Miguel Chavez - Master of BS
Posted by Sketch at 3/22/2002 11:24 AM PDT

Miguel Chavez, Master of BS

by Yeroen
March 21, 2002

People who never heard of Bungie before they bought Halo are often surprised to hear we've been making games for over ten years. Not only have they missed out on our earlier games, they're unaware those games attracted a bevy of creative, intelligent, fun people who coalesced into a thriving community. Miguel Chavez is among the vanguard, leading the Bungie community into bold new frontiers. Miguel started organizing Bungie FanFests at MacWorld Expos to get Bungie fans and employees together for gaming, conversation and, if you're one of the lucky few, pizza. Miguel is also a member of Clan Plaid, the legendary order of Myth players whose excellent website and globe-trotting antics were part of the inspiration for the Seventh Column. He is also the founder and maintainer of the Bungie Sightings website. In addition to being hard-working and generous, Miguel is an extremely friendly, intelligent and fun guy. Any way you look at it, the Bungie community is better for his presence, and we consider ourselves lucky to have him as a friend. Recently we decided to grill him about the past, present and future of the Bungie community; now we're sharing Miguel's vision with the world.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you were first introduced to Bungie.

I'm a 33 year-old carbon-based life unit, partnered along with my lovely wife Frieda in a computer/graphic arts company. I'm the tech, she's the arts. :) I have 2 boys: Rafael is 6 and Armando just turned 4 months old. We're New Yorkers, down to the bone.

I've been involved with computers since I was a teen, cutting junior high school and hanging out at Radio Shack and playing all those cool ASCII battle simulation games on their display computer, a TRS-80 Model III. How could you dis that machine man? It had 2 5.25" floppy drives. In yo face!

Fast forward several years and I'm the head tech for a book group in an educational publishing company in NYC. I was for a time heavily into the Amiga, and it still holds a special place in my heart, but I eventually moved on to Apple Macintosh. At some point, I don't recall exactly how, I got turned onto your game Pathways into Darkness. Maybe I saw it reviewed in Macworld. Maybe it was a free demo CD that came with an order from Macwarehouse. I dunno. Though the Amiga had its fair share of bleeding edge games, I was blown away by the 16-bit graphics you guys harnessed in the game. And right away the game screams "different!" I mean, how many other games came out at that time that took advantage the Macintosh interface and employed "multiple open windows" GUI? Imagine playing a game spread out among a bunch of Photoshop palettes. And it worked! Too cool. And on top of that, the story's engrossing! So I was pretty much hooked at that point.

I remember reading the Marathon preview article in Macweek. I'm sure I can count myself among the thousands that received the pre-ordered 'don't have the boxes done' manual w/ floppies inserted. I still have the Macwarehouse packing slip filed away somewhere. I paid $50 for, my memory is a little hazy, 3 floppy disks of Bungie gaming excellence. And now you can purchase a DVD-ROM of Halo for $50. The more things change the more they stay the same. :)

The weird thing is that I really didn't 'connect' with the Bungie community until I was close to finishing Marathon. I was stuck somewhere and finally decided to use that new-fangled invention known as the Internet to look for some tips or even a walkthrough. Then like a dying man crawling through the desert, I stumbled onto the oasis known as the Marathon Story Page. No offense, but I'm sure that Hamish's page is probably more responsible for converting folks from Marathon enthusiasts to Bungie fans then all of Bungie's attempts at marketing way back then.

Even after finding the Story Page, I still missed out on the AOL and AGM years of early Bungie Fandom. So not being in tune with the 'inside track', you can count me among the gullible that really thought you guys had a problem with the boxes when trying to get Marathon out the door. It was only in the past year or two that someone, maybe it was Matt, told me it was a clever deception to hide last minute bug squashing, etc. [Editor's Note: Would I ever admit such a thing? Pshaw! -MDS]

What is your favorite Bungie game? (Don't worry about offending Hamish.)

Under different circumstances, each Bungie game is a favorite, but maybe if the question is rephrased "If you were stuck on a deserted island with a laptop computer and solar-powered batteries, what single Bungie game would you want with you?" (sounds like a bungie.net question to me!) Under such extreme conditions, I'd go for the Total Codex. That counts as one game, aye? There's plenty of maps and such in that package to keep me entertained for a long long time. And if I happened to have some sort of wireless-satellite connection to the 'net, I'd be able to play with fellow Mythers around the world. No such luck with Marathon nor the current implementation of Halo.

How do you feel about the Myth server getting shut down and the server source code release?

It was inevitable that it would be turned off at some point in time. I'm sure I'm not alone in realizing, as the day of the shutdown got closer and closer, that something beyond just a game server was ending. A Myth server of some kind had been running for approximately four years. In the land of computers, that's a really long time! Many people established long running friendships there. And as much as there are petty rivalries that have spilled off into the various forums, folks were actually going to miss this each other, regardless of their status as 'enemy' or 'friend.' Bungie.net did not have a monopoly on such a situation, such events have happened before and will happen again, but this was our own private version of it, and it was sad to see it go.

Thinking forward, I'd like to offer kudos to the powers that be (and the folks that do the hard work that the powers that be tell them to do) for releasing as much of the source code as they did. Now the future of the Myth community rests on the shoulders of the fans, and I hope whatever organic/chaotic evolution takes place over the next few weeks/months has the end result of the community finding itself a nice comfortable 'spot' to rest on. There seems to be a lot of rumbling going on currently with a few different groups trying to get some kind of server off the ground. However, even before the server shutdown, Mariusnet, created by my fellow clan-mates Conner and Marius of Clan Plaid, certainly offered an alternative server that is running strong even today. They are to be applauded and showered with kegs of BEER! heh :)

What's the story behind Bungie giving you the "#1 Fan" title?

I bestowed it upon myself, and for some odd reason, you guys just ran with it. Actually I think Doug replied to an email of mine and threw the phrase back at me and said I was now the 'Official #1 Fan." That was a hoot! :) The long story goes likes this: When I working for that publishing house I mentioned earlier, I was in charge of dozens of Mac workstations. A perk was that I could attend Macworld Expo and stay abreast of all the current and upcoming tech advances being made in the world of Apple. Needless to say, I spent the first day looking at the business/creativity apps, and the other two or three days indulging my personal needs and checking out the latest games and other doo-dads.

The Boston Macworld Expo was interesting in that there was a definite line of demarcation between the 'elite' exhibitors and the 'underground/can't-afford-the-big-bucks' exhibitors. Apple, Quark, Macromedia, Adobe, etc, would display in the Elite Hall, and Bungie and the rest of the small-time game publishers, ribbon cartridge refillers, producers of floppy disk wallets and the like (along with typical fly-by-night companies that, for example, would offer bio-feedback headgear that connected to an ADB port, assuring you that Nirvana was only a few keystrokes away) were in the Ghetto Hall.

Now, if you can picture the mayhem at a Japanese train station during rush hour then you can get a taste of the bone-crushing frenzy of folks trying to visit these booths throughout the day. And there's Bungie, stuck in the middle of all this traffic. Matt's in one corner of the booth, resting his head lazily on one arm, watching the fishbowl fill up with business cards of folks that want to get on the Bungie Mailing List. [Editor's Note: I'm sure this was after several hours of backbreaking physical labor. -MDS] Doug's showing off Marathon to some pimply kid who's father is right behind him, waiting for the perfect moment to yank on his collar and continue on 'cause we're on a schedule son, we don't have all day! Jim is behind the cash register, hawking shirts and bundles and patiently waiting on FedEx to arrive with another box of goodies that the public wants to get their hands on. Jason's already on a plane heading back to Chicago; he's got more programming to do! Max is also milling around, hiding his nametag that lists him as the Bungie Webmaster; since Hamish had brought attention to the secret identity of the BW, Max is now a 'marked man.' And last but not least of course is Alex, in his perpetual Zen-state, eyeing the crowd and his employees, wondering how The Plan is going.

So now here I come, being pushed along with the rest of the crowd. This was around the time I had finished PiD and had gotten into Marathon, and had discovered Hamish's page. So I'm full of questions about all things related to the number 7, the literary references in Marathon's story, etc. I come right up to your booth and I just started yammering away... "What's with the 7? Have you seen Hamish's page? Which of you is the English Lit freak? Are the Jjaro really in Marathon? Who's the person behind the whole storyline?" You're all looking at me like I need a tranquilizer gun aimed at my noggin', but I keep at it. Then I notice that the booth is mainly getting a lot of casual glances from the other expo attendees. I'm shocked! Where's the commotion? Why aren't more people asking these same questions? Aren't we all looking for the Tru7h? So now I turn around and start talking to the folks milling around and I ask, no DEMAND of them: "Have you played this game? Why not? It's the best game here! What's that in your hand, Doom? Oh yeah, that's a nice game..." ::rolls eyes:: "You should buy your son Marathon. Hey, don't get upset, it's not a real gun you know! Ever wish you could 'play' in the best science fiction novel *ever*? Well, now's your chance! Play it in a dark room with just headphones, you'll piss in your pants! Don't just stare at the box, buy it! Get that shirt, it's cool! Look at that guy over there, he MADE this game! Shake his hand! Oh this guy over here? You can hear his voice in the game!"

Eventually the onslaught of moving bodies would be too much and I'd have to move on, but a bunch of you, especially Alex, remembered me, and when I would come to the next Expo, I'd be at it again, making a spectacle of myself but just trying to have a good time. Misery, the movie based on Stephen King's novel, had been out and the phrase "I'm your #1 fan!" had inserted itself into the American lexicon of Pop Culture. I decided a nice twisted way of labeling myself as this mad-hatter would be to call myself "Bungie's #1 Fan." Doug's email to me just clinched it in my head: I now had a ridiculously silly label to justify my over-the-top shenanigans.

Now in closing, I'd like to state for the record that in *NO WAY* do I really consider myself your number one fan. Folks like Claude, Hamish, Greg, etc., (and countless others, please don't be offended if I didn't include you) are the ones that have been around WAY longer, and contribute a lot more to the Bungie Fan community.

Your wife has been unnaturally understanding. Would you mind getting her to answer a few questions?

No! Wait, yes! What am I saying?! No! What? Yes dear...

Hello Frieda. Congratulations on the newest family member/Bungie gamer! How do you feel about Miguel's Bungie addiction? Be honest. What about your son's?

You really want me to be honest? Well, OK.

The positive: You Bungie nuts are all really nice guys. Hamish and Claude are two of the nicest people I've ever met. When I met Max and Matt a few years ago I was also struck by how 'normal' they are, and my son loves you guys as well! I have had quite a few of the fans sleeping on my floor and I have enjoyed having them over. Our house is always open to Mig's Bungie friends. They also always have great appetites, which pleases my maternal instincts to no end. Hey, It's a million times better than hanging out at bars.

The negative: I call our Xbox the "Devil Box". I think the boys' addiction to your games is unnatural, but I am in the minority. When Mig is online, nothing but The Bungie Universe exists. Note to all Bungie guys: a little fresh air is a good thing, really! I also worry about my son's eyes and the muscles in his hands. Not to mention that he builds shotguns out of anything he can get his hands on, daydreams at school about his Halo missions and once locked me out of the house so he could continue playing after I said "ENOUGH ALREADY".

Do you play any Bungie games?

NO.

Would you wear a Bungie bathing suit?

As long as it's not a bikini.

What if Miguel wore one?

As long as it's not a bikini.

What if he shaved a Bungie logo into his big ol' melon?

What a melon to choose! There is probably room for more than one logo. Why not add a Halo logo as well!

OK, thanks, please put Miguel back on the line.

[Miguel comes back]

Miguel, what's the deal with you and Claude? You and Hamish?

I got chummy with Hamish first. Hamish introduced me to Claude and now Hamish is like a jealous lover scorned... uh no, scratch that. We're all one big happy B.ORG family.

The thing about Hamish is that he's so damn polite and friendly, you can't help but want to contribute to his page of wacky theories. So years ago I would start to submit some short thoughts and ruminations to his Story page and he'd not only post it but actually respond with a sincere thanks. I was flabbergasted. When you consider the relative popularity of the story page, especially when Marathon was in its heyday, there must've been quite the steady downpour of emails to Hamish's mailbox. Yet Hamish could still keep your private 'thread' with him straight in his mind, even over days or weeks at a time. It made you feel welcome to participate, and fostered a primitive sense of community. What I mean by that is that if you weren't in touch with the alt.games.marathon newsgroup (and I wasn't), the Story page was a very one-way method of community interaction. We would all email Hamish and he would post the relevant/interesting stuff later in the day on the page. No forums or the like were available back then on the page. Yet Hamish's approach to the page itself was very objective. So it honestly felt like a community-led project to chip away at the mysteries of Bungie and their most popular game at the time, Marathon. There's wasn't a feel of editorializing on the page, and only during the tumultuous times of the Bungie/MS takeover has Hamish ever asserted more of his own personal feelings into the topic at hand.

Hamish introduced me to Claude later, near the tail-end of '99. I can't say enough about Claude. He's not only running one of if not THE busiest Halo fansites around, but it's banner-free, meaning it's all coming out of his own pocket, and though he has some great guys assisting him from time to time, it's really *all* his baby. He hosts it, scripts it, updates it, etc. DAILY! And he has his own real-life job, a wife and 3 kids! Whenever I want to feel like a grade-A heel that whines about having too much on his plate, I think of Claude and his particular lot in life and know that someone has it much more complicated than myself, and actually gets it all done and THEN some.

Why don't you ever update your web site anymore?

Bungie Sightings is like an albatross around my neck. I would love it to be updated on a regular basis but I have so many obligations with my family and work. Our second boy, Armando, was born just a few months ago and we've also just recently completed our home renovation. I now have a home loan to pay off and so getting work to pay the bills is very important. (See, this is where I start to feel like a heel, see above)

I also have this thing where I hate to do things half-assed... and if there's any site that looks half-assed within the land of B.ORG, it's mine. I'm sure Claude just shakes his head the few times he even bothers to check it out. I'm no graphics/html wiz, so I'm always struggling getting my conceptual ideas from my fat head to the digital page. I have invited Mnemesis/Tom to help me out with the site, but we're actually both busy and he's doing a bang up job with the Halo Story Page at the moment anyway. I'd actually entertain bringing in another pair of hands that's full of boundless energy and can withstand taking my silly ideas and running with it. Those would probably have to be young hands, as I can't imagine someone my age having the time. Again I look at Claude and am humbled.

As they say the proof is in the pudding, and I'd bet money that getting this very interview back into your hands has taken much longer than usual, which I'm sure aggravates you to no end. My only defense is that it takes a great deal of energy on my part to force the words out. Thanks for being patient!

As much as I love the design Dave Pindrys did for me when BS first opened, I'm thinking of ditching it and going with a very minimalist design. Think black text on white. Maybe that will spur me to keep it up to date more often. I dunno, we'll see.

What do you think of the Seventh Column?

An idea that's been a long time coming! Give an official presence to the rabidly loyal fanbase you have? Duh! Just keep churning out the hit games and hammer home the all important 'multiplayer' aspect in said games and I can see the Seventh Column sticking around for a long time to come.

I especially appreciate how you folks have been continuing to add features to the site, like more database types and improved email notification, etc. The only criticism I can level at the site is the unwieldy links, but it's really minor compared to what's offered in return.

Have you been to a Seventh Column gathering? What was the experience like?

I've been to 3 so far, the first was at Master Claude's home in CT, the second was near Lophan's abode near Philly, and the last one was Ar-Isildur/Brian's End-Of-Chemo Halo party also in PA. I'll be attending many many more, I'm sure. Sooner or later I'll host my own LAN party here at home.

I'll talk about Brian's party since it was recent. It was phenomenal. Claude, Mahlon, and myself were the Bungie Community representatives. Most of the other folks were local. We're talking 17 hours of NON-STOP Halo on 4 TV's and 16 controllers. A day later my hands were still numb from all the button-mashing and stick-twisting. We had a diverse group of folks playing throughout those hours. Kids, teens, adults. Among the adults the occasional mommy would grab a controller, which blew my mind! Apparently Halo is, even when knee-deep in the blood and carnage, non-threatening as far as 'games you can pick up and play.'

Even before we started playing, the event was special. We were eating at a banquet honoring Brian's recovery from the Big C. And his father asked if anyone had something they wanted to say. Without a doubt most of the speeches touched upon Bungie and Brian's admiration for the group. The Make-A-Wish folks were presented with a not-often requested wish: to visit Bungie in Seattle. They pulled it off, not that I was surprised, as I'm sure Bungie would never have turned down such a request. The hurdles were probably in getting past the Microsoft weenies and their frothing lawyers. At the end Brian showed a 12 minute video of his visit to their offices, and it was neat to see Brian in the sound booth, belting out the soundbite that was going to eventually wind up in the game. Brian's a lucky young man, in more ways than one. I hope to play with him and his brother again soon.

What would you like to see Bungie do for the Seventh Column that we're not currently doing?

Related to the website itself, a forum is a natural addition. A bio page for members that not only allows text but also images and sound files would be great.

For the Seventh Column as a whole, and I'm thinking all-out here, I'd love for some sort of gathering-on-wheels, one of those Microsoft 18-wheelers outfitted with Halo consoles and whatever other games are going to be public soon. Run some tournaments with prizes galore, like big-screen TV's, sound systems, computers, even cold-hard cash. On a more practical level, subsidize a Chapter's desire to print up their own shirts and other items. After all, it's advertising for Bungie/Microsoft as well, why not encourage it?

What would you like to see the community do for the Seventh Column?

Keep it alive and foster growth by using the tools given and actively soliciting more and more members to join. Once the Bungie Store opens, buy the Seventh Column shirts and wear it to school, work, and church functions. Spread the word! Only you can limit the number of folks that will get slingshot into space!

You are planning on attending the upcoming E3 FanFest/Seventh Column convention, aren't you?

I sure am! Wouldn't miss it! I couldn't make the Halo launch party in Chicago, but this one sounds just as sweet. I hear the Bungie Webmaster may actually make an appearance! I hope to not make a fool of myself in the tournament, if I get to play.

I just hope that we can one day host a *REAL* Bungie Fanfest event. I think every event gets us closer and closer to this dream I have. Something that stretches over 3 days, and promises non-stop playing of anyone's favorite Bungie game. From Marathon to Myth to Halo. These 6 hour gaming stretches are 'nice' but you separate the men from the boyz when you're talking day-long gaming. Offer prizes for best maps, game settings along with the standard tournaments. Think Quake-con for the discriminating Bungie gamer.
:)

Where do you see the Bungie community in 2 years? 20 years?

In 2 years I hope we will have a thriving and exponentially larger community. Halo on Xbox and PC/Mac, new Bungie games coming out, netplay possible in various ways, new maps and games. Films that can be swapped with folk on other machines/platforms. The Official Declaration of the Bungie Way of Games, whereby certain standards (netplay, films, extensibility, story richness, etc.) will be adhered to in all future game development from Bungie. Any game that cannot meet certain standards will be tagged as such right up front, to avoid any confusion over a game's development. When folks start spreading unfounded rumors about a game like Phoenix or the other 2 games you have in development, the Official Declaration can assuage our fears.

Some long time members of the Bungie community will move on, some others will get hired by Bungie, and some new blood will come in to keep things churning. In other words, more of the same cycle-of-life that we have seen before in the Bungie Community.

In 20 years... I'll be over 50, other folks like Alienate and SpondMax will be pushing 70 or higher! Claude and I might be grandfathers! Where will we be? I dunno! Could I keep up with the young whipper-snappers of that era? What kind of games will Bungie be producing? Heck, will Bungie as we know it still be around? Will Jason and Alex decide to call it a day and move on? How many more man vs machine games can Bungie churn out? Will Hamish still be interesting in documenting all the secrets and literary references in your games? Will Conner and Marius still keep Mariusnet around as long as they're getting free beers? Will most of the Geezer's be pushing up daisies? Will Clan Plaid finally develop one of their business plans? If the head honchos within Bungie lose interest, hopefully someone can take over the reins and keep the dream alive. Even amidst the community. My boys will be 20 and 26, maybe they'll appreciate the games like their old man did and I can pass along the torch. Rafi's certainly on his way. :)

Even if Bungie itself is no longer around, your games will still be known, and I'm sure I and others will keep memories of these games active for a long time to come.

Looking at the bigger picture of game development, if you'll allow me to tickle my speculative bone, I have this wacky idea that someone will finally develop a 'motion inducer' implant. A tiny device that gets inserted into your ear canal, right up to the cochlea. This would tap into the labyrinth, or balance system and provide us with the ability to get one step closer to a virtual reality experience. So here are a group of hardcore gamers that have a pair of jacks behind their ears. When we play the latest Bungie game, we clip ourselves into your gaming engine. Now, when I'm running, I lean forward, since I feel like the ground's moving underneath my feet. When I hop into a flying vehicle, the turns and barrel-rolls feel more realistic. Couple this with the latest in headgear technology and we're really talking fun.

The truly ironic possibility 20 years from now: Jason's wrapping up Marathon 7, and the real Durandal is going online, in charge of opening and closing doors.

New Beginnings 

Posted by DeeJ at 1/31/2013 11:45 AM PST

Bungie.net has evolved...

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Bungie.net Set to Read-Only Today 

Posted by DeeJ at 1/8/2013 9:07 AM PST

Pardon our dust...

On Tuesday, January 8th, Bungie.net will be set to read-only mode. During this short, preparatory maintenance window, you can browse, but you can’t post. We expect the outage to be brief.

Thank you for your patience. If we don’t make it back, tell your mother we love her. See you on the other side.

Tags: Community

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Happy Holidays. Love, Bungie. 

Posted by DeeJ at 12/21/2012 2:22 PM PST

Peace on Earth?

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We Wish You a Merry Mail Sack 

Posted by DeeJ at 12/21/2012 2:21 PM PST

Goodwill towards mail...



It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Bungie. Our cavernous hideout, usually overrun by artists, coders, and designers, is slowly becoming a place of empty chairs and empty tables. Before our beloved partners in crime could flee the scene in favor of their respective family reunions, we gathered around the very last bundle of community interaction that will be seen this calendar year.

The past twelve months have been home to fascinating developments at Bungie. We are thankful. We’ve marched ever closer toward our fate. There is brilliant light at the end of the tunnel, dear community.

But that is a glorious conversation best saved for another time. For now, let’s look back instead of forward.

Let’s open the Sack.


Frag Ingot What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment from this year?

I made it through...

Ben Thompson, Engineer

I wrote lots of cool things for Bungie.next. Maybe DeeJ will tell you more about that soon.
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

I started building a spaceship in my garage, entirely out of spare lawnmower parts.
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

Deadlift: 325lbs., Squat: 225lbs, Machine Squat: 360lbs. Also, wrote/recorded 13 songs and remixed 2 songs.
Forrest Soderlind, Technical Artist

Professionally, I built a new back end system that (if it works correctly) will make the online experience better for a significant portion of our playerbase, without them ever knowing it is there. Personally, I went on some awesome adventures with my wife this year and didn't get us both killed, or too horribly lost.
Michael Williams, Engineer

Marriage!
Robert Kehoe, BVT Tester

Creating the next generation of the internal tools for Bungie.Next. They ain’t pretty, but they get the job done.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

And, the following people on the Bungie Panel for this week counted their great fortune in landing a place on the roster of Team Bungie. This delegation represents only a fraction of the parade of noobs that stormed our front door to help us bring you a new game.
Will Edgette, Engineer
Leland Dantzler, Tester
Doug Juno, Artist
Drew Smith, Producer
David Johnson, Engineer
Mike Shannon, Senior IT Engineer
Chris Owens, Test Engineer
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead


Hylebos How is the Pentathlon shaping up?

As someone who has been honored with an invitation to serve on the Exalted Winter Pentathlon Committee, I'm one of the few people who can tell you that it’s shaping up quite nicely. Our competitors have been partitioned into four warring schools, with Captains assigned to lead each. Events have been chosen, with lieutenants designated to lead each school’s respective charge, and commissioners in place to enforce the rules of battle. As the games draw near, we'll treat you to the usual front-row seat, though I suspect the game I'm most anxious to play this year will be zealously guarded from your eyes.


Elem3nt 117 What is your New Year's Resolution?

I resolve to be a little bit more open and transparent with you. If that has you excited, please note that my track record for keeping these annual promises is less than impressive. Let’s see if my co-developers are more or less disciplined. What do you have planned for yourselves in 2013, Bungie Panel?

Decimate the competition in the Pentathlon or die trying.
Drew Smith, Producer

Draw more.
Doug Juno, Artist

Finish building that spaceship in my garage! Or, give up the ridiculous idea already and waste my free time more wisely.
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

To get up earlier!
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

Deadlift: 495lbs., Squat: 405lbs, Bench 250lbs.
Forrest Soderlind, Technical Artist

Write a book, plant a tree. I can already imagine blank pages and a bare yard.
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

Don’t get suckered into anymore of those crazy “End of the world” doomsday prophesies.
Ben Thompson, Engineer

Create more, consume less.
Michael Williams, Engineer

To finally fulfill my resolutions from the last 8 years.
Mike Shannon, Senior IT Engineer

I resolve to be better, stronger, faster.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

To not make any more New Year’s Resolutions.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Be less tempted by Bungie’s free snacks. Who am I kidding?
Leland Dantzler, Tester


Ninja Blue Wolf Does Marty do lessons?

You mean music lessons? No. Marty does teach us a lesson from time to time, but they are more in the vein of knowing when to hold ‘em – and when to fold ‘em. If you don’t get the reference, that’s an old song about Poker, written by a gambling purveyor of Fried Chicken.


WestCoastRonin If you could remake any Christmas movie and give it a sci-fi setting, which movie would you choose and what would it be like?

I’m pitching a starside reboot of A Christmas Story. My hero, Ralphie_9.6, is an astroclone incepted on an off-world colony who dreams of owning a Red Ryder x-ray cannon. As part of his coming of age, he learns to face off against the Academy’s most dreaded bully. Comic relief ensues when he tricks his best friend into sticking his tongue to the cooling towers of the main reactor. For the grand finale, a hoard of feral tusk-wolves make off with the sandtrout that was prepared for the solstice feast of the seventh moon.

The joy of editing this feature is the chance to hoard the best and most obvious answer for one’s self. However, in the event that Hollywood rejects my screenplay, here are some alternatives from the Bungie Panel…

If you ask me, Rocky 4 is begging for a sci-fi remake. It’s got it all: Good versus evil; hi-tech versus old-school; national pride versus personal determination. Everything is on the line, and it all comes to a head on Christmas Day. Simply set it in an interstellar society, with humans versus aliens and… Ba-da-bing ba-da-boom! Instant, updated holiday classic.
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a cyborg sent back through time to Santa’s workshop (circa 1995) to protect Santa Claus. Sam the Snowborg is on a mission to kill him and alter the future so that Snowborgs rule over all mankind – and Christmas is permanently destroyed. To save the day, Santa and Rudolph must go to the Isle of Misfit Toys Asylum to rescue Mrs. Claus, who was arrested after encountering Rudolph in the prequel.
David Johnson, Engineer

It’s a Wonderful Star Trek Life. I know they kind of already did it in TNG. I guess I just want Star Trek for Christmas.
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

As Life Day approaches on Tatooine, Emmet Otter and his Ma decide to compete in the Cantina's talent contest. Watch as they face corrupt Hutt judges, and challenge the Empire's most deadly musicians, "The Boba Fett Sarlacc Band". In the end they will learn the true meaning of Life Day, and the true power of the Force.
Michael Williams, Engineer

Mine is more based on a TV show than a movie. Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Doctor Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator - and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that looked a lot like Santa, and driven by an unknown force to change Christmas for the better. His only guide on this journey is ELF, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Doctor Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to replace bad presents with amazing presents and hoping each time that his next leap… will be the leap home.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

I have a visual of people opening their Christmas presents to find face hugger aliens inside.
Robert Kehoe, BVT Tester

The first two Die Hard movies could be convincingly set on an inter-planetary colony and a spaceport, respectively. The plot of the second movie even becomes more much plausible in a spaceport.
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

White Christmas. It’s the year 2196, and Lt. Commander Wallace is performing a holiday space symphony for our troops fighting against the mysterious arachnid alien species that has invaded our solar system. He finds himself caught in a web, and about to be eaten by said aliens, before Ensign Davis runs over in the nick of time and saves his life. Their friendship comes to a head years later when their old Fleet Admiral is discovered running a failed tourist vessel orbiting Jupiter. They decide to bring their interstellar cast and crew to revive his chances of success. The plot really doesn’t have to change much at all! I suppose one of their love interests could get vaporized by a stray phaser blast as they defend the tourist ship from space raiders.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Yeah, Alex. Because nothing gets people in the Christmas spirit faster than vaporizing love interests.


irishfreak Why won't you return my calls?

Mostly because, for the first time in the years (and years) since I left college and joined The Work Force, I don’t have a phone on my desk. That took some getting used to. I remember asking about this on my first day at Bungie. Urk answered my question with a question of his own. “Who would you call?” That stopped me in my tracks. Hello, Internet? It’s me, DeeJ.


EZcompany2ndsqd If Santa came down your chimney and you were awake what would you do?

I’d handcuff him to the gas starter, light a candle, and have a long chat about all those years I got ugly sweaters instead of the video games that had been released that season. Perhaps the Bungie Panel will be more forgiving than I…

See if he wanted to play some Farcry 3 coop.
Drew Smith, Producer

I would thank him for giving me a brand new fireplace.
David Johnson, Engineer

Offer him a drink.
Doug Juno, Artist

Release the Krampus!
Forrest Soderlind, Technical Artist

Demand gifts as payment for intrusion.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

We would then engage in mortal combat - Bungie wood n00b sword vs. Santa Sack. Spoiler: Christmas would lose.
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

Borrow his ride!
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

Ask if he had a couple hours to babysit.
Ben Thompson, Engineer

Wager my soul against a golden fiddle in a Settler's of Catan match. Santa does that right?
Michael Williams, Engineer

Scream like a little girl and run around in circles until the bad man left. Sadly, that’s how I deal with most situations.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Offer the man some milk and cookies for installing a chimney in my apartment.
Will Edgette, Engineer

Probably offer him a beer. Cookies and milk probably get old.
Tom Gioconda, Engineer


DarthCarrick If you could give the Community a present, what would it be?

An exciting new place to call home. Since such things cannot be wrapped, that gift will have to serve another occasion.


Xd00999 You can now un-cancel one television show. What do you choose?

When I do make it to my television, I’m more than likely using it to battle the Internet though the construct of my favorite game. Thus, I am transferring my vote to the Bungie Panel. Have at it, people. What do you wish was still on the idiot box?

I used to work in TV, so that’s like asking me to resurrect only one of my deceased friends. Too cruel. Instead, I’ll bring to life a baby that was never born: a pilot I wrote called “The War.” Imagine the grittiness of “The Wire,” set on the coke-frenzied Sunset Strip of the 1980s. It was an intense roller-coaster ride of sex & drugs & rock-n-roll… or at least it would have been, had it ever seen the light of day. Oh well…
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

I’d pick one of the following:

Ben Thompson, Engineer

Bring back Firefly!
David Johnson, Engineer

Firefly, Duh. (Says the Star Trek fan… I know.. I know..)
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

Firefly.
Will Edgette, Engineer

Can I choose two? 1) Firefly 2) Farscape.
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

Firefly.
Michael Williams, Engineer

I’m sure this is the first time someone mentioned this show, but Firefly.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Answers other than Firefly are wrong.
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

Wonderfalls!
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Better Off Ted.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Carnivale on HBO.
Doug Juno, Artist

Arrested Development.
Drew Smith, Producer

Deadwood, so I can open a can of peaches.
Forrest Soderlind, Technical Artist


A Pimpin Lady Why will you not answer my question? I want to know where Bungie hires their non-gaming personnel. Last time I asked this question, you sent me to the job listings page on B.Net. In all my years here, I have never seen non-gaming related listings. I know you guys have to have accountants, HR, health educators, etc. Will you please tell me where the job listings for these people are found?

“Ma’am! I answered your question! I answered the darn... I’m cooperating here!” -Jerry Lundegaard, Executive Sales Manager, Gustafson Motors

It’s almost as if our whole team is devoted to the singular cause of making a game. We do have a few people at Bungie who mind the shop while we make the toys. In all your years here, none of them have quit. They really like their jobs. We see to that, personally. If we end up needing more of them, the curious onlookers who pay attention to our Careers page will be the first to know.


Marcellos007 What was the funniest present you´ve got for Christmas?

My father and my sister succumbed to the allure of a home shopping offering on television. One toll-free conversation later, our entire family received the gift of decorative swords. Mine was so decorative, the blade folded under the weight of its own haft when I sank it into the soil of the back yard in a dramatic reenactment of the ending to my favorite Scottish revolution film. Care to recall your own comedic lumps of coal, Bungie Panel?

My dad used to rewrap the board game Balderdash every year and give it to a random member of the family. That was always funny. Plus, it’s a good game.
Drew Smith, Producer

Many years ago, a boss of mine gave me the menu for an adult-entertainment venue called The Chicken Ranch. I never visited the establishment, but I got a lot of laughs out of reading the names of their various “Dishes.”
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

One year, my friends thought it would be a good idea to all get me Hello Kitty themed gifts, including bubble bath that came packaged with warnings about urinary tract infections. Also included was a lantern that had a warning to “not look directly at.” So, all of the Hello Kitty gifts where deadly in one way or another. But really, isn’t anything to do with Hello Kitty?
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

Our family has had a habit of wrapping gifts in bizarre ways. I've seen bizarre polyhedral shapes, boxes nested in boxes, and gifts wrapped in twine that has been spliced so there was no end to untie.
Michael Williams, Engineer

A 20 pound wheel of cheese (I used to be a much larger man who loved his cheese).
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

A Rubik’s Cube shaped like Homer Simpson.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

My dad gave me Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders. I was 8 and my mom was furious. Dad and I played the heck out of it, though.
Leland Dantzler, Tester


Halo biggest fan For all the artists at Bungie: Do any of you frequently go to figure drawing sessions to stay sharp on your traditional drawing skills?

Is this really a question about art? Or, is it more a question about naked people in our studio?


CoRaMo Where is the strangest place you have ever played a video game?

Like so many of you, I was waiting anxiously on the sidelines while Halo: ODST was preparing to drop. Through some magic wielded by the Hand of Urk, I vaulted to the front of a very long line and was the first kid in my zip code to play Firefight in the belly of a military transport vehicle. Moral to the story: Always be nice to your Community Manager. Beat that, Bungie Panel!

The Experience Music Project in Seattle during the Halo 2 launch party. The science fiction museum had only recently gone into the building, and the whole experience was pretty surreal and awesome.
Michael Williams, Engineer

At the Podiatrist, while I was having an ingrown toenail removed. I needed a distraction.
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

You mean like the backseat of a Volkswagen?
Mike Shannon, Senior IT Engineer

Backseat of a Volkswagen.
Robert Kehoe, BVT Tester

I played Inception – The App while I was in Erfoud, Morocco just to unlock the Africa chapter. My wife rolled her eyes, but the camels didn’t seem to mind.
Forrest Soderlind, Technical Artist

On the set of a movie.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

In a van heading across the country to get to PAX – part of a caravan called the Cross Country Super Trip. We wired it up to a TV that was fixed into the ceiling, and played it on our two day long trek.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

I played Pokemon Silver in an unmarked van, in Ireland, stuck at a sheep crossing while thousands of fluffy things crossed the road for more than 15 minutes (true story).
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Do iPhone games on the porcelain throne count?
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

To most of you, playing in an arcade is probably pretty strange. More people play video games on the toilet via their phones than play in arcades now.
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

With gaming on cell phones, it doesn’t get much more strange than gaming in a public restroom. I’m... not the only one that does that, right?
David Johnson, Engineer

Some of you are sick. Suddenly, that line that forms outside the Bungie men’s room is much less a mystery. Pull your pants up and get back to work. You can launch birds out of slingshots on your own time.


coolmike699 Does Bungie do a secret Santa? Has anyone gotten anything really weird?

Our Secret Santas give presents to the people who need them the most. This year, our tree was decorated with dreams passed along to us from our friends at the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We love making dreams come true at Bungie – the weirder the better.




Duardo What was the best gift ever given to you?

I have everything I want in life: a gaming console, a patient wife who lets me spend a lot of time with it, and a clan of willing killers to carry me to victory. Bungie Panel, can you do a better job of celebrating the spirit of giving?

Not to get all sappy, but a couple years back, my wife gave me a pretty non-traditional Christmas present: a pregnancy test that read positive. Now, a few years earlier I would’ve freaked out; but timing is everything, and instead I was super excited to know we were expecting a little gamer of our own.
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

The generosity of my friends. I can be demanding and a bit eccentric/neurotic, but they are all super accommodating.
Drew Smith, Producer

My life, by my mom and dad. (I know, suck up...)
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

My first thought was to say “my daughters.” Then, I realized they’re more like Trojans taking over my world: making me work harder to get them the best life I can, eating away at my idle time with child’s play and E rated games, pushing me to better myself and… Yeah, my daughters.
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

My family once commissioned a custom art piece from one of my favorite artists based on a fictional character of mine. The effort and subtlety needed to gather the information for the commission was as precious as the artwork itself.
Michael Williams, Engineer


Mike Shannon, Senior IT Engineer

The gift of laughter! Yeah, right! That’d be my original 8-bit NES with the Gold Zelda Cart.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

My wife built me a cabinet with a mini-fridge, snack drawer, and movie theater style popcorn popper for my home theater room was pretty damned impressive last year.
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

The gift of life! Hahaha, no. In all seriousness, the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was the beginning of what got me here today.
Robert Kehoe, BVT Tester

Being able to work at Bungie.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Dethklok: Dethalbum II on vinyl.
Forrest Soderlind: Technical Artist


Will Edgette, Engineer

Hope.
Leland Dantzler, Tester


spartain ken 15 Do you guys ever think you would sell some Bungie-themed Christmas cards?

If you refresh the front page of our website, you can have one for free. There ain’t any cash in it, but it’s still a sincere expression of our love and devotion. Of all the gifts that we’re to receive in the coming days, very few will make us as happy as your unshakable friendship.

And, thus, the Sack is empty. With its closure, we bring to an end another year of community love. This next year promises to be a more exciting one. Between now and then, do take care of yourselves. May your travels by safe, and your holiday loot plentiful.

To all a good night.

Tags: Community

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Friendship of Mythic Proportions 

Posted by DeeJ at 12/20/2012 4:21 PM PST

Lean on me...

The Bungie Community is constantly astounding us with their creativity, and their solidarity. Recently, some ancients (who were playing Bungie games before some of their contemporaries were born) banded together to produce a piece of art that would steady a friend in need as he took steps toward a new challenge. Behold the intersection between passion for games and compassion for one's fellow gamer.

Miguel writes: Folks, here's a link to the whole Soulblighter Sword Cane saga, how it came to be, why we did it, etc. It all started back at the tail end of August (right before PAX Prime!) and is finally done now. The man has his uber-cane! Thanks of course to all of you for creating a wonderful environment for us to form such lasting friendships. Man, are we getting old.



 Cheers to the big hearts at Bungie.org.  

Tags: Community

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