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Mac Client - A lot of Graphical Issues

_subjectnamehere_
_subjectnamehere_
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Hello again everyone!

I am wondering if anyone else is experiencing frequent graphical issues. Most of my settings are on "medium" or lower due to the terrible memory leak (this game should be able to run on "high" settings, see my specs below) and I, very often, see no spell effects, really laggy attack animations, etc.

The no spell effects one is really bothersome...I never know if my Pulsar is activating, my lightning flood is hitting the ground, or my AOE heals are working.

On top of that, I posted another thread with the following UI error during the Spider Daedra boss in Veteran Crypt of Hearts. My entire party did not report this bug, but I am experiencing it every single attempt. During the fight, people get cocooned and never come out of it even if I free them...they just run around like a giant cocoon. Or, I get cocooned, but I can't tell, so I am hopping around (even though I shouldn't be able to) and people can't free me, etc. The list goes on. At the end of the fight, the picture shows exactly what it looked like for me. I have to relog to reset the character images; /reloadui does not work. Here is the link to that post.

Because no one else seems to be reporting the bug, I am making a slight guess that it might have something to do with the Mac client. The main issue though are all the persistent graphical issues....even textures are slow to come into view still (running across invisible bridges) and other building textures never draw. FPS seems to be extremely low, even though my video settings are set to the "recommended" level to help prevent the memory crash (even though that still happens).

Let me know what you guys all think. I really hope they get on top of things with this Mac client soon so I can boost my settings and play the game the way I wanted to play it on the settings that my machine can handle.

Specs:
iMac, 27-Inch, Late 2012
3.4 GHz Intel Core i7
8GB 1600MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2048MB
OSX 10.9.4
Edited by _subjectnamehere_ on July 30, 2014 5:33AM
  • Moonraker
    Moonraker
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    @_subjectnamehere_ Firstly the memory issue does not mean lower overall graphics. The main setting that does impact memory is Texture Quality as the higher it is the more memory is used and vice versa (reducing from High > Medium reduces memory footprint by around 25% if memory serves me)

    It is this setting that should be lowered to help with the current memory issue. View Distance will also have an impact as more data is drawn in as it is increased and why the new default on Ultra High should not be left as it is currently 100 but put back to the previous 67 in my opinion. Texture Quality is the main setting though.

    Other settings will have some effect but much less than TQ. Personally I have the same iMac 27 inch but later model Late 2013 with the upgraded Nvidia GTX 780M with 4GB VRAM and am able to play with average FPS of 40-50 with Ultra High settings except Shadow Quality set to Medium (this is the highest impact on performance, not memory) and Water Reflections Quality on the Medium default. And View Distance reduced to the old default of 67. Vsync should always be OFF as it will just cap FPS lower. This is in general PVE questing and bit lower in town around 40. Around 60 FPS in dungeons.

    The additional 2GB VRAM wont make so much difference and your GPU is plenty god enough to drive better performance even with the large 27 inch display at the native 2560 x 1440 resolution.

    Therefore if you have adjusted settings down as mentioned then I would be considering some other issues effecting game performance such as poor cooling throttling GPU (ensuring airflow and fans working correctly etc.) possible RAM issues or some other more fundamental issue with the Mac.

    I would start by running through basic maintenance and troubleshooting efforts such as running Disk Utility to repair permissions, try resetting NVRAM and SMC (see Apple site for instructions) then checking Hardware. Basically you need to eliminate all potential issue on the computer.

    Also, given that you mentions some weird glitches such as effects and other lag related issues from the description I would check through your network setup including rebooting router, Mac. If you use wireless then this can cause issues for example. Using a shared connection like in a college can also cause issues with firewalls etc which may impact connection.

    Check your connection to the game servers and monitor them to eliminate network related latency lost packets etc. There are still lag issues related to the server itself especially at peak hours it seems so it is important to rule out all external causes to gauge this.

    You can also try logging to the PTS server and seeing if the same issue occur or the symptoms improve. If they do then it points to server congestion given the much lower population on live servers for example.

    I would also be tempted to do a complete uninstall of the game and a fresh install ensuring you delete the Documents/Elder Scrolls Online folder with the preferences etc. but do backup this for the screenshots. This will rule out data corruption in your install which could cause issues as described.

    The bottom line is that the memory issue is real and crashing every few hours is not great but should not be causing the issues you have outlined. So you need to be looking at some other causes for this seeming degradation in performance as outlined above.

    I would caution on expecting top settings just because you may on paper have the Recommended level of specification. This will help but it doesn't factor in such things as your are trying to drive a 27 inch monitor at 2560 x 1440 with what essentially is a mobile GPU (which Apple uses in nearly all Macs for cooling and energy efficiency over performance)

    Consider I have pretty much the best mobile GPU available in the Nvidia GTX 780M 4GB and this will not play Ultra-High default settings over 40FPS in general play and 20-30 FPS in towns etc. That is why it is important to adjust settings per computer rather than rely on the 'best guess' of the games choice for you. And to eliminate al other possible causes.
    Edited by Moonraker on July 30, 2014 2:12PM
  • _subjectnamehere_
    _subjectnamehere_
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    Moonraker wrote: »
    Also, given that you mentions some weird glitches such as effects and other lag related issues from the description I would check through your network setup including rebooting router, Mac. If you use wireless then this can cause issues for example. Using a shared connection like in a college can also cause issues with firewalls etc which may impact connection.

    Check your connection to the game servers and monitor them to eliminate network related latency lost packets etc. There are still lag issues related to the server itself especially at peak hours it seems so it is important to rule out all external causes to gauge this.

    You can also try logging to the PTS server and seeing if the same issue occur or the symptoms improve. If they do then it points to server congestion given the much lower population on live servers for example.

    I would also be tempted to do a complete uninstall of the game and a fresh install ensuring you delete the Documents/Elder Scrolls Online folder with the preferences etc. but do backup this for the screenshots. This will rule out data corruption in your install which could cause issues as described.

    1. I am hard-wired into my modem and this is the only computer that is using the connection. Nothing is shared.

    2. Did you look at the picture above? We are all just standing there, long after the fight, and nothing goes back to normal until after I re-log. This is NOT lag. This is a clear issue with the client and/or server. If it was lag, then why don't I experience this problem on any other boss fights with mechanics that alter appearance? This is the only boss where this issue occurs.

    3. With a monthly bandwidth cap of only 25GB (I am in a remote area), there is no way I can re-install the entire game all over again. The downloads would take forever. I already paid once for going over my limit and I really do not want to do that again. I find it very hard to believe that a fresh install is going to solve anything. Do you have any evidence to support that statement?

    4. I have not checked the PTS server. I will wait until the patch is released to see if anything has improved.

    I have gone through the other steps mentioned in your post multiple times.
  • KhajitFurTrader
    KhajitFurTrader
    Community-Botschafter
    Might as well be frequent IP packet loss between server and client. The client can't change states (e.g. how to display characters during fight stages) if the packet(s) that tell the client to change states never arrive. This is an inherent weakness of UDP, which doesn't do error checking and correction like TCP does (OTOH, the overhead and mostly bad sluggish implementation of TCP stacks in almost all OSs would kill the server on the same level of concurrency). Of course, important things (like positional data) will get resend regularly by the server at the heartbeat.

    MMO games are curious beasts, insofar that the graphics engines are tightly tied to the network code and the data it receives. Although every graphical asset is local to the client (not a single graphical bit is found on the server), the client is totally dependent on the server to tell it what dynamical (i.e. non-landscape) objects to display in what way. Due to this dependency, FPS rates can and will drop even with the most powerful hardware if data can't be received in time over the network. A lot can be done with code tweaking, but if the network experiences packet loss at some point along the way (perhaps due to over-saturation), then things are out of control for server and client both.

    You didn't write on what kind of connection your're on (DSL, cable, mobile LTE etc.). Thing is, packet loss can occur anywhere between the data centre and your machine, and there are at least three parties involved (your ISP, their ISP, one or more backbone carrier(s)).
  • _subjectnamehere_
    _subjectnamehere_
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    Might as well be frequent IP packet loss between server and client. The client can't change states (e.g. how to display characters during fight stages) if the packet(s) that tell the client to change states never arrive. This is an inherent weakness of UDP, which doesn't do error checking and correction like TCP does (OTOH, the overhead and mostly bad sluggish implementation of TCP stacks in almost all OSs would kill the server on the same level of concurrency). Of course, important things (like positional data) will get resend regularly by the server at the heartbeat.

    MMO games are curious beasts, insofar that the graphics engines are tightly tied to the network code and the data it receives. Although every graphical asset is local to the client (not a single graphical bit is found on the server), the client is totally dependent on the server to tell it what dynamical (i.e. non-landscape) objects to display in what way. Due to this dependency, FPS rates can and will drop even with the most powerful hardware if data can't be received in time over the network. A lot can be done with code tweaking, but if the network experiences packet loss at some point along the way (perhaps due to over-saturation), then things are out of control for server and client both.

    You didn't write on what kind of connection your're on (DSL, cable, mobile LTE etc.). Thing is, packet loss can occur anywhere between the data centre and your machine, and there are at least three parties involved (your ISP, their ISP, one or more backbone carrier(s)).

    This is extremely helpful information.

    So...here ya go. I am in a rural Alaskan village on a brand-new DSL service (just got it in January 2014). So...perhaps they are still working out bugs in their system or the simple fact that I am 500 miles (as the crow flies) off the road system might be causing these issues.

    Thank you very much for this post.
  • Moonraker
    Moonraker
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    2. Did you look at the picture above? We are all just standing there, long after the fight, and nothing goes back to normal until after I re-log. This is NOT lag. This is a clear issue with the client and/or server. If it was lag, then why don't I experience this problem on any other boss fights with mechanics that alter appearance? This is the only boss where this issue occurs.

    I was not just referring to that particular issue but also the other symptoms you mentioned;
    The main issue though are all the persistent graphical issues....even textures are slow to come into view still (running across invisible bridges) and other building textures never draw.
    These are all classic symptoms of latency in the connection to the game server and. or server side lag (or on the computer though not likely with your spec. if it is operating correctly) which is pretty much what @KhajitFurTrader explained.

    I am not sure he is right though in how it relates to ESO as from previous testing, unless something has changed since, ESO was not using UDP ports only TCP. Originally they only provided port number to open in the support page for TCP. They did add information also for UDP ports later but checking it does not seem that ESO uses UDP at all for the game. It may use TCP/UDP for the Launcher for checking data and downloads and/ or browser elements.

    I tested this by launching the eso process then using the following in Terminal to show all open ports using UDP.
    lsof -i udp

    This reported only a couple of ports using UDP protocol and nothing for the eso process.

    Using the same but for TCP results in two TCP connections to the game server (one for game play data and the other for other stuff like guild, chat etc.)
    eso       308 xxxxxxxxxxxx   35u  IPv4 0xa09b1b41499b2275      0t0  TCP 192.168.1.10:49463->159.100.232.107:24500 (ESTABLISHED)
    eso       308 xxxxxxxxxxxx   36u  IPv4 0xa09b1b41499aea8d      0t0  TCP 192.168.1.10:49465->159.100.232.23:24114 (ESTABLISHED)
    

    The IP addresses vary within the range specified by Zenimax;
    WHAT PORTS DO I NEED TO OPEN TO ACCESS THE GAME?

    Updated 07/08/2014 08:46 AM Published 02/15/2013 07:46 PM

    To best access The Elder Scrolls Online, players should configure their routers to open the following outbound ports:

    TCP / UDP Ports 24100 through 24131
    TCP / UDP Ports 24300 through 24331
    TCP / UDP Ports 24500 through 24507
    source

    There was a recent article (April 2014) which I found useful to explain this and why issues can occur either way especially if the game server is not properly optimised;

    Game servers: UDP vs TCP

    In that the author concludes generally that;
    So UDP or TCP?

    •Use HTTP/HTTPS over TCP if you are making occasional, client-initiated stateless queries and an occasional delay is ok.

    •Use persistent plain TCP sockets if both client and server independently send packets but an occasional delay is ok (e.g. Online Poker, many MMOs).

    •Use UDP if both client and server may independently send packets and occasional lag is not ok (e.g. Most multiplayer action games, some MMOs)

    These are mixable too: Your MMO client might first use HTTP to get the latest updates, then connect to the game servers using UDP.
    The second option is in line with ESO. Note however it does specify occasional delay is OK and I suspect this is the key part where issues arise.

    WoW uses both but I can't remember if it uses both for game server or for other elements such as browser/ chat etc.

    Given your location it is very likely due to location and latency due to distance from main DSL box. You will get a better idea from pinging the game server (it wont reach the actual server but to the location due to security) and especially running a traceroute. I'm not on my Mac currently to give full details but these have been posted previously how to do this.

    The cocoon bug could be data corruption or also down to delay in packets which mean the game is desyncing and causing the client <> server to mess up things like this i.e. the client is not able to know when a certain effect should be dropped in time and stays stuck on. That is simplistic but quite possible.
    With a monthly bandwidth cap of only 25GB (I am in a remote area), there is no way I can re-install the entire game all over again. The downloads would take forever. I already paid once for going over my limit and I really do not want to do that again. I find it very hard to believe that a fresh install is going to solve anything. Do you have any evidence to support that statement?
    it is a suggestion which has helped others resolve issues especially as the ESO Launcher is quite buggy even now and tends to cause issues when patching still. You ust need to check back over other threads if you wish to see this. It is more a basic step if there appears to be errors in game where data is possibly corrupted. I would try the Repair feature first if the download is an issue although that in itself may instigate a large download as it tries to repair/ replace data usually by replacing the whole folder/s.

    In the end it's your call on whether the download is worth doing or not. Probably it sounds like it is more linked to network though and worth checking that out thoroughly first.
    I have not checked the PTS server. I will wait until the patch is released to see if anything has improved.
    Requires a full download or possible to copy the existing install (usually requires some download anyhow to update to PTS version) but then if there is data corruption it would likely duplicate it so probably not an option in your situation.

    Finally, maybe when you respond to posts by others taking time and trying to offer advice, you consider that it is offered in good faith and only there to help.
    Edited by Moonraker on July 31, 2014 2:32PM
  • KhajitFurTrader
    KhajitFurTrader
    Community-Botschafter
    That was an interesting read, @Moonraker, thanks!

    Funnily enough, my machine doesn't seem to open UDP connections to the server at all. I will test whether this is caused by my firewall/DSL router (IPFire 2.15) by explicitly opening the UDP port ranges you've described above.

    Anyway, with only the client running (launcher is closed), things look like this on my side:

    netstat:
    tcp4       0      0  <mymachine>.50736 159.100.232.156.24123  ESTABLISHED
    tcp4       0      0  <mymachine>.50733 159.100.232.114.24501  ESTABLISHED
    

    lsof -i tcp:
    eso       422 <user>   32u  IPv4 <id>      0t0  TCP <mymachine>:50733->159.100.232.114:24501 (ESTABLISHED)
    eso       422 <user>   33u  IPv4 <id>      0t0  TCP <mymachine>:50736->159.100.232.156:24123 (ESTABLISHED)
    

    lsof -i udp: none at all.

    (N.B.: I've analyzed a traceroute to the gateway in this post)

    My guess is that one connection is for game data, and the other one for the chat server, as they are usually handled as separate entities.
  • Moonraker
    Moonraker
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    That was an interesting read, @Moonraker, thanks!

    Funnily enough, my machine doesn't seem to open UDP connections to the server at all. I will test whether this is caused by my firewall/DSL router (IPFire 2.15) by explicitly opening the UDP port ranges you've described above.

    Anyway, with only the client running (launcher is closed), things look like this on my side:

    ---snip---

    lsof -i udp: none at all.

    (N.B.: I've analyzed a traceroute to the gateway in this post)

    My guess is that one connection is for game data, and the other one for the chat server, as they are usually handled as separate entities.
    Pretty much as I found. No UDP traffic or even use or UDP ports in ranges specified. If I remember they may get used for the Launcher but not for the ESO client process. All TCP.

    I think they just included UDP in ranges to cover the Launcher and possibly future changes but not used currently. Not at user end it appears.
    Edited by Moonraker on August 3, 2014 12:12PM
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