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February Update – A Depressing Rant

All last week, and especially this weekend I performed an end to end play testing of MUD.  The results were “less than desirable” to put it mildly.  Put more correctly, they were downright depressing and made me question the effort I put into my free time over the past month. Be warned, the rest of this update is basically one long rant on the state of things.  If you aren’t ready to be disappointed, or are still coming off a Super Bowl high, you may not want to read the rest of this.

First, I want to give a big thank you for the helpers who spend the last 48 hours on my basement computer testing this.  It wasn’t easy, as you are about to see.  That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate their efforts, especially Hodak and WyvernsBane who stayed until the bitter end.

After a full weekend of testing, I am sitting with a list of over 100 bugs that need to be fixed.  MUD was released in an alpha state, so I expected a lot of bugs.  What I didn’t expect what the sheer number of them which have no apparent fix.  That means MUD is effectively dead at the moment.

For example, you cannot play MUD scenarios that are made using the game editor.  You would have to code them by hand, which is like asking a monkey to eat with chopsticks.  Whenever you attempt to load a scenario that uses the MUD UDB, the game crashes to desktop due to an Access Violation.  For those unfamiliar, it means the game probably failed to fully load the udb’s when it initialized.  Oops.

Worse yet, there’s no fix I can make.  It’s a hard-coded error.  I would have to either reverse engineer the thing or contact the game owner.  While the latter seems like the best option, his update at the end of last year basically said no future updates for EDCE.  The former is just not an option as it becomes a huge liability on my end.

Want another example?  Aircraft simply don’t work as intended.  They crash constantly for a variety of reasons.  changing altitude breaks the unit entirely and ranged fire only works half the time.  It’s not like I coded it wrong on my end.  Legitimately, these features work as intended on everything other than air units.  The reason for this is the functionality never needed to work this way in the base game, so it was never tested.  It’s also likely it will never be fixed as it’s not part of the base game’s requirement.

I will leave it there.  There are more problems though.  I could rant like this for a while.

I legit became so depressed this morning, I took a serious look at installing Unity and starting my own personal version of this game.  After all, I already have all the art files I need and I saved all my notes on how I generated the logic.  If I ever actually do this it means my public game modding is probably done and I’m going back to how I did it before with closed implementations only.  I’m not at this point yet though, but it’s very tempting.

As I write this, I can tell you I am putting all my future UDB plans on hold indefinitely.  I’m burnt out on this.  EDCE works great with the default set, but it’s not set up to handle anything outside the normal boundaries of its expectations.  I’m completely shelving the “Night Vision” mod I showed a couple of you as I’m 90% sure this will never work despite the mechanics being there.  Same with the Mech Warrior and Star Wars UDB’s.  I seriously can’t handle more than one large scale disappointment right now.  Other mod types are still on the table though, just not UDB’s.

The one thing that worked out really well was the random map generator.  I don’t recommend anyone play a map larger than 400 x 400 though.  It was a slugfest after a while.  But it was fun and once the maps reach that size they are pretty much an even match regardless of your starting point.  I plan to expand on this approach to map generation in the future.

You know, I spent nine months just getting this mod to an ALPHA state.  As a developer, I’m well aware that spot testing should have been done on the way.  I have no one to blame but myself for the state I’m in right now, and I’m not questioning that.  I’m questioning my decision to spend nine months coding a mod for EDCE when I had a chance to spend that time making updates to the Stellaris New Horizon’s mod, updating the OTTD code again, or trying my hand at the Baldur’s Gate refresh which I still haven’t played despite it coming out months ago.

There is my rant for the day.  I am in a really foul mood, but I ended it by reading an old book I found on my shelf written by Roland Green.  He wrote the Conan series as well as a few others.  As far as lesser known fantasy writers go, he does a decent job.  He spends a lot of chapters talking about ships, which is about as awkward as it sounds when you realize this is a high fantasy novel.  Still, he’s trying to teach an otherwise uneducated audience so some leeway is given.  At least he knows it.


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