Friday, May 16, 2008

The Computer Gods Are Not Smiling

So there have been a few cases lately of old bugs in the game that I had fixed resurfacing. I could look at the code and see bits of it that I had corrected that had somehow reverted to an older version before the fix.

I have encountered this sort of thing before. It is usually a problem with Visual Studio and/or Visual Source Safe. Visual Studio is what I use to develop the game, and Visual Source Safe is a version control system that keeps track of code changes and allows you to roll back to a previous version of one or more code files if you need to. It also acts as a kind of a backup system for the code. I do all of my development on a server that is separate from my main PC. This way I can do development remotely from my laptop or even from any computer with an internet connection. This is my dev server which is separate from the live server the game runs on.

Anyway, I proceeded with the normal fix for this sort of thing -- delete the affected project out of the Visual Studio solution and reload it from the latest copy held in source control. But it wouldn't let me do this because some files were in use. I tried stopping the web server and closing all programs, but it still wouldn't let me delete the files.

Fine, I figured, the usual solution to this is to reboot, so I did. Just my luck, the server never came back up. Uh Oh.

Usually this is some sort of boot disk problem. If the hard drive is old, and you have a machine like a server that you rarely reboot (like once a year or so), the drive can get grouchy about being recycled. But I tried hard booting it several times with no luck.

Okay, now it is more serious. I removed the server from its closet and put it on a bench so I could hook it up to a keyboard and a monitor. I turned it on and nothing. No video signal, no beeps, nothing. This tells me the machine isn't even starting it's POST operation.

Well, long story short (this is already a pretty long post): the server is dead. I removed all of its components and tried to get it to post with just a bare board, CPU and minimal RAM and it still won't. I have never seen a running computer fail to post during a reboot. Really strange. I haven't rebooted this server in ages, so somewhere along the line something in the CMOS fried. But as long as the machine was already running it was fine. But on the reboot the CMOS needs to run and it couldn't.

So even though I *just* bought a new PC, I am now shopping again for a new server. Not exactly in the budget. Luckily the server will cost about 1/10th what my desktop machine cost :) (about $400 vs. about $4K for the desktop)

So there won't be any updates to the game for a little bit. Hopefully I can buy a new server and get it up with all the necessary software pretty quickly.

Sorry for the delay... (and the long post, but I needed to rant!)

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