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Mike Substelny

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Thom watched us test for a couple of hours yesterday. We observed some strange behavior but failed to track down the source of crashes.

Thom mentioned that he plans to release 2.7.2A here on the forums so that all of us can help him fix the crashes. The good news is that 2.7.2A has some nifty new features. The bad news is that the server is just about guaranteed to crash if you play any difficulty level higher than 3.

If he goes through with that plan you will see 2.7.2A here soon. Please play it at home aas much as possible. If you take it to a convention, I recommend you limit difficulty level to 3 or less.

Strange Behavior
One of the new elite abilities is a reverse jump drive. A Skaraan with this ability will sometimes jump backwards. This logically led to a very strange behavior in a surrendered Skarran. After surrendering he turned his bow toward the edge of the map and started to leave. But every 5-6 minutes he activated his reverse jump drive. Because his bow was always pointed to the edge of the map, his stern was always pointed toward the center. Thus this "surrendered" ship was eventually just flying back and forth across the center of the sector.

Thom is aware of this. I don't know if he considers it a bug or not since the elite ability is functioning as designed.

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ryleyra

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Perhaps Skaraans should avoid or limit using special abilities after they are threatened? I could understand them wanting to use Warp or Jump to remove themselves from the sector as fast as possible, but using abilities such as Shield Drain or Tractor Beam could be considered offensive behavior. I assume they stop firing Drones.

Of course, a potential implementation of this idea might be complicated. Thom might have to define which specials are disabled when the Skaraan surrenders and which are not. A simpler fix might be to simply increase the recharge time to the point where the Skaraan is able to make forward progress even with the Reverse Jump going off.

Also, I would think the Skaraan wouldn't be able to make forward progress when coming at the player ship unless it only activated when the player ship got close. Unless the problem is that the Skaraan is jumping to the far side of the sector and turning around to head for the closest edge. I would think as long as it can continue to make forward progress it would eventually work free of that trap.
LawsonThompson

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Is there any debug or crash log we players could collect to help track down the bug? I'd even be willing to run a debugger if necessary.
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LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny
... The good news is that 2.7.2A has some nifty new features. The bad news is that the server is just about guaranteed to crash if you play any difficulty level higher than 3.



Regarding the crash w/difficulty: is that due to the generated appearance of Skaraans? Or the fact that Skaraans would start using their specials?

Could I run a sandbox script like Armada IV and just not spawn Skaraans?

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Darrin

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Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawsonThompson


Regarding the crash w/difficulty: is that due to the generated appearance of Skaraans? Or the fact that Skaraans would start using their specials?

Could I run a sandbox script like Armada IV and just not spawn Skaraans?


I have been scripting a new mission in 2.7.2 that's fairly long, and I haven't had any problems with it crashing (it's got other problems... but not crashing). The scenario doesn't have any Skaraans in it, just pirates, Kraliens, and Torgoth. Difficulty is defaulted to 5. I would say that scripts that don't involve Skaraans and/or the new Skaraan elite abilities shouldn't be a problem. 

Most of the crashes tend to happen after the 30-minute mark, when a new wave of enemies appears (usually Skaraans at the higher difficulties). Setting the difficulty to 3 either means the new wave of enemies aren't Skaraans, or if they are, they aren't using all their abilities.

At ConConction, we were mostly running "randos with perma-captain", so most crews consisted of new players. The default scenario was Siege at difficulty 3, and I think a time limit of 30 or 45 minutes. I don't recall if we tried any other scenarios, like double front, etc. Perhaps there are some scenarios that are less likely to crash?
  


Mike Substelny

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We don't know what causes the crashes. The new Skaraan elite abilities or the new fighter replenishment are both possibilities. If the problem is with the new elite abilities then any mission script, including Armada IV, should be safe. As far as I know no one has written a script to hand out the new abilities to a Skaraan or anyone else.

I have experimented with the new abilities for scripts to customize space wildlife. So far that has not caused any crashing.

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LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #7 
Pulling in a quote from another dev thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Substelny


Because it is still crashing I really could not say. This may be the buggiest Artemis ever and the bugs are really hard to track down. We played with a full crew last week using Thom's dev machine as a server, with all his debugging tools running, and he could not figure out any of these bugs. Sometimes that is just life in the software business.


Ugh! Not gonna lie, I'm really torn between multiple views here.

My software/I.T. side is weeping in sympathy: I feel for you on that one! You can't debug what you can't duplicate! When it comes to software bugs, repeatable = beatable. Hopefully having more folks participating in the real-world testing by running 2.7.2A in a voluntary beta will provide the needed insight.

The Artemis convention host side of me is weeping in frustration! We run at level 5 thru 7 all the time, with a Dreadnaught + 2 fighters in Solo Mode. This puts me right in the crosshairs of the bug appearing randomly from the Skaraan specials angle AND the fighter replenishment angle. Double-whammy!

Based on what I've heard so far--combined with my own experiences of late--it sounds to me that 2.7.2 exposes a crash bug that is already in 2.7.1, before the new features were added. Is that a possibility?

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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #8 
For the record, last Thursday had a crew suffer through playing Artemis at Difficulty 7 with all of Thom's debug tools running full power. We eventually did trigger the crash bug. Unfortunately the bug was so powerful it crashed Thom's debug tools along with everything else.
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ryleyra

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Reply with quote  #9 
That is one heck of a bug.
LawsonThompson

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Reply with quote  #10 
So you need a debugger on the debugger? Feeling a meme coming on...

Good luck on the hunt!


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Mike Substelny

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryleyra
That is one heck of a bug.


Yeah, Thom was amazed when he saw it. He had a "We're gonna need a bigger boat" moment.

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