About 12 hours ago, I began pushing a patch for the Robot ship names. Because I found many of the names from online sources, I failed to catch that some of the names had abnormal spaces between certain parts of their names (For example: The space between USS and Langley in the ship name, USS Langley) The “space” looked like any other space, and was handled normally in my text editor (geddit), my spreadsheet app (libre office -calc), java (it compiled just fine and threw no exceptions in the log), and in my terminal sessions while testing (linux gnome terminal).
However, when I woke up this morning and checked the game with my iPhone app (mobile admin), I was alarmed to see that the ship names with the abnormal spaces were shown with “C!” in place of the space that should be there. Here’s where the major problem lies: The game “knows that is sending the name USS Langley as an 11-character string. The TELNET clients, which can vary widely, don’t know what to do with the “abnormal space” so it replaces the unknown char with “C!” which makes the ship name print on the screen as USSC!Langley or some other variation to indicate to the user that something is wrong. That means a 12-character names is printed in a slot which is
only prepared to accept 11 characters. This effect in turn obfuscates the data that follows in the same buffer row, which most disconcertingly, includes the distance from an enemy ship!
So long story short, I saw it was broken and then quickly checked the game email account.. *forehead slap* it wasn’t only my iPhone client that was affected; it was many of the other players’ as well. I did a quick “find/replace all” for the offending abnormal space, recompiled, and now everything seems to be in order. After a couple hours of testing, using 5 different clients for my part, and with the inputs of several other players that happened to be logged in with various clients, I can confidently call this bug “fixed”
Side note: I also received a few complaints of connectivity issues- basically from what I can gather, 2 or 3 players were booted offline at the same time, but as far as I know, it hasn’t happened since and it is possible that it could have been related to the bug in this article. Or there again, it could have been a hiccough with mtrek.com’s hosting provider.. or a momentary dns/network outage in the local area mtrek.com is served from.. I can only speculate at this time, because there are no errors in the logs and nothing seems to be wrong from this end right now. The only anomaly to report, is that 3 players appeared to exit the game at close to the same time, (but not right down to the second, which only means that the server was still online and was still listening for data from those connections until giving up and timing out because of no response).
thanks for your patience, game on!