Fractal Space

Fractal Space

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Pre-Alpha Testing Guide
By Haze Games
This guide is here to help you to test the Pre-Alpha version of the game. It includes some known issues, but most importantly some tips on how to test the game efficiently, and contains different shortcuts for Debug Mode that allow you to quickly skip parts or reach specific areas.
 
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Installation
Installing the Pre-Alpha build of Fractal Space is easy:
  • Request a Steam CD Key via email at contact@haze-games.com
  • Create or use an existing Steam account
  • Launch Steam
  • Navigate to Games | Activate a Product on Steam...
  • Copy and paste the CD Key you received by email in the field
  • Click Next
  • Click Accept to agree with the EULA
  • Wait for download to complete
  • Launch the game
You should now have the Haze Games logo, then the game's Main Menu!

Performance
If you are experiencing a low frame rate with the game, or wish to improve performance in general, you should enter the game's Options:
  • Go to Options from the Main Menu or Pause Menu
  • Switch to Graphics tab
Here are the main recommendations for Options:
  • Keep Static Reflections: Dynamic Reflections are not recommended; they are in experimental state and drastically reduce performance. Remaining in Static Reflections still looks good and results in much better performance. This effect will be optimized before release.
  • Disable Ambient Occlusion: It's a very expensive post-process screen effect. This will be optimized before release, but disabling it will currently boost performance by 15 FPS.
  • Disable Anti-aliasing: Anti-aliasing reduces rough edges and smooths the image. It is quite expensive, especially on low/mid-end graphics cards. Disabling it may improve performance by 10 FPS.
  • Reduce Resolution: Another meaningful parameter is screen resolution. If Ambient Occlusion does not help enough with performance, then try also reducing resolution.
  • Disable Particles and Bloom: If you are still running with a low frame rate with the options stated above, you can try disabling other effects; these are generally less expensive, but could still help if you're still having performance problems.
If after the above recommendations, you still have low performance, try the following:
  • Set Dynamic Lighting to Medium - Check the difference before doing the next change
  • Still not good? Try with Dynamic Lighting set to Low
  • Still not? Set Reflections to None
A Wild Error Appears!
The game doesn't crash, but frightening errors appear? Stay calm - here's what you need to do!

Errors in Development Console
While testing, you might encounter code errors. When an error occurs, the game continues to run normally, but the Development Console appears at the bottom left of the screen, and displays them in red, as shown in the screenshot below:


These errors should not happen. We need to make sure they are all fixed, and that the game can be completed entirely without a single code error happening!

Why are they a big deal?
As the game continues to run and doesn't crash, they seem OK... However, they are not! That's mainly because these errors can prevent other code to be executed; meaning you can then have sequences of events which are not executed as they should, and end up with blocking logic bugs, like a door not opening when it's supposed to...

What should I do?
It would be extremely helpful to us, if when you encounter errors like this, you could do the following:
  • Press ESC. to display the PAUSE menu
  • With your mouse, left click the first red error text: this will display more info about it
  • Take a screenshot
  • Send it to us at contact@haze-games.com, or create post in the Bugs Official Steam Forum
  • Try to write in the post/email, a couple of steps you did before this error appeard, and on which platform you are playing
If there are a lot of errors, you can hit ESC. to show the Main Menu and cursor, and scroll up/down to show them all in multiple screenshots. Usually, the first one - the one at the top of the list - is the most important for us

We will then update the game as soon as possible to fix this error for you :)
Thank you very much for your help and cooperation, and have a good code error hunting!
Reset Save Game
If you are encountering major bugs, or if you played with Debug Mode and need to re-test the game in normal conditions, it's best to reset the save game file.

In order to do this, you need to click the ! Reset Save ! button in the main menu or pause menu:

Gamepad Testing
If you have any of the following controllers, it would be great if you could test the game with those:
  • Xbox 360 Controller
  • Xbox One Controller
  • Sony DualShock 4
  • Steam Controller


Testing with a keyboard and mouse is great too, but having feedback and bugs related to controllers is also important to us.

If you find any bugs with the tutorials display, the control system itself, or have any other suggestion to improve the experience, feel free to post in the forums of Bugs or Suggestions :)

In theory, the entire game should be playable with a controller, including all minigames and 2D interfaces. If you encounter any issue with any of those, please report a bug :)

Thank you!
Debug Mode
This part of the guide explains how to use the Debug Mode in the Pre-Alpha build.

First Playthrough
For the first playthrough of Fractal Space, please play normally without ever enabling Debug Mode. Only investigate Debug Mode once you have completely finished the Pre-Alpha, and you require to quickly return to specific areas to take screenshots, videos, reproduce a bug, or if you want to test if a bug is indeed fixed after it's been patched.

Enabling Debug Mode
You can enable Debug Mode in the Main Menu or in-game. It will only display outside cut-scenes. At anytime, enable Debug Mode by pressing on your keyboard the following combination:
  • Shift + F1: Toggle Debug Mode ON / OFF
This will toggle Debug Mode ON / OFF. You can know that Debug Mode is ON because two big arrows at the bottom left and right of the screen appear:

Avoid clicking these buttons with the mouse ;)

Debug Commands
As soon as Debug Mode is enabled, you automatically get the Taser and Jetpack, even if you're not supposed to have it at this point in the game. Below are the available commands while Debug Mode is ON:
  • Numpad +: Skip to Next Checkpoint - Restart Checkpoint required
  • Numpad -: Skip to Previous Checkpoint - Restart Checkpoint required
  • F2: Heal yourself to 100%
  • F3: Fill Taser Energy of 3 shots
  • F4: Toggle Zero-Gravity ON / Off
  • F5: Reset All Upgrades and Upgrade Computers - Restart Checkpoint required
  • F12: Delete All Save Data: You should restart the game after this

Important Warnings
When you skip and find the desired checkpoint, you absolutely need to toggle Debug Mode OFF, and then kill yourself or reload latest checkpoint. If you don't do this, you'll encounter many level design bugs since you're not going through the normal course of a player walkthrough.

The order of checkpoint skipping can sometimes be strange, and you might need to repeat the request to switch to next checkpoint.

Going to previous checkpoint will often bring you back to start of level because checkpoints are destroyed as you progress.

Force Chapter Selection
If you enable Debug Mode while on Main Menu, that shows the CHAPTERS button to start directly from Chapter 2 for example, if you don't have the CHAPTERS button available yet:

New Save System
If you're interested in testing the new save system to fix bugs related to it, you'll need to access an Experimental Build. The current Experimental Build only includes Chapter 1.

1. ENABLING EXPERIMENTAL BUILDS
Follow these steps to access the Experimental Build:
  • Open Steam Library
  • Right Click on the game Fractal Space in your Library
  • Click on Properties:

  • In the new Properties window, click on the Beta tab
  • Enter the password fractalexperiment in the Access Code field
  • Click the Check Code button:



You should then be notified that you have access to a new branch:



You can now click on the dropdown list to switch from NONE to experimental:



You can now close the window. The game should start downloading the Experimental Build, and the title in the library should show Fractal Space [experimental]:


Now, you should wait for the download to finish. Meanwhile, please read the section below about testing the new Save System.

2. FIRST LAUNCH
Experimental versions have build names finishing by _exp. Please keep in mind that you may have errors when launching the game due to incompatible previous save games.

The first time you launch the experimental build, you should do the following:
  • Launch the game
  • When the Auto-Save warning is displayed, press TAB to show the Main Menu
  • Click the !Reset Save! button in the Main Menu
  • Click the OK button for the appearing Pre-Alpha popup
  • Click the New Game button

3. TESTING THE NEW SAVE SYSTEM
Optional: It would be great if you were able to record or stream you first playthrough of Phase 1 below, and then, separately, also your second run of Phase 2. There will be bugs, so recording will help :)

In order to test the new Save System correctly, there are some rules to follow while testing, written in the next sections.

3.a. Debug Mode Not Allowed
Never enable Debug Mode[/u] - This point is valid for all playthroughs. We don't want Debug Mode to interfere with the new saved properties. Also, changing checkpoints with "+" and "-" is broken with this new system. If you enable do it, then you should Reset Save again and restart from the beginning before starting another test in correct conditions. NOTE: If you don't have time to do a perfect run (it would be very helpful to us), then just switch to point 3.b. below and do that instead ;)

3.b. Phase 1: No Dying Allowed
Play a first run without ever dying / exiting the game / returning to menu.
The experimental build offers you 600 HP. This should be enough to not die for the first time :) We need to know first if the entire level flow is correct without any level design bugs, without ever reloading the game or scene.
When you reach the end of Chapter 1, you'll have an error. Simply reset your save, and we can switch to Phase 2.

3.c. Phase 2: QuickSave / QuickLoad Party!
Play Again, but with the "F5/F9 Syndrome" this time:[/b] Once you successfully completed section 3.b. above, and reported all the bugs (ouch) encountered without dying, play the game with the complete opposite logic:
  • Press F5 to Quick Save
  • Press F9 to Quick Load your latest Quick Save (if any)
  • Press F10 to Quick Load the latest Checkpoint Auto-Save (if any)
  • When you die, or do ESC -> Checkpoint, it's the same as pressing F10
  • F11: Load latest Quick Save, with entire scene reload (simulate exit -> relaunch game, load QuickSave instant)
  • F12: Load latest Checkpoint Auto-Save, with entire scene reload (simulate exit -> relaunch game, load AutoSave instant)
After the first QuickSave (F5), you'll have only 100 HP to play the game normally.

It would be great if you could Quick Save the game often, do stuff (play a bit) and Quick Load the game and see if everything is restored exactly the same at the point of Quick Save.

Keep an eye out for example, for lasers that should be ON / OFF, moving platforms states, switches, power cores, lights, screens, saws etc - virtually everything should be reset exactly as it was.

If you can also try to regularly simulate a game exit, by pressing F11 to load your latest QuickSave, and F12 to load latest checkpoint, that would be great.
The result should be exactly the same as F9/F10. However, it does need to tested a lot too, to check for special cases in which a scene reload might interfere with the save (if the player exits and returns). There were quite a few already, that have been fixed. I may have missed some!

4. KNOWN ISSUES
  • Avoid Quick Save / Quick Loading in the very first room where you spawn - You might have issues here, they will be fixed soon.
  • Current Objective is sometimes not saved correctly, it seems.
  • Steam Integration is disabled in Experimental Builds
  • Reaching the end of Chapter 1, you'll have an error. It's OK, Reset your save and switch to Phase 2 ;)

Thank you very much for your time, support and investment to try and get this new save system ready as soon as possible! I'm ready for you guys to find a lot of bugs and when they are fixed I'll add support for Chapter 2!
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2 Comments
Haze Games  [author] Apr 25 @ 6:32am 
Just added the "New Save System" section to access Experimental Builds and test the new save system!
Haze Games  [author] Oct 29, 2017 @ 3:11am 
Just added the "A Wild Error Appears!" section tot he guide, to help you with handling a code error that might happen during gameplay. :steamhappy: