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 Forum index » Modding Central » Red Alert 2 Editing Forum
How to determine an error? Demoralized.
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Meemo
Vehicle Driver


Joined: 25 Jul 2016

PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:34 pm    Post subject:  How to determine an error? Demoralized. Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello everyone, I'm an underground modder of over 12 years, modding on and off. I always end up back here, and I've done some pretty crazy mods for me and my family (who also plays RA2) in my time.

I've come here because, despite all my best efforts and logging quite literally every change/mod I've made to my game, I will always end up with an unknown crash, and I have no way to determine what it is. I was lucky enough to discover that using FreeUnit= for other than it's intended purpose generates an infantry-linking EIP (Who knew?) but beyond that, I get unrecognizable EIPs and Error codes that I don't know what to do with. Even mod-scanner tools can't detect discrepancies, and after over 50 scrapped mods, I'm reaching a point where I feel like I can't do it anymore.

Sorry for the long rant, but is there any way to definitively locate what might be causing an error? I imagine professional modders have a tool or method beyond what I'm aware of, but I could be wrong.

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tomsons26lv
Cyborg Artillery


Joined: 30 Dec 2009
Location: Latvia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well for starters you speak to other people.
Ideally you ask a reverse engineer in the community to check the except.txt/minidump/ares exception log
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Musketmarine
Medic


Joined: 14 Feb 2020
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2021 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

FreeUnit only parses VehicleTypes, not AircraftTypes, InfantryTypes, or BuildingTypes

"Units" internally are VehicleTypes.
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silverwind
AA Infantry


Joined: 11 Jun 2016

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

How to determine an error? Let's do a quick tutorial:

1. Get VS Code (there are others that will do the job, but I like VS Code)
1a. Get an extension for VS Code that lets you compare files.

2. Use the aforementioned extension to compare your modded rules(md).ini and the unmodded (or UMP version, if you started with that), or even the last working version you have.

You'll get a very readable list of changes you've done, including all the typos, the lines you've removed, the lines you've added, etc.

I've found on more than one occasion, a game breaking change that turned out to be nothing more than accidentally deleted line, or an extra character in a particularly key in [General].

For best effect, take regular back ups of the major files (rules, ai, art, sound, etc). Monthly back ups of these take only a few MBs and will save you a world of trouble.

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G-E
General


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

*cough*AICHECK*cough*
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Meemo
Vehicle Driver


Joined: 25 Jul 2016

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

tomsons26lv wrote:
Well for starters you speak to other people.
Ideally you ask a reverse engineer in the community to check the except.txt/minidump/ares exception log


I'd rather know how to do it myself, frankly.

Musketmarine wrote:
FreeUnit only parses VehicleTypes, not AircraftTypes, InfantryTypes, or BuildingTypes

"Units" internally are VehicleTypes.


I'm well aware. Try using FreeUnit=HTNK on a Soviet War Factory. You should get an Infantry-Linking EIP within a few minutes. If not, that's what happened to me on a fresh install and removing that code for anything other than ore refineries fixed it.

G-E wrote:
*cough*AICHECK*cough*


This is the tool I used. No discrepancies. Still occasional crashes. Perhaps it's an Ares thing.

silverwind wrote:
How to determine an error? Let's do a quick tutorial:

1. Get VS Code (there are others that will do the job, but I like VS Code)
1a. Get an extension for VS Code that lets you compare files.

2. Use the aforementioned extension to compare your modded rules(md).ini and the unmodded (or UMP version, if you started with that), or even the last working version you have.

You'll get a very readable list of changes you've done, including all the typos, the lines you've removed, the lines you've added, etc.

I've found on more than one occasion, a game breaking change that turned out to be nothing more than accidentally deleted line, or an extra character in a particularly key in [General].

For best effect, take regular back ups of the major files (rules, ai, art, sound, etc). Monthly back ups of these take only a few MBs and will save you a world of trouble.


Ah, like Winmerge? I've used that before, and I'll use it again but a nasty gut feeling of mine is going to tell me I won't find anything wrong again. Regardless, I have fresh INIs that I keep untainted, in which I copy and use to start from scratch when it all goes wrong.

Unfortunate that I haven't seen anything as decisive as I was looking for, but perhaps it doesn't exist.

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G-E
General


Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well the basics that cause generic crashes when nothing appears wrong are things like an overlay (or frame thereof) used on a map that's not in your mod, or the most common of all a corrupted mix because the tools are buggy.

The latter problem can be insidious because for example if the voxel file is damaged the game will still load an empty unit, but if the hva file is corrupted the game will crash.
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CCHyper
Defense Minister


Joined: 07 Apr 2005

PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Meemo: Reading the EXCEPT.TXT files and being able to understand them is not an easy task. You need to have a very good understanding of the game engine internal structure and also at least intermediate knowledge of C++ and x86 Assembly.

The group of developers who work on the Ares and Phobos projects will be able to help you if you attach your EXCEPT.TXT. You can do that by posting it here, or jumping into the Mod Haven Discord and asking one of the developers directly.

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Artraiden
Vehicle Driver


Joined: 23 Apr 2017

PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When you don't know what causes errors in the game, blame AI. Even vanilla RA 2 crashes sometime because of this, for example AI use Magnetron attack over it range when moving.

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