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  1. #1
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    Nov 2020
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    Frozen screen issue

    So, during the Durin's Day event, I decided to get the title with my lvl 57 lore-master. I've done this with a handful of other low-level alts in previous years, so I hopped into the Empty Apple Barrel housing decoration item to port to the Dale-lands. Then, my game freezes on the loading splash screen. After around 5 minutes, I use force quit and try to log in again. And again, frozen on the load screen. Force quit. Restart computer and client. I can log in as normal with 9 other alts, but get the frozen load screen only on my lore-master.

    I put in a ticket on the day it happened, which was more than a week ago, but it hasn't yet been addressed by a GM. I remain able to play as normal on all my alts with the exception of this lore-master, who gets the frozen load screen every time.

    I suspect this is a long shot, but might anyone have any idea what else I can try?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaelmegil View Post
    So, during the Durin's Day event, I decided to get the title with my lvl 57 lore-master. I've done this with a handful of other low-level alts in previous years, so I hopped into the Empty Apple Barrel housing decoration item to port to the Dale-lands. Then, my game freezes on the loading splash screen. After around 5 minutes, I use force quit and try to log in again. And again, frozen on the load screen. Force quit. Restart computer and client. I can log in as normal with 9 other alts, but get the frozen load screen only on my lore-master.

    I put in a ticket on the day it happened, which was more than a week ago, but it hasn't yet been addressed by a GM. I remain able to play as normal on all my alts with the exception of this lore-master, who gets the frozen load screen every time.

    I suspect this is a long shot, but might anyone have any idea what else I can try?
    Oh boy, that sounds really frustrating. It's a shame it takes so long to get a response to a ticket for something like this.

    I just tried to replicate your problem but I don't have, nor does my kin have, an Empty Apple Barrel. And I asked in /World chat for about 10 minutes but Landroval was too busy arguing about who would win the next American civil war for me to get a response. So I couldn't perform any tests. I strongly suspect this is a server-side issue anyway, but I would have liked to have confirmed that before offering suggestions.

    -----
    edit: One thing to try before the procedure below is to log in to the character creation/selection screen and go to OPTIONS->GRAPHICS and OPTIONS->ADV GRAPHICS and set everything down to the absolute minimum settings. I don't mean the minimum that's fun to play, I mean right down to the bottom: Everything LOW or OFF, sliders all the way to the left, etc. Set your screen mode to WINDOWED. Then try logging in with one of your still-usable characters to test, log that toon out, then try to log in with your Level 57 Lore-master. If it works, great! Get your Lore-master back to a low-level zone and log it out there, then you can put your graphics settings back where they belong. If it doesn't work, that is another confirmation that the issue is server-side so put your graphics back the way they were and wait for your ticket to be serviced.
    -----

    If the problem is on your end, you might be able to fix it by forcing your game client to recreate your ~/Documents/The Lord of the Rings Online folder:
    1- Make sure neither the game client nor the LOTRO launcher application are running. It's OK if Crossover is running.
    2- Go to ~/Documents/The Lord of the Rings Online and move the The Lord of the Rings Online folder to your ~/Desktop.
    3- Launch the LOTRO launcher application from within Crossover. You'll be asked to agree to terms, and if you want to use the high-rez graphics or DirectX 10/11. It doesn't really matter how you answer those questions but you do need to agree to the terms of service.
    4- Enter your credentials, choose your server, and log in. Remember that this is a "first run" of the game as far as it is concerned so you will have to jump through all the usual "first run" hoops to get the game to run. You know: Setting your Mac's resolution to a really small value, or allowing the client to fail to run and then editing your UserPreferences.ini file with the needed changes. I won't go into doing that in any more detail here since you already know how to do this, Gaelmegil.
    5- Try to log into your character.
    5a- If successful, the issue is on your end somewhere in the The Lord of the Rings Online folder that you moved to the Desktop. I really doubt this is going to be the case, though.
    5b- If still unsuccessful, BUT you ARE able to log in to your other characters, the issue is server-side and there's nothing you can do but wait for a response to your ticket or submit another ticket. This is most likely going to be the only solution to your problem.

    If you were able to log in to your character with the newly-created ~/Documents/The Lord of the Rings Online folder, you can either deal with having to manually set up all your settings, keybinds, plugins, and other stuff; or you can put your old The Lord of the Rings Online folder back into ~/Documents and allow it to overwrite the new one AFTER moving your problematic character back to a "safe" zone such as your housing area or Bree or some other similar location.
    Last edited by Tralfazz; Oct 31 2021 at 05:23 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tralfazz View Post
    -----
    edit: One thing to try before the procedure below is to log in to the character creation/selection screen and go to OPTIONS->GRAPHICS and OPTIONS->ADV GRAPHICS and set everything down to the absolute minimum settings. I don't mean the minimum that's fun to play, I mean right down to the bottom: Everything LOW or OFF, sliders all the way to the left, etc. Set your screen mode to WINDOWED. Then try logging in with one of your still-usable characters to test, log that toon out, then try to log in with your Level 57 Lore-master. If it works, great! Get your Lore-master back to a low-level zone and log it out there, then you can put your graphics settings back where they belong. If it doesn't work, that is another confirmation that the issue is server-side so put your graphics back the way they were and wait for your ticket to be serviced.
    -----
    You are amazing...this worked! My LM loaded up in Eryn Lasgalen, seemed to fall briefly (like ~1 second, so I could be mistaken), new loading screen, and then she landed in Echad Dunann, her most recent milestone. Graphics are cranked back up and all seems good now. At some point I'll dare the Empty Apple Barrel again just to test things out. Playing this alt is not a big deal, but I was worried it might be a while before this ticket was sorted out with all the things they're up to for the new update. Now I don't have to wait!

    As always, big thank you for your help

  4. #4
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    I'm really glad that worked for you, Gaelmegil! That means it was some glitch on your end, not a server-side issue. Probably graphics loading when your character tried to zone in and your Mac hiccuped for a moment causing a desync between the client and the server; setting the graphics to minimum allowed the client to sort things out using your computer's full horsepower unencumbered by the burden of processing high-end graphics stuff. I've read about this happening to folks on Windows machines, it is not a Mac-specific issue.

    Color me surprised, I was all but certain it was going to end up being a server-side issue.

  5. #5
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    Well, this has occurred again with the Gundabad expansion. I can play no problem on Ultra High graphics *almost* anywhere, but not Mattugard and a couple of the other new zones. When porting in to these zones on Ultra High, I will freeze on the loading screen, have to force quit, then set my graphics lower (I'm finding that High will load in these trouble spots) in the character select screen, and then continue playing. All other zones are perfectly fine.

    Am I right to guess that there probably isn't a fix for this that I can do, and I just need to remember the few zones where I have to turn the graphics down?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaelmegil View Post
    Well, this has occurred again with the Gundabad expansion. I can play no problem on Ultra High graphics *almost* anywhere, but not Mattugard and a couple of the other new zones. When porting in to these zones on Ultra High, I will freeze on the loading screen, have to force quit, then set my graphics lower (I'm finding that High will load in these trouble spots) in the character select screen, and then continue playing. All other zones are perfectly fine.

    Am I right to guess that there probably isn't a fix for this that I can do, and I just need to remember the few zones where I have to turn the graphics down?
    Hi, Gaelmegil!

    Let's make a few changes which I think you can live with all the time:
    1- Go to OPTIONS->GRAPHICS and set ANTIALIASING to 2X.
    2- Go to OPTIONS->ADV GRAPHICS and un-check ENVIRONMENT STENCIL SHADOWS.
    3- Go to OPTIONS->ADV GRAPHICS and set the FRILL DENSITY slider to .25
    4- Go to OPTIONS->ADV GRAPHICS and set the TEXTURE FILTERING to Anisotropic.
    5- Go to OPTIONS->ADV GRAPHICS and set the ANISOTROPIC FILTER QUALITY slider to 4.
    6- Go to OPTIONS->TROUBLESHOOT and set the MAXIMUM FRAME RATE slider to 30.

    You might be able to work around the issue you're experiencing by using those settings with everything else maxed out to your usual tastes. And these settings shouldn't have a major negative impact on the visual appeal of the game relative to higher levels of those settings. So make those changes then try zoning in to one of the new areas that has been locking the game up on your Mac. If these settings (and everything else maxed out as you like it) prevent the problem you reported, go to some of the lower-level zones to make sure the visual quality is good enough for you – I bet it will be.

    If these settings do not prevent the problem you reported, then there really isn't much that can be done: You can either keep your graphics set to "High" instead of whatever higher setting you have been using, or you can do your best to remember to change your settings down to "High" from your usual higher settings each time you plan to enter one of those zones (you might be able to set things back to your usual higher preference after the zoning-in is complete). Another thing to try if you can keep alert to when you might zone into a potential troublesome area is to switch to Windowed mode just before you begin the transition – you can switch right back to Full Screen Windowed afterward. This is more likely to work if you have your Windowed resolution set to something small like 800x600 – I know that's basically unplayable but it's only for transitioning into those troublesome zones, then you switch back to your normal full rez. You can toggle quickly between Full Screen mode and Windowed mode by using the COMMAND-RETURN key combination, you can play in Full Screen mode although I do recommend using Full Screen Windowed when possible especially if changing focus from the LOTRO client to another application and back again, but you can play in Full Screen mode as long as you're not doing that frequently.

    One of my Macs is from 2012 and has only Intel integrated graphics (although it does have 16gb of RAM and a still-pretty-nice 2.6GHz i7). I have everything on max except for the options I listed above and have no issues anywhere I've played. However, I have never taken a character into Gundabad and I can't do so in order to perform tests, I just don't have one anywhere near that level. That said, there are some foggy areas in the Vales of Anduin which do cause both my Macs to struggle – by "struggle" I mean it's one of the few places in the game I can think of off the top of my head where my framerate drops below my manually set cap of 30, there is no instability.

    I know what I wrote here isn't a good solution. The problem is that the client, even the 64-bit client, is built on very old bones: It cannot multithread, which means it uses only one core of your CPU. Everything the game does is processed on that one core. That's not good because the majority of advances in CPU power in the last decade plus have come from adding cores and making efficient use of multithreading, i.e. parallel processing which is doing more than one thing at a time. LOTRO can do only one thing at a time. On a typical 8-core Apple SOC Mac such as a low-end M1 MacBook Air, the game is running on only 1/8 of your CPU! On my two Intel Macs, it's running on only 1/4 of their quad-core processors. The only thing one can do from the player end is to have a computer with a CPU with as high a clock speed as possible because it doesn't matter how many cores it has or what special multithreading features it has (many quad-core processors, for instance, can actually handle EIGHT threads at a time as if they have twice as many cores). Better GPU helps but LOTRO doesn't offload as much onto the GPU as a fully modern application might so it doesn't help as much as one might hope. The game client is extremely CPU limited. And that hurts nice new Apple SOC Macs a lot because a great deal of their amazing performance is the way they make use of all those cores, both in the CPU and GPU, and the LOTRO client simply isn't built to take advantage of that. On top of that, with each new expansion, SSG is making the environments more and more complicated which I guess makes them prettier but the more 3D objects that are used rather than flat graphics the more computer horsepower is needed and as I already said, with no multithreading, the only way to get "more horsepower" is to run a CPU with a higher clock speed and that's not what's been happening in CPU advances for over 10 years. Hopefully the LOTRO client will be rewritten so that it can multithread because until that's done, any new eye candy that SSG adds to the game will only make the game run worse even on very powerful Windows boxes because of the inability of the game to harness more than a single core of the CPU. And rewriting the game client so it can multithread is not just a matter of adding a few lines of code or toggling something ON, it will require a rewrite of the entire thing from boo, which is both very time-consuming (even more so if they don't have the original client source code to reference) and very expensive – almost like creating a whole new MMO game engine from scratch.
    Last edited by Tralfazz; Dec 06 2021 at 10:17 PM.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2020
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    I haven't perhaps experimented enough to be sure, but I think I'll have to stick to either just parking it on High graphics (still perfectly acceptable to me!), or remember when and where I need to turn my graphics down. This issue only happens in a few of the Gundabad zones, so I can live with it.

    Here are my results so far:

    Turning Antialiasing to 2x results in a blank screen for me, though music still plays. I used force quit after a couple of minutes, and even had to force quit again because the character selection screen was also blank. I had to go back to the Userpreferences64.ini to change it back to "disabled" by hand.

    Porting in using a 800x600 window also results in a freeze, and changing to higher graphics after porting in on lower graphics results in the black screen.


    Thanks for explaining things so clearly! As always, I'm learning a lot.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaelmegil View Post
    Turning Antialiasing to 2x results in a blank screen for me, though music still plays. I used force quit after a couple of minutes, and even had to force quit again because the character selection screen was also blank. I had to go back to the Userpreferences64.ini to change it back to "disabled" by hand.
    That is weird as heck! Antialiasing makes a very large difference in visual quality although anything over 2x has greatly diminishing returns. It's also not "new tech" and shouldn't be causing any problems.

    You're using DirectX 11, if I remember correctly. And you're running DirectX 11 with the Vulkan backend, i.e. with DXVK for D3D11 un-checked in the bottle settings. Would you be willing to test turning on Antialiasing after disabling the Vulkan backend by enabling DXVK for D3D11? Change bottle settings only while neither the LOTRO launcher application nor the game client are running.

    Did you try the other settings I recommended, with Antialiasing disabled?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gaelmegil View Post
    Porting in using a 800x600 window also results in a freeze, and changing to higher graphics after porting in on lower graphics results in the black screen.
    I was hoping that reducing resolution would reduce your processor overhead enough to allow the zone-in to occur. And I was also hoping that the problem was only occurring during loading, not during active play. I was wrong in both cases. Thanks for the report.

    There might be a single specific setting that can be disabled and still allow you to run "Max" graphics otherwise but you would have to do a lot of tedious experimentation to find it, if it even exists – tedious and time-consuming what with all the expected freezes and force-quitting then relaunching and reloading involved. If you're really bored some day, well, there's something you could do to fill your time! I do hope you'll at least try swapping the Vulkan backend for the DXVK backend as I requested above because that has a (relatively) high probability of producing a positive result for you.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tralfazz View Post
    You're using DirectX 11, if I remember correctly. And you're running DirectX 11 with the Vulkan backend, i.e. with DXVK for D3D11 un-checked in the bottle settings. Would you be willing to test turning on Antialiasing after disabling the Vulkan backend by enabling DXVK for D3D11? Change bottle settings only while neither the LOTRO launcher application nor the game client are running.
    Enabling DXVK for D3D11 allows me to run at full graphics in Gundabad! No adjusting the Antialiasing needed. To test it out, I did turn Antialiasing to 2x, though, and it runs fine, as you suspected.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tralfazz View Post
    Did you try the other settings I recommended, with Antialiasing disabled?
    I did, and that also produced the same freezing results.


    As someone not super well-versed in computers, I'm once again blown away by your wizardry!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaelmegil View Post
    As someone not super well-versed in computers, I'm once again blown away by your wizardry!
    I'm not sure why you had chosen to use the Vulkan backend. You might recall that I recommended against it (not to you specifically, but in general) because my testing showed that it was not as compatible with all systems. Both my Macs fail to run the game with the Vulkan backend (I get a red screen although the client is otherwise working – all sounds are generated, I can move and interact with things even though I can't see it happening). ***See footnote below*** Other people have reported issues with LOTRO when using DirectX 11 under the Vulkan backend – in fact, you're one of them! You had reported issues with screenshots.

    I have recommended the Vulkan backend only to people who had issues or straight-up failures trying to run DirectX 11 with the DXVK backend, and some of those people did have success with the Vulkan backend. So it's best to treat the Vulkan backend as an alternative when the DXVK backend fails rather than as the default. Although as I understand it, Codeweavers intends for it to be the default in the future and might drop the DXVK backend at some point – but by then, the Vulkan backend, which is still very new, should have received a few more years of development and we most likely won't see these kinds of issues with it anymore by the time that happens.

    Anyway, I'm really glad we eventually reached a positive result for you, Gaelmegil! And I now have some very important data points that will help other people in the future.

    Since you can now use Antialiasing, I recommend using it at 2x. You should see a pretty nice improvement in visual quality especially when looking at 3D objects up close. Antialiasing reduces "the jaggies" – it makes surfaces and edges appear smoother. 2x is very well worth it, higher values of course produce even better visual quality but in most cases generate a lot more CPU/GPU overhead than such settings are worth and often negatively affect framerates and heat generation.

    *** Footnote regarding the behavior of my Macs with the Vulkan backend: Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure I had antialiasing enabled when I did my tests of the Vulkan backend a few months ago when Crossover 21 was released. I didn't even consider trying to disable antialiasing to see if that might allow the Vulkan backend to work; I plan to try that soon when I have a chance. Even if that ends up working, though, the Vulkan backend is still not the better choice, but I suspect that is going to be the set of incompatibility causing the symptoms I experienced during my testing.

    edit: My curiousity was really itching so I had to try it. Yep, that's it! The Vulkan backend is incompatible with antialiasing, at least in LOTRO. That means it probably has other issues, again at least with LOTRO, so I will continue to recommend the DXVK backend except in those cases where players experience failure or major issues with the DXVK backend and the Vulkan backend is the only alternative for those players to use DirectX 11 instead of DirectX 9.
    Last edited by Tralfazz; Dec 07 2021 at 08:33 PM.

  11. #11
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    Well, heck, usually I'm pretty good at following directions, so I have no idea why I was running the Vulkan backend. Up to Gundabad, everything ran fine with it (except of course for the screenshot issue).

    And you're definitely right, 2x Antialiasing looks noticeably better. I'm blown away by the new Gundabad locations!


    Thank you, again!

 

 

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