Correcting technical issues of past Halo games.

Hello everyone, I was going to post this in some suggestion thread, but felt it might be nice to see how other people felt about these issues.

I feel 343i should absolutely aim for a more HaloCE like MP experience. But this is of course not going to happen, Halo MP has been on a downward spiral since Halo 2. I think bungie never actually had any idea how to make a good MP, HaloCE’s perfection was more like an accident (and they even themselves dare to call it flawed, kinda funny and speaks volumes about their idea of a good MP). I’ve nearly lost all hope with this series, so my expectations for Halo4 aren’t too high.
(/rant)

Some (a bit more technical) suggestions for creating ‘the ultimate Halo4 MP experience’, hear me out 343…

Framerate and general responsiveness; I cant stress how important these are in MP. Game developers should face one fact; 30fps is outdated. You might say that it doesn’t have to be higher since our eyes perceive 24fps as smooth motion blahblah, alright, go play HaloPC for example, first try 30fps setting, then switch to VSYNC and see the difference. There might a technical reason for console developers to have their game run at either 30 or 60 fps, but if there isn’t, then why not aim for atleast 40 or 50 fps? Even 40 would make a remarkable difference…
About responsiveness and things such as input lag. Basically; gameplay > graphics. Compare Halo2 with Halo3, while Halo2 wasn’t perfect in this aspect, it certainly performed much better than Halo3. Halo3’s input lag was utterly horrible, I didn’t even want to get deeper in to the MP because the unresponsiveness was so frustrating, even with a CRT monitor (god help those who played with a cheap plasma TV). Halo2 was very much playable, casually even with the cheap plasma. Reach does pretty good here, not nearly in the levels of CoD though, which I think 343 should aim for.
In short; fix framerate and input lag!

FOV and it’s relation to tempo: a fun fact for you guys who think HaloCE had faster run speed than other Halo’s, it does not. It might actually be slower. The reason why it felt faster is FOV! This is kinda hard to explain with my crappy english, I might make a video to demonstrate. Anyways, HaloCE had a FOV of 90 degrees I think, other Halo’s have like 70 or 80. Remember how HaloCE had kinda like a fisheye view? Walls and stuff would stretch out a bit in the edges of your screen and that’s what gives you the illusion of speed, the extended FOV does this. In many ways it is just much more fun to play with a wider FOV, and you could even go as far as 110 degrees in Halo4. I will never understand why they dumbed down the FOV in later Halo’s, it just feels insane… Maybe they indeed did it to slow down the game? But why not use some other method?
In short; fix the FOV, up to 110 degrees.

Reticule positioning… this is really a rather minor thing. But why is the reticule shifted downward in all Halo’s after CE? Just another useless ‘innovation’. Now when I aim at someones head, I need to look slightly up, which feels weird. Put the thing back to the center…

There are more things which I dont have time to talk about now, but I feel these are a few core issues that desperately need to be addressed. I dont think many people even notice or think about this stuff, but if corrected they would make Halo4 MP a much better experience.

Discussion, suggestions, ideas?

This isnt a very technical post but I feel that Halo: Reach’s gameplay overall is just sluggish compared to their past games. Turning your spartan makes the game way more blurred than it should be, theres a bit of a longer response time for input, and I’m just not impressed at all with the direction that Bungie took the graphics of Halo: Reach. They just dont look good IMO. While they are better than Halo 3, I think Halo 3 flowed much smoother during gameplay. (All multiplayer opinions).

But at the end of the day, gameplay > graphics. And Reach has a ton of gameplay issues, so I’m more focused on voicing my opinion about gameplay for Halo 4.

With all due respect, OP: Though I agree that the graphics engine is rife with technical problems, I think that you are completing missing the point. The fact that the game runs at 30fps is definitely not the biggest technical issue with Reach’s graphics engine.

Simply put, Reach’s graphics engine is constantly on the brink of collapse. It is comparatively easy to cause frame rate drops that are noticeable even to the most inexperienced casuals. There are cases – usually involving Forged maps – where it is better to think in terms of seconds per frame than frames per second! And this is just when the graphics engine is mildly burdened.

When the graphics engine is actually overloaded, it fails spectacularly and, in some cases, catastrophically. The most notable and prevalent kind of all-out engine failure takes the form of a glitch called “discoing”. If too many objects are in one’s field of view – even if they aren’t all visible – then the game’s lighting engine will break, and every visible object will flicker and flash like panels on a disco ball. The number of objects required to cause discoing is divided when one goes into split-screen; more screens, fewer objects needed. This is actually a crippling problem for Forgers; most Forgers will hit the disco limit long before they hit the budget or object-count limits!

You’re probably aware of the massive graphical overhauls that happen from Halo game to Halo game. I can say almost with certainty that if 343 performs another significant upgrade to the graphics engine without making it more stable, then Forgers won’t even be able to place fifty objects before discoing occurs!

In short, there are far more pressing issues with the graphics engine than the fact that 30fps is too low for some players. And by “more pressing issues”, I mean the fact that the graphics engine is always about to explode.

(You’ll note that much of this commentary is from a Forger’s perspective. This is because Forge pushes the limits harder than anything else in the game. It’s also because if it weren’t for Forge, Halo 3 and Halo: Reach wouldn’t have even survived for half as long as they did. Halo 4 needs an entirely new and stable graphics engine, even if for no other reason than to allow Forgers to extend the game’s lifespan.)

one thing that ive always thought was epic bad for halo (and any FPS game for that matter) was how you shoot bullets out of the top of your head. this leads to abuse when people know how to exploit this, especially people with high ground (an already amazing advantage by itself, without abusing this).

you barely peek over the top of something, with the cover touching the bottom of your reticule, and they can see 4 pixels of the top of your head, whilst you can see their entire body. its -Yoink- ridiculous, and almost every FPS game has it like that. i wonder how many years it will be before bullets actually travel out the GUN, or AT THE VERY LEAST out the upper chest and not the forehead.

> one thing that ive always thought was epic bad for halo (and any FPS game for that matter) was how you shoot bullets out of the top of your head. this leads to abuse when people know how to exploit this, especially people with high ground (an already amazing advantage by itself, without abusing this).
>
> you barely peek over the top of something, with the cover touching the bottom of your reticule, and they can see 4 pixels of the top of your head, whilst you can see their entire body. its Yoink! ridiculous, and almost every FPS game has it like that. i wonder how many years it will be before bullets actually travel out the GUN, or AT THE VERY LEAST out the upper chest and not the forehead.

The problem originates from the setting that your reticle is on the height of your face. If it was made that the bullets actually come out of your head, it would look weird from the first person perspective and be nearly unplayable as playing like the bullets came out of your chest looks somewhat weird. This problem won’t be fixed anytime soon because it can’t be fixed.

What comes to OP’s issues:

Framerate isn’t the problem, as DavidJCobb said, the problem is that Halo Reach pushes the graphics engine to it’s limits. In reality, 25 fps is all we would ever need, if games ran as smoothly as movies do. But we don’t live in a perfect world, this is why the frame-rate needs to be higher. 30 fps is enough as long as the engine doesn’t need to do too big calculations, unfortunately this is exactly what the Halo Reach engine does. Higher frame-rate makes the game feel smoother simply by lowering the graphical quality. It isn’t a magical tool that removes all problems. Halo only needs graphics engine that can process all the calculations required.

Input lag isn’t something fixed with the game engine. Input lag comes from hardware used, there is not much the software can do about it. You can’t really notice input lag unless there is a huge difference in it. Yes, you can feel it, but can’t see it. At least I can’t see it as I am only a normal human being.

The field of view is the only actual “problem” with the game. However, I must say that Halo CE run speed was at least on par with Halo 2 and Halo 2 was higher than 3 and Reach. Field of view is something that I would like to see at 90 degrees. I’m afraid making it any higher would cause the screen to look too distorted and weird.

At last, reticle positioning is something trying to compensate the problem urza mentioned. Moving the reticle closer to where the bullets should come from does it’s job well. I personally have had little problems with this feature. Only actual problem is that if I try to keep my reticle at the head height before I see an opponent, I end up shooting the opponent in the chest.

> Reticule positioning… this is really a rather minor thing. But why is the reticule shifted downward in all Halo’s after CE? Just another useless ‘innovation’. Now when I aim at someones head, I need to look slightly up, which feels weird. Put the thing back to the center…

With that I agree wholeheartedly. It just feels completely unnatural and weird if the reticle is so far down. After all, a human’s field of view allows to perceive more what’s slightly below than above the “horizon”, as this image shows. This in turn means that the reticle actually ought to be above the screen’s center, although I’d be fine if it was in the center again.

In all Halo games after H:CE I’m constantly looking down a bit because it feels to unnatural. And of course this has the disadvantage to you have to look up to level your reticle, which in turn means that your opponents get the first shot.