July 30, 2013 (Tuesday)

How does the choice of difficulty level affect game play in Marathon 2 and Infinity?

Well in a Story forum post, Treellama points us to an interesting set of stats extracted
from the Marathon 2 source code. I've reprinted them here for posterity:

Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3. Antarctico explains how you can use the Transparency BCE
found on 'Try again' on "Ingue Ferroque". Here's what he had to say:

From personal experience, in Ingue Ferroque, in both the current beta and original,
playing on Total Carnage, a single invisibility power-up is sufficient to avoid
detection until you are (approximately) within 3-4X punching distance, which is
to say you can be detected, but you have to get almost right on top of the Pfhor
to trigger them. This is enough cover to skate past most of the fight in the first
ring, and then in the second ring, have just enough time on your cloak to run up
to the waiting projectile troopers, have them become just visible in the dark
from the shine of your player "glow", and grenade or rocket them while they are
napping. This works just fine in the beta, and I have done it in the original
Marathon more times than I could possibly count. :)

What happens if you pick up two Transparency BCEs on Try again? Antarctico explains:

I did a run where I picked up both invisibility power-ups, my weapons in hand got
doubly transparent, but there was no improvement in being detected or not by the
Pfhor - it worked just as well with one as with two.

Rampancy post Part 2 of their co-op tour of Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap.

Martin and PerseusSpartacus continue their Tour of Duty series with the following levels:

Beware of Low-Flying Defense Drones...
Ain't Got Time Pfhor This...

July 26, 2013 (Friday)

Rampancy post two further episodes in their co-op tour of Marathon:

Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!
Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap  (Part 1)

In the on-going Tour of Duty series, PerseusSpartacus takes a break and Martin fills
his boots on Two Times Two Equals....

July 21, 2013 (Sunday)

In a Halo Waypoint interview with artist Craig Mullins, Craig had this to say about his
early work on Marathon:

In 1994, I think Marathon came out at the very end of the year. I remember playing it
over Christmas break. A few months later, I did some fan art. It circulated around
the net for a while and found its way to Bungie. They were working on Marathon 2
by then and asked me to make chapter screens for the new game. At this point, games
came on floppies, so no animations or cut scenes were possible. I think there were
ten chapters/levels in Marathon 2, so I did ten illustrations.

Ten illustrations?

How many chapter screens in Marathon 2? Well there are nine. But there is also a final
screen. Did Craig draw the Final Screen image? It's not like any of the other nine
illustrations in that it contains no characters from the game and is pretty nondescript.

Could there be a tenth (unused) chapter screen with Marathon 2 characters by Craig Mullins?

In a BBC News interview with artist Craig Mullins, Craig had this to say about his early
work on Marathon:

I had total and complete reign to do whatever I wanted. I wanted to expand the
universe of the game.

July 19, 2013 (Friday)

Narcogen and Blackstar continue their co-op journey through Marathon with Level 12 -
Shake Before Using... This video is the first to use chase cam footage.

On the Story forum:

The Suicide List
Last of the Vidmasters... or a new beginning?
Marapfhont updated

July 18, 2013 (Thursday)

PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> continues his Tour of Duty with:

Neither High Nor Low
Pfhor Your Eyes Only...
No Artificial Colors

Narcogen and Blackstar take on one of the hardest levels in Marathon, namely Bob-B-Q.
Is having two fists better than one?

July 15, 2013 (Monday)

treellama reports that beta 2 of the new Aleph One has just been released. A number of
fixes have been made bringing this even closer to the original gaming experience.
But more testing is needed. Testers apply within.

A suicide trap on Bob-B-Q? Oh yes indeed. Spotted by President People in this
Story forum post. Is anymore keeping count? More than seven? More than seventeen?!!!

July 12, 2013 (Friday)

Thanks God it's... you Friday.

Narcogen and Blackstar continue their co-op journey through Marathon with Level 10 -
Blaspheme Quarantine. This one has everything - Hulk slaps, suicide traps and slomo taps
to the head. Yes folks, co-op Marathon just got a tad bit more personal.

Two suicide traps on The Rose? Yes indeed. One here and one there.

The first ever Vid film with the new Marathon beta?

July 9, 2013 (Tuesday)

PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> continues his Tour of Duty with
Habe Quiddam. Another level by Jason Jones, complete with exploding Bobs.

Narcogen and Blackstar continue their co-op journey through Marathon with Level 9 -
G4 Sunbathing. With lines like: "Less commentary... more running for your life!"
this video is sure to entertain.

July 8, 2013 (Monday)

Beta Test THIS!

treellama <wolfy@treellama.org> is calling all you old-timers out there to get
your boots on and test the latest version of Aleph One which now supports...
wait for it... the original Marathon assets (map, shapes, sounds, physics files).

Some of the highlights of this version include:

Full support for Marathon sounds including permutations

A Marathon terminal parser, that reads the terminal from the
original engine, with layout updates including rectangles extracted
from the original engine

Numerous changes to support Marathon maps: fixes to exploration;
implementation of glue, superglue, and glue triggers; exploration
depends on the overhead map

Support for Marathon physics files, including careful analysis and
emulation of the original weapon timings and other behaviors; also,
grenade hopping/climbing

This is all designed to give you that original Marathon look and feel so sadly missed
over the last decade.

So why are beta testers needed? Well I'll let treellama explain:

We could really use the help of everyone familiar with Marathon in testing out this beta,
and finding all the things we missed. Also, everyone who isn't familiar has a new game to
play. The changes between this version and the one that came with Aleph One 1.0 are way
bigger than the changes from M1A1 to 1.0. Find yourself starting back.

"Find yourself starting back" indeed. Where's m'boots. :)

Post your observations, bugs or inconsistencies with the original Marathon on the Story
forum or at Sourceforce

July 7, 2013 (Sunday)

Happy Bungie Day!

The Seventh of the Seventh. Bungie's self proclaimed birthday.

Rampancy have put together a montage video of battle footage from Marathon set to a performance
of Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" from the opera "Carmina Burana". Who says we don't do culture? ;)

PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> continues his Tour of Duty with
Colony Ship For Sale, Cheap. A level described by Jason Jones as a 'grevious sin'.
But is it his biggest 'sin'? Did Jason create a level that breaks Marathon convention?

July 6, 2013 (Saturday)

Narcogen and Blackstar continue their co-op journey through Marathon with Level 8 -
Cool Fusion. The video demonstrates the perils of doing co-op in a game
not designed for co-op play. Cool Concussion anyone?
And the good news is that the Rampancy Duo intend to film the complete Trilogy
in co-op style. :)

PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> is back (after a rest) with his
Tour of Duty. This time he is taking on Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!.
Find out why he doesn't like lava and doesn't speak C. ;)

This level contains the famous line Mjolnir Recon number 54 must stop... and
the cryptic #101111011110111100001# is is a '7'.
Want to know more? Then check out the The 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg section.

Will Perseus complete his Tour of Duty of the Trilogy?
Well he might be persuaded to do Marathon 2... but he's 'definitely not doing Infinity.' ;)

July 1, 2013 (Monday)

Narcogen and Blackstar continue their co-op journey through Marathon with Level 7 -
Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken!. While Marathon was never designed for
co-op play this video shows you one of the advantages of playing with a partner,
namely the ease at which you can get the secret flamethrower. Oh and... the
flamethrower doesn't work against the Compilers, Blackstar. ;)

Some interesting things about this level:

Bungie colloquial referred to this level as 'Chicken'.
Want to know more about the origin of the level names? Then check the What's in a Name? section

Want to know more about the weird Chicken Term? Then check out the Chicken Term section.

This is another of those twisty maze-like levels beloved by Jason Jones.
Want to know who created what level? Then check out the Level Credits section.

Why did Leela choose to kill a large number of the Marathon's crew on this level with YOUR help?
Find out the answer... and more... on the The HoT List

And why did the Chicken cross the road?
Find out on one of Story page's seven secret pages.
And yes... they do exist. :)

June 24, 2013 (Monday)

Narcogen and Blackstar complete The Rose in part 2 of their co-op tour of this
classic Greg Kirkpatrick level. They duke it out with hordes of Hulks, unearth the
secrets of MIDA and still get home in time for tea.

Missed out on a copy of the Marathon Scrapbook? Now's your chance to grap a
copy for a reasonable price.

June 15, 2013 (Saturday)

How many suicide traps are there in Marathon (the 1st game). We asked this back in
Jan 27, 2011 and Oct 8, 2011. But got no answers. :(

Is anyone counting... because here's another one.

June 14, 2013 (Friday)

Narcogen and Blackstar continue their co-op journey through Marathon with Level 6 - The Rose.
This is actually a two part video. Part 1 shows them take on the infamous Hulks. Will these
shambling ammo sinks be too much for the Rampancy boys? All will be revealed in Part 2.

PerseusSpartacus continues his Tour of Duty with three levels in quick succession:

Blaspheme Quarantine
Shake Before Using...

In a Story forum post, Treellama <wolfy@treellama.org> points out that the 'Rescue'
mission type will not work in M1A1 (nor Marathon 2). So no matter how hard you try
you won't be able to save enough Bobs for Leela.

Two suicide traps in Blaspheme Quarantine? Oh yes indeed. One here and the other here.
Is someone writing these down? For Health and Safety reasons. :)

June 12, 2013 (Wednesday)

Hot on the trail of G4 Sunbathing, PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> continues
his Tour of Duty with Blaspheme Quarantine. A Greg Kirkpatrick level which first appeared in
the Marathon demo.

A new Aleph One coming out with... grenade climbing?

June 11, 2013 (Tuesday)

The Rampancy crew (Narcogen and Blackstar) continue their co-op exploration of Marathon.
This time they take on Couch Fishing and find out first hand some of the problems (intentional
and unintentional) with this level. Join in on the Story forum discussion.

Other levels in the on-going series, include:

Level 4 - Defend THIS! and Story forum discussion.
Level 3 - Never Burn Money and Story forum discussion.
Level 2 - Bigger Guns Nearby and Story forum discussion.
Level 1 - Arrival and Story forum discussion.
Note that Narcogen and Blackstar are tackling the levels co-operatively even though
Marathon 1 was never designed with this in mind. When watching the videos you need to
take this into account.

PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> continues his Tour of Duty with G4 Sunbathing.
Tour of Duty is a refreshing new look at the Marathon levels from the perspective of a
relatively new player. The playthrough includes terminal discussion and other gameplay
observations. Unfortunately the discussion is regularly interrupted by a grizzled old fella
who reminisces on the old days and how the game was much harder back then. Can this
old gunny teach this young Jedi some new tricks or is it time to hang up those boots?

Other levels in the Tour of Duty series, include:

Cool Fusion
Smells Like Napalm, Tastes Like Chicken!
The Rose
Couch Fishing
Defend THIS!
Never Burn Money
Bigger Guns Nearby

This series was first started back in June of last year so it is nearly one year old.
We'll all be old by the time this one is finished. ;)

For other 'earlier' discussion of the Marathon levels check out the Volunteers series.

May 24, 2013 (Friday)

Narcogen and Blackstar take on Bigger Guns Nearby and Never Burn Money in
'gentlemanly' co-op style. So far no fear of their co-op escapade turning into a carnage
fest. But then again... the mind numbing Colony Ship for Sale awaits them.

Treellama <wolfy@treellama.org> reveals that there will be no co-op mode in the
new Marathon support in Aleph One. Canon lovers rejoice.

Also on the Story forum:

Marathon Rampancy (old Half-Life mod) resurrected.
Necronomithon - the first ever Marathon conversion project.
A conversation with Craig Hardgrove.

May 3, 2013 (Friday)

Narcogen <narcogen@rampancy.net> writes:

Over at Rampancy.net, Blackstar and myself are embarking on a Let's Play series of
Marathon 1 using the Aleph One engine and Chris Hardgrove's remixed music, to tide
us over until Destiny is released.

Note that they are tackling the levels co-operatively even though Marathon 1 was never
designed with this in mind. Their first film is of Arrival.

Pros:   Interesting gaming discussion between old and new games.
Cons:   Game play is a little rusty. Not on Total Carnage. Parts of the level are missed.

How long will this co-op escapade last before one-on-one carnage ensues? As Randy Reddig
(Double Aught Software) once said:

...all "co-operative" games degenerate into carnage eventually.

Apr 16, 2013 (Tuesday)

In the original Marathon game the terminal text was coded in the Marathon application
rather than in the map file (as in M2 and Infinity). But if you ever wondered (or tried
to find) where the Marathon logon graphic (the green Marathon symbol) is you might
search in vain. Now thanks to Hopper in the Story post we have the exact location.
He writes:

The logo itself is in the Shapes file: Interface collection, frame 44.
Underneath it, the "U.E.S.C. Marathon" text is printed from stringset 135,
index 0 (the unused-in-M2 _marathon_name).

Of course, you might ask yourself so what? Why would anyone want to know this? Well it
is important if you are trying to get the original Marathon terminals working in Aleph One.
And by all accounts progress is good.

And on the subject of terminals, Hopper writes:

...has anybody noticed that the apparent date in the Marathon terminal header
advances at the rate of roughly seven minutes per in-game second?

Now added to The Number Seven section.

Apr 9, 2013 (Tuesday)

Yes folks... it's finally here.

Pathways Into Darkness for OS X at the Mac App Store

Brought to you by Mark Levin and Bruce Morrison.

Now a whole new generation of fans can play Bungie's hardest game.

Take a bow guys. :)

Mar 30, 2013 (Saturday)

On the Story forun over the last couple of weeks:

Bungie revealed a little more of their next game 'Destiny' at the Game Developers Conference.
They released a video which was screened as part of their presentation. Lots of new concept
art including one piece that looks like a modern rendition of a Teutonic Knight. Thanks patrick.

Claude Errera draws some parallels between Destiny and Marathon.

And this pic looks very reminiscent of something... but I can't exactly remember...

Craig Hardgrove (Mr. Marathon Music Remakes) gets interviewed by a Destiny fan site.

Yossarian kindly compiles all the Rubicon: Volunteers threads posted back in 2002.

Yes, people are still interested in Marathon Magazine.

Marathon Machinima anyone?


Was the Marathon 2 level  'We're Everywhere' originally designed for  no water?

Who remembers Gnop?

What canon should or should not be preserved in M1A1?

Mar 17, 2013 (Sunday)

It's tough being green!

Except on St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all Story page readers... everywhere!

Feb 8, 2013 (Friday)

Gabriel Rosenkoetter <gr@eclipsed.net> sends in the following screenshot from
the iOS game Spaceteam.

As Gabe remarks... "Relevance should be obvious."

On the Story forum over the last few weeks:

Yes, there was a USS Marathon.

More Marathon fan fiction.

Used copy of the Marathon Trilogy Box Set sells for... US $150.99.

Bungie's Destiny at GDC 2013.

Old Duality stuff.

PerseusSpartacus continues his Tour of Duty with Couch Fishing.

Alex Seropian's new sci-fi game... Morning Star.

PID secret page revealed... but everyone missed it. :(

Jan 1, 2013 (Tuesday)

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

So what happened last year? Can't remember? Well here's a little retrospective of some
of the highlights in 2012, in reverse chronological order (or something like that).

Josh Goldberg opened up his Marathon artwork at Rising Studios for public viewing
and went on to re-envision David Candland's 'The Ancients' poster.

Marathon made it into the list of the 50 Most Unique Firearms in Video Games.
And its position? Well 42 of course. Life, the Universe... and everything.

marathon.bungie.org got a long overdue makeover thanks to Gregory Smith (aka treellama)
and artwork by Josh Goldberg.

A very rare copy of Super Marathon was sold on eBay for a whopping US $370.00
along with a Pippin for US $515.55.

Bungie's 2010 contact with Activision was made public and revealed details about their
next game 'Destiny' and another called... 'Marathon'?   But like Estragon and Vladimir
you might be waiting for the later.

And then there were three. Soli Deo Gloria Productions released Marathon Infinity for iOS.

Bungie day (7th July) saw the release of Doc Hopper's original Marathon Classic HUD.
Old-timers needed only install.

Mickey <mickeywember@gmail.com> posted the video portion of the IMG interview with
Bungie Software from Jan/Feb 1995 on YouTube. You can read that particular interview here.

In retro mood, nay retro mode... Doc Hopper extracted the contents of the Marathon alpha Shapes
file to reveal the largest lunar landscape panorama... ever.

A fitting epitaph for Doug Zartman? Orihaus had the low down. (Please note Doug is still alive)

Those extractions kept coming... Doc Hopper did the Marathon betas next.

Rebus? A new word of the day on the Story page. But what did it mean... come to think
of it what did B.U mean?

Philtron reanimated the Volunteers series with the largest Story forum post... ever!

Memories of Traxus? Philtron speculated that we had and the Marathon's Story just got
that little bit more intriguing... 17 years on. :)

Want to read (re-read) those old copies of Marathon Magazine (aka MaraMag)?
Well now you can thanks to Hopper.

Greg Kirkpatrick is alive and well !!! :)

So we might be going to Tau Ceti after all.

Marathon turned 18 on the 21 December 2012... the world didn't end.
But this iOS app did do a very strange thing when it got to zero. ;)

Go to What's New for Sept - Dec 2012

Go Back to Marathon's Story Home Page

Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair Hamish.Sinclair123@gmail.com
Last updated Aug 4, 2013