Thursday, August 05, 2010

A Virtual Solution to A Real World Problem

This is a mind-bender of epic proportions, but I think it also gives an insight into my kids' mind and how he thinks, which is very cool.

So Mackenzie just got this Xbox game from a friend, it's obviously in used condition but it seemed to play fine. Then at one point in the game, it got stuck and wouldn't let the character go any farther. As it turns out, there was a scratch on the disk. Mackenzie buffed it a little and tried again, but it still got hung up at the same point.

He reasoned that he might be able to get around this problem because, as he explained to me, games used to load an entire level at one time, which made it take a very long time each time you went to a new level. However now they buffer and load segments of the level while you're actually playing it, loading just the areas that your character is going to travel into. So he figured that there was a scratch in this area of the disk, it would probably only affect that particular area of the map in the level. So he had his character WALK AROUND THE SCRATCH. Yep, he walked way off course, down into some valley and took the long way around, and he walked around the scratch on the disk because he walked into a different map segment that wasn't scratched. Isn't that cool? It just blows my mind how entwined virtual and real can be, and provides a glimpse into the future that's kind of freaky.

It also gives me a lot of insight into the cool deductive way that my kid thinks. No wonder his favorite novels are the Sherlock Holmes series!

There have been many such examples lately that demonstrate to me how alike we are in some ways. It's no surprise that when I worked at Microsoft, Testing was my field. To be a Tester, you need to be able to understand the code and how it works, and then think of all of the different ways that you could stress that code. I'm sure he gets a fair amount of this ability from his dad the jet mechanic as well. Wayne has to do this kind of problem-solving frequently in his job. Mackenzie totally thinks like this on a daily basis. When he finds a problem, whether its hardware or software related, he starts thinking of all of the different things that could be causing it, and then starts methodically narrowing them down.He's the kind of person I would've loved to have on my team at Microsoft! What a cool kid.


Ian said...

That is very cool indeed. Also, that's my game! I'm in the credits!

Margie said...

That is cool, and unexpected.