Guillaume Fortin-Debigaré

Analysis and thoughts on software development, game design, and more.

Portrait of Guillaume Fortin-Debigaré
Go board with stones

Game Design Analysis - Standardizing Go Rulesets

- Game Design

Go is a popular board game that has been played for thousands of years. However, the rules have not been standardized yet, so while the basic rules are the same worldwide, many rulesets have been developed that are still widely used as of this writing. The current position of the International Go…

Brandon Dillon as the ghost of Amnesia Fortnight future

The Hack 'n' Slash Puzzle Collection

- Video Games, Security

This is a collection of all the secret hacking puzzles released between 2012 and 2015 related to the video game Hack 'n' Slash and its prototype. As far as I'm aware, all puzzles were designed by the game's project lead Brandon Dillon. All the material is archived here for preservation purposes…

Close-up of A-set's mouth doing a creepy smile

Game Design Analysis - The Lemniscate A-set ARG

- Game Design, Video Games

Alternate reality games (ARGs) are interesting to review. Half marketing, half entertainment, and 100% live, their very nature makes them hard to experience if you miss them. In the case of the Lemniscate A-set ARG however, almost all of the content is still available today. As I took part in it…

Snail

The Slow Certificate Authority

- Anecdotes, Security

Last year, I wrote about multiple issues I encountered upon switching web hosts. One of these issues was delay violations from Sectigo (formerly Comodo CA) for revoking old certificates compromising the HTTPS connection to my website. This spawned a saga with Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox…

Loot box

Microtransactions Are Corrupting Video Games

- Game Design, Video Games, Business

In 2017, Electronic Arts released Star Wars Battlefront II. Very quickly, many were angered at the predatory way microtransactions were implemented in the game, so much so that governments around the world noticed and have been considering whether regulations around them are necessary to protect…

Man reading emails on his laptop

Pluralsight Course - Configuring and Managing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC

- Security

Configuring and Managing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC is a beginner-friendly course about email security produced by yours truly. It is designed for security professionals and web domain administrators. Email deliverability is a constant challenge for organizations, but this challenge is widely amplified if…

Wii RVT-R Reader test kit

The Test Case that Bricked a Wii Test Kit

- Anecdotes, Quality Assurance, Video Games

Back when I was working at Eidos Montréal, part of my responsibilities included ensuring that the games we were producing for the Wii followed Nintendo's Wii Programming Guidelines. This is the story of how I bricked a Wii RVT-R Reader test kit by doing my job…

Lady Justice

Reasonable Doubt as a Game Mechanic

- Game Design, Video Games, Mathematics

Detective fiction, and particularly whodunits, have been really good at being engaging people in attempting to solving the mystery presented before the final reveal. Video games allows such stories to thrive with a level of interactivity that can directly engage the player in this process as an…

City numerically connected to computers

Free Quantum Programming on the IBM Q Experience

- Programming, Mathematics

You can now watch yours truly explain the basics of quantum programming and how to execute a custom quantum program on the IBM Q Experience in less than 10 minutes! The following video summarizes my very first blog post Quantum Programming 101 in a dynamic format and apprends to it a real-time…

Really angry devil statue

4 Unexpected Issues I Encountered upon Switching Web Hosts

- Anecdotes, Security

For those that didn't notice, I've recently rebuilt my entire website from the ground up and switched web hosts from Ghost(Pro) to Netlify, and I learned a lot from the experience. Not everything went smoothly, but it was mostly problems I had expected. This post, however, is about those that I had…

Cat trapped in bird cage looking at parrots outside of it

Stuck!!

- Game Design, Video Games

Ever got stuck playing a video game for hours without making any progress? I decided to analyze this phenomenon to determine how players get into such situations, why they have trouble getting out of them, and what game designers can do to minimize them. Note that the suggested mitigations below do…

Flag of Prosperia

Prosperia - A Tabletop RPG Prototype For My Coworkers

- Game Design, Anecdotes

I'm a big fan of role-playing video games, especially Japanese-style ones, but there's a big restriction these games have: players have limited abilities to create their own stories in them due to programming restrictions. When I discovered tabletop role-playing games, having this restriction lifted…

Essential IT Security Resources

- Security, Quality Assurance, Programming

Recently, two of my coworkers coincidentally asked me how I kept track of security news and vulnerabilities. As it took me a long time to build a list of useful resources myself, I figured it would be useful to share it with everyone, so here goes! LATEST UPDATE: 2019-02-24…

Hand holding mobile phone running an online dating app

My Absolutely Horrendous Online Dating User Experience

- Anecdotes, Product Management

Are you in a loving relationship? Not me. Why? Well, let's just say that my social interactions with women in general are rather limited, which may or may not be related to having geeky interests, working in an industry dominated by males, not drinking, and avoiding places with loud music because I…

Connected gears with a business man or woman in each one of them

Building a Great Front-End Test Automation Solution

- Quality Assurance, Programming

So far in my career I had to architect three different front-end test automation solutions from scratch. Such solutions are really useful to minimize manual regression tests after a code change. What I would like to share today is what I've seen work and not work based on my experience. Note that…

Falling tetriminoes

The BIG List of Randomizers

- Video Games

I've been finding a bunch of video game randomizers lately, so I decided to compile them all in one big list, which has become quite extensive thanks to the help of the gaming community, in particular the ROMhacking.net community and the Randomizer Central Discord community. You can access the full…

Girl with a disappointed expression

LinkedIn Is in Violation of Its Own User Agreement and Privacy Policy

- Business, Anecdotes, Security, Product Management, Quality Assurance

What if you couldn't update personal data on the Internet you created and own? Back in January, the social network LinkedIn started deploying what they called the New Desktop Experience, which was their redesigned web user interface. Along with it came the removal of some features that were not…

Bitcoin logo in the middle of a circuit board

Are Your Bitcoins Safe From Hackers?

- Security, Business, Mathematics, Programming

After barter, gold-backed currencies and fiat currencies, the recent emergence of cryptocurrencies have disrupted the global economy. Instead of being backed by assets or governments, cryptocurrencies are backed by computers of volunteers, which fixes some problems but also introduces new ones…

Old objects on a table, as presented in Ahnayro: The Dream World

Game Design Analysis - Ahnayro: The Dream World

- Game Design, Video Games

Earlier this year, I had the chance to visit Alice & Smith, a small video game studio specialized in transmedia storytelling, and most notably known for the alternate reality game (ARG) The Black Watchmen. How that visit came to be is a crazy story that I hope to share in the future. For now, what…

Blindfolded man in a long chair holding a glass of wine

How Managers Produce Technical Debt

- Business, Product Management, Programming, Quality Assurance, Security

Here's a story I've seen quite often in my career: a software product grows at a quick pace during the initial months of development, then at some point progress starts to slow down significantly until it reaches a point where a seemingly trivial change requires days of work and/or has a high chance…

Messy desk with a book entitled Creative Mess

Lessons from Not Starting a Startup

- Anecdotes, Business

It has now been 3 months since I was laid off and first tried becoming an entrepreneur. I wasn't expecting to be successful due to the statistics, but what I did not expect was to not have started anything at all. Let's review what happened…

Circuit board shaped like a brain

How to Simulate Human Intuition

- Programming, Mathematics

A few months ago, I started to study deep learning, a branch in computer science heavily inspired by biology that allows programs to learn arbitrary concepts without explicit programming. How good is deep learning? Well, good enough to play Go with super-human performance, a significant milestone in…

Excerpt of La Chasse-galerie with corrupted characters

This Text Is Not Corrupted

- Quality Assurance, Programming

Both in my personal and professional life, I often have to deal with corrupted text data. In almost every case, the cause is that it is not parsed using the correct character encoding. In other words, the way the characters were saved on the computer was different from the way the computer attempts…

Microphone

Beyond the Game

- Game Design, Video Games

In 2012, I created a podcast about game design called Beyond the Game. I co-hosted it with software designer and developer Joseph Benkual, and the theme song was composed by sound designer Ryan Rafael Lopez. We made 12 main episodes in which we analyze the design of popular video games, plus another…

Splitting path in a desolate forest

Professional Crossroads

- Anecdotes

I have recently been laid off. It's the second time that it has happened to me, and both times were caused by subtle years-long management mistakes followed by a necessary economic restructuring of the affected organizations. I'm planning to explain in future posts how to prevent those mistakes, but…

Shrugging woman

Understanding Feature Requests

- Product Management

Feature ideas may come from various sources, and in the context of a Scrum team, they are a great source for product owners to determine what user stories to put in their product backlog. Some ideas seem natural and logical, while others may seem so out of place that the sanity of the person that…

Plasma globe

Quantum Programming 101

- Programming, Mathematics

Are you familiar with programming, but know absolutely nothing about quantum mechanics? This was exactly my case when the IBM Quantum Experience was announced. For the first time, a quantum computer has been made publicly available, and anybody selected to participate could send programs to it. I…