Emails between Sparky and Roger Wolfson wrote:
There you have an example between passion and business; and only the former feeds inspiration. The community members are creative and desire to give Halo a better legacy because they see so much potential in it. That is why I continue spending time with this game, because I like sharing ideas with other people in it and we work together to make the game better according to our values. I've been a part of the MacGamingMods community since its start in 2004, and Halo and its demo for Mac have been the most popular discussion point for us. I met Monoman, the site owner, through GameRanger, a mac multiplayer hub, along with several other people who played Rogue Spear Demo, and I became interested in modifying that game first. Its data files were simply plain text files, so modifications were easily involved. I've stayed in touch with Monoman as an online friend since then, and although I sought to continue Rogue Spear Demo modding, the folks with whom we spent time on GameRanger moved on to Ghost Recon and its demo. I eventually move on to that game also, but spent less time modding it as my focus turned back to school rather than gaming hobbies. At the time, Monoman had a web site which served files as downloads, and most of us used 56k connections or the newly-sported cable internet connections. This was back when iMacs were new. So Monoman decided to make a different web site using phpBB as a forum software (we often discuss web design topics on the side) and asked me for my opinion about MacGamingMods. I told him I liked the burnished metal look which was apparently inspired by Mac OS X's metal window theme. After that, I focused more on schoolwork and when at that time I went to college, I discovered Halo 1 and 2 from the people living on my dorm floor. I felt though that the Xbox controller was awkward (an odd shape in bulk, unlike the Nintendo and Super Nintendo console controllers I had used at times in my youth), just like the Sega Genesis console controller. But if only I had a mouse and keyboard like on Rogue Spear Demo and Ghost Recon Demo... I'd be much more fluent with more ergonomic tools. So that was when I joined the community members who explored modding Halo at MacGamingMods. Some of the Tom Clancy games folks from GameRanger, which was now becoming unpopular with most at MGM, moved on from Ghost Recon modders to Raven Shield modders, and I eventually tried that game when it became affordable, but I decided instead to try my hand at modding Halo Demo. While PC users were exploring the game engine with the HEK and Halo Custom Edition, the mac modders were doing things in hex editors and watching the pc communities' discoveries from afar, learning from them but not really welcomed by them. Certain pioneers collaborated on their research and formed various modding teams at MGM, working on a number of different things, all in an attempt to create some mac tools which would allow us to modify Halo's map files more easily. In those days, most people conversed in hexadecimal offsets. Now, thanks to the work of those inspired and dedicated enthusiast player-modders, our community has created and published over 500 creative and fun mods, and our discussions range from using the tools we now have to what we can do to make Halo more than anyone else imagined it would be... with a careful eye on the developmental paths of our computer's operating systems. I made HaloDemoMods.com for Monoman and the MGM community to use as part of this endeavor. I see in it the potential to unite the independent Halo communities, a goal which is becoming ever closer in the examples of our shared focus and work which can benefit both Mac and PC users since Apple switched to intel processors and there is now an amalgamation in the possibility for Mac users to use the Halo Editing Kit and all the PC community's tools along with their own mac tools. In fact, I spent a few months reverse-engineering each of the 78-80 tag types used by the engine as they were built into map files and created a comprehensive set of plugins for Eschaton (the current primary map file metadata editor among mac users) based upon a workflow using kornmann's Guerilla and a hex editor, with the result being that Eschaton is now the Guerilla for mac users. The duration of time I spent reverse-engineering each tag type for mac users was approximately the same as it took its author to make the Halo Editing Kit, according to what I read in The Black Art of Halo Mods. Back when I was discouraged at the short lifespan of Rogue Spear Demo modding, I thought that Halo and its demo would be dropped just as quickly; so shortly after releasing what would have been my only big, my first, and my most revised mod to date, I told the MGM community that I would be leaving because I did not think Halo would last. But as I watched, the community did not dissipate but continued to gain new members from those who were discovering Halo through Halo Demo for Mac. So I kept telling people in the Gamespy servers my private filefront hosting page (I think I must have typed "silentwave.filefront.com" a few thousand times in the game) until I decided to take matters into my own hands and make HaloDemoMods.com as a singular location where MGM and other Halo modders could publish their mods. By that time, Eschaton had become popular, so modding was not such a cult-like (considering the hex editing test required to enter the modding teams at MGM) esoteric business which in fact had turned many potential modders from the player community away from modding. So now, I seek to unite the Halo communities, and we can either do so through a business strategy or through feats of passionate endeavor. I still maintain that the only positive outlook is through feats of passionate endeavor rather than business strategies, because only the former feeds inspiration.
- <name> / Sparky
On Thu, 16 Feb 2012 21:12:15 -0800, Roger Wolfson wrote:
> Sorry, the source code is Microsoft proprietary and I can't discuss
> it or any reverse engineering. Sorry I can't help, but the community
> is on its own here.
> Funny thing is, this evening I ran into a few of the Gearbox devs I
> worked with on Halo PC - first I've seen them since 2003 - and I
> showed them your mail that I'd just seen on my phone. They thought it
> was hilarious that I'm still fielding questions
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Sparky [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 9:11 AM
> To: Roger Wolfson
> Subject: RE: Halo Demo Universal Binary for Mac
> I don't think porting the Halo PC Dedicated Server is really going to
> help me with what I'm trying to do. I explored Wine but to little
> success -- it's a complicated setup which isn't working right on my
> 64-bit system and the 64-bit version of Wine probably wouldn't do what I
> want it to do anyway.
> Would it be possible to discuss the source code with you? Perhaps I
> could work on it myself (if it's in C++) and make a linux version which
> would work with what I'm trying to do. If allowed, I'd prefer to
> collaborate with some people from MacGamingMods who are among our
> community's application developers for Halo.
> The alternative would be for me to try to make a server script which
> would run on a linux server and send and receive the appropriate
> information to the game. But I'd still need to know what information is
> sent and received between the game host, server, and clients. As far as
> I understand, this information is encrypted by the gamespy server. But
> we've been using our own server over at HaloDemoMods.com in order to
> function as our own host master game lobby server, rather than gamespy.
> We've been able to do so successfully, but now we're looking to also set
> up a permanent dedicated host using that same server.
> Also, do you know of any way in which we could expand the player limit
> from 16 to 24 or 32, especially since we have internet connections which
> can handle this now?
> On Thu, 2 Feb 2012 22:47:32 -0800, Roger Wolfson wrote:
>> It's a command-line app so that's in your favor, but I don't know
>> anything about porting apps to Linux or how Wine works.
>> I've attached the output of Microsoft's "depends" tool that shows
>> what DLLs a program tried to load; there's nothing exotic here like
>> directx (we made sure of that so it could run on servers without
>> graphics hardware)
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Sparky [mailto:email@example.com]
>> Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2012 10:34 PM
>> To: Roger Wolfson
>> Subject: RE: Halo Demo Universal Binary for Mac
>> Mr. Wolfson,
>> We've had some great success getting our multiplayer lobby to run from
>> another server...
>> Now I wonder if it would be possible to run a Halo dedicated server on
>> a command-line unix server (which can't run screen or any other display
>> interface). Does Halo PC's Dedicated Server tool use a user interface or
>> command line, and would it be possible to port that application to linux
>> through Wine or something like that?
>> Thank you in advance.
>> On Tue, 10 Jan 2012 23:12:43 -0800, Roger Wolfson wrote:
>>> I'm afraid I really can't - I don't have any contacts on the Mac side
>>> of things. Sorry!
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Sparky [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
>>> Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:45 AM
>>> To: Roger Wolfson
>>> Subject: RE: Halo Demo Universal Binary for Mac
>>> Dear Mr. Wolfson,
>>> Your reply was very helpful in my understanding of the situation.
>>> Can you advise me where to look next?
>>> On Sat, 7 Jan 2012 12:42:03 -0800, Roger Wolfson wrote:
>>>> Hi <name>,
>>>> Thanks for your interest - I appreciate your efforts to keep the
>>>> game alive, and understand your frustration when tech becomes obsolete
>>>> for seemingly trivial reasons. That's why I've kept patching the PC
>>>> version as Windows evolves.
>>>> Unfortunately, due to the way the original Mac work was contracted
>>>> out, I (and Bungie) have never had the source code to that version,
>>>> and since we were at that time part of Microsoft, I strongly doubt
>>>> that anyone at MS has the code, either. (If they do, it's archived
>>>> where no current employee would know where to find it - picture the
>>>> end of Raiders of the Lost Ark!)
>>>> Come to think of it, I don't even know that I've ever had the
>>>> source to the PC demo version. I haven't been patching that one, though
>>>> the original should at least still work on today's PCs, even if there
>>>> are some unpatched exploits.
>>>> Anyway, I'm afraid I'm a dead end as far as your effort goes, I've
>>>> never had that code.
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Sparky [mailto:email@example.com]
>>>> Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2012 12:19 PM
>>>> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>>>> Subject: Fwd: Halo Demo Universal Binary for Mac
>>>> Mr. Wolfson,
>>>> I e-mailed the following letter to Destineer/MacSoft, John's old
>>>> e-mail address (that returned to me with a failure notice), Bungie, and
>>>> We at MacGamingMods and HaloDemoMods would very much like to
>>>> extend the life of Halo 1 for Mac through the creation of a demo version of
>>>> the Halo Universal Binary for Mac. If this is not possible, we would
>>>> like to see Halo 1 Universal Binary for Mac made available for sale on the
>>>> Apple App Store.
>>>> I welcome your advice and thank you for your consideration. I also
>>>> welcome you to visit and participate in the related topics at our
>>>> forum, where we are discussing various strategies for extending the life
>>>> of Halo:
>>>> and in general, our Halo Demo subforum:
>>>> <name>, owner, HaloDemoMods.com
>>>> -------- Original Message --------
>>>> Subject: Halo Demo Universal Binary for Mac
>>>> Date: Thu, 05 Jan 2012 15:51:41 -0500
>>>> From: Sparky <email@example.com>
>>>> To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>>> Cc: <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
>>>> Dear MacSoft:
>>>> Since January 2006, the online community members of Mac Gaming
>>>> Mods (http://www.macgamingmods.com
) have enjoyed creating mods and
>>>> modding applications for Halo and Halo Demo for Mac. MGM members have had
>>>> many thousands of discussions about this game on their forum and have
>>>> released many hundreds of modifications based upon Halo Demo's
>>>> only multiplayer map, Bloodgulch. They even created a wiki to publish
>>>> the majority of their content as a separate web site called Halo Demo Mods
), where mod authors could find
>>>> everything they needed to learn how to expand the playability of the original
>>>> Halo game according to their own creativity and the creative works of
>>>> other Halo modding community members.
>>>> Recently, we at MGM and HDM have endeavored to expand the
>>>> playability of the original Halo game through making it accessible to those
>>>> using the latest computer hardware and software. The demo and full
>>>> commercial versions of Halo 1 for Mac were originally released for PowerPC
>>>> systems. Thereafter, MacSoft painstakingly rebuilt Halo's full version
>>>> application for Intel processors as a Universal Binary, and we are
>>>> very appreciative of this work. Since then, we have noticed the need
>>>> and demand for a demo version of Halo that would also be built for
>>>> Intel processors as a Universal Binary.
>>>> Our modding community formed a few projects exploring methods for
>>>> how we might create a demo version of Halo in the same spirit as the
>>>> original Halo Demo application built for PowerPC. Despite our
>>>> enthusiasm and talents, our attempts at making our own demo version for Intel
>>>> do not give justice to the finesse of Apple design standards nor
>>>> credit the artistic workmanship of Halo's game engine. Furthermore, we
>>>> strongly believe in remaining true to the values of the game's software
>>>> license agreement; in several ways, we have led our members through values
>>>> of remaining legitimate ideologists in order to stand apart from
>>>> software piracy. Along these lines, we prohibit our fellow enthusiastic
>>>> modders from publishing content only available in the commercial version
>>>> of Halo, so that those who have not purchased the game remain unable
>>>> to experience the game as it was published. Despite being limited to
>>>> the assets provided by the free demo version of Halo 1, we persist in
>>>> creativity, inspired by this game engine, and we hope to be able
>>>> to pursue many of our exciting ideas for this game into the future.
>>>> On behalf of the Halo modding communities, we would like to
>>>> discuss with you the creation of an official Halo Demo Universal Binary
>>>> for Mac.
>>>> Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
>>>> <name>, owner, HaloDemoMods.com