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Gotchya!

From: Caleb Franklin <CastorYPollux@gmail.com>
To: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>

Hi Jason,

Just getting the chance now to reply back to you about those questions you sent me; here are the answers:

My favorite game is Never Winter Nights

As far as music I listen to while programming, I prefer electronic music.  Right now I am listening to a rotation of Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx, and Nujabes (even though Nujabes are more of J-pop, they flow in well with Daft Punk and Basement Jaxx.)


I came up with the idea for building an AI that could get past Captcha because I wanted a learning and evolving AI to help create a different scenario each time you play the game.  That way, it doesnt always have to follow the same script, which can make game play more challenging and unique.  I always felt that when you play a game after finishing it, the experience should be different than when you beat it, instead of just following the exact sub routines that you initially went through over again.  I mean, why would you want to play the same screens repeatedly?  Otherwise, it loses its appeal after it’s already been done.  Consequently, that is also why I wrote it in a fantasy setting.  The next game I hope to work on will use the same game engine as Dragons Gate, but will be set in a sci-fi universe.

I hope this satisfies most of your inquiries, and thanks for getting in touch!

Caleb Franklin



“Still ’round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Hugh Collins <Virtuso1981@SilenusGames.com>
To: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>

Hi Jason.

I am not sure if you remember me or not... you interviewed me a while back when you were doing a piece about up-and-coming game developers
... you know, I was the one who worked on Dogs of War?

I’m writing to you now about Caleb Franklin.

I am sure your rag, being on the bleeding edge of gaming tech, is going to attempt to write an article about his recent contributions to gaming technology in because of that Captcha cheating monstrosity he created.  I realize you and I may not have developed much in the way of a rapport, but as someone who has a history with Caleb (we used to be roommates), I have to ask that you please save yourself and your reputable establishment some embarrassment, and just don’t bother with him.  I know from personal experience that this guy is a thief and liar.  Also, he will be coming up on charges soon for hacking.

I just wanted to warn you and the people in your office before you write some puff piece on this guy... he is not to be trusted, and not what he seems.

Sincerely,


Hugh Collins
Lead Game Developer,
Silenus Games


Virtuso1981@SilenusGames.com
606-879-1234


“My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking.
  I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.”

—Jean Paul Satre


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>
To: Caleb Franklin <CastorYPollux@gmail.com>

Hello Caleb,

Thank you for answering my questions. 


Hey, I dont mean to come off as a jerk, but it is part of my job as a journalist to do some fact checking, so I have to follow up after I received an email from a Hugh Collins at Silenus Games, and he said he was a former roommate of yours.  Did you work with him on any projects before?

I appreciate your understanding, and your prompt response.

Thanks,


Jason Hightower
Journalist,
Game Spot


Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com
719-354-7890


“Three things cannot be long hidden: The sun, the moon and the truth”
—Buddha


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Caleb Franklin <CastorYPollux@gmail.com>
To: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>

Hi Jason,

Hugh did used to be my roommate.  He moved out a few weeks before I finished my AI program; we had some differences of opinion on it.  But, to answer your other question, yes, I did help him with some other game programs.  I’m sure he’s warning you that I’m a hacker... he was always hassling me about that.  I imagine he only has the best of intentions... he was always a pretty decent dude.  So, just to be up front about everything, and put all my cards on the table, I’ll admit, I do have a background in hacking, but I wanted to go straight when I started learning game code, and I never looked back.

I did leave my calling card in the program I wrote on the other games.

You can find it embedded as follows:


)=( §♣ æŸ

Sincerely,


Caleb Franklin



“Still ’round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>
To: Hugh Collins <Virtuso1981@SilenusGames.com>

Hi Hugh,

I did some digging and it looks as though you may have been correct about Calebs background as a hacker.  We are having a computer forensics team run some tests on a handful of files we’ve obtained, and we are wondering if the following means anything to you:


)=( §♣ æŸ

We would appreciate a response as soon as possible.

Thank you,


Jason Hightower
Journalist,
Game Spot


Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com
719-354-7890


“Three things cannot be long hidden: The sun, the moon and the truth”
—Buddha


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Hugh Collins <Virtuso1981@SilenusGames.com>
To: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>

Hi Jason,

Im afraid the symbols you sent me arent familiar to me.  If I had to guess, I would say that is probably some sort of hacker code.  I am sure that Caleb is probably responsible.  I hate to say this, as he was a friend of mine, but a reputable magazine such as yours should be given fair warning against the promotion of illegal activity, in the hopes that you take the opportunity to wipe your hands clean of it.

Though, I hope you dont go too hard on him.  I mean,
like I said, dont do the piece, but, no need to throw the book at him.  He was in a terrible accident in our second trimester of College, and failed to graduate as a result.  He is now permanently wheelchair bound.  I helped him as best as I could, but there is only so much you can do for some people.  Though, deep down he is really not that bad a guy, I’m sure.  Just a little misguided, maybe.

Sincerely,



Hugh Collins
Lead Game Developer,
Silenus Games


Virtuso1981@SilenusGames.com
606-879-1234


“My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking.
  I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.”

—Jean Paul Satre


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Caleb Franklin <Caleb_Franklin@SilenusGames.com>
To: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>

Hi Jason,

I just received my advance copy of the magazine... the article is great!  The guys at Silenus Games have put me in charge of development for Dragon’s Gate.  They’ve even promised that if it is successful, they’ll make me the Lead Developer!

Unfortunately, my friend Hugh was fired before they hired me on.  They asked me about some programming I did for him... I figure he must have mentioned it to them?  I suppose he must have, because hed said a while back that he was going to help me get into Silenus.  We’d had a little bit of blowout over the captcha hacking aspect of the software, which I think is probably what ultimately brought about our parting of ways.  Of course, the bigwigs only tell me he was let go, though, I heard through the grapevine that it was due to some sort of falsification of records?  Don’t know what that’s all about, but, I hope he lands on his feet.  He was always pretty decent to me.  It’s too bad we had a falling out, but I wish him well.

Anyways, thanks again for the great article about my work.

I hope to work with you again in the future.

Sincerely,


Caleb Franklin
Project Leader,
Dragons Gate
Silenus Games, Inc.


Caleb_Franklin@SilenusGames.com
606-879-1234


“Don't aim for success if you want it, just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”
—David Frost


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Hugh Collins <HughMorris@gmail.com>
To: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>

Hello Jason,

You will be hearing from my lawyers.  I dont know what kind of B.S. you’re trumping up over there, but you told your bosses I’d been stealing other peoples’ work?!!   I am going to have you up on slander charges!  And as far as my former friend is concerned, you can tell him to expect to be hearing from the Feds regarding his activities prior to his employment at Silenus Games.  I did note that you mentioned he was a former hacker in your article, so hopefully that will help to bury him, and I guess I should thank you for the ammunition.

See you in court A$$HOLE
Hugh Collins



“Success is how you bounce when you hit bottom”
—General George S. Patton


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>
To: Hugh Collins <HughMorris@gmail.com>

Hugh,

First of all, I can understand your frustration at losing your job, however, I have to say, you should know, you did this to yourself, and quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for you.

If you had not had me look into Caleb’s work, as well as his past, I would never have stumbled onto the fact that he was doing most, if not all of your game engine development and design.  He may not have realized it, either, but when I had a computer forensics expert go over the coding of the games you supposedly designed, we found Calebs signature all over it.

My guess is, you just told him he was helping you “fix” a bit of broken code, and, being the good friend he is, he probably never even suspected you of stealing his work and passing it off as your own.

It is a good thing, for his sake, that you had a fight with him over his brilliant idea to create an AI that could get around captcha.  I think it was the only way he was ever going to be free from a jerk like you.

Sincerely,



Jason Hightower
Journalist,
Game Spot


Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com
719-354-7890


“Three things cannot be long hidden: The sun, the moon and the truth”
—Buddha


P.S.  I sent a copy of the forensics evidence to our legal team, so you can expect to be countersued.


______________________________________________________________________________
From: Jason Hightower <Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com>
To: Caleb Franklin <Caleb_Franklin@SilenusGames.com>

Hello Caleb,

Thank you for your kind words about my article.  I am looking forward to working with you in the future, as well.

And
I wouldnt worry too much about Hugh, if I were you.  Im sure hell get whats coming to him.

Sincerely,


Jason Hightower
Journalist,
Game Spot


Jason_Hightower@GameSpot.com
719-354-7890


“Three things cannot be long hidden: The sun, the moon and the truth”
—Buddha


(for another perspective on this theme, please see my partner's companion piece to this entry:
INTERSUBJECTIVITY)


LJI WEEK 20:
CAPTCHA THE FLAG

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
kickthehobbit
Sep. 10th, 2014 05:57 am (UTC)
Oh, I really like this—you told it well through e-mails! :)
mamas_minion
Sep. 10th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I wanted to try something different with my formatting this time.
i_17bingo
Sep. 10th, 2014 08:36 am (UTC)
I came up with the idea for building an AI that could get past Captcha, as that would be a learning and evolving AI.

I spent a fair amount of time in this piece wondering if any of the three here were AIs. My suspicion had fallen upon Hugh at first, but it became clear that Caleb was the most likely subject... but it turns out they are just petty gamers out to get each other. This did not diminish my appreciation of this piece.

The format is spot on--the detail I appreciated the most was the little quotations on the signers that seemed ubiquitous among the more tech-savvy during e-mail's infancy. (I don't send or receive personal e-mails anymore, so I don't know if they're still there.)

The sniping is brilliant, and it it's pretty relevant these days as the if-it-weren't-for-the-death-threats-and-identity-theft-it-would-be-hilarious #gamergate has thrown light on the childishness that goes on in the subculture.
mamas_minion
Sep. 10th, 2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
Originally I was going to have the AI in there somewhere, But I decided to have only email interactions between the humans. I was going to add an email from the AI at the end but decided against it.
bleodswean
Sep. 10th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC)
Woo-hoo!!!! Superb use of the prompt and fantastic use of form! This WORKS!!! And omg the signatures!!! Great job.
mamas_minion
Sep. 10th, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoy it thank you for reading
kajel
Sep. 11th, 2014 03:35 pm (UTC)
This was great! The signatures were awesome.
mamas_minion
Sep. 11th, 2014 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you< I was hoping the signatures would be a nice touch
roina_arwen
Sep. 11th, 2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
It's sometimes hard (for me) to follow strings of emails like this, but you made it work well. Nicely done. :)
mamas_minion
Sep. 11th, 2014 08:15 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it thank you for reading.
beeker121
Sep. 11th, 2014 05:37 pm (UTC)
Hugh's first emails left me thinking "he doth protest too much" which was true apparently. You created three very distinct voices for these guys.
mamas_minion
Sep. 11th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I was hoping the voices were different enough.
jem0000000
Sep. 11th, 2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
Nicely done. :)
mamas_minion
Sep. 11th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thank you
(no subject) - jem0000000 - Sep. 28th, 2014 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
favoritebean
Sep. 11th, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC)
Wonderful piece! You had me at the NWN reference, and didn't let go until the very end.

I think the only issue I had with the piece is that upon googling Caleb Franklin, I found pictures of a person by that name who was obviously not the character as described. (I always end up googling characters, fwiw).

With that in mind, were Caleb and Hugh the same person? Time to read the intersection....

Good work on this piece!
mamas_minion
Sep. 11th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you, No Caleb and Hugh are not the same person they were room mates since college.
rayaso
Sep. 11th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC)
You really used the email form extremely well, and the story revealed itself very nicely. This was a fascinating entry and an excellent counterpoint to kickthehobbit's entry.
mamas_minion
Sep. 13th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC)
Thank you, I am proud of the email set up I did here

Edited at 2014-09-13 12:41 am (UTC)
swirlsofblue
Sep. 12th, 2014 01:31 pm (UTC)
Amusing and a very gratifying result, a lovely interpretation of the prompt
mamas_minion
Sep. 13th, 2014 12:41 am (UTC)
Thank you
(no subject) - mamas_minion - Sep. 17th, 2014 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
dmousey
Sep. 13th, 2014 02:03 pm (UTC)
What a jerky friend, trying to pass off someone else's work as your own never goes well. This was an engrossing read. Thanks for writing it! :)
mamas_minion
Sep. 17th, 2014 01:25 am (UTC)
Cheaters never win, or at least one would like to believe that is true.
halfshellvenus
Sep. 13th, 2014 08:44 pm (UTC)
This was such fun, and so well-written.

I also like that we can't be entirely sure what the truth is, only that Hugh is in some way, an asshole:

I am sure your rag

Because THAT always puts people in the mood to listen to you. Can't wait to read the other half. :D
mamas_minion
Sep. 17th, 2014 01:48 am (UTC)
Thanks, I wanted Hugh to come across as whiny, clueless, and arrogant
alycewilson
Sep. 14th, 2014 10:23 pm (UTC)
I always like pieces told through letters. It can be a great way of telling a complete narrative and having interaction between characters without it being just a long string of dialogue.
mamas_minion
Sep. 17th, 2014 01:49 am (UTC)
I usually do a lot of dialogue, but I wanted to try and avoid it if possible in this piece.
karmasoup
Sep. 16th, 2014 03:54 am (UTC)
I have really always enjoyed this method of storytelling. It offers such a quick, simplistic means to convey all of the most relevant details, without really having to develop the characters, and allowing everything else to be inferred. This is a fantastic example of this classic style. Well done!
mamas_minion
Sep. 17th, 2014 02:01 am (UTC)
Thank you, I wanted to do a letter writing format and decided to do email instead.
cheshire23
Sep. 16th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
Oh, this was fun! Not at all the ending I expected but I was very glad to read it.
mamas_minion
Sep. 17th, 2014 02:02 am (UTC)
Thank you I am glad you enjoyed it.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )