Buggy, bug, bugs!

Today has been one of those strange days that just leave you scratching your head!

I’ve had two hard crashes today while working on Chaos Groove. Both times neither Alt-tabbing, pressing ‘Control, Alt, & Delete’, or physically pressing the power button on my machine worked. I’ve had to manually unplug the PC and then replug in just to escape from the frozen game. The strange thing is I think that the error is not just due to my mistake, but due to the MSDN debugger. The second error when I reran in a windowed mode (to try to be able to get back to the OS), showed a simple undefined variable being added to, while not being used in an array or anything else like that. This time the debugger caught it, whereas just one minute earlier in fullscreen it hard crashed the PC when running in Debug mode.

About halfway through the day today I got a very strange thing happen with my particle effects. They were being drawn at the wrong angles after a creature attack effect, and even the spell beam effect was wrong. I couldn’t understand it and tried tracking it down, but it seemed that PTK’s blit was at fault because I hadn’t changed anything to do with the code in the particle side of the game, yet suddenly it was using the angle values passed to the blits very wrongly indeed. Despite double-checking the actual values passed (which were correct and hadn’t changed), the angle values were being treated as twice as large as they were. I.e. if I passed 0, it was correct, but passing 45 was treated as 90 degrees and passing 90 was being drawn as a graphics rotated to 180 degrees. A simple divide by 2 fixed this error.. But this is not an answer and makes the whole code feel far too fragile!

Finally I noticed something was a bit wrong in the config file reading for the new display code. It seemed that due to a comment error in the display.ini file, PTK might have been asked to open a fullsized 1280 x 1024 window instead of a fullscreen mode. I certainly never noticed any window gfx previously, but it seems for some unknown reason this completely screwed up PTK’s angle code. I haven’t got a clue why.. It’s now all working perfectly again.

It’s just been one of those days where I suspect I’ve attracted the attention of a malicious gremlin. 😛

Posted in Bugs. 6 Comments »


Thanks for the positive feedback on the first demo release!

Apart from a few teething issues for one person with a laptop, it seems the demo works well. I’m also pleased to see people like the modern interface and graphics, which I think does help the gameplay.

The next demo release will have the display settings stored in an easily modifyable text file, so people can alter this to make the game run according to their machines capabilities and also to suit their own preferences.

Of course, I can’t promise that all feedback suggestions I receive will be implemented, but some of the feedback ideas will no doubt be implemented that will make the game better.


Interface Design

I’ve tried to design the User Interface used in the game with two points in mind: Efficiency and Simplicity.

So, I wanted the interface to be as quick to use as possible without clicking on a lot of buttons, but without being intrusive and getting in the way of the board. This has been carried through into the game, so that you move over a spell icon in the Spell Selection Phase of the game and the places where that spell can be cast are automatically shown on the board. No buttons need to be clicked on or pressed to make this aspect of the interface as quick and as simple as possible.

However, I also don’t want the interface to intrude and get in the way of the board view, so if the mouse is moved off of the spell icons then the highlighting disappears straight away.

This has led to a slight dilemma when trying to show to the player his wizard and current creatures. Moving the mouse over an enemy creature is not a problem as I can just highlight all that wizards creatures in red and it doesn’t really intrude. However if I try to highlight our wizards creatures in a similar way it clashes with the movement highlighting. If I try to make the highlighting appear when the mouse is over a blank square on the board then this is too intrusive and gets in the way. I could add buttons in the bottom right of the interface, but this is also a little awkward.

At the moment I’ve made it so that holding down the right mouse button (as long as no creature is selected) will show the current wizards creatures. This is very handy, but not the best solution. So, I’ll still be thinking of a better way to do this.  🙂