Miscellaneous tidbits for the period
Mar'98 - Aug'98


Mar 3, 1998
While recovering from the her attacks Leela cryptically remarked on "Welcome to the Revolution..." :

central core has almost Reformatted been, seven is darker. from reversal thought syndrome suffering if the crew was in grave peril in forward section 27. This is not a coat rack,

This is not a coat rack? But it was! Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> writes concerning the mysterious hangar on "Arrival":

Bungie actually misspelled it "Hanger 7A (Port)" on the map view.

Yes indeed! :-)


Mar 6, 1998
Back in Feb 17th '98 Kristofer Osegard <Kjetil@aol.com> mentioned that he was watching a film called Krull and thought that the characters known as Slayers in the movie looked like Pfhor. Thanks to Todd Bangerter <tabanger@hcs.harvard.edu> you can now make up your own mind up. Todd writes:

Hey, here you go. A couple frame grabs of some Slayers. Boy that movie was tedious at times. Really quite silly.

Other than the Slayers bearing a passing resemblance to the Phfor, there really aren't any connections to Marathon. Except for that rampant AI at the end. Ha, no just kidding. Krull really is just a big fantasy adventure with some sprinklings of sci-fi mixed in.

Also, I was bored and figured that I already had the VCR hooked up to the computer, so why not make a QuickTime clip of it too? So you can download and watch a two minute clip of a battle against the Slayers at: http://tabanger-2.student.harvard.edu/misc/slayers.mov

It's 8 MB, and you can point your readers to it too, if you want.


Mar 8, 1998
Thanks to Francesco Poli <bpoli@mbox.vol.it> for sending in the following information concerning Myth by System 3.

Myth, released for Commodore 64, was a platform game-puzzler which had a good success on its release: the plot concerned a jeans-and-tennis-shoes teenager blown somehow in different eras, stage of mankind's most famous legends&myths: he has to battle demons, monsters and such, and also solve some devious puzzle (like decapitating a skeleton making sure his head drops in the lava just to summon the end of level boss!). The game was later released for Amiga, but the teenager was dumped for a more classical Barbarian-style hero.

Decapitated head? Sounds familar. Our special European investigating team will be keeping you update on the 'Myth name' law suit.


Mar 15, 1998
A secret 'duck' key in Marathon? Fact or Fic7ion?

Back in Oct 24, 1997 Matthew Payne <sfeira@pacbell.net> drew our attention to the fact that the player in the demo film of Arrival embedded in the Marathon application appears to duck at one point in the action. As most people are aware the player in the film is Jason Jones, lead programmer at Bungie Software and a person who would be intimately familar with the game's cheat codes.

Opinion is divided over whether the player actually 'ducks' or whether it is simply a bug in the game's engine. Bug advocates are quick to point out that a player can be forced into the floor during a heavy Pfhor assault or after firing the rocket launcher at an object at point blank range. Usually on such occasions the player is completely disorientated and unable to control their movements with any great precision. Yet the player in the Arrival film shows none of these characteristics during the 'ducking' manoeuvre. Indeed the player shows remarkable control as he glides low across the floor avoiding a Pfhor attack and then turns as he rises to open fire on his bewildered foe. You need to watch the film in slow motion to catch the details of this subtle action.

But did the player really 'duck'? Did Jason Jones in a tight moment of game play reveal Marathon's little known 'ducking' manoeuvre?

Jason Regier (Bungie Software) had this to say about 'ducking and jumping' in Marathon on alt.games.marathon:

Subject:      Re: What's New with Marathon?
From:         jregier@bungie.com (Jason Regier)
Date:         1997/08/09
Message-ID:   <jregier-ya02408000R0908971518120001@news.wwa.com>
References:   <kevin-0408972121580001@ts900-5906.singnet.com.sg> 
<gabeNOSPAM-ya023580000508971307150001@newsreader.wustl.edu> 
<see-my-sig-ya02408000R0608970850040001@news.sk.sympatico.ca> 
<sanger-0608971830280001@kelly.artcenter.edu> 
<jraxis-ya02408000R0708971923570001@news.ici.net> 
<33EB2BA1.2DAF@earthlink.net>
Organization: Bungie Software
Newsgroups:   alt.games.marathon
[Fewer Headers]


In article <33EB2BA1.2DAF@earthlink.net>, bozo23@earthlink.net wrote:

> Maybe I'm insane, but didn't somebody, maybe from Bungie, *say* that
> jumping and ducking is written into the engine and Bungie just didn't
> implement it in the Marathon series?

Just to set people straight on this, you could conceivably jump and duck in
Marathon.  That only requires that you move the camera up or down, which
you can obviously with the current game engine.

However, there's no sequences of animation for someone jumping, so if you
were to "jump" in a network game and somebody watched you do it, he would
just see you float off the ground.  You'd have to rewrite some things to
add those hooks for the animation.

Later,
Jason

-- 
Jason Regier
Software Juggernaut
Bungie Software
jregier@bungie.com

So ducking is possible in Marathon yet without the appropriate sprite animations the effect would not look right from another player's perspective. Yet what about in a Marathon solo game? In theory we should be able duck to our hearts content and no one would be any wiser... except the Pfhor perhaps.


Mar 16, 1998
Frank Wittek <wittek@fmi.uni-passau.de> provides some interesting information about a German version of Marathon 2 for the Macintosh which seemingly contains the Win95 M2 map changes. Frank writes:

First I'm referring to two versions of Marathon 2 Durandal:

M2D - Marathon 2 Durandal (in english) for Mac as the follow-up game to Marathon - the M2D application has version 1.0 (c) 1995 Bungie Software Products Corp.;

M2DG - Marathon 2 Durandal with German terminal text - the M2DG application has version 2.0 (c) 1996 Bungie Software Products Corp.

The M2D version is the normal version Mac players use to play Marathon 2.

I installed M2DG from the CD on my Mac. This is a Mac program. After changing the name of the "Music" file to "Musik" the opening title by power of seven is played again. As I wrote, no demo films show up, until the map of M2D is copied into the M2DG folder. After starting the application I'm playing the map supplied with M2DG. It's a Mac map, e.g. the terminal pictures are in the resource fork as for normal Mac maps. But it has all the Win95 map changes discussed on your Story page (And it only crashed on "We're everywhere", when using the exit terminal before completing the mission - some textures are missing on some levels). The terminal in the "Arrival" part of the map "Waterloo Waterpark" is not translated.

Some information about the box which is shaped different to the box of M2D. It is (width x height x deep) 20 x 25 x 4 cm. A normal box, nothing special like the Mac boxes. The background picture of the box is the same as on the Mac box (left side black, right side yellow, on the back the moon picture on the right side). So what's different?

On the front the "Accelerated for Power Macintosh" is replaced by an English sign "FOR IMMEDIATE NETWORK CARNAGE, 8 PLAYERS NETWORK READY, 2 USER LICENSE ENCLOSED, FOR IMMEDIATE NETWORK CARNAGE". The S'pht picture is replaced by the first chapter screen, the piture of the fight on Waterloo Waterpark is replaced by another chapter screen. The system requirements are on the bottom of the box, the Mac OS sign has a white background. To the right of it, a sign of Designed for Microsoft Windows 95 is placed, followed by the CD-ROM sign. And finally on the right side is a sign "NICHT geeignet unter 18 Jahren", e.g. "NOT suitable for under 18 years". The backside looks the same as on the Mac box, the text is German but not translated word by word.

Enough for now. Let me know, if there is more you want to know. Maybe someone out there want to buy this version of Marathon 2 Durandal. I found it at http://www.arktis.de/arktissoftware/schnaeppchen/schnaeppchen.html in the "Schnappchen" (meaning bargain) part of the side. It is sold for 29 DM, that is $16. ($1 = 1.88 DM).

Interesting stuff. By all accounts what Frank is describing is a hybrid German Marathon 2 CD much like the Myth CD. This german version of Marathon 2 has the map changes seen in the Win95 version of M2 yet it works on an Apple Macinstosh. Up until know it was thought that the only way Mac Marathoners could see these Win95 map changes was by buying the PC version and running it under emulation or on a PC.


Mar 18, 1998
Brian Hannan <vendetta@engin.umich.edu< writes:

While reading Bowman's book "Egypt After the Pharaohs" I came across a discussion of an early Coptic (Egyptian Christian) spell. It reads:

"Hor, Hor, Phor, Eloei, Adonai, Iao, Sabaoth, Michael, Jesus Christ. Help us and this house. Amen."

I'm a computer engineering major--not classic civilization major--so I am not certain to exactly what deity "Phor" relates to. The spell is a mixture of pagan (Egyptian and Hellenistic) and Christian elements. While I recognize Sabaoth, Michael--and obvisouly Jesus Christ--the references to Hor, Phor, Eloei, Adonai, and Iao I do not.

If I had to guess, from the "Ph" in "Phor" I would have to say it is an Egyptian word and most likely an Egyptian diety. Has anyone else uncovered anything similar? Any other leads? The spell is from the papyrus discovered at Oxyrhynchus, if that helps any papyrology majors who will see this.

Interesting find. Does the word "Pfhor" have egyptian origins?


Matthew Payne <sfeira@pacbell.net> writes concerning a little seen Marathon Trilogy ad picture:

I'm sitting here looking at my Marathon Trilogy Box Set ad from ComputerWare. It reads:

The complete legendary series-in one affordable package! Plus, never-released Bungie maps, third-party add-ons, sticker collectables, and the Marathon scrapbook-for a behind- the-scenes look at the making of Marathon.

Includes:
Marathon
Marathon 2: Durandal
Marathon Infinity
Also Includes:
Pathways Into Darkness

Next to all of this is a picture - the chapter screen for Envy, except the marine is holding the MTBS Box in his hand. at the top of the picture it says "THREE YEARS, THREE GAMES, ONE PHENOMENON..."

Unfortunately, I can't scan it, (15"X30") but I can give you a detailed description. Take what I said above, add a small ComputerWare logo in the lower right hand corner, a fighter next to the list of features, a Bungie logo under the features, and the MTBS title (not the Marathon logo) above the pharagraph.

If any one has this and has the opportunity to scan it in please send it to the Story page. Thanks. :-)


Mar 20, 1998
Aaron Snyder <wittnietz@datatek.com> writes:

In Brian Hannan's Mar. 18th contribution, he came across a post-dynastic Egyptian magical ritual which mentioned some interesting--and possibly Marathon-related--names. He couldn't identify a few; I can add some.

"Eloei" sounds like one of the Hebrew words for "God". If you'll recall from the Gospels, Jesus says in Aramaic (closely related to Hebrew) "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?", or "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

"Adonai" is the Hebrew word for "Lord."

"Sabaoth" sounds awfully much like "S'bhuth" (or whatever the spelling is), from M2 and Infinity.

S'bhuth or S'boath, the latter is in fact very like Sabaoth. Could there be a connection?

There are a number of Egyptian references in Marathon. Most notably Thoth, the red sands of the dead, and [?papyrus] yoke. Oh and one of Lh'owon's moons is also the name of an Egyptian princess. But which one?

And least we forget there is the mysterious pyramid in Pathways Into Darkness:

Grotesque creatures have been sighted deep in the trackless forest of the Yucatan, and strange rumors of an ancient pyramid-- which is neither Aztec nor Mayan-- in the same area have been circulating in the archaeological community since the early 1930's.

Neither Aztec nor Mayan? Could it have been Egyptian? And what of the pyramids on Mars? Will NASA ever reveal the tru7h about the Cydonian anomalies?


Mar 21, 1998
Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

"Sabaoth" sounds very much like "Sabbath" to me, or the *seventh* day of creation (Sunday). Could Sabaoth be another spelling of Sabbath, which means seventh, and could be the root of S'bhuth/S'boath? So S'bhuth is the Seventh. Hmm...


Mar 22, 1998
Chris Lovell <clovell@sas.upenn.edu> writes:

"Sabaoth" is probably not related to "Sabbath". Like Adonai and Eloei, it's a title of God. Here's the entry from the Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.csn.net/advent/cathen/13286a.htm):

Sabaoth

(In Hebrew, plural form of "host" or "army"). The word is used almost exclusively in conjunction with the Divine name as a title of majesty: "the Lord of Hosts", or "the Lord God of Hosts". The origins and precise signification of the title are matters of more or less plausible conjecture. According to some scholars the "hosts" represent, at least primitively, the armies of Israel over whom Jehovah exercised a protecting influence. Others opine that the word refers to the hosts of heaven, the angels, and by metaphor to the stars and entire universe (cf. Genesis 2:1). In favour of the latter view is the fact that the title does not occur in the Pentateuch or Josue though the armies of Israel are often mentioned, while it is quite common in the prophetic writings where it would naturally have the more exalted and universal meaning.


Mar 26, 1998
The fabled Cheat Codes finally revealed?

Michael Trinder <mpbt100@cam.ac.uk> writes:

Whilst poking around the Marathon 2 and infinity apps looking for ways to disable certain keys (strange I know, but we wanted to disable the map in one scenario and the Wheels project for the disabled needs only 7 keys) I deciphered the tables in which are stored the default keyboard layouts. These contain more than just the keycodes for each function :)

It seems that internally Marathon uses a 32bit value to represent what each player is doing at any one moment. The keyboard layout tables not only list the key to be pressed for each action, but a second number which is the internal 'action code' for that action. Put more simply, the first item in the list (move forward) has the number 91 (which is 8 on the numeric keypad) followed by 0x00008000 which is the action code for Forward. Each action is translated into a different bit in the 32bit value, so they can be added together to represent several things being done at once.

Marathon can therefore represent 32 different actions. But there are only 21 keys - what you may ask do the other 11 actions do?

Well...


Mar 27, 1998
Well the Marathon Central Discussion Forums have certainly taken off thanks to the hard work of Simon "Squeaky" Brownlee. Simon's programming skills have given a new life to Marathon Central and the Story page salutes him. And kudos also to Steve Campbell for his ceaseless work at the interface.

Coincident with the rise in Forum posts has been a noticeable drop in alt.games.marathon postings which is a good thing since it was becoming, to quote a well known gaming company, a

"sewer of posturing, rudeness, baseless rumors, and unprovoked attacks."

Who remembers that quote? It dates from Nov '94.

Anyway the Forums now number four... three more to go! ;-)

Some interesting stuff has appeared on the Forums in recent days which deserves highlighting.

Mike Ackerman pointed out that information from Apples's web site revealed that back in 1996 Bungie demonstrated Marathon 2 running with QuickDraw 3D RAVE. So what version of Marathon was this? Marathon RAVE?

Matt Soell (Bungie Software) also graced the Forums and revealed some interesting information about Bungie's intentions regarding the future of Marathon. Well worth reading in full. Matt summarized Bungie's views as follows:

In summary: a new Marathon game would probably make us a ton of cash. Right now, that's not what we're looking for. There's no point in doing another Marathon game if our collective heart isn't in it. Maybe someday we'll get nostalgic and revisit that universe in some new way. But it's not going to happen until we want it to happen, until it feels right. We respectfully ask that Marathon fans and Bungie fans (not always the same people) respect our decision.

Amen.


Mar 28, 1998
Another interesting post from the Marathon Central Discussion Forums this time from Simon Brownlee. Part of Simon's post reads as follows:

I had a fairly long chat with Jonas [Eneroth] at last years MacWorld Boston, and he claims that there were actually _a lot_ of changes and bug fixes to the M2 maps for the Win95 release. However, someone (who he wouldn't name) managed to merge the wrong set of them to be mastered, hence we have a number of untextured walls, and many unchanged levels. in the Win95 release. These were due to be fixed in a second pressing of the CD, but with the low sales for Win95, that never happened.

Could this be true? There are certainly a number of glaring texture problems in the Win95 M2 map which could have easily been corrected before final release. This fact alone should have warranted an update to fix these errors.


Mar 29, 1998
Steve Wood <stephen_wood@INS.COM> sent in some interesting information about Bungie's aborted Marathon 3 project. It is part of an interview with Jason Jones in the Official Myth Strategy Guide.

Bart: So, where did the idea of Myth come from?

Jason Jones: Well, it's really not all that glamorous. I could probably lie and make up something cool, but I'll tell you the truth instead. We started out doing the natural extension of Marathon, which would have turned out to be something along the lines of Quake. At that time, the first screenshots of Quake were already out, and we sort of knew where they were going, and everybody else did too. We were going to try and do one of those sorts of games, and after about two months of working on it, nobody was really into it at all, and I just had the feeling like we weren't going to be able to pull it off in time. The whole time we were working on the Quake-like game, we had been talking about this other game that nobody thought would work out, and we'd been calling it "The Giant Bloody War Game." We'd sit around talking about the Quake-like game, trying to be serious and make some serious decisions about it, and everyone just kept talking about "The Giant Bloody War Game," laughing, having fun, etc. After about two months of that going on, I just showed up at the office one day with the map editor in its most basic form, It could just adjust the heights and stuff and import the color map, and in one day we switched our project from a shooter game that would have had us chasing our competition's tail to what has basically become Myth."

This is supported by a recent posting by Matt Soell (Bungie Software) on the Marathon Central Discussion Forums. Matt wrote:

There was, at one time, a Marathon 3 project. It was intended to be a complete rewrite of the Marathon engine with all the goodies people have come to expect (fully 3D, snazzy special effects, much nicer networking, etc.). It was canned because none of our principal development team were very interested in finishing it - or at least, they were more interested in doing something new. Hence, Myth: The Fallen Lords.

So there you have it.


Apr 1, 1998
Interesting Marathon related post from Matt Soell (Bungie Software) on alt.games.myth. Yes they discuss Marathon there too sometimes. Better keep up to date folks. :-) Anyway this tidbit is about the acronym "TBWSAF" on the bottom of the Infinity and Trilogy boxes. This was discussed way back in May 20, 1997 both Chris Camacho and Forrest Cameranesi made some good suggestions one of which was posted to alt.games.myth without crediting the original source. Tut tut! Matt replied:

In article <6fkpjn$r40$1@joe.rice.edu>, Lindley Doran <doran@rice.edu> wrote:

> "TBWSAF" Means: "To Bad We Stopped At Four".

Nice try, but no cigarillo. :-)

-Matt

--
Matthew Soell
Director of Customer Support
Bungie Software
matt@bungie.com

Heh! Way to go Matt! They shan't have the Bungie secrets until the closure! ;-)


Another Star Wars reference? Back in Dec 24, 1997 John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> drew attention to the fact that the log-on/off codes on Terminal 1 (Message 1) of "Beware of Abandoned Rental Trucks" were similar to a line from Star Wars. Now Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> writes:

John Zero pointed out a Star Wars reference in the Thoth logon/logoff screens

Get&(Ghere

&*(hat you sme&!

I don't think this phenomenon is restricted to this pair. Take:

Rh~fen kill~@5,.4.1 too and

ands of (0)!the empir%&(f~F`fx\$C0

In the scene (in A New Hope) after Luke's aunt and uncle had been killed by the Imperials, Ben Kenobi tries to comfort Luke, telling him something like "there's nothing you could have done. If you had been there, you would have been killed too, and the 'droids would be in the hands of the empire." Chalk up another Star Wars reference.

As to why all these Star Wars references cropped up in Thoth terminals I don't know...

Perhaps we need a Star Wars section?


Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

While scouring the Net for Duality information I found the following in an IMG article on Double Aught:

"The Infinity project was originally the 20/10 pack for Marathon 1, put on hold for awhile. I decided that it was perfect for the launching of Double Aught - it would give us something to do and it might even pay the bills... I had to do something, I couldn't live in Chicago anymore. (What can I say? I like hills and trees, I don't care that corn is twelve for a dozen in Chicago' - as someone once astutely pointed out to me.)"

The full article text is available from:

http://www.imgmagazine.com/issues/november96/spotlight_doubleaught.html

The above is a quote attributed to Greg Kirkpatrick. So "The Infinity project was originally the 20/10 pack for Marathon 1, put on hold for awhile." Odd stuff! Yet the Marathon Scrapbook revealed that some of the levels of the ill fated Marathon 20/10 Scenario Pack were incorporated into Marathon 2. The following is from the Scrapbook:

After much soul-searching Bungie halted development of the Marathon 20/10 Scenario Pack. Doug Zartman relates how the decision was reached: "It was just that for a while that we thought we could fit in a 20/10 pack and still get M2 out that year. It wasn't very long before we decided that if we did the 20/10 pack, M2 might get slighted, the levels might not be as carefully designed, and might not make it for '95. M2 was the more exciting product and a higher priority, so 20/10 got canned. A couple of the maps intended for the 20/10 pack were retextured and refitted for M2."

So did the remaining 20/10 pack levels get incorporated into Infinity?


Apr 2, 1998
Here's a follow-up to that "TBWSAF" acronym post on alt.games.myth. It seems that some people want to know... ALL. Matt Soell replied:

In article <6ft72a$ace@newsops.execpc.com>, corbeau@execpc.com (Dennis Taylor) wrote:

> Matt! You're alive! :-D

In a manner of speaking.

> So... what _does_ it stand for?

Some things man was not meant to know.

-MDS

--
Matthew Soell
Director of Customer Support
Bungie Software
matt@bungie.com

Verily it doeth speak the tru7h. :-)

But what's this? MDS... Matthew Durandal Soell perhaps? ;-)


Apr 3, 1998
In searching for the origins of the mysterious Jjaro! Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> made an interesting discovery. Buried deep within the vast archives of usenet there are a number of seemingly unconnected Japanese messages (unreadable to us) containing the recognisable letters Jjaro. You can see them here, here, here, and over here. For non-Marathoners these letters would mean nothing... or would they? Is the word Jjaro of Bungie origin or something more?


Charles S. also writes:

It seems that there are a lot more keysets built into Infinity than just Standard, Arrows, and Powerbook. I was looking at the "setl" resource, which seemed to contain names of keysets and mousesets, joysticks, etc. Each one seemed to have a hex number right above the name, which, when I converted it to base 10, would turn out to be the ID of one of the "tset" resources. Some of the sets in there were called things like "Ender's Set" or "Non-Vidmaster" etc. The weird thing is I tried screwing around with all the "tset" resources, trying to modify the default keysets, but to no avail. In my frustration, I went and deleted all the "tset" resources from a copy of the Infinity app, and ran it, and it still worked, so I have no idea what those resources do, if anything. The M2 app does not seem to have them.

Anyone have any ideas on what these are for and what the full list of names are?


Apr 4, 1998
Forrest also writes:

The complete list of 'setl' control sets are as follows, plus what I'm guessing are their control set types (keyboard only, mouse & keyboard, various joysticks, speech...). You'll notice that we can determine who at Bungie plays with what control set type.

Jason Jones
keydappl

Standard
mousappl

Slower
mousappl

Alex Rosenberg
keydappl

Jason Regier
keydappl

Non-Vidmaster
keydappl

Ender's Set
keydappl

Arrows
keydappl

PowerBook
keydappl

Robt McLees
keydapp

Gimmick's Set
joysswpr

Movement
mousappl

GamePad Set
joysMEcg

Movement Set
joysMeJS

Jetstick Set
joysMeJS

Fighterstick Set
joysF16S

FS Pro Set
joysMeFP

Firebird Set
Speech Set (On)
talkappl

Speech Set (Off)
talkappl

WCS Set
levrwcs!

FCS Set
joysfcs!

Forrest continues:

I noticed a few interesting things while in ResEdit. In Infinity's "tset" resource, ID 5671 contains the strings "Bring up the map", "Next Weaponn" (yes, with two 'n's), "Previous Weaponn", "Open Door", and "Flip Switch", along with a whole lot of box-characters (hex code doesn't all translate well into ASCII text) and a few misc letters here and there. The rest of the "tset"s contain nothing is obviouse signifigance.

Some time back there was discussion on what the Marathon symbol represented. Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> continues this theme:

I've always thought of it as being a zero on top of a one, inside a zero. Seems to represent Information to me.


Apr 5, 1998
Dave Aitken <DaveAJA@aol.com> writes:

Concerning the Marathon symbol; I think it is put in an appropriate context on What About Bob?, where it accompanies communications from Durandal, and also on the Marathon boxes. These show the symbol suspended in space - I have always regarded it as a stylised representation of the Marathon itself.

Dave goes on to point out that the Marathon being a hollowed-out moon it would be appropriate to depict it "as a circle within a circle".

It is interesting to note that this very point was raised on comp.sys.mac.games way... way... back on the 16th Dec 1994. Note this was posted before the final game was released.

From: afaeaton@aol.com (AFA Eaton)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac.games
Subject: Re: MARATHON physics flaw?
Date: 16 Dec 1994 17:12:52 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 19
Sender: root@newsbf02.news-fddi.aol.com
Message-ID: <3ct3d4$7e9@newsbf02.news-fddi.aol.com>
References: <rmcassid-1612940922200001@dante.eng.uci.edu>
Reply-To: afaeaton@aol.com (AFA Eaton)

You hit the nail on the head.  As they said in IMG, Marathon is a small
moon of mars that was turned into a gaint hollowed out colony ship.  My
guess is that it also contains some sort of alien embryo at the core that
the alien races think we have abducted... Look at the logo for a sec and
imagin the large circle as the Marathon colony ship... What's the second
little circle inside?  ;)

Just my $.02...

--Jeff


----------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeff Eaton, afaeaton@aol.com. My views do not represent the opinions
or policies of America Online. Offer prohibited where void, some
restrictions may apply. God doesn't build cages -- just guardrails.
----------------------------------------------------------------------


Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

I noticed some errors in that list I sent you when I read it on the page. Not sure if you made the error in transcription or (most likely) I just made typos and other errors...

"Rob McLees" has a control set of "keydappl", not "keydapp". And "Firebird Set" and "Speech Set (On)" should be separated, with "Firebird Set" having an control set type of "joysgrfb".

While I'm here, I suppose I'll offer my guesses as to what each control set type means...

"Jason Jones", "Alex Rosenberg", "Jason Regier", "Non-Vidmaster", "Ender's Set", "Arrows", "PowerBook", and "Rob McLees" all have control set types of "keydappl". This is obviously Keyboard-Only.

"Standard", "Slower", and "Movement" all have control set types of "mousappl". This is obviously Mouse-&-Keyboard.

"Speech Set (On)" and "Speech Set (Off)" have the control set type of "talkappl". This is obviously the Speech option for InputSprocket.

"Gimmick's Set", "GamePad Set", "Movement Set", "Jetstick Set", "Fighterstick Set", "FS Pro Set", "Firebird Set", and "FCS Set" all have control set types beginning with "joys". This are probably various types of joystick drivers.

The odd one out is "WCS Set", with a type of "levrwcs!". Could this be some sort of throttle control driver, hence the "lev[e]r" in the beginning? And "wcs!" is obviously a reference to the make and/or model of the device.

Not that any of this has ANY impact on the story, but it gives some insight to the Bungie crew seeing that at least four of them use keyboard-only, plus whoever "Ender" is, and the three generics (Non-Vidmaster, Arrows, and PowerBook).


Apr 6, 1998
Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

If you go to the about page of the M2 Strategy Guide on the Marathon Trilogy CD there is a little question mark on the bottom that is supposed to link to Jonas's homepage ( http://www.bungie.com/homepages/jonas/main.html), but the link is broken. I was wondering if you knew if there was anything there originally, and if there is a new location.

Jonas Eneroth has moved on to greener pastures in London, England. He dismantled his home page and took it with him when he left on Friday 13th Feb 1998. All gone now.

Mihai continues:

Also in the same page there is a little pop-up menu with a comment from Jonas. The text is:

4.24 am, Monday the 26th of August...
half a six pack of diet coke...
half a pack of ML's and only halfway.
I guess this was supposed to
have been done a long time ago.
But, I smile 'cause... I work at Bungie.


Concerning Forrest Cameranesi's comments below both Chadd Nervig >drmemory@gte.net> and Todd Bangerter <tabanger@hcs.harvard.edu> point out that WCS stands for Weapons Control System. Todd writes:

The WCS is indeed a lever of some sort. WCS is, in fact, the Weapon Control System, a throttle and weapons stick manufactured by Thrustmaster Inc. The WCS is a companion to the Flight Control System (FCS), a heavy duty joystick. These two systems in conjuction with the Rudder Control System (RCS), form the best flight simulation control system available for the Mac, bar none.

Chadd goes on to point out:

WCS stands for Weapons Control Systems. It's a thrustmaster product, and yes, it's a lever, a throttle...with SE7EN buttons on it! Well.... 6 buttons, and 1 switch... But still...


Michael Trinder <mpbt100@cam.ac.uk> writes:

the 'setl' resources that Forrest is talking about are used, or should be used, by the Input Sprocket - this is why they are only in Infinity 1.5 and not M2 or Infinity 1.0 for that matter.

I haven't yet been able to discover exactly how they work, but they seem to use the action codes from the original 3 keyboard tables in the application. this is why throwing them away does no harm.


Apr 10, 1998
More Marathon symbol symbolism. Kyjel Shaytolmae <kyjel@mailexcite.com> writes:

I always thought it was some sort of twisted representation of a flower.

A flower? A rose perhaps? stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus.

Chris Camacho <christo@flash.net> also writes concerning the Marathon symbol:

I always thought of the Marathon symbol at a tunnel. The big circle is the opening of the tunnel, and the small is the opposite side. The line connecting the circles is a trail of dirt/dust/liquid along the bottom of the pipe. Think about it. The first interstellar ship known to humans (note: Durandal is not a human), building a "tunnel" to a new era.

Obviously the Marathon symbol represents different thinks to different people. But what did it originally represent? Reginald Dujour, the creator of the symbol, would be the only person to know for sure.


Apr 11, 1998
Charles S. writes:

The rest of the "tset"'s do contain something of significance... all the keys! If you read the hex numbers in the keydappl tsets, you'll notice that they are all to keys in these keysets. I guess if you had the time, you could see what keysets the Bungie programmers like to use. Do any of them use Caps Lock for the run key???

Spazeroids at Bungie? God forbid!


Graham Benedict <mark.benedict@snet.net> writes:

Although it has little impact on Marathon's story, I would like to point out that in a earlier version of Myth, Bungie used the same difficulty level names as in Marathon, Kindergarten, Easy, Normal, Major Damage, and Total Carnage, rather than the currently used Timid, Simple, Normal, Heroic, and Legendary. This was way back when the strategy guide was being written, as I saw this in a screenshot in the guide.


Apr 14, 1998
Ever since Charles S. and Forrest Cameranesi mentioned the 'setl' control sets in Marathon people have been asking who is/was the person called "Ender" at Bungie? The person had their own keyboard setup - "Ender's Set" - along with people like Jason Jones, Alex Rosenberg, Jason Regier and Robert McLees, so they must have been important? Is this a real name or an alias?

Will Craig <chill@sunset.net> points out that there was a person called Evan Vetere <pulse@indy.mvbms.com> who used the a.k.a. Ender on IRC #marathon. He maintained the "Pfhor Information Database", a who's who in the Marathon world. All gone now unless you know a certain page. But is this the same Ender? Unlikely since his name doesn't feature in any of the games' or manuals' credits.

On the same subject Matt Keleher <Phaserbeam@aol.com> writes:

In one of the April 5th entries in the Whats New section, someone wrote in concerning something about the keyboard setups of various people. He also said he didn't know who "Ender" was, as he apparently has his own layout. Knowing an answer to this, Ender is a character in a Science Fiction Book called "Ender's Game", which has a few similarities to Marathon (hollowed out astroids, unstoppable alien invaders, and one person who kills the aliens).

Yes! Ender is a popular sci-fi character but who was using that name at Bungie and why not their real name? Another mystery perhaps?


Todd Proctor <tproctop@dcscomp.com.au> writes:

I don't think anyone else has pointed this out before, but it's that damn obvious it's not funny, so someone probably has and I haven't noticed it.

Marathon one has 26 solo levels, and how many miles are there in a marathon? yes, 26.

Yup, which fits in with the fact that the creator type for the Marathon series is 26.2, the same number of miles in a Marathon, first mentioned by Dan Rudolph <rudolph.family@mcleod.net> back in Oct 3, 1996. :-)


Strange voices? Anthony Bathgate <bathgate@bellatlantic.net> writes:

I discoved a little secret in the Marathon 2 menu music. Immediately after the seemingly garbled voice says that "MarathonMarathon" thing the second time you hear a tiny voice only if you have stereo sound turned on, ambient sounds turned on and headphones plugged into your ears. It says fairly quickly "I'm with you all the way Bob" I think this may be a decent quote if you cold talk in the game. I couldn't think of anyone else to tell because you have the website documenting the strange things.It does not show up on anything other then headphones. I simply discoved it by forgetting to unplug my headphones from the computer and my ears from a music preview on the web and decided to go play Marathon 2. All of the sudden I get this blaring music in my ears and even though I usually don't do it I sit there listening to the music and looking at my prefs as well as trying to decide which map and which physics model to use. After a while I hear this "I'm with you all the way Bob" in my ear. I promptly quit Marathon and call my brother in and put the headphones on him and ask him to listen for it. He hears it to.

"I'm with you all the way Bob"? Strange stuff.


Apr 15, 1998
Ahmad Sahar <marathon@saratoga.tmnet.com.my> writes concerning his experience with Quicktime 3 and Marathon:

guess what happened? new wine in old bottles?

so i whipped out marathon music exploder and tried em again just to make sure.....schwing!

so bungie got it right, but it took apple years to get the proper midi sounds ....
o god....why, apple? all of us could have enjoyed marathon just that much more if it sounded the way it was supposed to sound.

*sigh*

The improved background music with Quicktime 3 was also confirmed by Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> who wrote:

I played through a goodly chunk of Mara 1 on Sunday with music blaring. The music sounds a lot more like that on the Mara 1 CD audio tracks. So, probably more like Bungie intended.

Simon did point out however that not everybody will probably appreciate the new sound since it does sound different.

Like a fine wine... Marathon just gets better and better with age. The latest line of fast processors and graphic cards allows Marathon to be played under conditions not even the creators could have experienced - hi res, millions of colors, stereo sound etc. at 100% with little or no drop in max fps. With time all this will be available at full screen. Go on relive the experience... you know you deserve it! :-)


A number of people have written in about the mystery background voice on the Marathon 2 theme track. As yet no one has confirmed Anthony Bathgate's interpretation - "I'm with you all the way Bob". Indeed the words seem to be open to wide interpretation.

Anthony Bathgate <bathgate@bellatlantic.net> points out that this line occurs at:

...the loudest point in the music track and that other comments play continuously throughout the music.


Apr 16, 1998
More Quicktime 3/Marathon music comments. Michael Park <macgamer@ohana.com> writes:

First thing about QuickTime _3_ (number 3 again! yikes!) is definitely the new music you notice with Marathon 1. I've got to admit, the guys at Apple did some serious revamping of the MIDI files, though some of the musics sound too cheesy (the Ignie Ferroque music sounds like someone's going waw all the time).

Charles S. writes

I don't think the Marathon music is supposed to sound the way it does with Quicktime 3...

I admit, the only ones I have listened to so far have been the background music on "Arrival" and "Never Burn Money" but those ones, at least, have been thoroughly mutilated in my opinion...

A few low sounds that were supposed to create an eerie effect are replaced with weird high-pitched sounds in the first few notes of the song in Arrival... several notes in Arrival I did not hear... in Never Burn Money, some of the high notes seem to be an octave lower than they should be for some weird reason, and the ratio of the loudness of the upper to lower notes seems much less than the old one did, so the tune just doesn't stand out as much! Also, in both songs, the music seemed less smooth...

I guess this is what happens when you depend on an external source for your sounds instead of putting them in the application. I am really disappointed with the new music, but I'm not sure that I want to give up QuickTime 3 just to have decent Marathon music, though. However, I do have an old installer of QT 2.5 around in case I need it...


Apr 18, 1998
Ryan Gould <rgould@home.com> writes:

did anyone ever figure out what

ekqx djpw ciov bhnu agmtr fmls
or
ekqx djpw ciov bhnu agmtr f ls

means on the marathon 2 cd?

if you look at the included picture (57K), it just seems kinda odd. don't you think that they could have done it differently if they wanted to?

Interesting stuff. Did Bungie hide an easter egg message in their folder collage?


Apr 19, 1998
Will Craig <chill@sunset.net> writes:

On the topic of those folder indexes with the letters, try lining them in columns:

ekqx
djpw
ciov
bhnu
agmtr
f ls

Now, read them upwards. First column (excluding the F) = abcde Second column= ghijk
thirds column= lmnopq
fourth column= tuvwx

And actually, if you go further, read it up then go back down (starting from a).

abcde (then back down) fghijk (then back down) lmnopq (then start at the r in the fourth row on go down and up) rstuvwx

nothing strange really :-)

Mystery solved?


Apr 20, 1998
Kyjel Shaytolmae <kyjel@mailexcite.com> tracked down J. Reginald Dujour and asked him a few questions concerning his work on Marathon. Regarding the Marathon symbol and what it represents Reg replied:

I designed the icon to represent a world within a world... Marathon the spaceship being build inside a hollowed asteroid.

Reg went on to say that the Pfhor eggs were "incubation bubbles" and points out that:

They were suppose to be breakable but we didn't have time to but that in.


Apr 22, 1998
Charles S. writes concerning an interesting and little known trick on the Infinity level "By Committee":

If you play the level "By Committee" in Infinity, you may notice that the assimilated Bobs in one room show up as red triangles instead of green squares on your radar, and that they say "Sorry" and "My Fault" etc. instead of what they usually say. But that's not all that's wrong with them. Lure one of the cyborgs from one of the other rooms into the assimilated Bob room, run around in circles for a while, and see what happens! The cyborg will eventually hit one of the assimilated Bobs, which strangely doesn't kill them, but instead makes the A-Bobs (in the old tradition of Marathon enemies) run toward the cyborg and try to kill it. With the A-Bobs, of course, this means exploding in the cyborg's face! Kind of fun, and also an ammo-saving way to kill the cyborgs (using fists against cyborgs requires too much recharging since they keep blowing up in your face when you kill them)

Maybe these are A-Bob beta versions? They don't seem to be quite as good as the finished product (not from the Pfhor's point of view, at least)

A-Bob beta versions? Nice one. :-)


Apr 23, 1998
Matt Soell (Bungie Software) posted to the Marathon Central Discussion Forums. You can read the full post here. He makes two points.

1. The sales of Win 95 M2 were not a "complete disappointment" and were not "a factor in the decision to drop M3."

2. Bungie's Chicago office and their new West Coast office are working on two different but non-Marathon related projects.

Looks like you'll have to wait for E3 to find out what these are.


May 1, 1998
The following is an interesting post from Jason Regier (Bungie Software) on alt.games.marathon. Apparently Eric Klein (Bungie Software) will be talking at the Computer Game Developers' Conference on cross-platform development. Of particular interest will be cross-platform issues learnt from the Marathon series. If we can we'll bring you the transcript of Eric's speech.

From: jregier@bungie.com (Jason Regier)
Newsgroups: alt.games.marathon
Subject: Re: CGDC, Next week
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1998 10:29:05 -0500
Organization: Bungie Software
Lines: 21
Message-ID: <jregier-ya02408000R3004981029050001@news1.il.home.net>
References: <354755FE.ED78DE00@onramp.net>
NNTP-Posting-Host: 209.125.9.66
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
X-Newsreader: Yet Another NewsWatcher 2.4.0

In article <354755FE.ED78DE00@onramp.net>, John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> wrote:

> A mere mortal who will be attending the Computer Game Developers' Conference
> next week in Long Beach wonders:
> 
> Can we expect to be graced with the presence of some of the mighty-thewed
> Bungies?

We're not going to have any real official presence there, but you can go
check out Eric Klein's speech on cross-platform development for Myth and
some of the cross-platform issues we learned from the Marathon series.

Later,
Jas

----------------------
     Jason Regier
  Software Juggernaut
   Bungie Software
  jregier@bungie.com
----------------------
May 3, 1998
Todd Proctor <proctop@dcscomp.com.au> writes:

Where am I?

I'm everywhere - Through time that is.

But if you observe the Chapter screens, the player doesn't move around too much.

The Despair chapter screen shows a huge Sph't building with a lake at the bottom of it.

If we look at the Envy chapter screen, behind the player, we can see the lake and that building...

I haven't noticed anything special about the rage chapter screen except for the general architecture of the buildings.

As Todd rightly points out the Despair and Envy Chapter screens are taken from the same general area just different perspectives.


May 5, 1998
Some interesting info has come to light on that infamous site of roguery - Bungie Rumors (And no I did not place that advert on the page).

The person or people responsible for this site show quite clearly that the Infinity Chapter screens "Despair" and "Envy" came from the SAME picture. It would appear that the "Envy" chapter screen (the one with the player image) was cut from a larger version of "Despair" and then reduced in size. A case of two for the price of one... or... one for the price of two perhaps?

What ever the case it would be nice to see the full original pic.


May 6, 1998
Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com>, formerly of Bungie Software, writes concerning the 'setl' control sets - "Ender's Set" and "Gimmick's Set"- found in the Marathon Infinity app.:

"Ender" is the net play name used by Brent Schorsch; "Gimmick" is the net play name used by Michael Evans. As Apple Game Sprockets engineers, they worked on the InputSprocket support for Marathon Infinity. Brent still works on all things input-related at Apple and Michael is being tormented daily at Bungie West.


May 7, 1998
Many thanks to Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> for sending in a log of last night's IMG Chat Forum with Tuncer Deniz. If, like me, you couldn't make it you'll find it quite interesting. You can read it here.


May 8, 1998
I apologize if the following offends anyone.

Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com>, formerly of Bungie Software, reveals the tru7h behind the "TBWSAF" acronym on the bottom of the Infinity and Trilogy boxes:

When we were doing M2 for Win95, we started getting some really angry hate mail. One letter suggested that we "come out of the closet" (which explains the use of that phrase in some places). But our favorite nickname by far was "Trick B**** W**** S*** A** F******."

Well there you have it... or don't as the case may be. I was of two minds about putting this up. The string of profanities in the "TBWSAF" acronym would put even Adam "I'm comin' outta the booth!" Sandler to shame. Thus I have taken the liberty of blanking out some of the letters. Back in May 16, 1997 Matt Soell (Bungie Software) wrote:

Here's a poser for you: ever look at the bottom of any Marathon box and wonder what the letters after the product number stand for? You can probably figure out the acronyms on the Marathon and Marathon 2 boxes; I don't think anyone outside Bungie could guess the meaning of the letters on the Infinity and Trilogy Boxes. Well, maybe one person....

Hmmm... who could that one person have been?

More recently (Apr 2, 1998) Matt said:

Some things man was not meant to know.

Perhaps he was right!


Somewhat ironically Robin Balmer ("a 12-year-old-marathon-maniac") writes:

I think that thing for the naming of "Hang Brain" is a little bizzare. Sure, Bungie probably is pretty wild, but I don't think they'd name a level like that. Perhaps it means, a Brain (Durandal), hanging in the balance of life and death? I just think that scrotum thing isn't quite Bungie-like.

Well Double Aught were responsible for the level name "Hang Brain" so I suppose we can count ourselves lucky. ;-)


Matthew Payne <sfeira@pacbell.net> writes concerning the EXPLOD-A-KEY:

Found out that the self destruction cheat DOES hurt others. Killed a couple VacBOBs with it. Great when you're stuck in a corner in a net game ;)

But doesn't that kill you as well? Matthew replies:

Yes, but when you have nothing but your fists, you're backed into a corner, and your opponent has a flamethrower, it's a good thing. Basically, it's a flash of light, just like an exploding fusion pistol.


May 9, 1998
Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>, Director of Customer Support at Bungie Software, writes concerning the "TBWSAF" acronym bombshell below:

The letter in question actually made it onto an early edition of our Letters To The Webmaster page. It was the one with all the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] tags.


Ty Klein <mrenigma@earthlink.net> writes:

check out this page.

http://www.hplovecraft.com/creation/bestiary.htm

In particular,look at the entry for Azathoth.

A "monstrous nuclear chaos beyond angled space"... interesting stuff. You can find other Lovecraftian/Marathon connections in The Cthulhu Mythos in Marathon section.


Michael Park <macgamer@ohana.com> writes concerning the Marathon mystery pic (above):

what I'm thinking is that that text in the manifest says something like "U.E.S.C Live (Next Line) Marathon at Macworld San Francisco". This features a very early beta copy, so it's got to be there.

I still don't know where it appeared since I've only entered the Marathon Universe 2 years ago...

But probably an ad featured in some magazine? IMG? Macworld? MacUser?

Ooooooh... closer still! It looks like the Story page will have to reveal all sooner than expected... but not quite yet. We need the details. They can be found... they're out there...


May 11, 1998
Ric Ford's MacInTouch page has a short reader's report on the Computer Game Developers Conference. Bungie were at it. But no details on Eric Klein's talk on cross-platform issues learnt from the Marathon and Myth series. If we can we'll bring you the transcript of Eric's speech.


May 12, 1998
Christopher Powell <cpowell@ccs.carleton.ca> writes:

By pure chance I stumbled across a PBS special on the city of Copan and something twigged. A quick jaunt to the library later, I confirmed my suspicion - some members of the ancient Mayan nobility had names like "Lady Six Sky" and "18 Jog Jaguar", names that strongly resemble the Journeyman names in Myth. I had thought that Myth represented a complete break from the Pathways/Marathon Universe, but evidently there's some kind of link between the Empire of the Cath Bruig and Classic Mayan civilization of the Yucutan Peninsula and, of course, the Yucutan was where the pyramid in Pathways was located ...

Myth... Pathways... Marathon? Could it be?

For those of you not aware of the 36 Journeyman names here is a list:

One Deer Burning Skull
One Flint Puma
One Serpent Green Talon
Three Moon Jeweled Fan
Three Vulture Drum
Four Motion Skull Fan
Four Serpent Seeking Shadow
Five Heron Waiting Cactus
Five Monkey Bloody Stone
Five Obsidion Heron
Five Rabbit Fleeing Jaguar
Six Coyote Flower
Six Motion Bloody Jaguar
Six Vulture Dog Star
Seven Crocodile Rain
Seven Devil Puma
Seven Eagle Jaguar Claw
Seven Jaguar White Flower
Seven Lizard Tongue
Seven Wind Lizard
Eight Flint Deer
Eight Pride Stalking Rabbit
Nine Eagle Red Skull
Nine Serpent Bloody Sun
Nine Serpent Rising Puma
Ten Eagle Burning Stone
Ten Stone Reed
Eleven Vulture Fire Serpent
Twelve Devil Burning Wind
Twelve Eagle Falling Sun
Twelve Flint Sun Collar
Twelve Serpent Falling Eagle
Thirteen Bloody Crocodile
Thirteen Rain Jeweled Fan
Thirteen Wind Moon Stone
Fourteen Flint Moon Eagle

But what was the missing 37th Journeyman's name?


May 13, 1998
Well it had to happen! For over two years it was kept secret. Known only to the few (The Sevens) that found it.

Page2401 may still remain a mystery to many but the secret is now out and the flood gates have opened. Thus I have closed membership to The Sevens.

Page2401 was created back in Jan '96 but to find it you had to do two things.

1. find the hidden 'portal'
2. solve Durandal's little puzzle

Those who found the 'portal' were presented with the following page. Following the link there would have landed you into Durandal's little trap. Many people got this far but only a few solved the puzzle. If you can identify the song let me know. :-)

Page2401 was the first interactive web page puzzle on the net. How fitting that those who found it and solved it should have their name enshrined in the list of (The Sevens). You kept the secret well. I salute you all.

I make no excuses for the fact that Page2401 is now out of date and sadly incomplete. Time is limited. Enjoy it for what it's worth. In its time it served its purpose well.

Well one secret page gone... six more to find or was it seven? I can't exactly remember. ;-)


May 14, 1998
Both Bungie and Double Aught will be a E3. Bungie's booth is #2230. Yup you guessed it it reduces to seven! Coincidence? Don't believe me? Then check out The Plans (96K).


Bungie's web cam is back. Strangely it's still referred to as the "Bungie Hall Monitor" even though it's situated in their plush new reception area. Nice view from the window too. Bungie are moving up in the world. Watch out for those famous and not so famous faces.


May 15, 1998
Ever since the release of their famous "1984" commercial Apple have had a reputation for commissioning high quality Macintosh ads. Their current 'Think Different' campaign is no exception. As part of this highly successful campaign Apple released a movie entitled Think first, Think more, Think different. It contained clips of major brand-name software vendors (including Bill Gates) touting their products for the Mac and issuing statements of continued support for the MacOS platform... or so it seemed.


May 16, 1998
Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>, Director of Customer Support at Bungie Software, writes concerning their new offices:

Did anyone mention to you that our offices are on the seventh floor? That somehow seems important.

Seventh Floor?!!! Coincidence?


May 18, 1998
John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> writes:

I'm wondering why there is still the hidden GIF of the dead Vac-BoB on Double Aught's Infinity page. The frame is set to "SCROLLING=NO", so you can't see it unless you select "Open Frame in New Window" from Netscape's contextual pop-up. It's at:

http://www.doubleaught.com/Infinity/main.html

Even with the single page loaded, you still have to scroll all the way to the right to see it.

Mystery indeed. He's been there for some time. I guess he came outta the booth! ;-)


May 19, 1998
Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com>, formerly of Bungie Software, writes:

Bungie recently registered blam.org and blam.net with the Internic.

It clearly has something to do with the conspiracy. ;)

Yes indeed. This issue was brought up on the IMG Chat Forum with Tuncer Deniz. The infamous Kusanagi asked Tuncer the following question:

Kusanagi: QUESTION: Why did Bungie register the domain "Blam.com"?

tuncer: we registered blam? cool!

Odd stuff. Why would one so high in the echelons of Bungie not know about the registration of Blam? Was Tuncer telling the tru7h?

Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> points out that blam.org and blam.net were registered by Bungie Software, 1935 S. Halsted St. #204, Chicago back in Mar '98. Why would Bungie want to register blam.org and blam.net and keep it a secret? ;-)

blam.com is a different story altogether.

As an aside Simon notes that Alexander Seropian (CEO Bungie Software) has registered seropian.com. Make of that what you will.


May 21, 1998
Well I had the following unusual request from Bungie:

Matt Soell tells me that you recently posted our new addresses for East and West Coast offices on the Marathon Story page. We'd really be much happier if you would not make those addresses public. We already get sightseers and weirdos and weirderos as it is, without advertising... I don't suppose I could convince you to remove it?

Yes I might be persuaded with suitable inducements. ;-)

But why is this request so unusual? Well the Story page got these addresses from Bungie's own web page in the Jobs section. So anyone who wants to find them can. Go figure.

Of course to make sense of all this you just have to go to Bungie's ftp site. In the Mac section you'll find a little text file called rules.txt. Worth reading if you get the chance.


E3 is fast approaching. What are Bungie going to reveal? A game called Blam perhaps? Unlikely says Francesco Poli <bpoli@mbox.vol.it> since there is already a game with a similar name. Francesco writes:

There was another Blam, namely Blam! Machinehead, by Core Design (yes, the guys of Tomb Raider), published in 1997. It was a WEIRD game: it looked just like a well-below-average 3D shooter - unless you looked at the atmosphere, something so out I don't think anybody actually comprehended it! It centered around a strange machine, that could levitate about 5 feet off the floor. The machine, codenamed 'Vorpal Blade', was actually a nuke bomb (!) with various weapons mounted on it, including a post for the pilot. The bomb was to be delivered to Machinehead, a normal everyday worker that had injected himself with nanotechonology, rendering him a near-God (!?!), allowing him to cover the entire planet with a goo dubbed 'Machinehead Virus' and create horrendous monsters. You, as Dr. Kimberly Stride - Lara Croft's cousin :) - had to blow everything to hell, before the bomb you were sitting one decided it had taken too much abuse and blow up!

You can find out more about the game called "Blam! Machinehead" from the following sites.

http://www.mds.mdh.se/~eko93pjn/reviews/blam.htm

http://www.hyper-world.com/hyper-world/labarticles/blamhead.html

http://binky.paragon.co.uk/reviews/PlayStation_rv/BlamMHead.rv.html


Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com> pointed out yesterday that "Blam" is one of Rob McLees' favorite exclamations. Interesting to note that one of Roy Lichtenstein's famous 'cartoon' paintings is entitled Blam.


Max Lieberman <Lieb6@aol.com> writes concerning Aaron Freed's comments yesterday concerning Durandal and the "Hitch Hikers Guide to Galaxy" character Ford Prefect:

Regarding the parallels between Durandal and Ford, though... I think they're limited to both characters having a bitter and sarcastic streak in them. Durandal's actions are always characterised (well, usually anyway) by benevolence cloaked in malisciousness, while Ford's are generally dedicated to the ultimate goal of getting a drink.

Well some people drink to escape. ;-)


May 20, 1998
Alex Rosenberg <alexr@goonsquad.spies.com> writes again concerning Bungie's recent registration of "Blam":

Note that Bungie registered serendia.com on behalf of Eric Klein (actually his wife Anne). Since "Blam" is one of Rob McLees' favorite exclamations, it may well be a personal registration. Of course, "Blam" would be a reasonably good name for a game as well.

Yes indeed... a good name for a game.

Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> dug deep and came up with the pfhat on Bungie's Domain name registration dealings. You can read it here. Some interesting points - Bungie registered bungie.com back in June 13th 1995 and bungie.net in Apr 22nd 1997.


Bungie's new address in Chicago is:

Address removed by request. Sorry.

Like Matt Soell said they're on the 7th floor. One wonders if this was deliberate. ;-)

Bungie West's address is:

Address removed by request. Sorry.

1150 eh?


Concerning the first terminal on "Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones..." where Durandal says:

By the way, I had an accident with some defense drones while
you were away. You might bump into a few of them here. Don't
worry, they're mostly harmless; I don't think I gave them any
ammunition for those grenade launchers.

Aaron Freed <aaron@packet.net> writes:

"Mostly harmless." Yet another Hitchhiker's reference by Bungie perhaps? ("Mostly harmless" was the article Ford Prefect worked on for about twenty years while on Earth, and if you think about it there may be a few lines that could be drawn between Ford Prefect and Durandal.)


May 22, 1998
After round the clock negotiations concerning the unofficial publication of Bungie's office address Jim Ruiz <jim@bungie.com> (Bungie Software) finally writes:

If you decide to exercise your freedom of speech and post it anyway, we'd appreciate you mentioning that we never give tours, don't encourage visitors and keep our automated security system armed and activated. =)

Yes we had heard rumors of Bungie's automated security system (ASS). So next time you decide to pay a visit be warned - Bungie's ASS is armed and activated. ;-)


May 23, 1998
Bungie announces Myth II: Soulblighter. No big surprise really. Indeed the announcement follows the same pattern as Marathon 2 - foregoing a planned scenario pack and devoting their time to a full fledged sequel.

More intriguing is the following news from Bungie's recent Newsletter, vol. 2, 5/22/98. At Bungie's booth #2230 at E3:

...there will be video of the never-before-announced project Bungie West Studios has been working on for the past year. Though this game is neither a first-person shooter nor a real-time strategy game, like Myth, it will change the way people think about the boundaries of game genres.


Scott Wernham <garscow@ihug.co.nz> writes:

I was looking round the Double Aught site for the first time in a while and noticed that befor you click on the Games link it comes up saying the link is ...---... ...---... ...---... From memory this is morse code for S.O.S. what does this sugest?
Double Aught needs help? Are they stuck making Duality? Who is this aimed at? Also there are a total of 27 full stops and dashes.

Odd stuff indeed. First rule when dealing with Double Aught - never take anything at face value. They make the Mysterons look like puppets! ;-)


Jamie Poitra <jpotira@up.edu> asks "does Apple like the #7?". Jamie continues:

Several readers confirmed that the new Apple PowerMac G3s (May 1998 production) now have master/slave EIDE drive capability, allowing more than one IDE drive on the internal bus. The new PowerMacs also ship with the ATI Rage Pro graphics accelerators and a new revision of Mac OS 8.1, which includes System Enabler 777 (1.0), a new CD-ROM/DVD-ROM driver extension, LocalTalk 1.1, and a newer Iomega Driver (v6.0). (The new computers, however, do not come with the new updated G3 Ethernet 2.04 driver, which address performance and reliability issues.)

Note the sytem enabler 777. Check www.macnn.com for the whole story.


May 24, 1998
Chad Poland <cgp@doubleaught.com> of Double Aught Software writes concerning Scott Wernham's SOS comments below:

Let me first just say that DA and Duality are doing just fine.

Duality is moving along at a very nice rate. In fact, we've come so far that we will be previewing _both_ the mac and pc versions at E3. If any Story Page readers happen to be at E3, please let them know to please stop by Booth #760 and say hello. The whole gang will be there and we'll even be dressed decently. If they like, they can help us cover the town of Atlanta in Duality stickers. :)

Duality Stickers eh? With bar codes?


Ajay Ayyagari <nirvana@halcyon.com> writes:

on your webpage you said something about one of the new screenshots not being plainly evident...well i think it's one of the of two sandbox (or whatever the editor is called) ones because i remember seeing one a few days ago that didn't have any palettes in it. now both pictures have palettes in them.

Yes indeed. Screenshot 8 is new. Though it may not be all that obvious. :-)


Scott Jaeger <pablo@izzy.net> writes:

Well..this comes 2 days after you are asked to remove the addressess from your site:

The Bungie newsletter comes out, sent to anyone who puts in their email address at bungie.com. Assume that this is a good amount of people, due to myth's popularity.

At the end of the letter is:

>Bungie has moved!
>our new address is:
>Bungie Software
>350 W Ontario, 7th Floor
>Chicago, IL 60610
>Tel: 312 397 0500
>Fax: 312 397 0502

Looks like they don't care about disclosing the address to Bungie fans themselves ;)

Although it may just have been Alex S.'s signature, since he was the one that sent it.


May 26, 1998
Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

Here is another similarity between Marathon 2 and Myth II:

Marathon 2: Durandal
Myth II: Soulblighter

Both of them are named after prominent characters in the originals -- characters who survive in the end.

And just as Durandal was a central character in Marathon 2, Bungie promises that Soulblighter will be a central character in Myth II.

Yet more:

Marathon 2 implements some things that Bungie didn't have time for in making Marathon 1, like liquids -- and Myth II promises to implement several things that did not make it into the original Myth. According to some articles in Game Developer magazine that had been scanned and posted at some Myth site, Bungie had been working on both fire and ambient life forms (in Marathon: ticks, potatoanuses, etc.), but they had had problems with both, and thus decided to put them aside in order to get Myth out of the door. And Bungie now promises to have both in Myth II.

They had decided to implement fire as 3D particles; however, a burning landscape produced so many of them that it loaded down the renderer.

One of their programmers had implemented one ambient life form -- a giant squirrel who nuzzles the player's characters. However, that proved to be more of an annoyance than anything else, and they set that aside.

However, Bungie may have solved these problems by now.

A seven foot giant squirrel?!!! What ever next? ;-)

Staying on the Marathon/Myth theme Nontoxic's new Myth story section "Legends and Lore" (formerly The Journal of the Legion), maintained by Avi Selk, Josh Clarke and the mysterious B|ak, draws an interesting parallel between the ending of Marathon 2 and Myth. In the final terminal of Marathon 2 Durandal says:

There is much to do in the next few months
and our first stop will be another ruined
world, this time far from the galactic
core. There is a rogue star that has been
passing through our galaxy for nearly a
millennia.

We will meet it in one of the great voids
between the spiral arms.

The "Legends and Lore" page points out that this is similiar to the comet in Myth which has a cycle of one thousand years and each time it passes, the planet's dominate force is overthrown.

And let us not forget the comments made on the Story page back in Sept 15, 1997 concerning Pathways Into Darkness and solving "the riddles of a thousand years" and saving humanity. Well we saved humanity but how many people solved the riddles?


May 27, 1998
More Marathon/Myth connections? Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

Another Myth-Marathon connection I just noticed: Myth takes place in the middle of the millenium about to end (that is, around 1500). What takes place in the Bungie universe in the middle of the next millenium (around 2500)? Well, Marathon takes place in the 2700s, and the last we knew of Earth was when the Marathon was launched 300 years before (around 2400), so what's been happening down there since? Or, as in my other theory, perhaps The Leveler was a Jjaro, and he is somehow behind the events in the Marathon trilogy (remember, "JJARO WERE AT TAU CETI!!")

Other theory? Forrest explains:

I've noticed a certain correlation between Myth and Marathon: balance. In Marathon, the Jjaro and one of their AI Thoth were obsessed with balance. Thoth helped the humans against the Pfhor, then turned and helped the Pfhor against the humans (to little avail, as they simply ignored him). They fought off the W'rkncacnter, a mysterious race of chaos being who destroyed all they came into contact with (chaos is the opposite or order and balance, of course). The Head, as has been pointed out before, seems to help the Light and then betray them to the Dark. It sent them after the Codex, and surprisingly somehow The Watcher was looking for it there at the same time. It [supposedly] sent the Deceiver after the Watcher's arm, and as soon as he finally finds it The Head tells the forces of the Light about it. When Alric is sent to retrieve the magical suit or armor in the Barrier, The Deceiver is there looking for it too. And then there's the whole flipping coin metaphor from the manual, the whole deal with Connacht and Balor, etc.

And there are many unanswered questions. Where did Alric get that Eblis stone? Who was the Head? Why could Connacht defeat the Mrykridia when no other man could? What happened to Connacht at the end of the Wind Age? How did Balor manage to overcome an empire half the size of the known continent, and sack a city filled with powerfull avatara and their guards, using only a neverending legion on undead? A single dispersal dream could take out said legion if they were marching in ranks "speading to the horizon", as the manual tells us. And perhaps most importanly, what lies east of Edge of All, beyond the known continent, in the lands where Connacht/Balor arose?

And to go even further into my delusion: what if the Myrkridia were the W'rkncacnter, and The Leveler was a Jjaro? After all, in Marathon the Jjaro were the only ones to successfully win a battle with the W'rkncacnter, just as Connacht was the only one to succesfully win a battle with the Myrkridia. Yrro, the Jjaro at Lh'owon, created the S'pht and defended their world against the W'rkncacnter, but when the S'pht turned on themselved (the Clan Wars) he abandoned them and ignored them while they were conquered by the Pfhor, under whom they were united against a common enemy. Perhaps The Leveler created all the humanoids in the Myth world (humans, dwarves, fir'bolg, avatara), and later defended them against the Myrkridia, only to leave when they started fighting each other, and later reunited them against a common enemy, the undead.

Interesting stuff.


May 29, 1998
Speculation is rife about Bungie West's new game revealed at E3. A 3D "full-contact" fighting game, codenamed "Oni". Allegedly the main character is female. Lara Croft on steroids? The word "Oni" is in fact taken from Japanese culture.

The Japanese Oni appears in legends, children's stories and proverbs as a horned, fearsome being and is usually translated into English as "demon", "devil" or "ogre", but, in fact, the Oni's true nature is much more complex and ambivalent. The Oni has two conflicting faces, the demonic face of the "destroyer" and the godlike, beneficent face of the "protector".

There is a well-known Japanese saying: "Oni ni kana-bo" translated literally as "Oni with an iron rod".

A case of "Ingue Ferroque" perhaps? ;-)


May 30, 1998
Graham Benedict <mark.benedict@snet.net> writes:

In reply to your speculations that maybe the version of Marathon 2 that will be offered with the Jim Ruiz Anniversary Sale will be updated, I went right to the source. Jim Ruiz had this to say...

"BTW, tell Hamish it's the same old tired version as before =)"

Oh well, I guess we'll still be playing the original. Wait a sec... what does he mean by "tired"?

No... no... Jim was referring to himself. He's getting old you know! ;-)

Seriously though the fact that Mac Marathoners still can't play the updated Win95 M2 levels is a bit sad. Of course you could always buy a PC or run M2 under emulation. But that's not the Mac way!

The sudden reappearance of Marathon 2 for the Macintosh raises the question "where did they all come from?" Afterall the Mac version was allegedly out-of-print wasn't it?


June 1, 1998
Santiago Pereson <yaco@ad.com.ar> writes:

while browsing www.bungie.com i saw this:

"never-released Bungie maps"

in the text about the Trilogy Box...

i have the trilogy box, but never found those maps (or never knew they were made by bungie if i did!

do you know to which maps they refer?

Good question. Only Bungie knows what happened to the unreleased Bungie maps. Will they ever be released?


June 2, 1998
Cindy Hoffa <cynho@earthlink.net> points out that there is an interesting interview with Doug Zartman (PA at Bungie Software) in this month's Apple Wizard's magazine (Vol 2, Issue 1). Part of the interview goes as follows:

AK: What are your plans for your older, successful games such as the Marathon trilogy? Might we see a new Marathon game or possibly updated versions with TCP/IP support? How about for Pathways Into Darkness?

DZ: It's very unlikely we would go back to modify any games we have out there. It would be much easier to re-write Marathon from scratch with TCP/IP than it would be to stick TCP in the current code and make it work - it just wasn't built for TCP/IP. It's possible we might make a new Marathon, years down the road, out of nostalgia, but we have no plans for another first-person shooter any time soon.


June 6, 1998
Nic Carrott <dcarrott@netport.com> writes:

I was stumbling around the Bungie website when I saw this next to Marathon Infinity in their Products site:

"The third and final installment of the Marathon Series. Blast away at the Pfhor while trying to piece together the clues that will unlock the secret of your own existence."

Is this implying that Infinity has all the answers to the Story's questions?

Yes we just have to piece them together.

Interesting to note that this blurb for Infinity is relatively new since it now states:

"The third and final installment..."

Well that's it I guess.

The new Marathon 2 and Marathon blurbs are as follows:

The mad AI Durandal spirits you to Lh'owon, the homeworld of the S'pht, where you must once again battle the Pfhor and search for the secrets of the mysterious Jjaro.

The game that started it all. You must battle to save the colony ship Marathon from a race of interstellar slavers...and an artificial intelligence named Durandal who's gone slightly mad.

Slightly mad eh! ;-)

And lastly here is the slightly tongue-in-cheek blurb for Pathways Into Darkness:

Trudge through twenty-five levels of an otherworldly pyramid, battle bizarre monsters and solve tricky puzzles, and destroy the dreaming alien god at the bottom before he wakes up and destroys you

"Trudge through..." well that's one way of describing it. ;-)


June 8, 1998
Graham Benedict <mark.benedict@snet.net> writes:

I should note that in the order form that Jim sent me, the blurbs for the Marathon games are completely different than the ones that you posted on the story page, and any others I have ever seen before. And they go...

Marathon
The Beginning of it all! The original 3D texture mapped shooter tha's won all the awards. Leela, Durandal, Tycho... they're all here! CD also contains a physics model editor, map, editor, texture installer, and other supplements.

Marathon 2: Durandal (PC)
Part two of the Marathon saga. 40 levels, the double-barreled shotgun, ThunderDome! Marathon 2 includes netgame scenarios like King of the Hill that require more strategy and cunning that the usual multiplayer shootout.

Marathon Infinity
The conlusion of the Marathon saga. 57 levels, the Marathon 2 Hint Book and tons o' fun! Also includes Forge, out own powerful Map Editor, and Anvil, a single tool for easy modification of shapes, sounds and physics models.

Have these ever been seen anywhere else? Or were they only used for this one order form?

What order form is this? Graham explains:

In a recent order form released by Bungie, all three Marathon games were offered as single purchases. An interesting observation is that Bungie is offering Marathon and Marathon Infinity for the Mac, but the Mac version of Marathon 2 is not shown, or offered. Just the PC version. Strange stuff indeed. A possible connection to the Jim Ruiz Anniversery sale?

Well for a long time Marathon 2 (for the Macintosh) was out-of-print or at least it was claimed to be. For some reason it has become available again. Possible something to do with the recent Bungie move and the cleaning out of warehouse ninety six.


June 9, 1998
Finn Smith <finn_smith@brown.edu>, maintainer of 3D Macintosh Games, writes:

Echoes of H. P. Lovecraft's work have been traced throughout Marathon's story, so it is interesting to note Double Aught continuing the trend in Duality. In the Duality press package I received in the mail today (brochure and stickers) I found this text particularly interesting:

"There is a prophecy as old as the ruined cities about an Enemy hidden deep within the planet. You have one chance to discover the last remnant of the ancient Builders and the evil that destroyed them long ago."

This sounds remarkably similar to the Lovecraft story "The Shadow Out of Time" in which the narrator discovers something called "the Great Race", intelligent beings that had a civilization on Earth several hundred million years in the past. They too were fearful of an evil deep within the planet, keeping a large military to guard the heavily fastened trapdoors that led down to the depths beneath their cities. And that evil eventually escaped to destroy their civilization, only to be rediscovered by the narrator in present times.

The brochure also mentions "eldritch devices". Eldritch was a favorite word of Lovecraft's. It appears several times throughout his work.

Duality press package eh?

And let us not forget Philip K. Dick's sci-fi classic "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch" - a psychedelic-fueled science-fiction trip.


June 10, 1998
Fred Richards <73521.3544@compuserve.com> writes concerning another similarity between Marathon and Myth:

In the last level of Bungie's kick ass game Myth: The Fallen Lords, Balor's head; when you approach a river which has several nastys on the other side states "I have a bad feeling about this."

So Balor was a Bob! ;-)


Charles S. writes concerning the Marathon references in Ambrosia Software's games:

It should also be noted that in Mars Rising, you have a gun that is similar to the Fusion Pistol. You can shoot normal shots using the trigger, but hold it down, and you can fire a bolt that does much more damage. But don't hold it down too long, or it starts beeping, and if you don't let go soon, you know what happens......

In Escape Velocity, the aliens do look like Pfhor ships. What's more is that the story sounds like Marathon 2 story as well. The mysterious aliens want to invade Earth, and they seem invincible, but the humans beat them, and in the end they are extinct... Unfortunately, EV doesn't tell too much of that story, but it does seem similar.


June 11, 1998
Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes concerning the similarities between Marathon and Myth:

Actually, it's a Berzerk who says that (according to the artsound.gor file. Another sound on that level is an archer saying "who decided we should go this way?"). So, Bobs are of Scottish descent.

On the same theme Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

I believe that one of the dwarfs (the dwarfs carry Balor's head) actually says "I have a feeling about this.

Another similarity between Marathon & Myth are the wights and simulacrums. They both explode when they get close to you, and have no other attack. Perhaps when proper Myth editor comes out we'll be able to see if they have the same explosion activation range ;)

And it goes on... Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> also writes:

The person saying this is actually one of the berserks! Using "The Fallen Sounds" program to examine the sounds in Myth, that particular sound segment (25ig) is identified as berserk. Balor's head and the joke about 'not listening to anything the head says' is just that, a joke.

Thanks to the dozen or so others who sent in comments regarding the mysterious Myth Bob head sound.


Nic Carrott <dcarrott@netport.com> writes concerning the Marathon references in Ambrosia Software's game Escape Velocity:

In the game Escape Velocity, there is a system called Tau Ceti. And in that system is a planet called Tau Ceti.

And when you land on that planet, there is a description about that planet, and it reads:

"Tau Ceti IV was first visited by the colony ship Marathon."


June 12, 1998
Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

As was pointed out in your Marathon story page, it appears as if the creators of Marathon Infinity and Duality are fans of Howard Phillips Lovecraft's work. I am not very familiar with it, and I've never had much interest in it, but I've done a web search, and here is a comprehensive site on his work:
http://www.hplovecraft.com
There are numerous other Lovecraft sites; look under names like "Cthulhu" and "Necronomicon".

I note that there appear to be H.P. Lovecraft fans at id Software also; at the end of Quake's solo scenario, one confronts a big monster called "Shub-Niggurath" -- a Lovecraft character ("The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young").


June 13, 1998
Jim Ruiz <jim@bungie.com> (Bungie Software) reveals the tru7h behind his Anniversary Special and the sudden reappearance of Marathon 2 for the Macintosh. Jim writes:

You mention in your Story pages that we were once out of M2/Mac, and now we're offering it with the Anniversary Special... We ARE still out of stock (probably forever, due to the Trilogy), so we're using OEM disks to fill those orders.

So there you have it.


Paul Browne <pabs@netmatters.co.uk> writes:

In the classic Sci-Fi film 'It, The Terror From Beyond Space' one of the characters utters the imortal line "What about Bob?" after one of them gets stranded below decks with the rampaging alien.


Thanks to Baba Yaga's Duality Lies and Rumors page for this link to a Gamecenter.com interview with Greg Kirkpatrick of Double Aught Software. The interview provides some information about their new game Duality, including a few story details and the following interesting tidbit:

Interaction with NPCs will mainly be necessary to gain information and inventory items to solve puzzles.

Fans of Pathways Into Darkness will be familiar with this concept. In Pathways you had to speak to the dead to gain information and inventory items to solve puzzles. Indeed the richness of the Pathways' story could only be fully appreciated after long and detailed conversations with the dead. The full Pathways Into Darkness Story has yet to be revealed. But what of Duality... will the player be able to speak to non player characters (NPCs)? Well the Gamecenter.com interview offers the following clue:

There will be a few surprises. Because the main character is an unworldly creation, he will have some inhuman characteristics, which will have a significant effect on the gameplay. For instance, your mute alter ego will be able to jump multiple building stories and fall great distances.

Only you can survive the fall... but I digress. If your Duality character is "mute" how do you converse with NPC's in the game? Sign language? Written instructions? Or perhaps the most obvious of ways! The player simply listens before delivering the coup de gråce. After all the only good alien is a dead one... right? ;-)


June 16, 1998
Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

There's some information (along with a QT Movie of the E3 trailer and some sketches of what could be the weapons in Oni) at http://www.okita.com/. It should be interesting to note that in the second last "fighting" scene there's a lot of Marathon symbols on the walls and what seem to be stacks of boxes. These are probably just placeholder textures, or maybe the game takes place on Mars/Earth before the Marathon's launch.

PS It appears that Alex Okita uses caps-lock as his run key, shame on him :p

Thanks Mihai we've got Alex marked and documented. There can be no escape!


June 17, 1998
Marathon symbols from the movie trailer of Bungie West's new game Oni. Is Konoko a cyborg?


June 18, 1998
A closer examination of the Oni trailer reveals numerous background images. One such image is the following Jjaro-like symbol with accompanying text. The distinctive slanted two-ring motif appears frequently near the beginning of the film.

Terminals in Oni perhaps?


June 19, 1998
Pirjo Halinen <pipsa@netlife.fi> sends in an interesting find from the Stanley Kubrick movie "Full Metal Jacket". Readers will already be aware of the references to Kubrick's "2001" and "Dr. Strangelove" in Marathon. Pirjo points out that in one scene of "Full Metal Jacket" there is a humorous discussion on the 'duality of man'. See film transcript below. There is also the line "whose side are you on" which is said by Infinity VacBobs.


COLONEL
Marine, what is that button on your body
armor?

JOKER
A peace symbol, sir.

COLONEL
Where'd you get it?

JOKER
I don't remember, sir.

COLONEL
What is that you've got written on your
helmet?

JOKER
"Born to Kill," sir.

COLONEL
You write "Born to Kill" on your helmet and
you wear a peace button. What's that
supposed to be, some kind of sick joke?!

JOKER
No, sir.

COLONEL
You'd better get your head and your ass wired
together, or I will take a giant shit on you!

JOKER
Yes, sir.

COLONEL
Now answer my question or you'll be standing
tall before the man.

JOKER
I think I was trying to suggest something
about the duality of man, sir.

COLONEL
The what?

JOKER
The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.

COLONEL
Whose side are you on, son?

JOKER
Our side, sir.

COLONEL
Don't you love your country?

JOKER
Yes, sir.


COLONEL
Then how about getting with the program?
Why don't you jump on the team and come
on in for the big win?

JOKER
Yes, sir!

COLONEL
Son, all I've ever asked of my marines is that
they obey my orders as they would the word
of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese,
because inside every gook there is an
American trying to get out. It's a hardball
world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until
this peace craze blows over.

JOKER
Aye-aye, sir.


Well the Oni trailer has been pulled but Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> sends in a walk-through (with his comments) of the entire film.

Interesting things, as I flip through that Oni trailer frame-by-frame:

In the very beginning, there's a woman (Kokono?) who is apparently naked, but with mechanical areas on her. And she's dangling from some wires or rope. The first thing that occurred to me when I saw this was that she was a cyborg.

First off, the name "Oni". I heard somewhere that this is a Chinese (Japanese?) deity. In the end of Infinity, it is revealed that the Player is "Destiny" (I doubt that's his name), implying that he has some cosmic signifigance, a god of sorts.

See the What's New section (May 29, 1998) for details on the Japanese name "Oni". [helpful Hamish]

After the scene where her silhouette is sliding across a city skyline, there's some fly-through of a big green techo-sphere with a spinning logo (the Oni logo). Upon closer inspection, you can see number and letters flying across the screen, in the same shade of green and very translucent so it's hard to tell.

During the entire movie is a little Bungie logo in the bottom-right corner (just a watermark, probably).

After that green scene above, as she's running across rooftops, there's the slanted two-ring symbol fading in and out and the rings alternating red and black. As she jump across a beam and the camera flies through it, you can see there are also word around it (as you already pointed out). Also, as it fades from one view to another you can see the words as well (I think this is the shot you posted on your page).

Yup. [helpful Hamish]

At the end of the rooftops scene, she jumps off (and how many humans do you know who casually jump off rooftops like that?).

Shortly after the rooftop scene, right after she jumps down the stairs and kicks that guy, there's what appears to be a computer aiming device from a view over Kokono's shoulder. This might just be part of the game, or maybe not.

Right after that, as she's standing by some rail, there's another symbol superimposed, but this time one I don't recognise. It looks almost like an eye.

Every now and then the screen goes pure white for one frame, and you can easily see the Bungie logo there. The first time this happens is right as she lands from her jump off the rail.

In the ensuing fight scene, there's a little bluish symbol flashing in the bottom-right corner. Also, how can a little girl like that beat (and more impressively, throw) such huge beefy guys like that? More evidence toward the cyborg theory.

In the second part of that scene, after another white flash, you can see yellow Marathon logos on the wall opposite the camera. Also, the blue symbol changes to some multi-colored bar array. Odd.

In these next few fight scenes, you can see that the armed guys attacking her have "TCTF" on their uniforms. Our wonder woman also has TCTF on the front of her outfit. Why is one group attacking a member of itself?

At one point in the second fight scene, as she flips over over guy, a red Marathon-like symbol flashes over the screen.

As the troopers come through the garage door in fight scene three, there's a box and a quarter-circle in the bottom right. That looks vaguely familiar, but I can't recally where from (It's as if from an old dream... ;] )

Immediately after that, a flashing line drawing of what could either be a cyborg or any generic heavily-armored guy slides across the screen. And toward the end of that, some white-ish, pixelated, super-dude is seen kicking ass. Hrm, I wonder...

After that, Kokono runs up some stairs, and then some more guys come in through some doors. Superimposed over this is another symbol.

A ways into that scene, there's one a view past two troopers just standing there, with one kneeling. The kneeler fires a weapon, and a sketch of a wormhole/whirlpool thing appears where the projectilve would have hit the camera. Then another white flash, but this one's different. As the flash hits, the whirlpool thing shows through it. Nothing shows through any of the other ones.

Then there's a brief showing of a sketch of a leg with some ammo twirled around it. The sketch slides down and we can see further. It's our supergirl! She looks buff. But she's got bed-head.

In the next mini-scene, as the camera orbits around some box (on a rooftop?), there's a ghost-like figure sneaking around. As the camera orbits further, we can see that the "box" is actually a building, and that figure was twice as tall! Or maybe it was just a superimposed image.

Next is a fly-through of a wireframe building. Probably just to show the level in full, unrendered glory. But as the camera sweeps around, that little whirlpool appears in the bottom-left corner again, a white flash, and then it fades to the same view, but fully rendered this time, with a sketch of somethingorother imposed over that.

More wireframe fly-throughs, which then fade to a solid view again. A white flash. Hey, there's that whirlpool again! But this time, you can see it a little clearer. It's not a whirlpool, it's some kind of machine with a glowing light in the center. The above-mentioned "marathon-like" symbol and the one that looked vaguely familiar to me, I now see to be symbols of this machine. There's something above it, rotating, though I can't tell what. The view fades to some troopers attacking our heroine (sp?), and the machine dissappears. (you cna barely make out some Marathon symbols on the stack of boxes she jumps behind).

In this next fight scene you can clearly see Marathon symbols on the boxes. That's just too suspicious for me, why would they put Marathon symbols on the boxes FPO when they could just use a flat surface, some generic symbol, or the Oni symbol as seen at the beginning?

As Koko jumps off a stack of boxes, there's a red machine-like symbol in the top-right. I think this might be the same machine. It must play some important role.

Next, there's some troopers firing guns, and Kokono's image translucently imposed over the scene, like a ghost. Is there some symbolism to this, or just a cool effect?

Then, there's another superimposition of a sketch of Koko, or someone who looks like her. And then another one...

More guns firing...

Kokono shoots the camera....

THE END

June 20, 1998
Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes concerning the Oni trailer:

I believe that most of the overlays that show up in the Oni video are the actual interface of the game. The multicolored circular thing could be a health gauge, and also when Konoko is preparing to attack, and switching weapons you can see them translucently superimposed on the screen (a la Turok: the Dinosaur hunter). This would not only look cool, but it would also make a lot of sense if Konoko was a cyborg (or had some kind of implant). After all the Marathon interface doesn't really look like the HUD that it's supposed to be.


John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> writes concerning the Marathon-like symbol on the Kalashnikov site found by Bradley Attfield a few days ago:

The Kalashnikov logo is pretty close, but did you see the AK site's proffered "link GIF"? Check out the bottom of the page. The vector-line AK with cartridges looks suspiciously like... well, you know.

Yes indeed... very similar to Marathon's weapon inventory display.


Michiel Buisman <duality@total.gameaholic.com>, maintainer of that esoteric Duality gaming site, writes:

The name "Hfarl", the ship you boarded in "requiem for a cyborg" and Blake used to get away (M2 final screen) is derived from the 1986 movie "the Three Amigos".

In this film, a magic chant must be called near a singing bush, in order to summon the invisible warrior. Steve Martin says the undieing words: "farly farly Farly Farly FARLY!....Hfarrrrl!".

Steve pronounces Hfarl with a very loose "H", sharp "fa" (as in fart) and a long "rrrrr", in the back of the throat. the "L" is a finish of the "rrr", gradually moving the tongue from the back of the mouth to the upper teeth.

This is what it sounds like. I have no access to the script, I'm sorry to say. He has a certain way of making up funny/strange words that is not unlike Pfhor.

In "the man with two brains" he loves a brain-in-a-jar, called uhuhhhmehlmahheih. He's called dr. H'far'rh.

Odd stuff.


Rob Schultz <silver@mail.gower.net> sends in this little tidbit which is bound to bring a smile to your face. Rob writes:

With recent influence from a popular show on TV, I think this was bound to happen at some point. And if it already has, well, here's my version. Enjoy.

Thanks Rob... or is it Bob? ;-)


June 22, 1998
Martin Thorne <mhornet@hotmail.com> writes:

Upon opening a new game in PiD, the following message appears in the message window of the game:

PATHWAYS INTO DARKNESS
(c) 1993 Bungie Software Products Corporation
(c) 1993 Convergent Series, Incorporated
Programming by Jason Jones...
etc.

So where does Convergent Series, Incorporated come from? No mention of it is made anywhere on the box or the manual, and the disks mention something about licensors on the label but nothing very specific.


Interesting stuff. If anyone knows what Convergent Series, Incorporated is/was please let the Story page know. Thanks.


Thanks to Jim Head <jhead@mail.usyd.edu.au> for pointing out that Mac Gamer's Ledge have posted some more E3 pics. One is of the Double Aught crew. You can see it here. Put a name to that face!


June 24, 1998
David Menendez <zednenem@psu.edu> writes:

I haven't had a chance to see the Oni video, but based on the comments I've read here and elsewhere, I'm reminded strongly of the anime film Ghost in the Shell (available in the US from Manga Video). The main character there is a full-replacement cyborg (ie, only the brain is human) who is beginning to have doubts about her humanity. There are several parallels one could draw with Oni and Marathon, but then parallels are easy to draw. It's determining their significance that's hard.

The video also helps explain why Marathon was so late. Look how much trouble it is to get Marathon boxes!


June 25, 1998
Liam Doughty <supercobra@geocities.com> writes:

In a recent episode of Mad About You (read: old, I live in Australia:), there was a song. One line caught my attention, "from Marathon to Waterloo" (?Arrival to Waterloo Waterpark). Unfortunately I didn't listen to the rest of the song :(

If anyone has any details on this please pass them on to the Story page. Many thanks.


June 26, 1998
Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> and Nick Roemer <stompbox@wolfenet.com> both write to say that the line "From Marathon to Waterloo..." comes from the song "I Am The Very Model of a Modern Major-General". The song features in Gilbert and Sullivan's Opera "The Pirates of Penzance". The first part of the song goes as follows:

I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

Simon sent in the following URL

http://math.idbsu.edu/gas/pirates/html/p13.html

if you want to read the full lyrics.

Nick points out that the opera has been made into various movies, as well, the best of which being the one with the same name as the play, starring Kevin Kline, Linda Ronstadt, Angela Lansbury, and others.

The question of course is whether the song line "From Marathon to Waterloo..." has anything to do with the naming of Waterloo Waterpark, the first level of Marathon 2?


June 27, 1998
A source who wishes to remain anonymous writes:

I have something for you regarding the Oni/ Ghost in the Shell connection if you are interested. It's an image of the cover of issue 4 of the GitS manga that looks remarkably like the opening image of the Oni trailer. The image is Major Kusanagi. As I said, it's the original cover image to issue 4 of the manga. The character is a cyborg police officer. Sounds familiar. There is other info on the web. There are some significant parallels with the Infinity story. But you didn't get it from me!

You can see the cover of issue 4 of the Ghost in the Shell manga along with the opening image of the Oni trailor here.


July 2, 1998
Michael Trinder <mpbt100@cam.ac.uk> asks you to point your browser at

http://mars.ru.u-tokai.ac.jp/~hiroking/HTML/hiroking's_MarathonWeb.html
and says:

Apart from being totally mad and over the top, including a Aaron patch for marathon giving you a trash can full of pfhor entrails, this site has all the M1 music tracks playable on it.

Now I'm not sure if it is because I just put QT3.0 on my machine (which has much nicer instruments) or that the M1J music was slightly different, but I only recognise a few of these tracks... Maybe someone with a better memory ought to take a listen, but they sound very 'oriental'

Yes indeed. Though QT3.0 does distort the original Marathon music somewhat Hiroking's Marathon Web music certainly sounds 'oriental'. But a Pfhor entrails trash can patch?!!! What ever next? ;-)


Shor Netscap <shor@postoffice.dca.net> writes:

I notice that the chapter names of Marathon 1 are events: arrival, counter attack , repraisal , durandal [meaning of durandal taking over], the pfhor [ meaning travaling the pfhor ship ] , and rebellion.

In Marathon 2 the chapter names (except for captured) are people places and thigs such as Lh'owon , garrison , citidal , Durandal , Sph't kr , ect.

and in Marathon Infinity ( execpt for prolog there just emotions (rage, envy , despair)

Just wanted to point that out :-)


July 5, 1998
Nathan Scheck <SScheck@aol.com> writes:

In Ambrosia Software's new game, Escape Velocity Override, when you communicate with a certain trader, he asks if you want to know when the universe will close....... He then goes on to tell you that it is in approximately 15.193792102158E+9 years....... hmmmm.........

hmmmm... indeed! ;-)


July 7, 1998
The 7th day of the 7th month. :-)

And on this special day we bring you this little known tidbit. It comes courtesy of Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com>. Apparently Myth II will be delayed 4 months so Tuncer Deniz admits. Tuncer was relating his Powerbook G3 woes on the Apple PowerBook Discussion Forum. The text of his Forum post goes as follows:

Subject: Powerbook G3 Series Problems
Author: Tuncer Deniz
Email: tuncer@bungie.com
Posted: Thursday, 6/25/98 11:06 AM CDT
Category: PowerBook G3
Model: PB G3 250/13.3
System S/W: Mac OS 8.1


I've had my PB G3 250/13.3 for about a week and have had the following problems.

1) The first thing I noticed when I started playing with the computer was that the hard drive clicks all the time, as if the heads are parking. The drive itself is quite but the clicks is driving me nuts. I had a 3400 before this and didn't have any kind of noises like this. Is this normal?

2) The modem. When I connect to my ISP, I usually get 48,000 bps. Great, except downloads of web pages, programs, etc are horribly slow. Here's what usually happens. Download begins, 50k later the download stops, then 10-15 seconds later it starts up again. And on, and on. It also disconnects me 20 percent of the time. Had no problems like this with the 3400.

3) The other day I woke up the PB from sleep to find 13 of my 20 folders on the root of my hard drive had disappeared! I ran first aid 8.2 and it found volume header problems. Since I couldn't run Norton or TechTool (both incompatible with HFS+) I was forced to reformat the hard drive.

It's been a fun week. Any answers?

Tuncer
Bungie Software

PS. We lost about 4 months work on Myth II because of my hard drive crash ;-)

Maybe he lost the Myth 1.3 update and the Marathon 2 patch too? ;-)


Dave Duffy <dave@darkside.eemsd.wustl.edu> writes:

While looking at the Jjaro page I looked at the pictures of Deimos and Phobos. If I remember correctly the marathon was made out of deimos, so why does phobos look so much like the external pictures of the marathon with the big crater (?dish)? Also according to the page Phobos is larger and much more circular. I know in the same text I'm reffering to the say the CRISTs were potato shaped, but from the levels on the pfhor ship when you had to find a window that looked at the marathon to exit it looked fairly round to me.

http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/nineplanets/nineplanets/phobos.html

Good point. The Marathon does look more like Phobos than Deimos. Did the UESC make a mistake? Odd stuff.


July 9, 1998
Muhsin Miski <mmiski@hotmail.com> writes:

A game called Half-Life for the PC contains a monster called the houndeye which has many eyes and hops. We also know that one of the rejected monsters from Marathon 1 also had a monster called the hound. Coincidence? You decide:

http://www.planetquake.com/half-life/life-forms.html

You can find more about the game Half-Life here as well. Half-Life has Bobs... err.. I mean Barneys. Barney is your friend. Here is a description of Barney.

These security guards are your friends. Tap them on the shoulder and they'll follow you around and around, wherever you go, fighting monsters that attack you on the way. Named for their resemblance to Barney Fife of Andy Griffith fame, Barneys may not be bright but they're awfully handy.

Sound like Bobs to me.

Half-Life has a story about a Martian Colony overrun by alien invaders. Hmmm...


July 10, 1998
Muhsin Miski <mmiski@hotmail.com> writes:

A game called Catalyst Wars seems to have been influenced by Marathon (at least it looks like it). Check out http://www.catalystwars.com . The title of the game looks a little like the title from Marathon 2 and the symbol on the reptile's armor appears to be of Pfhor origin. Coincidence?

Damn Pfhor... They're Everywhere! ;-)


Robin Balmer <joy42@open.org> points out that apart from the other Marathon references in Ambrosia's game Escape Velocity there is a spaceship piloted by Jason Jones. Robin asks does that name sound familar or what?

Time for a "Marathon references in other games" section perhaps?


July 11, 1998
Nic Carrott <dcarrott@netport.com> writes

Do you have ResEdit?

Okay, then follow these directions:

1) Open the Marathon 2 Demo application using ResEdit.

2) Open the MENU resorce.

3) Look at all the resorces, but pay close attention to resource #129. At the bottom there is an option called "Center Button"

4) Now look at resorce #130.

Question: Can you clear any of this up? What is all this? What does "Center Button" do? What does resource #130 do?

Interesting stuff. Resource #130 seems to be a joke. Bungie have a habit of doing this. As for the "Center Button" anyone got any ideas?


July 12, 1998
Gabe Rosenkoetter <gr@eclipsed.net> writes concerning the "Center Button" in resource #129 of M2:

"Center Button" refers to that Marathon symbol in the middle of the main menu layout. Pressing it brings up the credits in the M2/Infinity engine. (I think the menu item existed in M1 too, but it played the "shwoosh" sound there.)

This menu will never appear, but the resource is there as a bit of a kludge so that command-keys can perform functions from Bungie's graphical menu.

Note that the only other option which doesn't have a command-key sequence is replay saved film, which has irked me on numerous occasions. I have considered simply adding something myself (command-option-R, probably), but I fear it would confuse the patchers that come with third-party TC scenarios.

Gabe goes on to say:

The parts of the MENU resource that really makes me curious is the Save and Revert (!) commands listed in the Game menu. Of course, we know saving only works at a Save Buffer (though, perhaps it wasn't always this way)... what I want to know is what "Revert" would have done (it even has a key combination - command-R, which wouldn't conflict with the Interface menu's command-R for Replay Last Film as the Main Menu and the Game seem to be two different environments, if you will). A little known feature of Forge is that if you Undo something while in visual mode, all platforms return to their initial placement. Perhaps this was a version of that function that worked within the game engine and was there to aid testing way back when Vulcan was the editor du jour?

Also, note that both the Game and the Interface menus (renamed to "Commands- Game" and "Commands- Interface" for M2 and Infinity) are the same in all three mac versions of Marathon.

Wierd stuff...

Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

In an earlier Ambrosia game called Apeiron the player can get a powerup that renders him/her invincible. Interestingly enough this is represented by having the shape be filled with noise, the way our favorite marine does.

If you want to see this in action you can download Apeiron from the Ambrosia hompage ( http://www.ambrosiasw.com/ ) and get a coin which might contain the invincibility powerup (or you can just pause the game (press caps-lock) and type in "nala").


July 14, 1998
Todd Proctor <ruff@dcscomp.com.au> writes concerning Gabe Rosenkoetter's comments about the Command Save option in the Marathon MENU resource:

Gabe says:

"The parts of the MENU resource that really makes me curious is the Save and Revert (!) commands listed inthe Game menu. Of course, we know saving onlyworks at a Save Buffer (though, perhaps it wasn't always this way).."

Indeed! If you play the demo version of Marathon 2 (the one that came on the infinity cd incase there are different versions).

And guess what - 'Command S' will save your game anywhere you like.

Weird stuff.

Ah yes who remembers that one?


July 15, 1998
Rob Schultz <silvertail@howling.com> writes:

The recent posts inspired me to dig around inside the Mara apps again. This sparked something that caught my interest since M2 first showed up at my door. In the M2 Demo (v1.0) MENU resource #131 lists our netgame types available, with the usual 'Every Man For Himself', 'Co-op Play', 'King of the Hill' and 'Tag'. However, there appear to be other options which are dimmed and don't show up durring a game gather. They are, 'Capture the Flag', 'Keep Away From Rob' (of Bungie, I assume), and 'Rugby'?? These carry on into the full version of M2, though, 'Rugby' and 'CTF' have dissapeared and have been replaced by 'Kill the Man with the Ball' and 'Pile on Greg'. (Another Bungie office exclusive I suppose) Question: Are there some netgames Marathon devoties are missing?? Hmmm.. intriguing.

Ah yes the mysterious unimplemented net games.

Buried away in the Marathon 2 resource fork is the name "Bazooka Tag" though it appears only as "Tag" in the MENU resource. One wonders what that game was all about. :-)

Sometime ago it was alleged that the dimmed out net game option "Keep Away from Rob" could be implemented using ResEdit. When active a player taking the net name "Rob" received invincibility and invisibility for the duration of the game. Rob's objective was to try to make as many kills as possible. The rest of the players quite naturally had to try and stay away from him. The fact that very few people claim to have managed to get this option to work places doubt on the claims. You may know differently though.

It's not clear if the option "Pile on Greg" was ever implemented. One might guess that the game play was the opposite to "Keep Away from Rob". The player, this time called "Greg" for the duration of the game, had to stay alive for as long as possible. Over a number of games the player with the fewest deaths would win. Of course this is mere speculation.

One can see problems with both types of game play which might have been the reason for dropping them in the final release. Perhaps one day we might learn the tru7h.


July 16, 1998
Sriranga Veeraraghavan <ranga@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU> writes:

I was reading about CMD-S allowing games to be saved in the M2 demo. I'm not sure if any one remembers, but there was a patch to M1 that allowed you to save anywhere using CMD-S.

It was available from amug for a while, both as a ResCompare program and as simple ResEdit instructions.

It's not clear whether Bungie were intending to have a Save anywhere feature in Marathon 2. Thankfully they didn't since it adds an extra edge to game play. Then again if you're a Vidmaster you shouldn't need to save. ;-)

It should be pointed out that Bungie were early advocates of special Save areas. Their game Pathways Into Darkness, the forerunner to Marathon, featured save areas in the form of red runes.


July 17, 1998
Michael Nelson <mnelson1282@earthlink.net> writes:

I could never find the band Power of Seven, the closest I could find was a song called Power of Seven, by the english band System 7. this song appears on the CD of the same Name (Power of Seven). Has the band Power of Seven released any of it's CD's? The only other song on System 7's Power of Seven CD that I think might be relevant to Marathon is the song Hanger 84 (84 which you already know reduces to 3) kinda like Hanger 7a in Arrival.

This has become something of an FAQ so here are the details.

Power of Seven Inc. were a Minneapolis-based digital music content publisher headed by Paul Sebastien. Paul was responsible for writing and producing the theme music for Marathon 2 Durandal and Marathon Infinity. Power of Seven Inc. were acquired by Headspace Inc., a leader in Internet music and audio technology, in May 1995 and relocated on-site to Headspace's San Mateo headquarters. Paul Sebastien assumed the role of Director of Production for Headspace.

Paul Sebastien is also the leader of the platinum record award-winning electronic/alternative group Psykosonik.

Psykosonik's first album "Psykosonik" was recorded in 1992 at Chicago Trax Studio in Chicago, and released in 1993 on Wax Trax/TVT Records. This is what the band had to say about it:

During our early days of songwriting in 1991, which was before any of the mainstream media hype about cyberspace, the Internet, or cyberpunk; things like techno-empowerment and Net surfing were considered decidedly un-cool by many...so many in fact, that we really felt like shaking things up a bit. Hence, our first album is quite overtly techno-oriented, conceptually and musically. We wanted to explore areas of man/machine duality, the role of religion in cyberspace, VR hallucinations, and connectivity.

Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> who has the Psykosonik CD maintains that some of the tracks are like the Marathon 2 and Infinity themes. He went on to say that "the tracks ReWl!". His words not mine. But if you like the techno sound this is worth getting apparently. You can hear samples of Psykosonik tracks on the Psykosonik album page.

Psykosonik can also be found on irc: #psykosonik on Efnet.


So what about Hangar 84 the title of one of the tracks from System 7's album "Power of Seven". X-files enthusiasts should have no problems with this one. Hangar 84 is located in Roswell Army Air Field (RAAF) base and is believed to contain the alien bodies and metallic debris of a UFO that crashed in Roswell in 1947.

Hangar 96 is a different matter altogether though.


July 18, 1998
Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

In my Marathon pages (index page: http://www.petrich.com/games/marathon/marathon.html), I now have a page on Tau Ceti and more: tc_more.html

Here are some of the highlights:

Tau Ceti is a very Sunlike star, though it is somewhat less massive, smaller, cooler, and dimmer. A planet receiving Earth's illumination from it would have a year of 9 (Earth) months.

Both the Sun and Tau Ceti are visible from each other's neighborhoods without a telescope.

It is 12 light-years away, meaning that the message of "G4 Sunbathing" would have arrived quicker than expected :-)

The Marathon had an average speed of 12,000 km/s or 0.04 c.

There is a curious problem with Durandal's search for Lh'owon -- if the distance from Lh'owon to the Galactic center was the linear size of the region searched (7000 stars -- linear size 20 star separations), then Durandal would have to have traveled 35,000 light-years in the Galactic core -- more than the 26,000 light-years from Tau Ceti!

Furthermore, 17 years of searching 7000 stars amounts to a day per star -- with not much time left for traveling the total of 60,000 light-years.

You'll also find some Tau Ceti tidbits strewn around the Story page.

For example back in Feb 10, 1996 we pointed out this site which clearly identified the distance problem between Earth and Tau Ceti. 92 light years or 11.77 light years?


Michael Trinder <mpbt100@cam.ac.uk> writes concerning save game patches for Marathon. Of course you don't need them... right? ;-)

The app has had the code to recognise Cmd S as save removed as far as I can see. The patch _is_ available for M2 and Moo somehere on Naoki Yokoyama's pages (I lost the address), but it is slightly different. This patch works by rerouting the pause command to the save game routine instead (which is why you have to press CMD P to save when the patch is installed).

Of course if you edit Menu ID 128 so that Pause has the keyboard shortcut of CMD S, you get to save more 'naturally' :)


July 20, 1998
Muhsin Miski <mmiski@hotmail.com> writes:

Under the credits section of the Marathon Infinity manual (p.67) you see the word "blam" under Final Thoughts. Could this have any relations with the blam.net that they registered? It's a long shot, but Bungie is always unpredictable in mysterious ways.

Who can say what dwells in the heart of the Bungie Hindmost. ;-)


True distance from Earth to Tau Ceti - 11.77 or 11.9 light years? Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

Incidentally, I had gotten my figure for Tau Ceti's distance (11.9 light-years) from its parallax as found from the Hipparcos astrometric satellite's position measurements (several online celestial-object catalogs are in NASA's Astronomical Data Center, whose URL is http://adc.gsfc.nasa.gov/adc.html).


Charles Morris <pennywgt@netc.net.au> writes:

There are 7 levels of hell.
Each level worse than the next, ie. if your bad you go to level 1, very very bad to 7.
Each level has a gate, thus "Seven Gates", as in the level.
Each level has a demon, each worse than the next.

It goes on but I think you get my meaning.

I'm not trying to say that Bungie is in Cahoot's with the devil or anything [are they?] its just interesting.

Bungie in cahoot's with the Devil? Perish the thought. But it is said that when a demon has lost a battle, it returns with sevenfold power.


July 22, 1998
Chris Camacho <christo@flash.net> writes:

I just finnished watching the movie "Gung Ho" with Michael Keaton and Gedde Watanabe. the movie is all about a ficticous Japanese motor company (Assan Motors)that opens a plant in an American town. Anyway, the Assan Motor Company's logo bears a striking resembalance to the Marathon logo. Wish I could get you a picture, maybe someone else can.

Readers will also be aware that the Mazda corporate symbol is very like the Marathon symbol. See the That Marathon Symbol section for details.


Phil Spear <thespears@mindspring.com> writes:

With the refrence to the seven layers of hell, I though now would be a good time to point out that in the Bible (especially the Old Testament), numbers had a greater meaning. Seven meant perfect or divine, six being one number less was imperfect, and three meant infinite (thats why 666 is the "sign of the devil,": infinitely flawed.) You might check how many 6'es are used and how they are used. I'm thinking that you might find that the bad AI messages contain a lot of 6's wheras the good computer AI messages contain more sevens. Furthermore (and this one is REALLY scary!) the third Marathon is called Infinity.

Well Infinity was the third part. :-)


July 21, 1998
Devin O'Reilly <QuasiDevin@aol.com> writes:

Recently there was some talk on your site about the seven levels of hell... Just the other day, after watching a particularly disturbing Millennium episode, I decided to read Revelations...

Well, 7 is the number around which most of Revelations seems to center...there are many, many 7s figuring in it...just a few include...

"And he had in his right hand seven stars"-Revelation 1:15
"And the being turned, and I saw seven candlesticks" -1:12
"and send it unto the the seven churches" -1:11
"These things sayeth he that hath the seven spirits of God" -3:1
"and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God" -4:5
"sealed with seven seals" -5:1
"And I saw the seven angles that stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets" -8:2
"And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices" -10:4
And on and on and on...

(oh, this should go to the Myth Story site, but they're all messed up right now...the devils making seven more devils when you kill them...doesn't this sound like the dropped unit in Myth, the Skræl?)

Yup as they say "a demon who has lost a battle, returns with sevenfold power".


July 23, 1998
A number of people have enquired about the Psykosonik CD and whether it is available. Psykosonik are the group whose lead member, Paul Sebastien, wrote and produced the Marathon 2 Durandal and Marathon Infinity themes under the title "Power of Seven". Psykosonik's first CD "Psykosonik" was released in 1993 and you can order a copy from CD Now. Yes copies are still in stock.

The CD contains 10 tracks, the 10th track being entitled "I am God". Didn't the 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg become a God by the end of Infinity? Coincidence?

Track 3 "Teknojihad" has parts which are similar to the Marathon 2 Durandal theme. The Psykosonik CD is worth getting if you like the Marathon techno sound.


An unusual screenshot was sent in by a source who would rather remain anonymous for reasons that will be obvious. Apparently it shows the desktop of a Mac running MacOS 8.5a9c2 in which the Special menu is called Simulacrum. Since MacOS 8.5a9c2 is a beta I cannot confirm this myself but the person who sent the screenshot in assures me that Apple have a habit of renaming the Special menu in the Finder "something funky in betas". So it seems that Steve Jobs hasn't got rid of all the Marathon fans at Apple yet. You never know maybe Steve is a fan of Marathon even. Over to you Steve!

Anyway you can see the screenshot with the Simulacrum menu instead of the Special menu here (145K).


July 24, 1998
Todd Proctor <ruff@dcscomp.com.au> writes concerning Loren Petrich's comments below:

Loren said:

There is a curious problem with Durandal's search for Lh'owon -- if the distance from Lh'owon to the Galactic center was the linear size of the region searched (7000 stars -- linear size 20 star separations), then Durandal would have to have traveled 35,000 light-years in the Galactic core -- more than the 26,000 light-years from Tau Ceti!
Furthermore, 17 years of searching 7000 stars amounts to a day per star -- with not much time left for traveling the total of 60,000 light-years.

Don't forget the fact that durandal can count the atoms in a cloud, so exploring a whole planet a day shouldn't be to much trouble for him. And he had a really nifty FTL drive which could scrrrrroooommm him to the other side of the galaxy in no time =)

Actually the Final Screen tells us that Durandal and the S'pht charted and discarded nearly seven thousand systems rather than 7000 planets or stars. Nevertheless we must assume that Durandal could do this very quickly and have time to move on to another system.


Karl Boman <KBoman@Hem.Passagen.se> writes:

I just had to take a look at the screenshot, and I agree, it is rather amusing. But is wasn't the Simulacrum-menu that struck me as the most interesting thing in it, it was just about everything else The Desktop Pattern seemed to be of a much more advanced version of Marathon Infinity, featuring a corridor with a door at the end, and a very cool lighting-effect. Also, on the desktop there was a map named Marathon IVa7.

Either this is a Bungie-employee at a very interesting position, or a very cruel person, getting our hopes up like this.

The Mac OS 8.5 beta screenshot was most definitely not sent in by a Bungie employee. Nor was it sent in by Nick Roemer <stompbox@wolfenet.com> the notorious Dr'Ate'R prankster.


Bungie's Letters page has been updated even though it says Last updated Mon, Feb 9, 1998 at the bottom of the page. Go figure.


July 25, 1998
Mac OS 8.5 beta screenshot - Real or Unreal?

The desktop screenshot of a Mac running a beta version of System 8.5 has generated considerable interest and speculation. Here are just a few of the many comments the Story page has received over the last two days.

Randy Reddig <ydnar@mail.odsnet.com>, one of the creators of the Marathon Infinity scenario "Blood Tides of Lh'owon", writes:

it's probably someone's idea of a joke, but here are my thoughts:

- it's a real pic of something, not doctored. most likely using the unreal engine, with the jjaro textures imported. note the unreal 'hud' in the lower right corner. also, note the "MaraUnreal" folder alias on the desktop.

- note filtering on textures. too smooth for the unreal software filtering, definitely hardware.

- the screenshot was most likely taken by someone who has access to a mac unreal/unrealed beta, 8.5, and a rage pro video card. 3dfx possible, but taking a screenshot would require that that particular piece of code be ported.

- the files "Marathon IVa7": and "tuncer memo" are complete nonsense, simply because the notion that someone at bungie would fill the above requirements is pretty improbable.

whoever it is, they have a sense of humor...i'd guess someone from westlake or a tester.

Finn Smith <finn_smith@brown.edu>, maintainer of 3D Macintosh Games, writes:

I would posit that the desktop picture is supposed to be a shot from the "MaraUnreal" game (note the folder alias on the desktop). After all, that is Unreal's weapon indicator in the lower right of the screenshot. Has someone actually ported Marathon textures to Unreal? Or is this just another clever hoax?

Graham Benedict <graham.benedict@snet.net> writes:

I hate to burst the collective bubble of the entire Marathon community, but I doubt that the screenshot of the 8.5 beta has a Marathon 4 desktop. What I think is that this is Unreal, with Marathon textures. Both games have similar color tables (or so I have heard) so it would look right.
The most obvious of clues is the folder called "MaraUnreal". Need I say more? A person who is making a Marathon conversion to another game would name the folder something like that. This theory would also explain the cool looking lighting effect, impossible in Marathon.
There are two other clues. I don't remember seeing that floor texture in the Jjaro set ever, do you? And look at the interface. I don't know if that is the Unreal interface, but it could be. I havn't played the game, so I wouldn't know.
Sorry to dissapoint you all, but I guess we'll have to wait until the next millenium for Marathon 4. By the way, do you think the Apple dude was really talking with Tuncer, as indicated by the file "tuncer memo" or was just fooling around, as I would assume he was doing with "MarathonIV alpha" folder?

Rob Schultz <silver@mail.gower.net> writes:

Hey now, that screenshot really is intriguing.. Not only is that lighting something you won't see in infinity, but those walls and door are Jjaran.. So? The ceiling is a Lh'owon Water texture. Wierd.. Theres a folder on that desktop that says 'MaraUnreal'. Marathon textures in the Unreal engine perhaps? I haven't seen Unreal, so I wouldn't know.

I thought to myself, I wouldn't mind having that picture on my own desktop.. so I threw this together with Anvil, Forge, and a little Photoshop magic..

Hm, maybe it is all a hoax after all?

Lots more comments all along the same lines.

Real or Unreal the fact remains that Apple developers working on Mac OS 8.5 replaced the Special menu with the name Simulacrum as a beta testing joke. We think that rules!


Santiago Pereson <yaco@ad.com.ar> points out that in the Durandal (part 2) section there is a comment by Matthew Smith on Durandal's seventeen year search for Lh'owon. It was added to the page on Feb 26, 1996. It goes as follows:

Matthew Smith <matthew@quest.net> writes concerning Durandal's seventeen year search for Lh'owon. The Final screen of Marathon relates how:
For seventeen years the renegade Pfhor scoutship jumped between the closely packed stars of the galactic core: charting and discarding nearly seven thousand systems...
(Marathon Final Screen)
Matthews points out:

"That's charting a new system every 21.27 hours!"

Santiago goes onto to say:

well... i've seen better timing in some SF novels. :>

when i first read the final screen i also thought of a 'start trek' kind of search, going to every planet, etc. but upon reading Matthew's comment i realized that was not necessary (at least for durandal and his S'phriends).

i remember on 'Foundation's Edge' by Isaac Asimov, the main character 'charts and discards' most of the milky way in a couple of months, and only gets close to five or six planets (i read it some time ago and don't have it at hand). his 'charting' is based on historical suppositions, some sociology, spectral data from the stars, etc. he's doing it on a FTL ship also, with the help of a historian (or something like that) a special computer (well we have a special computer, don't we?) and a world-person (well this one is tough to explain in a few words... let's say she's a nice girl with the conscience of a whole planet). well, our friend durandal has similar resources: he's got the Sępht on his side, and they should know what they're searching for. a system for doing spectrograms shouldn't be difficult to get / make. the statistics can be worked out by durandal himself (if he doesn't feel humiliated by this!)


July 26, 1998
Lots more mail in concerning the Mac OS 8.5 beta desktop screenshot. Here is just a sample.

Michael Zannetou <mzannetou@dial.pipex.com> writes:

I think it is a hoax.
The Special menu could have easily been changed to Simulacrum using ResEdit (we don't know whats under the menu do we).
The desktop picture - its amazing what you can do with photoshop these days isn't it ;-).
As for MaraUnreal and Marathon IV, they are just folders with fancy names (we don't know whats in them, do we). It is a very clear hoax.

Tucker Berckmann <cybertuck@novagate.com> writes

Note the use of "Simulacrum" in the menu bar. American Heritage Dictionary defines simulacrum as an "unreal" or vague semblance. Hint, coincidence, or clever humor? You decide.

Craig Stanton <c_stanton@hotmail.com> writes:

Interesting to note the weapons manifest at the bottom right. This is a snap from UNREAL, and the textures must have been put into the program because it has just the same quality of shading/pixelation as the UNREAL game. As for the files on the side I am sure they are there to annoy us. They are too convenient, and who has a file called 'TO DO' casually tossed in to make it more plausible?
The Simulacrum menu? Apple do do strange things to 'Special' menus in pre-release versions. Mostly keeping the word beggining with S, I am currently working on getting some examples.

Dave Duffy <dave@darkside.eemsd.wustl.edu> writes:

Getting a copy of an 8.5 beta is not that hard. As for the hardware requirements with bungie giving out all those teckwerks 3dfx cards they probably kept a few for themselves.

I should hope that the picture is from M4 as it is due out in the next 2 weeks.

http://www.vrabbits.com/images/marathon4.JPG

Note: based on information from the Voracious Rabbits Myth site Solomon (Solo) is a bungie.net admin who works at Bungie. Make of that what you will.


July 27, 1998
OK the Story page has received confirmation that the Mac OS 8.5 beta desktop screenshot is indeed genuine. Craig Stanton <c_stanton@hotmail.com> writes:

The Simulacrum menu is genuine. Underneath it is nothing unusual. In the beta 2 version on 8.5 it has changed to 'Scimitar', pronounced 'sim-a-tar'. It is an arabian sword, small at the handle, wide at the top see Alladin for more info.

I'll keep you posted on any other changes if you are interested

Please do. :-)


Charles Morris <pennywgt@netc.net.au> points out that on Alex Okita's page "aka Bungie West" (we mentioned this site back on June 16th) there is the following text:

"6/19/98: Hmm, Unreal, one of the games we've been playing during lunch needs something familiar about it. Something like a familiar level. Something like "Mars Needs Women" Thats turned into a personal mission. That would be even easier if there were a Marthon map to Unreal map translator."

Charles goes on to say:

I can draw some parallels to the current topic of discussion on MStory.

Hmmm... now what would Bungie West be doing trying to convert Marathon maps for Unreal? The mind boggles.


July 28, 1998
Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

In your most recent Story-page entry, you mention that the Bungie West had wanted this:
"6/19/98: Hmm, Unreal, one of the games we've been playing during lunch needs something familiar about it. Something like a familiar level. Something like "Mars Needs Women" Thats turned into a personal mission. That would be even easier if there were a Marthon map to Unreal map translator."
Actually, my Marathon Map Exporter, now at version 3, (if not already archived, then at ftp.marathon.org/incoming) could fill the bill very nicely. It exports in these formats:

Rotater
DXF
Alias|Wavefront OBJ
NewTek Lightwave Object
QuickDraw 3D Metafile (be a SimpleText vidmaster!)
Quake Map Source (just the world-geometry "worldspawn" entity without any textures)

And Unreal's map editor reportedly can import Lightwave objects.

Thanks Loren. Let's hope this speeds up those Total Conversions. :-)


Karl Boman <KBoman@Hem.Passagen.se> writes:

An incredibly common misunderstanding in the Marathon community is that to "vid" is to follow Bungie's definition of looking up and down an generally navigate in Marathon, and, if you're a VidMaster, finishing levels with your bare fists on Total Carnage. This is not correct. So be it that it was Bungie who untroduced it to us, but it was Anthony Burgess who introduced it to begin with in his novel "A Clockwork Orange". There to "vid" simply was to look/see.

I don't know if this has been pointed out before, and if not, it's really surprising, Marathon being a sci-fi-game and all, and considering the large amounts of sci-fi-literature parallells both in the games and on Marathon's Story.

As Karl correctly points out Bungie originally used the term "Vid" in the Marathon Demo. They explained the term as follows:

Learn to VID. That is, learn to look up and down at will. This is also useful for finding cool things.

It later became part of the term Vidmaster. See the Marathon Vidmasters' FAQ for a full history on Bungie's use of the term. So could Bungie's original use of the term have come from Anthony Burgess's novel "A Clockwork Orange"? And let us not forget that Stanley Kubrick made a film based on the novel. The Kubrick references in Marathon have been noted on a number of occasions.


July 29, 1998
Dave Duffy <dave@darkside.eemsd.wustl.edu> writes:

Have you ever heard of Super Marathon? I don't remember ever hearing about it.

From the picture it looks like Marathon 2. By the way in the pict (91K) I am including the little screenshot looks to be only half downloaded but that is as much as would come in. Odd no?

It says it is for the Pippin. I wonder if anyone has played it.

Lord only knows what secrets it holds.

Lord knows indeed! Super Marathon has been advertised for sometime now though I don't know of anybody who has actually played it. One wonders how much time and effort Bungie spent on porting this for potentially so little return. Has anyone got a Pippin?

And what changes if any were made to the Super Marathon version of Marathon 2?

You can order Super Marathon from Cyberian Outpost by following this link.


July 30, 1998
Dan Rudolph <rudolph.family@mcleod.net> writes:

It is possible to play the Marathon PC maps on a Mac without emulation. A while back, I noticed a new version of Marathon Map Splitter at the HANW. It could take term picts, sounds and other information from a PC map and put it into a resource fork when the map was split.

I picked up the Windows version of M2 for $10 on clearance at Best Buy. I was disappointed to find the box contained only a CD, no manual. The CD has no audio tracks. If I had a PC, I wouldn't be able to play because it didn't have a serial number.

Anyway, I copied the map to my hard drive and changed the file type and creator codes. (MMS won't recognize it unless you do this.) I split the map, then re-merged the resulting files with Forge. I was left with a perfectly playable map, though one of the term picts doesn't show.

Windows version of M2 with no serial number, no manual and no music tracks all for $10 at Best Buy... is this a record?

Seriously though Marathoners have searched for along time to find a way to play the definitive set of Marathon 2 levels so Dan's news is good. All we need now is for Bungie to release the Win95 M2 map file so that Mac Marathoners can play it for free. Over to you Bungie.


Craig Stanton <c_stanton@hotmail.com> kindly sent in some exclusive pictures of the beta 2 version of Mac OS 8.5. In the first screenshot (67K) you can see that the name of the Special menu has been changed again this time to 'Scimitar'. In the beta prior to this it was called "Simulacrum'. In the second screenshot (88K) you can see the new Appearence Control Panel which allows the user to select a number of different themes including Techno and Gizmo. It should be theoretically possible to create your own themes such as UESC Marathon, Jjaro, Lh'owon, or Pfhor ship.

All three Marathon games are reported to run perfectly under beta Mac OS 8.5.


July 31, 1998
Mihai Parparita <mscape@pop.reprahduce.com> writes:

On your page you mention the possibility of Marathon-based MacOS 8.5 themes. While that might be possible (if Apple decides the make public the theme file format) an easier (and doable now) way to give your Mac a marathon look is to use Kaleidoscope. I believe that there was a Marathon scheme for Kaleidoscope 1.x, but due to the limitations of that version (rectangular windows only) it didn't look too impressive. Kaleidoscope 2.0 allows you to do irregular windows, but there are no Marathon-based schemes yet. Two schemes that aren't Marathon related, but do evoke somewhat its atmosphere are Boilerplate and Tephra, both available here: http://www.kaleidoscope.net/schemes/new7398.shtml


Craig Stanton <c_stanton@hotmail.com> writes:

I am very interested in the "super marathon" disscusion, coz I have a bandai pippin. I am going to email Bungie and see if they have any in stock, I really doubt that they sold out, and maybe they are taking up space :-)

I'll get back to when I can

I would be surprised if Bungie have run out of stock too. And if you do manage to get your hands on a copy we'd like to hear of your experiences playing it. Thanks. :-)


Aug 3, 1998
Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>, Director of Customer Support at Bungie, writes concerning Super Marathon for the Bandai Pippin:

We do have one or two copies of Super Marathon lying around the office, but they are our own archival copies and are not for sale.

I don't think we ever had Super Marathon available in quantity. We certainly never sold it on our web store or at trade shows. Probably because the title was actually published and distributed by Bandai, so in order to sell it we would have had to buy copies from Bandai....and buying Marathon games from someone else didn't make a lot of sense to us.
:-)


Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

I believe that porting Marathon to the Pippin wouldn't take that much time. The Pippin uses a subset of the MacOS as it's operating system (it was after all, developed by Apple). Most of the changes would probably involve the controls, since the Pippin doesn't have keyboard bundled by default.

This might seem like a long shot, but perhaps Bungie and Apple worked out a deal. If Apple helped Bungie with their cross-platform networking architecture Uber (which was used in Myth and will soon be available to the public) then Bungie would port their popular game to Apple's newest platform.


William Spencer <williamspencer@hotmail.com> writes:

Durandal names the captured pfhor scoutship "Boomer". I think this is a reference to the anime series "Bubblegum Crisis". In the dark-future/cyperpunk universe depicted in the show, artificial intelligence robots are often referred to as "Boomers" because of this nasty habit they have: if the controls on their minds are damaged (say, from stress), they undergo a spontaneous growth in mental capacity, and this surge of energy causes the robot to "exhibit extreme violent tendencies"...Sounds a lot like rampancy, doesn't it?

Interesting stuff. :-)


Aug 1, 1998
Craig Stanton <c_stanton@hotmail.com> writes to say that he got a reply from Bungie concerning Super Marathon but it wasn't exactly what he expected:

******
We don't have copies of the Marathon for pippin, you will have to ask
cyberian outpost these questions.

--
---
Ryan
ryanh@bungie.com
Bungie Tech Support
******

Craig is off to check out Cyberian Outpost but it's odd that Bungie don't have copies of this version of Marathon.


Kirill Levchenko <kirill@lava.net> writes concerning a song by a group FulcrumAudio called "divot" which sounds like some of the Marathon music:

I believe one of the samples used in the song is a pfhor platform. The song certainly would work well with Marathon. If you're interested, the MP3 music file is at:

http://content.mp3.com/mp3/visitors/browse/detail.asp?id=313&type=Electronica•


Aug 4, 1998
Regarding Super Marathon for the Pippin I asked Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>, Director of Customer Support at Bungie, whether it was a direct port? As in no changes made to terminals, maps, gameplay etc. He replied as follows:

I believe so. There was only one person assigned to the port (Jason Regier) and he didn't have the time or inclination to mess around with it too much as he was needed on the Myth team. The hardest part was figuring out a way to make that wacky AppleJack controller handle all the various commands.

One of the Pippin's selling points among the Mac faithful was that Mac users would be able to run almost all Pippin games. Not sure if it is possible to run SuperMarathon on a standard Mac....perhaps one of the 4 people who bought a Pippin could help us out here. ;-)


Alex Rosenberg, a former Bungie employee, replied to a post on alt.games.marathon concerning Super Marathon. It's reprinted in full below. Makes for interesting reading.


From: alexr@I.HATE.SPAM (Alex Rosenberg) 
Subject: Re: super marathon 
Date: Mon, 03 Aug 1998 22:45:30 -0700 
Organization: Hackers Anonymous 
Message-ID: <alexr-0308982245300001@roseal2.apple.com>
References: <35C5097C.12B7BFEE@hotmail.com_NOSPAM>


In article <35C5097C.12B7BFEE@hotmail.com_NOSPAM>,
csta026@cs.auckland.ac.nz wrote:

>,Does anybody here know any more abput Super Marathon (apparently for
>,Pippin's) than the tiny bits of info that cyberian outpost put on the
>,page (see the link on Storys page)?
>,
>,I would like to buy it if I can find which versions (of the pippin) it
>,compatible with and the memory requirments. Any are the levels any
>,different?

<,sigh>, What a huge waste of time.

IIRC, Super Marathon runs on the Pippin only as it uses the special
Pippin-only APIs for controller input (pre-InputSprocket) and the special
PippinStandardFile. There was an extension in the Pippin SDK that provided
these features on a regular Power Macintosh, but good luck finding it now.
The game restarts the machine when you quit it because a memory leak in
the Pippin OS prevented the game from relaunching since it barely fit. It
should work on both the original Japanese unit and the later US design.

The game consists of a M1 and M2 with an interface for picking which game
to launch. A few M2 levels are different, but I believe that they are the
same differences found in M2 for the PC. Both games had changes to the
terminal renderer to increase font size; even with convolution hardware, 9
point text is hard to read on a TV. Several features were ripped out to
conserve memory. For example, the music in M1 is gone.

If Jason Regier still reads this group, he might have something more to
add as he did almost all of the porting work. I will note that even as an
official Pippin developer, we got zero technical support from Bandai. The
only means we had for answers to our questions was for me to personally
call friends of mine at Apple whom I knew were working on Pippin and ask
them. The really sad part is that despite repeated requests, we were never
supplied one of the Japanese Pippin keyboards, so we didn't specifically
support it in the game.

If you can find one, there's existed adapter cable to permit the AppleJack
controller to be plugged into a regular ADB jack. I'm reasonably sure that
it was only made available to Pippin developers. InputSprocket (and
Marathon Infinity 1.5) will use it if you hook it all up.

+------------------------------------------------------------+
| Alexander M. Rosenberg            |
| Nobody cares what I say. Remove the underscore to mail me. |


Jonathan Louie <tenchi@leland.Stanford.EDU> writes concerning yesterday's submission about a possible origin of the name Boomer:

Nuclear missile submarines are also called "boomers".


Aug 5, 1998
William Spencer <williamspencer@hotmail.com> writes:

I just read another "Marathon-like" novel: Orion Among The Stars, by Ben Bova (published around 1990, I think...). Orion is this super-warrior (he heals fast, he can see combat in slow motion, and he's been able to succeed in hand-to-hand combat with him alone versus half-a-dozen enemies...), built by a "Creator" (one of a race of many - they're descendants of humans, I think...) who calls himself Aten. Orion is made to fight in a war between the Creators which spans time and space - he's fought in times from the Trojan War to thousands of years in our future. Eventually, Orion grows beyond Aten's control, gaining the ability to control his own destiny, transport himself across time and space, and so on...

Sound familiar yet?

Orion is made to lead a troop of soldiers - these soldiers are clones (so they all look alike), made for one purpose only: war. They are released from cryo-chambers, briefed, sent to fight, and then popped back in stasis. Orion wants to give them a better live, and they finally do... They sound like the Bobs, don't they? (The only difference is that there are female soldiers as well as males...)

A race of "Old Ones" (peaceful hyper-intelligent beings billions of years old, with enormous power) contacts Orion, telling him that they won't interfere with the war between the humans (and a few other races), unless the humans interfere with the workings of the universe - such as if they blow up suns. The humans have developed a weapon to do just that - to make a sun prematurely go nova. Orion works to deliver the message, but of course the humans want to keep fighting. Sounds like the Jjaro and the "trih xeem", neh?

Yet again, science fiction themes repeat themselves.

Yes indeed and an excellent find BTW.

Orion, the first book in Ben Bova's popular "Orion" series was first published by Simon and Schuster in 1984 and later as a Tor paperback in 1985. Other books in the series include: Vengance of Orion (Tor Books,1988); Orion in the Dying Time (Tor Books, 1990); Orion and the Conqueror (Tor Books, 1994); and Orion Among the Stars (Tor Books, 1995).

The "Orion" saga is the story of John O'Ryan (Orion) the eternal warrior created by one of the mysterious Creators who rule outside of time-created to do battle for them, and to die, again and again, up and down the timeline from the primal past to the far-flung future.

The series finds Orion in such places as ancient Greece during the Trojan war, the Macedonian killing fields alongside a future Alexander the Great, and trapped amidst the gore of a vicious, multi-sided interstellar war between several factions of humanity and several alien races.

As William points out Ben Bova's "Orion" themes can be found throughout Marathon. :-)


Alex Samaras <asamaras@fit.edu> asks:

is there any connection between Myth:TFL and Terminal 2 of "Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken"? I only ask because the following seems very Myth-like:

....n 15 ~~~~~~Be~rn border of the Roman Empire to the Danube
River.  During a skirmish with barbarians in Raetiain the
mountains near the borof modern France and Switzerland), 117
men under Gaius Licinius MarcW#&I~?f/f/xxfxfff`~~~
THM@#%!@#
233nce of weird and frightening monsters under his control,
many successful raidsecty the fall of the Roman Empire and
remained unmolested until the ninth un~~~
written ls into the lex vita.  Clovis moved the settlement
farther south i the mountains, nearer the spring, to escape
the notice of Charlemagne and later the Holy Roman Empire.
Clovis remain````	

I am especially referring to the "weird and frightening monsters..." Any correlation?

There have been a number of attempts to tie Myth into Marathon and perhaps Myth II will reveal more? Personally though I've always thought that this was a reference to the first use of elephants by Hannibal in Carthage's war against Rome in the third century BC. Infantry who had never seen elephants allegedly ran in terror before these weird and frightening monsters.


Aug 6, 1998
Marathon for the Newton? Yes... well the story anyway. Michiel Buisman <duality@total.gameaholic.com> has but together the text of the Marathon story into Newton format. As he says:

Should be of great assistance for people trying to figure out the Marathon story on the go.

Michael goes onto to say:

Surprising it's only 352 pages, at 1/4 US letter size... Oh well: must be geneva 9. It's so nice'n small!

In case you don't have a Newton, here's the intro text:

"Hi there!

You've just downloaded the complete terminal-text of all three Marathon games, as well as the manual texts and the demo texts, except for the Infinity-demo text.

All of this is to be found on www.marathon.org/story/, a site maintained by Hamish Sinclair, who has collected a lot more than just the terminal text. To him goes the credit.

I just DLd the stuff and poured it into a Newton book. If you feel you need a more advanced version, or you feel I should have added more links in the index, please mail me.

If you feel like it, pay a visit to my Duality page.

Clap if you love!

Michiel Buisman
Duality@total.gameaholic.com
total.gameaholic.com/duality

newton lives

It's for the Newton 120 and up and weighs in at 350K (uncompressed). You can grab it here (136K). Remember you need a Newton to read it. All comments, suggests, criticisms, etc. concerning the Marathon for Newton book should be directed to Michiel at <duality@total.gameaholic.com>. Thanks.


Aug 8, 1998
Well here's one for the books. Take note people!

Alex Okita put some Bungie West office pics up on his page at http://www.okita.com/ back in June. Last week BungieRumors drew attention to the fact that none of these pics contained Macs. PCs yes... Macs no! BungieRumors went on to suggest that because of the lack of Macs at Bungie West "Oni" was most likely going to be a PC first game with a Macintosh port at a later stage. Yesterday Alex Okita put up some new Bungie West office pics showing Macs alongside PCs.

Some lessons to be learned here.

  1. Web pages like "BungieRumors" do have some influence afterall.
  2. Bungie do listen to whining Macintosh users.
  3. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Had Alex Okita not shared his office pics no one would have been any the wiser and none of the above would have happened. The moral of course is - "Don't give out information!". One wonders how may people are now studying the new Bungie West office pics to find out lurid details of their working behavior.


Aug 9, 1998
Sean Phelps <seanphelps@earthlink.net> asks:

What ever happened to the Marathon? I can vaguely recall reading something about this somewhere, but I fail to remember what it was. I have read most (not all, I have to sleep sometime) of the story page and have unearthed very few (if any) references to the Marathon AFTER Durandal abandoned it.

It just seems odd to me that the namesake for the whole trilogy is never mentioned once after the initial game.

Strange but true. Actually the UESC Marathon is mentioned in the Marathon 2 Demo (not the Preview). In the second "secret" message on the 1st terminal of "What About Bob?" Durandal says:

As for Tycho, he must have remained on the Marathon. Since the fool is hiding from me the fate and location of the Marathon, he must be up to something. I would surmise that the Pfhor have some plans for old Deimos; they bought the colony ship for sale.

This text doesn't appear in the final game so we never learn the fate of our colony ship. What is interesting is why it was felt necessary to remove this text. Granted it raises the possibility of a "fate of the Marathon" sub-plot. Perhaps this had been considered in an earlier version of the M2 story but then discarded and all references were therefore removed.


Back in March '98 there was considerable discussion about how the Marathon background music sounded under new Quicktime 3.0. Opinion seemed divided. So it was a case of make your own mind up. Well I have and I think it sucks! As far as Marathon is concerned the upgrade to Quicktime 3.0 was a downgrade. So I've gone back to Quicktime 2.5 when playing Marathon. You can get the original Quicktime 2.5 installer at the Story page here (1987K) if you want to relive the old days. The FAQ section has details on what you need to do to install it correctly.

I have always looked forward to playing Marathon on the latest Macintosh or Mac OS since there has always been an improvement to be had in gameplay however slight. Thus it saddens me to think that this is now not the case. I fully appreciate that one day the original Marathon software will not run on the latest Apple Macintosh. But I've tended to measure this on a long horizon. Let's hope that Quicktime 3.0 was just a blip on a more distant horizon.

If anyone knows why the Quicktime 3.0 version of QuickTime Musical Instruments makes the Marathon music sound so different please let the Story page know. Thanks.


Aug 10, 1998
Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> explains why the current version of QuickTime Musical Instruments (Quicktime 3.0) makes the Marathon music sound so different:

Well, it's really quite simple. QT3 has a completely different set of instruments, a more commonly used one than the limited set in QT2. But Bungie designed the Marathon music specifically for use with the QT2 instruments, and now that the instruments are all diffferent (though still a little similar if you really pay attention), the music is completely different, and doesn't sound right in some cases.


A number of people have written in to say that some tracks sound ok while others are clearly distorted under QT3. Original QT2 Marathon music purists, including myself, however will no doubt bemoan any change in the original music sound. What can be done apart from replacing QT3 with QT2.5 everytime you want to play Marathon? If you have a solution please let the Story page know. Thanks.


Michael Zannetou <mzannetou@dial.pipex.com> asks:

Does anyone know if there is a way to use QT2 musical instruments with QT3?

Unfortunately QT2 Musical Instruments will not load with QT3. The solution at present is to replace all the QT3 files with QT2 versions and then restart. See the FAQ section for details. If you know of an alternative please pass it on.


Aug 11, 1998
Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes further on Quicktime 3 and the Marathon background music:

I remember a tool that let you change the instuments in the QTMI file. I also know that there can be other Instuments files, as Ambrosia Software's "Harry The Handsome Executive" uses it's own sounds and places a file called "Harry Instruments" in the Extensions folder. So, theoretically, one might be able to make a QT3-compatible Instruments file with the QT2 instuments in it, and then make some MIDI tracks of the Marathon Music which point to that file, and merge them into a Music file. Then distribute the two together and viola, old Marathon music.

Anyone want to try this? What is needed is something that can be put into the Extensions folder and forgotten about rather than having to keep replacing the QT3 files everytime you want to fire up Marathon and hit the decks running.

Somebody's gotta do it... man it's war out there!


Aug 12, 1998
Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>, Director of Customer Support at Bungie, squashes another Marathon 4 rumor. It began on alt.games.marathon:

From: Locust23 <Locust23@spammersfuckoff.com|*> 
Subject:  Bungee is working on a Marathon 3-D go ahead for late 1999 
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 04:06:01 +0000 
Organization: CyberHell Inc. 
Message-ID: <35CFC322.577A@spammersfuckoff.com> 


Just got back from Millwaukee where I attended the GEN CON 
game fair, and Bungee had a booth promoting Myth and nothing else.

Anyway, I BSed with the guy at the booth and asked if the rumor is true
that a new Marathon will be released sometime.  

The guy said Myth is still taking up most of Bungee's manpower right
now, but yes, next year a new Marathon will be made, and from the ideas
he seen will be a totally new 3D engine like Quake and Unreal.

Hope this confirms the rumor, and I can't wait.

Locust23


Could it be true? Did a Bungie employee let slip the tru7h or was this just another sad hoax?

Matt Soell, once more, sets the record straight!

From:  matt@bungie.com (Matt Soell) 
Subject: Re: Bungee is working on a Marathon 3-D go ahead for late 1999 
Message-ID: <matt-1108981743330001@209.125.9.13> 
References: <35CFC322.577A@spammersfuckoff.com> <1998081109495000.FAA27868@ladder03.news.aol.com> <35D0B59C.5D1A@indiana.edu> 
Organization: Bungie Software 
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 22:43:28 GMT 


In article <35D0B59C.5D1A@indiana.edu>, jecillie@indiana.edu wrote:

> Rumors are rumors because they bring
> hope. Hope is not a bad thing. It's hard for me to imagine how an M4
> rumor can cause damage to us. So I say, let the hoping begin.

Well, I hate to rain on everyone's parade, but....

the rumors of a Marathon 4 are false.

The original poster was either the victim of misinformation (NOT from any
Bungie employee; everyone here knows there is no M4 in the works) or is
having a bit of cruel fun at agm's expense.  If I had to guess, I'd go
with the latter.

-Matt

-- 
Matthew Soell
Director of Customer Support
Bungie Software
matt@bungie.com


Matt's eternal fate seems to be writing replies such as these.


Steve Smart <steve827@earthlink.net> writes in with a possible solution to the Quicktime 3/Marathon Music problem.

I was able to get the music to sound good under 3.0 just by replacing instrument 55 with instrument 34, most other conversions between the two codexes work rather well, but when I used MoviePlayer to change them into QuickTime music, it sounded completely different and when I used MIDIGraphy to convert, it worked perfectly but hung Marathon. If anyone can figure out what causes this I would appreciate the help

If anyone can help please pass on the information to either Steve or the Story page. Thanks.


Bungie West have set up a hotline server at 209.125.179.23 for reading, posting and chatting about Oni and other Bungie stuff. It's running off a PowerMac 8500/132/128MB/8GB. The server is likely to move to 209.125.179.20 sometime in the future. If you drop in you might meet Alex Okita himself or some of the other Bungie West staff.:-)

Don't have the Hotline Client? Don't know what hotline is? Then check out the Hotline Home Page for details. You can download an evaluation version of the Hotline client from there.


Aug 13, 1998
Steve Smart <steve827@earthlink.net> follows up on his submission about the Quicktime 3/Marathon Music problem.

To be more specific about the problem, when played in MIDIGraphy the music sounds almost exactly like the original (better IMHO), but MoviePlayer goes crazy with the pitch bend. I think MIDIGraphy might not export correctly to QT3, but if anyone out there has QuickTime 3 pro, they can also change the instruments from right inside the movie file. All you need to do is change SynthVox to Choir Aahs. (I think this is what QT calls them, my program calls them leed 6(voice) and Choir Aahs


A number of people have written in about the recent appearance of a web page for the so-called "Marathon to Unreal" Project. The Story page has been aware of this for some time and would like to point out that given the Coordinator's credentials (yes the guy known as "Ba" as in sheep) you have as much chance of seeing this come to anything as you have of seeing BungieRumors being updated daily!.

It's a Bob Blake folks. Don't fall for it!


An interesting pic was sent into the Story page. It's apparently an aerial view of the San Jose area showing the location of Bungie West and a number of their favorite haunts. Sam's BBQ... mmmm... tasty. Anyway I'm not sure what purpose it serves unless of course you're on a bombing run!

Ok the pic is big (186K) and parts of it are blacked out for reasons unknown. You can see it here


Aug 14, 1998
Ben Fisher <bfisher@enterprise.net> asks what happened to the fourth texture set in Marathon and Marathon 2?

In Marathon, texture sets 1, 2, and 3 were for the colony ship while the fifth was for the Pfhor scoutship. What happened to the pfhourth texture set? Again in Marathon 2 texture sets 1, 2, and 3 were for Lh'owon and the fifth was for the Pfhor ship. The pfhourth texture set is again missing. Ben points out that in Infinity texture set 4 is present and is for the Jjaro ship.

So was there ever a fourth texture set in Marathon and Marathon 2? If so why was it removed? Ben speculates that perhaps the fourth set was designed to be for Jjaro textures. He writes:

This point is reinforced by the fact that the Jjaro were evident in Bungie's Universe in PiD, and noticeably tinkering with the human race since at least the 1930's.

Perhaps, in the original planned Marathon, the player visited a Jjaro ship, much as he does in Infinity. If this wasn't the case I think it's worth questioning: Where were the Jjaro in Marathon 1? Bearing in mind the instrumental roles they played in PiD, M2 and MI isn't their absence in M1 somewhat suspicious?

Suspicious indeed! The Jjaro do in fact feature in Marathon but only as a name in a line of map text. Text we could ONLY find once we had developed the tools (i.e. map editors) necessary to discover it. Sound familiar?

But even finding the map text was not enough. You had to make the connection between the word Jjarro as written on the "Never Burn Money" map and the Jjaro diplomat mentioned in Pathways Into Darkness manual. Only then would we know the shocking tru7h.

Concrning the missing fourth texture set we might equally speculate that it was designed for the Tau Ceti based colony or just simply another set for the colony ship itself. Whatever the answer it would seem that a fourth texture set had been planned for at one stage but then removed leaving a gap in the numbering.


Alex Samaras <asamaras@fit.edu> writes:

I was just reading the "Miscellaneous" Section of the story page and was noticing the discussion about the stickers and their bar codes.

One thing that is fairly obvious that never seemed to be noted is that each sticker has on it the name of a ship and the bar code encodes the name of the AI that controls the ship:

On the U.E.S.C Marathon sticker:

LEELA SHIP OPERATIONS
On the Celer Manus Dei sticker:

DURANDAL AUTONOMOUS FUNCTIONS
On the Cr'etz'ih sticker:

TYCHO SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

Leela was in control of the Marathon, especially at the end of M1 after Durandal removed himself from the network, but also before hand as she was in charge of "ship operations."

"Celer Manus Dei" is the name of Durandal's ship on the final screen of M2, a Jjaro dreadnought.

"Cr'etz'ih" is the name of the Pfhor ship that Tycho controls at the beginning of Infinity on "Rise Robot Rise," assuming that the following line from Terminal 3 can be considered to name the ship:

"All units aboard fleet vessel 65-f cr'etz'ih are hereby ordered..."

This may have been obvious to some but not to all.


Aug 16, 1998
Gabe Rosenkoetter <gr@eclipsed.net> came across some interesting information about Tycho Brahe. Gabe writes:

I came across it in conjunction with reading Joyce's Ulysses. More accurately, in reading Don Gifford and Robert J. Seidman's notes on it, "Ulysses Annotated", published by the University of California Press.

The section of Ulysses in question is when Stephen Dedalus, the Telemachus figure of the book, is describing his conception of William Shakespeare's life and how it was represented in his plays. (This is Book 9 of Ulysses.)

"9.928-32 - 'A star, a day star ... eastward of the bear' - The Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) discovered a super-nova above the small star Delta in the W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia, 11 November 1572, when Shakespeare was eight and a half years old. The nova, called Tycho's star, brightened rapidly until it outshone all the other stars and plantes at night and was visible in the daylight; it began to fade in December 1572. Delta is at the bottom of the left-hand loop of the W. ..."

So, Tycho is known for discovering a star going nova, which was visible from Earth in the sixteenth century, so brightly that it blocked out the other stars in the sky and was visible in the day. Interesting. That somehow reminds me of a terminal graphic... but I just can't quite remember which one...

;^>

More information about Tycho's Supernova can be found here

Some time ago Greg Kirkpatrick, main author of the Marathon Story, confirmed that the Marathon's Tycho was named after the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

One of the Moon's most prominent earthside craters is named after Tycho Brahe. The Tycho crater is where mankind discovers the 2nd Monolith in Stanley Kubrick's sci-fi film 2001 released on April 2, 1968.

The Surveyor lunar probes were the first U.S. spacecraft to land safely on the Moon. A total of seven Surveyor probes were launched though only five made successful landings, or so it is claimed. Surveyor 7, the last of the Surveyor probes, landed on the outer rim of the Tycho crater. It was launched on January 7, 1968.


Charles Bathel <random_electrons@yahoo.com> writes concerning the recent aerial photograph (186K) of Bungie West's San Jose stomping ground:

...there's actually a simple reason why squares on the sides are blacked out.

Arial photographs are composites of multiple photographs. If you look closely, you can _occasionaly_ see seam between the photos. Maybe the reason why the sides are blacked out is because there's nothing that was needed in the final photograph in those areas.

Well, _maybe_ there is...

What?


Aug 17, 1998
Ben Irwin <Jackelblow@aol.com> writes:

About two weeks ago, I recieved the rather large, hardcover book called "The Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future Second Edition" through Amazon.com

The weird thing is that there are several references to Tau Ceti. There is Tau Ceti III, Tau Ceti Prime and Tau Ceti. The definitions are the following:

Tau Ceti III: Planet. Site where Jean-Luc Picard once met Captain Rixx some time prior to 2364. [from episode "Conspiracy" of The Next Generation]

Tau Ceti Prime: First planet in the Tau Ceti star system. Tau Ceti Prime was the site of a tragic accident in 2358 that claimed the life of Adrimal Janeway. ["Coda" from ST: Voyager]

Tau Ceti: Star located some eight light years from the Sol System. Site where a Romulan vessel was defeated by the Enterprise using the Cochrane deceleration maneuver. ["Whom Gods Destroy" from the original series]

Strange to note that Tau Ceti Prime and Tau Ceti pre-dated Marathon. Also there is Tycho IV, with the following description:

Planet. Home to the spacefaring dikironium cloud creature. The U.S.S. Farragut lost 200 crew members fighting that entity in the Tycho system in 2257. Captain Kirk of the Enterprise destroyed the creature there in 2268. ["Obsession" from the original series]

Tau Ceti sure is a popular place. :-)


Aug 19, 1998
Peter de Blanc <Giule@aol.com> provides some interesting information on an early sci-fi game plot which is similar to parts of Marathon:

I recently got a pencil & paper RPG called "MechWarrior" (not the computer game) and it's originally copyrighted in the eighties. In the history of this game, the people of Earth invented FTL drives in the twenty-second century, and in what they called "The Deimos Project", they converted Deimos into a starship with which they colonized Tau Ceti. Tau Ceti IV, to be specific, sound familiar?

Peter continues:

Battletech is a war game (Real life, not computer) designed by FASA, Inc. FASA's web site is at http://www.fasa.com. In Battletech, each player controls any number of 'mechs. 'Mechs are basically humanoid tank-type things. In MechWarrior, on the other hand, you only control one 'mech, and role-play the 'mech's pilot, and are involved in situations both in and out of the cockpit. It's sort of like AD&D, only it's SF.

The original game, my friend tells me, is copyright 1984 (love that year!), but the version I have now is (c) 1991. There is probably a newer version out.

Hell, I don't want to tell the whole story, I'll just scan it. I'll be sending the .gifs in a bit...

Interesting stuff. Demios converted into a starship to colonize Tau Ceti IV? As Peter says "sound familiar?" Details to follow!


Aug 20, 1998
We told you so!

The following was posted on Bungie West's Hotline server at 209.125.179.23.

From Balin (Aug19 17:08):

MaraUnreal project.

It was at one stage going ahead, but after it was clear that UnrealED was not appearing on the Macintosh, and emulation was not a feasable solution, things slowed to a hault.

So rather than be really boring and let the thing die off silently, I thought it would be a amusing to release the site, and see what sort of fuss it created. Hamish Sinclair, who doesn't care about anything but Marathon, had overheard some conversations of mine earlier, and posted dispersions about the project on Marathon's Story.

Durandal, what made you think the project was a hoax? I'd like to know if any other of my supposed online friends need castrating.


Ah true confessions are always the best. ;-)

But who is the one called Durandal?


James Lanfear <jclanfear@presys.com> writes concerning Peter de Blanc's submission yesterday:

Just a little clarification about the Mechwarrior. The Deimos Project was the name of the program that led to the development of Jumpships (which are fairly small, BTW). The moon Deimos was never involved, and even a thousand years later mankind couldn't come close to converting a moon into a ship. The closest thing mentioned (in size) are Jumpships moving icebergs to the colony worlds.

Mechwarrior, Second Edition (c) 1991, pg. 107 "The Terran Parliament authorized the Deimos Project, a crash program to develop an FTL drive. Although the Deimos Project culminated in the maiden voyage of the first FTL ship to Tau Ceti in 2108, the billions spent on it created resentment and even rioting in some of the poorer Alliance member-states"

Tau Ceti IV (New Earth) was settled in 2116.

Resentment and rioting eh?


Aug 22, 1998
Richard Bromberg <rbrom@mnsinc.com> writes:

Reviewing some messages posted, Gabe Rosenkoetter mentioned the fact that the Pfhor "...seem to have something of a hive mentality (they resemble insects, come in droves, replace the fallen as nothing had happened, and work fairly well together till one gets pissed off and tries to establish it's dominance.)"  In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game four book series, the entire plot is based on a war between an alien race called simply the "Buggers".  The Buggers inhabit all traits that Gabe describes of the Pfhor, and also communicate through an *ANSIBLE* connection. (Note that Thoth refers to an ansible connection in one of his terminals).

This clearly shows undisputable evidence that the Pfhor in nature resemble the Buggers as described by Card.  In addition, there is a possibiliy that the Pfhor communicate ansiballically.

On the subject of the ansible - the "ansible" was invented by Ursula K. Le Guin in her novel The Dispossed (1974) and describes a method for communicating instantaneously. It's not clear if the Pfhor had this ability. They did have a FTL network however. The Jjaro had left a connection (ansible?) which allowed Thoth to signal the S'pht'Kr across "the void" on "Where the Twist Flops". By "Fatum Iustum Stultorum" they had arrived which is pretty good going.


Aug 23, 1998
Greg Downing <downin1@mindspring.com> writes:

I was reading the text from the terminal at "Naw Man He's Close", and I found an interesting short line:"The Trap is sprung, and the cheese stands alone."

For those of you not in the know, this is an allusion to the Robert Cormier book, "I Am The Cheese". It's referring to the old song "Farmer in the Dell, which goes something like this:

The Farmer in the dell,
the farmer in the dell,
heigh ho the dairy o,
the farmer in the dell.

The cat eats the rat....etc
The rat eats the cheese...etc
The cheese stands alone.


Aug 24, 1998
The Marathon's Story page is closed for a summer vacation until the 11th Sept... BUT...

...to keep your mind and fingers occupied until then here is

The 2nd Summertime Blues Competition.

Seven HoT questions to sort the men from the boys, the Marathon gurus from the Sunday players. You think you're Big Time, you're going to... yeah... yeah... yeah... we heard all this last year... get on with the questions?

err... right you asked for it. Here are the questions:


Q1. In total how many net levels are there in the three Marathon games comprising the Marathon Trilogy? wow that's easy... Hamish has gone soft!

Q2. In the Marathon games there are 3 main ways of dying:

  1. Being killed by aliens and other assorted characters such as Sims, Bobs, Defense Drones, etc.

  2. Killing yourself through the misuse of a weapon i.e. firing a grenade or rocket to close to an object or overcharging a fusion pistol.

  3. Being killed by the Marathon environment i.e. crushing platforms, lava, Pfhor slime, lack of oxygen etc.
But just how deadly is the Marathon environment? Of the 25 solo levels in Marathon 1 on how many is it possible to be crushed to death?

Q3. What had a range of 12?

Q4. In Pathways Into Darkness you encounter a number of dead people - German soldiers lead by the infamous Muller, your American Special Forces team, and a group of Spanish speaking treasure hunters. In total how many people entered the pyramid?

Q5. What equalled 61?

Q6. What were the seven final words of a dying man?

Q7. A memory, a name, a reason. Three things all forgotten. What were they?


If you think you know the answers then send them in. Get all seven right and you win an exclusive Marathon's Story page secret mystery prize! :-)

Remember though these are not your normal wussie competition questions these are HoT questions, the real McCoy. And don't forget all those tips folks! The 2nd Summertime Blues Competition is open to all including employees of Bungie, Bungie West and Double Aught... not that it will make any difference. [laughter] ;-)



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Hamish Sinclair
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Last updated Sept 19, 1998