The Sinister Design Forums

Games => TSoG => Topic started by: Xemadus Echina on March 28, 2010, 12:56:28 PM

Title: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on March 28, 2010, 12:56:28 PM
i got this idea from a recent post i made.  since there are a variety of things in this game that could have multiple outcomes, and a variety of glitches and bugs. why not have an official testing crew to find the truth?


also if you would like to join just say so in here for now.

As of now KZ is the leader of this group.  I created a banner and I will post the most recent version here.
current
Spoiler
Aside from the words on the banner, this is pretty much the final version.  If anybody on here wants a different picture to be used then just send me a link to it.  Also I still need a title for Mike, Tas and Smart.(http://i659.photobucket.com/albums/uu316/killasx/TTCv4-1.jpg)
I left the previous version here for comparison! I like the improvements I made :)
Spoiler
The finished banner will have a different background as well as a founding date and the name of the forum along the bottom (I might be able to put a hyperlink on it but I'm not sure if it'll work.)  Also it will be aesthetically pleasing (the pictures and the names will line up) (http://i659.photobucket.com/albums/uu316/killasx/TTCv3.jpg)
I decided to make my own portrait TRPG themed so I didn't stick out as much ^_^'

Here is a to do list courtesy of KZ
Spoiler
There are several areas that can be filled and researched:
-for instance, one can go ahead with the high money stat and create numerous sub-games to verify the minimal levels for aptitude, personality and psy power required to complete each side quest (Umma, Arman, Mahboob, Al'al, Crypts, etc)
-one can also go searching for bugs (like I've been doing recently) by verifying whether the cut-scenes work properly- that is to say, see if the right cut-scene appears depending on which member of the team is dead (this applies to prison break, bandit mission, labour rescue cut-scenes)
-one can go and look through all the different texts to see wherether there are bits which are cut-off (ie sentnec not finished) or typos present (in the most different of places- in the menu, in the battle-objectives sreen, in dialogue, world map, etc)
-one can test the enemy AI- take one unit and then set up many different combinations (backstab opportunities, kill oportunities, distance-related movement, etc) in Map Editor and find any situations where the enemy AI can really be imrpoved
-one can also check out the dialogue branching trees- see if all the options work and that there are no incorrect connections, that the right actions/effects follow the word choices, etc (for instance, I just did this with the Azma Lair dialogue, had about 10 games running simulatneously to see that the tree was working right)
-one can also, through trial and error in map editor (by using the in-game team), see what the formula's for damage are for each of the attacks, as well as verifying and collecting enemy stats
-one can also go through the wiki, article by article and try to standardise the information, correct mistakes, add extra information
-one can go through the old forums and find threads which led to the general forum populace agreeing on certain things (e.g. meaning of Shadowling colour, their structure, the pseudo-scientific basis for the elemental attacks and shields) which have been more or less integrated into TSoG (like explanations for attacks)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Presentiment on March 28, 2010, 12:58:06 PM
Everyone in the world is the official testing crew.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: KZ on March 28, 2010, 01:02:50 PM
That's right- look at the bug and walkthorugh threads, people spontaneously accumulate information then publish it, or they find bugs and report them. If someone is interested in some stats, sometimes someone else does look it up- I have ventured into stats determination myself, but there isn't always enough time to find out all that is needed.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Presentiment on March 28, 2010, 01:08:01 PM
Stats are easy to find with the money cheat.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on March 28, 2010, 01:13:13 PM
the whole point of my idea is so that we could create an organized setting for topics such as bug hunting or cheat determination among a select few who actually LOOK for those sorts of things instead of one large area where people who find things accidentally post things along side the pro's.  but as i said earlier, if this idea offers nothing new then feel free to remove it from the forums.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Presentiment on March 28, 2010, 01:19:00 PM
the whole point of my idea is so that we could create an organized setting for topics such as bug hunting or cheat determination among a select few who actually LOOK for those sorts of things instead of one large area where people who find things accidentally post things along side the pro's.  but as i said earlier, if this idea offers nothing new then feel free to remove it from the forums.

What.Is.The.Point.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on March 28, 2010, 01:20:32 PM
the point is to create a community within this community of proven "hardcore" players.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Frosty on March 28, 2010, 02:02:39 PM
They put cheats in the game to check for bugs. :(
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: KZ on March 28, 2010, 02:05:20 PM
How is that related to the topic at hand, Frosty?
And no, the bugs are not put in there solely for bug testing- that's just one of the uses for them.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on March 28, 2010, 02:23:11 PM
either way what i'm getting at is: should we create an area for the more dedicated members to interact with each other, or should we just ignore the idea and continue on as if it never existed.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: CraigStern on March 28, 2010, 06:30:36 PM
This could actually be useful, insofar as people could be organized to all test specific areas of the game at once, meaning I could collect all the bugs in a given area and fix them at once rather than jumping around to the millions of little things people find in different areas all the time. That would be an efficiency gain for sure.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Presentiment on March 28, 2010, 07:11:40 PM
Unfortunately that isn't what he suggested.

He just suggested picking out a bunch of hard-core TRPG'ers (most of us, I hope, are not) and telling them to find bugs, which won't improve anything, other than maybe some kind of juvenile apartheid.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Zhampir on March 28, 2010, 07:21:08 PM
Well I for one, like the idea. and since I usually have quite a bit of free time, I would not mind dedicating myself to a particular area. I'm not a good boss-of-myself however, and I would not know where to begin, or where to focus my efforts.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: KZ on March 29, 2010, 04:52:18 AM
Well, if there is a general desire to get started and organized, why not?

There are several areas that can be filled and researched:
-for instance, one can go ahead with the high money stat and create numerous sub-games to verify the minimal levels for aptitude, personality and psy power required to complete each side quest (Umma, Arman, Mahboob, Al'al, Crypts, etc)
-one can also go searching for bugs (like I've been doing recently) by verifying whether the cut-scenes work properly- that is to say, see if the right cut-scene appears depending on which member of the team is dead (this applies to prison break, bandit mission, labour rescue cut-scenes)
-one can go and look through all the different texts to see wherether there are bits which are cut-off (ie sentnec not finished) or typos present (in the most different of places- in the menu, in the battle-objectives sreen, in dialogue, world map, etc)
-one can test the enemy AI- take one unit and then set up many different combinations (backstab opportunities, kill oportunities, distance-related movement, etc) in Map Editor and find any situations where the enemy AI can really be imrpoved
-one can also check out the dialogue branching trees- see if all the options work and that there are no incorrect connections, that the right actions/effects follow the word choices, etc (for instance, I just did this with the Azma Lair dialogue, had about 10 games running simulatneously to see that the tree was working right)
-one can also, through trial and error in map editor (by using the in-game team), see what the formula's for damage are for each of the attacks, as well as verifying and collecting enemy stats
-one can also go through the wiki, article by article and try to standardise the information, correct mistakes, add extra information
-one can go through the old forums and find threads which led to the general forum populace agreeing on certain things (e.g. meaning of Shadowling colour, their structure, the pseudo-scientific basis for the elemental attacks and shields) which have been more or less integrated into TSoG (like explanations for attacks)

All of these things are useful and doable (I myself have tried my hand in each over the years) and if we could collate it all together, it would be great.
So, what do you think, folks? Up to any of the above? :)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Steel Ersatz Man on March 29, 2010, 10:06:40 AM
I'm up for it! I'll start now!
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on March 29, 2010, 12:47:50 PM
well its nice to see my idea gaining some momentum :) perhaps an official subform should be created in the near future?  i know for a fact that it would improve efficiency because one of the problems with bug reports are finding the reliable ones.

pres: and once again you got it wrong. my plan for this idea was not to pick out some hard-core players and go bug hunting. my idea was to bring together the members of this community that actually care about the progress  of TSoG(and later games) so that we could speed it along by organizing and creating an area that Craig and look through that is less chaotic and more reliable when he goes back to fix any problems their might be.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Tastidian on March 31, 2010, 03:48:09 PM
I see where rainen is getting at but Craig made a better idea and if this plan follows through i'll sign up for it. But if it is vetoed oh well i guess.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: torugo on March 31, 2010, 04:01:24 PM
if it works out ill join too
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: MikeW781 on March 31, 2010, 06:30:17 PM
i will begin attempting to find damage formulas for the main tommorow
if anybody has already done this, please notify me
i can do the same for any character if needed
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on March 31, 2010, 06:54:57 PM
from the looks of it this idea has already taken roots in some people. it may just make it via popular demand.

P.S. my original idea was just something to bring all this into discussion.  i knew somebody else would use the idea to create a better idea so that is the main reason why i posted it.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: KZ on April 01, 2010, 10:05:16 AM
Well, if there is a general desire to get started and organized, why not?

There are several areas that can be filled and researched:
-for instance, one can go ahead with the high money stat and create numerous sub-games to verify the minimal levels for aptitude, personality and psy power required to complete each side quest (Umma, Arman, Mahboob, Al'al, Crypts, etc)
-one can also go searching for bugs (like I've been doing recently) by verifying whether the cut-scenes work properly- that is to say, see if the right cut-scene appears depending on which member of the team is dead (this applies to prison break, bandit mission, labour rescue cut-scenes)
-one can go and look through all the different texts to see wherether there are bits which are cut-off (ie sentnec not finished) or typos present (in the most different of places- in the menu, in the battle-objectives sreen, in dialogue, world map, etc)
-one can test the enemy AI- take one unit and then set up many different combinations (backstab opportunities, kill oportunities, distance-related movement, etc) in Map Editor and find any situations where the enemy AI can really be imrpoved
-one can also check out the dialogue branching trees- see if all the options work and that there are no incorrect connections, that the right actions/effects follow the word choices, etc (for instance, I just did this with the Azma Lair dialogue, had about 10 games running simulatneously to see that the tree was working right)
-one can also, through trial and error in map editor (by using the in-game team), see what the formula's for damage are for each of the attacks, as well as verifying and collecting enemy stats
-one can also go through the wiki, article by article and try to standardise the information, correct mistakes, add extra information
-one can go through the old forums and find threads which led to the general forum populace agreeing on certain things (e.g. meaning of Shadowling colour, their structure, the pseudo-scientific basis for the elemental attacks and shields) which have been more or less integrated into TSoG (like explanations for attacks)

All of these things are useful and doable (I myself have tried my hand in each over the years) and if we could collate it all together, it would be great.
So, what do you think, folks? Up to any of the above? :)

I guess if we start in this framework, and reply with info here for now, then it will be good. Otherwise, methinks, Craig, maybe a subforum "TSoG Testing Crew" might be a good idea (like the TRPG2 Beta testing sub-forums back in the day)!
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: SmartyPants on April 01, 2010, 12:44:25 PM
Is this theoretical or is Craig himself forming a testing group?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 01, 2010, 12:52:36 PM
My original idea WAS theoretical but due to the increased popularity, I think it is actually going to happen in the near future.

P.S. since it was my idea to begin with do you think i could be the moderator of the sub forum ?  8)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: SmartyPants on April 01, 2010, 12:57:50 PM
My original idea WAS theoretical but due to the increased popularity, I think it is actually going to happen in the near future.
Talk to me when Craig is actually recruiting.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: KZ on April 01, 2010, 12:58:11 PM
It is theoretical at the moment, but have a look at Craig's post on previous page- he seems to like the idea of more organised game-testing.
We'll see what he does, then act accordingly- I'm just flushing out ideas here.


No offence, rainen, but people don't become moderators because they have ideas, and there is that well known rule that those who do, don't ask for it, but get asked. ;)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: SmartyPants on April 01, 2010, 01:01:32 PM
No offence, rainen, but people don't become moderators because they have ideas, and there is that well known rule that those who do, don't ask for it, but get asked. ;)
It is also not about how long one has been here, because I been here a while now.  It is about being knowlegeable, and level headed.  I am not going to be asked because I can become a hot head at some moments.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 01, 2010, 01:05:46 PM
Don't blame me for asking ;)  I still remember on the old forums when somebody asked to become a mod every day.

im2: As of now the whole deal is just sign yourself up.  Even though there is nothing official regarding the testing crew, people are still taking part in it.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Tastidian on April 01, 2010, 11:02:26 PM
KZ don't you think you should get Craig into this conversation. It would be more efficient to deiced on this topic.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: CraigStern on April 01, 2010, 11:07:50 PM
I definitely approve of this! But I don't have time to organize it myself. :'(

I'll be happy to give you guys feedback if there are particular areas that I think need testing more than others, though.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Tastidian on April 01, 2010, 11:17:32 PM
Since Craig cant why don't you KZ. I also have an idea to help us we could make a chat room in the forums built for everyone like on the side and a official page some where in the forums and another private one with admin only for testers.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: KZ on April 02, 2010, 06:53:45 AM
I don't mind- see the list that I flashed out above, if you're interested in joining up, can you kindly post here and, referring to the list, or suggesting your own idea, indicate the areas that are most interesting to you. As soon as we have several people on this, I'll go on to organise the sections and anything else to get this going in a systematic manner. What say you folks, let's analyse TSoG to bits! ;)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 02, 2010, 02:53:39 PM
Alright!  So how long until you think we'll have our own official forum/subforum?  
Also I'm planning on making a banner for the thing which will consist of the name of the group (Which I'm assuming is still the TSoG Testing Crew though now that I think about it perhaps just leave it a little more generic and call it the Telepath Testing Crew)  the names (everybody who has posted here and contacts me that they are still interested) and a title that they would like.  As of now the only titles that I have are Rainen: Founder (lets be honest I have to give myself credit for bringing the idea up don't I?;) ; KZ: Leader (Methinks this has already been decided) ; CraigStern: Game Master (Does this one require any more of a side note?)  I'll get to work on creating a suitable background as well as finding suitable fonts.  If any of you have other ideas for the banner then just send a PM my way.

As of now the following people are on the banner: Me, KZ, Craig, Tas, smart.  I just went back and looked for people who made multiple posts to decide who to put on.

I finished the banner for now.  Here it is for your viewing (and judging) pleasure.
Spoiler
(http://i659.photobucket.com/albums/uu316/killasx/TTC.jpg)
here is V2 of the banner. 
(http://i659.photobucket.com/albums/uu316/killasx/TTCv3.jpg)
Not sure what date to put as the founding date. Any ideas?

The empty space is just in case some of the people who had an interest earlier still have the option to join.  When The TTC becomes official I will put the finishing touches on and post the final version.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: MikeW781 on April 02, 2010, 03:36:29 PM
i'm in this too
check out my forum about damage formula's that i'm finding
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: Steel Ersatz Man on April 03, 2010, 03:26:54 AM
I'm in too. For example, I killed Wadi then went to Mahboob and she skipped straight to 'do you like the gift I got you?' Skipping the part where she gives you it. I'm not sure whether you actually get it or not but it skips dialogue. Also, I made Wadi leave and he said 'Let me just say goodbye to my friends and family' and no progress was made in the side quest.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: KZ on April 03, 2010, 02:22:47 PM
Ok folks, some of the areas suggested are not actually for bugs per se, but rather in-game info for walkthroughs or the wiki. Thus, in order to keep everything easy to see and manage, I suggest we write the threads with the task at hand in their respective forums, with the following thread format to make them easy to recognise: e.g. "TSoGC: formula damage elucidation" or "TSoGC: gaps and bugs in enemy AI". Thus, if, of the abovementioned areas, you'd like to start on one, why don't you go ahead and set out the standard format for the easiest and best delivery of information which others acn copy (have a look at the formulated enemy ideas thread, for instance, see how the info is preseneted there).

Meanwhile, do write here and let us know if you wish to help and what area you'd like to help in.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: SmartyPants on April 03, 2010, 02:38:56 PM
How does one tell the difference between a bug and something not updated?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on April 03, 2010, 04:46:45 PM
rainen:
for founding date, i'd put the date of the final members joining
KZ:
I started a thread for damage formulas, but am currently stuck
check out the thread and help if you can
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 03, 2010, 04:53:50 PM
that date wouldn't make much sense... My thoughts are the following:
1)When I started the thread
2)When it first gained support
3)When KZ became the leader
4)When it gets an official forum/sub-forum/chatroom

Now that I think about it though the ones that would make the most sense are when I started the thread or when it gets an official forum/sub-forum/chatroom.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on April 04, 2010, 06:31:05 AM
i agree, lets use the date of the forum being started
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 08, 2010, 05:03:36 PM
Ok so i've decided I'll put 2 dates on the banner.  A "founded" date which is the date I started this forum and an "officiation" date which is when we get an official meeting place (not here).  The bottom of the banner will be a link to the main page of the meeting place and I'm planning on having a private portion of it for those of us in the actual group as well as a place for anybody to just go and apply to join.  I'm thinking a requirement(s) would be necessary so that we don't just have any random person joining.

I'll start working on the place savers now.  Also for those of you on the banner that have no title, please notify me what sort of title you would like.  It has to be reasonable and it can't be a title that is already taken.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: WeBing on April 09, 2010, 04:35:45 PM
I'm trying to imagine this, and I can't quite get what kind of posts are going to be in it. You might as well utilize the handy buglist and stop trying to get some fake recognition and forum clutter.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Dorgon 5000 on April 09, 2010, 09:27:27 PM
How do you join the group? Iīm intrested, but I donīt know how I do.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Dayn on April 10, 2010, 03:28:19 AM
Same here.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 10, 2010, 05:07:56 PM
currently we have no official meeting place and roster aside from the names on the banner.  I guess I'll start collecting names of people who would like to join.  I would imagine that eventually to join you would need to uncover/do something meaningful in a beta version of one of Craig's games (right now just TSoG) and publish what you find (I got that idea from the Foundation series by Issac Asimov :)) But I don't know how exclusive the group will be yet.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Stephen Colbert on April 12, 2010, 06:26:58 PM
I don't think just by saying you want to join you should get special privileges.

Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 13, 2010, 12:31:35 PM
The reason for the admission requirements would be to sort out the people that know what their doing from the people who just want to join it for the sake of saying their a member.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on April 16, 2010, 07:17:08 PM
I've been testing the damage formula's, but i have hit a dead end and recived little feedback.
Here's the link:
http://sinisterdesign.net/forum/index.php?topic=300.0 (http://sinisterdesign.net/forum/index.php?topic=300.0)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on April 19, 2010, 12:32:59 PM
Im not good with formulas so unless KZ or Craig comes by (or some other person) you're out of luck.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on April 19, 2010, 01:43:51 PM
thanks for responding
but the math is ridiculusly easy, and the dead end isn't really with the math, but the fact that skill increases doesn't seem to up damage with Pryo Hail
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: .:Light-God:. on May 08, 2010, 02:30:37 PM
Hmm... I like teh idea. I rest my case.  :-*
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: CraigStern on June 06, 2010, 10:11:10 AM
All right, testing crew, here's your first assignment. I've updated (http://sinisterdesign.net/forum/index.php?topic=14.msg8439#msg8439) the browser demo (http://www.sinisterdesign.net/TSoGDemo.html) with--well, with everything I've been posting about on Twitter (https://twitter.com/sinisterdesign) for the past month or two. Go forth and bug test! ;D
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on June 06, 2010, 10:42:49 AM
Aye Aye!
Bug 1: The "Done" button doesn't work
Bug 2: If you save to slot 1 on the new game, (in part 2 of the transferring files process) then delete this save and move in your new ones, slot 1 uses the initial save. When loading, it shows up as having your transferred Slot 1 data, but when loaded it loads the save you created for Part 2.
Bug 3: The portrait for IMRAN is Duvalier's portrait
Bug 4: The Madrid chief and his guards don't have portraits
Bug 5: When talking to the Madrid chief, I read his mind, then immeadiately tell him I will go kill the bandits. His response is that i can use the cave for my resistance if I do. He hadn't mentioned the cave yet, and doesn't know I'm with the resistance
Bug 6: The Ghost Knight's AI is really messed up, he spends about 3/4 of his time taking random single steps, no matter who he can attack
Bug 7: When you minimize the buttons, the "Hold" button stays visible
Bug 8: Occasionally, when you hit "Done" , the step count is reset. This works once per turn of your team, on any character. However, if you leave the mouse over the button, and use the glitch on every character, this exploit works on every character untill you move the mouse.
Suggestions
Suggestion 1: Switch the turn counter and the name. Just an idea. And only when the buttons are on the bottom of the screen.
Suggestion 2: Maybe, when playing on easy, the AI could be a little easier. Like, say, the old AI?
Suggestion 3: The way text is now in all caps makes it look LIKE IM YELLING AT EVERYBODY I TALK TO
I'm on a roll!
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew
Post by: MikeW781 on June 06, 2010, 11:42:31 AM
This could actually be useful,insofar as people could be organized to all test specific areas of the game at once, meaning I could collect all the bugs in a given area and fix them at once rather than jumping around to the millions of little things people find in different areas all the time. That would be an efficiency gain for sure.
Any specific areas for now?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: SmartyPants on June 06, 2010, 06:28:17 PM
Just play and post bugs.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: CraigStern on June 07, 2010, 09:32:04 AM
Thanks, mikew! All very helpful. I believe I've fixed all those bugs as of this moment, and I've uploaded an updated version of the game for further testing. ;)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on June 07, 2010, 11:55:20 AM
Just play and post bugs.
thanks man. thats really helpful. i really couldn't have figured out by myself that just playing was an efficiant method, and i definately wasn't asking for more specifics because craig had named that method as ineffective. thanks i2smart4u!

Excuse the sarcasm, but you clearly didn't read the quote or understand what i mean

On a more proffesional note:
I believe I've fixed all those bugs as of this moment, and I've uploaded an updated version of the game for further testing. ;)
The Ghost Knight AI and Done button issue are not totally solved (to my observation), namely that the Ghost Knight is still a little slow, and skips some turns, and that the Done button still doesn't work
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: CraigStern on June 07, 2010, 03:53:17 PM
the Done button still doesn't work

I just tried it--the Done button works perfectly. Make sure you're pressing Done, and not Hold.

If it still doesn't work, refresh the page--you're probably playing a cached version of the game.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on June 07, 2010, 06:28:32 PM
If it still doesn't work, refresh the page--you're probably playing a cached version of the game.
Yeah, just realized that was my issue
Woops
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Scubapookie on June 10, 2010, 09:24:38 PM
I don't think I'll contribute much, but I like the idea.  So, count me in please! :)
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on June 11, 2010, 12:24:18 AM
Since my long absence I was not aware of all the updates but my understanding is this is where we post bugs. But i'm not sure if this happening to the game but it is very important that this doesn't happen or else Craig will go crazy.

The important thing is, is there a memory leak inside the game.

All this is from a website called http://www.lostvectors.com/ This was a major problem was all  because of his character's programming.

You might want to read the bottom for it to make sense.

Spoiler
2010-04-09 Tell Me Where It Hurts Part 3: Security Checkpoints

This memory testing is quite the bug hunt. I've been testing between two computers and two browsers. I've been patting down every game object for illegal memory stashes. Offending code blocks are stripped and searched and sometimes even completely exterminated. Progress is being made little by little as I debug and optimize while innocent code is made to suffer inconvenient slow performing test operations.

It has been a tedious process but still productive. All this debugging has reacquainted me with some old code. Some of which I haven't seen in months. It's been nice getting back in touch. ;)

I still haven't found that magic one-line-of-code that if fixed would solve all my problems...

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
/////////////////////// PAIN IN BEHIND BEGIN ///////////

// set to false before testing
public static var GAME_BUGGED:Boolean = true;

// set to 0 before posting
public static var MEMORY_LEAK_RATE_KBS:int = 1024;

/////////////////////// PAIN IN BEHIND END /////////////
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

9:45 PST - I finished coloring and formatting this series of devlog posts. That part about me "taking a break" mentioned above turned out to be an hour of devlog mayhem. The real break starts now.

9:46 PST - Okay, I'll break for reals in a second but I think I just plugged another memory leak...



I've been having trouble with the pikemen so I have them fight to the death for my amusement. Actually, I don't even watch the battle. I just work on other stuff and wait for my computer to come to a screatching halt due to flash consuming all of my resources. At the end of this night I looked over and saw that they were still duking it out AND my ram was still not completely ravaged. As you can see, there has been 323 level changes (levels last just a few seconds) and still no problems! Yay. I've decided to tell you this because I want to completely jinx my code. Or do I? Take that Karma. Or don't not take it not. See if I do not don't care not so much so not... Everyone stay real quiet... ... ... okay I think the it's safe now. I need food.

10:00 PST (-8 GMT) Posting...devlog

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2010-04-08 Tell Me Where It Hurts Part 2: Not (All) My Fault

So after doing some further tests I was able to pinpoint code that would result in memory leaks. The code itself looked harmless and functionally it worked.

I narrowed a leak to a ďdoSomethingĒ function in my Util class. I knew it caused an error because when I turned the function into a no-op the leak went way. So I knew that something in that code was causing the leak. But just looking at it, it made no sense whatsoever why there was a leak.

Example original code:

public static function doSomething(clip:MovieClip):void
{
   var mc:MovieClip;          
   do some sort of gotoFrame logic on clip
   for all children in clip {
      if child is MovieClip {
         mc = MovieClip(child);
         doSomething(mc);
      }
   }
}

This code recursively does something on a movieclip and all of its children that are also movieclips.

public static function doSomething(clip:MovieClip):void
{
   do some sort of gotoFrame logic on clip
   for all children in clip {
      if child is MovieClip {
         doSomething(MovieClip(child)); // cast child and send
      }
   }
}

Notice that I removed the local variable ďmcĒ and just passed a MovieClip casted version of child as the parameter. There was NO functional reason for this change. I really had doubts that this would have any affect. After all, ďvar mc:MovieClipĒ is a local variable and should be marked for garbage collection at the end of the recursive function call. The function does in fact end so donít think itís runaway recursion. Weíre dealing with clips that are just 3 subclips deep at most and I use this function several times a second on many clips without any hanging.

When I tested the second version of the code there was no leak to be found. Undeniably the code change had some effect. Why?!? My theory was that since I was calling this static function from inside a non-static instance of an object that maybe Flash had some obscure rule about local variables inside static functions and it caused the program to hold on to all references to MovieClips thus preventing them from ever being garbage collected.

I donít pretend to know everything there is about Flash or how it works. But something about this seemed real fishy. I often like to blame flash for its bugs but I do this mostly to complain about the IDE. I like to trust that the flash player is solid and without error... yeah, so naive. Itís not a good practice to blame the flash player because then you may write off real issues as ďflash bugsĒ when in fact they are your fault. I try hard to give flash the benefit of the doubt. Iíve done so for this entire week. Iíve torn apart my code to pinpoint the causes for memory leaks. Iíve been rebooting my game practically one feature at a time just to find issues. This is how I found the issue mentioned above.

Even though I felt a little relieved that Iíve finally ďfixedĒ one of the leaks, something didnít feel right about that fix. I didnít feel it was my fault. It felt like a hack solution and what bugged me the most was that I had no real understanding of the issue. There was no white-paper or release-notes that I was aware of that explained the issue I uncovered. Iím not sure I can even recreate the leak using anything but the complex environment of my game code. Iíd love to make a lean code example of the issue without my entire game attached and submit it to Adobe and ask ďwhy?Ē. I felt run down. A little defeated...

AND THEN... On a whim, I decided to test the code on a different machine. I should have done in the first place. Itís good practice to test the application in different environments with different browsers. I donít know why I assumed my environment was error free. I was wrong.

I took the same exact game that had the leaky code and ran it in IE on a Windows XP 32 bit system. I was originally running on Windows 7 64bit using IE 32 bit. Using the same problematic version of my game but using the XP machine with latest flash installed the game had NO MEMORY LEAK. At that point I was mad. All this time I thought it was my fault. All this time I spent turning code on and off and locating obscure areas of code that my flash player decided it just didnít like willy-nilly.

So now I go back and test variations of my game using past tests that failed before to see if they would pass this time on the different computer. Unluckily only some of the previous failed tests passed this time so I still had memory leaks that were my fault somewhere. OR the flash player on this other PC had a different kind of criteria for giving me faulty memory management. Either way I had to fix something because chances are Iím not the only one with the issue. However now Iím left second guessing whether or not the leaks are my fault or the player's.

All I can do now is do further tests and isolate the areas of code that cause the game to break. Even if itís a dumb flash bug and not my fault I still have to adapt since no amount of yelling at Adobe is going to fix this issue right this second.

The plus side to all of this testing is that itís giving me a good understanding of how much memory certain features use. This will help me determine where I need to optimize the game to make it run smoother.

UPDATE: The saga continues... Read Part 3.

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2010-04-06 Tell Me Where It Hurts Part 1: For the Horde

Iím oh-so-close to posting a new update to Bowmaster Winter Storm (Alpha 0.0.1.9). I was so ready to start preparing the files for post and I blocked out an entire day to work on it. As I started working I discovered, much to my dismay, a memory leak! Dun dun dunnnnn! Well, I noticed that after performing some overnight tests using never ending battles that the game would use up all available memory and then crash the web browser... err...maybe I shouldnít be telling you this.

To those of you who donít know what a memory leak is itís when a computer application starts using up memory but doesnít free it up after itís done using it. This is most often the developerís fault due to a programming bug or just poor design. A simple flash example of how this might occur with poor design is that letís say every time you killed a unit or closed a window that instead of removing it from memory the programmer coded it to just turn invisible by setting alpha = 0. Essentially this would cause the data to continue to exist in memory instead of being freed for use for new enemies and new windows. Unfortunately my memory leak was caused by something way more difficult to locate.

Anyway, itís quite demoralizing when you set aside an entire day to work on play-testing and game balancing (the fun stuff) to then discover that you first need to fix a major issue instead. Not a great way to start out the day. Looking at the faded out crashed internet explorer window with a frozen image of bowmaster carnage in the background, I was not looking forward to hacking up my code to find the cause behind the memory leak. Image having an apartment that you just cleaned and organized and then getting a knock at the door Ė Itís the FBI and they have a warrant to search the place. Sure it has to be done but in so doing theyíre likely going to trash the place. Thatís what debugging memory leaks can be like. I just got done working on my unit-skinning system and re-integrating old units and adding new ones. Now I need to go into the code and start turning off stuff, add hard coded test functions to inspect output, and otherwise break the game in order to try to fix it.

Not knowing how long this was going to take or even where to start for sure, I did my best to divide and conquer. Unfortunately itís not easy just turning off half the code without adding new bugs, but in theory if you could turn off areas of the program in half increments you can potentially narrow down the source of the problem fairly quickly. For example, if I suspected that some of the new unit skins may have been causing the problem, I could just not load those units and only load the ones that I know have worked in the past.

Not only is it difficult to find a memory leak, it may be difficult to replicate one in a short period of time because it may take a while before the impacts are noticeable. I needed a way to accelerate the process of replicating the issue. I hacked my game to load tons of units in random areas of the map so they would instantly engage in battle. With more data being loaded and unloaded more frequently I could now inspect the memory usage using the Windows system processes inspector to see the memory increase quicker. I was also able to get the web browser to crash in a matter of minutes instead of hours. Yay!

It may sound odd to be happy to cause the game to crash, but when debugging itís essential to be able to recreate the issue. With this step complete I was ready to start turning off sections of my code to see if doing so would remove the issue. The usual suspects for potential memory leakage were the new units, the elaborate special death animations (slice in two, electrocute etc.), and certain custom units like pikemen and dragons that have special ways in which they attack.

Technically speaking, there are few known best-practices that will prevent memory leaks from occurring. If youíre not a programmer or you do not care about these tips then feel free to skip down to where I talk about how dumb I am.

Tips:

1. Use weak references when adding event listeners.
addEventListener(ďeventStringĒ, listenerFunc); // wrong way
addEventListener(ďeventStringĒ, listenerFunc, false, 0, true); // correct way. The last three parameters are optional but the default useWeakReference parameter is set to false so you need to set it to true.

2. Even if you use weak references, call removeEventListener to explicitly remove event listeners when you know they arenít being used.

3. Adding code to clips embedded in a timeline may cause memory issues. For example if you add a listener to a clip on the timeline and then that clip is replaced by a blank keyframe you may have memory problems. Another example is if you give a clip on the timeline an instance name and then move that clip to a different layer with the same instance name you may have memory problems.

4. Remove or nullify references to unused objects. An object will continue to stay in memory if there are references to it. In Bowmaster for example, I keep a singleton reference to the LevelManager class instance for easy global access in other classes. However, this instance is only relevant when the player is in-game and is not relevant when viewing the main menu screen. Therefore I need to make sure to set the global static singleton variable to null when the game window is closed otherwise all objects still referenced by the LevelManager will not be freed.

 

How dumb I am...

So despite how smart I may sound listing all those tips above, I felt like a total flash noob spending the entire day trying to locate the problem. I kept turning on and off code and checking the results but every time I wasnít able to specifically pinpoint the issue. I thrashed for hours, 12 full hours, trying different things and documenting the results. At some point you just need to call it a day, and I probably wasnít very productive or efficient for those last four hours I worked, but itís hard to stop when you think to yourself, maybe if I try just one more thing...

The next couple of days I was forced to only work in short increments, but I was making progress. I eventually turned off all the units except the grunt and started testing one skin at a time. I discovered that just one of the five unique grunt skin sets was causing a memory leak. Guess which one... It was the orc. Yep, I created a new grunt unit that used the same basic animation as the skeleton foot soldiers but changed the graphics to look like an orc. And then for some reason, in an act of defiance, the orc decided to crash my game. I give him life and this is how he repays me? By hording all the memory and never giving it back? Bad orc! Bad! (::scrohboo::) So it wasnít just the fact that he looked like an orc -- that would just be silly. Specifically I narrowed it down to some embedded code that I used to animate the shine on the orcís sword. What was unsettling was that I used this embedded code approach before in other animations. Iím thinking that the new skin redesign may have made this code incompatible, or maybe it was always broken and I just never noticed the memory leak until now.

Luckly, after some tweaking I was able to get the shine animation to work AND not crash the web browser (i.e. no memory leak), but Iíll need to inspect other areas of the game that use similar embedded code and fix those as well.

It was one of those traumatic software development experiences where thereís no hope and you wonder if youíre going to have to redesign the entire application... Yeah, maybe I blamed flash a little too. I was quite vexed about this issue. I did not want to crash peopleís web browsers. I care about the user. Yeah, maybe the issue will only affect those that play for hours straight without refreshing the browser, but Iím not going to deny them that opportunity just because I didnít want to fix a bug.

On one hand it looks as if it took several hours just to find and fix one bug. On the other hand, I just spent several hours towards the goal of ensuring that the user has an error free experience. And in the process of doing so Iíve implemented several useful debugging systems that will allow me to test the game much easier in the future.

Yeah, so maybe itís not so easy to skin an orc. But in the end it will be worth it. Stay tuned. Youíll see.

UPDATE: Not so fast jase... don't think this is over. Read Part 2.

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Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: CraigStern on June 11, 2010, 08:41:15 AM
There have been builds of TRPG games where the game crashed while running enemy AI, but I haven't released any of those in at least a year. :P
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on June 11, 2010, 09:52:51 PM
 :) I know how problematic they can be unless you have very few codes. I don't think that is possible for TSoG its a huge game.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on July 05, 2010, 09:59:25 PM
Um the done button doesn't work I sometimes have to press the ? button to press done.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on July 06, 2010, 09:11:52 AM
That glitched was, to the best of my knowledge through testing, fixed. Are you using the latest version?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on July 06, 2010, 11:01:31 PM
I think so. Let me check. Ops I just remembered I kept both of them and didn't delete the old one.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on July 21, 2010, 12:52:49 PM
Question, mostly for Craig/KZ, are there any specific areas that need to be tested right now?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: CraigStern on July 21, 2010, 09:56:44 PM
Enemy AI is probably the area of biggest concern right now, bugs-wise.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: KZ on July 22, 2010, 06:37:38 AM
Any specific units you want us to test?

Also, could you boradly indicate which units share more or less the same AI? (So we can reduce the amount of testing to some exemplars from different AIs?)

Also, are the offline and online versions currently sharing the same AI? Or would you rather see us test the offline version only?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on July 22, 2010, 10:26:21 PM
I'd rather test only one I have not seen a problem yet.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: KZ on July 24, 2010, 07:16:49 AM
Mm, PinkPanzer, are you saying you have tested a unit already and you'd rather test one of one type, instead of all, or you're saying that you'd rather test one unit for one type of AI and see that there is nothing wrong with it?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on July 24, 2010, 10:01:55 PM
Yeah I mean all of us can be assigned one A.I. Since there are few of us we probably need 2-4.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on July 25, 2010, 08:00:58 AM
Well, two or three AI each sounds quick, but as KZ said it would be infinately better for us to know who runs on the same AI package, so we would only have to test two or three AIs total.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on July 27, 2010, 10:24:23 PM
Fine I guess its summer and I don't have to much to do well not nothing there is a lot. What a perfect time for it.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: bugfartboy on August 18, 2010, 09:15:59 PM
Is it too late to join? When I get back from exile I'd be happy to help. Is it?
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: SmartyPants on August 19, 2010, 08:59:52 AM
I think the test crew idea died.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on August 19, 2010, 09:11:10 AM
i agree
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on August 19, 2010, 10:15:52 AM
All right, testing crew, here's your first assignment. I've updated (http://sinisterdesign.net/forum/index.php?topic=14.msg8439#msg8439) the browser demo (http://www.sinisterdesign.net/TSoGDemo.html) with--well, with everything I've been posting about on Twitter (https://twitter.com/sinisterdesign) for the past month or two. Go forth and bug test! ;D
Aye Aye!
Bug 1: The "Done" button doesn't work
Bug 2: If you save to slot 1 on the new game, (in part 2 of the transferring files process) then delete this save and move in your new ones, slot 1 uses the initial save. When loading, it shows up as having your transferred Slot 1 data, but when loaded it loads the save you created for Part 2.
Bug 3: The portrait for IMRAN is Duvalier's portrait
Bug 4: The Madrid chief and his guards don't have portraits
Bug 5: When talking to the Madrid chief, I read his mind, then immeadiately tell him I will go kill the bandits. His response is that i can use the cave for my resistance if I do. He hadn't mentioned the cave yet, and doesn't know I'm with the resistance
Bug 6: The Ghost Knight's AI is really messed up, he spends about 3/4 of his time taking random single steps, no matter who he can attack
Bug 7: When you minimize the buttons, the "Hold" button stays visible
Bug 8: Occasionally, when you hit "Done" , the step count is reset. This works once per turn of your team, on any character. However, if you leave the mouse over the button, and use the glitch on every character, this exploit works on every character untill you move the mouse.
Suggestions
Suggestion 1: Switch the turn counter and the name. Just an idea. And only when the buttons are on the bottom of the screen.
Suggestion 2: Maybe, when playing on easy, the AI could be a little easier. Like, say, the old AI?
Suggestion 3: The way text is now in all caps makes it look LIKE IM YELLING AT EVERYBODY I TALK TO
I'm on a roll!
Craig used us as a resource once, but that was about it. Its sad.....
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: SmartyPants on August 19, 2010, 02:37:39 PM
That wasn't because of the "testing crew".  He independently posted those bugs.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: mezzoforte on August 19, 2010, 03:23:22 PM
That first bug about the Done button I find too.  I don't know when/how it happens, but just sometimes the Done button doesn't work and I have to do an attack.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: MikeW781 on August 19, 2010, 07:03:42 PM
That bug has been removed. You could have an old version of the downloadable demo, or a cached version of the browser demo.

That wasn't because of the "testing crew".  He independently posted those bugs.
Craig told the testing crew to check the browser demo:
All right, testing crew, here's your first assignment.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on August 19, 2010, 07:48:40 PM
I think this testing crew has died too. To bad I loved the banner Rainen made too.
Spoiler
(http://i659.photobucket.com/albums/uu316/killasx/TTCv3.jpg)
Updated version
Spoiler
(http://i659.photobucket.com/albums/uu316/killasx/TTC.jpg)
Here is the old one too.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Xemadus Echina on August 20, 2010, 09:55:08 PM
those are actually both old versions.  The newest version has a cooler background and various other updates.
Title: Re: TSoG testing crew(first post updated)
Post by: Tastidian on August 25, 2010, 05:31:42 PM
Rainen will you please show me it in a post because I can't seem to find it.