WinDbg Analysis of Game Crash

I’ve really been looking forward to playing a new game (‘Battlefleet Gothic Armada’ set in the Warhammer 40k universe) so when the beta was released to pre-order customers I was very much looking forward to a new game set in one of my favourite intellectual properties.

Unfortunately I’ve been having no end of crashes with little to go on as to the cause – obviously beta software has issues and I’m more than happy to help with feedback but at the rate I was experiencing crashes it didn’t look likely I’d have any chance. Thankfully the last crash left me with a dump file which I grabbed and set about working on in Microsoft’s WinDbg software. This is a bit of a deviation from my normal posting but it’s a great way to show how tools used diagnosing crash dumps at work can be leveraged at home.


 

To make sure we can properly diagnose the problem we need to provide the symbol path – in this case I am using the Microsoft public symbol server and instructing WinDbg to cache a copy at the location C:\Symbols. It should be noted that you may have problems where symbols are not made available – this is just one of those things you have to live with unfortunately in some cases.

WinDbg Symbol File Path Menu Option

Symbol Search Path

It may take some time for the symbols to download and cache so patience is a virtue. The next step is to open the crash dump file to begin analysis.

WinDbg Crash Dump File Opened

 

You may notice WinDbg indicates exception information is available and can be access by using the .ecxr command – if you are wondering this command will display the context record associated with the current exception. Enter the command, hit enter and see what comes back.

WinDbg Crash Dump Recommend .ecxr Command

As you can see WinDbg couldn’t find a symbol required – this is to be expected when dealing with software from other vendors.

WinDbg Crash Dump Executed .ecxr Command

 

WinDbg provides a link for the ‘MODULE NAME’ section – if you click the link it will cause information to be displayed –

 

Now I’m not going to expect you to have read all the output so the short of it is it looks like the issue exists with the NVIDIA 3D display driver. By chance an update was released today so I decided I would install the latest drivers but with the 3D drivers removed from my system as I don’t have any 3D hardware (monitor/headset etc).

NVIDIA Drive Install - Remove 3D Drivers

 

I went digging around on the forums setup for the game and found a mention that these drivers should be removed so it looks like I was on the right track. Of course I could have spent time searching the forums for any articles on this but it was more fun to do it myself and it is always nice to practice those debug skills. So far the game hasn’t crashed in the same way it was previously so fingers crossed the issue was resolved by un-installing those 3D drivers.

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