Chapter 33: Fourth part / Chapter 3

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 35

FOURTH PART / CHAPTER 3

 


Nicole can say about Masterhead Studios much more than about Austin, a weird furniture store, no less weird massage or dentist clinics—there were no problems there, but one female doctor is not so competent, as she wanted to seem. For a start, the manager of Lass uns Spielen already visited the company, so Nicole needed another reason.

Gratte finds it herself, taking into account her knowledge of the specifics of computer games. So, we’re talking about the game pit stop and the placement of the logo of Michel’s magazine? Moreover, the placement of advertising has already been agreed, they saw the texture. But games run with different graphics settings: being able to work with low, medium and high-resolution screens, it would be nice to check how the logo of the magazine looks on different computers.

Michel himself called the editorial office of the magazine to find out whether this was done or not. It turned out that no one saw the texture with different resolutions in the game, it was Nicole who commissioned it.

Waldo told her about the different departments of his office, but since she’s being a ‘magazine manager,’ she was interested in the corporate texture with different resolutions, he first took her to the Design Department.

There are several computers, maybe fifteen. He called one of the men font designer, said that he’s engaged in text design: fonts, shadows, but this is not what they need. They approached the surface designers.

One was a photographer, and he photographs asphalt, gravel and other surfaces. Another was a photo designer: he’s involved in the processing of the photos. The third oversaw licensed graphics, including surface textures from third-party companies that the local photographer couldn’t find.

Therefore, he’s responsible for the logo of the magazine in the game. The man introduced himself as Phillip, suggested Nicole sit in his chair and began to talk about some folder textures on the game engine, which has subfolders low, middle and high. Gratte didn’t know English at the level of conversation but can understand the general terminology.

“What do you want to see, Nicole?”

“Is it too blurry ‘L. U. Spielen’ in the middle and low folders? Can I read the inscription everywhere?”

“Well, let’s first find your logo in the high folder.”

Phillip scrolled texture after texture with some obscure technical names like arena001.dds, base025.dds, generic041.dds.

Nicole took out her notepad and wrote down in French: “The uninformative name of the texture files.” None of them knew French, so no one really understood what was actually written there. Neither Phillip nor Waldo asked her.

The magazine’s texture appeared in files with the names bulding054.dds and generic022.dds. Phillip wasn’t exactly sure where it was, but he found.

“Do you want to compare how middle and low differ from high?”

“Yes, our editors are interested in whether the inscription of your sponsor is readable under any game settings.”

“In the game, the player also chooses different filtering: anisotropic, bilinear, or trilinear in addition to texture resolution.”

“Where can we see how the texture looks with different settings and filtering on the computer of the end players?”

“You came not to the address, you must come to the Testing Department. Waldo, accompany her.”

“I’ll go, and you, Phillip, do your previous work.”

“Good, old fellow.”


Nicole noticed a high familiarity in this company. Everyone spoke as if in real life they had known each other for ten years. It’s not surprising that they had become friends for six years. Nicole came to the Testing Department. There was about the same number of computers—about fifteen. They are suitable for testing purposes, however, obviously, didn’t cover all existing models of processors and video cards.

They explained to her that since her task is to check the clarity of only two sponsor textures, the computer can be taken the most powerful one. She doesn’t care about frames per second and the overall speed of the game on different hardware. Gratte agreed to play, the game was launched with different settings, screenshots were taken and then compared.

The name L. U. Spielen was read everywhere, even in the GERINGE QUALITÄT texture mode (low quality in German) with anisotropic filtering. Having examined various screenshots and comparing the settings, formally, her work was completed after two and a half hours.

Waldo helped her by naming the screenshots, now in JPG format, with different names, such as LOW_ANISOTROPY.jpg, LOW_BILINEAR.JPG and the like. Nicole took the notebook again and wrote down technically in French: “There is no screenshot production mode with options subtitles in the game engine. This complicates the testing phase.”

After her work formally ended, Waldo didn’t stop and showed her department after department, and Nicole didn’t want to refuse. One must be able to use informal connections and credulity, and then suddenly Masterhead Studios hide something else besides the uninformative name of the textures and the imperfect game engine, created is easy as pie.

Having visited the Modeling Department, where they are engaged in creating cars for the game, she understood that Masterhead Studios doesn’t have money for licensing real cars (silly sponsors like Michel don’t allocate sums with six-digit zeros), so they do replicas and copies of cars when you can recognize a particular car, but you can’t call it by its real name. The design also needs to be changed so that the details of the sides, bonnets do not completely coincide, because the appearance is protected in Europe, regardless of the name.

Nicole sincerely hoped that Masterhead Studios wasn’t involved in the replicas of something more serious, for example, tax concealment or counterfeiting of banknotes. She had no evidence that the company was dishonest in economic terms.

Waldo led Gratte to the Scenario Department. This is the personal office of just one person, a certain copywriter named Alfred. Alfred again? I hoped that in Paris I heard this name for the last time,’ Nicole thought.

The fact is that GET READY has a certain Career Mode. It consists of only 60 races, which is a bit weird. Nicole knows about racing games, where you need to go through thousands of races in order to earn some kind of decent racing career.

Before each race, a certain text is displayed, it’s written by a scriptwriter named Alfred. From the read ‘briefings’ it was very quickly revealed that we weren’t playing for a legal rider, but let’s say, for an official rider, but who doesn’t disdain to be in an informal relationship with some judges (he just knows them), to bribe unfamiliar judges. He just is not adding fuel to the fire by sleeping with the daughter of the organizer of some racing cup.

Honestly, Nicole never read anything more than this bullshit in German. She could barely smile at the texts she read. Alfred often repeats ‘so’ and ‘hey’, was inclined to parasitic words, especially at the beginning of sentences and an overly familiar style of language.

“Hey man! We need to talk to. Listen, Kevin got into shit, the cops took my car. Imagine yourself: my child’s in a police parking lot and dying of hunger there! Surely also he craps one’s pants! I don’t know where this bastard got into. Listen, you have to save my baby... It doesn’t matter. The guard did me a favour and gave me the key. But it’s not a problem. No, the problem is that the deal didn’t go as it should. When you turn the ignition keys, he’ll do his job and warn colleagues that the owner has allegedly returned. So move to the old warehouse as quickly as possible. You have too little time that decreases at every second. If you need more time, we’ll have more problems even with our connections...”

The written texts made on Nicole just no impression. A second-rate, completely meaningless product. No irony, no talent, no sense of humour, and everything about corruption or bribes. With one exception. Before that, Gratte couldn’t get into any German inside someone’s head and find out what the pure native German speaker thinks on a subject. Now, she knows it. And it seems that the Germans in this regard are not far from the French. After the GET READY was really released, the texts were heavily edited.

Our rider, whose role we played, has, so to speak, an honest and a murderous side. An honest side—to win competitions. A murderous side—to destroy the cars of the racers after the competitions that left the racing business, now they were interfering with some bosses.

For example, there is some old shitty man who used to travel a lot, participated in competitions, earned a fortune, and now he has made a mess and began to demand the impossible. Either there are too few fees for using the name (for example, from T-shirts with his last name for fans), or something else. He’s tired of the bosses, and our rider needs to make him silent.

It’s one thing, Nicole thought, if the rider was a stuntman, and would just direct his car at high speed into another car, and then he could open the door and quickly jump out his car. But the method of deliverance is not quite ordinary: the player needs to get close to his car, having dispersed at about the same speed as another car, pull out the machine gun from the window and shoot another driver behind the wheel through the window.

Then he himself will get into such an accident that no one will ever prove the fact that they shot him. Especially if on a fast highway. Nicole decided that probably, according to the author of the script, certain Alfred, most forensic experts are idiots, and they won’t find a bullet inside the body, even a badly mutilated one.

On the other hand, there is an assumption that the authors of game products specifically come up with unrealistic kill scenarios so that they don’t try to repeat them. Although Nicole knew Pierre, he was actually trying to fake drug addiction, then sudden departure from the city, then suicide, no more convincing than Alfred. The police believed that Adellet didn’t die from drug addiction herself, but someone pumped it, but on the other hand, they didn’t find anyone.

As for the Masterhead Studios itself, Nicole received 3,000 euros from Michel for the two warnings discovered during the development process, and a note about weird marketing. The parasite company, engaged more in a dream than in business, is supported by Waldo’s nearly as old shitty man as the one that needs to be killed in the script of the game.

Nicole came to her room, rented previously for a week, where she pulls down her tights. Michel came to her, calmly demanding a report on Masterhead Studios. He himself almost believed only Gratte’s assumption, the half-lie that they were really trying to destroy his business.

The half-lie was not far from reality, but Nicole didn’t know whether these persons really stood behind it. Michel asked:

“Is one of the schmucks from Scenario of the Beauty behind this company?”

“I don’t think so. Just a naïve peasant Waldo, wants to create his dream. As if he didn’t play enough cars in his childhood.”

Michel wasn’t interested in scripts, cars, and submachine guns behind the wheel in the game. He wondered if she could go into the director’s office (for any reason, at least playing a curious fool who was mistaken with the office) and peek at least part of their economic sheets.

“No, you’re crazy, Michel. My role’s manager, if I openly talk about economic education, they’ll provide me with even less information than to the manager.”

“You worked well, I admire you. You will receive your fee tomorrow. Officially and with taxes, for the provision of certain consulting services. In addition to the salary of a magazine advertising manager.”

Michel sang to her that she should never tell anyone and anywhere what exactly she was looking for at Masterhead Studios. If she would be asked, she just worked as an advertising manager. In this regard, Michel didn’t differ from Pierre, maybe this secrecy is not casual, maybe he himself was involved in something dishonest?


Submitted: March 28, 2020

© Copyright 2020 RomanBoukreev. All rights reserved.

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