“Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
Chris Roberts – granted, we know the man is an habitual liar – had said from the onset that he wasn’t going to waste backer money; that all the money ($113 million as of this writing) was going to be used on the game’s development, that he wasn’t going to spend it on PR. Says so right there – in the pledge! Honest!
Considering that, the once indie project has ballooned (more in my previous blog) into four studios (with over a dozen corporate entities attached) around the world, over 500 people involved at one point in time; coupled with the reported excessive salaries, bonuses, shares etc, paid to himself, his wife Sandi, brother Erin, their lifelong friends turned execs (Nick Elms, Simon Elms, Derek Senior, Phil Meller, over at Foundry 42 – UK), wasting backer money is the norm.
Which is precisely why, when ToS v1.2 expires on May 31st, at which point they are supposed to give refunds and financial accountability having failed – spectacularly – to deliver (it’s now 18 months past due) the game, they won’t do it.
It should also be noted that all these shows (E3, Pax etc) they attend, and host (CitizenCon) – are all forms of PR; and all cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to host, attend etc. It’s all a waste of backer money. And its PR. For a game that has been fully funded many times over.
So now there is mounting evidence that some of the historical community material (recorded and hosted on TwitchTV, YouTube) paid for by Star Citizen backers, are being erased from the public record. These include the subscriber shows such as 104TC, 104TD, AtV, RtV etc.
Aside from the implications of their removal removing all traces of things they’ve said, promised etc during this project, it is reminiscent of other incriminating material that were since removed once they appeared in my blogs. For example:
- Sandi’s three (1, 2, 3) LinkedIn profiles containing bogus degrees & colleges. Notwithstanding the fact that the original one was discussed as far back as 2014 following a marketing event.
- Sandi’s commentary (archive) about not knowing what a VP of marketing does. <—- LOL!!! rekt!
- Sandi’s YouTube interview claiming dual Masters degrees.
- Sandi’ radio interview (archive) claiming dual Masters degrees. Bonus material. 09/01/15. A full 10 mins of nothing but lies. And this was before they were forced (by my blog mention) to reveal – publicly – that she was in fact married to Chris Roberts. And that was months later – Oct 2015 to be exact – after The Escapist article hit. But wait! There’s more of this. Let’s go back a bit to 03/08/13.
Why is this bad? Let me post some choice commentary related to this.
“A drama I consider worth raising is the fact that CIG has deleted content subscribers paid for. Lots of it. RtV episodes purged from the record. Why should those not remain available? Why erase history the backers paid to create?
It’s ongoing. The Twitch archives– massively reduced. Try to watch the older episodes. They’re removed. Lots of them.
This actually should bother backers. The entire record should exist in an official archive.
The Wingman archives have miraculously survived but given some of the things buried in there I do not doubt they’ll get purged eventually too.
It’s very Orwellian.
I’m saying that even the readers of /r/ds here (hi guys) should ask themselves whether they think this is okay. Didn’t you pay for this? Don’t you get thanked every single video with the pre-roll? And by Ben and Sandi and Chris endlessly each week? You paid for these. They are subsidized by your largess. They belong to the community and should all be preserved so that the historical record of what YOU paid for is complete.
There have been many great employees who are no longer there– some were purged or pressured out. But they were good people– the character of CIG is an amalgam of the personalities of many of those decent people. They represent for most a happier time– pre-Benghazi, Pre-Donutgate. It was a more honest and open time. A freer and more earnest and warm time. Before the toxicity really metastasized in the community and many good backers AND employees got exiled or pressured out.
The complete archival record of CIG video – from Wingman’s (Nuts) Hangar all the way to the latest RtV is a narrative unto itself. It tells a story – countless stories in fact. And what started with mirth, warmth and openness has slowly surrendered over the years to exhaustion, insincerity and dishonesty. “All paid for by subscribers like YOU!”
I personally feel like the archives serve a useful purpose for backers and you don’t have to have a cynical angle to believe this. This is sold to backers as “Open Development”. They’re supposed to be getting a real time window into the making of their game. The archival record is part of what it seems like the subscribers are paying for. Part of the “value” of subscription. The RtV history is largely just a snapshot of the evolving community team and dialogue. It has lots of funny, endearing moments– lots of character. But it also has backer questions being asked and answered. Many have even forgotten that for quite some time CiG was talking about the shared hangar social experience. Being able to have other players in your own hangar. Questions – countless questions – about that one promised feature from an eternity ago… And like Star Marine and SataBall and so many other things, what was formerly a pressing priority just vanished in an act of unspoken fiat. And much of the archival history seems to have, too– making it harder for backers to remember the old promises unmet. Harder to add them up in their own mental timelines. It’s a disservice the serves solely the interest of CIG’s Narrative of the Now. But if subscribers paid for it, and you thanked them, why take it from them later? It costs nothing to preserve beyond CIG’s own credibility– and apparently that’s too high a price to pay.
I’m saying that at least a few dozen over the span of a year went away at once. I can believe if there’s a rolling wipe but the Erasening happened (if memory serves) a couple of weeks after I wrote up the one about Sandi arriving at noon, tattooed, having just come from an audition as a “feral viper” gang member, and Ben explained to viewers that the reason we often see Sandi dressed up strangely was that she was going on auditions frequently. Which corroborates yet another claim of The Escapist– and surely necessitated its deletion from the public record. (And yet it lives!)”
IMPERIAL NEWS NETWORK
The other relevant angle to all of this is that INN, which was billed to be a “fan site”, is actually the single largest Star Citizen/CIG shill site this side of gaming. Thing is, part of this particular group of Shillizens effort revolves around the transcripts they write up of most of the aforementioned shows produced by Sandi’s “marketing” crew at CIG.
Now, we’ve come to uncover that some vital transcripts are either completely fabricated (do not match what was said actually said in the videos) or were transcribed in a manner that appears to change the narrative and context.
So we started connecting the dots in an attempt to find the actual INN connection to CIG.
The end result was that, this alter-ego (which didn’t exist before Star Citizen btw), Wolf Larsen, just happens to be Jake DiMare, owner of INN a social media and marketer and Digital Strategy Director at Agency Oasis. You have to wonder why a fan site in which most of the staff don’t even visit the RSI systems, would spend so much time, energy, effort – and money on a game for which even the founder’s footprint appears to defy logic.
It gets better.
Earlier this week when this investigation came to a head, I asked Jake a direct question regarding his affiliation with CIG and whether they were in fact paid or not. He ignored my queries. Then less than 24hrs later, the Wolf Larsen Twitter account affiliated with INN, was set to protected (update: shortly after the original version of this blog went live, he restored it) mode.
It gets even better.
In this YouTube broadcast, the chap in the top right, Dolvak, is none other than Trevor Noblitt, who, until a few months ago, was one of the mods on /r/StarCitizen, the #1 Reddit for Shillizens and Shitizens alike. Regular Star Citizen fans are typically not welcome there due to the toxicity of that particularly community. Trevor, amid an uprising in /r/StarCitizen, which followed shortly after an ill-advised run-in with me, killed his INN branded Twitter account, resigned as mod of the sub-reddit.
In that same video above, the chap in the lower-right, is Jake.
“I think @Jones.Something’s latest posts about the revisionism of statements by CIG in realtime via bad faith transcriptions is really the tender (and ample) underbelly of INN drama. Their videos get so few views but their transcripts are considered a definitive record of public statements by CIG and they are dishonest. It’s one thing to distill a complicated point down to a simple bullet. It’s another to take a developer stating (x) will be a challenge and changing it to be (x) is easy no problem. They have probably done that very thing – with 10ftC transcripts, RtV, AtV and whatever else they’ve transcribed – thousand of times. — Adding the graft angle to it just reinforces their dishonest dealings and both make a damning case“
And this is the sort of thing they do and which serves only to spread propaganda and disinformation to the backers.
“I’m fairly confident in saying that the above updates will arrive before the end of the year.” – INN, Sept 2015
Let me hit the rewind button here.
About 9 months ago, this fellow started a topic about INN and their toxic/caustic/dishonest role in the Star Citizen community. This is the response that Jake wrote – right there on INN. Why is this relevant? Well, read it again. Slowly this time.
A few months ago after news broke that Sandi (yes, her again) – a CIG exec – was banning backers from the RSI website/systems for actions (read: they’re all morons! Star Citizen is a scam! etc), no-nonsense reporter William Usher, wrote an article specifically about that. A piece that CIG never acknowledged, let alone responded to. But oh, INN decided to do the honors. It reads like a kindergarten homework (and that’s if you were home schooled by your crack-smoking parents).
In connection to the above, a notable Star Citizen backer, in what could only be described as The Rekting, having grown fedup with the crap surrounding this project, had decided to make public that eye-opening email exchange he had with Sandi. It’s a glorious doozy (1, 2). In that double-whammy fiasco, after having accused the backer of possibly falsifying the emails, then said they would take steps to obtain verification from CIG; shockingly, they didn’t. Instead, opting to add a footnote to the piece they had written and in which they were questioning their authenticity. NOTE: It doesn’t really matter because we know the email exchange to be authentic. If they were not, CIG would have come out and said so. Aside from the fact that this person would have been brought up on criminal charges if they were fake. CIG would have loved nothing more than to bury one of their most prolific dissenters.
“This is a fantastic point. Because the transcripts have become the primary source of information for most of the community paying attention. INN is revising history in realtime, accentuating the positive to the point of outright fabrication of facts and downplaying the negative and often not transcribing it at all.
This is, in my opinion, a thread really worth pulling on and an issue very worth raising. Because if history is being revised literally in real time, INN is doing the community a great harm.
Do you REALLY serve the Community, INN? Do you REALLY provide NEWS FOR YOU?“
So ask yourself this: Why is INN, a supposed Star Citizen fan site, spending time fighting (alongside your standard fare Shitizens) a proxy social media war for CIG? You know, in between their usual propaganda-laden bullshit designed to extract money from backers, when they know fully well – like the rest of us – that CIG is completely incapable of delivering the product promised?
Fast Forward. So yesterday I have informed Jake that if INN is in fact paid (we found records of at least one INN person denying this same query! won’t it be hilarious if Jake was being paid and those incompetent INN tossers were working for free this whole time?) by CIG – in any form – that he needed to disclose it to the backers, as per FTC rules; and that if he failed to do so within 24 hrs, that I was going to file a formal complaint with the FTC. Why is something like this relevant? I’m glad you asked. Here’s one example.
NOTE: there is nothing wrong or illegal about being a paid shill. However, the backers have a right to know because given the current dissenting climate surrounding this project, and all the shady stuff going on, the mantra is: trust no one. And most definitely not the chaps over at INN which is looking a lot more like sponsored content, than it is about a fan community site.
“I consider INN drama on par with the dramas of the perpetually pearl necklace clutching denizens of /r/ds. I get why they do it to a point– they’ve bought into a false dichotomy “Derek Vs. Star Citizen” War Narrative that Derek happily plays into (for comedic effect…) But as I said yesterday– take away everything Derek ever said and did and it changes nothing. Star Citizen is a pretty embarrassing mess. It’s unfun to play. It’s unstable. It lacks character, depth, a decent flight control system, any sense of originality, a coherent narrative, a roadmap for completion, a competitive advantage, an endgame, and 95% of its promised features. Even without Derek, that is the State of the Game. “
That’s a lot for real backers to think about now.
In the meantime, I have three more blogs in the works. One is about the Star Citizen Grey market for ship sales, and how some of us believe it is being used to launder money, who the top players are, how it came to be, and how/why it has all but collapsed (just as I predicted that it would back in 2015). The second one is about the legal ramifications of the ToS v1.2 expiring on May 31st, and what it means for backers. This one also touches on pretty damning evidence that the funding chart is being manipulated, how it does not reflect the true amounts earned by the project, why/how we think they’re doing it, and how it pertains to the true backer (we have evidence showing that this number is about half what is being claimed) numbers. A third blog is a bit more in-depth, though I may merge it with the second one. It deals with the share allocation and transfers going on with the companies (more specifically the UK companies), what it means in terms of asset/wealth transfer out of the project and into the pockets of a few top level execs, how they’re doing it etc.
UPDATE1: Following the blog, Jake has confirmed his identity, and issued a statement.
“Derek is going balls out with this, full guns blazing. If it turns out that INN is being run by this PR company paid for by CIG with backer money – which to be fair is exactly what it looks like – then **** all of these guys, **** them, and here is why:
INN disseminates all of the information coming from 10FTC which is used to part people with their money. It ends up in forums, comments sections and subreddits of other games. People go to INN, lift things from their poor, inaccurate, misleading and lazy transcripts and post them as ‘coming features’, ‘Star Citizen will have this’, ‘this new thing is right around the corner’, and people go to RSI and spend money.
Let me give everyone an example:
Q: Will planets have multiple biomes? Will flora and fauna be high fidelity?
A: Yes and yes. They hope to one day even have full weather systems for planets. Flora and fauna will be high fidelity because they’re made by the art team before placed.
WHAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID:
Q: Will planets have variant biomes and or weather regions or will each planet be uniform? Do you think current procedural tech will be capable of generating flora and fauna at a fidelity close enough to the art you are producing?
A: “ABSOLUTELY there’s NO REASON why we can’t do this. WEATHER REGIONS is a bit of a DIFFERENT STORY”
“Moving weather and things like that on it? That’s a problem that we’re not yet ready to SOLVE””
“This is one quick example that I can find in 5 minutes, they’ve been spewing this garbage now for how many years? And now it looks like they’ve been getting paid all along to do this? This is how they’ve been selling those ships, this shit gets copied and pasted all over the internet, and people spend money because the whole thing just keeps sounding more and more amazing.
Not only do INN misrepresent what’s being said in these videos and 10FTCs – trust me, I could sit here and effort post for the next two days showing loads more little nuggets like that one above – but they are starting to look like a paid for marketing operation to sell jpeg spaceships.
Which part of Star Citizen doesn’t look like a scam at this point? Anyone?
Whatever Derek has managed to dug up about this I am very much looking forward to reading.”
So Dolvak shows up, tried to deny them messing with the transcript. Then once the above was posted in the sub-reddit, he deleted his original post. We already had a screen shot because this is precisely what we expect these guys to do when confronted with evidence and proof.
Since I wrote this article after doing extensive research (most of it involving Stolen Goon Valor – don’t ask), a lot has happened.
First, let me start with the serious part of it all. I reached out to William Usher who has had his run-ins with Shitizens (and the people who love them), and INN (and all 15 people who still read their site), the premier Shillizen site. My goal was to get third-party confirmation from CEO and founder Jake DiMare (aka Wolf Larsen) on the record saying that neither he, nor INN or any affiliated companies, have in fact received any compensation from CIG. Below is that on the record response sent to Usher.
“on the record INN is a community funded fan site that operates at a loss out of love for the game. We have no relationship with CIG beyond being backers and fans of the game. With the exception of that time they donated a ship for a promotional giveaway.“
A source of mine begs to differ, and claims to have more information about how people at CIG are connected to INN through Jake. And that sort of thing is precisely why I wanted to get an on-the-record response from a third-party, because, you know – Shitizens are a disillusion bunch of nutjobs stuck in a combination of sunk cost fallacy, cognitive dissonance, and a healthy dose of abusive tendencies.
So here’s the thing, INN is not purely a Star Citizen fan site. If you look at the content they have produced, aside from the cringe-worthy shilling (accuracy and facts be damned), disinformation etc, it’s clear that it’s way more than that. As a result, they were required to disclose that they are in fact running sponsored content donated by CIG. So if they lied about that, and/or failed to disclose it, aside from all the other crap they do, it’s clear that they can’t be trusted. Period.
Not to mention the fact that even though they are masquerading as a fan site, it should automatically and immediately disqualify them from being the source of any neutrality and which would be in the best interests of the true Star Citizen backers who just want the game they paid for. Instead, not only has Jake, Dolvak and others there, engaged (as per the links in my article above) in the same behavior as Shitizens (you know, the toxic Star Citizen backers), but they condone and continue it to this day. In fact, just this past weekend, people from INN were in a stream (nope – not going to give the link any hits) and conducting that very same behavior.
So now, just days following this article, they’re on damage control. Because, you know, f*ck Derek Smart, but lets just cover our asses anyway – it’s the only way to be sure. Pretty much the same thing that CIG does when I go sniffing (quick! see if you recall that one time where Sandi was singing the Nazi national anthem at a Star Citizen event) around. And with that, they’ve been doing some shuffling; no doubt in an attempt to distance Jake from his INN role. To wit: this is INN on 04-17-16 to 05-06-16. And here is it today, 05-09-16. See anything different in the top three roles?
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Wolf Larsen is an alter-ego for Jake DiMare. He simply does not exist. And prior to the investigation that spawned this blog, nobody had made the connection.
So, there’s a real person (Jake DiMare), using a fictitious persona (Wolf Larsen), to get money from Star Citizen backers, to fund a site which, for all intent and purposes, is a shill site for Star Citizen, and through which some (not all) of it’s contributors (including the owner/founder) are conducting a social media proxy war against dissenters like myself and others.
“Although we recognize there are individuals who have the opinion that CIG is not diligently building the best video game anyone has ever imagined, we just happen to disagree. We also disagree that all our readers, and the legions of Star Citizen fans behind them, are the world’s largest collection of suckers being deceived by a sweeping, hundred million dollar conspiracy to pretend to build a video game starring Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Liam Cunningham, Gillian Anderson, and Andy Serkis.“
So, this is where we are with INN when you pull back the curtains:
- INN (update: incorporated in Wyoming) is owned by Jake DiMare, a marketing exec. His Twitter strategy list even includes Star Citizen, Chris Roberts, Sandi Gardiner
- Wolf Larsen doesn’t exist. It is the alter-ego of Jake DiMare
- INN didn’t publicly disclose they got freebies (among still to be disclosed assets) from CIG. Hence ‘sponsored‘ content
- INN transcripts are littered with bullshit, which in turn decimate and distribute misinformation to Star Citizen backers
- Jake is raising money through a fictional alter-ego from real life Star Citizen backers
- Some INN contributors – including the founder – are part of the toxic Shitizens which continue to plague this project and its community
That’s all for now. Our investigation continues. More to come as it unfolds.
As promised, the resident archivist over at the Stimperor’s Elite Goon Squad has put together some of the most recent INN transcripts which show without a shadow of a doubt that they’re basically not only posting pure bullshit, but also distorting what is communicated by CIG. Knowing fully well that since most people aren’t watching the broadcasts, they rely on the transcribed material. Trust me, it gets worse. And it has been going on as far as when INN started. Basically, Reddit aside, INN as far as we can tell, is the #1 source of misinformation and disinformation about this project. Which pretty much explains why there is so much confusion surrounding what this project is, what was promised, and the current stated. Simple put, they simply cannot be trusted. And I personally believe that Jake DiMare is not being forthcoming about his relationship with CIG as it relates to this project. But as these things tend to go, it’s only a matter of time before it all blows up and gets out. And whatever it is they’re hiding, I’m going to get to it. It’s only a matter of time now.
10 FOR THE CHAIRMAN: EPISODE 78 MAR 7 2016
Q: What are the plans to make future patches smaller and more efficient?
WORK HAS STARTED on a patching system that will only download exactly the files you need.
What was actually said
So yes absolutely we have a PLAN in fact I sat down earlier this week … but yeah I THINK we have a really cool PLAN.
Q: How important is positioning relative to an opponent’s in Star Citizen’s flight model, and is it affected by 6DOF?
Positioning is always important in Star Citizen which implements pilot skill and ship characteristics.
What was actually said
Getting BEHIND someone, or in their BLIND SIDE is a bit of an advantage.
Question according to INN
Are you seeking guidance from people in the field when it comes to designing planets and procedural tech?
Question as it was actually asked
You’ve talked about consulting linguists for alien languages, are you talking to exobiologists, exoplanetologists and exo-climatologists for direction and help in designing the ecosystems and climates of alien planets?
Answer according to INN
They CONSULT with people at UCLA when they have an idea in mind about a certain kind of planet and CONSULT about where it would be most fitting to go , then they add in factors like in game lore and gameplay before deciding on a planet’s location. There will be a small amount of things like an ‘ice planet’ and a ‘jungle planet’ mixed with a combination of real life science.
What was actually said
We have done a certain amount of working with a local school here in LA, so at UCLA we’ve been dealing with some sort of astrophysicists in terms of laying out our star systems and what kind of planets will be what distance from the stars. You know very much in Star Wars they sort of focus the planets to sort of feel like it’s a TYPE it’s a JUNGLE or it’s an ICE PLANET or it’s a DESERT PLANET.
10 FOR THE CHAIRMAN: EPISODE 75 JAN 25 2016
Q: Thoughts on where CIG will go after Star Citizen is finished? Will you develop additional content?
Answer according to INN
CIG will continue to produce features, content, functionality improvements, and new singleplayer campaigns for Star Citizen for the foreseeable future. (i.e. World of Warcraft, EVE Online)
What was actually said
We’ll have what will sort of determine a sort of… MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT FEATURE LIST for what you would call Star Citizen the commerical release, which is basically when you say, “OK, we’ve gotten to this point and we’ve still got PLANS to add a lot more cool stuff and more content and more functionality and more features”
10 FOR THE CHAIRMAN: EPISODE 83 APR 18 2016
Q: Whenever I lose my guns in space will I have to buy new ones?
Answer according to INN
Generally if you damage your ship when you are flying it you will have to pay to get it repaired. Depending on the type of insurance you have it may pay for the ship and/or custom components. However there will be penalties for making repeated claims to prevent people abusing it: premiums increase, replacements take longer, there is extra scrutiny, etc. An advantage of having an Alpha phase is we get to find a nice balance for this with your help.
What was actually said
I’m not stupid enough to say… “it’s DEFINITELY gonna work EXACTLY this way”, cos… you know… you’ve gotta get it out there LIVE and play around. Hopefully with all you guy’s help and playing it we’ll come up with something that is like a really nice balance.
10 FOR DEVELOPERS: EPISODE 08 MAY 02 2016
Q: Will planets have multiple biomes? Will flora and fauna be high fidelity?
Yes and yes. They hope to one day even have full weather systems for planets. Flora and fauna will be high fidelity because they’re made by the art team before placed.
What was actually said
There’s NO REASON why we can’t do this. WEATHER REGIONS is a bit of a DIFFERENT STORY.
These are the things we’re thinking about
Moving weather and things like that on it? That’s a problem that we’re not yet ready to SOLVE
VOLUMETRIC CLOUDS and all this sort of STUFF … to have MOVING WEATHER PATTERNS and things like that within the planets? That’ll be something for another time I think.
How do we keep THAT FIDELITY for a planet that’s COVERED IN AN ENTIRE CITY, that’s a lot trickier.
Q: Will mined out locations be depletable, and will the minerals regenerate?
Mining won’t alter geometry, but an object on the planet. If they do regenerate, they might not look the same or be in the same area.
What was actually said
Well it’s… it’s a DESIGN QUESTION it’s really gonna be up to the designers, there’s no TECHNICAL reason why it can’t
You know, it’s kind of a long answer to whether it regenerates or not… I would say NO IT DOESN’T ACTUALLY REGENERATE
Oh no, INN isn’t Star Citizen shill site at all. So the week I out them, CIG decides to feature them on the latest AtV anyway. And in the list of people associated with the site, they made NO mention of Jake DiMare aka Wolf Larsen. You can read the transcript of the INN segment over here.
So less than six months later, there has been a coup d’etat at INN. You can read more about that here.