• Nelle (unregistered) in reply to KattMan
    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 (unregistered)

    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 (unregistered)

    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. (unregistered) in reply to Andy Goth

    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 (unregistered)


    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!


    CAPTCHA: genitus [hmmm...]

  • LBD (unregistered) in reply to real_aardvark

    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

  • (cs) in reply to 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.

  • David Bolton (unregistered)

    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"!

  • Crash (unregistered) in reply to me

    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."

  • CalvinH (unregistered)

    Thanks for the laughs and the great writing. I enjoyed the story as much as how it was told. And also enjoyed the talk about such great games: F19, Gunship... Countless hours of fun.

    Yeah, I know. The true WTF is that I am reading all the articles archive from the begining of times

  • eric bloedow (unregistered)

    reminds me of a story about a game called "dungeon siege":when the game was in VERY early development, Bill Gates himself came over to check on their progress. so they showed him a non-interactive demo of characters fighting monsters on a spiral staircase, and he said, "very good. carry on." that demo pretty much saved their team. (this was the same team that made the classic game "total annihilation"!)

  • qSYij Z (unregistered)
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