All the latest information on the newest glitches and crashes making your game a little more entertaining, along with articles about how to do various semi-game related things to help you or your neighbours.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

That Dang Blasted Internet...

We've all been there, we're doing a mission looking nervously over our shoulder, the deep bass music on the soundtrack giving us the heebie jeebies, the occasional camera view into an empty doorway... why is the director showing us it, there MUST be a reason...

We carry on, slowly, tentatively, it's almost at the end, we may get through this alive after all! When...

*Crescendo of dramatic music, flash camera switches to the doorway, now full of old pioneersman, we turn, we scream, the apparition bellows...*

"Blasted Internet seems to have gone quiet... let's try a refresh"

*Close-up on us, eyes going dulled, slumping down against the desk lifelessly, our moaning words "not 200 peas again...", crossfading to an artistic shot of our lifeblood (Mountain Dew) soaking into the carpet...*

OK, so it's never QUITE that well shot but the sight of a Blasted Internet popup is one of the most common and frustrating things on the Frontier, so I thought I'd do a little roundup of what we know so far about causes and possible solutions.

The basics...

The Blasted Internet warning appears to be when the game has a disruption in it's connection to home base, a break in the line. The game has either stopped being able to talk to the server or doesn't know how or why to tell it to do what it wants to (more on that later).

EDIT: These days this has now become the Report/Refresh warning... just to spice things up a bit and give us the option to report in the issue to Zynga, they do get them and use them.

Type 1 - The Time-Based Blasted.

Symptoms - If I don't do anything in the game for a certain length of time, I get a Blasted. These are usually totally harmless and don't take any progress away. It could simply be a way of putting the game to sleep if you've left it for a while.

Solutions - Except for not stopping playing (an option for some of us) there's not an awful lot we can do really. As I said before, this one is largely harmless, just makes you refresh the game.

Type 2 - The Activity-Based Blasted.

Symptoms - Sometimes the game will inadvertantly let us do something we shouldn't, or someone with too much time on their hands will find something they can do that the devs hadn't even considered the need to cover. Occasionally, it must be said, something we CAN do has an issue...

What then happens is the game wants to report this activity to the server, but doesn't know HOW to, let's use harvesting stored animals while using a Quick Draw Quaff as an example (not sure if this one is fixed yet, but it's a good one to use).

When we harvest stored animals it doesn't work the same way as harvesting them on our homestead, rather than run an action on an individual asset, it just totals up the animals fed and takes that amount of energy in a bunch. Which brings us to the problem.

On the one hand, the game is being told that X amount of energy was taken, but then on the other hand, it's saying we've got this thing that lets us do five things with each action... which means we used Y amount of energy, but X was taken, so Y can't be taken... and basically the game gets its bloomers in a bunch and has an attack of the vapours, giving us the dreaded Blasted.

Solutions - This is going to sound somewhat sarcastic BUT... stop doing what you were doing. If something you do once causes a blasted it may be a Type 3 (to follow).

Equally if you've done something outside the realms of gameplay (basically cheating, either knowingly or because a YouTube video on a dodgy fansite told you to) then stop doing it, put things back how they were and see if that helps.

If, however, you do something twice or three times, the exact same activity, and it causes a blasted... it's got an issue, it likely as not won't magically fix itself and your best bet is simply not to do that action until either a fix is reported or the saloon drink you've got running (a common Blasted cause) has worn off.

Type 3 - The Random Blasted.

Symptoms - Anything and everything...

Solutions - Stuff happens sometimes, if the next time you do something works, it was just a moment of sillyness, the internet might have dropped out for a second, your router might have hiccuped and lost a data packet, Zynga's internet might have done the same... sometimes it's just a totally random bit of daftness. We sigh, we refresh, we play.

The ultimate c'est la vie time.

Type 4 - The Constant Blasted.

Symptoms - Every few minutes, every day... we know there are people who have Blasted Internet issues CONSTANTLY... Whatever they do, whatever they try, it happens, and it sucks.

Solutions - If you're having Type 4's then this is the bit you probably don't want to hear. Solutions for this seem difficult and fluid. The problem in troubleshooting them is this, I have no Blasted problems, someone with EXACTLY the same setup as me might have them constantly.

I don't doubt one of the first things Zynga does is check servers when people report this, so the chances of it being that are slim, so it's an enigma.

Imagine troubleshooting yourself, say with your satellite or cable box. You and your next door neighbour have the same box, with the same company, on the same package. Same hardware, same supplier.

If both you and your neighbour find your box crashes when you try to watch Channel 42 then you'd be able to guess there was a problem with Channel 42, you could contact your supplier and, with confidence, say this is a problem.

What if you couldn't watch Channel 42 but your neighbour could, you'd imagine it's a problem with the hardware. Same again, a report to CS would be easy.

But... what if you couldn't watch Channel 42 between 9am and 3pm, but your neighbour could... although they can't watch Channel 99 between midnight and 4am (although we all know what's on at that time so he likely wont admit it...) and Channel 17 is actually Channel 71.

Give a Support Op that and he'll likely go cross eyed trying to work it out (especially if he tries watching Channel 99 from midnight...) and that's currently the issue Zynga are having. When folks chat to us about the constant Blasteds there are no common factors more often than not, which makes it very hard to troubleshoot.

Hopefully most people with Type 4's find it often fixes itself, or Zynga track down the one little problem with their personal setup that's causing the glitch.

Unfortunately for now, all we can suggest are the staple fix items... Clear your browser cache, clear your Flash cache and try a different browser.