Modding, Warcraft III

Blog 618: Post-Mortem Blues Y4

I think it is perhaps poetic justice that, on replaying all my own maps years after closing the lid on each one, I experienced all the very prominent bugs other people had discovered since that I had never managed to reproduce.

Maybe I could sit on a few of them, like the one where Fallen Stones V chases you down and ruins the gauntlet sequence of This Wreckage, because that doesn’t actually break the game.

Others, like Project Y4‘s infamous bomb drop crash bug that stops people barely ten minutes into the game, definitely needed some care and attention.

Undocumented Features

Maybe saying that I’ve closed the lids on these maps isn’t entirely fair. This Wreckage, for example, remains as WoRDZA2a.w3x, with a few easy bug fixes I plopped in after the Gamma release as and when people mentioned them. How do you think the Gnoll Warden didn’t break for me when I raided the Tomb of Anak’hul? Damn right I had the fix in place.

Project Y4, too, lives on, as version R02d. There was a brief moment where I fantasised that it might get fully voice acted and soundtracked and jump straight to R03, but I think we’re probably a bit past that now. Dreams can only carry you so far.

Come on Operations, did you really expect those signals to penetrate the mines deep underground?
Come on Operations, did you really expect those signals to penetrate the mines deep underground?

So, that bomb drop crash bug. I had never experienced it, I had only heard of other people feeling the pain. How can you fix a bug that you can’t feel? A man once even recorded a video of it happening — I had a perfect rendition of the exact moment that it happened, but without it breaking for me I could never confirm any of my ham-fisted attempts at fixes made a difference. Since the issue persists in R02c, presumably they were all for nothing.

It turns out, then, that the bomb drop crash bug occurs when you save and then reload a game before dropping the bomb. Reliably, one hundred percent of the time. Bingo.

That’s why I never felt it — since the bomb is dropped in barely the first ten minutes of the map, I had never, ever saved a test run there and then reloaded it. Then again, even if I did, would I have made that connection?

This screenshot clearly displays the bomb dropping and the game not crashing.
This screenshot clearly displays the bomb dropping and the game not crashing.

I’ve always said that I feel more like a detective than an engineer most of the time. Even at work, it’s all digging and following leads and prodding at things until clues fall out.

I started off with the animations. There was a suggestion before that the activation circle model, the glowing holographic target zone, was the cause of the problem — the crash seemed to happen immediately as it finished fading out. Previously, changing the activation circle’s model to the Footman had seemed to solve the problem, but now I know better: my tester’s replay under those conditions clearly didn’t include a save and reload.

I moved on to the triggers. Was it in the creation of the bomb? Nope, even an uncreated bomb killed the game. Was it in the removal of the undercarriage ability? … Hmm, that’s interesting…

I can’t explain the how or the why, but it’s the ability. Some quirk of using Channel at that moment in time, with those particular fields set? Removing it while it was still active, still trying to play an animation if nothing else? Nothing makes sense — anything broken there should surely always have broken, not slid into destruction only after a save and reload.

You love codes and keypads, I know you do.
You love codes and keypads, I know you do.

Either way, Warcraft III moves in mysterious ways and I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. The bomb now drops automatically when you reach the activation zone, and if that’s not interactive enough for you… Well, I figure anything is better than being unable to play the rest of the map.

There are some other minor tweaks I slipped in too. Guessing keypad digits will bake them into the quest log. Computers will “turn off” their screens once you’ve read them (you can still read them again, it’s a visual hint so you don’t repeat yourself). There are quick exits to the two factory assaults; the Waste bunker takes you out near bunker 07 so you can go straight for the Thaelite Refractor, while the North bunker takes you out in the mine annex for faster access to the finale.

I fixed the subnet hack crash too. No idea how that one passed me by at the time, because it’s not a save/load issue, it’s just point-blank broken by an infinite loop. I blame lazy testing (I tested subnet hacks by skipping straight into them, not by triggering them from the hackable nodes. Fair cop, guv).

Here's the bit that was going to be a Growing Tree maze until that broke so now it's just a static arena.
Here’s the bit that was going to be a Growing Tree maze until that broke so now it’s just a static arena.

I should mention now that R02d will also include music.

During the course of development, a very kind musician by the name of Merlijn Nash offered to provide some quality beats for the project. Now, he was embroiled in producing real music for real, doing gigs and releasing his debut album and stuff, so I didn’t want to put any pressure on him — especially when Y4 was basically a vanity project for me.

Either way, we kept in touch for a while and he built up a big long theme tune out of nicely varied and thematically appropriate segments. Of course, by the time it was done, I had failed to get voice acting off the ground and R03 had slipped into the aether…

Anyway, no use letting his hard work go to waste. The map is still far from perfect but the addition of this atmospheric theme goes a long way to improve its ambience.

This screenshot clearly indicates the screen is off because I've read it and not because I've broken the game.
This screenshot clearly indicates the screen is off because I’ve read it and not because I’ve broken the game.

Nothing so drastic would accompany a new release of This Wreckage, but if I can stop Fallen Stones V from messing up the gauntlet I’ll definitely push that out. And maybe nerf Five’s Titanium Armour damage reduction while I’m at it…

Anyway. Here’sĀ Project Y4 R02d because it’s crimbo time and I just want you to love me.

RDZ Industries: Project Y4 R02d

8 thoughts on “Blog 618: Post-Mortem Blues Y4”

      1. Mostly done just need to kill the final boss , but I don’t feel like it right now .
        The music helps a lot to lift up the atmosphere and I see you removed the quest regarding the routers . Sadly I still haven’t found the use of the Gold Bullion but I’m certain I will eventually .I decided to try playing it without my usual load-out sadly I died more than usual but still lots of fun .

        -Where does the second screenshot take place , is it in the game or a cut feature .

        -The G1 boss didn’t drop any thing when I killed him.
        -In the final stage at the bridge over the lava , you can walk off it and into the lava.
        -Mind Claws acidic effect doesn’t seem to ware off .

        Playing this makes me super excited for Y5 , sadly it won’t becoming out any time soon . Look forward to updates and your progress and if you need help just ask (not that I can help much , concept art and testing only ) .


      2. Nothing was removed? At least, not that I can remember removing. If you’re thinking of the subnet terminals, then you need to speak to Factory Control again after you’ve defended the core.

        The Mind Claws are meant to be overpowered, I put you through a serious challenge to even get them (find the code, fight the Dazzle Alpha, get through the barrier-artillery-maze…). So if they last forever, enjoy it! You deserve it!

        The G1 Mogul isn’t meant to drop anything when you kill him. There is, however, a Hate Cannon in the back of the base that you can pick up. There is also the G1 Cavalier mini-boss who drops Tar Blades, maybe you didn’t find him this time?


  1. This could very well get me to finally play this game.
    I still have no idea why I never played it in the first place. Always meant to, even played the first mission or so once upon a time.


  2. Music hmm. Should I play it again… Still got divinity to play as well as some wii u games and some of my own inspiration to spend, all before the next dlc for AoW3 releases…
    It’s not that long a game, so I’ll download it for my backlog when I get home. Will get to it depending on Steam’s winter sale šŸ™‚


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