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  1. #1

    Seemingly random soft-locks while creating large modules

    I'll start off by saying that I've created quite a few modules (for personal use) in Fantasy Grounds, and most have 5+ MB DB files. I never ran into this issue when using FGC to create modules, but when I switched to using FGU in January of this year while I was creating the OSRIC for 2E module, I started noticing as I was entering NPCs that I'd be typing or scrolling or clicking a tab or something and suddenly Fantasy Grounds would become unresponsive. I'd get kind of a white overlay with a spinning blue wait symbol, as is typical for Windows when an application isn't responding. It typically would resolve itself in 10-20 seconds, though I've had some go for close to a minute.

    I was creating this in the 2E ruleset (though I doubt that matters), and the only extension I had enabled was Author, though I did try to disabling that to see if it made a difference, and it did not. I completed the conversion of the OSRIC stuff, shrugged my shoulders, and thought it might be a one-off case.

    Then I began a project to convert The Halls of Arden Vul (a 1100+ page megadungeon) for me to use in Fantasy Grounds. I started with new items, spells, etc, and I wasn't hitting any of those soft locks. Then I added some NPCs and the database was creeping up towards around 5 MB, and I started seeing an occasional small one. Now I've started adding the stories/encounters/parcels/tables for the actual dungeon rooms and my DB is up to 13 MB, and when I'm working I probably experience 3-4 of these soft locks an hour, and they usually take 15-45 seconds. After a long session of working, closing the application is particularly slow, too. I figured maybe it's slow because it's writing out the DB changes, but I don't know. When I manually /save, sometimes it's very slow and takes 30+ seconds. Other times it takes about 5 seconds.

    I've got a pretty beefy gaming PC with a lot of RAM and I'm working off a m2 drive, so I doubt it's a memory or hardware-based IO speed issue.

    I ran OBS earlier tonight just to record it happening, though OBS didn't capture the white overlay and wait cursor, so it's hard to see much going on (though I do verbally note when it starts and ends, and you can kind of see it jump back to life when the freeze ends). Timestamped video of when it occurs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXV9y2N6hkM&t=1185s

    I'm curious if this is a known issue or if other people have run into it. Asking around in the #dnd_classics_2e discord channel, most people said they haven't seen it, but most are also dealing with smaller DB files of < 5 mb.

    It's minor enough that I can just alt-tab out when it happens and check the news or something while I wait for it to unlock, but it is pretty frustrating and can really break the flow when I'm developing content.
    Last edited by Sterno; September 23rd, 2021 at 00:31.

  2. #2
    Autosave happens every 5 minutes. I'm getting 5 seconds hiccups when creating my adventure (3.4 MB atm).

    Others have reported similiar things, it gets really irritating when it's not in a dev but actual campaign with players. Fingers crossed this hopefully can be enhanced or a compromise can be found.

  3. #3
    I thought about auto save but the lock definite isn’t happening at regular 5 minute intervals, so I assume there’s have to be more to it than that.

    It would track with a manual save sometimes being very slow and other times being quick, though.

  4. #4
    One performance detail I've run across in my extensions is that the DB routines do not like long lines. So if you look in your db.xml and see any lines over 20k characters try your best to lower these. I found that if you save a single DB entry of 84k characters the save is several 5+ seconds but with 84 1k entries its less than 1/2 second to save. Also, a 15k character entry saves 10 times faster per character than does a 85k character entry.

    I doubt this is the cause but the DB routines most certainly perform better with more smaller lines than with less larger lines.


  5. #5
    As others have mentioned, I have not seen this; but might have to do with the size/volume of data as @jharp suggested. Given the randomness of the soft locks, I would also guess that they coincide with some memory garbage collection or paging.

    I can look at your campaign, just to see if I can recreate; but may be difficult given the lack of specific steps.

    Also, you can try running the Windows task manager while running to see memory usage to see if that gives any clues.


  6. #6
    I can send it to you, but I agree it might be a waste of your time given its seeming randomness. The video I recorded that it happened in I made specifically because I wanted video evidence befoire posting the bug, and I knew working for a while would make it happen, but even then it took about 20 minutes for it to happen once. I doubt it's a good use of your time to just play around in the campaign for 20-30 minutes to trigger it once.

    Although to be clear, I've had this happen in multiple campaigns, and the only common denominator seemed to be that they were all fairly large (>5 MB).

    I'll take some screenshots of Task Manager the next few times it happens to see if it gives any clues. I have in the past looked and neither GPU nor CPU were spiking during the hangs, but I'll check out memory usage and Disk usage, or see if there's an abnormal growth in memory use over time.

  7. #7
    I've had 3 hangs since that last post and a series of screenshots isn't worth capturing based on what I've seen so far. They all look pretty much the same... 0% CPU, 0% Disk, 0% GPU, no particular spike in Memory use. Status shows as "Not Responding" in task manager for the duration.

  8. #8
    Continued observation shows that while Disk usage is at 0% during the hang, it usually jumps to 2.3 MB/s for a few seconds after the hang ends. Almost seems like it wants to do a save but the thread is getting blocked or something.

  9. #9
    What kind of disk are you running on for the FG data folder? (mechnical, SSD, network, USB, ...)
    Do you have any file synching software running that might be synching the FG data folder?


  10. #10
    It's running on the same drive as the OS, which is an m.2 drive (1TB GIGABYTE AORUS (PCIE GEN4) NVME M.2 SSD).

    I do use some file backup software (Google Drive), but only to one specific folder (and subfolders) that I only add/remove files from manually, so that wouldn't be happening while running FGU and doesn't affect the FGU folders. I'll run with that software disabled just to rule it out, though.

    No anti-virus or anything like that running, either, other than whatever Windows 10 is doing by default.

    Usually have Discord running at the same time, as well as a browser window on another monitor that's watching Netflix or Twitch or something, as well as Adobe Reader open in the background (since I'm cutting and pasting data from PDFs into FG). I guess I usually have Steam idling in the background too, though this isn't related to it downloading patches or games at the same time or anything.

    If I'm the only one experiencing this problem, I can live with it. I'm mainly curious if other people who deal with large DB sizes are experiencing the same thing or not.

    I'll also take a look at installing FGU on my work laptop (much less beefy, but much less other stuff installed or running on it) and doing some campaign work there to see if the same problem occurs on different hardware.
    Last edited by Sterno; September 23rd, 2021 at 18:35.

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