Running X2 in background

General discussions about the games by Egosoft including X-BTF, XT, X², X³: Reunion, X³: Terran Conflict and X³: Albion Prelude.

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Stooge
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Joined: Wed, 3. Dec 03, 01:32

Post by Stooge » Thu, 4. Dec 03, 05:48

Wow.

Amazing ...

Rather then debate multi-threading, I just went to the source .. from microsoft's website:

Multithreading. Right now the most sophisticated games require computers to complete many different processes at once. This is known as multithreading and as games evolve multithreading will become more and more important. Windows XP handles multithreading more intelligently than previous operating systems. For now, any game that requires execution of multiple tasks within its own process will benefit from smoother graphics and some overall speed gains
You can vew the full deal here

Now in regards to "When you send a task in background it stops and wait to be relaunched" that's just bogus. I know several games that will run just fine in the background. Things change, time passes, resources are collected, all in the background (In fact Rise of Nations by Microsoft does just this). To say otherwise just shows a total and fundamental lack of understanding of the OS.

The fact is that X2 was either not written so that it can run in the background, or they purposely disabled the game while in background mode. It would take a developer to tell us which way. However, you are incorrect in many of your assumptions regarding background tasks. In fact, just to prove it to myself beyond a shadow of doubt I have Rise of Nations running in the background right now. Task manager states that it's using approx. 80% of my cpu. And ... let's alt-tab back into game ... I now have 250 more units of wood and since it's only being collected at 45 units per minute, I'd say it's running just fine in the background.

You are correct that services will run in the background, but that kind of goes w/o saying. What good is a service that doesn't run in the background? My entire production farm at work would be useless if the applications did not run in the background as services.

The point is Windows can handle multi-threading, multi-processing, and multi-tasking. The software has to be written to take that into account, and X2 was not. It's a "problem" with X2 and NOT the OS.

I put problem in quotes because I don't consider it to be an issue at all, it's how they coded it, deal with it :roll:

OH, and I just checked Rise of Nations again and I now have 450 more units of wood. Meanwhile, the computer has advanced to the next age, and has almost completely destroyed my town. All of this while it ran in the background as I typed this message to you. Feel bad for my village, but oh well, it was just a test anyway :lol:

Parias
Posts: 319
Joined: Wed, 6. Nov 02, 21:31
x3tc

Post by Parias » Thu, 4. Dec 03, 10:51

I hate to continue this crazy debate, but I should mention that, from my experience, the game does still run while it's in the background. It may not eat up any major system resources, but it's still processing something, because every time I alt-tab out for several minutes and go back in, I notice time jumping ahead suddenly and any processes I'm monitoring advance as if that given amount of time had passed. Curious.

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vabtek
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Post by vabtek » Thu, 4. Dec 03, 13:36

Stooge wrote:Wow.

Amazing ...

Rather then debate multi-threading, I just went to the source .. from microsoft's website:

Multithreading. Right now the most sophisticated games require computers to complete many different processes at once. This is known as multithreading and as games evolve multithreading will become more and more important. Windows XP handles multithreading more intelligently than previous operating systems. For now, any game that requires execution of multiple tasks within its own process will benefit from smoother graphics and some overall speed gains
You can vew the full deal here

Now in regards to "When you send a task in background it stops and wait to be relaunched" that's just bogus. I know several games that will run just fine in the background. Things change, time passes, resources are collected, all in the background (In fact Rise of Nations by Microsoft does just this). To say otherwise just shows a total and fundamental lack of understanding of the OS.

The fact is that X2 was either not written so that it can run in the background, or they purposely disabled the game while in background mode. It would take a developer to tell us which way. However, you are incorrect in many of your assumptions regarding background tasks. In fact, just to prove it to myself beyond a shadow of doubt I have Rise of Nations running in the background right now. Task manager states that it's using approx. 80% of my cpu. And ... let's alt-tab back into game ... I now have 250 more units of wood and since it's only being collected at 45 units per minute, I'd say it's running just fine in the background.

You are correct that services will run in the background, but that kind of goes w/o saying. What good is a service that doesn't run in the background? My entire production farm at work would be useless if the applications did not run in the background as services.

The point is Windows can handle multi-threading, multi-processing, and multi-tasking. The software has to be written to take that into account, and X2 was not. It's a "problem" with X2 and NOT the OS.

I put problem in quotes because I don't consider it to be an issue at all, it's how they coded it, deal with it :roll:

OH, and I just checked Rise of Nations again and I now have 450 more units of wood. Meanwhile, the computer has advanced to the next age, and has almost completely destroyed my town. All of this while it ran in the background as I typed this message to you. Feel bad for my village, but oh well, it was just a test anyway :lol:

Ok I was totaly wrong on that from what your saying and your reply was far better and respectable than low personnal attack and global jugment of someone you dont know from other replies... Except your "Total lack of understanding" that is quite big and generalising dont you think? As if you miss a detail you misse all without any nuances.... quite od binary thinking in my opinion... Thanks anyway cause I wrongly beleived that as sort of a "convention" applications that needed to multithread were made running as a service as opposed to those that would not need to do so...

FLY135
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Joined: Wed, 3. Dec 03, 20:39
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Post by FLY135 » Fri, 5. Dec 03, 16:41

Ok I was totaly wrong on that from what your saying and your reply was far better and respectable than low personnal attack and global jugment of someone you dont know from other replies...
I apologize about the personal attack. It was uncalled for. And Stooge is exactly right about the issue of X2 becoming idle is the background. It was a choice the developers made for unstated reasons.

The reason why I'm "someone you don't know" is because I preordered X2 and just joined the forum. In fact EB just called me last night and said my X2 is ready for pickup. I tried X-BTF and found it to be too slow and boring. X-Tension, which supposibly was a big improvement was never available in the states. So as a big space sim fan I decided sight-unseen to plunk down my 40USD and take a chance on X2.

Anyway, please accept my apology as I hope to enjoy both the game and chatting about it here on the forum. I got off to a pretty bad start for a first post.

JrStonewall
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Re: um... no

Post by JrStonewall » Fri, 5. Dec 03, 19:34

vabtek wrote:
...and now I know for what I'm saving the credits for... A nice Argon TL... Fast, Big cargo space, holds 15 ships up to dolphins L and nova L... For exemple, I've put 5 Nova's, 2 Dolphins, 1 solar plant, 1 sillicon and one ore plant. Had 2k energy for the jumpdrive, couple of adv satellites, many weapon types in it and still had about half of free space of cargo... So the Argon TL will certainly be my first best utility ship way before carriers and destroyers...
SWEET!!! I hope you are correct. Thats the kindof spoiler I've been hoping to find while waiting for my preorder of X2 to arrive. About a month ago there were stats on the Argon Mammoth that said it would only carry 4-5 ships total and I was outrage and crying in my beers. Now at least I know the ship is a useful stepping stone before purchase of a full carrier instead of just a worthless utility ship. If the Argon TL ship capacity really is 15 I want to thank the Devs profusely!!! I cant believe they actually fixed that and so soon before release.

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General Javid
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Post by General Javid » Fri, 5. Dec 03, 19:40

I don't know about you, but when I play Rise of Nations (just now in fact), when I Alt-tab out to do other things, and then go back 5-minutes later, there has been no change in the game from the time I left it.

I don't mean to debate or argue, but that's my experience with Rise of Nations. Otherwise, I'm sure there are games that can run quite happily in the background. I know neither X-BTF or XT could run in the background.

Just my two-cents... go easy :D

Ummagumma
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Post by Ummagumma » Fri, 5. Dec 03, 22:09

scribble wrote:I never believed what people say about Canadians, but vabtek is a rather convincing argument.
Vabtek isn't Canadian. He's Quebecois. :P

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vabtek
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Re: um... no

Post by vabtek » Sat, 6. Dec 03, 01:17

JrStonewall wrote:
vabtek wrote:
...and now I know for what I'm saving the credits for... A nice Argon TL... Fast, Big cargo space, holds 15 ships up to dolphins L and nova L... For exemple, I've put 5 Nova's, 2 Dolphins, 1 solar plant, 1 sillicon and one ore plant. Had 2k energy for the jumpdrive, couple of adv satellites, many weapon types in it and still had about half of free space of cargo... So the Argon TL will certainly be my first best utility ship way before carriers and destroyers...
SWEET!!! I hope you are correct. Thats the kindof spoiler I've been hoping to find while waiting for my preorder of X2 to arrive. About a month ago there were stats on the Argon Mammoth that said it would only carry 4-5 ships total and I was outrage and crying in my beers. Now at least I know the ship is a useful stepping stone before purchase of a full carrier instead of just a worthless utility ship. If the Argon TL ship capacity really is 15 I want to thank the Devs profusely!!! I cant believe they actually fixed that and so soon before release.
Well I screwd at the 15 ships... It's 12 ships actually for the mammoth and 21000 units of cargo... - Orca 10 ships, 17000 cargo. - Albatros 10 ships, 14000 cargo. - Elephant 30 ships, 11000 cargo. -Hercules 27 ships, 13000 cargo. So for my first need the mammoth is the best big mama for stations distribution.... And the Elephant as an entry level carrier...

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vabtek
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Post by vabtek » Sat, 6. Dec 03, 01:24

FLY135 wrote:I apologize about the personal attack. It was uncalled for.
accepted

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vabtek
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Post by vabtek » Sat, 6. Dec 03, 01:26

Ummagumma wrote:
scribble wrote:I never believed what people say about Canadians, but vabtek is a rather convincing argument.
Vabtek isn't Canadian. He's Quebecois. :P
You cannot be Quebecois without being Canadian first... logic 101

Beef
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon, 1. Dec 03, 02:49

Post by Beef » Sat, 6. Dec 03, 02:05

Now in regards to "When you send a task in background it stops and wait to be relaunched" that's just bogus. I know several games that will run just fine in the background.
I'll repeat, a programmer can choose to make his program run in the background or not. X² totally blocks in he background, it doesn't even redraw the window.

Everyone seems to have his or her own definition for multi-tasking and multi-threading. Don't read on if you're not interested in technical details =)

If someone says multi-tasking, I think of handling and running different programs at once. This doesn't say that the programs in the background keep running or not, you can simply run different programs at once.
Multi-threading is running different threads or 'processes' at the same time. One program can have a lot of processes at the same time.
To clear up some confusion, a process is a program sequence. Multi-threading is running several of those sequences at once.

"My computer has only once cpu, how can it run different sequences at the same time?"
Operating systems like windows don't actually run those sequences in parallel. All your processes are put in a queue and all get a little portion of cpu cycles, thus 'faking' parallel computing. There still is the issue of memory resources, deadlock prevention etc... but thats pretty advanced stuff, each operating system has it's own implementation.
It's even possible for a program to not quit all it's processes, those 'zombie' processes will keep running in the background, hogging system resources. A lot of pesky ad- and spyware use 'daemon' threads to keep running in the background, without you knowing.

Has this anything to do with X² running in the background? Well, if you have a line in your program code saying "if window not active, switch to other process", your program will block. Programs can run perfectly well in the background, it all just depends on the design decision if they should or not (who needs ms word to keep running in the background?).

Parias
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x3tc

Post by Parias » Sat, 6. Dec 03, 02:46

Beef wrote:I'll repeat, a programmer can choose to make his program run in the background or not. X² totally blocks in he background, it doesn't even redraw the window.
Only vaguely related, but I find it even better when programmers go the extra effort to add a "Suspend When Inactive" option to a given title's configuration options, therefore letting the user decide if a game will pause or not when it doesn't have focus.

Beef
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon, 1. Dec 03, 02:49

Post by Beef » Sat, 6. Dec 03, 02:54

Only vaguely related, but I find it even better when programmers go the extra effort to add a "Suspend When Inactive" option to a given title's configuration options, therefore letting the user decide if a game will pause or not when it doesn't have focus.
very good idea actually

JrStonewall
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Joined: Thu, 17. Jul 03, 01:25
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Re: um... no

Post by JrStonewall » Sat, 6. Dec 03, 08:57

vabtek wrote:
Well I screwd at the 15 ships... It's 12 ships actually for the mammoth and 21000 units of cargo... - Orca 10 ships, 17000 cargo. - Albatros 10 ships, 14000 cargo. - Elephant 30 ships, 11000 cargo. -Hercules 27 ships, 13000 cargo. So for my first need the mammoth is the best big mama for stations distribution.... And the Elephant as an entry level carrier...
Still nice, but I'm kind of partial to either the Herc or Mammoth from Xt and it seems the Hercules 27 ship and 13k capacity is ideal for me if it is priced relative to the Mammoth like in Xt the Herc was 16million bucks and the Mammoth though a much nicer ride wasnt worth the nearly 50million pricetag IMHO. Though I did end Xt in a Mammoth (and persius) it was more a matter of having millions of credits from hundreds of factories and nothing else to spend it on.

FLY135
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Post by FLY135 » Mon, 8. Dec 03, 03:47

Multi-threading is running different threads or 'processes' at the same time. One program can have a lot of processes at the same time.
To clear up some confusion, a process is a program sequence. Multi-threading is running several of those sequences at once.
There are always exceptions and various ways to use terminology. But in modern computers with memory management units and virtualized memory space like todays PC's and 32 bit OS's, a process is not considered to be the function of, or synonymous with "thread". In the most simplistic terms a process is a separate application. One or more threads will reside in a process. A process has it's own protected memory space from other processes, where a thread resides in the same memory space as other threads in the same process. So it would be incorrect to interchangably use the term "thread" and "process".

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