7th Columnist


Cold Storage to be released 7/7?
June 28, 2008, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

Those thinking this week’s Bungie Update was a little light on Cold Storage information may want to look again, as it would seem that along with bringing us a lovely overhead look at the map, this week’s update also contained something of a tease regarding a possible release date, and an extra special bonus to go along with it.

When discussing July’s matchmaking updates, in particular forthcoming changes to the Double EXP weekends, a supposed ‘error’ alludes to something very interesting indeed:

Double EXP (Listed in order of appearance)

• Fourth of July – A collection of Flag, Rockets, and VIP. 5v5.
[SPURIOUS INTERRUPT: PACKET LOST – ERROR CODE 5929]
• Fiesta – FFA featuring random weapon spawns. 8 Players.
• Grifball – Updated to use the Summer League map. 4v4.
• Team Snipers – No changes from June. 4v4.
• Team Melee – Sword and hammer-centric slayer and

*/PACKET INTERRUPTION – ERROR CODE 5929 */
…Attempting Recovery…
…Attempting Recovery…
*/ 93% PACKET CORRUPTION – RECOVERY UNSUCCESSFUL – DISPLAYING */
C!#4x—^&-$x%^^p3@
• Head2@!#SWa#++-DL*SLAj3r
• 48hr0x0ABFFFFF [ERR 5929]
*/ END DISPLAY */

As you can see, the weekend playlist for the week following the fourth of July (just a few days after Bungie Day) isn’t listed. Instead we’re treated to garbled system message only 93% complete. From what we can tell, hidden inside are the words:

Cold Storage, Head 2 Head, Swat, DLC Slayer, 48hr

Whilst nothing is confirmed, we reckon it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll be seeing Cold Storage released free of charge this Bungie Day – July 7th; along with a new set of exclusive gamerpics and dashboard theme, and a classic Halo celebration Double EXP weekend following later in the week.

Bungie, now you’re just spoiling us.



Bungie Testing Secret Map?
June 28, 2008, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Custom, Downloads, Gaming, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

Strange things are seemingly afoot in the Bungie testing labs this week, as several gamertags have been spotted playing custom multiplayer games on an unnamed ‘secret’ map. Is this the forthcoming Chill Out remake, Cold Storage, or something else altogether?

With speculation high that we’ll be getting our mitts on Cold Storage earlier than originally thought – as part of an extra special Bungie Day gift to the community – it seems likely that this would be the map in question. Though one has to wonder, if we’re already aware of the map name why bother to cover it up during playtests?

One reason could be that this isn’t Cold Storage at all, and could in fact be the first signs of Live testing for perhaps ‘Purple Reign‘ or ‘Moonbase Alpha‘; two maps currently scheduled for release some time in the future as part of an upcoming map pack.

Either way, with testing going on as we speak, something is coming… and by the looks of things, soon.



Cold Storage From Above
June 28, 2008, 12:32 am
Filed under: Downloads, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Multiplayer, New Content, News

Bungie’s Weekly Update has arrived, bringing with it fresh information regarding new multiplayer map (and hotly tipped Bungie Day gift) Cold Storage.

Those hoping for a bunch of new screens and/or perhaps a video of the latest map in action will be slightly disappointed, as it would seem we’ll have to wait yet another week for goodies of that nature. What we have been treated to however is an overhead look at the remake, giving us a better idea of its overall layout and a detailed look at its standard weapon placements.

Shotgun fans don’t panic, it is included – just left off the overhead shown here, due to basic Bungie incompetence. When shipped you’ll be able to find it lurking behind the column on the left sporting the number 2. Chill.

One thing that may cause alarm though, is the (obvious) inclusion of equipment on the map, as it’ll be interesting to see how the addition effects Cold Storage during play. After all, many believe Blackout’s inferiority to Halo 2’s Lockout is for this reason alone. Will we see a similar occurance here?

Other news this week includes the studio’s plans for PAX; marking the return of the Bungie Fanfest, the promise of more limited edition gamerpics and a theme for Bungie Day, info on the new Content License Transfer Tool issued by Microsoft – allowing you to easily transfer your download purchases to a new Xbox 360 machine if need be, and a look at July’s matchmaking update (Ranked Big Team Battle survives another month!).

For a bigger and better look at the Cold Storage overheads, not to mention all the news straight from the source, go take a look at the update yourself over at B.net.



CGI Armor Testing Trailer
June 27, 2008, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Movies, News

I’ve been meaning to post this for a little while now, but for some inexplicable reason it’s somehow managed to fall beneath the radar. Having recently been reminded of the phenomenal amount of work that’s gone into this, I figured it was high time to do something about it.

Those of you who picked up the Halo Graphic Novel last year will no doubt remember the second short story from the collection, entitled Armor Testing.

Written and illustrated by Ed Lee, Jay Faerber, and Andrew Robinson, it tells the tale of Spartan 062, Maria, as she tests out a suit of MJOLNIR Mark VI armour – by facing off against a team of ODST’s – before it is eventually shipped off to our hero Master Chief Petty Officer John 117 to be used in the field.

Heavy on action and even heavier on cool, animation student MajorDump decided to try his hand at re-creating the story as an animated CGI feature. Below is the mind blowing trailer to his forthcoming project.

A staggering piece of work that’s no doubt caught the watchful eyes of those at Bungie – we can’t wait to see how this progresses.

Hungry for more? Then check out this other MajorDump gem, and CGI remake embedded below – the classic first episode of Red Vs Blue.

Thanks to Louis Wu of halo.bungie.org (with a little help from Laird), you can download both shorts in super high-res mega-HD editions, here. Go feast!



Halo Kart, Lego, Arcade… anyone?
June 25, 2008, 5:49 pm
Filed under: community, Gaming, Halo, News

It’s all too easy to take something too far isn’t it? It happened with Star Wars, it happened with the Lethal Weapon films, and now that Bungie have jumped ship leaving Master Chief in the hands of the money-gobbling Microsoft, it’ll almost certainly happen with Halo.

We’ve known for sometime now that more Halo games were in the works, what with Halo Wars getting a larger unveil at E3 in the coming weeks and Peter Jackson’s Halo Chronicles apparently doing… something. But recent findings support the terrifying idea of Microsoft going into the dairy business, milking Halo for all it’s worth.

Take a look below at the recently sent out marketing survey to see exactly what it is we’re rabbiting on about. Incidentally, you may want to sit down for this.

Now, admittedly this is nothing more than a simple survey, testing the opinions of Halo fans out there and their susceptibility to more from the franchise, but seriously… A Halo Racing game? And what exactly is ‘a more family friendly’ Halo game?

While the prospect of more from our favourite franchise is an appealing one, it’s gotta be done correctly. Halo Wars is looking good. Talk of a Halo prequel is interesting. We’d even welcome an MMO. But under no cirmcumstances can the 7th Columnist condone the thinking behind a Halo entrant to the Lego series. Not at all.

Where would you like to see Master Chief’s adventures taken in the future? Do any of these ideas appeal to you? Microsoft are interested, and so are we. Feel free to let us know in the comments below.



Machinima Green Screen Tools
June 23, 2008, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Custom, Downloads, Gaming, Halo 3, Machinima, Movies, Multiplayer, News

Good news for Halo 3 machinimators today, as iGuardian has managed to create the perfect green screen setup for chroma keying. Using his technique you’ll be able to effectively place your characters over any backdrop just like George Lucas and his boys over at Industrial Light & Magic.

Basically, what he’s done is managed to get a teleporter set up to whisk you off to the outer limits of multiplayer map, Guardian. The process is simple enough, and once completed you’ll be treated to nothing but green… in terms of backdrop, perfect for some green screen compositing. He’s even put together this handy tutorial video showing how it’s done:

Simple eh? Hat’s off to iGuardian for coming up with and executing this idea. I’ve no doubt it’ll prove invaluable to many an ambitious machinimator out there. How long before we see a Halo weather report?

The forged map variant is available to download here. Go grab it and make something cool!



Campaign Kill Count Exceeds World Population
June 22, 2008, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Campaign, Gaming, Halo 3, News

As of sometime late yesterday, the overall enemy kill count for Halo 3’s campaign officially surpassed that of the global population. That, is a lot of kills.

Looking at the stats from Bungie.net we can see that the current kill count for campaign is somewhere around the 6,725,020,446 mark – and rising all the time. While the global population (as noted by the U.S. Census Bureau) currently rests at 6,705,176,594 – incidentally, this is also rising, just nowhere near as fast.

So that’s a lot of dead bad guys, but there’s way more to Halo 3 than that. It would seem us Halo gamers are pretty damn good at killing the good guys too! With the number of friendly kills, though not quite as high, still an impressive 1,172,797,636.

A quick look at my own service record shows I’ve barely made a dent, contributing a paltry 2,151 to the overall amount of kills amassed so far… but then, here at 7th Columnist we like to think we’re more lovers than fighters, or something. Though it has to be said if I’m lining up a snipe and a careless marine just happens to step in front of me, I’m still taking that shot. That’s what 14.5x114mm Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding-Sabot bullets are for… right? Sure they are. I wonder what my contribution to friendly fire is…?

So how much of this epic slaughter is your doing? Are you the type who maniacally hunts down every last enemy on screen, genuinely trying to save the world, or do you blitz through Halo 3’s levels from start to finish as if performing a speedrun? Let us know below.

Thanks goes to Dubble and Omega for keeping an eye on campaign stats.