Author Topic: The curious case of Turok 1's source code and how the community's help is needed  (Read 3442 times)

Offline dosboot

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Found, Sold, and... Encrypted?!

~

Here's the story:

A year ago there was this vice article with this headline

'Turok' Source Code Will Be Sold on eBay Soon, Thanks to Lucky Warehouse Find
An old SGI Indy computer that once belonged to Acclaim contains a "treasure trove" of vintage game assets.

The buyer, Aaron, of this old SGI computer is a lawyer and so wasn't keen on publishing the source code for Turok fans and gaming historians to dig through.  Quoting the article

Quote
he's well aware that dumping the source code online could get him into legal trouble... However, that doesn't mean the source code won't end up online. Aaron isn't going to dump the source code online, but he is going to sell the SGI Indy computer on eBay.

What the buyer does with it at that point is up to them, but Aaron told me over email that "as an attorney I'd advise whoever buys the systems to exercise good judgment and act within the confines of the law."

Ok, that was January 15th, 2017.  I'm not sure when exactly the ebay listing was sold, but it was probably not long after that article.


Now, just over 6 weeks ago (Jan 23rd 2018) we have some activity brewing on the r/Turok subbreddit caused by Code_Ouroboros, namely these two threads:
https://www.reddit.com/r/turok/comments/7skhc6/turok_1_n64_code_found_but_i_need_the_communitys/
https://www.reddit.com/r/turok/comments/7so9ks/turok_1_decryption_update/

Quoting Code_Ouroboros
Quote
I found an encrypted archive with the Turok source code from a random pomf.space host.

I know this is the archive. It's encrypted on multiple levels. I managed to crack the first level, the password was 'turok'.

This revealed an aiff file for one of the enemies and a scrap of code called humvee.c.

So he's pretty sure he's found the original source code, but whoever put it on this drive (possibly Aaron, or possibly someone who bought the ebay listing) had a bit of a "Riddler" streak and decided to play a game by encrypting the drive multiple times.  Each layer of encryption can be decrypted with the right passphrase, and whoever this guy was left fun passphrase riddles for fans to solve.  The community solved the first two layers very quickly and believe the third layer is the last one (as the archive in this 3rd layer is named 'turokfinal').

Here is a summary of how it works and what has happened so for:

Included in the drive, there is a readme file with some "narrative text" describing a fictional adventure game-type scenario, followed by the "passphrase riddle" in all caps, and finally this hint:  "HINT: All passphrases are lowercase alphanumerics without spaces, punctuation, or symbols."

Narrative + Riddle 1: (SOLVED)

Quote
On a grey autumn afternoon you find yourself meandering through a desolate wood. As you crest a hill through dense underbrush, you trip over a sharp stone and fall to your knees. You turn to look at it.

Its ragged, white surface is unlike that of any rock you've seen. You brush away the dirt and moss around it, revealing a tapered protrusion with a base somewhere deep below ground.

You wrap both hands around it and pull, but it refuses to budge. Then, you notice an inscription scratched into the surface. The weathered scrawl reads:

OPEN ME AT YOUR OWN PERIL INSIDE LIE ONLY ILLS AND EVIL

password was 'pandorasbox'

Narrative + Riddle 2: (SOLVED)

Quote
Curiosity wins out against your better judgment, and you set both heels
against the earth and heave. With a crunch, the stone breaks free and slides
out of the ground, sending you stumbling backwards.
 
You now realize that what you thought was a stone is really a curved section
of bone thicker than your arm and more than a yard in length. It appears to
be the rib of some massive animal, perhaps a whale or an elephant.
 
As you ply at the ground with your shoe, the loose dirt readily gives way. You
begin to scrape at it with the bone, slowly at first, and then faster with growing
anticipation. Could more secrets be buried beneath?
 
The sun begins to set. As the light fades and the cool evening air lashes at your
skin, you strike something hard, the jolt reverberating through your body.
Scraping aside more dirt and pebbles, you see a rusted steel box, its latch and
hinges eaten away by the elements. You remove the lid and find a moldy leather
bound journal inside. Written in faded ink on the first page, barely visible in the
glimmer of moonlight, are the words:
 
SOME GIFTS ARE CHAOS IN DISGUISE
THEY HARBOR AGENTS OF DEMISE

password was 'trojanhorse'

Narrative + Riddle 3: (UNSOLVED!)

Quote
You return to the spot at daybreak with a shovel and a pickaxe. Hacking away
steadily at the soil, you find fragments of bone, jagged incisors bigger than
your hand, and signs that a human encampment once stood on the hillcrest:
oil lamps, spools of rotted twine, and tattered rags that had once been clothing.
 
Your pickaxe hits something solid below ground with a deep thud. Sweating
and panting, you shovel away pound after pound of dirt until the object is
revealed: a broad stone slab, like the lid of a sarcophagus. Carved into it are
ornate depictions of monsters with frightful faces and toothy snarls.
 
Placing your ear against the slab, you hear what sounds like faint whispers
echoing underneath. They're chanting a phrase:
 
THE ANSWER'S WRITTEN ON THE WALL
BENEATH THIS CENTRAL TRANSIT HALL

~~~

If you read the two linked reddit threads, you can get a sense of some the ideas people have in approaching these riddles.  And if you're really into solving this puzzle perhaps it would be best to brainstorm up some of your own ideas before being influenced by the trails people were going down. 

By the time the third layer was reached, a reddit user Jelly_Cube_Zombie suggested using a brute force method to crack the password, and Code_Ouroboros sent him the data to let him try that method.

3 weeks ago I inquired in the thread if there were any updates, and received a reply that no progress has been made trying to guess the password.  Jelly_Cube_Zombie also replied

Quote
Brute forcing isn't really working out, the password is more than 10 characters alphanumeric. I'm at 11 characters with no symbols only lowercase letters and numbers.

That takes us to the present, and it seems we're stuck on this last riddle.


« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 06:48:23 PM by dosboot »

Offline Duke64

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Turns out I'm horrible with riddles lol. Though I thought about this all last night and couldn't sleep. That last riddle is extremely confusing. I'm guessing people have already tried talking to Silicon Classics about the encryption? We followed the ebay bid and this caused a bit of drama here yes it was sold shortly after those announcements, and whenever I think about it..it reminds me that I lost the bid xD

This last riddle really makes me think of the game Blood lol (Perhaps its to much in my mind xD) The only words I could think of that are about 11 letters were:

polyandrium

restinpeace

crematorium

gravedigger

pennstation

Idk why but this makes me think about Dracula besides the sarcophagus part...

"a broad stone slab, like the lid of a sarcophagus. Carved into it are

ornate depictions of monsters with frightful faces and toothy snarls."

But yeah I'm horrible with riddles LMAO

« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 01:55:12 PM by Duke64 »
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Offline Rok

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Better answers than I would get. Only thing I got was i'm confused lol. Good luck to them. How come the post doesn't mention where he found it?
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 01:53:35 PM by Rok »
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Offline dosboot

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Better answers than I would get. Only thing I got was i'm confused lol. Good luck to them. How come the post doesn't mention where he found it?

Code_Ouroboros says he found it on "a random pomf.space host."  I had to look that up, but pomf.space is apparently one of those very simple websites for uploading and sharing files (you upload any file you want for free and it gives you a special link to send to anyone you want to share it with).  I wonder what circumstances lead him to find this particular archive though, because it does seem incredibly lucky to just stumble upon an archive like that.  As in, any upload to pomf.space appears to be completely 'unlisted' and unsearchable.  You'd have to have the special link to get the file. 

If I had to make an educated guess, the mysterious person who created all these puzzles and uploaded the encrypted source code wanted the archive to be found, downloaded and solved.  Code_Ouroboros must have been reading some message board thread or been hanging out in some chat channel when this mysterious person started dropping vague hints and links.  That's just what I imagine could have happened, I don't really know.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 12:07:47 AM by dosboot »

Offline Dinomite

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Goddamnit... Where is Batman when you need him?

THE ANSWER'S WRITTEN ON THE WALL
BENEATH THIS CENTRAL TRANSIT HALL

I believe that his is NOT a riddle but a pointer to the actual location of the password.

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Offline dosboot

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Yeah, that was my thought process as well.  We need to find the place that this "hall" refers to.  One clue is that it could be a place in a video game where a slab like this is found (either a sarcophagus, or some kind of background design/mural of monsters).  Another clue is that the "hall" is a central transit hall, whatever that means.

Could any of the hub areas in the Turok games possibly be this "central transit hall"?   What would be written on the wall though?   In Turok 1, you could sort of say that the save point location is "on the wall" of the hub ruins, and thus the clue might be about the save dialogue text that pops up when you interact with it.  That's obviously not a good guess, but perhaps another Turok game has a hub with wall text somewhere?

Offline Dinomite

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A transit hall can refer to a Train Station.

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Offline Duke64

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A transit hall can refer to a Train Station.

This is why one of my guesses is Pennstation a transit station in NYC. It might be something actually written on the walls there LOL I even thought maybe its an iconic graffiti that exist's there.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 03:19:58 PM by Duke64 »
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"You are tiny grasshopper"
"Suck it down"
"Boo, No soup for you"
"Arrrgghhhh"
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Offline Rok

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[removed link]

Idk if its related.... lol
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 02:32:09 PM by Jay Doomed »
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