Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2004.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

The Tuesday foretold from of old

Posted 10 November 2004

Today was an epic and amazing Tuesday. There's two things that made today amazing:

  1. Halo 2

  2. Firefox 1.0

Halo 2

I got Halo 2 today. I mean last night. I didn't really sleep last night.

A friend and I had it on preorder, so we went to the local EB Games and picked it up shortly after midnight. We got it back to the dorm and played until about 8:40a this morning. My initial thoughts are:

  • This, the sequel, is definitely different than the original. It's a good game, but after playing for 8 hours, I'm not sure if it's a great game.

  • You don't have health anymore, per se. All you have is a shield that can regenerate. The shield technology seems to have become more advanced, since it regens faster, but it's much more intrusive. When your shields deplete --- say, in the heat of battle with lots of distracting energy blasts flying around --- there some sort of particle effect that interrupts everything on screen to indicate that you've lost your shields. And when the shields regen, you get a different-colored particle effect.

  • The game seems a little buggy. Have you seen the reviews that claim Halo 2 will be an instant classic? Maybe in multiplayer, but at least in single-player co-op mode, there's some weird stuff that happened last night.

For instance, you know how when you die, if your partner can kill everyone, you get to respawn next to him? Yeah...well that happened, and for some reason the game saw fit to spawn me off the side of the gondola we were on. I fell into the abyss as the next horde of aliens arrived and wiped the floor with my partner.

Further: Bungie, if I'm going to get a checkpoint, don't checkpoint as my partner and I are FLYING OFF THE SIDE OF A BOTTOMLESS CHASM. We watched in horror as our Warthog flew off the side of the cliff, and the words "Checkpoint, chumps!" appeared above our falling bodies. We had to restart the level.

Insert jokes about Halo 2 being a Microsoft product here.

  • All of the battles feel much more epic. For instance, at one point, you're driving over a bridge that eerily resembles the bridge that takes you out of Portland in Grand Theft Auto 3. Ghost after ghost comes barreling down the bridge at you. Rockets and vehicles were flying through the air left and right (most of the vehicles were flying because of my madd rocket skillz, and the fact that my partner had a Scorpion tank).

  • And lastly, I wanted to talk about the interface. My partner is a computer science major and I use Linux, and it still took us a good 5 minutes of fumbling before we could figure out why the game insisted that he was using my character, and I was using his, and why we couldn't change that.

For my name, I was trying to use an equal sign and a parenthesis. For some reason, though, the button for "symbols" was disabled. Weird. OK, so I'll use an ``8'' and a square bracket. Nope! Even though it's available on-screen, I'm only allowed to use letters and spaces in my name. So no cool formatting for Kurt!

We've not completed the single-player mission yet, and probably won't pick it up again until this weekend, but Halo 2 looks like it'll be a lot of fun. Now I'm just wondering who I know will be getting a copy of Half-Life 2...

Firefox 1.0

[Today is also the day that Firefox 1.0 came out. In case I haven't hit you in the head about it recently, make sure you're using Firefox. There's a new virus out, only it doesn't spread using email attachments. It tries to get you to click on a link in an email, and when Internet Explorer opens bam you're infected. What a perfect day to give Firefox a spin!

This is the biggest release to date for the Firefox crew. I appreciate that one of the things they explicitly said was "When we release version 1.0, it will be the best browser available. It's not like it can't be improved on, but it will be the best browser available." And I think they're right. There's nothing like it anywhere.

Get your copy today!](http://www.getfirefox.com)