Another Look at Halo PC's Performance
2004 is almost upon us, and I have some closing comments to make towards this eventful year. Not only were we greeted with the Halo 2 E3 footage this year, but Halo PC was released to some negative feedback. Halo Mac, as well, was a bit late out of the starting gate, but both editions managed to make it here for users to enjoy what they were "denied" three years ago, when Microsoft came in and gave Halo a collective "yoink."
I just recently went back to play some single-player missions on my Xbox, and I really had to sit back and consider a few things: how powerful the Xbox really is, and to clear up some of my own misconceptions about Halo PC's performance.
What Gearbox must have assumed would be that a frames-per-second rate of thirty would be adequate. This is not the case when transitioning to the world of computer gaming – many enthusiasts demand sixty frames per second, which shouldn't be too unreasonable to ask.
When I went back to take a look at my Xbox's performance, I noticed it wasn't as stellar as I thought it would be. The framerate was consistent, but lower than I had perceived it to be. With the PC, you get periods of great and poor framerates – and a better test to really judge this is to compare campaign mode on the Xbox with campaign mode on the PC.
In effect, I personally have taken some of the networking code in Halo PC for granted. Sure, vehicle warping and needing to "lead" the opposite player is a bit of a nuisance, but compared to a video I previously made – Latency, 150ms (WMV9) – Gearbox did a stellar job. I only realize this as well because I've taken the time to go back and play the Xbox version for a while.
Here's hoping the best for the new year to all of you, and here's a suggestion: Gearbox, get Sapien and Guerilla out before Halo 2. Bungie, get someone to write some "Halo 2 Updates" much like the ones previously posted by Matt.