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More ramblings on the Internet over the past few days about the Halo 3 beta.

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Sorahn's directory of Public Beta medals has been updated; it seems Bungie caved on Cheneymania, renaming it Open Season; also several missing medals, including Hail to the King, have been added.

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I've read in several previews that the range of the radar around a Spartan in multiplayer has been reduced. I don't have any good way of quantifying that, but it certainly seems to be true to me.

In particular, on Valhalla there are two rock outcroppings on either side of the stream where players often like to perch with ranged weapons like a turret, sniper, or laser. Often there's a lot of activity far away that they are paying attention to, and more than a few times I've run right up to such a player from behind and assassinated them if there's no one covering their back. It's also happened to me quite a few times as well.

I have a feeling that the radar may have lost most of its usefulness in many situations if this is the case. It can tell you if an enemy is nearby but on a different level, but doesn't indicate whether it is higher or lower, so this is of little use. Out in the open, you'll see a player long before he or she ever shows up on radar, so it's only good for detecting someone outside of your line of sight. If the range is so short, however, that it's routinely possible to run (not sneak) up to players and melee them before they have a chance to register an enemy on the radar, it makes me wonder if it shouldn't be either removed entirely, given a greater range, or provide additional information, such as the elevation of a target.

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Articles referring to the Halo 3 Multiplayer Public Beta, held in May and June of 2007.

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GamePro interviews Bungie's Lars Bakken about the Halo 3 Beta.

PALGN has an article up giving their impressions of the Halo 3 Beta, by Alistair Macleod.

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Kudos to Stuntmutt via HBO for pointing out that Gabe and Tycho now like Halo. Are you a dirty little jeep? Yeah... I thought so.

Other news:

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Halo 1 came out nearly six years ago. Halo 2 came out nearly three years ago, and until the release of bright, shiny, next-gen Gears of War, ruled the roost at Xbox Live. Halo 2 just logged it's five millionth unique player, and will no doubt continue to be a fairly popular game as long as there are more first generation Xboxen in the field than their younger, 360 brethren.

With all those players, games, weeks, months and years under the bridge for Halo 1 and 2, what can one say about Halo 3 after three days?

Probably the easiest thing to do is just point out what's changed.

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Two major categories of news in this roundup: Stubbs and Xbox 360.

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A preview copy of Stubbs the Zombie landed in GameDaily's post office box today, and they like what they see, at first glance:

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Seth Schiesel at the old grey lady wrote his impressions of the Xbox 360 after sitting down with one at Microsoft's X05 show in Amsterdam last week. While Bungie wasn't showing anything, it is impossible for the new console to escape the shadow of its star franchise, even when nothing's actually been said about it. In comparison, it seems that the shooter slated for the marquee spot in the 360's launch lineup is faring very well:

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GameSpy has put up a preview of Stubbs The Zombie. They liked how the ability to create more zombies that you can make follow you made otherwise straightforward killing far more interesting:

These simple dynamics turn the repetitive combat into a shambling, decomposing chess game, since your inability to singly defeat the large crowds couple with the NPC zombies' natural ineptitude necessitates strategic manipulation of each situation to come out of it in your mostly-intact state. Often I would find myself using zombies as walking shields, hanging back until I could slip in behind the enemies and chomp them, or sending a diversionary swarm towards a machine-gun nest while I hid and send my arm off to possess a shotgun-toting redneck who could take care of the situation.

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Chris Remo at Shacknews has posted an updated preview of Wideload's upcoming Halo engine game, Stubbs the Zombie, after playing it at QuakeCon. Remo reports that while initially intrigued by the title's unique story and gameplay, his first experience of it was slightly disappointing, as the level design was repetetive.

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The second in Ars Technica's series of pieces on the Xbox 360's hardware specs focuses on the "Xenon" CPU.

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Kiziko has a very short E3 hands-on with the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack. It's unclear whether they mean all nine maps or just the four so-far released, but as far as we know Bungie is allowing all nine to be played at the show.

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IGN's latest Countdown To Halo 2 feature is actually a preview not of Halo 2 itself, but a preview of their review of the game. There's a special kind of insanity inherent to the buzz, however justifiable, behind this title. One can only wonder what it would be like if, say, the installed base numbers of the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 were reversed.

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