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Last year I installed a Windows partition on my iMac just so I could replay the original Avernum games. I am nearing the end of Avernum 2, and have been thoroughly enjoying myself despite some well-known roughness in the game design and the Windows port. Until today, that is.

 

I had retrieved the Crystal Soul from the Ornotha Ziggurat, and was slogging back and forth repeatedly to sell the huge piles of loot from that dungeon. Along the way I made several visits to Silverlocke to purchase potions, and dropped those potions in the Tower of the Magi with my other loot. After one of those shopping expeditions, I was horrified to discover that all my Knowledge Brews had evaporated! I rushed back to the Ziggurat to see whether I might have dropped them there - Alas, no such luck! - and this time, when I got back to the tower, all my Resistance Elixirs were also gone, along with a few other less crucial items.

 

I am actually quite careful about leaving my valuables in towns. I only keep the best items, I don't stack them all in one spot, and I usually divide them between different towns, but this time, since I was already doing so much running back and forth, I had left everything in the tower. I don't think I had anywhere near two hundred items total (if you don't count the individual units in stacks). I was so discouraged I did not even want to keep playing, and it will probably be some time before I will be interested in returning to the game to finish the final few quests.

 

To add to my joy, after I took the Crystal Soul to the Shrine and reported my deed to the council, the second container in the treasure room was empty, so I didn't even get my reward. All in all, a sad day in Avernum.

Edited by Lucidus
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Well that sucks.

 

And you've already preempted my 200 item limit warning, so...

 

Do you have a save between the Silverlocke visits & when everything vanished to go back to to see if they're still there then?

 

Alternatively you could use the cheat code to give yourself enough gold to go back to rebuy the potions.  A lawyer would probably suggest otherwise, but in this particular situation, it's not horribly morally cheating to reclaim stuff that vanished into the void (& I suppose it you really wanted to you could fire up the editor, look up what the reward was supposed to be in the 2nd container & give it to yourself...but that's probably more work than it's worth)

 

I suppose the 'good' news (stretching the definition of 'good' to it's breaking point...) is that if you were strong enough to get the CS from the Ziggurat, you should be strong enough to finish up the game as is (without the benefit of the extra level or two that the potions might give your party).

 

 

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Thank you. I was really just hoping for someone to commiserate with me.

 

I went back and counted, and there are 163 items remaining on the floor of the Tower of the Magi, in 6 widely-separated piles. (Some of them are stacks of up to 100 arrows, etc.) So there shouldn't have been any problem. I am going to blame it on Windows.

 

I have one day a week when I can play games. I hope that I will be over my frustration by next Thursday.

Edited by Lucidus
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You know, unless you have the editor disabled, you could always add items with the numeric codes:

 

http://www.harehunter.info/Avernum2/Maps/items2.html

 

...Therefore, if you have a good idea of what you lost, you could just give the number of whatever to your characters and go from there. And, if you somehow find the items again, just drop them outside if fairness is important to you.

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The manual actually says that "each town can only contain a few hundred items. More than that, and Avernum 2 will have to make the less important items (trash, rocks, sticks, etc.) disappear to make room for others."

 

The 200 item limit is, I think, a rough guideline from other experienced players who answer questions on these boards. I'm pretty sure I have seen the number 200 mentioned in this context a couple of times before, but I never understood it to be a hard and fast rule. I included it in my original post just to make it clear that I knew there was a limit.

 

As a counterexample, there were hundreds and hundreds of weapons and pieces of armor strewn around the ziggurat at the exact same time. It took many trips to haul them back to Olgai for sale.

 

The strangest part of this from my perspective is that it was my most valuable items that disappeared.

 

And in response to Thaeris, yes, I will probably invoke the editor.

Edited by Lucidus
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Interesting note in the manual there.  I have no idea if that was truly implemented or not, but if it was, probably all it would do is prioritize the literal trash items (trash, rocks, sticks, etc) for deletion first -- it might not even flag "household" items (pen and ink, etc.) for that, and I'd be surprised if it sorted actual equipment on the basis of cost (or whatever).

 

Definitely know what you mean about all the piles of stuff in the ziggurat.  However, the ziggurat also has very little in the way of NATIVE items lying around, whereas the ToM has TONS of them.  So unless you actually counted multiple hundreds of pieces of equipment dropped in the ziggurat, that may fit just fine with this rule.

 

One other thought -- if you already had loot piles in the ToM, and then dropped knowledge pots there, and then the disappearances happened, starting with the knowledge pots, is it possible the items simply got eaten as you dropped them, because there was no "room" in the zone?

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Sorry to hear about your vanishing items, Lucidus! That’s a really frustrating problem to encounter, particularly when it’s valuable items that you’ve spent time and money collecting. I hope you manage to get everything back simply through the editor!

 

As you can see, there isn’t much detailed information about how the early Avernum games deal with item limits. We know that there’s a limit, and we know that items disappear after that limit is exceeded, but we don’t really know much about how that process works in detail. It strikes me, though, that you’re in an excellent position to provide a little more information about this!

 

I was wondering. Do you still happen to have a saved game shortly after this happened to you? If so, would you mind sending me a copy of it? I’d be interested to have a play around with your version of the Tower containing your large piles of dropped items – with the hope that it might be possible to check whether the item limit is indeed 200 items, or another value altogether, and what sorts of items disappear when the limit is exceeded. I rather like Slarty’s suggestion, and it would certainly make sense in the context of the engine. I’d like to see if we can verify that!

 

Hopefully, knowing a little more about this problem might help prevent other players from getting into a similar fix, too.

 

Also, I find it a little concerning that your reward in Olgai was missing. That could potentially be the sign of a more serious problem, and I might suggest that you quickly check that out before playing further – just to make sure there isn’t anything more badly wrong with your saved game.

 

There’s a very rare, very unpredictable bug in Spiderweb games from this era that affects game items. Unfortunately, no-one’s managed to track down the cause yet, although many people have tried to! What happens when the bug is triggered varies, but a common symptom is that all items in containers throughout the game vanish. That, as you can imagine, is a serious problem.

 

Just to make sure everything’s okay, I’d suggest trying to hunt down an easy container that you know should have items in it. If you can’t think of any offhand, containers in homes in towns often contain junk items, and shops sometimes have chests in them containing ‘not yours’ items. If you find a container that has some items in it, you should be fine! But if you can’t, it’s possible you might be having a more serious problem.

 

Unfortunately, there’s not a solution to that more nasty bug at present. If that’s what you’re seeing, you might need to go back to an earlier save – so it’s better to know sooner rather than later!

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Thanks for the clarification, Slarty!

 

I was basing my comments here on a point which it appears I was misremembering. I was thinking not such much about the bug as it appeared in the second Avernum trilogy engine, but in the Geneforge engine. I thought this bug extended into the early Geneforge games, and therefore by extension might possibly manifest in the original Avernum trilogy too.

 

However, I went and checked this, and I could only find evidence for this bug appearing in the later Geneforge titles – presumably through code copied through from Avernum 4. So, sorry for misremembering, and casting some confusion into this topic!

 

Still, something odd does seem to be happening with Lucidus’s chests. The chest in Olgai really shouldn’t be empty, I think, and the disappearing items in the Tower shouldn’t be causing an issue like that. So something strange is happening.

 

Even if this isn’t the empty container bug, it might still be something nasty that perhaps hasn’t previously been reported. So, to be on the safe side, I would still suggest that you check out some ‘full’ chests, Lucidus, to make sure they’re working correctly. Just to be safe!

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I think the 200 item limit came from Dikiyoba collecting and storing useless items in a zone. I don't know if anyone else ever bothered bringing in items and counting. The disappearing items has been hard to check because players aren't always sure that they dropped them in the spot.

 

There is a similar bug with the junk bag where too many items turns all the items into a low value item.

 

The empty chests in all new zones is an irreproducible bug because if you replay from before this problem occurs, even duplicating your actions doesn't cause it again. It appears in several recent games corrupting the save game file once it occurs.

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Well, it was originally partly reproducible -- there was a strong correlation between using "backtostart" and having that happen in A4.  I think Jeff fixed that particular bug sometime, though, and the empty thing persisted, albeit less commonly.

 

The early Geneforge engine had very little in common with the Nethergate/First Trilogy engine, and the similarity that exists between later Geneforge and the Second Trilogy appears to mostly be G3's engine being used as starting material for A4's.

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Well, if my goal was to trigger an interesting conversation and to learn a few things along the way, I would say I have succeeded. Thank you all for your responses. I have learned a lot, and I appreciate your expressions of sympathy.

 

I did not count all the items that were left in the Ziggurat, but it took me many dozens of trips to Olgai to sell them all, interspersed with visits to the Tower of the Magi and thence to Silverlocke to spend my gold. I know that the Knowledge Brews were actually on the ground in the Tower, because at one point I had picked them up, intending to do some training, and then changed my mind and dropped them again. Likewise, with the Resistance Elixirs: I actually counted my potions and wrote down the quantities. After I travelled to Silverlocke and returned, the Resistance Elixirs were gone.

 

Ess-Eschas, there are still items in the chests in the council chamber, so it doesn't seem that I have encountered the particular bug you mentioned. I am going to dive back in to the game, and I will let you know if I encounter any further problems.

Edited by Lucidus
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I have an item of curiosity to tag onto this: how does Blades of Avernum deal with item limits?

 

With my limited programming experience, one thing I would state is that a fairly conventional means of dealing with data storage is to create a fixed matrix into which values are stored or exchanged, etc. Once the program is complied, the size of the matrix cannot change. The question I have on this front, as it seems to be what's going on in Avernum, is how that matrix changes from area to area. For instance, when a dungeon is created, is an item matrix created proportional in size to the dungeon, or is it fixed in size? Or, is that a control feature that is not accessible for the end user?

 

...I ask about this, as BoA - which I have not tinkered with - because (a.) people might be aware of such a feature by some means and (b.) it's likely very similar to what is used in Avernums 1-3.

 

On an additional technical note, if you wanted to get past item limits and you were using C++ (maybe just straight C as well), you'd use the vector library, which can create dynamically-sized arrays on the fly. I suppose you'd have some additional risks of memory leaks or other such shenanigans that I'm not experienced enough to have encountered when writing console-window applications.

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7 hours ago, Lucidus said:

Ess-Eschas, there are still items in the chests in the council chamber, so it doesn't seem that I have encountered the particular bug you mentioned. I am going to dive back in to the game, and I will let you know if I encounter any further problems.

 

That’s good to hear! Thankfully, given that your chests still seem to be working, it looks like you aren’t experiencing anything too serious. With luck, that empty chest in Olgai was just a one-off, possibly a holdover from the game getting a little confused after what happened in the Tower. Hopefully, everything should be fine from now on!

 

However, if you do experience any further problems with your party further down the line, do let us know. If it turns out the problem isn’t fixed after all, that would be useful to know – and there’s a chance we might be able to help you fix things!

 

All the best for the rest of your fight against the Empire!

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I had no problem getting the reward for replacing the third Crystal Soul, so that issue has not repeated.

 

I divided my treasure stash between two towns and started keeping scrupulous records, and since then I haven't had any further problems with items disappearing.

 

I will chalk this up to a learning experience. Thanks again for your help and support.

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