Dec 31, 2000 (Sunday)   Dave?

Happy New Year to all the Story page readers... everywhere!

If you're looking to pass the time in the last few hours of the year 2000 why not head on over to Islandfour.org where Nathan Bitner has made a number of interesting posts. Here's part of one:

As a Producer and Creative Developer of Halo, the importance of having a complete design document was (sometimes a painfully) learned lesson.

Before this step is completed, you cannot bring development ideas to the programmers and artists who you need to complete your vision. I and the other employees of this company firmly believe that a game can be produced starting with design rather than programming. Others are more than welcome to hold differing positions. I am confident in this choice thus far, and there is nothing that cannot undergo change. I have received a lot of advice from Greg Kirkpatrick on what NOT to do in addition to my experiences at Bungie.


Also Sibrax of Soon(tm) has posted a humerous 'week in retrospection' item. Worth a stop.


Who was the 1777th voter on Bungie's "How would you rate your knowledge of all things Bungie compared to other fans?" poll?


Dec 30, 2000 (Saturday)

Quick update

Oops this is what happens when you're in a rush and don't verify stuff. Mark Bittinger <cnation@one.net> writes:

In your post about the "15 Most Influential Games of All Time", you quote the submitter: "there are no Bungie games at all" - but if you check again, Myth is in there, and they speak highly of it.

Apologies to Gamespot.


Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@bungie.org> writes concerning another Marathon reference in Oni:

You start out the game with - you guessed it - one pistol and three clips of ammo, just like in all three Marathons. You get ten shots per clip though, so it's not perfect... but still! Now if only you could save films, we could have an Oni Vidmasters' Page... brings a whole new meaning to "dive into the melee" :-)


On the subject of Oni the new Oni site Onires mentioned only yesterday has been acquired by bungie.org. As they say "Resistance is futile... you will be assilmilated". ;-) Onires is now at oni.bungie.org/res/. Acrappa joins the ranks of the undead at <acrappa@bungie.org>.


Matthew Wanlin <stoolgod@deadmoose.com> points us to a Gamespot article entitled "15 Most Influential Games of All Time" and writes:

...which hails quake and doom above any mentioning of marathon, or any bungie game at all for that matter.


I see dead people. They're Everywhere! Joshua Shor <nationalarmy@yahoo.com> writes:

Pathways Deaths - Marathon Deaths

Apparently in Pathways Into Darkness, the dead soldiers can still see and hear what's going on around them.

"It horrible being conscious, but deprived of your senses like this. I wonder how long it will last..."- Gunther

"A group of people passed through here years and one of their group walked through the opposite wall of this room." - Unknown German soldier on They May be Slow...

"About ten minutes after everybody left, I saw Greg come running through here. He was carrying the bomb"- Ed

In Marathon, when you (the player) get killed, you can also see and hear what's going on after you die.

Is that what death is like that in the Marathon Universe ?

I'm cold, so cold ...


Dec 29, 2000 (Friday)

Wave Motion Canon in Oni. Aaron Dornbrand-Lo <aar0ndl@home.com> writes:

I'm sure you've received millions of e-mails about Marathon references in Oni, but here's one that I don't think has been mentioned: [Image] Yes, it's the famed wave motion cannon (76K). Wonder if the the Marathon version (if there is/was one) is any better...

A few bits of info on the gun:
-It's HUGE in-game
-You move very slowly carrying it
-It has two fire modes, a beam that has to charge up, and mortar type shell
-You cannot holster it
-You cannot read terminals, jump, do acrobatics, punch or kick while holding it.


Back in Nov 7, 2000 it was noted that Matt Soell had asked "What are the Fists of Legend?" in one of his Oni updates. Lots of speculation at the time but now thanks to the new Oni site Onires we now know that it's one of the Cheat Codes in Oni. Check Onires for full details.


Bungie's "How would you rate your knowledge of all things Bungie compared to other fans?" poll has been up for two weeks now. Over 1600 votes have been registered and the results are quite interesting. How this will all fit in with the up-coming Bungie fanfest has yet to be revealed.


Matt "Yossarian" Francis <crispyed@yahoo.com> writes:

"Not in the face!" is also said by a character played by Dom Deluise in Mel Brook's comedy-western "Blazing Saddles" when he is about to be punched by the character played by Slim Pickens.

Just as Deluise says this, Pickens changes his aim and punches him in the gut. Just before Deluise falls over he mutters "thank you".


Dec 26, 2000 (Tuesday)   The red eyed shift

Tim Branin <Sonofhydra@aol.com> kindly sent in this Christmas graphic to the Story page along with the following revelation...

Christmas, December 25th, Oh my, whats 2+5???

Oh my... December is the also 12th month... 1 + 2 = 3. ;-)


Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> of Oni Central writes concerning the Balor reference in Oni:

Back in April I posted news of an Oni preview at Gamespot on http://oni.bungie.org/newsarchives/apr00.html
(my last post for the month, April 30).

A direct link to the Balor forkliftshot is http://www.gamespot.com/features/oni_pre/screen.html?oni_new_03
It was the first time we got this shot.

I bet you've had hundreds of e-mails saying that the airport staff have "Blam" on their overalls and that the Comm. Striker sometimes says "Don't make frog blast the vent core!" ;)


As for the Stefan Sinclair reference in Oni both Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> and Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> point out that the Oni application string resouce 1001 "ballon," contains the following lines:

"In a dark future... with an uncertain past... there's no one left to trust. And my modem is on fire!"

Harry also sent in this screenshot. For those who aren't aware "My modem is on fire" is a nickname for Stefan Sinclair.


Liam Tumulty <liam@tumulty.com> writes concerning the Tick reference in Oni:

The tick reference is in turn a reference to Repo Man... The blonde pretty boy government agent screams "Not in the face! Not in the face!" just before Marlene drops a chair on him... you then hear him scream off camera, "Ahh! My Face!"...


Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

Gnop Reference in Penny Arcade (sorta)

Penny Arcade has a sort of spin-off community called "The Bench" (http://www.thebench.org/) where fans of PA draw their own cartoons. Anyway, one of the latest batch of bench cartoons caught my eye. It's at http://www.thebench.org/index.php3?strip=4499.



Dec 24, 2000 (Sunday) Home Pfhor the Holidays

T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the ship,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a S'pht...


Merry Christmas to all Story page readers... everywhere!


It's at times like these I like to do a nostalgia trip and what better way to go this year than with Gary "Battle Cat" Simmons' famous Christmas story on board the Marathon. It was posted to alt.games.marathon back in 1998. Enjoy... and thanks Gary where ever you are. Have a good one.

Christmas on board the Marathon by Gary L. Simmons.

As usual around Christmas time when there is a war, the soldiers will sometime lay down their arms and come together for a moment in warmth and peace. Such a thing happened on board the Marathon today. Silent Night was playing over the intercom system during a lull in the fighting. I happened upon a squad of Pfhor projectile fighters led by a Purple Trooper. An odd thing happened, we just looked at each other, no one powered up their weapons. I slowly took my hand from the grip of my holstered .44 Magnum. The Trooper stepped forward and offered his hand saying gently, "Uhh er uhh ahhhh". This was an awkward moment for us both. Soon we were all singing carols and sipping eggnog. I reached into a side flap of an ammo pouch, found my lucky Bhanta foot and gave it to the Trooper. In kind he gave me a small cylinder with a blinking light. It was magical, and as he turned to rejoin his squad of blue fighters, a tear started to well up in my eye and I thought, "What the HELL is going on here?!?" I planted a rack of SPNKRs into the Trooper's stinking butt crack and took out the rest of his squad with my MA-75B Battle Rifle.

Merry Christmas everyone and happy CARNAGE in the new year!


Ok we have a Tick reference in Pathways Into Darkness but now Oni? Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes

The plant manager on level two is yelling "Not in the face! Not in the face!" while being attacked just before you rescue him. This is the battle cry of Arthur, the Tick's sidekick.


Arrgghh... if I get another "Balor forklift" screenshot from Oni I swear I'll...

Yes folks I know there is a Balor (Myth) reference in the Oni demo. However this has been know for some time because Bungie released an official screenshot many months ago with the forklift in it. My good friend Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> of Oni Central will be able to tell us exactly when and where this was released. :-)

If you want to be really famous... go find the Stefan Sinclair reference. ;-)


Mark Levin <mglevin@students.uiuc.edu> writes concerning yesterdays's item on the use of extended ASCII characters in the skip levels dialog box:

What probably happens is that Marathon's programmers took a few shortcuts in the code that translates the numbers you type in to a level number to send to the engine. The simplest way to do this is to take the ASCII value of each character entered, subtract a constant from it so that it is between 0 and 9, and then add all those up to find the value of the number entered. The digits in ASCII have values from 48 to 57, but the special characters like (option-z) have much higher values. So, it's possible that one special character equals the sum of 2 digits and therefore is the number of a valid Marathon level.

As for option-shift-7: Marathon 1 starts counting its levels at 0 and MI starts counting at 1, so if option-shift-7 ends up with a value 0, it will select the first level of M1 but be invalid in MI.


Similarly P. Gierke <pgierke@UDel.Edu> writes:

It would seem that Bungie, when writing the code to process input entered into the select level dialog box, was only concerned with the last 4 bits per character of the entered text.

Option-7 (ASCII code 166) is 10100110. ANDing this with 00001111 we are left with 00000110, which is 6. This would corrospond to level 6 or "Smells like Napalm, Tastes like Chicken". Option-z (ASCII code 189) comes out as 10111101. Once again, ANDing with 00001111 we are left with 00001101 or 13.

This procedure does make sense, seeing as the digit '0' is ASCII code 48 (00110000). Since in the ASCII table the digits proceed 0,1,2,3, etc. The binary equivilants are 00110000,00110001,00110010,00110011, etc. By simply ANDing these with the bitmask 00001111, you are left with an actual numeric value.

I never actually used this technique for reading in numbers from a text entry field. I preferred subtracting the character '0' from each input character to get the same values.

This is a possible explanation for this behavior, but since I haven't seen the Marathon 1 source code, we cannot be sure that it is the correct one.


Dec 23, 2000 (Saturday)

Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> writes:

http://www.doomhammer.com/

It's Stefan Sinclair's personal domain - has a pretty useful Oni page, and a Halo page. There's also a myth ii page.

Stefan "My Modem is on Fire" Sinclair is a networking guru at Bungie Studios.


Thanks to Robert "Cyberbob" Zimmermann and Max "Mad Max" Dyckhoff you can read a transcript of the unmoderated chat that occurred before the official start of the IGN XBox chat with Bungie. It's a big read but some interesting stuff in there. Max explains:

IGN XBox hosted a chat on Wednesday night with Matt Soell (everybody's favourite Halo informant) and John Howard (Halo's lead game designer). A number of places have posted the full transcript, but only CyberBob bothered to log the chat before it was moderated.

It includes everything before the chat started, including Case (Jaime Griesmer, one of Halo's designers) telling people which questions would and would not be answered.

It's worth a read...

See how many names you can recognize. :-)


2 and 2 make 5 (full name pending) <rsluhan@earthlink.net> writes:

Extended ASCII characters in the skip levels dialog box

After playing yet another game of single player Marathon 1, I accidently entered the option-z character into the skip-levels dialog box. Interestingly enough, it took me to the level "Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap!" Option-Seven is Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken!, while Option-Shift-Seven is Arrival.

This also appears to work on Marathon Infinity... however, option-shift-seven doesn't work.

Any clues why this happens?

Odd stuff.


Dec 22, 2000 (Friday)

Well the good news for Macintosh Oni fans is that the Oni demo is finally out. Head on over to MacGamer's Ledge for a list of download sites.


Andrew Nagy <removed0@hotmail.com> writes:

I think the VacBob Activation quote "We got a live one here!" is another reference to the movie Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, like the M2 level name "Waterloo Waterpark". It's what one of the mall security guards says when he meets Genghis Khan.


Miguel "Freewill" Chavez <bs@bungie.org> posed this little teaser on his Bungie Sightings site. See if you can get it and additionaly does anyone remember where these first appeared?


Peter Cooner <petri@bungie.org> writes to say that there is a new Marathon Map of the Month.


MacAddict's "best first-person shooter of all time" poll is still not fixed.


Dec 21, 2000 (Thursday)   Happy 6th Anniversary Marathon

Quick update

Ok it's Christmas and Marathon's birthday so time to add the Christmas decorations. Yeah... I add the same ones every year (just like real life)... so sue me! ;-)


Want a Your Mom email addy? Max Dyckhoff <max@insidemacgames.com> writes:

Also some other interesting information - Sasha's eMail address is Orbiting@yourmom.com. Looking at yourmom.com yields a Yahoo-esque website, with free web mail and a selection of (rather tasteless) jokes.

A WHOIS on the domain yields nothing of interest - it was registered in 1996 by some random (to my knowledge) person.

Check out Islandfour.org for more details.


Today six years ago Marathon shipped. Happy Birthday Marathon! :-)


By all accounts the IGN chat with Bungie was a pretty frustrating event (with little or no new info) even Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) went on record stating so. You can read the full chat transcript at HBO or r.net. Here are some interesting snippets (Note: Halo_John = John Howard and BungieMatt = Matt Soell):

GreyDeath: question for bungie guys: How will the issue of control in halo be handled on the xbox, and is it true that there won't be a keyboard/mouse for xbox?

Halo_John: This is our #1 design issue: Make FPS control RULE on the XBox. Without getting into details we're devoting a lot of time to this right now...

mmm... FPS.


Acinonyx: Will Halo have the same level of editability as many PC games do today (levels/mods/skins/etc)? It seems doubtful on a console system, and if not, will the same limitation be on the later PC release?

Halo_John: There are a lot of issues with allowing user-created content on a console, mostly related to content verification. I doubt we'll see any of that on the Xbox version. When it comes to the PC/Mac versions that's really up to you guys, isn't it? :)

Looks like no user-created content on Xbox... or I'm reading that wrong.


kosmo: Will all the Xbox, Mac and pc users be able to play together?

BungieMatt: It's really hard to say at this point one way or another, but if I had to bet I'd say no. PC/Mac netplay is a more likely proposition, if you catch my drift.


And on the issue of new Halo stuff...

JCal: I have a question....will there be a Microsoft Gamestock in 2001 and will Halo be shown there in playable form?

BungieMatt: There will be a Gamestock but we're not quite sure yet what role we'll play in it, or if we'll play a role at all.

and then later...

Xciter: New Screenshots..... when?

Halo_John: We probably won't release any new screen shots until the first public showing, but the earliest would probably be Gamestock, probably.

Microsoft's Gamestock is normally a press-only event. Held usually in late February or early March.


Dec 20, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update #3

Woohoo! Miguel "Freewill" Chavez <bs@bungie.org> finally posts his Bungie fanfest MWNY July 2000 report... some five months late! There's a ton of pics including a 6MB movie of Matt Soell explaining Bungie's seven steps to world domination. Bungie Sightings has also been updated with details of next month's Bungie's fanfest at MWSF 2001.


Quick update #2

Bungie have posted more details concerning the Bungie Fanfest this January 12, 2001. Matt Soell will be giving a keynote address which should be a blast given his previous performance on Bungie TV, they'll be door prizes, a fan trivia contest, and a chat with the Bungie online team. Now I wonder what the "ghost of Hamish" thing is all about? ;-)


Quick update #1

Seven cuts... are the hardest. Meg "Pallor" Sagi <pallor@paxnimbus.com> writes:

In the article http://www.nytimes.com/cnet/CNET_0_4_4208780_00.html Steve Ballmer outlines 7 steps that the company will take in order to help get through the current profit warning. Nacho of B.org stated: "did you notice 'Seven priorities'? Bungie's already having an effect". Hmm. 7 priorities for the scaleback, maybe Bungie is taking over more of MSFT in their world domination efforts.

Bungie's seven steps to world domination can be read here (71K).


The Bungie chat is on tonight at 6pm PST at IGN Xbox. Check here for details. Might be an idea to sign up for IGN.com membership and log-in early. For those who will miss it they'll no doubt be chat transcripts up soon after the event.


MacAddict's "best first-person shooter of all time" poll is still screwed up. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes them to fix it or indeed if they even bother. :(


Dennis Taylor <dennis@funkplanet.com> writes:

The mechanic characters in the Airport level have the word "Blam" embroidered in cursive on their nametags. Made me a happy man to see that, let me tell you..


Mostafa Sadraii <mosadraii@hotmail.com> writes:

I'm a big fan of (a very geeky, cheap sci-fi) show called Total Recall 2070 which airs on the Sci-Fi channel on Sunday mornings at 1AM. In the most recent episode, the destruction of a security camera sounded _exactly_ like the cyborg tanks in M2. I found it rather amusing.


Dec 19, 2000 (Tuesday)

Quick update #2

Claude "Louis Wu" Errera <errera@bungie.org> writes concerning MacAddict's "best first-person shooter of all time" poll

Seems every vote for Marathon is also a vote for Doom... this would suggest (from the total number of votes) that doom actually got 14 votes of its own, plus Marathon's 135+.

MacAddict must be using a Florida poll script. ;-) Ok who's going to tell them?


Quick update #1

Miguel "Freewill" Chavez <bs@bungie.org> writes to say that Bungie Sightings has been updated with details of next month's Bungie Fanfest on January 12, 2001 - Friday 6pm-9pm.


Wirehead (full name pending) <wirehead@bungie.org> writes:

We've just been informed of a best first-person shooter of all time poll at the Mac site MacAddict. Marathon could do with a little help. Thought you'd like to know.

http://www.macaddict.com/fun/games/utserver.shtml

You know what to do people. Let's go to work! ;-)


Thanks to Ben "Constantine" Riley <Benhotep@aol.com> and Rob " Noctavis" Swenson <mail@noctavis.com> for both sending in scans of the StarCraft illustration mentioned yesterday.

Enclosed is a JPEG of the StarCraft illustration mentioned in today's update, with the relevant sections circled. It's also worth noting, IMHO, that:

1.) The pharse God O' Thunder (written on the soldier's shoulder pad) could be a refernce to how Mjornir was the hammer carried by Thor the thunder god, and

2.) The unit portrayed is called the Marine.... hmmm...

Rob's scan can be found here.


Details of the IGN chat with Bungie this coming Wednesday have now been posted. John Howard and Matt Soell are doing the honors. It's at 6pm PST here.


Simon Christensen <simon@zeroinfinity.f2s.com> writes:

Just a quick note. While playing the Oni demo (which rocks) I managed to crash it :(

Surprisingly (or perhaps not so surprisingly), the 'crash' dialog box which appears reads 'Blam! Oni just crashed.'

Yet another game with a Blam reference..

Yes indeed. That Blam! list just keeps getting longer. :-)


Dec 18, 2000 (Monday)

A seven year old mystery close to being solved? Check out the Pathways Into Darkness page for details.


Benjamin Frain <b_frain@yahoo.com> writes:

According to this story on Yahoo, the odds that someone on Earth would be hit by a chunk of the Iridium satellite mesh are 1 in 250.

2+5+0 = 7!

But wait, there's more!

According to the article:

"The deal could be worth as much as $252 million if the Defense Department picks up options for service through 2007. It was a condition for court approval of the purchase of Iridium, for $25 million, by an investors group led by Dan Colussy, president of Pan American World Airways from 1978 to 1980."

Through 2007 - aka '07? Worth 25 (2+5) million?

Finally: "strong government desire to avoid having more than 70 satellites de-orbit within 14 months".

hmm.. . . .

Btw, has anyone noted that it was Microsoft's 25th Anniversary this year? I wonder if that influenced which company to buyout for their X-Box :-)


Raul Bonilla <biomeca@hotmail.com> writes:

Some time ago, when QuickTime 5 beta was released, somebody sent you a message about it's new music synthesizer and the possibility of hearing M1 music the way it was before QuickTime 3. I wrote to you saying the problem wasn't fixed and I sent my bug report even though Apple's feedback page only asked for program crashes. Well, on QuickTime 5 Public Preview 2 the problem is gone. I applied the M1 Music patch for QT4 and the music sounds just like I remembered it.


John "Doombat" Rychlik <iamtheone89@go.com> writes concerning a problem with the MA-75B. See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.


Dec 17, 2000 (Sunday)

A PC version of the Oni demo has been released. Check Oni Central for details.


Elbert Wall <elbertdw@radiks.net> writes:

http://www.artmuseum.net/Refresh/dym.html#

...it reminded me of the designs in halo and on the doors in marathon 2.


Lophan (full name pending) <lophan@bungie.org> writes:

In the Starcraft manual (made by Blizzard), there is an artist sketch of the infantry unit (page 29) replete with slogans and mottos commonly written or tattooed on the armor of ground pounders. If you look closely, the word "Mjolnir" is on the soldiers' gunbarrel in the bottom right corner. Maybe it's a tribute to the Marathon series (actually, I don't know what else it could be) which would be kind of neat. I haven't seen it mentioned before anywhere and thought you might find it interesting.

EVEN MORE INTERESTING: its definitely a Marathon refence... on the warriors right calf is that funny little Marathon Symbol again. Just noticed it as I was typing this email to ya'.

Maybe one of the other readers could scan it in & send it to ya'.


On the subject of the name "Mjolnir" Scott Back <BackSc@ADMIN.training.wa.gov.au> writes:

Just played the new Far Gate demo and noticed that one of the ships has an interesting name of Mjolnir...

It should be remembered of course that the name "Mjolnir" (also spelled Mjollnir) is not specific to Bungie but comes from mythology.


Dec 16, 2000 (Saturday)

Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) sent his weekly Halo update to the UK based Haloplayers site. Good to see this getting shared around more. Here's one bit:

Bungie Cinematronics (AKA Joe and Marty) are spending lots and lots and lots of money to equip their new studios just the way they like them. The Oni guys have already moved into our new space, and the rest of us will make the trip later this month. Joe and Marty will have lots more cool techno toys to play with, but they're also assuming a punishing workload and thus require the latest/greatest/fastest/best of everything. Your Halo experience will be suffused with a huge amount of Cinematronic goodness.

Perhaps we'll get to see some Bungie Cinematronics... soon! :-)


Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> writes:

I was browsing some books and accidently ran over the first line of Marion Zimmer Bradley's "The Mists of Avalon":

"Morgaine speaks... In my time I have been called many things: sister, lover, priestess, wisewoman, queen."

There is a short review about the book here: http://www.amazon.com:80/exec/obidos/ASIN/0345350499/o/qid=976983175/sr=8-1/ref=aps_sr_b_1_3/106-0884896-7880451

Anyway since we know about the relevance of arturian stories for Bungie, this sounded intriguing. Of course it is not "I have been called many names," but reminded me of that quote.


Dec 15, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update #2

As President of Bungie I'd just like to say... oh wait... that's another poll! ;-)

Thankfully Bungie closed their "fight poll" less than an hour ago... now I can stop voting for myself. ;-) Seriously though I would like to thank everyone who voted for "Godot". I'm humbled.

Bungie have another poll up "How would you rate your knowledge of all things Bungie compared to other fans?" and darn it that Hamish appears AGAIN! Oddly enough Max "Yeroen" Hoberman <max@bungie.com> just wrote in with this cryptic message:

We have a new question up and you're mentioned once again. Strange, it's almost like these last few polls have been building towards something.

Oh dear... Hamish vs. ??? ;-)


Quick update #1

Whoa!... Evil. Now I wonder who made that last vote? ;-)


Well the latest crop of emails purporting to originate from Cortana have caught the attention of some sections of the Community. However Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) had this to say on the subject in a forum post at Rampancy.net:

Skepticism is a Virtue
Matt
Posted On: Friday, December 15 2000, 3:01am

How can I put this politely?

The Broken record called "Matt" says: Things are never as simple as we'd like to believe.

The "real" Cortana is not a gloryhound or smurf*.

Beware false prophets.

-Matt

* Matt didn't actually use the word "smurf" this was added by the r.net censor script. The word he did use was "wh_re". I leave the missing letter to your imagination.


Where's Bob? (aka The quest for Doug "The Voice of Bob" Zartman).
Back in Nov 23rd we pointed out that Doug Zartman (formerly of Bungie Software) was working on building a mechwarrior-universe site and fan outreach. Now Robert "CyberBob" Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> points out that the web site is live and according to The Codex Doug is listed as doing "Fictional Content" and "Website Design and Development". Big change from PR work at Bungie.


Elbert Wall <elbertdw@radiks.net> points out that we shouldn't confuse cortana.org with www.cortana.org.


On the subject of the anime film "Martian Succesor Nadesico" (see yesterday's news) a number of people seem to have had problems trying to access the image at http://members.nbci.com/rakna/favs/Ruri/ruri02.jpg. So now you can see it on the Story page here.


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

On the Bungie.org Hotline server, some of us have been playing a neat little game involving song lyrics. We call it "Kill Your Television." (Kill the TV and grab your radio!)

Okay, so it isn't Marathon related, past the name. It's still pretty fun, though. :-)

http://www.milesmedia.net/ryan/kyt_rules.html

If you want to play contact Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> for more details.


Dec 14, 2000 (Thursday)

Quick update #3

We have a winner! Tom Van Sinden <tvansinden@earthtech.com> writes concerning the problem with this pic from bungie.net gallery.

8/1997? Unless Jason was taking a break from Myth to relive the old days, that picture should be from sometime in 1992.

Yup. A simple date mistake, Jason doing some overtime, or are Bungie trying to rewrite history?


Quick update #2

What's wrong with this pic? It's part of the random Bungie pics channel from bungie.net.


Quick update #1

It's coming... Jan 12, 2001


Rich Cameron <RComet@mac.com> writes concerning the door pattern in Halo. See the Ring Motif in Halo section for details.


Jonathan Bahamon <jbahamon@earthlink.net> writes:

I recently bought an anime domestically released by ADV Films called Martian Succesor Nadesico. Very popular in Japan, I hear. IMHO it's pretty good. But being a Marathon fan and a fan of your website, I pick apart everything for references to Marathon, whether coincidental or not. So of course I couldn't miss this:

http://members.nbci.com/rakna/favs/Ruri/ruri02.jpg

These hands belong to Ruri Hoshino, one of the main characters in Nadesico. She is the computer controller, so to speak. She is one of the fan-favorites and is shown a lot. She is 11 years old and is frequently devoid of emotion. Being the only sane person aboard a ship of fools, she likes to use the Japanses word "baka" (fool) a lot.

BTW, these symbols on her hands only appear when she uses the computer. It's like an interface.

Nadesico is the name of a space ship that is humanity's last hope aganist the alien invaders from Jupiter. Mars plays a large role in this anime too.

There is a subplot later in the series about how the Jovians are tied with man's prehistoric past. Also worthy of note is a subplot when the Nadesico's main computer becomes self-aware and forms his own agenda....

Shades of the Jjaro and Durandal? Interpert to your liking, I guess.

You can also see the image here.


Last week's bungie.net Quick Poll is still up. It's now been running for over a week. It'll be interesting to see what Bungie can come up with next.


Elbert Wall <elbertdw@radiks.net> points us to a MacNN editorial entitled The New Face of Gaming. It provides some background on Bungie's earlier games and goes on to discuss Oni and its lack of realistic violence. Here's a snippet:

There's simply one thing missing: realistic violence. While this isn't a crucial element to the Oni experience or the story it works to tell, it is indicative of something larger.

The article goes on to bemoan the fact that the explicit removal of the violence rather than the traditional use of parental controls strips parents of the right to decide what's right for their children:

In the end, Bungie is not to blame for this flaw. The company has made an amazing product, once again pushing the envelope of what's possible in a computer game. Unfortunately, the forces of marketing and outspoken parent groups seem to have sunk their claws into the final version, demanding a final change to both tone down the violence and sell more copies. Not only has the gaming community and its opinions been openly shunned, but the right of parents to choose what their children are exposed to has been stripped from the buyers, the decision having already been made and filed away.

It remains to be seen how Microsoft (and Bungie) will handle this issue in Halo when it arrives on the X-box next year.


Islandfour.org a fan site of the Island Four Software Corporation has now increased its members to four. No wait... it's actually five... one too many I fear! Who will have to go? We need a poll! ;-) Check out their site for full details.


Dec 13, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update

Super Slueth Miguel "Freewill" Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes:

Either I have egg on my face or something really weird is going on.

You were first notified of the whole Cortana thing by Bradley Attfield, at iku-turso@home.com

The urls I sent mention that tursas is also sometimes called iku-turso! So maybe Bradley *is* Tursas. What's weird is that he uses tursas@bungie.net in his posts, and everyone knows that Bungie's free email redirection service is no longer in operation. I figured it was another clue that someone wanted to stay incognito.

So, Bradley, have anything to say? :)

Conspiracy or... ;-)

Remember folks don't believe anything until you see the detailed email headers and IPs... independently obtained.


While I was sleeping. Seems there was a flurry of activity over the sighting of a new site at www.cortana.org. Thanks to Bradley Attfield <iku-turso@home.com> who was the first to send it in to the Story page.


Thomas Van Sinden <tvansinden@earthlink.net> writes concerning cortana.org:

I believe I might have hit the nail on the head. Lucky me.

http://marathon.bungie.org/story/newsept-oct00.html (October 28)

http://www.cortana.org

http://www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois?STRING=cortana.org


Miguel "Freewill" Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> also writes concerning cortana.org:

The whole 'cortana.org' controversy has ignored one little thing... a person by the name of 'tursas' announced it on r.net's forum, and a person by the name of 'electric sheep' announced it on the HBO forum. Now, Electric Sheep is an obvious reference, but I had to dig a little for 'tursas'

A quick google search on Tursas reveals it to be of Finnish origins. One definition is of a sea monster, another has a different definition:

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/4640/indexgodsnor.html

http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/4640/p4tursas2.html

A malevolent god that is associated with 'arrows'? I don't know, smells a little fishy to me. Anyway, I could be way off base, but I thought I'd pass this along regardless.


Dec 12, 2000 (Tuesday)

Voting in the latest bungie.net poll now tops 1,200 and still climbing. It might make 1,500 before the closure but with an average of about 100 votes a day since Sunday it's unlikely.

Bungie are certainly keeping a close eye on events. Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com> (Bungie Studios) writes:

Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2000 16:44:40 -0800
Subject: Ancient History
From: Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>
To: Hamish Sinclair <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>

Back in the old days when our "fight" poll went up, you actually got off to a slow start. After ten or fifteen minutes of watching in anguish while the public cast their vote for others and you languished behind with 0%, I took decisive action.

Statistics may lie, but your percentage is all Tru7h.

-Matt


Matthew Soell
Community Guy / Keeper of the Bungie Way
Bungie Studios
matt@bungie.com


LOL good old Matt. The power of the Story page fan base is an unstoppable Juggernaut... once it gets going! :-)


Concerning yesterday's news item on Jason Jones and John Howard presenting a talk on Halo at the Game Developers Conference 2001 Matt Soell posted the following additional info to the halo.bungie.org forums:

Re: Halo at GDC 2001
Posted By: Matt <matt@bungie.com>
Date: 11 Dec 2000, 13:18

In Response To: Halo at GDC 2001 (Ding)

> http://www.gdconf.com So who's going to the CGC? This looks
> like the first real exposure for Halo in a long while.

I know absolutely zilch about what Jason and John plan to discuss, but I think that's what it's mostly going to be: discussion. In other words, they PROBABLY won't be whipping out a beta to show off; it'll be lots of tech talk. Not that that's boring or anything, especially where Halo is concerned.

As for the matter of whether it will be the "first" real exposure for Halo in a while...I dunno. A lot could happen between now and March.

-Matt


Dec 11, 2000 (Monday)

Quick update #2

And then there were none! Thanks to Steve Campbell <steve@bungie.org> for pointing out that there are now no longer any Marathon Trilogy Box Sets in stock at the link below! Ok so who bought them all?


Quick update #1

Dan Rudolph <Ace_of_Sevens@mac.com> writes concerning one source for the Marathon Trilogy Box Set:

The Marathon Trilogy Box Set can be found at

http://www.computers4sure.com/product.asp?productid=51787&affid=1765&adid=1765

Expensive as new, which must be why they've still got them in stock.

Better be quick though a number of people have expressed interest in obtaining copies. If anyone knows of other sources please send them in. Thanks.


Sean Phelps <seanphelps@home.com> writes:

I just got my pamphlet in the mail for the 01 Game Developers Conference. Listed under "Case Studies":

HALO
Jason Jones & John Howard, Bungie Software

Might be interesting for anyone attending. Obviously that should read "Bungie Studios", I presume this pamphlet was printed some time ago. The web addy is www.gdconf.com.

Nice find! Halo: A Case Study by Jason Jones and John Howard is listed as a "Game Design" presentation at the Game Developers Conference 2001 in San Jose CA (March 20-24, 2001). The conference page states that an abstract is forthcoming. This is certainly one to watch out for.

On the Speaker's page Jason Jones and John Howard are both listed as Bungie Software rather than Bungie Studios. But then again Bungie's own web page still says Bungie Software.


Rich Cameron <RComet@mac.com> writes:

While reading your speculations about the symbol that appears to be used by both the Covenant and the ring builders, I thought of another explanation. I believe that the ring builders may be the "gods" that the Covenants talk about. It is not unlikely that the Covenants would see a race with superior technology and knowledge, able to create worlds like the Halo ring as gods. If the Halo ring was constructed by the Covenants' gods, they would probably see it as holy ground, which would expain many things, including why the red Covenant leader believes that the distruction of the humans on the ring (this is presumed to mean the entire race, but he may be speaking specifically of the humans on the ring) is the will of the gods. It would also explain the symbol used both by the Covenant and the ring builders.

Interesting point. However what we know (so far) of Halo's background story would suggest that the Covenant are new to the ring. Of course this doesn't prevent the ring from containing structures and symbols that the Covevant are familiar with. It would certainly add a twist to the story if the Covenant pursued the humans to a ring in space only to find that it was created by their "own Gods".


Joseph E. Haake <joecoo@spacestar.net> writes:

I'm trying to find a place where I can buy the Marathon Trilogy Boxset, preferably unopened. Any ideas where I could find that?

If anyone can help please contact either Joseph or the Story page. Thanks.


Dec 10, 2000 (Sunday)

Over 1000 votes in the latest bungie.net poll. Here's how the poll stood at 1007 votes. 43% eh? 4 + 3 = 7. Coincidence? ;-)


Back in July 22, 1999 (a day after Halo was announced at MacWorld Expo New York) Tom Bridge noted that the Halo transmissions seen on Bungie's early Halo website were similar to the Usenet like transmissions in Vernor Vinge's sci-fi novel "A Fire Upon the Deep". However it transpired that they were actually almost identical to the ship transmissions in Iain M. Banks' Culture series. Since then Vinge's book "A Fire Upon the Deep" appears to have been almost forgotten. But of course nothing is ever forgotten at the Story page... right Matt? ;-)

Let me quote you an editorial review of Vernor Vinge's 1993 Hugo award winning novel "A Fire Upon the Deep" from amazon.com:

Faster-than-light travel remains impossible near Earth, deep in the galaxy's Slow Zone--but physical laws relax in the surrounding Beyond. Outside that again is the Transcend, full of unguessable, godlike "Powers." When human meddling wakes an old Power, the Blight, this spreads like a wildfire mind virus that turns whole civilizations into its unthinking tools. And the half-mythical Countermeasure, if it exists, is lost with two human children on primitive Tines World.

Serious complications follow. One paranoid alien alliance blames humanity for the Blight and launches a genocidal strike. Pham Nuwen, the man who knows about Countermeasure, escapes this ruin in the spacecraft Out of Band--heading for more violence and treachery, with 500 warships soon in hot pursuit. On his destination world, the fascinating Tines are intelligent only in combination: named "individuals" are small packs of the doglike aliens. Primitive doesn't mean stupid, and opposed Tine leaders wheedle the young castaways for information about guns and radios. Low-tech war looms, with elaborately nested betrayals and schemes to seize Out of Band if it ever arrives. The tension becomes extreme... while half the Beyond debates the issues on galactic Usenet.

I draw your attention to the lines:

One paranoid alien alliance blames humanity for the Blight and launches a genocidal strike. Pham Nuwen, the man who knows about Countermeasure, escapes this ruin in the spacecraft Out of Band--heading for more violence and treachery, with 500 warships soon in hot pursuit.

An alien alliance launch a genocidal strike against humanity and lone spacecraft escapes with 500 warships in pursuit? Compare that with Halo's background story and note the similarities. :-)

If you haven't read "A Fire Upon the Deep" or Vinge's later book "A Deepness in the Sky" I heartily recommend them to you. They're on the Marathon/Halo reading list afterall. :-)


Dec 9, 2000 (Saturday)   Vote once, vote twice... vote often!

Voting in the latest bungie.net poll is fast approaching the 1000 votes mark. Still some ways to go before it reaches the number of votes previous polls have achieved. For example 4691 people voted in the "How much would you pay for a director's cut DVD of the Halo E3 movie with 5.1 Surround Sound?" earlier this year. Now whatever happened to the Halo DVD?


Matt Soell tries to wriggle out of The Bungie Webmaster jumpsuit... but it's soooo tight he needs some help. What Bungie should really have is a "Who is The Bungie Webmaster?" poll now that would decide it for sure. ;-)


Speak of the devil... Matt sent his weekly Halo update to Battleground Halo this week. Seems the Halo team are working towards completing their first solo mission. Here's a quote:

Right now our primary goal is a mission that is playable start to finish. Marcus showed me one of the outdoor structures he's working on for this mission, as well as the general environment around it. His words: "Beach to drive around on, cliffs to marvel at."


John "Doombat" Rychlik <iamtheone89@go.com> writes concerning the left fist in Marathon:

I think I know why the player in M1 punched with his left hand. As my grandfather taught me, in combat, you never want to let go of your weapon. The player probably shot with his right hand and quickly switched to his left to punch. In M2, Bungie probably changed the graphic due to how odd the left hand punching looked.


Michael Sheets <msheets@clanplaid.net> writes:

As Nathan posted on islandfour.org:

4520 Baymar Dr.
#101
Raleigh, NC 26512

Zip: 2+6+5+1+2 = 16 : 1+6 = 7

Coincidence?


Dec 8, 2000 (Friday) Where's m'boots?

Well it's been a hectic 24 hours of voting over at bungie.net and it ain't over yet... no sir! When the going gets tough... the tough... vote Hamish (38K). Note: that pic popped up sometime before the last Bungie fanfest in New York. Probably designed to embarrass me... but now it sure comes in handy... right Miguel? ;-)

Speak of the devil... Miguel (formerly known as Killer) posted this interesting tidbit over at Bungie Sightings. Looks like next month's Bungie fanfest is about to be rolled out. Good news indeed.

Talk about voting shenanigans... the good folks over at HBO seem to have had a slight disagreement over voting preferences. The fun'n'games was also picked up by Rampancy.net. It's good to know you've got friends over at HBO! Thanks guys! ;-)

It's also good to know that there are sites like the Psyjnir Complex rooting for ya! :-)

And who is to blame for all this voting carnage? Well here's a clue:

All over the net, dancing through the wreckage
of the Bungie community,

THE BUNGIE WEBMASTER WAS LAUGHING


Justin Ober <u_jober@umassd.edu> writes concerning the true identity of The Bungie Webmaster:

I was perusing the Bungie Acquisition FAQ on bungie.com www.bungie.com/faq.shtml when I read this little tidbit:

"We have retained the Bungie Webmaster to ensure that the requisite levels of surrealism, bile, hostility and sheer gall are maintained to our satisfaction. Also, dyed-in-the-wool Chicagoan Matt Soell will be along to constantly complain about the lack of decent pizza, the ubiquitous hills, the ridiculous coffee lingo and the jarring lack of gunfire in Seattle's ambient soundscape. The two of them should keep the rest of us in line should we start to lose our attitude."

That seems to pretty much rule out the theory that Matt Soell is the Bungie Webmaster, unless it's another red herring....

Got it in one Justin. You can smell the fish from here! ;-)


Tim Branin <Sonofhydra@aol.com> writes:

I'm not sure how well known this is, but I just figured it out that in Marathons 2 and Infinity there is no diference in one or two fisted punching. I timed it out and it seems in both modes it takes about 5.7 seconds to deliver 10 punches. I wonder why Bungie didn't try to make the fists punch one after the other instead of one fist punching, stopping and the other takeing another punch.

Also in the Original Marathon, you have only one fist but it says "fists" on the HUD, did Bungie plan for two fisted punching, or did they just think it would make more sense to say fists. One last point about the fist that has probably already been discussed is its change in handedness, Marathon - Left hand, Marathon 2 - Right hand.


Interesting postmortem article over at Gamasutra on Ion Storm's Deus Ex. What went right... what went wrong... in making the game. Deus Ex has been given the thumbs up by many Marathon fans. Might be something to get this Christmas if you haven't already got it. (Thanks to CyberBob for the heads up)


On the subject of the name "Godot" Jared Cash <jaredcash@mac.com> writes:

Godot is a reference to the play "Waiting For Godot". A play in which no one comes, no one leaves, nothing changes, nothing happens. Okay, maybe not NOTHING, but essentially nothing. All these people are waiting for Godot to come, but he never does. Interpret that how you will.


Similarly Sriranga Veeraraghavan <ranga@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU> writes:

Godot, as in "Waiting for Godot" a play by Samuel Beckett. It's about these two guys waiting in the middle of nowhere for a guy named Godot to show up. He never does. The entire play is online at:

ACT 1: http://home.sprintmail.com/~lifeform/Waiting_for_Godot_Part1.html
ACT 2: http://home.sprintmail.com/~lifeform/Waiting_for_Godot_Part2.html

Perhaps it's an allusion to the Story page and the fans waiting for the tru7h (or the PLANS) to show up. It never will.

Another similar play is "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" by Tom Stoppard. It tells the story of Hamlet from the perspective of two of the supporting characters. Sort of like a Bob telling the story of the Marathon.


Dec 7, 2000 (Thursday) It's the last 7th before Christmas!

Santa is here! Randy Reddig (aka ydnar) <ydnar@shaderlab.com> writes:

They've been sitting on various drives of mine for 3-4 years, and I wasn't doing anything with them. 37 concept textures made during the Other Double Aught game's conception. AFAIK, they were never used. They're available for the good of all (and many of them 128x128 for Marathon mappers, I might add) at http://shaderlab.com/.

Look at all those goodies! Even before Randy sent in the above announcement I received the following email from Muhsin Miski <mmiski@macpunk.com>:

I took a glance at shaderlab.com today and found some interesting textures that might take you back in the early days of Duality. In the recent news post he explains that he has updated the "archived" shaders section. When shaderlab.com was first introduced I saw some textures in this section that were from his unfinished subway map. With the recent update you can also see some of the textures that appeared on the OLD Duality website, namely the top middle texture visible in the "Phonograph (Texture Set)." If you still have some of the old Duality pages (orange design) you can see 'em used in some places.

But it doesn't end there, most of the textures appear to be in Marathon's 128x128 standard, suggesting that these were originally intended for use in Marathon Infinity. Were these scrapped Marathon Infinity textures? Without surprise, some appear to have H.R. Giger influence. Dune influence is explicitly stated as well.


Revenge of the Bungie Webmaster perhaps? In Bungie's latest Quick Poll on bungie.net they ask:

All this talk of rioting in the streets has led us to wonder which of the following fans would win in a fight. Who'd you put your money on?

Miguel "Freewill" Chavez
Tyson "Ferrex" Greene
Claude "Louis Wu" Errera
Hamish "Godot" Sinclair

Seems Bungie are trying to stir things up in the Community. Fighting amongst fans... would never happen of course. Could this be a clever scam to get extra hits on their page? Go vote for your favorite pugilist. Now the big question is what is a "Godot"? Surely everyone knows my middle name is unpronounceable. ;-)


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

One particular thing in Nathan's posts [see links below] took my interest, in pointing out the Thomas Covenant series were his favourite books.

Now the obvious connection here is that the aliens in Halo are known as "The Covenant", but that could just as easily have religous inspirations, especially with all the religous style quotes made by the Covenant.

However, this made me wonder if the rest of the Bungie team (or some of them?) were Thomas Covenant fans, because whilst playing through Myth I noticed many quotes and concepts that seemed to have spawned from the books. For instance the level "Heart of the Stone". Not only does the name pop up in the chapter where Thomas first meets the Despiser, but the layout of the map is the same as the setting described (large underground cave, filled with lava). Another interesting point is that the Leveller's 1000 year cycle also matches the same period of time since the Despiser last destroyed the land.

Bungie are well known for taking inspiration and indeed concepts from literature (hey who doesn't). Stephen R. Donaldson's "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" series is just one of a number of books which contain themes similar to those in the Myth series.


And yet more book discussion. Justin Ober <u_jober@umassd.edu> writes:

I was reading Nathan Bitner's forum posts about "Island Four" and noticed this: "the most recent novel finished, _Infinite Jest_. You want to know more about Island Four - read that one!"

"Infinite Jest" is a very postmodern novel by David Foster Wallace. It is hysterical and impenetrable, weighing in at about 1,088 pages (the last 225 or so of which are composed entirely of fine-print endnotes; that may give you a clue as to Wallace's extrordinarly, elegantly compacted style. It's DENSE.) In the broad strokes, it deals with a movie made by a recently-dead (suicided, actually) amateur. The movie is so comforting that whoever watches it slips into an ultimately lethal coma of bliss. Two sentences, of course, are a wholly inadequate description. Among the other main plots are the filmmaker's tennis-prodigy son and his rather dysfunctional life at a Tennis Academy (founded by his father) outside of Boston, and a reforming drug addict living in a treatment center next door to the Academy. The comforting-movie itself is being sought both by the government (a synthesis of the American and Canadian governments known as the Organization of North American Nations, or O.N.A.N., which allows for countless 'onanism' jokes) and a group of radical Quebecois seperatist terrorists.

Infinite Jest is wickedly funny, and much of the humor comes from a sense that the author himself is laughing at the reader simply for trying to decode the prose (this, in my opinion, sheds some light on the book's title). If Island Four makes computer games as sophisticated, witty, and intelligent as "Infinite Jest," they have at least one customer for life.

I hope this might shed some light on what Nathan Bitner meant


Meg Sagi (aka Pallor) <pallor@paxnimbus.com> points out that Nathan Bitner (aka Island Four) is looking for a person with experience in start-up companies and knows what makes small businesses work for his new game company. You can find full details here.


Dec 6, 2000 (Wednesday)

Great (and somewhat heated) response to yesterday's "The Bungie Webmaster Revealed?" item. For those interested in the history behind this subject check out The Bungie Webmaster section. If you take the time to read this you'll understand what all the fuss (and fun) is about.


Nathan Bitner makes an interesting series of posts on www.islandfour.org. In them he describes his long association with Jason Jones and his more recent involvement with Bungie as an employee. Some tidbits concerning personalities... and if you're good at reading between the lines (which all Story page fans are right?) you'll pick up some little gems. See:

The responsibilities of a sprout (Part 1)
The responsibilities of a sprout (Part 2)


Dec 5, 2000 (Tuesday)

Quick update #3

Max Dyckhoff <max@insidemacgames.com> writes:

Nathan has also registered www.island4.org

http://www.networksolutions.com/cgi-bin/whois/whois/?STRING=island4.org&STRING=Search

Resolves to the same IP as www.islandfour.com

www.island4.com has been registered for some time to some random company.


Just a point of clarification on the Bungie Webmaster's identity. A number of people have written in to say - "Isn't Max Hoberman (aka Yeroen) the Bungie webmaster?". Well yes he is... but is he The Bungie Webmaster? Now if you don't know the difference well you haven't been keeping up-to-date. Here's a letter to the Story page from the old days:

From: "Webmaster" <webmaster@bungie.com>
To: <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: Identity Crisis
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 10:20:38 -0500
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Priority: 3
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
X-MimeOle: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE Engine V4.71.0913.1

Mr. Sinclair:

"Ever wonder who Bungie's elusive Webmaster is?  Wonder no longer."

An investigative reporter once wrote an article claiming that reclusive
authors Thomas Pynchon and J. D. Salinger were one and the same.  Pynchon
responded:

"Some of it is true, but none of the interesting parts.  Keep trying."

Of course, it's since been proven that they are two distinct individuals.

Cheers,

The Bungie Webmaster


Quick update #2

The identity of the Bungie Webmaster REVEALED? Did Nathan Bitner let the secret slip? In a rampancy.net forum post Nathan Bitner (aka Island Four) had this to say on the subject of Cortana and the Bungie Webmaster:

I wouldn't worry
Island Four

Posted On: Tuesday, December 5 2000, 6:25am

: As before, this was cross-posted to HBO.

: I really admire the effort, but it could detract
: from the fun when Bungie decides to crank up the
: hype machine for real.

I don't think anyone's doing too much of an interpretation of Cortana that it will affect the real Cortana much.

It might piss her off enough to finally have to open her mouth though! God forbid those on the other end. She may make the Webmaster look like a tamed little prairie dog (well, okay, MORE like ... SORRY Matt ... =)

Or so I hear.

Nathan

Is Matt Soell the Bungie prair... err... Webmaster? Of course it could be the other Matt... but them again maybe not! ;-)


Quick update #1

Another quick update... Nathan Bitner (aka Island Four) writes:

From: "Nathan Bitner" <nbitner@nc.rr.com>
To: "Hamish Sinclair" <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>
Subject: New News Items
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 08:00:18 -0500
X-Priority: 3

I am pleased to bring you these (very) early announcements:

- First of all, the name has passed copyright. In a few days (before the end of the week), I will announce the official name of Island Four Software Corporation (There is still some paperwork to be completed).

- Second, I have received several inquiries about whether we will make games for the Mac. Here is my answer:

It is much too early to make final decisions about platforms. We have yet to see how successful the new platforms will be, especially Microsoft's X-Box. Strategic alliances are part of any fledgling company. The answer is that, right now, there is no answer. However, I can let you know my current intention:

The vast majority of the work will be done on PCs. There will be some exceptions. The PC version will be made first. The game will then be ported to the MacOS. The reason for this is that it is much easier to create the game first on a PC and port it to the Mac, rather than the other way around.

We will have an outside entity that will assist us if the question of console versions presents itself.

Our current hope and plan is to release PC and Mac versions simultaneously. A strategy regarding console systems has not yet been developed. Please keep in mind that we are at an incredibly early stage. No decisions have been made and if they have, they couldn't possibly be final. These statements our simply our "intentions" at this time.

And perhaps more importantly:

Because there is always an intense market for multiplayer gaming ... and our visions hold true to this demand ...

IslandFour.net has been registered as well under our company's name.

Make of it what you will.

Sincerely,

Nathan Bitner

Island Four Software Corp. is dedicated to bringing you an exciting EXPERIENCE that captures the imagination not only of our unique employees, but also of the unique gamers. That imagination will create and enhance our gameplay. Island Four will create experiences that "you can't put down," just like your favorite book. Have fun!

p.s. nbitner@nc.rr.com is working fine now and is the preferable address - at least for today. :-)

The only one I wouldn't send much to is Island_Four@yahoo.com, since options are kind of limited in that vast devoid.

p.p.s. Don't even ASK yet when the website will be up and running!! :-) ... not as fast as the fan site at least. :-)


Attempting to send your resumé, best wishes, or hate mail to Nathan Bitner (aka Island Four) at <nbitner@rr.com>? Well don't since it doesn't work. Nathan clarifies:

The correct address is nbitner@nc.rr.com (notice the added "nc" for the damn state =).

However, for right now the best way to reach me is still NathanBitner@email.msn.com.

As of next week, the company will have email addresses (e.g. chuckysmom@islandfour.com). You know she works everywhere, right?

erm...


Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> sent in a screenshot from the E3 Halo movie which shows a hitherto undiscovered glyph-like symbol. See the Ring Motif in Halo section.


Sriranga Veeraraghavan <ranga@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU> points out that there are a couple of Marathon inspired desktop pictures on MacDesktops.com. See the 4th Dec submissions for "The Last Hope", "Durandal", and "Infinity" desktops all by Brad Custer. There's also a Halo one and two Myth ones. Note that the Infinity desktop incorporates art by Chuck Fox. Check the Games section for a full list of Bungie related desktops.


Dec 4, 2000 (Monday)

Quick update #2

For those interested in the name "Island Four" (Nathan Bitner's pseudonym and now new company name), its origin and its connection with Halo then head on over to the Cortana section. The fun starts on Sept 25, 1999, the "Island Four origin" competition began on Sept 28, 1999 and lasted until Oct 14, 1999 when Matthew Smith sent in the winning answer. All the details are on there... except one.


Quick update #1

Louis Wu <halo@bungie.org> was kind enough to pass on the following tidbit. It actually comes via Meg Sagi (aka Pallor) <pallor@paxnimbus.com> who writes concerning Nathan Bitner's new gaming company "Island Four":

It seems he _just_ registered the domain www.islandfour.com and 3of9 of RHL fame has registered www.islandfour.org. www.islandfour.net is still unclaimed. Smell anything interesting in this? Check out www.islandfour.org to see the news...

LOL. You got to be quick around here. Full details on www.islandfour.com can be found here. www.islandfour.org is registered to Joshua Inglima (aka 3of9).


Nathan Bitner (aka Island Four) <island_four@yahoo.com> writes concerning his co-founder and Senior Creative Developer Randy Cruts:

He is already a decorated veteran and an international award-winning writer. His two books (he is about to publish a third) are _Dive Into Terror_ and _Controlled Insanity_.

More information about these books can be found at amazon.com - see Dive into Terror (1998) and Controlled Insanity (2000). There is also some background info on Mr. Cruts in a News Herald article here.


Back in October (27th) Robert Zimmermann (aka Cyberbob) noted Bungie's new snail mail address "One Microsoft Way" in Redmond. At the time it was claimed that there are no sevens in the address. Now Blake Skinner <malice@mac.com> writes:

On Bungie's new address (I know this was a while ago):

Bungie Resumes
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way, Bldg. 19
Redmond, WA 98052

1+9+9+8+0+5+2=34
3+4=7

Yup... all we had to do was add up ALL the numbers. ;-)


observer (full name pending) <observer@marblecomputing.com> writes concerning the naming of the "Campbell Equalizer Mk4" weapon in Oni:

Could the Campbell Equalizer Mk4 mentioned in the Oni preview be a reference to Bruce Campbell instead? Certainly the next weapon listed (The Black Adder SMG) is a media reference (to the British comedy series Black Adder), so perhaps the first is also a media reference. Bruce Campbell is the star of such movies as Evil Dead, Evil Dead2, Army of Darkness [Evil Dead3], and was recently on the Xena TV show.

Interesting point. Bruce Campbell or Steve Campbell?


Dec 3, 2000 (Sunday)

Island Four (Nathan Bitner) returns... and with a special announcement:

Date: Sun, 3 Dec 2000 03:00:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Island Four <island_four@yahoo.com>
Subject: First Announcement
To: Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie

Dear Hamish,

I hope that you are doing well and that the stars are in your favour.

I am writing to give you, personally, the first announcement that a new gaming software company will open its doors for work within the next eight to twelve months. The name is not official, as it is waiting copyright information from my lawyer.

Here is the brief and official announcement:

December 3, 2000

Raleigh, NC - Today, I am announcing the creation of a new, privately-held software gaming company, currently under the working name "Island Four". Formation of the employees in this company is at an extremely early stage, but has progressed more rapidly than expected.

We expect to open an office in either the Triangle area of North Carolina (Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Cary, Durham, and Research Triangle Park), Charlotte, NC, or Chicago, IL. The company is expected to open within eight to twelve months - "soon", naturally.

Office space is already being sought after.

I believe this software company, already loaded with several expert and published writers, will move gaming - and perhaps reading - in a direction that it has never taken. I have secured writers because I believe them to be an equally important creative force in this business as are artists and programmers.

I hope to use both my previous experience as a Producer, Creative Developer, and Level Designer, as well as the contacts I have already made within the industry (especially since I have left Bungie Software Products Corporation).

Bungie's people, products, and personality were and are spectacular and I choose to emulate that type of outlook, rather than alienate it. The most important part of anyone's job is quite simple: to have fun.

With "Island Four", I expect that not only will we have this critical element, but that the business end can succeed as well. Everything takes time, as my good friend Greg K. can attest to.

We will join forces with the people necessary to make this fun for us, fun for our consumers - gamers and more, and hopefully fun for our CFO.

The intention is to cofound this company with Mr. Randy Cruts as Senior Creative Developer. Mr. Cruts has published two novels and is an ex-Navy Seal.

Lots of companies ... and one government ... has postulated the future. They have only reached, thus far, the projection of what they call "Island Three".

It's time to show the world that they have one step to go.

Best Wishes as Always,

Nathan E. Bitner
United States Federal Government
Former Producer and Creative Developer of Halo*

*Halo is a trademarked name of Bungie Software and
Microsoft Corporation - but it is mine. =)

I can be reached at the following snailmail address:

Nathan Bitner
4520 Baymar Dr., Apt. 101
Raleigh, NC 27612

or the following email addresses:
NathanBitner@email.msn.com
Island_Four@yahoo.com
nebitner@email.unc.edu
nbitner@rr.com

and one that must remain secret for now. =)

Enjoy.

Early days yet but it's always good to have another gaming company on the horizon dedicated to good story telling. :-)


Ben Reiter <ben@geeklair.net> writes concerning his Marathon synopsis page which recently went offline:

OK: it's back up. New and improved, and other such things. The formatting sucks much less now, and the story should be more coherent. http://geeklair.net/~ben/marathon/marastory.html

Thanks Ben.


Another potential source for the Windows version of Marathon 2. George Waters <dawaters@earthlink.net> writes:

I haven't checked lately, but some time back, WAY after the game was already old, copies could still be found in the $14.99 bargain bins of CompUSA. If you're willing to crouch and peer through the jumble of boxes there. Just a thought.


Dec 2, 2000 (Saturday)

Quick update

Miguel Chavez (aka Freewill) <bs@bungie.org> writes:

The folks at themacmind.com got a chance to grill a MS spokesperson about a few things. Bungie comes up once or twice. interesting factor: 4

http://www.themacmind.com/cgi-bin/newsboard/news.pl?action=gen_read_page&id=uwV2YYlmo7

Here's that interesting bit:

TheMacMind.Com: A few months back I believe that Microsoft made an announcement that it would be making a large majority of its games Mac compatible in the future, did Microsoft feel that this was an obligation after acquiring Bungie or do you believe that the Mac has a lot of potential in the gaming market?

Microsoft Spokesperson: We haven't made any platform-specific decisions yet, but Bungie will make the decision to on which products are available for the Mac. Microsoft and Bungie remains committed to bringing their games to the largest possible audience of gamers.

After putting it through the Pfhor translators 'seven' times it still comes out like standard MS Spokesperson speak! ;-)


Updates galore. Matt Soell sent his Halo update to the folks at halo.bungie.org this week. Here's part of the text:

One of the missions we're sketching out right now involves a volcano and something I can only refer to as heavy machinery. :-)

Volcanos appear to play a prominent role in Bungie games. There was reference to one in Marathon Infinity, Myth, and in Myth II the final level was actually set in one. And who could forget all that lava in Marathon and Marathon 2. ;-)


Matt Soell also posted what appears to be his final Oni update at Oni Central and MacNN have posted an in-depth preview of Oni. Here's part of the text which compares it with the Marathon series:

Oni contains several elements reminiscent to the Marathon series, including a number of consoles on each level that not only activate items such as elevators or doors, but also provide background information on the level.

Fans of Marathon may be let down by the far less immersive storyline in Oni. While the game's progressive story is engaging, and certainly countless steps up from the likes of Quake 2 or Tomb Raider, Oni's storyline is somewhat scarce. At the end of each level is a cut scene that adds to the story, but even mid-way through the game players won't be exactly certain who Muro, the man you are after, is, or why you want to catch him. Similarly, Konoko's identity also remains a mystery for much of the game; finding this out becomes the focus of the game in the middle and latter parts, but is also rather superficial. The in-level consoles usually explain events that preceded the enemy attack, and contribute little to the actual story.

Of course, this is a compromise, adding enjoyment to the game for those who itch more action, at the expense of those who desire puzzles and pages of background storyline reading.

Oni also follows Marathon's in-game approach of requiring the player to reach several consoles to unlock doors to gain access to other parts of the level. Unlike Marathon, however, which could leave a person frustrated as they searched for that elusive console for hours, Oni features an in-game compass that points you in the direction of where you need to go. It even tells you if you need to climb or descend levels, but doesn't always take into consideration certain obstacles, however, so the element of exploration is still intact.

Another interesting piece in the preview is the name of one of the weapons a " Campbell Equalizer MK4". One wonders if this is a reference to Steve Campbell who was very supportive of Oni during the early years and formerly maintained Oni Central. If it is it's a nice touch.

Also one of the Oni cutscenes appears to be a homage to the Matrix. There is no spoon. ;-)


Dec 1, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update

More Marathon 2 for Windows sightings. Owen Strain <aboutthismac@hotmail.com> writes:

A quick google search revealed the following page:

http://www.cdromaccess.com/html/shared/marath2.htm

It would appear that Marathon 2 for Windows can be purchased there for $18.95. I haven't actually tried purchasing it, but it should work fine. I can't tell if it's a boxed version or just the cd, but who needs a manual anyway :)

I noticed the following review at the above page which is worth reprinting here. Remember the PC version shipped nine months after the Mac version.

Reviews:

Computer Player, December 1996

If it had been released much earlier in the year, Marathon 2 would have seemed as impressive a PC title as it was when it was released on the Mac. But it now suffers because there's so much competition and ever advancing 3D engines. Duke still has more playability, but Marathon 2 has a more intense atmosphere, a better story and environmental effects that Duke totally lacks. I also enjoyed many of the weapons, found the monsters engaging and thought many of the levels extremely difficult. Marathon 2 may not be top-rung, but anyone who's looking for a new first-person shooter will find it challenging and fun.


Mac Phair <macc@midrivers.com> makes some interesting comments about the weapons in Marathon and offers a suggestion on how to make a Wave Motion Cannon. See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.


Scott Nicholson <crazy42@punkass.com> writes:

Hey, I noticed on the story page that someone at Marathon Arena needed to find M2 for windows. I myself was fortunate to get it in the ghetto software section at Office Deopt for $14.

I don't know how much this has gotten out, but someone is working on and has an alpha version of Aleph One for win95. The page is at http://source.bungie.org/secondary/development/windows/index.html.

The folks at MA may want to take a look at this. Just insert M2 or infinity data and there you have it.


Nov 30, 2000 (Thursday)

Phil Hilton <philip.hilton@maine.edu> (Marathon Arena Project Leader) writes:

I was wondering if you'd be willing to make a post on the story page asking people where one might find the Windows version of Marathon 2. Now that the Bungie store is closed I can't find it anywhere, and a member of our group (the Marathon Arena project) would like it for reference. It seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. =(

Well the Bungie Store isn't back up yet but if you know a source (online or otherwise) for the Windows version of Marathon 2 please let Phil and the Story page know. Thanks.

Don't forget to check out the new music, screenshots, and updated features log at the Marathon Arena page at the great sounding URL ma.bungie.org. To bad it's not mom.bungie.org. Vanity domain names anyone? ;-)


Cam Pinard <cunbelin@yahoo.com> writes concerning recent comments on Deus Ex's Majestic 12 Commando's arm shields and the Marathon Hunter's arm shields:

Dues Ex MJ12/Marathon/Halo

Just thought I'd point out that the heavy Covenant troopers also have a similar shield like device
http://halo.bungie.org/screenshots/cdmag700/shot3big.jpg


Found these posts over at the hotline bungie.org server and thought I'd share:

From Hippie, Unique Snowflake (Nov14 17:02):

This might be old, but I haven't seen it before,
CM does H.R. Giger, in true CM style.
http://www.goodbrush.com/hirez_pgs/forum/forum1/alien.htm
-Hip


From MuShoo (Nov14 21:21):

Hip, the scariest thing about that pic, is that I think I see a little BoB in it's mouth.

-Mu's twisted mind.


You know I could swear... naw couldn't be... ;-)


Nov 29, 2000 (Wednesday)

Miguel Chavez (aka Freewill) <bs@bungie.org> writes:

Max has put up a new Poll at bungie.net Can we help get the word out that it exists! Participation from the throngs of Bungie fans is important to keeping the Fest alive and flourishing.

The poll is entitled:

Are you planning on attending this year's FanFest in San Francisco (early Jan., concurrent with the Macworld Expo)?


Nov 28, 2000 (Tuesday)

The good folks at Bungie.org are running a competition to win... copies of Pathways Into Darkness. Apparently you have to figure out a string of hexadecimal code. Compared to this baby it's a piece of cake. ;-)


According to Max Hoberman (aka Yeroen) over at bungie.net the Myth: TFL Server is back and there is a possible Win2K and ME fix for Myth II. Good to see Bungie still handling this even if it is Take Two's responsibility now.


Blue News reports that preview copies of the PC version of Oni have been sent out to the press and Gamespot have posted an Oni Preview with some revealing story details. Warning it may spoil your gaming experience if you read this.


Nov 27, 2000 (Monday)

Interesting... in the space of few days I've received two emails regarding the loss of Ben Reiter's Marathon's story synposis at http://www.coriolisdesign.com/ben/marathon/ One was from Chris Butcher <butcher@bungie.com> and the other from Jake Federspiel <lakeside@lr.net>. Since it is likely that I'm going to get repeated requests for a story synopsis now that Ben's page is gone I'm going to upload Ben's synopsis here. I'm sure he won't mind. And before anyone asks "Do I really have the whole internet archived locally?" The answer is... soon(TM). ;-)


Joseph Haake <joecoo@spacestar.net> writes:

In the Japanese anime Lain, the logo for the company Copland OS Enterprise looks oddly familiar: http://www.appliedfantasy.net/lain.html


Nov 26, 2000 (Sunday)

Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> writes concerning the name of one of the background music tracks in Marathon:

If track 02 is "Fat Man" (which some believe), "Never Burn Money" is the level in which "Fat Man" appears . . .

. . . and we learn of the bomb being planted by the Pfhor. Well, we don't _know_ it's a bomb yet, but we later find out their "concentrating on the aft Engineering Section" is really a plan to detonate a bomb in the Marathon. (Bob-B-Q)

What does "Fat Man" have to do with any of this?

"Fat Man" was the name of the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan by the U.S. at the end of World War II.

FATMAN is also the Cheat Code to get the SPNKR-X17 SSM Launcher. But the less said about that the better.


Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> sent in this ad for Fallout Tactics (143K) in the latest PC Gamer mag and asks if we can see anything that looks familar. I'll let you come to your own conclusions.


Nov 25, 2000 (Saturday)

Brandon Loberg (aka K'taur) <ktaur@mac.com> writes:

While I was playing Infinty for the I've-lost-count time, I noticed that the only terminal on "Bagged Again" (level 22) contains this intriguing message from Tycho:

I should spend some time enlightening you, massacres occur at your beck and call, worlds destroyed, reborn, alight with the screams of the dying. Perhaps S'bhuth will tell you what I cannot accept as truth, but perhaps he will just be lying, overcome by power and deceit, my domain.

I find the passage "worlds destroyed, reborn" particularly interesting. During the Myth II epilogue, the narrator speaks of how every thousand years, the Leveler returns either to lay waste to the world of the living, or the restore it. [Note this is also evident from Myth TFL]

The narrator also points out that the Leveler is never actually killed, but rather immobilized until he returns again. To support this parallel to the Marathon story, I cite Infinity's final screen:

But you were dead a thousand times.

It is also important to point out that it appears to be an omniscient entity (possibly S'boath?) that is narrating the final screen. I would otherwise say the writer of the somewhat cryptic words is S'bhuth (because Tycho hints that "Perhaps S'bhuth will tell you what I cannot accept as truth"), but the fact that S'bhuth is mentioned in the third person (not to mention deceased) in the final screen discounts this theory. Whomever it is that is delivering their final thoughts does make this very clear:

You follow the path, fitting into an infinite pattern.

Yours to manipulate, to destroy and rebuild.

Now, in the quantum moment before the closure, when all become one. One moment left. One point of space and time.

I know who you are.

You are Destiny.

I think the parallel is pretty obvious here. Infinite pattern? Destroy and rebuild? Destiny? That's like blatantly saying, "There's a parallel here."

oh and Brandon adds...

Some may be interested to know...the word "Leveler" has seven letters. Hmmm...

As has the word "Mjolnir". Hmmm... but I digress. Did Double Aught Software, the creators of the Marathon Infinity scenario "Blood Tides of Lh'owon" attempt some subtle tie-in with Myth? Greg Kirkpatrick was certainly around when "The Giant Bloody War Game" concept was being discussed and is unlikely not to have been aware of Myth's backstory which is loosely based on Glen Cook's "The Black Company".


Jonathan Chaffer <jchaffer@tmbg.org> writes:

Despite the many other similarities between DX and Marathon, I think this poster was more likely inspired directly by 2001. Evidence for this is that the poster appears in Alex Jacobson's room, whose personal belongings are secured right next to that poster in a closet which is opened by the code "2001."

Good point.


Matt Francis (a.k.a. Yossarian) <budrpe@yahoo.com> writes to say that his Bungie Dramatis Personae site is now open. I was sort of stuck for words to describe this page until I noticed the intriguing background graphic on the Top Seven page. Now that should keep you occupied for awhile! =)


Nov 23, 2000 (Thursday) Happy demo anniversary and a happy Thanksgiving!

Marathon demo reaches six! This day six years ago (Wednesday 23rd November 1994) the Marathon demo was released. For details on the history of the demo and some of the odd things that can be found on its four levels see the Marathon Demo v0.0 section. Given the day that's in it why no fire up the demo and spend some time getting to that "Unfinished" Message on terminal 3 of "Blaspheme Quarantine"? :-)


According to a forum post over at r.net Doug "The Voice of Bob" Zartman (formerly of Bungie Software) is now working on building a mechwarrior-universe site and fan outreach (at Microsoft). And according to this post he's actually the webmaster of MechWarrior-Universe.com. Seems he's no longer doing PR stuff. Of course this does beg the question why he wasn't retained at Bungie after the acquisition to do fan outreach and web stuff?


bungie.org gets a welcomed face lift.


Ever since the game Deus Ex was released the Story page has received a number of letters regarding its similarities with aspects of the Marathon series. John Van <squabblysquabble@yahoo.com> now writes:

One of the civilian characters in Hong Kong says "Oh my God! They're everywhere!"

The elevators at a hotel (still in Hong Kong) are marathon elevator sounds (or something very very close).

Finally, we have the MJ12 commando troops, whose arm guards make them resemble hunters. The attached screenshot doesn't show the face well, but it seemed a little similar too. If someone can run the game with higher detail settings it might help.

John's pic shows the arm guards quite clearly. Back in Aug 13, 2000 Justin Ancheta <jancheta@mail.sprint.ca> sent in this screenshot of the Deus Ex's Majestic 12 Commando and also noted its similarity with the Pfhor Hunter's arm shields.


Peter Sherk <s22918@rmc.ca> writes concerning some of the weapons in Marathon. See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.


Nov 22, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update

Something odd going down at bungie.org. I'm sure things are about to improve for the... better. Keep an eye on it!


John Rychlik <iamtheone89@go.com> writes concerning the MA-75 assault rifle. See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.


Max Etchemendy <mxetch@yahoo.com> also writes concerning the MA-75 assault rifle. See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.


Garth Melnick <Garth.B.Melnick@directory.reed.edu> also writes concerning the MA-75 assault rifle. See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.


Mike Goodwin <suprnaut@mail.bendnet.com< writes:

Crack Dot Com's (the Abuse guys) domain is being auctioned on ebay on the 12/4/00.

Abuse for the Macintosh was published by Bungie.


Nov 21, 2000 (Tuesday)

Quick update #2

Whoa! Less than five minutes up and an Oni beta tester who wishes to remain anonymous writes:

...as a beta tester, I can confirm that there are 14 levels and a tutorial. So, depending on how you count, 14/15 is accurate.

Interesting to note that the training level in Myth was also counted as a level. Hence the Myth demo was advertised as a 4 level demo even though there were only two solo levels and one net level.


Quick update #1

Thanks to Devin and Mike for quickly spotting the error on today's news. Boy was that a bad one! Thankfully Miguel never saw it... <phew> ;-)


Tom Bridge <tbridge@westlake.com> writes:

Just a quick thing to note. GameSpy has a new preview up of Oni where they mention that there are 14 levels. 14. 2 x 7= 14. Hmmmmm. Coincidence? No way.

Only 14 levels in Oni? Hang on a minute GameSpot said there were 15 levels in their Hands-on with Oni preview. What's it to be... 14 or 15?


Miguel Chavez <bs@bungie.org> writes to say that Maxaminus of Softwareoutlet has posted to the HBO forums again saying that they are now down to the last eight boxes of PID. By the time you read this they'll probably be all gone. Fifty boxes of a seven year old game shifted in less than 24 hours. Not too shabby.

Softwareoutlet also have a very large scan of the back of the Pathways Into Darkness box which you can see here.


Thanks to Joe Blake <jb938@hotmail.com> for sending in a better shot of that screen from Deus Ex. You can see it here. As mentioned yesterday it's similar to the final screen in Marathon 2 which in turn is similar to the opening scene in the film 2001.


Bradley Attfield <iku-turso@home.com> makes an interesting suggestion about the MA-75 assault rifle. See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.


Nov 20, 2000 (Monday)

Quick update

Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> points out that there is an interesting post on the HBO forums concerning the sale of 50 copies of the original Pathways Into Darkness. No idea where they came from but if they are the originals then these are floppies. They're going for 99 cents each. Head on over... if you want a piece of nostalgia.


Ben Charrow <bcharrow@ameritech.net> writes concerning the line "But you were dead a thousand times" from the final screen in Marathon Infinity. See the You section for details.


On the subject of final screens Colin Dickie <mjolnir000@yahoo.co.uk> writes:

I was playing the Deus Ex demo and found this odd picture on one of the walls in the UNATCO HQ. It seems to be to be strikingly similar to the M2 closing screen.

Here's the final screen in Marathon 2 to compare. This in turn is like the opening scene in the film 2001.


Brian Dubick <bdubick@hotmail.com> writes concerning the size of the MA-75's ammunition. Two foot+ wide clips? See the Weapons in Marathon section for details.

Nov 19, 2000 (Sunday)

Randy Reddig (aka ydnar) <ydnar@shaderlab.com> writes:

sample or just notes?

funny what you hear when you buy records. try track 8 @

http://www.s-skin.demon.co.uk/skinfullvol1.html

Cryptic enough eh? But this is Randy Reddig (formerly of Double Aught Software creators of the Marathon Infinity scenario Blood Tides of Lh'wown). Randy refers to track 8 off the SKIN FULL Vol 1 album. The track is "All Of One" by Dogs Deluxe. Anyway I managed to get my hands on the full track and exactly four minutes into the track I'm saying "that theme is familiar". I've extracted a 37 second soundbite (MP3 format) from the track it starts playing a few seconds before the fourth minute. Have a listen and let me know if you find the theme familiar too. :-)


Randy Reddig also has an excellent page called Shaderlab devoted to texturemaps, shaders, and effects for first and third person 3D games. Scenario makers in particular should check the site out. For example the Sample Oxide screenshot which shows a very realistic street scene. As always Randy does quality work. The HTML source reveals the following keywords

Quake, Quake 2, Quake II, Quake 3 Arena, Half-Life, Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Textures, 3D, Machinima, Sci-Fi, Tech, Urban, Wood, Metal

What no Marathon? :-(


Nov 18, 2000 (Saturday)

Quick update

Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> points out that Raul Bonilla's M1 project has moved to The Big House. Once you're in The Big House you can never leave... until the project IS finished... Claude assures me.


Ben Riley <Benhotep@aol.com> notes that Durandal and Tycho are at it again on The Conversatron. Of course this is all just a plot to generate hits.


No Halo or Oni updates next Friday according to Matt Soell. As Matt indicated in his Oni update on Oni Central there may be no need for future Oni updates since development may be over by the time he gets back after the holiday period.


Kristian Attfield (aka Finch) <finch2@home.com> writes to say that Bungie's Letters to the Webmaster page has been updated. Find out who won the Bungie Webmaster's Slam and Hootenanny! Two winning MP3s to download: "Traitor" by Carsten Hoefer and "That Bastard" by Chris Pruett. I can see "That Bastard" being a hit at the next Bungie fanfest. No doubt Miguel will write to me saying that I used the b-word on the page! ;) Also check out the poetry winners. Nice to see Pathways into Darkness get a mention. Great stuff.


Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) sent his Halo update over to the folks at r.net this week. Here's one interesting piece:

- The AI is already good enough to kill Jason and Chucky, no easy task. Lots of work still to go, but I saw a brief demonstration and was greatly impressed. One interesting tidbit: the AI has a fear factor - its willingness to pop out from behind cover and chase or fire at you is directly related to how dangerous the AI thinks you are at that moment. I hope to be able to tell you all a little more soon.


Nov 17, 2000 (Friday)

Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes:

Good news! New bungie online interface designer has announced himself on b.net, check it out.

candyman writes:

"Hey everyone, I figured it's about time I prairiedogged out of my hole and revealed myself to the world. My name is David Candland and I'm the latest addition to the massive Bungie online team: the interface designer. I don't have a cool online name yet like Yeroen. When online, I've been going by my bnet login "candyMan" (the name that was the bane of my grade school existence) but if you have an idea for a better name, hop over to the forums at oni.bungie.org and suggest one to me. These past 3 weeks at Bungie have been plenty busy. I've been tucked away in the dark recesses of the Bungie North building dungeon. I think it was the disembodied soul's old workplace. The guys at bungie were nice enough to give me this pristine cube to do my design work on, until the MS sticker police stopped by. Anyway, we've got a lot of stuff coming your way to make Bungie's online experience even better. I'd love to tell you all about it, but my shackles are starting to chafe."

If those shackles are chafing when you squirm, David, perhaps they need to be tightened?

He got a cube. And he works in MS. :) Some cynic recently assured me that there would be no more macs in any bungie cubicle since they were now part of MS. Guess I can show them this pic and rub it in their face :)

http://soffish.bungie.com/images/cube.jpg

Yes folks Bungie are still allowed to use Macs at Microsoft! But only after they plaster stickers over them. "Intel Inside" perhaps? ;-)


Jared Goodwin <jgoodwin@mail.win.org> writes:

Traveller, as you may or may not know, is an OLD sci-fi paper-and-pencil RPG, almost as old as D&D and generally agreed upon as the first science fiction RPG.

Now a bit of the Traveller lore is the following quote. I don't know where it comes from originally, but right now it's most prominently featured on the cover of GURPS Traveller, made by Steve Jackson Games.

This is Free Trader Beowolf,
calling anyone . . .
Mayday, Mayday . . . we are under attack . . .
main drive is gone . . .
turret number one not responding . . .
Mayday . . . losing cabin pressure fast . . .
calling anyone . . . please help . . .
This is Free Trader Beowolf . . .
				Mayday . . .

The reason I bring this up is the fact that there is a terminal in Marathon Infinity (from You're Wormfood, Dude) that has striking similarity:

I am Arther Frain, Chief Petty Officer, USEC Marathon.
Arther Frane calling all USEC personnel
Calling Cmdr. Robert Blake...
Calling Security Chief Jones...
Arther Frain calling any USEC controlled ship in vicinity... 

Station hull breached, we are losing pressurization. More than half the men are without vacuum suits. Patrols reporting intruder, last location unknown.

Any USEC controlled ship surviving nova event, transport when ready.

Arther Frain calling. That is all...


Nathaniel Olsen <orange666@hotmail.com> writes:

My wife is a literature teacher and I came across this, The Second Coming by Yeats, in her collection. Mostly it was the similarity between the line "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed" and the title for the demo of Infinity, "Blood Tides of Lh'owon." Also the whole poem seems to outline the plight of the Spht at the time of the attack by the Pfhor. I've included the poem for convience.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack of conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats, 1919


Nov 16, 2000 (Thursday)

Concerning yesterday's item on the IMG Peter Tamte interview and the lack of information on the games his new company would be publishing (e.g. Halo) I was reminded of a small snippet of news from Tuncer Deniz on the most recent IMG CD (vol. 8 no. 3). I've 'cut and pasted' it here:

The Tamte Corporation
Peter Tamte, formely of Bungie Software, is forming a new company that will initially be publishing Microsoft games such as Age of Empires II, Flight Simulator 2002, and Links 2002 for the Mac. Tamte has a proven record with MacSoft. And with Microsoft's backing, his company will be a formidable publisher in the Mac community in the years to come. I'm really excited about this new venture since Microsoft has been turning out some amazing games of late. Look for Halo for the Mac to be published through Tamte's new company.

Granted this article is probably dated given that it was part of a "MacWorld Expo Wrap-Up" but the 'matter of fact' tone of the last line is interesting. Where did Tuncer get this information?

The same IMG article contains this amusing explanation of how 'Halo for the Mac' came about:

Bungie
No booth, but at least they announced Halo for the Mac...again. So how did this whole thing come about. Well...it went something like this. Steve Jobs calls Bill Gates and gives him an earful about why they bought Bungie. Gates has no clue what Steve is talking about so Gates calls Steve Ballmer. Ballmer calls Microsoft's Ed Freis (who put together the Bungie deal) and asks Freis, "Do you know anything about this Bun guy buy out?" Fries debriefs Ballmer. Ballmer tells Freis that Steve is upset about the deal. The rest is history...Halo for Mac announced. Microsoft helps form a new Mac game company to bring Microsoft game products to the Mac. And you thought Microsoft was evil. Shame on you!

"Bun guy"? ;-)


Good news for Marathon Scenario makers. Concerned about the growing number of scenarios using older Marathon artwork in newer Marathon engines and the possible copyright violation implications of this use Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> sought the official line from Bungie. Here's the reply he got from Matt Soell:

We're not worried (and neither is MS Legal; I checked) about copyright violation with this stuff since it's squarely targeted at people who are already fans of the game and probably bought their copies long ago.

SO:

As long as the two golden rules you mentioned (no money changes hands and all copyrighted Bungie content is explicitly denoted as such) are adhered to religiously, people who develop these types of projects (old Bungie game in a new Bungie skin) may distribute them with our approval. If they choose to distribute their revamped Bungie stuff with an Aleph One app, they must make clear that the GPL that covers the Aleph One app does NOT apply to the copyrighted Bungie content in the art/sound/map/etc. files. We're allowing people to use those copyrighted works because we're nice guys and so are they. The only way we'll get pissed and reverse ourselves on this would be if someone started selling something deriving from our copyrighted work, or claiming it as their own.

Great news... but remember those two golden rules folks. :-)


The Marathon Open Source FAQ has been updated by Derek Moeller <moeller@dophnic.yi.org>. If you are a devoted 'sourcerer' or just curious to know what all the fuss is about then take a look. It'll probably have to be updated again in the light of the above news.


Nov 15, 2000 (Wednesday)

Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> notes that there is a new Peter Tamte interview over at Inside Mac Games. While Bungie is mentioned several times Peter doesn't give much away. Here's one part:

IMG: Will there be any formal business relationship with Bungie?

PT: I hope so. I have very high hopes for the games they will be creating during the next few years. Obviously, I've seen the early versions of what they have coming, and they have the potential to be extraordinarily interesting games.

Probably the most informative bit in the interview was what he missed most about working at Bungie. Tamte replied:

Every Friday, when Max and Matt would dress up as schoolgirls and sign Brittany Spears songs.

One wonders if this is before or after Matt writes those weekly Halo/Oni updates? ;-)


Harry also points out that Oni Central has an offical guide to drawing Konoko. You can see it here. Nice scoop.


In a myth.bungie.org forum post Dan Rudolph points out that there is a small piece about Myth III over at Gamecenter. Here's the relevant part:

Take 2 Interactive has three separate RTS products under contract, including Bungie's Myth III, Rockstar's Wild Metal Country, and PopTop Software's Tropico. Myth III will again feature a fully realized, rotateable 3D environment and an intricate military component, two reasons why the series has been so successful with gamers worldwide.

Staying with Myth Max Hoberman (aka Yeroen) spells out Bungie's position regarding Myth in a news item on bungie.net. It was in reply to a question about Myth not running under Windows 2000. Would Bungie be making a patch?

No, we will not be making a patch. Though we support the Myth games on Bungie.net, we no longer own the rights to the Myth franchise. This means we're in no position to release patches to address technical issues. This obviously isn't the answer you'd like to hear, and it isn't exactly the one we like to give. However, the hard fact is that Take2 is now responsible for the Myth series, including any possible updates. We're working on a solution that will take some of the technical support burden off their shoulders (just because we like you). When we launch this we'll include contact info for Take2 so you can voice your concerns.

Hopefully that will get sorted out soon... and while you're waiting spare a thought for those of us still waiting for that Marathon 2 patch. Actually I think it's only Simon and I at this stage! ;-)


Nov 14, 2000 (Tuesday)

Quick update

Blood's out says Matt! According to Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) in a post on Oni Central there will be no blood in Oni. No network play, no films, and now... no blood. Also Bungie West's Alex Okita has left the company according to MacGamer's Ledge. mmm... no network play, no films, no blood, and now no Alex!


mmm... did we miss the 13th?


Alan Lively <alively@anet-dfw.com> writes:

In the Red Sand section, you speculate on the mysterious purpose of the Marathon's voyage to Tau Ceti, and the possibility of alien contact there: "...wouldn't you want to make this contact away from Earth? Tau Ceti perhaps? Wouldn't you want to make sure that there was no way they could trace you back to Earth or learn any information about Earth?"

Hmmm... Doesn't this closely parallel the plot-line of Halo, at least the publicly available plot-line? Human colonization leads to contact with the enigmatically religious yet hostile "Covenant." They destroy all but one ship, which makes an attempt to draw the Covenant away from Earth, and they happen upon the ringworld...Interesting, isn't it?


Adam <neopenguin@springmail.com> points out that the First Person Shooter poll over at Gamertech is now close to 300 votes (277 when Adam wrote). Most of the votes are for Marathon which makes you wonder about who reads their site (or alternatively who bother to vote).


Matt Francis <crispyed@yahoo.com> writes:

I've found two interesting sums while playing with the ever enigmatic pi (3.141592653).

The first seven numbers of pi added equal SEVEN:
3+1+4+1+5+9+2= 25 2+5= 7

The first ten numbers of pi added equal THREE:
3+1+4+1+5+9+2+6+5+3= 39 3+9=12 1+2= 3


Nov 12, 2000 (Sunday)

Forrest Cameranesi <NOSPAMforrest@bungie.org> writes:

I just noticed a rather interesting thing as I began re-reading "Ringworld Throne", the third book in the Ringworld series. It had a brief timeline of important Ringworld events, and the last one, the restoration of stability to the Ringworld (arguably one of, if not the, biggest event[s] in Ringworld history), took place in 2881 AD. That date rung in the back of my mind as Marathon-related somehow. I looked it up and whadda ya know - 2881: Pfhor system sacked by the combined fleets of Earth and the S'pht'Kr. Arguably one of, if not the, biggest event(s) in Marathon history. Interesting, no?

Indeed. Coincidence or...


Nov 11, 2000 (Saturday)

Quick update

Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> writes to say that he has posted Matt Soell's weekly Oni update over at Oni Central. The good news is that the Oni team is now currently working to bring the Mac version of the game up to speed with the PC version.


Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) sent his weekly Halo update over to the folks at HBO. Here's one interesting piece:

- Also got a look at some of Eddie's slick concept art for a new Covenant vehicle. Interesting to hear the artists explain how the Covenant use (and misuse) technology they - heh - acquire from others, and how the Covenant hardware in the game is all created to reflect this subtle-but-definite design aesthetic.

Now doesn't that sound familiar? ;-)

At the time of writing I didn't see a weekly Oni update from Matt at Oni Central. Lots of other good Oni news over there though. Check it out.


Jeremy Levine <raven@snickers.org> makes another interesting comparison between the Grendel series and Marathon. See the Grendel section for details.


Marathon is stomping the favorite First Person Shooter poll over at Gamertech. Nice going people! :-)


Matt Boyd <boyd@wam.umd.edu> sends word that Marathon Scenario News has been updated with news of a project to convert M1 to Infinity. The project already has a three level demo out, some desktop pics and screenshots. One to check out!


Nov 10, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update #2

BillyBob <wiggen_ender@hotmail.com> over at the halo.bungie.org forums points out that Gamertech have a favorite First Person Shooter poll. Marathon is included. You know what to do! :-)


Quick update #1

Last Friday we hinted at it but this week it's official.... Jim is back! Jim Ruiz (Bungie Studios) writes:

Subject: Oni release date
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 15:10:11 -0600
x-sender: jim@mail.bungie.com
From: jim <jim@bungie.com>:
Bcc:

Dear valued recipient,

Gathering of Developers has announced a release date for Oni!

The Macintosh, Windows and Playstation 2 versions are scheduled to be released simultaneously on January, 29 2001.

And it looks like we'll be reopening the Bungie Store, and that yours truly will be your humble customer servant once more! There's no timeline yet, but we've started making arrangements.

And while I'm at it, it looks like I will be maintaining this Oni/Halo Alert List after all despite my final goodbye message [below]. If you would like to be removed, just let me know.

Thanks!

-Jim

The Bungie Store is reopening with Jim Ruiz at the helm! Good news for all Bungie fans. :-)


Thanks to R. Miguel Linius (aka Dispatcher) <madmacs@eaznet.com> for pointing out that he sent in the original email regarding the Marathon sounds in Halo. He writes:

Your recent postings about Marathon sounds in the Halo movie (E3) reminded me that I had sent you an e-mail several months ago about such sounds. One that comes to mind is the Marathon 2 opening splash screen sound of thunder, heard in Halo as the sniper rifle reports. I also mentioned that the Marathon 2 Night Wind sound can be heard at the end of the movie as the ending credit music begins to fade out.

Using fuzzy logic I was able to search the vast Story page mail archive and lo... as if by magic... Miguel's original post turned up! Here it is!

First, just a little plug for my images that are found on hotline at hl.rampancy.net. These are also being made available at halo.bungie.org, thanks to Louis Wu. These images (about 2 or 3 weeks stale) are related to Sili's diagram. One shows the relative positions of the nearstar neighborhood, HD something-or-other and Iota Horologii (mispelled in the image since I used the spelling as found at the internet star database I used). The other is simply a Marathon 2 terminal pict wherein I just added the x and y axis lines of the Galactic Rectangular Coordinate system often now used (Sol is at 0,0,0).

You have my permission to snag them from hotline or the halo forum pages or to link to them from the Story Page.

Second, this may have been noticed before, but I note two Marathon game sounds while playing the Halo E3 trailer. One is the Marathon 2 Chapter Screen Sound of thunder. It is heard twice as the sniper rifle reports reach where the Covies are. The other sound is at the end when we fade to black and the "credits" fade in and out. Behind the music, I can hear what sounds like the Marathon 2/ Infinity Night Wind sound.

Perhaps this subtle use of sound is to help give things a "Marathonish" feel to it? That, or there was no time to get another sound effects CD? :-)


Fists of Fury (Bruce Lee)
Fist of Legend (Jet Li)
Fists of Legend (Konoko)?
Will Vuong <will@go2mac.com> writes concerning Matt Soell's Oni update question "What are the Fists of Legend?":

http://us.imdb.com/Title?0110200

fists of legend or fist of legend? not sure if he's referencing this movie. oh, and if you haven't seen Jet Li's remake of bruce lee's fist of legend, it's beyond incredible.

Does Konoko know Kung Fu?


Bruce Morrison <hippieman@bungie.org> writes:

I recently rented "Alien Ressurection" by Fox Interactive, and a phrase used on the first level was "They're All Over!" While this phrase is only close to Marathon, what is very freaky is the voice. Sadly my little brother returned the game before I could check on it, but I swear it was Doug's voice. Can anyone verify this?


Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> points out that Aleph One has got a mentioned at Resexellence.


Nov 9, 2000 (Thursday)

On the subject of Marathon sounds in the Halo E3 movie Simon Marek <svmarek@mail.com> writes:

I was just reading your log of what Julia, the un...(pfhorgiven?) said. I remembered hearing other Marathon sounds in the Halo Trailer. So I went back over it and here's what I found:

5:35 and 5:38 = electric noise (this is in Marathon * (and maybe others too, I'm not sure) but I can't remember where - it's the noise the fusion turret things in Marathon EVIL make).

8:01 and 8:04 = explosions like rocket (this is bits of shrapnel hitting the ground from the resulting explosion of the BoB's grenade)

8:38 and 8:41 = more rocket sounds (but what makes them? a different weapon? an explosion? a creative Bungie sound technician?)

8:43 = SMG sound from alien gun (listen really closely with the volume up when the alien trooper fires at the ?Cyborg? ;) It's part of the SMG reloading)

Simon also mentioned something about playing the movie backwards and listening to it but we won't go into that either. ;-)


Eric Jourdan <emjp@hotmail.com> points out that the "rocket launcher" sound heard at 8:38 in the movie can also be heard earlier. Eric writes: at

It's the same as the sound of the muzzle blast of the jeep's gun. This is seen and heard at 5:25 and 5:26.

Which makes sense of course. But it does beg the question how do we hear the same sound again near the end of the movie? Did the marine have a rocket launcher with him or did he borrow the jeep's. :-)


Ross Wolfe (aka Cpt. Sqweky) <eternalwar@hotmail.com> points out that Durandal is at it again at The Conversatron.


Lots of new Oni info over at Oni Central. A confirmed release date, an official Rockstar Games' Oni site, a new movie and a Gathering of Developer's Oni fan art contest. All good news for Oni fans.


Nov 8, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update

Simon Brownlee <simon.brownlee@pobox.com> writes to say that Marathon Central is now back up which means the Story page mirror at marathon.org is now live again! Marathon Central went down on August 10th so it's been offline for the best part of 3 months. Good to see it back. :-)


Orleth (full name pending) <Dylanc@cybertours.com> writes concerning Matt Soell's Oni update question "What are the Fists of Legend?":

When I read this, I thought the "fists of legend" was a refrence to the fists of the Marathon Cyborg, wich are more deadly than several weapons if the player is running. Will we be seeing some Oni "fists only" Vidmasters? Would be nice, but w/ out recordings this could be hard...

As Jason Jones would say: "...you must learn to lay aside your weapons of steel and use your flesh.". I wonder if this will work in Halo? ;-)


Woah! Lost Story page mail?!!! With a backlog of 1000+ emails it can happen folks... honest. Anyway someone sent me a mail about Marathon sounds appearing in the Halo E3 movie. Specifically the rocket launcher sound. Anyway to cut a long story short (yes even on the Story page) I've misplaced the email. So here I was on Hotline the other day minding my own business when Julia the un... (undead? unforgetable?... err... unsomething) springs this one on me (only the relevant text shown):

Julia, the un: Hey, Hamish, did anyone notice the rocket launcher sound in the Halo E3 movie?
Julia, the un: Let's see, I'll find the exact time it plays at.
Julia, the un: Around time of 8:38.
Julia, the un: Listen closly. You'll hear it.
Julia, the un: (if that isn't a rocket launcher sound, I don't know what is.)
Julia, the un: Yeah. Between 8:37 and 8:38.
Julia, the un: The red covenant has a "what the hell?" look on his face...how appropriate...hehe.

I leave you to make your own mind up on this one. Thanks Julia. If the original submitter of this item can email me again I'll add it here. Thanks.


Tim Bennett <bennett@turboweb.net.au> writes:

Observe, in "Aye Mak Sicur", the header on Terminal 0 (first and second messages):

eyah.49210

49210
4 + 9 + 2 + 1 + 0 = 16
1 + 6 = 7

7. Right up until the very end.

But wait!... that's not all Tim goes on... eyah...

Using the letter positions in the alphabet:

e  y   a  h
5  25  1  8

52518
5 + 2 + 5 + 1 + 8 = 21
2 + 1 = 3

Of course 21 is 7 * 3.


Seven and three... weird... you'd almost swear... nay... couldn't be. ;-)


Nov 7, 2000 (Tuesday)

Arno Hautala <Arno@WPI.EDU> writes concerning yesterday's early Myth backstory news item:

In the full post...

"..seeking not to conquer, but to destroy..."

sounds awfully familiar. alot like something from one of the Halo ship communications I think.

Arno is referring to the Covenant communications from the Halo Transmissions first seen on Bungie's Halo page back in July 1999. The aggressive zealot tone is certainly similar. For example:

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


Ok we've had a Myth item... a Halo item... so why not an Oni item? Joseph Haake <joecoo@spacestar.net> writes:

This is Oni related, but it came from Matt Soell, so, there's gotta be something to analyze, maybe something relating to Marathon...
In the last Oni update, Soell asked "What are the Fists of Legend?"

Ideas?

http://oni.bungie.org/newsarchives/nov00.html#update

This doesn't seem to have been picked up by the Oni folk. And as Joseph notes Matt doesn't just throw these things out by chance. Then again in a previous Oni update he asked:

The Scarecrow wanted a brain. What would a brain want? Discuss. ;-)

Easy... the brain would want a "jar"... right Matt? ;-)

Anyway you'll find a number of references to "Fists of Legend" on the web... of course this assumes it's not a reference to a super-secret ninja technique in Oni. ;-) Boy am I winking alot today or what... must be the 7th! ;-)


Colin Dickie <mjolnir000@yahoo.co.uk> writes:

I was surfing around a web board for the upcoming game Escape Velocity Nova (the 3rd in the series) and I found this post referring to Marathon:

http://www.AmbrosiaSW.com/webboard/Forum26/HTML/000411.html


Nov 6, 2000 (Monday)

Congratulations to Raul Bonilla <biomeca@hotmail.com> for spotting the source of yesterday's quote. Raul writes:

"There was a noise in the sky, and a noise from the ground in answer... "

It's from the Myth Slideshow found inside the Bungie Demos folder on the Marathon Trilogy CD. I'm including the pic.

Yup. This slideshow contained some of the earliest Myth screenshots along with that enigmatic quote. I'm not aware of it appearing anywhere else but in that slideshow on the Marathon Trilogy CD. Of course it was intended to tie in with the Myth backstory as it originally appeared on Bungie's web site in 1997:

In a time long past, a great comet appeared in the northern sky. It stirred foul creatures beneath the earth; old things to which dominion of the world was once again to be returned.

And a great evil came out of the east, in a black tide that sought not to conquer, but to destroy; to be master of the unthinking dead and their blasted lands.

Heroes were born in the fire and bloodshed of the next seventy years, and their names and deeds will never be forgotten.

"..seeking not to conquer, but to destroy..."

The story as we now know revolves around a powerful being (originally referred to as a deity) who appeared in cycles of a thousand years. During one cycle the being comes as a savior; in the next, as a destroyer. However things weren't always this long as this early description of the Myth backstory from Jason Jones revealed. I quote:

"The fantasy world cycles through good and evil over a period of a thousand years. At the beginning, a hero rescues the world frm the clutches of evil and tyranny. And then there's half a millennia of light and happiness and goody-two-shoes. And then that same hero comes back, but as the destroyer instead of the savior. The player comes in at the end of the cycle to rescue the world from the last 500 years of plague and oppression."

Hmmm.... so why is the Marathon's Story page mentioning Myth stuff all of a sudden? Well Myth is approaching its third anniversary. Officially it's the 14th though copies had been in circulation a week prior to this. But today is the third anniversary of the release of the Myth demo. Hence the quote above. Happy anniversary. :-)


Nov 5, 2000 (Sunday)

How many people remember this Bungie quote?

There was a noise in the sky, and a noise from the ground in answer...


If you know what it was for and where it first appeared... then let me know. :-)


The Circles of Myth and Pathways... on today's Pathways Into Darkness page update.


Peter Cooner <petri@bungie.org> writes to say that the Marathon Map of Month page has been updated. RED and other files mentioned


Nov 4, 2000 (Saturday)

Quick update

Matthew Wanlin <stoolgod@deadmoose.com> points us to another appearance of Durandal at The Conversatron. It's a short one but a good one. Of course you have to understand the Marathon's Story to appreciate it which no doubt few readers of The Conversatron will. ;-)


Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) posts his weekly Halo and Oni updates. Actually he appears to email them now to the respective sites rather than post them... but you know what I mean. The main part of the Halo update over at rampancy.net is worth repeating here:

- Marcus showed me one of the interiors he's working on. The interiors are put together in a very rough form - just enough to get the basic outlines of the space down - and then refined. Over the course of this process, the level transforms from something that looks like it could have come out of Marathon into...well, into a level that looks like it came out of Halo. The artists are testing out how big the levels can be, what sort of balance to strike between geometric and textural complexity, that sort of thing. The level Marcus showed me was HUGE: we looked over a ledge and saw an enormous underground labyrinth. Then he showed me the concept art Eddie drew of what the level will look like when it's finished. If you've ever seen storyboards for a well-designed science fiction movie (Aliens, for example) you'll have an idea of what some of the Halo interiors will look like. (Not in terms of Giger-esque weirdness but in the sheer complexity and scale.)

All sounds promising. Who knows we may find the odd Marathon level transformed into a Halo level. Now wouldn't that be something. Basis Needs Women... perhaps. ;-)


On the subject of Halo Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> draws our attention to a news item at Ain't It Cool News. A film version of Larry Niven's Ringworld no less. Actually rumors about a Ringworld movie have been doing the rounds since early 1997 when QDE Entertainment acquired the rights to the Hugo Award-winning novel and planned to establish a licensing and marketing program for the project and its characters. The original producers slated for the project back then were Quincy Jones & David Salzman.

Lophan <lophan@bungie.org> was quick to point out that folks have already made a connection between Niven's Ringworld and Bungie's Halo on the Ain't It Cool News forum. Oh well... a little knowledge is a dangerous thing... for some people it seems. ;-)


Some crazy news posting going down over at www.bungie.org.


Thanks to James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> for pointing out that I hadn't added two submissions concerning the word "Pfhor" to The Pfhor section. They are now added. :-)


Nov 3, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update #3

Something must be up! A third quick update... and on a Friday of all days. Anyway this update is totally unofficial you didn't hear it from me and you didn't hear it from... err... ;-)

It doesn't take a genius to work out that the Bungie Store is returning. The news items on bungie.net over the last few weeks have hinted at it. The really good news is about the guy who is going to run it...

"It's a store Jim... but not as we know it."

Should be clue enough for hardcore Bungie fans. As Durandal would say "I'm back". :-)


Quick update #2

Desert Storm confirmed as an Xbox release! The only catch is that this is not Bungie's Desert Storm but rather Pivotal Games' Desert Storm. The game will also be published for the PC and Playstation 2 (no mention of a Mac version). Apparently the game takes place during the Gulf War. Hmmm... sounds familiar. Remember when Eidos was sued by a software rival over the use of the name Myth in the UK? Makes you wonder.

Pivotal Games was formerly known as Pumpkin studios... Myth folks should get a chuckle out of that one.


Quick update #1

Well the BS forums are finally seeing some activity. Will the reanimated head of Ling Ling make an appearance at MWSF 2001? Interesting to note that MacWorld Expo is now in its seventeenth year.


Justin Ancheta <jancheta@mail.sprint.ca> and Alan Greene <alan.greene@pop.mindspring.com> provide some interesting theories on why we see an "enslaved" S'pht image in the Citadel chapter screen from Marathon 2. As Forrest Cameranesi pointed out earlier this image presents the genetically modified version of the original S'pht yet we see it on the wall of an ancient (1000 years +) building. See The S'pht section for details.


Ross Wolfe (aka Cpt. Sqweky) <eternalwar@hotmail.com> points us to the T2x (Shadows of the Metal Age) site and asks us to note the symbol in the corners of the main graphic. T2x is is a Fanmade expansion pack for Thief 2.


Looking for a copy of the Marathon book by David Alexander Smith? It's out-of-print and hard to find but Beau <brags1@prodigy.net> writes to say that alibris.com found him a copy. They specialize in finding out-of-print and rare books. Worth checking out.


Keith Chan <kchan528@uclink4.berkeley.edu> writes:

I was playing Medal of Honor: Underground (a FPS for the Playstation) and I found this picture in the Art Gallery for the first mission (it's attached). Looks a bit like the title screen for Volunteers in Marathon 2, doesn't it?

Also one of the weapons in the game is the MP40 sub-machinegun, a PID weapon in its proper era.


Nov 2, 2000 (Thursday)

Quick update

Removed a swear word by popular demand... actually one person's demand... right Jose? ;-)


Hey the Pathways Into Darkness page got updated! :-)


Obsessive linking eh? Well this IS the Marathon's Story page! Thanks to Matt Francis <crispyed@yahoo.com>, Finn Smith <finn_smith@brown.edu>, and Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@bungie.org> for pointing out that The Conversatron mentions the Marathon's Story page and its obsessive linking to the name Durandal. Here's the relevant part:

I was just looking over the numbers, and we shattered just about every record we had. We'd like to thank all the people who linked to us this month, including our eternal allies/enemies over at True Meaning of Life, the guys at Penny Arcade, and finally, a special thanks to Marathon's Story for their incomprehensible obsession with listing every time someone mentions Durandal anywhere on the Internet. Bravo, guys. And of course, thanks to all our readers. We love you all. As much as we hate you, if not more.

Good to see these guy keeping an eye on their logs. But don't they know WHO Durandal is and WHAT he is capable of? ;-)


Mark Levin <haveblue@mac.com> writes:

Random tidbit from the Source: When Marathon initializes its internal random number generator, the default seed value it uses is 65005, or hexadecimal 0xfded. That looks familiar. :)

Hmmm... as Paul Bryant <Paul.Bryant@choicepointinc.com> pointed out back July 15, 1999:

65005
6 + 5 + 0 + 0 + 5 = 16
1 + 6 = 7

Hey I don't make this stuff up folks. ;-)


Anonymoose (full name pending) <l-l@sympatico.ca> writes:

I don't know if this has been mentioned before.

Never Burn Money (Terminal 4)

would become something of consequence: though it was nothing 
more than a simp~le tho`~~``f`~~~rticular flower, or more
precise~.
~~hen she had it just so the room flickered and tore, bending
into somewhere else: ~~~ffs`~~~~f~~~[system error #25 at
_Jackson]~~~~%*|\]~``se which she caused to be consumed by an
ashless fire.

ffs is an abreviation for "for f_c_s sake" on some online discussion boards I use.

Swear words in Bungie games? Wouldn't be the first. However "ffs" could also be part of word such as "offset" or simply a random sting of letters like "fxf" which also appears a number of times in the same terminal. But then again maybe "fxf" isn't just a random string!


Nov 1, 2000 (Wednesday)

Peter Valelly <efis85@graffiti.net> writes:

Ahh.. halloween

10/31/2000

1+0+3+1+2+0+0+0=7

10+31+2000=2041 2+0+4+1=7


In last week's Halo update Matt Soell (Bungie Studios) mentioned the possibility of a Halo bestiary. Interesting to note that the 3rd edition of Steve Jackson's GURPS Bestiary is now shipping (Nov 1, 2000). Steve has already worked with Bungie on Myth GURPS and recent news items suggest that something else is in the pipeline.


Funny the things that pop up on net search... like this link (scroll down a bit). Dates from last year but it was never mentioned on the Story page... now it has FWIW.



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Last updated Dec 31, 2000