Performance issue with The Sims 2

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by freecom Wed Jan 05, 2022 11:30 pm

i'm having framerate issues in The Sims 2, and i think it has something to do with how videos work in it.

certain types of in-game objects use videos, like for the video or arcade games the Sims can interact with (for example: https://modthesims.info/d/330141/killer-instinct-arcade-game.html). however, when a Sim is playing one of these games, LAV Video Decoder opens and closes repeatedly for every video loop used in-game.

this wouldn't be so much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that there's a tiny (less than a second), but noticeable freeze when starting one of these video loops (this also happens in Media Player Classic, but that doesn't really matter) and these are some very short loops - a lot of them are less than 10 seconds. naturally, the more of these videos that are playing simultaneously, the more freezing there is.

any suggestions on how to fix this? only thing i could think of was completely uninstalling K-Lite, which made the freezing stop, but now Windows 10 doesn't play some of the .avi files in question.

EDIT: i uploaded an (admittedly bad) video of this in action to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1l6EKRK0TY i pan over a few times to Resource Monitor to show that it isn't a CPU or disk I/O bottleneck issue, as far as i'm aware.

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by Admin Thu Jan 06, 2022 1:30 am

There is a blacklisting ability that can be used. I need to know the name of the .exe of the game for that. With blacklist used for the game LAV will not get used for decoding. It will still get loaded partially, but that should hopefully give much less performance effect.

Can you look in the game installation folder to see if you can find the relevant video files? Copy the MediaInfo details here.

Knowing which video format is used, we can increase merit of whatever decoder is used otherwise, to prevent LAV from being used altogether.

The Codec Tweak Tool has some options to adjust preferred decoders. Since it is an old game, it probably uses one of the MPEG4 variants.

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by Admin Thu Jan 06, 2022 1:37 am

Instead of reloading the video on each loop, the mod maker should ideally just seek to begin at playback end.

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by freecom Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:02 am

Admin wrote:
There is a blacklisting ability that can be used. I need to know the name of the .exe of the game for that. With blacklist used for the game LAV will not get used for decoding. It will still get loaded partially, but that should hopefully much less performance effect.

the executable name is Sims2EP9.exe.

Admin wrote:
Can you look in the game installation folder to see if you can find the relevant video files? Copy the MediaInfo details here.

Knowing which video format is used, we can increase merit of whatever decoder is used otherwise, to prevent LAV from being used altogether.

here's the MediaInfo for one of the problematic videos:
Code:

General
Complete name               : C:\Program Files (x86)\Mr DJ\The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection\The Sims 2 University\TSData\Res\Movies\Games\Arcade\winsyr-arcade-killerinstinct_loop1.avi
Format                      : AVI
Format/Info                 : Audio Video Interleave
File size                   : 307 KiB
Duration                    : 6 s 467 ms
Overall bit rate            : 388 kb/s
Writing library             : VirtualDub build 28225/release

Video
ID                          : 0
Format                      : VP6
Format profile              : Simple
Codec ID                    : VP60
Codec ID/Hint               : On2
Duration                    : 6 s 467 ms
Bit rate                    : 243 kb/s
Width                       : 128 pixels
Height                      : 128 pixels
Display aspect ratio        : 1.000
Frame rate                  : 15.000 FPS
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)          : 0.989
Stream size                 : 192 KiB (63%)

Audio
ID                          : 1
Format                      : MPEG Audio
Format version              : Version 1
Format profile              : Layer 3
Format settings             : Joint stereo / MS Stereo
Codec ID                    : 55
Codec ID/Hint               : MP3
Duration                    : 6 s 420 ms
Bit rate mode               : Constant
Bit rate                    : 128 kb/s
Channel(s)                  : 2 channels
Sampling rate               : 44.1 kHz
Compression mode            : Lossy
Stream size                 : 100 KiB (33%)
Alignment                   : Split across interleaves
Interleave, duration        : 72  ms (1.08 video frame)
Interleave, preload duratio : 500  ms
Writing library             : LAME3.96.1

by comparison, here's the MediaInfo for one of the custom content videos i didn't have a problem with before installing K-Lite (the LAV loading delay is unfortunately now present on this video too):
Code:

General
Complete name               : C:\Program Files (x86)\Mr DJ\The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection\The Sims 2 University\TSData\Res\Movies\Games\mk\MK_intro.AVI
Format                      : AVI
Format/Info                 : Audio Video Interleave
File size                   : 678 KiB
Duration                    : 10 s 200 ms
Overall bit rate            : 545 kb/s
Director                    : created.with.SUPER(C).v2009.bld.35
Writing application         : SUPER(C) - by eRightSoft

Video
ID                          : 0
Format                      : MPEG-4 Visual
Format profile              : Simple@L1
Format settings, BVOP       : No
Format settings, QPel       : No
Format settings, GMC        : No warppoints
Format settings, Matrix     : Default (H.263)
Codec ID                    : DX50
Codec ID/Hint               : DivX 5
Duration                    : 10 s 200 ms
Bit rate                    : 400 kb/s
Width                       : 128 pixels
Height                      : 128 pixels
Display aspect ratio        : 1.000
Frame rate                  : 30.000 FPS
Color space                 : YUV
Chroma subsampling          : 4:2:0
Bit depth                   : 8 bits
Scan type                   : Progressive
Compression mode            : Lossy
Bits/(Pixel*Frame)          : 0.815
Stream size                 : 499 KiB (74%)
Writing library             : SUPER(C)  

Audio
ID                          : 1
Format                      : MPEG Audio
Format version              : Version 1
Format profile              : Layer 3
Codec ID                    : 55
Codec ID/Hint               : MP3
Duration                    : 10 s 188 ms
Bit rate mode               : Constant
Bit rate                    : 128 kb/s
Channel(s)                  : 2 channels
Sampling rate               : 44.1 kHz
Compression mode            : Lossy
Stream size                 : 159 KiB (23%)
Alignment                   : Aligned on interleaves
Interleave, duration        : 26  ms (0.78 video frame)
Interleave, preload duratio : 522  ms

Admin wrote:
The Codec Tweak Tool has some options to adjust preferred decoders. Since it is an old game, it probably uses one of the MPEG4 variants.

what exactly am i supposed to be toggling here? closest thing i could find to MPEG4 is MPG4/MP42/MP43.

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by freecom Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:07 am

Admin wrote:Instead of reloading the video on each loop, the mod maker should ideally just seek to begin at playback end.

forgot to address this one. unfortunately because of how the arcade machines and video games work in The Sims 2, it's required to have a multitude of video clips for one game - even the ones that come packaged with the game are built in this manner. although those use (i assume proprietary) ".movie" files, which LAV Video Decoder doesn't seem to interact with. TS2 wasn't exactly a well put-together game and the arcade machines working like this is the least of the game's problems  Rolling Eyes

i vaguely remember several years ago not having this sort of problem with Combined Community Codec Pack (which i think also used LAV back then), and i'm still using the exact same laptop. only thing that's changed is that i'm now on Windows 10 instead of Windows 7

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by Admin Thu Jan 06, 2022 2:33 pm

For second file, set preferred decoder for "DivX" to Microsoft in CTT.

For first file, you can disable VP6 in LAV Video Decoder (on formats tab). You obviously also need to have the regular old VP6 codec installed. But I assume it came with the game.

You can add to blacklist in this registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\LAV\Video\Blacklist

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by freecom Thu Jan 06, 2022 6:06 pm

Admin wrote:For second file, set preferred decoder for "DivX" to Microsoft in CTT.

i tried the DivX thing and i can still see the LAV flickering in my taskbar (although it doesn't stick around this time) and it's still causing load delays.

Admin wrote:For first file, you can disable VP6 in LAV Video Decoder (on formats tab). You obviously also need to have the regular old VP6 codec installed. But I assume it came with the game.

well, you assumed wrong, because this is custom content authored by someone other than the original game developers. the behavior just went back to what it was before i installed K-Lite - that is, the screen's black and the framerate tanks to like 5 FPS while it struggles in vain to play a video it can't play due to a missing codec. i think i'm better off just not downloading made by the same author in the future because this VP6 thing is clearly not doing this guy any favors Rolling Eyes

Admin wrote:You can add to blacklist in this registry key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\LAV\Video\Blacklist

dumb question but i would need to restart the computer after making this change, correct? i just made this change and there's still a load delay on the video that's "working" (LAV also flickers but doesn't stay on the taskbar in this case)

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by Admin Thu Jan 06, 2022 9:04 pm

Blacklist is effective immediately. You shouldn't see the red LAV icon flashing anymore. Perhaps you made a mistake while adding the new value? It should be a DWORD with value 1.

There will probably still be some delay when using other codecs as well. It is just bad design of the game.

VP6 codec:
https://www.free-codecs.com/download/vp6.htm

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by freecom Fri Jan 07, 2022 4:29 pm

well, in either case, i tried it both before and after a restart and there was still a load delay. double checked to make sure i had Sims2EP9.exe with a DWORD of 1 and everything, like the other entries in that folder. ended up uninstalling K-Lite completely and installed VP6 by itself and i don't seem to be having any more issues. (also ended up downloading a standalone version of MediaInfo in case i run into this problem again with other custom content)

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Performance issue with The Sims 2 Empty Re: Performance issue with The Sims 2

Post by Admin Sat Jan 08, 2022 1:55 am

The installer has an option to install the codecs only for MPC-HC. Then you can still use the player, but not interference with your game.

The codec pack installer also increases the merit of the VP6 codec during installation, so it gets priority above LAV.

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