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Author Topic: Clarification on Recent Events  (Read 14781 times)

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Ganix

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Clarification on Recent Events
« on: December 25, 2019, 10:37:30 pm »
Okay, so I haven't exactly been up-front or honest with everyone, and I want to explain the situation and clear up any confusion and ambiguity behind things. I'll only post the immediately relevant information to keep this post as concise as possible, and I'm open to talking about anything that requires additional explanation or clarification.

-------------------------

Back in March of 2018, an individual hacked into Nintendo's internal network, and Nintendo found out about the intrusion in May 2018. That individual goes by multiple names online, but the one relevant here is the name Wack0. This is the only name aside from my own that I will be specifically mentioning.

In May of 2018, Wack0 assumed the mantle of the anonymous figure known as "__" and uploaded a mysterious ROM to the PRET Discord server with only 20 available downloads. This ROM happened to be the Space World 1997 prototype of Pokemon Gold and Silver ("SW97"). Those who were known to have downloaded the ROM were quickly added to a private team called Team Spaceworld ("TSW"), which was the same team that was planning on making a translation of the SW97 ROM.

I was part of TSW too, as was Wack0 -- from this point forward, any further mention of "Wack0" will be referring to his anonymous persona known as "__".

There were many Pokemon-related things that Wack0 had come into possession of, including tools used to make the games, development versions of the games, and even source code for the games. He entrusted some of what he had with certain individuals, whether that be knowledge, tools, or data. Many believed that he wanted some of that to get out publicly at some point; I personally believe that he wanted a lot of it to get out, but certainly not _all_ of it, although nobody can really know for sure. I was one of those people he entrusted things with.

-------------------------

In February of 2019, a group named Helix Chamber, which is a group dedicated to preserving and analyzing Pokemon history and media, announced that the ROM that was played at Pokethon by RacieB was created using prototype assets left over from development of Pokemon Red and Green, which was given to them by an anonymous donor, and that only the backsprites of scrapped Pokemon were given to them without the accompanying front sprites.

The truth is that I was the one who gave them those prototype assets. I was careful not to include any actual data from the game or any game assets, but rather interpretations of those assets, such as including the backsprites as PNG files instead of the actual files that the game uses for backsprites.

Unfortunately, GAME FREAK developed a newer, more efficient method to store front sprites (it was probably just raw data instead of encoded data originally), so the front sprites for those Pokemon literally just did not exist after the front sprites underwent optimization. The only reason the backsprites survived was because they didn't undergo the same optimization. If anyone was hoping for the front sprites for those Pokemon, then the only viable option would be to ask GAME FREAK what they looked like.

-------------------------

In December of 2019, the early sprites for a lot of Gen IV Pokemon were leaked online. I was the anonymous source of the sprites, and again I only transmitted them in an interpreted form instead of any actual data from the game or any game assets. These sprites are from January 2006, approximately 8 months before Pokemon Diamond and Pearl released in Japan. The only reason I can guess as to why Shellos and Gastrodon weren't in the list is because they probably weren't in the game yet.

-------------------------

In summary, the Pokemon Red and Green assets are real, and the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl sprites are real as well. I have nothing else in my possession, and I've shown everything I did have.

I deeply apologize for letting this go on for as long as it has; I haven't felt right about this from the very beginning, and it's a burden I'm finally glad to rid myself of. I've withdrawn from the dev/proto scene entirely, and I've recused myself from the actively participating in the Pokemon Gen 1-7 glitching scene. Additionally, both Wack0 and myself will be stripped of any and all ranks on GCL following this announcement, although I still plan to remain active and participate however I can.

Again, I didn't plan for things to get this out of hand or cause negativity of any kind -- I wanted to give people a glimpse of "what could have been" and the amount of work and detail that went into some of these in any way that I could, but even acknowledging their existence may have been saying too much, and I sincerely apologize for all of this.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2019, 10:38:26 pm by Ganix »

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 09:45:59 pm »
First i'm hearing of any of this... that's what I get, I guess. Hope to see you around still.

also this seems awfully black hat for you two... feels odd to me.

Sherkel

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2019, 06:41:06 pm »
First i'm hearing of any of this... that's what I get, I guess.
For not checking Discord? You didn't miss anything important; it's all on the table as of this post and nothing more's likely to come of it.
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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2019, 01:41:48 pm »
I just knew the Red/Green assets were real, but some members on Sonic Retro didn't believe that they were. (I mentioned the leaked assets over there...) Honestly, I'm one of those people who want prototypes to be readily available to everyone online and they deserve to be preserved in any form. What you two did IMO in my eyes is amazing, and you two helped release some huge information that many fans never thought we'd actually get to see or play. I dreamed of the day where someone would get a hold of the Space World Demo and leak it online, and that dream became a reality. So thank you, for coming clean and thank you and Wac0 for providing the community with the assets and prototype information. I can see why some people may have seen this as a negative thing, for legal reasons especially when it comes to Nintendo. I wish you guys the best, and hope to see you around. I really should log on to the Discord more. :V

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2019, 09:58:58 pm »
Okay, so I haven't exactly been up-front or honest with everyone, and I want to explain the situation and clear up any confusion and ambiguity behind things. I'll only post the immediately relevant information to keep this post as concise as possible, and I'm open to talking about anything that requires additional explanation or clarification.

-------------------------

Back in March of 2018, an individual hacked into Nintendo's internal network, and Nintendo found out about the intrusion in May 2018. That individual goes by multiple names online, but the one relevant here is the name Wack0. This is the only name aside from my own that I will be specifically mentioning.

In May of 2018, Wack0 assumed the mantle of the anonymous figure known as "__" and uploaded a mysterious ROM to the PRET Discord server with only 20 available downloads. This ROM happened to be the Space World 1997 prototype of Pokemon Gold and Silver ("SW97"). Those who were known to have downloaded the ROM were quickly added to a private team called Team Spaceworld ("TSW"), which was the same team that was planning on making a translation of the SW97 ROM.

I was part of TSW too, as was Wack0 -- from this point forward, any further mention of "Wack0" will be referring to his anonymous persona known as "__".

There were many Pokemon-related things that Wack0 had come into possession of, including tools used to make the games, development versions of the games, and even source code for the games. He entrusted some of what he had with certain individuals, whether that be knowledge, tools, or data. Many believed that he wanted some of that to get out publicly at some point; I personally believe that he wanted a lot of it to get out, but certainly not _all_ of it, although nobody can really know for sure. I was one of those people he entrusted things with.

-------------------------

In February of 2019, a group named Helix Chamber, which is a group dedicated to preserving and analyzing Pokemon history and media, announced that the ROM that was played at Pokethon by RacieB was created using prototype assets left over from development of Pokemon Red and Green, which was given to them by an anonymous donor, and that only the backsprites of scrapped Pokemon were given to them without the accompanying front sprites.

The truth is that I was the one who gave them those prototype assets. I was careful not to include any actual data from the game or any game assets, but rather interpretations of those assets, such as including the backsprites as PNG files instead of the actual files that the game uses for backsprites.

Unfortunately, GAME FREAK developed a newer, more efficient method to store front sprites (it was probably just raw data instead of encoded data originally), so the front sprites for those Pokemon literally just did not exist after the front sprites underwent optimization. The only reason the backsprites survived was because they didn't undergo the same optimization. If anyone was hoping for the front sprites for those Pokemon, then the only viable option would be to ask GAME FREAK what they looked like.

-------------------------

In December of 2019, the early sprites for a lot of Gen IV Pokemon were leaked online. I was the anonymous source of the sprites, and again I only transmitted them in an interpreted form instead of any actual data from the game or any game assets. These sprites are from January 2006, approximately 8 months before Pokemon Diamond and Pearl released in Japan. The only reason I can guess as to why Shellos and Gastrodon weren't in the list is because they probably weren't in the game yet.

-------------------------

In summary, the Pokemon Red and Green assets are real, and the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl sprites are real as well. I have nothing else in my possession, and I've shown everything I did have.

I deeply apologize for letting this go on for as long as it has; I haven't felt right about this from the very beginning, and it's a burden I'm finally glad to rid myself of. I've withdrawn from the dev/proto scene entirely, and I've recused myself from the actively participating in the Pokemon Gen 1-7 glitching scene. Additionally, both Wack0 and myself will be stripped of any and all ranks on GCL following this announcement, although I still plan to remain active and participate however I can.

Again, I didn't plan for things to get this out of hand or cause negativity of any kind -- I wanted to give people a glimpse of "what could have been" and the amount of work and detail that went into some of these in any way that I could, but even acknowledging their existence may have been saying too much, and I sincerely apologize for all of this.
On one hand I'm kinda morally torn by how they got the beta stuff, but on another I'm grateful that we got to see them anyway; it was the first time in a long while I was excited over content since BW/2. And how often do we even get to see this type of content from Pokemon? Never because of how secretive they are.
I don't really blame you for feeling that way about holding on to that information though, I would've felt the same. But given how GF's been acting lately I hope we get to see more proto/beta stuff of theirs from better times someday.

I'm curious if you can answer this, but why did GF keep their beta content on an internal network in Nintendo? I mostly assumed betas, demos and other scrapped data are usually held on a flash drive or some other device somewhere in storage and away from anyone else's eyes that can only be accessed presently and physically rather than a hack.
I also don't understand what you mean by what was going on with the proto front sprites; did Wack0 not have them because they couldn't get ahold of them after optimization, or did they but they couldn't see them because of how they were optimized on the network?

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2019, 10:35:17 pm »
My apologies if this question isn't appropriate or something you can answer, but did something happen to Wack0? The opening post talks about him in this sort of awkward past tense implying that what's being said about him is no longer true, which seems a bit worrying and is probably due to something I missed.

I've heard something about a trial; is that what this is about, or what prompted this?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 10:35:55 pm by Topaz Light »
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Sherkel

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2019, 10:49:01 pm »
My apologies if this question isn't appropriate or something you can answer, but did something happen to Wack0? The opening post talks about him in this sort of awkward past tense implying that what's being said about him is no longer true, which seems a bit worrying and is probably due to something I missed.

I've heard something about a trial; is that what this is about, or what prompted this?
There was a news article about it that happened to go unnoticed by all of us: https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/28/18286027/microsoft-nintendo-vtech-security-hack-breach-researcher-guilty
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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2019, 02:55:55 am »
Wow.

(Why drop a payload tho? That's just asking for a hard sentence and damages repayment...)

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2019, 11:59:43 am »
Oof he had personal information regarding children's accounts from Vtech?! The prototypes are one thing, but actual personal information of other people is another thing. If he had that knowledge to be able to hack into sites like Nintendo and Microsoft, then he probably could have done the same here and stole all our passwords/email addresses too... Still, what he did with the prototypes and assets IMO my view hasn't changed on but the personal information he gathered he had no right to do so.

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2019, 05:07:30 pm »
Unfortunately, GAME FREAK developed a newer, more efficient method to store front sprites (it was probably just raw data instead of encoded data originally), so the front sprites for those Pokemon literally just did not exist after the front sprites underwent optimization. The only reason the backsprites survived was because they didn't undergo the same optimization. If anyone was hoping for the front sprites for those Pokemon, then the only viable option would be to ask GAME FREAK what they looked like.

Sorry, I don't undestand.
Do you mean the missigno frontsprite were erased in the process?
Why didn't it occurred to the trainer sprites then ?
I thought trainers sprites and pokemon front sprite are basically the same thing in the games.

I also recall there were some backsprite deleted in the zip files, like missigno #21 and #135.
We know they were real pokemon, not just empty space, because #135 was shown in GCCX video and #21 in NHK (Omega)

Ganix

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2019, 01:13:26 pm »
I'm curious if you can answer this, but why did GF keep their beta content on an internal network in Nintendo? I mostly assumed betas, demos and other scrapped data are usually held on a flash drive or some other device somewhere in storage and away from anyone else's eyes that can only be accessed presently and physically rather than a hack.

Nintendo has a comprehensive and thorough Q&A process, and they presumably keep versions of the code and/or binaries for historical purposes (e.g. verifying bug fixes, etc.) as well as for analysis and localization/legal purposes. They may very well have moved to completely offline tape drives after this event.

My apologies if this question isn't appropriate or something you can answer, but did something happen to Wack0? The opening post talks about him in this sort of awkward past tense implying that what's being said about him is no longer true, which seems a bit worrying and is probably due to something I missed.

As Sato posted, he hacked into Nintendo while on bail from hacking into Microsoft. He will not be serving any jail time, thankfully.

Oof he had personal information regarding children's accounts from Vtech?! The prototypes are one thing, but actual personal information of other people is another thing. If he had that knowledge to be able to hack into sites like Nintendo and Microsoft, then he probably could have done the same here and stole all our passwords/email addresses too... Still, what he did with the prototypes and assets IMO my view hasn't changed on but the personal information he gathered he had no right to do so.

Agreed, he could have stopped at simply proving exploitation rather than exfiltrating data, but he chose to exfiltrate an enormous amount of data prior to disclosure, which is extremely irresponsible and presents the possibility of selling the information in the database. I personally don't think he'd do something like that, but the general public doesn't know who this guy is other than "a hacker that stole all their information", which makes his data exfiltration look even worse. And even then, that's all without taking into account that a large portion of the data he exfiltrated was children's data.

I also don't understand what you mean by what was going on with the proto front sprites; did Wack0 not have them because they couldn't get ahold of them after optimization, or did they but they couldn't see them because of how they were optimized on the network?

Sorry, I don't undestand.
Do you mean the missigno frontsprite were erased in the process?
Why didn't it occurred to the trainer sprites then ?
I thought trainers sprites and pokemon front sprite are basically the same thing in the games.

The front sprites underwent individual analysis to see which ones used up more memory and less memory compared to the previous versions of the front sprites. The back sprites and trainer sprites didn't undergo this analysis. That's about all I can say about it; any other answers would have to come from GAME FREAK themselves.

Lost-Paisley

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2019, 12:52:12 am »
Nintendo has a comprehensive and thorough Q&A process, and they presumably keep versions of the code and/or binaries for historical purposes (e.g. verifying bug fixes, etc.) as well as for analysis and localization/legal purposes. They may very well have moved to completely offline tape drives after this event.

The front sprites underwent individual analysis to see which ones used up more memory and less memory compared to the previous versions of the front sprites. The back sprites and trainer sprites didn't undergo this analysis. That's about all I can say about it; any other answers would have to come from GAME FREAK themselves.

Thank you answering  :)

That last one seems...pretty weird considering it's not like they're updating them or anything. Unless they were prepping them for a reveal like they did with Omega or print like the manga or something.

Topaz Light

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2020, 12:32:02 am »
Thanks Sherkel and Ganix for answering my question!

If I may ask, do you know if Wack0 still has any of the Pokemon development assets he was able to acquire, or was he legally compelled to erase them all? Is there anything he obtained that you know to exist but never ended up getting your hands on yourself?
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Ganix

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2020, 07:17:06 am »
If I may ask, do you know if Wack0 still has any of the Pokemon development assets he was able to acquire, or was he legally compelled to erase them all? Is there anything he obtained that you know to exist but never ended up getting your hands on yourself?

Wack0 was legally obligated to delete anything he copied from Nintendo's servers. And yes, there are things I know that he obtained and that I did not end up getting my hands on, although I'm not comfortable giving an exhaustive list of everything he had in his possession.

Topaz Light

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Re: Clarification on Recent Events
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2020, 12:18:56 am »
I understand. That's more or less what I expected, frankly.

Thank you again for answering!
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