The Hidden Messages of Lilipa

excuse-me-have-you-heard-of-the-word-of-our-lord-and-saviorAre you aware that Lilipa’s tunnels contain secret messages? Do you care? If you don’t, tough luck because I’m going to be talking about them anyway. partitio

There’s actually not a lot of text in the area. This is the most common example, seen on wall panels throughout the stage. There also used to be text on some large holographic screens but either they’ve removed them for whatever reason or I’ve just been exceedingly unlucky in finding them. The text in the above example reads “PARTITI”. Yes, its a chunk of a word, the full one being “partition”. How do we know this? Well let’s have a look at a certain texture from the game…

lilipan_letters

With the combined efforts of myself and Agrajag of Psumods we determined that this is in fact not a bunch of chicken scratchings. It is actually encoded letters from the roman alphabet. Now rather than expect you to just take our word for it, allow me to demonstrate how we came to this conclusion..

updown

Without these, decoding it might have been impossible. The initial idea was that the symbols here spell the words “UP” and “DOWN”. The actual in-game arrows you see are devoid of text however and as best I know these aren’t used anywhere in the game. So with six letters as a starting point, it’s simply time to go matching them to the words in the rest of the image. From there, you can guess words, check the newly added letters in the code against the rest of the image and make sure words built from that make sense. Finally, we ended up with the following result:

otheroneFrom that, we can build an actual alphabet:

lillipa_fontAs you can see, it’s not a complete alphabet, as we’ve not seen any instances of those letters.

the_removed_screen_panelThis is the actual texture for the holographic screens from the Tunnels which have sadly been removed at some point. I don’t seem to have any old screen-shots showing them either, which is annoying. In any case, the text here turned out to be Japanese written in Romaji.

saishu shita shigen ha
bosei ni tensou shimasu

kichou na monomo
ooitame
shinchou ni
sagyou surukoto

Thanks to EspioKaos, the text turned out to read:

Transport collected materials to mother (base). There are many precious items (here). Be careful while working.

The smaller blocks of text there are just copy+pasted segments of the above text strewn about. The text in the yellow banner spells out “INFORMATI”, don’t think it takes a terribly large amount of deductive skill to determine the full word is “information”.

See this work was done some time ago and we assumed we’d seen all the in-game examples. Well, turned out we’d missed one written above the exposed core on Big Varder.

vardarchest

Using our charts, we can ascertain the text reads “?O INDUSTRY”. Yup, we have never encountered that first symbol before, so we have no idea what it could be. There is in fact another unidentified symbol at the end of the holographic screen too, but trying any of the remaining letters in either case doesn’t really clear anything up. The remaining missing letters are J, Q, X and Z.

While kind of nifty, aside from the mention of “mother” there’s not a lot of information that’s actually hidden in this encoded text. Not that you couldn’t already tell just from looking at the area anyway, as in the tunnels area and Lilipa in general being an abandoned industrial facility. The text doesn’t clear up who it belonged to, either, unless of course the name of the company on Big Varder’s chest is actually mentioned elsewhere in the story that I’m not aware of.

If you know what the remaining unknown symbols may be, feel free to share!

Pre-Open Beta Test Report

Overall the test went fine. There was almost no lag at all (aside from 1 random lagspike) and not once did I get disconnected. A big improvement over the start of the CBT in this respect, mind the end of the CBT was just as stable. It did feel like the login servers were struggling somewhat, I’ve seen people reporting error 60X variants and I’ve seen error 242 a few times. This was only at the very beginning, however.

Sega even tweeted to report on the test itself. There were roughly 30,000 simultaneous connections, which is a fair amount higher than the max number of players during the CBT. There were no major connection issues detected, so all seems to have gone well. Perhaps the OBT will start at the leaked date of the 21st after all! But of course that was never actually confirmed.

Planet Lilipa

As part of this test, a special mission, set in the Lilipa Desert, was available from lv1. You needed to complete it in order to get the Bouquet Rifle.

As a desert area it’s got various things that you’d expect to see. Cactuses and sand, largely. The cactuses can’t actually hurt you, but there are pointy things in the desert that can! Straight out of a Sonic game, there are spikes that will periodically burst up through the ground. There are no other environmental hazards that I encountered.

Spikes, conveniantly in both states!

A new interactive mechanic was introduced in the form of what I can only describe as hacker terminals. You will need to hold down whichever button you use to interact with objects (the b button on my joypad in my case) to hack away to unlock gates. The hacking time is sped up considerably if other players also use the terminal. This same mechanic is used on the quest’s objective, a new variant of the Code: Collect event where you will need to sync your hacking time with a drill. If the drill bit is spinning, hack away. If it isn’t, back away.

HAX

Monsters will try to interrupt you while you’re doing so, speaking of which..

The planet is largely infested with Darkers, but we’ve encountered most of them before. The one new Darker was the Gwanada.. It spends a lot of time buried in the sand, trying to bite people with its large pincers. It’ll occasionally try to draw players towards it, grabbing any players that it successfully pulls far enough.There may be a way for other players to cancel the grab before it does damage.

It spawns a number of tentacles near itself and destroying them seems to cause the Gwanada.to keel over, exposing its squishy belly. It’s safe to just attack in this phase, so hit it as hard as you can!

The robots of Lilipa are a new batch of enemies. Most of their attacks are ranged and can be surprisingly dangerous, especially if you are undergeared. That’s not even mentioning the Gilnas, an enemy that is largely like a Dubchic from PSO. It has a number of attacks, many of them dealing a considerable amount of damage, especially its laser beam which can be lethal. Downing it is not the end of the fight, as it will split into 3 pieces upon death: torso, legs and core. As you can guess, the core is what you want to destroy to properly kill the Gilnas, but this is easier said than done as it will be zipping about at times. Meanwhile the torso will attempt to hug you while the legs kick away.

Overall, not a bad zone. Certainly not a pretty one, that’s for sure.

It’s a hole! No, you can’t jump into it.

Finishing off this post with things I noticed in my playtime.

Bugs

  • Noticed that there were a number of broken Gilnas core Code:Attack events, where no Gilnas would actually spawn
  • Related to the above, a broken Gilnas spawn could cause enemies to infinitely spawn
  • Parts of the Lilipa Desert map appeared to be broken

Changes

  • The Urban emergency quest area has been changed
    • The monsters in Area 1 are now lv11
    • The monsters in Area 2 are now lv15
    • Dark Ragne is now lv15
    • The timer has been lowered to 20min
  • NPCs appear to have icons above their heads now. Perhaps to prevent confusion as to whether it’s the actual player or not with Friend-Partners.
  • Visiting mission areas for the first time will play a short cutscene.