05 March 2008

First archery public testing

The bows and crossbows are in the game for more than a month, even on the main server, but they are not available to the players because they have not been tested enough, and because a client update is needed.
Both the client and the server are 'almost there', although the final client still needs some 'polish', and the server needs some fine tuning.

Until today, the arrows have been tested only by a few people (mainly me and Schmurk) on the test server. There were no known bugs, but as with anything, massive testing will usually reveal new problems.

Well, today I wanted to profile the test server, but in order to do a proper profiling, many players are needed. And just asking the players to come on the test server and walk around usually doesn't work very well, so I 'bribed' them with free bows and arrows :)
That worked quite well, over 45 players logged in on the test server.
After distributing the free bows and arrows, we went to KF (the most used PK map in the game), and played a little.

The testing went much better than expected, with virtually no problems except that some people had bad lag. I am not sure if that's because of a bug in our code, or because they don't have the latest files, so we'll need to look into this issue.
Another small problem was that a few arrows got stuck in mid air, but this can be because the map on the test server is newer than the clients map. One player crashed once, but one crash in 30+ player hours is not significant, so it won't impede the update.

One concern of mine was the possibility of the server being slowed down if there were too many missile fire requests going on at once (we do real time ray tracing, 3 times for each arrow), but after I finished profiling the server, I realized there is absolutely no significant CPU time taken by the ray tracing. Schmurk did a really good job :)

For those of you who missed this test, don't worry, there will be a few more public tests before the update. In fact, I will put a new NPC that will give free bows and arrows to people. I hope I won't forget to change the prices once we are done with the update :)


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