My dear friends and companions, I am saddened to hear of the passing of our Halo buddy in arms “I Am LM2”. In real life his name is Larry McGowan.
Firstly, if they are able to read this, I want to extend my condolences to his family. I know, from the years of comments and background chatter over the Ethernet, Larry loved and was loved by his family. They sure sounded like great people to know. I feel they must be hurting badly right now. I wish for them the continuity of good memories of Larry to console them throughout their lives.
My first Over Age 50 Halo game with LM2 was 25 July 2006. He wasn’t quite old enough but close enough that we were happy for him to fill out our meager ranks. I’ve played with him hundreds of times and for hundreds of hours since then. Every Halo game with him was filled with fun and good back slapping comraderie. His voice was easy to pick out from the crowd and it was always full of good spirit, bombastic excitement and friendliness. Many was the time in a game, I’d be hunting for LM2 and I’d tell my team, “LM2 is hiding near me”. All too often proximity chat would chirp with “No I’m not!” We’d laugh hilariously and game on. I tear up thinking about those moments in time and wish to go back just to experience them again. Such riotously fun times. I even futilely searched my Xbox today for a game film just to watch him play as if to bring him back, if only for a few moments.
I ache to hear his voice again.
As we Halo fans know, Spartans never die, they’re just missing in action. Maybe someday I will get to hear him again.
This is Justin, LM2's son. My father died of a heart attack on Friday, October 11th at the age of 56. He was on his way to work and his heart failed. If any of you want more information, feel free to send me a friend request on facebook: Justin McGowan
Seven months of SURFACING.
I’ve had my SURFACE RT since November 2012. I thought it was time to give a little update on it since I wrote my review of it. http://www.2old2play.com/news/hardware-reviews/surfacing-microsoft-surface-review
My gamble paid off. My SURFACE RT is so good at what it does, that if it had hit the market before other tablets, that landscape would be quite different today. I know it’s bold to say that but every time I use it, I don’t desire for more that it provides.
My SURFACE RT 32 GB without a keyboard looks and functions exactly as it did from the beginning with the exception of some ‘improvements’. Over the months there have been several updates, both OS and firmware. One of those updates did something to the audio to seriously improve it’s volume. Sure it was a software change but the effect on hardware was significant.
Powering on has had firmware updates too because once in a blue moon it would not turn on. One solution always worked for me. Hold the power button for 30 seconds followed by one tap and fixed. Some, people were stymied and frustrated by this problem. I think the problem may be gone now but it happens so seldom I have to put more time in to know if it is truly gone or not.
The screen’s visibility and touch features still work perfectly. No scratches or dead spots. The case is perfect in every way including the flip stand. There is still one minor but nagging issue. The auto brightness function can change the brightness for no good reason. I think I can turn that feature off but it isn’t that big of a deal.
I added a 64GB MicroSD card and might have used it once.
Battery still charges quickly and last a ‘long’ time. It gets a good workout every single day and usually gets charged once a day.
Power pack has a minor but potentially fatal flaw now. It’s magnetic plugin has delaminated along what should have been glued edges. I have to be careful when pulling it away from the port. I know it is covered under warranty but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think a couple of drops of model glue should work on that kind of plastic.
I haven’t drop tested it yet.
Monthly updates come and go and have been more pain free than those for my full Win 8 laptops. I have had one system lock up in seven months.
I still haven’t used the Cloud but I think I see where I might feel safe using it from time to time. Say it after me. Privacy, privacy, privacy.
I still haven’t bought an App. Everything I need is either free or included in the box. That’ll change in July. I plan to get HALO: SPARTAN ASSAULT.
There are tons of Apps in the store but I mostly don’t need them. I use the odd demo or limited feature version. This may change a tiny bit on the near future when I will be able to start using XBLive points/dollars. I didn’t want to be using my credit card online yet again.
Occasionally an App has crashed. Inconsequential results except for restarting it.
I look forward to future enhancements and functionality when the XBOX ONE is released. This shiny little number may have even more surprisingly good features.
I’m fairly sure my wife is going to get her own Surface.
Well, I'm going to be at it again. Halo 4 is out next week and I want to build something in Forge.
The "something" will likely be a rebuild of my REACH Megalith map with requisite upgrades.
I've already begun investigating improvements to the original Megalith construction. I started by not being a cheap-ass gamer. I bought "SOLVING STONEHENGE, The New Key to an Ancient Enigma", 2008 by Anthony Johnson. This book is chalk full of ancient surveying techniques, real surveys, photographs, diagrams and logical insight into the construction of Stonehenge.
Using my new book, I found out some of my educated guesses for the Trilithon Horseshoe were incorrect. I came very close to replicating the positions but not good enough.
This picture shows where the Trilithon should have been positioned. It also shows where a missing Bluestone horseshoe upright should have been. I assumed there were 20 Bluestone uprights and positioned them symmetrically. Turns out there were 19 but the one I didn't know about was broken and buried.
I sincerely hope I can build a bigger and more interesting Megalith in Halo 4. REACH Forge did not provide enough objects and resources to build what I wanted. Even if it did, the frame-rate would have gone down the toilet. I have already experimented with merging ideas from my Halo 3 Stonehenge and REACH Megalith. I also included a feature from one of JTGJR007's maps. Just ideas for the moment.
I can hardly wait to get cracking!
I'm trying an experiment for Halo. It doesn't involve Clans. It does involve any 2old2play.com member who wants to play Halo in a specified way and in a specified time slot.
If you are interested, just get on somebodies FL that is playing with this group. Alternatively you can send a XBL message to me or another involved person with the the text Inv in it.
I understand some people are going to wonder, "why Clanless"? Well, I have come to the opinion Clans create too much segregation on 2old2play. I no longer see the posting privacy inside a Clan forum as being an asset. Facebook, Twitter and other services should be enough for these personal affairs. I'd like to see Clans at the very least, open up their boundaries completely to other 2old2play members. It'd be better for 2old2play if Clan members posted their gaming stories in game specific forums, joined discussions in Off Topic and other topic specific forums. Perhaps that will help jump start this whole site for the better.
Clans have both good and bad sides to them and I've seen both over the years. I certainly appreciate the good parts.
2old2pwn has been a great association for me. Seven years of Clan nights! Seven years of of saucy bad ass behavior that I just love participating in! But my experiment conflicts with Clan membership and so I have unregistered myself.
If my experiment fails then I'll look to a Clan/Group option again but it will be a completely open one.
I kind of wish XBox Live had better options for handling groups. What a pain in the butt.
This Contest has ended.
I have 5 Map pack codes to give away. Please check out The Halo Series forum.
Before I get going I should show you the overall population numbers during the project period.
In this chart you can see the total number of Unique Users in 24 hours for all playlists. Also included are the total number of players online at 8:00pm Eastern. You will notice that the peaks align with weekends and valleys align with mid-week. Also noticeable is that the general population was higher at the beginning of the month, stabilizing slightly lower and then a dip at the end. The dip aligns very well with the GEARS 3 Beta and the COD Black Ops map pack release.
This project first began by collecting data for the comparison of the TEAM CLASSIC and ACTION SACK playlists. Although both playlists started off with similar populations TEAM CLASSIC lost population the quickest and remained consistently lower throughout this project period. On May 3, both playlists were updated with new features but only ACTION SACK increased its population as a result. My opinion is that TEAM CLASSIC should have been removed May 3 for at least month if there was any intent at all to attract population to this type of playlist. ACTION SACK on the other hand responds well to changes in the diversity available from REACH.
Here I show a comparison between TEAM CLASSIC and a select group of successful playlists. TEAM SLAYER is the highest populated playlist and I will use it in the remaining charts for comparative purposes while keeping the charts consistent in numerical scale. The LIVING DEAD playlist just boggles me. I had no idea it was so popular. Also surprising was GRIFBALL. Playlists like this need proper care and attention. These are a special breed of player and if they weren't in these playlists where would they be? Another game?
Amongst all of the REACH playlists some are specific to this product release. They will not likely ever be removed since they represent the new core features of REACH. It would be like admitting an idea failed. No need to remove any anyway. Some like FIREFIGHT ARCADE are very popular.
Here I present the remaining playlists. I also included GRIFBALL again, either because I had a great idea or I made a mistake. Go figure. In any case the population in these playlists is consistant. They are difficult to follow in the chart so I hope you don't have the same colour discrimination issues I have.
When I first read about the TEAM CLASSIC playlist and associated CLASSIC MAP remakes, I was a bit concerned. Here was Bungie actively giving support to the desires of a group of people who would return HALO REACH to the stone age if they could. I was kind of pissy about it actually. So pissy in fact, it spurred me to start collecting daily population statistics for that playlist and another one called ACTION SACK. I figured I'll post the results and show "them" what happens when you put up a playlist that caters to a HALO minority.
So, hard work gets you over the hump of being pissy. It ain't easy collecting and presenting data correctly. In order to compare playlist populations from day to day you need to collect the data at the same time each day. Bungie only publishes the current playlist population numbers and apparently those are updated every minute or so. I chose 8:00PM Eastern time as my time of collection. I figured it was within an hour or so of peak population, was a good schedule for me and would show the habits of the greatest number of HALO REACH players. To that end all but 5 of 38 collections were on time and those were late by 45, 45, 60, 101 and 150 minutes respectively. I kept them in the study because I figured, what the hey.
TEAM CLASSIC started out at 7519 players and dropped like a stone for a week. I was thinking, this playlist is toast and it will soon be a ghost town. Then, the flattening out began. It leveled off and hung around the 1000 mark for a couple of weeks. That is actually a good number to be at. It shows a dedicated number of people willing to play this gametype. Good for me too because numbers like this are not going to change REACH at all. I started rooting for it a bit. I like rooting for the underdogs, scummy as they may be. ;) Maybe the playlist is a very good thing for REACH if these players were to otherwise be playing a different game. Hey, even I can be positive sometimes.
Thirty eight days in and with a bit of sprucing up with a few objectives added and map corrections, we can see that the playlist is not showing well. 400 to 600 is not great. Bungie will have to decide whether to retire this playlist or keep it. It all depends on what effort it takes on their part to maintain it and where those players would go if it didn't exist.
One interesting thing came out of all of this. During this study period I simultaneously collected population numbers for all of the playlists. Yay! Now what?
You'll see. ;)
If there is one thing that attracts me to a multiplayer map, it's that it has a recognizable theme. Something to set it apart from the rest of the pack. Something to help you remember it. That's why I tend to like Bungie's maps over anything else. Each map tells a story. They are grounded in some kind of Halo fiction.
Both my Halo 3 map Stonehenge and this REACH map MEGALITH are grounded in humanity's Neolithic structure we now call Stonehenge. The former map quite obviously tries to look like the modern ruins. The latter tries to look like what would come from a reconstruction using the original design but built to some highly technical standard.
Now here is where I get imaginative (silly).
Keeping with one of the original Stonehenge's assumed purposes, MEGALITH was a place to congregate. I say was because whatever species put it on this ring world no longer seems to be around.
It was used as a place to celebrate life in the sunny outdoors as the structure ran biological diagnostics on each visitor followed by regenerative processes. It is an autonomous device completely solar powered that had been running flawlessly for so long, that no one even knew the technology anymore. They just knew that you would occasionally go there to feel better.
The people who used to congregate at MEGALITH must have been huge. Easily three times our size. A Spartan is literally dwarfed by those benches. These people wanted for nothing. Living in perfect health for many millennia, they began to lose interest in having families. Children hadn't been seen in a very long time and were almost unheard of. I say almost because there was some recognition of a problem by leaders of this civilization. There was always a spiritual leader on hand to greet visitors. They would lead the congregation in ceremonies celebrating life. Words were spoken, encouraging visitors to procreate. They had to be told because their desire was gone. Unfortunately over the millennia, these leaders also did not understand the meaning behind the words. The words were hollow. What they did know was that there were fewer and fewer people coming to this place. Some were known to have expired due to accidents but others just stop appearing. Where did they go? Something needed to be done but no one really cared enough to do anything serious about it. They were very self centered beings by then.
Eventually that species faded away altogether. They did not struggle to live and so, they did not.
MEGALITH is still here though.
The next time you play Halo on MEGALITH. Ask yourself, am I feeling a little bit better having been there today?
Amazing technology. Still running after all these years.
End of silliness.
MEGALITH is just about all that it can be. My single minded purpose of building a Stonehenge reconstruction based on the original Neolithic design and putting a playable map space around it has worked. Whether you like the map and it's effects on game play or not, it functions appropriately. Whether it makes it into matchmaking or not will depend on the rule set given to the Community Cartographer (CC) reps. They don't even have it as of my writing but soon will, they've been told. If there is anything working against it that would be the frame-rate issues present in a 3 way split screen session. If you've played on MEGALITH I presume you haven't experienced such issues during single screen play. I know I haven't seen it or heard of it.
So here are the changes I mentioned. Generally they are quite minimal and some only affect certain game types.
When I first offered up this map for customs, I was in a rush. Remember the Bungie Humpday Challenge? Yup, I thew the finishing touches of the team bases together with a glimmer of hope Bungie might get to play on it. I didn't want to push the idea and waited for a reasonable opportunity to present the idea. Didn't happen. Oh well. In my rush to completion a few details didn't get addressed.
Full mirrored symmetry. That's where half the map is duplicated exactly the same as if seen in a mirror. It was mostly there except for a few things.
The sand bag cover and curved wall spawn hives were not mirrored. So I did it. You will also notice a couple of little triangles just outside the wall. I added these after I saw my buddy Adam West splatter an unfortunate respawner. It pushes the Hogs out from the wall thus reducing the splatter spawn killing. Before left, after right.
The bases on the seaward end were the full width of the map which did not match the spacing on the cove end. No space for change in the cove so I narrowed the spacing of the seaward base. This eliminated potential complaints about timing and distance issues. The lower walkways were centered on both ends to but that doesn't show well in a picture.
Teleporters were added to each base leading to the top outer wall. They allowed a very quick path halfway down the map but not to any power weapons. I added these not only for more varied map movement but also as a pressure relief valve for when you are getting owned in your base.
The central portable shields were deleted and replaced by benches and walls as mentioned in the last Blog. The walls (double windows actually) were added to give a covered view of the enemy but also reward a good marksman. I positioned them such that a Spartan's head and shoulders are above them. A squatted player is covered, except for his feet that is. Even the benches give a little cover.
Teleporters were added for both KOTH and Territories. I have a hill and a territory that are covering the highest points on the map. The only access to them was via Jetpack. Since I can't predict what AA Bungie would put in a playlist I had to do something about it.
Weapons positions were not changed except for a bit of enhanced visibility.
Since this Blog has gotten a little long I'll save MEGALITH's fiction for later.
Thanks for reading. :)