Jesse Rougeau (Jezithyr)’s Game Cracking Threat: An Open Letter to SS14 Leadership

Dear Space Wizard’s Federation (WizDen), SSMV community, Space Station 14 fork communities, fellow game developers and other interested persons,

I (Skye) would like to inform you of certain behavior from a key member of the Space Station 14 / WizDen leadership team, as well as defend myself against public allegations that person has made against me and my business.

Summary

Jesse Rougeau (aka Jezithyr/Jez) is a professional game designer who helped create major titles such as Minecraft Legends and Homeworld 3, in addition to her role as a leader in Space Station 14. (This part is already public information and listed on her GitHub.io and LinkedIn).

Unfortunately, in at least one provable situation, she is also involved in the game cracking scene on the deep web via an anonymous alt account. Jesse Rougeau threatened to crack another game of mine on a notorious piracy forum with the explicit intent of causing me financial damage. I believe this threat was issued out of malice due to my role in creating SSMV.

Background: SS14 / SSMV

I (Skye) found Space Station 14 on Steam last year, and immediately enjoyed playing the game. I was inspired to try volunteering and contribute some of my own code to this open source effort.

Unfortunately, I found a toxic environment where volunteers are insulted by project leadership and fans received bans on Steam for replying ‘this’ to criticism. Ultimately after levying my own criticism when contributors were referred to as ‘beggars’, I too was banned, and this popularized my Space Station Multiverse (SSMV) launcher/infrastructure fork of SS14.

Due to my continued involvement on SSMV, I encountered Jezithyr occasionally on Reddit, where her posts towards me began getting progressively more aggressive — though not enough to warrant any particular action or digress into here. However, little did I know her anger towards my fork was building up to something…

Jesse Rougeau’s Game Piracy Threat

For those who aren’t aware, my main gig is creating 18+ video games. I won’t link any here for obvious reasons, but I have never concealed this from the community and it’s quite easy to find for anyone researching me. But point being: Space Station is a fun hobby activity, while my commercial game is my main business.

As with any successful commercial game, there is a certain amount of piracy I have to contend with. In particular, there is a certain deep web forum dedicated to game piracy which has threads discussing how to crack my commercial game, including sharing links to unauthorized cracked copies of my commercial game. I found this post there in approximately December:

In the above post, Jesse Rougeau (under an account that she thought was anonymous at the time) replies to a user who had been actively cracking my commercial game. The other user had given up cracking my game, but Jesse (in the anonymous form of Green Drake) announces she will take over.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize which green dragon (which is Jezithyr’s sona) has a vendetta against me. When I reached out to her initially, she denied it, though when she realized I had additional evidence to implicate her, she admitted to making the posts. Aware the police were involved, she deleted her posts and stopped her cracking efforts. I am thankful she did both.

From roughly December to March, the situation stayed dormant — though I often wondered if I had done the right thing by not speaking out against what this developer was doing on her alt account, or what other things she might secretly be doing to other people / game devs.

Accusations from Jezithyr

The situation re-ignited recently (now March) when people started forwarding me screencaps of Jezithyr making various public posts in the SS14/WizDen Discord recently attacking me.

This seems to have backfired on her as people seemed to be more wondering why Jezithyr was so heavily investigating the SSMV dev’s other game project. The community started tugging at this mystery and making connections, particularly as some of this lined up with a vague statement I had made earlier about having to get the cops involved about something one of the WizDen staff had done.

As people were already figuring out the truth and I had enough of her attacks, I came forward on the SSMV Discord with the piracy post she had made — though initially I had censored the username and specific piracy site until people inevitably found out that, as well.

To address the accusations from Jezithyr:

  • First, I’m not sure if she’s calling Google Analytics or basic IP access logs to a private commercial game server “spyware,” but either way it’s ridiculous and has already been appropriately ridiculed and meme’d by the community. The term “Spyware” is for rootkits and malware and other system level gremlins, and using it to refer to anything going on in a non-executable flash game or website is grossly misleading.
  • Yes, I did contact the police about Jesse’s threat.
  • The denied data deletion request is specifically regarding her request for me to delete the evidence connecting her to greendrake — deleting evidence did not seem appropriate given police involvement. I imagine GDPR allows for retaining information when necessary for law enforcement, but neither of us are in the EU so it’s not even relevant anyway.
  • Regarding me “CONTINUALLY” sending e-mails to her, it was one and as she agreed to delete the game build and not crack the game, I didn’t contact her further.

Jezithyr’s Admission & Defense

This PM between Jezithyr and Rane was already publicly posted in some Discords (and my understanding is it had been posted with Jezithyr’s permission to share). Her defense regarding the piracy posts is as follows:

She claims her intent was not piracy/cracking but investigation. I do not believe this is truthful as:

  1. Her threat was posted to a piracy forum, one where illegally cracked builds of my commercial game were frequently posted to. The goal of that thread is piracy, not white-hat investigation.
  2. This forum is also well known for coordinated attacks against game developers — not legitimate security research. If legitimate security research was the goal, there are more appropriate locations.
  3. In the context of replying to a pirate who previously cracked this very same game but abandoned their efforts, she posts: “Even if you don’t continue, I’m going to start messing around with an old file . . . she [Skye] deserves to be ruined” — clearly referencing continuing crack development.
  4. The “old file” is referring to an old build of the game. This shows she had the opportunity to commit the crime having acquired the protected game file.
  5. The statement “she deserves to be ruined” is clear, obvious malice and shows her desire to cause irreparable financial damage.
  6. Her inclusion of SSMV in her post reveals her true motivation.
  7. Her story on this matter has changed several times and given her other public posts contain lies and extreme truth-streching, her testimony should be considered unreliable.
  8. She has incentive to lie to avoid legal and social repercussions.
  9. If she was concerned about IP logging as she says in her post, that would happen on the server. Examining the client game build wouldn’t yield any information on IP logging and would be largely pointless. This strategy doesn’t make any sense, and she is technically proficient enough to know this, making for a bizarre defense.
  10. The “DRM” itself is, as expected for a Flash game, pretty trivial and has been easily bypassed by other cracks in past, making it not very interesting for research purposes.
  11. As the “DRM” is a login check on a server-side webservice, assuming she was interested in removing the tracking, she would logically be looking to remove the in-game login requirement… which is the DRM? Thus, by definition removing the login requirement is creating a crack.
  12. Merely investigating a build is unlikely to fulfill the goal of “she [Skye] deserves to be ruined,” whereas causing financial damage by reducing game sales via a cracked build would.
  13. Jesse Rougeau actively encouraged illegal activity: “Dude don’t be afraid of cracking it.” Besides showing she endorses game cracking, this by itself is already remarkably bad behavior from a game industry professional. A professional AAA GameDev should never encourage the cracking of an indie developer’s game, particularly as a form of targeted harassment under an anonymous account.

Thus, I do not believe her claim. It is my firm belief that she intended to crack the game and not merely investigate it. Nor is any of her defense otherwise a suitable excuse for the abjectly unprofessional behavior demonstrated in the post.

Additional Threats from Jesse Rougeau

Jezithyr has indicated via Rane that if I do not silence myself, that she will move forward with her own legal prosecution against me.

Should she wish to move forward, I will welcome the opportunity to explain my side of the story in court. I will defend myself and use all legal means available to see justice correctly dealt. And I will provide full evidence to law enforcement upon request.

What I will not do is remain quiet while this bully tries to attack me, then intimidate me into silence and squirrel out of accountability for her actions.

Conclusion / Request

I call on the leadership of Space Station 14 / Space Wizards Federation / Wizard’s Den to formally condemn Jesse Rougeau’s actions — especially the anonymous crack threat post. She crossed a line that should never have been crossed. Game developers should not threaten to crack each others games, particularly as a form of anonymous harassment.

In addition, while I do not think this is likely and am not alleging such, I request to be informed if any other WizDen leadership had any involvement or prior knowledge of Jezithyr’s actions.

In past, when I and others have complained about the unprofessional behavior of Wizard’s Den leadership, those complaints have fell on deaf ears. I hope WizDen will recognize that this time, some corrective action needs to be taken. Whether or not Jezithyr remains part of WizDen, it needs to be made abundantly clear amongst your staff that this sort of activity is absolutely not acceptable.

Sincerely,

Skye
(Founder of SSMV and indie game developer)

UPDATE: Wiz Den Response

Two other WizDen leaders (metalgearsloth & DrSmugleaf) erased the content of the report post on their github (archived copy) and Discord, effectively covering up the report and by extension Jezithyr’s actions.

They also repobanned me from SS14 on github in retaliation for speaking out.


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