VCMI 0.83 released!


#1

Hello,
we’re are happy to present you VCMI 0.83 build. It brings several new, interesting features, including alliances, town events, special week and month events. There is also significant progress with MP and campaigns support, though these features are still not really usable.

We have done a number of bugfixes - about 35 issues have been resolved. Please check the changelog below and bugtracker for the list.

Check items implementation status for the full information about which map objects, town structures, skills, spells, artifacts, creature abilities and victory conditions are supported.

Download link: forum.vcmi.eu/dload.php?action=download&id=19 (4.0MB, ZIP Archive)
A second set of fixes has been integrated into VCMI 0.83 package. If you downloaded the package before this message (05 Nov, 23:00 CET), please redownload it (or just the binaries) and overwrite all files.

Installation:
Extract the package into your main Heroes folder.
WoG 3.58f is required. We recommend using English version.
If your game is in another language, you can extract this package into Data/ subfolder - that will make your H3 installation English.
If you have older version of VCMI, you have to overwrite it.


Save format has been changed, savegames from previous versions won’t work with 0.83.

VCMI supports 800x600, 1024x600, 1024x768, 1280x960, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1366x768 and 1680x1080 screen resolutions. To use custom resolution, type (before starting the actual game!) in the console “resolution” and pick appropriate one. Alternatively, you can change default resolution by the editing config/settings.txt file.

Acknowledgements:
Many thanks for all testers and developers who contributed to this build.


For the general information about our project look here. Our project isn’t really playable now, but it gives you an idea of progress we have made so far. We’re hoping that you’ll like it.

Since VCMI 0.74 we have deployed separate bugtracker. Please report bugs using this form. Check this page for list of known bugs and details.

We hope you’ll help us develop the project - details are available here. VCMI is an open source project licensed on GNU GPL 2.0 or higher. Our SVN repository with all the sources is available here.
You can look for help in building and developing VCMI sources in the development board.

CHANGELOG
0.82 -> 0.83 (Nov 01 2010)
GENERAL:

  • Alliances support
  • Week of / Month of events
  • Mostly done pregame for MP games (temporarily only for local clients, starting game is possible but it’s still very buggy)
  • Support for 16bpp displays
  • Campaigns:
  • support for building bonus
  • moving to next map after victory
  • Town Portal supported
  • Vial of Dragon Blood and Statue of Legion supported

HERO:

  • remaining specialities have been implemented

TOWNS:

  • town events supported
  • Support for new town structures: Deiety of Fire and Escape Tunnel

BATTLES:

  • blocked retreating from castle

Full changelog is available here.

VCMI Team


#2

You should play it at least once before release.
And check if bugs are repaired not only write: “probably fixed in r…]”


#3

Are referring to any specific issue? I generally try to check if the issue is really fixed before closing it, though it’s not always possible (issues are not always easy to reproduce).

As for deeper testing before release… well, that doesn’t work that way. Our goal is not to spend time on testing to issue a bug-free release. The goal of releases is to have them tested and bugs to be found (saving me deeper testing). VCMI is still not playable and none of our releases can be considered to be stable. Well, we do make “dev releases” before “official releases” to sweep worst bugs that would block testing but both kinds of releases are meant for testers, not players.

Recently things have gone a little more rough, especially since I committed big set of changes towards network MP that may interfere with many things. I really wish I had enough time to test it thoroughly but I didn’t. The biggest issue (desync) is fixed AFAIK. I could have it releases as-is or not release at all. And it’s not true that I haven’t played it before release. I did and I find a few crashbugs, that are fixed. Remember that you can see only bugs that we missed, not the bugs fixed :slight_smile:

Well… If there is something terrible in this release, just name it…


#4

Sorry to step in with an answer as well, but I thought of replying also from the perspective of a tester. I’ve been working with coders for the past 5 years on many projects so I can compare, and I’ve rarely seen the quality the VCMI team is able to deliver (considering the manpower) elsewhere.

As Tow already replied, they do check, but it’s not the task of the coder to run exhaustive tests. If they did that, we (the testers) would become redundant. :slight_smile:

The best product a coder can deliver in the development phase (where we are now), is a built which has low chance of containing major bugs/crashes, and that the VCMI team has managed to provide every time.

Tow, who prepares the package for the new release, could probably spend 10 times more time in testing the final package before making it public, and still not spot some major bug, simply because it may not show up on his machine, or because it’s triggered by one of the (maybe) 100 actions one or another may label as “basic” in the game, the very action which leads to that bug (which can be indeed a very ugly, unavoidable bug).

That aside, the timing for this release was maybe not the best (for me at least). So far I managed to be around the last several releases to hunt such major bugs (and there were a couple of times when I found some and they corrected very fast). But I’ve been very busy lately, on top of which I also had some issues with the computer which were solved only this week-end.

But, as Tow said, just tell them (here or on Mantis) what are the major bugs which slipped in. I’ll try to have a look as well myself to see which are the biggest issues, but prolly won’t happen before the week-end (haven’t installed any game yet since the system restore; Heroes will be first, but I don’t have time the next few days).

90% of the time we actually have “Fixed in…”. Quite rarely I see a “Probably / should be fixed in…”, and that usually happens when the code changes were more complex and would require time consuming tests to actually confirm the fix. Instead of “I was too lazy to test my changes”, a more productive way for us testers to translate that “probably fixed…” would be to see it as a short version of “Dear tester, the fix seems to work fine on my machine, but due to the complexity of the issue, the random reproducibility or the fact that I couldn’t reproduce the original bug in the first place (but figured based on crashbug what could have been), could you kindly check on your machine if it’s still there, so that I can better use the rest of my time to correct other bugs?”

@Boulie: Please don’t take the above in a bad way. I meant only good. I can understand that as tester one may be tempted to get frustrated if the dev version looked okay, while the official release actually has more bugs, but I wanted to point out it’s often just a matter of expectations and interpretations.

Cheers,
Zam


#5

2 team VCMI,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team of dudes & dudettes involved in the VCMI project. You guys made great progress so far. Of course like all anxious hmm3 gamers, I would very much like to have this game playable by now. But again, this team is not made up of full time programmers & testers that can channel hours to the project every day. It’s a great deal of effort to devote your precious free time to this. I salute this whole team of dudes & dudettes here! :slight_smile:

2 Boulie,

Please do not get frustrated about bugs that happen in the different versions of game. It’s not easy for developers to find, reproduce, test and fix all the bugs after every version. It is in fact we, gamers responsibility to find, reproduce and test the game and report the bugs to the team. Hope you have a nice time testing the game so far. No ill feelings over here, dude.

:slight_smile:
Cheers from Singapore!
Kipper


#6

Thank you for understanding :slight_smile:

I’ve actually found the terrible issue - loading a saved game is broken. Shame on me for breaking it and not noticing. But the bug bug has been also present in dev release and wasn’t reported.

As it’s a testing-blocker, expect fixed package soon.


#7

Package updated, loading has been fixed.
Again, sorry for trouble.


#8

Great news!
Hopefully I’ll have sometime away from school this weekend to try it out. I think I only played 0.82 once or twice…


#9

Hi, again.Thx for all opinions. I had no Internet last days so I couldn’t reply earlier and/or add bugs to Mantis.

@ALL :wink: Sorry but I’m not testing VCMI from yesterday. I mean bugs/crashes which are from start of the game, in day 111. It couldn’t be missed if someone take the package and just play it or once load the game (already corrected). My point is that VCMI needs much more tester but it is not possible to encourage them to test VCMI if there are so “simple”/ obvious crashes/bugs. If you don’t have time before release, send it to me. I will test it.
Some details:
i.e.
bugs.vcmi.eu/view.php?id=624

  • see the sceenshot there - its not fixed
  • easy crash in meeting window - just click OK/Enter
  • crashes after starting game if previous crashed happened

see added zip (sorry I have no time to add it to Mantis - tomorrow I’m leaving for vacation)
Don’t feel it too personally, I just want this project to see finished :wink:
See you.
few bugs.zip (1.01 MB)


#10

@Tow: These 2 indeed should be fixed now as well I think. I mean, I guess nobody will enjoy testing now w/o hero exchange window. And once the crash happens, we can’t open the application again at all.

I gave it a try and was able to reproduce from the first try so I guess it’s easily reproducible (and I see Boulie attached here the crash files).


Man am I sorry now I wasn’t around to test the dev version and the main release on the 1st. I’ll try not to let that happen again. :stuck_out_tongue:


#11

Meeting window -> my bad, trivial one-liner.
However I cannot reproduce the second issue (crash on starting after crash). All crashdumps point to font reading but I have no idea, how can this be releated with previous crashes or how that can crash now, especially since that code hasn’t been changed for a while. Are there any special steps (other that start game -> crash on closing meeting window -> close message -> start game again) I should take?


#12

Why 0.83 is still not avaliable on SourceForge?


#13

I’m not sure, I have not time to do more tests with this new upload, but I also cannot reproduce this crashes, so maybe it is already fixed, after you fixed “load crash”


#14

Not for me. It was as simple as that: had the meeting window crash -> closed message -> tried to start game again to reproduce the meeting window crash, but couldn’t because it was crashing at start (3 times in a row). I’ll run more tests and see if I get anything else and get back to you -> I anyway have to install a fresh copy of H3 on my PC (yesterday it was just a rough test on my old laptop).

Edit: Could it have anything to do with the console message at start-up saying Error: Old file format! (file ./config/sysopts.bin ) ?

Edit2: I cannot reproduce it on my PC. I’ll have to run more tests to see if there were steps just before the 1st crash which have sth to do with it, or else I’ll go back to my old laptop and see if still reproducible (there I installed 0.83 over a pretty old 0.73).


#15

Ah, that. Indeed I missed it but that’s actually not because I haven’t tried that but the issue occurred only when hero was bought or moved into an empty garrison (so move up -> buy combinations prevented bug from appearing).
Now should be fully fixed.

Is “prudence” an acceptable answer? :stuck_out_tongue:

I believe I found and fixed the issue. When VCMI tried to load CREDITS.FNT it was actually parsing CREDITS.TXT. That leaded to out-of-bounds memory reading that was randomly crashing.
Should be fixed (workarounded) now.

So that all (meeting window + font loading + garrison operations + #539) I hereby announce to be a hotfix #2 for VCMI 0.83. I’ve integrated into 0.83 package.
Please redownload whole package or just the binaries ( download.vcmi.eu/vcmi_083_hotfix2.7z ).


#16

All seems to be fine now. Thanks: :slight_smile:


#17

keep going. I am waiting for stable version. I hope this project will have a better AI than Heroes of Might and Magic 3. I am visiting you from time to time and waiting. good job :wink:


#18

Question: Would it be possible to have one of the next releases (0.84 or 0.85) focused on bug fixing?

The amount of issues has slowly grown to a notable number, and it’s getting hard to play without running into one or the other bug. As a tester, I feel my efforts had to slowly shift from “hunting bugs” to “avoiding bugs” (the many known, to get to those not known yet) and scanning through the many Mantis open records before reporting something, to make sure I don’t create a dupe.

We now have on Mantis:

  • 27 crash + major bugs
  • 180 other bugs
  • 36 feature requests

We had a great bug fixing rate this year: 305 out of 352 reports (kudos to you guys:), however there’s a great deal of reports older than 1 year still open (185), for bugs which I kinda got used to. And even if they are not really annoying, I am wondering if they don’t perhaps work at a subconscious level, altering the motivation of choosing VCMI over other games when I have some time to play. I don’t know what other testers feel, but I miss a release like 0.75 was, which was focused on fixes, and which delivered a product which I very much liked (within the known boundries of so far implemented features).

So I think it would be great if before 0.9 you could:

  • fix most crash + major bugs
  • fix at least a third of the other bugs
  • implement at least a couple of the longest open feature requests
    (all together, maybe try to bring the total number of open reports from almost 250 now, down to not more than 150 before launching 0.9, if possible including also the new reports which will still come by then)

Take this though only as suggestion/feedback. I’m not even sure if the other testers feel the same. I just noticed a drop in activity on the project the past months. On the coders side I guess it’s RL responsibilities and/or work on changes which are not as transparent to us as bug fixes. On the testers side on the other hand, it’s just my assumption that the reduced amount of fixes might have something to do with it. People have always time to play, so for gamers is more a matter of catching their motivation to test more, or go for other games (at least I for one get a boost of motivation to test more, whenever I see a bunch of bug fixes:)

But if the above doesn’t fit so much in your planning, giving the current resources, don’t let it weigh too much in your decisions. They’re just one tester’s thoughts at the moment and I hope they didn’t come at a bad time or anything. :slight_smile:

Otherwise keep up the good work, which IMO remains probably the best quality Heroes project of the past 5 years [size=59](Ubi’s releases included :p)[/size]

Cheers,
Zam


#19

Well, it looks like we’re doing it the other way round - working towards new mechanics to get this game more complete. A little AI and features like Stack Experience or Spell Scroll and stack/commander artifacts. However, currently entire mechanics engine is undergoing deep changes, so I need to wait until Tow is done with it.
Ivan was also doing something with animations and general graphics engine, not sure where is he now.

Most of remaining issues are either irrelevant, too complicated or related to battles => Tow Dragon appears busy. Lack of time always hurts.


#20

I wish I had more time for fixing bugs in VCMI… as Warmonger says, currently Tow is doing major changes in the engine. It will fix some bugs and create a lot of new ones but the engine will be more feature-complete. Additionally, VCMI has been accepted as my and Tow’s students project at our University (not as a whole, just AI-related parts) so most of our activity around VCMI will be focused on it (AI handling) during the following month.

As for battle bugs - I’m afraid most of battle interface need a rewrite. For a few years we were trying to add as many new features as possible and finally the monster of the need of refactoring has caught us. I hope I’ll have some free time for VCMI in February. I’ve recently taken Mathematics as a second major at my University and the amount of free time I have has significantly decreased.


Battle AI Part 1 - BATTLE PREPARATION