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ZRP - A joint effort in fixing S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

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Question Do YOU want an unofficial patch?
Answers
Yes, I'm desperate!
Yeh, why not...
I don't care either way.
Could easily do without it...
Decane, stop spamming the forums with your dumb ideas! NO!
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  21:17:49  26 January 2012
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ZaGaR
Skaarj Hybrid - NaPali survivor
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 07/24/2007
Messages: 647
Right now, I'm not worried how to fix it. The big question is WHAT CAUSED it to show in R11?

I looks like the code has been is like that since conceivement, probably. Yet, in vanilla or earlier ZRPs it doesn't do any harm. So, before fixing it I say better find what's the cause.
  21:25:55  26 January 2012
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Lijenstina
Doom metal in the shade of the flying radiators
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 07/23/2005
Messages: 1902
Do a comparison between versions of the gulag_escape.ltx of ZRP's and vanilla. In the version of ZRP I have there is no difference in that gulag state so it seems to be a vanilla issue.
  04:28:49  28 January 2012
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
Messages: 4185
The links to the Zone Reclamation Project (ZRP) download site are in my first post on the previous page.

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Lijenstina, re theory why STALKER is so buggy: Not only do I hold to the same theory, I've publicly stated so quite a few times, on this site as well as others.

On the database cleanup: I know that the cleaned-up game is improved with the AI more willing to take cover or to move from their normal planted spot when threatened. I like the faster reloads, too.

Re bad megaphone sound in Agroprom Base: Is this sound an SMP sound or something that needs fixing in vanilla? If you can just do a name-drop of the problematic sound I can track it all down.
__________

---QUOTATION---
But does it worth the amount of work?
I have just one problem with a full cleanup project: many of the mods are using cutout stuff, and restore/reactivate tons of unused stuff from the vanilla gamedata. I really don't know, how many players play still pure vanilla game and how many are pleased with pure vanilla gameplay. Imho the pure vanilla game experience is far from ideal.

So any cleanup project would produce a pure vanilla game and nothing more. I believe none of the modders would rewrite his project for a purified gamedata, even if he gains some fps and some loading time.
---END QUOTATION---


Bangalore, there should be no rewrite of any mod with this cleanup in place. (Update: if the DB files are not patched, the modder might still want to merge the ShoC_Treatment script changes. That just means removing the debug statements and adding fixes to one's mod.)

Not only will I keep cutout stuff, I would also make it actually work for those who want to spawn it without additional modding. The "removal" part of the cleanup is not so much for unused stuff as it is for trash, stuff that is not only unused but actually detrimental to the health of the game -- and perhaps that of the player, monitor and keyboard as well.

The result is still vanilla for those following the specifics of the discussion thread, but it is intended to be as compatible as possible with existing mods. So it's a "no-no" to remove stuff that would break some mods. (There might be an exception or two that can be discussed, and the file can either be re-incorporated in the database file or added to scripts\ for that rare mod.) Ergo the statement that said nothing should be added or removed that would break the mods one would play.

It is as Lijenstina put it: It "does pay off in game stability and even better speed." And the mods will inherit the benefits.

Let's say a vanilla bug is fixed in the cleanup; perhaps castl's xr_remark.script fix makes more NPCs talk to you directly when meant to do so, or you change the configuration file so that the af_dummy_dummy artifact is properly called Shell instead of another Battery. You get the fixes even when your mod doesn't have those files if it is in the database file.

As mentioned in the Database Cleanup Project thread, I played through with vanilla until I couldn't stand it any more and just dumped the ZRP gamedata back into place. It was excruciating trying to select the word "Eat" on food. I kept tripping over guns left over from the worse-than-Serious-Sam non-stop spawns, and I resorted to an old exploit of wounding an enemy just to get a weapon in perfect condition. And Snitch just wouldn't -- shut -- up!

I also missed the quick named save, the auto-rename on autosaves (a feature listed in a previous "Bug Fixes and Workarounds" section), the alternate quick save (a version of the quick named save that will be overwritten each time you use it on a specific level), not to mention all the myriad bug fixes/annoyance tweaks the ZRP mod offers.

I can't believe how irritating it is to get an autoquest that demands a trek to another level to claim the reward when you are already rushing to complete the current crop of tasks before they expire.

So I think the ZRP is still needed on top of any cleanup.

But I still noted that the stuttering pauses* were perceptibly shorter (if not palpably so). And once again the game started surprising me.

The remarks about vanilla are also meant to reduce my workload and keep from rabbit-trail distractions (my ADD bane). But there is nothing preventing one from adding features to the base that he or she wants to appear in all the mods he/she plays.

And hey, one could even create a custom database file from part or all of their own mod, as mentioned in the SoCPUP docs. I could distribute ZRP as gamedata.xdbz for instance. "Installation: Copy file to STALKER install folder. Play."

The goal of the cleanup is a better foundation. What you have built on the original foundation should still fit on the new one.

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ZaGaR, it might be a vanilla thing per Lijenstina that only now reveals itself as the game overhead is removed -- I did cut down on some unused stuff in the 1.07 releases. For example, each NPC has about half the sounds attached to him versus vanilla.

Still, did you try replacing the alternate branch change I mentioned with the vanilla form to check? Even if it is that, I'm thinking of just applying the tweak proffered by Lijenstina to prevent the problem in any case.

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I can now die happy. (Okay, less unhappy. Happy?) BobBQ has published another chapter in his Tiger's Spring saga. This one actually brings a form of closure to a lot of loose ends, so the story is at a good stopping place. But the comments seem to indicate there's more stuff to come involving interesting characters you will care about. See the "Stalker stories" section of this forum.

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*I have a theory based on my experience that the attempt to move certain functionality to separate CPU threads as of 1.0004 not only failed to do so (only first core really used), but added a lot of overhead. This creates process stalling and sometimes results in deferred handling of elements in the thread queue (AKA delayed spawns) and even crashes (e_entity: entity not found). My smoothest STALKER game experience was with 1.0001 and I don't recall any stuttering with that version at all.
  13:04:58  28 January 2012
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Lijenstina
Doom metal in the shade of the flying radiators
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 07/23/2005
 

Message edited by:
Lijenstina
01/28/2012 13:08:40
Messages: 1902
One optional thing that could be done ( i don't know if some mod uses those scripts - AMK related stuff has it's own sleep routine ) is removing unused AI/SR modules. For instance sr_sleep is still loaded in vanilla. There are even two sleeping zones - space restrictors left in the game. One is in AW the other one is in Radar - I think that room behind that sniper at the crossroads to Pripyat and X10. Then, space restrictors must be removed from the all spawn making the aw a bit more bearable for the hardware.

For instance in SmP We removed 3 vanilla modules and added three new.
Two of them were already unused in the mod (sr_aes_deadzone and sr_no_weapon) plus the already mentioned sleeping zone that is unused even in vanilla.
  00:22:33  30 January 2012
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
 

Message edited by:
NatVac
01/30/2012 0:31:56
Messages: 4185
>> sr_sleep is still loaded in vanilla.

Lijenstina, it sounds like that may not be needed in vanilla either. Thanks for the info.

I will take this moment to also note that your myriad contributions to fixing the game have been quite useful, along with your posted insights. A lot of folks don't share their stuff because they want to keep it for their mod, and I would expect you to have more incentive to do that than most, so I really appreciate your openness.

And a repeat of special thanks to ZaGaR, ERForman, and romulous, each one a George Bernard Shaw "unreasonable man" upon whom all progress depends. There are many who have contributed feedback and improvements, but these guys just don't quit. (Even though some dead horses have long been pulverized into powder! )

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Speaking of which: ERForman might remember those days when I was deleting certain anomalies and fires and there would be entities in the game affected by them who would then cause trouble with a stack trace of three consecutive xrGame.dll errors.

I had a game based on the vanilla all.spawn and a lot of hacking for free play, like undoing the "aes_arrive_to" info_portion after Lukash, Screw, Max, and Cap had already made camp in Pripyat. They were somewhat safe as I'd already removed those Freedom killjoy anomalies, but I did it just in case Skinflint was still in Army Warehouses, as I still wanted him as a trader. (Screw could still repair stuff and Lukash was doling out the tasks, including the "Protect Border" autoquest.)

Anyway I ran into a problem in Red Forest like ERForman's -- first time in a couple of years! -- and I wondered: What the heck was causing this issue? That wondering was nothing new, but this time I determined to find out.

I did the same tests ERForman did, jumping around the level to identify the crash zone via ZRP's Esc J. The zone was centered on that area where the north-bound road from Army Warehouses passes the east end of the above-ground tunnel, and of a size/shape to indicate a circle with a radius corresponding to something switching online. While I was testing this, I noticed that if I waited a bit coming down the road from the northeast cul-de-sac, I could move further south before crashing. And while I was waiting on that road making notes, the game crashed -- the CTD came to me.

So the entity was alive. Something about it was not compatible with switching online. I was going to find the code I had to enumerate items about a radius as I did before, but instead of looking that up I just started using the "Mark Objects by Partial Name" ZSU script (posted on page 249 of this thread) to mark entities I thought might be in the area, like bloodsuckers ("krovosos"), controllers and dogs.

Using "dog_" in the edit box (400 hits) yielded the only result that showed something in the area: a couple of normal blind dogs. The mouse-over popups for the displayed red circles would alternate between the dogs as they were apparently traveling together.

With ZSU's Execute Lua Command utility I exec'ed the helper function in z.script called object_by_name() and released the resulting value:

exec bad_dog = z.object_by_name("dog_normal3555")
bad_dog
-- the above returns "userdata"; done to confirm not nil before using next command
exec alife():release(bad_dog, false)

I did that also for "dog_normal3556". I made a save, then proceeded to approach their former location. No crash.

I reloaded the save. Same thing; the area was clean and the game didn't exit on me.

I then played for almost five hours straight without further incident*, visiting the area several times. One of those dogs was apparently the culprit, and I don't know why any online dog would be problematic beyond my speculation about having "touched" a now-deleted anomaly -- and that shouldn't be a problem anyway, as the anomalies are no longer deleted, just rendered harmless and invisible.

I plan to find and polish that script to identify the entities and objects in a particular zone so that the troubleshooting time can be reduced.

tl;dr: I used ZRP's utilities while in the game to isolate, identify and remove the cause of my triple-xrGame.dll stack trace crash. The result was a true fix.

Edit: Added a bit more clarity.

__________
*I could have played further, but time and tide called. They were really ticked.
  01:37:55  30 January 2012
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Lijenstina
Doom metal in the shade of the flying radiators
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 07/23/2005
 

Message edited by:
Lijenstina
01/30/2012 2:47:59
Messages: 1902
Glad I could help.

gulag_radar.ltx has some errors. The biggest one is that a section is missing.


[rad_monolith]
combat_type = monolith

----------------кулак v долине-----------------
[logic@rad_valley_kamp]
active = kamp@rad_valley_kamp
on_combat = combat@rad_monolith




Seems that instead of the section combat@rad_monolith there is the rad_monolith section. Also there are bad comment (-- instead of ; ) and
for some reason they've called the hit section on death.
  02:37:20  30 January 2012
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ERForman
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 04/12/2007
Messages: 224

---QUOTATION---
I then played for almost five hours straight without further incident*, visiting the area several times. One of those dogs was apparently the culprit, and I don't know why any online dog would be problematic beyond my speculation about having "touched" a now-deleted anomaly -- and that shouldn't be a problem anyway, as the anomalies are no longer deleted, just rendered harmless and invisible.

I plan to find and polish that script to identify the entities and objects in a particular zone so that the troubleshooting time can be reduced.

tl;dr: I used ZRP's utilities while in the game to isolate, identify and remove the cause of my triple-xrGame.dll stack trace crash. The result was a true fix.

Edit: Added a bit more clarity.

__________
*I could have played further, but time and tide called. They were really ticked.
---END QUOTATION---



I learned early on that the best way to dispatch a large number of dogs was to get them to chase after me and run into the anomalies in the narrow area by the barbwire fence high on the hill. Save a lot of ammo that way. Did you "touch" those anomalies while experimenting?
  06:59:56  30 January 2012
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BobBQ
2007-2017
(Resident)

 

 
On forum: 07/30/2007
Messages: 3336
I regret to report that I have found no new bugs whatsoever.

Also, the story is far from over.
  08:44:37  30 January 2012
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romulous
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 12/28/2007
Messages: 1868

---QUOTATION---
I regret to report that I have found no new bugs whatsoever.
---END QUOTATION---



Same here. Annoyances, yes (Petruha's voice calls to Wolf even when he has just died in the raid, NPC's staying in their 'threat detected' pose for example) - bugs, no.
  21:14:59  4 February 2012
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NatVac
Senior Resident
 

 
On forum: 06/15/2007
 

Message edited by:
NatVac
02/05/2012 6:52:30
Messages: 4185
Just a quick news update before I return to the real-life spare-time killers demanding my attention:

The Metacognix website went dark 30 January for most visitors, soon after I touted its high reliability. Only about a fifth of the normal traffic has been successfully accessing it. I only know this because it briefly returned to life for me Thursday (2 February) allowing me to download the backlogged mail and logs. It might be a last-hop router problem or something similar at the web hosting site. So Mr. "Down for everyone or just me?", whose tools told him it was just him: It isn't just you.

While the web hosting company has acknowledged the problem, I don't know what they are doing to fix it. If the issue continues for much longer, I'll act on one or more of the alternatives I'm considering. I guess I'm fortunate that the current demand for bug fixes is not that great for this five-year-old game.

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Lijenstina, I'm under the impression that they modified their parser to handle the Lua comment syntax in the LTX files as well as the C/C++ comment syntax in Lua script files -- cf. the end of bind_stalker.script. As I did with the ShoC_Treatment version of that file, I still make the files conform to the rules for the compatibility with outside editors (syntax coloring), checkers and parsers (like Don Reba's LTX checker) and personal aesthetics.

With all that is wrong in rad_valley_kamp, I wouldn't expect it to be working at all.

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>> Did you "touch" those anomalies while experimenting?

ERForman, I "touched" them the way I've done since the first version of 1.07, so nothing new there. That doesn't mean everything is fine with that approach of simply moving the anomalies offline.

But I've done a lot of stress testing on that path with the vanilla all.spawn with actions that are not normally done (see my previous post) and I might have complicated matters a bit further with the experiments using the ShoC_Treatment files. For example, I've been using saves where the ZRP main menu script was embedded in a gamedata.dbs file, and my current saves are using script-free versions of .db4, .dba, and .dbb, with all the ShoC_Treatment scripts in gamedata.dbbb by themselves.

Other than that glitch (formerly known as "show-stopper" ), the game has been pretty smooth and trouble-free other than the usual vanilla-related stuff.

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BobBQ, I'm surprised you have any time left at all, what with novel writing, play-throughs/analyses/cataloging of the plethora of beta versions, real life -- any of which could be a full-time occupation for me -- on top of your weaponry hobby. Any contributions from you are bonuses above that.

>> Also, the story is far from over.

That's great news, although this venue might not be the most public. I normally don't follow serials because I'm often disappointed when they are not completed. I have often waited until the last book is out before buying the whole set, but that approach has availability problems of its own. I do enjoy good writing with believable and interesting characters (who do not have to be likeable) in a plot revealed via a lot of show rather than tell, especially when accompanied by subtle proof of the author's expertise in the related subject matters, so I won't stop reading your stuff.
__________

---QUOTATION---
Annoyances, yes (Petruha's voice calls to Wolf even when he has just died in the raid, NPC's staying in their 'threat detected' pose for example)
---END QUOTATION---


romulous, I will be dealing some of that stuff (especially the NPCs' selective short-term memory loss over seeing bodies they just saw moments before) just as soon as I vacuum the horse carcass dust out of the air.

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Side note to ZaGaR: Once upon a time you wanted a no-frills bug fix sans annoyance tweaks, something of an updated bardak's bfa. I think a packed gamedata.dbbb (or gamedata.dbb2, or whatever fits between .dbb and .dbc) might be the drag-n-drop answer, containing the ShoC_Treatment scripts as a base along with the other bug fixes like the tushkano fix in config\creatures\game_relations.ltx and the waypoint crash fixes in the all.spawn.

I don't yet know the order of processing gamedata.xdb* relative to gamedata.db* files; while .xdb files should work on both NA/WW and RU versions I would like the player to still be able to choose patch 4 or patch 5 or patch 6. The .dbbb/.dbbn solution would need two versions but it would work.

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