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Lately I've been playing Oblivion with Nehrim, the total conversion mod, and it has started to crash at various times and corrupt most of my newly created games. I'm running Steam GoTY version (which should always have the latest patch) + Nehrim with latest English patch. I'm about 100 hours into the game, and until now, Nehrim was running without any issues of such sort.

I've come up with three possible reasons for this:

  1. CPU overclocking - proved to not be the case, as resetting clocks to stock values does nothing to help the issue. Having OC'ed my CPU a couple of days ago, the possibility had made me worried.
  2. Save game bloating - I've been playing Nehrim while exploring every corner of the world, but with 100 hours in the game, I've covered only Middlerealm (about 1/3rd of the mod's content). The latest save is 3.8MB in size.
  3. Damaged/corrupted game files - I had made a backup of vanilla Oblivion before installing Nehrim, and so I tried reinstalling Nehrim over the backup files. It did not help the issue.

Just to be sure, I'm running Windows' error check tool on my game partition (came up with nothing), but I'm the most worried about the second, save game bloating possibility. Is there any fix for that? Is there something else I should take in concern, or any possible fix I should try? Any help will be appreciated.

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1 Answer

For the save game bloating (which could be the reason for the crashes), you might want to try this mod:
Clean up by kuertee

Description
Prevents saved-game file-size bloating by cleaning the game of actor and item references that are no longer required. (e.g. inactive references created from dropped items that were picked-up by the player.)

Cleans long-dead actors that may have been corrupted somehow.

Details
The cleaning process used is the game's inherent behaviour of removing items that no longer has any "links" to the game world.

Normally, dead actors and "dynamically created" items that were not picked up by the player will be removed from the world, when the cell they are in resets. (Dynamic items are those created at game-time as opposed to those created in the Construction Set. Examples of these items are: those created by PlaceAtMe, those dropped by the Player, those dropped by dying NPCs: e.g. shields, etc.)

However, there are cases when these actors and dynamically created items will (for some reason or another) stay in the game world forever. And actors not cleaned up by the game properly will never respawn, causing a "broken" game experience. Saved-game bloat is the result of these. And saved-game bloating may be the cause of some game crashes.

To prevent crashes, I'd recommend Streamline's Streampurge feature (memory purging on an intelligent, scheduled basis - can be configured to do a memory purge before a save, which can help with stability; more info here) and Fast Exit 2 by Scanti. You can choose to enable only Streampurge and Streamsave and not the other Streamline features in sl.ini (Streamline's configuration file).

If you are running a 64-bit OS and have 4 GB or more RAM, you might want to try the 4GB EXE Patcher on Oblivion.exe (not sure if this is also the EXE name of the Steam version - upon reading the 4GB EXE patcher thread on the Steam forums, it appears that the Steam version filename of the EXE file to patch is also Oblivion.exe). More info on the Steam forums thread on this link here.

You could also try OSR (Oblivion Stutter Remover):

This plugin makes Oblivion not "stutter" as much, and generally feel smoother or perform better. It prevents or mitigates a number of issues related to stuttering and framerates, and can reduce the frequency of stutter related crashes.

Make sure you set MaximumFPS = 0 in 'sr_Oblivion_Stutter_Remover.ini' to avoid it putting an artificial cap in your framerate. Aside from that, try using it with the default options. If it still crashes, you might want to try to replace the default Oblivion heap (memory manager) with one of OSR's. In 'sr_Oblivion_Stutter_Remover.ini', set bReplaceHeap = 1 and change iHeapAlgorithm to 1, 2 or 5 - read 'sr_Oblivion_Stutter_Remover.txt' for more info and other OSR tweaks that you could try.

Note that Streamline, Clean-up, Fast Exit 2 and OSR requires OBSE (Oblivion Script Extender)

After installing any new mods, make sure to run BOSS (Better Oblivion Sorting Software). BOSS properly sorts the load order of the mods, avoiding crashes and mod conflicts. It also provides a large number of usage notes for many mods, including requirements, incompatibilities, updates and bug warnings.

More info on configuration and mods that can help stabilize and prevent crashes in Oblivion here: http://tescosi.com/wiki/Oblivion/Stabilization_and_Optimization

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Thanks, I'll try those suggestions and report back on how it helped or not with the problem. It seems that in Nehrim most indoor areas are never reset, though. –  winta Sep 15 '11 at 17:32
    
Sorry, but those methods turn out to be of no help. All they did was turning my installation even more unstable. –  winta Sep 15 '11 at 22:13
    
Explanation: Streamline unfortunately seems to be Nehrim-incompatible and 4GB patcher doesn't work with Steam version of the game. .ini edits don't help with the save corruption issue. I appreciate your help, however, as the said tools might be of use under different circumstances. –  winta Sep 15 '11 at 22:21
    
I edited my answer to link to a discussion in the Steam forums about using the 4GB patcher on the Steam version of the game. You can also choose to enable only Streampurge and Streamsave and not the other Streamline features in sl.ini. Also, try not using Streamline, and only Clean-up. Note that Streamline, Clean-up and Fast Exit 2 requires OBSE (Oblivion Script Extender). I'm adding another mod suggestion which you could also try:Oblivion Stutter Remover(will edit my answer for more info) –  galacticninja Sep 16 '11 at 8:12
    
@winta About the 4GB EXE patcher, upon further reading the thread about it in the Steam forums, it appears that the Steam version filename of the EXE file to patch is also Oblivion.exe. In that case, it should work just like in the non-Steam retail DVD version (just patch Oblivion.exe). I also added more info on OSR (Oblivion Stutter Remover) in my answer. –  galacticninja Sep 16 '11 at 8:46
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