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Frisco Del Rosario writes about chess960, women's basketball, minor league baseball, unsupported collectible card games, lettering in comic books, and Golden Age movies

Is it an intermittent bug or an incomplete, undocumented feature? 12/25/2017

Software (almost) never works as expected. Sometimes the user reports behavior that blows up the application, and maybe it gets fixed — if it blows up for nearly everybody, following events that can be replicated. If it’s solely your device or machine that blows up, the fault is on your end.
Occasionally, a bit of peculiar software behavior is reported as failing, but the developer says the exceptional behavior isn’t a bug, but a feature (and if there’s a problem, it’s that it doesn’t work that way all the time).

There’s an intermittent anomalous behavior in South Park: Phone Destroyer. If a character is cast directly behind new kid, sometimes the character can’t move from that spot.

Some players lose matches because that character was vital to the game plan. They report that as a bug, angrily.

Then there were the players for whom that unexpected bit of behavior saves the game. They think it’s a great feature, and try to replicate it in the future.

That second, happy case happened for me when a decisive skirmish took place in front of new kid, and Pirate Ship Timmy was locked behind new kid, lobbing cannonballs into the fray, while never exposing his fragile wheelchair to danger.

After that happy conclusion, I tried again and again to cast Pirate Ship Timmy in the same place, but he kept moving outside and getting killed. I figured it was my fault for not finding the sweet spot.

On Reddit, a thread arose in which unhappy players discuss that as a bug, while someone else and I — who benefited from a shielded Pirate Ship Timmy — said “what’s the problem?”.

It’s almost surely an undesirable bug, because if players could lock Nathan back there, the game wouldn’t be much fun anymore. Whether it gets fixed, who knows, because there are more critical bugs than that in the queue.

I do what I can to help the SPPD developers. Whenever there’s weird behavior, I screenshoot it and report it in the Ubisoft forum. I’ve reported two instances of crappy behavior. One had to be fixed immediately, because it made them look dumb. The other will go into the “just one of those things” file.

I also made corrections to their online help documents. That will take a minute to implement, because it’s a matter of changing content, not mechanics. I’ll feel better about my South Park: Phone Destroyer experience if they implement, or read, or care about what a user did to help them in an area that every customer and  prospective customer uses.


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