READ BEFORE POSTING - Beta Reporting Guide

By on September 18, 2009 1:33:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

kryo

Join Date 05/2003
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Welcome to the Elemental Beta!

If you've beta tested with us before, welcome back. If not, or if you've beta tested other games, please keep in mind that our definition of "beta" is different from others. At this early stage, things are going to be rough and it won't be fun, but with your help and input the game will come together before your very eyes!

 

So you've found a problem.

First things first: what kind of problem? For the title of your report thread, you'll want to begin with the general category so that particular issues are easier for us to find. Some categories include:

Technical Issues --

[Crash]   The game crashes, hangs, or fails to start.
[Performance]   The game runs poorly, even with sufficient hardware.
[Bug/Graphics]   Graphical anomalies or artifacts.
(ex: the map is just a jumbled mess of lines and static)

Non-technical Issues --

[Bug/Gameplay]   A game mechanic is not working correctly.
(ex: your kingdom's skill bonus does not appear to apply)
[Bug/Interface]   Something in the user interface is not working correctly.
(ex: text or backgrounds are not layered correctly in a menu)
[Bug]   Other not-working-correctly issues outside the above categories.
[Suggestion]   Something you think could be reasonably improved.
(ex: something isn't broken, but could work better or be easier another way)


After figuring out the category, provide a brief but descriptive title. Please refrain from making a post with a mysterious title like "[Bug]" only, or putting an entire post in the title line.

If you have a suggestion which does not involve the game systems that we're focusing on in the current phase, please post them in the Ideas forum rather than under Beta feedback.

Finally, please keep it to one bug per topic. Combining multiple reports into one thread makes it much more difficult to quickly categorize them when we go over them.

 

What kind of detail should you give?

In the body of the report, please give as much detail about the problem as you can. This includes what the problem is (as best as you can describe it), what you were doing when it happened, and (most importantly) if/how it can be made to happen again.

If it is a technical issue (Crashes, Performance, Graphic Bugs), there are some files you can provide to help. Before we cover them though, take note to use pastebin.com or some other text hosting service (if you have your own website, you can just upload them there) to link any log files externally. These files are usually very long, and if you paste them directly in your post it can become unreadable very quickly. However you upload them, please make sure that the files are readable directly from the link--don't use rapidshare or other such download sites to host them.

Note: If the debug.err file is too large for pastebin, you can split it across multiple pastes or just upload it to dropbox as with memory dumps below.

First and foremost, each time you run the game it will generate a log named debug.err. This file will always be located at My Documents\My Games\Elemental and will be replaced each time you run the game, so make sure to grab it right after the problem happens. Despite the funny extension, it is a plain text file so you can open it with notepad to copy the text out.

Second, also for technical issues, you can provide a dxdiag report. To generate one, go to the Run option in your start menu, type in dxdiag and click OK. It will process for a bit; when it finishes, click the Save All button and save the report someplace you'll remember. You can then open the report with notepad and upload it or post it to pastebin as with the debug.err file. Again, please don't post these directly in your report as they are usually very long.

For crash reports in particular, the most helpful file you can provide is a memory dump that the game will generate when a crash occurs. If you're running Windows XP, there will be a zip file with the memory dump located in Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Stardock\Elemental - War of Magic. If you're running Windows Vista or 7, the zip file will be located at ProgramData\Stardock\Elemental - War of Magic instead.

Due to the high importance of solving crash issues and the need to provide a non-text file, we ask that instead of using third party upload sites or the forums, please submit crash reports with the memory dump zip, your debug.err, and your dxdiag report attached directly to our bug tracking system. Submission of other bugs through that system is optional, but for crashes we do ask that you use it specifically. Although there is a suggestions category there, please keep those to the forums so that it doesn't get too full. There should also be a link to the bug tracker in your start menu should you need to use it.

Update: Unfortunately we've had to close off fogbugz to the general public due to a high volume of spam. For subsequent betas, please post crash reports directly on the forum. For the dumps, we recommend DropBox. Please do not upload dumps to sites such as Rapidshare as the limits on those sites can make gathering large numbers of reports quickly very difficult.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words...

If you're reporting anything that is most easily illustrated with a picture, we recommend using Jing. This service allows you to post screenshots, annotate them, and host them very easily. For example:

 

On with the show!

Thanks for reading this guide--now get to playing! If you have any questions about bug reporting or anything is unclear, feel free to ask here.

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September 18, 2009 1:50:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Minor addition: the folders where memory dumps are written may be hidden. If you can't find them, go to Control Panel -> Folder Options -> View and set yourself to view hidden files and folders.

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September 18, 2009 3:57:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

To reiterate and clarify, Please DO NOT use the bug tracker for posting questions, suggestions, requests, or complaints about stuff that is not yet implemented. That is not its purpose. Please post suggestions here on the forums only. If you're looking to discuss or give general feedback, that goes in the forums as well.

If you do have something that belongs in the bug tracker (genuine bugs/failures), make certain to give it an appropriate and descriptive title (a one-word or blank title is neither!), and substantial content, and stick to ONE bug per posting.

If you're at all in doubt about any of this, just post it on the forums.

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September 20, 2009 11:18:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How does one post a screenshot using Jing?  When I use Screencast and Insert / Edit Image with the screencast URL, I get a broken picture link appearing in the post.

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September 20, 2009 11:23:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Use the actual URL of the image itself (it'll end in .jpg/.png/etc), not a link to a page on their site.

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September 20, 2009 11:37:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"For crash reports in particular, the most helpful file you can provide is a memory dump that the game will generate when a crash occurs. If you're running Windows XP, there will be a zip file with the memory dump located in Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Stardock\Elemental - War of Magic. If you're running Windows Vista or 7, the zip file will be located at ProgramData\Stardock\Elemental - War of Magic instead."

I am running Vista 64 and do not have either of the paths listed above.

Can anyone tell me the name of the Zipfile so I can do a search for it?

 

Thanks,

Sammual

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September 20, 2009 11:50:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i don't have windows seven but have you tried to use the search function, including all the folders? maybe you've a non english version so the path can be translated in your language.

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September 20, 2009 11:57:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As noted in the followup, they're hdden by default.

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September 20, 2009 12:07:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ops too much work have distracted me  

Quoting kryo,
Minor addition: the folders where memory dumps are written may be hidden. If you can't find them, go to Control Panel -> Folder Options -> View and set yourself to view hidden files and folders.

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September 20, 2009 11:57:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Is there a way to adjust some of the descriptions in crash reports after they are submitted.  (I've sent a few in, but presumably goofed up by writing "Beta 1" instead of "version .22" in the version section.)

Also, how specific do the software and computer sections need to be to be useful?

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September 28, 2009 5:53:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

If you cannot find you dump file where indicated look in the All Users.WINDOWS (Windows XP) instead of All Users.

 

Documents and settings\All Users.WINDOWS\Application Data\Stardock\Elemental-War of Magic.

 

That is where i found mine. 

 

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October 26, 2009 10:13:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Elemental causes GameGuard problems.  This happens most often on crash/freeze tho seems to happen whenever Elemental runs.  If you are not familiar with gameguard, it is a program that prevents keyloggers and some types of cheating in MMORPH games and is a required component in NCSoft games such as LineageII and Aion.  Gameguard runs in the processing core of your PC and detects the software/malware it is searching for. 

When Elemental runs it causes gameguard to prevent the other program from starting and generates the message 'Gameguard Error 1610" (I didn't write that number down so I may be wrong).  To correct this I have had to first delete the gameguard file from Programs/LineageII/System, do a dns flush then restart.

Thanks.

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October 26, 2009 10:37:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gameguard is controversial due to the way it is installed and the degree to which it can intercept or block normal system functions (it actually seems to share a number of elements with StarForce, just from reading about it). It's part of why there was such a huge outcry over it in Aion--so much so that it was dropped from the NA release.

If you're having issues with it, it's more likely something that you should pursue with them or with the publisher whose game installed it on your system.

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October 31, 2009 1:24:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Starting from version 0.255 i can't use elemental nad jing together. After some time elemental starts to slow down, but when I turn off jing i speeds up agan.

Anyone had the same problem?

My system is Vista32 ang jing uses no processor and 50mb of memory.

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February 25, 2010 9:15:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The site to submit crash reports wants me to login. It didn't use to do that.

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February 25, 2010 11:14:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Myles,
The site to submit crash reports wants me to login. It didn't use to do that.

Same here.  Do we need to create a fogbugz id?

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February 25, 2010 11:32:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Myles,
The site to submit crash reports wants me to login. It didn't use to do that.

Same here...

Hopefully it's a minor issue, I found fogbugz to be easier to use than posting a forum topic.

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February 26, 2010 4:01:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Fogbugz accounts have to be created by the tracker admins--you can't sign up for one yourself. Unfortunately we've had to close it off from the public due to it getting spammed heavily.

Updated the sticky with a note about Dropbox, which a number of people around the office use and recommend. It's free but requires an account. Please don't use Rapidshare, Mediafire, etc., as the timers, bad captchas, and download limits would add a lot of unecessary trouble when we need to gather the report info.

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February 26, 2010 4:15:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kryo,
Updated the sticky with a note about Dropbox, which a number of people around the office use and recommend. It's free but requires an account. Please don't use Rapidshare, Mediafire, etc., as the timers, bad captchas, and download limits would add a lot of unecessary trouble when we need to gather the report info.
Oooops. Taking note of that detail.

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March 3, 2010 11:23:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kryo,
Fogbugz accounts have to be created by the tracker admins--you can't sign up for one yourself. Unfortunately we've had to close it off from the public due to it getting spammed heavily.

Updated the sticky with a note about Dropbox, which a number of people around the office use and recommend. It's free but requires an account. Please don't use Rapidshare, Mediafire, etc., as the timers, bad captchas, and download limits would add a lot of unecessary trouble when we need to gather the report info.

Dropbox appears to require email addresses to share with.  Which addresses should we use?

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March 3, 2010 7:59:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dropbox appears to require email addresses to share with. Which addresses should we use?

I think that's only if you want to share a whole folder in Dropbox.  What I've been doing is just moving files to my Dropbox "Public" folder, then right mouse button on the file (after it gets the green checkmark), select the "Dropbox" option, then "Copy Public Link".  You can then paste that link into a post on these forums.

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March 3, 2010 8:25:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

To follow up on my last post, you can insert a screen shot in your post by clicking on the little "tree" icon in the post editor, and then when the insert image window pops up, use ctl-v to paste your Dropbox public link into the link field.  Similarly, if you want to include a link to a debug file, select some text in your post and the little "chain" icon will activate.  Click on it and paste your dropbox public link into the popup window that appears.

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March 19, 2010 6:09:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for this information.

Regarding bug posting, several questions:

- Some bugs happen only with specific saved games (game cannot be loaded, CTD, ...) and not with other files. I cannot find any 'save' folder in game folder, or in my Documents and Settings. Where can we find the saved games? And would you like to receive saved games files?

Maybe this information could help other beta testers in finding them.

 

Best thanks and regards to the team.

 

 

[EDIT] Had difficulties finding the correct folder for debug files.

On Windows XP, like another user said, it is in:

Documents and Settings/All users.WINDOWS/Application Data/Stardock

Other user folders (current user, default user, all users, "yourname.WINDOWS") may have a Stardock folder, but don't have any 'Elemental War of Magic' folder.

 

 

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March 19, 2010 11:20:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On Windows XP, like another user said, it is in:

Documents and Settings/All users.WINDOWS/Application Data/Stardock

On Vista the saved games are in:

\Users\userid\Documents\My Games\Elemental\Saves

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March 26, 2010 2:08:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In case it might help anyone, I posted some hints on taking screen shots in this post

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April 10, 2010 12:19:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Is there anything we, as Beta Testers, can/should do towards the end of finding out why Saved Games won't load?  I didn't see anything about that specific issue...

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