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Bizzaro

Can i really slow down sc4 with plugins?

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I remember reading that someone said that if you had to many plugins you can slow down the game. Now a days does this still imply? (im not to sure thats the word im looking for) Seeing that how cpu are no longer one core... and stuff is just faster.. So is it true or false? Does this also have an effect on cpucount of 1,2,3,4?

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..well is your game slow? i think removing any non-essential files from your plugin folder (read-mes, pics, un-used lots) will improve the responsiveness of the game...also try lowering graphic settings and resolution..

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The operative thing that will slow your game down due to plugins is if the game has to be paged through your virtual memory because the plugin suite is occupying more memory than can be supplied by your RAM.  As the simulator cycles to update all its tables, it has to visit each grid square, developed or not, and when developed, each lot table with each of its active objects.  This can cause excessive swapping, which you will see if your disk-active light is on or flashing a lot.

The fix for this is more RAM.  My game is 100% memory resident, but I have a small plugin suite.

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Even if you have more than sufficient amount of RAM to handle SC4, loading time will increase as your plugin's size gets larger. The DAT Packer would help reduce loading time by compressing all of the plugins into smaller file chunks, though it may destroy your plugins so keep a backup.

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Loading time is I/O bound.  As channel speeds increase, this will be traded off to processor time building page tables, and the actual in-game structures.  Eventually, with SSD's, I/O time will really be very small, and then CPU speed and the effiecienty of the memory allocator come into play.  If there were a way to snap out the fully loaded image to a virtual operations unit and keep it, there would be no loading time at all.  The system would just cause a page fault to bring in the first page, and everything else would be handled by the paging system.

Now, since CPU time is used while an I/O is outstanding until the program is I/O blocked waiting for the next read, there can be considerable overlap.  But things are getting so fast now in CPU's that this would have to measured carefully with a hardware monitor.  If you have more plugins than the system can buffer in one set of double buffers during load, it might slow things down.  The real problem is loading a city, not the game.  Cities keep getting larger and larger.  I really don't get very excited about my 200MB+ plugin files, they load in about six seconds, but big cities can take a minute or two.  This can be considerably longer depending on the number of extents the city file has, which is why you should run the defragger at least weekly.  We are talking about reducing the number of disk seek/reads here, and they can be significant.  The Linux file system doesn't really fragment the way the FAT32 Windows ones do.  A background task cleans up the file system continuously.  The DAT packer is all very well, but it lacks the robustness I require in a program.  So I keep my structure low, eliminate junk, and make most plugins into individual .dat files eliminating any consolidtation that is otherwise done by the program at load time.

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  • Original Poster
  • Ah okay i kind of get it. so i can load it up really goood cuz i never go over 40 of my memory in game.... but right now i dont have any big cities...

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    I would cross any bridges after you have arrived at them.  You shouldn't buy trouble.  Just keep tight control on your plugins, and don't get a case of the "Wow that's a nice lot, maybe I can use it sometime" disease.  Take only the plugins you need.  The others can wait until you need them, they don't go away.

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  • Original Poster
  • theirs no cure to that disease lol... rats.... theirs just so much good stuff on the sites... ight what are signs of slow down? load times?

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    Symptoms of slow downs:

    Loading:  Takes a long time with lots of hard disk activity.  Partial cure, defrag.

    Loading a city:  Takes a long time with lots of disk activity.  Partial cure, the same.  This is especially true for frequently saved cities.

    During play:  If there is little or no disk activity, then bigger graphics buffers.  If there is a lot of disk activity, you are being paged, and that means you don't have enough RAM to hold the game+plugins+city and the O/S is using disk as memory.

    General dissatisfaction with the speed of the game indicates it is time for some new hardware.  Upgrades should include at least 2 GB of RAM (4 preferred), fast graphics accelerator, fast SATA disks.  Operating system: Pretty much anything except Vista. (w7 64-bit preferred, or Linux 64-bit if you are feeling geekish).

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