Cleaning up other people’s messes

Posted on September 30, 2015 in Blog \ News

Being a middleman isn’t always roses and candy bars.  As technological arbiter between you and a rendered scene, there are many hoops through which we jump.  One of those hoops has received more of our attention as of late.  I’m talking about the hoop labeled “software bugs”.

Bugs in software we’ve written are fairly trivial to assess and correct.  Deployment of the correction is sometimes a challenge, especially because our agent can’t self-update on the Mac platform.  That’s not the bugs I’m talking about here, though.  I’m talking about bugs in the render applications, engines, and plug-ins that we support.  Being that we support a larger software base than any other render farm service in the world, that means we have exposure to more problems that software foists upon us.

Do you know, for example, we detect when render apps crash and automatically re-queue job slices?  Of course, we only do that if the job has successfully completed other slices.  How about when render apps or engines become unresponsive, but are still “running”?  Detecting and correctly handling that is tricky.  How about forcing select settings changes in scene files prior to rendering in order to insure more efficient utilization or correct data handling so apps don’t crash in the first place?  When there are multiple errors of a specific type, can we provide relevant information back to the user so they can realize the problem and implement a fix?

We do all these things, with varying (but improving) levels of success depending on the application.  There seems to be a never-ending list of bugs found that we have to address/work-around/alert the user.  We remain committed to doing what we can with problems, but ask for your understanding in that we didn’t create the problem.  We run the same software that you do, and are bound by the same constraints you are in the way of its abilities and shortcomings.

Keep that in mind as we work together to render your scene.  It’s not always an easy process, but we’re willing to do our fair share of mess cleaning if there’s a good point to it.  Here’s to a cleaner floor!

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