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Monday, January 3, 2005

 

Shoot Me Kangaroo Down, Sport

An urban legend with some truth to it:

`As virtual reality simulators assume larger roles in helicopter combat training , programmers have gone to great lengths to increase the realism of the their scenarios, including detailed landscapes and — in the case of the Northern Territory’s Operation Phoenix — herds of kangaroos [..]

Being efficient programmers, they just re-appropriated some code originally used to model infantry detachments reactions under the same stimuli, changed the mapped icon from a soldier to a kangaroo, and increased the figures’ speed of movement.

Eager to demonstrate their flying skills for some visiting American pilots, the hotshot Aussies “buzzed” the virtual kangaroos in low flight during a simulation. The kangaroos scattered, as predicted, and the Americans nodded appreciatively . . . and then did a double-take as the kangaroos reappeared from behind a hill and launched a barrage of stinger missiles at the hapless helicopter. (Apparently the programmers had forgotten the remove “that” part of the infantry coding).’




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