In time with more games I will understand better what is going on here.

    and your web link give me some initial problems, by taking me to a 404, then trying again i got the right page.
    That might be what Demetrius is trying to say.

    Just some mumblings.
    take care man.

    ----------

    one word RamDrive.
    hell if I had 8g ram, I would be tempted to load and run soulstorm and mod into a ramdrive and run it out of ram.

  37. #37
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    Well, that's more helpful.

    I got my directX right from the source, the evilso-- Microsoft site, and I'm certain it is the latest Windows XP version, so these dx9 problems are likelycoding issues from Soulstorm, but that's a wild guess from someone who knows next to nothing about programming.
    I have indeed, a 64 bit OS, but that's for the best to run Soulstorm, as Ntdll.dll (the one in sysWOW64) can make use of more than 2 Gb of memory and so, avoid crashes.

    The link to modDB... dunno, maybe the site was offline for a second and you had the bad luck of entering it that second

    LOL. You'd need the insane amount of money that is charged for most ramdrives. And the additional ram.

    Extra edit: If I had 200 usd, I'd gladly go for a 60Gb SSD (yes, they're THAT expensive where I live ). I'd load Windows and Slowstorm on it and BAM!

    Yet another edit: Just googled RamDrive. I thought you meant something like the Hyperdrive! (google that ungodly expensive thing and you'll know what I mean) Mmmmmhhh now I suddenly feel like upgrading my ram.

  38. #38
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    good good you see what I mean. old old old trick for games.
    could you imagine running wolfenstien original out of the ram drive on a 64 bit system. :P or Doom?

    I think i might try and load the UA nod into this old style ssd called a SD drive inserted to my laptop and try it.

    most of te ssds are attached to the motherboard hence the greatness of them

    ----------

    compatability mode?

    just another idea.

  39. #39
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    All this is awesome-tastic, but I'm seeing Gorb in the users currently browsing this thread, I think we're derailing it too much.

    Send me PM? We can get in agreement on some IM client to chat properly.

  40. #40
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    should a new thread be created about bug testing ways to increase gameplay of dc/ss for windows systems?

    Gorb?

  41. #41
    The flying one corncobman's Avatar
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    You forgot to mention that you need to open Xthread.dll itself, go to the Import Directory and change the references from Debug.dll and Platform.dll to DbugR.dll and PlatformR.dll (or whatever names were used) respectively, otherwise Soulstorm will cause an error popup.
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  42. #42
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    GAH. Thanks . I would have never seen that by myself. 1st post updated.


    Edit: Updated 1st post with an important detail.
    Last edited by PsykoTenshi; 23rd Jan 12 at 3:54 AM.

  43. #43
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    Thanks Tenshi! Excellent guide (I used it twice lately)!!!!!

    P.S.: (<- I am happy to be your friend!)
    Last edited by Gambit; 11th Feb 12 at 6:58 PM.

  44. #44
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    Can you post the affected files to increased SS performance? I don't have time to edit all these files unless its decently easy AND it drastically increases load times.

    I am running WinXP + SP2 32bit but will be going full on Win7 64bit in the summer.

    I'm intrigued if this actually does something..

  45. #45
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    @ thudmeizer: I could, but I'd rather not just to be sure THQ/Relic doesn't send a FBI killteam to my house :/

    @ Gambit: added you as friend in here too

  46. #46
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    in the DLL ordering, i found Filesystem.dll had to be moved down the order to load later.
    that reduced load times.

    I also found the >2gb ram loaded faster as well.

    Multithreading faster load times is a no brainer here.

    No pagefile means no HDD usage, or should I say less HDD usage,

    I havent gotten a SSD yet, Damn it all.

    I'm in the midst of a triple migration to another I3 2.53 8Gb Ram and will be doing this all over again in the next few weeks,
    I will back up the .exe at the different stages of the changes and see if I can find the differences in the changes that way.

    DLL ordering,
    >2gb ram,
    multi thread,
    Disabling pagefile.
    Maybe even Ram Drive.

    ----------

    but first I better get to installing all of dow on this system
    Here I go.

  47. #47
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RT2
    in the DLL ordering, i found Filesystem.dll had to be moved down the order to load later.
    that reduced load times.
    Ohhh, even fasta. I like that. Where exactly did you move it on the list? All the way to the bottom?
    I'll gladly add this to the 1st post.

  48. #48
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    Let me rephrase that statement.

    The filesystem.dll was the one I had to change to get the same dll order as listed above.

    I wouldn't move it any lower in the list as it seems to load well enough from there.
    Unless you are feeling bored and adventurous.

    Man this dow migration is slow as i have to move over 100Gb of data lol.
    After full installs of DOW/WA/DC/SS from cd.
    then its a matter of initializing all tools.
    LoL could be a week before this new systems ready to do things in lol.

  49. #49
    Member PsykoTenshi's Avatar
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    Maybe, this was an unexpected fortunate find, maybe it's just me, but I think that setting Filesystem.dll after Xthread.dll gets it to load a tiny bit faster. But maybe it's just me
    In any case, it still works fine and nothing asplodes.

    btw RT2, you don't have to re-do all this tweaking on your new Soulstorm install, you can simply backup Xthread.dll, DbugR.dll, PlatformR.dll and Soulstorm.exe from your current install on a flashdrive or something and save you some time.

  50. #50
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    what I wanted to do was migrate everything.
    without the regular folder copy.
    Also giving me a chance to redo the soulstorm.exe or 40k.exe in my case,

    Filesystem.dll looks to me as if it loads the files needed by dow.??

    If I understand properly xthread uses multithreads.
    So it would make sense to load faster after multithread enabled.

    I have a question though.
    On the second load it seems to go faster as some files might be cached for it in memory or at least faster to load them in.
    This is after reboot.............. Does anyone else see this?

    Would this work to our advantage to be able to load the files in through windows at load up.
    Its been a while since i did this sort of thing and the easiest way I could remember to do it was through the Startup in the start menu.
    Just for the hardcore developers, That's if the whole 2nd load cache hypothesis is real.

    What might be handier to make this process faster would be to get an understanding of each of the Dlls purposes, that way they could be organized to optimize performance?

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