Using Log Files

  • [logs]
  • [troubleshooting]

Ares has an internal logging system (log4r) to help diagnose code issues. The log includes error messages, important game events, and every command executed on the game except those omitted for player privacy (pages, poses, channel chat, and passwords).

Logging in Code

Throughout the code, you’ll see statements like:

Global.logger.debug "Loading config from #{file}."

This writes a statement to the log file. You can use string interpolation (e.g. #{file} to pass variables into the log statements.)

Avoiding Private Command Logging

Ares by default will log all commands to the debug log. This greatly aids in debugging an error because you can see the commands that preceded it.

However, some things don’t belong in log files, like passwords and conversations. If you have a custom command that falls into this category, add a custom log_command method to your command handler.

You might choose to log nothing:

  def log_command
    # Don't log poses

Or a limited subset of information instead of the full command text:

  def log_command
    # Don't log full command for password privacy
    Global.logger.debug("#{} #{client}")

Log Files

Ares by default will maintain up to ten log files, switching when each one gets too big. The log files are numbered sequentially (log1.txt, log2.txt, etc.) Log files are stored on the server in the aresmush/game/logs folder.

Log Levels

There are four different levels of logging statements:

  • Error - Unexpected code errors. Global.logger.error("Something bad happened.")
  • Warning - Unusual issues that did not cause a big problem, but might indicate an unexpected condition. Global.logger.warn("Attempted to post to a forum that doesn't exist.")
  • Info - Important informational messages that help you keep track of what’s happening in the game."Client connected from #{ip_address}.")
  • Debug - Nitty-gritty details that are helpful for troubleshooting but not necessariy of general interest. Global.logger.debug "Reading help file #{topic_key}"


2018-02-20 13:08:44 DEBUG - AresMUSH::Who::WhereCmd: ID=229 Enactor=Faraday Cmd=+where 
2018-02-20 13:08:25 DEBUG - Emptying trash for John. 
2018-02-20 13:08:25 INFO - Character Disconnected: John 

Debugging With Stack Traces

Errors include a backtrace, which helps you identify the line of code where the error occurred, as well as the function calls preceding it. For example:

2018-02-20 04:21:39 ERROR - Error in Web Request: client= error=private method `select' called for nil:NilClass backtrace=[
"/home/ares/aresmush/plugins/arescentral/web/get_players_handler.rb:13:in `block in handle'", 
"/home/ares/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.4.1/gems/ohm-3.0.3/lib/ohm.rb:123:in `block (2 levels) in each'", 
"/home/ares/aresmush/plugins/arescentral/web/get_players_handler.rb:11:in `handle'", 
"/home/ares/aresmush/engine/aresmush/commands/dispatcher.rb:125:in `block (2 levels) in on_web_request'", 
"/home/ares/aresmush/engine/aresmush/commands/dispatcher.rb:119:in `each'"]

The root problem is that we tried to call select on a nil class. This happened on plugins/arescentral/web/get_players_handler.rb line 13. We see some of the events leading up to it, starting with the dispatcher’s on_web_request and then going into the handle method of the ‘get players’ handler.

Changing the Log Level

By default, the Ares log file will include all four levels of log messages. If your game is stable and you find the logs too spammy, you can change the minimum log level from DEBUG to INFO (or even to WARN or ERROR but that’s not advisable).

Edit logger.yml:

    - name      : ares
      level     : DEBUG