A Night of Troubleshooting

January 17, 2017
GURPS VTT Fantasy Grounds Discord PF

Yesterday was the time of our weekly game night. Originally it was supposed to be the first actual play in the new setting, but since the new GURPS ruleset for Fantasy Grounds just came out, I have decided to postpone gaming for another week and instead port our characters to the new ruleset.

And that was about the moment when our troubles began. In the three or four test sessions so far, Fantasy Grounds did an excellent job to open up a port in my router’s firewall via uPnP and my player (there is just one GURPS player in this group) could connect without any hassles.

Not tonight, though …

We started, he tried to connect, nothing happened. My first thought was that maybe the new ruleset needed to be transferred to the client, and in a few seconds the client would enter the game. Waiting didn’t help. I checked the connection with the built-in test tool and received the very helpful message of “Failure”.

I had to manually add the Port Forwarding rule to finally get the connection running. No idea though why that was necessery. There were no changes with the network settings, firewall, router, or software, besides the use of a new ruleset.

Then we played around a little in the new ruleset and finally started to type in the character Làndoril. That task was about done when suddenly one of the input fields (for the current move) on the character sheets’ main tab vanished. I would have considered this a minor bug of the new ruleset and not much of an inconvenience if not … if not with every click or keyboard stroke on this tab (or the one with the combat values) the window with the error messages had grabbed the focus and placed itself in front of whatever I was trying to do.

We tried to make it work: by using the sheet with the missing value, but the error window kept getting in the way, by exporting and importing the character sheet, and by inspecting the xml of the exported sheet. It did not help and in the end we just created a new sheet and started to fill it out again.

Filling out a character sheet showed that the interface can be a bit clonky from time to time and some tasks are just not very easy or efficient to do (or I just don’t know the trick yet) and I really hope that we will not have to do it very often. The next character we might rather create in the GURPS Character Assistant instead and import it from there.

At that point we were about done for the night - our weekly sessions usually last only between 2 to 2.5 hours - when for the first time since we switched to Discord, our audio connection started to act up as well: about every other sentence got cut in half. We decided that it just was not to be and wrapped it up.

I ran into some further problems when I tried to inform the author of the ruleset (Ronnke, thank you for your excellent work!) on the Fantasy Grounds Forum about the bug and the forum’s software would not allow my post because it either had too many links (zero that is) or too many forbidden words, whichever those may be. All I wanted to write was “How do I check for the version number? I did get the ruleset about 3 hours before the post from your dropbox link.” while citing the post above. Tried it a few times, gave up and went to bed, tried a few more times in the morning, got really frustrated, and went to work.

I really do see the need to moderate forums… but just do not put an automated guard dog between your customers and their main means of support for your software, please. Or at least highlight the offensive words you want removed to give the user a tiny hint of what to do.

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