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GTA 4 (plain jane) takes forever to load main menu

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Darksider13
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#1

Posted 29 August 2013 - 09:27 PM Edited by Darksider13, 30 August 2013 - 04:53 PM.

Alright, so here's an interesting situation for you guys to ponder upon.

I want to start playing some GTA to get ready for V in about 2 and half weeks yeah? Who wouldn't? So I boot up GTA IV and it holds at the black screen that follows the GTA IV logo during the introduction logo display (rockstar logos, ending with the GTA IV logo) for an uncommonly long time. Now, mind you, I haven't even so much as touched any GTA related files, apps, folders, icons, etc. for months. Back in May, I played the game just fine, running around doing as I pleased with no issues. I don't touch the game in months and I just start playing today and I find that it takes forever to get to the main menu.

Ah well, "it's just a one-time thing." I told myself. So I go to load my save file and THAT takes about twice as long as usual. Then I start getting a little weirded out. Finally, my game loads and lo and behold, I can't see Niko. I mean, I can see the environment and everything, but I just can't see Niko. I step outside, I can't even see other human models! I can't see anything but scenery, cars and guns! Wtf?! So jump out of the game and leave it be. Maybe I just booted it with something interrupting operations in the background. Sure enough, nothing was running. Boot it again, takes forever to load again but this time I can see Niko and the other people! Although the lod loading is very off. Textures take years to load completely and sometimes they don't even load at all and I'm stuck looking at a tree from 3 feet away with the textures of as if I was standing a mile down the road. Also, meshes take forever to pop in as well. I'll look at the brooklyn bridge and it'll take about a second to load fully, then I'll turn to my right, look at stuff and wait for it to load and then look back at the bridge. All for it to not even be there again! Oh wait, it just took another second to load.

Weird. I didn't change a single setting between now and then.

Now get this. I turn the game off again and try to boot it up again in hopes that things are slowly fixing themselves.

AGAIN MIND YOU, I HAVE NOT TOUCHED ANYTHING BETWEEN NOW AND THE LAST TIME I BOOTED THE GAME.

I start the game up once more, directly after closing it, go through the lengthy load times that don't seem to change. ALL TO FIND THE PLAYER MODEL GONE AGAIN. WTF?! I didn't do anything! So why would that change?!

I'm honestly baffled. It's probably my massive swarm of about 20 gigs worth of mods that just randomly decided to act up today of all days. (Again, I've played fine with all the same mods. I've done nothing to alter the game state whatsoever between may and now. I even checked the folder to see when it was last modified and sure enough, it said May 26th.)

I uninstall GTA IV and EFLC. I delete the remaining files left over from the steam uninstall. Now I'm doing practically a fresh install of the game.

Take about an 45 mins, get everything downloaded again and start the game just as it was downloaded from Steam, without any mods applied.

Same f*cking long ass load times... BUT HEY, I can see Niko at least! And the texture and mesh lod issues don't seem to be appearing either, but then again, I'm playing without any of my mods. SO, fine gentlemen/ladies of the GTA 4 modding and support community, HOW THE f*ck DO I STOP ALL THIS RANDOM sh*t FROM HAPPENING?!!!!!!!!!!!


Some preface information that you guys are probably gonna ask for:

Hardware:
AMD PhenII x4 965 black (OC'd 10%, but that's been that way since March)
GTX 660 factory oc'd
8 gb DDR3 (both sticks have same clock speed)
550 watt supply
ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO Mobo (2009 I believe)

Running the game off of a 500 gb Seagate portable drive. I've been running every single one of my games that way for the past 3 years on the same exact hard drive in the same exact port without issue ever so you can't tell me that's the issue lol.

Things I've tried:
-Deleting my entire saved file in my saved games folder under GTA IV in the App Data folder.
-Turning VSync off
-Fresh install (or as fresh as completely uninstalling it from steam and then deleting any remaining files as well as the original source folders)
-ran with "-norestrictions -nomemrestrict" applied before and after uninstalling the game. It's currently taken off from the command line.
-Defrag'ing the hard drive. Even though my analysis from last night says it had 0% fragmentation.

Things I'm about to try once I finish writing this:
-Run in Admin
-Run several times to see if there's anymore issues with the LOD and at least slice that issue off the list
-See if similar issues persist in EFLC (highly likely)


So yeah! Anyone care to help me out on this little f*cker of a problem?



UPDATE!
So I just ran the game fresh twice in a row directly after posting this and to my surprise, everything loaded super fast and was just peachy! I even played around for a bit the first time I loaded it up to see if the LOD issue was fixed, and I found out that sure enough it was!

I was super excited! Until I ran it a third time. The third time I booted it up, I was met with the extremely prolonged black screen after the intro logos...

NOW, AGAIN, TO REITERATE VERY CLEARLY: I DIDN'T TOUCH ANYTHING BUT THE "Play" BUTTON ON THE STEAM GAME LIBRARY PAGE. I HAVE NOT MOVED FILES OR ADDED FILES OR SUBTRACTED FILES OR EVEN LOOKED AT OTHER FILES. These launches all took place within a 10 minute span. It consisted of me hitting play, then logging into Rockstar Club. Then I clicked "Start" under GTA IV, then I loaded my saved game and played. That's what I did, both times I loaded the game DIRECTLY AFTER I POSTED. Directly after the second time I loaded the game, I went back and hit play again to find that the load times were drawn out again.

I'M NOT EVEN LOOKING AT ANYTHING LET ALONE TOUCHING ANYTHING UGH.




UPDATE #2!!!
Alright so I basically have been messing around with it for the entirety of the day and I eventually stumbled upon a perfect game state. LOD was fixed, game loads fast, nothing was the matter besides the randomly lenghty (and sometimes short) load times to get to the main menu after the opening logos.

Then I went and changed the popcycle.dat file. Now mind you, I've been switching that file out all day back and forth. The same file, just switching it out in an attempt to diagnose my taxi bug and see what was responsible. Well after going back and forth between popcyles, and I had finally determined the source of my taxi bug, I put the new popcyle in my common/data folder and then boom. The LOD sh*t happens again.

Well, f*ck. So I go and look around for some help, I find a youtube video showing my exact same problem with almost the identical situation. There's a suggestion for a fix that has tons of thumbs up in the comments section.

I tried that fix. What did I get from that fix?

Load times that were actually 4x longer than my initial load times.

I mean come on. This is ridiculous. I mean, the game loads fast or slow randomly whenever I launch it, there doesn't seem to be any provoking factor at all that could be altering the load times for ANYTHING. I mean, hell. I made sure my game folder was as clean as a whistle. No loose files, no superfluous crap, nothing unintended.

Yet I still get this f*cking LOD issue. And now the load times are back up to hella huge highs.

I'm literally back to where I was this afternoon...

Only tests left to run are Admin and running EFLC to see if the same situation is going down there.




Please, I'm begging any of you, please help. This is driving me absolutely insane.

UPDATEEEE NUMBER f*ckING 3!!!!

So after a good night's sleep, I come back to try and diagnose the issue more. I've tried numerous fixes. Like about 25 different fixes. Minor and Major. Nothing has managed to f*cking make the LOD or objects load properly. I am, once again, doing a fresh install of GTA 4 and EFLC (which I found wasn't even able to f*cking START with the same mods applied, and yes the mods are EFLC compatible). I'm going to go from the start and essentially just work through and see when the LOD issue starts kicking in. I'm also going to see if I can fix the really long intro logo load time as well.

Wish me luck.

Anyone have any input, feel free to shoot it out.

brian.
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#2

Posted 30 August 2013 - 05:31 PM

Which program did you use to defrag?

I recommend Auslogics Disk Defrag (the stand alone version is still available on download.com afaik)

When I overclock anything - my memory, my cpu, my gpu, it always messes up IV. I'm not saying it's your issue, but it has consistently been an issue to me to the point I do not overclock at all anymore. Issues like this are possible, but the texture issue tells me it also may be heavily fragmented, depending on the program your using?

What settings are you using in the options? Possible to screenshot that for me? the screenshot would be better than a list of the settings.

We should be able to get you going, let's do some extra investigating starting with the above icon14.gif

Darksider13
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#3

Posted 30 August 2013 - 05:36 PM Edited by Darksider13, 30 August 2013 - 06:45 PM.

QUOTE (brian. @ Friday, Aug 30 2013, 17:31)
Which program did you use to defrag?

I recommend Auslogics Disk Defrag (the stand alone version is still available on download.com afaik)

When I overclock anything - my memory, my cpu, my gpu, it always messes up IV. I'm not saying it's your issue, but it has consistently been an issue to me to the point I do not overclock at all anymore. Issues like this are possible, but the texture issue tells me it also may be heavily fragmented, depending on the program your using?

What settings are you using in the options? Possible to screenshot that for me? the screenshot would be better than a list of the settings.

We should be able to get you going, let's do some extra investigating starting with the above icon14.gif

Wooh! A helpful soul!

I used the default windows defrag utility. All of my drives are at 0% fragmentation except for one of my other externals because of an issue I had a while back with corrupted data.

Settings are at max, and they always have been since I owned the game. I'm just finishing downloading everything here now so once it's all done and installed, I'll go ahead and post a screeny.

P.S. I love your sig <3

P.P.S. Here's the image for my settings: http://imgur.com/iNlMgNJ. Also, I just started the game from a completely 100% fresh install and I got the super long loading times again but even longer than before. Not to mention the loading screen was very jerky. It would freeze for a sec but then keep going. Then it would freeze for like a minute then continue going again. No problems in-game though as far as I saw.

P.P.P.S!!! I found a video that shows EXACTLY what my game is doing. Two videos actually.

The loading problem I'm talking about: http://www.gtaforums...howtopic=528769
The LOD problem I'm talking about:

brian.
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#4

Posted 30 August 2013 - 07:49 PM Edited by brian., 30 August 2013 - 07:52 PM.

Ok, let's do a few things at a time;

Firstly, perhaps the game ran maxed like this fine in the past? Has it ever worked perfectly fine, maxed, before? Forgive me if I'm forgetting something from the open post, let's just re-affirm: You have maxed this game, in this same setup, in the past, and now it's bad?

Which antivirus are you using? Is it capable of being disabled for a quick in-game test?

As far as settings go -

You probably do not want vsync - if you're set to 60hz, and not doing more than 60fps, don't worry about it, 30 solid FPS is the target, we can get more with your rig, but let's target 30 solid without issues.

Has there been a recent power outage or botched restart on the system? Is it possible at all that DMA has been disabled on the drive? Check to make sure DMA is enabled on your harddrive - you wouldn't necessarily notice it was off until something like GTA IV's streaming was thrashing it or watching very high def/high bitrate video locally.

Disable the steam overlay, this has always hit me for performance, not sure why, maybe it conflicts with the GFWL overlay and securom or something, not sure, but I tend to just run GTA IV from "launchGTAIV.exe" now, instead of from my library, and I have disabled the in game overlay in the game's properties in steam. You can of course disable it ONLY for GTA IV, rather than globally, through the game's own in-steam properties.

Those maxed settings (definition: off is actually higher settings than on, on just disabled depth of field and motion blur tounge.gif ) could cause this kind of streamer pop in very easily, however the freezing loading screen makes me wonder about the health of the drive, and whether DMA is enabled/has been disabled as a precaution by the OS (wish it would tell us when it does that tounge.gif )

The OS, what is the Operating System? Xp, Vista, 7, or 8?

Try putting the game to 15 view distance, 30 detail temporarily - before starting the loading screen - and see if the rendering is fixed, even if the game still loads choppy.

We will find the cause of this, for sure. Especially if you've ran it fine on those settings in the past (your rig seems capable too, so probably did)

Thanks for the compliment on the sig, I made it at a time people were really heated at me for my discussions in V xD

If on vista or 7 or 8, make sure any automatic defragging is disabled, and use defraggler or (preferably -> ) auslogics disk defrag (it's faster and more thorough)

The built in defrag on windows can cause a lot of issues with games that rely heavily on asset streaming, especially if it's in the default "always on" settings.

Darksider13
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#5

Posted 30 August 2013 - 08:10 PM Edited by Darksider13, 30 August 2013 - 08:55 PM.

QUOTE (brian. @ Friday, Aug 30 2013, 19:49)
Ok, let's do a few things at a time;

Firstly, perhaps the game ran maxed like this fine in the past? Has it ever worked perfectly fine, maxed, before?  Forgive me if I'm forgetting something from the open post, let's just re-affirm: You have maxed this game, in this same setup, in the past, and now it's bad?

Which antivirus are you using? Is it capable of being disabled for a quick in-game test?

As far as settings go -

You probably do not want vsync - if you're set to 60hz, and not doing more than 60fps, don't worry about it, 30 solid FPS is the target, we can get more with your rig, but let's target 30 solid without issues.

Has there been a recent power outage or botched restart on the system? Is it possible at all that DMA has been disabled on the drive? Check to make sure DMA is enabled on your harddrive - you wouldn't necessarily notice it was off until something like GTA IV's streaming was thrashing it or watching very high def/high bitrate video locally.

Disable the steam overlay, this has always hit me for performance, not sure why, maybe it conflicts with the GFWL overlay and securom or something, not sure, but I tend to just run GTA IV from "launchGTAIV.exe" now, instead of from my library, and I have disabled the in game overlay in the game's properties in steam. You can of course disable it ONLY for GTA IV, rather than globally, through the game's own in-steam properties.

Those maxed settings (definition: off is actually higher settings than on, on just disabled depth of field and motion blur tounge.gif ) could cause this kind of streamer pop in very easily, however the freezing loading screen makes me wonder about the health of the drive, and whether DMA is enabled/has been disabled as a precaution by the OS (wish it would tell us when it does that tounge.gif )

The OS, what is the Operating System? Xp, Vista, 7, or 8?

Try putting the game to 15 view distance, 30 detail temporarily - before starting the loading screen - and see if the rendering is fixed, even if the game still loads choppy.

We will find the cause of this, for sure. Especially if you've ran it fine on those settings in the past (your rig seems capable too, so probably did)

Thanks for the compliment on the sig, I made it at a time people were really heated at me for my discussions in V xD

If on vista or 7 or 8, make sure any automatic defragging is disabled, and use defraggler or (preferably -> ) auslogics disk defrag (it's faster and more thorough)

The built in defrag on windows can cause a lot of issues with games that rely heavily on asset streaming, especially if it's in the default "always on" settings.

1. The game has run like this perfectly in the past. With all mods equipped and everything. And you're fine, I know there's a lot to read in that post so I don't blame you asking questions for reaffirmation lol.

2. Ad-Aware. Have used it since I built my computer and has never interfered with anything besides downloading somethings in the past.

3. Vsync was only enabled by the game when I reinstalled it as a fresh install. It set the settings automatically so vsync was on. I normally play with it off.

4. No power outage. Thank goodness my baby hasn't been hit with a surge or anything of the like. DMA is also enabled.

5. I'll try disabling the overlay in a moment, I'm still debugging the system to trying to see what's causing the LOD issue. Honestly, I can live with the inital prolonged loading screen if I HAVE to as long as the game runs well. Waiting an extra minute or less for the game menu to appear is a lot better than having to deal with this texture pop sh*t.

6. I was actually wondering if definition could be the cause of it because that was enabled when I was playing back in may I remember because I didn't remember seeing it in the settings and I didn't know what it did so I thought I'd try it. I swear to god, if that's the cause of this whole problem I'm going to cry so hard.

7. 7 Ultimate x64

8. I will try that fo sho.

9. I'll go grab that auslogics app then. Sounds useful.

P.S. I've tried running the fresh install of the game several times and haven't had LOD issues YET. The loading issue that started when I installed the game is gone. It doesn't take that long to load anymore, but the prolonged black screen at startup is still there. I installed a car pack just a moment ago that replaces every vehicle model in the game. That didn't seem to cause any problems aside from the taxi bug which is easily fixable.

P.P.S. So I turned go to my graphics settings to turn of Definition and WHAT THE HELL?! My graphics settings were totally changed for me? Like wtf? My view distance was at 1, my night shadows were off and my texture qualities were changed. But it wasn't the same settings the game used for me when I installed it. It was totally different. Vsync wasn't on but detail was at 100. I have absolutely no clue how that could've happened because I didn't change anything that would even effect my settings except for maybe that car pack I installed. I don't know, regardless, the LOD issue still isn't there even after I added new textures and such. Now I'm going to try using ENB and see if that f*cks anything up.

P.P.P.S. Alright so I tested the game with ENB and I have some bugs thanks to some kid's personal iceshader.dat file I installed but I will be taking care of that right now. Also I'm going to apply the traffic fix and some scripts. But I'm going to run this one more time without altering it and see if I get the same result as the previous playthrough.

Darksider13
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#6

Posted 30 August 2013 - 09:20 PM Edited by Darksider13, 30 August 2013 - 10:42 PM.

Okay... So I've narrowed it down to ENB sadly... When I applied it, the objects not loading and the texture popping came back in style. I walked out the door and there was just empty space after the intersection to the left. Like nothing. Just straight sky.

No, I don't even f*cking know what's going on. Seriously. I started the game again without changing a single thing and it went back to taking forever to load again. I quit it and started it again and had to FORCE quit because it wasn't even loading! I started it up again and then I get out on the streets and absolutely nobody is there. No cars, no people. Only objects. And the LOD issue of course. In the distance, objects take seconds to load and textures take forever to appear clear.

This is f*cking ridiculous. I'm not changing anything I had only applied a car mod (worked perfectly fine), a texture pack (worked perfectly fine) and ENB. When I put ENB on, it started taking a sh*t. But this is insane because I'm using the SAME EXACT ENB FROM MAY WITH THE SAME SETTINGS AND f*ckING EVERYTHING UGH WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?! It's all f*cking random. All of it. Nothing seems to be prompting anything, it just chooses when it wants to load properly or not. I swear, I had a great setup back then and now my sh*t just doesn't work at all. What the f*ck.



SO, definition isn't causing problems, the overlay isn't causing problems (ran without it)... I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO f*ckING CLUE WHAT COULD BE CAUSING ANY OF THIS... I mean, the LOD issue isn't there with ENB, it was just there ONE time. NOW, we're back to f*cking having the people in the game be invisible! Again, without me doing ANYTHING but quitting the game and then hitting play directly after.

I'm gonna have a breakdown soon.

SlaveZer0
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#7

Posted 30 August 2013 - 10:34 PM Edited by SlaveZer0, 30 August 2013 - 10:42 PM.

it doesnt help you are using a portable drive, it is mainly the culprit, and being they are not made to run games it may be affecting the drives performance that has degraded due to improper use. if you want to run games from an external drive, either use esata or usb 3.0, those are fast enough. have you tried loading to an internal hdd? it could also be your motherboard going bad...

Darksider13
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#8

Posted 30 August 2013 - 10:44 PM

QUOTE (SlaveZer0 @ Friday, Aug 30 2013, 22:34)
it doesnt help you are using a portable drive, it is mainly the culprit, and being they are not made to run games it may be affecting the drives performance that has degraded due to improper use. if you want to run games from an external drive, either use esata or usb 3.0, those are fast enough. have you tried loading to an internal hdd? it could also be your motherboard going bad...

But it's not really improper use if no other game has had issues with it. On my macbook pro I ran GTA from my internal drive once. That's about it. I've never run any games on this computer with an internal drive except for things like Sims, Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds and other older, smaller games.

Not to mention, all of my local buds run their games from portable drives as well. Even my dad uses the same exact hard drive for just as long as I have and we've never had issues.

Darksider13
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#9

Posted 31 August 2013 - 02:30 AM

Well! To put a temporary halt to this topic (I'm gonna come back to it eventually considering I'd like to actually play GTA 4), I found that EFLC is working alright for me with the mods I want to use and there's no LOD issue which makes me quite happy so I'm just gonna play that instead considering that's giving me far less problems.

Feel free to diagnose the issue further if you would like or need help for a similar situation. All the information you'd really need is here for you.

brian.
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#10

Posted 05 September 2013 - 02:53 AM

Really strange man. Portable drive could potentially still be a culprit consider GTA is heavily reliant on constantly loading through streaming its world and objects and other things, many games only stream audio if that - an initial load per level, then play the level, and you're loading the next one - you wouldn't notice this issue.

However, that EFLC works fine is strange. Same drive, presumably? Odd indeed. It's got to be a software issue. How about humor me with a quick "validate" of the local files on steam?

Super weird that one works and not the other tounge.gif

EvilDog77
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#11

Posted 07 September 2013 - 04:20 PM

It has nothing to do with mods. I've been having this problem for a while now and so have many others I know. It seems to have been caused by a specific Windows update, though I have no clue which one.


Deadly Target
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#12

Posted 07 September 2013 - 10:12 PM Edited by Deadly Target, 07 September 2013 - 10:19 PM.

This problem has also started occuring for me in the past few weeks. It can't be an issue with GFWL or Social Club because it still happens with xliveless installed. It could be a new Windows Update causing it, but I turned auto updates off awhile back and I'm pretty sure this didn't start happening until later on. :/


Darksider13
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#13

Posted 09 September 2013 - 03:01 PM

Well to let you all know, I somehow have found that Chikamru's Real Traffic fix worked for me. Originally, I used a file that I was told was Chikamru's fix that came with a car mod I had and it didn't change anything. Then I found a kid on YouTube who actually made a video about a fix for this last month. He uploaded the straight traffic fix alone, I put it in my directory for funzies and now my environment problems are fixed!... For the most part.

 

I still experience the problem randomly. GTA 4 and EFLC now randomly load in completely volatile states. Sometimes, if I get chased by the police in Time Square and either them or myself shoot while driving through time square, my game crashes. Also the loading problem can randomly arise either as the game launches or at the start or end of a mission.

 

The game is completely fidgety and I'm just glad that V is coming out next week because playing this is starting to bug me.

 

Although now, I've encountered an issue where I can't use the internet, watch tv or get hot dogs or soda from vending machines either. I can only play the base game. I have to use the trainer to access the internet when I need it which is annoying.

 

Anyhow, the initial loading issue is still there and I haven't found a fix for it so I've given up there. But now I'm back to trying to find a fix for my tv problems because I REALLY WANNA WATCH TBOGT's TV SHOWS BECAUSE THEY WERE GREAT.





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