134: A Bug is Just an Undocumented Feature

A Bug is Just an Undocumented Feature

"Glitches, anomalies and bugs can indeed hamper a game, but in the hands of the right player, they can be a lot of fun, too. Is leaving these bugs in a reason to get mad at the developers? Perhaps, but there are some players out there who want to thank them."

Philip Miner explores exploits and the gaming of the game.

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AND MY RANT THAT I PUT EVERYWHERE:

Physics damage was around since Half-Life 2 Deathmatch. Heck, one of the kill icons is a flying toilet. If you laugh at a traffic cone, then your head would explode from laughter when seeing that game.

One of my favorite HL2 bugs though, is the bunny hop one. Awesome to see Gordon rocketing down Highway 17 without a car.

Katana314:
AND MY RANT THAT I PUT EVERYWHERE:

Physics damage was around since Half-Life 2 Deathmatch. Heck, one of the kill icons is a flying toilet. If you laugh at a traffic cone, then your head would explode from laughter when seeing that game.

One of my favorite HL2 bugs though, is the bunny hop one. Awesome to see Gordon rocketing down Highway 17 without a car.

And DX 2 had it before that....
..it all depends on if the devs are paying attention when they build a game,look at Bioshock use the cheat to get TK at the start,wine bottles and plates are not lethal but a teddy bear and phezz hat is...

Its all about details and the time to put them in I am still annoyed bioshock is missing so much...but the watered down game design is just a sign of the times.

The guy who got killed by a traffic cone became a celebrity? What - a celebrity among the few dorks who think that was wildly funny? Things like that happen in every game - trust me, it's not all that unusual or funny. If anyone thinks that's funny they need to be exposed to more comedy.

Personally, as a simulation fan I would have liked to have seen this article mention some of the features of simulation games that some players swear are 'bugs', but I guess we're in an arcade game world these days. Basically, if it ain't Halo there's no point in writing about it.

One particular exploit that comes to mind formed an entirely new game from it's original.
I'm talking about Skiing in Tribes.

From WikiPedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starsiege:_Tribes ):
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During beta testing of Tribes, a player named David Boylan seemed to cheat in order to slide down hills without slowing and pick up enormous speed. The player had in fact discovered "skiing", the act of rapidly pressing the jump button to avoid friction. (Later on scripts were introduced that automated this action simply by holding down the jump button.) This technique may have been adapted from Bunny hopping in Quake.

This was originally an unintended side effect of the physics system implementation that caused players to encounter less friction with the ground when going down hillsides than on level terrain. The reduced friction was put in to make it harder for snipers to take out enemies. The reduction of friction was proportional to the slope of the hill; this meant that the steeper the terrain, the faster players could travel. Skiing allowed players to traverse Tribes' massive game maps in under 15 seconds in some cases instead of minutes.

Skiing, although somewhat angering to new players and to purists (initially), has become an integral part of the game. Both sequels (Tribes 2 and Tribes: Vengeance) have made special arrangements to allow for easier skiing by modifying the physics and providing tutorials for new players.
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Every RTS game I ever played mostly boiled down to studying the AI and figuring out where its pathfinding routines broke down. I never played Warcraft III online too much, but in Starcraft and Warcraft II if you setup a crescent shape of buildings as a perimeter, for some reason the AI could never move around it. Then you just blow them apart like fish in a barrel.

Agreed. Skiing opened up new possibilities for jetpack use, and allowed players (Especially those in Light armour) to launch assaults from new directions. If skiing hadn't existed, then Tribes might not have been such a great game. With it, however? No enemy base was ever safe.

People could come from anywhere, and at any speed. They might ski down a massive hill and up a smaller one, just to get the increase in speed required to jet on top of the enemy base and assault it from an angle that would otherwise have been considered less dangerous.

You have neglected to mention Quake 3 defrag/speedrunning/trickjumping. Essentially it was another game, where the q3 engine was pushed to its limit for the purpose of time-attacking specifically designed 'run' maps.

What remains of that community is here in videos:

( http://www.own-age.com/vids/list.aspx?gameid=1&typeid=2

Massive amounts of content (including maps and the defrag mod, which allowed maps to be built with new triggers and, most importantly, allowed new camera angles for self-recorded footage) were built around the use of existing movement bugs in q3. The bugs were not mod-specific either, they were/are used by top q3 players everywhere. In fact, the bugs can be said to have extended the lifespan of q3 beyond the launch of q3.

/edit: The best example for trick jumping is 'Tricking iT 2' ( http://www.own-age.com/vids/1950 ), a brilliantly produced video of what was probably the best trickjumping clan. For speedrunning, where the specifically designed maps are time attacked within the defrag mod, the best example is probably 'Cetus 2' ( http://www.own-age.com/vids/1052 ), it is a very impressive demonstration of the movement, particularly the strafe-jumping (you will see what i mean - basically it looks impossible but you can do it in base q3).

Anyway enjoy

Have you seen the Team Roomba griefing videos for Team Fortress 2? I wouldn't post links because they contain some graphic material, though it is blurred out. But very humorous stuff. It wouldn't have even bothered me to be on the receiving end of the crap, provided it didn't go on forever...It is pretty humorous and is kind of worth it.

Hey I remember Fist II for the C64 that was so buggy that you COULD NOT COMPLETE THE GAME without using a jump bug. There was a point where the map would freeze and you couldn't move but you could use ANOTHER bug to circumvent the original bug to get past the screen.

While I enjoyed the article immensely I cannot understand the use of the traffic cone as an example, at least with the justification you use. Indeed a soft rubber traffic cone (which in RL are not the soft, especially the base) can break through a whole bunch of stuff, given enough momentum. We have to realize that given the physics engine and the amount of stuff in the environment, things other than bullets can and will kill us. If a Warthog can splatter a spartan (at 30mph) why can't a 2 lb traffic cone travelling at 200mph? I don't consider that a glitch or bug, because it was intended. The use of BXR, super-bouncing, and forcing a flag through a wall (all rampant in Halo 2) are examples of glitch exploitation, a traffic cone kill is not. Aside from that discrepency, I think the article was well written.

Bungie actualy implemented trafic cones as weapons on their official site (i have two kills with it).

I agree that glitches and glitching can be quite fun. To take and example: I remember the good times I had with so many great glitches in halo 2. But, glitches that make you get stuck in levels or that other players can use to cheat, is no fun.

Great article! Signed up specifically to comment on it. The quality of escapist editorials is fantastic.

edinflames:
You have neglected to mention Quake 3 defrag/speedrunning/trickjumping. Essentially it was another game, where the q3 engine was pushed to its limit for the purpose of time-attacking specifically designed 'run' maps.

What truly amazed me was how movement in Quake 3 was so much more than just trick jumping and time attacking in the end. The intricacies in the movement in Quake 3 opened up so many new facets of gameplay in the context of the way you played your Quake.

Personally, I always loved my Rocket Arena. With the movement bugs in Quake 3, RA3 was less about accuracy and more about using movement to gain a tactical advantage over your opponent, usually by always maintaining a higher position on the map than your oponent. If you weren't always on the move, you were dead. Rocket jumping of course was the major component of this movement, but bunnyhopping and strafe jumping were equally as crucial to beating a skilled player. Mix this fast, constantly repositioning movement with the ability to 'read the bounce' of the opposing player with rockets, and you had a madly paced game that relied far less on your ability to aim, and more on your ability to dominate a map and position yourself to make it harder for your opposition to hit you, while making it easier for you to hit him. Even if your accuracy was double your opponents for every weapon, that didn't necessarily mean you were winning.

That might sound like drivelling fanboy hyperbole to anyone that didn't fall in love with Q3 online, but anyone that did will agree with how important movement bugs were to Quake 3 and how long it extended its life.

Metroid Prime wasn't even the first in the series that allowed you to access areas without getting the necessary tools. I know for a fact that you can do it in Super Metroid, and can probably find videos of it on YouTube. Chances are it is also possible in the first Metroid, but I don't know that for a fact. Super Metroid, however, you can DEFINITELY beat without shit like the space jump, and there are plenty of other glitches you can take advantage of. I think Zero Mission on the GBA included the ability to do that on purpose, as well, as a nod to the speed runners.

Also, as already stated, a traffic cone moving that speed can easily kill you. In fact, almost anything at that speed can potentially kill you. Then again, the point that you are an armored Spartan whose suit is bad ass enough to lock up so you survive a drop from the atmosphere.....man, makes Legendary difficulty really inconsistent.

Not a fan of exploit users. As far as Battlefield 2 and 2142 went, it is one of the two biggest reasons why I quit playing (The other being how they made weapon choices as "unlockable" instead of just giving us the f**king guns since we already paid for the game)

The fact that there are so many people who spend every waking moment looking for exploits, then using them to cheapass their way to top scores that truly don't mean f**kall in the real world is actually a sad commentary on where gaming is going. It's not about having fun, it's about making sure OTHER people DON'T have fun.

Fighting game players often use glitches on a regular basis and most competitive players accept them as valid tactics.

Examples:

Guilty Gear XX: Jump Install is a glitch that tricks the game engine into thinking you haven't jumped when you have, allowing you to triple jumps or dash after a midair jump to aid in combos.

Capcom vs. SNK 2: (from the Shoryken Wiki) Roll cancelling (RCing) is a very exploitable glitch in CvS2, accomplished by cancelling the first 3 frames of any roll directly into a special move (and certain other things, like supers and stuff). This gives the roll-cancelled special move the properties of the roll in addition to whatever special properties it already had. Translation? Your roll-cancelled special move becomes invincible.

Super Smash Bros. Melee: Wavedashing is done by exploiting a weird bug in the physics engine by air-dodging into the ground while simultaneously jumping to make your character "slide" in one direction very quickly, allowing them to attack immediately any time during the dash.

"A traffic cone made of soft rubber should not kill you, no matter how fast it's traveling."

???

Have you ever lifted a real traffic cone before??? Given enough speed/momentum, anybody getting hit in the head with one could easily die. I think the physics system is doing it's job here.

ecalmosthuman:
Have you ever lifted a real traffic cone before??? Given enough speed/momentum, anybody getting hit in the head with one could easily die. I think the physics system is doing it's job here.

You missed a very important thing when you quoted this line... ie: the whole paragraph before it...

But you're supposed to be playing a Spartan, the best of the best of the freaking best, with the finest military equipment money can buy, your armor capable of stopping bullets and the like.

Hell, you survive a fall from the upper atmosphere down to earth in the Spartan armor.

So, the point still stands:
A traffic cone made of soft rubber should not kill you, no matter how fast it's traveling

ecalmosthuman:
"A traffic cone made of soft rubber should not kill you, no matter how fast it's traveling."

???

Have you ever lifted a real traffic cone before??? Given enough speed/momentum, anybody getting hit in the head with one could easily die. I think the physics system is doing it's job here.

Have you ever been hit by a traffic cone while wearing armor so strong it can apparently take just about anything short of a direct tank round before you drop? :P

 

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