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Halo: Reach


Kryptonian
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Doing the first one on the Mac doesn't count either...

By the way, my run through them all has come to an abrupt halt because my Halo 3 disc has got a big crack in it and my 360 won't read it. Gutted.

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Coming next week.

Can save some for people if needed.

Metallic print on back - bright/fluro on front.

Click through for sharper versions.

Front - Plasma Rifle!

post-12930-022122100 1283804681_thumb.jp

Back - AR

post-12930-032671700 1283804735_thumb.jp

I would of posted in the gamepaused thread elsewhere, but, thought I would try and capitalise on the hype ;)

Will be around £15-£16, not £117.

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Like you say, Assault on the Control Room features huge canyons, which really give a sense of scale. I just wanted to know if they'd gone down that route, or more along the lines of the rest of the series, which were a fair bit more enclosed.

One trick some of Halo's levels use to make them seem like a really massive trek is that they're designed so that your path through them returns to places you've already seen, so you can look back at how far you've come.

So on AOTCR you'll walk through the base of a canyon, and then much later emerge on one of the rock bridges far above it; or you'll cross one bridge, and then later walk back across the parallel bridge; or you'll see the control room pyramid from high above, then later have to climb up it from below (unless you steal a Banshee!). On the Pillar of Autumn, quite some way into the level you walk past a glass window looking down on the cryo chamber from the very start, where two Elites are there "trying to catch you napping". And if you follow the natural path on Silent Cartographer, you eventually loop back round to where you originally landed on the beach.

Games like Ico and Prince of Persia: Sands of Time use this sort of level design as well, to equally good effect.

The fact that Halo 2 and 3 didn't do anywhere near as much of this sort of looping back round to previous locations is probably why nothing in them felt quite as big as AOTCR. (Or maybe they did do it, and it was just that the more cluttered environments made it hard to tell when I was returning to a location I'd already seen.) As Smitty said recently in the thread, one of the big criticisms of Halo 1 was that so much of the level geometry kept being reused - perhaps in the sequels Bungie went too far in the opposite direction, trying to make each of Halo 2 and 3's locations as bespoke as possible?

The other advantage of designing levels to make maximum use of the space is that it can cut down on the frequency of loading pauses. The BRILLIANT Half-Life 2 mod Minerva: Metastasis is possibly the best example of this I've seen - your paths through the .bsp maps are generally well-disguised spirals, so that every inch of space is used:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2007/10/02/a-goddess-reborn/

Anyone who’s played Half-Life 2 will have seethed a few dozen times at the jarring loading points, the ribbon structure of its levels meaning the game has to go fetch more data after every few minutes of forward motion. Metastasis takes an onionskin approach – rather than simply travelling along, you go up, down, in, out, around, area piled over area in careful layers. It’s about economy, about trying to make every possible scrap of space inside that level chunk something that the player can visit.

The guy who designed that mod is a really amazing level designer. :wub: In fact, while Googling for that RPS article to link to, I found this:

The first episodic mod that really worked -- MINERVA: Metastasis. (Disclosure: I helped beta-test it.)

While the whole mod is pretty awesome as a whole, I'm pretty sure I'm not alone when I say that the first level (the island) is the best part. So allow me to gush about the Island (beware, SPOILERS!):

It's a love letter to Halo; from the lovely rock arch, to the way the firefight at the pier is structured, to the Cortana-esque transmissions from Minerva -- it's a love letter to that landmark level, the Silent Cartographer, lovingly realized. And it's remarkably subtle in some ways; when you start the level, the gunfire on your left naturally makes you run to the right. From there, you travel counter-clockwise in a loop around the island.

Everything "fits." The pier at the start serves so many functions: (a) it shows that humans inhabited the island and established a substantial infrastructure, (b) it prevents you from going south instead of north at the start -- the pier blocks your way, so you probably won't even try going around it, © it's a useful battleground for later in the level, in case running around the buildings is too hectic for you. And this is just in the first 10 seconds of the level.

The giant beam in the middle acts as a mini-Citadel, a colossal omni-present landmark to ground your presence in the world. The slope of the sand and the facing of the beached ships all point towards the middle, and each locked gate reminds you of your objective -- to get to the bloody middle. Lesser designers would have surrounded the middle with a cliff and a single gate, but when you finally unlock all the gates and roam the island through the previously visited locations, the effect is astounding -- the island seems like a fully realized place, structured non-linearly yet paced linearly.

Good design limits your options until you're ready to access them; good design peels back in layers; and the island in the first chapter ("Carcinogenesis"?) does this beautifully.

Upon its release, players often cited Adam's amazing enhancements to the Combine soldier AI... well, the only thing is, there's no new code in Metastasis, so he didn't make any enhancements. Instead, he took a page from Bungie's research on enemy encounters in Halo (2002), which explains that basically more hit points = longer survival = more time for AI to do cool stuff = more time for player to do cool stuff.

Wot he said.

Go read that post! Go play Minerva Metastasis! Go play Halo CE! Go play Halo Reach! :wub:

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Why don't you fucking neggers make a post if you've got something you want to say? Fuck's sake.

I've plus 1'd you for that.

Though I'll happily hold my hand up to negging you and anyone else boasting of a yarred copy.

What makes you so fucking special you can't wait for it to come out like everyone else? Or pay for it, like everyone else?

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Whilst I'm generally anti-piracy, at least you know the people in here playing it early will buy Reach when it's out. Not saying I agree with their choice to pirate it, but it's not like they're gloating about playing it for 'free'; as far as we're concerned they might as well have bought it early from an oblivious/unscrupulous shopkeeper.

Has anyone else seen the live-action advert on TV? I saw it the other day, and outside the context of purposefully watching it via the internet it looked kind of... silly. The earnestness really clashed with the sight of somewhat goofy looking space marines running about, especially sandwiched between two anti-ageing cream adverts. For a moment I had a glimpse of what videogames must look like from the outside.

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Did you miss the post where he says he's going to buy it? Presuming he does, what difference does it make to you if he plays it early? I like the spoiler-free impressions we get, and so far most people are doing a good job of keeping it spoiler free.

Who smitty?

I'll reiterate -

What makes him/them so fucking special he/they can't wait like everybody else?

He says's he's going to buy it? Riiiiiiiiggghht.

Presumably only because you need a retail copy for multiplayer?

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Amazing the way you quoted my post, yet ignored practically everything in it.

You didn't say anything of value aside from presuming he'll buy one. Which, granted as you need to for multiplayer, on this occasion you can assume people will buy retail copies.

I just don't see why people should get to play early and/or for free.

Nothing said so far in this thread justifies it. It's just selfishness.

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