7th Columnist


Mjolnir Mix for Guitar Hero III
November 21, 2007, 7:46 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Gaming, Halo, News

That’s right, although it was rumoured for inclusion in the 360 version of Guitar Hero II, the rocked up Halo theme sadly never made it to the final cut.

While some determined fans did go to the effort of modifying the original Playstation version to include the track (as seen in the video below), that was as good as it ever got… until now.

It would seem both Activision and Microsoft have heard the community cries, and seen fit to rectify the situation. So, as of tomorrow, the Halo theme (MJOLNIR mix) featuring the explosive talents of the legendary Steve Vai will be available for download from Xbox Live Marketplace – exclusively for Guitar Hero III.

Wondering what could be better? Try the price… it’ll be free.

Rock on.



Halo: Uprising #2 Preview
November 21, 2007, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo 3, News

Part two of Marvel’s four part Halo Uprising series should finally be on sale now, but if you feel like sampling the goods before you part with your cash, the good folks over at MySpace Comic Books have put up a six page preview in their blog.

Here’s what Marvel.com has to say about the issue:

The award-winning team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev unveil a new chapter in the Halo mythos. Master Chief is captured and interrogated by Covenant forces. While back on Earth, a star-crossed human couple tries to stay alive as every single thing they hold dear is taken from them. Earth is falling to alien invaders, and no one knows what or where the mysterious artifact known as “the Key” is. The human race is at the brink of destruction—can the bravery of a few turn the tide?

Head over to the MySpace Comic Books blog to grab the pages for yourself, or use our conveniently placed links below.

Halo: Uprising #2 Cover
Table of Contents

Miscellaneous Pages:

Page Two
Page Three

Page Fourteen
Page Fifteen

Page Twenty-eight
Page Twenty-nine

Awesome stuff, and with news of hardback version being made available next spring once the series is all wrapped up, Uprising is turning into a real must-have for Halo and Marvel fans alike.



Halo 3 Rube Goldberg Machines
November 21, 2007, 2:27 pm
Filed under: Custom, Forge, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

Those looking for new things to try out in Forge might wanna think about creating their own Rube Goldberg style machines. Making use of Halo 3’s physics engine and the explosive nature of Fusion Cores, maybe you’d like to:

Commit suicide

or trap a n00b.

Great stuff indeed. Has anyone else out there had the patience to create something truly special (and a little bit different) through Forge?

Thanks to the herculean efforts of Ice V and Ultimate Dragon for the vids respectively.



Bungie Q&A: Foundry
November 20, 2007, 12:02 am
Filed under: Downloads, Forge, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

After hearing a little more about Standoff and Rat’s Nest, it’s time for Bungie’s Christopher Barrett (Barry) and Steve Cotton to talk Foundry, or the map formally known as Art Vandelay.

Q: Foundry is completely different from any map Bungie has made for a Halo game, how so?

Christopher Barrett:
Foundry was designed from the beginning to be a Forge level. There is an almost limitless amount of potential map designs that can be made by arranging objects in different configurations. You can remake Hang ‘Em High out of crates. Kind of.

Steve Cotton:
The second you see someone delete the entire level in Forge, you realize the potential a space like this has. The default layout Tyson put together is great, but the possibilities are definitely greater.

Q: Was Foundry’s art inspired by areas from a Campaign space like Rat’s Nest?

Christopher Barrett:
We loved the feel of the Warehouse area in the campaign [on Voi] and it really made for an ideal playground that could be filled with lots of modular crates.

Q: Tom Doyle called the Forge objects for Foundry “Legos” – what kinds of items are players going to have at their disposal?

Steve Cotton:
Legos that look like all the things you might find in a Warehouse in Halo.

Christopher Barrett:
All the things you’ll need to make a great multiplayer playground. Man-sized crates, walls, fences, stairs, bridges, and of course fusion coils. I wouldn’t trust anything Tom Doyle says if I were you. He’s shifty.

Q: What’s the default set-up on Foundry? What’s it built for?

Christopher Barrett:
The layout that will be include with the map is set up to work well to support as many gametypes as possible. But once players get a hold of it with Forge I can’t wait to see what people will do with it!

Q: It’s not a huge map so what’s the ideal player count for Foundry’s shenanigans?

Christopher Barrett:
I can’t think of anything funny to say about this question other than being impressed you somehow fit shenanigans into one of the questions.

Steve Cotton:
4-12. Unless you’re Barry and then probably 1. Playing Halo isn’t the only thing he does by himself.

Q: In daily playtests, what gametypes have been the most successful on Foundry?

Christopher Barrett:
Most gametypes work great on Foundry. I definitely had some memorable Territories and Assault games. Kill Barry, repeatedly, has been a popular one.

Steve Cotton:
Yes. Kill Barry. As well as traditional Slayer and CTF.



Bungie Q&A: Rat’s Nest
November 19, 2007, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Forge, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

Chris ‘Barry’ Barrett and Steve Cotton of Bungie continue to talk new Halo 3 maps, this time looking at John Carpenter’s Prince of Dorkness, now officially known as Rat’s Nest.

Q: Rat’s Nest, that sounds like Crow’s Nest, the second level from the Halo 3 campaign, surely this isn’ t a coincidence – but it’s also not simply reused space, what’s the deal?

Christopher Barrett:
We really wanted to create an indoor multiplayer level, something we hadn’t done a lot of in Halo 3 and the setting of Crow’s Nest was a perfect fit.

Steve Cotton:
Rat’s Nest is a great example of a simple idea that turned out to be a great map. And it was only a simple idea because Barry came up with it.

Christopher Barrett:
We felt that the single-player mission wasn’t long enough so we wanted to make you play through it again over and over in multiplayer.

Q: It’s a pretty big map with a lot of smaller, tighter combat spaces, how do art and design create those spaces and make sure they play nicely?

Christopher Barrett:
A lot of testing and iteration. We also wanted to give a nice balance to larger open spaces where big battles can occur with vehicles and also allow some close quarters combat. The combination really worked great. The first part of this question makes me feel weird. I’m not sure why.

Q: What kind of items will populate Rat’s Nest’s Forge palette?

Christopher Barrett:
A hamster wheel and wood shavings.

Steve Cotton:
Who hasn’t always wanted to drive a Scorpion tank inside.

Q: What’s been the biggest change in Rat’s Nest from the prototype/concept phase to the “ship it” phase?

Christopher Barrett:
Originally the entire map was indoor and underground. We had the idea of opening up the wall to let in the sunlight, give an epic view and create a memorable space. Doing that really added a lot to the visual feel of the level. We almost forgot to put any rats in the level.

Steve Cotton:
That better not be why we were losing performance!

Q: What’s the ideal player count for Rat’s Nest?

Christopher Barrett:
6-16 Players, it will really add to the Big Team Battle matchmaking hoppers online.

Q: Which gametypes have worked the best? What would you guys like to see in Matchmaking?

Steve Cotton:
The typical symmetrical games work well, Multi-flag, Territories, Neutral bomb, Team Slayer.

Christopher Barrett:
Infection on Rat’s Nest is great, the dark moody atmosphere and all the hiding places make it idea for zombie hunting. There is a perfect race track around the outside!



Bungie Q&A: Standoff
November 19, 2007, 11:43 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Forge, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

Bungie’s Christopher Barrett, (AKA Barry) the creative director of Downloadable Content and Steve Cotton, the DLC design have sat down to answer a bunch of questions about the new multiplayer maps announced today, in order to give us a better idea of what they’re actually like, starting with Standoff.

Q: For reasons that should become obvious now, Frankie referred to Standoff as Jodrell Bank. What inspired the creation of this outdoor playground?

Christopher Barrett:
Standoff, or Bunkerworld as it’s known internally was one of the maps we had originally planned as one of the Halo 3 release multiplayer maps. Because of time we ended up postponing it until DLC, and here it is!

Steve Cotton:
We wanted a small, outdoor, vehicle map. It started out simple enough. 2 relatively small bases seperated by a landscape of hills and rocks. Good visibility and quick access to the Warthog parked right out front. And a turret on top for defensive types. After that, the rest just built itself. Actually, Justin [Hayward] built it. That guy is good.

Christopher Barrett:
Obvious? I still have no idea why Frankie keeps talking about his bank all the time.

Q: Give us a general description of the map’s spaces since we’re not showing too much right now, what’s the overview of Standoff?

Christopher Barrett:
There’s two opposing bases and some rocks and a tree and a road and some giant missile silos and enormous satellite dishes.

Steve Cotton:
Oh, and a lot of transportation and firepower.

Christopher Barrett:
Imagine Blood Gulch, except squished together, with 4000 foot satellite dishes.

Q: What sort of revisions and iterations changed from early-period Standoff to the version of the map that folks will be playing in December?

Christopher Barrett:
The original version only had the two front doors into the base. We eventually added two side routes into the base one of which is opened via a switch inside like Zanzibar/Last Resort.

Originally the sun was at or around high noon, about a month ago we lowered the sun towards the horizon giving the map a very moody sunset feel which really adds to its atmosphere. We weren’t satisfied with two ways into the bunker so we added a third entry.

Q: How many players can Standoff comfortably accommodate?

Christopher Barrett:
Surprisingly it works for almost any number of players pretty well, but 4 vs 4 feels about right.

Steve Cotton:
2v2 Multi-flag is actually very cool. So is 8v8. I think it pretty much covers the spectrum. It’s just a very fun team objective map no matter how big the teams are.

Christopher Barrett: I was very comfortable playing a one player game on Standoff but it wasn’t a whole lot of fun. At least I didn’t die as much as usual.

Q: What are some of your favorite gametypes to play on Standoff?

Christopher Barrett:
Multi Flag CTF

Steve Cotton:
Kill Barry.

Christopher Barrett:
I found out your teammates love it when you yell out “I CAN’T FIND THE FLAG” during team slayer games.

Q: What kind of items will populate Standoff’s Forge palette?

Christopher Barrett:
Apart from the standard crates and barricades we’ve created some new placeable mancannons, shield doors, and a very special secret object.

Steve Cotton:
You can add a Wraith as well. In addition to the mancannons of course.



Halo 3 Heroic Map Pack
November 19, 2007, 7:21 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Forge, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, News

It’s time to stop your guessing at what’s to be included in the first wave of Halo 3 downloadable content. Xbox.com just posted this announcement, unveiling the all-new Heroic Map Pack.

Available for 800 Microsoft Points exclusively on Xbox LIVE Marketplace from December 11th, each map is said to present a totally different play style and experience.

The symmetrical valley of Standoff, with its entrenched bases and fields of boulders is ideal for mid-sized objective and Slayer game types.

The vast, labyrinthine passages of the Rat’s Nest bring something completely new to the multiplayer experience: an indoor vehicle paradise. Strongly influenced by the Campaign mode, this map is ideal for big team battles.

Foundry is the ultimate Forge map. Players can edit every single object in this voluminous industrial warehouse, placing stairways, walls, bridges, and tunnels to create an entirely new play space and build almost any kind of map imaginable.

All three maps will become available for free download via Marketplace in Spring 2008, just prior to the next wave of new multiplayer maps.

Un-freaking-believable. Three new maps and three long weeks ahead. Personally I can’t wait to see Rat’s Nest in action, which map’s getting you the most excited?

**UPDATE**

Bungie have since posted their own site update regarding the announcement and have clarified exactly what the deal with regards to matchmaking integration:

When Halo 2’s downloadable content joined the Internet, it effectively split the Matchmaking population into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” Bungie was readily aware of the problem that caused, and has rectified it in Halo 3. First, when downloadable content arrives, it will have its own playlist for those folks who just want to play with their new toys. Simultaneously all of the DLC maps will be rolled in to the regular Matchmaking playlists as well and then as folks are getting matched up, the game will take into account who has what maps in the matchmaking process. So you’ll see Team Slayer on Standoff show up in the Team Slayer hopper as well as in the new DLC-focused playlist.

They also promise new screens after the Thanksgiving holidays.