Jump to content

Why Halo 2 Was Delayed - updated


Recommended Posts

Well all righty then here's the last post. i've highlighted what i think are some cool things

Mon Frere!

Michel (who's a handsome French Canadian and a huge hit with the ladeez thanks to his combination of Gallic charm, sexy accent and excellent nationalized health care system AND the angriest 23-year old in the world) talked to me about moving BSPs today. A BSP is a Binary Separation Plane, or in other words, a great big chunk of level. The thing about a BSP is that it's all one giant piece (they can be small too) that's interconnected and joined at every seam. That means it's all rendered in one go, and can be manipulated at will – if there's enough processor power. And that's been one of the things the team has been optimizing – big moving BSPs.

The BSPs in question contain some future surprises, but a good example would be say, a drawbridge (nope, the bridge we talked about a couple of updates ago is NOT a drawbridge) with like, a tollbooth, some gun emplacements and a bouncy castle. It's one thing to draw those objects as a Static BSP – quite another to move them around. Optimizing things like that frees up more processor power for AI and other tasks, so it's important to get it done before the gameplay is tuned on those levels.

It's also a weird mix of programming and design – since in a way, a moving BSP acts more like a character or a vehicle than a building or a level. Often the various departments can just get along with polishing their bits, but in an instance like this, close-knit cooperation is a must.

Michel has also been working out the nuances of the weather system with the environment guys. Mmhmm. Weather system. It won't be a big surprise to say that there's going to be rain and snow (it is Earth after all) but weather isn't always wet and cold. One level is set in a dry climate where dust, wind and sand all play a part. Filling out the levels with weather makes a tremendous difference to how "alive" the spaces feel. The snow and swamp levels in the original game are still some of my favorite levels. Rumors of a lava and minecart level are to be ignored.

Parsons, our Studio Manager, hates making big promises (except about how he's going to crush me to death in a rat-filled refrigerator), so I won't tell you what Michel said about how much better the weather effects were this time around, I'll just say they're a "bit" better and leave it at that. To avoid the crushing.


Crack-Cananimator Nathan is pretty much happy with the dual wielding on SMGs, and not much, if anything is going to be done to those, but he's particularly pleased with the way the dual Needlers work. The gameplay subtleties that are going to be introduced as a a result of dual-wielding totally boggle my mind.

Actually, the gun models themselves look super-cool too, and tuning has progressed on the look and feel. One Covenant gun has been altered subtly to make it look better in first person mode – there were some complaints that part of the stock "looked like a shark fin" and was obstructing the view too much.

Sweet Crimeny Jeebus!

David Candland sent around a "virtual" version of the user interface for testing and feedback. It's actually a little PC app that lets you play around in the Halo 2 interface without actually playing the game. You can scroll through the various options (you can change your control setup in mid-game now! Woo-hoo!) and best of all, check out all the Live options.

Scrolling through the various Live functions – regular old Live functions - but in the Halo environment, was weirdly thrilling. I was almost literally dumbstruck just seeing a game invite icon and a Friends List in the Halo interface. The visual look and feel has been hugely overhauled, and everything is tight and together, but it still seems like Halo, straight off the bat.

It's going to be one of those days when the game ships – do I play through Campaign right away? Or do I dive right into a new multiplayer map for some rocket action? I honestly don't know which one I most want to play.

The interface is being tightened up so that it’s always easy to get where you want, from anywhere in the game. Sketch was saying this morning that it's nice we're thinking of the user interface as a part of the game, rather than an afterthought – navigating to a game choice or an option shouldn't be more annoying than playing through the Library with a depleted energy pistol.

Scorpions Rock!

I got a look at some new vehicle models today, including the Scorpion tank. Few things I'd love to tell you about that but can't. I can probably tell you about the new Pelican model however, and it's a doozy. It's fully bump-mapped, impeccably detailed and features a real 3D cockpit, complete with joysticks. You can't fly it of course, but it looks so much better than first time around. My favorite feature, apart from the detail added by bump-mapping everything, is the new glass shader. When you pan around the cockpit glass, it shimmers and reflects convincingly. Adding the extra depth makes it look much more like a working vehicle than in the first game. When I saw it, it was having damage applied to it, so expect to see one or two of them smashed up in Halo 2.

There's also polishing work on grass, water and other objects. One test area featured big clumps of spiny, fleshy plants – Earth plants though, and they'll be featured as decorative bits of Earth City. That test area also showed off some of the new ground and "lawn" texturing, all of which is going to be brought to life in new and interesting ways. A big reflective pond showed off some calm water with convincing transparency (based on the depth of the water) – and I've already seen an impressive wave/reflection effect for the choppier bodies of liquid.

Manual Madness!

What do I do over here, apart from observe people with actual talent and ability? Well, one of my tasks is to liaise with the UX (User Experience) group on the Halo 2 manual. And we're working on it. It'll be cool. Full of instructions! And ESRB info. Hurrah for me! But seriously, the UX group is wicked smart, and planning a manual every bit as cool as the game it describes.

Jaime Griesemer's Patented Brain-Bending Cranium Tonic and Bum Lotion!

Jaime, as ever, blew my mind with the usual stream of stuff we can't talk about, but he's also working on something we CAN talk about. The tutorial! Jaime liked it the first time around, but for the new game he wanted to concentrate on stuff that you need to know to play the game, instead of the usual – this is your shield, this is how you crouch – kinda stuff. The example he used was that flanking is important, so the tutorial should "force" you to learn how to flank, without interrupting the flow of gameplay or narrative. Then you'll learn and know how to apply that the next time you find yourself in a similar circumstance.

Jaime is also pleased to announce that they've beefed up both the Battle Rifle (in an unspecified way) and the Needler. The Needler will now be a gun you look for, instead of one you use as a big purple boxing glove in melee situations.

That's all for this week folks, but watch out for inclement weather, even in dry climates.

while most people will just go on about how it's even more hype it really is just an update to what's going on.

they really seem to be treating this game with care although i wonder if it really will be out this year.

also what's up with the choppy water? will we be playing on an oil rig or will the Chief be going wave race on us while shooting down Covie jet skiers with his twin needler combo (god i hope that you can't use them in multiplayer).

also i wonder why the dual guns bring so much new interesting things to the game, i wonder what they've done with them.

oh and i might laugh a little if this game has better water pyshics than Carve, a game just about the water. Thinking about that maybe it isn't so mad, will we see Chief on a boat Far Cry style.

Oh and they've done even more work on plants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The little details all add up, don't they? The cockpit, the ivy... you might not explicitly notice and comment on each individual example, but taken together they place you in a (subconsciously?) absorbing game world, which can only help the gameplay experience (so long as it's not at the expense of framerate). Like the way things in the environment collapse and shatter and skitter around in Far Cry - technically that's superfluous 99% of the time, but the effect is subtle and cumulative, and you become more absorbed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flying a Pelican... imagine: Halo MMORPG with various teams landing via Pelican, their highly-trained Pilot players steering in for a perfect-touchdown before they go and fly around in circles waiting to be called in for a pick-up or a Warhog-shift or something... meanwhile, John Q. Newbie crashes his own Pelican into a building.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pelican pilot would be a bit of a dull role, I guess. Though if you scale the experience of ploughing a Warthog into a group of Jackals up to Pelican size, then it becomes tempting...

"We've got twelve Elites and a whole army of grunts down here, someone fly a Pelican into them!"

"I'm on it!"

And it'd be great to tease your temmates by hovering just outside their jumping range.

"Hop in... just kidding! No, come on, let's go... juuust kidding!"

Downside is I guess the Pelican would have to be made destructible, so those kind of antics wouldn't go on for very long...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could actually make the role work if you had, say, missions which start off on the Pelican, with the Pilot player in control, and when he lands he can swap over to a generic solider who takes the pilot-seat and leaves, or he can stay on the Pelican if he's expecting to be needed... he could even use the Pelican's weapons to provide fire support. P

Pilot would have a device for calling the Pelican in for a AI pick-up at any suitable location, at which point he can re-assume control. There could be a limit on how close you can be to enemies for an AI pick-up, so if things were to hairy, he could leg it and call the Pelican from a safe distance before trying to get everyone from the Hot Zone himself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Presumably they have some sort of on-board weapons... so as well as a Pilot character, you could have a Gunner running the chin-turret and missiles with a combination of a turret-style view and a Panzer Dragoon-style lockon missiles system- with a standard reticle aiming system for the chin-turret.

Fucking hell, why haven't I been hired by a developer yet?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Presumably they have some sort of on-board weapons... so as well as a Pilot character, you could have a Gunner running the chin-turret and missiles with a combination of a turret-style view and a Panzer Dragoon-style lockon missiles system- with a standard reticle aiming system for the chin-turret.

Fucking hell, why haven't I been hired by a developer yet?

'Cos you wouldn't be able to code that stuff yourself? :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.