Polygon Takes a Look at Morning Star
Posted on July 30, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 15 Comments
Video game site Polygon does an in-depth look at Morning Star and Morning Star Alpha, the video game and related graphic novel (respectively) that I’ve been working on. The focus is on Alex Seropian, the head of Morning Star’s studio Industrial Toys (and co-founder of Bungie and co-creator of Halo), although I and artist Mike Choi show up quite a bit in the piece as well. The piece is the most detailed piece to date on the game and graphic novel, so if you’re curious you should really check it out.
I’ve been a Bungie fan since Pathways Into Darkness, and thought Stubbs the Zombie was great. Neither Seropian nor Scalzi have ever let me down, and I don’t think they’re going to now.
“The idea is that one is the perfect setting for an expanded universe story and deep exploration of the world Industrial Toys has created, while the other is a place to shoot aliens in the face.”
P.S. Take my money.
I noodled around with Bungie’s early 1st person shooter on the Mac a long time ago. At the time it seemed much better than the other FPSs that I’d seen, but I wasn’t a big fan of FPS and still am not. However this past weekend I had an experience with an FPS that changed my perception of FPS a bit.
My wife attended a professional meeting in Kileen, TX this past weekend. Ft. Hood and Kileen or pretty much colocated. Consequently the meeting organizer got the participants and spouses a day on the base. Most of the afternoon time was spent experiencing three of the training simulators used by the base personnel.
The first, which was the best presented, was the weapons familiariztion and target range; which is used in the initial weapons training of new recruits. The weapons that are used are real, but have been modified for use in a virtual reality set-up. They use compressed air to simulate firing recoil (and of course cock the bolt for the next shot) with an infraed laser to tell the computer where they are aimed when the trigger is pulled. The computer system records all shots fired and their effect; consequently an exercise can be replayed for evaluation of shooter performance.
The weapons that were available were M16A2s (majority), M4 carbine with M203 40 mm granade launcher, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) and an M240 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG). There were places for 10 or 11 people (an infantry squad) in a room appoximately 40’ long by 20’ wide. The firing positions were on a stage along one wall of the long axis facing 3 projector screens 10’ high by a combined total of 30’ long.
A computer controled scenario (IIRC we went through 4 different scenarios) was projected onto the screens. The sceanarios contained people, vehicles and aircraft moving over various types of terrain. All were shown with appropriate perspective for distance and movement. Our job was to kill them.
What made it different from a FPS to me was the multple participants who all saw slightly different parts of the screen, just because of the size. The scene was really too big look at all at once. Plus with changing size of the target people as they came nearer to you, you really had to concentrate on your sector and hope that the rest of the people did their job.
After each scenario the presenter did a quick review of each participants performance. It was all quite challenging. We were all over 45 and many in our 60’s with no combat vets in the group so our best individul shooting percentages were about 20% with many being 0%. :-)
The second simulator, not nearly as well preped or presented as the first, were plywood HWWMVs with a 180 degree projector screen. Five participants in each vehicle (a driver, 3 passengers with M16s and the fifth controling an M240 swivel mounted in the vehicle) driving down a road in Aghanistan with bad guys all around. The terrain was moderately open but with enough obscuring brush to make sighting very challenging.
The third was a house clearing operation where the participants had to not shoot the hostages while they were shooting the bad guys. Much more of a younger mans game, because of the reflexes required. :-)
What really stood out to me was visually how difficult spoting targets could be while trying to sight an actual weapon versus just looking at an image and picking a point to shoot at. :-)
Oh geez, it’s that Alex. Looking forward to checking this out.
I wonder which site Polygon stole this interview from…
None. It’s original reporting. And let’s not go down this particular road of conversation, please.
I was surprised at the skepticism expressed by the gamers on the Polygon comments. Eh, what’s a rail- shooter?
Wow, that’s a long remark
I wish that I could catch a fly
that wiggled giggled and tickled inside me.
I wish I hadn’t swallowed that spider.
So’s it could catch the fly that wiggled giggled and tickled inside me.
I wish I weren’t getting calls from robots that offer me a discount on
on me giving them my social security number on my cellphone.
Whoa, John. I didn’t realize who you were working with. This might be a thing.
Vis the long comment. Yes, that.
A long time ago. I think it was a guns-are-evil woman who’d never touched
a gun before? She. Uhm, like, took a dare, maybe?
So, at the firing range? Here’s how you aim. Here’s how to not move the gun
from what you are aiming at while yanking ;p * the trigger.
And she said: “[My personal anti etc beliefs can go have a nice day because
my competitive streak kicked in and this is fun!]”
Yes, target shooting is fun.
As an aside, I just watched the second episode of the USA TV show “Siberia”.
I took special interest in that bow ‘n arra. I have never /used/ used a bow that
was made by somebody else, nor been taught anything about but that is a left
handed bow that’s being used by a right hander.
I’ve never made a good bow and haven’t tried since I was 13, but right handers
grasp the bow in the left hand, nock the arrow with the right, put the shaft on
the left thumbnail and fire.
The procedure in that show is: Hold the bow with the left hand, use your right
hand to move the arrow to the left side of the bow, place the arrow in the
for-people-who-know-stuff arrow holder, get the right hand to the right of side
of the bow, nock the arrow, fire.
The aside continues: I now have some Turkish Tree Hazelnuts that don’t produce
water sprouts. Bleah. I now have some hazelnut suckers that are straight enough
to be made into great arrows.
The curvy arrows I made at 13 YO had interesting flight paths.
I found that putting wings/vanes to make ’em spin (rifling/gyroscope action) on
the _front of the curvy arrows still gave an interesting flight path but a much
better one than fletching the arrow’s nock end.
*Not the only way to shoot. If you know what you are doing you can move the
pistol in a sine wave at the target area and pull the trigger when your gun _will_
be aimed at the target.
About *Not the only way to shoot?
Not advised to experts in real life, but great fun at the range.
Rails shooters are a type of FPS where you don’t control the movement, just the shooting. You have encounters (shooting aliens in the face) and the game moves forward on its own taking its own predetermined path.
(I love typing ‘Shooting aliens in the face’. HA!)
They said that movement is constrained, not that you’re on rails. Like, if directing your movement is done in discrete hops, that would fit what they said.
What I’m more worried about is the human race getting wiped out. I’m not a fan of that. Maybe if there are a lot of survivors, or there’s time travel, or something, it’ll be OK.
I love cultural differences.
To me “FPS” means “Frames Per Second.”