This week's Bungie website update has revealed more information about special equipment in Halo 3.
The update comes off the back of a video released by the developer last week, which showed an alpha build of the game undergoing some strenuous multiplayer testing. Alongside the usual gunfights and head-shots were some of the new features, particularly the new deployable special items Bubble Shield and "Tripmine".
These are apparently the first of many collectables that will be activated by thumbing the X-button on your Xbox 360 pad, aiming to add a new layer of strategy to the game.
"You guys did see the final revelation of the mysterious X button. It's what's known (at the moment) as Equipment," the official update states. "The two very plain examples shown in the Vidoc were the Bubble Shield and the Tripmine. Both can be used in all manner of strategic and hilarious ways. There might have been another, but you can wait a month to see that one."
"A piece of equipment will be a rare and valuable find. It will be located, you will pick it up and you will choose when and where to deploy it. As you can see in the HUD, it's indicated that you're carrying it. Pressing X will drop it - not throw it."
You'll get the chance to test this out all for yourself, of course, when the Halo 3 multiplayer beta launches next month. And while you might be able to pick up tips from the diary video, you should be aware the beta build will be different to the alpha one that's on show.
The Equipment won't roll when you deploy it, for example, but drop down by your feet instead. The action-replay feature that lets you watch your deaths will also be changed, presenting itself as a cut-down version of the one in the video - plus the water and other graphical effects are also promised to have been tweaked.
And don't worry if you think these new bits and pieces will break the flow of Halo's much-touted multiplayer experience, as Bungie is confident things will not only remain intact but will be even better this time around.
"Usually, there will be just one available on a map at any given time. Same thing goes for the tripmine, and any other equipment items we may or may not include in the game," the developer explains. "Rest assured, they are incredibly fun to use, and add a subtle layer of strategy, without fundamentally impacting any of the typical Halo 'flow'. In fact, it improves it. There. I said it."
Pop over to Eurogamer TV to see the Halo 3 alpha build in action.
Meanwhile those of you still enjoying the charms of Halo 2 can look forward to some new updates. The update that goes live tomorrow will allow you to buy the two new premium maps, Tombstone and Desolation, and fix some cheating issues with players vying to be the game host.
Bear in mind that you'll have to use the in-game downloader to grab the patch, rather than Marketplace, and you'll need to update Xbox 360 and Xbox if you intend to play it on both systems.
Bungie's aware there may be some teething problems with the update, but is determined to continue to monitor and support the Halo 2 community and keep the online experience fresh and exciting.
Head over to the Bungie website for more information.