Aleph.Engineering

The 3 Funniest Software Development Fails

The 3 Funniest Software Development Fails

Software developers can face all sorts of failures. From buggy code to unintentional program behavior, a trivial lack of awareness could sometimes cause funny errors. It is fun only in hindsight, mind you, as you would not want to be in that situation. Here are some of the best stories from the internet when software developers and users faced uncomfortable situations.

#3. Recursive Swear Word Filter One user from Quora had sent an internal email to a few of her work colleagues complaining about something, and in the subject line she had written “Fuck that shit”. Obviously, this has triggered the language filter of the company, causing her to receive a warning with the subject “Re: Fuck that shit”, which re-triggered the language filter and sent another warning, “Re: Re: Fuck that shit” and so on, creating an infinite loop. To add to that, a few of her colleagues had replied to her email, creating more loops. She went to work the next day to find out that her inbox was full and the email server was temporarily down. Good thing is that the company decided to see the fun side of it, and eased out on the language filtering. 

#2. Nuclear Gandhi In the original Civilization video game, each world leader had a parameter that described their aggression on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest. Naturally, Mahatma Gandhi of India had the lowest aggression rating of 1. The software developers have stored the aggression level on an 8-bit unsigned integer variable, which could only store values between 0 and 255. Changing certain aspects of the game, such as switching the government form, would change the aggressive nature of the leader. When democracy is selected, the aggression level would decrease by 2. But this is not possible in Gandhi’s case as he was already at the lowest value. Due to integer overflow, his aggression level would be set to 255, which is around 25 times higher than the most aggressive leaders. At level 1, he would only be able to wage defensive wars. At 255, he would call for a nuclear strike on other nations at the slightest provocation. This bug was fixed in later versions of the game but the developers decided to keep it as an Easter egg in later versions for fun.

#1. World of Warcraft Virus Yes, a virus, but not a “computer virus”. In 2005, Blizzard Entertainment, developer of World of Warcraft (WoW) released a character called Hakkar, the god of blood. He was given the ability to infect players within his close proximity with a blood virus. While that was the intention, player-to-player transfer occurred in-game. Moreover, in-game pets and non-player characters also became carriers of the virus. Thousands of low-level characters died instantly after contracting the virus, and even high-level characters did not last much longer, which was not fun for the players. This took several updates and server resets to rectify.

Helen García

Helen García

Developer is passionate about the world of AI.

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