Back in the Saddle

Has it really been two months since our last update? For shame! We’ll have to get back into the swing of things and correct that. Expect a Late to the Party review of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood soon (TM), as well as the eventual return of Week in Miscellanea and the other stuff you love.

In the meantime, here’s some interesting Halo: Reach news. As we discussed a while back, Bungie won’t be making any more Halo games for the foreseeable future, moving on as they are to a new IP with their new publishing pal, Activision. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t planning to support their swan-song to the Halo series, however – and they’re turning to the community to help them.

First up, the recently-concluded Forgetacular contest, in which players were invited to create maps and submit them for inclusion in Reach‘s official playlists: 3,000 entries later, the winners have been announced and they (along with the top-tier runners-up) will soon be available in matchmaking. A couple of the top entries are below, and you can see all the winners here.

Atonement (CTF)

Abridged (BTB)

On top of that, several of the more involved and active community members have been empowered to seek out new maps and bring them to the attention of Bungie for possible inclusion in future playlist updates. Personally, I think it’s enormously clever of Bungie to leverage the the player base in this way. Forge is a very powerful tool and giving people this kind of incentive is sure to generate all sorts of exciting results.

In related news, the Bungie.net player viewer has finally updated. No longer is your in-game persona represented by a default Noble Six – your individual style is now reflected for all to see. Check out the in-game avatars of some of our O514 regulars:

Tanith 6227

 

Moxidas

  

Dakalos

Molotov 00

 

Aww yeah – we make this look good.

(If you haven’t logged in for a while, do so to update your Bungie.net profile.)

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New Map for Halo Reach: Sky Temple

Tanith’s inspirational Promontory got me thinking about building my own map for Halo: Reach. After a couple of weeks of evenings-and-weekends work, I present my first ever attempt at level design: Sky Temple.

It’s built high on the wall in the Lagoon area of Forge World, right between the two waterfalls. Here’s the layout:

The idea is that it’s a Sangheili temple, built out of the rock face. Two landing platforms accommodate the worshippers, who then make their way along the open plaza, past a pulpit, and through the forest of pillars to the inner sanctum and the altar. That’s where the sacrifices take place.

We played one round of playtesting today with the BBC team. We were 13 players – too many, as I’d designed the map for 4-on-4. I’d like to try it again with fewer people, so we can appreciate how it really works. My next map will have to accommodate more players. Watch your step, too – there are a LOT of places you can fall through. Our one playthrough had 30 deaths by falling. I have to admit, that *was* kind of the idea with this map – be careful or you’ll fall to your death. But that’s possibly too high to be amusing. If it’s annoying I’ll have to do something about that.

The weapons placement is obviously beta – everything needs adjusting.

Other points:
1 – Blue team spawns near a tower with the plasma launcher, Red team spawns near a tower with the focus rifle. All other weapons are placed symmetrically.

2 – The grav hammers are on platforms under the main level, where their names are written.  The platforms are just close enough together that an elite can jump across, if he crouch-jumps and the timing is perfect. Spartans fall to their death.

3 – The sniper rifle spawns ON TOP of the pillar marked on the map. You need to fly there with a jetpack, or use the grav lift on Blue side. It involves some jumping.

4 – The Banshees are crippled on this map by the fact that the sky is finite. I didn’t know this when I started, but players are actually physically restrained from flying much higher than the altitude the banshees spawn at. The map is too high up the cliff, and Banshees can’t actually gain any altitude. It’s a shame, but I might have to remove them.

5 – There are actually THREE grav hammers on this map. One of them is in a secret location that only a person with a jetpack can get out of.

All of your thoughts and comments are most welcome. If everyone could tell me one thing they like and one thing they don’t like, that would be super super useful!

Post-Match Report: 514 vs. BBC Halo

Just the facts, people, just the facts. I’m torn, you see.  I play Halo with some great people on the BBC Halo team in London and Manchester. But I learned to play the game with my boys from Montreal, way back when it was Halo: Combat Evolved on the original Xbox.

Naturally I jumped at the chance to play my new clan against my old clanmates from Montreal. My allegiances were sorely tested. Here’s how the matches went:

We started with a game of Free-for-all Slayer on Countdown, just to warm up. Handily won by L0VELE55.

The actual match:

  1. Team Slayer on Powerhouse : BBC wins 100-63, with R0nstar007 on Blue team for MTL.
  2. One-flag CTF on Haemorrhage : A 0-0 draw, as neither team can get it together to make a coordinated attack.
  3. Team Slayer on Boardwalk : This time it’s 92-61 BBC. Moxie goes blue for MTL, and gets royally pwned.
  4. Episode 666 on The Cage : This was a free-for-all of the most manic gametype out there: all rocket launchers, no shields. 14 people on The Cage with settings like this means an average life expectancy of about 6 seconds. Stuka1941 wins it with a +8 K/D spread.
  5. Infection on Sword Base : Another interlude, which allowed R0nstar007 to show his mettle with a sick K/D spread.
  6. Team Slayer on Sword Base : It’s back to the team games with a 94-67 win for the BBC.
  7. King of the Hill on Reflection : This game was VERY close and VERY frantic. Mere seconds apart for the BBC win (helped rather cheekily by the fact that 2 extra BBC players showed up midway through.)
  8. Elite Slayer on Pinnacle : fun with needlers.
  9. Highlander on Zealot : All swords, all the time. Free-for-all sees L0VELE55 takes to the new game with a +14 K/D
  10. SWAT on Paradiso : L0VELE55 still on a roll with a +16, but a very close game.
  11. Invasion on Spire : Finally a MTL victory! A great power core grab by Punkstrife. BBC Hadn’t played this gametype before, and it cost them.
  12. Invasion on Boneyard : The final game of the match, though the teams were getting pretty mixed by this point.

Overall it was a pretty solid BBC win, but there was plenty of switching about anyhow. Personally I really enjoy the playing together part rather than the playing against each other part. Once the match was over, we also had a lot of fun testing Tanith6627’s new map, Promontory. It’s a tight little setup in the Quarry, with plenty of high-low action and good focus. Really strong reviews from this bunch of playtesters, that’s for sure.

So here’s hoping there’ll be a next time . . .

A study in Cardboard

I suspect that we’ve all battled friends, siblings or imaginary dragons with cardboard tubes wielded as fearsome Swords of Legend. Some of us have probably built forts from discarded boxes, and I bet that one or two have purposed cardboard tubes and boxes into crude but amusing robot costumes.

This kid makes all your shit look prety weak:

The fact that many of the weapons articulate is particularly impressive, as is the young man’s faithful recreation of the various firing and reload animations.

Awesomesauce, still in UNSC green

 

This is a -10 repost, especially considering the quality of the last three posts by tanith, rusty and trip. Still, I hadn’t watched it in a while, and it’s totally worth it if for no reason other than to see that Brute get his face owned in the last few seconds. I promise I shall now go and properly read the real posts >_<

 

Wear This to Your Next Halloween Party

not your daddy's class project.

Neil Ellis is in his final year at at the University Hertfordshire, England, where he is studying Model Design and SFX. Check out the work he did for his Independent Project. Top marks, Neil!

Props to HBO, who are hosting the pics.

Mongoose Mowdown Massacre Mayhem

Veterans of Halo 3‘s multiplayer will know that one of the most frustrating and difficult kills to achieve is the coveted Mongoose Mowdown – killing an opposing player by running them over in the high-speed ATV. To date, none of the 514 stalwarts have managed it.

But this guys has:

For the record, the medals earned are for:

  • Splattering
  • Mongoose Mowdown
  • Overkill (kill four enemies within four seconds of each other)
  • Extermination (kill the entire enemy team within 10 seconds)