TANKMEN - The Machinima

RageGummy writes:

Warning: blam! jokes. Proceed with caution.

"A flash animation turned Machinima called Tankmen, is in need of more tasteful and tasteless opinions on its Youtube page. You can decide if we make more episode's."

This time around the content warning actually came attached to the news submission from the promoter of the machinima himself.  I watched it.  He was right.  Lot's of crude humor in this one.  And scenes from Titanic.  Digest at your own risk.

Youtube - TANKMEN: The Machinima

Halo 3 11/20/2008 10:39 AM PST permalink

Just What the Doctored Ordered

Wait, how many bottles?

Looks like MLG pro player, Tsquared, is going to be getting quite a bit of face time for his Halo 3 skills.  While we're not officially endorsing anyone's delicious beverages by way of this blog entry, doctor's prescription or otherwise, we thought it was pretty cool to see a Halo 3 player getting some sugary-sweet facetime on the side of a soda bottle or two.  More information from the press release below.

"Starting in January 2009, there will be approximately 175 million Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper 20-ounce bottles produced throughout the country featuring Tom “Tsquared” Taylor, one of MLG’s biggest superstars.  The bottle represents the first time that Dr Pepper has placed any of its sports league partners or sponsored professional stars on its label for national distribution."

175,000,000 Bottles

Halo 3 11/20/2008 9:57 AM PST permalink

Speed Painting

Machinima Style.

This unique machinima, clocking in at just over seven minutes in length, was created by the crew at RunningGun Studio under some pretty interesting circumstances:

"This film was created for the 48 Hour Film Project's Machinima section. It was produced from 7:00PM on Friday, November 14th, 2008 to 7:00PM on Sunday, November 16th.

The 48 Hour Film Project is an international film competition to complete a 4-7 minute long film from scratch within 48 hours including several required elements."

Youtube - Paint the Line: a 48 Hour Machinima

Thanks to HBO for the link.

CommunityHalo 3 11/20/2008 9:21 AM PST permalink

Halo 3 & NXE

The New Xbox Experience (NXE) launches today and with it comes a new feature that allows games to be installed to your hard drive. Unfortunately Halo 3 will load slower in this scenario and could negatively impact your online experience. Read on for details.

Halo 3 & NXE

The “New Xbox Experience” was released today and one of the new features allows you to “install” your games to the HDD. While you still have to keep the original disc in the tray, installing to the HDD can make some games perform a little better while also putting a little less wear-and-tear on your DVD drive. However, this isn’t to say that ALL games will see optimizations from being installed. In fact, in the case of Halo 3, the game will actually see increased loading times. Several websites have reported the results of tests to gauge how some games perform after being installed to the HDD for Halo 3 and their tests indicate that in some cases, the load times are significantly longer. Our own internal investigations have yielded similar results.

To help explain why this is the case I tapped our uber engineer and Chief Caching Officer, Mat Noguchi, to answer a few questions.

What is the overall performance difference a player can expect to see when running Halo 3 straight from the disc versus installing it to their HDD? Some websites have reported that the game runs “worse” after the install.

The Xbox 360 HDD has a section for games to use called the utility partition. Games can use this section for whatever they want to; Halo 3 uses the utility partition to cache maps as they will load faster off the HDD than off the DVD. As a side note, the utility partition can be deleted when other games are played. This is why maps can take longer to load when you play another game in between various Halo 3 sessions. (As was the case with Halo 1 and Halo 2.)

So when Halo 3 runs, if a HDD is present, we copy maps from the DVD to the utility partition (on the HDD). Think of it as an on demand install of Halo 3 to some scratch space on the HDD. Halo 3 doesn’t actually know where it’s running from, so it always assumes it’s running from a DVD. This is an unfortunate consequence of new features (namely, install to HDD) being added to the Xbox 360 after Halo 3 shipped. And as a result, it means that even if Halo 3 is already installed to the HDD, it will still copy maps to the utility partition.

So then the real question is why is copying from HDD to HDD slower than copying from DVD to HDD? In the first case, you are reading from one I/O device (HDD) and writing to the same I/O device (HDD). In the second case, you are reading from one I/O device (DVD) and writing to a different I/O device (HDD). In the first case, because we are reading and writing to the same device, the total copy time is the amount of time it takes to read the map plus the time it takes to write the map. Ultimately this is because for the HDD, you read and write through the same mechanism, i.e., the hard drive read/write head, and those reads and writes cannot occur simultaneously through a single mechanism. (If they could, it would be awesome, and I wouldn’t have to document any of this. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to do for other reasons.) For the second case, because we are reading and writing from different devices, the total copy time is the larger of the total time to read the map and the total time to write the map. This is because we can read from one device (DVD) at the same time we are writing to another device (HDD). There is some overhead because you can’t start writing data until you read it, but it is dwarfed by the time to copy a map. (About 128k vs. 500 MB or a ratio of 4000:1.)

There are other factors that contribute to load times, such as preloading data from the map you are about to start so that you don’t have to sit through a non-interactive loading screen; the only difference in load times occurs when we copy a map that has not been cached to the utility partition or has been evicted from the utility partition because some other maps were run. Once a map has been cached, the time to load it will be identical to running Halo 3 off the DVD with a HDD.

Why is this the case? Many other games have reportedly seen improved load times and performance after being installed to the HDD.

The technical reasons were outlined above, but for a higher level answer, we shipped Halo 3 before Microsoft finalized this particular feature. As a result, we were not able to take advantage of it (or any other potential optimizations we discovered after shipping Halo 3). Perhaps we also coded too close to the metal. 

Is it possible for Bungie to update Halo 3 to better utilize the HDD install features of NXE?

While anything is possible, it would be a significant undertaking to try and retroactively patch/update Halo 3 to be optimized to take advantage of the HDD install features of NXE. The risks of doing that and the resources required has to be carefully considered against what could really be a rather insignificant change to the player experience. For now our team is focused on making great games for the future like Halo 3 : Recon and other unannounced projects but we will continue to monitor this situation.

So in conclusion, please be aware that installing Halo 3 to your HDD will actually result in longer load times and thus a less optimal experience than if you run the game from the disc drive. This happens due to the way Halo 3 already uses a HDD to cache data and once you do an install, you are copying between two different areas of the same drive as you are loading a map.

If you just plan to play campaign or offline content, you may feel that the tradeoff is worth it in order to have a slightly quieter Xbox 360 and reduced impact to your disc drive. However, if you play Halo 3 online, please be aware that increased map loading times can have a negative impact to everyone’s experience. In some cases, it could take considerably longer to load multiplayer maps, meaning that everyone you are matched with is also stuck waiting for your maps to load. If people start to lose patience, you then have scenarios of players leaving parties and aborting matching because they don’t want to wait. This adds to the problem, creating a cycle where more and more people have a harder time getting into the games they want to play. To avoid this negative situation, we are advising that Halo 3 players do not install the game to their HDD.

Halo 3 11/19/2008 9:40 AM PST permalink

Reclaimer 113 - Insanity, Not Rampancy

There is a difference.

HBO posted a link to the newest Reclaimer episode.  This time out Reclaimer is crossing a threshold, but is the footing stable?  Click on the link below to find out.

Reclaimer 113 - Insanity, Not Rampancy

CommunityHalo 3 11/19/2008 9:02 AM PST permalink

Top 10 Halo 3 Moments - Episode 14

Anoj writes:

Season 2 has come to a close.

Anoj108 dropped in to notify us that the most recent episode of his community-inspired "Top 10 Halo 3 Moments" series is up and ready to watch.

"This is the fourteenth episode in the Top 10 Series which features the ten best moments from all aspects of Halo 3. This episode features a compilation of the ten best clips from Episode 8 to Episode 13 and is the final episode in Season 2.  So, sit back and enjoy!"

Youtube - Top 10 Halo 3 Moments of Season 2: Episode 14

Halo 3 11/18/2008 4:45 PM PST permalink

The Tyrant Tackles 'Cortana'

In Mythic style.

The Tyrant wrote in to let us know that his latest walkthrough is up for digestion.  This time out, he slogged through Halo 3's 'Cortana.'  If you've been contemplating a Mythic run, but don't know if you have the skillset to pull it off, The Tyrant's training manual is packed full of awesome text and amazing media to get you geared up and ready to go.

Halo 3 Mythic Walkthrough - 'Cortana'

Halo 3 11/18/2008 3:17 PM PST permalink

Show Your Love

2v2 gaming for a good cause.

MXoliGst dropped in from Love From the Game to let us know about their fast-approaching $250 Halo 3 2v2 Deathmatch Tournament.  The entry fee is $15 and the tournament is not officially sanctioned by Bungie, but Love From the Game makes sure proceeds from the tournament find their way to The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.  If you and a friend want to put your doubles skills to the test and spend some time in aid of a good cause, hit the links and submit your registration.

CommunityHalo 3 11/18/2008 1:12 PM PST permalink

Average Joe - XerxdeeJ

A familiar face returns.

If you spend any amount of time stepping through the various doors that lead to the disparate, multi-dimensional haunts that make up the Halo community, you've undoubtedly heard the name XerxdeeJ.  This Gunslinger is no stranger to the Bungie spotlight.  We know him.  So why, you might ask, are we shining our spotlight upon him once again?  Venture forth dear reader, and find out for yourself.  This Overlord aims to please.

Q. Hile, Gunslinger.  Introduce yourself.

A. I am XerxdeeJ, one of several Community Leaders at Tied the Leader, and one of more-than-several Overlords in our clan of Gunslingers. Over three years ago, I founded the catalyst for our “KaTet” - and became one of the lowest forms of life on the Internet - when I launched a blog devoted to gamer culture. When I am not fragging faceless strangers over the Internet, or writing about it, I am selling photography for a living. I would go into greater detail, but I must safeguard my secret identity. When I am not engaged in any of those aforementioned tasks, I am likely inspecting the taps in local taverns. I am pleased to inform everyone that they all work fine, so far…

Q. Noble work.  Someone has to take the pics and test the pipes.  And the gamertag?

A rose by any other name would be easier to pronounce. What a mess! I used to game under the handle “Xerxes”, back when a gaming alias was only relevant on a friend’s couch. This was also before the movie ‘300’ made me out to be a golden drag-queen standing at 9 feet tall. When Xbox Live required a unique gamertag, I substituted the second syllable with my nickname. All other modifiers were taken: 420, 187, 69, xx, oo, et al. I settled for the mashup in my haste to see what Bungie had wrought. If you start to stumble over the obstacle course of syllables, just call me “DeeJ” and I will push to talk.

Q. I think you may have just seared the image of you as a not-so-benevolent but oh-so-scantily clad honest-to-God King into my brain.  Thanks for that.  When you're not here providing nightmare fuel, where can we find you in cyberspace?

A. Is it too obvious to say that I spend a lot of time on my own forum? Enabling the ensemble and processing new recruits at TTL consumes many hours in the average day. I visit HBO every morning to keep tabs on allies, opponents, jesters, pundits, and new states in the Halo Nation. Some people read the New York Times. I get my national news from Halo.Bungie.Org. From time to time, I visit Bungie.net forums to stick up for y’all. Other than that, I go where the links send me. Some of my online time is spent fostering diplomacy with other clans. A hungry team needs worthy opponents, after all…

Q. You really are a benevolent king!  What compels you to offer up that kind of gaming dedication?

A. My priorities as a gamer have shifted a lot in recent years. When my only outlet was a single-player campaign in the cockpit of some spacecraft or other, my pastime was a solitary role-play. I have always loved video games for their stimulus of my imagination. Ever since Halo granted us access to each other via Xbox Live, I have gamed for the sake of community. Time away from the game means missing real people now. While I am always trying to recruit real-life friends into the TTL community, it is extremely rare that I game with family or co-workers. On those rare occasions, I entertain them under a second gamertag. Not only do I think it’s healthy to maintain a boundary between real life and second life, it’s just sad when an acquaintance on my team faces a squad of Generals in their first multiplayer game of Halo 3.

Q. Speaking of new experiences, what was the first Bungie title you played?

A. It is likely that I am in agreement with 90% of the people who will answer this question when I say: Halo CE. When I was first recruited by the UNSC, I had made the cross-over from PC gaming to console gaming. At the time, I was in the throes of a dangerous GTA addiction. Friends of mine were taking turns hosting what they called “Video Game Wednesday”, which was an invitation to play split-screen in the Master Chief simulator, and consume way too much beer for the middle of the work week. One of those friends is still a fellow Overlord in the service of the TTL Gunslingers. The mood in our community is based on the fun times that we had in sharing our passion for that game.

Q. Are you surprised by that passion and your level of commitment to TTL?

A. Yes! More like shocked, humbled, and honored on a daily basis. I didn’t build TTL, I just set it into motion. The seeds on the blog began with a rant about sportsmanship and having fun. I linked it to the H.B.O. forum on a random lark. Louis Wu front-paged me and, dozens of unexpected comments later, I was instantly hooked. That event launched me into orbit before I was ready for takeoff. Since then, a whole company of talented individuals have rushed to my aid in making Tied the Leader something more special than I could have ever created on my own. I work for them.

Q. Single tear.  Enough about you, let's get back to us.  What draws you to keep coming back to Halo 3?

A. It has to be the ease of use in creating our own content. The screenshots. The detachable machinima cameras. The freedom to forge our own maps. The free data transfer to share these things with each other. As a gamerblogger who seeks to churn out content that inspires people to stay interested in the game, the tools at my disposal are infinitely more effective than they were in Halo 2. I wouldn’t trade any of that to have my in-game clan roster back. Being a fan of Halo is so rewarding because the people in our community can use the game as a stage to express themselves in infinitely surprising ways.

Q. Remember the face of your father.  Stand true.  Give a shout out while you're at it.

A. I’d like to say “Good Game” to anyone I have ever splattered with my Warthog* on Xbox Live. Despite my quarrels with a large portion of the Halo Nation, I would take you bastards over Artificial Intelligence any day. I’d like to say “Thankya” to every single one of the TTL Gunslingers, both past and present. I’d like to say “Long days and pleasant nights” to all of our allied clans in the Good Game Network. Who says the clan system is dead? And finally, I would like to say “Bravo” to the fine men and all three of the women who work at Bungie Studios, LLC. Keep up the great work in preparing us to drop!

*contrary to frequent objections, the Warthog is [in fact] mine!

Apologies for all of The Dark Tower/300 references.  It couldn't be helped.  Thanks to Deej for once again sitting down to palaver with us.  We know his road is long and winding.  Perhaps one day we'll meet him and his ka-tet again.  Something tells me it's a sure thing.  And if you happen to catch him making his inspection rounds at the local tavern, please contact the local authorities.  They've been looking for him for.  Turns out, you need a license for that sort of work.

CommunitySpotlightHalo 3 11/18/2008 11:56 AM PST permalink

Watch For Falling Hogs

What goes up...

Rein Ex Inc sent along this little clip for your viewing pleasure.  We've all had this sort of thing happen to us.  You're just skipping along, doing your own little thing, and then bam, Warthog.

Youtube - Hilarious Betrayal

CommunityHalo 3 11/18/2008 10:46 AM PST permalink

Behind the Wheel

On your left!  No, your other left!

XerxdeeJ is back in the driver's seat again over at Tied the Leader, this time he's running down the various Warthog driver archetypes.  He's also got friends on the gun by way of the Halo 3 Wheelmen.  Whether you're a Cowboy or a Quarterback, you should probably hit the link below and check it out.

Tied the Leader - Wheelman Profiling

"In a previous report submitted by the Tied the Leader Institute for Combat Excellence, a full intelligence brief was delivered on the range of eadliness for Tail-Gunners. Based on countless hours of service in the field of the UNSC, the personalities and fighting styles of the rear-shooter was rendered into profiles.

Resounding feedback to this analysis revealed an enthusiastic demand for the same treatment to be given to the drivers that complete the Warthog Team. Thus, the following addendum has been compiled through a joint task force with the Halo 3 Wheelmen Department of Tactical Steerage."

Thanks to HBO for honking the horn to let us know some fresh content had spawned.

CommunityHalo 3 11/18/2008 9:38 AM PST permalink

Psychoneurosis - A Tricking Video

Accident Prone writes:

Scarab goes where?

The players over at DWT Productions have been hard at work making Halo 3 do things that shouldn't be done.  They also rolled tape.  This video is on the long side, and the soundtrack has some naughty words, but if you're interested in seeing some pretty novel tricks, tune in below.

"Floating tanks? Check. Epic vehicle collections? Check. Marines outside of the level? Check. Scarabs gone wild? Check."

DWT Productions presents, Psychoneurosis.

Halo 3 11/18/2008 9:35 AM PST permalink

Tag and Release - 'SPNKr'

Cause some splash damage with some epic screenshots.

It's iconic.  Officially labeled the M41 SSR MAV/AW Rocket Launcher, players know it colloquially as the SPNKr, or just plain "Rocks."  Whatever you call it, you better make sure you account for it on the battlefield - it can be a game changer.  This Monday's Tag and Release features a few still shots of the Rocket Launcher in action.


"I can see my house from here!"

Target Acquired

As always, digging up your own screenshots is easy. Just point and shoot. We'll take care of the target tracking.

CommunityHalo 3 11/17/2008 10:58 AM PST permalink

Hard Justice: Episode 5

What part of do not investigate don't you understand?

"While Bernard is taking his uncomfortable driving test under the instruction of a man he got into a car accident with, Howard informs the governor of Esoteria, Roman Drake, of their findings regard..."

As is often the case with DigitalPh33r's work, there's naughty language peppered throughout this near nine minute Machinima.  If you are easily offended, don't click.

You're going to click anyway, aren't you?

Youtube - Hard Justice: Episode 5

CommunityHalo 3 11/17/2008 10:00 AM PST permalink

Double Dose Of Bryan Simon

OMG iTz AnTi PRO writes:

New song.  New Video.

Arm The Flag and Bryan Simon have teamed up to release two new pieces in one shot. Bryan Simon has released his newest song "Grifball FTW!" and Arm The Flag has released their newest music video for Simon's, "Snipers are Wussies."  Check them out and get your double dose of Bryan Simon.

Youtube - Grifball FTW!

Youtube - Snipers Are Wussies

Halo 3 11/17/2008 9:11 AM PST permalink

Reclaimer 112 - Cracked

Silent Vandal writes:

No defense is better than being dead.

This installment reveals that the Reclaimer is now without an energy shield system - and that there may be a potential problem with one of the Cavalcade members.  Hit the link to find out more.

Reclaimer 112 - Cracked

Halo 3 11/17/2008 9:04 AM PST permalink

Halo 3: A Year in Screenshots

A Deaf Boy writes:

Better late than never.

It's been just a touch over a year since the release of Halo 3 and the never camera shy folks from Screenshot Photographers thought someone should commemorate the belated anniversary with a montage.  So they took it upon themselves to search high and low through the Community Files to find some of the most memorable screenshots, both old and new, to create a "Halo 3 Timeline."

Halo 3: One Year Later

Halo 3 11/14/2008 1:36 PM PST permalink

Hindsight: Halo 3 - Cortana

"Child of my enemy, why have you come?"

Ascendant Justice scribe Cocopjojo has made public the latest entry in his Hindsight: Halo 3 editorial series.  As always, this is not meant as a walkthrough, but rather as a focused analysis of the narrative.  Though "Cortana" has already been thoroughly scrutinized, Ascendant Justice does and ever amazing job of uncovering the connections and hidden meaning that many of us missed.

Hindsight: Halo 3 - Cortana

Thanks to HBO for making the discovery.

CommunityHalo 3 11/14/2008 9:11 AM PST permalink

Opening Night

A not so subtle reminder.

We touched on the news that Jen Taylor and Seattle's New Century Theater Company were set for their grand opening on the main stage with Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine this week.  Tonight is opening night.  If you are in town and want to witness some fearless local artists put on a provocative American masterpiece, click on the link below.

Bungie's Jay Weinland has been lending his expertise to the production as well.  If you needed more motivation, he sent along this brief but glowing review:

"I spent some time over the weekend and last night helping out on the sound tech side of things and this is a very smart show. Brilliantly acted with themes that are surprisingly relevant, this is a really interesting journey.  Jen’s part is great and she performs it beautifully. Come visit and give a shout out to Cortana!"

The Adding Machine
November 13 - December 13, 2008
In The Falls Theatre
Running Time: 1 hours, 40 minutes

Community 11/13/2008 5:21 PM PST permalink

Breaking In - Joe Spataro

Waxing Zen in the Land of Milk and Honey

Read Full Top Story

Inside BungieCareersBreaking In 11/13/2008 1:42 PM PST

Real7alk Community Podcast #4

Randomsauce writes:

"ForgeHub, Bryan Simon, and laughs!"

The fourth Real7alk podcast has been released. This episode includes an interview with the guys from ForgeHub and an interview with Bryan Simon who even gives a live performance. Plus, there's a ton of great laughs. It's long, and contains adult naughty words almost straight out of the gate, but it's worth a listen.

Just to be clear, this is a community created and produced podcast.  Real7alk isn't a Bungie vehicle.  This is a by the fans, for the fans production.

Real7alk Community Podcast #4

Community 11/13/2008 1:17 PM PST permalink

Unreality's 'The Eight Coolest Uses of Halo's Forge'

RobHunter writes:

Unreality keeps it real with a unique Forge collection.

Unreality Magazine compiled a short list of some of the more unusual and awesome stuff created using Forge.  Check it out.

"I’ve never really taken the time to use Halo 3’s Forge that much, probably because I have the attention span of a six year-old and if I go any longer than ten minutes without shooting something, my brain turns off. But there are some who have taken Halo’s map editor to heart, and have fashioned some truly magnificent custom creations. True, ten hours of work is often rewarded by nothing more than a cool YouTube video, but who cares, it’s a damn cool YouTube video. The fun begins after the jump."

Unreality's The Eight Coolest Uses of Halo's Forge

Halo 3 11/13/2008 11:53 AM PST permalink

Grifball's back. Back again.

Salute the final run of the Summer League map variant!

Autumn has fallen on Grifball's Summer League, and the Winter League is soon to begin. Celebrate the transition by playing Grifball all weekend long in Halo 3 Matchmaking! If you couldn't guess, Grifball is the double EXP weekend, so grab your hammer and get ready to bum rush. If you have some attachment to the summer league map, nows your change to save it for posterity because starting in December Grifball double exp weekends will use the '09 Winter League map.

Grifball is available from 11am PDT Thursday, November 13th until Monday the 17th at 2am. Heroic Map Pack is required, as Foundry is the only map you'll see!

PlaylistsHalo 3 11/13/2008 11:00 AM PST permalink