No crashes for me in 1.4.2... some minor bugs to report

Problems with the Mac version of Darwinia

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No crashes for me in 1.4.2... some minor bugs to report

Postby ShepFan » Fri May 12, 2006 4:07 pm

Hi bug-report-listening people,

Before I start the list, a bit of history: I used to work for several game publishers, and I tired of playing computer games. It's been a *long* time since anything caught my interest. Darwinia is a great game-- the story that ties it together, and the player's interactions with Dr. S. and the Darwinians is extremely engaging from beginning to end; the interaction of the locations and the puzzles that have to be solved are brilliant; the pacing of increasing difficulty and increased abilities is very well balanced; and, well, I got completely addicted! I'm better now, but Darwinia is a superlative technical and creative feat.

OK, here's what I have...

What model Mac are you using: PowerMac (tower)
What processor are does your machine have, and how fast is it? G5, Quad 2.5GHz CPU
How much RAM do you have? 2G
What video card do you have? GeForce 6600, 256M VRAM
Is there anything else that makes your computer unique? Me! Seriously, a 23" LCD display. I play in native 1920x1200 mode.

I originally began play on my laptop, which lagged, and which got so hot I burned my lap. I'll point out which bugs were only seen on this Mac:

What model Mac are you using: PowerBook (Aluminum)
What processor are does your machine have, and how fast is it? 1.5GHz G4
How much RAM do you have? 1G
What video card do you have? ATI Mobility Radeon 9700, 64M VRAM
Is there anything else that makes your computer unique? Nope.

Both computers are running 10.4.6 and all OS updates. Disk Utility reports no errors.

First off, I tried getting screen dumps of some of these issues using the 'P' key, but the BMPs generated only had an alpha-like or overlay channel, even when opened in Adobe Photoshop Elements. In other words, the pics were black except for the round cursor or dish-pointing crosshairs, the Task Manager display at left, and occasional lighting effects (like a beam of light shining down on a trunk port).

I saw several stuck spiders, some on the water's edge, and one in the side of a steep cliff. Armour would probably have killed it, but nothing else did. When that level started, and right near where the spider got stuck, there seemed to be a single spider with 12 or 16 legs. It was probably multiple spiders in the same place. It never moved, and was easily killed.

Similarly, I had a Darwinian get stuck at the water's edge. For some reason, after beaming to a new island, a bunch of them wanted to cross the water in the direction they'd come. I Officer-ized one of them with a "follow me" flag, and they all followed, except one that seemed stuck as he made repetitive movements.

I can also verify a previous report of dark banding across all the green Darwinians during the Temple cutscene, as they are facing the port with the light pouring down on them, and the camera looks down on them as it drifts upward. Again, a screen dump failed here. I've seen this artifacting each time I've seen the cutscene. Seen on both Laptop and Desktop.

When I move the camera high enough to see all the islands in (probably) any location, the edges of the islands distort, as if every ~16-line-high horizontal band is rendered upside-down.

After several hours of game play, the left click to place an Engineer is no longer responsive. A full Quit is required to restore it. Strangely, left click works elsewhere, just not to place an Engineer. I've seen this with Squads, too. I do have a free Task, and the cursor looks OK as it enters the circle around a reprogrammed building, so I'm sure in this case it isn't "operator error."

On the laptop only, After > 8 hours of game play, especially on a level (Yard I think, where the Armour is manufactured) that's going poorly and the spiders and other nasties are multiplying out of control (i.e., LOTS of rendering going on, enough that response time is affected) I saw the Task Manager circles move ~2 times a second, up and down, and even zooming in as they bounce farther and farther up and down. A full Quit was required to restore playability. This happened more than once.

In the location when the red Darwinians first start coming out of the ports (sorry I haven't memorized the level names)... On the "first" island (the one with three lines of sight (or shooting) toward the port where the reddies emerge... I kept seeing a red soul in a nook behind the left side of the port, and the Engineers would try and try and fail to pick up the soul, which they couldn't reach. They'd keep trying until they were finally killed by friendly fire unless I manually directed them to an incubator, which is a bother when I'm waging battles on another island.

Engineers will approach a building that needs reprogramming, and about 10-20% of the time, just keep bumping into it rather then reprogramming. This could be my fault, as my habit is to point right at the building and click, rather than telling them to go near the building and figure it out for themselves. This snag is usually fixed by directing the confused Engineer to go away from the building a bit and try again.

Just my opinion, but mobile armour is too vulnerable to things like little ants. Presumably it would be pretty rugged.


Thanks,
-S
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Re: No crashes for me in 1.4.2... some minor bugs to report

Postby xander » Fri May 12, 2006 4:30 pm

ShepFan wrote:First off, I tried getting screen dumps of some of these issues using the 'P' key, but the BMPs generated only had an alpha-like or overlay channel, even when opened in Adobe Photoshop Elements. In other words, the pics were black except for the round cursor or dish-pointing crosshairs, the Task Manager display at left, and occasional lighting effects (like a beam of light shining down on a trunk port).

Yeah, this is an old bug -- it has been around since the beta. If you want a screenshot, the only real solution is to play Darwinia in windowed mode, and use Command-Shift-3. It seems that this only works in the windowed mode, as full screen shots taken with the OS are distored (or they were, last time I checked, c. 1.2.2).

ShepFan wrote:Similarly, I had a Darwinian get stuck at the water's edge. For some reason, after beaming to a new island, a bunch of them wanted to cross the water in the direction they'd come. I Officer-ized one of them with a "follow me" flag, and they all followed, except one that seemed stuck as he made repetitive movements.

Most of us have noticed that DGs get stuck from time to time. If you leave the level and re-enter it, do they become unstuck?

ShepFan wrote:After several hours of game play, the left click to place an Engineer is no longer responsive. A full Quit is required to restore it. Strangely, left click works elsewhere, just not to place an Engineer. I've seen this with Squads, too. I do have a free Task, and the cursor looks OK as it enters the circle around a reprogrammed building, so I'm sure in this case it isn't "operator error."

Are you sure that it is just engineers? Again, this is a bug that is fairly well known, and reproducable -- there seems to be a global limit to the number of units that you can place. You can easily test this by creating and placing engineers until it no longer works. However, in my experience, it affects all units -- squads, engineers, armour, and officers.

ShepFan wrote:In the location when the red Darwinians first start coming out of the ports (sorry I haven't memorized the level names)... On the "first" island (the one with three lines of sight (or shooting) toward the port where the reddies emerge... I kept seeing a red soul in a nook behind the left side of the port, and the Engineers would try and try and fail to pick up the soul, which they couldn't reach. They'd keep trying until they were finally killed by friendly fire unless I manually directed them to an incubator, which is a bother when I'm waging battles on another island.

As frustrating as this can be, I do believe that it is intentional -- at least to some extent. The design philosophy of Darwinia dictates that player controlled units are just that -- player controlled. They are not meant to be smart, and are perfectly willing to try something that doesn't work over and over again. You, as the player, are supposed to take care of them. As to the friendly fire, DGs are not used to warfare, and don't really know how to use the cannons. If you don't want your units to die, don't let them into the cross-fire. While I personally don't like the way that engineers will often get stuck trying to get souls that are inaccessible, I do think that it is in overall keeping with the theme of the game, and is unlikely to change anytime soon.

ShepFan wrote:Engineers will approach a building that needs reprogramming, and about 10-20% of the time, just keep bumping into it rather then reprogramming. This could be my fault, as my habit is to point right at the building and click, rather than telling them to go near the building and figure it out for themselves. This snag is usually fixed by directing the confused Engineer to go away from the building a bit and try again.

Yeah -- engineers execute actions in a very linear manner. First, they goto whereever they have been directed to go by the player (in a straight line). Then, they attempt to reprogram any nearby control towers. Next they grab any nearby souls (and return them). Finally, they mill about, moving randomly. If you direct them into the exact center of a control tower, they can never get there, thus, they never get to the reprogram action. As you say, click near the control tower, not on it.

With regards to several of the issues that I have not addressed, could you try and get screenshots, using the method that I outlined above, please?

xander
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Re: No crashes for me in 1.4.2... some minor bugs to report

Postby ShepFan » Fri May 12, 2006 10:08 pm

xander wrote:With regards to several of the issues that I have not addressed, could you try and get screenshots, using the method that I outlined above, please?

xander


Thanks for the polite reply. I tried getting some screen shots as you described, particularly of the screen artifacting when viewed from up high. Wouldn't you know it, it works fine in windowed mode. Switching back to full-screen, it comes back. Perhaps a short QuickTime movie made from a digital video camera would help, especially because the artifacts move in a possibly diagnostic way as the camera moves.

-S
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"DG?"

Postby ShepFan » Fri May 12, 2006 10:11 pm

Oh yeah, what does "DG" stand for? Darwinian Green? Guys? Girlie-Men?
:)

Naturally, a search on this returns about 1/4 of the messages on the forum!

-S
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Postby trickfred » Fri May 12, 2006 11:02 pm

Darwinia Guy

Coined by one of the early beta-testers; Darksun, I believe.
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Postby xander » Fri May 12, 2006 11:31 pm

As trickfred said, "Darwinian Guy." However, I have seen both DG and DR used (to refer to green and red Darwinians, respectively), so DG could also stand for "Darwinian, green," I suppose, dependent upon context.

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Postby trickfred » Sat May 13, 2006 12:03 am

Never saw DR used anywhere, though I have seen Red DG used plenty of times.
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Postby xander » Sat May 13, 2006 12:06 am

trickfred wrote:Never saw DR used anywhere, though I have seen Red DG used plenty of times.

I know I've seen it -- it may have been a martin coinage.

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Postby trickfred » Sat May 13, 2006 12:10 am

xander wrote:
trickfred wrote:Never saw DR used anywhere, though I have seen Red DG used plenty of times.

I know I've seen it -- it may have been a martin coinage.

xander


Pfft. martin. :roll:

That doesn't count!
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Postby xander » Sat May 13, 2006 12:25 am

trickfred wrote:
xander wrote:
trickfred wrote:Never saw DR used anywhere, though I have seen Red DG used plenty of times.

I know I've seen it -- it may have been a martin coinage.

xander


Pfft. martin. :roll:

That doesn't count!

You are, of course, correct.

xander
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Postby trickfred » Sat May 13, 2006 12:33 am

xander wrote:
trickfred wrote:
xander wrote:
trickfred wrote:Never saw DR used anywhere, though I have seen Red DG used plenty of times.

I know I've seen it -- it may have been a martin coinage.

xander


Pfft. martin. :roll:

That doesn't count!

You are, of course, correct.

xander


Green, red, or Prometheus-coloured. :D

Image

(no promting from Daddy, folks! Honest!)

(note the bondi-blue hair!)
Last edited by trickfred on Sat May 13, 2006 12:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby xander » Sat May 13, 2006 12:36 am

trickfred wrote:--==<snip>==--

Your kid kicks so much ass that it isn't even funny. You should set him loose on martin.

xander
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Postby trickfred » Sat May 13, 2006 12:42 am

xander wrote:
trickfred wrote:--==<snip>==--

Your kid kicks so much ass that it isn't even funny. You should set him loose on martin.

xander


I should indeed. My kid could script-mod circles around martin! And he's 5!

(When did this turn into a game of 'he who posts last, wins'?)

(And do I lose now because I brought it up?)
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Postby xyzyxx » Sat May 13, 2006 3:31 am

xander wrote:
trickfred wrote:
xander wrote:
trickfred wrote:Never saw DR used anywhere, though I have seen Red DG used plenty of times.

I know I've seen it -- it may have been a martin coinage.

xander


Pfft. martin. :roll:

That doesn't count!

You are, of course, correct.

xander
Actually it was me. But I don't count either.
Some people talk because they have something to say. Others talk because they have to say something.
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Postby trickfred » Sat May 13, 2006 5:28 am

xyzyxx wrote:Actually it was me. But I don't count either.


...

...

:oops:

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