Archive for January, 2007

Video Game Concert this Saturday in CA

January 31st, 2007
j41m3z noticed that the Golden States Pops Orchestra is going to be playing a Video Game Soundtracks show on February 3 (that's this coming Saturday) at the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, CA. Tickets are $20 for general admission ($10 for students). Halo is on the menu! Update: Nice discount in this post!(Louis Wu 23:28:50 UTC)

New Shirts at the Bungie Store

January 31st, 2007
Jonathan Rivas noticed three new shirts at the Bungie store - a long-sleeve I heart Cortana Tee, a short-sleeved I heart Master Chief Ringer Tee, and a Twofer long-sleeved Mongoose Tee. Get to buying!(Louis Wu 23:23:30 UTC)

UFO?

January 31st, 2007
Heh - Z, from Halo3Forum.com, pointed out a strange little vid on his forum - what's that flying thing on Sanctuary? Lots of discussion - toss in your own two cents!(Louis Wu 21:39:53 UTC)

Gaucheness in Online Gaming

January 31st, 2007
Another article about women playing Halo - and being abused for it. (Not for playing - but for being women and playing.) This is going to get better someday, right?(Louis Wu 19:46:39 UTC)

THREEDOM!

January 31st, 2007
Paul Maestri writes to point out Halo Heads 44 - to what lengths will you go to ensure a spot in the Halo 3 beta?(Louis Wu 18:47:41 UTC)

Podtacular Halo 3 Beta Special

January 31st, 2007
ImmortalThree wrote to point out Podtacular Episode 98 - with special guest Luke Smith from 1Up.com. All the Halo 3 beta info Luke can give out! Go listen; 1:15 long, 63 mb. (He also pointed out Episode 97 - but since that one focuses on Viva Piñata and not Halo, we'll pass on it.)(Louis Wu 18:46:13 UTC)

Frenetic Alphabet.

January 31st, 2007
Some of the recent articles out of Bungie have used terminology that might be hard for non-military personnel to follow. That's Stuntmutt's take, anyway, in today's One One Se7en.(Louis Wu 16:34:39 UTC)

Rule of 3 Reminder

January 31st, 2007
Bungie posted a new Top Story last night (thanks, S043), reminding everyone that the 'Rule of 3' Program starts tomorrow. This is your next opportunity to get into the Halo 3 beta. But if you don't make it... these words of hope were included:

And remember, after all the dust has settled, Bungie will have a few extra beta spots for a few lucky and loyal community members. So one way or another, you should be able to find a way to participate in the Halo 3 Beta, fingers crossed and good luck!

Don't panic. Do your best, have fun. And don't forget to eat your vegetables.(Louis Wu 13:39:57 UTC)

Lost the Lead – Not Dead Yet

January 31st, 2007
Pinkuh stopped by to let us know there's a new episode of 'Lost the Lead' - apparently, the joke makes more sense if you understand the current influx of Naga artwork at DeviantART, but it doesn't take a lot to appreciate the artwork!(Louis Wu 13:36:15 UTC)

Longsword X-Plane Model

January 31st, 2007
Mid7night has been working on a Longsword model for X-Plane - he's got some pics, and a flash vid showing the retract sequence for the landing gear. (We've grabbed copies of the images themselves, if he runs out of bandwidth, but the video we don't have - here's hoping tinypic holds up.)(Louis Wu 13:32:51 UTC)

MontagePalooza

January 31st, 2007
Halomega has a ton of new vids - Dymdez' 3rd Montage Trailer, plus Fyler's 5th, a Team Midway gamplay, BROHAN's 7th 1v1 preview, and Frozen's 5th 1v1. Should keep you busy for a while...(Louis Wu 12:42:28 UTC)

Grunts on Jet-Skis

January 31st, 2007
Rockslider has posted a new Spotlight with Suzie - this time, Suzie interviews a grunt about a possible water level in Halo 3. This all came out of Ducain's recent Halo 3 wishlist... poor guy!(Louis Wu 12:34:54 UTC)

Spartan Project Oblivion mod released

January 31st, 2007
Brandon stopped by to announce that his Oblivion mod is finished - you can now play through in Mjolnir Mark V armor, with energy sword and shield! screenshots and a link to the download are in his forum post.(Louis Wu 12:31:04 UTC)

Make Your Router Xbox Live Compatible

January 31st, 2007

NAT
Have you ever unsuccessfully tried to find a friend's game on Xbox Live even though you knew it was there? Have you ever been unable to join a friend's XBL game when he sent you an invite? Have you ever been in a pregame lobby and been unable to hear the voice communications of other players? I think we've all experienced problems like the ones above. They are frustrating to encounter and even more frustrating to troubleshoot. However, most problems of this nature can be traced to NAT (Network Address Translation). Read on to find the solution. What is NAT? From a helpful page on xbox.com: When multiple devices share a single Internet connection (a PC and an Xbox 360â„¢ system, for instance), the networked devices typically rely on Network Address Translation (NAT) to prevent information traffic jams. Routers with different NAT settings don't like to talk to each other. Think of this like high school cliques. The most snobbish NAT setting is "strict." Routers with this setting are like Abercrombie and Fitch models. In addition to being unusually thin, they are extremely discerning in whom they talk to, and when a router with a NAT setting of "open" asks to connect, it'll probably get rejected. The "open" NAT setting is the most forgiving. Think of routers with this setting like a bus station skank. Yeah, it may catch a disease once in a while, but it sees a lot of action. It doesn't reject anybody, and besides its monthly trip to the clinic for free profilactics it's always available for online gaming. Somewhere in the middle is the NAT setting of "moderate." Routers with this setting are like the kids that live at Hot Topic. These routers are very mysterious and often grow up to produce indie punk rock into their early thirties. Nobody really knows what's going on inside the "moderate" setting. It's more strict than "open" and it's more open than "strict." Exactly what level of noncompliance trips the switch to "moderate" is anybody's guess. Here's a handy chart of what NAT settings can talk to each other.

NAT
The bottom line is that if your network uses a router the following is probably true: 1. It needs to use NAT. 2. NAT may cause Xbox Live connectivity problems. 3. You can fix the possible problems by tweaking a few settings. How do you determine if NAT is the source of the internet gremlins that are stealin' yer voice packets? One of the easiest ways is to see if your router has been certified by the Xbox team as Xbox Live compatible. This is a free program Microsoft offers to network equipment manufacturers to help them get their equipment XBL compliant. The company sends the Xbox team sample equipment and the Xbox team works with the company to get their router within spec. After it is compliant, the company can sport the "Xbox Live Compatible" logo. See the list of certified Xbox Live compatible routers here. If you are one of the many people who's router is not on the "officially approved" list, like myself, then read on. Power on your Xbox 360, boot to the dashboard, and pull up the "network settings" option inside the system tab. Perform the "Xbox Live Connection Test" and note the last field at the bottom of the screen for "NAT." If you connect successfully and the NAT value returned is "moderate" or "strict" then it is probably the source of your woes. As you can see below, my router returned a setting of "moderate."

NAT
Microsoft has a support page to help you with your NAT settings. The prescribed solution is to "open" the following ports on your router: • UDP 88 • UDP 3074 • TCP 3074 By "open" I mean forward traffic on those ports to your Xbox 360 console. First, you need to find the local IP of your Xbox 360 console. You can get this from the network settings tab in the dashboard. It's probably 192.168.x.x Now, login to your router's admin panel. If you've never done this, refer to your router's user manual. It's not difficult at all. If you're absolutely too lazy or unable to find the manual, try the following: 1. Type 192.168.1.1 into your browser's address bar. If that doesn't bring up your router's admin panel try 192.168.1.100 or 192.168.2.1 2. When you get the login screen for your router try the following common default user name/ password combinations UN: admin PW: admin UN: admin PW: blank (I mean literally, leave it blank) PW only: blank 3. The above attempts are a last ditch effort because you won't google your router's model number, so stop complaining that it doesn't work for you. After you get logged in there are a plethora of settings to screw up...err... tweak. You're looking for a setting that says port forwarding, virtual servers, UPnP forwarding, or something similar. Bottom line is find a screen that looks like the one below, and enter the above settings in addition to your console's IP address. As you can see, my console's IP is 192.168.2.3.

NAT
Hit apply, submit, or whatever button is applicable and see if you broke anything. Nothing on fire? Good. Rerun the Xbox Live Connection Test in the dashboard and see if it improved your NAT setting. In my case, my Belkin router has a cool setting called "DMZ" under the firewall settings. It allows me to effectively place one local IP address (device) outside the NAT settings of the rest of the network. It appears to be specifically inserted for situations when the "NAT feature is causing problems with an application such as a game."

NAT
I'm not worried about the risks of someone hacking my Xbox 360, because if they do they've made a huge discovery and will be blogging about it at xboxscene.com anyway. I told it to exclude my Xbox 360 from NAT, reran the test, and my NAT setting changed to "open." Woot!

NAT
These directions won't work for everyone. Actually, there's a decent chance that you'll screw something up during this process and temporarily kill your XBL connectivity or even your internet connection. If you do, just find the hard reset button on your router (this will return the router to default settings) and cut your losses. You also may need to restart some or all of your networking equipment for the new settings to take effect. This is as easy as unplugging the device from AC power and plugging it back in. Networking is a mystical art full of surprises. Dive in, change some settings, and figure out what's happening inside that Pandora's Box of packets. There's nothing you can do that $60 and a trip to Best Buy won't fix.

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Make Your Router Xbox Live Compatible

January 31st, 2007

NAT
Have you ever unsuccessfully tried to find a friend's game on Xbox Live even though you knew it was there? Have you ever been unable to join a friend's XBL game when he sent you an invite? Have you ever been in a pregame lobby and been unable to hear the voice communications of other players? I think we've all experienced problems like the ones above. They are frustrating to encounter and even more frustrating to troubleshoot. However, most problems of this nature can be traced to NAT (Network Address Translation). Read on to find the solution. What is NAT? From a helpful page on xbox.com: When multiple devices share a single Internet connection (a PC and an Xbox 360â„¢ system, for instance), the networked devices typically rely on Network Address Translation (NAT) to prevent information traffic jams. Routers with different NAT settings don't like to talk to each other. Think of this like high school cliques. The most snobbish NAT setting is "strict." Routers with this setting are like Abercrombie and Fitch models. In addition to being unusually thin, they are extremely discerning in whom they talk to, and when a router with a NAT setting of "open" asks to connect, it'll probably get rejected. The "open" NAT setting is the most forgiving. Think of routers with this setting like a bus station skank. Yeah, it may catch a disease once in a while, but it sees a lot of action. It doesn't reject anybody, and besides its monthly trip to the clinic for free profilactics it's always available for online gaming. Somewhere in the middle is the NAT setting of "moderate." Routers with this setting are like the kids that live at Hot Topic. These routers are very mysterious and often grow up to produce indie punk rock into their early thirties. Nobody really knows what's going on inside the "moderate" setting. It's more strict than "open" and it's more open than "strict." Exactly what level of noncompliance trips the switch to "moderate" is anybody's guess. Here's a handy chart of what NAT settings can talk to each other.

NAT
The bottom line is that if your network uses a router the following is probably true: 1. It needs to use NAT. 2. NAT may cause Xbox Live connectivity problems. 3. You can fix the possible problems by tweaking a few settings. How do you determine if NAT is the source of the internet gremlins that are stealin' yer voice packets? One of the easiest ways is to see if your router has been certified by the Xbox team as Xbox Live compatible. This is a free program Microsoft offers to network equipment manufacturers to help them get their equipment XBL compliant. The company sends the Xbox team sample equipment and the Xbox team works with the company to get their router within spec. After it is compliant, the company can sport the "Xbox Live Compatible" logo. See the list of certified Xbox Live compatible routers here. If you are one of the many people who's router is not on the "officially approved" list, like myself, then read on. Power on your Xbox 360, boot to the dashboard, and pull up the "network settings" option inside the system tab. Perform the "Xbox Live Connection Test" and note the last field at the bottom of the screen for "NAT." If you connect successfully and the NAT value returned is "moderate" or "strict" then it is probably the source of your woes. As you can see below, my router returned a setting of "moderate."

NAT
Microsoft has a support page to help you with your NAT settings. The prescribed solution is to "open" the following ports on your router: • UDP 88 • UDP 3074 • TCP 3074 By "open" I mean forward traffic on those ports to your Xbox 360 console. First, you need to find the local IP of your Xbox 360 console. You can get this from the network settings tab in the dashboard. It's probably 192.168.x.x Now, login to your router's admin panel. If you've never done this, refer to your router's user manual. It's not difficult at all. If you're absolutely too lazy or unable to find the manual, try the following: 1. Type 192.168.1.1 into your browser's address bar. If that doesn't bring up your router's admin panel try 192.168.1.100 or 192.168.2.1 2. When you get the login screen for your router try the following common default user name/ password combinations UN: admin PW: admin UN: admin PW: blank (I mean literally, leave it blank) PW only: blank 3. The above attempts are a last ditch effort because you won't google your router's model number, so stop complaining that it doesn't work for you. After you get logged in there are a plethora of settings to screw up...err... tweak. You're looking for a setting that says port forwarding, virtual servers, UPnP forwarding, or something similar. Bottom line is find a screen that looks like the one below, and enter the above settings in addition to your console's IP address. As you can see, my console's IP is 192.168.2.3.

NAT
Hit apply, submit, or whatever button is applicable and see if you broke anything. Nothing on fire? Good. Rerun the Xbox Live Connection Test in the dashboard and see if it improved your NAT setting. In my case, my Belkin router has a cool setting called "DMZ" under the firewall settings. It allows me to effectively place one local IP address (device) outside the NAT settings of the rest of the network. It appears to be specifically inserted for situations when the "NAT feature is causing problems with an application such as a game."

NAT
I'm not worried about the risks of someone hacking my Xbox 360, because if they do they've made a huge discovery and will be blogging about it at xboxscene.com anyway. I told it to exclude my Xbox 360 from NAT, reran the test, and my NAT setting changed to "open." Woot!

NAT
These directions won't work for everyone. Actually, there's a decent chance that you'll screw something up during this process and temporarily kill your XBL connectivity or even your internet connection. If you do, just find the hard reset button on your router (this will return the router to default settings) and cut your losses. You also may need to restart some or all of your networking equipment for the new settings to take effect. This is as easy as unplugging the device from AC power and plugging it back in. Networking is a mystical art full of surprises. Dive in, change some settings, and figure out what's happening inside that Pandora's Box of packets. There's nothing you can do that $60 and a trip to Best Buy won't fix.

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Episode 98: Halo 3 beta special with Luke from 1up.com

January 31st, 2007

Download | Shownotes

We broke the mold and went right back to a Halo 3 show since the beta is a hot topic right now. Better yet, we were fortunate enough to have a guest who's more qualified then just about anyone to talk about it: Luke from the 1up Yours Podcast. Luke has played 9 solid hours of Halo 3 alpha and tells us what we can expect on this show. We talk all about what you think of the beta, how it will work, what we know so far about Halo 3 and related stuff. Lone Bananafone also joins the shenaniganery (is that a word?) This is a good one!


Ask Microsoft about Crackdown and the Halo 3 beta!

January 31st, 2007

Big news: JVB got invited to Microsoft to attend the launch event for Crackdown! He'll be in Washington this Thursday and Friday talking to Microsoft Gaming Studios folks about the game that comes free with the Halo 3 beta: Crackdown! Now just because it includes the beta doesn't mean it's a crappy game. In fact, a lot of people really liked it from the demo and can't wait to buy it. We've asked you what you think of games in the past but now's your chance to ask Microsoft! JVB will relay some questions their way.

Wow, I can ask Microsoft about the Halo 3 beta and Crackdown? What should I ask?

Good question. Like an enigma, I answer your question with more questions. How about How long do you think the Crackdown/Halo 3 beta package will be available? How will the beta be issued and downloaded? How does Crackdown multiplayer work? How does Crackdown compare to Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row? Does Bungie plan on having a launch event for Halo 3 also? When will the beta start? When does phase 2 start?

Deadline is Thursday Afternoon

or some time around there, that's about when JVB steps off the plane and right into a biker bar where he tells some random biker, "I need your clothes, your weapon, and your vehicle." Hopefully he's also armed to the teeth with questions for the big guys. This time just submit your questions by posting a comment to this news item. Thanks!!

Episode 97: Viva Pinata King of the Hill Show

January 31st, 2007

Download | Shownotes

It's the king of the hill show where we talk all about what we think of a game that's gotten a lot of play: Viva Pinata! Guest hosts are Brent Gamer and Anjo Banjo from AnjoArt.com. Warning: this show has JVB, Anjo and Brent in one skype room at one time. If you don't know what that means, it means that this show is rife with sexual innuendo and toilet humor. If that's your cup of tea then you've come to the tea capital of the world. Enjoy!

Rule of 3

January 31st, 2007
The "Rule of 3" begins this Thursday at 12am, or you know, Wednesday at Midnight, depending on how you slice it. The following information should help US residents figure out what to do to ensure a spot in the Halo 3 Beta.

Halo Wars – now working on cutscenes

January 30th, 2007
Interesting. Mike Smith pointed out a new update on the Halo Wars forum - the crew has been working on motion capture for cutscenes. (Personally, I'd rather be seeing where the GAME ITSELF was going right now, rather than the interstitial movies - but some update is better than no update.) Hmm... upon rereading, it's possible that the mocap will be used for more than just cutscenes... I guess we need to wait and see.(Louis Wu 17:50:01 UTC)