What's New

Dec 21, 2012

Could the secrets of the Pathways Into Darkness page be finally revealed?

Oh... and the world didn't end. ;)

Dec 12, 2012

Another one searches for the secret to The Labyrinth.

Sept 22, 2012

President People <PresidentPeople@verizon.net> writes concerning the inconsistencies in the official Pathways Screen Shot. Could this be the most faked screenshot ever? See the Official Screenshots section for details.

When's a dead body not a dead body? When it's a scenery item. Hopper <hopper@whpress.com> explains.

Dead body (corpse) scenery items are designed to create atmosphere on a level and enhance the story experience. Bungie first used them in Pathways Into Darkness, particularly on levels like Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage. Remember when Muller told you he killed all the monsters?

That rune painted on the floor will open the
three doors in front of you and open the
treasure room. We killed all the monsters
inside, there's no danger.

You saw the dead bodies of the monsters lying around so he was telling the truth... right? ;)

But how many PID levels use dead body scenery items? Seven? Well... Hopper <hopper@whpress.com> in a Story forum post did some counting:

I count 4 levels, with 54 corpses in all (excluding the human contingent).

Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage:
2 Ghouls
3 Nightmares

Don't Get Poisoned:
7 Greater Nightmares
6 Venemous Skitters

Please Excuse Our Dust:
9 Ghasts
3 Greater Nightmares
8 Venemous Skitters

Where Only Fools Dare Tread:
7 Ghasts
5 Greater Nightmares
4 Venemous Skitters

It is easy to overlook them, considering you've got 1,218 living monsters waiting for you at the start, not to mention the additional ones that spawn.

But wait... could there be more? If you find one... then post its location to the Story forum.

June 27, 2012

Added Ron Hunsinger's PiD Item Specs to the Inventory list.   (------- that's the list thingie over here   ------------------------->)
This provides details on all the item in the game, their usage, the points associated with each item, their weight, volume and value. If the item is a container the capacity is also indicated. This information is extracted from the game code. Thus this is the definitive listing.

PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> writes:

Here is a .psd file I made. It shows the layout (and inconsistencies therein) of the PiD maps from Ascension all the way down to Warning: Earthquake Zone. Unfortunately, I'm not very good with Photoshop, so the image contains a lot of unnecessary blank space, and the map is off-center. I also want the layers to remain intact, that way anybody who downloads it can easily separate the levels, so if you can fix that issue while keeping the layers intact, that would be wonderful.

NOTE: The red space above Lock&Load and Never Stop Firing is the overlapping area between the two levels, as they are at the same height. The purple line going between Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage and The Labyrinth shows how the ladders are actually a long ways away from each-other. Finally, I modified the size of Watch Your Step to fit the two ladders on Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'intrate.

According to PerseusSpartacus if you don't have Photoshop you can see the layers in Sketchbook Pro.

June 26, 2012

In a series of Story forum posts, Ron Hunsinger <listreply1@erstesoft.com> provides some details about weapon damage. If you want to know how weapon damage is calculated in the game then this is for you.

Based on his observations of the code Ron also confirms that both the Purple Barney and the Green Oozes are immune to ALL attacks. So you can stop firing now.

In one post in particular he describes how Crystals work and which monsters are immune. This has been added to the Crystals section.

June 20, 2012

Getting grilled by the Shocking Sphere's as soon as you enter The Labyrinth?

Well Ron Hunsinger <listreply1@erstesoft.com>, in this Story forum post, explains how the game creates the labyrinth maze and populates it with monsters and items. I have quoted the relevant part about the Shocking Spheres:

The next step is to add the Shocking Spheres. It adds exactly 20 of them, trying to spread them randomly in open sectors throughout the maze. Unfortunately, there's a bug in the way they use their random number generator, so that the only candidate sectors they consider are (x,y) where x=0..31 and y=x/2 or y=x/2+16. (That is, (0,0), (1,0),(2,1),(3,1),(4,2),(4,3), ... (30,15),(31,15),(0,16),(1,16), ... (30,31),(31,31)). These sectors lie along two lines, one from near the ladder from HHCC to the middle of the right wall, and one from the middle of the left wall to the ladder down to Lasciate Ogni Speranza. That's why when you enter the Labyrinth from HHCC or Lasciate, you're almost immediately set upon by spheres, but when you enter from Beware of Low Flying Nightmares or from Need a Light you always have a quiet arrival. They're trying to put 20 spheres in only 32 sectors, some of which will be rock, so each empty sector along those lines has an extremely high probability of having a Shocking Sphere in it.

So there you have it. Enter The Labyrinth via. Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage or Lasciate Ogne Speranza, Voi Ch'Intrate and you're going to be crispy. Enter via. Beware of Low Flying Nightmares or Need a Light and you have some breathing space before the grilling begins. Worth knowing in a tight spot. :)

June 19, 2012

A month ago PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> noted that the Cedar Box could duplicate the Flashlight. Now in a Story forum post,  Ron Hunsinger <listreply1@erstesoft.com> makes the following interesting observation based on his examination of a disassembly of the 68K code from version 2.0 of Pathways:

Interestingly, the code also tests if the batteries are dead, and won't let you use a flashlight with dead batteries. Maybe the notion of batteries dying is a leftover concept from a previous version of the game. That would explain why you can even find additional flashlights, and why you can duplicate them. As I recall, there's an extra flashlight on Need a Light, giving the level name a second meaning. You'd have the Cedar Box by then, and if your original batteries have died when you get there it might occur to you to try making more batteries.

The idea that "batteries dying is a leftover concept from a previous version of the game" is supported by the following line in the Pathways manual:

In case you forget, your flashlight can be turned off. Also, its batteries don't last forever.

Of course, the batteries don't run out in the game. Which suggests it was changed late in development.

Ron also confirms the invulnerability of Barney and the Green Oozes from any attack. He writes:

Looking at the unpacked data is also the only way to learn some of the traits of the various monsters. I now know, for example, that the Purple Barney on Warning Earthquake Zone is truly invulnerable. Nothing hurts him. Not bullets. Not crystals. Nothing. (The Venomous Oozes on the same level are also invulnerable. The (in)vulnerability of the Dreaming God is controlled by code, not by the table.)

June 9, 2012

If you manage to find the secret door on Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage (not easy) and then follow the long corridor around to the top of the map you will find the Easter Egg. Examining it reveals a somewhat humerous description. Concerning the description, PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> writes:

In Robert Zemeckis's 1984 film, Romancing the Stone, there is a scene in which the main protagonists are digging underneath what was once a small puddle. Their dig reveals a statue which closely resembles the Easter Bunny. One of the characters (can't remember who, but I think it was the one named Jack Colton) says something like "Is this someone's sick idea of a joke?"

On Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage we find the Easter Egg at the end of a long hall. Examining it reveals the following text:

"Although you don't have any formal schooling in the morphology of bird's eggs, you get the distinct impression that this is someone's bad idea of a joke."

Hmmm... "bad idea/sick idea of a joke".

Could this scene in the movie have inspired the Easter Egg description?

PerseusSpartacus goes on to point out:

Also, in the same scene of Romancing the Stone, the characters crack open the rabbit statue to reveal an emerald. Interestingly, this emerald looks similar to the Emerald found on Lock&Load.

Hopper <hopper@whpress.com> found this screen capture from the movie showing the emerald in question.

Addendum: Having just watched the movie in question, Jack actually says: "Somebody out there has a really sick sense of humor." This follows his discovery of a cheap ceramic bunny rabbit statue where the treasure is supposed to be.

June 8, 2012

When is an error not an error?

Answer. See the Official Screenshots section for details.

May 29, 2012

Of all the official Pathways Into Darkness screenshots, the one Bungie entitled "Pathways Screen Shot" is the most intriguing. The Official Screenshots lists a total of eleven inconsistencies (or problems) with the shot. Now PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> in a Story forum post finds a twelfth and possibly a thirteenth. See the Official Screenshots section for details.

May 24, 2012

Error on the PID page?

Oh yes indeed. Perseus Spartacus <PerseusSpartacus@gmail.com> writes:

The Map you indicate for They May Be Slow... is incomplete. To the right of Hans, you'll see a large blank space that shouldn't be there. There's actually a room there, but it isn't shown.

All fixed now. Pathways 101: explore everywhere. :)

May 20, 2012

Pathways 3D.

Well the levels anyway. In a Story forum post, Hopper <hopper@whpress.com> provides 3D versions of Ground Floor and also... all the levels pre-The Labyrinth. The later gives you a very good idea of the size of the pyramid up as far as The Labyrinth.

He also put together a package (.zip format) of the Wavefront .OBJ files of the PID levels. The Read Me file reads:

These PiD Wavefront .OBJ files were constructed using the sector information from the original Maps files. The geometry was naively built, and no texture or material information is attached. My Perl converter scripts are included.

Three sets are included, for the full Pathways (v2.0), the "A1" demo, and the 2.0 "Power Pathways" demo. Note that the Labyrinth map will change in an actual game, and the "Ok, Who Wants Some" map includes unreachable areas.

Inside the "Full 2.0" folder, there's also a "pre_labyrinth.obj" file that includes all levels up to the Labyrinth. By that point, the ladders between levels no longer come close to lining up, so I didn't try to lay out the rest into a single structure.

- Hopper (hopper@whpress.com)
May 19, 2012

May 19, 2012

We first learn about the Cedar Box from Friedrich on Happy Happy, Carnage Carnage:

The box was made of cedar. Muller didn't
tell me what it was supposed to do, or what
it had to do with the gold.

Apart from its value, Muller is quite evasive about its function:

People have told you about the cedar box? It
is an art object of great value, but is
otherwise useless.

However, it is only when we encounter Walter on Feel The Power that we learn the truth about the Cedar Box:

Muller said we needed all twelve ingots, but
that the box would duplicate things which
were placed inside it so we should only get
one. We found the box.

But the box won't duplicate the gold ingots because they don't fit inside:

The box worked like he said, but the ingots
wouldn't fit inside it. I dropped it when I
was attacked by the invisible demons, it
was useless. But I kept the ingot.

The Cedar Box can be found on A Plague of Demons but it has no treasure value, so much for it being "an art object of great value". I guess you shouldn't believe everything anything that Muller says... right?

But what can the Cedar Box duplicate?

Well apart from ammunition it can also duplicate the Survival Knife and Walther P4 Pistol, and recently Andrew Malcovsky (Earthtopus) pointed out that while the P4 can fit into the box the rusted version will not. Very odd.

Now PerseusSpartacus <perseusspartacus@gmail.com> did some testing to determine what other items would work. He writes:

- Flashlight: This has some really weird behavior after being duplicated. You can turn on multiple Flashlights at once. However, if you turn on an even number of Flashlights all at the same time, they seem to cancel each-other out; things get darker, as though you didn't have a Flashlight on. On the flip-side, if you turn on an odd number of Flashlights at the same time, the 'brightness level' returns to 'normal' (i.e. it's just like if you had one Flashlight on). Very strange.
- Survival Knife: Been reported before. Didn't test it very thoroughly.
- Walther P4 Pistol: Same as the Survival Knife. Oddly, the Rusted Walther P4 doesn't fit.
- Silver Medal: You don't gain any points or treasure for duplicating this, sadly.
- Ammunition: This should be obvious. Any kind of ammo goes in, the same kind comes out.

Hopper <hopper@whpress.com> adds:

I hadn't tried multiple flashlights before, but it makes sense. There's a separate player-wide flag that indicates whether your light is on: this is what's actually used by the engine. Whenever you toggle your flashlight (or rather, *a* flashlight), the player flag gets toggled too.

When editing a save file, I wound up turning off the flashlight in the inventory, without touching the player-light flag. I then had an anti-flashlight -- it would get darker whenever I turned it on. This was on PiD 1.1 under SheepShaver.

May 18, 2012

On the subject of the size of the pyramid, ps <pszajna@student.agh.edu.pl> writes in a Story forum post:

What I find interesting (and related) is the horizontal layout of the pyramid. Just think about it: you enter at Ground Floor and head north. You can go to two levels there, and in both of them you start at the south of map. And this happens with the next levels as well (Ascension is an exception being placed directly above Evil Undead Phantasms).

That would suggest a HUGE part of pyramid being unaccessible. So what's there?

He goes on to say:

I made two images of the Pyramid (only the part above ground, but I'll probably make one with lower levels just to see if the ladders in Happy Happy... really should be so close): one is the top view with in-game maps put together. This shows two non-matching ladders (marked in red), though they are only a sector or two apart. I didn't include Never Stop Firing, because it would collide with Lock&Load (maybe the ladders aren't straight even here?) The second one is a side view of the pyramid (I assumed that one sector is 2m x 2m). The pyramid looks... somewhat flat.

Here's his below ground map.

May 13, 2012

Pathways influences... or vague resemblances?

Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Roadside Picnic (1st published in Russian 1971, published in English 1977)

Roadside Picnic is based on an alien visitation to planet Earth, whose aftermath has led to the creation of "Zones" in the areas where the aliens had possibly landed. Such zones exhibit strange and dangerous phenomena not understood by humans, and contain artifacts with inexplicable, seemingly supernatural properties. World governments and the UN try to keep tight control over them to prevent leakage of artifacts from the Zones, fearful of unforeseen consequences. A subculture of Stalkers, thieves going into the Zones to get the artifacts, evolves around the Zones.

The 1979 science fiction film Stalker is loosely based on Roadside Picnic. In the movie three men enter "The Zone", one carrying a 20kt atomic bomb to destroy an artifact within.

In the Pathways Into Darkness manual we are told that a sub-directive of our mission is to collect any artifacts or treasure we may come across. These items will be studied by top archaeologists and may provide answers to the origins of the Universe. And true enough we do encounter a number of alien artifacts. Indeed, some of unused items in the Demo vA1 strings may also be of alien origin.

Many of artifacts and phenomena described in Roadside Picnic would not be out of place in Pathways Into Darkness. Given that the story in Pathways went through a number of iterations one wonders if one these drew upon the work of the Strugatsky brothers. Just something to think about.

Phil <electriccartilage@gmail.com> writes:

I was playing PiD recently and found that you can see the real color of Wraiths. I don't know if this has been pointed out; I checked the PiD page but didn't find anything. You can only see the Wraiths when you have the goggles on and then everything is red. But, if you open the map this will drop the color tint in the view window. So, if you see some wraiths, you can pop up your map to see their real color. Normally I don't think you'd notice this since in PiD's default window sizes the map completely covers the view window but I was playing on a modern Mac which has a much larger screen than those olde timey, coal powered Apples. I've attached some screens I took of the true color Wraiths.

You will note that the color is the same as the Black Crystal effect.