It has been more than two weeks without news on Vectorblade (unless you watch the beta-tester forum). I’ll update to the current level of progress and also tell you that I’ll pause developing for about at least two weeks – because I am again on a two weeks holiday trip.
The mentioned “method” of trying to find the bug (see last blog entry) took some time to actually work. I implemented it alright… but the damn bug was not willing to show itself. It took a couple of days – me playing several games, sometimes bad (only getting to level fourtyish) sometimes better (getting to levels around the 150).
A couple of days of unsuccessfull playing (no crash) -it finally happened, playing a “monster” game of 474 levels… and in that level finally the crash happened! (after having played alltogether over 1000 levels in these tryouts)
It was passed midnight (having played a more than 2 hours game) and I was tired… nonetheless I just HAD to check it out.
The crash happened again after I reset the vectrex and started in “playback” mode. YES!
Than I loaded the saved game into Vide – to see what Vide had to say. The crash happened there too!
This means two things:
a) the crash could have happened on Vide all the time – I had just very bad luck and it didn’t.
b) I can REPRODUCE it – and finally get to the bottom of this (if this is the only crash-bug)
But that night I was definitely to tired but I went to bed happily (when can we ever say that – going to bed happily after the own program just crashed!)
Long story short – the cause of the crash was found quite “easily” once I could actually debug it. It was inserted not to long ago (beta 34) with an update of the collision detection algorithm (player shots – enemy). Under very seldom circumstances it could happen, that an already removed shot could be tested again for collision with an enemy. That “already” removed shot would than be removed again – which could lead to an endless loop.
It is not 100% certain that this was the only crash causing bug – but at least this one was removed quite unspectacularily… and at least I have not seen another crash.
Now I can move on and do the finishing touches to Vectorblade and finally RELEASE it.
(No, still no date, no still no preorder!)
The last couple of months I didn’t do anything new with Vectorblade – and honestly I had been a little bit “down” – for having that unfindable crash bug.
But now I can go on and hopefully finish what I started.
Following things I have added/changed the last two weeks:
- Save/ load game in progress
(a loaded game has highscores and such disabled)
- load/save will be available with the flash version of VB and with the VecFever version
- a new “bonus” – “drunken” – again taken as a reminder of one of Warblades most iconic bonuses
- also as in Warblade you will be able to use “drunken” to get a special achievement (finishing a minestorm while being drunk)
- Minestorm will give different bonus/results depending on the speed you finish
- higher difficulty levels got more “variety”
(boss fights will feature different behaviours, level aliens will use attack patterns while in intro phase …)
- some icons changed
- some shop prices were “fixed”
- overall quite a lot of long outstanding bug fixes
I will also change the game over sequence, and perhaps one or two other “cinematics”. On facebook you might have seen the “candle” tryout – I thought to use that as a game over scence – as a death symbolism… but my beta tester collectively rejected the idea as “not in line with the vectorblade scenario”. I guess they are right… but it looks so nice.
After my holiday I will come back to this and try to do a space debris explosion kind of something… which will be more in line with vectorblade.
After finishing that – I’ll do one last final “release candidate” beta test round – and go on to manufacture the cards.
Gee – I will be glad when that thing is finally finished :-).
On that note… the instruction manual… Next week I will receive the third incarnation of the manual. None of it being my fault…
- first stapled the title page wrongly (upside down/inside out)
- than something went wrong in the RIP – and all images really looked bad
- I hope the next version will finally be ok.
I will see when I get home.