How to Report Errors Games Papriko | 2/27/2014
Reported an issue with your game and are just not getting any further? Here are a few tips & tricks to make bug tracking go more smoothly!
I am writing this guide because nowadays problems with COBs and agents are still quite common, yet sometimes people do not provide all of the needed information to effectively solve the issue. That's not a criticism and I'm not trying to blame anyone either, since sometimes it can be kinda hard to figure out what is worth mentioning, or not. This article is supposed to give people a guide about how to post their issues in the best way to get good and quick solutions.
1. What Are We Working With?
First of all you should write a brief description of which game you are playing. Creatures 1? Creatures 2? 3? Creatures Village? Docking Station? When you play Docking Station, is Creatures 3 installed, too? Is it a docked or undocked world? Are you playing from the original disks (or in DS' case: download) or do you play some newer version, such as the Albian Years pack or Creatures Exodus?
Another question which may or may not be important: What OS does your computer run with?
All these questions are supposed to give us a basic idea of what system we are dealing with. Different systems behave differently, hence we need to know what we are trying to fix. Creatures on Windows is an entirely different thing than Creatures on Mac or Linux. Which version you run (e.g. Windows Vista vs. Windows XP) makes a tremendous difference as well.
It also gives people a rough idea if they can help you at all or not. I, for example, have only played C3/DS so far, so when the issue turns out to be for C1, I am as clueless as you.
This description does not even need to be long, you can do it in one or two sentences, such as: "Hi there, I have Creatures 3 and DS installed from the 'Creatures Gold' disk on Windows 2000. Right now I am playing an undocked DS-only world and I ran into the following problem. "
2. What's Wrong?
Clearing up what system you have is important, but to solve a problem we need to know what the problem is in the first place. Give us a brief description of what is happening. Something short, like "my carrots give errors when they grow" or "my game just shows a black screen".
This does not need to be long yet, that comes in the next step. Right now we only try to tell the supports what kind of problem we are dealing with. Error isn't always error. They can be related to the genetics, to ingame code, to sprites or, as mentioned before, to the system you run. There is a plenty of error sources, but not everyone knows how to fix all of them. You do not need to be a tech-geek to write a description as those above, yet they still outline what issue we are dealing with.
3. Once More: What's Wrong?
At this point you probably already attracted some helpful people (luckily this site is full of them ) who would like to help with your problem. They have read the short descriptions and decided that they seem to be the right ones to help you. Now it's time for details. What exactly goes wrong? Which object is messing up? When does it mess up? Do you push certain buttons or keys before it happens? Do your creatures perform specific actions? Did you install any new things or change some configurations in the last days/weeks? Does it happen since you added something special to your game? Does it still happen when you take it out again?
Don't be afraid to write too much. There is no "too much"! The more information you can give now, the better. Also tell about things which may seem unimportant. Sometimes things are connected in the weirdest ways. Installing an elevator fix could glitch out your eggs for example. Write whatever may be just remotely connected to the problem you describe. When you think it helps to clarify the situation, post a screenshot or two in the Screenshots Gallery.
The supporters will filter out the important things on their own. When they think that they still do not have all info they need, they might ask you even more questions. Do your best to answer those as detailed as possible, too. Let me say it once more: at this point, there is no "too much"! When it is possible, try to write a step-by-step guide too, what you do in order to cause the problem.
4. Errors! Errors Everywhere!
Does the game give you any error messages? Yes? Good! That means it tries to give you hints what is wrong! They may or may not seem pretty cryptic to you, but that is okay. When you don't understand them, please do not give descriptions like "something about invalid syntax I think..."
The better solution is to post the error as it is. Either mark everything and then put it into [ code ][ /code ] brackets (without the spaces) or, when you can not copy it as text, make a screenshot. Those errors often already give an excellent description of what is happening. They basically make your job of reporting the issue easier, so use them!
An additional note for C3/DS players: not sure if those games introduced it, but I never heard of it in the older ones. C3/DS has a so-called "Autokill" which solves minor problems with objects by simply letting the entire object disappear. You can turn off that option, though. Hit Ctrl + Shift + W to open Wolf Control. You might already know it, since it also handles the fast forward. Hit Ctrl + Shift + A to disable the Autokill and then Ctrl + Shift + W to close the window again. Now try to trigger the problem you have once more. You might get additional errors too, which you did not get before. Post those as well.
To sum it up, you should provide details of:
- Your Operating System
- Which version your Operating System is
- Which Creatures game
- What version the game is
- A brief description of the problem
- Another very detailed description of the problem
- Attachments like error messages and screenshots
This might seem like a huge pile of stuff to do, but hey, it is you who wants the help after all, so help us to help you!
Updated by Laura on 6/18/2015 - corrected typos at Papriko's request.
Updated by Rascii on 8/9/2015 - changed category to games.
Made a few minor typos here and there, but out of reflex I clicked "post" instead of "preview", lol