Frankie's Bungie Updates - July 23, 2004
Originally hosted at bungie.net
It's been a busy, busy week. So busy in fact, and so crunchtacular, that basically nobody is really available to chat this week. Sorry. Don't yell/flame/freak out.
- Sketch was out in New York being a muckety-muck all week, and I got roped into another classic Parsons travel-trap. It involves a passport, and some international shenanigans. Think sauerbraten. Anyway, lots going on in the studio, and I've been playing through a very nice-looking build of the game. I noticed the skyboxes are looking amazing. Skyboxes are basically the sky (duh) designed to look 3D with flitting clouds, translucent fog and a feeling of real space and height. One in particular made me actually gasp as I looked up. 'Gasp!" went I.
The skyboxes are often fixed later in the polishing process and a bunch of the placeholders have had big holes in the center for a long time. Probably the ozone layer or something. Anyway, placeholders are becoming rarer and rarer. There's even a placeholder sound. A startling, yet melodic tinkle accompanies any footstep on an undefined texture - that is to say, a texture that hasn't yet has a footstep sound associated with it.
I kinda miss the tinkle on multiplayer maps, since it loudly announced when somebody was walking in certain areas. Which you would then blast. With a Brute Shot. "Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle. Whump, whump, whump. Blam! Blam! Blam! Ow."
- Marty also let me hear one of the new pieces of finished music from the game. It was perfect. Totally inspiring, a soaring cavalcade of angelic ecstasy, tempered with just a hint of mournful longng, and all this to a totally danceable Euro-technobeat....I'm just kidding Marty. It was great.
- Last week's experimental foray to the Penny Arcade forums was a roaring success, if that is, you judge success by the number of flames, death-threats and pictures of distended sphincters you get. The Penny Arcade guys (who fear to tread there themselves and are super-nice) actually warned me, but by then it was too late. I read about 40 pages of angry flames before I realized that I had no idea what they were mad about. They were complaining about the arrival of the "noobz" yet only a couple of percent of the posts were actually by "noobz." It was a self-powered nightmare, but we all had a good laugh.
- I've actually been playing more and more of the single player campaign, but last night, playing multiplayer, through my own crappy connection, I noticed nothing. No slowdown, no lag and no garbled voices. It was like playing on a LAN. Wonders never cease. I hope that's typical of how it will be in the retail game.
In single player, I'm being distracted by the lovely environments of course, but also by the amount of interaction there is in the levels. There's a lot more use of cover, by both good guys and bad guys, but there are other ways you interact with the environments that are both novel and old-school, simultaneously....
And on that graphics whore note, I noticed two new types of water. One shallow, one deep. Both lovely. Splish splash. I sure do love game water. My favorite all time non-Halo game water? The icy pool in Dead or Alive 3. Brrrr!
- Adrian Perez
Adrian's bug-fixing has reached something of a crescendo.
"Every week we get closer to finishing, which means that every week the bugs I'm fixing are less and less critical. This also has the unfortunate side effect of making them less and less interesting to talk about. I added a few gravy features to the HUD so that Dave can work his magic, fixed a few lightmap problems that have been plaguing us since the beginning of time, and fixed a couple dozen miscellaneous bugs. One cool thing I did was allow the designers script control over the damaging of specific sections in a model. If they want some scripted event where the left tire of a warthog explodes and goes tumbling away, they will have a lot more control."
- Chris Carney
Our multiplayer maven is tweaking, tuning, fixing and hammering on the multiplayer levels.
"Concerning updates, Steve "Land of " Cotton and I have been spending our waking moments trying to finish up all of new content by next Friday (i.e. content complete). Included in this last mad dash is some familiar lands, and yes, I can not be more specific. But let's just say that we have been spending some serious time with some old friends. In addition, we are going through all of our maps to try and finalize any outstanding game play elements, and are also deeply involved in polishing the art in the environments to a fine glossy sheen. One of our major goals in Halo 2 multiplayer is to have at least one or two of the new maps look as shiny as Butkus's car."
- David Candland
Our User Interface maestro is getting seriously down and dirty with icons, iconography and iconification.
"This was the week of icons, icons, and more icons. First off, I updated the Xbox Live icons in the friends, clan, and players menus. We needed a special icon to represent a specific team member. Max suggested adding a large sombrero or foam cowboy hat to the friend icon. Although I laughed initially nothing better popped into my head. Fine, sombrero it is...for now.
Next, another throwback to the Myth days. Our player level system is getting icons based on the Covenant caste structure. You will soon be able to see how good a player is just by looking at his rank icon.
Lastly, I'm working on refining some of the custom player emblems that don't read well at small sizes. Sorry, but I'm afraid the shrunken head has got to go. Event horizon is borderline. Flaming Ninja has won the battle of emotional attachment over legibility. He's in.
So, that's it until next week, when I'll recount my mysterious trip. I know it was short, and a bit limp, so I'll make it up to you next week. Until then, here's Mister Chief reacting to a skybox. It's more of a scream than a gasp...
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