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Friday, April 20, 2012

Issue : People : Jobu


Developers shut down the servers when they need to fix bugs or add new features to a game. When this happens the only people walking around the game world are employees. When working on an MMO downtime happens a lot, because MMO's by nature are always changing.

It's pretty surreal to be one of the few avvy's walking around a world that not an hour ago was populated by PC's, It kinda looks like a frozen theme park at night. As quality assurance it was our crews job to try and find all of the shit that might be wrong with the new code before the lights came back on. Even though everybody in the building knew we couldn't possibly find everything. That's what patches were for.

It was sort of like that show supermarket sweep, cept with a different ruleset. Lights go off, everybody starts running toward stuff, cept not to grab it, but to make sure it's not broken when the lights come back on. Not rocket science, what else could you possibly do?

The boss of my bosses boss was a stoic guy born across the bridge from where I used to live. He built the walls and atm's to the theme park. He never talked much unless you were talking about baseball, and always had a lot to say about his home team, and even more to say after that guy with the awesome beard won them a championship. I told him wake me up when the battle of the bay starts again because that was fun.

On larger updates people from other departments like producers and marketers were press ganged into helping us test, a development we never enjoyed much, so we had to make our own fun. They never held what we did in high regard or thought it a "skill," and let us know as much when they showed up, so we sat back and watched them do their thing.

And they always did the same thing. We noticed the people in the big offices ran on information, and whoever had the information had the power, which turned updates into a mini game for them, with a high bug count equaling a high score. And if they couldn't get this info from the vets they would start milking members of the team directly or indirectly using strats like implying promotions, little baubles, veiled threats, that sort of stuff. And around 7/10 noobs fell for their tricks because they were only in QA to get somewhere else, and there somewhere else was saying nice things to them. What a lucky break! But those few that didn't bite were always worth the process, good peoples.

So when the lights went off in the store we knew they were gonna run straight towards us instead of the bugs, so we would just give them stuff to use to keep em busy, example, pssst, there's a cosmetic bug over by the lagoon, a functionality bug by the guild house, etc.. Because to a person outside QA it's all about playing the game and reporting bugs you trip over, be they valid, dupe, or NAB, didn't matter to them as long as it was something to show the bosses.

But as QA we learned to play games on our off time, and test at work, because it's not about us, its about the people that actually enjoy this crappy thing we do for kids. And that there's a big difference between the two, but hard to explain to someone in a short time, and even harder to explain to someone that doesn't really want to be there. And honestly it was all academic to us, because we knew we were getting fired sooner or later no matter what we did.

Long story smedium they would always end up palming bugs to show to the bosses bosses boss right as the server was about to go back up so they could look good, but instead of getting the reaction they wanted the bosses bosses boss would pretend like their shit was valid, then made us go fix it later because he knew we had real work to do and wasn't happy we spent our work time fucking with them like that, cause it only meant OT for us.

And then they would high five and say "In your face QA," and went back to their lives feeling like they tested something, but our office didn't change when the lights went on, we still had to deal with angry devs and player bugs, finish out our 14 hour shift, get in our shitty cars, go home, wake up, and start a new test plan. Psh, whatevs. Oh speaking of publishes well played D3, launching beta while everyone is zooted, that was much appreciated. Oh yeah and the creative heads jobs are in.

The Protoculture Mixtape V.71 Issue : Games : Pubs

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Issue : People : The Island of Dr. Apocalypse


A long time ago I was a little kid in the Jungle, and my favorite hangout was an ice cream shoppe up the street called  Scoops. Scoops was the best because it had Street Fighter and Mortal Combat cabinets, the owner would give out free samples to regulars, and there was space in the back where we could set up our tabletop game of choice "Villains and Vigilantes."

I had two friends at the time that shared my interests in comics and games, and they both lived across the street from the shoppe in a cul-de sac that everyone in the area dubbed "Crip Court," it had local fame because of the high occurrence of being robbed or beaten just for walking by it, didn't really matter who you were or what you were doing there, if you happened to wander by and they saw a meal in you well, it was just better to avoid the place altogether, unless you were a cop, and even they weren't fans of going there.

One of my buddies was a white kid and the other an Asian kid, and everyone said that they both talked and acted black, and that I talked and acted white, which was something I didn't get at the time, but understand a little better now. Back then when people said that I got confused because black people in my family didn't talk like what they said black was, and our skin was black. But people in cc did talk like that, and they were black too. But my friends were not black, they were just mimicking how the people in cc talked because they grew up around them and that's how people talked there, so I thought it more a culture thing than race thing, but I dunno, I am still a little confused about it today, but now that I'm older it's not as big a deal.

Anyway, one day while we were playing Street Fighter in Scoops some of the guys from cc decide to rob the place. They burst in there with rags over their face but we knew it was them by how they yelled. The only people in there at the time were us, the owners son working behind the counter, and an old guy that everyone called "Retard Rogge." Everyday he would walk four blocks up from the group home and sit in the booth next to the arcade cabinets to eat ice cream and watch us play without ever saying anything.

They started yelling for everybody to get down on the floor and whatnot, so we drop to the ground and covered our heads, but we stole peeks here and there when we could like badasses. The owners son took off through the back and one of the crip court guys chased him, and the other walked up to Rogge and started yelling at him to get on the ground. But Rogge couldn't understand what he was supposed to do, so the robber guy beat him with the gun butt till he had no choice but to get on the ground, it sounded like meat getting hit with a mallet, like, thunk.. thunk.. thunk.

Rogge moaned the first couple of thunks, then stopped. After that the other guy came back, they cleaned out the register, told us that we could look now, then left. Scoops was closed down the next day, which sucked, because that place was awesome. I think it's a pizza parlor now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Issue : Regression : Sisqo



Issue Summary:
America is still broke. This state is a result of a complex system of decisions and events occurring over time that add up to bad spending. America has also run out of stuff that only it can do, as other countries have caught up in terms of doing things like agriculture, technology, movies, and everything else.

Issue Resolution Progress:
If I didn't know any better I would think the american government is beginning to enjoy this little piracy song and dance. This whole, curbing piracy by making piracy look like the best option, thing, is quickly syncing with the strip club cycle, which is Exciting--> Depressing --> Funny --> Depressing again --> Regret.

Instead of just letting it go, once again America has observed the grace period for the internet forgetting about stuff, but tweaked their approach. This time doubling down by approaching the entertainment industry hat in hand for assistance in combating the people allegedly stealing from them both using the played out trick of appealing to Hollywood's vanity, in a scene I equate to a Satan/Cthulhu marvel team up. Who gets to be on top?

Yeah this bug is not getting resolved anytime soon so we may as well get started on them all over again. Upon review the issue of america being broke is still about as far from being fixed as it can possibly be.

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