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From Portal 2 ARG Wiki - Valve ARG Network
The Ball is a first person action puzzle game in which the player explores mysterious underground ruins with the help of an alien artifact. It was developed by Teotl Studios and published by Tripwire Interactive, and was released on Steam on Oct 10, 2010.
To access the Aperture Science login page (and get the first potato), the following criteria must be met:
- EXACTLY 26:37 Time Played (in a single level)
- EXACTLY 13 Monster Kills
- EXACTLY 3 Monkey kills
- EXACTLY 5 Secrets Found
- EXACTLY 2 Deaths
- BE EXACTLY 233 feet from the ball
- EXACTLY 89 health
When it is completed, it brings up the words : "death traps".
Enter the access code weighted companion to get the potato.
One easy way to do this is to download this save file ( Mirror ), which does most of the prep work for you. Just follow the instructions inside and you should be at the Aperture Science login page in no time. (Major props to Bo0m for making this happen)
Another method to get to the login screen is via the use of in-game console commands. Start the game and choose the first survival level. Go 233 meters away from the ball, pause the game with escape, and bring up the console with the Tab key.
Enter the following commands:
- set tbstattracker monkeyskilled 3
- set tbstattracker deathcount 2
- set tbstattracker mummieskilled 13
- set tbstattracker collectedstatuenames ("", "", "", "", "")
- set tbstattracker timeelapsed 1595
- set tbsurvivalpawn health 89
Unpause the game. You might have to repeat the last command while getting hurt. (Thanks to jfperusse on SPUF for figuring this out)
Choose "Survival" and the level "Portal". If you complete all seven test chambers, you will find a computer terminal. If you get close to it you will be prompted for a password, enter "flood" to get a potato. If you get stuck, there are walkthrough videos for each chamber:
Test chamber 1
- http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=5-RqpJmkdmY (via AngryAngus)
Test chamber 2
- http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=PqKuPLkIYgg (via AngryAngus)
Test chamber 3
- http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=1C6LdMbnqI4 (via AngryAngus)
Test chamber 4
- http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=Xo8dfvFSCMQ (via AngryAngus)
Test chamber 5
- http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=K7DfQdtHRZw (via AngryAngus)
Test chamber 6
- http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=FUJOa6rWwkEw (via AngryAngus)
Test chamber 7
- http://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=5i-zlVyZXmQ (via AngryAngus)
April 12 Update
-Major new content added - 7 locally optimized test chambers made available
-Includes Edgeless Artifact Cube
-Any appearance of computerized objects is not part of the official testing protocols, but is an unintended side effect of the Aperture Science facilities
One new file in the ball/UDKGame/CookedPC/The Ball/Levels:
The Aztec puzzle
See also: Aperture Science puzzle
At the end of the seventh test chamber there is a computer terminal which undergoes a boot sequence then prompts the user for a password.
The link shown in third image above is: http://www.aperturescience.com/ctrl14/bootstrap/ (Page title: Rjk2vr# )
The images on the "bootstrap" page have peculiar filenames -- all five characters long. They are in order as follows (all have extension .jpg):
aouhk awvuj axclr bncxa
cfvcj cvhng cxhjf dawqb
dcghr dwexm fgaxz fscxg
jfhgv jsdxa juojb kdfgy
maffx nihjk paexy qewsp
rszxb scdfy ufdcb urtfd
wyzxi xcern xcgge ysdcv
Several image names are valid TinyURL links; however, they appear to be irrelevant to the ARG.
The images when shrunk and rotated properly make up the following image as well as an image of how each piece fit into the solved puzzle.
The two large pieces in the middle are actually 2 sets of the same picture with the only difference being which direction the arc of the lines go. Those lines and their associated text have been color coded in the second picture.
The lines start and end in the smallest image divisions in the second image. Following the lines' associated text could yield a new clue.
The third image depicts what is probably the main (and maybe only) purpose of the puzzle: when interpreted according to the Aztec calendar, the image gives the word "flood", which was earlier discovered to be the Aperture Science login page password for The Ball.
More speculations follow. The solved puzzle is in the form of a Golden Rectangle, a shape formed with measurements of the Fibonacci sequence, or ~1:1.618. The pattern is formed by making a rectangle of length/width of two consecutive numbers, then cutting it by the next number backwards, followed by the one after that and so on. The first 13 numbers are 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144.
Reading the associated filenames from the smallest piece left to the smallest piece right along the Fibonnachi spiral would give two sentences:
- (TOP) FSCXG MAFFX DAWQB JUOJB FGAXZ AOUHK SCDFY RSZXB URTFD XCGGE JFHGV UFDCB PAEXY BNCXA
- (BOT) QEWSP DWEXM JSDXA CVHNG NIHJK XCERN AXCLR WYZXI YSDCV AWVUJ CFVCJ KDFGY CXHJF DCGHR
It is unclear whether this will give any more clues or it's just a red herring.
At the terminal at the end of the Portal 2 dlc, you can enter the password "flood" to open up the aperture login screen. When you enter the wrong password, a code appears:
When entering the correct password, "flood", another code appears:
It's unlikely that the code is in the Malbolge programming language, due to the lack of uppercase letters. Due to the way Malbolge works, a Malbolge program without any uppercase is much more of a feat than creating a Malbolge program in the first place.
A python interpreter can be found Here for those who wants to try to run the code. The original c interpreter can be found at wikipedia.
This glyph was seen in-game by Steam forum user Critch
A sidewise safe; inside we see isotopic goo.
April 1 update
- Scully's texture from Killing Floor points to this game
- Files modified in the April 1st update:
- The Ball.exe
- The Ball.u
- Potato-FrontEnd.tbm (new file)
- Potato-FrontendSPL.tbm (new file)
- Potato-FrontEnd.tbm and Potato-FrontendSPL.tbm are map files. they are the maps in the main menu's background and are not navigable (as far as we know)
- to open these maps in The Ball, open the console with (`) and input "open potato-front" or "open potato-frontend-spl" then press enter.
- they are both the same except that one shows the game developers before opening the menu while the other goes straight to the menu (this is also how the original files "frontend.tbm" and "frontend-spl.tbm" works).