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MCC Development Update - July 2019

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mCC Development Update – July 2019

Welcome back to another MCC development update! This month’s will be a bit briefer compared to previous behemoths but still contains a lot of content around the efforts to bring MCC to PC and Halo: Reach to MCC. Rest assured the team and our partners are still very hard at work with lots of goodness, but that has meant it has been a bit harder to get their time to talk at length.

In case you are joining us for the first time, you can catch up on what has been going on over the past few months. Below are the blogs from the months past that touch on MCC coming to PC and Halo: Reach coming to MCC.

Today, we are going to dive into a Halo Insider MCC flighting update, move on over to the Q&A session to discuss some hot topics from the community, and get an update from GrimBrotherOne about MCC PC being at Halo Outpost Discovery in cities all across the country. To wrap everything up we will remind everyone about the Forge content migration that is starting August 12 to bring game types and maps to MCC from Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4 before signing off for this month’s dev update with the latest Duck Tales.

Let’s kick this blog off with an update of where flighting is at as we prepare for the next Halo Insider MCC flights for PC and Xbox.

Halo Insider MCC Flighting Update

Many people have been curious about flighting, what goes into it, why we focus on one key feature area at a time, and why we haven’t flighted Reach to Xbox One yet. The below section will go into detail around the reasoning behind our choices and why we have taken the path of flighting on PC first.

Xbox Flighting Status

As has been stated previously, making any game is hard, let alone where you’re dealing with 11 game engines and 7 complete games under the roof of one title sharing the same hardware resources.

One key goal that has been a part of bringing Halo: Reach into MCC is that for Xbox One, the team has been attempting to bring UE4 online for new character customization options on Xbox. You can read more about the progression system in the May and June development updates. This however has proved to be quite challenging as MCC was already close to memory limits running on the original Xbox One consoles. Bringing the entire progression and customization system into MCC also requires memory to be used to run the additional UE4 engine. Currently, a lot of progress has been made in getting it up and running, but the title still is not within memory constraints to properly run on the Xbox One. In order to flight on Xbox One, we need to be within these limits, otherwise instability will be an issue.

Until the team has an adequate solve for this unique issue, flighting on the Xbox One will continue to be delayed. That being said, the team is pushing hard on a solution as they want to flight the Xbox One build as soon as possible. Until then though flighting will continue to remain solely on the PC build.

Next PC Flight’s Focus

Firefight matchmaking is the team’s next core focus for flighting. The aptly dubbed “FireFlight” is still in development and the team is working through bugs as they prepare for its arrival. The flight after that one is currently planned to be focused on PvP matchmaking. We don’t have a date on when it will drop, but will share more info around it as we get closer.  

What Features will be Flighted?

Flighting core game play elements is a key part of building MCC for PC and bringing Halo: Reach into MCC. After talking with the team, they came up with a core list of features that they are planning to flight.

  • Campaign (Flight One)
  • Firefight Matchmaking (Flight Two)
  • PvP Matchmaking (Flight Three)

These flights are milestones for the team, and we can’t wait for players to get in on the action when the flights are available! Stay tuned, as more news on the next FireFlight will be coming soon!

Community Questions Answered

During this section, I will spend some time going over a handful of questions that have been asked online at various locations across the internets. If you have questions, be sure to look out for my posts on Reddit, Twitter, and/or Halo Waypoint. I can’t answer all of them but will take some of the top ones to the team to get as much info as possible for y’all. Let’s dive on in!

How are things going on many PC customization options such as resolution settings?

We are still working hard on the various different customization options we have discussed in previous blogs. These key features are all very top of mind. Today we can show you a couple screenshot on some progress made on Ultra-widescreen support.

(Ultrawide work in progress screenshot with edge of screen UI.)

A member on the test team, Jared Ives, is the lucky one to have this beautiful Ultra-wide monitor. I have serious pixel envy for Jared's setup right now. Below is a 2nd image that shows this work in progress with the options altered to have your UI centered rather than pushed out to the edges of the widescreen.

(Ultrawide work in progress screenshot with centered UI)

Lists of HCE bugs have circulated for some time amongst the community. There is a lot of curiosity around what will be done with these as it relates to MCC.

Over the past several months we have worked directly with the HCE community across many social platforms to compile a list of top issues that players have with HCE and what they wanted to see fixed the most. A few weeks ago, I sat down with the Publishing Team’s engineers, producers, designers, and discussed each of the issues from this list.

In talking with the team, it is easy to see that at the core the goal is to make CE as close to parity as possible. With CE coming to PC, we won’t be able to address every reported issue, however we believe the community eventually will, once broader mod support and functionality arrives.

We are planning to investigate many of the issues brought up by the community during our development for HCE on PC and work to bring any fixes we make to both PC and Console. The below issues are using internal descriptions, so they are not 1:1 to the names on the list linked above but do capture the core of the issues outlined in it.

Key Community reported Issues to investigate during development for HCE in MCC PC:

  • Player camo state desyncs on pickup of camo as camo wears off
  • Teleporter behavior differs from Legacy Halo CE
  • There are differences between original HCE maps and MCC HCE maps
  • Classic MP audio is not used in MP
  • Please consider using the original version’s weapon tags

These issues are going to be investigated to see what the scope of work is required to resolve them to the community’s standards. However, if changes to resolve the issues are deemed too risky, requires an extensive amount of work, or is something we cannot accomplish within the production schedule - they may not make the cut. We won’t know until we are able to adequately investigate them and some may be punted to post-release.

Community reported issues to investigate after MCC PC project work completes:

  • Sniper and Magnum shots are too easy in MCC
  • Slow moving projectile weapons impact and effects are not synced
  • Actions executed after dying can queue up and be performed on respawn
  • When a powerup or weapon is moved from spawn it can appear in different locations for clients
  • Multiplayer latency issues

Community reported Issues we will not be investigating or working on:

  • In-game timer is missing when players are dead and respawning
  • Option to make weapon cocking and footsteps SFXs play client side only in HCE

These last two issues don’t warrant investigation or further work as these behaviors do not match legacy Halo titles and differs from the design in MCC entirely. We understand that these are options some in the community want, but it doesn’t match the design goals for the product.

One thing we would like to reiterate though is that we are in full support of modding these titles if it is done in compliance with Microsoft’s terms of use with a purchased copy of the games when they are released. Even if we do not address areas the community wants to see changed, we encourage the modding community to update the games the way you see fit to play with your friends. This is something the Halo community has done for a long time and as long as it follows the Xbox Content Usage rules there should be no reason to stop.

What sort of anti-cheat tools will be used with MCC PC?

For MCC PC we will be utilizing an industry-leading anti-cheat solution that will be used to protect matchmade games played on dedicated servers. We are doing this in order to allow modded content to be used by the community for other game modes they would like to customize. Our goals are to protect players while also providing freedom to players who mod as long as it doesn’t negatively impact others. We will have a lot more to talk about on this in the future as development progresses.

What are some interesting bugs that the team has encountered during development?

This is a fun section where we are going to show off some of the funniest or most interesting bugs that have been encountered during development. 

Bug #1 - Best Checkpoint Ever

Remember those times where you kept trying over and over to reach a certain checkpoint in a mission? This is a checkpoint you will forever want to avoid.

Bug #2 - Tank Beats Everything

Everyone knows that tanks beat everything. In this case, it went above and beyond by beating the driver.

Bug #3 - Emile Says No New Friends

We all know that everything is better with friends. In this video, Noble 6 made one, but Emile didn't approve.

Bug #4 - Now You See Me

Enemies are always finding new and sneaky ways to defeat you. This time though, we had the enemies playing hide and go die when bullets were seeking them out.

Bug #5 - Kat Rage

It wouldn't be natural if Kat did something odd in Halo: Reach. In this bug, Kat claims her space on the boardwalk with some force.

Bug #6 - You Had One Job

Many of us also know the pain of lining up the best shot with rockets only to have a wall magically appear when you go to fire. This marine in Reach fell victim to those pesky walls popping out of nowhere.

Now that we have gotten through those buggy shenanigans, here’s Grim with an update from Halo: Outpost Discovery!

Outpost Discovery Recap

Thanks, Postums! As I’m sure avid readers of spaces like these are more than well aware, Halo is one of those awesome franchises that gives you a seemingly infinite number of ways in which to engage with its universe. One of the coolest and most recent ways has been the much bandied-about traveling fan event, Halo: Outpost Discovery. We opened up with gator-laden gusto in my heart-held but humid home state of Florida on the Fourth of July weekend, and then took the canonical caravan up north to the City of Brotherly Cheesesteaks for the second stop of Outpost Discovery’s 2019 tour. Of course, why are we talking about this here? Because in case you hadn’t heard, amongst the artifacts, panels, attractions, meet-n-greets, and more, there is a lovingly looked-after LAN land that features over two-hundred gaming stations to help folks explore Halo’s roots via good old-fashioned gameplay. Specifically, relevant to this blog’s interest are the stations where fans can get their hands on the MCC on PC build that features the Halo: Reach campaign demo showcased originally at this year’s E3 event. If you weren’t lucky enough to find yourself at the annual electronic entertainment soiree in southern California, then make sure you get yourself out to one of the Outpost’s remaining stops in Chicago (August 2-4), Houston (August 16-18), or Anaheim (August 30-September 1) to get some hands-on time for yourself. Plus, there’s like, a bunch of other cool stuff to do there as well, so, yeah.

Anyway, if you’re out at any of the aforementioned Outpost locations and see a 343 staff person wandering the show floor, make sure and say hello! It’s been an absolute blast getting to share in folks’ unbridled passion – one that we certainly share – for the Halo franchise and universe, and we love getting to finally put faces with social media handles. Speaking of which, I probably still need to get my travel booked for Houston, so I’ll pass it back over to my other favorite thing with “post” in the name. Until next time…

Grim.   

Actually Postums, Sketch here - hold up! Before you take the wheel again, I wanted to add-on to Grim’s abundance of alliteration to add a bit of additional color. Grim wasn’t actually in the City of Brotherly Cheesesteaks but in addition to Halo: Reach PC playable demo, we also hosted a very special MCC panel! Greg Hermann, Max Szlagor, and Sean Swidersky joined me on stage for an hour long chat about the journey to bring MCC to PC.

(From Left to Right: Brian Jarrard, Sean Swidersky, Greg Hermann, and Max Szlagor)

 If you’ve been reading these updates and following along during this journey there likely wasn’t anything said that you don’t already know. One thing I imagine is of interest to this audience is a question that come during the audience Q&A regarding the long awaited “Custom Game Browser” for MCC. Producer Sean Swidersky acknowledged that work had temporarily stalled on this feature but it’s still on the “to do” list. While this was once a much higher priority, the reality is that with the release of the Match Composer, the immediate need for this feature dropped in priority. This, along with ramping up work on Halo: Reach for PC and all that entails, led to the custom game browser feature slipping a bit further down the list. The team acknowledged this is still something they want to deliver to MCC but for the time being, it’s taken a backseat to the overall work to bring the entire collection to PC. 

 

(From Left to Right: Sean Swidersky, Greg Hermann, and Max Szlagor)

One other tidbit that came up from Greg was the note that the networking model for Halo: Reach Firefight Matchmaking in MCC has been completely reworked and updated and as a result, should offer players an even better experience! Now, back to your regularly scheduled Postums.

Legacy Content Migration

Thank you, gentlemen! In last month’s MCC Development Update, we touched on the Forge legacy maps and game type file share migration we have planned. This month, we have dates to share! The first copy for Forge game types is going to start on August 12, where a one-time copy of the game types that you have uploaded to your file share will be grabbed in preparation for access in MCC later. A few weeks later on August 26, we will be grabbing maps to make the great journey into MCC. This copy will occur for every Xbox Live account with game types and maps on its file share – content saved locally will NOT be transferred.

Below are the full details of what will be happening, when, and what you need to do to for your content to make its way from Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4 into MCC in the future! As a reminder, the content from your file shares will only be migrated to the same profiles on the Xbox One’s MCC upon booting it up after the update enabling this behavior. Players on PC will not be able to transfer maps and modes from legacy to PC, but they can access that content via file shares of anyone on MCC from either consoles or PCs. This transfer of content though will only be possible for Legacy titles to players that launch MCC on Xbox One.

What is Happening?
This is a ONE-TIME service for bringing game types and maps from your profile’s original Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4 Xbox 360 file share to the MCC file share on Xbox One. If you have maps and game type files not on your profile’s file share, they will not be migrated. Only content on your file shares in the original releases for Halo 3, Halo 4, and Halo: Reach from the Xbox 360, will be brought to MCC on the Xbox One. These game types and maps will work on both the Xbox One and PC versions of MCC, but the transfer will only happen for those who boot up the game on Xbox One.

When is this happening?
Due to technical limitations, we will only be able to do a single pull for each file type, so we’ve split this into two separate days – one day for game types and one day for maps. By allowing players to fill up their file share with game types during the first pull and again with maps on the second pull, players can maximize their slots and bring over as many of each file type as they can fit in their file share. The two weeks below are when we will copy the files, so be sure to have your file shares loaded on each game (Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4) well beforehand to ensure they get copied over:

  • Game Types – 10 AM PST on 8/12
  • Maps – 10 AM PST on 8/26

What do I have to do?
Load up Halo 3, Halo: Reach, and Halo 4 on your Xbox 360 (or on your Xbox One via back-compat) and ensure the local files you want to copy over to MCC are uploaded to your file share before each pull. Ensure your game types are uploaded up before August 12. On the 12, please leave them there for at least 24 hours without altering so we can properly perform the copy. After that, please take some time to place your maps on your file shares before August 26. If you can’t get to your Xbox 360 or update your file share, don’t worry as the game types and maps already uploaded will still make their way to MCC.

When will I have access to my maps and game types in MCC?
Since transferring game types and maps to Xbox One requires work to the current version of MCC, our intention is that they will become available when Halo: Reach releases on both platforms (with Halo 3 and Halo 4 content on PC becoming available once those titles are released). As we get closer and have a better idea of when it should land, we will share an exact date.

How will I get the maps?
There is no work required beyond uploading your files to your file share on all three games. After that, we will make sure they get to the same gamertag. Simply log into MCC on Xbox when the update drops and the maps and game types will be copied down for you. For PC players who have maps in these legacy titles you will need to load into MCC on Xbox after the update to make these available. All maps and game types that have been copied over will be found in your local files.

What about Screenshots, Films, and Film Clips?
After extensively exploring copying screenshots and videos, we were unable to find a workable solution to copy and migrate them to the new system – so unfortunately screenshots, film clips, and films will not be transferred to MCC during this process. On the plus side, we are still investigating a way bring screenshots to Halo Waypoint and make them both viewable and downloadable. We are excited for this migration to happen and we look forward to bringing all the content you have created over the years into MCC. One additional piece people will be excited to learn is that with this change, we are also increasing your file share size to help you share even more content with your friends online! We will continue to talk about this as we get closer to the deadline so that you’re up to date with the latest before we finish the process with a game update. Until then, polish up those maps and get ready!

Now let’s take some time to hear from our friend of another feather, Dana Jerpbak, or more well known as Duck. Let’s see what he’s got to quack about this month!

Duck Tales

I’m back with a quack and a stack of Halo fact. Today, we’ll take a dive into a bug which some of you may have noticed in the first Halo: Reach PC flight earlier this summer. To maintain the avian theme of Duck Tales, this bug has to do with “flocks”.

In Halo, a flock is a scripted group of vehicles placed in the skybox of a mission. They’re intended to be viewed only from very far away and, as such, use very low-detail models. Flocks are used to lend a sense of scale to a mission, creating an epic battle raging in the distance. Reach’s Tip of the Spear uses several Covenant and UNSC flocks throughout the mission to embellish the sense of conflict between the two factions. There are some interesting details, too, where one faction’s flocks win an aerial engagement based on a scripted event within the mission.

In Tip of the Spear, however, one flock was overstaying its welcome. After the second anti-air gun (or “BFG”) is destroyed, the tide of the nearby aerial battle turns and the Covenant flock slowly dies off while its UNSC counterpart remains. It just so happens that this UNSC flock is positioned along the trajectory of the camera during the mission’s outro cinematic. This resulted in the following issue:

Astute players may have noticed that this issue only occurred when playing the mission from the beginning. If they started at a rally point, the flock would never spawn to begin with. This led to some added confusion and red herrings when tracking down the origin of the issue.

Once the cause of the issue was identified, the fix was incredibly simple. One flock was never getting cleaned up. We now wait until the player enters the spire shield in the mission’s final area and then delete the flock while it’s out of view to keep it out of the cinematic.

 

For this issue, we wanted to bring some added visual polish with Reach’s upgrade to modern hardware and resolutions. Legacy bugs (bugs which appeared in the original version of the game) are treated with care. One of our goals is to keep the experience exactly how you remember it, but how something is remembered and how it actually was are rarely the same. We often recall things through rose-tinted nostalgia goggles and our perceptions of quirks like these fall away. We only fix legacy bugs in specific cases where we’re confident we’re making an objective improvement. We made sure we had the blessing of our test lead (who worked on the original release of Reach) before making this change.

This is one of several ways we’re working to make Reach better than ever while keeping it as you remembered. We can’t wait for you to play it.

Closing Time

Thank you everyone who has taken the time to read through the update. If there are details you have more questions about, topics you would like discussed in future updates, or just want to reach out – please don’t hesitate to do so. You can post here in the Halo Waypoint MCC Forums for Xbox or PC, over on Reddit, or reach out directly to me on Twitter.

One additional bit of news for people before signing off this month is that MCC PC is coming to Gamescom! Uny talked about what’s coming in last week’s Community Update. Here is the snippet below.

"We are currently planning to be at Gamescom this August to show off our Halo: Reach PC E3 Demo to our biggest European fans and players. Since the team is hard at work on the upcoming FireFlight build, we wanted to leave them to it and not pull them away from important matters. That said, we know that there are still plenty of you who have yet to go hands on with this Tip of the Spear Demo, and we're happy to be bringing it to you in Germany.

Additionally, it'll be my first Gamescom, and I'm excited for it to be happening with MCC – so be sure to say hi if you see me at the booth!"

Thanks John! With that we have reached the end of this month’s update. August is going to be a very busy month yet again and I can’t wait to catch everyone up in the next addition to this series. See y’all later and have a good one friends!

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