As you can imagine - the short week caused by the Fourth of July holiday ( this is a time when Americans celebrate the sweet deal Scotland gave them on the country in 1776, when we sold it out from under the English for a buck o' five. They celebrate this day by making sausage and 'asplosions.) means that not a whole heck of a lot actually happened.
That also meant very limited playtests this week, almost no multiplayer fun for me and a very brief, if exciting campaign test with lots of driving in it.
Our UI has come on in leaps and bounds. For a long time the UI development was happening separately from the actual game, so missions and other options would be chosen from a debug menu. Now the UI has been rolled into the game, so you can use it like a regular game interface for most things, and see it develop along with the rest of the game.
As it stands now, the interface is designed to make it very simple to get to a "lobby" and make all necessary changes from there - so that you can customize your experience, appearance, and more importantly, really specific game types from anywhere.
Folks who've played a lot of custom games know that it is very frustrating when the "Quick Options" selection just isn't enough to get all the options you want in a game type. You won't have to worry about that from now on. And you can also change your controller setting from anywhere, at any time. That one was a given, right?
This is obviously the barest kernel of what to expect from the new UI - and there will be a lot of goodies added to it between now and then. UI gurus Dave Candland and Colm Nelson were kind enough to give me a guided tour today and I can honestly say that I finally "get it." The problem with adapting to a new UI is the problem of familiarity. You expect things to behave the way they did in Halo 2 and when they don't, it's easy to think, "Oh, that's broken," when in fact, something has technically been fixed. And the sign of a good UI is that it only takes a couple of tries to get used to it, and that everything is found in its logical place.
Long lost studio manager, Pete "Mango" Parsons just stopped by to say hi. We asked him what he was up to and he said that he was shaving himself for a weekend Slip N' Slide tournament.
The Halo Graphic Novel is complete!!! Lorraine just got back from Roanoke, VA where she signed off on the colors and print quality for the book. They literally watch it run off the press. Lorraine stayed up all night making recommendations and checking pages, stayed in a craptacular hotel, and finally got one hour of sleep.
A shocking waste of trees, pictured with the Halo Graphic Novel.
The very first prototype edition of the Halo Graphic Novel. Don't worry, yours will be properly bound.
The Halo Graphic Novel should be on sale by July 19 th , at a bargain $24.99 - although like all newly released books, you can usually get it on sale if you look hard enough .
The Amazon.com description reads thusly:
Marvel and Bungie team up to create The Halo Graphic Novel HC based on the best-selling video game. The graphic novel brings the Halo universe to life for the first time in the sequential art medium in a 128-page, full color, high quality, jacketed, hardcover graphic novel. Stories include: "Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor" by Simon Bisley and Lee Hammock. When communications from a Covenant agricultural support ship are mysteriously terminated, an Elite Commander and his squad of Special Forces are sent to investigate. In "Armor Testing" by Ed Lee and Jay Faerber, the only way to test Spartan armor, is to send a Spartan. The question is what's really being tested? In Tsutomo Nihei's "Breaking Quarantine," the untold tale of Sergeant Johnson's escape from the clutches of the Flood menace is revealed! Finally, Moebius and Brett Lewis' "Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa" tells of the subtler, more dangerous fights taking place on the streets of New Mombasa and in the hearts and minds of men. Cover by Phil Hale. Gallery art created a number of elite artists including Rick Berry, Geof Darrow, Scott Fischer, Sterling Hundley, Craig Mullins, George Pratt, Juan Ramirez, Greg Staples, Justin Sweet, John Van Fleet and Kent Williams.
Anyway, it's all lovely stuff and to celebrate, here's a nice wallpaper-sized sample page from the "Gallery" section of the Halo Graphic Novel, by our very own Isaac Hannaford. As you can tell, it's a UNSC Marine encountering a Brute. And it's freakin' awesome, as are all the other gallery pieces. Click the image to get an embiggened wallpaper version. The other gallery pieces are from a combination of famous comic book artists and Bungie's own, home-grown crew.
Click to REALLY enlarge.
The making of the Halo 3 trailer which we released on Bungie.net a few weeks back, should be available in 720p, with surround sound on Xbox Live Marketplace next week - although don't hold me to that, since these things have a way of changing. We will also get a "fixed" version of the Halo 3 announce trailer itself, on Marketplace shortly thereafter.
And FINALLY (phew) kornman00 asked if I could do a Mister Chief eating corn, since he's shipping off to basic training. Well, yes and no - you see, Mister Chief is scared of corn. He says it ignores the digestive process and finds its way unharmed, into the sewers where it evolves into its boss-monster form - the C.H.U.D.