Bungie Crews The Artemis

by DeeJ - 12/4/2012

It’s no secret that Bungie dreams of traveling (boldly) to the stars. So many of our games have flung humanity into the vast reaches of space in search of intrigue and adventure. It’s also no secret that Bungie loves to play games – all kinds of games. Tables in our studio have been found strewn with controllers, dice, cards, chips, figurines, and even the occasional pawn or queen. Recently, as a mission to explore a strange new blend of these two passions, we built ourselves a starship.

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It was as good a way as any to spend a lunch hour. The bridge for this mighty vessel was our state of the art theater. When we aren't using it to screen films with our families and friends (or show our emerging game to very special guests), this multimedia lounge makes for a luxurious Combat Information Center. The game in play was Artemis, a simulator that brings six players together on a network to roleplay as a space-faring crew.

Our ship builder was Garrett Greer. Appropriately enough, Garrett is a Bungie Engineer who troubleshoots our games to keep them in strong working order. As someone who first played Artemis at a LAN Party, he knew that he had to enlist his Bungie teammates into this virtual space program. “My first thought when I saw the theatre was that this would be the best bridge ever,” he recalls.

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There’s Garrett, advising Tom Gioconda on the command console he would use to lead our mission. If you’re no stranger to Bungie.net, you may know Tom as Achronos, an Overlord of our community clubhouse. The moment he assumed the big chair, we called him Captain.

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A Captain is nothing without his crew.  It was these brave souls that volunteered to man the stations that would keep Artemis functioning like a living organism. From left to right, they are: Jacob Miner (Science Officer), Kurt Nellis (Communications Officer), Michael Williams (Helm), Sergey Mkrtumov (Weapons Chief), Jay Thaler (Engineering Chief).

“What really amazes me about this game is how easily people get into their roles,” said Garrett, who began his off-world naval career with an itchy trigger finger. “I started at the weapons station where I quickly earned a reputation for over zealously loading nukes and randomly shooting ordnance.”

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It would happen that, aboard the Artemis, such overzealousness is a very common trait among green officers. Our maiden voyage was anything but a hero’s tale. Fresh out of spacedock, our space cowboy of a Captain ordered his crew to open up the throttle. And who can blame him? It’s not every day that life affords you the chance to bark “Maximum Warp!” at a bridge staffed by eager cadets.

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Tragically, our anxious crew never even saw the minefield that brought their trek to a sudden and explosive end. Fortunately, their peril was all just part a game. Watching your shiny new spaceship disappear in a luminous cloud of debris is something that you can laugh about when you can conjure up another one with a few clicks of a mouse.

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With some lessons about carefully plotting a course under their belt, our crew ventured forth again. This time, they took more care to chart their surroundings. If you can avoid the derelict munitions strewn throughout the system, there is much to experience aboard the Artemis. Missions of many types beckon from the cosmos. Stranded explorers cry out for rescue. Strange phenomena invite research. Local space stations are available to refit and resupply.

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“Red Alert!” No space romp would be complete without a battle against hostile invaders. After their untimely demise in the minefield, the Bungie crew found their rhythm as a team. Under the steady guidance of her Captain, the Artemis fended off several attacks against their own ship and the home base that kept them stocked with torpedoes. The programmable lighting system in our theatre helped to set the mood. With weapons and shields at their fingertips, they ruled the stars.

This will not be our last mission. The word is out at Bungie, and astro-lunches are to become a habit. Thanks to the creators of Artemis for making a great game, as well as to Garrett for helping us to blast off. You don’t need a private theater to enjoy this game. The home version is available to all on the Artemis website. All you need is a brave crew, and a little bit of networking muscle.

See you starside.