Symptom - Device Causes Game To Pause

Symptom: Your device is supposed to affect time in the game (consuming days, speeding up the clock, or setting the date backwards1). Instead, all it does is freeze the game.

  • Problem: The TIME command is very buggy and touchy, especially in devices. It frequently puts the game on pause. This will look like a crash, because everything seems to be frozen, and you can't seem to leave the planet you were on. But it's not crashed, nor frozen, nor having any real problems at all, it just toggled on the pause mode. The easiest way to unpause is to push the space bar, but, if I recall correctly, you can also unpause by installing new equipment on your ship.
    • Solution: Education. Once people know the game is only on pause and can be fixed by pushing the space bar or swapping out a weapon or other system, they won't freak about it, and will be able to play your mod (and use your device) without confusion or fear. If you can figure out a good way to explain this in your mod, that'd be excellent. If you can't figure out an elegant way to do that, you'll probably need to put an explanation in your readme.txt or on the website that people download your mod from. You can never be 100% certain anyone playing it will read those documents, though, so they may think the game is frozen and control-alt-delete out whenever the item comes up.
    • Alternate Solution: The least satisfying solution, but also the most reliable, is to just give up on using the TIME command in devices, and only use it in quests. If you're clever, you may be able to create a quest that triggers when you place the device in your cargo hold, and which does roughly the same thing you wanted the device to do. Or, if you carefully duplicate the text of the melodium conograph you might manage to avoid this problem at all.

Example DATA blocks

Provided here to help illustrate a proper and an "improper" use of TIME.

Example #1: Working Properly

The following is the DATA block of the melodium conograph. It uses the TIME code and functions properly:

PAGE 0
ACTN popup endquest
TITL Melodium Conograph
GFXP items/l_artif1.jpg 9
TEXT The soothing melodies of the Conograph lull the crew to sleep. You wake up a year later!
MUSC misc/conograph.ogg
TIME 365
END PAGE

Example #2: Pauses the Game

The following is the DATA block of a Threep variant in the Drives'R'Us mod. It uses the TIME code, and the game ends up paused every time you activate the device.

PAGE 0
ACTN popup
TITL Threep School
GFXP items/l_life1.jpg 1
TEXT Would you like to spend 3 months teaching the Threep to be a productive member of your crew?
YSNO 1 -1
END PAGE

PAGE 1
ACTN popup endquest
TITL Dim-witted Crew
GFXP items/l_life1.jpg 1
TEXT You train him to be the ship's bartender, but he's still dim-witted and slow. If he falls asleep or freezes, hit the space bar to wake him up and get the ship moving again.
TIME 90
REMV dv_threep
ITEM ps_threep
SCOR 50 other
END PAGE

Exactly what causes the crash is unknown. It could be the use of TIME inside a second PAGE, or inside a page that can only be accessed by the YSNO function. It could be an interaction between the TIME code and something else in that PAGE, such as REMV, ITEM or SCOR. I'm not sure what causes the trouble.


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