Author Topic: What to do when SCP coders cannot reproduce your fs2_open crashes?  (Read 3552 times)

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Offline Fury

  • The Curmudgeon
  • 213
What to do when SCP coders cannot reproduce your fs2_open crashes?
So you have encountered frequent problems with fs2_open that leads to crashes? You have already provided debug log for support people and coders, but it wasn't enough and no coder can reproduce these crashes to fix the problem? Don't worry, you can help the coders out by providing important information needed to track it down.

This however involves downloading and installing Visual C++ 2010 Express, TortoiseSVN and fs2_open repository. All of this has been instructed in detail below, so be sure to follow them to letter and ask for help when needed. It's not hard at all, but it does require some time and effort.

What you however can't do is track down non-crash related problems. Such problems will require more or less knowledge about the code and coding itself. In addition these instructions cannot be used to solve crashing problems in fred2_open, as fred2_open cannot be compiled in Visual C++ 2010 Express.

1. Download Visual C++ 2010 Express and install it.
2. Check Microsoft Update for software updates.
3. If you use Windows 7, install hotfix KB982927, click the "View and request hotfix downloads" link in top of the page. Or install Service Pack 1. TortoiseSVN is likely to trigger this Windows bug.
4. Download TortoiseSVN and installl it.

5. Create a new user environment value where variable name is FS2PATH and variable value is full path to your Freespace 2 folder, by default C:\Games\FreeSpace2. This applies too all Windows OS', not just XP.
6. Restart your computer. This step is REQUIRED for step 5 to take effect!

7. Follow instructions in this guide to optimize TortoiseSVN caching, which reduces disk activity significantly. As per instructions in the linked guide, include your Freespace2 folder and don't forget the asterisk, for example C:\Games\Freespace2\*

8. Create a new folder to your Freespace2 folder called fs2_open.
NOTE: If you need or want to use antipodes FSO builds instead, then create a folder called fs2_open_antipodes.
9. Right click on the folder and select SVN Checkout.
10. Copy this to "URL of repository": svn://
NOTE: If you need or want to use antipodes FSO builds instead, then use following url: svn://
11. Make sure "checkout folder" is the folder you created in step 8. Make sure "checkout depth" is set to "fully recursive". And finally, make sure "HEAD" is selected in "revision". Then click OK.

NOTE: Steps 12-15 are optional steps and should only be done if instructed so by a coder. Skip to step 16 if you're unsure.
12. If you have received a patch-file from a coder, make copy of the folder created in step 8 and call it something like fs2_open_patchname where patchname is name of the patch you've been provided.
13. Place the patch file in fs2_open_patchname folder. Then right-click on the patch file and select TortoiseSVN --> Apply patch.
14. Two windows will open, the smaller window lists files that the patch modifies. Right click on the small window and select "Patch all".
15. If there are no errors of any kind, you can close these windows now. Otherwise, ask the coder who provided your patch for assistance.

16. Go to fs2_open folder (or the copy of it if you followed steps 12-15), open projects\MSVC_2010 folder. From there open file called Freespace2.sln. Select Visual C++ Express 2010 as the application to open it in if asked to choose an application.

17. On left side you see a small window called solution explorer. Right click on "Freespace2" and select Properties.
18. Again on left of the newly opened window you see "common properties" and "configuration properties", under "configuration properties" select "debugging".
19. Change "Command" to: $(FS2PATH)\$(TargetFileName)
20. Click OK.

NOTE: If a coder advises you to do a clean build, you can do this by following steps 16-20. Make sure Visual C++ 2010 Express window is active, press Ctrl + Alt + F7. Then follow instructions from step 21 onwards. If this is your first time doing this, you can safely skip straight to step 21. Even if this is not your first time, normally clean build is not needed.

21. Look up to the toolbar row. Under "Help" you see a green triangle and to right a dropdown menu. Select "Debug Inferno SSE2" from the dropdown menu.
22. Press F7 on your keyboard. A small "Output" window opens. Wait until it finishes, this probably takes a few minutes on most computers.

23. When text in the "Output" window stops rolling, last three lines should be more or less as follows:
Code: [Select]
6>  Freespace2.vcxproj -> C:\Games\FreeSpace2\fs2_open\projects\MSVC_2010\Debug Inferno SSE2\fs2_open_3_6_13d_INF_SSE2.exe
6>          1 file(s) copied.
========== Build: 6 succeeded, 1 failed, 0 up-to-date, 0 skipped ==========
In third to last line you will see name of the exe file that has been copied to your Freespace2 folder. If a file of same name already existed, it has been overwritten.

In second to last line you will see whether copying has been succeeded or failed, this needs to say succeeded for us to continue. If this says failed, seek assistance on the forums or irc, alternatively browser based irc link.

In the last line you will see outcome of your build. Normally you will see one failed because Visual Studio Express cannot compile fred2_open. This is fine and we can continue. If you have more than one failed, seek assistance on the forums or irc, alternatively browser based irc link.

NOTE: If you need to seek assistance, select the "Output" window and then press Ctrl + A, this selects all text from the window. Now, copy and paste the text to Pastebin and include a link to your pasted text for coders to read.

24. From your Freespace2 folder, open launcher. We need to run FSO in windowed mode, so first lower your resolution from video tab. Then go to features tab, select dev tool from under list type. Select windowed mode. Also ensure other settings such as active mod are suitable for your bug hunting. Click OK.

25. Go back to Visual C++ 2010 Express window and make sure it is active. Press F5.
26. In a moment you will see FSO window opening up. Note that running FSO in this mode is significantly slower than it would be normally, you just have to bear with it.
27. Now play FSO normally until you encounter the crash bug.

NOTE: If you missed something in the launcher, like selected wrong mod or your resolution is too large or too small for windowed use, exit FSO. Change required settings in the launcher, then select window of Visual C++ 2010 Express to activate it. Press F5 again.

28. You have encountered the crash you were looking for. Now, there are two types or crashes. First is straight crash to desktop (CTD) which doesn't produce anything more than regular Windows error message about "this application has closed". Second is an error or assert message given by fs2_open and it gives you two options - OK and Cancel. Click OK.
29. Now regardless of whether you got a CTD or fs2_open error/assert message, you should now have "fs2_open_3_6_13d_INF_SSE2.exe has triggered a breakpoint" message in your Visual C++ 2010 Express window. Click Break.
30. You see a small window in lower right corner, it has three tabs - call stack, break point and output. Select call stack.
31. After selecting call stack tab, make sure the small window is active. Press Ctrl + A to select all text, then copy and paste that text to Pastebin.
32. Now you need to give a link to your pastebinned text to a coder, either in the forums or irc, alternatively browser based irc link.
33. Follow instructions a coder may give you to further troubleshoot your crash if it is needed.

NOTE: To repeat these steps at a later date:
- Right click on the folder created in step 8, select SVN Update.
- Once update is done, click OK.
- Continue from either step 12 or 16. Steps 12-15 are optional steps and should only be done if instructed so by a coder. Skip to step 16 if you're unsure.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 09:01:02 am by Fury »


Offline Nemesis6

  • 28
  • Tongs
Re: What to do when SCP coders cannot reproduce your fs2_open crashes?
Hmm, I'll think about trying this. Been getting some CTDs as of late.