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Bungie enthuses over Halo 3 AI

Talks about building atmosphere.

The artificial intelligence of your enemies in Halo 3 exceeds that of previous games in the series by some considerable distance, reckons Bungie web hero Frank O'Connor.

"Halo 3 encounters are more fun, more challenging, more varied and more enjoyable than those in Halo or Halo 2," he says, recounting his latest experiences with an in-development build of the Xbox 360 shooter, due out later this year.

"The interplay and strategies created among the various Covenant foes is just thrilling. One weird thing that I just can't get used to (in a good way, I mean) is the fact that you have to plan for multiple encounters in one location.

"You can see a group in the distance, and head down to fight them. You could toss a grenade to get the party started - but here's a hint. Between you and them and the tumble of rocks and scree between you, I happen to know that a Phantom is going to drop off four Grunts and a Brute Chieftain. The Phantom itself is going to start laying down fire on you, so my suggestion is to bide your time, wait for the first Phantom, and take care of that before irritating those guys way down the hill.

"The AI on the opponents is more interesting too. Even a lone Grunt can be a nasty challenge. Actually, a lone Grunt is sometimes a cornered Grunt now. You've been warned."

That's all courtesy, of course, of this week's Bungie website update, which also talks about some of the amazing atmospheric details going into the game. Did you know, for example, that Halo 3 uses Rayleigh and Mie Scattering as the basis of its sky? Did you know that the mountains in the distance are real? Did you know you could shoot the birds flapping around, take out ships fighting in the distance, or watch wind blowing across the tops of waves? Well, it does, they are, you can, you can, you can - so be sure to check in with the update.