Seems to me that when you go into the tech database and select the Orion, it freezes (the Orion is shown but does not spin and nothing works) but the music still continues to play. I always FS2 close it in task manager when that happens. If there are really that many bugs in this official release, should it have been tested more before release? I start to think: why the heck would an official release have as many problems as I have been skimming across in this thread?
There are usually (practically always) some
issues with everything new that is released to public simply because test platforms are limited in a project like this - we simply don't have resources to test everything on every combination of operating systems, software and hardware. So far it seems that most reported issues happen with some (older) hardware (which explains why that kind of errors weren't spotted in the testing process), and some are resulting from rogue files messing things up (computers are like that, you put bad data in, you get bad results out).
In fact, I'm relatively happy that there haven't been more problems than have been reported.
As far as your issues with Orion go, I would recommend the following troubleshooting procedure:
1. First try things with just mediaVP's activated, not any additional campaigns/mods. If the Orion still freezes the game, go to 2. If not, inspect the Orion related mods in the campaign you are trying to run. Also check the ..\FreeSpace2\data\*\ directories for Orion-related models and tables.
2. Check that the MV_Assets.vp hash matches with the provided hash, to confirm that the file you have on your mediavps folder is intact. Sometimes an individual file can corrupt during extraction (this happened once in our testing process, causing great confusion to a team member trying to figure out why a model was not working correctly), so if the hashes don't match, first try re-extracting the file from the 7zip file. If hashes match and problem still exists with using simply the mediaVP's as the mod and with no rogue data around your installation, go to 3.
3. Run a debug build, reproduce the crash/hang/error and post the fs2_open.log file (in ..\FreeSpace2\data\ )
The debug log will tell you what data the game finds and uses, as well as how your hardware deals with the data it's given.
I am using the zpack, 5.5d launcher, and the fs2_open_3_6_10r-20081207_r4985.exe build, by the way. If I encounter any show stoppers or missing models, I will have to switch back to 3.6.9 vps. I can't believe it. I like the HTL models a lot but serious bugs are nothing to be happy about. Having 3.6.10 freezing when the Orion appears in the tech database and models being used in the ships selection menu causing the game to freeze is not a good sign and is worrysome.
There are no 3.6.9 MediaVP's; the previous demi-official MediaVP release was 3.6.8zeta, which was patched with alpha fixes to various effects and ended up as the most stable mediaVP basis for the SCP 3.6.9 builds.
Gamestopping bugs are obviously a cause of grave concern, but having problems with a single specific model gives me an impression of something else than mediaVP's being wrong on account of that particular model. Model integrity has been one of the points that have been pretty rigorously emphasized in our testing.
I am currently in the middle of the What If - The Great War campaign when I switched to these vps. I hope that isn't affecting it and I hope the fact that I'm not using normal maps is not causing that. I want to use the HTL versions, not old normal maps.
Not using normal maps shouldn't affect things. If your GPU can't use the GLSL shaders, it doesn't use them; if it can you can still not use the -normal flag and the normalmaps will be ignored.
Third party mods built to depend on now-obsolete MediaVP resources can have problems playing nice with new mediaVP's. That shouldn't be a surprise. Things that are built based on how things worked on 3.6.9 builds and 3.6.8zeta VP's may or may not have issues with 3.6.10 builds and VP's, depending how deep the dependancies are and how radically things change between versions. Our testing priority has been on compatibility with retail campaign partly because the project is, after all, FreeSpace Upgrade, and partly because we simply don't have the resources to test every campaign as well.
Most things *should* work without gamestopping errors. We try to maintain a level of consistency but this is a major overhaul of the VP structures and content, and we can't keep everything
to work to exactly same specs as the previous VP's. If there's a problem with a mod/campaign that relies on 3.6.8zeta VP's, you should use 3.6.8zeta VP's with them and/or report the errors on the campaign's forums and request a patch. FSUpgrade team can't start troubleshooting each third party campaign to work with 3.6.10 mediaVP's, but as individual forum members we'll likely help other modders to patch their stuff to take the most advantage out of new VP's. That process should be done on Modding forum or campaign/mod's dedicated forum, though.
This might sound like Derek Smart style support ("Everything works as intended. It's not a bug, it's a feature. If you have problems, you need to adapt and blah blah blah), but that's just the way it is. We can't support all campaigns/mods that have critical dependancies on older MediaVP's; those campaigns need to update themselves if they decided to depend upon specific MediaVP's in the first place. Independently functional campaigns/mods should work fine with any mediaVP's, as they don't slave themselves to specific resources in specific MediaVP's.