Once More Unto the Mail Sack

by DeeJ - 12/7/2012

Every self-respecting Mail Sack begins with an opening act that sets the stage. One cannot just dive right into community love. You need to set the mood. Well, this week, we were so anxious to tear into your letters that we said “To hell with that!”

Let’s open the Sack.

Krimm117 Have you ever been awarded The Shaft, and if so, why?

Ah, yes. The Shaft! For the uninitiated, it’s the dreaded totem that stands on our desks as a monument to our costliest mistakes. As I was writing these very words, Jon Cable stopped by to ask if I knew its whereabouts. That spells very bad news for someone, friends. Let’s see if our Bungie Panel knows where it might be found…

I don’t get the shaft…
View Image
…I give it. [YEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH]
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

Not at Bungie.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Awarded…? No. Given…? Yes.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

No, but I awarded it to your mom once. Once.
David Shaw, Senior Producer

Not yet. Give it time.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

If you do get the Shaft, you’re told to never to talk about it.
David Hurd, Support Engineer

The shaft has been on my desk for months. I stole it.
Luke Timmins, Senior Engineering Lead

Mr. Timmins, keep an eye out for Mr. Cable.


crawlingshadow9 What is your favorite video game genre and why?

What if I told you that we loved racing games? Or dancing games? How would that warp your theory about what we’re creating in this (occasionally compromised) cloak of secrecy? I can tell when a Mail Sack question is baited like a hook intended to catch some details about our labor of love. Sometimes, I feel like a security guard who can pull a thief out of a crowd of eager shoppers.


defnop552 What's your quote for the Bungie Yearbook?

“This is the worst kept secret ever.”
Jonty Barnes, Production Director

“Let’s shoot this.”
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

“YOLO!”
Noah George, Sever Ninja

“Remember that time when we did all that stuff? Good Times.”
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

“I blame the bloating on the bagel dogs.”
Leland Dantzler, Tester

There’s a yearbook? Oh man, I need to get into shape.
Drew Smith, Producer


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Joris Kyker Why does Drew Smith have such an amazing taste in music?

Drew is formerly a Hipster from the East Coast. His origins endow him with eccentric tastes that extend from his fancy assortment of headphones all the way down to his fleet of funky shoes. This tragically fashionable disposition impacts his music selection as well. I’ll let him offer a counterpoint, since no Hipster alive would tolerate their identification as a Hipster. Drew?

I was posting on BBSs before you even knew what a 2400 baud modem was DeeJ. Now where did I leave my PBR?
Drew Smith, Producer


SilverBulitt82 If you discovered another planet similar to earth on the far side of our galaxy, what would you name it?

SilverBulitt83.
David Shaw, Senior Producer

Urmom.
David Johnson, Engineer

Hurth.
David Hurd, Support Engineer

Bubba.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Kate Upton, since the chances are slim that I’d be able to visit either.
Noah George, Sever Ninja

Planet Owens.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Pluto. Take that, scientists!
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer

Far Earth.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

The Farside, to honor Gary Larson’s brilliance.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Klarphnog.
Drew Smith, Producer

That’s not even a thing, Drew. I even Netscaped it with my modem.


Sundalius Does Bungie still do Ride Alongs or have they died out?

You make our official community game nights sound like Velociraptors. While equally ferocious, they are in hibernation, rather than extinct. The convention of the Ride Along will return. What we really need to make them meaningful is a new game that we can share as player and creator. We’re working on that, as hard and as fast as we can.


coolmike699 If you got the chance to blow up one thing, what would it be?

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John Stvan, Graphic Designer

I always thought getting to plan and blow up things like this looked like a great job:

[Content removed for mobile]
Jonty Barnes, Production Director

Time.
Drew Smith, Producer

A Golf course, if it would mean my putt would go in:

[Content removed for mobile]
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Do the cars of everyone who drives under the speed limit count as one thing? If not, I would say Pluto, to put it out of its misery since it’s not a planet anymore.
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer

Planet Owens.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

This question leaves me wondering why so many of our Test Engineers want to destroy planets. Looks like it’s time to check their shared documents for plans to build a Death Star.


A Pimpin Lady Where does Bungie find/hire their contract employees?

They find us, traveling the same treacherous path that’s been negotiated by everyone on the Bungie team. That journey begins with a single first step, and you can find it on our Careers page.


Unanimate Objec How do you combat your body's eternal spiral into decomposition?

Denial.
Jonty Barnes, Production Director

Preservatives.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

I’ve been eating better and working out more, but it’s really the ritualistic sacrifices that should keep me going for another century.
Noah George, Sever Ninja

I combat it mentally (I’m losing).
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Work out twice a day. Burn more than you eat.
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer

http://www.bungie.net/forums/topics.aspx?forumID=10
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

Kicking and punching a heavy bag and watching Cocoon every week.
Drew Smith, Producer

Candy. In reality, it’s likely just like taping rockets to collapsing arteries and blasting further into the decomposition wormhole. But, dang, gummi bears are WORTH it.
Leland Dantzler, Tester


Dropship dude As hard as it is for us to be in the dark, how hard is it for staff at Bungie to keep a lid on the greatness being developed within the walls of the studio? The desire to get what you've been working so hard on out there must be overwhelming.

So overwhelming, in fact, that I have a whole team of censors who watch my every move. The urge to bathe the Bungie Blog in the sweet action that I see every day is almost irresistible. Deploying content from me to you requires more authentication and approval than is required to launch a missile from a submarine, and I don’t have a key.


spawn031 Worst experience on a date. Go.

During the get-to-know you phase of a first date, my dinner companion told me all about her last boyfriend, and how their relationship ended because he played too many video games. This fed logically (and tragically) into a conversation about what I did for fun. I didn’t have the heart to lie. That was before the appetizers had been delivered to the table. Thanks for spawning that memory. Let’s see if our panel has been any luckier…

We hiked up to Griffith Observatory hung over. I lost count of the times I heaved. She didn’t call me back.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

I showed up at the restaurant and she was having dinner with some random guy that she had just met. On the upside, I didn’t have to pay for dinner.
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer

My date decided it was a bad idea to order the red wine, because it would stain her teeth and her therapist would know that she’d been drinking again.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

I made out with someone who had just eaten several dill pickles.
David Johnson, Engineer

Back in school I took the girl out. I planned everything for a night at the Frying Pan (a bar in NYC). When we met there I discovered she brought a friend. <cue price is right fail music>
Drew Smith, Producer

A date threw up on me once. I really can’t go into more detail here.
Noah George, Sever Ninja

I found out she was a vampire.
David Hurd, Support Engineer

Not enough cash to cover dinner… at Hooters.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

It’s really hard to pick a winner/loser here. As for my own happy ending, it was my wife who bought me my first Xbox, and a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved. There is someone out there for everyone. Keep the faith, boys.


ChorrizoTapatio How tough is it to break into the marketing end of the gaming industry? Are individuals with business degrees just as valuable to Bungie as designers, engineers, and Jerome?

First of all, no one is more valuable than Jerome. Were it not for his unflinching service as our steely-eyed sentinel, Bungie HQ would have been overrun by anxious interlopers long, long ago. As for your more sincere question, the gaming industry can be a bit of a closed circle. Almost everyone who has braved the Internet as the subject of a Breaking In interview has told their story about learning to create their piece of our puzzle elsewhere, and then bringing those skills here. While most of the work done at Bungie is reliant on rare skills for crafting art or writing code, there are occasional roles to be filled by people with the business acumen to complete the equation between the developer and the gamer.


Kvaener Do you have an Arch-nemesis?

With the Pentathalon Puzzlehunt coming up, it would probably be Roger Wolfson.
David Johnson, Engineer

Robert Khoo of Penny Arcade. One day I’ll retire from Soccer and kick his ass.
Jonty Barnes, Production Director

Yes, and she is also the mother of my children.
David Hurd, Support Engineer

View Image
David Shaw, Senior Producer

Not… anymore.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Of course, all great super heroes do.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

The need for sleep.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

La Fours (mall security).
Drew Smith, Producer


scagjmboy45 How many cameras are in the Studio?

Do all the smart phones count? Or are you only asking about the electronic security eyes that peer into our space from just about every surface? Either way, it’s just about impossible to achieve the quality of “stealth” within these walls.


EpicWaffles If you won the lottery what would you do with the winnings?

“I would quit my job at Bungie!” said no one. Here’s what they did say…

Have some memories erased.
David Hurd, Support Engineer

I would buy a condo in the fancy high-rise right next to work.
Noah George, Sever Ninja

I’d buy a house, a nice car and then invest the rest into a massive domed structure in which contains a tropical paradise with all you’d expect to find there, including a surf-able beach, and a steady temperature of 80 degrees.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

It depends on the amount.
$1 million: pay off the house, put money away for retirement & kid’s college
$15 million: start my own distillery
$25 million: Create a non-profit creative space for fine and performing arts, including a live/work space for resident artists & all ages theater & music venue
$50 million: All of the above, and create a scholarship foundation for art & technology students
$100 million: Hire a private doctor who is on call 24/7, and spends their time providing free health care to the local community
$250+ million: Hire a crack team of mercenaries to infiltrate the war torn Afghanistan mountains, and extract a pillar of lapis lazuli.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead


LIGHTNING ROUND!

Gamer Whale Are there any cons in working at Bungie?
Are you asking if any of our people have done time?

SN068237264910 Where is the Webmaster?
We put him charge of our social networks.

CrazzySnipe55 Are you going to have community beta testers for Bungie.next.
There’s a pretty good chance of that. Who’s ready for the next evolution?

BC1096 Is it cool if I pop by Bungie on my birthday?
It all depends on what the word “pop” means in this context.

mister death WHY do you only choose the 'intelligent' questions?
Please see the previous question. So much for your theory.

TopWargamer What's my trust rating?
You mean your Pink T Number? It’s 5827.

JScientia13 Have you ever thought about asking us questions in the mail sack?
Thought about it - even did it. We find that we like it better when you ask the questions – and the stranger the better.


QuirkyNate What are the strangest questions someone has asked you outside of the mail sack?

You really don’t want to know the answer to that. Seriously.
David Shaw, Senior Producer

Do Chucky’s interview questions count?
David Johnson, Engineer

I interviewed an engineering candidate who asked me if I liked a picture of a wolf that he’d just drawn. He really didn’t talk much about programming and the whole interview was quite unsettling. I’ll never forget it.
Jonty Barnes, Production Director

Are you really a Prince? This was a pickup line an older woman used on me when I gave her my business card at an industry event. It had a picture of a frog on it. That was a bit awkward.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Where would I be if I were a muffin?
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Long before I was at Bungie, I was asked who my favorite cartoon character was during a job interview.
Noah George, Sever Ninja

They don’t get any stranger than the mail sack.
David Hurd, Support Engineer

I never leave the Mail Sack.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer


Thank you, Chris. It’s our hope that no one will ever leave the Mail Sack. We love all of you too much to let you get away. If you try, they’ll find you in the woods! We’re sorry if that feels creepy, but it’s how we feel. And there’s no point in denying one’s feelings.

We’ll continue this overly attached love affair next week, Bungie Community. See you in the mailroom on Monday.