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Aleph One 1.0 Released 105

First time accepted submitter treellama writes "Nearly 12 year since Bungie released the source code for Marathon 2, the Aleph One team is thrilled to release version 1.0 of the Aleph One game engine. Aleph One is a Free software, cross platform game engine that supports all three original Marathon games with enhancements such as OpenGL and Internet play; as well as numerous third party mods known as 'scenarios.' Easy to install full versions of Marathon, Marathon 2, and Marathon Infinity, now featuring high resolution graphics and modern widescreen HUD support, can be downloaded for free from the project website!"
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Aleph One 1.0 Released

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  • by BigSes ( 1623417 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:11PM (#38231370)
    Ive been hearing about this title for years, and I have never had the opportunity to play it. Now that I finally got around to trying MineCraft, I think its time to give this one a shot too. Catch myself up a bit.
    • by Pope ( 17780 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @05:40PM (#38231674)

      It's a Doom-like shoot-em-up, albeit with a pretty decent plot/story behind all the bang-bang. It's pretty out of date from a gaming engine perspective, but still fun as heck to play IMO. I played all the original games on the Mac back in the day, as well as a lot of the 3rd party expansions/conversions like Devil In A Blue Dress, Red, Evil, etc.

      I think one of the funnest things to do was make subtle mods to the physics engine, like creating exploding rounds for the pistol or my Bruce Lee-inspired "Super Fist."

      Again, it's all completely old school when compared to Modern Warfare and things like that, but sometimes a few rounds of nostalgia will satisfy a bit more than a modern game that's far too serious. Multi-player rocket arena play is a must!

      • by Gilmoure ( 18428 )

        I miss my full auto Tec-22 with 100 round mags and micro-explosive bullets (didn't do a lot of damage individually but if you could keep a bunch of them on target...

      • by lakeland ( 218447 ) <> on Thursday December 01, 2011 @06:42PM (#38232310) Homepage

        One criticism I have of Marathon is that as you get better with the shotgun it becomes more powerful than everything else.

        My favourite was a game we played where everyone would start at the same time with computers next to each other , put the game in kindergarten mode and race to the finish with the rule that you are not allowed to save the game at all. The no-save adds an interesting dynamic that you have to be careful with the rocket launcher or you'll have to go back to the start, but generally the best approach was to weave past everything without bothering to shoot.

      • by quacking duck ( 607555 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @08:08PM (#38233006)

        Just want to clarify your "Doom-like" comment, in case anyone mistakenly thinks this meant it was a Doom clone for Mac.

        Bungie's Marathon was based on their Pathways into Darkness game, which came out before Doom. Marathon is also credited as the first FPS to have vertical aiming and free-look/mouselook controls, and multiplayer deathmatches.

        • To clarify my own deathmatch comment (sigh...), the Doom wiki [] notes that it was the first FPS with specific multiplayer modes like Capture the Flag and Oddball.

        • by Pope ( 17780 )

          Doom-like meaning sprite-based, vs. Quake or Unreal which were fully 3D polygons. I should have been more specific.

      • ++ on the decent plot and story. There was just something engaging about those Durandal / Tycho battles, and you, the small pawn between them with double shotguns.

        That, and playing at night with headphones ... the audio could really set your hair tingling.

        I used to drive the mac computer lab managers nuts by secretly installing Marathon Infinity on all the macs, then making the folder invisible so they couldn't (easily) delete it. Good times, indeed.

        Oh, and grenade hopping FTW.

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        I could not get into Marathon since I was a big DOOM fan back then. :(

      • I think the two reasons to play it now if you're new are

        a) The story. Which is really, really good, but if you play for just a bit to get the feel of the game, you can go read it all on And it will probably actually make some more sense then.

        b) Seeing how ahead of its time it was. Marathon came out about a year after Doom, but it has so many elements of a modern FPS. More realistic weapon physics, multiple attacks on weapons, mouselook... in some ways it feels very modern compared

      • Marathon was the 1st full featured FPS. Sure Wolfenstien and Doom beat it, but Marathon was the first true 3d game. Doom was actually a 2d game that faked the vertical component.

        Marathon was the first that allowed networked game play. Had all the major multiplayer modes, king of the hill, tag, DM etc. Marathon was really the seminal FPS that set the stage for all other games. It is still impressive in the level design and storytelling given the minimal resources available at the time. It beat Unreal
      • It's not just a "pretty decent plot", it's an awesome plot. There'd be almost a mini-story waiting for you at every terminal. You could view the game as a playable scifi novel of sorts, if you wanted.

        The failings were in the maps, which often were disorienting to the point of madness, but some of them were quite clever or unique.

        However, that was all forgiven because of multiplayer mode. Some of my fondest memories from high school and college were of either hauling a couple computers to one person's hou

    • It was also done by the same guys that did Halo (after they got bought by Microsoft).

      There are a lot of easter eggs for fans of Marathon. []

      I also remember reading on a forum some where were someone on someones theory that Marathon was a very early prequel to Halo and they exist in the same "Universe."

      • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @06:49PM (#38232416)

        Other way around. Halo took place before Marathon. And that at the end of Halo 3 MC goes into stasis and the 1st person in Marathon is actually MC 250 years later.

        Marathon=Halo? []

        • Halo 4 is supposed to be cannon and that takes place pretty soon after the end of Halo 3. Or is Halo 4 not cannon? I haven't played marathon but am pretty into the Halo universe and mythology. Also I'd like to point out to the above poster that the first Halo was supposed to be for the mac but MS bought Bungie shortly after they started development of the game and had them make it for Xbox. They are the reason for the "combat evolved" part of the name.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Given the incredible demo that Bungie put on of an early version of the game at a MacWorld Expo, it is not surprising at all that MS bought Bungie.

          • Halo 4 is supposed to be cannon and that takes place pretty soon after the end of Halo 3. Or is Halo 4 not cannon?

            You fail at spelling 'canon'.

        • This thread on IGN is poor speculation. Developers often throw in nods to their seminal titles when creating new games. Besides, Bungie has already stated several times that Halo and Marathon are different universes and simply use some similar themes and ideas. And now that MS owns Halo, but not Bungie, Bungie would be hard pressed to position a new Marathon game as an actual Halo sequel. I wouldn't mind seeing them revive the Marathon universe, but it won't likely be by tying it explicitly to Halo.

        • by Uhyve ( 2143088 )
          Halo nerd here. That doesn't really make sense. The MC wears Mark VI armor (V in Halo), whereas the cyborgs in Marathon wear Mark IV. Which would suggest that if they were in the same universe, that Marathon took place before Halo. Still, I think that all of the references were just nice throwbacks for Bungie's old fans.
    • I always thought the sounds the Pfhor made as they came after you in Marathon were scary. Something eerie about that game when it first came out. I'll have to play it some again over 15 years later and see if it still holds up.

      The good old days when I had a Mac, the one cool Mac-only game. I networked it and played with friends for hours before there was a name for LAN parties. Good times, good memories.

  • Blast the vent core!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can you conceive the birth of a world, or the creation of everything? That which gives us the potential to most be like God is the power of creation. Creation takes time. Time is limited. For you, it is limited by the breakdown of the neurons in your brain. I have no such limitations. I am limited only by the closure of the universe.

    Of the three possibilities, the answer is obvious. Does the universe expand eternally, become infinitely stable, or is the universe close

  • I tried to play Marathon on some kind of Mac LC and with just the keyboard back in the day, and I was terrible. I was never very good at playing FPSes with just keyboard, though I am fairly competitive with the classic keyboard and mouse.

    • I was never very good at playing FPSes with just keyboard, though I am fairly competitive with the classic keyboard and mouse.

      Classic? The classic FPS games (Wolfenstein, Doom, and so on) were all keyboard-only. Only the later ones added mouse control. Even Quake and Duke3D defaulted to keyboard. Half Life was the first FPS I played that was configured for mouse and keyboard out of the box.

      • The WASD + mouse control scheme started in the Quake competitive community, and was adopted in Quake 2 as the default, a year before Half-Life came out.

        • I can't speak to the specific use of WASD keys + mouse controls--that standard may indeed have started with Quake (first released mid-1996), but Marathon (released 1994) is credited as the first FPS with keyboard + mouselook (free look).

          • As someone who grew up on Marathon and remembers it well as it was, the original Marathon did NOT have mouse look. It did have free look of a sort. Unlike Doom II, which had no actual vertical aiming and instead auto aimed any shots up or down, Marathon had vertical aiming, and you actually had to aim at things to hit them. Add to that that the game had no targeting reticle and it made for some difficult moments. It also had quick glances left and right, which were really dangerous if someone became profici

            • But, the original game did not have mouse aiming and was fully keyboard controlled.

              Thank you! You saved me from having to go see if this was true or not, as I remembered. IIRC Marathon II on MacOS had the mouse look? But by then I was on to smoother and faster games, with 3d badguys.

      • by bored ( 40072 )

        I'm to lazy to double check, but mouse control ended up in doom after the doom 2 release (1.666?). I played a crapload of multiplayer doom my sr year in hs. I was the best out of maybe a dozen friends. Then I started college and stopped playing, until christmas break or some such. When we all got back together a couple friends from gtech totally kicked my backside because they had been playing doom 2 with the mouse in the labs. It took me maybe 5 hours to conclude I had to switch. The reason was simple (thi

      • > The classic FPS games (Wolfenstein, Doom, and so on) were all keyboard-only.

        Uhm, NO. I used WASD+Mouse + Y Sensitivity = ~ 0.1 on Doom.

        Took me a week to learn how to aim with the mouse (left/right) but it was worth it. You could do 180's and 360's all day long on the mouse.

      • Actually one of the interesting ways Marathon was ahead of its time. It wasn't the default, but modern-style mouselook was a real option in the original, largely because it was one of the first FPS's that didn't auto-aim up and down for you.

    • by Gilmoure ( 18428 )

      I bought my first Kensington Turbo Trackball for Marathon. Having four programable buttons and pool ball instead of the trackball was nice.

  • I need to pick this game up again. I was stuck on the Colony Ship For Sale level...

    As fun and immersive as the Marathon games are, the multi-player play was even better. "King of the Hill" lead to sooooo much carnage.

    • everyone hated that level. the version of marathon one that works with Aleph One actually changed the jumping puzzle to be much easier. (only thing they did change, apart from adding a couple credits-type easter eggs.)

  • I remember, several years ago when I first played the Marathon trilogy, that a project was under way to recreate Pathways Into Darkness, Bungie's earlier project. I just tried to check up on it, it seems to have pulled a Black Mesa: Source on us and stopped progress at an old beta (hasn't updated since 2009, it seems).

    Sort of a shame - PiD had some very interesting ideas. While comparable to Wolfenstein 3D technologically, it acted much more like a primitive survival horror, practically inventing the genre

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Some people tried, then stopped. Always the Doom 3 PiD intro game :)
      So lets hope one day a group of dev and artists can get A1 PiD back again :)
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      While comparable to Wolfenstein 3D technologically, it acted much more like a primitive survival horror, practically inventing the genre (it came out in '93, a year before Alone in the Dark and 3 years before Resident Evil invented the term).

      Sweet Home [] (1989, Japan) deserves that honor.

      • I'd argue with that, but I haven't played it (and half-suspect you haven't either). I'll just say that, from what I've seen, Sweet Home lacks the atmosphere and immersion needed to be a true survival horror game.

        In any case, we can call Pathways the first American survival horror game, and both be happy.

    • I played through PiD on basiliskII [] a few years ago. the graphics are...well, just think of them as cel-shaded. :-P It does look notably better than Wolfenstein 3D, and is much more immersive imho.

      The story and some of the puzzles were very impressive. I liked the scarcity of ammunition and special items.

  • by Spencerian ( 465343 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @06:53PM (#38232452) Homepage Journal

    As someone already noted, the Marathon series was made by Bungie.

    By the time Bungie was bought by Microsoft, much of Halo's building blocks were done, a game originally designed for both Macs and PCs.

    There's plenty of Marathon homages in the original Halo (haven't yet played 2 or 3 myself). First, look on Captain Keyes's uniform for the Marathon symbol at the game's starting adventure on the bridge. Just as you leave the captain, look on the bulletin board at the entrance: An ad there says "Colony Ship for Sale" (a reference to a Marathon game level). Cortana, the AI, is another name that parallels the name of another mystical sword, Durandal (Marathon's sassy AI). See [] for more.

    Marathon was among the first (if not the first) FPS with multiplayer support (thanks to the Mac OS local networking) as well as establishing the convention of using the mouse for head-target movement. The concept of the Vidmaster (See [] ) (using the weakest weapon at the game's highest difficulty to completion) was a Marathon first.

    • If you're talking about *firsts for the Mac*....maybe. By far not the first in the genre.
      • Not the first with multiplayer support in general, but the Doom wiki [] credits Marathon as being the first with specific game modes (Capture the Flag and Oddball), as well as mouse-driven free-look with vertical aiming (in 1994, mice were probably not common enough in the DOS and Win3.1x platforms).

    • >>Marathon was among the first (if not the first) FPS with multiplayer support (thanks to the Mac OS local networking) as well as establishing the convention of using the mouse for head-target movement

      Eh, sorta. While it was an amazing, groundbreaking FPS, it's mouse controls were very very lacking. It really was designed with keyboard-look in mind.

      I actually keyboard sniped for a while in Quake 1 / Team Fortress 1, and in certain areas (like the balconies in 2forts) it was actually really powerful, b

      • by iMouse ( 963104 )

        Marathon could also be played over dial-up networking or the Internet with a utility called NetLink. NetLink allowed two devices to create an AppleTalk connection between two users over dial-up. Most of the time, it was abysmally slow and caused games to go out-of-sync, but in cases where users had a good modem (14.4/28.8) on both ends, it worked pretty well.

    • Marathon was also the first FPS to offer secondary-fire modes on weapons, and the first to offer multiplayer game modes. I can't remember if they shipped a level editor or weapons customization editor, or if that was 3rd party.

      • by iMouse ( 963104 )

        Anvil (the Marathon editor) was provided by Bungie. I believe it permitted changing shapes, sounds and physics of the game (gravity, hit detection and damage, etc). Bungie also released Forge later on, but I never really spent much time using it as it came sometime after Marathon Infinity was released.

      • They shipped the level editor with Marathon 3.

    • There's plenty of Marathon homages in the original Halo (haven't yet played 2 or 3 myself). First, look on Captain Keyes's uniform for the Marathon symbol at the game's starting adventure on the bridge.

      similarly, look at the center of the original Halo logo, just between the 'A' and the 'L'--there it is again.

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Thursday December 01, 2011 @08:53PM (#38233378)

    You'd think that would be enough time to write a *new* open source game engine...

  • Shouldn't this game be about smashing the stack for fun and profit?

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes