Podcast host Tashi(@Tashi0106) is joined by HaloGAF member Heckfu(@Heckfu) on a very special HaloGAF Radio. Guests include Frank O’Connor, Kevin Franklin and Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky of 343 Industries to discuss CSR, Weapon Balances and general Halo 4 topics. Recorded on April 11, 2013. (1:22:32)
I’d like to introduce you to a new feature here on HaloGAF.com: Debriefings. With each new article I’ll ask a different HaloGAF member a few personal questions about his or her personal life and gaming habits. First up: Ramirez.
——- >> Welcome to Debriefing, Ramirez! Before we get to the gaming questions I’d like to get to know the man behind the avatar.
Well, my name is Stephen, I live in a quaint little backwoods county in Kentucky. If you’ve ever watched Justified, you know the county. It’s nothing like the TV show, sorry to say. I work in retail as a manager, shit job, but it pays the bills for now. I’m currently attending school to become a person in the human services field.(social work type deal) I also have a son, who will be turning 3 on the 1st of the March, time has really flew by with him. I’ve said it countless times on GAF, but he has the lung/digestive disease known as Cystic Fibrosis. I’ve tried to use my connections on GAF to spread awareness of the disease to anyone who would listen, props to 343 for sharing the video back in May in their weekly update! Other than that, I’m a pretty normal nerd, will play just about any videogame as long as it’s good, though I have noticed as I’ve gotten older I don’t bother playing/finishing a game unless it grabs me immediately.
Here’s a bunch of things that are bad about Spartan Ops, why I would not feel proud about being associated with it, and my armchair designer fixes.
1. Heavy reuse of the same environments. I understand that there is a huge time and memory constraint for having brand new environments. But there are a grand total of 9 environments. 9 environments for 50 missions. Each mission will, on average, be used 5 and a half(!) times. That’s not including the times you run through it in campaign and/or multiplayer. Now there are ways to make the environments seem different, but Spartan Ops hasn’t done that yet(and I do mean this with full offense, but I don’t think any of the mission designers at 343 are capable of doing it given the lackluster campaign encounters).
For starters, don’t choose an encounter that is linear in design. It forces only 2 options when reusing it. Ignoring another issue of Spartan Ops, the only two good missions have been the Valhalla Mantis one and the first Complex one. The first one of those two was only good because it was different from shooting a bunch of aliens and pressing a bunch of buttons. The second one was good, because there were multiple points to go to on the map, and there was more than one option of positioning. The subtle player choice improves the design by quite a bit. By using non-linear maps, it also allows you to reuse it by blocking off areas of the map or providing a different incentive to move around like a power weapon or vehicle. On the downside these two encounters are also multiplayer maps, which are going to be played more often than the campaign spaces.