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Game wont load with Open Cities, no matter how few mods.


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1 hour ago, Scythe Bearer said:

I keep hearing this claim that "auto saves and quick saves" should be disabled, but I have seen no real evidence that this has any effect at all.  I have seen tons of anecdotal evidence that they are bad, but nothing based on empirical data or facts.  Perchance you can supply us with some measurable and repeatable evidence that disabling these saves prevents any problems. 

PS.   My anecdotal evidence is that I run with auto (and quick, where appropriate) saves enabled in Oblivion, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim, and Fallout 4, and have NEVER had an issue with any of these saves. 

Much of this is out of an abundance of caution.  Though, there has been some anecdotal evidence in the Steam forums, where people have posted that when using auto and quick saves they have encountered issues.  The best and most to the point statement regarding this comes from markdf, the creator of Fallrim Tools, and which I will post here:

from Posts section, Fallrim Tools:
markdf (creator of Fallrim Tools)
04 June 2021, 9:42PM
"My number one tip: DON'T AUTOSAVE. Don't try to sneak around that one using CASM. Autosaves and quicksaves are inherently broken and can never be fixed ever, not even with lasers.

There is no difference between a quicksave, an autosave, and a "hard save". The actual files are identical. The problem is WHEN the saves are made. If you don't open the menu (or console) to make your savefile, you're going to end up f--ked."

markdf
premium1,688 posts 222 kudos
05 June 2021, 10:34AM
"The important part is opening the menu (and by extension pausing the game). "

This is excerpted from a longer post with more details I made regarding the issue in the Steam SSE forum here - a post tailored to those who use that forum.

54 minutes ago, Raskunda said:

SO I've regrabbed the SE version, just to be sure, reloaded my anniversery content picker to add all content, and this time, the open cities patches mod had patches for the grey cowl and bittercup, and it now works as intended.

Perhaps I did have the wrong version of open cities, I'll never know, but this has been a humbling and well taught lesson, thank you everyone. Even works with my old save. I can only hope it continues to do so.

Thank you very much all, my game experience is improved with this.

That is fantastic news, Raskunda!  I am glad you got it sorted out.  Enjoy!

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Glad you got this working. Sorry it was such a hassle.

Regarding the method of saving. There's no actual difference between a quick, auto, or manual save except the name that's passed to the save routine. While I'm sure the guy who's being quoted here believes what he's saying, there's no truth to it. Opening a menu vs not opening a menu makes no difference since the save itself is being handled in the background regardless of what you're doing.

The main problem with saves comes from reloading them. The game engine has had a long standing issue since Morrowind where reloading in the same loaded cells you saved in could result in NPCs being dead who should be alive again, objects being missing that should be present upon reloading, and plenty of other less obvious issues resulting from an incomplete reset of the game state. it's even worse if you switch characters when doing this because the newly loaded character will have these problems instead. So the best advice is, if you want to be sure your save loads properly, ALWAYS quit and drop to desktop first. Dropping to the game menu is never enough.

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38 minutes ago, Arthmoor said:

Glad you got this working. Sorry it was such a hassle.

Regarding the method of saving. There's no actual difference between a quick, auto, or manual save except the name that's passed to the save routine. While I'm sure the guy who's being quoted here believes what he's saying, there's no truth to it. Opening a menu vs not opening a menu makes no difference since the save itself is being handled in the background regardless of what you're doing.

The main problem with saves comes from reloading them. The game engine has had a long standing issue since Morrowind where reloading in the same loaded cells you saved in could result in NPCs being dead who should be alive again, objects being missing that should be present upon reloading, and plenty of other less obvious issues resulting from an incomplete reset of the game state. it's even worse if you switch characters when doing this because the newly loaded character will have these problems instead. So the best advice is, if you want to be sure your save loads properly, ALWAYS quit and drop to desktop first. Dropping to the game menu is never enough.

That is interesting to know (though I have long known about the reloading aspects where things are not reset as they should be).  As to reloading, one thing I have learned from a long time in gaming is to completely exit a the game to the desktop before continuing, so any issues with just dropping to the menu and then loading has never come up - in fact, I never even gave that a thought.  In fact, one of the things I have always suggested when people have talked about issues, is to exit the game completely.

Although, I have to say it does sound plausible that auto or quick saving may not give scripts time to finish running completely, while the pause when going to the menu will.  But can I say that with any certainty?  No, I can't - that is an aspect of the game that I am just not sufficiently knowledgeable about, and so rely on others for that.  Like I said, basically, it is just an abundance of caution on my part to use hard saves (and that is also something that I have always done when gaming, where there was an option to do so).

 

Although, there is one definite issue with just relying on auto or quick saves - and that is the limited number that are available - so manual saves should also be used - lest a person get stuck with not being able to reload earlier than the last set of auto or quick saves when the situation calls for it.

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There's no validity to the claim that scripts don't pause when using quick/auto saves. When you get a chance some time, have a look at your Papyrus log while playing. Do some quick and auto saves. You'll see exactly the same messages about the VM thawing and freezing that you'd see with a manual save. This is something that happens whether your in a menu or not.

Freezing the VM is the process that suspends all currently executing scripts before actually saving the game.

Thawing is when the VM restarts after that's done.

People get bent out of shape about this because that process means things will bake into your save and when the VM thaws upon loading it, the state of some of those scripts may not match up with what's current. The game is designed to use the old versions baked into the save until those finish executing.

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Thanks, Arthmoor.  I have never looked at the papyrus logs for my own game (and usually try to avoid doing so for others' games - just too much that I do not understand and never felt a pressing need to).  This is one of the things where I find it easier to rely upon those who do know.

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It is nice to see that my belief in the effectiveness of Auto and Quick saves is grounded in reality.  It is also nice to know that the empirical data comes down on the side of those saves being safe.  Thank you once again, Arthmoor. 

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12 hours ago, Scythe Bearer said:

empirical data comes down on the side of those saves being safe

OTOH, I can give empirical data that Autosaves are not always safe. For oldrim, there was rather a lot of discussion about Autosave walking through the doors onto the Dragonsreach Porch frequently caused a CtD (until release 1.6). Turning off Autosave, walking through, then manually saving did not crash. Since that time, I've always done my own saving. It's not hard.

Also, I've proven that rather significant data isn't kept in the save file. So Auto or Quick saves won't return you to exactly the circumstances of the game.

For example, any save that happens during an animation or "translation" (such as havok or spline translations).

And of course, you cannot reload any save made during a Touring Carriage ride. In that case, the AttachToCart() state isn't saved, so a reload won't work properly.

 

14 hours ago, Arthmoor said:

So the best advice is, if you want to be sure your save loads properly, ALWAYS quit and drop to desktop first.

Confirming this is the best advice.

Early on, using the Load from the System Menu was Really Bad. The engine didn't clear out a lot of things, they would be carried over into the next save with hideous consequences forever. Re-loads in the same cell are particularly pernicious. That interface menu item should be removed entirely.

Over time, it was proven that quitting to Main Menu was not enough. Not enough was reinitialized, some forms and globals linger, and they can have long term consequences. Saves after loading from Main Menu will gradually become corrupted. Simply poor programming practices by Bethesda.

Only quit to desktop ensures that you are reloading from a clean slate.

----

This poor programming practice is not unique to Bethesda. Once upon a time, I interviewed at Google. A PhD from Stanford actually criticized my whiteboard example caching code for rigorously providing a cleanup deletion function for every object, saying this was not necessary for applications. So that must be what they are teaching nowadays.... Lazy programming.

But I pointed out that caching code structure was used for my DNS implementation in at least 5 commercial product lines by that time. It is critical to cleanup expired DNS cache entries. There had been numerous DNS cache attacks, none of which worked against my code.

He still recommended against my hiring, in the old days of one strike and you're out. Three years later, Google invited me back to give a security talk.

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