03
Dec
2017

Vega 56 Introduction

I’ve finally upgraded the last piece in Flammenwerfer – my 2017 build using AMDs Ryzen. The GTX 960 served me very well, but alas, it had no place in an 8-core, 16 thread system. I opted to go for Vega 56 – this article will go into the details why I went with Vega 56 and my first impressions, and later on I will delve into the performance metrics.

The main problem with RX Vega 56 (and the 64) at the moment is the pricing. As of writing this article, prices seem to range from £450-550 (which is ridiculous). I was very lucky to spot a Powercolor RX Vega 56 for £380 – which is getting very close to MSRP levels. Since then, prices have gone back up – so I am very glad I went for the card when I spotted it.

A very tasty upgrade over the ASUS GTX 960 Strix (pictured above the Vega 56). I personally like the look of Vega 56 – though some have said they find it boring. The RADEON logo on the top side lights up red, with the absolute perfect brightness of red. In my build (pictured at the top), I have gone for a black and red theme, to which this card fits absolutely spot on.

Why Vega then? Why didn’t you get a 1070? My reasons, in no particular order:

  • My LG 29UM68 supports FreeSync
  • The reference cooler matches my build (no aftermarket coolers yet 🙁 )
  • I get to use all of my CableMod custom cables
  • The performance is awesome – more than plenty for my needs
  • New architecture – better support for new APIs (eg, Vulkan)
  • AyyyyMD (I am a bit of an AMD fanboy – supporting the underdog!)

My first initial gripes:

  • I’m fairly positive I’ve heard jet engines quieter than this card under load
  • The drivers are very beta at the time of writing
  • The power draw is a tad high (especially compared to a 1070)

Fortunately, the card is extremely quiet at idle, and the idle power consumption is very good (on par with the 960). The 650W power supply for this system is perfect – with everything maxed out (and I mean maxed, the most I have been able to record at the wall is 550W AC – about 500W DC). Usually whilst gaming I see about 300W.

As for the noise under load, it’s definitely noticeable. It’s more of a “whoosh” rather than a “whine” – although it can get quite loud, its not annoying. Wearing headphones or having the sound turned up in a game quickly removes the noise issue for me. I have, however, discovered the best way to get rid of the noise – and that is to use FreeSync.

From AMDs marketing slides on FreeSync

Holy balls. FreeSync. It’s the future, man. This LG 29UM68 has a variable refresh range from 40 to 75Hz – where essentially the monitor will refresh at the same rate that the GPU can render frames. This gets rid of tearing when V-Sync is disabled, and removes latency when V-Sync is enabled (since the monitor isn’t duplicating frames when the frame rate dips below 60Hz).

The trick, I have found, is to enable FreeSync in the AMD Driver, then use V-Sync enabled in games with the maximum refresh rate set to 75Hz. This then caps the frame rate to 75FPS and allows it to dip below without encountering stuttering and latency issues. Additionally, this means the GPU isn’t cranked out at 100% all the time – resulting in lower power usage, thermal output and fan speeds!

FreeSync is one of those technologies you have to see to believe. It’s a night and day improvement over a standard 60Hz experience. My monitor does 75Hz, which is immediately waaay smoother than 60, but you can find screens quite easily that will do 144Hz. G-Sync offers a similar feature-set to FreeSync, except due to it’s proprietary nature the panels all cost a significant portion more compared to the equivalent FreeSync displays. So you can either spend more on Vega and get a cheaper display, or spend less on an Nvidia card and pay more for the display…. nice.

In the next posts I will talk about the performance and overclocking!

 

06
Oct
2015

Ubuntu Linux Insurgency Dedicated Server: Workshop Content Working!

So I finally got workshop content working for Insurgency. This is what ended up working:

  • I added the -workshop flag:

./srcds_linux -game insurgency -console -port 27015 -stringtables -workshop +servercfgfile 'server.cfg' +map revolt_coop

  • Next, create a text file in the main insurgency install folder (could be ~/games/insurgency/insurgency) called subscribed_file_ids.txt (in the same folder as mapcycle_ files).

Next, you need some workshop content! Go to the Steam Workshop and browse for some mods you want to throw in. When you find one you want, look in the URL for ?id=xxxxxxxx:

Screenshot_2015-10-06_00-51-21

Highlight the number between ?id= and the & (in this case it would be 350747322) and just add it to subscribed_file_ids.txt:

Screenshot_2015-10-06_00-56-01

Just give each mod its own line and it should work:

Screenshot_2015-10-06_00-57-43

And thats it! The clients download the Workshop files by themselves, saving you precious upload bandwidth! Have fun!

26
Sep
2015

Insurgency Linux Dedicated Server fixed!

So after trying everything – redownloading files, trying to run the server on other machines, etc, I have finally got the server up and running again. Here is what I did:

  • I deleted the ./insurgency/bin folder and redownloaded the files after doing another full redownload. This gave a bunch more messages before eventually going into Segmentation fault.
  • I copied steamclient.so into the ./insurgency folder from the SteamCLI install. This got rid of all the previous errors I was having where it couldn’t find the file (for some stupid reason) and the server launched and ran normally.

Finally! It seems that the Linux version needs an additional install step involving this steamclient.so file. Weird! I hope this helps some of you out, I had a tough time finding anything online about this problem!

21
Sep
2015

Insurgency Dedicated Server for Linux: Segfault update 1

I still haven’t got this fixed. I have tried different kernel versions (I am running 4.1.6 and I have tried 3.19.0), redownloading the files, installing the dedicated server on another machine, installed the dedicated server on a clean install of Ubuntu Server, and it’s just the same old error:

Screenshot_2015-09-22_00-40-35

I am really starting to feel that they have borked this update. If I am missing something, please please please tell me what I am doing wrong. I haven’t found anything online (yet) about other people having the same issue.

GAH!

20
Sep
2015

Insurgency Linux Dedicated Server: Segmentation Fault!

So I just updated the Insurgency Decidated Server (srcds_linux) to the latest Embassy update, and now this is all I get when I try to run the server:

Segmentation fault (core dumped)

I have tried different kernel versions, messing about with libaries, reinstalling the game, revalidating, but even just running ./srcds_linux just crashes the same way as above.

I have tried using -debug in the command and it doesn’t change anything. No logs or anything are created. All I get is this in dmesg:

Screenshot_2015-09-20_23-25-03

I don’t think I can fix it. I will post this into the steam forums and see if anybody else is having the same issue. If you are, please tell me that you’re getting something similar just so I won’t have an aneurysm trying to find fixes!

16
Sep
2015

Modding Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade and Soulstorm (Final)

Check the previous posts for the full story!

So it has come to this: you have modified the Titanium Mod and now you want to package it to send to friends/make available online. This is rather simple to do – you just have to change the .module file to something unique:

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Above you can see that I have made a copy of the original .module file (right) and tweaked the lines shown in greeny-yellow. You need to keep the ModFolder line the same as what you call the main mod folder inside your game directory:

13

Here, I renamed my edited Titanium_Wars_Mod_SS to Titanium_Wars_NoLim, so that the unlimited version can coexist with the limited version.

So, for the mod to work you need the following files and folders:

  • Your .module file (In my case: TitaniumWars_SSNoLim.module)
  • The mod folder (In my case: Titanium_Wars_NoLim)
  • autoexec.lua (from the original Titanium Wars mod)
  • (optional) Engine/Data/art/ui/textures/wxp_loadscreen_dawn_of_war.dds

The last file changes the splash screen when you first load the game. You can edit this with a DDS plugin in GIMP if you are feeling extra crafty.

Zip these files and folders up and thats it! When you send this to your friends, all they need to do is extract this to their game folder. When they next run the game, they can select the mod in the Game Manager:

Screenshot_2015-09-11_17-37-35

So thats it! I hope this was useful, feel free to share and tweak this guide (and send me suggestions on what I have missed or need to improve on)!

“My music is a pillar upon which whole worlds have been built.” – Bonesinger, Eldar

15
Sep
2015

Modding Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade and Soulstorm (Modding Pt 3)

Use the arrows below to look back to how we got to this stage!

So we have set our units to have no cap usage whatsoever. Now, we want to make sure that we can have as many as we like, as some units (like the Necron Monilith) only allow you to have a limited amount.

So how do we do this?

10

Under Data/attrib/sbps/races/<race>/unit.rgd, the /GameData/squad_requirement_ext/required_n/max_cumulative_squad_cap value is set to 3. We want more than 3. We want lots. I set these values to 999 using the script I made here. Right click on the races folder and run the macro on all the rgd files in that folder. It will update the values to 999 and save the file.

The script is so long because the game seems to store these values in random required_n folders! I just went for the brute force approach and go through each folder and search for the variable, and change that. It seems to work just fine. Setting the value to zero doesn’t work – it allows you to have zero of those units. I haven’t tried setting the value to -1 yet, let me know if you try it and what happens!

The last limit we want to take off is for the buildings. Six power generators is just not enough. We can use a very similar method as before:

11

So I found the location where plasma generators are limited. Use this script to run on the races folder under ebps. This will go through and allow you to build up to 999 plasma generators. Try using -1 and see if that allows true infinite numbers (let me know if it works!).

So that is the modding done! Feel free to go through and tweak some other values (for instance, making vehicles only occupy one slot in transport 😉 )!

The final step is packaging the mod! I will go over this tomorrow, stay tuned!

14
Sep
2015

Modding Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade and Soulstorm (Modding Pt 2)

This is part of a series – use the arrows below to scroll back to find out how we got to this stage!

So we have taken the overall population caps off each race. Now, its time to deal with the units and buildings. Let’s use the same methodology as before: find out what the Unlimited Mod changed:

7

Aha! Under GameData/squad_cap_ext we can see that the squad_cap_usage has been set to zero in the Unlimited Mod. So all we would need to do is set the value to zero for all the units! So go through each individual unit for each and every race in the Titanium Wars mod and set those values to zero! Don’t forget to press save!

Hahaha! As if I would make you go through each individual file. That would be silly. You know what they say: “Sanity- is for the weak!”

Fortunately for us, there is a handy function in Corsix Mod Studio: macro batch scripting! We can tell the software to go through and change the values for us. Right click on the “races” folder in Data/sbps/ and select Run Macro over all the RGD’s in this folder:

8

You’ll get a window:

9

The top function runs on each file it goes through, and the bottom one runs at the end when all the files have been processed. Delete everything in the window, and copy and paste the following code into the window:

function each_file(rgd)
print("Current file: " .. rgd.path)
rgd.GameData.squad_cap_ext.squad_cap_usage = 0
rgd.GameData.squad_cap_ext.support_cap_usage = 0
rgd:save()
end

function at_end()
print("Done.")
end

That will go through and change squad_cap_usage and support_cap_usage to zero, and then save the file. At the end it says “Done.” Run the macro and wait for “Done.” to appear. All the values should be updated to say zero. Much easier than manually editing each file!

So we can now have lots of units! Almost. Some units (like the Land Raider) only let you have one of them at a time. Pffft. Tomorrow, I will demonstrate how to take those limits off!

13
Sep
2015

Modding Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade and Soulstorm (Modding Pt 1)

Be sure to check out yesterday’s post on how to set this all up!

So we have the Titanium Wars mod loaded in the Corsix Mod Studio. Now, we have to open another instance of the Mod Studio with the Unlimited Mod to see what changes have been made to make the units unlimited. I arranged them next to each other:

3

Remember: blue files are not changed, red files are changed. Now, we have to look through the folders in the Unlimited Mod (right hand side) until we get to a changed file. Ignore the “ai” and “art” folders, we want to concentrate in the “attrib” folder.

4

The first thing I did was change the overall race limits (the values that appear in the top-left of the screen during the game:

b19

The Unlimited Mod sets these values to 0/0 and 0/0 (essentially unlimited). These values are located in “racebps/<race>.rgd/race_squad_cap_table”:

5

Here we can see that both mods change the default files (since they are red), and that the Unlimited Mod sets all the values to zero. So, all we have to do at this point is go through all the race rgd files and change their values to zero (max_squad_cap and max_support_cap):

6

Remember to click “Save” on each file. This will take the overall cap off each race. Unfortunately, that means we now have zero cap and won’t be able to build any units that take up population. Tomorrow, we will go through on how to take the population cap off each unit, so they don’t take up any population. This will enable us to produce as many units as we like!

12
Sep
2015

Modding Dawn Of War: Dark Crusade and Soulstorm (Setup and Tools)

So, I want to make the Titanium Mod for Soulstorm have unlimited units and buildings. Why? FOR CHAOS. Sorry.

The first thing you will need is the Corsix Mod Studio, for modding Relic Entertainment’s games (and a few extra dll’s that you can Google the name of and just plonk in the same folder as the executable).

1

… and yes, that is Windows XP. I did have it working under Windows 7, but others have had issues. So I am just using a Windows XP Virtual Machine. I used Steam to download and install Soulstorm, but you can use the retail DVD install if you want. Get the Titanium Wars Mod downloaded and installed for Soulstorm (latest version <I think> here). The RAR password is Russian, use Notepad++ to open the text file since normal Notepad is rather useless. Also download and install the Unlimited Mod, since we want to see what changes there are.

So we have the Mod Studio, Soulstorm, Titanium Wars and Unlimited Mod all installed. Let’s “Load DoW:SS Mod” and select the TitaniumWarsSS.module file in the game directory that corresponds to Titanium Wars. Select English (or whatever language). You will get something like this:

2

Eurgh, a lot of files and folders! This is how DoW packages the game files – each unit has its own set of files that impacts how they are operated in the game. Files that are blue are not modified by the mod (left as default). Files that are red are ones that the mod replaces when the game loads the mod. This will come in useful, as we will find out later.

So we have our modding environment set up! Make sure to subscribe on Facebook or Google+ to follow this series!