Gamers use SpectrumView to uncover Fortnite and Minecraft’s secrets
Content creators of all kinds, such as the musician Aphex Twin, have long used hidden secret patterns and text in the audio that can be observed in their spectrograms. More recently, video game developers have hidden Easter eggs in the spectrograms of their game soundtracks for their more inquisitive players to find. For example, among Minecraft’s sound effects, the face of a Creeper, one of the game’s enemies, can be seen in the spectrogram of the audio heard in a cave, as SpectrumView user “Musix200” discovered. See if you can spot it too!
Taking this idea a step further, alternate reality games (ARGs) are a modern spin on the traditional scavenger hunt in which participants scour websites, social media, and videos looking for clues. These games have taken social media sites like YouTube and Reddit by storm over the last few years. Organisers, often video game developers, will bury information in all sorts of places, like images, website code, and audio. Whole communities have been formed in order to find out secret stories and previews for their favourite video game, or just to have some cooperative fun while solving a digital mystery.
Epic Games created ARG content in the run-up to the Season 5 release of their famous multiplayer online game, Fortnite Battle Royale. They staged a rocket launch within the video game itself, during which some of the audio played was slightly odd. Gamers quickly realised that there was probably more to the audio clip than what could be just heard. Looking for patterns within the audio led them to visualising the frequencies in the audio in a spectrogram. One such example of using SpectrumView to analyse the audio clip by player “Rockin Thomas86” is shown in the video below.
On the spectrogram, you can see pixelated skulls at the start and end of the audio, and, in the middle, a list of letters and numbers. According to the Game Detectives Wiki, the skull shapes were shown on television screens within the game before the rocket launch, while the letters and numbers could be decoded as ASCII values to produce in-game coordinates. Some time after the rocket launch, dimensional rifts opened up at these coordinates, causing locations to appear and disappear on the game map. Players were primed to check the locations, having teased out the message hidden in the rocket launch audio.
Spectrum analysers like our iOS app SpectrumView can open up a whole new dimension of information in audio, and we are excited to see what more our users can find hidden away in the audio of all sorts of ARG content.