Apr 30, 1999


Well the Soul sure is popular right now. Please note I will not reprint lewd or defamatory remarks made to or by the Soul.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> points out that the Soul's odd response to the word 'phoenix' may be a reference to the recent Seven Phoenix Rising Tournament and the subsequently released Phoenix Rising Net Map. It's quite possible that the reply "Ooh, you think you know something, don't you?" was added in before the competition was announced.


Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

Bungie has connections to the phoenix through Myth.

The first sight of this came back on Orange's Myth Story Page, when I wrote in noticing that the heron was the egyptian sign of the phoenix, and perhaps rebirth had something to do with the "deathless" part of "the deathless Heron Guard" (a phrase which is seen in various places around the game). In Myth II, we learn that the Heron Guard are indeed "reborn"; they are warriors of renoun from around the world, who gather at the capital city of the Cath Bruig Empire, Muirthemne, every seven years, to compete for the rights of entering the Heron Guard. Those who win the competition are entered into the Guard, and the date of their initiation, according to the calendar of the old kings of the Cath Bruig, is given as their new name (ie "Seven Crocodile Skull" or "Twelve Soaring Eagle"). Then, mandrake roots, which merely restore vitality in lesser men, bring about immortality (barring unnatural causes) in the truely exceptional men of the Heron Guard.

In the end of Myth II, the narrator (the closest to a player-character there is) says that next year the newly restored Empire will be reinitiating the septannual tournament, and that he will be there. Bungie then held a Myth II tournament climaxing on a special Heron Guard level. The tourney was called Seven Phoenix Rising - presumably the name of the Heron Guard initiation tourney as well.

When questioned about the phoenix, the Soul responds: "Ooh, you think you know something, don't you?"

Perhaps there will be a Myth III, about the Heron Guard?


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> points out that Durandal and Tycho were not the only AIs to rise from the ashes, phoenix like. Leela did so at the end of Marathon.


M.C. Avistetto <nijhazer@dpnation.com> writes:

The Soul at Bungie also seems to react to the word "pizza"... Anything with the word "pizza" in it garners the response, "That sounds good right now."


Dustin Westphal <dustin@samoon.srcc.lsu.edu> writes:

Fun things to say to the soul:

who programmed you?
who is the webmaster?
thing what kicks

Dustin continues:

Sometimes the soul responds with "It helps if you tell me what game you are interested in" but if you type in Pathways into Darkness, Marathon, Marathon 2, Durandal, or Marathon Infinity he'll just give another random response. The only games he seems to respond to is Minotaur, Myth, and Oni.


Apr 29, 1999


What's in a Word? John Malcovsky <jmalcovsky@winooski.k12.vt.us> writes:

Actually, the Soul does reply to the word 'phoenix'...if it is spelled correctly. (Unless 'pheonix' is a new word that I do not know--but I'm thinking of the birth-from-ashes-mythical-bird or the city in Arizona) Sorry for being a spelling stickler, but it counts.The soul gives an interesting reply, too.

Similarly Matthew Grieco <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu> writes:

Unless I'm gravely mistaken, or else ignorant of a play on words at work, 'Pheonix' is not a word. The name of the mythical firebird, and also of the city in Arizona, is 'Phoenix.' Providing the correct spelling ('o' before 'e') of the word generates not a response about Oni, but a coy little jibe on the part of the Soul:

"Ooh, you think you know something, don't you?"

At first I thought this was a random response, but the soul seems to give this response to any query invoking the word 'Phoenix.' So there is significance to Brian's e-mail despite the spelling error.

Have I been asleep? I don't recall a connection between Bungie and the Phoenix. Then again, I've never played any Bungie games outside the Marathon Trilogy, so perhaps I HAVE been asleep, in a sense.

Best I can think of is that Durandal and Tycho both make a habit of rising from the ashes like the Phoenix, never destroyed once and for all.


Butch Massoni <bmass@ibm.net> writes concerning another Soul response:

try typing "Lisa"...great response!!!!

But what about Leela? ;-)


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

It's a pedantic point, but the Soul uses the spelling "dwarves," which if I remember correctly, was originally created by Tolkein as how the word *ought* to have evolved. "Dwarfs" is, however, the standard spelling.


Eric Portis <eportis@uni.uiuc.edu> points out that Soul will reply to the following Myth related words:

satchel charge
goul
ghoul
fir'bolg
trow
thrall
soulblighter

And probobly some other units I forgot (=.

Eric goes on to say:

...about the info given in the middle of the month for Cortana, the middle of May is E3. So that must mean the demo is released in the middle of June... yeah...

While E3 is on the 13-15th May Bungie have so far indicated that they will only be showing Oni. Of course that doesn't rule out any surprise announcement. As for a demo check the What's New section for Mar 25, 1999 for comments on this.


Apr 28, 1999


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes concerning the lines:

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.
I have been called a hundred names...

on the first terminal of "Kill Your Television". See The Unformatted KYT Term. Message section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


More Soul talk. Paul Seale <pseale@atlascomm.net> writes:

ask the Soul to "name the seven dwarfs"


Similarly Brian Retchless <tretchless@home.com> writes:

...I found it rather odd that when I mention pheonix to the Soul, it says stuff about Oni.

Actually if you mention a word with the letter combination 'oni' (i.e. onion) you get a standard Oni response. :-)


Apr 27, 1999


Talked to Bungie's Trapped Soul recently? Sean Phelps <soliptic@xoommail.com> did and writes:

Just a quick list of things you can ask the Soul:

What is your Favorite color?
Where is Tuncer?
What about Bob?
Oni
Bungie
Doug
What do you call your dog?

Tuncer? Hee hee hee!

On the same subject Craig Fay <DurandalM3@aol.com> writes:

I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but if you ask the Bungie Soul anything with the word seven in it, it always replies "Excuse me for a second....". I tried it many times in many different sentences and doesn't appear to be random. I tried many other numbers(like three and ten) and always got a random response.


Apr 26, 1999


The recent announcement that Apple executive Peter Tamte will be joining Bungie as head of Publishing is not the first time Bungie have attracted a high profile Apple employee. Back in late '95 Bungie hired Apple's Game Evangelist Eric Klein, Jr. as "Director of New Business Development". So what happened to Eric? Jump on over to the Blasts from the Past section to find out!


Julian Chin <Senglim@aol.com> writes:

Here's an interesting question to ask the Soul:

Do you have any pets?

After you get the answer ask about its name. Mystery solved. ;-)


Apr 25, 1999


The b.org site is back! Somebody opened the Story page folder marked "Keep Out!" and released the...


Added "TomeOne's Marathon Infinity Maps" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Harry Al-Shakarchi (a.k.a. TomeOne) for the link.

Also added "Heida's Marathon Net Site" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Jordan Harband <myrdraalj@hotmail.com> for the link.


Apr 24, 1999


As reported on alt.games.marathon the b.org site is experiencing some downtime. The hope is to have the site back up later today.


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes concerning two original level names in Marathon. See the Original Level Names section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Dan Merchant <dan@mjts.com> points out that on the Power of Seven (Bungie) page at MP3.com the group members are listed as: NVerse, Brian Salter, Kim Cascone. No mention of Paul Sebastien, unless of course NVerse is an aka.

Updated the FAQ section to reflect the fact that Headspace is now known as Beatnik Inc. and that Paul Sebastien is no longer listed as an employee. If you remember Headspace acquired Paul's company Power of Seven Inc. Paul wrote and produced the theme music to Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity ad well as 7th Level's "Tracers" and Raven/SSI's "Cyclones" to name a few.


Apr 23, 1999


As reported on Bungie's home page yesterday and on a number of mainstream news sites Peter Tamte, currently "Senior Director of Consumer Marketing" at Apple Computer, is about to join Bungie as "Executive Vice President of Publishing". You can read the details in Bungie's press release at

http://www.bungie.com/corporate/press/tamte.html

Part of the press release reads as follows:

But Tamte is eager to return to the industry where he got his start. As he recently noted, "the Internet is creating tremendous opportunities in entertainment that most traditional publishers are not ready for. Bungie is in a unique position to help drive this change through its three internal development studios and through leveraging its successful multiplayer gaming site, bungie.net, in innovative ways. Most of all, as one of the only publishers intimately involved in game development, Bungie is in a much better position to work with third-party developers to deliver the most compelling content possible."

Thus far nearly all of Bungie's games, including the multi-award-winning "Myth" and "Marathon" franchises, have been internally developed. In his new role, Tamte will put his considerable talents to use building Bungie Software into a premier publisher for both internally and externally developed titles.

One interesting point to note from the above is that Peter Tamte refers to Bungie's "...three internal development studios...". Are these internal to Bungie East or is this Bungie East, Bungie West and...?


Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> ever the curious one wondered if the hiring of Peter Tamte was one of the "events" Matt Soell referred to a few days ago. Miguel went straight to source and got this reply:

Subject: Re: Now that I've calmed down...
Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 16:53:18 -0500
x-sender: matt@mail.bungie.com
From: Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>
To: "Miguel Chavez" <jmchavez@aol.com>
cc: "Hamish Sinclair" <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Mime-Version: 1.0

>Is the hiring of Peter Tamte one of the 3 things you mentioned on IRC?

Nope. ;-)

-MDS


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


Concerning yesterday's press release Mark Bassett <markb@iisc.co.uk> writes:

Now that Bungie has announced it's move into the publishing of externally developed products, it seems appropriate to speculate that they will be taking on Doubleaughts's "Duality". After all, there are close ties between the two companies, Duality certainly looks as though it has the quality we have come to expect from Bungie games and it has a strong emphasis on story.

Very true. :-)


Speculation about Bungie's three "events" mentioned recently by Matt Soell continue to flood in. Many thanks to all those who have taken the trouble to write. I hope you'll forgive me for not adding them to the page since it would seem impractical to list them all. Suffice to say that the suggestions have been wide and varied.

Consider the following. When is a game not a game but an "event"? If you remember Matt pointed out that the Story page was in error for stating that Bungie were working on three new games. Matt indicated that we should think about his comments in terms of events. Matt wrote at the time:

One will be, to you long-timers, unimpressive.
The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace.
And the third is...well, Cortana talks about that one.

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

Yet Matt went on to state that #3 was in fact a new game. So when is a game not a game but an "event"? Perhaps Bungie now view the release of their games (and the associated online gaming networks) more as "events". Of course I could be wrong and Matt is simply stuffing my brain into one of his jar collections. ;-)


"Blasphemy!" and "What's he smoking?" were just two of the comments by people (perhaps best left anonymous) concerning Jim Ruiz's link to the MP3.com's shareware MP3 players page. Yes it pointed to a Windows only page! In Jim's defence I can say that he wasn't the original author of the letter. According to Jim the letter was "...a longer, internal one" which he reduced down and sent out.


Apr 22, 1999


Jim Ruiz (Bungie's Direct Sales Magnate) <jim@bungie.com> writes concerning the Oni MP3s at MP3.com we mentioned yesterday:

There's a new a page on the MP3.com website featuring two cuts from the upcoming Oni Soundtrack (by Power of Seven, the guys who did the Marathon2/oo music).

The way MP3 works, the higher the songs are on their charts, the more downloads they'll get; and the more downloads they get, the higher they'll be on the charts. So go to the Power of Seven (Bungie) page over the next few days and download these Oni songs a few (billion) times a day, and we'll finally be able to quit our boring computer gaming jobs and become rock stars.

Here's how to do it:

1. First, if you want to hear it, you'll have to have an MP3 player. Many MP3 shareware players are available at: http://www.mp3.com/software/windows/players.html

2. Then go to the Power of Seven (Bungie) page at: http://www.mp3.com/bungiep7

3. Select "Save MP3" to download the song and save it to your hard drive. There are thousands of songs to download on MP3.com - so don't be distracted! Your mission is to DL Bungie's MP3's; you can get your Bow Wow Wow tracks later.

4. Repeat step 3 over and over again for both Oni cuts. Go absolutely crazy, and repeat. Don't hold back.

That's it - it's easy and fun, and skews the statistics in our favor.

Once you've DL'd it a few (trillion) times, you might also go to the TotalAudio (Bungie) page and download the tracks from the Myth: TFL and Myth II soundtracks, or check out The Wild Hell Dogs.


According to Matt Soell the reason for the early release of these Oni MP3s is:

1. An experiment with MP3.com
2. An attempt to promote Oni via a non-traditional channel.

Matt didn't mention #3. ;-)


Dustin Westphal's comments yesterday about Matt and the Bungie Webmaster piqued my curiosity. A quick search of the old Bungie Webmaster mail unearthed a certain amount of Matt baiting. Here is just one example:

Matt moved down the hall to a new office last week, which is somewhat beneficial in that it keeps him the hell away from everyone else but also means that we can't keep him on as short a leash as we used to.

Consequently, some of you may have seen strange, barely-intelligible postings from Matt in the last few weeks. We've been working hard to have these deleted, but if any of you have read them, please be assured that Matt's opinions are not representative of Bungie. We don't know where he got that stuff about keeping Hitler's brain in a jar. And that "I am the God of Hellfire" routine was even less funny after he crossposted it to every newsgroup.

We are taking measures to improve the quality of his work. Currently, these measures are limited to nailing him with a tranquilizer dart when he arrives in the morning. Jay is experimenting with the dosages, and we hope to eventually leave him awake enough to work; right now he's just knocked out for several hours, and when he's asleep he tends to make these weird keening noises that echo down the hall and scare everyone.

"...keeping Hitler's brain in a jar"?!!! I guess this explains alot! ;-)


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

In reply to Craig Fay, QT 4 does have an instruments extension, if you don't have it you may need to do a custom install of QT 4. If you do have the instruments file, the music should sound the same as in QT 3, if you had QT 2.5 previously that would explain the dramatic change in music, there are no pitch problems, just different arrangement of the instruments.


Apr 21, 1999


As reported on oni.bungie.org Matt Soell (Bungie Software) pointed out that two MP3s from the Oni Soundtrack were now available from mp3.com. The direct link to the tracks is:

http://www.mp3.com/artists/18/power_of_seven_bungie.html.
According to Matt the Oni Soundtrack is NOT available yet. Most likely it will be released when the game ships. The tracks are entitled "Strikers!" and "Konoko Chase". The music is by Power of Seven. Power of Seven as you'll be aware did the theme music for Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity. Back then Power of Seven was only one person - Paul Sebastien. I asked Matt Soell if this was still the case. While he wasn't certain he did think it was still only Paul. Paul Sebastien also heads the group Psykosonik. So the Oni music is going to be by Power of Seven (Paul Sebastien) rather than Psykosonik. The MP3 tracks available at mp3.com are not the same as the Oni trailer MP3.


Hmmm... it seems Matt Soell is flavor of the month here! Dustin Westphal &l;tdustin@samoon.srcc.lsu.edu> writes:

Take a standard numerlogical table:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z

Now take Matt's name and Cortana:

M A T T S O E L L
4 1 2 2 1 6 5 3 3 = 27, 2 + 7 = 9

C O R T A N A
3 6 9 2 1 5 1 = 27, 2 + 7 = 9

N A T H A N B I T N E R
5 1 2 8 1 5 2 9 2 5 5 9 = 54, 5 + 4 = 9

So Matt Soell and Cortana match up exactly and Matt, Cortana, and Nathan all reduce to the same number. Even more evil: Combine the three, 999, and invert, 666.

*insert scary music*

According to the letters to the webmaster, Matt is the resident geek-who-is-picked-on-just-because-it's-fun. He's been known to post weird things before. Has anybody but Matt ever confirmed the existence of Cortana? The emails from JIm, Ryan, Shikai, Doug, and David don't count as those could have easily been sent by Matt just like how Cortana used Nathan as a fall guy. Could Matt be exacting revenge for years of torment?

As Head of Customer Relations he has certainly had years of torment! ;-)


Craig Fay <DurandalM3@aol.com> writes:

I just downloaded the QuickTime 4 Preview and installed it. I launched Marathon and started a game and no music played. Upon looking in my extensions folder, I found no instruments file. I opened MIDIGrapy and i opened a box which said I need to download the MIDI files. After going through the download process, I listened to all of the tracks from Marathon. Not all of them sound different, but some sound very weird so to speak. The tracks I found most affected were 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 14. These sounded mostly like pitch problems with the new instruments.

Bad news I guess for those of us who enjoy the original sounding Marathon music. Unless of course there is an alternative!


Apr 20, 1999


Lots of speculation concerning Matt Soell's comments yesterday but first an interesting point from Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net>. Forrest writes:

You ask "What happened to #2?". I don't see any significant change in meaning. Originally, Matt said:
The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace.
And states he was not referring to Mythers, and Oni has nothing do do with it. This leaves us old-timers, the Marathoners. So #2 will be a big deal to us. I don't see any significant change in this statement when Matt said:
#1 will probably not be too impressive to you guys: the few/proud/etc.
#2 will be.
So, when taken in context of #1, #2 would read full "#2 will probably be impressive to you guys: the few/proud/etc." Which is basically the same message as the original statement of #2.

Point taken. Wrong wording on my part. Anyway thanks to everyone who wrote in on the subject. Suggestions include remakes of the Trilogy, Pathways Into Darkness or even Minotaur, TCP/IP implementation for Marathon, add on maps, posters and even... hehehe... the Marathon 2 updater (yeah right!). Remember Matt asked us to think of #1 and #2 as events... not games.


Dustin Westphal <dustin@samoon.srcc.lsu.edu> writes:

On a related note, have you noticed that the only information we've gotten about the new Bungie game has come from Cortana and Matt? Is it just a coincidence that Matt happened to show up on IRC with some crucial information? Have you noticed how both Matt's message and Cortana's message both dealt with 3's? Whenever something cryptic comes up at Bungie, Matt always seems to have the answers. Has anybody ever seen Matt and Cortana together at the same time?

Note also that Cortana first wrote around the middle of Feburary (15th) and then again around the middle of March (16th). Matt made his IRC comments on the middle of April (16th). Hmmm... notice a trend? Coincidence or...

Nikolas Manak <Frost7@MindSpring.com> writes:

I noticed a little something with which to nitpick into Cortana's identity.. if it's not Nathan Bitner..the numerical twisting which you use to solve some Marathon mysteries shows that..well..have a look.

209.125.9.49 = "Cortana"
4 + 9 = 13
209.125.9.13 = Matthew Soell
Cortana is Matt Soell. <g>


Hmmm... well 13 also reduces to 4.


Angus McIntyre <angus@pobox.com> writes:

Here's Bungie's domain, by the way, showing all named machines:
	bungie.com.                    server = atlas.bungie.com
 	bungie.com.                    server = mail.bungie.com
 	bungie.com.                    209.125.9.9
 	athena                         209.125.9.5
 	pong                           209.125.9.119
 	freak                          209.125.9.7
 	news                           209.125.9.11
 	lingling                       209.125.9.10
	store                          209.125.9.133
 	cor00                          209.125.9.1
	cor01                          209.125.9.2
	cor02                          209.125.9.129
	mail                           209.125.9.11
	room                           209.125.9.33
	ares                           209.125.9.3
	titan                          209.125.9.130
	vesta                          209.125.9.8
	mercury                        209.125.10.3
	neuron                         209.125.9.12
	myth2                          209.125.9.134
	oni                            209.125.9.135
	lucy                           209.125.9.6
	mythii                         209.125.9.134
	www                            209.125.9.130
	atlas                          209.125.9.4
	testbed                        209.125.9.33
	cortana                        209.125.9.49
	ftp                            209.125.9.130

Hehehe... all their secrets will soon be ours! *mad laughter*


The Myth section at the b.org has finally opened its doors. The URL is easy to remember myth.bungie.org Has sections for News, Archives, Forums and Features. Run by Pie-rat and ig98. They claim... and I quote:

...the page will have daily news updates.

Isn't this the way it should always be? ;-)

With the b.org Myth section now open this leaves only the Pathways Into Darkness section. So what's taking so long? Who is the maintainer? Why are we waiting?


Tyson Green (aka Ferrex) says goodbye? The Myth Codex is to close. Sad news for Myth fans. I for one visited the Codex regularly and will miss it. But remember this the Codex did close once before... and then returned.


Apr 19, 1999


An ERROR on the Story page?!!! Make your own mind up! Matt Soell was on IRC again and had this to say:

Steve/Hamish: you should be more careful about the things you infer.
I was looking at your sites over the weekend...
I can't remember ever saying the words "three new games"

Matt is referring to the Story page news item of Apr 17, 1999. I wrote:

"...Matt went on to described how Bungie were working on three new games."


Oh? So what are they then? Matt replies:

You should think in terms of... events.

Events?!!! Matt explained further:

Let me put it this way. The Cortana messages concern a new game. The other things I mentioned (#1 and #2) concern other things.

Other things?

I can't say what the two other things are. All I can say is you'll know them when you see them.

So when I asked - "these 2 other things are not new games?" Matt replied:

No, they are not.

Matt would not elaborate on what these "not new games" were... however he did say:

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."

Hold on a minute! What happened to #2? Matt wouldn't say... THIS time! We can gain some clue to #2 from the text of Matt's earlier IRC comments. Matt wrote several days ago:

You guys have an extra surprise coming down the road.
I can't say what it is, but you'll like it.
I will say this:
Cortana has only alluded to one of three things.
You will know them when you see them.
One will be, to you long-timers, unimpressive.
The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace.
And the third is...well, Cortana talks about that one.

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

When I asked Matt was the "some segments of the populace" Mythers? he replied

No, not Mythers.

Matt also indicated that:

Oni is not part of this particular equation.

So what does this all mean? Why did Matt change his 2nd point? To hide the tru7h? What are the other two things? If they are not new games what are they?

Matt did leave these departing words:

Just remember: #1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.
That's all you need to know.
I hope you've all been paying attention. Now I must flee.
Have a lovely day.

You can run but you can't hide...


Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> writes:

I nearly died when I realised this, and I curse myself for not noticing this earlier! Look at http://www.wu-cappa.com/html/index2.html and tell me this is what I think it is!!! :)

It is! I hope they've got good lawyers. ;-)


Omer Shenker <oshenker@iname.com> points out that there is an interesting page associated with Bungie's "Inside Bungie" section. Omer writes:

http://www.bungie.com/inside/themingchoy/

There's a link to it from the bungie.net news page, in the box with the Bungie Store ad.


Tom Pratchios <El_Bastard@mindspring.com> writes to say that there are more pics available for his MaraMyth conversion "I'll S'pht On Your Grave" at vista.theresistance.net/isoyg/. Looking good.


Apr 18, 1999


Many thanks to all the people who have written concerning Matt Soell's comments regarding Bungie East's three games in development. Matt left us with the following riddle:

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

Lots of speculation about what these could be. While I won't list them all here Mike Miazgowicz <VacThok@aol.com> did provide three interesting possibilities:

Memories: Pathways into Darkness or Minotaur? These games are certainly old enough to bring back some good old memories....

Wishes: Marathon 4? You could count me as part of one of those "segments."

Dreams: Didn't Cortana talk about "having the strangest dreams lately?"

Yes. Cortana's 2nd message said:

I've had the strangest dreams lately - raging seas, howling beasts, a Demon folded in black clouds. I believe I know what it guards, and I will have it, to the chagrin of the faith-blinded zealots that challenge me. Don't waste your pity on them; I don't think they would like you much anyway.


Hamish Sanderson <hhas@somewhere.inthe.uk> writes:

Following the recent discussions on the Story page about Bungie's "Soul", I began to wonder how 'smart' the thing might actually be. Now, I've not done any research into this myself to date, but considering that other games such as "Starship Titanic" are now using this type of 'natural text' recognition system as a key part of their gameplay, has anyone begun to wonder if there might just be an ulterior purpose to the technology behind the Soul?

Hmmmm.....?

Yes indeed. Talking to the Soul is alot like talking to the Dead in Pathways Into Darkness.


Apr 17, 1999


Matt Soell (Director of Customer Support at Bungie) made a fleeting appearance on IRC yesterday. Ever the evasive one, when confronted with demands for the long promised Marathon 2 updater he quickly changed the subject to Bungie's new games in development. But we were having none of it and continued to chant in mantra fashion the list of bugs in Marathon 2. However Matt persisted through the din and said:

You guys have an extra surprise coming down the road.

As the room fell silent Matt went on to described how Bungie were working on three new games. No... Oni wasn't one of these... these are home grown Bungie Chicago games... full of Eastern promise. Three new games from three development teams. Matt went on to say:

The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace.

Mythers? Matt replied:

No, not Mythers.

In true Cortana fashion... Matt left us with this little riddle.

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

Make of this what you will. And no this is not a joke.


And now for something completely different... Mike Forman <mike_forman@cjnetworks.com> writes:

Here's another little numerical ditty for you:

The Pfhor have three eyes...

Phfor... three...

4... 3...

...7...


Apr 16, 1999


Bungie have finally released their Myth TFL 1.3 updater, some 8 months after the beta release. No longer will people have to read:

Myth Beta Updater v1.3b2 (July 29, 1998)
Visit www.bungie.com for the final version!

on their opening Myth screen. So with this Myth update out of the way perhaps Marathoner's will get the long promised Marathon 2 updater. ;-)


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

What is Tip #10 for devotees of the Marathon Story?

Also, you only give 6 tips (on the HoT List, and 7 if you count the creed), #1, #7, #12, #13, #14, and #17, while only tips #1, #7 and #13 are useful.

Also, why is the color used for the tips text named "bernard"?

HEY!... who asks the questions around here?!!! ;-)


Added "Welcome to the Marathon Top Ten" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Jordan Harband <myrdraalj@hotmail.com> for the link.

Also moved "Jim and David's Marathon Map Page" from the Dead Pages to the Personal Map Pages. Found another part of this page thought lost in the ether.


Apr 15, 1999


More seven madness... James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

Marathon Infinity (Marathon number 3) has 4 chapters (3+4=7), amount of solo levels in each are as follows (not including the 3 secret vidmaster levels):

Prologue: 1 level

Despair: 8 levels

Rage: 13 levels

Envy: 8 levels

If you multiply the amount of levels by the chapter number according to the map file,

Prologue: 1x1=1, Despair: 8x2=16 (1+6=7), Rage: 13x3=39, Envy: 8x4=32, and add the products together: 1+16+39+32=88 (which is the total amount of known Bungie Marathon solo levels released with the Marathon trilogy), and 88 reduces to seven.

Also, there are 8 letters in both the words 'Marathon' and 'Infinity', 8+8=16, which reduces to seven again.

Odd stuff.


Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> writes:

(A copy of this message has also been posted to the following newsgroups: alt.games.marathon)

In article , mike_forman@cjnetworks.com (Mike Forman) wrote:

> There was a post a few days ago about the item in the subject. Noone > responded as to where one, or even if one, existed. Can we get any > response from someone either way?

Okay, this isn't definitive... but I seem to remember a basic guide on the Tantalus web page. It was web-based, though, not downloadable... so since the page doesn't exist, it's unlikely the guide exists anymore...

...unless Hamish, the original packBoB, kept a copy somewhere. Hmm... Hamish?

Ok... I dug deep into the Story archives (all 7GBs) for this one... but here it is... the original Jim & David's Marathon Map Page. This is almost exactly the way it looked back in Aug '96. I've taken some liberties with background colors, one image and fixed the links I could. No actual text has been changed. The page was created by David Dericotte, a college friend of Jim Brewster. I've reactivated this page without their permission but I'm sure under the circumstances they will forgive me.

If you're a Marathon oldie like me you'll most likely remember Jim's early solo scenario's "USS Raider" and "Athens Outpost". I consider them to be my all time favorites. Athens Outpost was created using Steve Israelson's Pfhorte (v1.0d8 and 1.0d9) and Dan Walkowski's Mia (v0.9) and released in mid-April '95. It should be remembered that these tools were still only in their early stages of development and that there were precise few Marathon maps out there and no real solo scenarios to speak of. To give you some idea of how far advanced Jim was in map making terms back then Randall Shaw (better known as FrigidMan) posted his very first net map "Milestones" on usenet several weeks before Jim released his solo scenario Athens Outpost. Athens had working terminals and a map design as good as many Bungie maps.

USS Raider, a four level scenario, was released on the 1st May '95. Created with Pfhorte (v1.0d12 and 1.0d13) and Mia (v1b17) it was to become the most downloaded Marathon map at the Marathon Hyperarchive Northwest when download statistics were kept by Claude Errera during '95 and '96.

Development on Jim's third solo scenario "Operation Tantalus" began shortly after the release of Raider. It was billed as a non-linear scenario, a first in concept. Working with David Dericotte the project was to grow into nightmare proportions consuming vasts amounts of their personal time. It was finally released in Dec '95 shortly after Marathon 2 came out. Some say "too late"... others "ahead of its time"... whatever... the fact remains that few who enter the Operation Tantalus enigma will explore it all... alive!


Apr 14, 1999


Episkopos Pushkin <pushkin@disinfo.net> writes:

Concerning the comment yesterday about a pizza delivery vehicle, it was Snow Crash, not Virtual Light. The thing that might have confused the author of the comment was that there were couriers in both books, but one rode on a bicycle and the other on a skateboard. Anyway, nuff said, both are good books . . . and should be read.

PS: Neal Stephenson, the author of Snow Crash, plays Marathon!

The Mafia run pizza company in "Snow Crash" is called Uncle Enzo's CosaNostra Pizza Inc.


Apr 13, 1999


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes concerning the ABANDONED HOMEWORLD FOR SALE, CHEAP!!! terminal on "Where the Twist Flops"

Just out of curiousity, why did the price of the Marathon change from £6995 in M1 (Colony Ship for Sale, Cheap) to $6995 in M2 (Where the twist flops)?

Well the Pfhor owned it now didn't they! ;-) This odd dropped in price featured as a "Question of the Week #3" way... way... way back in time. Remember that one? :-)

One might also ask why the original selling price was displayed in Stirling (£) on "Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap" rather than in Dollars ($).

Aaron Davies goes to say:

Oh, and the ad for "'85 TOYOTA COROLLA, CFN assault craft, former pizza delivery vehicle" reminds me of a cyberpunk novel I read awhile back, either _Virtual Light_ or _Snow Crash_. (I read them both in the same week, and I can never remember what happened in which.) In the novel, pizza delivery was controlled by the Mafia, which guaranteed a thirty minute delivery time, or they shoot the driver--so naturally, all the pizza delivery vans were outfitted like tanks. I guess this means the folks at Bungie read cyberpunk. ;-)


Apr 12, 1999


This interesting observation came from John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com>. John writes:

Here is a curious thought i had yesterday. Did you know that there are only a few levels in all of the Marathon series in which cyborgs AND compilers occur as enemies in the level together? Can you name them? LOL And what's even more amazing is that if one plays each of those levels in the usual way, the two enemies never encounter each other!! I got to thinking about that yesterday, that i had never seen the two enemies fight each other. So, i came home, went to one of those levels and managed to get them together for a quick showdown.....LOL. Turns out the cyborgs are much tougher than the compilers, at least this time they were.

Cyborgs and Compilers on the same level and never fighting? Can you name all the levels?


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

Not sure who I should be telling, but since nobody updates the spoilers anymore, you'll do. Anyway, I'm sure somebody's seen this, but I haven't been able to find a mention of it anywhere. In the second room of the last part of "Fatum Iustum Stultorum," there's a small switch hidden at the bottom of the far wall from the entrance. It's just to the right of the exit. If you leave the room filled with water, drop down into it, and open and activate the switch, it briefly raises the right-hand platform, crushing the troopers on it. Moderately useful.

Who needs Spoilers when you have Vid films? This little known secret is well documented in a number of Vid films on the Marathon Vidmasters' page or its mirror. But we don't like to spread this info around too much! ;-)


Apr 11, 1999


Bruce Morrison <wimorrison@ftc-i.net> writes concerning the Marathon-like INTRO.MOV recently uploaded to Steve Campbell's Oni Hotline Server.

Hey I have the background info for that movie.

First the REAL INFO.

It's the intro movie to the interactive "homeworld fleet archive" for the game "Homeworld' published by Sierra.

http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/homeworld/index.html

As far as I can tell the CD is just like the Flash Webpage, but with some extras.

I got the CD with an Issue of PC Gamer, it's all in Win 95/98 format, so I couldn't run the actual program, even with Virtual PC. But I was able to browse the file contents. I watched the movies, most of them showing game shots. But the intro movie caught my eye. It reminded me of Marathon so much.

Now for the game info:

This is not Earth it is Kharak. However you are human like. (go figure)

The story is further explained here:

http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/homeworld/noflash/flash-mission.html

While what I can gather is its a RTS game with Clans that may be human from a long time ago (yet it is way in the future still).

Further yet check out some the clan's symbols.

http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/homeworld/noflash/flash-kiith.html

In particular these:

http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/homeworld/noflash/c-kiith-naabal.html

http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/homeworld/noflash/c-kiith-paktu.html

and the most disturbing:

http://www.sierrastudios.com/games/homeworld/noflash/c-kiith-sjet.html

Also don't these sound like Pfhor/Sp'ht names? Kiith Sjet, Kiith Paktu, Kiith Naabal....


Added "lair of darkness" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Nick Mason (a.k.a. iDevlinSlayer) for the link.


Apr 10, 1999


Steve Campbell <midwest2@home.com>, maintainer of the Oni Hotline Server (ip: 164.58.172.180), kindly drew my attention to a Quicktime movie that had been uploaded to his site. Simply called INTRO.MOV it weighs in at 55980K so it's not your average download. The film is anime and describes the finding of an "ancient starship buried in the sand". The planet's name is never mentioned but it could be future Earth. Inside the derelict ship is a galactic map pointing to the ship's homeworld. The film then describes the building of a colony ship to seek out this planet. Here is where things get interesting. Part of the text of the movie reads as follows:

The clans were united and a massive colony ship was designed.
Construction would take 60 years.

It would demand new technologies, new industries and new sacrifices.
The greatest of these was made by the scientist KARAN SAJET.
Who had herself permanently integrated into the colony ship as its living core.

She is now fleet command.

It's not hard to see the Marathon similarities here. There is no information in the film to indicate its origin or date. The background music used in the film is the "Adagio for Strings" by Barber. Very nice.


Sean Savage <savman@mypad.com> writes concerning Aaron Davies' submission about an odd looking X in Forge's "cicn" resource:

Concerning the cicn of a "X" in the resources of Forge: It should be noted that there is also a roughly drawn "O" at ID=164. Perhaps one of the programmers at Bungie was a hardcore Tic-Tac-Toe player?

Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

I've noticed this before. It's also in the PICT resources, in the long string of weapon pics (which are the same as the ones in the CICN resource). It looks to me like a sword (lower-right leg the blade, lower-left and upper-right the guard, and upper-left the handle); I believe it would be used if you placed a "fist" item on the ground (because fists are technically a weapon), which you can't do AFAIK. I also seem to recall seeing a "knife" item in a menu or string list somewhere, but looking through Forge in ResEdit it just doesn't show up. Perhaps you were originally intended to have a combat knife or a sword of some sort.

On a related note, there's also another cicn which looks like a circle. It's right after the SMG ammo cicn. Remember that the SMG was originally intended so that only the second trigger fired under water? Perhaps it needed a second kind of ammo for this, which is what that blank cicn entry if for.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

Concerning Aaron Davies April 9th email about a platform in the Marathon 2: Durandal level "If I Had A Rocket Launcher, I'd Make Somebody Pay", I looked up the platform and found that it might've been used as some sort of a crusher (polygon ceiling height 2048 MBU (Marathon Bit Units), platform max. height 2048 MBU). It also has an invisible water lapping sound point on it. So, when the platform moves the water lapping sound plays. Curiouser and curiouser.


Tom Pratchios (aka El Bastard) <El_Bastard@mindspring.com> writes:

I figured your readers (myself included) would get excited about my project that has been a while in the making. I've been working on bringing the marathon units to myth for a little while now and now the effort is finally bringing paydirt. I'll S'pht On Your Grave is the name of the map collection which will feature these units. The first maps (House Of Pain and Frog Blast the Ventcore) are nearing completion and will be released shortly. Notice will appear on vista.theresistance.net when things are ready. In the meantime, feel free to link these dull but revealing screenshots which may not have much action in them, but they show a small cross-section of units while dispelling the commonly held myth that blood may only be one color in the myth engine.

http://pantheon.simplenet.com/Store/isoyg_preview1.JPG
http://pantheon.simplenet.com/Store/isoyg_preview2.JPG
http://pantheon.simplenet.com/Store/isoyg_preview3.JPG


Apr 9, 1999


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

I'm working my way through M2 again, and I noticed something strange in "If I Had A Rocket Launcher." Right after you go through the second big slow door, into the room with the good BoBs, there's a small thin platform right in the middle of the room. I took a look at it in Forge, and it appears to be controlled by the same switch that opens the door. The only problem is it *starts* extended and its speed is 0.000 WU/sec.

Good Bobs?... but I digress. Aaron wonders what this "non-functioning" platform was intended for?


Aaron also writes:

Oh, one other thing. I finally remembered to open Forge in ResEdit to add command-g for go to, and just out of curiousity, I opened the cicn resource. Most of the pics look familiar, but have you ever seen the first one, cicn #128? It's a strange-looking "X" type symbol that seems to have been drawn by hand.

X marks the spot... where you die? ;-)


Apr 8, 1999


The B.org's Project Orphanage is starting to receive orphaned files. Hopefully these will find good homes. Remember to send your old Marathon project stuff to James "RuGGeR" Pillar at <rugger@mail.bungie.org>. He's just nuts for this stuff.


Thanks to Jordan Harband <myrdraalj@hotmail.com> for weeding out some more Dead pages on Page 2401. Gone are the following pages. "Ralph's Marathon 2 Page", "Anvil Editing Page", "Madame Polly Gunn's Boudoir", "Marlan's Marathon Maps", "BuggSplat's Marathon Page", "California Network Gamers - Marathon". They've been moved to the Dead Pages section. Hey they may return! Who can tell.

Added "Project D.E.A.T.H." to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Jordan Harband for spotting this.

The URL to David Coufal's "Pathways Into Darkness Home Page" is now http://methane.lms.mit.edu:8001/people/dcoufal/pid/ and not http://www.mit.edu:8001/people/dcoufal/pid/index.html. Somebody tell the Webmaster at Bungie about their dead links please.


Apr 7, 1999


Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> writes:

I noticed you recently mentioned Galapagos looking like Marathon. I too saw this game a while ago, but I never noticed any resemblance. Just for the record, though, I think I found the room he was talking about.

http://par0338.urh.uiuc.edu/marathon/mendelchurch.jpg or here (56K).

He's right, aside from the fact that the pillars are bright blue this could be from Converted Church's caverns. Please ignore the app switcher... 8) Galapagos will blur the screen Marathon-style when paused, so I had to boost the brightness a little.

In addition, Mendel does look somewhat like Grendel, so http://par0338.urh.uiuc.edu/marathon/mendelgrendel.jpg or here (17K).

Also on the subject of other games resembling Marathon, take a look at this shot from the upcoming Unreal Tournament:

http://www.planetunreal.com/index.asp?images.asp?images/newspics/enforcersecondary.jpg.

...2 guns, and the "horizontal lights, striped metal" walls... To me it looks a lot like the MI Lava collection.


Apr 6, 1999


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

While reading the secret Double Aught terminal in Aye Mak Sicur, those pictures of Hastur and Grendel reminded me of one thing... Galapagos! Galapagos, if you don't know, is a game where you guide some AI 4-legged creature around through many puzzles in a 3-D world. The character, named Mendel (Grendel?) looked VERY similar to the pictures of Hastur and Grendel in the secret terminal.

But no, it doesn't stop there. I decided to reinstall the Galapagos demo from the MacAddict disc (#17) and see if there were any other similarities. In the beginning introduction sequence some vehicle carries Mendel in a container across various open spaces and into different rooms with all sorts of lights. In one part the vehicle takes Mendel in a cavernous area with tall pillars attached to the sides of the wall. Immediately I sat up straight and noticed how similiar it was to A Converted Church in Venice Italy! Coincidence? Did Grendel actually travel through this level in Marathon Infinity as Mendel did in a similar area as in Galapagos?

Strange stuff!


Made some amendments to Page 2401. Thanks to Scott Noblitt <snoblitt@hotmail.com> for the changes.


Apr 3, 1999


The Story page will be closed for the Easter break. Next update on Tuesday. Have a good one!


Another Vid Tip from John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com>. This one's for "Charon Doesn't Make Change". Check the Marathon Vidmasters' page or its mirror for details.


Added "Snaky's Marathon Infinity Page" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Has a Duality section too. Thanks to Hugo Forss (a.k.a. Snaky) for the link.


Thanks to James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> for spotting a number of incorrect links on Page 2401. If you find a problem please send it in.


Apr 2, 1999


Thanks to all the people who wrote in about the animated Quake symbol that replaced the Marathon morphing animation yesterday. Glad you appreciated the April Fool's joke. :-) You missed it? Ok it was subtle... but that's the Marathon way!


Steve Campbell has posted Brent Pease's answers to the Oni questions sent in by fans. Makes for interesting reading. Apparently Oni will have something called "speed-punching". Akin to run-punching perhaps?


Cthulu mischief. Eylon Caspi <eylon@cs.berkeley.edu> writes:

This is what has become of Berkeley's Computer Science Undergraduate Association's web page:

http://www.csua.berkeley.edu

Since this mischief may be short lived, I have saved a copy at:

http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~eylon/csua/


Apr 1, 1999


hehehe... RuGGeR goes insane! Check the Marathon Scenario News page at the b.org site! Who you calling old... Mista RuGGeR?


No Cortana mail from Bungie today since nobody would believe it anyway given the day that's in it. Nathan was last seen running around the 7th floor in green overalls holding... The Shaft!. ;-)


New Map of the Month up thanks to Mike Goodwin (aka Supernaut).


James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> points out that "Alessandra Muccinelli's M2 Terminals Page" is not dead. It just changed address. Moved Muccinelli's page back to the Marathon 2 Pages section of Page 2401.


Made some corrections to yesterday's "Frey's Marathon Maps" entry on Page 2401. Thanks to Dave Duffy <dave@darkside.eemsd.wustl.edu> for the info.


Mar 31, 1999


As a result of repeated requests I've compiled all the events in the Cortana affair into one section. If you missed out or just want to review the history (so far?) then check it out. Events are listed in chronological order.


Jeff Campen <jcampen@shrike.depaul.edu> writes:

I remembered reading all of the speculation about the word "Dink" and just a bit ago noticed the back of the Bungie "carnage" shirt. At the bottom of the carnage sign are the letters "BDINK". An artist's signature of some sort?


Added "Frey's House of Maps" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> for this link.


404 blues? Randall Sherwood <ran8man@home.com> points out that "Alessandra Muccinelli's M2 Terminals Page" is down and has been down for some time so it seems. Not sure if this is for good though. Moved Muccinelli's page over to the Dead Pages for now. If you find a dead Marathon link on Page 2401 please let me know. Thanks.


Mar 30, 1999


James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> (aka RuGGeR) has put together a new page at the b.org site called Project Orphanage. The Orphanage is designed as a repository for files, utilities and intellectual rights of discontinued Marathon projects. A large number of Marathon projects never get finished for one reason or another and the countless hours of work put into these is invariably lost. But not anymore! Those orphaned maps, shapes, artwork, story work-ups could now find a new home in ongoing projects. So check your hard drive(s) for old Marathon project files, you know... the stuff you always intended to finish, and donate it to a good cause - Project Orphanage. Your work could make a difference and see the light of day in the next great Marathon scenario.


The main b.org page now sports a revamped logo thanks to James Pillar. Nice work. This guy never stops!


Josh Petrie <kapwrite@voicenet.com> writes:

...awhile ago I was looking around inside the Myth II tag files and found a dwarf sound I hadn't heard before - I've been unable to confirm whether or not it appears in the actual game, it is interesting none the less...

The sound is in the 'sound' type list, and is called: "12 (dwarf) he hee BLAM eh ehehe (12dj)". The dwarf says "BLAM!". This may or may not be a coincidence... Just thought you'd like to know.

Josh later identified the level:

Looking around in the tags file, I figured out that the level the sound is from is that cool snow level where you have to ambush numerous waves of thrall and mauls.

Ah yes... The Stair of Grief.


Mar 29, 1999


Steve "Mr. Oni" Campbell's Oni Hotline server now has the Oni MP3. You'll find it in the uploads folder. Judging from the quality the music was extracted from the Oni Trailer movie rather than from the original source. Nevertheless the music is worth listening to since it's by Psykosonik. Psykosonik was formed in 1991 by Minneapolis-based guitarist/keyboardist Paul Sebastien. Paul Sebastien was also responsible for writing and performing the Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity theme music under the name of "Power of Seven". A source at Bungie revealed that Psykosonik were working with the Oni development team to create the music for Oni. Psykosonik are no strangers to computer games music. They have featured on all three Mortal Kombat albums and five tracks from their self-titled debut album were used in the Nintendo video game X-Kalibar 2079.


Ben Fisher <ben@fisher.enterprise-plc.com> found another Marathon-like symbol. It's a good one. Check the That Marathon Symbol section for details. Warning: this is a graphics heavy page... be prepared for a wait.


Mar 28, 1999


Thanks to Steve Campbell for pointing out that gameart.com features a Thrall (Myth) pic by Craig Mullins. You can see it here.


Be sure to check out Steve's Oni page at Bungie.org. Regularly updated with lots of intertesting Oni news. His Oni Hotline server has recently acquired an excellent 26MB "Ghost in the Shell" movie. For those who aren't aware... certain elements in Oni bear a passing resemblance to "Ghost in the Shell" as this comparsion from the What's New section June 27, 1998 demonstrated. See also enteries for (June 24, 1998), (Aug 11, 1998), (Dec 1, 1998), and (Dec 2, 1998) for more Oni/Ghost in the Shell discussion.


Pfhor ghosts? John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> writes:

I am attaching something you and fellow players might find interesting. It's a saved game file (54K) from Marathon... right after finishing Level 17 - Pfhor Your Eyes Only. If you recall, the game save terminal is at one end of the long snaky hallway. Well, if you have time, walk to the other end of the hallway and stop short of the windows where you teleport in. Look at the image in the first window. Isn't that weird???? LOL I cleaned this level out, so i don't know where it came from. ??? Does this mean the Pfhor have an afterlife????

You'll need Marathon installed to see this and set to display 1000s of colors. When you begin the saved game head out the door and along the outer corridor to where you start out. Don't worry the level is cleaned out... or so we believe. When you reach the windows where you can see the UESC Marathon in the distance check the middle one. You have to be quick... but just before you teleport out you should glimpse it... Pfhor Your Eyes Only... :-)


Mar 27, 1999


Nostradamus did or he didn't?

Ben Fisher <ben@fisher.enterprise-plc.com> writes:

Nostradamus didn't actually predict the end of the world at 1999/2000. He stated the reign of a dark king in July 1999. It's also believed that this is an eschewed reference to some other date.

Due to the complex coding system Nostradamus used, 'The Green Language', it only becomes apparent what his predictions mean _after_ the event has occurred.

Josh Noel <pennnoel@inreach.com> writes:

...for the sake of accuracy Nostradamus did not predict the end of the world in 1999. It's actually after 3000 (32xx?). A search of Nostradamus on a search engine should prove that.

I think what some accept as the end of the world (1999, 2000 depending on who is you ask) is the date when the third anti-christ commits some terrible atrocity.

Jared Cash <jcash@graceland.edu> writes:

I remember hearing somewhere earlier this year, that astronomers recalculated Nostradamus's theories again and found that he was actually three years off (not one) and that the year 2000 has actually already come and gone, so we've missed the end of the world. I don't know how this will affect Bungie's time schedule, but maybe they're rereleasing Minotaur. ;-)


Tim Maurer <tmaurer@nswc.com> writes to point out that Dualism, a fan site for Duality, can once again be reached at www.dualism.org. You'll find a very interesting thread on the Dualism Discussion Board on the subject of "Math in Duality". There would appear to be a number of math related names in the game including "poly", "factor", and "null set". Worth a read.


More Soul baiting. Josh Noel <pennnoel@inreach.com> writes:

... you might enjoy seeing that the soul knows the truth about myself by typing in my screen name 'orange.'

Tim Steven <thunder_sw@hotmail.com> writes:

just thought I'd let you know that the soul has a bug in it's programming. Not so much a bug, but that it's programmer can't spell 'of'. Enter 'memory', or 'RAM' in the box, and it says back :
"I have lots or RAM"
Just in case you didn't know.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

Here are some more things to ask the Soul (note: some of these may be generic, I'm not sure):

can you beat Jason Jones in a net game?
who is the webmaster?
what is time?
seven


Mar 26, 1999


Cortanagate! The tru7h at last. Nathan Bitner <nathan@bungie.com> writes:

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Message-ID: <000b01be76ee$c34007c0$07097dd1@bungie.com>
From: "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>
To: "Hamish Sinclair" <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: What's in a Name
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 12:39:00 -0600
Organization: Bungie Software
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Hamish,

You requested this, so I will send one last reply regarding the Cortana
confusion.  We at Bungie are well aware of the meaning of the word "Cortana"
and have used such mythological references since Minotaur (such as the sword
Durandal).  I have used the name as a login in various places for ages
(including bungie.net).  As I explained to the soulblighter.com guys several
months ago, an individual here asked me to change my login at the site
because I was being confused (by email, I assume) with someone else using
the same name.  I didn't think much of it and complied.

Regarding the headers, I too have analyzed them.  And one thing became
painfully clear to me that answered any questions I needed to know (I have
since requested and received enough information to answer the rest of my
questions).  It comes down to this - I know when I am in the office and when
I am not.

I believe Cortana has gotten exactly what s/he wanted.  The rest of the
answers should be obvious to your readers.  I no longer have any desire to
question the identity of Cortana.

I will continue to post on Marathon and Myth boards because I believe in
being involved in our online community.  The things posted there are at
least as interesting and exciting for me to read as they are for the rest of
you guys.

In your relentless pursuit of the tru7h, I'm afraid you have all overlooked
something that should be obvious to you by now - nothing is ever as it
seems.

Sincerely,

Nathan Bitner
Bungie Software

To quote Leela:

Everything is not as it seems{}. seems{}. seems{}.

Have we done Nathan an injustice? Is the real Cortana dancing in the background... laughing?

Whatever the answer take note. If Nathan is totally innocent (as he claims) then he has become the fall guy in an elaborate hoax set up by a person (or persons) unknown at Bungie. They appear to be able to use a colleague's (or employee's) email address with impunity. One of the consequences of this was to place a question mark over Nathan's integrity in the minds of many Story page readers. Surely this was never intended?


Mar 25, 1999


Cortanagate! The evidence mounts. Jonathan Andrews <vidboi@bellsouth.net> writes:

Not to beat the proverbial dead horse, but looking through the headers from Nathan's usenet newsgroup postings we find that in alt.games.myth he had several posts. At some point between 2/26/99 and 3/15/99, Nathan went from version 4.72.3110.1 to 4.72.3155.0, which at the same time of the changeover from the Cortana machine. Even though these messages came from his @home account, most people tend to stick with the same emailing software when given the opportunity. Since we can tell from all the emails received that Bungie has no standard for emailing. Nathan likes to use Microsoft Outlook Express. I think he's sunk himself with all the clues left behind.


Alec Rojas (a.k.a. Abaddon) <Abaddon@soulblighter.com> kindly sent in some of the posts made by Nathan Bitner to Soulblighter.com. In these Nathan clearly reveals himself as Cortana.

Subject: RE: Love/Hate this Board ?
From: Cortana
Date: 26-Jan-99

Well, after talking to some guys here, we've decided that WE like these boards. :-)

Check out the news section about Bungie adding soulblighter.com to the links at bungie.net's home page.

Nathan


Subject: RE: Welcome Cortana
From: Cortana
Date: 28-Jan-99

They are aware that I'm active on the Internet sites and they're happy about that. We are trying to establish more of a presence and better communication with our online fans/customers.

They're certainly not checking on every word I say, but I think a lot of them are glad that SOMEONE is answering the questions. :-)

However, I won't always have quite so much time ... E-3 is but months away ... :-)

Nathan


Subject: Naming Schemes
From: Cortana
Date: 01-Feb-99

You will never have our secrets!! :-)

Actually, there's about a million different ways things get named, running the gamut from "damn, there's only 2 days left before we ship, make up some freakin' names" to "i've got this really cool mythological reference from the 2nd century that i've been trying to work into a game since I was 13 ...".

Then, of course, there is the story of Berel the Unworthy ... do you guys know that one?

Nathan


Subject: Changing My Login
From: Cortana
Date: 01-Feb-99

Could one of you admins please change my "screen name" to just "Nathan" ... I have some people confusing me with someone else and I would like to have it changed if I could. Thanks -

Nathan

Interesting stuff. Was there someone else called "Cortana" or did Nathan want his screen name changed because it was about to be used for some other purpose? Some two weeks later the first Cortana email was sent to the Story page.


Chris Stelnick <stel987@worldnet.att.net> writes:

Well, Nostradamus predicted the end of the world would come on July, of 1999 (in response to John Zero's comments). Well, I doubt anything will be released then, so perhaps we will go with the theory that we are really a year behind (due to a lost year on our calender), and that Nostradamus's prediction is really July of 2000. Possibly, Bungie's game will be released then?

How likely is a July 2000 release? Well if we look at the development timelines for some of Bungie's other 1st time games (not sequels) we can get some idea perhaps.

Marathon development began shortly after Pathways Into Darkness was released in Aug '93. Jason Jones revealed that they were working on a game, called Marathon, in the Oct '93 edition of Inside Games Magazine. An early version of Marathon was revealed at Macworld SF in Jan '94. The first official announcement of Marathon came in July '94. Marathon shipped in Dec '94.

By all accounts Myth:TFL development began towards the end of '95 after the release of Marathon 2. The first official announcement however was not made until Dec '96 and the game didn't ship until Nov '97.

While Bungie unveiled an Oni movie at E3 in May '98 they didn't officially announce development until Nov '98. While no official release date has been given it is hoped that Oni will ship before Christmas '99. This would follow the pattern of Myth:TFL, the official announcement being one year ahead of actual release.

While Bungie have released few details of their next big game development no doubt began shortly after the release of Myth:TFL. If Bungie make an official announcement sometime during this summer they would be on track for a July 2000 release.


More Soul searching. Michael Watson <durandal@longlivethemac.com> writes:

I think I've found the 2 most interesting responses from Bungie's trapped soul. "What about Bob?"-responds with a link to marathon.org...And after reading a message on the What's New page about talking profanity to the soul, I had to try a few things... Forgive me for this, but...Anything with the word "penis" responds with "A Penis? That would be grand!"

Chris DesMarais <SilvrHamr@aol.com> writes:

Question: soulblighter
The soul says: Soulblighter was my father. Really.

Matthew Bray <braym8@cs.man.ac.uk> writes:

Try typing this at the soul: who is jason jones. Who is alex seropian etc.

And similarly Fred Richards <73521.3544@compuserve.com> writes:

Try asking Soul about Jason Jones, and everybody in the back of the marathonseries/mythseries


Mar 24, 1999


Cortanagate! Nathan exposed? Alec Rojas (a.k.a. Abaddon) <Abaddon@soulblighter.com> writes:

If you want the real truth: Nathan controls Cortana. Or simply put, Nathan is Cortana. or vice versa, depends whoever is really in control.

Being a avid Myth:TFL and Myth 2: Soulblighter player (and also a Marathon freak), I work on the website www.soulblighter.com, considered by some to be the best Myth community site around. Surprisingly, a bungie employee, so quickly dubbed as Cortana, became a major fan of the site. Within the next few weeks, we eventually made him one of the website writers and staffers, and his real name and e-mail came out: Nathan Bitner, nathan@bungie.com

So Nathan's name has been associated with Cortana in the past.
The Cortana mails are sent from a machine previously used by Nathan.
One Cortana mail has the reply address <nathan@bungie.com>.
Of the recent flood of Cortana emails only Nathan and Cortana use the same email prog.

Are we seeing a pattern here?

Mr Bitner did you or did you not have... err... send the Cortana emails? ;-)


Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

I've noticed that Nathan from Bungie has recently started posting to Bungie newsgroups, like alt.games.marathon and alt.games.myth. It may be of some help in the Cortana investigation to look at the headers from these messages. Search DejaNews for "nathan@bungie.com" and you should get plenty.

Try the following link for a short profile of usenet posts by nathan@bungie.com:

http://www.dejanews.com/[ST_rn=qs]/profile.xp?author=%22Nathan%22%20%3cnathan@bungie.com%3e&ST=PS


Matthew Bray <braym8@cs.man.ac.uk> writes:

Look at all the UESC Marathon like symbols splashed around the control panels in this screenshot of Looking Glass Studios' new game System Shock 2 at http://www.lglass.com/p_info/shock2/engss004.html

Full details of Looking Glass Studios' System Shock 2 can be found at http://www.lglass.com/p_info/shock2/sshock.html The System Shock 2 FAQ has this to on the subject of brain dead shooters:

Q: A lot of games tend to eschew gameplay for hot graphics. Shock 2 looks great, but will Shock 2 be another mindless, brain dead shooter?

A: Well, kind of a loaded question. :-) In today's game industry, there is a lot of pressure to make games dumbed down, with slick visuals and nearly zero gameplay. We don't buy into that logic -- the whole concept behind System Shock 2 is to take all the engaging, complex gameplay of a full-bore RPG and bring it into an engine with technology for 1999, not 1989. While the looks are there (see our screenshot archive), interesting and immersive gameplay is, and always has been our main focus.


Added "Saint's Space" and "Marlan's Marathon Maps" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> for sending in the links.


Mar 23, 1999


Cortana revealed? Jonathan Andrews <vidboi@bellsouth.net> writes concerning the Cortana messages:

I work with headers in email quite a bit, so I have spent about an hour studying the headers from the various players in this drama that is unfolding. I have separated these messages into four catagories... First, the Cortana messages. Second, the Cortana "Screw-Up". Third, the Nathan Retraction. And finally, the Cover-Ups. That said I will break these down.

In the Cortana messages, being the first two that Cortana sent, we see only minor discrepancies. The SendMail versions on both ends changed, and the version of Microsoft Outlook Express in the X-Mailer section changed on Cortana's end from 4.72.3110.3 to 4.72.3155.0. Also, these emails come from the computer named "Cortana" or "e49.bungie.com.

Now, the Cortana "Screw-Up". This email came from the Cortana (e49.bungie.com) machine, as well. The X-Mailer section shows that the exact same version of Microsoft Outlook Express is used, but the From field shows: "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>. This would indicate that Nathan had logged onto the Cortana machine and used that to send an email. Here are some discrepancies, though... The Content-Transfer-Encoding scheme becomes 7 bit (heh.) and the Content-Type becomes text/plain which is different that the original Cortana messages. Now, for something really interesting. The Subject: becomes "Re: Mail consternation request (MR-343)" which is not the original subject line sent. (MR-343) might ring a few distant bells... MR - Mjolnir Recon. 343 - 3+4+3= 10. The 10th Mjolnir Recon Unit? Hmmmm...

Ok, now we get interesting. We then get an email from Nathan that I called the Nathan Retraction. When we look at the headers from Nathan's message, we see that he uses the same version of Microsoft Outlook Express that Cortana does. (Interesting to note that in all the following messages, no one else uses Microsoft Outlook Express other than Nathan...) He also has the same Content-Transfer-Encoding: of 7 bit. (He is also the only one to use that, as well). For Content-Type: it is text/plain. (Also, only him). We then note that this came from freak (e7.bungie.com) which is his new machine.

Now, onto the Cover-Ups. We'll begin with Jim Ruiz's message. Jim uses Claris Emailer. His Content-Type: is text/plain, too, but it also has US-ASCII tagged on for the charset it uses. This message introduces the (somewhat) standard Subject for the rest of the messages. Mail confirmation request (6DB982) which is the original subject line sent. Next we have the mail from Ryan. Ryan's appears the same as Jim's but unfortunately Ryan forgot to remove some things in the Subject: line before sending it on. Ryan's Subject: reads "Re: Fw: Mail confirmation request (6DB982) which means that he hit the "Reply" button to the message that was forwarded to him with the "standard" subject. This is mistake #1. The second big mistake comes from Shikai Wang's email. This one would have been good, except that he uses Windows Eudora Light which includes an In-Reply-To: field. This field clearly shows that Shikai replied to a message that was sent to him from the Cortana computer. The other two from Doug and David are pretty good. And yes, Doug does use Microsoft Outlook, but not the Express version and not the same version.

What all this says to me is that Nathan sent the botched Cortana message and upon realization of this, a message was sent out to certain people from the Cortana machine that everyone needed to send on to the Story page to create the illusion of the Rampant AI...

Sorry Bungie, but if you're going to try to cover something up, you better check everything twice. There are some of us who do this for a living, you know?


On a somewhat similar note Jonathan writes:

Also, wanted to respond to whoever sent the message about not being able to do an nslookup on the machine. You can't do an nslookup on any of the other either. ie: e7.bungie.com, e11.bungie.com, etc. All this means is that there is no reverse lookups in the DNS for these machines. You can, however, ping these machines if they are up and running. (You will probably only want to try this when you can be pretty sure that whoever belongs to that machine is using it.)


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

As far as Cortana goes, nathan@bungie.com's been noted to have made un-sanctioned public comments before (he posted a few comments on the Myth discussion boards at soulblighter.com that contradicted the official QA policy). My bet would be the obvious one; that he's been working on the story for blam! and has made the Cortana emails in order to stir up public interest. Unfortunately he was a little eager to reply to your auto-response and left his return email address in there. So the Bungie staffers immediately had to smokescreen by sending the same thing from their own accounts.

But are they fooling anyone? :)


David Solorzano <almondblightman@yahoo.com> writes:

...anyone else notice that Cortana gives us 7 X's and O's?

Cortana
XOXOXOX


Apple.com has a short report from the 1999 Games Developers Conference. In it they write:

Bungie Software, for instance, is hiring. The Chicago- based company, which ships major titles simultaneously on the Mac and PC platforms, handles all aspects of development and publishing internally. To that end, they’re recruiting aggressively, and Bob Settles and Jennifer Trisko are in town to recruit talented 3D artists, graphic designers, producers and software engineers.


Mar 22, 1999


John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> puts a new slant on the 2nd Cortana message:

More speculation on 'the fourth' of Cortana's second message. I think it refers to a previously undocumented stage of Rampancy.

Cortana says:

There will be no more Sadness. No more Anger. No more Envy.

and then:

There was a fourth. You couldn't have known. And I haven't forgotten.

It is a blurred line that lies at the edge of Godhood and Insanity. Guess which side of it I am on.

These quotes, when placed in proximity, seem to be related, but that could just be context, couldn't it? Whatever the case, something is UP.

Cortana definitely seems to be related to Durandal (sporting the same attitude), but perhaps it is an AI who has progressed past any known level of self-advancement. (Toward Jjaro-ness?)

My guess is that the 'End of The World' release date refers to December 31, 2000, or some other supposedly-apocalyptic date. Nostradamus afficionados, start your search engines.

If the Cortana stuff is indeed a teaser linked to Bungie East's new game, I would speculate that it does have something to do with the Marathon storyline, and in fact with issues left loose after Infinity. Bungie are subtle enough guys that they would find a new and interesting way to respond to the cries for a new Marathon by doing a brand new game that deals with a similar backstory, but which is anything BUT 'a new Marathon'.

I recently attended the Game Developer's Conference and talked to a non-Marathon Bungie East denizen, whom I will not name. I asked him about 'Blam', and he said that it is the code name of their new project, but covered his own mouth before he revealed the Real Name of the product. I told him I didn't want to know. (I came THAT CLOSE!) He also mused, "Blam... I wonder how that got out?"

Leaks!... They're Everywhere! ;-)


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

Cortana's last message refers to "the suns are shining". In 2010 (the sequel to 2001) Europa is transformed into a life sustaining planet by making Jupiter another sun - giving the sol system two suns.

Paul goes on to point out that the Story page received a Cortana mail from a Bungie employee by the name of David Bowman:

As you know, David Bowman was the name of the character in 2001: A Space Odyssey who was transformed at the end of the story into... something else. Later books in the series suggest Bowman and the ships computer HAL9000 were actually merged into a single entity. We all remember HAL - an AI unit that went a little off the rails - sound familiar?

Bungie's David Bowman worked on Myth II as a level designer... or so we are told. ;-)

On the subject of 2001 and HAL9000 check out HAL9000 Desktop Simulator for Macintosh, a series of 26 original Hal-inspired images for your Macintosh computer including a startup screen, desktop picture, and slides you can use with your screen saver.


More Soul madness. Christopher Allene <cwis@dial.oleane.com> writes:

While playing around with the Soul, I got this odd answer:

Question: who is lisa?
The soul says: Lisa's waiting right here with me. She likes to stroke my wires.

Question is: who is Lisa? Maybe she is another computer trapped by the guys at Bungie...

Question: do you have a girlfriend?
The soul says: Friends are for the weak.

(note however that "friend" is the hot word, not "girlfriend")

So "Lisa" is not his girlfriend. Maybe his mother, although i got only generic answers regarding possible relatives of the soul. Another interesting thing is that the Soul is "older than you can possibly comprehend, human" [how old are you?] and that "god has no place here, not while i'm in charge" [who is god?]. Who is Lisa? Who is the Soul? Maybe a new section should be started for them :)

Last but not least:

Question: what is blam?
The soul says: You think you're smarter than you really are.

Note this is *not* a generic answer. Moreover:

Question: who is blam?
The soul says: Can we change the subject please.

I don't think this is a generic answer, but I'm not sure. I got this while talking about sex and things like that. Just a theory... maybe "blam" is someone, and not something, as we always had always thought.

Still playing around with the soul <:*) i got that strange answer:

Question: education
The soul says: Ralfie.

Who is he? I don't remember anyone at Bungie whose name could match "ralfie"...

Christopher continues:

I told you in a previous mail the Soul responds "Ralfie" when you say "education". It also says "Ralfie" when you say "dog" or "cat". Tried few other animals but none worked :/

Not more Soul... ? Craig Fay <DurandalM3@aol.com> writes:

I asked the soul these questions

what is your phone number
how old are you
what is the meaning of life
what time is it
good bye
see ya
see ya later


Mar 21, 1999


In all the Cortana confusion you might have missed this news item. Computer Games Online reports that Jason Regier, lead programmer on Bungie's Myth II, is leaving to work for Blizzard on Diablo II. The full text of the news report is as follows:

Computer Games Online has learned that Jason Regier, lead programmer on Bungie's Myth II will be leaving the company to work at Blizzard North. Regier will take on an undisclosed developer position on Blizzard's Diablo II.

Jason Regier served as lead programmer on Bungie's recently released strategy game Myth II: Soulblighter, and on the original Myth as Senior Programmer. Regier was responsible for the internal tools for the game as well as some AI scripting.

Regier's long-time friend, and Bungie colleague Doug Zartman told Computer Games Online that the move by Regier was amicable, and that he was psyched that he would know somebody on the Diablo II team. The move is purely a logistical one, as Regier wanted to be closer to loved ones in the area around Blizzard North.

Jason Regier joined Bungie in Mar 1996 and was given the difficult task of re-writing Bungie's in-house Marathon map editor "Vulcan" for public release as "Forge". He went on to work on Myth and finally as lead programmer on Myth II. Whatever the motives for the move his departure must be a sad loss to Bungie Software. The Story page wishes him well in his new career move.


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes concerning Nathan's email:

Since by some amazing oversight you didn't point it out, his old IP ended in 49. His new one ends in 7. Does 2401 come in somewhere?


The Cortana comments and interpretations continue to pour in. I'll try and respond to everyone as soon as I can. Without listing dozens of names here opinion seems to be divided over the following lines in the 2nd Cortana message:

And what of the Giants who formed this world? So much to tell you, but so many more important things to do. There was a fourth. You couldn't have known. And I haven't forgotten.

Is this a reference to a fourth AI (on the Marathon?) or a fourth Giant? In the case of the latter it is felt that the Giants may be the Jjaro.


Mar 20, 1999


Curiouser and curiouser... Nathan Bitner (Bungie Software) writes:

Hamish

While I continue to frequent your story page often (and enjoy it very much :), I can claim little more knowledge of the flood of emails (one in which included my email address which is nathan@bungie.com) than you already have researched. My computer's ID is indeed "freak" (long story back from the dorm days), as I'm sure you can tell from my detailed headers.

I was hired on August 24, 1998 but worked on the Myth II development team because of their more pressing needs. The computer that I used then was one used by many - our venerated computer #49, which I lovingly renamed freak at the time being. It has in turn been used by our marketing department, at least two development teams, and at least two interns. Shortly after Myth II was released, I was back on a separate development team with a new computer - this one. I'm really not that knowledgeable with technical issues, but I checked the IP address - the last digits are 7, not 49. Perhaps my name is still attached to computer #49 in some way.

I imagine you'd wish to have more evidence than that, so I submit the last two months in which I have occasionally contributed to the Marathon forums page. You will find my IP address at the bottom of my posts. In fact, back in the Myth days, there may even be a post with IP address 49, but I doubt it ...

Anyway, I don't wish to put a wet blanket on the hypotheses, but Bungie keeps its employees in the dark about a lot of top-secret things. Cortana is but one of them. With some of the strange things that have happened in our system over the last month, I'm beginning to wonder if (s?)he isn't real anyway. :-)

Best wishes,

Nathan

For those who demand it... here is the detailed header info from Nathan's mail:

Received: from dux1.tcd.ie (dux1.tcd.ie [134.226.1.11])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id PAA04108
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:50:23 GMT
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@[209.125.9.11])
	by dux1.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id PAA24730
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Fri, 19 Mar 1999 15:50:19 GMT
Received: from freak (e7.bungie.com [209.125.9.7])
	by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with SMTP id JAA01255
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Fri, 19 Mar 1999 09:50:20 -0600
Message-ID: <005101be7220$8029de20$07097dd1@freak.bungie.com>
From: "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>
To: <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Cortana Confusion
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 09:52:31 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.72.3155.0
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V4.72.3155.0
X-UIDL: be31464feabd4005d229a82bb499a4ef

So what's this all about? Top secret projects? Strange things going on? Someone (or thing?) at Bungie impersonating other people? Roguery at Bungie perhaps? Or is this another cover up designed to hide the tru7h?


Gabe Rosenkoetter <gr@eclipsed.net> writes:

Try a nameserver lookup on e49.bungie.com. I dare you. Try it using ns1.home.net as your nameserver (the one Bungie lists as its primary on internic). Hell, try it on 209.125.9.49.

Point is, no nameserver (not even Bungie's) thinks that e49.bungie.com is a valid name, nor that 209.125.9.49 is an address that refers to any name at all.

The Cortana mystery thickens!


Thanks to all the Myth fans who wrote in saying that the character in the robocam pic is in fact Soulblighter. However few were willing to comment on why he is dressed like one of the Village People. Perhaps the rumors are true? ;-)


Mar 19, 1999


Many thanks to all the people who have written in regarding the 2nd Cortana email. The Story page has been snowed under with theories and speculation. First off though did the email actually originate from Bungie or is it a fake? In order to find out I sent this automated reply to cortana@bungie.com and CC'd it to Matt Soell (Head of Customer Support). Would Cortana reply? Would Matt? Would anyone?

The first response to the Mail confirmation request (6DB982) was the following:

Received: from dux1.tcd.ie (dux1.tcd.ie [134.226.1.11])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id QAA20761
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Thu, 18 Mar 1999 16:49:05 GMT
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@[209.125.9.11])
	by dux1.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id QAA30560
	for <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>; Thu, 18 Mar 1999 16:48:21 GMT
Received: from Cortana (e49.bungie.com [209.125.9.49])
	by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with SMTP id KAA12743
	for <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>; Thu, 18 Mar 1999 10:47:43 -0600
Message-ID: <000801be715f$574abc20$31097dd1@Cortana.bungie.com>
From: "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>
To: "Hamish Sinclair" <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Re: Mail consternation request (MR-343)
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 10:49:45 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.72.3155.0
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V4.72.3155.0
X-UIDL: 6b884067c380efcdc518f4d13f6bd441

I think you will find that I don't like being tested.

Love,

Cortana

You'll note that the reply while signed by Cortana and originating from the same IP address (209.125.9.49) as the other Cortana mails now has the reply address as "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com>. A slip up perhaps? Cortana's cover blown? "Nathan" <nathan@bungie.com> is none other than Nathan Bitner. Nathan has contributed to the Story page in the past. Back in Sept 28, 1998 the What's New section had this to say about Nathan:

Although Nathan is a recent Bungie employee he's been around since the pre-Minotaur days. A good friend of Jason Jones, Nathan is working on story development for some of Bungie's other products. I wonder what they could be? ;-)

In those days Nathan was sending his mail from a computer with the following ID info:

freak ([209.125.9.49]). :-)

Shortly after receiving the Nathan/Cortana reply the Story page received the SAME message from the following Bungie people: Jim Ruiz, Ryan Hylland, Shikai Wang, Doug Zartman, and David Bowman. You can read them all here. How odd you might say! What's up here? Why the sudden flood of the same Cortana reply from different people? Perhaps it was thought that the ensuing confusion might cover up the true origin of the first one? ;-)

While Matt Soell didn't reply by email I did manage to catch up with him on IRC (#bungie). When asked to confirm the authenticity of the Cortana email he responded:

The message you received sure looks real to me.

When I pointed out to Matt that "sure looks real..." wasn't going to buy much Hang Time with hardened Story page readers he replied:

Oh, do hardened Story page readers need every last detail spelled out for them? I hardly think so! ;-)

I've found it best to take Cortana at its word. And, looking at the email on the page, there's a WHOLE lot of stuff to chew on.

A "WHOLE lot of stuff" indeed. Just what does it all mean? Many of the comments received attempt to interpret the 2nd Cortana mail with reference to the present Marathon universe. Should we?

Eric Anderson <traxusiv@hotmail.com> draws our attention to the line "the suns are shining" indicating two or more suns. This rules out Earth, Tau Ceti, and Lh'owon.

Note also the reference to "I'm making lots of new friends...". These friends are unlikely to be the Pfhor or S'pht since they would be 'old' friends/enemies. Unless of course the person/entity/being communicating to us has never met these races before... which is unlikely.

A number of people felt that the line "There was a fourth." is a reference to Marathon 4. I should remind people that Bungie have consistently denied that they are working on a Marathon 4. Even yesterday Matt Soell remarked: "...there is no Marathon 4."

Greg Downing <G_Downing@WESLEY.IT.EMERSON.EDU> writes:

The second I heard about the new message, I went right back to Revelations. You might be interested to learn that seven plays heavily into Revelations...seven churches, seven angels to watch over them, seven seals...but I digress.

The howling beasts reference could be referring to Chapter 6:8, which talks about the four horsemen. The stanza reads: "They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." This line may also have something to do with "there was a fourth", but I doubt it...Cortana probably wasn't talking about fractions, but a specific fourth person/thing.

There's no specific mention to raging seas that I've found thus far, but the angels did drop a fiery mountain into them at one point...so who knows. I'll try and find more info.

Nothing on giants creating the world, but we have to take into account that Cortana is referring to 'this world', meaning the one she's on. And that's not earth, because she refers to the 'suns', probably meaning she's in a system with a binary star.

The reference to 'the fourth' could have something to do with the other three AIs we know of...meaning there is some connection between Cortana, Durandal, Tycho, and Leela. Maybe that Traxus thing I posited earlier....but in that case, there were five AIs infected.

David Retchless <tretchless@home.com> writes:

The latest message speaks of "Giants who formed [the] world" and mentions a fourth, previously unknown Giant, meaning that in popular belief there must have been only three Giants who formed the world. This reminded me of Greek Mythology, so I did a little research. From World Book Encyclopedia I learned that in the Greek text of the Theogony is included what many consider the most important Greek myth, one that describes both the origin and history of the gods and of our world. Quoting directly:

"According to the Theogony, the universe began in a state of emptiness called Chaos. The divinity Gaea, or Earth, arose out of Chaos. she immediately gave birth to Uranus, who became king of the sky. Gaea mated with Uranus, producing children who were called the Titans."

Could these (Chaos, Gaea, Uranus) be the three "Giants who formed [the] world"?

An if so who could be the fourth? A chart I located at

http://diogenes.baylor.edu/WWWproviders/thorburn/creationgodsroman.GIF

might shed some light on this (see also

http://longman.awl.com/mythology/chaptertopics/summary_1.asp

for more info on the Greek/Roman creation myth). It shows two other deities who where created at the same time as Chaos and Gaea, Tartarus, creator of the underworld, and cupid. Cupid, however, does not seem like a logical choice, as surely the marine (if that is who we're talking about) would know who cupid is (or would he?). Perhaps it is a commentary on the marine's inability to show love and compassion, but this is just blind conjecture. Anyways, I thought this might help...I can't wait to see what it is Bungie is teasing us with.


Martin Thorne <mthorne@ualberta.ca> writes:

It might have something to do with the Cortana emails and then again it might not, but you ought to have a look at the Robocam pic at the bottom of the www.bungie.com page sometime. In case it's gone by the time you get there, I have attached the image I saw.

If the Cortana messages are some kind of obtuse reference to a new bungie east game, this figure would seem to have something to do with it. The detail isn't great, but it sure doesn't look like Konoko (Unless Matt was serious about that "adult title").

Some fetish game perhaps? ;-)


More Soul talk! Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes:

Try asking the soul "Who are you?" followed by "What are you?" He gives up his true identity, then.

Dan Rudolph <face-the-seventh@excite.com> writes:

More questions that produce answers.
What's your sign?
Can I have a job?
What's your name?
Who are you?
Is there a god?
What are you wearing?

Justin Kitt <justin_k@mindless.com> writes:

Some things I've tried:

2+2=
Satan
the Devil
want some of my BOOMSTICK?
Matt Soell

Strider Corinth <s.corinth@iname.com> writes:

There's a mention on one of the pages that "Marathon 2000" gives back "My brain hurts," and some speculation was made about it. That's a random answer given when the soul doesn't know anything about the material typed. I tested this myself with repeated tries of "dkdkdk". =)


Mar 18, 1999


Just over a month ago the Story page received a mysterious message from <cortana@bungie.com>. Matt Soell (Bungie Software) confirmed that the source was indeed Bungie East and indicated that we would be receiving others. Well the Story page received another one yesterday (St. Patrick's Day). It reads as follows:

From: "Cortana" <cortana@bungie.com>
To: <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Your Mortality (My Summer Vacation)
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 18:04:41 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Priority: 3

I get the strangest transmissions sometimes. Especially when it comes from you people.

Have you missed me? Things are great here. The weather is good, the suns are shining, and I'm making lots of new friends. Of course, I always do.

I've had the strangest dreams lately - raging seas, howling beasts, a Demon folded in black clouds. I believe I know what it guards, and I will have it, to the chagrin of the faith-blinded zealots that challenge me. Don't waste your pity on them; I don't think they would like you much anyway.

And what of the Giants who formed this world? So much to tell you, but so many more important things to do. There was a fourth. You couldn't have known. And I haven't forgotten.

It is a blurred line that lies at the edge of Godhood and Insanity. Guess which side of it I am on.

Feeling lucky?

Cortana
XOXOXOX


A quick check of the detailed mail headers reveals the following:

Received: from dux1.tcd.ie (dux1.tcd.ie [134.226.1.11])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id AAA05425
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Wed, 17 Mar 1999 00:02:28 GMT
Received: from mail.bungie.com (IDENT:root@[209.125.9.11])
	by dux1.tcd.ie (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id AAA17860
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Wed, 17 Mar 1999 00:02:26 GMT
Received: from Cortana (e49.bungie.com [209.125.9.49])
	by mail.bungie.com (8.8.7/8.8.7) with SMTP id SAA04405
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Tue, 16 Mar 1999 18:02:43 -0600
Message-ID: <004401be7009$c4f28fc0$31097dd1@Cortana.bungie.com>
From: "Cortana" <cortana@bungie.com>
To: <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Your Mortality (My Summer Vacation)
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 18:04:41 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
	boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0041_01BE6FD7.76F87A00"
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.72.3155.0
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V4.72.3155.0
X-UIDL: 2bba985079cf797f96dcbf0a29a5a6c9


Compare this with the original Cortana mail headers:

Received: from dux1.tcd.ie (dux1.tcd.ie [134.226.1.11])
	by dux4.tcd.ie (8.8.7/8.8.7) with ESMTP id QAA15384
	for <hsinclir@dux4.tcd.ie>; Mon, 15 Feb 1999 16:51:57 GMT
Received: from mail.bungie.com (root@[209.125.9.11])
	by dux1.tcd.ie (8.8.7/8.8.7) with ESMTP id QAA21325
	for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Mon, 15 Feb 1999 16:51:55 GMT
Received: from Cortana ([209.125.9.49])
          by mail.bungie.com (8.8.4/8.8.4) with SMTP
	  id LAA02086 for <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>; Mon, 15 Feb 1999 11:49:43 -0600
Message-ID: <001301be5903$4685cb60$31097dd1@Cortana.bungie.com>
From: "Cortana" <cortana@bungie.com>
To: <hamish.sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Closure
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 10:50:20 -0600
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
	boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0010_01BE58D0.FB651460"
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 4.72.3110.1
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V4.72.3110.3
X-UIDL: e36fab4ede04e7c19a0a09e3d2f7cc91


The second email seems to have originated from the same IP address (209.125.9.49). The full email can be seen here.

So what can we make of all this? Dreams? A Demon guarding something? Giants? And a fourth what? So many questions. But first I'll see if I can get Matt Soell to confirm the source the second Cortana email... just to be sure... to be sure! ;-)


Wow!... the poor Soul at Bungie Software must have been working overtime on St. Patrick's day. Seems alot of people have begun to trouble it with searching questions. Here are just a few of things people have been asking it.

Ben Fisher <ben@fisher.enterprise-plc.com> writes:

I asked the soul:

Question: What is Oni?
The soul says: Oni is a third-person 3D action adventure that emphasizes hand-to-hand combat as well as gunplay. The game is inspired by anime classics like Ghost in the Shell and action thrillers like La Femme Nikita, and is being developed and published by Bungie Software, the company that created the hit titles Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter. Oni features innovative full contact action, incredibly complex, beautifully rendered environments, an intriguing cast of hundreds of unique characters, and a compelling, anime-inspired story.

Question: Who is Konoko?
The soul says: Konoko is the heroine in Bungie's new 3D action adventure game, Oni.

Question: Conan?
The soul says: Conan tries to be like me. There should be a Conan character in Myth.

Question: how much ram do you have?
The soul says: I have lots or RAM.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

Concerning Aaron Gaponoff's March the 16th email:

"Now here come the questions to ask when your really bored:

you're stupid
what is your specialty?
do you have a girlfriend?"

Asking the [Bungie] Soul the question "what is your specialty?" will give you this answer:

I can catch flies with my tongue.

Almost as if, he were a frog.

"Frog blast the vent core!"

A Simulacrum does look a lot like a frog, with his green JUMPsuit.

I wonder if Doug had anything to do with the Soul.

Some say he is the Soul! Being the first full-time employee at Bungie Software he undoubtedly sold his soul! ;-)

Ian Hofmeister <ihofmeis@columbus.rr.com> writes:

for whatever reason, the lost soul at bungie has become a subject of great interest lately, so i thought i would fill you in on a few things that i discovered. i will respond to the names:

steve jobs
god
jason jones
tuncer deniz
bill gates
bungie webmaster

but not to the name Hamish Sinclair. Sorry to disappoint you, but hey, it didn't respond to my name either.

And it goes on... Paul Seale <pseale@atlascomm.net> writes:

Hey, I typed in marathon 2000 while talking to the bungie soul (after reading a copy of this months mac adict which it refers to the possible exsistance of marathon 2000) and it replied:

the soul: My brain hurts

and on... Jared Cash <jcash@graceland.edu>

A few other things to say to the soul:

program (or any sentence with this in it)
Bungie
warrior
soulless
dwarf
ghol
trow
berserk
thrall
fir'bolg
guard
wight (this one is great!)
fetch
what are you?
shut up
screw you

I would not recommend using strong language infront of the Soul. :-)

Dan Rudolph <face-the-seventh@excite.com> writes:

Try asking the soul the following.

Who's the cat who won't cop out when there's danger all about?
Who's your daddy?
What's up?
How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?

But wait that's not all... Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

I was doing some soul searching last night (heh heh, get it Soul... ahem...) and came up with more things to ask Bungie's Soul:

Oni
Konoko
...Probobly anything Oni related

Myth
Thrall
...And most likely many things Myth Related

Who is the Webmaster?
Alex Seropian
Tuncer Deniz
Matt Soell
Jason Regier <--Think "Final Thoughts"
...Try other employees, but good luck I tried many of them.

Bungie
Where is Bungie?
Bungie on the internet
Minotaur
What's the friggin' cheat code?
Don't look at me like that.
Can I get a job?
Can I be a Beat Tester?
Are there any contests?
How Are you?
Where do you live?
How much RAM do you have?
What is your favorite color?
Help <--very important to keep in mind when talking to the soul
You know her? I think I'm in love with her.
...The Soul has many things to say on the subject of love.

Enough! Leave the poor Soul be! ;-)


Mar 16, 1999


To observe the tradition the Marathon's Story page will be shut tomorrow - St Patrick's Day. Have a good one! :-)


Take the Marathon symbol, squash it a bit and what do you get? James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> found out. Check the That Marathon Symbol section for details. Warning: this is a graphics heavy page be prepared for a wait.


More Soul chat! Aaron Gaponoff <eaten_by_fungus@hotbot.com> writes:

I just started poking around the disembodied soul, I tried typing in "your mom", and got an interesting reply. Curious to say that a week back or so some bloke sent in the final thought thing to the story site:

Final Thoughts:
Blam
Your Mom
Dink

it looks like that disembodied soul knows more than we do....

here are some other thing to try typing in that the sould will reply to:

do you like your job?
is bungie cool?
you suck
are you cool?
soulblighter
release date?
to you get vacations?
what is the meaning of life?
is there a god?

Now here come the questions to ask when your really bored:

you're stupid
what is your specialty?
do you have a girlfriend?

Wow, I think I've spent too much time talking to the soul.

Try you hand at talking to Bungie's Trapped Soul here.


Mar 15, 1999


Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

Here's another example of where the Marathon series appears to have been ahead of its time. This was in a preview of the upcoming game "Outcast". URL's:

http://www.outcast-game.com

http://www.planetquake.com/outcast

http://www.happypuppy.com/press/features/outcast-ar1.html

In the Happy Puppy preview, Outcast AI was described as holding grudges, which was apparently a novelty to the previewer. The curious thing is that Marathon 2 had had this feature long before Outcast, even if it was not quite as fancy. Both the Bobs and the S'pht'Kr would turn against you if you attacked them, though they'd turn against you in different ways (all of them; just the one(s) attacked) under different conditions (too many killed; just an attack).

Quote from the Happy Puppy URL:

"... When the Infogrames reps were showing off the AI, they had the main character walk up to a local farmer. He tried to engage in conversation but the farmer wouldn't talk to him because he had his weapon drawn. He holstered his sidearm, and at that point the two began to converse. Then out of nowhere, as if suddenly possessed, the Infogrames rep had our character smack the farmer upside the face, at which point the confused farmer began to flee. Angered by the farmer's lack of intestinal fortitude, the Infogrames rep began firing his weapon. As a reaction all the characters in the immediate vicinity began to run about, scared for their lives, and a sort of pleasant chaos ensued. Now if I were to kill one of these friendly NPCs, Infogrames tells me, no one in this village would talk to me again. In order to set things right I'd have to visit the local priest and ask for atonement. If I kill another innocent after I have been forgiven, I will not only lose the help of the townspeople, but the priest as well. I thought to myself wow, an AI that holds a grudge...cool."


Aaron Gaponoff <eaten_by_fungus@hotbot.com> writes:

I was at Bungie's site late last night and stumbled upon the disembodied soul section. Being as bored as I was, I tried typing everything bungie-related to see what the soul knew. I happened to try typing in "G4 Sunbathing" and the soul sent me back a long description of what the level was like and how to complete it.

Here is the exact text:

"Question: G4 Gunbathing

The soul says: G4 Sunbathing is a fairly simple level; all you have to do is throw a bunch of switches. The trick is that some switches aren't available or active until you throw others."

"A quick primer: G4 Sunbathing is divided into four quarters. There are two circular corridors which run through all four quarters: a small inner circle at the center of the level, and a larger circle which runs around the outside. These two circles are connected by four corridors running north, south, east and west. The outer circle is divided by a series of half-open doors."

"All the important stuff is on the upper half of this level. You won't need to descend into the lower part ("Death Valley" et al) unless you want to look for ammunition and/or combat."

"You start off in a small room at the northern edge of the map. Exit and turn left. Walk around that northeast quarter of the map until you find a switch. When you throw the switch, look to your left; across the way, you'll see a doorway opening on the inner circle."

"Use one of the four connecting corridors to get from the outer circle to the inner circle. Walk around until you find the room you just opened. Inside is a switch which will open one of those half-open doors on the outer circle. Throw that switch, head back to the outer circle and do the whole thing over again. The switches are arranged in clockwise fashion, so the next place you'll want to visit is the southeast quarter."

"There are a total of six switches (BIG HINT: Switch #5 is in a small room on the west edge of the map, but it won't work until you've found the first four). Once you've flipped all six switches, head to the northwest quarter of the map; that last door will be open, and the rest of the level will be fairly easy to complete."

I tried typing in names of levels from all three Marathons, but couldn't get any other level to have a report sent back like that for G4 Sunbathing. Either the soul said it didn't know, or just suggested to look at the marathon spoiler guide. Interesting... how G4 Sunbathing is singled out by the soul... I personally think G4 Sunbathing is _the_ freakiest level of all time.

According to Matt Soell (Head of Customer Support at Bungie Software) "G4 Sunbathing" is one of three Marathon levels they get alot of requests for help on. If you've ever tried explaining how to get through G4 over the phone you can see why Bungie went to some trouble trying to explain this on their web page. The whole level is a puzzle and each part must be solved in turn to complete it. The fact that there is no oxygen only adds to the complexity and can make life very frustrating for the first time player.

Created by Greg Kirkpatrick "G4 Sunbathing" level just oozes atmosphere. It's the first level we encounter the Hunter. Hands up all those who remember hearing that haunting howl and finding out your assault rifle no longer works! ;-) Ah nostalgia!

Check the G4 Sunbathing section on the Marathon Vidmasters' Page for a quick two minute run through this level.


On the Marathon 2 level "We're Everywhere" there is a small raised alcove (above the waterline) containing 14 Shotgun Cartridges (in two neat rows of seven each!). Up until now it was thought impossible to reach under Vidmaster rules since there are no weapons on this level that can launch you up there. Well John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> just proved that it was possible. Check the Marathon Vidmasters' Page for details.


Michael Zannetou <mzannetou@dial.pipex.com> writes to say that his Marathon SoundSet for MacOS 8.5 has been updated to version 1.2. You can download it from his homepage at http://ds.dial.pipex.com/mzannetou/.


Mar 14, 1999


Thanks to James Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> for sending in a Marathon Techno Theme ("U96 - Das Boot" Remix) in MP3 format. The file was uploaded to his Marathon Hotline site now called "marathon@bungie.org". It contains sounds from Marathon 2 remixed with the background music from "U96 - Das Boot". You can grab it here (845K).


Henry Fok <spectre@startrekmail.com> writes concerning the assault rifle MA-75B See the Weapons in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Mar 13, 1999


Randy Reddig <ydnar@iatlas.com> writes:

came into work today, put on my headphones and started playing the liquid sky music's jungle sky cd. it's on random, and it picked this track:

Jason Jinx - 13thunlucky

13 is my lucky number. the drum beats aside, notice the similarity between this song and a certain m1 level track...

If you haven't got the "This is Jungle Sky" CD you can listen to a Real Audio Sample of the track Randy refers to at http://www.liquidskymusic.com/junglesky/JS004.html. If you're on a Macintosh you'll need the "RealPlayer G2 beta" to be able to hear it. You can download it free at http://www.real.com/products/player/. The Real Audio Sample however doesn't give you the best sound snippet for comparing with Marathon's music. The first 50 seconds of the Jason Jinx track has no overlaid drum beats and the recurring melody is very Marathon like. Brings back memories of long dark corridors on the UESC Marathon... and fear! Ah nostalgia. :-)


Jonathan Andrews <vidboi@bellsouth.net> writes concerning Robert Blake and Durandal. See the Robert Blake section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Mar 12, 1999


Sam Morris <sam@netcity.co.uk> reveals more about the Pfhor font he sent in to the Story page two days ago:

I was involved, a loooong while back (when I was still using CompuServe, so it was a while ago) in a scenario for Marathon that, due to various reasons, never really got off the ground. Someone in the group came up with this font and uploaded it for us to play around with it. His name was Stephan Stadlberger.

I didn't think to send it to anyone, since I didn't know it wasn't in common circulation until the discovery of bungie.org/marathon/4index.html and what you said about the "legendary Pfhor font" or something. I wouldn't bother searching for secret messages, however, since this font was custom made, and not sourced from whatever Bungie used for the writing in its terminal graphics.

Heh... now he tells us! ;-) The search continues for the original Pfhor font.


John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> becomes the ninth person to Vid "Acme Station". The Marathon Vidmaster's page has the details.


OniWeb has added the second part of their interview with Brent Pease, Oni project leader. A number of Marathon related questions were asked. Check it out.


Added "Peter de Blanc's Marathon Page" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> and Jordan Harband <myrdraalj@hotmail.com> for sending in this link.


Mar 11, 1999


Many thanks to all the people who sent in Pfhor translations. Some good news and some bad news. First the good news. The Pfhor can't spell. ;-)

Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com>, Bruce Morrison <wimorrison@FTC-I.NET>, and Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> all pointed out that the pfhor.gif translates as:

"HELLO HAMISH
WE ARE THE PFHR
SAM HAS FOUND A
FONT FOR YOU"

Note the spelling of Pfhor. ;-)

The bad news! We can't translate the Pfhor terminals in Marathon 2 since this is not the REAL Pfhor font. :-(

Stefan Stadlberger <stadlberger@yadur.com> the creator of the font that Sam Morris sent in yesterday writes:

About an year ago, Sam , some others (Jeff Modell, Kevin Johnstone, Simon Bierbaum, Tim Frost, Ryan Ballentine) and myself were working on a scenario for Marathon. For this occasion I created the Pfhor font. You can't decode the terminals with this font, because the font is made after the "other" Pfhor Font you can find in the terminal picts (type ABCDEFG... with the Pfhor font and compare it with the left colum of the PICT Rescource ID 1612 of the MI Map file).

So there you have it folks. Sorry but this is not the original Pfhor font. The search continues for the elusive Pfhor font.


James Tippett <jtippett@camtech.net.au> writes:

thought you might be interested in this link:

http://www.loonygames.com/content/1.28/htdt/

a questons-and-answers session with Doug Zartman and another programmer ..
it mentions Marathon a bit.

Doug Zartman answers a question relating to Bungie's use of 5D space in Marathon maps.


Mar 10, 1999


Sam Morris <sam@netcity.co.uk> sent in this strange message along with two attachments:

uescTerm-ß1.149.7.1
origin: sam_morris
destin: hamish_sinclair
ref: the notorious Pfhor font...
stamp: broadcast

Received this rather strange transmission from unknown
source a while ago. Thought you might be interested in it...
^3C28stkevctnngld
^3C29yldkrondldsb
^3C2Anxsaoylpfhor

/-/excerpt from unidentified transmission | pfhor translator active/-/
burst.stream AE1315BE received at <date 1997.7.9.2138> from unknown source
..pfhor translator active

hello hamish[!literal]
we are the pfhor[!literal]
sam[!literal] has found
a font[?typeface;style] for you

<encoded octet-stream of 75940bytes (FFIL/DMOV), attached separately as pfhor.suit>

end.stream
/-/terminate | original attached as pfhor.gif | attachments may have been compressed/-/

Interesting, no? I wonder who <stadelberger> is? 
(look at option-r ®, option-g © or option-2 TM)
^3C2Bfnotrwfdsngg
^3C2Cqfeosagrigmz
^3C2Dglrjipodlsnf

end message

So is this the famous Pfhor font? And what's the pfhor.gif all about? And who is <stadelberger>? Now's your chance to decipher all those Pfhor graphics. Did Bungie leave any hidden messages in their Pfhor terminals? Grab the Pfhor font, drop it into your System's Font folder and decode away! :-)

Dink! If you are trying to download these files from the bungie.org server forget it. Due to technical problems the files won't upload correctly. Try another server. Sorry for the inconvenience.


Mar 9, 1999


Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

While reading the updated Chicken Term page, I started to scroll up and read some of the earlier posts. I ran across a mention of Clovis. The that name was familiar from somewhere recent, and searching my memory, I found exactly where. "Clovis" was the name of the first emperor of the Empire of the Cath Bruig in Myth. For those who know of my already elaborate PiD/Chicken-Term/Myth connection theory, this adds another layer of complexity.


Matthew Bray <braym8@cs.man.ac.uk> writes:

Seems things are hotting up at Bungie, what with the large expansion of their jobs page, maybe something big is coming along.

Yup... more job openings at Bungie Software. Either turnover is high or Bungie East are expanding... fast! What could they be working on? ;-)


OniWeb has put up an interview with Brent Pease, Oni project leader. Worth a read. Nice hi-tech look to this site as well. Last month Inside Mac Games magazine posted an interview with Brent Pease. You can still read it here.


The Oni page at the b.org site now sports a new look. Steve Campbell is also running a questions and answer session with Brent Pease. If you have a question you'd like to ask Brent about Oni then send it in to Steve at <oni@mail.bungie.org>. Details can be found at http://www.bungie.org/oni/fnews.html. Now's your chance to ask about those Marathon influences in Oni and the fabled Oni MP3. Get those questions in fast.


For the most amusing Marathon site out there head over to the newly updated BattleCat's Litterbox. Gary Simmons, the maintainer, is also running a Vidmaster "Hell Hole" competition. Details can be found on his contest page. Open to vidbois... everywhere! :-)


Mar 8, 1999


Woohah!... what happened to the update on the seventh day of the third month?!!!


Peter Wilson <IPericles@aol.com> writes concerning the secret group of immortals mentioned on the apparently garbaged history term on "Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken!" See The Chicken Term section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Karl Boman <kboman@hem.passagen.se> writes:

Well the Cortana letter certainly caused a stir a few weeks ago, but in all the confusion and wild speculations an important detail was missed. Everone wondered about Durandal, 'could this be him', when, in fact, *Durandal is no more*. It is an at times mysteriously ignored part of Marathon Infinity that Durandal merges with an S'pht AI (whose name I have forgotten, of course...) and becomes something more than Durandal. In fact, I don't think he was ever referred to as 'Durandal' again in the game - sure, we get the green text and the sarcasms, but no 'This is Durandal speaking'. And the final screen gives no hint as to the identity of the narrator, other than what three games of experience have told us about the big D.

My guess is that this is what Durandal once was, and, to be consequent, it calls itself Cortana. It is related to Durandal, and stays in track with the legend, so to speak. And 'I HAVE WON.' - he did merge with that other AI to be able to escape the closure of the universe, didn't he? Then he has indeed won!


Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> writes:

I went and grabbed my copy of the Shadow Warrior Demo and cheated through to the spots Harry mentioned. Indeed, there is a very Pfhor-ish sound there near the portals/teleporters. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get *anything*, from ResEdit to CanOpener, to extract any sounds from any SW files, or the app itself, and thus can't do a side-by-side comparison with the Pfhor sounds from Marathon. But there is a really, really Pfhor-ish sound in there.


Added "Scott's Marathon Page" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Scott Noblitt <snoblitt@hotmail.com> for this link.


Mar 6, 1999


Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> writes concerning a sound in the Shadow Warrior demo:

In this one level, where you use a tank to break through a wall, and go into a house, there is a teleporter to the next level. Strangely enough, you hear a familiar ambient sound near the teleporter. It sounds a lot like Marathon's "Pfhor Ship #2" sound. It's used again somewhere else, I think the part after you discover your dead master.

Did 3D Realms make this sound from scratch, or did they have an "inspiration"? hmmmm

Unfortunately Harry no longer has the Shadow Warrior demo. If you come across the sound please send it in.


Rob Schultz <silvertail_wolf@hotmail.com> writes:

'Blam' is an example (which can be argued) of an onomatopoeia, or a word that sounds like the thing it's describing. [examples are 'zap' or 'bang'] 'Dink' could also, arguably, fall into this catagory. So, comparing these two common Bungie words, one wonders.. might there be another Bungie game out there code-named 'Dink'?

On the same theme John Zero <jzero@onramp.net> points out that 'Dink' sounds somewhat like the Marathon terminal logon/logoff sound.

Curiouser and Curiouser...


Added "Gizmo & Gadget Map Makers" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> for this link.


Mar 5, 1999


Following up on Ben Sanborn's comments yesterday Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> writes concerning the hero Beowulf. See the Durandal (part 2) section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


More seven and three oddness. Nathaniel Krell <nkrell@pop.valueweb.net> writes:

I'm sure somebody already pointed this out long ago, but I just noticed it.

In your standard Macintosh, the CPU SCSI ID is always 7...and the internal CD-ROM Drive's SCSI ID seems to almost always be 3.

A Bungie/Apple conspiracy? ;-)


Dink and Blam! James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> asked Bungie's Soul to reveal all. Unfortunately he got back these startling revelations. You can see then here. ;-)


Mar 4, 1999


Jared Cash <jcash@graceland.edu> writes concerning Bungie's use of the word "Dink":

I don't know if anyone remembers, but there was a reference to "dink" in an old Bungievision newsletter that defined the word and used it in a sentence. I can't remember the exact definition, but it was meant to emphasize your point, as in: "Man, I just SPNKed you! *DINK*"

Check those Bungievisions for the tru7h.


Ben Sanborn <bsanborn@preti.com> writes concerning the hero Beowulf. See the Durandal (part 2) section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.


Jamer Pillar <rugger@mail.bungie.org> writes to point out that you can find two sound sets for Marathon at http://www.apple-donuts.com. Both are by Chris Bar, one is for Marathon 1 and the other is for Marathon 2. James adds:

I haven't yet checked them out but a little variety in marathon sound sets is always nice.

Yes indeed. Perhaps we need an archive for Mac OS 8.5 Marathon sound sets and desktop themes?


Mar 3, 1999


Inside Mac Games magazine reports that id Software will be releasing their Quake source code when the last of the initial licensee projects have shipped. One wonders if Bungie will ever release their source code for Marathon.


Nick Bousfield <LE8096@qmw.ac.uk> writes:

Regarding the 'dink'...

I always assumed this was the sound of the shellcase hitting the ground. Y'know.. Blam (get shot) You Mom (your dying thought) and Dink (the last sound you'll ever hear).


Added "Ben Reiter's Marathon Page" to the General Pages section of Page 2401. Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> who sent the link in writes concerning the link:

It's simple (just two pages), but its uniqueness comes from a condensation of the Marathon story into one page.

Yes a very nice summary which ties together the story from the terminals and some of the theories and speculations from the Story page. Couple of mistakes here and there but worth a read. You can see it here.


Mar 2, 1999


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

Just to let everyone know that I've made a Marathon SoundSet for MacOS 8.5 You can download It from my homepage at:

http://ds.dial.pipex.com/mzannetou/

Send any comments or suggestions to me, hope you enjoy.


Mike Goodwin <suprnaut@bendnet.com> points out that he has posted a new Map of the Month at http://www.bungie.org/marathon/.


Miguel Chavez <jmchavez@aol.com> writes:

This is, I'm sure, way off topic, but DINK is known here in the states to stand for "Double Income, No Kids."

You would use this acronym when referring to a pair of employed 20 or 30-somethings that are living together or married, but sans kids. This couple, the thinking goes, would be raking in money since their living expenses would be quite low.

There are other, equally bizarre, acronyms for other sorts of stereotypical U. S. American social categories. All are offshoots of the typical Classified Ad-speak that we've all come to know and love. SWF, DWF, GMM, etc. (you figger it out :)

Just more info for the story page! :-) (Maybe BLAM stands for something as well?)


Mar 1, 1999


Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> writes:

Looking in the back of the Infinity maunual I see the Final Thoughts that Muhsin Miski was talking about. The text is as follows:
Final Thoughts:
  Blam
  Your Mom
  Dink

Now we know Blam and Your Mom are common words around the Bungie campus, but what is Dink? I can only assume it's also a favorite phrase of some one at Bungie. Perhaps the sound of a shell hitting the ground after the BLAM of a gun firing. If so -- BLAM "Your mom!" DINK -- would make some since. I also remember a survey or something on Bungie's webpage, you know the one that gave you a seemingly random response no matter how you answered? Well, if I'm not mistaken, the last question was "Dink or Blam?"

Odd stuff. Only Rob McLees knows the tru7h behind the word "dink".

Rob Schultz <silvertail@howling.com> writes:

Just curious as to why the word "blam" appears again on the bottom right-hand corner of the last page in the Marathon Scrapbook in itty-bitty white text.

Itty-bitty is right... you could easily miss this. Nobody believed me when I said the Scrapbook was full of hidden stuff.


What's this? Not another Vidmaster film of Acme Station? Yes indeed! Matthew Grieco (a.k.a. Incognito) <grieco@virtu.sar.usf.edu> becomes the eighth person to Vid this level. Head on over to the Marathon Vidmasters' page for the film.


Added "Marathon Infection" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> for this link.



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