Frankie's Bungie Updates - April 23, 2004
Originally hosted at Halo Center
I've only been here a few months, but I can honestly say this is the busiest, most spastic week since I arrived. Everyone is grinding - programmers, artists, designers, marketing, everyone. Going bananas. There's lots of activity everywhere you look and best of all, every screen you look at has something cool on it that you never saw before. Might just be a pretty tree, could be some spectacular bloom lighting, and might even be some in-game object that moves around in a fun way. But the level of graphic polish seems to be "sudden."
Things that had previously been flat untextured objects, or textured, but unlit, are now springing gloriously to life, with multiple effects being applied. Those range from bump maps to reflections, to simple lightmapped lighting or the occasionally startling dynamic lights. Actually, you probably saw some of this in the E3 demo last year, but our dynamic lighting isn't necessarily static...
- Animation Alley
Nathan has been crunching on tons of multiplayer "triage" which is basically the prioritization of bug fixing, and this week that includes first person weapons (we thought you might want these back) as well as a new melee animation system "that is gonna rock the cheese off a 20' submarine sandwich..." Nathan's dietary habits aside, it's a jammed week in animation.
He's also been tightening the vehicle boarding animations, and I can tell you, they look very cool. And the control system for that is pretty nifty too.
As for characters, according to Nathan the Grunts look way better, courtesy of 'Billmation' (Bill's animation).
"Billmation is the process where bill takes 100% sass and curdles it with dynamic motion to create lickable content...better than 80's scratch n' sniff stickers I say..." says, Nathan.
John Butkus, also animating like crazy, is fixing bugs and polishing existing animations for an upcoming milestone. He's been tweaking and tuning Elite animation, and you're going to see a far more articulated, convincing Elite this time around. They look much more distinct and animalistic this time around and his melee attacks (duck!) look terrifying, and the way the Elites reload now is almost too much detail.
John claims it wasn't anything too earth-shatteringly exciting this week, just a matter of making sure that everything is working right, while Mike has been working on the animations for an updated Elite model, and created a totally sick rocket launcher melee attack for the Chief.And as Nathan pointed out, Bill has been hard at work on the Grunt, and it definitely shows...the Grunt is looking awesome. Did we say how awesome the Grunt was?
- Print Shop
Lorraine is cranking on an Art book project, collating old concept art from Halo and trying to organize and account for all the Halo 2 art that exists, or is still being pumped out. Grind! She's going through literally hundreds of pieces of art and picking out the coolest of the cool.
Lorraine ran into a snag with the Halo 2 action figures (had to figure out what to move to where when a piece was changed in the game) But good news is, a new bad-guy action figure is done and ready for manufacturing. And she's figured out which next three to do...
Lorraine actually saw the final version of the first stage of the Halo 2 logo. Second and third stage needs some tweaking, but time is running short.
Lorraine received samples from another company to do a different kind of action figure and the possibilities are intriguing. Maybe it's kung-fu grip with a one-two punch!!!
Oh, and she hung her Banshee up over her desk to catch tall people in the forehead. Blam!
Oh, and this week (and some of last week, but I guess I can cheat about it), we also found out that Zoe can do wonders with Halo 2 3D models.
Lorraine, in short, is swamped.
- Parsons' Projects (sorry)
Parsons thinks his combination of number crunching and marketing speak is boring, but really, Bungie is a rock band, and Parsons is the bass player. So, he might have a point. But he's been busy, no doubt, here's his breakdown:
1. Fun with numbers! Budget is in the air and the bean counters are scurrying around asking stupid questions like, "Do you really need the four-person mini-sub to get your job done?" ...Always remember. The 52' Plasma TV for Parsons' palatial office suite goes under "Misc Product Development - Other." 2. Robt and I are working on something pretty cool for the mkt guys (I think it's pretty funny to use Robt and mkt in the same sentence - funny until he kills me that is). 3. Really busy this week doing a whole bunch of mildly unpleasant things that nobody else would want to do
- Environmental Protection
"I'll give you the whole run-down on the environment side. I've been working with Paul Russel on the *CENSORED*. The *CENSORED* bay where the *CENSORED* was, specifically. Mike Zak and Frank C have been slamming away at *CENSORED* and have some real beautiful combinations of indoor and outdoor spaces. Justin, Michael Wu and Chris Barrett have been doing some real nice work on *CENSORED* including some real nice gardens as well as some cool interiors. Don't know how helpful that was."
Dave *CENSORED* Dunn
- Down in the Engine Room...
A letter from Chucky in the boiler rooms.
We've been making new multiplayer maps and game-types work and polishing everything to a nice golden shine. Cuban's new HUD system is in place (but what it looks like is a secret!) - it uses all our graphics goodness now instead of being a hard coded custom rendering path.
Michael's working on something that will help build the kind of community for which we're known. Eamon's been working with Carney and Steve to get a bunch of sweet physics stuff. Butchy did a bunch of profiling and performance work so that we're way closer to where we need to be. Bart is testing and tweaking all kinds of MP code he wrote and he did some performance work as well. Ben and Hao are pounding away on under-the-hood rendering infrastructure that'll allow us to cash the crazy checks the designers are writing.
Luke's been making a bunch of features like breakable glass work over the network. Greg's closing out animation and boarding bugs. Bernie's fixed some old bugs with the first person model rendering. Stefan's slaving away on Max's mad UI plan. Mat's closing out sound features and fighting fires. Damian's off in the corner talking with his AI. And of course I'm management overhead, and doing a #%#&* fine job of it. :P
And that's all for this week folks, hope you take a moment to check out the host site, and we'll chat again, real soon. Bye! Oh, one more thing, they even censored Mister Chief this week...
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