News

MCC Development Update - March 2020

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Hey Friends,

Postums here, welcoming back friends old and new to another monthly installment of the MCC Development Update series! Usually I can’t believe that a month has already gone so quickly. But this month has been a long year, so to speak, and I’ve spotted a few more grey hairs joining the ranks in my beard. To help reduce my greys, this is my heartfelt reminder to stay inside, continue social distancing, and continue your efforts to battle against the Covenant on this Great Journey!

This month we will start off by taking a brief look back at what has happened since the launch of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary on PC and what you can expect in April for MCC playlist updates. From there, we’ll look at our planned public flights for Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary. After that, we will talk shop with some members of the Publishing Team for a design update covering Theater, Forge, the upcoming challenges system, and more. We will then cruise on down the road to an update from the Senior Producer on MCC as it relates to all areas on the project. Before we leave, I will touch on a few important things in our Looking Ahead section.

Before we jump into the dev portion of this piece, I want to remind folks that in between these blogs, please make sure you are following our Weekly Development & Flighting Updates which can be found over at https://aka.ms/FridayDevFlightUpdateMCC. Now, let’s dive into things!

The Great Journey

Earlier this month, we took another step on the Great Journey in bringing MCC to PC. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary is now available via Xbox Game Pass for PC (Beta), the Microsoft Store, and Steam! The full launch blog detailing all its goodness lives HERE. You can also find some sweet pixels that snickerdoodle organized over HERE. This culmination of efforts has been celebrated by many online and while it was a surprise launch, it’s been rewarding to see such reactions from Halo fans old and new. As we have stated before, this is a journey we are taking with our fans as we bring each title to PC.

To bring all of the titles in MCC to PC we have enlisted the help of the community through our Halo Insider Program. If you would like to sign-up for a chance to participate in future flights, please head over and register for the Halo Insider Program. Or, if you are already registered, it never hurts to update your profile (make sure you have a DXDIAG file uploaded if you want to be eligible for PC flighting and make sure your email is current and verified!).

We’re Just Getting Started

Since the original release in 2014, the Publishing Team at 343 Industries has pushed to make MCC the best collection of legacy titles for Halo. Going all the way back from when Bravo announced the title was gold, to ske7ch’s first MCC Development Update blog in January 2018 discussing new development efforts, to now bringing MCC to PC and beyond; we are committed to evolving MCC in partnership with our players. MCC will continue to change over time and is something that players will see along with each new game addition on PC. We aim to not only adjust for community feedback, but also find ways to improve the collection all up in order to best serve everyone who plays the game.

We continue to adjust and help build the underlying infrastructure within the titles to help make MCC a true ‘games as a service’ (GaaS) collection, this includes adding the remaining games to MCC on PC while iterating, updating, and continuously supporting the experience. Specific to fixing issues, we have a special type of flag built into our bug database relating to feedback and reported issues we have seen from the community. In the spirit of our partnership with players, we want to make sure everyone is aware of the team’s ongoing work and actions taken on a number of community-reported issues. Below are key bugs that we have fixed, some of which were unique issues the community brought to our attention during flighting, and are ready to go live with the next CU:

MCC All Up
  • MCC Title can soft lock on the Post Game Loading Screen after leaving mid-match
  • MCC – Sometimes controller vibration continues after pausing the game
  • MCC – All players receive an error message if launching into a MP match takes too long
  • MCC – Quit penalties are not being applied to users leaving matches
Halo: Combat Evolved
  • H:CE – Crash due to a UE4 Fatal error
  • H:CE – Achievements for mission completions, Par Time, and Score were not unlocking for some
  • H:CE - Timers have been added to multiplayer matches
  • H:CE – Charge audio plays when rapid firing the Plasma Pistol
  • H:CE – Classic Multiplayer uses Remastered Campaign Audio
  • H:CE – Camo VFX are not visible to all players in Matchmaking and Custom Games
  • H:CE – Voice over sound echoes and seems distant in the Pillar of Autumn cutscene
  • H:CE – Player name placement is lower than in legacy H:CE in splitscreen
  • H:CE – Resting bullet cases flicker on the ground
  • H:CE – Headless Spartan model appears in the cryo-chamber in 4k on the Pillar of Autumn
  • H:CE – Activating a terminal does not take the user to the terminal video
  • H:CE – Spartan model’s hands look to be lower quality during idle animation
  • H:CE – Low resolution textures on players, weapons, and vehicles in remastered graphics
  • H:CE – Swap weapons occurs quicker compared to Legacy when using VFR frame rate option
  • H:CE – Customization preview model proportions don’t match in game models
  • H:CE – Loading screen inaccurately shows Plasma Pistol icon when weapon set is normal
  • H:CE – Default options were swapped for some classic and non-classic game variants
  • H:CE – Some textures and decals disappeared when swapping between remastered and classic
  • H:CE – The “Lowered” crosshair position settings were lower than in Halo: Reach’s options
  • H:CE – Weapon audio was missing during the entire mission after watching the Jenkins cutscene
  • H:CE – Music and sound effects volume is slightly louder than legacy H:CE
  • H:CE – Ability to set primary and secondary weapons in Custom Games
  • H:CE – Addition to display time elapsed in H:CE
  • H:CE – Adjusted enemy name text colors and placements for consistency across titles
  • H:CE – Fixed title safe areas in Split screen
  • H:CE – Assault on the Control Room Sgt. Stacker voice was incorrect
  • H:CE – Quickly switching weapons during reload didn’t interrupt sound effects
  • H:CE – Performance drops throughout the mission The Silent Cartographer
Halo 2 and Halo: 2 Anniversary
  • H2A – Nebula lighting was excessively dark and impairs gameplay on these forged maps
  • H2A – FPS performance falls below 40 when multiple explosions effects appear onscreen
  • H2A – Subtitles were delayed and out of sync in remastered cinematics
  • H2A – In Forge, team colors display incorrectly in all UI menus
  • H2A – Game over was displayed in Forge when selecting “Start New Round”
  • H2A – Infected did not appear to have a shield bar when shields were set to Normal in Custom games
  • H2C – Warthog horn and other vehicles incorrectly shoot Scarab rounds when Scarab skull is enabled
  • H2C – Players were not awarded multi-kill medals when the criteria was met
  • H2C – Shade turret kills showed up as plasma turret kills
  • H2C – Playlist progression was not correctly awarded to Co-Op players
  • H2C – Sword equip sound effects didn’t always play
  • H2C – Corrupted textures on tunnel ceiling on Outskirts
Other Halo Titles
  • HR – There are texture issues between the fog and mountains in the intro cinematic
  • H4 – Wateris missing ripple VFX when driving throughout Halo 4
  • ODST – Visor UI elements do not appear upscaled for 4K

Playlist Updates

Beyond making changes and improvements, the team also focuses on regular ongoing playlist updates. One new piece we are working to improve is visibility on the changes we plan to make. Today we are sharing a look into our planned playlist updates for the month of April. An important note: Playlist Updates are shared across both PC and Xbox. To stay up to date with the full details be sure to review the pinned threads for Xbox and PC.

April’s Playlist Update Schedule
  • 4/1 – Mayhem: 8v8 playlist for Halo: Combat Evolved
  • 4/8 – Grifball: 4v4 playlist for Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, and Halo: Reach
  • 4/15 – TBD
  • 4/21 – TBD
  • 4/29 – TBD

As you can see, there are several TBDs for the second half of April. We actively listen to and react to feedback you have. If there are playlist changes you would like to see, such as entirely new ones or the return of old favorites, please make sure to visit the game forums (March ones for Xbox & PC). New pinned feedback threads will be available for April soon, so please continue to leave feedback in these threads as it is invaluable to us.

We are always looking for new and fun experiences to bring to Halo and this next section covers how some of this happens.

Design Interview

Welcome to this month’s discussion relating to all things Design for MCC. I will be joined today by a few returning members of the Publishing Team here at 343 Industries. Topics to be covered will include Challenges, Theater and Forge work for PC, what goes into large updates that also come to console, and additional tidbits. This one is lengthy, so make sure you have brought adequate snacks and beverages. Let’s dive on in!

Postums: Welcome Max, Dana, thank you so much for joining me today. For those who don’t know much about you two, tell me a little bit about who you are? 

Dana: I'm Dana Jerpbak, a technical designer here on the pub team. I report to Max. I’m responsible for designing various systems for player progression and engagement, designing events and content for sustain and matchmaking, as well as features supporting Forge.  

With both designing systems as well as implementing them I interact with both content and code in what I do. 

So, it sounds like you are heavily involved in both the planning and the doing in terms of getting all things MCC up and running. Very cool. And Max, what about you?  

Max: I’ll keep it short today, I’m Max Szlagor, the design director for the publishing team which some of you may already know from previous updates.

Yes indeed! Tell me gentlemen, what are some of the awesome cool new things y’all are working on? 

M: Well, that is a very broad question. For the new features we want to talk about today there are quite a few key pieces we can go into detail on. I'll let Dana speak to the multiplayer game types and playlists. In general, the way that we look at features is that MCC is a very large game that is now spanning multiple platforms, and there's a lot of stuff there, so we want to make sure that we can bring each game to each platform in a way that's native, and that it’s a good experience for everybody. And we want to make sure that every feature is brought to everybody in that same way. So, when we think about features, a lot of it has to do with what we think the right experience for that platform is.

If it's on console, we have some amount of legacy to look back to, but there's also another piece of it which is, does it warrant looking at whether that system can use updating? Could we make some part of it more intuitive? Could we make it more accessible?  

Evaluation comes on a feature by feature basis. Dana will speak to the Theater and Forge, or “Thorage” piece as we are calling it internally. I think that's an interesting case of how we looked at legacy content and discovered new things that we could do with it. Other work comes out of understanding player needs to make experiences native for PC. Examples include new ways we need to update the interface for features originally built for console.

PC is a much more open-ended modifiable platform and there's a lot of things that you can do there that you can't do on console. If you're a very curious person, you want to go and poke around and do things we didn’t imagine. How do we enable those scenarios while ensuring the integrity and safety of our core game experience for our fans? 

I think for other kinds of features some of our ability to make updates comes down to technical challenges and time. Finding how do we bring those features to new places in a way that will perform well and will work across a wider range of hardware now available for MCC.

When these games were originally created, they were very optimized for the platforms they were made for. But it’s something that we must revisit when we look at bringing these games to other places, like for example going from 30fps to 60 fps, to more than 60 fps. Those are pretty significant investments, technically, to get working across different platforms in updates. We continue to discover new ways in which such changes present new challenges.  

With so many ways we can approach things of this nature, our goals are to make sure that across our team and the community, we're reaching out to identify and understand key desires and pain points. A lot of it just comes down to discussion and evaluation so we can properly prioritize the features we hear requests for.

Dana, do you want to talk to that process of how we have collectively worked together across our feedback avenues to take in community feedback as it relates to game types, playlist and how you approach it? 

D: So basically, a little over a year ago, we kicked off our efforts to start updating and improving a lot of the matchmaking content across MCC. This has been ongoing for a while now, but we got into this weekly cadence of updates and started really thinking about how we get each titles’ matchmaking content in a really good spot. Specifically, making sure it’s consistent, making sure it's accessible, making sure there are things that are consistent between games so it's not a jarring experience when you're switching from Halo: CE to Halo 2 and other games. It’s very important that we’re also retaining the identity and the legacy of each individual game and what made them unique. 

We've spent a lot of time doing that, and the process involved lots of data. This includes looking at various metrics, quit rates for specific maps and their variants. Without getting into the nitty gritty, we use these pieces paired with our own experiences, and those of our community, to begin to form an opinion.

We have various channels for qualitative feedback and combine this with quantitative feedback to see the insights we can draw from this joint data. I think if you look at either in a vacuum you can make some assumptions that aren’t fully informed and don't tell the full story. Marrying the two together allows us to make better decisions of what works, what doesn't, what can be better, and how our process can be better.  

Some of that's involved things like adding new options and granularity for custom game settings to allow us to do things that maybe weren't possible in these games before.

Like the new Fiesta work for H:CE, adding audio, adding new playlist options that include “no spread” to our Ranked Playlists. I know historically there are many different pieces you have worked on.

D: Yeah, exactly, those are some of the most recent examples. The no spread work, the primary and secondary weapon selection, new weapons sets, and more. We’ve added some new time limit and score limit options to H:CE, and other work with Halo: Reach. We’re adding additional tools to our toolbox to respond to feedback. 

That’s great, getting the custom tools you need to do what you wanna do is clearly already paying off. Continuing with that theme, how are things going on Halo: Reach? Do you want to talk a little bit about the Theater and Forge update, or “Thorage” as it’s called internally?

D: Sure thing. Forge can kind of be broken into two main categories in how we think about it. There's the tool and feature side of it, and then there's the content side.  

For the tool and feature side of it, obviously with bringing forge to PC we're bringing in a new input device. Certain things that maybe work nicely on controller don't necessarily translate one-to-one for mouse and keyboard, for example the raw controls and the UI. With this comes player expectations like rebinding keys and having more accessibility. More pieces to empower players to create awesome content.

To maintain consistency across all of the titles in MCC, we have been doing these changes in conjunction to help maintain consistency and a unified experience. We want to create a more cohesive experience so when you jump from Forge in Halo: Reach to Halo 4 it’s not jarring.

Now we know that Forge is not identical in each game as iteration happened between titles, but in areas that are shared our goal is to maintain as much consistency as possible. All with the goal to make Forge feel native on mouse and keyboard and really empower players who don't have a controller or have never touched Forge before. 

The second piece of our Forge discussion is the content, and this is where the Thorage comes in, as far as our goofy codename for it. For Halo: Reach specifically I remember back when I originally played and there being objects in the campaign that weren’t available in Forge. Things like civilian vehicles, vehicle variants, and just cool stuff I had wished I could have in Forge. When we started this project we looked at ways to make use of them. Then the question became, “why stop there?” Reach had several DLC Maps with even more unique object additions, and we decided to bring those back to Forge World and into Tempest.  

Tempest is treated as our secondary forge canvas as it’s nice to have a secondary option that's visually different for players to have more variation in themes on their maps.   

After these changes we thought, “Let's see what else we can do.” Reach campaign offered many more objects with strong visual utility that could add variety to maps. Some were chosen for their strong gameplay utility, like weapon cabinets that refill your ammunition for your weapons. New ways to help empower people to do things on the gameplay side that maybe weren't possible before.

With Forge it's not about using things the way they were intended; it's about offering a toolset broad enough so someone can be creative with the tools at hand. We want to give people the freedom to make amazing, unpredictable, and new stuff that everyone can then play and enjoy.  

That’s a lot of great information about Forge! I know that the second part of the “Thorage” update will be theater. What are some things you want to speak to about it?

D: Theater is much less grandiose compared to Forge, but we took the same approach in regard to focusing in on making the experience native to the platform. This includes supporting things like key bindings so that players have greater customization over their theater controls and being able to interact and use it the way they want to. The primary change and goal for it was to make it feel native on PC with mouse and keyboard. Making it so using free cam really feels natural on a mouse was a challenge we believe we have been able to achieve.   

I’m excited for people to get their hands on these! I know that there are still pieces coming together still, but in terms of an area players are going to get some hands-on time with in the next flight for Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary, let's talk Challenges and their addition to the game. Can you explain these from a top level down in terms of core concepts and what y’all are exploring for options in-game? 

M: I can touch briefly on some goals we had, and then Dana can dig into the details of the exploration and implementation. 

Across Halo games, we've had Challenges and are looking at ways to grow them within MCC. In the past we've had this concept of these daily and weekly challenges in a fixed pool and had different objectives to them. We were looking at that and we asked ourselves two questions: 

  1. Does this model fit into how people are playing games today?
  2. And what sort of things can we do to expand on that?  

From this we came to a couple of different conclusions. One is that we liked what was possible within the philosophical framework we have. We do events right now and that is something we will be continuing. We also wanted to prove more opportunity and accessibility to folks who may not be able to play as regularly and miss out on them. Our goal was for challenges to be more flexible, and to have larger windows of time for completions. Also offering a variety of rewards that all feed into our existing MCC progression system. Dana will speak to the evolution and details of this system.

D: To that end, one of the core components of challenges for MCC was to ensure that they are quite configurable. We have lots of freedom in what we can adjust and track for any challenge objectives. Thus allowing great flexibility to provide objectives that touch across a lot of different playstyles, skill levels, modes and activities within the game.  

(This is a Work-in-Progress mockup. Challenge names, details, and rewards may not reflect final design)

One of the big challenges with challenges is that we needed a system to drive progress across all of MCC. As Max mentioned, Halo: Reach and Halo 4 had their own challenges and were designed differently using systems based on ‘incidents.’ In MCC, we have to account for the different Halo engines across the collection, and needed a more complex system to support this. Our universal system tracks objectives across all the games, and supports game-agnostic objectives. For example: killing a grunt in H:CE is treated the same as in Halo 3. Existing data structures that we already tracked within MCC have been leveraged to allow this higher degree of configuration ultimately providing more unique challenges for players. Ranging from short to long term goals, but they can span many areas in the experience.

For example – here are a list of some kinds of challenges you might run into:  

  • Kill X units. 
  • Play X matches of this specific game type in this playlist.
  • Save user-generated content. 
  • Play anytime in the month of April.

Historically these have been done manually, but challenges allow us to systemically drive these kinds of objectives and awards. This addition of a more robust system helps to address feedback of wanting more places to earn XP beyond Matchmaking.

In past blogs I know we’ve talked briefly about the desire for future unlocks and customizations, are there any sorts of details you can provide about these rewards? 

M: We're looking at offering different types of rewards for completing challenges. Initially, I think we're looking at experience points and season points. At some point, the goal is for system to be able to include item rewards as well.  

Lots to get excited for! To go in a completely different direction, we recently had an update on Xbox recently, that was 60 gigs. With it there was a lot of new content like customization, new features, future setup work, and bug fixes. Do you two want to talk a little bit about how updates to PC are going to bring certain things to Xbox?  And what that means for file size etc.?  

M: Let’s chat briefly about the Xbox update. It’s always our goal to minimize the size of updates for our players. With such a large surface area of game, and the scope of changes that need to be made this can make them rather large. Whenever core game data files are updated, this usually means a larger update. We manage this process very carefully to minimize the amount of times this happens. But it is one of those things that can come up. This mindset drove development for features like Intelligent Install where players can choose which pieces of games in MCC they download. We expect some updates will be larger than others but we will be as mindful as we can with those updates.

What were some of the changes in the recent update that contributed to its size?

D: With the CE Update, because we are developing the PC versions, we had work that was prep work for stuff coming down the road. But some larger changes in terms of file sizes included resolving water ripples in Halo 4 among other pieces. Some other pieces included updates to various Forge items across MCC.

Now, for my final question. I talk regularly with various community members that are interested in breaking into the industry. Now we have talked extensively before about your path into the industry to get where you are today before Dana. What would you say is a key piece of advice you’d give someone if they said “I want to design video games” but they have never had any industry experience?

D: If somebody wanted to get into design, I would say they should first learn about what the types of design are and identify which one sparks their interest. I mean there’s so many different applications of design. There’s level, systems, technical, gameplay, sandbox, and so on and so forth. With so many games providing avenues for creating content through mods or other user-generated content features, the opportunities to gain firsthand experience through these processes is endless.

Digging into what excites you and stretching mental design muscles, building them up, and truly thinking through problem solving techniques for how games collectively work together across disciplines; these are all great areas to start with. Figuring out what thought processes you need to have on your own to efficiently breakdown why things are done and which interest you most.

From this analysis exercise, you will likely find an area that you latch onto and then can learn more about through communities, books, or even trial and error. The key is to practice on your own and start building a portfolio of content you have created.

Well thank you both so much for stopping in and sharing this wealth of knowledge on all things design for MCC! Now that we know more about cool new things being worked on, let’s take a look at flighting for Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary!

March Flighting

As March has, well, marched along – we have made great progress on the goals we had set. Despite the ongoing challenges of working entirely remotely, we are about to begin flighting! The scope however has been reduced as some areas are still being worked on. We set out to flight several changes including audio fixes for Halo: Reach and some updates to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary alongside Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary. However a few key pieces still need to be ironed out for Halo: Reach and H:CE fixes prior to getting them into your hands. To stay up-to-date on these, make sure to check out our regular MCC Development & Flighting Updates which can be found at https://aka.ms/FridayDevFlightUpdateMCC.

Additionally, based on player feedback we've also changed how we will be inviting flight participants and where communications will come from. Let’s take a look at what this means for those who will be invited to the next Public (Ring 3) flight.

Halo Waypoint Flight Messaging for Halo Insider Program

Part of listening to player feedback includes improving the process for how we communicate with you. We are moving away from the previous system of sending multiple emails that contain critical information. To help make this process easier and cut down on missing emails and confusion, we're moving to more of a self-service model and shifting all communications to Halo Waypoint. This process is new and we will continue to improve prior to the next public flight. The following is the first iteration and, like all work in progress pieces, it may look slightly different when the public flight begins. Here is a look at the current framework

1. If invited, you will receive a notification here on Halo Waypoint informing you that you've been invited to a flight.

 

2. You will also receive a message that includes key flight details (including steam keys etc).

 

3. This information will also be accessible via your Halo Insider Program profile page. You will be linked to your flight’s instructions, details (whether it’s Steam, Microsoft Store, or Xbox One), and this page will also include information about the status of the flight (if it is Active or ended). If it’s a Steam flight – your Steam Key will live here too.

4. The links to your flight (Halo 2 – Steam & Halo 2 – Microsoft Store) will take you to the Insider Halo Support site articles detailing all information you need to know regarding the flight.

With this being the first time for this new process, we will be sending out an information email to all invitees to reiterate these changes. We look forward to feedback and hope this is smoother for players that participate in the next flight! Now that we have walked through the new procedure, let’s breakdown what content will be in this flight.

Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary Flight Content

Below is a complete list of all content for the upcoming Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary flights for both the Microsoft Store and Steam based on the development spec we create for each unique flight. There may be some slight changes between now and then, but overall, this is what we believe will be available in the upcoming public flight. Don’t fuss if things change because they usually do to some degree.

New Features

  • Challenge System: This will include a series of challenges players can complete throughout the flight.
  • Customization: Updated customization will be available for players for both Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary.
  • Theater: Theater will be available for use with Mouse & Keyboard on Halo 2: Anniversary.

(A Work-in-Progress view of Halo 2 Customization for Spartans)

(A Work-in-Progress view of Halo 2: Anniversary Customization for Elites)

Campaign

Both Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary will support the following campaign missions with options for all difficulty levels, single player and co-operative online play:

  • Campaign Missions: Cairo Station, Metropolis, The Oracle, Delta Halo, Quarantine Zone, and Gravemind.

Multiplayer Options

Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary will support various maps and playlists for multiplayer. This will include Custom Games, Social Games, and Competitive Games. Below are the playlists and maps that will be available for each title across the various multiplayer options:

  • Social Games: 2v2, 4v4, and 8v8.
  • Competitive: H2C Team Hardcore.
  • Halo 2 Multiplayer: Lockout, Midship, Beaver Creek, Burial Mounds, Coagulation, Headlong, Waterworks, Containment, Sanctuary, and Turf.
  • Halo 2: Anniversary Multiplayer: Lockdown, Zenith, Stonetown, Bloodline, and Shrine.

Settings and Options Supported

Below is a complete breakdown of Settings and Options:

  • Settings – Controls: Configure Mouse & Keyboard and Configure Gamepad
  • Settings – Video: Field-Of-View, Vehicle Field-Of-View, Gamma, Window Mode, Aspect Ratio, Resolution Scale, V-Sync, HUD Anchoring, Unified Medal Display, Framerate Limit, and Graphics Quality.
  • Settings – Audio: Game Volume including Menu Music Volume, Game Music Volume, Effects Volume, Voice Chat Volume. Also, Voice Chat Channel, Push to Talk Voice Chat, and Multiplayer Game Sounds.
  • Settings – Gameplay: Crosshair Position, Show Invite Notifications, Enemy Player Name Color, Multiplayer Game Timer, and Credits.
  • Settings – Network: Network and Relays.
  • Settings Accessibility: Subtitles, Change Language, Convert Text-To-Speech, and Convert Speech-To-Text

At this time we don't anticipate including Halo: Reach Forge or Theater updates in this upcoming flight. As noted previously, work continues on that front but Forge in particular is tracking to land outside of the current Halo 2 roadmap timing. We're eager to get these Reach updates into your hands as soon as possible and will share more details when we can.

Now that we have all those fine details out of the way, let’s dive on into what’s on the docket, what updates are present, and what can be expected with MCC all up from the man, the myth, and my fellow bearded brethren – Farns.

State of the Game with Farns

Welcome back everyone! I hope you all are doing your best to remain safe, social distance, and taking time to enjoy some Halo to help de-stress the current situation we’re all living through. Our team is continuing to move the ball forward on our development goals now that we’ve all transitioned to WFH since the last blog.

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 (December, January, & February). As updates are made between blogs, you can always check out the latest status discussed in the MCC Development & Flighting Updates (https://aka.ms/FridayDevFlightUpdateMCC), and also please review the Known issues found on the Halo Support site for latest details.

  • Xbox Performance: We are actively investigating the performance issues players are reporting. Our goal is to bring this back to what it was prior to the H:CE launch.
  • Pistol Spread for H:CE MP with Higher FPS: We are testing a fix for this now, if all goes well it will be slated into an upcoming release.
  • Audio Issues: We had hoped to flight these but found some last-minute showstoppers. The good news is that we have the deliveries from Waves for all platforms and they’re currently in test. As soon as they pass our quality checks, we will slate them into an upcoming release.
  • Stuttering Issue: There is no active development being done on this at this time, but we are continuing to investigate.
  • Menu Performance: We have made some improvements in this area that are planned for a future update. If you are encountering issues with this, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.
  • Screen Tearing/Vsync: We have bugs logged and are working them into our development roadmap to address. We do believe we have made some improvements which will be coming to these issues in a future update. If you are encountering issues with this, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.
  • Co-Op Latency: No updates on this one. There is no active development happening around improving/re-writing the network code around this area of the game.   
  • EAC Error messages: We are constantly working on updates to prevent error messages from happening and investigating reports as they come in around EAC errors. We also have done some updates to our SDK for EAC logging and errors that were happening around matchmaking and matchmaking disconnects.
  • Double Key Bindings: Double key bindings are still in progress and actively in prototyping development. We do not have an ETA right now, but once ready it will be in a future flight.
  • Mouse Input: We have seen a small percentage of players reporting this as an issue, please continue to submit support tickets if you experience input delay problems. This is an area of the game that we will continue to monitor and improve upon where we can.
  • View Model: As discussed in December’s Development Update Blog, we are still in iterative development for this, but with the complexities of it being needed at a per title basis this is taking more time to create a robust all game encompassing solution. This will eventually allow players to make changes to the view model along the X and Y axis (horizontal and vertical).
  • Idle Stops matchmaking: This is still on our list but nothing new to share on this one as we try to tackle higher priority issues.
  • Aim Assist: No updates on this at this time.
  • Achievement Issues & Support Tickets: We have made several bug fixes relating to various achievement issues that have been deployed as well will be present in a future update. If there are achievements specifically that you are still encountering issues with, please submit a ticket at the Halo Support site.

Global Features and Development Status  

Welcome back for another month of feature request status updates! A new section has been added this month called “Delivered Features.” These are ones that came out with the release of H:CEA onto PC earlier this month. For a complete breakdown of tracked feature work, please look below to see what stage they are at in our development cycle.  

There are additional features we know that the community has discussed and want to improve the overall experience for players. As we finish work, re-prioritize, or move items through development phases we will let the community know what is moving up on the list, what has been added, and where it lives.  

Delivered Features
  • Message of the Day on PC
  • Server ping list on PC
  • Push to talk: Adding an option for open mic and support for controllers
  • Stability Improvements and bug fixing
  • Zoom Improvements  
Actively in Development
  • Progression System improvements including Challenges (Flighting)
  • UI/UX Improvements around navigation, roster, customization and many more areas of the game 
  • Text Chat Improvements 
  • Double Key binds  
In Design Iteration
  • Additional Mod Support  
  • Additional Video Settings/Options  
  • In Game FPS Cap/Adjustments  
  • Steam account linking
  • Customization Improvements
In Backlog Pending Further Discussions
  • Input based Matchmaking  
  • Regional server selection  
  • Cross-Play between Xbox & PC  
  • VFR Improvements  
  • Idle System Improvements  
  • Bringing PC features to Console (Like FOV Sliders)  
  • Additional accessibility support  
  • Custom Game Browser
  • Better ways to report players

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 

 

Looking Ahead

This month has been a very long year for all of us, not only in our studio, but around the globe. I would be naïve to try and say it hasn’t. In the games we all know and love we have a unique case of a direct parallel to the world we are facing.

John-117, one of the many heroes in our universe was created in a desperate attempt by humanity to fight insurrectionists. One interpretation is that he was a tool built to help humanity. In our world today, our tools in this fight are us – Humanity. As Spartans, the UNSC, and humanity faced the Covenant in the beginning just as we are now faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Spartans are our healers, our scientists, our communities. As John rose from cryo-sleep in Halo: Combat Evolved, we collectively experienced a new enemy and a need for a new weapon to combat them. To help the brightest across humanity, our modern-day Spartans, we must do all we can to help them defend this station!

Last week, we re-activated the Halo 5: Guardians Relief and Recovery REQ Pack. When fellow friends, fans, and family are in need, the Halo community is always ready to lend support. The recent global COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions, and we want to help. The proceeds of the Relief and Recovery REQ Pack go directly to the GlobalGiving organization’s Coronavirus Relief Fund. To purchase this, you can head over to aka.ms/ReliefPack and you’ll receive your pack in Halo 5: Guardians.

My title is Community Support & Engagement Coordinator on the Community Team here at 343 Industries. With it comes the responsibility to support and engage with those who play our games. What I’m witnessing from the community in the face of this crisis, the way everyone is stepping up, is heartwarming. It’s beautiful to see our community coming together, wanting to help those affected around the globe by the COVID-19 Pandemic. From Breaking the Clutch’s efforts of putting together a Halo Wars 2 charity tournament on April 4th, to Greenskull’s efforts to grow a very handsome moustache for a great cause - the community is finding creative ways to give back in this time of global need.

I am proud to be a part of the gaming community and the Halo community; with the efforts we are collectively making to better this world. Please continue to stay safe, stay healthy, and know you are greatly appreciated by all of us at the studio. We’re eager to kick off Halo 2 flighting soon which will hopefully give some of you a bit more enjoyment passing the time as we ride out this pandemic together.

Before I sign off though, here's some pixely goodness. As requested, 120 FOV, on Delta Halo, by the lake.

From the bottom of my heart thank you so much for all your efforts, for continuing to play, and as always - we will see y’all online!

Cheers,

Postums

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