PCAction December 1999

  Translated GameStar Web Article on Halo
Translated & Transcribed by Harry "When's Oni Gonna Get Covered in German Mags?" Al-Shakarchi (tomeone@bungie.org)

Original can be found here.


The huge number of effects in this tactical game destroys all graphical standards of computer games. The inner values of this game were also likable, as we discovered when visiting Bungie's headquarters.

It's a nice day out, the sun is shining and its warm rays are reflected on the smooth waves of a lake. My view goes over the small hills in this idyllic landscape. This would be the right time to go pick flowers or hike along the grassy plains. But then again, maybe I'll try out the rocket launcher which I was able to grab at a raid on a depot. The trails of smoke from the rocket float momentarily in the air before softly fading away with the wind. A perfect illusion, but this is no pre-calculated thing, we are in an interactive gameworld that, which no PC has ever seen before. "Oh my God!" is one of the things a mortal would shout out when experiencing Halo in action for the first time.

Too good to be true?

A first encounter of the action game by Bungie Software induces skepticism, much like when you see used car offers: "Wait a minute! What's the catch?" We couldn't find one. While the gaming community is all in fits about the graphical power of new consoles like the PS2 or X-Box, Bungie is creating a monster of a game on the PC, which just destroys any graphics standards. Take a look at our new and exclusive footage of Halo on this month's CD-ROM, and slowly repeat after me: "Those are not cutscenes, those are game animations with interaction". Next generation graphics with the hardware of today - how the hell do they do it?

Tricks of the trade

All the programmers at Bungie would rather sell their grandfather than give away the graphics tricks used in Halo. It is unlikely this game will appear before the year ends, and they don't want the competition to find out how it's all done. But we were able to get one insider trick: one reason for this realistic look and feel are many texture layers on top of each other. One texture is used for "dynamic dirt"; if a jeep is nearly hit by a shot, dents or traces of the projectile will stay on the lacquer of the jeep. Another texture allows reflections of light which are exact to a pixel, so the light on a rifle throws a astonishingly realistic shine.

Huge ringworld

Seeing that Bungie created this tremendously beautiful gameworld, they could have simply made a game of one of Brother Grimm's fairytales, without hindering anyone from playing. But Halo gives you a gripping Sci-Fi story, which is based somewhat on Larry Niven's novel "Ringworld". In a not too distant future mankind has built itself a small space empire. But then the humans encounter the Covenant, a technologically advanced, but unfriendly race of aliens. The discovery of the mysterious ringworld Halo which is orbiting a gas giant is a last hope in the war between humans and covenants. What counts is who acquires the technological relics hidden beneath the Halo. A small troop of humans is up against all odds fighting all the covenants. In a guerilla fashion humans can raid enemy bases and acquire better equipment. Humans and Covenant are only two of the races present on this world; along with other alien races you will also get to meet the natives of Halo.

Rob aliens

The two main races of this game don't differ only in political philosophies ("we come in peace", "we're gonna kill ya all!!"), they also differ greatly in appearance. Being more than 2 metres tall, the Covenant could give basketball players inferiority complexes. They also differ in technologies, humans preferring cars, vehicles that are on the ground with wheels or caterpillar tracks, whilst the aliens aim more for attacking in the air or from hovercraft. Don't be upset that your foes have the better toys; as the game progresses you too will be able to steal weapons and vehicles for your own use.

Choice of weapons

Looking at weapons, the humans will be using projectile weapons whilst the covenants use energy weapons. It may happen that close combat situations occur, and sharp knives are best for sneaking up for an attack...

The expanded version of this article and more screenshots can be found in Gamestar 5/2000.


Interview with the creators of Halo
From the drawing board to a game


Intellectual © halo.bungie.org, 1999, 2000