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Thread: Planetary Square Bugs - Your Help Required!

  1. #1

    Planetary Square Bugs - Your Help Required!

    Hello folks, I've decided to put this here in its own thread because I'm not sure if everyone keeps up with the Planetary Colours thread (it is, after all, about colours - not square bugs ).

    This thread is more aimed at Nvidia users, although if AMD has a similar shader cache feature, and the square bugs still happen, you could try to do this somehow aswell but you'd need to look into it.

    The Experiment:

    1) To disable the Shader Cache in Nvidia settings - and delete the Shader Cache saved on your hard drive (where the Nvidia drivers are installed).

    2) Visit planets to see if this makes a difference to your game; basically, do the bugged shader/texture squares still show for you on random planets or planets you visit often?

    3) Share your results (see 'My Experience', down below, for an example - give detailed information of your computer, such as: CPU, GPU, RAM, and Hard Drive - if the game or drivers is installed on a regular Hard Drive, not an SSD, please check how fragmented your Hard Drive is through Windows, plus whether or not you use Virtual Memory, and finally, what settings you use for Elite.

    4) If you have no planet to visit, but want to help, try out Leucos A 5 A at -36.128, -45.243 (by a crashed Anaconda where you can scan the datacore and it'll remain on your panel). I highly recommend this planet, since two squares normally show around these co-ordinates.

    Theory Behind The Experiment & Detailed Information:

    For those with Nvidia, whom are still plagued by the square problem, could you experiment and get back to me on this?

    I've been reading up on the "Shader Cache" option in the Nvidia settings - by default, this is on.

    Basically, instead of the game storing the Cache for textures in the RAM of the GPU, it'll store it on your Hard Drive - obviously, on a slow hard drive, this'll not help - on an SSD, you may not notice a difference (but you never know).

    However, merely switching it off may not help - so, go to the location on your computer below, and delete the Cache already saved on your Hard Drive after going into your Nvidia settings and switching off the Shader Cache first:

    C:\Users\*(YOUR COMPUTER)\AppData\Local\Temp\NVIDIA Corporation\NV_Cache

    *As stated, replace this underline with your computer's name.

    It even stored Cache for Firefox, and even the Blizzard Launcher I have o_0 ...

    If some cache files don't delete, just close the applications down that's tied to it (such as Firefox or Elite, etc) - this is safe to do, but if you really want to, you can make a backup. Anywho, if it prevents you from deleting, just close those program down first, then delete. It won't affect those programs.

    It is important to stress though as all PCs and playstyles and maintenance is different per PC - even if you want to keep the Shader Cache on, you may want to wipe that shader cache clean - especially if you've kept your old hard drive going yet put in new replacements (new GPU, new RAM, new CPU) - because, if textures are at fault in Elite (triggered by older hardware), despite having upgraded, you may keep getting the same re-occuring problems because the Hard Drive contains the OLD cache shaders that retained the errors.

    If you have a solid-state drive, this may also help - but hey, it may or may not work, but worth troubleshooting it if anyone wants to help.

    So, give it a go, report back - I switched off my Shader Cache, and I'll go flyby some planets now, but I'll especially check Alec's buckeyball planet tonight and tomorow once the comp's been off all night. I've wiped the Shader Cache from my computer, too.

    My Experience:

    Okay, here's what I personally noticed on my computer:

    GPU: GTX 970 (MSI)
    CPU: Intel 7700k (4.5ghz)
    RAM: 16GB (3200mhz)
    SSD: 250GB

    Game Settings: Ultra

    Noticeable differences when having the Shader Cache switched Off in the Nvidia settings:

    The Shader Preperation start is around 10 seconds (as opposed to a couple off the SSD), but I guess it is because the game has to Cache the data in GPU's memory - not on my Solid State - so yes, before you do the same experiment, defo make sure you delete your cache just to be sure. I can exit Elite and start it again and it'll still take 10 seconds, unlike before, so I defo know the shaders are being stored on the GPU because of the time it takes each start up. (The above time may take shorter or longer, depending on the strength of your GPU, since it's doing all the legwork - for once).

    On approaching a planet, I had no sudden drops in FPS, or the planet blinking in/out of existence in less than a 0.01 second.

    3) Upon reaching Leucos A 5 A (a planet used by Buckeyball racers) I headed to the crashed vessel at -36.128, -45.243, I saw no squares, and the FPS seemed much smoother when coming out of the glide.


    Way too early to tell until more people pop on and try this out for themselves, and I'll need to repeat tomorow and go to see more planets etc., but my theory is, at the moment:

    There may be a fault with Cached data on a hard disk and the timings between using those assets when the GPU calls for them (a Bus problem between the Hard Drive > CPU > Motherboard > then all the way down to the GPU).

    Of course, the above will be wrong if I get any more squares showing up...

    I'm hoping that because I'm forcing the game to dump its Cache into the GPU (where it can re-call what it needs instantaneously), and not the hard disk (despite it being an SSD), it should mean no more bugged shader squares.

    Just because the data in the cache is stored on an SSD, it doesn't nescecarily mean, when the data is re-called for by the GPU, that it'll be as fast as we expect it (or the game for that matter) - the data has to travel through your motherboard and is therefore limited bandwidth compared to an SSD (even if it's less than a tiny second) by the speed of said motherboard - the GPU can't wait for that data 100% of the time (this could explain the way the squares show up sometimes, but not in others), so it runs without all the detail - hence, a bug is created because the shaders for a particular part of a planet ran out of time to transfer that information from the cache to the GPU.

    Ordinary hard drives (such as an Xbox or PS4) will more than likely see more of these errors, simply because the data coming from the Cache on the hard disk is much, much slower.

    If squares are re-offending (like the 2 squares at A 5 A), then it could mean the calculations are slightly more difficult, therefore, take up more time alotted to them compared to the other texture grids on the planet (and this isn't limited to A 5 A, either - this is a re-occuring problem) - this could be an efficiency problem - therefore, these squares will always draw the short straw during the planet rendering and shaders.

    Hence, if you re-log at a location where the squares were present, they are now gone because they didn't draw the short straw for rendering or shading because they are needed first at your location (and the rendering if probably done slightly differently since your not approaching the planet, you're already on it). However, if approaching the planet, it seems it will try to render the whole of the planet at once (one would think this is normal), simply because it doesn't know which direction you are approaching from - so it renders/shades it all - so the least efficient squares will of course draw short straws, and the bug will appear.

    Another factor to realise is that the "steps" required to shade and render a planet could be out marginally - so despite all of this, a GPU recieving in-efficient data or time-constraint data, may still show these artefacts - so again, it could be an efficiency problem in the game itself.

    If they don't re-appear, despite all this, then it could be down to other factors, such as the Operating System and/or Superfetch on Windows 7, 8 or 10 systems. Second, with the Shader Cache turned on in the Nvidia settings, then a hard drive that is frequently used (along with virtual memory) could be further slowed down by a badly fragmented, and un-optimized, hard drive - so your mileage may increase if you regularly defragment your hard drive and keep it clean and optimized (either through the windows defrag program or other 3rd party cleaning/defragmenting software).

    Tis a long shot, I agree.

    In games like World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, etc, the Shader Cache could be better turned on (or off) and not be noticeable at all as these games are not texture calculation shader heavy - Elite, on the other hand, is literally generating a whole planet as you approach it, with really intense code compared to those games (a lot more can go wrong) - it has to phase various things all at once - whereas in those two former examples of games, they are just simple, repeatable squares of grass, walls or dirt, that just get mindlessly duplicated. The planets in Elite have to account many, many textures and shaders of hills, flat areas, rocky areas, mountanous areas, crevices, etc., and procedurally generate them in stages on each approach.

    Anywho, that's my guess.

    Thank you for reading, and I hope you'll help try to unravel this bug to make planet's far more enjoyable

  2. #2
    Haven't tested it yet, but I can add the following:

    I have a GTX 1080
    24 GB of RAM
    A Samsung 850 Pro SSD

    And I still have the squares. So a newer card and SSD-only setup doesn't sidestep the matter.

  3. #3
    Originally Posted by Lucifera Danzig View Post (Source)
    Haven't tested it yet, but I can add the following:

    I have a GTX 1080
    24 GB of RAM
    A Samsung 850 Pro SSD

    And I still have the squares. So a newer card and SSD-only setup doesn't sidestep the matter.
    Cool, looking forward to your results

  4. #4
    For the love of God, please make this run Pubg faster (indeed at all).

    Great research! Could you add a list of other titles you are testing after deleting the cache?


  5. #5
    Originally Posted by Spike K View Post (Source)
    For the love of God, please make this run Pubg faster (indeed at all).

    Great research! Could you add a list of other titles you are testing after deleting the cache?

    Good point, I've got PUBG, but I haven't tested this out on that game... yet... *suddenly tempted to die trying for that solo chicken dinner*

    PUBG does have some serious issues still, I admit lol xD

  6. #6
    Poking around in the current Nvidia Control Panel, this caching can be disabled per application. Dunno if you've delved into it that far or not, but if you find there's a program that really runs better with it on, at least there's options.

  7. #7
    I will see whether I have it on or off on my AMD card and report back.

  8. #8
    Nice work sir! I'll definitely jump in on this research tomorrow morning (when the Buckyball Race will be over and I can pay attention to other things).

  9. #9
    Very useful thread!
    I've tried it.
    GTX 1080
    i7 4790K
    16 GB RAM

    My NVidia cache is within the Windows-TEMP folder (using windows 7) and because I run an SSD for the windows system itself, I have all Temp folders on a normal HDD. After switching off the NVidia cache and deleting the Nvidia cache content, I seem to have improved graphics. Went to Selene Jean and there were no squares. I will do further test and report back.


  10. #10
    I don't have the issues with the square terrain that I've noticed – I may have seen them once or twice in the game in total.

    i7-3930K @4.2GHz

    2 Nvidia Titan Black cards in SLI, 6GB VRAM each, PCIe gen. 3 with the Nvidia patch, double precision compute optimized, driver 390.65

    64GB Corsair Dominator quad channel DDR3 1600MHz RAM

    1TB Samsung 840 EVO SSD with firmware updates – game, Windows 7 Pro 64bit, and Steam install

  11. #11
    I've seen these, never delved much into them, but this is interesting stuff.

    I run a GeForce 1080, 32 GB RAM, SSD and SATA HDD's as well as a RAM Disk for Internet cache and assorted Windows Junk. Might just have to look into this though.

  12. #12
    Valuable input guys and/or gals, keep it coming

  13. #13
    I went to Traders Rest in Laksak. No miscolored squares any more, but a bit of a seam. This seemed more to be related to the normal map ...


  14. #14
    refresh rate perhaps? Do Xbox users see the issue ?

  15. #15
    Hi Dreamstate,
    Sorry it's not better news. I tried turning off the caching and clearing the existing cache but no there was no difference for me. I did it while above the site Leucos A 5 A but the things stayed.

    Both before and after turning the cache off (and doing a driver update) my squares weren't square or black, more a light blue thing like:

    Specs are:

    GPU: GTX 970 (Asus)
    CPU: Intel 3570k (3.4ghz)
    RAM: 8GB (3200mhz)
    SSD: 250GB

    Any other suggestions for testing?

    Nice one on doing this.

    Edit: ps. I've been seeing a lot of stuttering in the beta. I'll keep the cache off to see if it helps but not got time to test properly just now

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