Looking at the forums I would like to drop my observations and opinions and hopefully educate and raise awareness.
I have been working with games and advanced programming for over five years now, for years now I have been working with a great set of programmers on technology far more advanced than anything that can be run on the 360 or for that matter most high end gaming computers today.
I have both worked on and with most commercial quality game engines such as Unreal 3, CryEngine 3. I have seen first hand the tools behind today’s Halo games many thanks to friends at Microsoft.
Observations Strictly Professional = Dark Red
Personal Thoughts = Dark Blue
The Technology Itself
Starting off with the obviousness graphical enhancements, I have observed a slight enhancement on the engines lighting on wrap round you can clearly see light beams created by directional light sources.
However that said all lighting seems pre-baked rather than realtime so with that in mind there is no chance of dynamic shadowing. Which I can remember was highly requested.
On a frame-rate note it’s confirmed to be 30 frames per second which is actually for the best as resource management behind the Halo engine has not really ever been greatly upgraded. 60 frames per second also adds a massive amount of extra heat to the old model ANA Scalar chip causing hardware malfunctions however Microsoft have never commented on the problem.
I personally have experienced ANA hardware faults on my Xbox Development Kit whilst playing a 60 fps game.
As a developer on a technical standpoint I am surprised that there has not been a engine re-build, Yet as a Halo player I am happy with the decision not to even do a small rebuild as it means all code in the game has been thoroughly tested from previous releases, yet I am concerned other’s won’t see it that way.
The Rest of the technical improvements
Without radical change in this new installment on a technical stand-point I would say it is extremely un-likely that this new trilogy will ever step up and be technically ahead of the rest.
The actual engine toolkit seem’s sub standard, from what I have seen.
Havok Physics is still on the bar but is outmatched by PhysX and Vortex yest again a new resource manager would need to be implemented and the entire engine would need to be made more modular.
Halo’s animation is still smooth and perfectly in sync, and the audio cannot be vastly improved.
In my opinion 343 are like every other studio out there, in it for the profits, not to advance technology or enrich users experiences at their own financial loss. On a second note whilst Frank O’Conner and Kiki Wolfkill are both good mediators they lack deep technical understanding.
IMO, Badly timed and poorly executed, They gave details to the press and not the fans causing a slight upset across the community. For example the whole AA’s and perks argument.
Where to begin, I know a list;
Fans are not going to adapt to change whatever anyone says. Period. 343 and MGS (Microsoft Game Studios) should have thought of that from the outset.
BR back is a step towards a more competitive Halo without effecting casual players
Yet there seems to be a randomization effect on the burst and not hit scan I could be wrong.
The maps are a step in the right direction, but I will need to get hands on before I comment further, Warhouse being described as Sword Base is a problem for me as a competitive player.
Catering to casual players seems to be a trending theme, creating a consistent Mutiplayer experiences is a plus for the competitive community without damaging the casual community.
Randomized weapon spawn times = reduction of skill gap further not a good move.
Loadouts and player upgrade like systems will effect gameplay however I will again need to have hands on to comment further yet from a preliminary point of view it seems to have taken the essence of Halo and destroyed it.
Just form the point of view that a game starts and everyone is on a level playing field, Imagine football where one team is without padding and you’ll see my logic.
Ranking and Investment
All for modifying ranking and player investment as long as the skilled players who spend time practicing to get better are rewarded over casual players who don’t practice or try their hardest.
And Trueskill would be a way to do that very effectively.
Please give me your thoughts. Thanks