Oct 31, 1999 (Sunday)

According to Nathan Bitner in a forum post at The Core the player in this pic is holding a Kukri knife and the Covenant alien is nine feet tall. The Kukri knife is a favored weapon of the renowned Gurkhas. The Gurkha motto is "Better dead than a live coward".

Chris Butcher <cbutcher@hermes.otago.ac.nz> writes concerning the level name "One Hit Wonder":

It's been a while, but from what I remember of our 8-player furballs on the M2 netmap 'One Hit Wonder' there were often quite a few players who would try and get the rocket launcher (max 1 on the map at any time, respawned about every 2 minutes) and try to get a kill out of their two shots with it.

Those of us who enjoyed fighting it out with the more 'mundane' weapons would usually refer disparagingly to these guys as One Hit Wonders.

Seth Graham <sether@tru7h.org> writes:

On the halo.bungie.org forum, we find a post where Nathan Bitner says:


Bungie wasn't listed for the NYC show until about a month before it occurred (if then) ... just for the record. ;) Nathan

The full URL of the post is:


Agreed. However it does appear odd that Bungie have indicated that they will exhibit for the Macworld Expo New York show in July 2000 but not for the earlier Macworld Expo San Francisco in January. Either there is an omission on the exhibitors list or Bungie have yet to indicate their intention to attend. The latter speaks for itself.

Oct 30, 1999 (Saturday)

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

I just finished watching a video of the Doctor Who (Tom Baker) episode "The Genesis of the Daleks" and noticed similarities to Marathon:

1) The Daleks were originally called the MARK 3 Travel Machines. And remember, the player is probably a Mjolnir MARK 4 Cyborg. ;-)
2) The Daleks go rampant near the end.
3) Davros just reminds me of the S'pht Cyborg Controller in Marathon.

Here's some pics of Davros.

William MacKay <jamie@communityhigh.org> writes:

I'm writing about your description of the name of the M2 net map "One Hit Wonder". You say this refers to a band with one successful hit.

I've heard it referred to relating to marijuana - a "one hit wonder" is a joint potent enough to get you high with one hit. Also, less commonly, a person can be called a "one hit wonder" if they get high extremely easy - e.g. with one hit. Much like "easy date" refers to someone who gets drunk easily.

The Halo SETI team broke the 100 member barrier today. Though I do note some duplications in there. HBO post another page of 24 hour Halo SETI stats. Some good competition going down.

Oct 29, 1999 (Friday)

Interesting to note that while Bungie are listed as an exhibitor for Macworld Expo New York 2000 (July 18-21) they are not listed as an exhibitor for the earlier Macworld Expo San Francisco 2000 (January 4-8) show. A slip-up or something more?

Thanks to Zach Stroum <durandal@u.washington.edu> for pointing out that this EtherLife has an Oni comic strip called I Married a Mech. Hehehe... erm. ;-)

Oct 28, 1999 (Thursday)

Quick update

An interesting news tidbit from the Halo site DEHc-3 HALO caught my eye. The site points out that there is a new Iain M. Banks (sci fi) book available for preorder via Amazon.co.uk.

A quick search of Orbit Books in the UK confirms this. The Orbit site goes on to say the following:

Iain's new SF book, which he is writing at the moment, is going to be a Culture novel. Which means that he'll be coming up with a whole new batch of names for Culture ships. If you've ever fancied naming your own Culture ship, e-mail us with your suggestion before November 15, and Iain will pick his favourite. We'll send any three Iain Banks paperbacks (or, if you prefer, a signed first edition hardback of the new book when it's published next summer) to the winner. And you never know, Iain may even want to use the winning entry in the new book!

Name a Culture ship! Orbit's email is <orbit.uk@littlebrown.com>. Deadline is Nov 15th.

Here's a list of Culture ship names already used (list courtesy of the excellent Culture Shock site).

Josh Garrett <xyn@6u.com> makes an interesting observation about the times in Marathon. See Bungie's New Timeline section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Two new ventures at marathon.bungie.org. First off Orbital Arm - a resource for Windows Marathon 2 gamers. PC Marathon fans should find this very useful.

Secondly The Big House opens its doors. The blurb reads:

This site has been set up to provide scenario makers with an option for housing their public pages that is free of requirements for advertising banners, javascripted popups, or unwanted frames. We realize that not everyone has access to high-speed, low-cost web space, and we wanted to remove one small roadblock on the voyage to scenario completion.

Harry Al-Shakarchi <ha99ab@badger.ac.brocku.ca> writes:

Part 1 of my visit to Bungie West is now up! Come check it out, it's at http://oni.bungie.org/special/

halo.bungie.org has posted a Halo SETI team stats page. Find out who's crunching Big Time in the search for the Covenant!

Oct 27, 1999 (Wednesday)

halo.bungie.org report that IncitePC magazine have a Halo article. They quote one interesting piece of story text concerning the Halo:

"However, there's one small catch: It's slowly drifting into the planet's gravity well."

We look forward to reading it all.

Jim Mueller <jim@pharmacop.com> writes:

There were several items in the Games Domain review/preview that I hadn't encountered before-

...The Halo surface stretches off up into the sky in front of you, and Threshold hovers overhead....

the gas giant finally has a name

Yes I had forgotten to mention this. Note also that article states that the ring is called... well... Halo. :-) While Bungie have named the moon it has yet to be revealed.

Phil Collins <villainy@juno.com> writes:

Well, while flipping through the November issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, I came across a full-page ad in the back of the magazine for Chips and Bits, Inc. They sell games, as you might imagine...
We all know how accurate this ad is by the fact that it lists Descent 4 for a January release. Is it just me or is there no such game announced yet? ...But not far below that, there's a listing for Duality- November '99.
Sigh... Wishful thinking, boys. Here's to all the guys at DoubleAught for their valiant effort.

Oct 26, 1999 (Tuesday)

As reported on halo.bungie.org Games Domain Review have an article on both Halo and Oni. Part of the text reveals a little extra info on the Halo story:

The storyline for Halo is, as with many other similar sci-fi action games, one contrived to place you as a cyborg warrior on an alien world. An alien horde known as the Covenant is ploughing a destructive path through one planet after another, and the human homeworld lies next in its path. In an attempt to save the billions on Sol, its leader sends a decoy force off to a remote corner of the galaxy. The decoy force draws the Covenant away successfully, but in its attempt to escape crash lands on a mysterious ring world orbiting a gas giant called Threshold. The ring is 10,0000 kilometers wide, shaped like a thin bracelet, yet despite denying the known laws of physics it has a breathable atmosphere and a variety of climates (snow, tropics, tundra etc), as well as life forms of its own. The ring, or Halo as it's named, is where you'll have to salvage what you can from the crashed ships, and make a stand against the Covenant.

Note the line "The ring is 10,0000 kilometers wide, shaped like a thin bracelet...". So the ring is now 10,000 kilometres in diameter and not 10,000 miles as previously reported in an earlier MacCentral news article. This was also confirmed by Nathan Bitner in a recent HBO post. Also the description of a "thin bracelet" is very reminiscent of the line "Vavatch lay in space like a god's bracelet" from Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes concerning the Marathon trilogy series of books by David Alexander Smith:

Well, well, well. It seems that I've found something interesting in David A. Smith's Rendezvous. On page 7 the rampant computer onboard the Open Palm says:

"Surely my hypothetical brothers back on Earth must [hide themselves], for they confront eight billion people, mostly illiterate, mostly superstitious. Potential assassins, blackmailers, cuckolds, delinquents, extortionists, felons. I could go through the entire alphabet, finishing with yahoos and zealots. Return to the soil, the zealots cry, tear down the cities, shred the wires. Technology is evil.I fear the zealots the most."

Although I know he's referring to environmentalists, Cortana (another rampant AI!) said this back in March 18 1999:

"I've had the strangest dreams lately - raging seas, howling beasts, a Demon folded in black clouds. I believe I know what it guards, and I will have it, to the chagrin of the faith-blinded zealots that challenge me. Don't waste your pity on them; I don't think they would like you much anyway."

And in June 30:

"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."

And in July 23 (Update #2) Aaron Davies said:

"since nobody else seems to have pointed it out: the "zealots" mentioned repeatedly by Cortana must be the Covenant culture, given their name, their messages, and the names of their ships."

And didn't the Covenant say:

"When no single human brick lies atop another, then will we be satisfied with your destruction."?
Remember that the zealot environmentalists wanted to "tear down the cities" according to the rampant computer in Rendezvous

Zealots are all the same... as for yahoos... we'll they're a completely different story. ;-)

Oct 25, 1999 (Monday)

Matt Francis <mgf@n2mail.com> sends in an interesting Marathon-like symbol. See the That Marathon Symbol (part 2) section for details.

The Halo SETI team has put out a call for people to come join them in rooting out the Covenant... before they root out you! ;-) A worthy cause given the theme of the Halo story. Enlist today... tomorrow may be too late!

Oct 24, 1999 (Sunday)

Matt Boyd <boyd@wam.umd.edu> writes:

Pete Cooner and I were having a debate on which domain name Bungie had registered, blam.com or blam.net. A quick check revealed that blam.com belongs to Blam!, another video game development company.

The interesting thing, though, is that Blam's press page reveals that they are owned by none other than Take 2 Interactive, the same people who bought a chunk of Bungie a while ago. Blam's expertise seems to be in Playstation programming, interesting considering how Halo is apparently going to be ported to the PSX 2.

halo.bungie.org have posted some interesting user stats. The full post can be see here. HBO have also put together a page which traces the history of the search to identify the Covenant Logo.

Oct 23, 1999 (Saturday)

Good news for Halo fans (and for Marathon fans). Nathan Bitner <nathan@bungie.com> writes:

A couple of posts (exact same words) have been made at the two major Halo forums to announce Matt Soell as my replacement on the boards. Feel free to use the text as news if you like. :) I'm sure you old-timers will be pleased with the change. ;)

Yes indeed. Matt had this to say following Nathan's announcement:

Re: And You Thought I Was Twisted
Posted By: Matt Soell <matt@bungie.com>
Date: 22 October 1999, 4:45 p.m.

In Response To: And You Thought I Was Twisted (Nathan)

Hey all-

Thanks first off to Mr. Nathan Bitner for the lovely introduction. Though I'm not quite sure what he means with that "enjoy the pain" stuff. I've always endeavored to be honest and plain-spoken, and never obscure to the point of frustration. I mean, come on. What could be more obvious than "memories, wishes and dreams?" Do I have to spell it out?

Anyway, now that Nathan is "leaving Bungie" (no one ever really leaves Bungie; they just become covert external agents furthering the Bungie Agenda or unwitting cogs in our larger plan) I'll be keeping an eye on these forums and piping up when appropriate. I won't always have an answer (and sometimes I'll have the answer but won't be able to share it for one reason or another) but I'll attempt to keep up the good work begun by Nathan, reading the various posts and trying to keep you guys in the loop as much as possible. Which will be a lot of fun, I think.

So that's the deal.


What could be more obvious than "memories, wishes and dreams?" Hmmm.... ;-)

Matt Soell has been a frequent contributor to the Story page back as far as Sept 27, 1995. We look forward to his Halo input.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes:

There is a game for the Playstation called "Tiny Tank", and I just heard about it today. I also just played for my first time today, but enough of that. The reason I'm sending this is because the sounds in Tiny Tank; It's almost as if the creator of Tiny Tank got all of his sounds from Marathon. The sound of rockets firing is the Marathon simulacrum & rocket explosion sound, the lasers that the robot tank (the character you play) fires sound like the M2D/Mi bullet ricochet, the activation sound of the giant robots of fight may be either the Enforcer activate, or I just misheard. I also think that the ambient sounds are from Marathon. Here are a few sites on Tiny Tank:


Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes:

About the closure of the universe, and the theories posted by Dan Marketti: it's an interesting thought that all of the matter in the universe would turn to liquid, but wouldn't that require more heat? In astronomy in college, I learned that the universe would close, but only after (m/b)illions of years of complete desolation, absolutely no life.

We watched an Imax-sized simulation of the death of Earth's landscape. Wow. That was intense. In any case, one point that I have learned repeatedly in various science/physics classes, is that all objects have a gravitational pull on every other object, no matter how insignificant. So, my rabbits at home have a small gravitational pull on the Eiffel Tower, since they have mass. I think it would follow that as the universe expands, cools, and fails to support life, all of the mass within the universe would still be pulling on all of the other mass, eventually (over millions of years) slowing down, reversing, and colliding back to the "middle", re-expand, etc.

It's all way to enormously huge for me to comprehend, but those are the notes I took in class.

Oct 22, 1999 (Friday)

According to Nathan Bitner on the halo.bungie.org forums they'll be a special Bungie announcement later today. Worth keeping an eye on. :-)

Dan Marketti <reconn@captured.com> writes

I just got November's Scientific American, and therein is an article which may be of interest. It involves the closing of the universe.. or rather the lack thereof. As recent observations have suggested contrary evidence to Durandal's conclusion of the inevitable closing of the universe, yet another peril exists in immortality. The general idea involves the fact that although the universe continues to expand, the matter within it does not. As the universe was so small billions of years ago, the matter was so closely packed that there was a general heat that made life impossible. As the universe expands, it cools, and will cool to the point that life cannot exist. In fact one point described all matter liquifying, later rejoining to create new forms of matter.. Black holes eventually dissapating. It's all pretty interesting, and I thought you might like to take a look. It's not all technical either, it even mentions constructed black holes, and an expanding empires fight against the expansion of the universe to claim enough matter to convert to energy. Although everything could change as theories adapt, it's still a good read.

Oct 21, 1999 (Thursday)

Quick update

The Seventh Error has been spotted! Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> finds the seventh error in the Seven Errors in the Scrapbook Competition. Mark writes:

On page 3, Greg Kirkpatrick was said to have "recently suffered a direct blow to the head from a washing machine". Wasn't this actually a blow from a *dishwasher*?

Yes well spotted it was a dishwasher not a washing machine. :-) In Pathways Into Darkness if you happen to stumble across a dead Special Forces guy called Greg (Kirkpatrick) you'll find out that his death was caused as follows:

Those spider things were all around me, but
I didn't stop firing until I ran out of bullets.
Then something hit me like a dish washer-
it must have been one of those zombies.

If you enquire further Greg will say:

Yeah, like a dish washer dropped from three
stories or something. I don't even remember
getting hit before that. I was spanking them
until I died.

The dish washer incident is also mentioned in the PID Hint Book and you'll find a number of references to it on the Story page. It was a standing joke at Bungie when Greg was around.

Well done to Mark. That signed copy of the Scrapbook and other goodies will be winging their way to you shortly. Thanks to all those who took part. Remember in life... nothing is perfect! ;-)

And then there were six! Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> finds the sixth error in the Seven Errors in the Scrapbook Competition. Michael writes:

On page 3, someone noticed the error of the MWSF 94 thing, and Marathon being demoed and all, and the tie into page 9, and all...

But did I miss something?

The pic on page 4 (with Jason and Alex) says they were at MWSF 95.

No way that's from MWSF 95. First, by this time, they had a different logo, as indicated on page 10's image of the Bungie booth, in 94 (MW Boston).

Also, I think that screen in the background is PiD. PiD had been long released by MWSF 95.

Yes well spotted. The pic was taken much earlier than MWSF 95. As Michael rightly points out the Bungie logo is wrong for the date. Bungie have in fact changed their logo three times. The last change ocurred just prior to Macworld Expo Boston '94. This has been Bungie's corporate logo ever since.

The Seventh Error has yet to be spotted! Spot that seventh error and win a signed copy of the Marathon Scrapbook and a pile of other Bungie goodies. It could be YOU!

Oct 20, 1999 (Wednesday)

Quick update #2

Thanks to all the people who wrote in about the news that Nathan Bitner is leaving Bungie. You can read his farewell address on either the halo.bungie.org forums or the Core forums.

The Story page wishes Nathan the very best in his studies. Hats Off To Fourteen Two. (1+4+2= ?) ;-)

Quick update #1

And then there were five! A total of five errors have now been correctly identified in the Seven Errors in the Scrapbook Competition. Only two more to go. Spot the seventh and win that signed copy of the Scrapbook and a pile of other Bungie goodies. It could be YOU!

Michael Watson <mikey-sanSPAMMERS@AREbungieSPAZEROIDS.org> spotted the fourth error:

On page 29, in the 4th paragraph from the bottom it tell us that, like M2, no shipping date was announced. but it latter says how they were afraid it wouldn't ship on the announced date. Did I miss something here?

Ah yes a nice twisted error here. You have to think about it.

Joshua Inglima <jinglima@thinkpos.com> spotted the fifth error:

OK, The scrapbook says on page 27:

"The end result: a 25-level solo adventure..."

Aren't there 30 solo levels in Infinity?

Yes there are. 25 is a mistake. Marathon had 27 solo levels, Marathon 2 had 28, and Infinity had 30.

A few people have also noted an editorial error on page 5. The error is in the line:

"Jason also created the aforementioned net level 'Mars Needs Women'..."

The word 'aforementioned' is used yet the level 'Mars Needs Women' had not been mentioned prior to this. This was caused by the removal of a section on net levels during beta testing in which 'Mars Needs Women' was mentioned. As a consequence the word 'aforementioned' should have been removed as well. While this is technically an error the Seven Errors in the Scrapbook Competition is actually looking for 'factual' errors. Like the five that have been already spotted. Sorry if this wasn't clear. Keep searching... they're out there! :-)

And then there were three! Daniel Godwin <tinkytoes@yahoo.com> finds the third error in the Seven Errors in the Scrapbook Competition. Daniel writes:

I've found another one of the problems in the scrapbook! December 14th was not a Saturday, in 1994! It was a Wednesday!

Well spotted. Daniel is referring to the line on page 11:

Marathon's last polygon was filled at 6:05 PM Saturday, December 14th.

This line is in fact taken from Bungie's secret terminal on "Ingue Ferroque"

Marathon is finished. We've slept <10 hours over the last
four days. We all put our hearts into this, not to mention
the 14 hour days for months on end, so we hope you like it.

Last polygon filled 6:05 PM Saturday, December 14.
Carnage ensued closely thereafter. Er, I mean sleep.

As Daniel correctly points out December 14th was a Wednesday not a Saturday in 1994. I guess Jason and Co. really did need their sleep. ;-)

Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes:

A while back (Aug 17, 1999) when I mentioned that the font State appears in some terminal images, I meant to go back and translate some of the messages that appear in those images. I have included some images here, which note what symbols are what letters.

Unfortunately, I can't really make any sense of it. In this case, it seems to be more for aesthetic purposes, rather than some hidden message. Someone more thoroughly versed in Marathon's story may think different. :)

Also, following up on Monday's post of "duality" written backwards in a NCM term pict, it seems like this lettering is very similar to the DoubleAught logo that appears in the secret terms for piecing together 819.

I included another pic of what could be another Duality reference. The odd text in Eat the Path (damn, that's gotta be the best name for a level) refers to "durability". Take a couple letters out ...

Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew@mlcsmith.com> writes:

They've moved the 3rd Person Perspective Game Poll into the archives on ZDTV. You can still find it at:


Maybe they archived it because they don't want us to know the tru7h! When I checked the page Oni had 343 (7*7*7) votes and Halo had 777 votes!

The screenshot is attached.

Oct 19, 1999 (Tuesday)

What's the prize for the Seven Errors in the Scrapbook Competition some people have asked?

Well Matt Soell has offered a copy of the Marathon Scrapbook signed by the Bungie Crew along with a number of other goodies (the latter being a surprise). So if you want to win a unique copy of the Scrapbook signed by Jason, Alex, Doug, Matt, Rob, Mark, et al. along with some other goodies then all you have to do is spot the Seven Errors in the Scrapbook. Two have already been identified. The seven errors are quite obvious (once spotted) and do not include spelling or grammer inaccuracies. Send all errors to the Story page. As each error is confirmed I'll add them to the page. The person who sends in the Seventh error wins!

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> writes:

Craig Mullins has done more fabulous artwork (on commission), but this time for my favorite Sci-Fi series, Macross (Macross Plus, specifically). I found it at gameart.com:


Note the 37 :) The text says that's the Macross ship itself, but it's actually the YF-19 variable fighter :P Anyway, if you'd ever get the chance to watch the Macross Plus series (4 episode movie), you'd probably enjoy it a lot too (and I mean a lot).



You'll find more Craig Mullins artwork at gameart.com. An excellent page on how Craig created his Soulblighter poster pic. Check that close-up facial of the lip-less one. There's also a page on Craig's Quake artwork.

Loren Petrich <petrich@netcom.com> has posted a wishlist of Marathon Engine Improvements.

In a recent halo.bungie.org forum post Claude Errera pointed out that www.buybungie.com had been registered. More notable however was the absence of some other major game companies from the buy dot list.

Oct 18, 1999 (Monday)

Samantha Lynn <jeremiasd@earthlink.net> makes some interesting observations:

Is it just the imaginings of a dyslexic typographer or does the green squiggle lower-right in the map pict on "Ne cede malis" read 'duality' if you look at it backwards? I've had a lot of practice deciphering nonstandard typefaces and it doesn't take *that* much imagination to see letters there if you study it...

You'll find numerous references to Double Aught's ill-fated game "Duality" in the Marathon Infinity scenario. :-)

Samantha continues:

...the logoff for "Foe Hammer" #2 is 'mimir.seg"; in Norse mythology, Mimir was the giant who guarded the well of wisdom. Odin gave up his eye to Mimir to drink from the well. Considering the mjolnir/Thor/hammer references already noted, perhaps this isn't random...?

Linus Enström <linus.enstrom@2.sbbs.se> writes:

A few moments ago, I was reading in an old computer-magazine, the Swedish MacWorld, number 7 (SEVEN), september 1995. I looked on page 46, and saw a statement that the responsible person on Apple for PowerMacs stated:

"The NuBus machines need to be here for a while longer. But there won't be any developing with them anymore. Most probably, all NuBus-machines will be gone from our price-lists by the end of the year."

This man is (or was, I don't know) responsible for that times present PowerMac-development... his name... Roland Strauss! Huh? Durandal and Bernhard, perhaps, are the same person, or could it be something else? Can any of you nice people out there find some sort of reference to this Apple-man? Has he been involved in the making of Marathon? Is it possible that Bungie contacted Roland Strauss, maybe for some information about optimizing for PowerMac?

Marathon was in development at the time of the launch of PowerMacs. Pathway Into Darkness v2.0 was also specifically rewritten to take advantage of these new Macs in early '94.

Fixed the link to the Marathon 2 Terminals Guide on the Marathon 2 Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> for the heads up.

Oct 17, 1999 (Sunday)

Another Marathon Scrapbook error spotted. Terry McCall <Stuff333@macol.net> writes:

Just a guess, but concerning the Scrapbook, in the section about Marathon, One of the pictures on page 4 shows MW SF '95. To the right of it is a picture of the 1st Marathon in MW SF '94. Also, on page 9, it reads: Bungie formally announced Marathon to the world on July 25, 1994, in a press release titled "Marathon Takes Texture-Mapping Into Space." But In the paragraph below it, it reads" Bungie unveiled the reworked Marathon at the Boston MW Expo in August '95. I'm pretty sure that they didn't announce Marathon about a year before they showed it AND after they actually released it. around Jan 1995. (Unless that date is wrong)

Yes the date is wrong it should read "Boston MW Expo in August '94". Well done you've spotted the second of seven errors in the Marathon Scrapbook. Find the seventh error and win! All errors should be sent to the Story page. If the error is correct (i.e. a true error) then it will be passed on to Matt Soell. Only hardened Bungie/Marathon afficianados need apply. Have you got what it takes? Remember... they're out there!

Brandon Loberg <hypertech@longlivethemac.com> writes:

Do you know what fonts were used for the Pfhor and S'pht writing in terminal picts in Marathon 2 and Infinity? I already asked the folks at Bungie, and they said they did not know; only that they came on font CDs that were probably thrown away at some point

Pfhor and S'pht fonts? I asked Brandon for further details on who at Bungie had said this. Brandon replied:

Matt Soell told me about the fonts. He said that Bungie bought several fonts CDs (I know one of which is the Bitstream 500 fonts CD) but from what Matt says, they were trashed when Bungie moved to their new offices.

There is a Pfhor font circulating on the net but back in Mar 11, 1999 Stefan Stadlberger <stadlberger@yadur.com> pointed out that he had created this from the Pfhor terminal graphics so it wasn't the original Pfhor font used by Bungie. Now it would seem that there are in fact two fonts - a Pfhor and a S'pht font. If these came off commercial font CDs then it should be possible to track them down. Indeed if they are found it should possible to translate what the Pfhor and S'pht terminal terminal graphics actually say. Secrets abound. :-)

Oct 16, 1999 (Saturday)

A number of people have asked me to list the Halo quotes already sourced. Well here are the six quotes which have been identified (or partially identified) so far:

Greg Downing <G_Downing@wesley.it.emerson.edu> wrote regarding these lines:

I have governed the unwilling.
I have walked the edge of the Abyss.

pointing out that the Bible mentions an "Abyss" several times especially in Revelations (Chapter 20: 1-3)

And I saw an angel descending from the heaven, having the key of the Abyss, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the Abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should not any more deceive the nations until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be loosed for a little time.

Note some versions of the Bible use the term "bottomless pit" instead of "Abyss".

William Blake also refers to the "Abyss" in his "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell":

By degrees we beheld the infinite Abyss, fiery as the smoke of a burning city; beneath us at an immense distance was the sun, black but shining; round it were fiery tracks on which revolv'd vast spiders, crawling after their prey; which flew or rather swum in the infinite deep,

Shades of the S'pht legend of the W'rkncacnter perhaps?

Timm Mason <tmason@andrew.cmu.edu> wrote pointing out that the quote:

"These are the tygers of wrath."

was probably a reference to the line:

The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

from William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell".

Timm also noted that the Halo quote:

"... He says I came not to send Peace but a Sword ..."

was similar to a line from the Bible (Matthew 10:34):

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

Ben Gamboa <bgamboa@uclink4.berkeley.edu> also pointed out that this Bible quote also featured in William Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell".

Bradley Attfield <trsurmap@spots.ab.ca> noted that the quote:

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

was similar to line from the Bible namely:

And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

In fact this theme is quite common in the Bible:

And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

Yesterday John Garrard <durendal@mediaone.net> noted that the quote

Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight.
Your life will only last until it reaches you.

was similar to a quote by the German philosopher/theologist Georg Hermes:

"Death is like an arrow that is already in flight, and your life lasts only until it reaches you"

And finally the quote:

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

is possibly an allusion to the line:

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

from the New Testament (1 Timothy; Chapter 6: Verse 7).

Jeremy Stone <slycrel@yahoo.com> passes on this interesting information:

Thought this was interesting, and hadn't heard anything about it around the Bungie community: In Macworld's August issue (the special one about OS's) there is mention of Bungie working with Apple on the new OpenPlay protocol-- "In May, the company announced that it would also release the source code for the Mac OS X-based QuickTime Streaming Server as well as for OpenPlay, a networking protocol devised by programmers from Apple and game Developer Bungie Software." This is on page 69.

Added the Digivid.com Carnage Team to the Network Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Steve Campbell <steve@bungie.org> for the link.

Oct 15, 1999 (Friday)

Concerning the Halo quote:

Our conviction is like an arrow already in flight.
Your life will only last until it reaches you.

John Garrard <durendal@mediaone.net> writes:

...if you recall Bungie's previous Halo site incarnation this quote may sound AWEFULLY familiar.

"Death is like an arrow that is already in flight, and your life lasts only until it reaches you"
-- Georg Hermes

Unfortunately I don't know who Georg Hermes is... I ran into this entirely by accident while looking through a quotations site. The site doesn't contain any other quotes by him nor any biographic information just the name.

Nice find. :-) Georg Hermes (1775-1831) was a German philosopher/theologist. The source (or possible source) for a number of the fourteen (7x2) Halo quotes have now been identified (see the Halo and Cortana sections for details). If you find the source of a Halo quote then send it in. Soon we'll have all fourteen. Good hunting. :-)

Here's another one from the Bible. The Halo quote:

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

is possibly an allusion to the line:

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

from the New Testament (1 Timothy; Chapter 6: Verse 7).

Some time ago the Story page reported that Marathon 2 for Mac OS was out of print and no longer listed at the Bungie Store. Well Marathon 2 is back on the list. According to Jim Ruiz (Bungie's Direct Sales Magnate) several hundred original boxed copies were found in a disused basement. Perfectly preserved (shrinkwrapped) these collectors items are now being offered for $14.95, plus shipping. Order your copy today but be quick though they're going fast!

Dan Rudolph <drudo7ph@iastate.edu> writes:

I was reading the Marathon Scrapbook to for what must have been the seventieth time, when I noticed something I had never noticed before. The second paragraph of the first page begins, "It was 1991 and Alexander Seropian was in his basement apartment in Chicago's Hyde Park, cheerfully blowing off classes at the university of Chicago."

The page goes on to tell about how he wrote GNOP!, then the seventh paragraph says "Alex distributed GNOP! as shareware via online services and the Internet."

However, the caption on the opposing page reads, "Bungie's first game, GNOP or pong spelled backwards. It was released as freeware in late 1990. Check out those amazing graphics!"

I'll ignore the poor grammar and the misspelling of GNOP! The big issue here is that it disagrees with the text on two counts. I went to the source, the about dialogue in GNOP! itself. It tells us that it is free and encourages us the pass it along to our friends. On the bottom, it says copyright, 1990. The caption, rather the the text was right on both counts.

This leads me to question the accuracy of the rest of book. How are we to know it's not a bunch of hazy recollections and made-up dates? Any re-assurance is appreciated.

Well done you've found one of seven deliberate errors in the Marathon Scrapbook. Matt Soell (Scrapbook editor) will no doubt be offering a special prize to the person who discovers all seven! Good luck. ;-)

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

I saw Nathan's statements at halo.bungie.org about the Covenant consisting of many, and not one single alien race.

The first thing I thought of after seeing this, was the Dominion, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Dominion were at war with the Federation, and consisted of many worlds, including the Cardassians and the Breen. The Dominion was created by the Founders, a race of shapeshifters, and have their loyal servants, such as the Vorta (I think I spelled that correctly) and the Jem'Hadar. (The Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered, produced only to serve the Dominion, and fight until they die. They are kept in line by the Vorta with an addictive solution known at Ketracel White. Without this, they die, as well.)

Oct 14, 1999 (Thursday)

Quick update #1

Island Four mystery solved! Nathan Bitner <nathan@bungie.com> writes:

Enlightenment at last. The academics of Hamish Sinclair's Story Page have indeed dug up the roots of what lay behind my pseudonym "Island Four". The minds at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory turn almost as fast as ours here at Bungie. :-) While I will not comment on Mr. Smith's postulation, he indeed found the correct reference. What do our habitats hold for the future? If we don't blow ourselves off of our own planet first, perhaps we will get the chance to find out. And perhaps someday there just might be an Island Four ... if there's not already. ;-). As always, nice work everyone - it was enjoyable to listen to all the intelligent and thoughtful commentary. It always makes me proud to be working on this incredible game.


Nathan Bitner
Producer and Creative Developer - Halo
Part-time Astronomist Not Affiliated with the First Millenial Foundation :)
Bungie Software

Congratulations to Matthew, thanks to Nathan for the fun and special thanks to all those who wrote in about the "Island Four" pseudonym. Each submission whether right or wrong, lucid or off-the-wall all help in reaching the Final Solution. :-)

Ok first off I've received quite abit of mail regarding the "Myth: The Total Codex" product reported on many Myth sites (myther.com, townhall, mythnews, mbo). Could this be #2?... is Chimera #2?... people are asking? So let me reiterate the facts (so far known) about #2.

Back in April (19th) of this year Matt Soell (Director of Customer Support at Bungie) revealed the following:

You guys have an extra surprise coming down the road.
I can't say what it is, but you'll like it.
I will say this:
Cortana has only alluded to one of three things.
You will know them when you see them.
One will be, to you long-timers, unimpressive.
The second will probably cause great joy among some segments of the populace.
And the third is...well, Cortana talks about that one.

#1 is memories, #2 is wishes, #3 is dreams.

When I asked Matt was the "some segments of the populace" Mythers? he replied

No, not Mythers.

So this would indicate that #2 is NOT Myth related.

More recently in August (13th) Matt wrote to clear up some confusion about Bungie's "two undisclosed projects" saying:

Neither Chimera nor the long-delayed #2 are among the two unannounced products.

So Chimera and #2 are TWO different things.

Finally last week (Sept 7th) Doug Zartman in a World Without Borders chat said that:

#2 is coming up. We have more things to announce this year.

Also Bungie have stated that Chimera will the free. In their Summer '99 BungieVision they state:

Chimera is the long awaited scenario pack for Myth II: Soulblighter. Don't go looking for it in stores though, 'cuz we're gonna give it away FOR FREE! That's right, Bungie faithful, CHIMERA will be available for download via the web at no charge as soon as it's complete. "A whole scenario pack for zero cash?!" you might be thinking, "now that's just blooming nuts!" Nah we're not nuts, just eager to give our Myth II fans maximum bang for their bucks.

Of course this doesn't preclude it from being part of any commerical package as well.

More "Island Four" speculation... yes it just keeps rolling in! :-) Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew@mlcsmith.com> writes:

In 1969, O'Neill was teaching a physics course at Princeton. America was engaged in the Apollo effort, so O'Neill was working space travel into many of the physics problems assigned.

He was concerned about the persistent talk among academics regarding overpopulation and "limits to growth". He was also dismayed by many young people's resigned acceptance of two concepts he personally found repugnant. One was future totalitarian control over the use of resources, the other was that a decline in the standard of living was inevitable. One day he asked his students the following question: Is the surface of the Earth really the best place for an expanding, technological civilization? After some calculation, the answer seemed to be "no" (see advantages above).

They turned to the design of an Earth-like space habitat. When they calculated the maximum size possible, given present strengths of steel cable, aluminum plates, and glass panels, the answer took them by surprise. Later studies funded by NASA defined several highly-detailed habitat designs.

A low-end design is Island One, also known as a Bernal Sphere. Sunlight is reflected in through two ring-shaped rows of windows at either end. Agriculture takes place in external tori. The Bernal Sphere is 1 km (0.6 mi.) in circumference, and could support a population of 10,000.

Island Two is shaped like a cold capsule, with sunlight entering through 3 windows running the length of the cylinder. 1.8 km (>1 mi.) in diameter, it would house 140,000.

A scaled-up version, Island Three, would be a cylinder 6.4 km (4 mi.) in diameter and 32 km (20 mi.) long. Four miles of atmosphere is enough to produce a blue sky overhead, and cloud banks would form at the same level they do here on Earth (approx. 900 m or 3,000 ft). Natural rainstorms would occur (Bernal Spheres would probably have a sprinkler system). Island Three would have over 400 square km (250 square mi.) of living space, and be home to 10,000,000 individuals.

There are other designs as well. NASA's Ames Research Center did a study with Stanford University which produced the Stanford Torus, a six-spoked wheel over a mile across.

Island Three was considered the limit of what was economically viable, not what was physically possible. The maximum theoretical size for a space habitat, assuming materials no stronger than those currently used, is a staggering 19 km (12 mi.) in diameter, providing hundreds of square miles of usable land.

I postulate that "Island Four" is a Culture orbital or Niven ringworld!

Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes:

On Oct. 4, John Garrard's link to a text file about megastructures had this:

Author: John C McLoughlin
Title: _The Helix and the Sword_ (1983)
Type: Hollow world
Description: In the year 7758, humanity is spread across the Solar System in 74,922 "Islands", engineered life forms resembling huge versions of O'Neill-style space colonies; the Earth has been abandoned, and inorganic technology is a near-forgotten legend.

Oct 13, 1999 (Wednesday)

Bungie's recent recruitment drive for their SETI team has resulted in a significant increase in their total CPU time (now over 7.5 years) and leaves the Halo SETI team languishing in the dust. If Bungie's present rate of increase continues then they may even have a chance of catching the long established Clan Plaid SETI team.

Rodrigo Girão <pagan@matrix.com.br> writes concerning the level name "The Hard Stuff Rules...":

You say "The Hard Stuff Rules..." is because of Beavis & Butt-Head, but in Marathon Trilogy's Scrapbook Greg Kirkpatrick said:

"This level was named for the fact that it was incredibly difficult to make. In fact it was a triumph of mind over computer. My machine crashed every 5 minutes while making it, and I had to move each point at least ten times to get to the underlying areas."

Ah good point. Time to update the What's in a Name section. :-)

The Core has posted some interesting info from Nathan Bitner on the subject of his pseudonym "Island Four". I tell ya it's all a set-up! ;-)

More scam for your money. Zach Pearse <pearse@mail.csuchico.edu> writes concerning Bungie's Soul:

heh... dunno if you've done this but ask the soul, "What soul are you?". that's "what" not "who's".

Oct 12, 1999 (Tuesday)

Two interesting Halo related posts by Nathan Bitner (Producer and Creative Developer - Halo), one on the halo.bungie.org forum and the other on the Core forum. Here's the text of both posts:

In Response To: Re: Confederacy? When was this? (Forensic)

> Nathan confirmed it on these forums a while back.

Now now .. be careful about what Nathan confirmed. I think some magazine wrote this, certainly not me. The Covenant is a consortium of races joined for unknown (to you ;) reasons. The third alien species? Hmm ... I wonder if I know anything about that ...



Something Got Lost in the Translation

Posted By: Nathan on Tuesday, 10.12.99, at 6:36 a.m.

Just for the record ... ;-)

We never have officially stated (unless possibly misquoted in a magazine or elsewhere) that the Covenant consist of three distinct races. Someone had it nearly right, but it has grown to be quite misinterpreted. On Halo, there will exist three distinct cultures, at least. The Covenant themselves are made up of an undetermined number of races linked by unknown (to you :) reasons. We might have said more than that, but that is at least a minimum. That should put you back on track. :-)

Bungie Software

At least three distinct cultures or alien species on the Halo. Humans, the Covenant and... hmmm... the Jjaro perhaps? The Covenant in turn consist of an undetermined number of races.

Chadd Nervig <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com> writes concerning his Marathon riddle (see yesterday's news):

...please note on the page that * in 26.* isn't a star. The e-mail screwed it up. Its supposed to be an , an infinity sign.

Chadd continues:

There WILL be a prize, and it will be special to all those Myth loving Vidmasters out there. It's a new WWII: Titans T-Shirt, from Santa's Head #CP#Z! Any further questions about the mini-contest can be sent to me.

Please note that all answers should be sent to Chadd at <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com>. Thanks.

James Pillar <rugger@rocketmail.com> writes to point out that you can hear the Marathon's terminal login sound on Intel's WebOutfitter TV commercial. A few days ago Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> wrote:

Watching this new Intel WebOutfitter commercial, the "O" in "Outfitter" sure looked familiar...

Can you say " The 'O' in 'Oni?'"

Here's a link to their web page http://www.intel.com/home/pentiumiii/trek.htm. You'll notice that the O's are similar.

Adam Marler <adam_marler@hotmail.com> writes:

While re-reading The Lord of The Rings the other day, I recognized something.

Three Rings for Elven Kings under the sky,                 3
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,         7
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die.                         9+
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne                   1=10.

Three, Seven and Ten. I guess. Depending on how you look at it. But Three and Seven for sure.

Myth fans will also be aware of The Lord of The Rings references in the Myth series.

Added "Pfh'Joueur", "The Simulacrum Syndicate", and "The Classified Nineteen" to the Personal Map Pages section of Page 2401. Thanks to Candace Sherriff <shebob@shebob.com>, Robin Welsh <myth2@hotmail.com>, and Harry Al-Shakarchi <ha99ab@badger.ac.brocku.ca> for the links.

Oct 11, 1999 (Monday)

Steve Campbell <midwest2@home.com> writes to point out that the Orbital Arm link which appeared at marathon.bungie.org yesterday was not for public release yet. It has subsequently been removed. Sorry for any inconvenience.

halo.bungie.org have an interesting item on a Halo-like logo which appears in the Veil Nebula. One might reasonably ask if this was intended or just a coincidence? The Halo-like logo was spotted in a starscape background used by John Zero <jzero@bungie.org> back in July 2, 1999. At that time John wrote:

So, I got all inspired and went and made some art. Cortana's latest words featuring an actual NASA Hubble image of the 'rampaging fronts of the Veil Nebula'. Supernova blast waves seemed appropriate. It's a 1024x768 desktop pic. It's about 300k. You can get it here:


Riddle me this! Chadd Nervig <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com> writes:

A long time ago, I made a riddle. Someone I knew, I don't remember who, decided that they knew everything about the Marathon's Story, and that they could solve any question about it. So I set to work, creating a riddle for them. And boy did it stump them good. Well anyway. I've had this riddle sitting in Notepad for some time now... So I was wondering if you could put it up on the Story page, and we'll see how many people can answer it correctly. All answers should be sent to me. And I'm not going to tell you the answer, because I know you'll wanna try it for yourself as well. :) Here's the riddle:

26., back two games. This new number down from Alex's floor.
Between the Definitive Map Collection, and the Marathon Collectables, flip to the lower floor.
The secrets you seek, are there in front of you, but look to your right.
These people are where it all began.

But what of the end? Ask the previously named people's favorite eatery menu.
Count the cultures served. Remember this number, and find the 4 lines, with the first 3 the same.
Replace the last word with this number, and the 4th in the 4th with our favorite.

I think it's pretty challenging, but it could be guessed on some parts, so all submissions must include how they got to the final answer, every step of the way. I hope this generates a bit of fun for everyone.

Please send any answers to Chadd at <a7s7t7r7o@hotmail.com>. Not sure if there is a prize. But assuming there is a winner I'll published their name and the solution here. Good luck. :-)

Dan Chancopeak <blinkproducts@usa.net> sends his "final words" concerning this screenshot.

Oct 10, 1999 (Sunday)

Orbital Arm, a resource for Windows Marathon gamers, joins marathon.bungie.org. With more and more PC gamers showing a renewed interest in Marathon this site should prove useful.

While the Beale ciphers don't have any direct association with the Marathon series I was struck by a strange similarity between the The Unformatted KYT Term and part of the text on this page (see below):

  0 ihavedepositedinthecountyofbedfordaboutfourmilesfr
 50 ombufordsinanexcavationorvaultsixfeetbelowthesurfa
100 ceofthegroundthefollowingarticlesbelongingjointlyt
150 othepartieswhosenamesaregiveninnumberthreeherewith
200 thefirstdepositconsistcdoftenhundredandfourteenpou
250 ndsofgoldandthirtyeighthundredandtwelvepoundsofsil
300 verdepositednoveighteennineteenthesecondwasmadedec
350 eighteentwentyoneandconsistedofnineteenhundredands
400 evenpoundsofgoldandtwelvehundredandeightyeightofsi
450 lveralsojewelsobtainedinstlouisinexchangetosavetra
500 nsportationandvaluedatthirteenrhousanddollarstheab
550 oveissecurelypackeditronpotswithironcovtrsthtvault
600 isroughlylinedwithstoneandthevesselsrestonsolidsto
650 neandarecovereduithotherspapernumberonedescribesth
700 cexactlocalityofthevarltsothatnodifficultywillbeha
750 dinfindingit

For further details on the mystery of the Beale ciphers check here.

On the subject of unbreakable codes the Dead Conversations in Pathways Into Darkness have yet to be deciphered.

Dan Chancopeak <blinkproducts@usa.net> admits that the Marathon screenshot was

"...a little stupid faked screenshot."

Hamish Sanderson <hhas@somewhere.inthe.uk> has the final word:

Alas, the old method of achieving fame - i.e. actually producing something useful - seems to have fallen out of popularity these days. Ah well...

Oct 9, 1999 (Saturday)

Harry Al-Shakarchi <ha99ab@badger.ac.brocku.ca> sends in this interesting info about Bungie and Apple:

Found some tidbits at maccentral...

Peter Tamte, former Apple exec and now Executive Vice President in charge of Publishing at Bungie Software, offers a different perspective. "We subscribe to Apple's Premier developer membership, so we can take advantage of equipment discounts direct from Apple. We've gotten loaner equipment in the past, as well."


Bungie's Tamte, who has seen the market from both sides, has a different perspective. "This desire is not unique to developers -- I know there's a wish inside Apple that they could get systems into developer's hands a long time before release. In the past, developers were not able to keep secrets before the product announcements. That presents a real problem for Apple. Leaks are taken very seriously."


Communications problems do appear to be a common complaint among Mac game developers, however -- Ravensoft and Ritual's programmers mentioned a gripe consistent with this complaint. Although Bungie's Tamte indicates that his company is not having any issues with communication from Apple's developer relations staff, his experience seems to be in the minority.


Criticisms and suggestions aside, most developers had very complementary things to say about how Apple has handled developer relations in recent times. "We have a good relation with Apple's Developer Relations staff and we're getting all the support we ask for," said Bungie's Tamte.


Bungie's Tamte frames Apple's current philosophy on developer support and relations this way. "For years, Apple had the philosophy that all developers should be treated equally, and this led to a lot of mediocre support. Apple's current philosophy is that it will support developers that support them. Apple jumps through hoops for developers that are able to prove their commitment to them."

The full article is at http://www.maccentral.com/news/9910/08.developers.shtml

Looking for those Iain M. Banks science fiction books but can't find them? Well Claude Errera <errera@grapevine2.com> might be able to help you out. Claude has a complete, new set of Iain Banks' Culture series (6 volumes) for sale, for $75 US (including shipping within the continental US). These came direct from Orbit (UK) and presumably sport the hard to get UK covers. Claude writes:

I ordered a complete set of Iain Banks' Culture books (6 volumes) from Orbit a bit ago. They were quite expensive, both because books in GB are *much* more expensive than books in the US, and because they tack on a pretty hefty shipping fee... but I thought it was worth it. (You can't get them here, after all.)

Unfortunately, they screwed up, and sent me *two* sets. (The second set arrived today.) I don't need two sets, and it would be more of a hassle to send them back than it would be to simply sell them at a loss here.

I paid £6.99 per book, plus £17.50 shipping. Total came to $95.40 US, calculated on the day of shipping. (Ain't the web wonderful?) I'm willing to sell them as a set for $75, shipping included. I'm not particularly interested in selling them piecemeal.

Contact Claude at <errera@grapevine2.com> if you're interested.

Adam Marler <adam_marler@hotmail.com> writes concerning the letters ONI in the Wired News article sent in by Joseph Ueland yesterday:

I believe here Oni is the U.S. Office of Naval Intellegence.

Well some major controversy over that Marathon screenshot and film sent in by Dan Chancopeak <blinkproducts@usa.net>. I asked Dan who was this supposed "VID-Master"?

...his name is martin, that's all I know of him and all I can figure out...why do you wanna know?

Martin the mysterious one eh? ;-)

Hamish Sanderson <hhas@somewhere.inthe.uk> renowned scenario maker takes up the case:

Marines cannot ride juggies (not unless they've been out on the towm, gotten really pissed, left their trousers hanging off a set of traffic lights just outside the bar and then agreed to go do it as a dare - and even then only if they're rilly, rilly stupid).


1. collision detection where monsters/solid scenery is concerned is limited to the horizontal plane. Monsters don't have a 'solid top' - you can fall vertically straight through one.

2. marines are smaller than juggies - and rather more so than a certain screenshot would seem to suggest. See attached gif:

If you want to calculate a sprite's visual size in-game (in real units, where 1024 real unit = 1WU), you multiply bitmap's size in pixels by the scale factor in the relevant sequence.

I take juggie bitmap and multiply by 16 (scale factor for juggie collection).

I take player bitmap and multiply by 7 (scale factor for marine collection).

I stick them both together, and then for convenience scale the whole thing back down again so the juggie looks same size as in the screenshot (and I don't waste a ton o bandwidth sending it to you:). Hey presto, the player in my pic looks approx 25-35% smaller than the one in the screenshot [even taking into account that the jpeg compression makes it harder to judge the edges of stuff in the screenshot). Since it's the end of a long week, I can't be bothered to do the maths to work out the physical distances of juggie and marine from the viewer, but I'd be pretty confident in reckoning that the difference in size there puts the marine at a significant distance from the juggie.

Ergo, either:

1. the 'screenshot's' a (not very good) composited fake,


2. the screenshot's genuine, but the marine is a good bit closer to the viewer than the juggie.

If 1. - try harder next time guys!

If 2. - I'd be looking for ways in which the marine happens to be positioned in mid-air in a standing pose. My guesses would be that either they teleported in from the ceiling and are dropping vertically, or that there's something like a zero-g Physics Model being used here to enable them to reach that position and 'stand' there. The shot could well just be a fluke that got caught on film, or it may have had some 'help' on the way.

Whatever, the marine isn't really 'riding' the juggernaut. Though it sounds dead cool to say it.:)

Finally, just for the helluvit:

When doing the 'visual size' calculation thing, I note that the AR-firing marine torso is 42 pixels wide and the scale factor is 7 -> 42x7. Well, I'm sure you can spot a dual significance there for yourself... ;)

Oct 8, 1999 (Friday)

Bungie mentioned in Time magazine. Devin O'Reilly <QuasiDevin@aol.com> writes:

Unfortunately, it's not in the best context...

There's a technology page (mostly PC-oriented) in Time, and at the bottom there's sometimes little reviews... the October 11th issue of Time features a review of a game called "Pandora's Box" (a mind game from Microsoft)... pretty ho hum, but at the end, the reveiwer (an Anita Hamilton) says

"So let the guys have their mindless fun with Age of Empires or Myth II. I'm sitting pretty with Pandora's Box."

'Mindless fun'?!

But significant product placement for Bungie anyway.

The start of the article also has a line- "Who whould want to waste hours on end blowing up imaginary bad guys?"...

Joseph Ueland <jueland@welch.jhu.edu> writes:

There was an interesting article at the Wired News site yesterday -


It's a news story concerning the alleged electronic information-gathering system known as Echelon. Supposedly, there are any number of code words that trigger monitoring software - all the usual suspects (FBI, NSA, ATF, echelon, etc.) - but the list also contains some weird names and abbreviations (pom park on arkaniside <- Huh?), as well as one we've come to know and love - oni. I don't know why oni is in the list, but it may be a reference to alleged Japanese monitoring efforts or secret Japanese security agencies.

Several days ago Dan Chancopeak <blinkproducts@usa.net> sent in this Marathon screenshot. Was it a fake? Was there a film showing how this could be done? Now Dan writes:

I got the film and here it is

(link: http://www.geocities.com/blinkproducts/m3film.Juggernsatnd.sit.hqx)

Well, for reasons concerning the trouble around this picture this VID-Master who made the picture refused to talk to me any longer. He just gave me the disk and then went away, so: I don't have any clue what kind of film this is, I don't have the time and ways and means to check it presently or later, I just put it on the page...let me know what it is...big surprise! For more information you definitely should check our homepage (link: http://www.geocities.com/blinkproducts)...

See if you can get this film to work. The Spazeroid page awaits... the fearful, the weak, the innocent, the corrupt. ;-)

halo.bungie.org has further reports of Marathon-like symbols in Halo. This time on Halo body armor and on the surface of the moon.

In case you did miss this there is now a direct link on Apple's site to the Halo movie. You'll find it at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/showcase.

Oct 7, 1999 (Thursday)

Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> kindly sent in a complete log of yesterday's World Without Borders chat with Doug Zartman (Director of Publicity Engineering). Lot's of Halo tidbits and this:

Question: A while back, Matt Soell mentioned three things Bungie was working on. We now know what 1 and 3 was, what's #2?

Answer: #2 is coming up
We have more things to announce this year

So good news here.

Flynn O'Connor <foconnor@apple.com> writes concerning a possible source for Nathan Bitner's pseudonym "Island Four":

In regards to Nathan's Yahoo name "Island Four" it's pretty obvious from the Myth 1.3 CD. :"Unexpected contact with indigenous human populations on four "lost colony" worlds..."
I bet that's what that is referring to.

Similarly Matthew Lewis Carroll Smith <matthew@mlcsmith.com> writes:

I don't know about islands, but in the Cortana message in the new (1.3 version) of the Myth:TFL CD it mentions four "lost colony" worlds. Maybe right after the fourth one was discovered, the war started.

Matthew also writes concerning orbitals (mini-ringworlds) in Iain M. Banks's science fiction work:

For the record, for Banks's books, here are the relevant stats on orbitals (found so far):

Consider Phlebas, Chapter 5, Paragraph 1
Name: Vavatch Orbital
Circumference: 1.4 x 10^7 Km
Width: 3.5 x 10^4 Km

By doing the math, we get:
Surface Area: 4.9 x 10^11 Km
Diameter: 4.5 x 10^6
Radius: 2.2 x 10^6

The Player of Games, Chapter 1, Near the End of 'Section' 3:
Name: Chiark Orbital
Diameter: 3 x 10^6 Km (interior ring measurement)
Assuming the dimensions of the Chiark Orbital is proportional to the Vavatch Orbital, by doing the math we get:
Radius: 1.5 x 10^6 Km
Circumference: 9.4 x 10^6 Km
Width: 2.4 x 10^4 Km
Surface Area: 2.2 x 10^11 Km

For reference, the sun has a diameter of 1.4 x 10^6. So these rings are pretty big compared to planets but darn tiny compared to Niven's ringworld.

Alex G.H. <bobthecowmoo@hotmail.com> writes:

I was browsing through Inside Bungie, and under Job Offerings I found these requirements for the new positions:

"to rival anything that Bungie has done before."

We all knew that, but there were some other intriguing things.

"...team of artists, programmers, martial arts specialists, and demolition experts.

"Core game logic such as collision detection and handling

Development of core game elements such as static defense mechanisms

Development of POW prison camp security systems"

I like the idea of prison camps, myself.

Louis Wu <halo@bungie.org> in a halo.bungie.org forum post draws our attention to the fact that one of the Halo images from November issue of Computer Gaming World shows a hover bike concept pic with a very clear image of the 'o' in Halo logo. Nice find.

Concerning yesterday's comment about the different versions of the main image at Bungie's Halo site Kazem Edmond <kazem_e@yahoo.com> writes:

The image does not depend, at least entirely, on your computer. I've seen both on the same computer.

GameSpot have an interesting article on the ten best monsters in gaming. As expected no Marathon monsters make the list but the Wight from Myth is there.

Oct 6, 1999 (Wednesday)

Quick update#2

Michael Young <hamster@dallas.net> writes:

I did something else in photoshop today that might interest you. I captured a really nice image of the covenant logo on one of the fly-cycles. From that I managed to make a 2D black and white version. Surprise surprise, it is neither the O from Halo, nor a snake biting it's tail, but what appears to be either a stylized ship or perhaps a dagger. Here are the url's:


Similarly Joshua Inglima <jinglima@thinkpos.com> writes:

Well, after spending about an hour staring at the "Covenant" logo on the crafts, I decided to try to reproduce it in Photoshop.

I didn't get the scaling quite right, but it does give an idea as to what the logo may really look like.

You can see it here.

Quick update#1

Some interesting Marathon/Halo connections have appeared over the last few hours on halo.bungie.org.

First off Michael Young (aka Bravehamster) <hamster@dallas.net> posted a URL to an enhanced picture of the top of the flagstaff seen at the end of the Halo movie. The URL is:


You can just make out the numbers 723.

Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> suggested that this may be a reference to the 723rd Aggressor Squadron in Marathon 2. The following is taken from the final terminal on "Feel the Noise":

A Pfhor assault ship carrying the 723rd
Aggressor Squadron was badly damaged and
forced to land on Lh'owon. The 723rd is an
air armor division from Epsilon Euobea,
with a long history of successful ground
actions against the Nar's elite CFN units.

The 723rd also appear on the final level of Marathon 2. Written on the map of "All Roads Lead To Sol..." are the words:


"All Roads Lead To Sol..." was created by Jason Jones.

Nice find guys. :-)

Also posted at halo.bungie.org is Steve Campbell's <steve@bungie.org> submission about Marathon-like symbols on both the Covenant and Marines. The symbol seems to be popping up all over the place.

Lastly, Bungie's Halo page is apparently showing two different versions of the main page. Some people get to see knife_fight.jpg while others see cgw_cover.jpg. While the image seems constant for any one computer, changing the computer can change the image.

Nice one Bungie. :-)

Even though the rumored appearance of Bungie at yesterday's Special Apple Event never happened Bungie have updated their Halo site. It now sports a new look. Gone are the cryptic Halo quotes to be replaced with new screenshots, new banners, and a movie. Interestingly the Halo movie page is actually linked back to Apple's site:


It's unclear how one finds this page directly from Apple's site. A quick search for the names "Bungie" or "Halo" finds no links to the above movie page... as yet.

While the Halo movie begins with Steve Jobs introducing Jason Jones at the Macworld Keynote address the movie we see is not what was actually shown at Macworld even though it purports to be. The original Macworld Halo movie showed no humans firing their weapons - allegedly as part of Apple's "non-violent" demo request.

A quick note for Nathan Bitner <nathan@bungie.com> concerning the source of the "Island Four" pseudonym. Nathan writes:

... still don't have it ... but I sense maybe getting closer. Who knows. :-)

Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> points out that in the higher quality CGW Halo movie you can see what appears to be the same logo on the hover bikes (used by the Covenant) as on the planes (grndsprtcrft). This would suggest that both originate from the same source. Either they are of Covenant design or they originate from the ringworld itself (presumably left by the builders).

Is the logo seen on the hover bikes and planes the same as the Halo logo (the 'o' in Halo)? Initial comparison would suggest not since the characteristic open end in the 'o' is not apparent. However Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes again:

Some more thoughts on the Halo logo: I make typefaces, so I'd like to think that I have a pretty good sensibility when it comes to typographic stuff. The O in the Halo logo is too wide, and the stroke width doesn't match the rest of the letters. That's not to say it's a bad logo, I just think that there is a good chance that the O *is* a logo for something else in Halo, or at least has some significance other than a cool-looking O.

I'm still going to stick with the idea that the logo on the Covenant ships is the O, since it has a similar shape, and it would provide some justification for the slightly disproportionate O.

Oct 5, 1999 (Tuesday)

Quick update

Rumors suck! ;-)

Oh yeah... The Secret

Today's the day. At 10am PDT Apple Interim CEO Steve Jobs will host a Special Apple Event in Cupertino. Rumor has it that Bungie will make an appearance showing off their new games Halo and Oni. Not to be missed.

Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes concerning the high quality Halo movie found on Computer Gaming World's CD:

In the newest version of the first Halo trailer, you can CLEARLY see the logo on each of the Covenant "hoverplanes."

Before it was too blurred, and seeing it this time reminded me of an episode of Red Dwarf entitled, "Ouroborous" (sp?...thanks to Mark Levin for remembering the episode title). Anyway, the episode has Lister as his own father, and the box he places himself in has a logo on it: A snake that appears to be eating it's own tail, signifying infinity.

The Covenant logo looks an AWFUL lot like the ouroborous logo...

What could this mean? One thing: The Covenant are familiar with snake-like organsims, perhaps even snakes of some kind. The other: Bungie might be fans of Red Dwarf.

If you have a screenhot of this to compare please send it in. Interesting enough halo.bungie.org have commented upon this logo on their Theories page.

Oct 4, 1999 (Monday)

Quick update #4

This is beginning to feel like July 21th all over again. ;-)

Anyway this is what the Core's news page looked like just before it went down (125K). Call it a posterity thing.

Quick update #3

Some sad news. Tyson Green (aka Ferrex) writes to say that the Core is down... but not yet out. Tyson writes:

With luck, the Core should be back online by the end of the week, or sooner. In the meantime, if you find this newsworthy, I'd be in your debts if you could bring your readers up to speed, just so that anyone we share knows what is up and doesn't waste their time trying to access a dead site.

halo.bungie.org reports a ZDNet 3rd person gaming poll. Halo and Oni are listed. Go make your vote count.

Quick update #2

halo.bungie.org report that the Computer Gaming World's Halo movie is now available from their site.

They also report about a Gamespot UK article that contains new Halo screenshots and info on the game.

Quick update #1

Due to the popularity of the Computer Gaming World's Halo movie the Core would appear to have gone down. Overload blues. :-(

However halo.bungie.org also have the movie and will be making it available... soon. The movie is also available on the bungie.org Hotline server at

Also from the halo.bungie.org forums Rob Swenson (aka Noctavis) has posted the URLs to five scans from the Computer Gaming World Halo article. They are as follows:


Some great pics of unseen Halo shots and developmental work. The full post can be read here

Thanks to Noctavis of HaloNews and Ferrex of the Core you can now see another version of the Halo movie shown at the Macworld Expo in July of this year. While this movie is almost identical to the original movie the marines actually fire back. The picture quality is also better. The movie (.avi format) comes from the November edition of Computer Gaming World magazine CD. The movie is at:

http://download.gamestats.com/myth/core/cgw_1199.zip (48MBs)

While the movie is .avi format Quicktime 4 will play it.

Big post from Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> regarding a possible source for Nathan Bitner's pseudonym "Island Four". Miguel writes:

Using the latest info from the Story Page (specifically John/Durendal's quick tip that the author Olaf Stapledon inspired Larry Niven) I bopped around from search query to search query until I finally stumbled upon this:


A brief excerpt, taken from the introduction:

"When one species attains a position of dominance over all the other species in the ecology of its planet, if it is both egocentrically greedy, and has a powerful set of technologies through which to amplify the expression of that greed, then unless that dominant species can find a way to limit or to transform itself and its greed-based systems into something more wholesome, it will foul its planetary nest as surely as the night follows the day ... perhaps even to its own extinction."

a statement synthesized from the writings of ecologist Gregory Bateson and visionary science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon

I urge all my fellow Story page readers to digest the information on this page. I understand most of it, but I'm horrible at summarizing such a huge amount of information. I'm sure others can do a better job.

Still, I'll give it a shot: the theory put forth on this page is that we evolve as a culture in 'waves', each wave attained in a progressively smaller amount of time. The First Wave took millenia, the Second Wave took centuries, etc. We are currently in our Third Wave (i.e. Alvin Toffler's Third Wave) Soon, in order to avoid the horrible consequences of the quote above, we will have to readjust our culture again, and reach a Fourth Wave. Such a paradigm shift would transform our vision to one of "Global Conciousness." Hence, Spaceship Earth.

Fourth Wave = Spacechip Earth = Fourth Island.

There is plenty more to digest, but I'll leave with these select snippets from the text; see if you can find the connections with the entire Bungieverse:

* "Explicate" technologies involving physical space, e.g., Nano-technology (8) (which, by working at the "ephemeralized" scale of 10-9 m -- a billionth of a meter -- may help lighten impacts on the ecosystems of the planet); and

* "Implicate" technologies involving non-physical space, e.g., Noetic-technology (which, by dealing with mind, consciousness, and transcendental ways of knowing, may provide a reliable tool set for tapping the wisdom and guidance humanity needs in order to navigate to a "safe landing" from the unsustainable growth trajectory shown in Figure One). (9)

* a new paradigm in bio-technology, e.g., Ecological Restoration Engineering (modeling nature in the designed use of microbial populations) as in the "living machines" being pioneered by biologist John Todd and others; (10) and

* a new paradigm in social values and ethics, e.g., regarding domination and control. (11)

* An emerging perception that mental space/time travel is not only possible, but may actually be present in our lives in ways that our beliefs (and derivatively, our experience of reality), do not normally allow us to recognize (e.g., in "dream travel."). (18) In some instances, however, the use of appropriate methods may overcome these limitations (as in "remote viewing" and "out of the body" travel) and ultimately prove practical for both exploration and profitable application. (19)

* The highly uncertain outcome of the (as yet neither much recognized nor much understood) set of trends and events involving purported alien and/or extra-terrestrial contact, that perhaps includes an ongoing program to genetically engineer and breed a hybrid alien/human species. (20) Being something of a "taboo topic" in our culture, here is a truly "wild card" future -- a potential tsunami of tsunamis -- that is virtually being ignored by futures researchers. Regarding physical space/time travel beyond the solar system, the recent theoretical physics "warp drive" analysis of Alcubierre, and its integrative "metric engineering" extension by Puthoff (21) not only brings an appreciation for how physical interstellar space travel by advanced alien cultures could conceivably take place, it points to a whole new vista of long-range possibilities for humans in space that are truly astronomical in scale.

* Increasingly wide-spread use of futures research and "partnership-oriented" change management methods, leading to "2nd Order" social innovations such as "boundary spanning public-private partnerships" and other types of "TeamNets," which, together with new "Green Business" practices and "social entrepreneurship" designs, may prove feasible to turn the above threats into realizable opportunities-- the eroding 20th Century Industrial Paradigm and the emerging 21st Century "Mega-Tsunamis" not withstanding! (22) (Please see Figure Two for a rationalized sequence through which such transformational changes can co-evolve.)

Deviating from the text, I think the theory here of a basic 'need to transform' in order to survive can apply to ANY dominant species on any planet... whether Homo Sapien, Covenant, JJaro, etc. Heck, let's not forget power-hungry AIs!

Where do we stop? Can the "Spaceship XXX" theories be applied to the Halo itself? To the Marathon?

So when Nathan wrote : "Island Four - Coming Soon" perhaps he was implying, as the site implies, that we will be reaching our Fourth Wave very soon. And "Island Four - When Island Three isn't good enough" fits neatly with the theory that the Third Wave won't be good enough for us a species and we'll have to shift to the Fourth Wave or face our extinction.

This is wild stuff, and even if not what Nathan was hinting at, another great reason for the existence of Hamish's Story page... serendipity never read so good!


Concerning Ringworlds and other large artifacts in science fiction John Garrard <durendal@mediaone.net> writes:

Heres a page listing some books about mega-scale engineering projects (planets, asteroids, rings, spheres ....) and names of some of them. I like the idea of a Topopolis myself.... mmmm spaghetti...


Worth a read.

Dan Chancopeak <blinkproducts@usa.net> writes concerning yesterday's screenshot which reported to show the Marathon marine riding on top of a Juggernaut:

We got several reactions. I also was told to ask this famous VID-Master for a Marathon film... to prove this picture was real. Well, I just did. He agreed.

so, Hamish please announce:...According to him, the film(s)to prove it should be done in some days.

We'll be waiting... who is this "famous VID-Master"?... has he got any Vid films? Remember the Spazeroid page awaits! ;-)

That Oni Symbol. Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes:

Look at THIS url:


Funny, I don't see anything on the page giving credit to the originators of the symbol...it looks like they took the Oni Kanji logo and mirrored it.

One of the page maintainers claims to be an anime artist, though when you click on his art section, all you get is a blank frame :P

I suspect this is how he got ahold of the logo to begin with.

Terrence continues:

Watching this new Intel WebOutfitter commercial, the "O" in "Outfitter" sure looked familiar...

Can you say " The 'O' in 'Oni?'"

Oct 3, 1999 (Sunday)

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> makes a valid point when he writes:

Remember back in August 13th? Halo, Oni, "two undisclosed projects", Chimera, and #2. But now, "Chimera, Halo, Oni ... and the team formerly known as Myth." Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it seems that the two undisclosed projects seem to have disappeared.

Yes indeed. This is what the Story page reported on August 13th:

Some clarification from Matt Soell (Bungie Software) concerning Bungie's "two undisclosed projects" mentioned earlier today. Matt points out that:

Neither Chimera nor the long-delayed #2 are among the two unannounced products.

Matt went on to say that it was "still too early" to discuss these.

Was the long-delayed event #2 still on the cards? Matt replied:

Very much so.

So Bungie fans have "two undisclosed projects" to look forward to AND a #2. How cryptic can one be? ;-)

But as James points out Miguel Chavez's anonymous source at Bungie recently indicated that they were working on 4 projects... Chimera, Halo, Oni and "the team formerly known as Myth", the latter being an undisclosed project. So one "undisclosed project" is unaccounted for.

If however "the team formerly known as Myth" are actually working on #2 then both "undisclosed projects" Matt Soell referred to are unaccounted for.

The "Island Four" speculations continue to roll in. Bradley Attfield <trsurmap@spots.ab.ca> writes:

An "island universe" as defined by the New World Dictionary of American English, (not that it's really notable or anything) is an, "old name for external galaxy". I thought, "well, the halo ring is in outer space, so why not research it further, just for the fun of it?" And this I did.

After scanning the internet for a few minutes, I had learned that certain entities are often refered to under the Messier catalog of star clusters and nebulae. The shorthand notation for refering to such an entity is M_. In this case M4 (external galaxy, or island universe 4). Intrigued that "Island Four" under such a classification system could be called M4 (as in Marathon 4) I frantically typed these two alpha numerics into my search engine of choice and hit search. What it came up with was http://seds.org/hst/M4WD.html

The same page (except with bigger pictures) is at http://prancer.physics.louisville.edu/astro/107/week_rev/week7/hst/m4_white_dwarfs.html

There is more info at http://www.seds.org/messier/m/m004.html

Very, very interesting.

As it turns out, if this lead is correct and Bungie tries to eradicate the web pages, here are some of the more interesting tidbits.

M4 is the nearest globular cluster to Earth, in the Scorpius constellation, at a distance (of no less than) 7,000 light-years from us. It's makeup is of 'ancient red giant stars', white dwarf's, 'yellow sun-like stars', and red dwarfs. There's a nifty picture in the top right that, according to the people who maintain the page, has a total of eight circled white dwarfs. Count them, please. Asides from that, there isn't much except for NASA's wanting to find out how fast white dwarf's cool.

However, upon further investigation, it seems that M4 is actually a member of the Milky Way galaxy, so it might be thought that M4 can't really be classified as an island universe. However, all theories are flawed in one way or another, this being the most evident discrepancy. Yet, until Nathan comes out and tells everybody (yes, Mr. Bitner, we do wait with baited breath) anything is possible.

In any case, could it be possible that the halo ring on the halo orbit encircles one of these 'yellow sun-like stars' in the M4 globular cluster? Methinks it could be.

John Garrard <durendal@mediaone.net> writes:

Here's what I have to offer you on this [Island Four] subject as trails to try... Olaf Stapledon whose works inspired Niven and dealt with such things as building stars.

As for science fiction to science fact authors well there's Arthur C Clarke who has a book entitled "Islands in the Sky" (Which I've not read so I don't know if it applies.) Interesting note though, all geosynchronis orbits are Clarke orbits because he came up with the concept before we had satellites.

And on a more computer oriented note out of randomness "Islands in the Net" by Bruce Sterling which I've also not read....

On the subject of book titles let us not forget "This Island Earth" (1952) by Raymond F. Jones it was later made into a film of the same name (1954) and is generally regarded as a cult classic for its era.

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> also points out that Bungie's Soul doesn't respond to "Island Four"... yet! It simply replies with the generic answer "Aw, that's an easy one! Ask me something more challenging."

Dan Chancopeak <blinkproducts@usa.net> of Blink Products sent in this Marathon screenshot which reportedly reveals an enhancement to the Marathon engine. A fake or real possibility?

Oct 2, 1999 (Saturday)

Quick update

Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes once more:

If you look at http://carnage.bungie.org/haloforum/halo.forum.pl?read=4503 you'll see that Nathan is teasing us again... his name tag reads in this message:

"-Island Four... the next big thing."

So now what! :) Is he referring that us *discovering* what I.F. refers to is the next big thing in our pathetic lives? Or that what I.F. refers to will be the next big thing to come out of Bungie? Or does it refer to Halo itself and its storyline?

My head hurts! Someone wanna make a list of what we know so far is NOT I.F. as per Nathan's comments?

In another recent halo.bungie.org forum post he also signed off as:

-Island Four ... when Island Three just isn't good enough

According to a Core forum post, again by Nathan Bitner, Marcus Lehto is Halo's Art Director. Nathan wrote:

I have been cleared to say that Marcus Lehto is our Art Director, so there's one more name to toss around. :-)

Of course this begs the question why isn't Rob McLees not Art Director? Rob is one of the more senior members of Bungie (he joined in '95) and would appear to be part of the Halo team.

Some crazy Halo forum posting has been going on during the earlier hours of Saturday. Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes:

My god man, I just wrote a thesis on Bungie/Apple and all things under the sun :)

It's at the core.gamestats.com's forum Figured I'd tell someone that might be up at this crazy hour :)

Miguel's post was in response to growing criticism of the special relationship between Bungie and Apple on the Core forums. Nathan Bitner defends Bungie's special relationship with Apple.

halo.bungie.org state that Nathan Bitner has also been posting clues to his "Island Four" riddle on their forums. As yet nobody has solved the IF riddle. Nathan Bitner writes:

Posted By: Island Four <island_four@yahoo.com>
Date: 2 October 1999, 3:57 a.m.

In Response To: he may have indeed :) (LT) (Island Four)

> Still no good guesses as to the meaning of Island Four ... I'd
> give you hints but it's just no fun. Keep at it guys.

Let me rephrase that ... a lot of great guesses, but nothing even close ... well, nothing that close anyway. :-)

Even in Niven's case, the best ideas are stolen. The key is to find where they're stolen from ... from whose warped minds come the craziest ideas of REAL science-fiction to science-fact. Maybe that will guide you ..

- Island Four

The full thread of this post can be found here.

Will anybody be able to uncover the source of the "Island Four" pseudonym and its apparent connection with Cortana?

Where will you be on Tuesday, Oct 5, 1999, 10 am PT? Watching the Special Apple Event? Will the official Halo movie be unveiled on Apple's new gaming iMacs? Only one way to find out. :-)

Yesterday the Jet Propulsion Laboratory issued a Press Release claiming that there was no evidence of ancient ocean shorelines on Mars. The foundation for the Mars 'ocean hypothesis' developed on the basis of suspected shorelines would now appear to be incorrect.

Oct 1, 1999 (Friday)

Halo movie coming? Miguel Chavez (aka Freewill) posted this interesting prediction on the halo.bungie.org forums:

Prediction... Any takers?

Posted By: Freewill <freewill@bungie.net>
Date: 30 September 1999, 11:25 p.m.

Halo movie comes out on Oct 5 during Apple's "Special Event" where they unveil the NEW GAMER FRIENDLY iMacs.

Anyone else wanna second that?

- Freewill

Yes. :-)

Matt Shears <marful@worldnet.att.net> provides some details on the weapons in Marathon. See See Weapons in Marathon section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Sept 30, 1999 (Thursday)

Quick update

Following on the "four development teams at Bungie" submission earlier today Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> writes:

An unnamed source at Bungie revealed the following:

>SOOOOO busy right now with 4 projects ... Chimera, Halo, Oni ... and
>the team formerly known as Myth ...

So, we have confirmation, if we didn't have before, of FOUR ongoing Bungie projects. Chimera, from the looks of it, is not some small add-on pack to Myth it seems. Looks like its getting alot of development attention.

Good news for Myth fans. But what are "the team formerly known as Myth" up to?

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

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

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

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

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

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

can you say video camera?

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

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

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

This is the picture I was looking at:

And these are the picts I found:

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

Joshua Jansen <jejansen@yahoo.com> writes:

Something VERY INTERESTING presented itself to me while watching the History Channel- I think I have discovered the origin of Bungie's obsession with 3s and 7s!!!

Back in the days of the old American west, there was, due to the lack of offical lawmen, a lot of vigilantism done to the Bad Man of the time.

There was one way to tell that you were wanted out of a town back then-
the vigilanties would staple a cloth to your door with a 'Jolly Roger' (skull and crossbones) on it and the numbers


below it!!!

*3* 7s and a 3!

the meaning was always clear-

"You had THREE days, SEVEN minutes, and SEVENTY-SEVEN seconds to leave town before you would be buried in a grave THREE feet wide, SEVEN feet long, and SEVENTY-SEVEN inches deep."

My source on this was a History channel show on the history of vigilante justice, called 'Vigilantes.' It was on at 2000 EST, Monday, Sept 28.

hmmm... seventy-seven seconds? How odd. ;-)

James Lanfear <jclanfear@presys.com> writes concerning the first terminal on "Try again". See The "Try again" Term section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Sarwat Khan <sarwat@interlog.com> also writes concerning the first terminal on "Try again". See The "Try again" Term section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Sept 29, 1999 (Wednesday)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeremy Parish <tfrog@camalott.com> writes:

I'm afraid M.C. Avistetto is slightly mistaken about the name of the next-to-last boss in Final Fantasy VIII. This is a spoiler for the game, so those who don't want to be tainted should look away :-)

Anyway, the next-to-last boss is the Guardian Force (sort of a supercharged magical familiar or summoned monster) of the final enemy. Its name is NOT Durandal - or at least, not in most people's games. The GF's name is the same as the name you give the pendant that the hero gives his girlfriend; the default name is "Griever." Since the final enemy is a Sorceress from the future who inherited her power indirectly through the ages from the hero's girlfriend, the fact is you end up fighting the necklace you gave your love as a memento!

I suspect that M.C. had Marathon on the brain, and named his pendant Durandal instead of Griever or Jim Bob or something - thus, the confusion :-D

However, it SHOULD be noted that another Playstation RPG, Breath of Fire III, does indeed have a character named Durandal - he's a sword master, who can teach your party members evasive/non-fatal sword techniques.

Sept 28, 1999 (Tuesday)

Quick update

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

Mars - the fourth island in the solar system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Response To: Argh (Island Four)

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

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

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

In Response To: Re: Argh (Mark Levin)

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

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

Enjoy the search. :-)

- Island Four

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

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

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

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

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

First, there’s the M-

< Transfer Interrupted! >

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

Jared writes:

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

First, there's the M-

< Transfer Interrupted! >

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

Forrest writes:

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

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> provides another original level name for the Original Level Names page.

Sept 27, 1999 (Monday)

Somewhat belated but I felt I should mention this.

Sadly the actor George C Scott past away last week. He'll best be remembered for his portrayal of General George S. Patton Jr. in the film "Patton" and in the role of General Buck Turgidson in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove". Other films include the cultish "They Might Be Giants" and "Rage" (his first film as director).

In the film "Patton" there is a memorable scene in which Gen. Patton while between battles in North Africa stops off to view a wide open plain and comments that this is where the Carthaginians had been massacred two thousand years earlier. It is here that Patton announces his belief in reincarnation. He also reveals his own poetic capacities, reciting one of his works.

"Through a Glass, Darkly" by General George S. Patton, Jr.

Through the travail of the ages,
Midst the pomp and toil of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon this star.

In the form of many people
In all panoplies of time
Have I seen the luring vision
Of the Victory Maid, sublime.

I have battled for fresh mammoth,
I have warred for pastures new,
I have listed to the whispers
When the race trek instinct grew.

I have known the call to battle
In each changeless changing shape
From the high souled voice of conscience
To the beastly lust for rape.

I have sinned and I have suffered,
Played the hero and the knave;
Fought for belly, shame, or country,
And for each have found a grave.

I cannot name my battles
For the visions are not clear,
Yet, I see the twisted faces
And I feel the rending spear.

Perhaps I stabbed our Savior
In His sacred helpless side.
Yet, I've called His name in blessing
When after times I died.

In the dimness of the shadows
Where we hairy heathens warred,
I can taste in thought the lifeblood;
We used teeth before the sword.

While in later clearer vision
I can sense the coppery sweat,
Feel the pikes grow wet and slippery
When our Phalanx, Cyrus met.

Hear the rattle of the harness
Where the Persian darts bounced clear,
See their chariots wheel in panic
From the Hoplite's leveled spear.

See the goal grow monthly longer,
Reaching for the walls of Tyre.
Hear the crash of tons of granite,
Smell the quenchless eastern fire.

Still more clearly as a Roman,
Can I see the Legion close,
As our third rank moved in forward
And the short sword found our foes.

Once again I feel the anguish
Of that blistering treeless plain
When the Parthian showered death bolts,
And our discipline was in vain.

I remember all the suffering
Of those arrows in my neck.
Yet, I stabbed a grinning savage
As I died upon my back.

Once again I smell the heat sparks
When my Flemish plate gave way
And the lance ripped through my entrails
As on Crecy's field I lay.

In the windless, blinding stillness
Of the glittering tropic sea
I can see the bubbles rising
Where we set the captives free.

Midst the spume of half a tempest
I have heard the bulwarks go
When the crashing, point blank round shot
Sent destruction to our foe.

I have fought with gun and cutlass
On the red and slippery deck
With all Hell aflame within me
And a rope around my neck.

And still later as a General
Have I galloped with Murat
When we laughed at death and numbers
Trusting in the Emperor's Star.

Till at last our star faded,
And we shouted to our doom
Where the sunken road of Ohein
Closed us in it's quivering gloom.

So but now with Tanks a'clatter
Have I waddled on the foe
Belching death at twenty paces,
By the star shell's ghastly glow.

So as through a glass, and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, but always me.

And I see not in my blindness
What the objects were I wrought,
But as God rules o'er our bickerings
It was through His will I fought.

So forever in the future,
Shall I battle as of yore,
Dying to be born a fighter,
But to die again, once more.

Story page fans will no doubt see the similarities between the above poem and the eternal hero theme in Marathon:

I have been Roland, Beowulf, Achilles, Gilgamesh.
I have been called a hundred names and will be called a
thousand more before the world goes dim and cold.
I am hero.

To George C Scott... one of the giants.

Sept 26, 1999 (Sunday)

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

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

Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu> writes concerning the first terminal on "Try again". See The "Try again" Term section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

Sept 25, 1999 (Saturday)

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

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

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

Re: Apple in control of the movie?

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

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

Cool, I'm glorious now. :-)

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

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

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


He immediately followed this up with the following post:

Re: Apple in control of the movie?

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

And damn, my cover's blown.

Time to find another free email site.




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

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

What followed next was interesting:

and your Money for Nothing ...

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

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

: -Louis

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


-Island Four


Re: and your Money for Nothing ...

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

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

: ;-)

: -Island Four

Too late. Already read them all. =)

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

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

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

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


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

The following was posted on bungie.net:

This coming Tuesday we'll be giving away awards and random prizes on bungie.net rev.B. From 10pm CST til midnight, when you're chosen as a winner you'll be allowed to pick a number (i.e. take a grab from the grab bag). We'll look your number up on a master list of randomly sorted prizes, and you'll win the corresponding item. Prizes include copies of Myth, Pathways, the Marathon series, the Mac Action Sack, original boxed copies of Minotaur, Soulblighter miniatures, Myth and Myth II strategy guides, Bungie and Oni T-shirts, Myth and Myth II soundtracks, Soulblighter mousepads, Bungie logo patches, a ghôl cleaver (taken from our resident jock-strap wearing ghôl), an original Marathon folder, Bungie, Oni, Myth and Myth II folders, Oni note pads, Myth II comic books, a box of old video cards, and an empty bottle of Surly Dwarf Ale. Stay tuned for more info.

"...original boxed copies of Minotaur" how's that for some old Bungie memorabilia. And what's the "original Marathon folder" all about?

David Menendez <zednenem@alumni.psu.edu> writes concerning Durandal's scientific notation:

Jesse McInturff writes about the number 15.193792102158E+9, correctly pointing out that numbers in scientific notation only have one digit before the decimal point.

However, there is a similar style of writing numbers called engineering notation, which allows between one and three digits before the decimal point, provided that the exponent is a multiple of three. If that's what Durandal uses, then the number is correct as written.

Sept 24, 1999 (Friday)

Thanks to Timothy Collett <tcollett@hamilton.edu> and Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> for spotting the second deliberate error of the week. What ever next you might ask! ;-)

Jesse McInturff <jesse@imgmagazine.com> writes:

well yesterday after i had read the daly update i was cruising around the site and desided to read about Durandal, i might add that it's very interesting, and it seems so real, but after i had read through it i saw this little thing

T-Minus 15.193792102158E+9 years until the universe closes!

well that may be fine and good, but this shows that Durandal is either not very smart, had a programming error, or it's been along time since the boys at Bungie had Science class. in scientific notation the one rule is that the number can't start with something with more than 1 digit, so the correct way this should have been is

T-Minus 1.5193792102158E+10 years until the universe closes!

Interesting point. :-)

Jonathan Louie <tenchi@cs.stanford.edu> writes to point out that apart from the Oni trailer you'll find Kanji characters on the Oni desktop pictures. What do they say?

Sept 23, 1999 (Thursday)

Richard McKeon <R.J.McKeon@durham.ac.uk> provides further elucidation of the first terminal on "Try again". See The "Try again" Term section of Facts and puzzling things about... for details.

M.C. Avistetto <villainy@juno.com> writes:

In the recently-released RPG Final Fantasy VIII, the next-to-lass boss of the game is a powerful monster- a GF. GFs are very powerful living beings whose power serves you for much of the game. The GF you fight at the end is the most powerful of them all, yet he alone does not serve. His name?


Hmm. Y'know, Squaresoft could have given him some other, less-fitting name. Maybe they're Bungie fans. More likely this is a Song of Roland reference, but I just thought I'd mention it.

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


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

Sept 22, 1999 (Wednesday)

Thanks to Paul Auerbach <paul@auerbach.com> and Mark Levin <mglevin@uiuc.edu> for spotting the deliberate error yesterday. ;-)

Paul writes further:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clem Freeman <clemf@humboldt1.com> writes:

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

Terry McCall <Stuff333@macol.net> writes concerning the Oni trailer:

About the Japanese in the Oni trailer, I was able to read "Contact" and then right after it, "Action"

Also, some of the Kanji reads "___suru nin" which roughly translates to someone who does something. I'm not sure what that something is, because the other Kanji looks like square boxes.

Sept 21, 1999 (Tuesday)

Lots of Halo related submissions today.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   o ALLCH (SC)

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

See the Halo section for further details on the above.

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Greene <alan@fontshop.com> writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept 20, 1999 (Monday)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

   o ALLCH (SC)

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

Zach Pearse <zachy@usa.net> writes concerning the Oni trailer and notepaper:

...the movie "Matrix" featured streaming lines of "code" very much like the Oni trailer and notepad. In the "Matrix" the code consisted of backwards katakana and other misc. Japanese characters. Was the trailer made before or after "Matrix" was released?

... and what is the Matrix? ;-)

www.marathon.org gets it fair share of odd letters. Simon Brownlee <squeaky@www.marathon.org> passed on this somewhat amusing letter:

From: "m purna" <mpurna@hotmail.com>
To: marathon@marathon.org
Subject: Y2K STATUS
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 13:26:02 PDT


Can you please give the information regarding the Y2K Status of the following Generator Model Number made by your company. 1)68FDR8062GG- P500W

Thank you,
Purna Maddukuri.
Y2K Consultant.
Ph:361-991-5730 Room 117.
Fax :419-791-3035.

The author is referring to the famous Marathon Motor which has a mechanical efficiency of 97%. Not alot of people know that. ;-)

Sept 19, 1999 (Sunday)

Happy Fourth Anniversary

The Story page is four years old today. That's right four years of almost daily updating. Pretty hard to believe actually. This is what the Story page looked like back when it first appeared in Sept 19, 1995.

The Story page has certainly grown and now offers more than just the inner details of the story encompassing the Marathon Trilogy set of games but also details on Bungie themselves. The oddities... the tidbits... the minutia of detail we've all grown to love and expect.

And hats off to all the Story page fans out there who read and contribute daily. The page wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for you. Here's to another three successful years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Console units are extremely optimized, as well.


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

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

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

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

Zach Stroum <durandal@hotmail.com> writes:

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

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

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

Zach also writes:

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

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

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

Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes concerning his submission yesterday:

I should point out that I made a small mistake in my last message. The oni trailer movie does not contain 42 scrolling lines of JUST japanese text. It appears to be a combination of japanese text and binary. Strange stuff, making it that much harder to read, if it does indeed form some sort of coherent sentence or the like.

However, one new thing I can add is that the text can also be found on the latest scan of an Oni notepad.

Sept 18, 1999 (Saturday)

Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes:

If you look at the Bungie Spring Picnic Tug-O-War trophy, you'll note that it has 2 branches on it.

Each branch has seven leaves.

And what actually happened to the Tug-O-War trophy? Note the last part on the Bungie Spring Picnic page:

Of course, things didn't end here. More football, more volleyball, and more eating served to distract the losing teams from their gross humiliation. But one team burned with envy. Next year's match was an entire year away. That trophy, homemade as it was, looked damn good. And though their sense of honor was strong, their greed was stronger. And though their hands ached, they still had strength to clutch greedily ... but that's another story.

...their greed was stronger? Oh yes indeed. This Bungie West cam pic captured by Chris Camacho <chrispynacho@earthlink.net> shows a trashed Bungie West desk and there... buried in the rubble is the... Tug-O-War trophy. As we said before you DO NOT want to mess with the Bungie West dudes.

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

James Lanfear <jclanfear@presys.com> writes:

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

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

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

A Halo world in 32MB... eh?

Last month Mike Cramer <jupiter6@flash.net> wrote in concerning the Oni notepaper that comes in Bungie's Mac Action Sack. He scanned it in here. Then Harry Al-Shakarchi <harry.al-shakarchi@teleweb.at> wrote pointing out that his Oni notepaper was different having a Konoko image similar to the one on Bungie's Oni page here. Now Samantha Lynn <jeremiasd@earthlink.net> writes:

In case you haven't seen this one since you last updated www.marathon.org, here's a scan of the Oni notepad that came in MY sack... I bumped up the contrast and stuff so the ghostly character top-left (which I hadn't even seen myself until it was in the scanner...) shows up better: my guess is it's the Japanese for "Oni" but other theories will be entertained...

How many variations of the Oni notepaper are there?

Terrence Nowicki <kablam@edmail.com> writes:

While watching the oni(large).mov preview (the 40MB version) today, blown up at double size, I noticed something I haven't seen before. As we all know, in the "cut scenes" in between the in game pictures, eg the parts with text (like, "A dark future,""An uncertain past," ect), there are lines of japanese text or symbols moving from top to bottom (42 lines, actually...seven strikes again!). I think that the fact that these are japanese letters has been confirmed (but has anyone tried to READ them yet???), but what caught my attention was something different.

In the background, BEHIND the 42 scrolling lines of japanese text, are words or a picture or pattern or something. They looked an awful lot like English letters to me, but, try as I might, I could only make out the last two, and I'm still not sure about them. They are either "LE," "LF," or "4," but the scrolling symbols interfered and made it too hard for me to read anything else. Perhaps someone else with sharper eyes than I could read the secret message bungie has left for us (or figure out what it's a pattern/picture of, if it's one of those and not writing).

And if you can see well enough to do that, and can read japanese, perhaps you could figure out what the scrolling text says too?

Sept 17, 1999 (Friday)

Both Miguel Chavez <JMChavez@aol.com> and Alan Greene <alan@rifted.com> write to point out that Bungie have posted a series of pics from their annual company picnic: Bungie Picnic Madness. Miguel writes:

Also, ALERT: notice in the play-by-play reporting the continous mention of: "team formerly known as Myth II" Hmm, I wonder what this group is REALLY called nowadays?

Similarly Alan writes:

... one of the teams competing in the Tug of War was "the Team formerly known as Myth II". Well, what are they now? Something not to be revealed? :)

Note that the Halo team pic is called blam.gif. Can you put a name to the faces on the Halo team? Where's Nathan?

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

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

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

Robert Zimmermann <robert@applewizards.net> writes:

I think I spotted another 7:

Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! (Terminal 1)

I've twice been conquered-                     2
       Three times more,                       3
Never again shall humanity purge me,           1
       And never the Pfhor.                    1

2+3+1+1=7 -> YES!

Twisted Soul ? Michael Young <hamster@dallas.net> writes:

Here is the exact text of a conversation I had with the Soul earlier today. Yeah, it gets a little twisted near the end, but hey, don't we all love the soul in one way or the other? All of these are reproducable:

Question: Lets get philisophical, ok?
The soul says: That question has many answers.

Question: Do you dream?
The soul says: My life is a waking dream. Of your mom.

Question: Don't talk about my mom! Now, what is the meaning of life?
The soul says: To crush enemies in battle. To drive them before you. To hear the lamentations of the women.

Question: Ok, i can see that. Now lets talk about sex, ok?
The soul says: Yeah.

Question: Are you male or female?
The soul says: Think of me as a tree. Only not so big and stupid.

Question: So are you saying we can't have sex?
The soul says: Your sexual problems aren't really what you want to discuss.

Question: You're right. I love you, soul.
The soul says: It's not love, it's infatuation.

Question: Will you marry me?
The soul says: You're not ready for such a commitment. Give yourself to the church of Bungie instead.

Sept 16, 1999 (Thursday)

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

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

Mike Yocom <pfhreak333@hotmail.com> writes:

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

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

Coincidence or...? ;-)

Charlie Olson <olson2@gorge.net> writes:

Try telling the the Soul that he "sucks", and when you get his response swear at him a little ; )

Swear?... as is in use harsh language?!!!

No need to send in any of these replies since I won't be publishing them there... Bungie text or not! ;-)

More Bungie Robocam madness from James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> and Aaron Davies <agd12@columbia.edu>.

Sept 15, 1999 (Wednesday)

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

James Gurnee <harness@access1.net> writes concerning the mysterious M7 group from times past.

I've found something that might bring a smile to your face (if you haven't found it already).


I think this is THE M7. I found it because they have a group at SETI@HOME:


And here is a Marathon (#marathon) SETI@HOME:


It seems there are a number of Bungie related SETI teams searching for Extraterrestrials. Bungie themselves, a Halo team and an IRC EFNet Marathon (#marathon) team.

More Soul bantering. Joel Page <JPage@mpl2.com> writes:

I read the Story page, and the bit about the Soul being Durandal, so I went to Bungie.com and pestered it a little.

After several tries (7?), I got it to fess up, and here's a screenshot to prove it.

Joel continues:

Ask the Soul if Leela is Cortana, and after several tries, the Soul replies, "Yeah. What about it?" as well. The response may be an automatic "Go Away" type of response. Needs more investigation, methinks.

Jesse Tribby <JesterIl@aol.com> writes:

Proof that The Soul is not Durandal... :-(

Sorry, but I have multiple methods of proving this:

A) Tell the soul "Dwarves are cool." Hence revealing it's true identity

B) Ask the soul "Are you fat?" The soul says: "There's enough of me to love." Ai's have no body fat whatsoever, though Dwarves are a little on the pudgy side.

C) Finally, "Yeah! What about it?" is a random response as proved by the document http://soon.clanplaid.net/who/soul.html (about two thirds of the way down) ""Sibrax: True enough... One final question: Do you like BC? Soul: Yeah. What about it?""

S. Adam Richard <serialspnkr@hotmail.com> writes:

I just stumbled on to the same problem as Austin Parker did while asking the Soul a question. It went like this:

Me: Do you like Marathon?
Soul: Yeah. What about it?

I tried the same question over and over and couldn't get the same response. I also came across another interesting thing in which I asked the should a stupid question and he responded by saying that I was making his "slow crawl toward infinity" no fun, in so many words.

Sounds like something Durandal would say.

Sept 14, 1999 (Tuesday)

Samantha Lynn <jeremiasd@earthlink.net> writes:

RE the "facts and interesting things about..." for terminal picture text, I noticed that there's also some semilegible text in the secret terminal on "Requiem For a Cyborg" -- among other ad-titles appropriate to the classifieds, there's the curious choice of "Diogenes speaking". Now, Diogenes was looking for an honest man ("seeking", actually, but I'm pretty sure that the text reads "speaking", pity ); could this possibly have something to do with the validity of the terminal itself?

This same pict also appears in other terminals, although I didn't think to make a list. The full readable portions look to me like:

???veline sweetheart   |   one of a kind
extraordinary partnership   |   a special request
???, good heart   |   diogenes speaking
???      |     bartender

Note that "extraordinary partnership" is also rather appropriate to the situation, :) so it might not be entirely random...

I picked this off the Marathon Central Forums (see here for original article). It relates to a System Shock 2 GameGuide in which the background story to System Shock 2 is discussed. The text reads as follows:

Forty years ago, an ingenious hacker was hired to release the ethical constraints on a nefarious artificial intelligence named SHODAN (Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network), the computer system controlled Citadel Station. However, once SHODAN took over the space station, that same hacker had to stop SHODAN from carrying out a series of plans that could put Earth and the entire universe in jeopardy. The year is 2114, and you're about to begin your fourth year of duty and first on board the FTL Starship Von Braun - a vessel fitted with another questionable operating system, a buggy and inefficient computer core named Xerxes 8933A / A. After responding to a distress call coming from the Tau Ceti system, something goes terribly wrong on the Von Braun. It appears you've picked a bad time to begin your duty aboard this doomed starship.

System Shock 2, the sequel to Looking Glass' ground-breaking game System Shock, is an elaborate game filled with action, adventure, and role-playing elements. In this comprehensive game guide, you'll find every tactic and strategy you need to survive on board the Von Braun and learn what happened before your arrival.

As the original Forum poster noted spot the Marathon similarities.

Austin Parker <austp@earthlink.net> writes concerning Bungie's Soul:

I was harassing the soul the other day, and I asked it who Cortana was. It wasn't a interesting answer, but I decided to ask 'Are you Durandal?'

Question: Are you durandal?
The soul says: Yeah. What about it?

I can't duplicate it though..grrr. Maybe it was freak happenance. But, i swear, it happened! The soul is actually Durandal! aieee! ;)

More Bungie Robocam fun from Paul Russel <toadboy13@yahoo.com>

Sept 13, 1999 (Monday)

In seven days the Marathon's Story page will celebrate its fourth anniversary.

Thanks to all those who wrote in over the break. I'll be replying as soon as possible.

So on with the news.

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

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

Myth_TFL:tags:Local:myth.beta 11.27.96

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Entry: 97 - SC1C 

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

No one was prepared for their arrival. 

No one expected this. 

< Transfer Interrupted! >

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

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

Familiar tones here and some background Halo history perhaps.

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

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

Inside Mac Games has posted an alt.games.marathon post from Courtney Evans concerning the demise of Doubleaught's Duality. You can read it here. Sad but true.

Go to What's New for July - Aug 1999

Page maintained by Hamish Sinclair Hamish.Sinclair@tcd.ie
Last updated Oct 30, 1999