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Splinter 1x1 fc86314e-3bc5-400d

Beyond Light Collector's Edition Splinter Replica

The Beyond Light ARG (a.k.a. blarg) was an alternate reality game (ARG) created for Bungie's Destiny 2 expansion, Beyond Light. The ARG was released in October 2020 when the Collector's Edition of the expansion was sent out to players earlier than the expansion's launch.

Background[]

Destiny 2: Beyond Light was the first expansion to introduce the moon, Europa, as a destination to play on. Europa had been hinted at being a destination as early as Destiny based on concept art, but it was never introduced in that game. The expansion brought back the Exo Stranger from Destiny, and had Clovis Bray make an appearance for the first time.

The Collector’s Edition (CE) of the expansion contained a "die-cast Splinter of Darkness Replica with lights," a "Mysterious Logbook," a letter, a postcard, and more exclusive items.[1]

Solving the Clues[]

Logbook-pg1-cutout-1

Credit: Bachmanetti[2]. Screenshot from page 1 of logbook.

Step 1[]

The Splinter replica had four modes: On, Breathe, Code, and Off. In Code mode, the replica would blink a repeating pattern of short, long and pulsating blinks.[3] On page 1 of the mysterious logbook is a 5x23 grid, with the number 0 representing the left side of the table and the following numbers representing their row of the grid: 11350, 22699, 34050, 45399, and 56750.

Redditor Bachmanetti[4][2] figured out in the r/RaidSecrets[5] Discord server that the 0 to the left of the table is a timestamp (in milliseconds), and it corresponded with the blinking found on the Code mode of the Splinter replica. Dividing the milliseconds by the amount of columns (for instance, 11350 ms / 23 columns ≈ 500 ms/col ) meant that each cell in the table roughly corresponded to half a second. If jumping half a second at a time on the video[3] and filling in the cells that correspond to a lit up shard, the result formed a word: CHOOSE.

Choose

Credit: Dzho

Underneath the table was the following text:

> ht

  tps:

  //b.n

  et/analyze

Bungie-net-analyze

The countdown page. Image courtesy: Myrzir

Combining the text, and deducing that "b.net" is bungie.net, made a website link: https://bungie.net/analyze.

The webpage contained an entry field for a code. To fill in the code, one must have been logged in to Bungie.net and have redeemed one of the CE postcard codes. Redeeming a code and then entering “CHOOSE” into the field showed users a countdown screen, ending on Thursday, November 5, 11 AM PDT.

Step 2[]

Fragment blarg

Example of one pixel gif

Once the countdown ended, users who entered the site with "CHOOSE" were shown a new page that included a gif animated image, with the URL "fragment_v2-UUID.gif." This gif (referred to as a “pixel gif” from here on) started on yellow to denote which frame the gif started on, then cycled through white and black frames. If opening this pixel gif in a text editor, plain text would appear that points to a SEQ-#### being a character, and five different positions in a 48 x 44 grid (Referred to as the “Gif Grid” from here on). The five positions in the grid were also noted to be empty at all locations, or white.

Arg data text

Some of the data that is encoded in the gifs. Image courtesy: Parisito:

Step 3[]

The community worked together and combined all of the pixel gifs they had and turned them into a series of frames of data, then treated each frame as a character in a substitution cypher. While they didn't know specifics, they did know how many and which pixels were black and which other frames in the data matched that frame. The community ended up with 470 unique “characters” or grid frames.[6]

Since Bungie gave each pixel gif the SEQ# = <character> data, users were able to fill in 30 of those 470 unique characters. From there, they were able to perform frequency analysis and used context clues to fill in almost all of the remaining characters.[6]

Combining all the pixel gifs from the community amassed over 1300 unique pixel gifs, each with a runtime of approximately 8 hours (7:52:26 to be exact). In all of the metadata from every gifs, there were only 30 given SEQ-##### = letter combinations.[6]

Presumed Intended Steps

Condensed from the Beyond Light ARG Explainer Google Doc[6].

  1. Collect pixel gifs from as many Collectors Edition owners as possible.
  2. Use the pixel gif meta-data to find the following:
    1. Which Pixels in the Gif Grid are white at all frames (572 spaces on the gif grid are always white and that there are 2112 pixels total)
    2. The frames at which the Gif Grid will display a specific character
  3. Take each black pixel at each frame and place it in the grid to form the character given at that frame. (ex. "x")
  4. Use all the black pixels at that frame to form another character (ex. "y"), without moving any of the pixels that are shared by the previous step.
  5. Move to another frame and repeat the process until all frames are completed.
  6. Stitch the frames together.

Step 4[]

Approximately an hour after the final solution was derived, Bungie started releasing a new version of the pixel gifs.[6] These new gif pixels turned out to be Clovis’ handwritten notes in the margins of the previously uncovered lore pages.

The UUID for each file was mapped to the positional data for locating the pixel gifs, and was reusable for overlapping portions of the gif grids. This gave the community a head-start on deciphering the new text.

Solution[]

By combining the ciphertext approach initially used to decode the bulk of the new lore book, and partially assembled gif grids, the community quickly began deciphering the new text and were able to combine them.[7][8]

With some crowd-sourced decoding work using the blurry images and the human ability to see patterns, the community were able to decode handwritten notes from Clovis Bray himself.[9]

References[]

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