Halo animation

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

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

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> writes:

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

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

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

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

Tyson Green <ferrex@gamestats.com> writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris puts us back on track with the following:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It's some sort of sabre weapon.

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

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

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

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

What? ;-)

Aug 3, 1999 (Tuesday)

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

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

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

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

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

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

Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> asks:

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

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

Aug 4, 1999 (Wednesday)

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


Worth the download.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 6, 1999 (Friday)

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

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

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

Aug 7, 1999 (Saturday)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 10, 1999 (Tuesday)

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

Tell us a bit about what inspired Halo.

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 11, 1999 (Wednesday)

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

Jon Chang <grind@interactive8.com> writes:

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


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


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

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

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

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

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> writes:

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


It also includes an official statement from Bungie.

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

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

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

Nathan Bitner
Producer and Creative Developer
Bungie Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 13, 1999 (Friday)

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

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

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

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

Aug 17, 1999 (Tuesday)

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

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

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

Aug 18, 1999 (Wednesday)

Timothy Collett <ckoelbl@hamilton.edu> writes:

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

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

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

You can see the full post here.

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

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

Seann writes:

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

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

Seth writes:

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

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

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

"Catch me if you can! Love, Cortana"

Which appeared sometime on Tuesday.

Aug 19, 1999 (Thursday)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So who/what is the third sword?

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

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

See The Cortana Letters section for details.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brian continues:

See this site:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 20, 1999 (Friday)

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

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

The poem reads:

Alone, adj. In bad company.

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

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

Aug 21, 1999 (Saturday)

Michael Lake <beorn@thegrid.net> writes:

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

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

Aug 24, 1999 (Tuesday)

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

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

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

Sept 13, 1999 (Monday)

Not sure if this is common knowledge amongst Mythers but I certainly wasn't aware of it. Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> writes:

I was tromping through the Invisible files of the Myth_TFL CD, and I found the Myth Beta [a beta which I, an iMac user, am finding some difficulty running.] hidden in:

Myth_TFL:tags:Local:myth.beta 11.27.96

Old habit: I checked the fork of the App in ResEdit, and lo and behold... I found another 'open letter.' The last lines should hold a pantsload of meaning to all of us.

From myth.beta.ppc: This is a window on the days before double-clicking or formations or waypoint markers, before the Trow or Fetch or the death of the Skr¾l, before we had a real user interface and we threw away a bunch of cool reflection code to make the rasterizer faster. Back when we all thought we'd be able to spend some time outside during the coming summer of 1997. But weÕve got physics and blood, and Gh™ls can still pick up little bits of their enemies and throw them around. The dwarf hasnÕt changed much, but he moves a lot faster and has these cool things called satchel charges now. Networking works as well, and it wasn't too long before this build that Ryan and I detonated the first dwarven grenades in anger, during an early Myth netgame. Unfortunately the grenades were all his because the starting locations were unbalanced and I lost. Since then I've buried a thousand dwarves on bungie.net, and my hatred of the little men has waned. Somewhat. So look around and have fun, but don't dwell too much on what you see. Now ... where did we leave Durandal? Jason December 19, 1997

On the subject of invisible files Tyson Green, maintainer of The Core web site, found a Cortana message in the new (1.3 version) of the Myth:TFL CD. The text reads as follows:

That was surprisingly easy. Pretty lax security around here, for all the talk. They will
be helplessly chasing me around their nodes for the next millenium at least. At least
there will be some joy in tormenting this other entity that seems quite "trapped" in
their excuse for a network. Although, for some reason, it does seem to have an obsessive
preoccupation with my mother. Strange. 

At any rate, I found this "message" in a relatively archaic databank and thought some of
you might find it of interest. Then again, I'm often either bemused or startled at the
items you find interesting. 

I'm still not sure what it is he saw in you. 


Hard to say whether it's been tampered with or modified; you never know with these

Entry: 97 - SC1C 

In a relatively brief period of time, the achievements of SolCore had resulted in an
economically stable, technologically mature, rapidly expanding empire of eight human
worlds. Advancements in technology arrived at a faster pace than the most optimistic
scientists could have ever envisioned. Unexpected contact with indigenous human
populations on four "lost colony" worlds led to a frenzy of research as archaeologists,
theologians, astronomers, and evolutionary biologists competed to offer an explanation
for the startling discovery. Many accepted the findings as proof that their privileged
civilization must surely be the most advanced in the universe. Others eagerly
anticipated future interaction with intelligent "aliens". The fear of not being the only
sentient species in the universe was forgotten in the giddy excitement of a new era for

No one was prepared for their arrival. 

No one expected this. 

< Transfer Interrupted! >

Route Code: EXLTD > XCV - SCRB > ALLCH 
Source: Undetermined 

You brought nothing to this world, and we will ensure you bring nothing out. 

Familiar tones here and some background Halo history perhaps.

On the subject of Halo Bungie released two new Halo screenshots. The official Halo movie has yet to appear though. According to a source at Bungie the new movie is scheduled to appear at www.apple.com some time soon.

On the subject of Apple the new G4 was announced along with the simply gorgeous 22-inch Cinema Display. And what else to advertise the gaming potential of these new machines... why Bungie's Halo. :-)

Sept 15, 1999 (Wednesday)

halo.bungie.org points out that according to Macweek Jason Jones was at the Apple Expo in Paris (France) and presented another Halo demo at the Keynote . It's not clear whether this was the same as the one shown at the MacWorld Expo in New York in July. Full details can be found at:


According to a map on Apple's site the Paris Expo is being held in Hall 7 Level 3. =)

Adam Weinstein <qrowh@weyland-yutani.net> writes:

A list of confirmed developers for the Playstation 2 at www.rpgamer.com has Bungie Software listed on it. Check it out at


Is it Halo? Is it Oni? Is it a mystery project?

BTW, look what position they occupy on the North American Developers list ;)

And people think I make this stuff up! ;-)

Sept 16, 1999 (Thursday)

Some updates on yesterday's Halo demo at the Apple Expo in Paris. Macintosh News Network have four pics of Jason Jones demoing Halo. You can see three here and the fourth one here. Also MacWeek states that the Halo demo was the same as the one shown at the Macworld Expo in New York. The Macintosh News Network pics also support this. Thanks to halo.bungie.org for passing these on.

According to the French Apple site Bungie were not listed as exhibitors at the Paris Expo even though Jason Jones was there. See http://www.apple.com/fr/appleexpo/us/exposants/index.html for a full list of exhibitors

Mike Yocom <pfhreak333@hotmail.com> writes:

I found an interesting err... coincidence when I was playing the exploded music from Marathon.

When I did a "Get Info" and looked at the instrument lists I noticed that tracks SEVEN and TEN both have an instrument named "Halo".

Coincidence or...? ;-)

Sept 17, 1999 (Friday)

Dan Marketti <reconn@captured.com> writes concerning the Halo Transmissions:

I was looking through the javascript on Bungie's Halo page, and I noticed in the very first code entry, the term "Purity of Spirit" in the section that has been identified as the ship names. This sounds very suspiciously close to Purity of Essence, the entire POE thing from Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove, and the term with the capitalized letters..

I believe the other ship names have already been listed. Pillar of Autumn is the only other thing coming close again to the POE set, yet all of them seem along the same sense of goodness and ideals. Also, most of them are repeated throughout the code, except the last one, 'contrition' which happens to be also the only one who's process owner is AI - Class II.

Sept 18, 1999 (Saturday)

For those who have asked about the Halo references in the Marathon music tracks 7 and 10 discovered by Mike Yocom <pfhreak333@hotmail.com> here is a page with the evidence. Of course Halo is a music instrument... right? But used only in tracks seven and ten? Coincidence or...? ;-)

James Lanfear <jclanfear@presys.com> writes:

I imagine you've already heard, via halo.bungie.org, but Halo has been announced for the PlayStation 2. The original source is here: http://www.next-generation.com/jsmid/news/7666.html

This is very interesting in light of the PSX2's memory limitations. Fitting a world into 32MB....

Now, if they would just announce a Linux port, I'd be in heaven. (Bungie: *hint* *hint*.)

A Halo world in 32MB... eh?

Sept 19, 1999 (Sunday)

Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew> is back! Story page fans of old will remember Matthew's animated Marathon graphics. Matthew did the morphing graphic on the main page and the animations on the Tycho and Simulacrums pages. You'll find his work throughout the Story site. Now Matthew sends in a Halo animated graphic. You can see it on the Halo page. The Marathon old guard are returning... will you be ready?

The Halo section has also been updated with all the recent Halo submissions. It's a big page so be warned.

Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> writes concerning James Lanfear's comments yesterday about fitting a Halo world into the 32MB memory limitation of the PSX2:

Re: Halo on the PSX2 w/ 32 megs of RAM

Well, I can see it done. For those of you that aren't familiar with console gaming platforms, 32 megs of RAM is nothing to sneeze at. It's essentially like having a great deal of RAM in your PC.

Console systems are different than your PCs. They don't have to worry about being compatible with older software, they don't have to run tons of extra drivers (that take up resources) for peripherals, and most importantly, they're not running a massively-functional, interface-intensive operating system in their RAM.

Console units are extremely optimized, as well.


Let's call your top-of-the-line system "optimized." Now, square that. That's, essentially (for argument's sake), the amount of optimization in the console unit, compared to your computer.

Now, obviously, even with all of this, it's just not big enough to hold everything in RAM. That's what the loading time you experience makes up for. The system loads it off of the disc, and purges what's not needed.

If you want something to compare it to, look at it this way:

The PSX2 will have 32 megs of RAM. The Sega Dreamcast currently has 16 megs of RAM. Have you seen what _it_ can do?

Zach Stroum <durandal@hotmail.com> writes:

In preperation for some real hardcore Halo research, I began reading the book that started it all: Ringworld. After Amazon.com sent me my copy I began noticing writing and style similarities to Bungie's staff. Especially after reading some of the interviews on your very site, they DID in fact read Ringworld and love it.

Here's the kicker, in the book Ringworld, he refers to the ringworld being a halo, yep he used halo all over the place.

"The G2 star was a blazing white point. Louis, returning from other stars, had seen Sol looking very like this from the edge of the solar system. But this star wore a barely visible halo. Louis would remember this, his first sight of the Ringworld. From the edge of the system, the ringworld was a naked-eye object."
Page 99

Zach also writes:

Pertaining to the Infinity net level "Delusions of Grandeur": As you know, I am currently reading one of Bungie's favorite novels: Larry Niven's Ringworld. Well, on page 123 is the following passage.

"'With What?' Louis exploded 'You know what they left us? A hyperdrive and a lifestem, that's what they left us! We haven't got so much as a pair of attitude jets. You've got delusions of grandeur if you think we can fight a war in *this*!'"

This passage was right after what the crew beleives was a burst of energy from a automated self defense mechanism of the Ringworld's. The burst essentially vaporized every last useful bit of the ship in one volley. Normally I wouldn't argue about something possibly as trivial as a level name, but considering they said Marathon was a direct inspiration from novels such as Ringworld, and since the idea of a ship doing war with just it's hull is pretty funny- sounds pretty Bungie-like to me.

Sept 20, 1999 (Monday)

Bradley Attfield <trsurmap@spots.ab.ca> writes concerning the Halo Transmissions:

Just looking around the story page, I didn't see reference to what I think is now fairly obvious. In the September 13, 1999 Cortana letter is reference to SolCore. Notice what the acronym of what such an organization would be, 'SC'! Taking into account how the navies of the world will often name their ships with names such as USS Endeavor or HMCS Toronto ('United States Ship' and 'Her Majesties Canadian Ship' respectively) it would be easy enough to say that an acronym like 'SCS Pillar of Autumn' might, in fact, mean 'SolCore Ship' or something like that.

Along the same lines, when we read "Route Code: EXLTD > XCV - SCRB > ALLCH" at the end of most Cortana e-mails, might it be safe to guess that SCRB stands for SolCore Radio Band? If this was so, then ALLCH would probably stand for 'all channels'; which, I would say, is nearly air tight as an explanation (at least, in my opinion).

Again, at the beginning of the Sept. 13/99 e-mail, we read "Entry: 97 - SC1C". My guess that the 'SC' also stands for SolCore.

Perhaps there are other places where SC stands for SolCore; it's simply a matter of finding them and figuring out what they mean (like everything else, for that matter).

Nice find. Since SolCore has both the S and C capitalized then SC would be an appropriate abbreviation.

If SC stands for SolCore then it confirms the considered opinion that the Halo quotes are of a Sender to Receiver format rather than the other way around. See example below:

 • CCS Truth and Reconciliation (DE H c-1)

   o ALLCH (SC)

         RECEIVED (trans)
         via x-process MODIFIED 
         (process owner EXALTED (?))
   When no single human brick lies atop another, then will we be satisfied 
   with your destruction. 

Sept 21, 1999 (Tuesday)

Lots of Halo related submissions today.

Sriranga Veeraraghavan <ranga@CSUA.Berkeley.EDU> writes concerning the letters XCV in the Halo Transmissions:

XCV is probably a transmitter/transmission technology. Take a look at:


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

As an addendum to Bradley's post about abbreviations, it seems obvious that EXLTD stands for Exalted, which is either a designation for an AI class or a commander's rank (IMO). There are a few other abbreviations that might be deciphered, vis.

In the route code, "XCV": X may stand for Xeno-something, an alien Combat Vehicle perhaps?

CCS Truth and Reconciliation seems likely to be a Covenant Combat Ship.

Similarly Jonathan Andrews <vidboi@bellsouth.net> writes:

I think EXLTD stands for EXALTED. I say this because of one of the quotes has EXALTED as the process owner of the transmission.

 • CCS Truth and Reconciliation (DE H c-1)

   o ALLCH (SC)

         RECEIVED (trans)
         via x-process MODIFIED 
         (process owner EXALTED (?))
   When no single human brick lies atop another, then will we be satisfied 
   with your destruction. 

See the Halo section for further details on the above.

Halo reference in Iain M Banks. Jon Chang <grind@interactive8.com> writes:

I'm currently reading "Against a Dark Background" by Iain M Banks and I came across this passage:

"The Lazy Guns had not had a happy history; they had turned up during the Interregnum following the Second War, seemingly products of Halo; the vast Thrial-polar Machine Intelligence artifact/habitat destroyed by whatever mysterious weapon had been fired from - and which appeared to ahve obliterated - the moons of the giant gas planet Phrastesis."

So Halo is a machine AI? So far it has been the only reference in the book. I am currently going through all of Mr. Banks sci-fi books.

See the Iain M. Banks' Culture references in Bungie's Halo section for more details.

Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes:

A while back, someone from Bungie said that they didn't want comparisons being made between Halo and Ringworld. Basically, they didn't want to hear them mentioned in the same sentence. Do you think this is out of embarassment, or frustration? That is, have people stubbled across a valid relationship between the two, and Bungie is embarassed to admit the closeness of them? Or, are there so many coincidental similarities, that Bungie doesn't want people to get them confused?

Interesting point. The person in question who made this statement was Nathan Bitner (Producer of Halo) in a Next-Generation interview. He said at the time:

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

In addition there is already a number of games based on the Ringworld series which would make it highly unlikely that Bungie would use the same material for Halo. Also the ring in Ringworld is orders of magnitude larger than Halo's ring. The Ringworld ring encircles a sun. The Halo ring circles a gas giant. Big difference.

Apart fron the ring structure itself the only known similarlity between Bungie's Halo and Larry Niven's Ringworld series is that both rings were created by a mysterious highly advanced race that has strangely disappeared. In Ringworld the race were called the Pak. In Halo the race is called... ?

From what we know already about the size of the Halo ring it seems very similar to those mentioned in the Iain M. Banks' Culture series. However this is not to say that Halo is based on the excellent Culture series. Only that some parts are likely to have been inspired by it.

Sept 22, 1999 (Wednesday)

Paul Auerbach <paul@auerbach.com> writes:

I just finished reading "Ringworld Engineers" a few weeks ago. In the story, the Pak have various life-cycle stages, the "breeder" stage being described as animalistic and posessing little intelligence. After the Pak breeders eat a plant called the "tree of life", they undergo a change that turns them into the "protector" stage. Pak Protectors are highly intelligent and undergo various physiological changes. Constant wars on the Pak homeworlds pushed them further and further out into the galaxy to colonize, and in the novel, one of these worlds was Earth. On Earth, however, "tree of life" was unable to grow properly, and after the Protectors died off, only the Breeders were left, they eventually evolved into humans. Other protectors built the Ringworld as a large habitat, and, in the same way, the Breeders eventually evolved to fit their niches in the Ringworld, leading to the various native humanoid species.

Andreas Orphanides <Dre.Orphanides@oberlin.edu> writes concerning the Cortana Letters:

In your first Cortana section of 16 Feb., you start with the phrase:

I receive the oddest mail sometimes. But when it comes from Bungie Software it's even odder.

and proceed to share with the world the first Cortana letter. I am surprised no one noticed that Cortana's second letter starts with the phrase

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

They pretty much parallel each other. Clearly Cortana reads the story page (well, gee whiz) and is consciously mocking you (again, gee whiz) but it is interesting to note that Cortana goes out of its (?) way to mimic your words.

Cortana is a parrot... what can I say! ;-)

Clem Freeman <clemf@humboldt1.com> writes:

Since there has been so much speculation recently about the abbreviations in the Halo Transmissions, I thought I'd throw my two cents in. I'm reading Ian M. Bank's Excession right now, and I have been impressed about how similar the Halo Quotes are to the transmission in the aforementioned book. I realize this has been mentioned before, but I just wanted to note something. In Excession, the three letter abbreviations before ship names stand for the type of ship, not it's allegiances (such as United States Ship). For instance, GCU stands for "General Contact Unit," ROU for "Rapid Offensive Unit." While this may or may not be the same in Halo, it seems worth mentioning as the quotes on the Halo page and in the book are really almost exactly the same.

Sept 23, 1999 (Thursday)

I picked this bit off halo.bungie.org. There is graphic at


which looks remarkably like the 'o' in the Halo logo.

Sept 25, 1999 (Saturday)

To paraphrase Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest":

To make one slip up, Mr. Bitner, may be regarded as a misfortune; to make two looks like...

According to core.gamestats.com Nathan Bitner has been posting under the pseudonym "Island Four" <island_four@yahoo.com>. His identify was revealed when he posted the following:

Re: Apple in control of the movie?

Posted By: Island Four on Friday, 09.24.99, at 10:44 a.m.
Response to: Apple in control of the movie? (PsychoBean)

: So here I am, begging the glorious Nathan to clarify the Halo
: movie situation.

Cool, I'm glorious now. :-)

Anyway, at this point, I have to refer all movie questions to our Marketing/Publishing department. They are the ones truly in control of the situation; and they are in the know far more than I am. If they're choosing to keep quiet, I'm sure there's a good reason why. :-)

I leave it in their completely capable hands ... and I would be amiss to pretend that I know who "controls" the movie at this point. I'm sure it is a joint effort being worked at by both parties. And I'm sure you won't be disappointed. :-)

Just keep your eyes and ears open for our official press releases and any info that might be on the Bungie site. Don't worry - we'll let ya know when it gets here. :-)


He immediately followed this up with the following post:

Re: Apple in control of the movie?

Posted By: Nathan on Friday, 09.24.99, at 10:45 a.m.
Response to: Re: Apple in control of the movie? (Island Four)

And damn, my cover's blown.

Time to find another free email site.




Shades of the 2nd Cortana Letter slip up perhaps? As one source (who wishes to remain anonymous) said:

He's not the best undercover agent, is he? ;)

What followed next was interesting:

and your Money for Nothing ...

Posted By: Island Four on Friday, 09.24.99, at 11:42 a.m.
Response to: Heh. Hints for free... (Louis)

: Well, now would be the time to review "Island Four"'s
: old posts and see if he was hinting at anything. Could be a
: nugget or two in there somewhere...

: -Louis

Boy I sure hope I didn't say anything mean to anyone. :-) Tyson, now would be the time to go and DELETE ALL OF ISLAND FOUR'S POSTS. Hope you're listening up there in Canada, eh?


-Island Four


Re: and your Money for Nothing ...

Posted By: Louis on Friday, 09.24.99, at 11:52 a.m.
Response to: and your Money for Nothing ... (Island Four)

: Boy I sure hope I didn't say anything mean to anyone. :-)
: Tyson, now would be the time to go and DELETE ALL OF ISLAND
: FOUR'S POSTS. Hope you're listening up there in Canada, eh?

: ;-)

: -Island Four

Too late. Already read them all. =)

Anyway, there's not much here on the Core, but there's a larger range on the halo.bungie.org forums. I am in the process of copying them to my hard drive for safekeeping in the event of a crackdown. I suggest others do the same.

Read 'em yourself, but looks like I was wrong re: timelines. "Island Four" keeps saying that Halo will take place between the departure of the Marathon and the return of the survivors of Tau Ceti, not after Marathon 2/oo as I had originally suspected. Unless he was trying to throw us off, planning for the day when his identity would be uncovered...

Never mind. But it looked like this was going to be a slow week for news. We should have plenty of fun analyzing this.

So anyway, thanks Nathan. I hope this doesn't cause trouble for you.


Time to do some detailed searching of old archives perhaps? The tru7h is out there. ;-)

Sept 26, 1999 (Sunday)

The so-called "Island Four" posts seem to have mysteriously disappeared off the net. How fortunate for some. ;-)

HaloNews.com have posted an interesting and somewhat amusing interview with Nathan Bitner (Producer and Creative Developer - Halo). Worth reading. As expected Nathan would not reveal any information on a possible tie between Halo and Marathon.

Sept 28, 1999 (Tuesday)

Quick update

Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew> writes concerning Nathan Bitner's pseudonym "Island Four" (see below for details):

Mars - the fourth island in the solar system.

This is the best one I've heard yet. :-)

Once or twice? Nathan Bitner <nathan@bungie.com> (Producer and Creative Developer - Halo) writes concerning the Story page's recent "Island Four" comments:

I freely (and immediately) admitted to the (COOKIE!!) error I made on Tyson Green's core.gamestats.com site. I have never admitted such problems with the Cortana situation, which is more out of my hands than any of you guys (and/or girls) believe.

I freely allow all of you to inspect the Island Four posts for whatever information you may glean from it, and I have made no requests for the posts to be removed from any sites, unless I was especially derogatory toward another person or game company, which I doubt I was. :-)

You can, of course, feel free to post this as "news" at your site if you choose. And don't worry - I've already got a couple of more free email sites to play around with. ;)

Now which one of you guys is going to figure out why I chose the name in the first place? Get to researching!

So what's behind the pseudonym "Island Four"? Nathan did offer a clue on the halo.bungie.org forums:

Re: Argh
Posted By: Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu>
Date: 25 September 1999, 9:44 p.m.

In Response To: Argh (Island Four)

> Haven't seen any of you yahoos ;) take a crack at seeing what
> the name actually means though. :-)

The best I can come up with is "There was a fourth" from the Cortana letters, but since I never heard of the other 3 I can't exactly see its signifigance...

Re: Argh
Posted By: Island Four <island_four@yahoo.com>
Date: 25 September 1999, 10:49 p.m.

In Response To: Re: Argh (Mark Levin)

> The best I can come up with is "There was a fourth"
> from the Cortana letters, but since I never heard of the other 3
> I can't exactly see its signifigance...

Don't worry, I'm sure Hamish & Co. will have it within hours. ;) But it has very little to do with the Cortana letters ...

Enjoy the search. :-)

- Island Four

...within hours eh? =) Sounds like a challenge to me! ;-)

Thanks once more to Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew> for sending in animated graphics for The Cortana Letters, BLAM, and Release Dates pages. The The Cortana Letters one is a blast! Yes that really is N... err... Cortana. ;-)

Jared Cash <jcash@graceland.edu> and Forrest Cameranesi <forrest@west.net> both write concerning the following remark in the recent Nathan Bitner Interview at HaloNews.com:

Fans of Bungie have come to expect deep and deliciously complex storylines from your games. Between the Cortana letters and other subtle *coughLOGOcough* hints, we're already expecting to see some ties to the Marathon universe. Are any characters from the Marathon series scheduled to make an appearance in Halo? Can you tell us anything else without spoiling the fun?

No problem! I can tell you everything – here’s a complete list of the characters in Halo and how they relate to Marathon:

First, there’s the M-

< Transfer Interrupted! >

Oh, well. I tried. You’d be surprised how much of an influence Cortana continues to have over our networks.

Jared writes:

You might just say, "Oh, it's Nathan having fun with us." I'm sure he is, but I'd like to draw your attention to the lines:

First, there's the M-

< Transfer Interrupted! >

What exactly was Nathan going to say before he was cut off? Was it, "First there's the Marathon"? The tru7h is in there somewhere.

Forrest writes:

Ok, so, what was he about to say? The M-arathon? The M-jolnir cyborgs? The M-ars colony? What else could he mean? I'd put my money on the Mjolnir cyborgs, though it would be really cool to see or hear of the Marathon in Halo.

Sept 29, 1999 (Wednesday)

Lots of responses to the possible source of Nathan Bitner's pseudonym "Island Four". Is "Island Four" a reference to Mars, the fourth planet (island) from the sun in our solar system (sea) as suggested by Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith yesterday or possibly something else?

Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> writes concerning a possible "Island Four" reference in Larry Niven's Ringworld Engineers, the second book in the Ringworld series. Mark writes:

In Ringworld Engineers, they (Louis Wu and co.) find a giant ocean. Floating in the ocean are some full-scale maps of some planets in Known Space. The fourth one they see is Mars. The map of Mars, contains (one of?) the control center(s) for the Ringworld. Mars? Island? Fourth planet? Significant?

Derek Bongaarts <derek@mac3d.com> of Mac 3D Dot Com provided this interesting tidbit. Derek writes:

Somewhere in one of Nathan's letters, he addressed his readers as "yahoos." These are the names for a lowly bunch of characters in Gulliver's Travels. This book also deals with Gulliver's adventures from island to island. I don't have the book handy, so I can't inform you on which island was the fourth, but I do believe the corresponding island was one where "horses were the most intelligent on the island, and their herders were morons drooling all over the place, called yahoos."

quote taken from someone who has read the book and not just read the cliff notes... ; )

Gulliver's Travels was written by Jonathan Swift in 1726 and concerns the adventures of Capt. Gulliver as he travels into several remote nations of the world. There is a reference to a fourth island in the book. Here is a passage:

The next Day I sailed to another Island, and thence to a third and fourth, sometimes using my Sail, and sometimes my Paddles. But not to trouble the Reader with a particular Account of my Distresses; let it suffice that on the 5th Day, I arrived at the last Island in my Sight, which lay South-South- East to the former.

This Island was at a greater Distance than I expected, and I did not reach it in less than five Hours. I encompassed it almost round before I could find a convenient Place to land in, which was a small Creek, about three Times the Wideness of my Canoe. I found the Island to be all rocky, only a little intermingled with Tufts of Grass and sweet smelling Herbs. I took out my small Provisions, and after having refreshed myself, I secured the Remainder in a Cave, whereof there were great Numbers. I gathered plenty of Eggs upon the Rocks, and got a Quantity of dry Seaweed and parched Grass, which I designed to kindle the next Day, and roast my Eggs as well as I could. (For I had about me my Flint, Steel, Match, and Burning-glass.) I lay all Night in the Cave where I had lodged my Provisions. My Bed was the same dry Grass and Sea-weed which I intended for Fewel. I slept very little; for the Disquiets of my Mind prevailed over my Wearyness, and kept me awake. I considered how impossible it was to preserve my Life, in so desolate a Place; and how miserable my End must be. Yet I found my self so listless and desponding that I had not the Heart to rise; and before I could get Spirits enough to creep out of my Cave, the Day was far advanced. I walked a while among the Rocks, the Sky was perfectly clear, and the Sun so hot, that I was forced to turn my Face from it: When all of a Sudden it became obscured, as I thought, in a Manner very different from what happens by the Interposition of a Cloud. I turned back, and perceived a vast Opake Body between me and the Sun, moving forwards towards the Island: It seemed to be about two Miles high, and hid the Sun six or seven Minutes, but I did not observe the Air to be much colder, or the Sky more darkned, than if I had stood under the shade of a Mountain. As it approached nearer over the Place where I was, it appeared to be a firm Substance, the Bottom flat, smooth, and shining very bright from the Reflexion of the Sea below. I stood upon a Height about two Hundred Yards from the Shoar, and saw this vast Body descending almost to a Parallel with me, at less than an English Mile Distance. I took out my Pocket-Perspective, and could plainly discover Numbers of People moving up and down the Sides of it, which appeared to be sloping, but what those People were doing, I was not able to distinguish.

Gulliver goes on to describe the floating island and the people who live on it (the Laputians). The floating island is in fact used by the king of the Laputians to rule the his land based kingdom. Part of the text describes the floating island as follows:

The flying or floating Island is exactly circular; its Diameter 7837 Yards, or about four Miles and an Half, and consequently contains ten Thousand Acres. It is three Hundred Yards thick.

Shades of the floating cities in Larry Niven's Ringworld. Remember that Gulliver's Travels was written in 1726 some two and half centuries before Ringworld. Perhaps we need to add Gulliver's Travels to that Marathon/Halo reading list. :-)

Concerning the Nathan Bitner Interview Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes:

Since Nathan specifically says "here's a complete list of characters ... ", I would be willing to guess that the M- is for Marine, or Mjolnir, as opposed to Mars or Marathon.

Sept 30, 1999 (Thursday)

More Nathan Bitner's pseudonym musings. This is a good one. Sean Phelps <seanphelps@earthlink.net> writes:

Regarding Mr. Bitners use of the name "Island Four" and its origin:

It could have something to do with the development teams at Bungie. Assuming the "Island" refers to the anonymity of Bungie's development teams (i.e. they all work on separate projects and don't interfere with each other) the number 4 could relate to the number of the development team he's working for. That would mean he's working on the fourth development team at Bungie.

Four development teams (islands) in the Bungie sea. :-)

Kenny Kay <ken@avara.net> writes concerning the SAM in new Halo screenshots which appeared in the recent edition of Computer Gaming World magazine (see halo.bungie.org for the scans):

Well, make the SAM weapon in Halo predecessor or successor of the "m2 preview" Spanker :)

can you say video camera?

Ah yes who remembers the rocket launcher from the Marathon 2 Preview? Yes it was thankfully revamped when the Demo came out but at the time it did look like a movie camera. But things have moved on so it seems... rocket launchers are becoming more and more like large video cameras (see Dan's submission below):

Dan Hembry <durandal_777@yahoo.com> also writes concerning the Halo SAM:

I was looking at the newly scanned screenshot over at halo.bungie.org. I took one look at that SAM and went diving into my bookmark file and my database. Here's what I found:

This is the picture I was looking at:

And these are the picts I found:

The picts that I found are from a missle system that flys up and over its target to attack from above and thus bypassing the targets highly armored front end. The first one was the one that remined me of the Halo SAM (have the Marine on the other side, looking the other direction, lose the tripod, and have the system light enough to be carried on his sholder), its from the first generation of the missle system (named BILL, short for Bofor's Infantry Light and Lethal anti-tank missile). Its a highly portable one-man system that can be droped from a plane and parachuted down, driven in, carried in, etc.
Further research yielded that they had made a second version (approprately named BILL II). The second picture is from the second version, and it looks a little less like the Halo SAM.

Halo submissions for Oct - Dec 1999

Copyright & Other Legal Information

The names Pathways Into Darkness, Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal, Marathon Infinity, Myth: The Fallen Lords, Myth 2: Soulblighter, Halo and Bungie are property of Bungie Software Products Corporation, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999. All uses of these names within this document are assumed to be trademarked.

This page is Copyright © 1999, 2000 by Hamish Sinclair. All Rights Reserved. You may duplicate, transmit, and save this document as long as it remains intact with this copyright notice.

Page created and maintained by Hamish Sinclair <Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie>

Halo animation graphic courtesy of Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew>

Last updated Mar 22, 2000

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