Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know it’s not really the 13th yet, but can you blame me for not wanting to pen the update on such a superstitious date? Besides, a good slice of the equipment I need to make these here words appear right before your very eyes, all magically and whatnot, is about to be uprooted for transport tomorrow and our IT Ninjas say they won’t have me back up to full speed until late Monday morning. Our studio move isn’t over quite yet, people. It’s now or never.
Today, we’ll be going with the old “show, don’t tell” approach, but don’t think you can sleep at the mouse wheel. While I won’t be regaling you with tens of thousands of carefully crafted words, I did snap a pile of pictures to keep you company over the rest of the weekend. Because I love you. So much
More specifically, the palette of objects you’ll be able to fiddle with inside the vastness of this totally Forge-worthy space. This isn’t the complete list, mind you, but I’ve made sure nearly all of the major objects and gadgets are present and accounted for. From the images below, you should be able to extrapolate exactly how many of each particular object you can place on the map at any one given time, and how much the sweet map you're already envisioning may ultimately cost you in overall budget. You have ten thousand bucks to spend.
Note: Typically, when you see a large number associated with a single object, it’s a group tally. For example, you can’t use 100 of each and every block simultaneously. When you place a 1x1, the tally for all objects in that category will decrement by one.
A few curious forum-goers requested that we show off a custom version of Noble Six in a campaign cinematic. Almost as if they didn’t believe we'd really swap out the default character model with a hot, custom Armory injection. Well, how ‘bout now?
Aren't you a little short for a...never mind.
Not too sure about all the Spartan up-skirt action in that last shot, but that should seal the deal if you didn’t believe our cinematics team would really make it happen. Plus, it gave me an excuse to spend some more time flying around in space. Win, win.
Nobody asked to see this, but I did notice some oohs and awes over some recently released game footage that shows off a couple of the new assassinations that our amazing animators worked into Reach. You got a taste of some of these kick ass coups de grace in the multiplayer beta back in May, but that was but a mere sampling of the final carnage count. According to animation producer Matt Richenburg, all told there are over forty custom assassinations packed into the shipping product, most multiplayer, some specific to campaign.
Many of them are contextually based upon you and your opponent’s position (an aerial assassination is very different than a ground and pound), and a few even depend on whether or not you have some ceremonial plasma in your hot little hands. Like so:
Came From Behind!
I keep telling Derek I want to show off all of his hard work with an honest to goodness Race-travaganza multimedia blowout. He thinks I’m yanking his crank. I’m not. I know full well that as soon as we show off some rip roaring, high velocity, all terrain action our pre-order metrics are gonna rocket upwards like so much dirt rooster-tailing from the spinning rear wheels of my brand new M274 ULATV.
But even though Derek still doesn’t believe me and I’ve yet to secure stage time at a major press event or any airtime on network television, I do have access to a build of Halo: Reach.
Gentlemen, start your engines!
Those who played copious amounts of Halo: CE over LAN are likely already familiar with both Race and Rally. Bam! What’s old is new again, and both gametypes are built right in to Reach.
Spire is BIG.
The standard rules for Race are simple. Drive towards and through the personal checkpoints highlighted in your HUD, and keep driving until you win. The customized Race HUD will track gate information, lap times, speed (the future is kilometers), time remaining, and what position you’re in (if you ain’t first, you’re last).
In the pipe!
Another interesting wrinkle our good man Derek laid down to make Race all the more interesting: landmines.
What’s a landmine? Should be obvious, right? A small, metal platter with a flashing red bulb perched on top like a violent, blood-soaked maraschino cherry on a death-dealing sundae. You’d have to be some kind of moran not to instantly know you need to steer clear.
Get a brain! Anyway, you can place landmines in Forge if you want to add some hazardous happenstance to your multiplayer experience, but in Race, they’re an integral and multifaceted part of the overall experience.
If you’re into tomfoolery, you can elect to plow into them headfirst, as I am often wont to do.
(Which, by the way, might make for some sweet screenshots if that’s your thing.)
Or you can expertly buzz the landmine and fly right by.
If you get close enough without making direct contact, you’ll prime the landmine for an imminent explosion. If another racer is in hot pursuit, it might just blow up right in their face as you put the hammer down and head off into the sunset. It’s kinda like a green turtle shell, only there’s way less animal cruelty and absolutely no psychotropic drugs involved (oversized, wild mushrooms are bad, m’kay).
Derek informs me that we can also customize some other aspects of Race to make it an even better experience overall. For example, if you do meet your maker, or spend too much time out of bounds, the game will respawn you on the back of your Mongoose, facing in the right direction.
Oh, and yup, you do get some Credits for playing Race. Even if you were playing alone. (I has a sad, but soon, I will have even more awesome armor effectz!)
Spend that money, playa!
This week, Derek also told me that my segueing skills sucked big time. Which totally hurt my feelings. But the careful reader will note that mere seconds ago I was writing about Armor Effects and now I’m writing about Forge FX and everything is married up seamlessly. You probably didn’t even realize I had already changed the subject. It’s called being awesome, Derek. Try it sometime.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Forge FX.
Here’s the list of all available options aspiring filmmakers, community cartographers, or overzealous people who just want me to vomit out my eyeballs will now have at their disposal. As you can see, some of our tried and true effects are returning from the Halo 3 darkroom, and some are brand spankin’ new. Let’s break ‘em all down.
Oops, missed one.
There we go.
Colorblind. You know the deal. Grayscale gives your map a more artful feel. It’s also well suited for mimes and canines.
Green. This one’s new. What you can’t tell from the still is that there’s a subtly animated distortion effect layered in that’ll pair up nicely with some brains for some sweet, succulent Zombie action.
Juicy. Coincidentally, Derek has that painted on the back of his sweatpants. Which he subsequently rolls at the waist.
Next Gen is back and better than ever. Not only is it still dark and gritty, but now it comes with a grain filter that makes for an even more filmic experience. It’s totally bleak. Just like we hear real war is.
Whoa. Hey, Nova. Be right back. Gotta get some aspirin. If you have your television's picture unfortunately set to "Vivid" or "Dynamic," you can probably catch a tan from this effect.
Back in my day, the Olde Timey effect was all static, but this new and improved version adds some post processing degradation that simulates the visual imperfections found in well aged 35mm celluloid.
Orange. Subtle, yet soothing. Think twilight, without all the glittering, oversexed vampires.
Pen and Ink. It’s like a Rorschach Test. Pretty sure I see Pizza the Hut on the left hand side of this shot.
Purple is dark and moody with that under cover of night vibe. We can’t blot out the sun, but if you pretend it’s merely a really bright moon, the effect is nearly perfect.
Halo: Reach hits all stores everywhere in just 32 days, so if you've yet to reserve your copy, you best be getting to it. To aid you in your quest, and offer you a little bit of extra incentive, the good folks at Gamestop have launched their Halofest Reach landing page. Along with a ton of pre-order options and fancy multimedia, they're also offering you a chance to win this:
If a life-sized Spartan statue sounds like something you'd like to display in your foyer or den, this is your only opportunity to spruce up your decor with some Noble style.
Gamestop Halo: Reach Statue Giveaway
Might take a little while to develop, but the kid’s got a natural arm.
That’s it for this week. Next stop, Gamescom. Bring a change of pants, people. You’re gonna need ‘em.
(And yeah, I know that dogs aren’t really colorblind, but it rhymed and just felt right.)