The Marathon

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The Marathon

Post Sep 29th '16, 04:29

Hey guys! Doing a redesign project based on the original trilogy, tackling the enemies, weapons, the player, bobs, the ships, etc...

Was wondering if any of you had thoughts on the Marathon's exterior shape itself. Being fashioned from Deimos, I do want it to have a somewhat organic shape to it, but sticking a satellite dish and some greebles on a lumpy potato shape could prove to look...odd.

If any of you have any suggestions (other ship designs, real spacecraft inspirations/tech specs, etc) to make it a bit more practical in design, without sacrificing its roots, I'm all ears!

Did a very quick sketch, more based off its sprite appearance from the first game, but admittedly it looks strange. Threw some influence from the USCSS Nostromo from Alien (1979) in there to break up the shape a bit, but feel it needs to be more streamlined, without going into generic territory.

uescmarathon.jpg
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Nathan92
MI

Post Sep 29th '16, 06:05

I think it looks good so far!

As for suggestions, would the unused ship graphic from the first game be of any help?

The Marathon isn't listed on there, but Niklas Jansson has a page on ship design that might be useful.
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 29th '16, 06:36

The thing I think you're thinking is a satellite dish in the original sprite is actually the Bussard ramjet. It's not a dish sticking out of the potato-shape; it's a recess like the back end of a rocket. That's where the thrust comes out, or possibly where the interstellar hydrogen is funneled in.

Also, I think you've got the scale off a bit in this sketch. Deimos is 15km long. Those towers you have labelled "G4 Sunbathing" would be kilometers tall. (In contrast, the largest building on Earth today is not even 1km tall, and most of the next-largest ones are barely over half a kilometer). Buildings, even large buildings, would look very small on the scale of the Marathon. Picture a city as seen from above; actually, back of the envelope, the Marathon would have a cross-sectional area that would blot out most of New York City.

We don't know anything about human artificial gravity in the Marathon universe, so I would take the safe assumption that down on Marathon levels is toward the center of the Marathon (even though it's mass shouldn't make for nearly enough gravity as we experience in game). Given that some levels, like Arrival, seem to look out sideways into space, it would seem that structures are likely built into the irregularities of Deimos' surface; a window looking out from near the top of a large cliff, with the drastic curvature of such a small planetoid, would give a pretty unobstructed view of space, without requiring that the window be facing up (away from the center) and thus some kind of weird artificial gravity be in play.

Also, I call [citation needed] on that ship graphic being the Marathon. There is a ship graphic of the Marathon used in the first game, and that unused ship looks much more Pfhorish; its surface even seems to be textured with one of the Pfhor wall textures.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Sep 29th '16, 07:04

General-RADIX wrote:I think it looks good so far!

As for suggestions, would the unused ship graphic from the first game be of any help?

The Marathon isn't listed on there, but Niklas Jansson has a page on ship design that might be useful.


"This was intended to be the Marathon, but later games portray the ship as more like a grey egg."
Isn't that unused graphic a Pfhor slave shuttle?
Shocktart

Post Sep 29th '16, 09:13

Shocktart wrote:"This was intended to be the Marathon, but later games portray the ship as more like a grey egg."
Isn't that unused graphic a Pfhor slave shuttle?


M1A1 refuses to start right now, so I can't check, but if so--whoops. :/
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 29th '16, 20:27

General-RADIX wrote:I think it looks good so far!

As for suggestions, would the unused ship graphic from the first game be of any help?

The Marathon isn't listed on there, but Niklas Jansson has a page on ship design that might be useful.


Thanks! Niklas' work is great, I think he actually put together a poster illustration for Marathon, and the ship itself was in it. Will probably be taking a look at that!

Pfhorrest wrote:The thing I think you're thinking is a satellite dish in the original sprite is actually the Bussard ramjet. It's not a dish sticking out of the potato-shape; it's a recess like the back end of a rocket. That's where the thrust comes out, or possibly where the interstellar hydrogen is funneled in.

Also, I think you've got the scale off a bit in this sketch. Deimos is 15km long. Those towers you have labelled "G4 Sunbathing" would be kilometers tall. (In contrast, the largest building on Earth today is not even 1km tall, and most of the next-largest ones are barely over half a kilometer). Buildings, even large buildings, would look very small on the scale of the Marathon. Picture a city as seen from above; actually, back of the envelope, the Marathon would have a cross-sectional area that would blot out most of New York City.

We don't know anything about human artificial gravity in the Marathon universe, so I would take the safe assumption that down on Marathon levels is toward the center of the Marathon (even though it's mass shouldn't make for nearly enough gravity as we experience in game). Given that some levels, like Arrival, seem to look out sideways into space, it would seem that structures are likely built into the irregularities of Deimos' surface; a window looking out from near the top of a large cliff, with the drastic curvature of such a small planetoid, would give a pretty unobstructed view of space, without requiring that the window be facing up (away from the center) and thus some kind of weird artificial gravity be in play.


Thanks for all the input, it's exactly what I was looking for! Sometimes I forget about aspects such as scale, especially when trying to figure out the general shape/design of things, so thanks for bringing that up, it helps a ton. In order to get things like the sunbathing station in there, I'll probably have to do detail shots, aside from the general exterior.

Oh, and had another question for everyone; seeing as though I want to get fairly in-depth with this project, including text descriptions and functions for the various parts of the ship, how would one explain the pattern buffers? I know they're just save points, but would like to include them somewhere in the project. Does it save the genetic code and place in time of its user, reconfiguring and rebuilding the user and his/her physical attributes upon death? If there's a way to come up with a more plausible-sounding description of them, I'd love to do that.

When the time comes, when the project is all finished (going to try and put together a pitch bible/book,) I want to put all you guys in the 'Thanks' section for helping me out, your input is invaluable to me!
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Nathan92
MI

Post Sep 29th '16, 23:07

Pattern buffers seem modeled after Star Trek style transporter technology, which also uses something called a pattern buffer. When being transported (in Star Trek), all the information composing you, your "pattern", is scanned and stored in a buffer, while the matter you're made of is disassembled, sent elsewhere, and then reassembled in accordance with that pattern. If the transport fails, you can be recovered from the pattern buffer, and there are incidents where someone has been recovered from a pattern buffer a very long time later (Scotty in a TNG episode) or even after an apparently-failed transport actually succeeded (Riker in a TNG episode).

So the Marathon pattern buffer basically just does the scan-and-store part, and then, when you die later, transports that buffered copy of you back out of it. How does it know when you've died, and why does the rest of the universe reset to the way it was when you buffered your pattern? Timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly. Presumably in-universe, the time-reset thing doesn't happen, and... I guess the Marathon's sensors (or an AI watching them) know when someone dies, and trigger the restoration from backup then?
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Sep 30th '16, 00:34

Pfhorrest wrote:So the Marathon pattern buffer basically just does the scan-and-store part, and then, when you die later, transports that buffered copy of you back out of it. How does it know when you've died, and why does the rest of the universe reset to the way it was when you buffered your pattern? Timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly. Presumably in-universe, the time-reset thing doesn't happen, and... I guess the Marathon's sensors (or an AI watching them) know when someone dies, and trigger the restoration from backup then?

I have an alternate theory. Not only does it scan the player when you save, but it saves the state of the entire universe into a roughly 300 kilobyte file. Then, it waits for a powerful being to initiate a universe reload, and restores the entire universe to what was stored in the file. The mararthon sensors and AI will have no idea what just happened.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Sep 30th '16, 02:27

Sweet, thanks for the info!

While I'm here, had another question regarding how to visually depict the 3 AI. I don't want to personify them too much, (don't want a cortana kind of deal), nor a green face for Durandal like in the M1 chapter screen... Considering that AI are basically programs on one giant computer network, I'd like to approach it in a more minimalistic kind of way. Perhaps a drawing of the main servers/computer farm/network of the Marathon, like those giant rooms filled with supercomputers... the only problem though, is how could I visually show the difference between the AI themselves, aside from their varying descriptions?
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Nathan92
MI

Post Sep 30th '16, 02:44

The first things to come to mind are "colour-coding the lights on those computers", and that microchip(?) with a sword engraving from that same chapter screen with Durandal's never-seen-again face.

(Kind of a bummer that you don't wanna go the Cortana route; there's some interesting stuff you could do there, I think. Although, would Halo's more abstract avatars, like Auntie Dot's and Black Box's, be useful to this project?)
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General-RADIX

Post Sep 30th '16, 03:56

General-RADIX wrote:The first things to come to mind are "colour-coding the lights on those computers", and that microchip(?) with a sword engraving from that same chapter screen with Durandal's never-seen-again face.

(Kind of a bummer that you don't wanna go the Cortana route; there's some interesting stuff you could do there, I think. Although, would Halo's more abstract avatars, like Auntie Dot's and Black Box's, be useful to this project?)


Cortana's current avatar after Halo 5 is Hitler.
Shocktart

Post Sep 30th '16, 06:24

General-RADIX wrote:The first things to come to mind are "colour-coding the lights on those computers", and that microchip(?) with a sword engraving from that same chapter screen with Durandal's never-seen-again face.

(Kind of a bummer that you don't wanna go the Cortana route; there's some interesting stuff you could do there, I think. Although, would Halo's more abstract avatars, like Auntie Dot's and Black Box's, be useful to this project?)


Want to go with more of a minimal and cerebral route with the A.I's particularly for this; The A.I's from William Gibson's Neuromancer are more along the lines of what I'm thinking. The main A.I. in the story for instance is represented by a single white large, pixelated square on the matrix/cyberspace interface, but has no physical representation of its own, instead appearing to the main character and his mind through his cybernetic implants.

An Ascii face might be kind of interesting though, will toy around with different ideas.
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Nathan92
MI

Post Sep 30th '16, 12:04

One option may be to do something like the real world supercomputers. I know the ones at ORNL always have those big illustrated face plates on them that you could do pretty much whatever you want with while keeping the real AI basically a big block of racks. It may or may not work for you but maybe will lead you to an idea that might. Perhaps those face plates as screens depicting the live stream of data as some kind of ascii art? Setting a couple of the parallel data streams slightly out of alignment with the rest of the image it is creating might help getting the idea of rampancy across visually.

Ex:
Image
w00se

Post Sep 30th '16, 14:05

Wrkncacnter wrote:I have an alternate theory. Not only does it scan the player when you save, but it saves the state of the entire universe into a roughly 300 kilobyte file. Then, it waits for a powerful being to initiate a universe reload, and restores the entire universe to what was stored in the file. The mararthon sensors and AI will have no idea what just happened.


Wow, Future 7Zip is really good.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Sep 30th '16, 22:54

RyokoTK wrote:
Wrkncacnter wrote:I have an alternate theory. Not only does it scan the player when you save, but it saves the state of the entire universe into a roughly 300 kilobyte file. Then, it waits for a powerful being to initiate a universe reload, and restores the entire universe to what was stored in the file. The mararthon sensors and AI will have no idea what just happened.


Wow, Future 7Zip is really good.


Yet most everyone will still only support regular .zip...
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herecomethej2000
Ledyard, CT

Post Oct 2nd '16, 21:53

Been looking at a lot of different inspirations for the Marathon's interior as well; I think soviet spacesations/ships, submarines and industrial warships are a good place to start. Any other ideas?
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Nathan92
MI

Post Oct 2nd '16, 23:08

Old fishing boats for the really old/disused parts?

(I've got a couple of ideas wrt: atmosphere and/or lightning; would those be useful at this stage?)
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General-RADIX

Post Oct 3rd '16, 19:30

Mines and caves. I imagine the interior of the Marathon was basically mined out of solid rock, reinforced, finished and furnished, for the most part. But some parts not intended for human comfort may be more unrefined, and resemble enormous hollows and mazes of twisty tunnels lined with nothing but the bare rock and its metal reinforcements.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Oct 3rd '16, 20:30

Speaking of 'not meant for human comfort', I suspect that most of the levels with all those open pools of lava were only supposed to be visited and navigated by drones, with maybe one or two concessions for any humans techies who had to go there in dire circumstances. So I imagine that these places would be really industrial-looking and cramped (where the Pfhor haven't cleared some paths for themselves).
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General-RADIX

Post Oct 4th '16, 02:31

Thanks for the suggestions guys! Also, @Radix, yeah, any atmosphere and lighting ideas are welcome as well!

I figure that any areas with Lava will look like a foundry or steel-mill, very industrialized and utilitarian. The Marathon would have use for such areas after all, if the ship's a work in progress, they'd need a place to manufacture panels, flooring, etc... I imagine the bulk of the Marathon's interior will resemble the USCSS Nostromo quite a bit, classically industrial, a bit dirty and lived-in.

@ Pfhorrest
Cool idea! I can imagine them looking unrefined, but still occupied by maintenance tools and whatnot, kind of like these kinds of tunnels:

Image
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Nathan92
MI

Post Oct 4th '16, 12:16

Nathan92 wrote:Also, @Radix, yeah, any atmosphere and lighting ideas are welcome as well!


Alright, so at the moment I've got two particular mental images:

* Moderate-to-almost-total darkness with the major source(s) of light seeming rather ominous and otherworldly. I'm thinking of stuff like The Art of the X-Files and general mid-to-late 90s edge; oftentimes they'd also crank up the saturation to make whatever's visible stand out more. (Maybe this'd be more appropriate for the Pfhor ship...)

* Alternatively (or just in different parts of the Marathon), everything's harshly-lit, with the odd flickering light. The sort of lighting that would probably fry your eyes if you stayed around it too long.
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General-RADIX

Post Oct 4th '16, 15:19

Nathan92 wrote:Hey guys! Doing a redesign project based on the original trilogy, tackling the enemies, weapons, the player, bobs, the ships, etc...

Was wondering if any of you had thoughts on the Marathon's exterior shape itself. Being fashioned from Deimos, I do want it to have a somewhat organic shape to it, but sticking a satellite dish and some greebles on a lumpy potato shape could prove to look...odd.

If any of you have any suggestions (other ship designs, real spacecraft inspirations/tech specs, etc) to make it a bit more practical in design, without sacrificing its roots, I'm all ears!

Did a very quick sketch, more based off its sprite appearance from the first game, but admittedly it looks strange. Threw some influence from the USCSS Nostromo from Alien (1979) in there to break up the shape a bit, but feel it needs to be more streamlined, without going into generic territory.

uescmarathon.jpg



Looks good to me.

The only thing I would say though, and you probably are aware of this already, is that the G4 Sunbathing station looks quite out of proportion in that image, when you consider that the Marathon is meant to be 15km long x 12km wide, yet in the game the entire G4 Sunbathing station can be traversed in a matter of seconds?
CitizenKane
Dublin, Ireland

Post Oct 6th '16, 06:47

@CitizenKane

Yeah, definitely. Pfhorrest brought that up, so I'll definitely be reconsidering its shape and everything! Glad you guys noticed it early, instead of on a more finished piece. Sometimes I'm so gung-ho for a project that I forget about things like scale!
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Nathan92
MI


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