Tick bug

Feedback, bugs, and general gameplay related discussion.
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Tick bug

Postby Gukov » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:45 pm

The mud is down and I don't want to do anything productive so I thought I'd start a thread on the tick bug to see if we could learn more about it by sharing experiences and thoughts on it.

What do you know about the tick bug?

What I mean by tick bug is the several-round freeze or 'lag' a character experiences when they perform certain actions right as the tick rolls around. Why would this occur?

A 'tick' in the game is presumably supposed to be 60 seconds in length, but for whatever reason it actually turns out to be something like 61 seconds. It seems that if a character performs certain actions right around this 61st second they get frozen up for a good 4 or 5 rounds. Is the game finding some weird internal conflict because it thinks it's supposed to have 60 second ticks and it is trying to find a way to deal with it?

It's also worth noting actions that don't seem to have any tick issues. I'm sure there are a lot of them, but some of the more obvious ones would be things like movement or opening/unlocking/etc objects. I can't ever recall getting frozen up because I was running somewhere or opening a door or what have you. On the other hand, spells (in and out of combat), combat actions like bash or shieldpunch, and probably lots of other things I'm not thinking of result in the tick bug.

Anyways, share any thoughts on possible reasons and maybe we can narrow the issue down.
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Re: Tick bug

Postby Ragorn » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:53 pm

Oh that reminds me, who's coming to the Tick Bug's 15th Anniversary Celebration later this year?
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Re: Tick bug

Postby Corth » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:53 pm

Tick Bug has been studying hard for the PSAT's, and is looking forward to getting his learner's permit.
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Re: Tick bug

Postby Shaiith » Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:57 am

The reason the tick is about 60.5 seconds instead of a round 60 is likely because of the way timeslicing is implemented. There's a heartbeat about every 250 ms, and 240 of them per tick, every time. The reason some ticks are longer than others is likely due to the way that the mud pauses between "heartbeats".

There's no catchup mechanism in the code for when the pause between heartbeats takes longer than expected. For instance when something has locked the boxes processor down (compiling, wapanese pr0n, whatever) the next scheduled heartbeat is delayed.

It should be fairly easy to modify the waiting code to check if it's behind schedule or not. If it's behind it could wait a bit less until it's caught up. Add a variable to track how far behind in total, check how long the last wait really took, and adjust the next wait accordingly

You wouldn't want to catchup too fast or multiple heartbeats might spam past without users having a chance to respond, but a couple 200 ms heartbeats instead of 250 ms heartbeats until caught up wouldn't kill people, but it would mess with people who have a built in mental 60.5 second timer (or a mental 2000 ms second lag post spellcast timer, if that was suddenly 1600 ms due to catchup time code being active, it'd be noticeable). Always having a pause between heartbeats is somewhat of a feature to prevent box lag + spamscroll death.

I think the extremely long pauses might have to do with regular lag code being extra laggy. I always noticed it would always seem to happen post spellcast, never in the middle of running from wd to hulburg. This would suggest that somehow the lag was being extended a bit too much. (If you have a while running example, that would suggest network level issues)
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Re: Tick bug

Postby Kindi » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:18 am

ya i only see it on stuff that has 'lag' built in like spells and combat skills like said above so maybe whatever they use to implement the 'lag' feature

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