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SWTOR Unleashed (game files in RAM to improve performance)

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > General Discussion
SWTOR Unleashed (game files in RAM to improve performance)

exca's Avatar


exca
09.07.2012 , 03:59 AM | #1
SWTOR Unleashed : enhance SWTOR fluidity (Voir aussi le post en fran็ais.)
Thanks for the 5 Excellent votes done in this page's lower right corner! Thanks for those who donate some in game credits!
Latest version : 3.3.2.196 (2012-12-04)

SWTOR Unleashed, what is it?
SWTOR Unleashed is a software that puts in a virtual RAM drive some frequently used SWTOR game files. The goal is to multiply by 10 or more the read and/or write speed, even if you already have an SSD drive. Numerous people go from 25fps (frames per second) with drops at 5fps to 30fps with drops at 20fps for example. There is a .bat file and a manual method to do the same thing described below for those willing to know more on the origin of the software.
Screenshots
Main window - About window - Settings window

Is it legal?
Yes! BioWare has officially authorized 2 times the use of SWTOR Unleashed. Click on the following button to read the 2 BioWare agreements on this matter.
Spoiler
For who?
Any SWTOR player running Windows Vista/7 in 64 bits with a minimum of 3.5GB RAM, 5GB advised, 7GB or more recommended and 8GB or more for those willing to experiment more advanced settings.

What methods do you offer to increase the performances?
We offer you 3 methods. SWTOR Unleashed is the simplest and most flexible one. The .bat file allows you to make changes in its code directly to do a bit of everything and anything (it's up to you) but it's no longer maintained. It gives a good idea of what is happening in SWTOR Unleashed background for the curious ones. The manual method is very time consuming but allows you to do everything at hand for those who swear by it.

SWTOR Unleashed 3.3.2.196

Pre-Requisites
Administrator Rights : SWTOR Unleashed needs them to be able to move, rename and delete files as well as create the RAM drive and put on it the symbolic links. Those who have the UAC enabled will received a warning requesting those rights at launch.
Microsoft .NET Framework 4+ : The software being written with the latest Microsoft .NET technologies, you need to have this framework installed. Usually it's by default on Windows 7 SP1 (Service Pack 1) if you do your updates. If you don't have it, you can download it here on Microsoft website
ImDisk : This software allows to create virtual RAM drives and must be installed prior to using SWTOR Unleashed, the .bat file or the manual method. It is available in SWTOR Unleashed zip file or directly here on author website. Imdisk is a little and light software (1.5MB in RAM) that can be used in command line or through an API, which made our choice quite wise.

Limits
SWTOR Unleashed can make your SWTOR launcher throw an error and offer to repair the game while updating the game. Don't click on it!. This limit has an easy walkthrough : quit SWTOR launcher and restart SWTOR Unleashed in Retail mode. then, once the update is complete, quit SWTOR launcher and relaunch SWTOR Unleashed in Unleashed mode.

Download
Download SWTOR Unleashed v3.3.2

Install
Extract the downloaded zip file in a folder of your choice. Personnally I use a SwtorUnleashed folder in the game's folder. Make sure to have all pre-requisites described upper : .NET Framework 4 and ImDisk installed.

Uninstall
Launch SWTOR Unleashed then press "Remove and quit". Delete SWTOR Unleashed folder. Uninstall ImDisk. And voilเ

Use
SWTOR Unleashed offers 6 buttons to the user in its main window :
Start Retail : starts SWTOR launcher in normal mode (removing any modification that may have created the optimized mode)
Start Unleashed : starts SWTOR launcher in optimized mode (creating all the required modifications in this goal according to your settings)
Remove and Quit : removes any modification that may have created the optimized mode and quit SWTOR Unleashed (usefull to free the RAM utile pour lib้rer la RAM requisitionned by the optimized mode)
Settings : allows to setup SWTOR Unleashed according to your preferences (what to put in RAM, what virtual drive letter to use, ...)
About : displays informations about the software and its creators
X : the little cross in upper right corner allows to quit while keeping any optimized mode modification active
Please note the ESCAPE key allows to quit any window at any moment.

Settings
The settings screen allows you to setup general parameters :
Choose game folder if SWTOR Unleashed hasn't succeeded in determining it itself (folder containing SWTOR launcher.exe file)
Choose the virtual drive letter that will be created (R by default)
Activate or not the logs (file containing a text trace of what the software does so we can help you if you have a bug or an issue)
Book or not 100MB more for the virtual drive
Display the assets files of the test server in addition to those of the normal server (for those who want to use SWTOR Unleashed on the play test server

And some parameters directly bound to performance representing the items we want to place in the RAM drive :
Add DiskCacheArena : the game cache file
Add LocalApps : other cache files (to disable if you have issues saving your in game settings such as the GUI for example until we find a solution for your actually unknown bug)
Asset files (the .tor game's files) : check those to put in RAM
Select FX : check in the list the special effects file
Select Dynamic : check in the list the dynamic items files
Select All : check all files
Deselect All : uncheck all files

What to check for which usage?
Spoiler
What to choose depending on my free RAM size?
Considering the 2.5GB required by SWTOR and the 512MB advised to keep free :
3052MB (strict minimum) to 3564MB+ (warning's end) : LocalApps + FX
3901MB (strict minimum) to 4413MB+ (warning's end) : LocalApps + DiskCacheArena
4077MB (strict minimum) to 4589MB+ (warning's end) : LocalApps + DiskCacheArena + FX
6724MB (strict minimum) to 7236MB+ (warning's end) : LocalApps + DiskCacheArena + FX + Dynamic

How to know what SWTOR Unleashed brings me?
CTRL + SHIFT + F : by pressing these 3 keys simultaneously during the game you will display/hide in the lower left corner of your screen the amount of frames per second. There are 2 numbers : X (Y). X represents your current frames per second and Y your recent average of frames per second.

I don't understand, I use SWTOR Unleashed but it's slower than before!
SWTOR Unleashed books a part of your RAM to put there the chosen items. It's like if we removed totally from you this RAM. Because of this, if you don't leave enough RAM for Windows + background running softwares + 2.5GB for SWTOR (which uses 1 process of 2GB + 1 other rarely going over 500MB) then your computer will begin to read and write very often on your hard drive. This is what we call the SWAP phenomenon. This will make your game slow as hell. To avoid this, always leave 3GB of RAM available for SWTOR and Windows and you shouldn't encounter this issue.

Use in command line
This software accepts 4 arguments to control its behaviour without displaying the graphical interface. You can create a shortcut to SwtorUnleashed.exe with one of the following arguments after a space character.

For example if the software is located in : C:\SwtorUnleashed\SwtorUnleashed.exe
The shortcut target will be : "C:\SwtorUnleashed\SwtorUnleashed.exe" argument

The 4 possible arguments are :
  • unleashed : this starts SWTOR in optimized mode (according to your settings chosen before)
  • retail : this starts SWTOR in normal mode (without RAM drive)
  • remove : this removes any active optimization (and repairs eventual problems) and doesn't start SWTOR
  • setup : this installs the RAM drive for SWTOR (usefull to do it at each computer reboot for example) and doesn't start SWTOR

Creators
  • Exca
    • Exca (Darth Nihilus [FR])
    • Universe (Darth Nihilus [FR]
  • Ocmer_
    • Nozomi (Hidden Beks [EN])
    • Nadeko (Hidden Beks [EN]
  • Tilz
    • Tilz(Darth Nihilus) [FR])
  • Ugleez
    • Ugleez(Darth Nihilus [FR])
    • Meskaline(Darth Nihilus [FR])
    • Dug(Darth Nihilus [FR])

Changelog
Spoiler
Web sites that talk about SWTOR Unleashed
DarthHater
SWTOR-GUIDE.FR
Cantina News
French Wing (Tilz book)
Swtor Strategies
Users Performance Reports (in english)
Click below to view what some other english-speaking users experiments with SWTOR Unleashed.
Spoiler

Users Performance Reports (in french)
Click below to view what some other french-speaking users experiments with SWTOR Unleashed.
Spoiler
Server : Darth Nihilus (FR) Characters : Exca, Universe Guild : Escadron Nemesis
Dev de : SWTOR Unleashed (FR) - augmente la fluidit้ de SWTOR
Dev of : SWTOR Unleashed (US) - raises SWTOR fluidity

exca's Avatar


exca
09.07.2012 , 04:00 AM | #2
Note : for deeper explanations on what does the software or the batch file with SWTOR game files, thanks to read manual method since it explains the principles behind.

Additional improvements
  • Enable ReadyBoost. If you haven't installed SWTOR on a SSD drive, you can lower loading times using Windows ReadyBoost technology through USB3, USB2 or any memory card. Just do properties on the drive, choose to enable ReadyBoost and reserve a part (4GB for example) for this. The first load time will have the normal speed, others will be faster.

Common errors
Spoiler


Manual recovery
Spoiler
Server : Darth Nihilus (FR) Characters : Exca, Universe Guild : Escadron Nemesis
Dev de : SWTOR Unleashed (FR) - augmente la fluidit้ de SWTOR
Dev of : SWTOR Unleashed (US) - raises SWTOR fluidity

exca's Avatar


exca
09.07.2012 , 04:02 AM | #3
ALL-IN-ONE BATCH VERSION 4.0.0

This batscript will setup a ramdisk for the DiskCacheArena and local cache files. It is possible to add asset files but this require settings work in the script prior running it.

The mount script can be used to mount the ramdisk, create the necessary files and if given start the launcher, for this there is no input needed from you as user. The ALL-IN-ONE batchscript can do the same but then you have to select an menu item

Please be aware when using asset files on the ramdisk that the game can return an error when it wants to patch, remove the setup prior patching, and run the setup again after patching.

INSTRUCTIONS (PLEASE READ)

Spoiler


SCRIPT SETTINGS

Spoiler


ALL-IN-ONE v4.0.0
Please read the instructions and changing settings before using.
Always run as administrator, as I cannot guarantee correct exectution without.


Spoiler


MOUNTSCRIPT v4.0.0
To be used for the creating the ramdrive with asset files if needed (no interaction needed).
This can also be used as startup script for Windows if preferred.


Spoiler


CHANGELOG

Spoiler
Server : Darth Nihilus (FR) Characters : Exca, Universe Guild : Escadron Nemesis
Dev de : SWTOR Unleashed (FR) - augmente la fluidit้ de SWTOR
Dev of : SWTOR Unleashed (US) - raises SWTOR fluidity

exca's Avatar


exca
09.07.2012 , 04:03 AM | #4
MANUAL

Ok so I write this post just for consistency and for those who are interested what the program or batchscrip now actually do. I start off right away and assume you have installed Imdisk by now, as I will use that to create the ramdisk. In this example it will be T:

This focuses on getting the big DiskCacheArena and the local cachefiles on the ramdisk, additional asset files are not described here but goes with the same method. The following commands may need to be filled in (will be yellow) and run them in cmd.exe run as administrator.

Creating a ramdisk

The following code will create a ramdisk T: that has a size of 1,5GB and is formatted as NTFS.
Code:
imdisk -a -s 1500M -m T: -p "/fs:ntfs /q /y"

Linking DiskCacheArena to the ramdisk

First you need to find the installation path of the game, once in the root folder navigate into the folder "swtor".
There should a file called "DiskCacheArena", delete that file.

Now run the following code the create a link (the game recreate this file hench the delete).
Code:
mklink "<SWTOR Install Location>\swtor\DiskCacheArena" "T:\DiskCacheArena"
Linking local cache to the ramdisk

Now this is a bit difficult as the two cache files are deleted and remade by the game itself, even during gameplay, we cannot link those as it will just delete the link files. Thus we put the whole 'SWTOR' folder that resides in your local appdata on the ramdisk, but this folder contains also your settings, and on a ramdisk everthing is lost on a reboot.

To link this folder to the ramdisk (so the cachefiles will be build on it) we have to linkback to the settings folder, so your ingame settings are not lost.

First we start of creating the required folder on the ramdisk with the following code.
Code:
mkdir T:\SWTOR\swtor
Then navigate to '%localappdata%' or 'C:\Users\username\AppData\Local' and rename the 'SWTOR' folder you see there to 'SWTOR_Original'. We create then a link for 'SWTOR' to the ramdisk.
Code:
mklink /J "%localappdata%\SWTOR" "T:\SWTOR\"
Now we have a link to the ramdisk, to link back to the settings that are now in 'SWTOR_Original' use the following code.
Code:
mklink /J "T:\SWTOR\swtor\settings" "%localappdata%\SWTOR_Original\swtor\settings"
After a reboot

Due to the nature the ramdisk still being ram, it will be wiped when a reboot has occurred. Therefore after each reboot you have to recreate the ramdisk and it's content.
Code:
imdisk -a -s 1500M -m T: -p "/fs:ntfs /q /y"
mkdir T:\SWTOR\swtor
mklink /J "T:\SWTOR\swtor\settings" "%localappdata%\SWTOR_Original\swtor\settings"
Asset files

The trick we do with the asset files, as they have to be static on your harddrive and copied to the ramdisk (not moved!), is rename them, create a link and let the program copy the renamed file to the ramdisk, and rename the renamed file on the ramdisk back to the original name.
Server : Darth Nihilus (FR) Characters : Exca, Universe Guild : Escadron Nemesis
Dev de : SWTOR Unleashed (FR) - augmente la fluidit้ de SWTOR
Dev of : SWTOR Unleashed (US) - raises SWTOR fluidity

exca's Avatar


exca
09.07.2012 , 04:05 AM | #5
Ramdisk what and why

A ramdisk is actually a piece of your memory that you use as it was actually a disk. Now you probably can imagine that the read/write speed on these disk are way higher than even a SSD. The only downfall is that if you reboot, the disk is wiped.

The files we focus on to put on the ramdisk are;
  • DiskCacheArena
  • Local SWTOR cache
  • Asset files

Now I assume for this explanation that you have both Windows and SWTOR on the same disk. If the game needs data, it will pause the game untill the load it done (some call it hitching). What I have read around the forums it seems that the data loaded (read) from the asset files, streamed by the local cache files (read/write action) to the large DiskCacheArena (write). Once the data is cached in that file the game then uses it (read).

Now you can see if it were on the same disk, that are quite some read/write actions performed on different files! Hench we want to especially put the cache files on the ram.

Imdisk ramdisk speed test with CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1
Code:
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
* MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

Sequential Read : 4090.674 MB/s
Sequential Write : 5472.913 MB/s
Random Read 512KB : 3984.519 MB/s
Random Write 512KB : 5289.138 MB/s
Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 561.441 MB/s [137070.6 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 512.815 MB/s [125198.9 IOPS]
Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 1343.460 MB/s [327993.2 IOPS]
Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 1040.265 MB/s [253971.0 IOPS]

Test : 1000 MB [T: 13.0% (194.3/1500.0 MB)] (x5)
Date : 2012/02/18 19:53:42
OS : Windows 7 Ultimate Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
Server : Darth Nihilus (FR) Characters : Exca, Universe Guild : Escadron Nemesis
Dev de : SWTOR Unleashed (FR) - augmente la fluidit้ de SWTOR
Dev of : SWTOR Unleashed (US) - raises SWTOR fluidity

exca's Avatar


exca
09.07.2012 , 05:56 AM | #6
Please don't post anymore in the previous US post :
http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=394951
since I won't read it anymore, thanks.
Server : Darth Nihilus (FR) Characters : Exca, Universe Guild : Escadron Nemesis
Dev de : SWTOR Unleashed (FR) - augmente la fluidit้ de SWTOR
Dev of : SWTOR Unleashed (US) - raises SWTOR fluidity

TieJu's Avatar


TieJu
09.07.2012 , 08:24 AM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by exca View Post
Additional improvements
Quoted for common nonsense, there is no dx9 emulation, even if you not install the newest dx update.

demonolithic's Avatar


demonolithic
09.07.2012 , 08:31 AM | #8
Happy to see this is still going.
.. let me start by saying nothing...
Cochise
The Shadowlands

TUXs's Avatar


TUXs
09.07.2012 , 08:41 AM | #9
I've been using this since you guys first released it, the batch files prior to that. I absolutely recommend and endorse this tool to everyone.
All warfare is based on deception. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. If his forces are united, separate them. If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near. A leader leads by example not by force.

itsmymillertime's Avatar


itsmymillertime
09.07.2012 , 08:43 AM | #10
add to first post:

CTRL + MAJ + F =NON US KEYBOARDS
CTRL + SHIFT + F= US KEYBOARDS

cant wait to do this on my new pc around christmas