Bungie Weekly Update
Frank's set along his responses to all of your questions and even came through with a Mister Chief this week.
The Don Wan
If you were stranded on a desert island with Frankie and The Cavegirls, and you could only bring ONE item with you to survive the mayhem, WHAT would it be?
So many questions! For the desert island, the one item I would bring to survive would be a portable still, presumably allowing me to distill my own tiki drinks. Hello to the Don Wan's mom. I hope you're well. And yes you can have my manbabies.
I would like to know why communicating (sending messages and talking) works so much better on the original XBox as opposed to the XBox 360? My personal experience aside most of the folks on my friends lists who have 360's have started sending text only messages because even with the very cool Plantronics Halo 2 Headset (the original one that comes with the 360 is actually worse) no one can understand what they are saying anymore in the recorded messages. This does not appear to be an isolated issue to me and my friends list either as I have made new friends over the last 11 months since buying my 360 and they complain of similar issues. I am not certian if this is a Halo only problem as I rarely leave or check messages from the dashboard and I play little else but Halo 2. Any guidance would be appreciated.
Oh, and is playing Halo 2 on XBox Live naked wrong (assuming one is home alone or with consenting adults)? If it is I don't want to be right.
Well the voice communication is actually being emulated, so if you're hearing any difference, then that's what it is. Perhaps in the future the emulation will be improved - that group continues to build and improve the backward compatibility. Personally, mine seems to sound fine, although the truncated text messages from Halo 2 on 360 (you have to play the game to read them) would take greater priority in terms of a fix. But we're certainly not working on one, so sorry (genuinely, not sarcastically). Playing naked is fine, as long as you have a plan for dealing with Cheeto crumbs.
How does Bungie feel about the fanbase's response to Halo Wars and the as yet unnamed Halo project from Peter Jackson? And, for that matter, how does Bungie feel about the games themselves?
We feel pretty good about it. The RTS itself was universally well-received, although there was obviously a bunch of rumble and noise about the "diluting" of the franchise and so on. The thing is, we would never let anybody make anything crappy, and we would never work with partners we didn't trust absolutely. The game itself is astonishingly fun, and works miraculously well with the 360 controller.
Bungie of course, has always had a thing for RTS games - we made our own, called Myth, after all, and Halo was originally intended to be an RTS. The mere fact that we trust someone else to make an RTS with our hands off it (other than the fiction) should speak volumes for our trust in Ensemble overall and our trust in their new game tech specifically. It is going to rock.
The Peter Jackson thing is literally too exciting and secret to really talk about. Let's just say that any sort of lofty claims made at X06 are actually just the starting point for something that could be revolutionary. If you met Peter and talked to him about video games, you would get it immediately.
November being the usual publishing day for Bungie, are you planning on something else than the EGM blowout?
Well, we'll be covering the stuff we gave to EGM of course...but I think you mean something else far more dramatic. Um, no. We are releasing Halo 3 in 2007, not 2006.
What kind of soap does Bungie have in it's on-site showers?
Bungie uses Mr. Merriweather's Caustic Coaltar and Sandpaper Exfoliatrix. It hurts but it does get rid of pesky adherents, like hair and nipples.
You must know that now that Team SWAT is ranked, it's now become Team MODDER. What is Bungie doing to combat modders and other cheaters ruining our favorite new ranked playlist? Any new techniques to take out these losers? It would be nice if the banhammer had some shiny new spikes on it.
I told you, didn't I? "Make it ranked," you said. And we did. The question above is legitimate, but a little exaggerated. There's not really a noticeable jump in modding. But I will say this to modders, and please, spread the word if you know any. Quit now. Right now. Today. The Banhammer will look like the nicest thing we ever did pretty soon. That is the only warning I am giving, because bluntly, I want the modders to suck it down when it arrives in the night like an angry ninja.
Rumors are that Gears of Wars is going to be the "Halo" for the time being that will overcome all the games Microsoft has put out so far for the 360. Will Bungie do anything to keep the fever of Halo 3 burning once new games/consoles start to come up within the following few months (Gears of War, PS3, Wii, etc...)? What are some plans and/or milestones that we could know about it!?
People always said that they would like to see a prone sniping mode, new types of jumps and other changes on the previous set ups from both halo 1 and 2. Did Bungie ever consider making these changes or will the game always keep the same fast paced game mechanics from Halo 1 and 2 with simple jumps, crouch, firing, etc...
Gears of War is the sweetness. It will certainly keep me occupied this holiday season. We will be revealing some Halo 3 information, partly because of an upcoming EGM story, partly because we traditionally unveil a little about our games around this time of year. As for prone sniping and superjumps and so on, we will as ever, evolve the game mechanics, but we're not going to radically change the gameplay, rather, we're going to tune it and in some instances, improve it.
How much does Bungie pay attention to user created content from the Custom Edition community? What really impresses Bungie when they look at user created content? Any favorite pieces from CE?
We do pay attention, and I personally love a lot of it and no playing favorites here today. Maybe in the future we'll mention some cool individual efforts.
With the recent release of information regarding the limitations of entering ranked matchmade games with a preassembled party in Gears of War, has Bungie decided how it's matchmaking system will work in Halo 3 with the preset rules Microsoft has in place?
I think that whole thing was blown out of proportion and somewhat misinterpreted. Those are guidelines, not "preset rules" and Halo 3 will do everything it did before, and more in matchmaking. Gears of War is a different game and is approaching matchmaking differently.
Will the clans from Halo 2 automatically roll over into Halo 3? If not, is there any way to guarantee someone won't steal your Halo 2 clan name? How many members will be allowed in clans in Halo 3?
Probably not. Your best bet is to assume no unless we tell you differently.
Will there be any new color options for your Spartan/Elite in Halo 3? (cough *pretty pastel colors please* cough.) How can I get KP to play with me more, even though I tend to betray him on a somewhat frequent basis?
Of course. Every element of the game will be changed or improved upon. We're not talking about specifics yet, but there will be new stuff to talk about later. I don't think you're betraying him so much as KP am suicide total. [Sadly true, I played ten games with her last night just to dispell this, but I killed myself more times than she betrayed me... I've got issues with jumping off of Lockout. -KP]
Is bungie going to firm up there release date any time soon with Halo 3 and Halo Wars?
If KP or Frankie are in matchmaking and get standbyed or modded, do they get to laugh at the cheaters in the post game lobby and tell them "have fun playing customs"? If so, I would like to witness this!
Is bungie still keeping the ball glitch around in Halo 3 for Halo machinima?
Bungie will eventually announce a release date for Halo 3 as will Ensemble for Halo Wars. Not today, however. When I have been unlucky enough to be modded, I have warned the modder, but they tend to be idiots and don't suspect the HUGE Bungie logo beside my name means anything. Either that or they think I too am modding.
Is there a way to take out the penalty for betrayals and suicides in either Halo 2 or Halo 3 ranked matchmaking? I think it would really stop the delevelers. Sometimes I don't wanna play with a full party!
For a mister chief drawing... if there is one.... "What would mister chief look like if he were a hippie?"
In an arm wrestling match between Ninja, KP, and Frankie... who would win?
Taking out the penalties would lead to more, not less suicides and betrayals (we've done tests). In an arm wrestling match? KP and Ninja are big, but I'm wiry. I don't know the answer. I know who would win our upcoming punch in the face contest though.
What are your thoughts on those of us with enough time to count scripted (as in non-infinite or non-randomized) enemies, allies, and ammunition in the Halo games?
I think having that much time, you'd have better spent it by emailing me and asking me how many scripted items there are. It's not that secret. The Bungie staff is under enormous pressure, but most of it is self-created in an endless drive to do things bigger and better than last time. The job is worth ALL the crap. There aren't that many compliments - folks are very expectant and demanding. And yes, this week is censor madness. [boohiss -KP]
OH god i need a question answered.
In Halo:CE, when leaving the POA cortana, on the bumpy ride to halo, Cortana says "If i still had fingers, they'd be crossed by now". Well that confuses me because I know Cortana was scanned from Dr. Halsey brain but I thought it was only her personality or something to that matter. PLEASE HELP me im going insane just thinking about it. or somebody can link to an answer. PLEASE.
Cortana is using the human device known as "humor" to lighten a stressful moment. She has elements of Dr. Halsey's personality, but she is quite uniquely individual. [On top of humor, she is referring back to her holographic representation on the bridge. -KP/Staten]
How many roads must Master Chief walk down before you can call him Master Chief?
I think you know the number.
How often do you get to play halo3?
Every single day. I do it for research and fun, but I do log bugs and give feedback where appropriate.
Any chance of creating another playlist, that contains the "BEST OF" the carnage games, as voted on by people in the forums (b.net, not here), before cycling out to the next games? There was one game that many have stated during and subsequently after, that should still be around and they miss -- Base Jumping!
Two words: Population. OK, that's one word, but it's vital that we balance the number of playlists and the amount of variety, with the available online population.
I've noticed several high levels on Team SWAT, and have discovered that it is extremely easy to level up. I was just wondering how you decided to turn the playlist to ranked and how you have implemented the change.
The change was implemented in response to popular demand. High levels are a side effect of newly ranked games. They will normalize eventually.
In Halo 2 you used palletized textures for some bitmaps. In your upcoming releases Halo2V and Halo3 will you continue to use these space saving formats or will you have enough room to not have to compress them?
Everyone does and should use compression of some sort, not to save space, but to speed loading and smooth out the gamer's experience. Compression techniques have advanced enough now that the resulting textures should and do look completely uncompressed to the average viewer.
Hey, just wonderin' if there is anything left unfound in halo 1? ifso, possible hints?
It's almost spent. But there's a possibility stuff even the original artists and programmers forgot about, is still in there.
What have the 'ole flanming ninjas been up to lately? Oh, and also where do babies come from?
The Ninjas of Flan Ming continue to perfect their delicious flan recipes. Babies come from sin and cabbage patches.
How big of a role does Bungie have in the creation and design of Halo action figures? Also, some of the descriptions on the action figure boxes contain information that has not been revealed anywhere else. Are these desciptions based entirely on information provided by Bungie, or are some of the details made up?
A lot. Bungie works VERY closely with all of our IP partners. We work on the art, the 3D models and approve the sculptures. The descriptions are actually written by Bungie and often come straight out of the story bible.
A of T
1. How many different sort of snacks does Bungie stock?
1. Varies, but about 100.
Alta - Bungie Princess:
And just for a little fodder:
#1 thing I get complaints about: COFFEE...there isn't enough, I don't like the taste, we're out of sugar, creamer, etc, who didn't make a new pot...we are right next door to a freakin' Starbucks for the love of god!!!!!
What was the highest amount of people on the team on either projects?
Eh? There are about 100 Bungie folks right now. The vast majority working on Halo 3.
Cake or Pie?
A pie filled with tiny cakes.
Will your podcast out on iTunes anytime soon? And don't you think it odd that Bungie announced that they were going to make a podcast a couple weeks after the Podtacular Humpday Challenge?
Will there be any new Halo merchandise in the Bungie Store soon?
We are working on getting our podcast on iTunes and others. It is a coincidence. And there will be new Halo merch soon. [They were talking about a Podcast when I was applying for the position, which was months before the Podtac Humpday. -KP]
Is there really going to be new halo 3 content in next months EGM?
Does Frankie has a girlfriend?
Yes and yes - Frankie has mad girlfriends yo.
With Halo 2, Bungie switched from writing the physics code themselves to purchasing Havoc. For Halo 3, what other middleware products have you put serious consideration into (whether you actually bought them or not). Was there ever a question of not building the overall engine in-house?
Havok is not responsible for all of our physics, but it is a brilliant tool that we implement into our own engine. Like all developers, we use middleware on top of our core engine.
who, at bungie, would the cheif be most likely to fall in love with why? (Excluding yourself, for obvious reasons involving sexiness)
Alta, Kodi or Lorraine.
How was it that the SPARTAN-II in the Halo Graphic Novel story "Armor Testing" was able to retire?
That's classified. Put it this way, she didn't simply up and say "Oh, I'm off to have a baby, peace out."
On one update you mentioned a newer control scheme, do you think the community will adapt to this new controller setup, or will they just use the classic settings?
I railed against it for all of two minutes. Then I was like, oh, I get it. Bumpers. Now it's better. Some stalwarts will cling to the old school though. They always do.
Can we expect any new media on the Halo 3 front before the years end?
Is KP going to take a pic with his MC Helmet???
KP's helmet is not for public consumption.
can we get a Lego: Halo Universe game? Please?
Nothing planned. But Lego is sweet.
If one were to trick or treat at Bungie.... what would end up in their pretty plastic jack-o-lanterns?
Jerky and gum.
Why is Frankie such a nubcake?
KP, are you even filtering these?
In the Halo 1 HEK, the bsp mesh cannot intersect itself in the same way that a scenery model can intersect the mesh. Self-intersecting bsp led to collision errors in-game. Does the H2EK have the same problem, or has it been fixed?
Also, the HEK is known to create invisible pieces of geometry when converting a mesh to a bsp tag. These invisible pieces of geometry are a pain to deal with and remove. Has this problem been solved in the H2EK?
Everything about H2 Vista's editor should make you happier. More details to come.
Can We Be Alerted to Playlist Changes in Advance?
We often do alert you.
This is a quick question on the HUD...is David Candland still doing UI and HUD work? Can we expect significant changes to the HUD for Halo 3 or will it be the same as in Halo 2?
Yes. David Candland is still working on UI and HUD stuff and yes there will be changes. Some subtle, some huge.
Does KP still fetch your coffee?
I wish. He is a lazy jerk.
How's life over at the Bungie HQ? Are things hectic over there with the distant and slow approach of Halo 3?
Life is great. Distant and slow you say? There's nothing slow about it. Distance has yet to be announced.
Will you ever do a video podcast?
I don't look as good as I sound. And yes, I know I don't sound great either. But you never know.
Recon Number 54
I have a list of people who are in need of having their faces stabbed.
Do you freelance?
I do keep a very current list. And I don't freelance. Contractual difficulties prohibit. [He meant me. No, there's no list. Just assume it's coming and prepare yourself for a good stabbing. Of course I don't freelance, that's ridiculous (PM me). -KP]
I know a lot of the crew have family but do the Bungie guys and girls ever go hang out after work or on the weekends? Let's say I decided to go out to a bar in Kirkland or the surrounding area, would I ever run into a rowdy group of people enjoying drinks while wearing impossible to buy Bungie gear?
Actually, yes. More so in summer than winter. But if you see someone in Kirkland, Seattle or Redmond wearing an unusual Bungie item, it's probably one of us. If you are a hawt chix, please feel free to ask about it. If you are a husky nerd, plz admire from afar.
Why are the Halos we've encountered been named Alpha Halo and Delta Halo?
You will find out soon enough.
On an unrelated note, canyou guys tell the difference between standbying and just having a really retarded connection that likes mucking around because your ISP likes cheap modems?
In and around the release of H2, there was much discussion of beta testers. Does Bungie hire personnel (such as yourself) to fill that role? Hiring someone like you seems to be a great way to get meaningful advance feedback and keep things secret.
We do all sorts of testing. Some internal (we have a large, full time test team) and some external, including, oftentimes, lucky MS staffers who get to play the game before it releases. As for what we'll do with Halo 3... well that would be telling, wouldn't it?
During the production of Halo 3 (thus far) approximately how many cups of coffee have the team drunk?
During the production of Halo 3 I have drunk more coffee than Fry from Futurama, and as a result, the universe and the flow of time, have simply stopped for me. Frankie's baldness is, if anything, proof that there is no god. And as for the Master Chief's leak situation, look up "Dune" and "Stillsuit" for gross details.