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Bugfixing and other excitement

As I write this, we're in the process of making VO 1.7.32, which will hopefully be out in a few hours. If not, something nasty must have cropped up, but it'll be out this week. Anyway, this is mostly another bugfix release with a few minor added features.

Most importantly, after this point, we would really appreciate it if people report any instances of: 1) the bug where the station shows nothing for sale, and 2) any instances of people being unable to login (even for short periods, like a few minutes). These are the two biggest bugs impacting things right now, and they're totally different, but we're aiming to fix the first one tonight, and add monitoring for the second. However, if either still occur, we'll need all the feedback we can get, so please post to the messageboard (Bugs forum, even General if it's major, whatever) or use the "Submit Bug Report" form.

The first problem has probably cropped up due to some changes made for integrating Kourier, relating to how the station data is sent to the client. Andy and Ray are trying to sort that out now. The second problem is a bit more mysterious, Erlang is pausing out for some reason, and then coming back. We're writing some Kourier-specific monitoring scripts to notify us if it ever happens, and also looking into using some Erlang functionality that'll let us better debug and monitor exactly what's going on. Fortunately, Erlang has a lot of cool tools for this kind of use. So far, the stalled-login issue has not been a significant problem (it's similar to the problem we had for long periods, weekend before last, but that was unrelated and has since been fixed). However, we have seen it pop up this morning, for about 5 minutes.

Migratory bugs like this are a given when doing a major codebase change, the way we have. Like any software company, we go out of our way to try and stress test functionality, and design to mitigate such problems, but inevitably other problems crop up as soon as you're using the system in the "real world". It doesn't say anything bad about Erlang, these transitional and often platform-specific hiccups are part of the process. Overall, things are very stable and working well, but please help us out and report any instances of either of these issues.

On the upside, once we sort through the growing pains, we should have a very scalable foundation on which to build a lot of dynamic gameplay. That is the point of all of this work, and we're very nearly there. Delivery/Escort missions are now entirely on Kourier (Erlang), and working great.

Moving on to brighter topics, Ray has added coloration to cargo crates, much as was suggested here. The coloration only affects their visibility in the game itself, not on radar. Their radar blips are unchanged. This should be really useful for those taking the Orun Processor missions, or anything the revolves around occasional quest-item type drops. There are six classes, ore, CtC, scrap metal, trade goods, addons, and "special" items (special bot drops, mission items, etc). Each class has a different color.

People will also be auto-joined to Nation chat (channel 11) by default, much as suggested here.

That's about it for now. I'm going to be getting back to a lot of design-oriented stuff this week, taking a fresh look at the Faction/FF changes (which have been taking forever), and also the next phase of Kourier evolution: dynamic large-scale combat (sector conquest, yadda yadda). I sincerely hope that the Trac wiki and ticket setup will be ready for public viewing in the near future. I've been distracted for the last couple of months with various immediate-term high-priority projects that crop up. Now, though, I will hopefully be able to focus a bit more fully on documenting things and filling out the wiki for public perusal.

As always, thanks for your support, please report any bugs, keep the suggestions coming, and most of all.. have fun.