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OG Xbox Boot Animation Easter Egg Hunt

GoTeamScotch

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In the available source code, have we been able to track down what that big long list of random numbers is?
or
the source code behind the sawtooth wave generation?
Seamus implies that the easter egg is "more obvious", so I would not assume that the numbers in the white noise in the audio or in the audio generation code would lead to any discoveries. It's likely something visible on screen (or something you can hear) during the animation sequence that we just don't understand yet, like it's hiding in plain sight. The alternative is that it's something gets triggered which leads to an "obvious" easter egg moment to appear.

I’ve been trying to imput names for my memory card hoping there is a trigger there along with console nicknames - nothing yet.

Looking into pipeworks a little more turns up a game called the incredible machine which the whole boot animation appears to nod at. There is also a reference In the cover art to the old school title Red Baron.

Further edit: I f you watch the Angry Video Game Nerd Jurassic Park Tresspasser episode you will discover this guy does lot's of reference eggs and little else. what ever this egg is my bet is it's not worth the hunt.

It's a shame really, with everything the xbox had at it's disposal it could easy had at least 1 built in game even if it was an 8 bit space invaders played on one of those little screens in the video settings menu.
Keep in mind that the boot animation loads really early in the hardware initialization process. And it's very compact code. The hard drive isn't even accessible yet. If I recall, the console's name is stored on the HDD. The USB ports aren't even initialized at this point, so memory cards plugged into those ports wouldn't be accessible either. Changing memory card names or console names, in my opinion, likely won't lead to success because the sequence doesn't have access to that hardware yet.

The EEPROM, however, is accessible and the startup animation does access it for figuring out if the animation should be played in Widescreen and which video mode (ntsc/pal) to use and a few other things, but it doesn't seem to reference the EEPROM in many ways at all.

As a reminder, the EEPROM stores this info:
  • HDD key
  • Region code + DVD region
  • Serial number
  • MAC address + IP Address + DNS + gateway + subnet mask
  • Video standard (pal/ntsc)
  • Timezone + Daylight savings
  • Language
  • Parental controls (for games and DVDs), including button-combination for lock
So, the animation can access these pieces of information during startup. In theory, it could look at one (or more) and then decide to do something if certain conditions are met. Trying all possible combinations isn't feasible because the number of possible combinations is exponentially huge. The only other option is to look through the code for references to the EEPROM and try and deduce what it's using it for to look for clues. So far I haven't found anything interesting in that regard.

I think I just found it Folks! the Audio file "Settings sub menu in_LR.wav" found on the xbox Dashboard is the exact same sound the SEGA dreamcast makes when it disconnects from the internet.

Do I win anything?
That's in the Dashboard, which loads after the animation. Seamus seems to imply that the easter egg is in the animation.
 

GoTeamScotch

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After starring at the boot animation again recently while trying to figure this whole thing out, I got the sense that I was going in the total wrong direction so far. If it's really that "obvious", then it shouldn't require someone to analyze it frame-by-frame or dive deep into the source code to figure out. I kept coming back to the thought, "It's not obvious to me, but it would be to someone else".

I also thought about how when a gamer hears the phrase "easter egg", they usually think it's some kind of series of actions that are carried out before the easter egg is shown. Get on top of this roof, jump through the Halo rings in a certain sequence to produce a sound, enter the Konami code, etc. But this probably wasn't something you had to trigger at all. It's already there.

Let's take a step back and start from the basics. What is the animation anyways? The animation sequence is supposed to be a nuclear-reactor scene. The energy blob at the center is radioactive- it's green, it's glowing, it's chaotic, and energetic. The apparatus that surrounds the blob is seemingly harnessing its power, just like a nuclear reactor. As the camera zooms out, the Xbox logo is revealed, implying the Xbox is being powered by this incredible power. This all fits perfectly within with the context of Xbox's roots. Xbox (formerly the "DirectX box") was spawned out of DirectX, which was codenamed "The Manhattan Project" (source).

[DirectX's] name, and legacy radiation logo, was taken from the codename given to the development of the first nuclear weapons, later used by the United States against Japan in the final days of World War 2. The Manhattan Project was chosen as a code name because (according to St. John) it reflected the teams’ desire, as an American company, to displace the dominant Japanese companies within the videogame market.
(source)

175.png

Just like DirectX before it, the Xbox was made by a small group of smart people who had foresight of technology that was soon to come. Both platforms were not "on-brand" with what Microsoft was typically known for. Microsoft had (has?) a reputation for being this giant boring and safe software company. Far from fun, edgy, or cool. DirectX was made because Windows kind of sucked as a gaming platform at the time (mid 90's), and game developers were not all that interested in developing games that ran on more modern versions Windows.

I was in charge of game compatibility with Windows 95, so I was working with all the DOS game developers to make sure the games worked better in Windows 95; that's where a lot of the relationships came from. But when I said, 'Hey would you guys consider making your next game on Windows?' they laughed at me. I said, "Well what's the problem?" and they told me, "Your OS is fat, it's slow, it sucks up memory; everything's just in the way, and it doesn't have the features we need." I said, "Well what would I have to do in Windows to make it a better game environment?" They said if I can solve the driver problems Windows had and essentially shut down the OS, that would be helpful.
(source)

DirectX came from this renegade-like attitude to try something completely different. Continuing in this tradition, the Xbox was also something completely different from anything Microsoft had done before; it was a video game console made for the living room, meant to compete directly against Sony and Nintendo. Both were kind of longshot ideas, but they worked because of the people who built them. Those folks had the foresight and vision to see where technology was heading, and try and steer the ship in that direction.

Anyways, back on track, so the animation is a nuclear reactor scene, and it was for a product made by people who were very much interested in the future of technology and who had foresight for where it was heading. These guys probably grew up watching shows like Star Trek, where things like cellphones and computer-driven voice-assistants were first put on screen during an era when computers were still the size of entire rooms, sparking the imagination of a generation of viewers.

So, naturally, Star Trek was an early guess. The warp-drive on the USS Enterprise, for example, looks familiar...

startrekwarpcore.jpg

Here's another view (from a Star Trek video game):

startrekgamewarpcore.jpg

Side by side:

Fud1vjr.png

At this point, I figured it looked close enough that this might actually be it.

So I asked...

easter.jpg

So, "yeah", meaning yes it's about the scene as a whole and it's a reference to something (seemingly a sci-fi reference or something in pop-culture?), and it's not specifically a reference to the warp drive in Star Trek.

I had a couple other guesses, but so far no reply.

The hunt continues, though now in a different direction. I was a kid when Xbox came out, so someone from an older generation than I might instinctively recognize it from somewhere out of previous decades. Help me out, fellow nerds, what is this in reference to?
 

BLEEN

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After starring at the boot animation again recently while trying to figure this whole thing out, I got the sense that I was going in the total wrong direction so far. If it's really that "obvious", then it shouldn't require someone to analyze it frame-by-frame or dive deep into the source code to figure out. I kept coming back to the thought, "It's not obvious to me, but it would be to someone else".

I also thought about how when a gamer hears the phrase "easter egg", they usually think it's some kind of series of actions that are carried out before the easter egg is shown. Get on top of this roof, jump through the Halo rings in a certain sequence to produce a sound, enter the Konami code, etc. But this probably wasn't something you had to trigger at all. It's already there.

Let's take a step back and start from the basics. What is the animation anyways? The animation sequence is supposed to be a nuclear-reactor scene. The energy blob at the center is radioactive- it's green, it's glowing, it's chaotic, and energetic. The apparatus that surrounds the blob is seemingly harnessing its power, just like a nuclear reactor. As the camera zooms out, the Xbox logo is revealed, implying the Xbox is being powered by this incredible power. This all fits perfectly within with the context of Xbox's roots. Xbox (formerly the "DirectX box") was spawned out of DirectX, which was codenamed "The Manhattan Project" (source).



View attachment 10829

Just like DirectX before it, the Xbox was made by a small group of smart people who had foresight of technology that was soon to come. Both platforms were not "on-brand" with what Microsoft was typically known for. Microsoft had (has?) a reputation for being this giant boring and safe software company. Far from fun, edgy, or cool. DirectX was made because Windows kind of sucked as a gaming platform at the time (mid 90's), and game developers were not all that interested in developing games that ran on more modern versions Windows.



DirectX came from this renegade-like attitude to try something completely different. Continuing in this tradition, the Xbox was also something completely different from anything Microsoft had done before; it was a video game console made for the living room, meant to compete directly against Sony and Nintendo. Both were kind of longshot ideas, but they worked because of the people who built them. Those folks had the foresight and vision to see where technology was heading, and try and steer the ship in that direction.

Anyways, back on track, so the animation is a nuclear reactor scene, and it was for a product made by people who were very much interested in the future of technology and who had foresight for where it was heading. These guys probably grew up watching shows like Star Trek, where things like cellphones and computer-driven voice-assistants were first put on screen during an era when computers were still the size of entire rooms, sparking the imagination of a generation of viewers.

So, naturally, Star Trek was an early guess. The warp-drive on the USS Enterprise, for example, looks familiar...

View attachment 10831

Here's another view (from a Star Trek video game):

View attachment 10832

Side by side:

View attachment 10833

At this point, I figured it looked close enough that this might actually be it.

So I asked...

View attachment 10830

So, "yeah", meaning yes it's about the scene as a whole and it's a reference to something (seemingly a sci-fi reference or something in pop-culture?), and it's not specifically a reference to the warp drive in Star Trek.

I had a couple other guesses, but so far no reply.

The hunt continues, though now in a different direction. I was a kid when Xbox came out, so someone from an older generation than I might instinctively recognize it from somewhere out of previous decades. Help me out, fellow nerds, what is this in reference to?
I think I got it. It's the Sonic bonus level balls and Sonic rings.
 

stuntpenguin

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This actually lives in my head and bothers me frequently. Thanks for posting haha.

I seem to remember hearing it was something not super hidden. At least that's my recollection of some old dialogue between some insider and public twitter (sorry, I skimmed this thread). I've been under the impression that its something that can be seen or heard. I know this isn't the answer, but that warp core reminds me of a level of DK64 haha.

I think we should break down the response from Seamus Blackley. There were two / three questions asked in the twitter thread:
So I asked...
  • Is it the scene in general
  • Is it a reference to a sci-fi trope
  • Is it a nod to Star Trek

The answer to one of these is "Yes". I personally believe its in the "scene" but I feel a little hesitation after reading such a vague response.

TOTALLY spitballing. Maybe something is encoded in a way. The only real dynamic part is the blob. Does it spell something out in binary?

I think this is very well on the right track. The intro moves very quickly and is very fluid. It needs to be divided in to segments. A clock of sorts would allow us to say when specific bits are active. I thought I saw an ascii b but it's not easy to tell.

My best guess is that given some clock, the blob spells out "Xbox" in ascii. The circle is divided in to 8 parts -- each representing a bit.
 
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Hazard

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Maybe the "explosion" or "blob" it's the movement of some character? Like flubber from the movie or the Chaos 0 from sonic adventure, something like that?
 
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