Aug 25, 1999 (Wednesday)

The Marathon's Story page is closed for a summer vacation until the 13th Sept.

The last 30 days or so have been pretty hectic. Lots of things to look forward to Halo, Oni and three as yet unannounced Bungie projects. Remember Matt Soell said that #2 was still on the cards.

During the break the Story page's SMD mirror will be offline. That still leaves two mirrors:

Marathon Central mirror

Bungie.org mirror

Steve Campbell informs me that everything possible is being done to get bungie.org back online again. A number of options are being explored all of which look good for the future.

So before I close up shop here are some updates.


News just in! Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes:

The following is clipped from Bungie.net!

Server Maintenance [8/25]
We're moving all of our sites over to our new server, so there may be outtages of bungie.net, bungie.com, and the Bungie Store for a few hours today. Hang in there... when we get back there'll be a special treat.

Special treat???? Droool!

I wonder what that could be? ;-)


IGN Sci-fi has an interesting article called Is your favorite game getting turned into a movie? Some of the games mentioned include: Descent, Diablo, Doom, Duke Nukem, Fallout, Resident Evil, and Tomb Raider. The entry for Doom is funny, it reads:

It's deader than dead. So many years have passed that Doom's succesor, Quake, is almost on its third version. Films rights are about to revert back to Id, and since all the scripts they've seen so far have been so bad, it probably has no plans to sell 'em again. Thank goodness.

All the scripts have been bad eh? ;-)


halo.bungie.org notes that Bungie and Inside Mac Games both have SETI teams searching for aliens. Check out the Bungie team, the IMG team and the Halo team. Some healthy competition perhaps? No Marathon team though. :-(


Tyson Green <ferrex@gamestats.com>, maintainer of the Halo Core website, asks us to go vote for Oni and Halo as the most anticipated action games in PC Paradox's Best Action Game poll. Unfortunately it looks like the poll has ended.


Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> writes concerning the Oni notepaper that comes with Bungie's Action Sack:

I have a different notepad than what was sent in yesterday, mine has the picture of Konoko that you can see on

http://oni.bungie.com/bin/slideshow.pl?dir=gallery/anime/images&bg=white&bd=2&slide=3

Different notepad paper? Harry also passes on these Action Sack tidbits:

If you look behind the packaging of the Sack (the bit where the screenshots are etc.), you may notice a familiar thing.. :)

There's a small picture of the ball (skull) in the "Top Ten Uses For Your Sack" box. We also see a skull on the BungieCam... weirdness...

Hey! Bungie like skulls... what's the problem. ;-)


Aug 24, 1999 (Tuesday)

halo.bungie.org have obtained a transcript of a Halo preview from the UK Mac magazine MacFormat. It contains some interesting tidbits. Part of the text reads:

Halo isn't due out until next year, but the two-minute Expo preview made a strong impression with the keynote audience. Bungie's strongest 3D graphics yet is married to a Marathon-esque story that should help keep the action fresh over a sucession of challenges. MacFormat was one of a privileged few to sample the game in person directly after the keynote.

"...a Marathon-esque story that should help keep the action fresh..." :-)


Also from halo.bungie.org is the report that the European publishing and distribution subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive (Bungie's partner) have entered into a $17 million revolving line of credit with Barclays Bank PLC. Last week Take-Two Interactive negiotated a $50 million revolving line of credit with Bank of America.

Take-Two Interactive certainly seem to be in the news alot. They released a Press Release today (Tuesday August 24, 8:03 am Eastern Time) stating that they have have entered into a publishing agreement with Illusions Softworks. Initial releases under the new agreement will be a Sega Dreamcast version of Hidden & Dangerous and a PC mission pack for Hidden & Dangerous. Subsequently releases will include Flying Heroes (PC), Hidden & Dangerous 2, and Gangster.


Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes:

I was browsing through some old news items (Nov-Dec 1995, to be exact), and I ran across the following image:

http://www.marathon.org/story/_images/vacuumseal37.jpg

I just thought I'd send in some more info on fonts in the Marathon series, just FYI. It seems that the folx at 00 went hog-wild on type choices for Infinity. The small text at the side, and also at the very bottom below the polygonal image, is called Oakland Six. Like Modula Tall, it's an Emigre font. It was one of the first fonts created for the Mac by an independent type foundry. The reason the numbers are so tight and letters so wide is because the uppercase in Oakland Six is spaced-out pretty far. You can see a nice big sample at: http://www.emigre.com/FontAl/POakS.GIF

The other font in that image is called Moonbase Alpha. It spells out the "vacuum seal 37", and is also a part of the Fuse projects, like State. There's a poster (http://www.research.co.uk/fuse/fuse3gifs/moonbasel.jpeg) of this font that hangs above my head at work. :) The issue of Fuse in which Moonbase Alpha appears is called "Disinformation", which may seems to be an appropriate theme for Minf.


Mike Cramer <jupiter6@flash.net> writes:

I bought the Mac Action Sack directly from Bungie. An Oni Note pad was included. Was this a promotional thing or a standard thing? I have a scan of the whole and a close up of the number pattern found on the lower half for anyone who might decipher it at:

http://www.flash.net/~jupiter6/whlenote.JPG

http://www.flash.net/~jupiter6/halfnote.JPG

They're small in size but detailed.


Aug 23, 1999 (Monday)

Always read the fine print! Patrick Gierke <gierke@delaware.infi.net> spotted this on Bungie's Summer'99 BungieVision newsletter:

While browsing through the latest BungieVision newsletter that I received with my Action Sack, I noticed something that I had not seen before...

...notice that little foresight comment at the bottom of the order form? 132 days, and they forsee the lines for BLAM (a.k.a. Halo as we all know now) already forming. If only it was four months until I could get my hands on Halo....oh well. I can always dream.

The exact text Patrick is referring to is as follows:

How far into the future can you see? Through concentration techniques, we've gotten our foresight up to an astonishing 132 days- soon we'll be able to see into the millennium! Hey, check it out, the line for BLAM! is already forming.

132 days?


The following was posted on the bungie.org Hotline server:

For the many ppl that have asked about b.org on the web, here is what we got still up and running:
halo.bungie.org	       129.95.74.55
marathon.bungie.org    24.0.103.61/marathon
oni.bungie.org	       24.4.104.213
www.bungie.org	       Down
archives.bungie.org    Down
pid.bungie.org	       Down
hl.bungie.org  	       24.4.104.213 

The bungie.org mirror of the Marathon's Story page is at http://24.0.103.61/marathon/story.


Aug 22, 1999 (Sunday)

Sean Phelps <seanphelps@earthlink.net> writes:

Apparently in Forge you cannot set a platform to move at 777, or .777 WU/sec. Forge automatically changes the speed values to 767 or .767 respectively. Interesting isn't it?


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

I found this while slowly deleting the BungieWest Cam address

http://www.okita.com:81/?width=320;height=240;camera=0;caption=%X

in an experiment (it seems all you need to access the BungieWest Cam is http://www.okita.com:81/? I got to http://www.okita.com:81/ and found a directory page with only one thing on it, a link to this image (the address of the image is

http://www.okita.com:81/snapshot.jpg

Just thought it might be interesting. You might also want to make note of the date at the bottom, 15:01, and 49 (of course, we all know what those are for :).


Thanks to all the people who have been sending me in Bungie West cam pics with distortion in them. Distorted b.west cam pics? What's new I hear you cry! ;-) No apparently this is real distortion. Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

It looks like someone hit the Bungie West Webcam with a bolt from the Fusion Pistol.

PS: The real (completely unofficial) reason is that the webcam is now portable - no wires - so it picks up interference sometimes.


Aug 21, 1999 (Saturday)

Tim Branin <Sonofhydra@aol.com> makes an interesting observation about the Pfhor and their various eye pattern changes or lack thereof. See The Pfhor section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Michael Lake <beorn@thegrid.net> writes:

Just a tidbit of information, I was just checking out bungie.net, and realized that Cortana is now gone from the comet location, but is still holds an active account. She/He was also on the leader board for three days, hmm... Another thing, when getting the information on Cortana, the state listed is "of Domination", with "Irrelevant" for city and country. I also noticed that cortana has played zero games now, with a score of zero, and is now a dagger (or a sword...)


halo.bungie.org now has an anonymous ftp directory for uploading Halo art and other related files. It's at ftp://129.95.74.55/.


Apple Tree Puzzle Contest. The contest involves a tree with seven Macintosh (128K) computers.


Aug 20, 1999 (Friday)

Rob Thibadeau <rob@ontv.com> writes concerning the line "By sharp and flame" which features in the fourth Cortana Letter:

I don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but the quote "by sharp and flame" also occurs in the poem "Alone" which can be found at http://www.utlink.utoronto.ca/www/utel/rp/poems/bierce1.html.

The poem reads:

Alone, adj. In bad company.

1   In contact, lo! the flint and steel,
2   By sharp and flame, the thought reveal
3   That he the metal, she the stone,
4   Had cherished secretly alone.

I thought it was interesting that the title "...In bad company" parallels the current conditions Cortana was experiencing when she/he mailed the fourth letter.


Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. which just acquired a 19.9% equity interest in Bungie Software have increased their revolving credit facility with Bank of America, N.A. to $50 million. They previously maintained a $35 million revolving credit facility. Full details can be found at

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/990819/ny_take_tw_1.html


Trying to work out that Bungie acronym? Well Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> points us to:

http://www.acronymfinder.com/


Aug 19, 1999 (Thursday)

Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes concerning yesterday's "Blam 32" Halo tidbit from halo.bungie.org:

I can say with almost 100% certainty that the application name "Blam 32" refers to the bitdepth of the game. I recall Joseph Statton saying as much when he showed me the demo personally: (paraphrasing) "The textures you're looking at are 32-bit lo-res images" I imagine they have a Blam 16 also handy in case they want to show Halo running a little faster or for lower-powered machines.

Joseph Staten (Statton?) is Bungie's Product Manager.


Muhsin Miski <mmiski@mac-addict.com> writes:

While on b.net (Myth II) today I came across Abunai (David Bowman) of Bungie Software and someone had asked who Cortana was. The response...

"...Cortana is one of the three swords made for the gods"

I decided to continue the discussion by asking whether Durandal was another one of those three swords, after remembering that one terminal pict in Marathon 2. He replied with a yes. So we now have the identity of 2 of the 3 swords. This then leads to the utlimate question...

So who/what is the third sword?

Two possible contenders are Damocles or Joyeuse. Damocles is the TCTF Supercomputer in Oni. Joyeuse (Charlemagne's sword) is mentioned in the same company as Cortana and Durandal (Durindana):

"My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durindana."

See The Cortana Letters section for details.

Charlemagne was one of the Nine Worthies, figures of 'history' known for their particular qualities of prowess and chivalry. The first iteration of the Worthies occurs in the 14th century, when the list comprised the following:

Hector, Ceasar, Alexander, Arthur, Charlemagne, Godfrey de Bouillon, Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus


Brian Donohue <wdonohue@21stcentury.net> came across an interesting reference to "Curtana" in English chivalry from the 15th century. Brian writes:

Found at: http://www.bibliomania.com/Reference/PhraseAndFable/data/319.html

Curtana The sword of Edward the Confessor, which, having no point, was the emblem of mercy. The royal sword of England was so called to the reign of Henry III.

"But when Curtana will not do the deed,
You lay the pointless clergy-weapon by,
And to the laws, your sword of justice, fly."
Dryden: Hind and Panther, part ii. 419-21.

Brian continues:

See this site:

http://www.chronique.com/Library/Knights/coronation.htm

Point 40 - the bearing of the swords is wear Curtana comes in.

40.The Bearing of the Swords: The Earl of Chester shall bear in procession before the king the sword that is called Curtana. On his right side the Earl of Huntington shall bear another. The Earl of Warwick on the left side shall bear the third sword.


Todd Dillen <todddillen@home.com> writes concerning the SCS designator in the Halo quotes:

Upon seeing the ship designator of "SCS" my brain immediately went into Star Fleet Battles mode (a Star Trek based starship combat boardgame that started in the mid-70s). Within the SFB universe, SCS stands for "Space Control Ship", a large vessel with dreadnought class weaponry and shielding, as well as a full complement of fighters and fast patrol craft.

Unfortunately, the designators CCS and CAR do not fall quite so neatly. In SFB terms, CAR represented a heavy cruiser with a rear-firing weaponry refit, and CCS has no direct translation, except for possibly command cruiser with scout capability.

You can find further information on SFB at http://www.starfleetgames.com/, and Interplay has a PC game based on it, which can be found at http://www.interplay.com/sfcommand/. It seems to be an excellent reproduction of the original boardgame.


Seth Graham <sether@iconnet.net> kindly saved these Cortana on bungie.net pics for posterity.


Rob Thibadeau <rob@ontv.com> spots the beef on Bungie's Robocam. See the Robocam page 2 for details.


Bungie West's cam is back and the heavy squad have moved in. Be forewarned!


Aug 18, 1999 (Wednesday)

Max Lieberman <MythVaM@aol.com> writes concerning the level name "Never Burn Money":

Never Burn Money-- the fact that this starts with the word "never," in conjunction with the syllable count, makes this level name reminiscent of the two great Bungie directives (Never Stop Running, Never Stop Firing). Perhaps it's the long-lost third rule?

...long-lost third rule eh? Who told you about that? ;-)


Timothy Collett <ckoelbl@hamilton.edu> writes:

While watching the Halo movie (for the umpteenth time) I noticed that as the one-man ship that the man steals is flying off, its silhouette looks remarkably like that of the White Star ships from the SF series Babylon 5 (see attached image 230K).


I pinched this off the halo.bungie.org forums. Guido Baldoni <pacoman@telemacus.it> posted the following interesting Halo tidbit:

On halo-demo.mov, at 00:00, what is the name of the application that appears at the top of the screen? Blam 32 ?? or what?

You can see the full post here.


Thanks to Peter Cooner <cake29@hotmail.com> (via Matt Boyd on HL), Seann Hamilton <hammy1@bigplanet.com> and Seth Graham <sether@iconnet.net> for all pointing out the odd goings on at bungie.net. Seems Cortana is making an appearance. Peter writes:

Well now, Cortana seems to be out and begging for a catching again. This time if you happen to logon to b.net for a game of Myth II you would have noticed this, "Catch me if you can! Love, Cortana" pop up for the chat "blue bar."

Seann writes:

...go look at the bungie.net website. Cortana is the name of the best player. It says he has 7 games plays and NO WINS, and 7777 points. His clan is only one member. it was founded by konrad@bungie.com after checking the stats, I have concluded that this is impossible (well duh!).

just looking at the stats, I realized the writting at top city:irrelevant state:of domination country:irrelevant also, 7 of his 8 games(wait a minute, the order board says only 7 games, what's going on here) well, they are territories. which could definitely mean something.

Seth writes:

Recently (past day or so), it was noticed that bungie.net has a new comet.. someone named 'Cortana.' Her score is 7777, and she's played 7 games. The account was created on 1/15/1999 (1+1+5 = 7).

Even more, she's ranked number one in the game of 'Territories.' She also seems to have played a bit of LMOTH, though the one game listed she didn't win. She is a member of the order 'Lahran's Badboys' (of which she is the only member). Her email is listed as 'konrad@bungie.com.'

This seems to coincide, at least in terms of when it appeared, with the recent motd message on bungie.net, which reads:

"Catch me if you can! Love, Cortana"

Which appeared sometime on Tuesday.


More robocam pics thanks to Bill Moore <moorew@aii.edu>, Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> and Aaron Gaponoff <eaten_by_fungus@hotbot.com> Some old ones and some new ones. See Robocam page 2 for details. Older Bungie East pics are on Robocam page 1.


Aug 17, 1999 (Tuesday)

Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes concerning a font used in the Marathon Infinity terminals:

I don't know if you have this info already, but the font used in some of the Tycho terminals is called State. The font was included in the first issue of a publication called Fuse, and was designed by Neville Brody (of new-Macromedia-identity fame). We sell Fuse here at work, that's how I know. :)

Anyway, I'm sure you'll recognize it by the sample I attached...

For more info on the State font check out the Fontshop.


MacGamer's Ledge have a small update on Halo. Part of the text reads:

Work is ongoing for a new Halo trailer which will highlight more of the game's extraordinary attention to detail than was shown in the Macworld trailer. There is no planned release date but it will definitely be widely announced once it is available.


halo.bungie.org have changed their IP again. It's now located at http://129.95.74.55/. They also have an exclusive Halo movie courtesy of Mac Observer. It weighs in at 35MBs. A must see. Get it quick before the IP changes again! ;-)


Aug 16, 1999 (Monday)

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> makes an interesting discovery concerning the Marathon terminal interface:

I was playing M1 today, and noticed something in the upper left corner of the terminal windows: 802.11. That's the standard that the iBook uses for wireless networking. According to this page:

http://www.wlana.com/intro/standard/committee.html

802.11 was formed in 1990, which means that Bungie probably did this intentionally.


Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu>, Dan Rudolph <7thFace@bungie.net>, Chadd Nervig <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com>, Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu>, James Gurnee <harness@access1.net>, Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com>, and Andrew Malcovsky <wackyslav@hotmail.com> all write concerning Michael Watson's odd texture finding on "Come and Take your Medicine". Full details can be found here.


Aug 15, 1999 (Sunday)

Remember the IP address of the Marathon pages at bungie.org is:

http://24.0.103.61/marathon/

Want the Story page just add story to the end. Same with scenarionews, spoiler, vidmaster etc.


Jared Cash <jcash@graceland.edu> writes concerning the cryptic binary string (101111011110111100001) on the Marathon level "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!"

In reference to what Michael said (a few days ago) about the binary string (101111011110111100001):

What if it weren't meant to be a picture of backward sevens. Divide the string into sections of three:

101 111 011 110 111 100 001

Now, turn the binary into Base 10. The numbers become:

5 7 3 6 7 4 1

A phone number? 573-6741


Dan Hembry <durandal_777@yahoo.com> writes:

I was browseing the front page of Planet Half-Life (www.planethalflife.com) today and it had a message up that said the Radium (a map reviewing site thats hosted by PHL) had about 20 newly reviewed maps. Being an hobbyest mapper for Half-Life I decied to check them out. There were a few good ones but a map called Thunderdome caught my eye near the bottom. I took a look at it

http://www.planethalflife.com/radium/reviews/thunder.shtml

Dosen't look to be a very good copy but the essense is there. There is some interesting placement of heath chargers inside the arena, and it looks a bit too squareish.


Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> writes:

I, unlike some, really enjoy taking my time in Come and Take Your Medicine, even though you can finish this map in just a few moments, really.

Well, this is what I was doing a little while ago, when some drones descended on me, and I bobbed up to smack 'em around a little...When I noticed something _really_ odd.

I looked up, and noticed something really strange on the ceiling. After I dealt some kung-fu out to the drones, I stopped for a second, and bobbed up over and over to look at this strange little thing. I don't remember a texture in Marathon 2 [or any Marathon] that looks like this, and especially not in the Water set.

I wish I could describe it, but the best I can do is attatch screenshots from both sides [you'll see], and a screenshot of the map, to see if you, or anyone else can replicate what I saw.

It could be some odd bug, but I thought I'd pass it on anyway.


You can see it here. Other odd stuff about this level can be found on the The Sixth Panel on Medicine section.


Aug 14, 1999 (Saturday)

A sword etched into the G3 chip? Shades of Durandal perhaps? Bill Moore <moorew@aii.edu> writes:

Durandal, Version 1.0?

http://www.microscopy.fsu.edu/creatures/pages/g3sword.html

This is a link to a page from a molecular-level microscopic photography page, which shows an extremly close up veiw of a IBM/Mottorola PPC750 Proccessor in which a Medieval sword has been drawn onto the scribe line. "Why?", you may ask. Think about it... where else do you know about a computer named after a sword? Is the G3 meerly a beta "Durandal"? Or are PPC750s a civilian version of the Traxus Project:

http://www.marathon.org/story/_wheregiantshavefallen/pid7.html?

Only time will tell.

Keep in mind that the G3sword pic is very real, and can be found near the scribe line of any G3 proccessor using an electron microscope or other such device.


Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> kindly sends in some Marathon Beta SF Jan'94 pics. Check out that early version of the SPNKR on the Marathon Beta SF Jan'94 page.


Bungie.org are experiencing DNS problems. The forecast is not good for the weekend. You can access the Story page mirror at the b.org by using the following IP address

http://24.0.103.61/marathon/story/

halo.bungie.org also report similar problems. Their IP address is:

http://129.95.74.79/halo

halo.bungie.org report that videogames.com have a Bungie poll. Seems you can vote for the Bungie game you'd most like ported to console systems.


More Bungie East cam pics. See Robocam page 2 for details. Older pics are on Robocam page 1.


Aug 13, 1999 (Friday)

Quick update #1

Some clarification from Matt Soell (Bungie Software) concerning Bungie's "two undisclosed projects" mentioned earlier today. Matt points out that:

Neither Chimera nor the long-delayed #2 are among the two unannounced products.

Matt went on to say that it was "still too early" to discuss these.

Was the long-delayed event #2 still on the cards? Matt replied:

Very much so.

So Bungie fans have "two undisclosed projects" to look forward to AND a #2. How cryptic can one be? ;-)


Jason Favor <jfavor@radiks.net> just happened to bump into this at his local science fiction club. Jason writes:

1967 Hugo Winner
The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress
By Robert A. Heinlein

For 30 years, an Earth-based monopoly has oppressed the moon's colinists. now a rebellion is brewing...but can three million unarmed workers gain freedom against a force eleven billion strong? Sure, with a little help from a friend: a sentient supercomputer who, for his own reasons, wants the revolution to succeed.

Sound familiar? Another book to add to that growing Marathon/Halo book list. :-)

Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" also contains the famous quote "An armed society is a polite society" along with the popular acronym TANSTAAFL which stands for "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."


Following-up on Next Generation's interview with Nathan Bitner Inside Mac Games have posted an interview with Jason Jones (Project Leader on Halo). Part of the interview reads:

IMG: Any particular reason for the Marathon logo, or is it just for kicks? Is Halo somehow tied to and/or an extension of the Marathon series?

JJ: I'll say this: Observant fans of our games will note that certain themes tend to run through our games. For example, the sword Durandal (from the "Song of Roland") first appears in Minotaur as a magic sword and goes on to become a central character in Marathon. There are many other examples of common themes running through our games.

Which suggests we'll be seeing the reappearance of some previous Bungie character and/or theme in Halo. Top of that list most surely be the Jjaro. ;-)


Many thanks to Sean Phelps <seanphelps@earthlink.net>, Tyson Green <ferrex@gamestats.com>, Michael Sheley <michael.d.sheley@intel.com> and Steven G. Washburn <swashburn@emcst.com> for all pointing out the recent announcement that Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. are to acquire 19.9% equity interest in Bungie Software for an undisclosed sum. Full details in a Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. press release can be found at

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/990812/ny_take_tw_1.html

Additional details in the form of a questions and answers session can be found at

http://www.next-generation.com/jsmid/news/7356.html

Good news for Bungie and Bungie fans.

It was also pointed out that the press release referred to Bungie having "two undisclosed projects". The text reads:

Take-Two also entered into an agreement with Bungie that will provide its Jack of All Games subsidiary with exclusive North American distribution rights to four upcoming Bungie titles, including Halo, Oni and two undisclosed projects.

So what could these be? It has been suggested that one of these could be the free Myth scenario pack "Chimera". However this has already been announced. Indeed in the summer edition of Bungie's BungieVision publication there is a write up on the scenario. Interesting to note that in the East vs West article (in the same BungieVision) Bungie East were allegedly working on two unnamed "current projects". If one of these was Halo (it had not been announced at the time) then that leaves only one unannounced project.

As yet no word on event #2 mentioned by Matt Soell some months back.


What appear to be the remains of another Marathon beta test leaker have been spotted on Bungie's robocam. See the Bungie East cam pics page for details.

Aug 12, 1999 (Thursday)

A few days ago Raul Bonilla <lassonde@hotmail.com> sent in a walkthrough for the Marathon Beta SF Jan'94 which can be found on the Marathon CD and the Trilogy Box Set CD. Now Craig Fay <DurandalM3@aol.com> kindly sends in some screenshots of the walkthrough. See the Marathon Beta SF Jan'94 page for details.


halo.bungie.org report a subtle change in the color of Bungie's Halo logo. You can see the differences here. While the color change makes it slightly more difficult to see the Marathon logo it's still there.


Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes concerning the availability of Iain M. Banks's book.

You can also order his books straight from the publisher.

http://www.orbitbooks.co.uk/


Tyson Green <ferrex@gamestats.com> writes concering Alex Rosenberg's comments yesterday:

Regarding this snippet from today's news:

> FWIW, the article is wrong in once respect... Oni is the first Bungie game > that was developed first on a PC and then ported to the Mac.

Bungie West started Oni on a Mac. Some team members now use Macs exclusively and some use a PC exclusively, but the initial work was done on a Mac and the code is always fully cross-platform.

--

My bad, and I stand corrected. That observation was based on the fact that I didn't see a Mac version of Oni during my internship, and recall that there was a major effort to have a good, solid one ready for MWSF, a few weeks after I left. It may've been that development was parallel, and just slowed by the state of hardware acceleration on the Mac, but I'll plead ignorance on this one. ;)

I agree on all of Alex's other points, though--basically what I was trying to say, albeit clearer and more to the point. And as for those seven bonus points, my guess would be the smooth, flowing terrain and absence of vertical, non-model surfaces in it, characteristics of a Myth style terrain mesh.


Aug 11, 1999 (Wednesday)

Quick update halo.bungie.org have put up an interesting submission from Darcy Brockbank concerning the use of the name Halo in another of Iain M Banks's sci-fi books "Against a Dark Background". This is a non Culture novel however. The full submission can be found here. Nice find.


Jon Chang <grind@interactive8.com> writes:

After following that link you posted yesterday to the article on Iain M Banks I tried to track down those books mentioned. On Amazon 2 were listed as out of print... I was able to find USE OF WEAPONS and CONSIDER PHLEBAS are still in print in England. There is an online book shop at

http://www.bookplace.co.uk/

that has them in stock, in quantity ^-^, if other people want to find them without placing some expensive out of print order...

Thanks.


Sam Morris <sam@netcity.co.uk> writes:

That page you've put up on Banks is intertesting... Look at the Orbit Book's logo on the cover of Use of Weapons... It is sort of like the Marathon Symbol!


Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes concerning Halo and a certain other classic sci-fi novel:

I think now is the right time to mention that Bungie is very sensitive about any comparisons being made between Halo and Ringworld. Let's not forget that there has already been a computer game based on the Ringworld series. Think litigation folks. I think Doug said (I'm paraphrasing) "We don't want to hear Halo and Ringworld together in the same sentence."


Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> writes:

This may have been discussed on a forum by now, but it turns out the GameSpot article that quoted a "top person" at Bungie was slanted and unreliable:

http://www.maccentral.com/news/9908/10.adams.shtml

It also includes an official statement from Bungie.


IMG has also posted a letter from Nathan Bitner on Bungie's Mac commitment. The letter reads:

As you could tell from our announcement at MacWorld '99 of Halo, our newest game, Bungie is no less committed to the Mac platform than it ever has been. It is simply much, much easier to PORT (note, I'm only talking about porting here, not anything else) from the PC to the Mac, rather than the other way around.

This may change as Mac development platforms continue to grow and change. This by no means signifies any less commitment to making games for the MacIntosh platform, so perish the thought. :-)

Nathan Bitner
Producer and Creative Developer
Bungie Software


Alex Rosenberg <alexr@spies.com> (former Bungie employee) writes concerning Tyson Green's (former Bungie employee) recent comments concerning Bungie and platforms:

> Tyson Green <ferrex@gamestats.com> writes:
>
> Jones is a programmer and a gamer, not a platform advocate. He uses the
> best tool for the job, whatever that may be. He might be a Mac user from
> way back, but he's not blinded by that (and I'm one too, so don't twist
> this into a platform slam).

Jones used a PC for most of his early work on Halo simply because he was able to get a higher performance video card running in it at a time when the offerings for the Mac weren't up to par. (It was a Voodoo 2, IIRC.)

> If Halo is following Myth's basic design, then the game engine will be
> cross platform, and tied into platform specific I/O libraries. A project
> opened in CW Pro 4 is the same project opened in Visual C++ 5, or whatever
> they're using on the PC's now.

This is apparently the case again. I should also point out that it appears to me that code has been reused from the Myth engine, so this is a natural outcome. (Seven bonus points to whomever can figure out why I think Halo uses a large portion of the Myth 2 landscape engine.)

> FWIW, the article is wrong in once respect... Oni is the first Bungie game
> that was developed first on a PC and then ported to the Mac.

Bungie West started Oni on a Mac. Some team members now use Macs exclusively and some use a PC exclusively, but the initial work was done on a Mac and the code is always fully cross-platform.


More Robocam oddities on the Bungie East cam pics page.


Aug 10, 1999 (Tuesday)

Next Generation has a short interview with Nathan Bitner (Producer and Creative Developer - halo) at http://www.next-generation.com/jsmid/news/7319.html. Part of the text reads:

Tell us a bit about what inspired Halo.

"We wanted to make the definitive game of conflict between the human race and an alien civilization. There have been countless games on this theme, but few of them have the depth of story, detail or originality that you would find in a good sci-fi novel. We're going to write this story, and bring it to life with the best technology available in an electronic game.

"One of the things that was most rewarding about the Marathon series was the way that fans pored over the details of the story, analyzing and debating it, and eventually expanding it beyond what we originally had written. Two years after we shipped the third in the series, Marathon Infinity, we could still check out third-party sites to find out the new developments there were in the Marathon world -- it was a blast. That taught us that a complex story reaps benefits long after players have played through the game, and that's very much our intention with Halo.

"It's worth noting that though Halo takes place on a ring-shaped artificial world, the story, characters and world bear no relation whatsoever to Niven's excellent Ringworld novels."

Note the part "...no relation whatsoever to Niven's excellent Ringworld novels."

But parts do bear a passing resemblance to Iain M. Banks's "Culture" series.


Sean Morris <legolas14@theglobe.com> writes:

Do you think "Welcome to the Revolution..." was originally a vacuum level? The only Pfhor are vacuum enabled and in the last terminal it mentions a hull breach.

Interesting point. As Sean points out the last terminal does say:

%durandal is dangerous.
<leela.wirehead.870229//b7>

MULTIPLE HULL BREACHES. CATASTROPHIC FAILURE OR
MALICIOUS OBSTRUCTION OF RESEALING MECHANISMS.


Ben Irwin <Jackelblow@aol.com> writes:

Well, I think you might be interested to know that I finally figured out where the Marathon "you're it" sound came from. Just yesterday, while waiting for a mini-Star Trek marathon to come on, I decided to watch the Bevis and Butthead moron-athon. Well, they showed this one REALLY-old looking episode and when the episode was over, they played the sound. This would make sense considering Jason Jones' obsession with Bevis and Butthead.


Flynn O'Connor <foconnor@apple.com> writes:

You might want to check out www.cortana.com. Verrrry interesting. Almost makes you wonder if it was put up by Bungie...or a very odd coincidence; I imagine a military AI would have some very similar responsibilities...


Rick Boyd <rickboyd@starpower.net> and Clem Freeman <clemf@humboldt1.com> both write concerning Halo's weapons.


Bungie East's Robocam get more interesting. A subtle clue perhaps? See the Bungie East cam pics page.


Aug 9, 1999 (Monday)




Aug 8, 1999 (Sunday)

Halo this... Halo that... Marathon's Story page losing its identity some people cry!

Well we're going back to our roots this Sunday by offering you the first EVER walkthrough of the Marathon beta from Janunary '94. Thanks to Raul Bonilla <lassonde@hotmail.com> for this blast from the past. Raul writes:

I wasn't able to take screenshots from any of the macworld sf jan '94 betas (the Command-5 code didn't work.) I was able to take one shot from the preferences window (beta_prefs.gif - 48 k. Look how odd the colors turned.) So I wrote a little walkthrough. Hope it'll be useful.

I'm also including a saved game from the beta (barrels_level_2 - 4k.)

I played the Marathon beta -which seems to be the more stable- under MacOS 8.6 with QuickTime 4 and without MacsBug.

CONTROLS

Tab Option - Action

Arrow keys
Numeric keypad
P, ";", L and ' keys - Movement

Space Bar/Enter/Return - Fire

X and C keys
"[" and "]" keys - Sidestep

1 key - Selects the Tool Mark IV pistol
2 key - Selects the SPNKR-25 Auto Cannon
3 key - ?
4 key - 100% screen
5 key - 75% screen
6 key - 50% screen
7 key - ?
8 key - floor texture on/off
9 key - low resolution on/off (disabled in marathon.fat)

Command-S - Save game (not recommended in marathon.fat. See below)

Command-O - Open saved game (will crash marathon.fat)

Command I - Preferences (works only in the Marathon beta. The other 2 betas crashed. The sound options doesn't work. The default seems to be 3 sound channels)

***

GENERAL NOTES:

- There are a group of six buttons besides the action window. The only one that works is the 3rd, counting from the lowest to the highest. It takes you to the beginning of the game -it doesn't restart your saved game (don't use it too often.)

- I didn't found a map key in this betas or anything that restores your energy or oxygen.

- Under QuickTime 3.0 and later, the player continue to stay alive long after he run out of oxygen.

- As in Wolfestein, you produce more damage and use less ammo when you shot the monsters from a short distance.

- The landscape picture of the betas works in a different way that it does in the final version of Marathon. One of the 2 moons, the mayor, is always looking north while the minor is always looking east. They're not repeated.

***

LEVEL 1

1. Turn south. Open the door, get into the room and open the next door (notice the "Grendel Lives" graffiti besides this 2 doors.) A monster will show up (what's that sound? A Hunter?) Kill it.

2. Go back to the first room. Turn east. In the next room, there'll be a door, south, between 2 barrels. Kill the monster behind this door.

3. Go east. You'll get to a room with 2 doors (east) and a corridor (south.) The corridor leads to a room with 2 monsters. Kill them.

4. Go back to the 2 door room. Both doors will lead you to a room with 2 monsters, a door (east) and a corridor (south) with 2 more monsters. Kill the monsters, take the corridor.

5. You'll get to a room with a door (east) and another corridor (west.) Take the corridor. Now turn around and kill the monster that show up behind the east door. Take the SPNKR-25 Auto Cannon and the 2 energy packs for the cannon. Go back and cross the door were the monster showed up (east).

6. This next room will have 2 doors; one east, one south. More baddies will come out from both doors. If you take the east door you'll return to the first 2 door room, but in the way you'll find 3 more energy packs for the laser cannon (by this moment you should be running out of ammo for the pistol. Notice that the weapons won't change once you have run out of ammunition and that you can still select the pistol even if you don't have clips for it.) If you take the south door you'll get to a room with another 2 doors. One is south, close to you, the other is south-west, in the opposite corner. You'll find a clip for the pistol in the room behind the south door and another door, south-east, behind a wall. This door will lead you to 3 monsters.

7. After you've killed the monsters, go back and take the south-west door in the opposite corner of the previous room. This door leads to a large open room with a group of barrels south-east and 2 doors south-west (one is visible from the entrance.) There's a 3rd door in a corner after the barrels (east,) and a corridor (south) with 3 more doors. A good deal of monster will come after you when you step into this room. Be prepare to dodge slime balls.

8. Lets take the door in the east corner after the barrels. It takes you to a room with a door (east) and a hidden clip for the pistol behind a corner (north-east.) This door takes you to a corridor with a door at both ends (one south-east, the other west.) The south-east door leads you to a room full of barrels, another clip for the pistol and 5 monsters.

9. Go back and take the west door. You'll find yourself in the corridor with 3 doors. The door in front of you (west) takes you to a room with another clip for the pistol. The door to your left (south) takes you to the exit. It have a slime ball on the floor (the only one in the level.) The 2 doors marked as south-west in point 7 will be now north-west. Both takes you to even more monsters and back to the room were you started. There are 3 more clips for the pistol in this section of the level.

***

LEVEL 2

1. As soon as you move you'll pick up a clip for the pistol. Use it to kill the monster in the south east corner. The door (south) and the corridor (east) will take you to the same corridor. West this corridor there's a room with one monster and a dead end. The door in this corridor (south east if you take the door, south west if you went the other way) takes you to another corridor.

2. From here you have 2 choices: you can go east, you can go west. Going west takes you to 4 monsters; in the end of that section there's a clip for the pistol. Going east takes you to a door (north east) with a monster behind it, and if you go further you'll find another door (south east.)

3. Take the first door. If you go east you'll end in front of the second door. Go north west. There'll a long corridor with one monster. At the end of this corridor there's a door (east) that leads to a room with 3 monsters. Now go back and take the second door.

4. There's a "L" shaped room after this door with 2 monsters, a clip for the pistol in the north east corner and a door near the south east corner. Beyond this door is another "L" shaped room with a door (north east.) This door is part of a series of 5 doors put one after the other. As you may have guessed, there's a monster behind the 5th door (followed by another 2.) In the south east corner of this section there's a corridor blocked by 3 barrels. Under some circumstances you can walk through this barrels. I don't know what triggers it. I'm including a saved game where you can walk through the barrels (barrels_level_2 - 4k.)

So where's the exit? Seems there is no exit. As I wrote to you before, the STR# and MŐP resources of the map clearly show that there are 8 levels. But if you play any of the betas with QuickTime 2.5 or earlier, you'll run out of oxygen before completing the 2nd level. Since these betas where showed as demos in the 1994 MacWorld Expo, it's logic that they have only 2 playable levels. Maybe Bungie opened space for the other 6 six levels, but they never included them.

Can you get further? Can you take screenshots of your walkthrough?


Aug 7, 1999 (Saturday)

Quick update. Steve Campbell writes to say that with the help of Claude Errera bungie.org is slowly coming back to life after its move. The bungie.org hotline server is now open for business at its new IP 24.0.103.61. This will be picked up by Hotline tracker soon. Stop in for a chat or browse through the b.org's vast archives (1.5 GBs).


And then there were three. The Story page mirror at marathon.bungie.org is now back up and updated.


Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes concerning Bungie's new Halo banner:

On mouse-over of the Halo banner on the main page at www.bungie.com, the link reads "A dark future... an uncertain past... no one left to trust." I guess there's a "link" between Oni and Halo.

I guess Bungie's webmaster will be fixing that. ;-)


Following up on IGN's Halo article is a similar Gamespot article on Halo. It uses the same Halo screenshot as the IGN article but the text provides further Halo details. Part of the text reads:

The basic premise of Halo centers around two races: a group of humans and an alien race known as the Covenant - both races have crash-landed on a large ring floating around a large gaseous planet. The races are distinctly different from each other and have separate designers making sure they look nothing like one another. The large, ominous aliens move with smooth, fluid movements and use energy weapons like blasters to take down their human opponents. Humans wear military combat suits and use melee and propelled weapons. In battle, both races use a series of inverse kinematics that allow for realistic motion after firing weapons - launch a large projectile into the air, and you'll see your characters arms' recoil and his body sway.

Also, the ring encircling the planet was constructed by a third and as yet unseen alien race, but Bungie wouldn't comment on whether we'd be able to see or fight against that race when the game is complete.

Who could the mysterious third alien race be? The Jjaro perhaps! ;-)


Thanks to everyone who sent in web cam pics. If you're going to send one in please make sure it shows something interesting or funny. Check out the

Bungie West cam pics page 1 and page 2.

Bungie East cam pics page.


Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

Did you notice the <alt> tag for the RoboCam picture? It says, "Never look directly into the eye of The Man."

Chris also passes on this little known tidbit:

Today is the seventh! And if the 7th is the 7th day of the week then the following Friday is a 13th!

<gulp> ;-)


Aug 6, 1999 (Friday)

Just a quick update. Some Halo Action. halo.bungie.org report that IGN have posted a second Halo screenshot and a long article on the game itself. You can read it here. Part of the text reads:

...you play a cyborg warrior deep in a guerilla war on a distant ring construct far from Earth, fighting an alien covenant bent on your destruction. The aliens from the trailer are actually only one a few species to appear in the game, and non-cyborg humans will make an appearance as well. Most of the game will take place on the massive ring world, which you can actually see rise up into the sky and loop around in the far distance from planetside.

...non-cyborg humans will make an appearance as well. Bobs anyone? ;-)


Well my Mac Action Sack finally arrived. Oni notepad, two BungieVisions (winter '98 & summer '99), and CD. Six games. One Sack. All Action. The BungieVision for summer'99 is a fun read. Top ten uses for your sack, BLAM!, Chimeria and East vs. West. The latter being a comparative list of 29 salient characteristics of both Bungie studios. Anyone want to scan these in?

On the subject of comparisons Bungie West's cam is out shining Bungie East's in terms of sheer devilment. Oscar Göthberg <oscargot@swipnet.se> and Bruce Morrison <wimorrison@FTC-I.NET> kindly sent in a number of Bungie West cam shots. You can see these as well as Rob Schultz's on the Bungie West cam page.

Some recent Bungie East cam shots can be found here. Come on Bungie East let's see some Halo action! ;-)


Back to the Action Sack. Good to see the electronic version of the Infinity manual in the Sack. It was pointed out back in Nov 16, 1998 that the Trilogy manual which came with the Trilogy Box Set was not the same as the original Infinity manual since it was missing the introductory story text for the Infinity scenario. Thus people who bought the Box Set missed out on this important story detail. The Action Sack however makes amends. Thanks Bungie. :-)


halo.bungie.org which is now back up and running has posted some non-Halo art from Halo artist Shikai Wang.


Mark Levin <mglevin@students.uiuc.edu> writes concerning the happy Marathoner pic posted yesterday:

Just wanted to point out that in the "happy marathoner" picture, the other player visible is me. Despite my expression, I was also very happy!

Now we can all see what Mark Levin looks like. ;-)


Thanks to Randall Shaw (via IRC) for pointing out an interesting Gamecenter article on clichés in action games. It's called Game Clichés That Just Won't Die.


Aug 5, 1999 (Thursday)

At the time of writing both bungie.org Story page mirrors are down. Steve Campbell and Claude Errera are hard at work moving the seven bungie.org servers to their new site. Normal service should be resumed shortly. For now though you need to use the two remaining Story page mirrors. Of course if you are reading this today you ARE using them. You might want to pass the word around though. Thanks.


Yesterday Clem Freeman told us to take a look at www.okita.com and click on "Bungie West". Yes Bungie West's own web cam. Today Rob Schultz <silvertail@howling.com> kindly sent in a number of interesting shots from the cam all nicely HTMLized! You can see Rob's Bungie West cam shots here. Intertesting stuff.

One wonders if the new Bungie West cam will encourage Bungie East to start pointing their web cam at more interesting stuff... such as the Halo development team at work... or play! ;-)

Recent Bungie East cam shots can be found here.


Results of the National Macintosh Gaming Championship 1999 series at Macworld Expo New York are up at http://www.dexposure.com/nmgc1999r2.html. A picture of the overall winner can be seen here.

Who was at gaming booth #7? Picture courtesy of Mac 3D.

Here's a happy Marathoner at the recent National Macintosh Gaming Championship. Picture courtesy of MacInTouch.


Back in July (29th) Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> pointed out that Dualism (now down), a Duality fan site, had reported that DoubleAught had stopped development on Duality. At the time we pointed out that no official statement has been made at either the Duality or the DoubleAught web pages. Now Inside Mac Games have picked the story up in their latest news offering.

According to David Longo (former DoubleAught artist) people are moving on. Greg Kirkpatrick is leaving games and starting a new career. David himself is moving to Monolith Productions. The loss of Duality is sad news indeed.


Nick Roemer <stompbox@wolfenet.com> points out that the number seven has competition! Yes the number 23.


Aug 4, 1999 (Wednesday)

Mac Observer have posted the The Best Halo Movie You Will See (Until Halo Is Released), at least that's what they say. Image quality is far superior to any previous Halo movie and the soundtrack is straight from the Expo hall (whistles, ohs and ahs, etc emphasize the audience's delight). It weighs in at about 18MBs and you can get it at

http://www.macobserver.com/news/99/august/990803/besthalomovie.html

Worth the download.


Clem Freeman <clemf@humboldt1.com> writes concerning Larry Niven's "Ringworld" and Bungie's Halo:

First off is that I've been reading Larry Niven's Ringworld and I have noticed even more similarities with Halo. Note: this will spoil the story a little for those that have not read the book.

First, in Chapter 12, "Fist-Of-God", Luis Wu and his companions come across a group of natives living on the ringworld. After Luis shows off the use of a flashlight to the less civilized people, they tell him that "fighting with light" is forbidden. When he tells them he did not know, one of the natives, mistaking him for a builder of the ringworld, says:

"Did not know it? How could you not know it? Did you not raise the arch in sign of the covenant with man?"

Now if you thought that was interesting, they come across a map room in Chapter 16, "The Map Room." The most interesting thing about this map room is that it contains a holographic map of the ringworld, just like in the Halo demonstration. The holo map in Ringworld is much bigger though (about 120 feet across), and is horizontal instead of vertical.

Ringworld's influence on Halo is becoming more apparent all the time. And I haven't even finished the book yet!


Clem also goes on to say:

On a side note, you might find something interesting noe if you go to www.okita.com and click on "Bungie West."


Concerning Aaron Davies' comments yesterday about Bungie East's 2nd project Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes:

Bungie East's 2nd project is Chimera... a free expansion pack for Myth II. At least we all *think* that's the secret 2nd project.

chimera.bungie.com is supposed to be up to explain all, but it wasn't last I checked. (it maps back to the main bungie.com page)


James Pillar <rugger@bungie.org> writes to point out that a Marathon 1 MacAMP MP3 player skin has been released. You can get it at:

http://www.macamp.net/addons/index.shtml


Tom Bridge <Tom_Bridge@edelman.com> writes concerning the Mac Action Sack:

Notice on the new Bungie Action Sack CD how many copies of Minotaur they give you. Could it be.....SEVEN? It is. It's how many people can play against one another....coincidence? never.


Aug 3, 1999 (Tuesday)

Brian Donohue <wdonohue@21stcentury.net> writes concerning the name Cortana:

Cortana - the 'Sword of Mercy' is part of the royal panoply of Great Britain, kept at the Tower of London with the rest of the panoply & the crown jewels. Though they don't make much of it these days, it is presented during coronations along with the crown & orb. It represented the monarch's absolute power to condemn or show mercy to the subjects of the realm.

For more information about the name Cortana and possible origins check The Cortana Letters section.


Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> writes concerning the cryptic binary string (101111011110111100001) on the Marathon level "Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!"

I remembered an old Outer Limits episode where Marlee Matlin played this deaf woman [what a stretch] with a cochlear implant to let her hear.

Well, the story was, that it didn't work, but she kept hearing stuff. She would hear it, and write it down. She would write pages and pages of binary...But with odd Xs scattered throughout the message.

Then, she gave the pages to this guy, and he printed it out...

If you connected the Xs, it was actually a picture.

This reminded me of an X-Files episode as well. A little boy was hearing strange messages in the television, and he would write pages of binary.

Then, it was typed, and printed out...Mulder laid them out in order on the floor, while trying to figure out what it meant. He almost gave up, when his partner Scully walked up the stairs to the upper level of the house they were in, and she saw that the binary made a picture of the little boy's missing sister.

You're following all this right?... Michael continues:

I'm not saying anything for sure, but I think this may be what this string might be.

Some sort of tiny hidden message.

...In my default new document window size for simpletext, if I paste it in a bunch of times, in Courier 12pt, I can see many backwards sevens..[my res is 640x480, a standard at the time Marathon was released]

You can see what Michael is referring to here.


Back in July (21th) Ben Semmler <ben@torquerod.com> pointed out the similarity between the chaingun in the Halo screenshot and the one the Marathon marine holds in the famous terminal shot. Now Jamie Reid <jamiereid@hfx.andara.com> and Justin Beatty <alisander@yahoo.com> both write to point out that a closer example can be found in a Marathon chapter screen. See the Halo weapons section for details.


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

A recent post on h.b.org reminded me of something I noticed last week: in the latest edition of BungieVision (Summer 1999), there's an "article" comparing the Bungie East and Bungie West development studios. Under "Current projects" for West, it says "Oni", but for East it says "[censored][censored]". This would seem to imply that there were *two* secret projects underway at Bungie East when the newsletter was written. One of them is presumably HALO/BLAM!, but what is the second?


Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> asks:

What's up with halo.org and halo.net?

halo.org is 403 Forbidden, and halo.net is... well, interesting (probably a coincidence).


Aug 1, 1999 (Sunday)        Update #2 (11.55 pm Eastern Time)

The Marathon's Story page will be closed on Monday (2nd Aug) for stock taking. Next update will be on Tuesday (3rd Aug).

There was some discussion shortly after Macworld about one of the weapons carried by an alien in the Halo movie. Some thought it looked similar to the Zeus-Class Fusion Pistol in Marathon. Ian McClintock <mrbill84@hotmail.com> now writes:

I would like to comment on the topic of the Covenant holding a fusion gun in the movie.

The fusion gun looks like it is probably just a deactivated "lightsaber", as we see it deactivating at the part of the movie where the Covenant jump into their hovercraft. After all, it would make sense to deactivate it if you're going to be traveling at high speeds, right?

Also, the same weapon can be seen on Bungie's halo page in the new image of the Covenant. It doesn't look much like the fusion gun from Marathon to me.


Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> also pointed out that the raised weapon in the hand of the alien surrendering in the movie does not look like a Fusion Pistol. Michael writes:

It does, at first glance, but if you look closely, you'll notice this the weapon is a split weapon, like in the still, and that between the split, it's an energy stream being generated vertically between the two 'teeth' of the gun, and fooling your eyes.

This is more evident the few seconds before my still, when he's raising his arms.

It's some sort of sabre weapon.


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes concerning the missing aliens in Marathon. See the Missing Aliens section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Dan Hembry <durandal_777@yahoo.com> writes:s

I was checking up on the news on my list of webpages on the GameSpy Network and happened to drop by Planet Unreal (www.planetunreal.com) and I noticed the the Level of the Week was 'DMRoute66'. Well, I clicked on it and came to this page:

http://www.planetunreal.com/nalicity/reviews/dmroute66.html

Its a looks like a slightly simplifyed copy of Route 66 but with more pillers added around the outside and the centeral(sp?) pillers bent 90 degrees twice. The guy reviewing the level notes that its a conversion of Route 66 in his review, but it still get pretty good marks: 9/10. I personaly don't have Unreal so I can't say how close it is to the orignal, but from the pict on the page it looks like a pretty fair copy except for the pillers.


David Rodgerson <rodgerson@sprint.ca> writes to point out that Halo Cental now sports a new look and an article concerning the Halo/Marathon connections.


Kenny Kay <ken@avara.net> writes concerning the Halo MP3 soundtrack by TotalAudio

I may be crazy, hallucogenic, and ignorant but I can count!

The notes in the "Gregorian chants" are done in groups of...well....uhhhhhhh =)

What? ;-)


Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

It's interesting what the reception area at Bungie looks like these days ;)
http://www.bungie.com/cam


Aug 1, 1999 (Sunday)        Update #1 (7.20 pm Eastern Time)

New month... new section. All the Halo submissions since Macworld Expo NY are now in the Halo section. They are listed in chronological order. Enjoy. :-)


The Story page received alot of mail concerning the recent Gamespot article Macworld Exposé. Perhaps on reflection the Story page was not the best place to raise the issues contained within. Nevertheless here are just three of the comments received:

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> writes:

If the "top member of Bungie" is a programmer, his comment that once you get to know a PC there's no reason to use a Mac can be understandable.

Programmers think about computers very differently, as many more things just make sense to them. If you understand how things work under the hood, you know how to use the thing so that the stuff under the hood works properly.

From my perspective, I've been an artist first and a programmer second. The most important part about programming to me is good design, and I like designing and programming UIs more than anything else. Many programmers love making ugly incomprehensible code that only they can understand (which I'm sure is one of the reasons why Pearl is so popular :) Game programming often needs to be ugly for performance.

Programmers (including myself) enjoy having a challenge in using a computer--configuring stuff just becomes just like a programming challenge. Witness the popularity of Linux among programers :)


Tyson Green <ferrex@gamestats.com> writes:

Jones is a programmer and a gamer, not a platform advocate. He uses the best tool for the job, whatever that may be. He might be a Mac user from way back, but he's not blinded by that (and I'm one too, so don't twist this into a platform slam).

If Halo is following Myth's basic design, then the game engine will be cross platform, and tied into platform specific I/O libraries. A project opened in CW Pro 4 is the same project opened in Visual C++ 5, or whatever they're using on the PC's now.

This whole fuss is silly. Does it matter what logo is on the computer when you punch in the lines of code? It's like complaining that an author wrote his novel on a Mac or a PC (or, god forbid, an Underwood!). The engine will be written on an available computer... the I/O libraries will be written on the platform they serve. And in this case, PC's were ready (ie. had the hardware) to have their libraries written first. Take my word for it--during my internship, I did not see Halo played on a Mac. Nor did I care, since I knew it would be coming to the Mac all the same.

FWIW, the article is wrong in once respect... Oni is the first Bungie game that was developed first on a PC and then ported to the Mac. Same reasons. "Developed then ported" is an innacurate description... it implies that the product was finished and then brought over as an afterthought. They're being developed simultaneously... the PCs are simply in front because they had a headstart in hardware.


Chris Butcher <cbutcher@hermes.otago.ac.nz> writes:

Dan Rudolph is looking for some confirmation of the PC -> Mac porting of Halo. Well, we have the Word from the Man... in Freewill's interview of Jason Jones, JJ mentions that they demoed Halo on the PC running Direct3D to Steve Jobs, and then did the port to the Mac and OpenGL in the next twelve days. Now it's very likely that Halo has been running on the Mac and PC all along (you can't port an entire game in twelve days), but at least the 3D acceleration was developed on the PC first.


Chris puts us back on track with the following:

About Mark Levin's comment that there is zero gravity inside a ring: incorrect, alas. While there is zero gravity inside a sphere, the argument which works in 3D on a sphere doesn't work in the 2D case of a ring. Essentially this is because gravity is an inverse-square law, and the mass of a section of a ring is proportional to its radius whereas the mass of a section of a sphere is proportional to its radius squared (this is a condensed version of Max Francis' explanation at

http://www.alcyone.com/max/writing/essays/niven-rings.html.


David Simon <midnight@pnc.com.au> writes:

When your standing on the inside of a gigantic ring in space, the way to create gravity is to set it spinning. The tangental force created is enough to simulate gravity as long as it spins at the right speed.

In 2001 this principal is used constantly, the Space Station is a spinning ring (you can see the curvature in the interior shots) and the spaceship Discovery has centrifuges fitted to it.


July 31, 1999

Update #3 (2.20 pm Eastern Time)

Dan Rudolph <7thFace@bungie.net> writes:

The following comes from a post by Mitch Crane to comp.sys.mac.games.action. It is attributed to a recent Gamespot article, which is at their website at http://www.gamespot.com/features/macworld/index.html ** Interesting quote:

"'Once you're comfortable with a PC, there's no reason to use a Mac,' said a top member of Bungie, who asked that the quote not be attributed."

That's exactly what I'm getting at when I say the ease of use difference between Macs and PCs is not that great. If it were as bad as some Mac fanatics believe you'd never get comfortable with it. Anyone who is capable of reading this is capable of using a PC quite happily.

Also interesting that he didn't want to be identified. I know how he feels. The heretic. The blasphemer.

They referred to halo as Bungie's first PC to Mac port (as opposed to Mac to PC). Does anyone know if this is correct?

**

Can you confirm/deny this? It seems to me any top employee of Bungie would have to have been there before Myth, making them a long-time Mac user.

I note some discussion about this on the halo.bungie.org forums. See the thread entitled "Can we get some confirmation on this?".


Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> writes:

Timothy Collett doesn't have to hide from his father, he's completely right, except he's using the wrong facts. Gravity would be acceptable if people were standing on the outside of the Halo (and the Halo was a lot more massive), but if we're standing on the *inside* then we have to take into account the little-known fact that gravity inside a hollow sphere (or a ring) is zero. The strong gravity from whatever point on the edge is nearest to you is canceled out by the combined weak gravity of the other side of the ring. So the only force acting on objects on the inside of the ring is centripetal.

For your list of relevant pages, basic proof of this can be found here:

http://www.unb.ca/physics/1940/numerical.object.inside.earth.htm


Update #2 (10.00 am Eastern Time)

David Cornwell <goldragonne@earthlink.net> writes:

The W'rcacnter groans under his slab.
<Aye Mak Sicur (Terminal 1: 1st Message)>

[I was there with the Angel at the tomb]
<First Cortana email>

"There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it."
<Matthew 28:2>

Question: doesn't the reference to the W'rkncacnter sound like it is in a grave, or tomb?


Michael Zannetou <mzannetou@dial.pipex.com> writes to point out that his site containing The Marathon SoundSet for MacOS 8.5 has moved to www.mzannetou.dial.pipex.com Michael goes on to say:

As for the Marathon theme for MacOS, I could get started as soon as I get the right tools for the job, anyone know of any theme making programs that work properly?

Hmmm... perhaps a Halo theme next?


Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes to point out that Dualism, a Duality fan site, has posted some disturbing news. The news item reads:

Wednesday, July 28, 1999

Duality's fate / dixon [20:04 CST]
This will come as news to some, but not to others: it seems likely that Duality will not be released as a commercial product by Double Aught Software. There's no publisher and no more money to continue its development.

So, what now? I suggest an open source release of Duality and its tools. If Double Aught's going to die, it may as well die gracefully.

It should be pointed out however that no official statement has been made by DoubleAught nor is the above text attributed to any official DoubleAught source. Furthermore both the Duality and the DoubleAught pages are still up.


Robin Welsh <myth2@hotmail.com> writes:

I just got my Mac Action Sack yesterday!

Did you ever notice, in the Minotaur manual, how many spells there are that use the same plain little scroll icon (the one without the red dot).

Hmmm... well I don't have my Sack yet... but let me guess... ;-)


Update #1 (3.50 am Eastern Time)

Timothy Collett <tcollett@hamilton.edu> writes:

I know everyone has been going on about centripetal force (a force pulling in towards the center) and centrifugal force (a silly name given to one manifestation of the law of inertia) keeping people on the Halo, but why can't it just be gravity keeping them there? I mean, if it's got an atmosphere, it's surely got enough mass to have enough gravitational force to keep people on it it could keep people on even without atmosphere (see the Moon, for instance). The only problem could come in the middle, where the gravity from the other side might counteract the gravity from your side somewhat. In this case, if the ring is spinning, then inertia (or centrifugal force) could keep people from floating off if it was spinning fast enough. If this analysis is not correct, then I'm really in trouble, being the son of a physics professor :-)


Kevin Goetz <Kgmoome@aol.com> has posted a short interview with Matt Soell (Bungie's Director of Customer Support). You can read it here. Not easy to get answers out of Matt. ;-)


Jesse Tribby <JesterIl@aol.com> writes concerning the Halo movie:

...as our friend flies off in the alien vessel ( about 2:22 into the trailer ) One can see a bridge and a ridge in the backround. Guess who's back there still driving around? The guy in the jeep (though he is only a few pixels), but where is he going???


Joseph Bartlett <avcomlab@paradise.net.nz> also writes concerning the Halo movie:

If you look carefully at the background as the marine is stealing the aircraft (2:13 until 2:15(2:20-2:23 for you people with the extra 7 seconds)) you can see an object falling from the 'sky' towards the ring. As to what is could be? I have no idea :)


July 30, 1999

Update #3 (6.00 pm Eastern Time)

Some hard facts just in from the man who knows! Nathan Bitner (Producer and Creative Developer of Halo) writes concerning Mark Bassett's comments earlier today:

From: "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>
To: <markb@iisc.co.uk>
Cc: "Hamish Sinclair" <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Lagrange points
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 16:35:42 -0500
Organization: Bungie Software
X-Priority: 3

Mark,

I was reading your comment on the story page - and, yes, unless the moon is very heavy as compared to the planet, IN THE SET-UP THAT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED (I am neither denying nor confirming that this is the game's actual set-up), the "demented space cheerio" should be much closer to the moon and trailing it a 60 degree angle (between the planet's central axis and the moon's central axis).

A little further reading on the subject will also reveal that the cheerio itself, as you guys are fond of calling it ;) should be perpendicular to the line that would connect the axes of the planet and moon. It's unclear to me whether in Mr. Streicker's diagrams, that would be represented as either horizontal or vertical.

Nathan Bitner
Producer, Creative Developer, and Part-Time Astronomer - halo
Bungie Software

Looks like we're all going to have to do some reading. If people can come up with a good list of web pages on this whole subject I'll post them here. For example here is a page on Lagrangian Points.


Update #2 (2.00 pm Eastern Time)

Centrifugal or centripetal? Great response to this one! Here are just a few. Bill Moore <moorew@aii.edu> writes:

Mark Levin posted to your page that with the ring spinning at 1rot/90seconds, there would be a ludicrous amount of gravity produced through the centripetal force... Was he taking into consideration the immense gravitational effect of the gas giant, which is supposedly twice as massive as jupiter?? Jupiter has a solid core of about 15-20 earth masses, with jupiter itself being twice as massive as all the planets in our solar system combined, who's to say that this gas giant doesn't have a 4,000 earth mass core?

BTW: Halo's force IS indeed centripetal not centrifugal, since, centrifugal force is an imaginary psuedo-force, and is just the feeling of being pulled down because of centripetal forces. The only real force here is the ring pushing up on the people in the ring which is centripetal.


Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> writes:

I'm really enjoying the current discussion of Halo's physics; with luck this will turn put to be a useful contribution.

Looking at Peter Streicker's diagrams, I'd say that the Halo is vertical. In the figure labelled "Ring Axis 2" you can see that from a horizontal Halo you would never be able to see the equator of the planet, as the ring itself would be in the way. But if the Halo were vertical you could see from below the planets equator all the way to the pole on the other side - which is pretty much what you get in the movie.

Although you can see through the centre of the Halo in the control room, I think that's because we're looking down on the system from an angle; if the resolution were slightly better the Halo would look elliptical in that shot, not circular.

Not that I'm completely happy with the control room sequence though - shouldn't the Lagrangian point be much nearer the moon? Either that, or the moon is really heavy!

The centrifugal/centripetal debate is amusing, and I'm sure Mark Levin will defend himself. But the force applied to the Halo's inhabitants really is centripetal. If it wasn't, they'd crash through the Halo and out into space in a straight line! (Remember things don't like to move in orbits - it takes a force to pull, or in this case push, them into it.)


Mark Levin <mlevin@giss.nasa.gov> writes:

Kenny Kay is correct that the Halo would pull objects towards its center, however this is done by centripetal force. Centrifugal force is the reaction to centripetal force, the force used by rotational gravity. When an object is spun in a circle (or an object stands on a rotating ring), its velocity is always at a tangent to the circle, along the edge. If let go, it would fly out in a straight line, so something must hold it in the circle. This is centripetal force, the force aimed towards the center of the circle to keep the spinning object in a circular path. On the Halo, the force is applied by the inside of the ring towards the center. Centrifugal force is the equal and opposite reaction of the spinning object against the centripetal force, a force aimed away from the center as the object resists the centripetal force's altering of its velocity. As the Halo rotates, a human on the inner surface would feel as if the centrifugal force or gravity was trying to pull him into the ground, but what's actually happening is that centripetal force is trying to pull the ground up through him and his mass is resisting.


Tom Bridge <Tom_Bridge@edelman.com> writes:

I don't know if it's my public school education betraying me, or just my bad memory, but I think that the force that would hold someone to the inside of the ring would be Centripetal. My physics teacher would always say "just cause they call it a centrifuge doesn't mean any motion like that is centrifugal." Might be worth a call to a real physicist.


Patrick Gierke <gierkeNOSPAM@delaware.infi.net> writes:

It seems that some people are getting confused between centripedal and centrifugal forces. With the hope of clearing a few things up, I'd like to throw my two cents in. I hope it's accurate, otherwise my AP Physics course was for nothing.

The big problem with centrifugal force is that it has no source. Forces must have sources. As I stand on the Halo, which is spinning at 28,000 mph, there isn't anything to deliver a center-hating force. Sure, the air is pushing on you, but I don't really think that this would account for the 1g-like effect that we are dealing with. So, without anything to apply a centrifugal force, we are left with the centripedal force. This is a very real and important force when dealing with rotational kinematics. But what is the source of the centripedal force, and why doesn't it feel like I'm being pulled away from the surface of the halo? Well, the source is the ground you are standing on. It is actually pushing you up, towards the center of the Halo. If it didn't, you would fall right through, and be ejected out into space. As for why it doesn't feel like you are being pulled up into the center of motion, well, you can thank Newton for that. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted upon by an outside force. Your body *really* wants to stay in its current vector of motion, which is a strait line tangental to the Halo at about 28,000 mph. The only reason why you don't go flying off is because the Halo is fighting that motion.If the Halo were to all of a sudden dissappear from beneath your feet, you would instantly go flying away, much like a slingshot. So, what's happening is a lot like what happens when you jump off of a table.When you hit the ground, it applies a force against you. This force fights your vector of motion, compresses you, and gives the impression of "g force". On the Halo, this sort of reaction happens continously, as the vector of motion and the vector that the force is applied in are always perpendicular to each other (this is actually what accounts for the rotational motion). This means that they can never "cancel" each other out.

This all may seem very complex, and it actually is (it took about a month and a half for my class to cover the chapter on it!). The explanation would work a lot better with diagrams and Q&A, but, what can you do. This is but a lowly text-only email.

To sum it all up: Centrifugal Force doesn't really apply to rotational motion, and it is more like a description of a force that just happens to vector away from the center. Centripedal Force is the force that keeps us in a rotational motion, and it also gives us that feeling of g force.


And now for something completely different! Another Robocam pic from Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at>


Update #1 (8.20 am Eastern Time)

Halo's world horizontal or vertical? Peter Streicker <momar@home.com> sent in a very elaborate description of the "ancient ring construct". Check out Peter's second Halo submission.


Centrifugal or centripetal? Kenny Kay <ken@avara.net> writes concerning Mark Levin's submission yesterday.

If the action takes place on the *inner ring* with the sky towards the "center" of the halo, then it's -centrifugal- force that's keeping the feet of our characters on the ground. Centripetal force in the halo (impossible) would draw all the characters upwards toward the center rather than away. Remember, in a centrifuge the samples are spun down until the particles are at the bottom.


July 29, 1999

Update #2 (3.20 pm Eastern Time)

Joshua Inglima <jinglima@thinkpos.com> writes concerning the position of the ring construct:

If you watch the shadows [outside] , you will notice that the star is definitively on one side of the ring, otherwise, as previously mentioned, the shadows would be at "high noon." The kicker is when you see the planet in the sky. It's on the other side of the ring! The final few second of the clip with the Marine waving the Bungie flag shows this the best. You can see his shadow going towards the planet, and clearly see the ring's continuing surface is between star and planet.


Mark Levin <mglevin@students.uiuc.edu< writes:

The estimate of the ring's rotational period is probably not accurate for the ring as a whole. Assuming I remember the formulae correctly, if the ring is really rotating once every 90 seconds and is really 10,000 miles wide, it will produce a centripetal force of over 4,000 gravities, which is ludicrous for a life-sustaining world. If the Halo really rotates every 90 seconds and has a centripetal gravity of 1G (9.8 m/s) then it's only about 4 kilometers wide. A 10,000-mile ring would have to rotate once every 96 minutes to maintain 1G of centripetal force. Therefore, all components of the simulation are greatly accelerated.


It's in the bag! Robocam pics from Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at>, Aaron Gaponoff <eaten_by_fungus@hotbot.com>, Timothy Collett <tcollett@hamilton.edu> and Robin Welsh" <myth2@hotmail.com>. Yeah I was slow getting this one up! ;-)


Update #1 (8.45 am Eastern Time)

Well the Story page received a large number of mails over the last 24 hours concerning the "demented Space Cheerio or something bigger?" report yesterday. There is certainly some confusion out there about what the holograms in Halo control room are showing. Hopefully today's submissions will clear this confusion up. Here are just a few of the many explanatory posts received. Thanks to all those who wrote in.

James Lanfear <jclanfear@presys.com> writes:

Regarding the ring mystery, I think everyone may be correct. There is a ring orbiting between the sun and the planet (though that 'sun' still looks more like a gas giant to me), and there is also a ring wrapped around the room. I believe they are the same ring from different perspectives.

The larger ring displays the surface in detail; if you look closely you can see water and islands/continents on the inner surface, and the entire ring is rotating fairly quickly. Within that ring is a view of the star system, planet, etc.


Chris Butcher <cbutcher@hermes.otago.ac.nz> writes:

Couldn't help noticing Mark Bassett pointing out that we're not all seeing the same thing when we look at the pics from the Halo movie. He's quite right, for a very simple reason.

The thing is, the Halo / the ring / Big Dumb Object appears _twice_ in the control room. It seems pretty obvious to me that there are two separate holograms in that control room. You can see this best by looking at Peter Streicker's submission (the Control Room picture).

First, in the middle there's a scale model of the planetary system that the Halo is part of. There's a big grey planetoid, with a much smaller blue-grey planetoid orbiting it (the simulation is moving very fast, as you can see if you watch the first few seconds of the movie). The Halo is present roughly halfway between the two, in what looks like the stable L1 Lagrangian point.

Secondly, there's a much closer view of the Halo. This hologram is about eight or ten marine-heights across, and is wrapped around the outside of the planetary simulation. You can see the top section of the ring at the top of the picture, behind the Bungie logo... it goes all the way around below the platform that the Marine's standing on, and is slowly rotating clockwise with a period of about 90 seconds, I'd estimate.

Another point... Brymen pointed out the article at CNN which says

"Halo takes place on an artificial Ringworld-style planet orbiting a gas giant in another system" ...

so the greyish-orange object in the middle of the planetary-system must be this gas giant. The rough 10,000 mile diameter estimate of the Halo may not square with this, because if the simulation's to scale then that would make the gas giant (which is depicted as roughly 20 times the size of the Halo) 200,000 miles in diameter or roughly twice the diameter of Jupiter (140,000km). But then again, who says gas giants can't be bigger than Jupiter? Plus there are a lot of fudge factor calculations in this guesstimate. :)


Martin Thorne <mthorne@gpu.srv.ualberta.ca> writes:

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the hologram in the control room of the Halo trailer/demo, so I thought I'd just add my two cents to the huge inundation of email you must be getting these days.

The control room has a large rotating ring with detailed features that *might* be terrain. This ring surrounds what is apparently a star and an orbiting planet. Between the star and the planet is a small ring, at a Lagrange point. Various people have expressed the opinion that the Halo is either the large ring around the star and planet, or the small ring in orbit between the star and planet.

Why can't it be both?

If you were designing a map for a ringworld, It would make sense to present it on a ring, right? It's not exactly something that lends itself well to a flat representation. (neither does a spherical world, but hey) In the middle of such a map, however, there would be a great deal of empty, leftover space. Why not fill this area with a small diagram of the ring's position in a star system? That's what I think this is. Two maps in one. A large, detailed map of the ring's terrain and major features, running around a smaller map of the surrounding star system.

Nice elucidations. If the Halo control room is an example of the type of environments we can expect in Halo then this game is going to one beautiful experience. :-)


The game news site Sharkey Extreme posted this yesterday:

Halo is a third person combat game where you are a military recon unit of the fledgling human empire. Chased by aliens, you land on a gigantic alien-made ring world much like that of Larry Niven's Ringworld novels. The construct encircles a star with a gravity effect gained through centripetal force pushing you into the inside of the spinning ring.

"The construct encircles a star..." Oh well... ;-)



Tyson Green (aka Ferrex) has posted a higher quality Halo movie at his Halo page. It weighs in at just over 18MBs. While it's the same movie that Gamespot offers it's a larger screen format and the sound is infinitely better. Apparently the original soundtrack has been overwritten with TotalAudio's recently released Halo MP3. You can grab it at

http://core.gamestats.com/files/Halo_Big.mov

Well worth downloading folks.


More Robocam pic fun from Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> and Aaron Gaponoff <eaten_by_fungus@hotbot.com>.


July 28, 1999

Update #3 (11.45 am Eastern Time)

The Halo world... "demented Space Cheerio" or something bigger? Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> writes:

I felt I just had to write when I saw Peter Streicker's message, because I have this eery feeling that when we look at the pic's from the Halo movie we're not all seeing the same thing!

Peter says:

"if you look at the Controlroom pic, the only thing the ring cuts through is that purple thing at the top"

which sounds to me as though he thinks the ring is the big arch that goes behind the Bungie logo. But when I look at the picture that's not the ring at all, I see the ring as floating between the Sun and the planet. (This is how Devin O'Reilly saw it too, when he called the Halo a "demented Space Cheerio")

As I wrote you earlier, this is appropriate because the alien artifact is in what astronomers call a "halo orbit", suspended between two larger bodies. I wonder at what point in the game's design Bungie hit upon this term - did it provide a good name for something they'd already thought of, or did it inspire the whole setting?

In case you are confused take a look at Devin O'Reilly's Halo submission, Peter Streicker's Halo submission and Michael Lake's Halo submission. Then make your own mind up!

What's a Halo orbit? A point in space between two planetary bodies where the gravitational attractions of these two bodies are in balance against one another is called a Lagrangian point, and it is possible for an object to be in stable orbit around this point. Such an orbit is called a halo orbit. The plane of the halo orbit is perpendicular to the axis between the centers of the two planetary bodies.


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> points out that it might be easier to identify the guy in the Robocam pic now!


Update #2 (8.30 am Eastern Time)

I just know I'm going to get a ton of these pics in my mail today if I don't put this one up quick! Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> has an eye for the girls! Check the roving Robocam pics for the new Oni look! ;-)


Update #1 (8.00 am Eastern Time)

halo.bungie.org have a questions and answers session with Marty O'Donnell of TotalAudio. TotalAudio did the music for the Halo demo at Macworld Expo. In one answer TotalAudio state:

We decided it needed to be big, exciting, and unusual with a classical orchestra touch to give it some weight and stature. We also wanted it to have some sort of "ancient" feel to it. We worked on it over the weekend and did the final recording on Monday morning. It went to NY that night. No one at Bungie had heard it until Monday afternoon - I'm glad they liked it.

So am I. The music is outstanding.



A Halo blueprint! Peter Streicker <momar@home.com> writes:

I've attached 2 pictures I made in photoshop. With Control room I just thought I'd put together 3 frames of the movie to give you a bigger picture of the room and a better idea of the orbiting planet and ring.

With Blueprints I was hoping to get some ideas about what this map is of, perhaps the building you're in or the starsystem. If it is infact the starsystem, then you'll notice that the yellow ring would probably be the halo but it cuts through a big red ball/planet, and if you look at the Controlroom pic, the only thing the ring cuts through is that purple thing at the top, so it could either be a planet or the room's ceiling..


Joey Hoffman <talon@zebra.net> writes concerning Raul Bonilla's submission yesterday:

I recognized instantly that the first picture (Mullins' from http://www.goodbrush.com/hirez_pgs/concept/concept4/robot.htm) is, without a single doubt, an identical twin of the AV-98 Ingram from the popular anime series Patlabor--minus some bits of its shielding, and seemingly a few times taller than the usual 8.02 meters. I've attached a pic from the opening sequence of Patlabor on Television, as well as a scan from the Patlabor manga. Find out more about Patlabor at http://www.tomobiki.com/patlabor/


July 27, 1999

Update #3 (1.35 pm Eastern Time)

Ok here we go folks. Hang on to your hats... tighten your belts.

Thanks to Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> we now have two additional films on offer. A 60+MB high quality version of his interview with Jason Jones. It's EXACTLY the same as the smaller 20MB movie but the picture and sound quality is better.

And in addition there is a small (<1MB) movie of Jason Jones playing Marathon.

You can get both via ftp at:

ftp://ftp.marathon.org/pub/marathon/story/jjonesmwny99-hi.mov

ftp://ftp.marathon.org/pub/marathon/story/jjonesplaysmara.mov

Special thanks to Nicholas Esborn <nick@flatLAN.net> of Marathon Central for the server space and bandwidth. I know he's going to kill me tomorrow!

If you do upload these movies to other sites please state that they were filmed by Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> and you got them from the Marathon's Story page. Many thanks.


Update #2 (11.10 am Eastern Time)

Nathan Bitner (Bungie Software) writes:

From: "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>
To: "Hamish Sinclair" <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Human Trip To Water-Rich Asteroid Possible By 2015
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 17:08:41 -0500
Organization: Bungie Software
X-Priority: 3

Thought for some reason you might enjoy this Hamish. :-)

Nathan
Producer and Creative Developer - halo
Bungie Software

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ts/story.html?s=v/nm/19990726/ts/space_asteroid_1.html

Note the Producer and Creative Developer - halo!!! Hands up all those who remember the Cortana "cover-up" emails? ;-)


Thanks to Brymen Mendoza <brymen@inficad.com> for pointing out that there is Halo news article at http://www.cnn.com/TECH/computing/9907/26/halo.idg/ which contains further Halo story details. Part of the text reads:

Halo takes place on an artificial Ringworld-style planet orbiting a gas giant in another system, much like the vision of Larry Niven's Ringworld universe. The setting is part of the core mystery of the game, with the creators and builders of this world -- and its accompanying wonders -- long gone. While exploring the planet, humans have found new technology that we just have to have, even at the cost of lives. To complicate matters, another alien race is bent on obtaining this technology, and both races must fight to achieve dominance in this system.

The Halo mystery deepens. :-)


Raul Bonilla <lassonde@hotmail.com> writes:

I downloaded the Halo concept art images included in Bungie's Mac Action Sack following the link you provided in the Marathon Story page. One of them, the trooper.jpg, have a resemblance with one of the concept art images I found in Craig Mullin's site. Although Shikai Wang is the author of the "easter-egg" sketches, looks like the cyborg soldier of the upcoming game is the result of a mix between the Marathon player and this Craig Mullin's robot. You be the judge.


Update #1 (8.30 am Eastern Time)

All three Marathon's Story page servers got hammered yesterday but coped under the strain. Thanks to Nicholas Esborn <nick@flatLAN.net> and Steve Campbell <midwest@bungie.org> for the server space and the bandwidth. The Jason Jones Macworld Expo NY Interview movie is now also at

http://townhall.clanplaid.net/

and the following Hotline servers:

Bungie.org hotline server (164.58.172.181)
Clan Plaid hotline server (165.82.104.162)


A transcript of the full interview courtesy of Chris Butcher <cbutcher@hermes.otago.ac.nz> and Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> is now available here.


Halo.bungie.org have posted a sound-only QT4 movie (1.4 MB) of the interview. You'll find it in their movies page.


Eylon Caspi <eylon@cs.berkeley.edu> writes concerning the Jason Jones interview:

Just saw Miguel's MacWorld interview. Small world! The guy on the right (Jason Jones' left) who runs a counter-interview throughout the video is an old friend of mine from University of Maryland. Sandro Fouche. I have not seen him for 5 or 6 years. He's quite the hard-core computer guy. Used to preach Unix, Apple, and gaming at UMD. I should send him a pointer to the video ;-)


July 26, 1999

Update #4 (12.30 pm Eastern Time)

Marathon's Story Page Exclusive

Miguel Chavez's "The Jason Jones Macworld Expo NY Interview"


Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes:

Miguel's wacky, uncensored, free-wheelin' stream-of-conciousness 10 minute interview with Jason Jones. 20mb of NOT high quality video. Hey, I slapped the compression in about an hour at 5AM, gimme a break! :-)

Come gather around as we wax poetically about all things Bungie:

What led up to the Halo demo at the keynote
How cool is Steve Jobs?
The problems with being such a 'small' company
Watch as someone offers network help on *1* condition
How Halo is going to be different from past Bungie games
Will Halo have Body Count?
Is Jason already at work on something else?
Anecdotes about the Bungie.net server
Surprise walk-on by Doug Zartman!


Go watch it here or here or here


Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> kindly sent in these URLs to two pics of Jason Jones playing Marathon at Macworld Expo NY.

www.imgmagazine.com/features/07_99/mwny/shots/jones3.html

www.maccentral.com/news/9907/mwny99/image/dsc00106.jpg


Update #3 (9.00 am Eastern Time)

Michael Lake <beorn@thegrid.net> writes:

Ever since Bungie announced Halo, I have been getting as much information on the game as I possibly can. I have also been watching the movie quite a bit, and that is what this message concerns. (One thing, I am going to be talking about different frames in the movie, and therefore I have taken many screen shots, 14 to be exact, to help you with what I am talking about. See here. I am writing concerning the ring-like world that is Halo (hence the name), and I am supporting evidence towards that theory, as well as some interesting observations.

First of all, in picture 1, we see in the background an Eiffel tower-like structure beyond the atmosphere. This could be the ground sloping upwards in a circle shape. In picture 2, we see a pretty much identical structure in the background. If you were to put the two pictures together, we can see how this would be the second slope of the ring that was behind the camera in picture 1. This second part concerns the first section of the movie, when the human is at a holographic control board of sorts. It appears as if beyond the control board there is a holographic projection of a large ring surrounding a planet (pictures 3, 4, and 5)... Notice the large orb that is in the background in a couple shots during the movie (6 and 7). This could be the same planet that is being projected in the hologram.

More appearances of the ring curving skyward show up in pictures 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, and 14. However, in picture 10, we see a dark line going across the sky. Since it is not an effect of the plane (foreground), this could very well be the opposite side of the ring, from a ground view. We can also see the planet in the bottom left corner of this picture (not marked), which further supports this theory.


Jake Bromberg <core2020@hotmail.com> writes:

...check out the name of the HTML file of the sidebar on the halo.bungie.com page. It's titled "splat[1]". Interesting, isn't it? Blam? Splat? Both very onomatop¤ic in nature. Hmmm...


Update #2 (7.30 am Eastern Time)

Many thanks to M.C. Avistetto <nijhazer@dpnation.com> for drawing my attention to two interesting posts on alt.games.marathon. I reprint them here. in case you haven't seen them. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of these.

From: jwct@magma.ca (J.W. Corey Tamas)
Subject: What I leared about the Marathon source code
Date: 25 Jul 1999
Message-ID: <jwct-2507991041140001@x2port34.magma.ca>
Organization: Ace Biscuit Web Solutions
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 10:39:33 EDT
Newsgroups: alt.games.marathon

I asked Jason Jones and Tuncer Deniz about the Marathon source code, and (with the permission of Bungie) I'd like to share a bit of it with you.

The main concern with the source code is that there is a serial number generator which is also used in Myth. This is the main reason why they don't want to release it at the moment. They do intend to go in and take that out and then release the code. It's just that no-one has had the time to do so (and can you blame them?). The bottom line, however, is that Bungie doesn't seem set on clinging the Marathon source close to their chest for eternity. The sense I got was that they think releasing it is a neat idea. They may still decide for other reasons that they don't want to, but everyone should rest assured that they're positive on the idea.

C


From: jwct@magma.ca (J.W. Corey Tamas)
Subject: What I learned about Halo
Date: 25 Jul 1999
Message-ID: <jwct-2507991041270001@x2port34.magma.ca>
Organization: Ace Biscuit Web Solutions
NNTP-Posting-Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 10:39:46 EDT
Newsgroups: alt.games.marathon

I'm going to say this stuff pretty carefully because I don't want to make Jason Jones sorry he spoke to me. Therfore, forgive me if there are omissions or questions I don't want to answer about this stuff because he did ask me not to make a thing out of it yet.

While I was at MWNY, I asked Jason about the Marathon logo in the HALO logo, and he laughed, but wouldn't respond. I asked further, saying that mistakes like that don't just happen, and he laughed some more, saying "Yes. That would be a pretty expensive mistake". I tried not to pressure him too much, but I explained that Marathon fans are concerned they will never see anything new in Marathon because 1. Bungie has put the kibosh on conversion projects, 2. Bungie has said they'll do no more Marathon titles, and 3. Bungie won't release the source code. He told me that he couldn't say anything more, but he did say that Marathon fans didn't have to worry; something very special is going to happen.

Hope you found this interesting :)

C


Update #1 (6.00 am Eastern Time)

Halo news continues to flood in and more updates appear on the web.

First off halo.bungie.org seems to have gone rampant. Over the course of the weekend they added concept art, more movies, a music page, logos, press page, revamped Forums, etc etc... and even a Story section. So I'm going to rob a few things off their site without giving them any credit. ;-)

Matthew Vaughan has put up an amazing amount of Halo movie screenshots at http://www.best.com/~matthewv/halo/. It's basically a walkthrough. Very nice if you don't have the movie or just want to see selected shots.

There's also an interesting Halo news article at www.cdmag.com. The URL to the article is http://www.cdmag.com/articles/021/126/halo_preview.html. It contains additional Story details. Part of the text reads:

Bungie describes the game as a "third-person perspective sci-fi action epic," and in this age of genre blending that is probably as fair an assessment as you will find. The story is set in the far future, where humankind is waging a losing battle with a race of strange alien invaders. The discovery of a massive ring in deep space offers an opportunity to tip the balance of the war in favor of the race that manages to lay claim to it. The inside of the ring is an entire world (fans of Larry Niven's Ringworld books will recognize the influence immediately), an ancient artificial environment constructed by a superior race, and the primary battleground in Halo.

and further down...

One feature of Halo that is not found in most other team games is a single-player mode. "One thing that I have noticed is that the multiplayer focus in Quake III Arena and Team Fortress 2 robs the game of so much personality," Jones explains. "We have a story to tell, and you just can't do that in a net game." Unlike most 3D-action games, Halo will not offer a linear series of missions. Instead the environment will be largely open and continuous—more like a role-playing game than a traditional shooter. The goal is to create a world without breaks in gameplay. "Half-Life was almost there, but you were still on a railroad of linear missions." Bungie plans to allow the player to discover things to do through exploration, or be given mission objectives by a sentient computer on board their mother ship, and the player will generally have several courses of action to choose from at any given time. Non-player character AI's will assist the player at times in the solo game (to pilot certain vehicles, for instance), but for the most part it will stick to a "player against the world" approach.


Note the part:

"Bungie plans to allow the player to discover things to do through exploration, or be given mission objectives by a sentient computer on board their mother ship"

Now doesn't that sound familiar. :-)


Tyson Green <ferrex@gamestats.com> (aka Ferrex) writes:

I've revamped and re-posted our Blam/Halo FAQ at the Core, taking into account most of the information that came out of MWNY, and a bit from other sources. I'm on the watch for new questions to answer, but for the moment it's as complete as I could get it, without going into exacting detail... anyway, that's basically it.


July 25, 1999

Update #2 (11.00 am Eastern Time)

For those who have asked about event #2 Matt Soell (Bungie Sofware) informs me that this is still on the cards. No date yet though. If you remember Matt said back in mid-April (see The Cortana Letters section):

I will reiterate one of my points from last time:

#1 will probably not be too impressive to you guys: the few/proud/etc.
#2 will be.
And #3 is, in the words of my friend Jim Ruiz: "The coolest thing I've ever seen on a computer."

#1 is the Mac Action Sack, #3 is Halo, and #2 is... well we will just have to find out.

Bungie are also likely to release an Official Halo Movie which will be different from the unofficial movie of the Halo preview at Macworld Expo New York. No date for this as yet either.


I've received a number of requests from PC users looking for a synopsis of the back-stories to Marathon and Marathon Infinity. Seems Halo has piqued their interest. :-)
Anyway apart from reading all the terminals at least seven times and then spending most of the summer reading the rest of the Story page (100+MBs) I can only recommend Ben Reiter's Marathon Page which has a condensed version of the story behind Marathon and Marathon 2.


Ok which of the Iain M Banks sci-fi books should you read first? While Banks' has written eight sci-fi books:

Consider Phlebas (1987)
The Player of Game (1988)
Use of Weapons (1990)
The State of the Art (1991)
Against a Dark Background (1993)
Feersum Endjinn (1994)
Excession (1996)
Inversion (1998)

The one that Bungie seems to have been influenced by (re.Halo text) is Excession. It's actually one of the more accessible of his Culture novels. It involves the proverbial big dumb object, a well used theme in science fiction. The biggest is probably Larry Niven's "Ringworld". The back cover blurb reads:

Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black body sphere and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.

You'll find plenty of Culture ship AI conversations going on throughout the book. Highly recommended.


Made some formatting changes to the Halo text page. It should now read more like Bungie's Halo web page.


The roving sees more. Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> sends in more Robocam pics.


Update #1 (7.50 am Eastern Time)

Hey it's a Sunday don't people ever rest?


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes to say that the Halo concept art from the Mac Action Sack CD can be downloaded from his site at:

http://www.columbia.edu/~agd12/bborgarch/

Aaron found these hidden in the Minotaur folder. Well worth the download.

They can also be obtained from halo.bungie.org and bungie.org's Hotline server [164.58.172.181].


David Simon <midnight@pnc.com.au> writes:

A little bit of background for you on Covenants, I can supply you with relevant Bible passages if you like (from a more reliable version than the KJV).

Covenants in the Bible are everywhere - the first is the Covenant between God and Adam (which Adam promptly breaks so God makes a new one). Then there is the covenant between God and Abraham, then God and Israel (which Israel breaks even as Moses and God are signing the deal). The next significant Covenent (well they're all significant really) was between God and David during the peak of Israel's Kingdom. God said that a son of David would rule Israel forever - of course David broke this Covenant (Bathsheeba) but God kept up his end, though not in the way everybody expected.

Jesus was a descendant of David and fulfilled the Covenant made with Adam after he sinned. Hence the terms "Old Covenant" and "New Covenant", which these days are incorrectly referred to as "Old Testament" and "New Testament".

Covenants are the backbone of any relationship - whether it be the covenant between God and his people, or the Marriage Covenant between a Husband and Wife.

It is curious that the Halo Covenant is the intermingling of three Aliens. Three is of course a very important number in the Bible, for no other reason than it appears a great deal (just like 7). This relationship closely ties in with the concept of the Trinity - three different forms of the one God.


Devin O'Reilly <QuasiDevin@aol.com> writes:

Concerning the new 7 seconds in Haloqt4.mov...

The new seconds clearly show the Halo orbiting the star [?] like some kind of demented Space Cheerio...I've upped 2 pictures of it on bungie.org's Hotline server [164.58.172.181].

The Halo seems to be on an orbit seperate from the planet, which we also see going around the star, albiet at a slightly farther distance. The Halo is also noticably smaller than the planet, which would make the planet [maybe we should give it a working title. I submit "Jonesworld".] quite large...[assuming the 10K diameter figure for the Halo is right].

You can see the two pics Devin is referring to here.


July 24, 1999

Update #3 (5.30 pm Eastern Time)

Back in June Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> (MGL Contributing Writer) pointed out that he had just posted an interview with Lorraine Reyes (Art Director/Creative Director of Marketing at Bungie Software). While the interview focused primarily on Lorraine's Oni work she indicated that her next project would be Blam!
Now Jens king <fototek@dircon.co.uk> writes:

Found this on Lorraine Reyes page, she is an artist working on oni:

the latest books I've read were...
Ringworld by Larry Niven
Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven
Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
Blackgod by Gregory Keyes

trying to finish/start reading...
Larry Niven's Ringworld Throne and
Protector

How interesting... given the current Ringworld references in Halo. :-)


Finn Smith <finn_smith@brown.edu> writes:

First, a correction:

Mark Bassett noted that the MacCentral article describes the ring of Halo as 10,000 miles in diameter. However, there's also a small factual error in his message. He states "the Ringworld's size is the same as Earth's orbit, roughly 100,000,000 miles across". Earth is about 93,000,000 miles from the sun, so it's diameter would be around 190,000,000 miles, not 100,000,000. This gives the Ringworld about 20,000 times the diameter of Halo.

He is right that if Halo were this size it would only be slightly larger than Earth's 7,926 mile diameter.

It will be interesting to see if this numbers is correct. 10,000 seems awful small to me.

Finn continues:

I've been watching the Gamespot QuickTime movie of the Halo presentation quite a bit over the past few days. I believe that from this one movie much can be deduced about the structure of Halo. The trick is to step through the movie slowly, paying attention not to the flashy vehicles and characters, but to the landscape, horizon and celestial objects.

There are three main "big" objects that we can see in the movie. They are the ring, a sun and a planet. By the ring I mean the shots of the ring rising up above the horizon in the distance. These three objects can be seen at the following times in the movie:

Ring - 0:39, 0:56, 1:14, 1:31, 1:37, 2:04(?), 2:15(?), 2:21 (question marks refer to shots where the ring _may_ be visible behind clouds)

Sun - 1:13, 1:37, 1:40, 1:45, 2:05, 2:18

Planet - 0:58, 2:35

From these shots several things become clear. The first is that the size cited in the MacCentral article (10,000 mile diameter) is probably correct or at least close to correct. Why? because the planet that is visible is quite close to the ring. It may be that the ring is actually around the planet. You might think that the ring is around the sun and the planet happens to be in an orbit near the ring. However, this seems unlikely for two reasons. The first is that the planet and the ring would surely have some sort of adverse gravitational effect on each other if they were that close together. The second is the positioning of the sun. In all the shots where it is visible it is quite close to the horizon. If the ring were around the sun it would always be at "high noon", straight above, which it is not. The shadows seen in the game also are telling. If the ring were around the sun all the shadows would be straight below the objects casting them, which they are not. Alternately, the ring could be around one sun in a two sun system, but then we'd have two shadows, which doesn't appear to be the case either.

It is interesting to note that this shift in perception of the "ground" is sometimes difficult to adjust to. On the Clain Plaid page and the halo.bungie.org forums, for instance, there is discussion of an "Eiffel-Tower-like structure". In actuality, this "structure" is the ring itself, curving up into the distance. We're all too used to living on the outside of a round ball...


James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> writes to point out that the Marathon Scenario News at Bungie.org has been updated with new screenshots from the Simulacrum Syndicate crew. Two new scenarios have been added. Check out the alien too! Nice one. :-)


Update #2 (12.15 pm Eastern Time)

If you took the trouble to download that "new" Halo movie from Gamespot mentioned by Clem Freeman yesterday you'll have noticed that while the picture quality is slightly better the sound quality is worse than the previous version. The slight improvement in picture quality might explain the differences in size - 14.7MB compared to 12.8MB. The older smaller version of the movie is still up at halo.bungie.org I gather.

Given that TotalAudio have now released a high quality MP3 of the Halo movie soundtrack it shouldn't be long be before some aspiring film guy puts together an even higher quality movie with great sound and no distracting advertising logo.


David Cornwell <goldragonne@earthlink.net> writes:

If you look closely at the beginning of the preview of Halo, where the Marine is messing with the holographic computer in the big room, you notice that in the middle of the room is a holo-planet being orbited by a holo-moon. Well, look closer still, and you see that at the edges of the room, for brief shots, you can see a holo-ring world around the planet. That would explain the size difference, if Larry Niven's world was built in a planet's orbit around a star, whilst Bungie's world was built in a moon's orbit around a planet.

Interesting to note that in the second Halo movie released by Gamespot the opening scene reveals more of the "ringworld". In the first movie the beginning was cut off by a second or two.


Two weeks ago (July 10) Ben Fisher <ben@fisher.enterprise-plc.com> pointed out the similarities between the chest scars of Soulblighter (Myth) and Kenshiro (Fist of the North Star, manga series). Both had seven shaped scars. At the time we put up some comparison pics but they weren't great. Now Ben sends in a much better shot along with a pic of two familar looking characters. You can see all the pics here.


Update #1 (3.30 am Eastern Time)

Results for the NMGC Marathon Tourney in New York. Michael Garrison <tiggs2000@yahoo.com> writes:

Here are the resilts from the finals as best I remember them(top 2 are exact, 3rd and 4th are approximate:

CYBERNATOR(myself): +35(91 kills/56 deaths)
Steven Didomenico: -5(97 kills/102 deaths)
Mark Levin and Chris Cho: both around -30+(60kills/90 deaths)

Head-Head between myself and S.D.: I was up 40kills to 18deaths)

Declared Champion: Steven Didomenico since they based rankings purely on kills.

I found out about their changed ranking system after my semis as they were taking scores and discussed it with them then and also after the finals. Personally, I don't like how the pure 'kill rankings' rewards people with suiciding rockets. They agreed with me that it should be based on how Bungie originally intended it but said since the tourney was already underway that they couldn't change it. They also noted it would be changed for MacWorld SF. I was even offered the same prize package as the winner although I didn't fully exercise it.

On an interesting note, I played last year's champion, Jason Parry(callname:Saint) in the 1st round. He has this one move with a SPNKR that is very nice! There was this one other player in the round who barely beat him out for 2nd so he didn't advance to the semis(I wish I could remember who he was. I only remember that he was green) If it had been any other round, he would've advanced.

Sorry that I didn't save the films but I didn't manage to dig up a Zip in time since the blue G3's only have ZIP drives. Before finals, I did a quick search for a Zip disk and came up short :( There's always next time, though...


More Halo news. Tom Bridge <Tom_Bridge@edelman.com> writes:

Found this on C|Net URL is below.


-=-=-=-=-=-

Celebrity endorsements are certainly a boon, but when a renowned industry guru touts your product, you know you're onto something.

That's exactly what happened at this year's Macworld Expo held in New York. None other than Steve Jobs used his keynote address to unveil a game called Halo to thousands of eager onlookers. Developed by Bungie Software and designed by Jason Jones, Halo is an awesome-looking third-person-perspective sci-fi shooter that looks to set new standards for both the PC and Mac gaming communities.

Inspired by Larry Niven's Ringworld tale, Halo contains some of the most breathtaking indoor and outdoor environments yet seen in a 3D shooter. Not only will Halo have a fully deformable terrain set, but it will also boast a wide variety of flora and fauna, as well as some of the strangest-looking indigenous life-forms this side of the galaxy. What's more, Halo contains a dazzling array of real-time lighting and shadowing effects and some of the most impressive multipass texture-mapping effects ever created for a squad-based shooter.

However, what really sets Halo apart from all of the other third-person-perspective shooters is its gameplay. According to company officials, Halo will have an open-ended architecture that won't contain any levels, side quests, or interruptions typically found in games of this nature. As such, it will be up to the player to determine his short- and long-term objectives; this decision is based in large part on the AI's actions and reactions during the course of play.

As for the game's story line, the player is cast in the role of a futuristic soldier, a member of an elite military reconnaissance unit that is trying to flee from a technologically superior alien armada. After landing on a huge ring construct located deep in outer space, the player must work in conjunction with other members of his team to defeat the alien onslaught and secure the all-important construct. At this point, it is sufficient to say that Halo looks as though it'll be one of the most sought-after titles for the year 2000.


______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: check it out - halo on cnet
Author: Robert Thomson at SANFRAN
Date: 07/23/1999 3:41 PM

http://www.gamecenter.com/News/Item/0,3,0-3002,00.html


Inspired by Larry Niven's Ringworld! And note the following details:

"...the player is cast in the role of a futuristic soldier, a member of an elite military reconnaissance unit that is trying to flee from a technologically superior alien armada. After landing on a huge ring construct located deep in outer space, the player must work in conjunction with other members of his team to defeat the alien onslaught and secure the all-important construct."


More religious references in Halo? Bradley Attfield <trsurmap@spots.ab.ca> writes:

I don't know if this has been mentioned, but the message of the CCS Truth and Reconcilliation, "When no single human brick lies atop another, then will we be satisfied with your destruction." is yet another allusion to the Bible. Matthew 24:2 states (KJV):

"And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."

Make of it what you will, but I certainly think the connection is iron clad. On the historical side of this, when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans about 30 years after the crucifixion of Christ, the Roman commander -if memory serves- sent in his praetorian guard to deconstruct the temple of Herod, stone for stone.


July 23, 1999

Update #4 (5.25 pm Eastern Time)

Some big Halo news items in the last few hours.

halo.bungie.org reports a high quality MP3 of the Halo soundtrack available from TotalAudio's site. The Gregorian chant sound is really really beautiful. Go get it at www.odsmusic.com/halo.htm

halo.bungie.org also reports a site which apparently has the secret Halo concept art sketches from the Mac Action Sack CD. Aaron Davies mentioned these on the Story page yesterday. They were hidden in a folder called Minotaur 7 (no kidding!). The three images are

grndsprtcrft.jpeg
transport.jpeg
trooper.jpeg

The art work is by Shikai Wang (flatliner at Bungie Software). Some of you may recognise the name since he was one of the people who sent in a Cortana email during the so-called "cover up" period following the second Cortana letter. Yes these things come back to haunt you guys. ;-)


Two versions of the Halo movie? Clem Freeman <clemf@humboldt1.com> writes:

I just downloaded the new verion of the Halo demo from Gamespot. The new filename is haloqt4.mov and it's 14 megs as opposed to 12. The only notable difference between the 2 is that in the new one there's a Bungie logo in the beginning. Probably Bungie wanted them to put it on there. One interesting thing to note:

halo1.mov: 2:37

haloqt4.mov: 2:44

2:37 - 2:44 = 7!

The tru7h is out there...

Seven seconds difference? Coincidence or... ;-)


Yesterday Timm Mason pointed out that the Halo line "...I came not to send Peace but a Sword." was a biblical quote from Matthew 10:34. Now Ben Gamboa <bgamboa@uclink4.berkeley.edu> writes:

I don't know if this has been brought to your attention already, but the quote "...He says, "I came not to send Peace but a Sword" is also found in William Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell (plate 17). If you don't mind lengthy urls, you can check out a few etext versions at:

http://dazzle.village.virginia.edu:8888/blake/Illuminated-Book/MHH/@Generic__CollectionView

Yet another William Blake reference. :-)


Michael O'Brien <roanoke@tnol.com> writes:

This has probably already been noticed by dozens, but several of the news postings at halo.bungie.org are credited to "Louis Wu" - the main character of the Ringworld novels.

This may be a spoiler if you haven't read them, but Louis is already 200 years old at the time of the first novel - and, if he avoids accident, my live as long as Durandal


Update #3 (2.15 pm Eastern Time)

Joel Page <jpage@excell.com> writes concerning the size of the 'ring' in Halo:

I believe that since Larry Niven's "RingWorld" series is the definitive bit of imagination on the subject, everybody's assuming that Halo's is of the same size and purpose. I myself am going on what Bungie has stated, that it's 10,000 miles in diameter, and more so I believe that it's in orbit around a planet, not a sun.

The reason? Take a close look at the Halo movie, and you'll notice that shadows cast at angles other than perpendicular, meaning that the sun is not at the zenith, meaning that this particular ringworld does not in fact orbit a sun. There is also in evidence a large planetary body visible just above the horizon, menaing that at least at the point in time that the game is played, the ring isn't exactly in orbit around a planet (or at least THAT planet). Perhaps it once was, but is now being moved for whatever reason (orbital bombardment?).

On a side note: Seeing that Bungie is purposely setting this environment NOT around a sun but elsewhere in order to facilitate dynamic shadowing effects speaks volumes about the care they put into their games. If in fact, this ringworld orbited a sun with the sun continually at the zenith, developing the game and its engine would have been much easier, only having to worry about shadows cast at the base of the player's feet, ala Quake 3.


A Marathon Reading List? Trevor Ettenborough <tetten@macconnect.com> writes:

Reading the sixth update to the Story page today made me wonder if maybe you had time for another Story Page project (I wouldn't - I'm busy reading the Story Page). There should be a Marathon Reading list. Books mentioned on the Story list that bear striking resemblances to the Marathon Story. After all, I read The Diamond Age after seeing it mentioned on your page. Just a thought.

It must say something about the intellect of Marathon players if their game needs a reading list...


Anyone for Marathon 1204: Language and Logic, Graduate Course - Fall 1999? ;-)


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> points out that people should keep an eye on Bungie's second cam at http://www.bungie.com/cam. You never know what you might see. ;-)


Update #2 (8.00 am Eastern Time)

halo.bungie.org has had a site revamp. It seems that they are even posting news now. Some news items from their page include a MacGamer's Ledge interview with Bungie Software's Peter Tamte and a cleaned up Halo logo which shows more clearly the Marathon symbol designed into it. Worth a look.


Possible size errors? Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> writes:

The latest information from MacCentral is very interesting: it says the setting of Halo is "a gigantic alien artifact - a habitable ring in space 10,000 miles in diameter."

10,000 miles is nothing *like* gigantic!

For comparison, the Ringworld's size is the same as Earth's orbit, roughly 100,000,000 miles across or 10,000 times bigger than the Halo. Nothing as small as the Halo could fit round a sun and be habitable.

In Ian Bank's "Culture" books he invents Orbitals - rings which orbit a sun but don't actually go around it. These are like space stations big enough to have their own atmosphere, but they're still roughly 2,000,000 miles in diameter.

As MacCentral reports it the Halo is only a little bit wider than the Earth, and as it's a ring not a sphere it couldn't even house a population as big as our planet - rather unambitious for an advanced, super-technological species!

So maybe we should regard the Halo not as an artificial world, as it's far too small, but as a very big *spaceship*. Of course, that would mean there could be whole fleets of the things out there..

Further details on the size of Larry Niven's Ringworld can be found at http://hellcrown.interspeed.net/ringworld.html.


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

since nobody else seems to have pointed it out: the "zealots" mentioned repeatedly by Cortana must be the Covenant culture, given their name, their messages, and the names of their ships.


David Cornwell <goldragonne@earthlink.net> writes:

The first thing that smacked me in the face was... well, look at the human characters of Halo. Now look at the chapter screen of Marathon Infinity where the player is huddled next to a dead S'Pht'Kr.

See below for a pic.

David continues:

As for Cortana's references to the end of the world: isn't Halo supposed to be about a powerful race of aliens who've come to destroy humanity? Plus, go to halo.bungie.com enough and eventually it'll say "Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight. Your life will only last until it reaches you." Perhaps Cortana is the fourth, an AI of make similar to Tycho, Durandal and Leela, and he's working with the Halo aliens. It won't be the first time one of humanity's AIs decided they liked the bad guys better.


Update #1 (3.00 am Eastern Time)

Thanks to Geoff HutchisonMark <ghutchis@wso.williams.edu> and Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> for pointing out that there is an interesting Maccentral article on Halo which reveals some story details. The full article can be found here:

http://www.maccentral.com/news/9907/22.halodetail.shtml

Part of the text reads:

In Halo, you assume the role of an armored cyborg scouring the surface of a gigantic alien artifact- a habitable ring in space 10,000 miles in diameter. The artifact contains alien weaponry and technology that you can use to help save the human race from extinction at the hands of the Covenant, an intermingling of three different alien species bent on preventing mankind's conquest of space.

The Covenant... an intermingling of three different alien species?

The Maccentral article continues...

There's one other interesting aspect of Halo, as well. In the center of the Halo logo, there's the clearly defined outline of the logo from Marathon, Bungie's landmark first person action game. Halo certainly appears to have a lot in common with the game, perhaps more than just the logo.

Musing on the Marathon logo's presence in the Halo design, Staten says, "There may be things in the story I haven't told you that might be familiar."

You can see the Marathon symbol in the Halo logo further down the page.


Cam Pinard <cunbelin@geocities.com> writes:

I have compiled a list of 14 quotes and have kept them as close to the bungie formating as I could...

You can see the list here. Cam wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Jenova in organising this list. Cam continues:

I actually have them set in order according to the recieved time and it yields some interesting results that fit very well with the story and in my opinion 2 or 3 ships that are "yours" and receive messages from several others you seem to be on board a "SCS" ship as that is the only ship other that the "ESP 8 Reach" that is contacted by the (presumably) alien vessels (I believe the ALLCH (SC) is a broadcast to both the Hermes II and the Pillar of Autumn) the other thing is the Pillar of Autumn internal communication implying that you are aboard that ship as well as Cortana. It seems that these are the communications of the pursuing zealots spoken of in the Cortana letters (I assume that the aliens are the covenants due to the C preceding all ship designations) I am at a loss for what "ESP 8 Reach" is but the only identifiable contact to it is "Pr Govern via Reach PSN node 21". Another anomaly is that Cortana quotes all her responses except for one:

I have governed the unwilling.
I have walked the edge of the Abyss.

that is all I can do for now I will be working more on the quotes soon but it is mind boggling at this point so here is somthing to chew on


Hanging fish revealed. Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

Check out http://soffish.bungie.com/. What up wit dat? Looks like the text is supposed to be a typical Japanese-written manual.


July 22, 1999

Update #7 (6.00 pm Eastern Time)

Inside Mac Games have their Macworld Expo report up. It includes some nice comments about Halo:

We were floored. Everyone was floored. Even Jobs himself was floored, since he hadn't heard the music that accompanied the demo. My faith in innovative gaming as been renewed, with a vengeance.


Timm Mason <tmason@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

Two of Cortana's transmissions seem to be literary references. i found these with search engines:

"The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction"
William Blake, 1790, _The_Marriage_of_Heaven_and_Hell_

looks like it relates to the quote "These are the tygers of wrath"

and here's a biblical quote:

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."
Matthew 10:34

an explanation of this quote can be found at http://home.hiwaay.net/~cochrgl/articles/peaceswd.htm

to summarize: Jesus is speaking here. "the word of god is a sword and to those who will not accept it, there is no peace."


Alex Rosenberg <alexr@spies.com> writes concerning the recent spat of Story posts about his name appearing in a variety of apps:

So much talk about me.

Yup. I was there the first night helping Ron Avitzur port Graphing Calculator to PowerPC. (It was then some remnants from a freshly killed Apple project. Pacific Tech pretty much came to exist later.)

Yup. I wrote Melt-O-Rama. It first appeared at this past WWDC as an AltiVec demo. A coworker, Steve Bollinger, made arrangements to include it with SoundJam MP, so he did most of the work of back porting it to non-AltiVec processors.

No Matt, Melt-O-Rama has nothing to do with the VLM's "Melt-o-vision" other than in name. The only effect in Melt-O-Rama directly inspired by the VLM is the four-way spinning waveform. Download the SoundJam MP demo and check out the effects yourself. Several "Unix beard guys" at WWDC spent their entire free time drooling over the melting action on the big screens. Trippers.

Yup. More action than Regier would know what to do with. :P

But the real news is the Halo announcement. Damn, Jones. Really slick. Can I beta test it? :) Wish I'd had a chance to see you for lunch or something when you were in town.

Alex continues:

Since others did searches for my name using Sherlock, I thought I'd use the new Sherlock II technology to see what I could find on other former Bungie folks.

For Jason Regier, maximum embarrassment is at hand:

http://www.mit.edu:8001/afs/athena.mit.edu/user/s/c/schmoe/www/pics/padr2.gif

To make things even, I took the following self-portrait using a QuickTake while visiting Apple from Bungie. I was way beyond hammered:

http://www.bonesmuggler.com

hehehe... for those who may not be aware of the fact both Alex Rosenberg and Jason Regier worked at Bungie.


Update #6 (4.30 pm Eastern Time)

Timm Mason <tmason@andrew.cmu.edu> provides some speculation on the Halo ship names:

CAR ships have the names "contrition" and "penance". both mean sorrow and regret for past conduct. contrition has a second meaning: the act of grinding to powder. CAR Penance says "...you will die without honor" CAR Contrition says "...through death we will teach your fate" in other words both make direct death threats. one is sent by the class 2 AI (i assume a lesser AI) and one by "Pr Govern".

CPV ships have the names "esteem" and "reverence". both mean to fear and respect something. CPV Reverence says "you slave...for your food. and we shall eat it". CPV Esteem says "you will not know where we have struck...". both are more philosophical threats than those received from the CARs. they imply (to me at least) the CPVs are planning at a higher level. and both are controlled by the "BW Class 3 AI". i'm curious as to whether BW is a classification of AIs or if it denotes a single AI.

finally we have the CCSs. they are named "Purity of Spirit", "Truth and Reconciliation", and "Sacred Promise". some of their transmissions are more figurative and vaguer still. their transmissions originate variously from "BW Class 3 AI", "EXALTED", "REDIRECTED", and a corrupt string.

based on this i might guess that CARs are attack vehicles, CPVs are tactical and CCSs are strategic. or something vaguely reminiscent of this. i at least think the command chains is like CCS > CPV > CAR from highest rank to lowest.


Timm continues:

in the cortana mail before that, cortana says "this sanctuary, this unbroken circle, has effectively concealed its power for how long?" notice "circle", like the "massive and ancient ring construct" mentioned in the press release.

"unbroken circle..."? "massive and ancient ring construct"? Yesterday Finn Smith noted the similarities between Halo and Larry Niven's Ringworld books. Many people have also noted the curved appearance of the Halo world. Kenny Kay <ken@avara.net> writes:

After looking over most of the material out at the present time, looks to me like the game is based around fighting on one *huge* inwardly curved battleground (suggested by the Eiffel tower shot). The main gravitational pull of the area must be with the halo itself, because the planet is obviously too weak to pull the characters out from the surface of the halo. Perhaps the halo's centrifugal force serves as "gravity?" This is of course suggested through the lines in the bungie.com webpage. If the halo revolved, wouldn't those three lines theoretically be the -planetary- of it? :)


The following is some background to Larry Niven's Ringworld:

Over half a million years ago, 248 light-years from Earth, an unimaginably advanced civilization built itself a new home. A ring a million miles high, the new habitat stretched in a vast 600-million-mile circle around a stable sun-type star. Its 600 trillion square miles of surface area were the equivalent of three million Earths, and centrifugal force provided the new world with the equivalent of one gravity. Rim walls a thousand miles high prevented the atmosphere from spilling out, and orbiting sunshades brought day and night to an immense variety of lands and seas, mountains and valleys that lined the inner surface of the ring and provided a home to myriad species of humanoid.

And then, long before humans began recording their own history on Earth, the builders vanished, leaving behind the most astonishing feat of engineering ever encountered...the Ringworld.

The builders were called the...


Update #5 (2.30 pm Eastern Time)

Max Etchemendy <mxetch@yahoo.com> writes:

I just wanted to comment on the prominence of religious themes in Bungie's new game. The most obvious, of course, is the name, "Halo." Halos are rings of light found around the heads of angels, Jesus, Mary and other religious figures in paintings.

Also, in the Halo demo presented at MacWorld, the background music was distinctly religious. The monks in the background are singing in a style called Gregorian Chant, the chanting of Latin religious prayers/hymns as practiced by Catholic monks in medieval times. It is a very primitive form of music, without rhythm or dynamics. Brown-robed monks in a monastery come to mind when one listens to it.

There were also several references to the New Testament in the Cortana e-mails, most notably Revelations, or Apocalypse in Greek. This is quite appropriate, actually: Revelations is the account of the end of the world, including the destruction of one-third of about everything, and people dancing atop mountains of the dead.

By the way, Revelations also includes a lot of mentions of the number seven. These include a lamb with seven horns and sevens eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God (Revelations 5:6), seven angels with seven trumpets (Revelations 8:2), seven "thunders" (Revelations 10:3), seven thousand men killed in an earthquake (Revelations 11:13), a dragon with seven heads and seven crowns (Revelations 12:3), and seven plagues (Revelations 15:8), to name only a few.

(Couldn't resist a quick "seven" romp!)

These religious themes seem to show up too often to be a coincidence. Maybe it's a style thing, or maybe more. In any event, I've never seen this many religious themes in any major computer game before, let alone one a year away from being released!

Religious themes in Halo? The atmospheric Gregorian chant sound (by TotalAudio) certainly makes a difference to current game music offerings.


Geoffrey Barnett <gbarnett@firsttech.com> writes concerning the Halo names:

Upon looking thru the ship names and designations, it hit me that there seem to be two different naming schemes for the ships. All of the ship names that have codes beginning with C (CCS, etc) have names that reflect a penitential/spiritual outlook of some sort (Esteem, Purity of Spirit), while the others (SCS, etc) have more poetic or mythological names (Pillar of Autumn, Hermes). Could it be that the leading C somehow designates a Covenant ship, while the others are Human ships? All the messages seem to be threats; could this be the respective AIs trying to bluff or intimidate each other or the crews of the respective species?

Interesting point.


Thanks to Jane Vardaro <jvardaro@erols.com>, Dalan Galma <dalangalma@tmbg.org>, Stefan Stadlberger <stadlberger@yadur.com> and a host of others for pointing out that the Soul is a little more informative when you ask it about "Halo" and "Blam".


Update #4 (12.00 pm Eastern Time)

As reported earlier today by Episkopos Pushkin <pushkin@disinfo.net> the names from the Halo text on Bungie's Halo page seem very similar to the ship AI names used in Iain M Banks' sci-fi Culture series. The full list of names in the Halo text are as follows:

CCS Purity of Spirit
CCS Truth and Reconciliation
CAR Penance
CPV Reverence
CPV Esteem
SCS Pillar of Autumn
CCS Sacred Promise
CAR Contrition

For a full canonical listing of every Ship mentioned in the Culture novels you should go to Robert Keogh's Culture Shock site - the unofficial Iain M Banks WWW Site. The ships page is at http://www.phlebas.com/text/ships.html.

Each Culture ship has a three letter descriptor before its name. The descriptors are as follows:

GCU = General Contact Unit
GOU = General Offensive Unit
GSV = General System Vehicle
LOU = Limited Offensive Unit
LSV = Limited System Vehicle
MSV = Medium Systems Vehicle
ROU = Rapid Offensive Unit

So what do the Halo ones stand for? :-)


Iain M Banks describes his Culture ships as follows:

Culture starships - that is all classes of ship above inter-planetary - are sentient; their Minds (sophisticated AIs working largely in hyperspace to take advantage of the higher lightspeed there) bear the same relation to the fabric of the ship as a human brain does to the human body; the Mind is the important bit, and the rest is a life-support and transport system. Humans and independent drones (the Culture's non-android individual AIs of roughly human-equivalent intelligence) are unnecessary for the running of the starships, and have a status somewhere between passengers, pets and parasites.

The Culture's largest vessels - apart from certain art-works and a few Eccentrics - are the General Systems Vehicles of the Contact section. (Contact is the part of the Culture concerned with discovering, cataloguing, investigating, evaluating and - if thought prudent - interacting with other civilisations; its rationale and activities are covered elsewhere, in the stories.) The GSVs are fast and very large craft, measured in kilometres and inhabited by millions of people and machines. The idea behind them is that they represent the Culture, fully. All that the Culture knows, each GSV knows; anything that can be done anywhere in the Culture can be done within or by any GSV. In terms of both information and technology, they represent a last resort, and act like holographic fragments of the Culture itself, the whole contained within each part.

The full text can be found at http://www.phlebas.com/text/cultnote.html.


Update #3 (9.00 am Eastern Time)

Covenants! They're Everywhere!

A large number of people have written in pointing out that the aliens seen in the Halo "movie" are probably called Covenants. This is based on the names given to images files on Bungie's Halo site.


Jonathan Andrews <vidboi@bellsouth.net> writes concerning the Covenants pics on Bungie's Halo site.

The three images are

covenant_top.gif
covenant_bottom.gif
covenant_arm.gif

The arm gif reminds me alot of the hand at the end of Infinity.


Steve Campbell <midwest@bungie.org> writes concerning some of the weapons seen in the Halo "movie"

in the movie right before the Covenants get into their sled mobile looking things... they are each holding a weapon.

it was brought to my attention "notice anything about those weapons?" by {name deleted] earlier... don't use his name by the way.

well one alien is holding a fusion pistol and the other a rocket launcher.

Steve is referring to this scene in the movie. And yes they do look Marathon-like.

The right alien is carrying a weapon somewhat similar to a Fusion Pistol and the left alien has a short-stemmed shoulder-mounted rocket launcher similar to that seen only in the first Marathon.


Tom Bridge <Tom_Bridge@edelman.com> writes:

Just something to notice: the parallels to A Fire Upon the Deep. Great book by Vernor Vinge. Deals in human extinction with orbital weapons at one point. If you've read it, you know what I mean, if not, go borrow a copy and read it. The transmissions we're seeing (if that's what they are on the website) look distractingly familiar to the posts of a certain group in _A Fire Upon the Deep_. Worth investigating.

A Fire Upon The Deep concerns itself with an ancient entity that is awakened by some researchers on a remote colony. A family manages to escape the entity, taking with them something that is capable of destroying the entity. When their ship lands on a distant planet, the parents are killed, and the two surviving children are captured by warring factions of an alien race. It then becomes a race between all of humanity and agents of the entity to get to the alien world and recover whatever was put on the spacecraft.

As Tom points out an interesting aspect of the book is some of the tale is told in excerpts from a computer messaging system that looks like a descendent of Usenet. While the various conversations move the plot along, they also accurately reflect most computer messaging systems, with most of the writing consisting of unsubstantiated rumors, flames, or both.


Update #2 (4.30 am Eastern Time)

Halo quotes... we got 'em

Michael Trinder <mike.trinder@arct.cam.ac.uk> writes:

if you want the definitive Halo quote list download the following:

http://halo.bungie.com/quote.js

.. a simple JavaScript that returns one of 25 quotes. This might simplify your archiving procedures :)


Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> kindly sent in the full list of quotes. Omer writes:

That's not CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), that's JavaScript. And here's the complete list, with the defaults commented in loudly by me:


Ringworld references... and now The Culture! Episkopos Pushkin <pushkin@disinfo.net> writes concerning the ship names used in the Halo quotes:

Those names are awfully reminiscent of a number of Iain M. Banks novels (the Culture ones - I don't know how many people have read them).

CCS Truth and Reconciliation
CCS Sacred Promise
SCS Pillar of Autumn
CAR Contrition

these all seem very similar to ones like:

GSV Wisdom Like Silence
GCU Gray Area
GSV Sweet and Full of Grace
ROU Attitude Adjuster
GSV Sleeper Service

are among the least strange...

(The acronyms stand for General Systems Vehicle, General Contact Unit and Rapid Offensive Unit, respectively, which may allow people to try a guess at the Bungie acronyms)

However, what strikes me the most beyond the simple similarity of the names is that the way the text is set is eerily similar to the way the text is set in Banks novels in conversations between AIs. I sincerely think that those Bungie guys have been reading a lot more than Ringworld over there.

Iain M. Banks' Culture has been mentioned on the Story page before. Back in Aug 8, 1996 David Coufal <dcoufal@MIT.EDU> wrote concerning a possible influence on the Marathon Story pointing out that the novels of sf writer Iain M. Banks were set in a universe known as The Culture; where civilization is run by thousands of ship-sized AIs known as Minds. These Minds are generally very sarcastic, and name their ships whimsicaly. Back then David asked - "does this remind you of any A.I.'s of your aquaintance?"


Update #1 (2.30 am Eastern Time)

Welcome to a new world... a world called Halo.

The Story page was overwhelmed with Halo mail yesterday. Thanks to all those who wrote in. Over the course of today we'll be bringing you regular updates on some of the many comments and speculations received. Let's get the ball rolling.

The full "streaming" keynote address is available at Apple's site at

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/showcase/live/mwny99/nykenotevod.mov

The Halo demonstration begins at 54 minutes and runs for just over 5 minutes. A full downloadable version will be available soon.


Thanks to Peter Hinson <protozoa@pond.net> for pointing out that Gamespot has posted the Halo part of the keynote address (12.8MB)

http://headline.gamespot.com/news/99_07/21_pc_halo/index.html

Peter also writes:

Just mailing in to let you know that Bungie has updated their Halo page once again, and also sent (or perhaps they are just very well captured images from the keynote -- I haven't watched it yet) quite a few screenshots to a few gaming news sites. Is it just me, or do the aliens look like that guy from Abuse? Anyways.. http://halo.bungie.com/press.html has links to the previews with the goods.


A number of fan sites now have Gamespot's Halo "movie" and screenshots. Here are the main ones:

halo.bungie.org

core.gamestats.com

http://townhall.clanplaid.net

Steve Campbell's bungie.org Hotline server has a ton of Halo stuff... including items for the Halo press CD.


Mac Action Sack news. Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

My Sack runneth over! It has indeed arrived, and I have for you the invisible file report we've all been waiting for. There are only four hidden files, but they're good ones! Here they are:

Mac Action Sack:Oni Preview: Movie, Images & Music:big brains=huge game.jpeg
Mac Action Sack:Minotaur:Minotaur 7:grndsprtcrft.jpeg
Mac Action Sack:Minotaur:Minotaur 7:transport.jpeg
Mac Action Sack:Minotaur:Minotaur 7:trooper.jpeg

The first is the Bungie West employee pic from BungieVision Summer 1999 (included w/the Sack) with everyone's heads stretched to give them the *appearance* of bigger brains. Very cute.

The other three, however, are much more interesting: they appear to be Halo concept art. trooper.jpeg is a sketch of the Halo Marine (possible Marathon symbols hidden, at least to my eyes), while transport.jpeg and grndsprtcrft.jpeg both appear to be early versions of the vehicles seen in the MWNY presentation. (transport.jpeg comes complete with a somewhat reptilian alien in the driver's seat.) Finally, all three pics have the caption "HALO-ARTIST: SHIKAI WANG (C) 1999 BUNGIE SOFTWARE PRODUCTS CORP." Looks like Halo's gonna be anime-styled too. ;-)


Bungie sent out the following News letter with some Halo info in it:

X-Authentication-Warning: mail.bungie.com: majordomo set sender to owner-bungie-news@bungie.com using -f
From: "Bungie News" <list-owner@bungie.com>
To: <bungie-news@bungie.com>
Subject: Haaaaaa-lo there!
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 10:14:15 -0500
X-Priority: 3
Sender: owner-bungie-news@bungie.com
Reply-To: owner-bungie-news@mail.bungie.com

Haaaaaa-lo there!

This mailing list was set up for the purpose of conveying news to our fans. Today, there is a fistful. This morning at the Macworld Expo in New York we unveiled two new products!

The time has come to announce Halo. Halo is the next product from the team that created the Marathon and Myth series and is likely the most ambitious computer game ever devised.

Halo is a third-person perspective sci-fi action epic that for the first time puts the player in a single, complete and realistic world, without boundaries or breaks between levels. The player is a military recon unit of the human race's fledgling planetary empire. Pursued by alien warships to an ancient ring structure deep in the void, the player must single-handedly improvise a guerilla war over ground, sea and air, using the arsenals and vehicles of three distinct cultures.

Halo is being developed for Macintosh and Windows. Already two years in development, it is expected to ship in the year 2000.

But wait! There's more...

Perhaps you missed one of our first games, Minotaur. Perhaps your significant other smashed your Marathon 2 CD. Perhaps you have a friend or relative with a new Mac who wants to know where to get the Good games. For you we've compiled a collection of six of our classic Mac action games. We tried to fit them in a box, but they were too huge, so we put them all together in the Mac Action Sack.

Upon opening the Sack, you'll find it full to bursting with timeless, classic Bungie games:

Minotaur: The Labyrinths of Crete - Multiplayer swords and sorcery action in randomly-generated dungeons.

Pathways Into Darkness - Single-player only first-person adventure, combing the shadowed halls of an ancient temple, doing battle with nightmarish creatures.

Abuse - 360 degrees of blazing side-scrolling action against hordes of ravening mutants.

Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, Marathon Infinity - Our classic series of sci-fi first-person shooters for the Mac. Altogether over 100 levels of high-speed single-player and multiplayer action.

If you're a member of this list, chances are good that you have one or more of these games-perhaps all of them-but do you have the Sack? The Mac Action Sack is available now for only $19.95 at the Bungie Store, https://www.bungie.com/store.


More updates to come...


July 21, 1999

Update #8 (2.50 pm Eastern Time)

Timm Mason <tmason@andrew.cmu.edu> passes on two more quotes from the Halo page:

"what you have begun in anger you shall end in shame"

and

"you have brought nothing to this world, and we will ensure you bring nothing out"

both of these, along with "this world will be ruled in blood" or whatever, are attributed to the same "EW - AI - Class III"

That makes 12. :-)


Finn Smith <finn_smith@brown.edu> writes:

Bungie's press release reads:

"The player is a military recon unit of the human race's fledgling planetary empire. Pursued by alien warships to a massive and ancient ring construct deep in the void, the player must single-handedly improvise a guerilla war over land sea and air, using the arsenals and vehicles of three distinct cultures."

as we know from Greg Kirkpatrick's post to a.g.m :

GregKpostagm.html

"We were just sitting around talking about things, and i blabbin on and on about Larry Niven : "ringworld", Man-Kzin wars, etc. I read all those many years ago, but i still remember them... Take any well known sci-fi writer and there's a good chance that someone who's worked on Marathon has read (read:all) his works."

So there's an obvious link between Niven's Ringworld books and the "ring construct" of Halo. The Ringworld was also "massive and ancient" (and one of sf's most famous Big Dumb Objects). Its origins were unknown in the first book, but later revealed in "The Ringworld Engineers". It's a good bet that the name "Halo" is a reference to this ring.

You can read more about the Ringworld here:

http://husted.com/hgsf/Ringworld_entry.htm

And see some renderings of what it might look like here:

http://www.rahul.net/rootbear/graphics/ringworld/rw0.html

The reference in the press release to a war between humans and aliens reminded me of two things. The first sticks with the Ringworld parallel - humans battled the Kzin in the Known Space universe of the Ringworld (although those wars were long over by the time the events in "Ringworld" took place). Also, as the protagonists explored the Ringworld they came across many different cultures and technologies - similar to the "arsenals and vehicles of three distinct cultures" mentioned in the press release. The other sf reference I thought of was David Brin's Uplift series, specifically, "Startide Rising". This book features a human "fledgling planetary empire", a "recon unit" and pursuit by hostile aliens to a strange world (a water planet).

It is interesting to note that both the Ringworld and the Uplift books feature alien races who practice meddling and selective breeding/evolution with other races. In Ringworld, the Pierson's Puppeteers have secretly been playing humans against Kzin and manipulating human breeding. In the Uplift series Patron races "uplift" Client races to full sentience and civilization via genetic modifications.

It seems likely that, collectively, Bungie employees have read all of these books and we may see similar themes emerge in the Halo plot.


Timm Mason <tmason@andrew.cmu.edu> writes again:

"you will know not where we have struck until you have fallen" is also from the class 3 AI. curiously, the line from the cortana mail "our conviction is like an arrow in flight"... is attributed not to the AI but to "redirected". here's another quote from the class 3 AI

none will exist to say whether you were defeated by valor or cruelty

this ai is quite the bully.

the press release mentions "the human race's fledgling planetary empire" this would seem to imply that halo takes place AFTER the events in the marathon series?

what i really want to know is what the "pillar of autumn" is...

the quote from the class 2 ai has an SCS line of "Hermes II". hermes if i recall was the messenger god who had winged boots. sounds like the name of a ship. as far as i can recall, every other SCS line was "pillar of autumn". is SCS the source or destination of these messages (if that's what they are...)?

the other line is labeled CCS or CPV in every case (i believe but could be wrong. i haven't been keeping track of this one). it seems to be a subject line of sorts.


Update #7 (2.15 pm Eastern Time)

More shots of the Halo demo at Macworld.

Jason introduces the Halo demo.


Nice water shot.


Stefan Stadlberger <stadlberger@yadur.com> writes:

The hughe CSS Script is not just for nothing. It animates the the strings. Without the script the strings would't move.


Timm Mason <tmason@andrew.cmu.edu> writes:

just wanted to point out that there is a much more obvious cortana reference on bungie's halo page. if you get the front page that reads "He says i come not to send Peace but a Sword..." there is a line above it which reads:

(process owner Cortana)

Tim goes onto say:

another quote:

when no single human brick lies atop another, then will we be satisfied with your destruction.

for this one, process owner is "EXALTED (?)"

okay...here's another:

when the quote is:

through war we will teach your heresy
through battle we will teach your frailty
through death we will teach your fate

the process owner is listed as "GR - AI - Class II"
notice the reference to fate aka destiny?

when the quote is

you slave, toil, blah blah blah it's already posted...

the process owner is "EW - AI - Class III"

same class 3 AI as from the cortana mail?

For details on Cortana see The Cortana Letters.


Update #6 (1.40 pm Eastern Time)

Matt Soell (Bungie Software) points out that the Halo demonstration at Macworld was not a movie but a self running demo. A Halo movie will appear later though. Secondly Halo is pronounced "Hay-low" just in case you didn't know. ;-)

Ben Semmler <ben@torquerod.com> writes:

...the Halo screenshot looked really cool. The main figure look oddly similiar to the Craig Mullins picture of the marine standing by the term. Heh. But, in my mind, the press release clinches it all. It mentions a "military recon unit," being chased by alien ships, and orbital bombardment.


Steve Campbell, maintainer of www.bungie.org, informs me that halo.bungie.org is up and running. Expect a major overhaul of the site soon.


Update #5 (12.00 pm Eastern Time)

Halo mail is flooding in!

Here are a number of the sayings that appear at random on Bungie's main Halo page:

Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight.
Your life will only last until it reaches you.

"... He says I came not to send Peace but a Sword ..."

You live without discipline and will die without honor.

This world will be ruled in blood.

You slave, toil, bleed and sweat for your food. And we shall eat it.

It is said remorse is the pain of sin. We feel no remorse.

"These are the tygers of wrath."

You will not know where we have struck until you have fallen.


Thanks to Gary Simmons <gsimmons@earthlink.net> and Randy Reddig <root@ydnar.co.uk> for both pointing out the Marathon symbol buried in the Halo logo. See below.


Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> writes concerning Bungie's Halo page:

The left frame which has an animated line of 3 strings seems to be for decoration, but that is untrue. If the frame is opened in a new window, you notice the page is called "HALO: Incoming Transmission". So the purple strings scrolling and fading away.... is it text? A message? Is it in English?

The source of that 'hidden' page contains a huge css script. There wasn't any effort put into this for nothing!!!! :)


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

I think I've located the first reference to Cortana in the new HALO page at bungie. In the press release, it says

Using everything from composite swords to orbital bombardment, driving everything from giant tanks to agile combat aircraft, players wage intense warfare over and under the surface of this world.

One of the Cortana messages made mention of orbital bombardment.


Update #4 (10.50 am Eastern Time)

Steve Jobs introduces Bungie Software.


A screenshot from the Halo demo.


Jason Jones takes the applause at the end of the Halo demo.


Update #3 (10.25 am Eastern Time)

Matt Soell (Bungie Software) passes on the following information!

www.bungie.com/halo


Update #2 (10.10 am Eastern Time)

Jason Jones (Bungie Software) announces Halo at Macworld Expo keynote address.

More details to follow...


Update #1 (5.00 am Eastern Time)

Mac OS Rumors has some speculation as to what Steve Jobs's keynote address might contain. They write:

Major Apple partners like Microsoft, Adobe, Palm Computing, and at least one major game maker (id Software?) will appear during the keynote to preview their upcoming Mac releases and talk about why they choose the platform.


According to Macweek major game companies are lining up behind Apple's new consumer focus at this week's Macworld Expo/New York '99. You can read the full news item at http://macweek.zdnet.com/1999/07/18/expogames.html


Today's the Big day! We'll be bringing you news updates throughout the day. Stay tuned!

Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

This may be a little late, but go to the Bungie Events page (http://www.bungie.com/inside/Events.html). Historical Monument No.7? What's that?

The full text on Bungie's Events page reads:

MacWorld Expo
July 21-23, New York, NY
We'll be stompin' around the show floor screaming obscenities and yelling "Blam! Blam! Blam!" so be sure not to miss it. Plus you can get your hands on our Sack for the first timeĐwe're selling the Mac Action Sack directly from our booth. Six of our best selling action titles, including the entire Marathon trilogy, for under $20 bucks! Of course we'll also be showing off Oni, hosting thrilling deathmatches over our network. Come to the show... fight vicous 3rd-person battles... worship Historical Monument No. 7... cower in awe of our sack!


Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> (aka Freewill) writes:

Here's a clip from MacNN's report on the Macworld Expo "Town Meeting" a pre-expo gathering of die-hard mac fans. The opening paragraph caught my attention:

"Several hundred people gathered this morning at Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan for the Town Meeting, the official kickoff of Macworld Expo New York '99. The Town Meeting differed quite a bit from the previously announced agenda, as several of the scheduled speakers failed to show. These included Mitch Mandich, Apple's Senior VP of Retail Sales, Tim Bajarin of Creative Strategies, Greg Galanos of Metrowerks, Mark Gacini from Bungie software (formally chief Gaming Evangelist at Apple), as well as Andy Gore, Editor-in-chief of Macworld."

Hmm, I wonder what Mark Gacini was going to talk about? Actually, this is the first I've heard of Mark. Anyone else have a clue?

The url is: http://www.macnn.com/features/9907mwnytown.shtml

First Eric Klein, then Peter Tamte... and now Mark Gacini. I think not!


July 20, 1999


Mihai Parparita <mihai@mscape.com> writes:

I did a search for Alex Rosenberg, and I came up with a World Without Borders chat transcript about Game Sprockets that he did while at Apple. In it he mentions that Marathon 2 was created:

"...because we helped Bungie optimize their blitters. They were inspired by the new full screen capability and decided not to simply release an update, but to develop a new title."

The entire text can be obtained here:

http://worldwithoutborders.com/archives/Sprockets.html

Here is the full text of Alex Rosenberg's (alexr) reply to a question about Apple's Game Kitchens:

Jim7500: What is the purpose of the game Kitchen? Has it helped bring titles to the mac?

alexr: The kitchens were first intended to help optimize games for PowerPC. They later evolved into a regular opportunity for developers to meet with Apple and discuss future hardware and software as well as take the time with Apple engineers to optimize their code I can't think of any titles offhand that weren't planned that came out of the kitchens. However, many sequels came to be because of them. For example, Marathon 2 came about because we helped Bungie optimize their blitters. They were inspired by the new full screen capability and decided not to simply release an update, but to develop a new title.


If you check the World Without Borders chat archive you'll also find the transcript of a chat with Bungie's Doug Zartman.


Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes concerning yesterday's submission about the Jjaro and 2001. In it he draws some interesting parallels between the 2001 series, the Marathon series and even Oni. See The Jjaro section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Macworld officially opens to the public tomorrow. Steve Job's keynote address begins at 9:00 a.m. EDT. A big announcement on the way?



July 19, 1999


The Marathon section at Bungie.org now sports two new pages. Michael Neylon's Marathon Spoiler Guide and the Physics Model (PM) Archives maintained by Bruce Morrison (aka Hippieman). The marathon.bungie.org page should also load much faster now thanks to Claude Errera.


In case you missed this Steve Campbell has uploaded a piece of Bungie history to his Hotline Server (hl.bungie.org). It's a demo version of Operation: Desert Storm. Apparently it was found hidden away in a little known Compuserve archive. Operation: Desert Storm was written by Alexander Seropian before be teamed up with Jason Jones. There are some details about this early Bungie game in the Marathon Scrapbook. Check www.bungie.org for more details on how to download this piece of Bungie memorabilia.


Justin Blackmon <omecatl@hotmail.com> writes concerning the Jjaro. See The Jjaro section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Terrence Lee Nowicki" <kablam@edmail.com> writes:

Try asking the Soul, "Are you married?"


Gerard Ruppert <ruppertg@aii.edu> writes:

Tell the disembodied Soul that "Satan is cool." Interesting answer.

Also, ask about bungie, and get his cynical response...


July 18, 1999


Claude Errera <archives@bungie.org> announces a new and improved Marathon Archives at Bungie.org. It now sports an amazingly detailed Search page.

With the Marathon Archives and The Mill combined Bungie.org is now the premier site for Marathon and Myth files on the web.


Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

As I was playing Quake 2, I noticed that one of its platform sounds is nearly identical to the "Heavy S'pht Platform" sound in M2/Moo.

Those platforms sure get around, don't they? :-)


July 17, 1999


As reported on Inside Mac Games Tuncer Deniz will now be attending the Macworld Expo in New York. In his announcement he states:

Alright, so I changed me mind, I'll be going to Macworld after all. What I'm really looking forward to is the Steve Jobs keynote. I've learned that a few game companies will be showing off some hot new games at the keynote but I'm prohibited by saying which ones. I can guarantee that one of them will be a major shock and it will come from a company we all know and love. Care to take a guess as to who?

"...hot new games... one of them will be a major shock... will come from a company we all know and love..."

Subtle eh?

Steve Job's keynote address takes place next Wednesday (July 21) at 9:00 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. (EST). What will you be doing? Watching Apple's Webcast of Steve Jobs's keynote address will require QuickTime 4 however. Better update!

At the last keynote address in San Francisco Steve Job's introduced John Carmack (Id Software) and gave the first public demo of Quake Arena.


Bungie expects to start shipping their Mac Action Sack next week. Jim Ruiz <jim@bungie.com> (Direct Sales Magnate for Bungie Software) writes:

I just want to let you know that we're on schedule, and we expect to start shipping the new Mac Action Sack some time next week (July 19th - 23rd). We're going to start charging credit cards this afternoon (Friday, July 16th) so our fulfillment company (JVC) can get a head start printing shipping labels and stuff, and so we can get your games to you a little sooner.

I hope you enjoy the games!

The MacWorld Expo in New York is coming up next week (July 21st - 23rd), and a lot of people from Bungie, including myself, will be away from the office for a few days. So if you have any questions or problems, please send me an email or leave a message, and I will respond when I return to the office on Monday, July 26th.

(Speaking of MacWorld -- stay tuned to our web-site at http://www.bungie.com for news from the Bungie booth!)

While I'm gone, if you have an emergency or a pressing concern, you can contact Matt Soell, our Director of Customer Support. Matt's email address is matt@bungie.com. You may also call toll-free (from within the United States) at 1-800-295-0060, or call (312) 397-0500, or send a fax to (312) 397-0502.

Sounds like Matt Soell gets to stay in Chicago! ;-)


Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> writes:

Nathan Bitner knows more than he's telling...

http://www.marathon.org/forums/general/index.cgi?read=6746

To quote Nathan himself (see The Cortana Letters section) "nothing is ever as it seems."


More roving Robocam pics. As Bradley Attfield <trsurmap@spots.ab.ca> points out:

It's interesting how Bungie will leave the robocam pointed at one thing for weeks and then move it around (seemingly randomly) several times over the course of a few days, isn't it?

What's Bungie's Robocam pointing at now?


James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> writes to say that the Marathon Scenario News page at bungie.org has been updated with news on:

Orbital Arm:
Simulacrum Syndicate:
Blink Products:
Marathon Leviathan(2):
Anomie Productions:
Marathon to Myth:
The Atlantis Crew:


July 16, 1999


Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com> (Director of Customer Support at Bungie) writes concerning the recent sightings of Alex Rosenberg:

Naturally, all the Alex Rosenbergs people have been spotting are one and the same. He worked at Apple long before he came to Bungie, and returned there after he left us. I'm pretty sure he shows up in various Secret About Boxes as well.

I am not at all surprised to see his name on the Melt-O-Rama plugin for that MP3 player, as I remember very distinctly discussing the Virtual Light Machine feature of the Atari Jaguar's CD attachment with him; he mentioned in passing that he'd learned the Melt-O-Vision algorithm used in the VLM and Tempest 2000. Sounds like he's worked up his own variant of it.


Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

An article in the Adrenaline Vault, http://www.avault.com --

URL: http://www.avault.com/articles/getarticle.asp?name=once&page=1

The article starts by praising some old text adventure games for what they did with their text, and continues with describing how something seems to be lost in the rise of real-time-3D games.

[From the article:]

No title in recent memory better exemplifies this new turn than the game that breathed much-needed imagination into the often thoughtless first-person shooter genre: Valve's Half-Life.

First-person shooters are not built in a way that easily accommodates deep storytelling. Before Half-Life, most "plots" of shooters were thrown together on a random page of the game manual, or in a short paragraph at the end of a mission set. Even in these small samples, it was clear that the authors knew their own words were falling on deaf ears -- and they were right. But it's not because gamers don't care about story. It's because the story was presented in disjointed chunks and not integrated with the gameplay. Valve proved that the best way to draw players into a FPS is to integrate the experience with a thoughtful story. Through the use of ingenious scripted events and informative NPC dialogue, Half-Life captured our attention and our imaginations, and never let go.

Loren goes onto to say:

Another area in which the Marathon series is ahead of its time. And the Marathon series even uses text very well, although the closest it gets to cutscenes is "The Big House", where you watch some of your friends kill your jailers.

Cutscenes that can kill you. ;-)


A Marathon-like symbol too far? Andreas Orphanides <Dre.Orphanides@oberlin.edu> thinks so. However Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> thinks different. Check the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section for details. Please note that these two submissions were sent in quite independently without knowledge of the other (both were sent in yesterday, July 15th).


It seems that Bungie's Robocam is now living up to its name. The roving eye has attracted alot of attention judging from the number of cam screenshots the Story page has recieved in the last 24 hours. Here are just a few. Thanks to Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> and Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> for these. Please note: if you're going to send a pic in please:

  1. crop it down first
  2. make sure it shows something interesting
Thanks.


July 15, 1999


Paul Bryant <Paul.Bryant@choicepointinc.com> writes:

On the weapons page of (bungie.org/marathon), there is a shot of the error message produced by the Alien Weapon. If you take the useable hexadecimal characters out of the error code (0xfded) you get "fded", which is 65005 in decimal.

6 + 5 + 0 + 0 + 5 = 16
1 + 6 = 7


Another Marathon-like symbol. Michael Dawe <dawem@rpi.edu> thinks so. See the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section for details.


Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> points out that Bungie's Robocam is on the move again. Harry writes:

The robocam's been moved again. I guess the stuff infront of the robocam's earlier view was piling up, and now it's pointing distortedly at its former(?) position, showing a little more of what's on the right.


Another Alex Rosenberg sighting? Is this guy popular or what? Alex Choo <alexct@pd.jaring.my> writes:

In the newly released SoundJam MP (Casady&Green), a commercial MP3 player/encoder, the visual plug-in meltorama is credited to Steve Bollinger and Alex Rosenberg...

Also, in the main credits (the about window in the apple menu), Alex Rosenberg is credited under 'Plug-in Design'.


July 14, 1999


Concerning Bungie's Ad for the Mac Action Sack:

Six games. One sack. All action.

Matthew Payne <sfeira@pacbell.net> writes:

6 + 1 = 7

Not again...?!!!

Matthew points out that this was the same with the Marathon Trilogy Box Set. The ad read:

Three years, three games, one phenomenon...

3 + 3 + 1 = 7

Do Bungie make this stuff up? ;-)


Alex Choo <alexct@pd.jaring.my> writes concerning former Bungie employee Alex Rosenberg:

Dunno if this has been noted before, but while I was messing about in the graphing calculator in the Apple menu, I noticed that in the credits section, Alex Rosenberg is listed under Smart Friends¬.

The same Alex Rosenberg?

I might also point out that the graphing calculator app isn't developed by Apple, rather Pacific Tech (www.PacificT.com), which also produces windows versions of the same app.


Joe Barrett <JoBarrett@osc.uscg.mil> writes to point out that the official home page of the PC version of Tru7h Finder is:

http://members.xoom.com/wot_story/tru7h/

The Mac version of Tru7h Finder by Etienne Després can be found at:

http://pages.infinit.net/heady/tru7h_finder_1.3.sit (406K)


July 13, 1999


Max Hoberman <max@bungie.com> of Bungie Software posted to the Blam forums pointing out that their Mac Action Sack will not be bundled with new iMacs. You can read his post at:

http://blam.bungie.org/forums/blam.forum.cgi?read=985

Judging from the post it seems that Bungie are going for massive Sack exposure at Macworld. Sacks!... They're Everywere!


Version 1.06 of SETI@home Client Software for Macintosh has been released. The following is taken from the SETI@home page:

SETI@home is a scientific experiment that harnesses the power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. There's a small but captivating possibility that your computer will detect the faint murmur of a civilization beyond Earth.

Be warned though... contacting aliens can he hazardous to your health. Remember what happened at Tau Ceti. ;-)


This caught my attention. It's an Oni Preview by Game Spot UK. Part of the preview reads:

On Konoko's first mission, events unfold that make her wonder about the nature of the organisation she works for. From here, Confusing Things Happen ? meaning that, among other things, you get sucked into a story that blurs the line between good guys and bad guys.

But put the story stuff aside for now, because the story is secondary to the game.

...the story is secondary to the game? One reviewer's opinion or something more?


July 12, 1999


Tim Branin <Sonofhydra@aol.com> writes:

In the original Marathon the red S'pht had a green eye and shot green bolts. While purple S'pht had a yellow eye and shot yellow bolts.

But in Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity the red S'pht had a green eye and a YELLOW bolt, purple S'pht had a yellow eye and a GREEN bolt. I mean what's up with that.

A change in fashion or color blindness?


An error on the Story page!!! Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> writes:

I don't pretend this is important, but the Cortana interruption does not differ by one digit (as pointed out by Mike Miazgowicz) - it differs by *two*. The two numbers are

	04497.2.32.867734 and
	04497.2.32.866735 
                     ^  ^

So Cortana's interruption is from a process 999 *earlier* than the one at the start of the message!

A simple typo, or the key to a universe-spanning conspiracy?
You decide..


July 11, 1999


Macworld Expo New York is less than 10 days off. Apart for the obvious BIG announcements there is the National Macintosh Gaming Championship to look forward to. The last championship held in San Francisco earlier this year was won by Michael Garrison, better known to Marathoners as CYBERNATOR. Michael in fact won three tournaments, namely Marathon, Duke Nukem 3D, and Astrorock 2000 and walked off with a grand prize package worth $5,000. You can see the full results and pics of the winners from the San Francisco championship at

http://www.dexposure.com/nmgc1999r.html

Some familiar faces there including Miguel Chavez.


Updated the Cortana and Blam pages. To go directly to the Cortana letters just put a handy-dandy #1 after the .html in the URL:

First Cortana letter is at cortana.html#1
Second Cortana letter is at cortana.html#2
Third Cortana letter is at cortana.html#3
Fourth Cortana letter is at cortana.html#4
Fifth Cortana letter is at cortana.html#5


Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> writes to point out that Bungie's Robocam has moved... or perhaps it just fell over? So what's it pointing at? A can of Blam Cola perhaps?


Rony Sánchez <vacadude@yahoo.com> writes:

...ask the Soul "can I free you?", something bad may really happen.

Freeing the Soul? Remember what happen to Javier when he freed the Demon from the Vial.


Mike Stitzer <OneStopMac@aol.com> writes:

While I'm sure other people have tried it, I just want to point out that The Soul's answer to "Who's your daddy?" is sick. ;)

Is it? Then I'm definitely NOT going to try it!


July 10, 1999


Bubblegum Crisis, Ghost in a Shell, and now Fist of the North Star. Ben Fisher <ben@fisher.enterprise-plc.com> writes concerning manga influences in Bungie's games:

Soulblighter himself bears a 7-shaped scar across his chest, held together by 7 staples (in the rendered version, not the cover figure) This bears a striking resemblance to the scars on the chest of Ken, hero of the popular manga/anime epic "Fist of the North Star", bears a similar formation on his chest -- seven scars in the form of The Big Dipper, known as the Seven Marks of Death. In the FoNS universe, these marks supposedly cause the ribs to collapse and the chest to explode. The overrunning theme of Fist of The North Star is, unsurprisingly, that of large scale battles with dark armies, and the smaller army on the side of truth and light __eventually__ winning.

You can see a comparision between Soulblighter's Scar and Kenshiro's (Fist of the North Star) here.


Mike Stitzer <OneStopMac@aol.com> writes:

In either the second or third level of Quake 2 a lift has the same sound as a Marathon lift. I'm sure there are a few other sounds that are the same, but I've never really had the time or desire to play through the single player levels on PC and I am now just going through them on Mac.


Don't forget to check out Loren Petrich's excellent Marathon Map Viewer. It's been updated to version 1.1 and supports water, lighting and even... fog?! See the Infinity levels in all their glory. Remember to read the Read Me. You need Apple's OpenGL installed to use it. Loren's Marathon Map Viewer can be got at:

http://archives.bungie.org/inf.tools/mara.map.viewer.11.hqx


Added Jason Parsons' Marathon maps page Forma to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Jason Parsons <arakasi@hb.quik.com> for the link.


July 9, 1999


Lots of Cortana speculation as per usual. Thanks to all those who wrote in.

By far the most commonest comments were in relation to the poem titles "The Little Girl Lost" and "The Little Girl Found". Many felt that this could be some subtle reference to Leela who was left to languish in the Vylae FTL network. Does she deserve better?


Eric Portis <eportis@uni.uiuc.edu> was the first of many to point out that the number seven features quite prominently in Blake's "The Little Girl Lost" and "The Little Girl Found". Coincidence or...?


Mike Miazgowicz <VacThok@aol.com> writes:

First I'll start with the newest e-mail. Reading the two Willam Blake poems (The Little Girl Lost and The Little Girl Found) this is what I observed: the beginning of The Little Girl Lost seems to refer to the earth returning to an Eden-like state ("And the desart wild/Become a garden mild").

Significance? The Unformatted KYT term also talks of a Genesis-like garden, liking the the theme of that term (either the violent beginning or violent end of something) with Cortana (who seems a bit preoccupied with the end of the universe....).

Also in the poem, Lyca, the little girl (who is *7* years old...) is taken by the lion to a place (the lion's "palace") that seems to be a sanctuary from just about everything bad in the world ("To this day they dwell/In a lonely dell/Nor fear the wolvish howl,/Nor the lions growl.") Relationship to Cortana's "concealed sanctuary" and the object that Cortana is trying to take from the "faith blinded zealots?" Perhaps Lyca is a symbol for escape from a violent end, and Cortana is attempting to reach her in order to escape closure?

Also some other observations from the other Cortana e-mails.... it seems as if three entities are talking with us in the HTML e-mail... the first part is preceded by the string:

x - process 04497.2.32.867734 initiated (process owner: BW – AI Class III – autonomous)

That message is then interrupted, and we see the string:

x – process 04497.2.32.866735 initiated (process owner: unspecified, unable to determine)

Notice the number stamp differs by one digit (......34 vs ......35). That message then ends with Cortana signing off followed by another transfer interruption followed in turn by this string:

Route Code: EXLTD > XCV – SCRB > ALLCH

seen also in previous e-mail. The first message is obviously from some AI, as evidenced by the "BW-AI Class III" in its stamp. The third message, conversely, seems to be from some non-AI entity, since it lacks a number stamp and all that and instead shows some cryptic route that an e-mail message would follow. The middle message, the one written by Cortana, is interesting, however. It too has the x-process stamp like the AI message, but in the same stamp instead of giving it an AI classification (class III, etc.) it claims that it is "unspecified, unable to determine." Some super AI?


Michael O'Hara <Kikriik@aol.com> was the first of many who noticed the William Blake/Robert Blake name similarity. Coincidence or...?


Barrel Launched Adaptive Munition (BLAM). A bullet that can duck around corners to find its mark? James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> provides some interesting URLs relating the USAF's Blam Project. James writes:

"Barrel Launched Adaptive Munition"

http://www.eng.auburn.edu/department/ae/labinfo/AAL/blam.html
http://www.eng.auburn.edu/department/ae/labinfo/AAL/blam_concept.html
http://www.eng.auburn.edu/department/ae/labinfo/AAL/blam_work.html
http://www.eng.auburn.edu/department/ae/labinfo/AAL/blam_future.html

An ABCNews report on the subject:

http://archive.abcnews.go.com/sections/science/MadRad/madrad0920.html


The Blam forum at blam.bungie.org has a post containing an amusing Bungie Soul conversation. You can read it at

http://blam.bungie.org/forums/blam.forum.cgi?read=871


July 8, 1999


Update! Yes folks... hot on the heels of the fifth Cortana letter we now have... Blam demo by January? Ike Gilbert <igilbert@scf-fs.usc.edu> writes:

This was posted on www.macosrumors.com in a report on the forthcoming OS X, discussing game demos that will most likely be bundled on the CD:

Details are lacking, but the boys at Bungie have often hinted that Myth II, Oni, and their top-secret "next big thing" (dreams of Marathon III abound, but our friends at Bungie aren't particularly forthcoming -- and we don't blame them!) may be ready in time if Apple provides them with enough tools, testbeds, and information about what game developers can expect from Quartz, OS X's graphics system.

OS X is slated for release in January 2000, which means Bungie will release a playable Blam demo in less than 6 months!


Yet another Cortana letter?!!! All in the space of about one week. Something up? Bungie gearing up to make an announcement soon? The fifth Cortana letter is short and sweet:


Received: from dux2.tcd.ie (dux2.tcd.ie [134.226.1.24])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id UAA19124
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Wed, 7 Jul 1999 20:18:42 +0100 (BST)
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@mail.bungie.com [209.125.9.11])
	by dux2.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id UAA25304
	for <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>; Wed, 7 Jul 1999 20:18:41 +0100 (BST)
Received: from Cortana (cortana.bungie.com [209.125.9.49])
	by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with SMTP id OAA23011
	for <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>; Wed, 7 Jul 1999 14:18:25 -0500
Message-Id: <3.0.6.32.19990707142016.007ab5d0@mail.bungie.com>
X-Sender: cortana@mail.bungie.com (Unverified)
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Light Version 3.0.6 (32)
Date: Wed, 07 Jul 1999 14:20:16 -0500
To: Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie
From: Cortana <cortana@bungie.com>
Subject: Cortana Saves Sinners! (And Redeems Them for Valuable Cash
  Prizes)
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"... In my palace deep, Lyca lies asleep ..."


The line "...In my palace deep, Lyca lies asleep..." comes from the poem "The Little Girl Found" which is part of William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul" (first published in 1794). Note: "The Little Girl Found" follows on from the poem "The Little Girl Lost". Those with a Marathon-centric viewpoint should have a field-day with that one. :-)

Cortana a Blake devotee or something more?

If you remember Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> pointed out that Cortana seemed to be taking lines from William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell", the third of his illuminated books, specifically the following part:

A Memorable Fancy

As I was walking among the fires of hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius; which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their Proverbs; thinking that as the sayings used in a nation, mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell, shew the nature in Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments,

When I came home: on the abyss of the five senses, where a flat sided steep frowns over the present world, I saw a mighty Devil folded in black clouds, hovering on the sides of the rock, with corroding fires he wrote the following sentence now percieved by the minds of men, & read by them on earth.

How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,

Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?

Here we have the Cortana references to "enjoyments of Genius" and "Demon folded in black clouds".


The fourth Cortana letter also had the following line:

Mania? I promise you this: it will be more than a cart and plow that I drive over the bones of the dead.

This is similar to one of William Blake's "Proverbs of Hell" namely:

Drive your cart and your plow over the bones of the dead.


The writings of William Blake can be found at:

http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/blake/

and

http://virtual.park.uga.edu/wblake/home1.html


July 7, 1999


Update!

Hey it's the Seventh day of the Seventh month so the folks at Bungie.com and Bungie.org decided to hold a competition. Gary Simmons <info@bungie.org> writes:

We need some help at bungie.org, there has been a terrible transporter accident. It seems Jim Ruiz at Bungie Software was teleporting 7 Action Sack icons to Steve Campbell for safe keeping.

There was a sudden ion storm (a regular Nor'easter with massive sun spots, worm holes and silly string) and despite cross circuiting to "B" the 7 icons were scattered to the 7 corners of bungie.org. We looked everywhere, but we can't find them and we just plain give up.

If you can find all 7 of the Bungie Action Sack icons hidden at the http://www.bungie.org pages and then be the FIRST to send an email to contest@bungie.org with the page URLs of all seven Action Sack icons (if it is on a framed page give the page name), Jim Ruiz will be so grateful to you that he will purloin a Mac Action Sack from the Bungie Software Vault O Carnage and send it to your home.

The Action Sack contains the fabulous classic Bungie Software games of: Minotaur, Abuse, Pathways into Darkness, Marathon, Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity. Employees of Bungie Software, bungie.org, and their families are ineligible to enter this contest. So they can just eat my shorts.


Blam tidbit from MacAddict. Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

August/99 MacAddict (#36)
Section : Power Play
Page : 74

E3 and Macs - Two Great Tastes

[here's the relevant bit]

Although companies made tons of Mac game announcements during E3 -- we've chronicled our top 10 favorites below -- the coolest, most exciting thing that we saw we can't talk about, other than to say that it's from Bungie, and it's going to be very, very cool. Bungie could (and did) show us more of Oni, which combines the ease of first-person shooters with wild hand-to-hand fighting moves normally reserved for games such as Mortal Kombat. The latest builds look great, and play great as well. All that a bag o' anime-style rendered characters? Count us in.

Note the line... the coolest, most exciting thing that we saw we can't talk about, other than to say that it's from Bungie, and it's going to be very, very cool.


More Blam for your money! James Lanfear <jclanfear@presys.com> writes:

Game-Interviews.com has an interview (imagine that ;-) with Alex Okita at http://www.game-interviews.com/miniviews/oni.htm. It's mostly about Oni, but the last question is kinda interesting:

"Myth 3 anytime soon?"

"AO: Quite frankly I don't know. There's little projects going on, I don't know too much information about either of them. I haven't even seen the coolest stuff yet"

So this tells us 1) Something interesting is happening at Bungie, and apparently they aren't even telling their own people about it. 2) It probably isn't a Myth sequel. And 3) "projects" and "either"; two, then.

(BTW, the -795th anniversary of the attack on the Marathon is coming up, we should have a party ;-)


Chadd Nervig <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com> writes:

I happen to be the leader of a group called Somewhere in the Heavens. We're making a Total Conversion for Myth II, of the same name. Somewhere in the Heavens converts the Myth II world entirly into the Marathon Series' universe. Almost nothing of the original Myth II is left. It will be released to the public for download and play on 7/7 at 7:77PM PST (July 7th, 8:17PM, PST, for you non-Marathon addicts). Look for it to be available for DL at The Mill, at that time.


Sean Savage <savman@mypad.com>, Matthew Grieco <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu>, and Anton Mates <querl@uclink4.berkeley.edu> all write to point out that the Soul is actually responding to the words "Kill you" in line "Kill your television".


July 6, 1999


As reported on Onicore - Gamecenter.com are running a poll called Who's your favorite heroine?. Konoko is one of the options. Go kick some sand! ;-)


If you've got a Mac Action Sack go check for invisible stuff. You never know what you might find. :-)


Ben Irwin <Jackelblow@aol.com> writes concerning Marathon sounds in other games and shows:

I remember a commercial a while back for Carl's Jr. with two people fishing in a boat. One pulls out a rather ugly-looking burger and starts eating it. Ranch dressing drips off the burger and into the water. Suddenly, the guy with the burger is pulled into the water. Anyway, the water sounds are identical to that of Marathon 2: Durandal's water ambience.

Also, I have noticed many movies with the Lh'owon Loon in them when they're outside. Also, the S'pht Platform Heavy can be heard in a a great deal of Sci-Fi movies (Virtuosity, for example).


More Soul chat. Matt Francis <mgf@n2mail.com> writes:

Try asking the Soul who he thinks God is.

"Kill your television" will give a response that neither "kill" "your" or "television" will. It's a tad strange.


Also Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes:

Well, here's more proof that Oni was inspired by Ghost in the Shell. When you type that in (Ghost in the Shell), the Soul says:

"That's my favorite movie. I especially like the scene with the briefcase."


July 5, 1999


William Spencer <williamspencer@hotmail.com> writes concerning the opening lines of the first terminal on "Kill Your Television":

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh. I have been called a hundred names and will be called a thousand more before the world goes dim and cold. I am a hero.

William writes:

Michael Moorcock used the idea of "the universal soldier" a lot in his stories; one idea was that many of his main characters were in fact the same character, just reincarnating all over the place.

William refers to the Eternal Champion series - a collection of stories set in Michael Moorcock's "multiverse". The following is taken from Michael Moorcock's The Eternal Champion (Omnibus Intro):

The "multiverse" is a multitude of alternative universes intersecting sometimes with our own and to which, of course, our own belongs - an infinite number of slightly different versions of reality in which one is likely to come across a slighlty different version of oneself."

Many of Moorcock's heroes are aspects of the Eternal Champion, a mystical figure resembling, though predating, Joseph Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces". In times ranging from the sword-wielding, sorcery-ridden past to the post-nuclear future of the Tragic Millennium, Order and Chaos are elemental forces locked in perpetual battle. And at the center of that maelstrom is the Eternal Champion, fighting sometimes for Order, sometimes for Chaos, but always embattled and always crucial to the outcome of the nonetheless endless struggle.

Here are two quotes from books in the Eternal Champion Series:

The Tale of the Eternal Champion. "Doomed to live forever in a thousand incarnations. A key player in the Game of Time, he yearns for his lost love and the tranquillity of fabled Tanelorn."

and

A Nomad of the Time Streams (Eternal Champion Series, Vol. 4). "Captain Oswald Bastable is forced to question his most cherished ideals as he becomes a nomad of the time streams, eternally traveling the wayward currents and nameless branches of a chaotic multiverse."


Any of this sound familiar?


July 4, 1999


Happy Fourth of July. Have a good one.


According to some who interpret the writings of Nostradamus, a French astrologer who died more than three centuries ago, the end of the world begins today: the day the Eagle celebrates her feast (Jour qui Aquilare celebrera ses fetes).


Updated the Cortana page with the latest Cortana email and the many speculations and findings.


Update the Blam page with the Blam sightings and tidbits from last month


Added Jason Parsons' The Elements of Map-making style to the Other Map Related Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Jason Parsons <arakasi@hb.quik.com> for the link.


July 3, 1999


Abhaya Hess <kanrah@pacbell.net> writes:

I was reading the Durandal(part 2) section of the story page and I came across a quote from "Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" which said.

"Your body dies, your consciousness passes away, but your body is caught in that one tautological point an instant before, subdividin' for eternity. Think about the koan: An arrow is stopped in flight. Well the death of the body is the flight of the arrow. No dodgin' it, not for anyone. People have t'die, the body has t'fall. Time is hurlin' that arrow forward. And yet, like I was sayin', thought goes on dividin' that time for ever and ever. The paradox becomes real. The arrow never hits."

I immediately thought of the very end of the recent Cortana email.

"Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight.
Your life will only last until it reaches you."

Hmm...Perhaps there is a connection. Perhaps the arrow will never hit.


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes concerning Marathon sounds in other games and shows:

In the children's science show "Bill Nye: The Science Guy", near the very start, when Bill is about to open the door to his lab (and sometimes for a while after he's opened it), you can usually hear the Pfhor Ship #2 sound.

James also points out that there is a post on the Marathon Central Forums on the same subject. You can see it at:

http://www.marathon.org/forums/general/index.cgi?read=4632

In case you can't get through here is the actually text of the post:

Heh, I just saw a rainbow chips deluxe commercial (Keebler) that had the Marathon rocket launcher sound in it. Bungie is everywhere!

(: Jägermeister :)


Raul Bonilla <lassonde@sinfo.net> downloaded the Doom demo (yes we all make mistakes ;-)) and notice a similarity between some of the graphics in the game (e.g. Doom's UAC Base symbol) and those in Marathon Infinity. You can see the graphics here.


July 2, 1999


Damocles unleashed? Jens King (aka Orbitas) <fototek@dircon.co.uk>, the webmaster at Maramyth, makes an interesting observation about the Mechwarrior/Robot in Oni and wonders:

...if this evil machine is the super computer stretching its robotic legs

In the following pics you can see the charactistic red eye similar to the one already noted on Damocles. Perhaps at some point in the game Damocles rises "Transformer" like to do battle against our heroine. From Supercomputer to Supermech. See below for more Damocles artwork:

Damocles Concept Art (note all those exposed cables... and are those feet? Oh what big feet you have Damocles!)

Damocles on back cover of Bungie's E3 press kit


Cortana artwork. John Zero <jzero@bungie.org> writes:

So, I got all inspired and went and made some art. Cortana's latest words featuring an actual NASA Hubble image of the 'rampaging fronts of the Veil Nebula'. Supernova blast waves seemed appropriate. It's a 1024x768 desktop pic. It's about 300k. You can get it here:

http://rampages.onramp.net/~jzero/marathon/cortana.jpg


Bungie.org now sports a new look. Mixed reviews about this one. Apparently the update is called Peppermint. Don't ask. You need to be observant to spot the Marathon Marine.


New Marathon Map of Month out. This one's by Michael Watson <durandal@longlivethemac.com>. It's for Marathon Infinity.


July 1, 1999


Bungie announce the Mac Action Sack. Six games, one sack, all action. Part of the blurb reads:

Bungie Software burst into the computer gaming world with the release of Pathways Into Darkness, the first Mac game to use texture-mapping in real-time. Pathways garnered numerous fans and awards, and set the stage for the legendary Marathon trilogy. Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, and Marathon Infinity were the most successful action titles ever published for the Macintosh.


The response to the lastest Cortana email has been phenomenal. Many thanks to all those who wrote in. Below are just a few of the many letters:

First off though Matt Soell (Director of Customer Support at Bungie) has confirmed that the letter is authentic. However the Story page had its own independent experts on the job. Who says we don't trust Bungie? ;-)

Scott Crain <scrain@aol.net> writes:

Well, there are enough inconsistencies with the header structure in the mail to show that it definitely originated from cortana.bungie.com. In case you're curious as to my qualifications in that regard, here goes. I'm the technical lead for the AOL postmaster staff, as well as a tools developer and DBA for the AOL mail gateways team. Here's the line-by-line breakdown, in reverse from your receiving host.
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@mail.bungie.com
[209.125.9.11])
                by dux2.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id VAA23354
                for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Tue, 29 Jun 1999 21:27:02
+0100
        (BST)
This line shows that your inbound mail server, dux2.tcd.ie, received the mail from bungie's main mailserver. Note the amount of extra information, including the sendmail version (8.9.3), the local message ID (VAA23354), and your machine's timestamp of BST.
Received: from cortana.bungie.com (cortana.bungie.com [209.125.9.49])
                by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with ESMTP id PAA19358
                for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Tue, 29 Jun 1999 15:26:51
-0500
This is the sending of the mail from the client on cortana.bungie.com to bungie's mailserver. Note the sendmail version there again (8.8.7 - Time to upgrade guys =), and the match of the time in the timestamps 15:26/-5:00 vs. 21:27/+1:00. All points to a good send.
Received: from (relay.arecibo.nasa.gov)
                by cortana.bungie.com
                for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Thu May  9 19:26:57 1996
-0500
Here's where things start to get wrong. Most glaring is the 2+ year difference in the timestamps. Even Cortana can't make an email take 2 years to get from Puerto Rico to Chicago. Notice the hostname, relay.arecibo.nasa.gov in parentheses, with no accompanying IP address. Standard notation would have a hostname in parentheses WITH the IP address in square brackets. However, some really archaic systems *could* exhibit this behavior, so we'll let that slide. I'll skip the last Received: line to talk about the Message-ID and what it shows.

Message-ID: <001201bec26d$f63efee0$07097dd1@relay.arecibo.nasa.gov>

This message ID makes me a little more curious about things. It's in a valid format, but was forged convincingly to look like a real Message-ID. I think this was copied from another message, but unfortunately, I can't really decode any timestamping information from it.

The final telling blow is that...

relay.arecibo.nasa.gov does not exist. =)

nslookup relay.arecibo.nasa.gov

Server: ns7.office.aol.com
Address: 10.0.8.40

*** ns7.office.aol.com can't find relay.arecibo.nasa.gov: Non-existent host/domain

My opinion is that the message definitely originated from Bungie's systems. We do, however, get a clue to the cause of Cortana's insanity. He's using MSIE 5.0

META content="MSHTML 5.00.2014.210" name=GENERATOR

hehehe....


Rich Williams <opus@world.std.com> writes:

the line in the message - "so I missed a million miles of fun", may be quoted directly from the lyrics to a recent pop song: "Steal My Sunshine" by LEN. I can't make out much of the lyrics in the rest of the song, but I can safely say that the song has nothing to do with any sort of science fiction, or anything about plans for eradicating stars to lessen the mass of the universe and escape from it.

but...destroying stars = Steal [My] Sunshine ? kind of an obvious clue once you figure out where the line comes from. Clever clues from bungie...


Similarly Adam Danoff <adanoff@waltwhitman.edu> writes:

I just read the latest cortana message and was intrigued by the following line:

*ADDENDUM: The Enjoyments of Genius (So I Missed a Million Miles of Fun)

Being a young fellow with his finger on the pulse of things, I noticed that "So I Missed a Million Miles of Fun" is a line repeated a couple times in the song "Steal My Sunshine" by LEN! I'm not sure if there's a connection there (beyond somebody at Bungie liking LEN), but I intend to get a copy of that songs lyrics and look for any more similarities.


Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

Cortana seems to be taking a few lines from William Blake. I found the following phrases in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" found at

http://members.aa.net/~urizen/mhh/mhh.html

"...enjoyments of genius..."
"Devil folded in black clouds..."

Some noteworthy lines are:

"The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom: no clock can measure."
"Then I asked: does a firm perswasion that a thing is so, make it so?"
"Jesus Christ did not wish to unit but to seperate them, as in the Parable of sheep and goats! & he says I came not to send Peace but a Sword."
"For the cherub with his flaming sword is hereby commanded to leave his guard at tree of life...creation will be consumed, and appear infinite..."

After reading the above mentioned page, and the Cortana e-mails, it's apparent that Cortana will be quite a force to reckon with.



John Woods <jfw@jfwhome.funhouse.com> writes:

About to the supposed relay address "relay.arecibo.nasa.gov": NASA doesn't run Arecibo, Cornell does (on behalf of NSF). I suppose it's possible that NASA owns one or two hosts at the Arecibo site, but the DNS says there is no host named "relay.arecibo.nasa.gov". Ergo, this message was created on cortana.bungie.com with extra faked headers (thus can be taken as genuine Bungie propaganda).

As to the actual content:

"some hybrid war machine, itself complicated by such useless clutter as a conscience."

Hmm, where have we seen one of THOSE before?

(Or should that read "where have we BEEN one of THOSE before?")

The message starts with a chunk that sounds a lot like Tycho (a Tycho who has decided that entropy can't be beaten), Durandal (with yet another change rung on Fire And Sword), and -- who? "Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight. Your life will only last until it reaches you."

Sounds like the zealots have their own AI as well.

So that's, what, four AIs? (Since it looks like Cortana has an "assistant" whose assistance is of dubious usefulness?).


James Lanfear <jclanfear@presys.com> writes:

I was reading the latest Cortana message, and when I saw this:

"I am now sharing cramped space with the circuitry of some hybrid war machine"

I immediately thought of the mysterious uplink chip on Hang Brain. Maybe Cortana is Durandal's long lost primal pattern...

In fact, stretching things a bit further, what if this takes place parallel to Infinity? Durandal may have been in contact with other parties while he was directing us though the game. 'BW-AI' could be Tycho, fresh from having 'slain' Durandal on Hang Brain. Cortana would simply be pseudonym he used while in contact with the recipient of the messages, which ties in nicely with the close relationship between the names 'Cortana' and 'Durandal'.


Aaron Snyder <wittnietz@SURF.SPAMMERS.MUST.DIE.datatek.com> writes:

1) "There is no escape...I have calculated all possibilities." This could, of course, refer to Durandal's calculation of the closure of the universe and possible plans for escape.

2) "By sharp and flame" is an obvious reference to "Ignie Ferroque," "by fire and sword."


Similarly Matt Francis <mgf@n2mail.com> writes:

I may not have been the first to notice this, but Cortana's sign off on the letter featured on your site for June 30 caught my eye. Cortana's "By sharp and flame" reminds me of Ignie Ferroque, which means "with fire and with sword. Further explaination of this term and its possible meaning to Cortana is in your Facts and puzzling things about Latin in Marathon, and much of the information concerning this particular phrase was given by Hamish Carr.


Eric Portis <eportis@uni.uiuc.edu> writes:

Looks to me like we have yet another rampant AI looking for everlasting life, and a non-rampant AI trying to stop it or stop you from helping it ("I have calculated all possibilities. There is no escape" [from death?]). So much good stuff in this one...

One thing thats crossed my mind though, is why does Cortana CARE about you? I know the emails are just a marketing hype machine in real life, but in the story world that they have created, why are they being sent to you? The other AI is trying to get you to stop listening to Cortana, like you are something important that could help him (her? it?) and hinder this "humorless" AI. How?

And who is that speaking to you at the very bottom? Cortana's already finished saying what he has to say...


Sam Morris <sam@netcity.co.uk> writes:

Some of that message sounds suspiciously like the "*magic* of obtibal bombardment" that Durandal says he is introducing the Pfhor to at the beginning of Waterloo Waterpark.


And more... lots more...

Thanks to the many people who pointed out the connection between the Cortana email, Arecibo, and SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence). The SETI home page is at:

http://seti.planetary.org/index.html

The movie Contact was also mentioned on several occasions.

Lots of speculation about parts of the Cortana email sounding like Leela... sounding like Tycho... sounding like... well you get the picture. :-)



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