Transcript from #xbox chat on IRC, December 20, 2000

Session moderated by: Vincent-IGN, Jeremy-IGN, Vosx
Bungie employees in attendance: Halo_John (John Howard, Halo Lead), BungieMatt (Matt Soell, Community Guy)

Questions were messaged directly to Vincent-IGN, then handled by Matt and John in a separate IRC channel. Responses were posted back to #xbox by Vincent-IGN. For consistency's sake, chat is formatted as the #bungie chat we posted last June was formatted.

8:54 PM:    Vincent-IGN: Hey y'all...
8:57 PM:    Vincent-IGN: We've got John and Matt from Bungie here, and... it looks 
                         like you already know to private me with questions to them ;)
8:59 PM:    Vincent-IGN: Let's start with what John and Matt do over at Bungie:
8:59 PM:     BungieMatt: I'm the "Community Lead" which basically means I work with 
                         the community around Bungie's games, trying to keep them 
                         happy and figure out ways of increasing their numbers. :-)
8:59 PM:      Halo_John: Lead game designer.  Basically I'm in charge of fun.  We 
                         take all the ideas from the entire team and make sure 
                         everything fits together.
9:01 PM:     Ilium_Rise: Bungie Question: Why did the engine need to be rewritten after 
                         E3, and could you explain what features have been most improved?
9:01 PM:      Halo_John: We wanted to take advantage of all the cool stuff the XBox 
                         hardware lets us do...
9:03 PM:           JCal: I have a question....will there be a Microsoft Gamestock in 2001 
                         and will Halo be shown there in playable form?
9:03 PM:     BungieMatt: There will be a Gamestock but we're not quite sure yet what 
                         role we'll play in it, or if we'll play a role at all.
9:05 PM:     Junkie1312: Will HALO be ported to other systems besides Xbox? 
9:05 PM:     BungieMatt: Well, MacOS and Windows, obviously.  We've already confirmed 
                         that.  Anything else...who knows?
9:06 PM:    Vincent-IGN: I wish Mr. Robot was doin' this... I'll try to keep this glitch free. ;)
9:07 PM: [BGH]Protector: Is Voice Communication still under consideration?
9:07 PM:      Halo_John: We'd still like to do it, but on the XBox it's more of a technical 
                         consideration (among other things it's harder to be sure people 
                         will have microphones)
9:08 PM:      GreyDeath: question for bungie guys:  How will the issue of control in halo be 
                         handled on the xbox, and is it true that there won't be a keyboard/mouse 
                         for xbox?
9:08 PM:      Halo_John: This is our #1 design issue:  Make FPS control RULE on the XBox.  
                         Without getting into details we're devoting a lot of time to this 
                         right now...
9:08 PM:    Vincent-IGN: So just to confirm, Halo won't be Xbox exclusive then?
9:09 PM:     BungieMatt: The Xbox version will certainly precede the others to market.  But 
                         it won't be an Xbox-only title.
9:10 PM:     PilatesDog: Are we going to see Halo at CES, Gamestock, and/or E3?
9:10 PM:     BungieMatt: Maybe.
9:10 PM:      Halo_John: ... the same goes for GDC, the time I heard I was presenting was 
                         when I read it on the GDC web site1
9:12 PM:        Wassabe: Will Xbox HALO look the best compared to the PC and MAC?
9:12 PM:      Halo_John: Unknown, but developing for a dedicated platform has its advantages: 
                         We can use ALL of the cool graphics hardware like custom shaders, 
                         real time lighting, bump mapping, etc...
9:14 PM:      Halo_John: We also know exactly how fast the game will run so we can tune 
                         content to work best on that platform.  Of course, this is compared 
                         to today's PCs...
9:15 PM:             VP: Will the game be using the hardrive for any features other then saving 
                         your game state? Will the game be a Partial install so it will play off 
                         the DVD-ROM and harddrive cooperatively?
9:15 PM:      Halo_John: Unknown.  We have a few ideas of how we'd use the HD to enhance 
                         the game but a lot of these are still up in the air. <cough> online <cough>
9:18 PM:    Vincent-IGN: I've got a question, actually. You've said that Halo could end 
                         up on other platforms -- does that mean Microsoft could publish the game 
                         for, say, PS2 or Gamecube, then?
9:18 PM:     BungieMatt: While anything is possible, it's not likely at all that we'll 
                         develop for competing consoles.  The Xbox is where we want to be.
9:20 PM: jeremykickedme: If Halos' coming to Xbox, does that mean that the next Myth game 
                         is coming too? I think it's called Fantasy Siege.
9:20 PM:     BungieMatt: Multi-part answer:
9:20 PM:     BungieMatt: A. It's not called Fantasy Siege.
9:20 PM:     BungieMatt: B. It's not a Myth game.
9:20 PM:     BungieMatt: C. Xbox is a very strong possibility. :-)
9:21 PM:         Hayate: Is Halo possible to be a Xbox launch title?
9:21 PM:     BungieMatt: Sure, it's possible.  It's not certain, though.  We don't have a 
                         release date but that's the timeframe we're shooting for.
9:23 PM:          Ixnay: We've heard you say that Halo will use Per-Pixel Lighting 
                         on practically everything. Could you elaborate on that a bit?
9:24 PM:      Halo_John: Actually, we're working on that right now and it's really, 
                         really cool.
9:25 PM:     BungieMatt: If we could elaborate on it, I probably would have done so in 
                         a Halo Update by now. :-)
9:26 PM:      Halo_John: Regarding the rendering, the phrase I keep hearing is: Halo is 
                         what nature would be, if nature were cooler.
9:26 PM:         Xciter: New Screenshots..... when?
9:27 PM:      Halo_John: We probably won't release any new screen shots until the first 
                         public showing, but the earliest would probably be Gamestock, probably.
9:28 PM:     brady56765: Bungie Question: What feature of the Xbox do you like the most (hard 
                         drive, fast processor, nvidia NV2A chipset?
9:28 PM:      Halo_John: my personal favorite: built in network connection
9:31 PM:          kosmo: Will all the Xbox, Mac and pc users be able to play together?
9:31 PM:     BungieMatt: It's really hard to say at this point one way or another, but 
                         if I had to bet I'd say no.  PC/Mac netplay is a more likely 
                         proposition, if you catch my drift.
9:33 PM:      Gamejunky: Do you think it's better to be multiplatform or a one system developer?
9:33 PM:      Halo_John: Hard question.  You hope the design of a game translates to 
                         many different platforms, but from a programming and production 
                         standpoint it easier to do one thing at a time
9:35 PM:          troyw: people are saying the xbox is essentially a pc to program for, 
                         what do you say to this?
9:35 PM:      Halo_John: I say talk to Jason and the other programmers.  The Xbox is 
                         definately it's own man.
9:35 PM:     BungieMatt: If you choose to look only at the hardware specs you might 
                         get that impression, but it's really not that simple.
9:36 PM:      Halo_John: It's definately a gaming machine and the Xbox team are 
                         committed to making a hardcore game machine
9:37 PM:         Kaviar: Can you provide any details on the mission structure? 
9:37 PM:      Halo_John: Not right now.
9:40 PM:         smitty: The Xbox is said to have concentrated more on audio compared 
                         to other consoles what kind of features have you implemented?
9:40 PM:     BungieMatt: We've been concentrating on getting the visual end of things 
                         straight, so we don't really have any incredible audio features 
                         to tout just yet.  But we did learn a lot about what we could 
                         do and what we want to do from Oni, and I think you'll see us 
                         using that experience to go beyond the audio stuff we've done 
                         in the past.
9:42 PM:       DoomSpel: Will the X-Box have a simultaneous release date on X-Box and 
                         the PC?
9:42 PM:     BungieMatt: I already answered that, but for anyone who missed it: no.  
                         The Xbox version will ship before the Mac/PC versions.  I don't 
                         know how much later they'll follow, but they're a separate 
                         development effort.
9:44 PM:       Acinonyx: Will Halo have the same level of editability as many PC games do 
                         today (levels/mods/skins/etc)? It seems doubtful on a console system, 
                         and if not, will the same limitation be on the later PC release?
9:44 PM:      Halo_John: There are a lot of issues with allowing user-created 
                         content on a console, mostly related to content verification.  I 
                         doubt we'll see any of that on the Xbox version.  When it comes to 
                         the PC/Mac versions that's really up to you guys, isn't it? :)
9:45 PM:       tonyst85: In your opinion, whats the Xbox's main biggest weak-point as of now? 
                         And is it causing a problem with the developement of your game?
9:46 PM:      Halo_John: The fact that it's still a work in progress. The dev kits 
                         are still be revised (the same that happens with all new consoles) 
                         so there are things we still have.
9:46 PM:      Halo_John: er, don't have.
9:48 PM:           Vosx: How has the Move to Microsoft affected Bungie? At first many on your 
                         team were nervous about the implications of teh deal - now everyone 
                         seems to be happy. What has been the positive points of being on teh 
                         Microsoft team?
9:49 PM:     BungieMatt: There's a support structure now where one didn't really exist before.  
                         Hiring a texture artist or 3D modeler no longer depends on whether all 
                         the distributors give us the money they owe us that month, etc.  And 
                         there's a very supportive atmosphere in the games group, and especially 
                         the Xbox group.
9:51 PM:         snokay: When will XBox developers get real development kits, as opposed to 
                         PC and video card "XDKs"?
9:51 PM:      Halo_John: Unknown.  The XDKs are "real" development kits.  : )  Until we get 
                         the final pre-release XBoxes these will be the dev kits
9:54 PM:    Vincent-IGN: Still waitin' on the next answer, y'all.
9:54 PM:     FatFingers: Has anything been taken out of the XBox version that you were going 
                         to include on the PC/Mac version?
9:54 PM:     BungieMatt: There have definitely been a lot of changes, but nothing's been taken 
                         out that wouldn't have been taken out anyway.  There comes a point 
                         in the development of any Bungie game where we say "I guess we 
                         can't do that one.  Oh well."  But the game hasn't been dumbed down 
                         for the hardware.
9:55 PM:     BungieMatt: If anything it's beefier now than ever.
9:55 PM:     Jeremy-IGN: *******FINAL QUESTION COMING UP*********
9:58 PM:    Vincent-IGN: We've got one last question coming...
9:59 PM:    Vincent-IGN: What do you guys personally feel about the new console war about to 
                         start next fall?
9:59 PM:      Halo_John: I'm all for the enhanced competition, it forces everyone to work 
                         extra hard.  In the end it benefits us game players most because 
                         we get a ton of cool new product.
9:59 PM:     BungieMatt: Personally I love consoles, so the more consoles - and titles for 
                         them - available, the happier I personally will be. :-)  The games 
                         will matter more than the hardware.
10:00 PM:    BungieMatt: Thanks to everyone for coming.  Obviously we didn't get to answer 
                         everyone's questions, but hopefully we'll have more of these chats 
                         in the future.  And maybe we'll be able to give you more details 
                         next time. :-)
10:01 PM:     Halo_John: Thanks for coming out and thanks to IGN for having us.
10:01 PM:   Vincent-IGN: Thank y'all for coming...