Occupational thoughts

Covering life on the home front.

Posts Tagged ‘Halo 3

New Labour fundraising

with one comment

Yesterday I put dialogue to 2 comics, and I plan to put in the dialogue for a 3rd one this afternoon.  I’m posting one comic a day for the next three days to spread them out a bit. All these comics are on the theme of fundraising.

labourfundraisingOn a seperate path I notice that Il-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey and Arma II have quietly crept onto consoles. These are both the continuations of a 1st generation of military simulations which I bought a while ago. It seems now these simulations have moved to a console audience and although I haven’t played them, I fear they might be dumbed down to appeal to a wider audience. This is a good thing because I found the complexities of both first games frustrating.

Matthieu phoned earlier to say that Halo 3: Orbital Drop Shock Trooper comes out in about 2 weeks. This is good news:

  1. I consider Halo to be a benchmark for console shooter games with an unpredictable story, wonderful settings and lots of fun. More of the same would be much appreciated.
  2. The Halo 3 map packs come with the game.
  3. New Firefight multiplayer mode.
  4. Get to play as Sargent Johnson if you preorder.
  5. Continuation of features introduced in Halo 3 such as Theater and Forge.

The bad news is:

  1. It costs £40. This is an enormous amount of money to spend on any video game… even if it’s Halo.
  2. I have school soon. School tends to replace video games pretty dramatically.

Written by Pierre

September 5, 2009 at 10:33

Posted in gaming, politick

Tagged with ,


leave a comment »

Over the past few days I’ve been systematically going through Halo 3 and looking for all the skulls. For those of you who don’t play Halo 3, the skulls are a set of game modifiers, probably better known as handicaps. The twist though is that you have to search around the maps in the game to find these skulls, sometimes you have to bring about certain conditions which make the skulls appear. Achievements and their gamerscore (10 each) are awarded for finding these skulls but the real satisfaction comes with new armour available to use online called Hayabusa armour, it looks a little like a samurai costume. It also just gives you the excuse to play the game again and watch out for the small details.
As with every other person who gets new armour on Xbox LIVE, I am incredibly proud of it as a symbol of my rank and superiority over those small people who don’t have samurai armour. Sure I won’t run around screaming “I HAS EPIC NEW ARMER FTW!!!”, but I did take some photos celebrating the occasion:

Despite this, I still hold the belief that the Mark V helmet looks better than the Hayabusa one, so I’ll revert back to that one in a few days.
There is a sword which can be gained for the Hayabusa armour by completing all the achievements in the game and getting all the available gamerscore. This task however appears far too difficult so I’ll either just not do it, or wait until I have a whole day free with nothing going on and no homework outstanding ect…

An achievement I would like to do is the Vidmaster Annual which involves getting 4 players over Xbox LIVE playing the last level of Halo 3 on legendary difficulty with the Iron skull turned on. Andriy and co. have already done it but Matthieu’s friends look set for a try, I’ll have to organise it sometime.

And should you ever want to know what each skull does, here’s a handy guide:

  • Iron skull: If you’re in co-op and one player dies, the whole party goes back to the last checkpoint, if all players die then the level is restarted.
  • Black eye skull: Your shields don’t regenerate automatically, in order to bring them back up you have to melee an enemy.
  • Tough luck skull: Enemies dodge grenades better, are more likely to go on suicide rampages towards you and never run away (normally most Grunts and Jackals will run away once they’ve lost their shields or their weapons).
  • Catch skull: Enemies throw far more grenades than usual, they drop 2 grenades when they die.
  • Fog skull: The motion tracker on your radar is disabled.
  • Famine skull: Dropped weapons only have half as much ammo as they should have.
  • Thunderstorm skull: All enemies are promoted to their maximum rank (I never really thought that the covenant forces held ranks within the member species so I don’t understand this one).
  • Tilt skull: Enemy strengths and weaknesses are amplified which forces you to chose your weapons carefully.
  • Mythic skull: All NPCs have 2x health.

And of course there are a few other skulls which don’t gain gamerscore and don’t have such a wide impact on gameplay but are still needed for the Hayabusa helmet:

  • Blind skull: I got this one in Halo 2 as well, it turns off your HUD and makes your weapon invisible.
  • Grunt birthday party skull: When a grunt is shot in the head it explodes into showers of confetti.
  • Cowbell skull: All explosions have a larger blast radius and inflict more damage on everyone. I’ve found this to be fantastically useful with frag grenades.
  • I Would Have Been Your Daddy skull:  Did this one yesterday and it’s quite hard to get, it unlocks large amounts of extra dialogue.

Written by Pierre

September 4, 2009 at 08:26

Posted in gaming

Tagged with

Xbox 360 video capture

leave a comment »

Being back from Germany, I wrote a very (as about 20 lines long) short Halo Machinima idea entitled ‘How to be a Halofag’ while I was sitting at the back of the class in a German school. Once here I began putting it to action with the video capture dongle which arrived some time last week. In the mistaken perception that I needed another cable I went to Curry’s and bought one. Once I got home I realized that the right cable was there all along and that the one I had just bought was the wrong one anyway. Despite still having the receipt and original packaging Curry’s refused to exchange it for store credit or anything. Bastards.
Having tested the video capture dongle I can confirm that it’s most probably the best hardware for capturing games in general on the Xbox 360.
My only complaints are that the resolution is pretty low PAL 720 x 576 (and those are scan lines, not pixels) but there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about that as it’s the maximum resolution that composite video output will allow. This can be easily remedied by changing the [digital] pixel aspect ratio to make it appear widescreen and blowing up the image to fit it to a High Definition standard. This however is cheating and simply results in a big and low resolution image.
My second complaint is that there is sometimes very minor image distortion. I’m not totally sure why this occurs because different distortions occur in different programs:


And there’s some image lag in the preview which is mostly down to the processor maxing out. The lag doesn’t come out in the final render. It’s not a fault of the hardware so it’s not really a complaint.

After doing that at an estimated cost of 20 pounds, I went and upgraded my Bungie account to a Bungie Pro account which lets me render Halo 3 footage at 720×1280 High Defenition and then host it on Bungie’s servers for as long as I’m still a Bungie Pro member. One year of the Pro membership cost 6-ish pounds. One slight problem is the fact that each clip takes up one file and Bungie only hosts up to 24 files at any one time: I’ll have to keep the file rotation under 24 files before editing, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
Each method has it’s advantages and disadvantages, but I now have both so it doesn’t really matter.

But before I go, here’s a screenshot on Valhalla (formerly known as Coagulation or Blood Gulch) at full 1920×1080 resolution, curse the Maker to think that I seem to becoming addicted to pixel counts:


Written by Pierre

July 13, 2009 at 14:43

Posted in gaming, technology

Tagged with ,