CSotD - Agent2 of Cool
The Creators of Marathon
button button After you meet the Creators of Marathon don't forget find out if you were one of our [Quiz Winners]. handle
TheTeam and their Picks
Alexander Seropian Alexander Seropian, CEO and Sound Technician:
Name: Alexander Seropian
Title: Founder & CEO of Bungie Software
Sex: Male
Age: 26
Turn Ons: Running, Music, Tennis, Science Fiction, Clear Starry Nights
Turn Offs: Smoking, Laziness, Salespeople
Car: 1995 Dodge Neon (White)
Most recent Marathon: 1995 Chicago Marathon (3:46:57, "Hey, I'm getting old!")
Favorite Non-Bungie game: Command & Conquer
Movie I don't mind watching for the ten thousandth time: Aliens
CD I'm bringing to the deserted island: Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Favorite Web site:
Schwab Online "I know this sounds pretentious, but it really works and works well for online trading. A great example of why the internet is useful."

Doug Zartman Doug Zartman, aka The Voice of BOB, aka Lunk-Lunk, aka Sir Loin. Director of Public Relations

Doug lives in a quiet neighborhood somewhere west of Wrigley Field where the car thieves never sleep (BASTARDS!) and an old woman upstairs curses like a sailor. Born in Chicago, he grew up, went to college, played in a band, looked for meaning. Doug fondly remembers how he quit a pointless PR-type job at the American Bar Foundation and was busy drinking himself into an early grave when he stumbled across an ad in the paper that eventually led to a job doing tech support for the then-revolutionary Pathways Into Darkness. Author of "Policy Considerations for Space Settlement", (boring title, interesting paper, email for reprints) published in _Reflections on Space_, Spring 1991, Doug may create a game of his own someday.

Rob McLees Rob McLees, Art Director

... I was born sometime during the late sixties and eventually I will die. When I die I would like to have my non-eviscerated corpse dumped somewhere in the antarctic so that in about five-thousand years some scientists can find my mummified remains and stick them in a museum so that idiots can gawk at me.

Favorite Web Site:
Martial Arts Resource Page "This site has a link to everywhere, baby. O.k. maybe not everywhere, but everywhere that I have an interest in going... what?... you were expecting me to name some porno site?!?"

Mark Bernal Mark Bernal, Artist

I was born to create weird pictures and cool stories. I create weird pictures for cool games.

Favorite Web Site:
Teemu Makinen's Home Page "I like this site simply because I enjoy European comics; his commentary on things are also quite amusing for me to read."
Marathon Icon While PC users prattle on incessantly about the thrills of Duke Nuke 'em and Quake, Marathon remains the brightest beacon of hope for Mac gamers. Marathon boasts graphics, sound and a story line unparralleled by other Doom-like games and until recently, it was created solely for the Mac. The original Marathon, which has spawned two sequels (Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity) was called "incredibly fun ...realistic, addictive, atmospheric and exciting" by Games Domain magazine. CSotD welcome the Creators of Marathon as this week's [Agents of Cool].

The Marathon Team recently answered questions for [Agent of Cool]'s Wes Kilgore

1. Were you influenced by the Micronauts?

ROB: Yeah, but not in any way that relates to my work on Durandal.

MARK: Yes, In fact I collected the Marvel comic books for a while when I was younger.

DOUG: Micronauts? (There goes our Agents of Cool credibility right there.) Weren't they the scientists that got shrunk and injected into the politician with a blood clot in his brain? Yeah, Fantastic Voyage, that's it. They fight a giant white blood cell... cool. Nope, no influence.


2. What possesed you to arm the Bobs in Durandal?

ROB: We didn't arm them, they felt the need to protect themselves and purchased their own weapons (and the waited the five days, like good citizens)!

ALEX: This is a completely natural idea, no possession was necessary

DOUG: They were getting MASSACRED! People were ignoring the aliens, chasing down the poor BOBs and torching them for that great scream. We received an email describing a guy's net game that went something like this: "I was playing a 2 person net game, ran around a corner, and saw my friend had cornered a BOB and was methodically punching him to death. He saw me on the motion sensor, turned and said (over the mic) 'this is between HIM, and ME'."

But it wasn't all out of pity. Arming the BOBs required the player to be more careful, allows BOBs to be a real and dynamic element in the game instead of basically a moving obstacle.

3. Why did you choose to develop for Mac first?

DOUG: The founders were Mac owners and users, so when they began programming games for fun, the games were on Macs. It was a consumer choice, not a business one.

ALEX: We use the Mac, we love the Mac, we know the Mac. It was a pleasant side effect that, at the time, the Mac market was much easier to break into. It has a much lower cost of entry for producing games.

4. Since this game is so Mac oriented, why didn't you use QuickTime or some other multimedia device in the game?

ALEX: We actually didn't have the time to produce content suitible for Quicktime movies. Our strengths have long been in the technical areas and we chose to focus our efforts there. However, we have been actively changing improving our content as will be evident with our future titles.

DOUG: No need. QuickTime is great, but we weren't interested in making a multimedia game. A lot of multimedia products are shoddy because they focus on the technology and not content or gameplay. (And we did use QuickTime Musical Instruments for the MIDI-based background music.)

5. What major problems were there in creating Durandal that were not there in making Marathon?

DOUG: Well, creating a sequel that surpassed the original, for one - expectations were very high. Designing and enabling the different netgame scenarios (King of the Hill, Kill the Guy with the Ball, Tag) required a lot of tweaking so that illogical situations didn't arise.

ALEX: Creating Durandal was much easier than creating Marathon. We learned a lot from making M1. I think the learning experiences that were most important in making M2 were managing a larger development team. Getting people to work together towards a common goal and getting the best possible product made as a result is very important to us.

ROB: For me I think it was probably drawing all that stuff.

6. What will you be previewing at MacWorld Boston?

MARK: An exihibit where in Doug will be hang by his toes (the rope is on fire of course) above a pool of peanuts, cashews, and walnuts. The exhibit will be called "How we record "BOB" sounds.

DOUG: We'll be showing "Abuse" our first Bungie Publishing title, "Marathon Infinity", the third chapter of the Marathon saga, and possibly something else (ooh...).

ALEX: We will be showing Marathon Infinity, Abuse for Macintosh, and a brand new third person 3-D fighting game, with a sense of humor.

7. Have you played quake?

ROB: No, but I've looked over people shoulders.

ALEX: I played Qtest, haven't played the shareware release yet. Unfortunately I don't have a PC on my desk, otherwise I'm sure I would have.

MARK: Yes, I played Doom II. :)

8. What about Marathon Infinity will blow Quake away?

ROB: Once again the fact that there is a story line.

ALEX: Infinity has a very strong story line and plot as well as excellent networking features. There are lots of levels designed just for net play and many network game types, like Kill the man with the ball, etc. That stuff is cool. Also Infinity has our editor in it. Our editor is very good, we made it a commercial quality product, it isn't just a hack. I think a lot of people will like that.

I'm not going to try to convince people that Infinity has a better engine than Quake, but from what I've heard on the net, Infinity is much more playable and coherent as a game experience, i.e. I think you'll have more fun with it.

DOUG: What ees thees "Quakes"?