Yet Another Purge Cell Buffers Plugin by iFSS
Fallout 3 » Miscellaneous
Added: 07/09/2011 - 03:03PM
Updated: 17/10/2011 - 09:05PM

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2.2 Latest version

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Uploaded by iFSS


Last updated at 21:05, 17 Oct 2011 Uploaded at 15:03, 7 Sep 2011

Thank you to all those who have kindly took the time to comment and/or endorse!

Update: 17th October 2011
Version 2.2 released:
Will now disable automatic purging during all cutscenes, is more reliable for the Zeta intro.
This is the last version of this plugin, except for bug fix releases (if any). An improved replacement is on the way... ;)

Update: 25th September 2011
Version 2.1 released:
Added hot key support to enable preset switching, enable/disable purging, and manual purges in-game. Plugin is now both configurable and convenient, and should suit anybody who has ran into problems with the buffering in this game.

Update: 24th September 2011
Version 2.0 released:
  • Added in-game menu
  • Purging can be quickly enabled or disabled via the menu
  • Cell change limits before purging can be raised or lowered via the menu
  • Custom cell change limits can be defined, and saved for repeated use
  • NoDoorPurges version is included in the main archive

See the images tab for screens of the menu.

Smartly purges the cell buffers when least likely to cause issues, and not too often either, to increase stability for games affected by bad buffering. Frequency of purging is customisable and changeable via presets, and purging can be enabled or disabled quickly via in-game menu or hot key.

Combines the best ideas from Zan AutoPurge Crash Protector (purging the buffers when certain menus are open, or least likely to be noticeable), and Quarn's Purge Cell Buffers (using an activator to count the number of cell changes).

This is for people who notice stuttering/lagging/crashes:
  • when opening or closing inventory menus (e.g. when looting)
  • during combat
  • after combat (when there are loads of corpses laying around)
  • after fast travel
  • after loading screens
  • when there is heavy disk activity (caused by Windows swapping to disk, and/or piecemeal texture loading to full vram)
  • if the game appears to be suffering memory leaks

And notice that calling PurgeCellBuffers (PCB) alleviates these symptoms.

If you don't have these symptoms, then this plugin is not for you! Do not try to use this plugin on a stable game. It is not a 'patch', 'fix', or 'miracle cure', and should not be used pre-emptively.

If you do have these symptoms, this plugin can be easily configured to purge the buffers as often as you need, to reduce their effects whether they are frequent or occasional.

PLEASE NOTE: Using a plugin to purge the cell buffers more often than standard may either:
  • Increase the performance of the game, and potentially reduce crashes
  • Do nothing noticeable whatsoever
  • Decrease the performance of the game, and potentially increase crashes

For me, this increases performance (much less lagging during heavy play) and reduces the frequency of the fast-travel crashes I get, with a heavily modded game on a relatively ageing machine.

How well this works for you depends on numerous factors: the cell change limits that you choose in the in-game menu, your Fallout 3 performance/ini settings, what other mods you have installed, the performance/components of your PC, how degraded your Windows 'experience' is, the day of the week, the colour of your socks, and what you had for breakfast this morning.

So backup your save files before installing, try it out, if it helps you - great, if not - delete the plugin and revert to the last save before you installed it.

Will purge cell buffers...
  • When opening the Pip-Boy data menu (assuming that you may fast-travel) after 1 cell change since last PCB
  • When using VATS after 1 cell change since last PCB (to improve combat performance)
  • When opening the Pip-Boy or any menu (dialogue, inventory, etc - that is safe to PCB in background), after the interior cell change limit has been reached since last PCB (when in interiors), or half the exterior cell change limit has been reached (when outside)
  • After the first cell change after any interior to exterior (or vice-versa) cell change
  • After 3 interior cell changes since last PCB by default, customisable via the in-game menu
  • After 5 exterior cell changes since last PCB by default, customisable via the in-game menu
  • Immediately before entering/exiting Megaton via the main gate (normal version only)
  • Immediately before entering/exiting most metro stations (normal version only)
  • Immediately before entering/exiting most sewers (normal version only)

Will not purge buffers...
  • During or immediately after cell transitions (there's a delay to ensure minimal impact)
  • During combat (unless you have VATS open)
  • During Zeta intro or any cutscene
  • During loading, level up, sleep/wait, or character generation screens
  • In Megaton, Paradise Falls, Republic of Dave and Big Town interiors, except for the player's house, to improve performance by reducing reloading of the exterior area (PCB's will still occur outside)
  • When you disable cell buffer purging via the in-game menu or hot key

The priority:
  • Will PCB in appropriate menus, if not...
  • Will PCB when you are standing still, if not...
  • Will PCB when you are doing something, as a last resort.

The aim is to PCB often enough to avoid memory problems, but not often enough to significantly increase IO (which can reduce stability - at least for me), not when you haven't changed cells at all, and not to do so when you may notice a slight stutter.

The Menu:

An in-game menu ("< Cell Buffer Purging >") is added to the Pip-Boy menu under Items -> Apparel. Here you can quickly enable or disable buffer purging by this plugin, choose from some preset limits, or set your own custom limits (and save them as presets if you want).

You can also define a hot key to use in-game, for example, if you choose "m" (key 50...) as a hot key, press a numeric key from 1 to 8 whilst holding down "m" for the following effects:
m + 1: Switch to "Ultra Aggressive" preset
m + 2: Switch to "Aggressive" preset
m + 3: Switch to "Normal" preset
m + 4: Switch to "Lite" preset
m + 5: Switch to "Custom 1" preset
m + 6: Switch to "Custom 2" preset
m + 7: Toggle enabling/disabling automatic cell buffer purging
m + 8: Manually purge the cell buffers (immediate)

The hot key isn't set to anything by default to avoid conflicts with other mods.

The "Ultra Aggressive" preset is intended for any areas with bucketloads of enemies (mainly if you use increased spawns, feral ghoul rampage, etc), but isn't ideal for general wandering about, so be sure to set it back to something else after leaving these areas.

Disabling buffer purging via the hot key or menu is handy if you think that purging is causing problems at a specific part of the game. If you happen to find any reproducable problems when purging is enabled, that aren't present when purging is disabled, let me know. Kudos is given if I can reproduce the problem (and hence find a fix). The only known problem is the Zeta intro, and that is already avoided by this plugin.

Fallout Script Extender (FOSE) is required - http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=8606

The plugin in the main directory is the normal version - if you have had problems (i.e. crashes immediately after) entering or exiting Megaton, Metro stations or sewers, before using this plugin, then use this version. This won't eliminate the crashes, but it should help reduce their frequency.

If you have never had problems with these places, use the No Door Purges version in the "Alternative Version - NoDoorPurges" folder.

1. Make sure you have installed FOSE (link above)
2. Backup your save files (you should do this before installing ANY mod, in case you need to uninstall them)
3. Extract the contents of the archive
4. Copy "YetAnotherPurgeCellBuffersPlugin.esp" to your Fallout 3\Data folder
5. Using FOMM, place a check next to the plugin.
6. Place the plugin as high in your load order as possible (but after the esm's), so other plugins can override the door scripts if necessary.

Upgrading From A Previous Version
1. Extract the contents of the archive
2. Copy "YetAnotherPurgeCellBuffersPlugin.esp" to your Fallout 3\Data folder, replacing the previous plugin.
3. Using FOMM, make sure the plugin is still checked, and is still in a sensible place in your load order.

Delete the plugin from your Fallout 3\Data directory. Revert to the last save before you installed this plugin (you should do this for ALL mods to avoid corrupt saves), failing that - perform a clean save (one method is here: http://arwenevecom.ipage.com/Fallout/FO-tips.htm#Clean_Save - thanks Arwen).

Any mod that purges cell buffers, which includes:
  • Zan AutoPurge Crash Protector - http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=14575
  • Purge Cell Buffers FiXED - http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=14134
  • Purge Cell Buffers - http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=7817
  • Clear Cell Buffers EVERY Cell (NMC's texture pack - misc download) - http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=12056

If this doesn't work too well for you, you can always try them instead (they use different purging frequencies to each other).

It is also incompatible with the following fallout.ini settings:

Change them back to their default:

Again, you can always try these settings instead if you haven't already (they increased my fast-travel crashes, but your mileage may vary).

Known Issues
If your game is really unstable due to using corrupt saves, broken/un-patched mods, mods lacking thorough (not half-arsed) compatibility patches for others, or ill-thought-out ini tweaks, then this plugin will not help most problems caused by these, and could make the symptoms worse. A simple test: if you disable buffer purging, and still get crashes under the same conditions, it is not this plugin that is causing or provoking them.

Cipscis' Automatic Save Manager, http://www.fallout3nexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=3729
- fights one of the leading causes of instability: corrupt save games. Don't use the quickload feature though (instead: quit to main menu, and load from the option there)

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