Friday, April 20th, 2007
This is a crazy busy week. Seriously. So my epic apologies for this practically non-existent update. All sorts of stuff is hitting the fan. Obviously we rolled out the INTERNAL version of the Beta, and in a few short weeks, the Public Beta goes live. Now, as usual, we built the Public Beta to cause as little impact as possible to the flow of Halo 3, but it’s still a tremendous amount of extra work. It should pay off in spades, however, as a fun experience for you guys, and an educational one for me.
The new Halo 2 maps came out, with what I would call “teething troubles.” There were lots and lots and lots of problems downloading and installing the maps. Fortunately, most of these issues have been resolved and as of very recently, those of you having failures should be able to get them now. Our apologies and again, making DLC for two consoles simultaneously was a challenge.
Most of you should be able to get ‘em today, a few of you might have to wait until Monday. And again, oops, our bad.
I’ve been asked a few times why the impending Beta is only three short weeks long. Well, obviously the number one reason is that the longer we’re spending resources taking care of the Beta, the less time we’re applying what we’ve learned from it to the final game. And statistically, three weeks is going to seem like a pretty long time when you look at the hours you log on the game.
The reasons you’re getting three maps is similar, but has as much to do with our normal production schedule as anything else. It’s easier to think of why you’re not getting the rest of the maps. They’re not done yet. All are geometry complete, but they’re being polished and tuned for graphics and gameplay ‘til the last minute. You could say that the maps you’re playing are the best balanced and most complete so far.
But they will change slightly, maybe noticeably when the game finally ships in fall. So by all means, learn ‘em well next month, but don’t get used to anything you see in there. Objects may have shifted while in flight.
We’ve been playing a lot of games out in the wild, so to speak. The Microsoft internal Beta finally gives us a taste of a real population for matchmaking, although at just a couple of hundred people, it can take time to find players in the Team games. Rumble Pit is pretty quick though. When the public beta arrives, we’re expecting to at least double that number! 400 people sound optimistic?
Although I complain about the number of people available in Team games for our current tiny test (you won’t have to worry about that next month) we will actually have a solution for that kind of problem built right into the game. The multiplayer interface is just one of the things you’ll be playing around with in the beta.
Before the Beta goes live, possibly the day before, we’re going to put up a huge FAQ with answers to your pressing questions. We’ll talk you through the controls, some of the new features, how to get it and what you’re going to be playing.
We’ve had some media keeping us busy this week too, including a Humpday Challenge with Ziff Davis, which they lied about, and a Podcast with Official Xbox Magazine. 1UP’s chicanery involves a lot of video editing and filth. Disgraceful. You can read what really happened here.
However, the OXM podcast was me chatting extensively about some pretty detailed and interesting topics, mostly about the Beta. Here’s the general link: http://www.oxmpodcast.com and here’s the more specific link: http://www.oxmpodcast.com/?p=77 and this Podcast should go a long way to making up for all the stuff I didn’t have time to write up today.
And SPEAKING of podcasts, something will happen VERY shortly that might make the next official Bungie podcast that much better and that much sooner.