rant

In 'Anger, Sadness & Envy No.4', Narcogen and Trindacut made some comments about scripted NPC behaviour which resonate with an article (or rant) I've been developing for some time.

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Okay, here's a crazy idea.

Like more than a few people, I was puzzled by Bungie's return to independence following the release of Halo 3. It didn't seem to make much sense.

Sure, it made sense for Bungie to want more autonomy. Even the friendliest chaperon is still something one would rather do without. Why did it make sense for Microsoft, though? Why negotiate for a sweet discount with the goose who laid the golden eggs when you used to own it lock, stock and barrel?

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Ask many Bungie fans what they think makes their favorite games different than others, and you might get an answer like "addictive multiplayer". From a perhaps smaller, but no less dedicated or vocal group, you might get "the story" as an answer.

Not everyone agrees.

Dallas News technology writer Victor Godinez thinks videogame writing has a long way to go, and points up Halo 3 as an example:

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Inari Vaissi Nagy at the University of Ottawa's Fulcrum wonders if Master Chief isn't a good modern equivalent of ancient epic heroes:

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SketchFactor has posted a press release on Bungie.net that declares that Bungie Studios will become a privately held company. Bungie LLC will have Microsoft as a partner and a minority shareholder and will continue to make games for the Xbox.

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The latest Bungie update covers a number of topics, including achievements and skulls, but the real revelation is that unlike most Xbox 360 games, Halo 3's native resolution is 640p, as rumored:

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7th Columnist is livid over a change in Halo 3's controls. Not one that affect the game; one that affects machinima.

Instead of just pressing down on the D-pad to create the weapon-lowering, head-bobbing effect used to create the illusion of talking Spartans in movies like Red vs Blue, in Halo 3 you apparently have to:

Hold down left bumper, right bumper, left analogue stick, down on the d-pad and the A button… AT THE SAME TIME… for three seconds!

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I just picked up my Limited Edition. Well, let me correct that; I picked a Frankensteinian blend of the Limited Edition case and bonus disc, plus a substitute game disk from a plastic case. Out of three metal cases opened at the counter, only one had a bonus disc that wasn't scratched... and all had at least some scratching on the game disc, one to the point that it was certainly unreadable right out of the shrink-wrapping.

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Bungie.net will reboot tomorrow with new features enabled. TeamXbox has an interview with Bungie.net's development lead, Chris Gossett, about the new features.

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Jason "Gravemind" Goodman (also known as ShadowoftheVoid) has written up part one in a series on the history of medium-range weapons in the Halo series, this one focusing on the recent nerf of the Covenant Carbine between the Halo 3 beta and now.

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In yet another example of Halo becoming so cool that the only way to make yourself look cooler in comparison is to dump on it, Steve Tilly at the Edmonton Sun drops this pearl of wisdom: Halo 2 is the #4 most overhyped game ever, just ahead of Daikatana:

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Gamers With Jobs urges gamers not to expect too much from Halo 3, because nothing can live up to the hype. While examining the extent to which our appetites are dictated to us by the omnipresence of information about AAA must-sell titles, it does seem that some of Julian "rabbit" Murdoch's theses say more about his approach to gaming in specific and entertainment in general than the medium itself.

In response to having one's expectations brought too high, Murdoch quotes Alice Walker:

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Back in August, gaming website Kotaku posted scans of what purported to be a leaked Halo 3 manual on their site. Not knowing if they were genuine, they put them up and let the readership decide whether to give them credence or not.

Now it seems that Internet Investigator James Young has sent Kotaku a rather odd letter. Kotaku has posted the entirety of the letter, but it's worth pulling out a few select pieces for examination:

It has come to Microsoft's attention that your website includes material which is in violation of Microsoft's intellectual property rights. Content currently residing within your computer system infringes on the trademark rights of Microsoft Corporation and constitutes an unauthorized activity relating to Microsoft computer programs.

So, first off, disclaimers: I Am Not A Lawyer and This Article Does Not Constitute Legal Advice.

Secondly, trademark infringement. This usually refers to use of a registered trademark within a certain context. These are protected to prevent companies from creating me-too products to confuse consumers.

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John "JCal" Callaham has written another of Firing Squad's quarterly updates on the console wars; the page on the Xbox 360 has a number of suggestions to Microsoft on how to win the console wars. FS thinks a flawless Halo 3 launch is important:

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Just so the dastardly scheme doesn't work, I'll post to the summary complete reproduction of the post at xbox360Rally. GameDaily is offering an article called "six reasons to pass up on this crappy game" that is filled with nonsense and self-contradictions. Not to mention, it's basically six paragraphs on six separate pages. First they complain about the Arbiter being in Halo 2, and then complain that they can't fight against UNSC forces in Halo 3. Wha?

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