Hi everyone! Last Tuesday, I managed to implement the last things I wanted in for the new update. Wednesday evenening, Desura had accepted, and one server was updated, so I invited a new group of testers. The largest group so far: 60 players. I saw the new players coming in, so I was pretty happy with everything and wanted to go to bed... but then came the crash reports. Turns out that I accidently broke something while refactoring some of my code (which means that I rewrote it to be cleaner and smarter, making it easier for me to add new stuff): everytime a new player entered a server, the server software crashed. This is not really a problem for personal servers, because once you restart the server and log in again, you're no longer 'new', but it is fatal for public servers. These poor server volunteers have something better to do then restarting the server everytime a new player logs in.
Can you imagine how incredibly frustrating this is: you just invited the largest playtester group ever, and then the latest build turns out to have a huge bug which makes it impossible to play on public servers. I think I'm a pretty civilized person, but the sound I made when I realized what was happening must have sounded like some sort of primal scream. The only thing I could do is find the error, which went relatively fast with the help of playtester Noahz0r (thanks!), and upload the hotfix as fast as possible. As I write this, I'm still waiting for Desura to accept it. I can't help but worry about all players that tried to connect to Testserver1, failed, and gave up after that, while they might have really fallen in love with the game otherwise. Sigh... When did this calm hobby of messing around with some code on a free Sunday morning turn into this incredibly stressful thing? I really hope to have access to my own Virtual Private Server one day, so I can patch and restart the server software without being dependent on others.
- The well-known racing bug is fixed. The problem was that, if races were really long, players sometimes had to go to a checkpoint in an area they had never been in before, which means that details about this area were not yet loaded into memory. In other words, the arrow guiding players to the next checkpoint had to point to a checkpoint it didn't know about, wich caused the game to crash. Now, the client can always ask the server info about checkpoints in case it thinks it is missing info.
- I completely changed the way player housing works. Previously, if you wanted to build a new house, you had to go to your old house, hit e, and click 'Leave'. The old, abandoned house then simply remained where you built it, useless. This is not only a waste of space, it also was a real problem if you lost your house (which, according to my Olvand inbox, happens quite a lot), because then you can no longer go there to leave it.
Now, when you're trying to build a new house, you get a question whether you want to leave your previous house. If you don't know where that previous house is, no problem. If the player clicks yes, the servers remembers the fact that the old house is abandoned, which means that other players can claim the abandoned house if they want! I really like this idea, because this means one player can now 'pre-build' a little town, and others can claim the houses. Another nice step into the direction of the towns/cities thing I'm going to implement soon :). A nice side effect of this feature is that you can now go to houses to see who lives there:
UPDATE: the hotfix doesn't seem to have fixed the problem. I'll look into it.