The Games of Rubi Con


So as to dangle the proverbial carrot before the face of the proverbial horse, we shall organize and host several lame contests and games at Rubi Con. Cool prizes will be bestowed, and "props" of "mad" proportions submitted to any who can kick, bite, claw, and cheat their way to the top. Don't let morality or decency guide your actions. Think only of winning.

An old adage of computer network gaming applies eerily well to many of our contests and games. Live by it, and ye shall prevail: "Kill your enemies. Kill your friend's enemies. Kill your friends." This is the way it must be.

It should probably be noted that the norotious Rubi Con Volunteers will be allowed to participate in these games, but any victories they enjoy will be highly suspect...

Hack contest

Most, if not all, "hacker" conferences offer something analogous to this. Not to be out done, so shall Rubi Con. It has nothing to do with concern over being "left out," or a lack of originality on the part of the Rubi Con Mentats, although that is obviously a factor. Rather, it's a cool game, and it was felt that Rubi Con would be lacking something important were it neglected.

The object of the hacking game is to wrestle control of as many specific network boxes as you can. Available will be as many as 15 goal computers all with unique configurations and operating systems, and all you have to do is hack your way into them. It is a fairly simple process, admittedly. Control is what computer use is all about, and so what could be more inevitable or direct than that?

When other conferences run this sort of contest they always feel motivated to pervert the simple, elegant efficiency of this system, for some reason or another, with rules and stipulations and limitations. Not for us. The Rubi Con Hacking Contest places no restricts on what people can do to gain access to the goal computers. Our only rule: there are no rules.

You can go the digital route and try to gain access entirely through network services. It's probably more elegant and certainly cooler looking than some of the other options. Physically stealing the box is legal, and perhaps the most direct method. Also, all Rubi Con Volunteers and organizers are EXTREMELY corruptible, and we will probably give you access to any goal computer for money or beer. If you're good at socially engineering your way around, try convincing someone that you're Ron and that you "forgot" the password. You probably get the idea, suffice to say that free verse poetry is Stalinistic compared to the Rubi Con Hacking Contest.

Likely goal computers and configurations:

Linux, running Apache httpd, NCSA HTTPd, and Wu-FTPd
Suse (486/586)
Debian (486/586)
Slack (486/586)

Solaris, running Apache httpd, NCSA HTTPd, and Wu-FTPd

Sparc Solaris
x86 Solaris

BSD, running Apache httpd, NCSA HTTPd, and Wu-FTPd

x86 BSD (486/586)

BeOS, Be FTPd/httpd

x86 BeOS (486/586)
(if we can swing it)

Win95, running WarezFTPd, and NCSA HTTPd for Win32s

Win98, running WarezFTPd, and NCSA HTTPd for Win32s

WinNT, running MS IIS, and MS FTPd, the other GNU ftpd/httpd

WinNT (pPro/PII)
WinNT (486/586)

MacOS, running WebSTAR 3 for http and ftp

QNX (maybe), running standard QNX daemons

Each computer will be running a web server and an FTP server, but will be "secured" otherwise. The goal will be to unsecure them by whatever means you see fit. Every time a goal computer is compromised it will be taken out of the contest, the security hole will be patched, and then it will be placed back in the running. This way, the competition will only get harder as the game progresses. The object will be to break into however many of the boxes you can and retrieve a specific file indicated on the computer's webpage. Every file will be worth a certain amount of points, and at the end of the contest whoever has the most points will be pronounced the winner. Beware, of course, that if one team steals another team's goal files both get the points, so guard your spoils carefully.

Expect technical details such as IP addresses, specific goal files, specific point values for individual boxes and other minutiae to be distributed soon. Or later, depending.

Winners of the hack contest will be permitted to strut around for the rest of the con like they own the place, make passing references to how the losers who set up the contest had no idea what they were doing, or otherwise act haughty. Cool prizes and the adoration of millions also awaits.

Programming contest

Write a cool program or hack that messes with your OS of choice in new and exciting ways.

The idea behind this contest is to give people an opportunity to bring an operating system to its knees and make it do something unsupported, undocumented, dangerous, illogical, funny, or just plain stupid. Bring your strangest programs and hacks. Bring your development environment and a good idea for what to write. There are no real rules, just do something cool and unusual. It doesn't even have to be a program.

Judging will be based mainly on style, and only moderately on technical expertise, so you can get by if it looks a lot cooler than it actually is. Also, and just so everyone knows what we're aiming for here, you can submit anything you have written or done in the past year or so, although submitting something you write at the con is cooler. We will demo all submissions during closing ceremonies, give out prizes, and see what havoc was wrought in the name of Rubi Con.

It'll be a lot of fun if we get lots of submissions, so please participate if you can. Also, and just so no one will claim that I ripped this idea off without siting my source, the Rubi Con Programming Contest was stolen, quite shamelessly, from MacHack.

Scavanger hunt

Do you have a live duck? You will.

Just so we can promote everyone to run around metro Detroit looking for orange duct tape, there will be a cool scavenger hunt at Rubi Con. I spent some time writing up a few stupid items for people to steal from surrounding businesses for entirely intangible and, for practical purposes, nonexistent, "points." We made up lots and lots of silly items, each with point values attached. Some examples follow.

Experience my piercing wit:

Fire extinguisher (3 points)
Fire extinguisher that's not from the hotel (5 points)
A smurf (2 points)
Jesus Christ (instantly win contest)
Someone just claiming to be Jesus (10 points)
Pine cone (2 points)
The Uniroyal tire on the Michigan-Ohio boarder (100 points)
Any piece of a mannequin (5 points)
Quarter Pounder with Cheese (Royale with Cheese?) (5 points)
Original Rubi Con flier (2 points)
Six pack of bad American beer (7 points)
Bestiality pornography (5 points)
Bestiality pornography not off the Internet (30 points)
Pigs head on a stick (25 points)

...And on and on. I'm sure you get the idea. Suffice it to say that the Ultra K-Rad Rubi Con Scavenger Hunt will test your limits on collecting useless junk. It's a timeless geek pastime, only this time you have competition. There will be over 200 different items, the vast majority of which are meant to be taken seriously. All item entries will be due on Sunday afternoon, with winners and prizes going out during the closing ceremonies on Sunday evening.

Winners get cool prizes and the adoration of their peers. No groupies though. The concept of a scavenger hunt isn't cool enough for groupies. However, all participants will get to keep the stuff they collect, unless the hotel demands their stuff back.

Rubi Con Net Games

Details remain sketchy, but we will be hosting an all-out net game death-match tournament. The idea will be for players to kill each other, splattering the walls with each other's blood and viscera as they try to proclaim themselves the most aggressive and violent. Winners will be judged based on who can mass up the highest number of slaughtered opponents. The heavens will be choked by the piled dead, every surface will be slick with blood, and the air will reek with the smell of rotting corpses (can anyone tell I'm listening to the Lilith Fair CD as I write this?).

Anyway, we're not really sure what game we will be playing here, maybe Quake II, maybe Unreal, maybe something else. If you have any preferences, tell me about it before I make any final decisions.

Other Wacky Stuff

There are a few other games and contests in the works, most of which will involve making fun of Ameritech and the FBI, both of whom still refuse to come to Rubi Con. Anyway, if you have an idea for a game or something, pass it along to our operations director at