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Old 09-22-2007, 04:55 AM   #1   Add To Ignore List  
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Wink Serious cutscene problems - pretty much solved

Ok, here's the deal:

The game runs fine and everyting, except that in most of the cutscenes, begining with intro, which particularly pisses me off, the video is very slow and freezes eventually (intro gets only as far as to the scene where sam kills the frog-things with grenade launcher). Audio works fine, though it chopps from time to time.

So... I can hear what's going on, but that's abut everything.

I've played the game a bit, though not too far, since I don't want to ruin my experience if it can be helped, and found that some of the shorter cutscenes play fine. Others have the same problems as intro.

Now what I've done to fix this:

Updated the game
Ran the game in safe mode and in the smallest resolution available
Installed the latest official drivers for my graphics card (GeForce 6600, BTW)
Flashed the motherboard
Uninstalled all codecs
Wrote this post.

Nothing helped so far, though I hope the last thing will yeild some results... =)

BTW, if I will be unable to fix it, is there a way to play the movie files outside the game? I know that the movies in warcraft were simply mpegs in a directory somewhere... It would suck, but at least I would know that when I finish the game, I will learn how the story ended =)

Oh, and one last thing - since I ran the game in safe mode, console commands are displayed on the top of the screen. I'm not too sure, but I think it wasn't like that before. Any way to disable that?

Thanks in advance... and for reading such a long post =)

Last edited by King Klear; 09-22-2007 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Changin' icon an' feelin' good.
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Old 09-22-2007, 05:02 AM   #2   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

What's your soundcard? It's very likely that you're using an onboard sound chip, and SS2 literally hates those

Try lowering the maxium amount of sounds in the sound settings and lowering hardware accleration (Start, "Run...", dxdiag---> sounds tab---> hardware accleration).

I had exactly the same problem when I bought SS2, the audio was very choppy from time to time, and I couldn't even watch some of the cutscenes because they lagged so badly. Then I bought a decent soundcard (SoundBlaster Audigy 4) and all of my problems were gone.
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Old 09-22-2007, 05:13 AM   #3   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Will try and report back in a while...

In other news:

Related to my previous suggestion - playing the movies outside the game, I've found out I am actually able to extract the movie files from the archive (Movies_PC_01/2.gro) and then play them... the thing is, it suffers the same problems when played in Media Player as it has in-game.

My first thought was to run it through some of the programs that come with K-lite codec pack to see if it wasn't a codec issue and.. I rembmebered that I've just uninstalled the pack.

I'll be back with more breaking news in... a while or so.

Edit: BTW, the sounds in-game work fine, so I'm not sure if it's a soundcard problem. Will try the suggestions anyway...



Edit2:

I've tried what you suggested (save for buying a new soundcard =) and no change... or rather, lowering hardware acceleration seemed to add a little to the problem.

I have tried to run intro through Gspot codec information tool, and it shows no errors of missing codecs. The movie played fine in it at first, then it got choppy again, though at least I was for the first time allowed to catch a glimpse of the guys Sam is talking to - their apearance being the thing I was looking forward to most, after listening only to their voices for so long.

My theory is that the movies are heavily compressed and that I could be able to convert them to somethig else (keeping extension) and then copy them to the Serious Sam 2\Content\SeriousSam2\Movies\NTSC directory... if my hunch is correct, it could override the files in the archives and play my new, uncompressed video files.

That is, if I can really convert them.


Of course, if anybody has a ny other suggestions....

Last edited by King Klear; 09-22-2007 at 05:37 AM.
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Old 09-22-2007, 09:50 AM   #4   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

I doubt it's the codec or the video files. I have a 6600 too, and for me most of the movies would be sluggish like hell. I updated my vid card driver to the latest official one (something in the 93 series at that time), and it didn't resolve anything. Then I fell back to a somewhat older, but more reliable driver (84.21), and it worked. I still use it. Also, I have onboard audio, and updating my driver helped for the gameplay, and somewhat for the movies too. Maybe worth a shot?

By the way, could you maybe post your full system specs?
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Old 09-22-2007, 10:43 AM   #5   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Well, I seriuosly hate reinstalling video drivers, but I will try the 84.21 one. If it got the movies working right, I'll go for it.

I would like to stress that I have absolutely no problems with audio in-game, so I'd still prefer to blame the codecs. Especially because what I've just discovered:

I extracted some movies and reencoded them to divX (or whatever codec I used), and when played in windows, they run absolutely smoothly and as a bonus, they now take much less space without losing any quality (any visible anyway).
I've also successfully managed to override the original movies in the archive with the new ones.

There are two problems though, if I could solve either of them, I'd be happy:

A) The game fails to play the reencoded movies' video. It plays audio alright and displays subtitles, but the screen is black.
I think I might be able to overcome this later. Maybe.

B) When I play the movies outside the game (and I wouldn't mind that solution much, since alt-tabbing out of the game works very well and takes just a few seconds), the video is perfect, the audio is as good as it gets, but unfortunately, the voices are gone.

It is obviously to allow different language versions. I found that the voices are stored elsewhere in WAVs and are played during the movies at designated times.

However, I think that means that it's the sounds played during the movies that's making the video choppy. The video plays alright untill the voices start. Also, those cutscenes that lack voices are not choppy at all. Somehow, my computer has some difficulty playing the sounds over the video.


I'll try the older drivers and play with the reencoded movies a little more in case I can get them to work in-game... and see what happens.

Oh, and I'm running on

Celeron 1.3 GHz
GeForce 6600
512 RAM
Windows XP
Very likely an onoard soundcard... I'm not sure.
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Old 09-22-2007, 11:34 AM   #6   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Here is a simply fact, you are screwed.

The voices ain't gonna work because they weren't a part of the audio channel in the first place. And secondly, the game wasn't coded to play DivX encoded files, so chances are you will see no more than a black screen until you go back to the default movie files.

Anyway, a Celeron 1.3 GHz and onboard sound? No wonder you are complaining over choppy playback.

Last edited by Fiendian; 09-22-2007 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:23 PM   #7   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Never had any problems with any other game, or anything...

Anyways, the other codecs did not help at all, as expected.

At this moment, I'm trying to encode the extracted movies back to the original format, but with lower bitrate. Hopefully, I might stumble upon a combination which will work.
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:26 PM   #8   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Klear View Post
Never had any problems with any other game, or anything...
Are those 'other games' older than SS2, by any chance?
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:43 PM   #9   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Both older and newer. Oblivion, for example.

Besides, I don't see why should FMV cutscenes get any more performance consuming in newer games, as long as the resolution isn't crazy-big (which it isn't). And I have no performance problems in-game at all.
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Old 09-22-2007, 01:44 PM   #10   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Install the game on a different PC, if it doesn't work, its your copy of the game.
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Old 09-22-2007, 01:54 PM   #11   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

That doesn't sound very likely... It's almost certainly a fault of my system.

I've at last found a workaround to which can satify me for now - I'll just play the movies outside the game after alt-tabbing and add the subtitles. I won't hear the voices in the FVS sequences, but music and sounds are where they are supposed to be so I will just use my imagination on the voices =)

At least I can play the game already and don't have to worry that I won't see the ending cinematic. =)
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Old 09-22-2007, 03:48 PM   #12   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

You said you have frezzings? Like freezings after you have to restart your PC? I had that problem, in editor and in game cutscenes... For half month, but problem dissapeared and i didnt find out what was that... I started thread about that... Only what i have done is that i saw FPS in game cutscenes was about 800FPS and i tryed to limit ingame FPS...maybe that was problem, but after i set fps limit to default there was no problem anymore...strange...
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:10 PM   #13   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by King Klear View Post
Besides, I don't see why should FMV cutscenes get any more performance consuming in newer games, as long as the resolution isn't crazy-big (which it isn't). And I have no performance problems in-game at all.
It's because of the sounds. SS2 is more sound-intensive than most FPSes on the market, and it won't co-operate so well with onboard sound. I learned that the hard way The game ran somewhat fine for me ingame too, but the cutscenes were really choppy until I bought a soundcard.

I'm pretty sure that if you ever bought a soundcard (something like an Audigy 2 ZS or better), the movies would run fine.

There's one more solution (which is a bit tricky) that I can think of- have you tried watching the movies in SED2 (Serious Editor 2?). To do this, open the editor, go to File--->Open--->Document.wld--->and browse the level you want to load in Content/SeriousSam2/Levels folder. Once the level has loaded, press "T" to enter simulation mode. It should display the movies, but I'm not sure if the playback is any better than what it is ingame.
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Old 09-22-2007, 04:34 PM   #14   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Well, I'm quite happy with the media player workaround. Turns out that it has at least one advantage - I can watch the movies while the next level is loading, so it saves some time =) It's a shame there are no voiceovers, but I can live without it. But thanks for suggestion. Might try that later.

I will certainly go and try the editor, once I get to know the game itself. I loved the one in 2nd encounter (though I never finished anything) and modding is my middle name. Or not. But still.


ForgottenSeer:
Nah, the video eventually gets so slow it isn't moving at all... I can still skip the cinematic or wait until it's finished.

So.. I guess that's all from me for now... thank you all for suggestions and even though the solution I came up with was my idea, I don't think I would have gotten it if I didn't make this thread, so... thanks again.

Last edited by King Klear; 09-22-2007 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:27 AM   #15   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Did you ever try Discy's suggestion of installing the 84.21 video drivers? I'm quite sure those would solve your problem.
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:35 AM   #16   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Yep... I'm running them right now... no change...

I'll stick to them though... who knows what other trouble it might save me?
No-one, that's who. But still, I'm too lazy to reinstall them again =)

Edit:

Oh! I've almost forgotten!

I still have the issue of every inside console message apearing on the top of the screen. It's been like that since I ran safe mode and my guess is that it could be disabled by some particular console command or by tweaking the cfg file... anybody know the exact formula?

Last edited by King Klear; 09-23-2007 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:17 AM   #17   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Try entering this in the console:

dbg_bStealthMode=1
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:49 PM   #18   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

What's that stealth mode?
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Old 09-24-2007, 03:26 PM   #19   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

From autoexec_xbox.cfg:

Code:
if(!dbg_bLockStealthMode) {
  // Enter stealt mode (no log, rpt, etc...)
  dbg_bStealthMode = 1;
}
Maybe safe mode uses some override to enable prints to appear at the top of the screen.
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:23 PM   #20   Add To Ignore List  
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Default Re: Serious cutscene problems

Hey everyone.

I have a quick question for the OP. Did you get the game through Gamtap by any chance? I am not sure if it makes much of a difference or not but I am having similar problems to you with the cutscenes and I got SS2 through Gametap.

I have a Core2Duo E6600 2.4GHZ, Geforce 8800GTX Superclocked, Realtek SoundMax 7.1 onboard audio (It works better than a creative card, most system builders these days don't even bother with add on sound cards, creative is crap), Asus P5N32 SLI-Deluxe mobo, 4 GB DDR2, 620w PSU, and plenty of proper cooling. I have other components like DVD drives and HDDs too of course as well.

All of my drivers are up to date including the BIOS itself. I built this machine and many other machines myself and have been building PCs for quite some time. This machine runs pretty much any properly coded game flawlessly (It's not my fault if the game is buggy lol) and as you can see it's specs are more than enough to run SS2. So what could be the problem? I hear the onboard audio thing but the soundmax is no different from a mid-range creative card performance wise. It's actually a physical card that plugs into the motherboard but it uses a special port designed specifically for that card.

Anyway, without going on forever here the basic problem is that the cutscenes aren't watchable. It is weird too because for the first few hours of playing the game they seemed to work fine. All of the sudden they stopped working so I tried restarting the game a few times with no luck and then tried restarting the PC. I haven't been able to figure out what the problem is yet but since it did work within the same play session as when it stopped working I am a little confused. Any help would be appreciated.
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