Author Topic: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)  (Read 2558 times)

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Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
As a massive Tev, whenever I feel down I always lift my spirits by playing Delenda Est and watching the Wargods get rinsed like a hot flannel. So I booted it up one miserable grey October day and, as the strains of Preliator lifted my heart, I prepared to watch the beams of justice scourge the agents of the alien menace.

The Katana went down exactly on schedule. Next up, as all adherents to the Cult of Steele know, is the Altan Orde...



...and it's at this point something went wrong. The beams started passing straight through, and the Altan Orde survived with around 25% hull. And this totally broke the mission: there's no recovery logic if a salvo fails to kill the frigates; it just stopped progressing. I tried looking closely at the Katana to see if anything was obviously wrong, but the only unexpected thing I could see were the engines of a Mercury shuttle ahead of it from first-person view. Odd, but not obviously related. It rapidly became clear that I hadn't unlocked the ending with advanced UEF beam jamming: this was some kind of bug.

A fairly obnoxious one, at that: this hadn't happened to me on another playthrough a couple of days earlier, but when I tried reproducing it on earlier nightlies and different engine options, I was still seeing this beam collision bug kill the mission at the same place. So there was at least some element of randomness here. It should also be noted that this was not an easy thing to reproduce: Delenda Est is a long mission, and the nearest checkpoint is some time before the Imperieuse's arrival. To make matters worse, I wasn't actually getting checkpoint prompts so I had to replay the whole thing from scratch every iteration. And, for reasons I couldn't really explain even at the time, I insisted on doing this on Insane difficulty and dying most of the time before reaching the bug.

Under the circumstances, my first priority was finding someone else to blame. Initially I tried the BP team, what with it being their mission and all these phantom shuttles appearing. But the mission hadn't been substantially changed in years, and they had no idea what shuttles I was talking about, and so suspicion turned to what was already the more reasonable suspect: an engine bug. FSO has seen quite a lot of engine changes since 19.0, some of them pretty daring, and although everything is intended to be backwards-compatible it can still have bugs. When discussing this on Discord, Asteroth mentioned that he'd merged an optimisation to beam collision detection earlier that month. You could not ask for a more obvious smoking gun; I did one test run on a build from before that change, the Katana went down, and Asteroth took over fixing the issue (for perspective, everything up to this point has lasted from the 26th of October to the 9th of November).

You would have to ask him exactly what he did next but, as he was unable to reproduce the bug in a fresh mission, he had to keep testing on Delenda Est. He ran through the mission nearly a dozen times in a debugger, tracing the code down to intersections with individual polygons... and it worked perfectly. The collision code was doing exactly what it was supposed to, except when it suddenly stopped working at all. By this point it was the 18th, Battuta had started working on BP again and was spooked by the prospect of unreliable beams, and I was starting to push for removing the optimisation from nightlies ASAP if the fix was going nowhere. Asteroth agreed, but made one last effort to figure it out.

Now, incidentally, Darius has been having a minor problem with the Karuna model file for years. One of the multipart point defence turrets on the front, unlike all of the others, always sticks straight up and doesn't rotate properly. It works fine in gameplay, it's just a tiny inexplicable annoyance which nobody even thought of mentioning in relation to the beam collision bug:



And suddenly, Asteroth found the issue:



The reason that turret's barrel is misaligned is because someone slipped up when making the model file and set the Karuna's main hull as the turret 'arm'. And when that turret is destroyed... it sets whatever its arm model is defined as to stop colliding with anything. And a salvo of beams from a Titan from dead ahead has a decent but not certain chance of killing that turret on the upper front left. That's it, that's the entire bug. You can reproduce this in literally any mission with a Karuna:


(The rotor, being a separate submodel, remains decidedly collidable.)

So it wasn't a code bug, it was the BP team's fault all along! It is utterly baffling how this bug wasn't caught earlier. As said above, the broken model file that led to this has been in the released version of BP for several years now. Me and Asteroth were both observing it happen more often than not, and yet everyone else who played the mission apparently lucked out enough not to report a bug. In any case, it's identified now, and we have a cautionary tale of PCS2 horror for every modder now to show for the effort. And an even deeper cautionary tale: the BP team have figured out how to offload their bugfixing nightmares onto unsuspecting passers-by. Be on your guard.

The only remaining thing to mention is that Battuta was totally gaslighting me about the phantom shuttles, and I won't forget it:


« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 04:19:24 am by Phantom Hoover »
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 
Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Couldn't you have just added a trigger that makes the ship self-destruct if it isn't destroyed at the right time?

Shivans view most other species the way we view infectious diseases. They think they are doing good by curing the universe of them. After all, no one mourns the fate of smallpox.

The Final War For The Multiverse

 
Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Yes, but the mission was designed under the (reasonable) assumption that being shot in the face with a Titan's spinal beams was as good as a self-destruct anyway.

Fun fact: you can shoot out the wacky turret on any other Karuna escort mission (e.g. the Plunder) and sit back while your intangible Karunas kick ass. It's a dynamic difficulty feature!
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline Trivial Psychic

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
I encountered a similar issue with the Jupiter model.
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Offline General Battuta

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
How the **** has this not been broken since 2010?

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Quote
To make matters worse, I wasn't actually getting checkpoint prompts so I had to replay the whole thing from scratch every iteration. And, for reasons I couldn't really explain even at the time, I insisted on doing this on Insane difficulty and dying most of the time before reaching the bug.

Well was it fun at least

 
Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Delenda Est is really damn fun on Insane.

Also, I am pretty sure I have mentioned seeing this happen multiple times in the Icarus cutscene. Had a laugh. Good times.
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: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Karuna collision shenanigans are always a blast. Well, unless you're missing a turret of course.

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Is fixing this what the big update I am downloading now is about?


I think I encountered this as well when watching the massive UEF - TEV battle play out. The UEF was getting its ass handed to it, except for one Karuna that took a hit, but then seeming became an immortal phantom ship which couldn't be harmed. Much hilarity did ensue ;-)
« Last Edit: December 22, 2020, 01:58:32 pm by Iain Baker »
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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Delenda Est is really damn fun on Insane.

yeah i think that's why i insisted on replaying it like that

Is fixing this what the big update I am downloading now is about?

yes
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
I just want to ask again how the **** this mission ever worked right?

 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
I just want to ask again how the **** this mission ever worked right?
If someone wants to answer that they should load up an old version of FSO to fit with when BPC or even WiH released, and see if the mission breaks the same way and if the pof from the matching version of BP has the same error.

If the mission works and the pof doesn't have that error, then someone broke the pof along the way. Though the stuff about the turret being broken for years suggests this outcome is unlikely.

If the mission works and the pof does have that error, then something changed in FSO about how it treats to that particular malformation of the pof.

If the mission breaks, then first evident answer is 'pure bind luck', which also seems unlikely. Enough people have played the mod that someone should have reported it by now if it happens frequently enough for PH to see it multiple times in the testing. My second guess which seems more likely is that something changed in FSO and/or the mod that, through pure blind chaos, makes that particular turret much more likely to die than in the past.
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 
Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
It's not totally implausible that at some point FSO's collision and subsystem code was changed so that making the entire lod0 the arm of a random turret was handled more robustly, whereas previously it gave up and had no effect. It is *very* strange how it suddenly appeared out of nowhere for multiple people in the last few months. Given that the actual bug is fixed and all that's left is a historical mystery of when it appeared, nobody has gone to the trouble of forensically checking old versions of the entire engine/mod install.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline DefCynodont119

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
In my short time making, testing, and playing missions, I could swear I have seen some random small balance changes occur in my missions after every few engine updates, but I can never prove the existence of any of them.  :shaking:


Stuff like:

"Is it just me? or is X-ship getting disarmed more often now?

Or:

"Wing-Y was almost always getting destroyed before the 4 minute mark, I ran this 3 times yesterday and that's what happened, so why is it that after I updated FSO this morning It's taken 5 and a half minutes? Nothing should be different, I didn't touch anything in FRED, I did the same thing I normally do, did the engine update change something? Was this just a fluke? Were the patterns that happened before the update just a fluke? Am I just bad at playing Freespace today for some reason? Does that make me a fluke? I mean when the wing is destroyed doesn't matter too much for this mission, but the fact that the game may-or-may-not have done one thing before but is or isn't doing that same thing now concerns me."
My gift from Freespace to Cities Skylines:  http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=639891299

 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
"Wing-Y was almost always getting destroyed before the 4 minute mark, I ran this 3 times yesterday and that's what happened, so why is it that after I updated FSO this morning It's taken 5 and a half minutes? Nothing should be different, I didn't touch anything in FRED, I did the same thing I normally do, did the engine update change something? Was this just a fluke? Were the patterns that happened before the update just a fluke? Am I just bad at playing Freespace today for some reason? Does that make me a fluke? I mean when the wing is destroyed doesn't matter too much for this mission, but the fact that the game may-or-may-not have done one thing before but is or isn't doing that same thing now concerns me."

 :nod: :nod:

And then sometimes you go back and test the old build and it plays like the new build and you just want to scream
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 
Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
It's not totally implausible that at some point FSO's collision and subsystem code was changed so that making the entire lod0 the arm of a random turret was handled more robustly, whereas previously it gave up and had no effect. It is *very* strange how it suddenly appeared out of nowhere for multiple people in the last few months. Given that the actual bug is fixed and all that's left is a historical mystery of when it appeared, nobody has gone to the trouble of forensically checking old versions of the entire engine/mod install.

I doubt that; I remember a *very* long time ago (2010?) I did something like that on purpose (tying a subsytem to the hull to trigger exactly that) and it worked.

 

Offline Aesaar

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
The 2010 release of BP used an older Karuna model.  I think it only changed with the Act 3 release.  Presumably the older model didn't have this issue.

  
Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Because I was curious (and had an old file sitting on a backup drive...), I loaded up a .pof from June 2014.

In all it's glory:





Pi
Chaos, Panic, and Disorder...
My work here is done.

 

Offline Aesaar

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Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
Does that model have the machinery on either side of the engine section?  It looks like it does.

If it does, that is not the original Karuna model.  Note that Act 3 was released in 2013.

 
Re: Tevs HATE her! Avoid all blue beams with this one weird trick! (WiH spoilers!)
That's the crazy thing though, it seems like the Karuna model has been broken for a lot longer than it worked. Actually now I say that I realise that's also wrong. The Karuna model has always been cursed; in the initial release in 2010 it was so badly optimised it ate framerates for breakfast; then at some point between then and 2012 it was replaced with an upgraded, optimised model which had an LOD alignment mismatch which caused it to hit itself with its own torpedoes and made Delenda Est unwinnable; then that was fixed, presumably in 2013 with Act 3, and introduced this collision issue. I fully expect that the most recent fix will turn out to format your hard drive if it rotates too quickly or something.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.