Portal Patch Adds Morse Code, Achievement - Portal 2 Speculation Begins [Updated]

By Alice O'Connor and Brian Leahy, Mar 02, 2010 5:40am PST

Today, Valve Software published an update to Portal through Steam. The only patch note:

"Changed radio transmission frequency to comply with federal and state spectrum management regulations"

Along with this cryptic change, is a new achievement, titled "Transmission Received", which Shacker ghost in my shell reported unlocking after he "put the radio on the red button on the first stage." At this point it "started spitting out Morse code."

We're still unsure what is actually going on here, but mysterious things appear to be afoot. At the very least, I'd recommend getting this achievement.

Steam users have begun finding images hidden in the updated game files. All of these images clearly show the Aperture Science logo from the game.

I've reached out to Valve Software for comment and I'll keep you updated of any new information.

Update: The following is reportedly a sound made by an in-game radio when thrown into a force field: "Dinosaur_Fizzle" noise Warning: Loud!.

Update 2: Steam users have found 26 new sound files containing around 17 minutes of Morse code. The first file has been translated to read: "interior transmission active external data line active message digest active". Something big is going on.

Update 3: In-game video of some of the Morse code and the above "Dinosaur_Fizzle" noise. Additionally, check these two videos of the near 18-minutes of sounds: Part 1 - Part 2

Update 4: One potential translation is:

Interior transmission active

External data line active

Message digest active

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

System data dump active

User back up active

Password back up active

Beep beep beep beep lol

Sounds like GLaDOS, who is very much "Still Alive", rebooting.

Update 5: Internet sleuths uncovered in the images an encrypted number which turned out to be a phone number from Kirkland, Washington--the city where Valve was founded.

The telephone number connects to a bulletin board system--a pre-Internet dial-up system used for everything from chat to games--masquerading as a GLaDOS system.

Aperture Science

Sleuths have found numerous ASCII art images on BBS clearly connected to Apeture Science and Portal, as well as several mysterious items and diagrams. You might have to tilt your head for a 'proper' view of some of the pictures.

The BBS also turned up several Apeture Science documents including memos 'from' company founder Cave Johnson as well as more to ponder over. Highlights include:

CONFIDENTIAL

October 17th, 1976

Re: Human Enrichment & Testing Initiative, Resource Acquisitions

1. "Low Risk" Human Resource Acquisitions

a. Hoboes and Tramps

Lives spent wandering aimlessly, cowering before authority, and drinking concussive amounts of home-distilled potato alcohol make hoboes the perfect Human Enrichment test subjects. The hobo questions nothing, will follow orders if fed, and, like all hoboes, has a restless, wandering heart. (Note: The wandering heart of the hobo should not be confused with Drifing Heart Syndrome, which several transients contracted during testing.)

b. Child Orphans and Foundlings

Deep-rooted abandonment issues leave most orphans highly susceptible to shame-based psychology (for a complete list of opportune moments to obliterate the esteem of test subjects, please consulting Training Video #89-D, "You'd Perform This Test Better if You Had Parents"). Recent advances in the use of scorn, flattery used in an ironic context and naked contempt of motivational tools have yielded similarly profitable results.

c. Psychiatric Patients

Past experiences shows these fellows are simply not shy at all about carrying on, disrupting tests and defecating just about anywhere that pleases them. Frankly, it's off-putting, and small wonder why Apeture-brand mental institutions are being phased out in favor of more orphanages.

d. Seniors

Frail, brittle hands make holding science devices difficult. Most were born before the advent of science, and can become confused and disoriented when asked to participate in relatively simple tests (teleportation, invisibility, adjusting esteem levels of orphan children).

MEMORANDUMS: Filed under CJohnson: 188454-G

88^5211762 json remind you that Apeture Science is built on three pillars. Pillar one: Science without results is just witchcraft. Pillar two: Get results or you're fired. Pillar three: if you suspect a coworker of bein' a witch, report them immediately. I cannot stress that enough. Witchcraft will not be tolerated.

MEMORANDUMS: Filed under CJohnson: 7655-293-G

A lot of you have been raising concerns about the so-called "dangers" of what we're all doing here. The beancounters told me to tell you that as of today, testing will no longer be as mandatory or as dangerous. That's not gonna happen, and here's the reason:

Science isn't about why, it's about why not. You ask: Why is so much of our science dangerous? I say: Why not marry safe science if you love it so much. In fact, why not invent a special safety door that won't hit you in the butt on the way out, because you are fired.

Plus, in the event of your death, I personally guarantee that, thanks to the form you were required to sign this morning, your family will not suffer the indignities of a prolonged and costly legal battle against Apeture Science. Trust me, I am rich, and it is a burden I do not wish on anyone.

To summarize: 6218376213 wjqehjk -213888^%@5*(*@)@)#*a@ +---+++

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  • Something you all might be interested in.
    shamelessly stolen from SA

    This guide assumes you played through Portal at least once. It may contain spoilers and it requires you to know how to beat the levels so I don't have to tell you how to get to a certain area.

    Room 0 - Take the radio from the room you awake in and move onto the red button.

    Room 1 - Just before you jump down, look to your right and grab the radio that's on top of the camera. There's a corner where it'll go green.

    Room 2 - After you gained the portal gun, look up until you see the radio. Create a portal back to the orange one, then create a blue portal above the radio and go back to grab it. Move the radio to where the portal gun was.

    Room 3 - The radio is on the camera at the end. Remove the camera and grab it, then move back to the first pit. There'll be a lot of static on the right side. Create a portal at the ceiling and then hold the radio out of it.

    Room 4 - This time, the radio spawns with the cube. Grab it and bring it back to the elevator.

    Room 5 - Open the door using both cubes. You'll notice a radio beyond the door. Create a portal underneath it, without grabbing it. Now jump back into the pit where one of the cubes was.

    Room 6 - On top of the platform shooting the energy balls is where the radio is this time. First clear the puzzle, then shoot a portal diagonal near the radio. If you look into the orange portal and crouch, you can grab it. Take it to the end of the level.

    Room 7 - Crawl underneath the staircase and grab the radio. Now bring it to the corner in the northeast (assuming north is where you looked once you left the elevator).

    Room 8 - On the laser-beam machine, you'll see the radio. You can reach it by using a blue portal and grab it from the orange one. Take it back to the beginning to finish this part.

    Room 9 - The radio is in a window on top of the forcefield. Get on the platform with the orange portal and from there make a new portal on your side of the forcefield. Now either grab the radio (then bring it to the other side like you'd do with the cube) or push it to the other side. The location is at the end of the level.

    Room 10 - Once you got to the part where you need to do some "advanced" momentum jumps, the radio will be on the left side of the level. Create a portal on the left side of the platform behind you, and jump down the orange portal. Grab the radio and bring it to where the orange portal is.

    Room 11 - Same idea as the first time you got the portal gun. Once you got it (this is regular gameplay, I don't need to tell you how I hope), you'll notice a way to escape once you pressed the button. However, there's a radio there too. Create a blue portal to the left of it, and leave the orange portal where it is (it should be at the other end of the moving platform). Now go back towards the orange portal and carefully step into it so you are in between both portals, which'll cause you to not fall down. Grab the radio and wait for the moving platform to return. The location of the radio is where the portal gun was.

    Room 12 - Do the level as intended. Once you get to the final jump (a platform will move 45 degrees upward), create a blue portal on it, and a orange portal all the way down to the lowest floor. Don't jump in, but drop one floor (with two dots), and then jump in. You'll end up in an area with the radio, on the opposite site of the floor you just jumped down from (with the two dots). Take the radio back to the floor with three dots.

    Room 13 - The radio is in the next room. It's very east to just create two portals to grab it. Bring it back to the beginning of the level.

    Room 14 - Once you enter this room, look up and you'll see and extended wall. Create a portal above it, and then another portal on the wall so you can land yourself on the pipe. You'll find the radio here. All you need to do is bring it back to the elevator.

    Room 15 - You'll find the radio to the right once you enter the arena. Get the cube and put it near the sign with an 'X' on it. Now jump on the cube, then on the sign and then jump towards the radio and grab it (this may takes a few tries). Now bring the radio towards the toxic pool and leave it in the middle.

    Alternate solution: Create a portal beneath the area with the radio and another one so you can jump down into it, and grab the radio once you fly up.

    Room 15 - Play the level as intended, until you get to the final area before the elevator where you have to open both doors to let an energy ball go through. Create a portal in both rooms with the buttons so you can quickly press both buttons. Do this, and then create one portal beneath the double doors, and one on the ground. Jump in, so you'll launch yourself into the little room, grab the radio and quickly jump out before the doors shut close. Bring the radio up to the end.

    Room 16 - This is the first area where you'll be able to go "behind the scene" and the first level with the turrets. Find the radio (it was there before the update and you'll find it if you just play through the level) and bring it behind the scenes.

    Room 17 - The famous "companion cube" level. Play this game as normal. Once you got the third platform to go up, you'll find the radio underneath it. Take it to the area where you'll depart from your best friend in the game.

    Room 18 - Pretty early you can go left to find a "behind the scene" area, with a radio. Take it up, and from there create portals on the ceiling onwards until you found the spot. Got it by luck.

    Room 18 - Once hit a button and found a room with a lot of turrets, this is your next target. Get rid of all the turrets. From where you entered, look left and place a portal near the closed door. To the right is a pit, create another portal in here. Jump down and use the momentum to launch yourself on top of the closed room. Activate the lift and bring the radio to the room on the lower floor.

    Room 18 - At the final part of the level, you'll have a "jump" puzzle, where you first need to gain speed using a large pit. In this large pit, you'll find the radio. Leave it there, and go to the exit of the level (don't enter it). Create a portal here and jump all the way down (you won't take damage). Now create a new portal in the pit, take the radio and leave.

    (22 out of 26 radios found)