Freezing bug in Montana John?

Page 1/2
| 2

By wyrdwad

Paladin (859)

wyrdwad's picture

26-09-2017, 08:50

Hey guys,

I've recently been playing Montana John and the Templar's Treasure, a 2008 indie homebrew MSX game by Infinite, and it's freaking EXCELLENT. One of the best indie MSX games I've played to date, with an incredible presentation and absolutely stunning SCC music. Definitely highly recommended if anyone here hasn't played it (though I assume most of you have, since it is rather old news at this point; I'm just a bit late to the party!).

Three times now, though, the game has completely frozen on me -- as in, it just locked up completely, with whatever note happened to be playing at the time on the SCC held indefinitely, and even the Pause button on my system not functioning; I'm forced to reset or turn my MSX off. Each time, it seems to have frozen while I was in mid-attack, and... also about to take damage? The first freeze occurred on stage 7, and the next two have both occurred on stage 11.

I'm playing the game via a MegaFlashRom SCC+, and I'm playing on an NTSC MSX2+ (Panasonic FS-A1WX), triggering NTSC mode by holding the Select key on bootup.

I took a photo of my screen during this most recent freeze, to show the exact point at which it occurred:

https://imgur.com/xwbCLYq

The reason I'm posting this is:

(1) because I recently had a scare with my MSX where it stopped reading MSX-DOS disks, then started again once I unplugged and replugged my controller (probably coincidence?), so I'm kind of worried that my system could be breaking down in some fashion, and wanted to see if this is a known issue or if it's more likely a symptom of my system conking out. (Since it's only happened with Montana John, though, and not any other game, I suspect it's the game rather than my system, but if that can be confirmed, and better yet if there's an updated rom out there or something that has a fix for this, that would be awesome to know about.)

(2) because the game is awesome, and if this is NOT a known issue but is indeed an issue with the game, perhaps my report can help Infinite debug it and release an updated version! Might help get this great game some more time in the spotlight.

If anyone happens to know anything about this, please let me know. And thanks!

-Tom

Login or register to post comments

By wyrdwad

Paladin (859)

wyrdwad's picture

26-09-2017, 11:44

OK, I'm almost certain it's the game now. I just beat the game (very nice ending, and I absolutely *loved* the music that played during it!), but on my way to doing so, I froze two more times... in the exact same room as the one pictured above. Each time, while taking damage.

So that's a total of five freezes during my playthrough, four of which occurred in the same room in stage 11. That's more than coincidence!

-Tom

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9826)

wolf_'s picture

26-09-2017, 13:30

* tries to summon the coder...

For I don't know... Smile I do know there's a bug with a specific heart in the Red Temple which you could pick up while your HP was full. But other than that, back then I did play and finish the game and didn't seen anything serious back then. Now, be adviced that I've only played it in openMSX. Smile

As for the music: it's been my own favorite project. Apart from the melodies, it's mainly the scale of the music that I'm fond of; upon analysis its architecture is much bigger than it may appear to be. Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By journey

Champion (438)

journey's picture

26-09-2017, 15:14

Great game!
Really sad that has never been realised a cartridge version...

By wyrdwad

Paladin (859)

wyrdwad's picture

26-09-2017, 16:49

Nice! The composer himself makes an appearance! Wink This soundtrack has been such a highlight of the game for me. Really, really fantastic work, man!

-Tom

By Edwin

Paragon (1182)

Edwin's picture

28-09-2017, 11:41

Glad you enjoyed it!

I can't recall any reports of freezes though. I did add a little thing to mess with those that were using the openmsx trainer to publish the cheat codes. The game "signs" the main game variables and if it detects that they have been changed, it will freeze on purpose. So it is theoretically possible that there is a bug that changes something when it shouldn't and thereby freezes the game. Still, never heard of it happening. If you have a reliable way of checking it, then it may worth to test the theory.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (859)

wyrdwad's picture

28-09-2017, 12:11

Well, like I said, four out of five times it froze on me, it froze on that one particular screen in level 11, and that screen is pretty near the beginning. The password I used to access level 11 for three of those freezes (I hadn't gotten my password yet for one of them, so had to replay level 10) is:

AI0IFJ7RW5DS

Third character there is a zero.

The screen in question is just... three screens, I think? down from the start of the stage. The only thing I can think of that sets it apart from other screens in the game is the sheer number of interactable objects/monsters on that one screen, since there are two skeletons, two ghosts, a bat (two bats?), a water droplet, a ceiling spike, two treasure chests, AND a locked door.

Each time I froze there, I had gotten the door key already from the chest in the starting room, though I don't think that necessarily matters.

I also seemed to freeze while taking damage, often from multiple sources at once (e.g. I got knocked off a ladder by the bat and fell into a skeleton).

And it never took me long to freeze there -- it happened each time within 30 seconds of getting to that screen (or in one case, almost immediately).

Once again, too, just for technical specs, I was playing the game via a Megaflashrom SCC+ cartridge on a Panasonic FS-A1WX MSX2+ system with 64 kB RAM and 128 kB VRAM. And since it's a Japanese system and I'm based out of the U.S., I'm playing in 60 Hz mode by holding Select on bootup.

MP83, who also posts on here fairly regularly, is going to test this as well later today, since he has the same model MSX2+ I do -- though his has been upgraded to 512 kB RAM, and he's using a Carnivore2 cartridge instead of a Megaflashrom SCC+, so those factors might affect things. But he said he'll post in this topic with the results of his test, so we'll see if he meets with a similar fate or if the differences between our systems make him less crash-prone than I am.

Thanks for responding, and great job on the game -- it really was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, even with the freezing!

-Tom

By Grauw

Ascended (9379)

Grauw's picture

28-09-2017, 12:29

Could also try to reproduce it on openMSX with that machine config... if it happens there too it's an easy repro case and debugging.

By MP83

Master (203)

MP83's picture

28-09-2017, 18:58

Okay, after playing around with the game on my Panasonic FS-A1WX MSX2+, as well as openMSX emulator using MSX2+ and MSX2 (Japanese) MSX types, I've come to this conclusion:

- The game only freezes when played in 60Hz mode (activated by booting the game with the Select key pressed down).
- You only need to perform a couple of jump-kicks in a busy screen and the game will always freeze eventually.

My guess is that there's just too much stuff for the poor MSX to handle in 60Hz mode. So many enemies (of different types) and the jump-kick SFX played repeatedly.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (859)

wyrdwad's picture

28-09-2017, 19:37

Yeah, I didn't realize until you started posting about testing this just how much was on that screen -- much more than I noted in my above post. THREE skeletons, two ghosts, THREE chests, TWO bats, a locked door, a fake wall, two keys, and a retracting ceiling spike! Not many other screens in the game have that many "moving parts," so to speak, so that's probably the root cause of the problem in some way -- probably also what happened to me in stage 7 when it froze on me the one time there, as well, as there are quite a few screens in stage 7 that are full of bats, spiders, ceiling spikes, hearts, potions, etc.

-Tom

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9826)

wolf_'s picture

28-09-2017, 19:41

The music was made for 50 Hz btw, that should be the correct speed.

Page 1/2
| 2