Dr. Lex' Scenario
Preamble: the text below is mostly unchanged since I first wrote it. Things have changed in the meantime, for instance I now have even less time than before, and I am not sure if I would be able to retrieve the files and notes from this project. So if you would be willing to work on this total conversion, you would need to be really, really motivated…
In the middle of August 2000, I started to work on a brand new scenario for the Marathon Infinity engine. I had pretty bold plans for it, like all new textures and scenery, some new weapons, monsters and sounds. And to top it off, some gizmos rarely found in Marathon maps, although some of these have been invented long ago. This was about the same time when the Aleph One project was taking shape, but it was in too early a stage to be usable, so my plan was to stick to a classic Marathon total conversion.
I lined out the story, which mixes some familar Marathon themes with totally new plot elements. It's not a sequel to any existing scenario, so it's pretty ‘stand-alone.’ I also made an outline of all levels that should be made (about 26), what texture set they should use, what should happen in them, what effects to use, and so on.
Now you're probably wondering:
hey, this sounds great, where's the download link? Well, as a matter of fact the scenario didn't get much farther than a half finished level, of which you can see two screenshots here. The modification dates on the files tell me that I abandoned the project around September, 2000. The reason is simple: I didn't have the time to tackle a project like this. This was apparent already after a few months, and it only got worse as I evolved from the high school student with too much time on his hands, to a university student with too little time everywhere. The blissful period in my life where I could dive into any insane project for months on end without having to consider any true time constraints, was over.
Next to the story and outline, I also made a plan of what should be done to end up with a fully finished scenario, and if I look at this plan now, it's more like a project for a team of at least 4 people! How could I ever have thought to do this on my own? The scenario was supposed to contain custom graphics, sounds and chapter screens, and every level needed to be built up from zero — textures included. I could have done this on my own, if I didn't have anything else to do and money grew on my back. Then again, it would still have taken about a year to finish.
Yet, if I re-read the story after those 5 years, I must say it would have been one heck of a scenario if it would have been finished. It's not of the utmost originality, as it contains many familiar Marathon themes, but it has many surprise elements and original twists, and is a good base for some very nice game levels. It starts as follows.
You're a marine, part of a huge colonization force on a ship that has just landed on a planet that looks suitable for human settlements. However, shortly after landing, your team is attacked by your very own colony ship. It appears that the general in charge of the colonization has gone slightly out of his mind! In an attempt to stop him, you manage to get back to the ship, but you are separated from the rest of your team. This proves to be not by accident, as the general is aware of your exceptional reputation. Therefore he wants you to play a key role in his plan, being the creating of a new society on the planet, separated from the mostly corrupt Earth government. Of course this involves eliminating all his opponents, being a large group of government supporters that are part of the colonization force. As you're totally under the general's control, you have no choice but to comply. Actually the plan doesn't seem too bad either, as you have learnt about the many screw-ups of Earth's government from the ship's terminals. However, during your attacks on the government troops, things start to get suspicious when you detect traces of Pfhor presence on the planet. When your mission is nearly complete, an inexplicable communication breakdown occurs, and you're teleported back to the ship without your consent. Wanting to know what's going on, you find your way to the bridge to finally see the general in person and ask for an explanation. However, upon arriving, the bridge is empty. It appears that you have been fooled by someone, or should I say something, playing as general… And this is just the beginning.
In the rest of the story, Pfhor will indeed prove to be present on the planet. Will they be your enemies or your friends? Or both? What are the real plans of whatever tried to fool you in thinking you were following orders from an idealistic general? And who teleported you back to the ship, to show you the true identity of the ‘general’? Many questions that are answered in the full story :)
A common flaw of people who want to make a scenario, is to first make levels and then try to glue them together with a story. The incoherence of the raw materials often causes the project to die. This is the reverse case. I do have a coherent story and outline, but no time to implement it. Therefore, if you'd like to make a scenario but don't know where to start, this may be your chance!
My deal is the following: you can have all this scenario's resources, at the condition that you can give a reasonable guarantee that you'll be able to make a finished product out of it. In practice this means you either gather a team of motivated people, or you're really hyper-motivated and experienced, and have enough spare time to do this on your own — but that's unlikely.
The ingredients of this unfinished scenario consist of:
A side note about the textures: a few of them may show up in the Portal of Sigma scenario, as its author has shown interest in them. So check it out :)
Anyhow, another part of the deal is that, within the limits of my little spare time, I'll work together with you on this. This means I'll guide you in implementing the story, discuss proposals for changes, finetune stuff and make sure it all fits well together, i.e. do some ‘quality control.’ I can also do some smaller tasks, like writing terminal texts, creating some artwork and more textures — I'm quite skilled in both digital and ‘physical’ graphics. Heck, I could even do one or two of the smaller levels too.
I don't really care how the scenario is implemented. It only needs to be linked to the Marathon universe. You could even use a different engine, although Aleph One seems the most logical choice. I also don't really care about whether the end product will be (semi-)commercial or free. Of course, in the first case I will want a share of the profits :)
If you're interested, you can mail me. Remember, only do this if you're really motivated and have a high chance of bringing this to a good end. The more people you can gather to work on it, the higher that chance will be. You must have played all Marathon episodes and preferably some third-party scenarios, so you know what the game is about and what the typical ‘Marathon feel’ is like. Also, you should have some experience in making maps, preferably for Marathon/Aleph One, but other games are OK too. I'll want to see some of your previous work before I give this a go.