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Long time no see!

Post Apr 28th '19, 13:27

Hi everyone!

My name is Andreas, and I was a very dedicated Marathon fan back in its heyday. Marathon 1 is one of the most important games to my gaming childhood and modifying M1 and 2 and obsessing over the story kept me busy for years and years.

I was an MMMG fanboy way back when starting with DIABD and eventually got me peripherally involved with the making and completion of Morgana, one of my best memories from any gaming community.

It's been a very long time now but I have extremely warm memories of Forge and Pfhorte, drawing maps on graph paper and essentially dreaming of clockwise vertices, 4D-space, dramatic polygon lighting and bizarre gimmicky architecture. It warms my heart to know there is still an active community <3

I keep meaning to go back to M2/I to tinker with scenarios and level design but the post Aleph One landscape is pretty daunting. That the current preferred editor stack seems to require a separate kind of weird hacky scripted solution for live texturing makes the workflow sound pretty bad. My instinct is to get back to a setup where I can just open Forge and go but I'm sure that too would be a rude awakening. My gut feeling, which is super arrogant and can end up nowhere good, is to educate myself on the Marathon data formats and try to create a cross platform WebGL-powered editor built on ElectronJS.

In any case I'm forever tickled by this engine and what it's produced. Thank you everyone for keeping it alive <3
Xypher

Post Apr 28th '19, 19:34

On the Hondai
Screamernail

Post Apr 28th '19, 22:10

Welcome. I’ve actually been pondering, once I have more free time, making EMR function with the current versions of A1, but the license forbids modification of the game without permission, and I’d never gotten around to contacting any of the creators (primarily because I’m busy with a bunch of other projects, including Eternal and Marathon Chronicles in the Marathon sphere, so I wouldn’t have time to start updating EMR right now anyway). I’m not sure if you’re in touch with any of the project leaders who’d be in a position to grant that permission, but it’s something I may pursue one of these days if no one else gets to it first. (I think one of the community members here may have given me Bill Catambay’s email address a few months ago, but I’d have to go look for it.)

That cross-platform editor idea does sound quite appealing and I’d love it if someone could find a way to make a texturing solution that doesn’t require switching between Weland and A1. The main reason it hasn’t been done yet is because doing so would require maintaining an entirely separate branch of A1 for the purpose of editing, and no one wants to do that. I suspect the ideal solution might actually be to implement the editor inside the game itself, but the Lua implementation currently isn’t anywhere near powerful enough to support that, unfortunately, and I suspect there are some logistical reasons making it impossible (or at least highly implausible).

Anyway, take a look around – this community isn’t as active as it once was, but it still has its moments, and there are plenty of still-ongoing scenario development projects.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 29th '19, 00:43

Welcome back.

You've been awakened from stasis and teleported to the year 2019 where we need some work done. You are on the Pfhorums, the home of the Aleph One.

I'm sure you're wondering why you were in stasis, what happened to the source code, and most of all where your Visual Mode and terminal editor are. There'll be plenty of time for explanations in a moment.

Be careful, I'm sure you've already recognized some of our old friends.



Your desire to create a WYSIWYG map editor is a noble one. I believe Pfhorte's source code is out there, no? I do wonder why no-one has taken up that in an effort to integrate texturing and WYSIWYG elevation editing into Weland or something...

We miss both Pfhorte and Forge's Visual Mode dearly, but we get by. Vasara is actually pretty good, despite its bugs, and has a very intuitive interface, but the whole aiming thing instead of being able to have a moveable cursor is rather annoying and the lack of elevation editing is quite the oversight. I've written my own private script for elevation editing in A1, but it's got some problems and is unfit for distribution. Then there's the Visual Mode plugin, which, while horribly unintuitive, is much less buggy, and allows for multiplayer texturing.

Without having to deal with all the 3D rendering, it would be wonderful if we just had Pfhorte-style side inspectors to change texturing with in Weland, and a way to choose which textures get applied when you Pave. That would be great for the workflow.

-------

If you'd like to jump in on any existing projects, you've arrived at a bit of a lull - the most active of us are either burnt out after the rush to get Eternal 1.2 out the door or have recently completed other projects - but, active, open projects include:

  • Marathon 1 Redux - my pet project to expand and update M1 to take advantage of Aleph One's new capabilities. I'm a bit burnt out from working on Eternal at the moment, but after exams are over this will be back in full swing. I'd say that I need help with level design if the colony missions are ever to become a reality, but I said that about other aspects, too, before I learned how to write Lua scripts and model in Blender.
  • Marathon Chronicles - The Man's scenario, which I believe is a Marathon sequel. From what I've skimmed, there are a lot of orignal levels and some neat design tricks, but he needs help writing?
  • Aleph One itself! Hopper's been pretty active lately trying to polish up 1.3. To my great sadness, he says there will be no more OpenGL features, but some important Lua features recently got shoved in.
There are of course several other active projects of individual effort out there that don't seem to be recruiting, but are worth checking out, including:

As for relatively recently completed projects, we have:

  • Aleph One Pathways into Darkness - an awe-inspiring monument of Lua scriping that faithfully repoduces PiD in A1
  • Eternal 1.2 - A visually stunning romantic saga between the Marine and a fellow cyborg who died at Tau Ceti and returns as an AI.
  • Spatial Outpouring - Makes up for being only half-complete by being mind-bendingly surreal. Be careful, as just like with psychedelics, there are both good trips and bad trips that you may find... disturbing.
  • Yuge - been out for a while, but worth mentioning, Wrkncacnter combined community-sourced maps and procedural generation to create a massive scenario that deliberately has no textures or coherent plot, but is said to have excellent gameplay. Trump makes a cameo as the Juggernaut.
Last edited by ravenshining on Apr 29th '19, 01:59, edited 5 times in total.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:07

ravenshining wrote:
  • Marathon Chronicles - The Man's scenario, which I believe is a Marathon sequel. From what I've skimmed, there are a lot of orignal levels and some neat design tricks, but not much writing?

That’s about right. There is a story, but very little of it is in the game yet. From the readme included with the game (well, a more recent revision thereof; I’ll be pushing out a new version of the game once I get RADIX’ Trooper sprites integrated):

  1. It’s still in fairly early alpha status. You will see a lot of: glitchy physics models; obviously unfinished levels; completely blank terminals; cases of thin or nonexistent narrative. I have a reasonable outline of the story I want this game to tell, but not enough levels to tell it properly. Since I want the narrative and gameplay to reinforce each other as much as possible, many of the story’s details are not yet set in stone. I’ll begin writing terminals in earnest when the game is nearer to completion.

D. Scott Brown has admitted that he probably should’ve gone back and rewritten Rubicon’s terminals to say more about the level missions when the game was almost finished. I plan to avoid this problem by simply saving most of the writing until Chronicles is almost finished. A few levels do already have pretty lengthy terminals, though.

The game will ultimately be a direct sequel both to Rubicon’s Salinger plank and to Eternal, but a lot of the elements connecting them are still fairly oblique. The dream terminals I’ve written provide the clearest connection, outside the appearance of several Rubicon assets. The scenario also relies on nonlinear storytelling inspired by Slaughterhouse-Five, and I’ve attempted to do for a few of my favourite M2 and Infinity levels more or less what raven is doing for M1. (Not “The Hard Stuff Rules” or “Aye Mak Sicur”, though; I wouldn’t even attempt to mess with either of those.) But most of the story is still in outline form and hasn’t yet been integrated into the game.

I feel like your guide should be stickied somewhere, raven. Though Where Monsters Are in Dreams seems to be absent from your list, but I haven’t heard anything about it lately. Maybe $lave has updates; I think he’s involved with it. Or was it Windbreaker? Maybe both of them. Don’t rely too much on my memory. It’s not reliable. I’m fairly sure at least one of them is, though.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:17

The Man wrote:I feel like your guide should be stickied somewhere, raven. Though Where Monsters Are in Dreams seems to be absent from your list, but I haven’t heard anything about it lately. Maybe $lave has updates; I think he’s involved with it.


Thanks! Actually, right here in Welcome would be a good place to have a sticky, saying, Welcome, here's what's going on and where you can plug in. I read everything here obsessively so I could maintain such a thing, however, I am not impartial, as I have a vested interest in bringing attention to my own project.

I also added Aleph One itself to the list after your response :-)

I thought about WMAID, but as you say, it's been a while since we've heard anything, and even when there was it wasn't very consistent.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:24

Or maybe if you sticky it, make it a little less biased against Yuge. Not even providing a link? lul
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:25

Makes sense!

I’d add that more than writing, the biggest thing I’m lacking in Chronicles is still game content. I probably need at least a dozen more levels to tell the story I really have in mind; I’ve got most of the first half of the game complete, but a lot of the second half is still up in the air.

There’s also a need for art; RADIX is doing a lot there, but we’ve a long way to go before the several discrete environments I want are accurately represented.

Some of this work can possibly overlap with M1R, as raven and I have discussed in the past; I’m planning Tau Ceti, a hundred-ish years past the colony date, as one of the settings for Chronicles to visit, and it’d be neat to have some continuity between the two scenarios. As a result, a setting used in M1R can potentially be revisited a century down the road, after the Pfhor sacked the colony.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:31

Wrkncacnter wrote:Or maybe if you sticky it, make it a little less biased against Yuge. Not even providing a link? lul


And here I thought I was being nice by including Yuge in my list of things to check out, despite how long it's been since it came out...

Have I described Yuge inaccruately? I didn't say anything negative, unless you consider what Yuge is to be negative. Also, the post didn't have links at first, I went back and added them afterwards, and couldn't quickly find the Yuge topic.
Last edited by ravenshining on Apr 29th '19, 01:43, edited 1 time in total.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:40

Your description is fine, but taking the time to provide links to everything except Yuge, given your vocal opinions about it, seems pretty questionable to me. You're right though, the fact that you mentioned it at all is kind of surprising to me.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:47

The Yuge project thread, unlike the others, is not in Projects, and the first post doesn't talk about Yuge: both the thread title and the first post suggest that the thread was about YugePax, not Yuge itself. This confused me, making me I think I was in the wrong thread, so it didn't make in into the edit at the same time as the others. It's not my fault that you obfuscated your thread so.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Apr 29th '19, 01:57

OK, fair enough I guess. Although if we're talking about actually stickying this (who knows if that's going to happen in the first place), it seems like it would make more sense to link to the downloads themselves for the projects that are complete. I'm not sure the pfhorums threads are particularly useful for any of those.
Last edited by Wrkncacnter on Apr 29th '19, 06:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 29th '19, 02:16

I think maybe it’s worth just making a separate topic that doesn’t have any of the off-topic discussion so as not to confuse other newcomers. I agree that download links are probably more ideal for completed scenarios. I’d volunteer to maintain that myself, but my occasional mental health sabbaticals suggest it’s probably better to entrust someone else with it.

On that count, it might be worth updating the Lhowon.org scenarios page, since that also doesn’t link Yuge, AOPID, etc. And for that matter, a lot of the most commonly played net maps aren’t on there either. I’m not sure how important that is, but anyone wanting to get into net games these days would want to be familiar with the maps from Starlight, Imperium, etc.

The Traxus wiki really might be an appropriate repository for this kind of scenario information, but it appears to be dead these days. The domain no longer even functions, apparently.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 29th '19, 12:59

I don't plan on stickying anything related to "in progress" scenarios since a) they may never be finished and b) they will probably be one of the only active threads in view new posts anyway.

However, if someone wants to create a more up to date catalogue of (good) completed scenarios, I'll sticky that. I'd be interested in the list as well since I'm adding that sort of directory to S7, for both net and solo projects.
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$lave

Post Apr 29th '19, 17:57

I can definitely see an argument for not making a list of scenarios with no playable content, but M1R and Chronicles at least have playable demos, even if they're nowhere near finished as such. As a result, even if they never actually do get finished, there are at least fully playable games there. To some extent I'm not sure how much this is differentiable from Eternal, where another release is planned (hopefully) next year - I guess Eternal has a complete narrative, and of course it's got version number 1.2.0 rather than 1.0 alpha whatever. I think playable demos might be worth keeping track of, though. People still play Return to Marathon and that was never finished beyond a three-level demo!

Adding playable demos might also have the added bonus of encouraging people to release more content as they develop games. In my experience, games benefit from more player feedback. This could be a good way to increase the overall quality of scenarios - if people catch issues during testing, that prevents the need for future releases down the line.

But of course, I'm biased, since Lia and I have open-sourced our development processes, and both of us worked on Eternal, which uses the same model. So take this for whatever it's worth.

If nothing else, a more complete list of finished games would be nice. I have to look up where to find stuff like Pfh'Joueur half the time.
“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” —V, V for Vendetta (Alan Moore)

“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”

“If others had not been foolish, we should be so.” —William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Last.fm · Marathon Chronicles · Marathon Eternal 1.2 · Where Monsters Are in Dreams · YouTube Vidmaster’s Challenge
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The Man
Sarasota, FL

Post Apr 30th '19, 02:13

Seconding the scenario-list suggestion; I'd also hope that if anyone can get Traxus back up, all of its stubs for unfinished scenarios could be consolidated into a single page listing each one with a short description. Maybe download links where applicable (example of not applicable: Jade Incursion, unless someone can dig up files/screenshots).
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