Source Engine Stutter?

Discussion in 'nVidia Flavor' started by Whach, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    I decided to revisit Half Life 2 and some other source engine games (Black Mesa Source is out!) and have immediately noticed a stutter that happens every half second (with vsync enabled). I have monitored the FPS with the Precision software and it shows a steady line at 60.

    I have also tried with adaptive vync without any success =/ The only way I have found is to disable any kind of vsync and have screen-tearing instead with a high FPS..

    I have also tried the new 306.23 nvidia drivers (and previous) with the same outcome. Anyone else have the same problem with the 680's and source engine games? Could it be SLI?

    Don't really know how to solve this. Doesn't happen in any other game engines that I have experienced, eg BF3.
     
  2. MrGuvernment

    MrGuvernment [H]ard as it Gets

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    turn off SLI to find out for sure
     
  3. Mojo3k70

    Mojo3k70 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm getting this exact problem too in Black Mesa and i'm not on Nvidia hardware . Only seems to be this mod that does it. I can fire up 4 other source games and not one of them exhibit this behavior.

    Try another source engine game and report back if you can.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  4. Sycraft

    Sycraft [H]ardness Supreme

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    HL2 has always had some stutter issues for me. Back when it came out it had stutter, particularly audio stutter, real bad. Valve had a bunch of things they blamed it on (the Creative soundcard was a popular)and reasons they claimed it couldn't be their shit. Years later the 64-bit HL2 running on a much more powerful computer with totally different hardware still had some stuttering issues, though a bit less.

    I think the version of source used for HL2 is just problematic in this regard.
     
  5. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    Just tried. Same results.....doh
     
  6. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    I enabled the in game console FPS command to show what the game actually reports. Noticed that when it does stutter, with vsync on, the fps spikes above to 100+ at that exact moment. Seems as if it cant obey its own vynsc limit?
     
  7. Ehren8879

    Ehren8879 [H]ardness Supreme

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    From the console limit the fps to 60 or some multiple of that. Works on older games for me woth minimal tearing. I thinl the command is fps_limit #
     
  8. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    will try it see if it obeys now. I thought the vync option was supposed to do that anyway?
     
  9. elite.mafia

    elite.mafia Broke Back [H]

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    Disable vsync, works for me... But there's vertical tearing, still better than the stuttering.
     
  10. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    No dice...oh well
     
  11. Ehren8879

    Ehren8879 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Disable vsync and do the frame limit instead
     
  12. cannondale06

    cannondale06 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    that wont stop the tearing.
     
  13. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    hi, i came here as i'm experiencing the same, i used to have this before with hl2 etc... jogged my memory and fixed it...

    I added +fps_max 66 to the additional start command line options in steam.
    switched vsync ON, and developer console
    then in console typed snd_mixahead 0.4

    that seems to have cleared up most of my stutters, as it did in past times :)

    anyway, thought that might be of use to someone... i'm going back to black mesa :)
     
  14. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    Is that done on the black mesa desktop shortcut or in the library pane in steam games list (blackmesa>properties>set launch options)?

    thanks! Especially if this works =)
     
  15. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    i did it in the game config options but it should work from the shortcut too
    i've played some more and while i do get some stutter, it's nowhere near as bad as it was
     
  16. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    you sir, have fixed this issue. thanks!
     
  17. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    with age comes wisdom, and i'm getting on a bit! (lets just say i remember the first version of Halflife) :)
     
  18. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    The original HL was my introduction to PC gaming! It ran just about on my riva TNT with a P3 =) oh those were the days...
     
  19. ZTylerDurden

    ZTylerDurden n00b

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    I just want to confirm that this fix works perfectly. Someone's gotta advise the BMS threads because they're trying all sorts of weird stuff :).
     
  20. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    haha, someone pop over and link them here :)

    i remember when hl2 first came out I upgraded my machine with the latest and greatest then couldn't play it because of this stupid issue. It's amazing to see it's still there so many years later (and all the excuses valve made about it being hardware related! ...my current pc is nothing similar to what i had back then!)
     
  21. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    It's good to know it isn't just me having these problems, and I'm not just imagining things.

    I downloaded Black Mesa shortly after release, and played it quite a bit over the weekend.

    The random stuttering/freezing behavior is so bad that, as of last night, I was just about ready to give up. Boy is it annoying. It's as if the game, when playing a sound effect, gets "stuck," so the game world freezes up, while the first fraction of the sound effect plays over and over. This lasts for a few seconds.

    It happens right after loading a savegame, when being attacked by a headcrab, or when an NPC starts talking. But sometimes it doesn't happen. It seems quite random.

    I seem to recall having similar issues with HL2 several years ago, using completely different hardware, so maybe this isn't really new.
     
  22. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    did you apply the fix i posted?, it's working for everyone that's tried it so far
     
  23. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    Haven't tried your fix yet, but that's on my list of things to try.
     
  24. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    i think it'll make a difference. i remember hl2 was exactly as you described and this saved the day
     
  25. Whach

    Whach [H]ard|Gawd

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    Dammit Valve, get a move on with HL3! I know you are doing something in secret >_<.

    BTW, this fix solved my visual stuttering, but I'd like to mention that I never had the audio stuttering problem or maybe i just didnt notice it =/ Anyway, this is how valve should have remade HL1. Way to show them community!
     
  26. Domingo

    Domingo [H]ard as it Gets

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    There are a couple of fixes for this. I noticed this problem ever since I moved over to Win7 x64.
    For me, turning off vsync is NOT an option. I'd rather not play at all than get screen tearing.

    Instead, use the MSI Afterburner OSD program to limit your framerate to 60, and keep vsync on. It not only works with the Source game, it will fix other screwball games like Far Cry 2 and Darksiders as well.
     
  27. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    nice, i'm using afterburner and didn't realise I could apply this limiter there. This would be a better solution than the one I posted earlier in the thread as it works for all games AND you get the additional benefits of the other features of Afterburner :D
     
  28. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    This sounds worth a try, as I do have an MSI video card (see sig). Zombiefly's fix not only didn't work, it made the audio stuttering/game freezing problem worse, and lowered framerates to the point of unplayability.

    I am playing on a 21" CRT at 1600x1200x75 Hz, so Vsync is my friend.
     
  29. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    For info: you don't need an MSI card for afterburner, it'll work with any (as it appears to be the old rivatuner, or at least part of it). if you don't use it already it's worth a go as you can control the fans etc based on gpu usage as well as create videos and screenshots in game.

    i'm surprised the fix didn't work, all it did was limit the framerate to 66fps and move the audiosync 0.4ms forward. It doesn't lower anything lower than 66, it caps the max to 66. Applying this parameter to the shortcut will just mean you can't go higher than 66fps. It will not have a negative effect on fps. You are the first person i've found that says it didn't work, are you sure you applied it correctly? did you try a lower value for the snd_mixahead value?
     
  30. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    I don't know, maybe the framerate drop was just a bad area of the game. I've run into a few locations (such as when you're riding the out-of-control freight hauler that crashes through a door and ends up in the water during "On A Rail") where the game seems to lag a bit no matter what.

    After restoring default settings (that is, undoing the fps cap and snd_mixahead values), I turned on net_graph 1 for a while to see what framerates I should get. As you'd expect with Vsync, fps hovered around screen refresh rate (75 Hz). So I'm pretty sure my hardware is plenty beefy to handle the Source engine and games based on it. Which is one reason this stuttering thing is so irritating.

    I'll probably end up playing with snd_mixahead values tomorrow, since the problem does seem to be, at its base, a sound problem.

    I updated my Nvidia drivers yesterday before trying your fix, fwiw. I can't update my sound drivers, as there haven't been any new ones for years. It's possible I wouldn't have the stuttering if I used the motherboard's built-in sound, but I'm not quite at the point of removing the Audigy 2 ZS to find out.
     
  31. zombiefly

    zombiefly n00b

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    back in the days of hl2, i had an audigy and that card never worked properly with HL2. I remember being frustrated as the card is an excellent device and HL2/Source engine is the only thing that has problems with it. There is obviously something fundamentally wrong with the engine itself, although as I remember valve was blaming creative and creative were blaming valve. Anyway... I now have none of the hardware I had before, I have a completely different soundcard and STILL get the issue, so I guess valve were to blame after all ;)

    I'm scraping the memory banks here, but have you tried the KX project drivers? http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/index.php?language=en
    I was using these when I had my audigy, they worked really well, could be worth a try if you don't get any joy with afterburner
     
  32. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    Might try the KX drivers next.

    I finished Black Mesa last night even with the annoying stutters.

    Totally stoked about the eventual finishing-out of Xen and further levels. Even the "annoying jumping part" I remember semi-fondly from original HL1.
     
  33. BababooeyHTJ

    BababooeyHTJ [H]ardness Supreme

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    They removed the 64-bit exe for a reason. It never really worked well. The creative issue was a legitimate issue with high dpc latency that would cause a stutter.
     
  34. Sycraft

    Sycraft [H]ardness Supreme

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    Ya they like to claim that but I am unconvinced. TF2 had audio stutter too and that was on a rather modern system. If it was one soundcard that had a problem, ok. If I can have problems with multiple versions over multiple years, that is systemic.

    There's also the fact that, as another poster noted, the Audigy didn't have problem with other games.

    Oh, and that I didn't have an Audigy.
     
  35. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    Negatory on the DPC latency. That isn't the issue.

    How do I know? Well, not long after assembling my new system (using the old Audigy 2 ZS card), I ran a utility that measures and displays DPC latency. The result? DPC latency on the new system, even using the Audigy 2 ZS card I bought in 2004-ish, is comfortably within the range that shouldn't cause stutter, assuming everything else is going right. So clearly everything else is *not* going right, at least when I'm playing Black Mesa.

    FWIW, at least one other Source engine game, Day of Defeat: Source, works just dandy on both my new system and the older one that it replaced. No stutter, no freezing.

    I've never played HL2 on the new machine, and I don't really remember whether I had stutter/freezing when playing HL2 on the old machine.
     
  36. Laffles

    Laffles Gawd

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    I have been trying to fix this problem for as long as I can remember. I have tried absolutely everything.

    These one second 'freezes' that will cause sound to also stutter in source games has just put me off ever playing one.
     
  37. wonderfield

    wonderfield [H]ardness Supreme

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    The stutters I'm having are both audio- and, seemingly, video memory-related. Some maps in BMS seem to suck up a lot of video memory, but I haven't actually measured how much yet. There's pretty clearly a swapping issue on my 1GB card, though.

    The audio issues I can't really explain. I might guess that it's being forced to do some sort of conversion at load time, which means audio files that aren't committed to the cache at map load have to be converted whenever they're encountered during gameplay, and it's likely that Source is either not multi-threading I/O or not multi-threading the audio engine. The main thread just grinds to a halt, looping whatever was in the main audio buffer until the thread can get around to running the next tick. Either way, the engine isn't designed to properly deal with these issues, and the result is that you'll get punishing hitches occasionally.
     
  38. Ehren8879

    Ehren8879 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I use to get that with my Audigy 2 installed on my machine. I played a lot of Day of Defeat Source and periodically the frame would freeze and the audio would loop for about a second or two. Often when it would recover I'd be dead... I always thought it was a network issue until I move to a new platform and used the onboard audio. Haven't had that issue since. I have tried the Daniel K Audigy drivers, but don't remember if the issue was still present with them.
     
  39. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    Okay, that's what I get for trying to remember.

    I fired up Day of Defeat: Source yesterday to see whether I had the same problem. Yes - unfortunately yes, just the stutter-freezes don't last as long as they usually do in Black Mesa (possibly because the average DoD:S level isn't as ambitious, graphically, as BM).

    So it seems I have a problem with all Source-engine games, even if I didn't necessarily remember things that way.

    I did install a Daniel_K Audigy driver pack. The latest one I could find was version 4.0, which he put out this January.

    Unfortunately, this did not fix the problem. I still get the stutter-freezes in Black Mesa (and presumably would get them in DoD:S as well).

    The next step is to physically uninstall the Audigy 2 ZS card, as well as wipe the drivers. Just wiping the drivers would be easier of course, but then Windows would insist on reinstalling drivers for the "unknown audio device" at the next boot, and if it's really a hardware issue, only pulling the drivers wouldn't solve the problem.
     
  40. Objekt

    Objekt Limp Gawd

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    So I removed the Audigy 2 ZS and all the drivers. No dice - I still get stutters in Source engine games. They're reduced a little in duration-per-event, but still frequent and annoying.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012