Original Halo composer successfully sues Bungie – Marty O’Donnell awarded unpaid wages/damages

Marty O’Donnell, the Legendary composer responsible for the score of the original Halo trilogy, has settled his lawsuit against Bungie Chief Executive, Harold Ryan – O’Donnell’s former employer.

King County Superior Court judge Jeffrey Ramsdell in Seattle has reached an agreement in which Ryan will pay O’Donnell more than $95,000 in order to settle O’Donnell’s May lawsuit. As unfortunate a circumstance as it is, this lawsuit has given Bungie fans a deeper glimpse into the inner-workings of the Halo-turned-Destiny developer, and reminds us that these studios that we like to think of as our “friends” are in fact a business.

O’Donnell was fired on April 11th “without cause,” and his abrupt termination violated Bungie’s policy to pay employees any unused vacation/paid time off they had accumulated, as well as sabbatical time and other benefits. The suit was filed on May 1, and on May 27 Bungie and Ryan denied that O’Donnell was due any fiscal compensation.

Under the new agreement, Ryan will pay O’Donnell more than $38,385 in unpaid work and vacation time, as well as another $38,385 in double damages. Between these damages and the cost of the suit, the composer will be awarded a total of $95,019.13.

Martin O’Donnell was hired on at Bungie in May of 2000 and is responsible for producing one of the most iconic scores in gaming history, and arguably one of the most memorable features of Halo: Combat Evolved. I recently ran into O’Donnell at E3, and though I refrained from bringing up his lawsuit, I was sure to let him know that he has quite the passionate fan base, and that we’ll definitely be following him wherever he chooses to go next.

It’s a sad day when one of Bungie’s founders has to sue to get his deserved compensation, and it’s an even sadder day when the studio’s actions lead me to believe that they aren’t the same studio I fell in love with over a decade ago.

[via, Venturebeat]

GoPro Channel is Now Available for Xbox One

The GoPro Channel is now available on Xbox One, joining the Xbox 360 app that launched in April. GoPro on Xbox One gives Xbox Live members around the world access to epic action-adventure videos, including four exclusive videos you’ll see only on Xbox. The GoPro Channel also offers access to on-demand GoPro content, the ability to share videos and purchase cameras and equipment directly through the app channel.

For more on GoPro Channel for Xbox One, click over to Xbox Wire.

The post GoPro Channel is Now Available for Xbox One appeared first on Xbox Live’s Major Nelson.

How to dominate the Destiny Beta PvP: The Basics

Destiny screenshot

Before you can be good at anything, you have to know and understand the basics right? Well, Destiny is no different, my friends. So we decided to cook up a few PvP tips and tricks we’ve learned while playing the Destiny Beta.

Earning points

Destiny Beta earning points

Destiny’s Control mode is a bit like Battlefield’s “Conquest” mode. In Control, two teams of six fight for Control of the field. While there may be three flags – A, B, and C — to capture, they help facilitate this control, but don’t dominate it entirely. What I mean is that you’re not going to get any points just for holding one or more of the flags. These flags function as multipliers. With each flag your team has, the amount of points you earn per kill is multiplied. So if you have two flags, instead of scoring 100 points for killing someone, you score 200, or 300 for holding all three flags. Obviously it would be good to hold all three flags to get the best multiplier, but holding two is enough, as I noted in my previous article where I evaluated my time in the Iron Banner event.

At the end of 12 minutes, whichever team has the most points wins. If one team manages to score 20,000 points before the timer is up, then the match ends. Killing enemies in certain ways can net you even more points. Headshots give you 10 points, assists even help you out a little with a bonus of 50 points. Getting someone with a Super adds an additional 25 points. Speaking of Supers….

Your Kickback  Super is available

Destiny Beta Super Charged

In Destiny, each class has a Super ability. Hunters can do a ground pound like ability that kills anyone in the surrounding area; Warlocks leap into the air before hurling a ball of energy at a given direction, again killing anyone in the area, while Hunters spawn a golden gun that kills any opponent in one shot. Of course, the most important part about a Super is learning how to get it! In Crucible, anything that can earn you points, as we just discussed, will contribute a little to your Super meter. Once that meter is full, you can unleash it when you feel the time is right.

Just after executing a Super move, the Guardian generates little glowing balls called “Orbs of Light.” These orbs can be picked up by your fellow teammates to help fill up their Super meter as well, so remember to stick together!

Slide! Slide! Slide!

Destiny Beta sliding

One aspect I loved about the Crysis series is the sliding mechanic. I always found joy in sprinting toward an enemy and sliding toward him to catch him off guard. Fortunately, Bungie has added this same mechanic into Destiny. In both the campaign and Crucible modes, after running for a few seconds, you can hit the crouch button to go into a slide. Surprisingly enough, I’ve only seen one other person do this during my 11 hours in Crucible.

Well if you’re reading this, you have an advantage over those who aren’t because you know to slide whenever you can. If you’re trying to get away from oncoming fire, slide behind a corner. Want to make a fancy entrance to a Control Point and catch an enemy off guard? Slide right in! There are so many ways you can utilize Destiny’s sliding mechanic to your advantage.

Have any more tips you’d like to see in the next installment in our series? Let us know the comments below!

 

Destiny’s first Xbox One footage is officially LIVE – How Bungie used the latest “XDK” to reach parity

Destiny Beta image 01

The first ever Xbox One footage of Bungie’s Destiny has finally been released, and it is… Well, quite frankly, it’s exactly what we’ve been seeing on Sony platforms, only with superior prompt icons!

Of the details that are addressed in the video, Bungie’s Graphics Engineer, Chris Tchou, discusses how the development team managed to use the Xbox One’s latest SKDs (referred to as “XDKs”) to reach the exact same lighting, textures, anti-alising, resolution, frames per second, etc. Although the Xbox One beta will only run in 900p, Destiny will feature “full parity” between both the Xbox One and the PS4 versions when it finally launches on September 9th.

I do apologize for the subtitles. When the video is uploaded on native English-speaking outlets, I’ll be sure to update the embed.

Ubisoft releases Rainbow Six: Siege gameplay – Over 23 minutes of unedited livestream footage

Rainbow Six: Siege image

One of the most unexpected, though equally sought-after, titles to come out of E3 2014 was Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six: Siege. And while it may not be the Rainbow 6 title that everyone was initially excited about, it still garnered enough hype to blow the doors off of the competition, and even to go on and win IGN’s Game Of Show E3 2014 award.

For those who may be interested, Ubisoft has released 24 minutes of unedited livestream gameplay of Siege into the wild via GamesHQMedia, of which you can feast your eyes on below.

Xbox One August Update dashboard walkthrough – Major Nelson gives us a tour of the updates coming in August

Like it has for several months now, Xbox One is entering the beta testing stage for its monthly update, and while July brought about one of my most desired features (Achievement Snapping) August is no slouch either. Focusing mostly on improving and adding a number of social features, the forthcoming update fixes a lot of issues I had with the Upload service, as well as adds a Friends tab to the home screen.

The full patch notes are as follows:

  • Activity feed updates: We’re adding new ways for you to interact with friends in the activity feed.  The interface will change to a single column scrolling list that is longer and includes more content. We’ll add the ability to post text to your feed, and to “like” and comment on feed items. You can share game clips and anything else in the feed with friends either publically (to your activity feed) or privately (as an attachment to a message). You’ll also be notified when anyone likes, comments on or shares your items. Each user will get a personal feed on their profile, so you can see what specific friends have been up to. And, with SmartGlass, you can see what your friends have shared to their activity feed and “like” specific posts (additional activity feed support coming in future SmartGlass updates).
  • Expanded Friends area on Home: Right from Home, see what’s going on with your friends. Stay up-to-date with their current activity, the top trending games your friends are playing, and a leaderboard to see who has been working the hardest on their Gamerscore. We’re doing an extended preview on this, rolling it into the early access preview this month to a subset of our preview audience so we can refine it until it’s ready for the entire Xbox One market.
  • Mobile purchase: One of the most requested features on Xbox Feedback. Using Xbox SmartGlass or on Xbox.com, you can remotely purchase games and Add-on content. No more waiting to begin downloading when you get home – if your console is set to automatically take updates, your console will begin downloading your purchase.
  • Low battery notification: You asked for it, now a notification will pop up when your controller battery is getting low.
  • Disable notifications during video: Adding the ability to turn off notifications based feedback we heard from you.
  • Enabling 3D Blu-ray: An update to the Blu-ray player app will enable 3D Blu-ray functionality on Xbox One.
  • OneGuide in Brazil, Mexico, Austria and Ireland: Live TV listings can be configured for four new countries as part of this month’s Preview program.   And now there is an OneGuide Issue Reporter available under the TV & OneGuide settings, Troubleshooting section.
  • Last seen time in Friends list: Direct from Xbox Feedback, the friends list will now show how long it’s been since a friend has been online. For example, “Last seen 20m ago: Forza Motorsport 5.”

[via, Xbox Wire]

What to Expect with the Next Xbox One Update

You have made Xbox what it is today and we couldn’t be more grateful for your support and valuable feedback. Our focus continues to be on you and what you want in the product. Last month, we launched Xbox Feedback, a dedicated channel for all your thoughts and recommendations. We will begin implementing some of the features you requested by rolling out the next Xbox One system update for folks who get early access. We’re looking forward to hearing feedback on features before we roll them out to all Xbox One consoles next month and beyond.

In the next update, we’ll improve a number of social features to make sharing your gaming experiences with friends better and easier. Here’s a shortlist of features rolling out next week to those with early access to the Xbox One system update:

  • Activity feed updates: We’re adding new ways for you to interact with friends in the activity feed.  The interface will change to a single column scrolling list that is longer and includes more content. We’ll add the ability to post text to your feed, and to “like” and comment on feed items. You can share game clips and anything else in the feed with friends either publically (to your activity feed) or privately (as an attachment to a message). You’ll also be notified when anyone likes, comments on or shares your items. Each user will get a personal feed on their profile, so you can see what specific friends have been up to. And, with SmartGlass, you can see what your friends have shared to their activity feed and “like” specific posts (additional activity feed support coming in future SmartGlass updates).
  • Expanded Friends area on Home: Right from Home, see what’s going on with your friends. Stay up-to-date with their current activity, the top trending games your friends are playing, and a leaderboard to see who has been working the hardest on their Gamerscore. We’re doing an extended preview on this, rolling it into the early access preview this month to a subset of our preview audience so we can refine it until it’s ready for the entire Xbox One market.
  • Mobile purchase: One of the most requested features on Xbox Feedback. Using Xbox SmartGlass or on Xbox.com, you can remotely purchase games and Add-on content. No more waiting to begin downloading when you get home – if your console is set to automatically take updates, your console will begin downloading your purchase.
  • Low battery notification: You asked for it, now a notification will pop up when your controller battery is getting low.
  • Disable notifications during video: Adding the ability to turn off notifications based feedback we heard from you.
  • Enabling 3D Blu-ray: An update to the Blu-ray player app will enable 3D Blu-ray functionality on Xbox One.
  • OneGuide in Brazil, Mexico, Austria and Ireland: Live TV listings can be configured for four new countries as part of this month’s Preview program. And now there is an OneGuide Issue Reporter available under the TV & OneGuide settings, Troubleshooting section.
  • Last seen time in Friends list: Direct from Xbox Feedback, the friends list will now show how long it’s been since a friend has been online. For example, “Last seen 20m ago: Forza Motorsport 5.”

In addition to these features, we are still always doing other work on the backend you may not notice including getting ready to ship in 29 new markets starting this September.

Thank you for your incredible support. You’ve helped us make Xbox One a great place to play games and we’re looking forward to the road ahead as we get ready to launch the most critically acclaimed games this holiday.

 

The post What to Expect with the Next Xbox One Update appeared first on Xbox Live’s Major Nelson.

Stony Props announces partnership with 343 – Probably has something to do with live-action Halo

Stony Props 28

Stony Props, a group of individuals who describe themselves as “a collaboration of artists trying to make cool stuff,” announced last night that they have partnered with 343 Industries and Microsoft, and that they’ve been working together on a small project for the past two months. This group of guys is most well known for their MJOLNIR creations/adaptations, but they also produce professional-grade props from the Titanfall and Iron Man universes.

Details pertaining to their specific project with 343i are understandably scarce, but those who follow Stony have suspected that they’re up to something big for a while, as they’ve been dropping less-than-subtle hints for a few weeks. Their official involvement with Microsoft can easily leads us to a few conclusions: Either they’re working on promotional content for a live-action trailer for one of the upcoming Halo TV titles, on sales for full costumes licensed by 343, or they’re working on general prop manufacturing/design for the studio.

The specific artists working with Microsoft and 343 Industries include Jacob Morin, Walter Marlin, Justin Branfuhr, Steven Lee, and Jim McCre. More details will be shared in the coming weeks, and you’ll be sure to hear all about it here first. I’ve put together a gallery of some of their finer work below.

 

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Stony Props 11
Stony Props 16
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Stony Props 12
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Stony Props 09
Stony Props 01

[via, Stony Props]

Xbox Entertainment Studios closing its doors – Microsoft instead focuses on its gaming devision

xbox originals shutting down shuttered

Of the many features that the Xbox One has been chastised over, its original TV programming (TV, TV, TV, TV!) was definitely among some of the early frontrunners. Despite the attempted bridge between the two mediums, even projects like the Halo TV series and the documentary of the fall of gaming icon Atari were met with resistance as gamers expected their gaming console to have a bit more Game & a bit less Watch. Either way, the gaming consumer has spoken, and Microsoft is responding accordingly by shuttering the Santa Monica studio as the company instead decides to focus on strengthening its core gaming business.

The majority of the Xbox Entertainment’s 200 employees work in southern California and Vancouver, though the company refuses today how many will lose their jobs. Rumors are already starting to spread that these TV studios will be transformed into game development studios, but that’s pure speculation.

“The single biggest digital life category, measured in both time and money spent, in a mobile-first world is gaming,” Nadella wrote a week ago. “We are fortunate to have Xbox in our family to go after this opportunity with unique and bold innovation. Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox.”

Phil Spencer E3

Since the appointment of our lord and savior Phil Spencer, Microsoft has focused its attention on bolstering seemingly sluggish sales of the Xbox One console, which has less-than-matched the sales of Sony’s PS4. The company has since dropped the Kinect, and in tern the price point, which has more than doubled the Xbox One’s latest sales totals.

In closing, Phil Spencer has issued a statement confirming that the studio will indeed close in the coming months. He states that executives Tellem, Jordan Levin and other members of the team will remain to work on original programs that are already in production, such as the upcoming documentary series “Signal to Noise” whose first installment takes on the rise and fall of gaming icon Atari, and “Halo: Nightfall.” The “Halo” television series will continue as planned.

“Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like ‘NFL on Xbox,’ and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates,” Spencer said. “Additionally, our app partnerships with world-class content providers bringing entertainment, sports and TV content to Xbox customers around the world are not impacted by this organizational change.”

The full memo is as follows:

I hope you have had a chance to read today’s mails from Satya. I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts on what this means for our team and some of the changes we are making as a result.

In last week’s mail outlining some of the steps towards creating the culture and organization to bring our ambitions to life, Satya called out the strategic importance of Xbox as a strong consumer brand, a creative center for gaming and a leader in bold innovation. Every member of Team Xbox should be incredibly proud of the impact and reach your work has within the walls of Microsoft, with our developer community and most importantly, with consumers.

Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for a mobile-first and cloud-first world, and games are the single biggest digital life category in a mobile-first world.  Success in this category, by growing a robust Xbox business, brings additional value to Microsoft. I have stated this before, but for Xbox to be successful, we must remain committed to being a consumer-driven organization with the mission of meeting the high expectations of a passionate fan base, to create the best games and to drive technical innovation.

As part of the planned reduction to our overall workforce announced today and in light of our organization’s mission, we plan to streamline a handful of portfolio and engineering development efforts across Xbox. One such plan is that, in the coming months, we expect to close Xbox Entertainment Studios. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the accomplishments from the entire team in XES. They have built an impressive slate of original programming and pioneered interactive entertainment on Xbox, such as the innovative reality series ‘Every Street United’ that succeeded in uniting audiences around the globe during the recent World Cup. I am pleased that Nancy, Jordan and members of the XES team remain committed to new, original programming already in production like the upcoming documentary series ‘Signal to Noise’ whose first installment takes on the rise and fall of gaming icon Atari and of course, the upcoming game franchise series ‘Halo: Nightfall,’ and the ‘Halo’ Television series which will continue as planned with 343 Industries.  Xbox will continue to support and deliver interactive sports content like ‘NFL on Xbox,’ and we will continue to enhance our entertainment offering on console by innovating the TV experience through the monthly console updates. Additionally, our app partnerships with world-class content providers bringing entertainment, sports and TV content to Xbox customers around the world are not impacted by this organizational change in any way and remain an important component of our Xbox strategy.

Change is never easy, but I believe the changes announced today help us better align with our long-term goals. We have an incredible opportunity ahead of us to define what the next generation of gaming looks like for the growing Xbox community. I have a great deal of confidence in this team and know that with clarity of focus on our mission and our customers we can accomplish great things together. We already have.

Thank you again for all you do for Xbox.

Phil

[via, Recode]

Destiny beta won’t run at 1080p on Xbox One – Bungie reiterates the game will hit 1080p by launch

Destiny Beta Game

During a recent live-stream, Bungie confirmed that the Destiny beta won’t be running at 1080p on Xbox One, though they do emphasize that both platforms (the Xbox One and PS4) will be seeing the same 1080p, 30fps when the game finally launches. This makes sense, as the beta build has been finalized for several months now, and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that Microsoft opened up access to an additional 10%  of the console’s GPU. The way that Deej (Bungie’s community manager) worded it was by stating that “there’s always time for improvement.”

The first official looks at the first ever Xbox One footage of the game will be released some time within the next week, but until then we can look on longingly as Bungie invites its new friends.

[via, IGN]