Diecast #123: Tony Hawk 5, Star Citizen, Patreon Hack

By Shamus
on Oct 5, 2015
Filed under:
Diecast

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Hosts: Josh, Rutskarn, Shamus, Campster, Mumbles. Episode edited by Rachel.

Show notes:

01:00 Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5

It’s funny and heartbreaking at the same time. (Unless you paid for it, in which case it’s infuriating.)


Link (YouTube)

10:09 Star Citizen

Here is the Escapist Article that kicked of the discussion. And now Cloud Imperium Games is threatening to sue the Escapist.

25:35 Patreon hack

Ars has the story.

37:12 WRESTLEMAN SHOW

Everything is not okay in wrestling.

51:08 Rustkarns D&D story

A follow-up to the tale Rutskarn told last week. Spoiler: Stuff happened.

54:17 Mailbag

Dear Diecast,

What is your worst example of when a game writer overestimated how cool their character is? Examples for me include Johnny Gat and Kai Leng. I never cared about Johnny Gat in SR2, but SR4 ended up revolving around him. While Kai Leng was… Kai Leng.

58:56 Soma

No spoilers here. We plan to spoil the game next week.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!


is a programmer, an author, and nearly a composer. He works on this site full time. If you’d like to support him, you can do so via Patreon or PayPal.


A Hundred!205There are 125 comments here. I really hope you like reading.

From the Archives:

  1. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Yay Mumbles is back! And the whole gang is here when she is. When was the last time that happened?

    Probably a couple of weeks ago. But yay!

    Edit: Four weeks ago. And Mumbles has been on even more recently. But I’m going to announce the triumphant return of Mumbles every time shes on.

  2. krellen says:

    On the Patreon breach:

    Breaches are inevitable. Once your organisation reaches a certain size (and Patreon is there), you will have a breach, and the issue becomes not preventing all breaches, and rather becomes mitigating the damage of a breach. And this is where Patreon has succeeded. Their data was properly encrypted and separated – payment information wasn’t stored in the same place as user data, and user data was encrypted and salted to (what it sounds like) the best practices standards.

    These hackers got information, yes, but for the most part it sounds like the information they got is mostly innocuous (like, addresses aren’t a serious breach; anything you could find from the White Pages isn’t really “private” anyway) and Patreon wasn’t doing anything ridiculous with the data they should keep secure, like passwords.

    Like the casters, this breach doesn’t really bother me.

    • Aulayan says:

      as someone who doesn’t use Patreon, I agree. This doesn’t make me worried about using it in the Future if I ever get the ability to do so. This was well done.

      But alas logic doesn’t reign, ever.

      • Thomas says:

        From what ArsTechnica said, the mistake they made with this breach was stupid enough that the encrypting on the passwords might be worthless. According to Ars, because they accessed the site through a debugging tool that was left in, the people have access to the source code and it’s very possible they’re going to find shortcuts in the code which will allow them to get through the encryption much much faster.

        That was what happened with the Ashley Madison breach passwords, which were salted and bcrypt’ed similarly to Patreon but broken within a few weeks.

        • KingMarth says:

          I don’t see anything in the Ars article about source code access specifically, though since they had arbitrary code privileges it would probably be trivial to grab their binary and decompile it, which would just be a layer or two of obfuscation. Same thing if the source code was on the same server of a debug-version site.

          I had the same “why are you angry at a company for being targeted, then honest and apparently well-prepared for the inevitable attack” reaction when I saw people angry at Patreon, but the mode of attack does sour me on this. Oh well, the encryption should hold long enough for many people to change passwords, hopefully weighted towards the people moving lots of money.

          • Thomas says:

            I’m not sure if its the same article Shamus linked to. It’s this one
            http://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2015/10/gigabytes-of-user-data-from-hack-of-patreon-donations-site-dumped-online/

            “Hackers have published almost 15 gigabytes’ worth of password data, donation records, and source code taken during the recent hack of the Patreon funding website.”

            The fact that source code exists … is interesting [and] suggests much more than just a typical SQL injection attack and points to a broader compromise,” he told Ars. [Troy Hunt]

            “With the inclusion of source code, however, it’s possible crackers may find programming mistakes that could significantly accelerate the process. That’s precisely what crackers did last month to bcrypt-hashed password data taken during the hack of the cheaters dating website Ashley Madison. Access to the source code may also expose the encryption key said to protect social security numbers and tax IDs.”

            So I think it’s more serious than Shamus and Chris thought it was.

            • By the looks of it, emails, some passwords (due to that hash blooper they made), social security number, addresses, who they funded and how much.
              Python/PHP source code (probably gained from a admin login that was hacked).
              And whatever else in the database/file downloads.

              Would suck to be a politician that crowdfunded a new sex toy though and that info was leaked.

              @Chris the majority of the md5 hashed passwords was “reversed” and matched with the bcrypt ones.
              This means the hackers know email and password pairs and could use that to try and get into other accounts of those users around the net.

        • Falterfire says:

          ‘Get through the encryption faster’ doesn’t make much sense in this context. If they’re using a true bcrypt process, not only is that not a secret method with ‘shortcuts in the code’, it’s also non-reversible.

          The way properly salted & hashed passwords are found is not by decrypting the hash (that’s not feasible, and if it was all you could get is one of the many values that hashes to a particular result) but by repeatedly guessing and checking the salt & hash of the guess against the stored result.

          As I understand it (Working off a handful of Master’s level cryptography courses but no practical experience here), having the code shouldn’t help find passwords more easily unless Patreon was using a custom algorithm that differs from bcrypt in some way.

          Looking at the Ars Technica article on the Ashley Madison hack, the source code didn’t make it easier to crack the bcrypt hashes, it just revealed that a bunch of the accounts also had MD5 password hashes. I suppose a similar thing could happen here, but it’s not exactly standard practice.

          • Thomas says:

            They get the bcrypt hashes from finding the passwords through the MD5 tokens right? And sure Patreon probably won’t make the same error, but it shows how sites that took good steps to ensure password safety can make mistakes that completely undercuts that safety. And with Patreon, they have the opportunity to look for those mistakes at will, so at the very least the passwords aren’t definitely secure in the way they would be if they just had a database of encrypted passwords

            • 4th Dimension says:

              The problem with AM was that they were using MD5 and not SHA (right?). MD5 can be decrypted if you know the decrypt key. SHA on the other hand is a one way street and actually destroys part of the data, so there is no way to reverse SHA encrypted passwords, unless as others have said you brute force guess the password and see that the hash of brute forced passwd is the same as db hash. Unless Patreon did something boneheaded like use MD5, which really is not the standard and would be STUPITITY extreeme, the passwords are pretty safe.

              T&hat is unless your passwd is one of the common ones for which we know hashes.

              • guy says:

                The AM story is so much stupider. They used bcrypt to store their passwords, but they also had login tokens, which consisted of the username and plaintext passwords, then hashed with MD5.

                • 4th Dimension says:

                  Wait, does that mean their login tokens were constant?!? I thought the point of those was to make something that is new for every login so even if somebody gets their hands on one it will not be of much use to him soon.

                  • guy says:

                    The point is mostly to let people be logged in without sending password information back and forth on literally every message. HTTP is stateless and you need some sort of login token if you don’t want to log in every time you do literally anything. Changing them intermittently would make things more secure but probably be a headache to implement.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Pretty much.Even if you have the encryption algorithm and the salt,you still need to brute force the passwords.Though when you get your hands on a bunch of passwords instead of just one,you are pretty much bound to guess a seizable percentage of the more common ones quickly.

            • guy says:

              It’s possible they messed up the algorithm, however; the Ashley Madison hack turned out to, for incredibly stupid reasons, contain passwords hashed with MD5. Which is not suitable for encryption.

            • Trix2000 says:

              Though at that point, I think it becomes a bit questionable on whether to blame the company as opposed to the people with poor passwords.

              Especially in a case like Patreon that, IIRC, did not have draconian password requirements.

              • 4th Dimension says:

                People can not determine which hashing method is used for their passwd I’m pretty certain. So if there are MD5 passwords the blame rests squarely on the devs.

    • Aldowyn says:

      I’d heard somewhere in passing that they had data on an externally facing server that should have been internal only? Or something? *shrug*

  3. Thomas says:

    Disappointed that Derek Smart hasn’t already commented

  4. The Rocketeer says:

    Anyone interested in the Star Citizen/Escapist brouhaha might be interested in this short analysis of the lawsuit by Ken White, litigator and legal blogger at Popehat.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Keep in mind that the article is directed at CIG’s potential lawsuit, which is not yet an actual lawsuit (I regret referring to it as a lawsuit above, but I can’t edit the post anymore), on its litigious merits and appearances, how it strikes an experienced litigator as a legal posture and strategy. Ken opines lightly on the behavior of both the Escapist and CIG, and digresses on Derek Smart’s infamy, but ultimately ignores the validity of either party’s allegations.

      While he does state that CIG makes a good case that the Escapist was either fooled or out of its depth, I’d take that as less than support for CIG (given, especially, his subsequent appraisal) and more simply as an observation that their allegations, if taken to be true, somewhat discredit the Escapist’s sources or presentation. That matters from a legal perspective, in which CIG’s statements form the basis for discovery into the Escapist if they actually pulled the trigger on a lawsuit.

    • Wide And Nerdy says:

      “Anyway, hearing of crowdfunder complaints about the awaited Star Citizen, Smart criticized it. He invoked his vast experience in having produced the Howard The Duck, the Edsel, the New Coke of space sims, a monstrosity called Battlecruiser 3000AD”

      As of this writing I don’t know who Derek Smart is and this is the first Popehat article I’ve read, though I’ve heard the name, but reading this sentence from Popehat really make me want to like Smart to just to spite the columnist. Maybe I won’t like Smart but the above sentence gives me a better first impression of him than it does of it’s own writer.

      He reminds me a little too much of Colin Campbell (though he’s not nearly as bad.)

      • Supahewok says:

        No. Don’t like Smart. Please don’t.

        The man might have been the first professional troll on the web. He’d use Google Alerts to find his name on gaming forums, come in, and spew flames. His history in actually developing games is akin to Molyneux, only Molyneux actually released some good and complete ones back in the day, which Smart has yet to do. His current project has been up on Early Access and taking money for years with little signs of moving beyond its Alpha.

        Smart is not a man to trust. And I don’t say this about many people, but his status as a human punchline is deserved. He brought it on himself after over half a decade of trolling.

        • A point regarding the Derek Smart game in Early Access. Unless my memory is wrong Mr. Smart stated (on his own site) that the game when done will be released as a free game.
          The game itself is self funded by Mr. Smart and the devs.
          So in essence people are paying for early access to the game, not paying for the game itself (which will be free).

          As far as Mr. Smart being a troll, sure.

        • Trix2000 says:

          Even if you don’t like or trust Smart (and to be fair, I really don’t like how aggressive he seems to be) his articles have brought up a fairly big question about the money. I’d think if nothing were going wrong over at CIG, they’d just post their records and be done with it. Makes me suspicious.

          One thing I WILL credit Smart for is that, whatever his reputation and attitude may be, he doesn’t try to give the impression otherwise – he just argues the point. While I may not like him or his methods all that much, it’s hard for me to discount his main question – what’s happened to the money?

      • TMC_Sherpa says:

        If you have time, and I mean lots of it, look up the Prenda tag on Popehat. You don’t have to read all of it but look at the naming convention on the attachments.

      • Squirly says:

        If you take nothing else about Derek Smart away from that popehat article, Battlecruiser 3000 AD should be enough.

        Screw that game. It’s the worst example of bloated, broken, unplayable, all-round terribleness. That is literally the most high profile thing he’s known for and that’s because it’s a mess.

      • Jeff says:

        I second the recommendation to read Popehat’s series on Prenda Law. It’s glorious Justice Porn, especially in light of this year’s developments.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I’m not into Justice Porn as much. Sometimes it gets the better of me so I understand (and do not judge) the desire for it. But the need to turn condemnation on others, even on those who deserve it, its a reflection of an ugliness we all still have.

          I guess you could defend it by saying that if it is an ugliness, its not uniquely ugly and its one of many instances of us taking something darker about ourselves and making an earnest effort at repurposing it into something good and noble. (or at least less bad)

          I think even in an age when we preach tolerance, we’re all adopting that standard in this way, by finding acceptable limits for the targets of our scorn and judgment. Some still judge based on race and gender, a couple of steps down from that would be fat shaming and its cousin, the Jerry Springer style show, then we have shows like Law and Order or 24 or even Popehat’s website where we can enjoy the condemnation of those who have wronged us or others. But I feel like the same basic desire is at the root of all of these things.

          Perhaps its a twisting of our own desire to be accepted (i.e. “I’m not THEM, I’m US”). I don’t know. It just bugs me.

          But I’ve done that very thing with my last snarky post. I’ve turned up my nose at someone for turning up his nose. This weed has very deep roots.

          Sorry to get so heavy in the comments but I know you guys are a thoughtful bunch, I’d love to see if this provokes a response. And if you feel condemned by what I just wrote, please don’t. If you feel its too much navel gazing . . . thats fair.

          EDIT: I just realized that this could be perceived as being directed at Shamus. For what its worth, I’ve always felt like he gets it when it comes to this issue and that he’s less likely to condemn a person than he is to be genuinely frustrated about something stupid they’ve done. I think there’s a difference. Perhaps its informed by his experience as a father.

          • We all react in haste sometimes, and we all have things we like that maybe we’re not entirely proud of (I read the Daily Mail. I know what it is, and yet I read it. I’m hoping my NPR listening cancels it).
            And anger can often be used as a substitute to keep from feeling something else (I know my depression level’s worsening when I get mad a lot. If I’m mad, I’m not sad, and sad can overpower me).

            I think the split-second judging is going to be something humanity struggles with for a long time to come. Our brains sort things into categories to help deal with reality, so it’s a very hard thing to overcome (and it may not be possible to do so, the best I’ve managed is to be aware of the categories of humanity in my head and try to catch myself any time I make an assumption based on them).

          • The Rocketeer says:

            Without getting into Popehat’s oeuvre- since it’s a legal blog and therefore inherently political- I’d caution that you may have misapprehended the aim and tenor of the site from the perhaps overzealous and misguided description of its purview given above. As a direct consequence of the blog’s frequent subject matter, Ken White- author of the article linked above and founder of the site- has written extensively and often about the exact dynamic you’re talking about now, and while you might find his acerbic affectations distasteful, I also think that you and he are more in agreement on this principle than you might realize.

            The reason I linked to the article in the first place is, first, because it’s something different from and far more substantive than the murky “he said/she said” that’s characterized the Star Citizen story thus far, and because White has a redoubtable track record of interpreting and explaining in layman’s terms cases like these and others soberly and according to actual law, and not according to the law of feels; this disinterest in blithely serving the kind of inquisitional narrative you describe above has earned him a formidable complement of detractors, to put it very mildly.

            But before I get ahead of myself, I don’t necessarily recommend digging into the blog, not because I don’t approve of it (I follow it myself ravenously), nor because I fear honest scrutiny would return a differing opinion, but because it is, after all, primarily concerned with laboriously dissecting dry minutiae of current court events, essentially doing for a small subset of historical and ongoing cases what Shamus & Co. do for narrative and verisimilitude in games, and would honestly rarely interest anyone not naturally inclined to this particular geekdom regardless of whether or not they ultimately agreed or disagreed with any of the site’s multiple contributors, factually or philosophically.

            So, I guess I’m just asking for a little good faith, since the alternative is to try and inveigle you to pore over tens of thousands of words about shifting or ambiguous jurisdictional interpretations of jurisprudential precedent regarding multitudinous, generally First Amendment-related cases, sprinkled liberally with references to the taint.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              If nothing else, I thank you for the word “inveigle”. Hadn’t seen it before and I like it. Now off to pick up that article where I left off.

        • TMC_Sherpa says:

          All this talk about Ken and nothing about ponies?

  5. Aulayan says:

    Same time Mumbles goes “Watch Lucha Underground!” I do as well. Everything she said I heartily concur on. It’s fantastic.

  6. Sagretti says:

    If Campster wants something over the top enough, there’s always Kaiju Big Battel, which features wrestling matches between Godzilla-style giant monsters. The first video on their YouTube features a giant plantain attempting to attack his opponent with a chainsaw.

  7. Aulayan says:

    WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT. JOHNNY GAT ISN’T AS COOL AS THE WRITERS THINK THEY ARE?! WHOA MAN. I WILL FIGHT YOU ANYWHERE, I WILL FIGHT YOU ON THE MOON!

    Seriously, and this may just be due to who the voice actor is because I’m Pro Daniel Dae Kim in anything. But…No. I love Johnny Gat, just love him. However, yeah, most characters who are ‘cool’ are never as cool as the writers think they are.

    • Jokerman says:

      I really liked him in SR2… i thought he actually was “cool” Yet still ended up finding him annoying in 4, everyone was acting like he was more badass than the main character… including my main character. I guess i was jealous.

      • Merlin says:

        That was actually one of my favorite little things about SR3 & 4; your crew clearly loves you, but not in a way that leads to them showering you in constant affection. They’ll follow your lead, but they’ll do it while frankly pointing out that you’re an idiot and psychopath. (Puckish rogue.) It’s more pronounced in 4, since by all implications Gat would be a way more effective leader for the Saints, but it conspicuously goes ignored because why bother? It felt like a more authentic friendship than, say, the crew of the Normandy fawning over Sheperd-Senpai all the time.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m sorry, I just never saw much personality in him beyond a tough guy. Not saying he’s a badly written tough guy but still…

      That said me and a friend are planning to get “Gat Out of Hell” around winter holiday so maybe he’ll bump up on the list of favourites after his own game.

  8. Thomas says:

    It was ridiculous that Paige was still in the tag match with Charlotte and Becky. It instantly robbed her of any dynamism. She stops being an actual heel and turns into a whiny loser who gets kicked out of the friends club.

    • Aulayan says:

      But people love factions! It’s all they want in wrestling! They love the Wyatt family! They loved the Shield! They loved NWO. So obviously if we take all our female wrestlers (Except poor poor Summer) and put them in three different factions that don’t matter, the fans will love it!

      *sigh* I was hoping at the end of the Night of Champions match, instead of a long awkward ring celebration (Were they trying to make it meaningful ala Bayley’s in Brooklyn? Because, uh, no, you need to *earn* that celebration. Nothing was earned in that story), that Paige would basically Kevin-Owens Charlotte. That would have worked. The longer the celebration went on, and then to continue it backstage, I kept assuming that would happen.

      • overpoweredginger says:

        … Team Bad was good? I realize the average smark doesn’t acknowledge the existence of WWE female wrestlers unrelated to post-Haitch NXT, but Naomi & Tamina had a good thing going before Banks was added, and she was a perfect fit. It’s the only trio that actually has cohesion and works well together, frankly, and it’d be a shame if it ended before they got a proper title run (Naomi was due for one in April as well imo).

  9. Derek Smart says:

    This is such a poorly researched podcast. You only talk about that Escapist article like it’s a gospel or something. As journalists you should research your stuff more.

    Also, mister Young, you will be visited by my lawyers during this week.

  10. Joe Informatico says:

    I think skateboarding is one of those things that gets a mass culture revival every ten years or so, then retreats to margins for a while until the next one. It first took off around the mid-60s, had a revival in the late 70s, I remember one when I was a kid in the mid or late 80s, then there was the big one in the 90s. These days, I see a few teens or people in their early 20s who ride a longboard to work or school, but I think the thrasher stunt crowd is currently in the margins again.

    I know swing dancing is still a thing: I took lessons a couple of years ago and I know there are groups out there who are still into it. But no major revival like the late 90s yet.

  11. Dt3r says:

    Cool, another of my questions made it on! Interesting answers all around. I definitely didn’t see Mumbles’ answer coming. I only played Borderlands 2 though, so I didn’t get continuously exposed to Handsome Jack.

    • Ivan says:

      I have to agree as well, Jack is an interesting character but not interesting enough so as to survive multiple games.

      To this list I want to add
      every antagonist from Hitman Absolution
      Trehern from GW2
      and Bane from payday 2

      Seriously Bane, you say so much dumb/creepy/baffling things. I can never accept that you’re some sort of criminal mastermind.

  12. squiddlefits says:

    Mumbles’ storyline explanation – this just isn’t for me because that sounds like the corniest thing ever.

    • Aulayan says:

      The funny thing is, the original pilot of Lucha Underground was full of supernatural stuff. And the people in charge went “The fans will rip us to shreds” so they went with “normal wrestling storylines”. And occasionally they’d do something small. Then they’d watch Twitter and if the reaction to the small supernatural thing was positive, they’d expand far more on it.

    • Mumbles says:

      It’s fun pretending that corny stuff is real. But then again this is coming from someone who *really* gets into Medieval Dinner Shows.

  13. Muspel says:

    So… regarding the Escapist article on Star Citizen, their “sources” were reviews posted on Glassdoor. The five reviews that were quoted in the Escapist article went up only days before the article itself. (It’s worth noting that Glassdoor does not require any verification for posting reviews of a company, so there’s no proof that the reviews come from actual employees, past or present.)

    The Escapist now claims that their sources gave them exclusive interviews, then posted the exact same things (literally verbatim) onto Glassdoor before the article went up.

    While it’s possible that’s true… it’s also dubious. What seems more likely is that someone (maybe a group of trolls, or maybe even Derek Smart himself) posted some anonymous bullshit reviews onto Glassdoor, and the Escapist decided to post an article quoting them.

    I mean, look, I’m not saying that Star Citizen is necessarily free of problems. I have a lot of concerns and misgivings about the way that they’re doing things. But everything about the Escapist article stinks to high heaven.

    • Squirly says:

      This “copy and paste” claim seems to be made constantly about the Glassdoor complaints, but I have yet to actually see that. Escapist claimed that they vetted their sources and did not pull anything from Glassdoor – the fact that several people who claim to be ex-employees posted stories similar to what the article details isn’t strange in that regard. Does anybody have any actual examples of the “copy paste” that was done?

      • Lunokhod says:

        Part of how they were vetted were “CIG ID cards” which CIG confirmed they do not issue to employees.

        • Squirly says:

          One. One of the ex-employees was vetted like that.

          Also, what does that have to do with claims being copied from Glassdoor?

          • Thomas says:

            This is the link to laying out what people think was ‘copy and pasted’
            http://imgur.com/cGTiEFj

            This is the Reddit thread
            https://www.reddit.com/r/starcitizen/comments/3n6lum/escapist_anonymous_sources_uncovered

            I’m naturally suspicious of anything Reddit thinks it knows, because Reddit is group think in a box. So when I first read Muspel’s comment I went to look up the original sources to prove that actually it was probably just a couple of employees talking to a journalist and then using glassdoor.

            But when I went the first time, it was genuinely verbatim in places. “they may be over 40 which makes them a protected class and harder to fire.” appears exactly as is in a Glassdoor review before the article was released and the article itself. And other stuff is like that (for clarification, I can’t see the full review on glassdoor, but I can see the date and title which matches the screenshots and no-one has decried the screenshots as fake on Reddit).

            Most of it is not verbatim, but the non-verbatim is fairly comprehensive in touching the same points. It’s certainly the same employees posting reviews as speaking to the journalist if that’s what happened.

            I don’t want to make suppositions based on evidence as weak as that, but it was enough to make me remove my post defending the article out of hand. It is weird that the phrasing is so exact for a couple of sentences. It makes me think that this could be someone who was trying to troll The Escapist journalist and get a fake story going. Or it could be that genuine employees wrote their story down for The Escapist and then copy and pasted it into the reviews they then wrote.

            The truth is it’s just probably not enough to know either way, and it’d be incredibly unfair to form opinions on the journalist because of it. Or believe the specifics about Star Citizen, although with SC it’s clear that something not great is going on, even if we don’t know what it is.

            As far as the Escapist journalist goes, at the very worst she was being trolled by talented trolls. The accusations are BS, if she was going to fake an article it’s much easier to completely make it all up and then smart-alecs on reddit couldn’t try and dispute you.

            • Squirly says:

              Thanks for the links. Some of that stuff looks suspect, but some of it just looks like a lot of people talking about the same things. I guess we’ll see how this pans out. I’m curious about the sources, honestly, but that’s probably something that will only get resolved down the line, if at all.

            • Merlin says:

              Okay, step back for a second.

              The verbatim quote re: hiring a black girl is something that is being attributed to someone else, not the interviewee; that should line up across multiple formats. It could be that the same person who anonymously talked with a reporter about how terrible the company is also decided to anonymously post about how terrible the company is on a company review site. It could be that multiple people witnessed the quote in question and remembered it because it is pretty dang terrible. (And also reasonably short.) That is not a smoking gun by any stretch.

              The other two excerpts speak to the same issues as her article, but aren’t exact matches aside from use of the word “toxic.” That’s not terribly unique terminology in a corporate environment or in PC gaming, and it’s also the sort of vocabulary that disgruntled co-workers will tend to sync up as they grumble over lunch together.

              So what we have here is a single shared quote that was never presented as original writing, and a couple tidbits that corroborate some of the author’s points and do not discredit any of them. And, as the Popehat blog mentions, a CEO accused of being a raging jerk responds to said allegations by writing a flailing multi-page rant. All associated with a project that has been throwing red flags for a while.

              This does not immediately scream “ALL OF THE ETHICS.” It sucks for fans & backers hoping this project sees the light of day, but the idea that the writer fabricated all of this off of a couple Glassdoor reviews? Pretty far out on a limb.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    But what about disney infinity?Are you going to talk about soma before Chris gets a chance to talk about disney infinity?

  15. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I must say I find it funny that sir-not-appearing-in-this-podcast is titled first in the written portion.

  16. bigben01985 says:

    Wait. Soma is not as creepy but has Philip K. Dick style stuff? I may have to look into it then.

  17. Peter H. Coffin says:

    The only way that Campster and Mumbles are gonna resolve this is they’re gonna have to actually go to a live one.

    While GameLlama trash-talks on a video stream.

  18. Lunokhod says:

    The employees mentioned by Chris Roberts were fired not employees who voluntarily left. That kind of changes the odds of people being vindictive. Aldo the escapist never claimed to have seen pay stubs only “CIG ID cards” Wichita CIG confirmed they do not issue.

    • Shamus says:

      The most frustrating part of following this story is seeing the same arguments over and over again, often in the same thread. I saw the same “ID Badge” argument like 5 times in just one Reddit thread. For the record, here is what The Escapist says about the information:

      http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/14727-The-Escapist-Explains-Its-Star-Citizen-Sources-Vetting-and-Respo?utm_source=latest&utm_medium=index_carousel&utm_campaign=all

      They are claiming to have pay stubs. Only one person claimed ID card. Some people were interviewed on Skype so Liz could see their face. There’s a lot more to the investigation if you follow the link. In the end it STILL comes down to taking the Escapist’s word for it, but I’d love it if we could break out of this cycle of correction and move on to analysis. The facts of this case are complex, and it’s worth doing the reading if you’re going to participate in the discussion.

      Please, everyone: Read the articles before arguing what’s in them, if only to save my sanity. Thanks.

      • Falterfire says:

        So here’s the thing Shamus: You say you want us to read the articles and dig into things before we comment, but this is the internet. Why are we even here if not to argue over things we don’t understand and can’t be bothered to take the time to read into?

        Less jokingly: The more internet arguments I see from the outside, the more worrying it gets. Too often internet arguments end up circling around ideas picked up from other articles and you have no clue how many participants have read any of the material (or if the articles you read were accurate and you aren’t misremembering critical details). The worst is when I find myself circling the drain of pedantry only to realize a dozen comments deep that neither myself nor the guy I’m arguing with is talking about anything that was actually said in the article we’re supposedly discussing.

        … I’m not sure what my point here is, but I think it can be summarized as “The more Reddit I use, the less I like Reddit.”

      • ID card may be a misnomer.
        A RFID keycard with a CIG logo/or company name on it + a employee name could easily be mistaken for a ID card. A ID card would have a image on it or possibly more info. But a RFID card could also have all that info (or rather the RF-iD in the system would have that info attached to it).

        “Access card” would probably be more correct to say than a ID card, very few companies actually have a “ID card”.

      • Tsi says:

        I was going to comment on the “firing” versus “leaving” thing as well since I can’t help but feel you guys are being biased as some of you are linked to the Escapist.

        In my company, we’ve had a few people who worked for us and left for ‘reasons’ and we’re still in good terms with those we heard about after they left. Sure some might not have liked working with us (we’re a company in the financial area so it can’t be interesting for everyone) but i still have lunch with a couple of ex-employees from time to time as they found a better place not so far from here.
        We’ve also had others that, despite their very good work, didn’t fit for various reasons. We’ve had some old dudes in PR making sexist jokes or acting strange with our female co-workers, others didn’t wash their dishes or clean their desk (might seem strange but yep, we do this). I’ve seen some guys come out of the woman’s WC, leaving piss all over the toilets. I’ve seen some young designers sleep on the desk almost all day and never commit a single piece of work, etc…
        And we’re quite flexible. For example, we’ve accommodated the working hours for some employees that wanted to come later in the morning and we have a young guy in translations that is returning to school but we’re happy with his work so we’re discussing a possibility for him to keep working when he has time.

        [Edit : I realise that some of the ‘reasons’ for firing someone listed above seem lame on their own but they’re only the tip of the iceberg, things i’ve witnessed personally or was told about afterwards. Some stuff can be avoided or managed but what’s under the surface is private. It’s complicated.]

        These people were all nice and had good resumes when we hired them but personality or involvement isn’t something you can really test before hiring.

        And we’re only 12 people. I can only imagine this would be problematic in a larger company but 3-4 people complaining about some stuff they probably didn’t fully understand if even at all or got out of context or whatever seems insignificant when talking about a company as big as CIG.

        In any case, there is no proof to back any of these anonymous people’s story so we’re probably going to see some bad things happen in the next few days. Which is sad. : s

  19. FuzzyWasHe? says:

    If y’all want something that isn’t negative give Undertale a try. Unfortunately it’s one of those games that if I told you why it’s great it’ll spoiler things and hence ruin some of it. I know I’m only some random on the internet but OH MY GOD IT IS GOOD GO PLAY IT BECAUSE IT WILL BE A GOATY OR WHAT EVER THE ACRONYM IS

  20. John says:

    For many years, my policy regarding promising-sounding entertainment products (books, games, movies, whatever) has been “Gosh that sounds nice; I hope it turns out to be good”. I’ve been deeply invested–and still am, really–in media before, but my investment has always been in media that exists. I just can’t wrap my brain around getting super-hyped for something that I’ve never seen and have not had the chance to evaluate. The idea of giving thousands or even just hundreds of dollars to a man who might one day eventually produce a video game is quite frankly terrifying to me. I’ve read the occasional article on Star Citizen backers, but I still don’t understand why some people feel compelled to give their money away like that.

    I read the Escapist article after Shamus Tweeted a link, and I made the mistake of mistake if reading several pages of comments before I made my Will saving throw and closed the tab in my browser. My own position is that if Star Citizen does not yet exist it likely never will and that should it ever see the light of day that it will be utterly crushed by the weight of disappointed expectations. (See, for example, the comment sections for Rock, Paper, Shotgun articles that mention Elite: Dangerous.) But what struck me about the comments on the Escapist article is that people seemed to take the article as confirmation of their existing beliefs regardless of their position on Star Citizen itself. Skeptics were quick to claim that they knew it all along. Backers–for want of a better word–were quick to accuse everyone else of being “haters” and threw the phrase “smear campaign” around a lot. Nobody seemed prepared to admit that there’s still a lot we don’t know about the situation.

    Have I mentioned that I love the comments here? You guys are saner than sane by the standards of the internet and I really appreciate it.

  21. JackTheStripper says:

    Hey, guys, I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but from the show notes I can see that you talk about the Patreon hack at the 25th minute mark. Considering this hack might affect some of your listeners, I really think you should open with that story, at least in the interest of letting people know as soon as possible so they can take measure to protect their personal information.

  22. Hermocrates says:

    The Illusive Man is just a poor-man’s Cigarette Smoking Man.

    • venatus says:

      in all honesty it’s hard to imagine the Illusive man as anything except writers trying to make a cross between the cigarette smoking man and lex luthor without understanding anything of what makes either character compelling.

  23. Gragsmash says:

    Rutskarn!

    2 questions re: D&D

    1) Are you giving out XP for the gold piece value of treasure? I forget if that was still a thing in 2e.

    2) have you considered having “live capture” as an objective for a future adventure?

    • Ivan says:

      I’m really curious about the time (in universe) this thing took to pull off. I’d really love to hear more details about the plan in general. Sounds like it was a lot of fun to see in action.

    • Rutskarn says:

      1.) I use the optional rule which states that the gold-piece value of nonmagical, noncoin treasure converts directly to experience points.

      2.) Most definitely.

      3.) Operation Rat Drop needed about two weeks to get the initial supplies (cages, rats, chains and padlocks to seal off beholder chokepoints after the hot dose goes down) and a month and a half of spoofing and assembling the key components (the litter of several hundred poisoned rats, ie the hot dose). There were seven extremely tense rat drops, numbered, which were followed by Rat Drop Kill, wherein one of the players had an actual minor panic attack.

  24. Sad thing is that Chris Roberts created Freelancer, a really good space game IMO, but he left the project partway through. And now he’s creating Star Citizen, it’s only fair for people to be concerned.

    Roberts promised features such as automated flight maneuvers, dynamic economies, and a multiplayer mode that could host thousands of players, but diminished versions of these features were implemented in the final release. The game’s initial technical demos impressed reviewers, but after the Microsoft buyout and Roberts’ departure from Digital Anvil, critics had doubts about the game. Reviewers judged the final product technically good but failing to fulfill their initial expectations

    from the Wikipedia.

  25. @Rutskarn Why don’t you get any money from Unrest any more? Was there no perpetual royalties option (as long as the game is purchased you get a few coins tossed your way for each copy)?

    • Rutskarn says:

      I won’t talk about the specifics of my contract, but there’s no dramatic reason. There was a period where I received royalties and it has expired. In practical indie-gaming terms, this is basically a negligible loss on my part and streamlines a huge administrative headache on Arvind’s.

      To be honest, even if the game became a freak megahit tomorrow, I wouldn’t be upset. The physics of the indie scene means I’d end up with a good chunk of that money before long, and then I’d have *another* game pulling royalties.

      • Fair enough, as long as you are happy with the deal. There may be ways to simplify the overhead though (calculate royalties once per year for example).
        I was just assuming that since you weren’t working for a big label you’d get the most lucrative deal. And while it may be hard to quantify how much work a person ha put into a game, if one did 10% of the work then it would be fair if they got 10% of the profits as an example (after first pulling xx% for the future games budget pool).

        Also, I’m not insinuating anything in regards to Arvind. After all if you weren’t happy with his previous deal you wouldn’t be working with him again, so that speaks volumes just by that alone.

        Just promise yourself to never take a deal like Obsidian did with New Vegas (I think it was that) where they’d only get the bonus/rest of the money if they hit above a certain metacritic score (if Arvind tries that stunt, hit him over the head with a wet noodle or slap his face with a wet trout. *laughs*).

  26. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    Standing rule: if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Star Citizen fit that category.

    Standing rule: if someone goes out of their way not to answer a fairly basic question, it’s a bad sign. Christ Roberts spent, what, 5000 words ad homineming the reporter, and then actually answered some questions, but there’s an awful lot of equivocating and quibbling in them. The Escapist is standing by its reporter and detailing how it verified the sourcing. Stephan Glass this is not.

    I am withholding judgment for the time being, but the Escapist currently has the upper hand.

    • guy says:

      The rebuttal pretty much radiates the impression that all the allegations of a hostile work environment are entirely accurate. If he’s going to write a letter like that when he can reasonably expect it to be published, it’s hard to imagine he’d be more restrained writing to his subordinates.

  27. It kind of strikes me as funny that the talking in Wrestlemans is the weakest part of their presentation. It’s the opposite of what I heard about regarding the old WWF Wrestling RPG. I never played it, but every review said “Wait, don’t run away, this game is awesome!“*

    Anyway, a load of people in our local gaming community started playing a kind of “play by e-mail & message board” campaign, and the highlights were these forums where the wrestlers would smack-talk each other (I think for XP) as part of the flavor of the game. One guy found it so phenomenally hilarious he was printing a hard copy of the posts to archive for posterity. I think the archive became the equivalent of the game’s Championship Belt at one point.

    * Maybe Rutskarn can run a game with Mumbles eventually fighting him for the role of DM?

  28. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Tony hawk 5” is actually just called “tony hawk”.The “5” is its metacritic score.

    • OK! That was kinda funny. One problem though… Explain Final Fantasy 13 or whatever. :P

      • You get to have more sequels if you don’t try to push a crappy controller that looks like a skateboard.

      • flyguy says:

        Not to be a complete apologist for that game, but Final Fantasy 13 was neither complete garbage, nor released in a broken state. It has its fair share of problems, but many of those stem from long development spawned hype as well as how bombastic the games industry is.

        You will have to admit, at the very least, that the game was pretty. In most other factors it was a non entity with no envelopes pushed.

  29. Slothfulcobra says:

    The last time I needed a spoiler warning on the Diecast, it was for BioShock Infinite.

    After that disappointment, I’ve pretty much been disillusioned about the concept of avoiding spoilers in order to maintain a virgin playthrough. If there are well-designed twists, then you should be able to appreciate the story even if you know they’re coming. What these stringent anti-spoiler policies do is just make it impossible to discuss things so long as there’s some wild left turn thrown in. It gets so frustrating.

    Of course, if anything could be ruined by spoilers, it’s things that specifically provoke visceral reactions, like with comedy and horror.

  30. Kelerak says:

    With that mailbag question, I’m surprised nobody mentioned Vamp from Metal Gear Solid. His character exists solely to twist around and lick his knives while attacking in the “coolest” way possible. MGS4 also tries (and fails) to humanize him by saying that he always wanted to die, but couldn’t because “nanomachines, son”.

    Vamp is pretty much the original Kai Leng, if you think about it.

    • flyguy says:

      I’m on board with your assessment of Vamp for both games, but as far as metal gear series goes Raiden is the better example for me. Hes not meant to be cool at all in the 2nd game, but in 4 hes supposed to be this dark, grim badass, or at least hes pushed as one. MG: Rising Revengence goes even further beyond.

      Still not nearly as bad as Kai leng

    • Christopher says:

      You were expecting the cast to talk about Metal Gear?
      Vamp sucks, in a Dio Brando but now a TV Vampire kinda way, but I don’t think the game is in love with him exactly. He doesn’t have tons of screentime either. Big Boss or The Boss would count because characters fawn over them all the time, but they really were actually that cool, so I don’t mind.

      I’m going with Mumbles, Handsome Jack. Lots of folks love him, so clearly he is exactly as cool as the game thinks he is for other people than me, but I can’t stand him and he’s in there all the time. On the other hand, I sorta don’t like the Borderlands sense of humor anyway. How cool someone actually is seems as subjective as taste in humor.

  31. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Uhhh, you had to mention Drizzt when talking about the characters the devs believe to be more interesting than they actually are. I’m playing the Neverwinter MMO (don’t judge me!) and while Minsc was sort of salvaged by the jokes (mostly lifted from BG far as I could tell but I guess there’s a whole generation of gamers who may be unfamiliar with them) the next module they’re introducing Drizzt as an NPC. I was never a fan of the character in the first place but still in the dev blog posts they’re acting like it’s The! Coolest! Thing! Ever!… that Drizzt is gonna give you a couple of quests to kill a few mob X or get a few drops Y (it’s a very by the book MMO)…

  32. Christopher says:

    Loved the show this week! So many great moments, especially around the wrestling discussion.

  33. WWWebb says:

    The Star Citizen story has lots of layers, but most of the discussion has been around the ones I care the least about. For example,

    1- Journalistic standards! Anonymous sources! blah, blah, blah, didn’t care the last time and don’t care now.

    2- Work environment at a large creative company headed by a strong personality may be bad! This is another “well, duh” discussion that is only interesting insomuch as we only rarely get to see behind the curtain in game development outside of indies.

    3- Where did the money go? Well… $20 million a year isn’t too bad for a staff of 100+. I’m also not going to complain if a CEO gets paid a CEO salary. The spend rate of a company doesn’t tell you anything by itself.

    The interesting stuff:
    4- Shenanigans. The Smart complaint was about CIG changing the terms of service. The original TOS offered refunds if game not delivered by Nov 2015 and the new TOS pushes that deadline waaaay back. That’s kind of sketchy and does not inspire confidence. This is (I think) what Lizzy Finnegan wanted the discussion to be about instead of all the other stuff that’s been

    5- WHAT is the game? At this point, the feature list looks nothing at all like the original kickstarter. I can only assume they are trying to be an EVE-killer.\][

    6- When is the game? Even without the shenanigans, taking this long means a number of other decent looking space sims have already come out. Yes, I’m sure Star Citizen will be better, but if I was just looking for something to scratch that space sim itch, they’re too late. This is why I’ve stopped backing projects whose stretch goals will make the project take longer.

    7- Will I be able to play it? At the time of the kickstarter, they bragged that it was being built for the absolute best hardware available at the time. Those are now the minimum specs. Is building around technology you hope will exist by the release date standard practice?

  34. Adrian says:

    I dig the ending music it was rad :)

  35. Warclam says:

    Come on, Chris, you already have a promo. “Hey guys, I’m twenty shivs!”

  36. Paul says:

    What is the outro music?

  37. Zak McKracken says:

    Mumbles, could you please stop misusing “literally”?

    No, the guy is not a literal dragon — which you know of course but given that I find it completely impossible to suspend disbelief for Wrestling, and that’s my reference in those things, all I imagine in my head is a guy in a dragon-themed Luchador costume, and it’s really kind of silly…

    Seriously: Do they have CGI effects and all or what? I loved Celebrity Deathmatch. That’s the kind of over-the-top violence I can get with. But it’d be rather expensive to pull that off with real people on TV, let alone live.

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