A Slow Month for Barren Planet
Saturday, 2nd April 2022
Progress on Barren Planet was slow during March and nothing much was achieved. In fact, some aspects of development went backwards.
I continued development on the play-by-mail functionality for a while, but it turns out there was a fundamental bug in the generation of turn files, resulting in random corruption of the game data. Since the OpenWatcom tools lack a debugger that works for DOS, I was unable to find where the actually was - it's really like looking for a needle in a haystack.
So I had to roll back all the play-by-mail functionality altogether. I then started re-adding it piece by piece, with a thorough test after each step to see if or when the corruption reappears. This is a very slow process, as thorough testing involves playing through the game to make sure that game data doesn't get corrupted at some point. Nearly a month of ill health has slowed down this process even more. At this point, I'm not yet back at the point where I was at the start of March.
As this is not a fun part of the project I turned my attention to the web site for a while. I've given the web site a minor facelift, as you might have noticed since you're reading this. I added some more screenshots to Barren Planet's page, and the format of the page has changed - for the better, I hope.
I plan to continue re-adding the play-by-email functionality throughout April. Hopefully by the end of the month, this will be done, and either I'll find out what was causing the game data corruption, or it will magically not occur this time around.