Average Joe - SniperStealth

Lurking and dropping one-liners.

SniperStealth silently steps into our Average Joe spotlight this week to provide us with a few scant details covering what compels him to stay involved in our communal endeavors.  Wanna find out who he is, what he does around these parts, or see if you've made his somewhat lengthy list of shout-outs? Put your finger on your mouse wheel and pull.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Cameron, but most people know me as SniperStealth on Xbox LIVE. Gaming is my primary hobby and has been since I was a child. When not gaming, I enjoy just hanging around with my friends and occasionally riding ATC’s (three wheelers). I also dabble with Photoshop, making progress with theme endeavors.

Q. Did you do much dabbling in the name game before settling on that stealthy gamertag?

A. Back when I joined Bungie.net I chose Sniper 179 as my user name. Not exactly the most original of names, but it worked for me. Shortly thereafter I made my first chapter “Stealth Snipers.” The group was disbanded not long after that, but the name stuck in my head. Then came Xbox LIVE and when prompted to choose my gamertag for the first time I immediately typed “Stealth Sniper” to no avail (it was taken). With a slight tweak to the title it was accepted, and from that point on I was known as SniperStealth.

Q. Naming convention out of the way, where can we find you on Bungie.net should we want to get our stalker mode on?  Are there any particular facets of the community that interest you more than others?

A. I can usually be found in the community forum or the Halo 3 forum. I’m more of a lurker, so I don’t post too often. Sometimes I’ll find a thread that interests me and drop a one liner. What really started to get me involved in the community were the old chapters from 2003. Back when the Seventh Column was growing in popularity I noticed the option to submit themes for these chapters. After seeing the original Legendary theme by qbix I knew I had to make something equally as cool. Being inexperienced in art at the time, I tried but was unsuccessful until recently. Today, with newly acquired knowledge I’ve been submitting themes as often as I can; so far the count is five!

Q. Theme Spree!  What about gaming?  Do you only game with digital allies or do you bring your friends and family into the mix?

A. My older brother is the one who really got me into gaming, although he doesn’t play as many newer games these days due to being busy with school. To this day, I still have a blast playing through Halo: Combat Evolved with him. He still likes to stick to old school games but I always find ways to make him play some of the newer titles, including Halo 3.

Q. What was the first Bungie title you had a blast playing?

A. My first Bungie title was Halo: Combat Evolved. Believe it or not, this was not one of my first Xbox games; I didn’t even play it on my first Xbox. It was the death of my first Xbox that gave me my first taste of Halo. When my first Xbox died on me, it was still under warranty so I received a new one bundled with a demo disc. Halo was one of the games on the disc, and after playing Silent Cartographer many times over, I was hooked. Shortly thereafter I bought my own copy of Halo and linked into Bungie.net.

Q. From death...life.  Are you surprised that you've gone from a casual player to a dude so involved in the community that you've been whipping up themes and scored some face time on Bungie.net?

A. I am fairly surprised by my own involvement, actually. I check my groups and glance at the forums roughly every day. Regardless of what is going on at Bungie.net, I always keep coming back for more. The fact that this is such a die hard community really shows its commitment to such a great game developer.

Q. How great?  So great.  ;) 

Do you drop into any other online communities on a regular basis?

A. Not specifically, but from time to time I extend my help to websites that need logos or designs. I always check Halo.Bungie.Org for Halo news and other tidbits and I occasionally post there as well.

Q. Yeah I would too, but I can't figure out the whole BBS thing.  Seems so 80's.  Anyway, anything you wanna add? Wanna make a shout-out?

A. Here’s to just a few of my good friends that have always been there to help save my ass on Xbox LIVE. Without these people I probably wouldn’t be visiting B.net or playing Halo 3 as much as I do.

[Editor's Note: Then these people get a shout out from us too - Urk]

Achilles1108, Beorn, Bigalski (Mr. Hayabusa), Butane123, CrypticGuardian, darktiest, Darth Mallum, dotdotdotdot, Drunken Wario (my brother), Duardo, El Roboto, Firebird347, Guitarplyr123, Halcylon, hawkeye543, immortal eNeME, Obi Wan Stevobi, PhillyEaglesS, Qbix89, and SK CRISIS.

Whoa there!  You can't say ass on Bungie.net!  I'm gonna have to put the brakes on this potty train.  Time to take a time out and think about what you did, SniperStealth.

Or...thanks to Cameron for lending his time and words to this brief interview.  If you've enjoyed what you've read, or just want to sound off, join our polite discourse in the discussion thread attached.  And of course, if you have anyone you would like to nominate for a little bit of face time, you can always shoot me a message and let me know who's been making your stay here all that much more of a positive experience.

CommunitySpotlight 7/28/2009 10:13 AM PDT permalink

Community Cartographers - Benchmark

Mini Waz sets a new benchmark.

Mini Waz makes himself plenty of maps in Halo 3.  You're probably already quite familiar with his work if you're into the Forge scene.  If not, now is as good a time as any to get acclimated.  Continuing our Community Cartographers series is Benchmark, a symmetrical map designed for on foot and vehicular mayhem.  If you have 6-12 friends looking for some great custom maps to spice up their Halo 3 experience, you should queue this up for download.  But before you get some hands on time, read a little bit about the process by which it was built.

Map: Benchmark

Q. What’s the core concept behind Benchmark?

A. The design of this map came from an idea I had for about a week. I wanted to make symmetrical map on the main level of Sandbox that had structural resemblances to The Pit, a type of map that I haven’t seen previously made on Sandbox. I didn’t want to just remake The Pit because I knew it wouldn’t work with the vehicle use I had in mind. I made some alterations and when I finished making the map, it was hard to see that the design of the map was influenced from The Pit at all.

One of the factors which make this map one of my favourites to play on is that I think that I have the vehicle balance just right. Through countless hours of test playing, there haven’t been any signs of the vehicles dominating the map. The base design also took a few attempts to come up with but I’m more than happy with the outcome. With no entrance at the front of the bases, but several at the sides, it turned out to be an interesting design to play around with. From a bird's eye view, the bases kind of look like a wonky donut or a slanted O.

Q. After I download this map, what game types should I go with to make sure I have the most fun?

A. Team Slayer always provides some solid and varied gameplay. For those who crave objective gametypes, I’d recommend some Multi Flag. This map works with all gametypes, however it is strongly recommended that players stick to the symmetrical gametypes as it was what the map was built around.

Q. Was Benchmark built in a single go, or did you have to head back in to tweak and change some stuff in order to get it just right?

A. I suppose you could call this a first draft although some minor alterations have been made through overdosing my test subjects with some Benchmark. My more recent maps in general haven’t required any major changes, most of the time it would be changes with some of the respawn points or weapon assets. I’ve made well over thirty maps since the release of Foundry and I’ve gotten to the point where I can imagine what gameplay is going to be like before I finish making the map.

There are always some things to change though, things that can only be seen through test playing the map and getting suitable feedback. I usually invite a bunch of friends to play on the map when I finish making it and it’s nice to get some sound advice from people that you know will play the map properly instead of jumping around in circles or quitting (no one likes quitters!). I also keep track of my map after I submit it to the Atlas group, I have received a lot of good advice from that community. You have to be prepared to look after you map, you can’t just leave it once you have finished Forging it the first time through, there are always improvements to be made!

Q. So what improvements did you end up making along the way?

A. After test playing the map, it was quite clear that it played pretty much the way I intended it to. There was an issue I came across through test playing though. It turned out that the game favoured one of the respawn points over all of the others. This wasn’t too much of a problem because I just deleted it and put another one down in its place and the problem was solved. I also played around with some weapon respawn times whilst test playing to ensure that I had a fair setup for the finished map.

Q. Seems like things went pretty smoothly.  Were there any difficult bits at all?  What was the most painful part of the process?

A. I’m very tempted to say that the geo-merged obelisks were a pain however I’m going to go with making the central structure. It seems to take so much longer to merge the stacked objects because they don’t disappear immediately when you start a new round. It must have taken at least three hours to make that structure alone. There are often points when you make a map that make you think "is it worth it?" I always go by previous experience and say, it’ll be worth it when you finished making the map and you’re playing on it with all of your friends whilst having an enjoyable time.

Q. Is that your motivation for making maps then?

A. I started to make maps because whenever I play in the morning in England, there are hardly any people online on my friends list so I would whip up Forge mode and start making a map which I had previous ideas for. Now Forge is more of a way to keep the game new and exciting. Many people ask me, "Don’t you get bored playing Halo all of the time?" I think that the Forge mode greatly extends the life of the game and I hope Bungie can see that there is such a large section of the community that is dedicated to this. I really do hope that the Forge mode is used in future Bungie games (hint hint, Forge mode for Halo: Reach please!). I always go into Forge with some ideas in mind, that way I don’t just sit there thinking "Where do I start?" Usually it’s the layout for the central structure or the base design.

Q. Advice for anyone looking to build their own masterpiece? Warnings? Shout-outs?

A. First of all, I would say "BE PATIENT!" When I first started to make maps, I took three to four days and ended up with something that looked and played like a pile of blam! Search the interwebanet for "Halo 3 Forge Tips" or drop by Forge Café, I heard that they offer some good advice ;) and take advice from other players, everyone is biased towards their own creations even though it may not seem like it to them.

Once you start making a map, I would recommend that you keep working on it and completely ignore Matchmaking for a few days. I found that constantly working on a map keeps you in tune to what you’re making and your map will most likely turn out better if you know what you’re working on next. Set yourself some goals such as "make both bases by the end of the day" and you’ll be well on your way. When placing down respawn points and weapons, look at Bungie’s maps which are similar to yours. Try to imitate their way of doing things and you maps will play a lot better!

Shout-outs go to Urk for this feature and his work, Shishka for the Atlas group and providing players the opportunity to get their map into Matchmaking. Some of the greatest people I’ve met on Xbox Live including: undr zid (Nice!), xKing Elijahx (There we aaare!), Sikamikanico (Cup of tea FTW), Ignited Prophecy (Where have you been lately?), OMGwtfROFLlolz (Loves his gamertag with a vengeance), ABOUT 8 TURTLES (Isn’t it about time you got a headset now?) and the guys over at Forge Café.

I would also like to give a shout-out to the following friends who I thoroughly enjoy playing with: Achilles1108, Obi Wan Stevobi, FoMan123, JonnyOThan, Alkaline Prodigy, Chipsinabox, Insane54, PXXPGOBLIN, Serene Lancer, Vinnie13, Wassi (Shotgun pro), and all of the other people on my friends list who are on there for a reason…I LOVE YOU ALL!

If you had the patience to make it all the way past the interview and the shout outs section, reward yourself by scrolling back up to the top and grabbing the Map Variant.  If you just want to weigh in with the author, Mini Waz, hit the discussion thread attached and let him know what you think.  Nicely.

CommunitySpotlight 7/23/2009 10:55 AM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - Epic Pic

Them pics are epic.

Read Full Top Story

CommunitySpotlight 7/22/2009 11:13 AM PDT

Average Joe - Atomsk

Kinda trippy, but interesting.

Atomsk has been kicking around the community since before Halo 2 shipped.  He's been playing Bungie's games starting with Myth.  That's music to our ears.  If you want to tune in and learn a little bit about one of the fixtures of the community, now's your chance.  And if you're looking for a good group to play some of our older titles with, well Atomsk has that on offer too.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Erik. I’ve lived in southeastern Michigan all 24 years of my life. (You know Michigan right? The state that had a crappy economy before it was cool.) I’m currently a student at the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts. When I graduate I hope to get a job in TV production; perhaps a camera operator or an editor.

Q. Erik's a pretty cool name.  What about the gamertag?  Where'd it come from?

A. The name Atomsk comes from my favorite anime series, FLCL. It’s the name of the Pirate King. As far as the 33 part, I don’t really remember why I chose that number. If it didn’t cost MS points I’d change the number to 1995. That was a great year what with Marathon 2, Rise of the Triad, and Crusader: No Remorse all coming out.

I’ve actually been on Bnet since just before Halo 2 came out, but due to gamertag linking issues I made a new login when Halo 3 was released.

Q. Now that you've got your issues sorted out, where do you end up investing your time while you're here at Bungie.net?  Are there certain aspects you find more interesting than others?

A. I don’t have as much time to scour the main forums as I used to, I usually hang out in the For Carnage Apply Within group. However, when I get time I like to look for Marathon and Myth posts in the Underground and Septagon.

There are several aspects of the community that I find most intriguing. First and foremost, I love how committed and active the fans of Bungie’s older titles are even after a decade. Although Playmyth is gone, Mariusnet is more active than ever. The fact that there’s still a place I can play ten year old games online is amazing to me, and the updates to Aleph One and Myth keep making the experience better and better. Kudos also go out to all the guys who run the various story sites.

All the fan made videos and machinima are also a huge part of what keeps the community going strong. Obviously some are better than others, but there is always something cool to watch on Bnet. The big ones like Red vs. Blue and This Spartan Life are also legendary.
The other aspect of the community that I really enjoy is the amount of custom material Bungie managed to squeeze into a console game. Screenshots, Saved Films, custom game types, and all the things that are possible with Forge really set Halo 3 apart from other FPS games. Sure, MLG and Team BRs have their place, but I’ll always prefer more off the wall games like Rocket Race and Grifball. The fact that a fan made game type like Grifball has become such a big part of the community and something a ton of people look forward to each month still blows my mind.

Q. Yeah, the community is always churning up the awesome.  What about you?  What compels you to pick up a controller and who are you playing with?

A. The two people I play with most are my brother Sam (Sardonic13) and his friend from college, Mike. We play a lot of different games together; from Bungie titles like Halo 3 and Myth to non Bungie games like Left 4 Dead and Diablo 2. The other main people I play with are all the members of the For Carnage Apply Within group. (Countdown to group plug in …3…2…1...) FCAW plays a different old school Bungie game each month. So far we have switched between Myth and Marathon (both Aleph One and X-box Live). If you are interested in playing Myth, Marathon, and perhaps down the line, Halo PC check us out.

As far as what compels me to play games…obviously games are a lot of fun, but I like to think there is at least a little more to it than that. For me, games are becoming how I hang out with my friends now that they don’t live near me. It is cheaper than calling, and although you are not physically in the same place, you are interacting together on some plane of existence. Kinda trippy, but an interesting thought.

I also like that games are getting more respect as an art form; however, I don’t like the “gamer culture” that is being sold to me. Gamers don’t need their own soft drink or their favorite pastime made into a pro sport. We’ve got our own culture, and I’m not a fan of people trying to make money off of us (more than the cash we spend on games anyway).

Q.  Man, this Mountain Dew is super delicious.  Where were we?  Oh, yeah...what was the first Bungie title you consumed?

A. Myth: The Fallen Lords was the first Bungie game I ever played, way back before I had even heard of Bungie. My brother brought it home back when it first came out and I watched him play it. Myth was (and still is) so different than any other game I’ve ever played. It’s an RTS that doesn’t require you to build anything. Myth is all about tactics and mayhem. All the units are well balanced and the controls are perfect. It was also one of, if not the first, fully 3D RTS. It uses 2D sprites, but you can rotate 360 degrees around them. And what other game allows you to pick up you enemy’s limbs and throw them. How awesome is that?

[Editor's Note: So awesome. - urk]

The other thing about Myth is that it has a great universe and story. There are no elves, no orcs, no poetry, no bards, no clerics, and the dwarves throw bombs. Where a lot of games take from things like Lord of the Rings and D&D, Myth has more in common with the Black Company novels by Glen Cook. Look 'em up kids, they’re a good read.

Q. So, you've been kicking around the community for some time now, anything out there that still surprise you?

A. I’m surprised how many younger fans are interested in the older Bungie titles. The FCAW group is unique in that it brings together two or three generations of Bungie fans. We have a few ancient guys who started with Marathon, one or two who started with Myth, and a bunch who were first introduced to Bungie through the Halo series. So we are somewhere between the old guys who are still mad that Bungie made a PC game and the new kids who haven’t even played Halo 1. We’re happy to have fresh blood, but we also have an appreciation for history.

I suppose that is a long winded way of saying, I’m sort of proud of the number of people the group has introduced to Bungie’s back catalogue. Our members are also great at posting helpful and accurate info in Marathon and Myth posts when they show up in the Underground. Makes me smile.

Q. Do you check out any other online communities in your spare time?

A. Not really.

Q. Anything else before we finish up?  Shout outs?

A. Nah, I think I’ve plugged FCAW to death. Plus there are way too many names to list without me feeling like I left someone out. Seriously, it’d be like 25 people or something.

Well, that's absurdly polite of Erik.  Of course, it's also the end of his interview.  Thanks to Atomsk for helping keep the torch lit and being a kick ass part of the Bungie community.  If you have tons of great things to say about him, make sure you sound off in the discussion thread attached to this news article.  If you don't, go kick rocks.

CommunitySpotlight 7/21/2009 10:09 AM PDT permalink

Community Cartographers - Actuality-Break

Creativity, patience, and weapon spawn timers.

We're once again returning to the well of maps we used for our Bungie Day festivities, but this time we're putting a Foundry Map Variant on display.  If you played Actuality-Break and wanted to know a bit more about the creative process its author used to whip it up, you've come to the right place.  We've got EDDY2 ready to drop the details.

Map: Actuality-Break

Q. What’s the core concept behind Actuality-Break?

A. I based my map around how the different objects from Forge worked.  For example, I was interested in the way that the fence wall only allowed certain projectiles through. This ended up making an interesting floor/roof between the levels of the map keeping the players working at a distance to kill each other.

Another thing that I looked at was the shield doors (it really annoys me when people camp behind them with a power weapon), so placing them on a horizontal plane created escape routes for players but meant that they could not just abuse them.

Once I had figured out what I wanted to do with the objects, I planned a basic idea of how I wanted the map to play and where I wanted players to go and worked from there, altering the plan as I came up with new ideas.

I took a long time considering the weapon layout for the map, as I felt that this can make a great map fail. The main concept I had was balancing the power weapons. (If one team has a Sniper, then they have an advantage.  If both teams have one, the advantage is gone.) I used this to help balance the map; once I had done that I added a few more weapons so that players still have central weapons to try and grab. One of which is the Flame-thrower which needs some matchmaking love ;-)


Q. What gametypes does Actuality-Break best support?

A. Actuality-Break supports all gametypes but for the best experience one sided Territories and Team Crazy King are best for the objective lovers out there, or you can just fire up some good old Slayer but you will need to be quick on your feet as it is gets very hectic.

Q. What the building process a personal affair, or did you solicit some help in the form of feedback from the community-at-large?

A. Whilst the map was in early development every time my mates came online it was “come test Actuality-Break for me” and then once I felt it was ready for submissions to the Atlas group Test Pilot proved a great help for test films and constructive criticism.

The map has had lots of different people looking at during its development which I feel helps; other people can see things that you just overlook because they only see the map from time to time.

Q. What was good from day one and what needed the most love? Did anything catch you off guard?

A. The general layout worked pretty much from the outset and only needed minor changes, the weapons layout needed tweaking a fair bit; not the weapons that were used, but the respawn times and locations.

The thing that needed the most tweaking was the spawning.  Trying to get the perfect spawning system was by far the hardest part of the making the map.

No major surprises but the level of community involvement was a nice surprise it was good to see the number of people making maps and helping each other playtest them and provide feedback.

[Walkthrough: Actuality Break]

Q. So, the weapon spawning was the trickiest bit?

A. The spawning was by far the most difficult.  If you are making a map yourself you need to plan the spawns very carefully, then playtest the map, review the film from the test and make alterations accordingly. You will have to make alterations like this several times to get the spawns right.

Q. What's your motivation for spending your spare time in Forge?

A. I have always been interested in creating things and have a passion for art, the first game I got to play with a map editor was Far Cry Instincts and it extended the games life by magnitudes and enabled me to use my creative mind.

I was a big fan of Halo and Halo 2 and the inclusion of Forge with Halo 3 was a milestone for customization, but it lacked the creativity I wanted; that was until the creation of Foundry which allowed for so much more.

I messed around in Forge for a while with my mates creating a few basic maps, then I started to find out about some advanced Forging techniques like interlocking and geo-merging so I decided to try and create a more advanced map.

The first proper map I created was Bombball Pitch which when played with Spartanbombball allowed for a scoring mechanism for a game of football (soccer for you Americans :-)). This was my first major Forge creation and I am still very proud of it.

Once I found out about ATLAS I decided I wanted to make a map for submitting so I set to work on Actuality-Break and after many hours of Forging I was left with a result I was very happy with.

Q. Any advice for players looking to build their own stuff? Want to make a shout-out?

A. Patience is key.  Do not rush your map or it will not be as good as you want. Not every map you start will be good just have a mess around and learn from what you build for future projects. Playtesting is key to any map.

If you are considering submitting you map to ATLAS, read the sticky topics its for your own good.

I would like to thank everyone on my friends list; in particular Acid Granite, Lagg3d, ONIZNORB 2, Silaurian, Spirie, STTENGLAND, TH3BR1CKWALL, and brademon. Everyone at Test Plot for helping test my map, Bungie for making such a great game and taking such a large interest in the community, and my mum and dad for putting up with all my time spent on Halo.

Good luck with the maps people, see you online - EDDY2.

Thanks to EDDY2 for stepping up and delivering the details on Actuality-Break.  If you sick of small talk and just want to throw down, hit the link at the top of this interview and fire up Actuality-Break for some Custom Games lovin'.  If you want to leave some of your own words for EDDY2, hit the discussion link and sound off.

CommunitySpotlight 7/16/2009 11:10 AM PDT permalink

Forge Cafe's Favorite Files Updated

Back for another refill.

Seems some of you weren't fond of Forge Cafe's selections from last week.  That's okay, get it all out it in the discussion thread attached to the images while we sail on across the sea of your jealous and bitter tears.  And honestly, these folks focus on Forge.  If you're looking for their best content, that's where you should focus too.

Speaking of, this week Mini Waz stops in to talk a bit about his Map Variant, Borderline. Check it out.

Q. What inspired Borderline?

A. I set out to design this map around the current submission theme for the Atlas group which consists of Team Slayer, Multi Flag / One Flag and Team King gametypes.

Prior to making this map, I had some ideas floating around for the base designs and I wanted to make another symmetrical map on which is built on the map level on Sandbox. So, I kind of knew what I wanted to make.

I realise that the map isn't the most pretty to look at however I used previous maps of mine to inspire the overall map layout.

Q. How long did it take to create?

A. This map took me around a day to make and a total of two days to go from Sandbox Stacked Canvas (thanks FoMan123) to having it posted up on the Atlas Forums, Forge Hub and on YouTube. Most of my maps don't take too long as I usually know what I am going to make beforehand. Once I start something, I want to get it finished and so I would often spend the rest of the day in Forge to get it done.

With this map, I couldn't wait to play it once it was only half built. As soon as it was finished, the test playing began.

Q. What aspect took the longest to get right?

A. There wasn't a particular aspect that took me a long time to do, I would have to say merging the Ramp, Large pieces into the tube pieces enough so that there was no gap for grenades to fall into but not too much so that they poked through the other side.

Making the bases on a symmetrical map can also become tedious. After making a base on one side of the map making sure that the flooring was all smooth to walk on, I looked over to the other side of the map and noticed a big empty gap where I had to build another base which is exactly the same. It can be disheartening at times but once I get going, it's hard to stop.

Whilst Forging this map I was focused on the gameplay at all times. This has quickly turned into one of my most enjoyable maps of mine to play because of the solid gameplay it provides.

Q. How could The Forge be improved?

A. After Sandbox was released, all of the complaints that I had in regards to Foundry were answered. Although there are a couple things that I would like to see added. For example, and I can’t be the only one who feels this way, a “redo option” would be fantastic. Numerous times I find myself holding an object, hoping to delete it out of existence, only to find that the one behind it suffered my wrath. And with my luck, the one that I delete is usually the one that I had just spent time placing, and finally had just gotten my sanity back from. Really, that would be the only thing that I would openly admit to having a problem with, everything else is only a small speed bump, while this, is a brick wall.

No redo option for Forge Cafe - their two weeks have come to a close.  Of course, that doesn't mean you can't keep on keepin' on by checking out the content they have on offer.  If you like it, let 'em know.  If you don't, how's about you listen to a wise, age old adage: if you can't say nothin' nice...

Forge Cafe's Bungie Favorites are piping hot and ready for consumption.  Queue it all up and get your fill.

CommunitySpotlight 7/15/2009 11:29 AM PDT permalink

Know Your Ninja - Gods Prophet

Keep your head down and get to know a ninja.

You probably already know Gods Prophet. He’s a member of twenty-five friggin’ groups here at Bungie.net and more than likely, you’ve got a few lumps on your incredibly hard head on behalf of his Mallet of Infinite Correction. But it turns out he’s much more multi-dimensional than you may have thought. Check out the brief question and answer session below to get transported into God’s Prophet’s dimension.

Q. Who you are and what you do when you’re not erasing jerks.

I’m just your everyday fifth dimensional quantum observer. I’m an aspiring artist, hobbyist musician, dabbler in the arts of theoretical physics and cosmology, a gamer, and I like to listen to podcasts (largely the 1up.com podcasts in case you were wondering).

Q. Not Bungie related? Doesn’t seem like a great way to spend one’s spare time. What did you do with your own time on Bungie.net before you took up Banhammer duty?

It seems like I just posted a lot on the main forums and joined 25 groups to meet some sort of made-up fan quota.

Q. Oh, that quota is real. We keep stats. Seems like 25 groups is a bit much though. What do you do when you get overwhelmed and need to take a break for a bit?

The great thing about the Internet and how Bungie.net operates is that we’re able to chose how visible and open we want to be. Due to the fact that I tend to operate under a "Swift and Silent" mandate, I’m able to take short breaks every now and then without people knowing. The second great thing about B.net now is the Report feature which means we can almost guarantee that perpetrators will be punished, even if it’s not straight away.

Q. When you do slip into your short breaks, where do you go to sneak in your swift and silent rest and relaxation?

I’ll limit myself to mentioning just three sites here. My number two site (after B.net obviously) is conceptart.org. By a strange and fate-like coincidence, Dorje actually mentioned it on the Bungie podcast (04/01/09). It’s a fantastic site for all artists and those who just like to get blown away by artists’ work. Another great site is universetoday.com which is primarily a news site for everything astronomy related. The final site I want to mention is tenthdimension.com. In order to save me from having to explain it, check out the video animation and the forum and you’ll get the gist of it.

Q. Looks like you’ve got quite the collection of sites to keep your interest. What keeps you coming back to Bungie.net?

Luke actually proposed this question in his group ‘Tractus Incognita’ but here’s a slightly better answer than the one I gave there: I come back because I reciprocate Bungie’s love for its fans and the sectors of community I tend to rub shoulders with are a bit like family; you don’t always want to be in the same room or continent as them but there’s always an underlying bond and sense of loyalty and companionship.

Q. Has your view of the B.net community changed since you’ve become a made man?

Admittedly I really only got involved in the community at the time Halo 2 was being rolled out and since then I can’t say it’s changed much, in my opinion. There are certainly a lot more people but actually I think the only thing that altered my view of it was when everyone got their hands on Forge and the film and screenshot tools in Halo 3. I was, and still am, genuinely amazed at how creative and dedicated some people are.

Q. Be honest, how genuinely amazing is it to swing the Banhammer?

I like to compare it to hitting people on the head with a "Whack Attack" mallet and telling them what they did wrong. Sometimes the game drags on and sometimes the same heads keep popping up but for them, we have bigger and harder mallets and there’s a certain satisfaction to be had from it all.

Q. Any last words?

-I’ve started a Bungie-related Comic called "Blam." You can find the episodes here.

-Chairleg Productions is a Machinima group started by me and my friends. We’re not really producing anything at the moment but there’s an episode of something on the site and you can search the internet for old stuff. 

-Finally, I suppose I may as well post a link to my CA.org sketchbook but I warn you, a lot of it isn’t very good.

That is all. See ya starside.

Thanks to Gods Prophet for dropping the knowledge, supplying the links, and talking a little bit about his own community interaction. If you happen to run into him during one of his Swift and Silent operations, please make his job a bit easier by keeping your head down. Trust us, it’s better for all parties if you don’t make him break out the bigger mallets. They leave bigger lumps.

CommunitySpotlight 7/14/2009 10:57 AM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - Forge Café

Piece by piece and a lot of imagination.

Read Full Top Story

CommunitySpotlight 7/8/2009 10:59 AM PDT

MLD's Favorite Files Updated

Back for one more lap.

We made the fine folks at Major League Driving wait so long for their time in the Community Spotlight that the original Map Variant their write-up covered deteriorated, decayed, and crumbled into so much dust.  My bad.  But that's okay, while we don't have any extra words to offer on their behalf for MLD's second week in the Community Spotlight, we do have twenty Bungie Favorite slots refueled and ready to rumble.

If you're the type of player that enjoys the roar of an engine and the chatter of a turret as it tears the opposition into tiny shreds, you should definitely be firing up your Xbox 360 and Halo 3 to check out MLD's offerings.  They've got them revved and ready to go.  Of course, if you just want to check out their group, they've got a nice space right here on Bungie.net up and running as well.  Gain access 'em both by clicking the links below.

Major League Driving Bungie.net Group

Major League Driving's Favorite Files - Week Deuce

CommunitySpotlight 7/1/2009 10:33 AM PDT permalink

Know Your Ninja - Butane123

It's so-and-so from Bungie.net!

Butane123 drops in this week to deliver a brief glimpse into his personal life, talk about his time here at Bungie.net, and sadly reveal that some of you jerks have been sending him death threats.  We know it's sucks to get banned sometimes (looking right at you, Shishka), but honestly, you're definitely taking it too far if you're issuing threats of physical violence.  In fact, you should be thanking this man for giving you a break. 

To help you sort through your anger, take some time to read through Butane123's interview below.  He's pretty relaxed, has some cool hobbies to highlight, and he even has some good things to say about you and the community-at-large.  Check it out.

Q. Without revealing your real identity, who are and what you do when you’re not busy banning jerks?

A. Whether any of this is true or not is up to personal interpretation, but my name is David, I am 22 years old, and a student at the University of Oklahoma going for an energy management degree.

When I’m not targeting people from the shadows of B.net, and not doing work for school or my job, I’m either hanging around with friends or enjoying one of my many, many hobbies. Most of them are rather normal. You know, I play videogames, I have since I was around three. My parents say that the worst thing they ever did raising me was allowing my grandparents to get me a Super Nintendo for Christmas in 1991.

I enjoy playing Ultimate Frisbee with friends, and lately I have been interested more and more in photography. Part of it has to do with the fact that I love to travel to scenic locations and find the best views, the other part has to do with something else I do, and I know a lot of people don’t do this, I storm chase. Oddly enough, when I was young I was petrified of storms and would go into hiding. Now whenever I get the chance I’m outside trying to stay up with them. Sadly, I never get to do it as much as I would love to because chases usually take up the whole day, and I just don’t get that amount of time anymore.

Other than those, I’m always trying new things. Last year I went white water rafting on the Snake River in Wyoming, and this summer I’ll be bottom fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Q. Sounds like quite a schedule.  How did you do spend your time here on Bungie.net before you took up the moderator mantle?

A. Not the most original answer…but I posted a lot on the forums. Eventually I found my way into the Mob of Angry Peasants chat and Halo 2 clan as well as the Bungie Jumpers chapter. From those places I met a lot of good friends that I would talk and play games with often. Later Stosh asked me to join HFCS, which was weird considering I was essentially on a month long hiatus from the forums, and several people knew before I even did about me being chosen.

Q. Now that you've been chosen and you have a pretty packed personal schedule, do you ever feel like you just need to get away from your Banhammer duties?

A. Fortunately, I’m more of a lurker anymore, so it’s relatively easy for me to just disappear. I always find it funny in pre-game lobbies to hear the other team say, “Oh, its so-and-so from Bungie.net!” and I get completely left out.

Q. Ninjas do their best work from the shadows.  When you do slip away, what other online spaces do you check into for rehab?

A. Usually I am hanging out in #moap (Mob of Angry Peasants) chat room on irc.adelais.net. Other than that, I spend my time in The Frozen Minority, which is just a group of close friends from Bungie.net, and lately I have been posting on Neogaf more.

Q. And what brings you back to Bungie.net?

A. Mainly the people and the conversations that spring up. Yeah, a lot of threads might be repeats, but there’s always new ideas going around if you look hard enough. I also come back because I like looking for maps through the files system. Especially now that Sandbox is out, I like to see what other people have done on their maps so I can improve mine and find inspiration for the next one I might make.

Q. Since you've taken up Banhammer duty, how has your view of Bungie.net changed?

A. My view of the community really hasn’t changed at all. Now my interaction with it definitely has. Instantly I went from looking for the good threads to searching for the bad. I also went from one private message in maybe a month to probably 25 a day. Most of them being foul, of course, but I always enjoy a good death threat after a hard day’s work.

Q. Be honest, how awesome is it to swing the Banhammer? (Answer or I'll kill you.)

A. Pretty awesome. No more do I have the thought, “Man, will someone ban this spammer!” Now I can just do it myself. Thing is a little too heavy though. After a few swings in one day my lower back starts to ache. All the older mods tell me I’ll eventually get used to it, and then they just kick me back into the masses.

Before you get too used to Butane123, we figured we better kick him back out into the masses.  Since he's been kind enough to let you get to know a little bit more about him, you should think about being a bit nicer to him.  If you see him in an Xbox LIVE lobby, you should shout, "Holy -blam!-, that's so-and-so from Bungie.net!" and if you want to send him a Private Message, make sure you haven't penned a death threat.  Remember, it's always good to give your electronic communications a second read before sending.

CommunitySpotlight 6/30/2009 11:06 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - xianoa

Pixies and mysticism.

Bounding back and forth between "Know Your Ninja" and "Average Joe" lands us squarely in Old Blighty for this week's interview.  As always we asked some straight forward questions and got some pretty interesting answers in return.  Quite the ROI if you ask me. Before you go off to google ROI, stick around and get to know a little bit about the poster formerly (and currently) known as xianoa.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My usual answer to such a question involves mystic undertones surrounding pixies. However, I feel this is far more appropriate: I am Airs.

What do I do? Music.

I write, perform, and record. I am currently studying music technology and intend on perusing a career in the recording of sound. I currently reside in merry ol' England with many others from the community. No, I don't like tea. Yes, crumpets own and i don't know the Queen nor have I fornicated with her as many lewd players online seem to suggest we Brits do.

My hobbies are gaming, music and socializing. But the latter part isn't why you're reading this. I play piano, guitar and I'm learning to play sitar and theremin. In fact, if you head on down to Marty's Army, you will find a thread where I've listed many of my instruments. If I ever get round to it, I intend to record my own variation of the Halo theme.

Q. How'd you get round to selecting your gamertag?

A. When I originally applied for a gamertag after deciding to purchase LIVE so I could "play System Link with the World" on Halo 2, the one I wanted was taken (as they always are). So, I just chose a random letter and built it from there. After a few mishaps I ended up with xianoa.

Q. Yeah, somebody's squatting urk.  Wankers.  Anyway, fast forward a bit.  You're gametag is good to go, you're online and taking on the world in Halo 3 now, so where do you go to brag about your conquests?

A. Pretty much just the Halo 3 forum.  I do lurk others and I frequent the groups I'm in such as Foto and Aberrant Designs, and I love reading some of the Whaaambulance material on the Waaahmbulance forums. It's a bit random but you'll always find me posting in user created content threads (wallpapers, machinima, etc.). They're my favourite topics. Always nice to see a well made wallpaper especially when it shows they've put effort and time into it.

Oh, I almost forgot about montage's (not the 15 minute "who the -blam!- would watch the whole thing" videos, just the short and sweet ones :] ) While on the subject of user-created stuff, you will find my work on my Googlepage and a whole thread full of user created backgrounds in CAUS7IC's User Created Background Thread.

Q. What compels you game, be creative, and get involved?

A. What compels me? THE POWER OF CHRI- nevermind. I'm not sure what it is that compels me. I really love being completely immersed in a good single player game. something that I'm finding harder to do (games not getting any better or my standards climbing higher?). Maybe just a feeling of content when I'm chillaxing with bro's in a party chat getting my ass whooped by Generals.

Nowadays I play and chat online with various members of the Bnet community I have added for individual reasons, be it because of support I was offering with a problem they posted about or just to aid someone on a Legendary playthrough. I think the most random reason I added someone was because they thought I could give them recon. If only. Before I leave the topic of strange PM's, anyone receive one from me? :P

Q. We have PM's here?  First time I've ever heard of that feature.  What was the first time you ever heard about one of Bungie's games?

A. My friend Callum constantly spoke of Halo: Combat Evolved when he got it, even based an English essay around it if I recall correctly. I was totally anti-Microsoft at this point, how childish of me. :P

Eventually he managed to convince me to play it round his house. A pivotal moment in my life! A game where not only could you shoot, melee and throw a grenade without switching weapons but there were so many weapons to choose from. BUT WAIT! It gets better.

Drum roll please...vehicles! I ended up getting a part time job for the summer just so I could buy an Xbox with Halo. I played it to death, finished the campaign on solo Legendary just before Halo 2 came out; commence system linkage almost daily. After getting online with Halo 2, I was hooked. Never been so addicted to anything.

Slowly I built up a collection of Halo stuff such as novels, posters and even a peaked Halo 2 cap. Most of this I had to obtain via a popular online market site *cough*eBay*cough* because the cost of shipping from Bungie's store to England was a tad crazy.

When I heard about the Legendary Edition of Halo 3 it was fairly obvious I had to have one. I still remember walking in the shop at midnight with about twelve people in the line behind me, walking out with my Legendary Edition five minutes later to see at least forty people lined up. I was paranoid some crazy Halo-goon was going to jump me for a plastic helmet fit only for your cat.*

*DISCLAIMER: I'm not condoning placing anything on your cat's head.

Q. Yeah, don't get your cat involved.  What about your own level of involvement in the community?  Are you ever surprised by it?

A. Yes I am actually.  I'm not even sure why I'm so involved considering how much people whine about the strangest things (how far bullets spread on a weapon in a video game? Come on now your getting petty :P ).

The whole resizing/small edits on people's screenshots to make backgrounds is the largest involvement thus far with the community. It only came about because i made a few after reading some PM's asking me to and I just decided "why should I limit it to those who PM me?".  I've not done much with that at the moment because of my work load (all the years work coming to an end, hectic!).

Q.  Do you get involved with any other online communities when you're not loaded up with work?

A. Now I think about it, my loyal fandom is pretty much static on this site, I get my 5-star-thread-posting-thrillz from here, so why would I need to seek it else where? UKG of course! (More about that below.)

Q. Additions?  Shout-outs?  More on UKG now that we're below?

A. Before I give shout-outs, I have two things to say:

1. From the United Kingdom? Want a community of players who also strive for good connections? You need to sign up with United Kingdom Gamers. Why? Well I will let the website tell you: UKGamers.

2. Help find Tiffbech and win a prize.

To my bro, fo sho ubaninja (it's pronounced "uber-ninja," not urban). Were it not for you, I wouldn't be writing this right now. Second to my co-wallpaper maker C A U S 7 I C whom I miss very much. Damn you and your real life taking you away, come back!

Prepare for a long list of usernames: Shiska, your posts are 5's always, urk <3, ash55, RampageRiot, Avistel, Verachi, Caladolen, Duardo, Gmack674, jdars1804, Burrito Senior, Kalteran, Ninjaghostdog, PKF 647, Raynerboy!!, Sai Sama, Bifftech (stuck my grenade), Scruff, Waxy, Juno, Mazz and everyone else from UKG, Foto, Aberrant Designs, and the Halo 3 forum mafia.

FYI - Verachi bought his fifty (jokes).

Seems the Transatlantic connection has been broken and xianoa's time is now up.  We want to say thanks for playing along.  We hope you've learned something here today.  Wait, no we don't.  We just hope you were entertained and got to know a little bit about one of the posters you might spot should you decide to spend some time around this joint.  As always, if you want to say hello to this week's interviewee, stop on into the discussion thread and say what's up (and play nice too).

CommunitySpotlight 6/23/2009 9:46 AM PDT permalink

Screenshot Spotlight: Alec 944

Embracing the roots.

This week's HBO Aesthetic Artist Interview goes back to the beginning, bringing Alec 944 back into the fold.  Though it's come a long ways since the Point & Shoot days, seems Alec still has some insight to offer.  Check it out.

10th Anniversary Aesthetic Artist Interview: Alec 944

CommunitySpotlight 6/19/2009 11:33 AM PDT permalink

Real 7alk's Favorite Files Updated

Back and ready to blend.

Real 7alk returns to complete the second week of their Community Spotlight.  They don't have a ton to talk about this time out, but it looks like their  website is back up (sorry, dudes) and they have a bunch of new files ready to go.  If you're looking to take their favorite offerings for a spin, you should get your read on and learn a little bit about one of their favorite maps they put on display back in week one, Blend-O-Matic.

Q. What was the inspiration for this map?

A. I honestly can't really say what inspired Blend-O-Matic. I think I was just wanting to create a massive structure that would toss around bodies and have a good laugh. But it ended up being probably one of the most fun minigames I've ever played with the "Smoothies" gametype.

Q. How long did it take to whip up?

A. The whole thing probably took around four to five hours to complete.

Q. What aspect took the longest to blend smoothly with the overall concept?

A. Angling the Grav Lifts and Mancannons to launch the zombies, errr, food particles around and out of the blender effectively.

Q. Puréed Zombies.  Awesome.  After investing some time with Forge, what do you think could have made the experience a bit better?

A. To be able to turn physics on/off and to allow easier floating and intersecting objects. 90 degree snap is overrated by the way, haha.

Like we said, short and sweet.  That's okay, they've got their second round of Bungie Favorites already deployed.  The less time you spend reading these words will translate directly into more time playing their Map Variants!  What are you waiting for?  Hit the links, fire up your copy of Halo 3, and give 'em a whirl.  That's another blender pun.  Yeah, we know.

CommunitySpotlight 6/17/2009 10:12 AM PDT permalink

Know Your Ninja - Foman

Supplying semi-interesting factoids.

We dip back into the dark black waters this week for another round with a Bungie.net Ninja.  Up today, Foman.  If you spend any amount of time on our forums (or lengthy amounts of time being banned from them), you're already familiar with this man's work in our community.  How about you spend a little bit of time getting to know the man behind the Banhammer?  That may be a question, but it's not a request.  If you don't read this Foman will find you, ban you, and then humiliate you via PM.  You've been warned.

Q. Without revealing your real life, super secret hidden identity, tell us who you are and where the moniker “Foman” comes from. (You tried to steal it from Timmins and messed it up didn't you?

A. ‘Sup? Nah, the name “Foman” has nothing to do with “Abe Froman,” sausages, or Ferris Bueller. In real life, most people call me Fo or Fo-Man as a nickname, which is of course where my Bungie.net name comes from and what makes it less weird when people from Bungie.net call me Foman when they meet me in person. I was dubbed “Fo-Man” back in my freshman year of undergrad, which means I’ve been going by Foman both online and offline for about twelve years.

Q. So what do you do when you’re not scouting our online forums with your fancy nickname looking to unfairly ban people?

A. When I’m not busy issuing unfair bans for “OMG NO RAESON,” I am an antitrust lawyer in Washington, DC. Being thirty years old makes me a “huge loser” and practically Father Time for a large portion of the online community that I help to moderate, but I feel good because I am still 216 years younger than Recon Number 54.

I’ve been practicing antitrust law for about three years now, so I am hopefully well-enough versed to adequately defend Bungie against unfair monopolization claims when it eventually takes over the world. I enjoy being a lawyer, mostly for the hot chix, but partly because it is an interesting and rewarding mental challenge. Okay fine, I don’t get any hot chix for being a lawyer, and the long hours suck (my work day is typically ten to fourteen hours long with five or six hours of work on the weekends), but I do get to read lots of documents, hang out on BNet, and occasionally send threatening letters to people, which is almost as fun.

In my spare time, I have a private pilot’s license and fly when I can. I’m also a big gamer (duh) and spend a lot of time on Halo 3. Otherwise, I typically spend my evenings watching my favorite TV shows, making dinner, or hanging out with friends or family.

Q. What do you call a large number of lawyers at the bottom of the...sorry, I can't bring myself to make the joke.  What did you do with your time on Bungie.net before you took up Banhammer duty between your fourteen hour daily legal stints?

A. I was pretty involved in the Bungie community generally, and the Bungie.net community specifically. I was a frequent poster in the public forums and in BNet private groups. Some people already knew my name solely from my involvement in the IRIS Alternate Reality Game/Viral Marketing Campaign that helped to introduce Halo 3 to millions of people. During IRIS, I helped to run a private group here on Bungie.net called CompoundIntelligence that was one of the “centers” of activity. I also received a few private messages from a character in the ARG named AdjutantReflex, which increased my notoriety for a bit.

Besides that, I helped out with a now-defunct private group named The Guide that conducted interviews and reviews of notable people and groups on Bungie.net. I was also (and still am) an administrator for Bungiepedia, a Wiki designed solely for information about Bungie employees and notables of the Bungie Community.

I became a Forum Ninja a little over a year ago, and it’s been tough to keep up on some of the other stuff I do here (not in the least because of my job, which is a huge annoyance that gets in the way of my fun), but I still like to check in on my old projects from time to time.

Q. Your Halo 3 Fileshare is littered with Banshee pictures, you keep making strategy guides and videos with the Banshee, and someone even made a Bungie.net profile named “Fomans Banshee.” Dude, what’s up with the Banshee infatuation?

A. Somehow, I’ve gotten the reputation of being amazingly good with the Banshee in Halo 3. I have to say that, while I enjoy flying it and I do it better than most, there are still many players out there who are most certainly better than I am. I have to insert a shout out here to my boys in the group “Pilots,” whose in-depth Banshee strategy discussions have upped my game big time. And almost all of them are better in the Banshee than I am.

But I’ve always been a vehicle guy in Halo, ever since the Halo: CE days. I love driving around in Warthogs, Scorpions, Wraiths, Mongooses, and other vehicles. In Halo 3, I quickly realized that the Banshee’s ability to become a force majeure had been increased, and to balance it out, many new ways of taking down the Banshee had been added (powerful turrets, Assault Rifles and SMGs, the addition of the Spartan Laser and the Missile Pod, and so on). I love the challenge this presents as well as the Banshee’s ability to be a game-changing vehicle when in the right hands. So I fly the Banshee whenever I can, and I love to talk about it, make videos about it, and take pictures of it.

Q. Speaking of pictures, what about your avatar? Is that some kind of electric space demon?

A. Hah, no, that is a picture of me drawn by Bungie artist Lorraine McLees (thanks again, Lorraine!). Without the cartoonish feel, that is more or less what I look like. The flashing symbol that appears every so often is a Forerunner glyph (brilliantly photoshopped by WhiteRaven119) that appeared throughout the IRIS ARG and one that I felt was pretty symbolic of my largest involvement in the Bungie community prior to becoming a Forum Ninja.

Here is a semi-interesting factoid: in my avatar, Lorraine’s sketch appears for 7.77 seconds, and the Forerunner glyph appears for 3.43 seconds.

Q. Looking svelte and suave, my man. Do you ever feel like you should just hop into a Banshee, fly beyond the barrier, and take a break from Bungie.net for a bit?

A. Occasionally. After a day in which I moderate the forums a lot (and therefore end up issuing a lot of bans and locking a lot of spam threads), my inbox can become filled with questions, conversations, group invites, and some pretty nasty stuff from some of our angrier forumgoers. Despite the fact that a lot of people see the Forum Ninjas as non-responsive, responding to private messages takes up a huge portion of my time on Bungie.net (by the way, if I don’t respond to your message, that does not mean that I did not read it. Except for conversations with friends, I usually only respond to direct questions that can’t be answered in the forums, ban appeals, and messages that are so interesting that they can’t be ignored). So it can get overwhelming at times, and I do sometimes end up not logging into BNet for a day or two. But I always come back :-)

Q. Where do you go when you take your day or two away (mod stalker: enabled)?

A. I’m not terribly adventurous, I’m afraid. I love watching humorous videos on YouTube, checking up on world/local news, and reading fun blogs. I have a Facebook account that I log into once in awhile, but for me, Bungie.net IS my preferred R&R website.

Q. So, what is it about the place that keeps you coming back for more after you've had your fill of Vlogs and Failblog videos?

A. I love the vast variety of things that the website offers. You can participate in the community in pretty much any way you want to. I feel like I have really made the most of the opportunities to “do it all” here: making strategy guides, participating in site games and contests, running big groups, joining clans (love you guys, H3ITWP!), making a map and corresponding post that meet Shishka's rigorous Atlas standards, choosing two rounds of Bungie Favorites, being in Bungie Favorites myself, being interviewed for podcasts and private groups, making funny Bungie-referenced photoshopped images, making a montage, recommending various people for more widespread recognition in the Community, posting long dissertations and short one-liners, meeting community members in real life, playing Halo and hanging out with Bungie employees, moderating the forums, and enjoying every dang second of it!

Q. Aside from finding plenty of new ways to enjoy yourself, are there any ways in which you view the B.net community that have changed since you took up the moderator mantle?

A. I love this community more than ever, to be quite honest. Being a moderator of the public forums, I come into a lot of contact with community members who most positive forumgoers try to avoid. At first, I was not too pleased about this prospect. But I came to realize that sometimes I can find out a lot more about a person through private messages after I have banned them rather than by what they post in the forums.

I think that most people see me as “just doing my job,” and the initial hatred (usually!!) subsides pretty quickly. It’s only then that I learn about individual people and realize that oftentimes, a person whose posts on the public forums make them seem like a total jerk is just a regular person who is just as much a Bungie fan as anybody else. Once they are calm and I have a chance to try to convince them to express their opinions in a nicer way, we sometimes end up having a lot in common. I have many people on my XBox Live Friends List who I once banned but then had great conversations with via private messages afterward.

And I don’t mean to make it seem like it’s a good thing to be a “bad” forumgoer. Actually, being so familiar with a lot of the site’s nuances has given me the chance to help a lot of great, positive community contributors. People who embark on a cool project or create something absolutely astounding but don’t quite know what to do with it. Groups of people who like playing Halo 3 together but want to also get involved in the Bungie community. And so on. Being a guy who frequently gets the first private message when somebody does something wonderful or amazing has really helped me to realize just how awesome and diverse this community is.

Q. Honesty is the best policy.  Be truthful.  How awesome is it to swing the Banhammer?

A. Some of the time, I ban somebody with a little wince. I always feel bad about banning people who are obviously well-intentioned but, over and over again, demonstrate that they really just can’t figure out how to post within the forum rules (protip: the answer is, “read them”).

But when the really detrimental people post in the forums, the ones who everybody WISHES they could ban (you know, the ones who brag about cheating or decide to spam up the forums that others are just trying to have a decent discussion in), the sound of the banhammer whistling is sweet. Ohhhh, so sweet.

Thanks, urk. See you at PAX 09!! :-)

They're doing one of those little PAX things again this year?

Thanks to Foman for swooping in and delivering the answers to our questions.  And for running things on our forums.  And for being awesome.  Turns out the semi-interesting factoids he supplied are actually entirely interesting.  Who knew?  Well, we did.  That's why we asked him questions in the first place, dummy.  If you enjoyed this brief question and answer, don't forget to stop into the discussion thread attached to say hello.  Foman is watching.  And waiting.

CommunitySpotlight 6/16/2009 10:00 AM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - Real 7alk

Talking for real.  With a seven.  And stuff.

Read Full Top Story

CommunitySpotlight 6/10/2009 10:55 AM PDT

Average Joe - borrowedchief

A father of five who needs your vote.

Borrowedchief has an endearing love for his family and a nostalgic affinity for the stuck-up, half-witted man you may know simply as Han Solo. He also has some back pats ready for the folks who made Halo.  If that's not enough information for you, you're in luck, we borrowed a bit more of this chief's time and got him to answer a handful of our not-so-pressing questions.  Have a squat and get scrolling to learn more about the man behind the Bnet name.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Neil and I live in Sacramento, CA with my wife. We have five (!) kids between us, so we stay relatively busy. I am a Kitchen and Bath Designer for a large home improvement company and have been in this industry for the past ten years. My hobbies are anything videogames, Star Wars, music (Led Zep all day) or outdoors related. I am able to satisfy a broad range of activities.

Q. Did you pluck your gamertag out from that same broad range of activities?

A. My user name was my original gamertag. I was in such a hurry to play some Halo 2 with my friends; I opted to let the system choose a gamertag for me when I was signing up for Xbox LIVE. Borrowedchief was the first thing that popped up. I thought, “well, this sort of relates to the game I’m playing, and it seems original, I’ll take it”. It has stuck ever since. I have had my current gamertag (N3rfherd3r, the scruffy lookin’ kind) for the past couple of years, but have considered changing back to borrowedchief. Maybe I’ll take a community vote.

Q. If you did take a vote, which community precincts would see the heaviest turnout?

A. My community presence is probably felt the most in the community forums. I seem to gravitate more to those topics on a regular basis. But you can definitely find me perusing the Halo3, Flood, Optimatch, and Gallery forums fairly regularly. I particularly love the creativity that the Gallery forum has brought out of the community. If I had half the talent as some of those people...

I also cruise Gamers Anon on a regular basis. Yoozel has done a great job with that group. If you love gaming in general, check it out. I have been trying to reinvest some time in a group I created a while ago called Film Fanatics for people who enjoy to discuss movies both on the big screen and small screen.

[/shameless plugs]

Q. Shameless puns too.  We get it.  You like Star Wars.  What about gaming?  Do you ever game with family or friends?

A. You can usually find me playing some Halo online with my brother ericslick or rocking out with my kids on Rock Band or Guitar Hero (I have a whole band's worth, remember). I have tried mercilessly to get my wife to rock out with us, or blast some Covies, but she refuses : (

Maybe I should also have the community vote on her level of gaming involvement in my household as well.

Ironically she was the one who got me involved with the Halo franchise. I had been interested in the game when it first came out, but reserved buying it for whatever reason. One day she comes home and hands me a copy of Halo and the rest is history. Hooked ever since. The game play and ambiance from Halo were amazing. Halo 2 and 3 obviously had the same gripping environments and game play, but with the online aspect and groundbreaking improvements (matchmaking parties, saved films, forge, etc) the enjoyment factor went off the scale.

I personally think that the story Bungie tells rivals any major motion picture that has released in the past twenty years or so. Even my beloved Star Wars. Bungie definitely deserves a pat on the back for creating a major piece of pop culture. Kudos ; )

Q. Oh, man.  Laying it on thick.  We like it.  What about your own level of interaction?  Are you surprised at all by your level of community involvement?

A. I wouldn’t say that I am surprised by my community involvement. I just come here to have fun and talk to my friends. I always try to set a good example and help out anyone or anything wherever I can. I feel that I have gained the respect of many of my peers by showing these traits on a consistent basis. Every now and then I see a thread pop up asking, “When do you think you will stop coming to Bungie.net?” My answer is never. This is a place I have chosen to squat.

Q. Gross!  Do you ever hunker down at any other online communities?

A. Not really.  Five kids, remember?

Actually not too many other online communities, but rather the local music community. Sacramento is a great place to find talented local musicians.

Q. Oh yeah, kids.  I forget.  Before you shove off, wanna make a shout-out?

A. I would just like to thank everyone working behind the scenes at Bungie for all their hard work. Thanks for giving us this great site to play on. Also thanks to all the members out there who strive to make Bungie.net a great place to hang. I have made some great friends and acquaintances here and hope that list continues to grow.

Shout outs? Is this a 90’s rap song all the sudden? Fine.

I want to give a shout out to my homies up in Mythic Members, Gamers Anon, and The Gallery (we’re gonna bring it back!) Also ericslick for all the betrayals I have dealt him over the years (spin and shoot, it works!!) Yoozel for being patient when I f up, Guitarplayer123 for all the good games, brutalrob for all the movie reviews, all the folks who donate their time to make the community better (moderators and all the script writers), my wife for not only dealing with my Halo and Bungie addiction, but understanding, and my kids for all the lulz they could ever provide.

Looks like that's the last answer borrowedchief is gonna provide.  At least for now.  If you want to say "what's up," you should know were to find him by now.  If not, just hit the discussion link provided and weigh in with your own mature and respectful thoughts.  Thanks to Neil for being a good sport, enduring our crappy jokes, and filling in the blanks for us.

CommunitySpotlight 6/9/2009 10:28 AM PDT permalink

Screenshot Spotlight: Supergrunt19

"Read all about what makes this end-of-the-line train car tick."

Jdars with Team Pepto has prepped another Aesthetic Artist for interview.  If you're interested in check out out some words and screenshots from privat3 caboose, who you may know by another name, click the link below to check it out.

Week 8 Aesthetic Artist Interview: Supergrunt19

CommunitySpotlight 5/29/2009 11:36 AM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - Studio's Choice

A brief return to Mythic form...

Read Full Top Story

CommunitySpotlightHalo 3 5/27/2009 10:58 AM PDT

Average Joe - jmh9072

He's been picked up in a Pelican. Jealous?

Average Joe sent a few questions over to jmh9072 for this week's write-up and it turns out he was more than willing to provide the answers.  If you spend a good deal of time here at our online forums, or use some free scripts to stalk your fellow fans (or our ninjas), you're probably already familiar with this poster's work.  If not, take a few minutes to get the scoop on jmh9072, otherwise known as, Jacob.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Jacob and I’m currently a junior in high school who works part time at an ice cream shop. When I’m not working, I enjoy playing tennis, gaming, and developing software. I'm a big Linux guy and a supporter of free/open source software as a whole. (For those interested, I use Fedora and KDE).

Q. Ice cream, tennis, and open source operating systems, eh?  Is your username some kind of secret code that wraps all those things together in some kind of encrypted message?

A. The meaning behind my name is nothing significant, really. It's just my initials with a trailing “9072.” To be honest, I can't remember what compelled me those many years ago to attach those particular numbers to my name, but they've stuck ever since.

Q. What forums do you stay stuck to? Are there specific areas of the community that you find yourself more attached to than others?

A. I can usually be found in my favorite private groups – Inside the Machine and Greasemonkeys are two examples. Both are programming-related so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, feel free to join. Outside those places I like to hang around The Halo 3 Forum, The Septagon, and The Flood.

Q. So, why gaming?

A. Put simply, gaming is just plain fun. I enjoy spending time with my friends in campaign or starting up a 16-man BTB game. There's nothing better than getting fifteen of your friends together for an all-night brawl (especially if it's a LAN party and there is lots of good food).

Q. What was the first Bungie title you spent some time with?

A. The first Bungie game I played was Halo: CE back in 2001. What captured me was the sheer depth of the storyline. I was instantly hooked. My friends and I bought Halo 2 when it came out three years later, and had a great time with it. I'll never forget my buddy's (you might know him as Lord Snakie) reaction to Cortana's capture by Gravemind: “Cortana! NOOOOOOOOO!!”

However, since I didn't actually own an Xbox myself until early 2006, I spent much of my time playing Halo PC and Custom Edition. I had a lot of fun with that - specifically with the custom maps people made. The community surrounding that game was extremely creative and never ceased to amaze me (and yes, getting picked up in a pelican with the enemy's flag is everything you thought it would be and more).

Q. Are you ever amazed by your own level of community involvement?

A. To be honest, no, I'm not. I like to contribute, give something back. How much less fun would this community be if no one ever wanted to take the time to set up the Community Carnages, create awesome montages, write innovative scripts to extend the site's functionality, or do any of the other great things this community does. If I can make someone's experience here better by adding new features to the Moderator Finder or the User Stalker (yes, I'm watching your every move), then I feel I've done my job. (But there's always more I can do!)

Q. Speaking of more, are you involved with any other online communities?

A. Yeah, I lurk at a number of other communities. I'm not anywhere near as involved with them as I am with Bnet, though. I visit Rooster Teeth and HBO semi-regularly, and every once in a while I'll head on over to halomaps.org to see what new stuff people are creating.

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

Yeah, I'd like to make a shout-out to Lord Snakie, whom I've known since gradeschool, Firebird347 for all he has done to further my knowledge of programming and for his work on the uStalk, Bapabooie, Tartan 118, ViralSchwarzy, SpecOpsAssault, GodsGunman, CAVX, SonicJohn, paulmarv, burritosenior, Sprool, BahamutZER0, robby118, Index, brand220, S1NISTER, lolpokey, Screecherz and anyone else I may have forgotten (Sorry! You know I love you guys!). If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be nearly as involved here in the community as I am. You guys are awesome!

Well, that wraps it up for jmh9072's time in our spotlight.  We'd like to thank him for being open and supplying the answers to our questions.  If you ever get the feeling that someone's watching you during your time on Bungie.net, don't worry, Jacob's probably just testing out some new software.  If you want to talk shop or just say what's up to this week's Average Joe, click on the discussion link and fire away.

CommunitySpotlight 5/26/2009 10:29 AM PDT permalink

The Ghosts of Onyx's Favorite Files Updated

GoO steps back into the spotlight.

The Ghosts of Onyx are back for round two of their community spotlight.  This time they're sending Furious D 18 out into the mix to give us the scoop on what went into his map, Exacted.  If you want to learn more, all you gotta do is get reading.

Q. What inspired your creation?

A. I liked the flag placement on the Halo 2 map, Relic. Getting the flag off the precipice was the difficult part, but the flag was relatively easy to capture after getting over that first hurdle. I tried to imitate that in a smaller version in Exacted. From there, I tried to add elements of Lockout by making a few varied structures and many travel routes through the map.

Q. What aspect took the longest to get right?

A. I created an original aesthetic touch by placing teleporter nodes clipped into boxes so that only the lights show. Since teleporter nodes can't be set not to spawn at the start, and since boxes won't move through teleporter nodes, it took a lot of trial and error to get it right.

Q. How long did it take to create?

A. As a whole, I don't know how long the map took. But the teleporter lights I mentioned above easily took several hours. I must have used the "save and quit" technique over one hundred times. That's a lot of effort to put into an aesthetic touch.

Q. How could The Forge be improved?

A. It's been argued that Forge is a level editor, not a level creator, and that it is very successful in that capacity. I happen to agree. But while we're on the subject, I think the community's desires fall into two categories.

First, it would be nice to have greater control over object placement. Features like a specific degree of rotation tool or a group copy/paste tool would really speed up map creation.

And the second community desire is to be able to give your map a unique appearance so it stands out from the crowd. Selectable object skins, or even custom painted skins, would really let a level designer perfect his or her map. Other "environmental" effects like lights or fog with sizable boundaries would could also help orient players within the map and immerse them in the game. The red and blue lights offered in Sandbox are definitely a big step in the right direction, so thanks!

Big thanks to GoO for stepping up to the plate and providing the answers to our questions.  Of course, Exacted isn't the only map they are putting on display for you us week.  Bungie Favorites have been refreshed to reflect all of their week two offerings.  You should check them out.

CommunitySpotlight 5/20/2009 10:16 AM PDT permalink

Average Joe - VENOM MDK

Relieving the stress of the workday.

Leading the pack this week on our way to an Average Joe merit badge is VENOM MDK.  You may know the name.  If not, now is the time to get yourself acquainted.  Scroll down to learn a little bit about the man who first opened up the offices over at Halo 3 in The Work Place.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Adam you killed my father prepare to die. Well not really about the father part. I’m currently a business analyst although I do more than what a typical business analyst does. As for my hobbies, besides playing Halo 3 I’m a Cub Master for my son’s Cub Scout Pack. I also like to spend time with my family.

Q. Ooh, family is pretty awesome.  And earning badges.  Double awesome.  What about the username - where did that come from?

A. VENOM MDK came from two of my favorite things in my childhood. I have always liked Venom from Spider-Man. MDK was a PC game from 1997 that I, for some odd reason, could not get enough of.

Q. What online forums can you not get enough of?

I spend a lot of my time in the private group forums of Halo 3 In The Work Place. I check out the main Halo 3 forums from time to time and offer my opinion when I find a thread of Interest. I also will jump into the OTK (Owners of the Katana) group forums from time to time and see what is happening over there. I check my wonderful stats everyday over at HaloCharts.

Q. So, why gaming?  Do you ever drag your family and friends into your online world?

A. I game because after a stressful day at the office it helps release that built up stress. I do game from time to time with my son Lil Venom mdk. Although he wants to play Snipers all the time just so he can beat his Dad. I really suck with that weapon.

Q. Hmm, did you ever try out the Sniper Rifle from Halo or Halo 2?  Maybe you just need some more practice.

A. Believe it or not Halo 3 was my first Bungie game I played. I was hearing all the hype from G4TV and at the local game store and thought I should look into it. I am so glad I did. Since picking up the game I downloaded Marathon Durandal and Halo CE from Xbox LIVE and was even able to find a used copy of Halo 2 at the local game store. I think I might pick up Bungie's next title, ODST or something like that, this fall.

Q. ODST?  Seems we've heard that someplace before.  Something about Fall and 2009.  Where were we?  Oh yes, what about your community participation?  Being in the spotlight generally means you're kind of a big deal.  Are you shocked by your level of involvement?

A. By all means I am shocked at my involvement with the Bungie Community. I was able to create an awesome group with the Work Place. In the group people are always willing to help out when needed. Heck my Xbox crashed hardcore and I’m not talking about RRoD. I mean it crashed completely. Well the group came together with a fundraiser and I had a new Xbox that day and did not miss any gaming. Work Place, you guys and gals rock! Yes people, we have girls in the group.  Pick your chins up off the floor.

Q. Sounds like a cool place to get involved with.  Are you involved with any other entertainment-related communities?

A. Wait; there are other entertainment-related communities out there? Where can I find them?

Q. Well, this interview seems to have taken a turn down the Punctuation Super Highway.  We're going to take the next exit.  Anything you wanna add? Wanna make a quick shout-out?

A. I got nothing to add. I have said my peace and its time to move on to the next “Joe.”

As for shout outs, here you go:

My Wife – For putting up with my gaming addiction. Thank you and I love you.
Lil Venom mdk – I will one of these days beat you at snipers.
My Mom – For all your support you have given me over the years.
Bungie – Thanks for making a sweet game and for the advanced Mythic Map Pack.
The Deragoth – Thanks for starting that thread years ago. The work placers will get this one.
DaWhistlesGoWoo aka Eaglesofdc – Thanks for the encouragement to create the group based off a Halo 3 forum thread. Who would have thought it would last this long!
Joeski73 – Man thanks for stepping up when needed
BigCountry1369 – Keep up the good work brutha!
To the HR pirates – Warm up your fingers index finger!
FOMAN123 – Thanks for sharing CI’s limelight with the Work Place. And the input you have provided us on running a better group.
Der Todesengel – for being my Halo 3 BFF and logging over 1000 games with me.
And course the rest of the Work Place – Get to “Work Placing!!!!!”

VENOM MDK is correct.  It's time to move on.  We want to thank him for his time and words (and the extensive list of shout outs).  We really wish we could have worked in some more Princess Bride references.  In any case, if you run into VENOM MDK online, challenge him to a swordfight and see if his saber skills measure up.  If you do get the best of him, please don't run him through.  A good, solid knock on the head will do just fine.

CommunitySpotlight 5/19/2009 10:27 AM PDT permalink

Community Spotlight - The Ghosts of Onyx

A novel name for a group.  Get it?

Read Full Top Story

CommunitySpotlight 5/13/2009 10:39 AM PDT

Average Joe - CAVX

Convinced he's a normal person.

Average Joe returns to the Tuesday lineup to showcase a man who's survived gang activity in the Centennial State, an unhealthy love for Digimon, and more than one case of mistaken identity.  Want to learn more?  Of course you do.  You're quite curious.  Uncover more about the mysterious CAVX by scrolling down and getting a face full of words.  When you're done, pop into the discussion thread and tell him you're pretty sure he works for Bungie.  Then demand Recon.

Q. Who are you and what do you do?

A. My name is Corey. I am a Caucasian male who lives in a Colorado town that has a nice mix of gang activity and college campus. I, of course, am there for the college campus. I’m working on a Computer Information Systems degree. I also have a job as a “Counter Intelligence Agent” for the Geek Squad at Best Buy and I use much of my free time to code, post on forums, or play Xbox. Despite all of this, I’m somehow able to convince myself at night that I’m a normal person and not so deep into this stuff that I can’t get out. Hey, aren’t I supposed to be in class right now? Oops.

Other than my technological side, I’m a drummer and have been for about ten years now. I’m not your stereotypical “only-plays-metal-with-two-bass-pedals” drummer either. Don’t expect to hear about any new EP from me coming out, though. The current extent of my drumming is playing on certain weekends at my church (which turns out to be far more awesome than it may sound to you). But if you know of any awesome Colorado bands that need a drummer, let me know.

Q. Corey.  Caucasian.  Colorado.  College.  Computers.  Counter Intelligence.  Church.  We're beginning to notice a pattern.  What about your gamertag? Where did it come from?

A. When I was younger, my mom used to call me “Coco.” Actually, she still does sometimes…

So anyway, when young CAVX was dialing into AOL for the first time, he decided to have a “cool” name. As such, I invented the moniker “CocoA VorteX,” which apparently is some sort of chocolaty tornado. I eventually got older and started to become embarrassed by the name. People on certain forums had started to call me CAVX as an abbreviation, so I went with that. Most people pronounced it “Kavicks” and not “Savicks,” so I decided that the former was the legitimate pronunciation and started yelling at people who pronounced it wrong. Regardless, some people don’t believe my story and think my name has something to do with extreme vegetables. You can be the judge.

Q. Ooh, we like judging.  Silently.  How did you get into the online scene and where could we find you if we were looking to say, stalk you online?

A. I typically stay away from blogs. I tried blogging before and I just talked about all my problems and how I liked certain girls and stupid stuff like that. No one wants to hear about that.

It has always been hard for me to frequent more than one forum at the same time. It started with a Digimon RPG forum (I know, don’t mock me!) when I was younger. Then I decided to make my own, which got sponsored and had over 2,000 members. A few other forums on rather odd subjects, all somehow concerning a video game, and I eventually get here. Now I hang out on these forums. I frequent the Septagon and The Flood a lot, but I’ll only post nowadays if I really feel like I have something productive to add to the conversation. I also have my own little internet haven that I manage with SonicJohn, which is quite nice. I would link it, but I broke the banning system temporarily, so I can’t have a mass influx of new users yet. If you’re interested enough, you can find it in my profile or SonicJohn’s profile.

Q. Concerning video games, what about them peaks your interest?

A. Nowadays, I play games either because of the interaction and community, or because I just really like the game I happen to be playing, in which case it’s typically for the art in it or for the story (and sometimes both, of course). My friends and family tend to join me in certain games as well. One of the funniest moments with family was when my mom got Wii Fit, because it weighed my brother and made the most hilarious tuba sound to indicate his weight. Haha.

Anyway, video games are pretty integrated with my life. My roommate and I both own an Xbox, and we recover gamertags between them almost daily. I just had a discussion with my stepbrother via text message about the Master Extra stages for Monkey Ball 2. People from school come over and we play Guitar Hero World Tour. I try to impress the ladies by playing every part on Expert.

My life in gaming started with a Sega Genesis. I thoroughly enjoyed the Sonic games, and I typically played as Tails with my older brother being Sonic because I liked it that way for some reason. I stuck with Sega until the Dreamcast tanked. At this point, I was that guy who was better than you at every video game, but oddly enough, I never really liked competing against my friends.

Q. What was the first Bungie title you integrated into your life? How did you come across it and what made you keep on playing it?

A. My stepdad eventually picked up an Xbox for himself. I played it from time to time. Then one day I went to my neighbor’s, who was playing Halo multiplayer. It didn’t hit me right away how much I enjoyed the game. But I started going over there more and more until I realized that I loved the game. I bought the copy of OXM that had the demo of Halo: CE, which lets you play the Silent Cartographer level. Let’s just say that I know that level really well.

Eventually I got the game, and started to join forces with my neighbor and play eight-person games over LAN. That’s how it started. I loved Halo the most for the cooperative play, and Xbox in general for online play. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t enjoy playing against my friends. So what better solution than to play with my friends against complete strangers? Seems to be a good solution to me.

I’ve been here long enough to develop an interest in Bungie’s past, but I haven’t “researched” those games as much as I’d like to. I’ve definitely played around with Marathon: Durandal for the Xbox Live Arcade, which I enjoyed. I didn’t buy the full version though, because the game kind of gave me a headache. I also played some sort of Linux-port of Abuse. I don’t know if that counts or not, because Bungie only published it and didn’t actually develop it. But having the knowledge of that game won me a prize from Achronos at PAX last year.

Q. PAX prizes for knowledge and interaction.  Awesome.  Are you surprised at all by your level of community interaction?

A. The level of my community involvement here happened almost entirely by accident. One day, someone in the Community Forum made a thread speculating on how cool it would be to have a Bungie Firefox Theme. Well, I was developing websites, and I heard that making Firefox themes was mostly images and CSS, so I decided to give it a try. I released only days later, not thinking much of it. Unfortunately, ironing out all of the bugs, which was incredibly hard, required a lot of commitment to my supposedly small project. Then Firefox 3 was released, which required more work.

A little later, I accidentally started the Greasemonkey craze here. After the implementation of the user titles here on Bungie.net, I made a Greasemonkey script so that you wouldn’t have to see them, and I called it “Coup d’Bungie.” I also threw in a way to give yourself a custom avatar, title, and bar color to see your own posts better. Little did I know how much of a hit that last feature would be. Now there are tons of Greasemonkey scripts out there for Bungie.net, all compiled in a thread located in the Community Forum (sorry about people reporting bugs that don’t exist, webteam). I don’t actually run Coup d’Bungie anymore. I’ve calmed down quite a bit since then in terms of my community projects here, but that doesn’t stop me from getting messages on Xbox LIVE asking if I can give them Recon or put their map on Bungie Favorites. The funny part is that they don’t believe me when I tell them I don’t work for Bungie. One guy actually said, “well i kno its ur personal acct so u cant tell neone but i wont tell.” Haha. Some people.

Bungie.net has allowed me to run into a lot of cool people though. I met someone on Bungie.net who turned out to be going to my school, so we’re friends now! That’s always fun! And PAX was amazing. Anyway, I still run a few groups, and I plan to go to PAX again this year, which should be a blast. And I’m bringing SonicJohn, who’s coming from Scotland!

Q. SonicJohn, eh?  Name rings a bell. Wanna make any more shout-outs before you shove off?

A. Yes, I’d like to “holla at my boys” in DO NOT JOIN THIS GROUP and the ones in Whisper as well. And #diner. Everyone else is awesome too. I know I just cheated by addressing everyone, but I don’t really care. :)

And I would like to give a shout out to my friends in real life who know that I am such a dweeb but still talk to me anyway. You guys rock.

Thanks to Corey for spending some quality time with us here in the Bungie Blog.  We're glad he took some time out to answer our very pressing questions.  If you happen to run into him on our forums or over Xbox LIVE, act like you know him - just don't ask him for Recon.  Seriously stop.  It's annoying.

CommunitySpotlight 5/12/2009 10:19 AM PDT permalink

PraetoriaGuard's Favorite Files Updated

The skilled and celebrated soldiers return.

PraetoriaGuard is back for week two of their spotlight, sending Eisen Feuer into the fold to provide details on his Forge creation, Access.  If you want to see some of the custom content they have on offer, or you simply want to check out some of their thoughts on what they think could make the Forge a little bit easier to use, you're in luck, we've got what you need below.

Map Variant - Access

Q. What inspired your creation?

A. Access is a Frankenstein of all my favorite maps in Halo CE and Halo 2. There's a little bit of everything in there. My favorite map in Halo CE was Chill Out and in Halo 2 it was Ivory Tower. The defining feature of these for me was the weapons setup; both had a Sniper Rifle, a Rocket Launcher, a Shotgun/Sword, and an Overshield. That really kept you on your toes as the power weapons were constantly changing hands like rock/paper/scissors and they'd come back to bite you unless you kept track of them in your head.

Access's layout itself is a combination of Prisoner and Lockout. It has three distinct levels and a sniper tower like Lockout, and it's enclosed with a bridge spanning the center like Prisoner. Also likening back to Halo 2, there are a smattering of crouch jumps that can get you to the top in seconds and a few grenade jumps that will cost you your shield, but can also prevent you from getting cornered into a more deadly situation. Every level has its own perks but generally speaking you want to be on the top level, shooting down on the denizens of the pit below you.

Q. How long did it take to create?

A. Access began as a larger map with vehicles (taking up half of Foundry) built around what would become the fence wall skybridge that holds the Fuel Rod Cannon. Enclosed ramps caged the action and after attaining your prize weapon—you couldn't jump off, you had to fight your way out. But when I started on my final design there was no room for them inside the box I had made, so I started deleting my wall and put features like that on the outside, with fence box U-bends allowing for a view. The map was "complete" for a month or so, but in testing the lower level was a butcher shop; I could never provide enough cover without the place looking like a junkyard. So again I carved into the wall and added another wing to siphon some of the action away from dead center, which also provides cover against those shooting down from the top.

Access was the product of many hours spent in Forge elsewhere, so making its final version came in under 24 hours. Maybe someday I'll return to make every corner razor sharp, but I'm satisfied with its current state. Function before fashion.

Q. How could The Forge be improved?

A. I hope I don't make anyone cry because I know something that seems very simple to the end user (like rewinding in Theater Mode) can turn out to be a game engineer's nightmare, but here I go:

1. Undo last action (or maybe just last delete): "Oops, I deleted a part that cannot be put back, now I need to disassemble everything and recreate it from scratch" could be a thing of the past.

2. Snap/Align to: A box is a box, but sometimes that thousandth of a degree off makes a huge difference when everything else has been aligned to it. Ideally, you'll be able to snap an object to another object like Legos, but just being able to align an object to the cardinal directions (and keep it that way) would be a godsend.

3. Turn off physics: A lot of cool creations are done Mario-style with blocks floating in midair, it would be nice to eliminate the need for scaffolding and/or the constant save and reload regime, and just have an object float there when you let it go.

4. FFA: the ability to turn off teams. This would be great for machinima, we wouldn't need to switch back and forth from Forge to Custom Games as the needs on set change.

5. Guns-down. I'd like to see the old Left-Trigger Gun-Down Animation from Halo 2 return in Forge. Machinima makers will kiss your feet.

No tears on our end.  And feet-kissing is right out.  But, we always want to hear what players think of our title, whether good or bad.  And once again, we want to thank our friends at PraetoriaGuard for engaging with us over these last two weeks.  If you're looking for a great group to join, and you're not a jerk, go ahead and enlist.  If you just want to check out what they have on offer in Bungie Favorites, everything is live and ready for download.

CommunitySpotlight 5/6/2009 11:05 AM PDT permalink