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[TRENCHES] Thursday, July 5, 2012 - Trilateral

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited July 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Trilateral


Trilateral
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/trilateral

Schrödinger’s Leaderboard

Anonymous

I tested cellphone games for a studio that ported games that other branches of the company had developed for other phones. In pre-iPhone days, every game needed to have a million different versions to account for hardware differences, and your game had to be on all of phones to reach enough users to be profitable.

At one point I was testing the “online” version of a Breakout/Arkanoid clone. The only thing setting this game apart from the “offline” version released the year before was an online leaderboard. Everything else about the game was exactly the same. Same brick layouts, same powerups, same everything.

Obviously, it was important that the leaderboard be working correctly.

The problem was, it wasn’t. Like most online leaderboards, it was a one-score-per-player affair. But it wasn’t showing my BEST score, just my most recent one. I could score a zillion points and be #1 in the world, but if my next game only scored 5 points I’d dropped way down to the bottom with 5.

Worse, the ONLY way to see the leaderboard was to submit a score. There was a “Leaderboard” option on the main menu, but to contact the server it had to submit a score of 0, so if you ever chose this option, that would be your new “high score”. This leaderboard was meaningless. If you placed highly, did you really earn that rank, or did a thousand better players have their scores reset?

You couldn’t check to see if anyone had pushed you down in the rankings, because the very act of checking your ranking would change it. You couldn’t even scroll up to see if anyone beat the score you remembered getting, because to cut down on data transmission you only received a small portion of the list immediately above and below you.

I sent the bug, but we couldn’t fix it because the bug existed in the “master version” that had already been released; our studio wasn’t ALLOWED to fix bugs that existed in master versions. I proposed that we could fix the bug on the server side: still submit scores, but the server checks if it’s actually higher before overwriting. For whatever reason, this wasn’t possible either.

So we shipped a game which had one feature differentiating it from an already-released game on the same platform, and that feature didn’t work.


Geth on

Posts

  • FandeathisFandeathis Registered User regular
    This is my favorite story by far.

    You fuck wit' Die Antwoord, you fuck wit' da army.
  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Isaac seems a little off in the comic.

  • SticksSticks I'd rather be in bed.Registered User regular
    It's a small consolation, but did anyone ever really look at the leaderboard for old phone games? Does anyone do it today?

    Realistically, the only people purchasing that "new" version were only doing so because they didn't already have the older version.

  • Chris FOMChris FOM Registered User regular
    That would actually be Heisenberg's leaderboard, not Schrödinger's, where the act of measuring something changes the value of that which you're measuring.

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    I like the panel two faces. A lot.

  • wormspeakerwormspeaker Objectively Terrible Registered User regular
    Chris FOM wrote: »
    That would actually be Heisenberg's leaderboard, not Schrödinger's, where the act of measuring something changes the value of that which you're measuring.

    He's a tester not a physicist. He'd be getting paid more if he were. :)

  • jackaljackal Fuck Yes. That is an orderly anal warehouse. Registered User regular
    Heisenboard

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Chris FOM wrote: »
    That would actually be Heisenberg's leaderboard, not Schrödinger's, where the act of measuring something changes the value of that which you're measuring.

    Wouldn't Schrodinger's thought experiment also apply as a metaphor though? I mean, you don't know what the scores are until you submit a score, so at any given time you might be higher or lower then the current high score, so you are both. Seems like a cat that's both alive and dead until you check and find out for certain.

    Granted, i'm no physicist either, but that was my understanding of the whole Schrodinger's Cat thing.

  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    Hat burns on M/Rarely's head...

  • LuianeLuiane Registered User regular
    see317 wrote: »
    Chris FOM wrote: »
    That would actually be Heisenberg's leaderboard, not Schrödinger's, where the act of measuring something changes the value of that which you're measuring.

    Wouldn't Schrodinger's thought experiment also apply as a metaphor though? I mean, you don't know what the scores are until you submit a score, so at any given time you might be higher or lower then the current high score, so you are both. Seems like a cat that's both alive and dead until you check and find out for certain.

    Granted, i'm no physicist either, but that was my understanding of the whole Schrodinger's Cat thing.

    Schrödinger's theorem does seem to fit well in my opinion.

    Also, Heisenbergs uncertainty principle is more that you can't know both an particles momentum and location, the more precisely you measure one the less exact the other one turns into. It is commonly mistaken with the Observer Effect, which you where talking about Chris. And that does fit rather well!

    At least that is how it is unless I misremember, I am but a physicist student after all.

    Steam id: Varys
    LoL EU West nickname: Irridan
  • Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    I think you nailed it down well, Luiane, to the best of my recollection.

  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    I don't really like Trenche's pacing. I always feel like I missed 5 comics between the ones I read, especially with comics like these last few. I'm all for implicit storytelling, but I don't think biweekly 3 panel comics are the best medium for that kind of thing. I do like the art a lot, though, including the noses. I'm not saying those things as a hater, just feedback from a loooooooooooooooooooooong time reader of both PA and PVPO.

    And yeah, this is the best of all stories so far. The stories are the thing that keep me coming back. And the art. and the hope that the rabbit will show up again. But not the plot, no sir.

    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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