The point of the implementation phase is to get all the major features in and working as quickly as possible. It isn’t pretty, it isn’t always optimal. But we need to push through it so that we can start play testing and deciding what is working, what is outperforming (and therefor we may want to focus more on it) and what is underperforming (and may need to be replaced).
It also leaves us with bugs. After implementation bugs become a daily task, every build gets checked, bugs are reported, documented and fixed. We have some leeway in implementation to get things in, after that bug hunting becomes serious business. We catch them at the source, so we aren’t months in dealing with bugs buried under multiple changes or in code sections people have forgotten about changing.
Most bugs are pretty dull, system A interacts with system B in an unexpected way. For example, tooltips aren’t immediately updated when a strategic spell effects a units hits points on the world map, making it look like you didn’t hurt them. And they are easy enough to identify and fix (though the devs may argue that last point).
But occasionally we have bugs that are more fun. The following are some of my favorites.
Transparent armor. In Fallen Enchantress metal has a reflective shader (so metal looks like metal). We can have a red piece of armor that looks like red metal armor, not something painted with flat red paint. But early on this caused some transparency issues. Transparent armor is pretty funny, but this bug came up right after I pushed the art tem to provide “sexier armor”. The art director sent me the following screenshot back with the comment “Is this sexy enough for you?” I love my job.
Production attack! A recent bug that we‘ve had for months and never noticed resolves around the build queue. As you would expect you can cancel anything in your production queue. While one of our devs was doing some testing he noticed that you can click on another players cites and cancel items out of his production queue too. That’s one way to keep your opponents down.
Circus Performer? We had a problem during reloads where the units animation pack wasn’t correctly being set to the mounted animation pack if he was on a mount. Instead they would use their normal animations and just look to be standing on the horses saddle. I wish I had a screenshot, but it was fairly impressive to see someone standing on their horses saddle firing arrows while their horse galloped around the battlefield. One of the many bugs that made me seriously consider making a special trait out of it.
Ogre Crotch. An old WoM bug. Sometimes you would get monsters in the wilderness talking to you or hear something about them. The window with the animated monster in it wasn’t always zoomed in correctly. In this case it was a very tight zoom on the ogres crotch with the text “There is a growing threat in the wilderness”. A growing threat indeed, I have never been so terrified of an Ogre.
Ogre Fear. Speaking of being terrified of an Ogre, Ogres have a Bash ability. Bash has a chance to knock units prone. So if an Ogre hits you, you might be knocked down onto the ground. Which works fine, except for the order the animation played. Both animations (the ogre attacking and you being knocked prone) played at the same time. Since the ogres wind up to his swing took longer than the animation of your unit falling down it appeared as if anyone facing an ogre immediately prostrated themselves in front of the ogre, and then the ogre smacked them with a club. Not a very impressive performance from your high level hero.
Scaling. Scaling issues are the best. Sometimes you come around a corner and there is a hero wearing a helmet the size of mountain looking at you. Sometimes you find a death demon the size of your foot. Sometimes the enormous tail of an Ignys is sticking out of the darkness like a red hot poker (in a phenomenon I like to refer to as “satan’s penis”). With this particular bug mounts were messing up the scale of their riders, making the riders huge. This poor warg, no wonder they are always so grumpy.