|Initial Release:||October 15, 1996|
Marathon Infinity is the third and final game in the Marathon series of science fiction first-person shooter computer games from Bungie Software. The title is partly explained by Bungie decision to include editors for Maps and Physics, Forge and Anvil, so that the fans could create custom content with their own maps.  The game was released on October 15, 1996 and included more levels than its predecessor Marathon 2. These levels were larger and formed part of a more intricate plot that spanned both space and time.
The underlying engine of the game changed little from the one in Marathon 2 and many levels can be played unmodified in both games. The only significant additions were the Jjaro ship texture set, multiple paths between levels, vacuum-enabled humans carrying fusion weapons (called "Vacuum Bobs" or "VacBobs") and a new weapon. Marathon Infinity, unlike Marathon 2, was only released for the Apple Macintosh.
|There are spoilers contained in this section. Facts or speculations about characters or events may be present.|
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Some gamers consider the story in the single-player version of Marathon Infinity, titled "Blood Tides of Lh'owon", confusing. Greg Kirkpatrick, who was responsible for the story elements of Marathon Infinity, had this to say about the nature of its plot:
As for the infinity "plot" it was a bit of an experiment in terms of seeing how much people could digest from a complex, hard to follow story.
As an example of this complexity, it begins as if large parts, if not all, of the events in Marathon 2 had not happened. Theories differ on exactly what happens in this game, but the consensus is that the player somehow jumps between alternative realities via Jjaro technology, seeking to prevent a chaotic entity, the W'rkncacnter, from being released from Lh'owon's dying sun. For example, the player begins the game as Durandal's ally, only to be transported to a reality where Durandal did not capture the player after the events of Marathon. As such, he is controlled by the Pfhor-tortured AI Tycho.
After multiple instances of these "jumps", the player (seemingly the only being who realizes he is being transported between possible realities) activates the ancient Jjaro station, preventing the chaotic entity's release. The ending screen of Infinity leaves the story's resolution open-ended, taking place millions of years after the events of Marathon Infinity.
Despite the player being teleported to a Jjaro station by Durandal and left with a grim message, both Durandal and Earth did survive in the original timeline as can be seen at the end of Marathon 2.
- Every Man For Himself
- The objective here is to kill everyone else and not die. The player with the best kill ratio (kills to deaths) wins.
- Kill The Dude With The Ball
- The objective is to possess the ball (which is actually a skull) for the longest amount of time. When carrying the ball, running is disabled. Also, the player can't use any weapons when in possession of the ball, however, pressing the fire key will drop the ball and then reenable firing. The motion sensor displays an orange indicator indicating the location of the ball.
- King Of The Hill
- The objective is to stand on the "hill" the longest. "Hill" in this sense is just a figure of speech, it could be anywhere on the map and is indicated by the orange pointer on the motion sensor. Note that every player is trying to do the same, and others will most likely try to kill the player if he gets in their way.
- The first person to die is "it". If the player is "it", he can tag someone (by killing them) and then they are "it". The objective is to be "it" the least. The magic orange indicator points to whomever is "it".
- Team Play
- Team play divides everyone into teams by the colors chosen in the Join or Setup dialog. The objective of each team is to kill members of different teams the most. The player can see his teammate's point of view by pressing the delete key.
- The game scenario can be played cooperatively with other network players. The objective is to complete the Marathon Infinity scenario as a team (i.e. cooperatively). All players teleport to the next level when the first one does. When a player dies, he drops his stuff (don't die in the lava with the shotgun!) Save is disabled when using this feature.
Aleph One (also known as the Marathon Open Source Project) is an open source first-person shooter engine based on the source code of Bungie Studios' Marathon 2: Durandal, the second game in a popular Macintosh computer game series called the Marathon Trilogy.
The project commenced in 2000 when Bungie Studios released the source code of the Marathon 2 engine to Macintosh users shortly before being acquired by Microsoft. After this, many fans created their own applications and began projects to augment the capabilities of the game. Since the release of the source code, Aleph One has been the most developed and supported. Originally called "Marathon Open Source", the name Aleph One was eventually chosen. This number is larger than infinity (assumed to be aleph-null) as a testament to Marathon Infinity, the third and final game in the Marathon Trilogy.
Originally, Aleph One was only compatible with the Classic Macintosh operating system but was Carbonized for use with Mac OS X in 2001. Versions coded with the Simple Direct Media Layer, or SDL, were produced to allow for compatibility with Linux, Windows, Amiga OS and RISC OS (though a PC version of Marathon 2 was made, Bungie, a then-Macintosh developer only released the Macintosh source code) and a number of other (mostly open source) operating systems. Though development has ceased, a Sega Dreamcast version was produced, playable with a specially-designed keyboard.
A number of aesthetic additions to Marathon Infinity have been developed. In early 2000, OpenGL rendering support was added, which at the preference of the user could smooth walls, landscapes, monsters, items and weapons to give them less of a pixelated appearance. Additional features using OpenGL include translucent media (allowing for translucent liquids) and colored fog. As time progressed, anisotropic filtering replaced smoothing and the addition of z-buffer increased game performance. Aleph One supports higher screen resolutions than Marathon Infinity and can use external background tracks in MP3 format. Though not heavily emphasized, there is support for three-dimensional models.
Though many of the changes are sensory, some involve greater engine capabilities. More than twice as many polygons can be drawn on the screen at a single time as Marathon Infinity and viewing distances can be far larger. Lighting effects can be more advanced and more polygons with transparent edges can be viewed in a single frame, allowing for structures such as pyramids and incredibly tall staircases. Though it is currently not supported, early versions of Aleph One were able to accomplish truly three-dimensional polygons, allowing for real bridges and balconies as opposed to just creating illusory 3D with overlapping polygons.The maximum number of creatures a level can hold is three hundred and the sprite-drawing capabilities of Aleph One are far superior to those of Marathon Infinity. Controls have been slightly expanded as well. Aleph One has an option that allows interchanged running and walking, as well as sinking and swimming in liquids. The mouse can be used more effectively and its sensitivity can be set. If desired, weapon switching may be disabled.
In 2000, support for a markup language which would eventually be called the Marathon Markup Language or MML for short was added. Able to be stored internally inside map files as resource forks or in a "Scripts" folder in the Aleph One directory, MML files can set things such as file names, weapons order, the colors of the automap feature, transparency of certain sprites and other things. One of the most frequent uses of this language is for installing high-resolution wall and weapon textures for play. While MML can only change various attributes of Marathon, users have been able to use Lua scripting to drastically alter the mechanics of gameplay. Scripts usually contain "triggers" which will execute certain tasks when certain events take place, such as the saving of a game, the death of a player or the passing of a 30th of a second. Commands include teleporting players to certain locations, forcing them to select a certain weapon, adding or removing items from inventories, killing monsters, setting the heights of structures and a wealth of other things. Lua scripts are often used in multiplayer games to display or alter scores, announce killings, and in some instances, to create new gametypes. Unlike MML scripts, Lua scripts must be stored as resources inside a map file.
One of the most important aspects of Marathon to many players across time has been the multiplayer game. Aleph One has expanded the technologies of this mode in many ways. A 2003 build of Aleph One allowed players to host multiplayer games of Marathon Infinity over an IP address as opposed to just a LAN network. While it was technically already the case, in 2004 a server browser was added to Aleph One and allowed players to play Marathon over the Internet for the first time.
Despite this achievement, many players have claimed that hosting and joining a network game played online is a difficult process. Since this aspect of Aleph One is still in its infancy, firewalls have prevented players from being able to host, or in rare cases, join games. Overcoming this involves opening a port for data to come through and doing so has been a difficult procedure. The most recent build of Aleph One eased this problem with built-in software bypassing the firewalls, but many users still report difficulties. It is possible that the software is incomplete. Another major difficulty many users claim to have with online play is that different router speeds of participants in a game have caused latency in data transfer, as well as poor synchronization in some cases.
Aleph One has added three new multiplayer gametypes to Marathon. These three gametypes are not played as much as the gametypes Bungie designed due to the relatively small number of compatible maps and tools with which to create them as well as the often lack of a sufficient number of players. They are:
- Defense: The "Slate" team defends a Hill from the other teams, who must stay on the Hill for half of the duration of the game to win.
- Capture the Flag: Players steal flags (which are actually skulls) of other teams and take them to their own bases to score points.
- Rugby: In this game, players must take the red skull to another team's base to score points.
1 - Ne Cede Malis
2 - Rise Robot Rise
3 - Poor Yorick
7 - Acme Station
10 - Thing What Kicks...
11 - Electric Sheep Two
12 - Whatever You Please
13 - Naw Man He's Close
14 - Foe Hammer
15 - Hang Brain
16 - Electric Sheep Three
17 - Eat the Path
18 - By Committee
21 - Son of Grendel
22 - Strange Aeons
23 - Bagged Again
25 - Aye Mak Sicur
Secret / Failure Levels
26 - Robot World Arena
28 - Aie Mak Sicur
31 - Try Again