Black Prophecy Reduce Loading Times Guide



Black Prophecy Reduce Loading Times Guide by LasseBlutstromen

The following guide is only for high end users with at least 8GB of RAM and an 64 bit Windows version who also know their way around files and folders. If you don’t count yourself to this group of people, I’m afraid this guide isn’t for you.

Because the game is doing a pretty poor job when it comes to caching data, this often results in stuttering performance, long loading times and unnecessarily heavy hard disk activity. This can be overcome by putting some or all of the game’s files into a RAM disk.

A RAM disk is like a hard disk partition, complete with a file system and a drive letter. The difference is that a RAM disk resides in your computer’s memory chips or RAM, hence the name RAM disk. With a peak transfer rate of 10 gigabytes per second, today’s DDR3 1333 RAM is so fast even a 1500MByte/s enterprise-level SSD looks pale in comparison. And RAM prices are pretty cheap at the moment. So what would be more obvious than using part of your computer’s memory as a RAM disk?

A problem with running an already installed application from a drive other than the installation drive is that some files may not be found. This can be overcome by linking the copied files back to their original folder. It works similar to web browsers that display the contents of different servers on one page. See my signature below? It’s not hosted by any Gamigo or Reakktor server. You know, the companies that run the game and this forum Still it looks seamless to the viewer (you). A very nice side effect of this linking is that you can even place a part of the game’s installation onto your RAM disk. While in reality the game then runs from two drives, it still thinks it’s just the plain old hard disk, just as it has been all the times before.

To get this all working, you need two pieces of software first: The one doing the RAM disk as well as the one responsible for the linking. Linking can be done via the Windows command prompt, but it’s more convenient to be able to set and delete links by using the context menu and your mouse.

The RAM disk software can be found here:
http://members.fortunecity.com/ramdi…ad_and_003.htm
It’s free to use for private persons as long as you keep updating it every couple of months. That’s something we can live with, I think.

The linking software can be found here:
http://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinks…kshellext.html
This one is freeware, however the author wouldn’t mind a donation if you find it useful.

Now go and install the RAM disk software first. To do that, follow the instructions here: http://members.fortunecity.com/ramdi…ramdiskent.htm You may have to scroll down a bit to find the instructions for your specific Windows version. After that is done, you need to set up a 4GB RAM disk and enable drive compression. Instructions to do that are further down on the same page.

Just install Link Shell Extension next. You don’t have to configure anything with that.

To set the game up to run from your RAM disk, make sure it’s up to date first. Run the launcher and wait for the “Launch” button to become enabled. Hold off pressing it just yet, you still have a bit of copying and linking to do.

Next, copy the following folders and their contents from your Black Prophecy installation directory over to your RAM disk:
– GFX
– GFX_ADDON_01

Still in your Black Prophecy folder, make a new subfolder. You could name it “!Back”. Move the two folders into that directory. Just copying them won’t work.

Now open a 2nd Windows Explorer window and point it to your RAM disk. Select the two folders, right click on them and select “Pick Link Source”. In the first Windows Explorer window, the one that displays the contents of your Black Prophecy folder, right click anywhere on the white space and select “Drop As” -> “Junction”. That’s it.

Hit “Play” on the Black Prophecy launcher.

To restore your Black Prophecy folder to the state it was before, you can simply delete the two junctions as you would any other folder. Only these two links are removed, the files on your hard disk as well as your RAM disk remain untouched. Now go to your “!Back” folder and cut & paste the “GFX” and “GFX_ADDON_01” folders back into the Black Prophecy main folder.

If you know your way around a scripting- or programming language, you can automate all of these steps bar from installing and configuring the RAM disk software, allowing you to do everything described here in a split second. Well, except for the time it takes to copy the files onto your RAM disk. You can also make it so your script or program checks if the game was patched between gaming sessions and copy only the patched files over to your RAM disk.

I’ve already written such a script for myself, but since my scripts get deleted, here’s a quick rundown of how it works, to give you an idea of when to check for what:

Script
– starts launcher
– waits for “Play” button to become enabled
– disables “Play” button (so I cannot even accidentally launch the game prior to the copying and linking to finish)
– checks if there are already files on the RAM disk
– compares file modification dates
– copies over only the modified files or all files if there were none to begin with
– moves the copied folders to their backup location
– creates junctions
– reenables “Play” button
– waits for the game to start and end or the launcher to just end
– removes the junctions
– restores the folders from their backup location
– exits

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