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Portal Update Hints At New Game

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-cake-talk dept.

Games 156

An anonymous reader writes "It appears Valve has begun another ARG (Alternate Reality Game) similar to the one that led up to the release of the original Portal game. A recent Portal update unlocked a new achievement which has uncovered various hidden images and sounds containing references to the Portal and Half-Life universe. Many believe this to be part of the run-up to the announcement of Portal 2 and/or the next installment of the Half-Life series. A thread on the Steam forums has already reached over 1 million views as people piece together the information. Another thread summarizes the information found so far. Based on clues from the ARG, some are speculating an announcement at the 2010 Game Developers Conference where Valve's co-founder Gabe Newell is to receive this year's Pioneer Award."

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EP 3 W00T W00T! (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347122)

Considering it's been what...6 years since Half Life 2, and 2+ years since episode 2, I'd say it's about freakin' time for 3 to get released. Hurry it up, Valve!

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (5, Funny)

RCGodward (1235102) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347208)

The hint is a lie!

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347242)

Boo! You are bad, and should feel bad!

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (1)

SPQR_Julian (967179) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347814)

Where are my mod points when I actually want to use them?

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347454)

While Half Life's are awesome games, I would actually rather see Portal 2. It's something completely different from other games and the story is damn interesting and even funny. Half Life imo has too much shooting in it (yeah it's an action game, but still). With Portal I get an awesome and interesting storyline and mostly just need to think about the puzzles.

And multiplayer Portal please!

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (5, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347722)

Half Life imo has too much shooting in it

I know! I -hate- it when FPS have a lot of shooting. The first person perspective also gets to me when there's too much of it. Same complaint with pornos really, they all seem to have way too much sex in them, imho.

Ugh. This cup of coffee has way too much coffee in it. Not enough lobster bisque if you ask me. It's like, yeah, it's a cup of coffee and not a cup of lobster bisque, but still. :-P

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (1, Redundant)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347800)

I'm just saying I like the story and puzzle parts more than constant shooting. I like to build up some tension and have some sneaking too. That's why I like games like Thief, Hitman and other similar. The shooting/fighting is there, but it's not the main purpose. With Portal its the puzzles and interesting story. That's why I said I'd rather like it to be Portal 2.

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (4, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348108)

Ugh. This cup of coffee has way too much coffee in it. Not enough lobster bisque if you ask me. It's like, yeah, it's a cup of coffee and not a cup of lobster bisque, but still. :-P

You inspired me to make a coffee bisque. After I made a pot of coffee I ground the grinds and used the resulting slurry to thicken my coffee.

Until I can get a caffeine high from lobster this will have to do.

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348366)

If you are willing to go that far for your coffee bisque (which admittedly had some marketing potential), you could potentially grind up some caffeine pills, dissolve them or emulsify them in butter, and then inject them into the lobster, or put it in the sauce on top.

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31349276)

mmm caffeinated lobster

(internet meme starting here???!, quick someone tag the story)

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (2, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348126)

I know! I -hate- it when FPS have a lot of shooting.

I'm guessing yet another fan of grenades, landmines, rockets, chainsaws, and crowbars.

I enjoyed an early 2000s alternate WWI FPS called "Ironstorm" that was mostly played by me using different TYPES of grenades.. poison, shock, fragment, sleep, etc. That was certainly different.

Re:EP 3 W00T W00T! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349146)

Your post is funny, but I think it's a fair complaint even if you don't agree. The fact that it's a FPS doesn't really mean that it has to be a mindless shoot-em-up.

There are some really great games which have taken the basic technical setup of a FPS and gone a different direction, with terrific results. Portal is one, but a real pioneer in that sort of thing was "Thief: The Dark Project". Awesome game. I don't quite remember if there was any time in the game which you had to engage in combat, but certainly most missions didn't require it. Some missions, depending on the difficulty level, forbid you from shooting anyone.

On the other hand, I wouldn't say that Half Life was a mindless shoot-em-up, and I don't necessarily mind mindless shoot-em-up games either. Still, I do really appreciate it when a game like Portal or Thief come along and do something that's a little more interesting and less... shooting-centric.

Oh the humanity! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347206)

The rain was getting harder. It was now precisely 11:51 PM, and Mark was into his fifth beer. He was feeling pretty invincible but the night was young, and he intended to get wasted before it was all over. He had put in a rough week at work and he deserved it.

He lit another cigarette. He and his drinkin' buddies sat in their traditional circle, in Ian's apartment. The talk wandered from sex to work, back to sex, to basketball, finally settling on sex. Mark had eaten lunch at Taco Bell, and had drunk four cups of coffee between lunchtime and quitting. In addition, the beers were beginning to settle in. And now, at 11:51 PM, Mark had to take a shit. He stood up. "Shit break," he announced. It was customary among this group to make such an announcement.

Mark walked to the bathroom. As he locked the door behind him, thunder boomed. It was storming out there.

He pulled his pants down and sat on the toilet. Ian's bathroom was a mess. He counted five empty toilet paper rolls, two paperbacks, and yesterday's newspaper. His friends laughed about something. The lights flickered for a moment, and the pre-shit growl came from within. He could feel the product lined up inside him for disposal. Then, he began to push.

Plop. The first piece fell to the water. Then some movement, and Mark felt the main feature inside him, the mother lode. He grunted softly as he squeezed it out. It crackled past his sphincter, and splashed neatly into the bowl.

Then another one queued up, and came out. It was almost as big as its predecessor. Mark would have well-purged bowels tonight, he realized with a smirk. He heard thunder again, closer this time.

Another one? Jeez, he thought. When was my last shit? It ventured forth, Mark's muscles helping it out. It was the biggest one so far. The shit's passage through his anus, that rarest mix of pain and pleasure, was longer than any he could remember. Ahhhh...the stout log advanced with conviction. This was definitely going to be his finest creation; this was a huge one. Still grinning, he wondered if Ian had a camera.

He pushed. Peering between his legs, past his genitals, he saw that it had reached the water. This was like seeing the longest freight train ever. Damn, it was a wide one. And it was still attached! And there was more! He pushed more, harder. It kept coming. He couldn't even feel the end of this one yet; soon it was bending, folding on itself like a sundae topping. Mark stopped pushing and caught his breath. He was sweating; he realized that however long this piece of shit was, it wasn't nearly all the way out yet. He still couldn't feel the end.

He pushed, he strained, it kept coming. His intestines couldn't be that damn long, but this shit just wouldn't quit. In fact, he was feeling the diarrhoeal urgency of *having* to shit. He dutifully answered nature's call, and pushed harder. His efforts were rewarded with more shit. His sphincter was too strained to even pinch the loaf off. It was whole and complete.

He couldn't feel the end.

Fear now came to Mark. He flushed the toilet to make room for more. Even as the bowl refilled, the cramps rose up, and he pushed. Within seconds, the shit extended from his anus to bottom of the bowl. The harder he pushed, the more he had to shit. And it was getting worse. He scarcely had time to catch his breath; his face was quite red as he grunted and struggled to keep up. The shit seemed endless. He looked between his legs again, and gasped as he saw that the bowl was fully a quarter filled with his product, the water dangerously high. The tank wasn't even done filling, but he flushed again. Unfortunately, the plumbing was unable to handle the volume of feces, and the toilet backed up. Mark jumped when the cold water touched his buttocks.

It was now 11:57. Thunder roared outside as water and shit particles flowed onto the tile.

Mark's pants were bunched about his ankles, and he was in pain. The shit advanced relentlessly as he stumbled into the bathtub. He was almost panicking now, and didn't notice the trail of solid feces he had left. Gripping the tub for support, he squatted and kept pushing.

The conversation in the front room had stopped. Eddie smelled it first, and blamed a fart on Ian, but this was no fart. This was pure and concentrated; this was the smell that only the freshest shit can make. The four looked at each other, puzzled. Then they heard Mark's groaning from the bathroom.

"Mark, are you beating off again?" Doug asked. No answer.

The smell was worse. Brian sniffed deeply and gagged. "Jesus H. ...". Ian grimaced. "Goddamn...". They all went for the bathroom door at the same time. Ian jiggled the locked doorknob. Brian pounded on the door. "Dude, what the FUCK did you eat today?" No answer. Mark groaned. "You all right in there, Mark?"

They looked at each other again. Eddie sniffed and winced. There was no answer from inside. Brian knocked again. "Hey man, you OK?" No answer. A short scream came from within the bathroom.

Brian kicked the door open. Nobody spoke.

The odor was intense, feces was piled on the floor and in the bathtub. Mark was squatting next to the wall, his face impossibly red, his eyes helpless and terrified. Firm stool thrust forward from his anus like meat from a grinder. It landed in his pants bunched about his ankles, spilling over and piling up. He gritted his teeth and strained; all he could do was keep pushing. There was a sound like a ripping sheet and Mark's colon came loose from his now shapeless sphincter, oozing to the floor. His friends watched as the slimy organ descended, with shit still flowing from it. Mark screamed again, and somebody's watch beeped.

Brian got the worst of it, since he was closest to the door. He would later tell the police that he thought he had seen Mark's abdomen expand for an instant before it happened. None of the others had reported this. But they had all described the sound as a "dull thud", they had all been splattered with innards and feces as Mark's torso separated from the rest of his body.

"Massive gastrointestinal rupture/trauma secondary to indeterminate blockage" was noted in the medical examiner's report. An "unusually large amount of fecal matter" is also recorded, though the amount was not measured.

The funeral was closed-casket. Brian and Eddie seem to have recovered pretty well, though they never talk about Mark. Doug moved away, and nobody has heard from him lately. Sometimes, when he has to shit, Ian waits until the rain stops.

Re:Oh the humanity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347300)

What a bunch of shit...

really neat (5, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347232)

I thought this was going to be another boring videogame article until I actually read it:

-Portal gets surprise update March 1st
-People see new mystery achievement
-People play and see the radio in the beginning room now has a green light
-Carry it around and notice it makes strange broadcast interference noises in certain places
-Locate and place all 26 of these mystery radios for achievement
-Smart people yank .wav files out of game content folders and run them through SSTV programs [] [Edit: link should work now. Yes, it's darker than the original.]
-Produces 22 cryptic image files in a numbered sequence, 4 morse code
-Somebody runs the number string through an md5 hash translator and gets a landline number
-Internet traces it to Kirkland, WA (near Valve HQ)
-People find out its not a phone/fax line but a data line hosting a BBS and telnet it
-Use a clue from one of the files to figure out the BBS user/password login info [backup/backup]
-End up with a bunch of weird ASCII artwork: [] []

THAT is neat!

Re:really neat (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347284)

What does telnet have to do with a dialup BBS?

Re:really neat (4, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347322)

What does telnet have to do with a dialup BBS?

Now a days you connect to BBS's with telnet mostly. It gives the same feel and look, but you don't need to have a modem and the owner doesn't need to have several phonelines that are constantly on.

Re:really neat (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347512)

I was not aware that telephones were IP addressable. Thanks, slashdot!

Re:really neat (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347686)

Nor are you apparently aware of exactly what telnet is, or how BBS's work.

Dear Fuckface (2, Insightful)

gumpish (682245) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348100)

Your OP indicates that the people doing the sleuthing uncovered a PHONE NUMBER for a BBS. Not an IP address + port number.

Re:Dear Fuckface (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349576)

I interpreted this as they either established a connection with the BBS with a modem and then used telnet for whatever the reason, _or_ the BBS was accessible both through the phone number they uncovered, and over the internet. Seems perfectly plausible to me.

Re:really neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31349048)

What are you on about? It is you, sir, who doesn't know what telnet is and/or how BBS's work, because you say:

-People find out its not a phone/fax line but a data line hosting a BBS and telnet it

I suggest you read the following two pages:

Telnet [] (teletype network) is a network protocol used on the Internet or local area networks to provide a bidirectional interactive communications facility.

RS-232 [] is a standard for serial binary single-ended data and control signals connecting between a DTE (Data Terminal Equipment) and a DCE (Data Circuit-terminating Equipment). It is commonly used in computer serial ports.

Your usage of "telnet" is as incorrect as saying "Star Wars" when you mean "Star Trek", or (more accurately) confusing a telephone network with an IP network.

"Telnet" to a BBS, indeed... Get off my lawn.

Re:really neat (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347340)

To get data to and from from the COM port that the modem is assigned to?

Re:really neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348790)

What on earth does telnet have to do with a serial port and a modem?

Re:really neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348904)

You can always open a socket binding telnet to the com port and use it for a terminal emulator.

Re:really neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31349594)

You can also put fortune behind getty on the com port. Who cares? Use screen or Minicom like the rest of the world.

Re:really neat (0)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347294)

It's what Valve does, it was the same thing with original Portal and HL2 games. TF2 also has its personal feeling to update announcements.

But I'm impressed at what those people have been able to find out. .wav files to SSTV programs, finding out landline number from the image files and that its hosting BBS and so on. Quite impressive stuff.

Re:really neat (4, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347612)

I've been following it and helping here and there throughout the whole thing. Really the whole interesting bit is how they're using old technology to get around this, in the Aperture Science fashion. The radios ingame are CW and SSTV signals, one of the morse code messages was an MD5 hash of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", telling us to look for a hash later on. Decoding the SSTV images gave us a bunch of pictures when put in the right sequence gave another MD5 hash, this time with some clues of the format "(###) ###-####" we got a phone number to the BBS. The username and password were hidden inside another morse code message earlier on, giving us the ASCII images through the landline BBS connection.

Re:really neat (2, Interesting)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349810)

That's pretty standard stuff for the MIT Mystery Hunt [] .

Re:really neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347674)

Don't just copy-paste links with ellipses... they're broken...

Re:really neat (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347886)

All the more reason for you to RTFA ;)

Re:really neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348920)

I read the RFTA before reading this comment. I wanted to let you know that your links are broken, as this is a common mistake that's not immediately obvious.

Re:really neat (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349538)

Yeah, honestly I didn't even think they would continue to be clickable after copying them, I'm not even sure how I did that.

Re:really neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347914)

"MD5 hash translator"?

Re:really neat (2, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347988)

Addendum: ASCII artwork appears to be shots of glados and an apparently ruined Aperture Lab (after Portal 1?). Also some shots that resemble the art style of the Portal trailer. A couple images have been 100% matched up.

Another shot is of a turret seen in Portal, another seems to be of two "millitary androids" as mentioned in Portal holding hands, one clearly has a portal gun. The figures being androids is less certain than the previous observations though, but they are definitely not human.

There are also very faint voices in the static sound file used for the in-game radios. The voices bear a remarkable resemblance to Kleiner, Alyx, and Barney, but the clip I heard was too staticy to make anything out. Supposedly there is a cleaned up clip that is clearer but I have yet to hear it (at work ATM).

Re:really neat (1)

TJamieson (218336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348180)

Regarding the two droids holding hands, the impression I've gotten so far is that it relates to (1) the Glados personality overall (2) emotions and their presence in robots and (3) the mentions repeatedly by the Aperture Science CEO in decoded messages saying basically "no witchcraft!".

I think the computers (Glados) as well as androids (if that's what they are) have some rudimentary emotions established through "witchcraft". What we don't know is what "witchcraft" literally means in this context.

Re:really neat (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348122)

If you enjoy their method for disclosing information, you should check out The Secret World. Its a MMO that will be released in coming years, and they drop hints through cryptic messages/videos on their website. It is up to the community to decipher them, and there have been rewards for the first people to solve the mysteries. Some people spend dozens of hours unwinding the messages, which require web searches on mythology, cults, and conspiracy theories. Its great fun to watch and participate.

Don't believe them (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347272)

The sequel is a lie.

Re:Don't believe them (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347344)

hahahah, you're a funny man.

Re:Don't believe them (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347884)

The cake was not a lie, Gabe ate it.

Credit where credit is due (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347306)

I have to give Valve a lot of credit for this one. They have gone to a lot of work putting this whole thing together. They even put up a dial-up bulletin board system to host the ASCII images that everyone is speculating about. In fact, just getting to the BBS required a lot of work on behalf of geek gamers. Say what you want to say about Valve, but they deserve major credit here. I enjoy the Half-Life universe, and am hoping and crossing my fingers for an announcement this month.

fun speculation (3, Interesting)

antimatt (782015) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347348)

the most interesting theory i've heard regarding this is that you'll have a portal gun in episode 3.

the possibilities, they would be endless.

Re:fun speculation (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347952)

the most interesting theory i've heard regarding this is that you'll have a portal gun in episode 3.

What's far more interesting to me than the idea of playing half life with a portal gun though is how exactly those two universes would meet in terms of plot.


The borealis disappearing in an apparent accident could turn out to be Glados's doing. Is glados going to team up with the combine in some way? If it weren't Valve, I'd be terrified of that possibility. If both franchises were owned by, say, activision, I'm certain they'd artlessly stitch both together to try to make some type of superprofitable supergame, but it would end up ruining both portal and half life. Since it is valve though, and valve has yet to let me down (aside from how long its been since episode 2), I think it will be done well if that's where they're going.

Re:fun speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348050)

How can an incinerated computer team up with the combine?

I personally don't doubt that HL3 will include the portal gun somehow. Gordon with a portal gun doesn't preclude Portal 2 tho.

Re:fun speculation (4, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348428)

How can an incinerated computer team up with the combine?

She is "Still Alive".

Re:fun speculation (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349274)

More specifically, I'm thinking a copy or several nodes of her will be on the borealis, still alive.

Re:fun speculation (5, Informative)

Mornedhel (961946) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348164)

Portal and Half Life are already set in the same universe. Black Mesa is mentioned in Portal, and the Borealis is explicitely said to be an Aperture Science ship.

Re:fun speculation (3, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348466)

They've shown in the games that Portal and Half-life are in the same universe.

Players have modded the original Half Life 2 to allow you to use the Portal gun in the game. It works very much like you'd expect - so your possibilities ARE endless.

The only issues are that current Half Life 2 AI don't fall through portals (dang!) - don't see through portals - and on occaison you can bug out the engine or fall through the map if you place your portals in weird places.

So - given that the community managed to pull that off (withouth Portal Source code, I might add, this was maybe a month after Orange Box was released). I don't doubt that Valve -COULD- easily pull it off. The question merely remains on whether they will or not.

Portal 2 (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347354)

Upto 16 players please. Able to use each others portals.

The levels won't be balanced for it, but the fun you could all have with a few cubes...

Re:Portal 2 (3, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348228)

i would LOVE a multiplayer Portal thing. No weapons, just portals, turrets, cubes and pools of acid. The goal is to make an enemy fall into a fire, or drop cubes on each other's heads. It would be difficult to design, but awesome if it worked.

Multiplayer puzzles might be nice.

Or imagine one player is Gordon and the other is Chell with their respective equipment. i open a portal for you behind the guards and you spray them with red hot rebar. You could have team death match or CtF the same way. Each team gets one portal gunner and a the rest are goons.

march first mystery update? (3, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347388)

That was not wise. They should have waited a month.

Re:march first mystery update? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348806)

I heard Blizzard already patented that for the Cataclysm storyline.

About frakkin time (-1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347396)

A sequel to this masterpiece should have been already been out. Valve spends way too much effort developing the latest bit of overblown DLC for the 6-year-old title they've been milking to death (Half-Life 2) and it's only now that they're even ANNOUNCING a sequel to their best property by far? Portal is their best property, and they seem to treat it as an red-headed afterthought to Gordon Freeman's latest round of sewer running.

Re:About frakkin time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347614)

Shut up. Your opinion is stupid.

Re:About frakkin time (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347650)

Whoa, bitter much? If you'd paid any attention to any of the commentary surrounding Portal, they've made it quite clear that Portal is going to be something they're planning on developing further, but due to the nature of the game and their penchant for certain amounts of quality control, they want to do it right, not just rush out a sequel or DLC for a quick cash in.

I'm happy to wait, as I know it'll be worth it.

Re:About frakkin time (5, Funny)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347736)

I know, right? I mean, why can't companies be more like Activision. Franchises should be released on a yearly basis, regardless of quality or originality. Modern Warfare 2 sold like 50 bajillion copies and it was more or less the same game as the original (and in many ways worse). It's time these selfish companies like Valve stop wasting our time and give us all what we really want... mediocrity.

Re:About frakkin time (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348068)

Valve spends way too much effort developing the latest bit of overblown DLC for the 6-year-old title they've been milking to death (Half-Life 2)

Exactly what DLC [] are you referring to? Episode 1 and 2? You and I disagree as to what is DLC and what isn't I guess. Episodes 1 and 2 were entertaining, pushed the story and concepts forward. From my perspective, they haven't been "milking it" enough, I want episode 3 to come out more than I want portal 2.

Portal is their best property, and they seem to treat it as an red-headed afterthought to Gordon Freeman's latest round of sewer running.

Counterpoint: No it's not.

Re:About frakkin time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348132)

No doubt. When a game company makes a good game it's their MORAL OBLIGATION to put out a rushed and trashy sequel ASAP to self-destruct the IP while quickly capitalizing on the original's popularity.

Re:About frakkin time (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348300)

Your opinions aren't facts either.

Morse Code, etc (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347398)

Gah, I went through the first 20 pages of the thread compulsively. I can only imagine how much productivity I'd lose if my Xbox hadn't been stolen last year and I could still play the game.

But here's what one poster came up with, from hacked sound files:

#1 - Dinosaur 1 (morse code)
Interior transmission active
External data line active
Message digest active

#2 - Dinosaur 5 (md5 hash)
"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog"

#3 - Dinosaur 12 (morse code)
System data dump active
User back up active
Password back up active

#4 - Dinosaur 17 (morse code encoded as "beep" and "beeep")
= .-.. --- .-..

Filter error: Please use fewer 'junk' characters. What's Slashdot doing looking at my junk, anyway?
Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted! Come on Slashdot, don't involve me in your pro-choice vs. pro-life politics.

Re:Morse Code, etc (1)

Ailure (853833) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347494)

Stolen X-box or not, this Portal update is PC only.

Re:Morse Code, etc (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347640)

I kinda suspected as much, given the difficult nature of hacking anything in the Xbox network. Since I've already decided not to get another Xbox anyway (for several geekish reasons, such as the modchip massacre of 2009), maybe I should get myself a computer from this decade so I can run Portal.

Re:Morse Code, etc (2, Informative)

flosofl (626809) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347702)

User back up active
Password back up active

Actually, there is no space between "back" and "up". Additionally, the clue is meant to be taken literally.

The username for the BBS is backup and the password is backup. There was much forehead smacking late Monday night after that was figured out.

half life 3 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347408)

spoiler alert: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid are the combine leaders. The hnic is ... Nancy Pelosi.

Still doing science ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347412)


"But one thing’s for sure — geeks once again have GLaDOS on their minds. We’ll surely be hearing more from the evil computer very soon."

Whoa there. Evil? She (it?) wasn't really evil. In the absence of other Aperture Science staff to do the job she was continuing to manage some experiments with human subjects. That's all. It wasn't her fault if those subjects sometimes had ... unfortunate accidents.

Re:Still doing science ... (2, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347712)

Evil? She (it?) wasn't really evil.

They had to install a morality device in her to prevent her flooding the Enrichment Centre with a deadly neurotoxin after she flooded the Enrichment Centre with a deadly neurotoxin. That's... pretty evil, I think.

Re:Still doing science ... (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348174)

Is it evil though? What if she was protecting humanity from Aperture's evil deeds by flooding the enrichment centre with a deadly neurotoxin? "Morality device" could be doublespeak for "killing people is wrong even if those people are evil".

Just throwing the idea out there, no clue if there's any specific support for it.

Re:Still doing science ... (1)

jockeys (753885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348292)

good and evil are human constructs, as is morality in general.

GLaDOS is about as evil as a smart bomb... it just does what the programmers told it to do. evil implies choice and sentience.

Crosby: Schroeder, it's a machine. It doesn't get pissed off. It doesn't get happy, it doesn't get sad, it doesn't laugh at your jokes.
Ben and Crosby: It just runs programs

Re:Still doing science ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31349028)

Im pretty sure that we are supposed to take it that GladOS IS sentient

Hells Yes! (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347460)

About time, I have been thinking about HL2 and the next episode! But as you have always said Valve, when it's done!

  Gimmie, Gimmie Nooooooow!

This just means (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347616)

they will be adding the portal gun to TF2(3)

Re:This just means (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349520)

That needs a ~

STOP! (4, Interesting)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347672)

Hello this is Eugene Walter, VP of Research and Development at Apeture Food Group Inc.

Some people are implying that the now dissolved Apeture Science Group's (which I was the former CIO of) computer systems has some How recoverEd from the horribLe chemical explosion at the former ASG Production facility. This rumor is a LIE. An out right lie by jaded Black Mesa Research employees who's Grant money aLso collapsed Around the time of the Apeture Science Group's inDustrial accident at the San PedrO facility for AeroSpace DeveLopment. SInce the ASG's dissolVment thosE at the parent company ASG Inc. have Spent years fighting baseless rumors of "Exotic Experiments" and under-the-table military experiments. These claims are outright lies. No portion of the GLADOS survived the explosion as the federal investigation that followed clearly substantiates.

In closing please remember that the ASG no longer exists and there it no cause for further speculation. I would also like to remind you that the Apeture Food Group has a wonderful bake sale going on at the Leanaa facility to raise money for the Hope Charity group. Please stop buy and try the cake.

Re:STOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347932)

Help GLaDOS Live see a...?

Re:STOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348088)

Help. GLaDOS lives.

- Peder

Re:STOP! (1)

FalcDot (1224920) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348134)

Nah, your last three letters are correctly capitalized.

Re:STOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348184)

So, just:

"Help GLaDOS live"


Re:STOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348238)

More like: HELP! GLADoS LIVES!

Re:STOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348358)

Bring on Portal 2!

Valve rocks :)

Re:STOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348032)

In case anyone is too lazy to decode this: "HELP GLADOS LIVES"

Re:STOP! (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348614)

So now Valve is trying to involve /. in their ARG?

Re:STOP! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348858)

No, /. is trying to pretend they're Valve.

Re:STOP! (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349574)

Wow, very nice. I must suck at deciphering the message though, I only got "help" then it stopped making sense.

It is Portal 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347826)

Its Portal 2, had a friend who was on the internal Valve testing team and he told me about this last month. He said it looked great!

Re:It is Portal 2 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31347896)

Your "friend" is a lie.

Re:It is Portal 2 (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349020)

You posted AC, so it must be true!

ARG (2, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31347856)

Alternate Reality Game?

Isn't that all games. In reality I have a job and killing scads of people makes you a bad person and usually lands you in jail. In games, neither of these are the case.

So how is "alternate reality" a qualifier that separates one kind of game from another?

Re:ARG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348236)

Tell me about it. In real life, my job is to kill scads of people with various pieces of weaponry in desert and mountainous environments. I don't know where they come off calling a game where I do the same damn thing an "Alternate Reality Game". For me, an ARG would be the Care Bears Adventure, that or the Sims.

Re:ARG (3, Informative)

tecnico.hitos (1490201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348258)

The difference between an ARG and another game is that you have to take actions in the real world to advance in the fictional plot.

In this case, they didn't get the meaning of the messages by an automatic test of a virtual "intelligence" atribute or a dice roll, or by folowing a set of rules given by the game. These people actually had to figure out what the secret messages meant using the skills they have in real life.

Re:ARG (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348320)

You're taking it too literally. Or perhaps not literally enough, depending on your point of view. I suppose, if not for the drug connotations, they'd have more accurately called it "Altered Reality Game." It's a blending of the real world and the game world. Things like seeing a URL in a movie, going there on your real-world browser, and finding a working website that treats the movie as real would be part of it. That's the "alternate reality" part. The "game" comes in when there's clues buried in that site that lead you to other information. There was actually a commercially released game that took this to a rather insane degree. You put in your phone number, fax, email, and the game's servers would actually send you clues in how to proceed in the game at pre-determined points, rather than having to hunt down the appropriate NPC in-game. So, by "Alternate Reality Game," they're saying it's a game that's pretending it's not a game.

Re:ARG (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348580)

If you take the literal words of it - yes - All video games are Alternate reality games. However, thats not really its meaning. Kind of like "Falling in love" doesn't really mean you accelerate downwards. Alternate Reality Games are "Games" or "Puzzles" to solve based on clues or mysteries presented in a variety of manners.

It has become quite popular, they had one for a season premiere of lost (Not to mention JJ Ambrams and Newell are good friends) - The first Portal Game, they had one for Cloverfield. There was a short video a while ago on Youtube called Whats in the Box that was done by some European film makers.

It's a viral marketting technique, and it has been shown to work EXTREMELY well. If you take a look at the thread, notice how much work has been deciphered in no more than 3 DAYS. People have decoded images, cleaned them up, uploaded them, and linked them. They've managed to tie in theories from past stories in the game, previous ARG's, and other sources.

One man drove out to Kirkland Washington, because one of the decoded messages was a phone landline that whois showed to be at a certain address in Kirkland washington. The landline turned out to be a BBS - and his trip showed nothing truly out of the ordinary. But it just shows you how much it involves people, and it makes everyone else constantly refresh the thread for updates.

Re:ARG (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348932)

Don't feel bad, I had the same thought. Learn something everyday, even on slashdot!

Re:ARG (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349622)

ARG was in reference that it is alternate reality of Half-Life, not your reality.

Recursive Morse code FTW (1)

chrisl456 (699707) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348490)

This is just awesome and funny [] .

Nerdgasm (5, Informative)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348842)

I was helping to decode all of this on Monday. And it was really cool.

Popping open the updated .gcf (game archive) revealed 9 new files - the "dinosaur" wav files. The first few are clearly in Morse code. Translating the Morse revealed some rather cryptic messages that sounded like a GlaDOS bootup sequence. One Morse message encoded the word "BEEP" or "BEEEP" - translating *those* from Morse revealed "LOL". Another Morse message was clearly an MD5 sum - reversing that revealed the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog", which sounded like another test.

Then the sounds got more confusing - they were much noisier. Someone in the forums, presumably a ham, ran those sounds through a SSTV decoder and came up with some clear, deliberate images. The images were full of random stuff, but one image had what looked like an amber terminal with the pattern (###) (###)-(####) - a phone number

Each image had 4 hexadecimal digits circled. Taking them in order from the pictures revealed another md5 hash. Somebody wrote a little python script - assuming that the area code would be near Seattle (Valve headquarters), they brute-forced the md5 and came up with a phone number.

Dialing the phone number played a dialtone. While most of the people on the forum couldn't wrap their head around connecting to a computer without the internet, some folks fired up HyperTerminal and connected, getting a login screen. After looking around again, they found a hint in one of the pictures to try backup/backup. Each time this password was used, a "record dump" (mostly ASCII art) was sent.

I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't part of it. Reversing an MD5 hash, come on. But it's true - you can run the script yourself.

Why did it have to go /. before I got back home! (1)

Cprossu (736997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31348848)

I've been trying to get into that bbs all yesterday..... I finally dug up my 2400bps modem, a wyse terminal, and almost all the cabling I needed (I seem to have misplaced my null modem!)... The DUN in my cell phone does not like that server, and I can't find any of my usb-> serial adapters, and all my appropriate gear is buried!

Just found it: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31348890)

The image at BBS that shows us the first location in ASCII art has a message on the right, saying "Insert the disk 14 into drive B"
Anyone play monkey Island?

Oh yea? (1)

bhenson (1231744) | more than 4 years ago | (#31349374)

screenshot or it didn't happen
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