Newsletter May 2015

An Uneventful Month

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Hello, and welcome to this month's Von Neumann Defense Force newsletter! I'm Hanno, VNDF's lead developer and chief newsletter engineer.

As the title says, this has been a rather uneventful month. I've recently picked up a new client (I'm working as a freelancer) and am still adjusting to my new schedule. Still, I made some progress. Here's what's been going on this month:

  • New Newsletter Format: As part of my ongoing quest to make the success of this project a realistic prospect, I've decided to cut back the time I spend on the newsletter.
  • Logging Infrastructure: I've been hunting for a persistent bug that's been eluding me for a while. Better logging should help me out.
  • Small Fixes: A few small annoyances have been fixed.

Have fun with this month's newsletter and please email any feedback to Do you have any questions about VNDF in general or the contents of this newsletter specifically? Let me know!

New Newsletter Format

Von Neumann Defense Force requires a lot of work, and the time I can spend on it is finite. Cutting back the project's scope to make it more manageable has been an ongoing concern for a while now.

A few months ago, I announced that I wasn't going to write a new article for every single newsletter any more, since that had been the most difficult and time-consuming part of it. From this month on, I'm cutting out the articles for good. In addition, the news section at the end is also gone.

This reduces the newsletter to its core: The development update that let's you, the readers, know what's going on month to month. I hope you're okay with this change, but whether you like it or not, please let me know what you think!

Logging Infrastructure

One thing that's been ongoing for a while now is the hunt for a very persistent bug: From time to time, I was logging into my server to find that VNDF going wild, using 100% of the CPU. This has only been happening very rarely, and thus has been difficult to diagnose.

In order to help find this bug, and other similar ones in the future, I've been adding a proper logging infrastructure using log. This means that the server process will now print out messages for almost everything it does. Different log levels are used to make it quite easy to see exactly the information that is needed to diagnose a problem and filter out the rest.

So far I haven't found my bug yet, but it's good to have this around none the less.

Small Fixes

The introduction of the new hybrid interface also brought a few new problems. Among those: Some key presses (Backspace and Return) were registered twice and players no longer had their own comm id displayed to them.

The first problem was a straight-forward bug fix. The second was solved by introducing a new command: Players can now see their own comm id with the new comm-data command.

A player has used the comm-id command

(click to enlarge)

See You Next Time

Do you have any questions about this newsletter or Von Neumann Defense Force in general? Send them to me! I'd love to do a Q & A in some future newsletter.

Thanks for reading, and see you again for next month's newsletter!