MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Yeah, so you've looked behind the curtain, only to discover the whole world is a carefully manufactured lie. But to what ends?

Well, I'm Adam Foster, and these are my experiments in Half-Life 2 mapping!

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Journey to City 827 - appendix 14bis -

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Journey to City 1 - pt. 3 -

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Journey to City 1 - pt. 2 -

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Journey To City 1 - pt. 1 -

No idea how long I can keep this up for, but here's a start...

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A new life awaits in the outer colonies! -

A faint recording of a ghostly, mechanised female voice encoded into the amplitude of a shortwave radio frequency, echoing off charged particles high in our atmosphere, leading back to transmission from a covert location in a destroyed eastern European city from an alternative, near future...

CITY 44 CALLING - CONTROLLER RELOCATED, PROJECT STLL LIVES - 47.618, -122.199 - END

... indicating that, actually, I'll be starting at a certain Valve Corporation at the beginning of October.

What does this mean for MINERVA? Right now, I don't know - I'll initially be working on Valve's own Episode Three, but after that, who knows? I seriously suspect this isn't the end for this particular chain of experiments in designing single-player Half-Life 2 maps, all conducted for fun in my spare time.

Like any of my projects, it started off small, but rapidly grew far, far, bigger. It's not finished yet, but this time I actually released something. 'Episodic' worked.

And, I accidentally acquired a job in the process. Oops?

To everyone, thanks.

...

Full solution to puzzle: transmission.gz is gzipped, headerless 8kHz µ-law audio, as used by the /dev/audio device on old Sun workstations. Contained therein are: the Polish national anthem (look at the lyrics of the first verse!); DTMF tones for '050203040903' (if 'A' is '01', this comes out as 'EBCDIC'); and a voice reading Polish digits (each group of three corresponding to a single character of EBCDIC text). The numbers in the decoded transmission? GPS coordinates. The typo? Mine. The fun? Yours!

As for who solved what when, Pace is the first known proper solver of this micro-ARG, in just over 24 hours after I posted that mysterious file - and Tripotimum deserves special credit for emailing me a highly entertaining log of himself and other RPS cohorts puzzling over it, getting incredibly far only to be thwarted by the need to go to work the next day. Thanks!

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