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Author Topic: A little guide about "Memory limit" and "Number of planes or mods limit"  (Read 2929 times)

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Benelli

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Hi all!!
In these days, with the large amount of new planes and mods incoming, I read of many people having the dreaded "memory error" caused by "air.ini limit", and I read too many numbers (20 mods? 300 planes?) and opinions about what causes it (number of FM? Classfiles? Air.ini strings?)
After responding separately in many topics about the same question, I thought it could be more useful to post my humble explanation in a more visible way. To administrators and veteran modders: fell free to edit o move this topic to more appropriate place or contents. My objective is only to give a clear and definitive answer for this problem with your help.

As I learned by my direct experience and by the teaching of modders more experienced than me, the so called "plane limit" is, in reality, a memory limit caused by the number of classfiles (the ones with names like "EDE76D64039F61DE" or similar, just to be clear) loaded by the game (the same number of classfiles that influence the starting loading time of the whole game).

Said that, all mods that add classfiles in the MODS folder (not only planes, but also vehicles, effects, etc etc etc...) can lead to exceed the memory limit.

Symptoms of "exceeded memory limit" are different and various, and usually they produce a "memory error" message and a crash to desktop.
By my experience here's a little list of most common events which may precede an error message:

- mission loading (EVERY type of mission: QMB, FMB, single, campaign)
- variation of engine power
- hitting a target (ground, plane)
- turn on/off smoke
- taking a screenshot
- crashing to the ground (player or AI)
- loading too many objects in a scenario
- if you exceeded memory limit too much, you can have a crash even on game starting
- etc etc etc...
...because, in a shorter way, we can say that memory error happens every time the game have to load or calculate something new during gameplay.
This maybe seen as banal, but I write it because often people have problems with planes, missions or screenshot taking, and before looking for external causes, it could be useful to self-investigate if the problem is simply related to a personal memory exceed.

Another advice: the memory error could be not immediate: it could occur after a long time during your gameplay (classic example: you could fly a game session on the same scenario with the same plane for the same mission for hours, but when you change scenario or plane or mission, or even if in the same mission you got some different variable-events ZACK! you got memory error.

Returning on the subject:
we usually talk about "plane number limit" because, instead of removing/disabling visual-structural-effects mod, it's easier (and got more sense) to "disable" a plane putting // in front of the plane line in the air.ini file (without the entry line, the game will not load classfiles for that plane). This also give you the "solution" for this "problem": you don't have to delete mod folders, you can mantain all your effects and structural mods, and create different themed air.ini files (by now I have 7 air.ini, characterized by containing planes of a specific period or theatre of war) that you can choose before starting the game. This also give you a little more speed in game starting time (at least I think).

Just an observation: disabling a plane does not works exactly like "remove a plane and add a plane": the mod weight is essentially given by the number of classfiles (and, if we go further in analysis, the dimension of the classfile).
So, for example, a mod with 4 air.ini entries and 6 classfiles could be lighter than a mod with 1 air.ini entry and 14 classfiles, and consequently disabling many "light" planes could not prevent from a memory error when you add a "heavy plane".
This is useful to keep in mind when you will split your air.ini in many little "themed air.ini".

Hope this will help, I tried to be as clearer as I can with my poor english.

Good flight and good modding to everyone!
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SAS~Malone

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Re: A little guide about "Memory limit" and "Number of planes or mods limit"
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2012, 01:42:26 AM »

thanks Benelli, i'm sure this will help a lot of guys to understand what is happening. :D
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hguderian

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Re: A little guide about "Memory limit" and "Number of planes or mods limit"
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2012, 06:46:25 AM »

Thanks Benelli.

I must add that is not enough disabling the AC entries in air.ini but also in the stationary.ini to avoid the related ash files loading (as pointed by agracier)

Cheers
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juanmalapuente

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Re: A little guide about "Memory limit" and "Number of planes or mods limit"
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2012, 12:33:53 PM »

Thanks you all for the clarifying explanations. I never had the memory error yet, but I'm always thinking I'm reaching it with every new mod I add. From time to time I feel some freezing in some mission or map, but I don't know if it's something with the map (some of the ones I use need an update, like the Ebro one, in Spain) or with the specific mission or plane.
I practiced the double slash disabling for a long time. Then, as the new versions of the game kept coming and the need to have clean installs and backups increased, I started to save several custom installs.
In my new computer I have the stock game with patches up to 4.10.1 (still waiting for stable 4.11), a SAS modact 3 install (with lots of mods in SAS folder), UP3, DBW 1.6 and a variety of the last which I call SCW DBW. This last one I made because, when I was playing or making something for SCW (I'm afraid most of the time... :-[well, I love that period) I was getting tired of scroooolling down the whole humongous list of planes in DBW to find my few (fortunately not so few already) SCW planes. Same thing when I was looking for skin folders.
So, instead of temporarely disabling planes or mods, I made this copy of DBW and, without any fear to mess with it, I directly eliminated all ini entries and stationary ini for planes of other periods and also their correspondent skin folders. Game works fine and I think it loads slightly faster. I know I got the same effect that I had with disabling, but now, every time I look for a skin folder or an ini place for a new mod, I find them really quick.
I keep installing new mods on this and no problem by now. About the "SAS stock" DBW, I use it from time to time to try planes or maps or whatever from different periods and it works fine, but I never added a new mod to it, so I cannot be a reference for people using the complete install.
I don't try to recommend this system to anybody. Just saying what I did and worked by now.
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