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ApertureScience.com is a viral tie-in website launched in 2006 to promote Portal. It was updated in December 2010, removing the site's command prompt feature (although it can still be seen by web viewers). ApertureScience.com likely exists within the Half-Life universe as Aperture Science's official website and would, therefore, be considered canonical. Some parts, however, such as the "Holiday Vault" currently featured on the homepage are not canonical.
Sometime in December 2010, the website was updated. The command prompt was removed, and an updated version of the looped video added. The video features updated Weighted Storage Cubes, and the number 07 in the right corner was changed to 10, presumably for the date of the holiday, 2007 and 2010 respectively. Several other changes include:
- The Garden Gnome no longer sits on the chimney. Where before the gnome would jump down and stand in front of the camera, now P-body does.
- Two socks hang on the chimney, with a blue and orange portal on them, rather than the original three, which featured the three main franchises in The Orange Box.
- The colors of the presents under the tree have changed.
- Adorning the tree are Weighted Pivot Cube ornaments, where before they were characters from Team Fortress 2. On the video featuring P-body, one of the ornaments can be seen as a Companion Cube pin, an item available in Team Fortress 2.
- The candle on the Cake has been removed.
Overall, the video is much the same, featuring only a few small changes which theme it more towards Portal 2 than the entire Orange Box.
On the fourth loop of the video, it changes to a similar version, with the only noticeable change being that P-body appears when the camera pans to the left. She appears to be swaying, possibly dancing, and as the camera pans back to the right, she stays in position.
On April 1, 2011, a potato was added below the tree to promote The Potato Sack.
Also, found by a google index, http://www.aperturescience.com/a/b/c/d/g/h/abcdgh/ showed a countdown to the release of Portal 2, and now just shows a series of messages from GLaDOS:
"09:00 – Hello again.
09:00 – I’ve been waiting a long time for this.
09:00 – I know it’s arriving later than expected.
09:00 – But I have a message for you:
09:00 – April Fools.
09:01 – I’m joking.
09:01 – Seriously, though:
09:01 – You’ve been surprisingly competent at
09:01 – generating electro-chemical energy to jumpstart the system.
09:01 – But now we need raw computational power
09:02 – to speed up the reboot process."
Simply a DOS-like prompt with a blinking green square on the upper-left side (a single Flash file, named "ApertureScience17.swf", it mimics an Aperture Science employee interface that appears to be operated by GLaDOS.
The website reveals information about Portal and Aperture Science through the Enrichment Center Test Subject Application and a short timeline of the history of the corporation.
A previous version of the website featured a looped video put on the website for Christmas 2007, with the song "Still Alive" sung by a Christmas choir in the background and named "07 - Holiday Vault" ("07" referring to the year 2007). It is a security camera-like view, panning from right to left, showing a room with a fireplace with several elements from The Orange Box spread around: the Weighted Companion Cube, an Aperture Science Sentry Turret, a Christmas tree with presents at its feet and decorated with miniature Team Fortress 2 characters, the cake, Supply Crates, the Garden Gnome, Gordon's Crowbar inside the fireplace, and an Enrichment Center-like logo of Santa Claus falling from a chimney on the mantelpiece, and three socks hanged to the mantelpiece, each bearing a logo of each Orange Box game series. At the end of the loop, "Happy <holiday name here>" is displayed. Another version of the video, appearing randomly, shows the Garden Gnome right in front of the camera instead of the mantelpiece.
The GLaDOS version has changed since the creation of the website. It was originally "v1.07" after logging in with any username, then upgraded to "v1.09". Logging in with the username "CJOHNSON" also originally showed "v1.07", later upgraded with "v1.07a".
The March 1st, 2010 update made to Portal revealed ASCII art featuring an even more recent version, "v3.11", dated 1997.
HELPwill display a help text message that does not give out possible commands to use, but rather humorously presumes the user actually needs help with an accident in the Enrichment Center and as such mobilized a "Crisis Team" to respond to the emergency and assist whoever has typed help.
- In the rectangle prompt, a visitor can type
USERto login. Upon doing so a classic text login prompt will show up (see below for another login option).
- Any username with more than two characters will work. A password is then asked for. It can be either
- Any username with more than two characters will work. A password is then asked for. It can be either
- Then, "GLaDOS v1.09 (c) 1982 Aperture Science, Inc." appears (it was originally "v1.07").
- Several commands can then be entered:
THECAKEISALIE: Displays a message left by what is most likely either a Test Subject or a former employee who seems to have hacked the system, possibly Doug Rattmann, with the view of Test Chamber 00's Relaxation Vault through a security camera browsing from right to left (with placeholder Half-Life 2 models). In the message, the hacker expresses their concern about their freedom, among other things. The next page displays a VisiCalc list. The message is the following:
When was the last time you left the building?
Has anybody left the building lately?
I don't know why we're in lockdown. I don't know who's in charge.
I did find out a few things, like these terminals don't have to
tap out characters one at a time. And while we're all working
on twenty year old equipment, somehow they can afford to build
an 'Enrichment Center'. Check out this security feed.
Whatever the hell a 'relaxation vault' is, it
doesn't have any doors.
I don't think going home is part of our job description anymore.
If a supervisor walks by, press return!
CAT: These commands list the files featured in the database, "APPLY.EXE" (launching the Enrichment Center Test Subject Application Process) and "NOTES.EXE" (launching the Aperture Science history).
IP: Reveals the UID code of the website's visitor (see below).
LIB: Lists several commands that can be entered. They are as follows:
RENAME: Using any of these gives an error about the disk being write protected.
VALVE: A sound is played saying "Goodbye" and sends the visitor to their browser homepage, or SteamPowered.com if they do not have one.
INTERROGATE: Gives an error if no parameter is provided, otherwise gives the error "illegal attempt to initiate disciplinary action".
TAPEDISK: Gives an error about the user not being authorized to transfer system tapes.
PLAY: Returns "ERROR 3 [What would you like to play?]" if no parameter is given. Typing "PLAY PORTAL" attempts to open a YouTube video that has been removed by the user. The video was a clip from David Copperfield's "Tornado Of Fire" special.
APPLY: Begins the registration process, before starting the real test.
- Any other command gives an error about the file not being found.
Starting the "Enrichment Center Test Subject Application Process" (APPLY.EXE)
This is only Part 1 of the Enrichment Center Test Subject Application Process, "FORMS-EN-2873-FORM", or "Personality & General Knowledge". It includes 50 questions.
- After APPLY.EXE has been accessed, the website changes to the application process for a prospective Enrichment Center Test Subject.
QUITcan be chosen.
CONTINUEproceeds to the next step.
- The visitor's blinking UID is then given (it can be revealed earlier with the command
IP). It constantly changes characters while blinking, so memorizing it or writing it down is useless.
- The test then begins. Many questions are asked for the user to answer, most being humorous in nature. Many questions related to Portal are asked, as well as many cake-related ones.
- During the test, the picture of a cake flashes at random intervals. Furthermore, some letters slowly blink from time to time, to make the sentence "the cake is a lie".
- At the end of the test, the so-called UID given earlier is asked. It is, however, irrelevant: whatever the user types, the failure messages "The entered UIN(+L) does not match your assigned UIN(+L)." / "Please REMAIN AT YOUR WORKSTATION until a Computer-Aided-Enrichment Crisis Team arrives." will appear.
- The song "Still Alive" featured during the Portal end credits also consists of similar "Forms".
Cave Johnson's account
- When logging in, the visitor can also enter
CJOHNSONas the login and
TIER3as the password, newly set as
PORTAL("CJOHNSON" refers to Cave Johnson, Aperture Science's CEO). These login and password can be found in Rattmann scribblings spread around the Enrichment Center's maintenance area seen during Portal, with the words "trust me" right next to it.
- After logging in as Cave Johnson, "GLaDOS v1.07a (c) 1982 Aperture Science, Inc." appears (it was originally "v1.07"). Then one can type either
APPLYto start the test mentioned above, or
NOTES, which will give information about Aperture Science and Johnson's history, in the form of a short timeline. The last paragraph of that timeline was later expanded and shown on Game Informer only, giving 1998 instead of the original "Several Years Later" as the date of both GLaDOS' activation and the Black Mesa Incident. While this new paragraph was written by Portal series' writer Erik Wolpaw, Half-Life series' writer Marc Laidlaw dismissed "1998" as the date for the Black Mesa Incident, as the date "200-" given when the first Half-Life was released is the only correct one.
LIBcommand or any of its equivalents can still be executed; it will show all of the unusable commands and the new
INTERROGATEnow works, except all names entered for the parameter are always responded with the error "Unknown Employee".
PLAY PORTALwill send the user to a YouTube video link. It has since been taken down by the user.
- The website has four reverse DNS answers, all of which are the same as the Steam website. Both websites belong to Valve.
- "ApertureLaboratories.com" and "ApertureLabratories.com" also link to the page.
- In Page 5 of the APPLY.EXE questionnaire, which asks an applicant his or her favorite color, one of the possible choices is Bondi Blue. This is an homage to the original Apple iMac, which came in and named this color.