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NPC´s cause Stutter/Stutter-spikes (might be interesting for authors)

stutter npc fo4edit records change creation kit

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#1
StillInMemory

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Hey fellow modding community,

 

in the last few days I came across an issue that might concern a lot of people. I´m talking about sudden stutters and "lagspikes".

 

 

TL;DR:

Theory: Editing NPC templates/records with FO4Edit may cause the game to stutter, when edited NPC´s get loaded.

 

 

Small disclaimer: 

I know how much work needs to be done to create and maintain a mod and my deepest respect goes to all mod authors who work in their sparetime to give us all the great mods we have for free. This post should not be considererd as a demand to the authors or an insult. It´s just something I wanted to share with you all, because I´m not sure if mod authors are aware of this issue. And maybe there is a solution that helps to improve stability and performance for all of us, be it author or user.

 

 

The problem part 1:

 

I just sterted a new (obviously modded) game and everything went fine, until I had to meet Preston in Concord. After passing red rocket station I got a serious stutter. Meaning my Framerate went from solid 58-60 down to 0-3 for a few seconds. I was able to recreate the stutter by loading a previous save, and everytime i passed red rocket my game stuttered.

 

 

Investigation part 1:

 

So, I started investigating. I disabled all mods and loaded the save. The result was super-smooth, no stutter at all. then I activated the first 5 mods, loaded the game, no stutter, then the next 5 mods, reloaded, and so on. FiInally I figured out that the Raider Overhaul was causing the stutter, I deactiveted it, enabled all other mods and again no stutter.

After a little bit of research I read, that the issue is known to the mod author and he´s working on it (same goes for his really amazing super mutant overhaul)

 

 

The problem part 2:

 

After playing a few hours with my now "smooth-again" game, I came across the next big stutters. Everytime I approached the drumlin diner and Trudy, Wolfgang and Simone got "loaded" into the cell. I´m using the "Immersive Drumlin Diner" mod and my guess is, its the same issue (but I can´t confirm it for now) The same is true if I walk back to Sanctuary. The stutters always occure at the same spot in the world and are "re-creatable". ("Better Settlers" is in my loadorder)

 

 

Investigation part 2:

 

This morning I googled if someone else got the same Problem and I might found something that could be interesting for everyone altering NPC´s in the FO4 world.

 

 

The (possible) root of the problem:

 

http://3dnpc.com/que...late-related-3/

 

Basicly it looks like an engine problem with some NPC records/templates that are locked in the CK, but you can edit them in FO4Edit. Unfortunately they brake and cause the game to stutter everytime a edited NPC gets loaded into a cell. Which, I´m guessing in my case, happens with "Better Settlers" and "Immersive Drumlin Diner". 

 

 

Things I tried without success:

 

- Run FO4 on high CPU prio (made it even worse)

- Fiddled around with adaptive VSync

- Changed/lowered Graphic-settings

- Removed Texture-mods

- Fiddled around with the ENB Boost settings

 

Things to test on my list:

 

- Switching to fullscreen //EDIT: slight decrease of the stutter

- Disabling Shadowboost //EDIT: no change

- Disable "Immersive Drumlin Diner" (see if it fixes the stutter in this specific cell) //EDIT: Stutter removed

- Disable "Better Settlers" (see if it fixes the stutter in this specific cell) //EDIT: Stutter removed

 

 

Maybe important: All the stutters happen with a CPU usage of 80% and GPU/VRAM usage of ~ 65-75%. During the stutter my CPU usage drops to ~25% and GPU/VRAM to ~20%

 

---

 

 

Please remember, that all the things I described are my observations, experiences and research. I just wanted to share it with you, hoping that there is a solution. But maybe I´m completely wrong and the whole problem is my own fault :D

 

 

FYI my Specs:

Intel i5 4x 3.3 GHz

Zotac GTX 980 Ti Amp! extreme 6GB 

16 GB RAM

 

I´m running Fallout 4 on Ultra (3440x1440, 21:9) via MO2, F4SE, Shadowboost and ENB Boost in borderless windowed mode.

 

//EDIT: My loadorder:

Spoiler

 

 

//EDIT: Well, after disabling "Immersive Drumlin Diner" and "Better Settlers" (All related esp´s) the stutter was gone in both areas and I was back to my regular 58-60 fps all the time. I tried it several times, approached the cell from different directions and different time of day/night. 

I hope someone finds this information useful, even if its just to be aware of it, before altering NPC´s. 

 

Greetings

Still

 

P.S. Sorry for my (probably) bad english.

 

 

//EDIT: Sorry, I just realized, that I posted this thread in the wrong forum. It should probably be in the technical support. My apologies :-/


Edited by Still in Memory, 31 July 2017 - 09:00 PM.


#2
Roentgens

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I get stutters running NPC mods such as Better Settlers as well, but a large part of it is due to me running 2k face textures. A lot of NPC mods are using player textures and assets, and that is one contributing factor. Generally, my observations track yours, there is something that is choking the engine when you load a large number of custom NPCs, even outside of their custom textures.

 

I disabled the settler mods, it was a big loss but I have accepted it.



#3
StillInMemory

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Well, after hours of research and fiddling around with my mods, I stumbled across a thread on reddit and found the solution to my stutters. I hope it works for you too.

Basicly the mod that caused my stutters was the "high res DLC black face fix" in combination with my texture mods.
Because the black face fix was designed for a different resolution of the face textures that I use. So everytime the engine had to "spawn" an NPC it converted the resolution from mine to the one of the black face fix. Which in the case of "better settlers" took a while and caused the stutter. (My guess is, it applies to all mods that add NPC's to the game, hence the reason it stuttered at the drumlin diner too)
If you wish to read the full thread, here it is: (just look for najt's comment)
https://www.reddit.c...n_about_half_a/

Also interesting and explained it this thread, if your'e using the looksmenu compendium don't forget to change the resolution of the tintmaps in the ini.

I really hope this will fix the stutter for you too. They're really annoying and can ruin the game.

My apologies to the mod authors of "better settlers" and "immersive drumlin diner"

Greetings

#4
Roentgens

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Thanks for gathering the info, it will be a good reference for others. I was already using the looksmenu 2048 ini fix but still stuttering. In my case it was due to Real HD Faces, I hope I figure it out in time, so I can use settler mods again.

 

EDIT: There is essentially no solution to Real HD Face Textures 2K. It will stutter with any settler mod, with or without looksmenu 2k face fix. Unique player face textures don't work either, since the popular NPC replaces will hook to player textures anyhow.


Edited by Roentgens, 05 August 2017 - 12:01 PM.


#5
StillInMemory

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I'm sorry to hear that, I really hoped the solution I figured out would help you too..
It seems like its coming down to personal taste. For me its more important to have a smooth game than having high textures on NPC's I only see this close every once in a while.

But hopefully all this information we gathered in this post will help others to stabilize their game :)

Edited by Still in Memory, 08 August 2017 - 08:42 AM.


#6
Zzyxzz

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I know this thread is old, but still its correct, that NPCs manipulated with FO4Edit may cause issues. I've tested it myself. When you copy override for example all raiders into a new esp it causes lag spikes. Why? Don't know. When you do the same thing with the creation kit, its fine. Super Mutant Overhaul and Raider Overhaul still have the issue.

 

Interesting is now, that i never could figure out why it causes yor game to stutter and if textures are the reason, why does converting cause such huge issues/ lag spikes? Is the "how to apply texture data" somewhere in the NPC record saved?

 

Immersive Drumlin Diner, may hurt FPS as it disables pre combined meshes / previs. But its not that object heavy and the loss should low-medium.



#7
e1grey

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Hi. Just wanted to add to the discussion here, because the issue is still present.

 

I have no doubt that the stutter upon loading a cell with NPCs is caused by non-vanilla NPCs. I don't think though that it's caused by facial textures. I've tested many mods that add customized NPCs and all of them cause it in my game. And as soon as I uninstalled them the stutters were completely gone.

 

Now about the levelled lists (just in case here - I'm a not a tech-savvy guy) A quest mod called Project Valkyrie (https://www.nexusmod...out4/mods/28085)  adds quests with encounters with raiders who use weapons different from those they would usually use. It seems that the mod authors gave them the gunner's weapons (like missile launchers, heavily modded assult and combat rifles, including some mod-weapons that I'd only seen used by gunners). Even with generic vanilla faces and facial textures, they too cause stutters.

 

Someone in the above mentioned reddit post (https://www.reddit.c...that_edit_npcs/) suggests that levelled lists should be subdivided into separate entries, which, sadly, I don't know how to do; otherwise I would've tried it.

 

Another thing I'm curious about is that why it started happening. Because, I used to have better settlers and other mods installed and had up to 25 settlers in some of my settlements. Today it would've caused severe stutters, but back then it didn't; I would've remembered that. I had a break from the game for a few months, and I think when I got back to it, it started happening. Not only it caused stutters but even interfering loadings (with the pulsator in the bottom right corner of he screen). I had to upgrade my PC because of that.

 

Am I remembering things incorrectly?

Has anyone tried the solution mentioned in the reddit post?

Is this topic so inactive because other people don't have this kind of issues with these mods?

 

I'd really like to know, because the game really needs more variety in NPCs.


Edited by e1grey, 18 August 2018 - 10:11 PM.


#8
Moksha8088

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I discovered some time ago that Fallout 4 run on Windows 10 does better without ENBoost.



#9
payl0ad

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I've read about this issue in several places and to make a wild guess, the difference between xEdit and the CK in this regard is, among others, that xEdit doesn't export FaceGen nifs for NPCs upon saving. Could that mean that the engine has to generate those meshes on the fly when the actor is loaded (so things won't crash or you have a stickman of red boxes as a result)? It would perfectly explain the "short" stuttering on cell load.

 

To verify, you could:

 

  1. create a copy of an NPC in xEdit, place somewhere in an uncrowded worldspace cell
  2. Copy its facegen files, rename for new actor (generate FaceGen with CK if unsure), archive them
  3. Move the archive away so it doesn't load, try to verify performance dips are present
  4. Move the archive back so it loads, try to verify if dips are still present

If 3 is true and 4 is not, it's the nifs. If 3 is false, it's got nothing to do with the NPCs. If both are true, it's the NPCs but my theory is garbage.



#10
e1grey

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To verify, you could:

 

  1. create a copy of an NPC in xEdit, place somewhere in an uncrowded worldspace cell
  2. Copy its facegen files, rename for new actor (generate FaceGen with CK if unsure), archive them
  3. Move the archive away so it doesn't load, try to verify performance dips are present
  4. Move the archive back so it loads, try to verify if dips are still present

If 3 is true and 4 is not, it's the nifs. If 3 is false, it's got nothing to do with the NPCs. If both are true, it's the NPCs but my theory is garbage.

 

I wish I knew how to do this.

 

Just in case you skipped my post above, even the NPCs with no looks or outfit alterations and only changed weapons still cause the stutter upon spawning.


Edited by e1grey, 20 August 2018 - 01:50 AM.




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