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Guide for people with inadequate computers

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Customer Service
Guide for people with inadequate computers
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CJ_SAX_MAN's Avatar


CJ_SAX_MAN
03.28.2012 , 11:05 AM | #1
*Bioware, Please make this thread into a "sticky".*

It is possible to play this game on a computer that isn't really up to par. But you have to be extremely patient, if things take forever to load, they will work, just not as fast as you would like them to.

Here is the computer I am dealing with:
2002 Windows XP, 2.66GHz single core processor, Nvidea GeForce Graphics Card 2GB RAM

Lower all your graphics and run the lowest resolution and make sure it is in full screen mode (Not windowed). I turn off other stuff as well like fly text, though not sure if it makes a difference, as the UI itself seems to be independent, loads up before the area does and doesn't usually have problems of its own. If your character is running and all of the sudden seems to be stuck in place, DO NOT use the character stuck thing, because most likely it is not that your character is really stuck but that it is trying to load everything around you. if you use the unstick, you will end up waiting longer.

Conversations: on my computer, once you right click to start a conversation, they usually take 45sec to a minute to start, sometimes up to 3 minutes. just wait, you will have to stare at that bubble of "..." above your characters head and it will start. If it takes longer than around 3 min, hit esc and right click again. If the conversation suddenly stops in the middle of it and they are just standing there, give it a min to try and continue before you hit esc and retry.

note: when you create a new character, it won't automatically load the cutscene, it will have your character there with the "..." waiting for the area to load. hit esc, and wait a couple of minutes on the graphics to load then go talk to your guy, the cutscene will then start.

Warzones: I currently cant play warzones because my computer doesn't load an area fast enough to load them up.

Personally when I get with a group for flashpoints, I let them know my situation, how when entering a flashpoint, they need to give me a few extra minutes to load it up good so that i can tank somewhat effectively. I let them know that it is going to take me a minute to get into each conversation so after their first response, they will have to be patient while "waiting for Saberwrath(my old sith juggernaut before I moved)". And also that they need to let me pull first (often proper group mechanics anyway), so that I have initial aggro on the enemies in case my display freezes and I am having to just push attacks and tank blind. If another person pulls and I am not having game trouble, I can run in and get all the enemies off of them, but if I go all laggy (display wise, not really lagging, I have good internet). I may not be able to, my main attempt to save the day when that happens is just to use the mass taunt and hope it holds the enemies for a couple of seconds for my computer to catch up.

I have also considered rolling a ranged dps and seeing if the gameplay is a little smoother, the FPS doesn't drop near as bad when I am at a distance from enemies, but it struggles when i charge into the middle of a group as the tank.

If you have an attack the brings you up suddenly close to enemies, don't use it from as far away as you can, get a little closer, (example: force charge) the farther away you are when you use it, the more your FPS is suddenly going to drop when you engage the enemies. In battles kind of memorize your rotation because as the screen seems to be freezing up, you are still playing, just playing blind so keep using your attacks.

Mounts. in some areas it is easier to just sprint around as sometimes using a mount will get you ahead of the graphics loading around you and make it difficult. If you are riding your mount, you may go into areas where the NPCs haven't loaded yet and are invisible, make sure you are constantly hitting tab so you will target any invisible enemies and won't run into them from not seeing them. (I added more detail on this in a later edit)

Try to avoid the fleet areas during peak hours when there are tons of players in them, though they can still work, can be really rough.

And if you get to an area and characters are invisible, just wait, they will load

Here lately, been having an issue with the game crashing when i exit it as well, though not sure if that is a weak computer issue or a bug, here is a discussion on that topic: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=385155

I have a very strong internet connection so my gameplay problems are based solely on my computer. If you have a bad computer and a bad connection, I am not sure if this game would even be playable

A player in my guild suggested a program called Game Booster which is supposed to improve game performance to a degree by defragging, focusing or of the memory toward the game, etc... I am not computer savvy enough to know all of the details, I have downloaded it and tried it out. It did improve game performance but just slightly, though I was able to finish some flashpoints i was originally unable to tank. (Since this edit, I have tried out gamebooster and it has helped out to a minor degree)
If anyone else is interested in trying it...
www.iobit.com/gamebooster.html

(moved from page 5)
April 9

I found that if I go to the task manager under processes and raise the priority of SWTOR.EXE, it makes the game run SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER! (skip to last paragraph for important part)

I personally go through my processes also and end any processes that I don't need (be very careful as you do this, because you could end something that is vital to running windows, if you do make a mistake, I believe the computer will fix it by simply restarting, but I wouldn't want anyone crashing their computer, there are sites that can tell you what your processes are. When you see oiufaueiof.exe (purely example) and don't know what it is, check out processlibrary.com or another similar site and it can tell you whether it is safe to close. Some are obvious Ituneshelper, chrome.exe, etc.., if you are not currently using those programs, you can end the process).

Anyway after I end unnecessary processes,
I go to swtor.exe, (2 of them actually show up on my process list, and I do this with both of them). And right click it, you will see an option that says "Set Priority". You will have the options Low, Belownormal, Normal (default), Abovenormal, High, and Realtime. Change the priority to High (Realtime freezes up my computer anytime I attempt it). It has made the game run at least 5 times better on my computer. Faster loading times, able to actually follow the combat and tank. I can load up warzones now, but it struggles so much to play them, that I can't really effectively enjoy them. If your computer freezes up with the priority on High, may try Abovenormal. May take a bit of trial and error to figure out what works best on your computer.

(This may change how I need to setup this guide, I will have to spend some time trying to reorganize it.)


Quote: Originally Posted by Onyx View Post
Something that occurred to me while reading the above is something I do whenever I reinstall XP on a machine (Vista too, actually). I don't use speed boosters, but I do set my systems for best performance--that also has it turn off many of the "pretty GUI" things and reduces the overall overhead of the OS in that regard.

Right-click on "My Computer" and choose the "Advanced" tab.

On the "Visual Effects" tab, select the radio button for "Adjust for best performance" and click "Apply".

On the "Advanced" tab, under Processor Scheduling", select the radio button to adjust for best performance of programs and click "Apply".

I also set the "Memory Usage" on the "Advanced" tab to adjust for best performance of programs.

Windows has a lot of eye-candy that isn't necessary for function. Limiting that will help when trying to run applications that really push your system.
This also helped tremendously

Some later edits

If anyone is getting tired of "Loading Screen Number 2" here is how you can get it not to show up. Though without that screen, you may still have to wait on the game to load around you, but at least you have access to the chat and your UI.

C:\Program Files\Electronic Arts\BioWare\Star Wars - The Old Republic\swtor\retailclient\LoadingScreens\loading screen.jpg

I don't know if you know how to find it based on that, but if not

You have to go into quite a few folders to get to it.
go into my computer, choose your C: Drive, go into program files, then Electronic Arts, the Bioware, the Star Wars - The Old Republic, then the swtor folder, then the retailclient folder, then the Loading Screens folder and in there you will see a picture (which is that loading screen you probably hate). According to the guy who told me this, simply rename the picture (right click on it and click Rename and change it to something else besides loadingscreen) Then the game won't pull it up when you are loading. Though if the area around you is still loading, it will look like you are standing in nothingness, for a min or two until it gets loaded. Your UI will be fully usable though. Useful for crafting and chatting while you wait for the game to load and sometimes It will let you move around early even though the graphics are still loading.

Experience users only, I personly have not done the following, it was suggested to me by another player.
__________________________________________________ _______________________________________
It's edits to the Windows Registry itself, and if you don't know EXACTLY what you're playing with, it can go wrong in as much time as it takes to restart Windows (which you have to do, in order for the registry edits to take effect). If you feel safe trying this, then here goes...

(I take no responsibility for the results of these registry edits. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Just because they've worked on my rigs throughout the years DOES NOT MEAN that they WILL work on yours. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.)

Automatically close non-responsive programs.
With a small registry tweak, Windows XP can be set to automatically close any program that 'stops responding' (crashes), eliminating the need for you to use the task manager to close down the offending software manually. To do this:
Open REGEDIT and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop
Modify the REG_SZ entry AutoEndTasks with a value of 1

Force XP to unload DLL files after closing a program.
Dynamic Link Libraries, or DLLs, are files containing data or functions that Windows programs can call when needed by linking to them. Every piece of windows software will include instructions to the operating system as to which DLLs it will need to access, and XP will cache these particular files in memory for faster access.
The trouble is, Windows XP keeps these DLLs cached after the relevant program has closed, wasting memory space. While DLLs are generally tiny, enough of them can make a dent, so it's worthwhile to implement this registry tweak, which will force Windows XP to unload DLLs used by a specific program when that program halts.
To do this, first run REGEDIT.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\Curr entVersion\Explorer.
Create a new key named 'AlwaysUnloadDLL' and set the default value to equal '1.'

Windows XP stores a couple of values in its registry which are responsible for determining how long to wait before shutting down (killing) open applications and services once the shutdown command has been given.
By editing these two settings and changing them to lower values, you can considerably decrease the amount of time that Windows XP needs to successfully shut itself down. The first part of this tweak deals with setting the amount of time Windows will take to kill open applications on shutdown.
Open REGEDIT and navigate to 'HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\'
Highlight the 'WaitToKillAppTimeout' value.
Set it to '1000' (the default should be 20000).
Now highlight the 'HungAppTimeout' value
Set it to '1000' also.

The second part of this tip changes the same settings, this time for all users on the system.
Open REGEDIT and navigate to 'HKEY_USERS\.DEFAULT\Control Panel\Desktop'
Highlight the 'WaitToKillAppTimeout' value.
Set it to '1000' (the default should be 20000).
Now highlight the 'HungAppTimeout' value.
Set it to '1000' also.

In the third part of this tip, we will alter a second registry setting to decrease the amount of time Windows XP will wait before shutting down active services after receiving a shut down command.
Open REGEDIT and navigate to 'HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Contr ol\'
Highlight the value 'WaitToKillServiceTimeout'
Change this value to '1000.'


I picked these up from PCWorld's website a few years ago, and they still work quite well. Some of them even still work for Vista and Win7, too, if you can find where they hid the relevant registry keys."""
__________________________________________________ _____________________________________
END OF ADVANCED CHANGES


EDIT June 3, 2012
Small things I left out that i noticed over time playing, I think I mentioned make sure all flytext is off. Also, use as few nameplates as possible, under the nameplates menu, if there are some you can live without, turn them off. Though another interesting trick, When I am mounted, I have trouble with running into invisible enemies because I move fast where I am getting ahead of what my computer loads. You can continually tab target to watch for not-yet-loaded enemies (who despite not being loaded, will still attack unfortunately), OR better yet, turn on "Show enemy NPC nameplates" so you can see their nameplates even if they are invisible, however while this is great for traveling long distances on a mount, it hurts performance, so turn it back off once you plan on fighting.

If you have your attacks memorized and can play without seeing them, and want an interesting challenge, use alt+z to hide the entire UI. sounds crazy but it improves performance by quite a bit, though you have absolutely no information to work with such as health, attacks, etc..., but sometimes, while tanking, I just am so accustomed to it, I sometimes just disable the UI. (was a prot warrior in wow, gameplay of my guardian is so similar is like second nature to me. Just don't forget that alt+z is also how to turn it back on or you may get frustrated.

Another odd fact, When i get in a group of all melee jedi's and a healer, the performance is better, my computer seems to have an easier time dealing with melee effects than with the ranged effects that really seem to bog it down.

I honestly think that is everything I can think of. This guide has been a work in progress for quite sometime and thank you for taking the time to check it out.

ONE LAST THING

I still have been unable to close the game the normal way (clicking exit). I have to close the game with alt+F4 everytime, or my computer freezes.
Sarthist, Jedi Guardian Guild: Inferno Server: The Fatman
Please help me get Bioware to make my guide into a "sticky"
Guide for players on weak computers: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=383030

Halequin's Avatar


Halequin
03.29.2012 , 09:36 AM | #2
Upgrade Upgrade Upgrade
http://sigs.enjin.com/sig-swtor/29c09a18d93a9a32.png

I will have to use my own insight to overcome the lag

CJ_SAX_MAN's Avatar


CJ_SAX_MAN
03.29.2012 , 09:42 AM | #3
Detailed Specs:


Spoiler
Sarthist, Jedi Guardian Guild: Inferno Server: The Fatman
Please help me get Bioware to make my guide into a "sticky"
Guide for players on weak computers: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=383030

CJ_SAX_MAN's Avatar


CJ_SAX_MAN
03.29.2012 , 09:43 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Halequin View Post
Upgrade Upgrade Upgrade
I definately hope to soon, I would love to be able to get into pvp and to tank much more effectively.
Sarthist, Jedi Guardian Guild: Inferno Server: The Fatman
Please help me get Bioware to make my guide into a "sticky"
Guide for players on weak computers: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=383030

CJ_SAX_MAN's Avatar


CJ_SAX_MAN
03.30.2012 , 02:25 PM | #5
It takes a lot indeed, I have gotten into a habit of watching tv, or even sacrificing a little game performance to set it as "windowed" so I can tab into something else while it is loading.

Waiting over a minute to get into a conversation seems to be the hardest one to adjust to,

EDIT: information moved to first post
Sarthist, Jedi Guardian Guild: Inferno Server: The Fatman
Please help me get Bioware to make my guide into a "sticky"
Guide for players on weak computers: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=383030

Onyx's Avatar


Onyx
03.30.2012 , 05:27 PM | #6
Well written

I have had some region-specific crashing issues on my good machine, and for some of those areas I've been doing them on a single-core machine. I was trying to think of anything else to add but so far, I think you hit on pretty much everything.
Star Wars fan for life
C C X X:
1st Special Forces Group
S . A . N . C . T . U . M . . . O . F . . . T . H . E . . . E . X . A . L . T . E . D
SWG: 2003 thru 12.15.2011 . . . . . Kettemoor ~ Starsider

kjfett's Avatar


kjfett
03.30.2012 , 06:21 PM | #7
if that's a dual core 2.66 cpu, all you need is some $50-$100 video card to get rid of all these issues. I run a 1.8ghz duocore e4300 chip with some 4xx nvidia vc I bought for $100 at best buy and I run 1920x1080 at 30fps in warzones and flashpoints, seldom waiting but a few seconds for NPC conversations...all on win7 no less. Another 1GB of Ram would be a solid upgrade (but not needed) and cost $30-$40.

Onyx's Avatar


Onyx
03.30.2012 , 06:55 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by kjfett View Post
if that's a dual core 2.66 cpu, all you need is some $50-$100 video card to get rid of all these issues. I run a 1.8ghz duocore e4300 chip with some 4xx nvidia vc I bought for $100 at best buy and I run 1920x1080 at 30fps in warzones and flashpoints, seldom waiting but a few seconds for NPC conversations...all on win7 no less. Another 1GB of Ram would be a solid upgrade (but not needed) and cost $30-$40.
I'll bet it's single-core. I've done some serious playing on a 2.3 Intel Core Duo (NOT a Core 2 Duo) and performance is far above that. My single-core is 2.4, and the performance is pretty much spot on with what's described. But yea, if it is dual then I agree.
Star Wars fan for life
C C X X:
1st Special Forces Group
S . A . N . C . T . U . M . . . O . F . . . T . H . E . . . E . X . A . L . T . E . D
SWG: 2003 thru 12.15.2011 . . . . . Kettemoor ~ Starsider

Gotchaz's Avatar


Gotchaz
03.30.2012 , 09:33 PM | #9
LOL if you have these issues you need a better computer. There is an issue with the game engine tho. I run on a.

Intel I7
GTX 560
8 gigs of DDR3
Win 7
250g Solids state drive and a 1 terabyte sata drive.

When questing on my own video is capped when I went to llum it would drop from over 100fps to 9 or lower sometimes it would just freeze.

I consider my PC on the higher end so if i can't play it well I don't think it's a PC issue but more of an issue on their end. I can play lots of other games without much issue so..

CJ_SAX_MAN's Avatar


CJ_SAX_MAN
03.30.2012 , 09:46 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by kjfett View Post
if that's a dual core 2.66 cpu, all you need is some $50-$100 video card to get rid of all these issues. I run a 1.8ghz duocore e4300 chip with some 4xx nvidia vc I bought for $100 at best buy and I run 1920x1080 at 30fps in warzones and flashpoints, seldom waiting but a few seconds for NPC conversations...all on win7 no less. Another 1GB of Ram would be a solid upgrade (but not needed) and cost $30-$40.
well that is definately worth considering, not much at all to gain better gameplay, although I believe the cpu is a single core, anyone know how to check that? Or i could go grab that DxDiag thing I posted for the customer service guys in another post and stick it on here.
Sarthist, Jedi Guardian Guild: Inferno Server: The Fatman
Please help me get Bioware to make my guide into a "sticky"
Guide for players on weak computers: http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=383030