32-Bit Crashes – What’s going on!?
Since Reinforced was released, we have noticed an increase in crash reports related to NS2 running of memory. These crashes are caused by NS2 being unable to allocate sufficient memory to store information about all the stuff it is doing – For example, those shiny new Elite Assault skins. When allocation fails, NS2 raises the white flag, you get an error message, and you get pissed off.
Of the maximum 4GB of addressable memory space on a 32-bit system (2 ^ 32 = 4,294,967,296 bytes = 4GB), Windows reserves 2GB. This leaves any application (such as NS2) with a maximum of 2GB to play with. NS2 doesn’t actually need 2GB of memory to run, but it does need to allocate and release blocks of memory while it runs. This results in fragmentation of the memory space:
Reinforced introduced new memory gobblers into the game – The Shadow Skulk, Assault Marine, etc. As more memory is used, the likelihood that the game will be unable to allocate a chunk of sufficient size to allow it to continue to run will increase. When that happens, she’s dead, Jim.
Naturally, we are working to reduce memory usage and restore the game’s memory footprint to more manageable levels. The problem is solvable and we have our best people (err, person – Dushan, you’re up!) working on it. In the mean time, all is not lost for 32-bit users and you don’t need to burn us at the stake quite yet.
Windows can be told to bugger off and get away with just 1GB of memory, leaving NS2 to play in a 3GB sandpit. This increase is sufficient to stop the game crashing. To do this, follow the instructions written up by the clever folks at Autodesk, whose users also ran into problems on 32-bit systems.
For goodness sake, don’t follow those instructions if you are not comfortable in command prompts, and aware of the fact that if you get it wrong you could brick your PC. If you would prefer to wait for us to fix NS2′s memory over-eating habits, we assure you we are working on pushing out a fix as soon as possible.