Elusive littleBigPlanet bug
In the history of game development, you can find a lot of interesting bugs with which developers had to fight . However, as follows from the story told by Twitter technical director of Media Molecule company Alex Evans (known for his participation in the demoscene of the late 90s, LittleBigPlanet and Rag Doll Kung Fu) at the weekend, we still have to hear many legends.
The case, which will be discussed, occurred ten years ago - in 2008. During the development of the first part of the game LittleBigPlanet - the original puzzle platform game, which should be exclusive to the PlayStation 3 - the developers of the company had to face a truly elusive bug.
Usually, in order to get the green light for the release of the game on consoles, it is required to get certified - to fulfill some set of requirements that the platform holder sets. Certification can also assume such specific conditions as stable operation of the game during the day without departures.
The development process of LittleBigPlanet almost came to an end and there were only two weeks left before the game had to “go for gold”. Suddenly, a QA tester in Japan reported that the game was steadily “falling” when he left it to work overnight. Naturally, now, before fixing the bug, no issue of the game was out of the question.
Time passed, but the team still could not reproduce the bug. It took several days to make sure that developers and testers' devikita are identical - that they have the same hardware, they have the same version of the OS and the environment is the same. Due to the difference in time zones, each attempt to reproduce the bug took more than 24 hours, which continued to heat up the situation.
During the investigation, the developers managed to find out that the EyeToy digital camera , which worked in the audio recording mode, was connected to the tester's devkit - however, this fact did not bring any special benefit. Finally, someone noticed a strange pattern: every time the game “fell” at the same time - at 4 am. But what could have happened in Japan at 4 am? ..
The answer was unexpected: they were cleaners who conscientiously performed their labor duties. A voice chat was built into the game - it was done to synchronize the characters' lips with a speech, which players could use during the cooperative passing of the game. During the time that the cleaning was done, a vacuum cleaner worked near the sound recording EyeToy, and when audio was compressed, several bytes of memory leaked in the game chat — and it only occurred from “white noise”. It was enough just to vacuum the room for an hour, and the “crash” was guaranteed.
It is not surprising that when Media Molecule tried to reproduce this bug in its office with the help of a radio tuned in to “white noise”, they got it right away. As a result, it took only about five minutes for the developers to eliminate the bug itself - however, the memory of it did not disappear even ten years later.