BGA blues

Applogies I meant to post this last week.

The trouble all started last Thursday when SpudBoi, whose helping beta test the map on the MP sever let me know they were having issues emptying one of the bunkers at the BGA. The left bunker appeared empty but the menu showed that there was still 20K liters of silage in that bunker. The guys tried dumping some fresh chaff in the left bunker but were prohibited from doing so, confirming that the game believed there was still silage in the bunker despite the bunker being empty visually. My first though was that silage was stuck in the wall but Spud let me know that he and Lewie had tried using the roller to clear the in wall silage with only limited success. The bunker immediately to the right of this bunker was full and I suspected that the silage from the right bunker might be bleeding into the left bunker even though the left bunker looked empty. To test this out the guys emptied out the right bunker and where able to get the right bunker down to 2300 liters which brought the left bunker down to just over 500 liters of silage. So while this remaining 2800 liters or so was indeed stuck in the wall the majority of the phantom silage in the left bunker had indeed bled through from the right bunker.

The menu is showing that a bit over 59K liters of chaff has been added to the right bunker

The menu is showing that a bit over 59K liters of chaff has been added to the right bunker

The left bunker is clearly empty yet the menu is showing 1875 liters of chaff

The left bunker is clearly empty yet the menu is showing 1875 liters of chaff

Back on the dev map I started looking for a fix and any indication of what may be going wrong. My first thought was that I may not have rerun the ground tip collision script prior to uploading the map to the server. While ‘tip anywhere’ sounds great in theory in truth what we are looking for is ‘tip anywhere except the places I don’t want you to tip’. The Giants Editor provides two means of designating no tip zones. The first of these is through the use of collisions built into the walls of objects. By applying the correct mask to the collision you can designate what can or cannot move through the wall. For example you could, if so inclined, create a collision that would stop a tractor in its tracks but would allow your freshly tipped grass to flow through to the other side of the shed. For the most part any decent silo or shed i3d will already have the mask set to the correct bit combination to produce the behavior we are expecting to see, if not the map maker will need to edit the mask to get the desired results. The second type of no tip zone comes in the form of a mask that is painted on to the maps surface in the same manner that nav-meshes are laid down to designate where animals can and cannot wander. This tip collision mask is the reason you cannot tip in certain areas such as the mall parking lot on GCV. To ensure that both of these methods are updated you need to run the Create Ground Collision Map script to generate a new map.i3d.colMap.grle file which is the engines means of knowing where it can and cannot dump. When you create a new save game a tipColMap.grle is created for that save based on the maps map.i3d.colMap.grle.

I fired up FS and created a new save after running Create Ground Collision Map script in GE. This created a new tipColMap.grle meaning that my map should now recognize that silage should not flow through walls or become stuck within said wall. I dumped a bit of chaff in the left bunker and a bit more in the right bunker. I then blanketed both heaps and advanced time to create silage. I was able to clear both bunkers with no silage stuck in the walls, though there was a bit that took a bit of coaxing to clear. Problem solved, right? Well, no, not quite. For the next step I dumped a bit of chaff in the left bunker against the wall shared with the right bunker. The menu while I was in the left bunker showed that 56K liters of chaff had been dumped and were at 0% compaction. I moved over to the right bunker and the menu showed that the right bunker contained 0 liters of chaff at zero percent compaction. So far all is well in the land of chaff and silage. Next, I restarted the save to clear both bunkers. This timed I dumped the chaff in the right bunker, noted that menu did indeed show that the bunker was 56K/0%, and proceeded to move over to the left bunker. The menu informed me that the left bunker, which had been 0/0 before I dumped chaff in the right bunker now contained 1100 liters of chaff though not a strand of chaff (is a piece of chaff still a strand) could be seen. To push the oddity a bit further down the rabbit hole as I drove deeper into the bunker the phantom chaff began to compact. This is not at all what I wanted to see. I reran the experiment several times, always with the same results. Dump in the left bunker no bleed though, dump in the right and bleed though to the left. It seems the worm hole we ripped in the space time fabric of Nagce Valley was a one way street. There were a few times that it seemed like the ghost silage had been exorcised, I’d dump some chaff in the right bunker and the left bunker would be clean, but as soon as I started compacting the chaff in the right bunker the ghost silage would spring forth in the left.

There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief…

In times like these, when the Giants Editors stops making sense I often ask myself ”What would Stevie do?” No seriously, when I can’t figure something out I’ll open one of his maps in GE and peek under the covers to see how he did it. I’ll peek under the covers of other maps as well but Stevie’s usually my go to. Fortunately Pine Cove used the same BGA bunkers as I was using on Nagce Valley. I looked at Stevie’s implementation and could not spot a single difference between the collision settings on his bunkers and those on mine. Next I fired up Pine Cove and ran the same test on Stevie’s map that I’d run on mine. His bunkers worked flawlessly, no bleed through at all. Another map that uses these bunkers is NLD Farmers Green River map. So I gave that map a try, the collision setting were the same and the bunkers on that map worked flawlessly as well, no phantom silage haunting the bunker. CCS101, a FSUK MVP who has helped me in the past, suggested lowering the collisionHeight value from 4 to 3 as well as deleting the tipColMap.grle to ensure that the game generated a new one based on the latest map.i3d.colMap.grle. Unfortunately neither suggestion solved my problem.

In the end nuke and pave looked to be my final option so I deleted my bunkers, downloaded them afresh to ensure I had the latest version and reimported them into my map. Short story, …same results. Taking the nuke and pave option a bit further down the road on bunker Armageddon I deleted the bunker system I had been using on Nagce Valley and imported the default bunkers from GCV. Initial testing has been positive, with no bleed through. Not wanting to leave well enough alone I found another set of open ended bunkers that to my eyes had a better look than the GCV bunkers and proceeded to shoe horn the GCV collisions into said better looking open ended bunkers. So far the initial testing has been going well though I suspect that there’s still some tweaking to be done. As much as I like the closed ended bunkers I’d originally been using the manner in which I’d placed them on the map created a large open area in the middle of the BGA yard that never felt right, and I think that the open ended bunkers I’m now using improve the look and flow of the yard. So despite a good deal of futile effort I’m happy with the way things turned out.

Just to be clear I do not think bunker prefab was in any way responsible for the phantom silage. Those bunkers worked flawlessly on the tow maps I inspected and I had several other modders let me know that they were using them without any issues as well. Clearly there was some flaw in my map, or my implementation of the bunkers, that led to these strange occurrences. I still have no idea what those flaws may have been, but I’ve put all that behind me now and rarely wake up screaming in the middle of the night