halo posts

Greg Bear to write Halo novel prequel trilogy

Bungie and Microsoft's Halo series has evolved into much more than just a game franchise. The series, which has seen the first two FPS titles released for the PC, has expanded into comics, action figures and a number of successful novels. The Halo novels are about to get even more attention thanks to word of a new prequel trilogy.

The three novels from Tor Books will be written by Greg Bear, a multiple Hugo and Nebula award winning hard science fiction author of works like Blood Music, The Forge of God and others. The Bear-written Halo novel trilogy will focus on the Forerunners, the creators of the Halo artifacts. The first novel will be released in 2010.

[Via Halo.Bungie.Org]

Video-PC game action figures shown at Toy Fair 2009

The annual Toy Fair is underway in New York City and alongside the typical new and upcoming action figures shown at the show for things like Marvel and DC super heroes, Star Wars, G.I.Joe and the like, there are quite a few new action figures based on games.

Figures.com has images from the show floor on many of these toys, including new entries in the Halo series from McFarlane Toys and Gears of War from NECA. The latter company is also showing off a number of other upcoming figures from games like Dead Space and the upcoming Prototype (show above) and Dante's Infermo. We are still waiting to see some Team Fortress 2 action figures; we might actually buy them.

Feature: Turning Games Into Comics - Part 1

With the huge success that the New York Comic Con had this past weekend, it's clear that comic books and games have lots of links and a shared audience. We have posted up a feature about comic books that we think should be turned into games but the truth is more and more games are being adapted and expanded in comic book form.

Various publishers have released game-based comics over the years and today in the first part of a two part series Big Download looks at just some of the attempts to turn games into four-color entertainments. Stay tuned as we will have even more examples on Tuesday. Update: The second part of the feature is now up.

Click on the link above to continue reading From Comics to Games: Part 1

Marvel Comics to release two more Halo mini-series

It looks like Marvel Comics isn't done yet with creating comic books based on Bungie's Halo games. IGN reports that during a panel at the New York Comic Con, Marvel's editor-in-chief Joe Quesada revealed that they plan to release two more Halo mini-series later this year.

The first five issue mini-series, due out this summer, will be written by Peter David and drawn by Eric Nguyen. The second mini-series is due this winter and will be written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Francis Portela. After releasing a graphic novel anthology of Halo short stories in 2006, Marvel launched the first issue of a planned four part mini-series, Halo Uprising, in 2007. However massive delays hit the series, in part because of changes to the story dictated by Bungie. Indeed the fourth and final issue of the series has still not shipped.

Nielsen reveals top 10 PC games played in 2008

2009 is now firmly underway but some companies are still looking back to the past 12 months. One of those companies is Nielsen who is best known for their TV ratings system. Today the company announced their 2008 top 10 lists covering entertainment and ads in a variety of catagories. One of them was for the top 10 PC games that were most played in the US (the ratings were actually for activity for January-October 2008).

It's not a shock to learn that Blizzard's hit MMO World of Warcraft was the number one PC game that was most played according to Nielsen. The study claims that the game is played an average of 671 minutes a week, or just over 11 hours, per gamer. Nielsen also claims that every minute about .723 percent of all PC gamers are playing World of Warcraft, a massive number that blows away every other game on the top 10 list. A number of older games are on the list including the PC version of Halo and web browser based MMO RuneScape:

1. World of Warcraft
2. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
3. Halo: Combat Evolved
4. The Sims
5. The Sims 2
6. RuneScape
7. Diablo II
8. Team Fortress 2
9. Counter-Strike
10. Counter-Strike: Source

Big Ideas: On healthpacks and hitpoints

Many of us play games to escape reality for a while, so we don't want to see it repeated in a game. This typically means that you get to play characters who are physically super-able: they can run for hours without tiring, absorb horrific amounts of damage without it affecting their ability to function, and expertly wield any weapon they happen to come across. This also usually means that your character inhabits a world that, when the inevitable occurs and he's so damaged as to be near death, there's always a handy magical healthpack lying around in plain sight to take care of him.

Let's say you're a developer, working on your first game. It's an adventure game, and combat is a focus. You want your players to feel empowered and tough, but you also want to avoid the standard deus ex machina of health recovery. Where do you find the balance between simple entertainment and gritty realism?

Beyond Left 4 Dead: Zombies in PC games

Halloween may be just a recent memory but that isn't stopping Valve from launching their long awaited zombie shooter Left 4 Dead later this month. A free demo of the co-op shooter is already available for pre-orders via Steam (it will be made available for everyone on Nov. 11) before the full game is made available on Nov. 18.

Valve's Left 4 Dead is only the latest PC game to feature some kind of undead corpse that's ready to make you its next meal. We decided to take a look back at some memorable zombies in PC games, including some familiar favorites, some you may not be aware of and at least one game where you actually are a zombie. Them's good eatin'.

Click on the image above to continue reading Beyond Left 4 Dead: Zombies in PC Games

Big Ideas: What's better, Science Fiction or Fantasy?

This is an argument that has raged since the invention of the pulp novel. Which is better, Science Fiction, or Fantasy? And by better, I mean which provides a more engaging experience? Normally, this is purely a matter of personal taste, and to a lesser extent, the actual quality of the story being told. When were talking about video games, however, a new element is introduced: mechanics.

Which genre affords better game mechanics? Is it more fun to sling spells around, or raise hell with heavy machinery? Would you rather be a wizard or an alien? Do you feel more immersion when playing in a universe where magic works, or do you have to have rational physics to believe in a given reality? Let's take a look and see what the real differences are, if any.

Did Ensemble work on a Halo MMO?

On Monday Ensemble Studios founder Bruce Shelley expressed his thoughts on the upcoming closure of the studio by Microsoft. Today, Gamasutra has posted up a story on a project that they claim was under development at the studio in the past; an MMO based on Microsoft's Halo shooter franchise.

Much of the info comes from concept artwork and screenshots (like the one seen above) that Gamasutra says came from a "Ensemble-linked online artist portfolio" web site. In addition, rumors that Ensemble might be working on such a project popped up on web sites two years ago. However the story speculates that the Halo MMO was internally cancelled by Microsoft before its existance could be officially announced sometime in 2007. If true this is only the latest development in Microsoft's failure to come up with their own MMO project as announced games like Mythica ,Citizen Zero, and Marvel Universe Online were later cancelled and their Asheron's Call MMO games were later bought back by their developer Turbine.

Download: Halo v1.0.8.616 Patch

Patch removes CD check from the original Halo: Combat Evolved for PC. Patches for the Halo Custom Edition and Dedicated Server are also available.

Download Halo v1.0.8.616 Patch (3 Mb)
Download Halo Dedicated Server v1.0.8.616 Patch (2 Mb)

Download Halo Custom Edition v1.0.8.616 Patch (3 Mb)
Download Halo Custom Edition Dedicated Server v1.0.8.616 Patch (2 Mb)

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