THANK YOU for responding, Andy. Let’s see what I can tell you…
I’m going to talk about my maps first. In every instance of the disappearing guards, it has been in maps on which I have previously been able to get 100% kill ratios. On the instance where I miss a guard or two, if I re-load and play again I will always get 100% kills. I frequently will play a level three or four times in a row trying different approaches when I am play-testing my work. I should be able to get identical stats since I am not making any changes to the maps themselves in between plays.
How do I know they are disappearing? In a room where every door is blocked by the guard block code, if I see an enemy in the room once and he isn’t there when I come back, then I know something is amiss. This has been the case with the scientists. Obviously to be added into the kills the scientist would have to be a loyalist (delayed or immediate) and not a mere informant. Outside of tagging the scientists with a special hex value in Mapedit, all the scientists in my levels are random. The ones that disappear do not have a special hex value assigned.
The problem is not unique to the scientists. The enemies that seem to disappear with the highest frequency are the electronic spheres, perscan drones, volatile transport, and your basic blue guard (in that order). In all cases I see them at some point and then they are not there when I come back. I have never seen them vanish before my eyes. I constantly check floor codes and walls to make sure nothing is amiss and that guards cannot get trapped.
The max actor limit is 149, but with a twist. Since perscan drones and volatile transport leave specific debris behind that adds to the actor count once one is destroyed. Sprites like the barriers and some puddles also add to the actor count. I take specific care never to come close to the max actor limit. I have noticed that on levels where I do come close to the 149 that something does happen to the turrets when I include teleporters in the level. If I shoot a turret and then use a teleporter, the next time I re-enter the room the remains of the turret will have disappeared. I have never lost an enemy in a game where I have saved/reloaded. In every case the enemy disappear in levels I complete without saving.
Most of the time when I am play-testing or beta-testing I have debug mode enabled. The cheats I use are weapon advance, god mode, and show push walls. I don’t think I use anything else. I cannot remember having the guards disappear when I am not in debug mode, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.
I have been testing combinations of everything possible. How different objects react with different objects, how they react to different floor codes (like guard block or deaf), different styles of doors, and combinations thereof. I do have one thing that I am trying to find out for sure. I think that if a player opens a door at the same time an electric sphere is passing through the player, that the sphere disappears. Timing has to be impeccable though, which is why I am finding it hard to duplicate.
Thanks for taking the time to give this a good think J