Possible Blackscreen Fix When Using Config Plugin

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2010-06-21
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Possible Blackscreen fix when using Config plugin
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By Genocydex 2021-10-21 12:51:42  
EDIT: I am Trublade on Leviatahan, not Genocydex.
I started over. :D

This may or may not solve the problem for you if you end up having a black screen in some zones while using the config plugin.

I was using the config plugin with the 60FPS cap and when I loaded into Lower Jeuno and some other zones. A lot of the screen would be black. Characters and HP crystals would load but not much else.

The fix I have found is to try different UI sizes in windower. Select your profile, go to the pencil (Edit) at the bottom of the screen, select "Game" and change the UI scale.
When I scaled my HUD up to 2.0 for example, Lower Jeuno and some other areas would not fully load.
However when I changed the scale to 1.5, those areas loaded fine. It's very finnicky. 1.7 and 1.8 etc would not load fine. You may have to find your number.
I hope it helps someone.
Took quite a bit of messing around to figure it out lol.
Cheers.

Thorny made this fix below. Seems to be more of an all around fix for the underlying issue. I am using it and it fixed the issue for me as well.
Thanks Thorny.

Shiva.Thorny said: »
https://www.dropbox.com/s/wz2ckvmqju7kfdh/LargeAddressAwarePatcher.zip?dl=0

Decided to just throw it together. If you're experiencing these black screens, try using this to patch pol.exe. If you play on private servers, patch your bootloader's executable as well.
Included the source files that matter if you want to build it yourself, it isn't anything complex or fancy. Needs .net 4.5 or newer.
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By RadialArcana 2021-10-21 13:56:24  
So this is linked directly to having 60fps and config plugin?

This has caused a lot of issues for ages, if this fixes that it would help a lot of people.
 Shiva.Thorny
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-21 14:26:56  
The black screen load is caused by failing to reserve enough ram or vram to load the texture. Lowering UI scale may indirectly help by reducing your RAM usage elsewhere, but it's not config or fps cap that causes it, it's primarily the HD texture mods massively increasing RAM usage. You can force it if you have an addon or plugin that's heavily leaking memory.
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 Asura.Wotasu
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By Asura.Wotasu 2021-10-21 14:40:45  
RadialArcana said: »
So this is linked directly to having 60fps and config plugin?

This has caused a lot of issues for ages, if this fixes that it would help a lot of people.
I randomlly get Black screen in some zones with only xiview, not running config, but 3 box and DGVoodoo 2.64.
Mostly Qufim/La'Theine/Miseroux / Escha zones and the login screen sometimes c.c
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By RadialArcana 2021-10-21 14:56:07  
Asura.Wotasu said: »
RadialArcana said: »
So this is linked directly to having 60fps and config plugin?

This has caused a lot of issues for ages, if this fixes that it would help a lot of people.
I randomlly get Black screen in some zones with only xiview, not running config, but 3 box and DGVoodoo 2.64.
Mostly Qufim/La'Theine/Miseroux / Escha zones and the login screen sometimes c.c

No zone mods either?
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By Asura.Wotasu 2021-10-22 01:10:55  
Nothing anymore, I used to but got black screen daily, so reverted, now once a week, and sometimes total screen freeze.
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By Genocydex 2021-10-22 04:03:03  
RadialArcana said: »
So this is linked directly to having 60fps and config plugin?

This has caused a lot of issues for ages, if this fixes that it would help a lot of people.

I can't really say what causes it. I use a ton of texture mods but no addons and only 2 plugins. Config and Timers.
If config is disabled, I don't have the problem. So config is definitely causing some problem.

Shiva.Thorny said: »
The black screen load is caused by failing to reserve enough ram or vram to load the texture. Lowering UI scale may indirectly help by reducing your RAM usage elsewhere, but it's not config or fps cap that causes it, it's primarily the HD texture mods massively increasing RAM usage. You can force it if you have an addon or plugin that's heavily leaking memory.

How do you force it?
I'd love to do that. Some zones are causing me to crash after a while. Not many but Whitegate did yesterday.
It may not be a zone, it could be an item texture mod..
I'm not sure. But forcing more ram might help that.

However, I have aGTX 1080ti and it has tons of RAM, so I find it difficult to believe any amount of Texture mods for this game could impact it.
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By RadialArcana 2021-10-22 04:39:12  
I play at 30fps, I have masses of texture mods above what anyone else uses and in bigger texture sizes. I have never had this once.

It must either be an addon / addons or windows 10 related.

If anyone has this issue try the UI thing and see if it fixes it.
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-22 05:31:32  
Plain and simple:
The issue where you zone into blackness and rendered NPCs is caused by ffxi failing to load the zone texture into RAM or VRAM.

This is not up for dispute. If you intentionally delete the zone dat or use a memory leaking plugin to create a memory shortage, it will happen every time, the exact same way. As an underlying cause, there are several possibilities, the most likely of which are:
-Failing to allocate RAM
-Failing to allocate VRAM
-DAT out of place or corrupt
-Failing to read hard drive

Genocydex said: »
How do you force it?
You can't force more RAM, you can force the error as a diagnostic method as I just described.

Genocydex said: »
However, I have aGTX 1080ti and it has tons of RAM, so I find it difficult to believe any amount of Texture mods for this game could impact it.
If you use dgvoodoo, ffxi's graphic engine is having all of it's calls intercepted by dgvoodoo. Dgvoodoo is managing VRAM addressing, and will only address as much VRAM as you configured your virtual adapter to have(I believe the default is 256MB). So, make sure you configured a higher amount of RAM in dgvoodoo if you are using heavy texture mods.

Additionally, plain RAM can only be addressed up to 2GB in a 32 bit application without specific flags, and FFXI falls into this category. If you use excessive amounts of addons, or poorly designed addons with memory leaks, it's very possible to push FFXI close enough to 2GB that it can fail to load a texture. Again, it doesn't matter if you have 128GB of actual RAM, FFXI can never address more than 2GB of it.

If you're positive that you are not experiencing a RAM or VRAM shortage, you should consider checking the health of your hard drive. This is not a common problem, and I'm sure most people are really just running into the 2GB RAM limit or have dgvoodoo's VRAM setting too low.

It is not impossible for an addon or plugin to directly cause this, but it's extremely unlikely. There's no reason for any of windower's addons to conflict with the dat loading process, and while only they can comment on the compiled plugins, I trust them to be capable of avoiding unintended side effects for something as simple as config.
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By RadialArcana 2021-10-22 05:51:24  
https://www.ffxiah.com/forum/topic/53639/intermittent-outdoor-black-screen-on-zone/

People get it that don't use mods, there is more to it than just that.
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-22 05:56:08  
There isn't more to it than that. The actual bug is caused by one and only one thing: failing to load the DAT into memory.

That doesn't mean there aren't underlying causes tied to windower, they just seem unlikely. Perhaps an addon is infinite looping something while zoning(due to data not being populated) and that eats up your RAM before the zone attempts to load. Perhaps there is a hook intended to alter some other read that's screwing up the zone file read. I can't debug windower's issues, especially when they're in compiled plugins, but this doesn't seem like one.

Edit: If people are convinced 60 FPS plays a role, consider that it means any addon that has a function tied to rendering(most of them do) is executing that function twice as often while FPS cap is 60.
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 Asura.Wotasu
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By Asura.Wotasu 2021-10-22 08:00:56  
I run 30fps so 60fps cant be the only cause, probably vram/ram cause multibox.
What I do find odd tho, is the zone I get black screen in stays black, even if I zone a bounch and return a day later.
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By RadialArcana 2021-10-22 10:03:02  
I know it's the dat file not loading but it's not necessarily modding that does it, since a lot of people who don't use them still get it and a lot of people who do never get it.

Config does more than just 60fps, doesn't it boost drawdistance etc too? That could be what is causing it, maybe lowering drawdistance / clipping plane would help.

Would be curious if anyone with Ashita gets this or if it's just happening with Windower.
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-22 10:07:51  
It doesn't really come up often with Ashita, but the times it has have been narrowed down to RAM leaks and one person with a corrupted DAT. Granted, we have far fewer users than Windower so it's not necessarily worth jumping to conclusions based on that.

Running out of RAM to load something in is probably not caused by one specific thing, there are a lot of ways to increase RAM load(and windower4's memory usage is super high to begin with due to the way their lua libs are set up), can easily just be tipped over the edge.

Certainly worth trying to narrow down the worst contributors though, it's possible one addon is able to use all of the RAM on it's own.
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By Genocydex 2021-10-22 12:04:39  
Shiva.Thorny said: »
Plain and simple:
The issue where you zone into blackness and rendered NPCs is caused by ffxi failing to load the zone texture into RAM or VRAM.

This is not up for dispute. If you intentionally delete the zone dat or use a memory leaking plugin to create a memory shortage, it will happen every time, the exact same way. As an underlying cause, there are several possibilities, the most likely of which are:
-Failing to allocate RAM
-Failing to allocate VRAM
-DAT out of place or corrupt
-Failing to read hard drive

Genocydex said: »
How do you force it?
You can't force more RAM, you can force the error as a diagnostic method as I just described.

Genocydex said: »
However, I have aGTX 1080ti and it has tons of RAM, so I find it difficult to believe any amount of Texture mods for this game could impact it.
If you use dgvoodoo, ffxi's graphic engine is having all of it's calls intercepted by dgvoodoo. Dgvoodoo is managing VRAM addressing, and will only address as much VRAM as you configured your virtual adapter to have(I believe the default is 256MB). So, make sure you configured a higher amount of RAM in dgvoodoo if you are using heavy texture mods.

Additionally, plain RAM can only be addressed up to 2GB in a 32 bit application without specific flags, and FFXI falls into this category. If you use excessive amounts of addons, or poorly designed addons with memory leaks, it's very possible to push FFXI close enough to 2GB that it can fail to load a texture. Again, it doesn't matter if you have 128GB of actual RAM, FFXI can never address more than 2GB of it.

If you're positive that you are not experiencing a RAM or VRAM shortage, you should consider checking the health of your hard drive. This is not a common problem, and I'm sure most people are really just running into the 2GB RAM limit or have dgvoodoo's VRAM setting too low.

It is not impossible for an addon or plugin to directly cause this, but it's extremely unlikely. There's no reason for any of windower's addons to conflict with the dat loading process, and while only they can comment on the compiled plugins, I trust them to be capable of avoiding unintended side effects for something as simple as config.

I feel like you're speaking matter of factly about things that may not actually be factual so they are in fact up for debate.
Sorry, lol. Much love for ya though. I appreciate your passion and assistance.

Firstly, you can allocate more like 4 gb of ram, not 2 in a 32 bit system.

However, as I have stated and this is not up for debate. :p

I use two plugins and nothing else.
Timers and Config.
If Config is enabled and I try to set my UI to 2.0 scale, it is black.
If I set it to 1.5 it is fine.

If Config is disabled everything is fine.
I directly overwrote all my textures and am not using any software to manage mods.
I have a backup of the original textures.

I believe it may be a combination of the textures and the config file, that is absolutely feasable but I know this fixed it for me.
It may have something to do with Supersampling, bump mapping and the textures, plus the config file in some combination.

RadialArcana said: »
I know it's the dat file not loading but it's not necessarily modding that does it, since a lot of people who don't use them still get it and a lot of people who do never get it.

Config does more than just 60fps, doesn't it boost drawdistance etc too? That could be what is causing it, maybe lowering drawdistance / clipping plane would help.

Would be curious if anyone with Ashita gets this or if it's just happening with Windower.

Yes it also increased draw distance, which I use as well but I'm not sure that's involved with this issue.

Just trying to help people out.
My work here is done.
I wish you all the best.
Cheers.
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-22 13:08:53  
Genocydex said: »
I feel like you're speaking matter of factly about things that may not actually be factual so they are in fact up for debate.
They are factual. You're arguing with someone who understands the topic, when you clearly do not. I'm not saying that your change can't be helpful, but it's not addressing the root cause.

Genocydex said: »
Firstly, you can allocate more like 4 gb of ram, not 2 in a 32 bit system.
A 32 bit application compiled without /LARGEADDRESSAWARE cannot address more than 2GB of ram. FFXI is not compiled with this flag, thus FFXI cannot address more than 2GB of ram. The limitation is with the application, not the system. This is a fact. (For that matter, GB and gb are different measurements, but that's an easy mistake so it can slide..)

An interesting potential solution would be to forcibly enable the /LARGEADDRESSAWARE flag in pol.exe. I don't know compiler specifics, it's possible that setting the flag in the compiler would have effects other than simply setting the flag in the completed exe and doing so manually would break everything. But, if that's not the case, it would double the potential RAM and maybe alleviate these issues for everyone.
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-22 14:28:22  
This might actually be the real fix:

YouTube Video Placeholder


If you don't have 4 minutes to spare, I'm not view farming or anything, just backing up my discovery with a video. The tldr; is that you can binary edit pol.exe(either the bootloader version for topaz or the real one for ffxi) to set the /LARGEADDRESSAWARE flag and it will increase the RAM allocation limit to 4GB with seemingly no side effects. The video displays topaz, but I tested on retail as well (not showing that for obvious reasons).

While I haven't extensively playtested it, it seems like a strong candidate for resolving these issues, since most users should have no shortage of PC RAM, and just be running into the limit imposed by FFXI itself. I'll probably make a universal patcher in the morning since I assume there are quite a few variants of bootloader and people on old POL, but on current retail the value is:

Offset 0x146 enable the flag 0x20
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-22 15:14:11  
https://www.dropbox.com/s/wz2ckvmqju7kfdh/LargeAddressAwarePatcher.zip?dl=0

Decided to just throw it together. If you're experiencing these black screens, try using this to patch pol.exe. If you play on private servers, patch your bootloader's executable as well.
Included the source files that matter if you want to build it yourself, it isn't anything complex or fancy. Needs .net 4.5 or newer.
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By RadialArcana 2021-10-22 16:11:05  
That's a pretty cool discovery after so many years.
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By Ragnarok.Martel 2021-10-22 17:38:46  
Would this have any potential to address performance issues that are not related to black screen failures?
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-22 17:51:37  
No, this will have absolutely 0 impact on anything unless you're running out of RAM.
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 Bahamut.Negan
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By Bahamut.Negan 2021-10-22 18:18:44  
Thorny, you are a boon to this community, IDC what Radial says about you.
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By RadialArcana 2021-10-22 18:56:47  
Sh*t stirrer!

Quote:
You are fantastic mod, no matter what Freehugs says.
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By Genocydex 2021-10-24 02:22:31  
Shiva.Thorny said: »
Genocydex said: »
I feel like you're speaking matter of factly about things that may not actually be factual so they are in fact up for debate.
They are factual. You're arguing with someone who understands the topic, when you clearly do not. I'm not saying that your change can't be helpful, but it's not addressing the root cause.

Well clearly I know enough to hop in here after years and offer a solution where none have been given so you're welcome?
lol

Still love ya brosef.
I guess I know just enough to get by but I have a grasp on the fundamentals behind the issue, so please tone it down.


Shiva.Thorny said: »
This might actually be the real fix:

YouTube Video Placeholder


If you don't have 4 minutes to spare, I'm not view farming or anything, just backing up my discovery with a video. The tldr; is that you can binary edit pol.exe(either the bootloader version for topaz or the real one for ffxi) to set the /LARGEADDRESSAWARE flag and it will increase the RAM allocation limit to 4GB with seemingly no side effects. The video displays topaz, but I tested on retail as well (not showing that for obvious reasons).

While I haven't extensively playtested it, it seems like a strong candidate for resolving these issues, since most users should have no shortage of PC RAM, and just be running into the limit imposed by FFXI itself. I'll probably make a universal patcher in the morning since I assume there are quite a few variants of bootloader and people on old POL, but on current retail the value is:

Offset 0x146 enable the flag 0x20

Now that is great.

So point that fix to the pol.exe in the Square enix folder?
Not Polboot.exe in the FFXI folder correct?

Thank you. :D
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By Shiva.Thorny 2021-10-24 11:52:58  
Yes, pol.exe in the square enix/playonline folder not polboot.exe for retail usage.
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 Asura.Wotasu
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By Asura.Wotasu 2021-10-25 03:36:05  
I'm getting "An Error occurd, failed to patch" any idea?
UAC is set to low, and when I tried 12h ago my PC kept deleting the patch when I tried running it saying it was a virus, today it runs, but fails.
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By Genocydex 2021-10-25 04:49:36  
Shiva.Thorny said: »
Yes, pol.exe in the square enix/playonline folder not polboot.exe for retail usage.

Preliminary testing results are positive.

I set my UI back to 2.0 and zoned into some areas that were going black.
They are no longer going black. :D
While what I said worked as a work around for me, this may very well be an actual fix.
Bravo good sir.
Thank you.

Asura.Wotasu said: »
I'm getting "An Error occurd, failed to patch" any idea?
UAC is set to low, and when I tried 12h ago my PC kept deleting the patch when I tried running it saying it was a virus, today it runs, but fails.

Perhaps run as admin?
Can you add it as an exception in the antivirus and firewall?
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By Asura.Wotasu 2021-10-25 05:15:52  
After rebooting PC it worked. And I did try running as Admin.
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