Picture comment: One on one. Halo depicts the war of mankind versus the alien Covenants on a huge metal ring.
First look into the ball of steel
A whole world seems to live behind the monitor in Bungie's game - and it's months until completion
Developer: Bungie Software Producer: Take 2 Tentative release date: Q2 2000 Other: Genre mix of 3D action, strategy and adventure
In 'Terminator' there is a 2 minute scene which
can't really be real:
huge jeeps with cannons on the the beds of them zoom across a battle field.
Lasers burn the earth and androids squash their enemies.
This scene was the best for a number of fans, and
with Bungie's Halo one can spend more
time in such a chaos. The surface of lakes ripple, clouds move over you and get distorted by
the wind, a number of beings will move over the waste lands. Whilst the jeeps move through
areas of this waste land, wheels will stop gravel which is slung up in the air. Breaking hard
will cause the driver and other people in the jeep to slip from their seats. A whole world seems
to live behind a monitor - yet the game is months before completion! "This is Halo" Doug
Zartman announced, and also explained the lack of explanation for the plot of Halo: "our
philosophy is to build games in 3 steps: First; we build a believable world, next we work on
the multiplayer aspects of the game, then only at the end do we work on the single player
aspects. We actually have already created a wonderful world...", which, in fact, is a huge
ring. The world you play in is a kin to Larry Niven's Ringworld, with a huge metal structure
orbiting around a planet. This ring is named "Halo" and was built by an unknown alien race
and has it's own ecology. Halo is so small, that you can see it's upwards bending point in the
Picture comment (top): The battles happen on this huge wheel, which stretches away into the skies. The small width will have effects on the player: it is possible to fall off the side of the ring.
Picture comment (middle): Graphical wonder. Three dimensional smoke and sun ray effects are used in masses. The needed CPU power for such graphics are yet to be determined
Picture comment (bottom): A leader in technology. Only the Covenants
will be able to use flying vehicles.
&nbs p; &n bsp; Ripley, help! The Covenant aliens remind one of the monsters of the Aliens saga.
However beautiful this stellar system is, there is
a dangerous background to it: the existence of the
ring is threatened due to the fact that the Halo is slowly drifting to a nearby planet and will surely crash
into it. A human expedition and the alien "Covenants" coincidentally both discover this ring, and both
claim exclusive rights to own it. Reason enough for a interstellar war.
At this moment of time, Bungie still is working on the multiplayer aspect of Halo. There is no definite
limit of players set, but Bungie assures there will be no borders and will allow as many players as the
participating computers allow. Doug stresses that team play is the highest priority of this game, it should
not degenerate to a single player simulation. A very well mixed team of players will be the key...
...to success: a player who
is excellent in racing games should drive the jeep; and someone who is
with a machine-gun and has quick reactions gets the rifle. Zartman promises a point system, with which a
online player achieves fame. Depending on their achievements, a player can acquire a position in the ranks
of drivers or pilots. Another aspect of the multiplayer game are the choice of weapons. There's no BFG in
Halo, and each weapon will have specific pros and cons.
Whilst the human forces rely on conventional weapons, the Covenants will rely on energy. Their weapons
range from laser pistols to laser swords akin to those of Star Wars. The hovercrafts and jets look organic...
Picture comment (top left): Action-Adventure. Inside the few structures of the planet battles remind one visually of a FPS.
Picture comment (top right): Interactive Graphical demo. All objects except the floor are movable. The number of interactive objects are not spared and will make Halo to the hit of Summer 2000.
1. Muzzle fire. Transparent muzzle fire is a standard in games, Bungie adds volumetric lighting effects on top of it.
2. Shells. The flight of every single shell will be animated, and even after having shot these shells hours ago, one can find them lying on the forest floor.
3. Single wheels hung up. Every one of the four wheels is separately hung up, so that each take their own damage. Even with three wheels the jeep will still run (slowly), even over the roughest surfaces.
4. Tree existence. Like usual all trees are made of their own surfaces, that too applies to Halo. The high amount of trees make the vegetation look richer than other games though.
Picture comment (bottom left): Damage. Aliens destroyed the wheels of the jeep, but the humans were able to get away.
Picture comment (bottom right): Positioned
war. The player, although only representing an individual, is
the one who decides where to strategically place tanks in appropriate
...and remind one of the ships
used in 'Stargate'. Zartman notes "There are numerous games that have the
battle of human against alien, but we believe not every idea and aspect of this was used yet, in terms of look and feel
and story that is." Zartman is sure Halo will be the benchmark for all other game developers who make similar games.
Inverse Kinetics are used for the animations in Halo, where there is a "technique of building up a hierarchy to make a
chain of movements equally distributed." What Zartman is saying here can't be stated better than he did: "Beautiful
and realistic animations"
To make sure the solo player will be busy, Halo will be made a strategy-rich action adventure. However, this won't
be linear; the player determines what the outcomes are due to what the player does which causes a chain reaction and
affects gameplay. This will be a game like no other before it. In Halo, the player is an underground fighter who pretty
much is alone. There are only a few computer controlled comrades in this game with which the player can interact.
Bungie will release the game only until the intelligence of these comrades are so high that they really can interact
realistically in the game: they should pass on gathered information about the enemy, know when to get into the jeep
and drive it, to show the player where to go and to help the player fight the Covenants.
Picture comment (top): Holding position.
The romantic scenery disguises what awaits you: In this multiplayer
tournament a bunch of aliens are waiting behind the hills to ambush the humans to take over the strategically
important bridge. Thanks to special weapons a single player can defeat a whole group of enemies.
Picture comment (left): History. The similarity of the Halo-jeep isn't that far to that of the vehicle from 'Moon Patrol'. Circa 1982: 'Moon Patrol' from Irem Software was the Godfather of Halo. To battle enemies at the same time as analysing the surroundings and driving - this is a recipe for gaming fun for two decades. Since 'Moon Patrol' a lot of developers mimicked the idea and became successful in a variety of genres. Only now after 17 years does Bungie use this concept like it should be.
Picture comment (right): Capture The Flag. A hint to one of the
multiplayer games shows this soldier running to bring his flag to safety.
Translation of German PCGames article by Harry Al-Shakarchi (firstname.lastname@example.org)