Monday, February 17, 2014

Gridiron Solitaire #94: Argghhhhh

I'm starting to find out how many ways I can screw up after a game is released.

Last week, I introduced the Big Stop and sack mechanics into the game. Tested thoroughly, I believed (screw-up #1: no written test plan with every conceivable situation listed), and so I released it into the wild.

Last night, someone noticed a problem. It was rare, because it only happened if you got a Big Stop on a 4th down attempt by the CPU (which can only happen if the CPU goes for it instead of kicking), but it should never have gotten out.

I checked the code, and as soon as I saw how it handled fourth downs in that situation, I could not believe the idiot who wrote the code.

Me, obviously.

So I've spent as much time as I could squeeze out (another school holiday because of President's Day) today making the fix and testing.

Then I noticed something else happening--pulling on the thread and the sweater starts to unravel--and realized that some of the two-point conversion code I'd written (which isn't even live yet) had caused a problem because of a cut and paste I did. Actually, it was just a cut, so I had some code that was missing.

I'm very careful about things like this, so I'm beyond surprised that something like this happened. Fortunately, the missing code was only in the dev build, and it was easily put back in, but still. Good grief.

About two-point conversions. Enough people want them, and I agree with their reasons, that it's the next new feature going into the game. This starts to get tricky, though, in terms of keeping the game clear for all users, not just the experienced ones.

Here's the issue. I don't want the option for a two-point conversion showing up unless it's a situation that requires it, because it will slow the game down. Two-point conversions are only used in a very narrow range of situations, and I have identified that range.

This is much like onside kickoffs, where the option is only shown in certain combinations of time/score--otherwise, the kickoff is automatic.

The problem, though, is that it affects scoring. So the vast majority of the time, a touchdown will be automatically worth 7 points. In the special two-point situations, though, it will only be worth 6, and the user will have an option for an automatic one-point conversion, or an attempt for a two-point conversion (which involves a play from scrimmage instead of a kick).

That's the way it needs to be done, but I can see it causing confusion until people have seen it a few times. I'll put up a help bubble--maybe more than once, now that I think of it--but I'm still concerned about people being baffled by the difference.

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