Need More Info Models missing in character creation, game hangs (1.8.1 and 1.9 beta)

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Version number
1.8.1
Branch
Main
Modded/unmodded
No, I didn't use any mods.

Sheepify

Regular
Summary: Missing models during character creation leading to game freeze
How to Reproduce: Launch the character creation on Windows 7 computer
Have you used cheats and if so which: No
Scene Name (if related): Character creation
Media (Screenshots & Video):
Computer Specs:
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 Pro SP1 with platform upgrade (and all other updates installed)
GPU: eVGA GTX 960, 2GB DDR5
GPU Driver Version: 30.0.14.7381 (version 473.81)
CPU: i5-2500 @ 3.3Ghz
RAM: 24GB DDR5
Motherboard: MSI P67A-G45 MS-7673
Storage Device (HDD/SSD): Samsumg SSD 870 EVO

This is an issue that's been reported months ago, with no official follow-up. Models are missing during character creation phase, which leads to the game hanging up:

Considering there's only one more official update before you decided the game is ready, I'd really like to bloody well be able to play it - especially since it was sold with Windows 7 advertised as being supported. The problem occurs in both main 1.8.1 branch and the new 1.9 beta.

If you still haven't been able to secure a testing machine that you should have had on hand for years, you could at the very least attempt to obtain debugging information from those of us affected.
 

Sciohan

Regular
M&BWB
I recall from a recent thread that they're looking for data samples of this issue, using that telemetry branch thing that writes a big test.tmcap file after pressing some key combo. More samples can't hurt.

If you want to try that workaround again, can you walk me through the steps you took with it? My memory might be failing me here but if I recall correctly you had said in another thread it didn't work for you.
 

Sheepify

Regular
I recall from a recent thread that they're looking for data samples of this issue, using that telemetry branch thing that writes a big test.tmcap file after pressing some key combo. More samples can't hurt.
Thanks, at least they are claiming to be working on this. Typical Taleworlds that I learn that from someone from the community rather than get acknowledgement/update from their own end.

I'll try to send an e-mail, maybe this time they'll respond. Wouldn't bloody well hurt them to let people know "we're looking for debugging information, here are the steps."
If you want to try that workaround again, can you walk me through the steps you took with it? My memory might be failing me here but if I recall correctly you had said in another thread it didn't work for you.
Got the latest procmon64.exe that worked for Win7 (version 3.60 - took a bit to dig out that repo on MS site, so no immediate link). Fire that up, fire Brokenlord, can't get through character creation. Either models start missing immediately, or they stop loading (with noticeable slowdown in high-res texture loading when switching childhood choices), then the game freezes.

Edit: Probably should mention - my first attempt was with the 3.33 version you linked in the other thread, switched to the most recent once that didn't work.

Played a bit with this out of sheer curiosity, and can't see a pattern:

1. Sometimes the models initially load correctly, only to stop displaying in later years' choices
2. Sometimes the models are missing from parents onwards
3. Sometimes parents models display correctly on first pass, then when changing options start degrading in texture quality and/or disappear.
4. It's possible to continue choice selection without models, but in around 20 attempts I've never been able to get through the whole process. The furthest the engine managed to chug along was the final display of MC and the brother, and the game froze.
5. I can still load saves from previous versions and play that without any immediate issues.

In short, this seems to be something related to generation/display of parent/childhood models only, but that's about the only thing I could notice that had any regularity to it. Aside from the fact that the game freezes before I was ever able to complete childhood choices part of character creation.
 

Sciohan

Regular
M&BWB
...
Got the latest procmon64.exe that worked for Win7 (version 3.60 - took a bit to dig out that repo on MS site, so no immediate link). Fire that up, fire Brokenlord, can't get through character creation. Either models start missing immediately, or they stop loading (with noticeable slowdown in high-res texture loading when switching childhood choices), then the game freezes.
...
Assuming that after launching it you clicked okay on filter selection, does it begin populating with events or just stay blank? Things you may want to check for are entries in Event Viewer around the time of first launch for the current Windows session for a failed or blocked driver load.

If the driver is successfully loading, are there other similar drivers potentially interfering? You can get a list of file system minifilters with "FLTMC filters" in command prompt, no quotes. WdFilter, storqosflt, luafv, npsvctrig, FileCrypt, FileInfo, wcifs, Wof are for Windows stuff. You are unlikely to have all of them, for example only luafv and FileInfo are active for me. If feasible you might want to close anything loading additional filters showing up in there and verify that it unloaded.

Finally as a last-minute sanity check, are Windows/Steam/Bannerlord all running on NTFS partitions? If FAT or EXT or some other file system is involved I don't know if ProcMon touches it.
 

Sheepify

Regular
Assuming that after launching it you clicked okay on filter selection, does it begin populating with events or just stay blank?
Yep, it does immediately start logging events. Both versions of it did, for that matter.
If the driver is successfully loading, are there other similar drivers potentially interfering?
Didn't dig that deep, but considering the spread of log entries, didn't seem to be the case.
Finally as a last-minute sanity check, are Windows/Steam/Bannerlord all running on NTFS partitions?
Yep.

Thanks for trying to figure this out. Still no response from Taleworlds, which, honestly, right now is pissing me off more than the fact I can't launch a new game to test the new beta branch.

There's one thing about lack of regular communication with customers, quite another ignoring a critical problem that does not allow to launch the game (or, at least a new one). Bloody "hey, we're working on it, stand by" one-liner would suffice to at least communicate they are aware of this.
 

Sciohan

Regular
M&BWB
Sorry that none of that helped. I'm still curious if there are other minifilters and it doesn't require much digging, my CMD window just looks like
Code:
C:\>FLTMC filters

Filter Name                     Num Instances    Altitude    Frame
------------------------------  -------------  ------------  -----
PROCMON24                               0       385200         0
MBAMProtector                           6       328800         0
luafv                                   1       135000         0
FileInfo                                6        45000         0
I wouldn't expect other filters to interfere with the procmon program catching and displaying events, however if there is an aggressive antivirus with a priority higher than procmon's minifilter it's possible whatever change is happening is being undone by it. Out of curiosity, is Bannerlord installed on an HDD or an SSD? Is said drive going through your motherboard SATA or similar, or going through an external adapter or enclosure of some kind?

Other than that, there have been a couple times even using this workaround that I've messed up character creation. The model loading times can be unpredictable, sometimes just a second, sometimes 5-10 seconds, and trying to advance before it loaded got me frozen again. I can only imagine you've already tried waiting a good while for the models to load in before advancing steps in character creation, but I wouldn't be doing due diligence if I didn't ask.
 

Sheepify

Regular
Sorry that none of that helped.
Appreciate all your time taken to try to figure this out - doubly so considering how Taleworlds itself happily ignores this thread altogether.

I'm still curious if there are other minifilters
Code:
Filter Name                     Num Instances    Altitude    Frame
------------------------------  -------------  ------------  -----
PROCMON23                               0       385200         0
cmdGuard                                6       321200         0
luafv                                   1       135000         0
FileInfo                                6        45000         0
Out of curiosity, is Bannerlord installed on an HDD or an SSD? Is said drive going through your motherboard SATA or similar, or going through an external adapter or enclosure of some kind?
Internal SSD, though not default Steam installation folder. I have my whole Steam library on a secondary HDD, so just copy Bannerlord's folder to the faster SSD. It is running from a secondary, though still full NTFS, partition on the same drive as my OS.
Other than that, there have been a couple times even using this workaround that I've messed up character creation. The model loading times can be unpredictable, sometimes just a second, sometimes 5-10 seconds, and trying to advance before it loaded got me frozen again. I can only imagine you've already tried waiting a good while for the models to load in before advancing steps in character creation, but I wouldn't be doing due diligence if I didn't ask.
Yeah, whatever is happening is not loading the models at all even after a minute or so. When they get loaded partially (no high-res textures overlying), they occasionally do load fully after some time, but not always, either.

Again, thanks for trying to figure it out. The silence from Taleworlds on this issue is increasingly aggravating.
 

Sciohan

Regular
M&BWB
Hm, cmdGuard.sys comes up as belonging to COMODO Internet Security. I can try to reproduce this later after I make sure completely uninstalling won't be some ordeal. In the meantime, the blurb for it mentions file sandboxing, you might want to try again after temporarily disabling Comodo.
Edit: Went and tried to reproduce it with Comodo installed and any relevant options on, didn't interfere for me. I didn't go as far as trying Comodo with a version that uses procmon23 but that's really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Was that minifilter list taken from a windows session where you had tried 3.33, or were you running 3.60 in that session? Starting to wonder if you somehow got a hold on some kind of cursed copy, anything after 3.50 should refuse to run if procmon23 is loaded. If you can fish out where you downloaded that from feel free to send it to me and I'll give that a spin too.
 
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Sheepify

Regular
Hm, cmdGuard.sys comes up as belonging to COMODO Internet Security.
It might be I have it configured in a way that interferes with whatever "magic" procmon is doing to make things run. Or it could be some of the OS hardening tweaks I dropped in over the years.

Which, honestly, is one reason I'd really like this resolved natively.
Was that minifilter list taken from a windows session where you had tried 3.33
I borked up and that was the 3.33 you linked.

Here's the output for the 64-bit version of 3.60:
Code:
Filter Name                     Num Instances    Altitude    Frame
------------------------------  -------------  ------------  -----
PROCMON24                               6       385200         0
cmdGuard                                6       321200         0
luafv                                   1       135000         0
FileInfo                                6        45000         0

Starting to wonder if you somehow got a hold on some kind of cursed copy, anything after 3.50 should refuse to run if procmon23 is loaded. If you can fish out where you downloaded that from feel free to send it to me and I'll give that a spin too.
Huh... I think it was from this github depo (I know, I know, but at this point I'll take anything and MS discontinued archival versions because apparently they take so much space on their server :razz:):
 
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Sciohan

Regular
M&BWB
That github copy is perfectly fine, checksums all match the copy from Wayback. When I tried with Comodo I only enabled all components with default settings. One of the components logged that it had blocked process monitor, but it still seemed to be monitoring unhindered and it didn't stop it from acting as workaround for me. If any of your settings for it are more aggressive than the default could certainly be worth trying tweaking those.

If you're able to find a Win7 hardening guide anywhere that covers most of the tweaks performed I'd be interested in going over that. Gotta be at least a few things in there related to permissions or restricting processes/drivers I imagine.
 

MArdA TaleWorlds

Community Support & Localization
Community Support
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
We have updated 1.8.1 with a potential fix for this issue. Could you try reproducing this issue and report back, please? Sadly we could not able to reproduce this on our end thanks to Windows 7 PCs not helping.
 

Sciohan

Regular
M&BWB
We have updated 1.8.1 with a potential fix for this issue. Could you try reproducing this issue and report back, please? Sadly we could not able to reproduce this on our end thanks to Windows 7 PCs not helping.
I can confirm that at a minimum character creation no longer bugs out, will definitely give the rest a spin later to check if it happens elsewhere. Definitely glad this ugly bug looks squashed. I don't suppose there's a chance we could bully you into sharing a detail or two about what was causing it?
 

Sheepify

Regular
If you're able to find a Win7 hardening guide anywhere that covers most of the tweaks performed I'd be interested in going over that. Gotta be at least a few things in there related to permissions or restricting processes/drivers I imagine.
Ugh, sorry, intended to respond last week. Apologies, you definitely deserved the courtesy of a reply considering the time and effort you put into helping with this.

No guide, just collection of stuff I ran into over the years, I'm afraid. Mostly basic stuff like turning off completely redundant services, restricting access to some use-once-in-a-blue-moon .dlls, and generally minimizing OS bloat. Considering this is my gaming computer, and how many games rely on weird implementations, not a lot overall.

Never had issues with any applications before, aside from mistakenly blocking VC++ dependencies libraries at one point. That was a learning experience :smile:
We have updated 1.8.1 with a potential fix for this issue. Could you try reproducing this issue and report back, please? Sadly we could not able to reproduce this on our end thanks to Windows 7 PCs not helping.
Took a bit to re-download the downgrade to 1.8.1 and toy with it, but after several tries I can tentatively confirm the issue resolved.

Re-launched the game several times, and toyed for every faction with fully random-generated PC characters. No missing models, and no long delays with texture loading. Some delay still exist (fraction of a second) - feels like slightly longer than in 1.7.x, but hardly worth mention, especially considering how rare that part of the game will see use.

Most importantly, I was able to both go back to main menu as well as finalize the character creation with no crashes, which was impossible (and still is on the 1.9 branch) while the problem persisted.

Thank you

As an aside, it would be really helpful if at least technical issue posts received any kind of timely acknowledgement when they are posted. Even "we read this, please allow some time to verify and respond," with a follow-up if the thread is not closed and last official response was over a month if not more.
 
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