343 Industries ironically celebrated 343 Day by changing up the online matchmaking lists for Halo 4. The main one to consider is Speed Slayer. Speed Slayer rapidly up’s player speed in 6 v 6 team scenarios. The 343 team has commented, “Speed Slayer is a fun, fast-paced game type which gives you the opportunity to experience the benefits of the Resistor. Originally previewed in the Champions Bundle, the Resistor Tactical Package allows players to retain full mobility when taking fire for a few moments.
To the dismay of many gamers, 343 announced Nov. 17 that the patch that was set for Nov. 19 will be delayed till "later this week". The developer goes on to say: This content update includes a variety of fixes across the title, including Matchmaking performance issues, general UI and game stability improvements, as well as fixes for game-game specific issues in Halo: CE, Halo 2, and Halo 2: Anniversary, and more. The full patch notes will be posted later this week, in advance of the content update release.
Thank you for your continued patience. Many gamers speculate that this setback is to ensure the new patch actually fixes what it is supposed to.
However, reaction on the forums has been mixed, many are threatening to just put down the game and not come back while others are poised to wait in hopes that the fix will allow them to enjoy the collection. Below is a sample of comments from the forums and some articles around the net: Some folks are just trying to find the middle ground while feeling a bit lost. While others are rallying against those who are hating on 343 in this upsetting time. The prevailing attitude has surprisingly been the "Wait and See Approach" Gamers have always been, at their core, opportunists.
Getting the campaign out of the way gives more time to focus on the Multiplayer when the issues are fixed. While the response to the news in other sections of the net have not been as respectful.
In the end, these choices will have their supporters and their doubters, we can never accurately predict how the majority will view the decision. We can say, however, that we hope that this patch will finally repair the damage that we saw in Halo: MCC's initial release.
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343 Industries a new development update on Halo: Master Chief Collection, detailing how they are planning to to fix the game’s ongoing issues as well as properly enhance it for the Xbox One X console. According to the developer, a “small but experienced” team is working on this Halo: Master Chief Collection project while development of the next Halo mainline entry remains unaffected.
343 Industries also announced a public flighting program to help test the changes. You can find a lot more about that below. REQUESTING BACKUP As awesome as our legacy strike force team is, the Halo: Master Chief Collection update is a big ambitious project – there’s a lot of work to be done addressing bugs, updating old systems, adding visual enhancements, improving playlists, and even potentially working in some bona fide new features.
So, how do we commit the necessary resources and deliver on ambitious MCC goals with a “small but experienced team?” Well, we’re going to need a little bit of backup. We already have plans to mobilize our community for hands-on testing (more on that below) but unfortunately, that model isn’t really viable when it comes to working on development tasks with the code base itself.
To help us achieve these goals, we’ve tapped some external support to partner with us through this project. We’re currently in the process of working through various milestones like getting processes and tools in place, getting familiarized with the many code bases, working through scope and schedules, and generally getting all the foundation elements locked so there’s a clear and realistic plan of attack.
TAKING FLIGHT TOGETHER The second key partner in this relationship is you – our fan community. For starters, we already have a wealth of feedback spanning years of bug reports and feature requests.
This info informed much of what’s already in our internal databases and has been very valuable informing priorities and production plans for the project. Initial feedback is half of the equation – the other is getting ongoing builds of MCC into your hands via a public flighting program.
This will be a new process for our team here, but if you’re already a member of the Xbox Insider program, it’ll be familiar to you. This will be a separate “version” of MCC that’s released into the wild for public testing of updates and patches during development.
There’s a lot to learn here about how to effectively utilize these tools and what best practices we can gleam from other partners around the Xbox family but we’re very excited to get this rolling. Currently, the thought is that flighting will roll out in incremental stages with a larger potential audience being added with each new update. Initially we’re going to start out very small – in fact, the internal team already has a flight ring setup for just them to test out early updates and get familiarized with the process.
Eventually this will start to expand and we’ll look at a mix of both hand selected participants (i.e. community members who have a good amount of experience and prior engagement with MCC) and then eventually a more open model that anyone can opt-in to join.
I know everyone is eager to get going (and trust us, we are too), but we don’t yet have a date locked for the first phase of the public flighting. The latest plans are looking like public flighting will kickoff in a meaningful way sometime in the March timeframe but we’ll definitely keep you updated as details are locked.
READY UP If you want to be a part of the MCC public testing process, I highly encourage you to go ahead and join the now so you’re ready to go when things get rolling. While you’re at it, I also recommend joining the if you haven’t already – not only will we likely use this as a means of gathering periodic feedback during MCC testing, it also offers regular chances to share input on numerous facets of the present and future Halo games and franchise.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION Lastly, before we close, I wanted to share a few updates on just some of the big-ticket items the team has been working on for the past few months. The 343 Legacy Team’s Technical Directors – Greg Hermann and Andrew Schnickel – have both been hard at work shoring up MCC’s foundations and updating out-of-date systems, services and technologies.
While I’m certainly no engineer, Greg and Andrew did take some time to explain a few things to me in terms they hoped I could understand.
On the technical side there’s been several milestones of note that will pay huge dividends when you play MCC again later this Spring: UPDATED MATCHMAKING APIS Halo: Master Chief Collection launched back in November of 2014 and there have been a ton of improvements and changes to how Xbox Live matchmaking functions since then.
Greg and Andrew systematically updated MCC with the latest and greatest matchmaking APIs that brings forth many welcome improvements. What exactly does this mean? “Overall this results in big improvements to reliability,” explains Greg Hermann. “The older system used outdated methods which sometimes resulted in instances of parties disappearing randomly and lost notifications between clients and the matchmaking services.” “Xbox Matchmaking services would find you a match but the notification might get lost on the way to the system and then the game title itself would never see it.” Greg continues, “Under the old model the system software was the authority on who was connected to who and how… and now, the game title itself takes responsibility for that and gets to decide what the party composition is.
This gives the title (and us) a lot more control over party management.” The big takeaway here is that the overall matchmaking experience, especially with parties, will work much more reliably following this modernization of MCC’s online systems. UPDATED PLATFORM XDKS In order to take advantage of the latest and greatest matchmaking systems the underlying platform XDK/APIs also needed updating.
That means that all eight of the game engines running in Halo: Master Chief Collection needed to go through this update process. Yes, that’s right, eight separate engines: H1 Classic, H1 Anniversary, H2 Classic, H2 Anniversary, H3, H3: ODST, H4, and H2A MP. Andrew Schnickel explains what this means: “One of the major implications of this work is that the XDK upgrades now allow us to support Xbox One X features such as increased resolution and visual enhancements.
We can also use platform advancements such as the ‘social manager’, which simplifies a lot of our code around friends and presence management. And foundationally, this update opens the possibility for other things we’d like to explore like custom game session browsing, Xbox Arena or Mixer support.” According to Greg, updating all eight game engines includes fully retiling textures, recompiling shaders, etc. which is why MCC will eventually require a sizable re-download when it launches.
It’ll definitely be worth it. “APPMODEL / REBOOT” In the original Halo: Master Chief Collection, you’d have the unified UI running and then depending on which game you launched, one of the eight separate engines would run and then upon completion, the software would fully reboot. This is one of the underlying challenges MCC had when it came to “reconstructing the network session” after each discrete reboot. So what do these new changes mean?
Here’s Greg again with an explanation: “Now instead of doing a reboot of the entire process, we just unload the .DLL and cleanly shut down each game engine. This means there’s less chance of your network session breaking down. You’ll also notice a much faster game-to-game transition time, greater overall UI consistency, and it also makes it easier for us to manage MP experiences and get players back into matchmaking quicker after a game session ends.” PEER CONNECTIONS One of the last items Greg and Andrew walked me through is a pretty significant overhaul of the underlying network code in Halo: Master Chief Collection.
The Xbox Platform provides a baseline mechanism for “NAT Traversal” and network encryption but in practice the internet ecosystem doesn’t always support it as well as we’d like. If you’ve ever had difficulty connecting behind a company or business firewall you might’ve experienced some of these challenges. We’ve updated to a new code base that does a lot of what the Xbox infrastructure does but also allows us to add in relays to work around NAT settings issues. What does this mean for the player?
Here’s Greg with the technical takeaway: “We can route packets through separate UDP packet relay servers regardless of your NAT settings. This should result in a lot less ‘I can’t join this person’ problems.” “Additionally, with the original MCC, peer hosting was used for matchmade games as a fallback if dedicated servers weren’t available for whatever reason.
We’re moving to a model where dedicated servers will now be guaranteed for all matchmade games.”
343 preps "biggest" changes to Halo: The Master Chief Collection matchmaking yet UPDATE: Public beta called off, but still no release date set. 10/02/2015 News Editor UPDATE 10/2/15 9.15am: Halo: The Master Chief Collection developer 343 Industries has decided not to beta test its next game patch with the Xbox One preview community.
The process would have been too time-consuming, 343 said, and required a number of other updates to enable. There's no word on when the next patch will finally materialise, but the fixes will now be tested internally instead. "After further evaluation, the team has determined that that final testing for the content update will be completed internally, and we will not be conducting a beta test for the next CU [content update].
Also, it was determined that the additional time and work devoted to the beta would've actually postponed the public availability of the content update. "Lastly, there were some added challenges surrounding the CU beta - including an extra series of required updates and rollbacks - that made us take a step back and re-examine the CU beta.
Ultimately, this plan will allow us to deliver the smoothest possible experience, and ensure that the next content update becomes available as soon as possible. "Progress on the CU continues, and we'll work to provide an ETA once the final date is locked. As stated last week, our current focus and priority remains delivering the upcoming improvements to the matchmaking and party systems, but the team is also working on and prioritizing additional items beyond this, and I look forward to discussing these - a lot more - as we get closer to those updates." ORIGINAL STORY 2/2/15 10.25am: The next Halo: The Master Chief Collection update will contain the largest matchmaking overhaul seen to date, developer 343 Industries has said.
Behind youuuu. But there's still no confirmed release date for the patch, despite last week by members of the Xbox One preview program.
That beta test was later called off, and Microsoft is now re-evaluating the need for a beta at all. "As this update contains the biggest changes to the Matchmaking system yet, we've identified that additional time and testing is required," explained a new blog post.
"We are currently evaluating both timing and need for a CU [content update] beta with the Xbox One Preview program, as well as the final public release date in February. We'll continue to provide the latest updates here on Waypoint." 343 is continuing to work on a number of other additions to the game, including featured playlists, more options for existing playlists, and an objective-only playlist.
Team Snipers and Team Doubles modes are also on 343's wishlist, although the latter will need to wait for other team creation issues to be fixed. Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched for Xbox One last year with numerous matchmaking issues - and has since received a raft of patches as 343 bid to alleviate the problems.
Where is the Halo: MCC Xbox One X Update? - 343 ANSWERS