June 8th, 2009 by Chris

At both work and play my life is surrounded by software. To be fair, this is probably true of most people whether they realize it or not. This software increases in complexity with each passing day and will soon pretty much take over the world.[1] It’s a good thing it has no mass or we would be looking at an information event horizon.

Since I spend so much of my working life looking for and solving the crazy anomalies that crop up when complexity is multiplied by complexity, I am especially amused by funny little glitches I find in the programs I use. In my spare time, I’m often working my way through some video game or another. Whenever something goes awry I find myself thinking about whether it would have been practical to find a bug like one I’m experiencing. Unfortunately we live in a world where games are shipped incomplete, since the Internet can provide the patches (and missing features) later. In most games, this is immediately followed by wondering if this is something I can exploit when I get into trouble. Bill used to call this ‘optimizing’. My most infamous achievement in this arena is the famous Hyperspace Jump in X-Wing Tour 3, Mission 12.

Today’s silly example is from a game called GT Legends by SimBin Studios. This game was given to me by a friend[2] who’s son wasn’t really old enough to appreciate it. It’s a racing game featuring vintage cars on modern tracks. Well, true to most racing games, the track geometry is carefully constructed to keep the cars on the track. However, occasionally you can find a chink in the armor that leads to strange results. After a particularly frustrating series of laps, I decided to take out my annoyance by cutting though the pit exit at high speed, driving up a hill and vaulting over the track.

Launch!

Launch!


Of course I was going for a cathartic crash into the hillside, but instead…

I fell through the ground. After collecting my jaw from my lap, I just watched transfixed as my car tumbled through the void. The stills don’t do it justice. So I’ve also attached some video [7MB].[3] Let me know if you are unable to play it; non-standard video codecs are the bane of my digital existence.

Quicksand?

Quicksand?

Event Horizon

Event Horizon

Strange Perspective

Strange Perspective


It was odd watching the race track tumble overhead (during the game I was sitting in the virtual driver’s seat) and seeing the sky through the bottom of the objects.
Journy to the center of the Earth

Journy to the center of the Earth

Between the void and the sky.

Between the void and the sky.

At this point I was wondering how long it would let me plummet. I was amused to note that the wind noise had increased to banshee pitch and volume… I wonder if anybody thought about what the wind sound equation would do after a few minutes of free fall?

Purgatory.

Purgatory.

Eventually, the game announced that I had been disqualified for “Going the Wrong Way”. Hmmm… there has to be a religious message there somewhere.

  1. See Augustine’s 17th law: “Software is like entropy. It is difficult to grasp, weighs nothing, and obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics – it always increases (Law Number XVII)” []
  2. Thanks! []
  3. Thank-you FRAPS and NeroVision Express. []

3 Responses to “”

  1. Heidi Says:

    Heee!

  2. John Says:

    Trippy.

    It’s good to see that you limit yourself to finding a way break everything you touch at work – you can do it at home, too.

    🙂

  3. John Says:

    Oops. Should have said “It’s good to see that you DON’T limit…” Well, you get the point.