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Is Stable uGridsToLoad by Altimor useful even for Grids left at 5 ?


Elgar
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Hi,
 
Some people say that Stable uGridsToLoad by Altimor is useful even if we don't change the Grids value.
 
I know, thanks to Arthmoor and other people's posts, how harmful it is to change this value. So I never changed it and I always play with the vanilla 5. But should I use Altimor's cell stabilizer anyway ?
 
For example, Firefreak111 says in his excellent Skyrim Stability Guide :
 

There is a bug with vanilla Skyrim related to the handling of cells, where the game is wrongly spawning too many cells, which eventually causes a CTD. Though the problem only causes a CTD with uGridsToLoad at a manually raised value, its still spawning too many cells and increasing memory usage. This mod will fix this problem, and help your game's memory usage.


I read this kind of comment in several places (I just can't remember where). So guys, what do you think ?

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I do not know the theoretical side of things, but I played with 9 grids for months before reducing to 7, with about 30 mods and no DLC. That character got to level 64 after about 450 hours and it was patch 1.9 that broke her as all the UFO followers started wandering off.

 

I then tinkered around trying various different characters and also experimenting with lots of mods and tried my hand at creating mods. I have not been as careful as with my first character as I do not feel the same sense of investment or "love" for the others as I did for her.

 

Then I started a new character after enabling DG with 7 grids and things were fine until I enabled HF and DB. I had to lower to 5 grids in order to start on Solstheim. This was all without the dll mod you mention.

 

My current character is level 15 with all DLC and 200 mods, many heavily scripted, some involving graphics etc, and I am now using:

 

Altimor's CellStabilser.dll

Phinix's compiled version of Sheson's Memory Allocation patch (before he took it down)

SKSE 1.6.16 (the 1.7 alpha did not seem to work for me)

No ENB

No ENBoost

Re-jigged ini tweaks

 

and I am playing with 9 Grids again with no problems.

 

So, as a "layman", I would suggest that the CellStabilser.dll would help with 5 Grids if that is what it is meant to do. My current configuration is certainly working for me with 9 grids, with no lag, no microstutter and CTDs so infrequent they really don't matter. And the game is as smooth as liquid silk again.

 

 

I don't mean to cause an argument, but I would like to hear some details about what is so dangerous about changing the grids values, as I have seen plenty of vague warnings based on theoretical knowledge and assumptions based on Oblivion, but I am having a lot of difficulty pinning down actual examples of why the uGrids value should break quests or corrupt the saves in Skyrim. And I have seen absolutely zero examples of it actually happening. The engines may be similar, but they are not identical.

 

But them, it might be something to do with my play style as well. EG, in 2 years I have never done the Companions quests beyond talking to them and meeting the Boss, as my first character was a Druid, not a Warrior, and I have no interest in being a werewolf. My other characters tend to be Nightblades, Archers, Spellswords, Burglars etc.

 

So if the Companions quest gets broken with higher grids, I would not have seen it. Did anyone else? I also don't care about weapons racks, so I have never seen the bug that USKP was trying to fix. The racks in Breezehome worked fine.

 

 

So any information on actual examples of the horrors of higher uGrids would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Cheers!

 

~

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Re: ugrids and scripts.

 

uGrids 5 = 5x5 cells = 25 cells loaded into memory.

uGrids 7 = 7x7 cells = 49 cells loaded into memory.

uGrids 9 = 9x9 cells = 81 cells loaded into memory.

 

And so on. This will lead to events being loaded far before the game intends for them to be. Script overload in Papyrus will be insane, and we see examples every day of people complaining about it, yet those of us who stick to 5x5 don't run into those problems and thus can't reproduce them thus leading to anger and hate.

 

I get that you want some kind of scientific answer to this, but there isn't one. This is quite literally a textbook example of "DUH!". Until this memory patch allowed people do to terribly stupid things to their games, most folks only dared to push things to 7x7 and didn't experience as much trouble. Occasional reports of broken quests, events not concluding properly (or at all) and various other things relating to script overload. Not to mention increasing reports from people about simple AI "standing around doing nothing" just like what would happen to you in the older games. Just look at all of the script lag reports. Broken quest reports. Broken AI reports. Broken event reports. Crashes from spawn overload. You name it.

 

You can mess with the Papyrus settings in the ini, but as SMKViper has told us numerous times (he developed the system) it isn't designed to be messed with. Raising stack and allocation memory doesn't mean the script VM can actually handle it when you do that, which puts the uGrids fanatics into an unresolvable paradox. Higher uGrids = more scripts to process -> give Papyrus more memory = VM can't handle it thus generating lag -> crashes and broken shit.

 

As I've said several times, there's more to the uGrids than JUST the visuals. Pretending these things don't happen and then trying to convince the public that there's nothing wrong with it at all is a huge disservice to everyone. Especially when time has to be taken to set people straight on something that ought to be extremely obvious with 5 minutes of critical thought.

 

The nature of gaming and modding means the examples and data you seek won't be neatly presented in one place. It's more of a collective conscience at this point.

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Shadowblade, you should have started your own thread about raised uGrids values because my question was absolutely not related to that.

 

Arthmoor, your post is of course very informative (and thank you for that) but like I said I already know how harmful it is to change uGrids, and I always played and am still playing with vanilla uGrids 5. ;)

 

My question was, some people say that Altimor's cell stabilizer should be used even with vanilla uGrids 5, because they say it "fixes a problem with a recursive function that is responsible for loading cells". I thought that maybe some members of the USKP team would have an opinion about that. :)

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Sorry, Elgar, that was more for the benefit of other people who might wander by and read that :)

 

I have no opinion on the Cell Stabilizer. I haven't ever looked into it so I have no idea if the claims about it benefiting the game even at uGrids=5 are valid. The best people qualified to evaluate these things are the SKSE guys. Someone there ought to be able to tell you what his DLL is doing, precisely.

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I understand. Thank you, Arthmoor.
 
These new "tools" or "patches", I don't know how to call them, are a little hard to comprehend : ENBoost, Safety load, Memory patch, Cell stabilizer, etc. I never used them so far and as I am very cautious with the mods I install (even textures), I experiment very rare CTD, almost never. So I wonder what to do. You know the expression : "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"...  :P

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Like I said I already know how harmful it is to change uGrids, and I always played and am still playing with vanilla uGrids 5. ;)

 

Then you do not know any such thing. You just believe it, despite an utter absence of any personal experience or third party evidence.

 

I was told about God and Santa Claus and the Boogey Man when I was a child. I now know the third was entirely made up, the second is based on the East European Saint Nicholas and hijacked by Coca-Cola, while I have yet to see any scientific, verifiable evidence for the first. No matter how many people believe it, repeat it and swear by it. I also see overwhelming evidence for DNA, Genetics and Evolution, no matter how many idiots on YouTube deny it. :)

 

 

There seems to be two categories of people on this:

 

1. Those, like you, who have read it is harmful, believed it and never did it;

 

2. Others, like me, who did not know it was supposed to be harmful, were doing it for six months before reading about and still not seeing any problem in two years of playing Skyrim.

 

And in my quest for information of what can happen and why it can be so damaging, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Just unqualified, theoretical dogma from people with sub-standard systems.

 

By "unqualified", I mean no qualification such as "this is bad if you have an i3 and a 0.5 GB gpu". It's just a blanket, dire warning that it is lethal even on an i7 with a 4 GB card.

 

I suppose a third category would be people who read the warnings and tried it anyway. I would probably have fallen into that category as well.

 

The only quest issue I ever had with Skyrim was Blood on the Ice. I think a lot of these alleged issues relate to older patches and earlier versions of USKP running on weak systems.

 

If random encounter scripts fire earlier with higher grids, I find that it actually adds to immersion. I can meet a Thalmor patrol, reload and come across two Thalmor and find a dead one, a dead prisoner and some dead wolves further up the road, and reload and walk up the road and find the Thalmor fighting the wolves. Skyrim seems to be a living world and things happen even if I am not there, rather than static NPCs standing around until I come and talk to them. I think Vanilla settings have this, but if scripts fire earlier, the worst that I have seen happen so far is that a non-essential NPC is dead when I get there - like the Guard outside the Bulwark by the old farm. So I took his gear and helped the Captain. That was more benefit to my character than if the guard had still been alive, actually. An elven sword and bow (Dunmer Refugee Alternate Start)! I could see the combat going on from the top of the Bulwark, so I went over to see what was going on. Maybe with 5 grids instead of 9, I would not have even seen the NPCs and the combat would not start until I was closer?

 

 

 

You can mess with the Papyrus settings in the ini, but as SMKViper has told us numerous times (he developed the system) it isn't designed to be messed with. Raising stack and allocation memory doesn't mean the script VM can actually handle it when you do that, which puts the uGrids fanatics into an unresolvable paradox. Higher uGrids = more scripts to process -> give Papyrus more memory = VM can't handle it thus generating lag -> crashes and broken shit.

 

First, he said that about Vanilla - there's no need to increase anything for Vanilla Skyrim. And, surely, if it was not designed to be messed with, it would not be messable?

 

Secondly, I use the Vanilla settings for Papyrus. There is no irresolvable paradox at all. I tried some of those tweaks from the Wiki, they did not seem to make any difference (they reduced stutter at first, but I fixed that another way), and there was so many allegations they were damaging I decided to reverse them as they had no real benefit for me anymore.

 

But if my game blows up, I'll come back and admit I was wrong. :D Although, I am playing Neverwinter at the moment. REALLY great game!

 

 

 

I get that you want some kind of scientific answer to this, but there isn't one.

 

Yes, that's exactly what I am looking for. I am not encouraging anyone else to do the same as me, I just want to know what is supposed to go wrong and whether anyone has EVER actually seen it happen. Because I have been testing for two years and I've never seen it happen. And in all these sorts of threads, on all the forums, there is no one who has ever reported it happening to them. Just those who say they have no problem, and those who say they read somewhere it's a bad idea.

 

 

 

Pretending these things don't happen and then trying to convince the public that there's nothing wrong with it at all is a huge disservice to everyone. Especially when time has to be taken to set people straight on something that ought to be extremely obvious with 5 minutes of critical thought.

 

No one is pretending anything and, as I say, I am not trying to convince the public of anything. I could say that you are pretending that it does happen because you do not want people with more powerful machines to enjoy a better game than you can; but that would be absurd and ridiculous! I'm just saying that it's never caused me a problem, enhances my game experience, I have seen no report from anyone who ever had a problem and I cannot find any specific information on it actually happening. But a lot of people repeat that it's a bad idea. Theoretically, it may be; but in practice I do not find it to be true.

 

One of the reasons I originally thought of reducing from 9 to 7 (this was late 2012) was because I could see wandering animals and combats almost in other cell, and could kill things with spells and bows from such a ridiculous distance it felt like cheating. Then after changing some mods I had some CTDs in certain places and I thought it might be too much of a strain on the system. But all of this was before any memory patch. I am glad to say I am back up to 9 grids with my latest configuration.

 

But I do not appreciate certain people on other forums basically calling me a liar and an idiot and accusing me of simply repeating misinformation I have only read and never tested. As Arthmoor knows, I report only my own experiences. I also dumped Umbrecht's external cell values, as it was no longer needed once I had CellStabiliser and Sheson's patch.

 

 

 

Shadowblade, you should have started your own thread about raised uGrids values because my question was absolutely not related to that.

 

You asked about the CellStabilser.dll so I told you my experiences and the circumstances of my experiences. I was also hoping for some input from Arthmoor.

 

Sorry if anyone feels I hijacked the thread :(

 

~

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Yes, that's exactly what I am looking for.

Then you will remain forever disappointed because nobody is going to conduct a proper dogmatic scientific study of the game to provide these things. You'll have to make due with players who are sharing their own experiences with it, who all overwhelmingly support the fact that raising uGrids leads nowhere good.

Leave the pure science approach in the universities where people actually get paid to do that for a living. Out here, in the real world, that's just not how things get done. Nobody is beholden to using either a burden of proof standard used by lawyers or a burden of proof standard used by academia.

 

That said, one of Gopher's recent videos went into the subject in some depth and though his testing methods leave something to be desired, he has a perfect example of what we've been trying to tell you - a quest firing and killing the target of the quest without him even being able to see them. Most quests don't announce their acquisition and resolution to you so openly.

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Someone summed it up with these words : "It's not about if the computer's specs can handle it, it's about if the Skyrim engine can handle it most of the time. It was designed to run on ugrids 5."
 
You can over-revving your car engine but if you do that constantly, bad things will happen. It's common sense. (Maybe you will find this analogy silly, but to speak honestly it's not less silly to make a comparison with belief in God ;) )
 

Then you do not know any such thing. You just believe it, despite an utter absence of any personal experience or third party evidence.

 
Yes, I trust experimented people enough to not want to test myself modified uGrids. I try to take a critical look at things but regarding uGrids it's not only Arthmoor's point of view, it's a general consensus among a lot of proficient players and modders.

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I used uGrids 7 for a year with seemingly no issues. Well, some NPCs/creatures were dead when I got to them, but I didn't think too much about that then (now I don't even want to think what it might have done to various other things). After patch 1.9 came out, none of the saves using higher uGrids were no longer stable, they would CTD on certain spots and/or randomly, some NPCs also had minor issues with (not properly) playing their dialogue. Even a new game started with 1.9 wasn't stable. So, I changed uGrids back to 5 and all the troubles went away.

 

That personal experience and my since increased understanding of how Skyrim works, plus the views of more experienced modders, is enough for me to leave uGrids at 5. You're lucky if you've found a way that works for you Shadowblade, but based on my own experience, I wouldn't say that deviatiating from the default is a good idea. It certainly isn't something to be encouraged.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Those of us with mid range systems would find even ugrids 7 a challenge. Here things got a little glitchy, AIs would abend, objects end up in strange places, Riverwood CTDs a-plenty, and as the save-game grows there's a little more number-crunching going on. And concerns with "heavy" mods and the civil war in progress was enough to tip it back to 5.

 

There's no doubt Skyrim looks better on higher ugrids. Shadowblade's obviously got a high end system- without the bottlenecks the rest of us get- especially SSD/HDD and GPU clock. And on ugrids 9 it's without the pop-in and barely adequate LOD- (much of which can be cured by a higher ugridsdistantcount).

 

I guess it's easy to say that Skyrim was designed to run on ugrids 5. But then we were provided with a tweakable ini. If tweaking the ugrids were such an anathema, why include it in the ini in the first place? For those of us who are willing to try out new combos then that makes for a new game experience to be shared with all.

 

Something akin to empirical "scientific" testing is Vurt's Save stability test. But unfortunately no data collection taken for how many succeeded/failed along with character level and system rating (1-5)

 

With this rig, I will remain a diehard ugrids fiver. Have to say that much of the glitchiness has gone, -for now.

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I originally started playing Skyrim with uGrids 5, left it at default and was happy because the vanilla game + HR-DLC was running at 60 FPS indoors and outdoors (my monitor max). Since I have a fairly good computer, I decided I could go on one of the usual "load everything I can find, tweak every settings that is tweakable" binge propagated in some tweaking guides without elaborating on the consequences.

 

I increased uGrids to 7 and whatever else. While this gave me no particular problems in an otherwise lightly modded game, not long after I read about the real implications of increased uGrids which of course go beyond just graphical beautification. So I decided the exponential increase in overall load did not justify the better visuals.

 

Then I read that once your savegame got baked with higher uGrids you cannot load it into a smaller uGrid setup again, unless you do some things involving the console etc. I didn't want to do any of that and also did not want to give on that character just yet. So I looked for an alternative solution.

 

I somehow found this "Stable uGridstoLoad" cell stabilizer mod on Nexus, it sounded just like what I needed and it to my own surprise, I could load the higher uGrid saves into the lower uGrids environment. So for this one particular purpose I was glad to use it.  I could play the game normally forever after, just retired the character eventually out of boredom.

 

Since then even though I never change(d) uGrids to higher than 5 again, I just leave the cell stabilizer plugin in there and nothing bad happens. I do use ENB (Phinix), ENBoost and SSME implementation of Sheson memory fix.

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  • 3 months later...

My system goes to uGrids 7 by default (autodetects and sets Ultra settings, which includes uGridsToLoad=7), and I always set it back manually to 5. Reason: All those dead mobs//npcs that I could have gotten XP for myself :) What do you really need higher uGrids for anyway? If your system can handle it you shouldn't be experiencing stuttering anyway, so go find out what is causing it (if it's your load order, .ini settings or what have you) or upgrade to an SSD (HDD is the biggest system bottleneck in any gaming rig these days, usually).

 

If you're experiencing pop-in, there are other, better solutions than messing with ugrids.

 

And FYI, INI settings are not there for the users to fiddle with, they are there for the developers to improve the game. Just because you can mess with them does not mean you were ever meant to.

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One minor correction - setting the game to Ultra does not increase the uGridsToLoad value. It never has. The only way this could happen is if you've got modified ini presets laying around. At no point with vanilla Skyrim ever touch that value.

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  • 1 year later...

Just for the record, interesting new information about "Stable uGridsToLoad" published today in the "Masterlist: Dangerous, Outdated and Superseded Mods" thread :
 

It was recently revealed that this mod has an unpatched issue with memory allocation that was discovered back in 2013. The author was aware of the issue, but never patched it and it has recently come to light again now. The issue is that the code by the mod actually calls the wrong memory functions, and doesn't actually plug into the game engines memory properly, which as a result can lead to memory corruption which can crash your game or start causing other problematic behavior. Memory corruption is not a skyrim specific problem, it can occur in other programs as well, but that doesn't make it any less problematic.
There is no direct replacement for this mod.

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I played with uGrids 7 for at least a year. NPCs were dropping dead far ahead, some quests started without my character actually going there to interact. I never even knew ugrids 7 was responsible, until the people on this forum pointed out.

I reverted it to default and never looked back. Actually it's a pity that I have so many of saved data in u7, totally unplayable now.

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I played with uGrids 7 for at least a year. NPCs were dropping dead far ahead, some quests started without my character actually going there to interact. I never even knew ugrids 7 was responsible, until the people on this forum pointed out.

I reverted it to default and never looked back. Actually it's a pity that I have so many of saved data in u7, totally unplayable now.

The issue is even bigger than that since STEP and many other guides were recommending this mod as a general stability enhancer to everyone (even people who never increased uGrids).  Now that the memory corruption issue inherent in the mod has been brought to light, STEP is no longer recommending it.

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The issue was actually brought to light 2 years ago but I guess everyone forgot. :P

 

If you hadn't necro'd the thread people would still be recommending it and possibly still wondering why their games keep falling apart.

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  • 1 month later...

I have been pushing the game to see where my system's limit is. I thought I had found that limit with ~200 mods (~150 plugins), many of them heavily scripted and several HD texture replacers (always using vanilla ugrid and papyrus settings). After recently installing several more script-heavy mods, I started getting CTD's on load, repeatedly (no missing masters). I had found my limit.

 

Not sure how I've missed it for so long, but since finding info on the memory problem with 'Stable uGridsToLoad' and removing the mod, my CTD's have stopped.

 

Without any doubt 'Stable uGridsToLoad' was the culprit. My guess is that with the heavily-modded state of my game, the effects of it's memory corruption problem was amplified.

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