operator, i need some inspirado
‘netural’ is a dirty word, but it’s ridiculous to break yourself over something determined to break, no matter what you do. it’s everyone’s right to live their life, but we often meddle when we should learn to walk under our own power.
I interviewed some dude about some game
- Me: For the people that don't know you, can you introduce yourself?
- Shishka: Sure!
- My name is Chad Armstrong, but I'm usually better known as "Shishka" by the Halo community, and I'm a designer for 343's publishing team
- Me: Sounds like a tough and rewarding job. The Halo community is known for being very devoted to the lore and multiplayer aspects of the game. Halo: Anniversary will be released in stores this Nov. 15th. For those that do not know, it's a remake of the original Halo campaign and multiplayer, adding online play through LIVE. What can you tell us about the additions that we may not already know?
- Shishka: I tend to like to think of it as a "remaster" than a remake proper, and that has to do with the way we've implemented the new visuals. Specifically, our partner Saber Interactive has set up their own rendering engine on top of the Halo engine to render what we call "Remastered Mode," in which they've updated the art of the game to current generation standards
- This allows us to have impressive visuals while not touching the original gameplay, including things like AI or the weapons and vehicle sandbox. There's also the added benefit of being able to switch between the remastered visuals and the "legacy" visuals of the original game, which you can do at any time in gameplay just by pressing the back button.
- That said, there are a couple additions to the game that add flavor as well. "Terminals" have been hidden about every level of the game that, when interacted with, give some important background about the Halo installation as well as its curator, 343 Guilty Spark. It also seeds some of our plans for Halo 4.
- The other more gameplay-affecting feature are skulls. Skulls are a feature that have been part of the franchise since Halo 2, so we went back and added them to the remastered visuals of Halo 1. Skulls are gameplay modifiers that have to be discovered first. Once you've found one, you can "activate" it and gameplay will change. For example, the "Grunt Birthday" skull causes Grunts to explode with confetti and the cheers of children when you take them down with head shots, and the "Malfunction" skull causes random elements of your HUD to be disabled when you respawn.
- Me: How about some of the more notorious single-player glitches, like going through a level with no enemies or allies, did you keep some of those or will a few make a reappearance as skulls?
- Shishka: Some of the skulls and the Achievements reflect on that explorer spirit that fans developed when they ran out of campaign to play. =)
- Me: Speaking of exploding grunts, Are they keeping the multi-coloured blood-splashes that were in the original? I've noticed in later games, that alien blood-spatter all but disappeared, will this make a reappearance in the remastered visuals? For the overall look and feel of the game, how do you think the 'Remastered Mode' compares to the cleaned-up visuals in the original PC release?
- Shishka: Because the particle effects are driven by the original Halo 1 engine, the remastered visuals emulate how the original behaved. Saber did their best to match the effect and feel at a modern standard, including the glowing blood of Grunts and Hunters.
- As far as comparing to Halo PC, the legacy mode looks similar given that less compression was necessary for the 360 hardware, so in some ways the "Legacy" visuals look similar to PC. Remastered, on the other hand, has an entirely new take on the render geometry, so there's a considerable different in volumetric fidelity. One of the things you realize when switching between legacy and remastered is just how flat the original game was. =)
- Me: I like the new visuals, but some purists are worried that the 'Remastered' game isn't quite guided by Bungie's original vision. Was there a consultant on hand, or did you consider the whole of the original artistic work that went into Halo: Combat Evolved and work from there?
- For example, environments look more lush and sometimes a bit saturated with color, do you know how some of these visual changes were informed by the original?
- Shishka: There wasn't a consultant in the form of a Bungie artist that worked on Halo 1, or anything like that, but our art director Ben worked closely with Saber to improve on visual fidelity. The "Visual Switch" feature that's now a shipping feature of the game started as an internal tool used to compare changes. Progress is still ongoing, but the Halo lineage was closely observed by our art director as the project progressed
- The art continues to progress as we speak. Master Chief's armor is one example. There was notable concern about the form factor of his helmet when we announced at E3, but truth be told the helmet was already going under revision at that point, but we didn't have time to integrate the changes before the trailer was made.
- Me: Good point. There are always small differences as the series progresses, which brings us to the weapons themselves. I know the team has already done a lot in service to the multiplayer community, especially for controversial multiplayer elements like reticle bloom (which were addressed recently in a title update for Halo:Reach). In terms of gameplay, has anything else changed, like weapon damage?
- With such a devoted community, what changes are you implementing before release? Are there any changes you can tell me about that are in the not-so-distant future?
- Shishka: Nope! At the heart of this project, we felt that the remake is a gift to the fans that made the franchise possible. As such, it was very important to us to preserve the gameplay. Halo 1 had a unique following not just because the core gameplay is special to people, but the oddities of gameplay as well. Things like Warthog jumping, or finding your way to the outer edge of 343 Guilty Spark, those kinds of things are almost absurdly important to people. So it was critical to us to preserve all aspects of that gameplay, and that's what we've done.
- Nothing changed about the weapons, move speed, jump height, or AI. There's no melee lunge, no sprint, and if a moving warthog so much as blinks at you, you get splattered. Just like how it was 10 years ago.We knew better than to think we could perfectly remake the core and the quirks of the game.
- Close? Possibly. But close makes people think "This isn't quite what it was like" and the Halo fanbase is an excitable bunch. We want people to be able to launch a warthog exactly as they did back in the day, and the best way to do that is to use Halo 1's own (proprietary!) physics engine. 'Close' just wouldn't be close enough.
- The biggest "changes" you'll find for campaign gameplay are the skulls, which are optional modifiers. Elsewise (and whenever you're in Legacy), the game plays as it did 10 years ago. The change for multiplayer is obviously more dramatic, given the decision to use Reach's multiplayer and create a map pack for Reach rather than attempt to remake Halo 1's Multiplayer.
- Me: I couldn't interview you without asking a time-honored question: What does Master Chief look like under his helmet?
- Shishka: Bungie has concept art of the Chief's face. I doubt it will ever see the light of day, but I have seen it. =)
- Me: Oh, you tease. Thank you very much for allowing me to interview you. Talking to you is always very enlightening. Shiska(bob), i'll leave you with this final question: What is your favorite biscuit or cake?
- Shishka: More of a cheesecake guy, myself, which is technically a pie, isn't it?
- Me: Oh, be still my beating heart.
- Shishka: hahaha
"-Faggot!" she spat in Julian's face, causing him to turn his head. As it slid down his face, he had to close his left eye. He begged for forgiveness, but Gina wasn't satisfied by his dull tone. Still, his cock hung limply, framed by a mass of weals and bruises. So far, Julian had merely absorbed all of her punishment; he had been eager for the session, and normally she didn't take her friends as clients, but he had pissed her off. +++ Julian would often use his keen knowledge of people to help, but he had started teasing her incessantly in public. She had never known a sub to be so socially dominant and he had been like a man posessed -- then, he had gone too far. On the night of a particularly bad fight with his ex, she had tried to keep him from drinking too much. She had showed the crack in her facade; maybe it was the years of watching him suffer with the wrong girl. Seeing him so vulnerable was a turn-on and knowing he was free...so, she had reached out, trying to keep him out of trouble as always. It was then that she noticed the smile; she couldn't refuse him, then. They had spent years as friends, completely aloof in their boundaries. Julian spoke up first "You want this, don't you?" Damn him for his vulnerability. He knew work and love were different, for her. She hadn't had a lover since it started. "I need this." So, she had agreed, but she would never admit to her fear. +++ At first, he had been blindfolded and restrained -- flippant attitude like someone eager to be punished. She had started slow, but he had driven her forward to darker territory almost immediately, shrugging off the paddles and lighter implements. Even as he cried out, he pushed her; calling her an impudent cow, or a wanton whore -- he even called her an eunuch! She remembered when he had talked about his torture fetish, laughing that he would be terrified of flechettes and knives. She still masturbated in secret, recounting the detailed descriptions she had copied to her diary. At first she had felt guilty, as her technique lapsed into brutalization. The cane whistled through the air as it fell against his back, sweat and blood misting across her black leather. "More, you ignorant slut." So, Gina stopped holding back. +++ She felt like a woman posessed, grinding Julian's face into the smooth concrete floor of her dungeon. Because his leg and arm restraints were part of the same chain, he had to lay flat or risk pulling his shoulders from their sockets. The space was humid with body heat and there was no denying the warmth burning in Gina's crotch. She was grateful for choosing the g-string - most of her regular underwear were expensive and these were ruined. The modest vibrator she had been masturbating with before Julian had arrived was still inserted, but she was having problems keeping it in place. If her underwear hadn't been designed to keep it in place...she had imagined standing in front of him, as it squeezed out, flopping and buzzing in front of him. It was responsible for the first orgasm, about 5 minutes into their session; he had called her a 'fuck-hungry feminist slut'. He had started to bleed, by then, but there had still been a greedy smile on his face. She walked to her work-table, grabbing the blood-stained towel there and lay it on the ground before rolling him over, chains protesting slightly less than him. "Wait," he stammered, back arching as his bound feet scrambled for purchase. Then, she saw why. Thick and proud, more honest than anything he had said all night. +++ Julian had always been a masochist. As long as he wasn't doing administering it, he enjoyed pain, but he had never been beaten this savagely in any sport or martial art. He was panting, wincing internally as rivulets of sweat mixed with his cuts and other wounds -- At least, he thought it was all sweat. Yet, there was a lightness to it as if the world was in focus for the first time. He must have smiled, because Gina's voice was acid as she stepped into view. Unfortunately long-legged, God had bestowed her with the body of a boy, but Julian had always savored the chance to see her dressed-down. She wore a simple ensemble of knee-high stockings a simple black thong and a single band of black around her chest. Even supine, arms twisted painfully underneath him, he drank her in. A tapestry of tattoos decorated her body, all bound by elaborate scrollwork as she turned he noticed a small band of letters along her inner thigh. He had never seen that part. "Daydreaming, you piece of shit?" Her fury broke his reverie. Seeing her face, twisted into a mask of sadistic vengeance and hearing the faint hum of the vibrator she was trying desperately to hide. He squirmed, one eye open like a demented sexual cyclops. The movement caused sweat to get into his other eye, blinding him, but he could practically hear her smile as she released him. The deep pulsing of his Id only rang louder in his ears as she continued to taunt, kneeling over him. Then, suddenly, she was on top of him. Her entire body resting on the inclined position his restraints forced him into. His cock strained like a dog at the end of a leash and he found himself bucking his hips into hers, hungry and insistent. Gina pinned him down with a strong hand around his neck, hair and breath tickling his ear. "Use your mouth to pull it out." She gave him no chance to consider her demand before pressing soaked cunt against his face. +++ Julian struggled admirably as Gina allowed him to please her; more when she simply took it, but he hadn't begged -- yet. He had licked, and all but sucked the vibrator from her pussy as she tried her hardest to keep it in place. She had even rewarded his cute, cunt-streaked smile by letting him fuck her, for a brief moment. She had, regretablly, stopped as her body rocked with another orgasm. Blood pounded in her ears; had she moaned, just then? She had almost fallen over as she stumbled toward the table for another cloth, to clean Julian up with. The key almost slipped from her hand as she released him; He groaned as sore muscles settled back into their intended places. The chains were barely off before she was on him again, cool terrycloth pressed over his face and deft fingers frantically pumping his cock. She spat again, hot saliva dribbling down as her hands pounded more efficiently than any machine. When she took him into her mouth and down her throat he came. Even though she gagged as he bucked his hips, she didn't refuse him, still pressing the cloth against his face. As his contractions stopped, she pulled the cloth from over his eyes, wearing a dreamy smile. Then, Gina's lips found his, hot and salty -- cock already hard again. "My," she breathed, smiling "there's that talent of yours at work". This time, he grabbed her.