Beta Newsflash: Beta 8 Stops Zombies!

Posted in EpicTable Development on July 3, 2011 at 3:34 am

In last Friday’s game, out group discovered an unfortunate side effect of a new feature. Prior to beta 7, one couldn’t drag a private character to a map. Why? Because he was private, meaning no one else had that character. If EpicTable encountered a character token and the character wasn’t shared, EpicTable would just get rid of it. This was confusing, especially if it happened to the GM that was getting rid of things (because the GM saves the game). So in beta 7, I started letting tokens referring to private characters exist on maps and tabletops.

But then….

We found that it was possible to get into a cycle of infinite retrieval when multiple tokens on a map referred to the same character. To hit this issue, you had to drag a private character to the map and then do that again, or duplicate the token before everyone retrieved the image for it. The more players you have and the more times you duplicated or re-dragged the token, the easier it was to make this happen.

This never happened to anyone prior to beta-7 because you couldn’t drag private characters to a map back then. (Or rather, you could, but since they were private, no one would retrieve them and things got confusing but non-lethal.)

In our Friday night game, Brennen dragged a private zombie (a zombie for money…) to the map and started duplicating the token to throw a horde at us. (Okay, maybe not a horde, just a group, but it seemed like a horde to our characters.) At that point, everything slowed down. One or more of us had entered a cycle of endlessly updating the zombies. This hammered away at Brennen’s machine, making it lag relative to the other players’. Very nasty stuff, though a rather nice load test of the messaging layer, which it seems can run at a rate of at least 5 ZUPS (Zombie Updates Per Second) indefinitely…or until Brennen’s machine is brought to its knees.

After that session, I dropped what I was working on for beta 8 and turned my attention to these zombies. I’m happy to report that my group tested beta 8 last night, and its issue with zombie updates is fixed.

Beta testers: Look for a forum announcement for beta-8.
Others: Please stay tuned.

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