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Frankie's Bungie Updates - May 21, 2004

Originally hosted at HBO

What gives!!?? HBO two weeks in a row? Not really. Last week's came off sounding fake, and there was no Mister CHief. So we OWE HBO this one.

I can't even tell you how excited everyone was after E3 - a mixture of fatigue, elation and excitement meant for varying degrees of glassy-eyed wonder when the small contingent we sent there arrived back. As planned, the E3 demo was a minor speed bump, hardly interfered with production at all, and in fact helped tremendously with some feedback from players and reaction to new stuff. Personally, I had a great time. People love Halo, and I got to bask in some of the reflected glory. But back at the ranch...

  • SONIC THE GRIESEMER

    Right after E3 Jaime went to work tweaking the physics on vehicles.
    †
    Mostly he has been building on what we showed at E3.† Some of this involves tweaking, including the addition o fan extended camera shake for all the grenades so you can feel them from farther away, reduced the number of needles requires for a super-detonation, that kind of thing.† He's also added some new weapons to the mix, which of course we can't mention here, but both are VERY different from each other.† Once you have a solid balance, like we did for E3, you have to add new elements very carefully so you don't throw it out of whack.
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    Jaime and the team are also working on a final calibration of some of the fundamental systems like time, damage transfer, gravity and collision damage.† These are broad, sweeping systems that you have to nail down fairly early. Jaime says he feels like we know enough about our missions and gameplay to do this now, which is important because we won't be able to re-visit them later.† He says it's hard work but it will form a solid foundation for the rest of the game.
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    Jaime says we recorded a ton of combat dialog.† And he says that our combat dialog plan is basically insane.† Jaime argues that the combat dialog in Halo 1 still holds up well, but that Halo 2's dialog will make it look primitive.† He says that the AI is so much more aware of what is going on around it, we couldn't help but take advantage of that with more dialog.† He's pretty sure we recorded more unique lines for one character than we had in all of Halo 1.
    †
    Jaime's also been spending a lot of time this week setting up a brand new Covenant vehicle. He thinks it is the coolest-looking Covenant vehicle so far and he can't wait to get it into the game. He wouldn't tell us if it was single, multiplayer or both.
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    BONUS QUESTION: Jaime - what was the coolest thing you saw at E3?
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    For the first time in 5 years I didn't get to go to E3.† I was too busy writing combat dialog and wrangling the character behaviors.† The new Zelda looks damn cool though.† Link is a total badass.
    †
  • SUPER BUTCHER BROS.
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    Chris has been working diligently been working on time control for PAL vs. NTSC builds... he says that sounds lame but it might let us do some cool in-game slow-mo features if we so chose, but only if they were implemented in some cool, non-clichΘd way. And he's been planning for an epic Halo 2-related project, which is going to be fricking insane. Australasian, European and other territories will be pleased to hear that we're doing cool stuff with the PAL versions to make them look good AND play nice with NTSC over LIVE. PAL time control is very important to Chris so that he can play against his 56-year old father on Xbox live. He lives in New Zealand, so the ping might be a bit hard to take, but Chris will let him host. :-)
    †
    Other stuff... Chris says not much else that's really that cool, other than the fact that we've been doing flythroughs of some of our levels over the past few days and they're beautiful. Why are they so beautiful? Chris says the artists have had a lot more time in Halo 2 to concentrate on things like line of sight and vistas, and in Chris's own words, "Zanzibar can't have any truly gorgeous visuals because it has to be a multiplayer map, there is stuff coming down the pipe that makes it look like hang 'em high by comparison."
    †
    And on E3: "Coolest thing I saw on the web as e3 coverage was God of War. Beautiful, beautiful animation. Makes me wish we could show off our new animation system with a third person fighting game... I miss Konoko."
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  • BUBSY THE BUTKUS
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    We asked John Butkus, the tallest animator, what cool stuff he'd been up to (this was Thursday night, Hockey fans...):
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    "If you consider re-doing all the Elite animations with him holding a Brute weapon cool, then yes I guess that is cool shit.† Let's see, since we spoke last I've finished up a large, intimidating alien, given the elite a Brute weapon, given him animations for that and for the driver and gunner of a new Covenant vehicle, and another Elite's first-person animations for the Brute weapon as well.†
    †
    The pace has been kind of frantic for the past few weeks and I didn't really let up last week during E3, so I kind of feel like death warmed over right now.† You know when you're so tired, that you forget what day it is and you can't even form coherent sentences?† Yeah, it's like that. I've been trying to work extra fast so that tomorrow I can get all the details on the cinematic I'm hopefully going to be starting some time tomorrow afternoon.† I'd like to get it started tomorrow so that I can plug away at it on the weekend a bit.† It's the first cinematic being done for the game, and it has Master Chief approaching a bridge...and it's going to be so friggin' cool, it's not even funny.
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    Sorry, getting a little sidetracked because I'm monitoring the Lightning/Flyers NHL game right now.† I'm a diehard Flyers fan, and if they lose tonight they're out of the playoffs...so if that happens, I will be 'sick' tomorrow i.e., hung-over from drowning my sorrows, so I hope they win tonight and force a game 7.
    †
    As for your bonus question, I didn't go to E3 so I didn't see anything cool.† Oh okay, I did read the internet a bit and the PSP looks hot as hell and I will probably buy one even though I'll only end up using it like three days out of the year."
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  • STATEN THE TIME SWEEPER
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    Joseph Staten, our very own director of cinematics has been a busy, busy bee!
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    "The last few weeks have been all about combat dialog. I have some favorite lines, but I don't want to give anything away. OK, maybe just one...
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    (One of the marines' responses to being stared at by the player for a long time)
    "Most people don't like having a gun pointed in their face. Me? I love it."
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    Our cast is pretty locked-down. They'll be some returning favorites, as well as a whole bunch of new very exciting, very talented folks (most of whom are big 'ol Halo fans - an unexpected benefit!).
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    CJ and I continue to crank away on the videomatics. This week we're revisiting some of the moments in the Halo2 announcement trailer, and putting them into their final context. I'm only authorized to say three words: ride the pickle. Let the fans chew on that!
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    And the coolest thing I say at E3? Well, since I was only there for the press-briefing it's a toss-up between the really cute Edelman PR woman manning the power-point presentation (her blue sweater, in particular), and Muhammad Ali.
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    Clearly, I have priority problems."
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    - Joseph
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  • AERO THE WALPOLE
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    Nathan reports from the dark precipice of the animation station:
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    Mike Budd is still trouncing on some great animation of a secret character and it looks damn good.
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    Billmation is giving the Grunt some glory. You will respect the little ones this time around guys.
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    *Frankienote: Yeah - Butcher showed me the grunt animation in slo-mo and it was totally badass.
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    John has finished off a secret character that will be great fun to play around. I wish I could say more. Oh, he has been doing some more Elite stuff with a new vehicle...
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    I have been working on the Brute this past week. After the recent E3 crunch it is nice to move back onto a vastly different character. I have been working on some animations for some cool AI behavior that is guaranteed to have players pooping themselves, changing their underpants only to poop themselves again... I have been watching some biker movies and National Geographic films for reference. Mr. Brute, may I introduce you to your cousins Black Rhino, Silverback Gorilla and Brian Bosworth?
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    As far as E3 goes I am excited over a few games. Full Spectrum Warrior is a game that I will either love or hate, but I would definitely give props to the dev team. There is lot of great detail in Full Spectrum Warrior. A few titles like Rise of the Kasai and God of War have me yearning to do some fun animation like that and may see me picking up a PS2 to play them. They are beautifully animated games!
    †

So that's it for this week folks, and we'll lead you out with something so horrible, Mister Chief refused to be a part of it...
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