Most of what I’ve been doing these days is support code for various other people: adding missing functions, fixing bugs, adding new UI code when it’s needed, and just keeping the airship sailing. I’ve also been dealing with mysterious issues on user machines, which is always fun for a game developer. The process is simple: a user complains that the game mysteriously doesn’t work, and it becomes a game of trying to deduce what the problem is because, after all, you have no way of getting the user’s computer into the office. To give you an idea of the fun involved, here’s a recent example, as well as a few notes for other developers who might run into this particular fun problem.
The story starts with a user noting that “when I start a new game, it crashes.” Well, that’s interesting. Does it crash when starting a new game, or when creating the world? “Starting a new game. No, creating a world. No, both.” We get a crash dump, and it’s crashing in a completely random place in the renderer which it shouldn’t be able to reach during world creation. Neat. So I ask for a copy of the user’s console, and I get that too.