Improbable Island Message of the Day (MoTD)

Better error checking results in some bugs
Green Dragon Staff2020-03-26 15:30:42 [Permalink]
Hey, folks - for a long time now we've had a rare, intermittent and hard-to-track-down bug where some players would restart the Jill quest every time I put the game into maintenance mode. In trying to figure out the cause of this bug, I added some new error-tracking code and tightened a few things up here and there - to make a long story short, the game crashes harder and more often now, yay!

...

...mate, crashing is a good thing! The thing you've got to remember about crashing is that it's a human invention, it's not something that computers do on their own. If the programmer doesn't put in the program "Crash and send a bug report if Thing X somehow manages to happen," then the computer will just carry right on.

Let me give you an example. As some of you may know, until last week my job was fixing old pinball machines (I'm out of work right now because of the thing on the news (and so the Island is my full time job now (and hence my only source of income, so now would be a great time to donate (but only if you're not also laid off because of the thing on the news)))). I had a couple of games of my own in a friend's restaurant, and one of them was a Tri Zone, which I set to a quarter for three balls because everyone likes playing games for cheap. After a while, it had a failure in a 5101 RAM chip - in a more modern game, this would cause the computer to lock up and alert me to a problem the second I turned the game on. But Tri Zone, being made in 1979 and before this whole "crashing" idea had really caught on, didn't have any error-checking programming, and so it didn't crash, it just gave the player six balls in one game and two in the next, took five quarters for a credit and then changed its mind and gave nine, forgot scores mid-game, tried to pop up drop targets that hadn't been knocked down, and generally went bananas.

So, yeah. Crashing is great. Or, at least, better than the alternative.

So, Midnight has been locking up (which should now be fixed), some donations haven't gotten credit (which again should now be fixed, and their credit added manually), and in general people have been getting a scary orange "OMG IT'S BROKEN" page rather than having a minor bug silently continue running on the page. I get an email from the game every time this happens, so I've been knocking out the causes of the crashes whenever they pop up. I appreciate your patience during this time.

Expect more updates and fun stuff tomorrow, 'cause I've got nowt but time!

Have fun, be emotionally close but physically distant, and wash your damn hands,

~CMJ
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