Happy 10th Anniversary, Xbox LIVE!

A decade of good games...

Everything that’s fun to do alone, is more fun to do with your friends. – Jason Jones, Bungie

Ten years ago, an upstart service known as Xbox LIVE came online for the very first time. At Bungie, we had a front row seat for the development of this emerging platform for online gaming, and our designers and engineers were already salivating over the prospect of getting our grubby little code-creating hands on it. They were no strangers to the absurd amounts of fun to be had on the internet, and they were dreaming of a day when our Xbox Halo players could connect, not just in their dorm rooms and living rooms, but through the magic of 1s and 0s in cyberspace.

Over the past ten years, Xbox LIVE has allowed me to keep in touch with my oldest friends while connecting me to a wealth of new ones. Despite the distance my life's travels have taken me, I continue to spend countless hours relaxing and playing games with my buddies as if we were just sitting on a couch next to each other.
ncsuDuncan, NeoGAF

A full decade later, the Xbox LIVE Friends List has become all but ubiquitous among people who seek their thrills in multiplayer. Microsoft made magic. And if you’ll allow us to bang our little Bungie drum a bit, we weaved some of our own with a whole slew of features custom built for Halo 2 that eventually became part of the core Xbox LIVE experience.

Bungie's "Virtual Couch" allowed us to enjoy the Halo 2 LAN experience when a real LAN wasn't feasible. LAN play in Halo gave me a way to connect with friends that nothing that came before it provided. As we scattered to the winds, Xbox LIVE and Halo 2 gave us an opportunity to recapture that magic.
Louis Wu, Founder, halo.bungie.org, Member AARP

There is a whole new generation of gamers on the grid who will never know of a time that existed before you could pull a teammate into a pregame lobby, or meet a friend for the first time on a virtual battlefield. As we look back on the launch of Xbox LIVE, we see the impact of this innovation in terms of the impact it’s had on the way we play games, and we thank Microsoft not only for the service, but for the opportunity to play a part in its success.

The first time I connected to Xbox Live was the moment after the midnight launch of Halo 2, where I picked up my Xbox console as well. Having such a simplistic way to compete online with such low latency was astounding. To this day, no one has topped what Xbox Live has become. For me, personally, Xbox Live was (and frankly still is) the easiest way to game with my friends, whether they're a few doors away, or a few miles.
Dac, Community Manager, reddit

Today, this anniversary will be celebrated not just by us, but by an industry. Millions of games will be played tonight over Xbox LIVE. Thousands of prepubescent voices will ring out over your headset, and you will suddenly silence them.

At Bungie, we try to keep it a bit more personal, dare we say, intimate. Below you’ll find a collection of memories from our fans on Bungie.net. Give ‘em a good read. Then log onto Xbox LIVE and kick some online ass.

It's weird that the game I'm experiencing is being experienced simultaneously by others around the world at the same time, and that we can actually converse about it at the same time. As a gamer, it's made me appreciate the games more.
Jacob Crawford, Member, Bungie.net

Xbox LIVE helped me have something in common with people in High School I normally wouldn't have talked to. It became a lot more social which helped me become more involved as I like the social interaction just as much as the games themselves.
vanert, Member, Bungie.net

Xbox LIVE forced me to see that one can forge valuable friendships online. I finally found a core group of guys that I could play with. I started enjoying the experience more, and I can honestly say that some of the people I feel most comfortable talking to now are people I initially met on Xbox Live.
Primo84, Member, Bungie.net

Xbox LIVE actually helped to make me more productive as a person, which is kind of strange in comparison to what you'd think. It was something to look forward to after a long day of work, and people I met motivated me to do what I do now in life.
SpAmMer, Member, Bungie.net

Xbox LIVE was the one asset that allowed me to grow as a gamer. Before Xbox Live, I was a naive young gamer who only knew the basics of gaming. After Xbox Live, I was a young gamer who knew the ins and out of strategy and gameplay. Without Xbox Live, I wouldn't be the gamer I am today.
EDOET, Member, Bungie.net

Xbox LIVE has allowed me to become more social around strangers, as well as give me the ability to sit down after a long day and unwind with some of the best friends I have ever had. I can also learn about the latest happenings in the gaming world and keep tabs on my favorite developers and publishers.
Kretos, Member, Bungie.net

I got Xbox LIVE the month it came out many years ago. It changed my universe in a way. It let me talk to people from across the entire planet. It let me run and gun with some incredible people. I learned what was acceptable behavior. I learned how to interact with different cultures. I learned that my world was just a small part of huge universe. I was 14 at the time and for a 14 year old I think that level of worldwide interaction is incredible.
EAGLES5, Member, Bungie.net

Playing games online has made me feel more connected to those around the globe. It's also changed the way I view games. Having played games competitively, I can honestly say it's made me more patient and far more team oriented.
Anti Gov420, Member, Bungie.net

When I was in a time of my life when I was young and didn't know how to make friends, Xbox Live taught me how to do that. When I was in a time of my life when I was older and had made some good friends, Xbox Live helped me keep in touch with them as I moved across the country.
Halo53, Member, Bungie.net

Xbox LIVE was really a whole new world for me. It didn't matter what time it was or what I felt like playing, there was always someone who wanted to play. I no longer had to wait for friends to come over to play with someone, and I could now play with a whole group of people not just four. I also didn't have to worry about brothers looking at my screen or playing on one fourth of a screen.
me123456789, Member, Bungie.net

Xbox LIVE has introduced me to a world of people that I've grown to call my friends. Interactions beyond XBL have allowed me develop bonds with people that go beyond an XBL party. I've celebrated births and mourned the death of friends, shared laughs, had arguments, and have given and received a lot of valuable advice on life. To me, XBL is more than just a means of gaming, it's a means of life.
chubbz, Member, Bungie.net

The crew at Official Xbox Magazine has dug deeper into the story of the people who created Xbox LIVE. Their account is on newsstands now. To look back on those developments through the eyes of Bungie veterans like Chris Butcher and Roger Wolfson, you should pay a visit to your local newsstand and check it out.

Community 11/15/2012 10:13 AM PST permalink

Breaking In - Drew Smith

Producing our message to the world...



Someday, Bungie will emerge from behind this self-imposed curtain of secrecy with wondrous tidings of an impending game. There will be thunderous announcements, introspective discussions about our creative process, and cryptic forecasts about the adventures that await you as the player. When we cross that glorious threshold, we’ll need to be organized enough to not trip all over ourselves. To keep us on our feet, we lured this fresh face into our midst…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Drew Smith. I’m a Producer charged with managing Marketing, PR, and the Writing Team. My goal here is to build out a schedule, facilitate communication with developers, manage the workflow for the narrative team, and to wrangle Pete Parsons.

Parsons defies the act of wrangling. He’s like vapor, seemingly everywhere at once - but enough about him. When you’re not attempting to control the weather in our world, what’s happening in yours?

Games, duh. I play lots of Dota 2, although a six-week break did not help my skills. I’ve been practicing Muay Thai for about a year and a half and I’m a pseudo-wine snob. I read books on astrophysics and The Economist on a regular basis, I do math for fun, I write, and I hoard like a dragon. I’m really trying to work on the hoarding part.

Don’t go changing on our account. Your compulsion to hold on to every little detail will only do you credit here. From what I’ve heard (when I eavesdrop on your conversations), you’ve been around the block of the video game industry. Tell us a little bit about the companies you used to hoard for before we invited you to join us at Bungie?

I spent seven years in different roles at Take-Two Interactive. I did everything from Marketing, Business Development, Publishing Production, and Development Production. Take-Two gave me the opportunity to work on some huge games/franchises (Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption, BioShock, Borderlands, Civilization, NBA). I also got to see the industry from multiple perspectives. It helped me build a good understanding of the needs, demands, and goals of each discipline.

You’ve climbed some serious mountains, and your resume is a reminder that this industry is not all art, design, and programming. It takes a few suits (that don’t actually wear suits) to put a game in the hands of a gamer. Were your ambitions always so business oriented?

When I was nine, aside from the obvious Astronaut/Scientist dreams, I sent two letters (one to Nintendo and one to Lego) asking for a job. They told me to apply when I got older.

So your adventure began. Of course, getting older is the easiest part of qualifying for a job making games. What else did you do to prepare yourself for this exciting career that led you to us?

I went to undergrad in NYC and majored in Economics. From there I started taking grad school classes in marketing, conflict resolution, storytelling, public speaking, string theory, and physics. Had I not been hired by Take-Two, I would have gone for an advanced degree of some sort. Economics is extremely useful in understanding trade, the market, monetary policy, and a basic understanding of how the world operates.

And string theory is good for understanding, well, everything! Although, that’s the first time anyone has ever mentioned it here. Was it your dabbling in theoretical sciences that enticed us to take a closer look at you?

I like to think it was my awesome list of prior experience, along with a few sprinkles of magical pixie dust.

We don’t believe in pixies, and dust is bad for the machines. It was the experience. Nevertheless, no one just skates into this place. Would you agree? What memories from your interview loop haunt your dreams?

Nine hours in a small room downstairs. Also, Matt Priestley is a hard guy to read.

Like playing poker with a cyborg, that one. I, on the other hand, wear my heart squarely on my sleeve. How would you describe the experience of being my newest and closest neighbor?

Pretty magical. I’ll be working and minding my own business and out of the corner of my eye I’ll see you look over and give a little nod as if to say, “Get back to work. This isn’t happy hour.” Then, I remind you that something on your schedule is overdue.

You mean like this weekly feature? The one that’s usually published two days ago? Fair enough. Aside from keeping me in check, what’s the most rewarding thing about your new home?

I’d say getting to work with an extremely talented team on groundbreaking stuff.

That’s far enough. We’re not in marketing mode yet. We still need to be vague about what’s going on around here, so just describe a day in the life of a Bungie newbie.

It’s chock’full’o’meetings (and potentially nuts as well).

Guilty as charged. There are enough nuts in this place to stock a snack bar. Speaking of which, what’s the best perk you enjoy as a member of our team?

So many good benefits. For me, the best is an instant feeling of camaraderie and appreciation.

Give it time. Someday, we’ll hassle you to tell us what you’ve learned since you showed up here. What will you do between now and then to have a snappy answer at the ready?

Aside from reaching out to my fellow Producers for tips, I’ll learn more about the challenges my teams face so that I can better support them. Learning about the way Bungie makes games has also inspired me to familiarize myself with the tools we use.

Your trek to the desk behind mine is one that many people might not have imagined. There’s a chance that one of our readers has poured over all these interviews looking for a way into this industry, only to lose heart that they aren’t an artist or a scientist. How can they follow your business acumen?

Be persistent and look for openings. Reach out to people you know. If you don’t know anyone, join the IGDA, go to GDC or use LinkedIn (people are willing to offer their advice and you never know what you might learn). There are a lot of jobs in the game industry so don’t be afraid to get outside of your comfort zone. If all else fails make something cool… or consider sending Deej flowers (he loves flowers).

I do not love flowers. In fact, I hate anything that cannot be delivered digitally.

What I love is exploring all of the many ways in which people find work doing something that they love. Drew is just one of the newer recruits that now walk our development floor. His freshman classmates are taking a seat in the Breaking In archive one by one.

Breaking In 11/14/2012 11:28 AM PST permalink

The Best Mail Sack Ever

Can you spot the lie in the title?



Welcome to the best Mail Sack that has ever been published on Bungie.net in the very short history of this brand new tradition. You’ll be amazed at how different this Mail Sack is from the ones that have come before it. For starters, we invited our community to ask questions, and our team stepped forward to answer them.

If you think that sounds familiar, you’re right. Sorry for the lie, but we needed a theme. Fortunately, a lot of people at Bungie also swallowed the hook, so there are a lot of new friends (and some old favorites) to chat with below.

You know what's next.  Let’s open the Sack.


The EAKLE What question could I ask to make this the best mail sack ever?

Hint: Not that one.


crawlingshadow9 What is your favorite part of your job?


John Stvan, Graphic Designer

Fame and Fortune!
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

Getting presented with a crazy idea from our designers or client engineering team, and designing whole new services to support it. It is a ton of fun to work out the most efficient way to make our team’s dreams come true.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Getting to see the things I make used throughout the studio.
David Johnson, Engineer

Answering Mail sack questions.
Alex Haraux, Engineer

It’s a toss-up between implementing an exciting new feature or fixing a nasty bug.
Ben Litowitz, Engineer

The people. I get to work with some of the most talented people in the industry… and also DeeJ.
Drew Smith, Producer

My desk! I’ve never had a desk so amazing in all my life. It holds all my things! (And I’m pretty sure it’s longer than I am tall).
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

I love firefighting, which is probably unhealthy but it’s true. It produces pleasant brain chemicals.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

My coworkers. You can have the most creative, highest paying job in the world and hate every minute of it if you don’t have a team that works well together.
Troy McFarland, MoCap Lead

Seeing things I worked on in-game, and thinking “Dude! I helped make that!”
Andrea Fonger, Engineer

Figuring out solutions to hard problems, and having those hard problems relate to how to make an awesome universe.
Michael Strein, Engineer

Trolling the forums Interacting with fans. My line of work gets especially fast feedback, since I work on the primary way fans talk to us. I can’t imagine how we’d be Bungie without that connection.
Tom “Achronos” Gioconda, Engineer

Seeing a finished cinematic for the first time in Jay's "magic chair" after we've handed it off to the Effects and Audio teams, and they've had their way with it.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer


coolmike699 What are the politics of gaming?

The politics of gaming are completely different from anything we saw in the news this week. As a gamer, you can wage a hard-fought campaign, only to be confronted by additional challenges that will take some strategic cooperation with your allies to overcome. You need to mobilize your base if you want to raise your flag. When a race is over, congratulations are always in order, no matter who wins. And, we gamers always need someone to watch our back. That’s what makes us so unique. I don’t think there is an elected official in the world that would be able to relate to any of those statements.


Kr1egerdude Why do you answer Mail Sack questions?

Why do you ask Mail Sack questions?
Jay Thaler, Senior Engineer



John Stvan, Graphic Designer

Fame and Fortune!
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

I used to write my favorite game development companies when I was a lot younger, asking questions about games. I love that at Bungie, we actually take the time to answer.
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

Because it’s my favorite part of my job.
Alex Haraux, Engineer

I’ve never answered before, but this one was titled “The Best Mail Sack Ever!” so I figured I was required to respond. You’re welcome, internet.
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

Notoriety…?
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

Because I think I’m funny. Even if no one else laughs, I crack myself up, and I tell myself that is what really counts.
Andrea Fonger, Engineer

Because “The DeeJ” has compromising information on me and he’ll release it to the masses if I don’t. Damn you, Facebook!!
Troy McFarland, MoCap Lead

To paint a picture in all your minds of what is REALLY happening here. You can always count on me to be honest and truthful. DeeJ, when are you gonna run the story about the new fire pole that leads down into the test lab?
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

As soon as you let me sit in this magic chair you’re always talking about.


Captain Scurvy Would the Bungie office make a great place to play hide and seek?

Since none of us have an office, the studio that we share would make a terrible place to play hide and seek. We don’t make great games by keeping secrets from one another, so there is no place to hide. The whole development floor is wide open. You can hide under your desk, but anyone with hands and knees would be able to find you with a quick scan. Every conference room is concealed by a completely transparent glass wall, so you’re dead meat if you try to take cover in there, too.


CoRaMo What is your favorite ship (real or fictional, space or sea)?


Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer


Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead


Michael Williams, Senior Engineer


Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead


Alex Haraux, Engineer


Drew Smith, Producer


Dave Mongan, Senior Writer


Andrea Fonger, Engineer


Austin Spafford, Engineer


John Stvan, Graphic Designer


Roger Wolfson, Theoretical Physicist


Chris Owens, Test Engineer


I used to work on these in middle school in my Grandpa’s workshop.
Troy McFarland, MoCap Lead


Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer


Michael Strein, Engineer


Jay Thaler, Senior Engineer


Can I use friendSHIP?
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

Oh, my word! She’s new, Bungie Community. She knows not what she does. Ease down…


DE4THINC4RN4TE What are the perfect ideals for Internet etiquette?

Everyone has their own solution. What works for me is to pretend that the person I’m dealing with over the Internet is right there in the room with me. And that person is Mike Tyson. And Mike Tyson just happens to be holding a shotgun with a freshly-oiled trigger assembly. If it’s a woman, just substitute with Angela Bassett. I let that delicate scenario inform my behavior. Ever since I discovered this roleplay, my participation in flame wars and post-game lobby trash-talking has decreased dramatically.


sacktapped Who would you like to fist fight?

The rich and famous.
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

I’m going to go with Ke$ha. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like her music. The way I imagine it, once we’re done fighting we could laugh it off, drink whiskey ‘till our wounds don’t hurt anymore, and become best friends forever. The end.
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

Can I fight a car, like in the bonus rounds of street fighter?
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

My 16 year old self.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Strong Bad!
Andrea Fonger, Engineer

Tyler Durden.
Troy McFarland, MoCap Lead

Abe Lincoln. Big guy, big reach. Skinny guys fight till they're burger.
Josh Hamrick, Senior Designer


DefiniteInfinity how long ago did you decide on that career path and why?

Ten years ago, seeking Fame and Fortune.
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

In my early grades, I had to do a project based on the book Old Yeller, and ended up writing a program that printed out an ascii dog. The ability to make the computer do something was so amazing that I started on my path right then.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

For a long time I wanted to be a teacher, but in high school I realized that computer programming was something I really loved to do (and was reasonably good at), and so I decided to pursue that instead.
David Johnson, Engineer

Ten years ago. However, I did waver and take a break from game development for two or three years in the middle. Because of that break, I know that no matter what comes along, I will not be tempted away again.
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

Probably about twelve years ago now. It was either this or marine biology. Frankly, I didn't want to go to school for nine years for the latter.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

I tried to apply for President of the Universe, but the position was already filled.
Alex Haraux, Engineer

I realized I wanted to make games when I was 17, or so. I wanted to mix technical and artistic skills to make something fun and awesome. As an only child in an overly protective family, video games practically raised me. I just wanna give something back. (/awww)
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

I knew I wanted to be a writer from birth. Or, at least from the time I learned to write.
Dave Mongan, Senior Writer

In my junior year of college, I discovered that programming was much more fun than physics research. In the summer after my senior year in college, I did an internship at EA and fell in love with the game industry. There’s just something special about working with a bunch of fellow game nerds.
Andrea Fonger, Engineer

Generally, I knew I was doing programming as a career by the time I was in the fourth grade, and server engineering by high school.
Tom “Achronos” Gioconda, Engineer

My freshman year of college. I took my first programming course and loved it. It also helped that I was pretty good at it too.
Michael Strein, Engineer

1996. I got an impromptu interview with Dynamix, who said they weren’t hiring when I contacted them. I asked for a tour of their studio, and brought my resume and portfolio anyway. They gave me a job as a Photoshop retoucher of prerendered images (for Rama). I’ve been in the games industry ever since.
Troy McFarland, MoCap Lead

I know what you’re thinking, but this only works once in a lifetime. Visiting our careers page and following instructions is a far better tactic than gatecrashing our studio with your book under your arm.


Xd00999 Do employees ever look to these forums for inspiration?

This is certainly a great place to browse when we need a reminder for how to be patient.


mark117 mia2553 Besides the Mail Sacks do you have any other duties at Bungie?

Yes I do. Thank you for asking.


joe campbell What are some questions that people haven't asked already?

No one has asked about the game that we’re working on. What’s up with that? Don’t any of you even care?


sytheNsnipe Who's your hero?

Chris Owens. Yes, I’m my own hero.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

My Grandpa (see above), my Father, Mark Twain.
Troy McFarland, MoCap Lead

Alan Turing is one of my big heroes.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

My Father. He was a journeyman mechanic and has a degree in electronics. He could fix anything without biological parts, and he was the kindest, and funniest, most intelligent man I have ever known.
Andy Howell, Matchmaking Test Lead

Ferenc van der Sluijs.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Chris Metzen.
Alex Haraux, Engineer

Ferris Bueller (oh man… I suddenly feel old).
Drew Smith, Producer

My 5th grade teacher, who taught me a lot about how being a geek should be celebrated, not hidden. Jocks run the playground, but geeks rule the world.
Tom “Achronos” Gioconda, Engineer


John Stvan, Graphic Designer


AxJARxOFxDIRT Are you tired of Halo related questions?

“Not yet…” –John, 117

It’s exciting to see a new adventure for the Master Chief, even if we’re not at the helm. Bungie will never forget Halo. That series of games will always be a cherished part of our heritage as a studio, even if we have moved on. We’re proud of what we created in that universe, and it’s an honor to see that people still want to explore it. Plus, until we give you something new to talk about, and we will, it’s perfectly logical that our conversations will turn to Halo. There are people who still pop up on Twitter to reminisce about Myth or Marathon or ONI.


BLAIR223 Do chicks dig the job?

I don’t know… do they?
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

The ones with a shovel do.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Depends on the lady. My awesome wife thinks it is pretty cool.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

“The job.” Is that what the kids refer to it as these days?
Rick Lico, Senior Art Lead

It is all about Fame and Fortune!
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead

I have been testing this hypothesis lately; the sample size has been small, but thus far the results are not promising.
Ben Litowitz, Engineer

It’s not the job they dig, it’s that look I give em.
Veara Suon, Artist

They dig the passion and the cornrows.
Drew Smith, Producer

Yes, I definitely dig my job! Wait a minute…
Andrea Fonger, Engineer

I love the job! I’m sure the other fine ladies working here do too. And there’s never a line for the bathroom.
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

Nope.
Michael Strein, Engineer

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! No. Not at all.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer


John Stvan, Graphic Designer


Remorazz Today during lunch, some guy traded a game with one of my friends who sits at my table. He was wearing this shirt. Do you think he is member of Bungie.net? Should I seek him out?

Looks like you found yourself a Bungie Beta tester. Just imagine what he knows! The lure of information can be tantalizing, but I do not suggest that you not approach him. The punishment for betraying our trust can be messy and indiscriminant.


Disambiguation Being one of the few who had an opportunity to venture inside your studio earlier this evening, I have to ask: Does that NES in your rec room actually work, and what games do you guys play on it?

Hylebos Wait, what?

We got another Bungie Beta tester, and this one is talking! Stand back, Hylebos. Cybernetic Attack Wolves have been dispatched to his location to sweep and clear, and they don’t stand down until they're certain that the rumor has been contained. There’s no escape, Disambiguation. They can follow the scent you left on your chair in our lab across state lines and bodies of water.


Diseased Moto It's no secret that the best thing about a secret is secretly telling someone your secret, therefor adding another secret to their secret collection of secrets, secretly.

Telling a secret isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Having a secret. At least, that’s what I tell myself whenever I think about tweeting concept art.

Don’t go rushing off to our Twitter feed, now. It’s secure, as evidenced by the fact that I am still here to publish this article – the very best Mail Sack in the history of mail and sacks. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have. If you think we can do better, you’ll have another crack at the letter box on Monday. Until then, keep your hands out of the Swedish fish.

Community 11/9/2012 1:46 PM PST permalink

Breaking In - Adam Brown

Coding on the go...



Bungie.net can reach you wherever life finds you. There is no escaping our charms!  Which device is it that’s enabling us to share a small piece of our world with you? You could be nestled into a comfy chair in front of your favorite computer, or propped up work pretending to look busy. If you find yourself on the go, sampling some Bungie culture right from the palm of your hand, you can thank gentlemen like this…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Adam Brown and I do mobile development at Bungie (that means iOS and Android). I’m looking forward to getting some awesome apps out there for everyone to better communicate through Bungie.net!

It would be very hard to sustain a community without the means for communication, so we appreciate your work. What do you do with your life when you’re not building bridges between the passionate players of our games?

I love hacking on all sorts of quirky projects outside of work: hardware, software, Arduino, whatever comes to mind. When I do manage to get away from the digital world, I love backpacking, camping, sailing, whatever outdoor adventure I can think of.

It’s great that you take a break from all that serious coding to channel your inner-child. Speaking of childhood, when outdoor adventures were your only responsibility, what did you foresee as your grown-up occupation?

Train Conductor. Not Superman, or an astronaut, but a Train Conductor. I was really shooting for the stars. After that, it was always a Software Engineer. I started modding games and making maps for Half-Life, and began to get the idea that I might like making games.

Someone needs to make sure the trains run on time! Once you had found the right track for you, how did you prepare yourself to steam into the station?

I got a Computer Science degree, and I get to use it every day! The theory matters too, kiddos!

What were some of the experiments that you conducted as a Computer Scientist before you joined us in the Bungie lab?

I actually had a pretty wide range of programing jobs before this. For my first job out of college, I worked at a tiny game company where I was the main programmer. I wrote the engine and game code. It was a huge learning experience, but the company went out of business after shipping our first game. I went on to do front-end web programming for monster.com. It turns out I’m not a fan of big corporate environments. Who knew? Later, I did low-level programming for DirecTV set top boxes. Finally, I began doing some consulting making Android apps for companies. That is ultimately what brought me to Bungie, so I guess it all worked out!

Slow down, now. You make it sound like joining the Bungie team is easy. Let’s back up and relive your interview loop to appropriately strike terror into the hearts of would-be applicants.

There was a phone screen first, so I guess said something right. The final interview is fairly long and intensive, and you keep having these minor freak outs in your head: “Holy crap, I’m sitting in Bungie’s office and the guy talking to me worked on Halo. Crap what did he say while I was thinking this?” It still seems a bit surreal that I work here.

You’re here alright. This is not a dream. What’s the most rewarding thing about this surreal existence?

It’s honestly hard to pick. As a Software Engineer, I have to say Bungie’s dedication to software quality, the fact that they really care and want to take the time to do things right, is a breath of fresh air after coming from other development houses where the software is just a means to an end.

We do a lot of other things to keep you content and banging out quality code at Bungie that have nothing to do with software. Which of those perks make you the happiest?

There is a cabinet in the kitchen just labeled: Meat.

We keep it stocked just for jerks like you (pun intended). How does a delicious dose of salted meat factor into your daily routine?

I stroll in around 9AM. Never did I think that getting in just after 9 would make me the “early guy” on the team, but here it does. I scan over reddit quickly (you know, just to check and see if there’s Bungie news). Then I get down to business! My team leader does a pretty great job of keeping distractions and bureaucracy away from us, so I probably get more actual programming done at this job than anywhere I’ve worked before. When lunchtime comes around, we usually go grab some take-out and come back to the studio to eat and play Magic: The Gathering. Post lunch is a medley of programming and deciding which beef jerky to try from the Meat cabinet. It’s a veritable nerd paradise.

Oh, man, you’re one of those Magic geeks? In that case, tell us about the time you cast your favorite spell at Bungie.

I was prototyping some features in an app and testing them on a tablet. A producer who was looking over my shoulder cut in with “You have a cool job, that looks awesome.” I thought to myself, “Yes I do.”

Having a cool job isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Getting better and better at doing that cool job all the time. How do you make that happen?

It helps that I love what I do. I’m always reading articles about new things in software development and working on little side projects to try out new ideas.

Imagine if you will that your tale of programming and magic has inspired someone to become your apprentice. What wisdom would you share with them?

Play games, work hard! Playing games is as much about keeping up with the state of the industry as it is a cultural fit. And work hard, because making games is hard work!

And you have some hard work that demands your attention, so we’ll wrap up this chat and return you to the trenches. Before you go, please stack this deck in order of importance to your role: Experience, Work Ethic, and Talent.

Hard to rank ‘em, but: Experience, Work Ethic, Talent. Experience because Mobile development is still the Wild West, so there are some really strange bugs that you can only solve from having seen them before. Work Ethic, because Bungie is ambitious! And of course, Talent is always an important base to build your experience.

Mobile development is just one frontier that we’re exploring at Bungie. Prospectors of every variety are being lured west on our careers page. To learn more about the different types of precious metals in our hills, you can check out the Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 11/6/2012 12:09 PM PST permalink

The Mail Sack Has a Secret

And it will never tell...

Let’s say that you have a secret to keep. It’s a really good secret, and you like the people that you want to tell it to. But you know that if you tell that secret, you’ll end up hurting a lot of people who have placed in you their trust. That’s what managing the Bungie Community can be like. It’s not all twitter updates and forum games. Every day is fraught with temptation.

Fortunately, I get by with a little help from my friends…

Austin Spafford, Engineer
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer
Cameron Pinard, Artist
David Shaw, Senior Producer
Drew Smith, Producer
Cale Haskell, Engineer
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
John Hopson, User Research Lead
Chris Owens, Test Engineer
Rick Lico, Senior Art Lead
James Tsai, Senior Designer
Rachel Swavely, Motion Capture Tech
Adam Brown, Engineer

Let’s open the Sack.


ChorrizoTapatio Does saying “First!” make you better than everyone?

Clearly! Just think about you feel when you see the first person who manages to reply to something on the Internet. Don’t you just well up with admiration? Don’t you imagine them as someone who knows things and is going places?


Try What motivates you to do a good job?


David Shaw, Senior Producer

Smiles and laughs.
Austin Spafford, Engineer

First, I love programming, like, a little too much. Second, it’s awesome being part of a team working on a crazy cool project. You don’t want to let the rest of the team down!
Adam Brown, Engineer

Blind devotion, plus a carefully managed system of awesome job perks.
Cale Haskell, Engineer

Knowing that my work is eagerly awaited by millions of people worldwide is a pretty strong motivator to not muck things up.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

The chance to do the best version of my job that's ever been done in the history of mankind.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

Working in an industry I’ve always admired and with people that are insanely talented and smart.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Seeing the awesome work being done by people around me.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

A sense of ownership, and getting to work on amazing projects. If you’re going to put yourself out there, make sure you go full ass.
Drew Smith, Producer

Knowing any failures during development will be forever immortalized by relentless, clever fans. Just kidding — you guys are astounding, but it’s as simple as having personal standards. If the best is possible, why not make it happen?
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

I love what I do for a living, but there’s also a ton of stuff I absolutely don’t want to do for a living. You know the guy who runs around at the rodeo to distract the pissed off bull, risking great personal injury or even his life? I couldn’t do that. Fear of becoming a rodeo clown and getting trampled motivates me to try my hardest at making video games.
James Tsai, Senior Designer


CTN 0452 9 Has Bungie ever had a flash mob?

Do launch events for games count? How about Holiday parties? Or the lunch hour? There are times when the lot of us moves as a herd to one destination or another. We drink the rivers dry. Our arrows block out the sun. Or is that just the Seattle sky?


OfTheBloodguard If it came down to it, could you trust your Bungie brethren with your lives?

Of course…
Drew Smith, Producer

I've travelled to the ends of the world with some and even given/received rides to the hospital with others. So, yes!
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Depends on whether or not the coffee machine was working that day.
James Tsai, Senior Designer

I’d like to think so, but we really won’t know the answer to that question until the Zombie Apocalypse.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Yes. All except for John Shaffstall. He’s a pair of aviator sun glasses away from being the Unabomber.
Adam Brown, Engineer

I know DeeJ would take a bullet for me. Wouldn’t you DeeJ?
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

Editor’s Note: Sure, but only in a game. I don’t respond well to bullets.


T1B3R7uMB0YXVI How do you define "Off Task" at Bungie?



I’m just putting this here to troll Derek Carroll, who seems to find a way to work this image into almost all of the Sacks. Let’s see if he notices…


Kr1egerdude “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't.” -Bill Nye
What do you know that makes you unique?


If I told everyone, I won’t be unique anymore!
Cameron Pinard, Artist

I know how Ninja Gaiden Black ended.
Drew Smith, Producer

My earwax smells different than anyone else’s. And the right ear is a different fragrance than the left. Dogs and cats always seem to lick at my right ear, but they leave the left one alone.
James Tsai, Senior Designer

I know what it feels like to have your upper jaw cut in half! It’s pretty neat.
Cale Haskell, Engineer

Through trade negotiations, I acquired the ideal method of grilling corn on the cob, which I will share with you (not really).
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

I have an intimate understanding of the facial features and mannerisms of more people than I’m comfortable to admit.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Old telephones used to have a built in magneto that was used to power the other end's bells.
Austin Spafford, Engineer

I know how to gut and replace the head (aka: toilet) in a sail boat. It was a smelly experience that I try not to think about.
Adam Brown, Engineer


Ockeghem Why did no one recognize my costume of gorilla suit + giant yellow foam cowboy hat?

As a wise man once said: “Pics, or it did not happen!”

Did you really honor the Bungie.net Webmaster in costume form for Halloween? If so, you simply must share with us. In fact, that just became the Halloween challenge for next year. We will send an army of jetpacked gorillas into the world, and see if the world notices.


BC1096 What’s your favorite part of History?

I like the H. It’s a strong letter and provides good anchoring by towering over the rest of the word.
Cale Haskell, Engineer

The European Renaissance has some of the best stories.
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

Yesterday.
Drew Smith, Producer

Recently, I’ve become interested in the modern era, 1700s - mid 1900s. Though, it’s still not as cool as dinosaurs.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

I'm actually quite fascinated with the catastrophes (both natural, and actions of man) throughout humanity's history.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

The early 17th century, when all the good rapier manuals were written.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

I’m a U.S. Civil War buff in particular, but I’d say that’s more the part of history that’s most interesting to me rather than being my favorite. My favorite part of history would definitely be my birth because, you know, that kind of needed to happen for me to do anything. Not coincidentally, my birth is often listed as many other people’s least favorite part of history.
James Tsai, Senior Designer

Roman Empire.
Rachel Swavely, Motion Capture Tech


 Austin Spafford, Engineer


pureXownage Will we here about the new universe before the end of the year?

It’s 2012. Haven’t you heard? If the Mayans are to be believed (and why wouldn’t they?) you won’t make it to the end of the year. Sorry. And we could have had such fun together.


DE4THINC4RN4TE You have to create a brand new word for the English language. It must be ridiculously hilarious. What is it, what does it mean, how is it pronounced?

Flominate (verb) flom-en-ate: The act of belching near someone unintentionally and then refusing to acknowledge it
Drew Smith, Producer

Hurrication (noun) her-uh-kay-shun: A vacation caused by a hurricane knocking power out at work.
Adam Brown, Engineer


mvyorkie009 What is Bungie’s favorite colored monopoly property to buy and why?

We like ‘Community Chest.’ It can’t be bought, and you never know what you’re gonna get.


thenewxegk Will my questions ever get answered again?

Not when they’re this self-referential. Try to ask a question that would make everyone happy.


welder1stdegree Which music group would you most like to see reunited for a one time only performance?

A tough one, but I’d probably have to go with The Beatles.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

Joy Division.
Drew Smith, Producer

The Ramones.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer


Rachel Swavely, Motion Capture Tech


Infinite Outcast I aspire to go into cinematography. Preferably video or film editing. I also aspire to work for Bungie someday. Is there any possible way those two could intersect and coexist? If so, is there anything that anyone at Bungie could suggest to help me achieve my aspirations?

There’s nothing we would suggest that this guy hasn’t already suggested. Do you read the Breaking In interviews? If you want to work for Bungie, you really should. It’s a weekly arm-twisting ritual around these parts. “The Community Forum is a really nice place now,” I tell them. “The Facebook comments aren’t that bad,” I tell them – which can be a total lie, but I digress. Many brave developers have ascended to the blog lectern to tell the story about their rise to power as a Bungie Employee. There is a tale of fear and loathing in the interview loop that appeals to every skillset known to our creative process: mathematicians, artists, coders, riggers, lawyers, painters, cappers, writers, waistoids, motorheads…


Krimm117 What is your favorite moment, mechanic, or feature of any game you've helped create?

Bah! This is like picking your favorite kid. That said, I think I still have a soft spot for the Halo 3 flag.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

The debug artwork for the Guild Wars vanquisher-progress buff. For a short time, it was a stick-figure "doom guy" face, complete with paranoid left-right glances and grinning after kills.
Austin Spafford, Engineer

Back in Halo 3, there was a glorious week and a half where the mongoose had a jump button (RB)—sort of like Speed Racer but much more believable. I had tons of fun with fellow testers on Sandtrap, just driving the thing around, jumping over obstacles, and smashing into each other. Sadly, it was cut for engineering reasons. I’ve been crushed ever since.
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

Creating music and voice-over for game jam games I have worked on (so fun).
Drew Smith, Producer

Either the Brute fight scene on the rooftops in Halo 3: ODST or making people watch themselves meet their end in the closing cinematic of Reach.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

I'm quite fond of the gradually improving models of motorcycles in Trials. It was a really elegant, intuitive solution to how to increase controller sensitivity over the course of the game.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

I worked on a video game inspired version of The Punisher that came out around the same time as the 2004 movie, but based on a different storyline with different characters. We had a mechanic where players directly controlled some brutal interrogation scenes; my favorite was one was where you held a guy over a woodchipper and forced him into it by “shoving” him with the analog stick. The guy resisted through controller vibrations and on-screen animations until his inevitable, gruesome, bloody death. Eventually we had to scale back the visuals and the graphic nature of a lot of what we originally created to avoid getting an “Adults Only” rating, but the original versions that were in early demos were a hit with press and fans. After reading back this answer, I feel like I need to add a disclaimer that I’m a well-adjusted person that doesn’t kick puppies.
James Tsai, Senior Designer

I’m actually pretty new to the game industry. I only worked on one commercial title before coming to Bungie. But I did make a lot of maps for Half-Life which still hold a special place in my mind. A map I’m particularly fond of forced the player to crawl through a vent while things were blowing up, and each grate they passed they could look out and see a cataclysmic event killing another scientist. I had a lot of fun finding new and interesting ways to kill those scientists. I’m sure my future therapist will love talking about this.
Adam Brown, Engineer

I was co-combat designer and animation lead for Condemned 2 at my former employer. One of the enemy AI you encountered in that game was a twisted, 2-headed, self-conflicted, motherly baby-doll who was alive during one of the stranger levels. As a burly, violence-wielding ex-cop, fighting them wasn't very satisfying gameplay so we decided to try and turn them into playable weapons as well as enemy AI. If you kicked the enemy doll, it would stun it, allowing you to pick it up.

Since C2 was all about using anything you find in your environment as a weapon, it was a great opportunity to have this spooky baby doll judge your actions while you wield it as a weapon. The best part was the move-set. We needed melee attacks, of course, which meant swinging the doll violently at other enemies. I animated the doll in the player's hands to look like it was having fun on this ride, like a little girl squealing as daddy swings her around in a grassy field on a summer day.

We also needed a block for incoming attacks, which would anger the doll. If you blocked with the baby, the second head (shoulder head) would turn in an effort to see what was going to hit it. The protective other head, who had control over the arm, would turn the shoulder head back gently, and shame it for being curious. Like I said earlier, she's motherly. If you managed to successfully block an attack with baby, she would be furious, and punch you for being so mean to her. To this day, I don't know of any other game that punishes you in such an entertaining way for being successful with the combat mechanics. Twisted psychological horror games are fun to design!
Rick Lico, Senior Art Lead


CoRaMo I challenge you to a duel... to the death! What weapons will we be using?

I accept your challenge! And, thank you for letting me (and not Rick Lico) choose the weapons. That was most sporting of you. Let’s see, now…

You’ll be using this.


I’ll be using this.


Good luck to you!

Disclaimer: Bungie would never actually shoot any of the gamers in their community. There are a few that we might like to silence with duct tape for an hour or two, but an assault with heavy weaponry is just not our style – at least not in real life. If you’re taking anything in this Mail Sack seriously, the joke is completely on you, Internet.


the real Janaka What series are you guys into right now, and why?

Link to the Past, because I received a Zelda shirt for my birthday.
Austin Spafford, Engineer

The League, Parks and Recreation, and Sons of Anarchy. I’m also really stoked for new Sherlock and Doctor Who.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

30 Rock, because I finished Walking Dead Season 2 on Netflix.
David Shaw, Senior Producer

Top Gear. Why was I not watching this years ago?
Drew Smith, Producer

I am making my way through Twin Peaks once again.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

The Flashman series by George McDonald Fraiser. He's like an evil Forrest Gump.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

The Inbetweeners, Key and Peel, and Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, because they make me laugh like a 50’s comic book villain.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Breaking Bad. Be nice to your chemistry teacher!
James Tsai, Senior Designer

I know I’m late to the party, but I just started watching The Big Bang Theory. Reminds me of some of my friends. Not the genius part, just the insufferable nerd arguments.
Adam Brown, Engineer


Rachel Swavely, Motion Capture Tech


crawlingshadow9 I've seen Bungie Employees on the Forums with custom titles, like "Sent West" and "still hates toast.” I've also seen some without that, just "Bungie Employee." Why is that?

Uhhhhhhhhhh… In searching my imagination high and low for a sarcastic answer to this question, I have come up dry. It’s a first. Instead, I’m gonna go for broke and be honest, and see if my response clears the censors. Here goes: We ran out of room in the database for custom titles. It’s a problem that will be fixed by Bungie.next.


Mythical Wolf Recommend a game to me.

I love horror games, so I’m gonna have to go with Penumbra: Overture. It’s one of the best indie games I’ve played.
Adam Brown, Engineer


Austin Spafford, Engineer

Picross 3D on the Nintendo DS, if you like puzzles, numbers, and three-dimensional perspective.
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

Checkers. As for the digital variety, when I get time, I’ve been enjoying Mark of the Ninja.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

Amnesia the Dark Descent. Get adult diapers.
Drew Smith, Producer

Settlers of Catan. The board game version.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Kingdom Rush.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

FTL. You’re welcome.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer


Rachel Swavely, Motion Capture Tech


Phoenix2640 What is Bungie doing on Halloween?
YodasCurd Show us your Halloween costumes. We all know you wore one.
mark117 mia2553 Who had the scariest costume in Bungie Studios this Halloween?

One at a time. Please! All of your questions can be answered here. You can even select the winner of the Community Edition of our Costume Contest. We chose our own champion for All Saint’s Day - and we’ll never tell.


GrandmasterNinja I always wondered...what if we ALL decided to NOT ask a question?

If that were to happen, I would just assume that no one was visiting the website anymore and start deleting accounts – starting with the oldest. It sure would be nice to clean house of all this dead Mythic weight.

But that isn’t going to happen. Is it? Because you will ALL be back here on Monday to taunt us with another volley of questions. Failure to do so would be foolish, Bungie Community. Your virtual existence on website depends on it. You thought this Q/A session was just fun and games. Didn’t you? It started out that way, but it’s mutated into something more dangerous now.

Have a nice weekend.

Community 11/2/2012 1:48 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Forrest Söderlind

A character among characters...



Happy Halloween! As people bring ghastly characters to life with their costumes and decorations, we’d like to introduce you to a member of the Bungie Team who does this every day in the games that we make. For this artist, realizing our worst fears is all part of the business…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

I am Forrest Söderlind. The title on my card reads (lambda x: x if type(x) is ‘rigger’ else x=’tech_artist’), but most people know me as a Technical Artist. My job is to create deformation skeletons, control rigs, skin weights, and tools for the animation and cinematics teams. What this means is that when you see the characters moving around in the game world and the cinematics, I played a part in making it so they are alive and how they look as they move.

Before we learn what it takes to give life to these characters, let’s talk about real life. What are your interests outside of work?

What is this ‘outside of work’ you speak of? Actually, I’m really busy outside of work as well. I’m into death metal, black metal, grindcore metal, thrash metal, speed metal, doom metal, power metal, industrial metal, djent metal, and showtunes. I kid, I kid - I’m not that much into doom metal, but I’ll enjoy it occasionally.

When I’m not listening to music, I’m usually found learning a language. This month’s language focus has been C#. I’ve also done some world travelling and we’re aiming to hit all continents. So far, we’ve hit North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Only three left… then it’s time for space! Oh, and I was in a metal band, unsurprisingly, and still make music today of a more glitch nature (still sounds like metal where appropriate).

Are you sure you’re in the right place? It sounds as if you may have wanted to be a rock star when you grew up.

Do we ever really grow up? Philosophical, snarky answers aside; I’ve known that I’ve wanted to work in video games since my family first owned a Commodore64. I have some art skills and some technical skills, so a mashup of both is a perfect fit for me. From then on, it’s been lots of research and development (c’mon, Mom, just one more level?!), drawing, painting, and programming. Actually, when I was a kid, I did see a glimpse of me working on a flux capacitor sometime in the future…

You were wise to settle for more practical aspirations, as we can make games without the burden of generating 1.21 gigawatts of electricity. Has your entire career focused on Technical Art?

I’ve worn many hats throughout my career, including tech support, software support, hardware support, computer building/repair, and game testing. I’ve played a lot of other video games, on console, portable, and PC – my favorite portable system is the Virtual Boy. A Technical Artist is part support, part content and my experiences enable me to assist in a wide variety of tasks, when necessary.

Wearing many hats requires a big head filled with all kinds of knowledge. How did you learn all the things you would need to do this job for Bungie?

I have an AAA in Programming, an AAA in Computer Animation, and a BFA in Production Animation. I use all of the skills I learned in school just about every day. I also learned how to work with other people since, largely up to that point, I was focused on solo projects. In each school, video games were relatively untaught, so I studied short and feature films. Today, there are more options for training in games, but curriculum quality is still being worked out in many schools. There’s much to be gleaned from film about storytelling, character design, environment design, and character development. All of this is transferred into games (hopefully) and blended seamlessly (hopefully) for players to enjoy. A great game will immerse you without you even knowing.

Your hope is a beacon in the night for students who are about to embark on their own adventure. Once your schooling was complete, how did you infiltrate our studio?

I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude. I was part of a couple local meetings and lunches that my current team members also attended and we just got excited talking about the same sort of ideas. We’re definitely on the same wavelength, with the same goals in mind. Also, my appearance is hard to forget. I have a clearly defined silhouette (Character Design Lesson #1, kids).

It sounds like the introduction was like a first date. Was the interview as much of a love affair?

The hardest part was figuring when to stop discussing cool ideas and plans for the future with everyone. Also, the interview room had no windows and my retina UI was disabled on the way in, so I didn’t have any reference for the time that passed. It seemed like the first three months of the interview went by so quickly, that the next three months started without being aware that time had actually progressed. The next few months of the interview were fairly grueling, but once I foraged for food, fresh water, and a razor, I was equipped to handle the oncoming interview years.

(Disclaimer: Forest is exaggerating for effect. The Bungie Interview loop lasts a standard Earth day – but can feel much longer.) What is the reward for all those years of struggle?

The most rewarding thing is working with an esteemed group of people on a fantastic project every single day. It is just amazing to see all the characters coming to life and running around in the world. The feeling that our cinematics give is just breathtaking to me. We make games that we want to play, have fun doing it, and that is very exciting for me.

What does that mean in the course of one day?

After battling several bears and wolves on the way to work, I hit the gym. Sometimes I’ll eat a steak or two before the gym, depending on how many bears I’ve beaten. Then, I’ll have two more steaks to prepare for work. I’ll usually get the latest build, meet up with some of the other tech artists for steak, and discuss the plans for world domination. Then we’ll move on to building a character skeleton or two with our bare hands and checking for animator or artist tool needs. If there are bugs in our tools, we’ll fix those, while fighting off wolverines. After lunch, which is usually a couple of steaks, wrapped in steak, we’ll check out some character designs and plan out upcoming skinning or weighting work. Sometimes, we’ll need to update characters or control rigs, so those are usually longer processes, spanning a couple days. We’ll finish off the day with a nice steak, and sometimes a steak wrapped in bacon to help balance out all the other steaks.

If you’re not going to take this seriously, no one is gonna learn a thing. Please name, as sincerely as you can, you favorite perk as a Bungie Employee. You may only use the word “steak” once.

My favorite perk is definitely the gym membership, so I can be fit for the Zombie Apocalypse. I go every day, and sometimes eat a steak there. It’s vital to have some sort of physical exercise since most of us lead a rather sedentary lifestyle.

But we accomplish so much from that sedentary posture! Among all of your accomplishments at Bungie, which one stands out in your memory as the highlight of all that sitting around?

While I was learning how the vehicle system in Reach worked, I made a test vehicle using a skateboard. I set up a shredder animation set with ollies, airwalks, street plants, ollie finger flips, heelflips, impossibles, kickflips, etc. While it was pretty sweet, there wasn’t enough memory to support the extra vehicle in game. Using our carefully handcrafted tools, I transferred the animation to the Mule character (the giant beast that the Covenant were attempting to wrangle), doing the same tricks on more appropriately-sized Warthog. That was also pretty badass and we tried to find a place to jam it into memory. Sadly, it never made it onto the disc.

It’s just as well. Skateboards have never fared well in battle. With the obvious exclusion of pushing the boundaries for combat vehicles, how have you been able to expand on our skills working at Bungie?

I’m always working on little home projects, trying out different animation controllers in other engines, or testing out MIDI interface devices for DJ software and/or game engines. I never waste my commuting time and always have my laptop active while riding the bus, working on game prototypes or creating music. See other interests for more details.

Aside from sitting next to you on a bus, is there anything you would recommend that hopeful developers do to learn more about our corner of the industry?

Keep working on projects, whether it’s art content, audio, or programming. Find a small team to work with and finish the project. Keep scope small and achievable. Lots of projects get started, but very few are finished. Work on mods, level packs, game prototypes, short films, and anything that will show the skills that you can bring to the table. Playable demos and videos are great. We need to see what you can do, rather than just hear about it.

Get to know people in the industry – attended GDC, Siggraph, E3, etc. The more people in the industry that get to know you, the more they’ll think of you if they’re looking for an engineer or a modeler (or whatever your specialty is). Forums are also a great way to get involved, but be polite and people will respect you back. Ask questions pertaining to your projects and offer good advice to those asking for it.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Forrest. Before we return you to the characters that need rigging, please sort these virtues for us: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

I’ve found a better metric that seems to fit. I show my Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent at all times. That being said, while it’s good to have a balance of all of them, Nerve and Experience are key to my role as it’s important to not be afraid to try things out, while keeping in mind the things that didn’t work in the past. It’s also important to be Flexible and Evolve to develop better workflows and tools that continually improve. I include Charisma since a large part of my job is support for animation and cinematics and it’s crucial to be approachable when dealing with some very complex issues that happen when making a game and have Patience in order to come up with solutions and explain them. Work Ethic is also important, and very imperative to know when to stop working, go home, get some rest, and come back the next day refreshed and ready to dive in again.



Forrest is obviously a character in his own world, and his world is a stage for his own show. We wouldn’t have it any other way at Bungie. As a bonus for this Halloween Edition of the Breaking In series, we give you a startling visage from his time spent next door, enjoying his favorite perk.  Metal enthusiasts call that corpse painting - the perfect accessory for some dead lifting.  We call it just another day at the office.

Breaking In 10/31/2012 9:14 AM PDT permalink