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Bungie Unveils New Halo 2 Maps 103

An anonymous reader writes "Bungie has revealed that a total of 9 new maps will be made available both over Xbox Live and as a separate $20 add-on DVD for those without. The first maps will come out on Live in late April with 2 free and 2 for purchase (all maps will be free on Live by the end of the summer) with the remaining 5 debuting on Live when the add-on DVD is released. Also featured in the content update are a wide variety of fixes to eliminate cheating and balance gameplay elements."
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Bungie Unveils New Halo 2 Maps

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  • Yayish (Score:2, Insightful)

    Like my esteemed colleage above, I am indeed excited about the prospect of more killing. That, and mulitplayer with scorpions. I can't believe Bungie forgot about that! But I would've like some kind of new single player thing. Or new weapons. I have no doubt that the new maps will indeed be awesome, but there's so many things they could do than the requisite fancy schmancy new maps. I am happy for the retail CD. There really haven't been many ways for the un-Live among us to use the live content. I have
  • Also featured in the content update are a wide variety of fixes to eliminate cheating and balance gameplay elements.
    Let the MS paching begin!
    • How would one 'cheat' on a console game ?
      Anyone knows what cheats are around for Halo 2 ? Or is it stuff the developers forgot to remove and is now being exploited ?
      • Re:Patch? (Score:4, Informative)

        by unclethursday ( 664807 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @05:34PM (#12049429)
        There are exploits used (non-solid geometry to pull things through, sword flying, and others), as well as stanby cheating (putting your modem on standby, doing things, turning off standby and having what you did happen to everyone else). The standby is the main cheat (there are a few others, but they aren't used as much), but there are others. Why Bungie made the netcode for Halo 2 so fucked up that someone, even if not the host, can standby and basically almost lag out, and then when he turns off standby the entire rest of the game has to catch up to his Xbox (the complete opposite of what should happen, he should catch up to the rest of the game) is beyond me.
        • Oh my god! That's disgusting!! And yes, disgusting is an appropriate word in this case! That's freaking horrible!! I laugh heartily.
        • Ah, thanks for clearing that up :

          So in the end, they -are- bugs left in by the developers, that are now being exploited.
          So funny how they -are- allowed to update the game, while others (think Thief 3) weren't.

          If the excuse is that they are also adding new content, I don't think it's fair to those other developers (who, admittedly, screwed up when shipping a buggy game) are not given that same chance (I bet the developers of Thief 3 wouldn't have minded to add an extra map, just to also ship the bugpatch

          • That's why Bungie had to develop new maps. So Bungie is distributing new content, not just patches. They can't be accussed of being partial to themselves (Bungie is now property of MS).
  • In Other News (Score:3, Informative)

    by Winckle ( 870180 ) <mark.winckle@co@uk> on Friday March 25, 2005 @04:25PM (#12048781) Homepage
    Valve software use Steam to give new maps and mods to its customers for free. I don't mean to start a flamewar, but most companies, not just valve release extra maps and content for free.
    • If you would've read the article, the maps will eventually be released for free. There are those of us who will probably pay a premium for having those maps a few months early, and those who will wait until they are free. Seems like they're being pretty decent about this.
    • Re:In Other News (Score:3, Interesting)

      Valve makes money from people just running Steam (Ads, my friend.) however MS and Bungie have a subscription model without any ads. The current price paid to use Xbox Live! covers the day to day costs, but the amount of money required for development and distrobution of additional content has to come from somewhere.

      Also, it will be free eventually. They're just trying to recoup some of the losses.
      • ads? What ads? Seriously, i've been playing games on Steam for a while, and I haven't seen any ads.
      • I have been running steam since November, and I have not seen a single advertisement. If you run steam, perhaps you can tell me what these adverts look like?
        • I have never ran Steam on my computer, but have played games using it frequently at my friends house. I have seen them below the loading bar when connecting to a server.
          • Seriously mate? Honestly I have never seen them, and they can't be that good if I don't see them, perhaps someone could provide a link to a valve site where I can purchase as space. Or perhaps these ads belong to the owners of the server you're connecting to?
      • Also, it will be free eventually. They're just trying to recoup some of the losses.

        Some of the losses?! Halo 2 is the most popular game for the X-box, and one of the most popular games around right now! It was the big hit this past holiday season! Both Microsoft and Bungie have made a pile on this game, and X-box Live is one of the big reasons for it. Now they're trying to make it profitable by selling multiplayer maps?

      • Just to be pedantic, they're not "losses" until it's likely that they aren't going to recoup them at all. The game sold 7 million copies; I think it's safe to say the expansion will easily pay for itself.
        • Re:In Other News (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tc ( 93768 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @06:36PM (#12050191)
          No. The argument that because MS have already made a ton of money on Halo 2 they have therefore already 'paid for' future expansion development is completely specious.

          The game has already been developed, and people have already bought it. That money is already in the coffers, regardless of whether they do an expansion or not. It's like the concept of 'sunk costs', only in reverse.

          The question is, if MS/Bungie spend the incremental cost to produce expansion levels, do they get enough additional revenue as a result to justify it. The expansion has to pay for itself on those terms, not based on revenue already banked.

          That additional revenue might come directly, or might come in the form of additional sales of the parent product. You can also factor in the value of customer goodwill and perpetuation of the brand. It's still probably a good calculation for them, but that's not directly related to the amount of money they have already made.

          • Apparently we misunderstand each other... What I meant to say was that the game's popularity was a very good indication that the expansion pack would sell well when it was released, and therefore it was very likely that future income derived from it would cover the development cost already spent.
            • Oops, my bad.

              I guess I was responding to the mass of posts that were making the poor case I was arguing against, and lumped yours in with them by mistake when selecting one to reply to. Apologies.
    • Well, that's Xbox Live. Some games charge you for the extra content. (Microsoft ones especially I think...) At least this content will become free eventually, I don't think they've said that about any other games premium content. Although it does seem a bit bad compared to PC games really. (I don't really play PC games, what's the quality vs. quantity like on the official extra maps / content? Are they good, or are there a lots of shovelware maps?)


      Personally my plan is to get the retail disc edition, b
      • Re:In Other News (Score:2, Informative)

        by dq5 studios ( 682179 )
        The Halo 2 maps will not be free, you have to buy the dvd or subscribe to xbox live.
        • I was talking about the Xbox Live content download eventually becoming free, not the maps themselves, which I suppose you could count as not-free because you pay for Xbox Live. (But what if you use a trial subscription code to get them once they're free, then cancel the subscription? ;-) )
        • RTFA - all the maps for Halo 2 will be free by the end of the summber.
          • You didn't RTFPost. He said you had to either buy the DVD or get XBox Live. Therefore, not free.
            • Re:In Other News (Score:3, Interesting)

              by UWC ( 664779 )
              I'd consider the Live subscription a sunk cost. You don't consider sunk costs when weighing differences like that. It's like complaining that a particular Linux distro isn't free because the only alternative to paying to order the CD is to pay an ISP subscription fee.

              In that vein of thought, I wonder if the DVDs will install the content completely to the hard drive, and, if so, if there's any way to limit the number of times you can install it. Without a Live subscription, you have no reason to connect yo

              • It's ture that it's a sunk cost for many, many people, but we don't have live and play Halo mostly in a LAN setting, so it's not a sunk cost for everyone. Still, it's understandable that MS has no way to distribute the maps for free to those who don't have Live.
  • by ReversEngineer ( 672399 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @04:59PM (#12049130) Homepage
    Remember when in one of the numerous mods for Half-Life you could download one of the "new" maps for the low, low price of $0.00? Not to mention the widespread availability of maps due to them being user-created. When it comes to console gaming, (since so many claim consoles to be the so-called "future of gaming") are we seeing the end of user contribution to games like this?
    • Buy the DVD, install the maps, and then sell it on eBay. Total cost to you will probably be only a couple bucks.
    • In fact most consoles can't even add content. The entire idea of "expansions" being released is something that can really only be done on a pc. Same with patches and hacking. Where would gamecube or PS2 store extra content?

      PC expansion typically sell for about half of the full price game so 20 bucks for an x-box expansion is pretty low considering the high prices for console game vs pc games (might be different for you but over here top console games are easily 10-20 euro's above the price of the same game

      • Where would gamecube or PS2 store extra content?

        On a memory card.

        And consoles have had a lot in the way of user-created content for a few generations now. You don't see a lot in the way of user-created maps as with PC FPS, but "Character Creation" modes are extremely popular in a lot of different games. They usually store their data on the memory card for systems other than the X-Box.

        • I think you have never seen the size of and number of The Sims user made content or quake maps. Let alone complete mods wich basically give you a new game. It just doesn't fit.
        • On a memory card.

          The memory card for PS2 and the memory card 1019 for GameCube can only hold 8 MB each. Is that enough for one map, let alone 9? And then how do you copy maps from a console in one town to a console in another town?

          • For the PS2, at least, there are USB devices that make it possible to load savedata downloaded off of internet sites and FTPs onto memory cards. I imagine when you get into the next console generation, wireless will make such devices unnecessary for data transfer.

            And I never said a standard memory card could hold the 9 new Halo maps. I don't play Halo and I don't know how much data is involved with the maps. I just object to the PC guys saying that console users don't have any experience with user-created

    • Want customized, user created maps on a console? Get Timesplitters: Future Perfect. The series has always had a mapmaker. Since FP is online, people can now upload and download user created maps. They may not be as nice as some professional maps, but a lot of them are really fun. Plus, the host can choose a custom map and other players temporarily download it, which goes fast since the filesizes are small. There are also other console games coming out with mapmakers. I think we are seing the begining of us
    • by @madeus ( 24818 ) <> on Friday March 25, 2005 @08:32PM (#12050965)
      20 USD for 9 levels (giving N hours of entertainment) compared with 18.50+ USD for a regular cinema ticket here (which gives 1.5-2 hours of entertainment) is entirely reasonable, even assuming a 10 USD (or third rate outlet 5 USD) ticket price, it still represents very good for money as far as entertainment goes, the same comparison is valid with music (where it's commonly ~7-14 USD per CD) or with buying a typical DVD.

      People get a vast amount of entertainment time out of games but seem to be able to entirely dissasociate the amount of money they pay with how much entertainment ('bang') they get for their buck. It's one thing to bemoan a lack of quality (and say, expect and actual ending, or ensure that levels are not repetitive clones - with reference to both Halo, Halo 2 and a number of other titles, including BF:Vietnam where they pulled the same 'reuse the same level' crap), but it's another to moan about the cost of a decent offering if levels still cost less than a cup of coffee.

      I find the amount of whining about the price of perfectly good titles often ridiculous, especially as games get increasingly complex and time consuming to develop. This is also true in relation to people complaning about paying sums of 8-10 USD a month for MMOG's (especially when you the same people will spend 3-6 times that on cable, yet don't actually watch 3-6 times more cable).

      But that's going off topic just a little..

      Now (speaking for experience) building half decent Wolfenstein levels was very easy. Doom/Doom2 were a little bit more involved, but pretty easy still, I did a few of those (not to say that stuff like Aliens:TC wasn't still impressive). Quake and Quake 2 were a bit more tricky, requiring 3D modelling, art and map design skills. At this time, dedicated model markers as well as artists, level designers, and coders are starting to have to appear as entirely separate entities (not so many sole level developers as their used to be due to the time and complexity required in making a decent level). Quake 3 and UT upped the bar still further.

      These days, with games UT2K4 and Doom 3 (in particular) it's vastly more complex and to turn out a decent set of levels or mods - you need an entire team of people, you often find you have separate people doing music, sound, art, modelling, animation, level design, scripting even UI work (and often someone else just to co-ordinate things and run the web site and forums for a mod).

      In fairness, you don't need other people to pitch in (beyond testing) if all you want to do is build a new network only level that reuses *only* existing elements - but even doing that (once a fairly simple task you could master in an hour or two) takes many, many times longer Doom 3 or UT than doing really enjoyable levels in Doom/Doom 2 ever did.

      FWIW, I don't know about other people, but for me (building a solo level), it's something like an hours vs. weeks comparison as far as time-to-build-a-decent level goes. Personally, I find it a lot easier to learn a new programming language than to get my head round the newer level editors used by the likes of UT2K3/2K4 and Doom 3.

      Now there varying levels of bang-per-buck, and I probably wouldn't be all that tempted to buy them at 20 USD either unless I'd heard the levels were especially good, but it still beats the crap out of a lot of other forms of entertainment and in that light isn't unreasonable at all IMO.

      Fans are going to get many, many hours of entertainment out of them with their friends online. And what about those who don't want to pay? Well they can just play the free ones that are going to be released now, and then just play the rest in a few months (as Bungie say up front, all the maps will be available for free download in a few months).

      On the topic of the accessibility of modern level design tools...

      Personally, I'd much prefer to have seen Doom 3 be true to it's roots - as I see it - in the sense of providing greater accessibility to level designers and artis
    • Grab a copy of TimeSplitters Future Perfect - it's got a built-in map editor, and right from inside the game you can hop on Live and upload or download maps, rate other peoples, etc. User created content isn't dead - developers are just too lazy to support it properly.

      Also, last I checked $20 for a pretty nice-looking expansion pack is not a bad deal - most expansion packs come out at around $30-$40. And if you think about it you only have to buy the $20 once and you can install it on as many Xboxes as you
  • by Celestial Avenger ( 826964 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @05:02PM (#12049157)
    Will we have to pay $20 for an ending patch?
  • For what now? (Score:2, Insightful)

    The disc is also a very good way to archive the content, should you ever need it again (if you replace your Xbox, for example). Ermm... Wait a second... If I buy a map, and something happens that is beyond my control... I have to rebuy the map? No other game makes me do that, it's all linked up in my gamertag... Otherwise, I'm really happy about these changes... Bungie has taken their time, and released the new maps just when attention is starting to slip away from Halo 2.. Kudos on timing, kudos on lower
  • If you buy the maps on XBL, you save a whole $1.01!!!! YES! And no stupid disk to keep around! And you don't get the other extra stuff that might make a $20 DVD game disk kind of worth having like the extra cinematic and the documentary!

    Man, Bungie and MS know how to please their true fans, don't they?

    If I get the maps (I'm thinking of selling Halo 2 at this point), I'll wait until they are all free. I don't pay for maps, sorry. MS can't say they're trying to recoup losses on time spent making maps.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      If you don't like it, don't buy it. What a novel concept. You know, some people might actually want to. What you're bitching about is that you want something but don't want to pay for it. Not that they're charging for it. Cheap bastard.
    • by TotalFusionOne ( 787190 ) on Friday March 25, 2005 @06:26PM (#12050091)
      "MS" getting $30? MAYBE gross, but I doubt even that... After paying all the employees, paying back Bungie, and the money that goes towards keeping XBL running with all the extra Halo players (There were rumors that on November 9th almost a full 1% of all internet traffic was XBL)... They're making a profit, but not the huge numbers you'd have us believe. You don't pay for maps? Fine. The rest of us will. I have no problem spending money on something I enjoy. I'm just sorry that you've joined the growing number of people who feel they DESERVE something for free.
      • "I'm just sorry that you've joined the growing number of people who feel they DESERVE something for free.

        Let me explain WHY we feel we deserve these types of things for free. You see, it used to be the case that you could just download these minor updates no problem with no fee and that would be that. It was an assumed service the company provided. And while I am not faulting MS on this, the current trend is to try to find ways to make people pay for additional game content.

        It starts with minor things,

    • well..

      "true fans" are the kind of that will pay just for the priviledge of being able to pay to these magnificient people.

      it's not stupid to sell something at high price, it's stupid to buy it.
    • Not everyone who bought the game is going to buy the disk, or download it. But some will pool their money and buy the disk, say a group of 10 friends. $2 is too much?
  • The new expansion pack will come with these maps bundled, and whatever new maps they produce espiecally for it.
  • For those of you complaining about the cost, Bungie stated ALL the maps will eventually be made available for free. By the end of the summer, all of them will become free downloads.
  • and still have a net connection, dont fret, soon enough you will be able to get these maps on the net, and simply send the across via network... sorry i couldnt give a link to a site with them, but its too early, give it a few days.
  • Cost vs. Quality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeanMeister ( 868655 )
    Paying 5 Dollars for two maps, is not a big deal. These are quality maps, that your going to be playing over and over again. Think about it. After 10 plays on this map it only costs 50 cents a play. And I'm not sure about you, but I'm playing these maps for more than 10 games. Your getting a proffesional map, fairly cheap. And eventually its still free. There's nothing bad here, once again bungie delivers up the goods.
  • Epic, Dice, Ascaron, Maxis ... just a few of the companies that release FREE content to the fans of the game. Bungie do not need the money and charging for 9 maps basically shows how much they appreciate the fan base. Epic are well known for releasing free content that includes far more than the Bungie offering. One of the last patches contained entirely new vehicles, maps and skins for the grand price of nothing. The guys at Legend distributed XMP for nothing after working on it in their spare time - pur

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