Serious GM bug in 2.0.0

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Serious GM bug in 2.0.0

Post by rr » Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:08 am

Alright, I already posted this once and someone deleted it, but I'm going to post it again because I feel it is a serious bug.

When using GM in 2.0.0 it is literally impossible to kill someone who is directly in front of you. They can sit right in front of you and not die even though you are constantly shooting them in the face. Talking with some people it sounds like it was intended to not have GM's lock for .5 seconds after firing. However, it appears that collision detection does not occur for .5 seconds after a GM is fired regardless of whether you are locked or not. This simply is not right.

This makes GM's effectively worthless against WG flags since they can just fall directly on you and you can't do anything about it.

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Post by The Red Baron » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:29 pm

I concure with RR. I thought is was my poor lock on when i was killed via WG's that way. But when it occured multiple times, I was beginning to suspect something else was on hand here.

I also feel that "lock on range" has been narrowed. As if you've turned on binoculars and you have to scan more to lock on. this makes it difficult shooting around corners and obstacles.
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Post by JeffM » Mon Jan 24, 2005 5:15 pm

rr you have the power to change it, just do so. Instead of complaining.

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Post by Scorch » Mon Jan 24, 2005 10:13 pm

mabye because they are inside you therfore you don't shoot yourself so youc ant thsout ''em

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Post by JeffM » Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:25 pm

or gee.. here's an idea.

It's a setting. It's set to a number. The software is behaving how it is suposed to, buy using that number. If you do not like the setting then the server owner can change it. Make the time shorter......... and lets see.... it'll be alive sooner..... killing things closer.

Many combinations of flags/settings make no sense. It is the responsibility of the server owners to set the parmaters to what makes sense for the style of play they wish. The defaults can not take all cases into account, so no they are "just simply wrong", they just simply are.

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Post by rr » Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:12 am

So let me get this straight, the setting intentionally makes GM unable to kill anyone within a certain time peroid of firing? The developers intentionally made a variable that defines a certain time frame which must pass before the GM bullet is able to interact with the the environment?

As far as this being a variable which can be set, as near as I can tell there is no documentation concerning the variable other than this:

Code: Select all

 _gmActivationTime 	 0.5
Some explanation would be nice of what the variable does, rather than mindlessly listing a bunch of variables. Regardless, from the conversations I have had with other developers it would appear that this is not the intended way which GM should be acting, regardless of how this variable is set. Based on that and the fact that there is no documentation concerning its proper behaviour I have no choice but to consider it a bug.

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Post by trepan » Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:24 am

Your first statement is correct, _gmActivationTime is the amount
of time (in seconds) before a GM shot will be permitted to interact
with another player.

Now you can safely think of it as a feature rather then a bug.

I wonder whose these others dev are... were they bzflag devs?

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Post by DTRemenak » Tue Jan 25, 2005 12:42 am

rr wrote:So let me get this straight, the setting intentionally makes GM unable to kill anyone within a certain time peroid of firing? The developers intentionally made a variable that defines a certain time frame which must pass before the GM bullet is able to interact with the the environment?
That's correct.
rr wrote:As far as this being a variable which can be set, as near as I can tell there is no documentation concerning the variable other than this:

Code: Select all

 _gmActivationTime 	 0.5
Some explanation would be nice of what the variable does, rather than mindlessly listing a bunch of variables.
OK, here goes...it sets the time before the gm is activated. As is the conventional base in both SI and English units of measurement, the time is expressed in seconds.
Regardless, from the conversations I have had with other developers it would appear that this is not the intended way which GM should be acting, regardless of how this variable is set.
If they told you that, they're misinformed. The variable is there to prevent the GM from interacting with any targets other than tracking them before the time has expired, as is quite clear from its name. That said, I find it rather unlikely that any of the active devs doesn't know about it, since it was an active conversation on #bzflag for quite some time.
Based on that and the fact that there is no documentation concerning its proper behaviour I have no choice but to consider it a bug.
What you consider it is your own concern, but as far as we're concerned, it's a feature. Set it to zero if you don't like it (and watch people kill themselves by driving into their own GMs). I fail to see how more flexibility and control in the hands of server operators can be considered a bug.

Now, all that said...if what you want to discuss is whether the default setting is appropriate, that's what you should ask about. We're always open to input on default settings. This one was chosen because it 1. helps to limit the power of GM, 2. prevents people from killing themselves on their own GMs, and 3. doesn't cripple the GM. Anyone who has an opinion on whether a shorter or longer setting is more appropriate (or whether we got it right) is more than welcome to speak up.

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Post by rr » Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:10 am

OK, here goes...it sets the time before the gm is activated. As is the conventional base in both SI and English units of measurement, the time is expressed in seconds.
"Activation" could mean a couple of things with regard to firing a missle, I don't think it is nearly as clear as you make it out to be, and it is certainly not clear enough to not be properly documented.
This one was chosen because it 1. helps to limit the power of GM, 2. prevents people from killing themselves on their own GMs, and 3. doesn't cripple the GM.
Regarding point number...

1. That is most certainly does.

2. I think this is more to the point of why this was instituted. From previous versions there was a bug allowing you to kill yourself with your own GM. I suspect that this was instituted as a quick fix rather than addressing the real problem.

3. This cripples GM alot more than you might think. With the WG flag I have been able to repeatedly drop down next to someone and let them try to shoot me for a good 10 seconds before finally deciding to kill them. If the WG flag is not present then I'll agree that this probably wouldn't cripple GM (although it would still weaken it a good deal), but with WG present a tank using GM is little more than a sitting duck.
Anyone who has an opinion on whether a shorter or longer setting is more appropriate (or whether we got it right) is more than welcome to speak up.
Well, you accomplished points 1 and 2, but missed the mark on point 3 by a long shot.

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Post by toaster » Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:14 am

Was this created as a fix to the old death-by-gm-suicide bug for when you were moving forward and fired gm and died because it exploded in the pipe, so to speak?

If so, that bug, as I recall, is due to gm having a fixed velocity regardless of tank momentum. Perhaps time to adjust the code to fire it at tank_momentum + gm_velocity, then let velocity decay in the next few hundred milliseconds. ??

This will always be an issue with the ultra-high-speed cracked servers, but that's their problem.
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Post by trepan » Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:19 am

There's a trick I use when I've got the laser
flag and I'm being attacked by someone with
the cloaking flag. I drop the flag. Can you see
the parallel?

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Post by DTRemenak » Tue Jan 25, 2005 1:43 am

rr: Rereading my last post, it has a harsher tone than I intended. Sorry if it sounded like I was picking a fight or insulting you. Thanks for staying on topic and constructive.

You're right that "activation" could have multiple meanings (e.g. activation of the warhead, activation of the guidance system). Ultimately all of the server variables ought to be documented in detail, but thus far noone has offered to do that. Patches welcome :)

Toaster: As far as I know, the primary intention was to give GM a chink in its armor, so to speak. Fixing (or working around, if you prefer) the gm suicide bug was a secondary goal and pleasant side effect. Of course, I might be totally wrong, but that was my impression.

GM's vulnerability now is very much like burrow's...if your opponent manages to get close, you'll need to take action to keep from getting killed. It's still a far more powerful flag than burrow, though, when it comes down to it, and like burrow's angular velocity, it can be adjusted at will by the server operator.

Trepan's got an excellent point. Laser being attacked by cloaking, shockwave being attacked at long distance, burrow being attacked by wings or approached from behind, and undoubtedly others, all have the same kind of critical vulnerability. Until now, GM had none - even ST can be fairly easily killed by an (unguided) GM. One of the main motivations behind shot limits was to limit GM's power, but I think they're a cheap and overused solution, and this is a solution which forces the GM player to rely on skill and reaction rather than just snatching his flag away from him.

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Post by Workaphobia » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:08 am

I like this new setting. While I haven't put it to the test yet, I like the idea that once I spiral my way inward to a GM holder, I know what to do. I never was that great at taking GM down; I could only dodge.

The question in my mind is should wings be able to trump GM. But given the number of variables that can affect this - angular velocity of the missiles, jumpheight and jumpcount of wings, and activation time - it may be premature to assume one of them will automatically win.
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Post by rr » Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:35 am

Perhaps the current problems are largely due to the server owners not tweaking the maps as they should be.

However, the simple truth of it is that the vast majority of the servers out there will use whatever the default settings are rather than bothering to change them, especially since they aren't documented to a point where you can figure out what each setting does without spending the time to mess around with it. There is a large number of variables here that I have no idea what they would do. The few that can be easily identified are the ones which are most likely to be changed (e.g. _wingsJumpCount) while other things will rarely be touched because they aren't documented ( _avenueSize (there's avenues now?), _coldetDepth (whats a coldet?), _gmAdLife (GMs have Ads? Ads for what?), _noClimb (theres no ladders anyways, what are we not allowed to climb?), _weapons (this would be a boring game without weapons I would guess), etc...).

Like it or not, the developers should put some more thought into properly balancing the flags in this game by default, as well as properly documenting all of the possible options which can be used to alter the gameplay.

As far as trepans suggestion of dropping GM when attacked by WG, it is a valid one. However, GM is laregly considered to be the "counter flag" for WG. What good is a counter flag when you have to drop it when you are attacked by someone with the flag that you are supposed to be countering?

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Post by toaster » Tue Jan 25, 2005 3:14 am

DTRemenak wrote:Toaster: As far as I know, the primary intention was to give GM a chink in its armor, so to speak. Fixing (or working around, if you prefer) the gm suicide bug was a secondary goal and pleasant side effect. Of course, I might be totally wrong, but that was my impression.
Or totally right. :) I just asked that question because delayed arming is the normal engineering solution to the explode-in-your-barrel problem. Seemed so obvious. :)
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Post by JeffM » Tue Jan 25, 2005 8:11 am

rr, as for defaults, so far we've heard 1 that dosn't like it ( you ), one that does (Workaphobia), no body else has complained about it, so others must be ok with it. So that puts us at at least over a 50% mark on people who are ok with it.

I'd sugest that if you can't play on a server that has it set like this, that you get some bandwith and start your own server. Or at the least talk to the ops of the servers you play on.

No default will make every single person happy. This default seems to make a number of people happy, or at least ok with it. "GM is to powerfull" is a common complaint.

Maybe if there are tons of complaints about it, the default will change later. All things take time to "dial in". for now, it's not going to change, the version is done, so your just going to have to deal with it. We won't be making a 2.0.2 just to change a default. Consider your opinion on the matter duely noted and move on.

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Post by the enemy » Wed Mar 02, 2005 3:10 am

DTRemenak wrote:Toaster: As far as I know, the primary intention was to give GM a chink in its armor, so to speak. Fixing (or working around, if you prefer) the gm suicide bug was a secondary goal and pleasant side effect.
A problem is that if you don't like that behaviour, and set _gmActivationTime to 0 or something much smaller than 0.5, you seem to blow yourself up even more easily than on version 1.x.

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Post by toaster » Wed Mar 02, 2005 7:55 pm

Matter of fact, I have died a number of times on servers where even with that default setting, I have still blown up because I managed to "outrun" the gm slightly.

In real life, a guided missile isn't really armed until seconds after leaving the barrel or the launching rail. This is to prevent the proximity warhead from detonating in the proximity of the launcher (you). The range, depending on the gm type and application, can extend up to 30 seconds.

Of course, in real life, a gm would actually fly for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a couple of minutes. (I'm not talking about theater type or strategic intercontinental gms, here. A standard sidewinder heat seaker will burn its rocket motor for nearly a minute, and continue to guide itself a lot longer. A Maverick anti-tank missile is similar.)

Anyway, I sort of like the chink in the armor. A little more like reality. And a minor advantage if you can get in close.
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