Bungie's latest Halo 3 update reveals that the developer has been toying with depth-of-field effects, but has ultimately decided not to make a big deal of them for gameplay reasons.
"We do have depth of field in the game, but right now, it's only being used (with any great visibility) in the UI [user interface] and in cinematics - because one of Halo's key functions is the idea of long distance combat," the developer writes.
"If something is out of focus for the game engine, that doesn't mean the player wasn't trying to focus on it."
"Depth of field" is an effect that puts things at a certain distance in sharp focus while others around it blur. It's used quite often in film and photography, and its use has become more prevalent in games as developers enjoy processing headroom. See Wikipedia for a fuller explanation and examples.
"We would never implement something in multiplayer that artificially obscured the player’s ability to decide what he or she was seeing," the team adds this week.
"There are borderline cases though. When you run around in a dark area - the bunker in High Ground for example, and then dash into the sunlight - your 'eyes' will adjust to the glare with a subtle blow out of the sky compared to the rock and dirt directly ahead of you."
Also in this week's update there's news of other graphical improvements, how the game ensures weapon visibility, and yet more immutable excitement about the mute function, which now lets you cut people off in "less than a second".
Sadly though there's no further word on the timing of the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, invites for which have more or less dried up. Expect to hear more on that as we move into spring.