Becoming a Game Animator

Becoming a Game Animator

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Inside Bungie 9/8/2003 5:51 AM PDT

Halo PC Weekly Update

Halo PC Weekly Update

Another week has come and gone and we're creeping closer and closer to the finish line. Halo for PC is in the final stretch and both Bungie and Gearbox are still hard at work tying up loose ends. Our own Michel Bastien has made it out of Plano, TX alive and is back at home in Redmond this week to give us a quick update on the latest developments:

All right!... You guys came very, very close to getting a "special" Halo update directly from Hamilton’s fingertips. But no such thing – he wussed out. That’s too bad, at least for you, because Hamilton has a couple of good stories to share... From my perspective, I'm not too bummed since these stories involved me doing (or saying!) things I shouldn’t.

To be fair, he’s extremely "busy" play testing our latest Halo RC disc (RC stands for Release Candidate). Indeed, we have reached the point where we are burning CDs we could potentially ship. Then, it’s testing and testing and testing... And Hamilton and I are pitching in, as are many others around Bungie (we’re really only sidekicks to our army of testers). The RC cycle feels very bizarre – on one hand, you’re testing like crazy, looking for the one show stopper that would force you to pull the product off the shelves were it discovered post-ship (you know, your typical "Uninstalling formats your hard drive" issues... who would ship with such a bug!?!). On the other hand, uncovering such an issue means fixing it, burning another Release Candidate and, well, starting testing all over again. Pain.

How much time will be spent in the RC cycle is hard to predict but so far, so good. I’ll keep you posted!

We have gradually been coming back from Texas this week. Phil, one of our Microsoft bad-ass graphics engineers who teamed up with Shawn from Gearbox to polish the visuals in the game, came back on Tuesday. Andy, our beloved British development manager, came back late Wednesday night and Hamilton and I flew back early yesterday morning. At this moment, Roger, our test lead, is still hanging around at Gearbox, finalizing a thing or two for which it’s easier to be on site. I must admit it’s good to be walking around Bungie again and I’m now looking forward to catching up with Halo 2...

Now, back to my desktop PC and my game paused on "Truth and Reconciliation". I’m going for the full play-through of the game... one last time!

-mbastien


Thanks for the update Michel! Hmmm... do you think he's playing Legendary or taking the easy way out? Maybe if we're lucky I can persuade Hamilton to share some of those incriminating stories with us at a later date.

Around here it's just test, test, test. One thing that I personally found interesting (though others feel it's totally boring) while talking with some of the testers is all the work invovled to localize a game like Halo PC. Think about it... Halo for PC will be released in 8 different languages. All requiring translation, testing, etc.. I think that's pretty intense but maybe it's just me. =)

The featured map of the week over at the Microsoft Halo PC site is Ice Fields. Very little has been shown of this map so far so be sure to head over there and check it out. Also, the Gearbox site has also posted some new screens including a shot of "Sapien," one of Halo's editing tools.

We're almost there. Stay tuned.

Halo 9/6/2003 12:40 AM PDT permalink

More Action Figure Goodness

More Action Figure Goodness

The Halo collectible frenzy is in full swing but the fun is just beginning. Joy Ride Studios, the makers of these cool figures, sent over some information and pictures of the upcoming Wave 2 and 3 collection as well as 2 special exclusive pieces. Here's the scoop:

Active Camouflage Master Chief

This mail-in exclusive version is 8" tall with 18 points of articulation like the current figure but it's got the added coolness of being completely clear. The Active Camo Chief will also come with clear versions of the assault rifle and sniper rifle. This special figure is only available through a special mail-in promotion. You can get more info in the ad featured in Gamepro magazines or head over to the Joy Ride site to get the order form. All you'll need is the UPC or original receipt from any Halo figure purchase and $5 and in a few weeks you'll get a special package in the mail. These figures are expected to be available in late September. Better hurry before they're all gone!

Wave 2 Collectibles

The 2nd Wave is expected to hit stores in early November and will include:
  • Mini Ghost w/ 3" Master Chief, Elite and Jackal
  • 8" Red Master Chief w/ tactical shotgun, assault rifle and pistol.
  • 8" Covenant Elite w/ plasma rifle and needler

Another round of the original green Master Chief will also be produced but this time he'll come packaged with the Rocket Launcher and Shotgun.

Also available in early November is a special Gamestop exclusive 8" Battle Damage Master Chief .

Wave 3 Collectibles

Wave 3 should arrive in stores in mid February 2004 and will include:
  • 8" Blue Master Chief
  • Mini Banshee w/ 3" Master Chief, Elite and Grunt
  • 7" Marines - Johnson, "Marine #1" and "Marine #2" (sold separately)

You can see photos of these new figures over in the collectibles gallery at halo.bungie.net. We will continue to keep our existing toy FAQ updated as new information becomes available so stay tuned to Bungie.net in the months ahead.

Halo 9/5/2003 6:16 PM PDT permalink

Joy Ride Speaks

Joy Ride Speaks

As we mentioned last week, the first wave of Halo figures from Joy Ride have been making their way into stores across the country. Today, it's official. Joy Ride has issued the following press release announcing the availability of the new figures. It's not really anything new for regulars of Bungie.net but it does feature some exciting marketing-speak and quotes from Joy Ride themselves.

----------------------------------

THEY’RE HERE! JOYRIDE STUDIOS™ RELEASES THE
FIRST-EVER HALO® COLLECTIBLE FIGURES


Bolingbrook, IL (SEPTEMBER 4, 2003)—Based on the hugely popular Xbox® sci-fi action-adventure game “Halo®” developed by Bungie, the first wave of three collectible figures by JoyRide Studios, a brand of RC2 (NASDAQ: RCRC), is here and available at retail now.

“These are some of the most highly anticipated collectible figures ever,” said Scott Corley, Managing Director of the Figure Team for JoyRide Studios. “The initial demand exceeded our product run, and only a limited number of figures will be produced before we move on to the assortment that’s coming out in November. The bottom line is, this collection is going to go fast.”

JoyRide Studios holds the exclusive license to produce these spectacularly detailed figures and is the first to bring a third dimension to characters from Halo, one of the top-selling video game titles ever released. The collection includes the Master Chief, the Warthog Light Reconnaissance Vehicle, and the AI construct, Cortana™. Suggested retail prices are $14.99 to $17.99.

The 1:12 scale Master Chief has more than 18 points of articulation, a reflective helmet visor, and an arsenal of three weapons. The 1:24 scale Warthog has working suspension, a rotating/pivoting machine gun, and comes complete with three figures—a mini-Master Chief and two marines. Finally, the translucent 1:12 scale Cortana comes on a lighted base, creating a glowing hologram effect.

A special promotion of Halo figures is planned for the October 2003 issue of GamePro magazine. Additionally, select retail outlets are offering the 3” Master Chief with assault rifle as a special bonus for customers who pre-order the video game Halo for Windows®, which will be released in September.

“Gamers have been waiting for these figures for months,” Corley said. “We’re looking forward to delivering high-quality collectibles to fans of the Halo universe.”

About RC2
RC2 (www.rc2corp.com) is a leading producer and marketer of high quality collectibles, toys and hobby products targeted at adult collectors, parents and children. The company's diverse product offerings include: traditional children's toys; agricultural, construction and outdoor sports vehicle replicas; automotive, high performance and racing vehicle replicas; sports trading cards, racing apparel and souvenirs; and collectible figures. These products are sold under the Company's market-focused brand names, including Racing Champions®, Ertl®, Ertl Collectibles®, Learning CurveSM, American Muscle™, AMT®, W. Britain®, Press Pass®, Eden®, Feltkids® and JoyRide Studios™. RC2 builds consumer loyalty by fulfilling the passions of targeted consumers with its branded products that encourage repeat purchases and are fun to own and use. The Company's goal is to achieve leadership in targeted markets worldwide by acting on significant consumer trends, continuously applying innovation and developing consumer preferred brands and products distributed through multiple channels. These channels include chain retailers, specialty and hobby wholesalers and retailers, OEM dealers, corporate accounts for promotional purposes and direct to consumers. The Company sells through more than 20,000 retail outlets located primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

About Bungie
Bungie was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that
combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve the real goal of total world domination. Over the last 10 years it produced games like the Marathon Trilogy and the first two Myth games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. "Halo: Combat Evolved," its latest game, has achieved phenomenal success on the Xbox video game system from Microsoft. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.Bungie.net/.

About Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Windows PC gaming, Xbox video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse game portfolios for the PC (http://www.microsoft.com/games/), including such franchises as Age of Empires®, Flight Simulator and Zoo Tycoon™; the Xbox video game system(http://www.xbox.com/), including such franchises as Halo, Project Gotham Racing® and NFL Fever; and Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/), the official games channel for the MSN® network and home to such hits as Bejeweled and OutSmart™.

Microsoft, Age of Empires, Bungie, Cortana, Halo, MSN, OutSmart, Project Gotham Racing, Windows, Xbox, and Zoo Tycoon are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Halo 9/4/2003 9:16 PM PDT permalink

7th Column Week in Review

7th Column Week in Review

Woohoo! It's the start of a 3 day weekend and the 7th Column mailbag actually has a few letters in it. I know everyone is eager to kick off their holiday weekend so let's get right to it!

Our first bit of mail is from Rambo HALO, who writes:

Sup? I'm Rambo HALO, founder of Halo Hell Raisers and U.S. Amry. These are two of the few Long Island chapters in the 7th Column.Halo Hell Raisers is the oldest of my two chapters,with 200+ members in it,so its obviously a cool chapter. Its loaded with fun databases, heated debates in our forum, and interesting news you wont find anywhere else. And we also have a database that not many other chapters have. We have a Chapter Skit database where we can write down the current events from this chapter or their chapter in comedy form.U.S Army,is a small chapter with lots of room to grow.It only has 14 members, but it will eventually grow into a great 7th Column chapter. Well,i cant think of anything else to say about my chapters,so peace out!

Cool, thanks for the update Rambo. Anyone else have a disturbing vision of Slyvester Stallone running shirtless through Halo shouting bad one liners? A comedic chapter summary sounds interesting...

Next we have a message from SpartanSniper:

If you like Halo and/or Xbox Live, then join Kämpfer. We are looking for members that will be active and play Xbox Live. We mainly play Ghost Recon and Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, but we also play MechAssault, Unreal Championship, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War. And, of course, we will all be playing Halo 2 on Xbox Live when it comes out. If you don't have Xbox Live then just join and talk Halo in the forum.

~SpartanSniper


If we like Halo? Who doesn't like Halo? =) Seriously though, if you're looking for an Xbox Live group to get in with before Halo 2 comes out, this might be the place for you.

Here's an update from Week in Review veteran, Thanatos117:

Hi, Thanatos 117 here who is the founder of Death's Head Legion. I'm giving an update for all you Seventh Column Week Review fans of my chapter. Although an update has been in the works for the last couple of weeks for the chapter new ideas are coming in and with the population growing I'm needing them to get things organized! My militaristic style chapter is going to grow to have new features that will help me out a lot. Having 300 members and people constantly doing things to raise their ranks getting pretty tough now. I'm coming up with new departments that will get ranks updated around almost every half hour and departments that will organize my troops.

I'm going to need it because since I have 300 people with specialties and wanting to have some fun with them I'm going to make a new department that will create and organize missions online so that way everyone is not as bored. It's going to take a long while but I'll make sure that it's done sometime soon. This kinda thing also takes good active people so if you got what it takes to be a very dedicated member of Death's Head Legion then let me know cause I could use anyone who is up for the challenge.

-Thanatos 117


Wow, DHL is up to 300 members already. Sweet! It sounds like a lot is happening over there so if you've got the time and interest to lend a hand, stop by and say hello.

Next up is Syzygy with an update on htis chapter, Ground Zero:

Hello again! It's been a while since I've done a WIR,
but I found time to write up an update for Ground Zero.

First off, the Halo PC Tourney has been pushed back a week to Oct. 11th instead of Oct. 4th. The reason for the date change is because I want to make sure everything is set up and perfect for the event, and we may need time to make sure it's ready. Second, the chapter's look has been updated; new theme, new motto, new greeting message, and new poll. We need members for events, and I'm still recruiting for staff, so come and join up and just ask if you want to be staff. That's about it so I'll see you next week! Thanks for reading!

-Syzygy


Looking for your first Halo PC tournament? Head on over to Ground Zero and check out their chapter and the upcoming tourney. Thanks for the update!

Moving right along... Next we've got a message from masterchief116:

This is masterchief116 from the power surge chapter. We haven't been up to much lately mainly because "we" is actually I. Before I give this chapter up I want to extend an open hand to anyone in or near the Marion, Ohio area that eats, breathes, and possibly drinks and sleeps Halo. Plus I really need to practice against a real challenge (I now know why 12 year olds aren't much fun). Reply to: masterchief116@yahoo.com

Help a brother out. If you're in the Ohio area and can lend a hand to resusitate this chapter, stop on by and check em out.

And finally, we've got one last bit of news, this one just barely squeeking in before we go live...

In our chapter (HaloNorge) we have been planning the big thing for us, a HUGE LAN...
Well for you American guys this is proberly just an average, but we up north think 20 people are a lot...

And as always our chapter is open for any Norwegian, so why dont you join?
If you and your mates have a clan, you can enter it into our clan databases and we can profile you for the rest of Norway!

So if you are not already a member, join up now, and see for yourself Scandinavias biggest Halo Chapter as far is i know... (and I have been looking)
And everyone living in Norway who has the possibility to come to Fredrikstad the 19.-20. of september are welcome to our BIG LAN!

Thats all for this time, but we will be up with more in the following weeks!
But bye for now fellow Halo players!

Øby, founder of HaloNorge


It's always great to get updats from the other side of the globe. If I was Norwegian I'd join HaloNorge! Keep up the good work 0by, the 7th Column needs a strong presence throughout Scandanavia.

And that's a wrap! Thanks to those who shared news with us this week and remember to send in your updates for the next Week in Review. Tell us what you and your chapter are up to! Send your news to 7thcol@bungie.com.

Enjoy the weekend!



Community 8/29/2003 10:48 PM PDT permalink

Halo PC Weekly Update

Halo PC Weekly Update

It's hard to believe it's already been 7 days since our last update. Things are moving at a blistering pace as the Gearbox and Bungie teams work tirelessly to hammer out the last few kinks. It's been great getting frontline reports from Michel these past few weeks but unfortunately for us (but fortunately for those awaiting the game's release), he's locked himself in the confines of the Gearbox HQ until the game goes gold. While the testers and programmers are busy doing their thing, those of us who are less technically inclined are helping out by simply playing the beta. I may not know how to debug and dig into code but I DO know how to play. And play I have. What follows is a little snapshot of my own personal experiences playing the Halo PC beta...

Halo multiplayer is a fairly new adventure for me as I didn't have many opportunities to partake in Xbox LAN action before coming to Bungie. For me, each day has been a new experience. Whether it's creeping around Timberland with a sniper rifle or taking to the skies in Gephyrophobia, each game and each map always seems to offer something a little different. I'm quickly learning which strategies work and which ones don't. After hearing Michel's report last week, I had to try out some team Crazy King on Gephyrophobia. Man, talk about intense! One of the King zones appears right in the middle of the lower platform. You've got people firing and throwing grenades from above, Ghosts blazing full speed on the ground and Banshees strafing from the skies. Just when I get a foothold and start to accrue time... BAM!... the zone moves. This time, the zone is up on the middle level in between two stationary turrets. If a team plays together, it's devastating to have a few players inside the zone and a few others manning the turrets. Turrets are your friend. Another thing I've learned the hard way on this map - if your team doesn't maintain a presence in the skies, you've all but lost. Banshees are very effective at disrupting ground movement and causing havoc with their secondary attack but I've found the most satisfying way to eliminate an enemy is to simply ram him at full speed. =)

Timberland still remains one of my favorites of the new PC-exclusive maps. After spending a ton of time punishing people with my sniper rifle, I've moved on to some different approaches. The hilly terrain on this map will truly separate the rookies from the experts when it comes to driving a Ghost or Warthog. For the experienced pilot, it's a great feeling to drive at full speed while maintaining near perfect control. Using a mouse to drive does take a little getting used but in time it becomes second nature. So last night when I betrayed Achronos by accidentally running him over, I was just getting used to the mouse. Yeah, that's it. Playing race on this map is a lot of fun provided you are a decent driver. CTF on this map is great to play as well since penetrating a well defended base can be very difficult. Luckily the new rocket Warthog seems to be very effective for clearing out any defenders who are hiding inside. On defense, the flamethrower is devastating in close spaces and can wipe out an assault before they even touch the flag. Dead bodies burn a little bit after they drop and can actually be used to create a burning barricade around your flag. Any enemies who want to get the flag will have to first walk through flaming corpses and catch themselves on fire. Thanks to Shishka for sharing this hot tip.

Check back next week for more beta impressions and the latest developments leading up to final release. For more info on Halo PC, check out the Gearbox website for new screenshots each week. Over at the Microsoft site the featured map this week is Danger Canyon . Now if you'll excuse me, I've go
t some fragging to do. After all, I'll need the biggest head start I can get before facing off against all of you!

Halo 8/29/2003 10:31 PM PDT permalink

Action Figure Update

Action Figure Update

As some of you are starting to discover, the Halo collectibles are popping up in stores across the country. From what I'm hearing, supplies are very limited so you might have a hard time locating them. As I mentioned earlier, there are still Warthogs available in the Bungie Store but the others are sold out. In case you missed the news post a few weeks ago, you can find the figures at places like Gamestop, Sam Goody, Suncoast, Blockbuster and Musicland. Many other smaller shops are also carrying them. From what I've heard, these figures are selling out so you may need to do some hunting.

There is good news over at the Joy Ride website. On their online retail site, they are now taking pre-orders for the Master Chief figure which will be shipping at the end of September. In addition, they also have a cool mail-in offer for a free "Active Camouflage" Master Chief. Send in your proof of purchase and $5 and in a few weeks you'll get this special version. Sweet!

Halo 8/29/2003 8:45 PM PDT permalink

Bungie Store Sale

Bungie Store Sale

Summer is winding down which means it's time for the first annual 'end of summer' sale at the Bungie Store. From now through September 30th, you can get up to 30% off on select items in the store. Whether you need some new back-to-school threads or you've just been putting off buying a Halo shirt, now is the time to act.

Speaking of the Bungie Store, I just noticed that there are quite a few of the new Joy Ride Warthogs available as well. Unfortunatley the Master Chief and Cortana figures are completely sold out but there are a few hogs left over. From what I'm hearing, these figures are in short supply everywhere so act quickly before they're gone forever.

Inside Bungie 8/29/2003 5:57 PM PDT permalink

It's Aboot Time

It's Aboot Time

Just in time for the holiday weekend, a fresh new edition of Ask the Cananimators is now available for your reading enjoyment. Want to know what their favorite bands are? What they had for lunch? Check it out for the answers to these and many more thought provoking questions. If you've got a question of your own for the guys, ask it here

Inside Bungie 8/28/2003 8:39 PM PDT permalink

Link Up, Win Prizes

Link Up, Win Prizes

Xbox.com has launched a revamped site today along with a new era of Xbox Live. Gamers can now link up their gamertags and interact via the web to do all sorts of cool stuff. What does this have to do with Bungie.net? As part of their kickoff, Xbox.com annouced the Live it Up! Sweepstakes which promises daily prizes and 2 grand prizes. The HDTV sounds enticing but I think most of you will be more interested in prize #2 - Two invitations to the exclusive Halo 2 launch party! Head over to Xbox.com and check it out! Who knows, maybe we'll be hanging out with YOU when Halo 2 is released!

Inside Bungie 8/27/2003 10:42 PM PDT permalink

Making the Halo 2 E3 Demo - Engineering

Making the Halo 2 E3 Demo - Engineering

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Halo 8/27/2003 10:06 AM PDT

7th Column Week in Review

7th Column Week in Review

Things are quiet. Too quiet. Either everyone is extremely busy, working behind the scenes to build up the 7th Column ranks, or perhaps this new virus that's going around has blocked all of your mail. Either way, the mail bag hasn't been this slow since.. well.. I've never seen it this slow.

Last week we had a whopping 3 pieces of mail in the ole' inbox. Guess what? It's a week later and we still have only three. Apologies to the chapters who did submit news last week. In retrospect at least your messages should have been posted but I was hoping that perhaps with more time, more chapters would send in an update. Alas that didn't happen and even after a full 2 week's we've only got 3 pieces of mail to share. I pledge to maintain the Week in Review but only as long as there are chapters willing to share their latest happenings with the rest of the Column.

Ok enough of all that. Let's move on to the letters we DID receive...

Our first bit of mail is from Banshee Buster who writes:

hey guys Banshee Buster here

Do you love active camoflage? Do you love killing others by cracking them one in the back? do you love sneaking into the enemy base and letting loose with a shotgun or rocket launcher? well if the answer is YES to one or more of these questions then come on over and join the Phantom Assassins!
We are a new chapter looking for experianced players of all types and if possible, people from pert, australia.
But thats not all. If you are considering joining then listen to this - the first 10 to 15 people become staff and the first 5 become squad leaders! well come on over to Phantom Assasins now!

I eagerly await your reponses.

-Banshee Buster


Cool. Who doesn't love a good silent but deadly stealth kill? Check out this new chapter if you want to get in the action and possibly be a staff member.

Next up is Spartan-010 who sent in the following message:

Hey its Spartan-010 again, me and Stillts have been trying to get LANs going in Connecticut. Our main problem is finding 7th Column members that are from Connecticut. So we were hoping some CT resident would read this and would join the Spartans of Halo, any one and every one can join, but the main goal of this message is to get CT locals. Right now we have about four people that are from CT and are willing to have LANs, and once we get about eight, we will start having LANs. We have three goals as of right now, number one is to get more CT residents, number two is to find a place to rent so we can have the LANs there, and number three is to find a sponsor. If you can help us with any of those goals, please join the Spartans of Halo or contact me and Stillts.

If you live in the Connecticut area and are looking for some LAN action, stop by Spartan's chapter and say hello.

And finally, we have our last piece of mail which is from Toolman:

The deposit has been paid and the dates set for the Round Table Halo Tournament in Indianapolis, IN! It will be held at the Indiana Convention Center in downtown Indianapolis on November 15 & 16, 2003!

For those who may not already know, this will be a 4-man TEAM and FFA (free for all) event with room for 48 teams. Registration is now OPEN>, so take a moment to sign-up while you're here! A tentative list of gametypes has also been posted on our b.net page. Please feel free to take a look and give us some feedback on the forums.

An hour-by-hour schedule for the event will also be posted *shortly*. In the meantime, get out those controllers, call up your buddies, and starting making travel plans for the city of Indianapolis! And be sure to check back regularly for updates and recent developments. Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you there!

--Toolman
Round Table Orginazation
Round Table Tournament Site

PS. Please bear with us as we are still in the process of moving information from our b.net page to our Tournament Site, so it may not look too pretty right now.


Wow! This sounds like a sweet event. If you live anywhere near Indianapolis, it's time to start practicing. Stop by their chapter for more info. These are the types of mail we love to receive - chapters getting active and organizing cool things for other members of the 7th Column.

Well that's it. Short and sweet I guess. The Column is still growing at a rate of about 50 to 75 new chapters a week so I know there are people out there. Send us a mail and let us know what your chapter has been up to! Send your Week in Review material to 7thcol@bungie.com.

Also, if you have suggestions or ideas about how we can improve the Week in Review and get things going again, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time...

Community 8/23/2003 12:19 AM PDT permalink

Halo PC Weekly Update

Halo PC Weekly Update

Another week has gone by and we’re that much closer to the retail release of Halo for PC. As we progress down the final stretch, last minute efforts have reached a fevered pitch as an army of testers and programmers smooth out the remaining wrinkles. Of course no Halo PC update would be complete without a front line report from our Producer, Michel, who’s practically a resident of Texas by now. Here’s his latest report:

Sketch is determined – he won’t let another week go by without violently harassing me until I give into writing an update for Bungie.net. Truth is, I love doing this! (when I get to it...)

Another very intense week has gone by. By now, most of you are aware that this past weekend, a sweet FanStock event took place over at Gearbox. It was a blast! There are a bunch of write-ups available around the net. (like this one at halo.bungie.org) For us, the developers, it’s very cool to see some of our most loyal and hardcore Halo players having fun with the game on the PC , doing cool things such as flying a Banshee in Blood Gulch and discovering the new multiplayer maps for the first time. I’m so looking forward to the game being widely available and eing able to pick up a multiplayer game anytime of the day. Lack of sleep is expected.

Lately, I’ve been playing a bunch of online games with a few Microsoft testers and Gearbox developers. Here are some of the coolest game types that are emerging (in my opinion):

KOTH on Gephyrophobia . This is completely crazy. It’s total mayhem in the center of the map and various elements come together in some explosive ways. Whether it’s because someone jumps in with a Flamethrower or because 3 Ghosts are assaulting it simultaneously, things definitely get chaotic. One can emerge victorious from this chaos, should he use the elements right. Hum... That sounds like a lame marketing pitch but it’s true, believe me! There’s a health pack lying around nearby – fight over it. There are plenty of plasma grenades – don’t stop throwing them. Arm yourself with a pistol and a shotgun... That’s what I call "using the elements".

CTF on Timblerland . That’s not necessarily surprising. I think it’ll be a favorite online. There have been a few descriptions of Timberland in the FanStock write-ups this week. One of the things I love about Timberland is that I can play it in many different ways. Ha, I’ll let you find out for yourself.

I was also involved in some magnificent Rockets on Blood Gulch. While this could definitely happen on the Xbox, Banshees add a completely new dimension to Blood Gulch... and blowing one up with a rocket launcher is so rewarding.

On the development side, more things are getting wrapped up every day. Our powerful army of testers is tirelessly going through the game over and over again, informing us of everything that is wrong in every area (think graphics, sounds, networking, UI, NATs, setup and everything else). This weekend, Sketch will be joining the Penny Arcade gang for their Lanwerx Gaming Day. All the details are here. Both the PC and Xbox version of Halo will be on-site. Stop by if you’re local!

-mbastien


A big thanks to Michel once again for taking a few minutes to bring us all up to speed with what’s been happening out in Texas. Back at the home front, there are also plenty of people working overtime to polish and fine tune the game.

This week the "Beta 2" discs were sent out to our beta testers, which marks the first time we can start playing with large numbers of players across the internet. Before you ask, sorry, it’s a closed beta test only for people who are registered as part of Microsoft’s beta program. But, the good news is that the game will
soon be available for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

Many of us have been playing every night and the trash talk is really flying around the office. Just last night myself, Achronos, Evil Otto, Danger Boy and Lance all took part in a few "friendly" matches of CTF. My personal favorite new map so far is Timberland. I’m sure you’ve seen and heard plenty about it already but as Michel mentioned, it’s a ton of fun because of all the different tactics and methods you can use on it. Lately I’ve been enjoying taking my sniper rifle out for a spin. With wide open angles yet plenty of cover, Timberland really is a sniper’s paradise and nothing beats the satisfaction of a headshot from all the way across the map.

Stay tuned to Bungie.net over the next few weeks as I’ll do my best to keep everyone up to date with the latest developments up until the game is released. Also, be sure to visit the Gearbox site as they continue to upload new screenshots each week. Over at Microsoft’s Halo PC site they are featuring new screens and info on a new map each week. Timberland was covered last week and Gephyrophobia is on tap this week.

We're almost there... just a little bit longer!

Halo 8/22/2003 8:53 PM PDT permalink

Fresh Themes

Fresh Themes

Want a fresh new look for your chapter? If the existing 27 themes weren't enough for you, we've just added four new ones. "H2" is a great Halo 2 theme submitted by Qbix, who also happens to be the creator of "Legendary" which was the 1st place winner in the Bungie.net theme contest held earlier this year. "Thieves in the Night", submitted by Strykerman, features Master Chief and some animated Xbox goodness. It happens to be named the same as his Chapter but it's a good overall theme that anyone can enjoy.

The last two themes were actually created by the two newest people to join the Bungie team. Claire was recently brought on board to help with the development of the new and improved Bungie.net. In her spare time, she whipped up "Shotguns" while trying to better familiarize herself with our systems.

The final theme, "Euphoria Station", was created by Zoe, our new artist/graphic designer who just started this week. Zoe will be working with mehve to make sure the new Bungie.net looks and "feels" incredible.

You can see a snapshot of all four new themes by clicking on these links:


A huge thanks goes out to all four of these folks for taking the time to make the 7th Column a better looking place for us all. If you want to take a crack at creating a theme, download the theme builder and get to work. Once you've got it looking great, send it to 7themes@bungie.com and if we like it, we'll add it to the Column!

Community 8/21/2003 11:23 PM PDT permalink

Update - Halo for PC

Update - Halo for PC

A few weeks ago we got an update from Michel Bastien, producer of Halo for PC, on the latest developments and status of the project. Michel has been living almost exclusively in Plano, TX these days (the home of Gearbox Software) as the finishing touches are being made to the game. I tracked down Michel and asked him to give us an update on what's happening out there. Here's what he passed along:

"Wow. I am browsing the old news update on Bungie.net only to realize I haven’t sent any updates on the development of the PC version of Halo for the last 2 months...I suck. Sketch has been trying to get me to write something up for weeks now only to look at e-mails pile up in his inbox with inspiring excuses such as "the next time I am on a plane, I’ll put something together."

But now that I’m getting to it...

We are definitely on the final stretch to deliver the PC version of Halo to you guys. Mehve was pulled in last week to create art for our setup program and it’s very sweet. So the coolness will start as soon as you insert the disc in your computer. Marty was also involved... but that was, how can I say, more "challenging." Indeed, the setup application is somewhat limited in terms of what it can do with sounds and music. Marty, on the other hand, is not limited in terms of what he can do with sounds and music... I’m sure you guys see the challenge right there! In the end, there will be some audio coolness in the setup as well. Not nearly enough to satisfy Marty but enough to complement the beautiful images.

Two or three weekends ago, I stopped by the CPL Summer event with the Gearbox team and a build of the game. That was pretty cool. We cleaned up a meeting room, packed in 10 computers, set up a LAN and invited CPL attendees to blast each other for 3 hours or so. It was good fun to play with some of the very hardcore gamers that attend these kinds of events. For the very last two games, 5 of us from the development team gathered together and took on a fight with a team of 5 gamers that had been theorizing about how to best play Timberland for 30 minutes. Sure, we whooped their asses but believe me, by the time the CPL Winter event comes around, Halo will have been out there for almost 3 months and these guys will get sweet revenge.

Gotta go back to RAID (don’t ask). I’ll close this by saying that we have another cool event coming up this weekend. We will be hosting a couple of international journalists and lucky fans over at Gearbox to check out an updated build of the game. I’ll write about it next week...(Ouch. A promise I might not be able to keep.)

Hang tight – Halo is landing on the PC very soon.

- mbastien "


There you have it, the latest word straight from the front line. Over on this side of the country, parts of the Bungie team are also hard at work supporting the efforts in Texas. We're working with the folks at Sybex to finish up their new strategy guide and I can personally say that it's shaping up very nicely. As you may have heard, they've solicited tips and suggestions from the Halo community and it's really cool to read proven strategies straight from our fans. Mehve also whipped up a cool advertisement that should start making its way into various publications soon. You may also start to notice some in-store posters and displays easing their way into your local game outlets over the next few weeks.

A flood of new testers have joined the ranks lately to assist in fine tuning and perfecting the game while many of us engage in friendly "bug bashes" at least once a day. Even after all of the Halo playing that's taken place within these halls, we still have a blast fragging one another and the new maps are playing great.

You can feel the excitement building - after what must seem like an
eternity to some, Halo for the PC is finally about to become a reality.

Tune in next week for another update as I'll try to wrangle more info out of Michel and do a little sleuthing work of my own to bring you the latest developments. In the mean time, keep an eye on the Gearbox site as they are releasing new Halo PC screens every week until the game comes out. Stay tuned!

Halo 8/15/2003 10:34 PM PDT permalink

Got a Question, eh?

Got a Question, eh?

The first installment of Ask the Cananimators is now up and running for your reading pleasure. Every few weeks we'll update their page with new questions and new responses. If you have something to ask, you can post your questions here. Please keep in mind that your questions regarding specific details and info about Halo 2 will NOT be answered. (not yet at least). Anything else is fair game so don't be shy! So what are you waiting for? Grab a few slices of Canadian Bacon, throw on some Bryan Adams and get reading ya hoser!

Inside Bungie 8/14/2003 5:29 PM PDT permalink

Anime - Bungie Style

Anime - Bungie Style

Well, not exactly... But, fans of Bungie and Anime should mark their calendars for Oct. 24-26 when our own Shiek Wang, Lorraine McLees (mehve) and Robt McLees will be special guests at the Anime Reactor expo in Chicago. That's right, Bungie is headed back to the windy city! All three artists will be on hand to participate in panel discussions and hang out with showgoers.

For more info, visit the Anime Reactor website at www.animereactor.org. We'll keep you posted on any other developments as we get closer to the event.

Inside Bungie 8/8/2003 12:51 AM PDT permalink

Halo Collectibles Update

Halo Collectibles Update

The new Halo collectibles from Joy Ride Studios are almost here! Wave one, which features Master Chief, Cortana and the Warthog are all headed to store shelves this month. If you pre-ordered the figures from the Bungie Store a while ago then you might be wondering why they're no longer listed there. Well, we found out after we started the pre-order program that there were going to be inventory shortages and rather than risk not being able to fulfill someone's order, we decided to cancel any further orders. If you've already got a pre-order placed with our store, everything's cool and you needn't worry. There's been one other change to our existing pre-orders though - the original price of $17.99 was actually incorrect. You will in fact be charged $14.99. Woohoo!

For those who didn't pre-order through the Bungie store, I got a list of some of the major stores that will carry the product line:

  • Gamestop
  • Hollywood Video
  • Blockbuster
  • Musicland
  • TRU (Canada Only)
  • Sam Goody
  • Suncoast

In addition to these, plenty of smaller specialty shops will also carry the Halo figures.

We'll pass along any new info once it becomes available.

Halo 8/8/2003 12:38 AM PDT permalink

It's Gettin Hot in Here

It's Gettin Hot in Here

CJ Cowan, part of Bungie's Cinematic Team and relative newcomer to Seattle, shares his thoughts on the weather and the "Seattle Myth" in this month's new soapbox. Check it out for a new perspective on the "rainy" city. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish this latte, throw on a flannel, grab my rain gear and hurry down to Home Depot before it's too late!

Inside Bungie 8/6/2003 10:48 PM PDT permalink

Dialog Updates

Dialog Updates

Remember the funny response that Sgt. Stacker makes when you kill someone with a flamethrower in Halo? No? I thought not. Since the flamethrower didn't make the final game, that particular piece of dialog can't actually be triggered. This is just one of the many rare dialog snippets to be found over at Tru7h & Reconciliation in the Halo dialog archive. There's more where these came from so stay tuned for future updates.

Halo 8/6/2003 9:37 PM PDT permalink

The McLees GenCon 2003 report

The McLees GenCon 2003 report

Read Full Top Story

Inside Bungie 7/31/2003 4:37 AM PDT

7th Column Mail is Back

7th Column Mail is Back

The email alias for 7th Column News submissions is now back up and running. Please send your news for the Week in Review to 7thcol@bungie.com. Tell us what you and your chapter have been up to!

Community 7/29/2003 11:43 PM PDT permalink

Let the Games Begin!

Let the Games Begin!

This Friday the Bungie team is hitting the fields to take part in the greatest display of athletic prowess outside of the Olympics. The Summer Pentathlon is here and once again the battle for supremacy and the ever-elusive "cup" is at hand. Unlike the Winter Pentathlon which consists of a medley of video games, the summer event is all about the great outdoors. (Yes, we do venture outside our lair on occasion.) This year’s competition will consist of volley ball, dodge ball, tug of war, bocce and the “wacky relay.” Four teams enter, one team leaves. Well ok, all four teams leave but only one has the title of champion.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the Pentathlon works, Bungie folks are divided up into four teams based on their tenure with the Studio. First we have the Newbies. This team is young and hungry for a victory. It’s the first summer outing for most of us so nobody has any idea of the skillz they’re up against. The Middle School team is a little more seasoned with some veteran players on the squad. Can they meet the challenge and stand out from the middle of the pack? Then there’s the Old School team. Besides being old (Marty) these guys have the constant pressure of always being in the shadows of the Ancients. Is this their year to shift the balance of power? And finally we have the Grizzled Ancients. These guys go back to the very beginnings of Bungie and by sheer experience and tenure they can crush the competition. But, do they have the fire and stamina to outlast the younger challengers? The Ancients are the defending champs from last year’s summer event and they also took home the cup in January’s Winter Pentathlon. Do they have what it takes to pull off a 3-peat?

Who do you think will win? Vote in our latest poll and then check back next week for the play-by-play account of Friday’s action.

Inside Bungie 7/29/2003 9:32 PM PDT permalink

7th Column News

7th Column News

Unfortunately it appears that the email alias for 7th Column News submissions (7thcol@bungie.com) is out of service. We don't know exactly how long it's been down but it appears that no new mail has gotten through in at least the past week. If you've got news for the 7th Column Week in Review, please hold onto it for the time being. We'll let you know as soon as the email address is working again. Thanks.

Community 7/28/2003 5:52 PM PDT permalink

Halo PC @ GenCon

Halo PC @ GenCon

GenCon is just a few days away! As we mentioned earlier, Halo for PC will be one of the games featured in their massive LAN area. Be among the first to experience the all new multiplayer game elements and see if you have what it takes to take home one of 3 ATI Radeon 9800 Pro video cards valued at $399 each! At this year’s GenCon convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, Halo for the PC will feature 2 of its 6 new maps as well as new vehicles and weapons. Battle it out in 16 player slayer matches to be crowned top Halo player and take home the loot. Official tournament rules can be found here.

Here's the official scoop on how to enter:

How to Register / Enter

Players must register in person at the Tournament registration area at GenCon for an available playing slot in one of the 24 qualifying games. Registration will be granted on a first come, first served basis, and Players may only register for one playing slot. Players must show valid picture i.d. to register. Qualifying games will be played on July 24th between the hours of 8am -10am and 4pm – 6pm and on the 25th between the hours of 10am -12pm and 4pm – 6pm local time and specific game times will be posted at the Event. Approximately three qualifying games will be played each hour, consisting of 16 players in each game. A total of 24 qualifying games will be played in the 2 day period. The winner of each game will advance to the finals round on July 26th. A person may only play in a single qualifying game; however, all non-winning players will be entered into a random drawing for one of eight “wild card” slots available in the Finals round. The random drawing will be conducted at the conclusion of the final qualifying game on July 25th.


If you're in the Indianapolis area, be sure to stop by and take a shot at the first ever Halo for PC tournament!

*Costumes optional.

Stay tuned to Bungie.net later next week for the complete results and recap of this event.

Halo 7/22/2003 2:23 PM PDT permalink