Well, what a week! The headline is: absolutely everything is now done except for one bug and one technical issue. It is striking and extremely pleasing how much I’ve been able to get done in this past week of really focusing on URR. The list of remaining bugs has just evaporated: and as such, here’s a list of everything that got fixed this week:

Monday:

  • Fixed issues with insults sometimes generating incorrectly for people from non-feudal civilizations.
  • Worked on greetings and farewell, which are now working correctly in all cases, and identified an issue with compliments sometimes causing a crash (in the case of “Strong Compliments”) which needs to be fixed.
  • Monasteries can no longer spawn on mountains, because doing so resulted in a monastery that was half-buried in the size of a mountain, and half of its doors were presumably buried deep in the cliff face.
  • A few buildings that behaved strangely when you visited at night, and then returned in the day, no longer behave strangely.
  • Monasteries sometimes didn’t spawn at all – this should have been resolved, and all nations with a monastic religious policy should indeed get monasteries in their territories.

Tuesday:

  • The doors to docks in towns can no longer generate in water sometimes; you are always guaranteed an area of dry land around the dock to stand on.
  • Removed guards from inside mints and inside banks because there is a long-term persistent issue here (see previous blog posts), the cause of which I just cannot find at the moment. As such, given that the priority is release: these guards just no longer spawn, and I’ll add them back in later.
  • Resolved an issue with merchants sometimes not being able to identify a home in a town, and getting stuck in a door-searching loop, desperately trying to find somewhere to sleep after a day of hard, draining… merching.

Wednesday:

  • Monasteries will appear on the “city view” when moving around the world, if they are close enough to a city to fit into the grid. (They were previously invisible on this view).
  • Ice and water generation around a dock has been improved, and should now guarantee a path from the dock to the rest of the town.
  • Handled comments from people who belong to one of a random set of religions (e.g. in a state with a liberal religious policy) or people who belong to no fixed religion – they now respond correctly in all cases when asked about their spiritual beliefs.

Thursday:

  • Crowds in banks which were too large to find enough chairs to sit on have now been partially exterminated to ensure the bank can continue to serve its existing (and highly valued) customers.
  • Extensively tested the now-guard-free interiors of banks and mints, and confirmed that they consistently generate correctly and cause no strange bugs.
  • Realised monasteries could still, technically, spawn on a volcano, and promptly removed that possibility.
  • Confirmed that docks work with all possible variations of town -> city, city -> town, city -> city, town -> town, and with saving/loading in-between actions, and with movement or no movement between dock uses. This should all be sorted now.

Friday:

  • Resolved the issue with compliments (and, as it turned out, insults as well) by correctly getting them to be called when an NPC, or the player, needs to utter one.
  • Fixed an issue with desert fortresses that the player repeatedly stepped in and out of at different times of way, causing merchants to behave strangely.
  • Fixed the generation of a number of insults and compliments where strange grammar was involved.
  • Fixed a small number of sentence generations keeping the placeholder words, such as “[complimentstart]”, rather than putting the correct words in their place.
  • Resolved an issue where words would not capitalise correctly after certain sentence-ending puncutation marks.

As such, there is now only ONE THING on my bug list! Just one! It might, however, be a big one I’m increasingly finding some troubling memory leak stuff going on – for instance, loading a world which is only 70mb (in the Windows folder) consumes 400mb+ of my computer’s memory. Loading and then reloading also causes memory leak, to the point where doing it too much results in the game crashing because it just doesn’t have the memory to hold what it’s trying to hold. Clearly there is some serious duplication of saving and loading and so forth going on here, and this is what I need to hunt down. I have no idea how long this will take – maybe it’ll be as trivial and inserting a “delete” function somewhere once you’ve saved the world and it should no longer be held in the game’s memory, but maybe it won’t be. These sorts of “technical” bug-fixes are always the ones I struggle with the most, too, so I’m not looking forward to it.

Either way: this semester at the University of Sydney I’m teaching an undergraduate module on digital research methods, and with only a week between returning from leave and teaching starting, I need to focus on module prep and getting started for the next week or two. But: aside from this memory leak bug, I… I think… I think we’re done! I think 0.8 is done! It’s amazing what can be done in a week of concentrated effort – I must confess, this has been a real psychological boost for me as well, regarding URR, to see how quickly serious work can be done (even if a little bit of it was just pushing bugs back to a later version to be properly fixed!). I’ll get working on that memory leak bug as soon as possible, and then all that needs doing is making sure the executable works on Win 10 (this being the “technical issue” noted above), and we’re good to go. More soon, I hope…!

Oh, and lastly, there are some new articles on my Publications page which might be of interest, particularly one about world-building…

39 Comments

    • It is! Tentatively hoping to return to it next week, but no promises – as ever, things are hard, and I’ll get back to it as soon as possible.

  • Cannot wait for a playable Win 10 version, been keeping up with this game for a while and eagerly anticipating finally being able to play it. Looks like you’ve done some very very impressive work here, and I’m so glad you’re in a better place mentally and physically, you deserve it. Keep up the amazing work!

  • So thrilled to learn this!

    Congratulations on pushing through. A lot has happened & I hope that you are in a much better place than you’ve been of late.

    Mayhaps 1.0 will be FOSS and you can crowdsource the workload 🙂

    • Thanks so much Ted! I am, actually. I’m not 100% physically or psychologically recovered from the concussion – and it was a whole year ago :/ – but the overall trajectory is definitely an upward one. And I’m afraid I’m not going open source, but if I was doing it all over again, would I have added some crowdsourcing… maybe!

  • If you’re using c++, and it sounds like you might be, might I suggest that you replace all your pointers of things with smart pointers? They do reference counting and automatically delete things that are no longer being referenced by anything (such as when the last reference to an object leaves scope).

    If that’s not what you would like to do, you could study the problem by creating a reference creation/deletion log and analysing it for uneven creations with lack of deletions.

    I’m really looking forward to playing this!!!! Woo! Very exciting! Add blinking eyes! Woo!! 😛

    • I’m using Python as it happens! I’m sure there will be a fairly easy way to solve it, hopefully, and if not I certainly have no objection to posting the problem on Stack Overflow or some equivalent and getting advice from the better programmers than I am. Fingers crossed it won’t be too much of a pain!

    • Hi! Do you mean the update or the release? (I assume you mean the release, since this obviously the promised update, which went rather better than expected!). As below, just two things left to sort for the release, and I’ll be getting to those when I can.

  • Thanks for all your work on URR. I also quite enjoyed reading your article about worldbuilding. I hope your class goes well!

    • Thanks crowbar, I’m glad you liked it! These sorts of pieces are never going to be my central academic work, because to some extent one needs to focus on areas where there’s funding, major interest, etc, but I do enjoy writing them.

    • Thanks Jesse! Teaching this week went well, so I’m feeling pretty good about the rest of term once I settle into the rhythm a bit more.

  • Hey Mark – this is incredibly good news from where I sit, I give you huge congrats and internet high fives! I cannot wait to jump into the new features. I work as a professional game dev on one of the world’ biggest and most beloved franchises, and I have already taken inspiration from what’s already been released. Seeing what you’ve posted about 0.8 so far, I’m excited to explore more of this amazing reality-generator you have going 🙂 Thank you from one dev to another.

  • It’s been more than a week since I commented, so hey, I hope you’re having fun working on the memory issues!

    Great work!

    • Have only been able to do a little on them, but I think it actually might end up being surprisingly trivial to fix. We’ll see – another update should appear in the next few days, I hope (although it’s an update about when I plan to fix these, not an update with, er, updates!).

    • I’ve been heavily focused on my day job for the last few weeks as term starts and online teaching gets going, but another mini update should appear soon…

  • Hey Mark, As these things go, your game popped into my head this morning. It’s been years. Many, many years.. i honestly don’t know when I last checked in on it. I’m really happy to see that it’s still alive in it’s own way and that your coming to some kind of finish line with it. All the best with the last leg of work, i’ll be looking out for it.

    • Hey Ben, thanks for the message! I super appreciate the sentiment, it’s lovely to see people still stumbling on it at this late stage. Very much warms my heart.

  • Mark! So Excited for this, congrats on being this close to release! It’s been so much work, and it’s been a joy watching your process unfold as it went on! Congrats 🙂

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