May 9, 2008

Terminal Visuals

> — Vociferous @ 6:36 pm

Wait, I thought you were done with the terminals? What’s this all about?

Well, to the point: Visuals.

Certain things could not be directly examined in the context of the previous three articles, so as an addendum of sorts, we wanted to show off some of the interesting pictures and symbols found in the terminals – possibly bridging some gaps and filling in cracks within the fiction along the way.

Thanks to urk of NeoGAF, we’ve acquired some amazing video captures of the terminal entries at high resolution. You can find those on Vuze at the following links:

Terminal 01 (Normal/Legendary)
Terminal 02 (Normal/Legendary)
Terminal 03 (Normal/Legendary)
Terminal 04 (Normal/Legendary)
Terminal 05 (Easy/Normal/Heroic/Legendary)
Terminal 06 (Normal/Legendary)
Terminal 07 (Normal/Legendary)

All-in-all there are 16 terminal instances relating to the Forerunners and their archive. We really appreciate the time and attention urk took in capturing these items and we’re using them in this very piece. Remember to use the pause button frequently to examine each entry closer, as we run through each panel rather quickly.

You can also check out HBO’s interesting terminal interface called Forerunner Terminal Network Archives for additional content and ways in which you can view the terminals.

But what about the visuals?

The Forerunner language has offered an amazing lexicon of symbols which some fans have deciphered or at the very least cataloged. One symbol, which stands out above all of them, is this one…

For those who have played Halo: Combat Evolved, you may remember it from ‘The Silent Cartographer’ (img) while others may remember seeing it on Halo 2’s multiplayer map called Ascension (img). This image is everywhere – plastered across all aspects of the Halo Array and even on the face of Halo 3’s Bestiarum – a Forerunner archive of several key sentient species (img). The monitors in Forge have this engraved in their encasement, even the Ark’s surface reveals the architecture was molding into the shape of the symbol (img). If you’re familiar with the Legendary ending of Halo 3, you’ll recognize the lower portion of the same exact symbol near the northern axis of the mysterious planetoid facility.

To the Forerunners, this symbol obviously meant something special. We doubt that it had to do with a functional or practical purpose because of the frequency in which it occurs and the diversity of its locations, but we do feel it may be acting as an emblem for all of those otherwise separate elements of the Halo Array, including what many have proposed is a shield world in the screenshot above.

Some have pointed out the visual connection between this image and an actual sword and shield, a metaphorical analog of the Halo ringworlds and the shield facilities operating in tandem. These “shields” were discussed extensively during Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, they were mentioned during the ‘Cortana message’ lead-up to the unveiling of the portal in Halo 3’s ‘The Storm,’ and interestingly, they’re also found in the Bestiarum as one of the confirmed sources for the information within. We know that the Array Installations acted as a sword, slaying the Flood, but we also know, thanks to the Onyx Project mentioned of in the terminals, that there were facilities made which could shield the firing of the Halo Array – perhaps this is the installation seen in the Legendary ending.

Whatever the symbol is, we know that it is directly related to the Forerunners and their story. We can be sure, if the end of Halo 3 is any indication, that the Forerunners and/or their properties will be heavily featured in a future Bungie title. If you still harbor doubt, take your Halo 3 manual out and flip it around so that you can examine the back cover. Hopefully this future Bungie project, whatever it is, will offer more explanation as to the meaning of symbol and possibly even deliver more information on the Forerunners themselves.

Of course, there were plenty of other symbols in the terminals – at least one symbol for each character represented in archive. Below are a composite of captures showing every symbol and each character they likely represent.

From left to right…

  • The first is, of course, respectively Didact and Librarian. Most of the terminals with their fragmented conversations have both symbols, but a few were one-sided messages. The Librarian is the only symbol which can be selected as part of a multiplayer armor permutation.
  • The next two images are of Mendicant Bias. We’ll detail why there are two images and three separate symbols representing him below.
  • The fourth image is of Mendicant Bias and a compound intelligence speaking on behalf of the Gravemind and, by proxy, the Flood.
  • The fifth may have been a point of confusion for some (including us). It actually represents the archive – the Librarian’s record, or at least the AI caretaker of that record on the Ark. You’ll notice that it is very similar to Librarian’s symbol, but with a few minor differences. This icon is present in the description of the events on G617g and when 343 Guilty Spark attempts to gain access to the terminals.
  • The sixth and final image is of Offensive Bias, clearly similar to Mendicant’s icon in a variety of ways, but also distinctively different.

When reviewing the symbols, one interesting subject which comes up is that of the relationship between Adjutant Reflex and Mendicant Bias. For those not in the know, Adjutant Reflex played a heavy role in the Iris ARG (alternate reality game) leading up to Halo 3’s release. The entity registered an account with Bungie.net’s forums and began posting mysteriously intriguing messages. It has never been fully disclosed as to what the true purpose of Adjutant Reflex was or the nature of the entity’s relationship to Mendicant Bias. Based on the information he provided in his posts, we believe that Adjutant Reflex may have been a facilitator of the Halo Array on the Ark – an AI construct specifically in charge of the Array and, in this case, in charge of the creation of Installation 04’s replacement.

We also believe that at some point he was directly assaulted by Mendicant Bias. The account on Bungie.net was hijacked by a third-party and the avatar was changed to the symbol seen frequently related to Mendicant’s entries in the terminal archive (img). Mendicant Bias, for reasons only speculated on, has several symbols associated to himself.

Why?

As Mendicant is better described as a network of separate parts, perhaps they are different elements of a whole which compose the construct in its entirety. The ARG may, in fact, be showing the reconstitution of Mendicant Bias from the perspective of Adjutant Reflex.

As Mendicant said in the terminals:

I have found the shard that was lost. They brought it back to me.

One part (the red circle and off-center dot) may have served as the Forerunner’s point of contact, funneling memorandums, reports and recommendations to the Forerunners, while the other could communicate with the Gravemind (the blue circle and strange symbol seen in the avatar). Both are even seen communicating with each other at one point (as the two symbols combine and both become red), when Mendicant discusses cutting fire breaks into infested systems – stating memorably that “half-measures will not suffice.” At some point, Mendicant began to forcibly seize control of the Ark in his efforts to make amends for his sins. Adjutant Reflex is the likely candidate who it was seized from, hence the hostility embedded in the situation.

Perhaps one day we’ll have a full account of the story of Adjutant Reflex, but till then we’re left to guesswork and errant speculation. Well, hopefully not too errant…

In the bottom-left portion of the terminal interface, a series of even more interesting images appear. While we’re not certain of the exact nature of each of these pictures, we’re going to offer a few possibilities based on the adjacent text and context of the entry:

The first image we have is in the very first terminal. Mendicant’s text talks about evacuating a planet before the Flood have taken it completely. Clearly, this planet has some sort of protective barrier and there’s apparently a Keyship to the left with circular icons, possibly representing the Flood, on the top-right. This could mean that as the Flood begins to take hold of the planet, their population should evacuate on the Keyships at the other side. The enhanced portion of the image appears to be the orbital bombardment of key locations also spoken of in the same text.

Here we see what appears to be 343 Guilty Spark accessing a terminal. The image is accompanied by the conversation between Guilty Spark and the archive’s facilitator about the core purpose of Installation 00 – the manufacturing of Array Installations. We originally thought he may be talking to Mendicant Bias during this discussion, but it’s now clear that this was some managing AI construct on the Ark (before Mendicant took control), as the symbol is related to the same database which discovered the Flood’s infestation on G617g.

The next image we see appears to be directly related to the Ark’s security system. When the remainder of Mendicant was retrieved from the Forerunner dreadnought, “the shard” was found. What part of his network he was referring isn’t mentioned, but it could be referencing the disparity between the two symbols that represent Mendicant in the terminals, as stated earlier. This image of the Ark and its towers seem to represent the region of the installation which Mendicant’s personality array was being held.

This image is easily the most enigmatic.

It appears during a recommendation of Forerunner armor from Mendicant, so one would assume that it is, in fact, armor worn by the Forerunners. At first, it seemed unlikely. It doesn’t appear to have the lean, angular design of a Forerunner ship, nor does it look like a suit functional for a bipedal sentient, presumably humanoid like we have assumed the Forerunners to be. Could the Forerunners be anatomically different than we suspected…or could the strange shapes in the image actually be something else entirely?

Well, if you look closely, you’ll notice the shape of a human inside this object (img). This may very well have been a suit, some very alien form of armor which completely encapsulated and regulated a Forerunner against the infection of the Flood. True, this estimation could be off the mark, but there’s little else to go by in what is clearly an intentionally enigmatic sketch of something extremely foreign to human eyes.

Another message from Mendicant Bias, this one referencing the possibility of using facilities similar to the Onyx Project – shield worlds – which Forerunner populations could be evacuated to. Is this an image of a shield world or is he referencing a planet already struck down by the Flood? We may eventually find out the answer to this question, but probably not until Bungie’s next Halo game.

And here is a shot of what appears to be G617g, presumably with the individual locations of where the two exploratory groups lost contact. Of course this is where it all started – ground zero for the emergence of the Flood in our galaxy.

And then the final image shows a series of icons, a Keyship and an interesting insignia. Although this accompanies the Forerunner letter from father to son, the image, like some of the others, remains incredibly enigmatic.

You’ll notice that we failed to include the character icon above, but this was not done by mistake. The image doesn’t appear to relate to a specific character or AI construct, but rather a program. Whatever it was, it relied heavily on the Forerunner Keyships and, in the end, Mendicant Bias, whose icons you can see near the top of the image.

The icon should be carefully examined, as it appears to be very similar to the Reclaimer symbol we’ve come to know in previous Bungie titles and novels. Perhaps this symbol deals with the Forerunner’s plan to protect humanity, a future civilization mentioned in the letter. If that is true, the image below must deal with the Conservation Measure, the Halo Array and the last ditch effort to destroy the Flood, the commissioning of Mendicant Bias.

All of these parts are essentially the tapestry of the Forerunner terminals in total; the last image appears to be a mosaic of the story they told. The Keyships, the Conservation Measure and Mendicant Bias – all elements of a rich story which we will hopefully see more on from Bungie in the future.

/vociferous

Edit: We’ve been fortunate to have some talented readers of the blog; one by the name of Vulcan Stark has successfully recreated the Forerunner symbols we discussed above. They’re of a high quality and we thought it would be wrong not to include them here for all of you to enjoy.

Thanks, Vulcan and keep up the good work!

53 Comments »

  1. If the forerunners ONLY used glyphs to communicate, Cortana must’ve had a heck of the time at the terminals and with the Covenant AIs…

    Comment by Forwarduntodawn — December 2, 2009 @ 8:34 am


  2. Oh, and regarding the armour thing. Yes, I do see the human, but it seems largely off porportions. What could’ve been suggested was the composition of a Contender-class AI’s crystal. It was a compound mind and must’ve been comprised of many parts.
    Cortana was stored in a flat piece of crystal, probably because her code and mimicked sentience was linear. But Mendicant Bias, being far more capable, might’ve required a 3-dimensional crystal carved in a specific shape to store his codes.

    Comment by Forwarduntodawn — December 2, 2009 @ 8:51 am


  3. I guess it’s impossible to see how the Didact would have turned out to be such a murderous douchelord. You did good here. I remember reading this blog back in 2008. I had a flip phone with web browsing capabilities. It would take a minute or two to load each page because it was a 1X connection. Your blog entries helped pass so much time, as well as fill me in on things I missed. My main focus was the Arbiter’s story. For me, Thel Vadam remains one of the most important characters to the Halo story for me.

    Comment by MrJacinto — June 24, 2015 @ 10:12 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

download autodesk navisworks manage 2009 download activestate komodo ide 4.4 aglare dvd ripper platinum 6 partition magic 8 quarkxpress 6.0 download microsoft office enterprise 2003 runtime revolution enterprise 2.9 download ashampoo cover studio download acala divx to ipod microsoft mappoint 2006 europe download altova stylevision enterprise 2009 corel dvd copy 6 plus download adobe photoshop cs4 extended download ad aware 2009 download adobe creative suite cs3 download altova umodel 2008 powerarchiver 2009 download autodesk 3d studio max 2008 download altova stylevision 2005 propellerhead reason 4 download acala dvdcopy download xilisoft cd ripper download acdsee photo editor 2008 download ashampoo winoptimizer 5 download download pantaray q-setup pro 9 microsoft encarta 2008 download 4 media dvd to ipod converter microsoft sharepoint designer 2007 download transmagic expert microsoft frontpage 2002 adobe flex 2 download adobe acrobat 9 pro extended adobe creative suite 3 design premium download 3d home architect design suite deluxe 8 download efreesky magictweak 4.11 download adobe presenter 6 autodesk navisworks review 2009 download acdsee pro 2 adobe photoshop 10 ad aware download microsoft encarta 2007 download acala dvd ipod ripper download cakewalk sonar 5 download download microsoft visual studio 2008 professional boris fx 8 download download adobe photoshop 12 acala dvd audio ripper ashampoo office 2008 download native instruments traktor dj studio 3.4 corel painter x download onenote 2007 download smartftp 2.5 symantec winfax pro 10.02 fix-it utilities professional 9 download smith micro poser 7 canvas 11 with gis+ download paragon partition manager 8.5 enterprise server download codegear delphi for php 1.0 adobe creative suite 4 web premium download altova mapforce enterprise 2009 download autodesk autocad architecture 2009 download download canvas 10 autodesk autocad civil 3d land desktop companion 2009 aurora media workshop download download cakewalk sonar 4 adobe presenter 7 download novosoft handy backup 6.1 pro boris blue 2.0.1 download microsoft encarta premium 2008 corel painter x mac download corel photoimpact x3 daz bryce 6.1 mac microsoft office visio professional 2003 autodesk autocad revit structure suite 2009 adobe contribute cs4 download autodesk inventor professional 2009 download adobe photoshop 7.0 download crystalidea uninstall tool 2.5 imsi turbofloorplan landscape and deck 12 microsoft autoroute 2007 europe download futuremark 3dmark vantage professional download download zonealarm internet security suite 8 adobe photoshop cs4 extended mac autodesk 3d studio max design 2009 download ashampoo photo optimizer 2 download download acala dvd to pocket pc nuance omnipage professional 16 download corel draw 11 download adobe illustrator cs4 futuremark 3dmark 05 pro efreesky magic utilities 2008 download parallels desktop 4.0 for mac microsoft encarta premium 2007 download download steinberg nuendo 3 adobe incopy cs4 download paragon hard disk manager 2008 professional download download fl studio 8 xxl altova databasespy 2009 download adobe photoshop 8 download nero 9 download acdsee download corel video studio pro x2 download adobe after effects adobe contribute cs3 download download vmware workstation 5 mylogomaker professional 2 microsoft streets and trips 2005 download smartsound sonicfire pro 5 scoring download download adobe captivate 2 autodesk toxik 2008 download acala dvd ripper professional 5 adobe premiere pro cs3 download vmware workstation 6.5 ace download conceptdraw office 8 acronis true image 8.0 download abbyy finereader download download steinberg nuendo 3.0 norton partitionmagic 2008 guitar pro 4 acronis true image 10 download adobe illustrator cs i.r.i.s. readiris pro 11 mac download download modelright professional 3.0 neobyte titan backup microsoft streets and trips 2006 download adobe flash cs4 professional mac download ashampoo uninstaller 3 deskshare videoeditmagic 4.3 pixologic zbrush 3 mac download sony cd architect 5.2 download boris graffiti 5.2 pc washer 2 mcafee total protection 2007 ashampoo magical snap 2 download adobe photoshop cs3 download microsoft works 2000 download download altova xmlspy 2009 download microsoft office 2003 professional acala dvd zune ripper download download ad-aware 2008 propellerhead reason 5 download corel draw graphics suite x4 autodesk toxik 2009 imsi turbofloorplan home and landscape pro 12 microsoft mappoint 2004 download corel draw 12 futuremark pcmark vantage advanced download download web page maker 3 adobe fireworks cs4 download microsoft windows vista business (64bit) microsoft autoroute 2008 microsoft office project professinal 2003 autodesk combustion 2008 download adobe creative suite 4 master collection adobe contribute 3 download adobe after effects 7.0 dvd ripper standard 5 autodesk autocad 2005 download roxio copy & convert 3 adobe director 11 download microsoft windows vista ultimate (32bit) download corel painter 10 autodesk combustion 4 download autodesk mapguide studio 2009 download altova diffdog 2009 originlab originpro 8 download futuremark 3dmark '05 pro mathworks matlab r2008a download download activestate komodo ide 5 chemtable reg organizer 4.21 download adobe illustrator cs3 abbyy finereader 9.0 professional quarkxpress 8 mac download corel painter 9 download microsoft works 7 microsoft works 8 download smartftp 2.0 download acdsee 10 photo manager download adobe after effects cs3 professional microsoft money 2005 lavasoft ad-aware 2008 pro download download microsoft streets and trips 2008 download mcafee total protection 2008 download kingsoft office 2009 download norton partitionmagic 8.05 i.r.i.s. readiris pro 11 vmware workstation 7 download download iexpert registry clean expert 4.58 pctools spyware doctor 5.5 adobe flash cs3 professional microsoft autoroute 2006 microsoft office onenote 2003 download 4media dvd to mp4 converter 5 microsoft mappoint 2006 adobe flex builder daz bryce 6.1 download microsoft works 9 acala dvd creator 3 intuit turbotax deluxe download intuit turbotax premier 2008 download download zonealarm pro 8 adobe photoshop 6 download microsoft money 2008 download download adobe director mx adobe incopy cs download download cyberlink powerproducer 5 ultra download microsoft frontpage 2000 cyberlink powercinema 5 adobe soundbooth cs4 download roxio creator 2009 ultimate download adobe indesign cs3 autodesk autocad 2008 adobe creative suite 4 design premium download autodesk autocad mechanical 2009 download hd tune professional quarkxpress 7.3 mac download cakewalk sonar 6 download microsoft expresion web 2 nero 6 download xilisoft video converter ultimate 5.1 download download boris final effect complete multilangual 5.0 autodesk autocad revit architecture 2009 download download symantec winfax pro 10.03 ashampoo winoptimizer 4 download adobe premiere elements download cyberlink powerdvd 8 ultra thegrideon access password professional 2.0 download microsoft autoroute 2005 adobe incopy cs2 faronics deep freeze enterprise 6 adobe presenter for mac download download adobe illustrator cs2 download adobe illustrator 10 altova xmlspy 2008 download download futuremark 3dmark 03 pro download tamosoft commview 6 full steinberg nuendo 4 download autodesk autocad map 3d 2009 download pixarra twistedbrush pro studio 15 download download smartsoft smartftp home 3.0 download ashampoo clipfisher download corel painter 8 adobe flash cs4 professional openpim download systemssuite professional 8 adobe dreamweaver 8 download futuremark 3dmark '06 advanced adobe creative suite 3 web premium quarkxpress 5.0 download download elcomsoft advanced archive password recovery 4 professional download imsi turbocad pro 15 download nuance paperport professional 11.1 cyberlink powerdirector 7 ultra download 4media dvd to ps3 converter 5 microsoft windows vista business (32bit) native instruments traktor dj studio 3.4 mac download corel video studio 11 download download native instruments reaktor 5 ashampoo firewall pro download xilisoft 1click dv to dvd apple final cut express 4 mac download steinberg nuendo 3.2 download download autodesk autocad revit mep suite 2009 futuremark 3dmark '03 pro download acd see intuit quicken rental property manager 2.0 daz carrara 6 pro mac autodesk combustion 5 download vmware workstation 6.5 download symantec winfax pro 10.0 download boris fx 9.2 download nero 7 download adobe premiere pro cs4 installshield x express edition download ashampoo core tuner download download corel photoimpact 12 download dzsoft perl editor 5.8.3 download kingsoft office 2007 adobe dreamweaver cs4 mac download intuit turbotax 2005 microsoft money 2004 download ashampoo movie shrink and burn 3 adobe after effects cs4 mac download adobe photoshop cs3 extended download adobe illustrator cs4 mac download download xilisoft dvd ripper platinum 5 adobe flex 3 adobe dreamweaver cs4 download autodesk navisworks simulate 2009 download e-gadgets delete duplicate files download codegear rad studio 2007 architect cyberlink power2go 6 download uniblue speedupmypc 2009 download uniblue registrybooster 2009 download nero 8 ultra edition download autodesk 3ds max onenote 2003 download norton partitionmagic 8.0 guitar pro 5 mac download microsoft office project professional 2007 autodesk autosketch 8 sony vegas pro 8 download download adobe premiere pro cs4 mac download intuit turbotax 2004 download daz bryce 5.5 corel dvd moviefactory 6 plus download lavalys everest ultimate 4.5 adobe photoshop 9 download propellerhead reason 4 mac xilisoft audio converter 2.1 symantec winfax pro 10.4 download microsoft streets and trips 2007 adobe director 10 download paragon drive backup professional 8.5 adobe fireworks cs3 download cakewalk sonar 7 producer edition download zonealarm antivirus 8 nero express download acronis disk director suite 10 download nero burning rom corel draw 10 download nuance pdf converter professional 5 download download algolab photo vector 1.98 native instruments reaktor 5 mac xilisoft dvd ripper ultimate 5 microsoft encarta premium 2006 download adobe indesign cs4 mac download acala divx dvd player assist download adobe creative suite 4 master collection mac download adobe captivate 3 download download quarkxpress 6.5 ashampoo magical defrag 2 download download sony acid pro 6 download microsoft office 2007 altova semanticworks 2009 download quarkxpress 8 corel draw x3 download mcafee security innovative solutions advanced uninstaller pro 9.5 download autodesk autocad electrical 2009 download adobe flex builder professional 3 download cyberlink dvd suite 5 pro download paragon partition manager 9 professional vmware workstation 5.5 download xilisoft video to audio converter 5.1 autodesk autocad 2009 autodesk inventor 10 microsoft encarta premium 2009 autodesk autocad 2006 microsoft works 8.5 adobe after effects cs4 cakewalk sonar 3 download ashampoo photo commander 6 download ashampoo burning studio 7 corel draw 9 download download microsoft mappoint 2005 corel dvd 9 download ca erwin process modeller mcafee antivirus download adobe indesign cs4 download tuneup utilities 2008 autodesk autosketch 9 download microsoft office 2000 download partition magic 8.05 download download adobe contribute 4 autodesk autocad raster design 2009 ashampoo burning studio 8 download adobe after effects 6.5 download dvd ripper platinum 5 download adobe fireworks 8 download altova schemaagent 2009 codegear rad studio 2009 architect zonealarm internet security suite 2009 download download novosoft handy backup 6.1 server microsoft office 2008 mac download intuit quicken rental property manager 2009 download download corel video studio 12 altova diffdog 2008 autodesk inventor 2008 quarkxpress 7.3 passport download burnaware professional download sound forge audio studio 9 download autodesk 3d studio max 2009 download guitar pro 6 microsoft money 2007 deluxe download grahl pdf annotator 2 download microsoft digital image suite 2006 download ms sharepoint download smartftp 3.0 altova umodel enterprise 2009 download download tamosoft commview for wifi 6 full graphisoft archicad 12 download powerdesk pro 7 download microsoft money 2006 adobe dreamweaver cs3 download acronis disk director suite 9.0 download abby fine reader download download microsoft streets and trips 2009 avid media composer 2.8 microsoft frontpage 2003 download microsoft windows vista ultimate (64bit) download download corel painter ix autodesk autocad 2004 download download mcafee total protection 2009 download wincare memory booster gold microsoft encarta 2005 acronis true image 11 home xilisoft iso burner partition magic 7 download download partition commander server edition 10 steinberg nuendo 2 download download microangelo toolset 6 4media dvd to ipod converter 5 download download microsoft money 2007 home & business quarkxpress 7 download corel draw 11 mac adobe creative suite 3 master collection dtsearch desktop 7 microsoft money plus microsoft mappoint 2009 north america download adobe premiere 6.5 download autodesk inventor 11 sony sound forge 9 download download acala avi divx mpeg xvid vob to psp altova stylevision 2008 download download pinnacle studio 12 ultimate microsoft mappoint 2008 download download guitar pro 5 download autodesk autocad 2007 futuremark 3d download adobe creative suite cs2 propellerhead reason 3.0 download acala video mp3 ripper download microsoft office enterprise 2007 download download windows xp professional sp3 futuremark 3dmark 06 advanced download ashampoo powerup 3 microsoft office visio professional 2007 xilisoft audio maker 3