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 The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Gadget2006 (---.stv.ru)
Date:   06-05-11 04:52

I've been following the changes in Exult for quite a while and a couple months ago I saw the announcement on the front page saying that there's a serious game-breaking bug with objects disappearing that is very difficult to track in the code and fix. I've been regularly looking into CVS changelog since then but the last modification to the code was made in early March 2011 (and so was the latest binary snapshot) - I hope the code base is still being worked on and three months of no CVS activity relevant to Exult modifications and snapshots doesn't mean Exult is going to die away...

At any rate, since Exult currently contains a serious, potentially game-breaking bug that might just appear for no apparent reason and screw up my game, I'd like to ask if you have information on which earlier CVS snapshots have been known not to have this bug. I have earlier pre-1.4.9rc1 snapshot downloads since early February 2010 until March 2011 (pretty much monthly or so) and I'm wondering what would be a rather safe bet to just play through Ultima 7 with Exult without having to downgrade all the way to 1.2 - so that perhaps I'll play without the latest 1.4.9rc1 changes but will not get the 'objects disappearing' bug either. Does anyone know?.. Thank you very much in advance for your response.

And by the way, were there any advances in tracking down the objects disappearing bug (assuming that it was being worked on since March 2011)?.. That's one thing that I'd indeed love to see fixed, as otherwise Exult is just the perfect engine to play through U7.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   06-05-11 06:01

We have no idea what broke the engine and when. Since there is no sure way to reproduce the problem we can't pinpoint it.
We have some idea what the general problem might be, but right now, people need a break before getting back into fixing Exult.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Gadget2006 (---.stv.ru)
Date:   06-05-11 06:27

OK, thanks for your response, I'm glad to hear you guys didn't give up on Exult! Have a nice rest from coding and good luck in your future endeavors in fixing the game when you get back to it! I guess I'll give a random old mid-2010 snapshot a try and see if I can beat the game with that. :)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   06-05-11 06:37

I wouldn't recommend that, actually. The bug is most likely not a recent one, the first report in the bug tracker was from 2009, so the bug is probably even from 2008 or earlier.
AND we made other changes and fixed stuff as well, so running the latest snapshot and saving often is what I'd recommend.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Gadget2006 (---.stv.ru)
Date:   06-05-11 08:59

Oh OK, that's strange - I'm pretty much I beat the game back in 2008 and 2009 using SVN snapshots and never experienced such an error, guess I was lucky then. :) OK, then I'll try it with the latest snapshot and will just make lots of saves just in case. :)

Is there any way to pinpoint this bug early on when it happened before it gets "too late"? (I mean, is it apparent immediately that something is up? Or can it be just a random thing disappearing somewhere without me noticing it only to bite me in the butt some 2-3 hours later when I realize that all the saves I made since then went bye-bye?)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   06-05-11 14:39

I'm not sure :)
The one time it happened for me it was apparent, since some objects just disappeared around me but I can't say that this always happens in this way...
Also in my case the problem occurred when I was already playing for a long time in one go (meaning since starting Exult), so that might be related.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Gadget2006 (---.stv.ru)
Date:   06-05-11 18:04

Oh OK, thanks for the info. :) I'll let you know if any instances of this bug manifest themselves during my playthrough.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: VisElEchNon 
Date:   06-06-11 18:03

Just out of curiosity, could the bug be the same one as noted in this article from 1992?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   06-06-11 20:35

Exult is NOT Ultima 7.
Exult doesn't use Ultima 7s code.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: VisElEchNon 
Date:   06-06-11 23:14

Okay, I was just curious...

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Zósite Kónstyte Styles 
Date:   06-10-11 17:14

Hehehe... as Dominus explains (he made it clear to me too some time ago) Exult doesn't use the original code hence why this particular bug can't be that annoying original one we all suffered back in the day.

However, that article forgets to mention how funny was whenever you noticed that your stuff didn't disappear but it was actually STOLEN by somebody.

I just cannot remember how many times Nicodemus stole reagents from my backpack. And what about the barman at Vesper? (cant' remember the name). I was always checking my stuff right after talking with a few -nice- fellas. uO_o

-Zósite K.S. from Moonlightshadow-

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Mortegro (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date:   06-12-11 06:21

Just have to ask... objects disappearing for good? I know no one know what bug is triggering it. But i want to know if this happens only if the Avatar has contact with it? Could objects dispear on there own? In spots that the Avatar haven't explored yet?

Anyway... i hope you guys find this bug.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   06-12-11 06:42

Yes, objects disappearing for good, no way to reproduce and no idea whether it happens only around the avatar or further away, too. We wrote about it on our front page some months ago.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Scythifuge 
Date:   06-13-11 02:19

Did this bug happen to occur around the time that the lift was raised to, I think it was a value of 255?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: bradsucks (---.dsl.bell.ca)
Date:   06-13-11 23:03

Any thought of making a heavily logged version of Exult to try and track the bug down? I'm itching to do a playthrough and have been holding off for like a decade. I'd feel very noble if I thought I was actually helping while I played it.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Luke (---.tx.res.rr.com)
Date:   06-18-11 18:22

Semi-related, can the cheat options track down an object and give the in world location to see if it has succumbed to the bug or that I simply misplaced it... *embarrassed grin*

Can't find the talisman from the FOV test of truth....

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   06-18-11 19:13

Nope, can't do that

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Muzza (---.pa.vic.optusnet.com.au)
Date:   07-31-11 13:24

This may seem like a stupid question but,

Did origin not already fix the bug that causes things to disappear? Could it be that some people are using the unpatched original version of Ultima 7 BG?

Upon installing my copy of Ultima 7, from the Ultima Collection CD, i found a zip with a patch to update Ultima 7 to version 1.1..

The beggining of the patch batch file says:

@echo off
echo ***********************************************
echo * Ultima VII - The Black Gate update program *
echo * Ver 1.1 (C) 1992 Origin Inc. *
echo * Problem: Once in a great while, items or *
echo * terrain disappear or are altered. Keys are *
echo * removed from party inventory while sleeping.*
echo ***********************************************

The patch zip contents are:
KZ.EXE 32KB
U7.KZ 303KB
UPDATEU7.BAT 2KB
XXX.EXE 11KB

I can't figure out if this patch is already applied to the copy on the Ultima Collection CD im using as it won't let me patch on my 64-bit system.

I imagine this is a long shot, but I thought it odd that this patch is not mentioned in the FAQ and i cannot search it anywhere else in the forum. I would guess that there would be a large variation in the versions/sources of Ultima 7 installs that people are using with Exult.

So is it possible that people are using unpatched buggy copies of Ultima 7 with Exult rather than Exult causing Ultima 7 to be buggy?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Muzza (---.pa.vic.optusnet.com.au)
Date:   07-31-11 13:26

Nevermind that last post - just read that none of Exult is origial code.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Anonymous (---.clienti.tiscali.it)
Date:   08-02-11 23:14

It happened to me today. Here's a summary of what happened:

I was in New Magincia with a party composed of Avatar, Iolo, Spark, Shamino, Sentri and Jaana. I noticed Katrina out (it was around 9 PM), near that small house in the center of the island, and stuck in the position the characters have when they're going to sit down or vomit. I talked to her a bit, then I saved; a bit after saving Exult hung, so I restarted it and loaded the game. Jaana was not in the party anymore; the join command on her did nothing to solve this. I managed to add her to the party by using the cheats menu, toggling the party switch in the NPC stuff twice. I noticed the clock was off and had approximately the same time as the next-to-last save (11 AM), furthermore the notes I did disappeared, so I teleported to Cove, then Vesper to make sure the sub-quests I completed since then save were still counted completed. In Cove they weren't, but the real surprise was to be found in Vesper: almost every piece of furniture in the Gargoyle part of the town (including doors, tables etc.) had disappeared.

I'm using Exult v1.4.9rc1 compiled from the sources.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   08-03-11 02:55

Is exult tested with valgrind?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   08-03-11 03:58

Slow as god's wrath.

==15765== LEAK SUMMARY:
==15765== definitely lost: 291,170 bytes in 715 blocks
==15765== indirectly lost: 2,743,988 bytes in 27,922 blocks
==15765== possibly lost: 139,348 bytes in 1,447 blocks
==15765== still reachable: 132,219 bytes in 2,217 blocks
==15765== suppressed: 0 bytes in 0 blocks
==15765== Reachable blocks (those to which a pointer was found) are not shown.
==15765== To see them, rerun with: --leak-check=full --show-reachable=yes
==15765==
==15765== For counts of detected and suppressed errors, rerun with: -v
==15765== Use --track-origins=yes to see where uninitialised values come from
==15765== ERROR SUMMARY: 218 errors from 218 contexts (suppressed: 1402 from 7)


Anyway, gonna log a while.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   08-03-11 12:51

Ok here is a simple log just from walking around. Most lost memory seems to be from subclass overriding? No invalid accesses yet.

Anyway, here is a cut down log with:
cat leaks.txt | grep -A 2 -i invalid; cat leaks.txt | grep -A 2 -i indirectly ;cat leaks.txt | grep -A 2 -i definitely > leakssimple.txt


http://pastebin.com/awPCiQJt

(the complete thing is bigger than the file limit on paste bin)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   08-03-11 12:58

Wrong concat operator and stuff.

cat leaks.txt | grep -A 2 -i invalid >> leakssimple.txt; cat leaks.txt | grep -A 2 -i indirectly >> leakssimple.txt ;cat leaks.txt | grep -A 2 -i definitely >> leakssimple.txt



http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=4DS8yMEi

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: kaizoku (---.netvisao.pt)
Date:   08-06-11 21:46

To keep my message short: I haven't tried Exult myself but I found the following message regarding the cause of this issue:
At http://rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=62655


It says:
Solution to Ultima VII BG freezes found(?)

Exult 1.4.9rc1: played U7 SI without freezing problems, then played U7 BG with freezes every now and then.
I noticed how many items are spawned by NPCs doing jobs like baking, sewing, waiting on tables. There are lots of shears and dining plates generated on one location. Britain it self has 5 NPCs doing this, and almost every town has a tavern keeper generating food and dining plates.

Now, the freezing in U7 BG is known to be accompanied by loss of items, so I decided to disable or change the NPCs behaviour using the cheat menu and altering their NPC schedules, I also deleted some crafting equipment like tables. This way they cannot generate items. I decided to be on the safe side and delete useless items lying around.

Starting a new game and doing this, there is so far no more freezing. I'm guessing that it is due to the crafters or the items generated. Try this and see if it works for you, remember to delete the excess generated items.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   08-06-11 23:33

It's a work around and not the solution...
See http://exult.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?f=1&i=362775&t=362775

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Colourless Dragon 
Date:   08-07-11 06:11

With this information it may be possible to actually track down whats gone wrong.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: BeagleBoy 
Date:   09-21-11 02:47

Out of curiosity, does anyone have a rough idea of when this bug started to manifest?

I ask, because I recall playing and winning both BG and SI with exult in the past, but I admit it's been quite a while. So I was wondering if I had just been lucky when I played, or if the bug was introduced (or became more prevalent) since my last time playing.

Basically, I've got the urge to play U7 again. So I can play under dosbox (okay, but sound isn't perfect), play under my old copy of Exult (not perfect, but it was certainly playable), or download the latest copy. If my copy from 3 years ago was just as likely to have the bug hit, then I won't worry too much about using a new copy. Otherwise, I'll probably stick with the old copy.

I suppose my other option would be to break out the debugger and try to help solve the problem. But between coding all day at work, and changing kids' diapers at home, I'd kinda like to just play a game in the evening. ;)

-Jim

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Colourless Dragon 
Date:   09-21-11 11:46

Don't think anyone has looked into it yet. An idea might be to run it through valgrind and just leave it sitting in britain in the pub and just wait and see what happens.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   09-22-11 11:21

Marzo and I talked a bit about what *could* be done http://log.usecode.org/exultlog.php?log=25Aug2011

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: agentorangeguy (---.55.23.98.dynamic.ip.windstream.net)
Date:   10-11-11 13:32

I've had some issues with entire u7ireg files being 'blanked' back to 512bytes or whatever. luckily I keep backups of the gamedat folder so I can replace the 'blanked' ones. I did notice the Blue Boar had some food stocking up on the plates, so I created a usecode egg to delete the excess food in a certain area when you pass by, that way it doesn't get piled up. Here it is, if anyone wants to use it as a temporary fix like I did. Works nicely!:

void RemoveFoodBlueBoar ####() //# is number of egg 
{

	if (event == EGG)
	{
	pos1 = [0x418, 0x4ea]; //top left corner of rectangle - hex coords
	pos2 = [0x4c9, 0x4fb]; //bottom right corner of rectangle -hex coords
	var food = UI_find_object(-359, SHAPE_FOOD, -359, FRAME_ANY); 
	//all individual food frames, so everything gets deleted
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 0, [pos1], [pos2]); 
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 1, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 2, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 3, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 4, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 5, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 6, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 7, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 8, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 9, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 10, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 11, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 12, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 13, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 14, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 15, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 16, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 17, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 18, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 19, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 20, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 21, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 22, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 23, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 24, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 25, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 26, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 27, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 28, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 29, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 30, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 31, [pos1], [pos2]);
	UI_remove_from_area(SHAPE_FOOD, 32, [pos1], [pos2]);


	}
}


(edit by Dominus: corrected pos2 as Agent wrote in the following post)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: agentorangeguy (---.55.23.98.dynamic.ip.windstream.net)
Date:   10-11-11 13:33

whoops, for 'pos2' it is the BOTTOM RIGHT corner of the rectangle.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   10-11-11 15:02

I'm not sure this helps to much, as far as I think the bug works it is regardless whether the Aavatar is near.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: agentorangeguy (---.55.23.98.dynamic.ip.windstream.net)
Date:   10-11-11 15:51

yeah, I've had random areas wiped clean for no apparent reason. the egg I made at least makes things better for the eyes, it sucks seeing piles and piles of food on someone's plate haha

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   10-11-11 17:22

yeah, I thought Malignant added some code to make the pubs a bit cleaner to SVN.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   10-11-11 17:23

Btw. I'd pay for someone to fix that damn disappearing objects bug :)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Joe Lerno 
Date:   10-13-11 03:23

Just out of mere curiosity what if someone tried something like this:

create a random party of 2 standard characters and two npcs

give each a backpack with 10 coins.. some food two pieces and a random
item (hammer pickaxe sword blank.... etc)

Create a business schedule for each of them in different locations
then teleport yourself around a few times allow some days to pass time..
find a trigger of a quest or something...

then go and recall all party and npcs and check there inventory..
if they gained items then maybe they are from activating them when they were walking off screen..

If items disappeared then track from there..

Also when the backpack issue was fixed a while back did the bugs occur before? (bug about items going outside backpack grab limit)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   10-13-11 06:57

The bug is not about items disappearing from the inventory, it's about whole areas being wiped to the bare chunk (in the worst case).

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: N (---.static.as13285.net)
Date:   10-13-11 14:05

Hey,

Could you guys put out a general statement about what sorts of savefiles/help could be good from us non-coders?

I'm sure that we'd love to help you solve this -- so just tell us if you can think of anything useful. (ie. Savefiles with missing objects -- I think that the drawbridge to castle Britannia disappeared in one of my games...)

If that isn't useful, then let us know what we can provide to render assistance.

Cheers!

-N

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   10-13-11 20:37

Right now no user help is needed. Right now it needs a developer/programmer to tackle it.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Hammerite (---.156.11.10.cache.maxonline.com.sg)
Date:   02-05-12 09:25

I have the very same thing happen... Haven't played U7 for sometime, download the latest Exult.exe played a few hours and noticed something funky. All the furnitures and item disappeared from the houses.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   02-05-12 09:50

Then don't play further with this savegame, playing on with this will not get better. Revert to one where the furniture is not yet gone. Save often and often reload, or restart Exult.

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Read the documentation and the FAQ are your friends! There is no excuse for not reading them! RTFM
Read the Rules!
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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: DrCode (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date:   03-25-12 03:16

I'd like to work on this, but I have no idea how to make the bug happen. I think it might have occurred years ago for me when I was in Britain, and it does seem to have something to do with being in an area with lots of objects. It also might have to do with the 'cache-out' code, which happens when you walk away from an area. The objects there are supposed to be stored in a separate buffer, then restored when you walk back.

I tried using the 'cheat' screen to insert loads of extra objects by the Avatar, then walk away and back; but nothing went wrong. Anyone have a savegame where they could reproduce the problem?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   03-25-12 05:46

Can you limit given allowed memory to a linux program?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Marzo Sette Torres Junior 
Date:   03-25-12 15:48

DrCode: I am just about 100% sure that the disappearing objects bug is due to double deletion -- several schedules hold live pointers to their temporary objects that may be deleted due to a cache out; and the schedules also delete these objects once they end (for example, due to a cache out). I doubt this happens only in schedules, but I am sure it happens in them. I had begun some work on using smart pointers (the fork I made) for objects (instead of raw pointers), but unfortunately I haven't had much time to work on it.

------
Marzo Sette Torres Junior
aka Geometrodynamic Dragon
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   03-25-12 18:23

Is smart pointers the equivalent of WeakReferences in garbage collected languages?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Marzo Sette Torres Junior 
Date:   03-26-12 00:05

There are "weak" and "strong" smart pointers; so in a sense, yes and no.

------
Marzo Sette Torres Junior
aka Geometrodynamic Dragon
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: DrCode (---.mentorg.com)
Date:   03-26-12 21:47

Marzo: That makes a lot of sense. But it looks like everything gets deleted in cache-out and the schedules by a call to 'remove_this(0)', which puts the object in gwin's 'removed' list, which is a 'map' that should avoid having the same item there twice.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Marzo Sette Torres Junior 
Date:   03-27-12 18:36

Consider this case: the NPC in a schedule places an item in the map. He then moves to a different chunk (because the schedule takes place near a chunk's edge). The player moves away, caching out the chunk where the object was placed (deleting the object) but -- and this is crucial -- not the NPC.

That alone would be dangerous: the schedule keeps a live pointer to the object and may cause problems if the NPC tries to do something with that pointer. But to make things worse, any of these cases may happen:

[*] A change of schedule causes <schedule>::ending to be called, which tries to delete the object;
[*] in the course of the schedule, the schedule tries to delete the object as part of the normal course of operations;
[*] the player moves further away and triggers the cache-out of the chunk where the NPC is in; this causes <schedule>::ending, causing the object to be deleted.

Since the chunk where the object was has already cached out, the object has already been deleted and will no longer be in the 'removed' list. Thus, the second attempt to delete the item will go through, resulting in the double delete.

------
Marzo Sette Torres Junior
aka Geometrodynamic Dragon
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: VisElEchNon 
Date:   03-27-12 22:00

In this case wouldn't it be "relatively easy"* to test this by creating a test NPC with a schedule similar to what you've described?

* Yeah, I know, nothing is ever as easy as it sounds where programming is concerned.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Marzo Sette Torres Junior 
Date:   03-27-12 22:38

Given the randomness of schedules, no: the NPC needs to move in just the right way and do just the right actions, at the right time to boot, for it to happen. And it all depends on also moving the avatar in just the right way at the right time. Given that schedule actions aren't preserved during save/load, this adds to the difficulty.

This relatively rare set of circumstances is why the bug is hard to trigger, especially on demand for debugging. It is also why you can return to an earlier save and play through the same portion of the game without triggering it again.

------
Marzo Sette Torres Junior
aka Geometrodynamic Dragon
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: VisElEchNon 
Date:   03-28-12 17:43

Ah, yeah that makes sense then. :)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   03-29-12 13:08

>> There are "weak" and "strong" smart pointers; so in a sense, yes and no.

I think i see... they're equivalent to a normal allocation in a gc language ... disposed when the last reference that refers to it is deleted, with a counter.

That'd be a solution - i was confused with the "weak" references because i was thinking of a memory leak, not a double delete (which don't exist in gc languages).

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   03-29-12 13:10

As a bit of trivia, even gcc had to incorporate a garbage collector in certain parts of their codebase because of problems like these... once you start deleting on more than one place and passing around references it gets sketchy.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   03-29-12 13:12

"memory leak" as they occur on gc languages, doh!

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: DrCode (---.mentorg.com)
Date:   03-30-12 21:06

Thanks, Marzo, I see now. I thought we were safe because deleted objects go in the 'gamewin->removed' list. But now I see that that list gets purged (and really deleted) at the end of the caching-out code.

Perhaps we could add another object flag, say 'schedule_owned', and avoid removing these until the individual schedule clears the flag. Although having smart pointers would be a more general solution.

I still wonder if I could create a scenario, using your information, for making the bug occur. Otherwise, we'll never know if we've really fixed it.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Crysta Elf (---.phlapa.east.verizon.net)
Date:   04-02-12 00:14

So how come nobody has fixed the items NPCs craft to be deleted properly once you've moved a short distance away? Sure it doesn't fix the underlying problem, but its got to be involved. I mean.. I just cleaned up about 200 pairs of shears sitting on the same spot on a table in Moonshade.. if that wouldn't negatively affect how the game runs I don't know what would.

And I forgot my password so new name.. ugh.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Marzo Sette Torres Junior 
Date:   04-02-12 12:49

Well, it is exactly those schedules that delete the objects they make that are likely the cause of the disappearing objects bug, so yeah :-p

------
Marzo Sette Torres Junior
aka Geometrodynamic Dragon
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Crysta Elf (---.phlapa.east.verizon.net)
Date:   04-02-12 16:17

So then the best fix would be to.... make it so that the schedules no longer handle deleting them? I mean if the schedules are the problem then making some new sort of code that assigns all items created through npc crafting some sort of "temporary" flag that removes them from memory once the player walks far enough away (in a fashion detached from the schedules, with the deletion part of those simply going unused) would be a viable workaround.

Actually, i've also wondered what's different between the NPC stuff and the teleport storm items for a while now that makes them work fine but the others not. Is it quite simply the NPC interaction doing it? I mean.. the two always seemed to function the same way in the original game, so I always assumed they were programmed to vanish using the same script or something.

And i'm not trying to be rude or anything with the stuff i'm saying.. s'just a combination of curiosity and how I am (artist, not programmer).

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Crysta Elf (---.phlapa.east.verizon.net)
Date:   04-03-12 07:55

I should really clarify that a bit.. what I mean is.. if it is the interaction causing the problem, you need to sever the two functions from each other. Aside from blacksmith schedules that really require it (and barkeeps for plates? cant remember right now), NPCs should have anything that would make them interact with objects they've placed removed, and item deletion should be handled completely seperately. It would remove a few interactions (clothiers picking up and dropping shears for example), but it should remove the problem as well, at least until a total solution can be worked out.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Simon Partridge 
Date:   04-06-12 17:32

I assume it is necessary to "clean up" the npc created objects because currently there would be an infinite number of objects given enough time passed. However, as Crysta mentioned, 200 pairs of shears on a table surely isn't working as intended.

Wouldn't it be better if NPC crafters checked how many of an item already exist in the drop location and then if it is above a predetermined limit (default of 1) and there is no alternate drop location then just move to the next step of the schedule without spawning a new item. e.g. the drop location is a plate and the drop item is food, if there is already food on the plate move to the next plate if there is one else the new item is not created and the script moves to the next step as if the item had been. This way crafters would purely replenish consumed items. Handling it this way would remove any need to destroy NPC crafted items as there would be a hard limit set by the number of possible drop locations. Items would then only need to be destroyed/removed as a result of player actions and being consumed by other NPC schedules. No after the fact GC required.

This seems like a relatively easy change.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   04-06-12 23:40

It would lessen the chance of the corruption but could still happen. As Marzo explained it's not a question of how many items were created but whether the items get tracked of.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Colourless Dragon 
Date:   04-07-12 00:20

Thinking about this. One fix would be creating a notify list when an object gets deleted. The schedule would add itself to the object delete notify list and when the object is deleted the schedule will know that the item is now gone and to clear any pointers that reference it.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Simon Partridge 
Date:   04-07-12 14:35

As I understand it, from reading this thread, the source of the corruption is thought to be deletion of an object by a second process/thread/schedule which because the original item has already been deleted proceeds to delete a second random object by reusing a stale/bad pointer which was tracking a specific object in the world that is already "gone".

So instead of making a change to schedule mechanics, how about making sure that each object has a truely unique ID .A hash of x/y/z/chunk & creation time perhaps. Any pointers to the object then contain the ID instead of an absolute reference. Requests for deletion pass the ID and if a later duplicate attempt to delete occurs then it aborts because the ID has become invalid.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: ffgfd (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   04-07-12 16:19

good luck reinventing reference counting guys.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Colourless Dragon 
Date:   04-08-12 07:09

Trying to think of a way to avoid the problem without significant code modifications. Reference counting would require large amounts of code changes.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Simon Partridge 
Date:   04-08-12 23:46

Reference counting defers deletion of objects until all references to them have been discarded. Currently the code base presumes sole ownership of objects during deletion with the unforseen side effect of possible orphaned references causing bad deletes later on.

Deletion with reference counting would also require an object to be marked as "deleted", prior to the reference count reaching zero, in order to prevent any new interactions with it. This flag would then be inspected prior to any operation on an object in order to check that it isn't pending deletion.

Changing the code to to this extent appears to me to require a lot more work than kludging a check for a valid delete request via object IDs.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   04-09-12 13:57

Ever heard of encapsulation? No? How about refactoring?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   04-09-12 14:19

Sorry for being rude, but i don't think a "flag" solution is any better basically. There's bound to be bugs and oversights, it's also intrusive (probably more), and it's essentially the same thing.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   04-09-12 14:25

Saner would be to just never delete memory on locations that didn't allocate it (or on O.O. program lingo "have ownership").

It's my natural strategy even on gc languages. I don't dispose stuff (open files for instance) passed as arguments (though i also don't pass stuff to multiple places normally, so i avoid the hard problem).

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Anonymous Coward (---.consolidated.net)
Date:   04-11-12 02:13

Re-implement the code base in a Lisp.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Mortegro 
Date:   04-18-12 01:16

Exult engine has been in production past 5 years. So my question is... With the knowledge and feed back from all the users. Could you guys maybe rewrite and code the engine again?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   04-18-12 05:55

With the time the devs have atm to spend on Exult... I doubt that this would go anywhere...

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Ulf DellbrĂźgge (---.pools.arcor-ip.net)
Date:   04-20-12 17:07

Just stopping by, throwing virtual love to all people here at the phorum and an extra portion to the exult team. Thank you for you dedication. I try to imagine how you feel because of this rather serious and quite uncatchable bug. In the event that there is a greater power, i hope he soon triggers that "Aww @!#$, it was THAT all along" moment. ;)

Kind regards

Ulf

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Ulf DellbrĂźgge (---.pools.arcor-ip.net)
Date:   04-20-12 17:17

* or she (the greater power might be feminine, a comment i have to make, because it would be rather sexist and because it reminds me of life of brain. Know that scene?)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Leo213 (---.socal.res.rr.com)
Date:   05-04-12 07:13

There might be a correlation with the NPC schedules and the bug I just found which results in duplicate world objects to form upon the reloading of a chunk/cell

http://exult.sourceforge.net/forum/read.php?f=1&i=386431&t=386431

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   05-17-12 22:51

From this, it sounds like you need a "robot" class to make a testcase.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: manutoo (---.revip2.asianet.co.th)
Date:   05-20-12 14:36

Hello,

just in case... Does the Exult engine use floating point calculations ? Or only integer / fixed point calculations ?
If the later, it may be easy to record all inputs ( = mouse position + click, and keyboard keys pressed) on each game process frame, and then create a special "demo" mode which would automatically replay all the game using the recorded input to reach the point where the bug occurs.
For the replay to work correctly, you'd also need to have the initial saved game.
So users meeting the bug would send you that saved game with the recorded input file, and you could reproduce it.

I did that for several of my games, and it proved to be quite useful.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (89.181.163.---)
Date:   05-21-12 22:01

That's only feasible if your side effects that don't come from user input can have two modes surely?

(ie: random would also need to store, like mouse movements, clicks, keyboard presses).

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Colourless Dragon 
Date:   05-21-12 23:12

Exults use of 'rand' will make this difficult to get to work properly, in addition that Exult doesn't work with a concept of 'frames' so playback could vary depending on the speed of the machine recording and playback. Its a nice idea, but for Exult its more technically difficult then it seems.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: manutoo (---.revip2.asianet.co.th)
Date:   05-22-12 02:15

Hello,

if you use a classic pseudo-random generator, then it's easy to deal with it (it's what I have in my games).
You just have to save the seed at start of recording ; then each successive rand() call should return the exact same value than in the original play.
If you use a more random() generator, ie: based on current time, then it'll be more delicate, but it may still be possible to just save & restore each random() result.

If you have a centralized game process or at least a centralized time handling, then you have something like this, I guess :
DeltaTime = TimeThisFrame - TimeLastFrame
so record DeltaTime for each frame, and restore it on replay, to force the replay to do a identical process, even if the actual speed differs depending of the computer power.

If your system is event based with all entities processing on different rates depending of machine speed, it might get trickier, but you likely have somewhere a central time handler that could be pushed in a replaying state instead of gathering real current time.

The killer thing would be that the rendering influences the gameplay on other things that the DeltaTime. In such case, it'd become a hell of a work to get things in sync : you'd have either to remove the rendering interactions with the gameplay, or save & restore all of them, but in both cases it'd very hard to be sure to have forgotten nothing, and usually if you forget only 1 little thing, it's enough to put your replay out of sync and make it completely useless...

Anyway, I'm just throwing ideas to make you think about a solution, in hope it'll help..! :-)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: manutoo (---.revip2.asianet.co.th)
Date:   05-22-12 03:37

One more note :

In case you do your game logic using something like Timer.CurrentRealTime , then you should replace it by Timer.LastFrameTime , so each gameplay component behavior won't be dependent of the previous components processing time.
Tracking all CurrentRealTime accesses (or calls) to replace them with LastFrameTime might be a bit tedious, but it shouldn't be much error prone (or you could even just simply change the behavior of CurrentRealTime so it'd actually contain the value of LastFrameTime ).

And then you'll be able to replay the game by restoring each Timer.LastFrameTime in the needed place.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   05-22-12 04:42

In any case this replay feature wouldn't be of too much help in this case. We know what triggers the bug, we also have some ideas on what to do, we only need to find time to do it.
An interesting part, where a demo mode were of possible help, is the reason why some people trigger this bug more often than others. But then U7 is a very lengthy game and watching other peoples playthrough would probably be an agony for people that play tested Exult that many times as we did :)
Also not sure whether your idea also gives feedback of how often the game was saved and reloaded which might also be one of the culprits.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: paulo (---.net.novis.pt)
Date:   05-24-12 00:48

I know the location of the bug was pinpointed, but you might want to try this:
http://clang.llvm.org/docs/AddressSanitizer.html

Valgrind is typically much shower than 2x slower.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: manutoo (---.revip2.asianet.co.th)
Date:   06-03-12 08:22

Dominus,
if you have an exact 1:1 input replay, then the save/reload cycle will be also reproduced. So it means the initial saved game shouldn't be overwritable during a recording, and if you want to do milestones of saved games with their associated recording (to possibly get quicker to the bug by having the replay only from the last saved game) then you would also have to prevent any other overwriting during the recording.

Anyway, keep this idea in mind, if not for the current bug, it may be useful for something else in the future... :)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Ralph (---.lightspeed.ltrkar.sbcglobal.net)
Date:   06-16-12 16:02

If there's heap object management issues, probably the best fix would be to properly convert code to using proper RAII and boost::(shared|weak)_ptr. C++11 would allow for the same without boost headers. This conversion would still require thinking through the lifetime and ownership of objects, but it would certainly be cleaner than reinventing ad-hoc refcounting.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Ralph (---.lightspeed.ltrkar.sbcglobal.net)
Date:   06-20-12 21:13

Any opinions on incorporating Boost? The license is highly permissible so it shouldn't be a problem to use in Exult.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Jaesun999 
Date:   06-28-12 17:35

So I was playing the original U7 in DOSBox a while ago, and I suddenly seem to have this "my sword will now disappear" bug. Basically I have a sword and shield equipped. I was outside Nicodemus' house. I cast Unlock Magic on his door, and then suddenly my sword will disappear. This is also 100% repeatable, by re-loading the save. Is this also a known bug in the original?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Marzo Sette Torres Junior 
Date:   06-28-12 17:47

If this happens in the original while under DOSBox, then it has nothing to do with the topic at hand -- it is a bug in Exult that causes objects to disappear.

In all likelihood, what you encounter is Nicodemus stealing your sword -- I *think* he is scheduled to do that, but I don't remember for sure.

------
Marzo Sette Torres Junior
aka Geometrodynamic Dragon
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Paulon (---.dsl.dyn.ihug.co.nz)
Date:   06-28-12 20:01

The deranged Nicodemus is a pain when it comes to stealing your gear in the original.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: TDI (---.versanet.de)
Date:   06-28-12 23:42

Yeah, on a certain time of day, Nicodemus turns into a sneaky, thieving bastard.


******** minor spoilers ahead *********




**** stop reading or thou shalt become bespoileth *****

Nicodemus is in thief mode when standing outside his house. In the original U7 (probably also in Exult) you can identify thieves by the things they say while stalking around you. They say nice, inconspicuous things like "Nice weather today", "How are you?", etc. Then at some point they move in close and lift an item from your NPCs inventory.

But that is not a game breaking problem. A mighty Avatar can smack'em over the head, open them up, get the item back, and resurrect them in a pinch. The hardest part is to actually find out that something has been stolen.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Ralph (---.lightspeed.ltrkar.sbcglobal.net)
Date:   07-03-12 21:18

On a friendlier note, is this bug exclusive to BG? I really don't see why it would be, but I don't think I've heard of it happening in SI...

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   07-03-12 21:25

It's harder to trigger in SI because there are fewer item producing NPCs. But it did happen to me on my playthrough of SI.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: DrCode (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date:   08-19-12 19:38

Looks like I'm going to work on this, and I think I'm going to use Colourless' suggestion to have each object have a 'notify list'.

Hopefully, this will solve the problem for two cases I can think of:

1. The schedule creates an object, like 'dough' for the Back_schedule, then deletes it, even though it's been cached out.
2. The schedule found existing items like the table list for waiters. These get cached out, but the schedule continues to reference them.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   08-25-12 07:32

How is the progress? Curiosly I didn't even notice the first committ until Kirben added objclient.o to makefile.common ;)
Please give us a heads up when we should begin playtesting. I'm eager for a BG run ;)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: DrCode (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date:   08-25-12 19:12

I have a few more schedules to do, so I might be done this afternoon.

But here's the catch: If I made any mistakes, or missed something, the game will probably crash instead of corrupting memory. But maybe that's an improvement.:-)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: DrCode (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date:   08-25-12 20:41

Okay, 'done', but without a lot of testing. I have no idea how to verify that I actually accomplished anything.:-)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus not logged in (213.162.68.---)
Date:   08-25-12 21:36

Wow, thanks. I'll se about playing through BG next week. I hope nothing bad happens ;)

Edit: btw. let me hug you!!!

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Malignant Manor 
Date:   08-26-12 00:27

Thanks Jeff. You inspired me to fix my baking checks since I used quality for checks, and that doesn't save for quality flags items.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: smev9 (---.pools.arcor-ip.net)
Date:   08-26-12 12:41

I want to test. can i download the new version in the generel download section in "unstable" ? Is there anything i would have to do besides playing and saving to help you with?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   08-26-12 13:20

Yes, you *have* to download the unstable snapshot. And then just play the game and pay attention to missing stuff. Stripped down cities or LB's castle without drawbridge are bad signs :)

Thanks

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Jaesun999 
Date:   08-26-12 13:20

Can I assume play vanilla U7 with no Keyring mod to test?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   08-26-12 13:26

Ideally, so we can rule out any problems caused by the keyring mod (even though there shouldn't be).
I'd rather play with the keyring mod myself :)

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Jaesun999 
Date:   08-26-12 14:37

Allrighty then/ :)

I NEVER once got this bug (that I noticed anyway). Nothing PLOT specific ever disappeared. Anything specific we should possibly do to cause the likelihood of this happening/see it is fixed? Hoard tons of items and store them in containers etc..?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus not logged in (---.dynamic.xdsl-line.inode.at)
Date:   08-26-12 15:33

No idea ;)
We never could trace it ;)
Probably playing for long stretches without restarting Exult.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Monotremata 
Date:   08-28-12 20:03

I never once ran into this bug but what the heck, looks like its time to play U7 again..

I assume if I build the latest svn on Ubuntu Ill have all the fixes in place right??

Morbius/Monotremata Dragon
-==(UDIC)==-
Since 1992!

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   08-28-12 22:59

yes, but check the other recent thread by Dr.Code, it seems that Unity doesn't like programs that use ALT...

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Monotremata 
Date:   08-29-12 15:14

Haha first thing I did was get rid of Unity and set my X-session for Kubuntu and Gnome.
My poor Mac OS partition is feeling left out, I think its been over a month since I booted to it. :)

Morbius/Monotremata Dragon
-==(UDIC)==-
Since 1992!

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: skuttduck (---.bus.msu.edu)
Date:   10-03-12 18:39

I wonder if my latest game is a result of this bug, or just Serpent Isle?

I seem to recall having problems with Serpent Isle in the days of me just playing the game normally on my 386 DX 40 in Dos.

Anyhow, in monitor, the pikeman that you talk to to train on the list field is gone. I do not know what happened to him. Ok, so I decided to just pickpocket luther for Dupre's shield. Next I decided to go to moonshade, and now the game freezes because Kane is not there. They just seem to wait on the ship endlessly.

Some of the original problems I had when playing this game years back was in Fawn, Kalen never attacked me so I couldn't advance there.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Malignant Manor 
Date:   10-05-12 20:10

The pike man disappearing is a bug in the original.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Mr. Swiveller (---.workstations.fontys.nl)
Date:   12-07-12 15:16

Hi guys -

Am I right in thinking that this bug has been fixed in the latest snapshots? I've read the thread, but am not sure if the comments made by Dr. Code imply that the 'disappearing objects' problem has been fully resolved.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Dominus 
Date:   12-07-12 15:45

We assume it has been fixed. With the not sure way to trigger it we don't know for sure. We haven't had any negative report though ;)
And Marzo fixed a couple of other potential crashes. So happy playing ;)

--
Read the documentation and the FAQ are your friends! There is no excuse for not reading them! RTFM
Read the Rules!
We do not support Piracy/Abandonware/Warez!

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Mr. Swiveller (---.workstations.fontys.nl)
Date:   12-07-12 15:53

Thanks Dominus!

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: An (---.neoplus.adsl.tpnet.pl)
Date:   12-13-12 11:12

Maybe we could have release some time soon, that latest Exult make it into repositories of some distros?

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Malignant Manor 
Date:   12-15-12 16:19

There's still some bugs that we want to fix and recent changes need play tested to make sure that we didn't break anything.

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 Re: The infamous 'objects disappearing bug'
Author: Hornpipe (93.174.144.---)
Date:   01-10-13 09:50

Anyway. You are doing a great job.

Thanks.

Edit by Diminus: froze thread, too much spam ;(

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