Bungie Weekly Update: 04/24/09
Posted by urk at 4/24/2009 2:02 PM PDT
Friday.  Generally a day of superstition, you may have come to associate it with these updates.  We can't tell if that's a good or a bad thing.  Either way, for many of us here at the studio, another workweek is coming to a close.  That's good any way you slice it.

There's not much new news coming down the pike for you this week.  In fact, there's really not any news at all.  Most of what you're going to read below is jibber jabber about the present day hotness, Halo 3.  And what's wrong with that?  We're in that nice, gentle, post-Mythic wake, rolling along towards...well, towards stuff we don't have any news about.

Since you'll be asking anyway, we'll answer.  Fall 2009.

For those looking to live contently in the now, it's probably best to just lay back and enjoy the moment.  Let the cool, rippling waters of the Mythic Map Pack lap at your feet.  Savor the warm touch of the setting sun on Sandbox.  Peer out of Orbital's glass windows and ponder the world below.  Headshot some poor sap on Assembly with your Battle Rifle.  All that therapeutic type stuff.

Two Weeks Running

Honestly, it doesn't seem like you need all that much in the way of encouragement.  You seem to be enjoying yourselves. 

Once again, Halo 3 finds itself back on top of Major Nelson's LIVE Activity list for the week of April 13th.  Once again, we're grateful.  And as always, we're not going to sit back and let this ship steer itself.  We're getting some tweaks ready for next month to hopefully make the experience even more engaging.  More on that in just a few.  Right now, we're going to dedicate a few moments of focus on the stuff you've been creating.

If You Build It...

Last week we chatted a little with Cosmic Rick concerning his map, Utah Mambo.  At the tail end of our conversation, we touched on his aims at getting it added into Halo 3's Matchmaking via Atlas.  Seems our timing was pretty stinkin' good. 

Quickly on the heels of our examination, it was announced via Atlas (the group setup to solicit and test community-created maps) that Utah Mambo is, in fact, being added into Matchmaking inside of next month's official update.  We hope you took our advice, downloaded it, and got some practice games in.  If not, it's not too late, you can still grab a copy of it here.

Congratulations to Cosmic Rick for making the cut, but Utah Mambo isn't the only map that made the grade.  Also joining the Matchmaking fray in May is Punishment, a map that marries on foot action with vehicular manslaughter and then births some kind of freaky looking spawn that has a Kill Ball for a head.  While it's clear we've taken this analogy way too far - shoving off into some absurd, obtuse, procreative place - that shouldn't prevent you from investing a little bit of your time to get familiar with it.

DEATHPIMP72, seventy-second macabre dandy in a long line of macabre dandies, dropped in earlier this week and we tossed some questions his way.  Did he answer them?  That's a pretty silly question.  Of course he did.  Why else would we bring all this up about his map and whatnot?


Q. What was the core design idea behind Punishment?

A. I was sitting around with the family and decided to mess around in Forge when I downloaded the new maps. I was interested in the Kill Ball from the beginning and decided to mess around with it on Sandbox and that led to me placing some objects on the map. By the time I was done, I had the family and I sitting in front of the TV for a good eight hours, bouncing ideas off one another.

To say I really had a plan in the beginning would be a lie, it just sort of all came together.

Q. Why the name? Is it evocative of the map’s style or just something you thought sounded super sweet?

A. It honestly felt right to call the map Punishment because while I was forging I was trying my best not to curse. Being that this was my first attempt at forging, it was “Punishment” trying to put the pieces together. It was a joke at first, then I decided to stick with it even if it is “emo,” lol.

Q. Why did you choose the default level as the space to build Punishment instead of selecting the Sky Bubble or The Crypt?

A. I figured using the default level would be a little easier to use, as when I looked at Sky Bubble it was enormous and a little daunting. It seemed the right fit for the objects I wanted to incorporate into the map and I knew nothing on how to place flooring, so it just made sense.

Q. The central building is built around a Kill Ball.  Can you talk about how and why you divided the space with a death trap instead of simply leaving it open or walled off?

A. I was intrigued from the beginning with the Kill Ball from watching the commercials and such before the Mythic maps came out. I really wanted it as my center structure, but I also wanted it to have a purpose. I like to call it the power plant and that was what made me place the structure around it so it would have the look and feel of what a Covenant power plant might be like. It does affect the game play though as over strafing will make you meet your maker.

Q. There’s plenty of open space between each base and the central structure for players to traverse. What did you hope to encourage by leaving these pathways and sight lines unbroken?

A. I wanted to have a feel of openness on the map but at the same time give an ample amount of cover. With the map having two Warthogs and two Banshees, it was important that players could move without feeling crowded in the vehicles and on foot. I have always liked the feel of maps that have fighting taken place in all areas and I hope I accomplished that with this map.

Q. Did you run into any major issues during play testing that required you to make alterations to the initial layout?

A. "Major issues" is an understatement.

I played the map over and over again with my friends at H3ITWP trying to get the spawns correct. As I stated, being that this was my first go at Forge, I had players spawning and looking at dunes and at walls. When it was posted in Atlas, Shishka was nice enough to give me some great advice that really helped the map progress. I had a lot of people come into customs and try their best to help me with my spawn problems and finally ironed them out, for the most part. Otherwise the map that is here today is the same as when it started, surprisingly.

Q. Since you’ve successfully run the Atlas gauntlet and gotten Punishment approved for Matchmaking, can you provide any insight or advice to players looking to get their own map into the mix?

A. Play test, play test, and play test. No matter what your map looks like the deciding factor is going to be, "does it play good?" There are some beautiful maps out there, but playing on them is sometimes frustrating as they are not made for game play as much as to be aesthetically pleasing. Also from experience, really take a look as the spawn system and how it works. I went into every map after the first go round and checked to see how default spawns were placed on the maps by Bungie themselves.

Couple shout outs if I could:

First and foremost, my family, as they have been a great help and stood beside me for the entire process. Love you Kathy and Katie. I also want to thank everyone from H3ITWP (Halo 3 in the Work Place), as without them I could have never got the great feedback and testing in that I needed. I love you guys! The Benergizer and Foman123 for helping with my spawn points and trying to tell/show me how they work.

Lot's of good advice, DEATHPIMP72 (if that is your real name).  Thanks for providing the A-side to our brief Q&A.  We can't wait for everyone to experience Punishment for themselves in May when it's injected into Matchmaking so they can all complain about how much better their own maps are.  (Personally, we feel that we have some really great stuff in our File Shares and would like you to take a look at it.)

Jokes aside, if you want to get the early jump on the competition, you can snag Punishment by clicking on the link below.  Customs only for now, but you know what they say, practice makes perfect.  Download it, scout the terrain, and then push your unsuspecting friends into the Kill Ball to watch 'em fry.  Don't worry, they usually come back in five.

Download Punishment

May Matchmaking Update

As we alluded to earlier, we've also got some of our own changes cooked up for May.  More Mythic is being added, both required and optional, so make sure you pay close attention to the fine print if you find yourself sans the Mythic Map Pack.  Here's the list of upcoming changes for next month:


Heavy Maps – The Heavy Map variants have all been tweaked. Power weapons have longer timers, and in some instances do not respawn. Spawn timers on Gauss hogs in Standoff Heavy are increased as well.
Community Variants – Two new community objective map variants have been added to Matchmaking. Punishment by DEATHPIMP72 and Utah Mambo by Cosmic Rick. These maps will appear in Team Objective and Team Mythic.

Team Doubles – Mythic is now REQUIRED
Team Slayer – Mythic maps added (optional)*
Team Objective – Successfully vetoing will now guarantee a CTF variant (1 flag, 1 flag BRs, 2 Flag, 2 Flag BRs). Legendary is now required. Mythic Maps added (optional)*


Multi Team – Mythic maps added (optional)*
Social Big Team – Mythic maps added (optional)*


Team SWAT – Mythic is now REQUIRED


Team Mythic – SWAT removed from Team Mythic lineup. 1 Flag and 1 Bomb added.

7 on the 7th

7 Player FFA on Assembly

Double EXP Weekends
(In Order of Appearance)
Mythic Brawl – 12 player FFA on classic, Heroic, Legendary, and Mythic maps. Heroic/Legendary/Mythic required.
Team Control – A playlist about territories and shooting people for control of said territories. Heroic/Legendary/Mythic required.
Living Dead – Social, with maximum party size of 13. Heroic/Legendary/Mythic required.

*As mentioned before the April update was released, playlists that are Mythic-optional one month will be Mythic-required the following month. The playlists listed as Mythic-optional (and marked with an asterisk) above will require Mythic in June.


On the recreational front, we've gotten word from the boys and girls that make up Bungie's official softball roster that they've already surpassed the total number of wins they accumulated over all of last year's season.  Most recently, they made mincemeat out of the Warriors.  And it turns out, mincemeat is actually quite tasty.  Who would have thought?

Congrats to everyone who participated in the 2-0 start to this year's ultra competitive softball season.  While it might be too early to call, we're pretty sure an undefeated season is in the works.

Just Ballin'

And with that, we're out.  Looks like the sun is going to shine on Seattle proper this weekend and we're itching to get out in it.  Have a great weekend yourself.  See you back here on Monday.  Stay safe and stay tuned.
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