misc

Ross Mills of Subnova recently won a quiz contest on Eric Trautmann's blog. Trautmann is the guy at Microsoft who coordinates with the authors of the Halo novels, Eric Nylund and William Dietz.

Today his impressive prize package arrived; check out his forum thread at HBO for the skinny on what loot he made off with.

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Following up on the chicks-playing-Halo theme that started with Nick's reference to a Gaming Nexus article about innovative uses of the 'S' controller, rapture has posted a link to a BBC story about female gamers over on the cooked gamers site.

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With a slightly bigger screen than an average cellphone, you can view Halo pictures like this on the go. This was created using SplashPhoto, a Mac and Palm-based image gallery system.

With apps like Graphic Converter and Backdrop GC (not pictured) you can make a file like this into a Fireviewer-compatible .pdb file and use it as a background image on a Palm if it has Palm OS 3.5 or greater.


Rampant for over se7en years.



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I've transcribed the sheet music for 'Enough Dead Heroes' for a string orchestra, and am well on my way to finishing the halo theme. if anyone wants copies, just post on the blog, or contact me at the personal messaging thing (never used it, so it might be best to just post ur e-mail adress or somewhere where i can send u jpegs of the music) GO HALO!!!!!!!!!!

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DocOctavius made a nice 3D rendering of the Master Chief, from models and textures extracted from Halo and some freeware rendering tools. He posted it over in the HBO forum and gave us permission to add it to our community art gallery. He promises poseable versions soon.

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As I briefly outlined in a previous blog, the basic idea behind Fade will be an expanding variable engine. Without providing specifics on plot or setting the idea is to create a dynamic environment that is different every time you play. As asdfjkl pointed out to me Resident Evil: Outbreak will utilize a similar idea in its gameplay, although it is more basic due to its linearity.

Ideally Fade would be unique every time you start a new game. This would include level layouts to some degree, as well as item placement and character development. The concept here is to change the game every time you play by providing enough variables that the chances of ever having the same conditions are virtually impossible. Examples of this would be a random character appearance. More specifically your character would be unique every time. Want a male protagonist in his late 40's? You might just get it, or possibly even a teenage girl next time. The variable setting would make each game unique to the extreme. You may want to find a mirror in the game just to check out your new look every game.

Of course the possibilities are limited by the number variables included, but by using enough variations you would be able to maximize the differences allowed. Although it would be nice to have a randomly generated level, this may not work due to certain variables. Instead a random level order can be used to progress the game depending on what items/information has been found by your character. This means that certain levels may or may not be used in a given game. So provided that there are 12 total levels, you may only need to play through 8 in order to complete the provided story.

As for the story, it will be generated via the available items. A generic plot that I had constructed involved a person with amnesia trying to uncover their past. In this manner the items/information found would trigger memory sequences which provide clues towards your next goal. As the goal will be random the chain of events will play out differently each time. Also note that there may be possible paths to the end within a given game, so you can even have alternate endings in the same game. Whenever a memory segment is gained it would be shown via a snipet of a black and white cutscene. Once the memory is complete (all the segments are found) the full cutscene would be shown in color. This would then complete the given level.

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Walshicus has drawn up an extensive map of the Halo universe drawing on the games and novels. It features three-dimensional coordinates for many locations, both as an image and as an Excel worksheet. He submitted it to HBO and Louis Wu put it up in their Miscellaneous section.

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With all the millions of games on the market how does a developer ever decide what to create next? Ideas must be a dime a dozen and good ones are even harder to come by, yet the gaming industry is bigger than ever. Does that mean that most developers value quantity over quality or are game simply replicating one another to the point of losing all true originality?

Well, I actually have two ideas for very different games and I am going to use this blog to outline the basic formats involved in creating them. Before I go into too much detail I want to provide a brief description of each idea.

The first idea is loosely based upon such movies as Brainscan, The Butterfly Effect and Total Recall, to name a few. The game itself is based upon learning the reality in which you exist. More specifically you must learn to adapt in an ever changing environment. Most games place items in key locations and enemies travel upon a set route. The basic concept here is to randomize or add expanding variables in order to create a unique gaming experience every time you play. This translates into having to play the game under different cicumstances each and every time you decide to play; and yes, due to the variables the difficulty would be almost impossible to determine.

The second idea is a much more realistic and traditional style of game. This game would be inspired by anime and manga and make use of humanoid characters that can pilot vehicles and mechs. Consider it a hybridization of Robotech/Gundam, Escaflowne and Outlaw Star. The fundamental aspect that would set this game apart from every other similar game out there would be the dynamics of the player/vehicle interaction. In brief the player has a very basic set of skills that can be augmented by personnal weaponry and kits (RPG skills with FPS gear). The vehicles are fixed in terms of properties but can handle any player regardless of skill. The Mechs conversely are very specific and actually involve their own skills in order to pilot. What this means is that a player must decide to focus on mech combat or overall skills in order to be successful. Each has it own restrictions and limits of course.

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GameSpy just posted a lengthy and informative preview of Star Wars: Battlefront, which is scheduled for (simultaneous?) release on the PC, PS2 & Xbox systems. All in all the game looks like a possible winner, but given LucasArts' history of gaming it could possibly flop as well.

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I didn't even know they had a Video Game category before now, but apparently they do. Littlebigman pointed out in the HBO forum that several voice credits are listed for Halo 2 in the Internet Movie DataBase. Steve Downes, Jen Taylor, and Pete Stacker are all back, as the Master Chief, Cortana, and Sgt. Banks, respectively. However, there are two interesting things about this entry: the listing of Robin Atkin Downes as the Prophet of Regret, and credits for music to both Marty O'Donnell and Martin O'Donnell. So apparently human cloning is possible, and being done at Bungie. World domination indeed.

Robin Downes previously played Commander Adama in a Battlestar Galactica videogame, as well as all the warriors in Gladius. Impressive.

Halo and Halo 2 are the only videogame credits for Steve Downes except for the role of Gunnar a game called Septerra Core.

Taylor, of course, has lots of credits under her belt (wait, does that Cortana outfit even have a belt?) including several Mario games (Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Mario Party 3 and Mario Sunshine as well as several roles in No One Lives Forever 2.

And last but not least, Stacker played Griffin in Oni but between his stints for Bungie played a Mercenary in Red Faction.

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We need Halo2.. now.

--Wanted9867--

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Well, it wouldn't arrive in time for Christmas, but you can now order Halo armor from the Nightmare Armor site by Webshift. Before you pull out the wallet, a full suit, unpainted, costs $1700. With paint... $3500. For the truly dedicated fans only. Thanks Louis Wu from HBO.

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Sheesh, we step away from the keyboard from a little while, and the world doesn't have the sense to stop? What are things coming to? Anyway, here's some of what's been going on lately around the Halo news world:

The Gamesome Mac at MacRadio did a streaming QuickTime interview with Peter "Sidestep Pete" Tamte of Destineer (formerly of both Apple and Bungie) and Marty O'Donnell of Bungie (formerly of Total Audio) on December 15. That edition is still playing at their site. Also of interest to Bungie fans would be their Nov 24 2003 show featuring Michael "Blades" Bagnall of MythDevelopers, and the November 4, 2002 show featuring Matt Soell. Word is, Mac Halo is the best-selling game published by MacSoft in the last 4 years, and all that was within a day; MacSoft sent a release to that effect to HBO.

Major League Gaming will hold a tournament in Philadelphia on February 21-22, 2004, and it will feature Halo. Thanks HBO.

The Grunt Plushy Petition hit 1500 signatures. Go grunts [HBO]. Update: Over 1800 on as of today.

Westlake is working on a 1.03 patch for Mac Halo so Macs can play on 1.03 servers. Thanks again HBO.

Rams at Battleground: Halo did two more columns, one was a review of Eric Nylund's latest Halo novel, Halo: First Strike.

You can buy a Halo 2 shirt from the Bungie Store. Why wouldn't you?

A bunch of people-- Billy Oliva, Ben Roth, AfroRyan-- wrote into HBO about a weird glitch they found in PC Halo, on the Truth and Reconciliation level. Warning: do not stack Covenant more than THIS high.

Some people said that Mac OS X version 10.3.2 update improved Halo performance, one of them being Inky (thanks HBO).

Some guys at a site called Webshift are making Master Chief armor a reality. Where were you guys before Halo-ween when my girlfriend wanted to go trick-or-treating as Cortana and I had to nix the idea because there was no good companion costume? Gah. Well, next year.

Linkin Park visited Bungie. Hopefully you don't care.

IGN Insiders can see the first part of a comparison between Halo and Halo 2. We can't because we aren't; we have to save at least some loose cash for stuff like beer.

Want to do Networking Software Development for Bungie? So do we. Sadly, English majors need not apply.

Halo Babies is (are?) back! Thanks Matt Dunn.

Machinima.com has interviewed Geoff "gfunk" Fink and Gus "guS" Sorola of Rooster Teeth Productions, the group that brings you Red vs Blue.

Rams at BG:H thinks there have been a number of blunders in the handling of PC Halo, not the least of which is DirectX 9. He links to a post at the Gearbox forums by Randy "DuvalMagic" Pitchford of Gearbox, in which he talks about a number of interesting technical details, not the least of which is that the way Halo vehicles function virtually require an authoritative server architecture markedly unlike those used by games like CounterStrike.

Thanks Louis Wu at HBO, for providing many of the news items above and encouraging us to wash the beer suds out of our hair, get out from under the Christmas tree, and post some of it.

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People just can't seem to resist tricking Cortana into talking dirty. Captain Spark passed on to HBO what you could call Porntana Strikes Back, a sequel to the original Porntana clip. Apologies to Jen Taylor (if she's offended, that is). Thanks Louis Wu.

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