* Derived from MSPA Wiki
[Z001] some stuff about captcha codes and punch card alchemy
is anyone actually reading any of this?? or are they all dead. i don't know if
anyone besides us is even alive and playing the game or if anybody even really
cares what we have to say!
rose said i should add some stuff to this faq if anything occurred to me, so i
guess i'm doing that. i figure at the very least it will be a good reference for
just us to use. but dave probably won't read any of this because he's sort of this
whopping stupid horse butt. whatever.
i finally figured out what those weird codes on the back of captchalogue cards are
for. well maybe not what they're ALWAYS for, but a way that sburb has exploited
them for an in-game purpose. every captcha'd item stamps the card with a unique
code, and a gizmo in sburb called the punch designix will punch a unique pattern of
holes in a card which is derived from that code. the punched card can then be used
with other gizmos to duplicate the item and/or combine it with another item.
i got to thinking about this and with my amazing hacker skillz i noticed a trend.
the hole pattern is based on a fairly simple cipher, converting the captcha code to
binary and then the binary pattern is punched, where 1 is a punched hole, and 0 is
an unpunched slot.
so, umm... here's the table just to be clear.
0->0, 1->1, 2->2, 3->3, 4->4, 5->5, 6->6, 7->7, 8->8, 9->9
A->10, B->11, C->12, D->13, E->14, F->15, G->16, H->17, I->18, J->19,
K->20, L->21, M->22, N->23, O->24, P->25, Q->26, R->27, S->28, T->29,
U->30, V->31, W->32, X->33, Y->34, Z->35
a->36, b->37, c->38, d->39, e->40, f->41, g->42, h->43, i->44, j->45,
k->46, l->47, m->48, n->49, o->50, p->51, q->52, r->53, s->54, t->55,
u->56, v->57, w->58, x->59, y->60, z->61
there are a couple oddball characters ! and ? at the end to bring it up to 63 (0
thru 63 = 64 total, i.e. 6 bits). cause the binary representation of the captcha
code chars are 6 bits each, which have a range of 0-63.
so for instance the captcha code for the hammer is "nZ7Un6BI". look up the index
for 'n' first, which is 49. The binary of 49 is 110001. keep doing that for all the
chars and you get:
n=110001 Z=100011 7=000111 U=011110
n=110001 6=000110 B=001011 I=010010
OK... that's the pattern that will be punched on the card, BUT...
the bits are arranged top to bottom, left to right, in four columns, like this:
1 0 1 0
1 0 1 0
0 0 0 1
0 1 0 0
0 1 0 1
1 1 1 1
1 0 0 0
0 1 0 1
0 1 0 0
0 1 1 0
1 1 1 1
1 0 0 0
or punched on a card, like this:
* ASCII art of a punched card (not text, so not included here!)
wow ok that pretty much looks like shit, but you get the idea.
so to combine two items you just overlap two punched cards. only the places where
both cards have a hole will show through, so it's sort of like a bitwise AND
operation on both cards. the new pattern gives you the code for the new item.
for instance combining the code for a hammer (nZ7Un6BI) and a pogo ride (DQMmJLeK)
gives a new code with less holes obviously, which translates to 126GH48G. that hole
pattern went on to make the pogo hammer, which is so rad you have no idea. i've
also wondered if you can combine items in other ways, like a bitwise OR. that means
combining the cards to get MORE holes, not less, i.e. the new pattern has a hole
for every hole on either card. this pattern would be accomplished by DOUBLE
PUNCHING A CARD!! like, two codes, one card. i've got to try that some time.
but there are some mysterious things about all this. first of all, with all the
hole slots, there are 48 bits in total, which means there are almost 300 trillion
possible codes. and 300 trillion sounds huge! but when you consider it is supposed
to account for ALL CONCEIVABLE ITEMS, including all the wacky combinations of
stuff, it suddenly doesn't seem that big!
this leads me to believe that not every combination of item has a viable duplicate.
but this is kinda obvious anyway, since there are many combinations of punch cards
that will produce either a blank card (with AND) or a totally punched card (with
OR). so there are lots of dud combinations out there, and many that will just lead
to the same pattern. like for instance a gun and an atom bomb could make some sort
of ULTIMATE DEATH RAY, but for that matter a shoe horn and a potted plant could
lead to exactly the same pattern!!!!! so weird.
also it seems like combined items will always have patterns with either much fewer
holes or much more holes than more "ordinary" items, which will occupy the vast
meaty middle of all possible patterns. it is strange and counter intuitive that
more complex objects have simpler patterns but hey, there you have it.
but all this sorta makes me guess this system can be cracked in some way. like if
you have a complicated item and you want to "extract" simpler item components from
it, there might be some algorithm for deriving the pattern you want, or at least
narrowing down the possibilities. there might also be ways of charting through the
simpler patterns on both ends of the bit spectrum, and pinning down the ones that
will make cooler stuff. who knows.
i want to ask jade about this because she's really good at this sort of thing
somehow even though she doesn't have my leet haxxor cred. too bad she makes herself
so scarce all the time. jade if you ever read this let me know what you think!
* ASCII art of John's slimer/ghost logo (not text, so not included here!)