Chapter 3: A Game of Prestige [3]

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

Chen Yang joined a study group just a few days ago. The young sophomore of the Institute of Technology was preparing himself to enter a competition that the Institute would be holding next year, the National Droid-Building Competition.

The winner of the competition would win a prize of three hundred thousand dollars, and if the winner is a student of the Institute, the victory would count favorably towards his Master’s degree program.

For this reason, Computing students in the Institute all formed study groups of their own to begin learning droid-building.

These were all gifted students but even among them existed the disparity of different classes and this was proving into a major challenge for Chen Yang and his team.

He was assigned as the programmer of the droid and he needed to write the command language that would govern the droid’s movements. Progress was quick with the hardware almost complete, but Chen Yang was stymied by constant troubles with the programming.

With one after another failure, Chen Yang shut down his programming software and opened his web browser, and entered Site B.

He needed to look at something else to take his mind off things, and funny videos always seem to work nicely in helping him to relax and that was what he needed right now or his head would burst.

The webpage of Site B loaded and the first thing that caught Chen Yang’s eyes was this: The Guild to Building Your Own Droid.

Barely three hours old, the video had garnered more than three hundred thousand view counts, leaping up to become the most popular video on the site.

Amazed, Chen Yang’s eyes scanned the name of the uploader: Hope.

It was a pseudonym he had never seen before. Feeling curious, he clicked on the link to watch the video.

Inasmuch as how his team of four had been at sixes and sevens in their strenuous attempt to build one droid, he wanted to see if this “Hope” can interest him.

The video began playing and a galvanizing voice rang from his computer speaker.

“How does one build a droid? First things first, you need ten million.”

Pfft!

Chen Yang nearly regurgitated the mouthful of water he just drank.

But he was not the only one; many shared similar reactions to the Hope’s first sentence right from the get-go that the video managed to attract the attention of its viewers. In no time, the entire screen filled with witty and amusing remarks by its viewers:

“If I have ten million, I’d have many other things to be busy with than building droids.”

“Wake up, Hope. Not everyone has ten million to spend!”

“Heavens, won’t you be a bit more realistic, Uploader…”

Chen Yang quietly used a napkin to wipe away the water off his screen as he gawked at the comments scrolling past his view.

He had expected the video to be instructive and technical, not something goofy and funny. He began to wonder if Hope’s a fraud; no one demanding for ten million would make a good expert in anything as technologically-demanding as droid-building.

Then again, he wondered, surely no expert in such faculties would have time uploading videos to the internet like the countless Internet whiz wannabes out there.

But before Chen Yang could click on the X at the far corner of the window, the same inspiring voice of Hope came again:

“Next, you’ll need artificial intelligence.”

The hand that gripped the soft, curved contours of his mouse shuddered and he turned off the comments that never stopped lampooning Hope instead.

A little blue figure like a Smurf appeared on his screen and when he recognized who it resembled, his eyes went wide.

He could never fail to recognize who the little blue Smurf resembles.

That iconic uncombed and unruly white hairdo and that playful visage that mimicked a child’s… That’s Einstein!

No, wait! How could Einstein be a little Smurf barely the size of a hand?!

Chen Yang was flabbergasted. Then the same voice spoke slowly, “Open the blueprint, Lovely.”

Chen Yang thought he heard wrongly. Lovely?!

What in the world is a Lovely?!

Just as he reeled with disbelief and shock, the little Smurf barely the size of a man’s fist did a ballerina’s twirl before falling to a prone on the table and a model of a robot appeared in mid-air.

There’s no way this is not a comedy video, he swore to himself. How is that not special effects?! What is all this? Holography?!

Chen Yang quickly recovered from his astonishment. This must be some sort of high budget video project with expensive special effects, he mused. This must be it. Heavens, but if local film production can boast of such remarkable results, surely our local movies will do well in the future!

He came to Site B to put his feet up, but then, enjoying the special effects showpiece of local film production might do him some good as well.

On that note, Chen Yang felt compelled to go on watching.

Hope never once showed his face. A pair of hands reached out from the screen like a pair of ghost hands and tapped on the holographic image of the droid. The robot disassembled, bursting apart mechanically and methodically like a flower, showcasing every single part and component inside and their location.

The display was just the proverbial proof in the pudding that Chen Yang needed to recognize the hands of a master instead of just some Internet whiz wannabe skilled in cinematic special effects.

Good Heavens, that’s…

A good number of viewers saw this too. Hope’s stirring message of how every builder of a droid should have ten million had inspirited many a great number of them that they could not tear their eyes away before they saw Lovely – the Einstein-like Smurf.

More heartening comments of laughter rolled past the screen at its appearance.

“God in Heaven, Lovely?! Good ol’ Einstein must be squirming in his grave to hear himself been given such a name.”

“Hope must be one of a kind. You don’t find boys as funny and as talented as he is these days.”

“And what makes you think he’s not a wrinkled old man instead? He hasn’t even shown himself yet.”

“How could anyone with such a youthful and buoyant mind be a wrinkled old man?”

At any rate, no one took Hope seriously about how this was an instructional video about droid-building. Even as he explained in great detail and length about the functions that the droid could perform and demonstrated its operation using the holographic droid, no one actually believed him.

Yet despite all that furore about how the video was nothing but a hoax, no one doubted Hope’s finesse in cinematic special effects.

After all, the visual effects employed in the video looked so much better than Western blockbuster hits, that no one could ever find anything to complain about at all.

“If not for the fact that our technology today will never be able to support such 3D holographic projections, I would have believed every word Hope said.”

“I stopped right when Hope said I need ten million to build a droid.”

“But no one can dispute that skillfulness with special effects. You can’t find anything that suggests it’s fake. If only I have such expertise, I’d never have flunked my exams.”

“Yeah. Whatever people say, that alone deserves respect.”

It did not take long for the video to become the biggest talk of the town; its view counts continued sky-rocketing and everyone who had watched it sang only the biggest praises for the visual effects employed in the video, but no one was really putting much attention into the blueprints and the concepts of its design.

Thinking of all that technical knickknack as part of the video’s visual effects, the discussions of the video swirling all around the Internet entailed only the lovely little Lovely and the holographic droid, but nothing at all about the design and its feasibility.

Chen Yan shut off his web browser, feeling rather queasy. But somehow, the stumbling block that hampered his programming was strangely gone with him coming up with new ideas.

He began to realize the errors in his programming.


Author’s Notes:

Thank you all for your warm support, I’d be sure to keep going!

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----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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