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[Locked] MCC Game & Playlist Update - 6/11/2019

OP Postums

Good Morning Friends,

We hope your E3 week is going well and the news you’ve been waiting to hear has come to you! As you can imagine, it’s been a busy one for us, but we still made some room to drop a new update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. This update comes with many new additions, community requested bug fixes, and quality of life improvements to many games within the collection. Additional leg work for future playlist updates and some behind the scenes tools have also been included for us to better shape our updates and playlist changes on the fly. So, let’s dig into the full patch notes below.

Patch Notes
Halo: CE
  • Removed auto-aim and red reticule on Rocket Launcher to align with legacy.
  • Fixed an issue where a user could auto-kick themselves after being betrayed by a guest profile.
  • Added a toggle to disable betrayal booting in Custom Games.
  • Added more granular score to win options for Slayer in Custom Games.
  • Added more granular score to win options for King of the Hill in Custom Games.
  • Added more granular time limit options for all game types in Custom Games.
  • Fixed an issue which could result in a crash.
Halo 2
  • Fixed an issue which made kill trading significantly more common than in legacy.
  • Adjusted gamma values to better align with legacy.
Halo 3
  • Added missing Hardcore Construct map variant in Custom Games.
  • Adjusted the vehicle set in Halo: CE Big Team Battle modes.
  • Globally disabled infinite sudden death in Halo 2.
  • Adjusted time and score limits for Mayhem modes in Halo: CE 8v8 Action Sack.
  • Enabled betrayal booting and adjusted gravity settings in H3 Speed Demons.
  • Disabled friendly fire and updated descriptions in Fiesta.
Player Emblems
  • Fixed an issue where the Spider secondary color did not appear.
  • Fixed an issue where the Planet secondary color was cut off in the roster.
  • Centered Face Mask 2.
  • Centered Delta Wing.
  • Centered Four Rows 1.
  • Centered Sprocket.
  • Centered Cowboy Hat.
  • Centered and correctly scaled Champion.
For this update, it started out as a request that I get specific H2 changes I made in our dev branch into our Release branch. This branch represents the exact code that is running in production, so we know it's stable and can make hot fixes with if need be. I optionally came in on a Sunday (we do not crunch here) to baby sit some things on our build farm after a recent round of patches (better than coming in Monday to find blocking issues impacting the whole team). I figured I could spend some of my "hurry up and wait" time looking at getting my changes into the Release branch and possibly adding some additional low-hanging-fruit fixes.

So, the H2 changes came about rather interestingly. I was lurking in a H1 specific Discord, while they somehow got off topic on H2 and kill trading. Anyway, it caused a neuron to fire in my head. I have a sort of photographic memory (although I won't claim it to be like anything Hollywood tries to sell), which comes in real handy for dealing with the amount of code that lives in MCC. That neuron lit up the memory of code I had seen in H2 which was foreign to the legacy game (I think I had seen it during my time implementing skulls in MP). The code was for handling the case where, after a very brief window of a player dying in MP (since it's asynchronous), responding to their weapon trigger pull event. Even though they have died already in the view of the host, the host would simulate firing their now dropped weapon. Revisiting the H2 code (which was added back in 2014 or 2015), it noted that it was back ported from H4, although it really dates back to Reach.

I had a hunch this was the cause of the kill trading players were not happy with in H2. So, I implemented a chicken switch to turn off the behavior and asked our QA team to verify a one-off build I made to see if they could still reproduce kill trading. I didn't immediately realize it at the time, but I also still had some changes for tweaking the gamma settings on Xbox in my local code (meant to align it more with the legacy visuals). QA came back with good news, that they were not able to reproduce kill trading with my changes. "Also, what's with lighting changes?". Whoops. Well, the gamma adjustments were well received in the few cases they had tested, so the QA team set off on a task to scrub its impact across the game to ensure it wasn't causing issues in scenes in both SDR and HDR. After that report and further review by others, we decided to include it.

So yeah, I worked on getting that integrated into our Release branch that Sunday. That same day I was once again lurking in a chat about H1 where they were talking about match times and wishing there was a 12-minute time limit. I had some time to kill, so that was straight forward enough to setup. But, not one to settle for the bare minimum, I also looked at what other settings we had localization support for and if they could be added to H1's options (without adding or modifying game code). Tada. Now, Oddball settings were not touched because in H1 it has some special casing when its Juggernaut. It would have required new localized strings, which I had not even asked to be scheduled. So, I just played it safe to not risk the Content Update.

Finally, there was the pesky auto-aiming on the H1 Rocket Launcher. I'm not sure I have described the issue here on previous blogs, but this dates back to a Halo PC change. In the original H1 release, there was no auto-aim on the Rocket Launcher, but it was added in Halo PC, maybe to improve the new asynchronous network model used for MP? Whatever the reason, no one really likes it, and it also impacts the campaign experience.

Anyway, normally this fix would require a change to the weapon content. Which means we would also have to rebuild the H1 maps. Which means a larger update. This would complicate the Content Update, which means added risk. What's not as risky is making a very specific hard coded change to the Rocket Launcher at runtime to remove auto-aim setting, which will need to be removed once we actually do rebuild content (because hard coding things is Not Cool).

Now, when you aim your Rocket Launcher it will fire the projectile exactly where you were looking. Auto-aim should not be confused with target magnetism. The latter is where your aim will stick or feel magnetized to a target as it settles within your crosshairs. Auto-aim is a controller-specific feature where projectiles are slightly guided to a target within your scopes. When auto-aim is at full strength, your reticle turns red (so it’s possible to have cases of having auto-aim without red reticle). Now that the Rocket Launcher no longer has auto-aim settings it also means you will never see its reticle turn red. Just like in the original H1 release.

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Cheers, Postums
Pssssst…. Those community made maps are in the game. However, you will need to wait just a little bit longer for them to be in matchmaking. We have some fun ones coming out soon in a future playlist update.