Author Topic: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)  (Read 10166 times)

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Offline IPAndrews

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
:confused: Well, you're certainly right that nobody asked The E to do that... and also, it literally never happened?

He's got even less justification to whine then.
Be warned: This site's admins stole 100s of hours of my work. They will do it to you.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
:confused: Well, you're certainly right that nobody asked The E to do that... and also, it literally never happened?

He's got even less justification to whine then.
Yes, that was included in "literally never happened".

Also:
And did the shortcut to run the game run the debug build?
You not understanding the purpose of debug builds doesn't mean that TBP was bug-free on the release it was targeting.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline IPAndrews

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
I used your debug builds for months upon months to produce a stable release so in what way am I misunderstanding anything?
Be warned: This site's admins stole 100s of hours of my work. They will do it to you.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
And did the shortcut to run the game run the debug build?

It ran the build with the tables that caused memory corruption, and then, when the game crashed, there was no way to tell the player what had gone wrong: because debug was drowned in animation errors.

And you're so mad about it you wanted to delete it so no one could ever play it again.

?



Quote
The behaviour of Hard Light Productions administrators in continually disrespecting of the decisions of myself as Project Leader of the final version of The Babylon Project, the inteitions of my team, and supporting theft of work, has forced me into the following decision.  I hereby withdraw my work on The Babylon Project from all versions. Past, present, future, team developed, fan developed. This is a complete withdrawl of permission. As such I expect downloads to be deleted from Hard Light Productions and other sites.

I am not interested in debating or reconsidering this decision. I have heard enough.

Again. No one was going to take away 3.4b Final except you. No one was going to stop 3.6.9 from running your game except you.

The only thing anyone wanted to do was make the game more stable. It wouldn't have touched TBP Final at all.

You were so furious about this that you became the only person threatening to destroy TBP 3.4b.

I used your debug builds for months upon months to produce a stable release so in what way am I misunderstanding anything?

3.4b final is full of errors when you launch it on 3.6.9. The tables have formatting problems that cause memory corruption. You didn't catch these problems. But it's okay! That's fine, all releases have bugs. If you were happy with 3.4b's stability on 3.6.9, all you had to do was walk away. No one could hurt or change what you'd done!

 

Offline IPAndrews

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
And did the shortcut to run the game run the debug build?
Be warned: This site's admins stole 100s of hours of my work. They will do it to you.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
And did the shortcut to run the game run the debug build?

Answered above. Pay attention.

You have yet to explain why you're angry at all. You released a final version of your game targeted at at 3.6.9.

Neither your game nor 3.6.9 were going anywhere.

What bothered you so much that you tried to delete your game, if no one else could prevent it from being exactly how you wanted?

 

Offline IPAndrews

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
The answer is "No". The shortcut ran the the retail build which showed no errors and ran perfectly for as long as people wanted to run it in reality. There were no reported issues. The rest is fantasy on your part. Reality was a hugely successful final product.

Bottom line is I am extremely happy with what we released. I reject your criticism and that of your SCP buds as pedantic, unrealistic, and pig-headed. We aimed to produce X. We produced X. You wanted Y or Z? Your mistake not mine. And while I generally respect the right to criticise it's about the manner of it and this...

IPAndrews-level mistakes

... is not manners, it's pointlessly derogatory and unnecessary after all these years. Reprehensible, and frankly so is anyone who joins the wall of nodding dogs to protect him for it. This is atrocious behavior for someone who is supposed to be a moderator on a site "bringing modders together?" What a joke. Poe's Law definitely. And not a word of criticism from any of you! Of course! But that's fine. I am offended to the extent to which I have respect for your opinions. I am not offended at all.

Let me part with some comments on your SCP. Since you've been so kind as to share your enlightening thoughts on my work and that of my team. Congratulations on getting to where you are with FSO. Given your abilities I am genuinely impressed and surprised you got this far. You were very lucky to come across some talented coders late in the day. Now you've.. well they created... something half decent! As opposed toe the glorified museum piece we had for so long. Which surprisingly still managed to break all of our mods on a weekly basis with it's unfortunate combination of joke backwards compatibility (dirty word I know) and breaking changes. Working with FSO has been... challenging. No let me rephrase. ****. As have you.

I bid you au revoir.

Please talk amongst yourselves...
Be warned: This site's admins stole 100s of hours of my work. They will do it to you.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
Let me be sure I've got this straight:

You released a great mod targeting 3.6.9.

You didn't spot the memory corruption errors causing crashes, or the wall of debug errors preventing users from figuring out why their games were crashing. That's okay! Your launch was very smooth by and large and these were small problems.

When your own team wanted to fix these errors with future development, you, for some reason, decided to destroy all the work you'd done on a game that was already finished and nobody was going to touch, and self-destruct your mod.

Now, seven (?) years later, you are so angry about someone calling this an IPAndrews-level mistake, even when he's correct, that you conclude...the very SCP coders and procedures you're so mad at have made the game a lot better.

The same excellent bugfixing and great SCP progress that you're now praising made you so angry that you wanted to delete all of The Babylon Project. For no appreciable reason.

Huh.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
Here's where we were a couple pages ago:

Quote
Well yes The E. I liked your Blue Planet by the way. Great writing. We do indeed have different recollections of what transpired. You apparently recall 3.4 as me sticking a flag on a pile of **** and me telling everyone to run for the hills. I recall releasing a huge mod with a fag-packet-long list of omissions and concessions targeted at the build it shipped with. With an exhausted, dwindling team who either wanted to call it quits or had already. A pretty good show we could all be proud of. Which was never meant to work with future builds of SCP. And didn't! because as expected SCP took no interest in backward compatibility, moved the goalposts, broke stuff, then people call it a "bug" and go...

You're right. The mod had a lot of omissions and concessions. You made the right call: you triaged what you could do, fixed it up, and shipped it for 3.6.9.

All you had to do was walk away. You had released TBP 3.4b for 3.6.9.

If someone else wanted to pick up where you left off and make TBP work with later, better builds of FSO, that was on them.

And then you made an IPAndrews level mistake. When people wanted to do exactly that — which would not in any way touch your existing work — you tried to delete your entire project.

When The_E says it's better to take a few hours to clean up bugs than to delete your whole project for no reason, yeah, I think he's clearly right.

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
The answer is "No". The shortcut ran the the retail build which showed no errors and ran perfectly for as long as people wanted to run it in reality.
And yet earlier you said:
I used your debug builds for months upon months to produce a stable release
so the fact that the debug builds, the ones for the release you were targeting, show numerous problems means...?
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline jr2

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
Err.. Modders are always encouraged to fix all errors reported by a debug build (if possible) before releasing, as, even if a retail build won't complain, it doesn't mean the error(s) aren't still there waiting to cause a headache further down the road.

If I've understood correctly, newer builds of the SCP produce more helpful (and possibly more) errors to make it easier to spot (and fix!) problems.

That 3.6.9 and / or TBP 3.4b weren't in a state that you could fix all of the errors doesn't change the above.



I believe what was being said that caused all of this animosity was basically: we are here to fix TBP; don't let old errors stay in the system like happened before (even though, from the other side of the coin, there were legitimate reasons for packing the mod up and calling it good enough at the time -- better to release at all than to never release due to burnout).

I would hope both sides could bury the hatchet for the sake of the project itself.  I mean, you can still think the other side is a complete asshat and still do that.  You don't have to concede your side of the story to work together (although apologizing for inflammatory phrasing / language go a very long way towards making that easier).

 
Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
Wow I guess there is way more bad history than I could have imagined.  Look it is 2016 and Space Combat Sims are making a come back. So is there any chance we could let the history be just that and move forward together and create an updated TBP and make it shine as much as possible so a whole new generation might enjoy it?  I dare say that had Volition taken the same attitude that there work was as good as it should ever be then this FSO work would never exist. I have seen a lot of improvements just in the short time I have been playing around with FS2 and would hope people could come together in the spirit of cooperation to bring TBP up to FSO standards. If Volition sat back and let this community take FSO to the next level I don't see any reason that those that worked on TBP would not take pride to see TBP become even more than it is.

If not improved at least bundled with all the updates with an installer like FSO so that people don't have to be computer savvy to get it to run.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
It should be very easy to pack up TBP as a single installer - the way the DVD worked. There's only one issue that needs fixing for 3.7.4 if I remember right.

An online installer might be more tricky but I'm not an expert on those.

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
Okay, I guess I should wade into this mess and sort out what happened and where we go next.

What happened in the past

The main issue here was that when released TBP 3.4b had a significant number of bugs. The majority of them didn't affect the players (more often they were problems that caused issues for FREDders) but they would cause the occasional crash. At this point the majority of the TBP had left / burned out and had no interest in continuing to support the mod. As far as IP Andrews was concerned the game was complete. It worked (mostly) and it had been thoroughly bug tested. The remaining errors were beyond the abilities of the team to fix. So the team called 3.4b "final" and quit. The idea was that TBP 3.4b would be final and now it was up to fans to make missions and campaigns for it. In addition there was a big push at the time to get TBP multiplayer up and running and this was exposing a lot of issues cause multiplayer was badly broken (far worse than it is now).

Since TBP was finalised any new release might break existing content. With no TBP team to fix those issue, it would basically lead to TBP becoming more and more unplayable (That's the same sort of issue that made the SCP insist that FS2_Open can always run retail).

The big problem was that bugs from TBP would end up in Mantis and the SCP were expected to fix them. Unfortunately the second you run TBP (even on 3.6.9) you'll get a ton of warnings often about things that were easily fixable. That makes it very difficult for any coder to actually fix bugs because there was a good possibility that the bug wasn't in the code at all, and was simply bad data. This eventually lead to a big argument between the SCP and the TBP team.  The SCP wanted a new release of TBP with all the warnings fixed so that they could continue to support it. The remaining members of TBP didn't want to update TBP and then have to beta test the entire game again to be certain nothing had broken (either from the fixes to the data, or from moving to 3.6.10). 

As someone who is a member of both teams, I remember being thoroughly disgusted by the actions of some members on both sides of the argument. It definitely wasn't just IP Andrews being unreasonable.

Eventually IP Andrews refused to allow anyone to release a new version of TBP (Which to this day has been respected) and then refused to allow anyone to make a mod which fixed the errors (Which no one else agreed with). When the other members of TBP and the community disagreed with him on the latter point, IP Andrews demanded that we remove TBP from HLP (which we promptly ignored) and started calling everyone  thieves for not doing it.

So that gets us to the point we're at now. TBP still stands at 3.4b and requires the Zathras mod to work properly with any build from this decade


What happens now

While I understand the decision to freeze TBP at 3.4b and only allow mods to upgrade the game it should be remembered that the decision to do that was taken in 2007. The question is, "Is it sensible to install the game for new users on 3.6.9 or should we upgrade the default install to something more modern?" And to be frank, I really can't see any good reason to stick with 3.6.9. I don't think anyone is using it. Those who are, are having a worse time than they would on a more modern build.

What I intend to do is to unpack Zathras and use it to upgrade 3.4b. Along the way I'll probably need some help to fix any errors that still exist. Then I'll package everything up and we can release the whole thing as TBP 3.5. If there is interest in continuing development of TBP after that, I'd be very happy to help with that too.


People on here are still bad mouthing me, TBP and by extension my team and the work we spent countless days on.

Except that no one is insulting or the team. Despite your insistence that they are, no one blames TBP 3.4b for having bugs. The team did the best they could and no one is disrespecting the hard work involved to make 3.4b. The problem is that you and you alone decided to stand in the way of fixing those issue. If you didn't want to do the work involved, that's absolutely fine. But when you tell other people who are willing to do the work that they can't, then that is an issue. When you came back a few years ago, it was only to insult and belittle the work done on Zathras. You tried very hard to make sure that the only way people could play TBP now would be on 3.6.9 and then have to cheek to try to blame the SCP's poor backwards compatibility for the fact that stuff that was broken on 3.6.9 would still be broken on 3.7.4 8 years later. If you'd gotten your way either we'd have pulled TBP completely from HLP, or we'd have been forced to stop supporting it in any way (including Zathras).

So you shouldn't be surprised that your name has become synonymous with deliberately making poor decisions that end up crippling your mod in completely unnecessary way.


I'd be happy to call it all water under the bridge and move on. But that's not going to happen if you keep turning up every year or so to rip into people who are working hard to fix the issues with this mod that your decisions allowed to.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 12:02:25 am by karajorma »
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Offline The E

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
Out of curiousity, I started up the debug build that shipped with the TBP DVD. Surprise, it didn't actually warn (as in, have a warning popup) during the entire initial load process. Based on that, you would be forgiven to think that TBP was a well-debugged, stable release.

The problem, however is this: As a debugging or verification tool, 3.6.9 sucks ass. There are so many pieces of information missing from the logs which we now assume to be there that properly diagnosing bugs is impossible. There are also entire categories of bugs, potentially fatal ones at that, that 3.6.9 does not catch at all. When 3.7.5 is used to read the same data, those bugs become immediately apparent: 3.7.5 does not even make it to the profile selection screen, because there is a string in weapons.tbl that is malformed in such a way as to pretty much guarantee memory corruption (And, upon detecting this, 3.7.5 does the correct thing and stops). At the very least, it will cause that weapon to not work as intended by whoever designed it. The end result of this is that TBP cannot be guaranteed to be stable on 3.6.9 (to the extent that such guarantees are possible with that build as a whole; 3.6.9, and the issues we had with it both as users and developers of the engine, were the start of a sustained commitment to stability and usability we adopted going forward).

The SCP shares a part of the blame for the state TBP was in at 3.4b, simply because the tools we gave modders to make their mods as well-behaved as possible were not very good at all. That sort of thing, simply put, was not a priority for the SCP in those days, and improvements generally only happened when an SCP developer encountered something while working on one mod or another. However, this in no way excuses or explains IPA's attitudes and decisions. There is, in my mind, nothing more damaging to the reputation of a developer if he or she refuses to take criticism (especially criticism of technical issues) seriously. No piece of software can be made stable by shouting loudly at the people encountering bugs.

Oh, and one more thing.

The answer is "No". The shortcut ran the the retail build which showed no errors and ran perfectly for as long as people wanted to run it in reality. There were no reported issues. The rest is fantasy on your part. Reality was a hugely successful final product.

"No reported issues" means nothing, in reality. Blue Planet had, at an estimate, several tens of thousands of downloads. We have never, ever gotten feedback from every single player. The feedback we did and do get mostly comes from this community. I do not know how many players read about our work on RockPaperShotgun or elsewhere, tried our game, and gave up on it as a buggy mess when they couldn't get it installed or one of the many bugs we had ****ed up their experience of our work. That is, simply put, a reality of games development: The feedback you get is not really representative of what the large majority of players think about your work, because only very few people will ever bother to make forum posts or bug reports or write reviews or whatever.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2016, 02:08:41 am by The E »
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Offline wesp5

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
What I intend to do is to unpack Zathras and use it to upgrade 3.4b. Along the way I'll probably need some help to fix any errors that still exist. Then I'll package everything up and we can release the whole thing as TBP 3.5. If there is interest in continuing development of TBP after that, I'd be very happy to help with that too.

To get back on topic, this is exactly what I and most fans would like you to do! As IPAndrews himself said, the rest is history and we should move with the time to make TBP as good as possible. Of course games and mods can be released with hundreds of warnings, just check out your average FPS console when a level is loaded, but if they can be fixed, they should be fixed! Now how do we proceed from here? The E mentioned that the latest build is FSO 3.7.5, so we should move to that. I guess you are able to remove the issues causing the typical debug warnings, but I suspect we would need some beta testers to replay all the campaigns after that to check that they still work. I can do that for the Starfury Pilot missions, as I know them well, but I won't have time for much more. My suggestion would be to make an open beta like TBP 3.5b and announce it somewhere prominent to get new and old players to help us out. This should also raise the awarness!

 

Offline The E

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
The E mentioned that the latest build is FSO 3.7.5, so we should move to that.

No, you shouldn't. Let me explain. Builds come in two flavours, "stable" and "unstable". "stable" builds are the ones that we make big release posts for, like 3.7.4. Those should be considered the targets for mod developers to release on. They are, as far as we are able to determine, the most reliable builds. "unstable" ones, like 3.7.5, are development builds. We cannot and do not guarantee that they are as reliable as the stable ones. They are builds where we introduce new features or experiment with them, and as a result, they're moving targets. We are posting new 3.7.5 builds almost daily, each one adding features or bugfixes.

What that means for mod developers is this: If you wish to provide players with the best possible experience, you should use unstable builds to check your tables and mission files for errors, but you should release your game on the latest stable release. That way, you get the benefit of whatever progress we made in verifying data as well as the benefit of having a stable target to determine what features you can use.
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Offline wesp5

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
Let me explain. Builds come in two flavours, "stable" and "unstable". "stable" builds are the ones that we make big release posts for, like 3.7.4.

Ah, okay. So how far is 3.7.5 from a stable release then? Because collecting and fixing all the campaigns might yet take a while anyway ;)!

 

Offline The E

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
There's a very long list of things we want to do before we're going to even think about making the next stable release. Optimistically, I would estimate that the next stable release (which will be 3.8) is about 6 months away.
**** every cause that ends in murder and children crying. ― Iain Banks
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Offline karajorma

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Re: TBP 3.5 Work in Progress (Split from Star Fury Pilot Unofficial Patch 2.0 released!)
I have no idea if I'd be finished before then. Things are moving but very slowly. The biggest problem with targeting an older build is if you encounter a showstopper bug you can no longer use that build, you either backport the fix (which can get very cumbersome if there are a few showstoppers) or you just target the next official build and hope that it comes out around the time you're ready to release.
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