343 industries

halo_onlineRussians are a very lucky people.  They get to play a new Halo game called Halo Online, developed by Sabre Interactive and Innova Systems.  Of course the game is developed under the watchful eye of 343 Industries, a Microsoft wholly owned computer gaming company that focuses specifically on Halo and the Halo franchise.

Halo Online is only being released in Russia for reasons unknown to us.  I personally think that Russia was chosen specifically as a closed beta test country for several reasons.  First, low-end PC users.  Russia is known for its abundance of ‘low end’ PCs.  Unlike other parts of the world where games are usually marketed, Russians don’t have a high quantity of high-end gaming PC users in its population.  Russians do game, but unlike their North American counterparts it’s probably easier to sort out game performance for a game using an old game technology [Halo 3 Engine] where there aren’t so many different types of new hardware.  Second, lots of hackers.  There are many, many computer hackers in Russia.  Microsoft and 343i surely knew this expecting these people to target the game and hack Halo Online right away.  In my opinion, this would help facilitate development during the beta test to block these ‘game invaders’ and root out problems.  Third, recruitment.  Russia is not only a place where hackers and game exploiters reside, but it is a country were several game-modder groups hang out.  Modders are already causing problems with the game, illegally re-writing Halo Online’s launcher and data files.  This is certainly a problem for any game developer who doesn’t want to have its game exploited.  This again is just my opinion, but Microsoft could go so far as to recruit and pay these individuals to further develop the game.  Not only can Microsoft do this since these modders are probably Halo fans and have the required computer skills, but hiring from this specific group of “programmers” also protects the code from hackers since these Russian coders already have inside information about the latest techniques everyone in the hacker community uses.

halo_online_large_headerThink that a game using old technology running on low-end PCs has no chance of making real money?  Think again.  Counter Strike has been making great money for Valve Corporation for years. Counter Strike is a huge target for hackers and modders as well.  Despite these threats, Valve’s game is hugely successful on gaming consoles as well as lower end PCs.  Microsoft realizes that and is making large moves with to get in on the online game business model.  With dedicated servers and utilizing modders who are fans of Halo, Microsoft’s new game should be fairly successful!

Check out the latest gameplay with Halo Online 60fps:

 

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Master Chief was born in the metropolis of Elysium City. Then known as John, he grew up like any kid in the Outer Colonies. Childhood playmates and school teachers share charming stories. But what happens when a single document throws everything into question?

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Is the Master Chief a traitor as depicted in the latest Halo 5:  Guardians trailer?  Listen to the just released “Hunt The Truth” episode where combat reporter Benjamin Giraud gives us inside information.

Benjamin Giraud’s complete bio:

For decades, I’ve served the galaxy as an investigative reporter and war photographer. Working primarily in public radio, I’ve covered human interest stories on Earth and in the Inner and Outer Colonies. I’ve also contracted for UNSC, covering governmental and military affairs. I was at New Mombasa when the Master Chief first appeared to combat the Covenant attack.

 

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Hello everyone!  Hope you got to play the Halo 5 multiplayer beta this past January.  I for one was surprised to see how well the game was developed after playing a broken Halo:  The Master Chief Collection.  Although that game is now patched, the match making still has some issues and 343 Industries needs to fix them…soon!

Halo 5 should be a good game, but will it great?  We will know this year after its release sometime in the Fall 2015.  I believe that 343 Industries put out a good Halo 4 game, although the multiplayer component was lacking.  They never properly tested it.  You can’t test a multiplayer game of that magnitude without a thorough open play test.  343 Industries should have launched a small beta, but I think they just didn’t have time.  They probably had no choice but to rush the internal testing.  Which really isn’t a good thing to begin with.  Internal testing never reflects what real world players will reveal about a game.

343 Industries is still a new game development studio which has much to learn.  After all, they are filling some big shoes they were handed from Bungie.  I predict the new Halo developer is sharpening their axes after delivering to us a much need beta this time with Halo 5:  Guardians.  343i is definitely focusing on the entire package this time and not just a segment of the game.  I think I will enjoy Halo 5:  Guardians, but I also believe that 343i has an ulterior motive.  E-Sports!  This time they’re going for the whole enchilada.

I really enjoyed participating in the Halo 5 beta.  The sound and graphics were superb.  The gameplay mechanics felt good, and more importantly 343 Industries is learning to make their own “secret sauce” to add into Halo’s development.  Bungie has it, all great game development studios have it.  It’s called innovation.

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Bungie Studios innovated with every iteration of their Halo games.  They learning from their mistakes in the past yes, but they always took development a step beyond new graphics, game modes, or maps.  Bungie always did add some interesting campaign or multiplayer game mechanics to their shooters.  Improving the overall design from the ground up.  Bungie didn’t just make the games more fun and interesting.   They designed their games to keep them relevant to an audience of critical fans.  Now, 343i has been passed the Halo baton and although they aren’t quite running with it yet, they are picking up the pace to at least a full jog.  Some new features added to Halo 5, some radical, and some only improved upon should fit the needs of fans.  Here are the new features as follows:

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RUSH

Rush allows the player to close the gap very quickly between opposing teams or single combatants using thrusters and it feels wonderful.  Bodily mounted thrusters are great to evade enemy gunfire as well.  This is a great game mechanic for professional game tacticians who compete in first person shooters and e-sports tournaments.

SHOULDER CHARGE

Using thrusters to maneuver is great, but using them to attack an opponent with crushing force is even better.  If you are able to get within proximity of an enemy you can shoulder charge your opponent while the camera switches to third person showing the placement of your attack.

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STOMP

Stomp is just what it sounds like.  Stomp to disorient your enemy or several opponents at once.  Leap off of a ledge or stair onto your unsuspecting adversary to “ground slam” them with this melee style attack.  The camera switches to third person if pulled off successfully to show the full carnage of this devastating move.

INFINITE SPRINT

In Halo 5:  Guardians you can sprint as much as you like, but it comes with a cost.  Sprinting will cause your shield not to regenerate so use sprinting wisely while in the midst of combat.  You don’t have to come to a complete stop to recharge your shields, but you do have to stop sprinting.

LEDGE GRAB

Like in Call of Duty:  Advanced Warfare, you can now grab a ledge and climb up to escape or hurdle yourself towards your target.  Run, jump, and clamber your way up and over or around an obstacle as long as it’s of reasonable height.  No more falling from a missed jump, delivering yourself as easy prey into the hands of your enemies.

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SMART SCOPE

Probably the most radical addition to any Halo game and the most controversial among fans is he addition of smart scope.  Smart scope allows the player to use the scope or sight of their weapon instead of just traditionally shooting from the hip as with most weapons in Halo.  Pressing in the Left Trigger even with the energy sword gives you a more accurate lunging attack option that I’m sure many will appreciate.  Something this different was sure to be met with skepticism by Halo fans.  In time, I believe smart scope will be something we will use and learn to love.  After all, scopes or sights are mounted on weapons for a reason.  They are not just for show anymore in first person shooters.  Other shooters have been using sights for all weapon classes for a long time.  In my opinion it’s about time all Halo weapons evolve with this more modern shooting mechanic.  Yes, pun intended.  Hail the Master Chief!

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