Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

The weekly newsletter for Fed2
by ibgames

EARTHDATE: March 24, 2013

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by Hazed

On Thursday the game failed to fire up again after the morning reset, which meant it was unavailable for about 6 hours, until Alan got home from his real-life day job and was able to sort it out.

The reason the game didn’t want to fire up is because it encountered a problem in a file. The game has been coded in such a way that if there’s anything odd about a file, one of two things will happen. In some instances, it’ll stop loading the erroneous file, and carry on without it. That’s what happens with planet data files: the game will start but the planet just won’t appear in the game for that session.

But in some cases, when confronted by a problem file, the game will stop dead. That’s what happened this time.

So what was the problem? Well, it was a Blish City that a player had built using a name that the game didn’t like.

The name was:

Hal O’the Wy-------

Very odd! It kind of looks like a cat walked over the keyboard at just the wrong moment. But the fact is that using punctuation marks in the city name made the game throw a fit.

Of course, it’s our responsibility to make the game idiot-proof. If we don’t want players to do something then we really should code the game so it’s not possible to do it. In many instances, when you have to give a name to something - for example when you set up a new character, or claim a star system - the game limits what you can type for the name. If you try to use anything other than letters or numbers, it’ll tell you to try again.

For some reason, that level of checking didn’t get added to the Blish City build.

You can be sure, however, that it’s going to be now!

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