HC SVNT DRACONES - Hic Sunt Dracones
"Here be dragons..."
This section is meant to bring you, fans new and old, a collection of notable Marathon:Resurrection history.
Over the years, we've undertaken several events along our production timeline to share with you and engage you, the
people who download, play and enjoy this game. These events, and your participation, often in very large numbers, made
for memorable moments for all of us, and we hope for you as well. The nostalgia of years gone by makes us want to dust
off these old relics and share them with you here. We also wanted to provide those new to Marathon:Resurrection an
opportunity to be a part of over 6 years of community game development and the great moments shared with everyone. Thank you.
Our website has gone through many different designs and interations, trying to evolve and keep up with the times, while also trying to
maintain a familiarity and design from the very beginning. Around 2001 we created a design that stayed with us for about 5 years, until
we finally changed to the current state, and through all those years we worked on different "splash" screens for the main page of the site.
This was an opportunity for us to indicate new content created for the game, put up teasers for upcoming events, or simply display
an image appropriate for the time of year, be it holidays or other events. As all the screens are dated, it is a good way to see our progress
through all this time. Here is the collection of all splash screens starting March, 2001.
Click on the number links below...
- Screen 3 was made around the time of "The Sims" craze, as a response to that.
- Screen 4 was made to introduce the existence of Babs among Bobs.
- Screen 7 was made to indicate the [person] who makes splash screens was going to be away for a week.
- Screen 8 was the start of events for Beta 1.0 release. It has a corresponding desktop picture and it showed the Pfhor ship scanning the UESC Marathon.
- Screens 9a - 9g were a countdown that changed every day for a week just before Public Beta 1.0 release.
- Screen 10 indicated Public Beta 1.0 release however it also showed the inclusion of the WSTM Shotgun in M:R, which was not, in fact, part of the original Marathon.
- Screen 13 indicated Public Beta 1.1.1 release as well as the arrival of the TOZT flamethrower.
- Screen 22 was made when we noticed, sadly, that the domain for Marathon|Rampancy (another Marathon to UT project) had been replaced with a placeholder advertising soft porn. We commiserated.
- Screen 26 marked the arrival of the current site design.
- Screen 27 introduced the release of the complete Single Player campaign and version 2.0. It stayed on the main page for 14 years.
When we released Beta 1.0, we planned to use the website as a way to anticipate the beginning of the Marathon story.
We created splash screens, desktop pictures and three terminals that were meant to start off the story, with Durandal having
the Pfhor ship find and attack the UESC Marathon. The following three terminals were used as a front to the website for a short
period before the beta release and instead of looping once they played through as they do now, they would redirect to the main
page which showed the countdown splash screens.
The links below will each open in a new window (or tab)...
In January, 2002, after having released Beta 1.1.1 we had the feeling that we had a pretty robust multi-player Mod on
our hands. We had spent many a night playing amongst ourselves and we felt that in spite of some lingering bugs, the gameplay was quite
solid and extremely fun. All the main weapons had been integrated by this point and we wanted to engage our fan-base. This
is how the idea to host a Marathon:Resurrection tournament came about. We set out the rules, and after a news and forum post, and a splash
screen on the main page of the site, the entries started to pour in. Of note, was the fact that we offered what we thoght was an excellent prize:
a customized, custom made, large size Marathon:Resurrection poster for the winner and runner-ups. The winners were given the original file in ultra high-res
so that they would be able to get it printed at their shop of choice. The tournament was organized in conjuction with FileBall, which has
been an incredibly accommodating and helpful resource for us. We had almost 45 entries in two weeks.
We were thrilled with the response and we set out to run the event. We realized very quickly that our entries were spread out all over
the world and needless to say it was a little challenging to organize everyone's playing time. The entrants where very good at providing us
the required information, regarding their time zone, screen names and computer they were using, and for the most part, everyone managed to play
their games at the schedule time. It was unfortunate, and lessons learned for us, that some players just simply never made it. It is likely
that the difference in time zones and the fickleness of available free time for games caused this, but overall, people played and had a good time.
The tournament was structured on a couple of group play rounds of Every Man for Himself and King of the Hill on Sands Serif and Beyond Thunderdome
respectively. The top two winners moved on to the second round and so on until there was only one left standing:
Tournament Winner: Jeff "Sidoh" Lindquist.
His prize was a personalized version of the tournament poster. The poster was meant to be printable at up to 22"x34" at high
quality and Tycho himself (who made the poster together with the talented and generous Anaphiel) has a full size generic version of it on his wall. It is most
certainly a unique piece of memorabilia.
The links below show a generic version of the poster, as the winner's poster is indeed, unique.
A much larger version, but one still 1/3 the size of the original is available here.
In the same spirit as the Tournament, in May 2002, we launched a contest, in order to engage our community. The contest idea was simple enough:
Anyone who wanted and was able to, would create a new skin for the Mjolnr multi-player in-game model. The model and UV pack were provided, and a
"sample" skin was provided. Both the sample skin as well as the winning contest entries, would ultimately make it into the game, as optional player
skins. The timeframe allowed was approximately 1 month. The prize, aside from the winning entries gracing our Mod, was also an actual copy of
the Marathon:Resurrection Soundtrack CD, complete with custom made inserts and covers, mailed to the winners.
Read more about DesignatorHawk's skin here.
Unlike the Tournament, the response wasn't quite as loud, however we still had many entries. We believe the difficulty of having to know how to use
something like Photoshop, and painting a UV map, as well as using a 3D model in order to "preview" your work, combined with the fact that this contest
targeted those inclined to show off their artistic skills, made for this more muted response. Nevertheless, we received good entries, and the two
winners were immediately congratulated, and their work is available for all to see on our Fan Art page, as well
as in-game, as selectable multi-player skins for the Mjolnr player model. The entries were also supposed to be accompanied by a short description,
a little bit of background behind the design of each skin, and we weren't let down. The winners and their winning entries were:
Mark "Designator Hawk" Kane
Christian "Boomer" Allgulander
Also check out the Soundtrack CD artwork the winners received with their CDs, for their efforts:
In July of 2002, we were getting ready to reach a very important milestone. Up to this point, we had made incremental releases showing off various parts of
the project, specifically relating to the multi-player experience. Beta 1.2 was meant to be a "replica" of the original Marathon demo, which included
some multi-player maps, as well as 3 single player maps. This signaled in a sense some form of completion, meaning that at this point we felt
we had a platform which was in many ways ready, and all that was needed was to finish the additional necessary art/game content. As history would see it,
this latter part took a considerable amount of time, but almost everything after the Beta 1.2 release was built upon that material.
For this upcoming release, we wanted to do something "big". About a year before, many in the Marathon and Bungie community took part what became known as
the Marathon Story Glyphs. It was essentially an elaborate puzzle in which hundreds of people around the world participated with enthusiasm to try and solve.
We also took part and the memory stayed with us. The amount of collaboration and community involvement impressed us and it was something we really appreciated
from that whole experience, and in a bit of imitation we decided to create something similar to mark our next release.
The Demo Release Puzzles were by far the most elaborate, complex and difficult event we undertook to engage the community in what we were doing, and the
participation was phenomenal. Ultimately, it was so successful that it forced us to change some plans. Participation was so overwhelming, and the people
so cunning, that we actually had to add a level to our puzzles because things were being solved faster than we had planned (as much as one can plan such things).
The premise was fairly simple. The main content of the website was removed and only a cryptic graphic of a UESC Marathon terminal was left up, together
with the message board. The terminal indicated that some kind of "lockdown" had occured and that you needed to gain "access". It was also indicated that
there were multiple "security" levels, and that this was only the first of several. Thankfully, we did not originally indicate how many levels there would be
as this allowed us to adjust and add puzzle levels when it turned out that we had very sharp minds to contend with on the message board. Our fans were
not only extremely bright, but incredibly civil, curteous and a lot of fun, allowing this event to run well and smoothly. Everyone got into the spirit of things.
Upon the community solving the last puzzle, the main terminal would grant "access" and a countdown started on the site, showing an impeding event was about to happen.
This was, of course, the time of the Beta 1.2 release: the Marathon:Resurrection Demo.
Below you will find links that take you to each of the five puzzle terminal levels as they were originally presented to provide people with the
ability to solve them anew, or just revisit those moments. Adjacent to each terminal link there is also another link that will display the solution for each
security level once clicked.
This was the first and also the simplest of terminals, and once solved, it set the mood for what was to follow.
Level 1 Terminal :::
Level 1 Solution
Level 1 was a simple conversion from text to ASCII code conversion. Each letter in the text was replaced with its ASCII code equivalent.
Thus, D became 68, E became 69, A became 65 and so on. The text finally spelled out: Death is but a doorway, time is but a window. The
fact that 'doorway' and 'window' were in green and red respectively was to hint between green being the colour of the typically helpful
Durandal in the game, and the relatively mad red Tycho. The level 1 password was 'doorway'.
Level 2 was considerably harder, and in fact we thought it would be one of the hardest to figure out, as it took trying to think of the puzzle
in a much more different and tactile way than most would have been inclined.
Level 2 Terminal :::
Level 2 Solution
The groups of 6 numbers were actually several different pieces of information. The first three numbers were coordinates in three-dimensional space,
in x-y-z coordinates, while the last three numbers were RGB colour codes. Thus, the first set "2,2,1,255,0,0" would be a red coloured "dot" at
position x=2, y=2 and z=1 in an imaginary 3D grid. Originally, one of the team members suggested we colour each set of numbers with the correct
colour and group the like colours as it would be "too difficult" otherwise, however we decided to keep it "difficult". Once each coordinate and
colour for each set of 6 numbers was recorded, one would need to actually visualize this information in three-dimensional space and think to
group the like-coloured dots together. Once this was done, it would become evident that the like-coloured dots form shapes that looked like letters.
There were 5 letters, and the password was specifically picked to contain two letters of the same kind, but of different colour in order to help
with its decyphering. The colours of the letters were also important as to help with the order in which the letter needed to be organized. They
were in the colours in the order of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue. For a while, this puzzled posed quite a challenge, however,
at one point a couple of people started moving onto the right path and a certain "AI Spaceman" came up with the solution, exactly as we had laid
it out. It was a brilliant moment for everyone. The level 2 password was 'flood'.
Level 3 was a bit of a gamble on our part. If people taking part in the solving of the puzzle were familiar with a specific piece of information
the solution would be quite simple and obvious. However, we were really excited about forcing people to become really engaged with the process
as this puzzle would have been easiest to solve if the clue was "printed out".
Level 3 Terminal :::
Level 3 Solution
The puzzle was actually nothing more than an apparent long text
file full of "gibberish" that kind of looked like code. The puzzled again held people at bay for a while until a poster named 'Mazilurik' correctly
identified that the txt file was in fact a very very stripped down PostScript file. If someone decided to change the txt file to a .ps file and sent
it to a printer they would get a beautiful printout of the level 4 puzzle, with instructions to post the image on the message board to prove that
they have figured it out. Once sufficient proof was demonstrated on the message board, level 4 was brought up. Level 3 did not have a password.
As shown in level 3, level 4 was again a letter cypher. The cypher contained many, many clues, and in some ways the difficulty of level 4 was
the abundance of information that was in fact given right in the clue. Not only that, but the chart full of letters had one glaring difference:
it showed the number 7 among the letters. Given the significance of the number 7 in Bungie related content, and especially in Marathon, we felt
that this was an extremely important clue, and in many ways would make solving this puzzle much easier. The other reason that this level
seemed overwhelmingly difficult is that the following terminal screen indicated that it would require 7 passwords to solve, and they would all
need to be entered correctly.
Level 4 Terminal :::
Level 4 Solution
The passwords themselves were hidden among the letters, the rest of the signs and symbols were all clues. The
shapes in the first column, combined with the plus and minus signs inside, were meant to indicate the starting letter in each row. Thus, for the
first row, the shape was a pentagon with a minus sign, meaning the first letter was the 5th letter counting back from the right hand of the first row.
The first letter hence was 'J'. The next column showed arrows which indicated the direction that the word would go in, on the letter maze, once
you found out the first letter. The next column had a certain number of dots for each row, indicating the length of the word for each row.
Hence, the first word would start 5 spaces from the right, and go Southeast for 4 spaces...The first word would be "JQVM". The same process would
bring the following 6 words as well and the only remaining piece of information was that all letters were shifted 7 spaces forward in the alphabet,
hence the glaring number 7. Had someone changed the letter maze 7 spaces back in the alphabet to begin with, the words would have become very
obvious. This is where we took the opportunity to acknowledge the members of our community and our thanks for their involvement. All the 7 passwords
were the screen names of the most active message board posters up to that point in time: Djof, Boomer, Grasshopper, Silentman, JohannesGunnar,
Tru7h, Gunsandammo. The following image represents the solution.
While Levels 1-4 were a pre-planned group, level 5 was created originally as a contigency plan, in the off chance that the original 4 puzzles would
be too easy and solved too quickly. It proved to have been a very good idea. Level 5 was by far the hardest puzzle. In a single image, a whole
wealth of information was provided and it required a significant amount of commitment to piece the clues together.
Level 5 Terminal :::
Level 5 Solution
The clues on the chart would point to 12 different locations on a world map. Each pair of dots for each circle was a set of longitude and latitude
coordinates for 12 world cities. The final twist was the last letter of each city is what was used to put together the final password. This puzzle
required a little bit more hints, however, everyone persisted and eventually the puzzle was sovled.
Each circle had two dots on the outside, a red one and a green one. The angle from the centre to the dot would give you the degree for the red one.
For the green one you simply had to rotate the circles 180° counter clockwise or, as the little graphic indicated, measure the two opposite
quadrants as if they started at 0 each.
Once you had the angles for longitude (red) and latitude (green) each dot would be connected to the proper minute and direction indicator.
The radii are 60 minutes long each (120 for the diameter) and they point to north, east, west and south. For example, for the first circle (the
one furthest out), the dash for the red dot lies at approximately 49' on the North radius. And so on and so on...The coordinates were:
48° 49' N 2° 29' E for Paris
46° 50' N 71° 15' W for Quebec
48° 9' N 11° 34' E for Munich
13° 0' S 38° 30' W for Salvador
0° 13' S 78° 32' W for Quito
39° 11' N 76° 40' W for Baltimore
23° 2' N 72° 35' E for Ahmadabad
1° 16' S 36° 48' E for Nairobi
26° 50' S 65° 10' W for San Miguel de Tucuman
53° 33' N 9° 58' E for Hamburg
1° 18' N 103° 50' E Singapore
36° 9' N 5° 22' W for Gibraltar
The final level 5 password was 'Schroedinger'.
The message board does contain all the messages and the activity around that time and there are some truly memorable threads. If you search the
messageboard for the month of July, 2002, you will find a wealth of threads dedicated to the solving of these puzzles. At the end, the final terminal
simply showed a countdown to August 3rd, 2002 at 12:00:01 PST.
The Final Terminal