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Renegade MAME Dev
Reged: 09/01/05
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If you like game industry war stories
11/08/17 07:30 PM

I have a domain and plenty of web space yet no site of my own since I'm too lazy to set up a blog and too worried about crappy, insecure web software, I'll just post this story here.

In Guitar Hero: World Tour, there was a relatively little-known feature called the Music Studio, where you could select from a boilerplate set of audio samples, and use a pretty great - though crappy at times - interface to compose what amounted to a tracker or "MIDI" song, which you could then play yourself or with friends on drums or bass. You could also upload your creations to share with friends.

Knowing this, you won't be surprised to learn that use of the online features of the Music Studio required the user to agree to a boilerplate EULA. Among other typical legal ramblings, it stated that Activision Blizzard asserted universal rights over works and content uploaded via their service. Standard stuff.

Now, set the Wayback Machine to late in the beta part of the Wii port's development cycle, roughly around the time that the Music Studio feature became fully usable. Due to tight memory constraints, a finicky scripting language known as Qscript, and the general hassle associated with back-porting changes piecemeal from the THPS9 engine to the THPS7 engine, the Music Studio was one of the last features for the testers to really sink their teeth into. For the record, none of this was the fault of the engineer porting the feature to the Wii, he was an extremely capable guy and did a marvelous job. If you're reading this somehow, Marc, they handed you a bear, and you wrestled the hell out of that bear, and I'd buy you a beer any day.

As it happens, late in the beta cycle of a game is when it really starts to come together, a little bit past point where the number of bugs being fixed outpaces the number of bugs being submitted, testers get bored. I don't know by what metric testers at Activision are graded, but the scramble to submit bugs towards the end and make themselves useful led to some of the most downright hilarious bugs being submitted with a completely straight face in lieu of real issues, simply to have a bug to submit.

In one incident, a bug was filed regarding the art in a particular farm-themed venue of the game. In the background, there is a barn. There is a goat on this barn. But it wasn't a goat, it was a bug, too: an unknown animal which "looks like a giraffe" was on the barn, and there was no obvious way for the animal to get on top of the barn.

Lastly, recall a few paragraphs ago, where Activision Blizzard were asserting universal rights. This, of all things, drew the ire of a tester. "Aha," said he, "I cry foul! Activision cannot claim rights outside of Earth!" In all seriousness, a bug was filed on the EULA screen of the Music Studio feature of Guitar Hero: World Tour because "Activision can't claim rights outside of Earth", according to this tester.

Perhaps the tester was factually correct.
Perhaps the tester was being a pedant.
Perhaps both bugs were closed as "Won't Fix".
Perhaps all three of these things are the case.

In any event, I hope the story was as entertaining as it was to write it.

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Subject Posted by Posted on
* If you like game industry war stories MooglyGuy 11/08/17 07:30 PM
. * Re: If you like game industry war stories RdW  11/11/17 01:58 AM

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