LOL. The Warthog is now a super-deluxe killing machine. Not because we’ve changed the Hog itself very much, although graphically it’s seen some significant upgrades, but rather because of how your AI buddies behave when you’re driving the thing. First off, beeping the horn seems to bring any nearby Marine running (although they will come based on suitability for the task at hand – more on that in a future update) and hopping straight into the gunner turret.
In previous Halo games, the gunners were smart and would pick off targets in a logical fashion, but this time around, and it could be my imagination, the gunners are more precise and easier to influence. You can target individual bad guys by steering the Hog and even “convince” your gunner to pick a more relevant target and have him stop trying to blast a lone grunt hiding behind a rock when a bigger menace approaches.
This has two effects on the gameplay – one is that it makes the Hog feel more like a weapon when you’re driving, and the second is that it makes you want to cruise around bigger battle areas playing mop-up, whereas previously the temptation might have been to get the heck out of dodge. And by heck, I mean hell.
The AI still has ages of tuning left to go, and the bad news is that if your AI gunner is too good, he’ll be dumbed-down to make the game more balanced. That said, the scale and ferocity of the current encounters (read: more bad guys than ever before) mean that you were going to need more capable AI anyway.
Now, if only I could make my real human gunner in multiplayer shoot so accurately…
I’ve been playing around with the latest builds of multiplayer and single player (again, both are deployed separately so that neither team is stepping on the other’s toes) and tooling around with a “controversial” new control scheme. Basically it addresses some of the complaints 360 owners had about the button mapping – especially the black and white buttons no longer found on the 360 – and makes for a more logical use of the left and right bumpers. There are some other changes that are game-feature dependent that I can’t talk about yet, but basically the new scheme is super solid.
The problem of course, is that after two years of training with the old scheme, the slightest change caused me to spaz out for about three minutes. Once I got used to it however, it’s far more natural and sensible, and the logical use of the new controller.
And before you start pitching angry mails about a control scheme you haven’t tried yet, don’t worry – we’ll be including the classics too and perhaps even some improved or new control variants. We might even take a look at the “backward” southpaw controls so that Claude will quit his -blam!-in’ and go back to stocking shelves at the Leftorium. I think we’ll have something cool for everyone from your mom, to a hardcore, Dolbex-esque tournament player.
Anyway, I promised to answer some of your questions, so here we go:
I know this is something that could be searched for on the forums, but I've tried, and can't seem to find it. Can you send me a link directing me to the page that explains the ranking system and the experience points chart for matchmaking? I'd sure appreciate it.
Paul E. Walnuts asks,
I enjoyed the first mini podcast you guys made available. Is there any news as to when these might become a regular item on the website?
Well actually, we’re recording a cool piece today and we finally got all of our equipment. Sketch is agro about making this thing awesome and worthwhile, so we’re taking our sweet-ass time, but things have sped up, so look for the first “real” one in the next week or two and the rest should follow more regularly after that. Worst of all, we actually have a theme song, written, composed and arranged by Marty O’Donnell, and I promise you, you will kill yourself when you hear it.
Maybe a thousand people asked us if we’d seen this:
The answer is yes and those kids rock. Marty loves them, we love them, everybody loves them. And it’s not just the fact that they play well – it’s the amount of talent and imagination that went into the arrangement. It’s just fantastic. Bam!
I know you may not have time to read this question because of how busy you are with Halo 3 and such. But I wanted to ask if Halo 2 Volume 2 would be available via iTunes in the near future.
Actually, I went and asked Marty and he doesn’t know why it isn’t already. So he’s asking his dude. His dude is of course, legendary producer, Nile Rodgers.
Gimme a beer asks,
A few days ago a strange question crept over a pile of beer cans and into my mind. How did the Seventh Column get its name?
Yesterday I began an epic quest to answer this question. By "quest", I mean "search the website for 'Seventh Column' and click on things." While i found a wealth of knowledge pertaining to all things Bungie, I am still no closer to the answer for which I seek. Since Max Hoberman doesn't seem to log on too often, I was hoping that you might be able to ask around. If you can spare a little time, I'd appreciate it.
Well, since it’s part of Bungie Lore, there’s more to it than meets the eye, but if you want a baseline to start a real detective hunt from – here’s the original etymology:
UNSC Khart asks,
Hey I gotta question....in the Xbox official magazine, the article about master chiefs face...is that a hoax or did you guys n girls put that there with intent?
It’s not a hoax, but the image shown in OXM, if you look carefully, is actually a realtime reflection of the vortex. The angle they capture it at makes it look like (to me at least) a glowing eye and even part of a nose. The “scar” is a crack in the ground. What they show is a coincidence, although, you never know what’s going to happen in the final game. In their story, we’re quoted as saying “no comment.” If we’d seen the image beforehand, we’d have been more definitive.
Semor wastes a question, but hey, I’m good people,
Man this is stupid but I was looking at some forums and I hit something on my keyboard by accident, and now all the font on Bungie.net and xbox.com is tiny almost immpossible to read. If you have any idea how to fix this give me a message back.
--Sorry for the stupid question.
Hold down “ctrl” and roll your mouse’s scroll wheel. Bam!
Is it possible, one day down the line when you guys have finished (if it can ever really be finished) the Halo story arch, that you guys would release the HSB? I would kill a fluffly bunny to see it.
Nope. We’d never reveal the thing in its entirety, although we are planning on making some of the interesting fictional bits available in some fashion in the future.
LTK Ledgend asks,
Amazingly happy that the book is coming out, but will William C. Dietz be writing any more Halo books too?
Although William is an amazing writer, he’s not currently signed up to work on any Halo fiction. Currently.
PTR SNIP3R asks,
Have you ever tried the beef pot noodles YUK! i still want to see a British mister chief even tho I’m British I approve you can give him the messed up teeth but you have to give him a pot noodle . Please do a British chief I need him as my background on my comp and I’m too British to make my own.
P.S is there any British staff at Bungie?
Yours Britishly PTR SNIP3R
I have had beef Pot Noodle. My favorite is curry. They’re available here as “Cup Noodle.” Quite delicious. There are a bunch of British staff at Bungie. Well, like four or five anyway.
Hey Frankie I was wondering if you guys thought about cheaters in Halo 2 for Vista in terms of aimbots. Halo pc was great up until the aimbot showed up and I’m wondering if the same fate may wait for Halo 2 vista.
I am not naive enough to say it could never happen, but I am confident that the security measures being put in place by the Vista team will make it extraordinarily difficult and hopefully, easy to fix if such a hack ever gets out there. Fingers crossed.
Halo 2 is starting to get really really boring for many people...I think its time for some new maps. I know you guys are busy with Halo 3 and all that but there are games out there that are working on their new games and still send new maps out. For example: Call Of Duty 2 is coming out with Call Of Duty 3 soon and they also had 3 map packs come out recently. You guys keep updating the matchmaking things like adding in new games and all that but new games aren’t what people want, we want new maps to play on! If you guys could think about making a map pack or two (one is fine we just want something new) then please for the love of god do it.
Well, we’re obviously very busy working on Halo 3 for Xbox 360 so it wouldn’t make sense for us to stop what we’re doing and go make maps for our old game. That said, we never ever rule anything out. But don't hold yer breath.
Oh and we’d like to say a fond farewell to someone we never mention, but is an important part of the Halo family – Mr. Cameron Payne. He was our marketing guy, and while we give him lots of crap because his ears look like jug handles and he’s always synergizing the zeitgeist, he will be missed and was pretty much the driving force behind how Halo 2 advertising, marketing and viral campaigns were received by the world. Seeya Cam!
And finally someone asked weirdly, what it would look like if Mr. Chief drew me.