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Allentech Blog - ARG or Blunder?

I think it's the start of an ARG.
3 (33.3%)
Total Bungie Blunder.  Move on.
3 (33.3%)
I'm undecided.
3 (33.3%)

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Author Topic: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?  (Read 17712 times)

Imppa

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SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« on: April 09, 2010, 22:16:52 »
You'll see.

_____________

Don't know what is a Shotcode?
Wikipedia to the rescue.
Quote
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ShotCode/
ShotCode is a circular barcode created by High Energy Magic of Cambridge University. It uses a dartboard-like circle, with a bullseye in the centre and datacircles surrounding it. The technology reads databits from these datacircles by measuring the angle and distance from the bullseye for each.

ShotCodes are designed to be read with a regular camera (including those found on mobile phones and webcams) without the need to purchase other specialised hardware. Because of the circular design, it is also possible for software to detect the angle from which the barcode is read. ShotCodes differ from matrix barcodes in that they do not store regular data - rather, they store a look up number consisting of 40 bits of data. This needs to link to a server that holds information regarding a mapped URL which the reading device can connect to in order to download said data.

Namely, they are encoded URLs.

So, to the point.
Quite some time ago, even before the Halo: Reach Beta wasout, I discovered this from a post made by JoeRogaine. He pointed out that in this picture, on the computer on the right, there is a ShotCode. Later on, a screenshot from the Beta was photoshopped (to make it clearer and usable), and they got this:


ShotCodes can be read with Cellphone cameras together with a application named "ShotReader". It "reads" the picture in real time and prompts the browsers to navigate to a particular site. It can be downloaded from internet for free, and there is a IPhone app similar to it.

This ShotCode IS an URL. When decoded, it gives out a certain website. Who knows which one? Perhaps it's concerning an ARG? Perhaps it is a hilarious Easter Egg? Or maybe it is just a decoration? That is for us to find out.

Right now, this shotcode leads us to http://www.phonifier.com/phonify.php?i=0&m=0&u=http%3A%2F%2Fallantech.blogspot.com, which is nowhere. The only way to make it work is to cut the address so that only the last part remains: allantech.blogspot.com.
However, when the owner of this blog was contacted, he said that he has no connection to Halo:Reach. He had created a shotcode that leads to his page, true, but it was 3 years ago.
So why would Bungie use that shotcode?
It could be
  • a placeholder
  • nothing
  • that there is, infact, a connection
  • or recreated wrong.

Whatever is the case, we must figure this, one way or another!



(Btw, doesn't it resemble Forerunner glyph a bit?)

______________

Here is the Bnet thread.

Seriously, I think this is something REAL.


« Last Edit: September 16, 2010, 16:58:18 by Imppa »

Pulse Cloud

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2010, 22:37:08 »
Too bad the official site is down...
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Imppa

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010, 22:50:09 »
Too bad the official site is down...
Yeah, I know. It could've been a big help.
Here is the Bnet thread.

ColdGlider

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2010, 03:42:14 »
WTG Imppa.  Your work assembling this summary is the GP.

If you dissect the "anatomy" of the shotcode, you can see that there are only two (2) rings of data bits.  You can think of the shotcode as a black circle (the "bullseye") with six rings around it, or you could consider it to be seven (7!) circles of decreasing diameter placed on top of one another.   Since we like the number 7 here, let's go with that. 

The first attached image provides numbers for each of the seven zones.  (Please note that I do not have nor have I read the Shotcode specification, which undoubtedly defines these differently.)

Zones 4-7 appear to be constant and are likely used for image alignment and adjustment by the scanning software or "reader".  Zones 2 and 3 contain our data.  The circle is composed of 24 slices (15 arc degrees each).  This provides for 48 separate bits of data, represented by 24 sectors in each of the "rings" created by these "data zones".  The Wikipedia article linked by Imppa explains that the Shotcode contains only 40 bits of data.  This makes sense:  8 bits are either reserved for a checksum, special flags, or simply for marking the beginning/end of the data.  With forty bits remaining, the maximum number of unique "Shotcodes" that could be represented would be 2 to the power of 40 (2^40) or 1,099,511,627,776.  The Shotcode FAQ states:
Quote
Our current distribution supports over 1.000.000.000.000 ShotCodes.
So far, so good.

The only remaining questions needing to be answered as far as converting the Shotcode to a 40-bit number are:
  • What is the "polarity" of the Shotcode "bits"?  (Does black equal 1 or does it equal 0?)
  • What order should the bits be read?  (Which bit is the first one?)

We also haven't talked about Zone 1.  It's possible that Zone 1 is used to mark the starting bit.  For example, the period in "Shotcode.com" could mark the first bit in each ring. 

If we were to observe that 8 bits in every Shotcode are always set to the same values, we could perhaps deduce that these are the "extra" bits and perhaps they mark the start of the data.

In any event, knowing that there are 48 bits allows us to construct a number- however arbitrary- from the Shotcode found in the Reach Beta.  At the very least, we could use this to check whether or not we have reconstructed our "clear version" of the Shotcode properly.  To do this, I created the second attached image which overlays a map of the 24 Shotcode Sectors over the image we have of the in-game shotcode.  This gives us a common frame of reference to refer to the "bits".

If we were to start from Zone 2, Sector 1 and assign the black sectors to bit value 1, I would guess that the 24 bit number in Zone 2 would be:
Bits: 010111101010110001010101
Decimal Bytes: 94 172 85
Hex Bytes: 5E AC 55

Doing the same for Zone 3 would result in:
Bits: 101111100111111110101010
Decimal Bytes: 190 127 170
Hex Bytes: BE 7F AA

So our full "SGP Shotcode Format" 48-bit number in hexadecimal is:
5E AC 55 BE 7F AA

If you follow the same procedure with the reconstructed Shotcode image provided by Zoidberg25 on BNET, you'll get the same number.  This confirms that his reconstructed image is bit-for-bit identical with respect to the encoded data in the original in-game image... or at least he is 100% in agreement with my interpretation of it!
(http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/9088/shotcode.jpg)

If you do this with JoeRogaine's "rough copy" image that Impaa posted here, you'll get a different number.  He codes Sector 18 as black in Zone 3, which results in:
Binary: 010111101010110001010101101111100111111111101010
Hex: 5E AC 55 BE 7F EA

So if nothing else, the "SGP Shotcode Format" allows us compare shotcodes numerically and discuss/debate what we feel the proper values of the bits should be.

What would be nice is to have is the actual Shotcode binary translation method, and the ability to specify that number directly to a Shotcode reader.  This way, we could take the cell phone camera out of the equation and be sure that we were getting the proper URL back from web service.

Thanks again, Imppa... and thanks to the work of JoeRogaine and Zoidberg25 over on BNET... as well as DeathBringer669 for the clear in-game image.

I need sleep, so someone else needs to take over from here...
« Last Edit: May 05, 2010, 03:50:26 by ColdGlider »
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Imppa

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2010, 20:17:45 »
Good stuff, CG. And I may have something that'll interest you.
I managed to get myself a phone capable of reading shotcodes. However, there are a couple of things that are funny:
  • The phone gives me the shotcode decoded, but not as an URL
  • Almost none of the shotcodes work

Let's start with the funnier one.

When I take a picture of a shotcode with my phone, the application redirects me to the web browser. But when the browser is trying to load the page, after some time, it tells that the connection has timed out. It also tells the address the app gave to the browser, namely, the server from shotcode.com that should redirect you to the real web page (I hope I got my stuff right there :P). That address seems to be the body of the decoded shotcode.

For example: when I read this shotcode, the photoshopped version of the original shotcode, I get this:
http://www.shotcode.com/resolve/?300:001:07683150562b0001:4305614504936463
Now, when I type this to my browser on my computer, it takes me here:
http://www.phonifier.com/phonify.php?i=0&m=0&u=http%3A%2F%2Fallantech.blogspot.com
 -The page that Zoidberg25 got earlier on his research.
So thanks to this "Problem" of my phone, we are able to see what does decoded shotcode look like. I, myself, can't really get anything out of this, but maybe you CG (or someone smart out there) could manage.
Here are some other shotcode bodies I got:
The shotcode
The body: http://www.shotcode.com/resolve/?300:001:0768345056250006:4305614515936473
***
The shotcode
The body: http://www.shotcode.com/resolve/?300:001:07d83a705f2b0002:63058145b69344e3

Hope you can use that.

Now, the second part: The shotcodes don't work. Well, many of them, at least. Now that I've surfed some more, I have found some working shotcodes, and I don't have confidence as much as I had in the beginning of making this post. But I'll try to keep this together.
Let's take this Photoshopped shotcode. It works, and even though it has some harsh corners, it works fine, as fine as the real one. It just isn't enough.
As you probably have already read from Zoidbergs post in the Bnet thread, the shotcode doesn't work, and gives out the address:
http://www.phonifier.com/phonify.php?i=0&m=0&u=http%3A%2F%2Fallantech.blogspot.com
And that doesn't work. Only when you take all the "phonifier.com/phonify" crap out, it works.
This is the part where I'm uncertain.
"Phonifier" seems to be something that turns the page into something that a phone browser can show. This seems to be built in the shotcode. It seems as the pages such as "allantech.blogspot.com" can't be phonified (that is a right term), and therefore don't work with a shotcode. The shotcodes that work give out a page that seems to be made just for phone browsing. Perhaps this is the problem? But couldn't the Shotcodepeople fix it?
Agh, I feel like I missed a point there...Hopefully you get it :P(I'm so tired...)

Additional theory *Crazytalk!*
Phonifier.com gets you to a page of a man from Netherlands (seemingly) named Erwin van den Boer. Translated with Google Translate, the front page says (In Dutch):
Quote
On this website I'd like to bring along some of the projects I've made over the past 15 years or that I have been involved. You can also find information on travel and I made my vision of design.

I wish you an inspiring journey.

This is the weird part: whatever side page you take (on the left), the text in the page is always this;

Quote
Sed non dolor sit amet diam rhoncus condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Donec ut mi eget nisl mattis condimentum. Nulla euismod leo in nunc scelerisque congue pharetra magna tempor. Etiam libero nulla, cursus vitae sodales quis, malesuada eget quam. Vestibulum rhoncus fermentum tortor a gravida. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Aenean rutrum eros quis odio placerat a adipiscing diam venenatis. Sed congue, leo sed aliquam vehicula, nulla diam dignissim erat, eget scelerisque massa lacus eget lacus. Phasellus vitae velit velit, nec molestie dolor. Donec placerat risus at mi dapibus facilisis sit amet sed eros. Nam interdum eleifend ligula eget tristique. Fusce eget tortor in justo iaculis auctor. Morbi lobortis lectus vitae erat tempor sit amet commodo eros suscipit.

 :-\

SoooOoo tired...Later.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 06:49:27 by Imppa »

Scatcycle

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2010, 23:44:12 »
Great work guys! This site seems mysterious... Lets get crackin!

I went to the contact page, and its probably just a coincidence, but the guy lives in some place called Rotterdam. Has anyone read Enders Shadow? Because Bean, the main character, lives in that town scavenging for food. Im pretty sure there are alot of Enders Game references in halo, so that similarity strikes me. Enders Shadow is the book Enders Game from one of the Battle School students point of view. Its very interesting.

My four shotcodes are attached. The first two are the picture drawn over, and the last two are effects. The first two the same, just one is inverted. The same goes with the last two.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 00:24:25 by Scatcycle »
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The Arkaeologist

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2010, 14:56:44 »
Quote
Sed non dolor sit amet diam rhoncus condimentum. Aliquam erat volutpat. Donec ut mi eget nisl mattis condimentum. Nulla euismod leo in nunc scelerisque congue pharetra magna tempor. Etiam libero nulla, cursus vitae sodales quis, malesuada eget quam. Vestibulum rhoncus fermentum tortor a gravida. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Aenean rutrum eros quis odio placerat a adipiscing diam venenatis. Sed congue, leo sed aliquam vehicula, nulla diam dignissim erat, eget scelerisque massa lacus eget lacus. Phasellus vitae velit velit, nec molestie dolor. Donec placerat risus at mi dapibus facilisis sit amet sed eros. Nam interdum eleifend ligula eget tristique. Fusce eget tortor in justo iaculis auctor. Morbi lobortis lectus vitae erat tempor sit amet commodo eros suscipit.
Working on it....

In Spanish, 'sed' and 'dolor' mean thirst and pain respectively.  It seems to be a mix of Latin, Romance languages and maybe Greek?....

Here it is with the Latin parts translated into English by some random translator website.  (And yeah, are they messing with me?  There are lions everywhere I go.):
But not pain he is amet diam rhoncus condimentum. Some was volutpat. Up to the time when when mi eget nisl mattis condimentum. Nulla euismod lion upon now crime to congeal a quiver magna transitory. As yet to set free nulla , a race life fellowship anyone malesuada eget how. Vestibulum rhoncus fermentum tortor a pregnant. A fleet of a hundred ships aptent silently sociosqu to to propitiate to turn very conubia our , very beginner himenaeos. Eneus rutrum eros anyone to hate to please a to come up to diam venenatis. But to congeal , lion but some conveyance nulla diam dignissim was eget crime massa a hollow eget a hollow. Phasellus life skirmish skirmish , and not annoyance pain. Up to the time when to please laughter but mi seneschal easy he is amet but eros. For sometimes eleifend ligula eget to make sad. Fusce eget tortor upon equity a thrower person responsible. Sickness lobortis bed life was transitory he is amet to make fit eros to raise up.

Here with the Spanish translated:
Odd thirst pain sit amet diam rhoncus condimentum.  Aliquam erat volutpat.  Donec ut my eget nisl mattis condimentum.  Nulla euismod I read in nunc scelerisque congue pharetra great tempor.  Etiam I free nulla, cursus vitae sodales quis, malesuada eget quam.  Vestibulum rhoncus fermentum tortor to gravida.  Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos.  Aenean rutrum Eros quis I hate placerat to adipiscing diam venenatis.  Thirst congue, I read thirst aliquam vehicula, nulla diam dignissim erat, eget scelerisque massa lacus eget lacus.  Phasellus vitae velit velit, nec molestie pain.  Donec placerat risus at my dapibus facilisis sit amet thirst Eros.  Nam interdum eleifend ligula eget tristique.  Fusce eget tortor in just iaculis auctor.  Morbi lobortis lectus vitae erat tempor sit amet commodo Eros suscipit.

And WHAT IN THE WORLD?  Why does the text example in this Wikipedia article about text-formatting bear so many resemblances to the text in question?

Ah, I see.  :o  The text appears to be "dummy copy," which is derived from Cicero's "The Extremes of Good and Evil." It does appear altered though (though dummy copy often is).  We probably should find the "best" version of this so-called dummy copy, overlay it with the text in question, and highlight the altered sections.  I'm handing this off for the moment.  Great find, Imppa.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 15:13:43 by The Arkaeologist »

Pulse Cloud

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2010, 15:27:53 »
@Imppa:
That is clearly Lorem Ipsum.

@The Arkaeologist:
Lorem Ipsum is generated "always free from repetition" so, even if you generate 150 paragraphs of Lorem Ipsum, only some sentences from Imppa's LIpsum will match the text you generated.
The site you linked, lipsum.com, generates up to 150 paragraphs of LIpsum, so you could actually try to get some matches, if you're inclined to do so.. Don't waste your time, though.

@Everyone about Imppa's LIpsum:
There's nothing here, just forget it...
The only remotely relevant thing is LIpsum's derivation from Cicero's "The Extremes of Good and Evil", but I wouldn't waste time with that...
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The Arkaeologist

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2010, 15:41:07 »
Hmmmmm....Bungie made a reference to "Tokyo Rules" in its ad campaign for ODST.  I don't know if it's legit - it looks like a google adsense con - but in the comments section of this joystiq article Shmil refers us to http://tokyorules.com/, where we encounter Lorem Ipsum.

Pulse is probably right though....a time suck.

And btw reading Bungie and game mag threads makes my head hurt!  Three cheers for the sgp!
« Last Edit: May 17, 2010, 15:45:48 by The Arkaeologist »

Imppa

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2010, 16:38:34 »
*bangs head to the wall*
I so saw this coming. I was aware of Lorem Ipsum, but I wasn't aware that there are variations of it. I feel dumb now.
Oh well, it WAS just crazytalk. :P


Dunder Moose

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2010, 23:21:08 »
I posted this on the bnet thread, but just for the sake of proper documentation I will copy it here. I contacted Allan and here is what I found:

Hi Allan,
 
Please forgive me if you've got tons of email over this, but there is a shotcode in Halo Reach Beta that seems to point toward your blog Allan Tech.

Were you aware of this?

Sorry to bother you, and if I am the first I hope you don't get many more requests like this, but Bungie is famous for starting Alternate Reality Games before coming out with Halo games and if it is a coincidence it is most unfortunate for you, but if it is legit, is there something I should be looking for on your blog?
 
By the way, I also loved those Quest games.
 
Thanks
Dunder Moose

   
Hi Dunder

Thanks for letting me know. I have no connection with Halo Reach Beta - but many years ago I put a shotcode on my blog - maybe they just reused the image. Anyway - you are the first to email me about it - and I don't mind. Any traffic is good traffic :-)

Allan
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Imppa

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 20:10:36 »
~

Then why is Bungie using his shotcode?
Perhaps
-It's an ad
  • That could be. But why to choose some random, 3-year old Shotcode instead of (for example) a shotcode that leads to Shotcode.com?
-It is just a placeholder
  • But that would be just stupid. Again, why to put something so random? You could just leave the computers blank, if nothing else.
-We are reading it wrong
  • But how could that be? Even though the code has been rotated 'bout 90 degrees, it doesn't affect the reader (as planned). Also, I can't see what could've been done wrong in the re-creating. Should we just take out a block or add more of them? ???
-It's a red herring
  • Bungie is fooling with us. >:(
-There is a connection we haven't noticed
  • Maybe Allan has a connection to Bungie he doesn't realize?

Just throwing out ideas. What else could it be? :P

Scatcycle

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 22:21:12 »
~

Then why is Bungie using his shotcode?
Perhaps
-It's an ad
  • That could be. But why to choose some random, 3-year old Shotcode instead of (for example) a shotcode that leads to Shotcode.com?
-It is just a placeholder
  • But that would be just stupid. Again, why to put something so random? You could just leave the computers blank, if nothing else.
-We are reading it wrong
  • But how could that be? Even though the code has been rotated 'bout 90 degrees, it doesn't affect the reader (as planned). Also, I can't see what could've been done wrong in the re-creating. Should we just take out a block or add more of them? ???
-It's a red herring
  • Bungie is fooling with us. >:(
-There is a connection we haven't noticed
  • Maybe Allan has a connection to Bungie he doesn't realize?

Just throwing out ideas. What else could it be? :P

Ad: Doubt it. Bungie wouldn't advertise a game unless they had sole reason to.

Placeholder: Bungie is amazingly effiecient. I dont think they need placeholders this close into the game on trash cans.

We are reading it wrong: See my attached picture. See if it works.

Red Herring: If none of the other choices written here seem accurate, then maybe it is a red herring.

Bungie Foolin': Doubt it. They wouldnt fool with us unless theirs something bigger to research (red herring)




Btw, someone said the shotcode looked like a covenant glyph. Anyone wanna change a glyph form into a shotcode?

Edit: Looking at these shotcodes put together, two changes can be made. Someone please scan the 2 images on this post and the 1 on the next post. It might be something legit.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 22:55:55 by Scatcycle »
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Scatcycle

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2010, 22:55:20 »
See attachment. Scan it.
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Imppa

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Re: SGP: Shotcode spotted in Reach Screenshot - ARG?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2010, 07:41:41 »
While I can't scan your codes right away, I must say that the 5th will not work, and I know that. The outer rim must be completely black for it to work (this is why the earliest recreations failed).