June 30, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update

The UK branch of Amazon.com has posted a review of Iain M. Banks' upcoming Culture novel "Look to Windward". I've taken the liberty of reposting the text here:

When using that middle initial M., Iain Banks writes grand space opera combining galactic scope with twisty, tricky probes into the darkest secrets of human and other minds. Look to Windward revisits the utopian but ruthless interstellar Culture introduced in Consider Phlebas, exploring the complex aftermath of a rare Culture mistake--humanitarian tinkering with an unjust civilization that accidentally led to massive civil war and billions dead.

After a harrowing battle flashback, the scene shifts to one of the Culture's wonderfully landscaped, ring-shaped artificial worlds called Orbitals. A ghastly light is awaited in the sky from distant suns detonated in the war of Consider Phlebas eight centuries earlier; an occasion for sombre festivity, pyrotechnics, and a memorial symphony from exiled alien composer Ziller. Meanwhile another tortured member of Ziller's race--aggressors and victims in that more recent civil war--arrives on a mission whose dreadful nature emerges through fragments of slowly returning memory. Elsewhere, in the exuberantly imagined airsphere home of floating "behemothaurs" almost too huge to imagine, the clue to what's happening falls belatedly into inexperienced hands...

While scattering red herrings and building tension for his final burst of literal and moral fireworks, Banks shows us around the Orbital in sensuous, lyrical travelogues. Rich scenery, high living, low comedy and dangerous sports contrast with reflections on mortality and the lingering aftershock of both those wars, recalled by ravaged veterans. Look to Windward culminates with deft twists, inversions, parallels, and savage justice, as unexpected as we expect from this author. Recommended. --David Langford

Sounds the perfect novel to get your teeth into this summer. Look to Windward's publication date is the 17 August, 2000. More details about Iain M. Banks and his influence on Halo can be found on Iain M. Banks' "Culture" references in Bungie's Halo section and also Jon Chang's DEHc-3 Halo site.

Concerning Something Awful's The Official SA Guide to Making a Successful FPS mentioned yesterday Finn Smith <finn_smith@brown.edu> writes:

I was quite amused by SA's Official Guide to Making a Successful FPS article. I also thought that these two rules were almost directly applicable to Marathon:
45. "Complex puzzles" means "stacking boxes in order to get to a higher elevation for some reason." As a general rule, the better items and shortcuts are higher up.
Sounds like Colony Ship For Sale Cheap to me...
46. Although players should not shoot the civilians / innocent people, you should make them so obnoxious and obtrusive that they will really want to.
This one hardly needs any explanation. "They're everywhere!"

Some interesting stuff over at halo.bungie.org about reports that Xbox will not have a keyboard. For some reason I was under the mistaken impression that it would particularly after talking to Max Hoberman and Matt Soell on the subject some weeks ago. There was a suggestion that Xbox "Halo" gamers could interact with the net much the same way as Mac/PC users can. If this is not the case then it remains to be seen how this will effect the future online Bungie community.

Also seen on HBO the PC Gamer (Aug 2000) Halo scans from rampancy.net's hotline server have now appeared on the net at http://armageddon.gamehappy.com/halo/. Not sure how long they'll last there. But you can pull down the full page scans of the article. Lots of new screenshots. No information as yet on the availability of the full E3 Halo movie.

June 29, 2000 (Thursday)

Quick update

This is a must read spotted by Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org>. Something Awful have posted The Official SA Guide to Making a Successful FPS. Here's one of over 50 of their rules:

Enemy aliens often want to destroy the Earth because they've been driven insane from the flashing green and red colored lighting aboard their spacecrafts. All alien rooms and structures should have at least five light sources, each pulsating with a different bright color. This creates "atmosphere".

Sounds familiar... eh? ;-)

Thanks to rampancy.net's hotline server I was able to pull down the scans and text of the Halo preview from PC Gamer (Aug 2000). Part of the text contains some interesting background story comments by Jason Jones. I've preprinted them here:

"We're all huge sci-fi fans here," says Jones, "and with a few notable exceptions, Hollywood has forgotten how to make a real sci-fi film So a lot of our inspiration has come from literature."

Unlike cinema, which often blandly duplicates the success of former crowd-pleasers like Blade Runner, current sci-fi authors like Neal Stephenson (snow crash), Iain Banks (Consider Phlebas) and Peter Hamilton (The Neutronium Alchemist) provide the petrol that fuels the imagination of Halo's team. "In the way that Iain Banks is really hard sci-fi, we're trying to stay very realistic," says Jones. "Every thing in the game should be realistic and believable, which is something that Banks does really well."

We've all seen some of the amazing screenshots of Halo, but even Jones admits that "everyone stops paying attention to what a game looks like after a couple of hours of playing it," he says. So why is Halo going to be more filling than just a bowl of icing? Jones claims that the single player game, which many shooters have abandoned in recent months, is going to be as good as any game out there. "We think we have a story that is so good," he says "you could write a book about it and sell it as a sci-fi novel."

More references to Iain M. Banks (note that the "M" in his name should be used when referring to his sci-fi works) and also Neal Stephenson and Peter Hamilton. More names to add to The Reading List(tm).

This interesting piece also appeared in the article:

Like Bungie's previous game Marathon (a technologically impressive first-person shooter originally released for the Mac), the story will involve the active participation of an AI life form. Just before the main character lands on the ring planet--the halo-shaped world that gives the game its name--the AI will download itself into his cybernetic matrix, and become a sort of unseen supporting character. "The AI is actually with you all the time," Jones says "Instead of saying 'Hey, there's a sniper lined up on your head,' she'll say 'Hey, there's a sniper lined up on our head.' I think that is really powerful emotionally, and will give us lots of interesting possibilities as designers."

So it seems that Cortana will be with you all the time.

Gamespot have posted a news item entitled A New Myth In The Works which suggests that Bungie's third game in development may be a Myth game (note: a Next Generation article stated that the third game would be a fantasy-based siege warfare title that featured both realtime and turn-based gameplay). Regardless of what the game will be the Gamespot article does contain this interesting tidbit:

While details are still sketchy, we do know that Bungie began development on a possible Myth sequel shortly after completion of Myth II: Soulblighter in December of 1998. Internally referred to as the "Phoenix Project," this game will be powered by the graphically impressive Halo engine, which was started by Bungie's Jason Jones soon after development on the original Myth was wrapped up.

Interesting that the name Phoenix should crop up in association with Halo. Also back in April 1999 it was noted on the Story page that Bungie's Soul offered the following reply to the word "Phoenix"

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

It was felt at the time that this was a reference to the the Seven Phoenix Rising Tournament and the subsequently released Phoenix Rising Net Map. In hindsight perhaps we were mistaken and Phoenix was a genuine codename for a new game in development.

Thanks to those who wrote in about the tongue-in-cheek Marathon Pants item. Glad you enjoyed it. Alan Greene <alan@rifted.com> went on to add:

Your report on the controversy over Marathon's Story pants has created quite a stir in online communities. I couldn't help noticing all of the "pants advocacy" sites that sprung up in such a short time. I suppose one of the advantages (or curses, depending on how you look at it) of the web is the immediacy with which people can react, and the impact their views have on the community.

Some of the more prominent advocacy sites that have been born around this issue: PantCentral.com, with ongoing pants-related news updates; PantsObserver.com, also delivering plenty of news and opinions from the pant community; PantOSRumors.com, serving a more sensational viewpoint, "Over-Sized" in nature; and my personal favorite, InsidePantHems.com, targeting a more technically-oriented audience of tailor wannabes.

They're all for pants, and they're not taking news of trouser discrimination lightly. As an online community, we need to keep our heads on straight, and remember that decisions made about target platforms are not made as a way of excluding fans of one article of clothing or another, but rather as a business decision that is intended to steer a product in the right direction.

InsidePantHems... LOL ;-)

June 28, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update

Marathon's Story page Pants?!!!

Ryan "SonicStorm" Foote of Battleground Halo writes concerning Raul Bonilla's comments yesterday about the Covenant mouth:

just so you know, the mouth of that particular alien is two pieces, the lower jaw to be exact. It only separates when the aliens 'scream' which they do once or twice in the full E3 movie.

Bungie Store to stop accepting new orders after 12pm Central on Friday, June 30th, 2000. Thanks to Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew@mlcsmith.com> and John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> for spotting this first. Jim Ruiz broke the sad news in a farewell letter on the main Store page:

Greetings to the Bungie Store Target Market, and Good Bye!

Due to our recent acquisition by Microsoft, the Bungie Store will stop accepting new orders after 12pm Central on Friday, June 30th, 2000.

It hasn't been completely determined what will happen next, but we know the Bungie Store will be offline at least temporarily while it is being <ahem> assimilated. But I'm sure it'll come back - changed a little maybe, but smarter, and stronger, and dressed all in black-leathery-spandex sci-fi duds with gizmos poking through its flesh, and cables and wires all over connecting the ears to the elbows, and like one eye replaced by a laser and stuff. Neat, huh?

In the meantime, we will still be here to provide our usual outstanding customer service (for our outstanding customers, that is) until 7pm on July 7th, after which everything will get a whole lot trickier - so definitely contact shopkeeper@bungie.com right away, immediately (now), or call us at 1-800-295-0060 if there's ANY problem or delay, so we'll have a chance to resolve it. (Or if anyone else has a problem with any order, even a really OLD order, this would be a good time to write in and raise a fuss!)

And finally, on a more personal note; I've "elected to pursue other opportunities", as they say, and won't be making the transition to Microsoft. So I'd like to take this opportunity to say: It has been a great business doing pleasure with you all!

Thanks for everything, everybody!
Bon Carnage!!!

Jim Ruiz
Customer Servant
Bungie Software

Jim has been a major supporter of the Story page over the years and has contributed many pieces of Marathon memorabilia to the Story archives. The Story page wishes Jim all the very best in his "other opportunities". Here's to you Jim. Cheers!

June 27, 2000 (Tuesday)

Lots of Halo news around this week. Remember the little tumbling alien in the Halo footage from Day Four of Bungie TV? Well the Dutch gaming mag PCZone Benelux (July 2000) has a concept art sketch of the creature along with another alien life form. You can find them on page 34. Simon Brownlee <sbrownle@estec.esa.nl> (better known as Squeaky from the Win 95 Marathon 2: The Undiscovered Secrets) took some video cam shots of the sketch and sent them to the Story page. So for the very time on the net here are the concept pics:

Full concept sketch showing two new aliens (95K)
Larger side view of cone(?) carrying alien (82K)
Larger front view of cone(?) carrying alien (78K)
Larger side view of turbine(?) carrying alien (83K)
Larger front view of turbine(?) carrying alien (71K)

The magazine contains a number of other new Halo screenshots along with a developer's diary. Hopefully hi-res scans of these will become available for all to see... soon(tm).

Raul Bonilla <biomeca@hotmail.com> writes:

Here are more tidbits from the Halo trailer. If you pay attention to the covenant that appears at the end of it (at 1:31), saying what seems to be Halo's official selling line: "your destruction..." etc, you see that's it's mouth is made of 2 halves! It's somewhat difficult to notice it in the enclosed attachment, specially the part where the right side takes a little "jump" and the upper side of the right lip is missing. First I thought it was a visual effect created by the compressor, but then I noticed that a little spot is revealed in the covenant's throat when this happens (it's at the end of the brown line), and it disappears when the right side returns to it's original position. As I said, it's better seen in the actual trailer.

There are 2 possible explanations:

1. It's a bug. The mouth of this covenant is made of 2 or more polygons, and they get out of sync in this particular movement.

2. The Covenant mouth are this way. Insects mouth as well as some amphibious life forms (crabs, lobsters) have this kind of shape.

This red covenant is very different from the blue (or purples) ones presented in earlier trailers and screenshots. In Marathon the mayor and the minor classes where distinguished only by their colors, and according to the difficulty level, you see only one kind or the other. Maybe in Halo the different ranks of the Covenant will be established by shape and color, and, as in the Myth series, their appearance won't be subject to the difficulty level. If this is true, we'll be able to play against a wider variety of aliens.

In this other attachment (at 0:58) you see 2 vessels. The purple one it's a tank, part of the Covenant infantry. But the red one at the bottom doesn't look like it's part of the front line. Could it be the red covenant vessel, which (apparently) have more rank than the blue ones, and it's directing the attack from there? Unreal bots have proven how far have advanced the AI in games, and I won't be surprise if Bungie - always trying to go one step further - will try to set a new mark with Halo.

There's something floating over that red vessel. Looks like a cannon - just like the one in the purple tank - without the middle part.

I also noticed that the good NPCs (Non Player Characters) need 6 shots from the alien laser pistol to die, in contrast with the bobs from Marathon, which usually need just one shot from the blue fighter (I've seen bobs taking several hits before dying, but those are rare occasions). The Covenant seems to know human anatomy quite well. The poor fella receive the first shot on the lap, then the second on that sensitive area between the legs, the third on the rear, and the last 4 on the chest.

Concerning next month's Gathering of Fans at Macworld Expo New York and the present high demand for the limited edition Marathon's Story page t-shirt Brandon Loberg <ktaur@mail.mac.com> writes:

I hope we don't see another Misriah Massacre at the Gathering of Fans...

June 26, 2000 (Monday)

An early version of the Marathon's Story page t-shirt during beta testing/wearing.

Steve Weintraub <swein@interport.net> writes:

We have a site up, called www.bungiesellout.org

Despite the harsh-sounded url, the site isn't meant to lambast Bungie and its decision (too much ;), but to reflect on the past successes, what it means to longtime Marathon players, etc etc. Check it out.

June 25, 2000 (Sunday)

The tru7h behind the limited edition Marathon's Story t-shirt. Some FAQs:

Hey you said I could pre-order the t-shirt but now no pre-orders are being honored. What's up with that?

My fault. I thought it would be cool if people could pre-order their shirt and pick it up at the Bungie fanfest. But within 24 hours all the shirts were gone. So in the interests of fairness we've scraped the idea and gone back to a first come first served basis. Get to the fanfest early and watch for the guy being mobbed... Jon "that's MY shirt" Chang!
Can't you print MORE shirts
Nope sorry. The original deal with Bungie (since they gave us permission to use the Marathon symbol) was to have a limited edition once only series to be sold at the Bungie fanfest at cost price (no profit).
What sizes are there?
1 dozen XL and 3 dozen L (Matt Soell gets an XL).
Hey you said there was NO pre-ordering!
If YOU want to stand in Matt's way when he comes running for a shirt... be my guest! ;-)
I heard it took one month to decide where to locate the Marathon symbol on the t-shirt. Is this true?
That's correct. It's was a long drawn out battle between diehard stick-in-the-mud convention and ultra-modern Italian designer styling. Luckily the latter won out in the end.
So where did you locate it?
That's a surprise.
What's written on the back?
Secret stuff! During initial beta testing a former Lara Croft model was reported to have said "Why do guys always stare at my back when I'm wearing the Marathon's Story t-shirt?"

The limited edition Marathon's Story t-shirt only available at the NYC Bungie fanfest July 20th 4pm. Be there early and avoid the stampede.

Marathon style Russian crop symbols? Elbert Wall <elbertdw@radiks.net> writes:


If you had a look at it from another angle it would be more obvious as a Marathon symbol.

Also looks a bit Halo'ish too. :-)

June 24, 2000 (Saturday)

Whoa! Response to the Marathon's Story t-shirt has been overwhelming. Jon Chang at <grind@pop.superlink.net> reports that all 49 shirts have now been reserved. A number of people have contacted the Story page directly saying they won't make Macworld but would really like one anyway at any cost. What to do... what to do. Jon is working on it. More details... soon(tm).

Seven reasons why you should have a Marathon's Story page t-shirt

  1. There are only 49 of them in the WHOLE universe
  2. They have secrets printed on the back
  3. They look cooler than overcoats
  4. You have to have something to spill pizza down at the Bungie fanfest
  5. If they are not all sold we go bust and are likely to be acquired by Microsoft
  6. You are less likely to be sat on by Matt Soell during a game of musical chairs if you are wearing one
  7. There is no seventh reason.

Over 20,000 people sign the Halo for PC and Mac petition. Outstanding... quite outstanding.

Mike Trinder <mike.trinder@arct.cam.ac.uk> writes:

www.ntk.net this week carries a Jason Jones/Aleph One news story ( in the >> TRACKING << section ).

Nice article from NTKnow (Need To know). I've taken the liberty of reprinting it here for posterity. Don't forget to take a look around their page. Thanks.

sufficiently advanced technology : the gathering

He's not one for the "suck it down" school of gaming celebrity, but Jason Jones, the coder behind such Mac 3D smashes as MARATHON, MYTH, and the expectantly-awaited HALO has his own clan o'fans. Enthusiastic Mac advocates, mainly, who still appreciate how his company, Bungie, stuck with the platform through thick and thin. In their eyes, the MacCarmack can truly can do no wrong. Unless they, say, sold the whole company to Microsoft for an undisclosed sum, and bunked out of Chicago to darkest Redmond to work on the X-Box. Like Bungie did last week. Oops. Anyway, before the entire community exploded into pro and anti MicroBung factions, the gift that keeps on giving was given unto them: a GPLed source archive of Marathon II. Now, as their master, his eyes blinded by the Seattle mind-control lasers, screams "AZAG-THOTH TA ARDATA! IA MARDUK! IA MARDUK!" in the frozen wastes, an elite band of Mac free softwarers keep the flame alive. Mainly by writing a mini-app for the MacOS that lets you shut down applications by shooting at them with a .44 Magnum. But that's open source for you. It's called Aleph 1 Resource Manager.
- "Microsoft's Very Own Open Source Initiative"

The key aim now for Mac programmers worldwide is to make Marathon into a fully networkable 3D vidfest.

Melted AK-47? The Pathways Into Darkness page where else?

June 23, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update

Want to look cool this summer?

The Marathon's Story page and Studio Grey in conjunction with Bungie Software proudly present:

The Marathon's Story t-shirt

Designed by Jon Chang of Studio Grey the Marathon's Story t-shirt is a limited edition of four dozen (plus one extra shirt). Cool white on black (L or XL) with a ton of text on the back... hey this is a Story page shirt what do you expect? ;-)

The price? Well we're trying to keep it a $7. That's cost price folks. Nobody is making any money on this. The exact price will be announced in a week or so.

The shirt will only be available at the Macworld New York Bungie Fanfest 2000. Want to reserve your shirt in advance? Then contact Jon Chang at <grind@pop.superlink.net>. Since this is a limited edition we can only offer one shirt per person. Sorry.

Special thanks to Bungie and especially Matt Soell for the use of the Marathon symbol on the shirt.

Miguel Chavez <bs@bungie.org> proudly announces the Macworld New York Bungie Fanfest 2000. This event is sponsored by Bungie and is scheduled for Thursday July 20th 4-8pm at Neutral Ground (NYC, 122 West 26th Street, 4th Floor). Currently Bungie CEO Alex Seropian, Max Hoberman, and Matt Soell are slated to appear. All weapons must be check in at the entrance. ;-) Details are a bit sketchy at the moment but apart from the gaming, chat and free pizza it is hoped that Bungie will show the E3 Halo movie again (DVD special edition). Rumor has it that the Bungie Store will also be there and everything will be free though you may have to answer some heinous Bungie related question first like... spell W'rkncacnter. Of course this could just be a viscious rumor spread by that Story page guy so he can win all the prizes himself... so you best keep an eye on the "man with the plans" page at bs.bungie.org.

Miguel also reaches out to Take Two Interactive. Read what he has to say about the new owners of Myth and Oni.

The Halo for PC and Mac petition now reaches almost 18,000 signatures. An amazing response. Of course it remains to be seen if it will do any good.

On the subject of Halo for the Macintosh Alan Greene <alan@rifted.com> writes:

I guess now we won't see a pirated OS X beta that uses Windows 2000 for ammunition in Halo. :)

Marathon diehards should have no problem getting this joke. If you don't... then search around in the Weapons in Marathon section.

Penny Arcade concludes its two part comment on the Microsoft-Bungie acquisition in cartoon style. Here's the first part and second part. Remember Penny Arcade's Halo cartoon from MacWorld Expo New York last year? Those were the days.

Etienne Després <heady@videotron.ca> writes:

I found a Mac version of Bank Gothic, in TrueType format:


Both the Light and Bold versions are included in the archive.

Just in case you're wondering Bank Gothic is the font used in all the Marathon manuals. The FAQ section has a piece about the fonts used in Marathon.

Tristan Moyer <troopa@longlivethemac.com> writes concerning the number seven and Carl Sagan's book "Pale Blue Dot : A Vision of the Human Future in Space":

This is an excerpt from "Pale Blue Dot" by Carl Sagan. Published in 1994 before Marathon came out.

"The number seven began to acquire supernatural connotations. There were seven "heavens," the transparent spherical shells, centered on the Earth, that were imagined to make these worlds move. The outermost "the seventh heaven" is where the "fixed" stars were imagined to reside. There are Seven Days of Creation (if we include God's day of rest), seven orifices to the head, seven virtues, seven deadly sins, seven evil demons in Sumerian myth, seven vowels in the Greek alphabet (each affliated with a planetary god), Seven Governors of Destiny according to the Hermetists, Seven Great Books of Manichaeism, Seven Sacraments, Seven Sages of Ancient Greece, and seven alchemical "bodies" (gold, silver, iron, mercury, lead, tin, and copper-gold still associated with the Sun, silver with the Moon, iron with Mars, etc.). The seventh son of a seventh son is endowed with supernatural powers. Seven is a "lucky" number. In the New Testament's Book of Revelations, seven seals on a scroll are opened, seven trumpets are sounded, seven bowls are filled. St. Augustine obscurely argued for the mystic importance of seven on the grounds that three "is the first whole number that is odd" (what about one?), "four the first that is even" (what about two?), and "of these . . . seven is composed." And so on. Even in our time these associations linger."

Don't forget the seven men in overcoats, the seven pillars of hell, the seven gates, the seven...

June 22, 2000 (Thursday)

According to an article at MacCentral there will be no Bungie Booth or National Mac Gaming Championships at Macworld Expo New York. The article reads:

Bungie founder and CEO Alexander Seropian confirms that while his company won't have a booth at the show, it will still exhibit -- Seropian wasn't able to provide specific details, however. "There will Bungie people at Macworld Expo," said the Bungie CEO. "Oni will be shown."

The lack of a Bungie booth is not unexpected given recent events. Oni will be shown at the Gathering of Developers booth and a Bungie fanfest is being organised by Miguel Chavez and Bungie jointly. More details on that soon.

The cancellation of the National Mac Gaming Championships is sad news and sends out the wrong kind of message at a time when we should be hearing the right messages.

Michael Maddux <michael@mediaplant.net> points out that there is an online petition urging Bungie to continue and complete development of the PC and Mac versions of Halo. Since this went up yesterday nearly 10,000 people have signed it. Quite amazing.

Tom Bridge <tom_bridge@mac.com> writes concerning the Soul's original response to the name Bill Gates:

Who is Bill Gates?

"Don't ever mention that name around me again. Ever."

Or something to that effect...

The Soul is going to be hearing alot of that name from now on. ;-)

Leo Shklovskii <leonid.shklovskii@yale.edu> writes:

I'd like to add to the small list of places where BankGothic appears, namely in the excellent space combat sim Descent FreeSpace. not having the sequel (Freespace2) I don't know whether its in there as well, but most likely.

The font is the primary font for nearly all ingame text, in the briefings and descriptions. Furthermore, it is also available from the volition-inc website at: www.volition-inc.com/fs/downloads/bnkgothm.ttf

This is the PC version of it.

June 21, 2000 (Wednesday)

Inside Mac Games have posted an interesting interview with Alexander Seropian. One question in particular was quite revealing. I've taken the liberty of printing it below (T.D. = Tuncer Deniz, A.S. = Alexander Seropian):

T.D. Any regrets? Fears? Inhibitions?

A.S. I have one personal regret is that I'm leaving Chicago just as I'm building my dream house...but that's a pretty minor regret. I think this is going to be great for everyone.

I'm hoping at some point in the future that we'll be able to do something with Marathon and really make it the biggest thing ever. But we have no plans to make a Marathon game at this point, but we could...and wouldn't that be cool.

Two things stand out here.

Firstly that Alex should bring the subject of Marathon up in his answer to the question Any regrets? Fears? Inhibitions?. Obviously the fact that Marathon is not "the biggest thing ever" or as big as it should be dwells heavily on his mind. In hindsight Marathon should be much bigger than it is but paths not taken cannot be trodden.

Secondly how could Bungie now make Marathon "the biggest thing ever"? Marathon X... perhaps? ;)

Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> writes:

If you were wondering how to drive from Bungie HQ chicago to MS HQ Redmond, here is a link to follow:


Wow long link... so's the trip. Approximate travel time? Just over 37 hours. ;)

June 20, 2000 (Tuesday)

Many thanks to all those who have expressed kind words and support for the Story page's decision to carry on. The feelings are mutual without you folks there would be no Story page.

Daily Radar has posted a 2nd interview with Jason Jones. One of the questions relates to Halo's backstory and possible influence:

DR: True or false, Halo is a rip-off of Ian Banks' "Consider Phlebas?"

JJ: Heh. False! That isn't to say that I don't love Banks--or Peter Hamilton, for that matter -- but we have our own ideas.

Like Iain M. Banks Peter F. Hamilton is another well respected British science fiction writer. Here's a review of one of his most recent books The Naked God at amazon.com:

After invasions and battles, panic and horror, after denial and the revelation of ultimate truths, after four volumes and 2,300 pages, it all comes down to this: To stem the tide of souls of the dead who have returned to possess the bodies of the living, Joshua Calvert must take his ship, the Lady Macbeth, on a mission beyond the farthest reaches of explored space. His goal is to find the artifact/entity the Tyrathcans call The Sleeping God in the hope that this legendary presence can offer some kind of help, or at least advice with the problem. Otherwise human civilization is perhaps doomed.

The Sleeping God eh? The Naked God is the final installment of Peter F. Hamilton's Homeric space adventure, which began with The Reality Dysfunction, volumes I (Emergence) and II (Expansion), and continued in The Neutronium Alchemist, volumes I (Consolidation) and II (Conflict). Another author to add to The Reading List(tm).

halo.bungie.org posted a news item about the Starship Troopers: Roughneck Chronicles TV show in the US. Some of screenshots from this show are very like those from Halo. However there is also this pic at the Roughneck site which bears an uncanny resemblance to the Marathon marine and perhaps a Pfhor fighter, at least that was my first reaction.

Raul Bonilla <biomeca@hotmail.com> writes concerning the recent E3 Halo movie trailer:

Don't know if someone have pointed this out before, but look at the way the mountain get out of view while it become more distant in this part of the E3 movie. Gives you a hint of how the Halo engine works.

You can see Raul's pic here. Oops...

It seems alot of people have been annoying Bungie's Soul with questions about Microsoft and parts of Bill Gates' anatomy. Modesty prevents me from posting these. Go ask your own questions. Warning though: Bungie is now officially a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft. And as Zach Stroum" <zstroum@home.com> points out:

It would appear the Soul isn't as combative as he used to be when you ask him about Bill Gates :D
Does anyone have the original text?

Lots of comments about the Latin phrase Veritatem Dies Aperit. But what does it really mean? Prophetic judgement on Bungie or something more?

A number of peope have commented upon Alex and Jason's final remark in their Letter To Our Fans:

We're diving into this with our eyes wide open, and are eager to make it succeed. The last seven years have been a real blast. We hope you'll join us for the next seven, after which we'll blow up the world.

Astute Bungie followers have noted that Bungie Software were actually founded in May of 1991 so what's the seven referring to? Seven years ago places the date around the summer of 1993. This coincides with the release of Pathways Into Darkness at the Bungie Booth at the Macworld Expo in Boston. Will Bungie be at Macworld Expo New York 2000? Veritatem Dies Aperit

June 19, 2000 (Monday)

 ever on ever aught
 the long sleep ends
  never saw the dark path

Strange Aeons (Terminal 0: 1st Message)

Strange Aeons indeed. Powered by Jjaro tech reached 7777 SETI units today (19th June 2000, Black Monday). Like Bungie its fate was sealed many months ago.

Despair... Rage... Envy... are the reactions many Bungie fans will no doubt be experiencing over the coming days and weeks. Despair that Bungie has been bought by Microsoft. Rage that Halo will most likely appear on X-Box first with no guarantee of PC or Mac versions even though it has been in development on these very platforms for some years. Envy that others will have our Bungie games first.

Despair... Rage... Envy... familiar terms for Marathoners. It might seem odd that these are the very chapters in Marathon Infinity and the three stages of Rampancy (Melancholia, Anger, Jealousy).

But there is a fourth... Hope. Hope that while many of Bungie's titles have been shed the "heart and soul" of Bungie lives on. Lives on in the form of Marathon. In the fourth of "5 Things You Must Know About Microsoft's Buying Bungie" it states:

4. Bungie (and Microsoft) retain ownership of the Marathon franchise

"In a lot of ways, the heart and soul of Bungie is Marathon," Jason Jones told us on Friday of last week. Bungie is keeping its heart and soul, though has announced no upcoming Marathon products. There are secret connections between the worlds of Marathon and Halo, however, that should become clear when the game is released.

Marathon lives on. And the "heart and soul" of the Marathon's Story page is not Bungie but its fans. As long as there are fans there will be a Story page. Veritatem Dies Aperit.

June 18, 2000 (Sunday)

Thanks to all those who have written in about the rumored Microsoft buyout of Bungie. I'm afraid I won't be able to answer you all immediately. Please bear with me. A number of people point out that MacGamer's Ledge are now reporting on the alleged buyout. The news hounds are out and they smell blood.

Ben Gamboa <bgamboa@uclink4.berkeley.edu> writes:

I'm not sure if anyone's mentioned this before, but Bungie's Soul appears to have some issues with "Bill Gates."

Can't buy a soul...? George Dead <deadgeorge@mac-addict.com> writes:

Question:  Is Microsoft going to buy Bungie?
The soul says:   Is it possible to buy a soul?

This is way too philisophical. Let's hope not.

Some would maintain you can buy anything with enough money.

Randall Sluhan <rsluhan@earthlink.net> writes:

In Titan A.E. the new Earth's name is "Bob". I also spotted an Infinity symbol behind the logo on the Titan.

Perhaps the creators are Bungie fans? Then again, "Bob" is a common name.

June 17, 2000 (Saturday)

Lots of mail to the Story page about the persistent rumors of Microsoft buying Bungie. The main sites carrying the news appear to be Gamespy, Daily Raider and XBoxIGN. According to a number of media pundits they'll be an official announcement from Microsoft and Bungie on Monday 19th. Let's keep our chins up high people. It ain't over until Doug Zartman sings.

Matt Francis <crispyed@yahoo.com> writes:

I found this interesting read by Larry Niven at space.com. You may think it's worth a look.


An odd thing about the level names in the PID demo v2.0 revealed. The Pathways Into Darkness page where else?

June 16, 2000 (Friday)

Diego Rey (aka Decameron) <decameron@tiscalinet.it> writes concerning the strange symbols seen on the hologram screen in the recent Halo E3 movie trailer:

It seems like those strange Glyphs are Covenant text or a logo to identify structures (in which case the console would be a map). If you go through the E3 pre-preview released by DailyRadar, you'll notice that we can see a very similar symbol in the big structure.

This symbol appears to be similar to the one seen in the two page Halo spread from IncitePC magazine (July 2000). Decameron's point about the symbols being used to identify structures is interesting. Perhaps Bungie will be incorporating Riven like puzzles in Halo? ;-)

Andrew Nagy <removed0@hotmail.com> writes:

Have you seen the credits for Ambrosia Software's latest (I think) game, Ares? The fourth name (but I guess that would make it the seventh cell in the current table) is:

Some original level name discussion on the Pathways Into Darkness page today and the Bungie goon squad revealed.

June 15, 2000 (Thursday)

Quick update #2

Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> kindly sent in a composite shot of the full hologram screen seen in the E3 Halo movie trailer. It appears at 1 min 7 secs into the movie. Note the strange symbols (glyphs). Claude also points out the glyphs appear to change as you advance through the movie.

Quick update #1

Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> writes:

The narrator was not in the e3 film, so I guess PC Gamer added this and do not think it is official Bungie material.

Deleted the narrator's text from the Official Halo Backstory section.

While I was sleeping... Bungie released a trailer for their full Halo E3 movie. Thanks to all those who wrote in about it. The trailer first appeared on the Daily Radar site. The Daily Radar blurb reads:

Daily Radar is proud to present the exclusive on-line premier of the Halo trailer. This is an edited version of the movie that generated all the buzz at E3 this year. The trailer features a look at the many vehicles, weapons, models and even indigenous life, as well as Halo's famous graphics. We have both a high-res and low-res version, but the both look sweet. The full version of the E3 trailer will be available on the August 2000 edition of the PC Gamer CD. Grab this awesome movie, crank up the speakers and sit back.

The following background story details feature in the movie:

They struck without warning.
Burning our planets.
Billions have died.
Mankind's last hope is the most sophisticated piece of military hardware the universe is every known... you


This ring's got something they want... want bad enough to hit a ship load of us with their whole murdering fleet. I'll be damned if we don't find it first.

Human marine

"All's I'm saying is there's a lot of unlocked doors for something that nobody's supposed to have been in for a hundred thousand years.


"Your destruction is the will of the gods, and we are their instrument."

I've added this to the Official Halo Backstory section.

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@sarwat.net> writes:

There's been much discussion as to how Halo relates to Marathon, and specifically how the Covenant relate to the Pfhor. I was watching the new Halo trailer a few times and starting thinking about the Covenant's religious zeal,

"Your destruction is the will of the gods, and we are their instrument."

This is quite a contrast to the Pfhor's "pathetically boring religion" (Durandal, Ex-Cathedra, Terminal 1). There's been talk about religious tones in Halo before, but perhaps the Covenants view of their religion is something to start chewing on.

Another I feel is relevant:

"It is said remorse is the pain of sin. We feel no remorse."

So what exactly are their views of sin?

PlanetXbox got an official reply from Bungie's Doug Zartman regarding the persistent rumors of Microsoft buying Bungie. I've taken the liberty of reprinting the full article:

Bungie Not Being Bought
Wednesday, June 14, 12:41 | Gino
Rumors have spread around the Xbox once again in regards to Microsoft buying Bungie Software. This buyout would result in major changes for Bungie, such as the possible scenario where Halo will be an X-Box only title. I contacted Bungie for comment and Doug Zartman had this to say:
Well, you gotta understand that there have been countless rumors of people buying us over the years - Eidos, GT, Acclaim - and we've developed a policy of not fueling those mills by commenting on the rumors. In general, if you haven't heard something from us, it isn't true.
As always, PlanetXbox will keep you up to date!

Interesting to note that Doug took 47 words to say "No comment".

James Klauder <jklauder@excite.com> writes:

...here are some of my findings in regards to the water level inconsistencies found in Big Floaty Thing What Kicks:

There are actually many examples in the Marathon universe where one uninterrupted body of water will have two different surface elevations (which is impossible). The first time I noticed one of these bizarre oversights was in Kill Your Television, where in order to leave the first open courtyard, the player must swim up a shaft (which goes far higher than the surrounding water). It took me at least half an hour to find the shaft because it never occurred to me that Bungie would make such an impossible construct. Since then, I've found them everywhere.

Similarly Dennis Taylor <dennis@funkplanet.com> writes:

WRT to Brandon Loberg's comment about unequal water pressure in Thing What Kicks: there are rather a lot of examples of physics-defying water columns in M2 and Infinity. The starting room of Kill Your Television immediately springs to my mind, for example.

Max Etchemendy <mxetch@yahoo.com> makes an interesting observation about the level name "Beware of Abandoned Rental Trucks" (Marathon 2) and the level name "Beware of Low-Flying Nightmares" in Pathways Into Darkness. See the Original Level Names section for details.

June 14, 2000 (Wednesday)

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> wonders whether the following unseen death dialog in Pathway Into Darkness...

Seven men in overcoats jump from the shadows and
carry you away. You are never heard from again.

...inspired the "men in suits" theme which appears in the dream sequences in Marathon Infinity. For example in the first dream level "Where are monsters in dreams" we read:

He was vomiting and I knew that he was alive because he kept saying something like 'durability' between convulsions. What happened next was really bizarre. Both ends of the street flood with black-suited men, just like in a movie.

These men look tough and pissed off, the eyes behind their sunglasses are probably cold as my hands are getting. I feel like my heart has stopped, I'm so damn scared. As they start to inundate the street in black, they move with one will.

Brandon Loberg <ktaur@mac.com> writes:

While poking around "Thing What Kicks..." I noticed that the water behind the dam (before destroying the circuitry) is at 3.899 WU. However, the water in the shaft that the player uses to access the water control area is at 4.1 WU (low tide) or 4.149 WU (high tide). This makes the water level of the shaft higher than that of the surrounding water. As anyone who has studied basic physics knows, the water level should be the same in both areas. When there is a pressure difference such as this, the water will move into the area of lower pressure, making the pressure in both spaces equal. Obviously this was done for the sake of allowing the player to re-access the control area after the circuitry is destroyed.

Fixed a problem in the Release Dates section and added the full announcement for the Marathon CD.

June 13, 2000 (Tuesday)

Ryan Bennitt <R.D.Bennitt@warwick.ac.uk> writes:

Although the Halo font doesn't appear on mission-phoenix.com, do you think it's a coincidence that the font they use there is the same as the one used in the Marathon manual and box? Not that _that_ font was a 'unique design'.

Interesting point. The font Ryan refers to is Bank Gothic. It was used by Bungie in all their Marathon manuals. It was noted on the Lynx Phoenix deodorant ad section that the mission-phoenix domain is registered to Modem Media in London. This site takes you to Modem Media in the US where you'll find one of their clients is Unilever. Unilever happen to own Fabergé who are marketing Lynx Phoenix deodorant. Perhaps someone at Modem Media is a Bungie fan. ;-)

Monks in Pathways Into Darkness? Will the secret of the Sentinel ever be revealed? Find out today on the Pathways Into Darkness page.

June 12, 2000 (Monday)

On the Pathways Into Darkness page today... 41 or 42 and did Sherlock Holmes really meet a Stalker?

June 11, 2000 (Sunday)

Quick update

A quick update on a Sunday!!!... what ever next?

It seems the Halo font in the Lynx Phoenix deodorant ad has hit the web is a big way. Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> (who got 21) sends in a link to a German site for Axe Phoenix deodorant. Lynx is marketed under the brand name Axe in Germany. Anyway the site has Phoenix images, product shots and a flash movie all using Bungie's Halo font. Lawyer time perhaps?

Colin Dickie <dicarch@mail.wantree.com.au> makes another interesting observation about Marathon and Damage Incorporated which is based on the Marathon 2 engine:

If you open the M1 shapes file using Pfhred (the shape editor program) you'll see that the name for the picture of the marine with two magnums is called 'woo'. The code in Damage Inc. to get two Beretta pistols is to press ctrl and type 'woo'. I think this is probably a reference to John Woo.
You may remember that back in May 24th Colin noted that the cheat code in Damage Incorporated to get the flamethrower was <ctrl> 'tozt'.

Colin also writes in about the gender issue:

Also, I have only found another piece of evidence as to the gender of the player. This is when the Bobs shout 'Look out, he's nuts' when you shoot them too much. I would have thought that there would be a lot more evidence in terminals, Bob speech etc.
It was noted some time ago that there was little evidence in the game as to the gender of the player. Only one terminal in fact explicitly states our gender.

John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> writes:

Thanks for sharing my Infinity challenge on the story page. I decided to hold off on my "no ammo" Marathon 1 try for awhile. Instead i revisited Marathon 2 once again with a more realistic challenge in mind. Finishing the scenario before and using very little "effective ammo" was just not as satisfying (nor realistic) as i would like. Since one CAN use ammo on a couple of the levels, yet not have it reflected in the ammo inventory, it really should not be called a "no ammo" try. I mean i did use quite a few missiles on "If I Had a Rocket..." and "All Roads Lead To Sol". So this time i decided to heck with the effective ammo stuff. Once and for all, let's truly see how close one can come to using NO ammo in finishing the entire scenario.

With that in mind, i replayed the entire scenario again. This time i literally used ONLY 4 shots from ONE Alien weapon in finishing all 28 levels successfully. That was it. No other ammo was used anywhere at any time. No attempt was made to defeat all enemies, nor collect all ammo. Two of the shots were used in raising the large pillars in the outer ring of sewage on "Curiouser and Curiouser". The other two shots were used in the level "Begging for Mercy...". The first room of that level is long and snaky and ends with a 3x recharger. If one stands in the doorway of this room, a few of the enemies teleport, but not all. Firing any kind of weapon causes most of the rest to teleport. One of the other two shots was used to activate those enemies. This shot probably can be avoided. The other shot was used to activate the switch high on the wall in the third room of this level.

That's as close as i can come to using no ammo. I really would like to see some other player do the same thing and avoid that one shot i more or less "wasted" (or avoid all of them?). Let that be my challenge to the playing community. :)

Take care. And if anyone out there in the Marathon community is wondering: I DO have a life outside of Marathon, although it may not seem like it at times :)

I don't think anyone is going to believe you John. ;-)

Thanks to all the people who wrote in saying they scored 21 on the 3DActionPlanet Marathon Quiz. It was very well put together and quite testing. And yes it pays to read the question VERY carefully. Since I only got 20 I guess I suck! ;-)

Alien abductors disguised as humans? The Pathways Into Darkness page. Need I say more? ;-)

June 10, 2000 (Saturday)

Quick update #3

I just took the Marathon Test at 3DActionPlanet and got 20... d'oh. Now I wonder which question they screwed up? ;-)

Quick update #2

Stephen Graham <manus_lacatus@hotmail.com> points out that there is a Marathon Quiz at www.3dactionplanet.com. As Stephen says:

...nice to see some mac related stuff on what is a mainly pc website.
There's a total 21 questions and you can check your score at the end. As 3dactionplanet say:

This week it's a real toughie one: it's time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the respectable action gamer from the TRUE hardcore action gamer, the Spazeroid from the Vidmaster!
Go answer it vidboi! ;-)

Quick update #1

More Halo texture analysis. Max Dyckhoff <max.dyckhoff@talk21.com> writes:

Looking closer at the recent shots in PC Gamer UK (of which I own a copy :) I noticed something rather stunning. As any Forge user knows, building doors for Marathon was quite tricky to do nicely, ensuring all the textures lined up nicely, and often part of a different texture is used inside the frame of the door, such as a light bar from one of the Jjaro textures.

Looking at that shot of the BoBs wandering around, I noticed that yet again, on the inside frame of the door, there is a different texture around the inside.

If you look at the first picture of the new style marine we got, with him standing inside, you can see exactly the same texture as part of another texture on the back wall.

Does this possibly mean that Halo is using a Forge-esque editor for making interior spaces? I hope so.

I've included both these images here.

Alan Greene <alan@rifted.com> draws some interesting parallels (warning: graphically intense) between the Jjaro texture set in Marathon Infinity and the Halo textures we've seen so far. Is Halo's development team drawing from the past?

Alan also did some work on the circular symbol seen in IncitePC magazine's two page Halo spread:

I skewed Claude's hi-res scan and traced it. It looks like it is not perfectly symmetrical, so I preserved some of that. I'm wondering about the symbol on the side of the Covenant hovercraft, which I had once thought was the "O" from the Halo logo. Maybe they relate somehow?

June 9, 2000 (Friday)

A week ago the Story page noted some interesting symbols/glyphs on the wall of a building in a recent Halo screenshot. The screenshot was part of a two page spread in the July edition of IncitePC magazine. It was suggested that these had an Aztec or Mayan look to them. Now thanks to Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> we've managed to get some high res. scans of these strange objects which throws more light onto the subject:

hieroglyph (123K)

circular symbol (130K)

The first thing you'll notice is that the hieroglyph has a hi-tech look to it and is in fact 3D (panels over panels). The circular symbol is somewhat like a navigation wheel and fits with the ring motifs we've seen in the Halo logo and certain Halo architecture.

Interesting news item over at halo.bungie.org concerning a Next Generation article about Bungie's third game in development. The text of the article was posted to their forums. I've taken the liberty of reprinting part of it here.

Bungling Bungie:
The smarty-pants developer behind Halo and Oni planned to announce a third title at E3, but then changed its mind and opted not to. Still, Next Generation learned that the game would be a fantasy-based siege warfare title that featured both realtime and turn-based gameplay. The cool part? It will be built on the Halo engine.

Bungling Bungie? This is not the first time that Next Gen have taken a swing (tongue-in-cheek?) at Bungie. In another article they referred to them as a "constant scrapper". ;-)

Tom Bridge <tom_bridge@mac.com> writes concerning the faster than the speed of light article mentioned yesterday:

The way that they accelerated the speed of light was through a specific medium (in this case Cesium gas I believe) and not the general vacuum of space. And besides, I think this has more do with the speeds of future computing, since for a year or so now our supercomputers and such have been limited by that speed, increasing the effective speeds of photons from the current speed to something much larger would be VERY cool.

June 8, 2000 (Thursday)

Nic Carrott <carrottbunch@earthlink.net> makes this interesting find:

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed this before, but I found an interesting platform in "Poor Yorck". In the room where the assault rifle is, on the far wall opposite it, there is a platform that can be opened, but never closed. I took several snapshots (using Aleph One) of what I am refering to. The "door" is camouflaged, very well I might add. One literally needs to be looking for it, or running around the room hitting the action key like mad.

Nic's pics can be seen here. Not sure how well known this is. The panel may have originally been intended to hide a terminal.

We mentioned Halo's Banshees (Covenant hover-craft) yesterday. Now read about Banshees on the Pathways Into Darkness page today.

Thanks to Haloplayers part of the Halo preview in the recent edition of PC Gamer (UK) is now on the web courtesy of PC Gamer. You can read it here. There's also a nice screenshot of a human dropship complete with seated troops and suspended jeep.

Faster than the speed of light! Jared Cash <jaredcash@mac.com> writes:

I was just checking out my daily dose of comics on the web and as I was reading Real Life
for June 6th, I couldn't help but be intrigued by the subject. Since the creator of this comic tends to base his comics on real life (thus, the title) the subject disturbed me a bit. I checked out his news update for the day and, sure enough, he had a link to a news article
that claims that scientists have managed to accelerate particles of light past the speed of light. Kinda makes you wonder. Maybe Earth won't have to wait 92 years to receive that warning signal from Leela. ;-)

Jared is referring to Leela's light-speed transmission to Sol warning Earth about the Pfhor. A message that will take ninety-two years to arrive (see G4 Sunbathing).

According to a post on alt.games.marathon the Marathon Open Source project (Aleph One) got a write up in the latest issue of MacAddict on page 77!. ;-) Here's the write up as posted to alt.games.marathon:

From: Kieran Wheeler <wheelekb@muohio.edu>
Newsgroups: alt.games.marathon
Subject: Re: Well well well, some fame
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2000 22:16:50 -0400

C Lund wrote:

> In article <393DA880.F843BD73@muohio.edu>, wheelekb@muohio.edu wrote:
> > The Aleph One project has been mentioned in the latest MacAddict.
> > Hats off to the coders.
> What did they say?


(OpenGL, That Is)

Bungie's decision to release Marathon code as open source has already borne fruit. Aleph One 0.9.1, released in early April, adds OpenGL support to the venerable first-person shooter. While this doesn't bring Marathon up to the level of Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament, it /does/ bring new life to the game's graphics. An active group of folks is working all the time to add new and interesting features to Marathon, so if you're interested -- and willing to walk the bleeding edge -- go to http://source.bungie.org for the latest. -- DR

[pic from first level of Infinity, with fog] caption: "All right, who burned the popcorn? I can't see a thing in here."


Damien Sorresso <Durandal64@mac.com>, project leader of Marathon: Resurrection, writes to say that their Marathon MOD project for Unreal Tournament is aimed at BOTH Mac and PC users. Every member of the team is a Mac user apparently and their primary goal is to breathe new life into Marathon so Mac gamers can indulge themselves in nostalgia. PC users will also get the chance to experience the original Marathon.

June 7, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update

Well all the news is ablaze with the latest PC Gamer (UK) Halo preview. Screens and text have been uploaded and the Story page has been offered a number of scans. Here are just a few story related quotes taken from the full article:

The one lone human ship is on a mission to retrieve the mysterious technology of the builders of the ring. Unfortunately , an alien race - The Covenant - are already there, with similar thoughts in mind. There are millions of them and since they're none too friendly (sample quote: "Your destruction is the will of the gods and we are their instrument"), it looks like fisticuffs are in order.

The line "Your destruction is the will of the gods and we are their instrument" is similar to the religious quotes used in the Halo Transmissions.

Here's another piece:

However, apart from the dropships and the Covenants' hover-craft (catchily called Banshees) we won't be seeing much flight.

Hands up those who remember the Banshees from Pathways Into Darkness? :-) The lack of flying seems contrary to what we have been told up to now.

One last story related bit:

But scenary thoughout the game promises to be more imaginative than standard Earth environments. One mission will take you to the moon, where we expect to see a low-gravity model creating amusing effects. Jason also hints towards more esotric moments, especially linked to the insides of the ring's settlements. The plan is for the intial stages of the game to play to expectations of science-fiction, albeit the most convincing sci-fi representation yet seen, before leading you into the heart of darkness. In terms of influences, rather than quoting movies, which they consider generally derivative of other art, they talk books, especially those of Iain Banks. Things could get very shadowy indeed.

No big surprises about the Iain M. Banks influence. But good to see it made explicit. For Iain M. Banks influences in Halo see the Iain M. Banks' "Culture" references in Bungie's Halo section.

Tim Jenks <jenkz@haloplayers.com> of Haloplayers writes concerning one of the screenshots taken from the recent issue of PC Gamer (UK):

I'm no Marathon expert, but after posting this screenshot (a smaller version) to haloplayers.com, some guys over at rampancy.net thought there was a Marathon logo on the bobs hat. I thought, if anyone would know what it is, you'd be the man.

The screenshot - from this months PC Gamer (UK) is attached.

Looks like a Marathon symbol alright. :-)

Concerning the apparent Marathon-like symbol on the cap of one of the human characters in the recent screens at Haloplayers Joseph Haake <joecoo@spacestar.net> writes:

I messed around with that pic a little in photoshop, it doesn't look a whole lot like a Marathon symbol... but you can't really put much merit in that one shot, only being seen from one angle and scanned from a magazine.

You can see Joseph's pic here. Not so Marathon-like now! Maybe a SolCore symbol? Remember the invisible Cortana letter found on the Myth:TFL (v1.3) CD? Here's part of the text:

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 humanity.

No one was prepared for their arrival.

No one expected this.

June 6, 2000 (Tuesday)

According to a report at Haloplayers the recent issue of PC Gamer (UK) has an interview with Jason Jones in which it is allegedly stated that:

"Jason believes that the balance is moving increasingly towards the first person model"

This has been picked up by a number of PC gaming sites, notably Shugashack. The Halo thread there is getting quite long. ;-)

Marathon: Resurrection is an upcoming MOD project for Unreal Tournament which aims to bring the original Marathon experience to PC gamers. Well PC gamers who have Unreal Tournament (and presumably Mac gamers who have Unreal Tournament). The page has some interesting screenshots. Marathon: Resurrection is not a direct clone of the original Marathon (so states the page). Check out their FAQ section for more details.

Following up on his "no ammo" waltz through Marathon 2 on Total Carnage John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> writes:

I decided to see how well i would do on a "no ammo" challenge for Marathon Infinity. I used the same rules as before. ALL ammo was collected on all 33 levels. Each level was completed successfully. Since the game is not totally linear (in fact, it's not possible to play both Level 4 and 27 in the same game), i decided to modify the Infinity map slightly. I made it possible to reach Level 26 - Robot World Arena from Level 2 - Rise Robot Rise (you normally CAN reach it from Level 2, but not during solo play). I also made it so that the player teleports to Level 4 - Confound Delivery (normally you teleport to Level 5 - Electric Sheep One) from Level 27 - Two For the Price of One. That way the entire scenario could be played in a linear fashion and still obtain all the ammo. There was no advantage to me in making these changes since Levels 26 and 27 have no hostile enemies anyway. Not to state the obvious, but Marathon Infinity is much harder to do without ammo than Marathon 2. Even so, here are the results of my adventure:

Effectively the total amount of ammo i used for the entire scenario was: 9+ Fusion batteries, 1 Grenade Pack, 1 Missile Pack, 10 Shotgun shells, and approximately 12 Alien weapons.

Most of the Fusion batteries and Shotgun shells were used on Acme Station and the beginning of Post Naval Trauma.....that is undoubtably the toughtest part of the scenario if one wants to minimize ammo use, yet obtain all the ammo. Most of the Alien weapons were used on Level 31 - Try again. Despite what anyone may think, they were not used to kill the Juggs. In fact, i escaped that level without killing ANY of the Juggs.

Here is the total ammo count for the entire Marathon Infinity scenario:

331 Magnum clips (includes 79 from dead Bobs)
155 Fusion batteries (includes 4 from dead Bobs)
202 Assault Rifle clips
163 Grenade packs
175 Missile packs
19 Napalm canisters
562 Shotgun shells
119 Flechette magazines

June 5, 2000 (Monday)

Rob Schultz <silvertail@howling.com> writes concerning the military science fiction novel "Armor":

On Friday (6/2/00) John Steakly's novel Armor was discussed, and a scan of the cover was posted. I also have a copy of the book, however, mine has a different cover illustration. The front (which I cannot provide because the scan came to me corrupt) depicts the protagonist, in his atomic armor, beating an "Ant" (the insectile enemy) to death with his spent weapon. The back of my copy is of much more interest. It depicts (scan attached) the atomic-armored warriors jumping straight from dropships, no parachute or anything of the like.

As for the story itself, it's a rather good read, IMO. It gets deep into the psyche of a killing machine. The book also draws several parallels to Marathon that may have been mentioned before, such as teleporters, and a man impossibly outnumbered by his foe. I recommend it.

Note: back in 9 Dec 1999 it was pointed out in a halo.bungie.org forum post that Bungie had trademarked the name "Armor" and Matt Soell later admitted that Armor was the initial code name for what eventually became Halo. In Day 4 of Bungie TV you'll find some Halo footage showing a marine in freefall. Apparently this will be one way you can enter a game.

June 4, 2000 (Sunday)

Interesting to note that the Halo SETI team broke 77777 units and Jjaro tech hits 7000+ units. Coincidence?

Arther Frain calling.
That is all...

June 3, 2000 (Saturday)

The Marathon mapmaking Simplici7y Contest winners have been announced. The grand prize winner is Richard Dierkes with Electrolyte Cliché. Richard wins himself a sealed copy of the Marathon Trilogy Box Set and one copy of Super Marathon for the Pippen. Not sure what he's going to do with the latter. ;-) Unfortunately the maps hadn't been released at the time of writing.

Updated the Halo ring motif section with yesterday's observations and also Mike Schapiro's observation about the floor plan of the map hologram room which dates from Jan 15, 2000. Almost forgot about that ring design.

On the Pathways Into Darkness page today we reveal the Stalker and the source of that mysterious death message:

You wake up weeks, perhaps months later, staring at
the stars and wondering "Where the Hell's my roof?"

Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> writes:

Just wanted to let you know, they are playing the Axe (Lynx) Phoenix ad here in Austria.

I case you missed it the main page at bungie.org now sports a new look. More importantly it's being regularly updated.

If Nate Birkholz had know about the Story page's Release Dates section he wouldn't have had to bug Doug Zartman about "the Marathon development and release timeline". But then again he wouldn't have got a chance to hear him cry "They're everywhere!". ;-)

June 2, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update #2

Whoa! The Pathways Into Darkness page gets updated with 28 ways to die! But what about the seven guys in overcoats... and what happened to your roof? Oh and look all those lovely books! ;-)

Quick update #1

Matt Soell (Bungie Software) offered some additional info regarding the early development of Halo (Armor) in a forum post at halo.bungie.org. I've taken the liberty of reprinting it here:

Re: Maybe Matt could help us with this....
Posted By: Matt <matt@bungie.com>
Date: 2 Jun 2000, 11:01

In Response To: Maybe Matt could help us with this.... (Ragnarok)

The initial idea was to do something like Myth but with a futuristic science-fiction setting. This was known, around the office, as Armor. There was a little test the team worked up and showed the rest of the company, involving a bunch of little marines running, jumping and cartwheeling in the surf, but the concept didn't last much longer than that. Rather, it didn't take much longer for the concept to be modified and ultimately transformed.

I don't think you could trace it to a specific moment, but I think the change from RTS to third-person shooter came from a combination of Jason's desire to throw curveballs by not working on the same sort of game twice in a row, and the giddy feeling one got when zooming the camera in all the way on Armor's protagonists and realizing they looked even cooler close-up.


Back in Dec 17, 1999 it was pointed out that "Armor" was in fact the title of a military science fiction novel by John Steakley. The story concerns the exploits of a one-man, atomic-powered, armored fighting machine on the alien planet of Banshee, home to a horde of berserk enemies of humanity. Sounds familiar... eh? Here's a shot of the book cover. You can get the book at amazon.com here.

Rob Swenson <noctavis@rampancy.net> of rampancy.net has scanned in a two page Halo spread (304K) from the July edition of IncitePC magazine. Very nice large shot of the E3 Halo banner including some interesting additional details to the far right. Note the ring symbol on the side of the building and the somewhat Aztec or Mayan looking hieroglyph/mural at the base of the building. Covenant design or something much older? Based on what we know of the Official Halo Backstory the ring would appear to have been abandoned for some 100,000 years. If so then the structures we have seen so far were created by the same "third alien race" who built the "ancient ring construct" itself. So unless the Covenant are heavily into graffiti the ring symbol and hieroglyphs (above) belong to that "third alien race". See the Halo ring motif section for further details on this theory.

June 1, 2000 (Thursday)

Justin Ancheta <jancheta@mail.sprint.ca> writes concerning the Durandal bomb screenshot from A-10 Attack sent in by Joseph Haake a few days ago:

i saw the screenshot, and i think the makers of A-10 Attack! (Parsoft) got it wrong. The company that makes the Durandal anti-runway bomb are called "Matra", not "Mantra". it's most likely the same bomb in Falcon 4, since the USAF fits the bomb to a variety of ground attack aircraft; in a modern warfare book that i have, the picture shown of the Durandal shows it fitted to an F-111F.

curiously, the caption of the pic spells it as "Durandel", while the stenciled name on the bomb has it as "Durandal" i don't have a scanner, but i'll try and get it scanned in soon.

Complete Marathon 2 on Total Carnage without using any ammo? How much ammo would you collect on the way? John Sumner <UTJohnS@aol.com> writes:

Just wanted to share with you the challenge i finished up a few minutes ago. Remember not too long ago, i wrote to you about my "no-ammo" challenge for M2? Well, i decided to visit the challenge again in the hopes of improving my performance. After analyzing all 28 levels, i was positive that one "could" do the entire scenario without "effectively" using ANY ammo. I say effectively since "If I Had a Rocket..." and "All Roads Lead To Sol..." have constantly regenerating ammo, so it's possible to leave those levels with as much ammo as one WOULD have had if one had used NO ammo at all on the level.

Anyway, my goal this time was to play the entire scenario on Total Carnage, collect all ammo, kill as many enemies as i felt like killing as long as each level was completed successfully, and (hopefully) use NO ammo, or as little as possible. I decided one may use as many Alien weapons as one wishes since a player can carry only one Alien weapon at a time. But i wanted to minimize the use of those as well.

I am happy to say my latest results are as follows: i finished the entire scenario, including the final room of All Roads Lead To Sol (i escaped the level without having to defeat the final Jugg) and effectively used only 1 grenade (not grenade pack, but one little grenade) and less than a total of 3 Alien weapons. :) As a matter of fact, i finished "Begging for Mercy..." and used NO ammo at all, and less than one Alien weapon on that level :) Otherwise all ammo was collected on all levels. I am sure that the one grenade i used CAN be avoided, but it would take alot of good fortune. The one grenade was used on Nuke And Pave to launch myself up to that alcove containing the hidden ammo stash. It's possible to get some Troopers to blast you up there, but i have only been able to do that once....and that was with 3 Troopers shooting at me. This time i managed only to have 2 shooting at me.

By the way, in case you are interested, here is the final ammo count for the entire scenario:

410 Magnum clips (includes 103 from the Bobs)
229 Fusion batteries
268 Assault Rifle clips
115 Grenade packs
90 Missile packs
25 Napalm canisters
406 Shotgun shells

Anyway, i thought you'd be interested in how things went :) Take care. Give it a try yourself!!

103 clips from Bobs? John "Bob-killer" Sumner! ;-)

A nice scoop for Oni fans who are Action Sack'less. Rampancy.net have received permission to upload three little known Oni music tracks from the Mac Action Sack. The versions uploaded are in MP3 format. One of the tracks "Dark Future" features on the original Oni trailer from E3 1998. If you have the Action Sack you'll find them in the Oni Preview folder in Quicktime format.

May 31, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update

Miguel Chavez (aka Freewill) <JMChavez@aol.com> writes to say that Bungie Sightings has been updated.

Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> writes concerning the cryptic binary string (#101111011110111100001# is is a '7') on the exit terminal of Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!:

The great binary string. One of the oldest Marathon mysteries. I'm not saying it's solved, but this looks pretty close.

Back in the days of Marathon, System 7.5x was standard stuff, and it contained an error 7. An error type 7 just happens to be a "privilege violation error."

When the binary string appears in the terminal texts, it's during a paragraph about the Pfhor transporting a large cylindrical object (the bomb). This sounds like a privilege violation to me. (ok, long shot)

But in the next paragraph, the message is interrputed. Sounds like a privilege violation to me. (ok, another long shot)

Maybe someone out there with some deep knowledge of the MacOS could use this to shine some light on this ancient mystery?

For details on the numerous attempts to decode the binary string see the The 10th military Mjolnir Mark IV cyborg. An odd place to have it I know but this is the terminal that identifies us as Mjolnir Recon number 54.

"Kortana" mystery? Rob Swenson <noctavis@rampancy.net> writes

I contacted the makers of the BLU-108 (earlier reported as a "Kortana" weapon in Falcon 4.0) and this is the response I've received:

*********** BEGIN FORWARDED MESSAGE ***********

On 5/31/00 at 8:40 AM McCrory, Donn <***[Deleted for publishing]> wrote:

Mr. Swenson, the Blu-108 submunition has been given no nickname by our company nor by the USAF customer. D. McCrory

*********** END FORWARDED MESSAGE ***********

I've asked David-Michael Cook <StellarChaos@bigfoot.com> to verify his source.

May 30, 2000 (Tuesday)

Nuke and Pave. Reagan not Nixon? PGBS (full name pending) <pgbs@istar.ca> writes:

I was looking at your page regarding Level Names, and not that it matters probably, but one of your quotes of a quote is probably wrong. The reference to nuke and pave is, I think, a twisting of a Reagan quote, not Nixon. Long before becoming President, Reagan advocated that the U.S. should declare war on Vietnam, bomb it completely, and go in and pave it.
We should declare war on North
Vietnam.... We could pave the whole
country and put parking strips on it, and
still be home by Christmas. 
        -- Ronald Reagan 


I used it as a trivia quote, and no one could find any source that listed Nixon. It doesn't mean your quote of a quote is wrong, just possibly that the person who quoted it as Nixon might have been wrong...

Rob Swenson <noctavis@rampancy.net> writes concerning the naming of weapons after legendary creatures or artifacts


This is one of the better sites on the Internet for information on current military hardware... at least in the US, but they /do/ perform some comparison. I'm not wholly surprised about the name. The military has a number of people who love mythology and love to name their weapons after cool, legendary (sometimes obscure) creatures or artifacts.

Here are a ffew quick examples:


halo.bungie.org final got permission to add the scans of PC Accelerator's Halo previews from the May and June 2000 issues. High quality stuff. Worth a look.

May 29, 2000 (Monday)

Jason Jones explains the rationale for the Epilogue in the Pathways Into Darkness Official Hint Book on the Pathways Into Darkness page today!

Joseph Haake <joecoo@spacestar.net> writes:

In A-10 Attack!, a runway bomb was also codenamed Durandal.

I've included a screenshot. Possibly the same bomb as the one in Falcon 4? (also, on the bomb it says "Mantra Durandal", dunno if thats at all interesting, but just in case).

Looking for a big scan of the E3 Halo movie flyer, the one containing the Official Halo Backstory? Then head on over to halo.bungie.org. They've posted some links to higher resolution scans by a guy called Beamish.

It's not often that the Marathon's Story page gets sent Myth news. Sign of the times? Myth's Story page on the offing? ;-) Anyway Jason Beach <jwb3727@rit.edu> writes to point out that registration for The Myth World Cup 2000 has now started. Go to http://myth.strategy-gaming.com for full details!

May 28, 2000 (Sunday)

Bungie getting tough?!!! Muhsin Miski <mmiski@mac-addict.com> writes:

Just checked back at the MGL site and found that they finally posted their e3 gallery. Some of 'em have Bungie employees goin' nuts with the camera. Also note that an iMac DV is set up, which is a good indication that Oni will run on the latest iMacs well. I'm also wondering as to whether that's a gun hangin' in the crotch area of the one guy (to the left of Doug) in that same picture. Is Bungie beefin' up security?

Direct links to pictures:






The guy with the gun (ok it's the back of a seat) is Peter Tamte "Executive Vice President of Publishing" at Bungie. Tough job... you can see why he needs to pack heat! ;-)

May 27, 2000 (Saturday)

Elbert Wall <elbertdw@radiks.net> sends in this link to BLU-107 Durandal and BLU-108 bombs http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/dumb/index.html but couldn't find the name Kortana in connection with the BLU-108 bomb?

Good to see Halo feature in a Science Fiction Weekly E3 report on the "10 hottest upcoming SF computer games". You can read the full report here and also here. And while you're there check out a piece on Iain M. Banks' Phonetic Writings. Some might find it similar to Tro speak.

May 26, 2000 (Friday)

Way back in Mar 6, 1996 Greg Kirkpatrick (formerly of Bungie Software) wrote:

...I first heard the name in reference to an anti-runway bomb used in F-16 Fighting Falcon, and they spelled it 'Durandal'. Later, when I read the song of Roland, I saw the other spelling, but just assumed that the 'a' had come into it as an anglicization of the word and that the translator of the book had just kept the 'e' to use the original spelling. When we stuck the text in from "The Song of Roland" it seemed like it would have just looked like we misspelled it in the quote.

Nikolas Manak <nmanak@airmail.net> went on to point out that the full name of the Durandal anti-runway bomb was BLU-107B "Durandal". Now David-Michael Cook <StellarChaos@bigfoot.com> writes:

Found this in Falcon 4.0 (the flight sim): The BLU-107 runway bomb is codenamed Durandal, and the BLU-108 runway bomb (revision) is codenamed Kortana! Strange coincidence, even though it's not the same spelling of Cortana... hmm...

How interesting. What's going on here I wonder?

The following is an interesting quote from a recent Halo preview at GameCritics:

Despite having a veritable laundry list of 3D graphical enhancements (bump mapping, inverse kinematics, multipass texturing, etc.) and the game engine running fairly fluidly -- even on the modest Pentium III used during the E3 demonstration -- I wasn't overly impressed with the visual effects in the game. It was hard to be wowed over after getting an eye full of PlayStation2 games. Don't get me wrong, the graphics in Halo are still impressive. I just didn't think that it was the game's main selling point. I thought the creative direction and the depth of what they were trying to put into the game was far more noteworthy.

Nice to see a reviewer placing emphasis on Halo's "creative direction" and "depth". :-)

Eric R <riscica@gmail.com> writes to say that Shogoki's Marathon Trilogy Page has moved to http://www.geocities.com/rosheger/marathon.htm. Well worth bookmarking since it has those excellent Bob Pictures.

May 25, 2000 (Thursday)

Jon Chang of the DEHc-3 Halo site has posted the back cover text of the new Iain M Banks book "Look to Windward". I've taken the liberty of adding this to the Iain M. Banks' "Culture" references in Bungie's Halo section.

In addition, I've added an interesting commentary on Consider Phlebas which ties in the opening quote from T. S. Elliot's 'The Waste Land'.

Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes to say that Bungie Sightings has received a number of new pics from around the world. This is going to start a trend I can see. Miguel has also received a shipment of 1000 Oni Stickers from a company that wishes to remain anonymous. If you are stickerless and want some stickers then send a stamped addressed envelope to the Bungie Sightings' PO Box... which just happens to be #570643 (5+7+0+6+4+3 = 25 = 2+5 = 7).

Nathaniel Olsen <orange666@hotmail.com> writes concerning the shortlived BungieRumors site. Why did it close under suspicious circumstances? Nathaniel makes an eerie discovery:

I went to the BungieRumors site after reading the story page today. i found that one of the advertising bars at the top (the one that says "Don't make us kick your ass" with the marathon symbol next to it that morphs into "Federal Bureau of Investigation" with the FBI symbol next to it) has this address linked to it: http://www.fbi.gov/?7777777. I found it amusing and hadn't noticed any reference to it on the page.

Expunged from the system no doubt! During its short lifespan BungieRumors continually tried to alert people about the alarming connections between Bungie and the FBI. Sadly these warnings fell on deaf ears and those involved in BungieRumors... disappeared!

Postscript: you do not need to send me mail regarding the above phenomenon... ok? ;-)

May 24, 2000 (Wednesday)

Remember the old BungieRumors site? Well Harry Al-Shakarchi <tomeone@bungie.org> writes to point out a similar type page at Utterer.com called Bungie Reveals All. A tongue-in-cheek inside look at Oni and Halo. Not for the humorlessly impaired!

Colin Dickie <dicarch@mail.wantree.com.au> writes concerning the game Damage Incorporated which uses the Marathon 2 engine:

I was doing some 'research' and I found that the cheat to get the flamethrower is to press <ctrl> and type 'tozt'. This is the only reference to Marathon I have found so far but I'll keep looking.

Looks like they never bothered to change the names of the cheat codes! ;-)

May 23, 2000 (Tuesday)

Quick update

New Halo screenshot up at halo.bungie.org. This one's from Newsweek of all places. It shows the new-look Halo Marine model with a sniper rifle and an odd looking shape in the left corner. Friend or foe? Let's hope a high res version of this becomes available... soon.

Interesting forum post over at halo.bungie.org from Matt Soell (Bungie Software) concerning his more proactive role in seeding the Bungie fan community with goodies. Matt writes:

Re: Hey Matt . . . (a blatant opinion)
Posted By: Matt <matt@bungie.com>
Date: 23 May 2000, 11:30

In Response To: Hey Matt . . . (a blatant opinion) (Jester)

> Instead of releasing 95% of Halo to mags and gaming website, I
> think it should be more 50/50. Believe me, we the true Halo
> fans, would still jump the hoops for Halo.
> Whaddya think?

I don't know if I could put a number on it, but I definitely agree that Bungie should seed the community with more goodies. That's going to be a big part of my job soon.


Who better for the job! Memories, wishes, dreams... anyone? ;-)

Again from Matt Soell in a forum post at HBO comes this announcement about the availability of the new Halo E3 movie:

Re: Please, Matt, for the love of Durandal!
Posted By: Matt <matt@bungie.com>
Date: 22 May 2000, 17:51

In Response To: Please, Matt, for the love of Durandal! (Jeff)

How helpful of you to ask this question just as I'd received a definite answer to it. :-)

The trailer will first appear on the cover CD of a major PC gaming magazine. It will be their August issue, which hits the streets mid-July.

Shortly thereafter it will appear on the Bungie web site (or more likely, the Bungie site will link to some other site with incredible bandwidth where the files will be hosted) for free download. The movie, I am told, will be roughly 100 megs compressed, so this is quite a time investment for those of you without DSL or cable.

The fabled DVD version may happen if we can find a place that can replicate them cheaply, but so far this has not happened.

Who says I never give out hard info?


Wow Matt is even beginning to sound like the Story page... "fabled" DVD version indeed. Let's hope it's NOT A FABLE! :-)

Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes to say that Bungie Sightings has received a mysterious pic from Norway. What could it be? Wasn't up when I looked so best check back later.

Rampancy.net has taken the trouble to scan in the WHOLE Bungie E3 press kit. Nice job. While the Halo info has already been scanned in at Halo Network there is some Oni and general Bungie info on it. The whole package is very nice. Worth a look.

On the subject of scans and Oni there is a nice scan of the flip side of the Halo flyer at Oni Central. Not sure if you should call it a Halo flyer given that the other side contains Oni info. So let's call it a Bungie E3 flyer. :-)

Matt Smith <mps@utas.edu.au> writes:

I was looking at the bungie.net admin site http://www.bungie.net/bna/ when I came across a reference to blam. It seems that in when playing myth II on bungie.net you can be blammed (kicked out) for misbehavior, by an admin.

There are even different forms of blam, such as mini-blam (for a small misgiving).

I got this off the site:

"The lock is the most common punishment. A player can be locked for any amount of time between ten minutes and forever. Single day locks are most often given out by admins. These are blams, and are usually "awarded" to players who've committed some minor offence. A lock for any larger length of time is referred to as an extended lock."
a full list of bungie.net admin powers look at

http://www.bungie.net/bna/rules.html#punishmebaby the explanation of punishments.

May 22, 2000 (Monday)

Jonathan Bahamon <jbahamon@earthlink.net> writes:

i was browsing through the magazines at the checkout aisle in my local supermarket when i came across this week's (May 22) issue of Time.

on page 100 (i think i don't remember too well) there was an article in part of a looking ahead into the future series of articles. this part talked about how we will fight wars in the future. it had an intresting picture of a futuristic soldier decked out in battle gear. what makes this so intresting was the fact that it looked startingly similiar to the UESC Marine from Marathon. from helmet sensors to upgrades such as invisibility, it looked like the ancestor of the Mjolnir cyborg.

i will try to find a picture on the net or scan it when i get the magazine in the mail. either way i'll send you a picture. or maybe someone out there could contribute a picture.

now that i think about it, the battle gear suspiciously looks somewhat like the Halo Marine's gear. maybe Cortana within the dark realms of Bungie leaked the designs to the Pentagon?

If anyone can get a scan of this please send it in. Thanks.

halo.bungie.org got their hands on a scan of an E3 Halo flyer. The text and pics are the same as those on page 10 and 11 of Bungie's E3 press kit scanned in at Halo Network a few days ago though the layout is different and the background pic is easier to see. I've added the text to Official Halo Backstory section for the sake of completeness.

Another Marathon symbol in Myth? Raul Bonilla <biomeca@hotmail.com> writes:

Is that the Marathon logo on the lava flow? Nahhh, couldn't be! ;)

Thinking about it, the last level of Myth II is named "The Forge" (almost like the Marathon Map Editor) and it takes place inside a volcano. Makes you wonder...

Mark Levin <haveblue@mac.com> writes concerning the new Letters to the Webmaster channel on bungie.net:

I reloaded the page 7 times and all I saw were old letters... The script seems to grab them directly off the Letters to the Webmaster page itself, one letter contained a broken link to another Bungie page.

May 21, 2000 (Sunday)

Quick update

Louis Wu <halo@bungie.org> writes to point out that the Halo pic in the most recent Halo Network scan of Bungie's E3 presskit (page 14) is not new but rather a "chunk of the Halo banner from E3". You can see it clearly in this E3 banner pic. Thanks Louis.

The German Halo site Halo Network has now scanned in pages 14 and 15 (Halo FAQ stuff) from Bungie's E3 presskit. A new Halo pic can be seen on page 14. Well worth a look. You can now find scans of pages 10 and 11, 12 and 13, and now 14 and 15 at Halo Network.

Brian Retchless <tretchless@home.com> writes:

On Bungie.net's new little customizeable news thingy, there is an option for letters to the webmaster. I have subscribed to it, and there's one letter and answer each day. My question to you is: do you know if these are recycled letters or are they answering the letters in this form now?

Only one way to find out head on over to bungie.net and add the Letters to the Webmaster to the your channel list. :-)

On the subject of bungie.net 2154 people have now voted in the "What platform do you use for gaming?" poll. 1464 (67%) voters (at the time of writing) state that the Macintosh is their gaming platform of choice.

May 20, 2000 (Saturday)

Quick update

Caught this at halo.bungie.org. The German Halo site Halo Network has now scanned in pages 12 and 13 (more Halo stuff) from Bungie's E3 presskit. This has the Halo backstory details which you can also found transcribed on the Official Halo Backstory section. Good quality scan. Definitely worth a look.

Sean Morris <legolas14@theglobe.com> writes concerning the Hound. See the Missing Aliens section for details.

How many endings in Pathways Into Darkness? More than six? Is there are seventh? Find out the tru7h on today's Pathways Into Darkness page.

With all the recent discussion surrounding the recent cinematic-quality Halo movie at E3 it is interesting to note that Gamasutra has an interesting article entitled Cutting to the Chase: Cinematic Construction for Gamers. It's aimed at game designers and artists who need to incorporate cinematic sequences within their games in order to drive a story or heighten the impact of their title, and who have little knowledge of how to proceed. The article was originally published in the 2000 Game Developer's Conference proceedings. Interesting read.

Don't forget to go vote in the "What platform do you use for gaming?" poll on bungie.net. The current results are an eye opener. Out of 1399 voters (at the time of writing) 980 (70%) say they use a Mac.

May 19, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update

Two quick items both from Bungie. Caught these at halo.bungie.org. First off Bungie have a job opening for a Quality Assurance intern at their Chicago offices. Here's part of the ad:

The Quality Assurance intern will primarily be involved in helping the QA manager and development team test computer games through play-testing and functionality and compatibility tests. This position requires an intelligent person who pays attention to detail, has good verbal and written communication skills and is knowledgeable about a variety of computer platforms and operating systems.

The other news item is about the E3 Halo movie on DVD. Max Hoberman (aka Yeroen) reports that based on their last poll 75% of those who voted were willing to pay $5.95 or more for the movie on DVD format even though it will be released free on the net. Good news. Hopefully we'll find the DVD in the Bungie Store... soon.

Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes to point out that Bungie Sightings has been updated again and the site now also has a PO Box for people without access to a scanner to send hardcopy pics. The snail mail address is:

Bungie Sightings
P.O. Box 570643
Whitestone, NY 11357

Be sure to include a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope if you want your material sent back.

halo.bungie.org found a semi-new Halo screenshot on the net. It originally appeared in the May edition of GameStar magazine (German). However this shot is a high quality version. It's a very nice indoor shot of a Covenant in action. You can also see that Halo ring motif in the background.

May 18, 2000 (Thursday)

Quick update

As noted on HBO the German Halo site Halo Network has scanned in pages 10 and 11 (Halo) from Bungie's E3 presskit. Note the (new?) font and the interesting background pic on the left. Very nice.

Jon Chang <grind@mars.superlink.net> who was at E3 writes:

Just read the days updates for Halo stuff...based on what Jamie [Griesemer] told me at the show I think the Halo story is going under significant revision. It's almost to be expected considering that's the one element of the game they haven't actually done a lot in though.

I'm guessing that as they go on they'll adjust the story, elements such as the ship surviving in one form or another--or at least the AI-- to give the player some direction as to what target to hit next, basically following the engine's lead and making something that's non-linear without being totally ambiguous.

Do you remember a old series called Rogue Trooper? They used to run it in 2000 AD. In the first iteration of Rogue his dead buddies personalities were saved on combat chips which were then inerted into assorted pieces of his equipment always giving him aid in his mission...

There was also a great book called "Spares" by Mike Marshall Smith where a small helper bot called Ratchet from the beginning of the story knows it will be destroyed and dumps a dupe of it's AI onto a small chip for later use...when the main character later finds a gun ship he slots Ratchet's chip into the gun ship and it's good to go, though he can't interact with it while it's not plugged in.

Hell Terry Nation's Blake's 7, another great British Sci-fi show, had a personality attenuated AI called ORAC that was portable although it could be plugged into such things as a ship (in ORAC's case it didn't need to be. it was so powerful it could tie into anything within the range of it's network...which basically encompassed all terran computers ^_^)

Indeed later in Blake's 7 when they introduced another AI, albeit not as genius as ORAC, called Slave it survived being shot down in the last episode for quite some time before it's systems totally gave out.

Being given mission objectives by "a sentient computer on board their mother ship" may still be in some ways true...but development is just that...development ^_^

The ancient ring construct may also have an AI network for Cortana to dance in. :-)

Why did the whole Covenant fleet following The Pillar of Autumn? Sean Phelps <seanphelps@home.com> writes:

From the third Cortana letter:
This enemy - YOUR enemy - has proven more irritating than I anticipated.
They own nothing which they have not stolen. I can barely make sense of
their incessant rhetoric, except to know that you seem to be their Devil.
Congratulations - you manage to make friends wherever you go and,
apparently, places you haven't.
First of all I'm going to assume that Cortana was speaking to the "player" in the above passage. That is to say, the persons who will be controlling the Mjolnir cyborg in the actual gameplay of Halo. Now I don't know about you, but if I were a religious zealot and I had a chance to kill the devil, I'd go all out with guns blazing. If the player (Mjolnir cyborg?) was the Covenant's devil, and he was onboard the Pillar of Autumn this may explain why the covs gave chase. Now there are religions and cultures where there are many devils and demons, so it's possible that to the covs the Mjolnir is some sort of specific devil, the devil of ass whoopin' perhaps... or maybe the devil who's so hated that they'll go after him no matter what.

On the subject of Halo's story there is an interesting thread on Rampancy.net concerning an article at www.salon.com regarding the lack of games at E3 with "genuine innovation or a compelling narrative". One part of the article reads:

Even Bungie Software's Halo, perhaps the most visually magnificent game on display, a combination of first-person combat and real-time strategy, set on a staggeringly vivid landscape, didn't promise much greater narrative depth.
Some people took the trouble to write to the author and got back some revealing responses. See here and here.

May 17, 2000 (Wednesday)

Quick update #2

Benjamin Sones <bsones@mail.cdmag.com>, author of the recent Computer Games Online E3 Halo preview and the one from July '99, writes to say that he's working on "big Halo feature" which will contain lots of new info. He also confirmed that the reference to the player being given mission objectives by "a sentient computer on board their mother ship" was related to him in an interview with Jason Jones at last year's Macworld Expo New York. This would suggest that the backstory has changed since then.

Quick update #1

Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> informs me that Bungie Sightings has been updated with some new pics and some revealed identities. As always, should Miguel or any of his BS Force be caught or killed, Bungie will disavow any knowledge of their actions. This recording will self-destruct in seven seconds.

Thanks to Rob Swenson (aka Noctavis) on the Rampancy.net Hotline server for pointing out this E3 Halo preview at Computer Games Online. They claim:

Our preview brings you the latest news and shots straight from this year's E3 show.

However much of the text is the same as that in a previous Halo preview by Computer Games Online dating from July 23, 1999. Go compare it. :-) While old, the preview does contain an interesting and perhaps forgotten piece of Halo story text:

Bungie plans to allow the player to discover things to do through exploration, or be given mission objectives by a sentient computer on board their mother ship, and the player will generally have several courses of action to choose from at any given time.

I draw you attention to the part "a sentient computer on board their mother ship...". The sentient computer is presumably Cortana but what is the "mother ship"? According to the Official Halo Backstory the Pillar of Autumn (mother ship) is destroyed by a Covenant fleet shorty after it arrives at the Halo. Of course since this preview text actually dates from July 23, 1999 the story may well have changed since then.

Staying with the Halo backstory the fourth Cortana Letter described two AIs on board the Pillar of Autumn. Cortana and a BW - AI Class III. A fact later confirmed by Nathan Bitner (former Producer and Creative Developer - Halo). The text also suggested that Cortana had taken refuge from this other AI by sharing "the circuitry of some hybrid war machine". Here's the quote:

Thanks to this slavishly loyal and humorless AI, I am now sharing cramped space with the circuitry of some hybrid war machine, itself complicated by such useless clutter as a conscience. I do not like sharing. Sharing is for children.

This ploy was also used by Durandal in Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity (Marathon 2: Retold). The hybrid war machine is presumably a reference to a Mjolnir cyborg (Battleroid). The fourth letter would also suggest that Cortana was working to some plan and that the Covenant were simply getting in her way. I quote:

There will be plenty of time for retribution; I cannot wait to get its hands on these psychotic zealots whose primary form of worship apparently takes place at the altar of orbital bombardment.

In the end, they will all be little more than nuisances. I am so close - you cannot imagine what it is truly like to hold eternity in your grasp! I wonder to what gods my enemies will direct their pleas. Perhaps I can convert them.

Thus we might conclude that the Pillar of Autumn's arrival at the Halo was not some random fluke. It is conceivable that Cortana had an influence on the destination even though the ship's captain logged a random course in the ship's AI (the BW - AI Class III). The ship's "non-random" course and apparent destination might also help to explain why the whole Covenant fleet followed the Pillar of Autumn after the destruction of Reach. Alternately the Covenant were simply after something on the Pillar of Autumn.

Something to think about. :-)

May 16, 2000 (Tuesday)

Quick update

E3 Halo movie on DVD with 5.1 Surround Sound! How much would you pay for it? bungie.net are running a poll to find out your views on the subject. Apparently the movie is described as a Director's Cut which would suggest that it's an improved version over the one seen at E3. Unless of course that was the Director's Cut. Go vote.

Chris Hebner <chebner@erinet.com> writes:

Just something to mention, in the E3 movie, if you only count the people that you can see (i.e. leaving out the dropship pilot), there are 7 humans taking on the Covenant. Probably not to mystical, but hey....

More seven stuff. The German GameStar Halo preview translated by CyberBob and Noctavis at Rampancy.net was original seven pages long and started on page 70 of the magazine. Thanks Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net>.

Hey... Happy Birthday to JG at Bungie. Have a good one! :-)

The real origin of Blam, Your Mom, and Dink revealed? Albert Sacks <asacks@mindspring.com> writes:

According to "A Treasury Of Military Humor", a book dealing with humor from the US armed force from the American Civil War to Vietnam, a "Dink" is a nickname for a Vietcong soldier. "Blam" a Vietcong fires. "Your Mom, Dink!!!" American dodges and taunts.
Were any Bungie people in Nam?

Nice find. :-) The book "A Treasury Of Military Humor" is by James E. Myers. Some details can be found here.

Jonathan Bahamon <jbahamon@earthlink.net> writes:

just got the june issue of pcxl. it has halo in a feature of nine games. it prety much reiterates what was stated in the previous issue though it focuses a little bit more into the single player game. the new multiplayer info may be outdated by now due to what we've seen at E3. but it should provide another reference for speculation.

no mentions of sevens or threes that I've noticed (yet), although there was a statement that was intresting:

"Getting information out of Bungie is like pulling teeth out of [sic?] hippopotamus."

wasn't there a mention of wall-hugging hippos a while back?

You can blame Matt Soell and his hippo fetish for this! ;-)

Manuel Blaschek <tru7h@bungie.net> writes:

I just found an intersting looking picture at: http://kaleidoscope.net/schemes/schemespotlight.shtml the Kaleidoscope Scheme "Zeff" looks really similar to the Covenant Energy Pistol. The author must've been hit by the Bungie mind control ray :-)

Ben Ramey <roygbiv@aon.at> writes pointing out that Inside Mac Games has launched Macgamefiles.com a web site dedicated to new and updated Macintosh game software. The new site was created with assistance from Randall Shaw of The Mill

May 15, 2000 (Monday)

Quick update #2

The Official Halo Backstory section has been updated with a small piece of E3 movie dialog text previously unreported. In a Rampancy.net forum post Michael Young (aka Bravehamster) writes:

One thing in the dialog caught my ears, when one of the BoB's said "This place sure has a lot of open doors for something that hasn't been touched for 100,000 years". So we have a good working date for how long the Halo has been abandoned.

Nice catch. :-)

Quick update #1

The Official Halo Backstory section goes live! This section traces the development of Halo's backstory as told by Bungie themselves. It excludes third party accounts of the story as reported on gaming sites or magazines since these can and do differ widely.

Additional story information can be gleaned from the Cortana Letters and the Halo Transmissions sections.

Bungie Sticker Tag is HERE! But not just stickers. Miguel Chavez (aka Freewill, Freespirit, FS) <bs@bungie.org> writes:

Bungie Sightings is now open for business!

Our purpose is very simple. Bungie is without a doubt inching closer and closer to world domination. Let us prove this by amassing as many pictures as possible showing Bungie Products in less-than-typical settings.

Got a picture of yourself wearing a Bungie "Don't make us kick your ass!" T-Shirt while standing in front of the Grand Canyon? How about your grandmother holding up a Marathon Trilogy box? Cool! Can you wave an Oni Door Poster from the top of the Eiffel Tower? Awesome! Take a picture and send it on in...

For those of you without scanners or digital cameras, we are working on reserving a Post Office Box for you to send us your pictures. If you include a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) we will send your pictures back ASAP.

Currently the site is 90% done. Due to some Javascript difficulties, the slide viewer is non-functional, but we'll get that fixed in a jiffy! Until then, you can entertain yourself by visiting our home page and trying to figure out what that green thing the Oni sticker is stuck to. :)




bs.bungie.org - Where the bs flies like it's nobody's business

Bungie Software will no doubt point out that they take NO RESPONSIBILITY for people being arrested for trying to stick a Bungie Sticker where it shouldn't be stuck! This assumes you get caught of course. ;-)

May 14, 2000 (Sunday)      Post E3 Blues

Quick update

Jon Chang <ender@studio-grey.com> of DEHc-3 HALO was at E3 on Saturday and kindly sent in this report of what he saw and was told:

Well E3 has come and gone and I got to see the new Halo movie/tech demo. It was very impressive ^_^ but of course left a whole bag of questions to be answered.

Afterwards I got to pull aside and talk with Zartman, Jamie and one of the artists, I think his name was Andrew(long hair around 5'8"), for a few quick questions.

Due to a malfunction in the Olympus voice recorder I was using I can't quote directly but...

The first thing I noticed were that you were the only marine of your type in the film. All the other human soldiers seemed to be unmodified traditional grunts, via the USCM from Aliens. I was pretty suprised considering that all of the screenshots we had seen up this point showed many "cyborg" marines and no humans...Then there was the now famous line "Cortana told us there was one of you on board..." delivered by a wounded marine as he's evaced. hmmmmm

This led to my first question are you in fact the only mjolnir marine(I definitely said mjolnir ^_^) and I was told "no comment" but that many of the single player elements were still in the works so comments might be misleading.

Coincidentally almost all of the shots so far have been taken from the purely multiplayer game and I was told that reading "too much" into them might be "misleading" to "myself" ^_^.

I also found out that the game, which is planned to be extremely non-linear, will have the player on his own most of the time though he will be able to aid and fight with other human units if he/she chooses to. This was a shocker for me as I assumed you would always be working with a small A-team of some type based on the guerilla warfare theme of the game. More and more like Marathon wheras I expected it to be a more action type Myth set-up...

I also enquired about the other 2 covenant races. We've seen 2 different classes of the one alien family (officer and grunt) but none of the others. Again I was told things change in the development process and left it at that...perhaps there will now be a singular alien race?

I enquired about some of the influences, especially the sci-fi guru Iain M Banks, and was told that he was definitely among the influences of the game but more importantly that there was a list of books handed off to Jamie to check out when he joined the team! However being that I was without pen/paper/voice recorder I didn't even bother to ask for a list...perhaps in a future email interview ^_^

Some other technical considerations I got were...

On the halo itself will have many different climates and have different times of the day.

Some other things of note, while Joe was doing a weapons, movement demo he zoomed on the marine and turned on bump mapping. You could clearly see and antenna mounted on the marine's shoulder. This had been a point of contention a few months ago on halo.bungie.org.

I enquired about the use of standard case bearing ammo as opposed to caseless which ideally suited for specops type stuff(lighter, can carry more, etc...)
Initially I was told it was an asthetic decision but like all the technology in Halo it will all be rationalized...aka why are they driving around in jeeps when they obviously have V/TOL type technology for things such as the drop ship.

Thanks Jon. :-)

With the recent E3 news that Oni will have no multiplayer feature increased emphasis will have to be placed on the solo game and in particular the story. Will the Oni story tie into any of Bungie's previous storylines? The following is the Oni story as presently given in Bungie's E3 press kit:

Oni (pronounced "OH-knee"): Japanese for "ghost or demon"

A dark future...
An uncertain past...
No one left to trust.

It is the year 2032. Sprawling megacities dominate the landscape, and high technology is an inseparable part of all human endeavor - including crime. One of the most important law enforcement agencies is the Technology Crimes Task Force (TCTF). The TCTF's principle adversary is a brutal and shadowy organization known only as the Syndicate. For years the TCTF has attempted to infiltrate and destroy the Syndicate. Spearheading this effort is one of their toughest, most resourceful agents, an elite operative named Konoko.

Konoko eats, sleeps and breathes the TCTF. Because of the extremely dangerous nature of their work, all TCTF officers undergo rigorous martial arts training and are skilled in the use [of] a wide array of projectile and energy weapons. Even among the elite, Konoko proves to be exceptionally skilled, lethal at close or long range, armed or unarmed.

Konoko conducts many types of missions against the Syndicate, from recon to confiscation, from pursuit to assault; sometimes alone, sometimes with backup. But things are not always as simple as they first seem, and as she learns more and more about the Syndicate, Konoko learns too that intrigue and betrayal haunt the shadows of Oni.

Oni will be Bungie's first game with no multiplayer feature since Pathways Into Darkness, released in 1993.

In case you missed them there are some Bungie Booth pics of Halo and Oni at MacCentral here and here.

Contrary to what's been reported in a number of Halo E3 reports there doesn't seem to be any new Halo screenshots.

May 13, 2000 (Saturday)      E3 Last Day

Tyson Green (aka Ferrex) <ferrex@earthlink.net> provides some clarification on the Halo movie end dialog:

Just a bit of clarification on that movie dialog, as requested. Turns out I goofed too, but I think I was a bit closer. Unless my memory has failed me again, the lines are:

BOB: Cortana told us one of you were on board, but I didn't believe her
*drop ship moves away*
BOB: You're staying behind?
Marine: Yes. My battle has just begun (might be "is just beginning").

Again, the marine's voice has an unusually monotone and metallic sounding voice, but this could just be from the helmet/commo he's wearing. I'll double check this tomorrow, and let you know if I've goofed again. I'm pretty sure that covers it, though.

CNET Gamecenter who have an E3 report entitled Halo Movie: Impressions also comment on the end dialog. Here's what they say:

The movie concludes with the dropship returning and the pilot saying that he had heard there was "one of them" on Halo but he didn't believe. Clearly, this hints toward the fact that the heavily armored human soldier is some sort of super commando.

Super commando eh? Or should we say Battleroid? ;-)

Tim Young (aka Tsao) <youngtimmy@mail.utexas.edu> who was at E3 writes concerning Halo's diameter:

During one of his Halo presentations yesterday at E3, Joe Staten said that the Halo was 10,000 *kilometers* in diameter.

At Macworld Expo SF last January Joe was telling a different story. At the Bungie Fanfest he remarked:

And upon closer inspection they find that this object is, in fact, a ring structure about ten thousand miles in diameter, it has some gravity, it has continents, different climate zones, all of that sort of thing. Most importantly, it can support life on the inside of the ring.

And on Day 2 of Bungie TV Joe stated:

It's 10,000 miles in diameter, it has an atmosphere, it has continents, and it can support life.

Looks like the ring just got smaller. ;-)

Michael Lake <beorn@mac.com> writes:

I was just organizing my channels on the new bungie.net, when I noticed something odd: you cannot name the channels with names greater than seven characters long. If you do exceed 7 characters, it replaces the last letter(s) with an ellipse (the three dots: ...). I don't know if this works for everyone, but it has worked twice that way for me. The sevens, 'they're everywhere!'

Thanks to all the people who have written about the cryptic web link changes at bungie.org. Too many to mention. Looks like a bungie.org webmonkey got hold of a keyboard though.

May 12, 2000 (Friday)      E3 Second Day

Quick update #3

Bungie confusing themselves? According to a transcript of Bungie's E3 Press Kit posted to the Rampancy.net forums by Rob Swenson (aka Noctavis) the Halo is stated to be:

10,000 miles in diameter

But in the Halo movie brochure (see below) provided at E3 the Halo is:

ten thousand kilometers in diameter

Miles or kilometers?

I've taken the liberty of reprinting the Halo backstory details from Bungie's E3 Press Kit as transcribed by Noctavis:


The human race has a fledgling interstellar empire of eight worlds that are engaged in a war with an alien league known as the Covenant. Having destroyed the outer perimeter of the human empire, a Covenant fleet has turned towards Earth. A single human warship is dispatched to lure them away. The ship flees deep into space with the Covenant at its heels, and after many months, comes upon an ancient artificial world - a ring construct 10,000 miles in diameter known as "Halo." Damaged and running low on supplies, the crew picks this world to make a stand against the Covenant.

In Halo, the player is a human military officer on the surface of Halo. Working sometimes in concert with other humans, but more often alone, the player must single-handedly improvise a guerrilla war against this overwhelming and heavily armed alien force.

Quick update #2

Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> sends in further clarification on the Halo movie end dialog. Robert relates how Rob Swenson (aka Noctavis) was on hotline.Rampancy.net (Rampancy.net's new Hotline server) and described the following:

Get this: At the end of the battle sequence (OOOOOhhhhhhhh) the VTOL craft picks up the last marine (who looks like Jason Jones) and the Mjolnir... and the marine says to him, "Cortana told me that there were one of you, but I didn't believe her" (something like that)

Again the reference to "one of you" appears. :-)

Quick update #1

Interesting to note that the end dialog in the Halo movie described by Ferrex (below) is different from that posted by Luxor at Halo Vault. Luxor wrote:

The final scene ended with this exchange, which I transcribed most of: "Cortana told us you were on board. You're staying?" And the reply: "Yes, my battle has just begun." And of course, the classic Halo theme and logo.

Perhaps we can get some clarification on this today?

Halo Vault posted scans of Bungie's E3 Halo movie brochure. One page contains the backstory. If you have problems reading it Mark Levin deciphered it and posted it to the halo.bungie.org forum. Here's the main part of the text:

The Story:

Hundreds of years from now, Earth's fledgling planetary empire has been drawn into a merciless war with a consortium of alien races known as the Covenant. Covenant technology is far beyond that of Earth, and the humans are losing. Whole planets are being destroyed. Billions have died. It's only a matter of time before the Covenant find Earth, and destroy it.

The most recent human planet to be discovered iby the Covenant fleet is Reach, population 700 million. The Covenant annihilate it utterly. A single human corvette escapes the battle. In a desperate attempt to lead the Covenant away from Earth, the ship charts a course for a distant unexplored system.

In a move that baffles the Commander and her crew, the entire Covenant fleet gives chase.

When the humans arrive at their destination, they find an alien artifact of enormous size in orbit between a gas giant and its moon. They have found HALO, a ring ten thousand kilometers in diameter, with a breathable atmosphere. On its inner surface, HALO has oceans, continents, varied climatic zones. It's a habitat.

The Covenant destroy the human ship in a battle near HALO, but a portion of the human crew escapes to land in scattered groups on the surface of the ring. One of the marines, more skilled than the rest, starts a guerilla war against the Covenant, trying to stop them from learning the secrets of HALO.

This marine is you. The game begins.

As Mark pointed out the reference to Reach comes from the Halo Transmissions and the description of the marine is very familiar.

Tyson Green (aka Ferrex) of Rampancy.net posted a detailed description of the E3 Halo movie. It's in two parts: Part I and Part II. Here's part of the description that contains story dialog:

Looking down at the BOB, the Covenant surprises us with throaty, gurgling english. The line, if my memory serves me correctly, is right out of the zealot's handbook: "It is God's will that you be exterminated. We are His intruments." The BOB, whom I believe shares faces with Bungie's Jason Jones, counters with one from the bad ass handbook: "go to Hell!"

And in true dramatic fashion, just as the Covenant is about to execute the BOB (and strangely, you don't feel elated by this as you might in Marathon), there are explosions in the distance. The urge to cheer is definitely there when the marine, brandishing a Covenant energy blade, appears at the top of the hill and looks down on the scene for a moment. He charges, the Covenant fires, and what is apparently a shield can be seen around the marine as he takes the hits and barrels forward (apparently, those little lights on the armor are in fact parts of this shield system that Marathon fans will immediately recognize). One wonders if the Covenant energy shield isn't an analogue for this defensive mechanism. Either way, the marine isn't stopped, the Covenant is soon skewered, and the day is saved.

An unstoppable marine with Marathon-esque shields would have been enough. But no, Bungie had to push it over the top. As the dropship appears to extract the two, the BOB can be heard saying something like the following: "Cortana said there was one of you on board, but we never believed her." The coup de grace. The marine, who apparently elects not to depart on the dropship, explains that his fight is just beginning. We're not sure if it's a suit issue, but his voice seemed rather monotone and synthetic, leaving you to wonder exactly what is behind that visor.

Though, I imagine it's much more fun not knowing.

Gary Patterson <gpatterson70@ozemail.com.au> writes:

A scan from the Halo materials handed out by Bungie at E3 (and scanned by the good people at Halo Vault) seems to show (right in the middle, on the fold) the Marathon logo. It's a bit faint, but I'm sure it's there!


While this is the same back design as seen in the original Halo logo it's now no longer obscured by the Halo title itself.

Etherlife has a very funny cartoon about Doug Zartman at E3. Hope Doug has a good sense of humor! ;-)

May 11, 2000 (Thursday)      E3 First Day

Quick update #2

Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> writes:

I'm sure that you've gotten more than your fill of news about the "ILOVEYOU" virus by now, but I do wish to point out that it seems like a real-life version of the bad VacBobs in Marathon Infinity, who run to you and say "I love you, man!" and laugh maniacally.

Chris Harvey <masternightfall@searchtheweb.com> writes:

I just looked at bungie.org and the S????S link has now changed into this: SS????I?G

Quick update #1

E3 antics! You first heard of Bungie Sticker Tag at MWNY... now it's a reality! A source that wishes to remain anonymous, let's called him FS, writes:

I'm an unnamed source, please keep my name out of this :)

>From unnamed source:

Those of you fortunate enough to be attending E3, do ??? a favor and grab a bunch of stickers from the Bungie booth (whether Oni, Halo, or Bungie specific) and do your best ninja impersonation: Affix the stickers in the most unlikely of places (Blizzard booth? Lara's butt? [smile!]) and then whip out your instamatic and take some shots of said stickers... a record of the act of Bungie fandom! Keep those shots handy... more to come, soonTM.

p.s. This is not related to the E3 Photo contest over at Rampancy.net, but don't worry, we'll take those pics as well. :)

E3 starts today! And the big news just in is from halo.bungie.org. Matt Soell (Bungie Software) dropped a line to the HBO team concerning what people would see in the new Halo teaser trailer at E3. The short summary included this line:

a tidbit of dialog that is sure to set Hamish Sinclair's head spinning

Sounds like the Halo Story is taking shape. :-)

According to Matt the new teaser trailer will make the MacWorld NY demo look old and will be released to the general public. No release date has been fixed yet.

More news later today as we get it.

May 10, 2000 (Wednesday)

Two days ago Josh West <joshwest@rmci.net> pointed out that their was a sci fi novel called "Halo" by Tom Maddox. The story deals with a future where artificial intelligence and virtual reality have smudged the margins between human and machine and is set aboard a space station called Halo controlled by AI named Aleph. If you want to read the full text of this story you can find it on the net at the author's homepage at


or from:


Besides writing Halo, Tom has also contributed to a number of sci-fi anthologies such as the hugely influencial Mirrorshades: A Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by Bruce Sterling and Larry McCaffrey's Storming the Reality Studio. He is also credited with dreaming up the concept of ICE (Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics) used in William Gibson's cyberpunk novels.

More recently, Tom collaborated with William Gibson on the Kill Switch episode of the X-Files. The episode dealt with themes that are recurrent in both writers' work: sentient artificial intelligence, the lure of leaving this mortal coil for the silicon matrix, and ghosts in the machine.

Sound familiar?

On the subject of sounds and X-files Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes:

The loon sound from Infinity appears in the X-Files episode "Darkness Falls."

They're Everywhere! ;-)

io.bungie.net becomes www.bungie.net. The new look bungie.net is no longer beta. Thanks for the great community page Max! :-)

According to a news item at Rampancy.net Doug Zartman lays to rest any spurious claims that you can play an alien character in the Halo solo game. Not sure how this even arose. From a solo game/story point of view you play "a human character". Note the choice of words. :-)

Also at Rampancy.net there is an interesting interview with Jaime Griesemer, Senior Designer on Halo. Definitely worth a read.

May 9, 2000 (Tuesday)

Mike Hughes (aka iGamer2000) <nmmg16@yahoo.com> of New Millennium Mac Games writes:

Here are the results of the Marathon Poll you talked about last week. The people have voted and Marathon 2 is the favorite Bungie game of all time. Also we are starting a new poll. Please answer it today. Discusses about whether or not it would be useful to start a Mac games magazine. Looking for input as we are thinking bout starting one up. Thanks.

Operation Desert Storm 0%
Minotaur 1%
Pathways into Darkness 1%
Marathon 20%
Marathon 2 36%
Marathon Infinity 14%
Weekend Warrior 0% (actually 1 vote)
Myth 15%
Myth 2 12%
Myth Chimera 1%

The Core becomes Rampancy.net. In what most surely rank as one of the top three build-ups in Bungie Fandom The Core maintained by Tyson Green (aka Ferrex) and Rob Swenson (aka Noctavis) moved lock, stock and barrel to a new domain name with Marathon overtones. The site presently retains the look and feel of the former Core site but news coverage seems to have extended.

Abhaya Hess <doctordude26@yahoo.com> writes:

I was playing Marathon 1 when I noticed something very interesting. I was pounding a S'pht compiler with my fist when I saw that everytime I punched him an image of the green marathon symbol was quickly flashed as part of the static. It was on the right side of his body. I did this several times just to be certain and I'm pretty sure of what I saw. Am I crazy? It was a S'pht minor(orange), which might make a difference but I don't know. Just thought it wasn't an interesting enough tidbit to point out.

May 8, 2000 (Monday)

Quick update #3

Josh West <joshwest@rmci.net> writes:

Hey, I read the section on the Marathon novel, so I thought you might like this. I ran across this book description just a while ago, but do not own the book myself.

Title: HALO
Author: Maddox, Tom
(Tor, 1991)

Mikhail Gonzales is dispatched to the Halo space station to keep an eye on a daring but costly experiment, the attempt to download the personality of a dying man into the station's artificial intelligence... Aleph.

Halo space station? AI? ALEPH!?!? hmmmmm.

More info on Tom Maddox's book "Halo" can be found here.

Quick update #2

Interesting to note that the title of Iain M. Banks' new Culture novel Look to Windward is a line in T.S. Eliot's poem "The Waste Land":


PHLEBAS the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep seas swell
And the profit and loss.
                  A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering the whirlpool.
                 Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

This verse was also used at the beginning of Consider Phlebas. As Thoth would say "circumstances are cyclical".

A line from T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men" appears in The Cortana Letters.

Quick update #1

Interesting Halo tidbit over at halo.bungie.org seems it has been confirmed that the two human characters in a recent Halo screenshot at GameCenter are in fact Bungie people, namely Charles Gough (Chucky) and Shikai Wang. Seems all members of the Halo development team have been similarly immortalised. Original source of this info can be found here.

More Core musings. Thanks to all those who have written in about the strange goings on at The Core. Ever the crazy one Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> has saved the relevant posts for posterity. They are posted here with permission. Make of these what you can! ;-)

But what's really going on? Well back in April 1, 2000 Ferrex posted the following Core news item:

Ah, what a magical day... it's really too bad we've been too busy preparing a brand new site for launch to play any tricks today. Yessir, nothing in the way of non-launch work planned.

Looks like the tricks have begun. ;-)

Jon Chang <ender@studio-grey.com> writes to say that the ?B? link on the main bungie.org page has now changed to ??S?. Jon writes:

?b? and ??s?

3 letters + 4 letters = 7

Is this really a new Bungie game or something more?

Oscar Göthberg <oscargot@swipnet.se> writes:

I believe the Swedish movie referred to in today's news post was mentioned in some old letter to the webmaster at bungie.com:


I dunno if the movie airing tonight is just that one, though. I'll check it out, but it'd be cool if someone with a computer capable of digitising video could record the Marathon-related parts...

Already been done so it seems. You can see some video captures from the the Swedish movie which features Marathon 2 but under the title of Final Doom at homepage.mac.com/blgl/beck/.

May 7, 2000 (Sunday)

Quick update

Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> writes:

more news: http://www.studio-grey.com/halo/

has updated the site and now has the cover of the new Banks book (http://www.studio-grey.com/halo/windward.html) Look to Windward, which is supposed to have more Halo references.

Take a look at that book cover it's set on an orbital (mini ringworld) like Consider Phlebas.

Some crazy stuff going on down at The Core site. Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> who was up at some ungodly hour tracking events sent in two emails on the subject. You can read the first one here, and the second on here. Lots of speculation in here but hey that's what the other 7% of the Story page is all about. ;-)

Robert Zimmermann <robzim@gmx.net> writes concerning Freespirit and the special May 15th announcement:

Well, I noticed that on the 15th on the WWDC 200 (where we might get an announcement as Free ehm spirit said) there are two major points, one is OpenGL and the other is Java, maybe this connects to Minotaur and not to Halo and OpenGL.

When asked to comment Freespirit replied:

Mumble, mumble. I don't have a script, sorry.

Sebastian Brytting <zorkar@yahoo.com> writes:

Marathon was once used in a swedish(!) movie! Swedes can see the movie at 21.00 tomorrow, on TV4... I'll send a picture of the Marathon scene tomorrow night, if anyone from any other country wants to know.

(They changed the looks of the weapons though)

Sebastian sent his mail in yesterday so the movie is on today. Hopefully we'll get some pics.

SETI server back up and running according their tech news page.

May 6, 2000 (Saturday)

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@sarwat.net> writes concerning Freespirit and the special May 15th announcement:

At first I was thinking it was going to be E3 related, but E3 is from the 11-13. But WWDC begins on the 15th. It's a strange venue for Bungie to announce something, but maybe we'll see OpenGL working on Mac OS X this time.

WWDC is the Worldwide Developer Conference. Freespirit was unavailable for comment.

According to a news item at the Core Bungie will not be announcing their new game at E3. Matt Soell was reported to have said:

There won't be a new game announced at E3.

There WILL be demos, behind closed doors to a handpicked crowd of industry and media elites, of a new game. But it won't be shown to the world at large, or even officially announced, for some time yet.


Bungie will no doubt be trying to replicate the hush hush atmosphere they created at last year's E3 when Halo was shown for the first time behind closed doors to the print media.

A number of people have written in pointing out that the main bungie.org page now sports a ?B? link instead of the former ???. Looks like ?.bungie.org. All very cryptic.

Dan Rudolph <ace_of_sevens@mac.com> writes:

Glue the Moose did the music for Chimera, and then was apparently pounced upon to do music for other Myth scenarios. He may only be referring to the Chimera music, but as good as it is, I wouldn't be surprised if they have him doing something else.

Experiencing SETI blues? SETI Server getting you down? Can't upload? Can't download? Well Alan Stott <alan@stott.net> writes:

Just got this from ISN...

10) AND FINALLY........,


Observers report seeing a "pulsating blue beam" destroy the 250 foot Rand Wilson radio telescope situated in Johannesburg, South Africa, reports the "Weekly World News" magazine. "It looked as if it had taken a direct hit from a category five hurricane, but the weather that night was completely tranquil," chief astronomer Dr Nigel Van Hecht is quoted, furthermore "We have concluded that it is the result of sabotage, and because of the uncanny nature of the weapon, we are strongly leaning toward the theory that the attackers were non-terrestrial."  and "It's conceivable that the aliens don't like us eavesdropping on them - and that this was their crystal-clear way of telling us to cut it out," the astronomer said. "Certainly they may have secrets they don't want us listening in on," he added.

ISN takes no responsibility for damage caused to your desktop PC as a result of downloading the SETI@HOME software via our links!

Sounds like a magnetic pulse attack to me. ;-)

Claude Errera <errera@bungie.org> writes to point out that the SETI problems are due to a data server problem. Well that's the officially line anyway. ;-)

Ross Wolfe <eternalwar@hotmail.com> writes concerning the level name "All Roads Lead To Sol...". See the What's in a Name? section.

Gabe Rosenkoetter <gr@eclipsed.net> writes to say that the Grendel scenario for Marathon Infinity is no more. Dead dead dead. Page 2401 updated to reflect this.

May 5, 2000 (Friday)

Quick update

According to a news item at io.bungie.net Bungie are swamped with preparations for E3. Looks like camp bed time. Major site update on Monday says Max Hoberman (Yeroen).

Oh and when you're customizing your io.bungie.net news page don't forget to check that Bungie Photo Archive. Some interesting pics in there. Hope you are collecting them all. :-)

According to a source close to Bungie, let's call him Freespirit, we should be seeing something quite unique on Monday May 15th. All he would say was:

Start sprinkling teasing little things here and there.

Sprinkle... sprinkle... May 15th... and counting.

Rob Swenson (aka Noctavis) <noctavis@paxnimbus.com> writes to point out two news items at the Core. The first is from Daily Radar which carries the following news item on Bungie and E3:

Halo -- Sure, it was the big game of last year's E3 (along with Oni, which is fast approaching "whatever happened to?" status), but we're still wowed by Bungie's technical demos of Halo. This year, the company is promising to show us some actual gameplay, along with another secret new game. The engine is definitely there -- will the gameplay live up to it? Cross your fingers.

If true those attending E3 are in for a unique experience. :-)

The second news item at the Core relates to to a web site called Glue the Moose. Their main page indicates that they create music and sound effects for computer games and Bungie Software are one of their clients. They are also working on a super secret project! Well who isn't these days. ;-)

Dalan Galma <dalangalma@numbera.com> writes:

In the "Frequency" ad I saw last night, they used a electricity sound to repeatedly introduce the critic's reviews of the film... the sound was none other than the "breaking wires" sound from Marathon 2... I don't know if it's Bungie-original, but still worthy of note.

On today's Pathways Into Darkness page... Who's that guy on the box, quick drop and in guys, and the subtle features of pyramid design. Now I bet you're curious! ;-)

May 4, 2000 (Thursday)

Confusion and Solipsism. Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> sent in a little file with this message:

I gave this to Claude for the archives a couple of months ago, but I haven't seen it anywhere. (He probably forgot about it, or couldn't find a place for it.)

I give it to you, and ask what you make of it all. The tru7h isn't out there, it's in _here_.

Only for the terminally curious. All questions concerning this item to Michael at <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> please.

Will Miles <97milesz@lancing.org.uk> writes:

On Player height:
Even with all these mathematical things about Marine height, have you ever noticed how much shorter M1 Bobs are than M2 Bobs, and Vacbobs are even bigger. Just the visual size difference shows that you are a lot taller than M1 Bobs and about level with M2 Bobs (compare heights with other Marines on multiplayer, a good map for this is your basic Mars Needs Women)

The Pathways Into Darkness page got updated yesterday with an item on pyramid design.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

The game "Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of TIme" ( http://www.legacyoftime.com/ ), was released around 1998, and here is some background info:

The game takes place around 2329 AD. It is the third in a series, where you are Gage Blackwood, Agent 5 for the TSA (Temporal Security Agency). A time rift has hit the present, and you must go back and find out why this rift exists and who created it. Visit the webpage for more information. I have finished the game so I can say the below accurately:

TSA (Temporal Security Agency) Emblem like three Marathon Emblems.
( http://www.legacyoftime.com/level2/img/timesup.jpg -640x480, 307 Kbytes)

Inventor of time travel technology in the game: Elliot *Sinclair* :-)

The Sosiqui, an elder race, has been said (in the game) to have somewhat raised certain Human cultures, kind of like what the Jjaro did with the S'pht; at the end of the game (spoiler), it was revealed that the Sosiqui have escaped our universe, like the Jjaro (except the Jjaro were only said to have left our galaxy).

May 3, 2000 (Wednesday)

Elbert Wall <elbertdw@radiks.net> and Muhsin Miski >mmiski@mac-addict.com> both point out that the Quake 3 Arena to Marathon conversion website now has a screenshot of a 'working' motion detector.

Closer to home Aleph One 0.10.1 has been released! Full details at The Source.

John Zero <jzero@fastlane.net> writes:

A column I saw today on Planetquake discusses the origins of netplay and how 'running around a maze shooting at stuff' got started with Wolf 3D and DOOM. It's at:


Remarkably, the author actually makes mention of 'our side' of that story in an 'Addendum' at the end of the article:

"1: A big apology to all those people out there who started on Apple computers and could legitimately claim that Marathon kicked things off, for them."

Well! This makes the author, Plummer, rather a gentleman and a scholar in the Quake world, doesn't it? I have sent him a note of thanks.

David Simon <midnight@pnc.com.au> writes concerning the series Space: Above and Beyond:

In fact there were AIs in Space Above and Beyond, in the form of humanoid robots (identifiable by their funky looking eyes). They were commonly known as 'silicates' and were originally designed as a servant species, but eventually rebelled (Blade-runner style). We meet many silicates in combat, but the two who stand out in my memory were Elroy (a humour model who later adapted his talents to torture) and an entertainment model (pool-shark) played by David Duchovney.

The silicates were particularly fond of any game that involved chance, they loved gambling. This was due to the fact that their algorithms were designed to logically understand and analyse a set of variables, but when gambling there were too many variables involved making it a more exciting experience for the AI.

The Silicates eventually sided with the Chigs (the aliens) and became their willing labor force as well as mercenary soldiers.

If you get a chance, there is an excellent SAAB episode called "Who Monitors the Birds" which I think is a great piece of television. It has about 3 mins of dialogue in the entire episode, and it has a number of Infinity-like elements in it (namely a realistic sci-fi world which is counterpointed by surreal and inexplicable events with don't point to a tangible answer.) There are also flashbacks and distant memories... and a lot of shooting/hand-to-hand action!

May 2, 2000 (Tuesday)

On today's Pathways Into Darkness page... what was locked away for nearly 60 years can now be revealed. Walter's little secret!

Timothy Collett <bcollett@hamilton.edu> writes concerning last month's submission about the series Space: Above and Beyond:

Just wanted to set the record straight about Space. It wasn't a miniseries; it just got canceled after one season (and had a rather spectacular finale). It was about a colony (Tellus) that got ambushed by the first aliens we humans had ever seen, whom we dubbed the chigs. It later turned out that the government, or a branch thereof, at least knew of the chigs beforehand, and may have called them to Tellus Colony. Not an AI (though there are some of those...) but somewhat similar to a story I heard before, perhaps in a dream...

Elbert Wall <elbertdw@radiks.net> writes:

there's a Marathon-like symbol


May 1, 2000 (Monday)

Max Hoberman (Bungie Software) reveals io.bungie.net. A new and greatly improved bungie.net web site! It's in public beta phase. Go customize your own personal bungie.net site. :-)

Io (pronounced "EYE oh") is the innermost of Jupiter's four largest moons, which are called the Galilean moons (the others are Europa, Ganymede and Callisto). Io was discovered by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei on January 7, 1610. In Roman mythology, Io was one of Jupiter's lovers and the daughter of a river god.

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

I am enclosing a gif of the mysterious Marathon 1.2 CD glyphs. They are visible on the underside of the CD in a circular band close to the center hole. In the same band are printed in reverse, "MFD BY JVC" and "BP815 R1J13". Note, their reversal suggests that the mysterous glyphs are also printed in reverse. The glyphs and letters appear to be "pressed" into the plastic as part of the CD manufacturing process (except for the final "13" which is etched or scratched-in but buried in the plastic). These facts observations suggest to me that the symbols are not a Bungie artifact but a peculiarity of the JVC CD process. For reference, my Marathon 1.2 CD has bar-code "7 61521 00815 8".

You can see the Marathon 1.2 CD glyphs here.

Go to What's New for May 2000

Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie
Last updated June 30, 2000