Bungie Weekly Update
9/22/2006 5:18 PM PDT
Oh crikey. It's the first ever Bungie Podcast. We did a sneak preview a few weeks back, but thanks to Jay Weinland, Marty O'Donnell and C Paul Johnson, we finally got the first one edited together.
It's a cavalcade of audio fun and includes the first ever brand new sound effects from Halo 3, as well as interesting interviews, features, special guests, news and reader mail (including the first ever realtime "Waaahmblulance). We want you to download it, listen to it and give us your feedback in the forum link at the end of this update. We're excited, but we never did this before, and we'll take all the advice and input you can give.
To download the first ever Bungie Podcast, right click the link below to save as. It's in MP3 format, so it'll work on any player and software - but do note it's a MONSTER clocking in at over 60 megs and about an hour of Bungie talk.
The first ever Bungie Podcast! Warning - More than 60MB file! Right click to save!
We'd also like to give a shout out to mellifluous Bob Deeken from The Mountain FM, without whom we would not enjoy the gift of pants.
Sketch has been incredibly busy working behind the scenes on stuff you don't often get to hear about, but he thought you'd be interested in one of the projects he's been tooling around with. The new logo!
Halo 3: Making the Logo
As the development team at Bungie toils away on the game itself, another smaller group of people have been quietly working with a variety of agencies and external groups to finalize the actual logo that will come to grace all manners of advertisements, magazines and promotional materials, not to mention the game box itself. So how does something like a game logo actually get created? How did we end up where we are today? Read on for the exciting story.
Several months ago, a team of folks consisting of MSG marketing people, brand identity experts, external creative agencies and Bungie artists set out on a mission to create the logo for Halo 3. Now you may have noticed that a logo was shown at E3 this past May - while that is true, it wasn't the "final" logo. In fact, it was just the letterform itself, not the shiny, textured rendered version you now see today. And that is where it all began.
The first thing we do is study the actual letterform. Naturally, we have a lot of history and awareness with Halo already and the font has become an identifiable aspect of the franchise. Rather than throw out years of groundwork we decided to build upon what was already established.
So, to kick things off, an artist starts to work on some concepts for how the letters might look - specifically, the "3" since H-A-L-O already exists. The images below are where it all began. Since most of our real artists were all swamped working on Halo 3, we commissioned Frankie to take a stab at the logo. Even though it did surprisingly well in focus groups, the MGS Halo Product Manager, Craig Evans, thought he might be able to get something better out of a professional agency. We agreed.
A magical light shower from which your face cannot escape.
Oh look, Frankie ruined space.
The image below shows a few of the concepts kicked around for the "3" and how it could be translated into the familiar Halo letterform. With the help of Lorraine McLees and a few other Bungie artists, the letterform was tweaked and finalized just in time for E3 when it was placed into our teaser trailer.
The next step is to explore how the letters should look in a 3D, rendered form. The image below shows just a handful of the concepts that were kicked around during several weeks of iteration and review. Dozens upon dozens of variations were sent back and forth between Bungie, Microsoft and the creative agency. Some were very similar, some were extremely different, like the angled, green variation below, affectionately nicknamed, "The Hulk."
Once we landed on a 3D rendered logo that everyone liked, the final step is to explore the textures and colors for the final logo. Again, dozens upon dozens of concepts were sent through the loop until we landed on the version that everyone liked. Knowing that ultimately the Halo 3 logo wasn't going to stray too far from what has come before it, the texture and color were the areas with the most opportunity for differentiation.
The Bungie team wanted the logo to reflect the state of the story and the tone that comes with this final chapter in the Halo trilogy. A lot has happened since Halo 1, we wanted to see some of this reflected in the logo... and as a result, you'll see some scarring, some weathering and the ruinous toil of combat. This is not the super shiny, elegantly fragile logo that we had in the past. The overall changes are subtle, but it ended up where we wanted it, which is what you see below:
And there you have it - over a period of several months and literally hundreds of files, we have the final Halo 3 logo. We hope you like it and if everything goes according to plan, you'll see a LOT more of this in the months ahead!
Halo on Your Phone
And there's more stuff we've at least been helping with. Right now (on Verizon at least, but Cingular, T-Mobile and Sprint are coming) you can access the Halo Mobile Portal from In-Fusio. What is it? Well, it's something you guys have been asking for, for what seems like an interminable amount of time - Halo stuff for your mobile phone. And yes, that includes Halo ringtones.
It's a "portal" which means that it's a deep, richly integrated suite of sounds, images and features for your phone. Prices for this stuff may vary by carrier and item (we've licensed the Halo brand to a 3rd party, so we don't have anything to do with that side of the biz) but the range and variety of stuff available is staggering.
Basically you can pimp your phone to include Halo themes, graphics, sound effects, music and even a feed of your Halo 2 stats from Bungie.net. It's pretty interesting stuff ad hardcore fans will probably lap it up. The current set of features looks something like this (but may be subject to change):
Xbox Live Gamertag Stats - The ability to retrieve statistics from Xbox Live on any player's recent Halo games by entering the appropriate Gamertag.
Wallpapers - Artwork based on popular and even rare Halo images, including Halo 3, will be available to download, featuring humans, Covenant, and various game environments. Fans can even create their own custom Master Chief wallpaper - choosing from poses featuring various weapons and different armor colors - and then set it up as the backdrop for the screen of their phone.
Ringtones - Tones developed exclusively for the Halo Portal will be available and will include Halo music, in-game sound effects and actual dialogue from the game, featuring the voices of Master Chief, Cortana, Sgt. Johnson (folks need heroes, Chief), a Grunt, an Elite and the wacky Marine from Halo 2 (voiced by comedian David Cross).
The Vault - The section will feature a locked area which can only be accessed through one of the many codes hidden throughout the world of Halo, giving fans access to limited edition content.
And that's not all - there's a bunch more stuff now and coming soon.
* The Halo Story - This section includes recaps of the various elements of Halo Universe and new stories as they are revealed. HBO guys will get a kick out of this, and probably demand that In-Fusio update it immediately.
* Tips - An area where fans can get regularly updated advice on improving their Halo gameplay skills.
* SMS Challenges - An option which will allow fans to send a message via their phone to a buddy to set-up a time to play, talk trash, or discuss anything they want without having to leave the Halo Portal.
We also reached a huge internal milestone today (just one of dozens we set ourselves in the process of the game's development) and not only did we reach that milestone, but in some areas we exceeded the goals we set ourselves. So congratulations to the team, who endured a sort of mini-crunch to reach that goal - and everyone is celebrating today by drinking beer and playing the Campaign mode en masse. The test guys are using the all-hands Bungie playtest to start gathering some early data.
Actually, right now I am sitting here going through a Campaign playtest - and Paul Bertone, best known for the bits of poutine trapped in his hobo-style beard, bets I am going to take the longest to finish. I wonder what wager he'll fulfill if he's wrong?
UPDATE: He was very, very wrong.
Because we weren't satisfied with the amount of images already in this update, here's another. We met a lot of dedicated Halo fans at PAX this year, one of the cooler groups was a few of the Cavegirls. One of them, well-known Halo-Hottie THE DON WAN, recently sent us a picture to show just how far above and beyond she's gone to show her committment to Halo:
Remember, kids, tattoos are permanent and while it might seem like a good idea, tattooing a massive pink Spartan on your leg isn't for everyone. However, if you're a grown-up and you've got a fine set of legs like THE DON WAN, then by all means, go for it. Bizarrely, this tattoo is based on an image by former Bungie artist, AGDTinman. Crazy times. So crazy, we don't need a Mister Chief today. PEACE!