7th Columnist


Telerunning
October 22, 2007, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Custom, Forge, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

Stuck for things to do in Halo 3? I highly doubt it, what with all these Skulls, Terminals and Multiplayer sessions. But maybe you’ve not been introduced to the beauty that is ‘telerunning’ yet…

Exploiting a small glitch in the game, ‘Telerunning’ is born out of the fact that a player’s velocity is increased when travelling through teleporters. By stringing together mutliple teleporters using Forge, it is possible to create fun tricking and jumping maps or ‘teleruns’.

A ‘Telerun’ is a course which uses the speed gained from travelling through one teleporter to another to cover huge distances and reach far out points of a map in record time, creating a sort of ‘run’ for skilled players to go through, hence ‘telerunning’.

Still not sure what I’m babbling on about? Check out this video below. It’s truly amazing.

The guys over at High Impact Halo have already created several maps ranging in difficulty to show the basics of what can be done with the technique, which can be downloaded below:

Gametype
Telerunning

Maps
jt_telerun-easy
jt_telerun-med
jt_telerun-hard

Demos
jt_trun-demo_1 (Easy)
jt_trun-demo_2 (Med)
jt_trun-demo_3 (Hard)

Before you play here’s a couple things you should know:

  • Lag reduces your speed a bit so it’s important to have low ping when trying these. Sometimes perfect ping is required to do them. For this reason they are not recommended to be played in big parties.
  • The teleporter’s are never set up to be jumped out of when in mid air because the host can’t.
  • On the hard version, each stage has a separate teleporter that takes you back to the start when you miss, which you will…many times =P

So forget Portal, when it comes to teleporter tomfoolery, Halo 3 is where it’s at. Yet another fan-made reason why Halo 3 is sure to stick around for many years to come.

Props to mr0llie, Reidon, Cloud7654, and Maluu for creating this first batch of maps.

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Halotivational Posters
October 17, 2007, 2:11 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo 3, News

We got word the other day of a new site being set up by deadox1138 showcasing motivational posters put together using Halo 3 screenshots.

Already there’s some great submissions on the site, which seems to be taking off nicely. If you’d like to add your own (this Columnist has) then the process is simple enough – grab your screen from bungie.net, whip over to here for a handy online poster creator, and fire it off to the site via the following email address:

gameguy900[at]yahoo[dot]com

If that doesn’t scratch your Halo art itch, then you could always swing by the newly created Halolcats and contribute there. Or even Abstrakt, another new site showcasing fine art from the Halo 3 engine.

Whatever your poison, there’s now even less of a reason for you not to change your desktop wallpaper on a near daily basis.



New EVA and CQB figures
October 13, 2007, 5:19 am
Filed under: Gaming, Halo 3, Merchandise, News

With Halo 3 came new armour variants and with that comes the Mcfarlane Toys announcement of new figures to reflect the new threads.

Much like the Master Chief figure, all of the new Spartan figures will be 5 inches tall, with more than 18 points of articulation. Each equipped with an assault rifle and grenade accessories, which in turn can be hand-held or stored on the figure’s back or leg.

The new figures are as follows:

Spartan with MJOLNIR Mark VI Armor
– Red Version (available at all retailers)
– White Version (Specialty stores exclusive)
Upon arrival at Cairo station, the Master Chief’s heavily damaged Mark V suit was replaced with a Mark VI. This armor was slimmed down even more to increase movement.

Spartan with CQB Armor
– Blue Version (Wal-Mart exclusive)
The Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Armor is a variant of the standard Mark VI MJOLNIR powered battle armor. Specialized to improve survivability in close combat for the SPARTAN-II super soldiers by improving joint mobility.

Spartan with EVA Armor
– Red Version (available at all retailers)
The EVA Armor (EVA) is a variant of the standard Mark VI MJOLNIR powered battle armor, specialized to increase exo-atmospheric endurance and improve mobility in zero gravity for the SPARTAN-II super soldiers.

Check ’em out here, and expect to find them on store shelves come March.



7th Columnist TV
October 12, 2007, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Machinima, New Content, News

Big news guys. You ready?

Some of you may have noticed a new navigation button up there on the right hand side of this page, excitingly labelled 7thC TV.

Well, I’d like to take this opportunity to unveil the newest feature of the 7th Columnist, coming to you in the shape of exactly that… 7th Columnist TV!
That’s right, you can now waste hours upon end watching Halo related broadcasting 24/7 in that unique 7th Columnist flavour.

It’s still in it’s infancy right now, but you can expect it to grow pretty fast as much more is added to the channel. Everything from special 7th Columnist shows and interviews, to our very own weekly 7th Army Challenges (of which there’ll be more news on very soon), Machinima videos and of course your best saved films and clips.

In the future there’ll even be 100% LIVE shows taking place, that you’ll be able to tune into and view… and hell, maybe even be a part of!

The current TV listings can be viewed in our forum here.

If you’ve got anything of your own that you’d perhaps like featured on the channel, please drop us a line via the contact page with links (youtube will do, but obviously the higher the quality the better) and we’ll see what we can sort out… alternatively you can always upload your submission to the Video Vaults and I’ll pull them from there. Remember though, any submission MUST be your own content.

I’m really excited about this new feature and hope you all eventually enjoy it as much as I have these past few days struggling to make it happen.

So go take a look – Turn on, tune in and frag out.



Blank Forge Maps
October 8, 2007, 9:09 pm
Filed under: Custom, Forge, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

By now I think it’s fair to assume most of us have completed Halo 3’s campaign, seen the ending, wept, saluted et al… It’s also fair to think that multiplayer has probably consumed more than one or two nights since launch as well. One thing that may have been overlooked by many though, and something I’ve really only recently sat down to sink my teeth into… is Forge.

Personally, I think it’s awesome. I know there’s a been a few grumblings here and there to do with limited budgets, specific objects/weapons/vehicles not being available on certain maps and whatnot, but already I’ve come across some mind boggling-ly different variants that have really opened me up to the potential of Bungie’s new ‘in-game real-time object postion-er’ thing.

If you’re like me – and only just beginning to play around. Using Forge to create inescapable rooms filled with spawn points, fusion cores and fuel canisters… you’ll probably agree the most annoying thing about the new mode is the lack of an erase all button. I mean, if I want to create my own totally unique map variant then I want to start from scratch. I want my complete budget from the get-go, without having to go around hunting for objects already placed on each map to delete just so I can place one more sadistic fusion core in the ‘Pit of Death’.

Pit of Death v1.1

Sadly, short of Bungie implementing such a feature in a future update, that’s exactly what we have to do. Or at least, had to do. One plucky B.net user has painstakingly gone through each of the maps on offer and removed every object placed on them as standard, leaving us with 11 new blank ‘canvas’ maps to get creative with.

High Ground Canvas
Snowbound Canvas
Sandtrap Canvas
Valhalla Canvas
The Pit Canvas
Narrows Canvas
Last Resort Canvas
Isolation Canvas
Guardian Canvas
Epitaph Canvas
Construct Canvas

So grab your copies from the links above, fire up your 360 and get forging new maps and gametypes. Share them with us below or in our forum and perhaps I’ll even start to showcase the best ones each week accross these very web pages.

I gotta say though… a special 7th Columnist map sure would be swell, wouldn’t it?



Bungie. A private entity
October 5, 2007, 6:27 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, News

The Bungie Weekly What’s Update has hit early this week and contains some pretty big news…

Bungie is no longer owned by Microsoft. Microsoft will still be publishing their games however and they’re still working primarily on the Xbox 360 (for now)… but as of October 1st they are no longer owned by the big M. The full press release can be read below:

Bungie Studios Becomes Privately Held Independent Company

Bungie and Microsoft forge new long-term relationship.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Oct. 5, 2007 — Bungie and Microsoft Corp. today announced a plan for Bungie Studios, the developers of Microsoft’s “Halo” franchise, to become a privately held independent company, Bungie, LLC, in which Microsoft will hold a minority equity interest. As part of this transaction, Bungie and Microsoft have forged a deep and long-term development and publishing relationship focused on the continued success of the “Halo” franchise. It is also the intent of both parties to expand their partnership to include new IP created and owned by Bungie.

Bungie’s critically acclaimed Xbox 360® exclusive “Halo 3” achieved $300 million in global sales in its first week. Released on Tuesday, Sept. 25, “Halo 3” is the fastest-selling video game ever and already one of the most successful entertainment properties in history.

“This exciting evolution of our relationship with Microsoft will enable us to expand both creatively and organizationally in our mission to create world-class games,” said Harold Ryan, studio head for Bungie. “We will continue to develop with our primary focus on Microsoft’s platforms; we greatly value our mutually prosperous relationship with our publisher, Microsoft Game Studios, and we look forward to continuing that affiliation through ‘Halo’ and beyond.”

“Working with Microsoft was great for us, it allowed us to grow as a team and make the ambitious, blockbuster games we all wanted to work on.  And they will continue to be a great partner.  But Bungie is like a shark.  We have to keep moving to survive.  We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins.  Or manatees,” said Jason Jones, Bungie founder and partner.

Bungie’s management retained the services of Don Leeds, senior managing director of B-Hive Global, LLC, to assist in the structuring of the deal and negotiating on their behalf. Bungie will remain in Kirkland, Washington, and is always looking to hire excellent talent.

About Bungie

Bungie was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and to sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the “Marathon” trilogy and the first two “Myth” games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Bungie’s “Halo” franchise is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 18 million units worldwide, logging billions of hours of multiplayer action on Xbox LIVE®, and spawning action figures, books, graphic novels, soundtracks, apparel and more. The critically acclaimed “Halo 3”, released on Tuesday, Sept. 25th 2007, is the fastest-selling video game ever, achieving $300 million in global sales its first week,  making it one of the most successful entertainment properties in history. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.

But that’s not all, Bungie have been taking questions from the public for a few days now and will be delivering their answers on all things Halo 3 throughout the day. Be sure to swing by the WWU regularly for updates.



Neill Blomkamp Interview
October 4, 2007, 10:28 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Movies, News

Creativity online recently had the chance to sit down with director of the Halo 3 shorts, Neill Blomkamp, to discuss the promo videos, the movie and the future of the man behind Halo’s ill-fated big screen adaptation.

Creative: Where, in the grand scheme of what you had done so far on the Halo film, did these shorts stack up? Where did they come from?

Neill: This is the first I’ve really spoken about those pieces. There’s such a massive misconception about what those are. In essence, those pieces have zero to do with the film. Like less than zero. I worked on the film for a few months and we developed a lot of things during that time, and none of that has anything to do with the shorts. Long, long long after the film died, Bungie and Microsoft asked me if I wanted to be involved in the Halo 3 promotional stuff, just because I knew all of the guys at Bungie, and I was like Yeah, sure, that sounds like fun. I went about starting to make those three pieces back with a lot of the guys from Weta who had made the original film. All of the design and everything that we’d made for the film is just locked up in some locker somewhere, so all of the stuff for the shorts is specifically for the short films, from scratch. It’s basically, I guess, viral advertising for Halo 3, it’s one of the many different promotional pieces you find out there.

Creative: Where were those shot? Someone said they were shot in a dump?

Neill: Yeah, that’s true, it’s a landfill, in Wellington. Wellington has a very mountainous terrain, it’s difficult to find open space here. There’s a lot of films happening right here so a lot of the studios and the areas that people usually use for filming have been taken up. So I just needed a chunk of land with some architecture that we could film a miniature action sequence in. So it ended up being the most open land, this chunk of landfill, which is what it was. We were standing on top of a landfill.

Creative: Are there any more components?

Neill: There are three, one quick promotional piece for E3 and two pieces that are like little action sequences, that’s it.

Creative: We’ve seen a lot of your work before that features shots with different types of vision, like CCTV and grainy readouts. This sequence was great in part because of the mix of different feeds, it’s like that’s become your style.

Neill: I have an interest in degraded, screwed-up looking footage as opposed to beautiful, well set up picturesque imagery. So, and I think, once you resign yourself to being OK with lo-fi, degraded images, then you can start to pull imagery from a lot of different places. Like that overhead infra-red photography, that idea just came from looking at military footage that you see where they’re dealing with quite chunky, compressed 640×480 video that’s coming off the battlefield, and unmanned aerial vehicles that photograph that stuff in infra-red. I just wanted to mimic that. But you have to be OK with saying I’m not going to go out there and make something that looks like a Darius Khondji, kind of lit, beautiful piece. You have to be OK with saying “Yeah, it’s going to look like shit, but it’s going to feel a little bit more real.”

Creative: Was that how the movie would look?

Neill: Yeah, I was going to push that as far as [I could] until the studios kind of threw a noose around me. I was going to go as far with that as I possibly could. I wanted it to feel like the most brutal, real version of science fiction in a war environment that you’ve seen in a while. And Universal was on board with that. I don’t really remember what Fox thought about it, but Universal seemed down with it. It would have been cool, it would have been a unique take on things, science fiction in a dirty, organic way.

Creative: What do you draw on for that sort of thing? Lots of sci-fi is super stylized and meticulous.

Neill: It’s an interesting question; it depends on where you’re coming from. I’m really, really interested in science fiction, but I’m not interested in the way science fiction is being portrayed, definitely over the last ten years. For me it’s more like reality, a lot of the stuff comes from imagery, even just coming out of Iraq. That’s, to some extent, the most technologically advanced war that’s been fought so far, if you can call it a war. And the reality of some of the footage you get out of there I find quite amazing, it looks very real, very organic and real and all of the light is always overexposed, and the way the vehicles look, I want to try and mimic that. So I guess that’s my inspiration right now. I don’t really want to call war inspiration, that’s really fucked up, but you know what I mean.

Creative: That’s been one of the things to think about with all the Halo stuff, here’s a mythologized space war, when there’s a really big war already going on.

Neill: Oh man, I couldn’t agree with you more, I’ve spent long hours thinking about that, and it’s absolutely true. There’s a very strange fine line that exists there that you’ve got to be very careful that you don’t step over. I’m very, very aware of that. I’m not making the film anymore so it doesn’t matter, but yeah, I was definitely aware of that, and I wanted to be respectful of that. The thing I was going to do was pull it more towards that mythology and more towards the science fiction. I wasn’t trying to have any moral or ethic point of view pushed through me, through the film, I was just going to keep it pure entertainment.

Creative: We heard you were off the film and it was surprising. How did that happen?

Neill: The film is entirely dead. In the configuration it was in. Whatever happens with that movie, assuming that movie gets made, will be a totally different configuration. It’s not so much me as the entire vessel sank. Basically, it was a combination of; there were two studios involved that weren’t getting along in the process of making it, Universal and Fox. That kind of stuff happens, it’s a fragile industry. So the film collapsed at the end of last year, and it’s been dead, ever since then. I’ll be curious to see what happens.

Creative: Well, the game’s come out and it’s outsold everything. You have to have some sort of hope. Peter Jackson said something like,”We’ll see what happens when the game comes out.”

Neill: There was not even one percent of my mind in doing those short pieces to try and resurrect the film. And I think maybe that’s because I’m closer to the film, I know how hard it fell, and I know that doing things like that was not how you’re going to get it back on its feet. I never went about making those little pieces like I was trying to resurrect the film. If you’re spending that much money there’s too many different items that have to align themselves in order for things to work out. And if that happens, that happens. But those shorts certainly aren’t going to be what leads it on.

Creative: But you’re a filmmaker, you can’t even worry about the little details that have to align themselves.

Neill: Yeah, you’re right. What happened once it collapsed is it made me turn inward and figure out what exactly I felt like doing. In other words, That film is gone, what do I feel like doing? And I realized what I felt like doing pretty quickly, like within thirty seconds. And promptly moved on to that. So you’re right, I guess if the film collapsed and I was hell-bent on wanting to do whatever I could to try and get it back up I probably would have done something different than what I did, but I moved in a different direction, and no one knows what that is because I’ve never spoken about it before, and it’s taken eight months or ten months to get to where it is now, sooner or later I’ll start revealing in piece what I’ve been doing.

Creative: But you’ve remained in New Zealand so that leads me to believe you’re still close with Jackson and Weta?

Neill: Yeah, but I could just like surfing at Lyle Bay. But I am close with Weta, that’s true. There’s a lot of really cool people in there, a lot of likeminded guys.

Creative: Jackson’s comments, he seems to play this dual role where he’s a great creator and he also has the Hollywood, business clout. Does any part of you hold out for reconciliation and getting the Halo movie back on track or is it over and done?

Neill: As I’m getting older one of the things I’ve realized most about this industry is never say never. That’s the first thing. Right now, I can’t see myself doing that film. But I’m not going to say that I’m not going to do it. So in the present moment, right now, I could take it or leave it. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. There’s too much interesting shit out there. The film has the capacity, if things line up correctly, to be, I think, really cool. But it ended up collapsing, and things happen for a reason.

Creative: Was it difficult for you to go back and do the shorts after you’d resigned yourself to the film project not working out?

Neill: Not at all. It was a completely different process. Those were just a lot of fun. Essentially I shot a commercial. Those were made with the same budget as a lot of commercials I did. I did a lot of ads that actually had a higher budget than those pieces. There was nothing in those pieces that were related, in any form, to how a feature film would have been made. It was a totally different process. I was off doing something else and it was like Oh, shit, cool, let me go do that for a couple of days. Trent Opaloch, who’s my buddy from Vancouver, a DP from Vancouver, he flew down here and we shot it on HVX handheld video cameras. One of my other friends in L.A., Oliver, he did all the VFX, like out of his house. Weta didn’t do any of the digital stuff. Weta Workshop, which is actually very seperate from Weta Digital, was heavily involved. They built all of the Marines and the Warthog and that stuff, but Weta Digital didn’t do a single thing. An entirely separate company. When I was in Wellington I just used to communicate with Oliver in L.A. and check on how the spots were coming while he was working on them. It was pretty fun, actually.

Read the full interview here.