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All Updates, Some of the Time

Frankie's Bungie Updates - June 18, 2004

Originally hosted at

Short and sweet this week, since I'm cranking on the manual and some other stuff.

  • Ryan's Slaughter

    Ryan Hylland, test freak and well-known spawn camper has been working on my favorite thing in the universe. Take-home tests. Where Bungie employees take home Halo 2 and playa against each other, enjoy social interactions and learn colorful new swears. This is Ryan's week in brief:
    • A bunch of game variant settings.† Slayer specifically.† Ah, the CENSORED and Scorpion on Waterworks, such a beautiful thing.
    • Had a couple of "take home tests" to check out how our fragile child-game performs in the high school play ground.† I think we only got one black eye...
    • CENSORED and CENSORED tests.
    • User Interface pass for the next build of the game.
    • Tons of test case workbook house cleaning (thanks to Joe).
    • I think we took some names too
    • Are you ready to get your ass kicked tonight in our take home test?

  • CJ Cinema!

    Been cranking along on the videomatics...We're closing in on having all the cinematics of the game videomatic'd out. Which means most of the game's cinematics now have timing and camera work that is locked down, as well as basic animation for the animators to work off of. Even better, most of them actually work in engine, which is a miracle in many different fields including nuclear science,†landscape architecture, and dominoes. This week I finally started blocking out the videomatics for one of the last levels of the game that we haven't worked on previously. It's cool to start on these, because we know these cinematics will be seriously building the story tension towards that glorious climax when CENSORED finds out CENSORED! Joe and I also went in and cleaned up some silly issues that we hadn't gotten around to. Like re-exporting the Phantom's cinematic animations with the NEW Phantom that has a different number of bones than the OLD Phantom. Weeeee! Other than that I spent the week unleashing my Chris Christmas video collection on the unsuspecting Bungie crowd. Vote Chris Christmas instead of Santa this year, boys and girls. He's the man.


    So Parsons comes over, says he has something for the weekly update, eats his lunch noisily, lets fly with an eye-watering air biscuit and takes off, saying, "That's a sushi fart."

    Thanks Parsons. That's great.


    Since we're expanding, and new faces keep popping up, it should be no surprise that desks are moved around to accommodate. Lorraine was forced to move and entire desk over, and quickly set about rebuilding her unassailable tower of anime, weapons and robots.

  • Jaime Jams

    Jaime says they've finished adding "boarding" seats to all the vehicles. That means that quite apart from the vehicle-jacking stuff, every vehicle that can be boarded, sat on or otherwise utilized, now has functioning seats for real-life multiplayer and AI single-player modes. One thing hardly anyone at E3 noticed, was that when you board a Warthog, instead of taking over the driver seat immediately, you simply yank the driver out  you then have to hop into the Warthog manually. A two-stage process designed to create interesting encounters on the slightly more boardable Hog.

    Jaime also showed off the largely complete HUD which has moved everything around dramatically, but should still be recognizable to Halo folks. Obviously adding dual wielding makes this challenging, but the new HUD handily shows off the ammo/charge left in a gun, and more importantly, it tells you what your reserve, or third weapon is. THIRD WEAPON!!!? WHATCHOO TALKIN ABOUT FRANKIE? Well, if you're holding a weapon in one hand, and you have another "holstered" you can dual-wield a third. That means the reserve weapon simply stays put when you pick up the dual-wield weapon. Effectively that lets you have three weapons at one time.

    Of course, that means that for newbies at least, it can be tricky keeping track of what you've got. To be honest though, after an hour or two of play, you stop thinking about it.

    There's also been something of a separation for church and state as far as the shield level and health meter are concerned. You'll see in good time how that works, but it makes a big difference.

  • WATER!

    One cool new graphic feature being played with right now is water. The briny deep demoed at E3 is not the final water. In fact, several techniques are being experimented with, but I saw a cool one yesterday in a Zanzibar test level. Only it was deliberately broken. So when you jumped, the level literally filled up with water. It was kind of funny to go inside the control room part of the level (where the defender's flag normally sits) jump once and flood the place with sparkly, gorgeous, reflective wet stuff. Did I mention I loved video game water?

  • Alta's Rival Princess

    Look, Alta is awesome, obviously. And the Bungie Princess is even more attractive than Nathan! However, Alta has help. New-girl Amanda is a princess-rival. For example, we now have a keg of beer. Now I'm not saying that Amanda is responsible for this new beer-status, but it IS a big coincidence no? Anyway. Beer. Keg. Kegstand. Most practical way to consume beer.

  • Max Rules

    Seriously, Max Hoberman rules. Here's why:

    " A bunch of the artists, including of course our multiplayer SWAT team, are just finishing up a 48 hour "lovefest", time dedicated to polishing a handful of multiplayer maps. It's amazing what 48 hours of†relentless man love will do to a level. Steve Cotton, the newest member of our multiplayer art team,†was just showing me the purple underbelly of a CENSORED, one of our multiplayer levels for the upcoming milestone. I can hardly believe this is the same kooky level I sketched over a year ago in Illustrator, it looks so damn good. Right smack in the middle of the map is an area that I'm convinced, once combined with a little magic that Adrian snuck in for me waaaay back, will be the ultimate King hill. Not for those with weak stomachs though. Too bad we're†not working on†King of the Hill right now, I can hardly wait! In the meantime Carney has taken our very first ever Halo 2 multiplayer map (also the map that's gone through the most complete revisions ... lovingly dubbed "Space Toilet" in its youth) and turned it into a real treat. Our goal from day 1 with this map was to capture some of the fun of an old favorite Marathon map, Mars Needs Women. It's looks absolutely nothing like that map, but people keep telling me that it feels like it. Awesome! Not only does it play great, once they get the "neighborhood" in this map is going to look incredible!

  • Dave†has the new HUD in and looking mighty fine. It's a change from what people are used to, but there's good reason for the change and we're confident it's the right decision. In fact, Jaime just got back from a usability test and is standing at my desk telling me just that. Oh, and of course we have the new multiplayer scoreboard in as part of the HUD!†Woohoo! Dave and I are also†working on cleaning up a whole slew of UI in time for†the milestone. Mat Noguchi is just now checking in the magic code that†makes players on Xbox Live†look like more than just a†name, I'm psyched!†Our Xbox Live UI is going to make people†jump with†joy, and I don't think I'm exaggerating. Once you try it you'll never go back. Anyway, way too much to do, currently 38 bugs on my plate for this milestone. Gotta get back to work!"

Anyway, CJ's obsession with Chris "Christmas" Rodriguez (google it) has rubbed off on the chief.


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