More Crimson: Steam Pirates Reviews

No moneyhats necessary.

If you're one of the few iPad owners who has yet to set sail on Harebrained-Schemes latest adventures with Crimson: Steam Pirates, here's a few more reasons to give it a go.

Game Guide 9/16/2011 4:23 PM PDT permalink

Link Up with the!

Free Credits!

Earn some easy money this morning by linking your Xbox LIVE gamertag to a profile. Click here to create a profile if you don't have one already, and use your current Xbox LIVE credentials to complete the hook up.

Once you're ready to go, click here, then jump into Halo: Reach matchmaking and play some games to earn an amazingly easy 3,000 Credits.

Game Guide 11/1/2010 9:35 AM PDT permalink

Welcome to the Arena

Spartans...prepare for glory!

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Game GuideHalo: Reach 9/20/2010 4:59 PM PDT

Invasion + Forge!

A communications disruption can only mean one thing...

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Game GuideHalo: Reach 9/16/2010 9:09 AM PDT

Networking 101

Come on over here and sniff this packet.

It's been up for a few days already, but just in case you didn't notice, we've updated our Halo: Reach Project Page to include some information about the Network Status section you'll find in the main menu of Halo: Reach. If you're experiencing technical issues, or you just want to make sure you're rockin' the fattest pipe in the neighborhood, hit the link below to get your nerd on.

Halo: Reach - Networking 101

Game GuideHalo: Reach 9/14/2010 2:17 PM PDT permalink

Incompetent Cartographer 5

Don't be playin' with my emotions!

The first dance went down on Riptide and though there were a few holes shot through her hull, the vessel remains afloat. Sure, Derek said that the submerged walkways were totally confusing and didn't add much to the experience, but who the hell is he to judge? Oh, right. He's a multiplayer designer. Dammit. She's seaworthy (barely), but taking on water.

Okay, so Riptide needs a little more work. A few patches here and there. That's cool. I didn't expect the first version to be a rousing success. I'm just glad it didn't make anyone throw down their controllers in abject disgust.

Lemme set the stage.

First thing first, we only had four players for the inaugural run. This was more of an exhibition match than anything else. Just looking to ensure that the initial spawns work and that we can, indeed, get a game in. (Also confirmed: initial loadout camera from Blue Base works as advertised.)

On the Red Team, Chad and Cameron. With me on the Blues is my man Derek. Well, he's not my man. We're just friends. At least we eat lunch together from time to time. But I don't pick up the check or anything. And then we go back to our desks. Alone.

So yeah, 2v2. Manos y manos.

First stop, DMR. I make the run out to the extended walkway's over watch position thinking I can take the Reds by surprise.

No dice, they've already identified their best firing position and they're using it to pepper my face with hot magnum. Nowhere to run, I drop down into the water below.

Collect the Rocket Launcher.

And run away.

Fortunately for me, the Reds aren't interested in giving chase, or putting rounds into my back, so I make it to the lift below Blue Base unscathed. Going up!

Only to cycle all the way back down and around to sneak in underneath their perch, armed and ready to deliver my explosive payload.

But my splash damage misses the mark. I only succeed in giving Chad's backside a slight burning sensation.

Allowing him to soar into the air like a bird.

Swoop down and around.

And come from behind with his newly acquired Shotgun. Which now seems like a terrible idea on this map. Who the hell put that thing down there, anyway?

Regardless of where the fault lies, Chad turns my upper body into so much bloody chum and my master plan to open the game with a bang ends with us down by a score of 4 to -1. Ouch.

And let it be said that Chad is indeed a gentleman and a scholar. He did drop down to collect his spoils, but he did not defile my moistened corpse with any celebratory crouching.

And the next time I claimed the Rocket Launcher, I decided to take it into the drink instead of dying and leaving it to be claimed by the other team. Head height water did the trick. At this point, Derek and I are desperately down by a score of 5 to 2, but our fortunes are about to change.

I can't upload the full video and I don't have the time to go into any more blow by blow breakdowns of the action, but let's just say that Cameron took to the skies, I took hold of the Rocket Launcher again (this time with much success), and Derek...well, Derek went Death Blossom with the DMR.

By the time it was all said and done, Blue Team turned it around and finished out strong. Blues win, 25 to 15.

The real story is that Riptide isn't really set up for 2v2. It's just too big. And it's not anywhere near ready for prime time, either. But there weren't any game breakers and I think I already have a good way to solve for Derek's feedback. Before I do, though, I want to widen the net and see what comes out of the official round of playtesting. Start building a consensus on what works and what's total crap. As soon as I have that feedback in hand, I'll start thinking about revisions and form my Forge plan of attack, armed (hopefully) with a wealth of invaluable information.

Stay Tuned.

Game GuideHalo: Reach 8/3/2010 1:39 PM PDT permalink

Incompetent Cartographer 4

You're dead. D-E-D. Dead.

Did a little bit of work this morning on the map formerly known as Jurkout. Riptide is coming along nicely, if I don't say so myself. As you can see from the new overview, I've added some additional side routes and slapped in some spawns. Spiffy, eh?

At first, I plopped down like eight initial spawns for both teams, but Chad told me that it's not necessary as long as I crowd them with standard spawn points. When a player spawns into a match at the beginning of the game, the influence on surrounding spawns becomes super high. So, as long as you haven't placed the opposing team's spawns with direct line of sight to your first drop, you should be a-okay with a few initial spawns and a buttload of regulars.

We'll see if he's right when it comes to playtesting this sucker. I'm actually kind of hoping I run into some significant spawning issues so I can detail them out for you. If not, I hear Chad is working on something that will offer much more detail and expert advice on the subject anyway. It's probably a wood carving. That'd be awesome.

So, here's back of Red Base. Before I dropped these spawns into place, I switched back to player mode and stood in the proposed spot to make sure I had some good cover and a visible route to run from word go. Since I'm down on the water, and that water can be deadly, I needed to account for players who hold forward on the stick at spawn. Don't want my eager beavers dropping into the drink, now do I? Nope, I want them safe and sound and headed in the right direction. On Riptide's low side, that means exit, stage Blue Base.

I also added some additional spawn points along the side routes, so if a team happens to occupy both bases simultaneously, there's still some safe territory to tread along either side of the map.

And as I mentioned above, I added some additional routes heading in and out of both bases by extending the floating side platforms all the way back to Red Base.

Conversely, here's a look at Blue Team's spawns. Initially, they all start out up top, but there are ample spawns above and below to account for safe reincarnation.

See? Placing the spawns below the water line proved problematic. They're really tough to see once submerged. I opted to make these particular points fixed, so I could float them just above the surface.

Spawns taken care of, I did a little light housekeeping. I kept hitting my head on this structure when I leaped over the water.

So it's dead to me. I don't need the budget, but there's nothing worse than smacking your helmet and falling to your death during what otherwise should have been an expertly timed leap of faith. One thing I really appreciated during this delicate operation was the ability to see which object I was about to manipulate by pressing X. Forge kindly popped up the properties of the correct object, so I knew that the subsequent deletion was going to remove the exact right piece. Yay, science!

I need a weapon. Get it? Master Chief delivered that line in the blockbuster video game, Halo 2. Here, I'm slapping in a DMR at the top of the main structure at Red Base. It's got a sweet line of sight to the Blue Base's extended platforms so you can deliver super fun suppressive fire.

And you'll be able to operate a little more effectively from Red now that I've decided to glass off the central window inside the Blue Base. Just seemed a little too enticing for campers. If you want to assault Red, you'll have to move outside your comfort zone. If it turns out that this new addition is too restrictive, I'll utilize the already detailed delete function to break it back open.

The extended walkways offer little in the way of cover, but they will reward you with a longer range weapon if you dash out to the far end.

And you'll likely want somebody out on the ledge since the Red Team will be heading low to claim the partially submerged Shotgun.

And moving out into the Kiddie Pool to snag the Rocket Launcher. I tried to time the Rocket run as best as I could. By my count the mad dash from either initial spawn is right at nine seconds, with both teams needing to leave cover to get their hands on the totally tubular death dealing machine. Hopefully, it'll play out all Risk vs. Reward like. No telling until I get some games in.

Which is my next stop. Riptide was submitted to our official internal playtest group this morning. If all goes to plan, I should be seeing some feedback (and tons of sarcastic remarks) pretty soon.

Stay Tuned.

Game GuideHalo: Reach 8/2/2010 12:29 PM PDT permalink

Incompetent Cartographer 3

License to Kill.

I thought I'd be slapping in spawns today, but I caught Cotton checking out someone other lucky employee's Forge creation, got jealous, and asked him to come over and inspect my work. His diagnosis was far from positive, but it's all good. I'll take all the advice I can get.

"People are going to get murdered at spawn down here."

Well, I haven't added Carney's recommended columns yet! But crap, he's right. My low base is wide open (that's what she said!) and I need to add in some cover. Forge to the rescue.

To get a good look at a the sight lines a player up top would have on a player spawning down below near the water, I added in some initial spawns. I'm a visual learner. Helps me conceptualize the imaginary action. Plus, they're like little kick ass army men.

Along with some expert level crate repositioning, I deftly added some cover at the front of the main platform and along the side routes. Cotton suggested I think about where I'd want the low team to have to expose themselves to the players up top. And he wasn't talking about doing anything illegal, either.

From the opposite point of view, you can see my three new additions to the side routes. I topped off the dance floor, added some small archways over the watery walkway, and roughed in a completely custom barricade door thingy along the side of the main base and another over the nearby platform. Hopefully, these will all conspire to give the low team some cover as they make their way towards the sweet ordnance I've yet to sprinkle around the map. (Another problem I'm not going to think about just yet.)

Oh, and while I was thinking about the red team's perspective, I decided to think about their actual perspective. This is a loadout cam. You can choose each team's point of view at the opening of the game with this little gadget. Nifty, eh?

Up top, I've decided to make the roof off limits, but instead of going with immediate evisceration via a Kill Boundary, I'm keeping it nice a soft. It's a steal at zero dollars! 10 seconds in the roost and you've overstayed your welcome.

What's in the box? Skull and Bones. The universal sign for pirates. Yar, I mean death!

Okay, went a little overboard. Don't want the blues to eat it at spawn. You have 10 seconds to comply! Good thing I have control over the size and shape of this death dealing delimiter. Now I just need to get it into shape.

I only had about an hour to fiddle before the workday kicked off proper. Unfortunately, Jurkout will need to wait for a while. The good news is that I totally got promoted for my Forging efforts. I'm investing in my future!

Next stop: spawns. After that, playtest. Cotton tells me I won't learn a thing about my map by staring at it. Sooner or later, I gotta get some feedback. It just won't be today. But soon.

Stay tuned.

Game GuideHalo: Reach 7/29/2010 2:09 PM PDT permalink

Incompetent Cartographer 2

Time to dance!

Lars is busy cranking away at project "Bakken Crick," and here I am, still stuck in Jurkout. I took Chad's advice from yesterday and added some more flat real estate to the back half of shadow base, using some bridges and floating landing pads that connect back to the central, lower structure. Hopefully, the additional square footage will make the process of creating the myriad of spawns I'll need that much easier.

To tell the truth, I'm not looking forward to it. While there are a whole host of Forge improvements designed to aid in general construction, spawning is and always will be a thinking man's game. Basically, I'm screwed. But it's not all doom and gloom. Chad's promised to give me a few pointers here and there. Hopefully, when we get to that point in the process, his pointers will help you out, too.

But we're not there yet. Carney told me I should add more cover to the lower routes. He suggested I use columns and noted that they've been properly man sized. I only had a brief encounter with Jurkout today, so I didn't get a chance to add them into the mix, but as you can see, I did drop in a pair of man cannons to create a second route up into the back base. From inside, you can drop back down and head through the water up the gut, branch around to the platforms on either side, or ride the central gravity lift back up. Seems like it could play out okay and provide a cool cat and mouse experience. Of course, more likely it'll just be janky and totally suck.

After my first foray into map making, I was asked to drop a Spartan into the mix so people could get a better sense of Jurkout's overall size. See that white blip on the top of the central tower in the image above? That's an initial spawn point, properly Spartan sized. And for that matter, the tower itself is straight out of Lockout. Hopefully, that gives you better grip on the map's scale.

There's our friend again, seen from the top of the aforementioned tower. Check out the sweet blue lighting effect on the cavern wall behind the base. And yeah, I added some ornamental shizzle on the base's rooftop. Can't decide if I want to let players mess around up there, though. We'll see.

Here's the newly added dance floor and a look at one of the man cannons and the upper a lower entrances to the base.

And the view from inside, looking down on the central route below.

From one of the base's extended, raised walkways.

Back the other way from the kiddie pool.

So, there you go. Day 2. (Not that I'm going to be able to update you each and every day.) Next time, I'm going to incorporate some additional cover, play with the movement between the lower routes so people don't accidentally hit the drink thinking they're on solid ground (thanks for the tip, Chad!), and start figuring out where I'm going to put spawns and weapons.

Wish me luck! I'm gonna need it.

Game GuideHalo: Reach 7/28/2010 3:44 PM PDT permalink

Incompetent Cartographer

All the world's a stage.

A caveat: I am not a map designer. I don’t pretend to have a good (or even pedestrian) grasp of player movement, neutral space, or balance. I’m just a guy who makes jokes on the internet. But even I can make a sweet Forge map.

Welcome to Incompetent Cartographer.

I’m not doing this for personal glory. In fact, I fully expect whatever I build to suck. Tremendously. I am not a patient man. I spent a grand total of about three hours with Halo 3’s Forge before throwing my hands up and tossing my controller down. But while I might not have what it takes to make an amazing map destined for our official matchmaking playlists, I can show you the basic steps. I can walk the path. Over the course of the next seven or so weeks, I’m gonna do just that. I’m going to load up Forge World, I’m going to use Forge and attempt to build a multiplayer map, and I’m going to bug Chad and Carney to give me insider tips to help me through the tough times. When I'm finished, I’m going to submit my creation through some of the same channels and mechanisms you’ll be using post-launch so you can see what the process might be like in Reach. Ready?

Let’s begin.

Time to bake this cake!

First things first, before you make a kick ass map on Forge World, you need to scout out some suitable terrain. It’s no small task, Ponce, there’s plenty of geography to explore.

The Coliseum? Too Grify.

The Quarry? Too sanctimonious.

The Pillar? Too lofty.

The Island? Too contiguous.

The Coastline? Too relaxing.

Alaska? Too wild.

The Canyon? Too classic.

Montana? Too Mountainous.

The Lagoon? Now, wait a minute...

That's the spot right there.

Yup, I went with the Lagoon. The water here is deep enough to be deadly and I figured I could do something interesting by submerging some walkways knee deep in the gentle, crystal blue waves. Plus, it’s an awesome looking sea cave with waterfalls spilling down from high above. Even if my map sucks butts, at least the surrounding space will look downright beautiful. Thanks, Cotton!

Let's get down to business.

Wipe them out...

Bye, bye random spawns. With this deadly water ensconcing my map, I figure I’ll be meeting my watery maker on a regular basis as I twist and turn the pieces into place. Can’t be spawning up in the Coliseum, now can I?

I'm sure.


Eyes are up here.

Before I get too deep, let’s save this sucker, give it a name, and provide a description. As you can see, I got all 80's with it. Catch the reference? Yeah, you're probably not old enough.

Now that we’re working in a safe environment, it’s time to get on the grid. Just like in Sandbox, this grid will act as a physical barrier, so any objects I set on it will be perfectly placed at the right height. Unlike Sandbox, I can slap this grid wherever I want. And now I'm ready to start building. I'd call it the mass out phase, but let's get real -- that's way too official sounding for what I'm about to do. It's gonna get ugly.

With Rotation Snap, Phasing, and Coordinate editing, things start to come together way faster than I anticipated.

One base under construction, I move out of the shade and start work on Base Deuce.

Bring your waterwings, chumps! It's gonna get wet and wild.

Swapped out the submerged platforms for a slightly raised variety. Gotta have a place to towel off.

Okay, now I'm just fiddling. Trying to position small platforms for sweet jumps. Did I mention that I'm easily distracted?

Back down to business. Shadow Base needs some more love.

And some Gadgets. Does two teleporters and two man cannons seem a bit much?

What about a ginormous base?

Yeah, I think I'm gonna stop for now, but that's not bad for my first few hours, eh? Before I could get too confident, Miller spotted me working in Jurkout yesterday and asked me if I did it all by myself. Like I was a toddler.

“Really? You didn’t have any help?”

Yes, Dan…really. Fortunately for me, Chad stopped by early this morning to offer up a more helpful tip.

“There are a lot of narrow paths and not much dance floor.”

That’s because I haven’t built out the arms or added the Falcons in yet, Chad! (Dammit, he’s right.) Looks like I have a lot more work to do. Stay tuned.

Game GuideHalo: Reach 7/27/2010 11:52 AM PDT permalink