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All Updates, Some of the Time

Frankie's Bungie Updates - July 2, 2004

Originally hosted at HaloPlanet

So, this week was a mighty important week. We finished and started to manufacture the internal Halo 2 Beta. That means that lots of lucky Bungie and Microsoft employees (and we mean lots) will be playing a few multiplayer levels from Halo 2, for a few short weeks. Like the Alpha, we'll be using this to test things like networking and data speeds, but unlike the Alpha, it's also our first major gameplay test for multiplayer.

We'll be grabbing data and opinions on gametypes, weapons, even the few level designs that are out there. The main part of the test though, is to see how some of our Xbox Live features - voice, matchmaking, all of that, work in the real world, with real players and real situations. All of the data and information that comes back from this beta test, will be used to make the game as close to perfect as we can before we ship it on November 9th.

We also have the mixed blessing of playing the single player game. Why's that a mixed blessing? Because it is RUINING the plot! Wah! Still, Brian and I keep interrupting each other to say things like, "Ohmygod did you see what that Elite just did?!?" Anyway, on to the short and sweet update:

  • Stefan's Stiff Resistance

    Stefan tells us he created the first ever Halo 2 clan. They're called BMF. I cannot tell you what that stands for. We also can't tell you anything more about the clan or how it works, but if he says it's the first one, then so be it.

    Coolest thing Stefan saw on the Halo 2 Beta this week was: "Consecutive "Running Riots" with the plasma sword on FORMER SECRET LEVEL NAME, err, CURRENT SECRET LEVEL NAME... glorious."

  • Butcher's Kiwi Fruits

    Chris Butcher is a busy, busy man, but still found time to illuminate us just a bit: "Damian got CENSORED with AI working, it's fun, but we run the risk of having CENSORED turn into a CENSORED. A CENSORED with attitude, but it does make CENSORED less CENSORED which isn't really a good thing."
    Coolest thing Butcher saw on the Halo 2 Beta this week was :"The coolest thing I've seen so far is that I got to play with some guys from Australia and kick their asses. Score one for Kiwi pride!"

  • Lorraine's Brain Drain

    Lorraine says, "Zoe and I double-teamed on the Halo 2 Point of Purchase and box cover. I'm also getting the Halo 2 action figure packaging done too so I can't say much more...

    But despite how busy it got, I managed to take home a build and play 1:1 with Robt. He said he was panicky in spots, even though he won 25-16. The two coolest things that happened while playing in the SECRET LEVEL NAME. Robt was jumping from one alcove onto a platform, I was running sideways and backwards, keeping an eye on the motion tracker and the screen. I made a big guess and tossed a plasma grenade and stuck him in the ankles while he shot downwards with the rocket launcher. He missed, but my little blue friend did his job and all that nice ammo came raining down. Robt also swears I'm psychic - that or I have virtual eyes on the side of my head. I was running on the mezzanine, trying to figure out where he was. I hear the sound of the rocket launcher and I immediately jump. I hear it again and I jump while running and trying not to fall off. Apparently, both times I jumped, I avoided certain SPNKR death. Ha!


  • Hylland's Hy-Jinks

    Test team created and handed off the beta disk and are now working on testing and building the auto-update.

    We didn't do anything cool.

    Coolest thing: watching Butcher as last man standing on our team of three in an elimination game kill all three of the other team after the other two of us had been killed.
    Or perhaps being surprised (unpleasantly) by Jones crouching with a damn sword as I rode to the top of the elevator on SECRET LEVEL NAME. Needless to say, I was diced.

  • Cuban's Conundrums

    "This week I've been doing a slew of stuff, up to and including:
    • Resurrecting some of the Halo 1 gametypes to work in the Halo 2 engine. I forgot how much fun Oddball was; Our streamlined implementation needs a few more features to flesh it out but otherwise it's sittin' pretty. King of the Hill is almost back from the dead.
    • Optimizing the lightmapper. I've been working with the artists a lot this week addressing problems they're having lighting their spaces (if someone had told me that one of our levels would take place in a miles-wide valley I probably would have made decisions a little differently). The lightmapper is generally about 30% faster than it was last week, which is neat
    • Working on player training. We have a much more elaborate training system than we had in Halo 1 - but elaborate hopefully doesn't mean annoying. The objective with this system is that any seasoned Halo player won't get bogged down by player training (except maybe for the one that teaches you to press and hold the action button to enter vehicles) but a newbie player will be gently led through the paces
    • Fixing a ton of little nits.

    The coolest thing I've seen in the beta this week is the design of SECRET LEVEL NAME, one of our new maps. The more I play in it the more I like it."


  • Jay's Audio BaconWrap
    Jay has been working through a lot of dialog. He also handed off the entire dialog to the localization guys, who can now turn all of the combat dialog into seven other languages. That's Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Italian and German. Times seven. That's a lotta crazy foreign guy talk!

    Jay also did some last voiceover sessions with Seattle, Chicago and LA actors, some pickups and just a little bit of new stuff.

    So far, there are 15,107 lines of combat dialog recorded and implemented, with just a little more to go in.

  • Staten, Stat!

    Joe spent the entire week fixing a... [HEY! Wait Joe, I can't even TYPE what you just said to me. That is the MOST SECRET thing I ever even heard of. I ain't even typing that, I'll get my ass fired for even thinking about it too hard. -Frankie]

    Joe also got into a knock down drag out Dynasty-style bitch fight with Marty O'Donnell over something so feminine, that neither dude would tell me what it was. I figure either make-up or tampons.

    Joe also mentioned that John Butkus finished the animations for one of the longest and most complicated cinematics in the game and more importantly, running in the game engine. And the animation DOES feature the thing that I censored Joe on, two paragraphs ago.

  • Robert's Rebuttal

    "You are already at least partially aware of what I've been doing this week (editing manual text), but did you know that I was also writing difficulty-level-sensitive level dialog, supplying environment artists with broken down couches, rusty dumpsters and generic box vans, slaving over bug fixes (recognized and un-recognized) and robotically grinding out LODs?

    Bonus: Female marines. Because I've been trying to get women (as active participants) into a Jones driven game for almost ten years now! (I had one minor success: the Fetch. But they had to wear the skins of men in order to get snuck in.)


    - Robt"

Bonus Shoutout to tru7h.co.uk and GoWeb.

And until next week, here's Mister Chief, celebrating, and blurring the line between deliberately bad art and regular bad art.


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