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sunbeam60
June 5th, 2005, 19:55
Hi,

I'm A big (http://forums.fantasygrounds.com/viewtopic.php?t=347&highlight=) fan (http://forums.fantasygrounds.com/viewtopic.php?t=378&highlight=) of Fantasy Grounds.

I realize that the team behind it is limited in size, and I realize having a fully featured testing cluster is impossible financially as well as practically.

However, I feel strongly that the biggest concern in Fantasy Grounds right now is stability, not lack of features. On an average 10+ hour session, all my players (4) crash several times and the most persistent crash perhaps once an hour. We all run average systems, between 2.2 Ghz and 3.2 Ghz PCs, all kept up to date. Except one person playing on a Dell notebook, it's pretty standard stuff (ironically, the embedded graphics chip Dell is the computer having the least problems).

The crashes occur randomly, but most often they are related to a high rate of activity between the server and the clients.

Working as a developer myself, I know the information above is utterly useless in terms of fixing any bugs. This post is not meant as a bug report. It is, however, an attempt of influencing the direction of a great product and trying to ensure that new features aren't added before old features are solid.

Perhaps it would be possible to add a crash handler to collect the state of the game and some technical information about the system running it, then offer to send this to the Fantasy Grounds team? Or perhaps introduce an expanded test program where new versions are tested on a wide range of external computers before being made available to the public?

Essentially, I'm trying to ensure that stability remains on the agenda of the developers, not bash anyone or claim it is making Fantasy Grounds unusable - it most certainly is not. Stability, I'm sure, already is on the agenda, but I'm urging the developers to give it higher priority than what I perceive it is currently getting.

With many thanks
Bjorn

PS: I would absolute hate it if any prospective customers read this post and decided not to purchase a fantastic piece of software. Fantasy Grounds works exactly as advertised and the periodic crashes caused mostly annoyance. One of the fantastic things about this community is that the developers listen and continually improve FG - and we get a chance to ask nicely about what the improvements should be :)

Cantstanzya
June 5th, 2005, 20:58
Just in case someone that is looking to by FG reads this, when FG crashes (and it has only crashed on me once in 3 sessions) you can pick up where you left off by reconnecting. The software is designed so that minimal data is lost if any at all because the campaign is save frequently.

Dupre
June 6th, 2005, 23:56
Essentially, I'm trying to ensure that stability remains on the agenda of the developers, not bash anyone or claim it is making Fantasy Grounds unusable - it most certainly is not.

Point taken and we have recently decided to use more resources on tracking down the cause(s) for these crashes.

nix4
June 7th, 2005, 03:18
I have to commend this software package.

Considering its v1.04c, its an excellent program. And is the best implementation of remote pen and paper gaming I have seen yet.

However, I do have to agree with the above poster that there does seem to be something amiss. Above and beyond average connectivity issues there does seem to be an odd stability issue.

I've ran 7 sessions so far using the Fantasy Grounds software and I have people drop ALLOT. Due to the fast loading speed and the fact that the software is stored on my server (and I never crash BTW..not once as a host), players quickly re-join. HOwever, this rejoining and frequent crashes results in the turn flags being incorrect and it renders them useless...

I would appreciate the addtional resources put towards discovering why the clients seem to be on weak knees. In my opinion, it seems to happen most when I share an image. This could also tie in with the previous report of high traffic causing disconnects.

Good Luck, I check this site daily and am in great anticipation to future development!

Thanks for giving a role player a way to vent their needs! lol

NiX
GM
Spire of the Realms Campaign
http://noxgeo.dyndns.org/spire/

Agathon
June 7th, 2005, 03:22
Ooh, this sounds so much like a classic buffer overrun problem.

Bitr_Haag
June 7th, 2005, 17:55
Not to turn this into a post that beats the dead horse but I've also experienced the random crash; typically when sharing maps.

I've left myself logged in as a host for over 10 hours so users can log in the day before and set up macros, etc... so I don't think what my group has experienced is a host issue. As a host, I've never crashed (minus one time kicking my own power cable out of the wall!) but users will drop out and then log back in within a minute. It's a minor annoyance; especially when it screws up turn flags.

However, one of the things I've done to try and minimize the crashes is to make sure all of my images and tokens are extremely small. I take large .jpg's (maps for instance) and open them in GIMP (free image editing software). I then "Save As" to a different location but select only 20% quality on the image.

For the purposes of FG, you still get a great map to use but the file size is only 44K instead of 800K (1MB seems to be a pretty sure crash for someone). Do the same for tokens to make sure you don't have unessarily high resolution tokens (large file sizes). This has helped limit my crashes without sacrificing game quality (who needs high rez images anyway!?).

Finally, I try and find a "stopping point" every 2-3 hours to let everyone log out and use the bathroom, check on the wife/kids, take out the dog, etc.... I completely reboot my PC and start fresh.

Like everyone above has already said, the drops are minor and should not discourage anyone from using this excellent tool!

nix4
June 7th, 2005, 18:30
Not to turn this into a post that beats the dead horse but I've also experienced the random crash; typically when sharing maps.

I've left myself logged in as a host for over 10 hours so users can log in the day before and set up macros, etc... so I don't think what my group has experienced is a host issue. As a host, I've never crashed (minus one time kicking my own power cable out of the wall!) but users will drop out and then log back in within a minute. It's a minor annoyance; especially when it screws up turn flags.

However, one of the things I've done to try and minimize the crashes is to make sure all of my images and tokens are extremely small. I take large .jpg's (maps for instance) and open them in GIMP (free image editing software). I then "Save As" to a different location but select only 20% quality on the image.

For the purposes of FG, you still get a great map to use but the file size is only 44K instead of 800K (1MB seems to be a pretty sure crash for someone). Do the same for tokens to make sure you don't have unessarily high resolution tokens (large file sizes). This has helped limit my crashes without sacrificing game quality (who needs high rez images anyway!?).

Finally, I try and find a "stopping point" every 2-3 hours to let everyone log out and use the bathroom, check on the wife/kids, take out the dog, etc.... I completely reboot my PC and start fresh.

Like everyone above has already said, the drops are minor and should not discourage anyone from using this excellent tool!

I think these are great suggestions for dealing with this issue, until more is understood about the nature of the beast.

In my experience I have noticed that the PNG format that FG supports is often larger in file size than JPEG. I understand that JPEG is a "lossy" file format and PNG isnt..but why use PNG (use SVG..plug plug).

I think the issues is probably related to client memory usage, and shared image sizes causing users to drop out and the turn flag to get corrupted ( I have even had players report ghosting ..meaning there is a player who is in-game, but isnt ...log out long time ago but the host still thinks its there).

If I get time I will try to put together several large and beefy maps and share them and see how long until a user gets booted..then try to do the same with trimmed down images...see if there is an relavance...

Maybe a client tries to download a shared image, and there is no error correction on the client side so it gets corrupted files and bombs?

sunbeam60
June 9th, 2005, 18:07
One of the fantastic things about this community is that the developers listen and continually improve FG


Point taken and we have recently decided to use more resources on tracking down the cause(s) for these crashes.

To any prospective customers: This is exactly what I mean. How many other programs do you get this kind of response from the developers? No excuses, no lame "you must have a unique system" responses. Instead, clear information and a timely response.

Now go ahead and buy Fantasy Grounds. The developers deserve to be rewarded for creating this fantastic tool.

NeoDante
June 11th, 2005, 15:32
I've been using Fantasy Grounds for about 2 months now-running a game on the weekend as DM with average game time lasting 5 hours. Total of 6 users (including DM). We use Teamspeak in the background for voice chat. In all those sessions, we've had the occasional dropped connection as noted by other users (though nothing as severe as experienced by first poster), though there seems to be no pattern. Some games we go the whole time with no dropped connections, while others we may have 2-3 the whole night.

I want to emphasis how much I love this program and agree with the sentiment that if there is a 'known' stability issue-it should be addressed ASAP above other 'features'.

If there's anything we as a community of users can do to provide more detailed information-please let us know.

Thanks,
NeoDante

(Just as a PS-When I use the term 'dropped connection' I'm referring to the lose of either the Player or Host from a crash within the program-though it's unclear if the crash is a result of connectivity issues or an internal crash of FG)