With Yule logs yanked from the fire and pitiful Christmas trees sitting by the side of the road waiting for pick-up, chances are there are some folks new to Halo 3 (and Halo in general) and possibly new to Bungie.net. The next couple of paragraphs aren’t for the Ancients of our Bungie Community, they are for the Newbies. Crotchety old timers can skip down to the paragraph with the bad Egg Nog joke and keep reading there.
For the newbz: Welcome to Bungie.net, the Internet arm and outreach of Bungie as well as the storage, dumping ground and sometimes-information hub for what Bungie is working on, what we’ve worked on and probably what you’re most interested in – your Halo 3 experience.
For a lengthy manual on getting the most out of Bungie.net check out our Guide (The New and Improved Bungie.net).
When Halo 3 launched last September we published a lengthy series of documents to help players use Saved Films, Screenshots, Forge, Networking, Campaign Scoring and (The Halo 3 How-to Guide)
Halo 3, as it is the concluding third of a trilogy, plops players into the middle of an adventure that began back in 2001 with Halo: Combat Evolved. For folks just starting Halo 3, there’s a ViDOC (video documentary) on the story of Halo up to the events of Halo 3 available for your perusal here at Bungie.net.
Windows Media Player (petite)
Windows Media Player (deluxe)
Windows Media Player (gigantor)
With the mid-week return to the Northwest for work, many Bungie folks are still polishing off Holiday treats, leaking Egg Nog from their pores and enjoying some well-earned Rest and Relaxation. For all intents and purposes, beginning next week, everyone will be back in the office and churning away on a Wintery mix of Stuff and Things.
While most companies have Holiday parties before everyone vanishes for the holidays, here at Bungie, we have our annual shindig sometime after everyone returns. Ours hasn’t happened yet, but the Bungie Princesses, Davina and Shauna, have been working tirelessly on planning the soiree. But talking about eating fried finger foods and drinking Fanta would be pretty boring, so, around the same time as the Holiday party will be the Bungie Winter Pentathalon.
For a single day the studio is divided into smaller teams for participation in a hyper competitive series of events. The Bungie Pentathalon is a lot like the Olympics for the Digital Age. There’s sweaty men, heaving bosom (man bosom), feats of strength, and a rarely-discussed second competition. Folks may remember getting a glimpse of the Pentathalon on the Halo 2 Limited Edition bonus disc – it was the part of the documentary where you saw blindingly white guys (including pasty Asians and sickly black dudes) seeing the sun for the last time before Halo 2 would ship. In addition to being indoors, this year, the teams will be divided by tenure. (Last year, I’m told the teams were “random” with the best players “randomly” ending up on the same team and “randomly” winning). This year, the Grizzled Ancients, Old Skool, Middle School and Newbies will dividing lines for who will serve on which team. Regardless of your position in the company, it’s all about how long you’ve been here – so someone like our new Design Lead, Christian Allen, plays with the Newbies. The logistics of breaking down a growing studio like Bungie into four teams based on tenure is still a work-in-progress (that’s a long way of saying “No rosters to announce right now”), but we’ll have more on what games will be featured in the Pentathalon (in addition to Halo 3) soon. Rumor has it that multiplayer music-making will be a part of this year’s competition.
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Maps coming in the nearish future have long since taken shape and are starting to have neat polish items show up, things like decorators, sharper textures and high res lightmaps are gracing us with their presence. Also, weapons, power-ups and equipment are nearing their final (pre-Community Forged) resting places.
While I was running around O.K. Corral, Frankie and Robt McLees’ conversation ground to a halt when they looked at my monitor. They remarked that what I was playing looked like an area from Campaign. O.K. Corral reminds me a little bit of Seattle, actually. Not necessarily aesthetically – it’s not full of Emerald and Traffic – but thematically. O.K. Corral is a bit of an intersection between technology and nature. A dilapidated building that resembles an observatory (primarily because of the just-added God Rays streaming through a broken skylight) is at map’s center. This small, multi-level structure has a variety of ways in and out and connects to both bases on this small-to-medium sized asymmetrical map. O.K. Corral takes place in a small canyon so one side of the map features flora and the other side has the architectural failures of humanity.
There’s a pretty broad variety of lighting on O.K. Corral, from the aforementioned God Rays to dark tunnels, nooks and crevices where much of the illumination comes from the lights on Spartan armor.
With a bunch of elevated firing platforms, choke points and multiple ways in and out of the respective bases, O.K. Corral will be ideal for Team Slayer, Oddball and Capture the Flag variations.
Purple Reign, another map, coming in the foreseeable future, isn’t asymmetrical at all. It’s a brand new, small, arena style map that we hope some of our more competitive-focused players will enjoy.
It is chock full of weapons suited for mid-to-long range combat and there are long sight lines across the map from both of the somewhat enclosed bases. The bases themselves have one way windows on the second level – much like the windows in a police interrogation room. From inside a base you can see out, but from outside of the base your view is obstructed.
There are elevated walkways connecting the bases to a two-level structure at the center of the map. These connecting walkways are too tall to jump to from the floor but there are a bunch of small columns dotting the floor plan that you can jump on and then easily hop up to the walkway for a better vantage point or to grab a rifle from the walkways.
Frank talked about the third map in the last Weekly Update before his Holiday in Jersey, in case you missed it because you were out shopping, here’s what he wrote: “But I can also guarantee that my all-time favorite ever Halo map will be included too, if yesterday’s playtest was anything to go by. A large map with some vaguely familiar features just rocked my world. It was AMAZING fun. Any time I am in an hour long standoff against an equally matched team and it never becomes frustrating, is evidence enough for me that we are onto something special.”
Work continues on AU1, which is a fancy way of saying Auto Update 1 or “patch.” There’s a bunch of stuff we’ve been looking at ranging in various levels of complexity and we’ve been taking boxes home and testing changes pretty regularly. These fixes range from complicated to simple (for example: The known issue with the Elite Commando Shoulders). We’ll obviously have more on AU1 as we continue testing and we’ll detail the changes when we can. As of this writing, files in your file share WILL NOT be affected by the Auto Update, that was a possibility we mentioned in the near-immediate in the wake of Halo 3’s release and currently Files and things in the File Share aren’t being affected negatively by the Auto Update. At least for the moment.
Additionally, the Auto Update, like others for other games, will be required to play the game on Live, however if one console has the Update and another one doesn’t, system link play will still be possible between the two boxes.