September 27, 2007

Halo 3: My first impression

Posted in Category: Games — Amr Awadallah @ 4:58 pm | link | | comment (0)
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I am half way through the campaign (co-op with my son). I also played about a dozen online multiplayer matches.

I love it, it’s Halo 2, just better, much better, and that is exactly what I wanted. They did not mess with the fundamentals of the game, they just improved the graphics, finished the story, and added a lot of new cool toys for multiplayer (equipment/vehicles/weapons/accessories).

The graphic textures are crisp clear on 1920x1080p and way better than Halo 2, they are not ultra realistic like Gears of War or BioShock, but they are good graphics, eye candy in every sense.

My only qualm is why is it rated M? I want my 12-year old son to play it with me, and my wife is making me feel guilty about it due to the M rating. The game actually does not have any gruesome violence (ala Gears of War chain-saw action), just artistic blood splatter ala the movie 300, but without any limbs being cut off. Anyway, I think it is ok for pre-teens to play it, and trust me, they will.

My son enjoyed “The Forge” a lot, it is like his virtual playground where he can make explosive physics experiments or drop tanks on top of his friends, a very welcome addition.

The mobile bases on the Sandtrap map are hilarious and really change the game dynamics..

The game is also revolutionary in being Web 2.0 like, that is you can easily share screenshots and video clips with your friends. The replay theater is super cool, lets you replay the action from any angle and pause/slowmo to learn tricks from other folks you were playing with.

That’s all I can say for now, need to wrap up some work so that I can run back home to finish the fight 🙂

— amr

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May 17, 2007

My Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta first impressions …

Posted in Category: Games — Amr Awadallah @ 10:33 pm | link | | comment (0)
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For me, it feels like Halo 2, just better, which is good actually.

I like the new equipment stuff, especially the bubble shield, not only does it look good, but it has very tactical uses. I saw this guy drop off the bubble shield and wait inside it with a shotgun, as soon as somebody steps in he drops them.

I also like the man canon, and the 3rd person view while carrying large weapons. I don’t like that weapon pickup and reload is not X any more, I keep doing that by mistake, similarly I don’t like that Y is not what you use for vehicle/turret entry (both are the right bumper now). That will take some time to get used to.

The graphics are much crisper than Halo 2, but still not what I expected, I expected it to look better than this, especially after the nice trailers they had released. Only the water looks good, but other textures seem low res to me, not what I expect from a next gen console. The under water sounds are just perfect and I love that.

— amr

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December 24, 2006

How to add an xbox live guest for Gears of War?

Posted in Category: Games — Amr Awadallah @ 1:20 pm | link | | comments (4)
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Gears of War is an outstanding new game for the Xbox 360, the graphics and animation for this game are the best I have ever seen, especially when played back on an HDTV at 1920x1080p resolution.

That said, the menu system for the game was kind of an after-thought and is not very intuitive. The part that I and many other folks suffered with are how on earth to get an xbox live guest signed in so that both you and the guest can play together in split-screen on xbox live? I tried searching every where and I could not find an answer, but luckily after several attempts I was able to figure it out.

Below are the exact steps you need to do to get a guest signed in:

  1. Make sure the second controller is turned on and is not signed in to xbox live.
  2. From the main menu select VERSUS then select XBOX LIVE PLAYER MATCH
  3. At the bottom of the VERSUS PLAYER MATCH screen you should see this “Y Guest SIGN-IN” (see screenshot below)
  4. On the second controller press Y then select “Guest Xbox Live” from the list that drops down.
  5. That’s it, you are now ready to play with your guest


Gears of War Guest Sign-in

Cheers,

— Amr

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November 17, 2006

Google beats Yahoo … in Halo2

Posted in Category: Games — Amr Awadallah @ 12:10 am | link | | comment (0)
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I saw a couple of blog postings on CNET news and Web Pro news about how Yahoo beat Google 163 to 157 in tennis (you can see the source blog posting here and the photos here).

This reminded me of an Xbox Halo2 showdown between Yahoo and Google in early 2005 (I did not even have a blog back then). Even though Yahoo was defeated, I will still blog about it, because frankly we got smoked, which is proof that not all Google employees use their so-called 20% time to “invent” new things, some of them use that time to practice Halo 2 instead ;).

These are the scores and links to the score sheets on bungie.net:

Googlites, you up for a Gears of War showdown ?

Cheers,

— amr

PS: I have to admit that we cheated a bit, in the last match that we won (our only win), I called in the help of a close friend of mine who does not work for yahoo, however I am not sure all of the Google team did indeed work for Google either, they were just too good to be casual gamers.

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August 4, 2006

Death Engine: The Yahoo WoW Guild

Posted in Category: Games — Amr Awadallah @ 6:30 pm | link | | comment (0)
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It’s the new Golf“, that’s the tag line we use to describe this amazing pc game called World of Warcraft (or WoW for short). WoW is a magical world, not unlike the Lord Of The Rings universe. For example, there is the Humans with all their weaknesses and strengths, the Elves with their distinctive long ears and elegance, the short Dwarves with their amazing courage, the Horde with their large muscular figures, the scary Undead with their evil aura, etc.

In that world you get to pick a character from one of the Races, a specialization (or Class) like Warrior, Hunter, or Priest, and a Profession like Engineering, Alchemy, Tailoring, etc. You then proceed to live, and work!, in that world with the goal of increasing your status, wealth, and reputation. You do that by completing different quests (missions), some quests are simple, like helping an old lady buy some groceries, but most quests are about killing a ton of bad guys ;), which is not easy and requires a lot of tactics and co-ordination between your team members. As you complete quests you gain experience (or XP for short), and that accumulates allowing you to level up (you start week at level one, and you become all powerful at level 60). The world is very large, for example at this site you can see some maps for it, there is even a Google-Maps-Like version too.


Death Engine

WoW is an amazing success story, they came out of the Strategy Game genre, which they dominated for years, but were then able to turn the MMORPG world upside down. This site tracks the growth of MMORPGs and you can see how WoW came out of no where and in a short time became the category leader beating very well established players like Everquest (Sony) and Lineage (ncSoft). WoW has around 6M subscribers paying around $15/month, that is $270M per quarter, not bad!

A bunch of us Yahoos (as in Yahoo Employees) have been playing WoW for some time now, but we were in different realms (servers) and could not really play with each other. Blizzard (the company that makes this game) finally provided a feature so that you can move your toon (aka avatar, avy, or character) from one realm to another (for a $25 transfer fee, smart!). So now we all were able to move onto a single server and we formed our own Guild (aka Clan or Team). We now have an internal mailing-list and twiki at Yahoo where we organize our team and plan our next attack, etc.

The name of our guild “Death Engine” is a play on Yahoo’s marketing line of “Life Engine”. We are not sure whether we choose that name because we die a lot in that game, or because we are able to kill others a lot ;). You can see above a screenshot from the game with some of us dancing around in a very popular hangout area in the world, the Iron Forge auction house bridge (IF AH Bridge for short). Yahoo’s work-hard play-hard culture really makes it an amazing place to be at.

If you happen to cross one of the Death Engine members in WoW, then remember to say “hi, I love your search engine” 🙂

Cheers,

— amr

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