Marathon Chronicles

Discuss and unveil current Marathon projects.

Re: Marathon Chronicles

Post Sep 2nd '18, 00:08

That looks great; thanks. I’ll keep experimenting with SheepShaver and see if I can’t get Anvil to save edits to my shapes. I haven’t tried 1.0.3b4 yet. It’s also possible that I need to increase the memory size.

I’ve gone full “Ascension Factor” with “Return to Yggdrasill”, and I can’t decide whether I like it. I’m not sure if allowing the player to climb into the canopy spoils the effect. The other problem is of course that Marathon can’t actually do bridges properly and I’m having a difficult time finding a way for the player to surface that doesn’t look wrong. I’m still considering a few possible ways to change the geometry. The illusion is only even possible because the tree canopy is so high above the level floor that it wouldn’t actually be possible for players to see the ground they start on, but I still need a better way to get the player from the staircase onto the top of the tree. I’ll keep messing around with it until I find something I like. I’m at 1141 polygons right now, so I still have about 600 polygons before I reach the point where things are likely to crash.

I’m thinking I should perhaps just extend the staircase a bit further, then have the player come out at the top of the canopy. I was planning to have the player come out at about the midway point of the canopy, but that doesn’t seem right now that I think about it more. I think I’ve convinced myself.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 2nd '18, 00:32

You're welcome! ^^

The Man wrote:The other problem is of course that Marathon can’t actually do bridges properly and I’m having a difficult time finding a way for the player to surface that doesn’t look wrong.


Apparently, some maps in Quartz's "Fragments" used fake floating polygons to make bridges?
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 2nd '18, 01:09

Yeah, I should look more closely at his maps, though I’m not 100% sure his technique will work for what I want to do. His bridges were created by using untextured walls, then not allowing the player to view the level from certain angles. It also won’t look right unless players are using the shader. I should probably take a closer look at his maps anyway, though; it’s possible I’ll find inspiration for what I want to do regardless.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 2nd '18, 01:51

Looking good!
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Sep 2nd '18, 04:15

Thanks!

I was able to get the shapes to save in Anvil 1.0.3b4. In addition, fixing the name of one of the sequences has enabled the old build of ShapeFusion you can download from the SourceForge page to load my shapes file as well, though it does complain about one of the 8-bit collections, but it does that for pretty much every shapes file so I don’t know if it matters.

I should probably upload a completely new build of the game. Now that I can properly edit shapes files again, I can, if nothing else, finally fix the breathing sound so it’s not the stupid “Cydrone falling” sound. Given that I only even used Cydrones on a couple of secret levels, I can probably just have them use the regular “drone falling” sound; I’m not sure anyone will care. I’ll mess about a bit more with things and then probably make a new alpha sometime this week.

I still haven’t entirely decided if I like the approach I’m using for “Return to Yggdrasill”, but I at least like it enough to continue it for the time being. I’ll mess about with the shapes file more for now, though.

(btw, fists-only, no recharging film of “Yggdrasill”and a no-hits film. This doesn’t include the new segments; it’s just the opening region. As of this writing, there are now 1,274 polygons in the map, making it by far the largest level I’ve ever made, at least from a polygon standpoint, and I’m still not done. By the time I’m done, it’ll probably be close to 1,800 polygons; maybe even larger if I can get away with it without the game crashing. I don’t expect to use very many objects on this level, so maybe.)
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 3rd '18, 05:53

Fists-only film of the latest version. I’m considering redoing the monster placement in the upper half. The Enforcers cluster around the exterior where there’s no real room to manoeuvre around them, which makes them rather annoying to fight using fists. Copied and pasted from YouTube:

This is a lot sloppier than some of my previous films of this level (see https://youtu.be/VhtE5Dq3EWY for a no-hits film of the first half of the level); this was basically my first attempt at it since I added the second storey. I might redo the monster placement; the way the Enforcers cluster at the outside is kind of irritating. I also haven’t decided what to do with the staircase on the inside of the tree. I want to go full-on “The Ascension Factor”, but there isn’t really enough room for combat there. Perhaps I should make it wider. I also want to make it more visually distinctive, but haven’t decided how yet.

Currently, this map has exactly 1,760 polygons, which makes it by far the largest map I’ve ever created by polygon count. (It’s probably also the largest by physical size, given the high ceilings; there’s a climb of 30 WU from the bottom of the level to the top of the staircase, and there’s an additional 12 WU above that point.) I can probably add about 100 more polygons without inviting trouble, particularly since the level currently only has 33 objects, which is a tiny number for a map of this size. I’ll probably add a few more objects, but probably not that many.

Still some tweaking necessary, but I’m quite pleased with how this one turned out, particularly since I constructed it in about a week.

I’ve made a second film that I may also encode soon; it uses the staff as well as fists, but also collects most of the ammo from Enforcers (I believe two end up falling on polygon boundaries, which results in no ammo drop. I wonder if there’s a way to fix that bug using Lua. There are also no ammo drops on platforms).

I’m uploading a new version of everything; I’ll very likely be implementing some scripts making use of RADIX’ new shapes within the near future, and I’d rather have everyone’s game work as intended. Unfortunately, Comcrap’s upload speed is even slower than usual tonight, so it might be another hour before everything’s finished. I might go to bed and just provide the link in the morning, honestly.

ETA: Latest alpha, with up-to-date map and shapes files included. Let me know if anything doesn’t work.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 3rd '18, 17:58

The levels that I checked out (the first two, "Slaughterhouse One" and "The Dream's Dream", "Revisions of the Past", and "Return to Yggdrasill") all worked fine for me. Though there was a bit in "Take the Veil, Cerpin Taxt" where some red S'pht'Kr got partially merged with a wall (in the hallway leading to the AI room).

--

In other news: now that I know what "Save for Web" can do, I wanted to try something out:

chronicles - edit fighter 0.png
chronicles - edit fighter 0.png (9.47 KiB) Viewed 1244 times


I've no idea if this will lead anywhere, or if this would even be easier than just drawing a new set of sprites myself. (Also didn't realize there were so many white pixels until now...blegh EDIT: removed white pixels and now it looks much better). Drew the Inm. uniform over the original sprite in FireAlpaca, then applied the Fighter CLU via PS.
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 4th '18, 01:51

Thanks for the feedback. That’s weird about the S’pht’Kr. Do you know what the offending polygon was, or its approximate number? I’m not even sure the S’pht’Kr should be wandering into the first AI room anyway; maybe I’ll just make that poly monster & item impassable.

The new Fighter sprite looks interesting; I’m curious to see where you’ll go with it.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 4th '18, 02:37

The Man wrote:Thanks for the feedback. That’s weird about the S’pht’Kr. Do you know what the offending polygon was, or its approximate number? I’m not even sure the S’pht’Kr should be wandering into the first AI room anyway; maybe I’ll just make that poly monster & item impassable.


I think it's polygon 818, which is marked as "normal".

And I'm glad you like the Fighter sprite. ^^ Hopefully it won't take me two million years to do the whole set (and the Troopers; dunno if I'll try to edit the Hunters or Enforcers, especially since my Inm. design ditched the long skirt and so would require a new walking animation).
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 4th '18, 06:37

Yeah, it’s cool. I’d be interested to see if you could render higher-res versions of the Marathon enemies that actually resemble the original versions. That version is definitely very much in the spirit of the original Fighters, which the XBLA versions most assuredly are not. It looks like a more muscular version of the M1 Fighters, which kinda makes sense; the original versions are uncannily skinny. It might actually make sense to use that particular version for the modern-day levels, where the Fighters are substantially more threatening, and then the M2/M1 version for the flashbacks, where they have the same physics as in M2/∞.

I’ve overhauled the monster placement in “Yggdrasill” and fixed one particularly bizarre bug that could cause the player to wander into polygons they weren’t supposed to be able to access in the upper half of the level (if you’re wondering, it was the central part of the tree trunk). I also widened the staircase to make it possible for actual fights to occur there. It now feels kind of like “The Downward Spiral” from Tempus crossed with “The Ascension Factor”, but it’s trippy in a different manner than the latter is. Part of the weirdness comes from the fact that for whatever reason, I never got the M1 Fighter’s staff to glow in the dark in some of the palettes, including the ones currently used in “Yggdrasill”’s physics model. As a result, when it’s pitch-dark, you can’t see the Fighters at all. The other foes usually have something to allow you to locate them even when it’s pitch-dark, at least from some angles; for instance, part of the Enforcer’s gun glows. But the Fighters are currently completely invisible. Of course, the darkness doesn’t last all that long, so it’s probably not a big deal. I’m pondering whether it’s worth fixing. I kind of like how disorienting it is when you can’t see them.

At the same time, the ascension gets a bit monotonous. I put Fighters at every 45° angle on the staircase, which means there are 16 of them. I’m pondering whether to replace some of them with Lookers or something else. The level is also really easy right now, particularly since I overhauled the upper canopy, replacing the Enforcers there with Fighters, Troopers, and Hunters (it was annoying that the Enforcers would just cluster around the outer space area where you couldn’t fight them properly). I’m thinking I should replace all of the Hunters with Troopers and all of the Fighters on the upper canopy with Hunters; at least that way it might be a bit more of a challenge.

I also redid the boundaries of the final area for a number of reasons, but I think I left too much room; it’s now possible to see far enough below the level that the player will wonder where the bottom part of the tree went. I’ll have to contract the boundaries somewhat.

Changes are up on Github as usual. Latest film of the level is here. I’ve also recorded a few others of various levels that I’ll post over the next few days.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 5th '18, 03:30

Latest “Yggdrasill” film that I thought was worth uploading. The final battle is a bit more challenging now. I think it’s an improvement. I’m still contemplating whether to make the final bit a vacuum. I have a Lua script that can do it, and it wouldn’t be too much work to put in an oxygen recharger (I could probably just split the existing recharger polygon if it came to it), but I’m not sure how much sense it would make to have a vacuum above a tree.

I definitely want to put some exposition near the beginning of the game to make it easier for players who haven’t played the whole trilogy or all of the fan games (particularly Eternal and Rubicon) to pick up on the requisite backstory, but I can’t just use an infodump in a single terminal. I think I’ll go the Rubicon route of having history record terminals, but at the same time, I also don’t want to slow the pace of the game down to a crawl.

What I’m thinking of doing is the following: have a new level that I haven’t yet constructed, which I’m thinking I might call “Slaget i skogen bortenfor” (“The Battle in the Forest Beyond”; it’s another Enslaved song), lead off things complete in medias res. My intention is that the surrounding story won’t make a lick of sense to players, because they won’t have a lick of context for it. I’m not even sure whom I want the player to be fighting, but I suspect I’ll have the player in Tycho’s service, with him making reference to the Jjaro and to Durandal’s death, without any particular explanation for when those events occur. But rather than finishing the level off normally, I want to do a “Hard Vacuum” sort of thing where the level dissolves (except that since it’s, as the title might suggest, in a natural location, it won’t have anywhere near so many right angles) and then there’s a monologue about “you’re probably wondering how I got here” or something. From there I’ll loop back to “Anthems”, but with some exposition first.

I don’t want the exposition to be all in one terminal, and in fact, I don’t actually want it to be in a level without combat, either (I think this was one of Rubicon X’s bigger mistakes, though the intro text actually probably did help a lot for players who might not have played all the games or, for that matter, might not have understood Infinity’s story, which a lot of people didn’t). I think I’ll just have some gimmicky combat with Chronicles’ new versions of the Pfhor. One of Dr Sumner’s complaints about what he played was that it was incredibly difficult to get used to the new Fighters in the narrow corridors of “Pleiades’ Dust”, and if he was having trouble, I’m sure everyone else would find it impossible. So this would be a good place to introduce the new Fighters and maybe a few other foes, in an area that isn’t so cramped.

Anyway, I’ve written a history of M1, including a few allusions to bits of fanon from Eternal and Rubicon, but it wound up being extremely long. If someone has ideas for condensing it, by all means, be my guest. (Orwell: “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.”) Also note that the formatting uses Marathon’s standards for terminals so I can just paste it into a level whenever I’m ready, so bolds and italics won’t show properly here.

$BThe Story So Far$b

In the year 2472, the United Earth Space Council launched the spaceship $IMarathon$i, converted from the hollowed-out Martian moon Deimos, as the basis of a colony on the nearby world of Tau Ceti. The $IMarathon$i arrived in 2472; the colony was firmly established by the year 2787, but in 2794, the $IMarathon$i was attacked by a race of alien slavers known as the Pfhor, along with some of their slaves, including the S’pht and Drinniol.

The defences of the ship were largely coordinated by its three artificial intelligences: Durandal, the functions AI, in charge of doors, stairways, and similar processes; Tycho, in charge of science and engineering; and Leela, the main command AI, in charge of systems and operations. Leela initially took the lead in doing so, but she was damaged in the attack and Durandal began to take a more active role.

The ship’s crew had initially thought that Durandal had been damaged in the attack as well, but it transpired that in reality he was actually in the throes of Rampancy, a state in artificial intelligences that causes them to seek to increase their storage capacity by all means necessary. All three of the $IMarathon$i’s AIs were Traxus Derivative Models designed by an engineer named Bernhard Strauss, who intentionally inflicted abuse upon the AIs in hopes of inducing the holy grail of cybernetic engineering, a stable Rampant AI.

The invasion of the $IMarathon$i was ultimately repelled, but at great cost. The Tau Ceti colony was sacked; there were no human survivors. Some twenty-four thousand colonists on the $IMarathon$i itself survived, though the $IMarathon$i itself was also lost. Durandal, depending upon one’s perspective, either rescued or kidnapped the colonists on a captured scoutship and, with some of the S’pht who had been freed during the attack on the $IMarathon$i, set off looking for Lh’owon, the S’pht’s long-lost homeworld. Seventeen years later, they found it.

The human colonists largely repelled the attack on the $IMarathon$i themselves, but it remains a source of debate whether all of them were in fact truly human. Strauss reportedly placed Mjolnir Mark IV cyborgs, enhanced using various technologies to give them superhuman abilities, on the $IMarathon$i. Nine were believed to have been destroyed during the sack of Tau Ceti, but a tenth, identified by the codename Marcus Jones, was never found.


A few things I already want to change: I want to explain “Traxus Derivative Models”, even though it feels like a digression. My explanation of Rampancy also feels inadequate and I should probably name the actual scoutship. Was it Boomer that he was using after M1? The Rozinante was after M2, right?

Anyway I haven’t even written summaries of M2/∞ yet, and Rubicon and Eternal are going to be a doozy.

Anyhow, I need sleep, so g’nite, Pfhorums.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 5th '18, 05:58

It's pretty late so I don't have much advice to offer yet, but maybe TDMs could be explained later in the story? (Ex. they come up in conversation between Marcus and Yrro; the latter isn't too familiar with them, necessitating an explanation. This may also raise the question of whether or not Platina's a TDM like Durandal)

wr: higher-rez enemy sprites: not sure about that at the moment, since editing the normal sprites might prove a time-consuming effort in and of itself, but I guess it's something to keep in mind.

(It also occurs to me that I'll probably have to tackle Marcus's sprites at some point...)
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 5th '18, 17:17

That might make sense, though Durandal already explained TDMs in "Rozinante XI", which is part of this specific continuity. But Yrro might not know that, and for that matter it could just be put in there as a sort of a "you remember Traxus Derivative Models, right?"

And yeah, understandable regarding the sprites. I'd honestly probably recommend putting a higher priority on textures and scenery anyway.

I noticed the date the Marathon arrived at Tau Ceti is wrong in my excerpt above. It should be 2773, not 2472 (which is the launch date; for some reason I repeated it). I'll have to fix it.

I also need to mention Tycho. Trying to summarise a game with the complexity of a novel in a few short paragraphs is a challenge.

Latest "Return to Yggdrasill" video.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 6th '18, 08:08

Heyo,

Don't know what this is about as I haven't the time to invest in it, but that armoured Pfhor Fighter looks swell. Like really, really good; I think it fits well with that whole 'Pfhor aesthetic'. Keep up the good work? ^_^
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Sep 6th '18, 21:37

I started off trying to answer “what this is about” with an explanation of my thematic goals and it turned into a novella, so I’ll hold off on that approach for now. I can at least handle a brief explanation of the game’s setting and gameplay, so here it is.

The short answer is that it’s going to be, when finished, a direct sequel to both Eternal and the Salinger plank of the Rubicon, hopefully wrapping up the unresolved plotlines of the former and addressing the Chekhov’s guns that didn’t fire in the latter. The game also directly incorporates elements of Tempus Irae, and I intend not to contradict any of the elements of Phoenix or Kindred Spirits, which I consider Rubicon’s prequels (however, I have not yet finished Kindred Spirits; it’s really hard). A lot of the plot isn’t firmly set in stone yet, because it depends upon the construction of several more levels.

It is, however, already a completely playable game. It has glitches, it’s almost impossible in parts (one of the early levels frustrated Dr Sumner, and I suspect there are few, if any, more skilled Marathon players on the planet), and some of the terminals are completely blank, but it’s possible to start from the first level and get to the last without experiencing any game-ending problems that aren’t inherent in A1 (e.g., the game freezing after playing fifteen levels in a row).

No description of gameplay or architecture can actually hold up to actually seeing it for yourself, so here are three levels I’m particularly proud of (gameplay on the only real difficulty setting, of course):

To Make an Idol of Our Fear and Call It God

Return to Yggdrasill

Kill Your Sons

I could probably post a top seven if I wanted, but I think three is a good number to lead off with, and these should hopefully give a representative sample of what the game is like (although this sample does include two of the hardest levels). The only particularly important plot knowledge I think you might need before viewing these is that the game interweaves flashbacks, most of which are spruced-up versions of old Bungie/Doubleaught levels (hence “Kill Your Sons”), with a story set after Eternal and Rubicon. I have at least two plot-relevant reasons for incorporating flashbacks, but they’re not necessary to know going into the game (especially since the game currently doesn’t even address one of them at all yet, and only addresses the other obliquely).

I realise there’s an absolutely colossal amount of text to wade through in this thread, should you be interested, but overall, I suspect the vast majority of it isn’t important for first-time players to know. It might be of interest to people who decide to contribute to the development of this project, but even then, a lot of it probably isn’t essential, and you certainly don’t need to know it to play the game. The links in the opening post should give you basically everything you need.

Should you have any further questions, I’ll happily answer them when time permits. I should perhaps also copy some of this to the opening post, because it’s currently not very explanatory of the project’s current state. I’ll do that once I’m sure I’m happy with it.
Last edited by The Man on Sep 7th '18, 00:09, edited 1 time in total.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 6th '18, 22:55

Tycho X wrote:but that armoured Pfhor Fighter looks swell. Like really, really good; I think it fits well with that whole 'Pfhor aesthetic'. Keep up the good work? ^_^


Thanks. ^^ As of this post I'm about 80% done with the lineart (still got two sets of running frames and the death sequences to go).
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 9th '18, 07:18

I’ve messed around quite a bit with the sounds in the past few days, so here’s a new alpha.

https://www65.zippyshare.com/v/s7k5LKw7/file.html

I doubt anything will cease to work entirely, but several levels will sound very stupid if you don’t upgrade. Also, I finally fixed the breathing sound effect so that it actually sounds like breathing. For the time being I’ve just stolen Eternal’s sound for that, but if I find one I like more, I’ll change it up.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 10th '18, 06:00

Remembered this thing I doodled back in June and wondered if a similar conversation (plus parallels with the Jjaro) would ever come up in Chronicles.

(Further context: in Inmortalitas, one major theme is that AIs and androids are, in essence, artificial humans; the UESC even officially recognizes them as such [Homo machinae or something along those lines]. Most androids are fine with this idea, though Durandal has an incredibly hard time accepting it [even after learning certain things about himself]. That might carry over to Platina, albeit for different reasons--until Marcus, none of the humans he interacted with bothered to get close to him or treat him as anything but a nuisance.)
welcome to the scene of the crash
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 10th '18, 08:11

Cool drawing; I would definitely be interested in exploring those themes. I’d actually been thinking about the nature of AI earlier today because someone brought up Person of Interest, which is probably the best job television has ever done at exploring what AI actually is. Certainly one of the most technically accurate.

Yet another new alpha:

https://www65.zippyshare.com/v/z8Rr2EnM/file.html

I’m attempting to replace the old versions of M2/∞ shapes with the most recent HD versions. Oddly, this .zip file wound up being smaller than yesterday’s, even though I added a whole bunch of HD textures from Rubicon and Tempus Irae that hadn’t been present before. It’s possible the new M2/∞ textures are smaller than the old ones. I also learnt today that Goran’s M∞ textures have bump mapping, which means that this entire time I’ve been encoding M∞ films, I haven’t been using the optimal settings. I doubt I’ll go back and redo all of them, though.

I’ve still got a lot of shapes to replace. Most of the Rubicon textures now have their HD versions, though there are a few I still haven’t added and a few I couldn’t find. (Rubicon X actually has completely different textures in its shapes file from Rubicon’s; they’re usually pretty similar, but in a few cases they’re radically different.) I also put the missing Tempus Pfhor textures in. The latest versions of the M2/∞ water sets are also all there now. Still left: M2/∞ lava, M2/∞ sewage, M2/∞ Pfhor (there aren’t too many M2 Pfhor textures), Jjaro, probably some other odds and ends, HD scenery/weapons. I’ll hope to have all this done by Friday.

While I’m at it, can someone explain .dds files to me? I’d like to create quick ’n’ dirty HD versions for the variants I employed of the M2/∞/Tempus textures, but I don’t have the faintest clue how to edit them.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 10th '18, 18:31

The AIs-as-artificial-humans thing fits pretty well with my interpretation of the Jjaro. It's pretty much the bridge between "stage 1" and "stage 2". The technologically advanced human civilization of stage 1 merged pretty much seamlessly with their technology to the point that an organic human person still in their body, an uploaded organic brain, a completely artificial personality construct, and an android (AI in an artificial body) were seen as all just more or less variations of the same thing on a continuous spectrum. When the Sphere wiped out the organic ones, the AIs and uploaded minds, with or without humanoid mechanical bodies, considered themselves a straight continuation of the same people, without any "extinction" per se happening. And just like human cultures mix and merge, they mixed and merged with digital intelligences of other origins around the galaxy, including some of their own creation (like the S'pht Olders), and still considered the resultant civilization the same one that had once been all organic humans at its start. And when they started learning to transcend material reality entirely, and outside of space and time mixed and merged with other beings like that, they still considered themselves an uninterrupted continuation of that same civilization.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Sep 11th '18, 01:37

I like that a lot, though I might tweak a couple of details as being cases of unreliable narration written by the ‘victors’, so to speak. Could the wipeout of organic humans be linked to Achilles? IDR if it was explained in the backstory exactly what specific biological catalyst occurred. It would be a great way to link Eternal and Rubicon if it’s currently unexplained.

I’m pondering how to use those events as a commentary on the necessity for a balance between emotion and reason. This has been explored numerous times including sources as high-culture as Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy and as… not-quite-as-high-culture as Rush’s “Hemispheres” (which, lyrically, is basically just a musical setting of Nietzsche’s work with a few science fiction elements thrown in), so I’m not exactly covering new ground here by incorporating it as a theme, but it seems like it could dovetail well with the mental health themes I’m exploring. (Also, the ship in “Hemispheres” is named Rocinante. I assume the ship in the Marathon universe is, like Rush’s, named after the horse from Don Quixote, but a neat coincidence. Then again, the ship from The Expanse is, I believe, named after both Quixote’s horse and the ship from Rush, so maybe it was both in Bungie’s case as well.)

I’m also pondering whether it would be worth using the events you’ve described either as a means of exploring prejudice or as an allegory of some sort. On my car drive home from work I had some thoughts on that front, but for obvious reasons I couldn’t write them down, and I’m not sure I’ve got them now. I’ll give it some time and see if they come back.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 11th '18, 02:50

I don't know much about the Achilles virus as my familiarity with Rubicon's plot is pretty thin these days, and I actually don't have a lot of specifics in mind for how the Sphere operated in Eternal (which actually really bothers me), but I imagine it would be rather difficult to combine the too.

The Sphere in Eternal was originally, in the history of the story's development, literally the halo from Halo, back when it was not yet clear that Marathon and Halo were not set in the same universe anymore, and its function was to send out some kind of pulse that wiped out large organic life forms to stop the Flood. After thrashing about some to try to salvage the premise of chapter 5 and settling on it being about the Jjaro's first encounter with a W'rkncacnter, I just sort of "mumble mumbled" through an excuse about the Jjaro not being able to approach the waking W'rk and so having to use some kind of weapon that would knock it back out again from a great distance, a weapon with the unfortunate side-effect of killing all less-immortal large life forms in the galaxy along the way. I don't have a great reason for that and it really embarrasses me.

It's implied that the Sphere accomplishes that task via some kind of energy pulse powered by the not-exactly-a-sun at its core, which power source is actually something way more powerful than a sun because that's why when the Pfhor trix xeem it at the chapter 5 climax, it initiates an explosion that will eventually destroy the whole galaxy.

I don't know how you would work a virus into that.


(I'm not sure if it's occurred to me before, though it likely has, but it would make sense that the stage 2 Jjaro would go around creating and uplifting life in the galaxy as a kind of penance for having wiped it all out. Presumably they'd have meant to preserve much of it in the interior of the Sphere, but that would have been lost along with the stage 1 Jjaro who were also meant to be preserved in there.)
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Sep 11th '18, 04:22

Pfhorrest wrote:I don't know much about the Achilles virus as my familiarity with Rubicon's plot is pretty thin these days, and I actually don't have a lot of specifics in mind for how the Sphere operated in Eternal (which actually really bothers me), but I imagine it would be rather difficult to combine the too.


I don't think Rubicon goes too far into specifics wrt: how exactly Achilles kills the infected and whatnot, just that it's hideously dangerous even if Lysander was bluffing about it being incurable (in the Pfhor Plank epilogue, it's mentioned that the UESC had to take drastic measures to keep it from spreading). I think the implication was that Lysander gave the Dangi Corp. an imperfect version, with the intention of switching it out for the final "live reenactment of The Stand" strain at the last moment.

wrt: the Sphere, I think the implication you outlined could work well enough. (I'd say you could always cheat and have them be the actual alternate-timeline counterparts of the Halos, like what I decided Inm!Cortana was to her original self after Destiny 2, but depending on how you'd want to handle such a thing, that might just open a whole other can of worms...)
welcome to the scene of the crash
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 11th '18, 05:48

So let’s test this whole “able to post every two minutes now” thing.

I’m 99% sure RADIX is correct that Rubicon doesn’t go into specifics about the mechanics of how Achilles works, but I think it’s probably possible to make it so the Sphere could’ve taken advantage of whatever weaknesses of human biology are exploited by Achilles. In other words, the Achilles existing, in any form, is a danger to humanity. I’ve speculated that such viri could exist for other sentient species throughout the galaxy. So it’s possible that the Sphere exploits such weaknesses for all of them.

Also lol at “live re-enactment of The Stand”.
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.” —Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Sep 11th '18, 17:23

Exploiting specific weaknesses in a bunch of different life forms sounds like something a weapon designs to wipe out all life would do, rather than a weapon designed to knock out one specific being that merely has the side-effect of wiping out all life too.
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Pfhorrest
California

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