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Trenches: August 18, 2011

TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
edited August 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
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08/18/2011 - AnonymousShare:Share On TwitterShare On Facebook
Suppose you found a bug in a game that rendered a console unplayable? Suppose it was something akin to the original Myth II Uninstall problem where it basically formatted your hard drive, only worse?

There was a game that was released in the last 10 years that had a peculiar issue toward the end where you could crash the title just before one of the end bosses by doing a manual save just as it was autosaving.

If you did, it caused the console kernel to overwrite itself, rendering the entire unit non-functional.

After causing this to happen once, I was asked to replicate the issue in front of people who made a lot more money than I did. After sixteen hours of play, I, again, saved while the game was autosaving, and watched with everyone else in the room as the screen turned black and the console shut down. Attempting to boot it up didn’t even result in an error screen, it would just power on and then shut back down.

(To me) “You can do this every time?”
“If I want to, yeah.”
(To a marketing guy) “How long until we’re supposed to ship?”
“We’re supposed to go gold in a week.”
(To a developer) “How long would this take to fix?”
“We’ll have to rewrite the entire file structure. Weeks, at least. Probably months.”

The game shipped.

I got fired.

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Posts

  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Is it OK that I am enjoying the stories better than the comics so far? Because I am.

    Also: I always wondered why topics about PA comics were in the 'off-topic' forums. Took me forever to find the comic thread the first time I visited here. horrah for a forum regarding PA content in the 'on-topic' forums!

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    I'm in the same boat Camb, but it's gonna build up along just fine with time.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • TopiaTopia Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    I'm in the same boat Camb, but it's gonna build up along just fine with time.

    I feel like theres some good potential here, but at 3/4 panels a day twice a week it's gonna take a while.

  • DyvionDyvion Baking in AZRegistered User regular
    The stories are all depressing. Are there any stories that are going to be uplifting? I'm getting a PA/Kurtz vibe from the comics, and a Dilbert vibe from the stories.

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  • CeutaCeuta Registered User new member
    Just curious, what is the game they are talking about in the story? I believe I heard about such a title before, but can't remember it.

  • AistanAistan Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Dyvion wrote:
    The stories are all depressing. Are there any stories that are going to be uplifting? I'm getting a PA/Kurtz vibe from the comics, and a Dilbert vibe from the stories.

    Testing is an inherently depressing, soul crushing job. If you get on a game for a series you love you drew the worst straw, because after a week you will never want to see any of them ever again.

    "I found a bug, they fixed it, it didn't show up again. I got on the next project once this one finished." Is about the happiest a story can be, unfortunately.

    Aistan on
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  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    Ceuta wrote:
    Just curious, what is the game they are talking about in the story? I believe I heard about such a title before, but can't remember it.

    They didn't realease the name of the game, since many stories like this are technically NDA violations. As such, they anonomize the names and the games/companies involved.

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  • Peter EbelPeter Ebel CopenhagenRegistered User regular
    Man, testing.

    Fuck off and die.
  • TaramoorTaramoor Registered User regular
    Aistan wrote:
    Dyvion wrote:
    The stories are all depressing. Are there any stories that are going to be uplifting? I'm getting a PA/Kurtz vibe from the comics, and a Dilbert vibe from the stories.

    Testing is an inherently depressing, soul crushing job. If you get on a game for a series you love you drew the worst straw, because after a week you will never want to see any of them ever again.

    "I found a bug, they fixed it, it didn't show up again. I got on the next project once this one finished." Is about the happiest a story can be, unfortunately.

    This is not necessarily true.

    I tested Mass Effect 1 from hell to breakfast (seven months), and when the game came out I played through it like eight times.

    Some of the games I've worked on, yes, I never wanted to see them again because they inspire rage, but I've usually been able to separate testing (work) from playing (fun!).

  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    I know a couple of guys at DICE. Their testing stories are equal parts hilarious and depressing.

    Though I love the story about when they added their first version of the spotting system to Bad Company 2.

    Spotting lets you hit Q when aiming at someone and then everyone on your team will see a triangle over that guy for a few seconds, through walls and everything.

    They needed a control group. So they set one of their managers to "always spotted".

    Of course, they didn't tell him about it.

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • ElbasunuElbasunu Registered User regular
    Yeah, there are plenty of more humorous stories out there in the testing world. I've heard a great deal in my time, and I'm actually kind of excited to see if any of them make it onto the site!

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  • CroakerBCCroakerBC YorkRegistered User regular
    Taramoor wrote:
    I tested Mass Effect 1 from hell to breakfast (seven months), and when the game came out I played through it like eight times.

    Some of the games I've worked on, yes, I never wanted to see them again because they inspire rage, but I've usually been able to separate testing (work) from playing (fun!).

    A little bit this. There's also, at least sometmes, the feeling that everything turned out alright when you finally deploy the thing you've been looking at for <days/weeks/months/years> into Production. Mind you, thatmoment of Prod signoff is also where the ice goes down your spine because, you know, if it all goes wrong, you were the one who signed it off.

    I'm not sure I'd agree with Aistan that QA is inherently a soul crushing job - my lack of soul is entirely incidental. On the other hand, depending on where you are, there can be a lot of regression (test the same stuff over and over). I think the field is a little less prone to that these days, with the emergence of Agile (and Agile-ish), because QA is usually too busy working on the 'new' to end up drowning in the 'old' - though that carries its own risks as well.

    On the other hand, I can imagine that signing up to do game testing, with the expectation that you'll be playing games al day and having fun, can cause real shock to the system when those expectations are subverted. Work is work, fun is fun - if you can make the two meet up, that's a bonus, but I suspect more than a few people starting out got a shock when they first heard "Deliverables" in the context of "We are here to make some money off this game. You are here to help."...

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