SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY... - Page 1
In an effort to preserve the sixteen years of clean room research on GCL following the source code leaks of the first four generations of Pokémon games, we will be reverting the wiki to March 31st on the affected articles. Additionally, the wiki will then be completely locked, archived, and exported to a format that is easily importable to a fresh Mediawiki installation. Two weeks after the archival of the wiki, the forums will also be locked and archived. On July 31st, the current Discord will remain open, however the current on-topic channels will be archived, the purpose of the discord as a glitch research area effectively derailed, and the ownership handed off to someone we will not disclose until that time.
The goal of this process is to allow a new community to form in GCL's place. Our Discord and the site splash page will act as a redirect to any community that forms.
Since the source codes were leaked, it became apparent that, being as open as GCL is, any new contributions to the first four generations Pokémon games, and to an extent generation five, would always carry a risk that the contributor would be providing tainted data by reading from the source code themselves. Rather than accepting this fact, allowing this data to intermingle with our research from the last sixteen years, it was decided to pass along our work to any community willing to continue it with the knowledge that any further contributions would always come from dubious origins. Anyone who wants to form that community as a replacement to GCL has the right to do so. We are offering our data as a base to build upon in this new era, one which GCL will not be a part of.
This is the end of operations of Glitch City's Laboratories, however this is the beginning of the greater Glitch City Metropolis.
Lame. Just because someone else fucked up doesn't mean the whole site has to suffer for it. You have nothing to atone for! This is all Wack0's doing and nobody else's. This sucks so much!
I don't get the drama and I don't get the decision. And since you people like to think this way, I can agree that GCL or whatever comes next would be better managed by somebody else anyway.
To add another perspective to this, as the founder, web host, and original head admin.
This site and community have been through a fuck ton of shit this year, and we remaining admins have suffered immense burnout and mental health issues as a result. Also, the wiki and the forums have been declining in activity well before then, and I've had people tell me the wiki is outdated or obsolete or what have you. We've decided it's time to preserve the data and findings and let a new community take them over.
To be frank, I think not only is my personal involvement in hosting this site detrimental to my mental health, it may also be holding back the community as a whole. I admit over the past 15+ years I have not been the best steward for this community. This may very well be the best thing I've done for this site in the last decade.
To address some concerns:
It really sucks that GCL is closing. I'm going to miss this place, as this was the first forum I ever joined. :( At least a new community will hopefully come rise from the ashes of GCL.
There's a new glitch city discord that has risen from the ashes of the community if anyone would like to join - https://discord.gg/EA7jxJ6
[li]The wiki data is being archived, minus anything we feel may have been impacted by the leaks. It will be available in a form which can be imported into another wiki, and maybe even a raw SQL dump if we're able to.[/li]
[li]The forum threads will also be archived, and will also probably be available in a SQL dump (minus the restricted area, dumpster/archived boards, user accounts and PMs obviously)[/li]
[li]The wiki and forum software (MediaWiki and SMF) are both free software/open source, the docker image that powers GCL is itself free software/open source and available for the public to use (see sidebar)[/li]
[li]glitchcity.info urls will continue to serve archived wiki/forum content, and will changed to redirect to a successor if/when it appears[/li]
[li]Edit: The current Discord will remain open but all glitch channels will be archived. It will be rebranded and ownership passed on to someone else[/li]
they are accepting applications for moderation and adminship and we're all excited to see the new direction this community and the great sport of pokemon glitch hunting will go :D
It's sad to see GCL end. I hope that this site's successor has a good future.
I'm sad to see it end but I understand given the circumstances. It's been pretty wild recently.
Best of luck with whatever comes next for you, Abwayax and Photon. I'll miss this place <3
I would have took over ownership of this place if I had to… I know I haven't been as active lately but part of that was because nothing terribly interesting has happened for quite a long time and I kinda grew out of the more immature stage in my life where I enjoyed fooling around in the general discussion boards. Also I'm not very good with leader ship roles…. I'm kind of too lax and a bit of a slacker.
I'm sorry to hear you had to make this decision (it came as a shock and quite sudden), and so sorry to hear that the staff have been going through burnout and depression. Good luck and best wishes Photon-Phoenix and Abwayax. <3
Are you OK with recruiting staff? I'm happy being staff again (for now and the future site) if that's fine, as I still have interest in glitches and willing to do staff work, but understand too if you want the site to be run by new people and are not looking for requests.
I admit over the past 15+ years I have not been the best steward for this community. This may very well be the best thing I've done for this site in the last decade.
Aww no you've been a great steward! :)
GCL has impacted my life in a huge positive way, and even though I'm VERY happy that all of the research is being passed onto new fans and that the new site will take up your sword for you, I still feel a part of me will die alongside the original site. My biggest wish about this situation is that some of the members from here whom aren't as affected by the burden of legal issues from the beta content (Maybe Evie, I really hope she does!) will migrate to the new site and become wise veterans of glitching that will entrust their knowledge to the next generation of fans. That is my biggest wish coming from this. The fact that almost two decades worth of research is being saved when the site documenting it is shutting down means a lot to all of us here I'm sure, and that definitely includes me. GCL may not realize it as a community, but y'all have made a huge impact on my life by making me enjoy Pokemon even more than I used to when I was a kid and for truly showing how amazing it is as a series and as a part of the childhood of everyone here. GCL is really one of the few places online that I feel completely safe from people being jerks for no reason, and I thank everyone here for treating me well and for sharing knowledge, criticism, and jokes with me and their peers. Glitches, especially in Pokemon, will always mean something to me. The fact that GCL was here for me when I was having a panic attack, when I was incredibly bored, or just extremely curious, and the fact that this place just explored the games of my childhood in ways that I could've never imagined as a child, means worlds to me and I thank everyone here for that as well. This is a truly legendary site and even though I (and probably many others here) feel that it can never be truly replaced, having the sword passed on is the next best thing. I salute this place.
So long, and thanks for all of the knowledge and comfort.
(Yeah I'm not as affected by the legal issues anymore :) ; and would still like to visit here, its successor and contribute as long as we don't cover the leaks)
I'm going to be sad to see this site go. It's been a huge part of my childhood, and even now as an adult man I still find myself checking the same site I did when I was nine.
I don't know if I'll join the new site, given that my interest in Pokemon glitching has dwindled over the years, but I might show up just to be a part of the new community.
I'll have a larger goodbye post up when I'm in more of a writing mood. Abwayax, Photon, and all the admins–thank you for your years of hard work, memories, and tireless leadership. I'm always going to remember this place.
This is absolutely an end of an era.
Glitch City Laboratories has been a part of many childhoods, including mine. The entire concept of glitches in Pokémon games had a huge impact on my life. I would even say it was a big contributor to the career I have taken, that is computer engineering. The sense of mystery and wonder and a look behind the curtains one would get when following early MissingNo. tutorials and experiencing glitches for the first time was unparalleled. I would say no game can offer an experience like this today. Among the many emotions glitches would cause, one of the more interesting ones is a sense of awe and even fear. As a kid, I didn't have a Game Boy, I played the Pokémon games on emulator, but even then I had real fear over corrupting the game state. At some point I would even have (light) nightmares of the game glitching up too much as a result of me toying with it and erasing my progress. I believe I was not the only one to have experienced such feelings, this was a very real risk to people playing on a real Game Boy. The black background on TRSRockin' and spooky pictures of MissingNo as a ghost… the culture of figuring out new creepy glitches… following incomplete writeups on the internet, trying to discern what was real and what was a fake tale of Poké Gods… there was an unparalleled culture of mysticism, and I would read up on every last bit there was.
From the same Czech Pokémon fansite I would download Pokémon ROMs, there were also ROM hacks available. At the time, they were primitive changes of text, maps, and sprites, sometimes even vulgar, but I would not understand that back then, with my limited English likely contributing to that. Nonetheless, these hacks fascinated me, the idea of modifying the game to my liking being tantalizing. The same website also offered simple tools like starter and map editors. They would often corrupt the game, but I enjoyed using them and making simple hacks to my own amusement. My skills would slowly grow as I would learn to use a hex editor to make text changes, dreaming of making a Czech translation of the Pokémon games. Tutorials on the internet taught me to read hexadecimal and even understand how pointers work. Remember Pokémon Diamond and Jade? In 2008, a community of fans of this Game Boy game got together and I put my basic skills to real use in collaborating on a translation patch of original game, Keitai Denjuu Telefang, into English.
As the years went on, so would my maturity, but Pokémon stayed a big part of my life. I learned to code, in simple C, in PHP, in Python. I would hone those skills on making simple dumps of game data. I learned Game Boy assembly to fix a frustrating glitch in our Telefang translation patch. I would put this skill to use in Pokémon, too. One of my earliest "ASM" ROM Hacks was a Nuzlocke hack for Pokémon Red, which I wrote by hand in a hex editor. I made that back in 2011! It was an important accomplishment to me.
Soon afterwards, I discovered the work in progress Pokémon disassembly project. I saw the importance and joined the effort, making my own hacks along the way. There is even one hack I sank a lot of effort into and kept secret until release, which never happened… I also made the Pokémon Red randomizer which brings Pokémon from later gens into the game, which is still popular today (seriously, I regularly get emails from people telling me how much they appreciate it). The point is, I grew intensely familiar with the original Pokémon games on what I would say is an incredibly deep level. I still say I know the games "inside out". I can appreciate every little bit of graphics, every note of the music, the revolutionary and timeless game play, the monsters, the engine and its particularities. Pair that with the culture of glitching close to my heart and the games are and will remain my favorites even as my life has moved on from Pokémon two generations ago.
Understanding the details of the game's internals brings a certain pride with it. Telling people why and how the MissingNo. glitch works was a favorite of mine (I still want that "Ask me about MissingNo. t-shirt"). And the amount of times I would debunk that "because of how hexadecimal works, the Master Ball has a 1/256 chance to fail" (???) myth!
I remember when arbitrary code execution started being the name of the game. I was amazed when TheZZAZZGlitch wrote pong just using items! At that time, I already had plenty of Game Boy projects going on. I was even writing my own emulator (in Python…) as a thesis in my high school, and I created a simple snake game. I knew I could accomplish something myself for Pokémon, too. Gen 1 had been thoroughly studied by the time, so I focused on Gen 2. Quickly I realized that the Coin Case glitch, which was also called "glitch dimension" at the time due to its tendency to restart in Game Boy mode, had potential. I brought out bgb and spent hours tracing where the code runs through. I thought it was silly to document what every individual cry does. I still think the only reason people even knew the cries affect the result is thanks to the Machop in Vermillion. These effects were barely interesting! Nonetheless, I traced the game's execution upon viewing the Coin Case. I discovered the error the translators made in improperly terminating the dialogue box. I watched the game hop through memory. I figured out why Machop's cry is so significant. A single instruction, left behind by memory values the cry used, a simple `inc sp`, caused the game to change its course and execute other memory. That memory was the tile or attribute map of the current screen. I observed it change as I moved around. I noticed that jump instructions appear. I prayed for a useful one and my wish was granted, upon a certain movement a jump to the third party Pokémon data appeared. Bingo, I thought. Now we have total control. I further routed the code to the PC box items and published a proof of concept here on GCL.
Others quickly found useful pieces of code as I expected, which made me happy. The thread grew to 26 pages! It's silly, but this makes me feel accomplished. I wasn't done with the Coin Case, though. At that time, I also watched Pokémon speedruns, perhaps they were even peaking in popularity. The glitched route to beat Pokémon Gold at the time involved getting a bad clone with a save restart and then using its corrupted stats to walk through walls. I was never a fan of save corruption glitches, they feel like a cop out. I knew a useful ACE exploit could be performed much faster if I could run code from PC Box names. After seeing a slow TAS attempt done with only items, I figured I have to do it myself. And snatch the RTA world record while I'm at it.
I was not a speedrunner, albeit I had done a few randomizer races. I came up with a route that was much more complicated than it needed to be, but I was just very happy to have it done. Catch a Wooper, collect a Return TM, hop into the PC boxes. My first attempt even involved beating Whitney for friendship and writing there separate series of box names! My rudimentary notes for that run can be found here. Writing the box code was a real exercise in restricted coding. With the instruction set limited to only opcodes that can be represented with the characters available while naming, doing even simple operations was extremely tough. To perform certain operations, self-rewriting code was even necessary. This kind of programming, with "holes" in the code filled in by previous code, felt like a complicated puzzle, a highly specialized skill. My first run with the route was actually slower than the existing world record due to poor execution. Luckily, others in the Pokémon speedrunning community let me take another shot at the run the next day, and I got to hold the world record in Pokémon Gold Any%. For approximately 24 hours, because not only others could simply play better than me, but we also got together with other programmers and over time improved the route significantly. I also got a shout out at SGDQ that year (2014) :) Today the route involves RNG manipulation together with save corruption again. I still consider the Coin Case exploit one of my best accomplishments ever :)
I helped figure out some other glitches useful for speedrunning, such as Brock Through Walls, which I believe I have also named, and Glitzer Popping, which I definitely haven't named :p.
I don't want to toot my horn too much, but there is one more topic I'll touch upon, and that's the whole Spaceworld debacle.
It was a bit over three years ago when __ dropped the link to the Space World '97 demo of Pokémon Gold/Silver into the pret discord. It was afternoon and I was at an event with our friendswe were taking care of a retro gaming room, a kind of arcade. The event was just about to end when luckytyphlosion, a friend from the speedrunning community, sent me a link and told me to download it immediately. I was busy, but it took only one screenshot to convince me to do so. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was the prototype. Pokémon Gold before the reboot. I remember that just a few weeks before then, I was telling people about the rough development Gold/Silver has seen, and how I would give a kidney for a prototype. And here it was right in front of my eyes. I remember how I sat on my laptop there simply coordinating and working on this while my friends were packing things around me. Eventually I was basically surrounded by boxes, but I insisted, this is really important!
Recognizing the significance of this prototype, I set to collect the most acclaimed Pokémon hackers, reverse engineers, translators, and historians in one place in order to dissect this prototype. I even got veterans who haven't worked on Pokémon stuff for over ten years to come back and participate. I named this group Team Spaceworld and yes, I attempted to restrict the release of the prototype until it was "ready" by our standards. I intended to do a coordinated release together with a translation patch so that people would get to enjoy it "properly", however vaguely that was defined. Whether that was a good plan or not is completely moot because the ROM got leaked a mere four days later (not "once it looked like it may not get done" like some people have proclaimed). Nonetheless, I am still extremely proud of what our group has accomplished in those four days. We dumped the sprites, the maps, the text, we had a lot of data and translations ready. The amount of work everybody put together is incredible and I'm still happy about how it went. Sadly, after the leak, motivation and interest to work on the translation patch waned. I do put some blame on myself for that.
At no point did I possess anything else, like prototypes or source code, that was not released to the public, except for a bunch of screenshots, and I had nothing to do with the future leaks. When the recent leaks happened, I was as giddy to dig into them as everybody else, it was quite thrilling. My sole accomplishment with these is probably the rips of early and unused music tracks.
Yet it's true that these last leaks feel like one last nail on the coffin of the innocent childhood digging into the Pokémon games. I know our knowledge of the Pokémon games is still not complete, and even recently it still felt like we discover something new now and then (I have contributed to Crystal_'s #OldGenFactOfTheDay hashtag myself), but our collective knowledge is pretty darn big. Some things are still to be figured out about the game's development. Not raw code, like the disassemblies, but the human factor in development, which takes a completely different skillset. I believe Helix Chamber is still working on that, and I admire their determination. I'm also still waiting for the Game Engine Black Book of Pokémon Red, in the style of Fabien Sanglard's DOOM book. Or maybe it will be up to me to write it some daywho knows.
I suppose when taken in total, I was never a significant member of the Glitch City Laboratories community per se. But this place definitely feels important to me, a lot of my work and hobbies revolve around the topic, and my life would have been different if GCL was never here to begin with. Thanks, everybody, for the good times, and I wish well upon your lives.