Author Topic: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian  (Read 10554 times)

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Offline herkie423

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Yeah, if the Aftermath Reboot updates and Aftermath II can both be put on Knossos, that would be beyond awesome. It certainly would be a lot easier than trying to mess with wxlauncher again.

I have updated Aftermath Reboot and Aftermath Reboot II is uploading as I type this.

Herkie, I fixed three typo related bugs (One in Aftermath 1 and two in Aftermath 2). All three were in ships.tbl referencing sounds. If you run the mod through debug, you'll find them pretty quickly.

Additionally, the first mission/cutscene CTD's for me in the exact same place every time (right as it's facing the hangar near the beginning). Not sure what the cause is.

Thanks, mjn. Help me with this compatibility issue so that I can have an update soon.

 

Offline mjn.mixael

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
I have confirmed the first mission does not crash on 19.0. You really need to be playtesting your mods on a build muuuuuuch newer than 3.7.2. There's only a handful of nightlies since 19.0, so it should be pretty easy for you to nail down what code revision started causing issues with your mod.

EDIT: For anyone having issues with the mods on Knossos, you may need to check file integrity and/or uninstall-reinstall. I forced a metadata update to set the mods to use 19.0 only. The mods seem to run fine on that build release build. You may also need to set your Knossos Preferred Engine Stability to Stable so Knossos doesn't use the 20.0 nightlies.

Herkie, the particular crash in mission 1, I'm not sure how to debug. It occurs at the exact same moment every time, so I'd start with checking into assets that arrive in mission or weapons that are fired at that moment for bad data. I'm not gonna lie, that kind of crash can be a PITA to debug. You gotta figure out what asset is causing it and either fix the asset or notify SCP so that can figure out what changed in the build revisions. However, in most cases newer builds offer you much better debugging features and mod stability than something that's five years old. Not to mention all the new engine features you get access to. Time to upgrade my man.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 12:31:33 am by mjn.mixael »
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Offline herkie423

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
I will try testing with 19.0 and I find some issues

 

Offline herkie423

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Oh yes, everyone please give me FPS, frames per second. I want to know if you have performance issue. In my end, I get an average of 45 to 60.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Now I got another problem. I grabbed some kind of "update" for Aftermath and got the "FSO is missing" bug after applying it
« Last Edit: March 30, 2020, 03:45:46 pm by CapellaGoBoom »

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
I made it to the battle against the Demora and her escorts, disabled and destroyed the escorts, and debeamed and disabled the Demora.  After said superdestroyer finishes dying, well...  Nothing happens.  No matter how long I wait after destroying the Demora, nobody says anything of consequence and the Oberon and Venture just hold position.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
I made it to the battle against the Demora and her escorts, disabled and destroyed the escorts, and debeamed and disabled the Demora.  After said superdestroyer finishes dying, well...  Nothing happens.  No matter how long I wait after destroying the Demora, nobody says anything of consequence and the Oberon and Venture just hold position.

Weird. I got past that no problem before the update ruined my mod

 

Offline CT27

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
I made it to the battle against the Demora and her escorts, disabled and destroyed the escorts, and debeamed and disabled the Demora.  After said superdestroyer finishes dying, well...  Nothing happens.  No matter how long I wait after destroying the Demora, nobody says anything of consequence and the Oberon and Venture just hold position.

I tried this last night and I too had this problem (I tried it on different builds too). 

My only suggestion is to let one of the escort ships escape.  If the secondary objective in that mission is failed, I could progress.

 

Offline spart_n

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Did the Asuras always have 90 mps? And if so, why did you picked A Floating Fortress to demonstrate this? Their hitpoints are already massive enough that the burst of speed to outrun not just my bomber, but also a Cyclops, makes the mission frustrating when you're trying to deal with them fast and efficiently. I understand you tried to pick a more realistic tone with this campaign and nobody's gonna sit there and get nuked, but it slows the game to an unreasonable standstill and allows your fleet to be overrun.

It's a cruiser for crying out loud, the fact it takes as much nukes as a corvette is bad enough, light bomber speed is being genuinely unfair and otherwise inexcusable.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
For now looking around a bit, I see that there is a lot criticism coming about mission balance. While Shivans were very weak singularily and that made for an enemy that could be deployed in squadrons against your mere wings without excessive frustration, this time you're fighting against ships that actually match you. That means you can't realistically fight swarms of them that appear in your missions. Also it makes for absolutely no sense for actual people to act like Shivans did.
So, I guess you'd need to equalise the forces in your missions.

Other criticism turns to absurd speeds of cruisers that outrun bombers. While I can understand the friendly cruiser in that Shivan installation mission moving faster so the mission doesn't get overly tedious, Shivan cruisers that can outrun bombers and bombs while also being too absurdly tough to be feasibly killed by fighters make for hell that you need to cheat through. So even if you need their tabled speed to be so high for some reason, you can just make sure they are flying a waypoint path at all times and use the cap-waypoint-speed SEXP to limit their speed.

Also, Shivan Mjolnirs that take ten Trebuchets to disarm, there are five of them, and you cannot let any of them fire a single shot while being very time limited? This is a problem, another mission unpassable without cheats.
Mito [PL] - Today at 8:52 PM
I was supposed to make a short presentation about basics of optical fibers and here I am, listening to Eurobeat while reading about quantum cryptography.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
For now looking around a bit, I see that there is a lot criticism coming about mission balance. While Shivans were very weak singularily and that made for an enemy that could be deployed in squadrons against your mere wings without excessive frustration, this time you're fighting against ships that actually match you. That means you can't realistically fight swarms of them that appear in your missions. Also it makes for absolutely no sense for actual people to act like Shivans did.
So, I guess you'd need to equalise the forces in your missions.

Other criticism turns to absurd speeds of cruisers that outrun bombers. While I can understand the friendly cruiser in that Shivan installation mission moving faster so the mission doesn't get overly tedious, Shivan cruisers that can outrun bombers and bombs while also being too absurdly tough to be feasibly killed by fighters make for hell that you need to cheat through. So even if you need their tabled speed to be so high for some reason, you can just make sure they are flying a waypoint path at all times and use the cap-waypoint-speed SEXP to limit their speed.

Also, Shivan Mjolnirs that take ten Trebuchets to disarm, there are five of them, and you cannot let any of them fire a single shot while being very time limited? This is a problem, another mission unpassable without cheats.

I agree with these sentiments too. The difficulty should be toned down and maybe allow for a few more wings to start with in these missions. Also capships going like a Lambo is quite odd indeed. During the "floating fortress" mission, I would highly recommend arming up with Maxims for your wingmen instead of the Trebs. The Asuras would get shredded apart easily and the heavy guns can get sniped much more efficiently. That worked wonders for me.

Oh and 1 more thing: have all wingmen hit the heavy guns 1 at a time
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 08:26:40 pm by CapellaGoBoom »

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
And while we're at it: using ship-subsys-guardian-threshold on engine subsystems when the objective is to disable a ship is not what I'd consider good form.  It's akin to dangling a carrot in front of a player's face and then pulling it away from them when they're about to finally get it.  What also doesn't help things is when destroyers seem to be going extremely fast for something that large (which one would come to expect after a couple missions of seeing Molochs and Rakshasas flying at speeds of over 50) and then, when it seems like one is about to cripple the ship, the above SEXP kicks in and the ship unexpectedly jumps.  It may be more realistic in comparison to real-life physics, but at the same time, this is Freespace 2.  Big ships enter Subspace with rapid acceleration from a near standstill, right?

To be succinct and entirely blunt, this campaign could've used a lot more playtesting and revision before release.  I know this is just more criticism getting lumped on with all of the rest, but herkie, I'm begging you: please get some people to thoroughly test this so the big concerns can be worked out.  The Aftermath's reboot's sequel can be so much better.  It's just going to take some time and effort, but I think it's going to be worth it in the end.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Also one more thing that was mentioned in the Discord server: FSO 3.7.2 is ancient. Please, Herkie, consider upgrading to 19.0.0 FSO release, it has got multiple upgrades compared to 5 year old builds and people report that this campaign works just fine with the modern FSO versions, just as with MediaVPs 4.1.23.

Not only that, some people mentioned getting better FPS on newer builds!
Mito [PL] - Today at 8:52 PM
I was supposed to make a short presentation about basics of optical fibers and here I am, listening to Eurobeat while reading about quantum cryptography.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Spoiler:
I found a gamekilling bug in an act3 mission(forgot the name of it). You are facing 4 zod destroyers alongside the new emperor and a bunch of fighters/bombers. 2 zod vettes show up and I batter them down to 10% integrity. After that, they are totally invulnerable. Herk, I strongly recommend scouring missions for gamekillers like this. Also, please tone down the diffculty in these missions. It is really tough to take out 2 vettes against a very beat up destroyer and the mission will be over before you can blink

Debug:
https://fsnebula.org/log/5e840fdbcb0d3321afc98624


The mission is "lightning from heaven" looking in the techroom

UPDATE2: the only way to get past this mission until it is fixed is the 5 death skip
« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 08:56:39 pm by CapellaGoBoom »

 

Offline 5thAce

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
First things first, congratulations on the release!


So I believe I'm around 70% through the campaign, I've been playing through on hard difficulty. Here is some early feedback: (some spoilers ahead obviously)

Spoiler:
The swarm tactics that were used by the Shivans don't translate so well with the Vasudans, given their much tankier nature. On top of that is the armament used by the Vasudans. Their primary is a rapid fire laser and the secondary they use seems to be a rapid fire swarm missile. On top of having significantly more HP than the Shivans, the armament makes the Vasudans overpowered. Perhaps their loadouts should be more varied with the occasional wings being this well armed.

Next I would say the Anubis cruiser needs to be looked at. It's far too well armed for a cruiser. While it does have an exposed reactor, its anti-fighter capabilities are off the charts. Perhaps reduce the number of flak turrets or reduce the range?

This one isn't so much a balancing issue but I find it very strange that in the mission "Lightning from Heaven" that the only fighter escort is provided by the Midway. Why aren't the 2 allied Vasudan destroyers providing fighter/bomber wings as well?

On a personal note, I wish the Tempest were available in more missions, it's my usual go to in the first Aftermath.

Overall it seems like there are few friendlier wings this time around, when compared to the first Aftermath.

I'll return to this post when I'm done with the campaign. So far though I'm having an alright time with this, but the balancing issues are very much affecting the mod's quality.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2020, 03:53:15 am by 5thAce »

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
First things first, congratulations on the release!


So I believe I'm around 70% through the campaign, I've been playing through on hard difficulty. Here is some early feedback: (some spoilers ahead obviously)

Spoiler:
The swarm tactics that were used by the Shivans don't translate so well with the Vasudans, given their much tankier nature. On top of that is the armament used by the Vasudans. Their primary is a rapid fire laser and the secondary they use seems to be a rapid fire swarm missile. On top of having significantly more HP than the Shivans, the armament makes the Vasudans overpowered. Perhaps their loadouts should be more varied with the occasional wings being this well armed.

Next I would say the Anubis cruiser needs to be looked at. It's far too well armed for a cruiser. While it does have an exposed reactor, its anti-fighter capabilities are off the charts. Perhaps reduce the number of flak turrets or reduce the range?

This one isn't so much a balancing issue but I find it very strange that in the mission "Lightning from Heaven" that the only fighter escort is provided by the Midway. Why aren't the 2 allied Vasudan destroyers providing fighter/bomber wings as well?

On a personal note, I wish the Tempest were available in more missions, it's my usual go to in the first Aftermath.

Overall it seems like there are few friendlier wings this time around, when compared to the first Aftermath.

I'll return to this post when I'm done with the campaign. So far though I'm having an alright time with this, but the balancing issues are very much affecting the mod's quality.

I just wrapped up the campaign and I echo these same comments. Decent storyline but the difficulty holds it back quite a bit. The difficulty definitely should be looked at and tweaked. This mod can be fun to play again if said tweaks occur. I had to play it on easy for most of the way through. Medium was near impossible IMO. Not a fan of playing anything on easy since medium is optimal for most campaigns in FS

 

Offline spart_n

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
at the time ive written this, im absolutely salty and practically livid, so take that into regard.

i haven't finished TBG, and i probably won't. I got up to Solar Eclipse Part 2 and I practically lost all hair on my head.

Spoiler:
this sequel's came off as something of a disappointment. i loved the sheer corny and absurd nature of the first AF1; you're playing in hyperlethal vector fighters against swarms of shivans, but you're armed with military grade bug sprays. to add to the corny nature you got Halo's OST, X-Wing noises, Star Trek and a down-on-his-luck protagonist who God chose to save the day, as you obliterate entire fleets, let alone battlegroups, with the least amount of members with the biggest guns.

AFII's development cycle feels as if you've learned something from AFI, but also didn't. missions are no longer more than just charging in and shooting things until they're space dust, but there's actual objectives to accomplish to fully call your mission complete. yet, somehow and someway, this proves to be one of TBG's weakest points: not due to the fact they don't work, but due to the same reason everyone's already voiced, they're not balanced. the swarms don't stop. they've went from bees that can overwhelm you in numbers to violent wasps that wants to see the whole galaxy burn. the vasudans are the strongest offender of this, with the seraphis and horus fighters; unless you're using an avalanche with a weapon that combos off the Kayser, their heavy and ultra heavy armour is tough to punch through. but that's not all the vasudans got, because their weapons and missiles rival yours, and their numbers are no different from the shivan arcs. what you find then is your "squadron" of 2 or 3 wings depending on the mission against 3 Ultra Heavy or Heavy fighters at once that easily matches yours. that isn't a challenge, that's sheer absurdity, throw in vasudan capital ships and you get a fine mess. when did you ever plan to tell players about the weapons subsystem trick? there's definitely a prompt to target reactors but weapons never gets one, and that's the best thing you can target?

up until where i dropped i have yet to complete a single mission without cheating. again, balance. some objectives are next to impossible (The Floating Fortress being, by far, the WORST offender, and the Atlas Cannons defense, but that mission has more issues than just that) without `+k'ing or godding yourself. i also really don't appreciate these mission recommendations: they reek of a smart-alick grinning and pinching his chin going "i gotcha you at your dumbest". Solar Eclipse Part 2 is an example of this, but there were other missions beforehand, and they all had the habit of hoping the player had precognition of the mission. make them playable in one go, or don't at all. these are the objective failures, not the fact the player gets shot down.

the writing was significantly worse this time around. gone were the corny humour and laughable writing of AFI, replaced with the love triangle subplot where your character proclaims she is horny on the open comms and a vasudan arc that houses more than a dozen vasudan ships you blow up, forcing their fleet to be around the same as the terrans post war. richter the NPC is now incredibly vague and mysterious, which makes no sense and you would've probably gotten the same impact by making the nuRichter a guy named "Sensei" and making him just as one dimensional. the political tension that was promised is overshadowed by these bizarre subplots and characters i just cant care for.

final thoughts: TBG was a huge downgrade from AFI. In attempt of trying to be better, you've somehow went worse. TBG desperately needed more time in the oven of playtesting and bughunting by more than just CT27. for crying out loud, there's a debug message in one of the missions. i'd be lying if i said you're awful at mission designing but you're a person that desperately needs refinement, a slap on the knuckles with a blunt object, someone to actually say yes or no to your decisions, may that be a playtester or even a partner you need to work with. you clearly have the talent for it, but at the moment, you're also holding yourself back. i hope to see these missions rebalanced and updated and look forward to possible future projects but as they currently stand, i make my stop with TBG.

 
Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
Well, it seems Spart managed to say almost everything I was going to say about TBG.  To sum up what I would've said, this campaign needs a general overhaul badly.  Now, as for the parts that my friend didn't cover...

The characters, aside from those previously established in Aftermath Reboot, never get proper backstories and what info you do get about the new people, including the main protagonist, is...  well, it's all thrown at you like birdshot from a shotgun: some hit and stick around (and some are even kinda effective), some glance off and get lost in the background, and the rest miss their mark by a decent margin. And Courtney Aguilar?  She comes off as a Mary Sue.

The enemy factions...  WHAT?!
Spoiler:
The Shivans go from hive minds, massive numbers of fighters, bombers, and ships, and scary weapons to mind-controlled bug people that end up changing sides in a way that seems like it was a plot pulled out of a crappy "what-if" story on fanfiction.net.
The Vasudans...  No.  You don't send in Serapis and Horus fighters equipped with heavier-than-FS2 armor and spammable missiles in wings hordes like that.  And since when did the Vasudans get such a huge xeno-boner for ASMs?  This is supposed to be semi-connected to canon FS2, not Blue Planet 2, so why would you pit the player against multiple ships with 2 or even 4 ASM launchers?  Oh, and while I'm at it, why would you equip Osirises with HELIOS BOMBS?!  Just use Sekhmets.  It's post-FS2, so those are fair game.  No need to use something that's been around since the Terran-Vasudan War when there's already something better in large quantities.
The Rigelians became the new FS-era Shivans.  They can't be touched until someone starts deploying X weapon (either R&D has been developing it from captured tech or it's already in limited use and is now being given to your squadron because Snipes and his SOC friends are "nice" guys) and using them against Y weakness.  In this case, it's the Widowmaker missile (speaking of which, why would you hold out on me with those things?  I LOVE them!
 They're like if you took a Treb, gave it the maneuvering of a Harpoon, and then made it a disruptor weapon as well!  It's so OP!).  The advice given about using it on Rigelian ships, though...  First off, you're right.  Don't chase the warships.  They're faster than you.  However, you got something dead wrong: DO NOT ATTACK RIGELIAN SHIPS FROM HEAD-ON.  Approach from side-on, lock on, fire, and wait a bit.  9 times out of 10, that warship will end up a sitting duck without it ever touching you.

Onto the special mechanics...
Spoiler:
Point-and-click turret defense with 6 Mjolnirs?  ****ing awesome.
Point-and-click turret defense that requires you to juggle blasting incoming capships and defending a fragile Charybdis from bombers and other dickery, the latter of which is so you don't end up with ****-tons of bombers coming in and blasting the turrets and the installation you're guarding?  And did I mention that only the first four Atlas targeting hotkeys work, so you end up having to quickly use the vanilla command menu to manually order Atlas 5 and 6 just to use them?  Not so much.

Commanding a fleet with the implemented tactical interface is really cool, but when you can only use the first 4 keys to do it, it becomes... frustrating.  It was such an obstacle for me that the only ships I managed to save in the final mission were my destroyers and a single corvette, my Chimera-X excluded, and all because I couldn't effectively counter Akhmim's fleet spreading out with a hook.

TL;DR: the 5 and 6 keys don't trigger anything in the Tactical Command Interface.

And one last thing, Herkie: that last message before the final mission (see the link below), considering the dumpster fire that version 1.0.0 of TBG has been...  While I understand that it was intended to just be a message to CT and removed later, I'm somewhat glad it stayed in because, to be completely honest, it comes off as you basically just telling your coworker to do all of the work you should've done (but didn't), and then walking out to never return.
https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/607738712884772876/695039616021168148/unknown.png (linking here instead of inserting because it's just too big)
I get that you want to be done with this, but no, you can't just dump this all on CT.  That's not fair to him, even if you had some kind of agreement during development.
This is an unfinished campaign that deserves better because it could be so much better with more time and effort.

EDIT: I talked with someone with more background on Herkie's situation. I wish I'd known sooner.  I admit, I was too harsh. 
CT, if you're reading this, DM me if you'd like some help with proofreading and possibly reworking some of the dialogue and story.  You don't have to do this alone, and I'm sure I'm not the only one that would like to step in and help.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2020, 05:35:59 pm by lordhood117 »

 

Offline CT27

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
For what it's worth, I didn't do much design work on TBG.  I was mainly involved in writing the plot for Acts 1-3.  So as far as technical problems people encountered go (some of which I encountered and some I didn't), unless he decides to revisit the campaign you might be out of luck.  I know what I would fix if I could, but I'm not good at FRED'ing or designing campaigns (or whatever the term is).

I loosely wrote the plot for Act I
Spoiler:
Shivan remnant cleanup in Mutara
though I originally only had it at three missions and Herkie made it into five.


I also wrote most of the plot for Acts 2 and three
Spoiler:
New Imperium Insurrection


Basically I gave Herkie most of the plot and script for those missions (though he would sometimes make additions) and he made the gameplay.  I also helped somewhat with the plot for Acts 4 and 5.

I do want to mention that although Herkie may not be posting here much anymore (I'll post later on that) I do occasionally message and talk with him on Facebook.  Out of respect for him I got permission from him to talk about this stuff because I don't want to appear like I'm trying to throw him under the bus (all I'll say for now unless he gives me permission to talk about specifics is that occasionally we had some disagreements on what to do after I got the initial three acts of the campaign for testing...though it never got heated or bitter).
Like lordhood117 said, Herkie's not in a great situation right now (on FB Herkie did give me permission to talk specifics on that later so I'll try to do that later).  Hopefully he just needs a break and can come back to do some cleanup work later.

 

Offline CT27

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Re: RELEASE: The Aftermath II - The Blue Guardian
I just ran into a problem (right before the final mission of TBG unfortunately):

I tried to start the final mission and got this:
Error: Can't open model file <AF-Scylla.pof>
File: modelread.cpp
Line: 1062

ntdll.dll! NtWaitForSingleObject + 20 bytes
KERNELBASE.dll! WaitForSingleObjectEx + 147 bytes
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
fs2_open_3_8_1_20171031_e2d8502_x64_SSE2.exe! <no symbol>
KERNEL32.DLL! BaseThreadInitThunk + 20 bytes
ntdll.dll! RtlUserThreadStart + 33 bytes


Apparently there's a problem with the new Scylla model (I couldn't even bring up the Scylla in the techroom...that caused a crash too).  This happened on multiple builds I tried.

However, when I tried the previous version of "Reboot" (the version before this recent update of Herkie's) I was able to look at the Scylla successfully.