What’s causing my occasional lag/slowdown?

I’m running Outfox on a fairly high-spec machine (at least by Stepmania standards). Ryzen 7, 1050Ti, 16GB of RAM, Windows 10 Pro, everything stored on a fast NVMe SSD. But while I’m playing there will occasionally be a period of a few seconds where the frame rate plummets and the arrows lag behind, which usually throws me off a bit. This even happens on tracks with no background videos at all, so it isn’t a video decoding issue. I get most of my tracks from z-i-v.

What sorts of things should I look at to try to figure out what’s going on? I assume the problem is some misbehaving system service and not a problem with the game itself. Stepmania is pretty much the only game I play on this computer, so I don’t know if it’s a general problem with the machine or what, although I also had similar issues on the previous machine I was running it on (an ancient Mac mini).

Are there any performance logs I can look at or enable or any other general troubleshooting advice?

I’m using the Simply Love Outfox theme, if that makes a difference.

That’s interesting. Maybe it could be OpenGL; that’s my guess. It’s strange to say the least. I’ve not had that problem occur on Garuda Linux, but I’m still figuring out how to set it up on Manjaro XFCE (Which I had a crashing bug occur),

OpenGL is just a graphics API and it doesn’t do anything high-level that would cause inconsistent performance like that. Lots of things use OpenGL without problems like this.

The issue feels like maybe the Stepmania engine is periodically garbage-collecting or something (which has nothing to do with OpenGL), or maybe there’s some stray background service on my computer such as Windows Update that’s taking too much CPU time.

I do occasionally play other games on this machine but haven’t noticed issues like that on them, but I also don’t play them as much as I do Stepmania/Outfox so I can’t immediately blame Outfox itself. The fact I was experiencing the same behavior on the Mac mini makes me think it’s a Stepmania issue though.

Could it be local system logs on your machine you might have to remove?

Would that cause a lag burst that only lasts a couple of seconds? ANd if so what triggers the lag burst? I have like a terabyte of free disk space.

I’m not entirely sure. I used a program to delete local system logs, and I do just fine when playing osu!.

Hello there, are you using the latest OutFox release (4.10.0)? In case you’re not, try updating and see if the issue persists. If you’re already running the current build, please send us your logs from a session where you notice this behavior happening.

I’d also recommend updating your GPU driver and W10 install to the stable latest versions available. Some recent Microsoft and Nvidia patches can cause degraded performance, crashes or input issues on OutFox and other games, so you could be missing the fix for them if your system is outdated.

Ah, thanks. I was running on the August release, and I’ve now upgraded to the 4.10.0 release. Hopefully that fixes the issue, although this has been a recurring problem with versions over the past year (I only just finally got around to posting about it is all).

Which logs should I be sending in, and where should I send them? Both log.txt and userlog.txt?

I keep my GPU driver and Windows 10 version current at all times, but it also seems unlikely that it’d be an issue with those things since it only happens sporadically and also was happening on the Mac mini.

Yes, both will do. You can upload them to a service like Pastebin or GitHub Gist and paste the links here

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The slowdown happened again, during the second song I played. The files were too big for pastebin so I just uploaded them to my own server, at http://junk.sockpuppet.us/.hidden/outfox-logs/

It happened during Keep On Movin’ which starts here in the log.txt:

09:21.406: Loading notes from /Songs/DDR AEROBIC REVOLUTION/KEEP ON MOVIN’/KEEP ON MOVIN’.ssc

I’ve seen the same thing for a while (many versions of outfox). I kind of assumed it was the hard drive - I had to move another game off of that device because of occasional freezes. I typically lag on video drivers though, and I’ll have to take notes on where it occurs so I can get logs.

Yeah it’s been happening for a long time for me and it’s on tracks which should fit entirely in memory and with no background video or anything, and when I upgraded to an NVMe SSD I figured this would go away.

It feels like a garbage collection pause to me, but Stepmania is written in C++ and I’m not playing tracks with Lua elements, so I’m not sure what would be getting garbage collected either. Unless the dance game logic is written in lua? I’m not sure how it’s all put together.

Oh and during the time that I provided logs for, I had the Windows process manager open showing the memory and CPU graphs. Nothing of interest was happening there either.

Okay, caught one. Copied the log after the song was done.

wondible.com/forum-files/outfox-log-2021-11-14.zip

Song was Changes, so somewhere around here

04:06.526: RageSound: Load "/Songs/In The Groove/Changes/Changes.ogg" (precache: 0)

Sorry for the delay. I’ve forwarded the logs to the dev team but they’ve been busier than usual lately and also needed some days off due to personal circumstances. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Totally understandable! This seems to be the time of year for personal circumstances.

@wondible did you make any modifications to the theme you’re using? One of the devs noticed your logs mention something called screenflowdjpick, what is it supposed to do?

Yes, it’s a custom theme overlay that mostly only replaces the song selection screen by picking a set of songs by some constraints. I do very little with the gameplay screen, the only things I might suspect would be 1. hooking the pause menu to exit to the right screen, and 2. process/memory pressure from the pick screen triggering a garbage collection during the play screen.

https://github.com/JustinLove/flow-dj