Bungie talks Halo 3 controls

And how AI's helping Warthogs.

Bungie's latest weekly update on the development of Halo 3 reveals that the ever-popular Warthog is reaping the benefits of improved Marine AI, while the team is also testing out new control schemes.

Webmaster Frankie encourages you not to leap out of your seats in consternation though - the new control scheme merely addresses complaints Xbox 360 owners had about issue of button-mapping, making more logical use of the left and right bumpers.

Besides, says Frankie, they'll be offering classic options - and even one for left-handed gamers who want to reverse the analogue functionality on the 360 pad before heading into battle.

"But what's this about the Warthog?" I hear someone ask (possibly the builders who've been drilling outside my front door for the past four hours, and whom I deeply hope soon perish in flames).

Well, apparently in the current build it's a bit of a "super-deluxe killing machine" thanks to the way your AI-controlled Marine pals behave.

"First off, beeping the horn seems to bring any nearby Marine running (although they will come based on suitability for the task at hand - more on that in a future update) and hopping straight into the gunner turret."

Although he admits it could be is imagination, Frankie goes on to say that it feels like the gunners are more precise and easier to influence, allowing you to steer their attention toward more relevant targets like big enemies in the foreground.

"This has two effects on the gameplay - one is that it makes the Hog feel more like a weapon when you're driving, and the second is that it makes you want to cruise around bigger battle areas playing mop-up, whereas previously the temptation might have been to get the heck out of dodge. And by heck, I mean hell."

"The AI still has ages of tuning left to go, and the bad news is that if your AI gunner is too good, he’ll be dumbed-down to make the game more balanced. That said, the scale and ferocity of the current encounters (read: more bad guys than ever before) mean that you were going to need more capable AI anyway."

For more on what's happening with Halo 3, which we'll almost certainly learn more about either at the Tokyo Game Show or next week's X06 (our money's on the latter), turn your attention to Bungie.net.

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