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Continuing on Parts 01, 02 and 03, Part 04 will discuss the workings of the Covenant class structure and how it relates to the Human/Spartan Combat Model.



Covenant Class Structures:



Although creating a formal class structure would be nice, it is only possible to create classes within the guidelines provided by Halo's storyline and within the balance limits of a multiplayer match. What this means is that specific sub-races of the Covenant, such as Grunts may not be well suited for multiplayer matches (at least not within their current format). The result is that the number of classes used will be quite limited overall; mainly to the Jackal, Elite and Hunter.



The Jackal may be the most interesting multiplayer class in general provided that they meet a few key restrictions. First, they can never drop their shield; and second, they can only equip one-handed weapons (maybe even only the plasma pistol). The key strength of this class would be their shields. The Jackal shield is very resilient and is quite possibly more useful than the Spartan's energy shield due to the fact that it can resist all types of human ballistic weapons.



Another key feature to the Jackal would be the block feature. Whenever the Jackal uses the crouch funtion they hold up their shield allowing them to become defensive in nature. While in this position they can still overcharge their pistols but cannot fire them until they stand upright. As always, an overcharged plasma pistol shot will render their shield ineffective for a time so this would be a major weakness to this class.



The Elite would likely be the most similar class to the Spartan. Ideally this class would be broken down into three smaller classes: Elites, Gold Elites and Cloaked Elites. If possible it would be nice to seperate each Elite subclass as its own class provided that they have enough differences.

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Hopefully you have read my notes on the Human/Spartan Combat Model (H/SCM) previously blogged(?) in Parts 01 and 02, if not you might get a little bit lost when reading this entry. Regardless, my topic for this blog will be possible gameplay scenarios and their implementation.



Gameplay Scenarios:



The first and most obvious would be Human/Spartan teams engaged against other Human/Spartan teams. Weapon and vehicle sets could be restricted as required. So basically we have a basic yet diversified blend of players all fighting to be the few lucky Spartans, right? Maybe. The trick here is to allow each server to run with its own server restrictions. That way you could restrict access to the Spartan players in any number of ways. The most obvious being first-come, first-serve based upon the total number of players each team can support (server max / 2). Secondary means may include a max number of Spartans per team or even 1 Spartan per every X human counterparts. You might even see a few human-only servers up and running.



Which brings us to the next possible setup: human versus human. Sure it would be nice to have a few Spartan buddies to take hits for you while attacking the enemy base, but if people are going to fight over it, why not forbid the use of Spartans altogether. Besides, if you want all Spartan combat, play Halo and not this mod!



Human versus human combat would be what this mod is designed to exploit. Imagine a team of 10 human soldiers, all with various and diversified skill levels simultaneously switching roles on a continual basis in order to compensate for or assist their fellow teammates. Neat huh? (If it works.) The prime motivator would be powering up your player's proficiencies and gaining as many or very high skill levels as quickly as possible. The secondary motivator would be to actually play as a team. Sounds somewhat backwards, right? So how do you encourage teamplay above and beyond everything else? If there was a simple answer to this then clans would never exist.

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Hopefully you have read Part 01 of the Human/Spartan Combat Model (H/SCM), if not please read up. The topic of this next blog will be how gameplay will be affected via this free-form class structure.

Proficiency Based Gameplay:

Ultimately the goal of this mod is to provide players a chance to jump into combat with little to no previous experience of Halo and end up with a character customized to meet their own strengths. Weapons, vehicles, maps and gametypes will all have their own balancing factors. The bonuses that players get from these items only helps to improve their own individual characteristics when using them. What this translates to is that if a player does not use a given weapon/vehicle, expect a player that does to be much better when using it.

Unlike most Role-Playing Games (RPGs) these skills will build up rather quickly. Considering that most matches last 20-30 minutes, you would expect players to gain a proficient level when using a single weapon after a very limited time. This is not to say that higher levels would be easy to attain, but only that shorter periods of time are needed to gain the most basic upgrades.

Example: A player begins the game with a pistol and proceeds to gain a few quick kills. If the requirement for the first pistol proficiency upgrade was 5 kills using that weapon, a player could easily attain it at a rather quick pace. Note that only the killing shot must be from the pistol, so feel free to use any other weapon to weaken your opponent first. After reaching 5 kills the player goes from skill 0 (zero) to skill 1 with the pistol and a bonus, such as an extra clip of ammunition is added to the pistol every time the player picks one up. Keep in mind that these bonuses are quite arbitrary at this point and only the general concept is important.

As a player's proficiency increases with a given item, it would be easier for them to gain that next skill level when using that item. Of course, the curve for attaining the top levels will be much harder than the more basic ones, so the rewards or benefits will be much better as well.

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After posting a few of my personal viewpoints in a recent thread, I have finally decided to catalogue my ideas for public opinion. These ideas will be formed from an ongoing series of blogs that will be refined and broken down into simple sequences of information. Refining and extrapolating of individual ideas will occur on a regular basis, but hopefully I can maintain a focussed and informative dialog from my ramblings.



Overview:



The basic idea is to create a realistic combat modification (mod) that places human soldiers fighting alongside Spartan class models. The difference here is that human soldiers lack shields and would likely be more vulnerable to death. Likewise they would also be faster than your normal Spartan. Spartans act exactly like the Master Chief, but are limited to say 1 per every 4 players on the Human/Spartan side (possible server-side setting).



As I would prefer to avoid class-based structuring I think it would be necessary to incorporate a skill based system in the game. This would work by encouraging players to assume roles and then gain improvements based upon their performance within that role.



An example would be a basic class sniper. Imagine a player that picks up a sniper rifle and then proceeds to gain kills with his new rifle. As the player gains kills using his sniper rifle, he also improves his reload time and decreases his body movement while scoped-in.



Instead of limiting the player to the class of sniper, the system works to encourage players to work together and support one another. This is not to say that upon dying you lose your abilities, so a player could and should take multiple roles upon themselves throughtout a battle in order to improve their own skills.



Pilots/drivers could allow their vehicles to take more damage before being destroyed based upon the distance they travel in them. Gunners gain more accuracy from their weapons while hitting targets from a vehicle. The structuring is somewhat free-form in this regard. If medkits could be equipped you could even add a field medic role into the mix, etc. There could even be smaller bonuses for players such as increased speed or stamina (if running is possible) for traveling a given distance on foot.

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VersionTracker now lists an entry for PPFMaster 1.0, a Mac application created by Scotiasoft Systems for applying PlayStation Patch Files. From their site:

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The first thing that modern man achieved after customizable game engines, of course, was figuring out how to make playing one game look more like playing another game, an activity which is as inscrutable as its appeal is universal.

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Nick posted that MonoxideC has made multiplayer action in The Library possible with a set of instructions and links to the level itself in an HBO forum post. Thanks to Louis Wu at HBO for the heads-up.

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Project Magma has released Mazzarin's Demise IV for Myth 2 version 1.4.x. Changes include more (and one new) units, as well as new colormaps, scripts, weapons, artifacts and attacks. Thanks doob at MythForums.

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Aquaduct 2 has been announced by PhforSlayer of Postpose. Aquaduct users can now play against those using the XBConnect tunneler for Windows, as well as use a nifty new interface for listing, hosting and joining games. Aquaduct 2 should be available "soon" according to the site.

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[image:6581 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0]The newest version-- SparkEdit 2.5-- of the third party Halo editor is available from HaloMods.com. Thanks Grenadiac.

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Gholsbane tipped us off at RHL that Michael "Blades" Bagnall of MythDevelopers will appear on The Gamesome Mac, a show on MacRadio.com. It will be broadcast tonight, between 9 and 11 PM Eastern, and will be available on-demand after that.

Listening requires QuickTime 5 or better and a minimum 28.8 Kbps Internet connection.Further details can be found at MythDev.

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ok guys i am sorry about all the rumors but this is true i saw it at a site this women had a intervew with the dirretor of halo 2 and he said april 18th is the best estimated guess. And there is this one guy stoking me if the people runing this site se this please tewll him to stop stoking me. the halo 2 cheat is when you want to have 3 guns at a time. how you do it is when you go on the pillar of outom and you get your gun put the gun doesnt come up. stay near the wall after you get the gun and the gun wont pop up.

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SourceGuy over at HaloMods has put up a short review of the BansheeWars mod by IronForge. The mod is currently running on HaloMods' own server.

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As of this moment, trying to load the Mill's url, http://fileball.net/mill/ just redirects you to Fileball's front page. Looks like it's gone, perhaps for good this time.

The Lh'owon Ar'kives, containing files for players of Bungie's earlier shooter, Marathon, also hosted at Fileball, is still there.

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According to SourceGuy and Grenadiac at HaloMods, the newest version of SparkEdit is out, and supports PC Halo maps and loading multiple BSP sections of campaign maps.

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