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Strange anomalous UE4 problem, game not launching and crashing everything else

So this is a problem that has perplexed me and the dev who is currently working on the game, but this Unreal Engine 4 game that I’ve been in a playtesting group for will not launch for any reason unless I do some really strange workaround which only sometimes works and requires some insane computer-breaking to do so.

So here is what happens:

I download the game on Steam, and when I try to run it, it goes through the initial setup, then Steam completely freezes up solid. I open task manager and I see three/four of these .exe processes for the game, all 112K, not doing anything. Attempts to terminate the processes do absolutely nothing, and using hacky workarounds only cause said termination programs to freeze up too. So nothing can interact with these processes without breaking.

Now, I open up Resource Monitor, check the CPU tab and for some reason one of these processes is in “Suspended” state. I resume it, and it creates a Win64-Shipping process, which also sits at 112K. Task Manager shows this:

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Still nothing. There’s no error message or anything. However, if I do something along the lines of terminating explorer.exe which unhooks the processes from being attached to that process, then unsuspend one of the game processes, it “sometimes” brings up the game window, with an error message saying “gdiplus.dll” wasn’t found on the system, despite the fact I already have the VC 2015 redist. However, I need Steam in order to play the game since it uses Steamworks for multiplayer networking.

At first I thought this was an issue with my desktop, but I tried it on my laptop and I get the exact same problem. Nobody else in the playtester group has this issue, and they all run similar configurations (Windows 7, Avast etc). Am I just doomed to never be able to play this game?

I’m the biggest idiot it seems. So Avast did this thing where it blocked the game process from running and didn’t bother to notify me, even after turning Silent mode off. For some insane reason it didn’t occur to me to try running the game with the shields off.

Don’t feel bad, Avast does all kinds of stupid stuff. I was angry when they added a signature to my email without even asking me.