MOAR ANSWERS

Where you can discuss Echo Chamber, the latest happenings of Mr. Administrator and Radio Void Rebel, and anything else that might happen to come up.

MOAR ANSWERS

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:27 am

So, this doesn't *really* belong here, but I figure this is the best alternative to posting in a locked forum, and if someone with powahs decides it belongs in that locked forum anyway, it can always be moved... (and renamed...)

Anyway, yesterday, our beloved Sophira happened to be discussing a number of fascinating behind-the-scenes stuff that never got discussed in the post-mortem. Since this conversation happened in the chat, and not everyone was there (case in point: I wasn't), and not everyone logreads, and anyway it's awesome stuff that's worth having for posterity, I, being obsessive, copied most of what she was saying, and... HERE IT IS!

Sophira wrote:Sophira

Well, an example: in Holmes' blog, before he outed himself, he was directed to an opium den by Moriarty under the name "jmartysknight2e4" using a Pastebin link. Which you all knew already, but what you didn't know was that the original comment didn't use a Pastebin link but actual directions. We changed it to be an expired Pastebin link (I happened to have one handy) only hours before Holmes' blog was found.

Sophira

The thing is, the comment had already been left, on time, on the day it was supposed to have been left. Posting a new comment would have used the wrong date for the comment. So what we did is deleted the original comment, posted the new one, and then changed the database so that the date/time on the comment was the same as before.

Sophira

I just realised I never talked about the locator puzzle in the post-mortem. *That* was fun.

Sophira

Yeah. I still remember how Dryu asked "Can we burn the one who came up with the locator puzzle to ashes".

Sophira

But the biggest issue was the globe-curvature thing.

Sophira

Oh, I was fully aware he wasn't serious.

Sophira

I resolved to myself to answer that one after the ARG was over, heh.

Sophira

I didn't come up with the complete idea, but most of it was me.

Sophira

Including all the coding necessary.

Sophira

Yes, and there was a reason for that.

Sophira

Remember how in the end it was solved by spoofing locations to get closer and closer?

Sophira

We knew that might happen. It was a legitimate way to solve it at the time it was done, but we didn't really want that to be tried at first.

Sophira

So we put in some protection against spoofing at first. It would come up with false positives sometimes, but it was good enough that it was good to roll with it at first.

Sophira

That's why some people got "Could not determine your location" errors.

Sophira

The way it worked was that it would actually try locating you from *two* sources at first. It would ask for the location reported by the browser, which tends to be *very* accurate (scarily so - we realised we had to restrict the accuracy later), but at first, it also tried to match it with an estimated location based on your IP address, which is not really that accurate.

Sophira

If the two locations were within... I think it was 50km of each other, then it would let you through.

Sophira

The figure was high enough that it would let the majority of people through (something I tested quite heavily before allowing it), but low enough that spoofing wouldn't be able to get you very far.

Sophira

(Since while you can control the location reported by your browser, it's much harder to control your IP address.)

Sophira

Yes. For most people in testing (and in the game, as it turned out) that was true.

Sophira

In the end, we decided to remove the anti-spoofing check, because at that point it was becoming a legitimate way to solve the puzzle since it had been pretty difficult, which also had the side-effect of allowing everybody to see their compasses.

Sophira

Which isn't to say that you weren't good at solving the puzzle! It's mostly my fault, actually, for making it so difficult.

Sophira

Actually, I made some drawings later, as accurate as I could. The way it was designed at first, it was actually a *lot* harder than I had expected it to be.

Sophira

There were still a few tricks you guys missed, though.

Sophira

Well, the first one was actually a trick that even *we* missed until after the ARG was over.

Sophira

If you go to Google Maps, and click on the "Maps Labs" link in tiny text in the left column at the bottom, one of the labs you can enable is called "Distance Measurement Tool".

Sophira

As it happens, that tool compensates for the curvature of the Earth when measuring. Try zooming out of the map to see the whole world and then using the tool.

Sophira

(and if you want to see a real mind screw, try measuring the path between Ohio and Mongolia)

Sophira

Yeah. Like I say, we only discovered that it compensated for the curvature of the Earth after the ARG. If I had discovered it during the actual puzzle, I'd have suggested to the other GMs that we should try nudging towards that.

Sophira

Honestly, the whole idea of having to remember that the Earth is a globe is mind screwy when it comes to things like this. We're so used to the idea of the shortest path being a straight line that it's easy to not realise that that won't be true on any projection of the Earth *other* than a globe.

Sophira

The second trick that was missed, which I *completely* don't blame anyone for not knowing, was that after the distances were revealed, you could actually solve it by just using the distances and ignoring the compass directions.

Sophira

There are tools out there that can plot circles of various radiuses from a point on the Earth.

Sophira

Oh, did you? I missed that.

Sophira

My mistake.

Sophira

Dryu, and he did an *awesome* job with it.

Sophira

All of you did.

Sophira

But yeah. After it was solved, I was reminded of a puzzle in another ARG that was also classified as That One Puzzle by the players of that particular ARG.

Sophira

It was an ARG called Jawbreakers, or Lockjaw. The players made a writeup of the puzzle afterwards: http://www.unfiction.com/compendium/200 ... /wheregif/

Sophira

Take a read of that link. You guys will love it :D

Sophira

(there's swearing in the link, I should add)

Sophira

And be sure to click to the second page.

Sophira

Hee!

Sophira

I mixed that recording.
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Re: MOAR ANSWERS

Postby narrativedilettante on Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:50 am

Thank you for posting this, Qara. I made a copy myself but didn't get around to actually DOING anything with it, and this is stuff that everyone should have access to.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after.
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Re: MOAR ANSWERS

Postby eli_gone_crazy on Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:02 pm

mmm... maybe add in what the others are saying for context? It might be difficult to get what sophi was saying otherwise. :?
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Re: MOAR ANSWERS

Postby narrativedilettante on Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:53 am

At Eli's request (And it only took me 5 days to do it) I've added in some of what other people were saying to provide more context. There's a lot of extraneous stuff that's still left out for the sake of space.

Sophira

Well, an example: in Holmes' blog, before he outed himself, he was directed to an opium den by Moriarty under the name "jmartysknight2e4" using a Pastebin link. Which you all knew already, but what you didn't know was that the original comment didn't use a Pastebin link but actual directions. We changed it to be an expired Pastebin link (I happened to have one handy) only hours before Holmes' blog was found.

Sophira
Since we didn't want people trying to follow the directions.

Sophira

The thing is, the comment had already been left, on time, on the day it was supposed to have been left. Posting a new comment would have used the wrong date for the comment. So what we did is deleted the original comment, posted the new one, and then changed the database so that the date/time on the comment was the same as before.

Sophira

I just realised I never talked about the locator puzzle in the post-mortem. *That* was fun.

Sophira

Yeah. I still remember how Dryu asked "Can we burn the one who came up with the locator puzzle to ashes".

eli

dryu says thing without thinking about them

narrativedilettante

I don't think he was serious.

narrativedilettante

Just frustrated.

eli

he probably wasn't.

Sophira

But the biggest issue was the globe-curvature thing.

Sophira

Oh, I was fully aware he wasn't serious.

Sophira

I resolved to myself to answer that one after the ARG was over, heh.

Sophira

I didn't come up with the complete idea, but most of it was me.

Sophira

Including all the coding necessary.

Pixelmage

At first it didn't work for me at all.

Pixelmage

After the update with the distance and the yellow compass it started working.

Sophira

Yes, and there was a reason for that.

Sophira

Remember how in the end it was solved by spoofing locations to get closer and closer?

Sophira

We knew that might happen. It was a legitimate way to solve it at the time it was done, but we didn't really want that to be tried at first.

Sophira

So we put in some protection against spoofing at first. It would come up with false positives sometimes, but it was good enough that it was good to roll with it at first.

Sophira

That's why some people got "Could not determine your location" errors.

Sophira

The way it worked was that it would actually try locating you from *two* sources at first. It would ask for the location reported by the browser, which tends to be *very* accurate (scarily so - we realised we had to restrict the accuracy later), but at first, it also tried to match it with an estimated location based on your IP address, which is not really that accurate.

Sophira

If the two locations were within... I think it was 50km of each other, then it would let you through.

Sophira

The figure was high enough that it would let the majority of people through (something I tested quite heavily before allowing it), but low enough that spoofing wouldn't be able to get you very far.

Sophira

(Since while you can control the location reported by your browser, it's much harder to control your IP address.)

Pixelmage

and it required my browser report to be within 50km from my IP range's central location...

Pixelmage

which, considering my ISP's headquarters... Is not the case for me.

Sophira

Yes. For most people in testing (and in the game, as it turned out) that was true.

Sophira

In the end, we decided to remove the anti-spoofing check, because at that point it was becoming a legitimate way to solve the puzzle since it had been pretty difficult, which also had the side-effect of allowing everybody to see their compasses.

Sophira

Which isn't to say that you weren't good at solving the puzzle! It's mostly my fault, actually, for making it so difficult.

Sophira

Actually, I made some drawings later, as accurate as I could. The way it was designed at first, it was actually a *lot* harder than I had expected it to be.

Sophira

There were still a few tricks you guys missed, though.

narrativedilettante

What were the tricks we missed?

eli

yes, those.

eli

*wants to know*

Sophira

Well, the first one was actually a trick that even *we* missed until after the ARG was over.

Sophira

If you go to Google Maps, and click on the "Maps Labs" link in tiny text in the left column at the bottom, one of the labs you can enable is called "Distance Measurement Tool".

Sophira

As it happens, that tool compensates for the curvature of the Earth when measuring. Try zooming out of the map to see the whole world and then using the tool.

Sophira

(and if you want to see a real mind screw, try measuring the path between Ohio and Mongolia)

Sophira

Yeah. Like I say, we only discovered that it compensated for the curvature of the Earth after the ARG. If I had discovered it during the actual puzzle, I'd have suggested to the other GMs that we should try nudging towards that.

Sophira

Honestly, the whole idea of having to remember that the Earth is a globe is mind screwy when it comes to things like this. We're so used to the idea of the shortest path being a straight line that it's easy to not realise that that won't be true on any projection of the Earth *other* than a globe.

Sophira

The second trick that was missed, which I *completely* don't blame anyone for not knowing, was that after the distances were revealed, you could actually solve it by just using the distances and ignoring the compass directions.

Sophira

There are tools out there that can plot circles of various radiuses from a point on the Earth.

Scarab

Mm, I believe we used one of them?

Scarab

Didn't we?

Sophira

Oh, did you? I missed that.

Sophira

My mistake.

Scarab

we had that globe... I think it was dryu or pixel working on it?

Sophira

Dryu, and he did an *awesome* job with it.

Sophira

All of you did.

Sophira

But yeah. After it was solved, I was reminded of a puzzle in another ARG that was also classified as That One Puzzle by the players of that particular ARG.

Sophira

It was an ARG called Jawbreakers, or Lockjaw. The players made a writeup of the puzzle afterwards: http://www.unfiction.com/compendium/200 ... /wheregif/

Sophira

Take a read of that link. You guys will love it :D

Sophira

(there's swearing in the link, I should add)

Sophira

And be sure to click to the second page.

Scarab

No fear we've all heard worse

Scarab

we all listened to the start f that moriarty refic ;P

Sophira

Hee!

Sophira

I mixed that recording.
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Re: MOAR ANSWERS

Postby Scarab on Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:43 pm

Sophira wrote:Hee!
I mixed that recording.


Well done, Sophira, it's your fault we all have mental scarring :p (Seriously though, you're awesome.)
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Re: MOAR ANSWERS

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:08 pm

So Sophira is awesome and has been telling us ALL THE THINGS (okay, I exaggerate), and here is the log of that, with the useless stuff edited out.

Sophira

Hey, Adell, I have a question for you which I was really curious about in the ARG.

Sophira

If you're up for questions, that is!

Adell

Hm?

Adell

well sure

Sophira

Okay.

Adell

Sophira

During the part when you had to hack the therapist's phone, you said that part of your reasoning for joining us was because you could tell when you called it that the call was being redirected. How did you know that?

Sophira

...joining us. Sorry, bad choice of words,

Sophira

I don't need to pretend to be a player now ;p

Adell

How did I know the number was being redirected?

Sophira

Yes.

Adell

Because when I called it, and it said redirecting

Sophira

Adell: What did? It said it via voice?

Sophira

Because, well, that's the first time I've heard of that happening.

Adell

It said it, on my phone X3

Adell

not vocally

Adell

my phone just was like "calling..."

Adell

and then it said "redirecting..."

Adell

and then the dial tone started

Sophira

Adell: What dial tone?

Adell

or the ringing I should say

Adell

not the dial tone

Sophira

Okay.

Sophira

Dang. Okay, I didn't realise it would be quite like that. Gonna have to look into that if we ever do a sequel; it's a bit of a giveaway.

Adell

it's a good thing it was a giveaway though

Adell

people were afraid to do anything about it

Adell

I might be remembering it wrong, though Sophira

Adell

it's also possible that my old phone showed the number changing

Adell

I can't remember clearly

Adell

I'm pretty sure it just said "redirecting" though

Sophira

So I'm finding out that I could talk for ages about the phone system we used in the ARG. It's one of the things I'm most proud of, considering that I pretty much designed it all.

Scarab [scribbling]

it was a pretty cool system

Sophira

Knowing the stuff that went on behind the scenes makes it even cooler, though.

Rota

do you know how it would have functioned if someone had called from outside the country?

Sophira

I actually tested that myself, calling it directly from the UK. It worked fine.

Rota

i was worried that i'd have to pay tons of money

Scarab [scribbling]

if I'd realsied that would work i'd have called it

Sophira

Rota: Well, it *would* still be an international call, so.

Sophira

It might well have cost lots of money.

Sophira

The fictionalthreat number was *really* interesting. I've already detailed on the forums how it worked, but what I haven't mentioned is that when you guys first found it and got the "Number not in use" error, that was a *really* close call. It obviously wasn't meant to be found that early.

Sophira

And I had it set up so that if you called the number, then entered a certain code on the keypad when you got that message, you'd go through to what you were meant to hear.

Rota

hehe... close call

Scarab [scribbling]

heh, his website appears to not work anymore

Scarab [scribbling]

the others all still do, but fictional trheat has apparantly given up

Sophira

Not sure why fictionalthreat isn't up then.

Sophira

I'll have to ask Eddie.

Sophira

Yeah, the websites are up. It's just the locator one that's down, I think.

Sophira

That happened to live on the same server as the phone server, mostly because I was the one maintaining both of them.
Lead by example. Get lost in a swamp.

AS DICTATED TO INSTANTIATION 17-01-18-01.
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Re: MOAR ANSWERS

Postby The Wild West Pyro on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:22 pm

Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:So, this doesn't *really* belong here, but I figure this is the best alternative to posting in a locked forum, and if someone with powahs decides it belongs in that locked forum anyway, it can always be moved... (and renamed...)

Anyway, yesterday, our beloved Sophira happened to be discussing a number of fascinating behind-the-scenes stuff that never got discussed in the post-mortem. Since this conversation happened in the chat, and not everyone was there (case in point: I wasn't), and not everyone logreads, and anyway it's awesome stuff that's worth having for posterity, I, being obsessive, copied most of what she was saying, and... HERE IT IS!


:O :shock: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!
FIRE!
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