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Eek A Bug! [Picture of Bug]


by "Cajun" David Richard
If there is one thing that I have heard the most about in the last two months, it's bug reports. All sorts of bug reports. Big ones, small ones, even traumatic ones. We've been working on the bugs in Apeiron, but alas, some of these are as hard to catch as an angry African Gray parrot who accidentally got himself lassoed (oh the horror).

This issue's Eek-A-Bug will concentrate on where we are at making Apeiron a more optimal program. Also, we will look at a very strange Snapz bug sent in to us that you really shouldn't try at home.

Most Common:

The most common bugs reported are in Apeiron. The toughest one to find (and the nastiest) has been the "sprinkly shield bug." This bug shows itself if you happen to have the sprinkly shield, and are taking out 'pede parts like there is no tomorrow. This is due to several 'pede parts getting squished at once, or in a very short frame of time. The program is either losing track of what is happening, or everything is crumbling under the situation. The crash is a particularly nasty one, you'll usually have to reboot. The worst thing about this bug is that it (unfortunately) happens when you are doing really great. This, currently, is our number one priority.

Some other bugs reported in Apeiron:

Occasionally, 'shrooms will disappear, or you will find a 'shroom by bumping into it, or shooting it. It's there, but you just can't see it. We do not have much information about this one, so if anyone can duplicate the circumstances under which the invisible shrooms appear (is this a pun?), we would like to hear about it.

Another strange bug mentioned is that some folks are experiencing shooter slowdown. I'm not too sure about the details on this one. It could be a combination of a slower machine's processor being bogged down, or a conflict with an extension possibly hogging processor time. If the first mentioned instance is true, you will notice a slowing down of all animation on the screen, but only during particularly busy times during the game. The animation should slow down and speed up according to what is happening in the game. If you are experiencing shooter slowdown, restart with the extensions off and see if that helps. If not, please write us with a detailed description.

The last major improvement we'll be doing with Apeiron will be better ADB device handling. Several users have written us and said that the shooter won't move, even though you can control the pointer and select things at the title screen. This is usually due to the ADB device balking at the fancy device handling used in Apeiron. Problems have been reported with lower end trackballs, optical mouse devices, and graphic tablets. Dusting off the old mouse that came with the machine will allow you to play Apeiron, but you may have to disconnect the other devices first.

Well, those are the major areas of construction for Apeiron. If you encounter something different, or have more information that may help, please let us know. The assistance is greatly appreciated.

Most Unusual:

Don't try this at home.

A user of Snapz reported that he'd found a very unusual bug in Snapz. Now we had received reports about this, but it really sounds strange. Not until I saw it on my own machine did I believe it to be true.

Snapz can catch practically anything, even a menu that's pulled down or popped up. Well, this user had the popup menu in the Snapz control panel's Settings dialog popped up. He then hit the hot key to capture the screen. Well, all should have been normal, but Snapz went off in what programmers call an infinite loop. After the initial capture, Snapz took it upon itself to continue to capture screens, over and over again. Not only is this difficult to escape from, but it fills your hard drive with tons of screens that you do not need. When you run out of disk space, Snapz continues, giving an out of memory error each time.

We have a few things to add to Snapz, and this problem will be fixed in the next upgrade. In the meantime, don't try this at home, unless you need 294 screen shots of the Snapz control panel.

"Cajun" David Richard
Technical Services Manager
Ambrosia Software, Inc.

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