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MCC Development Update - August 2020

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Hey Friends,

Postums here welcoming you all back to another monthly MCC Development Update. This month’s edition brings information on topics ranging from community contests, flights, design updates, HCS interviews, and an overall look at the status of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. There’s some juicy details in this one, so before your mouth starts to water too much, grab some snacks, cozy up in your most comfortable chair and let’s get this one rolling!

Forge the Fight

Earlier in the month some of our friends over at ForgeHub announced a contest for Halo 3 called “Forge the Fight.” The team over there is offering up some great prizes for map creators and have judges from the community and 343 Industries both past and present, including Unyshek, Naded, and Whos Blaze. We are very excited to see what sort of creations the community comes up with during this contest. As a very important note, maps from this contest will also be considered for official integration into MCC multiplayer matchmaking if they are high enough quality. So, if you are into making maps, check this out and see if you have the chops to stack up with some of the best across the community! The submission date deadline is September 19th at 11:59 PM PST, so make sure to budget both your Forge pieces and your time wisely.

Halo 3: ODST Flight

With Halo: The Master Chief Collection, flighting is a part of its DNA. It’s how we work with the community to make the games we release the best they can be. Over the course of MCC, the teams working on flighting have learned a lot and our mantra is flight early and flight often. Flighting for Halo 3: ODST began on July 17th to folks in Ring 1 & 2 and over the course of development these groups have seen a total of 12 build updates delivered to them. Folks in our preliminary Rings are the tip of the spear before it makes it to those participating in Ring 3, our public flight.

Over the course of the 2-week flight we have seen well over 2,000 unique tickets submitted by the community. Below are some of the top issues as well as their status at the time of writing this:

Halo Support flight feedback that has now been fixed! 

  • Detached turrets using lowered crosshair on PC while set to centered 
  • Subtitles missing during cutscenes
  • Character models in Firefight use Romeo’s hands 
  • AA Wraith spawning upside down in “Lost Platoon” 
  • Players unable to use Health Packs 
  • Suicide Grunts not appearing to have Plasma Grenades in their hands in Firefight 
  • Phantom gun did not have a forward-facing gun/aim for players while in Firefight for clients. 

Halo Support flight feedback being tracked for future fixes (by launch or after):

  • AI getting stuck when attempting to vault over objects or jump down ledges 
  • Phantom becomes stuck on environment in some Firefight matches 
  • Players are unable to operate or exit hijacked Ghosts 
  • Up/Down arrow keys always ping the waypoint, even when rebound
  • Scope zoom SFX plays twice 

We believe flighting is critical to the overall success and satisfaction of players with MCC. However, in this latest public flight, we had lower than average participation and we are looking to find out why. We are going to be sending out a survey to some of our Halo Insider invitees so we can learn more about why people chose not to join us this time around.

If you are sitting there saying, “Well, why wasn’t I invited? I would have totally participated!”, please make sure to head over to your Halo Insider program profile and make sure all items are up-to-date. If you haven’t registered and would like to have the opportunity to be part of the possible pool, please follow these steps:

  1. Register on aka.ms/HaloInsider
  2. Verify the email address you've provided for communication
  3. Opt-in to receive communications from us
  4. Opt-in to PC flights or Xbox One flights (no preference is available at this time)
  5. Link your Steam account
  6. Upload/update your DxDiag

Thank you to those who have expressed interest and have registered. Your help is invaluable, and the community reaps the rewards when everyone participates!

Design Discussions

At this point, it is now a regular occurrence that we chat with our friends over on the Publishing Team. This month Design Director Max Szlagor, Game Designer Matt Jordan, and Technical Designer Dana Jerpback, are back to discuss the various pieces that are coming to MCC.

It’s been a busy one, so we’ll start with Max for some updates across a variety of topics and then I’ll follow up with a direct interview with Dana. Let’s get started!

Max’s Musings

Season 3

The launch of Season 3 will bring a total of over 80 new items to earn via the season reward tiers as well as through seasonal challenges. There will be new weapon skins and visor colors for Halo 3, nameplates, and Halo 3: ODST Firefight characters to unlock. Note that you will still be able to unlock items from Season 1 and 2 in the season panel, but any seasonal challenges that award skins in Season 2 will be rotating out for the new season. Be sure to get them before they go, though do keep in mind that items that rotate out from a season may return at a future date.

Customization Expanded
With the launch of Season 3, we will be expanding customization for Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST even further than what was previously available. Halo 3 will include dozens of all new visors and weapon skins. Just like in Halo: CE, you will be able to opt-out of seeing these new customization items via an options toggle if you want to maintain an experience closer to the original game. Halo 3: ODST will also include new variants of Firefight characters. This is just the start of expanded customization and we look forward to bringing even more cool ways to customize the look of your characters in each game.

In addition, we are expanding the customization options for Halo 2: Anniversary. For the first time in Halo: MCC, you will be able to customize your Halo 2: Anniversary Spartan or Elite’s armor components on a per-piece basis, similar to the systems in Halo: Reach and Halo 3. We hope players enjoy coming up with cool new combinations as they do battle in Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer.

A Sneak Peek at Season 4

While there is a lot of cool stuff coming for Season 3, Season 4 will bring more new customization items to both Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, including a long-lost item or two. For Halo 3, we will be taking inspiration from some of the work we have done for Halo: CE customization. Halo: Reach will feature new ways to mix and match armors as well as giving the Elites some customization options previously only available to Spartans. There will also be a couple of surprises. We will be sharing more details on Season 4 closer to its launch.

Custom Game Browser

Design and implementation is underway on the custom game browser. Our goal is to offer players a way to host and join a larger variety of gametypes than what we are able to support via social or competitive matchmade games. We want to give players control over multiple games (HCE - H4), gametypes, and maps in a custom browser rotation. We want to make it easy to play with friends and to find games you are interested in based on filters you provide. We want to provide a detailed browsing experience. We also need to make some adjustments to the core Halo multiplayer flow for custom game browser so players spend less time in the UI and more time in maps. Our plan is to get a version of this feature up and running and into our flighting rings for feedback. We will have more details and examples of the UI flow to show in the near future.

File Share on PC and player/file reporting

Work is underway on bringing file share to PC in a future update. A key component of this effort is adding more tools for players to report harmful or offensive players/content wherever it is found, as well as the tools we need to follow up on these reports. Our goal is to empower players to file reports when and where they see a player acting badly. For files, we want to make sure players can clearly understand where files come from, whether they are trusted or not, and to provide easy ways for players to report files that are malicious or offensive.

Region Selection

We have heard the feedback on how players want more choice in the servers they connect to and we will be providing a way to limit the regions you can matchmake into. Our goal is to provide as much choice as possible in region selection while ensuring players don’t take advantage of region limiting to boost their competitive ranks. This is something we are working through and Matt Jordan can help share some additional insights into this feature.

Matthew Jordan: Thank you Max. When Server Region Selection is added, players will be able to choose severs they want to opt-out of. This will allow players to not matchmake in regions they want to avoid or limit their searches into regions they want to specifically be on.

(Work in Progress and final implementation is subject to change)

Additionally, while players are viewing the list of regions, they will also be able to see the an average population for each server region along with their current ping, so that they can customize their matchmaking search and be able to better know how it will affect matchmaking times. More in-depth information will be shared about this feature at a later time.

Thank you, Max and Matt for sharing all of those updates! Now, let’s dive into the interview portion of this design discussion with Dana.

Ducktales

Postums: Thank you so much for joining me today. Let’s jump right into it with some hardballs. I know that Crossplay and Input Based Matchmaking is something that's been talked about for a while. What are some of the core design goals that the team has been working on for these features?

Dana Jerpbak: Thanks for inviting me back! Currently, players in MCC are split by platform, but that’s a fairly arbitrary split. With input-based matchmaking and crossplay, the goal is to break down as many barriers between players as possible but to split players by something that has a direct impact on their moment-to-moment gameplay experience.

To accomplish this, we are looking at input-based matchmaking being implemented at the playlist level. This allows us to have more control on where we do and don’t separate players into sub-groups.

Basically, what that means in terms of implementation, in certain playlists, players will be locked to a given input, and we will have a couple of different knobs we can tune to alter this experience over time.

For example, in a playlist like Infection when crossplay and input-based matchmaking features come online, we're not going to limit by input at all. The same can be said for something like Firefight. We don’t believe that there is a need to lock players by input in these areas, so in those cases players will get the full benefit of crossplay so anyone can play together, which is really great. This should help those player groups find matches more quickly and break down barriers between players on different platforms for those offerings.

In other areas, such as the more competitive playlists, we will have the capability to limit players by input method. In some cases that will mean all players have to use the same input. In other cases that will mean that we will allow squads with some amount of mixed input to play together and balance out those using mouse & keyboard and those playing with controllers. Players will be locked into a single device when they enter matchmaking for those offerings. You’ll be able to see which device other players in the lobby are using as well.

Each player will be able to set their preferred input device and they will be locked into that when searching in the specific playlists that enforce it. But once outside of those playlists, again, you will be able to use any input method.

That’s an interesting way of approaching it. So, it sounds like the goal here is to allow for some tighter restrictions in specific areas of the game to help reduce the impact of splitting the population up. So, this is not going to be a toggle of “I only want this input” but is going to be determined per playlist for players. What are the reasons for this approach?

Yes. Players will set a preferred input device and it will only be enforced on specific playlists, and to varying degrees. We want to avoid a situation where there are three different separate populations searching. Having a mouse and keyboard only population, a controller only population, and an ‘all inputs possible’ population would split the population extensively and having them all searching the same playlist would drive up the time to match significantly. We’ll be able to tune which playlists require input locking based on search times and player feedback as well. Our goal is to break down the barriers of platform and focus on input method instead so we can tune the experience more easily. We want players to be able to play with their friends and make the pool of players you can match with be larger within matchmaking instead of limit it.

Thank you so much for that explanation. Moving along, previously we have discussed new options coming to ODST’s Firefight. This included being able to set starting weapons, vehicles, and expanding custom game options akin to some of the Halo: Reach settings. What are some of your favorite setting changes or improvements?

ODST Firefight is a beloved game mode, but there was only really one way to play it: as a more hardcore survival mode. It did that one thing really well, but when bringing it to MCC we wanted to offer to players the ability to create completely different ways to play it as well. So, we looked to Halo: Reach for inspiration and built in ways to have more options. Players could see this in the most recent flight where we have a more arcade style mode and you had all these wacky game types and stuff which is really cool. This will help give both new and old players alike a different way to experience Firefight. Of course, we also doubled down on that classic survival experience too!

All of the new settings are meant to give players that control; things like the starting weapons, the vehicle set overrides so you can go on Lost Platoon and, instead of a chain gun Warthog, you can have a Gauss Hog, a Scorpion, a Hornet, or even an Anti-Air Wraith. You can just go nuts with that and play how you want. You can set random weapons and play Fiesta style, or you can start everyone with a sniper. Things like the time limit, the set limit, betrayal, booting, and friendly fire (plus some additional pieces) are also up for adjustment. It’s up to you to customize and curate the experiences you want.

ODST Firefight in legacy never ended until you ran out of lives. You can still play it exactly like that today, but for matchmaking, the unending experience is not suitable and we needed additional options. To accommodate that part, it was more about whittling it down to a single set, so it's going to last, you know, 25 to 30 minutes. Offerings will continue to include that hardcore survival, but it's not going to be endless in the matchmaking space.

What? We can’t have the multiple hour marathon games.

You absolutely still can do that. Just not in matchmaking to respect people’s time.

Really quickly, as I’ve seen this question pop up quite a bit, but Halo 3 Elephant in ODST when?

We actually looked at it. It would be pretty sweet, right? You're like holding out on an elephant. Got your whole team locking it down mounted on the turrets and just locking everything down. It’s something we did look at trying to make happen, and perhaps one day it will.

I’m assuming since it’s not in, it was due to technical limitation?

Yes, the Elephant we tried, but there were problems unfortunately.

Can you talk through some of the challenges that the team went through when updating ODST to add in these new options and features to make the experience more customizable?

On the custom game side of things there are components of ODST Firefight that present unique challenges. Namely that under the hood it is built from campaign and the Firefight maps in ODST aren't actually maps. They are insertion points within the campaign spaces. Players interact with insertion points as rally points. This can be observed in Campaign when you select, say, rally point Alpha or rally point Bravo on a mission and kind of jump into the middle of a mission. ODST Firefight Maps are actually the same thing - they're insertion points that aren't exposed in the same way as multiplayer maps are. So that was a new unique challenge when extending some of our matchmaking and other systems to support them.

It also impacted how we manage those Maps, particularly in expanding the suite of objects available. Folks had to do some special work to make it so that you could spawn a Gauss Hog or Scorpion into Lost Platoon or get a particular weapon in there when it wasn't present in that campaign map or in that section of the mission. Just general additional work to support pulling those tags in to these Firefight Maps.

In my mind I’m just picturing there will be random BR hidden on each map somewhere to help get them in?

No, no, no. It's a little bit more complex than that and definitely a better implementation lol.

I figured and am glad it is! So beyond discussing ODST’s Firefight, I know there are some additional things coming over to Halo 3 multiplayer for the first time. What did the process look like bringing over the weapons from ODST to Halo 3? What approach was taken around balancing these new weapons for a different sandbox while preserving their original feel from ODST?

First and foremost, when we looked at bringing these weapons over, we wanted to ensure that they were sensible additions to the Halo 3 sandbox. We wanted to retain each weapon’s identity from ODST, but before that in terms of priority, they had to fit in Halo 3 or what was the point, right? Each weapon had kind of a slightly different approach to where it fit into the Sandbox and how we investigated them.

The Brute Plasma Rifle is probably the simplest one to start because, in ODST, it is essentially a reskin of the default Plasma Rifle. Its functionally identical, so when we brought that to Halo 3, of course, it already had a weapon that functioned exactly the same. In this case, we looked back to Halo 2 where the Brute Plasma Rifle was different. It fits a different niche than the default Plasma Rifle in that it fires faster, overheats faster, and it leans into the Brute fiction of just being, you know, everything's dialed up to 11! For Halo 3, that was really interesting, and we really dialed it into that. It’s very effective at stripping shields at close range, but if you're not careful you're going to overheat it really fast and it even takes a little longer to cool down. With these changes it feels and fits right into that that dual-wield sandbox.

With the Silenced SMG, it was a little more unique because in Halo 3 there aren't any fully automatic weapons that can be zoomed in with scopes. That was something we wanted to be careful with. In Halo 3 full-auto weapons are effective at close range and then aren’t typically effective at long range. 

For it to make sense and keep that identity from ODST we needed it to be a weapon that was going to have at least some effectiveness at longer ranges. We spent a lot of time play testing and tuning it to where it felt good but not overbearing. It does behave very similarly to ODST, but there were a couple of dials tuned to make it fit into the sandbox in a way that's effective, but it's not too effective.

One of the key differences from Halo 3 and ODST’s implementation was that in ODST, all of the bullet damage is actually cut in half against shields. This is why the Silenced SMG, and especially the Automag, aren’t very effective against shields. We could have gone that route but decided to bring its damage output similar to the regular SMG but fill a unique role instead. To make if fit into the spot we wanted it to fill in Halo 3, it has some extra range and we have tuned the recoil and the accuracy. This way the recoil kicks in just a little bit sooner so at longer ranges you have to just be a little more conscious about firing short, controlled, bursts. This will make it effective at suppressing enemies at longer ranges. You can still get kills at longer ranges, but it's not going to be easy.

Then there is the Automag. This one has seen the most changes from ODST. Its fire rate in ODST was very high, and was balanced by super high recoil. In Halo 3, weapons generally don't have recoil outside of the SMG where the recoil pattern walks upwards as you fire, which was kind of a hallmark of that weapon from Halo 2. So for the Automag, in Halo 3’s Multiplayer context, having a headshot-cap weapon that fires that quickly and is counteracted by recoil would introduce an unpredictable time-to-kill. Our goal of bringing a new pistol to Halo 3 was to kind of fill that niche that the current Halo 3 Magnum doesn't fill: a precision utility pistol.

Players are familiar with this from Halo: Comat Evolved, Halo 5, and to a lesser extent Halo: Reach and Halo 4. So, our aim was to create a pistol that was reliable and had some real utility at range as a headshot weapon. It meant that having a super variable time to kill wasn't going to suit that vision. To accomplish the goals we wanted it to meet, we removed the recoil and made it a consistent five shot kill. It puts it in a time to kill range that's a little bit higher than the Battle Rifle’s.

I’ve played around with it in the flight and can definitely say that they are all very fun to use!

It’s definitely fun experimenting with these weapons in the context of Halo 3, and in multiplayer in general. I also love hearing the “thwack” (or the ‘Bip! Bap! Bam!’) sound of the suppressed weapons – it can be a little comical to listen to when everyone is using them.

Speaking of changes for the future, with Season 3 on the horizon, what are some of learnings we’ve had with Season 1 and Season 2? Are there things we are changing as we move onto the upcoming Seasonal Challenges in Season 3?

Yes, so for Season 3, first off, it's a shorter season in terms of number of unlocks. This season there are only 50 tiers compared to the 100 of the previous seasons. This is due to this season coming online much sooner after the previous one compared to the time window between seasons 1 and 2. For Season 3 a lot of the unlocks are being centered around Halo 3, with some for ODST. As a reminder, all Season 1 and Season 2 will continue to be available once Season 3 begins.

A key focus for us on Season 3 Challenges has been improvements and adjustments we've made based on feedback. One of the big pieces of feedback we heard about Challenges in Season 2 was that players wanted more variety. In Season 2 there are Challenges that rotate every week and there are also challenges that are static. Currently all of the season point Challenges are static, so if you're just going for season points, you don't really get that variety of the rotational Challenges. The idea for Season 2 was that the weekly season point Challenges were these weekly rituals that you'd come back each week and kind of go through. To improve this for Season 3, we're going to strike more of a balance, so we're still going to lean into these weekly rituals but will also balance it against more variety for the season point Challenges so that it doesn't feel like you're just doing the same things each week.

Then, beyond that, we’re also going to lean into the theme around ODST in the seasonal challenge deck. We have a few planned ODST themed Challenges that'll be throwbacks to some of the ODST achievements from back in the day.

That’s awesome! I know a lot of people have been asking about that. We've also received a lot of questions about Achievements and what the plans are in regards to ODST and the addition of Firefight.

We are not currently planning to add more achievements, we think that 700 is probably enough for the time being. More than enough, you could say. But our aim is that Challenges will be our path to delivering some of that achievement-style grind.

I know that there is additional feedback that you’ve been working on as well as some additional quality of life updates to the system. Do you want to talk a little bit more about those?

Yes, sure. We have made a couple of key quality of life improvements to Challenges that players will get to experience in Season 3. Firstly, the Challenge Hub will be accessible directly from the pause menu in any game mode. This will give players easy access and means you can check the status of the one you've been working towards at a glance.

Another quality of life improvement that I think a lot of people have asked for is that we've added a setting that allows you to disable Challenge notifications altogether. This will make it so that if you don’t want notification “toasts” to show up in gameplay, you can just turn that off. Along with that we’ve also done some changes to the colors for notifications. In the Challenge Hub you will see that some Challenges are featured and are gold while others are blue. The featured ones generally have special rewards such as season points, so to help identify this better in notifications, with Season 3, when you make progress and a notification appears, that visual theme will carry over to the notification.

Those all sound like great changes that will be appreciated with players.

Thanks, there are a handful of smaller improvement we’ve made in terms of player-facing improvements and we’re not done yet. We've had challenges out in the wild since Halo 3’s launch and have been able to gather the feedback, see what's working, what's not working, and these insights just make what’s coming in the Season 3 that much better!

Well, I know I and many out there are looking forward to Season 3, Dana. Thank you again for stopping in and talking through what folks have to look forward to with our next game update for both Xbox and PC when Halo 3: ODST joins MCC on PC.

HCS Interview

This month I was lucky enough to find some time to talk with Tashi from the HCS team at 343 Industries around what stuff is going on right now with his team and MCC. Let’s get to it!

Postums: Hey Tashi, thank you so much for taking sometime today to talk through some things. So, 2020. This has been an interesting year to say the least. With the pandemic and how HCS does tournaments, what has been some of the core shifts of focus or challenges that your team has been rising to meet as it relates to MCC and HCS?

Tashi: Yeah, I think there's a couple things there. First is, you know, obviously running in-person events is not really a thing we are doing right now.  Also, our monthly Microsoft Store tournaments, that were really a bright spot in our community, are just not possible right now. Additionally, we had others in the community like GT Halo running local LAN events and everything, but this year we have really had to focus on shifting everything online, which has had its own ups and downs. I think the upside is you can be more inclusive with these events so that players from different region in the world can come together and play. This level of inclusiveness is awesome, but there is still nothing quite like playing on LAN, especially in a competitive setting.

Beyond this emphasis on running online tournaments, another impact of the pandemic has just been on how we collaborate at a team level. We were used to sitting close together, with the addition of a focus room with a nice big whiteboard for brainstorming. We have tools that we use to still do this today, but there is just a different level of collaboration and communication that happens when you’re working remotely. It’s just not the same as sitting next to everyone. We really are at our best when we’re able to work closely and this is because of how super tight knit our team is. We are rising to the occasion and have overcome the bulk of these communication hurdles, but it’s been a learning experience.

Yeah. I think most of the world can relate to that fur sure. Well, not only that, but I can only imagine this year’s changes coupled with a shift of platform for the tournaments being run lately. I know the majority are now on PC for HCS. Can you tell me a little bit about what it has it been like moving over to PC for tournaments?

Experimenting with PC so far has been really great. The first PC tournament we did was right after Halo: Reach’s launch, it was the Mixer Ninja tournament and that was a lot of fun. It went over well and was a lot of fun to help make happen. Then we did the Throwback Throwdown tournaments and DreamHack Anaheim and all of those were also on PC. There are a lot of nuances to running tournaments with PC, and some things that we kind of learned on the fly, especially at DreamHack Anaheim. The way everything is set up, the way that we have to worry about broadcasting, right? If players are playing on uncapped frame rates but the broadcast equipment is set for 60 frames per second, how do you mitigate that when there isn’t an observer mode? It was very much a learning experience given our past on console and we’re thankful to have had experienced partners like DreamHack with us.

Overall, we have seen that players have really enjoyed the experience and that is the most important thing. It has been good in that regard. Thankfully a lot of the competitive community has a PC or was willing to get a PC and jump on board with it. Also, the fact that MCC can run on a lot of different machines has been really helpful. It has not forced anyone to go out and get this like an insane rig just to play. Talking with a lot of players across the competitive community, they have really enjoyed playing on PC so far and it is offered the best MCC experience to date, so that has been a big plus!

That is awesome. I know y’all have also had a lot of various Grassroots efforts. Things such as the Beach Life code giveaways and the Cliptrocity event. Are there plans for additional events and if so, where should people go to look for information on that?

Yes! The HCS team not only works on HCS, which is like the main official league, but ultimately, we have a lot of focus around competitive engagement both in terms of watching and playing as well. We know there is more to competitive Halo that is entertaining to play and watch than just the core 4v4 experience that we all know and love. So, we have been experimenting and trying new things and Cliptrocity is one of the ideas that came out of that since Muggsy on the team got his start in the montage community. So, you know, for us, the first one went very well and we are going to continue to do it. We should have another one launching, sometime in September.

(Nameplate WIP that is subject to change)

We also have the MCC Pro Series and we have got some other stuff in the works that we cannot talk about right now. You know there's more coming in terms of your core 4v4 experience, but also these kinds of extra ancillary activities that are just more inclusive of the entire competitive experience in Halo, both from a watchability but also play perspective. They are bringing in a new generation of Halo players to experience what we have all grown to love. To learn more about these things, players can head over to Halo.gg/mccproseries where we've got a landing page for MCC Pro Series which includes the latest tournament information, stats, and results. Basically Halo.gg is the home for all things Halo esports.

That is super helpful! So, you briefly mentioned a little bit about the Pro Series. For those who do not know much about it, MCC Pro Series in Halo 3 kicked off on 8/22 with the first online open tournament and then this past weekend was the first pro tournament for it. Do you want to let folks know what these tournaments are, who can participate, and a little bit more on what they are about?

Yeah, definitely. So if you go over to Halo.gg/mccproseries, that's our landing page for that whole tournament series and it will have the overview of what the format is. It includes our announcement video and the announcement blog so you can understand all the details behind it as well as dates and results and all that stuff.

Well thank you so much for all of the information about what is going on in your world and sharing where players can learn more about what’s going on with HCS. Thanks, Tashi!

State of the Game with Farns 

Lots of great info above and more to come soon. We are making steady progress on the features we promised in the last blog, below I will give a brief status update on where they are. This will be a smaller update for me as lots of these features are mid-stream so while we’re making good progress, there’s not much to do other than wait right now. ­čśë 

Pub Team Update 

One note I did want to touch on with the recent Infinite news is the status of our team with and how it’s affecting us. As most of you have read, Pierre Hintze has moved over temporarily to help get Halo Infinite's Multiplayer offerings to the finish line. So how does this affect our team? The short answer is it does not. We have a strong plan and commitment to the community in place for this year and the MCC train will continue to move forward. As for me, I’m in the middle of planning out what comes next year for MCC (as I’ve alluded to before) with our team and partners. Stay tuned, we’ve got some cool stuff planned that I can’t wait to tease you about.

TOP COMMUNITY REPORTED ISSUES

Below is a status update to the top Known Issues which we’ve previously discussed in prior MCC Development Updates since December. As updates are made between blogs, you can always check out the latest status discussed in the MCC Development & Flighting Updates (aka.ms/FridayDevFlightUpdateMCC), and also please review the Known issues found on the Halo Support site for latest details. The team is still progressing on various backlog issues and feature requests as possible. The scope and implications of these issues vary greatly so while some may see good movement in a given month, others may not.

Challenges not progressing or resetting: Various improvements have been made to the Challenges system based on previous investigations from players around them not completing correctly. These updates have been flighted and will be released when Halo 3: ODST comes to PC. After that update if you encounter any issues with challenges, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Unable to play Halo 2: Anniversary Co-op Campaign: This issue is under investigation and we are working with the community who has submitted support tickets to understand the core issue. If you have not yet submitted a ticket on this and are experiencing it, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Achievement Issues: We have continued to fix bugs around reported achievement issues. We are aware the “All According to Plan” achievement is not unlocking currently. If there are other achievements that you are still encountering issues with specifically, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Co-op Disconnect Issues: We have released a handful of server-side updates to address issues with connectivity when playing co-op Campaign. If you are still encountering disconnects, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Players Unable to Matchmake on the Same Internet Connection: There have been some reports relating to this that we are trying to investigate and work through. If you have not yet submitted a ticket on this and are experiencing it, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Inability to Login and Play: Our team is actively investigating reports relating to this issue. If you are experiencing any issues where you can’t get past the login screen or beyond the main menu, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Game Crashing with UE4 Errors: We are still investigating this issue on our end.

Halo 3 Hit Registration: This change has been flighted and will be improved in the next game update. Thank you to all who gave feedback during this most recent flight!

Key Bindings Reset on Game Close: The team is currently investigating this. If you are encountering this and have not yet, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

View Model: This work is continuing to be in active development. We are aiming for an update to this for flighting across all games prior to release.

GLOBAL FEATURES AND DEVELOPMENT STATUS

Below is the current status updates for this month as it relates to previously discussed community improvements and feature requests.

Halo 4 

We haven’t spoken much about Halo 4 yet, but it is also progressing well. We are currently moving toward a Beta candidate and have entered the major bug fixing phase of its development. We are also starting to put our flight plans together for H4 and all these other potential features coming online during that timeline. 

Actively in Development

  • UI/UX Improvements around navigation, roster, customization, and many more areas of the game
  • View Model Adjustment for all games
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Steam Account Linking
  • In Game FPS Cap/Adjustments
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • PC File Share
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Additional Video Settings/Options
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Custom Game Browser
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Input Based Matchmaking
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Regional Server Selection
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Cross-Play between Xbox & PC
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Double Key BindsÔÇ»for all games
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Better ways to Report Players
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Per Game Audio Options
    • Good progress, hope to have this in a flight soon 
  • Additional season content (season 4+) 
    • Lots of good surprises here in store for all of you ­čśë 

In Design Iteration

  • Additional Mod Support
  • Text Chat Improvements
  • Better ways to Report Players
  • VFR Improvements to Reach & H2A
  • Bringing PC Features to Console (Like FOV Sliders)
  • Additional Accessibility Support

In Backlog Pending Further Discussions

  • Idle System Improvements
  • Split Screen on PC
  • HDR Support on PC

As always, there are likely some things we’ve neglected to mention in here. Please reach out to us through the various forms of social outlets and let us know your thoughts to help us build our topics for the next development blog.

-farn

Closing Time

We’re approaching the one year mark of MCC being on PC. Our first update which added PC support included many other changes for all platforms. One of those changes included a new UGC (User Generated Content) File Share cloud storage which wasn’t tied to Xbox. Which is also where we migrated your old Xbox 360 UGC to behind the scenes last year!

In order to support this new File Share storage, we had to implement a migration plan specific to the Xbox One version of the game. Before the update last year, your “private” and “public” File Share items in MCC were stored in storage specific to the Xbox platform. Our MCC migration plan was to migrate this Xbox One-specific UGC the first time the user signed into the Xbox One version of the game. On sign-in, we would move “private” files to the local Xbox One device, and “public” files would be moved to our new cloud storage.

However, this means if you have *only* ever played MCC on PC since that update (December 2019) you have not had your old Xbox One UGC, if any, migrated. If you think you have UGC content you made on the Xbox One version of the game before the December 2019 update last year, we are encouraging you to login once on an Xbox One version of the game soon, as we will be deprecating this one-time migration process in November of this year.

Well there you have it folks. Halo 3: ODST is on the horizon, lot’s of fun things going on in the world of HCS with MCC, and a whole ton of design and project updates for MCC all up. Thank you as always for taking the time to stop in and read through what is going on. We look forward to seeing you back here again next month and as always, stay safe, stay healthy, and we will catch y’all online!

Cheers,

Postums

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