This ARG Hub has been archived and locked to preserve historical integrity. Go back to the Main Dashboard
From Portal 2 ARG Wiki - Valve ARG Network
Amongst other images found by means of the Aperture Science login screens were photos of whiteboards. These boards feature messages in plain english and mathematical equations. The purpose of this page is to analyse any hidden meaning within these shots.
Text featured across the set of boards is:
- "Do not trust her, security through obscurity is our only hope!"
- "Do not upload the V-237 schematics!"
- "Keep 62-02 offline!"
- "Remember, she, is, watching!" - "TODO: Human verification system."
- "Their lives are in our hands."
As for the math involved and shown on the boards, most of it seems to be physics equations based around the idea of creating portals. (warning incoming physics/math jargon) Some of these involve energy levels of bound states in three dimensions, the summation of length contractions when approaching the speed of light (basically how to shrink the distance between two points by traveling at the speed of light, or faster as the case may be), Some complex fast fourier transforms, some Euler Circuits, a Piecewise function, and, generally speaking, equations pointing out the physical ramifications of portals.
It is also likely that there are multiple authors, indicated by the writing in differing pen colors. The text mentioned above are all likely from the same author and written on the board rather late. The only color seen to be added after the black text, is the blue pen, as it fixes some of the black text which has been erased. The red colored marker is possibly used by the "smarter person" as they won the Tick-Tack-Toe game (board 5) and completed the "house with an X in the middle without lifting the marker" (board 3).
All the whiteboards were written in the same place after another was partially erased (In this order: Boards 1 -> 2 -> 4 -> 3 -> 5)
Additional points of comparison are shown here:
- Remnants of board 1 on board 2 
- Remnants of board 2 on board 4 
- Remnants of board 4 on board 3 
- Remnants of board 3 on board 5 
Between board 1 and board 2, there is a section of text that was written, and subsequently erased. The areas of missing text are shown below.
Here is an overview of all the boards overlapped on each other. Why did these red / black circles with "eyes" get drawn in this specific configuration?
An alternate, less interesting speculation is that Valve wanted the whiteboards in the game, but used the same whiteboard over and over to create the textures, while accidentally failing to erase everything from the previous board before writing the next.
Details of Note:
- Top right equation is the standard differential for decay (think of an element's half-life)
- Middle and bottom equations seem to be summations for the position of an oscillating particle's x position.
- Green partially erased equation is a Fourier transform
Details of Note:
- In the top left, the first two blue equations relate a function v(x,t) of position and time and c_k, its Fourier series
- The equation under them for phi(k) is Gaussian, but isn't quite a normal distribution - phi often represents angle, so the blue drawing at the bottom left could be rotating. Alternatively the k refers to the Fourier series, since the Fourier series of a Gaussian function is Gaussian
- top right is a Taylor series for gamma, the special relativity factor. Red's cancellation was wrong, as black points out, as is the final expression red gets
- Bottom equation is an euler-derived equation for a particle's mass and energy as a function of time (involving a decay constant).
- OAD and th are written over in blue on top of the black pen writer
- Only sensible anagram for OADth is 'had to'. Possible Anagrams
- Right side picture resembles an Aperture Science turret, but with arrows in a clockwise direction.
- "the" and "schematics" are the only words in lowercase
- The "a" in schematics is written like a backwards five instead of a natural writing of the letter.
- It's possible that the a got smudged and thus looks like a backwards five, seeing as other text got smudged.
Details of Note:
- grid on the left has 13 rows, there are 13 games. There are 4 columns, hopefully not 4 waves. The grid may be similar to the 3x3 grid on board 5.
- The grid on the left contains 4 distinct entries: spaces, X's, V's and dots.
- Equations are standard linear relationships, but with odd variables. Maybe for temperature as a function of time?
- The graphs also could be related to energy levels of excited states?
- "Viscous momentum flux" is a term from fluid dynamics, where the u in the expression is fluid velocity, also suggested by the graph with two different arrows labeled u. Perhaps some problem with steady fluid flow with a temperature gradient?
- The designs on the right are multiple attempts at drawing a "house with an X in the middle without lifting the marker" with the correct sequence completed in red.
Possible theories (by IRC user PVTCaboose1337):
- Playing card theory. 13 cards, 4 suits. This however yields nothing according to bridge players.
- Base 4 could yield percentages, provided we choose the correct symbols to correspond to the correct numbers.
- Truth table. Assume . and " " represent 0, and v and x are 1's. If this is the case then we are left with 4 games being 100% true, as they contain all 1's (games 2, 3, 12, 13). These games are: Killing Floor, Cogs, AaAaAA!!!, The Ball. Maybe we should complete these 4 and see what happens?!
- "Keep 62-02 offline" line could be related to 620, which is the appID for Portal 2 on Steam (IRC user Wol)
Details of Note:
- First equation is a modification of the Fundamental Theory of Calculus.
- Second equation is the definition of a surface Lagrangian.
- The expression starting d rho/dt is also the equation for conservation of mass in fluid dynamics
- The top diagrams could either be related to the energy of particles in a bound state (and their wave form) or to the linking between portals and their energy levels.
- The graph on the right seems to be some sort of Fourier Transformation, but with odd units.
- This is the only board that has 2 instances of the circle with 2 dots inside of it.
Details of Note:
- First equation involves more decay, for elapsed "T", this time for the variable "I", which is most likely current. The "T"'s could relate to either temperature or time.
- Second equation is for a magnetic field quantity at an instant.
- in graph at center, R_a looks like the Rayleigh number, R_ac being a critical value. The inequalities give accurate bounds for the Rayleigh numbers for the earth's mantle
- The equation on the right seems to be an equation dealing with the energy density of a particle in a 3D well.
- Am I the only one finding the tictactoe "circles" strange? They're more like dots, just like in the table in board 3 having dots and x's.
- I also find it strange, but I'm not sure how much relevance it has overall.
At least one of the whiteboards has been been found within the game; while this doesn't discount them as part of the ARG, it is unlikely to contain clues that were not already in place when the game was shipped for release (mid-March).
Two others whiteboards can be found while doing the Co-Op Storyline (when you have to plug CDs often).