With Urk’s sweet Pentathlon coverage last week
and my cruel mandate that we wouldn’t be updating the day after Thanksgiving due to tryptophan-induced states, it’s been a few weeks since you’ve read anything about the game formerly known as Halo 3: Recon – Halo 3: ODST. But now the sleeper has awoken and we're ready to answer some of your pressing questions and drop a few tidbits from Halo 3: ODST's inexorable path of progression.
Q. DTA MoonDawg asks: How is Halo 3: ODST coming along?
A. Like Wilco, let's begin here.
Halo 3: ODST
The door to Marty’s office has been shut. The “RECORDING” light has been on. Blindfolded outsiders have been shuffled into his recording studio.
Marty and the audio team have also been doing off-site recording in LA and earlier this week even helped all of Bungie get our SAG cards by recording us as crowd sounds for possible use in ODST. Thanks Marty!
All of the ODST mission dialog is written and implemented – thought the current implementation is often the dulcet tones of Joseph Staten coming through my headset.
Damian is working on patrol cycles (think seek and destroy, not vroom vroom) for enemies in the Hub and adding some new behaviors for a foe.
Barry is sitting at a teeny, tiny desk and adding decorators, details and signage to the Hub. He’s bringing things to life.
Adrian Perez hooked up some stuff for some things that will add pretty visceral feedback elements to players.
Halo 3: ODST is just a day away from the Representative Experience milestone and preparing for a team-wide playthrough of the whole game next week.
To follow-up on the last topic, the best named man in gaming, and ODST’s Executive Producer, Curtis Creamer, fielded a few questions of his own about what a representative experience milestone is. We’re de-mystifying jargon one sporadic update after another.
Q: What is a representative experience milestone?
: This is the point where we have a build that’s playable from start to finish, bringing together all of the big technical systems, critical design elements, environments, cinematics, effects, audio, etc. The whole taco. Then we have the entire studio play it and tell us how much it sucks.
Q: Why is this important to both the particular dev team (in a multi-project environment like we are right now) and to the bigger Bungie picture?
: The important thing for the dev team, is that this is the build that we feel is playtestable from start to finish. That is, we’re ready to have real users (people from around Puget Sound) come in and play through the entire campaign. We’ll start that first thing next year. This is super important because having real gamers come in and play is the best way for us to understand if we’re making a quality experience. We try to do it as early as possible so we have enough time to react.
It’s important to the bigger Bungie picture because hitting this milestone is a great indication that we’re on track for finishing the game on time and will be able to free up people to join the other projects that are also underway and counting on their help.
Q: What changes from representative experience to game conclusion?
: We’re done with all the major code work, content is locked in, and the designs are finalized, so additional changes will primarily be refinements and iteration on the content and design, polishing and bug fixing.
Q: How did your Fantasy Football team do this year?
: Well, it wasn’t such a great year for FunkShack CrapAttack. I got the last pick in the draft this year, and I’m not making excuses or anything, but with 16 teams, it’s been pretty tough to get good players. But at least I had one bright spot where I came back to win by 1 point in the last 2 minutes of a Monday night game. Steve Slaton of Houston had a 40 yd garbage time touchdown run that put me over the top. I felt bad, but then I remembered I was playing Luke Smith. Hooray! That’s what you get for making fun of me for picking Hasselbeck.
Onward we move...
Too Frequently Asked Questions
The Q&A thread we slapped up in the Halo 3 Forum quickly became awash in an endless sea of Mythic Map Pack questions. Attempts to steer the vessel back on course with words alone were not enough. The end result was once again slim pickings amongst the scattered seafloor wreckage. We did our best to dive down deep and pluck the treasure from the watery depths. Here's what we came back up with.
Q. X0N3xSH0TxL3FTx asks: Can we get some sweet pictures of any of the new maps?
A. Yup. In the December issue of Game Informer.
Q. Dowell1088 asks: Generally, any new features we can be looking forward to in Forge on the new maps?
A. From a certain point of view (that’s from original Star Wars, kids).
Q. Accident Prone asks: Any word on when buTube is coming out?
A. Just like Sketchfactor said a week ago, the fruits of the Wolf’s labor are swelling with flavor. We’re running an internal pre-Alpha on the feature at the time of this writing and as soon as we have something noteworthy to report, we’ll update you guys about its progress. Rest assured, the video rendering feature is still in the pipeline.
Q. Also, is it true Peyton Manning wets his bed and sleeps with a doll at night?
A. One does not simply walk into Bungie.net and insult Peyton Manning.
Q. Venator360 asks: Will there be another Title Update?
A. We have no plans to do another Title Update.
Q. El Roboto asks: Winter break is going to be upon us soon. Anything special planned for the holidays?
A. Yeah, I’m really looking forward to a trip back to the mitten state. The studio is closed down for a couple of weeks and then we’ll be back in the New Year to keep making games. Is that what you meant?
Q. crunchUK asks: What will these playlist changes for January be? Shishka said it was plain nuts...
A. Technically, he said it was “crazy talk.” And I don’t really know what he meant. But I do know that we’ll detail the Matchmaking changes for January in next week’s update. That's right kids, we're gonna attempt two updates back to back.
Q. A Deaf Boy asks: How does the delay of Halo Wars impact the Mythic Map pack release date?
A. To our chagrin, it delays their appearance in the wild as well. The Mythic Map Pack is tethered to the Halo Wars LE retail launch.
Q. Coganator928 asks: What is Sandbox all about?
A. It’s a safe place for children to play with their toys. We recommend adult supervision.
Q. Lord Snakie asks: There's been talk (especially in this month's magazines...) that there's something that you all at the Studio have planned for us loyal little fans on the site. Can we get a dropped hint on what that might be, or could you change the norm a bit and actually just... I don't know... tell us?
A. Assuming you're talking about the "connect calendar" from December's Game Informer when you say "this month's magazines," we find ourselves at a loss trying to decipher what that small blurb was referring to. Consider it a rumor and don't hold your breath.