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The Evolution of Halo

By John Byrne

July 21, 1999, during the Macworld Conference & Expo, Steve Jobs announced that Halo would be released for Mac OS and Windows simultaneously.
Bungie Studios later stated an even earlier development build of the game centered on real-time strategy.

At E3 2000, the first trailer of Halo was well-received. The version shown there differed greatly from the one exhibited previously, marking the first major overhaul in the game's development. At this point, Halo was a third-person action game.



One of the first Halo screenshots



Xbox Original

On the 19th of June, 2000, Microsoft announced they had acquired Bungie Studios. At that point, production of the game focused exclusively on Microsoft's new console, the Microsoft X Box.

X Box Original Logo

To fit the new platform, Halo became a First Person Shooter. And was molded into the game released for the original Xbox. Originally, online multi-player was a key element, but it was dropped because Xbox Live would be unfinished at the time of Halo's release. OXM was quoted as saying "The Xbox did not create Halo, Halo made the Xbox".



Halo 2 + XBL

Three years later, on November 9, Halo 2 launched. And soon afterwards hit a sales record that would be unbeaten until Halo 3. Halo 2 allowed players to utilize Microsoft's 'Xbox Live' service to play and compete with other players from around the world. While still keeping split-screen and system-link functions.

In the past, a single player would set his or her computer or console up as a the host, choosing the game type and map and configuring other settings. In Halo 2, there are set playlists and game-types for players to choose from. And the Xbox Live servers matched up players depending on the settings. This process is now used in most online games and is known as 'Matchmaking'.


Matchmaking Battle

The games multiplayer was held to be one of the best of all time, staying consistently at the top of the most played Xbox Live title from November 2004 up until November 2006, when Gears of War released.
  
On April 15, 2010, the Halo 2 multiplayer services, along with all other original Xbox LIVE services, were discontinued. However, some of Halo 2's fans left their Xbox's running after April 15. These players continued playing online amongst one another but no new players could sign on. On April 30, 2010 only 12 fans remained, nicknamed the "Noble 12", they continued to play games among themselves. Stephen Toulouse, director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live, tweeted "To those noble folk keeping Halo 2 alive: we see you, and we salute you,". 

These hardcore fans were awarded Halo: Reach Beta keys because of their attempts to keep Halo 2 alive. On May 10, 2010, "Agent Windex" was quoted as saying "I just got kicked off guys. Good Job Apache, you're the last one". Later that day, "Apache N4SIR", the very last person on Halo 2, was booted from Xbox LIVE. This marked the end of Halo 2 on Xbox LIVE and the end of the original Xbox LIVE.



Halo 3 + Reception

Halo 3 was released on September 25th, 2007 after a year long marketing campaign and 'hype buildup'.



Part of the Halo 3 promo

The game brought the return of 'The Master Chief' and an end to the trilogy. An improved matchmaking system was implemented. Along with features new to the game, theater and forge. The Theater mode allows players to save films from the campaign, multi-player, and forge, and also get film clips and take screenshots. This feature of Halo 3 has been used famously, for making Machinima videos and montages.

Forge is a game mode designed to allow players to customize and share maps for custom games. Players can edit objects, spawn points, weapons, vehicles and properties of objects on the map. 



In between games

Halo Wars cover art

Halo Wars is a real-time strategy, and the last game by Ensemble Studios. (Age of Empires)
In Halo Wars, players command armies of both the UNSC and the Covenant in Skirmish Player vs Player modes online and locally. Or jump into the story mode and play Campaign.

All the cut-scenes were pre-rendered C.G.I. sequences created by Blur StudioThis does not include the "vignettes" (introductory and conclusion sequences) which were rendered in-game using the game engine.


Previously Halo 3: Recon

Halo 3: ODST was an expansion to Halo 3 that added to the story and included new multi-player maps for the online mode of Halo 3. The game type known as 'Firefight' is what O.D.S.T. is most notable for. Firefight has no limit to the waves of enemies, and continues until the squad has completely run out of lives, the squad shares a pool of lives. There are five Waves in a Round and three Rounds in a Set. Due to technical difficulties, Firefight wasn't available for the matchmaking service, but player could still host and invite others to their games. 



Move to 343

Halo 4 box art

In October 2007, shortly after the release of Halo 3Halo developer Bungie split off from Microsoft. Bungie proceeded to work on a new projects of their own and as the rights to Halo remained with Microsoft, they created a new division, 343 Industries, to manage the franchise. 343 Industries then went on to began a new series of Halo games, the Reclaimer Saga.



The Reclaimer Saga

Halo: Xbox One release

The next game in the series, Halo 4, was announced at E3 2011 as the first entry in a new series of Halo games, at the time dubbed "The Reclaimer Trilogy", this was changed later to reflect the plans Microsoft and 343 Industries had for the series. The series is aimed at bringing more human-like character to the Master Chief.

Future Developments

"Halo Xbox One", announced simply with the title Halo, is the tentative title for the upcoming ninth installment in the new Halo sagaIt is set to be released on the Xbox One in late 2014 and I for one am very much looking forward to finding out how this franchise has re-invented itself once again.

Xbox or PlayStation

Who is truly more valued in the gaming industry, Xbox or PlayStation?

Today thousands of people all ask the question Xbox or PlayStation". This article will look at each of these consoles, naming their qualities and flaws to try to decide which is the best gaming console around. We start off firstly with the PlayStation 1, which was first onto the scene

PlayStation - Released 3rd December 1994


Sony PlayStation
Sony PlayStation

Designed by Sony. It was released December 3rd 1994 just in time for the Christmas Rush. This new console was not without controversy however. The history of the PlayStation begins in 1988 when Sony and Nintendo were working together to develop the Super Disc which was going to be a CD-ROM attachment for Nintendo's soon to be released Super Nintendo game.

However, Sony and Nintendo parted ways business-wise and the Super Disc was never introduced or used by Nintendo. However Sony didn't want all their work to go to waste and in 1991, Sony used a modified version of the Super Disk as part of a new game console, the Sony PlayStation.

Qualities:

  • Improved Graphics.
  • New to the market.
  • Already had a huge fan base.
  • Until PlayStation Cartridges were used, PlayStation brought round the disc format to playing games.

Flaws:

  • Its highly overpriced.
  • Freezing and crashing became a problem.
  • Scratched discs wouldn't work in the PlayStation.
  • Disc were very easily scratched.
  • Overheated easily.


PlayStation 2 - Released 4th March 2000

Then 6 years later the PlayStation 2 was born. March 4th 2000 began the new era of games and when this was released there was also other talks of a new console being brought out but not by Sony. Even a smaller lighter version of the PlayStation 2 was brought out called the "PlayStation Slim",(as seen on the right side of the image) The PlayStation 2 went on to become the best-selling video game console in history, selling over 155 million units.

Even with the PlayStation 3 release, the PlayStation 2 remained popular well into the seventh generation and continued to be produced until January 4, 2013, when Sony finally announced that the PlayStation 2 had been discontinued after 12 years of production – one of the longest runs for a video game console.



PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Slim
(Left) PlayStation 2 (Right) PlayStation Slim

Qualities:

  • Sleek
  • Game genres and production of games increased. So more games to play
  • DVD movie playback function.

Flaws:

  • Still waiting for hard drive peripheral,
  • Xbox came along with superior graphics and stole limelight.
  • Only two controller ports, Xbox had 4

Xbox - Released 15th November 2001

Finally on the 15th November 2001, The first installment of the Xbox came into play, designed by Microsoft, this almost stole the limelight from the only recently new PlayStation 2. This console had high intentions of bettering Sony with 4 controller slots, Better graphics card and higher memory Capacity. By May 2006 it reached selling over 24 million units.

Microsoft Xbox
Microsoft Xbox

Qualities:

  • 4 controller slots
  • Higher memory Capacity
  • Better Graphics Card
  • Had the advantage of being a new model so this caught peoples eye.

Flaws:

  • Overheated highly
  • Was a lot bigger and heavier then the PlayStation
  • PlayStation 2 fans weren't keen on change so most stuck by the PlayStation.
  • The laser wasn't as powerful and didn't last long.

Xbox 360 - Released 22nd November 2005

We reach the Xbox 360 which was finally released after many months of waiting on the 22nd of November 2005. With new and improved Online functions (Xbox Live) and better graphics and improved game play. The Xbox was really starting to make Sony look bad, seeing as the last console they released was back in March 2000.

When the 360 was released we did hear an announcement about a newer console being developed by Sony and to be expect within a years time. The Xbox 360 surprisingly was announced by MTV which was great Publicity for Microsoft. and by October 2013 they sold 80 million units!

Microsoft Xbox 360 and Microsoft Xbox Elite
(Left) Microsoft Xbox 360, (Right) Microsoft Xbox Elite


Qualities:

  • Newer versions were brought out as seen in this image (Left Xbox 360, Right Xbox Elite)
  • Sold more units then expected
  • Grew a huge fan base
  • Improved fan to prevent crashing
  • Improved graphics
  • Wireless remotes

Flaws:

  • A new problem developed for the Xbox which was even given a name called "The Red Ring", when this happens the Xbox is unplayable.
  • Overheated easily.
  • The red ring issue was becoming increasingly common and this put people off buying an Xbox.
  • Constant updates for the system took game play time away and frustrated user.


PlayStation 3 - Released 11th November 2006

PlayStation Knew they were under threat with the Xbox and by November 11th 2006, there answer back to the Xbox 360 was the new and reformed PlayStation 3. This console took a huge leap in technology as it was the first console to use Blu-Ray disc as its primary storage medium. Also with is unified online gaming service the PlayStation 3 in my opinion hit the home run. They also released once again a PlayStation Slim.

Sony PlayStation 3
Sony PlayStation 3
Qualities:

  • Improved graphics
  • Superior Online gaming
  • Blu-ray disc function
  • HD functions HDMI cable for improved graphics again.
  • Wireless remotes

Flaws:

  • Highly overpriced
  • Blu-ray laser wasn't great and needed to be fixed.
  • Some people say PlayStation 3 had worse graphics then the Xbox 360, but this is just opinion and many other support the PlayStation graphics too.


PlayStation 4 - Released 15th November 2013

Probably the most anticipated console and this console came out with the 15th November 2013 with a lot of rivalry involved because this was the first time both Xbox and PlayStation were released so close together, just before the Christmas sales but there was war going on between these two companies (Sony and Microsoft) Both companies were trying to better each other in every way possible, Graphically, Design wise, Memory Capacity and even fan base.
Sony PlayStation 4
Sony PlayStation 4

Qualities:

  • Extremely improved graphics
  • Online gaming refined
  • New functions on the remote control
  • Nice design.
  • Extension's build specifically for the PlayStation 4 e.g. Camera, Docking stations and many more.


Flaws:

  • There has been reports of the PlayStation 4 freezing often while just in the "Menu" screen.


Xbox One - Released 22nd November 2013

The Xbox One, released literally 7 days later then the PlayStation. The tensions between the two companies have never been higher, i could only imagine what the future holds for these two companies in constant conflict. i honestly cant judge which has better functions and which experience is better i want to leave that to you entirely. I will note and point out that the PlayStation is 100 euro cheaper then the Xbox One this might be encouraging more people to convert to PlayStation.
Microsoft Xbox One
Microsoft Xbox One

Qualities:

  • Improved Graphics
  • Higher capacity
  • New remote control
  • Refined online gaming experience
  • Add-on's with the Xbox One package e.g. Headset, Keyboard for control etc.

Flaws:

  • If you wanted to use, Netflix or even any online service the user would need to have a Gold Membership just to use the internet on there Xbox.
  • The first week the Xbox One was released the updates for it crashed the Xbox leaving it temporarily unusable.
  • Downloads and updates when first plugged in took over 10 hours or longer just to play 1 game.


The Verdict:

In conclusion, It's really up to the gamer him/herself to decide which is more fitting because even today fans are sticking by there consoles no matter what upgrades may come for the opposing maker (Sony or Microsoft) One can argue but there really is no superior gaming console, the graphics and game play will forever advance but I sense this rivalry will continue for some time too.

The Evolution Of Gaming Graphics Since 1940

The first Video game or earliest known interactive game was a missile simulator created by Thomas T. Goldsmith and Estle Ray Mann, inspired by radar displays from World War II . Screen overlays were used for targets since Graphics could not be drawn at the time. This game took off hugely and was highly spoken off when it was released. 

A few more games after this were released including the first ever tennis game, Chess, Tic Tac Toe and Space war.

Digital Chess
In 1972 we were introduced to a classical game Ping pong. It involved two remote controls to control sliding panels to rally a square boxed object. The aim of this game was to hit this square icon past the other players panel reach, you then score a point, it is just a computerized version of playing real Table Tennis.

A few more game after this were released including the first ever tennis game, Chess, Tic Tac Toe and Space war. 
People playing the original Pong game

The 1990's showed a completely different path in the gaming world, graphics became more 3 Dimensional and games that we still have today were just at the beginning of there era's. We were also introduced into house hold gaming consoles, The PlayStation and the Game Boy.
Graphics were beginning to improve at a vast rate in this time period. Examples of Games in the 90's would be such as Ace combat, Need for Speed, Tekken, Resident Evil, Tom Clancy's - Rainbow six and many many more. The 3D graphics impressed millions across the world.


Range of classic 90's gaming characters

Tekken Game Graphics
In the years between 2000 and the present a lot of games created from the 1990's were carried on because of there vast fan base and this made these companies create sequels to the games for example today we still have the games Call of duty, Grand Theft auto, FIFA and Medal of Honour. 

These games were a huge hit when they first came onto the scene and this is probably what made them stick around in today's games. They continue each year to release another version of there game with a few changes and improvement in graphics, If you look at the very first image to the image below you can see the huge huge improvement on the graphics in gaming today and how big this society has grown.

Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto


Grand Theft Auto

The Future

Who knows what the future of game graphics holds but when we see Hollywood Actors like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe appearing as actors captured through "performance capture" to literally embody the characters Nathan Hawkins and Jody Holmes in the recent game Beyond: Two Souls. While actors have lent their voices to games before – Liam Neeson appearing in Fallout 3, or Samuel L Jackson in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, for instance – this is one of the first times a fully acted performance has been captured, using technology similar to Andy Serkis's turn as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. It is clear that it is onwards and upwards for the games industry.


Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page acting scenes for Beyond: Two Souls


Scene from Beyond Two Souls