Bug hunting – 5/6/2014

May 6, 2014
By R. Ritnour

We are always striving to fine tune Takamo and make it better and easier for players. For those of you who didn’t get in on the fun this last turn, we had quite a bit of excitement when there were wholesale failures to move and overhaul fleets in Takamo. The problem came about due to our attempt to fix an issue with the turn input page.

We were having a lot of crashes (read that a halt in processing, not a loss of data) because players were forgetting to list the fleet number in the move fleet, and move & scan actions. Rather than just deleting the action from the player’s turn, we decided to reactivate an old subroutine that had been in the game back in 2005 that would give a message to the player indicating that the fleet number was missing and canceling the action. It would clue the player in and keep the processing on track. We knew that the subroutine had been pulled for some reason back then, but neither Thom nor I could recall why. Well, we found out.

It turns out that the subroutine did not operate properly in 2005, but we couldn’t seem to track it down and we had pulled it from the main program. When we ran the turns this weekend, low and behold, the error started popping up as it had long ago. However, this time players were using the move action code (1) instead of the customary move and scan action code (2). That was the difference that Thom didn’t see back in 2005. So, the seven year old bug was tracked down and squished, with extreme prejudice. I sent out a ton of “Sorry about the messed up turn” messages and made some corrections and we are back on track with a seven year old mystery solved. Well done space cadets!

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