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Vahkiti Master of Time

PSA: On October 18th at 4:04pm EST, the Beach Telescope Countdown Ends

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This may or may not have been posted before, if it has, I haven't found it until today, but as noted by user bionicle_fanatic on the /r/bioniclelego subreddit, the countdown on the telescope in MNOG will reach its conclusion on October 18th at approximately 4:04 PM EST. According to him, the Red Star is to reach its destination on that date? I'm honestly not sure where he got that info from. Personally, I feel like the clock's just going to stop, or loop around, and nothing is going to happen. However as a community, I feel like we should all try and do something special on that day regardless. Be it a large scale community event, or smaller personal celebrations of BIONICLE history.

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/bioniclelego/comments/53od3m/in_roughly_23_days_the_red_star_will_reach_its/

 

EDIT: If my numbers are correct, this is actually going to happen 18 days sooner than originally calculated. I'm not sure where my Skype friend got the 18th, but I'm getting something entirely different now.

 

EDIT 2: As noted by the original Reddit poster, it seems the counter resets after every logon, unfortunately leaving us with no actual solid date for that timer's end. However, as posted here, it would seem that in the code of the game, there is a hard coded date after all: January 12th, 2290. Nearly 300 years from now. It's pretty freaking far off, but at the same time, it IS feasible to pass the date on for the next three or four generations. So who knows? Maybe one day we will get to celebrate that day. Until then, I suppose we'll just treat January 12th as some kind of inverted anniversary. :P

 

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Edited by Vahkiti Master of Time
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I know that I will be playing the Red Star theme whilst using my telescope on that night then. And play MNOG earlier in the day to.


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What? Explain this to me. How does the game have a clock like that?

 

Evidently, the timer in the upper right hand corner of the telescope can be converted into a specific point in real time. It's even referenced as a countdown timer in the code of the SWF file. ("Yearcountdown" as a placeholder image, and "variablename RealTime" in the script) I didn't do the calculations myself, but to quote my Skype friend who did so for the exact date and time; "I converted the seconds remaining to days, hours, minutes, and leftover seconds, then math'd it up."

 

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Interestingly, the downloadable version of the game has a different timer entirely, that has long since passed its expiration date, so I wouldn't get too hopeful that anything is actually going to happen. At best, it's a neat little easter egg, that we as a community could potentially use as an event. It's as close as BIONICLE is going to get to a "Back to the Future Day". :P

Edited by Vahkiti Master of Time
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Surprise guys, bionicle G2's end was all a prank. We're getting sets in 2017. LEGO planned this all along to throw us off their scent while they design G3. The only plan that could rival Makuta's is that of LEGO's. LEGO BIONICLE movie coming 2017. Get hype.

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Wow, that is really cool. What could we do as a community to mark the event? A massive Discord chat? A post-pictures-of-the-sky topic? Saying a prayer to Mata Nui in the language of the Matoran?

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Surprise guys, bionicle G2's end was all a prank. We're getting sets in 2017. LEGO planned this all along to throw us off their scent while they design G3. The only plan that could rival Makuta's is that of LEGO's. LEGO BIONICLE movie coming 2017. Get hype.

On what grounds do you say this?

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Surprise guys, bionicle G2's end was all a prank. We're getting sets in 2017. LEGO planned this all along to throw us off their scent while they design G3. The only plan that could rival Makuta's is that of LEGO's. LEGO BIONICLE movie coming 2017. Get hype.

On what grounds do you say this?

 

I speak these words on the battlegrounds of humor.

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Wow, that is really cool. What could we do as a community to mark the event? A massive Discord chat? A post-pictures-of-the-sky topic? Saying a prayer to Mata Nui in the language of the Matoran?

 

I'd say whatever honestly. A large scale event of some kind would be nice, but unless this makes front page somewhere, I don't see that happening. I know I personally will be stepping up my YouTube game around that time. As difficult as it may be to commentate over, potentially we'll actually play MNOG on The Beaverhouse on that day. Or live stream it. I haven't done that in a while. As I said in my previous post, it's the closest thing BIONICLE is ever going to get to a Back to the Future day, and everyone handled that in much their own ways.

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So just as a brief calculation, I randomly decided to backtrace the timer to see when it started on both versions of the game. I got some weird dates that as far as I know, coincide with no re-releases of the game, or events in the franchise. In fact, the first one more coincides with its REMOVAL from BIONICLE.com. The game version with the expired timer gave me a start date of December 26, 2004 at 4:38PM, with an approximate 3 day countdown from then. The second version with the currently relevant countdown gave me a start date of Friday, March 25, 2005 at 11:20PM with the end date giving me a very different, much sooner date than originally calculated.

I got my numbers by subtracting the elapsed time from our current date and then adding the end time onto the result. If anyone can double check to confirm my math is correct, these are the raw numbers I had, accurate as of today at 12:40PM EST. The numbers are separated into hours, minutes, and seconds from left to right.

 

Online/offline real time save version:
Time elapsed: 102884 55 01
December 26, 2004 at 4:38PM
Countdown to: 90 70 40
December 29, 2004 at 11:48PM
 
Templar/Lego official chapter version:
Time elapsed: 100740 80 00
March 25, 2005 at 11:20PM
Countdown to: 100982 46 83 (9?)
October 1, 2016 at 2:07AM
 
If what I'm getting here is correct, I'd like to request a title update to the topic.
Edited by Vahkiti Master of Time
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Huh. Never bothered to figure out what was going on with the timer since its original purpose to count down to a new chapter is long defunct. 

 

I'm curious as to why the timer would be different in the fan-modified saving versions of the game - that means that a fan working on it had to have been the person to change it, right? But why would they care to do that?

 

And its weird that the official version has the timer starting in 2005. That version of the game was polished off in 2002 and sat untouched from then until 2006 when Lego tossed it up on the site. Does the timer start date necessarily reflect when the timer was truly set? I guess it must not, seeing as the fan version (which came from the official version launched in 06) has a start in 2004.

Edited by Pereki
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Huh. Never bothered to figure out what was going on with the timer since its original purpose to count down to a new chapter is long defunct. 

 

I'm curious as to why the timer would be different in the fan-modified saving versions of the game - that means that a fan working on it had to have been the person to change it, right? But why would they care to do that?

 

And its weird that the official version has the timer starting in 2005. That version of the game was polished off in 2002 and sat untouched from then until 2006 when Lego tossed it up on the site. Does the timer start date necessarily reflect when the timer was truly set? I guess it must not, seeing as the fan version (which came from the official version launched in 06) has a start in 2004.

 

This is what I'm not sure about. All I know is what the numbers are giving me. My calculation today assumes the clock only processes hours, and doesn't add a number for days elapsed. So as of the time of my estimate, the clock has counted up from 2005; 100740 hours and 80 minutes.

 

What might help is if I knew where the game was getting the timer FROM. Everything I've found within II.4a.swf only points to the timer itself, and the placeholder data indicating that it is indeed a timer, with nothing actually giving me a solid number. Furthermore, when launched independently of the game, both numbers reset to zero, meaning it must be getting it from some other file called by that scene.

Edited by Vahkiti Master of Time
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This is what I'm not sure about. All I know is what the numbers are giving me. My calculation today assumes the clock only processes hours, and doesn't add a number for days elapsed. So as of the time of my estimate, the clock has counted up from 2005; 100740 hours and 80 minutes.

What might help is if I knew where the game was getting the timer FROM. Everything I've found within II.4a.swf only points to the timer itself, and the placeholder data indicating that it is indeed a timer, with nothing actually giving me a solid number. Furthermore, when launched independently of the game, both numbers reset to zero, meaning it must be getting it from some other file called by that scene.

I can find a "StartTimer" and "StopTimer" in the Mata-Nui and Bionicle Mata Nui files (where I assume most of the underlying code for the game is), but I don't know what is going on around them because I can only get the files open in Notepad, where most of their content is rendered unreadable goop.

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This is what I'm not sure about. All I know is what the numbers are giving me. My calculation today assumes the clock only processes hours, and doesn't add a number for days elapsed. So as of the time of my estimate, the clock has counted up from 2005; 100740 hours and 80 minutes.

What might help is if I knew where the game was getting the timer FROM. Everything I've found within II.4a.swf only points to the timer itself, and the placeholder data indicating that it is indeed a timer, with nothing actually giving me a solid number. Furthermore, when launched independently of the game, both numbers reset to zero, meaning it must be getting it from some other file called by that scene.

I can find a "StartTimer" and "StopTimer" in the Mata-Nui and Bionicle Mata Nui files (where I assume most of the underlying code for the game is), but I don't know what is going on around them because I can only get the files open in Notepad, where most of their content is rendered unreadable goop.

 

 

Opening up the files in a hex editor, gives me a header reading: "Joy!peffpwpc". A brief Google search for that gives me the impression that the files were written in JOY Script for PowerPCs, which may get us heading in the right direction for decrypting the files. One result tells me that Joy!peffpwpc is the first twelve bytes of a PowerPC PEF container.

Edited by Vahkiti Master of Time
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This must be the Bionicle version of the Mayan Calendar. :P

 

Joking aside, this is a neat thing to find.

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Upon further examination, after being pointed out by the original Reddit poster, it seems that every time the game is launched, it resets to a specific number. So unfortunately, this means that the end date is subjective to whenever the game is run and kept running, and likely nothing will happen. :/

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Upon further examination, after being pointed out by the original Reddit poster, it seems that every time the game is launched, it resets to a specific number. So unfortunately, this means that the end date is subjective to whenever the game is run and kept running, and likely nothing will happen. :/

Ah! A little disappointing, but good to know. At least we now know MNOG uses JOY script for those files, so it may be possible to figure out how to poke around them. So it wasn't all completely for nothing!

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Upon further examination, after being pointed out by the original Reddit poster, it seems that every time the game is launched, it resets to a specific number. So unfortunately, this means that the end date is subjective to whenever the game is run and kept running, and likely nothing will happen. :/

 

Ah! A little disappointing, but good to know. At least we now know MNOG uses JOY script for those files, so it may be possible to figure out how to poke around them. So it wasn't all completely for nothing!

 

I suppose to. Further calculations assume that the timer was originally set to this, (for some reason) when the game was re-released in March 2006. Assuming it was re-released on the 1st, (BS01 doesn't give me an exact date) the timer would have run out on March 11th, 2006. If anyone can remember anything of significance happening on that date, that would still be interesting. The most relevant thing I can think of is the transformation of the Toa Inika by the Red Star, but I'm not sure when exactly the comic that dictated this was released. Assuming it does indeed match up, it makes for an interesting bit of previously unnoticed BIONICLE trivia.

 

EDIT: Ignition #1 was released March 2006, but the transformation didn't occur until May 2006 in issue #2.

Edited by Vahkiti Master of Time

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Huh. Never bothered to figure out what was going on with the timer since its original purpose to count down to a new chapter is long defunct. 

 

I feel we glossed over the mention of the timer's original function.

I have so many questions now.

 

First off, how do you know this Pereki?

 

Second, game developing is a big deal. And keeping up with deadlines is a rare things nowadays in game developing. I don't know how big Templar studios were, but I must wonder how it played out in regards to that. Did they update the timer with every update to the estimated date of the next update, and postponed it accordingly? Or did they set it to count down randomly until they had a date set for their next update? I doubt this as that would make the timer highly unreliable.

 

Third, did the constellations around the Red Star change with each update? Or does the stars prophercise the next stage in the game as the player progresses?

I ask this because last I played, I tried using the telescope, thinking it would point to the Koro I should head out to next. But I found that the star positions do not match any of the prophecies etched around the stone base.

This, coupled with the new information from Pereki, leads me to believe the whole function of the telescope was a sneak peak at what the next update entailed. And now that the game is complete, the stars point towards a new prophecy yet to be written down by Nixie. A future yet uncertain. An adventure beyond Mata-Nui.

 

So with my questions out of the way,

Does this mean that there is no date that can be set? If so that's a shame. A holiday for BIONICLE fans would have been awesome. Ah well. 

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I thought it was common knowledge, but I guess as time goes on there are less people around who remember these things. It's all there when you talk to the astrologer, its just less obvious I guess when you're looking at a modern version of the game where the telescope isn't running properly.

 

Like she says, the carvings are prophecies, they were supposed to depict all the chapters in the game. The brighter white stars were originally aligned so that the movement of the red star would synchronize with them in the same patterns as on the carvings as it slowly moved through the sky. When the red star was in exactly the right spot in relation to a constellation, a new chapter was supposed to come out. Now, obviously, the carvings don't all line up with actual events in the game - where they diverge we basically get a glimpse at how Templar had plotted the game out from the beginning, and how it changed. But iirc aside from the Bohrok constellation (which was added later, towards the end of the game's run) the number of carvings is equal to the number of chapters.

 

As you acknowledge, Templar was a small team and they couldn't guarantee that they would get every update out on-time. This is why the astrologer says the future is uncertain - its a disclaimer so that, if something went wrong, Templar would have some wiggle room to get the update out the door a bit later (as it happens, something did go wrong - Templar is based in New York city, so 9/11 had a big impact on them. They pushed the Ko-Koro chapter back just a bit as a result).

 

As for how I know this stuff, I've spent a lot of time reading through Bionicle news archives and old resources so I have at least a loose idea of what the fans were talking about back then, this included. It's a real shame none of the original fan forums survive, but what're you gonna do?

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This must be the Bionicle version of the Mayan Calendar. :P

Oh, god THE WORLD REALLY IS GOING TO END! EVERYONE, REPENT TO KUKULKAN BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

Edited by Sir Keksalot
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I doubt anything would happen, but I would love the mother of all easter eggs or something.

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This thread is evidence that Bionicle fans are really good at over-analyzing everything. I mean, it's a clock.

...A clock? TIME? THE MASK OF TIME IS REAL!!!

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Rule #1: Always listen to Kek.

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Rule #3: EVERYBODY TYPE IN THE CHAT "AVAK IS A STUPID TRIGGER"

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This thread is evidence that Bionicle fans are really good at over-analyzing everything. I mean, it's a clock.

...A clock? TIME? THE MASK OF TIME IS REAL!!!

 

Of course! This means we have to find the real-life Mask of Time easter egg.

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This thread is evidence that Bionicle fans are really good at over-analyzing everything. I mean, it's a clock.

...A clock? TIME? THE MASK OF TIME IS REAL!!!

 

Of course! This means we have to find the real-life Mask of Time easter egg.

 

 

It's on Vahkiti's face.

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Guys, if we really want a date for a BIONICLE Fan Holiday, why don't we use the date the Planetary Nebula PK 329-02.2/Menzel 2/Mz 2/Solis Magna Nebula was found? Or the date in which it was photographed.

 

In any case, why don't we just make Farshtey Reading Day our Holiday? It's on the 14th of July, which inadvertently is also Bastile Day, and my Birthday.


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This thread is evidence that Bionicle fans are really good at over-analyzing everything. I mean, it's a clock.

...A clock? TIME? THE MASK OF TIME IS REAL!!!

 

 

Of course! This means we have to find the real-life Mask of Time easter egg.

 

 

It's on Vahkiti's face.

 

VAHTIKI CONFIRMED FOR JESUS

 

Please try to add to the discussion with your posts and refrain from religious discussion. -B6

Edited by Black Six
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Rule #1: Always listen to Kek.

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I know this topic is in an odd situation right now, and I do find these posts pretty funny, bet lets try to keep things on topic.

 

So to recap, what is our situation with the date?


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I know this topic is in an odd situation right now, and I do find these posts pretty funny, bet lets try to keep things on topic.

 

So to recap, what is our situation with the date?

 

As it would appear right now, it seems like the date is reset every time the game is launched. I would go into more detail, but I'm waiting for my friend JMMB to post his own findings, since he was able to find out where the game is actually getting said time from.


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Vahkiti said I should post this here:

 

That value in the second place is actually quite a bit larger than you might think (the end is being cut off).

 

Originally, this was to show the count-up to the next chapter. The following dates (as Unix timestamps) are actually hard-coded into player.swf.

 

Launch0 = 978325200;
Launch1 = 981054000;
Launch2 = 984682800;
Launch3 = 989953200;
Launch4 = 995223600;
Launch5 = 999370800;
Launch6 = 1000148401;
Launch7 = 1004036401;
Launch8 = 1007406063;
Launch9 = "10099254240000";
TimeOfLaunch = 978000000;

 

 

It appears the Launch9 is just some impossibly far out date so that the related code could still work. That value you see in game is actually, 10098246833937, or the difference between Launch8 and Launch9.

 

As for the first value, I believe it is based on a value called ServerBasedDate. In the official download and Templar online versions, this is hard-coded as 1007406064 (1 greater than Launch8). In our unofficial saving download, it's read from getdate.txt which contains 1028845484 (the date archive.org cached).

 

In any case, that date it's counting up to is Sun, 12 Jan 2290 12:24:00 GMT, which is quite far off indeed.

Edited by JrMasterModelBuilder
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...In any case, that date it's counting up to is Sun, 12 Jan 2290 12:24:00 GMT, which is quite far off indeed.

 

Well I suppose if nothing else, that gives us a solid date for our BIONICLE holiday. I guess we'd celebrate it as sort of a reverse anniversary, and who knows? Maybe 300 years from now, we'll have made sure somebody will be around to remember it. I mean.. it's only max four generations, right? xD

Edited by Vahkiti Master of Time

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But could the in-game clock even go that far out without running into the 2038 Problem? And if we interpreted it as a 64-bit Timestamp, wouldn't that put it on a finer graduation?


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But could the in-game clock even go that far out without running into the 2038 Problem? And if we interpreted it as a 64-bit Timestamp, wouldn't that put it on a finer graduation?

 

I'm not familiar with the 2038 problem, or what you mean by a 64 bit timestamp. Care to elaborate? :P


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@Vahkiti: The simple version is this:

Most 32-bit computers track time via a 32-bit signed integer, giving a rough range of -2 billion to +2 billion)the exact range is -(2^31) to 2^31 - 1) and measures the number of seconds since midnight, january 1, 1970(a date known as the Unix Epoch). Within this range, the last second, the one after which an overflow error occurs and it's suddenly ~136 years in the past is in 2038. The problem doesn't get much attention as the deadline is still more than 20 years away and the transition to 64-bit is expected to be complete long before then, but in a way, it's a far more fundamental issue than the Y2K bug. Here's the relevant Wikipedia article for those that want the long version..

 

Double checking my facts, there's no universal standard for 64-bit timestamps, but keeping to counting seconds since the epoch, the increased capacity of a 64-bit number pushes the rollover date to over 20 times the age of the universe, and even proposals that count microseconds instead give a range of a few hundred thousand years.


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