30 June 2010

Welcome to V657

Details for this update may be read here.  Have fun exploring!

29 June 2010

Remember My Name

You equip your shirt named “the color of Shadows”, which is in nearly perfect condition.
Yappy quickly swaps clothing with the mannequin.

Close.  Very, very close.  I now need to insure that current mannequins handle the new data structure correctly and remember the clothing's name.

28 June 2010

One Less Bug (Or Two)

I had been banging my head against the proverbial wall as I tried to understand what was wrong with the huntmaster.npc script.  I had added an Iron Man mode on a whim, which made the challenge end upon the player's fall.  The problem, as reported on the Sentinel, was that this mode was now getting applied to all hunts.

Today I debugged the script.  I thought that there was one bug, but it turns out that there were two separate bugs.  The two bugs were not related – only in that both were careless typos.

The first bug was causing the server to log a high volume of errors; this happened when a person on a challenge bumped a non-monster, like an NPC or even another player (I imagine).  This was a stupid error on my part, as I had typed

if ( ! target.thingType == kThingMonster ) continue;

instead of

if ( target.thingType != kThingMonster ) continue;

So yeah, that was filling the server log with errors.  Whoops!  The second bug was the way that I had parsed the Iron Man mode.  This took me a little while to understand (as at this time I was still convinced that there was one bug, not two separate bugs), but after putting in a couple of lines of debugging code I saw what I had done wrong – a silly mistake, really – and fixed it right away.

What a relief.  Now I may return to the mannequin bug.  I think I will need to reread the script, as I have forgotten the problem!

27 June 2010


I found myself AFK today for much longer than I had anticipated, resulting in minimal debugging.

Monday is Bugday, and I plan to devote the day to resolving the outstanding bugs.

26 June 2010


It was nice to see 40+ players online, if only for a short while.

25 June 2010

Close Parentheses.

I surprised myself with the volume of content that I had submitted this update – just over 35 areas.  A lot of the areas are bug fixes, including one that I had been dragging my heels on resolving because of the amount of time required to fix it.  I am certain that the mystics will appreciate the fix.

I still have a day or two to slide in my script changes, including the fixes for the Iron Man huntmaster bug and the mannequin bug.  I may need some help with the former, as I do not understand the errors that I am receiving.

None of my quests made it in this update, colon-hyphen-open parentheses.  However, I should not feel bad about that, as the trade off was that instead of submitting new content for V657, I instead closed out numerous bug cases.  That's worth a close parentheses.

24 June 2010


I have a long "To Do" list  for V657, and did absolutely nothing this evening.  Content for the update is due tomorrow.

I wish I could motivate myself.

23 June 2010


The other day I logged on and noticed that the eleven people online comprised of
  • one individual double-clicking in the foothills,
  • one individual double-clicking in Metz cove,
  • one individual triple-clicking (!) in noids,
  • one bot healer in town,
  • one bot librarian,
  • one solo hunter in the east forest,
  • and myself.
I do not know if I can adequately describe how troubled I felt witnessing this.  The heart and soul of Clan Lord has always been its community, and even though the population has declined, the sense of community has remained strong.  This is partly due to the role that players fill on a hunt: a hunt organizer determines what is needed for the hunt and seeks to fill those roles by contacting various players.  Sometimes players have hunted together and know each other, and other times new faces are introduced and new individuals are met.  Such interaction with each other strengthens the CL community as a whole.

I can not say the same for double-clicking.  It is an anti-social practice, and I feel that it is slowly strangling the game.  I wonder how many times a player playing a healer has logged on, asked if healing services were needed somewhere and then logged off because those roles were being fulfilled by double-clickers.  And as more people double-click, less roles require fulfilling.

I understand that sometimes a player may find it easier to just double-click instead of going through the hassle of organizing a hunt.  Others may not have the time to organize a hunt.  Some players may simply wish to be alone.  And I understand that the population is low and that there are time when there are no other people online to fill a hunting role.  This is when the problem becomes cyclical in nature.

I wish I knew how to address this problem.

22 June 2010

There Is No Bug.

There is no bug.

I was searching for a bug which was, I thought, a problem in the way that experience was distributed.  It turns out that there is no bug at all: there are a couple of safety measures within the experience distribution code that throttle how experience is doled.  Everything is cool and groovy.  There is no bug.

I have a tendency to thrash instead of swim when I am in deep, unfamiliar waters.  Clan Lord's experience system is deep and complicated and a subject on which I never bothered to study because I had no reason to learn it.  After seeing the reported /bug cases, and "duplicating" the reported incident, I wrongly believed that there was a problem and panicked and stressed and tried to fix something that wasn't broken at all.  The lesson that I've learned from this experience was that should I ever again plunge into scripting waters that are deep and over my head, I will need to behave a little more like Michael Phelps and a lot less like Chicken Little.

Thanks to ServerGM for clarifying that there is no bug.

21 June 2010

Not Quite So Elementary.

I spent this evening bug hunting.  In order to do this, I had to log on as a normal player for an hour or so.  Numerous players sunstoned me, and although I could not focus on a coherent conversation, the messages were welcomed and made the drudgery of this bug hunt a little more bearable.

I did not find the cause of the bug, but I was able to eliminate what did not cause the bug.  Doyle's Sherlock Homes would have been a good computer programmer.

20 June 2010

Clan Lord, According To Murphy

Analyzing and correcting the Iron Man bug has been plenty challenging.  However, I had to set this bug aside in order to address a higher priority bug which surfaced this afternoon.  This bug may be beyond my ability to fix, so I have asked for help.

Sheesh.  I was under the belief that I would have a skip-through-the-park weekend fixing the mannequin bug, and two gnarly, hard-to-fix bugs surface, programmed by Murphy himself.

19 June 2010

De-rusting Iron Man

My debugging priorities changed this weekend after learning that my Iron Man option to the hunt master challenges is somehow getting applied to all hunt challenges.  What's really odd is that I am now experiencing server errors that I had not previously experienced during testing on the test server.  I hope to have this resolved by this weekend, as I am now entering Update Week.

So much for the surprise of the Iron Man challenge.  This was not the kind of surprise that I had in mind!

17 June 2010

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

My RL deadline was met a day early.  This was a great relief for me, and after a long day of work I relaxed this evening by running a small invasion the east field.

It's tricky running an invasion, as I can never predict on who will attend (although I have grown apt at predicting who will not attend).  It's a bit of a balancing act: I want to include enough low level monsters for the weaker exiles, but I also want to give the veterans a bit of a challenge.

When the mini-boss was discovered in the Orga Camp, I was very pleased to hear one player ask the other players to wait before killing the boss orga, allowing others to gather around and participate within the battle, taking their best shot at the boss.  This lead me to think of an idea: what if there was a monster whose reward grew in proportion to the number of people who hit it?  Such a monster would be a guaranteed slaughter when soloed, but it would be a dispatch when five people tagged it, a kill when ten people tagged it and a vanquish when 15 or more people tag it.  The idea behind this monster is that it rewards participation of larger groups.

Clan Lord isn't really designed to support this type of a reward payout, but I betcha I could rig one – which leads to the question is this good design?  I'll give this some more thought before giving it a shot.

16 June 2010

Designer Names

I made some progress with the mannequin script this evening; I believe I have a good outline for reading and writing clothing names.  I will need to think a little more on bullet-proofing the reading and writing functions before testing the enhanced script on the test server.

Progress has been slow on addressing this project because a RL project is currently commanding my attention.  The deadline for this project is Friday, and I expect that I will have have ample time for Team Fortress 02 debugging and testing the mannequin script throughout the weekend.

15 June 2010

One Step Up

I began reviewing one of the housing scripts.  Just as I had dreaded, this script is hard.  Fortunately for me, the authors of the script left some pretty good documentation so I was able to follow the procedures.

The particular problem that I am focusing upon involves housing mannequins.  There are two problems with them (well, three if you count a suggestion, which technically isn't a problem):
  1. They do not support /names. If you give your article of clothing a /name and then store it on a mannequin, you may have noticed that the name gets erased when retrieving the article of clothing.
  2.  Fighter belts (and I assume bard belts) do not display their colors properly upon mannequins. There also seems to be a bug where players who deposit their belts upon a mannequin take the belt colors of the mannequin, which appear to be black and white.
  3. All mannequins look like female sylvans and do not support other races/genders.  A suggestion has been made to support various races and genders, and this may require a bit of planning: if I can think of a simple way to do this then I will do it in a heartbeat (perhaps the simplest way to do it is have two mannequin sellers: one that sells the standard female sylvan style, and the other seller creates a mannequin based on the race and gender of the bumping player).  Consider this suggestion "on the list."
This script alone will keep me busy for the next couple of evenings.  The first step that I took on improving this script was to make a couple of light Socks touch-ups.  It was a small step – a baby step – but it was still a step forward towards resolving the problems with this script.

I hope that I don't come across problems that force me two steps back.

14 June 2010

Playing Catch-up

I am glad that I spent some time fixing bugs over the weekend as I was AFK on Monday much longer than I had anticipated and, with the exception of some quest design that I did earlier in the morning, I was unable to do any meaningful developmental work on Clan Lord.  I shall have to work a little harder to make up for the lost day.

13 June 2010

Sunday Debugging

I spent another evening closing out some of the less complicated bugs.

A good portion of the bug cases aren't really bugs but are instead requests for features.  I intend on addressing some of these requests throughout the week:
  • Merchants should be able to see selected items within your inventory bag in addition to the items held in your hand
  • More baked goods, more ingredients
  • Coffee should give an energy boost
These are light and breezy changes and should add some fun to the game.  Then there are the bug bugs, which will take a little more work:
  • Clothing mannequins forget the names of clothing
  • Players should be able to abandon their homes
These two bugs are going to be involved projects, and I know that they will require a lot of my time.  And on top of this, I still have my quests languishing in the background which I want done and in for V657.

Where am I going to find time to do this?  I need to either clone myself or play less Team Fortress.

12 June 2010

A Jump On Bugday

Although it's still a couple of days before Monday (and as I have mentioned in the past, Monday is Bugday), I spent a couple of hours this evening reviewing the new bug logs and fixing some of the easier bugs.  There are some very involved script-related bugs on the list, and I know that there is going to be a lot of time invested into resolving a small portion of these bugs.

I sometimes feel frustrated by my limitations as a scripter: some of the bugs, like problems with housing and fighter subclasses, will demand a deeper understanding of Clan Lord scripting than I currently possess.  However, when I look back over my shoulder on the work that I have done and see how much I've grown and learned over the last six months, I have no doubt that I can apply myself and learn and understand those complicated scripts.  Maybe I can do that by Monday.

And maybe – just maybe – someday I will understand the pathfinding script.

11 June 2010


This is the beginning of the end of my Clan Lord development.

I wish I were stronger, but I am weak. I wonder if I can have food mailed to my home?

[Update]:  I played for a couple of hours this evening, and really enjoyed myself.  I can understand why Slarty introduced a variation of this game to Puddleby.  I just wish that I had my twitch reflexes of twenty years ago.

10 June 2010

Day 183.

Today is a milestone of sorts: I have been updating this blog on a daily basis for the past six months.

The genesis of this blog was motivated by selfishness: I wanted to read a daily status report of Clan Lord development.  There was no such resource, so in true do-it-yourself fashion I decided to make this blog for my own entertainment.  There have been some challenges filing a daily entry – how much do I say?  How much do I reveal?  How much do I spoil?  Surprises are nice, and I have made some entries that I now regret, as I feel I have robbed players of the delight of that surprise.

Spoilers aside, I have enjoyed sharing my experiences of game development.  I am grateful that I have the opportunity to contribute to a game that I have loved playing for the last eleven years.  Here's to the next 183 daily entries!

09 June 2010

Welcome to V654

Details for this update may be read here.

Have fun exploring!

08 June 2010

The State of Oz

Nunul started a thread on the Sentinel inquiring about the state of game development and if there were any motivated GMs.  I learned of this thread because one of the thread's reply had pointed to my Twitter feed – which accounted for the inexplicable doubling of my followers from four to eight.

My involvement with the Sentinel went from daily replies in most threads to daily reading of all threads to daily browsing of all threads to daily scanning of some threads.  While I admire the passion and energy of the Sentinel contributors, I openly admit that its tone often saddens me, and sadness is not a feeling that I should experience while reading a game forum.  As a result, I find my involvement lessening within that forum.  Ignorance is bliss.

I can not speak for the other Wizards Behind The Curtain, but if one desires the State of Oz, one need only read this blogs.  (Hey, that rhymed.)

07 June 2010

An AFK, Of Sorts

This upcoming week promises to be busy for me, so my blog entries – and all of my Clan Lord development – may indirectly suffer as a result.

06 June 2010

No Comment.

While it is the GM's policy not to comment upon ongoing storylines, I will say that I was very entertained by this afternoon's story.

It is my hope that everyone involved enjoyed it as much as I did.

05 June 2010

The Deep End of the Pool

I have been developing several tools for helpers.  One specific tool has been the focus of my attention as of late, and as I have been working on the script and the tool's functionality I have realized with a sense of uneasiness that I may have undertaken an overly ambitious project.

I am feeling very much like the boy standing poolside watching the other boys and girls jump off from the diving board into the water.  "I can jump off from that board too," I think to myself, and as I leap and plummet towards the water I ask myself a question I should have asked earlier: what happens after entering the water?  I can't swim.

Perhaps I should master the shallow wading pool before entering the deep waters of Clan Lord data management.

04 June 2010

V654 Is Behind Me

I am so exhausted.

03 June 2010

Mobilizing Quests

I invested a lot of time adding and testing functionality to an existing script: I've enabled quest NPCs to walk around.  "That's not new," you may think, and you are correct – there are several quest NPCs that have the ability to move around.

In truth, I did the reverse: I took the "walk around" script that powers NPCs' motion and enabled that to support quests.  I did not enable quest NPCs to walk: I enabled walking NPCs to quest.  The last generation of GMs wrote some pretty good modular scripts, and all that was required on my part was to (1) realize that I could pair the walk-around script with the quest script, and (2) plug the connecting wires between the two scripts.

I'm so happy right now.  This opens some new quest ideas, and I'm very excited to utilize this functionality.

02 June 2010

Snarks and Snipes

I continued with development of two quests for V654, but only after first returning to the recursive interrupt problem.  I did some testing and discovered that this issue extended beyond the one script which I mistakenly believed was the source of the complication.  The ServerGM has some ideas on addressing this concern – and I say "concern" because while it's a problem, it's not a game-breaking problem, but it's still something that requires attention and resolution.

Two days remaining until the V654 submission deadline.  I need to focus on quests and stop hunting snipes.  Or hunting snarks.

01 June 2010


Look what I found:
Script[/beltofthewild] got recursive interrupt with arg = 3.
In this case, "arg = 3" is pronounced "arrrggghhh3!" which is best cried in a Charlie-Brown-just-got-the-football-pulled-away-from-him voice.   I spent today hunting down a bug that has been happening for who knows how long within the ranger's belt of the wild.  I discovered this bug while adding some filtering support for a certain quest reward item.  In short, this means that the belt was trying to unequip itself multiple times.  Now I need to figure out where this is happening.

I may have to put this quest on hold for V654 and come back to it for V657.  I hope that I can find the source of this problem by that time.