MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Auditory Stimuli -

Joseph 'ZhayTee' Toscano wishes to inform you all that the soundtrack for MINERVA is now available for download from its own fancy, dedicated page. Yes, it was already available separately, but this is the definitive soundtrack release, with fully tagged MP3s for immediate incorporation into your electronical auditory archives.

May it become your own, official soundtrack for exploring (and exploding) mysterious islands, desolate bunkers and horrifying physical research establishments.

Or going to the supermarket, your choice.


Edit 20130430: updated links.

Article Comments (now closed)

Ishindri's gravatar

1. Excellent

Posted by Ishindri at 5:08PM, Monday December 7 2009

That's great! I love MINERVA's music, and it's nice to finally have some album artwork for it.

chiasaur11's gravatar

2. Nifty Keen!

Posted by chiasaur11 at 4:51AM, Tuesday December 8 2009

Bookmarking. Going to pop it into a portable music storage device at the soonest convenience.

locworks's gravatar

3. Excellent, but...

Posted by locworks at 5:26PM, Tuesday December 8 2009

... <nitpick>Game requirements should be updated to HL2: Ep1. Minerva should be MINERVA. </nitpick>

locworks's gravatar

4. and...

Posted by locworks at 5:27PM, Tuesday December 8 2009

.. I'm back to picking more serious nits.

Pyro's gravatar

5. Hmmm

Posted by Pyro at 8:35PM, Tuesday December 8 2009

Hmm, I already have these songs... Oh, well.

SenatorPalpatine.'s gravatar

6. pickknitting

Posted by SenatorPalpatine. at 6:55AM, Saturday December 26 2009

Locworks, you beat me to that nit. :-( Listening to it now; it definitely reminds me of desolate bunkers.

Baffled's gravatar

7. No Bioshock 2 for you!

Posted by Baffled at 2:41PM, Wednesday January 20 2010

Bioshock 2 is now just days away but we have no news whatsoever about Episode Three!

I call on Gabe to repeat his 2007 ban on Valve employees playing Bioshock until they had finished all their work on the Orange Box:


I call for an Acolyte Petition - no Bioshock 2 for Valve until we get our sticky mitts on *something* ... hell ... *anything* relating to the fabled Episode Three!

Oh, and Happy New Year :-)

fuzz's gravatar

8. Which is first?

Posted by fuzz at 5:45PM, Wednesday January 20 2010

Ok, how about a little acolyte sweapstakes?
Which do you reckon we'll see first:
Black Mesa Source
Out of Time/(Chronoclasm)
HL2:Episode 3

Sortie's gravatar

9. Re: Which is first?

Posted by Sortie at 7:28PM, Wednesday January 20 2010

Ouch, that's a hard one. I know that Ep3 won't be in 2010 according to some source I read somewhere . OOT probably won't be out before Ep3, and BM:S is stuck in an infinite loop. I perhaps suspect BM:S.

As for media, I think we'll see Ep3 media before OOT media. Development is seemingly non-existent and I doubt Adam has secret hidden screenshots of OOT on this website or uploaded footage to YouTube.

Boff's gravatar

10. ep3 news

Posted by Boff at 3:51PM, Thursday January 21 2010

Yeah I heard an unstantiated rumour, infact I just made it up that the game IS to be released this year

Boff's gravatar

11. music

Posted by Boff at 1:35PM, Friday January 22 2010

i never pause for thought about the music, i've been downloading that guys songs now, practically all of them I my kind of thing, heavy dramatic but to a thumping beat, sound a one or two of the black mesa mod's musical scores.

Pyro's gravatar

12. Re: which is first?

Posted by Pyro at 9:44PM, Saturday January 23 2010

I'd have to say BM, ti's the only with any kind of progress, media, etc., and it's getting close to release.

chiasaur11's gravatar

13. Let's add a fourth option.

Posted by chiasaur11 at 6:46AM, Monday January 25 2010

Hell freezing over.

Now, I figure it's last, but it's a tradition, you know?

GGX_Justice's gravatar

14. And the winner is...

Posted by GGX_Justice at 11:06AM, Monday January 25 2010

The heat death of the Universe!

Pyro's gravatar

15. Re: And the winner is...

Posted by Pyro at 11:24PM, Monday January 25 2010

You're seriously pessimistic, you know that?

chiasaur11's gravatar

16. Great. Just dandy.

Posted by chiasaur11 at 7:54AM, Wednesday January 27 2010

That bastard Durandal is going to be the only one who gets to play any of 'em.

And you know he'll spoil everything.

chiasaur11's gravatar

17. Oooh! Robot pictures!

Posted by chiasaur11 at 6:59AM, Sunday January 31 2010

Just, you know, robot pictures. Nifty.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

18. Official State Hagiographer

Posted by Cargo Cult at 7:57AM, Monday February 1 2010


I am a modding god!

chiasaur11's gravatar

19. Hey!

Posted by chiasaur11 at 1:13AM, Tuesday February 2 2010

I read that when it showed up in Rock Paper Shotgun's new writer hive.

And I didn't mention it here to prevent your ego from growing too big. We need you desperate and needy so you'll make good mods for the smallest amount of human affection.

Foiled, of course. Shame.

Pace's gravatar

20. bio-whut?

Posted by Pace at 9:19PM, Friday February 19 2010

All the cool peoples be playin Mass Effect 2 these days I believe. Or perhaps working on another playthrough of Dragon Age. I think rather than a ban, we need to get Valve people playing these games (in case they're not). It'd be great to see what they could do with that sort of approach. Well, I guess they're not likely to exactly copy Bioware, but something. I mean, Valve have been very good at storytelling and character development but it's very restricted within a straight-up FPS. I guess there's some tradeoff, but there's definitely something to be said for a higher degree of interactivity & choice, and it'd be nice to see what another top shelf developer could do with it. But, I dream, I suppose.

(seems like developers need to get better at copying each others good ideas.) (where legal, of course.)

(The heat death of the Universe... heh heh..)

Yar Kramer's gravatar

21. Guesses

Posted by Yar Kramer at 11:36PM, Friday February 19 2010

My guess as to which'll come out first: Duke Nukem Forever. ;)

chiasaur11's gravatar

22. If we're being silly here...

Posted by chiasaur11 at 9:07PM, Saturday February 20 2010

I'd bet on X-Com Alliance.

Or a near enough modern approximation. Put me down for a finn.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

23. Sortie, is this you?

Posted by Cargo Cult at 9:13PM, Sunday February 21 2010


Whatever it is, it's not Out of Time. :-P

locworks's gravatar

24. It's maybe...

Posted by locworks at 10:44PM, Sunday February 21 2010

...an hommage from a fan, who just couldn't wait. Or, more probably, an urban combat scene with a famous name slapped on it.

"Gameplay Video #12 (Private - Do not redistribute)" is plain silly, though.

Sortie's gravatar

25. Must be an inside job!

Posted by Sortie at 10:56PM, Sunday February 21 2010

Oh no! My cover is blown!

I admit I did do a few fetal mistakes, such as mentioning this for a few people, uploading screenshots of it to my website, commenting on and watching other vidoes from that fake Youtube account, and most importantly, I watched the Youtube video a few times too many to boost my ego -- or the video is just improbably popular in Denmark according to Youtube's statistics. The upload comment also said January 17, it was after midnight locally when I uploaded it, but internationally it wasn't.

The language in the video might also suggest I had something to do with it - I tried to make the text seem real, though. The hud could also suggest it was running inside my mod, but that'd require expert knowledge.

Oh, the mapping could also suggest it was me, if people knew my mapping style. However, the map seen is heavily based on screenshots of an actual OoT concept map, once posted on this site. It mainly started out of boredom, where I loaded up these old images and figured I could reproduce them, and so I did. I actually learned a lot from reverse-engineering small details. Adam truly is a mapping god.

Depending on how well Adam did his research, I also added a link to Wikipedia's article on OoT. Unfortunately, I didn't use a proxy, so my Ip is listed there. Then it's just a matter of visiting Hylobatidae's logfiles and do a lookup.

The video is entirely faked. Only was what seen was built. The gameplay was very scripted and required the player to play the map the very same way in the video. It took some attempts to get it right.

I never finished the map. I built it late last year and forgot about it. Then one day I was playing through my mod and opened the map for the fun of it, recorded a beautifully rendered 1280x720p video of it, encoded it with xvid, and put it on Youtube.

The solution could also be simpler, I am one of the few skilled mappers around here, and Adam just took a lucky guess on who was most likely to have done it. In that case, I fell for his bluff.

I uploaded this with the sole purpose of seeing how long before anyone noticed. No-one noticed, so I put a link on Wikipedia. I was sure fans would've posted it on this blog before then, engaged in heavy discussion, until Adam denied it. I didn't plan on Adam discovering it first.

Interestingly, there was plenty of snow here, and probably in Gdansk too, at the time I set the video to happen. (January 12 2010). I couldn't get snow effects running in the video, though.

Regardless, consider this a tribute to your mod, and a friendly reminder to hurry up with your various projects.

Sortie's gravatar

26. Re: Must be an inside job!

Posted by Sortie at 11:02PM, Sunday February 21 2010

Or even more stupid - I suggested this could happen in a comment above.

Yeah, the "Gameplay Video #12 (Private - Do not redistribute)" is silly. I intended to it to look like a leaked video.

chiasaur11's gravatar

27. Well, good of you to admit it.

Posted by chiasaur11 at 4:00AM, Monday February 22 2010

You know if Adam faked one, the only hint would be a scrambled snippet of the saga of Roland, which, matched to Marathon terminals sorted by date, would lead to a claim of Durandal about "Escape" closely matching an new scientific research paper.

Using a little known Roman code on the paper after using an obscure babelfish derivative to slightly improperly translate the statement, the translation errors would allow one to find the geographic coordinates for a Valve owned server farm. Breaking in, one would be surrounded by suspiciously well informed NSA agents speaking entirely in Iambic Pentameter. The bullet pattern they fire, should you attempt to escape, will spell out "Fooled you. Foster."

And even then, only when seen from a forgotten Soviet satellite on time lapse.

fuzz's gravatar

28. OOT in L4D

Posted by fuzz at 7:41PM, Tuesday February 23 2010

I was about to suggest that depending on what Adam was intending for OOT it could work well as a co-op thing in the L4D(2) engine.
....and just as I posted I remembered the whole lone protagonist thing.

Still, it's got me to thinking whether it would be easy to load the Minerva maps into L4D and play them co-op, hmmmm

LocoYokel's gravatar

29. Re: OOT in L4D

Posted by LocoYokel at 1:01AM, Wednesday February 24 2010


Do it! Please port them. Pleeeeaaaassseeeeeeeee.

Anschluss's gravatar


Posted by Anschluss at 6:28AM, Friday February 26 2010

That has to be the best idea ever, next to having Minerva actually turn out to be Ayn Rand.

chiasaur11's gravatar

31. Well, if'n all you want is co-op.

Posted by chiasaur11 at 7:05AM, Friday February 26 2010

Been done.

Synergy can boot the maps, with some text losses, sadly. And some trouble with the elevators.

Other than that, great fun. Being the only one to get to the chopper was jerk greatness.

Pyro's gravatar

32. Re: L4D port

Posted by Pyro at 5:19AM, Sunday February 28 2010

L4D2 wouldn't work at all, for what I HOPE are obvious reasons.

fred's gravatar

33. what the ... ?

Posted by fred at 12:15AM, Tuesday March 2 2010


Pyro's gravatar

34. Re: What the...

Posted by Pyro at 12:40AM, Tuesday March 2 2010


It's not referring to the "Still Alive" radios, because it says transmission, as opposed to reception.
I feel like checking the Aperture Science website. Maybe something will turn up.

finale's gravatar

35. Damngit, Cult...

Posted by finale at 1:14AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

Audio image encoding.

This portal shenanigans has your name all over it.

kast's gravatar

36. Answer dangnabbit

Posted by kast at 1:36AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

Okay, glad I'm not the only one that caught the sent of one Cargo Cult about this Portal business. Images encoded in unintelligible noise... when I saw it crop up on the Portal forums I was about to call shenanigans but then I remembered you.

chiasaur11's gravatar

37. I said this was Foster's fault. Glad others agree.

Posted by chiasaur11 at 2:02AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

I mean, really.

The only people who'd do something like this are old school vidmasters with a sadistic streak and mad genius to spare.

And I can't see Valve going out and stealing Bungie that easy without it being mention somewhere. Which narrows the candidates down to, well, one.

finale's gravatar

38. heh

Posted by finale at 3:56AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

Of course, that's why we love him so. Though so far the trail still seems like Idolatry-lite, in terms of obscurity and difficulty.

chiasaur11's gravatar

39. Hey, it already called for an old modem.

Posted by chiasaur11 at 4:01AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

For a public consumption insanely difficult puzzlers, this thing is still fiendish.

And I have faith in Adam and everyone else at Valve to make this all but impossible.

vanarbulax's gravatar

40. P2/Hl2:EP3/OOT/WITB?

Posted by vanarbulax at 10:48AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

Okay I'm going to call it now. This has all be a grand collaboration between TimSmiT, Adam Foster and Valve who have kept silent about Ep3 because it is in fact going to be all of those games at once. Chell meets Gordon on the Borealis and commanders it to travel to an Eastern European snowy city to find a Mysterious box. Using the portal gun and their feisty side kick Gnome Chompsky they have to rescue Alyx who is held by Babel Industries, a company set up as a front by the reassembled GLaDOS. You can thank me for my brilliant predictions later.

Muskie's gravatar

41. I KNEW IT.

Posted by Muskie at 10:59AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

The second I heard that there was a form of Steganography involved, and I started hearing moe and more things about how this was getting more ARGy by the second, I just KNEW that Adam was the puppetmaster behind all this. Way to go, man!

fuzz's gravatar

42. Kewl

Posted by fuzz at 11:21AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

"there’s a NEW ACHIEVEMENT to be had! It’s called “Transmission received” "

Think I'll be playing through Portal again then.

Adam, this is genius :)

MedO's gravatar

43. Nice work!

Posted by MedO at 11:36AM, Tuesday March 2 2010

Yeah, this has A.F. written all over it. I'd join the hunt myself but I have exams in three days and need to learn :(

Anyway, I'm still waiting for the day someone accidentally hacks into some top secret military computer because he got off-trail in an ARG :P

Lord_Baz's gravatar

44. Heh

Posted by Lord_Baz at 1:56PM, Tuesday March 2 2010

Knew I wouldn't be the only guy to jump straight to that conclusion. Of course, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that Mr Foster had nothing to do with it...

Though, I must say. I never considered what would happen if Valve tried something like this... going back and editing game entities?

I approve.

vecima's gravatar

45. just freaking make ep3 already!

Posted by vecima at 6:07PM, Tuesday March 2 2010

Yeah this reminded me of Adam, which is why I came back here just now, but I seem to remember valve doing something ARGy with portal before... a website mimicking a an old system with command prompts or something.

chiasaur11's gravatar

46. The old Portal site?

Posted by chiasaur11 at 7:10PM, Tuesday March 2 2010

You needed 1 login and 1 password, and you could get everything.

This is way closer to Foster's stuff.

Yar Kramer's gravatar

47. HAH!

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:35PM, Tuesday March 2 2010

You know, the minute I heard about all this going on, my immediate reaction was, "You know, this sounds <i>exactly</i> like the kind of thing Adam Foster would do if he had the resources of an entire company at his disposal ..."

M_Gargantua's gravatar

48. An ARG within an ARG

Posted by M_Gargantua at 2:54AM, Wednesday March 3 2010

The point is to mislead us into thinking its Adam while Adam sets up the real ARG.

Pyro's gravatar

49. Redundancy

Posted by Pyro at 4:28AM, Wednesday March 3 2010

Yeah, my first thought after hearing about the whole thing is that it was Adam.

There are still a few things that bug me, but nothing major.

lAin's gravatar

50. Ticks

Posted by lAin at 9:39PM, Wednesday March 3 2010

"So, why am I here?" :D

Dead's gravatar

51. Don't shoot the messenger...

Posted by Dead at 11:36PM, Wednesday March 3 2010

Reguard the following photo.

Now. Reguard one of the Dino Photos.
I smell a rat.


And again, look into the Dino Photos.

I'm just the messenger, and nobody seemed to have brought this egg back to the basket when I arrived.

All credit for this discovery goes to juniadkhan from French forum CanardPC

yoss's gravatar

52. !!

Posted by yoss at 11:38PM, Wednesday March 3 2010

Unknown Pleasures from Joy Division anyone?

Pace's gravatar

53. ...can't....keep.......up......

Posted by Pace at 1:14AM, Thursday March 4 2010

Well, it's been interesting to read about at least. Well done Mr. Foster!

(how the fuck that MD5 thingy got reverse hashed that fast is absolutely beyond me.)

Campaignjunkie's gravatar

54. As soon as I read "MD5 hash and SSTV-encoded wav files"

Posted by Campaignjunkie at 2:31AM, Thursday March 4 2010

... I knew it.

chiasaur11's gravatar

55. C'mon.

Posted by chiasaur11 at 4:08AM, Thursday March 4 2010

We all knew it.

Well, some people doubted. Fools.

fuzz's gravatar

56. MD5

Posted by fuzz at 10:29AM, Thursday March 4 2010

I'm not sure how it got brute forced, but from what I heard, it was assumed early on that it was a US phone number, and that the area code would be near Seattle, which I assume must have helped.

Although in a way that seems a bit easy for one of Adam's quizes, after all, it was all in English, where's the reversed polish speaking clock now eh?

(PS, Adam, any chance of a post about how you built all this in the first place? After the dust has settled obviously)

edsmedia's gravatar

57. This is a spectrogram of a Fizzle file

Posted by edsmedia at 4:07PM, Thursday March 4 2010

I can't post on the Valve forums yet, so wanted to post here in the hopes someone working on the ARG picks it up.

I'm fairly sure that this is a spectrogram of one of the Fizzle files. Compare to http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/4496/fizzles.png
for example.

You can clearly see the broadband noise at the beginning and the gliding harmonics immediately after in both images.

This is probably relevant to both
threads on the forum

GGX_Justice's gravatar

58. ETA for Progress Bar

Posted by GGX_Justice at 7:10AM, Friday March 5 2010

Now, I don't want to be claiming anything, but looking at this:



Knowing the sweepstakes us Acolytes had earlier on in this thread, the callous, bile encrusted organ that is my heart has warmed with even the faintest possibility that one of those glorious events is heralded.

rblstr's gravatar

59. But... But... But... MINERVA

Posted by rblstr at 1:12PM, Friday March 5 2010

All this Portal stuff is brilliant, well done Adam.
It seems like a century ago I was talking to you on steam chat during the launch of the last MINERVA chapters, congratulating you on such an inredible job.

Well I for one... I miss MINERVA...

amodal1's gravatar

60. Some possible tie-ins?

Posted by amodal1 at 2:07PM, Friday March 5 2010

Is Foster's stuff going cannon?

Some problems in ARG lead me through this site and a series of gap filling connections and intriguing questions:


Those of you who know Cargo Cult's previous work think that I may be on to something? Or just chasing phosphenes?

Lord_Baz's gravatar

61. Hmm

Posted by Lord_Baz at 2:31PM, Friday March 5 2010

I have been wondering it myself. I mean he was hired because of minerva in the first place, which immediately suggested that Valve's curiousity was piqued by the way he did his maps, and perhaps they were going to try it themselves.

Makes sense in a way too, because in the Orange Box, portal was the unknown entity. Everyone wanted Episode 2... right until they played portal. So maybe they will try that strategy again with another dark-horse like Minerva?

The risk with that though is that it could backfire and being the "unknown" title on a valve release have much more expectation placed on it and suffer because of it.

Pace's gravatar

62. Fischer! FISCHER!!

Posted by Pace at 10:52PM, Friday March 5 2010

amodal; I didn't see any evidence of a connection between Minerva (or anything on this site) and the Portal ARG. The pictures from Adam's flickr account that were used doesn't imply a Minerva connection, just a Foster connection. (and maybe the 'heat death' thing could be related, but just as an inspiration I'd think.) If you'd like to ponder the greater Minerva mysteries however, we've got quite a robust amount of it in various spots around here.

Sortie; you probably should take down that fake Out of Time video, don't you think? Or at the very least remove the link from wikipedia. There comes a point where you're just lying about it.

Sortie's gravatar

63. Re: Fischer! FISCHER!!

Posted by Sortie at 6:57PM, Sunday March 7 2010

It's Wikipedia, you can just remove the link yourself. I'm rather surprised the link is still up. ;-)

I was rather shocked (but mostly confused) when I read amodal1's Google Doc. I am not sure what it is, but random copypastes of stuff from this site, Half-Life 2, and various stuff. It was very creative of him to connect to port 80 on the IP that edited the wikipedia, as it leads directly to my localhost server, which is quite confusing.

I don't intend on taking the video down, unless people really don't want it on Youtube. I really liked the mapping I did, I might just release it, even though it is so fake there is no point in playing it. If I had more time I would have turned it into a real map.

Yar Kramer's gravatar

64. *breebeep-breebeep* Fischer, what's happened? Fischer, respond! FISCHEERRRRRRRR!!!

Posted by Yar Kramer at 8:34AM, Wednesday March 10 2010

Well, you could at least officially *admit* that it's fake ...

chiasaur11's gravatar

65. Huh. About that gambling...

Posted by chiasaur11 at 9:08AM, Friday April 16 2010

Sorry, but, with the recent X-Com announcements?

I might win the pool. Remind me. What did we bet?

Pyro's gravatar

66. Re: huh

Posted by Pyro at 11:27PM, Friday April 16 2010

Well, unless I'm reading it wrong, you bet -1 space.

alex's gravatar

67. JD

Posted by alex at 2:13PM, Tuesday April 20 2010

You Sir are a Joy Division Fan. Pic is called "Known Pleasures" , the Joy Division album was called Unknown Pleasures with a very similar cover.=)

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