Bungie Weekly Update: December 2nd, 2005
So I was gone last week, celebrating Thanksgiving, or as they say in Mexico, El Dia De Accion de Gracias . This week, nothing new to report of particular note, but lots of very important matchmaking stuff.
Weirdly, I got a lot of mail about two issues which sort of have nothing to do with Bungie at all. But since I actually know the answers, it would be rude of me not to share them with you. And both are Xbox 360 related.
The first is super straightforward – that kids have heard there are themes, including a Halo theme for the Xbox 360 dashboard, but don't know how to get to them, change them, or otherwise see them. It wouldn't take but two seconds of reading the manual or logging onto Xbox.com, but I'm like you. Waaaay too lazy to bother, so here it is.
1. Press the Guide button to bring up the slidey side guide. You'll see that one of the options is "Personal Settings." Select it.
2. You'll see a list of items. One of them says "Themes." Select it. Bam! You're all set. I already tried Carbon and of course, Halo 2.
There will no doubt be more Halo related themes in the future, since they're actually kinda easy to make. Problem is, we don't get to decide when. Which reminds me, I want a Halo themed Forerunner/Guilty Spark 360 faceplate….
It's not all sweetness and light on the 360 front. Since the Halo 2 emulation is a blend of tricky hardware and software problems, we've been getting reports from readers about weird things happening. I haven't encountered this myself, but I have seen video of one – a ghostly afterimage that stays on your screen as you play in multiplayer. The video I watched showed someone playing Lockout, but you could distinctly make out the sea wall from Zanzibar too – looking exactly the way the reflection of your living room does in a big CRT set.
We (Bungie) don't actually make the 360 emulation software, so we can't do much about it except keep you posted on any changes to that situation. Which we of course will. To find out more about BC issues, check here: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/backwardcompatibilityqa.htm
This is actually a really excellent resource for lots of things, with very detailed instructions on most commonly encountered problems: http://support.microsoft.com/xboxconsole
The other question we keep getting regards folks thinking Halo 2 doesn't really look all that much better on their HDTV through a 360. We were going to shrug and say, "We think it looks nice," then somebody here said the same thing. We went to go look, and lo and behold, the staffer in question didn't know about the HDTV switch on the 360 component cable. Check that's switched to HDTV if you're using an HDTV, otherwise your TV's scaler will do the conversion and it won't look as good. The switch is found on the back of the plastic lump that plugs into your 360. And this of course assumes you downloaded the Halo 2 360 compatibility update, which is REQUIRED to see the changes, and fix the audio, as Marty keeps telling me.
All of this stuff is of course in the manuals, but who reads manuals? Communists, that's who. You can read about HD cable shenanigans specifically right here: HDTV Cable FAQ Thingy
The next matchmaking playlist update is going to have SEVERE CONSEQUENCES IF YOU DON'T READ THIS . Well, severe if you care about your rank and all that. If you are a casual player who doesn't care about that stuff, then don't sweat this too much.
Sketch's Playlist Update
The next Halo 2 Matchmaking Playlist Update is finally upon us. Right now the update is scheduled to be released next Tuesday morning at approximately 6AM PDT. As we've mentioned in prior updates, this is a fairly significant update as we've removed a few shipping playlists, added several new ones and made a series of tweaks and adjustments across many of the existing entries. There are a ton of specifics for this release and rather than flood Frankie's update with those details I'm going to point you over to the Optimatch Forum where Ninja On Fire has a detailed forum post of the upcoming changes. In addition, the Playlist Page has been updated to reflect the upcoming changes. Click here for details.
If you play Halo 2 Matchmaking on Xbox Live there are some important details you need to know pertaining to Tuesday's update. Please read the following and spread the word to all of your friends who play on Xbox Live.
SUPER IMPORTANT PLAYLIST UPDATE INFORMATION!
Next Tuesday things are going to be a bit screwy on Xbox Live for a little while. Since we are removing some of the shipping playlists and then re-ordering the ones that remain, this is potentially going to cause some chaos for a few hours immediately following the update. Basically, if you are already online playing at the time the update goes out, you will not get the new update file and you will continue to see the old playlists. This means that you'll still see Head to Head, for example, but in reality it's been removed. Anyone who comes online post-update will NOT see Head to Head. Attempting to join Head to Head (or any of the playlists being displayed in the original pre-update list) is going to result in some unexpected results. Namely, you may not get into the type of game you intended to and any stats from those games will likely get reported to a different playlist as well. There WILL be unusual and unexpected results happening unless you log off and then log back in to successfully download the playlist update.
To minimize the chaos we are doing this release very early on Tuesday morning but regardless there are bound to be people who are online at the time the update is deployed. We'll do our best to spread the word but please be prepared for a little weirdness for the first few hours on Tuesday.
Tips to Minimize Playlist Update Issues:
1. Don't play Halo 2 Matchmaking around 6am (PST) on Tuesday morning if you can avoid it. Wait until a little later in the day. We'll post on Bnet once the update is deployed to Live.
2. If you are online at 6am, log off as soon as you can and then log-in again. You can verify that the new playlist has been updated if you no longer see Head to Head and you do see new entries like Team Actionsack.
3. In general, verify that you are seeing the new playlists before you enter into Matchmaking in order to minimize unexpected oddities and results.
4. If you insist on playing, don't be surprised if you get matched into unexpected games or some of your stats are reported to the wrong playlist.
In general this hiccup should be short-lived and have minimal impact but we want to spread the word now that some of you will undoubtedly experience this come Tuesday morning. The result of this is that we'll have some new flavor playlists to enjoy, a few of the dead playlists removed and a more logical listing of the available playlists.
I also wanted to take this time to say THANKS! to all of you who have been active in our Optimatch forum sharing your ideas and suggestions for this and future updates. Also, a big thanks goes out to Ninja on Fire for all of his work with the Community and the test team to actually make this possible. We are starting to hash out some basic plans for the next update but please be advised that due to the holidays we anticipate there being a somewhat longer window before we will see the next release. We'll keep you posted once we regroup and have a schedule. In the meantime - thanks for your help, enjoy the new playlists and have a great holiday!
And again, this is a brief overview of the big changes for folks who've missed it:
- Major Clanmatch and Head to Head have been removed.
- Minor Clanmatch has received a change in configuration. It will now be called Clanmatch and will allow for team of 4-5 clan members each. Your Minor Clanmatch ranks will persist to the new Clanmatch playlist.
- Two new unranked playlists have been added, Rumble Armory and Team ActionSack.
- 6v6 Team Battle has been added as a ranked playlist featuring team sizes of 5-6 players each. Big Team Battle now supports only larger team sizes of 7-8 players each.
- Team Snipers is now a ranked playlist and has a total of 15 maps. Your hidden rank will now be displayed.
- WE DID NOT WIPE ANY STATS, STOP LISTENING TO RUMORS! CALM DOWN!
Halo Movie Mildness
Joe Staten says he can't say squat about the Halo movie, other than to point out that the "search for a director is ongoing!" I can tell you personally that he looks very happy, smug even, this week.
I imagine that the general lack of info in this area might have something to do with a certain enormous Gorilla, also known as "The Titanic of movies that you can watch more than once." This is, incidentally now starting to get some of the best reviews I've read in ages. Kong is indeed, king.
As for our next project, work continues apace. Actually, the level of energy and activity has shot up to levels we haven't seen before ever, thanks in large part to the awesome new building and the legions of new staff we filled it with. I still see a new face every time I go to the little boy's room. That's a euphemism for toilet, by the way.
Lots of websites reported that Bungie may be working on a game featuring Pirates! Well dur. Work continues on the widely announced, critically lauded and less-than-secret Pimps at Sea. It just continues at a leisurely, Caribbean pace is all.
Oh, we won an award! From Teen People, which is like People, but instead of Oprah, you get like, Lindsay Lohan, or the Simpson that can sing. They awarded us:
- Most Heroic Character : Master Chief, Teen People
- Best Graphics, Teen People
For which we're eternally grateful. Thanks T-Peepz (what the kids call it. Only noobz say "Teen People.")
And finally, several folks asked, what would a Mister Chief 360 faceplate look like? I answer not once, twice nor thrice, but FOUR times!