Bungie Weekly Update 6.23 + KLind gets another magazine!

Last weeks update basically consisted of this vague comment regarding a Halo 3 Multiplayer Map:

A loosely held together with tape and string tournament has started at Bungie, where we’ll be playing against other teams of two in Halo 3 multiplayer. I have teamed up with KP to form Team Cobra Kai. We’ll be sweeping knees next week on two of the more polished levels. One of those is waaaaaaay more finished than the other, and is probably the most graphically accomplished Halo thing ever. And it’s not finished. While playing that level, we got killed over and over again because we were staring at the HDR lighting and the eerie, iridescent surfaces that make up some of the objects on that map.

It’s thrilling to think that the graphics we see in that map are the absolute baseline for how good our stuff should look. Even that pretty, pretty map is missing a bunch of graphical features, although to be honest, I had to be told that. The more detailed character models look surprisingly good on SD TV sets too. I had kind of assumed that they would be best appreciated on an HD set, but the fact is that the extra shadow, detail and realism looks every bit as impressive on our crappy old 14 inch test sets.”

I didn’t post it because I honestly forgot to check it until today. But the new update sheds some more light on Halo 3:

Work continues at a frantic pace on single and multiplayer. Sometimes to two collide! Lars, the multiplayer designer was playing through on of the single player missions when suddenly he was surrounded by butterflies. ‘I thought I was going insane,” said Lars. But he asked a programmer – and discovered that some wit had replaced the normal garbage collection routine (the deletion of unused objects like dead bodies and dropped, spent weapons) with a more elaborate one. The corpses of fallen Covenant currently turn into a “flock” of monarch butterflies, with flapping wings. Bizarre. And I’m assured this took about a minute to implement (this statement to head off the inevitable flames from backseat developers).

Lars also let us try out a new map Sketch and I like to call “Jub-Jub,” much to Mr. Bakken’s discontent. And it’s my favorite new small map. An instant classic like Lockout and on roughly the same scale, with similar pacing and feel, although it looks very, very different.”

Now, as I slip into conspiracy mode, I think this is an interesting comment. That make a handfull of maps that have been described as “Different”. What does this mean? This is only a guess but this may allude to the theory that Master Chief will go to a Covenant world. This may not be that crazy of an idea, remember Cortana needs saving, but there are many facts to back it up.

  • This quote from the 6.16.06 update: “ …we got killed over and over again because we were staring at the HDR lighting and the eerie, iridescent surfaces that make up some of the objects on that map.” If you recall much of the Covenant tech is quite shiny, the ships, doors, etc.
  • In the ‘Making of the Halo 3 Trailer” documentary, a quote says something along the lines of ‘you will be finishing all the fights that have been going on since Halo Combat Evolved.” Many Bungie fans (the Hardcore ones at least) are aware of a Covenant cival war that has been brewing since Halo: CE. Replay most Arbiter missions, and you’ll find your self killing other Covenant. The big fight is between the Brutes and Elites.
  • Cortana needs saving, and the Gravemind needs to be stopped. Without a leader, the Flood will hopefully be put to an end. Personally, I hate fighting the Flood. I carry big guns (Shotgun, and Sword are most frequent), and it’s such a waste of ammo to shoot the small ones. Get the flood out of the way either early in the game, or have them all at the end. That would be totally bad ass! Imagine teaming up with an army of Elites, Hunters, and Jackals, plus the Marines (which look like GRAW soldiers from what I’ve seen)!

Other than that the update goes on to say:

“I am finally starting to love the Assault Rifle (the one from the trailer) in MP. It’s good stuff, although weapon balancing and tradeoffs may change its subtle variances between now and launch. And it could even be removed. Who knows? That’s the normal course of development, finding what works and what doesn’t. Right now, it works great.

There was a short but fierce debate about the pros and cons of ladders in multiplayer this week. I won’t tell you how the debate ended, but I will say that I only noticed a month or two ago that there were any ladders at all in multiplayer Halo 2 – in Waterworks, to be specific, in the center structure.’

I did not know that! It’s too bad my TV busted the day I got my DS Lite.

Also on the subject of some strange glitches with the HD version of the Halo 3 trailer from the Xbox Live Marketplace, (starting white before the first piano chord, and a blue square on the screen before the 3 logo appears):

In other news, we’re working hard to fix the visual glitches now apparent in the E3 Halo 3 HD trailer on Xbox Live Marketplace. It was caused when an update to the video codec caused some incompatibility with video files made prior to that update. The fix will take a little while to implement, but we’ll have more news for you on that front very soon. Our apologies in the meantime.

That does however mean that we have to take down the “broken” one, possibly as early as Monday, but we will endeavor to get a replacement up ASAP, as well as the long-promised, HD, 5.1 version of the “making of the trailer” documentary.”

That means it will happen soon. Do you really think the big M$ would leave the trailer to one of the most anticipated games EVER, off the Marketplace long? I’m excited for having the Making-of trailer on tap. My 56k interweb connection can’t handle all the loading!

Now to my new magazine. OXM has a Halo 3 cover story (with some Bitchin cover art) for this months issue. Don’t get your hopes up though, little to no information is new if you have been keeping tabs on the forums, and Bungie.net. The bit that caught my attention though was

“Marty wants you to listen as well as look, asking, ‘Have you really listened in Surround sound?'”

Hmm. I am overdue for a TV upgrade, lets add surround sound to the list! Another cool thing is in the suggested features to add to Halo 3, is the idea to be able to listen to Cortana through the Xbox Live headset. Imagine you are playing a single player mission, and then you hear in your ear “Banshees on approach!” That would be immersion at it’s finest.

There’s your Halo overload, back to the news drought!

KLind

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