I’ve been wanting to do a series of these kinda posts for awhile but never found the time. It’s a bit like a micro-version of Tom Cross’s Diamond in the Rough, without the grammar or the thoughtfulness. The idea is that a lot of the time a game is lesser than the sum of its parts. My “Blank, a blank that’s cooler than it’s blank” series will be my perversion of the New Games Journalism model of pointing to particular modes of play or design that I find more interesting than a holistic review of the piece. My previous post on Primrose was the first of these.
Anyhow, I recently purchased the Halo Wars Limited Edition disc. I didn’t do this to play Halo Wars (though I guess I will at some point), but to grab the three new Mythic maps earlier than everybody else who doesn’t have 70 dollars to drop on Halo Wars LE. The maps are definitively O-K; I’ve played them a lot more than any previous expansion maps (excepting the exceptional Rat’s Nest), and working up in rank early on in their release has afforded me the opportunity to play with some Bungie employees (which is always exciting and scary). You can read about the maps elsewhere. A lot of the playlist is heavy on SWAT mode (easy headshot kills) and even has a Grifball court. For me, the most unique experience I derived from the map pack was my attempt to get the hidden skull on the Sandbox map.
The skull is nestled against a wall of the level geometry far outside the allowed space of play. To get to it, you have to enter Forge and try to build your way over to the skull. Going outside the bounds of play means that a few plucky Guardian towers will start shooting insta-kill sniper shots at you. One easy method of attaining the skull is to try to fling teleporter pods at the skull like a shot-putter. I chose the harder method: building a system of tunnels out to the skull and then running the Master Chief through them. Since it’s a desert, the terrain shifts constantly with the sand dunes. This means that there will be holes in the tunnel that the Guardian lasers can shoot through. The whole experience took about 2 hours, but by the end I’d constructed a fairly wild series of tubes on the edge of the playable map. Running through it, I could hear the constant bombardment of the Guardian lasers against the ceiling.
What I’d done is, I’d built a bunker. Red v Blue remediation of Downfall, anyone?
To my mind, this experience is new proof that achievements can contribute objectively to the value of a game. I can’t find this kind of meta-game anywhere else in the Halo series, or anywhere else for that matter.
PS: With the achievements I’ve gotten so far on the Mythic Map pack, I’ve officially reached over a 60% completion rate on my 360 games. This has been a goal of mine for awhile. I wonder whether my next goal should be 65%, or 70?
A few weeks ago I posted a 3d rendering of a 1935 Buck Rogers raygun that I modeled in Maya. The next step in this “American Maya Myth” project for Michael Nitsche’s class on virtual worlds is to export this 3d model to Unreal Editor 2 and create a playable environment to contextualize the object. After some deliberation, I decided to make my Unreal mod into a newsgame.
To those of you out of the know: this is a picture of Daniel Petric. He’s been tried and convicted for the murder of his mother and the attempted murder of his father. Why’d he do this? Because he’s bat-shit insane.
What set him off, though? His parents took Halo 3 away from him. When Petric went looking for his game disc in his father’s room, he found the game sitting next to his dad’s gun. So what did he do? He shot them.
This mod will basically be a map of a typical suburban cookie cutter house. At the beginning, your character will be standing near a couch with two “mom and dad” characters standing in front of him. In the system log some dialogue will go into why they’re taking Halo 3 away from you. Stepping forward (and onto a game trigger), the Halo 3 box and the two parents will despawn. You will then wander the house until you find your dad’s closet. When you step onto the gun (my raygun model) and the Halo 3 box, your character will be given one of the laser gun weapons from Unreal 2k4. This will also trigger your “parents” to spawn. Shoot them, game over.
Is this exploitative? Not really. It’s a school project, and it’ll be my first time doing rough animation and scripting in Unreal. Will it shed any light on the case? Not really. It’s a prototype of what could be a fairly informative piece if I had the time to actually work on this kind of stuff for a living (or at least for building a better portfolio in order to start earning a living). Ideally there would be image overlay (a la Graveyard) of the parents shouting at you and probably some triggers to change the wall textures into crazy people nightmare worlds (a la Assassin’s Creed). But this is only one of about 5 midterm projects I have due in the next week-and-a-half… so exploitative prototype it is. Wish me luck?