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Defense Grid

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Defense Grid: The Awakening is a tower defense game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment. It was released on Steam on Dec 8, 2008.

This is the page for ARG-related content for Defense Grid: The Awakening. Content on this page is organized with most recent content on top, and oldest on the bottom.


Getting Login Screen (and all potatoes)

  1. Launch Defense Grid.
  2. Launch a second instance of Defense Grid.
  3. In both games click "console".
  4. In both games log in with user jsharman and password ultraz7x4.
  5. Type in tonylanche and press enter.
  6. In the first instance of Defense Grid press 1 so you play first.
  7. In the second instance press 2 so the computer plays first.
  8. Replicate the computer's moves from one instance to the other, this essentially plays the computer against itself.
  9. Eventually, you will win one game and get the login screen.
  10. Enter deadly lasers at the login screen to get your first potato.
  • Second Potato
  1. Enter console and login with twood/GradsNotRads.
  2. Type: cd inventory and press enter.
  3. Type: enter_missing_unit. Then enter the password: kungfuhustle.
  • Third Potato
  1. Enter console login with twood/GradsNotRads.
  2. Type: i_beat_tonylanche_for_real.
  3. Enter the password: eimqufjnrv.
  • Fourth Potato
  1. Beat CHAS with silver or higher (any mode) and earn the achievement "Few and Proud".
  2. Return to main screen and enter console and login with jsharman/ultraz7x4
  3. Type: cd recruitment then type: id_scan then type: recruit
  • Fifth Potato
  1. Enter console and login with twood/GradsNotRads.
  2. Type: cd mutation and then type: mutation
  3. Breed and get to round eighteen then press "A".
  • Sixth Potato
  1. Enter console and login with twood/GradsNotRads
  2. Type: cd mutation and then type: mutation
  3. Breed and get to round thirty-ish (score 3000+) then press "B".

Console Login Details

The following table lists all known console user accounts:

Username Password Notes
guest <none> No password. Suggested by the Narrator on multiple failed attempts to login to the console.
fdobson D4meZuMAri Password rendered as QR code in the first CHAS level.
efletcher elisefletcher Password inferred from security_policy.txt and picnic_list.txt.
jsharman ultraz7x4 Password displayed when mosaic puzzle is solved.
twood GradsNotRads Password displayed when the 2nd CHAS level is beaten on Impossible difficulty.

April 12th Update - Phase 3

A third update to Defense Grid was made on the 12th of April. The update notes hint at changes to the console, the recruitment process, and the CHAS campaign.

jsharman Account, Revisited

There are two new files in jsharman's "recruitment" directory:


Found in the C.H.A.S. level

twood Account

Winning in fewer than five moves yields a password which does not work.
Winning in five moves or more gives you a password which can be used in i_beat_tonylanche_for_real. The password is: eimqufjnrv.
#valvearg-DG - 8-9-6. You're looking for a sign, but you'll have to find it on your own.
This led to rearranging the letters above to form "atypical pathology centre", a phrase found in the film Kung Fu Hustle. This yielded the password for enter_missing_unit, which is "kungfuhustle". When entered a browser window pops up and you get this (audio file) (you also get a potato).

April 7th (Phase 2) Update

The second phase of the Defense Grid ARG was announced via a game update on the 7th of April. The update notes mention that "something has fixed much of the file corruption", hinting previously inaccessible content can now be accessed.

New Content

The file 'surveillance' was found in the root directory. Opening a Steam overlay, it links to video which shows ARGer Jake_R climbing a pole to get to the Toki Tori glyph.

Hidden within this video is a secret message that would prove invaluable to solve puzzles within both Toki Tori and Defense Grid; a white and green truck drives past the camera near 1:10 with glyphs scratched on its side. The glyphs, translated, spell "FLP NTL TH DTS MTCH". This is assumed to mean "Flip until the dots match".

The efletcher Account, Revisited

With Phase 2 begun, the files in the efletcher home directory were no longer corrupted. Inside, a number of confounding and challenging puzzles were revealed.

Additional Content Available to Ezekiel Fletcher

Mosaic Puzzle

One of the most baffling and complex puzzles in the entire ARG. It will be explained in steps:

Step 1: The Mosaics

Inside the /examples/fromfrank/ directory is a file named "mosaic". Running this opens the Steam overlay and leads to a random mosaic-like picture. There turned out to be ten of these, one of which is selected randomly for display.

The final letters in each of the mosaic URLs can be rearranged to spell architects.

Step 2: The Legos

Frank Dobson's profile_worksheet.txt file hinted that he enjoyed "brick laying", but further hints were required from the Defense Grid developers, including an eventual visit to their offices (by Nexizen) and being given a bag of Lego, before it was determined that the mosaics should be assembled as a cube. A notch of black pixels on the edge of each image was used to determine their orientation, and the "architect" letter was used to determine the ordering.

When assembled "correctly", (see the first image) the cube seems to form letters. But this is a trick; the actual solution can only be found when the cube is assembled without any of the yellow blocks. This is hinted again via Frank's profile worksheet, and by the lack of yellow bricks in the bag received from the developers.

Step 3: The Buildings

When the cube is constructed minus the yellow blocks, a number of separate pieces are formed. When viewed from above, each piece directly corresponds to a building on the complex map - except mirrored.

When each lego piece is placed appropriately on a mirrored version of the map, the gaps between the buildings form a message
Complex map
"nocake". The solution!

The message, "nocake", would prove to be the solution to a new puzzle within fdobson's directory.

Flower Puzzle

Inside the /examples/fromjessica/ folder is a number of files.

Clicking on the petals of the flower on view_flowers leads to different images of flowers. There are 20 images, which were found to match the number of lines in the garden_alchemy.txt file. The filenames of the flowers were daisy1.jpg thru daisy18.jpg, with two outliers; idusall.jpg and innoparticularorder.jpg. Put together, these spell out the message "ID us all in no particular order".

Soon after, the flowers' names were found to be embedded within the images themselves as ASCII text - only visible when opened in Notepad.

Filename Common name Botanical name
idusall.jpg Yellow Pond-Lily - Cow Lily - Spatterdock Nuphar lutea
daisy1.jpg Bigleaf Maple - Oregon Maple Acer macrophyllum
daisy2.jpg Tall Oregon-Grape X Mahonia aquifolium
daisy3.jpg Autumn Crocus Colchicum autumnale
daisy4.jpg Crocosmia Lucifer X Crocosmia luciferans
daisy5.jpg Magnolia Stellata - Star Magnolia - Royal Star X Magnolia stellata
daisy6.jpg Bachelor's Button - Knapweed - Blue Cornflower Centaurea cyanus
daisy7.jpg White Fawn Lily X Erythronium albidum maybe?
daisy8.jpg Leafy Mitrewort X Mitella caulescens
daisy9.jpg Bog Blueberry Vaccinium uliginosum
daisy10.jpg Bleeding Heart Lamprocapnos spectabilis
daisy11.jpg Cyclamen X Cyclamen
daisy12.jpg Hooker's Willow Salix hookeriana
daisy13.jpg Red-Flowering Currant X Ribes sanguineum
daisy14.jpg Mediterranean Spurge - Euphorbia Euphorbia characias
daisy15.jpg Passion Flower X Passiflora caerulea
daisy16.jpg Scouler's Corydalis - Scouler's Fumewort X Corydalis scouleri
daisy17.jpg Salmonberry X Rubus spectabilis
daisy18.jpg Western Starflower - Indian Potato X Trientalis latifolia
innoparticularorder.jpg Bearded Iris (2) Iris germanica maybe?


Ninjai discovered that the flowers' scientific names could be mapped to the spaces in the flower_alchemy.txt, when certain symbols were replaced not with one letter, but with a pair of letters that double as an alchemical symbol. Then, one must assign an atomic number to each element, and pull the letter that corresponds to that number from the sentence below the blanks. This created a sentence, the solution and password to flower_answer.txt; "theyrealldaisiestome".

Inside flower_answer.txt is a great deal of fairly unimportant info, but it does have one phrase listed in bold: "troubled memories". This is Defense Grid's Aperture Login Password contribution, and it belongs to Amnesia.

A detailed walkthrough of flower_alchemy can be found [here.]

The fdobson Account, Revisited

As of Phase 2, Frank has an additional file added to his directory;

This text file lists a large amount of ingredients and asks if any additional ones are requested. This serves solely as an input for the solution to the Mosaic puzzle; when "nocake" is entered, it outputs (in hex form) the following: wetcher.cookie site=localintranetnjsharman ultraz7x4.cookie sitV=localintranetntw This provides the password to jsharman's account: ultraz7x4.

The jsharman Account

jsharman's account is the last of the Phase 2 accounts to be accessed, and contains two major items, as well as a great deal of other things.

Additional Content Available to Jessica Sharman

Recruitment Drive

The Recruitment Drive is now complete, no further action for this part is required. "Defense Grid - all milestones complete. Congratulations, everyone! It's been a pleasure." [[2]]

The Recruitment Drive is a community-based 'puzzle'. Upon running id_scan, a character is randomly generated for you based off your steamID. When running sign_up, you will be told what the current two criteria are for 'recruitment'. The community was required to find players that matched the current requirements and have them run sign_up. Cuch players would receive a trivia question to answer. Upon answering it, the player would be "Recruited". This became relevant in Phase 3.

Please check out this page for more information: Recruitment Drive

Steam group: I am trying to invite all 100 recruits onto my Defense Grid recruitments group. If your are a recruit or know someone who is can you please get me (The Leithal Weapon) or someone else on the group to invite them. Feel free to leave a comment on my profile or invite me. The list of people I could not find is here


Tonylanche is a game in the style of Nim where each player takes turn moving stones to the left, and tries to force their opponent into a situation where they have no moves left. However, the computer in this game will always make the best move, meaning it is impossible to win unless a perfect game is played, requiring a large degree of forethought and planning.

By far the easiest way to win in Tonylanche is to open up two instances of Defense Grid. You do not need a special program to do this; all you have to do is launch the game from the Steam window to create a second instance. After this, you can Alt+Tab between game windows without any issue. In one of the instances, assign yourself as player 1 and, in the other, as player 2. Next, simply input whatever the computer does back and forth across both instances, essentially forcing the computer to play itself. You will win the game on the screen where you have started as 2nd player.

Winning this opens the login page for Defense Grid.

April 1st (Phase 1) Update

On April 1, 2011, Defense Grid received a #potatofoolsday update, marking the start its portion of the ARG.

Graphics Added to the Game

Defense Grid
Defense Grid title screen
Main menu
The updated main menu

A potato was added to the title screen and end credits, and the main menu featured a number of differences:

The Console

Console after boot

A console was added to the main menu of the game; it would prove to yield most of the clues and puzzles for the Defense Grid portion of the wiki. It appears to be a console for a group known as "Advanced Research Group" and has ties to the Defense Grid universe.

Accessing the console requires the player to login using a username and password.

The guest Account

The first username, "guest" is eventually suggested by the Narrator after repeated failed login attempts.

Console Commands

Once logged in, to navigate the console, use the following commands:

Content Accessible as guest

The ARG security policy (found in the console)
A map of the complex (Also found in the console)

Content on the console is arranged as a mock file system:

Tony's Adventure

A text based adventure game found in the dev0://programs/games/. Completing it unlocked the CHAS level in Phase 1,2 and the early Phase 3. Right now C.H.A.S. is unlocked by default.

The game is played in a fashion similar to interactive fiction titles. The player can chose to move in a direction, examine their surroundings, and interact with their environment via text instructions. As the player explores the game, they will encounter creatures which when attacked will yield an improved piece of equipment. An ID card can be found, and dipped into coloured fountains to produce a coloured card which can be used to unlock doors of the same colour.

Guide to Completing Tony's Adventure

A map for Tony's Adventure

Use the commands 'n', 'e', 's', 'w' to get about quickly. While playing the game, 'attack' any creatures you encounter. You will always win, and will always win a piece of upgraded equipment. You will eventually need +5 armour and a +5 weapon to beat the bullfrog at the end. Begin the game by locating and picking up the ID card. Proceed to the red fountain, and use the ID card to turn the card red. Proceed to the red door, and use the card to unlock it. Now go to the crystal fountain and use the card to turn it white again. Go to the Yellow fountain to turn the card yellow, then unlock the yellow door. Now go to the blue fountain (without first washing the card) to turn your yellow card into a green card. You can now unlock the final green door, beyond which you will find the bullfrog. With +5 equipment, you will win.

C.H.A.S. Campaign

A new campaign named "C.H.A.S" was added to the campaign selection menu. It contains a single level, called "Tony's Training", which was unlocked (only in Phase 1, 2 and the early Phase 3. It is now unlocked by default) after completing Tony's Adventure in the console. It has two difficulties, Campaign and Impossible.


QR Code

QR code

The level itself is in the shape of a QR code. When this was discovered, a user created a QR code using the level as a reference, which proved to be valid, yielding the text "D4meZuMAri". This would turn out to be the password to the fdobson login account.

The fdobson Account

With the password "D4meZuMAri" discovered in the QR code, access was gained to Frank Dobson's account.

Additional Content Available to Frank Dobson


Within picnic_list.txt was a list of family members who were coming to a company picnic. This, combined with a the admonition in security_policy.txt (guest's home directory) not to use family members' names for passwords, led us to the password "elisefletcher" for the efletcher login (Zeke was listed as bringing "Elise" to the picnic).

The efletcher Account

When you log into this account, the Narrator states "My lenses may be foggy... but are you really going to login as... Zeke?" (Zeke was the Narrator's son in the Defense Grid story).

During Phase 1, the files in the elfletcher home directory were corrupted. Accessing this account marked the end of the Phase 1 content...

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