Bungie Weekly Update: 09/28/07
Posted by lukems at 9/28/2007 2:56 PM PDT

Finally Fighting

Well. It’s out and being played right now by hundreds of thousands of people, in fact by the time you read this, I’m probably on my way home to play Team Slayer with New001 and Abe Froman all weekend, sorry for the post game trash talk kids, it’s hard to contain myself. Bungie is thrilled and flattered by how many people have eaten up the meal that is Halo 3, and it’s caused minimal tummyaches.

Bellyaching

A bunch of folks are concerned about their Achievements and Halo 3. It certainly seems that some are tougher to unlock than others -- Overkill in Lone Wolves is the bane of my petty existence – but others, like Headshot Honcho and Marathon Man seem to require a bit of prodding in order to make that “Achievement Unlocked” toast pop up on your display.

Headshot Honcho’s achievement text is misleading, because last weekend, I too, was wondering what I needed to do to unlock the Achievement, I was getting my usual 95% headshots in Campaign and unlocking precisely zero Achievements. I poked around with testers here and they confirmed that you could get the achievement in Campaign, you just have to get 10 headshots with the Long Rifle.

This has already been covered over at the Ongoing Investigations FAQ.

Who’s your Daddy?

Sketch, Frank and I’s gamertags are all pretty well-known and we all get a lot of Friend Requests and messages as is, but the influx of “can you help me find <insert any skull here>?” is incredible. We’re thrilled you guys are hunting for Skulls and hopefully using them to replay Campaign with scoring on, but part of the fun is finding them and part of the fun here at Bungie is watching you try and find them.

So no, we appreciate the inquiry but we’re not going to help you find them.

Just a reminder, too. Our Friend’s lists are full of folks that we’re, for the most part, friends with in Real Life, so we don’t have any room

Matchmaking Whoaz

So, we’re perfectly aware that some folks might be unfamiliar with the gametypes that are appearing in the playlists, so here’s a brief treatment of some of the different gametypes.

One-sided VIP: This gametype appears in Objective and Skirmish based hoppers. Because it is “One-sided VIP,” there is a an offensive team and a defensive team. The defensive team’s job is to protect the VIP and the offense is tasked with eliminating the VIP.

Territories: This round-based game places five capture points on the field of play. The offense has a certain amount of time to capture as many as possible and then the two teams switch sides. Once a territory is captured, it does not revert to an uncaptured state in a given round.

Land Grab: Also round-based, there aren’t “offensive” or “defensive” sides in Land Grab. The five territories can be captured by either team, once captured the capture points cannot revert. At the end of all of the rounds, the ‘grabs are totaled up. Here's Frankie to finish this week's fight:

You Owe me 80p!
 
One item making the interwebs rounds this week was the scandalous revelation that Halo 3 runs at “640p” which isn’t even technically a resolution. However, the interweb detectives did notice that Halo 3’s vertical resolution, when captured from a frame buffer, is indeed 640 pixels. So what gives? Did we short change you 80 pixels?
 
Naturally it’s more complicated than that. In fact, you could argue we gave you 1280 pixels of vertical resolution, since Halo 3 uses not one, but two frame buffers – both of which render at 1152x640 pixels. The reason we chose this slightly unorthodox resolution and this very complex use of two buffers is simple enough to see – lighting. We wanted to preserve as much dynamic range as possible – so we use one for the high dynamic range and one for the low dynamic range values. Both are combined to create the finished on screen image.
 
This ability to display a full range of HDR, combined with our advanced lighting, material and postprocessing engine, gives our scenes, large and small, a compelling, convincing and ultimately “real” feeling, and at a steady and smooth frame rate, which in the end was far more important to us than the ability to display a few extra pixels. Making this decision simpler still is the fact that the 360 scales the
“almost-720p” image effortlessly all the way up to 1080p if you so desire.
 
In fact, if you do a comparison shot between the native 1152x640 image and the scaled 1280x720, it’s practically impossible to discern the difference. We would ignore it entirely were it not for the internet’s propensity for drama where none exists. In fact the reason we haven’t mentioned this before in weekly updates, is the simple fact that it would have distracted conversation away from more important aspects of the game, and given tinfoil hats some new gristle to chew on as they catalogued their toenail clippings.

Home at Last

We've all been moving around the US and the world, attending the various Halo 3 launch events, from Japan, to London, to Miami and New York to right here in Seattle (Kirkland, really). We had a blast, although I have a flu, a broken wrist and I haven't slept in two weeks. And yet that's nothing compared to the amount of hard work, dedication and perfectionism shown by the Bungie team and our partners at Microsoft marketing, PR and our various friends and agencies. A big shoutout to Jason Sudeikis, Miguel, Chingy, Bobby V, Zac Efron, James Lemon, Claude, and millions more.

Those guys worked (or partied) their butts off to ensure one of the biggest video game launches ever, and a massive success. There are teething troubles to be sure, with scratched disks, matchmaking shuffles, UI queries, Bnet hang ups and more, but rest assured we will be with you all the way to fix this stuff as and when it pops up and make sure your Halo experience is the best it can possibly be.

Writing this for the new, improved Bnet is an honor in itself, and right now Luke, Sketch and I are all heading home to play you guys on Xbox Live. Look out for us. We're pretty easy to spot. we'll be on all day in all likelihood, but watch out for Bungie guys of various disciplines between 5 and 9pm. Look for the Bungie logo beside their name and remember that you shouldn't smacktalk a Ninja.

 


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