[0.58b] Dust storm effect randomly turns on/off

Mr. Fusion 3 years ago updated 3 years ago 5

The (variably) darkened sky and lowered sight distance during daytime caused by a dust storm tends to turn off/on at random intervals (going to normal, full bright sky) ranging from a short flicker in about a minute to effectively completely turning off indefinitely, while the wind blown particles are still visible flying around.

It also happens with the night time version of the effect, at least I guess that the storm version of the night sky is the deep red haze instead of the usual black sky with starfield. The flickering seems to be of the same frequency as during the day at that specific location.

It may have something to do with how far the player is from the center of the storm inversely, at least the closer I got to the WayStat that was reporting the lowest visibility, the frequency and length of the darkening effect turning off increased until it completely went away. Moving away from the center seemed to cause it to gradually turn back on more and more frequently.

It is also possible that it actually has more to do with where the player is on the map. I seemed to have the effect more consistently on in the North-East area of the map, gradually turning off while moving towards South, and almost completely gone around the location of the East Hab location.

Under review

I know this is asking a lot, but if there is any way you could capture a video of this happening in your game that would help significantly. I have no idea what could be causing this other than memory issues or graphical glitches. There is nothing in the code that I can imagine would be responsible for turning on/off the storm effects instantaneously. All storm effects are calculated based on your distance from the moving origin point of the storm. If you have a save file that you can reliable replicate this issue with I would love to get it from you and have you attach instructions on where to travel to trigger the issue. If I'm unable to replicate it based on your instruction then it might be a graphical memory issue.

I doubt it's lack of system resources or anything like that, considering how the rate of flickering seemed to be tied to how far I was from where the bulk of the storm appeared to be. There was, for example, an area where I could effectively turn the effect off and on by moving back and forth along a 100-150m stretch of terrain (sloped, inclined towards the "off" end, maybe that also contributed ot it); on the closer end the effect being permanently disabled, while on the far end it turning on at least for short periods.

And you kind of answered your own question: what can turn the effect on and off instantly is if the game, for some reason, "thinks" that the player is somehow "jumping" from one position to another then back compared to the storm, or that the storm is somehow "jumping" back and forth between positions. Rounding errors, variables reinitialized/overwritten, type conversion (eg. losing precision), change between pointer/value based argument passing, player position detection issues (in other Unity based games I've seen various issues stemming from the engine momentarily losing track of the player controlled entity in terms of the game world/terrain, sometimes needing various workarounds to remedy), there can be several reasons which the position sensitivity I observed hints at.

In the save I have now the storm has passed so nothing left to see. I'll try to start a new one and see if I can set it up and save in such a state that there are distinct areas where the effect is (mostly) on and where it's off or at least noticeably flickering.


Well, after a ton of messing around I finally found the issue. Your save file allowed me to replicate the particles disappearing and so I started just fiddling with all the particle settings. Somewhere along the line particle collisions were turned on, which is completely unnecessary for the large visibility-obstructing dust clouds. There must have been some kind of collision with the view renderer that was causing computational errors with the render order. After disabling particle collisions the issue seems to have been resolved. At least for now. That was the biggest thing holding me from pushing this update live, so after a few more smaller fixes I should have the dust storm update live by tomorrow.

And the cause is even weirder than expected... At any rate, I'm glad you managed to catch it in action and figure it out. Reporting things only I seem to be getting makes me uneasy and wonder if it's something on my end only.

I was lucky (at least in terms of getting the issue to show quickly; in terms of gameplay, this is a failed start: I have no oxygen reserves to speak of, nor food, and the storm will deny exploration and resource generation for the next 2-3 sols, which means I'll either starve to death or suffocate) with a new game as the storm practically spawned on top of Hab Alpha.

Load dust_storm_flicker_save.zip and step out of the habitat. For me, the red night time "dust fog" turns on/off at random intervals (standing still or moving, keep turning to different directions or not doesn't matter). Same for the day time version if I wait for it. To try to minimize system load in case it indeed is related, I turned graphics settings all the way down; same result, same random flickering at minimum, medium and maximum settings.