Terminals

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Dan
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In the game, they're just text and flat pictures.
<_< But that bugs me. I mean, they're in the 28th century.

I really like to think about terminals creating holographic projections of things, with a holograph of the person (or rampant AI) talking to. Also, solid vision feels like it would fit in the 28th century. And for input from the user, maybe a light keyboard that floats right above the screen. I dunno, something other than a glorified e-mail message.

How do you imagine they'd look like?
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patrick
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do you imagine
"Reimagining the Terminals: A Please Stop Story"
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Pfhorrest
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Bear in mind that though they may be in the 28th century, they're on a 25th century ship. Tech's old, yo. They're still using guns that were around on Mars 300 years ago.
Dan
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Pfhorrest wrote:Bear in mind that though they may be in the 28th century, they're on a 25th century ship. Tech's old, yo. They're still using guns that were around on Mars 300 years ago.
Yeah, I guess their tech is old. Tech's old for them, but we're only in the 21st century right now. They've had room and time to advance. They have AIs that can feel emotion, so why would projecting light in a certain spot be too hard? Right now, all over the world, holographing tech is being developed. Not to mention in Korea there's some "touchable" holographs being made.
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Dan
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patrick wrote:
do you imagine
"Reimagining the Terminals: A Please Stop Story"
Oh, yeah, I remember that comic. :P
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Wrkncacnter
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Because no one wants to sit there listening to an AI read 5 paragraphs to you.
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Terminals are so good at conveying the story of the game that you could condense a huge epic story within one level with an extremely interesting series of terminals.

I'd love to see a scenario that takes place after Marathon : Infinity, THE INVASION OF PFHOR PRIME, 37 Level long scenario is planned and the scenario dies like most of them do.
So the creator changes his strategy and condenses the whole thing into a single level scenario which plays out as follows:

You're a BoB, and you are about to deploy on a mission to invade Pfhor Prime alongside the Cyborg that would have been the main player. But the ship takes a hit and you get locked within the strategic control room over-seeing all operations.

You read and visualize via an unattended terminal the Cyborg undertake all the missions you would have been playing had the scenario been completed. The war ends and in the final screen the UESC hangs you for desertion, and dereliction of duty.
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Terminals are so good at conveying the story of the game that you could condense a huge [book presentation] within one level with an extremely interesting series of terminals . . . which plays out as follows:

You're [Bungie], and you are about to [embark] on a mission to invade [book store shelves] alongside the [Halo novels that are not entitled The Flood] that would have [refuted] the ["twisted deformed deterioration of what used to be Mararthon" found in popular third party scenarios]. But the [reactive teleportation functionality] takes [more skill to implement] and you get locked within the [Decision] room over-seeing [respawning interspecies recreation].
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The war ends and in the final screen the UESC hangs you for desertion, and dereliction of duty.
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Dan
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@Wrkncacnter: Yeah, good point. [insert video of Leela constantly nagging at you about killing BoBs]
@Shocktart: "You read and visualize via an unattended terminal the Cyborg undertake all the missions you would have been playing had the scenario been completed. The war ends and in the final screen the UESC hangs you for desertion, and dereliction of duty." --> [MUp]
@patrick: :P
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Certainly, computers can already display much more complex things than Marathon's terminals. We expect technology to continue to advance, so a Marathon-era display could be holographic, or use some technology we can't even imagine today.

As technology advances, some things change, while others don't. Taken to its endpoint, most or all of the technical constraints are ameliorated, leaving a technology to be shaped solely by what people want it to be.

For example, we have the technology to make a deck of cards any size we want - poster-size, postage stamp-size, or anywhere in between. Their size is dictated by what's most convenient for users, and at this point is unlikely to change much. It's no coincidence that PDAs and cell phones have also evolved to be roughly this same size.

So to imagine how people would communicate in the future, one has to consider what people would want, divorced from technical constraints. Today's touch screens could get better with flexible screens, or a surface that changes texture, or a 3D holographic display. But no matter where the technology goes, one thing will remain the same: it's convenient to mark, identify, or otherwise specify something you see by pointing to it.

I see pressing keys one at a time on a QWERTY keyboard, by contrast, to be inconvenient - a clumsy artifact of past technical limitations. So I don't see the keyboard, even a holographic one, as a typical future input device.

Another quality that won't change in my view is the human brain's capacity for spoken and written language. Short of a direct telepathic connection, a computer interface is likely to involve both of these. Speech is a natural way of communicating for us; a universal human trait. At the same time, even if speech recognition and synthesis technology were perfect, there would be times I want to see information instead of hear it. I think there will always be a place for plain text as a simple, widely understood means of communicating, even with a sophisticated AI on a futuristic spaceship.
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Crater Creator: "I see pressing keys one at a time on a QWERTY keyboard, by contrast, to be inconvenient - a clumsy artifact of past technical limitations." --> Dan: "maybe a light keyboard" --> Dan was drunk or halluncinating or something.

Crater Creator: "At the same time, even if speech recognition and synthesis technology were perfect, there would be times I want to see information instead of hear it. I think there will always be a place for plain text as a simple, widely understood means of communicating, even with a sophisticated AI on a futuristic spaceship." --> Ghmm, yeah... But just plain text and wireframe maps are bleh. I have to admit that plain text is a simple and almost universal way of exchanging information.
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PerseusSpartacus
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Dan wrote:I have to admit that plain text is a simple and almost universal way of exchanging information.
And more easily translatable - I can imagine some of the BoBs might have been saying "Ils sont partout!" instead of "They're everywhere!" ;)
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PerseusSpartacus wrote:
Dan wrote:I have to admit that plain text is a simple and almost universal way of exchanging information.
And more easily translatable - I can imagine some of the BoBs might have been saying "Ils sont partout!" instead of "They're everywhere!" ;)
"Esta`n por todas partes!"
"Sie sind ueberall!"
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How about a scenario that is only about the Player trying to escape back to friendly territory.
You get shot down and the only escape is a Terminal deep within Pfhor Prime's sewage system.

You need to crawl through miles upon miles of feces to reach the exit terminal.
Enemies are "Feces Flickta" that throw feces at you.
The level itself have turrets that act as sewage pipes, so they're basically turrets that shoot feces at you.
Its a scenario that makes the most use of the brown Flickta projectiles. The liquids are brown. The textures are brown. Its all feces.

Marathon : Feces.

The game ends with you escaping, but Tycho intercepts your teleportation and changes your destination away from the UESC Rescue ship's teleportation room and into the UESC Rescue ship's sewage containment module.
You managed to escape a world of Pfhor feces only to get bombarded by human feces.


In the end I think the reasons simple scenarios like this don't get made is because there seems to be some stigma against simplicity. The power of the Terminal in my opinion isn't utilized to its full potential.

Terminals allow Marathon to do the same if not more than AAA games of today. If you can't have an epic space battle, then depict it in a terminal. You go press a button, a terminal states that you turned the tide of some epic battle in space with a kick-ass terminal picture.

I think its why M2 and MInfinity have terminal pictures that are more than just maps like in Marathon 1.
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Ares Ex Machina
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Wrkncacnter wrote:Because no one wants to sit there listening to an AI read 5 paragraphs to you.
Especially when it sounds like Stephen Hawking.
VikingBoyBilly
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I think the AIs are more interested in telling you what to do than in telling you what to do with shiny holographics.
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You know that could actually be a pretty good point, in some cases at least. The AIs that exist entirely without physical bodies, who observe the outside world with a diverse and changeable array of distributed sensors, may well find text the most comfortable and straightforward communication medium, with images and sounds for human consumption being a pointless waste of processing power unless you for some reason care about being approachable to humans.

If there were every a modern adaptation of the Marathon story (in game or movie form), it might make an interesting expression of the different AIs' personalities, how much they make use of graphics and sound. I could imagine Leela being the most "expressive", devoting a lot of effort to showing a comfortable human face (perhaps why she's the only "female" AI on board -- humans find a female persona maternal, nonthreatening, comforting?) with soft, caring tones in her voice, or tones of genuine concern -- really trying to communicate with the humans in their own language. Durandal on the other hand could vacillate between simple text communication, which could be perceived by humans as passive-aggressive like communicating via notes left around the place, or deadpan audio-only communique's; and on the other hand, outright aggressive displays of his virtual face and voice when he wants to threaten or intimidate.
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Hmm, good points Phorrest. Leela would be the most user friendly of the bunch. But at the same time, she never expresses feelings like Durandal - she's all business. If the three AIs had voices, I think she'd be the most likely to have a synthesized voice.

I'd also point out that for a powerful Marathon AI, constructing and rendering a fancy multimedia message instead of a plain text message would require a trivial amount of extra effort.
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I like the proposal for the Marathon: Feces scenario. I'll make that two-map scenario after I'm ready to release 5D Space WITH LAVA!!!
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Pfhorrest wrote:You know that could actually be a pretty good point, in some cases at least. The AIs that exist entirely without physical bodies, who observe the outside world with a diverse and changeable array of distributed sensors, may well find text the most comfortable and straightforward communication medium, with images and sounds for human consumption being a pointless waste of processing power unless you for some reason care about being approachable to humans.

If there were every a modern adaptation of the Marathon story (in game or movie form), it might make an interesting expression of the different AIs' personalities, how much they make use of graphics and sound. I could imagine Leela being the most "expressive", devoting a lot of effort to showing a comfortable human face (perhaps why she's the only "female" AI on board -- humans find a female persona maternal, nonthreatening, comforting?) with soft, caring tones in her voice, or tones of genuine concern -- really trying to communicate with the humans in their own language. Durandal on the other hand could vacillate between simple text communication, which could be perceived by humans as passive-aggressive like communicating via notes left around the place, or deadpan audio-only communique's; and on the other hand, outright aggressive displays of his virtual face and voice when he wants to threaten or intimidate.
Crater Creator wrote:Hmm, good points Phorrest. Leela would be the most user friendly of the bunch. But at the same time, she never expresses feelings like Durandal - she's all business. If the three AIs had voices, I think she'd be the most likely to have a synthesized voice.

I'd also point out that for a powerful Marathon AI, constructing and rendering a fancy multimedia message instead of a plain text message would require a trivial amount of extra effort.
Leela is, like Crater Creator stated, "all business".
I think Durandal (if expressed through holograms, images, and sounds) would be stern and unsympathetic at first, but would slowly lighten up and return to his regular sarcastic self.
When I think about Tycho... I don't want to think about Tycho.
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Leela is a logical idiot. Durandal is a deranged genius. Think of Pinky having the Brain's rage and intelligence and keeping his random charm with the brain left as his pragmatic, level-headed self without the brains, the passion, or ambition, and that's Durandal and Leela.

Tycho... Tycho is Mandark. Nattering about justice and revenge and living in Durandal's shadow while preaching at you about what bad humans you are for killing each other. There's only one terminal where we get to see his original personality before he's assimilated so we just don't know much about what he was like back then (Durandal was sarcastic! WAAAAH!)
Dan
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VikingBoyBilly wrote:Leela is a logical idiot. Durandal is a deranged genius. Think of Pinky having the Brain's rage and intelligence and keeping his random charm with the brain left as his pragmatic, level-headed self without the brains, the passion, or ambition, and that's Durandal and Leela.

Tycho... Tycho is Mandark. Nattering about justice and revenge and living in Durandal's shadow while preaching at you about what bad humans you are for killing each other. There's only one terminal where we get to see his original personality before he's assimilated so we just don't know much about what he was like back then (Durandal was sarcastic! WAAAAH!)
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I'm not so sure making it cutscene based would really work. To me, Marathon is abstract and minimalist. You have to use your imagination for a lot of things. I don't think waiting for an animated cutscene to finish with a floating hologram of a computer AI head manically narrating to you would be very entertaining or even good for that matter. The way it's presented is far more subtle, and it falls apart if you try to turn it all Hollywood.

Yes, of course they would have more advanced display and interface tech. But this was a game using a primitive engine and not a lot of space for animated cutscenes, as well as a small team with very primitive technology (68k CPU and such). The only feasable way to present the story with their capabilities and deadline was in extremely low poly abstract 5D shapes, and text documents.

Also, you can skip whatever you want and go back, and read at your own pace. The game itself is essentially Doom with a funky spacial quirk in how the engine is designed that can make interesting levels when abused.
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Blastfrog wrote:Also, you can skip whatever you want and go back, and read at your own pace.
That gets at the biggest improvement I'd like to see: a way to review previously read terminals without physically returning to the same spot. Surely you'd be able to download terminal briefings to your 28th-century smartphone or tablet, so you could double-check that map Leela showed you.
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Hopper wrote:
Blastfrog wrote:Also, you can skip whatever you want and go back, and read at your own pace.
That gets at the biggest improvement I'd like to see: a way to review previously read terminals without physically returning to the same spot. Surely you'd be able to download terminal briefings to your 28th-century smartphone or tablet, so you could double-check that map Leela showed you.
Or, since the security officer is a cyborg, he could download it into his brain and the information could be tracked on his HUD through an in-game menu. Who needs a frickin' smartphone or tablet when you've probably got a neural implant?
(IIRC, the Deus Ex games let you do this. Also, System Shock let you review things you received at any time, and System Shock was released before Marathon 1. However, the definitive version of System Shock, the CD-ROM version, didn't release until after Marathon 1.)

I'm not saying Marathon has to go full System Shock, but some elements and ideas of that could be adapted to a Marathon remake.
For example:
Environmental storytelling (Walls paved in blood, writings on the wall in blood with messages like "They're Everywhere!" Or "Run and hide!", corpses lying on the floor in different states of damage as a result of alien attacks, some corpses being that of the aliens and many corpses being that of the BOBs. Sheets of paper or computer monitors containing peoples' last words or observations.)
HUD recording information (I.E. being able to review previously read terminal text at any time, portions of the map being downloaded from Leela's messages.)
Cyberspace levels. (Because flying through wireframe 3D worlds has not been done in a while. Why not? Seeing the Sph't's cyberattacks first-hand, watching the conflict between Leela and Durandal, and trying to give Leela more control of the Marathon.)
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