Archive for September, 2001

How much do YOU see?

September 30th, 2001
Wow. I can't remember when a single screenshot was subjected to the sort of scrutiny that the 'Cortana shot' is enduring... there are threads on our forum, at Rampancy.net, the Marathon's Story page, Battleground: Halo, and probably a few other places around the net. Add your thoughts to the discussions! (Or simply marvel at the effort going in to the analysis of one single screenshot...)

Fan Fiction story gets updated

September 30th, 2001
Vector40 sent in an update to 'The Sixty Minute War', a story dedicated to the September 11 victims. Upon the author's request, we've updated the existing entry, rather than add a second chapter - go on, read it again, it's worth it. It's not very long. Don't forget that all stories in our Fan Fiction section can be commented on!

Halo Update comes with a screenie

September 29th, 2001
The Weekly Halo Update, now one week shy of its first birthday, was over at Battleground: Halo this time around... and while it's short (mostly tweaks - Halo is currently at Release Candidate 2, there's not much left to do), it DOES come with a new screenshot - you can finally see what Cortana looks like. Go read it for yourself... and check out the shot!

Gaming manager says Oct 9 in stores

September 28th, 2001
Someone claiming to be a manager for a major US gaming chain showed up on TeamXbox's forum today with more info about the Xbox kiosks in game stores. Apparently, Microsoft is doing some retail training on October 8, and playable boxes will be moving into stores no later than the 9th. They're rolling out by state, and Texas and Georgia are two of the earliest. (Again, this is all unconfirmed... but it FEELS authentic. :) ) Farther down, he expounds a bit more - definitely worth a read.

More Fiction in the coffers

September 28th, 2001
The fighting heats up in the second installment of the 'New Wave' series by The Emperor - check out 'The Battle' in our Fan Fiction section.

Graphics Gap

September 28th, 2001
Not unexpected, or new, even... but something we should all keep in mind. Ferrex reminds us that PC hardware will NOT perform as well as Xbox hardware - Especially near the Xbox launch date. People shouldn't be expecting hardware in their machines today to play Halo (or any other Xbox game that comes out for the PC) anywhere near as nicely as the Xbox will. Something to keep in mind, if you're on the fence between which version to buy... (The consensus here is that the time gap between the versions will be great enough to warrant buying both.)

OXM editor weighs in on updates

September 28th, 2001
Hmm. This has been speculated before... but not, generally, by someone with the inside connections present here... Mike Salmon, Editor in Chief of the Official Xbox Magazine, answered a fan question on OXM's forum about the upgradeability of launch titles:

When MS goes online it will be in a big way and yes games that are releases at launch can be "upgraded" to include internet play.

Will Bungie make an online patch available for Xbox Halo down the road? We can only hope!

Chosen, indeed.

September 28th, 2001
raVen creates a new desktop for our Wallpaper section, in 4 flavors. We are unclean... Pax.

So who’s Damuis?

September 28th, 2001
Hmm... our fearless leader seems to be napping - guess it's time to put the prayer blocks down.

A voice responded. As it spoke it became clear that it was not one voice but hundreds of voices, each one echoing into infinity.

"Damuis?"

Mr. Bill. Jr. V© drops us another story, introducing... well, read it. You'll find 'The Spirit' in our Fan Fiction section. Be sure to comment on it! Pax.

Those kiosks are gonna show movies

September 28th, 2001
For those following the story of Xbox kiosks appearing in stores in the last few days... it looks like your chances of playing Halo on them in the near future aren't very good. An Electronic Boutique employee posted the following tidbit to the usenet newsgroup alt.games.video.xbox today:

I work at EB and opened up our X-Box demo thingy and helped install it, only to find out that there was no X-Box in there, just a TV, two controlers, and the cool looking stand w/lited up posters and stuff.
There was a number for installation instructions that I called, and told them that we were missing our X-Box, they told me that the X-Box's would arrive "at a later date". They also told us that EB was the only stores that got these units today. Then I asked him what game would be in it, and he said as far as he knew it would be a video that showed previews of a bunch of different games, then "at a later date, closer to launch" we would get playable demos.

So, movies on the kiosks now, games 'at a later date'. Bummer. (Thanks to Harry Al-Shakarchi for the heads-up.)

Of Books and Men

September 28th, 2001
Eric Trautmann, who popped up a couple of days ago with some interesting backstory info, has popped up again on the Marathon's Story forum with some clarifications of his job. He's part of the licensing team, so he interfaces with folks like Eric Nylund, who's writing 'The Fall of Reach', due out in October, and makes sure that the details work. As Eric (T.) says:

I'm also a fanboy geek who HATES it when tie-in products don't match the source material. Hence my annoyance about the timeline discrepancies between what goes into the book and what ends up on the website.

With zeal like this, the likelihood is good that the numbers will line up... as much as they're supposed to, by the time it all gets out through the proper channels.

Xbox Tech Overview at FiringSquad

September 27th, 2001
Wondering about the Xbox hardware, and how it compares to your l33t computer? FiringSquad has just put up their Xbox Technology Overview, a massive guide to the inner workings of the Xbox, comparing it (in great detail) to a PC's hardware... it's pretty technical, but if you were curious about the nuts and bolts, this isn't a bad one to read. Thanks to Dead Glory for the heads-up.

Mike Salmon on Halo’s quality

September 27th, 2001
Heh - FunXbox interviewed Mike Salmon, Editor-in-Chief of the Official Xbox Magazine, and the last question was pretty amusing:

FunXbox: How much of an ass do you feel like giving Halo a lower predicted review score, after having played it more recently :) ?
Mike Salmon: I consistently feel like an ass - I've just come to accept it as being me. As for the Halo "guestimate," we gave it great scores. The Official Xbox Magazine isn't going to give every game a 10 and we're going to use the whole scale. In my opinion if every single game gets an 8 or above then why do you even have a 1-7 on your scale? We'll be fair, but we'll be tough. That being said, the latest build of Halo is absolutely amazing. Ed Fries and his team delivered way beyond our expectations.

(Mike's a pretty nice guy when it comes to interviews - he talked to us way back in April 2000 about Halo and what he'd seen of it on his tour of the Bungie offices. At that time he was EIC of PC Accelerator, a magazine which went under soon after. We don't think we had anything to do with that.)

Blue is a beautiful color

September 27th, 2001
Draikin sends in an attractive desktop image for our Wallpaper section.

Xbox poster gallery at TeamXbox

September 26th, 2001
TeamXbox has put up a Poster Gallery of Xbox launch titles. The Halo poster is simply a re-alignment of the elements of the box art... but it's still pretty cool. Check it out!

I’ve got a worm(hole) in my brain

September 26th, 2001
Bob loses a recruit, and the Nautilus loses... more. Tursas submits Chapter 11 of his Hermes Trismegistus saga to our Fan Fiction section. What's with that illness? Check it out, and don't forget to leave a quick comment when you're through!

This is a place for carnage.

September 26th, 2001
The Bungie folks weren't too impressed with it... but hey, it's the first two-page Halo ad, so we've captured it for posterity, in a readable format. You can take a look at it in small (800x492, 84K) or large (1500x923, 244K) formats... and for those who don't like to squint, there are closeups of the ESRB rating/fine print (800x194, 30K), and the main ad text (800x181, 33K). This appeared in the November 2001 issue of the Official Xbox Magazine.

When Bots go Bad

September 26th, 2001
Tyson Green, aka Ferrex, jumps into the 'Why no Bots?' discussion to give a pretty realistic rationale for leaving them out this time around. Would definitely be nicer to have them than not... but it looks like there just wasn't time. Matt Soell goes further, and suggests that their inclusion has been in doubt since the pre-buyout Chicago days... which doesn't bode well for their existence in the upcoming PC/Mac versions. As Matt says,

It's not that bots aren't cool, but Halo does not really suffer for lack of them. They were never a key part of the design.

Might make sense to check out the final product before passing judgement on this decision...

More Wallpaper 4 U

September 26th, 2001
Martin Kildén Smith sends in a new desktop for our Wallpaper section. Watch your files, easy to lose on this...

Timeline discrepancies to be cleaned up

September 25th, 2001
Hmm... another quarter heard from. Over on the Marathon's Story page forum, there's been quite a bit of discussion about the leaked Halo backstory information (more, disappointingly, than in our own forum, actually), and a new name has surfaced - Eric Trautmann. Eric seems to be responsible for - at the very least - cleaning up and tying together the details behind the Halo storyline. He also passes on some info about the Halo novel we mentioned last month. It's a little surprising that the name has never surfaced before... but more importantly, Eric makes it clear that the XML file discovered last week had some date discrepancies which were scheduled to be fixed - so the reconciliation between the Halo and Marathon timelines shouldn't be considered to be a closed subject. Hmm... Go read his post for the details.