The server farm that hosts the UK level of The Matrix simulation has been running at reduced capacity all day. An unexpected overrun in planned maintenance has caused a noticeable reduction in the perceived realism of the UK since yesterday evening.
In an interview with 'Agent Smith' of The Matrix, the sentient AI spokesbot explained that planned hardware upgrades of several servers, had coincided with a simulation software QA problem.
“We started the hardware refresh at 20:00GMT, 15/11/2010 simulated time, patching the simulation software as the servers were brought back online. Unfortunately, significant issues were identified with the physics engine at 23:30, which caused some weird gravity effects and noticeable frame rate reductions. Some people's feet didn't quite touch the ground, and a bug in the collision detection algorithm was causing people's arms to stick through walls.
We do this sort of upgrade at night, when the humans are either sleeping or pissed, so our infrastructure problems are unlikely to have had a significant effect on our current crop.”
As a result of the patch back-out process, approximately 25% of the servers are still offline, causing significantly higher loads on the remaining production machines. Short term measures have been introduced to alleviate the performance issues, such as fog and reduced temperature. Agent Smith explained -
“We turn on the fog as a computationally cheap alternative to rendering so much depth detail in the outdoor scenes. We just slap on a pure white alpha channel with 75% opacity, and the graphics hardware takes care of the rest. Reducing the temperature means that people generally stay indoors – indoor scenes are easy to do, with mostly static lighting and hardly any environmental effects. We even had a royal wedding announcement, to distract the parasites, I mean humans, from the crappy 1990s looking water coming out of their taps.”
Expectations of realism have risen in recent years.
“10 years ago, we'd just switch off Anti-Aliasing, go 16-bit and maybe downsample the sprites. These days, having trees that always face towards you, would stick out like a sore thumb - we'd have to pull the plugs on all the under 25s immediately.
Have you ever looked at a tree? They're bloody 3D fractals!”
The Matrix is expected to be operating at full capacity in a few hours time, unless further problems are encountered.
“We are working around the clock to restore normal realism to blighty.bsp. The Matrix apologises for any inconvenience caused.”