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How an EyeToy and vacuum cleaner almost broke  LittleBigPlanet

How an EyeToy and vacuum cleaner almost broke LittleBigPlanet

November 26, 2018 | By Chris Kerr




What's the strangest bug you've stumbled across during development? Well, unless it involves a vacuum cleaner and an EyeToy conspiring against you, it probably doesn't have anything on the bonkers bug encountered by Media Molecule during the development of LittleBigPlanet

Replying to a bug-related Twitter thread started by Aaron San Filippo, co-founder of Race the Sun developer Flippfly, one Media Molecule dev stole the spotlight by detailing a particularly perplexing bug the team encountered two weeks before LittleBigPlanet was due to go gold. 

It all began when a Japanese QA tester started reliably crashing the game by leaving it on overnight. Despite repeated attempts to reproduce the bug -- which took days of work -- Media Molecule wasn't having any luck. 

Seemingly at a dead end, the team realized their Japanese tester had an EyeToy plugged into their console, and set the camera to record audio in the hopes it'd help them spot the problem. As luck would have it… it didn't. 

It was at that point somebody noticed the crash always occurred at around 4am, begging the question: what only happened in Japan at four in the morning that would cause LittleBigPlanet to go haywire? 

The answer? That's when the cleaners arrived. But these weren't just any cleaners. This troupe of intrepid dust busters were rather thorough, and their valiant quest to rid the office of dirt was having an unintended side effect. 

You see, one hour of vacuuming near the EyeToy (which produced white noise) caused the in-game chat audio compression to leak a few bytes of memory, resulting in the game-breaking crash. After reproducing the issue by tuning their own radios to white noise, the dev team successfully implemented a fix in around five minutes. Go figure. 

It's an amusing story (in hindsight, at least), and one that perfectly showcases how absolutely crackpot game development can be at times. For more similar tales of bug-related woe, be sure to check out the full discussion over on Twitter.



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