Work-Around for Texture Load-in Issue


Oct 4, 2010
Re-posted from my post on the 2K Forums here:

I am posting this due to a workaround I have found for the issue in which the textured terrain is gray and/or a flat color and the terrain then loads in bottom to top in squares.

WARNING: You will likely need a beefy computer to attempt doing this without killing your computer from the load you put on it.

In the GraphicsSettingsDX11.ini file (Most likely located in the CiV folder in My Documents)

You will find this section of options:

; Init whole terrain before loading game
BlockOnLoad = 0

; Terrain Page in Rate
Terrain64Chunks = 4096

; Terrain Page in Rate
Terrain128Chunks = 512

; Terrain Page in Rate
Terrain256Chunks = 256

; Terrain Page in Rate
Terrain512Chunks = 64

Change them to these values:

BlockOnLoad = 1
Terrain64Chunks = 4096
Terrain128Chunks = 4096
Terrain256Chunks = 4096
Terrain512Chunks = 4096

What I have noticed is this:

- Your game will take much longer to initially load into the world
- When you first load in, you will receive the standard terrain texture load in issue when you first look at any new terrain
- Afterward, you will not experience the terrain load in issue.
- You will experience an FPS drop when scrolling through terrain when zoomed out, once all the terrain is loaded in, this FPS drop becomes much less severe.

I recommend you have at least 4 gigs of RAM and at least 512 megs of dedicated graphical memory before even attempting this workaround, as your game would likely slow to a crawl/crash.
Can confirm that this is working for me, too.
GTX260 896MB, 4GB RAM

It's still not enough to make the draw-in vanish completely on large+ maps, but it helps A LOT. Values larger than 4096 seem to have no effect :(

While it's "nice to have" in DX11 mode, it makes a gigantic difference for DX9 mode, the textures are loading like one order of magnitude faster.
Highly recommended :)

Thanks for the tip!
This helps me out as well, still not completely fixed, but most of the normal stuttering and lagging is fixed.

Here are my system specs (DX9 mode):

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
Core i7 920 (2.67 GHz)
12GB Ram
Nvidia GTS 250
Hell, I even put my page file on my SSD.

My computer should crush this game...
my specs are for a laptop (Dell m1730) but I'm going to try this out as this is recently my only problem. I had the crashing and long load times, but somehow these issues have ceased as of last Friday/Saturday. I'm not sure why.

My specs (DX9 mode):

Windows Vista 64
Core 2 duo extreme (3.2 GHz)
8GB Ram
Nvidia 9800 GT x2 SLi
500 GB WD 10,000 rpm HDD

I set my "terrainchunks" to a bit lower level than the OP has his, mine are set at 2048, I'm gonna try it out & see how it goes. I'll report back later today :)
This helps me out as well, still not completely fixed, but most of the normal stuttering and lagging is fixed.

Here are my system specs (DX9 mode):

Windows 7 Ultimate 64
Core i7 920 (2.67 GHz)
12GB Ram
Nvidia GTS 250
Hell, I even put my page file on my SSD.

My computer should crush this game...

it isn't a graphic issue as far as I can tell (same issues on 3 pc's quad-core to i7, 1gig ddr3 to ddr5, 8-16gig ram) errors in the code look for patch with civ5 "beyond the shiza" in april or may 2011
tried this but saw no improvement with my setup (q6600 4gb gt240 1gb). Still plenty of texture fill of grey tiles happening repeatedly on huge maps.
works for me too!

a little chuggy when you first load it but then it's smooth sailing. Thanks!

DX9 Mode
CPU - Intel Core 2 Quad Processor 2.66 GHz (@ 3.12 GHz OC) 1333 MHz - L2 6MB Cache
RAM - Kingston 4GB 1066MHz DDR2 DIMM
BOARD - Asus P5G41T-M
VIDEO - XFX Radeon HD4870 1GB DDR5
HDD - Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache
OS – Windows 7 64-bit
CPU COOLER – Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
POWER – Antec EarthWatts 650W
For me it had the opposite effect!
On my old 250GTS i had gray boxes when just pannind the camera, but on my 450GTS that was pretty reduced, to the point of sometimes being able to pan around after loading a savegame and not seeing many gray boxes.

After applying these settings however, they returned. hmmm
so you were getting texture reloading on a GTX460 before? and now it's what, gone completely or reduced somewhat? Have you tried on a huge map with lots of land mass, for example continents?
I actually have a GTX460 as well, 1gb though.

As for your question, it is not gone completely, the issue still occurs when first loading in to the map, after the game has loaded and rendered the texture once, it stops re-loading it in the future.

For those of you who it does not work for, I recommend you try these settings instead, it will reduce texture load in during gameplay, but it might occur occasionally on larger maps still:

BlockOnLoad = 0
Terrain64Chunks = 4096
Terrain128Chunks = 2048
Terrain256Chunks = 2048
Terrain512Chunks = 2048

Edit: Quantity of landmass does not matter, size of map does, this is because the game renders the sea floor and water textures as blocks as well, so you end up rendering the same amount of stuff regardless if it is tiny islands or Pangaea. Not particularly efficient, but that's how it works. It's harder to notice on the water because the game always has the lower rez water texture loaded in, which is on top of the seafloor texture that loads in.
A large map just about stays fully loaded with these settings, but that may well have more to do with the fact that I OC'd my GT240 1GB since I last tried this. Huge maps don't seem to stay more than about 60% loaded at any one time.

Yeah guess the map type is a bit irrelevant. Pangea, archipelgao, continents all have about the same ratio of land to water anyway. It seems to be only the shallow water textures that reload. The deep water is always loaded regardless. Anyway the fact that loads are always more noticeable with the land texture is the annoying bit! I'm starting to wonder if they left out gameplay features like satellite map reveal and map trading to hide this from people without top spec DX11 GCs, which surely must be the majority at the moment.

A curious thing I've noticed looking at the stats for my graphics card while running CiV.
Huge map - DX10/11 : graphics memory runs at ~1000MB ==> texture reloads
Large map -DX10/11 : graphics memory runs at ~900MB ==> texture stays loaded
Huge map - DX9 : graphics memory runs at ~400MB ==> texture reloads!!
what gives?
You should remember DX9 was designed around Windows XP, Which has a 4GB limit on the ram available in the computer, DX9 will allocate 500mb of video memory in an attempt to keep the other 3.5 gigs for the system RAM. This means at 400MB you are reaching the limit and the textures will reload. (This only happens if your total VRAM and system ram exceeds 4 gigs)

Civ 5 has some sort of ******ed dynamic texture generation scheme that takes the tiles, does some randomness to it (Test this by reloading the game, you will find the hills and mountains are shaped differently each time) and generates a texture. It then dumps it if you aren't using it and re-generates it when you go back to looking at it.

Now, the game has a caching system for the textures, the page in rate is sort of a misnomer, it's actually telling the game how much information for a given world chunk size to keep in cache before dumping it completely, smaller numbers means a slower page in rate because it's the amount to have available for loading before chucking the rest out. Terrain 64 chunks having a huge number by default tells the game to keep the tiny tessellated tile in memory so it does not need to re-generate very often (Because there are thousands of them that would need to be generated). Unfortunately, the textures are layered onto each other, so if the base textures aren't loaded in, you wait until they are for the detail to pop in. hince the gray texture to base color texture, to base color with normal map, to detailed texture loading scheme you see happening on screen.

Telling the game to store more crap in the page file somewhat fixes the issue, that is, unless your hard drive with the paging file sucks, or your page file is too small to store everything.
I think i figured out why setting the limit over 4096 has no effect. This thread got me thinking on process size limits based on os and strange paging problems I've been having running civ 5 under xp 64.

xp 64 needs a special compiler option for a single 32bit process to use more than 2gigs of ram, which increases the limit to 4gigs. Win vista/7 support up to 4 gigs for any 32 bit process. Because civ 5 is still a 32 bit executable, it's unable to use more than 4 gigs of ram total, which is why setting the limit over 4096 doesn't do anything. Its out of address space at that point no matter how much ram you have.

Personally I'm a bit put out that I can't use over 2gB. I understand faraxis not catching the problem with xp 64 being an older and somewhat obscure os but it is officially supported :p.

edit. actually i think i misread microsoft's table, and this problem may apply to any os version. I was looking at
You basically have the jist of the limitation, 32 bit programs can only reference 4GB at a time. CiV can definitely use more than that if your OS supports it, but 4GB is the biggest chunk it can handle at a time.

CiV seems to want to use very little ram however. I notice that it tries to hover around 1.5gb on my system, even though I have 4gb of system ram, and 1gb of video ram available. CiV extensively uses the page file, which it really shouldn't. Technically with 4GB of RAM and a 768 or 1gb GFX card you should be able to load the entire damn game into your ram if you wanted. the fact that half the installation doesn't get used during normal play (starting vid, menu graphics, half the leader screens, ect.) should mean a decent rig should go blazing fast.

if you are really still having problems even at 4096 for all the paging rates I would check your page file settings, you probably have it set to a really small number. Either that or your RPMs on your drive are low.

I think the main problem is that the loading algorithm is REALLY bad at remembering what textures to load, it forgets constantly when staring at the same space, so you have to move the camera around for it to recheck and find it forgot to load half the crap on the screen. so it does it again and still forgets half of that and so forth until it finishes loading finally, followed by immediately dumping half of what it loaded before because you aren't moving the camera around anymore and starting the whole damn process over again. the reason this is a work around and not a fix is because it forces the game to keep the information it constantly is getting rid of normally.

The actual methodology for loading that the game uses is really not all that bad, it's just that the loading algorithm blows so horrendously and is really really slow.
apparently there's also a large difference in memory usage between the dx9 and the dx10/11 clients. I'm guessing that's related to differences in how textures are handled. I was talking to a friend today who plays under dx11, and he said he typically only sees about 750mb of ram used.
I am playing Civ 5 with a I7-2600k, 8 GB Ram (1333 Mhz) and a Geforce 570 GTX - even after the latest patch I have this issue on large and huge maps (what dragonbane described with "terrain is gray and/or a flat color and the terrain then loads in bottom to top in squares" - especially when you "jump" to locations on a fully revealed large and huge map.
Can anybody confirm this?
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