FANDOM


Stormseeker is the screen name of Chris Horn, who is one of the lead developers on Black Mesa and creator of The Pizza Code Mystery ARG.

Dr HornEdit

Main article: Dr Horn

Dr Horn is the in-game alias for Stormseeker. Dr Horn is also the main character in the ARG storyline.

The Dr Horn Wikia accountEdit

On October 14, 2012, someone created a Wikia account with the username Dr Horn on this wikia. This user account was then used to make one small change to the Dr Horn wiki page.

Later, on December 12, 2012, the user account was used to create the mysterious Tempus omnia revelant page. The user also created an empty Storyline page and added a link to it on the Main Page. Shortly afterwards, Stormseeker edited the original forum post, adding "Tempus omnia revelant" (in darkened text) at the top of the post. This served as proof that the Dr Horn Wikia account was indeed part of the ARG.

Stormseeker's WebsiteEdit

Main article: Stormseeker's Website

0418_08151814 / Code_Edit

In the early days of the ARG, a user named 0418_08151814 started posting in The Pizza Code Mystery forum thread. He identified himself as the one who was known as Code_ from the #BMS-ARG IRC channel. This individual seemed very knowledgeable about the contents of the whiteboards in the game and about ARGs in general and was clearly trying to help the players out by providing insightful tips. [1] [2]

On February 1, 2014, forum user AngelSG showed that each two digit number in 0418_08151814's user name corresponded to the position of a letter in the alphabet, where 04=D, 18=R, 08=H, 15=O, 18=R and 14=N, spelling out DR_HORN. [3]

Shortly after this revelation, forum user Gunsrequiem posted the contents of a PM he had received from 0418_08151814 a while ago after an exchange of PMs. In the PM, 0418_08151814 detailed his analysis and thoughts on the 752 Hex Code. [4]

On February 3, 2014, 0418_08151814 logged in to his forum account for the last time. Then on February 4, 2014, a new mysterious message appeared on the wiki in the comments section on the 752 Hex Code page.

It is commonly believed that Stormseeker was the one behind 0418_08151814 / Code_. This is supported by the fact that the IP addresses used by Code_ when joining the IRC chat channel belonged to the same ISP/netblock as the IP addresses used by Watcher, who dropped the IRC clues, although no one realized it at the time.

On Jun 14, 2015, forum user Gunsrequiem posted a transcript of a chat he had with Stormseeker on Steam, where Stormseeker confirmed that he was 0418_08151814 / Code_. [5]

Cryptos

0418_08151814's forum avatar.

0418_08151814's forum account was registered on September 12, 2012, two days before the 2012 mod release of Black Mesa. The forum avatar of the user featured what looked like a degraded image of the Biodome Facility logo, which can be seen on the wall in the Biodome Complex lobby. The original filename of the avatar, which was revealed when the avatar image was saved to disk using a web browser's "Save Image As" function, was "cryptos.jpg", which is interesting given the reference to the Kryptos sculpture in IRC clue 2. The original filename was lost when the forum was moved to new forum software.

QuotesEdit

Following is a list of ARG-related quotes by Stormseeker.

About Paul "Gruntfuttock" Bottomley, after whom Dr Bottomley was named:

"He's an old university friend, not a developer and related to the ARG in name only." ~ (Sep 25, 2012) [6]

About the Wibble (with a hint for the Code D puzzle):

"Sorry, can't give you access to that one. Even though it looks like it, it really has nothing to do with the ARG. Congratulations though to the people solving stuff, you're all finally thinking outside the box. Obviously I would like to help further, but that would defeat the object of the game. Most people would have given up by now, which is a shame, you're all so very close to finding the answer.
---
It's everywhere you look."
~ (Oct. 26, 2012) [7]

Will there be a conclusion to the ARG?

"There will indeed be a conclusion to the ARG, when people have moved beyond the current gateway puzzle, but it might be a while before you get to it. ;)" ~ (Jan. 23, 2013) [8]

Should one be making attempts to connect to certain sites on certain ports, using certain certs? Also about brute forcing:

"If it's about the ARG, I've not set up or had any sites setup for hacking, so no. There is an answer, but you can't brute force it, the CIA couldn't brute force it. Someone is already close. " ~ (May 22, 2013) [9]

Regarding complaints that the ARG has been tailored to only those who understand encryption:

"How do you know solving this has anything to do with encryption?" ~ (Sep. 12, 2013) [10]

Does this mean that months of work has been invalidated?

"Not necessarily." ~ (Sep. 13, 2013) [11]

On the discussion about the CSM acronym following a comment he made on his Steam profile (which he later deleted) and whether the 752 Hex Code is just random bytes and unsolvable:

"CSM Cyberdyne Systems Model (Terminator)
I like that one best, it seems to suit the theme.
It's not random bytes btw, but its definitely designed to look that way.
I wouldn't give you an unsolvable puzzle, just a really hard one. I even gave you a hint somewhere."
~ (Apr. 6, 2014) [12]

Shortly after the countdown timer appeared on BMRF.us, counting down to what was later revealed to be the Steam Early Access Release of Black Mesa, Stormseeker posted the following in the ARG forum thread:

"Time will still reveal all... eventually.

Who knows how deep this rabbit hole goes."
~ (May 1, 2015) [13]

Stormseeker briefly answered questions about the state of the ARG and the BMRF site in the Reddit AUA by the Crowbar Collective in conjunction with the Steam Release of Black Mesa:

"The ARG is still going on. :)" ~ (May 10, 2015) [14]
"yeah, bmrf was an idea I came up with for part 2 of the original arg. It still has a purpose and is an umbrella site for multiple paths of the arg." ~ (May 10, 2015) [15]

On May 31, 2015, forum user CPU wrote on the forums that, a little over a year prior, he had contacted Stormseeker about his discovery of an open SSH port on the bmrf.us site, and asked if he should let everyone know that he had found this, as that would most likely lead to the site being bombarded with login attempts. Stormseeker replied:

"Well you can try, and whilst bmrf.us is an important site, I said some time ago, that hacking methods are not really within the spirit of the arg. There is a way to solve it, and time will indeed reveal all." ~ (early 2014) [16]

On June 14, 2015, forum user Gunsrequiem wrote a post on the forums saying that he had had a brief chat with Stormseeker on Steam. He posted a transcript of two questions he had asked Stormseeker, along with the replies:

"[EVIL]GunslingersRequiem: Were you really Code_ / 0418 from the forums?
[BMS] stormseeker: yep
[EVIL]GunslingersRequiem: Should we spend more effort constructing the story in the game rather than focusing so closely on the web-based clues?
[BMS] stormseeker: a bit of both. I suspect if all else fails, something will come along and assist."

~ (June 14, 2015) [17]

On his Steam profile, Stormseeker wrote about the conclusion of the ARG in a reply to forum user Gunsrequiem:

"I'm sure the arg will reach its conclusion along with the conclusion of the game at least ;)" ~ (Dec 8, 2016) [18]

Forum user Nonimportantuser asked Stormseeker if it was possible to solve the puzzle the players had been stuck on for four years with everything that had been discovered so far, and received the following reply:

"It is solvable with what you have at the moment, albeit hard. The clues are def there, there will be a conclusion, its just not quite ready yet." ~ (May 16, 2017) [19]

In a reply to a question asked by forum user Gunsrequiem regarding the current state of the puzzle, Stormseeker wrote:

"The puzzle at the moment is pretty much set now for the last part, which I may condense a bit. I'm hoping to push a bit more of it through later on in the year. But the crunch is real at the moment, and primary focus has to be on the main game." ~ (July 10, 2017) [20]

Launch Day Livestream interviewEdit

In the Launch Day Livestream on May 5, 2015, Stormseeker was interviewed by co-developer Fr0z3nR about his involvement in making Black Mesa and touched upon the ARG. Below are excerpts from the interview (transcript courtesy of forum user Jake R [21]):

"When I designed the ARG, the ARG was actually designed to get people looking around at the details, to actually really dig deep into the design of each level on the game. So far the ARG is still going. I feel kind of mean because it got to a point where we had some people from Cambridge computer labs, which do a lot of computer cracking, and I had to increase the difficulty to keep it going for it. So it has increased in difficulty but there is a solution to it.

But the key is to keep looking for clues in the game, and you'll come across all kinds of little nuggets of information. Little mini story lines, the story of Dr. Horn which is of course my character, who develops and invents the Tau Cannon in Questionable Ethics. You can find his shack on the cliffs, which is actually an easter egg which you have to unlock, on the Cliffside map which is another one of my maps, one of the ones I'm most proud of. And there's pizza's hidden throughout all the different levels...

And it's those little details that I think really brings our game out, from being a mod. It's... more than a mod, it's more than just a tweak to another game, it's a full re-development. And that's one of the things I really like about the enhancements that we've done.

[...]

We've even added a few extra bits of that. We've got the EAS marketing [?] to which we've been doing the little ARG stuff, we've integrated more of that into the game, we'll probably do more of that later as well. That opens up new storyline potential for it. It's just these little sub-details which I really like. I'm kind of really obsessed with putting small details in. Because it's often the smallest details that add the most to a game in my opinion. You may not notice it, people may run past it, but if just one person notices it that's enough for me, that gets me going.

[...]

The Questionable Ethics chapter was originally designed to be twice the size of what it is now, but unfortunately the engine itself can't handle that much detail. The map itself, the main map with the lobby in it, is so far over the limits of what the 2007 engine can handle, we actually have to delete out props whilst you're playing it in order for the game to not crash. It goes over the entity limit by over 120%, which is ridiculous."


0418_08151814's PMs to GunsrequiemEdit

"Apologies for the time delay, things have been hell here for the last month or so.

I ran the code through a few programs that analyze entropy via auto-correlation, the n gram results indicate a weak encryption, but one that results in highly entropic data (which I correlated against a similar data set size from a randomness extractor) when decoded via Hex, which I suspect is a secondary encode, as most encrypted data sent via communications is encoded in order to avoid corruption. This may have skewed the block size analysis done previously (resulting in 376bytes or 64bits).


Code:
³+�:5ºÝfW|$ÁOÉCFÑ1§ÅK¸/þà"aWw?$y#Ü!ö,Ô.‘ògµE«Êí¯aQ
Nê‡Í3ÇÇ?q10œÄ(´$=TðDùÏb–Ù¿÷9~C˜æ2Ú
?äx³¥O]Üiuú÷I„žbYZŸc•‘=à>:¬?8ŒEû…þ‘5AÖÀƒ˜òȃ2¨/ß�(büÜOçäj?éQÅÈ´dã:¹,–†.‹À™¸8�Úy¶?ä¢Y›mHǹSŒîc‘D ôaº’äþu$,Ø?QÖ•Q˜‡j|ª½{@I"A0©f̳Á9F:?~š7ª†?²xü—1À œŒy~y“
@eF²Lšb›&Â?Î*KäXš7_ësÄ«"\„Œøž)²q3—6G?J‰(í֏TiŒ^[PgFövZo%Þ¤Ú@þ¶e?E$i6•ˆ=Ë!æûþû¸Z)‘”€6¥+]Thinking in a non linear way, I've tried to classify the OTR message header with its increasing scale as the puzzles moved on.

[CLASSIFIED INFORMATION LEVEL 8][OTR//4.0]

working from that basis and the other messages I have developed this list.

Level 0 - 2 = Non Encrypted or Encoded (similar to private and confidential?)
Level 3 - 4 = OTR 1 - Base 64 or Base 85 encoded
Level 5 - 6 = OTR 2 - Hyper-encrypted (layered) Pen and Paper Ciphers
Level 7 = OTR 3 - Hyper-encrypted (layered) One Time Pad
Level 8 = OTR 4 - ???
Level 9 - ?? = OTR 5 - ???

Considering a flawed OTP (which it was, considering the ability to analyze it), when done properly should be information-theoretically secure, the next level should be either hyper-encryption using random bits (which is unlikely considering the difficulty in making that crackable and for the fact it's usually used on hardware encryption chips), or some form of Block Cipher (from which if we assume the scale of Levels goes up to 10), can be extended into simple block ciphers with small block size, which analysis seems to indicate it is not, up to triple cascaded ciphers with high block sizes, salts and perhaps even key files to add additional strength.

It is just an assumption, but one using the available evidence, OTR 4.0 is either a 128bit or 256bit block cipher with an unknown mode and key length. I would assume AES or Rjindael as candidates to allow for the most commonly used (also as Off the Record encryption uses AES as its base algorithm, that may be a hint). So to modify the list -

Level 0 - 2 = Non Encrypted or Encoded (similar to private and confidential?)
Level 3 - 4 = OTR 1 - Base 64 or Base 85 encoded
Level 5 - 6 = OTR 2 - Hyper-encrypted (layered) Pen and Paper Ciphers
Level 7 = OTR 3 - Hyper-encrypted (layered) One Time Pad
Level 8 = OTR 4 - 128bit/256bit block cipher (AES or Rjindael or Twofish or Serpent)
Level 9 = OTR 5 - Cascaded Block Ciphers with salt (SHA 512 or Whirlpool etc)
Level 10 = OTR 6 - Cascaded Block Ciphers with salt and possible key file additions (to increase password strength)

For the moment therefore, I will continue to try and analyze the non Hex code and work out the block size, algorithm basis, key length etc.

If it is a block cipher, then algorithm cracking is pointless, and as such key forcing may be necessary.

If I were a betting man, I would say this is a 256bit encryption, probably of the AES or Rjindael cipher algorithm (not that you can tell from the code, but its pretty common) .

The password will probably be hinted at, perhaps in a less than obvious way. We can assume this much as it is almost impossible to analyze a cipher text with only one message and nothing to confirm patterns. Once I've got a rough estimate of what mode/algorithm it uses, I can dedicate some run time to rainbow table attacks on the key. I have a feeling this is a holding puzzle, designed to allow time to construct further aspects of the ARG or work on whatever is behind their NDA.

Recently there was a problem with the computer systems at work, so I may not have access to all the analytical machinery I usually do, it may take a bit longer to get more information, if i find anything interesting I'll let you know. I may have access to some more specialist equipment at a later date, so more progress will likely be made then. I think we can rule out SSH or OTP though."


Additionally, in another PM 0418_08151814 wrote the following:

""some secret project we dont have the access levels to get at"

That bit stands out the most, and I think is likely directly linked to whatever is in rooms X01 and X02.

Macroscale Quantum Systems could relate to anything that uses quantum mechanics for a larger purpose.

We've heard stuff about Niobium a few times, and it's used in super conductive alloy, so I would assume some kind of Quantum computer system, probably an AI, perhaps under the name of HALOS."

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.