Portal: ApertureScience.com (Possible Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Half-Life' started by zukeft, Sep 5, 2006.

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  1. zukeft

    zukeft Newbie

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    I take it that nobody has posted this since I've looked everywhere (I think) and didn't find anything at all. Anyway...

    The short:
    I stumbled upon a website that might interest you: http://www.aperturescience.com

    The long:
    I was checking out Wikipedia's Portal entry and saw a peculiar link, one that was labled ApertureScience. Upon further sleuthing, I found out that the domain is legit, owned by Valve in fact.

    The site itself is very, very odd indeed. Basically it's a terminal of some sort, à la DOS which consists of four main sections.

    The first section is the login (unbeknowest to you the first time), as if you were trying to telnet into a machine. Here all you see is an command line interpreter. The first thing that came to mind was to enter 4 8 15 16 23 42, but alas, nothing happened. Anyway, after entering some random commands, I found (at least) 2 of them that did something: HELP and LOGIN. The primer doesn't do anything except intrigue you. As for LOGIN, you'll be asked for a typical username and password combo. Any username with 3 or more characters will do. As for the password, the only one that I've found that works is PORTAL. (What a lucky guess)

    The second section of the site is the OS itself, the GLaDOS v1.06 (c) 1982 Aperture Science, Inc. to be exact. Fortunately this time around using the HELP command will display a small list of available commands. All of them are completely useless (or down-right odd) except for three; DIR, LIB and LS (this one's unlisted), which all do the same, that reveal a single executable: APPLY.EXE. It also reveals that you're a "new employee" of some sort. Oh, and you can only enter numbers and letters so you can't change drive.

    After you execute APPLY, you'll load an application form (ENRICHMENT CENTER TEST SUBJECT APPLICATION PROCESS) which is the third section of the site. You're initially treated to the PART1: PERSONALITY & GENERAL KNOWLEDGE form, which is riddled with 50 absurd questions.
    Before you start, however, the first thing you're required to do is to "memorize" a 64 character alphanumeric code. (Copying is almost impossible to do so I took a screenshot for safekeeping, though it didn't help) Be warned that this code flashes every half-second or so and will be generated again if you leave it running for some undetermined amount of time. (Less than half a minute at least)
    After you complete the 50 questions, you're requested to enter your unique 64 character alphanumeric code. From the two times that I've completed this form, it doesn't matter if you enter it perfectly, it'll still invalidate it and request you to remain where you are while somebody comes to get you. (Maybe I haven't been able to enter it properly in both occasions) After pressing any key, something strange happens...

    The fourth section is the most confusing of them all: apparently somebody else hacked (?) the terminal, leaving a message saying that the hardware is 20 years old among other things. (So what is this, 2002?) Anyway, you can also see a video feed in your screen with something peculiar in it. Pressing return (or any other key) switches your video feed/message to a to a spreadsheet (with a bill?) and vice versa.

    Hopefully somebody else will be able to make more sense out of this than I have... Mods, feel free to format the above if it contains noteworthy spoilers.
     
  2. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Newbie

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    Nice find. I don't know if it means anything, but a lower case 't' on one of the pages fades in and out a bit.

    EDIT: and an 'e' on page 30...

    EDIT2: teilie were the flashing letters I had. I don't think they mean anything.
     
  3. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    A couple letters flash... I'm gonna go through and see which ones I can find. I'll post again when I'm done.

    Also, on the page where it asks if you'll be missed if you suddenly disappeared, I swear I saw something green flash on the left side of the screen... I wasn't looking at it, though, and I can't seem to get it to happen again
     
  4. TheMastahC

    TheMastahC Newbie

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    This is very insane. Lots of weird things. Many times I would see images flash, but I wouldn't be able to make them out. Or letters blinking. Or my brother said he saw where one word in a question changed completely.

    Also the 64 number seems to possibly be in hex. Could look into that.
     
  5. Atomic_Piggy

    Atomic_Piggy Newbie

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  6. cojawfee

    cojawfee Newbie

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    When it asks for your favorite color (one of the two times) a weird symbol flashes and disappears if you leave it long enough. Maybe it was with the animals, anyway, it was one with a lot of choices.
     
  7. AJ Rimmer

    AJ Rimmer Tank

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    this is seriously weird, but cool
     
  8. DaMaN

    DaMaN Newbie

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    Woah, sweet...
     
  9. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    Okay, we might be on to something with the letters.

    After going through once and documenting them, I've come up with this; (Number is the page number the letter was found on)

    1 - t
    3 - h
    6 - e
    7 - c
    8 - a
    24 - k
    30 - e
    31 - i
    36 - s
    38 - a
    39 - l
    46 - i
    48 - e


    The cae is a lie? Definitely something there, but it looks like I missed some letters. I might go back and try again.

    Other things I noticed; All the flashing letters that I found are located in the questions, not the answers. Also, they always seem to appear as the first letter in a word, not the middle. Of course, I might have missed some, so who knows.

    Also, I see things flashing on the screen a lot, but can't tell yet what they are.

    Anyways, back to researching.
     
  10. Edcrab

    Edcrab Veteran Incompetent

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    Hmm, very interesting. I'd say you're on to something with the letters, but you're also probably right about missing a few of them out on the first pass...

    When I get home, I'm going to give this a proper look :p
     
  11. Atomic_Piggy

    Atomic_Piggy Newbie

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    Someone email Valve with this. I have emailed them but no reply :( (well actaullly it was Gabe).
     
  12. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    Found another letter. Page 24, k. Updated previous list.

    The cake is a lie?
     
  13. AJ Rimmer

    AJ Rimmer Tank

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    after you fail entering your UIN, type HELP. It seems to generate a different message than Zukeft described


    And a pretty freaky one at that
     
  14. MuToiD_MaN

    MuToiD_MaN The Freeman

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    Two perfect things were created in 1982 ... GLaDOS, and me.
     
  15. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    Page 49 is a question about cakes... The cake is a lie... I dunno, is anything on that list not a type of cake?
     
  16. AJ Rimmer

    AJ Rimmer Tank

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    Is there a Drake's Coffee Cake? I forgot to check.
     
  17. nutcrackr

    nutcrackr Newbie

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    Every so often a thing flashes up on the screen, looks like a cake to me. I'm just trying to capture it but it's too damn fast.

    Been through the test like 6 times now and have yet to capture it :(
     
  18. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    So much about cakes... "The cake is a lie", at least 4 or 5 questions about cakes, and then flashing images of cakes?

    I get the feeling Valve is playing with us :p
     
  19. Remus

    Remus Companion Cube

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    Probably... but this isn't even original, this looks very similar to that site the Hanso Foundation related to the TV series LOST. The question is, does this site contain any useful info or is it just full of nonsense: "the cake is a lie":LOL: .... " they put something in the water to make you forget...":O hmm...
     
  20. Para

    Para Newbie

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    Did you notice that page 3 had an ASCII art blink on the right down corner? It was somewhat pyramid-shaped but didn't manage to catch it at first so I'm not that sure...
     
  21. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    well yeah, these kinds of games have been around for a while... they did something similar with half-life 2 and halo 2, as well, but all of those at least lead somewhere. this just seems to have a lot of cake references and not much else... then again, the site isn't yet fully explored
     
  22. AJ Rimmer

    AJ Rimmer Tank

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    Another interesting thing: Type HELP before logging in. What the hell is an "animal malfunction"?
     
  23. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Party Escort Bot

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    Cake's a fake.

    It serves only as a decoy to derail our investigative senses. What's important are the other questions. They probe you, to see if you are a suitable subject for a propably less-than-legal experimentation, evident by the "Are you going to be missed" question or ones that try to find out what is your pain tolerance and pesonality. Plus, the message from a coworker at the end of the test, with the security feed clears things up a bit - this goes deeper, much deeper.

    Closer examination of the security feed (gotta love the zoom feature) shows, that the room is located propably deep underground (concrete walls, tiled floor, light comin frombehind the railing, no windows, the relaxation vault is entirely transparent, fitted with a medical bed and an IV support, toilet, a triangular object which is supposedly a fridge/small kitchen and a ceiling lamp as well as a mysterious pipe outside and *something* on the far wall. It looks, interestingly, like a seclusion chamber... Outside, there is a rounded exit (ex-missile silo perhaps?), a tray with what seems to be electronic equipment and piece of a railing, presumably the control room.

    I suppose the plot will revolve around this experiment, with us as the subject...
     
  24. el Chi

    el Chi Newbie

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    Security feed!?

    This maybe somplete nonsensical conjecture, but do you think that maybe Portal is set in BMRF? Or in the intervening years 'twixt HL1 and 2?

    Does anyone remember the thing Valve did with the HL2 official site? That was fun :D
     
  25. Dekstar

    Dekstar Companion Cube

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    Guys when it says to press enter if you see someone, type help.
    It comes up with a shopping list....
    [​IMG]

    And here's my code. Maybe we should check multiple versions of it for similarities?
    [​IMG]
     
  26. Mr. Ed

    Mr. Ed Newbie

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    That screen comes up when you just press enter I think, you don't need to type anything.

    50 units of flour, some kind of extra large tub (I'm guessing) and 75 units of thumb tacks? That's the worst cake recipe ever.
     
  27. AJ Rimmer

    AJ Rimmer Tank

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    An indoors tub that costs over $900 000? That's pretty big...
     
  28. Operational

    Operational Newbie

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    You are assuming that the numbers represent currency ;)
     
  29. AJ Rimmer

    AJ Rimmer Tank

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    Well yes, but I feel it's a rather acceptable assumption, because it totally looks like a bill:LOL:
     
  30. Paholainen

    Paholainen Guest

    Very interesting, very very interesting. What is Valve getting at here.
     
  31. Betelgeuze

    Betelgeuze Newbie

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    maybe its 'The cake is aliVe'?
     
  32. Absinthe

    Absinthe The Freeman

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    Ladies and gentleman, I give you the next great foe in the Half-Life series:

    CAKE

    Damn it, I knew this was going to happen. I told you we should have allied with Pie while we still had the chance. But did anybody listen? Nooo. "Just ignore crazy 'ol Absinthe", you all said. And now look at what's happened.
     
  33. Operational

    Operational Newbie

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    yes, i know - i was just being over analytical :)

    My string to remember was
    3c9d954ej1cs98b11b7d811a451651n8g313ec9cb201512934851e3470afe959
    The form says its my "unique identity number (plus letters)" - UIN(+L). It has 64 characters. The form also says its case sensitive but there is no way that I've found to type lower case letters in.
    Assuming its Hex i get 15517 in decimal and gibberish if i try to convert it to text.

    The questions they gave are very nice, in a psychological way. Eg they ask your favourite colour, then later re-ask it with different colours for the answers then say that you lied.
     
  34. zukeft

    zukeft Newbie

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    Here's another thing: as soon as you get into the website, the SWF calls a page within the same domain, http://www.aperturescience.com/gdxt.php?what=getid&refid=1
    This generates the randomly generated UID. Afterwards it really keeps track of everything you enter, but if it never accepts the UID in the end, why bother having so much detail? Oh, and here are two other page calls for different sections:
    Login url: http://www.aperturescience.com/gdxt.php?what=answer&uid=yourUID&aid=99&answer=yourAnswer
    Answers are submitted in the following manner: http://www.aperturescience.com/gdxt.php?what=answer&uid=yourUID&aid=1&answer=1
     
  35. Operational

    Operational Newbie

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    Downloaded the flash file and got a picture out of it.
    Here is where the flash file for the website it http://aperturescience.com/ApertureScience16.swf
    Note the 16, I've tried other numbers with no luck.
    The attached file is the picture I found in the file.

    Edit: Good catch zukeft, I had a feeling it was randomly generated and it looks that way.
     

    Attached Files:

  36. Przemek

    Przemek Spy

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    The UID that you have to memorize blinks... and each time it blinks, it changes :p Has anyone noticed that?
     
  37. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    So we're pretty much back to square 1. Nothing noteworthy has been gathered from this, besides many subliminal references to cakes. A few bits of "cool", but nothing about the game that we didn't already know, and (so far) nothing that leads us to more information.

    The two possibilities are that there really isn't anything to find (and Valve's just having fun with us), or whatever is there we just havn't found (or realized its significance) yet.

    Anyone else have any ideas?
     
  38. Operational

    Operational Newbie

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    ---=== Summary ===---

    Before login type "help" or "?" to see a 'do you need help' message

    Type "logon", "login" or "user" to logon.
    Login password is "portal" or "portals".

    Login then
    - type "ls", "cat", "list", "directory", "catalog" or "dir" you get the directorys contence
    - type "help", "?" or "lib" you get a list of commands.
    - type "logout", "bye", "logoff" or "valve" you hear "goodbye" before it takes you to your homepage.
    - type "tapedisk" you get "ERROR 18 [User not authorised to transfer system tapes]"
    - type "append", "attrib", "copy", "format", "erase" or "rename" you get "ERROR 15 [Disk is write protected]"
    - type "interrogate" you get "ERROR 02 [Command requires at least one parameter]".
    - type "interrogate" then something else you get "ERROR 01 [Illegal attempt to initiate disciplinary action]"
    - type anything else you get "ERROR 24 [File <thing you typed> not found]"

    Code:
    - type "ip" you get your user ID.
    - type "thecakeisalie" you skip to a slightly modified version of the final screen.
    (code tags for emphisis since there is no easy way to find these commands)

    -type "apply" to start
    -typing "quit" once started will get you back to the B:\> prompt

    This I all got (and all I can get) from decompiling the SWF file I mention above. Most of it we knew except the "thecakeisalie" command. Its worth noting that the only website link in the code is www.steampowered.com - its takes you there if you don't have a homepage. Its also worth noting that, from what I could tell there are no correct answers.
    Trivia - the list of animals it gives you for one of the questions has 2313 animals listed
     
  39. zukeft

    zukeft Newbie

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    Maybe "the cake is a lie" is some sort of anagram?

    Operational, how'd you manage to capture a screenshot of that?
     
  40. A Big Fat CoW

    A Big Fat CoW Newbie

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    Final page copy/pasted:

    >
    >>>&!>>
    When was the last time you left the building?
    Has anybody left the building lately?
    I don't know why we're in lockdown. I don't know who's in charge.
    I did find out a few things, like these terminals don't have to
    tap out characters one at a time. And while we're all working
    on twenty year old equipment, somehow they can afford to build
    an 'Enrichment Center'. Check out this security feed.
    Whatever the hell a 'relaxation vault' is, it
    doesn't have any doors.

    ["video feed" of the vault]

    I don't think going home is part of our job description anymore.

    If a supervisor walks by, press return!


    --An interesting thing is the "these terminals don't have to tap out characters one at a time" part. It's the only piece I don't understand. My first thought was copy/paste, but that doesn't work on the "terminal." Don't know if it's a clue or not, but it's worth noting.

    Also, it's possible that the site isn't finished yet. Previous games, Valve added on to the site while we were deciphering it, so that could be the case here. Either way, the only way to get more info is to continue dissecting the site...
     
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