The Cool Cam

  • RafBar 2007-08-14 15:38


    MMM i kinda like the wingless nazi Shuttle launcher game.


  • Hans 2007-08-14 15:39
    And rightly so. Technology is very important, but presentation doubly so. I once worked on a project that was in a bit of trouble (not quite as bad as this, but it was behind schedule and somehow everybody hated it).

    And then one day I made a cool logo, and put that on the desktop of every computer I could get my hands on. Now this may sound weird, but almost immediately things changed: the program was still (almost) the same, but people mentioned it was useful to them, that they liked working with it, that they appreciated that I was working hard to get it finished.

    My personal theory is that because I showed confidence in my work, they figured it could not be quite as bad as everyone thought. But maybe I'm wrong - maybe they justed liked the new desktop backgrounds ;-)

    So remember this everyone: it is not enough to write good software, you must also sell it. And to sell it you must present it in a good way. And to do that you need something like the coolcam, or even something silly like a desktop background.


  • Llama King 2007-08-14 15:40
    Surely planes hitting the ground is just the Japanese team?
  • Zygo 2007-08-14 15:44
    Llama King:
    Surely planes hitting the ground is just the Japanese team?


    Bouncing your plane off the ground and into outer space was the only way pilots could take out the orbital weapons platforms in World War II.




    ;-)
  • pauluskc 2007-08-14 15:47
    phew! I have to say that this is the first post in a while that actually had me laughing out loud (no acronym needed).

    I hurt from laughing with the description of the enemy AI bug where they'd reject their mother country.

    Thanks for the laugh!
  • Michael 2007-08-14 15:55
    Hans:
    And rightly so. Technology is very important, but presentation doubly so. I once worked on a project that was in a bit of trouble (not quite as bad as this, but it was behind schedule and somehow everybody hated it).

    And then one day I made a cool logo, and put that on the desktop of every computer I could get my hands on. Now this may sound weird, but almost immediately things changed: the program was still (almost) the same, but people mentioned it was useful to them, that they liked working with it, that they appreciated that I was working hard to get it finished.


    I had a similar experience, I joined a team developing an internal web app for project management. Since it wasn't management-decreed, we had to sell it to every department to get people using it. It was generally an uphill battle getting people to switch, people complained that it didn't work like their current program, was unintuitive, slow, etc. One day I added the ability for users to change the "theme" (CSS file), and suddenly, people thought that it had a very user-friendly interface.
  • Anon 2007-08-14 15:57
    Ah Microprose. So many classics and they all came with manuals you could choke a donkey with. I miss those days.
  • bstorer 2007-08-14 15:58
    Hans:
    And rightly so. Technology is very important, but presentation doubly so. I once worked on a project that was in a bit of trouble (not quite as bad as this, but it was behind schedule and somehow everybody hated it).

    And then one day I made a cool logo, and put that on the desktop of every computer I could get my hands on. Now this may sound weird, but almost immediately things changed: the program was still (almost) the same, but people mentioned it was useful to them, that they liked working with it, that they appreciated that I was working hard to get it finished.

    My personal theory is that because I showed confidence in my work, they figured it could not be quite as bad as everyone thought. But maybe I'm wrong - maybe they justed liked the new desktop backgrounds ;-)

    So remember this everyone: it is not enough to write good software, you must also sell it. And to sell it you must present it in a good way. And to do that you need something like the coolcam, or even something silly like a desktop background.

    One of the reasons F/OSS struggles. It is often just a case of not looking polished, regardless of the quality.
  • Thomas 2007-08-14 16:05
    Anon:
    Ah Microprose. So many classics and they all came with manuals you could choke a donkey with. I miss those days.


    Yeah, one must agree with you.
    Great games by those folks.
    :-)
  • Patrick 2007-08-14 16:05
    Where is the WTF? It's an industry that thrives on the look and feel of the product, not necessarily how well it's coded or how stable it is. Tim delivered exactly what the execs were looking for, props to him.
  • ronj 2007-08-14 16:08
    Microprose Gunship. Many an afternoon spent playing that on my C64. By the way, it did play like an arcade game . . . if you were good enough.
  • pauluskc 2007-08-14 16:08
    I have to say... Silent Service is still my all-time fave. 5.25" Yeah! Why do I need a DVD to play a game nowadays, dangit??
  • rycamor 2007-08-14 16:09
    This is one of the best WTFs I have read in awhile, because it's actually a positive WTF, or maybe it should be called a "reverse-WTF". (I'm not talking about the hilarious bugs, but about Tim's seemingly counter-intuitive decision.)

    Instructive, too. "Tim" obviously knew something that some developers never learn: It's not just about the code, it's about the people, and their perceptions.

    Those of you working on a project that is slowly dying from lack of management support, or "vision" would do well to reflect upon this tale.

    (And with that in mind, I've got some cool-camming of my own to do...)
  • me 2007-08-14 16:09
    The one "proverb" that I've used since the manager of my first project out of school told me is:

    Perception is Reality.

    This doesn't just apply to software, but it is definitely extremely important in the software development world.

    Live it and love it. Perception is reality to those who make the decisions. The cool cam is a perfect example. Tim was able to show the execs just how "cool" what they had was regardless of it's problems.

    Perception is reality.
  • rbowes 2007-08-14 16:18
    So is it just me, or is the whole "bouncing into space" thing probably just caused by the altitude falling below 0 and jumping up to INT_MAX?
  • unklegwar 2007-08-14 16:22
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?
  • KattMan 2007-08-14 16:26
    rycamor:

    (And with that in mind, I've got some cool-camming of my own to do...)


    Cool-Camming

    I think we just got our new term for doing the seemingly stupid that ends up saving a failed project.
  • Anon 2007-08-14 16:27
    ronj:
    Microprose Gunship. Many an afternoon spent playing that on my C64. By the way, it did play like an arcade game . . . if you were good enough.


    Loved Gunship. I still remember struggling to limp home at low altitude with shells exploding all around you. A flight sim that really felt gritty.

    Another thing I loved about some Microprose was the hall of fame features and how it encouraged you to push the difficulty level up to score more points. Pirates! springs to mind for that.
  • genki 2007-08-14 16:28
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?

    I think it's a wtf because despite the bugs and known problems, the creation of a superficial 'cool' feature managed to distract the executives enough to allow them to finish the project successfully.
  • Spartacus 2007-08-14 16:31
    rbowes:
    So is it just me, or is the whole "bouncing into space" thing probably just caused by the altitude falling below 0 and jumping up to INT_MAX?


    Most likely not, as at the point in the next refresh of the screen, the plane would be off the screen completely and appear to have disappeared. Also altitude was properly measured in signed floating point. My guess at the bug would be that for some reason the collision with the ground touched some very bad collision math and set the airplane's velocity to something large at a reflected angle.
  • raylu 2007-08-14 16:31
    The WTF is what the execs were looking for.
  • yetihehe 2007-08-14 16:32
    pauluskc:
    I have to say... Silent Service is still my all-time fave. 5.25" Yeah! Why do I need a DVD to play a game nowadays, dangit??
    You don't need. WinXP Minesweeper has only 117kb. Oh, you wanted 3d graphics, then maybe you'll like .kkrieger. But maybe you also want music and some better graphics, more monsters, more vehicles, multiplayer and cinematics? Then you really have to go by with dvd's, sorry
  • OJ 2007-08-14 16:33
    Maybe, maybe not. 4D Sports Driving had somewhat similar bug that was certainly no integer wrap: when crashed hard, the cars would fly into sky in a spectacular backwards spiral. If you waited long enough, they would also fall back to ground and maybe bounce for another flight. The game had a number of other interesting bugs, too: you could drive through walls and even on water if you knew the tricks.

    BTW, the message edit box is kind of small on Konqueror. Forum software...
  • stfu 2007-08-14 16:41
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?


    It's not, dipshit.

    They're not trying to preserve some forced purity here, they're just giving us some daily content to keep us entertained for a few minutes out of the day. Whether or not it's a "real wtf" or whatever isn't really that important. As long as it fits under "curious perversions in IT" and is interesting, what's the difference?
  • KattMan 2007-08-14 16:43
    OJ:
    Maybe, maybe not. 4D Sports Driving had somewhat similar bug that was certainly no integer wrap: when crashed hard, the cars would fly into sky in a spectacular backwards spiral. If you waited long enough, they would also fall back to ground and maybe bounce for another flight. The game had a number of other interesting bugs, too: you could drive through walls and even on water if you knew the tricks.

    BTW, the message edit box is kind of small on Konqueror. Forum software...


    This kind of bouncing seems to be a common theme in driving simulations.

    The MS dirtbike one (can't remember the real name) did this if you started at one corner of a map and hit the throttle real hard across flat terrain until you hit a good hill and flew off the edge of the map on the other side. You would bounce off the invisible barrier and fly around the screen.

    Another one (sorry can't recall the name or manufacturer) was a car racing game that allowed you to build your own tracks. Just create one with a nice long straight track so you could get up to 220 MPH then a slight hill off to the side of the track would cause you to spiral-flip wildly hundreds or even thousands of feet into the air ending an a spectacular crash. Oh you had to have damage turned off for this to happen, but I spent more time flying cars then racing them in that game.
  • Kemp 2007-08-14 16:45
    I've seen lots of games with similar bugs. Carmageddon (all versions iirc) comes to mind, there were certain bits of scenery that if hit at the right angle would launch you into space having sustained the maximum damage possible. Eventually you would land, repair, and drive off (in the first game at least, this could easily kill you outright in the second). The affected bits of scenery were identical to those around them, often a particular (small) piece of a building wall around the 2nd-3rd floor, we usually found them by doing a jump off the crest of a hill and hitting the building. Didn't happen every time, but it was always particular areas.
  • Jake Vinson 2007-08-14 16:49
    KattMan:
    OJ:
    Maybe, maybe not. 4D Sports Driving had somewhat similar bug that was certainly no integer wrap: when crashed hard, the cars would fly into sky in a spectacular backwards spiral. If you waited long enough, they would also fall back to ground and maybe bounce for another flight. The game had a number of other interesting bugs, too: you could drive through walls and even on water if you knew the tricks.

    BTW, the message edit box is kind of small on Konqueror. Forum software...


    This kind of bouncing seems to be a common theme in driving simulations.

    The MS dirtbike one (can't remember the real name) did this if you started at one corner of a map and hit the throttle real hard across flat terrain until you hit a good hill and flew off the edge of the map on the other side. You would bounce off the invisible barrier and fly around the screen.

    Another one (sorry can't recall the name or manufacturer) was a car racing game that allowed you to build your own tracks. Just create one with a nice long straight track so you could get up to 220 MPH then a slight hill off to the side of the track would cause you to spiral-flip wildly hundreds or even thousands of feet into the air ending an a spectacular crash. Oh you had to have damage turned off for this to happen, but I spent more time flying cars then racing them in that game.


    In Trespasser, you could slap dinosaurs to death with your bare hands. Once a dinosaur was dead, you could shoot its corpse which would make it move a little bit, but if you kept shooting you could get it to start rolling faster and faster until it hit would hit a bump and fly off into the horizon.
  • DavidN 2007-08-14 16:50
    That was incredibly annoying in Carmageddon 2, particularly if you'd just spent the last half-hour exterminating the zombies - it was particularly bad with Pinball Mode on, so I was sure to hit Recover and then just sit quiety for 30 seconds whenever I picked one of those up.

    This is a fantastic post, by the way - it's good to see that somehow, some things turn out all right.
  • Matt 2007-08-14 16:52
    this is my favorite post in a long time.

    "European Wingless Plane Amidst Nazi Battle Simulator." that is so funny.
  • Migala 2007-08-14 17:03
    genki:
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?

    I think it's a wtf because despite the bugs and known problems, the creation of a superficial 'cool' feature managed to distract the executives enough to allow them to finish the project successfully.

    The cool-cam feature set the game apart from other games. First it was yet-another-game-but-with-more-bugs-and-way-over-budget, now it was an all-new-shiny-and-flashy-game, with just a few bugs left.

    (captch: paint)
  • Bob N Freely 2007-08-14 17:17
    EAW was a great game. I wasted many an hour shooting down Luftwaffe bombers with that title.
  • PeriSoft 2007-08-14 17:20
    pauluskc:
    phew! I have to say that this is the first post in a while that actually had me laughing out loud (no acronym needed).

    I hurt from laughing with the description of the enemy AI bug where they'd reject their mother country.

    Thanks for the laugh!


    "Scheisse! I've had it up to here with all of you! You, Sturmfuhrer Hans! And you, Schlinkopf! I'm through with it! You never treat me right, you take my skill for granted - Honestly, you're all just a bunch of goddamned Nazis!"
  • Ben 2007-08-14 17:22
    KattMan:

    Another one (sorry can't recall the name or manufacturer) was a car racing game that allowed you to build your own tracks. Just create one with a nice long straight track so you could get up to 220 MPH then a slight hill off to the side of the track would cause you to spiral-flip wildly hundreds or even thousands of feet into the air ending an a spectacular crash. Oh you had to have damage turned off for this to happen, but I spent more time flying cars then racing them in that game.


    I bet you're thinking of "Stunts". I spent way more time with the editor than with the real game...
  • PeriSoft 2007-08-14 17:28
    Jake Vinson:

    In Trespasser, you could slap dinosaurs to death with your bare hands. Once a dinosaur was dead, you could shoot its corpse which would make it move a little bit, but if you kept shooting you could get it to start rolling faster and faster until it hit would hit a bump and fly off into the horizon.


    If you've still got a copy of the original Unreal Tournament around, find a multiplayer map with some Nali books on it. Knock a book onto the ground, stand on it, and shoot it with the sniper rifle.

    The sniper rifle has an enormous damage in a very concentrated area, so all of the energy goes to the book. And the book goes flying in the direction of the impact. But since you're standing on it, you're firing from above, and the physics engine erroneously treats the book as still being separate from the ground and from you. So the book travels 0 inches at high velocity into the ground, bounces off the ground, travels 0 inches back up to your feet, and continues, carrying you about 200 meters high.

    You can then shoot the book again on your way down, and repeat. You don't take damage when you land, either, because landing on a book isn't the same as landing on a ground (a book doesn't hurt you when it hits you, so it doesn't hurt you when you hit a book).

    If you practice a bit, you can fly around on the books. It's pretty awesome.

    Normally I wouldn't mention the CAPTCHA - but in this case it's Quake, which is just a little TOO appropriate...
  • John W 2007-08-14 17:30
    That is FREAKIN AWSOME!!
  • RafBar 2007-08-14 17:32
    Ben:
    I bet you're thinking of "Stunts". I spent way more time with the editor than with the real game...


    Same here... it was a BLAST of a game... and the track builder was very very intuitive, I played that game litterally for months for that feature alone....
  • Codejoy 2007-08-14 17:35
    Awesome write up, I love reading stuff like this especially from classic developers such as micropose.

  • Khim 2007-08-14 17:36
    OJ:
    Maybe, maybe not. 4D Sports Driving had somewhat similar bug that was certainly no integer wrap: when crashed hard, the cars would fly into sky in a spectacular backwards spiral. If you waited long enough, they would also fall back to ground and maybe bounce for another flight. The game had a number of other interesting bugs, too: you could drive through walls and even on water if you knew the tricks.


    Ah, Stunts! (same game, different name - apparently)

    The game was great fun, really, and the space launch bug was just a bit of fun that could be exploited well if you knew how. Not "well" in the sense of being useful for scoring high in the game, just good for lots of fun watching replays.

    This bounce thing happened if you managed to hit the landing ramp right on the edge, for example.

    Addendum (2007-08-14 17:48):
    Wikipedia link
  • titusbyronicus 2007-08-14 17:40
    I've been reading WTF for at least a year now and this is the first article that I've felt compelled to comment on.

    I really enjoyed this one. The WTFs that video games developers suffer through are really fascinating. This was in some ways even better than reading a post-mortem in GameDeveloper Magazine. Please post more!

    Thanks!
  • James Schend 2007-08-14 17:52
    I had a F-18 sim on my old Mac with a strange physics bug. If you crashed in the ground with your gear up and just the right angle, your plane would get 'stuck' in the ground and never be able to take off again... however, at the same time, you were in a frictionless environment so it suddenly accelerates faster and faster until you're traveling miles per second. If you hit a hill, it'd glide for a second, then fall down until it was stuck in the ground again. I loved that game.
  • ZSB 2007-08-14 18:00
    Cool story. I don't even see it as a WTF on the executives' part. With all the neverending bugs, I'm sure it was easy to overlook what the game did right, particularly if no one was showing off the positives to them.

    Tim showed them that there was a baby worth keeping in there with all that bathwater. I'm curious if Tim planned than all along or if he was just lucky.
  • retnuh 2007-08-14 18:07
    Spartacus:
    rbowes:
    So is it just me, or is the whole "bouncing into space" thing probably just caused by the altitude falling below 0 and jumping up to INT_MAX?


    Most likely not, as at the point in the next refresh of the screen, the plane would be off the screen completely and appear to have disappeared. Also altitude was properly measured in signed floating point. My guess at the bug would be that for some reason the collision with the ground touched some very bad collision math and set the airplane's velocity to something large at a reflected angle.



    Oh you and your facts and logic.
  • durnurd 2007-08-14 18:09
    That really was a hilarious writeup. Now why don't people who work on F/OSS get it that design is important? They have professions for it! Is it just that F/OSS is a programmer-centric sort of thing that designers don't really get into?
  • Guido 2007-08-14 18:10
    Just another proof that execs and generally people don't want to know what's under the hood with a program, but they want to know how it looks. Fancy = good.
  • Spikeles 2007-08-14 18:38
    I work on a framing fabrication program for houses, and one of the things i did while i was sick of fixing endless bugs was implement a 3D view of the house. The 3D view is completely useless to the guys who actually USE the software(they only care about 2D views of walls and accurate measurements), but their boss loved it, their clients who they build houses for loved it, other visiting companies loved it, so it stayed in, and i got a pat on the back for spending a week on it.

    It reminds me a bit of how Google allow you to spend time on personal projects actually, in that what you do for fun, may end up being a really good idea.
  • nigel 2007-08-14 18:41
    That is possibly the most beautiful story i have ever read on WTF!

  • coolcam 2007-08-14 18:53
    http://gamecoder.mindsay.com/the_cool_cam.mws

    based off of the above article?
  • blunden 2007-08-14 19:03
    Ben:
    I bet you're thinking of "Stunts". I spent way more time with the editor than with the real game...
    Yeah, really fun game. The editor was fantastic. Aaah, the memories...
  • dubbreak 2007-08-14 19:05
    genki:
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?

    I think it's a wtf because despite the bugs and known problems, the creation of a superficial 'cool' feature managed to distract the executives enough to allow them to finish the project successfully.

    I am a fan of bad analogies.

    Imagine the pinto was the first consumer car with an electric sunroof (not the case and I'm not sure you could even get it with one).

    Project Management: Is it true that the rear structure of the car is basically devoid of any reinforcement so any rear collision could damage the fuel tank possibly causing a fire or worse yet explosion?

    Vehicle Designer: Check this out! (opens sunroof all the way with the touch of a button. PMs ooh and ahh. VD closes sunroof with push of a button)

    PM: We have also heard that any rear end collision could cause the doors to jam, due to the lack of reinforcement, making this a virtual deathtrap..

    VD: Have you seen this!! (Pushes button to show tilt function of the sunroof.. more oohs and awes)

    As I said, bad analogy. The game software isn't life or death, however if the software were medical imaging software and you were distracting from the 1 in 10 radiation overdoses with the "amazing 3d imaging that can be rotated in 6 axis in real time!!" then you need to quite your life as a developer and get into marketing.

    What was the point I was trying to make again...?
  • Mark 2007-08-14 19:18
    durnurd:
    That really was a hilarious writeup. Now why don't people who work on F/OSS get it that design is important? They have professions for it! Is it just that F/OSS is a programmer-centric sort of thing that designers don't really get into?


    The problem is that F/OSS design tends to degenerate into design by committee.
  • geopilot 2007-08-14 19:35
    As a flight sim magazine providerpublisher during this period I can say that I used to wish all flight sims and battle sims had stand alone cool cam modes so they could be run as screen savers.

    I always wished the AI could fight BOTH sides of the battle and sometimes I could just turn on the action cams (as they were called in other sims) and just sit back and watch the most incredible aerial actions never caught on real aircraft gun cameras.

    www.vivzizi.com the stuff of life
  • Drinkingbird 2007-08-14 19:55
    durnurd:
    That really was a hilarious writeup. Now why don't people who work on F/OSS get it that design is important? They have professions for it! Is it just that F/OSS is a programmer-centric sort of thing that designers don't really get into?


    Now, why don't people stop running around spouting this particular nugget of bullshit.

    Commercial software and FOSS both have examples of very good design, very bad design, and everything in between in roughly the same proportion.

    Go dribble somewhere else.
  • Jimbo 2007-08-14 19:58
    This is probably the first story I've read on here that has a happy ending.

    I also enjoyed the crap out of playing some of those MicroProse games.
  • sburnap 2007-08-14 20:03
    The nazis changing sides sounds very much like a bug I ran into in the PS3 version of Oblivion just a couple weeks ago. I was sneaking around a castle, got seen by a guard, putting them into combat mode. For some reason the countess's bodyguard got confused and suddenly started attacking the countess as she ran around yelling for said bodyguard to help her. Since she was a "quest" character, she couldn't die...instead, she'd get "knocked unconcious" at which point the bodyguard would go to standing around. A few minutes, she'd wake and he'd knock the crap out of her again.
  • nonchalant 2007-08-14 20:26
    This is one of the best WTF's I've ever read.

    Enough said :)
  • tecxx 2007-08-14 20:56
    KattMan:

    Another one (sorry can't recall the name or manufacturer) was a car racing game that allowed you to build your own tracks. Just create one with a nice long straight track so you could get up to 220 MPH then a slight hill off to the side of the track would cause you to spiral-flip wildly hundreds or even thousands of feet into the air ending an a spectacular crash. Oh you had to have damage turned off for this to happen, but I spent more time flying cars then racing them in that game.


    it was called "Stunts". awesome game!
  • Spikeles 2007-08-14 21:06
    sburnap:
    The nazis changing sides sounds very much like a bug I ran into in the PS3 version of Oblivion just a couple weeks ago.

    If you've played Oblivion for long you'll realize the I in AI doesn't actually stand for "Intelligence"
  • Rawr 2007-08-14 21:17
    Spikeles:
    sburnap:
    The nazis changing sides sounds very much like a bug I ran into in the PS3 version of Oblivion just a couple weeks ago.

    If you've played Oblivion for long you'll realize the I in AI doesn't actually stand for "Intelligence"


    Guess it means Incompetence then...
  • Mnc_ 2007-08-14 21:55
    I love this "Tim" dude...

    "What bugs? Yeah whatever.
    Look at this here; I call it the cool cam!"
  • Darien H 2007-08-14 22:19
    Starseige: Tribes

    Every map was essentially a rectangle that was tiled maybe 10-20 times to make the appearance of endless terrain around the battlefield (and generally, it worked well).

    At some point, the terrain ended. At two side (North, west? I forget) jumping off the knife-edge of teh terrain shell let you fall into space forever, accelerating constantly. (You could use your jetpack curve around and "punch through" the ground from below and back to safety.)

    However, at the opposite sides, gravity reversed once you crossed over the edge of the world, and you would fall upwards at similar acceleration.
  • Julian 2007-08-14 23:26
    Man, Carmageddon. I had the 5-minute timed demo that came with some magazine CD, which drew fast and had a gritty, rough looking environment and I thought it was the best demo ever. Then I played the actual game and they'd changed the whole rendering engine to something full of shiny polygons and my old PC couldn't handle it. I went back to playing the demo and seeing how much damage I could cause in 5 minutes!
  • durnurd 2007-08-14 23:28
    Drinkingbird:

    Now, why don't people stop running around spouting this particular nugget of bullshit.

    Commercial software and FOSS both have examples of very good design, very bad design, and everything in between in roughly the same proportion.

    Go dribble somewhere else.


    Awesome! A troll! But seriously, there is a largely disproportionate amount of bad design with good functionality, comparatively.
  • Andy Goth 2007-08-14 23:59
    I work on an F-18 simulator which used to occasionally launch the pilot into space. It's fixed now, of course, but I kinda miss flying above the sky dome.

    The (third party) image generator component uses a version of Boeing's CIGI library that has thread-unsafe global scratch variables for byte swapping. Occasionally the image generator does byte swaps in two threads simultaneously, corrupting the results. And occasionally those results are height-of-terrain data requested by the simulator. Thus the ground sometimes spikes up trillions of meters above sea level, carrying the F-18 with it. Fun stuff, I tell you.
  • Nazlfrag 2007-08-15 00:02
    A WTF with a happy ending. Great stuff. Reminds me of back in the day developing a 3d rendering engine. I was having troubles with animations exported from 3ds max (ended up writing my own custom file format export plugin) and went weeks with no progress. The boss was getting impatient, my animations were still screwy so instead I spent the week finishing the lighting and texture routines. Next time I showed the wonky animations there they were in all their textured, lit glory, getting the pressure off and giving me the time to write the plugin and fix the anims. Often the illusion of large progress is better than incremental improvements.
  • arty 2007-08-15 00:24
    durnurd:
    That really was a hilarious writeup. Now why don't people who work on F/OSS get it that design is important? They have professions for it! Is it just that F/OSS is a programmer-centric sort of thing that designers don't really get into?


    That's an interesting thing. I think we get desensitized to people who contribute design advice, because there tend to be a lot of them. My experience is that about 4 of 5 people who want to contribute to an open source project are artists of some stripe who want to design icons, change fonts, move user interface elements or align things with other things.

    It's not bad, and it's nice to have interest, but it definitely blends into a sort of noise after you hear it enough, especially when a lot of things are obviously and seriously broken.

    Actually, if I could point to one thing being a factor it's that it's difficult to set up a version control system with different access levels and rich controls. It'd be nice to mark out resource files as more public (having fewer restrictions on commit access), or have some more traditional editorial control on them. It should be easy for artist types to change artwork without programmer help, and do things like quietly convert data formats and fix things like file name case. No source control system I know of does this well.

    SVN post commit scripts are basically useless for it.

    Perforce can do fine-grained permissions, but doesn't have a rich merge interface for sticky stuff like artwork.

    Alienbrain, for those who remember the dog that it was, could be made to do the right kind of editorial control, but unfortunately ran like a constipated snail who just ate a block of cheese.

    Maybe somebody should make a nice-looking web app that knows about types of artwork and prose that can be plugged into programs?
  • Khim 2007-08-15 01:01
    dubbreak:

    As I said, bad analogy. The game software isn't life or death, however if the software were medical imaging software and you were distracting from the 1 in 10 radiation overdoses with the "amazing 3d imaging that can be rotated in 6 axis in real time!!" then you need to quite your life as a developer and get into marketing.

    What was the point I was trying to make again...?

    Was it that you missed the point of the story? :-)

    Seriously, the story was not about adding gloss to hide a flawed system for release. The point was to improve morale and the executives' interest enough to get a chance to fix the bugs before release, instead of having the project cancelled.
  • Sylvain 2007-08-15 01:08
    Patrick:
    Where is the WTF? It's an industry that thrives on the look and feel of the product, not necessarily how well it's coded or how stable it is.
    On the contrary. It's an industry that pushes the hardware quite far and that needs to run on a lot of different hardware (gpu and sound), hardware whose drivers often has bugs (mostly with direct sound hardware acceleration, no wonder it's being dropped in Vista). And still it has to be stable ; and fast.

    From my experience, that's an industry where good coding practice and stability are much more important than other fields. Despite the old labels from the 80ies.
  • Michael Geary 2007-08-15 01:52
    Amen, brother!

    To the skeptics: It's not a WTF, it's a truly inspiring story for any programmer with a creative streak.

    (Captcha: Why, do I smell?)
  • Michael Geary 2007-08-15 01:54
    Oh great. It doesn't show what I was replying to. So, my comment makes little sense. I suppose you can click the link, but who does that?

    (Captcha: alarm. How appropriate!)
  • Raw 2007-08-15 02:09
    Kemp:
    I've seen lots of games with similar bugs. Carmageddon (all versions iirc) comes to mind, there were certain bits of scenery that if hit at the right angle would launch you into space having sustained the maximum damage possible. Eventually you would land, repair, and drive off (in the first game at least, this could easily kill you outright in the second). The affected bits of scenery were identical to those around them, often a particular (small) piece of a building wall around the 2nd-3rd floor, we usually found them by doing a jump off the crest of a hill and hitting the building. Didn't happen every time, but it was always particular areas.


    Ah, Carmageddon! That game improved my real life driving a lot, and teached me the proper attitude towards pedestrians.

    The bug you are talking about happened when you hit a solid object that only hit about half the front of the car. Once you learned that, it wasn't so annoying, in fact, it was great fun shoving opponents into such situations.
  • Joel 2007-08-15 02:48
    ZSB:
    Cool story. I don't even see it as a WTF on the executives' part. With all the neverending bugs, I'm sure it was easy to overlook what the game did right, particularly if no one was showing off the positives to them.

    Tim showed them that there was a baby worth keeping in there with all that bathwater. I'm curious if Tim planned than all along or if he was just lucky.
    Vision comes in many forms.

    I am working on a software project currently (doing project management but also some coding when I get a chance) and neat, unexpected, and sometimes even flashy (albeit trivial) features can inspire more confidence in the success of a software project than 25 bug fixes in one week.

    Executive types take bug-fixes for granted poo-poo them as issues that shouldn't have existed in the first place. But novel features and slick interfaces make them ooh and aah because they know that the average user of the program will be impressed by them.

    And as someone said earlier, perception IS reality.
  • M Cassidy 2007-08-15 03:03
    Red Storm Rising.

    'Nuff said ;)
  • AstorLights 2007-08-15 03:57
    Nice one :-) Solving a problem by not solving the problem at all.
  • jergosh 2007-08-15 04:59
    Well, uhh, a little known thing about Nazi technology developed in World War I...

    It is apparently a little known thing that the Nazis had little to do with WW I?
  • Jens 2007-08-15 05:08
    Mark:
    durnurd:
    That really was a hilarious writeup. Now why don't people who work on F/OSS get it that design is important? They have professions for it! Is it just that F/OSS is a programmer-centric sort of thing that designers don't really get into?


    The problem is that F/OSS design tends to degenerate into design by committee.


    I'm completely convinced that what made Firefox a mainstream breakthrough is the cool recognizable logo, the name and the icon theme (in that order). Even if Mozilla-of-old would have been polished to total feature parity with Firefox I'm sure it's userbase would still be a fraction of that of Firefox.

    This is also why OpenOffice.org is a completely failure, and will continue to be. In a lead developers words "And, honestly: do you really believe people prefer MS Office over OOo because of the icons? Get serious, please." (source).
  • MiklosHollender 2007-08-15 05:35
    As I'm typing this into Firefox, it pretty much seems to me FLOSS is quite capable of slick designs sometimes. Compare to Firefox, the UI of IE7 and Opera looks like the result of a teenager's hobby project to me. Safari on Windows is polished, but not nearly as readable and usable.
  • MiklosHollender 2007-08-15 05:39
    The OOo lead developer is clearly wrong. At work upgrading to MSOffice2007 was forced down my throat and I tried to resist it as it's slow and not nearly as productive as 203 but now I'm starting to LOVE it, because of the pretty, slick UI. Sometimes even usability is less important than the coolness factor i.e. how do you feel using it. Using Office2007 feels like being invited into some elite club with mahogany tables and silver utensils. I feel... honoured. Even though I get less stuff done with it. And it's not features or programming, it's just a bunch of graphics and a nice font, dammit... Think about it, OOo folks... all you need to do is get the guy who designed the slick, juicy KDE icons to work for you.
  • MrTickle 2007-08-15 05:43
    The WTFs that video games developers suffer through are really fascinating.


    Trust me. It's not half as bad as (graphics) driver writers go through.

    Now why don't people who work on F/OSS get it that design is important?


    As has been pointed out, some do, some don't. The major problem is that (IME) F/OSS people are developers and developers suck at design.
  • Badger 2007-08-15 06:02
    Yeah, this is Better Than Success!
  • LiquidFire 2007-08-15 06:30
    MiklosHollender:
    The OOo lead developer is clearly wrong. At work upgrading to MSOffice2007 was forced down my throat and I tried to resist it as it's slow and not nearly as productive as 203 but now I'm starting to LOVE it, because of the pretty, slick UI. Sometimes even usability is less important than the coolness factor i.e. how do you feel using it. Using Office2007 feels like being invited into some elite club with mahogany tables and silver utensils. I feel... honoured. Even though I get less stuff done with it. And it's not features or programming, it's just a bunch of graphics and a nice font, dammit... Think about it, OOo folks... all you need to do is get the guy who designed the slick, juicy KDE icons to work for you.

    OpenOffice already can use KDE's Crystal icon set: http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/3696/oocrystalzl1.png. See this.
  • MeteoriK 2007-08-15 06:59
    Depends on the rate of the bounce. It may be the physics engine hitting some drastic floating point error and miscalculating the bounce (I've written physics code before, and you have to put kludge after kludge in to get around stuff like that).
  • Anonymous Jerk 2007-08-15 07:12
    jergosh:
    Well, uhh, a little known thing about Nazi technology developed in World War I...

    It is apparently a little known thing that the Nazis had little to do with WW I?

    That's precisely why it's so little known, comrade.
  • dazKind 2007-08-15 07:27
    Lovely Story! Enjoyed it a lot!

    My theory on the fire-guns-rip-wings-off-bug is that the projectiles were spawned too close to the plane's wing, thus causing a friendly fire issue.
  • BrandG 2007-08-15 07:58
    >> My theory on the fire-guns-rip-wings-off-bug is that the projectiles were spawned too close to the plane's wing, thus causing a friendly fire issue.

    You are correct. I actually found that bug a while after this story took place. The damage bubbles on the wings were of a radius just slightly larger than the initial velocity of the bullets. Because we allowed for friendly fire, it was possible to shoot your own wings off.

    I changed the bullet "allegience" flag into a bullet "owner" flag (we were already using a byte to store the info, and the game had an upper limit of 256 planes, so it worked out fine).

    BTW, this was also a very important change later in the game, when we got to network play (if you want to know who fired the shot that killed you, for the scoreboard, this info was critical).
  • Spudley 2007-08-15 08:17
    m delivered exactly what the execs were looking for, props to him.


    Turbo-props, even? ;)
  • Billin 2007-08-15 08:28
    Not to go into super gushy mode, but this is one of the best articles I've ever read, and not just on WTF. It made me laugh out loud with the description of German "traitors", the wings falling off, the stratospheric bounce, etc., and it also illustrated an extremely valuable point that perception is reality, that sometimes to survive you can't focus on just knocking out the obvious problems but to go off on a different tack entirely.

    Well done!!
  • JAlexoid 2007-08-15 08:41
    So you mean they REMOVED the bounce-into-outer-space and wings-fall-off-when-shooting features!?!?!?!?!?!
    WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!
  • Kuba 2007-08-15 09:35
    yetihehe:
    pauluskc:
    I have to say... Silent Service is still my all-time fave. 5.25" Yeah! Why do I need a DVD to play a game nowadays, dangit??
    You don't need. WinXP Minesweeper has only 117kb. Oh, you wanted 3d graphics, then maybe you'll like .kkrieger. But maybe you also want music and some better graphics, more monsters, more vehicles, multiplayer and cinematics? Then you really have to go by with dvd's, sorry


    Or, rather, you have to devise better procedural generation of textures and sounds. .kkrieger and the verein are all running on procedural textures, and the results are stunning.
  • Jason 2007-08-15 09:43
    There are lots of fun physics bugs in the modern GTA games. I actually like oddities like this as long as they don't occur in places that disrupt normal gameplay.

    For example, in Vice City many of the taller buildings don't have collision models all the way up, so you can use a plane or helicopter to drop down the middle of them and wind up walking around a few feet underground.
  • PyroTyger 2007-08-15 09:49
    Definitely the funniest and most uplifting WTF I've ever read, and one of the very few to make me laugh out loud.

    For more of the same, I have to recommend the Big Rigs article on Wikipedia. Also snort-tea-out-your-nose funny, and a perfect example of what happens when the project is neither fixed nor killed...
  • Alonzo Meatman 2007-08-15 10:09
    Wow, what an awesome story. I love how initially Tim seems totally clueless, but turns out to save the day. I wonder if that was his plan all along, or if he was genuinely clueless and just stumbled onto a way to save the project.
  • Markku Uttula 2007-08-15 10:56
    retnuh:
    Spartacus:
    rbowes:
    So is it just me, or is the whole "bouncing into space" thing probably just caused by the altitude falling below 0 and jumping up to INT_MAX?


    Most likely not, as at the point in the next refresh of the screen, the plane would be off the screen completely and appear to have disappeared. Also altitude was properly measured in signed floating point. My guess at the bug would be that for some reason the collision with the ground touched some very bad collision math and set the airplane's velocity to something large at a reflected angle.


    Oh you and your facts and logic.


    I don't know... for the record, I've never been too interested in games, not by playing and not by designing and/or implementing them. But if I were to design a system where we have an object that's supposed to move from somewhere to some other place, I'd set it up in a way that I tell it "where" it needs to go next, and let it handle "where" it is now and how to get to the next place. If the "next point" in this system got underflowed to max_int, I wouldn't be surprised if the object changed it's trajectory to manage to get to that assigned point somehow...
  • barfman 2007-08-15 11:00
    stfu:
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?


    It's not, dipshit.

    They're not trying to preserve some forced purity here, they're just giving us some daily content to keep us entertained for a few minutes out of the day. Whether or not it's a "real wtf" or whatever isn't really that important. As long as it fits under "curious perversions in IT" and is interesting, what's the difference?


    Word. I gotta say that was one of the best "curious perversions in IT" I've read in a while, and had me laughing real hard. Good stuff!!!

    And also a purposeful and wise article about communication between the world of development and the world of management.
  • masklinn 2007-08-15 11:04
    arty:
    SVN post commit scripts are basically useless for it.

    I'm pretty sure you can do fine-grained rights by serving over HTTP with HTTP auth and using Apache to handle access right (e.g. via authz).

    I think it shouldn't be done for reading rights though, I seem to remember a friend having problems with that (the repo was public read, apart from a small directory that was restricted read, and there were problems for anon users. Fine-grained commit rights shouldn't be much of an issue though)
    LiquidFire:
    OpenOffice already can use KDE's Crystal icon set: http://img169.imageshack.us/img169/3696/oocrystalzl1.png. See this.

    The UI advantage of Office 2007 over OO.o isn't about the icons.
  • obediah 2007-08-15 11:35
    genki:
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?

    I think it's a wtf because despite the bugs and known problems, the creation of a superficial 'cool' feature managed to distract the executives enough to allow them to finish the project successfully.


    I think unklegwar's jab at the name change flew over (or perhaps around) your head.

    While a great computer game and many pay checks being saved from bug and cost overrun hell by an eye candy feature rather than bug-fixes is clearly a "What the fuck?!?!?" WTF, it is not a "Worse than failure" WTF.
  • Atrophy 2007-08-15 11:50
    me:
    Perception is reality.


    Argghhh.... for the sake of my own sanity, could we revise that to "The suits will pretend that their perception is reality."? Because this site is filled with reams of data suggesting that their perception is nearly always wrong.
  • Anonymouse 2007-08-15 12:04
    KattMan:
    The MS dirtbike one (can't remember the real name) did this if you started at one corner of a map and hit the throttle real hard across flat terrain until you hit a good hill and flew off the edge of the map on the other side. You would bounce off the invisible barrier and fly around the screen.
    That would be Motocross Madness. Good times...
  • Hunter 2007-08-15 12:07
    Another couple of games that had things like that were Driver for the PS1, and ATV Offroad Fury on PS2. In Driver, you could sometimes slam into the back of another car hard enough that it would send you flying up into the air, usually to about the height of most buildings. In a game with almost no jumps whatsoever, that was pretty fun.

    In the atv game, there was a mode that let you drive freely around on the map. When you got to the edge, there was no indication that there was a border, and the terrain extended past the limits you could drive. So you'd be cruising along, minding your own business, then suddenly go flying off your atv backwards for thousands of feet before landing. Watching your ragdoll driver get thrown around like that then slam into a hillside was one of the most fun parts of that game.
  • Eeve 2007-08-15 12:36
    bstorer:

    One of the reasons F/OSS struggles. It is often just a case of not looking polished, regardless of the quality.


    Oh, right you are! This is such an understatement.
  • Hyuga 2007-08-15 12:52
    Michael: Who are you, and are you for hire?

    I am in the *exact* same situation right now, at least as you've described it--including the web app in question being for project management. I actually do have user-changeable themes on the to-do list, and have a strong feeling that it will make all the difference -_-
  • Worf 2007-08-15 13:05
    Wow, Microprose.

    I remember when they were good - but slowly, their products just got more and more buggy until basically it's a wonder how the thing can run without a crash *somewhere*.
  • Slewis 2007-08-15 13:20
    Actually this is an excellent example of the "Molotov Effect". When I was working at an fairly large MMOG company I was on a project that was in trouble. The executives were coming to evaluate our progress.

    The game didn't have any combat in it, and the technology wasn't in good shape. But we spent 2 weeks before the review implementing Molotov cocktails. You could throw a Moltov at another player and catch them afire.

    Well the executives spent the whole time throwing Molotovs at each other, watching each other run around with flames trailing around for 5 to 10 seconds.

    Needless to say the project was saved. Since then I have made sure that every game I worked on had Molotov cocktails (or flying monkeys) early on.
  • [SMS]Gortok 2007-08-15 13:43
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?

    Isn't success worse than failure? You learn less from success than you do failure.
  • Group29 2007-08-15 13:50
    Tim managed to sidestep the WTF like a matador in a bullring. I salute Tim and all the authors of project-saving gadgetry!
  • bobr_66062 2007-08-15 14:03
    Llama King:
    Surely planes hitting the ground is just the Japanese team?


    Probably not in "European Air War". I am almost 100% the Japanese planes didn't have the fuel capacity to fly from Tokyo to Europe.
  • jayh 2007-08-15 14:47
    This proverb applies to dating and job interviews as well.

    Seriously though, some readers have taken umbrage to that dictum, but there is a lot of truth in the real world. The best engineered car in the world will not sell if it did not also convey the image of being well done, well assembled and feel 'right'. A crappy interior or poor paint will not sell.

    Even in this case, Tim did the right thing by opening the eyes of the management to what the product COULD be rather than having their judgement improperly clouded by the previous mistakes. This is important in any project.
  • iMalc 2007-08-15 15:28
    Thanks, I got so many laughts out of that story!

    If only to see it in action.
  • DavidTC 2007-08-15 16:04
    The game 'Stunts' also had a similar bug in physics modeling, namely, the cars had horrible physics when moving backwards.

    So if you crashed into something at high enough speed, and bounced off, ending up moving backwards _not on the ground_, you'd, well, float.

    If you were starting on the ground, it usually didn't happen, unless you managed to edge a few inches upwards during the crash, and it didn't happen if your front was higher than your back, but screw up a jump landing and hit the ramp face and off you go, driving backwards through midair for a good fifty feet or so. Weirdest damn thing I ever saw.

    Usually it only lasted a few seconds, because the car was also rotating the nose downward or upward, and once it got past a certain point gravity would suddenly notice what was going on and you'd fall like normal. If that didn't happen, you could float a good two hundred feet, falling at maybe a foot every ten seconds.

    And it had a construction mode where you could build 'sets' (The premise of the game was that you were a movie stunt person.) however you wanted, even programming in movement and stuff, so you could trivially replicate it. It was just some random garbage bug, it was actually a real physics modeling bug.

    That wasn't the only bug, the 'flying up into the air' that you talk about actually happened a few times, too, oddly enough always facing backwards. (Aka, downward.) I never did quite figure that one out.

    You could also 'legitimately' launch yourself into orbit in a car by giving yourself a ramp and an absurd amount of speed. (Like I said, you could build 'sets', and define how fast things were moving at the start of the scene and whatnot.)

    Also in certain cars, if you managed to drive off one of the upside down spots, you'd fall 'upward' for a while until you started flipping end over end, which I thought was a bug, but I realized was actually correct, as those cars had 'anti-lift', although I'm not entirely sure they have quite that much.
  • Pony Gumbo 2007-08-15 18:08
    DavidTC:
    The game 'Stunts' also had a similar bug in physics modeling, namely, the cars had horrible physics when moving backwards.

    So if you crashed into something at high enough speed, and bounced off, ending up moving backwards _not on the ground_, you'd, well, float.

    If you were starting on the ground, it usually didn't happen, unless you managed to edge a few inches upwards during the crash, and it didn't happen if your front was higher than your back, but screw up a jump landing and hit the ramp face and off you go, driving backwards through midair for a good fifty feet or so. Weirdest damn thing I ever saw.


    Battlefield 1942 had a similar bug. If you ran a tank onto an anti-aircraft gun, the tank would start to float and bounce on end. It was pretty funny.
  • Pingmaster 2007-08-15 20:11
    jergosh:
    Well, uhh, a little known thing about Nazi technology developed in World War I...

    It is apparently a little known thing that the Nazis had little to do with WW I?


    To be precise, the Nazis had nothing to do with WWI, seeing as Hitler created the Nazi party several years after the end of the war...
  • Old Wolf 2007-08-15 20:19
    Thomas:

    Yeah, one must agree with you.
    Great games by those folks.
    :-)


    I like F19 and F117. But, Central Europe was my favourite zone but it had a real **** annoying bug where occasionally you'd be flying through clear air near the mountains, and then you would suddenly crash and die (it must be calculating wrong where the mountain is).

  • Old Wolf 2007-08-15 20:21
    Kemp:
    I've seen lots of games with similar bugs. Carmageddon (all versions iirc) comes to mind, there were certain bits of scenery that if hit at the right angle would launch you into space having sustained the maximum damage possible.


    I thought that was a feature !! It was great fun !
  • bob ardkor 2007-08-16 01:40
    Gotta love a website where nearly everybody seems to have played Carmaggeddon and Stunts... These games were awesome. And I recall having spent a few dozens hours creating tracks for Stunts, often using some of the bugs or glitches of the game (I don't recall which ones right now, though)

    Talking about creating maps for bugged games, I had also made a level for Duke Nukem 3D, using the wonderful Build editor, trying to show as much bugs of the not-so-3D engine as possible... Underwater places being treated as completely different areas where you were teleported, I did one room contained a pool, and a big aquarium close to it. Whenever you jumped into the pool, you landed into the aquarium. If you went up and half-emerged from the water, looking at the ceiling you could actually see your legs hanging, from the top of the water in the aquarium near you. (don't know if I'm really clear here as english is not my primary language... hope you get what I mean though). There were quite a few other ones but I think I'd be getting pretty boring detailing them all ^^

    Ahhh fun times...
  • Mr Steve 2007-08-16 02:45
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?


    Fuck man, some people really just don't seem to understand things.

    NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO FIT IN A BOX!!


    How do people like this get through life without killing themselves?
  • Mr Steve 2007-08-16 02:49
    DavidTC:
    The game 'Stunts' also had a similar bug in physics modeling, namely, the cars had horrible physics when moving backwards.

    So if you crashed into something at high enough speed, and bounced off, ending up moving backwards _not on the ground_, you'd, well, float.

    If you were starting on the ground, it usually didn't happen, unless you managed to edge a few inches upwards during the crash, and it didn't happen if your front was higher than your back, but screw up a jump landing and hit the ramp face and off you go, driving backwards through midair for a good fifty feet or so. Weirdest damn thing I ever saw.

    Usually it only lasted a few seconds, because the car was also rotating the nose downward or upward, and once it got past a certain point gravity would suddenly notice what was going on and you'd fall like normal. If that didn't happen, you could float a good two hundred feet, falling at maybe a foot every ten seconds.

    And it had a construction mode where you could build 'sets' (The premise of the game was that you were a movie stunt person.) however you wanted, even programming in movement and stuff, so you could trivially replicate it. It was just some random garbage bug, it was actually a real physics modeling bug.

    That wasn't the only bug, the 'flying up into the air' that you talk about actually happened a few times, too, oddly enough always facing backwards. (Aka, downward.) I never did quite figure that one out.

    You could also 'legitimately' launch yourself into orbit in a car by giving yourself a ramp and an absurd amount of speed. (Like I said, you could build 'sets', and define how fast things were moving at the start of the scene and whatnot.)

    Also in certain cars, if you managed to drive off one of the upside down spots, you'd fall 'upward' for a while until you started flipping end over end, which I thought was a bug, but I realized was actually correct, as those cars had 'anti-lift', although I'm not entirely sure they have quite that much.



    Yeah man i was right into stunts back in the day :)


    And yeah it has possibly the worst physics engine ever. Also the most blatantly obvious bug ever. If you went over a drawbridge jump in one of 3 cars (Indy car, NSX, and one other) you're car would turbo-boost itself above its maximum speed.

    I simple can't understand how this made it into production. :D Good ol days rofl
  • Mr Steve 2007-08-16 02:55
    Oh and also in Stunts, if you left the title screen for a while it would cut to a replay which has the overlay

    "Professional driver on a closed circuit"

    Not only was the 'professional' driver slow, they spun out on a corner :) It was as the lead demo was done by their receptionist or something
  • jimjim 2007-08-16 09:47

    The ending is cool, the project was a success, some ppl will even congrats themselves..

    but still, no-one here think it is strange a game take 4 years of production ?

    I mean there's one/two generation gap in the machines you are targeting...

    To me, 4 years clearly means it's a complex and too ambitious project.

    What about iterative development, providing a bug-free working version each milestone ?

    What about a newbies implementing their own features at will? What about planing? What about new bugs introduced? Who will provide support for those features ?


    From a developer point of view, I think its a failure...
  • Yaos 2007-08-16 09:57
    I had that game and it rocked, it still had two weird bugs though. The game would keep track of how many bombers you shot down, so if you shot down enough eventually you would only see enemy fighter planes doing bombing missions (P-38's trying to bomb Berlin!). On these missions many times the fighter planes would turn around and you would never be able to catch up to them. :(

    The other bug was that if you were in a fighter doing a bombing mission with your squad you had to stay with them otherwise they would all decide to ram into the ground near the target.
  • Someone You Know 2007-08-16 10:20
    jimjim:
    What about planing?


    Isn't the whole game about planing?
  • CMAN 2007-08-16 10:41
    Silent Service was great! I surprised myself many a night by looking at my watch and it was after midnight - on a work night.
  • jimjim 2007-08-16 11:21
    Someone You Know:
    Isn't the whole game about planing?


    planes, not planing :D
  • poochner 2007-08-16 12:20
    jimjim:


    but still, no-one here think it is strange a game take 4 years of production ?

    I mean there's one/two generation gap in the machines you are targeting...

    To me, 4 years clearly means it's a complex and too ambitious project.

    What about iterative development, providing a bug-free working version each milestone ?


    Duke Nukem Forever is pushing 10 years.
  • e.thermal 2007-08-16 14:25
    JAlexoid:
    So you mean they REMOVED the bounce-into-outer-space and wings-fall-off-when-shooting features!?!?!?!?!?!
    WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!
    Because now they are documented features.
  • Jonathan 2007-08-16 15:30
    I loved messing around in Stunts.

    One of the things I did to amuse myself was to build 'suicide' tracks. The game, as others have noted, had some issues. One of them was the interaction of jumps and hills and the track validation routine. Jumps are at 45°, and so are hillsides. And the track validation routine requires no gaps in road or bridge sections, but allows small gaps in the middle of a jump.

    There was (at least) one terrain set with a small lake in the middle of a hill. It was 3 squares across, 1 45° down, 1 water, 1 45° up. The game rules would allow jumps 1 square apart. But if you built a 'jump' over that lake, putting the jump and landing ramps on the hillside squares, you'd end up with a level road with a square missing.

    The AI cars always stuck to the road, so they'd go screaming across the 'jump' and fall into gap, land in the water and be destroyed. They I could simply go off-road around the 'jump' and win the race by default.
  • ender 2007-08-16 15:51
    DavidN:
    That was incredibly annoying in Carmageddon 2, particularly if you'd just spent the last half-hour exterminating the zombies - it was particularly bad with Pinball Mode on, so I was sure to hit Recover and then just sit quiety for 30 seconds whenever I picked one of those up.
    There were zombies in Carmageddon?
  • bob ardkor 2007-08-16 16:15
    I think the german version had zombies, with green "blood", to pass censorship (Laws about violence in video games are quite harsh there, I've heard).

    If I recall correctly, the korean version even had balloons instead of pedestrians -edit: can't find any references so I'm not so sure after all-, which kinda spoils the fun IMHO....
  • Me 2007-08-16 16:46
    I was the programmer on Stunts ( aka 4-D Sports Driving in Europe ), it was my very first 3d program ever. Heck I just learned matrix math and didn't even know you could mulitply matrices together. The code used one matrix to rotate the world objects and then a second one to project the points onto the screen. The car code was worse, it used 3 to position the car and then one to project. If the source code was still around it would be a real WTF!

    Cheers,
    Kevin
  • DavidN 2007-08-16 17:14
    Pedestrians initially, green-blooded zombies for the censored UK release, Dalek-like robots in Germany. I'm not absolutely sure about what happened in the rest of the world, but it's strange to think that it caused such an outcry - you'd get away with it easily now.
  • AC 2007-08-16 20:54
    Me:
    I was the programmer on Stunts ( aka 4-D Sports Driving in Europe ), it was my very first 3d program ever. Heck I just learned matrix math and didn't even know you could mulitply matrices together. The code used one matrix to rotate the world objects and then a second one to project the points onto the screen. The car code was worse, it used 3 to position the car and then one to project. If the source code was still around it would be a real WTF!

    Cheers,
    Kevin


    Nevertheless: a great game and source of many a fun day with friends. One would build a track that the others would then race. That was fun!
  • BrandG 2007-08-16 21:41
    jimjim:

    The ending is cool, the project was a success, some ppl will even congrats themselves..

    but still, no-one here think it is strange a game take 4 years of production ?

    I mean there's one/two generation gap in the machines you are targeting...

    To me, 4 years clearly means it's a complex and too ambitious project.

    What about iterative development, providing a bug-free working version each milestone ?

    What about a newbies implementing their own features at will? What about planing? What about new bugs introduced? Who will provide support for those features ?


    From a developer point of view, I think its a failure...


    Four years was not the original schedule. Four years is what you get when a project passes through the hands of three different teams, all of which decide that they need to do a clean sweep and rewrite the game.

    >> What about iterative development, providing a bug-free working version each milestone ?

    What site do you think you're reading? This is not the story of a game that started out strong, it's the story of a horrible failure that was resurrected by one very intelligent and industrious programmer. If you want details on how the project got to this point, it will read much like the other stories of failure one normally finds on the dailyWTF.

    (captcha = doom. Nice)
  • Tim Is God 2007-08-17 07:20
    A truly inspiring story... and well within topic, if you ask me! Tim knew exactly what he was doing -- fixing the existing bugs would have taken him unpredictable time if the code was such a mess; creating something new and jaw-dropping put him back in the driving seat and gave the execs exactly what they wanted to see. They are in the entertainment business after all, and they know their customers will only pay good money to be entertained. That's the true meaning of "WTF" to me -- something that is outrageous, brazen, eye-opening, that doesn't necessarily have to be ignorant or negative. The *real* WTF is trying to mask that spirit behind the wishy-washy name "worse than failure" ;-)
  • Gabelstaplerfahrer 2007-08-17 11:28
    I googled this game and found out it's really cheap!

  • Tei 2007-08-17 12:30
    A cool bug for FPS games

    Theres a bug on some BSP games that If you shot, the gun explode on "0 0 0". There are maps where "0 0 0" is inside the map. Example: DM6 stairs near the red armor. So If some poor bastard is running on that staris he is hit from "nowhere".

    Another fun one whas to enter solids in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes. But I guest the hull/collision system there was poor.

    Gliches in games can result in e-Sports: people will master these bugs, and only leet games will use it: bunnijumping, rocketjumping, etc.. Is a game inside a game.
  • 008 2007-08-17 16:32
    In Super Mario 64 DS, if you launch yourself out of a cannon and hit a fence, the physics engine would go bat fuck insane and you'd end up falling off the edge of the map until the game sees your Z coordinate go too far down and thinks you fell off a cliff.

    CAPTCHA: craaazy (like the physics engine gets when you launch from a cannon?)
  • real_aardvark 2007-08-17 16:40
    Me:
    I was the programmer on Stunts ( aka 4-D Sports Driving in Europe ), it was my very first 3d program ever. Heck I just learned matrix math and didn't even know you could mulitply matrices together. The code used one matrix to rotate the world objects and then a second one to project the points onto the screen. The car code was worse, it used 3 to position the car and then one to project. If the source code was still around it would be a real WTF!

    Cheers,
    Kevin

    How in the world do you "just learn matrix math" and not know that you can multiply matrices together? Would that be not knowing dot-multiplication or cross-multiplication? And did you ever hear of an eigenvector?

    Jesus, we've got kids in this country who can pass a Maths A-Level without even being able to count their own fingers. I thought that was bad. But...

    How in the world do you "just learn matrix math" without grasping the concept of matrix multiplication?

    What is this -- static const matrices with a private operator * ()?

    I feel faintly nauseous.

    Kill your supposed teacher now, and kudos for actually finding out how to work with matrices on your own.
  • EAW Microprose Developer 2007-08-17 18:26
    Ok, while Brandon is mostly correct, but a little bit of real history is needed.

    I’m am one of the original developers and worked at Microprose in Hunt Valley for 7 years. I started during the “Wild Bill” days and stayed until this project, call me a quitter for leaving in the middle of a project, but there was no way for me to finish it with my sanity intact. I actually though leaving would get it canceled, but never underestimate the stupidity of upper management, or in the case of Microprose at the time CYA. It should be noted that this game was originally only supposed to be a 9 month project! The original concept was to take Pacific Air War, move the engine to the European theater, update to the British and German planes of that era and add a dynamic campaign system. The concepts were there, the AI was there. We started on that task and made a lot of progress, then along comes management, “You know no one runs games in DOS anymore, you need to use a DOS Extender, so you can run in 32bit Protected mode on a 386. So there go 3 months. The terrain system in Pacific Air War was flat land, and this was going to be the same terrain system used in EAW, however management said, “You k now the terrain is flat, we want 3d hills, the terrain in Europe has rolling hills, we want rolling hills.” So I said, you can’t see the “Rolling hills at 20,000ft!”, how long will it take? So I look at the code and tell them that this is a major overall of Land-Objects, Flight AI and other game systems. I tell them it will take 3 to 4 months to get it coded and we will be working on textures for the rest of the project. Management says “OK”. So now its 12 months into a 9 month project and we have made very little progress game wise but we do have a running in 32bit Protected mode with 3d terrain that you can’t see at 20,000ft. Management comes to me and says no one buys DOS 4/G games, this should be running in Windows 95, how long will that take? Ok, my sanity is starting to go, I say we need at least 3 to 4 months to update the graphics and sound and throw out the lower-level multiplayer code and start using the windows API.
    We are now 16 months into a 9 month project and apart from the fact that we are now “running” in windows, almost no progress has been made on the actual game. The campaign system, game behaviors and AI have basically been untouched, everything else has been rewritten.

    We have all new management at Microprose now, no big surprise there, and they are wondering why this project is taking so long to get out the door. It was at this point, that I made my decision to leave, enough. There was no way this game would ever ship due to “Feature Creep”, bad management, new management; no one was listing to me. I left, then the rest of the developers on the team left, and Microprose in an attempt to salvage a project brought in some “new programmers” to finish the project, and so it did 9 months later.
  • BrandG 2007-08-17 20:49
    Hey, good to hear from you. I'm sorry if you feel like I misrepresented the project, but most of what you're talking about happened before I ever got there. It's really cool to hear how the project got to the point that it did. The only version I ever heard was from those who were still around, telling nasty stories about those who left.

    And I don't think anybody blames you guys for leaving. I remember after the first programmer left, there was a presumed successor who immediately started hating life as the weight of the world fell on him, and after he left, the same thing happened to the next, and so on, until it was just me, the first Junior Programmer Microprose had ever hired. I remember the producer actually came by my office and asked, "So, you think you'd like to be Lead Programmer?"

    Honestly, the only reason I stuck around was because it was my first job, and I had to get a shipped title on my resume' before I could safely start looking for another job.
  • real_aardvark 2007-08-18 05:39
    EAW Microprose Developer:
    Ok, while Brandon is mostly correct, but a little bit of real history is needed.

    I’m am one of the original developers and worked at Microprose in Hunt Valley for 7 years. I started during the “Wild Bill” days and stayed until this project, call me a quitter for leaving in the middle of a project, but there was no way for me to finish it with my sanity intact. I actually though leaving would get it canceled, but never underestimate the stupidity of upper management, or in the case of Microprose at the time CYA. It should be noted that this game was originally only supposed to be a 9 month project! The original concept was to take Pacific Air War, move the engine to the European theater, update to the British and German planes of that era and add a dynamic campaign system. The concepts were there, the AI was there. We started on that task and made a lot of progress, then along comes management, “You know no one runs games in DOS anymore, you need to use a DOS Extender, so you can run in 32bit Protected mode on a 386. So there go 3 months. The terrain system in Pacific Air War was flat land, and this was going to be the same terrain system used in EAW, however management said, “You k now the terrain is flat, we want 3d hills, the terrain in Europe has rolling hills, we want rolling hills.” So I said, you can’t see the “Rolling hills at 20,000ft!”, how long will it take? So I look at the code and tell them that this is a major overall of Land-Objects, Flight AI and other game systems. I tell them it will take 3 to 4 months to get it coded and we will be working on textures for the rest of the project. Management says “OK”. So now its 12 months into a 9 month project and we have made very little progress game wise but we do have a running in 32bit Protected mode with 3d terrain that you can’t see at 20,000ft. Management comes to me and says no one buys DOS 4/G games, this should be running in Windows 95, how long will that take? Ok, my sanity is starting to go, I say we need at least 3 to 4 months to update the graphics and sound and throw out the lower-level multiplayer code and start using the windows API.
    We are now 16 months into a 9 month project and apart from the fact that we are now “running” in windows, almost no progress has been made on the actual game. The campaign system, game behaviors and AI have basically been untouched, everything else has been rewritten.

    We have all new management at Microprose now, no big surprise there, and they are wondering why this project is taking so long to get out the door. It was at this point, that I made my decision to leave, enough. There was no way this game would ever ship due to “Feature Creep”, bad management, new management; no one was listing to me. I left, then the rest of the developers on the team left, and Microprose in an attempt to salvage a project brought in some “new programmers” to finish the project, and so it did 9 months later.

    Eloquent.

    I think I'm going to print this out and hang it on the wall at work...
  • Kinakuta 2007-08-18 10:50
    I have to say, this is one of the most inspiring WTF posts I've read. Guy signs on to doomed project, guy adds random feature, saves project. Plus, its one of the few posts (maybe the only one?) that name the software thats causes the WTF.

    Kudos.
  • Thief^ 2007-08-20 09:28
    PeriSoft:

    If you've still got a copy of the original Unreal Tournament around, find a multiplayer map with some Nali books on it. Knock a book onto the ground, stand on it, and shoot it with the sniper rifle.

    The sniper rifle has an enormous damage in a very concentrated area, so all of the energy goes to the book. And the book goes flying in the direction of the impact. But since you're standing on it, you're firing from above, and the physics engine erroneously treats the book as still being separate from the ground and from you. So the book travels 0 inches at high velocity into the ground, bounces off the ground, travels 0 inches back up to your feet, and continues, carrying you about 200 meters high.

    You can then shoot the book again on your way down, and repeat. You don't take damage when you land, either, because landing on a book isn't the same as landing on a ground (a book doesn't hurt you when it hits you, so it doesn't hurt you when you hit a book).

    If you practice a bit, you can fly around on the books. It's pretty awesome.


    Or stand on something in Half-Life 2 and use the gravity gun to drag it towards you...

    Fly fly.

    Not that standing on anything is easy in HL2, as moving forwards also tries to push the thing you're standing on forwards. Instead of backwards, like how walking really works.
  • Rabiator 2007-08-20 10:36
    BrandG:
    >> My theory on the fire-guns-rip-wings-off-bug is that the projectiles were spawned too close to the plane's wing, thus causing a friendly fire issue.

    You are correct. I actually found that bug a while after this story took place. The damage bubbles on the wings were of a radius just slightly larger than the initial velocity of the bullets. Because we allowed for friendly fire, it was possible to shoot your own wings off.

    <nitpick mode>
    Initial velocity has the dimension m/s, not m. Thus it is not directly comparable to the damage bubble radius.
    </nitpick mode>
    Did you mean, perhaps, "initial velocity multiplied by time to next collision check"?
    That would make more sense, as
    a) you now compare distances to distances
    b) the initial velocity makes a difference (if the bullet is fast enough, it will exit the bubble before the next collision check).
    But I still think the bullet should be spawned slightly outside the damage bubble in the first place.
  • BrandG 2007-08-20 12:10
    Actually, initial velocity is distance over time, not specifically meters/seconds. In this case, it was meters/frames, with a test after the first frame, this becomes meters/1 or a distance problem.
  • KenW 2007-08-20 13:05
    obediah:
    genki:
    unklegwar:
    okay, exactly HOW is this Worse Than Failure (ugh)?

    I think it's a wtf because despite the bugs and known problems, the creation of a superficial 'cool' feature managed to distract the executives enough to allow them to finish the project successfully.


    I think unklegwar's jab at the name change flew over (or perhaps around) your head.

    While a great computer game and many pay checks being saved from bug and cost overrun hell by an eye candy feature rather than bug-fixes is clearly a "What the fuck?!?!?" WTF, it is not a "Worse than failure" WTF.


    No, I think unklegwar's jab at the name change is another case of a dumbass criticizing something that's none of his f***ing business.

    If Alex chooses to call the site "TheStupidestPlaceInTheWholeIntarwebToVisitEveryDay.com", it's Alex's choice. If you don't like what he chooses, STAY THE F*** AWAY! Very plain, very simple, and should be clear enough for even a total moron to understand, don't you think?
  • DuckPuppy 2007-08-20 16:04
    Hunter:

    In the atv game, there was a mode that let you drive freely around on the map. When you got to the edge, there was no indication that there was a border, and the terrain extended past the limits you could drive. So you'd be cruising along, minding your own business, then suddenly go flying off your atv backwards for thousands of feet before landing. Watching your ragdoll driver get thrown around like that then slam into a hillside was one of the most fun parts of that game.

    As an ex-employee of the developer that made ATV Offroad Fury (I worked as a developer on ATV:ORF2 among other games), I can tell you definitively that the world-rebound feature was, indeed, a feature and not a bug. It's in almost every open-world racing game they made/make. It was put there on purpose since the ragdoll looked nice and - well - what else do you do when you run out of landscape data? Wrap around is no fun, but launching you flying once you run out of horizon (which was the test) is really spectacular. I think in Splashdown a sea monster was used to spit you back to the middle of the level instead of a sudden launch.
  • misha 2007-08-20 21:33
    MiklosHollender:
    As I'm typing this into Firefox, it pretty much seems to me FLOSS is quite capable of slick designs sometimes. Compare to Firefox, the UI of IE7 and Opera looks like the result of a teenager's hobby project to me. Safari on Windows is polished, but not nearly as readable and usable.


    I finally realize why I use FF. I used to be operatic, and I still think it's a better browser - it renders faster, has mouse gestures and lots of other cool stuff, but I've drifted into using FF as my main browser just because it feels somehow nicer. I guess I really am that shallow.
  • Gary 2007-08-21 08:22
    Believing in him that he could save this whole thing is what inspiring. A great story from which we can learn it doesnt matter how bruised or burned you are but you can still win the Battle if you believe in yourself.
  • Razor 2007-08-23 13:15
    pauluskc:
    I have to say... Silent Service is still my all-time fave. 5.25" Yeah! Why do I need a DVD to play a game nowadays, dangit??


    I totally remember that game!
  • Linus 2007-08-23 16:13
    Stuff like Aero Glass and a name with "ultimate" in it suddenly makes sense now!
  • Wudpecker 2007-08-25 08:25
    Hi. I'm Wudpecker.
    Wonderful hearing from the original coders.

    European Air War WAS not only a great game---
    It IS a great game--with a dedicated following today and exe coders still hard at work trying to improve it.

    It already has THOUSANDS of new aircraft skins and types, skies, terrain,you name it.
    And almost two dozen "games" beyond the original, taking it around the world and to Mars even! They don't stop at WWII, but go on to the jet age.
    A World War I biplane-type game scenario is in the works.

    SimHQ Forums lists it as one of their most popular forums.
    http://www.simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=85&PHPSESSID=

    It's not ony cheap to buy from Atari (now the present owners) but all the add-ons are FREE!
    And it still runs best on old machines, and even Win98. Is it any wonder I love it?

    Brand's original story was part of the SimHQ game update review a year or so ago---and you can bet I'm going to use their stories to entertain the present forum where I post. :D
    You can read that review at
    http://www.simhq.com/_air4/air_155a.html
  • Col. Gibbon 2007-08-25 18:32
    Hi EAW Microprose Developer.

    You should be proud of the work you did do on European Air Wars. It was and still is the benchmark other flight Sims are measured by, and considering, here we are still talking about it nearly 9 years from it's release must say something.

    Like my friend Wudpecker said, EAW is still being developed by a small team of EAW enthusiast. We have only recently been able to significantly change the exe coding, which is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for the game.

    Tackling problems with the old exe and expanding areas of the code to allow for more models, sounds, land tiles, higher res graphics, and fixing the 7217 error, which is killing the game at present, are all underway.

    Members of the finishing team have been of a great help to us since Atari agreed to let us openly pose questions to them. I don't think we have ever found any contacts with the original team, although your pictures live on in every PIC.CDF.

    Always have to ask this, but if you fancy helping us out, could you pop over to SimHQ EAW forum, or drop me a line at: wingspl at yahoo dot com.

    Over and Out!
  • Nelle 2007-08-27 06:17
    KattMan:
    OJ:
    Maybe, maybe not. 4D Sports Driving had somewhat similar bug that was certainly no integer wrap: when crashed hard, the cars would fly into sky in a spectacular backwards spiral. If you waited long enough, they would also fall back to ground and maybe bounce for another flight. The game had a number of other interesting bugs, too: you could drive through walls and even on water if you knew the tricks.

    BTW, the message edit box is kind of small on Konqueror. Forum software...


    This kind of bouncing seems to be a common theme in driving simulations.

    The MS dirtbike one (can't remember the real name) did this if you started at one corner of a map and hit the throttle real hard across flat terrain until you hit a good hill and flew off the edge of the map on the other side. You would bounce off the invisible barrier and fly around the screen.

    Another one (sorry can't recall the name or manufacturer) was a car racing game that allowed you to build your own tracks. Just create one with a nice long straight track so you could get up to 220 MPH then a slight hill off to the side of the track would cause you to spiral-flip wildly hundreds or even thousands of feet into the air ending an a spectacular crash. Oh you had to have damage turned off for this to happen, but I spent more time flying cars then racing them in that game.


    Stunt Driver
  • Retired Air Force Technical Sergeant 2007-09-07 11:39
    Gads, where was all this great stuff in 1972? There I was, being tossed a normal envelope, sent from the Pentagon, commending me for service, that they couldn't mention any specifics about.

    The Deep Furrow NATO exercise involved Turkey, Greece, Britain, America, and some other forces. At the end of the month long 'war' games, featuring real people, live munitions, hot pilots from nations that don't get along in real life, there I was in the middle of two armed forces.

    I was one of two American military men at the Turkish HQ. Walking into the Command room, expecting to be needed to dis-assemble the American comm. gear, I was greeted by 160 cocked rifles, from two opposing sides of the room, which had been trained upon each other.

    The General who was second in command questioned General Kenan Alp as to exercise end, but, I suspected he was in the midst of a Coup, still having control of all NATO and more importantly, Turkish military weapons, the Air Force, and the Army.

    The interpretors for both sides were shouting to me their version of the story, but I suggested the control of all military assets had ceased about 5 minutes ago, and hadn't they seen the FRAG?

    They agreed to permit me to run to the Crypto Center and grab the two copy teletype message, which I had to request, in haste, on the encrypted teletype order wire. It ran 9 'pages' in continuous feed, listing some 160 participating units and allied forces.

    That was the 'cool cam' distraction that stopped any bloodshed, when I presented each part to the opposing leaders. I later was informed by some Turk AF staff that it was a Coup de Tat I prevented, and the second in command general was not heard from, ever again.

    General Kenan Alp, 4ATAF Commander, sent forward through channels, to the Pentagon, a letter of thanks and commendation for my "exemplary service".

    My Detachment commander, a reserve Captain, tossed it to me, opened, and with disdain. He had no clue, as usual, to the larger
    issues, for he was, for the entire exercise, 140 km. from the HQ, and had sent me on the mission entirely due to his dislike of me.

    When the executives are clueless, and the bullets are about to fly, the last hope one has is to exclaim, "Did you see the latest FRAG?
    Everyone has stood down, we are all alone."
  • Game Collector 2007-09-07 12:08
    Wow! I am going through my archives of 4,000 game CDroms, and retail boxes, looking for these games, and I do have dozens of computers harking back as far as the i386 system!

    Then, too, I have Mepis and Fedora Core 7, and PCLinuxOS, running on some two dozen boxes, so could run the Dos version in DOSEMU and the WIN32API version in Wine!

  • High Tech. Sim. writer. 2007-09-07 12:30
    Inspected some of the Marine training Sims, and, it is kinda funny, being retired USAF, that for each weapons system, an entirely new simulator is invented! Each service wants their own!

    Even the Building, and all utilities are specially engineered! At huge expense!

    Why doesn't the DOD standardize, combine, like in the Flight Sim, or Flight Gear, where you can fly anything you can create, on any terrain you can map or scan in, and put it all into the libraries?

    Tech staff can select from the library. Pilots/trainees are not allowed access.

    Oops, I forgot, there, for a second. It is government, with DOD having four services under it. Yeah, Coasties pilots train, where? TSA sites?

    Talk about your "WTF" situations! Billion$ wasted! Would love to see the stories on this!
  • exGameCompanyGuy 2008-10-01 17:27
    THE RPG THAT KILLED A COMPANY, and the "STEP OF DOOM"
    -----------------------------------------------------

    I'll never forget when I worked at a certain American division of a certain Japanese company. We converted PC RPGs for NES, Super NES (SNES), and Sega Genesis/ Sega CD systems.

    Then came the project that killed the division-- converting a certain PC RPG to play on the SNES; let's call it "Strength & Sorcery III", or "S&S 3" for short.

    The decision was made, since it had been a PC game that used the mouse widely, to allow players to use the recently-release SNES Mouse to play the game, instead of the regular SNES controller, if they wanted.

    The game, of course, worked well with the mouse, and was a pretty cool conversion for its time.

    Unfortunately...apparently neither the developers, nor the outside QA company we hired, sufficiently tested the game _without_ the Mouse- that is, using the regular SNES controller.

    In the game, it was possible to equip several members of the party with projectile weapons, such as bows and arrows, slings, etc. These could be fired from a distance, and would damage the enemies before they could close with your party members and force you into hand-to-hand combat, where you would take damage.

    So, when you see a few goblins or other enemies in the distance, you would fire off all your distance weapons. And then, seeing the considerable amount of damage they did to the enemy while leaving your party members unscathed, an enerprising player might step backwards, to keep the enemy from closing with you, and fire off another round of arrows. Right? And repeat as long as possible, since you earned Experience Points either way you killed an enemy.

    I remember playing each dev. version with the SNES Mouse. For some reason, there was a delay in the Mouse-processing; possibly it was in the Mouse's circuitry and not the developer's fault. Whatever, it was enough of a delay that the monsters would pretty much be on top of you before you could take a step back. So nobody who used the Mouse to test the game used the "step back and fire again" approach.

    [...]

    So, fast-forward a few months, through several back-and-forths of submissions to Nintendo an, finally, their approval of the game. "S&S 3" is finally released. Party etc.

    About a week later, we start getting support calls. Apparently, some users refused to run out and buy the Mouse, and insisted on using their regular controllers with "S&S 3". And they were encountering a little problem...

    At first, we told them to return the game to the store for a different copy. And then the calls started coming that the new copies they'd gotten were having the same problem.

    I went and plugged a release cartridge into a SNES in our office, and used a regular controller. Following the steps reported by the customers, I fired my arrows. Took an immediate step backwards. [[BOOM!]] The screen instantly dissolved into multi-colored pixel confetti...
    The "Step of Doom"!!

    Somehow this "minor bug" made it through all the testing at the development company, all the testing at the QA company, all the (truly exhaustive) testing at Nintendo, and the in-house testing...probably because, once the testers saw how well the game worked with the mouse, nobody wanted to test it much with the "un-cool" regular controller!

    This was not the only problem with the game. In order to keep the price of the game to a reasonable one, the game had to be crammed into a 16-Mbit cartridge, as larger-memory cartridges cost more. There was nothing in the game that could be reomoved without making the game "un-winnable", so the decision was made to **remove the ending animation** that played when users won the game, and replace it with a single static image overwritten with text. Needless to say, this didn't go over too well with the gamers who had invested hundreds of hours into finishing the game, and expected something a little more spectacular; something a little more like the ending sequences of the other games that were out at the time, some of them our own games...

    I personally spoke to the head of the development team about the bug. His response? "Oh...[10 second pause] OK, we'll get started tracking down the bug right away, and we'll fix it free." Small problem: there's no way to patch a SNES game cartridge...we would have had to spend who-knows how much money finding & fixing the bug, _and then_ have to recall **every single copy** out there, including un-sold copies in every store, and replace it, at our own cost...

    Faced with this, the company quietly closed down a division that had been making successful RPGs since the early days of the 8-bit NES. There were several cool games in development at the time, which were also killed, including a spin-off of another RPG series for which the company was mainly known, and the second in a popular "space battle" series that was huge at the time...

    And that's how an RPG killed my company, using the "Step of Doom"...but at least I learned how to use PCs, and kept learning, and now have a (slightly) less-volatile industry in which to earn a living!

    -exGameCompanyGuy

    CAPTCHA: genitus [hmmm...]
  • LBD 2008-10-12 00:29
    You think that's bad? I've taken Vector Calculus and Liner Algebra (The latter of the two involved matrices where I learned how to dot and cross multiply the suckers). Right now I'm taking abstract Algebra doing set theory. Funny fact, we're working with permutations and have to perform proofs that require concepts that are not taught until the next chapter in the book.

    We're going to get to the next chapter mind, but it's a real WTF in the book chapter order.

    CHAPCHA dolor. As in Dolorius Umbridge
  • Severity One 2008-12-10 04:36
    Michael:

    I had a similar experience, I joined a team developing an internal web app for project management. Since it wasn't management-decreed, we had to sell it to every department to get people using it. It was generally an uphill battle getting people to switch, people complained that it didn't work like their current program, was unintuitive, slow, etc. One day I added the ability for users to change the "theme" (CSS file), and suddenly, people thought that it had a very user-friendly interface.


    I had exactly the same. We have a Java desktop application and there's a lot of things you can say about AWT and Swing, but as a rule, the user interface looks gray, clunky and just-not-exactly-like-Windows.

    So when it was time for an overhaul, and a lot of issues were fixed, I added a different 'pluggable look & feel', with the option of changing the colour theme, really as an aside, almost a joke. The theme is actually saved in the database, so when you login from a different workstation, you get your 'own' theme again.

    It's the most popular function of the program.
  • ������ 2009-07-24 08:54
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  • David Bolton 2010-05-23 06:18
    Before EAW there was Mosquito which never got up in the air. Between 92 and 93 I was a game designer at MicroProse Manchester and my brief was to design a game around the Mosquito Fighter bomber. It had career, the interesting missions, Anti-submarine (the 6Lb anti-tank variation with a gun feed designed by a cigarette manufacturer), the bouncing bomb mission (against the Tirpitz), night radar misions plus all the usual MicroProse Flight Sim stuff. With input from B17 designer Mike Brunton (based in the MicroProse Leeds office) as well, to keep me on the straight and narrow. We had two excellent programmers, graphic artists and the use of a musician. It was going well.

    I laboured for 15 months on that game design (ending up with a 256 page design doc and it was about 1/2 complete) from when MicroProse Manchester (England) first opened its doors in June 1992 until August 12th 1993, when following the Spectrum Holobyte Takeover in the US, we got closed down. The Atari St game conversion of Civilization was also done in Manchester while I was there.

    Six months later we heard they had looked at the stuff shipped out when they closed us down. "Hey this Mosquito game looks good, wheres the team working on it?" ..."We let them go"!

  • cindy 2011-03-02 02:37
  • Crash 2011-05-04 11:04
    I believe this is a misquote of
    "Perception shapes reality."

    "Perception is reality." Is absurd. If someone stands in the road, and doesn't perceive the bus headed right for him/her, they are still going to end up in the hospital.

    Take the story of the "Blind men and an elephant". Their perception of the elephant didn't make the elephant any less of an elephant.

    So please, "Perception shapes reality."