Hi guys, a quick bit on where we’re at now regarding the sound issues.
There are two separate issues that we can see: crackling audio, and performance issues that appear to be resolved with the /nosound switch.
Some of the cases of crackling audio look like they’re coming from a known hardware incompatibility between certain motherboard chipsets and PCI sound devices. Based on the links in this thread, there are a couple things you can try if you have this problem:
- Make sure you have the latest drivers for your sound card and motherboard.
- In the in-game sound options menu, change the audio fidelity to medium or low.
- Lower the master volume and wave volume in Windows. Some audio drivers seem to be clipping if too much load is placed on them.
- Move the sound card to a different PCI slot if possible.
As for the slowdown, it looks like there several possible causes. Some may be related to the hardware issue that’s also causing the crackle—we haven’t reproduced this in-house yet, but there are enough reports that this looks like a possible culprit. Any fix for this issue will probably have to be a code change on our end or by the manufacturer in their drivers. We aren’t holding our breath for the second option, and are looking for ways we can work around the problems.
In Demigod, we completely replaced the sound system with FMOD. Oddly enough, just about the only thing left from Supreme Commander is the /nosound flag itself, and some of the wiring in the options screens. SupCom did have some specific performance issues related to sound, but unfortunately I think anything we have here that looks the same is just a coincidence. That coincidence could still be hardware based, of course.
Some of the cases of slowdowns we’re seeing look like general CPU bottlenecking that’s not directly related to sound. This is especially likely if you have an older, single core CPU with a newer, faster video card. It’s not that the video card is slowing the system down--it’s that the video is capable of running so much faster than the CPU that reducing the CPU load slightly gives a big performance boost. In these cases, anything you can do to speed up the system will give big returns.
Things you can do:
- Make sure you have the latest drivers for your sound card and motherboard. Seriously! I can’t stress this enough.
- Run defrag on your hard disk.
- Close any background applications you have running. Run a virus checker and a malware/adware remover to get rid of things that are trying to hide.
- In-game, lower the video resolution and settings.
Some things to try specifically for sound perf:
- Make sure your speakers are set to desktop stereo, laptop stereo, or headphones (whatever’s appropriate) and not quadraphonic, surround sound, 5.1, 7.1.
- Make sure audio hardware acceleration is on (Control panel->Sounds and Audio Devices->Speaker settings->Advanced->Performance tab)
- Turn off reverb in the in-game options panel. Reverb is a big CPU load!
- Lower the audio fidelity in-game to medium or low.
We’re still evaluating the reports as they come in—and thanks to everyone who’s sent in a log file and DXDiag report! The more of those we get, the faster we’ll be able to identify and solve whatever is going on.
In the meantime, we’re working with FMOD to find ways to reduce the CPU cost of audio in game, and to make the audio fidelity settings in the options panel have more impact. Ideally, the fidelity settings will mirror the video settings—low settings may now sound all that great, but they’ll be fast.
We’ll keep everyone posted as we get fixes in place.