MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

The End of the Human Species -

Let's face it, our days are numbered.

Also, in other news: I've been having great fun crunching through the snow in a virtual Polish shipyard. My architectural, visual and aural tests continue apace...

Article Comments (now closed)

Sortie's gravatar

1. Nice!

Posted by Sortie at 6:48PM, Tuesday April 29 2008

According to the second video, buying IKEA furniture and assembling it, is going to be piece of cake. Hell you can just destroy the furniture for the fun of seeing it rebuilt. Scary.

SenatorPalpatine.'s gravatar

2. Dignified end

Posted by SenatorPalpatine. at 1:00AM, Wednesday April 30 2008

I would hope the that human race comes to a more dignified end than being killed by millions of evil, self-reassembling chairs. How did the robots find our only weakness, chairs??

(dammit, forgot my password to this)

hklown's gravatar

3. Inivetable

Posted by hklown at 1:26AM, Wednesday April 30 2008

They knew we'd have to sit down, eventually.

Pace's gravatar

4. Somebody let me know when the hot girl robots come out

Posted by Pace at 2:19AM, Wednesday April 30 2008

As the proud owner of an iRobot vacuum cleaner, I feel fairly confident in saying that we've got a few years left. Not that it's overly stupid, more that it's lazy. The thing is designed to automatically return to it's docking port when it's done. When I first got it, it was very ambitious. It vacuumed on and on, I had to stop it myself, it just wanted to keep on going. Nowadays, I turn it on, it makes one or two passes across the room, and then it goes home. No amount of pleading will coax it into doing a decent job.

Anyway, good to hear about the progress. Is there actual snow yet or just some besnowified ground? And snowy sounding steps perhaps?

fuzz's gravatar

5. Wah!

Posted by fuzz at 11:17AM, Wednesday April 30 2008

When the seat of that chair starts moving...lets just say that if I had been in the room when that happened and no one had told me what to expect, it would scare the bejesus out of me...

(ps what happened to the Ep2 version of Minerva? nag nag nag)

Semiloki's gravatar

6. Roombas are not hot robot girls

Posted by Semiloki at 5:27PM, Wednesday April 30 2008

You need a new battery.

Sortie's gravatar

7. Re: Somebody let me know when the hot girl robots come out

Posted by Sortie at 7:20PM, Wednesday April 30 2008

Dude, don't you see it? It has ALREADY begun! Your vacuum cleaner has already left it's purpose and has begun developing personallity. Soon everything will be like in this xkcd http://xkcd.com/251/

Pace's gravatar

8. Well mine's sorta cute

Posted by Pace at 10:55PM, Wednesday April 30 2008

er..we've got a few years left until the robots in general take over, I meant to say..

Well, it could be a bad battery. Or my vacuum cleaner could be getting lazy, developing personality, planning to bring down 'the man' in 'the robot war'. Who's to say.

Anyhow, speaking of robots, the upcoming Pixar movie Wall-E looks to be quite.. um, cute (in case anyone wasn't aware of it):

Yar Kramer's gravatar

9. Uh-oh.

Posted by Yar Kramer at 12:31AM, Thursday May 1 2008

I think the first one needs a bit of work; it promptly fell over after reassembling itself.

Nesretep's gravatar

10. At last!

Posted by Nesretep at 8:51PM, Saturday May 3 2008

Finally a tidbit of info on the actual development of the mod! Unfortunately, I can't watch the videos worth a darn being on dial-up...(yeah, I know).

@fuzz: I seem to remember something about that one on the forum. You'll have to search for it a bit though. Or maybe locworks would be able to tell you where to find that.

My question is the same as the one from Pace's first comment. We need more than a teaser comment in 6 pt font! ;)

Scone's gravatar

11. Robot Overlords

Posted by Scone at 10:08AM, Sunday May 4 2008

Those videos, while they display highly intelligent reconstructible bodies, are slow and feeble compared to the big dog: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

I personally think our overlords will look something like it and have near perfect balance.

kast's gravatar

12. eep

Posted by kast at 1:47PM, Sunday May 4 2008

We're dead 0.0 That response on the ice is particularly impressive/awesome/terrifying.

Any one else getting a Hunter vibe from those legs?

Dan Forever's gravatar

13. we're all doomed! Run for your lives!

Posted by Dan Forever at 3:16AM, Monday May 5 2008

Whilst many will be contemplating their futures at this precise moment in time, I on the other hand welcome our new robot overlords with open arms.

kast's gravatar

14. Open arms

Posted by kast at 12:29PM, Monday May 5 2008

That is until they cut them off to use for playing 'fetch' with their robo-dogs. They also make for serviceable pasta forks.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

15. Hopefully....

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 10:30PM, Monday May 5 2008

I would hope that the "powers that be" when it comes to such things would be smart enough to look back at some movies, and not let AI ever get to the point where it can out wit humans. Theres a difference between computing power and good ole human enginuity

Pace's gravatar

16. randomly,

Posted by Pace at 1:58AM, Tuesday May 6 2008

I never bought into the whole AI idea, not really. I mean we haven't the foggiest idea of how human consciousness works, and we're supposed to believe that we'll create something similar by accident? (or by design?) Putting more transistors on a chip or writing a more sophisticated program just isn't bringing us any closer to real AI IMHO. Um, right then..

Big dog; wow, that was cool. Indeed freakishly animal-like balance, and yes, rather hunter reminiscent. (hell, while we're at this youtube linking thing, the single coolest thing that there ever was or ever will be on youtube still has to be the house dancing to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmgf60CI_ks&NR=1 )

Sortie's gravatar

17. Re: randomly,

Posted by Sortie at 6:08PM, Tuesday May 6 2008

That was undescripably awesome! Blog'd.

AI is pretty simple to create, but it takes a while. The answer is Artificial Evolution. Make a program that reprograms itself and clones itself via some sort of digital offspring, and let it execute. All the bugs and crashes won't survive, and only the superior versions will. Then in a matter of eternal time it will become somewhat godlike.

I tried this once. It filled my harddrive up and I had to close the test very soon. I'd probably get a BSoD if it had continued. That means the AI won. xD

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

18. Shadow government agents

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 6:22PM, Tuesday May 6 2008

I did notice that the hunter like robot was developed by Boston Dynamics FOR DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The very same company responsible for funding the Metal Gear Projects (Yes I know that was just a game just seemed like an interesting fact)

Pace's gravatar

19. gmen

Posted by Pace at 1:47AM, Friday May 9 2008

DARPA isn't too shadowy, at least not all of it. If I were to make a not particularly well informed guess I'd say they may be the largest source of research money in the world. They even funded me for a few years. And aside from funding Metal Gear Projects (?) they also funded the origins of this here internet, among other things. (like those robot car races across the desert, in case anyone was following that?)

And Sortie, when your programs start spouting philosophy, let me know!

fredbot's gravatar

20. hot girl robots?

Posted by fredbot at 2:37PM, Saturday May 10 2008

needs more summer glau before i accept the robot takeover!

also, this blog's human detector will need to be upgraded. i suggest a voight-kampff test?

Doctor's gravatar

21. Bring on the singularity.

Posted by Doctor at 3:33PM, Saturday May 24 2008

I personally think that - whilst it makes for great fiction - the whole AIs will enslave and/or kill us story to be a bit fanciful. As if we're projecting our own human traits onto them and imagining what'd happen. 'Humanity doesn't deserve to survive' is a popular AIs-will-kill-us justification, but that sounds like very human reasoning to me. If our computer-based children run on logic above all else, what's so logical about killing the ones who want to help them out?

Then there's also the insanely simple solution of developing an AI within a 100% closed system. No amount of software can overcome lack of a network port.

Then there's this;

Cargo Cult's gravatar

22. Martian robotic overlords!

Posted by Cargo Cult at 5:33PM, Saturday May 24 2008

There are the Mars Rovers, and the landing-on-Sunday (or-Monday-for-Europe) Phoenix Lander - but they're just piddling little robots compared with...


... the Mars Science Laboratory. It's gigantic - and with its wheels and RTG power supply, it can *chase* you. And never give up. Darkness is no deterrent!

Also, it might get some seriously good science done while it's there. Bonus!

Nesretep's gravatar

23. Re: Martian robotic overlords!

Posted by Nesretep at 7:44PM, Saturday May 24 2008

They really aren't Martian robots though, Adam. They are robots from Earth that get sent to Mars by us humans. The official story is that we send them because it is difficult to just go ourselves. The conspiracy theorist says we are sending them there to avoid being chased...

Cargo Cult's gravatar

24. Good point

Posted by Cargo Cult at 10:09PM, Saturday May 24 2008

Launching these robots into space, so that they may no longer threaten to destroy us all.

(A particularly good idea with the MSL, since one of its scientific instruments, 'ChemCam', actually involves a fairly high-powered laser. Apparently to be used for vaporising bits of nearby rocks for spectrographic analysis, but a BIG ROBOT with a BIG LASER? Brilliant!)

Also, ModMatic rides again: http://www.hylobatidae.org/modmatic/

Yar Kramer's gravatar

25. Robots!

Posted by Yar Kramer at 4:00AM, Sunday May 25 2008

Me, I personally like the idea of robots becoming so *human* that they revolt against us, and then having won, they put the most intelligent and logically-minded machines in positions of unquestioned power ... and said robot rulers then proceed to make humans and robots *equal* on the basis that this is the most logical thing to do. :3

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar


Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 8:50PM, Sunday May 25 2008

Well the whole thing with the AI rebelling is that they decide that since we created them, we can destroy them, so therefore we are a threat. Related note, started watching the new BSG (Battle Star Galactica) series and acording to them, launching our rouge AI into space, might be a bad plan. However I personaly can't wait to see the day when I get to order around an intelligent machine, and not have to feel bad about it, because I still hold fast that we would never grant "feelings" to a machine

Yar Kramer's gravatar


Posted by Yar Kramer at 5:42PM, Friday May 30 2008

Why not? Aside from the fact that you personally want to be able to "order around an intelligent machine, and not have to feel bad about it".

In short, to quote a Lone Ranger joke, "What you mean 'we', white man?" ;)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

28. Martian Polar Robots, and Flickr!

Posted by Cargo Cult at 12:16AM, Monday June 2 2008

Phoenix is merrily beeping away on the surface of Mars, seemingly oblivious to the fact that its life will be cut brutally short by the buildup of perhaps metres of carbon dioxide ice due to the encroaching north-Martian winter...

Assuming it gets that far, of course. Its budget-limited, intended-for-equatorial-conditions solar panels are more likely to have proved utterly inadequate long before then.

So it's a short, panicked dash towards the scientific finish line - but the thing already appears to have discovered that ever-elusive water ice. In holes beneath its main structure, excavated neatly in the soil by its own landing rockets:


Meanwhile, you acolytes have miserably failed to spot a new link on this 'ere blog. I am bitterly disappointed with you all, and shall delay Out of Time accordingly by way of punishment.

Sortie's gravatar

29. oshi-

Posted by Sortie at 10:38AM, Monday June 2 2008

Flickr? Well I noticed that link yesterday or the day before yesterday, or two days before today. And two days before the day after tomorrow.

So yeah. I did notice the link but .. yeah.. it's Flickr? That's mentionable? :P

Sortie's gravatar

30. Oh well. :)

Posted by Sortie at 10:52AM, Monday June 2 2008

Just checked out the Flickr images. Be aware the gallery features Plants, Blue Tits, Every Square Metre of Brussels, and all the long-forgotten photoes from the Gdańsk harbour. So yeah if anyone is up to wasting a few minutes browsing such photoes, do so!

Nesretep's gravatar

31. The Missing Link, uh...I mean, Missing The Link

Posted by Nesretep at 8:34PM, Monday June 2 2008

What!?!? Delaying OOT!? I have been OOT (in this case Out of Town) without proper access to the blog since my last post since about the day of Yar Kramer's last post.

So just when, pray tell, did this new link go live? My guess is that it was while I was gone...I got on relatively quickly since I got back, you know. So give a guy a break!

pox's gravatar

32. downfall of a particular monster

Posted by pox at 4:41PM, Monday June 9 2008

The Out of Time page has been 'uploaded',

Satellite imagery and error codes filled with deathly premonitions abound!

Sortie's gravatar

33. Archaeology

Posted by Sortie at 7:54PM, Monday June 9 2008

Also known as http://www.hylobatidae.org/minerva/traitor.shtm

"Objective: comparative, social, literal and metaphorical archaeology, to precisely determine and decipher the reasons for, causes behind, and perpetrators responsible for the downfall of a particular monster entitled City 44..."

That clears up a few things. Now to carefully analyse the .shtml file. :)

Sortie's gravatar

34. Out of Time

Posted by Sortie at 9:16PM, Monday June 9 2008

After a clever analysis of that page I've concluced the following things.
First of all there's a little header text that tells the primary objective, find out what happened in City 44.
Then there's a console output from some sort of taskmanager. The computer is running 76 processes, yet only a few of them is listed. The system features rougly a 1000 M memory, yet the unit seems wrong, there is no following B or anything, not very Adam-Like. The proccesses listed have some mysterious names with almost no vowels in them.

Secondly, comes the text fragment

It's clearly a acronym for URBan-LOCation-City44 suggesting this fragment comes from some sort of combine system, where else would the city be called City 44? The next letters 'ovrw44' can mean Overwrite, Overwatch and the 44, yeah, I have no idea. But it's clearly related to City 44. The last numbers and letter seems as some kind of ID. The // syntax at the start suggests that this is a domain/hostname. The / must mean ovrw44.002543.a is a resource of some kind, probably of the filetype .a. And the }} seems as some kind of illogical syntax.

Thirdly there is some kind of console input, or output.

--[//URB-LOC-C44/ovrw44.002543.a: *443353-46343-6]--
-[spurious non-injury neuromechanical infarction: bolide octets from ttys000 rinsed: -- "Why fight, if there is no chance of winning? Why believe, if there is no chance of being remembered? Why live, if you know that you are amongst the last? Why die, if you know that you can be reborn?" -- ]-
--[//URB-LOC-C44/ovrw44.002543.a: *443353.4444444.444444.444 ---------- ---s]-- ]-- thrombus]] ]]

That's some typical Minerva logic. However there's written 'from ttys000'. Who's that? A clever alias, a server? The same line I mentioned below, leads and tails this fragment, suggesting it is the content of that file, or parts of it. It's maybe notice-worthy the amount of repeated 44s all over that page. It'll leave the interpretation up to you.

Finally comes the interesting part. A map of the baltic sea, made in the .gif format with a lot of animated noise (cleverly split into two images!). The picture has some sort of frame in black around it, whose shape reminds me of a Combine Terminal. And it'd actually fit perfectly on such a monitor!

The picture shows four places of Interest. In the middle there's a little island a few miles of shore, with some text next to it, where I can read "Not Responding". Sounds familear? It also got some kind of hostname, but the text is too small and noisy, so I can't read it.
While, I looked up the island on Google Earth and it looked not much like Metastasis, but it's fiction so yeah.
Secondly, there's draw a line from that island to Saint Petersburg in Russia. There's not much to comment on there.
Thirdly, there's a line leading to my dear Denmark. Kalundborg is the city called. It's a small city, mainly known for having a harbour, that's why it might be of interest. But it's nothing european, so it won't be City 44.
Fourly, there's a line leading to Gdansk in Poland, and guess who has been there recently: Adamska. I can read something about "--[URB-LOC-C??/a?117m barrier ???????? / requesting immediately ... " and then a lot I can't read. Seems as City 44 is in trouble.

So yeah, I haven't been the entire site around, but there could be more material to analyse around here, somewhere.

Pace's gravatar

35. new stuff!

Posted by Pace at 11:58PM, Monday June 9 2008

Wow, I never would've found that page, good find pox. (and it still took me a bit, that link didn't work for me without that final l: http://www.hylobatidae.org/minerva/traitor.shtml Wonder how long it's been there?)

Of the 4 locations Sortie mentioned, 2 are circled; Gdansk, the presumed location of Out of Time, and that spot off the Swedish shore in the Baltic sea. Shall I take it then that that was the location of the island from Metastasis? I recalled something about that and it was confirmed to be in the Baltic:
This would place it in Swedish waters, which may possibly mean something if it was a WWII bunker. Sweden was neutral in the war, though was more closely associated with Germany, notably supplying much of it's iron. Anyway given its location it seems more likely to have been an Axis bunker, rather than allied. Don't know if that matters.

Also note the title of the page: Entopical Phenomena. For reference:
clearly in line with the 'phosphenes' title of the metastasis page. Maybe could mean that this is a signal from some sort of optical implant perhaps? Seems to me to support the idea that Minerva is a combine enhanced human if so.

Sortie's gravatar

36. Re: new stuff!

Posted by Sortie at 1:07AM, Tuesday June 10 2008

Uh, sorry for messing up that link!

And good poking, dude. That confirms this island is Metastasis, or at least a good choice. When looking at the Island on Google Earth, it seems very flat and not really cliff'd. And larger than the one in Metastais. But Pace, remember this is fiction.

I noticed, some of the fragments I couldn't read, was also written in the xhtml source code. The id for the Island is [//SYM-CONDUIT01/443o] and the id for Gdansk is [//URB-LOC-C44/49117m]. The name Conduit for that Island, fits very well because of the train systems. If the red line on the map, is the train line. Well. That means our benefactors have been hard at work.

And Pace: Awesome Wikipedia Article. I've seen that thing a lot, but I've never known what to call it, or known if other people also can see it. As for the interpretation, well, look at the page and tell me that's not a Entoptic Phenomenon.

Suddently, the wait for OoT just got a lot more worse that I'm hyped. Cleverly done Adam. ;-)

Delirium's gravatar

37. Re: new stuff!

Posted by Delirium at 3:23AM, Tuesday June 10 2008

At //URB-LOC-C44 the text is "barrier compromised / requesting immediate cou?????ation response / ? purge"

Pace's gravatar

38. text

Posted by Pace at 5:55AM, Tuesday June 10 2008

Garr, I've really got better things to do at the moment than sit here and analyze this new page, but fuck it. (I've been known to lock up for days at a time pondering Battlestar Galactica.)

Perhaps the text at URB-LOC-C44 is "..immediate cauterization response.."? I can't really tell but it looks like it fits, and sort of makes sense, perhaps requesting the sort of destructo-beam used in Metastasis. And the text at SYM-CONDUIT01 is "not responding/not responding/not responding/?????", I'd say further suggesting that's where the island from metastasis was, and also that we're looking at a combine screen. I didn't see an island on google maps at that exact spot Sortie, though there was one close (Gotska Sandön), perhaps that's what you're looking at? Either way, yes I'm willing to go along with it being fictional (as I've also chosen to believe that the land on the other side of the portal isn't really Ganymede). (and upon further reflection I don't think my axis vs. allied bunker analysis makes too much sense. Never mind that then.)

Also, I'm sticking with my fabulously outrageous symmetry theory,
and saying that 'sym-conduit' is short for 'symmetry conduit', which could mean 'symmetry portal'. I suppose conduit could also refer to the train lines, but then why would the island itself be labeled conduit? And why conduit 01? And how else could I squeeze in my fabulously outrageous theory? I'd agree the red lines might be the train lines though, but how do we explain that big curvy one?

Sortie's gravatar

39. The curvy line

Posted by Sortie at 10:50AM, Tuesday June 10 2008

I suspect the Big Curvy Red Line is some kind of satalite path, but I'm not certain. Uh and the conduit fits well on both the Train system and the Portal system. I don't know about the Symmentry theory, but that's just because you need some more proof.

Uh and the "immediate cauterization response". If I understand the word Cauterization correctly, it could refer to the extermination of the Island, and this place is the response, or contains the response, whether it is a large pack of soliders, or something far more nasty.
According to Delirium the first part of the text is "barrier compromised". So, there's a barrier in City 44? Sounds like someone broke it. Who, why and how? Well, none of us will know, that's the objective of Out of Time!

Since it's Winter in Out of Time, it'll probably take place a few months later, giving time to let something terrible happen in City 44. If it's anything like my plot, it could be a Clean-Up action where the Combine is shutting down the city.

pox's gravatar

40. A matter of big red lines

Posted by pox at 7:23PM, Tuesday June 10 2008

Upon first observation I thought that the the straight forward lines connecting the two encircled locations were not train lines, but instead flight patterns. Perhaps the combine intercepted Minerva's revised coordinates for Pegasus and are trying to regain control of it in hopes of capturing, interrogating, and potentially reconverting Perseus. The wide curvy line could either be wind interference or a combine force deployed to intercept Pegasus.

pox's gravatar

41. A matter of big red lines pt. 2

Posted by pox at 7:33PM, Tuesday June 10 2008

...Sorry about the double post, but this just came to mind after further inspection.

two circular radius' are visible on the satellite image, surrounding two minutely visible locations connected by the same thin red lines between Conduit01 (The Island from Metastasis) and the presumed City 44. Perhaps these two seemingly inconspicuous points are the 'Stheno' and 'Euryale' installations that Minerva alluded to in the final chapter of Metastasis.

fuzz's gravatar

42. Blimey

Posted by fuzz at 1:42PM, Wednesday June 11 2008

I go away for a couple of days and look what happens!
Nothing much to add except:

1) w00T!
2) tty is often used on *nix systems to refer to different terminals (think command prompts). ttys000 to me suggests a secure terminal with no designation, but that's just a hunch.

Adam, how do you make up the random gibberish? Keyboard bashing or something a little more thoughtful?

Theory's gravatar

43. tty

Posted by Theory at 12:30AM, Thursday June 12 2008

Why are we all pontificating on the meaning of tty, when it's clearly a reference to titties?

kast's gravatar

44. wow

Posted by kast at 3:03PM, Friday June 13 2008

I'd say something more than that but you've all covered anything I could add to the discussion.

Always good to have an update, of any kind.

Yar Kramer's gravatar

45. Seconded.

Posted by Yar Kramer at 8:11AM, Saturday June 14 2008

Yeah, I've pretty much exhausted anything to say that wouldn't just be wild, psychotic speculation. Y'know, just like everything else we go through here. ;)

Anschluss's gravatar

46. unrelated

Posted by Anschluss at 11:36PM, Saturday June 14 2008

What does it mean if my cross hair has suddenly dissappeared in the game (Minerva)? It's a lot harder this way.

Nightshade's gravatar

47. Cross-Hair

Posted by Nightshade at 1:44AM, Sunday June 15 2008

That happened to me once, a long time ago on my third play through. I'm not sure why it happened, and the only solution I found was to re-install Minerva, which fixed it right up. Although you could try "cl_drawhud 0", then "cl_drawhud 1" to see if that resets it.

Sortie's gravatar

48. Haircross, CWUTIDID

Posted by Sortie at 2:10AM, Sunday June 15 2008

Or just use cl_crosshair 1, or something similar. Use "find crosshair" to retrieve a list listing all commands related to the crosshair-thingeys you may need.

Anschluss's gravatar

49. other stuff

Posted by Anschluss at 3:01AM, Sunday June 15 2008

Can I use any commands like those to make my screen brighter in game? (and no, turning up the gamma/brightness does not work; it seems like Source overrides the computer settings. I've never seen the three lines of text on the brightness adjuster.)

Sortie's gravatar

50. Re: Other Stuff

Posted by Sortie at 12:13PM, Sunday June 15 2008

First you turn up the brightness and gamma to max using your monitor's/graphics card's own settings. Then ingame you can use the tools to fine adjust it. Alternatively, if it's too dark, use some kind of quilt and put it over your head and monitor so no sunlight reaches the monitor/your eyes. That should help your eyes adjust to the monitor, even though it may not be very practical. You can also try using the monitor doing night-time or whenever there isn't direct sunlight.

Omega's gravatar

51. bolds

Posted by Omega at 10:16AM, Monday June 16 2008

Also apears, at least to me, that "ce of being rememb" in "chance of being remembered?" is bold or some other font... i dunno

Omega's gravatar

52. "Stheno" and "Euryale" installations

Posted by Omega at 12:09PM, Monday June 16 2008

sorry bout the DP... but deal with it....

those two other unmarked spots on these "train lines" happen to be St. Petersburg... and the small town of Kalundborg (of Denmark)

of wiki:
"Kalundborg is very well known as the location of a large broadcasting facility, the Transmitter Kalundborg. There is also a large coal-fired power station at Kalundborg which is the largest in the country."

note the broadcasting facility...

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