Project Icarus: How we did it

Spherium Labs
Jun 17 · 8 min read

Layer One — Introducing Project Icarus

Layer One was simple, we hid the location of a Telegram group at the top right hand corner of the Graphic below, used for the “Introducing Project Icarus” Announcement on our Official Spherium Announcements Telegram channel.

This group led to the task for the first layer.

The puzzle itself was a simple equation based task. The answer to this gave a possibility of two different answers, either answer was accepted as the first part of the master key.

We allowed two days for almost 350 players to complete the task. After two days we opened Layer Two to the same group of Icarus players. Three hours before Layer Two was announced, The Spherium Game Team opened up the chat to allow three hours for team formation.

Layer Two — He Who Said It

Inside the Layer One group, we posted a coded video, the Third letter of every word makes up the completed code in the video. The task in the post read:

“Break the code in the video, Find the phrase, “He Who Said It” add an underscore and add todays year onto the end in two digit-format to be given the location of the Layer 2 Telegram Group”

The code, once broken revealed the phrase:

Out of life’s school of war — what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

He Who Said It? Friedrich Nietzsche

Using Nietzsche, adding an underscore and today’s date led to a Telegram Group with the username Nietzsche_21

42 players discovered this group and two days after Layer One opened, we opened Layer Two.

Inside that Telegram group was the Layer Two challenge. From this point, the real game began and things became difficult.

We posted advanced mathematical equations. The task was simple, solve the three equations to piece together the second key, the numbers when formed, provided a date, unknown to most players that this was a date, this would become clear during Layer four. Once equations were solved, players were to DM Spherium Admin with the answer to the three equations, upon the player or team giving a correct answer, players were given access to the Layer Three Top Group on Telegram.

Sol.1

Sol.2

Sol.3

23 Players/Teams solved the equations and were given access to the Layer Three Group.

Layer Three — The Blue Bird

Layer Three utilised Twitter, we created a dead profile under the link:

https://twitter.com/ProjectIcarus7,

“The Blue Bird” was the first clue and hidden within this image, inside the second, white, hexagon down from the top of the Spherium Logo, in the centre of the image, was the location of the twitter profile. Only Layer Three participants were given this image as a file named 3.png file. The Public were given the same image, without the link, as an image and not the 3.png file.

For Layer Three participants, if they downloaded the 3.png file and extracted, cracked or unzipped the file, they would have found a .rtf file. Inside the .rtf file was a Hexadecimal code, broken down and reshuffled. The code read:

546865207175657374696F6E2069732068696464656E20736F6D657768657265206E6561722E

Converted to:

“The question is hidden somewhere near.” relating to the Twitter page.

On the twitter page was a GoogleForm Link. On that form were 7 questions and before each of those questions was Hexadecimal Code, Shuffled.

The Code Read (When correctly arranged):

54686520616E737765722069732068696464656E20696E2074686520616E6E6F756E63656D656E7473

Converted: “The answer is hidden in the announcements” referring to the Spherium Announcement Channel.

Players were asked to complete the form, using the first Key, the Second Key and referring back to the hidden .rtf file and the text written inside it “The question is somewhere near” referring to the question inside the GoogleForm “What is the word?”

Players were then to go to the Spherium Announcement Channel where the word Sphere was hidden (Originally in Greek as , but then reverted back to English)

Players could submit the form as many times as they wanted until the game had closed and a winner was chosen. Those players that submitted the form correctly were given access to the Layer Four (Final Round) Telegram Channel.

Only 16 players, consisting of four teams remained.

Layer Four — The Final Flight

After three days of Layer Three being playable, we opened Layer Four exclusively to our Layer Three winners. They were given a LAYER4.png file, using Steganography, we had hidden four additional files within a .zip file named “It’s All A Dream ‘’ the LAYER4.png file was then merged with the .zip file.

Upon cracking the .png file and opening the .zip file there were three .rtf files and a video of Venus. Inside each .rtf file was a different code. Each code would then have to be rearranged to form the full message.

.rtf1 — Base64

Code: VGhlIGZpcnN0IG9uZSB0byBkbyBzbywgd2lucy4gCgrigKjigKhHb29kIEx1Y2vigKjigKgKClNlZSB5b3UgdGhlcmUu

Converted:

“The first one to do so, wins.

Good Luck,

See You There”

.rft2 — Enigma MK4 (SHARK)
Rotor I — US ARMY/NAVY
Rotor II — US ARMY/NAVY
Rotar III — US ARMY/NAVY
Plug: No
Shift: 96%
Reflectors — UKW B (1937–1945)
Left Position — 13 / M
Middle Position — 03 / C
Right Position — 11 / K

Code:
APWS THXG HBXW VDZQ GSBF GBQU LMME PTNP FONM STUB JZMD CFFJ LDTQ COGW YMTY YOOP DUGH KWUF UOAJ LZQG KJCQ UEHT JTVU EVZG JPFI HHCN TIPE YFHV GTDP XGPK WGHD SQYU XZGB MGPV POBM UZT

.rtf3 — Caesar Cipher (Shuffled)

Code:
CDZQ OKZXDQR,

XNT GZUD ENTFGS KNMF ZMC GZQC SN FDS SGHR EZQ ATS SGHR HR VGDQD XNTQ INTQMDX BNLDR SN ZM DMC ZMC VD VDKBNLD SGD EHQRS ODQRNM SN TMKNBJ SGD RTM VHSG ZKK ENTQ JDXR

Converted:
Dear players,

You have fought long and hard to get this far but this is where your journey comes to an end and we welcome the first person to unlock the sun with all four keys.”

.rtf files 1 & 3 contained irrelevant information, if players were able to crack and convert the Enigma code it would have revealed the true task.

“THROUGHOUT YOUR JOURNEY WE HAVE SCATTERED ALL PLANETS WITHIN OUR LOCAL SYSTEM FIND THE PLANETS, FIND THE SUN, ANSWER THE QUESTIONS AND INPUT THE PLANETS IN ORDER THEY APPEAR”

Players were then to go back through all layers, all announcements and find each planet in the correct order of appearance.

Upon opening Layer Four, we hid “The Sun” as the final GoogleForm in the game. This was hidden right next to our first planet in the original Icarus opening Announcement.

Our first planet, #Neptune. This was hidden In the initial game announcement post.

Our second planet — #Mars was hidden in the same Announcement Channel as the Layer One Opening Announcement. The third planet — #Earth, was hidden in the bio of the Layer One Telegram Group

The fourth planet — Saturn 🪐 was hidden in the Layer Two opening Announcement, Inside the Layer One Telegram group.

Planet Five — Uranus was hidden in the Layer Three opening announcement on the Spherium Announcements Channel, it was hidden in the following image at the centre right and left hand side of the image. (Turn up your brightness and zoom in)

Jupiter was up next and this was hidden inside the Layer Three image for players only at the bottom left hand corner. (Turn up brightness)

Mercury was hidden in the form of a very special question on our Layer Four opening Announcement on the Spherium Announcement Channel. The 👸🏻 (Queen) emoji being the reference.

And the final planet, Venus, was hidden in the It’s All A Dream.zip file, in the form of a video, with the three .rtf files. Completing the sequence.

Players then had to find The Sun (GoogleForm) and answer the following questions to complete the master key.

We allowed the remaining players only one chance to submit a correct entry, all parts of the key needed to be correct and in correct format and after 48 hours of Layer Four being available for play, we had our winner.

The master key was as follows.

178954632-WATERLOO-SPHERE-NMESUJMV

Thank you for playing.

About Spherium Finance

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