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IG-64
04-08-2009, 09:54 AM
Allow me to turn your attention to this: http://whatsinthebox.nl/

It appears to be a viral marketing campaign. Watch the video, you might notice that it is quite spiffy. You might also notice that it is a lot like Half-Life. It even uses the same combine sounds, and one part looks like it might even have been rendered in the source engine.

But the really interesting stuff to me are the references to Half-Life being paired with references to Lost, such as the Numbers being listed next to the term "SYSTEM FAILURE."

Now, on the page with the video, there is a small link that takes you here: http://babel-research.eu/

First of all, scroll to the bottom of the page. There, you will see three logos: The Black Mesa logo from Half-Life, the Aperture Science logo from Portal, and the Hanso Foundation logo from Lost.

I also want to note that the video personally reminded me of the first trailer for Cloverfield, which was also taken from the perspective of a character (albeit through a handheld camera). The trailer was untitled, and no mention was made that it was a movie, leaving you to guess what it actually was. If I were to make a guess, I would say that they're doing the same thing here, only they're presenting it as a movie (see the poster text at the bottom) which it might not actually be (the poster text appears to be BS). Cloverfield was created by J.J. Abrams. So was Lost.

If J.J. Abrams is making a Half-Life movie, I will s**t bricks. I really hope that this is official, as anything related to Half-Life at this point will make me giddy. The fact that the video appears to be somewhat high budget gives me hope. Sure, it's not perfect, and it's not unheard of for something like that to be produced on a relatively low budget, but it's a good sign that a lot of effort seems to have been put into it (including a music score, apparently). Also, if this isn't official, then I expect lots of suing will probably happen.

For now we can only wait. The progress is being tracked independently by this guy:
http://wikibruce.com/2009/04/a-big-box-of-babel-research/

BongoBob
04-08-2009, 10:02 AM
Like you said, I really hope this is official.

I would rather it be related to HL2:E3, but the multiple Lost references have me thinking otherwise.

Either way, any information this may divulge will lead to this:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3147/2916157133_d8eaa548e9.jpg

leXX
04-08-2009, 11:34 AM
If J.J. Abrams is making a Half-Life movie, I will s**t bricks.

Oh dear lord. Just the thought of this has set my nether regions all a quiver.

jon_hill987
04-08-2009, 11:54 AM
That looks nothing like Half-Life. You might as well say it looks something to do with Microsoft because of the red ring on the box. It is someone's student project and they have used HL2 sounds as filler.

BongoBob
04-08-2009, 12:07 PM
I could understand if you're saying the video is someones student project. But the websites themselves?

Samuel Dravis
04-08-2009, 12:34 PM
Hate to say it but anyone with a little knowledge of flash and html could have made those pages.

I heard what sounded like John Williams chase music when the helicopter was shooting at the guy in the trailer-- anyone recognize that?

CommanderQ
04-08-2009, 02:07 PM
This looks extremely interesting....but I still don't know what it could be...it keeps leaning in multiple directs...Half-life...John Williams...Lost...it's going all over the place....I wonder what it is really? Wait....the tower with the clouds around it makes it look like Half-life...only too much so...but then everything else....??? BAH! I give up, I'll just have to wait...:D

Wait, now that I've watched it a second time, I'm pretty sure it's Half-Life.

EDIT: After checking out the Babel website, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with "Tower of Babel," it's a possibility...

IG-64
04-08-2009, 10:10 PM
Hate to say it but anyone with a little knowledge of flash and html could have made those pages.
That's usually what viral marketing pages look like though.

I also hate to say it, but you might be right. Any way this could go is just too good to be true. The video looks great, but probably not quality enough to be official. :(

Jeff
04-08-2009, 10:52 PM
I also hate to say it, but you might be right. Any way this could go is just too good to be true. The video looks great, but probably not quality enough to be official. :(This was my conclusion, they just did not look professional enough. Plus the ad on the video was a giveaway, as well as seeing the same name over and over in the credit bit on the webpage under the video.

Alkonium
04-08-2009, 11:01 PM
A crossover between Lost and Half-Life? That'd be interesting. If Babel Research is a collaboration between Black Mesa, Aperture Science, and The Hanso Foundation, then my guess is they were attempting to use dimensional manipulation as an alternative power source, with disastrous results. I also noticed that they made direct use of voiceovers from Half-Life 2, such as Civil Protection and the Overwatch, along with use of music from LOST and I'm guessing Star Wars. Should be interesting.

MrWally
04-08-2009, 11:13 PM
Here is what I have to contribute with my limited knowledge:

If that was a student project, it was a ridiculously expensive student project. Sure, some of the things look like they could have been half-assed, like the guns and some of the science equipment, etc. But think about this for a moment . . . you know how hard it would be to completely empty out a portion of a city that size of people and place all the cars there and trash it like they did? Unless he had an entire small town in on the effort, which I highly doubt.

Additionally, despite what they studios want you to think, Cloverfield wasn't shot with a kid's hand-held minicam, but one of these:

http://gizmodo.com/347463/the-real-camera-behind-cloverfield

At the time of filming that could have cost upwards to $45,000. The one used in this trailer looks like it could be even more expensive (it actually appears to be mounted on the man's head, I doubt that could be faked). I don't know many colleges that will shell out 45 grand for a camera, much less give it to a film student for his school project.

Additionally, if it isn't actually Halflife related, then as someone else said then they will be facing lawsuits up the wazoo.

As for the Williams-esqe music, you might be right, but it's also easily possible that the rights could have been bought. Furthermore, lots of music sounds like John Williams. He stole from just about every famous historical composer, after all.

The LOST references definitely make me want to believe IG's theory, and it definitely seems like something JJ Abrams would consider.

If that's the case, then I too will **** bricks.

jrrtoken
04-08-2009, 11:43 PM
Nice idea and all, but it's just a guy wanting to show off his sweet Flash skillz, which are commendable, indeed.

The closest thing to half-Life movie was a somewhat cheesy early 90's sci-fi film called The Arrival, with Charlie Sheen. Mr. Sheen played a scientist, and sported the same glasses and haircut as Gordon Freeman, and at one point, he goes into a research facility of sorts, complete with aliens, experimental technology, and a government conspiracy. At one point, Sheen's character wore a orange jumpsuit, and was pursued by a federal agent. :p

Case and point:

http://www.lucasforums.com/picture.php?albumid=254&pictureid=2532

4JRwahO8eIc

IG-64
04-09-2009, 12:22 AM
I just watched the video again and had an epiphany. It just struck me how it looks so high budget, yet still has somewhat of a low-budget feel. Then I wondered, what if it's not supposed to look professional? What if it's exactly what it says it is: a test video.

So here's my hypothesis: the video is actually an attempt to create a film where all of the visual effects are rendered in real time with a game engine.

Could possibly be Valve's next Source engine, or even their most recent updates to the current Source engine made for Episode 3. I came to this conclusion when I noticed that basically all of the visual effects in the video look somewhat out of place, but at the same time look strangely coherent. The view outside the window reminded me a lot of what the Source engine looks like, and the building explosions near the end also look something like Source's cinematic physics system.

This makes a lot of sense to me because it explains the quality of both the film, and the visual effects. The film of course is high budget because it's by Valve, but it's not perfect because it only needs to be good enough to get the point across (IIRC, they said they were experimenting with cinematography in the Left 4 Dead commentary). The visual effects don't look completely polished to Hollywood standards simply because they're being rendered by a real-time engine.

Of course I just pulled this all out of my a**, but it's something to consider. Popular opinion seems to be that this is a fan video, but AFAIK, we haven't yet had official word of what this actually is.

TiE23
04-10-2009, 03:14 AM
I ain't touching this one. Whatever they're advertising it's working. Film? Seven Hour War? Episode 3? Complete crazy ****? Who knows. Looking at the wiki page... the clues are so arbitrarily vague and artificial that I hate the idea that some marketing guys are laughing their heads off that everyone is freaking out and have no idea what they're doing.

Like ilovebees.com.... but in video. Cool... but I personally just don't feel like "falling" for this one. :V

Darth Avlectus
04-12-2009, 03:39 AM
Hmm. Well, since Gmod came out, I've seen all sorts of stuff. Great stuff, and that which really makes me scratch my head .........and other areas.

CommanderQ
04-12-2009, 04:54 AM
After watching the video a second time, I am now ABSOLUTLey confident that this is Half-Life.

1: Look at the news flash going across the main character's HUD, it says, "..Worst Incident since Black Mesa, thousands feared dead."

2: Look at the Babel website, it shows three company insignias, Black Mesa's, Aperture Laboratories, and the Honso Foundation {probably Babel}

3: Look at the introduction for the Babel Company, it says that a R. Altmann created Babel. Ring a bell? Dr. Robert Altmann, Half-Life Episode 2 I believe..

Anyway, that's some of the information that really convinced me of this....could this video be for....Episode 3? Just a Half-Life movie? A movie of the same universe? That remains to be seen....

Sabretooth
04-12-2009, 05:42 AM
I did a whois on EURid and found that the Babel Research site is registered to a certain "timaciousd@gmail.com". In the WITB video, you'll see "Timacious" at the very start, along with a timestamp.

Did a search for Timacious, and here's what I found:
http://actofrage.com/2009/03/timacious-next-dutch-hollywood-talent-famous-in-the-blink-of-an-eye/
http://www.youtube.com/user/Timacious

Looks like a fan video atm, probably an intricate, viral portfolio for an indie director. In any case, I don't really think its viral marketing for anything big, at least.

IG-64
04-12-2009, 09:10 AM
I did a whois on EURid and found that the Babel Research site is registered to a certain "timaciousd@gmail.com". In the WITB video, you'll see "Timacious" at the very start, along with a timestamp.

Did a search for Timacious, and here's what I found:
http://actofrage.com/2009/03/timacious-next-dutch-hollywood-talent-famous-in-the-blink-of-an-eye/
http://www.youtube.com/user/Timacious

Looks like a fan video atm, probably an intricate, viral portfolio for an indie director. In any case, I don't really think its viral marketing for anything big, at least.

This make Hulk ANGRY. :mad:

Admittedly, his video isn't bad, which makes it all the more confusing that he would be dumb enough to present it in a way that would disappoint every single fan of the things he's trying to pay homage to. If I made a fan video for something that was good enough to possibly be construed as official work, the last thing I would want to do is present it as official work.
Sure it made him somewhat famous, but he did that by using other people's concepts and images to exploit two fanbases (of which I am a part of) and create false hopes. That sounds like copyright infringement to me, but beyond that, it's definitely riding on the coattails.
I otherwise would have been fairly impressed in his directorial skills, but now I just think of him as somewhat of a douchebag.

Sabretooth
04-12-2009, 09:21 AM
Admittedly, his video isn't bad, which makes it all the more confusing that he would be dumb enough to present it in a way that would disappoint every single fan of the things he's trying to pay homage to. If I made a fan video for something that was good enough to possibly be construed as official work, the last thing I would want to do is present it as official work.
Sure it made him somewhat famous, but he did that by using other people's concepts and images to exploit two fanbases (of which I am a part of) and create false hopes. That sounds like copyright infringement to me, but beyond that, it's definitely riding on the coattails.
I otherwise would have been fairly impressed in his directorial skills, but now I just think of him as somewhat of a douchebag.

I wouldn't say its too bad for what looks like the work of one guy helped out by 3-4 other guys. Most of the graphics looked very professional (except for the dust and such), and I loved how it emulated the human eye instead of a handycam. You can actually see the guy looking around frantically and stuff, very realistic, like watching an FPS movie.

If he constructed that viral marketing campaign on his own too, well that's worth props as well. Sure, he trespassed a lot of stuff on the way, but you have to build up attention. Admit it IG, you got all excited about this because it hinted at J.J. Abrams and Half-Life 2. Had it not referenced either, you probably may not have given it more than a cursory glance.

I think the guy's talented, and most likely rich. But yeah, I guess he angered more than a few blokes on the way. :p

IG-64
04-12-2009, 09:54 AM
Sure, he trespassed a lot of stuff on the way, but you have to build up attention. Admit it IG, you got all excited about this because it hinted at J.J. Abrams and Half-Life 2. Had it not referenced either, you probably may not have given it more than a cursory glance.
That was exactly my point. I just don't think that that's an acceptable way to build attention.

Yeah, his video is impressive. I work with computer graphics, and I can see how difficult it was to do and how well done it was. The cinematography and the viral campaigns were very impressive. All that is good and fine, but it doesn't matter, because in the end that's probably not why this got so famous. He could have just presented his own work by itself, viral campaign and all. If it didn't get as famous, then tough. Even if he had just said up front that he was doing it unofficially as a fan, I still would have been okay with that. It's the fact that he exploited the popularity of other things to further his own gain that pisses me off.

Sure, I'm probably pretty biased, since they were things that I am very fond of. But let's say, for example, he had done this with Firefly. I've never seen Firefly, but if he had exploited that fanbase, and gained fame because of that instead of solely on his work, then yeah, I still would have thought that was a dick move.

TiE23
04-12-2009, 03:08 PM
I did a whois on EURid and found that the Babel Research site is registered to a certain "timaciousd@gmail.com". In the WITB video, you'll see "Timacious" at the very start, along with a timestamp.

Did a search for Timacious, and here's what I found:
http://actofrage.com/2009/03/timacious-next-dutch-hollywood-talent-famous-in-the-blink-of-an-eye/
http://www.youtube.com/user/Timacious

Looks like a fan video atm, probably an intricate, viral portfolio for an indie director. In any case, I don't really think its viral marketing for anything big, at least.

Wow... that guy made the video that won the Mythbusters "we do your myth" thing in that one episode about the inseparable interlaced phone books.

Darth Avlectus
04-15-2009, 02:34 AM
That was exactly my point. I just don't think that that's an acceptable way to build attention. Yeah. I've had similar pet peeves with how things I have liked in past have _TOTALLY_ been botched due to marketing and ads. When the ways marketeers as well as independent folks get attention crosses over into, shall we call it "FOUL" territory...makes you want to smash your head against the wall for such rape of enthusiasm. From the way you talk, this does not sound like the first time you have been duped either.

Here here.

Yeah, his video is impressive.<snip> All that is good and fine, but it doesn't matter, because in the end that's probably not why this got so famous. He could have just presented his own work by itself, viral campaign and all. If it didn't get as famous, then tough. Even if he had just said up front that he was doing it unofficially as a fan, I still would have been okay with that. It's the fact that he exploited the popularity of other things to further his own gain that pisses me off.

It does make one wonder just where their heart is: The fame, or the game? I find these things to be rather insulting. For example,

Acceptable failure: There was megaman fan video. However, it only had a (very well done) preview. However the flick ran out of $$$ before it even got very far. It didn't even need to include all the villains. It really looked like they had a good thing going. Honest failure.

Unacceptable: If they would have continued to play it up, gather the fans and their anticipation (perhaps raised funds) make a ghetto ass vid under the supposed direciton of a professional who has no appreciation for what the fans want, and created it in a way they liked as a vain attempt at their so-called artistic endeavor.

Point being: Even if the video itself was good, there is nothing more that pisses me off than ridiculous ploys for hype and attention.

Sure, I'm probably pretty biased, since they were things that I am very fond of. But let's say, for example, he had done this with Firefly. I've never seen Firefly, but if he had exploited that fanbase, and gained fame because of that instead of solely on his work, then yeah, I still would have thought that was a dick move.

While I am not up on specifics of half life, the general gist of what you're sayin' I can completely go for. There is nothing wrong with fondness and wanting trueness-to-form.

It makes me feel like finding these A-holes in person who exploit me and fellow fans of, whatever thing it may be, and go bookie status on him. No, I completely agree with you, IG-64.

Tommycat
04-15-2009, 01:32 PM
Some sections look poorly done, but others look pretty professional. The shakey head cam and the viewscreens is not easy to do. Generally when they show CGI in shots like that they use a still camera so the images are easier to get aligned. Watch most TV shows. When they have a flat panel showing high tech graphics, the camera is locked in place. Even if it isn't for a Half-Life movie, it's still pretty impressive. Very well done. Some of the elements added are very nicely embedded. If it is just a student project, it's a lot better than most student projects I've seen.

Darth Avlectus
04-16-2009, 12:57 AM
Attention whoring still sux, tho. Even if it is well made. Exploiting fanbases= nono.

BongoBob
04-16-2009, 01:13 AM
Pot, kettle, black, etc...

jebbers
04-16-2009, 03:41 PM
If you click different parts of the red ring, different things happen.

The top goes to the video, left shows you a news feed, the right shows newspaper clippings and the bottom has a password box.

In the top left newspaper clipping there is a picture of a man that looks to me like Dr. Breen

Tommycat
04-17-2009, 01:56 AM
Attention whoring still sux, tho. Even if it is well made. Exploiting fanbases= nono.

You say on a site that is not the official lucasarts forum...

True_Avery
04-17-2009, 02:50 AM
Am I seriously the ONLY person who knows what this is? Seriously?

Ok, for starters this is not Half-life viral marketing. The sounds are used as a reference and as a clue, as well as other things that are hidden both within the site and the video.

So, seems I will have to introduce you to the world of ARG, or Alternate Reality Games:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_reality_game

On the internet, these are puzzles that are put together through videos, websites, etc that have users try and figure them out. Whatsinthebox is a popular new puzzle that has gotten more attention than the niche crowd it was aimed at, and the use of Half-life sounds seem to have confused a great many people.

Welcome to WikiBruce:
http://wikibruce.com/tag/whatsinthebox/

They have had babel updates on whats been happening, and if you follow the link...

http://forums.unfiction.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=27633&start=435

This is a forum thread dedicated to this particular ARG.

What does this consist of? If you go on the site, you can trace your mouse around and click certain parts of the site to unlock stuff. If you actually look in the code, you can find clues as well. These all link into the video as well, and some clues lead to dead ends while others start up a train of theories.

Think of it as organized conspiracy theories, but now as a game.

So no, this is not and has never been Half-life or Lost viral marketing. It is a game aimed towards a niche, and this has been one of the more elaborate ones done.

Sorry for raining on your parade everyone.

IG-64
04-17-2009, 03:08 AM
I'm well aware of what an ARG is. The thing is, more often than not, ARGs are used officially as a viral marketing tool (a la I Love Bees), something Valve has done before with Portal, and J.J. Abrams has done with Lost. Hence, when you start to incorporate Half-Life references and logos to a video that's highly styled to be like the half-life universe, you can see how there might be speculation. The ARG for Lost is much more elaborate than this one, and also involves the Hanso foundation, which was one of the logos on the site.

I'd like to mention that these logos are official art, so I was thinking that it might be more likely to be officially endorsed by Valve and/or J.J. Abrams than what it turned out to be: an upcoming director using an ARG and existing fan bases to get noticed.

True_Avery
04-17-2009, 03:13 AM
I'm well aware of what an ARG is. The thing is, more often than not, ARGs are used officially as a viral marketing tool (a la I Love Bees), something Valve has done before with Portal, and J.J. Abrams has done with Lost. Hence, when you start to incorporate Half-Life references and logos to a video that's highly styled to be like the half-life universe, you can see how there might be speculation. The ARG for Lost is much more elaborate than this one, and also involves the Hanso foundation, which was one of the logos on the site.

I'd like to mention that these logos are official art, so I was thinking that it might be more likely to be officially endorsed by Valve and/or J.J. Abrams than what it turned out to be: an upcoming director using an ARG and existing fan bases to get noticed.
Yes, but with the multiple references being made who would it be endorsing?

It seems more feasible that its just a ARG borrowing from other groups, which is questionable in of itself.

IG-64
04-17-2009, 03:25 AM
Yes, but with the multiple references being made who would it be endorsing?

It seems more feasible that its just a ARG borrowing from other groups, which is questionable in of itself.
Well, that's apparently what it turned out to be, with this Timaceous guy as the creator.

The only thing that really made sense before I knew it was unofficial was that it might be a Half-Life film created by J.J. Abrams, and he was releasing it as viral marketing with a lower-budget launch trailer, much like he did with Cloverfield. I also thought it might have been something by Valve, only referencing Lost, which they've done before, to confuse people.

I was pretty excited by these possibilities, so I'm disappointed that it turned out to be unofficial (and, I might venture so far as say, a ripoff).

Kain
04-17-2009, 01:38 PM
All I got was a stupid red ring and the words 'uh, uh, uh, you didn't say the magic word'.

Games sucked anyways (IMO)

jrrtoken
04-17-2009, 04:48 PM
Games sucked anyways (IMO)Thanks for your super excellent comment. It truly inspired everyone. :)

IG-64
04-17-2009, 05:48 PM
I think Half-Life 1 sucked.... but I didn't know it was possible to play through Half-Life 2 and think it sucked...

True_Avery
04-17-2009, 08:03 PM
I think Half-Life 1 sucked...
The game... yeah, I'll give you that.

The mods that grew out of that game and the community however... f'in awesome.

But I didn't know it was possible to play through Half-Life 2 and think it sucked...
Especially episode 1 and 2.

acdcfanbill
04-17-2009, 10:57 PM
Half Life 1 was the opposite of suck.

True_Avery
04-18-2009, 12:50 AM
Half Life 1 was the opposite of suck.
Key term: was.

At the time, it was the best damn thing ever. Looking back and playing back, it wasn't that fantastic but the mods that spawned from it are still holding up to time and that is impressive.

Kain
04-18-2009, 02:00 AM
but I didn't know it was possible to play through Half-Life 2 and think it sucked...

Quite simple actually. No scientist is so badass that he can take on that many aliens using guns like he's a f'in marine.

Which is also why HL1 sucked; some post-grad scientist in theory taking on black ops marines? Riiiiight, and then reality struck and the scientists bit the dust like the rest of his brainiac collegues.

acdcfanbill
04-18-2009, 02:20 AM
Key term: was.

At the time, it was the best damn thing ever. Looking back and playing back, it wasn't that fantastic but the mods that spawned from it are still holding up to time and that is impressive.

Well, I used 'was' because IG-64 used what appeared to me as the past tense verb 'sucked'. I probably should have said 'HL1 is the opposite of suck'.

I don't understand how something could be considered good, creme of the crop by many, and a few years later it's suddenly no good. Citizen Kane didn't suddenly lose the qualities that make it great simply because movies moved to using color and cinemascope. Dawn of the Dead isn't reduced in it's social commentary simply because the remake has pretty modern effects.

If something is good at one time, it should get better with age, or at least stay decent.

RoxStar
04-18-2009, 02:20 AM
Key term: was.

At the time, it was the best damn thing ever. Looking back and playing back, it wasn't that fantastic but the mods that spawned from it are still holding up to time and that is impressive.

Because of my history with the game, I still greatly enjoy playing Half-Life but I agree with you that in modern standards it's basically a convoluted maze.

Mods + Steam = Forbidden Roxy LOVE <3

True_Avery
04-18-2009, 05:19 AM
Quite simple actually. No scientist is so badass that he can take on that many aliens using guns like he's a f'in marine.

Which is also why HL1 sucked; some post-grad scientist in theory taking on black ops marines? Riiiiight, and then reality struck and the scientists bit the dust like the rest of his brainiac collegues.
Since when has logic applied to -any- game?

Call of Duty 4? Sure, you are a trained solider... but you could also heal from any wound. Not very realistic, as I don't think black ops training includes wolverine light healing ability.

This applies to any and all shooters.

Tommycat
04-18-2009, 05:31 AM
Gordon Freeman got his degree on the GI Bill after he got out of the Navy Seals. :carms: There. Now it makes sense. Well a whole lot more sense than other shooters. At least Gordon has a suit on that "heals" him.

leXX
04-18-2009, 10:38 AM
Half-Life kicks ass, fullstop. :carms:

Sabretooth
04-18-2009, 11:34 AM
Sorry for raining on your parade everyone.
No fair, I rained on everyone's parade first. >:|

Darth Avlectus
04-18-2009, 06:32 PM
I just bought me a copy of orange box. Booyah! Soon enough, Gmod, here I come.

Kain
04-19-2009, 02:07 PM
Bah! Its not like it matters how badass or not-badass Freeman was. The fact of the matter is that if this for a movie, then its going to end up the exact same way every video game movie ends: horribly.