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Feature Request and crash report

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There doesn't seem to be a specific spot to make a feature request so here's mine.

 

Auto Recover

 

Programs like premiere and word recognise when they've crashed and when you restart they ask if you'd like to restore your project. I don't know about other users but sometimes I forget to save and it annoys the hell out of me when A:M crashes and I lose a truck load of work. Just today I'd amost finished a character's head and neck, I was literally gonna extrude the neck one more time and save. I click extrude and Crash!.

 

I know version 17 is still in beta so it's ot gonna be totally stable but A:M in my experience has always been prone to random crashing. I've learned to save before I ask it to render because 3 out of 4 times it will let you set up your settings and then when you click ok it'll crash (If I didn't know better I'd say it waits for the most dickish moment it can and then crashes.) Just for anyone reading it's not any one particular project it does it in all of them but like I said I appreciate it's a beta and unstable.

 

So yeah auto recover would be great if it could be implemented at some point.

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AMRports has a "Feature" option. For Severity select "Feature"

 

But AMv16 also already has an auto backup feature that saves your work every x minutes which you can turn on. It's documented somewhere around here on the forum.

 

I don't know about other users but sometimes I forget to save and it annoys the hell out of me when A:M crashes and I lose a truck load of work.

 

Report the steps for that crash and it will get fixed. Don't report it... and it won't get fixed. Every crash I've reported for probably four years now has gotten fixed.

 

Saving your work frequently makes it easy to find the step that caused the crash.

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That's what I'm getting at Rob it's not any specific step or action I could render the same 5 seconds 6 times and then on the 7th it'll crash the only difference being i've moved some bones around on a model and not just 1 particular project. It's just A:M having one of it's "....f&*k it i'm done" moments. It's been crashing its ass off since I started using it in 2007 (and the fact it seems to be maintained by 1 person these days probs doesn't help), I find it more of running joke than anything else. "Hey Dan nice model you're making there. Lovely bit of patch work oh and by the way Crash" didn't know v16 had auto save though that's pleasant to know.

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It looks random because you're not paying attention. Computers don't do random, they do things for a reason.

 

Steffen has done a sensational job of fixing crashes. But you have to show him the crash.

 

Watch the movie in this one

 

http://www.hash.com/reports/view.php?id=6183

 

A lot of people would say that's a random crash, but it's not. Certain steps make it happen.

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Robert is right... Steffen did a really amazing job fixing bugs. It never has been that easy, fast and effective to report bugs. If you ask me it is done better now than before when 5 persons did it. (the good thing about that is, that Steffen knows what he did and there are (literally) no sideeffects when he changes something else. With 5 people, one changes something the other doesnt know about and they run into problems.

 

Try to find the steps why A:M is crashing. If it is really a "random" thing (and yes, there is no random stuff going on in a computer) it may have to do with other software interfering (for instance antivirus-programs, skype (had a problem once with that, but have not experienced it in years), etc.), partly-failing RAM or a buggy windows registery (if you are on windows... I am quite sure Macs have something like that too...)

 

By the way: A good program to solve at least some of the registery-problems on Windows (in general only happening if you installed many programs and the computer is running for a long time without formating) is CCleaner. (LINK)

It can help if you are experiencing unpredicted problems with you computer...

 

See you

*Fuchur*

 

PS: For feature-requests and bug-reports: A:M Reports.

 

PPS: You are using the current version, right? If everything doesn't work, a fresh reinstall might. Save the data you have changed (presets (in the main-folder of A:M), additional HXT-files like 3dpainter, your master0.lic-file, etc.)

to another location, uninstall A:M, restart you computer and install A:M again. After that copy the files you have saved to the appropiated location again.

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Just a general comment on "the nature of the beast" ...

 

One issue with software is the ability for the software to detect something wrong CLOSE TO WHERE THE MISTAKE IS MADE. The worst problem is a bug that happens that, for example, overwrites memory or puts the program in an unexpected state, but the program keeps running and it is unnoticed by the user at that time. Then at some time later, that user does some operation that causes the program to access that memory again and a crash happens. Or perhaps they never do something that makes it clear that something went wrong, and the bug goes unnoticed.

 

My understanding is that some of the hardest code to write is undo code. This is another case of the problem not becoming visible when the cause of the problem happens. When you do any operation, in addition to the operation the system has to remember what it did. It saves a "memento" with all of the commands necessary to take the model from its new state back to its original state. So when there is a problem, it can occur either in the code for the original operation, or in the code that creates the undo "memento". The time the problem manifests itself may be: a) when the operation is originally performed and the undo memento is created; B) when the undo is performed; or c) when some other operation happens that deals with the particular data that was incorrectly changed.

 

For example, if you create a bunch of splines, add groups and textures, add bones and assign control points (CPs), etc. Then, delete a bunch of CPs. What happens when you delete those CPs? Well, A:M has to find every bone those CPs are attached to and remove the association. It has to find every group those CPs are in and remove them. It has to find every spline those CPs are in, and remove that association, and possibly delete those splines, and finally delete those CPs. At the same time, it has to save a very complicated "memento" that can undo all of those operations. The second you hit undo, all of that code to restore that information is put into place with the expectation that the thousands (or 100Ks) of operations required to return every piece of information back to its original state is exactly right. If something went wrong in this process and you continue working on the model, you may not do anything that causes a crash, until you do some operation that goes through the entire tree (e.g. rendering, or saving) and ends up detecting in an ungraceful way that something went wrong.

 

I've never actually written undo code, but I've done a bit of reading on it, and just thinking about this process seems like a huge task that is difficult to get right in every situation. Think about 5-point patches, hooks, bias handles, normals, mass operations such as copy-flip-attach, and so forth.

 

I mention this, because personally I would often suspect undo as the first "usual suspect" in a seemingly random software crash. A lot of people have mentioned on the forum through the years that more experienced people tend to get fewer crashes, and I suspect this is in part because more experienced people tend to use undo less. Obviously, undo would not be the cause of all crashes, but again I mention it because of my understanding of the complexity involved in the undo operation.

 

Anyway, it will always be difficult to reproduce a bug when there is a lag/disconnect from the time the problem happens to the time you actually detect something is wrong. If you have a problem that shows up while doing an operation that deals with a large part of your scene or model such as saving or rendering, think of the kinds of operations you did before then, especially if there was an undo operation involved, and see if you can reproduce it. If you can reproduce it, make a backup of your project and all your files. Then try to remove various parts of the model or choreography, especially those parts that you think have nothing to do with the crash, to see if you can still reproduce it. The goal is to get as small of a project as possible with as little extraneous detail so the cause of the bug can be narrowed down as quickly as possible.

 

Anyway, I hope that explanation helps at least a little bit.

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Don't get me wrong guys I'm not 'dissing' (I hate that word) the excellent job that Steffan does. Nor am I saying that crashes are random, I'm sure there are totally legitimate reasons for when it crashes for seemingly no reason and to its credit A:M doesn't tend to crash as often as it did. Chris is right about the undo function though it does tend to crash when undoing things.

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Just a general comment on "the nature of the beast" ...

 

Yes, absolutely right. It often has to do with undo too. I use undo VERY VERY close to never. In general I find it as fast as clicking on the undo-button to reproduce the process I was trying to archieve.

I only undo, if I deleted half of a mesh (as good as never when I only deleted one control-point, etc.). Today I am not even thinking about those things anymore. I just am acustomed to no using undo from the days when it really was a paint to use it.

 

One of the biggest and at the same time smallest feature I can see is, that today some of the plugin-oprations are undo-able. This has been something that really was a pain before and in many cases undo is now available for some plugins too. I am quite sure that only a few people have noticed that and that most just dont think about it.

 

See you

*Fuchur*

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Good analysis Mouseman, and I agree with Gerald, once you get comfortable with AM, undo goes almost unused. I do find that if I need to undo, say, deleting some splinage, I get an error message along the lines of "do you want to see more errors from this group?" I click no and continue working, but it's clear from the error message that the computer is doing some very complex things "behind the scenes" and I want the computer and software to be happy, so I use undo sparingly, save often, and now and then when I'm just mulling things, or taking a break, I quit and restart just for grins.

 

And seriously, AM pretty much never crashes as often as it used to.

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