A Developer’s Diary, Take 2

Torches are my favourite item! I always grab a torch when I need to test something. If it needs to be a candle or an exquisite sculpture, I can always shape it to my complicated needs. Today, torches have played an integral role in Deeppockets testing, and as fake candles to allow me to test a signet ring.

What have I done since the last post? Hmm.

I ran Stars for the first time in years; although it was actually Elizore’s file and he just had trouble getting it to run so I covered for him for the first rounds.

I’ve also submitted a few small projects to the approval queue, one of which is a cannon fix that blows the roc that is item descriptions vanishing when they’re blessed to smithereens. I cannot remember which ones were in the last time already, maybe something like 7 are new out of the 13 projects I have in the queue in total. They are bugfixes requiring more major modifications in code, essentially. (Latest one is Morin farm polishing that went in today.) I’ve gotten a large handful of returns on my projects, addressed the stuff and resubmitted everything for the moment.

I’ve reviewed a couple of small projects myself as they come up to Bravo (the new project tables are emptying quickly in World and Alpha besides Bravo, it seems – the only stuff waiting for a reviewer to show up is mine – and that’s because I’m submitting on the order of two projects a week). July and August have been relatively quiet in terms of reviewing other people’s work (everyone’s on holiday trips and whatnot), so I’ve had time to jump into frivolous hobby projects and random “bonus work” that would otherwise go away by itself. And poking my nose into other people’s business some more – rallying people behind yet another joint project, and helping with some coding problems. I suspect I still ask more questions on the wizard lines than I answer, though.

And, of course, there’s the keeping up with the bug and other boards. I went through an old bug queue implementation, porting the fixed-but-not-installed and the unfixed issues into my own tracker. Found multiple “oh, fixed this back when Drin was young, and forgot to ever get it installed” entries. This is why I need a tracker.

Current statistics of said tracker: 372 entries processed total (more than doubling vs. last post’s 158), 82 (vs. 29) completed and 280 pending, unfixed stuff. Task added every 2 hours, task completed every 12 hours on average (since “5 weeks” of use – I really dumped my todo/relevant-done list of about 4 weeks prior to that into this tool too, but that will become but a minor rounding error in a year). There are 8 quickie fixes waiting on install, 8 tasks delegated to others (although some I added readily delegated just to know someone had been fixing something interesting). Personal todo list of things not waiting on someone else: 26 items long. I suspect it has a somewhat higher percentage of medium-or-large-effort items now than during the first post, though. The easy ones vanish faster.

This weekend so far, I fixed the reported Morin farm bugs and implemented ideas from the last few years (submitted to approval queue, although I debated with myself if I should wait longer with it and/or do some “this isn’t really causing a bug but it’d be SMARTER to do it like this” polish too). Also coded a fix for an issue with blocks to ship boarding, and submitted a change to Deeppockets to puke out its contents when the player quits so the stuff doesn’t mysteriously vanish. And got one old slight misinstall of a fix (that causes no problems at the moment) properly installed. Beyond the last one, these aren’t installed yet – I wait until I have 10 or so waiting and then ambush my favourite global write access people to go through them as far as we can.

I’ve also investigated a couple of bigger tasks. Most notably, I’ve got a fix in the queue for adding NPCs to a room in a way that doesn’t make them double spawn. As a side effect of this, assuming that I’m not actively stopped by reviewers, I’m planning to drive down Star Caverns packrat, Harrke fuzzy (and possibly some foxes somewhere) spawning down to the “coded” level as opposed to the current level caused by a multispawn bug. In other words, imminent FUZZY NERFING. Evil wizard meddling taking place right here! The rotten tomatoes stand can be found on the left-hand side.

So, since this plan will probably burn up the positive karma I’ve collected by bugfixing more neutral or annoying bugs so far, I’ll be collecting a set of things to fix to ease the hate waves afterwards. (It’s not going to go in tomorrow, anyway. The fix library needs to be approved, which can take months, before I’ll go through the areas and submit the fixes using it, which again takes its time. But I figure I might as well get the shock value out now rather than wait for installation. You can take the time to plan up alternative ways to the goals my proposed change will make a smidgeon harder for you to reach. I already submitted a fix that will hopefully make me go down in history as the most successful werewolf farmer of all time, after I managed to have 4 werewolves in a room that was intended to only ever hold one.)

In other news, tomorrow night there’s going to be a Trivia and Stars Marathon run by Elizore, with monetary rewards that grow bigger if we can reach a 20+ player count through the marathon. Exact times are on the adv. board.

Aaand a week from now, Paldin is organizing a shifter meeting (exact times on the shifter board). You want to be there. I’ll summarize the goodie parts here but it’s obviously not as cool as being there yourself.

The week of August-September I’ll be swamped to my eyebrows in organizing a conference, so you probably won’t see me on much. I’m not going to push very hard on getting anything really useful done on the preceding weekend either, but this one seems to have still turned out ok.

Which was nice.

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