Team BackFire's Favorite Files Updated

The final lap.

Team BackFire is back for week two of their community spotlight and fired up to deliver some more hand-picked content.  This time out their talkin' 'bout Forgin'.  Read a little bit about their efforts, check out their Bungie Favorites picks, and if you find yourself thoroughly impressed, maybe stop by their group page and join their ranks.

Q. What inspired Triton's Twist?

A. I wanted to make a new track that was exciting and had an interesting layout and features.

Q. How long did it take to whip up?

A. Oh, I would have to say around 26 hours total for everything (not including testing). We had some difficulty with the object and money limit. Some of the parts were giving us a problem and took us a while to get them right.

Q. Which part of the problem took the longest to get right?

A. Probably the connection from the hill to the start of the heart bank. We had to keep redoing it; it took almost three days or so to get right.

Q. How could Forge be improved so it would be easier to get stuff right in less than 72 hours?

A. I would love to see something like an automatic interlock button so you don't have to start new round every time, an undo button would help a lot too. I would also love an automatic float button because almost every object on racetracks you have to save it in the air and interlock; enable for you to have an object float in the air, you have to save and end the game... I really love how Bungie has decided to put Forge in Halo 3, it makes it a never ending game because of all the creative and fun maps!

Looks like Team BackFire's round is over.  It's not all bad though, they've prepped a going away package for you.  Their parting gift is online and ready to go right now in Bungie Favorites.

CommunitySpotlight 10/7/2009 11:30 AM PDT permalink

Know Your Ninja - Qbix

Stalking people is fun!

It's been a little while since we caught up with one of our ninjas for the Tuesday spotlight.  Sorry about that.  They can be pretty tough to pin down.  Qbix, aka that guy that totally banned you for his own personal pleasure, materialized out of thin air this week and we had a few words with him.  Want to see how that turned out for us?  Read.

Q. Without revealing too much about your personal life, tell us who you are and what you do when you’re not keeping our forums clean.

A. I'm the Norwegian guy everyone likes to make fun of due to my funny English accent. When I'm not giving out totally unfair bans for no other reason than personal pleasure, I work at a local shop here in Norway (the shop sells paint, it's THAT cool). This is just something I do while I try to figure out what kind of education I want to get started on.
When I'm not working I tend to exercise a lot, more than the average forum regular I would guess. Cycling FTW! Been a big fan of Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong foundation for quite a while. When I'm not cycling around the countryside of Norway I tend to either A: Date hot Norwegian chicks. Or B: Play games.

Q. Paint, eh?  That does sound cool.  What were you doing on before you C: Moderated?

A. Back before I had an account I just checked the front page for Halo related news. Once I made an account I started to post in the Halo 2 forum and then later on in the Halo 3 forum. I was also quite active in private groups, especially in Compound Intelligence around the time of the IRIS ARG. That was good times.

Q. Good times are good.  Ever go through any bad times at that made you want to go offline and hide out for a bit?

A. Absolutely not.

Q. What other online places do you check out when you're absolutely not on

A. I do visit NeoGAF quite regularly. I don't have an account there though, because those suckers won't accept any of my e-mail addresses! I use Twitter, because stalking people is fun. And oh, I have watched almost 15 thousand videos on YouTube. That's quite a lot, right?

Q. Yup, that's plenty.  What keeps you coming back to after you've gotten your fill of all those YouTube vids?

A. The community and all the friends that I have made here have always been what has kept me coming back to this site. The constant content updates, the stats and the chapters are also stuff that I enjoy a lot.

Q. How has the community changed since you've been around?

A. Size. For me, size is the only way that the community has changed. When I spend so much time on the forums I get to know more and more people, but the amount of people that I don't know seems to be increasing in a much higher rate.

Q. How sweet is it to swing the mighty Banhammer and mete out mad justice on Bungie's behalf?

A. I could try to tell you how awesome it is, but all those words would be censored by the profanity filter.

I guess this is the part where I give shout outs to everyone that I love and adore?

Sure, why not.

Slayer<3, Foman, ash, yoozel, tgp, nos, recon, el roboto, k mart, butane, achilles, jaf, nedus, pezza, odmichael and all the other forum ninjas. You guys are awesome. Maimum Fear, Havok(HEY WOOBEN<3), prometheus, sniperstealth, rokit, true underdog, anelf3, evilcam, cryptic, killane, halcylon, zag, cortana, burritoyseniorita. Big country (-blam!-), joeski and the rest of H3ITWP. At Bungie: achronos, stosh, shishka, sketch, urk, pete parsons and all the other cool people I met at PAX.

I'm sure there are tons of people that I forgot to name, you know I love you too.

Well, now all those people know your name and where you live.  If they're really offended, they'll probably try and track you down.  Sounds like you might be able to outrun them though.

If you just read through this interview with Qbix and you want to track him down to tell him what an awesome job he's doing (or inquire as to why he's unfairly banned you), hit the discussion thread attached and offer some kind words.  Might not want to poke fun at the accent though.

CommunitySpotlight 10/6/2009 10:51 AM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - Team BackFire

Running on all cylinders.

Team BackFire drifts into the community spotlight this week.  They're a home grown group of just over a thousand members born out of a love of Halo 3 screenshots.  They've branched out now though, and they tackle a whole lot more than just pretty pictures.  If you want to find out who they are and what they do, they're revved and ready to sound off.  Here's what they had to say for themselves:

"Team BackFire was created on July 30th, 2008 by whitesoxrule. It was, at first, not a group that was expected to go anywhere but once we got our first few reliable members, the recruiting started and right away we found a common interest...screenshots. Since then, Team BackFire has grown into a group not only for custom content (although we do love to see your creations), but it has evolved into a group for almost all appropriate and appealing topics.

From day one we've have done our best to maintain respect and order amongst our members; we ensure that no member feels left out when posting and that they are not criticized for posting what is on their mind. Team BackFire promotes a safe environment for any member to go and share in what the community has to offer.

Team BackFire is always kept up to date on the latest news and activities. TBF also has a continuous amount of montages and contests that any member can enter into. Although our contests usually hold no prizes, other than a promotion, we do offer up Microsoft Points and Xbox LIVE Gold memberships from time to time. We also like to host Humpdays for fun and arrange other activities with other groups. (So if you are a challenger that is up for some awesome fun, message whitesoxrule).

A large majority of our members take pride in the artwork they create using Halo 3, whether it be a map, screenshot, or the art of war in Halo 3's matchmaking. We also like to encourage the creation of such content and hold many contests to fill the needs of our fellow artists. Some members even go further and customize their content using Photoshop.

Q. What are some of Team BackFire's favorite maps?

A. Well, I would say that my favorite map for matchmaking is actually The Pit. I like how its symmetrical, it doesn’t really give either side of the map an advantage over the other, it keeps things a bit more. . .fun? I like a good fight for the rockets and The Pit allows for that. (Call me a noob, but I love seeing my opponents obliterated in a cloud of flames and smoke.)

My favorite map for custom games has gotta be Sandbox. The endless amount of racetracks, zombie games, and the sand between your toes. It’s all good.

Q. And your favorite Game Variants?

A. Two of my favorite are Team Snipers and Team SWAT. I’m not saying I’m the best at either of the games, but it’s always fun to just go and play.

Q. What would you like to see show up in Matchmaking that isn’t there today?

A. This question brings me to one of the past updates. I recall something about the Sniper going mid to short range. Hmm? Where is this part of that update? I don’t know about you, Urk, but I can feel a noobtacular coming along and it feels pretty good.

I do think that more user created maps should be seen more often in matchmaking. Eh, maybe a social racing playlist as well? That would be pretty interesting.

Hate to race off, but week one of Team BackFire's community spotlight just came to a close.  If you want to catch up with 'em, you should check out their current batch of offerings inside of Bungie Favorites.  And if you want to talk about anything you've read here today, hit the discussion link attached or drop into their private forum right here at

CommunitySpotlight 9/30/2009 11:38 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - MR DROZ

Playing some Halo 3 and making beautiful babies.

Don't worry, the subject line will make sense once you've finished reading this week's Average Joe interview.  MR DROZ is committed.  Time for you to commit some of your time to get familiar with this family man and not-so-average member of the Bungie community.

Q. Who are
you and what do you do?

A. My name is Droz. I’ve had that nickname since my wrestling coach couldn’t pronounce my full last name. Droz for short, but you can call me MR DROZ. Proud father and devoted husband. I’ve worked in retail for the past eleven years in the metro Detroit area, learning the ropes in my families business.

I enjoy working with the public. It’s really sharpened my people skills. I could literally walk up to anyone and have a conversation.

True story: While spending three days in the hospital early last month with my wife (just after having the baby) I bumped into a man in the main lounge. You know, that place in the hospital were they offer horrible coffee and charge $0.05 per International Delight creamer. Turns out he was dieing of cancer. Doc gave him three weeks. I managed to ask him a series of questions regarding his faith and if knowing his death is approaching has changed his beliefs. He was very insightful, I’ll always remember Doug.

Q. Whoa, that's heavy.  There isn't really a polite way to segue out of that, is there?  Band-aid approach: Where'd the second half of your gamertag come from?

A. My gamertag was actually a collective idea between me and my wife. First, a little back story. We first met in a Team Slayer match back in November of '07. Things progressed from there and we eventually decided to have matching gamertags. Mine was to be MR DROZ, and hers was MRS DROZ. She soon dropped it do to my constant teabagging. I was making her look bad or something.

Eh. Women! I’ll never understand them.

Q. Well, most of them don't enjoy being teabagged.  Come to think of it, most fellas don't appreciate it too much either.  When you're not teabagging in matchmaking, where do you hang out online?

A. I spend the majority of my time in private groups. My wife and I are both members of The Upper Echelon and I spend a lot of my time there. When I’m not there, I try to offer constructive criticism in the Optimatch forum. There’s a lot of great ideas in there. Everybody has suggestions for altering or adding gametypes. In all honesty, I think that’s Shishka’s secret plan with Action Sack. Throw all the crazy gametype ideas into one playlist, eliminate the EXP and skill factors, and let's see whats shakin'. You got a crazy idea? You just might find it in Action Sack.

Q. What are the factors you find compelling about playing games?

A. What compels me to play? The people. It’s all about the people. I have met so many awesome people through this community. It gets to a point were playing Halo 3 isn’t just the same as “playing a game.” It can be as much fun as a night out at the pub with good friends IF you’re fortunate enough to meet the right people. I’ve been extremely fortunate in that regard. I met my wife playing Halo 3, all the awesome people at TUE and H3ITWP…the awesomeness doesn’t end there either. The amount of fun one person can have within this community is never ending.

Q. What was the first Bungie game that you had never ending fun with?

A. To tell you the truth, I was never into Halo. A few of my friends tried to get me into playing Halo 2 a while back. They had played it a lot more and got some kind of sick pleasure out of watching how pathetic I was. So I lost interest. I hadn’t regained interest until those same friends got me to watch some Red vs Blue. That series is amazing. Those guys are crazy and got me totally hooked. Sad to say, I still haven’t played any of Halo 2, and I haven’t even finished playing Combat Evolved yet. Halo 3 popped my Bungie-Cherry and I could play it endlessly.

Q. No Halo: CE?  That's pretty surprising.  You should give it a shot.  (We hear it holds up.) Even though you didn't get going until the fight was almost finished, you've still managed to get really engaged with the community.  Does that surprise you in any way?

A. If you are referring to how active the Bungie team is with the fans, absolutely! They have made every effort possible for the fans to voice there opinions within reason (that BR ain’t changin' STOP IT!) and discuss issues with people who actually work at the studio. It’s amazing how much Bungie cares about what their fans think.

Q. Well, we were referring to you, but we'll take the compliments.  No modesty here.  What about other online spaces?  Do you check into other communities in your spare time?

A. Actually, no. is my home away from home.

Q. Man, you really do have some razor sharp people skills!  Want to say a few words before we shut this down?

A. I’d like to make a shout out to a few people if that’s okay.

(Of course!)

First of all to the Bungie guys. Fellas...thank you for creating this amazing community were I was able to find my true love. My life changed for the better after I found her. I’m off the drugs, quit drinking, and am now a proud father. See that? You guys contributed to creating actual life. You’re more Godly than you think.

Secondly to my pals at The Upper Echelon. Guys…you are a huge part of why I play the game. I couldn’t go into matchmaking without you and still have fun. I love you guys.

Third to my wife. Cathy…I love you with all my heart and I want the world to know it. You’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. Bumping into you on High Ground was the best thing that ever happened to me.

And finally…to all you guys out there who like to trash talk the ladies. Why? What’s the point? Behind every gamertag is a real person with real feelings. Those feelings can hurt, and they can hurt bad. There’s no place for such immaturity in a gaming environment. If you gotta pick on people to have a good time, well there's something seriously wrong there and you have no right to take it out on people who come here to have a good time. Besides, that woman you’re picking on just might leave her home in England, fly to America, marry your goofy ass and make beautiful babies with you. It happened to me. It could happen to you. Behave yourselves and have fun.

You heard the man.  Stop acting like fools.  Shape up and play right and who knows, maybe some day you'll find the love of your life.  At least maybe you'll stop getting teabagged so much.   Either way, if you liked what you've read and want to sound off in a mature manner, hit the discussion thread attached and say what's up to MR DROZ.

CommunitySpotlight 9/29/2009 11:10 AM PDT permalink

Forge Union Favorites Updated

Forge Union faces down their Phobia.

For the second week of Forge Union's spotlight, we sat down with admin H3C x Nevz to talk about his new doubles creation, Phobia.  If you're not afraid of a little bit of Q&A, scroll down and dig right in.

Q. Where did the idea for Phobia come from?

A. Phobia has elements of MLG Onslaught (very loosely) in the fact that you have some immediate contact upon spawning and then you have multiple pathways to get to your destination. I wanted to make a truly tactical map for Doubles and use the sky bubble effectively.

Q. How long did it take to come to fruition?

A. The ideas flowed pretty quickly once I got down to Forging. The project took about one short week, but then another few days went into revising the map based on testing and retesting.

Q. What aspect took you the longest to nail down?

A. One of the most common flaws of most sky bubble maps is the problem with falling to your death way too easily. I tried to add plenty of barriers to prevent falling too easily, yet at the same time maintain the map's lines of sight and make sure it wasn't too sloppy. Another main focus was the balancing of the three paths from base to base. One contains the sniper rifle, another has rockets, and the path right down the middle does not have a weapon. It was difficult to balance risk versus reward so that players utilize all three paths.

Q. How could The Forge be better utilized?

A. Many close friends at Forge Union have dreamed about some huge expansion disc for Forge and custom gametype creation. On a more realistic level, a few tools for customizing the theme of your map would be great. Tools to customize the look and color scheme of each item and the map as a whole would be phenomenal

Well, that's about as expansive as we're going to get with Forge Union for now.  If you want to check out their customized content to see if they're up to speed on the tools they've had to work with, check out their week two offerings in Bungie Favorites.  They are live.

CommunitySpotlight 9/23/2009 1:48 PM PDT permalink

Average Joe - ContactTango

We've got contact.

We might be a bit drowsy from last night's ODST launch festivities, but we'd never dream of letting this Average Joe drop until later in the week.  If you've done an Annual run or two, you may already know Contact ango.  If you still need to complete one on your Road to Recon, you should get to know him a little bit better.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Marc and I’m the Director of Operations/Training Director for a Close Quarter Combatives , Law Enforcement and Military training company. Basically what that means is my company does unarmed, close quarter training for the good guys. We give them the fighting tools they need to stay alive in some of the most dangerous places in the world, so they can do there job and keep us safe. We also have exclusive training contracts with many top level UFC & WEC fighters, so frequent trips to Vegas is a burden I must bear.

Aside from being an avid gamer, I’m big into outdoor sports and anything that involves hitting other people really hard. But I’ve also got a soft side. I’m a pushover when it comes to my kids. They can drag me to pretty much anything. Who doesn’t love a good Pixar movie right?

Q. Whoa.  Close Quarters Combatives.  Sounds militaristic.  I assume that's where the gamertag comes from?

A. Well, when I got my first LIVE account, I used my real name as my GT. It was quickly and bluntly brought to my attention, that no one ever does that. So, I had to change it, but didn’t want some nonsense with random letters and numbers. I was playing RSV2 (for shame, I know) at the time and after hearing my squad yell "Contact Tango" every night it was kinda stuck in my head. Plus it sounded cool and wasn’t taken so I went with it.

Q. What forums do you go with when you're not training people to help keep us safe or spending time with your kids?

A. The majority of my time on is spent fulfilling my role as Administrator of The Spartan I Project (SIP). We are currently the largest group in the community with over 6600 members. SIP exists to help Halo players with achievements and unlocking armor perms. We’ll offer tips, tricks, support and help in any way we can as long as it’s legit. Boosters are dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.

Our specialty is the Vidmaster: Annual achievement. I (along with my buddy VenomCharger) started an eight-man team of "Annualists" dedicated solely to helping conquer that achievement. To date I have over 180 successfully completed Annual runs. Our current best time stand at 13 minutes, 10 seconds. Currently three members of our group have over 100 successful Annual runs.

We also have an "Alpha Squad" in training in preparation for the upcoming ODST VMs. Bring it on guys, we’re ready. :)

Q. Sounds like you have a great job and an awesome family.  What's gaming got to do with it?

A. I game for the camaraderie and the challenge. I’m very competitive by nature so playing games is a great outlet for me. When I not out playing sports with my three young boys, there’s nothing I like better that grabbing an adult beverage and teaming up with my buds to blow stuff up.

My two eldest boys love gaming with me. We spend a lot of time on the Wii, but as a treat I’ll load up some Halo and play some 1v1 with them. Don’t worry, I’m a good Dad, I keep it close or let them win.

Q. What was the first Bungie title you played?

A. Ahhh, the memories. Halo:CE was my first experience. My nephew used to play with his buddies. I was over at the house for a BBQ, when he invited me to "get pwned." He beat me bad. My ego was so bruised and I was so motivated to get better that I went out and bought an Xbox and Halo:CE the next day. I’ve been hooked ever since. Oh, and my punk nephew is lucky to get a kill off me now.

Q. Looking back over your community memories are you taken back by the time you've spent with us online?

A. Absolutely. I would never have imagined I’d become so totally involved and end up helping to run a group along side our founder, Frakjoy (Mahdi on It got to the point where I got an iPhone just so I could have online access anywhere and be able to check in on the forums. It’s bad, I know.

Q. It's not bad, it's good.  What about other community haunts? Do you get involved in other spots?

Not really. I’ve tried – but you everyone else’s feeble attempt at a "community" pales in comparison. No other game offers its users the ability to track their stats and interact with the rest of the community so effortlessly. is truly the standard all others fail so epically to duplicate.

Q. Anything you wanna say before you head off into the sunset? Wanna make some shout-outs?

A. I’d like to thank Bungie first and foremost. Without you guys, none of this would be possible. You guys continue to put out a superior quality product and give back to those that support you. Thanks for everything you do.

I’d like to thank my teammates on the SIP Annual Team. You guys have been patient and dedicated and together we’ve made it easy to get the ‘impossible’ achievement. Annualists FTW!

To The Spartan I Project: I’m honored to be a member of this group. We are the biggest and the very best and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Alpha Squad: Your time is coming. ODST is about to drop and you’re the ones who will be called on to handle the new Vidmasters. Keep practicing, cause I have a feeling it’s going to be a long fight.

Finally, my buddy Paul. You founded SIP and have entrusted me to help you lead it into the future. We've got big plans and I’ll be by your side through the firefight brother.

ContactTango (Marc)

Big thanks to ContactTango for being above average (and helping so many players complete their Annual runs).  If you partook (or want to), make sure you drop into the discussion and drop him a line.  He's ready, willing, and more than able.

CommunitySpotlight 9/22/2009 12:48 PM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - Forge Union

Forging a more perfect union.

Forge Union is a group of players into building stuff, from multiplayer maps to a place where people can hang out and relax.  Since you've clicked through, we assume you're interesting in building a relationship with them yourself (or at least checking out their interview).  Here's the word straight from the Forge Union staff:

Forge Union is a new community, focused on maturity, quality and activity. We host a plethora of monthly contests, host weekly custom games, and weekly featured content such as maps, films, and even things like Photoshop graphics. We have a tournaments function where bracketed tournaments and permanent ladders are hosted by the staff. It came from a group of Founders with a dream.

*Cue inspirational music*

We have been to various communities and websites, and we desired a group based on maturity and activity at the same time.

Our group was designed with plenty of advanced coding. With a screenshot contest, a featured contest (based on anything from forging to screenshot captions), and often other things like a bracketed tournament, everyone has something to do, even if they're not big forgers or big screenshot takers.

Q. What are Forge Union's favorite map variants?

A. In terms of standardized Matchmaking maps, most of us enjoy big games, such as Big Team Battle and Social Skirmish, so naturally we enjoy vehicular combat on maps like Valhalla and Avalanche. Our mentality is to get the most out of Halo 3, so you'll see us playing custom games from MLG, to Infection, to Racetracks. Hell, we'd play an Infection form of MLG on a Racetrack if we thought it would work!

Q. Sounds like a challenge.  What about gametypes?

A. Many of the Founders are objective minded and prefer Capture the Flag. We also enjoy just straight up Team Slayer or Team BRs, but most of the magic happens in custom games. We enjoy many built-in variants such as Ninjanaut, along with user-created masterpieces such as Spec-Ops and SnipeFlag.

Q. What would you like to see added into Matchmaking proper?

A. Atlas is already doing a great job of integrating custom maps into Matchmaking. We would love to see more unique custom game variants entering the playlists to add variety. We would also enjoy seeing more diversity in the Double EXP Playlists.

Thanks to the folks at Forge Union for adding some diversity to this week's Community Spotlight.  If you want to get even more acquainted with them and what they do, they have twenty files queued and ready to go in Bungie Favorites.  Sample their wares, check out their website, and stop into the discussion thread to let 'em know what you think.

CommunitySpotlight 9/16/2009 3:31 PM PDT permalink

Average Joe - Bobcast

Wasting his time, semi-constructively.

This week's Average Joe is into saving lives, successfully avoiding detention, and deep-diving into Bungie's lore.  Wait, we have lore?  Awesome.  Anyway, if you're looking to get to know the guy everyone else knows as Bobcast, scroll down and get yourself up to speed.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. Hi! In real life I go by Scott. I live in southern Michigan, just a stone throw away from Toledo, Ohio. And in case you’re wondering, U of M > OSU.

After springing free from High School I’ve made a life and a career out of the worst and working to make it better. I have been a Firefighter/Paramedic for nine years now, and I’m currently in my 4th year of Medical School. When I graduate from Medical School in May 2010, I’ll be an Emergency Medicine Physician. In the real world you don’t want to meet me, at least professionally.

When I’m not working or studying, playing games that Bungie made, or browsing around on you’ll find me enjoying my little country town, jogging, or out drinking brews at a bonfire with my firefighting comrades.

Q. What about your online tag?  Where did "Bobcast" come from?

A. My online person stems from me trying to avoid trouble while I was in the 6th grade. My middle school had hall monitors who patrolled the halls checking for hall passes. Well I got busted for not having a hall pass one day, and when the hall monitor asked for my name the first thing I came up with was Bob Cast. The hall monitor bought it and I successfully avoided punishment. Since then my alter ego has been that of one Mr. Bob Cast.

Q. Where do you set up shop when you're patrolling the halls of

A. On Bnet you’ll find me making my rounds in The Septagon, The Underground, Optimatch, and the Flood. Each forum is special it is own special way and I enjoy the interactions on each. If a thread interests me I’ll pop in and contribute.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of the community is the Bungie lore. I have yet to come across a community with such a rich volume of myths, legends, and lore surrounding it.

Occasionally I’ll drop in after the night at the bonfire, and send Duardo some barely legible PMs. I gave up posting on the public forums on those nights, kept getting me in trouble. Now I just try to tell Duardo how awesome he is.

Q. What compels you to drop into our online gaming experience?

A. I use gaming as a relaxation tool. After a busy day in the hospital or on scene it is nice to sit down and unwind with a little gaming. When I’m playing matchmaking you’ll find me in a party with by brother, Agent Diddy, my friend Dave, TestosterOwned, or the guys and gals from H3ITWP.

Q. What was the first Bungie game that you maxed and relaxed with?

A. The first Bungie game I ever played was Halo CE. My younger brother (Agent Diddy) picked up an Xbox and Halo: CE. We played through the campaign on co-op a few times and I was hooked. What really captivated me was the story. I played the game every day trying to pull as much as I can from the dialoge, the scenery, and the music. I also loved the game play. CE was the first FPS I’ve played where the controls felt so natural, and the interactions between the player and the environment were fantastic.

What I really love about Halo is the variety of ways a player could play. You could play through a level slowly and methodically, sniping from a distance and stalking my enemies until I was ready to spring a trap, or you could play like a drunken cowboy, running into a room with guns a blazing. The decision was entirely up to the player. The level The Silent Cartographer is by far my favorite level in the Halo series, and is by far the best level to exercise that kind of freedom.

Q. Are you surprised that your love of the game ended up getting you involved in the online community?

A. Yea, I would say that I am. I lurked for years before I created an account. I started becoming active during Medical School. I used to reward myself with during study breaks, and the more I posted the more addicted I got. Since my beginning I have become good friends with several Bnet regulars, and it is these relationships that keep bringing me back.

Q. Do you get intimate with any other entertainment-related communities?

A. When I’m not on Bnet you’ll find me over at Bungiepedia. Bungiepedia is a fan created wiki dedicated to Bungie administered by Foman and myself. I’d like to think that Bungiepedia is a written encyclopedia of the Bungie communities’ history. So if you want to know a little more about anything Bungie head on over and give it a read.

Q. Wanna make some shout-outs?

A. I would love to throw a few shout-outs, First I would like to give my public support to BerserkerBarage and Obi Wan Stevobi. As their political manager I have to give them as much positive media as I can. So remember kids, BB and Obi ’09!

Next I’d like to give a shout-out to all the folks at TW, H3ITWP, Gamers Anon, Bungiepedia, Yoozel for taming Disembodied soul, and all the folks on my friends list that like to play with me.

I’d also like to thank Ryan, Ghost, and the allies for sticking with me and being my friends when it all went down. And I’d also like to thank Xerxdeej for being a community compass. If it weren’t for his direction I wouldn’t have found the home I have grown to love today. He has taught me that when one door closes, another one opens.

Finally I’d like to thank Bungie. You gave me a great game that I love to play, a community that I’ve grown to love, and a semi constructive way to waste my time! So do I get to play Butane123 1v1 for Recon now?

Thanks to Bobcast for not wasting our time, semi constructively or otherwise.  Meeting him wasn't nearly as bad as he made out.  Oh, and we're not sure if Butane is still available for 1v1's, but it couldn't hurt to send him some polite requests (keeping in mind that he can and will ban you).  Of course, if you just want to send Bobcast some polite words of thanks, we've got a discussion thread set up just for that purpose.  Hit the link at the top and drop him a line. 

CommunitySpotlight 9/15/2009 10:56 AM PDT permalink

The Spartan Special Ops Favorite Files Updated

Still operational.

The Spartan Special Ops return fresh off their successful week one mission.  Up today, they've got some short intel covering the strategies and tactics employed in the creation of gun123456's Forge space, Templar.  Get briefed.

Q. What inspired Templar?

A. For a long time I was in a "forging block."  I was unable to think of anything that would make for an interesting map. One day I was messing around on Foundry, just placing down some boxes, when I stated to get more into it. It eventually evolved into Templar.

Q. How long did it take to evolve from start to finish?

A. Templar took a real long while to create. I only Forge on the weekends, and was taking my time with it. Many Forging mishaps also delayed its release. I would say it took 4-8 weeks to create.

Q. Any specific sections that took more time than others?

A. The hardest aspect for me to get correct was the main temple area, near the end of the map. I had to restart the entire base once, and it took me hours to figure out how to get it right again. Eventually it came out just how I wanted it.

Q. How could Forge be improved?

A. The map, despite how it may look, does have a few bumpy parts that can be fixed such as the sniper tower, and the wall. Both seem a bit sloppy, but can be easily taken care of.

Week two in the can, make sure you check out The Spartan Special Ops' Bungie Favorites ordnance.  Round two is locked and loaded.  Once you've given them all a thorough field test, make sure to report back and check out their group.

CommunitySpotlight 9/9/2009 9:19 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - BerserkerBarage

His love for you is like a truck.

Would you like to making...okay, hold right there.  You didn't think we were gonna take it all the way to the end, did ya?  Even if we did, -blam!- doesn't rhyme with truck anyway.  Wouldn't have made much sense. 

What does make some sense is scanning the Average Joe interview below.  We scored some time with the well-traveled BerserkerBarage.  If you're curious to see one of the engines that drives the Bungie community, it's time to buckle up and get your Q&A on.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Logan, I’m 27, and happily engaged to be married in October. Currently I help run a 501(c)(3) NPO. In less jargon terms I help run a charity. My job entails managing the volunteers, contractors, clients, projects, and funding sources (and their requirements) for a program that helps elderly, low-income homeowners do needed house repairs. So I’m kinda like an associate producer for a major game developing company (*slides resume over to Murray, Richenburg, and Tung*).

As for hobbies when I’m not working or working on wedding stuff I’m gaming, watching movies, or playing with my dog Deja (yeah, I’m that big of a Halo-nerd). She’s a 2 ½ Bernese and Border Collie mix. I have never been a dog owner before but she makes my fiancée happy so that makes me happy!

Q. Where does your tag come from?

A. Well being named Logan I’ve been nicknamed either “Wolverine” or “WeaponX” for the majority of my life. It’s even on my license plate! (Speaking of license plates, you guys should ask RevDotNed what’s on his.)

I started out my career more than five years ago as a mixture of those and my birth year. When Halo 2 launched, I wanted a more unique moniker but something that was still a tie to my trusty old nickname. So as some of you might know, a “Berserker Barrage” is a special move that Wolverine does in the Marvel vs. Capcom fighting games. Well sadly that wouldn’t fit as a GT so I dropped the space and one of the “Rs” to make room. Plus, it’s nice because it allows me to sing “My Love for you is like a truck…BERZERKER” in the pre-game lobby.

Q. What forums do you frequently spend time in and why do you make the investment?

A. Now this is a fun question. I visit more forums than any single person should. I typically do some RSS feeds for some and read a lot on others. But in a typical day I’ll visit:, Chapters: Body Politic and H3ITWP, Cirque D’ Geezers, Ascendant Justice, Halo Charts, HawtyMcBloggy, HBO, NeoGAF, MLG (under a different pseudonym of course), Buddy System Gaming, and Halo 3 Wheelmen. I used to read 50 to 60 pages of textbooks each day when I was in grad school and I think after I graduated I just transferred that desire to things I’d much rather read about. It’s interesting to see all these different groups come together and create a community under the greater Bungie/Halo community. As a person who studied Sociology and Political Science for most of my college years, I’ve always been fascinated by what drives a community.

Q. What drives your own fascination with gaming?

A. This has really changed over the course of my lifetime. While some might not believe it now but I once was a very competitive gamer when I was back in high school. My games of choice were UT99 and Quake 3. I used to travel around to different Babbage’s (the Forerunners of GameStop) and compete in various PC LAN tournaments. I won a few and lost a lot but the nice thing was that the prizes for the tournaments were new graphics cards or free games/software that were coming out. When I started undergrad in 2000, I didn’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to gaming and have become the “casual”/nub gamer I am today.

Luckily for me, my fiancée is also a gamer. She’s been my “doubles partner” even back in Halo 2. Oh, and Bungie, my sincerest thanks for allowing split-screen XBL multiplayer so we can game on the same television. You won’t believe the amount of FPS games out or coming out that don’t offer this option. The amount of time I get to game is directly correlated to whether or not a game can be played online split-screen!

Q. What was the first Bungie title you came across?

A. Back in 1995 I was playing Doom on my sweet 486 PC. My friend who was a die-hard Mac fan (still is) tells me he has a game that is “better than Doom”. I remind him where liars go when they die. He insists I try it. “This game actually has a storyline!!” he says. A storyline and you get to shoot aliens? Sign me up. So I head over and try it out. I’m impressed but not enough to run out and buy a Mac. I wouldn’t actually get to play all the way through the Marathon trilogy until I found out about AlephOne on almost 10 years later. A few years later, the same friend has me come over and play what he touted as the “best RTS since Dune 2”. Now, Dune 2 was my first computer game as I got it for my 11th birthday. It’s like the holy grail of PC games to me. Saying a game is better than that is blasphemy. But he was right. I played Myth and I was absolutely terrible at it. What do you mean I can’t get more resources?!? What do you mean I can’t just spam units until the other side dies?!? Still didn’t realize that Myth was made by the same company as Marathon.

Fast-forward to the 21st century. I start undergrad in the fall of 2000. In the fall of 2001, Halo CE drops. So does my GPA (thanks guys!). I’m living off-campus with three other friends in a 3-story townhouse (one of them is the same friend from before, he’s persistent if anything). We’re all huge Halo CE fans. Multiple Xboxs are purchased. CAT-5 cables snake from the upstairs to the basement. LAN parties are established every Wednesday night from 2002 till 2004. People whose real names I’ll never know show up with cases of Mt. Dew, a controller, and a copy of HCE. I finally own a Bungie product, I’m all-in, and I never looked back.

Q. Are you surprised that you're all-in with this community?

A. Not really. Especially not in regards to I originally joined specifically because of the community aspect of it. My friend (yep, same dude) tells me that Bungie is doing this weird puzzle about Bees. I sign up on in August of 2004 to get in on the I Love Bees ARG campaign. Sadly, Chicago was the closest site for the “end-game” and I couldn’t travel that far.

Now what I am surprised about is that I’ve actually gotten to do some things for the community that I never thought I would. The first of which is making the Marathon 2: Durandal video walkthroughs. Like I said, I had played Marathon in the past but never really to the point where I could enjoy it. When Freeverse released M2:D on the Arcade, I had to have it. I stayed up all night waiting for the release and actually was lucky enough to play against Hippieman and ChelseaBridge from Freeverse in some MP games (which is why I’m #78 in the World Domination achievement). After playing Durandal with Achilles for awhile we ran into some trouble on Ex Cathedra (“what do you mean there is a swim button?!?”). I figured some other people who are new to the Marathon world would be too. So, while playing through the game I just recorded the footage and uploaded it to Mythica (before it closed *sad face*). After Mythica closed, I was lucky enough to contact Louis Wu and have them moved over to a new home on HBO (thanks Wu!). Other than that, I’m proud to be the “Prime Minister” of one of the oldest Chapters: Body Politic.

Q. Check out any entertainment sites outside of on a regular basis?

A. Besides all the ones I’ve already listed, I typically check out Metacritic and Zero Punctuation.

Q. Who gets a shout-out?

A. IDK my BFF Shishka?

Actually, I want to thank all my Band of Brothers: Achilles, Achronos, Roboto, Butane, Foman, Skittles, Tuff, Hawkeye, Obi Wan Stevobi, R#54, Leche, Yoozel, Evilcam, Dr. Bob, and those in Body Politic and H3ITWP.

HC: Firestream, Pete, Egon, Rippin, Halbarand, AJ, and Boss Vos.

And shout-outs to BSG, H3WM, Cirques, the TTL Allies, and anyone at NeoGAF not complaining about my signature.

Last but not least, my wonderful fiancée Melissa.

Thanks again Urk and the Community Team.


Thanks to BerserkerBarage for extending his charitable endeavors and lending us his words, free of charge.  He's fixed our blog right up with some much needed verbal repairs.  If you want to donate some of your own words - preferably praise and polite how do you dos - step into the discussion thread attached and sound off.

CommunitySpotlight 9/8/2009 9:49 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - Hawkeye

Totally single and so not from Iowa.

Up this week on the not-so-average Average Joe front is a youngin' you might think hails from Iowa.  Don't worry, you're no dummy - it's the gamertag that does the trick.  If you're not sure you can trust me and you'd rather get the scoop straight from the source (and tons of other personalized information too), go ahead and scroll down to learn a little bit about the man, the myth, the dude that loves to betray Foman.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. Well, my name is Zach. I live in Bellevue, Washington with a wonderful family of four. If you know anything about the Bellevue area you will know that most of the year it’s raining. Whether it be watching a movie with friends, or gaming with fellow community members, I spend most of my time indoors.  I just passed my sixteenth birthday a couple of months ago, meaning that I am going into my sophomore year in High school. Oh, and ladies, I’m single.

Q. Bellevue, eh?  Me too!  What about your gamertag - where did that come from?

A. Contrary to popular belief, I am not from Iowa, and I don’t think I have ever read a comic book in my life. Hawkeye is derived from my Halo CE profile name EagleEye. When I got around to making my Xbox LIVE account, Hawkeye was already taken. Short on time, I decided to some random numbers. The end result, hawkeye543.

Q. When you're not short on surfing time, what forums do you visit and what keeps you coming back to the community for more?

A. Well, you can find me in the Halo 3 forum, the Halo 3: ODST forum, the Optimatch forum, and the Community forum. Notice a pattern? As you may have guessed I enjoy posting in the Halo forums. Why? Whether it is posting about how much quicker I am to get to the Banshee than RaDekk7 (only to be reminded that Foman is the best), or talking about the latest map strategies I love discussing all aspects of the game. Let’s not forget about the Community forum. The community and site are things that I cherish and care about so the Community forum is a great place for me to frequent.  Besides, there is enough fist shaking to meet my needs!

There are areas of the community that I find more interesting than others. Apart from the discussion, I love seeing user created Halo videos. In particular I think that Achilles1108, Obi Wan Stevobi, Helveck, and impur7y make excellent and hilarious videos. Thanks for the laughs guys!

Q. So, what keeps you invested in gaming in general?

A. I think that my passion for Halo would be diminished by now without the friends that I have met on, and play with on almost a daily basis.

A couple months after I made my account here on I picked up an interest in making avatars for the site. Because of this I stumbled upon a group named “AvatarArt”. After frequenting the forums for a little while I was introduced to a name that plenty of you are familiar with. That name being Obi Wan Stevobi, the creator of AvatarArt. He brought up the idea of group members playing together. Being shy at the time I really wasn’t interested in playing with other members, but his persistence eventually opened me up. Ever since playing with him I have met many community members who know how to have a fun time while playing Halo. Having fun with friends is what keeps me coming back. I’ve never gotten hooked to any other game series or game really, so that is why I give Obi Wan Stevobi a special shout out.

Q. What was the first Bungie game that you were introduced to?

A. The first Bungie game I played is Halo CE. I didn’t have a Mac back in the early days of Bungie so I missed out unfortunately. Years ago I walked out of my classroom, and down to my father’s car. Sitting in the seat was the game Halo Combat Evolved. I played through the campaign in a couple days. After the campaign, I wanted to try out the split screen. I couple of my friends came over, and we played for hours. This started to become a weekly happening. Ever since that point I have been a big fan of the Halo series. It was just a matter of time before I discovered If anyone is wondering, I was the king at screen peeking.

Q. Are you surprised that Combat Evolved eventually led you to have an evolved role in the Bungie community?

A. Not at all. It did take me a couple years to make an account here, but after I finally did I have been hooked onto this site ever since. Through this website I have gained many friends, and a place to discuss my favorite game series. Now, of course that isn’t all this site has given me. I could go on and on about the amount of awesome this site has packed in it, but what I’m saying is that this community has given me so much. Because of this I would like to give back to the community, even if it’s just helping out a newer member seeking information, or carrying Obi Wan Stevobi to a Force Colonel.

Q. Do you get involved with any other entertainment-related stuff when you're not investing your time trying to boost Obi?

A. I check out the news at, see entertaining stories at, and look at what cool stats and videos RippinHeads has at The only place where I’m an active poster is at This is also where I happily moderate the forums. Check out the forums if you have time!

Q. Anything you wanna say before you head back out into the community?

A. As I mentioned and enforced earlier, this community has given me a lot. There are plenty of names I would like to name and thank for being awesome. Obi Wan Stevobi, Achilles1108, Saint of Taint, immortal eNeMe, SniperStealth, BerserkerBarage, Bobcast, Butane123, D1Mik, Darth Mallum, FoMan123, Killane, impuri7y, RaDekk7, vanert, Tuffjuice, Cressy, Italian templar, DTA MoonDawg, Slyckry, I am The Dark, Guitarplyr123, Cryptic, El Roboto, Rokit, mrjoshsays, JBSpudster, Anelf3, and all the folks over at Facility B5D. Thanks guys, you have been amazing!

Betraying Foman123

Throughout the last month or so I have been taking part of a game spawned by a Banshee rivalry. Okay, I guess rivalry may be pushing it a bit seeing how he is the one getting the Banshee. Anyways, after seeing my Banshee stats severely slack lately I have decided to take it out on FoMan by betraying him. Driving him off the map in a mongoose when he is carrying the flag, accidentally firing the sniper directly at his head, throwing a random plasma grenade across the map that magically sticks to him, shooting a rocket in his direction because I mistook him for the enemy, name any betrayal you want, I’ve probably done it. Foman is a sharp guy, it didn’t take him long to figure out all of those accidental betrayals weren’t really accidents. Ever since that point he started firing a couple rockets my way and it’s been a betrayal battle. So far I think it’s easy to determine I am winning. : )

Thanks to Hawkeye for not betraying us and injecting some win into our Blog space this morning.  Hopefully, you've gotten to know him a little bit better.  If you're looking to say what's up or just chat him up (watch out ladies, he's underage in most states, including Iowa), step into the discussion thread attached and sound off.

CommunitySpotlight 9/1/2009 10:55 AM PDT permalink

Tactical Gaming's Favorite Files Updated

More tactics and content for week two.

The community spotlight continues to shine on Tactical Gaming.  For week two of their run they've dropped a brief interview about the time they've spent with Forge and a whole new batch of files to pack into Bungie Favorites.  Scroll down to get briefed.

Q. Where did the idea for Sacrifice come from?

A. My creation is inspired by my interest in ancient Egypt and the Great Pyramids. Sandbox's desolate desert, the twilight setting of the sun, and ancient building materials provide an excellent backdrop for a mysterious "lost" Pyramid such as this. Also, two things come to mind when I think of a Pyramid, mummies and tomb raiders - which provides a basis for my Left 4 Mummies and Crypt Flag gametypes for this particular map.

Q. How long did it take you to build it, start to finish?

A. Sacrifice took me an estimated two to three weeks to complete.

Q. What aspect did you spend the most time fiddling with?

A. The aspect that took the longest to create was the Pyramid. Not only was the Forging difficult, but I also wanted the Pyramid to look authentic, as well as instill a feeling of wonder, mystery and perhaps even fear into the player.

Q. Since you've spent some time with The Forge, any ideas on how it could be improved?

A. I do not like to pick faults in other people's hard work. And I know that Bungie has gone above and beyond to ensure that Forge is a fun, creative activity for all Halo 3 players, whether they be veteran Forgers or new to the concept. If I really had to point out an improvement, I would say control/object stability - getting walls straight can be very hard to do.

Thanks to the players at Tactical Gaming for setting us straight this week.  As always, if you liked what you read but you've been left wanting more, check out what this crew has on offer by way of custom content.  Their file selections are now live in Bungie Favorites.

CommunitySpotlight 8/26/2009 10:53 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - Ponkapoag

The loudest person in the room.  (So listen up.)

Another not-so-average Average Joe, Ponkapoag is prepared to drop some words on you this week.  Not to worry though, he may proclaim to be a loudmouth in the boardroom, but here, he's quite soft-spoken.  If you want to learn a little bit about what makes him spend time with all the other crazy dudes and chicks that call home, scroll down and get reading.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Jesse and I’m a Business Analyst. Which is a fancy way of saying I am an art school dropout who stumbled into the business world via a temp agency, and ended up being the loudest person in the room, so people thought I knew what I was talking about.

Q. Squeaky wheel and all that.  When you're shouting into a headset, you're e-persona is Ponkapoag.  Where'd that come from?

A. It’s a few things. It’s the name of the street I grew up on, it’s a region of the town I grew up in. I set up my XBL account soon after moving from the northeast to Reno, NV. I was homesick, and XBL was a way for me to play games with my friends the way I would have if I still lived at home. So, I think in that respect the name was a fairly sentimental choice, and it wasn’t taken. People who knew me would know the name was about where I was from. It’s been the only name/GT I have had on XBL or BNet.

Q. What forums do you call home at

A. Halo 3, and really, almost exclusively groups. I think a lot of people gravitate towards the groups because the main forums are seen as pretty...spammy...but not really by me. What happened is, in the years I was on BNet, I got to know a handful of people in the forums fairly well, really through our interactions in the Forums and in PM. MADMAN Redux, Sesquipadelian, Righteous Tyrant...these were all guys that I looked forward to hearing from in the main forums. Over time, we all gravitated to the same group (H3ITWP), and we interact there for the most part now, and I’ve gotten to know a whole group of people there that would have been lost in the static in the much bigger world of the main forums. I keep on meaning to become more active in the main forums again, because there are always interesting people there that stand out. Quality always trumps quantity. And there are a lot of quality forum participants with unique perspectives and constructive posts that may not have found the right group yet. A group that allows them a more focused conversation and/or forum experience.

Q. Pretty good amount of interaction you have going on there.  What compels you to interact with other gamers?

A. I have basically always played games. I grew up with games, and games grew up with me. I can remember when Pong was big, and people would get rolls of quarters to head to the town arcade to play Q-Bert. So, to me gaming is no different really than movies or music – it’s just another form of entertainment. Having said that – online gaming (really via XBL) allowed me to really shorten the distance between myself and my 2 brothers when I moved, and Halo 2 was what allowed us to continue having shared gaming experiences. It came out right when I needed it, and it really let me feel like I was still at home. I even got my wife to play – she is pretty good.

Q. What was the first Bungie title you felt at home with?

A. Halo:CE. I discovered it pretty much the way everyone else I knew did. If you got an Xbox, you really needed that game. It was awesome. I also, through a lucky timing of employment with a certain company that makes software, got to be in the Alpha and Beta tests for Halo 2. That was when I became permanently hooked. I still remember the names of the guys who seemed god-like in the alpha (Char, Horatio).

Q. Oh yeah, I remember Char.  He got some press face time for his involvement in the alpha.  What about your own face time?  Is it bizarre, awesome, just a normal part of everyday existence?

A. It depends on the day, really. I am surprised that it has gone on this long. I’m on my 6th year at this site, and something keeps the BNet community going. I know a lot of people sometimes talk about the “good old days” here, but really the only thing that changed is the size of the community. There are still tons of people, tons of groups that have great conversations about all things Halo, and all things not-Halo, too.
I think, really, that is what has kept me active and involved. That this site and these forums mean that we have one shared passion – Bungie games – but what is really great is exploring the diversity of the population. That is what drives involvement, too. Getting to know the people you are interacting with makes you more passionate about the community in general. Being able to talk to them during the day, and get online and run customs at night, and actually build friendships. It’s a pretty amazing community, and really this site, to me, is as important as the games that we come here (initially) to talk about. There really is the feeling that it’s a collaborative effort – that thousands of people come here and sometimes act irrationally, sometimes have great ideas…and somehow, it seems like you are heard every now and then. That’s pretty special, and makes me feel like part of a community that encompasses the fans AND the developers of the game.

Q. Do you get into any other entertainment communities?

A. Not really. I’ve tried – but you guys set the bar so high, that even when I have found games I really loved, and probably COULD be more passionate about, the community – and more importantly the effort the game developer or publisher puts into creating a great space for their community – falls so incredibly short of what I have become accustomed to here.

Q. Any last words? Wanna make a shout-out?

A. Yeah – I would. I want to say to Bungie, thanks for the games, and for this site. I mean that sincerely. I want to also say that positive forum participation is noticed by other members of the community. It’s too bad that people have to try to get in the way of productive conversations sometimes, but to the people who always rise above and put the effort in to continue to have interesting, insightful and new conversations in the forum, thanks to you, too. And the forum mods, who have a pretty thankless job, but care enough about the community to let themselves be subjected to the abuse to keep things in (relative) order for the rest of us.

And to the people I have gotten to know here – and to H3ITWP in particular, which has really become my BNet family. It’s a great group that makes me feel incredibly average, being surrounded by so many people who are anything but, every day. You guys and gals are the best.

Can’t wait for ODST!

Man, tell us about it.  And of course, these aren't Ponkapoag's last words at all.  It was just an expression.  If you want to have words with the man, stop into the discussion thread attached and chat him up.  Might want to make it loud though, otherwise he might drown you out.

CommunitySpotlight 8/25/2009 9:59 AM PDT permalink

Community Cartographers - Bulwark

Forgin' and Fortifyin'.

MADMAN Redux has been doing work and it's going to pay dividends for you if you're looking to bolster your custom game's night with some sweet new maps.  Enter the Bulwark.  This map features a fortified position with multiple routes in, some keen use of branching paths to keep it from being too secure, and a nice array of weapons to make sure nobody is safe no matter their position.  Ready to learn more?  Check out Bulwark:

Map Variant: Bulwark

Q. What’s the core concept behind Bulwark?

A. I begin every map by attempting to conceptualize a real environment with a story behind it. I find this helps guide me through the design process. Certain structures begin to make sense in the context of the environment.

Bulwark is a defense installation. I began with the center “courtyard” area. In the center of the courtyard, there’s a drop-down area, where I placed a red light to signify some kind of laser cannon. Behind this, would be a control room of sorts, and everything else stemmed from there.

I knew from the beginning it would be an asymmetric map, but I didn’t start to develop the full one-sided element until I realized I was building a big room with walls around it and limited entrances. This is Bulwark’s core gameplay concept: put the defending team’s back against a wall with no choice but to hold these choke points.

After a while, I started to realize I was building a map that would play similar to High Ground in that an assaulting team would work its way up a hill, through a fortified wall, and into a base to capture an objective. The biggest difference (other than the whole floating-in-air thing) is, once the assaulting team breaches the wall, the defensive team will really need to pull back and play close-quarters defense.

Q. So, is Bulwark designed for objective play?

A. One-sided flag or assault are what I really had in mind, but I’ve found slayer is working pretty well because teams fight over control of the fortified base almost as if it’s an objective in itself. If you control that area, you stand a good chance of being able to outscore your opponents. Be careful not to venture too far out of that base, though, because if you don’t want it, the other team will be happy to spawn there and take it from you.

Bulwark is set up for all gametypes. If you have some crazy custom game using Juggernaut goal areas, you may want to move them around a bit, but it would be that simple to set it up in Forge. Territories, King of the Hill, etc. are all accommodated for.

[Bungie Pro Video: Bulwark Flythrough]

Q. Was Bulwark laid down in one go, or did you have to make a bunch of revisions to get it just right?

A. Since the map was playable, I really have made relatively few changes to it. The first time I opened it for playtesting, only two of the “bay doors” into the base were open. The third, on the far side from the attackers’ starting point, was closed and really was there for aesthetic value. I thought the idea of having a closed door was cool. But this meant there really were only two ways into the base, and one was a long suicide run through the courtyard. A friend of mine, Deathpimp72, suggested I add another path around the side to that third door. After looking at it briefly, I realized it made sense in so many ways, and a second round of tests proved that extra path really improved gameplay.

I also faced an issue with the original design of the lift up from the sniper spawn. The way I originally designed it left it open for players to hit it from an angle, and it would toss them out into the void. So I rebuilt the lift, and it’s really impossible to screw it up now (I hope).

For a long while, I’ve tinkered with various structural elements and moved around weapons and power ups a bit. Other than that, though, no complete redesigns. In most cases, I would say my map would benefit from a full rebuild, but in Bulwark’s case, I really can’t say I’d do anything different.

Q. Did you run into an hurdles found while Forging and playtesting that you hadn't thought you'd have to leap over?

A. There always are surprises. When you build a map in a vacuum, it’s almost like your writing a script. If player A grabs the Sniper Rifle here and goes off the lift, and at the same time, if player B grabs the Laser from the pit and charges it up, there could be a moment where they face off in an epic way. Those are the ideas behind all maps: promoting moments in gameplay. The surprise comes when you open up that vacuum and find players don’t like to be told what to do. Maybe player A will grab the Sniper Rifle and head back to the base instead of going off the lift. Maybe player B will do the same with the Laser. You get all this chaos you really couldn’t have predicted. And you try to tweak to “fix” these behaviors, but you can drive yourself crazy. Eventually, you just have to accept that, as map maker, you aren’t fully in control. The players are, so you have to give them viable options in almost every situation.

Q. What was the most difficult element of building Bulwark?

A. Everything really went pretty smoothly, using various Forging tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Honestly, this is the fastest map-making process I’ve ever undertaken. Out of the whole thing, though, the most difficult element to conceive has to be the “gallery” area at the attackers’ spawn.

I knew this map was going to be mainly for asymmetric objective games, but I wanted it to be interesting for slayer games, as well. This means all areas of the map have to be interesting to play in. The “gallery” area is interesting to me because, instead of being a flat plane with bits of cover here and there, there’s real elevation change. From the base, the floor slips slowly downhill, providing plenty of interesting surfaces for grenade bouncing, until it reaches the very end. My favorite aspect, though, has to be the short corridor that allows players to almost travel underground up to an entrance to the base. It makes slayer encounters there interesting as well as providing a safe path for assaulting players to take, should their team be getting spawn camped. I took other measures to ensure spawn camping wouldn’t be an issue.

Other than that, getting the windows right on the control room was a huge pain. I almost aborted the idea for something simpler several times. I’m glad I didn’t because I think, out of the whole map, that’s the coolest looking feature.

Q. What compels you to keep making maps?

A. When I told a friend of mine about getting a map in the spotlight, he did what was cordial and congratulated me. I was proud, but I realized successful map making goes far beyond pride. There’s more to it than making something sweet and getting recognized for it. Of course, that’s a part of it. The more significant part comes from loving this game and wanting to diversify the content as much as possible and knowing this experience extends to other people.

You see, when I’m Forging, I’m living in this game. I’m working through all the steps and trying to predict encounters based on what I have already built and, using those encounters, trying to create other parts of the map that complement those encounters. Some people ask why I spend so much time in Forge instead of playing the game. The thing is I am playing the game. I just don’t get medals for double kills because they happen in my head.

You can ask any amateur map builder, and even if they don’t even realize it, the reason they build maps for their game of choice is simply because they love the game, and they build what they want to play.

Q. Advice for a new player looking to build their own custom map?

A. Don’t be intimidated. Go get your hands dirty. I can’t tell you how many times I see the excuses, “I wish I could build maps, but I’m not creative,” or “I wish I could build maps, but I suck at Forge.” Hogwash! Anyone who knows this game can make a good map. It’s all about understanding its dynamics and incorporating what you would like to see as a player. And if your excuse is you don’t know how to work with Forge, just spend some time in it. It’s actually a pretty simple program to learn, comparatively speaking, of course.

Once you’ve built up that confidence, make something, and share it. Join a group here on, or join an site devoted to Forging. There are plenty of them out there, and all of them have a lot of talented people willing to help you in your endeavors.

Really, I can’t stress how awesome this community is and how supportive we can actually be to each other. Get involved in it. If you’re wondering how, just talk to people, be cool, and don’t be afraid to go out on a limb.

Speaking of support, I have to thank my friends in Halo 3 in the Work Place for not only the love they’ve shown me in helping me test all of my maps, but offering me the kind of support that has really turned my online experience with Halo 3 into a something much more positive and enjoyable. Thank you, urk, for the opportunity to share this map with the community and for being so involved. And thanks for the witty quips and awesome updates. Thanks to Shishka for Atlas and the Bungie vs. The World playlist. And I’d like to thank the forum mods for their tireless and thankless efforts in keeping it clean.

As always, if you've liked what you've read, shoot back up to the top of the article and make sure to snag Bulwark from MADMAN's File Share.  It may be his map, but he's not territorial.  Stop into the discussion thread and let him know what you think.

CommunitySpotlight 8/20/2009 10:13 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - BSG Surgeon

Like a surgeon...

...Hey.  Okay, we're not really going to work the Madonna/Weird Al parody song angle.  You can thank me later.  And if the opening was enough to lodge that old 80's tune into your head, I apologize.  But I'm not going to apologize for interviewing BSG Surgeon for this week's Average Joe.  This guy's got his PhD in kicking ass online and he's part of a family practice specializing in prescribing good games.  Get scrolling to get fix up.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. Who am I and what do I do? Do you always lead with that material? Now I’m concerned. You’re not going to slip something into my drink when I go to the bathroom are you? I knew I should’ve brought a Buddy. I do have my pepper spray though so I guess let’s have a few uncomfortable drinks and power through this.

Upon my birth I was given the name Jeff. I am a 29 year old Network Administrator currently residing in New Hampshire who is currently chasing multiple Microsoft certifications. I’m also recently engaged (sorry, Smack) to the farmer's daughter and am planning for a mid August wedding next year. I don’t think any shotguns will be involved. At least I hope not.

When I do get a moment to pull myself away from work and wedding planning, I have a few things that I love to do. Gaming with the great people I’ve met over the past year being one of the biggest ones but I’ve been known to venture off into the wild for my share of sun as well. I’m lucky enough to be able to go fishing with my son, tour the country side with the misses on the bike, wrench on a few projects, and spend some quality time with the family.

Q. Yeah, I know my material is old and busted.  Thanks for calling attention to it.  (Also, drink up!)  How about we switch up the subject and call attention to your gamertag to get this moving in the right direction - where'd it come from?

A. I’m also a surgeon in real life. NPH has nothing on this! Actually that’s a lie but I get asked if I am often enough that it’s worth a mention. My gamertag is simply a nickname I picked up as a kid. It rhymes with my last name and it just stuck throughout the years. There were others but Surgeon was the only one I actually liked. Plus later on in life when I was working as a small engine technician bringing chainsaws back from the dead my coworkers started calling me by it instead of using my real name. Now most people that know me just call me Surgeon. I figured I might as well continue that while I’m gaming.

Q. So when you're not gaming or resurrecting chainsaws, where do you end up spending most of your e-time?

A. As an original founder of the group and webmaster I spend a great amount of time at I’ve gained some great friendships through those very boards over the past year and I encourage those 18 and up gaming alone to check us out. Shameless plug aside though that’s far from the only board I frequent. The very first gaming board I ever introduced myself at belongs to Tied the Leader and since then I’ve spread the love to PraetoriaGuard, O7AH, ArmTheFlag, theCaveGirls,, H3ITWP, and countless others. Many of which belong to other members of the Good Game Network. I think that’s what keeps me so ingrained in this culture. All of these great people I’ve gotten to talk to, laugh with, and game with keep me coming back for more. Of course I enjoy the many other aspects of the community as well. Deej’s blog is what originally drew me in and made me want to get involved with this community. You can blame him for any trouble I cause as a result.

Q. Yeah, we've been keeping a close watch on Deej.  He tried to move away, but we still kept tabs on him.  We're invested.  What keeps you invested in gaming? 

A. I game because I have good people to game with. I know that at any time I can sign into Xbox Live and I will have a friends list full of people to stand by my side. Friends that I can share a few laughs with, spill all sorts of virtual blood together, and be there the next day to do it all over again. Playing for the competition is fun for a bit but eventually you get to a point where you tire of that and just want to enjoy the company you keep. Win or lose. I can honestly say I would not be here in this community today if it wasn’t for them.

Q. What about the days of yesteryear?  What was the first Bungie title you picked up and played?

A. I got into Halo later than most. By the time I purchased my first Xbox, Halo 2 had already been released. I had earlier bought Halo CE for the PC but never played more than an hour into it. I found out I’m just not a fan of keyboard controls. It wasn’t until later that year that the girl I was with bought me Halo 2 for the Xbox as a Christmas gift. I hadn’t played all the way through a game since the first Resident Evil so I figured I’d give Halo another go round. At that point the story just pulled me in and wouldn’t let go. I soon found a copy of Halo CE for the Xbox, read all the books, and then chomped at the bit for the release of Halo 3. To the point where I stood in line at the local Wal-Mart for a standard edition on release day because I knew my Legendary Edition wouldn’t arrive for another week. Why all Wal-Marts didn’t carry the Legendary Edition, I’ll never understand. At least now my fiancee has her own 360 and copy and can leave mine alone. :P

Q. Git ur own!  Nice.  Are you surprised that you're having fun enough to wait in lines, read through a bunch of books, and buy a second 360 so you won't have to split your focus during gaming time?

A. Truthfully I’m very surprised at where I’ve ended up. Back in January of last year I was simply a recruit over at Tied the Leader looking to gain a set of gun belts and a good group of people to game with. It wasn’t until another Live friend of mine suggested starting our own group that I decided to go for it in order to bring the good gaming attitude I had enjoyed at TTL to even more people. Surely there were others out there that, like me, wanted a friends list full of buddies they could enjoy themselves with. Thus Buddy System Gaming was born. Since then I’ve been proud to stand by my Buddies and the other groups in the GGN to show people that you can indeed have a good time online without trash talking and bag dropping.

Q. Ever stepped outside the confines of the Bungie community and become intimately involved in other online mobs?

A. My loyalty lies within the Halo community. It has given me more than I could have ever hoped and for that I am truly grateful. No other community I have reached my hand out to has been as supportive as the one right here. I really haven’t seen this kind of involvement, this kind of passion, anywhere else. Until that day comes you know where to find me and even then I won’t be far.

Q. Anything you would like to add? Wanna make a shout-out?

A. I could probably sit here all day just thanking all the people who have helped me and BSG in the past year. Since I’ve already made all of you read this wall of text I will try and keep it short. I extend my apologies up front if I miss any of you. Know that I <3 you all.

Thank you to XerxDeej, Stuicide, Waynoka, and the rest of the TTL crew. You guys have shown amazing support for us this past year. Without you guys there wouldn’t be a BSG. No lie. Thank you to Smack, KMom, AnTi, Envy, KitKat, Compton, and the rest of the GGN leadership for the support, kind words during troubled times, and great games. Thank you to Krabs, VENOM, Icebear, and Cabeiri for taking over the reigns so I can get back to what I do best and thank you to the rest of the BSG crew for just being you. Lastly thank you Urk for this opportunity and thank you Bungie for not only creating these great games that we all love so much but for creating this great community that I am proud to be a part of. You guys give up a lot. It doesn’t go unrecognized.

See you all in ODST.


If you want to recognize BSG Surgeon for being awesome, stop into the discussion thread attached to this article and say thanks.  You should also congratulate him on his recent engagement, and if you're of age, check out the offsite digs he calls home (link above).  Thanks to Jeff for lending his words to this space, his presence to our community, and for bringing his guns to our online battlefield.  (Also, thanks for removing that disgusting cyst and making sure the entire operation stayed our little secret.)  Good lookin' out, Surgeon.

CommunitySpotlight 8/18/2009 10:47 AM PDT permalink

Community Cartographers - Neosho

Constructing maps and accepting constructive criticism.

When Butane123 isn't busy Banhammering chumps into the Stone Age, he occupies his time with a different implement to get some aged stone into shape: the Forge.  He's multi-faceted.  If you played Neosho on Bungie Day, or someone on your friend's list was savvy enough to load it up for you in a custom game, check out the history of it's construction below. 

Map Variant: Neosho

Q. What’s the core concept behind your Neosho?

A. What is really weird about Neosho is that there have been four different versions of it made. They are all very different but shared a few basic designs that I was trying to work with: two bases in a “Z” like figure to prevent camping from the opposite side, the giant ramps in front of the bases with a walkway through them, and a narrow bridge like structure connecting all of it together.

The original map, which I called Conflict, was literally the first thing I ever tried Forging. Basically, the map came out so small that I doubt more than two people could actually play on it. The next two were larger versions of the first one that ended up never being finished. The last one was the version that was in the Bungie vs. The World playlist, and even then it had been through many different changes.

The thing about the latest version of Neosho that makes it stand out is that the teleporters are a one-way trip into the base from the center of the map. In CTF matches, this makes the flags very east to touch, but hard to capture. So far, it seems most people like the idea of the teleporters being that way.

Q. What are the best gametypes to take for a spin on Neosho?

A. 2 Flag CTF is easily the best game to play on this map. It requires a ton of teamwork to get that flag out of the base and to keep your team’s flag safe as well. Other than that, I’d recommend Team Slayer and Assault games as well. BR or AR starts are up to whoever is playing, either work well enough.

[Bungie Pro Video - Neosho Walkthrough]

I don’t think anything else is set up for it since I accidentally deleted wall on the stacked map holding all the starting spawns, objective spawns, and respawn points without noticing that they completely deleted themselves and then saved it… that tends to really screw up the budget.

Q. Yikes.  Before the budget was out of whack, how many times had you made major revisions?

A. All in all, I would say that there are around ten different versions released. Most of them are really just small tweaks to fix stuff that was broken.

Really it was just playtesting the map many, many times with different people. From that you get to see how well your map works with different playing styles. It also tends to make them not want to see your map again if you only use the same people over and over.

Q. What worked even before you had recruited a small army of playtesters to tear through the space?  What aspects needed some overhaulin'?

A. The main geometry from base to base has been consistent in Neosho. The bases, the ramps, and the walkways haven’t changed at all since I first forged it.

The big changes on the map come with a little story. For those who’ve viewed the submission thread for Neosho in ATLAS will know that this map was tested for the May update along with Punishment and Utah Mambo, but was rejected due to some bad spawns, not bumpers along the edges of the map, and bad teleporter islands.

The teleporters used to be two-way in and out of the base. When you came out of them, you were staring directly off the edge of a walkway and it was very easy for inexperienced players to walk off. Shishka actually suggested using one-way teleporters either in or out of the base. A few weeks before the Bungie vs. The World playlist when he was asking for the maps, I updated it with the new one-way teleporters and the rest of the suggestions he gave me, and it has played very well since.

As for surprises on what I found out about the map, during Bungie vs. The World, about my tenth game in, my team finally got a match on Neosho. We spawned on red side, and instantly out of the corner of my eye, I see a missing block on the large ramps. Turns out, there was also a bumper that didn’t spawn until 30 seconds in as well. Still can’t believe I missed those, or that no one playing on the red side during testing noticed.

Q. Were there any aspects that gave you fits during the Forging of Neosho?

A. Bases. Every single map I make I go blank on what I should do for a base. Usually because I want to try to do something unique, and just end up rejecting everything I come up with. Spawns are also tough since regardless of what you do there always seems to be someone spawning right next to you, someone spawning backwards, or someone spawning all the way down in the crypt without there even being a spawn point there….

Q. So what keeps you coming back to the Forge for more?

A. I just do it for enjoyment. I enjoy building these maps regardless of if people play on them or not. It reminds me of when Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 came out. The park editor in it pretty much sold me on that game. I’d remember staying up till (gasp!) 1 AM on Friday nights making skate parks to take it to my friend’s the next morning to play on it. I just like building things in the games I like to play I guess.

Q. Advice for anyone looking to hammer out their own masterpiece? Any ominous warnings?

A. If you want you want to try to make a map, just go for it. Don’t get discouraged by the Forging abilities some people have, don’t worry about whether or not it makes it into a playlist rotation. Just jump in and have fun with it. The planning, the building, the testing, its all a really unique experience that is enjoyable to try out. It’s frustrating, but building something and then having people play on it and enjoy what you have done is also really neat.

On that note, take all the feedback you can get. Good and bad. It will make only make your map better in the long run. Keep in mind that not everyone will like your map, and don’t completely block them out when they say something constructive.

Q. Got shout-outs?

Thanks for everyone who has ever helped me by testing, giving feedback, and throwing out suggestions during the design phases on both Neosho and my other map Chimera. Without everyone’s help, both would be crap. Except for Vash, you’re still a jerk regardless.

Thanks to the guys at Bungie for giving my maps, as well as the others submitted, a chance to be in the Bungie Day Paylist. That was probably the most fun I have had in Halo since the old 16 player LANS with friends on the original Halo.

Thanks again guys, and hopefully I’ll have another map ready soon.

Thanks to Butane123 for not making this map examination crap.  We're glad he's having fun with Forge (and with Halo 3).  If you're looking to have some fun on Neosho yourself, hit the link at the top of this article and queue it up for download.  No need to hit the teleporter.  Of course, if you're just looking to tell Butane how awesome he and his map are, by all means, use the discussion link attached to this interview.  Might want to play nice though, I don't have to issue any warnings about behavior - Butane123 can handle that business without any help from us.

CommunitySpotlight 8/13/2009 11:06 AM PDT permalink

Outcast Reborn's Favorite Files Updated

Reborn again.

Outcast Reborn breathes some new life into Bungie Favorites with their second week of content.  They've also taken the time to expound a bit one of their week one offerings, Urban Simulator.  Wanna know a little bit about how it was built and what Outcast Reborn's OcR GimpTactics thinks could have made the process a little bit easier?  Read on.

Map: Urban Simulator

Q. What inspired your creation?

A. I had wanted to make a 1v1 arena/warm up map and the first version grew organically from experiments with interlocking and the 'story' of the map (a UNSC training environment) came later. The current version was amended due to feedback from ForgeHub and pretty was pretty much a complete rebuild of everything except the outer ring.

Q. How long did it take to create?

A. Hard to say because I've been tweaking it on and off for over a year now. The main geometry took was about a day's work, though, because it was my first time interlocking.

Q. What aspect took the longest to get right?

A. Making sure the jumps to top-mid are achievable under pressure, and balancing weapons and spawns, which I've been doing periodically for the last year. The current version seems to be as balanced as it'll ever be.

Q. How could The Forge be improved?

A. Some of the scenery is a little rough around the edges because it was basically my test canvas for Forging (interlocking and geomerging) so if anything I'd say I need to work on straightening out some of the aesthetics even though the game play is smooth.

Looks like the second week of Outcast Reborn's content went pretty smoothly as well.  If you're done with all this fancy aesthetic wordplay and would rather spend some of your time working on the gameplay, go ahead and check out this week's Bungie Favorites.

CommunitySpotlight 8/12/2009 11:12 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - burritosenior

Can't hear you over the sound of how awesome he is.

This week's Average Joe is interested in the past, participates in political exercises, and enjoys taking long walks on the beach.  Okay, so maybe I made that last part up.  If you want to get the real deal on what keeps one burritosenior involved in our online community, take a digital walk through the interview below.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. I'm known as folp9 or, more commonly, burritosenior. Silly stalkers, you don't need my real name. I'm currently a high school student, however I am taking two college level classes (History being my specialty).  Here's an artist rendition of what I look like:


I've always planned on joining the Air Force to get into college and then serving my country from the home front. The Air Force seems to be really underrated. They'll pay for college, food, board, and you get job security. It's a great deal, really.

Law is something that has always interested me, and I've done research on the topic. I hope that I can pursue a career in law for the Air Force. When a lot people think "military" I don't think lawyer is the job that comes to mind, but oh well. "Imitation is Suicide" after all. +5 cool points to anyone who can explain that quote and say who coined it without going to Google.

I do a number of activities, such as volunteering for the Salvation Army during the holidays. More commonly though I've been getting involved in politics. The school I attend is one of 100 in the U.S. that got invited to go to a conference in Beijing, China for Model U.N. in the summer (I’ll be gone a few weeks in August. No PAX for me, unfortunately).

Basically we emulate the United Nations. You get to go all over the country (and outside for this one) for these conferences. Shoot, another member and I even went to the same conference this year! It's a great way to be social and explore the world a bit (by explore the world I don't mean going to Africa to find out that aliens are excavating some ancient artifact).

Q. Hmm.  None of that has anything to do with Mexican cuisine or being a respected elder.  Where did your tag come from?

A. Ah, burritosenior doesn't really have all that pleasant of a history. A few years ago some friends of mine wanted to get me into this thing called AIM. It said I needed a user name. Hmm, but what to make it? I was using folp9 at the time, but I grew tired of having a name with numbers in it.

Well as luck would have it, I had burritos not ten minutes before that. I had a bit of gas. That got me thinking if refried beans give gas...burritos! However, that wasn't enough. "Burrito" would not make a good name. I had to expand on it. So, using my vast knowledge of the Spanish language, I came up with the word "Senior." Thus "burritosenior" was born. I would like to point out that it's pronounced burr-E-toe seen-your.  Apparently some people think it's something else.

Q. That's a pretty strange little story.  When you're not expanding on your expulsions, where do you set up shop online for non-gaseous discussions?

A. I'm pretty much the guy who roams the Halo 3 forum. This may sound weird to some people, but I find it entertaining and rewarding to answer questions people have. I was once asked why I do this and what effect it has on the outside world. My answer: probably nothing. The act in itself is enough for me. I always love it when I hear a "thank you" because what I said was helpful, though.

Really the forum there is the thing that attracts me the most. There are stereotypes that I'm well aware of regarding the Halo 3 forum. Children who can't type well and are incapable of reading the stickies go there. All I can say to that is: The Halo 3 forum has an issue of quantity, not quality - from what I can see of course. We have some very nice people in there, and I find it rude to generalize everyone. The problem is that the forum gets such high traffic, it looks like there's only spam. I've had some of the best and most intelligent conversations I've ever had on the internet in that forum.

While I make sure I never join a group if I get a group invite (unless I really know the person), I'm in a number of quality groups. I have responsibilities in those groups that keep me coming back. More importantly, I enjoy the company of people in those groups. I counted a few weeks ago and 87 people on my friends list were people from Most of those people were from my groups, too.

Q. So, what aspects of gaming do you enjoy the most?

A. The storylines of games really interest me. Halo: CE was the first Sci-Fi item that I've ever experienced. It opened up a whole new world to me, such as the greatest book since the Bible: Ender's Game. I love a good read because I'm fascinated by the stories people come up with. So, I always pay close attention to the storylines. I'm always shocked when I hear someone say they don't care about the storyline of a game. Shoot, the main reason I bought Halo 3 was because I wanted to finish the God danged fight those jerks at Bungie halted!

Q. Speaking of jerks, are the other thirteen folks on your friends list traditional friends and family, or do you restrict your gameplay time to our digital denizens only?

Most of my online time is with friends I've met on Before I latched onto, I had a fairly small friends list and played by myself often. Then I started coming here. For weeks after Halo 3 came out later, I constantly helped random people with Legendary Campaign. I met some cool people that way. We got into matchmaking and I remember thinking to myself in these exact words: "This game is a lot more fun with other people." It was always exciting to see an invite pop up then, haha. Now I love playing with people and I love getting in a party for some nice Objective Games.

Q. What was the original Bungie title you picked up and how did you get into it?

A. My first Bungie game was Halo: CE all back in early 2002. There was another game which I adored at the time. I'd have friends come over and we'd play. Then one day a friend said, "Halo is better." Well, I didn't like that one bit! So, I went out to Blockbuster and rented Halo: CE. I loved it. I beat it in two days or so and bought it a day after I returned the game.

The thing that really got me into the game has to be the fact that before that all I played was Mario, Duck Hunt, Centipede, and some game for the Xbox (a game I loved, but I can't seem to remember). After those games, Halo was a step into a new century. The controls seemed to work so well. I loved the story and the voice of the Master Chief really astounded me. I'd always have to make sure that there was no ambient noise when the Chief was talking. I had to hear him, haha. Besides, the scene where the Flood was introduced was the scariest and most thrilling scene I've ever seen at that point.

What really blew me away though is the music. I've been a fan of the music since I played Halo: CE. Billy Joel has been my idol for years (and still is), but Marty O' Donnell and Michael Salvatori simply blew me away. I'm a piano player myself and I have been for eight years. So I felt that I could really appreciate all the hard work that was put into it.

Before Halo 3 came out there was a video on the Marketplace, with a scene about the music. One employee said that Marty was pulling out E-Dorian then said, "Oops, I meant he's paying homage to other artists." Well for the next week I looked all over the internet for a bunch of pieces in E-Dorian. Heh, I was very excited for that little slip.

Q. So, at some point playing the game led you to look all over the internet and eventually find a bunch of people hanging out here.  Now you're being interviewed because you've been pretty active and made a name for yourself on the site.  Does that shock you a little bit?

A. Yes, actually. I've been posting for years now answering questions. It's become a routine for me. While I doubt that anybody outside of knows who I am, it's nice to see some people recognize me here. A thing that really stunned me was that when some people got the Mythic Map Pack Codes early (which I am very grateful for still - thank you Bungie and peterson4, who gave the code to me), I actually came across people in the playlist who knew me! If I'm making some positive impact on this part of the community, then I know that I have to keep doing it. I don't post for me. While I'm not even close to being completely altruistic, I think a good point is to help the other people out.

Q. Do you offer up altruistic assistance online at any other communities?

A. Not really, no. Although I did make an account on the Call of Duty website months ago. A few days after I made it I received an e-mail with a Call of Duty: World at War beta code for the Xbox 360! So that was pretty nice. The night after Gears of War 2 came out I went on their website for some things and I got to talk with someone from Epic Games (I believe it was, based on the title by their name at least). Still, those are one time things. Bungie is my favorite gaming company because I truly believe they care about their fans. Some people might call me a raving fan boy and whatnot. Well... so what? I believe Bungie is a great company, and for danged good reason.

To anybody who has a problem with that: I challenge you to fisticuffs.

Q. Wanna make some additions and some shout-outs?

A. I'd like to reiterate that I'm thankful to Bungie and all those who work for them for everything they've done. Bungie obviously cares for their fans and I can only hope this continues even after they're done with the Halo series.

Much love to one of my groups I'm a moderator in: Owners of the Katana. That's the group I frequent most often and one of the main reasons I come to this site.

I would also like everybody to know that I am a BUNGLE Pro.

I'll also just say that you're all welcome to message me if you have any other questions and all.

Much love to king nikki and the Owners of the Katana guys, jmh, killane and my other BUNGLE Pros, guys in ‘The Real Community’, new friends in ‘Spartan I Project’, PiercingTiger (see? Told you I’d mention you in my next news story), duardo, xianoa, qbix, guitarplyr123, odmichael, sonicjohn, everyone else on my Friends List ( see? None of you can say I didn’t mention you :P), Urk (who I promise not to send chain mail to since I have his E-mail now), and dazarobbo because I think of him as my partner in the Halo 3 forum. Also… Facility B5D. I’m not a member of that group but they put on that Hope Unto Dawn Charity (which I participated in) and I love that. I failed miserably but it was much fun and for a good cause- plus… I got to represent BUNGLE! And no type of gaming is better than BUNGLE now (SMG helping to replace the BR in Halo 3: ODST? Big step for BUNGLE!)

*mentions H3ITWP too because that will please Urk*


Oh, also be sure to tell my friend Lord Snakie hello if you see him, because he's cool too.

Cheers all! I prefer to read private messages with proper spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, my Bungie related goal is to get something signed by Marty O’Donnell, Halo related goal is to get Blood Gulch back (dang you, Lukems!!!) and don’t forget read the stickies before posting in the forums!

A thank you to burritosenior for helping us make this week's Average Joe interview awesome and for digging up the decent discussion in our Halo 3 forum on a regular basis.  We'll sticky this in the Bungie Blog for a day or two, but otherwise our interview with burritosenior has come to a close.  If you want to weigh in with your properly spelled comments, go ahead and hit the discussion link.

CommunitySpotlight 8/11/2009 9:48 AM PDT permalink

Community Cartographers - Colonnade

Yeah, you played it.  We know.

If you played in the Bungie vs. The World playlist on 7/7, you're already quite familiar with Kapura's Colonnade (intimate, if you found yourself fond of the veto button).  Since a little technical difficulty - which has been rectified for the August 7 on the 7th playlist - led to Colonnade being one of, if not the most frequently played map, we figured we'd give the author and his Foundry Map Variant a little bit of face time in the form of words.  You like words, dontcha?

Map Variant: Colonnade

Q. What’s the core concept behind Colonnade?

A. Colonnade was developed for two-objective gametypes from the start, and designed around three specific inter-base routes. There is the outer path through the teleporters, the interior path through the centre structure, and the path in the middle on the main floor. The first is good if you have a good team to back you up, the second good if you need cover, and the third is the fastest. From there, I just painted in the fun (read: added more BRs).

Q. So what are some gametypes that work best?

A. I have heard that some people might have played this on Capture the Flag BRs on the seventh of July. Those are good settings. 2 Bomb Assault and Team Slayer also work well. As far as the starting weapons go, AR starts work fine because there are fourteen battle rifles on the map which respawn often, but I generally recommend BR starts based on the open spaces and height advantages.

Q. Was Colonnade built in a single day, or did you invest a bunch of time in making tweaks to your original vision?

A. Although some people are going to make terrible jokes about how there couldn’t be a worse version than the one in the Bungie vs. The World playlist, that was neither the first nor the current version. I have done a metric ass-ton of playtests on more gametypes than I think people should play (VIP with waypoints? Why not?) and after Bungie Day I responded to feedback from the community to get a better version, which was again playtested repeatedly.

Q. So, given the fact that you must have been deluged with comments, critiques, and "terrible jokes" post-July 7th, mind chatting a bit about what worked well and what you found needed a bit more Forge love?

A. The two towers with the fusion coils and the side paths along the walls of Foundry worked exactly how I wanted them to the first time. Every other part has seen at least two iterations before arriving at the current state. For instance, Sniper Rifles once spawned nearer the teleporters, but that allowed people to grab one Sniper, duck through the tele and grab the other’s ammo. The biggest surprise I’ve gotten is how differently separate groups of people play the map, which gives them vastly differing opinions suggestions for me. I wish that there was an easier way to do quality assurance testing, but I’ve got to make do with my puny friends list.

Q. What's been the most difficult facet of building Colonnade?

A. The hardest part to deal with has been the central structure. I need to balance the cover it offers, the speed you can get through it to the other side as compared to the other paths, and the possible advantage of people being on the top floor. I’ve tried a myriad of different strategies to deal with it, and hopefully the one I’m using currently will be satisfactory. If people think they know a better way, I’m all ears.

Q. Any reason you've been so driven to craft a custom map and get all the feedback you can?

A. I eventually want to break into the gaming industry and building maps allows me to observe several different aspects of game design. It allows me to work with interesting geometry, giving me tangible 3D environments to play in. It also lets me observe game flow, how players move around the map and how I can affect it. And finally, it also allows me, through observation, to reverse-engineer the matchmaking system so I can get more things right on the first iteration of a map. Not so much on the code side of things, but gameplay concepts are more important.

Q. Have any advice or words of wisdom for anyone looking to build their own maps?

A. Don’t ever go into Forge thinking, “This map will be the best map ever.” Make multiple maps, with different themes, structures, and ideas. Experiment with different layouts in geometry, weapons, and aesthetics. Just because something is unconventional doesn’t make it necessarily bad.  Always build your map around an aesthetic theme. It makes your map memorable and it’s a good starting point for building the rest of the geometry. Always playtest, and in playtests hope for the best but ask the testers for the worst. Ask for ideas they have to make it better and try them. Make multiple prototypes to test, ask people which they like better. Join Test Pilot if you need testers. Never think that your map is beyond criticism or improvement. Download other people’s maps and give feedback. Maybe they’ll do the same for you. There will be people who don’t like any map. Unless they give you suggestions, the correct response is to ignore them. But also accept that some maps are failures and move on. Don’t release a map that you aren’t happy with. Submit your map to Atlas only AFTER READING ALL OF THE PINNED TOPICS. And remember that if you aren’t having fun making and testing your maps, maybe you should be doing something else.

A wall of sound advice.  Thanks to Kapura for stopping in and dropping the knowledge about his map, Colonnade.  If you're sick of all this fancy reading (Tylenol for any headaches), scroll back up to the top of this article, download Colonnade, and add a unique space to your customs games experience.  If you just want to sound off or supply your own two cents, there's a discussion thread attached.  Kapura welcomes your criticism, but please be constructive.  I've yet to have my fill of coffee and the ban button is right there.

CommunitySpotlight 8/6/2009 9:42 AM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - Outcast Reborn

Looking for like-minded players to get some Good Games in.

Read Full Top Story

CommunitySpotlight 8/5/2009 11:04 AM PDT

Average Joe - AnTi PRO

Start caring about fun and send this gamer a friend request.

Today's Average Joe gives a little love to a player whose time is long overdue.  If you're not familiar with the crew over at Arm The Flag...well, it's your loss.  Take a few minutes to get up to speed, do some light learning, and then drop into the discussion thread attached and give AnTi PRO his props.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Josh, I’m twenty years old and I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m currently attending Miami University for a degree in Visual Media Design and I’m a manager at a local laser tag facility so I can pwn nubs in RL just as bad as I do online. :p

Hobbies include gaming (of course), cinematography (both machinima and live action), graphic/web design, photography, music, scouting (I’m a proud Eagle Scout and Venture Crew leader), and generally anything that involves gratuitous amounts of fun…and maybe explosions.

Q. Quite the expansive list of hobbies.  Did you cull your gamertag from any of those sources?

A. I’ve had my fair share of gamertags over the years, but AnTi PRO just seemed to stick. AnTi PRO is not just a name; it’s a two part idea. The first part is simple. I play Halo to enjoy myself and no other reason. There has been too many times that my night has been ruined because I got upset over a loosing streak so I stopped caring about winning and started caring about fun.

As for the second part I’ve been saying over the years if I ever got some notoriety from my movies I wouldn’t behave like a typical person in the spotlight. How many times have you tried to interact with your favorite pro player, machinima maker, map creator, website owner, or community leader only to be met with denied friend requests? If I ever reach that level I vow to at least try to interact with every person that wishes to meet me. You can ask anyone within Arm The Flag and they will tell you I accept all friend requests if my list has clear spots. (Note that I’m only human, so if I ever achieve fame within the Halo Nation there is no way I can fit all of you on my friends list at the same time. Don’t taze me, bro!)

Q. Speaking of interaction, where do you spend your online time when your out mixing it up with the community?

A. When it comes to communities you’ll find me in places with mature members who love Halo and what it has to offer.

I’m the proud owner of (aka Capture The Bomb) which is my home and has been since Halo 2 was where the party was at. Arm The Flag is a proud Good Game Network clan hosted by Tied The Leader, so you’ll also see me poking around their forums. Other communities I’ve popped into here and there include: Halo 3 in the Workplace, Real7alk, Team Timeout, Charity Gamers, Buddy System Gaming, Halo 3 Mythbusters,, and there are way to many others to list. I’ve made an appearance on so many sites. I also run a community dedicated to local gamers in the Cincinnati area located at

Q. Pretty extensive list of haunts.  What keeps you coming back for more?

A. One word comes to mind: Community.

Halo is my game because of the community that it offers. One can only get so much satisfaction from 4-shotting people night after night. Halo is one of a kind when it comes to the size and diversity of their community. Machinima, Forge, screenshots, podcasts, clans, and other websites bring all of the Halo Nation together. I love to do things on Halo 3 that people around the community can talk about in pregame lobbies.

Q. What was the first Bungie title that introduced you to the community? How did you discover it?

A. I started with good ole Halo: Combat Evolved. I discovered it randomly at a friend’s house after school. He told me about this new shooter that came out “that’s totally better than Goldeneye” (which was what we normally spent our time playing). I would literally stay over there until my parents came over to force me to go home and eat dinner.

The pure fun factor of the game was what had me coming back for more. I played the game so much one of my best friends started calling me Halo God at school. It was the only reason I bought an Xbox. When Halo 2 dropped I got Xbox LIVE and then it was all over…Halo was my game and it stayed that way.

Q. Are you surprised by your community involvement?

A. Not at all. As I stated earlier I love the Halo Nation and everything it has to offer. It only makes sense that I also put in the time to create awesome videos for your enjoyment. I don’t do it for fame, I do it for fun. There is nothing better than when I finish a machinima piece and I sit there and watch it twenty times in a row because I love it so much. I can only imagine what the future will bring for Arm The Flag and how much more time I will dedicate to it and the Halo Nation as a whole.

Q. Do you involved with any other online communities that you haven't already mentioned?

A. I was a member of HaloGrid back in its heyday and I pop into Rooster Teeth every so often.

Q. Anything you would like to say before you sign off? Wanna make a shout-out?

A. If you haven’t dove into a community yet, please do so. You’re missing out on so much action! Take what you like about Halo and find a community that fits you whether it’s machinima, MLG, Forge, screenshots, podcasting, a clan, etc. The Halo Nation has so much to offer.
And boy would I love to make some shoutouts!

First set are to my crew at Arm The Flag: J Pice7 (the funny guy), Infected Shadow (for fixing the website when I mess it up), NyT13, xDestinyx3 (OMG a girl), Leader of Blind, N1GHT, Ace 227, Ix little xI, Genesis 343, Black0utx, Blackwater 154, Chief aka James, Divine Plan (resident New Zealander), i is preacher, ODST Alpha, Ozmosis8, Soviet Raven, Cruser, TM Spooner, TiMEtheCUST0M and TM BIGDADDIEJON.
Other awesome people I love dearly: BRYAN SIMON! BSG Surgeon, CG Freedom 7, Louis Wu, Random Sauce, XerxDeej, KTK8, Slider154, NutsaQer, Steve (you change your GT too much or I would mention it) and the boys from my old crew: Dreads Return, FaeWraith113, Pulsaris, CrazyC33, Heidern98, Balthasarproxy! Never forget your roots!

If you want to know the mystery of arming a flag or capturing a bomb check out!

Thanks to Josh for unraveling the mystery and explaining a bit about what keeps him engaged in our community.  Even though the chances are you were already familiar with AnTi Pro, hopefully this little examination gave you a little bit more insight into what makes him tick.  If you want to know more, we suggest you hit up the haunts he put on display, or simply check into the discussion to see what's up.

CommunitySpotlight 8/4/2009 9:47 AM PDT permalink

Community Cartographers - Backdraft

"These high rise gigs give me the creeps."

Homeboyd903 is ready to fire up your Custom Games night with his Forge Map Variant, Backdraft.  See what we did there with the pun and whatnot?  Yeah, we know.  Don't worry, if you're ready to skip past the crappy jokes and see what Homeboyd903 did to make Backdraft a bad ass map, check out the question and answer session below. 

Map Variant: Backdraft

Q. What’s the core concept behind Backdraft?

A. This map was inspired greatly by one of my favorite maps of all time, Lockout. There aren't a lot of user created variants that make the cut to join the Matchmaking playlists. Sky bubble maps seem to be the biggest challenge for fellow forgers which is why creating a nice flowing, carnage filled, blood-bath arena in the sky drew me in. You must think about things that others who create maps on the floor level or crypt level don't have to worry about, i.e. building smooth floors, reducing the frequency of kamikaze sky divers via barriers and walls and such, and utilizing your Forge objects to avoid the dreaded "hard limit" when considering creating such necessary features. Backdraft is a work in progress and has been through rigorous testing. My two favorite features of the map are the elbows and the shotgun tunnel. Love the close-combat fighting!

Q. What gametypes should players looking to get up close and personal with Backdraft fire up to have the best experience?

A. My favorite gametype on this map is definitely One-Flag CTF. Team Slayer and FFA KOTH are also a blast.

Q. Is this the first draft, or did you have to go back to the drawing board a few times to make some revisions?

A. This is definitely not the first draft and most likely will not be the last. Some buddies over at Test Pilot helped out with the testing and have definitely helped along the way. Boy did they get tired of me :). Thanks guys for putting up with me and helping me out. If you're looking for some testers I'd suggest visiting their group.

Q. What worked right away and what areas need the most love?

A. Getting the map Slayer-ready was probably the easiest since most just run-and-gun anyways. Working on getting floors to be silky smooth was a surprising task. There was a thread a while back explaining why floors will spawn bumpy after saving your variant and returning to it which helped me to understand why this happened and how I could avoid it. Still can be very frustrating.

Q. So was that the most difficult task you had to master?

A. The most difficult thing for me was placing spawn points and creating necessary respawn zones for CTF games. I had no idea how much effort you guys put into just that aspect of the maps you all create. Reading some of Shishka's replies to people's submissions in Atlas certainly helped me understand what I was doing wrong. Another difficult task was getting the flow just right. Testing, testing, and more testing is the only way to know how to alter pathways and cover to create a better flow and reduce the number of broken controllers people may experience when playing your map. Falling to your death and waiting 10-15 seconds to respawn es no bueno.

[One Flag CTF on Backdraft]

Q. What inspired you to put so much effort into Forge?

A. The ability to create something that your wildest imaginations can conjure up and share it with the world. It is certainly a great feeling to have someone play on your map and appreciate all your hard work and tell you why they liked it so much. Of course, there are those that aren't as nice and will give you a bit of their own "constructive" criticism. "MOAR ROKITS! TOO MANY BR's! This map sucks and you're a BK" Actually, a whopper sounds pretty good right now :)

Q. Advice for other players looking to create their own masterpiece? Any warnings?

A. The possibilities are endless..,well, almost (damn hard limit). Learn from the best. Ask those that have gotten their maps into Matchmaking for advice...they will most likely be glad to help, right? Be SURE to read the submission guide when posting in Atlas or taste the cold leather of the steel-toed boot. First decide what type of map you are going to make: Competitive, Aesthetic, just for fun, etc.  Don't be afraid to look at the maps that are already in Matchmaking for help with spawn points and gameplay flow.

If you like what you've read, don't be afraid to scroll back up to the top, click the link to queue up Backdraft, and add it to your Custom Games rotation.  Thanks to Homeboyd903 for sharing his Forge tips and tricks.  If you want to thank him yourself, or just sound off about Backdraft, hit the discussion thread attached to this article and make some noise.  No flaming.

CommunitySpotlight 7/30/2009 10:55 AM PDT permalink

Epic Pic's Favorite Files Updated

Snip snap.

Just like last week, the photogs from Epic Pic didn't let us get any face time for this week's community spotlight.  Not even a little bit of Forge lovin'.  That's just fine - we like the strong, silent types.  Besides, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

If you want to see what Epic Pic is all about, you should give Bungie Favorites a look.  You should and you will.  Now.

CommunitySpotlight 7/29/2009 10:47 AM PDT permalink