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American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug?

 
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American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 9/29/2018 1:30:08 AM   
biddrafter2

 

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I'm a fan of the American Civil War scenario found here. I played it several times in TOAW3.

I wanted to try this for the first time in TOAW IV but ran across an apparent bug in the Theater Options. First theater option set for Union Turn 1 shows all options for side 1 and 2. If you end the turn and start as the Confederates, no options are available. Looks like a conversion from TOAW3 didn't work properly?

I'm going to play around with the scenario file and see if I can fix it. Anyone else see anything like this and have pointers?

Thanks!

PS: I'm using the patch v4.0.1.23





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< Message edited by jakobscalpel -- 9/29/2018 2:17:04 AM >
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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 9/29/2018 2:15:41 AM   
biddrafter2

 

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If anyone else gets a chance to dump this scenario out to text.... I found another oddity. If you search for the text of the first Theater Option "Blockade Southern Ports" in my screenshot above, you'll discover that the text is not visible in the scenario dump anywhere. Also, I cannot find that text in the Event Editor within the scenario editor. I must be doing something wrong.

-EDIT-

Adding some additional details here:

1. Opened the original ACW scenario in TOAW3. Saved everything to the game XML format. The Blockade Southern Port Theater Option is missing from the dump

2. Opened the scenario from Parmenio's scenario viewer tool. The blockade theater option event is not there, only the events that are triggered by that theater option.

So, it seems like there are two issues:

1. Converting the ACW scenario from 3 to 4 causes the theater options to all appear under Force 1's view

2. Since it is not visible in any dumps or tools, it seems like at least the first event in the scenario is not being exported.

Again, my first assumption is always that I'm doing something incorrectly, so if anyone sees anything obvious please let me know!

< Message edited by jakobscalpel -- 9/29/2018 3:14:04 AM >

(in reply to biddrafter2)
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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 9/29/2018 4:13:20 AM   
sPzAbt653


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Where can we find this scenario ?

(in reply to biddrafter2)
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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 9/29/2018 5:44:35 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sPzAbt653

Where can we find this scenario ?

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4378913

He had the link included, Steve.

Klink, Oberst

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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 9/29/2018 11:28:11 AM   
sPzAbt653


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Thanks Klink!

Hi Chris - I have spent some time on this one and agree with everything you say, and I am afraid it is over my head! TOAW I was before my time and things were sometimes done a little differently than what I can figure out.

The point that "Blockade Southern Ports" cannot be found in the Dump tells me that something is corrupted.

I see by the Read Me that Silvanski did some work on this one in 2007. Maybe he still has his original files and can look into this [I only went as far back as TOAW 3.4.1.9]. You might try to contact him here if he doesn't see this thread:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/showProfile.asp?memid=15265

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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 9/29/2018 3:10:52 PM   
biddrafter2

 

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Thanks for taking a look so quickly and I'm glad to have confirmation I wasn't having Friday night hallucinations! I'll play around with this more today and see if I can figure anything out with a few XML hacks. I haven't spent much time with Events in the editor before so I'm counting on beginner's luck. If I discover anything useful I'll report it here.

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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 9/29/2018 6:24:38 PM   
biddrafter2

 

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I've done more research on this and am now convinced that, at least for this scenario, there are events in the scenario file that are not visible in either the Event Editor or in the full Game XML dump. Note that this scenario is considered "valid" when you check status.

1. In TOAW IV, as I described above, there is a clear Theater Option "Blockade Southern Ports" that appears when you play but is not visible in the editor or dump.

2. If you read through the events in the dump from IV the events don't make sense. It is clear that some trigger events are missing. A good example of this is the one I mention in #1, and also a missing "Begin the war" event.

3. The dump from the vB09 version of the scenario in TOAW3 matches that from IV. This means that the "extra event bug" was present in TOAW3 but it manifests differently during game play. The scenario works in TOAW3!

4. I found version vB04 on one of my old drives. When I dumped the XML from this scenario.... the missing events are there! Here are two examples:
<EVENT ID="19" TRIGGER="Turn" EFFECT="Theater Option 1" X="-30" Y="-141" VALUE="999" TURN="117" NEWS="Blockade Southern Ports"/>
<EVENT ID="401" TRIGGER="Event activated" CONTINGENCY="78" EFFECT="Enable event" X="-30" Y="-141" VALUE="77" NEWS="Begin the war"/>

Seeing this... I'd be concerned about any old TOAW3 scenario that contains a maximum number of events (500) that was converted to TOAW by opening and saving in TOAW IV. However, because similar symptoms appeared in TOAW3, this could have impacted older scenarios as well. It is almost like events can be "stuffed" into the scenario above the old 500 limit. Perhaps an issue with importing of the Game XML in the scenario editor? Just speculation....

Anyway, it only seems to be an issue during game play in IV. I'd be happy to help with further debugging if there is interest.

-- Edit --

One last item for now. If you open the .sce file in hex and look at the bottom of the file you can see the "Blockade Southern Ports" string. It is present in both the vB04 and vB09 versions. Looks like a write overflow to me but without knowing the scenario file format there is no way to know for sure. However, it would certainly explain why it is not visible in the UI.... maybe a counter before reading binary in a loop?

< Message edited by jakobscalpel -- 9/29/2018 6:54:54 PM >

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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 10/5/2018 1:19:47 AM   
biddrafter2

 

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I spent a little time today trying to figure out the .sce format, to see if I could debug the events stored in the scenario file that were not (apparently) reported correctly in either the Game XML or the Event Editor. I did not have any luck. It is a noisy format, with lots of change between saves even when nothing is touched. This is great to minimize/prevent tampering of competitive games, really annoying when trying find and fix a problem! The events themselves, or at least the news text of the events, is obfuscated so I can't use the text as a crude "counter" of active events.

I also used TOAW 3 Scenario Viewer to try and figure things out but the .NET code terminates at a dll that reads the scenario file. This dll returns the same messed up (again, apparently) events as the XML dump, which implies strongly that the XML dump and dll share the same bug, if there is a bug. Either way, it appears the game itself interprets the events differently than the visualization code.

Anyway, there doesn't seem to be much else I can do without input from those with access to the game code. I'll reiterate that I'm happy to help debug this at whatever level is most convenient (QA, code reading, code writing, etc).

(in reply to biddrafter2)
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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 10/5/2018 3:56:03 AM   
sPzAbt653


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Thanks for continuing to try. You know more about computers than I do, but the kind of thing seen below tells me that something got corrupted along the way. The shot is from v09 saved with TOAW IV. These aren't the only two events that lost their event triggers in this scenario.
I would rewrite the events myself if I felt the scenario were worth the effort. Aren't any other American Civil War scenarios worth playing so that this one can be skipped? Anything special about this one?




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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 10/5/2018 6:50:40 AM   
biddrafter2

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sPzAbt653
I would rewrite the events myself if I felt the scenario were worth the effort. Aren't any other American Civil War scenarios worth playing so that this one can be skipped? Anything special about this one?



Thanks sPzAbt653. I like the scenario because it is the entire Civil war. The other Civil war scenarios I've tried have been excellent, but geared towards a particular battle.

Incidentally, I'm only persisting stubbornly for two reasons:

1. This exact scenario works in TOAW III even with the "bug", which leads me to believe the scenario is very close to being playable.

2. I'm a little worried that other scenarios with 500 events that have been converted up the TOAW versions may have the same issue and it would be nice to identify the bug, if it exists. If we discover something that is causing issues in huge scenarios it sure would be nice to find and fix it.

That being said, you are correct that it may not be worth the effort and there are many other scenarios out there. It is moot without feedback from the developers at this point anyway.

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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 10/18/2018 3:38:23 AM   
biddrafter2

 

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I know there will be other, more important, issues after the steam release, but just wanted to mention that the odd "> 500" events behavior in this scenario still behaves the same in non-steam 4.1.0.4.

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RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 10/18/2018 8:28:32 AM   
sPzAbt653


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From: east coast, usa
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Steam has been and will continue to suck up time better spent elsewhere, but that is what people wanted

Still, I haven't seen proof that this issue is a TOAW issue. I'm still thinking it is a scenario corrupted during a conversion process. Have you seen the same/similar issue in any other scenario ? I have not, and while I certainly haven't been thru every old design, I have been thru many of them.

(in reply to biddrafter2)
Post #: 12
RE: American Civil War 0.9 Theater Options bug? - 10/18/2018 5:16:54 PM   
biddrafter2

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sPzAbt653
Still, I haven't seen proof that this issue is a TOAW issue. I'm still thinking it is a scenario corrupted during a conversion process. Have you seen the same/similar issue in any other scenario ?


I haven't seen this behavior in any other scenario but I haven't played too many of the large ones so I'm not a good source. It can't be too widespread or people would have reported it. I agree that if this issue is just a corrupted scenario then it is not Ralph's concern. However, I persist because:

1. The scenario declares itself valid in the editor
2. The scenario works in TOAW III and fails in TOAW IV, which strongly implies that it *is* a TOAW IV issue.
3. The fact that events are triggered that are not visible in the game XML dump or Event Editor is probably worth looking at, in my opinion.

(in reply to sPzAbt653)
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