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GM Tahquitz

Laptops and COH: A Modern Guide

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I am running Surface Pro 7, i7 processer. 

I installed and started up yesterday. Was a bit laggy in outbreak, but unplayable in atlas. The server load was light (green). I traveled to talos and steel city to see if the lag was less in lower population. Was a little better, but terrible. 

I've lowered fx setting lowest, no better. Just laggy bad graphics. 

I changed my resolution to 1280x1064 (remembered my setting from back in the day) and the lag was almost completely gone. BUT that resolution is not playable. 

 

What am I doing wrong?

Speed test shows 40mbs. Back in the day, I had 2, so that can't be my issue.

 

What resolution should I set? Where should I set graphics? Why is a computer that's 100x stronger then my old Compaq Presario failing me.

 

Any help is greatly appreciated.

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Posted (edited)

You're running a tablet.
This means you're running a low-voltage CPU that may also be down-clocked to manage thermal output as well.

On top of that, you're basically using the on-chip video solution as well.  Again, down-clocked for thermal reasons.

For general desktop functionality?  Perfectly fine.  Because 2D and playing movies is not taxing a system much.

Also, how much memory are you running, and how large is the SSD.

Remember, the Pro7's lowest configuration is 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD (both of which are also given thermal specs to operate within).

CAN you play the game?  Yeah....
Can you play it in "Sleek & Sexy" mode without crashing into the unit's thermal protections?
Doubtful.

Edited by Hyperstrike
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32 minutes ago, Hyperstrike said:

You're running a tablet.
This means you're running a low-voltage CPU that may also be down-clocked to manage thermal output as well.
.....

8GB of ram, i7 processor. 

 

in the OP for this thread, he specifically called out the Surface tablets. said the frame rate should be around 30 if on recommended settings. When i put on the LOWEST settings, my frame rate is like 8-10 or less. 

its really weird. 

im trying more settings amd messing around with stuff by the hour.

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Okay, I found one issue. When not plugged in, the game becomes unplayable. Plugged in, much better. 

BUT only playable when inside a mission instance. 

Indoors, I can go above recommend settings, great frame rate. Even if I superspeed around enemy's and do powers. 

Outside, it takes a lot of time and patience to get to a trainer. And that's on lowest settings still.

 

Is there a different resolution I should try? 

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5 hours ago, Arch Ice said:

8GB of ram, i7 processor. 

 

in the OP for this thread, he specifically called out the Surface tablets. said the frame rate should be around 30 if on recommended settings. When i put on the LOWEST settings, my frame rate is like 8-10 or less. 

its really weird. 

im trying more settings amd messing around with stuff by the hour.

No offence to OP, but Surface devices don't seem to be designed for this stuff as they seem to like throttling on their own. I deal with non-gaming owners of them and they seem to have a habit of doing so even under average use. You may want to tinker in the power control panels and look into the CPU and GPU settings. You said you already have, but I'd try from the bare minimum GFX and slowly turn stuff up, and keep any FX set to minimal you can. How far out you're zoomed from the alt seems to affect FPS for me. Which makes sense because it's drawing less on the screen the closer you are.

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OG Server: Pinnacle || Current Server: Torchbearer  || Also found on Indomitable & Excelsior (when needed)

Getting Started  ||  Dredd's Guide to Loading City of Heroes  ||  Install and Troubleshooting Guide v2

Mids' Reborn  ||  HeroStats  ||  Vidiot Maps  ||  QoL, Mods, etc  ||  Heroica! (by @Shenanigunner)

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Great news. On discord someone also with a Surface was having issues. They found out it was a double resolution issue. Caused water graphics to make everything go haywire. 

I'm waiting on a reply to see what resolution they set the game at to correct the issue. 

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20 hours ago, Arch Ice said:

Okay, I found one issue. When not plugged in, the game becomes unplayable. Plugged in, much better. 

BUT only playable when inside a mission instance. 

Indoors, I can go above recommend settings, great frame rate. Even if I superspeed around enemy's and do powers. 

Outside, it takes a lot of time and patience to get to a trainer. And that's on lowest settings still.

 

Is there a different resolution I should try? 


Try turning off buff sending, both for you and your pets.

MENU --> OPTIONS
Windows Tab

Status Window Buff Display
Stop Sending All Buffs: Enabled

Group Window Buff Display
Stop Sending All Buffs: Enabled

Pet Window Buff Display
Stop Sending All Buffs: Enabled

Also, it isn"t "double resolution".

It's the Windows Screen Magnification.

You may need to turn screen mag off, then turn Windows Resolution down so your native res matches your in-game Res.

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On 6/2/2020 at 9:58 PM, Arch Ice said:

Great news. On discord someone also with a Surface was having issues. They found out it was a double resolution issue. Caused water graphics to make everything go haywire. 

I'm waiting on a reply to see what resolution they set the game at to correct the issue. 



Any luck?


If you want to be godlike, pick anything.

If you want to be GOD, pick a TANK!

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I have a surface laptop and it runs the game like I would consider crap - mostly from particles. I do have it enabled to always launch coh with the Nvidia card rather than integrated, but it still chugs around - which is sad cuz this laptop kills the duo core crap I used when cov came out lol

 

 

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5 hours ago, kiramon said:

I have a surface laptop and it runs the game like I would consider crap - mostly from particles. I do have it enabled to always launch coh with the Nvidia card rather than integrated, but it still chugs around - which is sad cuz this laptop kills the duo core crap I used when cov came out lol

 

 


It's a problem with thermal management and power management for the form-factor.


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If you want to be GOD, pick a TANK!

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Posted (edited)

Just an Addendum of useful information from me:

If you're using a Nvidia GPU made in the last 4+ years on a laptop (EVEN A LAPTOP VERSION OF THE RTX MODELS), you owe it to yourself to look in the control panel and tweak stuff, both for games in general and for City of Heroes specifically.

All laptops: Power Settings - Nvidia Controlled. This is absolutely essential for reducing heat and power consumption while increasing framerate. I don't know how it works, but it's made my game more stable, less worrysome to multitask with, and allowed it to produce less heat, all while cranking up graphics a bit more. I recommend setting this universally, as almost all games use an API it works with. Presumably it reduces visual quality of stuff that the player isn't likely to notice as much, intelligently. (Source: Here )

Anything in the 1070/1080 or 2070/2080 models: 16x Anisotropic Filtering forced int he GPU control panel. A few Anisotropy tweaks at High Performance/Performance/Quality to slightly reduce overhead on texture filtering. If you're using newer drivers, a 30 or 60 FPS framerate cap depending on what you can handle at current settings (Further reduces GPU use and thus heat, which improves stability and prevents performance degradation), and if your drivers are especially recent, there's a built in full screen sharpening option that works on all OpenGL, Vulkan, or DirectX renderers for improved visual quality (I recommend 50% screen sharpening with 100% "Ignore film grain" to soften it a bit, and FXAA enabled to further soften the image so that the added detail looks like it was always in the game).

Debatable but probably harmless: Most games released before Unreal Engine 3 that use OpenGL supposedly benefit in terms of microstutter reduction from turning "threaded optimization" to "off". Results online have been mixed, but in my observation it makes little to no difference but also causes no harm and no visual glitches to speak of. This is a surface level setting in the control panel so I'd wager its harmless to have it set wrong anyway. Additionally, because I discovered that City of Heroes was shut down before CUDA processing became commonplace (and in fact, used a pre-CUDA PhysX setup that required a specific type of card from Agaia to hardware accelerate physics processing) I recommend disabling CUDA processing entirely in City of Heroes profile.


Similar tricks for AMD cards may exist, but might also require special tools (My understanding is that they don't have game specific profiles in AMD's control panel yet)

As a note, my current laptop has a Nvidia RTX 2070, an intel core i7 8th Gen, 16 gigs of RAM (Upgradable to 32 or 64? Can't remember which of those it was), and a 500 GB solid state drive. I run the game off of a 2 TB USB 3.0 connected HDD, with no issue except that game music sometimes stalls independant of framerate for a bit (A problem unique to this game when running from that drive!).

Edited by Ah_Ftagn

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You owe my cat an apology, @GM Tahquitz.

 

After three years of off-grid living, I'd lost touch with the modern computing world and had no idea what to look for, or even that gaming-capable laptops existed at the $300-350 price point.  But I'm posting this reply on a 15.6" laptop with a Ryzen 3200u, instead of the 8" tablet I've been using, thanks to the informative guidance provided here.  It's not perfect (the screen is a TN panel), and I still have to iron out some issues (400w inverter shuts down if the laptop draws a full load for more than ten minutes), but it's downloading Co* and will be adequate for that... and having a full-sized keyboard is heavenly.  And I don't have to quadruple my battery bank and PV array to feed it, nor did I have to spend all of the money I was going to save to make it through the winter to buy it.  Still going to be a week or longer before the download completes, too, because I'm on a Verizon pre-paid line (read: aggressively throttled) with a weak signal (so, packet loss is significant), but it'll get there eventually.

 

Oh, the apology... the only table I have is about 2' square, and this laptop is taking up most of the room where Jessica preferred to stretch out.  She's both confused and displeased, which is a less than desirable situation for a half Savannah cat.  Tell her you're sorry so she'll stop trying to eat the screen (not an exaggeration) and shoving the laptop off to the side to make room.

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On ‎7‎/‎2‎/‎2020 at 4:25 AM, Luminara said:

You owe my cat an apology, @GM Tahquitz.

 

After three years of off-grid living, I'd lost touch with the modern computing world and had no idea what to look for, or even that gaming-capable laptops existed at the $300-350 price point.  But I'm posting this reply on a 15.6" laptop with a Ryzen 3200u, instead of the 8" tablet I've been using, thanks to the informative guidance provided here.  It's not perfect (the screen is a TN panel), and I still have to iron out some issues (400w inverter shuts down if the laptop draws a full load for more than ten minutes), but it's downloading Co* and will be adequate for that... and having a full-sized keyboard is heavenly.  And I don't have to quadruple my battery bank and PV array to feed it, nor did I have to spend all of the money I was going to save to make it through the winter to buy it.  Still going to be a week or longer before the download completes, too, because I'm on a Verizon pre-paid line (read: aggressively throttled) with a weak signal (so, packet loss is significant), but it'll get there eventually.

 

Oh, the apology... the only table I have is about 2' square, and this laptop is taking up most of the room where Jessica preferred to stretch out.  She's both confused and displeased, which is a less than desirable situation for a half Savannah cat.  Tell her you're sorry so she'll stop trying to eat the screen (not an exaggeration) and shoving the laptop off to the side to make room.

If the PSU is dropping, then it's likely defective and due to heat. Keep that in mind as you may wish to invest in a new charger. Don't want to risk fire. :/


OG Server: Pinnacle || Current Server: Torchbearer  || Also found on Indomitable & Excelsior (when needed)

Getting Started  ||  Dredd's Guide to Loading City of Heroes  ||  Install and Troubleshooting Guide v2

Mids' Reborn  ||  HeroStats  ||  Vidiot Maps  ||  QoL, Mods, etc  ||  Heroica! (by @Shenanigunner)

Old Forums  ||  Titan Network  ||  The City Representative (3rd party Info site for all servers)

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25 minutes ago, WanderingAries said:

If the PSU is dropping, then it's likely defective and due to heat. Keep that in mind as you may wish to invest in a new charger. Don't want to risk fire. 😕

 

The charging unit is fine.  The problem is the inverter.  It's not a quality unit.  A friend purchased it for $12 and gave it to me, and it's all I have for now.  I've got one last thing I can try on my old 1Kw inverter, and if that doesn't bring it back to life, I'll shop around for a new one.  Or a decent UPS, they're just inverters with integrated batteries.

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Just wanted to say my Surface Book (first gen, Nvidia graphics, but not the performance base) with i5/8gb of ram plays the game @ about 30fps stable on Ultra-ish settings at ~900p, I dial back the settings a bit and use Cel shading though and its closer to 45fps in most areas, but I max the fps at 30 because I'd rather have a stable 30 than an up and down. 

 

Ironically, my much more powerful iMac, doesn't even have the "advanced" graphics options available, can't figure that out at all... so no shadows, reflections, depth of field, etc

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Should there be a disclaimer on the Intel HD line of integrated graphics?


I am getting 1 fps(!!) with a ThinkPad X1 Carbon 4th Gen (2016) with i7 cpu, 16GB RAM, and an Intel HD 520 integrated graphics card. I have seen threads relating to issues with windows 10 and OpenGL and these cards, without any real solution.

 

(on recommended settings in atlas park, and vsync off, I can get to 100 FPS as long as the camera is looking straight down... until some mobs or wandering cars show up, and then it drops to 1fps. Looking out at the horizon gives me fractional FPS, and the UI button response is laaaaaaaaggy.)

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6 hours ago, olhado said:

Should there be a disclaimer on the Intel HD line of integrated graphics?


I am getting 1 fps(!!) with a ThinkPad X1 Carbon 4th Gen (2016) with i7 cpu, 16GB RAM, and an Intel HD 520 integrated graphics card. I have seen threads relating to issues with windows 10 and OpenGL and these cards, without any real solution.

 

(on recommended settings in atlas park, and vsync off, I can get to 100 FPS as long as the camera is looking straight down... until some mobs or wandering cars show up, and then it drops to 1fps. Looking out at the horizon gives me fractional FPS, and the UI button response is laaaaaaaaggy.)

To my knowledge, at least with that graphics card, that's less to do with its actual performance, and the fact that Windows' OpenGL drivers aren't all that good. For instance, I believe Linux systems tend to work a little better in these cases, due to having better drivers.

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5 hours ago, GM Korvin said:

To my knowledge, at least with that graphics card, that's less to do with its actual performance, and the fact that Windows' OpenGL drivers aren't all that good. For instance, I believe Linux systems tend to work a little better in these cases, due to having better drivers.

Fair enough. Still might be worth letting people know in the guide.

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On 9/4/2020 at 11:37 PM, olhado said:

Fair enough. Still might be worth letting people know in the guide.

That's the hard part.  There's folks who set it up out of the box, and their Intel HD Graphics laptop runs the game.  No tweaking, shims, or configuration necessary.  (Granted, they aren't on Ultra Mode.) There's those who have to use the shim method to get it working, and it works.  Not great, but not terrible. Then there's users who have it who can't get it to play City of Heroes at all.  No amount of configuring or tricks get it to even start.  Even on a brand new laptop.

 

If I tell everyone to avoid Intel, there'll be people popping on here telling me I'm wrong.  If I say it works perfectly, the same.  I can steer people away from ones that won't work at all (Intel Graphics Media accelerator, Intel HD Graphics 3000), but admittedly, it's a roll of the dice.  That's why I listed Intel as the low end of the "Good/Better/Best" spectrum.  If you have the ability to select NVidia or Ryzen with the same amount of money or $50-200 more, those will always be a better choice if you can swing it.

 

And the "Best" is still not perfection: there are systems with dual Intel/NVidia graphics that basically work like a co-processor.  (For NVidia geeks... the Optimus setup.)  The Surface Book line is an example -- everything goes through the Intel Iris Pro chipset no matter what.  The NVidia GPU crunches the graphic data and uses the Iris Pro like a pipe to get to the display.  The clear downside of this bottleneck: if your Iris Pro drivers are out of date or there are hardware issues with Intel, your NVidia GPU is out of luck.  There's no way to run the machine with NVidia only.  But it has to be this way for a particular reason: on the Surface Book when the tablet is removed from the base the Intel Graphics go with it.  The NVidia GPU (and the 2nd battery which the GPU takes advantage of) is left behind on the keyboard base.

 

TL;DR: The guide is not 100% accurate.  Every laptop is going to have some quirks, and the advice has generalities that may miss a few models.

Edited by GM Tahquitz
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Heh, IDK about Ultra mode, but I know that I initially tested this i7 3770k / Intel HD 3000 with the game (desktop) and didn't notice a need for "shims" or any errors with the game (that I can recall). I actually played using it for a while as I ran out of $$ for a GPU with the build and it took a year or so before I got one because the game sunset by then.


OG Server: Pinnacle || Current Server: Torchbearer  || Also found on Indomitable & Excelsior (when needed)

Getting Started  ||  Dredd's Guide to Loading City of Heroes  ||  Install and Troubleshooting Guide v2

Mids' Reborn  ||  HeroStats  ||  Vidiot Maps  ||  QoL, Mods, etc  ||  Heroica! (by @Shenanigunner)

Old Forums  ||  Titan Network  ||  The City Representative (3rd party Info site for all servers)

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4 hours ago, GM Tahquitz said:

That's the hard part.  There's folks who set it up out of the box, and their Intel HD Graphics laptop runs the game.  No tweaking, shims, or configuration necessary.  (Granted, they aren't on Ultra Mode.) There's those who have to use the shim method to get it working, and it works.  Not great, but not terrible. Then there's users who have it who can't get it to play City of Heroes at all.  No amount of configuring or tricks get it to even start.  Even on a brand new laptop.

 

If I tell everyone to avoid Intel, there'll be people popping on here telling me I'm wrong.  If I say it works perfectly, the same.  I can steer people away from ones that won't work at all (Intel Graphics Media accelerator, Intel HD Graphics 3000), but admittedly, it's a roll of the dice.  That's why I listed Intel as the low end of the "Good/Better/Best" spectrum.  If you have the ability to select NVidia or Ryzen with the same amount of money or $50-200 more, those will always be a better choice if you can swing it.

 

And the "Best" is still not perfection: there are systems with dual Intel/NVidia graphics that basically work like a co-processor.  (For NVidia geeks... the Optimus setup.)  The Surface Book line is an example -- everything goes through the Intel Iris Pro chipset no matter what.  The NVidia GPU crunches the graphic data and uses the Iris Pro like a pipe to get to the display.  The clear downside of this bottleneck: if your Iris Pro drivers are out of date or there are hardware issues with Intel, your NVidia GPU is out of luck.  There's no way to run the machine with NVidia only.  But it has to be this way for a particular reason: on the Surface Book when the tablet is removed from the base the Intel Graphics go with it.  The NVidia GPU (and the 2nd battery which the GPU takes advantage of) is left behind on the keyboard base.

 

TL;DR: The guide is not 100% accurate.  Every laptop is going to have some quirks, and the advice has generalities that may miss a few models.



I have friends at nVidia.  Even with SLI'ed RTX2080's, there are still limits imposed by the game's implementation.

So if you think you're going to see colossal  improvements by dropping 2G on a graphics subsystem, have a set of realistic expectations.
And, back in the day, when Quad-SLI was still supported, even IT didn't deliver "Phenomenal Cosmic Powahhhhh!"

And the power draw...


If you want to be godlike, pick anything.

If you want to be GOD, pick a TANK!

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