Avorion, a popular space exploration and sandbox game, offers a unique multiplayer experience through player-hosted servers. However, server administrators and hosting providers may encounter an error related to the ‘contents’ field in the ‘respawndefenders.lua’ script. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of this issue and provide a solution for a smooth gameplay experience.

I ran accross this error running the Avorion Dedicated Server in Ptredactyl in a Docker container, and after reinstalling the game, clearing the entire Galaxy and trying with or without mods, this issue kept cropping up from time to time, to get around the issue I made a quick band aid.

Understanding the Error:
The error message often looks like this:

#0: RespawnDefenders.onRestoredFromDisk data/scripts/sector/background/respawndefenders.lua

could not execute function 'RespawnDefenders.onRestoredFromDisk' in '"data/scripts/sector/background/respawndefenders.lua"':

data/scripts/sector/background/respawndefenders.lua:74: attempt to call field 'contents' (a nil value)
stack traceback:
data/scripts/sector/background/respawndefenders.lua:74: in function 'calculateSectorDefenders'
data/scripts/sector/background/respawndefenders.lua:115: in function 'updateServer'
data/scripts/sector/background/respawndefenders.lua:46: in function

This error occurs when the game attempts to execute the ‘RespawnDefenders.onRestoredFromDisk’ function, specifically at line 74 in the ‘respawndefenders.lua’ script.

Root Cause:
The issue arises from a nil value for ‘specs.generationTemplate.contents’. This can happen when certain conditions are not properly checked before attempting to access the ‘contents’ field, I found this may be coming from a mod saving some strange data.

To resolve this error, we need to add additional checks in the script to ensure that ‘specs.generationTemplate’ and ‘specs.generationTemplate.contents’ are not nil before accessing the ‘contents’ field. Here’s the modified code:

if specs.generationTemplate and specs.generationTemplate.contents then
local contents = specs.generationTemplate.contents(x, y)

if contents then
if specs.generationTemplate.getDefenders then
defenderFactionIndex, numDefenders, special = specs.generationTemplate.getDefenders(contents, specs.generationSeed, x, y)

This modification ensures that the necessary conditions are met before proceeding with the script, preventing the “attempt to call field ‘contents’ (a nil value)” error.

How to Implement the Fix:
1. Locate the ‘respawndefenders.lua’ script in your Avorion server files.
2. Open the script and find the section mentioned in the error message (usually around line 74).
3. Replace the existing code with the provided modification.
4. Save the changes and restart your Avorion server.

By addressing the nil value issue in the ‘respawndefenders.lua’ script, administrators, gamers, and hosting providers can ensure a stable and error-free Avorion server environment. This simple modification enhances the resilience of the game’s script, providing a smoother experience for players exploring the vast reaches of the Avorion galaxy.

Note: Always make backups before modifying script files, and consider testing changes in a controlled environment to avoid unintended consequences.

Happy exploring, and may your Avorion server adventures be free of script errors!