Symptom - Random Start-Up Crashes

Sometimes you get a bug in a mod that makes it crash seemingly at random. There's no discernable pattern, or it happens just a little more often on certain map sizes or missions, but without any obvious link or cause. Instead the game just crashes right after the mission briefing. This page will hopefully help you figure out what the problem is, and how to solve it.

There are several different places to look for the problem, depending on exactly what's causing it. It could be an issue in game.ini, or a problem with an item, quest, race, or ship. It's often, but not always, something you changed recently. Problems with items can sometimes sit dormant because the item hasn't spawned for several games.

If you've made any changes to the starting ship or the weapons and systems installed in it, or any changes to the "haven" quest or the equipment that appears on Glory when the mission starts, those are the likely causes of the trouble, and they're fairly easy to diagnose and fix. So if you've made those sorts of changes, skip down to "Problem with something that spawns or happens at Glory".

Otherwise, read on about typos and ghost entries in your game.ini files.

Game.ini typos and ghosts

The most likely problem is that some item, race or quest listed in your game.ini file doesn't exist in the mod. This is usually because of a typo in the entry in game.ini. If your mod is large, this can be a pain to search for.

Typo solution

You're going to have to open up game.ini, and compare each list in it to both the mod folder and the default umodded files. Every item, quest, race, planet type, etc needs to be double-checked, but you can probably save yourself some time by skimming. Pay special attention to any items or quests you haven't seen in your most recent playtests. Chances are there's a typo in game.ini that's keeping them from showing up. The game.ini entries must exactly match the file names, but without the .ini extensions at the end.

Ghost solution

Have you deleted any quests or items that you decided you didn't like? If there's a game.ini entry for a former quest or item you pulled out of the mod, that can cause a crash, too. If a quick spot-check for typos doesn't reveal your problem, go over your quest and item lists with a fine-toothed comb, and make sure you don't list anything that isn't in either your mod folder or the main game. This is a real chores, so eyeball it for typos first.

Problem with something that spawns or happens at Glory

The ICON and GFXP lines are very common sources of trouble in mods. If it's triggering at start-up, then that at least narrows down the list of suspects somewhat. It's either a quest that triggers at Glory, or an item that spawns at Glory, or the graphics of your starting ship.

Solutions, and finding the problem

It's going to take process-of-elimination to find the problem.

  • Check every item listed in haven.ini. If you haven't modified the haven quest, then that's a laser beam, a gauss cannon, and a fusion rocket launcher. Have you made any changes to those items?
    • What you're looking for is typos on the ICON line of those items. Sometimes the typos are subtle. Double-check against the files in the graphics folder to make sure you've got the right extensions. Most ICON entries should end in .jpg, not .tga or .png.
  • Examine the files of your starting ship. Look at the terran.ini ship entries, and the corresponding (hull).ini files.
    • In the terran race file you're looking to see that the ship entry's HULL line is a perfect match for the name of the hull file, minus the ".ini" extension.
    • In the hull file itself, you're looking to see that the ICON entry matches the proper file name of the ship, this time with the .tga extension.
  • Check haven.ini itself, along with every quest in your mod that references the star Glory or the planet Hope.
    • What you're looking for is typos on the GFXP line of quests that can trigger at Glory. Sometimes the typos are subtle. Double-check against the files in the graphics folder to make sure you've got the right extensions. Some files should have .jpg, others .tga or .png.
  • If you're good at multitasking and organization, it may help to start with your most recently modified items, quests and ships, and work backwards. If organization is not your strong suit (or if you're just not sure what order you changed things in), check everything in alphabetical order and meticulously as possible.
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