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Non-functional fleets

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 8:03 pm
by R. Ritnour
As many of you may have noticed, we have had a lot of issues this past year with fleets becoming unable to move. This has meant a lot of fleet fixes and a number of actions that have failed. We had not experienced these problems for many years because Thom had dealt with most of those fleet pointer issues in the previous iteration of the game before the fire that destroyed the cpu and backups in 2005. As we've looked over the possible reasons for the new problems, we've discovered a couple of types of player actions that were likely to be causing the issues.

The first issue seemed to be happening randomly when players attacked other player empire planets with missile strikes. It turns out that players were conducting missile strikes against planets of former and current allies who had dropped out of the game. The original game did not permit allies to attack each other. Somewhere along the way, the code was changed to allow this but the programmer failed to make all the changes necessary to keep fleet pointers from being screwed up. Added to that was an issue where the code checked for the fleet number of a fleet that was involved in combat but did not verify the empire number. If two fleets of different empires happened to have the same fleet number, the program picked the first one it encountered, and if it was the wrong fleet, pointer numbers got messed up.

The second issue was even more unexpected. It seems that some players have been engaging in a practice that I call "self merging" of fleets to change the position of the ships in the fleet. A self merge is where I would merge a fleet into itself. This sometimes worked but at other times, it screwed up fleet pointers, causing ships to fall out of the fleet list and be lost. In other cases it caused ships to point back to other ships in the fleet thereby causing an infinite loop that required significant down time to repair it and clean up the turn record before releasing the turn.

So, I tell you all this in order to ask that you make sure you are not allied to the empire of the planet you plan to missile strike and, please refrain from self merging your fleets. Merge the ships you want to rearrange, into a separate fleet and then you can merge from there back to the fleet you want to adjust. That will save you the frustration of fleets with inoperative drives.


R. Ritnour

Re: Non-functional fleets

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2021 11:37 pm

I've been re-arranging some invasion fleet as I like to have the "big guns" up front. I usually do this with a fleet with a different number but could you clarify "self merging your fleets" so I don't make this mistake.