The Halo Bulletin 4-10-14

This is a reblog of this week’s bulletin. My thoughts will be highlighted in BLUE along the way.halobulletinheader_4-9_800-763e23a58bac477e8da958aa94c655c9

Last week, a strange package arrived at the studio. Actually, similar to last time, it was more like a normal box and not very suspicious, but the contents were far from ordinary. Shortly after its arrival, bs angel walked over to my desk with quite a surprise. In her hands she held a battle damaged Noble Six helmet, modeled after the Mortal Dictata cover. It was sent over by Jim from Stony Props, and it is absolutely incredible.


HFFL: Wow, this is impressive. Why can’t these be made available to fans? I’d LOVE to own an official Halo helmet prop. (Assuming I could afford one of course.)


Creations like this bring us big smiles (as you can clearly see above – under the helmet, Laskan has a huge smile on his face), and we’d like to thank Jim for sending over this masterpiece, as well as each and every one of you who have ever shared your community creations with us. Not only are they super awesome, but when designers, testers, artists and producers see these creations, whether on a forum or inside the studio, it reminds us how talented and special the fans of this franchise are, and why we get to do what we do every day. Also, it’s been really fun wearing this helmet around the studio every day, and I don’t anticipate that getting old any time soon.

This week we have lots to talk about – a new Matchmaking playlist, an upcoming 1 vs. 1 tournament, a Halo: Spartan Assault update and more. Let’s get into it!

Matchmaking Playlist Update


This coming Monday, we have a brand new playlist premiering: Ninja Assassins! We’ve been playtesting the game type over the past few weeks, and it requires stealth, precision, patience, and a whole lotta Thrustin’.

Ninja Assassins is an 8-player Free-for-All game type that features Spartans decked out in custom armor, equipped with Energy Swords and Sniper Rifles, and outfitted with the Thruster Pack. Motion tracker is disabled, and ten points are awarded for each kill. Watch your back, though, because if you manage to sneak in an assassination, it will net you 30 points – the equivalent of three kills. During each life, you’ll level up – this is accomplished by getting kills in succession. One kill will bring you to level 1, two kills for level 2, and if you manage to get three kills in a row, you’ll be at level 3 – here are the details and attributes of each level:

Ninja Level 1
Shields recharge at a faster rate (2x)
Assassinations performed at a faster rate (2x)

Ninja Level 2
Shields recharge at a faster rate (2x)
Shields recharge sooner than normal (after 3 seconds)
Assassinations performed at a faster rate (3x)

Ninja Level 3
Shields recharge at a faster rate (2x)
Shields recharge sooner than normal (after 2 seconds)
Assassinations performed at a faster rate (4x)
Unlimited Thruster Pack energy

HFFL: Wow, okay, this sounds extremely cool! I stink at assassinations, but I’m going to gov ethos a go. Also, I’m VERY happy to see that there is indeed a “tiered” system for kills. I suggested something like this months ago. Not for assassinations, but rather weapon drops. In fact, here are the two articles I wrote as such: (posted 1/24/14) and (posted 5/15/13)

While not the same as players attribute adjustments, I wonder if this is possible?

Ninja Assassins will be available as our featured playlist through April 28.

Big Team Battle Refresh

We know many of you are suckers for 8 vs. 8 vehicular combat, and this is probably part of the reason why Halo 4’s Big Team Battle typically holds the number one spot across all playlists. We’re actively adding to the playlist (including recently added Big Team Snipers) and this week, we’re back with more maps and game types in order to keep the experience fresh and new. Here’s what’s coming on Monday:

Neutral Flag

Nothing says “Tug O’ War” more than Neutral Flag. The game type will be played on the following maps:

• Ragnarok
• Exile
• Longbow

We also added two brand new community maps with help from the Community Cartographers. The maps are:

Excavation by Flying Shoe ILR


Excavation is a rotationally symmetrical map set in an abandoned mining area. The most important asset on Excavation is the Mantis, which is a powerful tool for controlling various parts of the map.

Panic Station by The Psycho Duck


Panic Station is a large map with vertical gameplay elements. This map provides unprecedented freedom for Warthog and vehicle play while still offering plenty of options to players on foot.

The new maps and Neutral Flag will be available in Big Team Battle on Monday morning – hop in and check ‘em out!

HFFL: More objective based gameplay in BTB is fantastic for me. Neutral Flag can be fun, especially if you’re got a cohesive team that makes great call-outs and moves with the objective as necessary. I’ll be looking forward to playing these additional game types and maps.

Community Choice: Proving Ground


Last week, we asked which objective game type you wanted to see included next into the Proving Ground playlist, and Oddball edged out Capture the Flag to win the community vote. As a result, Oddball will also be available as an option in Proving Ground on Monday. We’ve got more planned for this playlist, so be sure to get in on the action, which features Battle Rifles starts, and no Armor Abilities or Personal Ordnance.

HFFL: Are any of you playing in the Proving Ground playlist? I stay away from it as it’s WAY to competitive for me. Or rather I should say chock full of skilled players who are better than me and I know I won’t get an evenly matched game, due to the ALWAYS low population of this playlist. Whew, a mouthful…. You get the idea.

Team Slayer Top 200: Season 2 Final Rankings

Last week, we posted the final rankings for Season 2 of the Team Slayer Top 200. As we mentioned at the beginning of this past season, we’ve been keeping an eye on the leaderboard for players using exploits to make their way to the top, and have removed any suspicious players from the leaderboard. Below, you’ll find a preview of the top ten players:


We’d like to congratulate these players who battled with integrity and determination. To see the full Top 200, head here. To see the latest Proving Ground standings, head here.

Community Meld Coming to Halo: Spartan Assault

Over the past few weeks, we have been working with the Xbox team to integrate the Community Meld, a new Xbox One feature that you may have seen on Killer Instinct, into Halo: Spartan Assault.

We’re excited about the potential of the Community Meld and want to let you in on how we’re thinking about this feature for our games. You shouldn’t have to leave the game to get the latest news and information about new products and more. We realize that you don’t always want to open up a website on your laptop or mobile device, and that it might be easier to skim through news and upcoming projects and watch new videos right in the game itself. As more news is released this year, we are excited to bring you details about future projects, game updates, and all the latest information in the Community Meld.

The feature will launch for Halo: Spartan Assault on April 15. Here’s a preview of the Community Meld below:


Halo Waypoint Store Weekend Sale

From April 10-14, we’re having a sale at the Halo Waypoint store! All tees will be discounted to $15, and all hoodies will be dropped to $45. Head over to the official store this weekend to pick up some apparel!

Beyond Entertainment Spring Showdown


Our friends over at Beyond Entertainment have announced their Spring Showdown Halo 4 1v1 tournament! The free-to-enter tournament will use the official Halo 4 Global Championship settings and be played on Haven, Skyline, and Onyx. The tournament is limited to US residents and will run on April 26. We’ve teamed up with Beyond Entertainment to provide some prizes for the event, including a Polk Audio Melee Gaming Headset and more for first place.

Screenshot Spotlight: Pink

Last week, we turned the spotlight on grenades. Take a gander at the following Pink screenshots, and maybe even find inspiration to make your own.

Screenshot spotlight PINK_smHFFL: Of the ones shown, I like “Colorful” by Azpekt297.

For your chance at being in the next spotlight, take a screenshot on the map Adrift and then tag it with “Adrift” and “Halo Waypoint,” and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

And with that, this week’s Bulletin comes to a close.
Until next week,

To see the bulletin on the official site, go HERE.

The Science of Halo, Fact VS Fiction: Railguns

I happened upon some amazing news about a new Railgun that the U.S. military is testing. I had known that railgun technology had been around for a few years, but now it’s on the brink of actual use and not in the development stage.

During this article we’ll explore the fiction side of Railguns and their tech in the Halo universe, versus the real-world application of this technology, as well as their similarities and differences.

Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist or engineer. I may state some things incorrectly.

Now on with the article!



The railgun in Halo was introduced to us in Halo 4. Let’s not mistake this with the MAC (Magnetic Accelerated Cannon) on starships, nor the gauss cannon found on some Warthogs.

The Asymmetric Recoilless Carbine-920 or Railgun is a “compact-channel linear accelerator that fires a high-explosive round at incredible speed, delivering kinetic and explosive force to both hard and soft targets alike”.  Alternately, it can also be described as an electro-magnetic projectile weapon.

Some technical specs for the Railgun are: 
Manufacturer: Acheron Security
Ammunition Type: M645 FTP-HE 16 mm x 65 mm
Ammunition Size: 16mm x 65mm
Length: 110.8 centimetres (43.6 in)
Height: 31.9 centimetres (12.6 in)
Width: 7.4 centimetres (2.9 in)
Weight: 14.9 kilograms (33 lb)
Charge Time: 2 seconds, lesser charge time will cause less damage

The Halo 4 Railgun has no zoom feature while shooting. The projectile follows along dual channels (metal “rails”). These are charged by an electric current that flows through the magnetic rails. This interaction is what fires the projectile at high speed.

Though the handheld Railgun in halo 4 is labeled as “recoilless”, it actually has recoil, likely to show the weapon’s destructive force.


In a report from CBS news/Reuters by David Alexander, it’s stated that the U.S. Navy is planning trials for it’s railgun in 2016. This version of the railgun can fire a 23 pound projectile at seven times the speed of sound and can travel well over 100 miles. To break that down, the speed of sound is 1,125 feet per second or 767 miles per hour. Seven times that is 7875 feet per second (just slightly under 1 1/2 miles per SECOND!) or 5,369 miles per hour. That is some POWER!Futuristic WeaponRear Admiral Matthew Kluder, chief of Naval Research has stated that the railgun has already gone through testing on the ground. The above picture shows a prototype of the current version of the railgun set up in a testing lab to test it’s firepower.

Part of the reason for developing railgun technology is technical superiority as well as cost. The planned 23lb projectile for the sea-based railgun will cost about 25,000. This is vastly cheaper that the average 500K to 1.5 million dollars (US) per conventional missile in use today.

fishbowl view length railgun
Above shows the lab railgun’s length (in a fishbowl view).

“Railguns use electromagnetic energy known as the Lorenz Force to launch a projectile between two conductive rails. The high-power electric pulse generates a magnetic field to fire the projectile with very little recoil, officials said.”

Railgun explosice force

“Current projectiles leaving a railgun have a muzzle energy of about 32 megajoules of force, said Rear Admiral Bryant Fuller, the Navy’s chief engineer. He said one megajoule would move a one-ton object at about 100 mph” Again, the current projectile is only 23 pounds versus the stated 2,000 pounds. So that’s just over 1% of the weight and 32 times of force. POWERFUL!!!

To illustrate this, the picture below shows the destructive force of an even smaller real-world projectile through a railgun. Though not said, the smaller projectile looks to be no more than a few pounds in weight. This is relative to the Halo 4’s projectile.

1-2 in steel plates SIXWhat you’re looking at above are SIX 1/2 inch thick steel plates that have had a several inches wide hole PUNCHED through them.

Check out this video of the real-world railgun in action! (link submitted by Kevin Armstrong-Thanks Kev!)

The technology for the real-world railgun is very similar to the tech represented in Halo 4’s railgun. The major difference being that we in present time have not yet reduced the size of the gun itself for individual use.

Given the size of the projectile in the Halo 4 railgun, coupled with the power associated with the electromagnetic current, it is quite evident that the destructive force of the Halo 4 railgun is accurately depicted in game.

So not only is this tech possible, it’s REAL and right NOW!