Friday, August 26, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Halo Bulletin: 8/24/11

The Halo Bulletin: 8/24/11


Halo Fest


Elephant beats everything.

Let’s say you and I were tasked with stopping by the Washington State Convention Center to check on the progress of the Halo Fest preparations. Let’s also say that, upon walking in, we notice all the pieces of news set to be released over the course of the three-day weekend have suddenly taken on a physically tangible state. As we consider the clutter filling up the 30,000 square foot room, we find ourselves faced with two clear choices: pick up the chaotic mess of disclosure-filled announcements, or ignore the opportunity for enlightenment and continue along our merry way. Since I am against anything that has the potential to make beads of perspiration pop up across my typically sweat-free brow, obviously we'd choose the second option. But had we gone with the first option and subsequently decided to weigh the mass of clutter, we would be proud owners of a headline-making pile of Halo news and announcements weighing almost as much as an Elephant. And I’m not talking about the animal. Oh no, I’m referring to the behemoth-sized UNSC transport whose weight is equivalent to a metric number two-ton.

To make a cryptic scenario crystal clear, we have a lot of things we’re incredibly excited to share with you at Halo Fest. But why am I bringing that up now, with the festivities still 48 hours away? Because the impending explosion of news means I don’t have any big bombs to drop today. If your undies suddenly started twisting themselves into knotted knickers upon reading that statement, fret not because my brain continues to excrete partially coherent thoughts via my speed-challenged fingers. In summary, you will have lots to read in today’s Bulletin. Just not anything that qualifies as one of our typically sizable announcements.

Now that our previously precarious situation has been sorted, let’s begin our customary exchange of pleasantries!


Halo Fest


Halo Fest starts on Friday. For those of you that live in a world where not tracking sunrise-to-sunsets is acceptable, that is in two days. Actually, less than two days, if you prefer smaller, more accurate lengths of time. While I have yet to complete the Halo Community panel outline, I have next week set aside for that, so I’m not overly concerned. Worst case scenario, I’ll make the panelists sing 80s-themed karaoke during their allotted hours. The rest of the panels are good to go, though, which I can confirm as I’ve witnessed dry runs of several of them. The Halo 4 panel in particular was incredibly intriguing, and I’m not just saying that because they bribed me with pizza. Oh no, it takes more than flattened pepperoni-topped dough to get a good review from me. (Protip: it’s the cheese-filled crust that seals the deal.)

Speaking of the numerous panels, there are so many things that comprise our Halo Fest agenda that you will undoubtedly miss a few of the festivities along the way. In an effort to minimize your losses, I’ve decided to share my top five tips for maximizing your celebratory experience.

Halo: Reach Screenshot


bs angel’s Guide to Having the Best Halo Fest Evar


Have a clear-cut strategy.
We have 12 panels, six tournaments, five playable Halo: Anniversary maps, and many more things I’m entirely too lazy to type up, all demanding your undivided attention. So, unless you plan on cloning yourself, you should schedule your time accordingly. Decide which things are most important to you, block off that time either on paper or in digital form, and then move on to the next batch of activities you hope to fit in. Certain things—like ogling the awesomeness that is the Weta Warthog or taking multiple trips down memory lane with all of the individual Halo titles—can be done at any time. Other things, though, are available for one hour and one hour only. I’m pretty sure there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’m not going to touch it. And yes, that’s what I said.

Multitask.
Let’s face it: the last thing you want to do is set aside significant amounts of time for eating and drinking. Unfortunately, though, you still need to invest the time in the life-sustaining basics. An easy way to multitask is by doing the aforementioned necessities while you’re in line. PAX recommends securing your spot for upcoming panels at least 30 minutes in advance. I typically set aside at least one hour to guarantee admittance. Grab some food, and use that down time to satiate your body. Just make sure you keep some gum in your pocket. Nobody wants to be assaulted by the aftermath of your garlic-laden lunch later in the day.

Pack like you’re Lighter Than None.
Whether you wield a man purse, wear a backpack, or have the deepest pockets known to mankind, there are a few things you should never leave your hotel without: personal identification, your cell phone, a camera, at least one form of payment, and numerous breath-freshening agents. I’ll also divulge a teeny tiny secret about something I bring with me to conventions: deodorant. If your underarms are as noxious as mine, freshening up throughout a long day is mandatory. Every few hours I take a trip to the ladies room, dampen a soap-drenched paper towel, and clean the hairy enclaves that are my pits. After a fresh application of deodorant, the only lingering scent is flowers. Well, flowers that have been dipped in a steaming pile of BO. But still, it’s better than the odor that existed before. Trust me on that.

Dress comfortably.
You will be on your feet for the majority of the extended weekend. And if your backside prefers being planted firmly in a chair as mine does, your poor, underutilized feet will be beyond tired by the end of each day. Minimize the pain by wearing sensible shoes. Sure, your brand new thigh-high boots are gorgeous. But if your feet begin aching after five seconds of walking in them, imagine how they’ll feel after three days. Definitely not worth it. For the record, I’ll be wearing sneakers the entirety of Fest. Yes, they’re obnoxiously pink and sparkly, but they’re sneakers all the same.

Seize the day.
You are going to have the opportunity to meet an unbelievable amount of people. Everybody from the faces behind your favorite video games to those that watch your back while traversing the online battlefields. If you see someone you recognize—either by catching sight of their handsome mug or perhaps a badge that reveals their virtual identity—say hi. Take it from me, you’ll regret it if you don’t. The only person I don’t recommend doing that with is me. If you think reading my words week after week is akin to torture, wait until you meet me in person. I’ve been told people turn to stone after seeing me in their nightmares. And not just when I wear my hair curly, either.


Halo Fest


Beyond the tips, something else that may be of interest to those of you attending will also be helpful to those planning on being there in spirit only. IGN—barring any dreaded, unforeseen technical difficulties—is planning on live streaming the big three panels (Halo: Anniversary, Halo Universe, and Halo 4) both on their website and also within the walls of Halo Fest. That’s right, whether you’re sitting on the comfort of your couch or you’re within the Halo Fest space itself, you’ll be able to watch the three main panels in all of their Halo glory. High five for streaming live!


Halo: Reach Screenshot


I think it looks more like a Puma.

Even though it doesn’t rhyme, another thing that deserves a high five is the official arrival of the Warthog. A few days ago, I had the totally hard job of going to the warehouse to confirm its arrival. Yes, I got in my car and traveled almost 20 air conditioned minutes to make sure the real life anti-infantry vehicle survived its trek across the ocean. Now seems like a good time to mention that you people are lucky I’m so dedicated to my job. Not everybody would make a sacrifice like that, you know. But me, well, I’m willing to go the extra mile to see a fully functional vehicle from the Halo Universe. You can’t ever say I haven’t done anything for you now. Just FYI.

Anyway, after my not-very-long drive to the warehouse, I was greeted with an absolutely glorious sight. I’d like to tell you how it felt to turn the corner and set eyes upon the real life version of my favorite Halo vehicle but alas, a mention of the goosebumps that quickly spread across my arms is the closest I can get to describing this surreal experience. It was in this vehicle, during the last level of CE, that I fell in love with Halo. And that emotion came rushing back the second I set eyes upon its carefully crafted descendant. My words are not doing this incredible replica justice, so I will instead offer your hungry eyes a picture depicting the exact moment the Warthog and myself became one. Don’t ogle ‘er too much, though, because I’m definitely the jealous type. PS: You can almost see me over the turret. Almost…

Weta Warthog


My dear coworker David Ellis didn’t have the opportunity to ride shotgun in the ‘Hog. However, he did have a different, equally amazing experience for which your ears will directly reap the benefits.

From the smooth talking man himself:

As you've already noticed from this Bulletin, we're in full-on Halo Fest mode here at 343. So in the spirit of celebrating the 10th anniversary of Halo: Combat Evolved's release, we welcomed former Bungie Game Design Lead Jaime Griesemer to the Sparkast to talk about his experiences working on the seminal shooter for the original Xbox. As a huge Halo fan, it's rare that I learn new things about the titles I've played through dozens and dozens of times. It was a fantastic experience to be able to pick Jaime's brain for an hour and hear some new behind-the-scenes stories about the creation of the first Halo. You can download and listen to this very special pre-Fest episode of the Sparkast here. Remember, if you'd like to have new episodes of the Sparkast delivered to you every time we post them, you can subscribe via Zune, iTunes or RSS. I now return you to your regularly scheduled Bulletin, already in progress.


David’s defenses must have been down last week because he graciously agreed to let me take part in his regularly recorded shenanigans. And let me say he ended up making the right decision when he cut that segment. Perhaps you’ll hear the screeching that is my voice sometime in the future. For this particular episode, though, Jaime’s dulcet delivery will definitely be the music to your ears.

Official Xbox Magazine


While we’re excited about Halo’s big bash, it turns out OXM—or Official Xbox Magazine as they’re also known—is pretty pumped about the festivities, too. I’m not going to post any spoilers, but let’s just say this is one issue you’re definitely going to want to pick up. Since a picture speaks a thousand words, but more importantly, saves me from typing that ridiculously huge amount, here’s the cover to whet your ten-years-in-the-making appetite.

Official Xbox Magazine


And with that, I bid you adieu. Until Halo Fest or the next magical reoccurring humpday…

<3,
bs angel

PS: I don’t have a Friday Caption Fun image for you this week, so I offer you this Grunt plushie picture in its place. Flipyap (or is it Yapflip?), along with a few thousand of his closest friends, look forward to potentially going home with you after Halo Fest!

Grunt Plushie

Red Vs Blue PSA: Gamer Etiquette

http://roosterteeth.com/archive/?id=3511
there you go!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

343 Guilty Spark-Leak

This is a demo from Gamescon 2011 that wasn't supposed to hit the interwebs, check it out!

Halo Bulletin 8/17/11

The Halo Bulletin: 8/17/11


Halo: Reach Screenshot


Come on in, the water’s warm.

If I had a small pool filled with scalding, jet-propelled water, I would expect you to assume it’s a hot tub time machine. I would also invite you to travel back in time to my teenhood, primarily so I could give you a tour of my straight-out-of-the-90s bedroom. You would catch sight of numerous Andre Agassi posters, dangling from the ceiling directly above my daybed. Your nose would pick up the faint smell of fruit-scented plastic ponies, each one sporting a carefully coifed tail and impeccably styled mane. And your ears would be graced with the sounds of the greatest boy band that has ever walked the face of the earth. Oh yes, I’m talking about NKOTB.

If you’re one of the newer kids on the block, perhaps you’re unfamiliar with that particular acronym. Let’s just say this group had the right stuff. Oh yes, they blew my mind that time. So many times, in fact, that I’ll be loving them forever. The most amazing thing about this denim-clad bunch is that they’re still hanging tough. And that’s something I can attest to, considering I saw them perform last month. Sure, they’re older, wiser, and their voices are no longer cracking. But Joey still has baby blue eyes capable of piercing your soul. And Jordan still has a falsetto that instantly makes you weak in the knees. And they all still know the original step one. No, not cut a hole in the box, but the one that involves having lots of fun.

Despite having not heard the songs in years, I sang along with each and every tune at the top of my lungs, unabashedly off-key but nailing every word. I did the often ridiculed dance moves, step by step, to near perfection. I screamed at the top of my lungs with the rest of the crowd when the camera focused on their endless hip thrusts. I felt like a teenager again, as did the numerous other daisy duke-wearing, temporarily unattached, caught up in the past attendees.

Halo: Reach Screenshot


Reliving my boy crazy, awkward-acting, pimple-covered youth was easily one of the nerdiest and most amazing things I did last month. And considering my high level of geekdom, that’s saying something. But being transported—sans time machine—back to the days of side ponytails, knotted-at-the-waist t-shirts, and puff painted shoes was a real treat, and one we’re hoping you’ll experience when you dip into Halo: Anniversary later this year. No, I’m not saying you’ll suddenly have a Rubik’s Cube in your hands and Air Jordans on your feet—I am saying we hope when you meet the Flood again, you’ll feel the same sense of horror you did when you encountered them for the very first time. Or, when you successfully complete the Warthog run with the shiny new graphics, you’ll remember how good it felt to finally beat the clock. Or, when you set foot upon the revamped Damnation, you’ll instantly get taken back to the days when you played system link every spare moment, traversing that classic Multiplayer space until the wee hours of the morning.

It’s because of those memories that we remade six of the most popular Multiplayer maps and bundled them with Anniversary (and one Firefight map makes seven). And it’s because the game has continued to evolve that we’re also including a second variation of each. While I could give you the lowdown on the specifics, 343 Industries Producer David Ellis thought you could use a break from my mindless ramblings. Psh, what does he know, anyway? Actually, you’re about to find out…

David Ellis is a Rock Star


Behold my carefully groomed beard.

As some eagle-eyed social media consumers have already noticed, a select few members of the gaming press have visited the outer halls of the 343 mothership recently. While they're not quite ready to fully reveal the fruits of their coverage just yet, we do have some delicious question answering morsels to satiate you as we continue to countdown the hours until the metaphorical informational floodgates begin to open at Halo Fest on August 26th.

With members of the Halo: Anniversary team hard at work across multiple continents and countries, this particular deep dive fell to my feeble fingers to peck out some pertinent particulars on the Multiplayer map variants that will ship on disc when Halo: Anniversary launches in November of this year.

Map remakes have always been a contentious topic for Halo fans. The paths, jumps, and sightlines for these carnage-filled locations are ingrained in the muscle memory of the hardcore players. The designers, artists, and engineers on the Anniversary team have no small task: they have to create spaces that feel new and fresh while retaining the overarching flow for the spaces they're based on. The Multiplayer team has come up with a unique solution to this particular challenge: EVERY Multiplayer map that ships with Anniversary will have two distinct variants.

What exactly does that mean? Well, one forum poster put it this way: "Oh, so you're actually shipping 12 new MP maps?" While we'd never make that claim ourselves, there is a tiny kernel of truth to the sentiment behind the post. One variant will replicate the classic layout of their namesakes while the other will offer new tunnels, rooms and maneuvering options that take full advantage of the base Reach sandbox. In fact, these new variants are so unique, they'll actually have new names to go along with their new digs.

Today, we're turning our attention to two of these maps: Beaver Creek and Damnation. No doubt you've already been glancing lovingly at screens of both maps since we revealed Anniversary at this year’s E3. We touched on some of the differences in broad detail on the latest episode of the 343 Sparkast, but today we're showing images of both variants for these two maps.

The first maps we’re going to take a gander at are Beaver Creek (which is in some ways a hybrid of Battle Creek and Beaver Creek-proper), and the vernal battlefield that is Battle Canyon. Experienced warriors will feel immediately comfortable in the tight confines of this basically symmetrical playspace nestled in the mysterious confines of an unknown Forerunner structure.


Halo: AnniversarySpacerHalo: Anniversary


The Beaver Creek iteration replicates the flow and layout of the classic environment it's based on. Matching teleporters still adorn the backside of both bases, while Battle Canyon prefers to stretch out its environment to take advantage of tunnels built into both backsides of the map. The base teleporters are replaced with a vertical mancannon to help vertically-challenged Spartans make the blind leap into the enemy base. If you're an assaulter with a case of acrophobia, fear not; your trusty teleporters still grace this space. But instead of adjoining the base, they now have their own private bivouac in the back walls of the map.


Halo: Anniversary


This serves several purposes, but basically this makes it more difficult for the defending team to camp the backroom without having to sacrifice sightlines down each side of the base.


Halo: AnniversarySpacerHalo: Anniversary


The creek running through the middle of the map has always been a hotbed for multiplayer carnage in every iteration of this map. Beaver Creek still features an Overshield and Active Camo facing off at each end of the waterway while the Battle Canyon variant differentiates itself by following the water into the sides of canyon wall. These alternate paths allow for additional cover while making your way down the side while also allowing pursuers to pelt the openings with a plethora of well-placed grenades. These cave spaces feel reminiscent of the water-filled side passage in Hemorrhage.


Halo: AnniversarySpacerHalo: Anniversary


These cosmetic changes aren't the only additions for this environment, though. There are also unique weapon placements on Beaver Creek and Battle Canyon.

The next map we're digging into is Damnation, or Penance as its feisty upstart alter-ego prefers to go by. Instead of the light purple geometric layout from the classic map, this new space is set in the midst of an alien Covenant water treatment facility. Did I mention this particular plant has seen better days? The waterfalls rushing down the side of the level aren't the only drenching flows in this map. The entire place seems to have sprung a leak so please watch your step as you might slip on the many ramps and walkways that carry you around the map. [Writer’s note: No, we haven't added a real-time traction mechanic to the Halo sandbox. This was just a bit of metaphorical flourish to set the stage for this particular arena.]

There aren't many dramatic differences between both of these spaces other than the differing weapon placements. However, the changes that do exist alter the flow in subtle, but still substantial ways.


Halo: AnniversarySpacerHalo: Anniversary


The first and most immediately noticeable difference is the lower walkway by the waterfalls. In the original Damnation, a trio of spokes shot out of the middle which sure-footed Spartans could jump across for a quick dash to the other side. Other, less steady soldiers (like me) would often fall to their doom while looking up at the other elevated spaces. Penance offers an unbroken path across the underside while Damnation still features the trio of lubricious outcroppings for the purists out there.


Halo: Anniversary


Since Halo: Reach doesn’t support ladders for vertical locomotion (a method that was evolved out of the game in the early days because it slowed combat), a lift now allows players to move up from the middle rocket spawn.


Halo: AnniversarySpacerHalo: Anniversary


As a testament to the original layout of the classic map on Penance, the only other substantial difference is a lift that allows a quick option to gain verticality for those without a jetpack strapped on their backs, as well as iterations of the map where armor abilities or jetpacks specifically are removed.

Well, that about wraps it up for my part in this here Bulletin, but before I go I want to mention something else about these variants. The additions included in each shipping map aren't only ours to play around with. Each map in Halo: Anniversary will also ship with unique Forge palettes that will allow the creative cartographers out there to take a swing at carving out their own fortresses.


Oh my god, she’s back again.

“Falling to your death is never much fun (unless maybe you try something utterly stupid or ballsy and got your just desserts). A lot of people disliked this aspect of the central bridge in Damnation. So we left the gaps in the bridge in the classic variant, but added custom Forge pieces to fill them in for the new variant.” Remind me to load up that version next time. He also provided a little more insight into this particular map.“One of the challenges that we faced was that current generation maps typically have epic vistas, while the early Halo maps were mostly closed boxes. We really wanted to give Damnation an epic feel, but without altering the fundamental nature of the spaces. We worked really hard at this, one example being the natural area that you can see past the windows. We also added a gravity lift to the pump room (lower level, right off the central bridge). This was due to people feeling vulnerable on the long ramp. It results in shotgun alley being an even heavier traffic area on the new variant. Of course, it's a Forge piece, so doesn't exist on the original variant.” Oh Max, you had me at shotgun! Speaking of which, I’d just like to take a moment to say that some of my favorite Halo 2 moments involved sitting a few feet back from the Beaver Creek base teleporter, patiently gifting exiting Spartans with shotgun blasts to the face. Many a spree was attained this way, and I’m determined to do something similar in the new version. Mark my words, because where there’s a will, there’s a Shea.

Halo Fest


We so excited.

But enough about my guns and your face. It’s time to talk about other things, like Halo Fest. Can you believe it’s a mere nine days away? The hustling and bustling around this place is a testament to that fact. While we run around tying up the proverbial loose ends, please make sure you’ve planned your days. There will be a lot going on at Halo Fest, and the best way to ensure you don’t miss out on your favorite activities is by coming with a solid game plan.

And as if the weekend wasn’t busy enough, we recently added two more things to our already full line-up: a Todd McFarlane autograph session (along with his participation in the already announced “Halo: Building a Universe of Toys and Collectibles” panel), and an abundance of organized in-game festivities. Here’s the entire tournament schedule, in case you missed it the first time around.


Friday, August 26th

Anniversary 4v4 Team Slayer – First Round
10:00am-12:00pm
Bracketed, single elimination - First Round of the two day event. First Strike! Jump into the fray as teams of four compete in a single-elimination tournament featuring: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

Saturday, August 27th

Anniversary 4v4 Team Slayer – Final Round
10:00am-12:00pm
Bracketed, single elimination - Final Round of the two day event. Enter the melee Saturday morning with a 4v4, single-elimination tournament featuring Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

Reach Racing
12:00pm-1:00pm
8-person races, race maps provided by Halo community member CruelLEGACEY. Hit the track Saturday afternoon in an eight person race through Halo: Reach's most popular forged race tracks.

Reach Forge Contest
1:00pm-2:30pm
3-4 Challenges. I need a hammer! Compete against other players to create the best forge map in Halo: Reach.

Sunday, August 28th

FLAG Firefight
11:00am-1:00pm
Beat the best score! Compete to earn the highest score in Halo: Reach Firefight.

Entry Fee: $10 (all proceeds go to fight breast cancer).

Anniversary 4v4 CTF
1:30pm-3:00pm
Bracketed, single elimination. Ransack the enemy base in a 4v4, single elimination tournament featuring: Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

FLAG Firefight
4:00pm-6:00pm
Beat the best score! Fight for honor, bravery and the cure. This tournament features Halo: Reach.

Entry Fee: $10 (all proceeds go to fight breast cancer).

Don’t forget, the Official Halo Fest Information page is your one-stop shop for tournament and panel schedules, along with all the general information concerning the three-day event. What you won’t find on that page, however, is answers to your already-asked questions. You know why? Because they’re below!

Halo: Reach Screenshot

Does Halo: Anniversary bring new Forge pieces for each of the new maps? - ol69

See the very last sentence within David’s portion of the Bulletin. And he says you’re welcome.


Halo: Reach Screenshot

Will all the changes being made with the Classic portions of the update translate into custom game options that we can use, or will it all be integrated into the gametypes and be un-changeable? - Time Glitch

I’ll let Frankie take that one.

“The Title Update will not give users discrete control over specific granular elements, but you can simply save the new elements from Matchmade types and use them as a the basis for your own customs. It's not ideal (adding a new UI layer was out of scope) but it won't take more than ten minutes of browsing to get all the stuff you want/need. And we'll constantly be populating Matchmaking lists with updated stuff.“


Since David and Frankie answered the first two questions for me, I think I’ll take a super hard one before wrapping this sucker up.

Halo: Reach Screenshot

When will the Bulletin come out? -TWC Zaibarr

Now.


Phew. The effort I exerted with that last one almost made me break out into a sweat. I’m going to head out before I ruin my flower-scented aura. Until next week…

<3,
bs angel

PS: Your witty captions continue to amuse me. If you want to be my desktop twin, feel free to right click and “Set as background” the large size of the following picture. Otherwise, please keep on making me laugh here!

Friday Caption Fun

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gears of Halo

It does my heart good to know that there are millions of video game enthusiasts like myself, and Jimmy Jangles is just one of them. JJ started his site under the name haloreachgamenews.blogspot.com, but now, its got things like Gears, Mass Effect, Halo, and sexy cosplay! go check him out!
GearsofHalo.com

IGN/GamesCon 2011 blow up!

If you go to IGN.com and go their Halo Anniversary page, you can find a mess of new videos! I wont Hyperlink all of them, just cause there's too many!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Anniversary is No. 3!

Pre-order sales for Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary for the Xbox 360 ranked in the top three sales at GameStop Corp.’s online division pending release of the HD remaster.
This week, Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary ranked as the No. 3 best-selling pre-order product at Gamestop.com.

[source]

Red vs Blue Season 9 Episode 9

Here you go!
http://roosterteeth.com/archive/?id=3493&v=trending&nsc=1

Friday, August 12, 2011

Red vs Blue Season 9 Episode 8

http://roosterteeth.com/archive/?id=3477
there it is!

The Halo Bulletin: 8/10/11

August 10 2011
The Halo Bulletin: 8/10/11

The Halo Bulletin: 8/10/11


Halo Fest


Yesterday’s a dream

Throughout my ten-year love affair with the franchise, I have attended numerous Halo-related events. On more than one occasion, I hopped on a plane—every single one of which was devoid of maternal-appreciating legless reptiles—and landed in Salt Lake City, where I soaked in the scenery, threw Frisbees off the side of a mountain, and played Halo 2 long into the night. I marked the release of Halo 3 by dyeing my hair blue, paying tribute to my favorite holographic AI while braving my way through the witching hour, just to secure a box that was so large I had to forcibly cram it into the backseat of my car. And one year, while attending PAX, I took a break from bomb-arming and flag-stealing to do the only other thing that was acceptable at the time—serenading Frankie with Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” substituting his similar enough name in place of the one heard repeatedly in the chorus. Why, you ask? Because he came and he gave without taking. But I sent him away, oh Frankie... Actually, to be quite honest, he walked away on his own. Or ran, if you want to be precise. But who wants to argue semantics? We have more important things to discuss. Like Halo Fest.

For the record, the first time I typed that, it read “Halo Fast.” Probably a Freudian slip on my part because of how quickly the festivities are approaching. What started off as months away is now mere days from happening. We just wrapped up our PAX Prime Badge Giveaway, so you’ll see pictures of the winners scattered amongst the words in this Bulletin. But whether you’ll be at Halo Fest in person or just in spirit, there will be plenty of coverage, both by Halo Waypoint (insert obligatory "Follow us on Twitter!" here) and our official media partner, IGN. So let’s get down to business, shall we?


I’m standing on the edge of time

Halo Fest, the largest and most expansive live Halo experience ever, is taking place alongside PAX Prime August 26th-28th. It will be spread out across the entire third floor of the Washington State Convention Center Annex, transforming 30,000 previously bare square feet into a huge celebration commemorating ten incredible years of Halo. The entrance will be on the street level, and a simple escalator ride will magically transport you directly into this wonderful (ring)world we call Halo.


Halo: Reach Screenshot


Happy people pass my way

One of the things I’m most excited about is what you’ll probably see first: my face! Don’t worry, I’m just kidding. I would never wish that upon anybody. To assuage your fears, you should know I was actually talking about the Warthog. Built by Weta, this real-life anti-infantry vehicle is currently making its way from New Zealand to Seattle. And if you’ve looked at a map recently, you know there’s only one way it can get here: by water. That’s right another-word-for-female-dogs-that-I-can’t-use-because-I-like-my-job, that sucker’s on a boat. It’s a good thing, too, because I heard the fully functional variant is quite difficult to drive. While I, and everybody else for that matter, have been banned from getting behind the wheel, I’m holding out hope I can at least hop on the turret. People around these parts seem to think I’m too short for that job, but I’ll show them! As soon as I find a stepstool, that is.

Not Funny


While the non-street legal Warthog is floating its way across the world, plenty of things are already here. Take the entirety of the history wall, for instance. In this nostalgia-inducing section, every Halo title to date will have its own area, complete with box art, detailed information such as release dates and logos, relevant newspaper articles and artifacts, and even a station where you can relive your title-specific memories in all of their original glory. I plan on reenacting my most memorable Halo 2 moment, which involved stealthily crouch-walking from the back of my base all the way to the top of the center structure on Waterworks, just to assassinate an enemy sniper. Feel free to watch if you’re looking for a several-minute-long, action-packed experience!

Halo: Anniversary


Speaking of action-packed, there will be numerous hands-on opportunities available to you during the three-day event. Five Halo: Anniversary maps will be awaiting your presence across dozens of stations. That’s right, FIVE Halo: Anniversary maps. Count them with me: one Anniversary map, ah ah ah ah ah! Two Anniversary maps, ah ah ah ah ah! I’d continue, but I’d have to cut and paste that three more times, and I’m entirely too lazy for that. So, moving on.

The upcoming Halo: Reach Title Update will also be playable, should you want to test the altered waters. What won’t be playable, however, is the behind-closed-doors viewing of a not-yet-decided-upon Halo: Anniversary Campaign level. Only a limited number of people will be able to get their eyes on it, and we’ll have more details about what exactly you’ll need to do to be one of those people at the event itself. Hint: it involves saying very nice things about me to my superiors. Just thought you may want to start planning what you’re going to say in advance.

There will also be both skill and fun-based tournaments, should you crave something a little more organized or competitive. From straight up Slayer to recreational racing, there will definitely be something that floats your Spartan’s boat. Prizes for these particular events include everything from Halo: Reach consoles and custom-made helmets to a super old school, not to mention awesome, Duke controller retrofitted to work with the Xbox 360. IGN has the complete tournament line-up, so head over to their Halo Fest hub for the specifics.

Halo: Reach Screenshot


While a few of our tournaments are charity-related—which makes sense considering Kari Toyama, founder of the annual Fight Like A Girl Tournament, is the matchmaking mastermind behind all of them—it’s also worth noting the Rooster Teeth Achievement community has created an exclusive Halo Fest achievement challenge. Donate a mere $3 to Child’s Play at the Halo Fest commissary, and try to beat the designated time. Everybody accomplishing that feat will receive a one-year subscription to Rooster Teeth’s premium website and, more importantly, a lifetime’s worth of bragging rights. Zach Wigal, founder and Executive Director of Gamers Outreach, will also be there, trading Gamers Outreach wristbands for game and console donations that support their “Fun for Our Troops” initiative. That’s a whole lot of doin’ good for just one weekend. I’m thinking the karma, if you decide to participate in any of them, will be well worth the meager investment.

We do recognize that you can’t play every second you’re there (primarily because I plan on hogging the majority of the stations), so I do hope you’ll check out some, if not all, of our panel offerings. Our three main panels, which you probably already know about, are Halo: Anniversary, Halo Universe, and Halo 4. But when I heard we’d be hosting other panels as well, I immediately started pitching all my—what I consider to be anyway—brilliant ideas. What I was most excited about was a proposed hour-long block of time where I was going to ditch the spoken word and instead communicate solely through screenshots. Unfortunately it got shot down quicker than my teammates (hey, it’s not my fault they constantly walk into my line of fire), so I’ll just present it now as it appears this is my only window of opportunity.

Halo: Reach Screenshot


Halo: Reach Screenshot


Halo 3 Screenshot


Halo: Reach Screenshot


I must say, it seems like we’ve gotten really good at the whole talking through pictures thing. But alas, my chance to do it in front of an audience has been forever lost. Check out our real panel schedule, should you have an interest in something beyond my hidden-meaning imagery.


Friday, August 26th

Halo: Anniversary
Pegasus Theatre (Sheraton)
10:00am–11:00am

The team responsible for the 2011 reimagining of the classic Xbox title pull back the curtain on the process behind bringing Halo: Anniversary to gamers. Panelists include Executive Producer Dan Ayoub, Producer Dennis Ries, Franchise Development Director Frank O’Connor, Franchise Manager Kevin Grace, and more!

Halo Community: Fragging, Forge, and Flowers
Halo Fest
12:00pm–1:00pm

Kick your PAX weekend off right by hanging out with some of Halo’s most dedicated Community leaders. Panelists include Louis Wu of halo.bungie.org, Adam Grumbo of 405th, Goose Checka of GrifballHub, HC Redemption of Halo Challenges, CMNeir of Halo: Reach Tricks, and Dust Storm of Podtacular. There is a Community meet-up immediately following in the Waypoint Lounge.

What’s Next for Waypoint
Halo Fest
2:00pm–3:00pm

Community Manager bs angel gets the scoop on the future of Waypoint from the team behind it.

Halo Universe
Pegasus Theatre (Sheraton)
4:00pm–5:00pm

Come be a part of the 10th anniversary celebration as we welcome some of the people who helped bring the universe to life. Panelists include Franchise Development Director Frank O’Connor, legendary composer Marty O’Donnell, Franchise Manager Kevin Grace, Pete Stacker (Captain Jacob Keyes), Tim Dadabo (343 Guilty Spark), and Steve Downes (Master Chief).

Saturday, August 27th

Bungie: Hatching the Cosmic Halo Egg
Halo Fest
12:00pm-1:00pm

At this year's PAX, Halo Fest is enormous! But ten years ago, it only took a small core of ambitious Bungie developers to fill the Halo universe with life. In this panel, the birth mother and father of Halo–Joseph Staten and Marty O'Donnell–along with a handful of Bungie alumni discuss the origins and development of the Halo franchise, and field your questions from the Community.

Halo: Building a Universe of Toys and Collectibles
Halo Fest
2:00pm-3:00pm

Meet some of the biggest names in the toy and collectible industry and get an exclusive first look at upcoming Halo products! Get the scoop from fan favorites McFarlane Toys, MEGA Bloks, and NKOK.

Halo Universe Fiction
Halo Fest
3:30pm-4:30pm

Join Frank O’Connor and Kevin Grace as well as special Halo guests Greg Bear and Karen Traviss for a discussion of the first 10 years of Halo and what’s coming next!

Halo Anniversary Campaign Discussion
Halo Fest
5:00pm-6:00pm

Can’t get enough Silent Cartographer? Does Assault on the Control Room make you weak in the knees? If so, this panel discussing the reimagining of the classic single player Campaign is a can’t-miss!

Sunday, August 28th

Halo 4
Main Theater (Paramount)
10:00am–11:00am

Here is your first chance to see and hear from the 343 Industries team that is creating the exciting next chapter in Master Chief’s heroic story. Be there as we kick off the next 10 years of Halo! Panelists include Franchise Development Director Frank O’Connor, Creative Director Josh Holmes, Executive Producer Kiki Wolfkill, Senior Art Director Kenneth Scott, and Audio Director Sotaro Tojima.

Xbox talks 10 years of Halo
Halo Fest
11:30am-12:15pm

How does a new multiplayer service prepare for the Halo juggernaut? Just how wrong were the projections for concurrent players? Which panelist thought that an FPS on the console could not possibly be any fun? Join founding members of the Xbox team, Doug Hebenthal and Jerry Hook, as well as Eric Neustadter (“e”), Larry Hryb, Xbox Live’s Major Nelson, and Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse to discuss how Halo helped shape Xbox Live.

Halo Anniversary Multiplayer
Halo Fest
12:45pm-1:30pm

Want to get all the nitty-gritty on Halo Anniversary’s Multiplayer? Do you have questions about the Reach Title Update? If so, this is the panel for you!

Red Vs. Blue Table Read
Halo Fest
3:15pm-4:00pm

Join Burnie Burns, Gus Sorola, Matt Hullum, Joel Heyman, and Jason Saldana, the voices of The Galaxy's Dumbest Recruits™, as they attempt to learn their scripts to record an episode of Red vs. Blue.

In the Halo Community panel description, you may have noticed a mention of the Waypoint Community Lounge—that will be the place to get general Halo Fest information, take part in giveaways, and meet fellow fans. Basically, it’s going to be where all the cool kids hang out. And I’m not just saying that because that’s where I’ll be the bulk of the weekend. Ok, I am, but still. It’s a valid point regardless.

The night goes into morning

Another place the cool kids will be hanging out is the Halo Fest VIP Party. Taking place Friday night from 8pm-11pm, those with an invite will get to party like it’s 1999. Or 2011. Or 2552. Take your pick. Included in the festivities will be music, contests, film shorts, trivia, prizes, and other things that are awesome and fun in nature. Manning the music side of things will be someone I know as Maggie, but you may recognize as DJ Zealot. A Senior Technical Artist at 343 Industries, this lighting and shading Drop Pod Lead will spend that particular evening doubling as a disc jockey. Having had the only electronica radio show in the Boston market for almost four years, that experience, along with dj-ing live sets at Ryles, tunnel raves at MIT, and clubs in Boston and San Francisco, make her the perfect maestro for the evening.

At this point, you may find yourself wondering how exactly to secure an invite to, what will undoubtedly be, a rockin’ good time. We’ll be handing them out in a variety of ways, one of them being to people wearing Halo-themed cosplay. Here are just a few fans I have a feeling we’ll be seeing that evening!

Halo Fest


Halo Fest


Halo Fest


Whether you end up with an invite in your hands or not, you have a pretty good chance of walking away from Halo Fest with some serious swag. The first 5,000 people to come through the door will get a surprise from Mega Bloks, a limited edition poster, and other such goodies. There will also be a store where you can buy as many adorable Grunt plushies you can carry, plus a selection of hats, shirts, hoodies, license plate frames, key chains, books, and more, all for your viewing and purchasing pleasure. I’d give you a complete list of everything but seriously, my fingers are starting to hurt at this point. Plus, I’m thirsty. And a little whiny. That last part isn’t related to the large chunk of time I’ve spent typing, though. That’s actually just a basic part of my personality. Should you attend Halo Fest, you’ll get to experience it in person. I know, how very not exciting.

Before I call this chaotic cluster of words complete, I’d like to answer a few of your questions. Hey, I’m not all whiny. A teeny tiny portion of me is nice, too. Teeny tiny being the key words, of course.

Halo: Reach Screenshot

Do you really read most of the topics on the Waypoint forums? And do you pass on community things to the 343/dev teams? –VorteXLP

During a good week, I read 99.9% of the posts. During a busy week, that tends to drop to 99.8%. Seriously though, I’m on the forums almost all the time, and not just because I’m constantly gathering feedback and delivering it to the appropriate teams. I really just enjoy the shenanigan-filled interactions. (Shout-out to the Reclaimers! I mean the Sparks. I mean… did we ever decide?) In case you were curious, the thread I keep the closest eye on is the Official Halo Feedback Thread, but I also scan everything else, simply to keep my finger on the pulse of the community. And to post cat pictures. But mainly to post cat pictures. I mean… yeah.


Halo: Reach Screenshot

Are there plans to develop Waypoint for mobile platforms? And when will the Hamburglar be brought to justice?! -don carnage1

If you’re going to be at Halo Fest, you should stop by the “What’s Next for Waypoint” panel. We’ll be discussing the future of Halo Waypoint as it pertains to all of our screens: web, console, and the one that you’re asking about. And I don’t know this Hamburglar person, but look, a screenshot of a cat!


Halo: Reach Screenshot

Can we have a hint at the CEA Firefight map? Please, please with cats on top! -Eco Maiden

You had me at cats.

PS: Find me at Halo Fest. I’ll give you the inside scoop.


And with that, I’m officially out. Until next week, anyway…

<3,
bs angel

PS: Here’s your Friday Caption Fun wallpaper for the week. Embiggen, save as desktop background, and keep the hilarity going here. Also, congratulations to the rest of badge winners. We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks!

Friday Caption Fun


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