Marathon Fonts!

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Weezer14
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A while ago I googled both a pfhor and a s'pht font. I thought you guys would like them.

http://forums.bungie.org/story/?noframes;read=60332


Frog blast the ventlcore,
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Veneteaou
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The S'pht font, while it uses characters from the game, doesn't actually translate game S'pht to anything. A couple of the letters use the same S'pht character. Still, good if someone wants to create something of their own.
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SylithSenjak
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Interesting! I suspect I can find a use for these... [MGrin]
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mchief111
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Weezer14 wrote:A while ago I googled both a pfhor and a s'pht font. I thought you guys would like them.

http://forums.bungie.org/story/?noframes;read=60332


Frog blast the ventlcore,
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Venticore - what an excellent idea for a username...
ChristTrekker
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I still think that someday I'll get around to making a Latin font that resembles that style. Would be kind of fun for us hard-core 'thoners.
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jonny
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Veneteaou wrote:The S'pht font, while it uses characters from the game, doesn't actually translate game S'pht to anything. A couple of the letters use the same S'pht character. Still, good if someone wants to create something of their own.
Does that imply that some text in the game written in the Pfhor font does transliterate into something intelligible?? That would be a pretty neat secret! And gives me some ideas for uncovering secrets....
Look out - he's nuts!
Veneteaou
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I've been trying to crack the font used in the game for years. In fact, the S'pht screens (http://marathon.bungie.org/story/terms/m2/sphtterm1.gif for example) have font arrayed in 7x21 grids - very similar to the 21x7 grid of stars that Bungie tossed in their See You Puzzle Side clue on Facebook (http://halo.bungie.net/images/News/Inli ... leside.jpg).

I've been cracking the Marathon images as well as the font for several months now, but nothing huge has broken.


EDIT: To answer your original question, yes the font says something in the games. Bungie has pointed out that they lost the alphabet at one point, so they don't know how to translate it.
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PerseusSpartacus
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Veneteaou wrote:EDIT: To answer your original question, yes the font says something in the games. Bungie has pointed out that they lost the alphabet at one point, so they don't know how to translate it.
Well then, it's time to start trying the Enigma technique: keep assigning different letters to each symbol until things start making sense. Once it stops being gobbledy-gook, we'll know we've got something and we can plug it into the rest of the terminal pictures.
Veneteaou
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If you want to give it a shot, I'd suggest doing it with some of the S'pht font used in textures in Marathon 2. There are a couple that are only 5 characters long IIRC.

I have them written out; I will go try it and get back to ya.
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treellama
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PerseusSpartacus wrote:Well then, it's time to start trying the Enigma technique: keep assigning different letters to each symbol until things start making sense. Once it stops being gobbledy-gook, we'll know we've got something and we can plug it into the rest of the terminal pictures.
Assuming it's just English written with different characters, it would be way more efficient to do a frequency analysis.

If it's not English written with different characters, assigning different letters to each symbol until it makes sense still won't work because it will never make sense.
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treellama wrote:Assuming it's just English written with different characters, it would be way more efficient to do a frequency analysis.

If it's not English written with different characters, assigning different letters to each symbol until it makes sense still won't work because it will never make sense.
Yeah, if it's just a replacement cipher based on English, it should be relatively easy.

Of course, that assumes you can easily make out the characters. "L" is distinct from "T", but it's possible to kern them together so closely that they'd appear almost as one, where you'd confuse it with "[" and "⌈" or "⬜" and "‾", if you see what I mean. "LT" → "[⌈" → "⬜‾" (depending on font). There actually is a symbol that is shaped roughly like a chunky "⌈", and another almost identical one with a "="-like shape under the crossbar. Is that a modifier (think accent mark, or Hebrew vowel point) of "⌈", or a "⌈" and a typeset "=", or completely new character with similar strokes?

Looks like someone started some work on this concept years ago, too.
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Hopper
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The specific image Veneteaou cited, with 7x21 characters, has very odd characteristics if it's actually a replacement cipher. Here's the image again:

Image

I noticed that the "letters" seemed to form square sets of 3, so I broke it into a 7x7 grid. Many of these 3-character blocks are repeated throughout the image, although they're flipped or rotated. I assigned names to each of these, and came up with the following table:

Code: Select all

An  Dh  FGh Kr  Dn  Gr  -
Bn  Cv  -   FGn Cr  Fr  -
Cn  Bv  FGh Cn  Hr  Er  -
Dn  Av  Dn  Dr  Ah  Dr  -
En  Hn  Cr  FGv Bh  Cr  -
Fn  Cn* FGr Eh  Ch  Br  Kn
Gn  Dr  Kn  FGv Dv  Ar* Av*
Mostly, the text is made of a handful of blocks (the capital letters). Block FG is a set containing the last third of F and the first two-thirds of G. The lowercase letters indicate transformations: n is normal, h is horizontally flipped, v is vertically flipped, r is rotated (or flipped both ways). Asterisks mark where portions were cropped out. The dashes indicate non-repeated blocks I didn't bother to name.

After doing this chunking, it became clear that, except for a few edits, columns 4-6 are a rotated repeat of columns 1-3. The letters were left-aligned for each column, so it's not obvious in an image editor, but they just flipped the whole thing, realigned the symbols, and made a few tweaks to break up the symmetry. The same process happened on a smaller scale: A-D from column 1 was flipped vertically, pasted into column 2, and then D was rotated 180 degrees.

If the image does hold a message, it's unlikely that it involves more than a fraction of the symbols.
Veneteaou
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Interesting. I won't get a shot at it until Monday, but I can see if the other two messages are constructed similarly.
ChristTrekker
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Hopper wrote:The specific image Veneteaou cited, with 7x21 characters, has very odd characteristics if it's actually a replacement cipher. Here's the image again:

Image
The layout of that one almost screams puzzle/cipher to me. This one seems more like a natural language construction:

Image
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Hopper
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ChristTrekker wrote:This one seems more like a natural language construction:

Image
Split the second line (of the three smaller ones, ignoring the header) into two parts, following the "T" shape. Rotate both 180 degrees. You'll find both parts in the first line. Third line, first word, comes from the first line verbatim. Second word, comes from the first line rotated 180 degrees. Third word is the same as the start of the second line (which, as mentioned, is a rotated snippet of the first line).

Yep, clearly a fiendishly clever alien language ambigram. I mean, who ever heard of a rushed artist saving time by copying and combining images?
ChristTrekker
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Geez, Hopper, just had to go and ruin it, didn't you?

:)
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Hopper
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ChristTrekker wrote:Geez, Hopper, just had to go and ruin it, didn't you?
Just doing my part to fit in. [MGrin]
ChristTrekker
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Are there any more examples of S'pht and/or Pfhor language? Not finding much by searching, but some of you probably remember the games better than I do and could tell me "Just look on the Foo terminal of level Bar" or whatever.
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Crater Creator
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Just go to the story page (www.marathon.bungie.org/story). You can see every terminal with images, arranged as they appear in the game, so it wouldn't take long to skim through the terminal pictures from Marathon 2 & Infinity.
ChristTrekker
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Download it and tell me if the font looks like S'pht or not. Still a work-in-progress, so any feedback welcome.

And thanks, CC, that was a good idea.
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Hopper
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That's an interesting idea, ChristTrekker; I wouldn't have thought of making it legible. I wasn't sure about it looking at the A-Z, but on a full text block it's surprisingly good.

The kerning on "ra" and "rd" is awesome; I wish there were more opportunities for this ("ca"? "st"?). The more complex shapes, like uppercase A, F, and X, don't work as well for me -- my favorites are divided ones, like k, m, r, R, and T.
ChristTrekker
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Hopper wrote:That's an interesting idea, ChristTrekker; I wouldn't have thought of making it legible. I wasn't sure about it looking at the A-Z, but on a full text block it's surprisingly good.

The kerning on "ra" and "rd" is awesome; I wish there were more opportunities for this ("ca"? "st"?). The more complex shapes, like uppercase A, F, and X, don't work as well for me -- my favorites are divided ones, like k, m, r, R, and T.
Thanks, Hopper. I think the kerning is what makes it work at all—without that, it really doesn't resemble the shapes that inspired it because there would be too many gaps. I do have one case where a letter combination (h t) actually alters the shapes of the letters to fit that way, but it requires software with Opentype support for ligatures. I plan on doing more once the basics are hammered out. (I've learnt the hard way that you need to get the basic ASCII completed to satisfaction before going much farther.) Those segmented ones are some of my favorite glyphs, too. I'm torn on doing that to more of them: too many and nothing will be legible at all.

A long-term goal is to make it possible to recreate the "S'pht logo" using some sequence of characters. (It does exist as a special character, in the same position as in Marapfhont.) I'll post updates here from time to time. Or just keep tabs on my font homepage, as it has timestamps for the fonts.
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Pfhorrest
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That is very clever!

You should try a Pfhorish lookalike next :-D
ChristTrekker
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Pfhorrest wrote:You should try a Pfhorish lookalike next :-D
Heh. Since there isn't a large body of Pfhor text to study, it would be too tempting to just copy a Klingon font. The "blade-like" nature is similar.
Veneteaou
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ChristTrekker wrote:Are there any more examples of S'pht and/or Pfhor language? Not finding much by searching, but some of you probably remember the games better than I do and could tell me "Just look on the Foo terminal of level Bar" or whatever.
There are actually levels in M2 where the S'pht font was used in wall textures. If you have the game handy load it up, IIRC the first level is one of them.
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