MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

The Helvetica Scenario -

Science can be a terrible, terrible thing.

In case you hadn't guessed, I'm learning about embedding Flash in an XHTML-compliant manner. Obviously.

Edit: 2006-11-26: Can my auto-generated Javascript cope with multiple videos? Let's see!

Article Comments (now closed)

Tom's gravatar

1. ALA

Posted by Tom at 10:56AM, Thursday November 2 2006

Come across this yet?


On an entirely unrelated note, this blog really needs a password retrieval form.

Flarty's gravatar

2. senior

Posted by Flarty at 11:41AM, Thursday November 2 2006

was that the new dharma intiative video off lost ?????
or can we expect that to be linked with the new episode of minerva??? :P

Unq's gravatar

3. Looking Around Me

Posted by Unq at 2:37PM, Thursday November 2 2006

Ah, forgot about these classics. I'll have to write that down in my copy book.

Thanks, Adam. Thadam.

Holy Socks's gravatar

4. maths and science

Posted by Holy Socks at 5:50PM, Thursday November 2 2006

I think ive seen something similar to this but for maths.

PiX_NeG's gravatar

5. creepy

Posted by PiX_NeG at 6:46PM, Thursday November 2 2006

so, uh, what's the point if writing down the triple helix? was this some sort of educational video?

Baffled's gravatar

6. Parody

Posted by Baffled at 7:40PM, Thursday November 2 2006

The video is taken from the unaired pilot for a BBC2 comedy show that parodies the woefully naff BBC TV programmes made for schools. The worst offenders were made in the 1970s but were re-used for many years and so are painfully familiar to many in Britain.

The full pilot can be seen here:


As for maths, watch and cringe:


Holy Socks's gravatar

7. Saw that last night

Posted by Holy Socks at 10:23PM, Thursday November 2 2006

That maths one was on last night, on bbc 2 i think. Does this mean theres a series of them?

kast's gravatar

8. hahahaha

Posted by kast at 10:43PM, Thursday November 2 2006

That kind of programme is so familiar to me, having recently been interred in the British secondary education system.

I remember seeing a BBC program mocking old Tommorrow's World programmes that was very much like this excerpt. I imagine they're related.

On a more serious note, aren't face-less people one of the creepiest things on earth? I get absolutely freaked out with the 'If You Tolerate This (Then Your Children Will Be Next)' video.

Race's gravatar

9. Minerva part 3.....was it shelved?

Posted by Race at 5:04AM, Friday November 3 2006

The first two chapters were very good.
Is the third chapter ever going to happen, and if so, when?
Just wondering if we missed something here, or whether to forget about Metastasis on move on? (We were under the impression that #3 was near completion when #2 was released, which is why we continued to play it)

Au-heppa's gravatar

10. Funny as hell

Posted by Au-heppa at 11:14AM, Friday November 3 2006

oh, man, I was watching these last night and was laughing my ass off, then I when I went to sleep I was still gigling in the bed. Today morning in the lecture I found myself gigling alone hysterically in the math class.

vecima's gravatar

11. on the subject (of you tube)

Posted by vecima at 3:40PM, Friday November 3 2006

this is something everyone needs to see.


vecima's gravatar

12. never soar higher than you are willing to fall

Posted by vecima at 3:41PM, Friday November 3 2006

sorry for the double post, but i thought this was worth a mention too, in light of 2 other recent abnormal 'ray' events.


xbskid's gravatar

13. Re: never soar higher than you are willing to fall

Posted by xbskid at 5:53AM, Tuesday November 7 2006

So is -that- how Steve Irwin got it? D:

Cargo Cult's gravatar

14. Soaring higher because you know you will fall

Posted by Cargo Cult at 5:11PM, Friday November 10 2006


Strange viewing when as part of your day-job you've been uploading reams of documents on railway safety analyses and accident reports...

(Also, I need to fix my XHTML for Internet Explorer compatibility. Why'd nobody tell me? Is Firefox *that* prevalent these days?)

cogebalas's gravatar

15. The Helvetica Scenario

Posted by cogebalas at 4:37AM, Saturday November 11 2006

Haha, bloody brilliant.

Baffled's gravatar

16. Firefox IS Explorer...or not

Posted by Baffled at 3:14PM, Saturday November 11 2006

You may not need to worry about browser compatibility any more, behold Microsoft Firefox!:


Be sure to check out the Features page, RSS seems an amazingly useful tool, I'm sure we'll all wonder how we coped without it!

Cargo Cult's gravatar

17. Hic

Posted by Cargo Cult at 11:04PM, Saturday November 11 2006

There are six Trappist breweries in Belgium.

I have now tried beers from five of them. They are all Good.

Number six is not widely distributed. I must visit.


(N.B. I very briefly, and unintentionally, posted this comment as a new article. Thus explaining any future discontinuity in article IDs. The aforementioned behaviour should be taken as a demonstration of said beers.)

vecima's gravatar

18. msfirefox?

Posted by vecima at 8:38PM, Sunday November 12 2006

the end times are nigh.

i always knew microsoft would have something to do with it.

locworks's gravatar

19. msfirefox?

Posted by locworks at 12:27PM, Monday November 13 2006

A sweet spoof. Some of the language is so Microsoft-y...

Baffled's gravatar

20. Many a true word is said in jest

Posted by Baffled at 5:35PM, Monday November 13 2006

If you go to the download section of that spoof site, it downloads Internet Explorer 7. I installed IE7 last week and, let me tell you, I was shocked at how brazenly Microsoft have copied Firefox, right down to that circular page-loading animated icon thingy. Have they no shame?!

Beer: I think we can all agree that beer is a subject of the upmost import and can all revel in the immortal words of Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind"..."I have respect for beer!". It is humbling then to see that Adam can selflessly devote some of his precious time to the study of this noble liquid. It has to be admitted that the Belgians are world leaders in 3 things; Beer, Chocolate, and Guns ( I would have added Kafkaesque Bureaucracy, but I seem to remember promising not to mention that again). So he is indeed well placed for this quest.

I have to say that those monks knew what they were about. I mean, life of self-denial and poverty my @%&£. Compared to the average peasant they had it all, plus their own brewery!!! Trappist? More like Trappings, as in "life with all the.." eh?! ;-)

As for posting under the influence: tut tut Mr Foster, there may be kiddies present. You must endeavour to set a better example, especially with those Monks falling down on that duty ( probably literally ).

Anonymous's gravatar

21. Firefox

Posted by Anonymous at 8:12AM, Wednesday November 15 2006

Since when did the moz devs come up with the circular loady thing? Could have sworn I've seen it elsewhere before. Mac OS or something? An Adobe product maybe?

Anyway, is there anything else they "brazenly copied" from Firefox? I can't really think of anything Firefox brings to the table that's actually new.

Baffled's gravatar

22. Reinventing the wheel

Posted by Baffled at 5:00PM, Wednesday November 15 2006

I guess you're right Anon, the circular icon is hardly a new idea, being essentially that most unoriginal of concepts...a wheel. I was only describing my initial reaction to Microsoft's "new" features being so similar to those in Firefox and that seems a fairly common if, as you point out, not entirely fair impression.

I suppose if an idea works well and adds value then Microsoft would be condemned for not implementing it themselves, so they can't really win. As you say, Mozilla were probably "inspired" by earlier efforts like Opera and, various things Apple, so perhaps we just expect more innovation from Microsoft, being so resource rich, that we are constantly dissatisfied.

A fanboy retaliates:


Boff's gravatar

23. delayed to summer 2007. Help us Obi-wan-Foster you are our only hope

Posted by Boff at 10:07AM, Saturday November 18 2006

No pressure mate....but peeps need something cool to happen in the world of Half life 2.

Valve have tickled our combined testicles with a tech demo, but must like the lost cost....the lost core demo is still no where to be seen.

Meaning you are the only one who can release something awesome.

If you too can be delayed to summer 2007 than that would be great :)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

24. Rock 24

Posted by Cargo Cult at 2:36PM, Saturday November 18 2006

For those looking for an urgent dose of single-player content, there's Rock 24:


Got released yesterday, by the looks of things - no idea what it's like to play yet, but the screenshots definitely look promising.

Anyone want to report back? I'm downloading now, but also working on MINERVA... ;-)

Campaignjunkie's gravatar

25. Rock 24

Posted by Campaignjunkie at 6:51PM, Saturday November 18 2006

I just finished it. I have to say that it's surprisingly good - deserving of a Bronze award at Ten Four, if we offered such a thing. Lots of custom nifty FacePoser stuff, and there are little puzzles everywhere.

I might bump it up to Silver though, simply because I don't want to equate it with the wasteland that was Halloween Pumpkin Night.

Holy Socks's gravatar

26. Talking about tickling testicles

Posted by Holy Socks at 7:56PM, Saturday November 18 2006

Just got back from the new Bond film and its annoyingly good, apart from the said testicle scene. Anyone else seen it?

I think I'l have download Rock 24, but right now i'm abit distracted with Medieval 2, Has Rock 24 got any Voice actors to go with that faceposer stuff?

PiX_NeG's gravatar

27. 007

Posted by PiX_NeG at 10:48PM, Saturday November 18 2006

That was the only scene that made me cringe. And hurt. And weep.

PiX_NeG's gravatar

28. firefox...or is it?

Posted by PiX_NeG at 10:51PM, Saturday November 18 2006

my apologies for the double-post.

I think the main thing IE7 'borrowed' from firefox is tabbed browsing (my favorite feature fo firefox, incidently). And yet, they made it ugly somehow. i guess that's the microsoft touch, eh?

M_Gargantua's gravatar

29. tenfour

Posted by M_Gargantua at 3:04AM, Sunday November 19 2006

CJ, I almost thought you were giving Minerva a silver at tenfour. I was all :O has CJ lost his reviewing sense?

then I realised you meant rock 24. Bit of uncertainty there on your part

as for the testicle scene, it isn't much compared to the scene in borat where... I don't even want to say it. Go watch the movie for yourself and know what it means to truely be compleled to avert your gaze.

fuzz's gravatar

30. Rock 24

Posted by fuzz at 8:23PM, Sunday November 19 2006

Really nicely scripted, and an NPC who's almost as helpful as Alyx, but the odd bit of the map could have done with a polish (like the boat), and I had annoying few bugs (like the hatch in the elevator not opening after the first time). 8/10 I recons

xbskid's gravatar

31. Rock 24

Posted by xbskid at 5:09AM, Monday November 20 2006

Rock 24's installer is bugged. I ran it, and it skipped all the files and told me to restart Steam. It didn't extract anything. :( Probably because I have Steam in T:\Valve\Steam. Ahahaha.

xbskid's gravatar

32. Rock 25

Posted by xbskid at 5:16AM, Monday November 20 2006

Sorry for the double post. I found this for manual installations: http://planetphillip.filecloud.com/files/file.php?user_file_id=296619
The site is awful, but oh well.

Evan's gravatar

33. Rock 24 is sexy

Posted by Evan at 5:22AM, Monday November 20 2006

So I downloaded and played Rock 24. Way too short, but definitely worth playing. Almost makes me wish Minerva could have a bit of cinematic voice acting. Perhaps not from the wonderful lady herself, but something to add some depth, yus.

kast's gravatar

34. R24

Posted by kast at 11:23AM, Monday November 20 2006

It was certainly refreshing to see a mod centre on character interaction. I do think, however, that there wasn't enough... incidental chatter from Richard. (Richard, was that the guy's name? Bah, terrible memory.) And, while facial animations were sufficent, they weren't at all expressive. And there was no choreography for the rest of the body - they just run around.

I was impressed by the trick used to get you to one side of the boat in order to be blown off - destroying one of the ammo boxes, forcing you to the other one in order to grab rockets.

Voice acting! Wow, blessing! :P Nice effort, lovely to see someone really try with it, but many objectives were over explained and some of the dialogue a little tedious.

Sure, Rock24's map wasn't up to MINERVA's map quality, it often matched Valve's own standards. The only real let down was with a decided lack of atmospheric lighting. Well, you can't have everything.

Baffled's gravatar

35. Don't touch me there, it tickles

Posted by Baffled at 4:50PM, Monday November 20 2006

It seems that the authors of Rock24 were building it as a self-training exercise in the use of the Hammer editor rather than a fully formed mod and I have to say it plays like that.

As a showcase for their mapping skills it's a great success. The levels are well made, attractive and full of detail and there are lots of small, if rather obvious puzzles to be solved.

But where it falls down is in gameplay and storyline. The prisoner we are supposed to be rescuing seems to have the run of the prison and enjoy some level of security clearance. In fact he was in such control of events it often felt that I was being rescued by him rather than the other way around. The game tried too hard to control my experience and seemed to be treating me as if I were an NPC to be directed and programmed leaving me with little sense of freedom. On entering one room, the game actually ( and this isn't a spoiler ) lifts the player up by the scruff of the neck with some invisible hand, and waves us around the room like a kitten showing us everything in the room before plonking us down where we had first entered. Why?? They need to back off and let the player explore the environment. If the level is well made we'll see that, and if there is something we need to notice then let us find it ourselves, giving only subtle hints to guide us and keep things moving.

The combat was mostly stilted and unchallenging. The first major encounter involved rows of Overwatch dancing into view like chorus girls to be mown down by machine guns and the last was a rocket spamfest against infinitely spawning waves who only stopped coming when the player walks a few feet in the other direction. The player was given too much ammunition and left with no need for any real tactical thinking.

There was plenty of humour and the voice acting was funny, invloving a clearly long-suffering girlfriend reading her lines and a hammy Arnold Schwarzenegger impressionist as the Rebel Leader. But on balance, I think MINERVA is wise to be free from such embellishments, and that's the right word as everything that felt wrong about the gameplay experience probably stemmed from the authors' throwing in an example of every kind of trick and gimmick they could think of without worrying about the storyline.

So in conclusion, very skillful mapping but next time concentrate on uniting level design, gameplay and storyline. They could of course look no further than MINERVA for a first class tutorial in that art. ;-)

kast's gravatar

36. out of body experiences

Posted by kast at 9:11PM, Monday November 20 2006

Oh, yeah. The "ooh, look what's happening. isn't that interesting" bits. Those really... aggravated me.

SmokersCough's gravatar

37. Umm

Posted by SmokersCough at 1:20AM, Tuesday November 21 2006

Okay i can see your points, but from the feedback we ran when play testing, people had major issues with not being told how to go about puzzles. They were deemed as too difficult without proper explanation. The real question is where do you draw the limit between allowing the player to find their own way around and making it more obvious for the player who doesn't want to spend the time with puzzles and merely wants to fight enemies.

Mint_Sauce's gravatar

38. Rock 24

Posted by Mint_Sauce at 11:12AM, Tuesday November 21 2006

Thanks everyone for your feedback! Yes, our mod was very scripted in a lot of ways and you are correct when you say we are showcasing. We created Rock 24 as a test mod really, to learn Hammer and how to create a mod as well as find out what we could do with it. Before Rock 24 we didn't even know what a func_detail was but now we know Hammer inside out. I agree on some of the points you make and will certainly take them in to consideration the next time we create anything. We have learnt a lot from creating Rock 24 and hope the next mod we make (not a learning test mod but a polished, well tested mod) will be a lot better and fix all the problems seen with Rock 24. I will also be playing Minerva again, keeping what you have said in mind.


kast's gravatar

39. "Well-y, well-y, well-y."

Posted by kast at 12:15PM, Tuesday November 21 2006

This is interesting. :) I never expected the authors to take note of our thoughts *here*. It's always nice to know we're listened to, and of course to get feedback on our... feedback. :S:P

Good luck with your future endevours, Henley and Richard.

Baffled's gravatar

40. Sticking the well-y in...

Posted by Baffled at 3:46PM, Tuesday November 21 2006

...without really meaning to.

I feel a bit sheepish being confronted by the obviously very talented and hard working creators of Rock24 as my post sounded harsher than I would have liked.

Of course different people will want different things from a mod and you can't please everyone all the time. I think MIstake Of Pythagoras is a mod that very cleverly confronts this problem by being multi-threaded. You can play through to one ending by shooting alone, but a second secret ending is there to be discovered ( or not, in my case ;-( ) by more sophisticated means. Perhaps you could work in a secondary objective ( another prisoner or some asset in a safe or something to be destroyed ) that could be ignored by those wanting just a shooter but could engage those looking for more.

Anyway you both have talent in spades, and I look forward to playing your future work.

Au-heppa's gravatar

41. Rock 24, no thanks

Posted by Au-heppa at 5:56PM, Tuesday November 21 2006

I didn''t really like the mapping at all, it was way too crowded and ugly. The Loading points were badly placed, it's really annoying when you were in the vent and this torso zombie comes at you and you step back and it starts loading in the middle of the fight. And the levels were way too short, why is every single level called it's own chapter? it doesn't make sense. And the beginning had way too little enemies and still they are giving smg bombs like candy.

I also got stuck at one point and had to start the chapter all over because I accidentally used a button from the side of the door that it wasn't supposed to be able to use, and when I came down the elevator the guy dressed like murderer in prison didn't react.

Voice acting was plus, alright, but it had the same problem as other mods, it's often too quiet and mumble, it's hard to hear the words. Subtitles would help, of course, but those are too much to ask.

And the story? uh! it didn't make any sense, the last map (I mean, chapter) was just painful.

Boff's gravatar

42. rock24

Posted by Boff at 8:43AM, Wednesday November 22 2006

I liked it.
I've seen worse maps,
I've seen worse acting (players),
I've heard worse acting,

You two did a bloody good job putting this thing together.
When HL2 came out, people "really" demand that the mods be of a similar standard,
which I think is unfair.

Rock24 is actually pretty darn close to the mark.
It's not HL2 standard...but COME ON it's a MOD!!
You can't expect perfection. Even HL2 has it's flaws.

Kept me entertained for about 2 hours.
(*cough* couldn't find the right door occasionally, but exploration is always fun =O) )
You kept the action and exploration tight and spaced out correctly. Unlike say Combine destiny. (practically as long as ep1 but some lessons of how NOT to build maps).

kast's gravatar

43. CD = Evil

Posted by kast at 1:09PM, Wednesday November 22 2006

GAH! I hated Combine Destiny. I didn't get very far because whenever I tried jumping the broken gangway in the second level, the game crashed. And I tried... oh, maybe a dozen times.

Plus the entire first level sucked beyond comprehension. Such an obviously forced, deus ex machina introduction to the game proper and then a massive wait in darkness for the next level??? I restarted three times, thinking that it was a bug before I just let it sit and work itself out.

Campaignjunkie's gravatar

44. Speaking of CD

Posted by Campaignjunkie at 6:14PM, Wednesday November 22 2006

I can't bring myself to finish it, for the sole purpose of tearing it apart in a review.

vecima's gravatar

45. here i am, busy for a week and....

Posted by vecima at 9:59PM, Saturday November 25 2006

this place starts bustling! what is it with you people? anyway, i'm downloading rock24 now....

darn you all to heck, r24 devs... i wanted to be making one of the few mods with voice acting and actual faceposer usage. thanks to you, when we finally release in a couple months, it wont be anything special!!!! oh well.

but yeah, combine destiny stunk.
it felt more like star wars (dark forces) than hl2.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

46. Lack of Rock 24 review, but FLASH!

Posted by Cargo Cult at 1:08AM, Sunday November 26 2006

Excuse: I've been working on MINERVA.

A map was compiling, so I thought I'd fix that annoying no-Flash-in-IE problem in this 'ere blog. It turned out my version of Internet Explorer had a terminally outdated version of Flash installed, which couldn't play any video at all - it wasn't my attempting embedding that was at fault.

The good news is that the Flash embedding is now particularly shiny and spangly, and will inform you if you've got an outdated version of Flash.

Oh wow. Such ... dullness. But metastasis_3a's nearly finished compiling, again. Let's see if that entity work actually works!

Evan's gravatar

47. Mmm.

Posted by Evan at 5:16AM, Sunday November 26 2006

Good job, Mr. Foster. Now get it ALL done and let us play it! :D

kast's gravatar

48. It's close now...

Posted by kast at 8:42PM, Sunday November 26 2006

I can feel it. So close... aaaah... Minerva.

vecima's gravatar

49. so close and yet so far

Posted by vecima at 12:49AM, Monday November 27 2006

not this year... i don't think.

a tease it is...

but a mother licking blast it WILL be.

as for Rock 24.... haven't finished it yet, gonna fire it up now... but so far:

overall atmosphere : awesome
maps : excellent.
voice & facial acting : pretty good
story : between fair and poor. closer to fair.
gameplay : solid

Rock 24 devs, don't take this as a personal shot, but as constructive criticism. your talents definately show through here, but so do the weaknesses.

i, though, am biased against mods that involve the player being Gordon. I feel like his messianic path should not be beset by side-missions & such. but that's just my geekyness lashing out.

Baffled's gravatar

50. Now arriving at Platform 2001...

Posted by Baffled at 2:15AM, Monday November 27 2006

I thought that was a train moving toward us before the music clued me in. I wonder if train designers took any cues from that?

That film is a true masterpiece from beginning to end and I doubt that it will ever be bettered. I've always gone along with the theory that the film is all about evolution, with the final scenes depicting the rebirth of mankind as something higher, the next step up the ladder of existence. The mystery being, of course, who, or what, is helping us up that ladder? Or were the monoliths just observing the milestones in our progress ( maybe they were designed to symbolise milestones )? Perhaps humans sent them themselves to record their own past?

Stanley Kubrick was a genius of filmmaking..( he co-wrote the screenplay as well as directing ) and maybe, just maybe, a certain Mr Foster might come to be seen as the Kubrick of Source Modding. You never know. ;-)

*fingers ( and everything else ) crossed* for an Xmas release. I noticed that Goldeneye:Source is to be released on Christmas Day itself, and thought perhaps a Boxing Day morning could be immeasurably enriched by a far more sophisticated gift....

vecima's gravatar

51. monoliths.

Posted by vecima at 2:47AM, Monday November 27 2006

our island is somewhat monolithic...

sort of an inverted monolith of the awakening of pain.

anyway, as for 2001....

the monoliths were actually devices meant to reconstruct an alien race from a seperate universe.
thier universe came to its end. perhaps via the grey goo? perhaps a big crunch? big freeze? whatever the cause, they ran out of time.

they sent the monoliths to our universe in the hopes that they could reconstruct their former owners on this side. our contact with them is... i donno... incidental? anyway, Kubrick (i love him too) seems to have done his best at obfuscating that message in the film adaptation.

among other indescrepencies featured in his film work is the movie "A Clockwork Orange" in which Kubrick left out the final chapter of the book (during which our "hero" matures and naturally shys away from orgiastic violence).
oh wait, was this different in the U.S. than in Europe?

not sure if these are his ideas of "statements" or what, but the films are usually so trippy i don't care. "Full Metal Jacket" is still not only my favorite war movie, it's really the only movie based on a real war that I care to watch more than once. my band (experimental hard rock) is going to sample some of the music (actually created by his daughter) when we release our first ...uh... e-album.

Adam, i appear to have out blogged you here ;)

vecima's gravatar

52. now for my amazing double post!

Posted by vecima at 3:08AM, Monday November 27 2006

finished rock 24....

up from my previous thoughts...

the last 2 maps played like slide shows for some reason. (though this could very possibly be my system -- mobility radeon 9700). still my machine manhandles hl2 at the same settings.

anyway, excellent mapping. everything looked really well done. professional even.
the voice acting and faceposing need some work, but most mods don't even bother, so i don't knock points for that.

a huge plus for you guys... Rock 24 used zombies effectively, not in over abundance. i hate those sequences most mods descend into where there are 35 zombies running at you at once and they pretty obviously spawn from nowhere. you guys steered clear of this temptation... kudos.

overall pretty fun. the ending sequence had a couple issues,

1st: the battle wasn't really a challenge - it was still kind of fun, but carried on a bit there.

2nd: i almost missed the vortigaunts. while you're battling endless combine soldiers they just pop up behind you, and if you don't turn around, you might not see them. i love vortigaunts and i think anything they do should be accentuated. fighting along side them was kind of cool, though somewhat pointless.

anyway, i know what it feels like to work on something for a really long time and have it criticized, so, sorry for that, but overall a really good job. better than most, though i've yet to try Leons coastline.

if you need a number...hmmm....
if HL2 is 10/10, Rock 24 gets 8.1 / 10

another mod some folks might like to check out
is penetration... good, but not as good as Rock 24.

Au-heppa's gravatar

53. So, can we expect Minerva 3 to come out in 2001?

Posted by Au-heppa at 10:07AM, Monday November 27 2006

Yes, I love 2001, goes to my top ten. I don't believe to the "ancient alien race" theory like vecima, thou. Althou that side of the story is true as well, the monolith is still mostly a metaphor for me. It is a metaphor of the question "What is the meaning of live?" or "Why are we here?" or "How are we here?" All the characters are facing the monolith and the question. Or maybe none of those questions, but something deep inside any human, that forces them to think, and then to evolve.

I always find the scene with Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra when the Ape first learns to use the bones as tools and throws the bone in to the air very amusing. Because, this is a great moment in the history (the bombastic music states this), this is the moment when this ape becomes the SuperApe, and steps into the human race, but it's also kind of ridiclious. It's ridiclious because it's a damn ape with a damn bone, how could this be a meaningful moment? what could that have anything to do with the human history? It's kind of frigtening idea, that something like that could be the biggest historical event in our planet.

And it's funny.

vecima's gravatar

54. how?

Posted by vecima at 2:41AM, Tuesday November 28 2006

what do you mean rediculous?

it may not be the the "biggest historical event", but failing to see why it's a meaningful moment?

were you watching with your eyes closed?

also, the "'ancient alien race' theory" isn't really my theory, it's from the novel.

Au-heppa's gravatar

55. ridiculous

Posted by Au-heppa at 3:50PM, Tuesday November 28 2006

It's ridiculous because of the same reasons some people choose not to believe in the evolution theory. We don't want to think that we have to anything to do with apes, we don't want to know the truth that we are actually very close to this animal, the we came from this animal. The idea that we are one step away from this hairy creature who doesn't even know how to use tools yet is so absurd.

Why is it funny? Ask Freud.

Yes, I know it's from the novel, I have read it, and I didn't like it.

Baffled's gravatar

56. Human and machine in harmony ( pun intended )

Posted by Baffled at 4:37PM, Tuesday November 28 2006

This sounds...interesting:


It seems that we are about to become a part of our mp3 players, subtly blurring the boundaries between us and our technology, inching ever closer to the union of man and machine so often depicted in Science Fiction. Nifty but unsettling.

I have to admit to not having read Clark's novel, Vecima, but Kubrick may have decided to change the meaning or at least leave it open to interpretation. But still, simian ancestry is a bit of an embarrassment to us humans, it's so...undignified.

Au-heppa's gravatar

57. the novel

Posted by Au-heppa at 8:14PM, Tuesday November 28 2006

Actually, the novel and the film were made about the same time. The film was based on Clark's other books, but they wrote 2001 in collaboration, and the novel was release after the film.

vecima's gravatar

58. undignified?

Posted by vecima at 4:47AM, Wednesday November 29 2006

if anything (had they only the capability) i'd argue that primates (in this case chimpanzee) should be embarrassed that something like humanity came forth from them.

will we be 'higher' when we are slugs like the 'benefactors' -- their state, after all, came from reliance on technology. Baffled, aren't we already "blurring the boundaries between us and our technology"?

Is it really such a standard human emotion these days -- that animals are 'lower' than humans?

we have what to show for ourselves? An increased capacity to reason. and with it:
an increased capacity toward species eradication.
an increased capacity toward global destruction.
an increased capacity toward genocide.

most unruly and oddest of all i think, is our astounding ability to ignore our ability to reason at all.

Au-heppa, plenty of our closest relatives know how to use tools. One author that I particularly enjoy (though I only read one of his books) is Jared Diamond. In his book "The Third Chimpanzee" he, at one point, studies pygmy chimps, and makes a strong arguement that they in fact have a complex vocal language.

personally, i find it rediculous that people still shy away from the notion that we are related. In addition, i'd argue that any animal species that has achieved harmony with nature and its surroundings should be held in higher regard than a species (like humanity) that consumes uncontrollably, eradicates other species entirely, and still finds time for mass killings within its own species.

but perhaps i'm just weird...
once, in a college composition class, we were asked the question:
"if you had to chose between saving the life of a complete stranger (human), and letting your faithful dog die, or saving the life of the faithful dog, and letting the complete stranger die, which would you chose?"
it was a loaded question. the "obvious" answer was that you choose the human because you are a human (or something). I raised my hand and said I'd choose the dog. My reasoning was that while that human may very well stab me in the back when it comes time to return the favor, the dog, a faithful pet would not. furthermore, if the dog were given the choice, not only would that dog chose to save me over that other person, it would chose to save me over another dog -- it would even go so far as to kill the other dog to save me, if it deemed it necessary.

i was condemned for making such a judgement, and no one in the class talked to me for the rest of the semester. they let their arrogant notions that humans are 'better' blind them to the fact that i was just answering a question based on some sort of reasoning rather than emotion. this didn't really bother me or hurt my feelings, but it gave me pretty good sense on where people (at least college aged) stand on the idea of judgement based on reason vs. judgement based on emotion.

xbskid's gravatar

59. 2001?

Posted by xbskid at 5:31AM, Wednesday November 29 2006

Am I the only person that just could -not- watch 2001: A Space odyssey? The beginning was a whole lot of absolutely -nothing-. I had to skip through the first half hour/45 mins, and after that I had lost all interest in the film.

boff's gravatar

60. 2001, 2010, 2065, 3001 the books

Posted by boff at 8:52AM, Wednesday November 29 2006

major spoilerz
2001 - explains the existence of the monoliths

The first teaching man to teach early man to use tools and his brain to get ahead in evolution.

The second monolith was found on the moon, when man found that, it sent a signal to jupiter.

Man launches a mission to investigate the third monolith. It fails.
The two pilots Bowman and Poole are lost,
bowman encounters the monolith and "evolves" and Poole dies in the vaccuum of space.

2010 A rescue mission is dreamed up, by both the amerian and russians (whom at this point are in the state of war) the American mission is later in planning than the russians and fearing what the russians would do, hitch a ride.
They fix HAL, find out he was ordered to lie and decieve and thus had conflicting orders to act on his own if the mission failed, his understanding was the mission was failing as he couldn't lie properly and was only protecting the mission.
(nice job programming)

The monolith dissappears and appears on jupiter where it self replicates, altering the chemical structure of the planet until it reaches critical mass and turns into a mini-sun.

A new monolith now appears on Europa which now has a liquid oceans and an atmosphere.

2065. Despite being warned by the monolith NOT to go to europa, Man still goes on a mission of mercy.
The life forms attempting to evolve on behalf of the monolith are dieing.
Part of the diamad core of Jupiter embeded itself into europa during the blast when it convereted from a gas gaint to a sun.
Realising it failed the monolith douses the second sun in 3001.
The aliens of Europa die.

3001 - Corpsicle, Frank Poole is discovered and revived. Basically people are living in mini matrix worlds and are jacking in Online to learn and to live. Mankind is doing well. And now they learn discover the monolith is actually a method of control. To guide a spieces to be dominant (under it's control) and will automatically wipe out the competition. And when they evolve so far, the monoliths act as a doomsday weapon, and anihilate the species....thus eliminated those who might be a possible threat to the producers of the monolith.
Mankind throws the black box of viruses it's beeing archiving and quarantining for 1000 years at the monolith.

They are never seen again.

Baffled's gravatar

61. The Human Virus

Posted by Baffled at 5:48PM, Wednesday November 29 2006

Gosh those are some...ermm...forthright views you have there Vecima!

This seemed appropriate:


Boff: Have you read all those? I hadn't realized that he'd written sequels. The only Arthur C Clarke book I've read was "The Mysterious World", a sort of serious X-Files compendium.

Dan Forever's gravatar

62. 2001

Posted by Dan Forever at 5:45PM, Sunday December 3 2006

Wasn't 2001 originally a short story, which is what the film and subsequent novel are based on?

For me, 2001 was always about some distant unseen alien race monitoring the progress of Earth (and the sentient species that evolve there). Hence the monoliths that monitor and send messages from earth, the moon and europa.

The question thats up for debate is "why?". Are they a benevolent race looking after humans, or fearful aliens looking to wipe out potential threats?

fuzz's gravatar

63. 2001

Posted by fuzz at 9:02PM, Tuesday December 5 2006

IIRC the original short story was called "The Sentinel" which I first found <a HREF="http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_/203-8434539-8186302?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=arthur+c+clarke+of+time+and+stars&Go.x=0&Go.y=0&Go=Go">here</a>.
It's only 13 pages long and describes a small pyramid structure found on the moon. It's pretty good and vintage Clarke. Formative in my childhood methinks.

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