PSA: Need help? Before you ask, read this

Discussion in 'Support & Release' started by Buttface, Dec 24, 2013.

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  1. Buttface

    Buttface OpenDayZ Rockstar!

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    Here are some easy, simple steps to follow whenever you run into troubles. These steps help both you and me in terms of how quickly and effectively your problems can be solved.

    1. Examine the contents of your server's RPT log! (Extremely important!)

    In most cases, your server's RPT log can be found in a folder on your server named dayz_1.chernarus or something in that format. The file itself is named arma2oaserver.rpt. As a server owner, it's absolutely essential that you become familiar with examining what's inside this file whenever you run into problems with your server!

    This file logs almost every single error that happens on your server, as well as provide information that is incredibly useful in determining the cause of your problems. Using the contents of this file, it can be determined whether the problem is as simple as a missing bracket or semicolon or complex as a poorly-written script.

    If you don't understand the contents of this file, that's alright, but please provide relevant parts of the file when you're asking for support. Simply asking "AI don't spawn, please help" is absolutely useless in terms of helping me help you solve your problem. Why? I know DZAI works because I've tested it myself. If you simply say "AI don't spawn" or "DZAI doesn't work" I'll be very confused and I'll just say "well, it works on my test server, so I don't know what you're talking about." Please help me out by showing me your RPT logs.

    2. Test DZAI with 100% default settings!

    This step is important if you've changed any of DZAI's settings and will help determine if any of your changes are the cause of your issues. If you use a completely default installation and the problems still happen, it could be a problem that I've made and I will fix it ASAP. If it's something you changed that caused the problem, go back and examine your changes for any formatting problems.

    Using a completely default install helps me narrow down the cause of your issues. It's doubly useful because I use mostly default settings (with debug modes enabled) when testing.

    3. RTFM - Read the documentation!

    Every DZAI setting and config file is full of documentation about how each setting or file works and how to use it. Before you ask "How do I change this setting?" examine your dzai_config.sqf, chances are the setting you're looking for is there. If it's not there, the feature might not exist in DZAI, or I haven't intended it to be user-modified.

    4. Make sure you're using the most up-to-date version of DZAI.

    I update DZAI fairly frequently depending on how severe changes and fixes need to be released. Each major version is released every 3-4 weeks on average. If the first or second version number changes (ie: 1.9.0 or 2.0.0), chances are it's an important update and you should upgrade if you're still using 1.8.0 (which by the way, is outdated, and you should really upgrade if you're still using it). Major releases are often announced well in advance in the form of rolling changelogs in the News and Announcements section of the DZAI forums.

    The latest version of DZAI is always available at https://github.com/dayzai/DayZBanditAI

    Always check the changelogs that I post in the News and Announcements section of the DZAI forums. It might be a long boring list of technical-sounding stuff, but as the owner of your server, you need to know what you're installing into your server, as well as any changes that require your immediate attention.

    All changes requiring immediate action are always clearly displayed in the changelog post. They may be placed clearly at the top, bolded, or colored red, or all of the above.

    Hotfixes are extremely important updates that are usually so urgent that they are released the moment I finish writing/fixing the required script files. To put it simply, all updates are important, so always try to keep up-to-date.

    5. Enable debug mode/debug markers in dzai_config.sqf

    Debug modes allow DZAI to report additional information into your server's RPT log that will allow you to trace through DZAI's actions. Even if errors don't show up, closer examination of debug information may help you pinpoint the cause of an error.

    For example, if reported values are normal one moment and suddenly become undefined, null or otherwise strange, debug information can help track down what files/functions/etc are responsible.

    Debug markers are useful for determining whether AI are actually spawning on your server, without the need for you to wander aimlessly ingame searching for a bullet to hit you in the face.

    6. Explain the steps you have already taken

    Have you tried to fix the problem yourself? If so, please describe what you're already done to try fixing the problem yourself. It will help save time for both of us and help me narrow down the cause of your issue. If not, try to fix the problem yourself (if you can), but always back up your files before attempting anything risky.

    7. Ask publicly. Avoid using PMs unless it is somehow only relevant to you (and no-one else)

    Chances are that other people have the same or similar question as you, and they could greatly benefit from any help that you receive as well, so consider posting a new thread on the DZAI forums with your question instead of sending me a private message.

    Posting questions publicly is a better method for getting help because you may be able to get help from other users who are able to help you, and because PMs can easily get "lost" in my inbox. If I click on my notifications list with your PM in it and I suddenly have something else to do, the notification basically disappears forever and you're gambling on the chance I remember you sent a PM. If your request is not confidential, don't risk it getting lost.

    On the other hand, a new thread is permanent and will sit in open view in the forums. I won't ever miss it.

    If your request is either specific to you and nobody else (for example, you're working on a script) then PMs would be a better idea. I would be glad to discuss concepts and ideas about scripts, but do not expect me to write your code for you.

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    Final Word: The amount of help you receive will be directly proportional to the amount of information you provide. I am willing to help you if you are willing provide the information necessary for me to help you.

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    More useful tips to be coming as soon as I can think of them.
     
    Gand likes this.
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