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Help with AdvDisp and Radar Contact 4


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Hi all,

This is in the hope of a bit of help.

I've been using a new install of RC4 which uses AdvDisp for its screen/pilot interactions. Unusually from most other users however I have been experiencing long delays between the keystroke interactions I make in response to menu items listed by RC4 in the AdvDisp window and RC4's generated controller or pilot voice responses. These delays are usually between 15 and 20 seconds which makes the program difficult to use.

The RC guys are looking into this for me but the one and only thing I have been able to determine that alters this behaviour is right-clicking on the AdvDisp window to bring up its local menu. When I do this the delayed interaction proceeds immediately and apparently at the speed its supposed to. It appears that the delay might be something to do with the AdvDisp window or how my machine is handling it.

Has anyone come across anything like this before with other applications that use AdvDisp, or any thoughts on what might be the cause. Another user did get the same behaviour but it reverted to normal on restarting the programs - with my machine it's persistent.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

Ian

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I have been experiencing long delays between the keystroke interactions I make in response to menu items listed by RC4 in the AdvDisp window and RC4's generated controller or pilot voice responses. These delays are usually between 15 and 20 seconds which makes the program difficult to use.

How odd. All that happens with the keystrokes is that they set a flag inside FSUIPC which is read by RC on its next scan.

The RC guys are looking into this for me but the one and only thing I have been able to determine that alters this behaviour is right-clicking on the AdvDisp window to bring up its local menu. When I do this the delayed interaction proceeds immediately and apparently at the speed its supposed to. It appears that the delay might be something to do with the AdvDisp window or how my machine is handling it.

No, I am quite sure that is an incorrect interpretation of what you are seeing. The same will probably occur whenever you do something which takes the processor away from FS. Advdisplay is not at all involved in anything to do with keystrokes, it is merely a passive display window -- but right-clicking puts FS into a menu mode which stops a lot of its other activity.

I think that something is really very very heavily using the processor (you ARE running RC on the same PC as FS I assume?). Maybe you have FS's settings turned up rather high for the power of the video card and main processor, and RC is not actually getting to run very often?

Try limiting FS's frame rate (Options-Settings-Display-Hardware I think). Reduce it to something low to start with, like 15. If that helps, increase it until you get problems, then reduce it a little.

This sort of thing is really quite important whjen trying to get things to share the processor well with FS, which otherwise wants to use it 100%. If you have a dual processor system, or one with Hyper Threading then it shouldn't be necessary.

Regards

Pete

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Hi Pete

Thanks for your prompt reply.

I've been through the rounds with this. I can see in windows task manager that fs is utilising approx 95% & upwards of the cpu when running. The numbers jump about a bit but its taking most of the cpu. The only other process consuming is Explorer.exe and the rest of the background processes are just sitting there apparently not doing much. When RC is running it takes 2 or 3 % momentarily but mainly sits at 0%.

Moving all the sliders to minimum in FS results in frame rates at my set limit of 20 fps, fs continues to draw 95%+ of the cpu and there is no noticeable improvement in the delay problem. Killing many of the non-essential processes (the extent of RC support's suggestions so far) has no effect either.

Right clicking then in the window does, as you suggest, halt, or rather slow fs - its cpu consumption drops and whilst rc "speaks" the "system idle process" takes up the bulk of the cpu %tage - not rc. Once the rc voice has finished but before I left click in the AdvDisp to re-activate FS the cpu split between fs and rc goes to about 60/40 in fs's favour (the numbers do move about a bit) it seems to stay there until I left click. After left clicking fs returns to consuming most of the cpu with rc returning to 0% most of the time. So to summarise the halt on fs by right clicking does reduce its cpu consumption but this isn't taken up by rc immediately - the system idles, although the rc menu & voice responses continue rc doesn't take cpu until after its spoken and it is waiting for me to take the action I've agreed to at which stage it consumes 30 to 40% of cpu with fs taking the rest. Reactivating fs returns it to taking most of the cpu.

I've tried re-setting the priorities of these processes - setting rc to high and fs to low in an attempt to allow rc to get the cpu it needs when it needs it but this does not appear to have any effect on either the problem or the cpu allocations.

The solution may well be to do with halting some of fs's activity - but I'm not convinced it's a cpu capacity problem. The symptoms suggest something more akin to removing a "blockage" or hold which then allows rc to continue.

Hmmmmm!

Yes, both rc and fs are on the same machine which has a single processor.

Ian

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The solution may well be to do with halting some of fs's activity - but I'm not convinced it's a cpu capacity problem. The symptoms suggest something more akin to removing a "blockage" or hold which then allows rc to continue.

Hmmmif RC is actually running okay except for this apparent delay, could that delay be in the spoken response you are expecting rather than the action RC is taking? In other words, maybe there's a problem with the sound subsystem? Try shutting FS's sound off (Q) to see if that may be related. Maybe changing the sound acceleration in Windows may help (e.g. turning it off).

I really have no experience of ever trying to run things on the same PC as FS except with hyperthreading PCs (P4 3.0 GHz or better), where there certainly is no problem. The symptoms you describe seem most odd, though, as you say somehow dependent on some common resolurce, as I'd expect setting RC at a higher priority than FS to cause some about of jerky behaviour in FS.

Could it be a memory capacity problem? How much memory does your PC have? (What processor is it anyway? Achieving only 20 fps with all sliders low it sounds rather underpowered for FS2004).

Regards,

Pete

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Pete,

Your thoughtful comments are appreciated.

Machine is an athlon 2100+ with 1gig of DDR ram. The 20 fps is because the rate is top limited at that in the fs settings - if I remove the limit it'll go higher. With fs and rc running only about 50% of the physical memory is used.

I wondered about the sound before and have tried removing the acceleration, setting sound to low, switching the fs sound off and even moving from onboard audio to a separate sound card - none of which has any effect.

I have further noticed that left clicking on the main fs window has the same "releasing" effect as does clicking in the AdvDisp window - it's to do with changing fs's process status in some way not AdvDisp. Pausing fs has no effect nor does opening and closing fs panel windows or changing the view (switching from 2D to VC to Spot View etc).

A further point is that the releasing effect is not just once rc is up and running it also speeds up rc's start up routine- but only after it has started its interactions with fs through fsuipc. Normally when starting rc with a saved flight it instructs fs to load the flight then the rc window sits for a while before minimising and starting its population of the advdisp window with menus etc. If I left click in fs whilst the rc window is waiting it immediately minimises and writes to advdisp - it's not just user interactions and rc responses that are being delayed, its more general.

You might be able to help specifically here - can you suggest another (free) fs addon that uses fsuipc and advdisp that I can try - ie is this just an rc issue?

Also, a workaround for me (i'm pretty stumped by this problem and might not be able to solve it) might be to write a program that periodically and rapidly left then right clicked in the active window. I could set this running once fs and rc where going - if the click speed was rapid enough it probably wouldn't be noticeable in fs. Pretty inelegant but better than shelving rc. Where might I go to learn how to script this?

Thanks again

Ian

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I have further noticed that left clicking on the main fs window has the same "releasing" effect as does clicking in the AdvDisp window - it's to do with changing fs's process status in some way not AdvDisp.

Yes. It really does sound as if FS is not relinquishing control of the processor very often. Not surprising with only an Athlon 2100+, I found such a machine struggled with FS2002 even, let alone FS2004 (I had one similar years ago, for FS2000).

You might be able to help specifically here - can you suggest another (free) fs addon that uses fsuipc and advdisp that I can try - ie is this just an rc issue?

No, not at all. It is really looking like a horsepower issue. I really think you either need a much faster PC or a separate Networked PC to run RC (or any other separate programs) on.

Regards

Pete

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  • 4 weeks later...
I've a problem, using RC4 and advdisp.

...

but sometimes the advdisp window is blank. No text in it. Why?

The most likely reason is that you have something else also displaying things. Try right-clicking on the window and selecting the "multiline" option. Then only multiline messages will go to this window, the others will go to FS as usual. RC is either the only, or one of very few, programs using multiple lines.

Incidentally, for RC you can make the window a bit shorter (the number of lines never exceeds what you see above), and it looks much neater if you "dock" it or "lock" it, at your choice. If you have space on your panel you can make it look more like a panel instrument -- change the font and colours to match as you wish.

And I've a question. Can I made advdisp window transparent? Like default FS ATC window.

For Windows XP (only) I can make transparency and translucency work in FS's Windowed mode (I have a version here which does this). But I can find no way of making it work in FS full screen mode (on FS2004) without an horrendous flicker (at the frame rate I think) making it not only unusable but very annoying.

I've not released this version because I think most folks use FS in full screen mode. If you don't, you can certainly try it if you like, let me know. It isn't fully working the way I like (sometimes after changing an option is isn't repainted in the right transparent/translucent mode, and I have no setting at present for varying the amount of translucency).

I'm afraid I've never found a way into the parts of FS which do windows like the ATC one. I wish I had managed to do it, because it would be great to divert the FS default ATC messages to a separate program for appropriate responses or actions, possible automatically.

Regards

Pete

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And I'd be very grateful, if you send me the other version of advdisp, which you wrote about. I'll try it in windowed mode.

Attached.

Oh, one of the problems, when the window is transparent, is that right-clicking on it to get the menu and change options is almost impossible -- the transparency means the mouse is really clicking the window below! the same seems to apply to the FS windows too, so it isn't just me. I found that if you have thick enough font characters you can, with care, right-click on one of then (just!) and get the menu, but it can take many tries!

As I said, it also seems to swap between transparent and translucent all by itself, on occasion, when anything else is changed. I couldn't find out why, and I'm afraid I lost interest when I saw what it was like in full screen mode! :-(

Regards,

Pete

Advdisp2151.zip

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... in full screen mode I've 20-25fps in windowed mode I only have 2-3! fps.

That's very odd. These days, with almost all video cards, there is virtually no difference in performance. In fact on my systems I get slightly higher frame rates in Windowed mode.

The last video cards I am aware of that gave the sort of difference you mention were the old 3dfx Voodoo cards, which only accelerated in full screen mode.

As a matter of interest, can you tell me the video card model, driver version, FS full screen mode resolution, and Windows resolution? Maybe you have the resolutions wildly different or somehow have 3D acceleration disabled in Windowed mode?

Regards,

Pete

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Ati Radeon 9800Pro with catalyst 5.10.

Both Windows and FS in 1024x768.

Ahwish I'd known that before Saturday last -- I've only got one PC with an ATI card, and it was a 9800XT, but I upgraded it to an X800 which I purchased cheap from a friend who's gone over to PCI-Express (twin, SLI-connected!).

I'm using Catalyst 5.13 drivers (from December last year), and Windows XP. Maybe ATI cards/drivers don't accelerate Windows -- if they don't, they'll be the only make of video card I know of which don't. I'll just go try. I'm using WinXP SP2, by the way. You?

[Later]

In maximised Windowed mode on my ATI card running 5.13 drivers I'm getting almost the same frame rate as in full screen mode -- if anything, in windowed mode it is measuring very slightly higher, maybe 1 fps or so on average. The only difference which can be noticed at all is the presense of the title bar at the top. Everything else looks and feels identical.

I really don't know what's going wrong on your system, but it will be to do with the video card driver settings I should think. If you have stuff like anti-aliasing turned on in FS (Options-Settings-Display-Hardware), turn it off -- go turn that on in the drivers. Same for anisotropic filtering and that sort of stuff.

I'm really not the person to give advice about video settings, especially for ATI cards (I' almost 100% nVidia -- the exceptions being one ATI card for testing, and two Matrox Parhelia cards for triple screen connections and displays. Maybe you could pose the question (as to why you have such a discrepancy between full screen and Windowed) over in the FS2004 Forum.

Regards,

Pete

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