Bungie Weekly Update: 5/30/08
Posted by lukems at 5/30/2008 6:21 PM PDT
Tissue or is it Kleenex?

After last week’s Playlist update – the one where Shishka bravely revealed that Battle Rifle starts were being decreased in Team Slayer – there were sore behinds over in his kingdom. Tears were shed, martyrs fell on their swords and the net result of Shishka's "Halo 3-breaking" change was that the percentage of BR starts decreased by 0.4 percent on three maps: Ghost Town, Standoff and Foundry.

Let’s read that again: The percentage of BR starts was decreased by 0.4 percent on three maps: Ghost Town, Standoff and Foundry.  

As a general word on these malaise filled overreactions, we absolutely appreciate and love the passion that so many folks show but there are times where the sheer zeal spirals out of control like the plot from the latest Indy flick. It was just 0.4 percent after all, but, going forward we’ll try and communicate these changes much clearer.

How Bungie Favorites Works

There’s been an incredible, nigh, unfathomable amount of tears over the “same people being on Bungie Favorites” each week. So let’s rehash Internet-emo-cut-cut FAQ style what’s going on with Favorites:

Wat the hel1 Bungle, SAME PPL on Favorites AGAIN?

This is the second of Ascendant Justice’s two weeks on Favorites. Then, next week when Bungie Favorites changes again, it will be another group putting their content on Bungie Favorites. And they might put two weeks of Bungie Favorites together. Duuuude, whoa.

Why do u do this? This sux.

Bungie Favorites, in its current form, is tied directly to spotlighting various Community groups that exist either on Bungie.net or somewhere else on the Internet. In case it's not obvious, we're pretty into our Community.

OK, my group wants to be on Favorites, get me on so we can all get Recon!

Group selection wasn’t egalitarian. Months ago I asked for folks (in this very space) to send me a message with their email and a link to their group’s Web site and then I culled through those groups and chose a bunch of groups and sent them emails with the guidelines for submitting Favorites.

People on Favorites with Recon are just coincidental.

They don’t have Recon for any of these reasons:

  • They downloaded a particular file and recommended it to someone.
  • They were on Bungie Favorites.
  • They  asked for it in a PM, Xbox Live Message, or on the Forums.

 

Site Map

Yesterday saw the introduction of a number of features to Bungie.net – many of them subtle and genteel so as to not rustle the grand ire of internet browsing regulars, with the overall changes leading to a much easier-to-navigate Bungie.net. Content pieces – blog posts, updates, spotlights and assorted other things are now linked together via a searchable tag system.

The short version is that it should now be easier to find things to read, look at, and listen to on Bungie.net.

Bungie Media Player:

The just-launched Bungie Media Player plays audio, video and images via the Silverlight player (your browser will prompt you to download the plug-in) and the playlists for the Media Player will continue to see new additions – some relics from the past undoubtedly need to be unearthed – and we’ve certainly got some plans of what is heading toward the Bungie Media Player in the coming soon.

If you’ve got some gem from Bungie history - a rare interview or a piece of media that you see is missing from the Bungie Media Player,- PM me a link to a download of it (we will rehost the files, that way your bandwidth won’t get punished ) and we’ll grab it for the Media Player. In the Media Player is a newish ViDOC-type film that you should check out if you missed it. It's called "Work at Bungie," and it's an introduction to who we are, where we came from and what we're going to do. We're hiring.

Bungie Blog:

The Bungie Blog will be a pipeline of news and Community information, from Bungie.net users and Bungie employees. Users can submit possible postings to the Blog via the “Submit News” tool. But what happens after that? Stories go to a queue where once read, they are either edited and accepted or rejected (and sometimes screenshots of them are taken for posterity).

If you haven’t embraced the sweet, sweet warmth of RSS feeds – you should read up on RSS feeds, download a player and subscribe to the Bungie Blog.

Top News:

The only change to this section is that all of the content is hooked together now – so at the bottom of the Weekly Update, will be links to other Weekly Updates. That way, you can fact check before you post that Purple Reign is a remake of Midship (It’s not, it’s all new). You’ll also be able to use the Tag system to find Weekly Updates that were about Halo 2 if you want to climb into Bungie.net’s Delorean.

Meet the Team: Alex Pfeiffer

Our flock of new hires continue to land at Bungie and I asked Alex Pfeiffer - one of our recently hired Designers - a handful of questions to introduce him to ya'all.

What do you do here at Bungie?

I’m a Mission Designer responsible for the vision and production of a given set of game levels.  I work with the design team to develop a mission concept that is further refined based on feedback from the development team and the construction process itself.  Once the project enters a “production” phase, I assemble all of the assets that the other departments generate while crafting unique gameplay experiences that fit into the context of the larger game.   

The delta between good design and bad design is pretty wide; to you, what is “good design?”

Without getting too technical, I think a great game requires two basic components: engaging gameplay mechanics and a rich universe that inspires curiosity in its players.  It may sound simple but it’s actually extremely challenging which is why one cannot underestimate the importance of teamwork and chemistry when making a game.

 What did you study in college? How did you get into the game industry? How did you get into Design?

I studied architecture in college and went on to earn my Master of Architecture degree.

After graduating, I worked as a level design consultant for a small startup game company while sending my portfolio and resume to every studio I found interesting.  It took a couple months, but in the end my patience paid off and I got a full-time gig as a Level Designer at 2015 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Was there a watershed moment that made you want to make games? Or was your life less like a Spielberg movie than that.

I had always been fascinated with games and digital media so the temptation to use my architectural knowledge in these fields was always there, but often in the background.  In my final year in grad school I took a very conceptual studio with a professor who let me develop my project using the Unreal Editor.  Creating a game environment was an exciting experience and it gave me the confidence I needed to pursue a career in games. 

What are some of your all-time favorite games and why?

Half Life 2 is one of my all-time favorite games - it has one of the best opening missions I’ve ever played.  On several occasions I’ve gone back to play the first mission only to find myself sucked in again.  The combat and physics puzzles were fun and entertaining, but the universe and unobtrusive story really galvanized the experience for me.  At times the game simulates what a futuristic Soviet border run might feel like, which I always thought was pretty awesome.

Total Annihilation may be an older RTS but it was way ahead of its time and is still my ‘gold standard’ for the genre.  Improvisation amidst chaos is at the core of this game with epic battles containing hundreds of units.  In college I spent countless hours playing TA with guys from the math department who routinely kicked my ass.

The Smuggler

REPORT: CONTAINMENT FAILURE

LF.Xx.3273 research and containment facility; [delta site] has experienced catastrophic specimen containment failure. All apertures into facility will be locked until further notice. Atmosphere evacuation and [reduction of ambient temperature] protocols have already been enacted. Request maintenance and security detail [at earliest opportunity]. [8 minutes] elapsed since initial containment failure.

 
REPORT: CONTAINMENT FAILURE

Waiting for maintenance and security detail. [32 minutes, 9 seconds] elapsed since request.

 
REPORT: CONTAINMENT FAILURE

Still waiting for maintenance and security detail. [24 hours] elapsed since request.

 
REPORT: SECURITY BREACH

LF.Xx.3273 research and containment facility; [delta site] has experienced a security breach via emergency [slip stream space] transportation conduits. Emergency [slip stream space] transportation conduits have been placed in recursive mode to contain unauthorized hostile lifeforms. Request emergency security detail. Still waiting for primary maintenance and security detail. [2512332 hours, 14 minutes, 6 seconds]elapsed since initial request.

 
REPORT: DERELICTION OF DUTY

2401 [PENITENT TANGENT] has been lax in the areas of maintenance and security.

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