Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Halo Bulletin: 6.20.12

Meat, Meat, and Moar Meat

So we meat again

Yesterday, as the sun began its customary descent, the savory smell of perfectly seared steaks wafted through the studio. Amidst the watering of mouths and rumbling of stomachs, a steady stream of 343-ers followed the smell of smoke and grilled meat out the back door and into the warm summer evening to enjoy a feast of meatacular proportions.

You see, every Tuesday evening one of the many teams that comprise 343 cooks dinner for the entire studio, and last night it was the producers’ turn. While it could be the haze from the beef-induced coma talking, I’d just like to take a second to say their meat gave me great pleasure. So much pleasure, in fact, that I’m not sure there’s anything next week’s team can do to top it. Well, I can think of one thing, actually: moar meat.

While I could easily craft 9,001 words about steak alone, Frankie just informed me I should throw you a few Halo-related bones. So, I have two rather tantalizing offerings for you this week: the return of the Halo: Reach File Share system and a cursory introduction to Crawlers. Let’s tackle the latter first, shall we?

Halo 4 Crawler

Meet Your Halo 4 Enemies– Part 2: Crawlers

The Prometheans are a powerful and mysterious element of the ancient Forerunner Warrior-Servants whose forebears fell from power following the Human-Forerunner War. Some of the remaining Prometheans appear to be tasked with defending the mysterious alien world we’ve recently shown you, along with its payload of terrifying secrets and emerging threats. Much like the Covenant, the Prometheans feature a variety of different unit types, each one utilizing unique tactics, technology, and abilities to create dynamic combat scenarios unlike anything you have ever encountered in Halo before.

One of those unit types is the Crawlers.

Promethean Crawlers are impressively armed Forerunner machines, capable of both close-quarters and long-range combat. They generally travel in large packs, are engineered to ferociously hunt down and eliminate any foreign threats, and represent the most extensive and abundant “native” enemy on Requiem.

Crawlers can be spawned by Watchers, who literally conjure the Crawlers’ raw forms from the material of the planet beneath their four little feet. While Watchers protect Crawlers, Knights treat them as fodder, relentlessly spawning them at a rapid-fire rate. Crawlers act like a skirmishing unit, harassing the player at the Knight’s bidding.

Halo 4 Crawler

While they often fulfill the role of Promethean fodder, not taking a group of Crawlers seriously would be a mistake as they work together in strategic coordination to overwhelm enemies from every possible direction. As Frankie so eloquently said at E3, killing them is like popping bubble wrap... until there’s a thousand of them. Then it’s deadly bubble wrap.

Individual Crawler types include the basic unit, a more heavily armed unit, and a deadly, long-range unit. The heavily armed variant is tougher than the basic unit and is more likely to charge in and melee attack. As far as the long-range unit goes, imagine a sniper round tearing through your visor, and you’ve got the basic notion.

The initial idea for the Crawler came from a desire to add something fresh to the Halo sandbox. We hit upon the quadruped design early on, and that visual design drove their behavior. Their movement is based off familiar quadrupeds like wolves, with a little bit of insect mixed in.

To get the Crawlers’ movement style nailed down on walls as well as on the ground, we did a fair bit of prototyping (as seen in the above video). The goal was to have something that felt recognizable at first look but quickly went in unexpected directions with its motion and abilities. Crawlers are fast on the ground, often bounding in as a pack. When they move around on wall-like structures, their legs spread out and they skitter on the surface like angry glowing laser-bugs.

When you see a Crawler, there is an initial sense of familiarity. Once they scurry up a tree, open their mouths, and release bullet-filled howls that pierce your soul along with your face, though, familiarity turns to fright as you realize these are alien creatures. And deadly ones, at that...

If you'd like to hear more from two of the people that had a hand in designing the Crawlers, check out the newest Sparkast where Systems Designer Matt Findley and Lead Animator Stephen Dyck chat with your velvet-voiced host, David Ellis, about bringing the Promethean enemy class to life.

Download Here (Right Click and Save As)


Halo: Reach File Browser

Halo: Reach File Share

Three months ago, we announced that Halo: Reach File Share access was coming to the web version of Halo Waypoint this summer. Sometimes, though, things don’t go according to plan, which was the case with this particular endeavor. We gently released it into the wild yesterday, not realizing it was 24 hours before the first official day of summer. We’d like to sincerely apologize for not sticking to the original plan. We’ll be out back, anxiously (and perhaps excitedly) awaiting our lashing.

For now, let’s go over the basics of how to use the Halo: Reach File Browser.

Halo: Reach File Browser

To access your personal Halo: Reach File Share, log into Halo Waypoint and click the down arrow at the top of the screen (the one just to the right of your super 1337 gamertag). After pulling down your Career menu, select the third box, titled File Share. There you will find the screenshots, game types, films and map variants you’ve uploaded to your File Share.

Halo: Reach File Browser

From your personal Halo: Reach File Share page, you can also view your File Sets, download history, and tag history by selecting the applicable options from the drop-down menu.

Halo: Reach File Browser

To access the general Halo: Reach File Browser, hover over Community on the top navigation bar, and then click File Browserfrom the drop-down menu. There you can browse the screenshots, game types, films and map variants created by the collective Halo: Reach community.

Halo: Reach File Browser

Within each file type, you can search by tag, and filter by file type, map, game mode, time, and relevancy. You can also choose to view the files in a grid, list, or gallery.

Halo: Reach File Browser

When you select an individual file, you can see the name of the file, along with the rest of its metadata (description, author, and date taken). There are several actions you can take from this page, depending on the file type: Send to Xbox, Download/View Full, Add File to your File Share, Report as Offensive (cue Rule 34), and Like. You can also email, Tweet, and Facebook the file, should you so desire (I know people totally dig seeing their feeds full of Halo: Reach files. True story).

Halo: Reach File Browser

My favorite feature of the Halo: Reach File Browser is being able to view a full-size screenshot, and then using my keyboard arrows to surf other files. To do this, click the Companion Cube-like box under the “View” choices, and then tab left and right through the files via the arrows on your keyboard.

The Halo: Reach File Browser and File Share are available on mobile, tablet, and desktop, just like the rest of the website. Comments were not carried over from, as that was not part of the transition, and there are no comments available for Files in this iteration of Waypoint. Recent screenshots are also not currently available, although we hope to add them in a future release.

To provide feedback or report bugs, please visit the Halo Waypoint section of our forums.

Halo: Reach Screenshot

Custom Challenge of the Week

Last week, while a Custom Challenge of the Week was active, Frankie wouldn’t stop talking long enough for me to announce it in the Bulletin. Thus, I have decided to keep the same one going for another seven days so everybody can have a shot at killing their favorite confetti-filled cannon fodder.

So, from last week (cough) until next Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, setting up a Custom Challenge with Grunts as the type of kill will result in five times the usual multiplier. Between that and this week’s Weekly Challenge, that means you can get (does math quickly in head) a heckuvalotuv credits in a not-heckuvalotuv amount of time. Hooray!

Halo: Reach Screenshot

Super Jackpot Weekend

If bipedal vertebrates are not your thing, fret not because we also have a Super Jackpot weekend coming up. Starting on Friday, hopping into the Anniversary FFA and Rumble Pit playlists will present you with the chance to receive a 34,300-credit bonus. The festivities end on Sunday, so if you’re the independent, Lone Wolf type, make sure you play June 22-24. Your armory thanks you in advance.

And that wraps up yet another edition of your Halo Bulletin. Until next week, or RTX. As long as you choose one of those, I’m perfectly fine with either decision…

bs angel

P.S. I can neither confirm nor deny that I owe you several Friday Caption Fun pictures. I can tell you, however, that I happen to have several Friday Caption Fun pictures for you. Select your favorite, then hit the latest installment to contribute your witty quip. Off you go!

Friday Caption Fun Friday Caption Fun
Friday Caption Fun Friday Caption Fun

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