We recorded a podcast with our Studio Manager Harold Ryan yesterday, and it was a corker, as they in England, circa 1954. Harold let fly with a couple of bombshells and an interesting perspective on how to get to the top of the games industry without leaving a trail of blood. That should be available for download next week, and is packed full of fauxhawk bets called, and plenty of football smacktalk. Why next week? The audio guys put a smooth polish on our sonic nugget.
The studio is heads down, fingers blazing working on new DLC and beyond that, new stuff. The new maps, however, are reaching the naming stages. We do this pretty late in the game – and the default names (which are in turn different than the codenames) are usually replaced with newer, better ones. Right now there’s some argument about what to call a smaller symmetrical map – I favor a very literal name – and the biggest of all the DLC maps – folks are making lots of joke names that we might share with you later.
As we mention in the Q&A following this, “Moonbase Alpha” now has large opening doors and more unusually, a kind of unlockable jump over a deadly chasm. In its locked state, a jump over will almost always result in death. Unlocked, it becomes an easy jump and a simple shortcut. More and more, this map is beginning to appeal to my interests. At first I thought it was just a bit too large, but now that I know my way around it, it’s brisk enough to support even one vs. one games.
And speaking of new maps, we were walking back from a well known Taco purveyor today, when we (Sketch, Luke and I)spied what looked like the fabled three monkeys. It was in fact Joe Staten, Paul Bertone and CJ Cowan. And they glove-slapped us. The end result is a challenge that we’re accepting at 5:30pm today, taking place on Purple Reign, Moonbase Alpha and OK Corral. None of us knows the maps terribly well, so it should be wide open.
UPDATE: We just played and rocked them 3-0.
I am almost embarrassed to mention this, but a significant number of forum posters felt that in this story: http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?type=news&cid=13143 (NSFW and full of adult language) we were seriously angry or critical of DigitalPheer’s machinima video. I don’t know how hard we have to telegraph sarcasm around here to make it stick, but plainly we were joking. The video is funny and telling and brilliantly done, OR WE WOULD NOT HAVE LINKED TO IT. We’ve been fans of Master Chief Sucks at Halo for longer than some of you have been comprehending jokes. So you win, humorless people. From now on, official policy is no more jokes. None. You ruined it for everyone.
We answer the questions about Halo 3 that other developers are afraid to answer. And also, other developers don’t make Halo 3, so they shouldn’t really feel obliged to answer. And even if they did answer, their answers would probably be a bit vague. This is one of the reasons we refuse to answer questions about Mass Effect.
HalfHoly asks: “Are any of the new maps going to be shown to the public?”
Yes. Once they are ready for the general public to see, we’ll show ‘em. We will keep you posted about the when and how. Remember that they are published my Microsoft, and it’s up to Microsoft how that information is disseminated.
Compete asks: “Did you guys have a nice vacation?”
Frank loved New Jersey. Loved it. He said that Atlantic City and the Trump Plaza hotel define what it is to be classy. Luke was in Michigan, but it was northern Michigan. Sketch stayed in Florida, the lucky swine. Which is what Atlantic City dreams of being.
Shrinkray21: “Are there any changes to hardcore that are a possibility?”
Changes to our matchmaking playlists will continue to be something we’re looking at – that’s not just limited to Hardcore or Team Objective or any new hoppers we may introduce. They will also occasionally fix bugs you may not associate with matchmaking, such as geometry abuses on certain maps. Some things are easy to tweak, some things will have to wait on more significant updates.
Duardo asks: Who is this guy that is an Easter egg on Standoff?
Travis Brady. Known internally at erstwhile Microsoft as, “WRNG TRAVIS” for reasons too controversial to explain.
DTA MoonDawg asks: Who is the man on the moon?
Chris Carney. Chris Carney is perhaps the most popular Bungie Easter Egg, helped in no small fashion by the fact that he actually resembles an Easter Egg and is so compact and bijou, that an Easter Bunny could easily carry him.
Brazilian_Rider asks: Do you guys plan on adding any new armor permutations as DLC?
Our current DLC plans do not include any armor permutations. But we are trying to fix little bugs with existing perms.
Everyone asks: Why won’t you guys accept my Friend Requests?!
A lot of folks here have full friends lists or only play with people they know in real life. Maybe you’ll run into folks in matchmaking, though! Some of us get literally hundreds of requests and it’s likely that we didn’t even see yours, so our apologies for not being able to respond, and please don’t take it personally.
ChitownFan526 asks: Are EXP penalties a factor in matching players in the current matchmaking system (i.e., matching players with relatively high penalties)? If not, will something of that nature be added to further the quality of matchmade games?
Currently, EXP penalties are not factored into what matches players together.
Ix Dangerboy xI asks: Will the next auto update bring ranked big team battle?
The “Auto Updates” shouldn’t be confused with the hopper updates. While both types of updates require a lot of work and resources from Test, it’s much less complicated (and impactful on the game’s code) to perform a hopper update than it is to perform an auto update to Halo 3. As to your original question, we are still tuning the next Matchmaking Playlist update and will let you know precisely what’s planned fairly soon.
Azathoth117 asks: Are the orange worm-type thingies in the back of the Scarab the same things as the worms in Hunters, or is it just superficial resemblance?
The resemblance is not just superficial. A future DLC map might expand upon that mystery.
King Leopold789 asks: Whatever happened to Moon Base Alpha?
“Moon Base Alpha” – a codename only - is definitely still being worked on. It’s received some new lighting and different switches to enable and disable access to various parts of the map. We’re still playing it pretty often. It is a brutal map to play on, that may appeal to fans of Elongation, but is absolutely NOT a remake.
Teh HeartBreaker asks: Will there be any maps with more water?
OMG DoubleKill asks: How should I tell the smelly guy that works with me to wear deodorant without being too rude?
That depends on whether or not you think his Dad can beat up your Dad. However, there are two methods. One, anonymously gift wrap and place a stick of deodorant on his desk after hours. Two, show up in a gasmask and throw the shocker every time he asks you what’s going on.
Captain Ross asks: There is one song missing from each Halo game’s soundtrack. One from Assault on the Control Room, one from Quarantine Zone and one from Halo. Cough ‘em up Marty.
It is so he can charge you for a Vol. 2. Those pimp cups and platinum grills don’t pay for themselves you know.
The More Deluded asks: Which is Bungie’s favorite – Badgers or Raccoons?
Ghost Unknown asks: Who is currently ‘keeping’ The Shaft? (The mystical Bungie item)
Somebody has it in their person as we speak. Can’t say who.
Crzymnky069 asks: Will any of the new maps in the future have a vehicle specific to it? Kind of like the Elephant on Sandtrap.
There will be vehicle variations, both aesthetic and functional, specific to certain maps in DLC, but we currently don’t have any plans to introduce a brand new vehicle to the Halo 3 sandbox.
J41m3z asks: When are you guys going to go against the Marty Army in a Humpday Challenge?
Marty must lead his soldiers into conflict and place his face beneath Spartan grundle.
Y0nez asks: Regional preference filter in Matchmaking—any chance of this happening?
Helping folks overseas find better matches is definitely something we’ve been investigating.
H4L0 N3RD asks: After all of the chaos of Halo 3, do you still have 200+ people going to one bathroom? Do you still have attractive women dealing out fast food in personally labeled Styrofoam containers?
The lovely Bungie Princesses are no longer feeding us or ordering food for us. We’re still piling into a one of two bathrooms en masse at roughly the same time every day, though. And we have to drive to a well known Taco vendor to slum it, when we’re not eating the most delicious sandwiches in the Northwest, Sarducci’s of Kirkland.
Hotrod192 asks: What planet is Snowbound on?
It’s on an alien world discovered and controlled by the Covenant. It’s location is secret, but it is in this spiral arm of the Galaxy. Close to human occupied space. If you look through the glass floors of the Covenant structures, you’ll see Forerunner artifacts buried beneath the ice.
Ravirr asks: Will I ever see Commando Shoulders?
Yes, when AU1 is issued for Halo 3 the Commando Shoulders will be unlocked for all players, not just players who have “unlocked” them via achievements. It’s a compromise, but it’s a lot better than nothing.
Panzershreke asks: Are 100% of the good folks at Bungie working on the new maps or are some busy on the next big Bungie project. i.e. that gigantic slingshot or maybe another game?
Bungie is a growing studio. We’re finding ways to keep folks busy.
Fresh McFarlane Figures!
The McFarlane Halo figures are just awesome, in our humble opinion, and series II features some impeccably designed and utterly faithful new creations:
You wanted MP armor variations? You got ‘em. Although you cannot has Recon quite yet, you can has EOD, Scout, ODST, Mark VI, EVA, and CQB variants. Those come in the following flavors and retailers:
SCOUT Blue – Available at Wal-Mart (SCOUT Tan –Available at all retailers)
CQB Red – Available at all retailers
EVA White – Available at specialty retailers
MARK VI Pink – Available only in Canada (lol)
EOD Blue – Available at Wal-Mart (EOD Tan – Available at all retailers)
And each has the following features:
- 18 points of articulation
- 1 weapon, interchangeable between figures
- Interchangeable helmet, chest and shoulder armor
ODST Steel – Available at GameStop - Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST) are an elite branch UNSC special forces and a badass staple of the Halo universe. Again, each ODST figure features 18 points of articulation and carries a regulation Battle Rifle.
Brute Stalkers are generally something you don’t see, but feast your eyes on these guys:
"Ahma eat ur brainz."
- 15 points of articulation
- Weapon storage on back
- Weapons: Spike rifle and carbine
Drones or “buggers’ are the flying, biting, tearing, redning insectile Covenant troops. In game, they’re fast, agile and difficult to get a good look at. But here you can take your time and examine them from thorax to carapace.
"Are you looking at my thorax?"
- 12 points of articulation
- Wings fold up and down
- Weapon: Plasma pistol
The good news, Cowboys ate it and blamed it on Jessica Simpson
. Bad news, our boys the Seahawks couldn't get it done on the frozen tundra. So the Weekly Update now officially pledges its support to Green Bay. Favre will be the Pats undoing. Just get to the Superbowl and get it done.