Frankie's Bungie Updates - August 6, 2004
Originally hosted at VideoGamesNewZealand
I'm back, and so is regular style weekly update stuff. Next week I'm gone again, in the Yucatan Peninsula. I may report from there. An update for conspiracy theorists: †I've sorta been following the fuss - too busy to really get into it, but Halo 2 will still release on Nov. 9th in the US and most other places, and Nov. 11th in the UK. Nor will we release a playable demo, anytime soon. In fact, we're so busy with the game that there's no chance we'll even think about a playable demo until after Halo 2 ships. And that is official. It isn't happening folks. The game is however, happily on schedule for November 9th. As this week's update will demonstrate.
- Greg Snook's Plea
DEAR GOD HELP US (and send Pocky!)
Send all Pocky (including unusual Pocky variants to: Greg Snook, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052
- Michel's Crunch-Nearing Antics
Michel Bastien, in full producer mode, has been as busy as a wasp-like honey-gathering creature, but still took time to note some of the team's achievements this week:
Michel pointed out that the 3D artists are supporting the environment artists for final polishing on two of the single player missions.
The animators are almost all working on character animation for cinematics, meaning that more than 95% of game play animations have been put to bed. Jeremy is holding the fort on the gameplay animation front, and authoring cool combat dialog animations.
Chris Carney decided to come back from his trip. he's back to close on MP maps with Cotton and they've been working on a very cool secret map, that everyone will love.
Hao is supporting the artists with scene-specific lighting.
- Chris Butcher's Authoritay
Chris, we should mention to the New Zealanders reading this, is FROM New Zealand. Go New Zealand! †
I've been finalizing the beta, working on adaptive network detection code, arguing with beta testers on our newsgroups. Just making sure we can ship. †
Damian has done a bunch of cool stuff lately, including making the AI know how to pathfind up and down gravity lifts which is super cool.
- Nathan Walpole's Laundry List
We are off our rockers over here.
The team has been doing some killer motion and cinematic ownage. Stuff is starting to get really exciting. John Mike and Bill are heavily into the cinematic glut while I am working on special Brute stuff and another wicked CENSORED...um...thing. Jeremy Fones, our resident resident - no I did not stutter - is firing on combat dialog animations for all necessary characters. I am so excited about animation in Halo 2.
It is a very electrifying time of development around here, where everything becomes better, broken, bombastic and beautiful all at once...bursting your bubble with a big bang...we are abuzz with fun and fury!
I am starting to get nostalgic about the days when I was merely a Halo fan, before I became a part of the team. I guess the current state of the game, with all the elements coming together led to the return of this fanboy! Coupled with a frenzied AI, animation is going to rock. It has every opportunity to make you feel like the center of attention, which could lead to an interesting laundry day if you are wearing your Sunday best. I cannot wait until November 9th.
- Mat Noguchi - Audio Wizard
Haha. I called him an Audio Wizard because that's the kind of thing a newspaper that really didn't get it would call him. Anyway, Mat points out that localized combat dialogue is in the following condition: 4526 File(s)† 4,170,768,287 bytes †
And that's only the European languages. No Asian included yet. †
Mat interjects, "Oh, I also spent the last two weeks making the sound engine 1,000,000,000 times better. That's right, a billion."
Score between Mat Noguchi and Jason Jones: 1 - 0 respectively. No further explanation necessary or impending.
- Max Hoberman's Update within an Update
The past couple of weeks have been alternately thrilling and frustrating. Getting close to the end is bittersweet. On the one hand you get to see a ton of hard work come to fruition. On the other you have to make some tough decisions, weighing finishing the game and making sure there's time to polish what you have against adding new features and changes that you know would make the game cooler, more fun, more user friendly etc. We're now almost beyond the process of making it cooler, friendlier, whatever, at least in significant ways, and are in the midst of shifting to the process of making it work and getting it done. Fortunately for all†you weekly update readers Halo 2 is already damn fun! †
Lately it has been†a crazy mishmash of work in multiplayer and UI land. Dave had to tear out a system in the UI visuals†that he put a ton of work into, but fortunately it's on the way out to make way for something much bigger. Bigger†is cooler, of course, but I'll always have a little nostalgia for what we had, it was†...†slick. Dave has also been knee deep in bugs, including a lot of fine tuning work on the HUD, UI changes to make room for localization, blah blah blah. After we ship remember to ask him about that damn shield meter. †
In the meantime Steve has been a busy wasp-like honey-gathering creature, putting the polish on a big outdoor map that I can't talk any more about for fear of excommunication. Suffice it†to say it's looking†damn good!†I'm looking at a reflection on the ceiling†right now. Ooh! Ah!†Where was I? Oh yeah, it seems like the rest of the project will be finishing polish for Steve. I think that's in his job description. Of course polish for multiplayer is more than just visuals, especially since we'll be online. I was just using an analogy I stole from Charlie and repurposed, about how our maps should be like a watertight container. Well, not that they should look like a watertight container, but they should certainly behave like one when it comes to restricting where players can go. (Sorry, taking all the fun away, I know.) †
Carney just got back from a research expedition to North Carolina, where he was gathering valuable information on weather systems. We had to call it a vacation to get The Man to give him leave, that's how dedicated he is. Oh wait, did I say weather? That's a big thumbed nose to the censors. Bleep that out, I dare you! Bring it! Anyway, he's back and back to work on our final and our grandest multiplayer map. This one is coming in a little late, but considering the fine state of our other multiplayer maps we're pushing it some. It's going to be worth it, but there's still a lot of hard work to be done. †
Wow, a lot happens in two weeks. Well, I'm making up for†Frankie hijacking†last week's update. I've been up to my neck in 1) continuing to help drive the Beta and gather useful data, especially about matchmaking and stats. Yes, that involves a certain amount of playing the game on the Internet.†Far and away the hardest part of the day.†2) Trying to save the tiny handful of relatively easy UI and MP features that are on the chopping block. 3) Making our multiplayer†game fun fun fun fun fun. The way the weapons, vehicles, starting locations, etc. are configured play an enormous role in the enjoyability of a map. Take Zanzibar, for example.†Our first playable version of the map,†before†E3,†started with the defenders having a whole slew of vehicles to counter the attacker vehicles. CTF games invariably turned into giant confusing vehicle smashfests. While†these certainly†have†their place in our game, we also care a great deal about making Halo 2 a thinking man's game. Strategy is king, and in this case shifting the vehicles all to the attackers and giving the defenders†the tracking rocket launcher to counter made all the difference. I just made a change on another map that I suspect will do the same. †
- Brian Jarrard's Ahi Feast
Wow, there's so much going on lately it's a whirlwind of crazy excitement around here...As launch nears, a number of events are popping up, like the media shindig we hosted here last weekend. We had over 60 members of the press come in and spend the day playing our ongoing internal Halo 2 beta. The entire room was macked out with flat panel TVs, bean bags, Bose systems and plasma screens...basically gaming nirvana. Some of you may have even witnessed some of the action via our webcam which was stealthily placed at the front of the room. After a quick speech (which got translated on the fly into Japanese) and some rules of engagement, we turned the unsuspecting press loose amongst our thousands of frag-thirsty testers. We had a blast and everyone left with big grins on their face...even Frankie, who finally found opponents worthy of his skillz (i.e. noobs). Also, it's now official, "Swords" is an International hit. We've got a lot more events coming up, near and far, as the Halo 2 hype machine picks up momentum.
Beyond that, I've also been busy with the Bungie Princess working on cool stuff for our upcoming brand new Bungie Store, getting the Halo 2 strategy guide off the ground, testing take home builds as often as I can and of course, herding a few goats here and there. Good times.
Well that's all for this week folks, and in preparation for my trip down Mexico way, here's a "tribute" to Mexican artist and icon, Frida Kahlo. I call it Frida Halo.
Querido Mexico, disculpame por lo de Senor Chief, y por ofender a la memoria de Frida Kahlo.
I also promised I would give a shoutout to Halobabies. And here it is.
Halo Babies Right Here
Elle est magnifique, ses cheveux sont rouges comme les feux de l'enfer, et cela dČcrit Čgalement ‡ quel point elle chaude est. Scout.
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