Rubber Ducky, You're the One

Falcon in Combat 6

Whew!  Just wrapped up missile vapor trails (which look awesome, screenies coming soon) and I'm moving on to writing some rudimentary AI for the NPC ships to be able to fly themselves around as targets for the player. In starting this illustrious endeavor, I encountered a superbug. You know, one of THOSE kinds of bugs. The kind of bug that doesn't make any sense whatsoever. The kind of bug where there can't possibly be a bug, but yet, the bug abides (not unlike The Dude.) The Dude abides.

Whenever I encounter a superbug, the first and best weapon in my arsenal is a rubber duck. Well, not a literal rubber duck; in my case it's a shampoo bottle. But the idea behind a rubber duck is that you can describe the superbug to it in detail, and in doing so, you magically talk yourself into realizing the reason for the superbug's Dude-like abiding. This phenomenon, which most programmers are familiar with, is colloquially known as "rubber ducking", because the first guy to coin the term always used a rubber duck as his non-technical subject to whom the problem is described.

My rubber duck is most often my shampoo, since the shower is where I do most of my code design. If I'm not in a showery mood, I'll use the next most convenient non-technical subject: Drew, who is only slightly more technically savvy with programming than a half-empty bottle of Suave, and therefore a perfect sounding board to listen to my technical mumbo-jumbo until my mistake happens to dawn on me. So far my success rate for ferreting out superbugs in this fashion is in the high ninety percentile, if not a perfect 100%.

This last superbug had me emphatically gesturing and flailing about in the shower as I struggled to make my shampoo bottle understand my plight. After about 10 minutes of this, my shampoo bottle curtly slapped me across the face, called me a colossal idiot, and shouted the answer so loudly I almost cried. Finally, the superbug that had plagued me for three whole days was dead. I sang a little song in triumph and might have danced a little jig. Dead bugs always make me mirthful.

On a totally unrelated note, I discovered my shampoo bottle has a Scottish accent.

Ryan Buhr

Reactor Interactive, LLC, 4447 Walnut Ridge Rd, Land O' Lakes, FL, 34638, United States