So, you know that Halo graphic Novel we've been working on, hmm? Novel. Been working on. Been workin' on it for about two years now. How's that comin' along, hmmm? Got a, got a protagonist, hmm? Friends become enemies, enemies become friends? Hmm? That kind of thing?
Well, the good news is, the graphic novel is all done, and practically on its way to the printer. The even better news is that Bungie is going to the San Diego Comicon (July 20-23) and we'll be there in significant numbers. Sketch and I will both be there to herd cats and wrangle monkeys, but more importantly, a lot of Bungie full time artists will be there to sign your bewbz, as will some of the contributors to the actual graphic novel, including Moebius and Phil Hale, but we can't commit to what parts of you they'll sign.
COSPLAY! Saturday nite of the Comicon is Halo Cosplay nite! Technically it's any kind of Cosplay night, but we're encouraging fans to come dressed as their favorite Halo characters and we'll award random prizes to our favorite efforts. We'll also be on hand to hang out and have fun with attendees. We will all be dressed as 21st century civilians! And we'll sign your bewbz!
The Cosplay show will be Saturday evening in Ballroom 20 of the Convention Center, starting at 8:30 PM, and will run for about 3 hours, which includes an intermission for the official judging. Being a participant, or just watching, is free to convention attendees. We will be judging the Halo stuff guerilla style, som if someone comes up and offers you Halo goodies, that might be us.
But that's not all! Friday of the show, between 5 and 6pm, there will be a Halo Graphic Novel Panel, where artists, writers and other contributors to the HGN will be on hand to answer questions about the project and of course sign things. But not bewbz this time. That will take place in Room 6A - and we'll have more details about the content of that later.
We're stoked about the Comicon this year - of course we are, because we're tremendous comic geeks but remember, there will be a bunch of us there - me, Sketch, Lorraine and Robt McLees - but also a crack team of Bungie artists: Christopher Barrett, Frank Capezutto, Tom Doyle, Isaac Hannaford, Paul Russel, Shi Kai Wang, Lee Wilson and who knows who else might show up!?
No news on the movie yet, but the gears of Hollywood grind slowly forward and we will let you know the second something thrilling happens.
Work continues at a frantic pace on single and multiplayer. Sometimes to two collide! Lars, the multiplayer designer was playing through on of the single player missions when suddenly he was surrounded by butterflies. 'I thought I was going insane," said Lars. But he asked a programmer - and discovered that some wit had replaced the normal garbage collection routine (the deletion of unused objects like dead bodies and dropped, spent weapons) with a more elaborate one. The corpses of fallen Covenant currently turn into a "flock" of monarch butterflies, with flapping wings. Bizarre. And I'm assured this took about a minute to implement (this statement to head off the inevitable flames from backseat developers).
Lars also let us try out a new map Sketch and I like to call "Jub-Jub," much to Mr. Bakken's discontent. And it's my favorite new small map. An instant classic like Lockout and on roughly the same scale, with similar pacing and feel, although it looks very, very different.
Our afternoon multiplayer test session/team tournaments have been going slowly. Team Cobra Kai pulled out its second victory yesterday, against Damian and Max on Team AI. We won, in spite of Sketch renaming KP and I's team "Cobra Cry" after beating us the other day.
I am finally starting to love the Assault Rifle (the one from the trailer) in MP. It's good stuff, although weapon balancing and tradeoffs may change its subtle variances between now and launch. And it could even be removed. Who knows? That's the normal course of development, finding what works and what doesn't. Right now, it works great.
There was a short but fierce debate about the pros and cons of ladders in multiplayer this week. I won't tell you how the debate ended, but I will say that I only noticed a month or two ago that there were any ladders at all in multiplayer Halo 2 - in Waterworks, to be specific, in the center structure.
They're taken out to help streamlining the frantic and even pacing of maps. Remember Battle Creek in Halo? Reimagined as Beaver Creek in Halo 2? Well it originally had ladders, but they sloooooowed things down tremendously. Replacing the access to those parapets with ramps helped speed up the pace and give the player more options and escape routes from pursuing players. A ladder is also a honey trap for sniper fodder. That said, sometimes a ladder is a logical part of a building or a scenario. CURSE YOU DONKEY KONG!
In other news, we're working hard to fix the visual glitches now apparent in the E3 Halo 3 HD trailer on Xbox Live Marketplace. It was caused when an update to the video codec caused some incompatibility with video files made prior to that update. The fix will take a little while to implement, but we'll have more news for you on that front very soon. Our apologies in the meantime.
That does however mean that we have to take down the "broken" one, possibly as early as Monday, but we will endeavor to get a replacement up ASAP, as well as the long-promised, HD, 5.1 version of the "making of the trailer" documentary.
And one final sad/happy note. Shishka, aka Chad Armstrong, is leaving us to move on to pastures new, yet strangely familiar. He's heading down to Texas to work more closely with our very own Halo 3 multiplayer god, Max Hoberman (Max has been working out of his tiny Texas office for a month or two now). Both of course are still working for Bungie on our current project, with Max choosing to work out of the Texas office so he can take care of some personal stuff for a while. More on the Shishka departure next week, but congrats to Chad, who's in very capable hands.
And finally, a reader asked me what Mr. Chief would look like as a cosplayer, and frankly, it's not good. Here he is as Vaan from Final Fantasy. Apologies to Square Enix. And apologies to humanity. And you can blame Pinkuh, frankly.
And yes, the Photoshop water filter is the new lens flare.