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Update: Xbox 360 update - what we know on 12-17-2011

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  • Update: Xbox 360 update - what we know on 12-17-2011

    12-17-2011 Update:

    Thursday the submission passed Microsoft Game Studios tests after passing Hidden Path's testing. From there is was submitted to certification Thursday afternoon.

    There are many things going through certification at the same time, so we don't know when it will either emerge from certification approved, or for some unexpected reason be rejected from Certification (we don't expect this because of all the other testing we've done, but it is a possibility). Assuming it passes certification, it should be released to the Xbox production environment (the network you know as Xbox LIVE) within 24 hours of the "pass."

    The update is a very simple one, it translates the achievement IDs from what they used to be to what the back end file is now expecting. The back-end file was posted with incorrect information IDs, and that's why you saw all the error messages and freezes happening to your Xbox once you had earned some of the achievements. Though we wanted to, we couldn't change the back-end file at all the data centers, so we changed the game to match the back-end file. Kinda crazy, but that was the best way to make the game work in the end.

    We looked at the 3rd error that appeared once the new dash was released as well: that sometimes people can get into the game before all the content is loaded and then they see strange characters where normal words should be, and if they try playing further they see pink textures and eventually crash.

    There were three main reasons we finally chose to not try to fix this bug. The first was that no matter how hard we or Microsoft tried, we could never reproduce the error in the test environment. We too have seen it happen in the production environment, but without getting it to happen repeatedly in the test environment, we couldn't ever be sure that we would have fixed it - we could change something, but we couldn't see if that would make the loading work better or worse when it gets to you. Without a repro case, we'd be hunting in the dark.

    That leads to the second reason we didn't address the issue, which was that we're talking about the file loading system for the entire game and it affects every Xbox 360 player. If we get that wrong, we could break everyone, and right now the bug only affects certain people who seem to load the game much slower based on whether or not they have a slim box, have the dash update, perhaps have slower storage media, are attached to certain data centers, and may be further affected by the cloud saving feature if that is enabled.

    The third reason we didn't address it in code, is that while it isn't elegant, there is a workaround so that it is an avoidable issue for those who run into it. If you get in the game's mission selection screen and you see words starting with $'s such as $Cam_YouMonster or something like that, then you have gotten into the game too early (we wish you wouldn't have, but you did) and you simply need to back out to the main menu or the press start screen. Count to 5 or so, and go back into the game. You should see all the right words then when you get to the mission selection screen and that will indicate it has loaded everything, and you're fine to proceed.

    So that's what we know at this point. We're waiting on Xbox Certification to approve or reject our update that simply translates achievement ID's from what they used to be to what they accidentally are now at the data centers. Our testing has shown that this does in fact allow you to get the achievements and stop the freezing some are seeing, so we look forward to it making it through certification and being released to you, hopefully sometime next week. We'll find out.



    Hi Folks,

    For those of you with the Xbox 360 version of the Defense Grid: You Monster expansion there are currently 3 known issues with the game you are facing. Here is what we are doing to fix those issues:

    The short version:
    We hope to have a fix to you before the Christmas holiday.

    The long version:
    Issue 1. - Affects everyone: Can't get most achievements in You Monster, get error messages instead

    Issue 2. - Affects some of you: game freezes at unexpected times

    Issue 3. - Affects fewer of you: game isn't fully loaded when you get to mission selection screen you see ($cam_youmonster...)

    What we know today is that after discussing this at length with Microsoft about multiple possible fixes, that the approach we're going to take is a new title update to address issues 1, 2, and possibly 3.

    The cause of issue 1 and we believe issue 2 is that bad information on the achievements made it on to the data centers. For a variety of technical reasons, we can't change that data on the data centers (though we were looking into the possibility), and instead we'll create a title update for the game that translates the bad data into what the game is expecting.

    The good news is that once the title update goes live you won't have to do anything - you shouldn't have to recover gamertags or redownload any content, the update should just download automatically and then take care of the situation for you, giving you achievements if you've already earned them when you play one more level (any level) and you shouldn't see the freezing any more.

    The bad news is that you have to wait for the title update to finish testing that has already begun, go through certification, and get released. This will take longer than you or we would like (and is why we were looking at other possibilities, but couldn't use them).

    Issue 3 is a different situation where we are seeing that the new dash update for some people increases load times significantly for the game, and the game makes certain assumptions that were valid up until the title update, but are no longer valid. If we can fit in a change in loading assumptions for the title update we will. Issue 3 can be worked around now by backing out to the press start screen and then going back to the main menu - it should finish loading and all the strings and textures should be present again.

    So your question likely is - when will I get this title update? - and we don't know the answer yet. I know that it will be a minimum of a week, and that we're working hard to get it to you before Christmas. I don't know if all the things at Hidden Path, Microsoft Game Studios, and Microsoft Certification will align to achieve that, but that's what we're setting out to accomplish.
    Last edited by jeffpobst; 12/17/2011, 08:34 AM. Reason: Updated - 12-17-2011

  • #2
    Thanks for the info, i don't mind waiting when i know you're working on it :-)


    • #3

      Yeah, thanks for the info.


      • #4
        Awesome News !

        Thank you again for your time and attention to our situation.

        And especially, thank you for the communication.


        • #5
          Thanks for infos and clarifications.
          Bad news for the defense grid fan is that I'll have to wait, Good news is that you all are working on it... Thank you anyway


          • #6

            It's good to be told that things are being worked on rather than being kept in the dark so thanks for that. Thought I would mention one other issue that I have experienced and that is being given an incorrect achievement. I got gold on all You Monster Story Mode levels but did not get that achievement, instead I was given the achievement for getting gold on all You Monster Story Challenge Mode levels. I'm Just hoping the 2 achievements have been incorrectly linked and that I'll will get the story mode one when i get all gold on story challenge.


            • #7
              Yes, that's part of the bad achievement data on the back end.



              • #8
                Progress being made - hope to have more news for you as the week progresses.


                • #9
                  YAY a fix is coming... and soon too

                  I am a happy camper now... I can sit in my turrets, eat raspberries and snipe aliens while I wait...


                  • #10
                    This probably won't help, but...

                    I've been playing the initial maps on XB for a couple of days now, and found that if I back out of the game (after playing one level) to the title screen and then go back in and play a level, it nearly always crashes (mostly after completing the level). playing normally it barely crashes at all.
                    I tried this about 10 times and it only failed to crash twice.


                    • #11
                      Updated above for 12-17


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the update, looking forward to getting all golds on You Monster.


                        • #13
                          Just wanted to add my thanks. Bugs suck, but having this level of communication and updates (not just a "we're working on it", but a "here's what's wrong and when we expect it to be fixed") make it so much easier to put up with. I appreciate the updates. Thank you.


                          • #14
                            Glad to here things are coming along nicely. Fingers crossed the update passes nice and quick Thanks for keeping us all up to speed!


                            • #15
                              Can't get past the achievement error grid

                              First, thanks much for being responsive to these issues. Well understand that it's a complicated setup and that such things happen...that you admit and and are adressing the issues is commendable.

                              So...I'm getting 'no achivement' issue...but that issue seems to stop me from moving beyond the last grid in the story line. That is, I complete the grid (@ gold, which triggers the achievement, which I have not yet acheived because I'm just not playing so smartly), get the error, but the story path makes me repeat that same grid (early on...the one where you must move the energy from the top level to the bottom level).

                              At first, I thought that...given how sly this particular DLC was a trick. That I wasn't supposed to move them from the top. But after the fifth time on the level, I figured it was an error, so I jumped to the forums.

                              What am I missing?