Building a Better Chapter
Posted by Sketch at 3/7/2003 5:26 AM PST

Building a Better Chapter

By SketchFactor
Friday, March 7th, 2003, 1:26 PM

Welcome to the first in a series of articles aimed at helping us all to improve the 7th Column by Building a Better Chapter . The Column is as active as ever these days with anywhere from 30 to 60 new chapters coming online each and every week. At the time of this writing, there are over 3,279 active chapters and over 10,800 registered members of the 7th Column! Sure these stats are impressive as they prove what we already know – the 7th Column is damn cool! The Column never seems to have an issue with quantity, but quality is a whole different story. It takes planning, dedication and actual effort to create a successful chapter. With so many new chapters coming online each week, I thought it would be helpful to take some time to review the basics and reiterate some of the tools that are at your disposal.

Bigger is better?
When I started with Bungie a few months ago, I explored all the 7th Column has to offer and went about setting up my own chapter. My intentions were to create a small chapter of just close friends and in that scope I would deem my project a success. Sure, we only have 6 members, but we’re all extremely active and it serves our needs perfectly. Lately it seems as if everyone is overly determined to find ways to get more members into their chapter. There tends to be this belief that by getting a ton of members to join, the chapter will automatically be great. Often times too many new founders get wrapped up in recruiting rather than putting in the effort up front. For now, don't worry about numbers, instead have a clear goal in the beginning and then try to reach that goal. In my case, my goal was simply to bring together some friends and provide a conduit for communicating and connecting to play games. There is a minimum number of people that you’re going to have to get in order to get your chapter off the ground but don’t get over focused on trying to build the largest chapter in the Column. Quantity does not necessarily result in quality. Focus your time on these other areas and THEN you’ll actually have something worth promoting.

It's all in the details.
Clearly one of the biggest factors contributing to a chapter’s success or failure is the overall vision and the quality of content being offered. This is set forth from the opening description and motto and carried out through the various chapter features. As a new founder, it’s really important that you have this clearly mapped out before you start or it will be painfully obvious that your chapter has no focus or direction. There are already a ton of Halo related chapters so what exactly will make yours different? Ask yourself why you would want to join this chapter if you were given the opportunity. With the 7th Column getting more and more crowded, it’s going to get harder and harder to make a name for your chapter and stand out. Put in the extra effort on the front end and make sure you have a plan and then lay the groundwork from which you’ll continue to build upon.

Often times just having a specific geographic focus is enough to distinguish your chapter and draw in local members (if that’s your goal). Check the existing list of chapters and make sure there isn’t an abundance of chapters already in your area. From the left navigation bar on the Column’s main page, select ‘Find a Chapter’ and you can search by country, state, city or zip. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with having multiple chapters in the same area, as long as you can bring something new to the table. In fact, a network of local chapters can often feed off of one another by pooling resources and creating some interesting rivalries and tournaments.

The Basics
Once you’ve settled on your vision of the ultimate chapter and you’ve defined what it will be about and why it will be cool, it’s time to actually get it off the ground. After your chapter is approved, you’ll have a little place to call home in the 7th Column. Initially your new home is going to seem more like a cardboard box in an alleyway than a pimpin' estate but be patient. With time and effort, you’ll soon be moving on up to the East side. For now it’s an empty slate just waiting for your personal touch. The beauty of the Column’s chapter system is that it gives you the power to use some nifty tools to build a personalized universe

The first thing you will want to do is go to your ‘Group Settings’ tab and set up some basic parameters for your chapter. From this menu, you can determine if you’ll have an open or closed chapter, meaning; in other words, can members just join freely or do you want to new members to require approval first. The same conditions can be set for news posts and events. There really is no right or wrong way to go, it depends on your goal and how you want your chapter to operate. Opening membership can certainly make it easier to get members but at the same time you lose the ability to weed out any potential bad seeds that could later have a negative impact on your chapter. You can always kick out an unwanted member later so don’t be too worried about that aspect. If you do decide to restrict membership, don’t forget to check regularly for new member applications! Nothing will kill a prospective member’s excitement faster than having to wait a few weeks to get in the action. There are pros and cons to both news and events settings as well and it’s important to keep in mind that the more control you want to have, the more time and personal involvement you’re going to have to put in.

Next you should click on the ‘Profile’ tab where you will have a chance to edit your chapter motto and description. This has already been set when you first submitted the chapter for approval but you can always come back and make changes. The bigger aspect of this menu is the ability to change the physical appearance of your chapter page. In the beginning, you’ll be set to the default setting which isn’t bad but it is fairly generic. There are currently 21 different themes available to help you dress for success. Don’t find one that fits your fancy? Download the Theme Builder and make your own. If it's original and well designed, turns out good and it’s something we like, we’ll add it to the list for everyone to enjoy.

The Building Blocks
Now that you’ve got some of the basic settings taken care of, it’s time to focus on the actual content and features you plan to offer. Besides news and events, there are several other powerful tools to help your chapter thrive. News posts are useful for communicating with your members but the Forums are where the real action will take place. In general the news posts are useful for conveying broad information pertinent to the entire chapter while the forums should be used for day-to-day discussions. Create your private chapter forum and give it a name and a description. Just like with news posts and events, you can also edit the various permissions necessary for forum participation and management.

So now you have a dynamic content area for your members to say what’s on their mind, what’s next? The ‘Databases’ tab gives you a plethora of various templates to use to create your own content areas. Depending on what you want your site to offer, you should be able to find plenty of useful formats to start with. There are dynamic templates such as a game review or music review database that allows members to rate each entry. There are more general templates such as a guest book or FAQ page. If none of these seem to work for you, there are also two different blank templates that allow you to customize your own fields. Databases are extremely useful tools to provide a solid backbone to your chapter. Some of the most popular chapters out there got to be that way due to some creative and interesting databases that attract and entertain their members. Remember that everyone has access to these same general templates so to really stand out, get creative and try to do things that nobody else has done. I’ve seen some great databases with such things as jokes, war stories and funny moments in Halo, etc… that all are very entertaining and reason enough to continually check back to see what’s new.

Once you have your database(s) set up, you can go back to the Group Settings area and then go to ‘sidebar’ to make them directly accessible from your front page. One advanced trick that a lot of founders do is to actually create a ‘link list’ database type that actually has links pointing directly to their other databases. This allows you to have one central list for all of your databases rather than multiple boxes and descriptions. Some of you might ask, “But what if I want to keep a normal link database also?” Well, you can actually have more than one link database (and any type for that matter) as long as you go back and edit the name of it once it’s been created. You can’t have two databases that are called “Links” but you can rename one to “Databases” and then have it link to your other dbs while having another called “links” that contains regular web links. To see an example of this, check out the current Chapter Spotlight chapter, Xybercide. Cool, huh?

Running the Show
Once your chapter is up and running and members start to show up, you’ll want to revisit some of your administrative tools. You’ve already set some global rules and privileges back in the ‘Group Settings’ area but you also have the ability to grant specific rights to each and every member. Right below the Group Setting link, there’s another link called “Member Privileges.” Every member of your chapter will be listed here along with 3 main options. You can edit their security settings, blacklist them, or remove them from the chapter entirely.

Setting up different security access options for each member is usually necessary to maintain order in your chapter. If your chapter is only open to your close friends, then you probably are fine with letting everyone have full permission to do everything. However, if you have a larger chapter or have an open membership policy, you might want to limit certain abilities to only the members you know and trust. As the chapter founder, it's your responsibility to make sure the actions of your chaptermates will benefit the chapter rather than harming it. If you’ve set up your news, events and other areas to require approval, it would be ideal to eventually give other members permission to approve those submissions. It will be hard to keep up with everything yourself if things start to grow so having a good group of guys to help out is the key to keeping the chapter alive. How you decide to set up your member’s permissions is totally up to you so think about what you’re trying to accomplish and then do what’s necessary. You can always go back and edit someone’s privileges later if things change.

If you have someone who is causing trouble in your chapter and harassing your members, you can use the Blacklist option. By adding a users to the blacklist, you are blocking them from having any interaction at all within your chapter. They will be unable to post any content, anywhere. This is very useful in the event that a jerk comes along and thinks it will be funny to spam your forums or post offensive articles to your front page. You can also do the exact same thing in your individual settings which will prevent any user from sending you any messages at all. If things really get out of hand, you can always email us and we'll intervene. Remember that everyone agrees to the ‘Code of Conduct’ when they create an account; anyone who violates this code is subject to the appropriate actions.

Ask the Pros
By now you no doubt have a great understanding of the features and tools available within your own chapter. What about resources to help with other problems? Where do you turn when you have questions or need recommendations? As a chapter founder, one of the first things you should do is to join the Chapter Founders chapter. The sole purpose of this chapter is for founders to share wisdom and discuss ways to make the 7th Column a better place. If you have a question or need help, this is the best place to go. Upon arriving at the Chapter Founders, take a minute to review the FAQ for some general guidelines about the chapter.

The Septagon is the official forum for discussing ways to improve the 7th Column and is the place to go to ask for help or suggestions with your own chapter. We regularly monitor this chapter for valuable feedback that helps us continually improve the Column. Speaking of feedback, if you have some nifty ideas for cool new features you’d like to see added, go check out the ‘Suggest New Features’ database and let us know. Naturally we can’t guarantee that everything will show up but many of our coolest features have come from suggestions submitted by our members. On a similar note, there is also another database called ‘Suggest Site Changes’ where you can recommend changes or updates to existing features and components.

If you want to see a new theme but don’t think you can create it yourself, check out the ‘Suggest New Themes’ database and throw out your idea. If everyone else likes it, there’s a good chance that someone else can help get it created.

The ‘Disband This’ database is a place where you can list chapters that you feel should be disbanded. For the most part, these are chapters that have been inactive for at least 6 months. Disbanding chapters is fairly time consuming but whenever time permits, we do monitor this database and try to clear out some of the deadwood.

And lastly, probably the greatest resource for anyone in the 7th Column is the Chapter Founders’ ‘Founder Guide.’ Inside this database lies a wealth of information on everything from the very basics to advanced tips like creating a database navigation bar. Every feature available to a chapter is explained in this very robust collection of wisdom provided by our elder founders. If you have ANY questions about your chapter, how something works, or even how to get more members, I highly suggest you first investigate this resource. From personal experience I’d say that probably 90% of the questions that regularly appear in the forums can be answered by reviewing these archives.

The Power is in Your Hands.
Hopefully this information has proven useful for those of you who are thinking about creating a chapter or are new to the 7th Column. No doubt many of you were already familiar with everything I’ve just stated but it’s important to recognize all our new members and make their initial experiences as good as possible. Ultimately we all want to share the love that is the 7th Column and build our own kickass chapters to support the overall objective of helping Bungie to take over the world. It starts with each of you and now the power is in your hands. Use it wisely and most of all, have fun! See you all in the Septagon.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where I speak with 5 chapter founders and get their suggestions and ideas to Build a Better Chapter. Do you have a success story or some great advice to share? Have an idea for other 7th Column ‘help’ articles? Send it to SketchFactor and it might just end up in a future feature.

New Beginnings 

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

Bungie.net has evolved...

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Tags: Community

   

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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Tags: Community

   

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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