Bravo Valve, You Kings of Obscurity
If you haven’t heard, it’s very possible that Valve has released a whole slew of potential Portal 2 artwork and have earned the title of “Kings of Obscurity” by including it all in an update for Portal that features hidden messages in audio format that have to be fed through a hash translator and ancient BBS phone numbers.
I’ve been bitching that Valve has been paying too much attention to its Left 4 Dead series, when they should be hard at work making more Portal games and finishing off the Half Life 2 episodic content. Christ, it’s been what, 3 years now that we’ve been waiting for HL2 ep 3? Well, it seems that my prayers are being answered.
There was an update for Portal released yesterday that some people smarter than me figured out as hidden content. Here’s the entire process that led to the screens we’ve included.
- -Portal gets surprise update yesterday afternoon
- -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 steganography programs
- -Produces 26 weird cryptic image files in a numbered sequence
- -Some dude 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
- -End up with a bunch of weird ASCII artwork
- -A collection of the ASCII artwork is posted
- -People get to work on the ASCII and an ingame screenshot may very well have been found by turning one of the ASCII artworks
- -Speculation on another ASCII image, showing 2 robot like creatures starts. Some believe they are connected, whilest other dispute it, claiming it shows the skeleton of a chicken and therefore they are not connected. Others speculate that this may be Combine Super Soldiers.
- -Another new collection of ASCII is posted
That’s a shitload more than I’d ever have done. I mean, it’s cool that they’re making the meta games REALLY difficult to crack, it’s just insane that someone could figure it out already. I bet Valve’s heads are still spinning from how fast of a turnaround that is. PC gamers definitely have some extra time on their hands it seems.