Standoff Easter Egg hunt


Unknown Enemy
So... first up, thanks to everyone who voted for us in the Fan Project of the Year contest! Mind you, I wouldn't be the arrogant jerk that I am if I didn't admit that, you know, I would've been rather disappointed (shocked/horrified/surprised... and I'd sulk!) if we didn't win, what with Episode 5 and all that ;).

By the way, 2009 was the last year that we were eligible - for sure, we'll be releasing a patch or two during 2010 (there's still a couple of unfinished issues, like the sim), but hopefully the CIC will not allow us to be nominated again - or if they do, hopefully you guys will have the good sense to vote for a project that's actually active. Having worked on Standoff (and before that, UE) for so many years, our team has collected up a disturbing number of Fan Project of the Year and Website of the Year awards over the years (not all winners, there was some runner-ups, as well) - in fact, far, far too many, given that each award actually implied another year of development. But, here's an interesting bit of info for all those of you that sit on the sidelines and cheer us fan project folks on - by far the most motivating award we ever got was the one we received in the 2006 competition... where we won nothing at all, and indeed, weren't even nominated for anything. Ouch - that really pushes you to make better progress the next year. So, think about that when you vote again at the end of this year - you don't only get to reward the active fan projects, but you can also motivate the less active ones by ignoring them :).

Now, moving on to the actual subject of this thread. Sometimes, as we approach a release, we actually have time to add one or two easter eggs into the game. Usually, these are just silly things - click on something, and get a weird sound or voiceover. Episode 5, however, featured an easter egg that, I believe, might actually be more interesting to some people than the rest of the game. Amazingly enough, while Iceblade hinted at finding this easter egg just two days after the initial release... nobody else ever found it (or, at least, nobody ever posted about it). At first, I waited, waited, waited... then, what with my wedding, honeymoon, and life in general, I just plain forgot about it (and, I suspect, in the process I will have made a few people mad, for sitting on this kind of thing for so many months - my apologies!). I was reminded about it recently by that Kilrathi language thread - but decided not to post about it while the voting was still going on (...and nearly forgot about it again, in the process).

So, here's the challenge - there's a few easter eggs in the final Standoff release, can you find the one I'm talking about, near the end of the game? It's not, let me assure you, gibberish - so the second challege is, can you decrypt it? Plus, a bonus question - can you identify the song clip in the background and who's playing it?

Just one detail - when you find the easter egg, please post about how to find it (and show a screenshot) in this thread before you get to work on decrypting it. Looking for easter eggs is enjoyable, but in this particular case, it's the decryption that's gonna be the real fun, so don't forget to share!

(besides, there's no reward for being the first - and you may need help decrypting ;) )


Doomsday's Neighbour
'fraid I'll need to sit on the sidelines on this one - but for anybody else reading, it's well worth the effort :)


Well, I had a brief go at finding it last night, and as a result noticed the copy of Fleet Action on the table for the first time, but no success with the strategy of "load up different missions in Ep5 and click in random places". Yet. Any chance of a hint?

Of course I hadn't done the losing track yet so now you've got me playing that. Playing a mission with the intention of failing it always feels really strange...


Oh Thrakath's message? I still need to figure that one out.

Plywood Fiend

Rear Admiral
Found it. Yay.

Spoiler (hopefully) concealed below for anyone still looking.

On the flight deck, just after the final mission when all are gathered around your sabre, the easter egg can be found by clicking one of the nearby barrels.
No idea what the song was.

On to translating, huzzah!


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OK, somebody ought to be able to solve for the roman letters from here. I'm not going to do the grunt work, because it's 1:30am here and I should go to bed.
The last line fits with "Prince Thrakath nar Kiranka", which gives you a key for most of the more common letters in both English and Kilrathi

Then...well, given the link in the OP, we may have to do some translation from Kilrathi. That may be entertaining, since it is not an actual language.


Rear Admiral
Here is what I got


You are a jerk! You stink!

You and your puny pilots have really spoiled my week. Earth is safe. I have had to recall my forces and I have singed my tail. And what was the point of your resistance? Your defeat is inevitable in the long run.

So the Hakaga was not enough for you? Clearly we are gonna need a bigger boat.

And so I will build one. Pah. Not one but many. The Hakaga were two thousand meters long? Hah! These shall be twenty thousand meters! You will gaze at them in shock and awe! How did he build them in such a short time you will ask. How come they weigh so little given their length you will ask. But if you search your heart you already know the answer. A sequel must always have bigger ships. You know it to be true. And so we shall!

This however is none of your concern now. Blair will fight these new dreadnoughts in the final game of the Kilrathi Saga Trilogy. But you? Your career is over Bradshaw! Never shall there be a sequel to Standoff! Never! This I swear! Mwahahahahaha!

On my blood and name.

Prince Thrakath nar Kiranka


Unknown Enemy
Whoa! I'm impressed, that was fast :).

When creating this message, we made sure to provide a few "Rosetta stones" -
the first sentence repeating the subject line, the "hahahahaha" bit, the "on my blood and name" phrase repeated from the letter in the KSaga manual, and finally, the Prince's name.
There was plenty to go on - but even so, I didn't expect anyone to decrypt it that quickly. Well done! :)

Incidentally, since the fiction is stored as text files, this little easter egg required quite a bit of effort on our part - apart from creating the Kilrathi font, we also got Pete to create a basic encryption mechanism, to prevent people from taking the easy route and extrating the original text from the TRE file.

But now... you may ask - did we make up all those Kilrathi letters? No, we didn't - all we did was rescale them a bit from the source material. These are genuine Kilrathi letters as created by Origin. And, as always, you have Captain Johnny to thank - because an image of the Kilrathi alphabet was tucked away in the font-related materials on the WCP and SO backup disks. We're pretty fortunate that nobody ever looks at such dull things as fonts, because it meant we could use it for this easter egg :). Now that our message has been decoded, though, I'm attaching the image with the original Kilrathi alphabet.

So... who's gonna drop by the Kilrathi language thread and work out what the Tomes of Sivar on the WCP intro screenshot really say? :)


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Rear Admiral
It would have taken me a while to find the message if Plywood Fiend hadn’t posted its location and I probably wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to translate it without Ilanin’s post. But since I was the one who actually posted the translation I get all of the credit…right?

The last line gave me enough letters to start translating the message and then I realized that the second line was the same as the email subject, which gave me a few more letters. The rest weren’t too difficult to guess from the context.

Once I realized that there weren’t any more clever ideas needed to solve it, only grunt work as Ilanin put it, I assumed it wouldn’t be very long before someone translated it. I also knew I wasn’t going to have the time to try it again for a few days so I thought I needed to do it fast if I wanted to be first.


Rear Admiral
I was just wondering if the standoff-staff has created a kilrathi font (that can be used in word e.g.), in order to write the thrakkath letter