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Old Nov 18, 2004, 01:06 PM   #1
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Firestorm_ATI
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Default Half-Life 2 stuttering issue

Not sure what happened to all the threads, but I think we need a thread to keep track of the issue so that everyone can know any progress and also so we can all know when a fix is found.

What we do know:
Hardware independent - the problem is found from onboard sound to audigy 2 to high-end studio sound cards, from Radeon 7000 to X800XT PE, normal HDDs to Raid arrays, 256 mb of ram to 1.5 gb of ram, etc.

Defragging, getting more ram, and using tweaks can improve the problem, but usually doesn't fix it. Just sometimes makes it less noticable. People with cutting edge computers with lots of RAM and a defragmented, clean HDD still have the problem.

It is NOT an autosave issue. It happens to most people with the problem every few seconds, even while G-Man is talking during the intro.

Cache size in HL2 and the aperture size don't matter.

It IS a bug with the game.

Some of the tweaks that have improved stuff for some people -

autoexec.cfg:

snd_mixahead 0.7 [ default is 0.1, increasing gradually from .2 to 1.0 has seemed to fix the problem ]
cl_forcepreload 1
sv_forcepreload 1
cl_smooth 0
snd_async_fullyasync 1 [sounds are played whenever the computer gets them and the graphics won't slow down to wait]

In launch options in Steam:
-heapsize 262144 [set it to half your ram or however much you want. defaults to 64 mb]

Quote:
On second thought, before lowering the texture detail, lower your sound quality. This has fixed the skipping problem for a lot of people without a noticable loss in sound quality. The loss of texture detail will be much more noticable.

-Gary McTaggart (Valve)
Lowering detail IMO is an unacceptable way to fix this for people whose framerates are great bar the stutters.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 01:10 PM   #2
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AFAIK the G-Man's speech at the beginning is supposed to stutter like that. I dropped the texture quality one notch (which is all but unnoticable when you're playing the game) and all the gameplay stutters went away. It's not that big a deal.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 02:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panickme
AFAIK the G-Man's speech at the beginning is supposed to stutter like that. I dropped the texture quality one notch (which is all but unnoticable when you're playing the game) and all the gameplay stutters went away. It's not that big a deal.
No its not supposed to do that. The way he talks and the stuttering is two completely different things.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 03:35 PM   #4
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HL is pushing the hardware more then anything before. So while you are progressing even with this huge system load, it has to fish out enormous amount of data from this dynosaure piece of equipment called hard drive. I say Valve did pretty well. So get the fastest one you can buy or build a RAID like i did.

I also switch from 512 to 1G RAM and it does reduce stuttering substantially.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 03:40 PM   #5
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defrag - it solved all my issues.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 04:34 PM   #6
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No problems for me, the only place I notice a slight stutter is at quick save points. I defragged after install, and here is my less than amazing comp:

P4 2.7
XP Home SP2
9600XT 128 MB with Cat 4.11s
1G RAM

Game settings: 1024x768 ; 4xAA 4xAF (plan on jacking AF up tonight)
All settings HIGH; Reflect all.

I've only made it to the save point after I meet Alyx (just started the game this morning before work), so maybe problems will develope later, but right now, all is good.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 06:47 PM   #7
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To the people who said that you need to upgrade to fix--

Like I said, some people with an FX-55, Raid array, 1 GB RAM, X800XT PE, defragged HDD and medium details still have this problem. It seems fairly random.

Tweaks and upgrading help reduce it, just because everything goes faster and so the pauses are a little bit shorter. But it's still a big problem.


Is there anyone not on XP SP2 that is having this problem tho? Most cases I've seen are on XP with SP2 installed. A few people fixed the problem by installing win2k, and a few others may have fixed by redownloading HL2... which I'm not about to do.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 06:47 PM   #8
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Defragging made the stuttering mostly go away for me.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 08:08 PM   #9
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"Subscribes to thread"

I'm having this problem too and my system is pretty top spec.....! It is not as bad as when i only had 512mb of RAM with far-cry, but it is noticible. Particularly in physics heavy areas
I think it may be a CPU-RAM bottleneck, and there may be some kind of bug with the code causing it....

Hopefully a patch will fix it, or "Sigh!" it will have to be yet another monster upgrade for me.......

P.s. Half Life 2 ROCKS!!!!!!
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 09:54 PM   #10
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I'm pretty sure it's a codec problem, at least in my case. I had another MP3 codec listed in the Add/Remove programs window, so I uninstalled that and 99% of the stuttering went away.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 09:56 PM   #11
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Well, I've done a lot of testing and I think I finally have it fixed on my machine.

I disabled the page file. I have a gig of RAM and it never uses more than 700 MB anyways, so I disabled it and made it use my system RAM rather than my HDD and it loads quicker and it doesn't stutter anymore. It even doesn't stutter as much when it's quick saving (still does a tad bit, but no where near as much as it had been).

So all in all, I think it's a problem with the caching of the game... at least on my system anyways.

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Old Nov 18, 2004, 10:21 PM   #12
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It is an audio problem that I think Valve can only fix. I along with many others have tried to fix it with no luck. Im kinda suprised the game was released with this issue. I personally cant stand the stuttering. Im desperately waiting for a fix but I guess Ill just have play through once and another when its fixed. Keep the suggestions coming though.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 11:33 PM   #13
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I don't have any issues. I'm just past the part where you first get the gravity gun.

My sig is up to date with my current specs.

I run at 1024x768 with everything set to High, Reflect All on, and 4x AA with 16x AF.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 11:56 PM   #14
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I have and AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 with 2048MB of 400MHz dual channel DDR RAM and an X800XT-PE and a soundblaster Audigy 2. I have 2 120GIG SATA drives in a 240GIG RAID 0 config. I am running Windows XP service pack 1 with Direct X 9.0c. I have the stutters and turning the resolution down from 1600 X 1200 to 1280 X 960 did not help. I have tried dissabling the AA and AF settings and it doesn't help either. Changing the sound seemed to change the severity of the problem but it still happens all the time. I defraged my hardrive right after I installed the game. Then I did it again after STEAM added a bunch of stuff to get the game working. Everything is up to date with the latest drivers and everything is intalled clean as a whistle.

This game has a problem. When I first experianced it I was sure that it was my soundcard because all the problems would occure when the sound would stutter or repeat. Now I am not so sure. Maybe the sound is stuttering because it is waiting for the game to catch up with it or something. It seems like fog and smoke will stop moving and the whole screen jitters. Whenever the problem occurs it sounds like my hardrives have to think hard for a second and then everything is cool. My hardrive config is very fast though so it doesn't make sense that they would be the problem. I imagine they have double the cache and a faster response time then most hardrive setups.

Just adding my config and more assurance that the game does have a problem. The game is fun and I can enjoy it with the stutters but they are very annoying. One thing I did notice is that the base that you reach soon after the LONG hovercraft ride through the canals does not seem to stutter on my system at all. the intro stutters and a few rooms stutter at the beggining. The canal ride stutters and the game stutters everytime it gets done loading which seems to be every couple of minutes or so. I am at the church with the strange priest and the stutters are gone for now. Probably because the area is not so large. My framerates are high but the game stutters. Doom 3 had tiney little stutters that where hardly noticable every second or so. Changing the tick rate fixed the problem with the stutters but made the people walk slow at times. Halflife 2 has large stutters every 5 to 10 seconds. Farcry used to stutter but the 4.11 drivers fixed the problem. All of my other games work flawless so it is down to Doom 3 and HL2. Doom 3 is very small but HL2 is kinda annoying.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 12:03 AM   #15
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Hmm I had 0 problems throughout the whole game.. even the begining speach was fine. Not much of a helpfull post but just something to point out that not everyone is getting this prob.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 06:21 AM   #16
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Well since it's a common problem, i bet you a patch is on his way very soon. I am pretty confident that we will see major improvement on performance now that the game is finished (and the money is flooding in...)
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 06:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armagedon
Well since it's a common problem, i bet you a patch is on his way very soon. I am pretty confident that we will see major improvement on performance now that the game is finished (and the money is flooding in...)
Well we can always hope... The thread in the steam forums now list almost 50 pages, 700+ posts and 122,000 views. Its increasing with about 200 posts per day.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 08:04 AM   #18
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Of for **** sake... Stuttering is mostlikely because your machines are out of balance. Meaning your vid card is X800 and prosessor 3000+ with onboard audio or creative, but then you might have only 512 MBs of memory and still try to run the game with HIGH quality settings. People that is not possible! One other thing that people very often seems to forget is the hard drive performance.

I must say that I have no stuttering with this game and I have fairly old GFX card. My setups is A64 2800+, 1024 MBs, Gamesurround Fortissimo III and my GFX card is Matrox Parhelia (to be honest I wouldn't like to play this game with any other GFX card). I'm using a 2400x600 resolution with everything else maxed than shader effects and shadows. Sound quality is also set to medium. FPS that I'm getting is ussually 60+, but in big outside areas I get 30+ RARELY drops under 30. Oh forgot to mention that I'm running this game in a RAID 0 parition (2xSeagate 80GB SATA).
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 09:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by painkiller
Of for **** sake... Stuttering is mostlikely because your machines are out of balance. Meaning your vid card is X800 and prosessor 3000+ with onboard audio or creative, but then you might have only 512 MBs of memory and still try to run the game with HIGH quality settings. People that is not possible!
That's just ridiculus, lol.

Machines arent out of balance. And some that have the problem has like 3500+ A64 with an X800 and 2gb+ of memory. HL2 doesnt use much memory either (default heapsize is 64mb).

No, its something much much deeper than computer configuration. And its DEFINETLY something deeper than just "slow computer", slow computers dont stutter, they go slow. I've played Morrowind on a 700/GeforceDDR at sub 20 fps for gods sake. It dont stutter the slightest. In fact it was very playable.

The closest living relatives dont stutter either at high settings (for example Far Cry, Doom III, Max Payne 2, etc).

Its short, sweet and simple if you can understand it: Games dont behave like this unless they are bugged.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 09:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dawdler
That's just ridiculus, lol.

Machines arent out of balance. And some that have the problem has like 3500+ A64 with an X800 and 2gb+ of memory. HL2 doesnt use much memory either (default heapsize is 64mb).

No, its something much much deeper than computer configuration. And its DEFINETLY something deeper than just "slow computer", slow computers dont stutter, they go slow. I've played Morrowind on a 700/GeforceDDR at sub 20 fps for gods sake. It dont stutter the slightest. In fact it was very playable.

The closest living relatives dont stutter either at high settings (for example Far Cry, Doom III, Max Payne 2, etc).

Its short, sweet and simple if you can understand it: Games dont behave like this unless they are bugged.

I did not mean a slow computer. I meant that there is something holding back in your system... That doesn't mean a generally slow computer. Maybe some of them are running a background service that causes it to stutter. I can also get the sound to stutter when I set it to HIGH and everything else in the game HIGH and that is the thing what start the stuttering in graphics also....

Maybe the game acts differently when using DX9 rederer, but as I don't have a DX9 I can't test it. I would take this as a user error. And look again if you really think that people didn't have stuttering problems with Far Cry or D3. Once again user fault for trying to run something their computer isn't capable of.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 09:33 AM   #21
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I dont know what is the problem win2000 pro 4.12 beta
I have a 2500+ 11x212 2 x 512 3500 KIngston hyperx ram running dual channel 2 3 3 11
x800 pro
80 gig 8 meg cache drive empty and degfragged
I have tried 4.11 and 4,12 with same problems. Lowered res and aa/af and sound and still get stutters.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 09:35 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VenomWolf
I dont know what is the problem win2000 pro 4.12 beta
I have a 2500+ 11x212 2 x 512 3500 KIngston hyperx ram running dual channel 2 3 3 11
x800 pro
80 gig 8 meg cache drive empty and degfragged
I have tried 4.11 and 4,12 with same problems. Lowered res and aa/af and sound and still get stutters.
What apps/services are you running in the background? Start closing those one by one and see if it still stutters.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 09:36 AM   #23
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I had the problem and defragged and it vanished... I upgraded after the defrag and the problem was still gone.

Before
P4-2.53
X800 PE
512mb RAM
SB Live X-Gamer

After
P4-2.53
1024mb RAM CL2
SB Audigy 2

Defrag really really helped. I defragged all my drives. The upgrade from 512 to 1024 did still make a difference. With my old system HL2 recommended medium for all the graphics settings at 1024mb it now recommends high. Level load times dropped in half and the stutter from a quick save is 1/2 a second and not even really noticeable.

Of course at 1024mb I also have my paging file disabled which means all of HL2 caching is loaded straight into RAM and I am sure that helps.

PS Running FAT32 on system and games drive.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 10:37 AM   #24
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the audio stuttering has to do with HDD activity. mine only stutters when the HDD is moving. i think people with native serial HDD's might have less of a problem.

my audio settings are set to low, 2-speaker. the audio only stutters when something loads, i.e. the next level.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 02:00 PM   #25
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My HD is native SATA and when I was getting stuttering it was only like 3% fragmented which is not bad at all... However the defrag did fix the issue.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 02:07 PM   #26
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Half-Life 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by painkiller
I did not mean a slow computer. I meant that there is something holding back in your system... That doesn't mean a generally slow computer. Maybe some of them are running a background service that causes it to stutter. I can also get the sound to stutter when I set it to HIGH and everything else in the game HIGH and that is the thing what start the stuttering in graphics also....

Maybe the game acts differently when using DX9 rederer, but as I don't have a DX9 I can't test it. I would take this as a user error. And look again if you really think that people didn't have stuttering problems with Far Cry or D3. Once again user fault for trying to run something their computer isn't capable of.

It isnt due to people overcooking the settings on their PC. I never get stutters like this in D3 or FC.....

I think the original poster and many of the subscribers are trying to point out a definite glitching which a lot of people are reproducing on a variety of different set ups. . . . This would suggest more of a possible bug than your so called "User error" I certainly dont have any background processes on my PC, I've pretty much cleared them all

In my experience the sound and visual stutter occur in tandem, which would suggest it is not a graphics rendering problem




My brother is also getting this problem on his top end socket 939 based system
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 02:48 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkl4805
My HD is native SATA and when I was getting stuttering it was only like 3% fragmented which is not bad at all... However the defrag did fix the issue.
i'm gonna try to defrag. i have vanilla ATA100 though. it might not fix the stuttering.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 03:21 PM   #28
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I defraged and it made it slightly better. I still get lots of stuttering on my computer, like everytime I turn. wtf.. no fix yet?
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 03:32 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rippthrough
defrag - it solved all my issues.
Not exactly considering I just reformatted last night and installed HL2 and it still does it.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 03:46 PM   #30
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Default New Resource for Stuttering Problem Info

Hi,

I have created a site that contains all of the information on this issue that I have seen to date. The site also contains my correspondance with Valve, some theories about the cause, as well as a demo file and config tweak that can be used to test and easily reproduce the stuttering problem for troubleshooting purposes.

http://www.blep.net/hl2stutter/

I will update the site as I get additional information.
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