Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Trial By Fire. And Bugs…

I did mention it was a beta didn’t I?
Actually people have been VERY understanding, given all the bugs that leapt out of the woodwork the nanosecond I put this pre-order link up. As expected, its a combination of hardware-related crashes I can’t re-produce (The menu battle bug, the sound crashes) and just UI things that I never thought to check (submitting a blank serial code, deleting every ship, fielding ships with zero modules…)
I’ve fixed a bunch of stuff, the real urgent ones, and released a patch, and hopefully my auto-patcher will automatically update everybody. As of this morning, the game is much more stable and playable.


There are a TON of things I need to improve in terms of UI, to get the game more usable. I was amazed to discover so many people prefer mousewheel zoom to be reversed to the way I like it, but that’s an easy fix. I have to totally re-code a lot of Ui stuff (ship hull browser, challenge browser) to make them more usable.
And I’m going to crack on with that passionately, because only when all that is done do I get to do the real fun stuff, which will be the reacting to balance and gameplay issues, ‘stacking’ of ships, better AI orders for the crews etc.
I’m overwhelmed with the feedback from everyone and pleased that people seem willing to put up with a few days of crap in order to get a polished game. My priority this morning is the sound-related crash.
I’m working on it!

27 thoughts on Trial By Fire. And Bugs…

  1. Hi Cliff, If you’d like me to give some interface design feedback feel free to email me a copy of the beta. (I’ll keep in mind it’s a beta :-)
    Chris (interaction designer / brand improver)

  2. I dont think the auto update worked, i’m still getting the time/date crash and it still says beta 1.0 for the version though i think i did get it start to pach when it crashed.

  3. Cruisers with only armor + repair modules + Plasma are just WAY(!) to strong!

    I beated all expert fleets with only 3 (yes three!) cruisers, without lossing any ship. the damage is allmost repaired instantly and fighters are a complete joke :D

  4. > I was amazed to discover so many people prefer mousewheel zoom to be reversed to the way I like it

    Yep – I’m one of them. I guess it shows just how adjusted we become to invisible standards.

    Keep on patching – the game looks lovely.

  5. Yes, yes, yes, please make the mousewheel the other way around, LOL! :D.

    It’s an invisible standard that actually does make some sense: roll away from the screen to zoom out, roll towards the screen to zoom in.

  6. I just added a mousewheel invert option for the next patch. While I await some sound engine tech support, I’m fixing other stuff.

  7. in a vampire movie there was one part I liked a lot because it matches so perfectly for bugs: “Hunt them down and kill them all one by one .. ” ;) good chasing. ( I do the same all day long :D )

  8. cheers for quick response cliff my email go to my parents and they have a habbit of deleting everything got it written down now though :)

  9. I was actually surprised by how much fun I was having — I mean, I pre-ordered understanding this was a beta, so expected massive issues. Still, I stayed up far (far!) too late playing it. The damage effects / weapon effects are top notch, you really hit a home run there.

    Good luck with that bug hunt!

  10. “I’m overwhelmed with the feedback from everyone and pleased that people seem willing to put up with a few days of crap in order to get a polished game.”

    id cheerfully put up with weeks of bugs to get a polished game… especially considering this is the kind of game that i can see myself playing far far into the future… whats a few weeks of crashes compared to years of play?

  11. Argh. Now I wish I’d waited a couple days to post my suggestions to the forums. I’m afraid once you’re finished with the bugstomping they’ll be buried under random other posts.

    My suggestions:
    Singleplayer Sandbox mode
    Highscore table calculated as (Honor*Final fleet score)

  12. Have a checkbox labeled “To The Death” or similar in the combat screen – sometimes it’s frustrating to have the battle end when I want to see the last few ships blow up…

  13. what exactly do you mean by “menu battle” ?
    I’ve seen you advise people to go into the options menu and turn that off but I don’t seem to have an option called that…

  14. Mh, I got the “error 41”. Any idea what could it be ?
    Here is my error-log:

    1/9/2009 – 23::4 – Error 41. Please contact tech Support:..\src\Game.cpp 242
    1/9/2009 – 23::4 – Error 41. Please contact tech Support:..\src\Game.cpp 242
    2/9/2009 – 6::45 – Error 41. Please contact tech Support:..\src\Game.cpp 242

    Keep up your great work :D

  15. Don’t worry Cliff, I think everyone fully understands it’s just a beta, you’ve just got everyone so excited that they’re really hammering the game to help ;-)

    Just think of it as the roar of supporters for the long distance runner in the final strait ;-)

    @Hawkey – I thought Cliffski had fixed that in the latest version 1.01 patch?
    I found you need to register in the “Online” menu before it will auto-patch.

  16. Thanks cliffski for the hardwork! Great game!
    This pre-order for Beta is an awesome idea.

    Do use the Beta status liberally and take a break once and a while (like you will).


  17. Mh, is there a way to patch it manually ? The error occurs immidiently as I start running the game – so I can’t even use the menu or my serial key…

  18. Loving it so far – no gameplay issues, but a minor graphical glitch discovered. In the ship design screen, there’s a button to switch the ship view between the tactical overview with all the hardpoints, and a more cinematic view of the ship with all its guns in place. This works fine the first time you click it; however when you click it again to go back to tactical display, the ship almost disappears. It’s still visible behind the weapon slots and the banded background, but much fainter than before. Loading a new ship doesn’t fix the issue either – although a quick trip to the main menu does.

  19. Mr. Harris — it’s September 3rd! I demand MOAR BLOG ENTRIES! *roars*

    Loving the 1.03 update. The mouse-wheel inversion option is awesome. The checkboxes are way better now, too. Thanks a ton for that, good move! You’re an inspiration, man.

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