Following the release of Halo 2 and the predictable complaints from the gaming community, which again has to discover that it?s a videogame they just bought: not a piece of magic, Bungie has decided to go on the record to address some of the more frequently asked questions.
A full transcript appears below:
Everyone and their mom asks: When I play Halo 2 on 480p, my HUD is cut off on the left and right. What gives, you jerks?
We found out that some HDTVs (and we know it happens with a variety of different TVs) cut off some elements of the HUD when displayed in 480p and that the problem can be exacerbated in Widescreen mode. We also know that there are TONS of diferent TV makes and models out there and this problem does not happen on many of them. The good news is that the test team is working on a potential fix for this problem and we hope to have more information very soon. You can help us out by sharing your specs for your television in the post pinned in New Mombasa forum, since it seems to be better and worse on different sets. We understand the problem has caused lots of irritation and frustration and we don't take that lightly. The problem can be fixed completely by switching to 480i and to be honest, it happens on one of my sets (but not the other!) and I don't really mind it. I still prefer playing in 480p, even with that fault. But like we said, the test team is working on a more permanent and happier solution. Please bear with us.
Everyone else and their dad asks: I am suffering unusually long wait times while attempting to join a matchmade game. Why is this crap happening to ME? I am a good person.
This is also being worked on and a potential fix is going through additional testing. The problem arose as we saw tens of thousands of users on Live. It really is a consequence of their being so many damn people on Live. This one we think we have figured out and we should be able to fix it soon. We are optimistic the process can be made a LOT faster. In the interim, please be patient, your game will start eventually. And, please keep in mind that if you're playing in a playlist that has less activity or more specific rules, i.e. 8 of you are waiting to get matched against another 8 person Clan, there will always be a little longer wait.
Some dudes from a strange part of town ask: I keep getting "Dirty Disc" / "Failed to Load Map" errors and yet I give frequently to charity and floss daily. Why then is a cruel god mocking me?
This is an old story, old as CDs, in fact. This issue occurs when your Xbox fails to load a multiplayer map. In most cases, if you reset your box, the map will load properly next time. If you find you get this error consistently, it's recommended that you clean your game disc using a soft, lint-free cloth and try again. Please give our support center a call if cleaning the disc doesn't eliminate the message. This issue is being investigated to see what we can do to make it a little better. And just so you know, we deliberately placed all the maps in an easy to access part of the DVD to try to allay that problem before it ever occurred.
Seventeen furious dudes from Texas ask: Why in the name of sweet Holy Carl can't I just choose a Team Slayer game from OptiMatch?
We are also still evaluating our existing playlists and gametypes within each playlist based on activity so far and all the feedback we've been receiving. We will have some initial adjustments soon, which are substantial and should make a lot of you happy (like the Team Slayer players). In the meantime, you should keep playing anyway, since part of the point is to open up new game modes to players, and more importantly, use the Party system to create parties and play any gametypes you like. That's what it's for! And, this isn't immediately obvious, but you can send a party invite to someone straight from the post game carnage report. If you want to group up with players you just played with, when the game is over, scroll through the post game carnage report, select the player and then you can send them a party invite. You DON'T have to be on someone's friends list to be in their party.
Several angry audiophiles ask: Halo 2 does not send a signal to my subwoofer/LFE. What's up?
Here is the skinny. In Halo 1 we sent all signal through the LFE as well. After we shipped we realized that 99% of commercial decoders "redirect" the Front-Left and Front-Right signals to the subwoofer. So in effect in Halo 1 we doubled up on our bass unintentionally.
For Halo 2 we decided to do what commercial decoders are expecting and we use a 5 channel mix (four surround plus center) and count on the decoder to be set up properly to redirect the front speaker signal to the subwoofer. We intended on then utilizing the LFE at times (as we can send full 5.1 mixes through the audio chip) but time and disk space got in the way. You have not seen the last of the audio content for Halo 2 however...
This is a long winded way of saying that if your decoder is set up properly your subwoofer should be jumping. Mine is. =)
Logicdustbin asks: Once in a while, the voice chat switches from my head set to the TV speakers, and after a little bit, it goes back to the head set. I've played about 35 games, quickmatch, and this has happened about 6 times. This doesn't mess up my gaming......its just weird.
Although it's possible there's a loose Live "puck" or headphone cable, what seems more likely is that some of the people you are playing against are simply using proximity chat which causes close proximity voices to come through TV. Those are usually bad guys sneaking up to your flag... In your player profile settings, you can choose to have voice output mixed (TV and Live headset), TV speakers only, Live headset only or disable it all together.
UberJim asks: I have seen a level called Foundation in some online games, but I don't have that level in my list. What gives?
It's a secret, unlockable level and it rules. More on that next week.
The Prophet11 asks: I want to change my horizontal split screen to veritcal split on widescreen. How do I do that?
Simply change the setting on your Xbox dashboard to widescreen, or back to normal to re-enable horizontal split screen.
NintendoNo1 asks: I see textures popping on cutscenes. Is something wrong with my copy of the game?
No, those textures popping in are part of the small price you pay for no loading times. Since they use the game-engine, we are loading geometry and textures from all over the game, different levels, scenarios and creatures, as well as dialog and music. We could have made it into video, and streamed it from the disk, but then there would have been loading times. We felt this was much better for the gameplay experience.
Eamox asks: When playing on Beaver Creek, I try to go through the teleporter and I pop right back. What's causing that?
Someone or something is blocking the teleporter exit. Keep trying 'til they move.
Tungtza asks: Is it possible to board a boosting vehicle? And do you have any tips?
Generally, no. Not only is it moving too fast to catch hold of or board, it's also likely to smash your bones into milk, since the game measures mass and speed when calculating impacts. A Banshee weighs a lot more than a couple of tons. My boarding tips are pretty straightforward. If I so much as hear a vehicle near me I press X just in case. Also, jumping on top of vehicles from height can catch the driver unawares, since they're likely to be looking straight ahead, not up. I also jump to avoid being splattered.
Elite Operative asks: Will there be downloadable updates and maps? Will there be new Campaign stuff?
Yes. We have not announced a schedule yet, but we will be making new downloadable multiplayer maps. They rock too. I've played a couple. There will likely never be downloadable Campaign content, however.
Jones 122 asks: Will there be a Halo 3 and will it be for Xbox 2?
Technically, MS hasn't even announced an Xbox 2. As for Halo 3, Bungie is in the process of discussing and planning its next projects. No decisions have been announced at this time. Man, I even annoyed myself with that response.
Helio 113 asks: Frankie, are you bald because you can't grow hair, because you think you look cooler that way, or to aid you in swimming? I'll bet if the Bungie Pentathlon included a swimming event you'd own.
I am bald because of some terrible act I committed in a former life, probably. I shave it down to the skin to frighten crows.
Vidmaster Mike asks: Why did you guys place the DVD and the game disc on top of each other in the Collector's Edition? Couldn't this scratch the discs?
Actually, if you look carefully,you'll see that they don't actually touch each other, thanks to a clever spindle device. But as always, we recommend careful handling and less eating snacks off the discs.
And so it ends?