Got my girls upgraded, back into the game, and running some new code that takes my previous "go find the player" starting package a step further.
Decided to give them some combat trials. We headed into Vault 11.
Performance was excellent; they swept and cleared the place in a manner that would've made any Delta Force operator proud.
It got interesting at the end, though. I had moved into the sacrificial chamber, and from the focus on the projector and the general shape of the room; I could smell what was coming, and had moved well out of the line of fire.
Needless to say, the firefight was fairly epic; and involved my expending several hundred caps worth of 40mm grenades.
Anyway. What caught my attention - and necessitated a post - was that about halfway through, I got the 'sound bug' for want of a better term; where firing, reloading, and other "item" sounds just stop playing.
At the end of the fight, both my companions were stuck.
Alas, ED-E had been ravaged like a narcoleptic cheerleader on prom night, so I couldn't see whether it had frozen as well.
Rather than use the wait key, I just left them standing there while I explored the new room. As I did, sounds played - albeit slowly and in a disjointed fashion, rather than the every saved up sound at once that it usually does.
When the sounds had finished catching up... the AI unfroze, and the girls put away their weapons and joined me.
I'd never seen this correlation before, but on deeper consideration, it's all coming together.
The AI freezing, the sounds stopping, the scripts that freeze at random.
Something in the game engine is hanging at random. Once it hangs, any new input it ignored. You can't activate affected NPCs, scripts don't fire, holstering of weapons doesn't work.
And, I'd wager, if it stays fucked long enough, that's when you get the crash. A memory request that goes unheeded or something.
Trouble is, because I lack the software to peep into the executable and see what in the holy hell is going on with the engine, this is all base supposition. Even if it wasn't, hacking the engine itself is way above my pay grade. So, even if I am right... what good does it do us?
Either way, it's good to have them back. Those lesser companions were beginning to cramp my style.