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Making Path ini files?

The general place to discuss MOD''ing Freelancer!

Post Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:59 pm

Hey Chips, I'm sorry -- I'd test it out, but I don't know the crash conditions so I wouldn't be much help.

But on a somewhat-related note, have you done any analysis on how the system-shortest tiebreaker works? (E.g., does it favor gates over holes, or any other such patterns?) Beyond that, and compiling the list of always-ignored holes/gates, I'd say the algorithm is complete. But it's very easy to be wrong about such things. -- Sometimes it can look done until you look close and discover another subtle complication.

How's the social agents going by the way?

Post Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:54 pm

hehe, not too bad - whipped up a quick schelling model in 2 hours the other day, suprisingly enough it worked too

Currently doing some reading and write ups on history of social simulations, am sure that my next task will be onto the assignment itself.

Meeting tomorrow for feedback - see how it goes, but in the next few weeks it could really start to get a hectic pace. Reason for that is i am useless at reading and writing (as in reading journals, documents etc and then writing my own based upon what I've read - you get the idea, there's a word for it but my mind has melted).

Post Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:19 pm

Thanks for your efforts Chips.

Good luck in your assignments.

Post Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:41 pm


Hi bud. Finally had a chance to test the pathfiles you very kindly made for me.

I regret to report the following:-

Was docked on Planet Mars, Earth System. Plotted path from there to New York, Planet Manhattan. Purple path came up nicely, and 28 waypoints to get there were listed. Launched. The Black "Loading" screen came up for about 4 seconds. Then - crash with the "Send report to MS"? window.

Restarted & did the same again. Same crash.

Restarted and tried another character that was docked on Planet California Minor, in California system. Plotted path to Manhattan. Purple path nicely, 9 waypoints to get there directly through the jumpgate. Launched. Same crash.

Restarted. Launched from California Minor, halted, plotted path to Manhattan. Purple path came up nicely. No crash. Headed on path to the California-New York jumpgate. No problem. Docked with the jumpgate... blurry lights everywhere! Lights faded to white (mid-way point of jumpgate)... Crash!

Can you still help with this further as you are now under threat of being disrobed if you fail your BA (Hons)??

Or would you let me play with a copy of your source code and give me a pointer or two if/when I need it?

If not don't worry, I am very understanding.

Many thanks pal, your help to this point is VERY much appreciated nonetheless.

All the best.

Roleplay: - the art of self-deceipt!

Post Sun Nov 04, 2007 3:17 am

I take it you can launch from your systems just fine without crashes if you don't plot anything (and go through jumpgates as well) repeatedly?

Hmm, maybe something be boogard then - not sure why though.

You're free to look at source code if you like - I would work on it further, but the honest truth is that I can't troubleshoot it with that
I don't know what may be the problem - check what route it should plot against what route it does plot.

I've fubard with the stock FL paths before... and the game never crashed despite removing, altering and blatantly changing the paths (no crashes, the nav map got a little weird - but never crashed ).

Post Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:55 am

StarTrader has discovered a weird crash condition. It obviously has to do with auto-generation of inner-system paths, which is done when you enter a system (either by launching from a base in the system, or entering the system by a jump).

Strangely, it does not have to do with generation of inner-system paths when you set them manually. In other words, if the system is already loaded, the generation of inner-system paths works fine; but if the system is not currently loaded, the game's path-generation algorithm crashes.

I doubt that the inter-system path files have anything to do with the crash. The crash is pretty clearly generated by the inner-system pathing, not the inter-system pathing.

StarTrader can debug the situation by removing his additional elements one at a time, until he's discovered the element that's causing the crash. Actually the first thing is to confirm that the problem is limited to the New York system. Then you might start by removing any additional jump-gates/holes, and see if that solves the problem. If so, add them back one at a time until you figure out which one is causing the crash.

Edited by - breslin on 11/4/2007 10:56:57 AM

Post Sun Nov 04, 2007 11:33 am

Yep I need to get it fixed for sure.

With the stock path files that I patched manually for the initial systems of this mod (it was originally based on WTS worlds 2.4) it doesn't crash at all.

When I extended the mod and added new systems but didn't add them to the paths, I can still plot between systems OK, the new systems just give me "no best path". But when I made new path files with FL Scan, I got crashes, and the symptoms are the same with Chips' paths now.

I am still wondering if it is something I missed in the new systems, I made them with FLE but there were so many errors I had to do a lot of manual work to get them fixed.

The last thing I did was to add the system names (see this topic earlier pages). But that didn't cure the problem.

If anyone had this problem and managed to fix it, I would like to know how?

My next step will be to start with the old mod paths again and add the new systems one or two at a time - weeks of work.

The easiest way may be to compare the differences between Chips' paths and the earlier mod which was pathed manually.

I am wondering if Chips & FLScan paths have produced multiple paths to the same systems?

Roleplay: - the art of self-deceipt!

Post Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:33 pm

Couple apparent misunderstandings:

First, although Chips' path file allowed the bug to manifest, I don't think it's very likely that the problem is Chips' path file.

Second, you don't find the bug by starting over and re-adding your changes until you get the crash. You find the bug by removing a likely bug-causing addition, and see if you still get the crash. By what you've said, I guess the most likely bug-causing element is the jump gate/hole from NY to Earth.

My guess is that you haven't found a bug per se, but a limitation of the game. (E.g., a limit to the number of jump holes tolerated in a single system.) If so, you've also found a workaround: you can add more than the limit, so long as you remove them from the path files.

Edited by - breslin on 11/4/2007 1:33:48 PM

Post Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:23 am

ive seen many mods crashing for the same reason
and their system code is absolutly clean

its definitly the path files which cause the problem
i dont know the code which is used for those tools which automatically generate paths
but i know that i was able to prevent several crashes in systems by coding paths by hand

Post Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:45 am

Swat, it would be helpful if you posted the paths. Otherwise your comment doesn't help at all, even to diagnose the problem.

It's far more likely that you simply hand-coded the paths incorrectly (they're very tricky and extremely time-consuming to get right, and you basically have to go through the same procedure that Chips' auto-generator does). If you did hand-code the paths incorrectly, then it's entirely possible that your error suppressed the bug. And there's no way to check unless you provide the data.

So unless you can provide data, you're really not helping. On the contrary, I would say you're confusing the issue.

Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:43 am

ive seen many mods crashing for the same reason
and their system code is absolutly clean

its definitly the path files which cause the problem
i dont know the code which is used for those tools which automatically generate paths
but i know that i was able to prevent several crashes in systems by coding paths by hand

How do you code by hand please - what is your methodology?
Since you don't have crashes "like this", then if you describe exactly how you decide your path for each of the three files, it'd prove most helpful. What makes you decide which system to choose (example, Iw01 or Iw02 when plotting from Li01 to Rh01. Iw03, Iw04 when plotting from Li01 to Br01. Iw05, Iw06 when plotting from Li01 to Ku01 - how do you decide which to choose?).

This goes for all paths, and what consitutes a path for you? Do you plot jumpholes or not, do they count for systems shortest path - or only for shortest illegal?
In the event that there is a tie (between a jumphole and jumpgate distance path, but using seperate systems) when doing systems shortest - which do you choose?

If you'd be kind enough to upload all your systems files, and your universe.ini file - and also list the nicknames of locked jumpgates/jumpholes (so they aren't included), i'm more than willing to try and generate path files and see how closely they match your existing path files that work May help to know what goes wrong if we have a working set.

Otherwise, I could do it for stock FL... which I have done. I don't (sadly) have time to play through it and see where crashes occur, and some paths vary (as in they take Iw02 instead of Iw01, or vica versa... when plotting from Li01 to Rh01 ).

Edited by - Chips on 11/6/2007 4:51:42 AM

Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 8:10 am

Although very tedious work, I think OP-R8R has a point.

I've often considered doing manual entries in the path files myself ..
wondering whether or not this might eliminate my crash problem
when attempting to map from one system to the next.

I have no idea how the logarithim/algorithm works when it generates a path file,
but I've often wondered if it takes its information from only those path.ini files.

I do remember however, that when the vanilla version plotted a path
from one system to another "legal" must have refered to
the shortest_legal_path.ini for its data base. Except in the situation where
you were in the Story Line when it would generate a path for you from
any place to your destination. (in which it must have used systems shortest path)

It seems simple enough to do, although it does seem tedious.
Start System, Target System, Start System, next system, next system (etc) , target system. The tricky part is determining which legality the path belongs to.

Partly, I think the crashes may have something to do with parhaps some
confusion between system, shortest, legal and illegal paths.

I thought in the begining, that "illegal" paths would not be found
in the legal path files. But I've noticed they appear in both.
I also thought that "illegal" paths refered to only
jump holes since they are practically in all systems.
Oddly enough, it seems practically all paths are listed in systems_shortest_path.

But I wonder what really defines legal and illegal paths?
Is it simply because of which path file it's in that defines these parameters?

Obviously, legal gates and illegal jump holes are in different loacations on each
of the system maps. I suppose if the path engine does not recognize this difference that maybe this is what is partly causing the problem?
Perhaps a certain property flag attributed to each object tells the path engine
which one is legal and illegal?
If this is true, then it isn't just the path files themselves that the path engine
is refering to, but also the system files that contain more specific information
on the type of object in each system that gives it guidance
on which path to refer to when it attempts to generate a path for you.

(sorry if this is long winded)

So in effect, the path engine could also be searching the universe\systems
folders for more specific information as to which gate or jump
hole it should use and which it should ignore when generating a path.
This would make logical sense rather
than just relying on the path.ini files alone.

Then suppose that when we're adding new jump holes and jump gates to access
existing systems or new systems (or simply changing them) ,
perhaps the information is not being generated that the path engine
relies on to generate an accurate path. So when the game tries to generate
a path, it gets overloaded with mixed information (confused)
then simply crashes.

What do you think?

Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:11 am

breslin - very very very often i cant follow your logic

posting paths here wont lead anywhere since you would have to analyse thousands of path lines with with about 150 systems which actually would take years
my only intention was to show that the paths are the problem and not the systems and their jumpholes and jumpgates
those belong to the basics of FL modding and somebody who cant create them 100% bugfree should better stop modding

i also cant understand why you think that my hand coded paths are incorrect... since for some reason they are working
ive tested the flscan... and i remember that fle also does add paths in a limited way... i was not able to get those files to work with my mod so ... yes.... i wrote a few thousand (6000-8000) paths by hand

is it working perfectly?
but it is working better than auto generated paths
to my knowledge only one system was reported to me causeing crashs when setting paths and i hope to find a way to fix it with the next release of the mod

why does it work better?
hmm very good question... ive absolutly no idea
i dont like tools which auto generate some code since i have absolutly no control over it
they simply create a code based on the input... no matter if its logical to add the code or not (especially with splitted paths)
and searching for logical errors in a 1mb ini file is something i never want to be forced to
logical work always is better than stupid scripted mechanisms (no offence meant)

i doubt that i confuse someone with my facts about this issue since the situation is clear
we all see that the auto generated paths lead to crashes... no matter what tool is used and some mods use hand made codes and run fine with them... or at least better
yes its no real solution since its way too much work and no answer to all the questions here
its a problem that hasnt been solved in the past 5 years... very often because we were busy with "more complicated stuff"
we simply ignored the basics and that these basics still cause problems

i dont know how the tools create the paths... i simply dont know their algorythm... so its very hard to say what they do wrong
what i did when i created my paths was to use existing paths which i duplicated and finally extended with the new systems... so to a very high grade my system paths are still based on vanilla paths

if you really want to create a tool which does create paths automatically you should forget about mods and other complicated stuff
to create a tool and test it with mods is pure nonsense since you never know if the code is really correct
take vanilla FL and create new paths for the vanilla systems
and once you have done this you compare the generated paths with the original vanilla paths and search of everything that is different and search for the reason why it is different
then fix the code of those tools until they are able to generate paths which are 100% identical with vanilla FL
once you have done this you can try to create valid paths for mods
if you can create valid paths for vanilla FL then the paths for mods have to be valid and working aswell

all we know for sure about paths is: "LI01, LI01, LI01"

Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:36 am

Swat writes:

> posting paths here wont lead anywhere since you would have to analyse
> thousands of path lines with with about 150 systems which actually would take
> years

Actually it's pretty easy to compare path files after sorting them, using a diff program. But more to the point: the reason we're still having this discussion is that people complain about finding bugs, but have not yet identified where precisely the bug is coming from, nor have they supplied the data so that this can be determined by analysis. (In other words, nobody has helped make the bug reproducible or resolvable.)

> my only intention was to show that the paths are the problem and not the
> systems and their jumpholes and jumpgates

You have failed to show this. You have drawn a bad conclusion. You don't know that a bad path is causing the problem. Assuming you are correct in all your particular points, all we know is that you can avoid the bug by changing the path file. It could very well be that a *correct* path is causing the problem, and a *incorrect* path is suppressing the problem. We won't know until we can check the data.

> those belong to the basics of FL modding

You're making another bad assumption: just because you added a jump-hole correctly doesn't mean that the game is going to accept it without problem. The game places arbitrary limits on lots of stuff. By definition, you cannot know where the arbitrary limits are until you've done the necessary analysis.

> i also cant understand why you think that my hand coded paths are incorrect...

When a computer and a human using the same algorithm produce different results, it's far more likely that the human introduced an error.

> i wrote a few thousand (6000-8000) paths by hand
> is it working perfectly?
> no
> why does it work better?
> hmm very good question... ive absolutly no idea

That's why you need to do the analysis or make your data available, if you want to contribute.

Post Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:11 am

> my only intention was to show that the paths are the problem and not the
> systems and their jumpholes and jumpgates

Since you've not seen his files or his code... how can you profess to know his problem?

Since I've carried out tests whereby i screwed up path files on purpose (shortest_system into shortest_legal) and plotted non existant paths to Hi01 from Li01 (worked), and then attempted to follow it (failed when I got to Ku03 - no game crashes though, just disappeared from Ku01 until I manually jumped myself to Ku02... whereby it fails again when trying to go to another non existant jumpgate... but NO crash), i'd have said those paths aren't the issue

To me it looks like a lot of leeway in paths, others say it's the root of all evil

Def needs more testing as to what it can and cannot take though - i just don't have the time to do it all

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