Tip of the Week #7 Help squash the bugs

These days, when Second Life is acting up almost daily, it’s quite often that things don’t work the way they’re supposed to. Problem is, it’s difficult to tell when it’s an SL problem, or it’s a bona fide bug. If it’s the latter, than I’d like to know, and I’d want to squash it.

Here’s how to tell.

  • If you find a reproducible pattern, i.e. you can consistently reproduce the bug by doing a series of actions, then chances are, it’s a bug (could still be an SL bug though, but it could be mine, so this will definitely get my attention)
  • If it’s a stack-heap collision error, and it’s always coming from the same script, then it could be a bona fide “bug” (well, technically not a bug, but still, something that I might be able to fix if that particular script is always having memory issues).
  • If you can’t find a reproducible pattern, or it’s script errors from random scripts, chances are, it’s Second Life being difficult, and there’s very little we can do about it. Unless you can determine the specific steps to reproduce the bug.

Why do I need your help? Why can’t I do all the debugging myself? Fact is, the Signature line of toys are among the most complex things out there in Second Life today. When I make a full cuff set – it’s not one toy. It’s actually 8 toys plus one very complex HUD. Nine items that need to work together, in various combinations (base cuffs with neither, either or both the arm and thigh plugins).

The HUD must not only support each cuff, but also up to 6 types of gags. And also have room for future Signature toys. The HUD can detect and reset scripts that have stack-heaped, it can restore lost settings, and it can transfer settings and toys from one HUD to another. It can detect changes and prompt you to save. And then some. It’s a complex toy.

There are about 40 scripts inside the HUD’s root prim alone, and most of these are full (i.e. they’re not simple 20-line scripts that do only one specialized job each). That’s a lot more scripts than your average HUD or toy out there.

As such, bugs are inevitable – especially with so many possible combinations of usage and settings possible with the Signature series. Many bugs only show up under certain very specific circumstances (for example, one bug showed up if and only if you are using the RL Viewer and you have the gag and you are on “garble loose” setting and you just logged in while not wearing your gag).

It’s just impossible for one person (that is, moi), to debug every possible combination – especially if I am to develop new toys and add new features and provide last-ditch customer support and so on.

That’s where you can help:

  • Do try the Release Candidates. Play around with them, break them. Then report it.
  • Before reporting, make sure it’s not a known issue though. You can tell by pressing the “latest fixed?” button on the HUD’s “HELP!…” page (HUD v4.12.02 and above), which brings you to the online help’s “what’s new” page for the “latest release” of cuffs or gags. The grayed-out unreleased version will contain the latest known bugfixes due out in the next release.
  • Also, only report it when you can find the series of fixed steps to reproduce the bug. If I can’t repro the bug, I can’t even begin to look inside the scripts to fix it. You can fill out the “bug report” form (press “report bug” on the “HELP!…” button).
  • You can use the “bug report” for a more orderly method, or you can drop me a notecard with specific steps.

Together, with can work towards a sophisticated, yet bug-free LULU Signature series for everyone!
Lulu Ludovico

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