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Inside Infinite April 2021 - Halo Waypoint News Article

https://www.halowaypoint.com/en-us/news/inside-infinite-april-2021


Although last month’s Inside Infinite blog gave us more to hear than to see, this month’s update offered plenty of new Campaign screenshots. The April Inside Infinite article focused on the PC team, particularly emphasizing how Halo Infinite is being designed as a full-featured PC game, not just a port.


Of course, if you have any questions about the stuff discussed in this article, don’t forget to ask them on Twitter with #Ask343. The Q&A sessions in the middle of each month are very informative, and you can have your own question answered directly by the PC team leads.


“Zeta Halo is more immersive than ever on PC in 32:9 super ultrawide aspect ratio.”

In the February Inside Infinite blog, this Forerunner structure and larger environment was shown at a 16:9 aspect ratio. However, Halo Infinite will support ultrawide aspect ratios such as 32:9, as shown here. There’s not too much that’s new in terms of details, but PC players with ultrawide monitors are in for a treat.


“A fresh look at a super ultrawide Forerunner Interior in Halo Infinite.”

This ultrawide image of a Forerunner Interior has a lot of detail and looks amazing. It is reminiscent of the large underground chasm in Halo: CE’s mission Halo, where the player first activates a light bridge. There are various Banished Grunts and Jackals around the room, and a large, classical Forerunner door is at the other end of the walkway.


“An example of honoring those high-end PCs is creating “Ultra” graphics quality presets, so the best PC’s hardware can make the game look amazing and offer an incredible PC experience.
For enthusiast features and customizability, we have very good ultrawide and super ultrawide support, triple keybinds, we’re supporting a wide range of input devices (you can play the game on PC using a non-Xbox controller – or, with a mouse and keyboard when you’re playing on console), advanced sensitivity and acceleration sliders for your mouse… there’s so much we’re working on and we have plenty of ideas for features after the initial launch as well.” - Mike Romero

Some of the PC features that players can expect are “Ultra” graphics quality settings, meant for use on the best PC hardware, ultrawide and super ultrawide support, triple keybinds, support for multiple types of input (e.g. non-Xbox controllers on PC), advanced sensitivity and acceleration sliders for mouse input, and more. From the console standpoint, mouse and keyboard support will be present on day one.


“To make the game cross-platform we go through great pains to ensure you can have a competitive experience on any device, so things like your field of view (FOV) settings which are more standard on PC are also available on console.” - Mike Romero

Field of View (FOV) settings will be available not only on PC but also on console, a feature that has only just been added to Halo: MCC in the last few months.


“Players can tweak things like full-screen effects to reduce motion sickness or photosensitivity for example” - Mike Romero

From an accessibility perspective, full-screen effects can be modified to help the player reduce negative side effects while playing the game. There will likely be other accessibility features included as well, although they were not mentioned explicitly here.


“Halo Infinite on PC will support a variety of screen resolutions, including 32:9 super ultrawide (and beyond).”

The Forerunner Interior space from earlier is here shown in 16:9, 21:9, and 32:9 aspect ratios, showing the differences offered by each setting.


“Then you’ve got your HUD which has to anchor to the edges of the screen... You can also run the game in 4:3 and at lower minimum resolutions than you would get on a TV and the UI still needs to be legible.” - Mike Romero

Here, Mike is describing some of the challenges that arise when trying to bring ultrawide support into Halo Infinite. Notably, the HUD is described as needing “to anchor to the edges of the screen,” which is something that can be toggled in Halo: MCC if players would rather keep the HUD where it would be with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Whether PC players can choose to keep the HUD in a 16:9 aspect ratio rather than anchor it to the screen edges is yet to be seen. The other noteworthy mention is that the game can be run at 4:3 and with lower than 720p resolutions, and there are efforts made to ensure the UI is still legible at these levels.


“Halo Infinite includes adjustable Field of View (FOV) settings which can be paired with multiple aspect ratios for greater customization than ever before.”

This image shows six different views of a different Forerunner interior, this time with the HUD visible. There are plenty of details in this image which I will discuss momentarily. For now, this shows the difference that not only aspect ratio makes, but also FOV. Note that the HUD elements are anchored to the edges of the screen.


“Halo Infinite's support for multiple aspect ratios on PC lets you see more horizontally without seeing less vertically.”

Here, we have yet another new Campaign screenshot, this time showing an open, outdoor environment. There’s also some cool details here, but I’ll cover those shortly. These screenshots make it clear that the aspect ratio adjustments do not affect the vertical field of view, just the horizontal one.


“JG: A buttery smooth experience on mouse and keyboard.
MR: Ultrawide (21:9, 32:9 and beyond) support for everything (in-game, narrative moments, menus, the works).
JG: Display settings, refresh rates, triple keybinds.
MR: Advanced graphics options that you would expect, and the ability to dynamically scale resolution to maintain framerate and competitiveness.
JG: The ability to play with your friends regardless of what platform you or they are on – Steam, Xbox, Game Pass for PC, everyone can play together.
MR: We plan to build upon Infinite for years into the future, so managing content for the game in a native and familiar way to each different platform we’re releasing on.
JG: Joining your friends through XBL, Steam, Discord, making it convenient to get into a match regardless of which platform your friends are on.
MR: There’s also options like showing FPS and ping in an overlay, or hiding the HUD entirely if you want to take some nice screenshots or overlay your own thing while streaming – there’s a lot of options and settings I don’t want to talk just yet but we have more we’re working on and many ideas for the future as well.” - Jeff Guy and Mike Romero

Here, Jeff and Mike list off numerous PC features that will be featured in Halo Infinite on day one. Things such as refined mouse and keyboard controls, ultrawide support across the entire game, display settings, refresh rates, triple keybinds, advanced graphics options and dynamic resolution to maintain framerate, crossplay between all platforms, content management within Halo Infinite, joining friends via Xbox Live, Steam, and Discord, displaying FPS and ping, and disabling the HUD. There are even more features than just those listed here, but many of these are highly requested and expected features for a PC game.


“Halo Infinite on PC will let you tweak your in-game experience to your liking across a variety of different settings - including the ability to maintain a minimum framerate (thanks to dynamic resolution scaling) and specify a maximum framerate (including uncapped).”

Here, we have a screenshot of some of the PC video settings offered in Halo Infinite. Settings include Field of View, Display Adapter selection, Display Monitor selection, Borderless Fullscreen toggle, Window Size (assuming Fullscreen is toggled off), Resolution Scale, Minimum/Maximum Framerate (setting a minimum will reduce resolution to maintain the framerate and maximum can be set to unlimited), Vsync, and many more that aren’t shown here. There are also other settings categories, such as Controller customization, Keyboard/Mouse options, Audio settings, UI configurations, and Accessibility options. At the bottom of the screen, there is a prompt for “Screen Calibration,” which will likely help players select good options for their hardware setup.


“For players that want the freedom to custom tailor their PC experience, Halo Infinite will offer a variety of robust video settings.”

Another screenshot of the settings shows more video options. Offered here are selections for Quality Preset, which can be set to a desired preset combination or customized to the player’s preference. Quality Preset affects things like Anti-Aliasing, Texture Filtering, Texture Quality, Geometry Quality, Reflections, Depth of Field, Shadow Quality, and Dynamic Lighting. Any of these options can be customized individually, seemingly with “Medium”, “High”, and “Ultra” options, Ultra being the highest possible choice. There may also be more granularity to these options, although it is not shown in this screenshot.


“We actually allow you to host a local multiplayer server on your PC. Other players on your LAN, both PC and Xbox, are able to join your local server and play Infinite multiplayer with you. We also have both ranked and unranked matchmaking playlists where PC and Xbox can play together online.” - Jeff Guy

This feature was first offered with Halo 5: Guardians, a few years after its launch. Players could host a Custom Game on their LAN by running a special server program on PC, and they could join with their Xboxes. With Halo Infinite, it looks like this feature is being brought forward and fully supported at launch.


“Social playlists and custom matches are open to all, you can play on any platform and any device with anyone you like! For ranked matches, we plan to restrict competitive playlists based on input type, not console versus PC.” - Mike Romero

In Halo: MCC, most social playlists and all custom games allow players with any input type to join. For players who opt-in to input-based restrictions, controller players will only match with other controller players, and the same is true for keyboard and mouse players. With Halo Infinite, all Social playlists and Custom Games will have no restrictions based on input type, while Ranked playlists will keep the input type consistent across all players in a match. Since keyboard and mouse will be supported on console and controller will be supported on PC, this will not prevent friends from playing together on different platforms: just on different input devices.


“For mouse and keyboard players, Halo Infinite will support triple keybinds allowing one specific action to be assigned to three different inputs.”

Here, we have a screenshot of some of the Keyboard/Mouse settings while “On Foot”. These settings include moving forward, backward, left, and right, jumping, crouching/sliding, sprinting, firing the weapon, and using equipment. Players using mouse and keyboard can tie one action to up to three different inputs, which is shown with the Crouch/Slide setting in the above screenshot.


“An up-close look at a super ultrawide Forerunner Interior from a first person perspective.”

Here, we have the second Forerunner Interior screenshot from earlier, this time in its raw 32:9 version. There are numerous details that are worth discussing, so let’s take a closer look.


The jackal on the left is sporting red armor with a metallic helmet and a yellow energy shield, and he wields a Plasma Pistol. This appears to be a new rank of Banished Jackal not yet seen before.


The Brute in the middle of the screen is wearing only light armor, and he appears to have a UNSC weapon on his back, perhaps the MA40 Assault Rifle. Although it is hard to tell in this image, he also sports a beard.


This first-person view of the MA40 Assault Rifle shows drastic improvements over its July 2020 version. The ammo counter is much more visible and well-defined, and the yellow stripe is apparent on the front of the weapon.


The pack mule Grunt shown in the Mega Construx Halo Infinite Series 3 blind bag figures can be seen here. He appears to have a dormant Plasma Grenade sitting on his back, which he is likely carrying for other Banished troops to use.


The bottom right of the HUD shows an interesting secondary sidearm, which, as it turns out, is a remodeled MK50 Sidekick. The weapon’s grip has been redesigned, and it has an attachment underneath the barrel. Additionally, there are four bars under the grenade indicator, suggesting that there are at least four types of grenades in the game.


Finally, and perhaps most intriguingly, the symbol for the cut Halo 3 Guardian appears in the back of this room. This symbol can also be seen on the Halo 3 multiplayer map Epitaph. It is curious that this symbol would be chosen for this environment, as it has appeared in Forerunner architecture in the past.


“Our anti-cheat philosophy is to make cheating more difficult in ways that don't involve kernel drivers or background services. We've done a lot of work securing the Slipspace engine and developing novel ways to protect and change the game to slow down cheat development. When people do cheat, we're focused on catching them through their behavior and not from data that we've harvested from their machines.” - Michael VanKuipers

As with any PC game, the concept of anti-cheat is understandably a tricky one. On the one hand, anti-cheat needs to know a lot of information about a player’s machine and prevent them from circumventing restrictions, especially in competitive multiplayer matches. On the other hand, some anti-cheat software has been known to be very intrusive, and it can block legitimate applications or background processes in an effort to curb cheating. With Halo Infinite, the anti-cheat software appears to be built-in to the Slipspace engine with the ability to detect cheaters through the ways they improperly play the game. This is certainly a novel approach, and it will be interesting to see if the anti-cheat is sufficient at preventing cheaters from ruining the experience for legitimate players.


“I am making sure our Announcer, Spartan Chatter, and [Redacted] all work in tandem to deliver a super clear, but also immersive experience.” - Patrick Wren

While discussing the audio VO systems in Halo Infinite multiplayer, Patrick Wren references the announcer (Jeff Steitzer) and Spartan Chatter, which was introduced in Halo 5: Guardians as an optional feature where your teammates’ Spartans call out important details during the match, such as enemy locations and weapon pickups. However, he also mentions something that he isn’t allowed to name, yet. It’s possible this is related to the audio customization teased in the April 2021 Ask343 video.


“Halo Waypoint will now be available as a native iOS and Android app, in addition to the website, replacing the existing Halo Channel app. Most recently, the team has been focused on Halo Infinite features such as customization and progression, and navigating the challenges associated with translating those features to web and pocket-sized devices.” - Kevin “KP” Paul

In December 2019, a massive change to Halo Waypoint was slated to arrive in 2020. This change never arrived, but this mention here suggests that it was simply delayed alongside Halo Infinite. It will be exciting to see the new Halo Waypoint website and apps, particularly with how they are connected to Halo Infinite’s customization and progression.


“Halo Infinite, the most expansive Halo game yet, evokes even more mystery and wonder at 21:9 (and beyond) aspect ratios.”

Here is the large outdoor screenshot one again, this time at 21:9. There aren’t as many details as with the Forerunner Interior shot, but there is one really neat object in the middle of this screenshot…


That’s a Brute Chopper. The ramming vehicle from Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST will be making a triumphant return in Halo Infinite, this time with a lot more red than before.


“While I hope you enjoyed this month’s 1,000-word screenshots, we know that game videos are worth at least 10,000 words. And the great news is that Summer i.e., game industry event season, is just around the corner—and there are glorious plans afoot.” - Joseph Staten

We can expect Halo Infinite to feature at game industry events coming this summer! Although perhaps not unexpected, it is nice to know that we can expect to see Halo Infinite as early as E3 2021, which will occur from June 12-15, 2021. Get excited, Halo fans. We’re almost there.


Summary

In this month’s issue of Inside Infinite, we saw many of the new features coming to Halo Infinite on PC. Here’s a summary of what we learned in this article.

  • Halo Infinite will support ultrawide aspect ratios such as 21:9, 32:9, and beyond.

  • The first Forerunner interior shown has its roots firmly in Halo: Combat Evolved. The Forerunner door architecture is also similar to that found in the original trilogy.

  • There will be “Ultra” graphics quality options to take advantage of the best PC hardware.

  • Mouse and keyboard players will be able to use triple keybinds, where one action can be bound to up to three different inputs.

  • Non-Xbox controllers can be used on the PC version of the game, and the Xbox version will support mouse and keyboard.

  • There will be advanced sensitivity options and acceleration sliders for the mouse.

  • New features will be added beyond launch as well.

  • Field of View (FOV) can be customized on both PC and Xbox.

  • Full-screen effects can be adjusted to accommodate for motion sickness and photosensitivity.

  • The HUD will anchor to the edges of the screen at ultrawide aspect ratios, and it is unclear if this can be toggled to force the HUD to remain at 16:9.

  • On PC, Halo Infinite can be run at 4:3 and lower resolutions than on the Xbox One, but the UI will still be legible.

  • Adjusting the aspect ratio will only increase or decrease the horizontal FOV. It will not affect the vertical FOV.

  • Display settings and refresh rates can be adjusted on PC.

  • The user can set a minimum framerate to take advantage of dynamic resolution, which will lower the resolution to maintain this minimum framerate.

  • Crossplay will be supported.

  • Due to the long-term support plan for Halo Infinite, there will be a content management solution on all platforms.

  • Friends can be joined through Xbox Live, Steam, and Discord.

  • FPS and ping can be shown in an overlay.

  • The HUD can be disabled entirely as well.

  • Other Video settings include the ability to change Display Adapter, Display Monitor, enable or disable Borderless Fullscreen, adjust the Window Size, scale the resolution, set a Maximum Framerate (or leave it unlimited), enable Vsync, and much more.

  • There will also be Controller, Keyboard/Mouse, Audio, UI, and Accessibility settings.

  • Players can also individually customize various visual quality settings or use a Quality Preset. Customizable options include Anti-Aliasing, Texture Filtering, Texture Quality, Geometry Quality, Reflections, Depth of Field, Shadow Quality, and Dynamic Lighting. These options can be set to “Medium”, “High”, and “Ultra”, although more granularity may exist.

  • A screen calibration option exists for fine-tuning one’s Video settings.

  • Players can host a local multiplayer server on their PC, which allows other Halo Infinite players on the LAN to join and play multiplayer with one another, regardless of platform.

  • Social playlists and custom games will not implement restrictions on players from different platforms.

  • Ranked playlists will only restrict based on input type, not platform. Players in these matches will either all be using Keyboard and Mouse or all be using Controllers.

  • A new Jackal can be seen to the left of the second Forerunner interior screenshot. With red armor, a metallic helmet, a yellow shield, and a Plasma Pistol, this Jackal appears to be tougher than his blue-shielded counterparts.

  • The Brute in the middle of the second Forerunner interior screenshot appears to have a UNSC weapon on his back, possibly the MA40 Assault Rifle, and he sports a beard.

  • The first-person view of the MA40 Assault Rifle shows significant improvements over its initial appearance in the July 2020 demo. The ammo counter is much

  • The Grunt on the right of the second Forerunner interior screenshot is the pack mule Grunt seen in the Mega Construx Halo Infinite Series 3 blind bag figures. He is carrying a dormant Plasma Grenade on his backpack.

  • The Sidekick has been drastically redesigned, as can be seen in the HUD in the bottom right of the second Forerunner interior screenshot. In particular, the grip has been changed and an attachment has been added underneath the barrel.

  • There will be at least four different types of grenades in Halo Infinite.

  • The symbol for the cut Halo 3 Guardian, first seen on the Halo 3 multiplayer map Epitaph, can be seen in the second Forerunner interior screenshot.

  • Halo Infinite will use a different approach to anti-cheat that does not run at the kernel level or involve an always-on background service. The Slipspace engine is designed to make it much more difficult to develop cheats than it was with older Halo games. Furthermore, cheaters will be detected based on abnormal behavior, not data harvested from their machines.

  • A new VO feature in Halo Infinite multiplayer was teased, possibly in relation to the customizable audio feature teased in the April 2021 Ask343 video.

  • The Halo Waypoint website will be getting drastically remodeled soon, and it will also be deployed to iOS and Android as an app to replace Halo Channel. It will integrate with Halo Infinite’s progression and customization features.

  • The Brute Chopper can be seen far in the distance in the final screenshot from this blog. It features much more red than its Halo 3 counterpart.

  • Players can expect to see Halo Infinite gameplay videos at game industry events this summer.


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