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Subject:And then, "Fun With Dirt!"
Time:08:04 pm
I've always had trouble figuring out how to respond to detractors of Halo (and now Halo 2). On the one hand, it's sold a crapload of copies. On the other hand, it's hard to find a post on any forum about Halo that does not have its share of anti-fans.

Anti-halo folk tend to have a PC gaming background, usually hardcore. Debating the value of Halo is akin to arguing about the validity of Wicca to an evangelical Christian. There's just no common frame of reference to have a meaningful discussion.

One thing Halo does better than most PC games is optimize the user experience for the average player: the kind of player that has a limited in-game lifetime (i.e., they die every so often). Hey, that's just like me!

Firstly, the checkpoint system encourages all levels of skill to keep playing. It takes only 4-6 seconds to restore the last checkpoint;.5-1.5 if you invoke the pause screen and restore explicitly. That means you do not have to switch mental modes in order to continue playing after dying; it just happens. Even if you die every 5 seconds, you're still always back in action right away. (Personally, I'd much rather play a game than manage a game; that's just me.)

Secondly, we made sure to optimize the single player experience for a straight playthrough. If you play Halo 2 all the way through, you should never see a long interruptive loading screen. (You will see the Loading... done text, but that's unavoidable for the size and complexity of levels.) Even Halo 1 only had 9 significant loading screens, and those were at appropriate points in the game (i.e., at the end of a level), not in the midst of gameplay. That directly translates into a minimal amount of dead time waiting for the game to start, and a maximal amount of time available to play the game. If you happen to die a lot, who cares? You'll never have to wait for the game to reload your checkpoint; you can get right back into the game.

The immediacy of gameplay is one aspect many just don't understand. Or rather, many that disagree with the success of Halo don't understand. (In my opinion.) My theory is the combination of PC gamer and hardcore gamer results in a type of gamer that doesn't experience what I consider to be the least polished areas of most games: player death. And as such, they don't experience the excruciating experience of restarting gameplay.

Then again, maybe it's all the marketing hype. No, probably not. :)
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jaxxblackfox
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-09 10:27 pm (UTC)
It seems to be a popularity contest as much as anything when it comes to people who are anti anything.

It's like they have to hate whatever's popular at the time just to tell to the world they're unique and different, thus special in some way. I don't know. I don't like it when people go out of their way to make other people angry, it's so ultimately pointless. But then, I'm not the type of person to run around insulting other people's games of choice, etc.

...that, and they're probably just jealious.
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(Deleted comment)

fluid_darkness
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 12:38 am (UTC)
It's a growing trend in the PC gaming circle, which has been spreading to the console crowds, too: Dissing/hating on the better games is "cool". It's hardly exclusive to gaming, too. Some baseball fans chant "Yankees suck" even though the New York Yankees are quite a successful team. Corporations get a lot of hate, too.

It seems to me that the generations below Baby Boomers are growing up with a skewed idea of the American Dream and that the underdogs should always win. (If that were the case, we shouldn't be the superpower that we are today.) This type of jealousy is breeding insecurity about your likes being "approved" by peer pressure, so it's become more of a defense mechanism. As in, "well, my favorite game can't suck, but I'm going to crap on yours first!"

It's sad, because people nowadays won't simply stop tacking on baggage to anything. First it was, "no! Microsoft can't buy Bungie! I must have Marathon 2 for my Mac!" Then it was, "They're making Halo for the XBox, not the PC? SUXX0RS!!11!!" Then it was, "We got it for PC, but it's been all consolized! I hate you! RAHHHRR!"

And now, of course is the next step of garbage spewed that you're currently experiencing on forums. Some of them act like they're sipping wine and adjusting their monocles to pronounce their judgment of a game they're biased against, for fear of their passions being diminished in any way. Insecurity at its best.

My advice is to just blow off the forums. There are so many stupid people out there who think they have a right to disregard any redeeming qualities a fine game like your company has made. I don't have much faith in the future unless people start realizing that negativity just breeds more and brings everybody down. Misery may love company, but it's hardly enjoyable for those who want to make good product for society.

Albeit the lack of co-op play via Live, I really enjoy Halo 2. It deserves every penny of the $50+ I spent on it, and thank you for the enjoyment. I've played it for roughly 12 hours now (8 SP and 4 MP) and it just might be my favorite of all time. It's certainly growing on me.
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s8riot
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 07:00 am (UTC)
What makes the situation far worse is that the fans of the popular games are often labeled as "fanboys."

Which can be easily taken as one hell of an insult depending on how it's used (such as: "Oh, you're just a fanboy" = Your opinion doesn't count because you like the game or agree with the majority). It's quite sad, really.
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mochiman
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 04:42 am (UTC)
Thank the gods for those checkpoints! I found myself dying like five to ten times at certain points. Really, at most points. But those fucking alien fucks just ambush the shit out of you. It makes you change your tactics. Hell, it makes you come up with tactics. I've found that most FPS that I play on a PC don't really engage your brain. Just point, shoot, and hope to fuck you kill something.

BTW, your artists are pervs. I've noticed that the female models are unusually stacked.
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(Anonymous)
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 07:15 am (UTC)
First I want to say that I've been a fan of Bungie ever since I played Marathon (sometime in '95). I loved Halo1. And I'm going to be brutally honest; I was a little dissappointed by Halo2's Campaign. It just doesnt 'feel' the same...multiplayer may just be the most fun Ive had playing a game ever, bar none, but campaign was just missing...something. I cant really put my finger on it. Its not the over-the-top cinematics. Its not the somewhat lame attempts at humor. Its not the graphics, or the AI. Its not even the CENSORED that happens in the 5/6th level, really, although I think Im getting warmer now.

I'm sorry, Bungie, but this is the first time I've felt let down by one of your games.
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Agreed. - (Anonymous) - Expand

(Anonymous)
Subject:d-pad
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 07:35 am (UTC)
mostly unrelated question, but maybe you can tell me why i can no longer use the directional pad for movement and strafing in halo 2's campaign mode? i understand you can use it in xbox live (which i don't own) to chat, but why is the d-pad completely functionless in campaign mode. halo 1 got me so used to using it for movement and strafing i don't think i can adjust to using the thumbstick....

oh, and i don't suck... at the risk of sounding egotistical but for the sake of understanding why i'm asking this question, i'd say i'm a slightly above average player.
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angryzenmaster
Subject:Re: d-pad
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 09:27 am (UTC)
Only because we co-opted the d-pad to use for signalling in multiplayer via hitting left and right, and turning on team chat by pressing up.

MSN
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Re: d-pad - (Anonymous) - Expand

rumynchik
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 07:40 am (UTC)
I have actually come to like the checkpoint system after the HALO: CE. You are right, it is very nice to get back in action after 4-5 seconds and not wait for game to reload.
As to the HALO 2, the gameplay came out great. It's just that the story is.....well, as the person who has read all of the books, and being a halo fanboy, i was just a little dissapointed that the story did not include many explanations.
Heh, well, that's what Bungie does:) I guess the next Halo book will fill its fans on everything we need to know.
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kapowaz
Subject:Then again...
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 07:45 am (UTC)
Maybe it's just that the PC gamer crowd are simply bigoted against anything they perceive as "mainstream". I've heard so many people say they wish Halo (on the PC) let you quicksave, but that would entirely undermine the experience - what's the point of quicksaving the game after killing each individual Flood on The Library, say on Legendary? You can hardly say you've earnt the Legendary title by beating it that way.

I say stick with it; the checkpoint system is a great idea, in my view; it drip feeds just enough challenge to keep the player interested, plus takes away the micro-management of saving games that really has nothing to do with playing.
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tophat
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 09:56 am (UTC)
when so many people are looking forward to the best videogame they've ever played, there are bound to be a small number who are dissapointed.
those people are posting on the boards, everyone else is playing.

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(Anonymous)
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 03:11 pm (UTC)
There are many people in my boat - absolute fans of Halo 1, who loved the missions(especially on Heroic and Legendary), who loved the gameplay, the maps, the weapons, the sound effects, the health system e.t.c - who are quite dissapointed with Halo 2, and all of the changes, both minor and major, that have made Halo 2 much different to the game we fell in love with - Halo 1. You may quip back and say I am a pistol whore - which I am not.

I am not grieved by some small glitches that may occur in some of the cinematics/graphics/textures e.t.c
I am more dissapointed with many of the smaller gameplay changes which defined what Halo was (as above mentioned), which have now been changed, effecting the whole campain and multiplayer experience. Sure, it is not meant to be Halo 1. It is Halo 2, but because of the accumalitve effect of all of these minor/major changes, you have made it seem quite unrelated to its prequal - a game that created game-lovers of a certain kind of game.

You have sold millions of copies with pre-sales off the back of this first game. It may be a different thing to make 100 million dollars off the back of the second (with a Halo 3) considering many fans of the first, who may have lost heart due to the different nature/character of the second game.

You can make intelligent, witty and biting comments back to me, and others who may offer some constructive criticism, or you can realise that we are sincere and genuine gamers - also not pistol whores - who tried to organize system links every weekend for the past years, play through the campain in all ways (especially Legendary), who feel Halo 2 hast lost the Halo-ness about it.

Are you prepared to accept any criticism? Could you ever admit that maybe you did not need to make some changes?

Just an aside, but could the Mark VI armour/shield have been similar to Halo 1 armour, except that the health bars regenerated as well as the shield (so you could more clearly judge your health-state)

Go on. Make your incisive response, but do see that I am a sincere fan not trying to just cut you down.

salvettma@optusnet.com.au

Yours sincerely, and with well-intentions,

Matt
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darkprimus
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 08:20 pm (UTC)
If gamers are really "hard core", they shouldn't complain about having to replay a big battle over again if they die. I didn't throw my controller down in frustration ever when I died, because every time I tried a different tactic. I got a lot more game experience out of this than if I were playing a PC game, in which one can save every two seconds.

Hmm, perhaps I should stop doing that...
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(Anonymous)
Subject:Hm
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 09:37 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you guys went to the trouble of optimizing the single player campaign for a straight play-through, but couldn't you have made the game, oh....about 10 hours LONGER?

Seriously, for 3 years of development, an 11 hour play-through on Heroic difficulty is really disapointing. I was hoping to get a good, long, 20 hour story out of this amazing, excellent game you guys have made, but it was over WAY too quickly. The story was great, the music and voice acting is fantastic, some of the best I've ever heard in an American game. The gameplay is amazingly fun. Its an excellent game, but WAY WAY to short. And the ending just plain sucked, sorry about that.

And please pass on the word that a good old fashioned server browser would be something everyone could benefit from? Perhaps in a content update in the near future? The whole match-matching/party system is nice and cute, but leaving out a basic server browser was a pretty bad move. Who's idea was that? Hit them.

(Reply) (Thread)

(Anonymous)
Subject:Re: Hm
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-10 11:39 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'll take quality over quantity. Give me a deep, engrossing story (which H2 has) and interesting, varied environments (ditto) over a repetitive maze crawler any day. Plus, the multiplayer is a second game in the same box. You guys nailed this one, Matt.
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Re: Hm - (Anonymous) - Expand

Re: Hm - (Anonymous) - Expand

(Anonymous)
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-11 06:18 am (UTC)
1. Checkpoints.
I love the checkpoint system in Halo, for the reasons identified by Noguchi. It continues to stagger me that this sort of thing is not dealt with in other games in the play test stage. If you have developed a game with a 'save, die, reload' loop that gamers are likely to have to go through multiple times why on earth would you force them to go through a bunch of menus to reload each time ? Similarly, I think this kind of repetition in GTAIII where you die, then reload/come out of the hospital then have to drive to start a mission again is horrible. And sometimes sets you up for silly 'paradoxes' in the game world, for example when your NPC buddy dies but you don't, then you drive around the block restart the mission and he is alive again. Frustrations are something you should never endure in a game.

2. Cross-platform hate.
Sure there are multiple reasons for this, but I think looking at it from a marketing (I know it's a dirty word) point of view provides some intuitive and easy to understand reasons.
Anyone familiar with any kind of basic 'Buyer Behaviour' model will know of various models of consumer decision making. Need arousal, information search, etc. The step that is often ignored by marketers in practice is the final one of post-purchase evaluation. (Once they've got your money who cares ?) In post-purchase evaluation there is usually a certain amount of 'dissonance' ('Did I make the right decision ? What could I have got instead of this ?'), and consumers act in a number of ways to reduce this. e.g. 'Honey, don't you like my new shoes/hair/handbag etc. ?', or you actively go and seek out the opinion of others that affirms your decision.
It's fairly natural for owners of different platforms to therefore defend theirs as the best. Likewise to rubbish other platforms to affirm their decision.
I used to be a fervent PC FPS gamer and would argue with my room mate and his N64 all the time about how Half-Life was so much better than GoldenEye. In hindsight... well I'd blown go knows how much on my PC with video cards etc. I wanted to be right ! Having now converted to Xbox gaming, mainly due to opting out of the upgrade cycle, I can now see that a console game can be every bit as enjoyable as a PC one even if it is inferior from a technical point of view. That was always my main argument against N64 GoldenEye - the controller and resolution was horrible compared with a mouse/keyboard PC monitor setup. I would love to play Half-Life 2 but in some weird way I want it to suck because I can't actually play it on my Xbox. I want to be right in turning my back on the PC for the console !
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johnnyrockstar
Subject:too many haters
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-11 11:50 pm (UTC)
man, i can't believe some of these responses.

i think the game rocks. i don't have an x-box, but i play halo when i go to the places of either of my two friends that have it. i think that it gives a lot of really awesome new features that they seemed to absolutely LOVE. i had some trouble adjusting to the new text and player identification, but the only time i've played halo 2 was 8 person multiplayer. maybe the same problem existed on halo 1, where i had never done 8 person multiplayer.

the new guns rock, the new stages are way cool. and i'm somebody who would die a lot if i played solo, so the checkpoint feature you talked about sounds like it rocks.

the sound is awesome too. so good!

anyways, congrats on this success, mat!
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(Anonymous)
Subject:Halo Sucks!
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-12 06:13 am (UTC)
I can honestly say that people diss X-Box and Halo out of jealousy... I say this is a fact because I know first hand. Im a hardcore Playstation player, and have been since it first came out. When I found out that Microsoft was coming out with a console, I immediately thought "Well here comes the next Jaguar." and quickly dismissed it.

I then heard all the hype about Halo. I quickly threw that away as being "a game for people that like FPS games" and paid it no mind. I was a hardcore X-Box hater, and drank the haterade every day. Then I was over a friends house, and played Halo for 2 minutes. Now, I absolutely hate FPS games, cause its so tunnel vision. I enjoy games like Resident Evil much more, well I used to anyway. I started playing Halo and loved it! Shortly after playing with my friend, I hit up Ebay and bought one really cheap, I was still not wanting to give Microsoft any of my money and only wanted it for Halo. Then when I found out about Rainbow Six 3, I went out and grabbed it.

I can honestly say that X-Box is a far superior gaming machine than either PS2 or Gamecube. The library may not be as extensive, nor may they have many main stream "high profile" games like Resident Evil, Sonic The Hedgehog or Mario, but they do hold their own when it comes down to quality of their games. As we all know, game quality is much more important than quantinty. Id much prefer to be stuck playing 3 games that look as good as real life, than be able to play 300 games, that look subpar to stick figures. Overall, anyone that rips into Halo or the X-Box, is most likely because theyve never experianced what it can do first hand, and have just heard all the hype. X-Box is the closest gaming console to offer competition to computer games.
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sasah
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-12 09:53 am (UTC)
Sorry to abuse your journal space like this, Mat, but may I please ask:

Was there at some point an intention to allow the MC to sprint with weapons lowered? I've seen something of this nature implemented in the covenant vehicles, but I've been unable to find this feature anywhere else? Is this my mental retardation at work?

.se.
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angryzenmaster
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-11-12 10:41 am (UTC)
CUT!

One of those things that in retrospect we shouldn't have talked about.

MSN
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(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand


fluid_darkness
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-12-03 02:52 pm (UTC)
Just curious - is Bungie aware of these so-called exploits?

Link
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(Anonymous)
Subject:Just...
Link:(Link)
Time:2005-09-07 10:56 pm (UTC)
Anyone who complains about games: Go sell your copy to someone else, and get Supreme Commander, or go to hell.
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(Anonymous)
Link:(Link)
Time:2004-12-06 03:01 pm (UTC)
Man, UHF is the BEST movie. Thanks for quoting it!
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And then, "Fun With Dirt!" - shunji — LiveJournal
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