Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Solve the RAGE Texture Streaming Pop-in Bug



[UPDATED: October 15, 2011]

id's latest PC FPS game was an unplayable mess the first time I started it--the screen only displayed bands of color. I quickly fixed this problem by quitting the PC game, closing all other applications, and restarting RAGE. The second try produced an incrementally better result: I could play the first-person shooter but the stutter was so bad (despite FRAPS displaying a rock steady 60 frames per second). I also got my first taste of the RAGE texture streaming pop-in bug. After a bit of researching about the problem and tweaking I finally solved the texture pop-in glitch.



This RAGE Texture Streaming Pop-in Bug tweak guide worked for several people. Click the pic. (You need to check other parameters though; see below.)

The solution after the jump.

[DISCLAIMER: As each PC configuration is unique, I cannot guarantee that what worked for me will work for you. I cannot give you tech support if something goes wrong. Follow the steps at your own risk.]

>>>See my "RAGE PC Review" article HERE

[Guide too long for you? CTRL+F for "SUMMARY." It's best that you read the entirety of this RAGE tweak guide though as you might have a more powerful PC and might want to place higher values.]

My initial search for a solution led me to Nvidia's "How To Unlock Rage's High Resolution Textures With A Few Simple Tweaks" article. In it, it details how to minimize the RAGE texture streaming problem. It also laid in direction on how to maximize the graphics. Seeing that my PC only has these specs:

CPU: Core 2 e7400 2.80Ghz
Motherboard: MSI P45 Neo3-FR
Memory: Kingston 2Gb DDR2-800
Videocard: 9800GT

I realized that they were just above RAGE's minimum PC requirements. I then decided to use the guide to tone down my graphics in a bid to reduce the stutter and the texture streaming problem.

I know. It's maddening.

The guide discusses how to make a configuration file in RAGE. It lays down instructions how to convert a Notepad file into a .cfg file that users should then place in:

Steam\steamapps\common\rage\base

For a system with video card that has 1.5GB RAM, users should be able to use RAGE'S 8K textures and should put this in the .cfg file:

vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly2 8192
vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly 8192
vt_pageimagesizeunique 8192
vt_pageimagesizevmtr 8192
vt_restart
vt_maxaniso 4
image_anisotropy 4

You should read that guide first and then come back here to see what I did with the outline parameters.

Done reading? Good. Let's proceed.


Seeing that my video card has only 1GB of memory, I opted to use 2/3 of what was suggested (8192 X (2/3) = 5461.33). The nearest multiple of 1024 to 5461.33 is 5120. I used that and replaced the first four lines with:

vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly2 5120
vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly 5120
vt_pageimagesizeunique 5120
vt_pageimagesizevmtr 5120

However, the saved games wouldn't load so I reduced the figure further to 4096, which now works for me. [UPDATE: I've now gone back to using 8192. See "SUMMARY" below for further updates.]

Now for the other parameters.

Onward!

In RAGE's October 8 update, the game's developers made available several Video options that were previously hidden. These are Vsync, Texture Cache, and Anisotropic Filter. The last renders the lines:

vt_maxaniso 4
image_anisotropy 4

obsolete. (I set the Texture Cache option to Low and tested the game with and without the above lines. There was no difference.)

I also disabled GPU Transcode and removed the following lines from my Rageconfig file (I had previously included these):

vt_useCudaTranscode 1
vt_cudaBudget 10.5

After deleting the above, the game became noticeably smoother; turning around didn't cause me to grimace anymore.

Previously, it was as painful as having been plopped on your ass by a rifle round.

Finally, regarding this line:

"Automatically adjust vt_maxPPF based on the number of available cores."

I find it dubious that the game now automatically detects your system's cores; adding the line:

vt_maxPPF 8

for my dual-core system really upped RAGE's performance level. If it automatically detected my CPU has having two cores, why the performance increase when I added that line?

SUMMARY:

This used to be my final configuration:

vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly2 4096
vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly 4096
vt_pageimagesizeunique 4096
vt_pageimagesizevmtr 4096
vt_restart
vt_maxPPF 8

Following a fellow RAGE player's discovery (Trooper321) that this tweak guide allowed him to play the game with 8K textures, I followed suit and discovered that my system can run the game with those textures. (Nvidia should have been clearer about which cards can run 8K textures---my video card only has 1GB of video RAM.) Here's my final configuration:

vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly2 8192
vt_pageimagesizeuniquediffuseonly 8192
vt_pageimagesizeunique
8192
vt_pageimagesizevmtr 8192
vt_restart
vt_maxPPF 8


(See Trooper321's RAGE tweak guide HERE)

Copy-paste that into a Notepad file and save it as a .cfg file with the filename "RageConfig" (without the quotes). I'd suggest you play it safe and test the 4K textures first. When everything runs smooth, you can then scale up to the 8192 value. It should, of course, look like this:

The file should be placed here:

Two things though:

1. I left the root directory blank as you could have installed Steam in a directory other than Program Files

2. As has been mentioned, your PC may be more powerful than mine; work your way up the parameter values and see what works for you.

I've also made the following adjustments in the Nvidia Control Panel:

If you're using Windows XP, I would also suggest that you follow the tweaks outlined in Black Viper's Windows XP Super Tweaks. The Indexing Services tweak could also help your RAGE be more stutter-free.

My settings (currently not using anti-aliasing; the game doesn't seem to like Windows XP. Setting AA to 2x results in a barely noticeable stutter that hurts the eyes nonetheless. I'll be purchasing another 2GB of RAM and see if it will help):


Patch of Tech-PC also suggested that upping the Texture Cache shouldn't present a problem for my rig.

Before applying the above, I was dismally playing the game at 640 resolution. Now I can run the game with my screen using the 1024 resolution option. Hopefully this tweak guide will solve the RAGE texture streaming bug for you. Textures popping in should be a thing of the past.

Finally, below is a gameplay video. It got compressed twice so apologies for the quality. The vid also loses audio and video synchronization midway; that should teach me not to play games while the video editor is running.




And no, the video isn't messed up; the character here is dangling by his ankles. ;)

2 comments:

Recep BaltaƟ said...

XP? You gotta be kidding me...

Ildamos said...

Haha! Sorry dude; I'm on Windows 7 now but I've long since uninstalled the game. When I finish all my purchases I might buy the new DLC off Steam and give this a go again.

Meanwhile, it should be safe in a Windows 7 environment to use the tweaks above.

Happy gaming!