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Fixing Civ4 Problems: START HERE!

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  • Fixing Civ4 Problems: START HERE!

    Although not every problem with Civ4 running can be easily identified, and there is no way to guarantee your problem is identifiable or (easily) solveable, there are several things that can be done to increase the likelihood of fixing your problem!

    Links to discussion threads are provided where appropriate. I don't intend this thread to be a discussion thread per se, but simply a reference; please only post if you have suggested fixes that aren't included here.

    Edit by Solver. Please note that the official Civ4 1.61 patch is available for download and should be applied to your game.

    Fixes for general crash problems
    1. Make sure your OS is fully updated. This means if you run Windows XP, you should be at SP2. Windows 2000 should be at SP4. This is important because sometimes updated drivers don't work (well) with older versions of Windows.
    2. Make sure your Video Card drivers are updated. Both ATI and nVidia are polite enough to provide simple to use drivers that are 'generic', ie work on most or all cards of their brand. ATI drivers and nVidia drivers
      Omega: Some ATI cards (and even nVidia cards) have reported greater success rates with the Omega drivers. These are THIRD PARTY DRIVERS that are NOT guaranteed to work with any particular card, and may reduce performance. Back your system up (or set a system restore point) BEFORE installing them.
      You also should consider un-installing old video drivers before installing new ones (especially Omega); ATI uninstaller will help with ATI; nVidia suggests you simply use the add/remove programs control panel (which should work for ATI as well). This thread discusses the drivers for ATI and the Omega drivers.
    3. Update your Motherboard drivers and BIOS. Especially with integrated video and sound chips, this can help improve performance immensely, and can solve a multitude of problems. Go to your motherboard's manufacturer (and/or chipset manufacturer) to find the appropriate drivers; there are also many 3rd party sites for this, although not all are safe or recommended.
      Here is Intel's site for those of you who use their boards.
    4. Update your Sound card drivers. You would be surprised at how many crashes, even ones that 'look' to be video crashes, are caused by sound cards. Creative's support site for Sound Blaster cards; otherwise go to your sound card manufacturer's website.
    5. Video and Sound system settings. If updating the drivers don't solve the problem, it's possible there is an issue with one of your settings that is incorrectly matching your system, and/or simply not functioning with the game. Examples include:
      * Video Settings: AGP related settings have been reported to help (either disabling AGP texture accellerationg entirely through DirectX/dxdiag, or changing the speeds through the BIOS). Access dxdiag through start->run->"dxdiag" and then choose the Display tab.
      * Video settings: AntiAliasing has been reported to cause some problems, and is actually often a problem-causer, particularly for ATI cards for many games. Try turning it off through your video card's driver.
      * Audio settings: Turn hardware acceleration down or off entirely. This fixes many audio-caused problems.
      * Make sure your video card and audio card aren't immediately next to each other (physically) in your computer. The AGP port your video card is presumably in (assuming it's AGP) shares the first PCI port, and therefore if something else important (like the sound card!) is in that first PCI port, it will cause problems under heavy load. It is generally best to leave that first PCI port unused entirely, or at minimum put something low-bandwidth there (like a gameport card, or similar).
      * Page file/virtual memory settings: You may want to make sure your page file is set to a constant number (min and max are equal), about 1.5-2x your total system ram. You can access this through rightclicking on My Computer, selecting properties, and then the advanced tab -> performance options button. (Windows 2000; XP should be similar.) If you have 1GB of ram, set it to 1.5GB to 2GB (1500 to 2000 MB), but make sure both min and max sizes are equal.
    6. Make sure you have the right version of DirectX. This means make sure you have the DirectX 9.0c that shipped with Civ 4. If you do have this, then running dxdiag should report on the first tab that your version is 4.09.0000.0904
    7. Try running in windowed mode, or in fullscreen mode. It's possible that one may work but the other fail. You can access windowed mode from civilization4.ini in the \%username%\My Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 4\ directory; or in the program file directory under a shortcut called "_civ4config"; search for fullscreen=yes which indicates fullscreen mode; change it to no for windowed, or ask for a popup asking you which to choose at startup.
    8. Clear your game cache every time you change something about the game. The cache stores several files from game to game, and it's possible an old problem could crop up again from these files. Delete the cache folder, and that should help. The cache folder is found in \%username%\Application Data\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 4\ directory. Application Data is a hidden folder and you must have view hidden folders turned on (Tools - Folder Options) to see it. Delete the Cache folder entirely (but only when not currently running civ4) and it will re-set the cache.
    9. Restart Civ4 when you start to get problems. It's possible some problems might be caused by minor errors propogating into bigger ones.
    10. Try reinstalling Civ4. It's possible there was an error during installation that re-installing should fix.
    11. Reboot. You definitely need to reboot after installing Civ4 and playing it. It doesn't ask you to, but not doing so causes problems.
    12. Try adding a new user to windows and then installing the game under that user. Often changes you made to something a long time ago, driver conflicts, software conflicts, etc. can break a game. Installing a new user from scratch can get around those (although it may require you to re-install other programs such as DSL/Cable modem programs, etc, under that new user as well, depending on how they installed). To do this (Under windows 2000, XP should be similar):
      1. Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Users and Passwords.
      2. Add button.
      3. Enter a user name you won't forget. Enter a password you won't forget.
      4. Add the user as an Administrator, under "other". (Power user may also work, but Administrator is a better bet, and is fine as long as you're not using a 'secure' or public computer).

      Then log out, and log in as that user. Make sure that under that user the updated drivers are installed, and any other programs you will need to play the game (they should be, but check!); and install civ4! Again, you may need to re-install things like MSN Messenger/AIM/etc., FireFox, and other programs, if they didn't install to "All Users".
    Last edited by Solver; May 20, 2006, 08:55.
    <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
    I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

  • #2
    Fixes for specific issues
    1. ATI "Failed to initialize renderer" issue. First off, make sure you updated your video drivers, and installed directX from the cd. This fixes the majority of renderer errors. This thread addresses the driver updates.
      Second, try this fix, the "PAK" fix, if updating the drivers did not work. This fix particularly works for 256mb cards and may or may not help other cards.
    2. XML parser issues. These are not always actually XML issues, as many times there is some problem that happens during XML parsing but related to something else; but this may help. This patch should update the system's XML parser to the newest version.
      It also looks like users of a european version of Civ 4 running on US Windows may have to change their language options to English (US) (in control panel), or may have to change it so that the . (period) is the decimal symbol and the , (comma) is the group symbol (in same control panel). This fixes an odd bug that appears at first glance to be audio-related.
    3. Sound crashes on SB Live! particularly Live 5.1. These problems may be caused by the 'voice recording' device. Changing that device to 'onboard audio' (or disabling) may prevent certain crashes.
    4. Stuttering Movies and particularly movie-related crashes. If the movies are hurting your gameplay to the point you would like them to be turned off, try going to the civilization4.ini file (located in \%username%\My Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization 4\) and editing the entry "nomovies=0" to read "nomovies=1".
    <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
    I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

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    • #3
      Reserved for thread directory.

      Page File fix
      PAK fix for Renderer Error, for XP
      Windows 2000 PAK fix
      Video Card list
      Shader Settings fix
      Last edited by snoopy369; October 31, 2005, 15:21.
      <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
      I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

      Comment


      • #4
        Images ...

        DirectX dxdiag screen with correct DirectX version number:
        <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
        I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

        Comment


        • #5
          System Requirements:

          Windows 2000 (SP 1, but use SP 4) or Windows XP (SP 1, but use SP 2) (NOT compatible with ME, 98, 95, NT)
          256mb Ram (SUGGEST: 512 min., 1024 pref.)
          P4 1.2MHz or equivalent AMD (should be fine)
          64mb Video Card with Hardware T+L (this list) (Recommend GeForce4+, ATI Radeon 9000+)
          CD/DVD drive
          1.7GB free space
          DirectX9.0c (included) (Use Civ4 CD's DirectX - it's newer than some other 9.0c versions)
          Last edited by snoopy369; November 2, 2005, 06:30.
          <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
          I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

          Comment


          • #6
            Very well presented! Yet you should also last but not least say the game could also need patching! Its so easy to point the finger at someones computer and vice versa towards the game! Yet I find it totally funny how I have had 99.9% Perfect computer usage of sowtware and alot of much more demanding then Civ4 and yet it must be my computer ..lol!

            Yet Thank You for this hard work you just posted! I take it you work for Firaxis or Take2Games lol

            Civfreak1970

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Civfreak1970
              Yet Thank You for this hard work you just posted! I take it you work for Firaxis or Take2Games lol

              I wish...

              [q=Cvifreak 1970]Very well presented! Yet you should also last but not least say the game could also need patching! Its so easy to point the finger at someones computer and vice versa towards the game! Yet I find it totally funny how I have had 99.9% Perfect computer usage of sowtware and alot of much more demanding then Civ4 and yet it must be my computer ..lol!
              [/q]

              It's not necessarily that your computer is directly responsible for the crashes, per se, but that a conflict between two things, one in civ and one in your computer, is causing it. This guide explains how to fix many of those conflicts The fact that some people with any given specs can get it to work fine, while some others can't, indicates that it's not an insoluble problem with the game itself.

              Even if there will someday (soon?) be a patch to fix the conflict, that doesn't mean there aren't things we can do, NOW, to fix the problems.
              <Reverend> IRC is just multiplayer notepad.
              I like your SNOOPY POSTER! - While you Wait quote.

              Comment


              • #8
                My point was

                Anyways...My point was I shouldn't have had to bust my ass for 2 days to get it to run semi-stable! I've also seen people who have 2 computers the same spec and one runs and the other doesnt off and on lol! This leads me to believe the code is a bit flakey and a bit random on the crashes. I believe if most are like me and know their computer skills very well and dont have problems with 99.9% of their software they will have a hard time believing its their system...Yet I do understand your points!

                Civfreak1970


                PS..That also doesnt explain how in the hell they released the game with 25-50% of users needing to use a unpak patch to just install it lol! Things just add up into the fact that they goofed up!

                Comment


                • #9
                  The fix on the take2 site has them installing the 5.10 ati drivers in the middle of re-installing civ4.

                  So my question is this, the drivers for my 128 MB 9800 are old (but work fine with RoN, RTW, etc), should I install the new drivers prior to installing civ4 for the first time or wait and see what happens then install as per take2's instructions if I get the renderer error.
                  We need seperate human-only games for MP/PBEM that dont include the over-simplifications required to have a good AI
                  If any man be thirsty, let him come unto me and drink. Vampire 7:37
                  Just one old soldiers opinion. E Tenebris Lux. Pax quaeritur bello.

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                  • #10
                    Try Civ4 out without updating the drivers first. Why go to the trouble if the problem isn't there?

                    Although keep one thing in mind: I had an ATI card and Civ4 would not work for me when I tried starting a new game. It would load up and I would press start game. At that point it would freeze. I didn't get an error message. I didn't know what to do so as a last resort I tried te renderer error fix thinking that perhaps it may have somehting to do with my problem.

                    And it worked!

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                    • #11
                      I can not install parser3.0 SP5 because I have a newer version omy laptop? What should I do? And why do we need SP5? Tahnks....

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                      • #12
                        For some reason, my civ4 will crash to the desktop. What I am doing is playing a custom game with myself and one other AI. AFter about 30 turns the program crashes to the desktop.

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                        • #13
                          Finally, a comprehensive fix thread....good work

                          Originally posted by snoopy369
                          1.7GB free space (Actually uses more like 4gb, I think)
                          It takes up less than 1.5gb for me... Where'd you get 4?

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                          • #14
                            Michaeld the game has a pretty bad MEMORY LEAK which is causing your crashes to desktop!

                            Civfreak1970

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                            • #15
                              CTD

                              Increased Virtual memory to min 2.5 max 2.5 Playing on standard map so far no further crashes Also feel it a memory issue or the way the game is handling it As I have 1 gig RAM memory and a 256 nvidia Ge Force 5700 card

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