A Truly Exceptional Mail Sack

Constant as the northern star...

Another week. Another Mail Sack. It’s been said that no two days in the life of a Bungie Employee are ever exactly the same. To sustain our sanity in this ever-evolving landscape, we impose some rituals that provide the illusion of a routine. Like the bagels that graced our kitchen island this morning, a conversation with our community is among our favorite of those rituals. To prove that boast, just look at the friendly neighborhood video game makers who joined me in quilting this blanket of oversharing.

Nate Hawbaker, Artist
John Hopson, User Researcher
Pat Jandro, Designer
David Johnson, Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
Jason Minard, Engineer
David Mongan, Writer
Mat Noguchi, Engineer
Eric Osborne, urk
Eric Raab, Writer
Joshua Rubin, Writer
Ben Thompson, Engineer
Tim Williams, Engineer
Ben Wommack, Engineer

It’s time to bask in something familiar, my friends. Let’s open the Sack.

odmichael Based on this tweet, can you confirm that Bungie's next game is in some sort of playable form?

I can confirm that Chris Butcher did not spend his weekend playing an unplayable build.

TopWargamer So how's that game build?

antony X1000 What other games have you been playing recently?

Lots of Minecraft! On the PC. There's a private Bungie server and I have one with some outsider friends as well. Super excited for the 1.3 patch.
Ben Wommack

Diablo 3, Tropico 4, Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.
Tim Williams

Draw Something, Words With Friends, and daily rounds of fetch with my dog.
Pat Jandro

Tales of the Abyss (PS2), Tales of Graces (PS3), and Diablo III (PC).
David Johnson

Kingdom Rush, Lord of the Rings Online.
John Hopson

I've been playing a bit of Sins of a Solar Empire, Magic: The Gathering (of course!), and a certain secret and awesome project by a certain secretive and awesome company.
Alex Loret de Mola

Diablo III and some other super-secret game DeeJ won't let me talk about.
Ben Thompson

Sorry, Ben. Soon™.

cortana 5 Are you guys scared about how your new game will be received by fans and critics?

To say that we are “scared” implies a lack of confidence. As you can see, that’s not the case. We want to make something that will blow your mind, and it’s always pretty terrifying to let a project go out the door (so I am told). You’ll see. When we get close to launch, we will be very interested to hear your opinion. Pete Parsons says it best when he talks about why he wanted to work at Bungie. It was because we set the bar so high the fall would kill us. Don’t look down.

Halo biggest fan What's your most anticipated game for 2012?

Halo 4.
Jason Minard

Probably Guild Wars 2.
Tim Williams

The 7th Annual Bungie Invitational Golf Tournament.
Pat Jandro

Assassin's Creed III.
David Johnson

Tossup between Guild Wars 2 and Torchlight 2.
John Hopson

Resident Evil 6.
Mat Noguchi

I'm looking forward to Borderlands 2. I jumped on the Borderlands bandwagon so late the first time around that none of my friends played anymore by the time I got into it. I want to get in from day 1 this time around and actually play with some friends.
Alex Loret de Mola

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm! Barring that one being pushed back, I'd say Halo 4. I'm excited to see how it turns out.
Ben Wommack

Thrasher Fan Do you consider video games art?

I would say that most of us do. There might be a few of us who relate to them as pure science, but even the practice of science can be an art form. Everyone has their own definition of art, and everyone is right.

Xd00999 What was your most emotional moment in any form of media?

Tommy's return to Power Rangers to re-don the Green Ranger armor. You had to be there.
Mat Noguchi

Scrubs season 5, episode 20. Or the recent Batman movie.
Nate Hawbaker

No one mentioned the moment when Red found Andy on the beach of the Pacific (it has no memory), so I am just going to leave this here.

coolmike699 What do you think is the most important part of writing?

Had I tackled your question myself, I would have mentioned of a knack for cutting and pasting together the wisdom of others and peppering the dialogue with agonizing heaps of irony and sarcasm. Since I highly doubt that’s what you want to know about, I approached our coven of writers who toil under the spell of one Joe Staten. They spend their days boiling delicious fiction in their cauldron full of lies. Some of their answers were slightly disturbing, but it takes a twisted mind to conjure the story we are telling…

Killing your babies. I’m talking about ideas. Even if you think you’ve got the best idea for a character/scene/explosion/alien abduction/whatever, don’t get so attached to it that you won’t kill it if a better idea comes along. This goes hand-in-hand with another writing essential: Rewriting. Multiple drafts make everything tighter. And, as with everything other than belts and nooses, tighter is better. Trust me on this.
Dave Mongan

Not to be too much of an ass, but the most important part of writing is to keep writing, reading other writers, and letting people who aren’t your friends and family read your work. Your first 1,000,000 words are most likely going to be trash, but word 1,000,001 could be epic. (note: “could be”).
Eric Raab

One word: Peeing. No, honestly, I find that I can sit at my desk for an hour banging my head against a problem. And only when I walk away to relieve myself and I’m standing there thinking about nothing does the answer suddenly come clearly to me. One of the big secrets of any creative activity is the frequent taking of breaks. Go for a walk, have a snack, take a pee – but don’t bring a magazine along. The trick is to let your mind go to that empty zen place and forget all about what you’re doing. If (and only if) you’ve put in enough time banging your head against the problem, then chances are your subconscious will take over and offer up the prize. So, to be clear, the most important part of writing is: Stay Hydrated.
Joshua Rubin

SharkTooth__ What do the studio artists do for inspiration when they need to come up with something cool and new?

Oh, man. You should see some of the internal emails that fly around this place. Some of it is reference material that blows your mind. Some of it is visual collateral damage from an impromptu Photoshop war that spills out into the streets. Most of it would give away far too much about our creative process, but I can tell you that my Inbox has never been as colorful as it is at Bungie.

Mythical Wolf Can I have blue flames, please?

Please tell me you were kidding. What is this, twitter? Bungie can’t give you blue flames anymore. Bungie can’t claim responsibility for anything that happens in a Halo title anymore – past, present, or future.

beorn What was the most recent thing that made you laugh?

You mean aside from that last question? Sometimes, we laugh so that we won’t cry. And sometimes, a question is better answered by the panel.

Nate Hawbaker

David Johnson

ChorrizoTapatio Hey DeeJ, suppose some of us aspired to be the community manager just like you. What kind of degree do you have that qualifies you to do your job and what made you stand out above the rest of the candidates you were competing against?

You know what? I have no idea how to answer this question. To be honest, I am still not even sure why I am here. Let’s see if my boss is willing to shed some light on this subject.

Urk said: Here’s a version of the job description we posted on Bungie.net:

“Bungie is seeking a witty, self-deprecating wordsmith capable of using more than just soothing vowel sounds to fully engage our polite and passionate Community. In addition to creating and executing the existing editorial calendar for Bungie.net, this individual will be tasked with generating unique, fresh, never-before-seen content that: increases Bungie’s visibility in new and existing channels, aids in recruiting efforts, and challenges the ways we think about community engagement.”

The role breaks down very roughly into three areas of focus: community advocacy, brand evangelism, and content creation. Towards those ends, you could choose to pursue a B.A. in Creative Writing, Public Relations, or Multimedia. That’s by no means a comprehensive or required list, but they’re all comfortably in the wheelhouse.

Brand evangelism is a little more complicated. At times, Bungie’s Community Managers are expected to operate somewhat independently from the rest of the Marketing mix, so we look for people who understand our studio’s culture and heritage, and who are already effectively managing a community of their own. Just like artists, designers, and engineers, if you want a job on the Community Team – now two men strong! – you need to be able to prove you have the chops.

In DeeJ’s case, we knew he understood Bungie through our historical relationship with Halo and TTL, and we could read a few years’ worth of his writing through his blog (although we still gave him a viciously unfair writing test). But even though he was a strong candidate on paper, we also screened and interviewed a bunch of other great candidates, some of whom had more creative writing and multimedia experience. In the final analysis, though, DeeJ had just the right blend of all three facets, and he looked positively regal in his cargo pants and matching, monochromatic polo.

It’s a rare breed to be sure, and nearly every Community Manager has a wildly divergent, but remarkably similar path into the role. They get involved with communities and brands that they love, contribute their own proprietary blend of creative madness to the mix, and they set themselves apart from the masses through dedication, resolve, and a towering mountain of inappropriate jokes.

defnop552 What's your Superhero name? What's your Supervillain name?

Lord Phatrick. Not sure if I'm a hero or a villain though...
Pat Jandro

I know what you are doing. It won't work.
Mat Noguchi

I ZEROC00L I Is your current position at Bungie the same job you wanted while attending school?

Nope! I didn't even know Production Engineer was a thing while in school. To be fair, Bungie hadn't invented the profession yet.
Ben Wommack

Not me, personally. It wasn't until I actually got a taste of doing meaningful web development just after graduating college that I fell in love with the tech and interesting problems related to web development.
Alex Loret de Mola

Not at all. I went to college thinking I was going to be a high school biology teacher, then switched to philosophy (was thinking teaching or law) and then ended up in IT. It's been a strange and fantastic path to where I am now!
Jason Minard

No. Production Engineer is a made up job that only Bungie has and didn't exist when I was in school.
Tim Williams

It's totally better; I'd heard how competitive the games industry was, and there really wasn't any opportunity to get into the industry where I grew up, so I didn't even look into it!
David Johnson

I had no idea that games user researchers existed until Microsoft tried to hire me as one. (Btw, as your forum handle implies, Hackers is the best movie ever.)
John Hopson

Given that I could not even conceive of the idea of what I do right now, it would therefore be impossible for me to have wanted it to begin with. Having said that, the fact that I have stayed so long at Bungie implies that deep down in my subunconcious I crave something that I have been unable to find elsewhere. So insofarasmuch as one can attribute an almost preternatural need to align oneself to the cosmic vibrations of knowledge and learning to harness the fundamental structural fabric of the universe to desire, yes. Also, given your handle, I can only say "RISC is good".
Mat Noguchi

homocidalham Who is your favorite forum goer and why did you pick me?

You are, homocidalham. You are! And the warm barrel of the revolver you are pressing against the side of my head has nothing to do with my proclamation of undying love and devotion. My life for you!

Kalriq If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?

I already had the pleasure to meet Nathan Fillion. I think I'm good for now...
Ben Thompson

I think I'd have to go with Will Smith. He seems to be one of the few Hollywood stars that seems to find a way to lead a rather "normal" life amidst the seemingly chaotic turbulence within the Hollywood circle, not to mention that he's a huge philanthropist and does some amazing things with some charities that I really support, so I definitely admire him.
David Johnson

Terry Pratchett. Love his stuff and he's by all accounts a swell fella.
Ben Wommack

Celebrities aren't real... They're all just humans like you and me who happened to be put on superficial pedestals.
Pat Jandro

(Editor’s Note: Killjoy!)

CoRaMo What is your go-to brand of sunscreen during this shining summer?

Is the summer shining where you are? We find that the atmosphere that hovers over our fair city does the best job of screening out the sun. When the daystar does manage to punch a hole through the omni-present soup, people crawl from out of the darkness like Vitamin-D-starved groundhogs and bask naked in its rays.

Geegs30 What goes through your mind when you see a Bungie fan in the wild sporting some company apparel?

I usually gawk a little and point them out to anyone I'm with, which is ironic.
Ben Wommack

“When did we start selling that at the store?”
Mat Noguchi

I just get a huge grin on my face about the fact that I get to work here.
Jason Minard

"We shop at the same store."
Pat Jandro

“Is that one of our new hires?”
Tim Williams

Now you gone and done it, Tim!

Community, I know what you are thinking right about now: Those of you who helped yourself to Bungie Day swag have the perfect disguise to infiltrate our secure location. Don’t make that mistake. For your safety and continued survival, read on…

DE4THINC4RN4TE How does Jerome remember who to let by the front desk? Or is there some sort of high tech security system to identify who he should let in?

We have an unbeatable security system, combined with the steely gaze that Jerome and his peers train on the front door during every moment of every day. Remember that scene from Mission Impossible when Tom Cruise was hanging upside down so that the security system surrounding the terminal he was hacking wouldn’t detect his sound, weight, or body temperature? Our security system makes that one look like a bicycle chain tied in knots. Okay?

snipe champpppp SHOW ME YOUR WAR FACE!

xNiGhThAwKx19 What is the most impressive non-career related accomplishment you've done?

Your mom.
Nate Hawbaker

There was a complex World of Warcraft addon I created and put up on Curse Gaming back in 2006 before I started working here. It garnered a few thousand downloads and a bunch of feature requests, then was made obsolete when the game updated. I won't say which because the code is downright embarrassing six years later.
Ben Wommack

Probably a tie between hearing my music played on an international radio station, getting into the Tokyo Times newspaper, or the fact that I survived long enough to see the age of 28.
Pat Jandro

I help to organize the "Cookie Brigade," a group of people who get together every PAX to give out cookies and accept donations to Child's Play. We've raised well over $60,000 for Child's Play since we started in 2008. It's a blast!
Alex Loret de Mola

ALI217 Can you tell if questions are inspired by a thirst for knowledge or a desire to solely enter the mail sack?

It’s hard to tell. Take your question for instance. Are you really curious about what I think about your questions, or did you just discover a clever new way to see your name pixelated on the Bungie Blog? Fortunately, your sinister motives are not as important as your ability to sustain a good conversation, which is why Bungie.net is still a cool place to hang.

WestCoastRonin When did you know that Bungie was the right place for you?

When I stayed up 23 hours working on the Halo 3 Forge / Saved Films vidoc with Jim's team. I was just super impressed how dedicated he and all his guys were to showing the most engaging and exciting presentation possible, and he made me and the other tester feel like an important part of the process. Many of the crazy things you see shown off in that video are straight from the trenches of Test.
Ben Wommack

When I first played Myth: The Fallen Lords, I knew that it would be a place I'd love to work at. However, I never dreamed I'd actually *be able* to work here.
Alex Loret de Mola

During the last loop of my interview process here. My final hour was with Marty and we spent the time talking about horror movies and drum machines.
Pat Jandro

It was during my first week at Bungie. Watching all of the videos describing just what insanity it was that we were working on and realizing what a great challenge it would be convinced me that this was the right spot to be.
David Johnson

After I worked with Bungie on Halo 2 and 3, I took a few years off to work with other studios, particularly Xbox LIVE Arcade stuff. They were fun projects, but working with other teams really drove home to me how special Bungie is.
John Hopson

Well, I haven't been fired yet.
Mat Noguchi

burritosenior Can I have a free Bungie Shirt now?

“Not yet.” You have to win the weekly challenge first. Now all we need is a riddle or some sort of puzzle…

Eco Maiden Know any good riddles?

Yes. Quite a few, actually.
Mat Noguchi

What's in Ben's pocket?
Tim Williams

What's in my pocket? (Tim already knows)
Ben Wommack

Full Time Loser Do you really read this far into the Mail Sack thread?

Yes. All of the letters that are committed to the depths of the Sack provide their own valuable intel about the hearts and minds of our community. Even if I cannot answer them all, I read them all. Even this next one…

ConstantC4RN4GE I gave up on the Mail Sack. It's lame and offers nothing worthwhile.

I am never going to give you up. I am never going to let you down. (No matter how hard you might try to hurt me.)

I will, however, take the weekend off. You should do the same. Happy Friday, Bungie Community. We will see you right back here on Monday, fresh to embrace this routine of inquisition and spin all over again.

Community 7/27/2012 1:37 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Ryan Juckett

Building castles...

A truly great game happens in a place that should feel real to the player. In order for that to happen, there must be rules to govern things like gravity or structural integrity or ballistics. Making all of this a virtual reality is the job of a Sandbox Engineer. These architects of code see the world in ones and zeroes. To understand that unique perspective better, we have the pleasure of a conversation with this gentleman…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

I’m Ryan Juckett and I’m a sandbox engineer. Guys like me get to spend their days building and fixing all the fun parts of a game. To explain, let’s take a game like Halo: Reach. If you can shoot it, someone like me probably worked on that. If you can drive it, someone like me probably worked on that. If it explodes, someone like me probably worked on that. If you can shoot it while driving it while things explode, someone like me definitely worked on that.

Tell us about your own personal sand box. What do you do when you are not providing the variety of mayhem that gamers love?

If I’m not working, I’m probably at the gym, out to eat, or on the couch. I play a lot of console games and do a fair amount of hobby programming and art when time allows.

Hobby Programming! It’s nice that you managed to find yourself a gig where you get to do work that you would do in your free time. Is Bungie the first place where you channeled your hobby into your career?

I’ve been in and around the games industry for a while. I started off programming artificial intelligence at Neversoft on “Gun” and the “Tony Hawk” series. I later spent some time at Pandemic and then worked on a game called “Project Offset” which never saw the light of day. After that, I went mercenary and contracted myself out to the masses before settling down at a small studio working on games for Capcom, DreamWorks, and Disney.

You get around. Has your campaign as an engineering mercenary forged you into the perfect weapon in the fight against bad code?

I think having been a part of so many different teams and codebases has given me a broad view of the patterns, good and bad, that appear when building games. Referring back on those experiences is certainly helpful in my day to day work.

Let’s refer even farther back to your humblest beginnings. Was making games something that you have always dreamt of doing?

Somewhere in a box at my parents’ house, there is a drawing I made in elementary school to answer this very question. I’m sitting in front of the TV with a controller in my hand and it says that I want to play Nintendo.

What were the first steps you took when you left your parents’ house? Can you describe for us the education you earned to prepare you to engineer sandboxes?

After high school, I went to DigiPen and got a Bachelor’s of Science in Real Time Interactive Simulation, which is a fancy way of saying game engineering. I use almost all the math I learned, but the most useful part was getting to work on game projects from start to finish with like-minded peers.

Following the string of mercenary contracts you completed after college, how did you convince Bungie that you could be one of our like-minded peers?

One benefit of having worked with so many teams in the past is that I have colleagues spread across the industry. I’m sure having a few referrals already working at Bungie didn’t hurt.

Who you know is certainly a crucial component to any worthy job search. What was the hardest part about our testing what you know in the Bungie Interview?

Waking up. I was in and out of crunching at my prior job and my already late flight to Seattle was delayed. If I recall, I got about four hours sleep at the hotel before having to wake up and meet everyone here.

Thriving on less sleep than we would like is part of the experience, after all. What is the most rewarding thing about the many waking hours that you spend at Bungie?

Anytime I get to make something that hasn’t been done in a game before is a pleasure. With our size and talent pool, we have the luxury to push the industry forward.

This next question can be a hard one to answer, given the shroud of secrecy that blankets our development floor, but can you describe a day in your life in our studio?

Working on gameplay, I get to interact with a pretty broad group around the studio which keeps each day interesting. It’s a pretty great place to work, but we do keep it a bit too dark and cold for my tastes after living in L.A.

Seattle is not famous for its sunny skies, to be sure. Is there something about your life at Bungie that makes up for your newfound Vitamin D deficit? What aspect of your job makes you the proudest?

Every time I get to work alongside the design team to prove a new feature is satisfying. I always find more pride in the player-facing result of my work than the engineering it took to get there.

New features require new skills. Is this environment a place where you can find new toys to add to your professional sandbox?

Games are always changing and I do my best to play and analyze the latest and greatest. I follow the consumer facing news and churn through whatever I can get my hands on regarding the development process. Then, if I’m lucky, something in that mess of information will allow me to think about or solve a problem from a different perspective.

It’s a safe bet that there are aspiring developers among our readers who pour through that news with a similarly analytical mind. What wisdom would you share with those people who dream of being one of your like-minded peers?

Work on a simple game on your own or in school and take it from start to finish. Most people find it to be nothing like they hoped, but for a few it’s fantastic.

Thanks for opening a window into your world, Ryan. Before we release you to wrestle with new and exciting code, please engineer a solution to this final question: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

It depends on the task at hand and the amount of time available to do it. If you need something done fast with few mistakes, experience is very handy. If you want to break new ground and do something new, you’ll want talent. Work ethic, however, will only get you so far without the experience or talent to back it up.

If your experience matches Ryan’s, you may well find your calling in our sandbox as one of his fellow engineers. If hobby programming is not your bag, there are many facets to making a game, and Bungie needs people to own all of them. Our Breaking In archive is always a great place to learn about all of the like and unlike minds that come together on our current project.

Breaking In 7/23/2012 1:38 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack and Remembrance

In the corner of our minds...

The energy of the people on our studio floor is focused on looking forward, as we work to realize all that we have envisioned for our next game. The questions that poured from this Mail Sack invited us to look back instead, and recall a few fond memories. Please welcome the Bungie Panel that reached into the archives of their code-saturated brains to share with you some treasured echoes from the past.

Derek Carroll, Design
David Gasca, Test
Noah George, Tech
Nate Hawbaker, Tools
David Johnson, Engineering
Evan Nikolich, Design
Cameron Pinard, Art
Frank Robbins, Art
Tom Sanocki, Art
Michael Williams, Engineering

Hey guys. Remember that one time we opened the Sack?

Kalriq Let’s talk about Indie games, and aspiring game developers.

Been there. Did that in our movie theatre earlier in the week. It was good for us.

Lobster Fish 2 Favorite 80's movie?

Not so fast, Panel. We’re not just gonna shout out the names of our favorite movies from that long lost decade of gaudy fashion and ridiculous pop-culture. Instead, let’s share just a shard of the imagery that preserves them in our slowly failing memories.

Community, it is up to you to name these films, and list them in the order in which they appear. This is Phase One of your challenge for this week (the second to follow below). The first to complete both of them shall be rewarded.

Cameron Pinard

Derek Carroll

Frank Robbins

Noah George

David Johnson

Michael Williams

Evan Nikolich

AxJARxOFxDIRT Question exclusively for DeeJ: Who helped you the most with getting used to being at Bungie? And, is there a "Welcoming Committee" of employees that get new employees into the full swing of the Bungie party?

Awwww… A question just for me? It was urk that taught me most of what I needed to survive my “onboarding” at Bungie (that’s what the working world calls it). This included what not to say to Luke Smith, proper use of the all-powerful apostrophe, and competitive appetizer eating. The blanks were filled in by the kind souls who took me out to lunch. The whole studio operates as a welcoming committee, really. They don’t waste any time making you feel like a member of the team, and pointing out where the landmines are buried.

Sector Z 157 If Bungie held an internal arm wrestling contest, who would win?

Not me.
Cameron Pinard

Mark Flieg. He has the thickest muscle meat and eats Paleo. Although, I saw him eat a pile of cupcakes on Bungie Day. Regardless, my money would be on him.
Frank Robbins

Final showdown between Flieg and I. Revel in the solipsism.
Nate Hawbaker

I like to imagine an epic final match between Harold and Jerome... although our studio might collapse from the stress of the forces unleashed in such a contest.
Michael Williams

I'm new here, but I'm going to throw down the gauntlet and say I would win. I'm 6 feet 9 inches, 275 pounds, and welcome all challengers!
Evan Nikolich

Sloanus For a teenager who wants to get into the gaming industry, how much of a chance is there to actually work for Bungie in the future?

There is always a chance, I guess. We certainly feel as if our future is bright, and we're still on the hunt for kick ass developers to help us make it even brighter. Without a glance at your last report card, it’s hard for me to make a wager. Did you pay attention in Math? Have you displayed a startling aptitude for Art? Do you play well with others? Can you excel under the stresses of sleep deprivation and sneezes that rattle windows? All of these factors balance the equation that we would use to calculate your odds.

Pknubs4 Which of the shirts released on Bungie Day should I buy?

Only you can decide this, ‘nubs. What I can tell you is that you should act fast. Not only are supplies limited, but tomorrow is your last day to benefit the Bungie Foundation. You have 24 hours to make the world a better place for a kid that needs your help. If you honestly can’t make a choice without a nudge from some fashion police, read on…

antony X1000 Based on design alone, which is your favourite avatar that was added on Bungie Day?

Favourite? Are you British? Or just really fancy?

Anyway, I always defer to the Bungie Panel when the conversation turns to Design. I have been told that Design is Sacred. Here’s what they recommend…

Cameron Pinard
Evan Nikolich

Frank Robbins
Nate Hawbaker
David Johnson

Noah George
Michael Williams

x Foman123 x Can we get a Breaking In interview for one of your business development type guys? Maybe, if you have one around there somewhere, a former lawyer or something similar?

That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. Lawyers are crooks and bastards. All of ‘em.

Disclaimer: If anyone reading this is a lawyer, please know that Foman is one of your peers. And, with this question, he is pandering to himself. What you just read was a punch meant just for him. He can take it – he even likes it.

You may not sue me for mental anguish suffered at the hands of the Mail Sack – mostly because sacks do not have hands.

Malfar If in order to save all of humanity, you had to lose one sense, but would heighten another, which sense would you sacrifice, and which would you heighten?

I would give up my sense of shame, and heighten my sense of decency to untold levels.
Tom Sanocki

I don't know what I'd give up, but my sense of style definitely is getting heightened.
Cameron Pinard

I would sacrifice my sense of self-respect and enhance my sense of humor. It should make for an interesting solution to the apocalypse.
Noah George

(Editor’s Note: C’mon, Bungie! All of humanity is on the line here. Any chance we can lose the sense of sarcasm and heighten our sense of duty?)

With all of humanity on the line, I'll stay away from a clever answer and choose to sacrifice taste and strengthen my eyesight. It seems that touch and smell would still give me a subset of taste, and might help me eat healthier.
Michael Williams

I would probably sacrifice my sense of smell and heighten my sense of hearing.
Frank Robbins

Since one's sense of smell makes up about half of your taste, I think losing one's sense of smell but doubling your sense of taste would be a pretty even tradeoff.
David Johnson

Get rid of my sense of smell and fix my terrible sense of sight. I don't think that would save humanity, but not having vision correcting devices on my eyes would be great.
Evan Nikolich

Xd00999 How many bagels are consumed on Bagel Friday?

All of ‘em! Sometimes, a few manage to hold out until lunch (like the one I just put down). Bagel Friday abhors a surplus.

DMR plus magnum Are you upset when people find bugs in your games and post them to YouTube for the world to see?

For the answer you seek, I walked all the way downstairs to The Gauntlet.  There, I consulted an Oracle of Test...

Every bug that impacts people negatively makes me sad inside. So very sad. That said if it’s a bug that we didn’t find, I enjoy learning from it. We dig into why it happens, then figure out why we missed it. Then we use that to make our test process better.
David Gasca

snipe champpppp Sometimes, the inner corner of my eye itches really bad, and when I rub it, it turns really red and swollen for the rest of the day. How do I prevent this?

Don’t rub it. That advice is valuable in a lot of situations, actually. You’re welcome.

MAC Blast How taxing is crunch time for you?

This taxing…

Plain Ben What's the least-fun part of game making?

Waiting, though today it gives me a chance to answer these questions, so it's not all bad.
Cameron Pinard

As a world artist, I would say anything that takes me away from actual content creation. When I have to fumble with tools or broken stuff that always ruins my flow. Bungie has been best, by far, at supporting tools. I spend a lot more time being an artist as opposed to dealing with technical issues.
Frank Robbins

Spending hours being stumped as to why something just doesn't work.
David Johnson

Tracking down bugs that only reproduce intermittently under difficult to emulate circumstances. But it can be amazingly satisfying to finally find and squash them.
Michael Williams

Working with broken builds.
Evan Nikolich

ECOH Cam How many strangers walk up to the front door of the studio and peek inside every day?

I’m pretty sure we don’t track the averages on that, but if you give me a minute to check the place where Jerome disposes of the bodies, I will let you know how many we had today…

…it was four. So young, too.

coolmike699 Has anyone ever been injured on the job at Bungie?

I once got a hangnail.
Cameron Pinard

There are many employees with hobbies/activities outside of work like rock climbing, skiing/snowboarding, downhill mountain biking. You will occasionally see someone limping around here in a cast.
Frank Robbins

The worst I saw was when a sheet of glass from the trophy case shattered on someone from my team. He was cut up pretty badly. He wouldn't let us patch him up either, he ran all over the studio bleeding until we tracked him down.
Noah George

I've yet to see a dramatic programming injury.
Michael Williams

I tear up my hands on the climbing wall every week.
Derek Carroll

Professor24 Who at the studio has had the most drastic career change? In terms of their previous job, to the one they hold now.

Just about any of our people would profess that joining up with Bungie was a life-changing experience, even if they were lucky enough to be making games (or being otherwise creative) before they came here. I, for one, was working as far away from this industry as possible when I ran away from home to join this circus. None of my new coworkers would’ve recognized me before I conned my way onto their team. They wouldn’t have seen past the suit and tie that I used to wear every day. I think the standard issue Bungie t-shirt fits much better.

SkilPhil What do you think is the most unappreciated video game?

Time to heighten that sense of nostalgia one more time, Panel. What’s that one game you played that you felt was yours alone? Don’t just blurt out the name. Give me another swatch torn from that sentimental experience.

 We will let the Community name them. This is Phase Two of their challenge.

Derek Carroll

Evan Nikolich

Cameron Pinard

Frank Robbins

Noah George

Nate Hawbaker

David Johnson

Michael Williams

No, no, no, you don't want to ask this question. First I'm gonna go off about my favorite old-fashioned text-only games, like Zork III and Photopia. Then I'll rave about some one-trick-pony games, like Deathtrack and 688 Attack Sub. I'll start waxing lyrical about strafing AA sites with a chaingun in F-16 Falcon, I'll go on and on about Betrayal at Krondor, and then at the end I'll pull out something ridiculous, like Space Warp on the TRS-80, just to make myself look all hip and old-school. Then, to be truly obnoxious, I'll throw in some blatant, self-promoting lies about the terrible games I wrote when I was a kid (i.e. Wizard of Destruction). Let's just stop here, walk away, and pretend this never happened.
Tom Sanocki

I am benching you for this challenge, Tom. There is obscure, and then there is just plain cruel. You're welcome, Community.

Synyster Ricz Do you guys have like a nap center or something to that effect? Seriously.

After our internal celebration of Bungie Day (more on that later), I heard tell of a couple of people who slept on couches around the studio, or in their cars. Seriously.

mark117 mia2553 Who in Bungie has the best decorated cubical or office?

Once you have moved for the 3rd time in a year you learn to decorate your soul and keep your desk clean.
Cameron Pinard

Most of the desks around me have piles of art/ref books, empty coffee and soda cans, pencils, paper, etc. There is a shelf right by my desk that has some cool Star Wars and Anime models.
Frank Robbins

Considering that most of us don't even have cubicles, I'd say that honor clearly goes to the Audio Department.
David Johnson

Marty's office is better than some condos.
Noah George

My pod-mate’s desk is pretty impressive. He's got it covered in objects he has been making using a 3D printer. Each day, some new and interesting creation shows up there.
Michael Williams

My office is one giant converted movie theater, decorated with 200+ desks, filled with Bungie employees, and possessing enough computing power to run an army. Does that count?
Tom Sanocki

We’re all winners just for showing up.
Derek Carroll

GBD123 I would like you to talk about what marketing or business jobs are available at Bungie, since I am interested in pursuing a career in that field.

I would like you to go look at our Careers page.

Thrasher Fan What was your inspiration for joining the gaming industry?

The original Star Wars trilogy, though that was more inspiration for getting into effects/animation/art. Phforte and later Forge and Anvil are probably more to blame for the video games.
Cameron Pinard

Honestly, I managed to get into the industry on pure blind luck. I'd wanted to make video games since I was nine (and didn't know what "making video games" even looked like). Because I'd heard it was challenging to break in (and that there was really no video game industry in Ohio), I didn't bother to even consider it until a recruiter for the industry actually called me.
David Johnson

When I was young, I found a book in my school library that walked you through making a simple text based adventure game. From the moment I realized it was a possible career, I decided that making games was what I wanted to do.
Michael Williams

My Mom. She made games back in the day on the Atari 2600 and always has been supportive of me in pursuing my career in the games industry.
Evan Nikolich

Xplode441 When Bungie dominates the world, and after the enemies are slung into the sun, what happens next?

Cocktail hour! Actually, we observe that anyway. We don’t need to conquer the world to propose a toast, but it does seem like a logical conclusion to firing off the slingshot.

It’s Friday, and it is getting late, so that same hour is upon us. You have a challenge to tackle, so we’ll leave you to it. See you Monday, when the week begins anew and the mail room opens its doors once again.

Community 7/20/2012 10:39 AM PDT permalink

Bungie Screens “Indie Game: The Movie”

Spoiler: It’s anything but a game…

“If people want to play Halo: Reach that’s fine, because I think those games are -blam!-!”
-Tommy Refenes (Programmer, “Super Meat Boy”)

There were many quotes from “Indie Game: The Movie” that drew chuckles from the crowd, but this one provoked a chorus of laughter. It may have had something to do with the fact that the crowd included people that worked on the game that was the subject of such righteous scorn. Our laughter was not malicious, but rather born of kinship – and maybe a touch of healthy competition between artists.

Last week, we took a break from our own production schedule at Bungie to screen a story about making games. For a brief moment, we set aside our own development kits and retired to the theatre in our studio to enjoy a documentary about our industry, told from a very different perspective. We learned that many of the truths that surround the act of making a game are eerily similar, no matter the scope of the endeavor.

“Indie Game” follows an assortment of solo developers as they crunch on their own projects, very much alone and unassisted by producers or publishers. It’s a true story about sacrifice and passion, depression and inspiration, violence and love, madness and joy. Our story may unfold on a larger stage, but you could tell from the laughter and moans on our side of the screen that the experiences of our indie peers were all too relatable. The film made it easy for us to put ourselves in their shoes, and imagine the humbler origins of our studio.

So, as we watched them wield technology to coax their visions out of their imaginations, many of the bumps in their road hit very close to home. They poured themselves into their games, hoping that the world would relate to them as they did. They surrendered huge chunks of their lives to finish their work, desperate to meet a deadline. They wrestled with partners and anxious fans as they navigated the mine field between creativity and business. They nurtured their games like children, until it was time to send them away from home for certification.

As the end-credits rolled, the independent filmmakers who told this story appeared on the screen through the miracle of video conferencing. Our audience stayed rooted to their seats so that we could ask them about their own passion project. In the house were some backers from their successful Kickstarter push.

We passed wireless mics around the theatre, as if hosting our own post-modern talk show. Lisanne and James from Blinkworks took our questions about their own journey in crafting a message meant not just for gamers, but “for anybody who is creative and makes things.” Indie Game is not a travelogue about writing code, as much as “a film for people who love underdog stories.”

At Bungie, we do love a good underdog story. If you do as well, this is one you should check out. From the first line of code to the last spit and polish, there are demons to confront in making a game – any game. “Indie Game: The Movie” reveals many of them. If you are curious about those boss fights, you can view this gem on your own.

Any of us would risk a punch in the face to invite these indie heroes out for a beer to talk shop from opposite sides of the fence. Instead, we’ll just download their games. That seems a more appropriate gesture, now that we have lived several years of their lives in spectator mode as they suffered their own slings and arrows to introduce a game to the world.

Joshua Rubin, a new member of our Writing Team, did just that. “I went home to download and play Fez immediately after the screening. It was a more personal, intimate connection with a game than I’ve ever had before.”

Jolly good show, Blinkworks. Thanks for the conversation. And to the Indie Devs, good games.

Love, Bungie.

Community 7/18/2012 10:33 AM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Ryan Cooper

He's an Engineer.  He's a Tester.  He's both!

When you play a multiplayer game over the Internet, an explosion of code rages through the tubes that connect you to every other player in the world. Our developers make this pastime easy for the gamer to enjoy. Creating that experience, and making sure those tubes don't rupture during gameplay, is anything but easy. The servers that host your never-ending battle are tested like bomb shelters. To learn more about those proving grounds, we can talk to this guy…

Stop where you are! Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Ryan Cooper. I’m working as a Senior Engineer in Server Tools and Test. My role is unique in that I straddle the boundary between Engineering and Test. Our team’s primary goals are to make sure everything server-side works and you don’t see any errors when we launch. On the scale at which Bungie works, this is a very, very scary task. To ensure that we are successful, I develop tools that enable us to simulate traffic to stress the server system while it is in development.

We’ll explore the depths of your very worst fears in a moment. First, let’s talk about the happier moments in your life. When you’re not confronting the demons that lurk within netcode, what might we find you doing?

Gaming, cooking, wandering aimlessly around Redmond…

That sounds like a nice balance. Gamers gotta eat and get some exercise, after all. Describe for us the aimless wanderings of your career prior to putting Bungie on your resume.

I bounced around the Xbox teams as a Software Development Engineer in Test for just under 7 years. I filled many different roles for many things – testing or leading teams that were testing billing, parental controls, data analysis, security, friends lists, parties, matchmaking, system updates, networking, drivers, file systems, etc. It was quite a bit of fun, and I learned enough to work in just about any area. This came at the expense of extensive knowledge in any area, but it made me fearless when walking into new areas. I am still not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

Did you always dream of being an ambassador between Testers and Engineers? What did you imagine you would be when you grew up?

Game developer. What can I say? That made certain life choices really easy for me.

That’s it? People usually confess to long-lost fantasies about becoming superheroes or celebrities. With such a singular path laid out before your younger self, how did you prepare to walk that walk?

I got two degrees in Computer Science from WashU (not to be confused with UW, WWU, George Washington University, or any university located in Washington State or Washington DC). There, I learned all the basics I still use almost every day.

That sounds like a great foundation. How did you build on that in a way that would make us want to bring you onto our team?

Well, besides the long resume… The Xbox team and Bungie have a long history of working together to produce features. I had helped out on a couple of Reach requests before coming here. On top of that, over the years, I had gotten to know a few people who were now working at Bungie.

Did you curse their names once they helped you schedule an interview? We’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the inquisition that we use to get to know our applicants.

I was actually very ill on my interview day and had roughly three hours of sleep the night before. I ended up taking some twelve hour medication just before I started interviewing to hold off my symptoms. The interview had been set up for weeks and I was not going to get another chance for a while if I missed that one. I was very determined. The engineering interviews are tough and maintaining focus was hard given my state of mind. However, it did give me one advantage: I could not physically get nervous because of how tired and loopy I was. Fortunately, it worked out for the best.

Your secret about performance enhancing over-the-counter drugs is safe with me, and everyone else on the Internet. Having made the cut, what’s the best thing about being on the team?

For me, Bungie is a place where you are given problems to solve not solutions to implement. Being trusted to design and implement solutions to the problems you are presented with and having them improve the lives of the other people working at the studio is very rewarding.

I was really tempted to say that playing on the winning team for the newbies in Call of Duty during the Pentathlon was my finest moment.

The CoD Captain from Team Newbie would agree, but the Bungie Pentathlon is a rare day in our lives. Take us through the paces of a more regular day at Bungie.

Get in, check for free food, check mail, go heads down for 2-3 hours until lunch (occasionally have a meeting before/during lunch), have lunch, go heads down another 5-6 hours (maybe take a coffee break in the middle), go home. In crunch, add to that list: have dinner, go heads down for another 3+ hours.

That sounds like a lot of time with your nose to the grindstone. Do we do anything special to make that life more livable for you?

Scheduled crunches. I know it’s odd that I list that as a perk, but I’m horrible at saying no to work. At Microsoft, it got to the point where a General Manager came into my office and told me to go home. Our production schedule has improved my overall quality of life tremendously, because it is predictable and defined well in advance.

Spoken like a true Engineer with a flair for Test. Within the logical structure that we cultivate for you, is there something you have accomplished that makes you exceedingly proud?

Having a large chunk of what I considered to be test code getting reused for production code has been pretty satisfying. Where I worked previously, test code was test code, never to see the light of day, ever. I have been informed that appropriating test code for production purposes is a tradition at Bungie.

Another tradition at Bungie is challenging our people to get better at what they do. How do you engineer new skills for yourself?

I have no fear in using new technology if it fits my problem. I don’t see education as inefficiency. I dive in, find the issues, and fix/work around them as necessary.

For a guy who spends all day tackling very scary tasks, you sure do sound like a man without fear. What would you tell an aspiring developer who considers themselves to be equally brave?

Be passionate, develop something that proves your passion that you can show off, keep educating yourself, don’t make excuses for why you don’t work on your passion, and don’t be afraid to work around the edges for a while to get in if that’s what it takes.

You’ve managed every unit of stress that I manufactured for this interview, Ryan. Thank you for taking the time to educate us about the many roles you have played over the years. This last question is easy: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

All are important. For my particular role, experience comes first, then work ethic, then talent. I’ve learned quite a few hard lessons over the years, and my experience prevents me from having to relearn those lessons. That is important because my role can easily generate tons of “throw-away” work if I am not careful. Over the lifetime of the project, it allows me to get much more done. Work ethic comes after that, because servers don’t decide to fail on a schedule. And finally talent, because when you are having server issues at 3 AM, it’s best to resolve them as quickly as possible.

Ryan has a lot of work to do, so we’ll cut him loose to return to it. Testers and Engineers practice some crucial disciplines that enable Bungie to turn out kick ass games. In the coming months, we’ll need many more of both. If you would like to know more about the trades that we seek at Bungie, our Breaking In archive has a variety of stories preserved for your reading pleasure.

Breaking In 7/16/2012 2:17 PM PDT permalink

Friday the 13th Mail Sack, Part Two

It's your lucky day...

Are your minds still on Bungie Day? From the questions you asked this week, it looks like the collective answer is “Yes, and tell us more!” On our Community Appreciation Day, the curtain was pulled aside for a shining moment, letting slip a few delicious details. That was then. Now, it’s back to business as usual. We work in silence and darkness. You speculate out in the open. Fortunately, one of our favorite items of business is trading letters with you fine people.

Here’s the Bungie panel that joined me in crafting the correspondence this week. Lukems suggested I let my hair down in describing them, focusing on disciplines more than titles. He also asked me not to quote him, so forget I mentioned it.

Derek Carroll, Designer
Zeke Garcia, Artist
Josh Hamrick, Designer
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist
David Johnson, Engineer
Lorraine McLees, Artist
Jason Minard, Engineer
Marty O’Donnell, Composer
Scott Taylor, Producer
Adam Williams, Artist
Michael Williams, Engineer

Artists, Engineers, Designers… Marty. Welcome to our Mail Room. Let’s open the Sack.

SilverBulitt82 What is your most memorable boss battle in any game?

Derek Carroll

Adam Williams

David Johnson

Josh Hamrick

Michael Williams

Mythical Wolf Will you allow the One of Seven winners to take pictures or record their studio tour?

No way. Our studio has a Russell Field generator. It emits a low-yield EMP that disrupts all media capture devices, rendering them completely useless! I can feel you asking then how we take the pictures that you see from inside our WorkPLace. Our cameras are equipped with a Russell Compensator chip that nullifies the effect. On the off-chance that someone smuggles in a camera that actually works, we cover our asses by making all visitors sign an NDA the size of a phone book that grants us permission to kick yours. Hard.

Dropship dude What are your thoughts on the Higgs Boson?

A bunch of our dudes have a big Hadron about it.
Lorraine McLees

Europe is doing great things with science. It's inspiring. Also, the tracking charts of the Higgs Boson particle look a lot like a flying spaghetti monster.
Adam Williams

Honestly, it's pretty cool! I remember learning in high school about Mendelev creating the periodic table and how he predicted the existence and properties of elements that had yet to be discovered based upon the patterns he was seeing. It's really cool to see the modern-day version of that... especially when it involves sciences that requires so much scientific creativity to really explore and understand.
David Johnson

I am in awe of the scale of technology we are using to do science these days. Seeing such a massive device built to detect something so tiny makes me very happy to be part of the human race.
Michael Williams

Science is pretty cool.
Derek Carroll

I find it particularly awesome... heh... hehheh.... heheheheh. Also, I like to picture all the physicists looking for it getting the Metal Gear alert over their heads when they found it. But that's probably just me.
Josh Hamrick

Xd00999 What is your favorite part of this community?

We are always amazed by the way you come together like a hive mind when there is a mystery in play. The speed at which you solve puzzles together is always impressive.

“Our fans are awesome.” -Achronos

SonOfTheShire If you had your own spaceship, what would you name it?

Science Is Pretty Cool
Derek Carroll

Lorraine McLees

U.S.S. Magnum
Adam Williams

The Dread Loofah
Michael Williams

I am Jack's Spaceship
Josh Hamrick

I bounce too close to a supernova. I kill Jack.

Gamer Whale What was the most embarrassing thing that happened on Bungie Day?

All compliments about your collective problem-solving skills aside, you super sleuths did sort of over-extend yourselves on Bungie Day. When you all put your heads together, you managed to extract a series of bogus phone numbers from the riddles we dropped into the water. A handful of poor souls had their phones bombed by blood-thirsty fans in a deciphering frenzy.

GrinnialVex Due to some sort of horrible catastrophe, Bungie is forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. Who gets eaten first and why?

It certainly wouldn't be any of us. There's camaraderie in these halls, and we'd look out for one another. (Right... guys? Don't look at me like that... please?)
David Johnson

Flieg (center). He seems to have the choicest cuts, if you know what I mean.
Derek Carroll

I'm new here, so it would probably be me.
Adam Williams

Josh Hamrick

Cheaters: In emergency situations, the banhammer is designed to double as a meat tenderizer.
Michael Williams

Sounds like a salty dish, Michael.

antony X1000 Will we see shirts in the Bungie store for the other avatars that were added on Bungie Day any time soon?

Soon™ is a slippery designation of time, friend. It’s terribly subjective, as you will find. As a Bungie newb, I had to be schooled by Marty the Elder in our use of that word to skirt all questions, large and small.

Malfar Complete the following statement: "How cool would it be..."

…if we could talk about what we’re working on here?
Derek Carroll

...if someday I got a chance to write music with Paul McCartney!
Marty O’Donnell

...if we figured out what gravity is.
Lorraine McLees

…if Day Z was recreated with full studio support and an updated engine?
Adam Williams

...in degrees Centigrade if it were 32 degrees Fahrenheit?
David Johnson

…if I could make you crap your pants with a single thought!
Josh Hamrick

...if we can double or triple the energy stored in batteries? As battery tech advances, we are going to see some amazing sci-fi level stuff.
Michael Williams

xNiGhThAwKx19 What can you tell us about the enigmatic symbols on both the shirts and in the Bungie Day announcement article?

I can tell you nothing about them that you don't already know, tenacious investigator: They exist. You will learn more about their role in our new universe Soon™.

And, I intend to tease you with them whenever they come up in conversation. Look! There they are again…

And if you start dialing your phone while looking at that, I will kick your ass.

GPK Ethan Is it worth pursuing a Master’s Degree in Computer Science?

Sorry, what was the question?
Derek Carroll

I think it depends what you're trying to do with your career. I've heard that any Computer Science degree is a ridiculously good thing to have - and that it can open just about any door for you.
Adam Williams

Bachelor of Science, yes... Master's... eh.... I dunno. What do you wanna do with it? Can you do it while you work?
Josh Hamrick

I have a Master's Degree in Computer Science, and... honestly, I suppose it really depends on what you're pursuing. In part, it DOES help make you more competitive and lucrative when getting into the workforce at the very beginning, and I'll admit that I learned quite a bit during my Master's curriculum (advanced networking, hardcore matrix multiplication, genetic algorithms, and the like). However, there does get to a point in the working world where your experience will inevitably trump your education in terms of what employers look for. Sure, it does help to be able to go back and draw inspiration from concepts I explored during university, but your mileage may vary drastically (plus or minus) depending on what sort of CS you're looking to do.
David Johnson

If you are asking about getting into the game industry, a Bachelor’s is usually sufficient to open doors for an interview. However, experience and relevant knowledge can be just as important as a degree. A Master's degree (focused correctly) is one way to get some of that experience and knowledge, and it can help you stand out from the crowd. In non-game CS fields, having a Master’s degree can be a much bigger advantage.
Michael Williams

ECOH Cam What did you guys do to celebrate Bungie Day?

This question is not about we did, as much as what we will do. Our observance of Bungie Day lands elsewhere on the calendar. On the Seventh day of the Seventh month, we devote all our attention to the Seventh Column. When it's our turn to celebrate, we will gather together under a cloak of darkness to reap the bounty of a Dionysian feast of food and spirits as we summon the elder gods to deliver a message about our progress in bringing something new and dangerous to life.

defnop552 They say you learn something new every day. What did you learn today?

It’s 2012 and web content management systems still kinda suck.
Derek Carroll

That the sweetness of watching the score being run up in softball with your Bungie co-workers is a fantastic feeling.
Jason Minard

TIL About bacon donuts.
Adam Williams

That not everyone keeps lunch appointments with you, no matter how sacred the lunch hour may be.
David Johnson

I don't want to ever have to resort to cannibalism at Bungie.
Josh Hamrick

While Rijndael encryption is the origin of AES, there are a few key differences.
Michael Williams

JScientia13 I don't believe I have seen anyone from Bungie's network staff on Breaking In. Any chance one could talk about what they do in the near future?

Sure. In fact, let’s take it a step further, and let you get in on the act of asking some of the questions. I have already solicited a volunteer to appear before your firing squad. He shall remain anonymous for now. What do you want to know about Network Engineering?

MAC Blast What TV show has the best intro?

Derek Carroll

Jason Minard

Scott Taylor

Nate Hawbaker

Adam Williams

David Johnson

Josh Hamrick

Michael Williams

callOFdutyFAN12 If I barged into the studio uninvited and started doing a series of flips, what would happen?

I don’t think you would get very far. That would be one flip, rather than a series of flips.

SPRTN One One 7 If you can give one honest, sincere, piece of advice about college and getting a job in the gaming industry, what would it be?

As I said in my Breaking In, the most important things are to make stuff, and show that stuff to other people. (Lather, rinse, repeat.)
Derek Carroll

College does not necessarily have anything at all to do with ending up in the gaming industry. I have a bachelor's degree in philosophy, a master's in history and here I am! Work hard, be passionate and become great at what you do.
Jason Minard

No matter how good, bad, expensive, free, reputable, etc. your college or your instructors are, it won't mean squat if you don't put in the effort inside and OUTSIDE of class to truly excel at your passion. This is especially true on the art side of things. Polycount. Is. Awesome.
Adam Williams

Do it, and unless you get extremely lucky and land a job you just can't do without midway, finish college. Honestly, the best classes (at least in computer science) are the ones you take during your junior and senior years because that's when you get to do your elective classes -- which means that you finally get to study what's interesting to you. And while it's not technically necessary to have a college degree to break into the gaming industry, it will make it all the more easier. You will almost certainly learn a lot in the process, both about your field and about you.
David Johnson

College: If you're going to spend all that money, make it worthwhile. Bust your ass and get something done.
Industry: Start making games now. Mods, home made, whatever... there are enough tools at your disposal to get things done. Every game you make will be better than your last and therefore, when you go for your first industry job interview, you'll have sweet experience to reference (and even show).
Josh Hamrick

Start building your portfolio right now, no matter what you want to do in the game industry. Draw or model environments, animate characters, compose, or program tiny games in your spare time. Ideally in collaboration with others. By the time you graduate, you will have the huge advantage of having some hands on experience with the industry you want to join.
Michael Williams

Whatever you’re studying just remember the goal is to try to make that into some sort of profession or career, it’s never too late or too early to learn that profession and be as professional about it as you can. If you’re truly following your passion this should come easy to you and shouldn’t ever feel like work; it should be fun and feel more like play.
Zeke Garcia

Don’t listen to these nerds. That all sounds like a lot of hard work. Here’s a tip from your Uncle DeeJ: Just play a lot of games and start a blog. Also, try not to leak sensitive stuff, should you ever happen upon it. That’s a great way to fire-proof your bridges.

devastat0r09 I want to see a new Bungie ViDoc.
robby118 The Community is hungry for another podcast.


See how that works? It’s a brand of tyranny that we have always enjoyed. Let me lower the hackles I've raised with a prediction for something that will happen sooner than later. We'll continue to open these Mail Sacks to make sure that we're never too far away from the conversation that you sustain in our home on the Internet. The next one will visit our virtual shores on Monday, true to form.

Community 7/13/2012 12:10 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Coolie Calihan

Building cool environments...

Building a new universe happens on a construction site that blends art and science. A team of Engineers lay the foundation. A team of Environment Artists plot the maze that will ensnare the gamer. They take the raw space, and turn it into a place they hope will feel as real to you as your own back yard. If you want to know more about how that happens, and how people prepare themselves for such fascinating challenges, check out this guy…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

Hey all, I’m Coolie Calihan (real name no gimmicks) and I’m just one cog in the exceptionally well-lubricated machine that builds Environment Art. I help create gameplay spaces by modeling in 3D, painting in Photoshop, and engaging in stimulating critiques. Occasionally, I’ll even drag a pencil around on a piece of paper.

We'll delve deeply into the intricacies of that stimulating work in a moment. First, let’s get to know that man behind the badass name. How does life occupy you when you're not dragging pencils?

I’m a pretty average guy. Besides typical dude stuff like drinking beers and watching Kung Fu, I snowboard and enjoy watching the Sounders play every now and again. I think my girlfriend is pretty rad too, so we hang out. I’m also a big fan of RTS games, especially Relic’s Dawn of War games. I still play Retribution quite a bit.

You've also been known to play a game of Battlefield 3 from time to time, not that I'm keeping track (but I am). What stops did you make on the road to turning your passion as a gamer into a career making games?

Shortly after graduating architecture school I found a nifty job doing some drafting work for a small firm outside Cincinnati. It was a classic ‘from A, go to B so you can get to C’ job where I learned a good deal about being a man in the 21st century. The job afforded me the spare time I needed to develop my game art skills as well, so it was definitely time well spent.

Was building things all part of your plan? What did the young Coolie dream of doing when he became the old(er) Coolie?

It varied quite a bit from marine zoologist to automotive engineer at Mercedes Benz’s AMG division. At one point I wanted to become a hydraulics engineer so that I could design the world’s first walking tank, but when my parents asked me how I would feel knowing my life’s work would undoubtedly kill lots of people, I shifted my attention to fine arts and architecture. Now I get to create structures that will inevitably be filled with the symphonies of death. So it works out.

Video games do provide a victimless war. What sort of education prepared you to realize that happy medium of conducting symphonies of death where no one has to actually die?

I have a B.A. in Architecture from the esteemed Miami University (of Ohio). A lot of the knowledge I rely on daily is self-taught, but the experience of going through architecture school is absolutely priceless. One of the most valuable lessons (that I’m consistently re-learning) of my education was how to receive constructive criticism without getting your feelings hurt. I’ll never forget the first critique in our studio class where one professor, which turned out to be one of my favorites, made a few of my classmates cry. At that moment I just smiled and knew I was in the right place.

Speaking of making people cry, let’s change the subject to how Bungie recruits brave new talent. How did you entice us to scrutinize you in the first place?

In a blind stroke of luck, I made a great connection to Bungie through Miami’s Architecture Department. Bungie Professional and Grizzled Ancient, Chris Carney, also attended Miami for architecture schooling. I corresponded with him for several years, which included a Bungie studio visit in 2009, before consulting him on a formal application for employment. He was able to get me an art test under the ever watchful eyes of HR which turned into my invitation to interview.

Way to work the contacts. Once Carney threw you to the wolves, how did you survive your interview with a whole pack that was looking to pick your bones clean?

The hardest part was convincing the interviewers I would be useful (and even a benefit) to the company with no game development experience. I knew that hiring me was a risk for Bungie and if I wasn’t confident, there’s no way they could be. I didn’t mind the length at all, since every interview was a fun, unique challenge. That said, I was exhausted when the day was over.

That doesn’t stop with the interview. Exhaustion is half the fun at Bungie. Tell us about the other half of your fun. What’s your favorite thing about working here?

Being an artist at Bungie means that even a noob like me has real responsibility and every chance to make as big an impact on the game as some of the more senior artists. For me that’s the best part, and it reflects the commitment to quality that Bungie strives for when looking for new recruits.

Take us through a day of that responsibility. Put us in the shoes of a Bungie Environment Artist on a day of your choosing (choose wisely).

It’s Friday, obviously, and literally millions of bagels adorn the kitchen counter. I grab one, but not before Jerome says ‘have a nice day’. I walk across the studio to my desk, look out of the tall, blurry windows behind my monitors, log into my workstation and spend the morning continuing whatever task is at hand. Lunch is usually with a few coworkers, and lately a lot of us have been playing Diablo 3 over lunch hour. After lunch it’s back to game art, maybe a meeting or two. Usually the day flies by.

I'm not sure that we consume millions of bagels on a Friday. That might be hyperbole, but we do like to keep our people happy. Of all the tactics we employ toward that end, which one makes you happiest?

The benefits are too numerous and generous to pick just one. But I am a huge fan of the carpool tally sheet where, if you carpool or bus to work, Bungie gives you a dollar to your favorite retailer. It adds up pretty quick.

And how do your skills as an artist add up? We're never done learning at Bungie. Can you tell us how your time here has enriched your craft?

I lean on my fellow artists for help all the time and I have yet to find someone that isn’t happy to lend a hand. Everyone has a different way of doing the same thing, so I try to soak it all in then add my own special sauce on top. After a little while people start asking you how you did certain things and that feels pretty cool.

It is very likely that an aspiring artist or architect is reading this right now, thinking about how they would love to do the work you are doing. Impart to them some wisdom that will put them on the path that you have traveled…

If you want to work in the industry, you have to make something first. Nobody gets a job in this industry from knowing a certain tool or being able to write in a certain programming language. I don’t care if you can draw out the entire interface and every menu of 3ds Max from memory. If you haven’t made anything, you can’t prove that you would be useful to the team.

But also don’t be afraid to start small. Every person that works here was a noob once. I think the first thing I ever modeled was a bike rack. A stupid, curved tube. And it took me something like 3 1/2 hours. Pick a project that is just out of your current capability and don’t stop working until you nail it. That’s how you get on a roll to something great.

Your wisdom is appreciated, as is your willingness to share your story. Let’s take this home with the final question we always ask: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Work Ethic, Talent, Experience. Nothing trumps wanting something so bad that you’ll give up sleeping for it.

If this sounds like work you would like to do, there are many ways to lose sleep at Bungie. Coolie is a member of one of many teams at Bungie that work tirelessly to delight our fans. The rest of the teams are also looking for new blood. Our Breaking In archive is a great place to learn about all of them, and how to make your own case to join.

Breaking In 7/9/2012 1:40 PM PDT permalink

Hey everybody, it’s Bungie Day!

Let the celebration begin...

Read Full Top Story

Community 7/6/2012 9:01 PM PDT

Mail Sack - Bungie Day Eve Edition

Twas the Sack before Bungie Day...

Bungie Day is coming. Have you heard? Every year, on the Seventh day of the Seventh month, we observe the greatness of the Seventh Column – that’s you. Before that revelry descends upon us, we must attend to the weekly ritual of answering your mail. Business before pleasure. Work before play. In keeping with the pattern that emerges whenever we contemplate our faithful community, we have assembled a Bungie Panel of Seven. They have rallied to answer Seven questions.

Derek Carroll, Senior Designer
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
Daniel Hanson, Associate Engineer
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
Steve Lopez, IT Overlord
Marty O’Donnell, Composer, Rock Climber
James Tsai, Senior Designer

Welcome to the pre-party. Let’s open the Sack.

ALI217 What will you do to keep the community entertained (after 7/7) since this is the last Mail Sack?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Who has been filling your head with such crazy ideas? Bungie Day is a celebration. Aside from the steady stream of questions about what we have planned for Bungie Day, it’s not the end of anything. Your Mail Sack is quite safe.

MAC Blast What is your favorite YouTube video?

The seven songs remixed here:

Derek Carroll

GPK Ethan How often is the rock climbing wall used?

Marty spends a lot of time ascending its boulders these days. He’s actually getting quite good at it.

halo odst 117 MC What do you think is the most important development in video game history in the last 20 years?

You are about to discover that the number Seven is not the only pattern to emerge from this Sack.

The Internet.
Pat Jandro

Networked multiplayer over multiple game devices.
Tyson Green

Definitely the Internet.
Steve Lopez

The Internet and the continued proliferation of broadband connectivity. It has allowed me to buy tons of crap I don't need with two clicks of a mouse button. Does anyone out there want to buy a juicer? Used only once.
James Tsai

The Internet. Worldwide connectivity has allowed us to play games in ways that were not possible before. It has also enabled the resurgence of independent game developers by flattening distribution platforms.
Daniel Hanson

MiloOmega Can you answer a question in 7 words?

It really depends upon the question, dude.

HOOBLA 911 What is your daily routine upon entering the studio?

Mark carpool benefit sheet, get water, check email and news as fog clears from head.
Tyson Green

It’s different every day, depending on what's on fire. I guess the first thing I do is to figure out what’s on fire.
Steve Lopez

I'm a tough guy, so I drink the toughest of drinks: vanilla mocha coffee. And lest you think that makes me soft, let me assure you that I choose the *LARGE* serving size from the automatic coffee maker. Sometimes I go to the bathroom, but often I prefer to just stand uncomfortably at my desk with my legs contorted in an awkward position, holding it until lunchtime.
James Tsai

1. Stumble into the studio, mumbling something to Jerome that may be mistaken for a groggy greeting.
2. Try not to trip up the stairs.
3. Grab my usual cup of hot coffee/cup of cold water combo that wakes me up in the morning.
4. Drink said combo.
5. Sync to latest code/content, check email, and read Joystiq and reddit.
6. Zzzzzzz...
7. Snap awake as the coffee finally kicks in. Time for another day of work!
Daniel Hanson

Thrasher Fan How is Bungie Day celebrated at the studio? Is there a massive party or something?

We gather together to focus on where we have been, and where we are going. Our various teams are brought into concert on our common goals. We mark our progress on the march to world domination. Then, we retire to our desks to eat overly rich foods and perpetuate the biggest myth about the video game industry as we play the game we are making against each other for hours and hours.

Plain Ben What is your fondest Bungie Day memory?

7/7/07 Freedom!
Marty O’Donnell

The independence announcement.
Tyson Green

One year they threw t-shirts into the audience during a presentation. I almost caught one, but it tumbled out of my grasp and down the steps where someone else absconded with it. Damn you, stone hands. Damn you.
James Tsai

This will be my first Bungie Day, as I was hired in October last year. Ask me again when it's over!
Daniel Hanson

MiloOmega What happens after Bungie day?

Business as usual. We forge ahead on our current project. You ask us questions that we would love to answer. We continue to host the tenacious citizens who still call Bungie.net home, while bringing our plans to reinvent that home to fruition.

XoG Suppressor If the entire studio were stuck on a desert island, and each of you could only bring one thing, what would it be?

You would think that our esteemed panel might answer this question sincerely, reaching deep into their psyches to reveal something about their value systems.  If you did think that, you would be wrong.  Most of us don't believe in the no-win scenario.

 A boat.
Pat Jandro

Can I answer "cruise liner?" Because that could be considered one thing. There'd be enough room for everyone else and their singular possessions, unless someone else answered cruise liner also. In fact, I can already see that Pat answered "boat." Now I feel less clever and completely unoriginal. It's a familiar feeling.
James Tsai

Boats to return to the mainland.
Tyson Green

The Internet. This place would melt down without the tubez.
Steve Lopez

The conch.
Daniel Hanson

Something tells me that Steve and Daniel will be abandoning their choices when those boats set sail.

Andrew2p Will you ever be doing anything about Halo again?

Our days of developing Halo are over, but our days of being fans of Halo will continue.

SilverBulitt82 What was your favorite Halo 2 Multiplayer map?

Turf! (biased)
Tyson Green

Lockout. Madness.
Steve Lopez

I get destroyed on all of them, so I don't have a "favorite." Instead, I have favorite corners where I hide, quivering with fear before my next inevitable death at the hands of my foes.
James Tsai

Is this where I shamefully admit that I didn't really play Halo 2 multiplayer? I tend to be more of a campaign kind of guy.
Daniel Hanson

Shame on you, Daniel. I weep that you will never know the sweet joys of a Warthog assault on the tower of Relic. When our next game is released to the waiting world, you are coming with me on a Ride Along into the wilds of multiplayer.

Mythical Wolf Why have you stopped doing those ride alongs? Explain yourself!

We didn't stop the Ride Alongs. We just stopped talking about them. Just this week, I went for a ride with the Spartan 1 Project, an achievement-stomping mindshare that migrated from their cradle on Bungie.net to a fully operational war room off-world. We are always open to playing games with the members of our community, and we will continue to, as we always have.

SN068237264910 Does the diversity of the Studio help conjure up the insane ideas you implement in your games?

Yes. We often provoke bouts of insanity in one another, and then irresponsibly escalate it until it gets into the game. See: Forge.
Tyson Green

It definitely makes the Photoshop contests more interesting. Never thought I'd see pics of Dan Miller doing THAT in my lifetime...
James Tsai

As an engineer, it can get a little turbulent, since each designer has their own idea of the One True Design. But once you get used to the idea that code is not sacred, it can be fun helping designers prototype their crazy ideas. The goal, after all, is to help them make the right design decisions. (Ideally, before we ship.)
Daniel Hanson

HammeredTurnip Will Plain Ben ever properly win a challenge?

Someone inform Ben that he is developing a cheering section! For the uninitiated, the announcement of these features in the Bungie Community Forum is punctuated with a weekly challenge of some sort. What began as riddles and trivia that were all-too-easy to solve with a search engine have evolved into competitive feats of creativity and expression.

Not only do they stretch the imaginations of our community, they help us clear out a storeroom filled with swag that needs a home. Plain Ben has been a perennial competitor, whose best chance at victory was spoiled by some Internet election tampering. Ever since, we let the Bungie Team choose the winner.

This week, the challenge was to create a piece of design in any medium that supported the caption “Bungie Day is Coming.” As you can plainly see, Ben is included among the seven finalists.







And, the Grand Champion for this week, as chosen by a panel of Bungie judges…


Every finalist wins some rare loot, including Plain Ben. As the caption promises, Bungie Day is Coming. If you listen carefully, you can hear the roar of its approach. The party we have planned will be a chance for everyone to score some sweet gifts as a token of our appreciation for the passion that lives on our site every day.

Stay tuned. Stay close. And, be on the lookout for next week's Mail Sack to appear in the same fashion as the dust from Bungie Day is carried away by the wind.

Community 7/6/2012 9:57 AM PDT permalink

Breaking In - John Stvan

From the Community, to the Community...

Team Bungie brings together artists from a whole galaxy of disciplines. Some of these artists imagine the experiences that are poured into our games. Other artists design the graphics that are enjoyed by our community right here at Bungie.net. Who better to do that work than someone from that very same community? Bungie has a long history of recruiting passionate players of our games to make sure that the community experience stays vivid for the next generation of gamers. In fact, there goes one right now, trawling the snack bar for Swedish Fish. Before he can escape with his snack, let’s throw him up against the wall and make him reveal his secrets.

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is John Stvan.  I’m a graphic designer who supports the Visual Identity team, Marketing team, as well as the Online and Mobile teams. My job is pretty unique in that I work on many internal-facing projects, as well as a lot of the things that our community sees. Marketing and VizID are responsible for the identity of our team and the games they create. My work focuses on web, motion graphics, print, and digital graphic design. I have a rare opportunity currently to work closely with the wizards of the web and mobile teams to help design the next iterations of Bungie.net.

Let’s see how many points of common interest you have with our readers. When you are not designing graphics that delight them when they come to Bungie.net, how do you spend your time?

I’m a gamer, so you’ll likely find me on the battlefields of some games. More than that, I love golfing, jamming on my guitar, going to movies, long walks on the beach, holding hands…

…wait is this Match.com?

Honestly, I’m pretty much your average fan of fun. I like hanging out with friends for a beer, grabbing a bite to eat at new places, and heading out to discover what Washington has to offer.

It sounds like you are a man of many interests. Has that wide spectrum of talents manifested in your career as well as your life?

I’ve had almost every job imaginable. I was a waiter, bar back, teller, telemarketer, journalist, but mainly a salesman. I worked at AT&T for a number of years, but found I was incredibly fond of making digital art. Halo 3’s screenshots were the perfect playing ground for new ideas, skill training, and art creation. I messed around with my own work and collaborated with people in the community. Just for fun.

There were a lot of unlikely stops along your road to working for Bungie. Before you began that journey through sales and customer service, where did you hope it would end?

I wanted to be an actor. I studied at Second City for a time. I’ve been in plays and small films, but that was just something to do. I like making people laugh. I’ve always wanted to be an artist. When I was young, I used to wish I could go into my drawings or see them move and interact with them.

As your goals shifted, did you shift the way you would prepare yourself to reach them?

I got as far as a few years of college. I tried, I really did, but I hated school. I did go back to online schooling up until my job here started. School is so important these days, and I’ve always had plans to finish. I really, really, lucked out with how things ended up for me. I left school and sold phones for 8 years. That wasn’t fun. I really wish I just sat down and figured out what made me happy a long time ago. I wouldn’t trade any of my struggles and experience for anything. I’m extremely happy with how it all worked out.

Tell us, then, exactly how it did work out. How does a purveyor of mobile phones make the jump to being a designer in the service of a developer of kick ass games? It seems an unlikely leap.

I’ve been an avid member of the Bungie Community for a long time. Urk was kind enough to feature some of my art on the Bungie.com main page. I made a few posters that got shared around the studio. Lorraine McLees found some art that I posted in her group and we talked about it for a bit – little did I know that she’d be my senior artist one day. Around the time of the Reach Beta, I noticed that Bungie was hiring for a content coordinator position and I applied. My stomach flipped when I got a call from Kirkland, but the message was that they found someone better suited for the job. The silver lining was that the person I talked to told me they would be looking at me again soon for some contract work with the same team.

As a graduate of Bungie Community College (not accredited), did your accomplishments as a fan give you the chops you would need to shine in your interview with Bungie? What was the hardest part about that final exam?

I hadn’t planned on having the phone interview that day and took the call from the golf course. I dropped the call four times, but still got invited to work for Bungie as a contractor. True story.

Congratulations on passing the test, even if the fairway was your classroom. Now that you have made the grade, what do you find to be the best thing about working here?

I think the best part for me is the fact that I get to do SO MUCH that people touch and see and use. From Xbox Themes, avatar shirts, web design, and box art to internal sites and events… our team gets to do it all. This is not to say that it’s easy. We usually have a very short turnaround time on a lot of the things we do.

Tell us more about those aggressive timelines. If you would, take us through a day in the life of a graphic designer at Bungie.

Well, I get in at 9… 9:15… ok 10 some days. It really depends on how late I worked the night before. Normally, I already have my coffee and get ready for the daily meetings. I try to hammer out first iterations by noon and get some feedback. We normally do a 1pm lunch. After that, I make changes based on the feedback. Coffee O’Clock is at 3pm, which always helps break up my day. After that it’s back to work until whatever hour at night when the project is done. Is it 11pm yet?

Is there something that Bungie does to make your long days and nights of hard work a little sweeter?

The Swedish Fish.

Editor’s Note: I can attest to John’s love of Swedish Fish. Asking for just one is met with violent protest.

What is your favorite accomplishment as a member of the Bungie team? When did you know that picking up and leaving home had been the right move for you?

My favorite thing that I’ve ever done at Bungie was an internal project that I can’t really talk about. I created a web solution for sharing project updates with the studio (despite not being a web programmer or developer at the time). It’s helped to keep a growing team on the same page as we create this new universe.

Externally, my proudest moment was creating the “Burn Bright. Burn Blue.” avatars for Xbox LIVE. We were able to sell that item to raise a lot of money for charity.

As impressive as those accomplishments might be, we can never rest on the laurels that we build for ourselves. How does Bungie make you better and better at what you do?

My boss is the best at teaching me how to enhance my skill. I’ve learned so much by rising to his various challenges. We all push each other on the VizID team. If we don’t know how to do something, we figure it out. Time and time again, you hear that Bungie is not a place for complacency. We are always challenging ourselves and our coworkers to do better and do more.

You know better than most that the Bungie Community is filled with artists who channel their creativity into expressions of their passion as gamers. What would you say to people who become inspired by your story?

Find out what you love to do, and do it. One of my favorite sayings is “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”. This job is tough most of the time… but being successful in a tough environment is part of the fun. I’m not even close to as talented as some of the people here, but I work extra-hard to become valuable. If you love what you do, and work hard, good things will come.

Thank you for sharing, John. You have earned your Swedish Fish for the day. Before you tear into that snack and return to your drawing tablet, please tackle this final question: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Work Ethic, Talent, Experience.

I had little experience before getting hired on at Bungie. I took full advantage of every opportunity I was given here. Because I have a thick skin (thank you Chicago), I persevered through some really tough times and gained the knowledge and experience I needed to continue doing great work.

There are many roads that lead to our studio. The one that John traveled is only one of them. Bungie still believes that our thriving community is a great place to find people with the passion to do what we do, assuming they have the right skills. You can find more of us profiled in a similar fashion in our Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 7/2/2012 3:19 PM PDT permalink

Blinded by the Light of Marty

Shinning in the dark...

"Headlined by some of the greatest scientific minds of our time..." is how the pitch for the Seattle Science Festival begins. Tonight, that includes Marty O'Donnell, our Elder and Audio Director, who will appear onstage in a discussion with a panel of Gaming Luminaries. We have always basked in Marty's warm glow. Now the scientific community can, too. Perhaps he can encourage Stephen Hawking to join him in a duet.

Please join us in wishing him luck.  Shine that light, Marty.

Community 6/29/2012 3:09 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 23

More of a stampede than a panel...

The ensemble piece that is the Mail Sack was almost a buddy movie featuring me and the only Bungie guy who braved the mailroom this week. Don’t let that hurt your feelings. As evidenced by the diary I published the other day, we have been working a little more frantically than usual. Looking down the barrel of an awkward duet, I shouted a more desperate plea across the studio floor. I may have also threatened to substitute this weekly ritual of sharing and caring with one of the more bizarre email threads that erupt in our inboxes when people are high on caffeine and low on sleep.

That touched off a stampede. Was it sympathy or panic? We will never know. But, check out this panel!

Jon Cable, Senior Engineer
David Candland, Senior Artist
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Brandi House, User Researcher
David Johnson, Engineer
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Jim Levasseur, Cinematic Designer
Steve Lopez, IT Overlord
Dan Miller, Senior Designer
Joshua Rodgers, Engineer
Tom Sanocki, Staff Artist
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Scott Taylor, Associate Producer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

Together, we could overrun a real postal service. Instead, let’s just open the Sack.

Spartan1065 You always talk about topics of conversation we can explore but, after the 22nd week of random questions that have nothing to do with your next game I have to wonder, what else is there to talk about?

It's no secret that we can’t explore the details of our next game, but that leaves a lot on the table. We can talk about the people who are making it. We can ask what inspires them. We can compel them to relive what brought them here, and explore how they prepared themselves for the work they are doing now. You don’t need to take my word for it. Just read on.

R3dDragon07 What is the most outlandish experience you've drawn on to help with your current work at Bungie?

That time in college when I stayed awake for 72 hours.
John Stvan

I've got a minor in history, which has helped surprisingly often when working on our games. It has applied when discussing the story with writers, but has also helped in thinking about social behavior in our games.
Michael Williams

When I was a kid visiting the homes of others, I was intrusive and nosey to a very rude degree. I would open and poke around inside any drawers, cupboards, closets - whatever I could find. In hindsight, this curiosity helped me become a good tester.
Ben Wommack

My previous CIA experience.
Dan Miller

I have to say that Dan has been extremely helpful in training me to resist the urge to divulge secrets under the threat of torture. You will never break me, Bungie Community!

Krimm117 Could you tell us about your most memorable experience with the Bungie fan community?

Every time a fan casually notices the badge hanging from my hip and asks if I really REALLY work for Bungie, it's an amazing experience.
David Johnson

All of those Xbox Messages asking for Reconz.
Dan Miller

We had a panel with fans a few years ago at PAX and autographed what seemed like a million posters, helmets, games, and other swag. Seeing the passion there meant even more than visiting the long lines at the midnight launches.
Michael Williams

The Halo 2 launch when we met the fans at Redmond Town Center. Amazing high energy crowd!
Steve Lopez

The time I attended a Bungie.org LAN party at Louis Wu's in New York. There were about 30 of us there, and I got to spend some quality time with each of them. I experienced everything from deep discussions about modern Sci-Fi, to brainstorming cool iPad games, to making Swedish meatballs. And, yes, we even played some Halo. While there, I wasn't a Bungie employee, I was a fan, just like everyone else.
David Candland

Minywheats If there is one programming language that the programming ninjas at Bungie really love, what is it?

I'm a production assistant. As far as I'm concerned, all of that stuff falls under the general catch-all of "the blackest of magicks."
Joey Gibbs

I've become a huge fan of C#. We use it for almost all of our tools and server work. It is incredibly fast, very readable, yet still powerful enough to get the job done.
Michael Williams

C#! It's like playing with Legos.
Joshua Rodgers

Oh come on, who isn't going to answer C#?
Nate Hawbaker

Editor’s Note: These guys…

Malbolge. It warms my heart and makes me happy.
Tom Sanocki

These kinds of questions start religious wars. Programmers love their languages of choice like they love their firstborn. I've heard some mumbled appreciation for Python.
Jon Cable

This isn't the correct answer, but I'll always say LISP, simply because our Halo scripting language was so LISP-like in syntax design. Parentheses, everywhere.
(Ben Wommack)

SharkTooth Do people keep their cool during crunches or are there usually a handful of fights (verbal or physical)?

Fights are usually Man vs. Machine, rather than Man vs. Man.
Derek Carroll

I've definitely noticed a lot more people wearing their "Stop Bugging Me I'm busy" headphones, including myself.
Joshua Rodgers

It's actually pretty calm and down to earth here. Yeah, the days can get long, but everyone tends to be so eager to be here and get work done that there really aren't problems, EVEN when there's the massive rush to the dinner lines!
David Johnson

On the last day of crunch, things can sometimes show the nature of two weeks of extended hours. We generally hold the big decision-making for the following Monday, after a weekend of rest.
Nate Hawbaker

We're cool cats, not barbarians – for the most part.
Dan Miller

No fights, but the atmosphere is definitely a little more quirky than normal.
Jon Cable

Brandi House

Patience can be limited, but crunch evenings can be quite jovial.
Luke Ledwich

With our carefully planned crunch schedule, morale tends to be high and tension runs low. Halo 2 was pretty rough, but most of our crunches since then have been a lot better.
Michael Williams

In all seriousness, people are supremely respectful to their coworkers around the studio. I've never seen an altercation, and rarely any harsh words spoken even in heated disagreement. We all need each other, after all.
Ben Wommack

SN068237264910 As a future Animator, what are a few things I should know/do in order to Conquer Animating?

Love your designers.
Dan Miller

Know that it is incredibly hard to find footage of bunnies running that don't end tragically for the bunny. You must harden your heart and have an iron stomach.
Michael Williams

Don't let the computer animate for you; it's a terrible assistant. Set a lot of keys and don't be precious with your ideas (try stuff quickly and throw it out if it's not working). Focus on the fundamentals of good animation (read The Illusion of Life for starters) and observe from life, not animated films. Find talented people and ask for their feedback, and listen to their ideas. And don't get obsessed with polish. What you're communicating, the idea itself, is more important.
Jim Levasseur

Looking good wearing a body suit covered in ping pong balls couldn't hurt.
Ben Wommack

PVSpartanL36 For those on the Bungie team with kids, how do they feel about having a Bungie employee as a parent?

My second-grader thinks it's cool, but since I don't let him play (or even really see) the M-rated games I make, he doesn't have the same appreciation that his classmates do. It must hurt to have your son call someone else "the coolest dad".
Derek Carroll

My Corgi thinks it's so cool. She brags about it to all of her friends.
Nate Hawbaker

My six year old loves coming to the studio and "seeing daddy's secret projects."
Dan Miller

Most weekends (and often during the week) my young kids ask if they can come to Bungie. On those special days where the answer is "yes", they race through the office, visiting each of their favorite corners (the game room, the comfy chairs, their favorite conference rooms, my desk). They barely know what computer games are, and they still love this place.
Tom Sanocki

My daughter is 20 months. Here's what she told my wife yesterday: "Daddy at work. They playing bideo games."
Scott Taylor

My kids love it. Our family pretty much plays everything but instead of the kids bugging us grownups for the next big thing, usually I beat them to it and bring stuff home.
Steve Lopez

Most of my kids are all "yeah, whatever" about it. However, when I go to high school functions, some of their friends and classmates totally brownnose me. It's pretty comical.
David Candland

xgeua What's the workload and stress at Bungie like compared to high school and university?

The transition from the academic world to the working world is a harsh one. You have less pick-up time to do your hobbies, but it's more concentrated free time (you don't have to take your work home). The demands are much higher, but the freedom outside of work is greater too.
David Johnson

It's difficult to compare those two things. The stress during school was for disposable goals. Every day, decisions are made in this studio that will affect our work for a long time. This makes it very easy to get excited about doing your absolute best. The most common fear would be letting down your colleagues.
Nate Hawbaker

I liken crunch to something very similar to end-of-quarter/semester exam prep. Except with more at stake.
Dan Miller

Workload: less. You don't have to do papers, problem sets, and programming assignments all weekend every weekend when you have a job!
Stress: depends. Usually less, but when it's make-or-break time, you don't have the option of bailing and settling for a bad grade -- people are depending on you.
Tom Sanocki

It feels a bit like my last year of college. But you only have one class, it's several years long, you have hundreds of teammates, and we are all the professor.
Jon Cable

For me it is similar. It’s a lot of challenging work that is hard to leave alone even once you go home. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated though with a solid team working in the same direction.
Luke Ledwich

It's probably comparable, but the important thing is that even the crummy, boring parts don't really feel like work. Also, it's tough to have homework when you literally are not allowed to take work outside of the studio. You know, flesh-eating NDAs and all that.
Joey Gibbs

I'd say the workload is bigger, but the stress is countered by the fun of the work. It is a great feeling to be excited to do your job every day.
Michael Williams

There is way more stress and way more time spent, but it all feels less tough than school was. The big difference, of course, is that I really enjoy all the work and effort Bungie demands of me. In school, it was easy to lose motivation.
Ben Wommack

Depends on where we are in the schedule. Some times are definitely similar to the sleep deprivation I encountered during finals week. Other times are super inspiring. Welcome to the real world.
Steve Lopez

Kvaener If you could go back in time and tell your 16 year-old self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell 16 year-old DeeJ to look both ways before he went diving into traffic. When I first learned to drive, perhaps as training to be a terror at the controls of a Warthog, I was a little reckless behind the wheel. This resulted in some collisions that earned me the nickname “Crash” at the dinner table. Perhaps our Bungie Panel has some more profound life lessons to send back through time.

"Things won't work out the way you planned, but they'll be pretty awesome." Either that, or "Buy Apple stock." My 16-year-old self wouldn't listen, though.
Derek Carroll

“People may think you're a nerd and totally unpopular now, but just wait 15 years; you'll be the envy of your classmates.”
David Johnson

“Take advantage of every opportunity anyone gives you.”
John Stvan

“Don't put that there.”
Nate Hawbaker

"You won't believe what you will be doing when you get older."
Dan Miller

"Try harder! Write more video games! Make them more fun!"
Tom Sanocki

"Video games are not soul-leeching man-absorbing manifestations of evil... well, at least not exclusively. There's some good in them too. Somewhere. Hand-eye coordination or something."
Brandi House

"No good will come of tequila."
Luke Ledwich

"It's time you started your training in the ways of the ninja assassin."
Joey Gibbs

"The further you go, the more people of like interests you will find. Keep a good attitude, and work hard, and things will always be ok. Also, here's some lotto numbers and stock tips."
Michael Williams

"Work harder. Don't slack off. Don't worry so much about girls; you're overcomplicating things. Try to intern at Facebook when it starts existing. Oh, and don't buy that Gamecube at launch--get the Xbox instead."
Ben Wommack

Buy stock in Apple, Microsoft, and Google.
Steve Lopez

Stay away from Melody. Dat girl crazy.
David Candland

Wikked Navajoe How do you control your anger?

I pack it up into a tight little ball inside me.
Joshua Rodgers

Type up an honest email response and then promptly delete it.
Dan Miller

I don't.

John Stvan

Go for a good run around.
Luke Ledwich

If I get really worked up over something I go to the gym and lift heavy things until my head clears.
Joey Gibbs

It's important to remember that our brains sometimes like to make us angry just for the rush of adrenaline it gives us. When I find myself getting angry, I take a step back and think about why I am thinking that way and try to see it from another perspective. Most problems are solved much better with a cool head and an open heart.
Michael Williams

I work out. Sublimate that rage, sublimate it!
Ben Wommack

Recognize what your anger is: it's how your mind has been conditioned to respond to what you experience. You have learned to be angry in response to certain things. Anger isn't forced on you. It is a creation of your own mind. It is an addictive mental poison that ruins and shortens your life. It has no upsides. Cold blooded determination beats anger every time. Understanding that anger is just an addictive response, and nothing noble or useful, you can unlearn those responses.
Tyson Green

mini0013xx What was your job before you joined Bungie?

I was at Zipper Interactive making different video games up until the studio shut down.
David Johnson

I sold cell phones in Chicago for about 8 years.
John Stvan

Testing at Nintendo. Yes, our building was architecturally designed to look like Block Fort from Mario Kart 64.
Nate Hawbaker

Making animated family films, nearly every one of which had something horrible and terrifying happen in the first sequence.
Tom Sanocki

I was a lifeguard.
Jon Cable

Freelance couch potato. Before that, Microsoft developer.
Luke Ledwich

Not Batman, for reasons previously enumerated.
Joey Gibbs

Game tester for Microsoft Game Studios.
Michael Williams

I wrote and did audio design for a bunch of Scene It? games. My work at Bungie doesn't involve as much movie trivia.
Scott Taylor

I sorted recycling for my school. It was pretty gross.
Ben Wommack

snipe champpppp What is the single most useful piece of information anyone has ever shared with you?

Be kind to others and don't burn bridges, even if you don't necessarily like that somebody else. Even if nothing ever comes out of it, being kind is its own reward.
David Johnson

If you're coasting, you're going downhill.
John Stvan

Don’t take refuge in the false security of consensus and the feeling that whatever you think, you’re bound to be OK, because you’re in the safely moral majority.
Nate Hawbaker as Christopher Hitchens

Always be closing.
Dan Miller as Alec Baldwin

The truth is not in the middle, and not in one extreme; but in both extremes.
Tom Sanocki as Charles Simeon

Connections are super important in your career, but as soon as you start seeing people as just a connection, you'll lose them.
Brandi House

Have you tried coffee?
Luke Ledwich as Juan Valdez

Go with the flow - avoid setting yourself against the world.
Joey Gibbs

If you try to view people in the best possible light and treat them accordingly, more often than not they will respond by living up to that expectation.
Michael Williams as his grandfather

Being ignorant of something is not a shameful thing. Asking questions about something you don't know is a fantastic character trait to develop.
Ben Wommack

Until you have children, you don’t know half of what you think you know.
Steve Lopez as an old neighbor

Duardo What would you say is the most difficult part of your job?

Trying to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Joshua Rodgers

As a programmer, it's so easy to want to do EVERYTHING. It's a necessary skill to prioritize what's important. There's an infinite amount of work that's waiting to be done, but not all of it is equally important.
David Johnson

The boss battles.
John Stvan

Rolling out a workflow change to our toolset when you have 200 people as your customers. If you move something 50 pixels, you will hear about it within minutes.
Nate Hawbaker

Dan Miller

Fighting with Father Time. That guy's tough.
Tom Sanocki

Not being able to share all the cool stuff we're making.
Jon Cable

To stop adding features and deliver the product.
Luke Ledwich

Designing systems to sustain the kind of load you crazy people tend to put on our servers.
Michael Williams

Trying to stay an expert on everything all at once.
Ben Wommack

Encouraging security in a large group of creative people.
Steve Lopez

mk LITE Are you ever afraid to open the Mail Sack and see what the community has in store for you?

Certainly not! I am a man without fear. Not only is the Mail Sack a great way to know what all of you are thinking about, it’s my chance to mine my coworkers for old stories and nuggets of wisdom. Enabling this conversation is the highlight of my week. Fortunately, it takes all week to do.

We will do this all over again next week. There is still a lot to talk about, so long as you all remain curious about what happens within these walls. While we might be silent about the “what” or the “when” of our next game, but I can still let you in on the “who” and the “why.”

And, let's not forget that Bungie Day Is Coming.

Community 6/29/2012 12:05 PM PDT permalink

The Crunch Diaries

A week in the life of a Bungie Princess...

Game development is a treacherous journey across a landscape scored with peaks and valleys. These past weeks, another milestone has loomed like a snow-capped mountain between us and where we want to be. With only one way over it, our friends have noticed our absence on their social calendars. Our families knew that we would be missing from the dinner table. With a stolen kiss and a pat on the ass, they sent us off to complete our trek.

Crunch is always a lot of hard work. When the days run into nights, we go to great lengths to recreate the comforts of home right here in our studio. This feat of hospitality falls to a loving staff of administrators. Brittany Lichty is one of them. Her goal is to make the incline ahead of us seem a little less steep.

For many of our weary developers, she is all that separates them from starvation or a psychotic episode. She is equal parts Morale Sergeant, Den Mother, Geek Wrangler, and Hostess. This is her story.

Let’s open her diary to see the great lengths she will go to so that our climb is just a little warmer.

Monday, June 11th
7:15 am: Here we go. I stand before the mirror and recite my daily affirmation: I love crunch. I can do anything good. I will buy enough food. I won’t buy too much food, maybe. This week will be great!

6:00 pm: I send the email to announce that the first crunch dinner is served. Stampede! First instinct: hide. Does Bungie have a fallout shelter?

Tuesday, June 12th
Made it out alive, barely. Now I have the Hungry, Hippos theme song stuck in my head. Hungry, hungry, hippos, we are hungry hippos.

Wednesday, June 13th
8:00 am: “How many doughnuts?” Yes. That’s correct, fourteen dozen. “Are you having doughnuts all day long?” No. These will last two hours… at best.

5:34 pm: I receive a call from a frantic pizza delivery man, “Yeah, so, I have your pizzas here but, I’m trapped in a stairwell and I don’t know where I am.”

Thursday, June 14th
11:30 am: “No, not normal people. Gamers. Do you understand?” They say “Yes.”

5:30 pm: I receive one lousy tray of Chicken Tikka Masala. ONE TRAY! You try telling 300 developers that there is not enough food. It takes a certain level of insanity to do such a thing.

6:05 pm: The trick to telling a hungry tester they can’t have a second helping? Never break eye contact. Stare them down until they slowly back away from the last of the Lamb Shahi Korma. If you break eye contact, even for a moment, they will pounce. Crunch brings out the animal in us all.

Friday, June 15th
Time: 1800 hours
Restaurant of choice: Ezell’s
Pounds of chicken strips: 75

Monday, June 18th
Dear Diary,
Everything went smoothly today. Crises averted at every turn. Did I just jinx myself?

Tuesday, June 19th
Dinner is ready. BUT there was a miscommunication on how much chicken I wanted. I said I wanted to feed a small army and they heard that I wanted to feed a baby bird.

Wednesday, June 20th
3:30 pm: Horrid smell emanating from the refrigerator. Time to suit up. There will be no mercy this time around.

5:30 pm: Pizza Wednesday is my favorite. Pizza night for me means an easy order and an easy clean up. More important, it means happy people. Ten million calories later a beautiful game emerges from a cocoon of bagels and pizza.

For Brittany, as well as us, all of this has happened before - and it will all happen again. We have more peaks to ascend before we reach the final summit, but we feel lucky to have the chance to do this work, though the hours be long. People like her make the studio where that work happens a nice place to spend our days – and our nights.

Here’s to you Brittany.

Time for ice cream.

Community 6/27/2012 1:21 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Scott Kankelborg

Put to the test...

Testers at Bungie have all the fun. It’s a super easy job, too. Not only is it a great way to translate your favorite pastime into a career, but all you have to do is sit around and play games all day. Who wouldn’t love a gig like that? To be honest, what you just read is one of the most vicious myths about the video game industry. Testing games is a rigorous occupation. A good tester possesses unshakeable patience, a surgical attention to detail, an ever-evolving understanding of the systems they are proving, and a hatred of bugs that runs as deep as their love for games. The process that “assures the quality” of our work is the backbone of our culture as a developer. But don’t take it from me. There goes a brave member of the team right now.

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Scott Kankelborg. You blocked my test pass, prepare to die. In fancy-speak, my job is “Quality Assurance”. The most uplifting description of what I do: “To be an advocate for the consumer.” My current deployment has me embedded deep in the heart of the User Interface team where I scream battle slogans like “Standard Definition” and “Aspect Ratio.” I’m also helping to lay the foundation for testing on multiple platforms. I owned the Saved Film system for Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, and Reach, and dabbled in other areas such as Performance, File Sharing, Configuration, and User Interface.

You must get so tired of holding a game controller. Once we release you into the wild, how do you unwind?

True to stereotype, I spend a healthy portion of my time outside of work gaming (including sacred duties as a Minecraft server admin), eating pizza, and drinking Mt. Dew. I also spend a bunch of time doing Pen & Paper RPG’s; I’m running a Pathfinder game at home and here at Bungie, and am a player in both a Pathfinder and Star Trek game. While working at a previous job I also picked up a nice side hobby of heading to the gun range. Sorry ladies, I realize at this point you can’t control yourselves, but I’m already happily married to an amazing woman (and she games too!).

That last reveal is sure to break some hearts, but breaking things is what testers do best. Right? How did you cultivate yourself into being such a catch?

I’ve done all sorts of things before I found my true calling at Bungie. I’ve been everything from a camp counselor to an armed guard at a military base (and probably everything in between). Every job has had mountains of useful experience leading to my current job. For any job, you should look back and find skills and experiences that you can build from. For example, security work teaches you all about documenting events, which translated into filling out bugs with repro steps that explain exactly what happened to somebody that wasn’t there. Darth Jevans and Uncle Sam both love their complete documentation!

Was an exciting career in complete documentation something you have always dreamt about? What did you used to tell people when they grilled you about what you were going to do with your life?

Funny story time! Back in middle school, we had to do a written report with a presentation to the class on that very subject. I was deep into SimCity and SimAnt at the time and felt my report should be all about how I wanted to work at Maxis when I grew up. Most gamers probably know that company, but my teacher was no gamer. As I stood up to give my report, my teacher announced, “You want to work at Maxi’s? Like…the pads?” I spent the rest of my years at that school convincing everybody that “Maxis” was the name of a company that made games. I was scarred for life.

You are among friends now, Scott. Just imagine what teachers ask students who say they want to work for Bungie. Was the rest of your schooling that traumatic?

I went straight into the workforce from High School. I took some classes at a college in my hometown but never finished. After I had begun working as a contract tester I began attending weekend classes on Quality Assurance and coding at Bellevue Community College (remember that sweet consumer advocate line? This is where I heard it).

Truth be told, I learned that I should have finished college. There is a lot you can learn while at college, aside from the things you learn in college. To some degree getting out alive with a diploma in hand proves you know how to work long hours, write detailed reports, and study up on subjects that you once knew nothing about. I had to prove those skills on the job. Don’t like the assignment? You better work extra hard because some day your boss is going to give you an assignment you don’t like. I also learned that if you tackle every assignment as if it was of upmost importance, it will absolutely pay off.

As a student of the world, was it hard to infiltrate our studio? How did you seduce Bungie into taking you seriously as a candidate for a Test position?

I made it clear I was ready to dig deep and work. I had zero experience in the software/gaming industry but I had a love of gaming and the willingness to work hard. I had actually worked for Microsoft/Bungie as a contractor for 3 years before I got called up to the major leagues.

If you asked Darth Jevans, I’m sure he’d say something about my zealotry. I’ll take on any assignment I’m given (I suspect he has given me a few just to see if I’ll say no) and I’ll also be the over-zealous maniac at his desk when things need to get done and e-mail just isn’t cutting it. Warning: You gotta know when to hold em and know when to fold em. Be over-zealous in things because you believe in them and want to see the job done as best you can; you better be sure you are really ready to die on that little mountain of yours.

Such drama! You could have been a thespian with bravado like that. Can you apply that storytelling flair to recount your interview with us?

My initial contracting interview was easy compared to all the guys that went thru Bungie’s normal interview loop. The hardest part was that the real interview lasted 3 years! Nobody told me I was interviewing and nobody promised me riches or dangled a sweet job offer in front of me. During that interview, I asked a bunch of questions like; “How can I automate this process”, “How can I do this so an Engineer doesn’t have to”, and “How does this whole process work?”

Your work has spoken for itself. Now that you have ascended that personal mountain that threatened to kill you, what has been your proudest memory of reaching the summit?

My biggest test-related moments of pure happiness come when I nail a hard-to-reproduce bug. I once spent nearly 3 weeks on a film error that occurred in Halo 3 that we wanted to patch in a title update. I stared at the reports I had, the films uploaded, and the few screenshots I had until I could recite them from memory. Finally it hit me and I had it nailed immediately. Outside of direct testing, it’s the amazing time I get to spend with the Make-A-Wish kids that come thru our studio. It’s a complete honor and privilege to be able to run playtests for and get to know these kids.

Is every day packed with such heroics? Tell us what happens between sunrise and sunset – not that we can see either from our windowless fortress...

For test the day starts out with our BVT team’s ritual sacrifice to the build gods. These “lucky” souls have the honor of arriving early in the morning and scouring the build for any blockers. Embedded testers such as me roll in at whichever time best suits the needs of their area. After we arrive all bets are off. A tester’s schedule rarely goes as planned. You’ll quickly get randomized for playtests, BVT support, or just to be an extra eye on some area that needs a little extra love. Of course no day in the life of any tester is complete without test cases. Lots and lots (and lots) of test cases. Test Status Reports are like unholy offerings to our test leads. Go too long without sending one and they will rise from their deep slumber to eat your soul.

Bungie tries to balance those unholy offerings with perks and rewards. Which ones warm your weary soul the most?

If I answered anything other than “the free Mt. Dew” every friend/family member I have that reads this would call me a liar. There are a ton of sweet perks showered on us regularly but this really does it. Every time I brag to anybody I always start with the Mt. Dew.

Your honesty is most appreciated. Since you are so willing to share, tell us what you still have to learn. How can you become a more powerful tester?

Having a deeper knowledge of software is a good place to start. Learn coding, learn to multithread, and learn to create an app or two on your PC, Smartphone, Xbox, or whatever. Having an understanding of how code works can benefit any tester. I also ask the folks in my areas how they do their work. I can now say that I have built my own functioning UI screen. It had rainbow pancakes and looked amazing.

The Internet is filled with gamers who would love to duplicate your journey. What would you offer them as sage counsel?

The folks that I see flourishing all have a deep hunger to improve. They don’t just show up, file the required number of bugs, and go home. They learn coding, and then show the manager all the bugs their automation caught while they did their normal work, they free up developers by handling some of the load, they give good feedback from playtests (Hint: “this is stupid and I hate it” is not good feedback), and they all show a love for the job.

One of the biggest reasons I didn’t get into the industry sooner was the fear that it would make me hate gaming. This was absolutely not the case for me. I now appreciate all of the work put into the games I love so much more than I ever did.

Do not fear this final question, Scott. You have met this challenge with grace thus far… Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Work Ethic > Experience > Talent. I don’t think talent or experience will get you very far without the work ethic. It’s that ethic that will give you the raw experience and it’s also a good ethic that will help direct that raw talent into form. Even if you have talent you need to be experienced and be productive with it.

With that, we send Scott back to his hunt for bugs. They won’t bash themselves. If his story inspires you to climb a mountain of your own, our Careers page has many to choose from. If you would like to explore the whole range of possibilities at Bungie, check out our Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 6/25/2012 3:49 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 22 - Return of the Urk

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

When I started working at Bungie as your faithful servant and indestructible punching bag, one of our fearless leaders lured me away from the relative safety of our studio for some lunch. Seated at the eatery of his choosing, he told me that Community Managers have a shelf life. This seemed like a warning wrapped in a dare, peppered with a dash of sympathy. It sent a shiver up my spine. I couldn't help but picture my predecessors rotting in their chairs over time. Had each of them been discarded like spoiled vegetables, thus sparing our breathable air of their bitter stench?

Of course not! The throne of Community Management has seen a proud succession throughout our history. The pre-Halo era of Bungie was ruled by ancestral characters like Doug Zartman, Max Hoberman, and Matt Soell. Ske7ch holds the record for the longest-sitting Bungie Community Guy, presiding over the virtual nation that played every Halo game that Bungie ever released in one way or another. Frankie ran away from home after a colorful tenure to elope with the Master Chief.  KP took a turn at the helm, before joining Team Xbox.  Lukems still thrives at Bungie, concocting new and exciting ways for you to burn through countless hours of your lives like so many spent rounds of ammunition.

And, then, there is the bearded visage who hired me to inherit his crown of locked threads and franchised montages. This week, very much at your request and my insistence, I give you a Bungie Panel of one…


For some of you, the man needs no introduction. He was your face to the world for Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach. I, like many of you, used to pester him for free swag and some occasional love on the front page of Bungie.net. Now, I fetch him fresh coffee and stale content as he plots and schemes behind an iron curtain to make sure that our next game kicks equal amounts of (if not more) ass.

This week, our Phony Express collected only the letters that were addressed to him. I know how attached you grow to the stewards who serve the Bungie Community. From time to time, it’s nice to drag an old friend back to the front gates, so that you can see that they are alive and well.

Okay, Boss... Let’s open the Sack.

SPRTN One One 7 Why did you choose to work at Bungie?

Many miles and many hours after I’d packed nearly everything I owned into my white 1.7 liter 2003 Honda Civic EX coupe and started down the road, a man on the radio offered up some economic wisdom. Recession was on, he said, and he continued.

“If you’re in a home, stay in it. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a stable job, stay in that, too.”

I’d just quit my job and listed my home up on the rental market.

People will go out of their way to tell you not to take risks. They’ll tell you that what you really want to do won’t pay the mortgage bill. They’ll tell you to play it safe. Do yourself a favor and change the station.

adeckofcards77 What have you been up to recently?

It’s tough to offer up even a high-level account of my day-to-day machinations without blowing some of our cover. I spend a lot of time in rooms filled with people that are far more talented and intelligent than I am, discussing things that make my head spin in the very best of ways. Feels good, man.

nerd Who's better at Halo? You or DeeJ?

The answer hinges on how you personally measure skill in a game like Halo. If you’re in the camp that uses k/d as the competitive yardstick, then I’m more than twice the player he is. If you believe skill is achieved by sitting behind the wheel of a Warthog while other people hop out and do all of the heavy lifting on foot, well, I’d venture to guess you’d come down on Team DeeJ.

Editor’s Note: I hate heavy lifting as much as I hate walking, or even standing up. Team DeeJ has a much better motorpool than Team Urk.

Chewbaccawakka If you could change one facet or detail of your favorite sci-fi universe, what would you change/would you change anything?

I’ve always had trouble picking favorites.

I would set Ender’s Game inside of a second, superfluous simulation, casting Keanu Reeves in the starring role. (Apologies if I just spoiled the upcoming 2013 film adaptation for you.)

I would have allowed myself to be completely satisfied by Star Wars as soon as the credits for Return of the Jedi rolled.

I would have read Hothouse when I was younger and my mind was less encumbered by trivial adult things like scientific plausibility.

CrazzySnipe55 How much trouble would DeeJ be in if he showed up to work in pleated pants?

He’d be in no trouble at all. DeeJ prefers more fancy dress than the Bungie majority, electing to wear a wide variety of collared shirts that prominently feature breast pockets, and that’s okay. I keep asking him what he intends to place in those pockets. So far, he’s been suspiciously coy.

Xd00999 Which do you consider more important for a game, a good story or good graphics?

I’m hesitant to answer questions that could be construed as anything more than my humble opinion; I don’t make the games around here, and “good” will mean something different to everyone who reads this. It’s a subjective question, and the answer should depend completely on the experience the developer is attempting to deliver.

Caveat aside, the real answer is always, “More Trexels per clock cycle!”

mark117 mia2553 What do you like most about your new home (studio)?

Prior to our move, I predicted that the expanded bathrooms would be my most celebrated upgrade. Sadly, since we’ve added more than two hundred people to our roster, the bathrooms have become more trafficked than ever before. So, I’ll go with the two hundred people as the best new addition. It seems obvious to put this into words, but Bungie really is a collection of people, and looking around this place, I’m in awe of the talented crew we’ve assembled. They pay me to say that, though.

HOOBLA 911 If you could turn DeeJ into anything, what would you turn him into?

I’d turn him into a Golden Retriever. We’d brush his hair and feed him kibble and tell him that he’s a good boy. When he wrote a bad mail sack, we’d rub his nose in it and smack him with a rolled up newspaper. Come to think of it, aside from crawling around on all fours and butt-sniffing, that’s pretty much DeeJ’s standard routine, so let’s just leave things the way they are.

Editor’s Note: The kibble here is not all that bad.

Dropship dude What's the creepiest thing a fan has ever done in your presence?

I’ve had poems passed to me, the folded paper packed tightly with anticipation, clenched in a sweaty, shaking hand. I’ve had people write my gamertag into the pollen-coated windshield of my white 1.7 liter 2003 Honda Civic EX coupe. I’ve even had people sneak a seat next to me at the bar without saying so much as a word until someone brought the awkward, uncomfortable behavior to their attention.

Behavior like that makes me wonder if you’re contemplating my violent end, and salivating over the prospect of a new, freckled, Buffalo Bill-style skin suit. Just walk up and say hello when you see a Bungie dude or lady. Maybe follow up with your name and a conversational sentence or two.

SpongyMallard7 What makes your games feel so unique?

This is a great question for Jason Jones. He’s far more qualified than I am to answer design questions, which is a really nice way to say that I’m not qualified at all. Jones is pretty busy, though, and it’s been a while since he’s fielded community questions. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

coolmike699 What life lessons should we take away from your games?

Life lessons, by definition, are morals or instructions gained via experience. As you may already have learned, games are often described as experiences. So, jump high, respawn often, and never, ever, try to uninstall Myth 2.

Your mileage may vary.

x Lord Revan x Urk, what's the best prank you've played on the new guy?

If you’re talking about DeeJ, I have to be careful. He’s a bit sensitive to the prankish behavior that comes at his expense. We’ve pointed his browser to our favorite websites and tagged his desktop when he’s forgotten to lock his computer, showcased “hilariously” Photoshopped images of him on the big screen in packed meetings, and even threatened to fire him if he didn’t scarf down the final bites of the appetizers we ordered at The Taphouse. I’ve also punched him directly in the face.

We are children.

Mythical Wolf Do you miss writing the Bungie Weekly Updates?

I miss them very much – doubly so knowing that I’m more armed and dangerous now than ever before. I’d also like to rewrite a few dozen of them, and strike even more from the website forever out of sheer shame and embarrassment.

some1 with guns I heard somewhere that gingers will be extinct in 50 years. How do you cope with the imminent loss?

We’re not going extinct; we’re transcending. The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

You just read a poem. Eat it!

...You heard the man. Go ahead now, and eat your poem. Do it. Unfinished snacks throw urk into a rage, and that’s when the blows start to land – on the face.

If we have learned one thing today, I hope it is that Bungie Community Managers never die. Like said butterflies, they evolve from crawling forms into winged things. As much as you might miss them, you must take solace from the fact that they are putting to good use everything you ever taught them about players who play games. This doesn’t mean that you should start to worry about losing me anytime soon. I have always been a slow learner, and I hate change more than I hate having to move my desk.

Come back next week. We’ll be putting the band back together for a conversation with a more robust Bungie Panel.

Community 6/22/2012 9:59 AM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Joe Venzon

Even art needs a vehicle...

Never mind what doubters or pundits might tell you. Video games are driven by art. At Bungie, we stretch the boundaries of our imaginations to create vivid worlds where you can fight for your lives. Yet, without the right necessary programming, that art would never reach you. That’s where Graphics Engineers come into play. They are some of the most crucial players on our team – and we need more of them. What does it take to fill this role? Let’s ask one of them to find out.

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

I’m Joe Venzon, a graphics engineer at Bungie. As a member of our graphics programming team, I work on designing and implementing the rendering techniques that turn cool source art into pixels on the screen. That’s a pretty broad work statement, which can mean anything from working out the math for physical phenomena we’re trying to approximate, to engineering a multi-threaded rendering pipeline, to using a bit of artistic sensibility to figure out how to meet artists’ feature requests. I enjoy the fact that one week I can get really nerdy and work on the nitty gritty details of engine programming, and the next week I might be engaging my creative side and working with artists to help bring their concepts to life.

We would like to know about the Engineer, as much as the Engineering. What are you bringing to life when you are outside the studio?

My number one interest recently has been my nine month old son. Being a dad changes your life like that. When I can find the time, I also play a lot of video games. Lately I’ve been into hardcore PC simulations, like DCS A-10C Warthog (an A-10 flight sim), Dangerous Waters (a submarine warfare sim), WRC (rally racing sim), Arma 2 (infantry sim), and of course Day Z (zombie survival sim). Sometimes on the bus to or from work I also fiddle with little game side projects. I have too many hobbies and not enough time: basketball, skiing, shooting, photography, working on cars, you name it.

Working at Bungie seems like a logical extension of most of those hobbies, although we don’t do a lot of skiing in the studio. Would you plot for us the career path that prepared you to join our team?

I worked at Flying Lab Software on the Pirates of the Burning Sea MMO, and before that I designed flight control system components for the Boeing 787. Working at Boeing was a good first job and I learned how to be an engineer there. It also gave me a broad survey of practical engineering and physics that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise (anyone want to know how an electro-hydraulic servo-actuator works?). When I got an opportunity to get into the video games industry, I jumped. Working at Flying Lab was an interesting change because it was such a small company, and I pretty quickly had a ton of responsibilities, including being the only graphics programmer at the company. It was a fun time, and I worked with some great people, but when I saw Bungie was hiring, I made another leap.

Was that leap a long term goal? I mean to say, when you were just a wee lad, was making video games a component of your playground agenda?

I assumed I’d be designing boring consumer electronic devices or something; I knew I wanted to be an engineer, and I loved video games and did a lot of game programming side projects for fun, but I had no concept that I could end up doing that professionally! My first PC was an 8088, the precursor to the 286, with a 4-color video card and built-in BASIC interpreter. I also had a Nintendo, and I played both PC and console games. Once I got a 486 with a sweet 256-color video card (talk about graphics!), I became a huge fan of LucasArts adventure games like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, which I can still enjoy today. On my 486, I wrote an early DirectX (back when it was 2D-only) clone of Escape Velocity, an old Mac-only top down space exploration and shooter game. In college, I took an open-source physics engine and made a 3D racing game out of it. That’s how I got my start writing 3D engines. I also started making a first-person 1600s naval combat game, and a Privateer-style space sim; those didn’t get finished, but they were a lot of fun to work on.

Oh, my wasted youth! It seems like you are self-taught in many ways. Did you enhance all of that personal exploration with any formal education?

I have a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington with a specialty in embedded systems and a minor in Mathematics. The embedded systems track gave me a lot of exposure to programming and especially low-level programming. I originally was going to do a Computer Science degree, but they had just switched the coursework over to Java when I started there (and they switched it back to C++ the year I left!) and I wanted to go a bit lower level than Java. I also did a semester at USC in their Computer Science Master’s Degree program, but haven’t had time to go back and finish it.

I bet you were quite the party animal. With all of that higher learning in hand, what was your grand strategy to put it to work as a Bungie Engineer?

When I saw Bungie’s job posting, my company was pivoting to do more casual games. I knew I wanted to continue to do 3D graphics, and Bungie’s job description made it clear they’d be right there at the bleeding edge, writing a new graphics engine for a cool new IP. How tempting! In my cover letter to Bungie, I showed off the work I had done at Flying Lab revamping the character lighting for the Pirates of the Burning Sea expansion. It involved spherical harmonics, and graphics programmers are suckers for spherical harmonics. I also showed off my side projects, and even pointed to a game I wrote for a 48-hour game competition called Ludum Dare. My entry was the first written entirely in Haskell, I believe.

Speaking of the bleeding edge, let’s relive the nightmare that we intend to be the Bungie job interview. Which cut was the deepest?

The math! I had taken a lot of math and physics classes in college, but it had been a while, and only the bits I had used recently were fresh in my mind. At one point, I had come up with a solution that involved some matrix multiplication, which I was pretty sure was correct, but the interviewer (Hao!) requested I multiply it all out symbolically to check my math. Half an hour later, the board was filled with writing, and that really ground me down. It was a very long interview in an uncomfortable chair.

Now that you have successfully made that leap, is a more comfortable chair your favorite perk? If not, reveal for our readers the best thing about working for Bungie…

Being able to work with other professionals that are at the top of their respective fields! I’m blown away by the consistently amazing people that work here. It’s actually a bit intimidating being around so many sharp engineers. There’s just no dead weight around here. And the artists we have are the kinds of people that can make amazing, gorgeous art and do it on a schedule.

If you would, break that schedule down to one 24-hour unit. What is one day like inside our studio?

I’m usually one of the first people in my row to get in to work in the morning, arriving at around 8:30. I’m lucky in that I don’t have a lot of meetings, so I can maximize my time working. Most of the time that means the usual “coding, compiling, testing” loop familiar to any programmer. Some days I get to make dumb programmer art to test out new features, that’s always fun.

Of all the things that we do to make that coding, compiling and testing worth your while, which one is the most worthy?

Free lunches with new employees! That’s a great way to meet people and spend some time interacting with co-workers without talking about work.

You are supposed to talk about work at those lunches, Joe. That’s the whole point. I am so telling on you. Once I get you into proper trouble, what is the one accomplishment about which you will boast to save your job?

Huh, how am I supposed to answer this without revealing too much about what we’re working on? Well, I’m pretty happy with how the atmosphere system turned out. It’s got a nice blend of a plausible physical basis, artist controllability, and speed. We looked at a ton of different papers and implementations, plucked the best ideas from all of them, and then turned it into something artists could control in a straightforward way. It’s super gratifying to then put that in the hands of a talented artist, and then watch him turn his renders into badass in-game content.

The approach to your work that you are describing sounds very investigative and improvisational. Can you apply that same aesthetic to keeping your skills on the forefront of evolution?

For graphics, I try to keep up with graphics papers and blogs. When I see something that seems cool, or have an idea, I’ll try and implement it in my free time to see how well it works. There are a lot of techniques that are presented as “real time” but wouldn’t work in a game for various reasons. To keep up my general programming skills, I like to work on small game projects as a way to learn new languages. I’m especially interested in applying functional programming to games.

You’ve set an example that many young geeks would no doubt love to follow. Let’s pretend that they are gathered into a classroom, and you are perched proudly at the lectern. What would be the meat of your lecture to them?

Make games. It doesn’t matter how simple or stupid they are. Pick a super simple idea or clone an existing game design; something that you know you can complete. Even if your main talent is as a programmer or designer or artist, you should learn enough to wear all the hats for your simple projects, and see if you can do them alone. This is the best way to learn about the game industry, and it will provide you with an impressive portfolio if you decide you want to make a career of it. Game competitions like Ludum Dare that provide a deadline and short timeframe are a great way to get you to learn how to reduce scope and complete a project, skills that are incredibly useful.

You have a lot of Engineering to get back to, so let’s wrap this up. Here is your final question: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Talent, experience, work ethic. I put talent first because if you’re sharp, you’ll gain experience over time. I put work ethic last because, at least for graphics programming, just hammering away on code doesn’t always yield the best results. Stopping and thinking and playing games and watching movies can be pretty important; we’re not just banging out widgets here. That said, everyone who works at Bungie has a fantastic work ethic, because to get here, you must.

Readers, please join me in thanking Joe for taking a break from his most important work to describe it to us. If you are a Graphics Engineer, or know someone who packs the gear to serve as one, apply within. There is more work to be done in realizing our next universe. In fact, we need developers on all fronts, and you can explore them all in the Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 6/18/2012 6:03 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 21

Like a perfect hand at the Blackjack table...

Let’s be honest with one another. Shall we? We could write an amusing opening to this article to create the right mood, but you would just scroll right past that to see if your question got answered this week. Are we right? Instead of bending metaphors and arranging whimsical collisions of prose, how about if we just introduce you to the panel that waded into the deep waters of madness that washed ashore when we invited you to write us letters?

Danny Bulla, Designer
Zeke Garcia, Associate Artist
Noah George, Support Engineer
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
John Hopson, User Research Lead
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
Sage Merrill, Design Lead
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*
Cameron Pinard, Artist
Scott Taylor, Associate Producer

Put on your waders, boys! Let’s open the Sack.

I got my fingers crossed, on a shooting star....
Zeke Garcia

I know what you are thinking. That cryptic musing doesn’t seem to be in response to a question. I thought the same thing when I read it, but I couldn’t let it go to waste. Moving right along...

defnop552 What's the first thing that comes to mind when you see this image?

That's a pelvis.
Mat Noguchi

Giant Mantra Ray-Bat-Beetle.
Pat Jandro

“Man I wish I had more flechette ammo…”
Cameron Pinard

The Fallen that my Barbarian crushes like insects.
Tyson Green

That's a facehugger from Alien.
Noah George

It's [something that would get DeeJ fired if he let it slip].
John Hopson

Don’t mind our User Researcher, everyone. He just likes to be the one administering the tests.

I ColdEmbrace I What does your electric bill look like? Does your studio use alternate energy methods like solar energy?

We have a theoretical reactor in the bowels of our compound that is fueled by empty soda cans and nerd rage. It’s highly unstable. At least once a month, we have to eject the core into Lake Washington. Don’t tell the EPA. They are still trying to find out why all of the local fish are crawling ashore with night vision and a hunger for human connective tissue.

MightyMarcher01 What does Bungie HQ smell like?

Honestly? It smells like electricity... except for the fleeting moments when someone wearing cologne/perfume/cigarette smoke/indigestion vapors walks by.
Pat Jandro

Depends on crunch dinner, curry and fried chicken being the most distinctive.
Cameron Pinard

It smells exactly like Mezhgorye.
Noah George

Helveck Is there any way we could be graced with a vague – yet not ridiculously enigmatically vague – idea about how much longer we'll be sitting in the dark? I haven't showered or changed my clothes since you guys turned off the lights, and I'm not exactly sure what I've been eating off the floor.

First of all, never eat unknown entities that you find on the floor. The world is full of mutated fish that can crawl – not that we know anything about that.

Second of all, when we said, “See you in 2013,” we meant just that. Don’t go running off, though, we’ll have some fun, non-megaton-type stuff between now and then to keep you warm in the dark.

Lobster Fish 2 Is there something in store this year for us on Bungie Day?

But of course! The advent on which we celebrate our Community carries the same weight around here as a national holiday. This year may not be a hallmark anniversary, and Bungie Day has never been graced with a game reveal, but community greatness must still be recognized. Loyalty cannot go unrewarded.

CTN 0452 9 If you could only use one word to describe life at Bungie, what would it be?

Pat Jandro

Cameron Pinard

Noah George

CoRaMo If you could speak with the voice of anyone in the world, whose would you choose?

John “Halcylon” Stvan has decided that he has an amazing Morgan Freeman impression. For the past two weeks, he has been beating me over the head with it. If you cross his path on Xbox LIVE, be sure to ask him to give you a riff. I am sure he will be more than happy to oblige.

WestCoastRonin What happens at Bungie when you walk away from your desk and leave your desktop unlocked?

We were informed after this hijacking that Official Bungie Policy is to never molest the workstation of a coworker.

Kvaener What's your favorite Manga?

Lone Wolf and Cub.
Tyson Green

Death Note. I'll confess to reading Naruto too.
Noah George

dmg04 Why do you complain so much about Spartan Lasers?

I got this one, Panel. This question is in reference to a game that I played with Mr. 04 just the other night. I am being trolled here. Stand back, now.

Disclaimer: I, DeeJ BNG, veteran Warthog Pilot of sound mind and controller-wielding fists, am speaking for myself alone. This is not an official statement from Bungie. Spartan Lasers are the very worst thing about Halo. They were a mistake before they were ever imagined. The main purpose of a Spartan Laser is to enable cowards to destroy Warthogs from afar. Those very same cowards are supposed to be running around with a lesser weapon, trying to get splattered. Whoever conceived that implement of misery hates me, and I hate him. Who was that, in fact? Now that I am here, I would like to have a word with that bastard…

The Spartan Laser is fine. The real mistake was ever allowing vehicles to be destroyed… From a purely multiplayer perspective, the Warthog was much cooler when it was a mobile objective/weapons platform that both sides were fighting over. Also, we should have made you lock your target first.
Sage Merrill

It was a replacement for the lock-on rocket launcher in Halo 2, which had previously rendered vehicles obsolete. The laser at least gave you some forewarning and required some aiming. Though, players got pretty good at pre-charging it. I tend to agree with Sage. Indestructible vehicles (that transfer damage to the drivers) may make less fictional sense, but played better.
Tyson Green

 Geegs30 Do any of your coworkers have a skill that you are jealous of?

Yeah, a couple hundred of them. I'm jealous of all the Artists, Musicians, and Programmers.
Noah George

I think we have some pretty good drummers in the studio. Drums are rad.
Pat Jandro

Basically every one of the artists. Especially the concept artists.
Tyson Green

Xd00999 What does Bungie think of Prometheus, if they have seen it?

We saw it. In fact, we all saw it together, holding hands. Look at us. Aren’t we adorable? This was before the movie started, so don’t worry about all the smartphones depicted below.

Papa Bungie shut down an entire auditorium so that we could watch it as a team. He’s a nice man. As for the flick? It garnered the usual fierce debate that rages between us on any topic that includes awesome spaceships and people who take their helmets off way too soon. Some of us were Pro-metheus. Some of us were Anti-metheus. You would have to ask us one at a time. I dug most of it.

Jujubes What's your favorite space movie?

Office Space.
Pat Jandro

Space Hunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.
John Hopson

Hmm, probably have to go with 2001.
Cameron Pinard

Star Wars.
Tyson Green

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kaaaaaaaaahhhhhnnnnn!
Noah George

sacktapped I just got engaged to my womans. What theme should we make the wedding?

Womans? Did you mean for that to be plural? It doesn’t really matter. The truth is all the same: The theme for your wedding, no matter how many people you are marrying, should be whatever the woman(s) want(s). Trust me on this. You should prepare to listen and nod a lot. Always have an opinion, but be willing to abandon it at the first sign of resistance. If she says that she wants a Master Chief cake, you have yourself a winner. It would be foolish to suggest this idea on your own and suspect that it will be met with anything other than a cold, hard stare.

 Oh, and congratulations! Be sure to tell the people on your friend’s list that they will be seeing less of you. It’s just the way of things, man.

snipe champpppp Why was E3 so terrible this year?

Because you are a bitter young man who is already poisoned with rage. When are you going to learn that Bungie doesn’t crave sour bait like that? We prefer questions that let us be lovers, not fighters.

Cpl Crosseyes What were some of the Bungie guys favorite parts of this year's E3?

Much better. Thank you. Panel?

Resident Evil 6!
Mat Noguchi

Hearing that it might not be in LA next year.
Pat Jandro

Shootmania and Halo 4 look pretty awesome.
Cameron Pinard

There are a lot of new games I want to try, but I'm most excited for Hitman 5 and FarCry 3.
Noah George

DarkONI What kind of posters you have hanging around?

You would have to read the forum to answer this. It really varies. Some posters that hang around on Bungie.net are sarcastic. Some posters are sincerely interested in the free exchange of ideas and feelings. Other posters are just angry - about everything. But they rarely last very long.

JScientia13 What happened to the ninjas I sent to find out what you are working on? They never came back...

You fool! That was you? One cannot truly motivate Ninjas with money. A cash bribe might get them off the couch, but it will never win their loyalty. We offered your Ninjas a chance to swing our Banhammer. By their very nature, they simply cannot resist a chance to deal out justice to evildoers. Better luck next time. Even if you send proper mercenaries to capture our secrets, we will distract them with an invitation to playtest our next game. Bungie will always be one step ahead of you.

ALI217 How much fan mail do you guys get since you are dark and when was the last time you received a piece?

Every week, one of the Bungie Princesses drops at least one new piece of fan mail on my desk. It is not addressed to me, mind you. I am just the lucky guy who gets to tear into them. Most of what you can see is the result of some long-forgotten homework assignment in a unit on business writing. Every once in a while, I scan a pearl of joy and share it with the team. Bungie.net is still your best means of getting our attention. This Mail Sack is the one that takes first priority.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI What position in Bungie seems the most fun and relaxing?

The word “position” was assigned dueling treatments by our Panel. So that you don’t get lost in the shifting meanings, let’s herd them into groups.

position (noun): a physical pose

Getting a free 15 minute massage.
Mat Noguchi

Lounging in a beanbag chair with the sun setting over Bellevue.
Cameron Pinard

position (noun): a job title or role

I'm sure it's Community or Marketing. Those guys always seem so chipper and happy.
Tyson Green

I don't know of any relaxing positions here, but DeeJ looks like he is having the most fun.
Noah George

CheckedBRUTES Is AgdTinMan still working for Bungie?

Thanks to the miracle of The Internet, you can ask him yourself as often as you like.

SPRTN One One 7 If Jason Jones and Marty O'Donnell were stuck in the ocean surrounded by sharks, who would you save?

The Sharks. You are hardly describing a fair fight. The lack of proper pizza in this town keeps Marty in a perpetual state of ravenousness, and shark meat has been described as tasty.

Tookurdignity Since everybody always asks what Bungie is working on, I figured I'd ask the opposite: "What is Bungie NOT working on?”

Pretty much everything you saw at E3 this year.
Pat Jandro

Giant Laser Space Frisbees.
John Hopson

We are definitely not working on the microwave emulator, after an unfortunate incident that project has been shelved indefinitely.
Cameron Pinard

Sun tans.
Noah George

Ping Pong, sadly. But hopefully that will change. Soon.
Scott Taylor

Oh, Scott. You only have two shoulders, you know.

xNiGhThAwKx19 Will you ever answer my questions?

Maybe next week. This week, we found them to be self-serving, and rather flat from a conversational perspective. Next week, you will have another chance to put Bungie to the question. You all will. Until then, we want you to know how much we enjoy these chats.

Community 6/15/2012 11:38 AM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Joey Gibbs

Assisting all things Production...

Team Bungie is an elaborate machine, propelled forward by a maze of moving parts. To keep that machine in good working order, we need stewards who understand all of its functions. Production staffers like Joey Gibbs are like the grease between the cogs. They make sure that artists, engineers, and designers are operating in perfect mesh. To learn more about how we keep ourselves from breaking down, I cornered one of our newest faces in the studio.

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Joey, and I’m a Production Assistant at Bungie. I like to think of myself as the guy in the cartoon rowboat who tries to plug all the leaks with his fingers - with mixed success. I help the real Producers by taking care of the little things so that they can focus their attention on bigger issues, like making sure that we ship on time. This involves doing all manner of things, ranging from the small and menial (like scheduling meetings, taking notes, and logging minor bugs) to the large and utterly terrifying (like organizing the design test process, running studio meetings, and managing the logistics for our internal Bungie Day). I was hired on to work specifically with our World & Activities team, and I do for the most part, but I also do a lot of things that require coordinating with groups from all over the studio.

You must be a man of many talents to be tackling such an array of challenges for us. What are you coordinating when you are outside of the studio?

Well… [checks Facebook profile] Oh yeah! I do a little bit of everything, really. Lately that’s involved going to the gym (yes, I have been working out), reading (sci-fi/fantasy, for the most part), painting (I’m not as suck as I used to be), catching movies (there’s a theatre across the street, which is awesome), and of course, playing games (lately a ton of Diablo 3 with a little Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning sprinkled in). I love RPGs and anything that’s heavily story-driven. I am also a Ninja. No, seriously.

If that were true, you would never boast about it. So, let’s talk about what is true in terms of the jobs that you may or may not have had before you came to us.

I’ve done a lot of interesting things for money. Okay – that sounded better in my head. At separate points in my life I’ve been a caddie at a golf club, a camp counselor at a zoo, a pizza chef, a convenience store clerk, an office assistant, a commercial roofer, and a server/bartender. Those experiences together taught me three very important lessons: First, delicious pizzas are made with love, not magic. Second, being severely dehydrated, horrifically sunburned, and covered in fiberglass insulation is even less fun that it sounds. And finally, spend some time working hard labor and/or in the service industry. Not only does it build character, but it will absolutely make you more empathetic and, consequently, a better human being.

Since it is highly unlikely that you used to daydream about fiberglass and sunburn, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Batman. But in a surprise lack of childhood foresight I told everyone about it, effectively ruining the whole “secret identity” thing. Um… Oh. I think I wanted to make movies for a while. Not direct them, per se, not act in them or film them, but make them. I’m not sure how that translates to a real profession. The truth is that I don’t think I ever actually knew what I wanted to be. You know, besides Batman, but I kinda dropped the ball on that one. My problem has always been that I like doing a lot of different things. I don’t think that at any point my brain ever said, “That one.” And, never in a million years did I think I would end up making videogames professionally.

Well now you make video games – and it took much less than a million years for you to break in to the industry. How did you prepare yourself for this career on which you are embarking?

Two years ago I was sitting in an LSAT prep class at the University of Michigan planning on taking my liberal arts degree in economics and political science with me to law school. Somewhere between learning even more obscure vocabulary terms and practicing effective techniques for solving logic puzzles, I realized that the legal profession wasn’t really something I was interested in. On a whim, I picked up a copy of Ernest Adams’ Breaking Into the Game Industry: How to Get a Job Making Video Games. I read it cover-to-cover over a weekend and decided that, someday, I would be a producer at a AAA game studio. Two years, three Game Developers Conferences, one IGDA Leadership Forum, two professional certifications (CSM and CAPM, if you’re interested), and one master’s degree from Full Sail University later, and here I am working as a Production Assistant for Bungie, a studio that I have loved since I was 13.

We’re glad you made it. Tell our readers how you got your foot in the door…

Lots and lots of footwork. There’s a Thomas Jefferson quote, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find that the harder I work, the more I have of it.” Super true. When I was studying at Full Sail I went out of my way to go to industry events like GDCs and IGDA meetings to network with and learn from people in the industry. This required a lot of extra time and a decent amount of extra money, but I kept at it because I knew that meeting the right person could make all the difference in the job hunt. Then, in October 2011, I got lucky.

I was busy working as a conference associate (an extremely fun and awesome way to network and cut the cost of GDC admission – I highly recommend it) at GDC Online 2012 in Austin, TX. I had a break early in the afternoon and decided to hit the career pavilion, resume in hand. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bungie had a presence there, albeit a small one. Bungie was one of my stretch goals – Yeah it would be awesome to work there, I thought, but right out of school? No experience? Fat chance. I stood in line with the rest of the hopefuls and when my turn came, struck up a conversation. We’re not hiring entry-level producers right now, she said, but we might be in the next six months or so. She told me to keep an eye on Bungie.net and to let her know personally if I saw anything interesting. I felt good about the conversation, but I knew that I was just one of hundreds of faces that she’d see over the course of the show. I stopped by the Bungie booth to say hi once or twice more throughout the remainder of the week, but I didn’t get my hopes up.

A month later the production assistant position opened up on Bungie.net. I immediately sent in an application, making sure to put the HR rep’s name on the top of the cover letter and to tailor it, referencing our conversation from the month before. That was the very end of November 2011. Bungie didn’t get back to me until midway through February 2012, almost three months later. But when they did, it was to schedule me for an interview with one of their executive producers.

Ah, yes! The interview! This is always my favorite part of the story. Was yours as hard as the horror stories we have heard?

To be honest, the interviews themselves weren’t all that bad. I’ve read a lot of these Breaking In stories on Bungie.net and every single time I do I thank the good lord that I’m not a programmer. Yes I went through a day-long gauntlet of interviews, but I’d been through so many other interviews (eight to ten at that point, if I recall) that the process was kind of old hat. All of those industry conferences, all of those conversations, and all that studying had left me pretty familiar the current state of production in the industry - woefully inexperienced, yes, but relatively well-informed. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I’ve been a huge Bungie fan since I was a pre-teen. Being able to talk passionately about Bungie’s games and its awesome studio culture certainly didn’t hurt.

The worst part of the interviews was that I was horrifically sick that day and had loaded up on Dayquil just to render myself functional. It was just one of those things – I felt it coming on during the plane ride over (I’m from Detroit, by the way) and hoped desperately that I was just nervous. Not the case. I survived the interviews on Friday, but I spent most of Saturday lying prone on a sofa in the dark surrounded by clumps of used tissue and empty cans of ginger ale.

It was nice of you to create your own uphill battle, since we seemed to have gone easy on you. What is the most rewarding thing about the work that you do for Bungie?

A truly massive portion of my job is spent staring at Excel spreadsheets and Outlook calendars. It’s not always the most entertaining thing in the world. I nerd out a little bit when I learn new Excel functions, and I secretly love sitting in meetings, but it’s definitely not as glamorous animation or as magical as design. I went to Harry Potter world at Universal Studios two or three (read: 20-30) times while I was living in Orlando. Every time I walked through the gates I looked around and thought to myself, holy crap. This, all of this, used to only exist inside some British lady’s head. And now it’s right here. I am literally walking through somebody’s imagination. It’s one of the coolest things ever.

Describe a day in the life of working in our own imagination foundry.

My days are never the same. One of the best things about being a producer is that there are always weird, quirky problems that need solving. Yesterday, for example, I spent most of the day frantically organizing rules and rosters for our new playtesting initiative. After six hours of wrangling, scheduling, and putting out fires my reward was a thorough face-rolling at the hands of our heartless test team. The pride hurts, it’s true, but all the exposure and feedback are definitely going to lead to a better game in the long run.

Do we do enough to nurse that pride back to health? Chronic face-rolling can lead to permanent damage to the psyche.

Bungie pays for a membership to the gym across the hall. It’s literally across the hall. Oh, and apparently the studio just bought out a show at the movie theater in town so that we can all watch Prometheus opening night. That was cool. And have I mentioned the snacks? Oh, the snacks…

Those snacks are part of a secret plot to make sure that we use that gym membership. While you are a relatively new kid on our block, has there been a moment that made you feel like you have what it takes to go the distance at Bungie?

The last team meeting I ran went perfectly. We have a long history of challenges when it comes to these monthly meetings. Sabotage has been suspected on more than one occasion. In our defense, it’s not easy to corral hundreds of grumbly game developers and make them sit still for an hour on a Friday afternoon. But, thanks to the efforts of the team meeting brute squad (who deserve all the credit for the real work involved) everything just worked. I received congratulations and thanks from people who I hadn’t even met yet for days afterward. The whole experience still gives me the warm fuzzies…

Warm fuzzies are a great start, but we are never done challenging ourselves at Bungie. How you plan to make yourself more and more valuable to our (not so) secret agenda of world domination?

I feel like I keep coming back to industry conferences like GDC, but they’re really important. Doctors have to attend current best-practice seminars to maintain their licenses - I’m a big believer in treating my work the same way. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I’ve learned by talking to other people in the industry. Every single studio is different and every single studio approaches solving similar problems in different ways. You might not always agree with the way another group does things, but at the very least being exposed to different views and methodologies will make you take a look at old problems from new perspectives.

We are lucky to have a man for all seasons in the form of you, Joey. Assume that your story has inspired other eager young minds to follow the trail you have blazed. What else would you recommend to them?

Playing games is a given. If you’re really serious about breaking in, I highly recommend attending industry conferences like the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and joining the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), especially if you don’t have much prior work experience. There is simply no better way to network and to learn what life is really like on the inside. Go to the conferences, talk to people, be humble, and ask intelligent questions. Print out some business cards, polish your resume, make a LinkedIn profile, and build a web site filled with information about you and your side projects. Above all, be professional. Everyone loves passion, but fan-boy/fan-girl-ism is best left at appropriate venues like PAX and E3. Oh, and don’t forget to smile.

You’ve been a delight. Time for the final question: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. There will always be people out there who are more talented than you are, but if you really want to, if you want something bad enough, you can out work just about anybody. Experience is nice to have, but you don’t get experience unless you’re willing to put in the effort. I don’t consider myself to be particularly talented. On June 9th 2012 I’ll have been in the industry for a grand total of six months. So much for experience. I’ll put my money on hard work every single time.

The reward for hard work at Bungie is more hard work. Following that logic, we are very fortunate to have people like Joey committed so passionately to our common goal. If this brand of labor sounds like the stuff of your dreams, you may find your calling in this industry. Of course, Production is but one of many disciplines that keep our people engaged. You can learn about the other components of the machinery that manufactures the games you want to play in our Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 6/11/2012 3:43 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack Twenty - Ninjas on Parade

Sweeter than high fructose corn syrup...

In simplest terms, the Bungie Community is a gathering of gamers who appreciate the games we make and the people who play them. When we imagine Bungie.net as a real place, we see a thundering mob of anonymous faces that outnumber us by a factor of hundreds of thousands to one. Without forms of control in place, they would trample us under their charging feet.

Our saving grace is an elite order of forum moderators. These volunteer crime fighters protect the innocent from trolls and ne’er-do-wells. With a swing of their might banhammer, they keep the peace and defend us from the chaos that threatens the very fabric of our community. From their secure compound under the mysterious “HFCS” banner, these protectors of harmony preside over the boards that host our discussions and mete out justice wherever it is needed. This week, we thought it appropriate to dedicate our mail room to only collecting letter addressed to these unsung heroes. They have assembled to answer those questions that don’t compromise their cloak of stealth.

 Meet your friendly neighborhood Forum Ninjas (at least, those that were available for comment).

just another fan






El Roboto

Recon Number 54



Dr Weird

x Foman 123 x

Gods Prophet

Butane 123

x Lord Revan x

Old Papa Rich


Ninjas! Materialize from within a sudden cloud of smoke. Let’s open the Sack.

ALI217 Which ninja is the most respected amongst you?

x Foman 123 x Personally, I respect Recon Number 54 the most. This message paid for by Recon Number 54.

evilcam Respect and fear are pretty much the same thing.

bobcast I've always had a crush on Yoozel.

odmichael I respect what every single one of these guys does.

Duardo I'd say anyone who spends time in the report queue definitely earns my respect, 'cept Butane.

El Roboto I respect all of them, more as one would respect friends and family than as colleagues.

x Lord Revan x We're all well respected, except Underdog. He has a love affair with baked beans.

just another fan In truth, they are a fine bunch of individuals whom I all respect. Yes, even Qbix. I'm proud to be part of the team. But seriously, I'm the most respected.

borrowedchief Not Qbix.

Qbix89 Judging by the other replies, it's definitely not me.

arch4ng13 What is the actual purpose for the "Welcoming Committee" group compared to HFCS?

We have no idea what you are talking about – and neither do you. What you are asking about does not exist, and you cannot prove otherwise. Move along… Move along…

Adamcunn Do you get a sick thrill from banning members? (Be honest).

just another fan A certain amount of thrill can be quite healthy, thank you!

BobBQ No, only chest pains and a facial tic.

Duardo Do I enjoy banning spammers and trolls? YOU BET! Do I enjoy banning those that made an honest mistake or those who come here regularly to have some fun? No.

evilcam I rarely ever even ban users.

Borrowedchief Honestly, if it's a spam attack, well known spammer, or just a silly alt, yes. The sickest of sick. If it's just a user that just doesn't seem to get the rules, then I feel sad panda-ish.

El Roboto No, but sometimes I do fell the creeping urge for a bottle of rum.

odmichael I banned Soulja Boy once. That was pretty entertaining.

x Foman 123 x It can get frustrating when members choose to learn the rules by trial-and-error rather than taking 5 minutes to read the rules. On the other hand, the sound of the banhammer whistling down onto a really bad user is so sweet.

Gods Prophet Of course not! I mean, I do laugh hysterically every time I ban someone but I'm pretty sure that's unrelated.

Butane 123 My actual hobbies would make any sick thrill I'd get from [banning someone] seem as tame as the merry-go-round in an amusement park full of roller coasters.

Old Papa Rich Without hesitation, yes. I even laugh maniacally.

The Yeti If you could permaban any Bungie employee without them figuring it out, who'd you ban?

We would figure it out. We can smell the ozone that accompanies the appearance of a Ninja from a mile away. Bungie employees are above the law on Bungie.net, and immune to a strike from the Ninja’s hammer. Nevertheless, your question is intriguing, so we will let it stand.

bobcast I'd make it a rotating ban. They'd never know when it would come or how long it would last.

BobBQ Stosh. It will be vengeance six years in the making.

Duardo Achronos without question. Well...him or Halcylon. I'm not sure who the bigger jerk is...probably Hal.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI Can I take you guys out for a steak dinner on the day before PAX?

That sounds dangerously like a bribe, Sir. You aren’t attempting to manipulate a law enforcement official are you? In the real world, that is highly illegal, you know. Fortunately, as we are fond of reminding people, Bungie.net is safely isolated from the real world. Just know this: It takes more than a slab of meat to make our Ninjas soft on crime. Let’s see who wants to take your bait.

Duardo You could take me out for a steak dinner every night (if you're paying).

evilcam Are you coming on to me? Oh, I answered your question with another question. Sorry about that. Answer: absolutely.

borrowedchief Steak is always welcome.

Dr Weird Steak is good and all, but I would rather have cake of some sort.

x Lord Revan x Whoa now, you aren't Luke Smith!

Qbix89 Medium done. (that means yes)

Can I come, too?

defnop552 What's the worst thing about moderating the forums?

bobcast Sometimes I see a thread I'd really like to post in. Upon entering it, I find spam and nonsense. By the time I finish cleaning it up, I don't feel like posting.

Duardo Sometimes I can't truly engage in a conversation due to my position. People either fear I will ban them for having a different opinion, or they just quote me and take the discussion off-topic. Also, seeing Halcylon around and not being able to do anything about it.

borrowedchief Nothing really. Sometimes you have to catch your tongue. Other than that, we are normal. We are ninjanonymous.

Dr Weird I don't like to ban people unless they really have it coming. Most of the bans I give out could have easily been avoided if people had read the rules.

just another fan Answering the mail sack.

evilcam When DeeJ tells us to keep it light.

So sorry to cramp your style. I though this question was a little heavy, so I made a simple little suggestion. Forgive me for trying to put a happy face on things! I should have just led with this next question…

Xd00999 Favorite part of being a Ninja?

Dr Weird Salmon text.

bobcast All the hate mail. It really shows how creative the community is. Also, it turns out my mother really gets around.

BobBQ Feeling the Schadenfreude.

odmichael Helping the my favorite video game company in the whole wide world of course!

Duardo Definitely the chicks, or having a brotherhood of sorts. I'm not sure which one is better.

evilcam There's a huge pic thread in HFCS. Some pics are tasteful, some are downright nasty. All are virtual treasures.


x Foman 123 x No-pants days. The best part is that every day is no-pants day

x Lord Revan x The sheer sense of community and the general feel-goodness of being able to help out.

Qbix89 My favorite part has to do with stuff that I'm not really allowed to talk to you guys about, which makes it even more awesome. (Typical ninja answer right here).

coolmike699 What's the best PM you've gotten?

bobcast I'm a "racist turtle snowman."

BobBQ Collectively, the death threats.

Duardo I got a PM back in 2008 from The Superintendent. His wise words of wisdom? "IN CASE OF FIRE, USE STAIRS."

Dr Weird Someone asked to be banned because they thought they spent too much time on Bungie.net.

x Lord Revan x Well, let’s just say the individual thought that I was in love with a pink bunny costume and that I belonged in an insane asylum. I think he was thinking of Slayer.

Kr1egerdude How well do you know each other in real life?

bobcast I've hung out with Foman once. I play on live with several others often. I've drunk dialed/text a few, too.

Duardo About as well as a mother hen knows her chicks.

El Roboto We have had meet ups at PAX almost annually now. Most often, it’s just casual online interactions.

x Foman 123 x I talk to a lot of my fellow Ninjas away from Bungie.net pretty frequently. I've met most of them at PAX and LAN parties, and I'd consider them to be real friends.

Qbix89 I'm proud to say that quite a few of the members of HFCS are my real life friends, just as I am equally proud that I have never met evilcam.

MsCadetUNIVERSE May I ask if any of you lovely gentlemen are single?

Oooooh... I really don’t recommend dating a Ninja. Their hours are long, and you spend a lot of lonely nights wondering if they will come home after their shift. It’s totally your call, but I think a nice girl like you might be a lot happier with a graphic designer or someone a little more harmless. At the same time, the heart wants what the heart wants, so let’s meet our eligible bachelors from the bunch. Prepare to put your best foot forward, gentlemen.

evilcam Yes, you may ask.

just another fan SMM L4 STR

bobcast Single Forum Ninja. Owns own home, has a good job, has own car. Wants kids, looking for long term relationship. Hobbies include swinging banhammer, locking spam threads, making trolls cry, and making vague sarcastic post.

Duardo Single guy living in his parents basement looking for someone to cut these chains off the desk so I can get out of here (For the love of God, help me!). Foman's Mom helps out some, but she's always leaving for other appointments.

Gods Prophet Sensitive and caring ninja (classified) years old with seeks female community companion, nonsmoker, for being stealthy.

Qbix89 Single Norwegian Master Moderator seeks lifelong companion. Do you have what it takes to melt my cold, Viking heart? Hobbies: Biking in the rain, pillaging friendly villages, wearing tights and petting cats.

BobBQ I'm single. I'm also completely uninterested.

antony X1000 What is the funniest ban appeal you have received?

just another fan Your older/younger brother is a terrible person. Whenever you visit the bathroom, he controls your account and spams these forums. Of course you, dear reader, are innocent!

BobBQ I've never actually received a funny ban appeal, only deluded, narcissistic and occasionally violent ones.

Duardo Someone once told me to use proper inglish, and then called me stoopid.

evilcam A bunch of people appealing to me because Foman apparently won't reply to them anymore. What's entertaining about it is I ALWAYS agree with the unpleasant things they have to say about Foamy. I've made tons of lifelong friends, based solely on the unifying hatred that Foamy spreads.

borrowedchief I remember a user saying he was going to eat my liver.

DE4THINC4RN4TE Do you get special access to BUNGIE info because you are a ninja?

BobBQ I got into the Pimps at Sea closed beta.

Duardo Getting to meet the crew at PAX 2010 in their new place was especially nice.

evilcam Bungie once told me that I'm a terrible ninja and that they all collectively hoped I die alone. That counts as special access to insider info right? I think it does.

Yoozel You mean besides the company car, weekly meetings on the rock wall at the studio, first class trips during PAX, sweet t-shirts, the occasional stolen item off of Marty's desk and monthly shipments of Pacific King Salmon delivered to our doors? There's also the occasional beta invite and occasional late night rendezvous to play games before their release and chow down on pizza.

Gods Prophet Officially, no. Just between you and me, we are made privy to certain information regarding certain Bungie black projects and what a certain gorilla-suited man ape has actually been doing all these years and why he can't answer the phone right now.

Butane 123 I always liked getting into the Halo betas super early. In the Halo: Reach beta, me and Qbix were searching for matches with the population counter reading only 40. We were running into pretty well known gamers and people in the industry every game.

x Lord Revan x They give us hugs and plenty of love.

Bobcast We have possibly the rarest Bungie t-shirt ever made, we get Christmas cards, and Brandi sends us emails.

When the time comes for you to be drafted into the service of the Bungie Beta, it will be Brandi that issues your orders. We use our Ninjas as test pilots for each experiment. Not only do we value their opinions, but we like to put them on alert in the event that another test subject starts violating their sworn oath once they leave the lab. Oh, and Bobcast suffers from delusions that Brandi likes him the best. He thinks that he is the only one receiving her messages. You know, like those crazy people who think the news anchor is speaking only to them? The guy is totally nuts, but in a way that we can use.

Khirna How hard is it to maintain moderation balance among all of the ninjas? Each person has a different interpretation of the rules, and I'm assuming that the ninjas are no exception. Is that something you guys decide in HFCS, or are you trusted enough to make a well-informed decision?

borrowedchief Not at all. I think we all have a central understanding of the rules. Believe it or not, there is not much disagreement. And if there ever is, we are always able to hash it out.

just another fan We are free to act as we see fit. I don't think there is whole lot of difference in interpretation, but more in how to handle a situation.

bobcast We often communicate with each other. We are connected by MSN, phone, PM, and in HFCS. When we see something we're not sure how to handle, we often will shoot a message to someone to get a second opinion.

BobBQ I'm unable to confirm or deny your assumption, but the pig is very happy and what's the harm in a sauna bath anyway?

Duardo While we may slightly differ in styles, the rules are still the same. We trust each other enough that we don't have to worry about what someone else may do. We are a team, and if we do have a problem, we discuss it as a team and then make a decision.

Evilcam They all know to stay out of my way. They all know it’s best to never question my judgment. They all know that I'm always right.

El Roboto Cohesion among us is pretty consistent, but we are human after all (at least most of us are).

odmichael We follow the code of conduct. Sometimes that may mean using our own judgment. Overall, we are a team. If there is a question, someone else will be able to address it.

Yoozel Besides getting face-slammed by Achronos and DeeJ, we take a very committee approach to issues that arise. We pull out of the Wheel-o-Phun and gather the brethren for top shelf liquor to see which dauntingly comical retort we can mask our true motives under.

Dr Weird We converse a lot more than people think so it really isn't a problem.

x Foman 123 x We generally trust each other to exercise good judgment. There is some difference in how some "gray area" posts are dealt with, but we really spend a lot more time and effort than some people realize trying to be consistent in rules enforcement.

Butane 123 It’s always been the idea that we are independent enough so that we don't have to be watched over by the powers that be. We trust each other to make good decisions and know that we can always ask for advice.

x Lord Revan x We are driven by the same code of conduct, and we're expected to maintain consistency between ourselves. When we're confused and lost out there, we support one another. We're a fraternity of sorts.

Old Papa Rich We don't try to be perfect. It isn't possible. Decisions are mostly the individual judgment you mentioned, but there is a fair amount of advice sought and given.

Qbix89 Being consistent with your own actions is one thing. To have a consistency between the different members of the group is another. We have a basic set of rules and guidelines that we follow. In the end, we usually have to trust our own instincts and our own judgment. I think we do a pretty good job at it, but we make mistakes.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI In before DeeJ locks this!

Are you still here? I figured you would be working a second job so that you would be able to afford all that steak you promised to buy. Save your pennies, because the Ninjas are sharpening their knives.

Recon Number 54 I offer the following reply to any and all of the listed questions: "I kind of like the swelling, but the itching is driving me insane!"

Thanks. That’s just super. Everyone is thrilled that you shared that, its amazing that your one and only comment got past the censors. I will make a mental note to evaluate our Ninja roster with urk. Unless anyone else has an outburst like that planned, it is time to bring this session of sharing to an end.

Bungie Community, please join me in thanking our Ninjas for the watch they keep over our happy home. While those of you who have fallen under the strike of their hammer may see them as villains, we see them as the heroes of our community. We hope that most of you agree.

Community 6/8/2012 11:19 AM PDT permalink

Historical Fiction

If only the UNSC had a wayback machine...

Every day, the brave developers at Bungie are harnessing their creativity to craft an entirely new reality. While we toil in the darkness of our secure location, our beloved online community keeps us company and teases us with questions we would love to answer (but cannot). On occasion, we like to provide them with momentary distractions from their various debates with a contest that dares them to unleash their creativity. This week, we challenged them to imagine an alternate universe all their own.

For the sake of healthy competition, let’s imagine that the United Nations Space Command acquired the ability to punch a hole in the fabric of space and time, and journey to any point in history that they wanted to visit. What scores do you think they would want to settle? How might our knowledge of the past be augmented with some twisted steel and sex appeal?

This very question was put to the patient gamers who rule our forum. We narrowed down the field of entries through a selection process that relies heavily on science, tyranny, and a bottle that spins. Seven examples of homespun historical fiction remain. It will fall to you to vote for the winner…

SpartainKen15 whipped up some recruitment propaganda, featuring everyone’s favorite uncle.

Adamcunn knows that the ladies like a man on a pale horse.

IrishFreak took one small step for Spartans.

HoffmanJ got medieval on our asses.

Plain Ben liberated Europe from the Scarab army.

mk LITE has a revisionist theory for who crossed the Delaware River.

Navweb3620 proved that capturing the flag is a team effort.

Which of these fine works of falsehood and fancy deserve your highest mark? Bungie will send secret gifts to the winner. Like the time travelers depicted above, you have the power to alter the course of history for one lucky citizen of Bungie.net. The polls are open, and the hopeful artists are breathless with anticipation for you to make your mark.

Community 6/6/2012 10:10 AM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Clay Carmouche

Toiling in the mines of fiction.

Last week, a member of our writing team told us all about his adventures in creating the fiction that will inspire players to conquer our next universe. As he spun out his own tale, he made mention of his partner, a fellow writer he referred to as “The Mouche” (pronounced: moosh). Ever the sucker for codenames, I had to track down this mysterious figure, and compel him to spill his own helping of beans. There he is, right now…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Clay Carmouche and I am a writer at Bungie. I collaborate with the rest of our crackerjack story team and work closely with the Design teams who are building the spaces we will use to tell the stories of this universe. We write the scripts actors will perform in cut scenes, and try to weave all the crazy stuff in the game into a coherent narrative.

All of this contemplation of things imagined needs to be balanced with things that are real. What have you been doing to keep yourself rooted in reality when you are not weaving our fantasy?

Playing Legos with my son, good music, Kung Fu, movies and books, good food and company, apologizing to my wife.

Let’s rewind this story back to the days when those Legos were all yours. What did you think you would be doing when you passed those building blocks down to a new generation of Mouches?

Chronologically, from age six to eighteen: a Muppet, David Copperfield, James Brown, Vigilante, Writer.

As much as I want to devote the rest of this interview to exploring your aspirations as a rogue crime fighter, that’s not what we do (officially) here at Bungie. Instead, can you recount for us the steps you took to become a conjurer of imagined worlds?

I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter and a screenwriter. Do both for a while and you learn pretty fast that having a good idea is not enough. Cruel realties intrude upon your happy world. Things like deadlines, budget, technical limitations, etc. There is a lot of that around here but one thing I didn’t have before was an amazing team to tackle these problems with.

What sort of book learnin’ did you subject yourself to so that you could be molded into a member of your new team?

I studied History in college. A lot of good it did me.

It has been said that those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it... Actually, that saying has no bearing here. Let’s change the subject to how you convinced Bungie to alter your history.

A very good friend who contracted with Bungie vouched for my character and ability before I interviewed. In exchange, I burned some incriminating photos. Then I worked my ass off on the pre-interview writing test and, on my first interview day, I wore a Speedo.

And now we have some incriminating photos of our own. Aside from the humiliation of donning minimalist swimming attire, what was the hardest thing about being scrutinized by our hiring managers?

Trying to stay charming, fresh and odorless over the course of two 10 hour days locked in a windowless room. The interrogation is conducted by a battery of people from different disciplines who cycle through, one every hour, each more determined than the last to prove you are a charlatan. My plan was to spend the evenings after the interview scouting neighborhoods to see how I might feel about living in Seattle. But each night, I just shuffled back to the hotel and slept the sleep of the dead.

It is my pleasure to tell the world that you are very far from dead. What would you say is the best thing about the vivid life you lead at Bungie?

Working with the story team. I love being in a room with these guys, hashing out ideas, bearing witness to the wild feral stare of Eric Raab, taking a drink every time Dave Mongan says “Is there a version…?”, getting a laugh out of Mr. Joe Staten. Beyond our group, there are an alarming number of smart and cool people here and it is great to have a chance to collaborate with them all.

What is one day like in that life? Write for us a very short story that encompasses one orbit of the moon – what some people call “a business day.”

I usually show up some time after 9 AM, grab breakfast in the kitchen, take a shot at the punching bag, and then work my way over to my desk. Mongan’s on his third cup of coffee already, but I pretend not to notice as we talk over whatever yesterday’s fire was. I read through my scripts. I take a shot at Mongan. At lunch I find someone willing to hit the food-by-the-pound place with me for the third time that week. Then it’s back to the mines for a meeting with one of the Design teams to take a look at the cool stuff they’re working on and try to determine how it jives with the fiction of the game. After that, a story meeting with the other writers.  Then we pitch new ideas and return to our desks to write them.

Of all the rewards that follow a day in the mines (your word, not mine), which is your favorite?

On her birthday, my wife got a gift certificate from Bungie. It was great to see the smile it put on her face, and to know I’m working for a company that would do something like that. It was a beautiful moment that lasted until she asked what I got her. Beyond that, there are the free movies in Bungie’s theater, the gym membership, the holiday gifts, groovy music in the bathrooms and an unlimited supply of Reese’s Sticks!

Bungie demands that we all grow as professionals, and you can’t accomplish that by gorging on chocolate and peanut butter. How do you sharpen that which is mightier than the sword?

I read constantly, watch a ton of films and play games. I swear, honey, it’s research!

Who are you calling Honey? Let’s keep this on the level for our readers. In fact, why don’t you give them some pointers on how they can nudge you out of your coveted seat, many years from now.

I can only speak to the story side and my own experience since I barely understand what everyone else does around here or how it works at other studios. I know that Bungie was looking to assemble a fiction team with a diversity of writing backgrounds, not just people with video game writing experience. If you want to write for games, or anything for that matter, I would suggest reading exhaustively and trying your hand at every type of writing you can. The old cliché holds, “Don’t give up.”

You have endured the challenge of this interview well, and we have arrived at the final question - a riddle of the utmost depth and importance. Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Work Ethic, Experience, Talent. I think that goes for the world-at-large, not just my role here.

You are free to go, brave wielder of the pen. You have a universe to realize, and an audience waiting in the wings.

Clay is a member of only one team that is hard at work on Bungie’s next game. His efforts are lost without the other pieces that fit together. To assemble the whole puzzle for yourself, check out the other perspectives in the Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 6/5/2012 10:20 AM PDT permalink

Mail Sack No. 19

Our last, best hope for keeping in touch!

Life at Bungie can be difficult these days. We miss you fine people so much. Sure, it’s nice to have you lounging around in a network of private clubhouses on our site, but we long for the days when we can hunt you down inside one of our own dangerous games. Until that time comes, this Mail Sack is our best connection to each other. You honor us with your questions. We try to honor you right back with answers that are worthy of your attention. Take a look at who took a break from the grind of building a universe to sift through your letters this week…

Noah George, Support Engineer
Bob Glessner, Senior Engineer
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
David Johnson, Engineer
Scott Kankelborg, Associate Test Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Online Engineer
Sergey Mkrtumov, Super Awesome Server Dude
Travis Pijut, Associate Test Engineer
Tom Sanocki, Staff Artist
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Let’s open the Sack.

Malcolm Hi my name is Malcolm and I'm 15 years old. I want to work at Bungie and I'm a really hard worker. Can I get a job?

Whoa there, young man! Your passion certainly does you credit, but you still have a long road of self-discovery stretched out before you. You should focus your energy on a discipline that speaks to you, no matter where you end up working. Are you to be an Artist or a Programmer? A Producer, or just a sad wretch who answers studio mail? Read some Breaking In interviews until you come across someone who reminds you of who you would like to be in a few years. Before you can ask us for a job, you need to be able to ask a question like this…

Godzneighbor What colleges do any of the programmers over at Bungie recommend? I'm planning on going into server programming, and one day apply to work at Bungie.

 As long as you are determined, any college with a decent Computer Science program is a good one. I'd recommend looking at a few college rankings for engineering or computer science and finding a school that interests you. When looking at a school, make sure you check the Computer Science department's webpage. Does the department have interesting things going on? Are there interesting Computer Science related clubs? Does the school have an active ACM organization? These are all good things to consider. In the end, find a school where you think you will be comfortable, work hard, and you will find success.
Michael Williams

Pick a college where computer science majors have no social life, are constantly in the computer lab, and everyone complains bitterly that they're expected to learn new programming languages on their own time because class time is spent on other things. Bonus points if the systems programming class gives you a zero for programming assignments that leak memory or crash (for any reason).
Tom Sanocki

Many of my coworkers that I've worked with in the industry went to DigiPen to get a degree specifically in game programming, but by no means is that the only avenue open to you. Personally, I went to a university with a very strong computer science program, and that was enough to really get me in the door.
David Johnson

College, pfft. Who needs that?
Travis Pijut

You should be ashamed of yourself, Travis.  Go to college, kids.  It will be the best 5 or 6 years of your life.

I ColdEmbrace I What do your uniforms look like?

Every week, a team of Bungie developers pry their code-weary hands from the keyboard and brave the outdoors to experience what the real world has come to know as “Soft Ball”. Check out their threads…

According to Head Coach (and Senior Engineer) Bob Glessner, things that are to be expected from the recreational wielding of bats are shenanigans, looking good (as depicted), and the consumption of adult beverages. The things we should not expect are winning games, mandatory practices, or actual exercise. By that humble account, it’s been a perfect season so far.

xgeua What is the most shared first name at Bungie.

Careful. A question like that could result in a rivalry, in which people with common given names form up into Teams and battle for supremacy by amassing greater numbers on the company roster.

We do have two Jason Jones’s, though.

Khirna Are there any fun rivalries in the office?

The rivalry between Team David and Team Michael. (Team David is currently winning. Booya!)
David Johnson

There have to be rivalries, otherwise it wouldn't be Bungie.
Sergey Mkrtumov

Poker night brings out the best in the rivalries...
John Stvan

Cup stays here!
Tyson Green

My favorite has always been Joe Staten vs Marty. It is an unending source of joy.
Michael Williams

burritosenior Would the Magic: The Gathering players at Bungie be interested in playing with other enthusiasts and fans of their work?

Our resident Lunchtime Magicians were very excited by this question. You could say that a rendezvous to play that game is in the cards. We just need to figure out which platform we should use. If you play Magic: The Gathering, and you want to face Bungie in a battle of wits and sorcery, join us here.

HOOBLA 911 What was your most traumatic experience at Bungie?

Broke my nose... head trauma.
John Stvan

90 hour work weeks. Actually it's pretty awesome here, so I don't really have any tramatic experiences.
Travis Pijut

For the most recent Pentathlon, I trained with Blongo for weeks, only to be defeated by a team that hadn't made a single throw before the event. Probably not the absolutely most traumatic event I've experienced, but it was humbling to say the least.
Michael Williams

Bungie Vs the World. I was part of the team that played for the first several hours. We had practiced multiple times and went undefeated. I had a special playlist on my Zune, a giant bottle of A1 sauce, and I was confident I'd eat well that night. In the end I went home utterly destroyed by our fans and with no steak.
Scott Kankelborg

When we ran out of gourmet Root Beer. I had the bends for days from withdrawal.
Sergey Mkrtumov

The interview? (Actually, the interview wasn't THAT bad. But it still was fairly intense!)
David Johnson

jross1993 Sky diving or rock climbing?

Your question points to an interesting juxtaposition. It seems as if doing one of those things improperly could lead to doing the other thing very quickly. Rather than force our esteemed panel of slackers to conform to a bi-polar query, I will let them answer your question in a more open format, such as this…

MightyMarcher01 Name one thing that you have on your bucket list.

Fly as high as a human can.
John Stvan

Skydiving (It will happen soon!)
Michael Williams

Normally I'm not the biggest enthusiast of either heights or extreme sports, but I really want to jump out of a plane - preferably with a parachute on.
David Johnson

There you have it, jross1993. They want to go skydiving. Rock climbing, after all, is something we can do without leaving our compound.

TheSpiderChief What is the weirdest piece of news you heard this week?

Have you heard the one about the Spartan, the ODST, and the Space Marine who walked into the United Nations Security Council?

kudegras Are you guys working hard?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Tom Sanocki:

Wait, wait! Before answering such a seemingly straightforward and innocuous question, we must carefully deconstruct it:

you: This is ambiguous. Is this statement referring to DeeJ, a single entity, or is it the plural “you” referring to a larger group of people? And if the latter, to whom is it addressed? To whom must we ask this question? Could it be the entire Internet? How do we collect and consolidate the results? This cannot be known.

guys: A colloquial term usually referring to members of the male gender, although in some cases used as a generic term for “people”. Impossible to tell which the author meant in this context. Is the author only interested in the activities of the males of our company, hence forcing us to ignore the crucial role of those of the female gender? We cannot resolve this.

working: Normally considered a term of labor, implying unrewarding, monotonous, unremitting toil. Does this apply to activities done for a product of fun and joy, i.e. our game? Can one “work” in the classic sense on a product that brings fun to the world, thereby converting painful toil into joy and gladness? This astounding suggestion defies logic, implying there exists a sort of alchemy that can turn the “lead” of work into the “gold” of fun. We require further research.

hard: Easily the most straightforward part of this question, “hard” clearly refers to an object's density and strength – “hard” objects are more resistant to force and pressure than “soft” objects.

After our detailed analysis, we must conclude that this question is too ambiguous -- no answer exists. We offer our apologies.
Tom Sanocki

baile045 How many Bungie employees are aware of the existence of Pathways Into Darkness 2?

Well, let’s see. I am aware that you, baile045, are making a sequel to a classic Bungie game. The ex-lawyer, whose permission I secured so that you could proceed with impunity, is aware. And, now that you have gone on record in the very public venue of our imaginary postal system, the rest of us are aware. Consider your secret project leaked to the media. Don’t feel too bad. It happens to the best of us. Now, you get to enjoy the constant roar of questions about when you will be finished, while you labor to finish. As Luke Smith likes to tell us: “Get back to work!”

SilverBulitt82 Do you guys have any special talents?

There are actually a lot of talented musicians in the studio.
John Stvan

Jedi mind trick. But it only applies to playing Risk.
Travis Pijut

I can train cats to use toilets.
Tyson Green

I read Tarot cards: I don't believe in them, but I find it to be a fun activity... and I have a set of "Science Tarot" cards that are a beautiful trifecta of heresy: it maximizes the number of people that get offended by the concept, which is part of the fun.
Alex Loret de Mola

I can juggle, do orienteering, and I am decent at puzzle-solving.
Michael Williams

I'm getting really good at shooting rubber bands at people.
Sergey Mkrtumov

I can write in cursive backwards. I fully believe this is one of the most useless skills on the planet, but I'm super proud of it.
David Johnson

antony X1000 How many users have signed in to Bungie.net within the last 7 days?

Hundreds of Thousands. That makes the population of Bungie.net bigger than that of the evergreen Town that is home to Bungie itself, but not the State.

Geegs30 When people ask you where you work, what do you tell them?

John Stvan

“In the video game industry.”
Travis Pijut

If they play games: “Bungie.” If they don't: “Seattle.”
"Bellevue" inevitably leads to "it's by Seattle," so I just cut to the chase.
Tyson Green

It really depends on the audience. For older friends or relatives, I'll sometimes say "A software company named Bungie". For those who would appreciate it, I’ll say “A game company named Bungie,” and for those who are likely to be familiar with our work, I’ll just say “Bungie”. The range of reactions can be hugely diverse.
Michael Williams

“I work for the greatest company in the world.” And I just leave it at that.
Sergey Mkrtumov

Generally "Bungie" is sufficient for 95% of the people I know. If that doesn't sink in, I toss in a, "You know, the people who made Halo," just to see if it rings a few bells. Failing that, I just tell them that I make video games for a living.
David Johnson

DE4THINC4RN4TE Will you please respond to this question with a derogatory remark at my expense for the enjoyment of the community?

You are clearly desperate for some abuse, as evidenced by the 30 questions that you dropped into this Mail Sack. Since the Yes-or-No affair enabled by your question doesn’t leave me a lot of room to instill shame in you, I will sift through the raft of interrogatives that you saddled me with to find the one that deserves the punishment for which you are begging…. Ah, yes. Here is one…

Does anyone at BUNGIE play Minecraft? Have you considered a Minecraft-themed Ride Along?

Have you ever read the Bungie Blog before today? Did you just crawl out of a cave and decide to ask the first 30 questions that popped into your head?

Was that too derogatory? It felt a little forced. Being mean to you people is not my natural state.

OMARRCHR What do Bungie Employees dream of?

You mean, when they take a little Bungie snooze?

John Stvan

Electric Sheep
Noah George, Travis Pijut

It depends on how much Diablo 3 I played right before bed.
Alex Loret de Mola

During crunch times, it tends to be about endlessly fighting with code. During other times, it is the usual random dreams about trying to drive from the back seat, finding out I need to take more classes but I missed the exam, or completely random narratives.
Michael Williams

When we're deep in crunch and sleep is a luxury I'll often start dreaming about being in the game, but still testing. Example: Running around as a member of Noble Team killing Covenant when I see an enemy not moving. I quickly call up my commander on BNET and give him a "AI pathfinding can break in area X" sort of report before I continue on with my mission. That's normal right? Right?!?
Scott Kankelborg

I dream of flying.
Sergey Mkrtumov

Sleep is a vice! Don't fall to that tempting but deadly addiction!
Tom Sanocki

Bagel Fridays.
David Johnson

ddarkjames1 What is your ideal question that we should be asking you in these Mail Sacks?

You should reach deep into the darkest chambers of your hearts and bring forth your sincerest curiosities. This shouldn’t be a contest to see who can appear on the front page. This is our best chance to stay acquainted. Healthy relationships are based on trust and honesty. We heard that on TV, once.

MAC Blast Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to run out of questions to ask?

The guy that showed up right before you seems to be at a loss, too. Group problem solving is a fringe benefit of citizenship in a community of gamers. Why don’t you two put your heads together and brainstorm the perfect question for next week. Therein lies a promise. Have a good weekend, Bungie Community. We will talk to you again soon.

Community 6/1/2012 4:22 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Dave Mongan

Truth, stranger than fiction.

Writing is a big part of the development process at Bungie. Most of us write code. Some of us write elaborate design briefs that inform the writing of code. A chosen few of us sit around all day and write outlandish lies. Those writers call their work “fiction,” which is just a fancy word for stuff that is made up. To see if I could move one of these story-tellers closer to the realm of truth, I cornered him at the concept art wall, where he was foraging for inspiration.

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

Howdy, I’m Dave Mongan, Senior Writer here at Bungie. I’m part of the team that’s crafting the story for our new game universe. Birthing characters. Scripting cinematics and mission dialog. Concocting destination fiction and deep, deep backstory. In a nutshell, I work with the other writers to wrap plausible explanations around everything that players see and do in our game.

Before we delve deeper into the experiences of the Senior Writer, Iet’s learn more about the man behind the pen. What might we find you doing when you are not concocting elaborate fabrications of reality?

Let’s see, what do I do when I’m not slaving away at the office? Lots of “research” – at least that’s what we writers call it. Watching movies, giving into the guilty pleasure of a little TV, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning playing video games (mostly shooters, currently Modern Warfare 3). I’m also an avid photographer, and when Seattle weather permits, I get out and swing the golf clubs. If I ever have extra time leftover, I spend it playing with my 9-month-old little boy, and my lovely wife. (Kidding! If my wife reads this, and she probably will, she’ll kill me for implying that anything’s more important than the Little Dude… especially golf, which I’m really not good at.)

A man has to have his priorities straight. Before you were a man, dreaming about what it would be like to grow up, what priorities did you have for your career?

For as long as I can remember (which is only back to age 13), I wanted to be a TV writer. Then I did it, and frankly, the gig didn’t live up to the hype. The worst part, in case you haven’t noticed for yourselves: Most TV these days is painfully unoriginal! Shows are hybridized, bastardized clones of everything that’s already been done. And the ones that aren’t, well, they’re nearly impossible to sell.

If I knew back then I could write video games for a living instead…? Suffice it to say my path through life would’ve been a wee bit different. For starters, I wouldn’t have wasted 15 years toiling away in the TV world. I‘d have wasted it developing mad gaming skillz so I wouldn’t get embarrassed every time I play with my Bungie coworkers.

Tell us more about your adventures in TV land. The road to writing for television had to have some interesting first steps.

Before that, I was working my way up the entertainment industry ladder for a decade and a half – starting all the way at the bottom as a Production Assistant: making coffee, running copies, taking my boss’s vomit-stained down comforter to the dry cleaner, shuttling Peter Weller to-and-from set while he hot-boxed my car with Cuban cigars. You know, the usual…

Working on-staff definitely taught me how to be a productive part of a writing team, how to give and receive notes with tact, how to write and rewrite scripts (mine and other people’s) inflicting as little damage as possible, and how to swallow my opinion when it won’t make life in The Room any easier. Development, on the other hand, made me appreciate the value of thinking outside the box, all the while keeping one eye inside the box – because you gotta know what’s selling and why if you’re gonna break new ground and do it all better. As for my days climbing the ladder? I learned never to give up.

Your tenacity is inspiring. Is there an education that equips a person to climb that ladder?

I went to USC and double-majored in Film/TV and English Creative Writing. While there, I penned some of the most treacly short stories and poetry ever to grace the page, and produced more self-indulgent student films than I care to admit. Because I knew from the get-go that I wanted to write for TV, I was mocked incessantly by the other film students, the ones who fancied themselves the next George Lucas, Quentin Tarantino or Woody Allen. The worst of the lot wanted to be all three. (Trust me, not a pretty combination.) Luckily, a lot of my professors were more understanding about my aspirations and encouraged me to start writing teleplays. I scribbled out some pretty mediocre specs of “The Simpsons” and “Seinfeld” – and a few original gems (okay, stinkers) – before realizing that comedy was NOT my forte. By the time I made the switch to more serious fare, I was out of school and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was firmly on my radar. So I wrote another spec, and rewrote it and rewrote it and rewrote it again. After about the 11th draft, I thought it was decent enough to show around, and it actually started to get some attention. Didn’t get me any jobs, but it got me to the finals of a pretty prestigious Warner Bros. writing contest, and landed me my first agent. The rest of my education… well, that was mostly on-the-job training. Like I said before, I worked my way from the bottom up, and made sure to learn as much as possible from every writer who would share their wisdom and experience. Some were far more generous than others.

Once you had your fill of cigar smoke and literary theory, how did you make the transition to funneling your imagination into games?

Ironically, Bungie reached out to me via a company called Blindlight in L.A. A TV-Writer friend of mine put me in touch with the guys at Blindlight about writing the next project for Heavy Rain creator David Cage. Bungie saw my credits and my samples and came calling.

That is very much to your credit. It’s rare that we are the pursuer. Of course, no one gets past Jerome without surviving the audition. Tell us about yours.

It began on day one with an intensive writing/brainstorming session with Joseph Staten, interrupted only by a lunchtime grilling with Chris Barrett and Jason Jones. The next day, starting promptly at 9 AM, I was locked in a conference room as reps from practically every discipline came by to hurl questions my way. I met with members of the Cinematics team, Production, Environment Art, Combatant Design, Mission Design, Audio (and probably a bunch of others that I don’t even recall now). By the time my loop was complete – 8 hours later – I’d lost my voice and felt half brain-dead. But I knew one thing for sure: every single person I’d met was immensely passionate about working at Bungie… and I was immensely lucky to be interviewing to join them.

And here you are, as a member of our team. What is the best thing about that?

Coming up with the craziest ideas imaginable – then making them crazier – then pitching them to other members of the team and having them embrace the insanity.

Tell us a story (a true story) about a day in the life of a Senior Writer.

Usually, I roll in around 9 AM. I hit the kitchen for a cup of coffee, a piece of fruit, or maybe a protein bar if I’m feeling particularly peckish. I walk the maze that is our open bullpen, shouting-out hellos to the gang, making sure to pass by our wall of amazing concept art for a boost of inspiration. Finally I arrive at my station, where I boot-up my system and launch all my go-to programs, especially Final Draft.

I like to get started by reading whatever script I was working on the previous day – a task which often leads to a quick bout of self-loathing, and deletion of said script. But then an even deeper bout of self-loathing strikes, and the previously-deleted script gets un-deleted. Eventually, I realize it’s wisest to take a moment away, so I catch up on email, laugh at some Photoshopped pics of Marty O’Donnell on email, check a slew of industry websites as “research,” then pay a visit to the cinematics folder on our network to see if there are any new cuts of scenes. (Not strictly in that order, of course.)

Somewhere along the way I’ll revisit my scripts with a slightly more constructive attitude – usually just in time to start attending meetings for the day: story planning meetings, notes sessions, table reads, motion capture shoots, fiction syncs with the world teams, playtests…

When lunchtime hits, the work stops and we break away from the office to grab food from one of the “delicious" dining options within walking distance. The afternoon is often a repeat of the pre-lunch routine: re-check email, get a good laugh at Marty’s expense, sit-in on a meeting or two, then get back to hating my scripts ‘til quitting time.

Bungie tries pretty hard to make sure that quitting time is not the best part of our day. Is there something that we do to make this studio a great place to work that stands out in your make-believe-addled mind?

Oh man, there are too many to list. But since I’m a lover of words, I’ll list a bunch anyway. Favorite perks: the never-ending supply of red apples, Red Bull, and Red Vines in the kitchen. Oh, and the beer fridge that’s fully-stocked for team meetings. Oh, and I can’t forget Pentathlon day, when the entire studio shuts down to play games together, all in the spirit of morale-building. All in all, pretty sweet.

How does that morale best manifest itself? Can you describe that one moment in which someone appreciated your work, and assured you that you belonged here?

I definitely think the best is yet to come. But if I have to give an answer, okay… Remember what I said before about pitching crazier-than-crazy ideas? Well, there’s one particular zinger that comes to mind – an idea so hair-brained that one of the other writers, Clay (aka The Mouche), laughed out loud in my face. In all fairness, it was a laughable idea. But there was a kernel of something super-cool there. So we talked it over a bit more, amping the cool way up, and toning the absurd way down. And eventually when I pitched it to Staten, he loved it. Then we started sharing it with other members of the larger team… and I’ll be damned if they didn’t love it too!

It’s good to know that you are challenging us with levels of craziness that we can’t anticipate. How does Bungie challenge you to grow as a writer?

I analyze story in every way possible. Whether I’m watching TV or a movie, playing a new game or reading comic books, I’m actively breaking down the plot and characters… much to the chagrin of my very patient wife and co-workers. Because in truth, “analyze” usually means “complain about ad nauseum,” or gripe “I should have thought of that first!” It’s amazingly cathartic and educational to see how other writers build their stories – what they do well, and what they royally screw up. Not only does it help you learn and grow as a writer, but occasionally it makes you feel much better about yourself.

All of this back-breaking, mind-bending labor must sound like candy to many of our readers. What would you tell them, so that they can steal your job someday?

This may sound kinda touchy-feely-granola, but it’s true: set your intention, then do whatever it takes to make it happen. That includes getting the necessary training and education, spending long hours honing your craft (yes, writing is 99% re-writing!), putting yourself out there even at the risk of rejection, and not being afraid to work your way up from the bottom. The long hard slog from chauffeuring Peter Weller to helping create Bungie’s next big universe builds character, and arms you with a lot of ridiculous, sometimes embarrassing stories to share with the rest of the writing team.

Final Question: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Work ethic matters above all else. Assuming you have a modicum of talent, and at least a little experience under your belt, it’s all about the right attitude. In short: Don’t be an ass. Be confident, but for the love of all that’s holy stay humble. I’ve known a lot of talented writers in my life, and more than a few who’ve felt some perverted sense of superiority, entitlement even – as if they were god’s gift to the written word and opportunities should be laid at their feet like virgin sacrifices. News flash: You have to earn things in life. It’s a universal truth. Unless you’re one of those lucky bastards who has insanely good fortune just drop in your lap. If that’s the case, a) Screw you; and b) Buy a lottery ticket, don’t jump into a field where you’re surrounded by insane creativity as far as the eye can see. Because at the end of the day, we’re all working our asses off together to make the most kickass new game imaginable… and if everything goes to plan, paving the way to world domination.

We should have known that a writer would be so generous about sharing the story that led him to Bungie’s open bullpen. Thank you for dispelling the myths about your gig, Dave. Not all of these features are this long, but all of them cut equally close to the truth. If you would like to know about all the disciplines that go into Bungie’s next project, and how people come to practice them, our Breaking In archive is always available to provide you with some lighter reading.

Breaking In 5/29/2012 2:15 PM PDT permalink

Pardon Their Dust

Even darker...

Please remain calm.  Bungie.net may experience some downtime tonight.  The networking partner that helps us stay connected to the world will be doing some upkeep on their shop from 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM Pacific Time.  This may interrupt your ability to visit us in the middle of the night.

All should be back to normal before the sun rises on Tuesday.

Community 5/28/2012 10:41 AM PDT permalink

Mail Sack E18HTEEN

Completing the equation.

The Mail Sack for this week was sullied with more impassioned demands for comment than our inbox for official media inquiries. Now just isn’t the time, friends. And this is certainly not the venue. There are some people at Bungie who are willing to share some personal details, however. Let’s talk to them about life in our studio…

David Aldridge, Engineering Architect
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant
Jesse Hall, Associate Artist
Stephen Hodde, Senior Audio Designer
David Johnson, Engineer
Scott Kankelborg, Associate Test Engineer
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Steve Lopez, IT Overlord
Alex Loret de Mola, Associate Engineer
John Shaffstall, Associate Engineer
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Jason Sussman, Senior Artist 
Scott Taylor, Associate Producer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Let’s open the Sack.

HOOBLA 911 Other than the epic Rock Wall, what other cool activities do you partake in while not working on games?

Shredding on my bike and board. I love Stevens Pass.
Jesse Hall

Trips to the hospital count?
John Stvan

Internally: I'm part of the regular gathering of lunchtime Wizards and also run a game of Pathfinder about once a month.
Externally: I enjoy a good trip to the firing range (and playing Pathfinder).
Scott Kankelborg

Board games during the lunch hour. And not silly games like Monopoly or Parcheesi. Awesome games like Cosmic Encounters.
David Johnson

Trying to get into 1v1 platinum in StarCraft 2.
David Aldridge

The indoor soccer team is a good outlet with the Bungie folks.
Luke Ledwich

Photographing Dave Dunn in women’s cloths.
Jason Sussman

Muay Thai Kickboxing, going to the doctor.
Stephen Hodde

At work, I'm involved in some regular groups playing Risk Legacy, WizWars and Cosmic Encounters. On some evenings, we will play Pathfinder as well. Outside of work, I occasionally volunteer on a tall ship, and try to use my vacations to travel to other countries.
Michael Williams

Duardo Did anyone at Bungie suffer any side-effects from looking directly at the eclipse?

If by “suffer any side effects” you mean “took photographs”, the answer is “Yes!” Never ones to miss a notable starside event, a few Bungie guys actually crossed state lines to escape the omnipresent cloud clover that shields us from the daystar. Here is what one of them saw as the light left our world during its tango with the Moon.

Nephilim713 How does it feel to be out of the dark now?

You mean after the eclipse? It feels just fine. The sun was only gone for a minute or two. And we knew it would come back the whole time. During times like those, we find it reassuring to know that the darkness is temporary, and that all is happening according to a grand design – even if we don’t fully understand it.

coolmike699 What's the most clever way you can tell us that you won't be commenting on any leaks or rumors?

How did you like my answer to that last question? Clever enough for you? I have a very good friend (we go everywhere together) who observed how clever I was when we first met on a commercial airline flight. I can still remember him asking: “How’s that working out for you?”

Just so that you won’t accuse us of dodging every bullet in your guns…

Old Papa Rich Have you guys finished your new game presentation for E3?

Nope. We never started one, and we’re not going to be at E3 in any official capacity this year. Some of us will be there, lurking from booth to booth, but don’t expect any announcements.

Hylebos My question this week is to Alex Loret de Mola and John Shaffstall. In the 16th Mail Sack, they said that their favorite recreational activity at Bungie is Magic the Gathering. I was wondering what their favorite decks or cards were.

Calling people out by name now, eh? I think I might be able to conjure up those two lunchtime wizards to describe their favorite tricks.

My favorite card is the Ink-Treader Nephilim, a highly entertaining card for casual multiplayer games (which is pretty much all that I play). As you may have guessed from my favorite card, my favorite decks are multicolored combo decks… of whatever color combo happens to fit my unlikely combo of the week. Currently my Ink-Treader Nephilim is in use as a draw engine for an extremely unlikely – yet satisfying - Coalition Victory win.
Alex Loret de Mola

When we’re not drafting, we play super-casual with mostly older cards from all of the sets.
Favorite cards: Lightning Helix, Sunforger, Leatherback Baloth, and Garruk Wildpseaker.
Favorite decks: Red/White Boros and Mono-Green Ramp Overrun.
John Shaffstall

SPRTN One One 7 How often do you like to take part of the community here on Bungie.net?

It really depends on which part of the community I am taking. There are some parts that I like to take every day. There are other parts that I only take when I am called in to break up a good fight.

Sven Nietzsche What personal project do you think caught the Employment Manager's eye when he/she was looking through your resume/portfolio? Could you tell us a little bit about your experience with it?

I was told that my images of the Halo/Star Wars poster were something that caught my manager(s)'s eye(s). They were just something fun I wanted to do and wound up being a big part of my portfolio.
John Stvan

I'm going to cut across the grain here and admit that I don't do personal projects. Never have. I like to spend my spare time on activities that are as different as possible from my work challenges. I enjoy coding for work very much, but I can count the number of times in my life where I have coded for fun on one hand.
David Aldridge

A working game demo was definitely brought up the most in the interview.
Luke Ledwich

In one of my University networking classes, I ended up making a networked version of Connect Four. After the class was over, I kept working on it, adding graphics, a user interface, and a computer opponent. This project gave me a lot to talk about during my interview, and demonstrated an array of abilities.
Michael Williams

coolmike699 What's the strangest thing you've ever had to do in the name of making a game?

In my first game company job I spent my first 3 days moving furniture they had bought into their office. It was pink.
David Aldridge

Rescue a co-worker from a foam pit during a PR event.

Luke Ledwich

As an audio designer, pretty much everything is strange. Yesterday I swung a jump rope in front of a microphone. I often find myself abusing fruit, also part of the job description.
Stephen Hodde

Speaking, yelling, and whispering "watermelon, watermelon, watermelon, watermelon..." over and over again.
Michael Williams

Photograph Dave Dunn in women’s cloths.
Jason Sussman

One Word: Leopard Stretch Pants.
John Stvan

That’s more than one word, John. Let’s try to get our facts straight when we have company. Thanks.

Assassin 11D7 When can I get a chance to get a free steak again?

Never. That ship sailed when Luke Smith decided to tackle other projects at Bungie. I hope you got yours, because that promise is the cargo of another community manager who has voyaged into deeper waters of development. You are stuck with me now, Sailor. There will be a chance to put a price on my head as well, but you’ll have to wait for that day.

SlashingArbiter In Josh Poley's Breaking In interview, he described an example of how Bungie cared for him when recovering from his surgery. Can you describe a special way Bungie has cared for you?

When I broke my face playing on the Bungie Softball Team, a lot of people told me that I looked much better.
John Stvan

It's a lot of little things. Birthday cards, Christmas gift packages, generous PTO, and awesome no-BS company policies. I think the biggest single example for me was the care package they sent me out of the blue after I was hired, which I think contained all the Bungie games, and a bunch of swag. That was the point where I first realized that this company would be something special.
David Aldridge

A special bottle of rum and a crate of timtams definitely touched a soft spot during Reach crunch.
Luke Ledwich

During ODST development, I ended up working a lot of long lonely hours to help get the firefight and campaign stats up and running. In the middle of my crunch, one of my managers pulled me aside, thanked me for working the long hours, and gave me a nice gift. This was on top of the regular Bungie crunch perks, and it really made me feel valued.
Michael Williams

ctjl96 Has there ever been a fist-fight at Bungie's place of residence? I'd like to see some Dave-on-Tom action.

Uhhh, that would be Dave who and Tom who? Your choice of words makes it sound like you don’t really want to see a fistfight. Let’s be honest with one another. This isn’t about violence. Is it?

Jose291 Which Avenger from the actual 2012 movie would you like to be?

Booster Gold. Maybe Blue Beetle, but the good chubby one is dead. DC FOREVER!
Scott Taylor

Tony Stark - He's an engineer!
Michael Williams

Stark. I already have the glowing chest.
John Stvan

Iron Man, no question. Really, if you think about the day to day life of being any of the others, it's not even a contest.
Hulk: wrestle against inner demon, try to avoid killing people, no useful/controllable powers.
Thor: deal with Asgardian politics, be a stranger in a strange land, no friends.
Captain America: be a role model.
Hawkeye, Black Widow: be generally weaker than all of your friends.
David Aldridge

Who wouldn't want to be a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist? Who I ask you?
David Johnson

I read a Thor comic once in which the man himself had a great line vs. Tony Stark: "Let me show you the difference between a man in an iron suit and a god of thunder."
Joey Gibbs

Grab thy hammer and step lively, Joey. You have a whole squad of power-armored nerds who are descending upon you on plumes of fire.

Kr1egerdude Is failure always an option?

Yes. Always. Every day. We would even say that the threat of failure is a crucial ingredient of our creative process. You have to keep swimming, lest you drown. Jason Jones, as he has a habit of doing, said it best: "Bungie is like a shark. We have to keep moving to survive. We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins. Or manatees.”

Tookurdignity What World-Famous command did the first IBM PC Manual omit?

Is this one of those questions found in those pre-Internet PC games of yore where you have to look up the answer in the manual to make sure that your copy of the game was legit and not pirated? Hold on, I've got it around here somewhere... I... think...
David Johnson

I'm afraid I wasn't born yet. Ask me about obscure Apogee games in the early 90s instead.
David Aldridge

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure your handle is from a Puscifer lyric.
Stephen Hodde

It is hard to believe they chose to omit "Kneel before Zod!", but it happened!
Michael Williams

‘Dignity, I can relate to what you are feeling right now. I never know which question is going to result in a group-attack of unavoidable sarcasm. Wanna hold each other?

mister death Do you have a ritual (party) after a release of a game?

We normally sacrifice a virgin from the hills of Kirkland, but after the SWAT team incident, we've toned it down to drinking... a lot.
John Stvan

As a tester our post-release schedule is already laid out before us. Monitor the system 24/7 to ensure everything runs smoothly and make panicked calls to sleepy bosses at 3am when it doesn't.
Scott Kankelborg

My personal ritual is to buy some new toys and take some time off to enjoy them. After Halo: Reach shipped, the toys were a PS3 and Demon's Souls. The company has a ritual as well, but we can't talk about that with outsiders due to rule 19.
David Aldridge

Luke Ledwich

Mostly feasting on the flesh of the non-believers, mostly.
Stephen Hodde

My team likes to watch performance graphs and make wagers on the numbers they will hit, with fancy bottles of alcohol as prizes.
Michael Williams

mark117 mia2553 Would you rather ride a bike or drive to work?

No one here is going to win a bike by driving their car to work. This month, one lucky Bungie cyclist will claim victory in a contest that we are running to observe National Bike Month.

CTN 0452 9 What is the funniest YouTube video you have seen this year?

Justin Bieber singing 'Baby' with Ludacris.
David Aldridge

Some dude redid the subtitles to a Hitler freak out in a movie. You guys ever see that before? I can't believe no one did that before.
John Stvan

Steve Lopez

Jason Sussman

Michael Williams

Nolas Hammer Were my previous Mail Sack questions strategically misplaced?

Yes. They were misplaced with the same level of strategery as was the Ark of the Covenant, all aircraft that have ever plotted a course through the Bermuda triangle, the City of Atlantis, and the Titanic. Actually, Hammer, I am firing blind here, as I have no recollection of any specific questions that you previously committed to the Sack.

Muzza777 As members of the gaming community and developers especially, how do you think gaming has changed your life and the world today?

Yes and yes. Thanks!
John Stvan

I became a video game developer instead of doing something else with my life. More importantly though, it brought me closer to a group of awesome people (not to mention a very special someone!) around the world who shared the same love of games as I.
David Johnson

I met my wife through a game (a text MUD in fact), so it has changed my life quite a lot! Nintendo, Apple, and Facebook have mainstreamed gaming in a tremendous rush in the last 5 years. Now a majority of people value virtual achievements. After growing up in an age where playing video games branded you as a nerd and social outcast, this brave new world astonishes me every day.
David Aldridge

I have always loved a good story, I think gaming has added a lot of good stories to the world. And I don’t just mean the epic hand delivered game stories, there are some multiplayer moments my friends and I will never forget.
Luke Ledwich

We know from psychological research that gaming can satisfy short-term emotional needs and this is no small accomplishment. I grew up in social isolation, so gaming became significant to me. The worlds I inhabited, the imagination, the stories, were friends that enriched my life experience. Games can make sad people happy- that's pretty amazing. We now see a whole community of people virtually crossing the globe that would otherwise be isolated due to physical disability. That may seem trite to some people, but that kind of communication being so readily available continues to move me. It's a beautiful thing.
Stephen Hodde

I think that games have made us think of storytelling in a new way. In games, more than most other mediums, the player is a participant in telling the story. I like to think that this reminds people that they can be the creators of other stories in their lives.
Michael Williams

WestCoastRonin What is one piece of advice for someone trying to break into the video game industry?

Why ask for one piece of advice when you can have dozens of pieces of advice? Every week, another cast member in our really big show steps to the front of the stage to share the story of how they survived our audition. You can collect them all. I already have a writer of outlandish fiction all queued up and ready to sing for you next week.

Geegs30 What's your favorite place in the studio?

I really like the stress room. I've put a lot of blood (literally), sweat, and tears into building that room up to its current glory. In a nutshell: It's a room full of consoles and PCs, all constantly repeating tests over and over again on each little piece of content to ensure all remains stable. It's also a sinister death trap waiting to consume an unfortunate victim - occasionally Burnaroos will be doing testing on the HVAC system and the pressure between the Gauntlet and the stress room is great enough that you can't actually open the doors to get out for a minute or two.
Scott Kankelborg

The kitchen. Conversely, it's also the most dangerous place in the studio. Even more so than the climbing wall!
David Johnson

The mezzanine on the third floor where you can look down on the entire development floor and admire the might of our horde.
David Aldridge

Other peoples’ pods I haven't visited in a while. There is always something interesting on the desks and screens.
Luke Ledwich

The recording booth is freakin sweet.
Stephen Hodde

During the wintertime, I really like sitting next to the fireplace at lunch or on a break. Soaking up the warmth and staring at the flames helps clear my mind and gets me ready to attack my next problem.
Michael Williams

In DeeJ's arms.
John Stvan

You trying to antagonize me? Our fans ask these questions because they sincerely want to know about life in our studio, John. Please try to be more sincere in answering them.

SonOfTheShire How many people were killed in Halo matchmaking before you guys relinquished control?

More people than have lived on this planet. Ever. It was a bloodbath, friends. Thank you all for playing.

Khirna If the video game industry were to crumble overnight, what industry would you try to work in next?

Biotech, astronomy or physics research, or anywhere they need huge computing power. Working to find cures would be satisfying I bet.
Steve Lopez

I'd probably stay in software development of some sort, but if there were no video games, I'd certainly have the free time to work on that novel I've always wanted to pursue.
David Johnson

Gold farming.
David Aldridge

I would probably return to a previous career, Butchery or Robotics.
Luke Ledwich

I fancy myself a statesman.
Stephen Hodde

I'd try to find a project management job at an aerospace firm like Virgin Galactic and make spaceships.
Joey Gibbs

I'd look at the social networking industry. They are doing a lot of interesting things right now, and it ties in well with the stats, fileshare, and rating work I've done in the past.
Michael Williams

Being Awesome.
John Stvan

That’s not an answer, John. There is no “Being Awesome” Industry. That’s two strikes. You have one more chance to take this seriously.

Malfar Name a lesson that you learned the hard way.

Don't break the build. Or else.
David Johnson

All-in-one Shampoo+Conditioner products are a lie. One of these things is fundamentally a solvent, and the other is an oil. Putting them together simply does not work. I was cursed by dandruff for years before I figured that out.
David Aldridge

I am not a good soccer goalie.
Luke Ledwich

I once asked Dan Miller what he was thinking about.
Jason Sussman

Don't ask to see Ling-Ling unless you are ready to see Ling-Ling.
Michael Williams

Being Awesome.
John Stvan

That’s it! You’ve worked my last nerve, Mister. Want to learn a lesson the hard way? You’re banned from the Sack. Get out of my sight, before I figure out how to revoke the miracle of your gold text on the Bungie forum.

(deep breath)

Next week is a whole new week, Bungie Community. In observance of Memorial Day, we will be back with a whole new chance to keep in touch with each other. Well, some of us will be back. Others of us just never learn.

Community 5/25/2012 4:02 PM PDT permalink