Bungie Foundation Update

People make all the difference...

One week out of every year, a place in the majestic Pacific Northwest known as Sunset Lake becomes the Stanley Stamm Camp. On that occasion, the guests are children who are too busy battling illnesses to enjoy the great outdoors. The setting is uniquely equipped to accommodate these special guests. As Christine Edwards tells the story: “They take them out of the hospital setting and help them forget about their challenges. Their illnesses would prevent them from going to any other camp.”

“I love this type of work,” says Christine, describing her role as a Bungie Foundation Coordinator. She never imagined herself working for a company that makes video games, but Bungie is a place where she can explore her passions for helping others. When she isn’t keeping our marketing team as sane as possible, her job gives her a chance to make a difference in children’s lives.

“To me, it doesn’t make sense to go through life not loving or supporting the people around you. It’s a natural reaction for me to help someone in need,” she explains. “One of the things that have made me successful at Bungie is my desire to ask people questions about how I can help solve their problems.”

Making video games relies on human talents, so it makes sense that our people would be our most valuable resource. As much as you have heard from our designers, artists, or engineers, there are other people who operate behind the scenes of some of your favorite games. Their efforts make Bungie a great place to work, and impacts the world outside our studio.

Our charitable mission is to ease the suffering of seriously ill children through entertainment. Those goals usually find people like Christine at Seattle Children’s Hospital. There, she and other foundation staffers have been working on a new program to put iPads loaded with games into the hands of sick kids. Recently, we even went as far as to launch a nautical vessel – our first entry into the Bungie Navy.

During our work on the iPads for Kids program, it came to our attention that a guild at Seattle Children’s Hospital shares our mission for entertaining kids who suffer from serious ailments. To a gamer, the word “guild” conjures images of raiders from World of Warcraft. At Seattle Children’s Hospital, guilds are crucial to their culture – they’re altruistic committees of people who volunteer their time to special projects that enhance the lives of their patients.

“We’ve been working with Stanley Stamm for about a year and a half now,” Christine recalls.

Our partnership with Dr. Stamm and his guild began with simpler contributions. At first, Bungie did the obvious things that companies tend to do for charity. We hosted a party. We sold some art. We raised some money. This inspired a more personal touch.

“After that, we told them that we really enjoy doing things that are more hands on.”

Those hands belong to Steve Burnaroos, our Facilities Manager at Bungie. When we learned that life at the Stanley Stamm Camp would be better with a boat that could be enjoyed by the handicapped, we gave him the challenge to build us a solution. Steve loves a challenge, and we have yet to stump him.

“There is no job title that could describe everything I do here,” Steve boasts.

He’s right. Our resident MacGyver can build us anything from a completely random set of supplies. A tour of our studio reveals all of his personal touches, from the LED accented pull-up bar to the full-immersion racing simulator. Whether he’s fabricating equipment racks for IT, changing light bulbs fifty feet in the air atop a hydraulic lift, or building a series of bike-racks overnight, there is no request too weird for him.

“The weirdest thing I’ve ever done was to build a boat from scratch.”

His mission was to launch a boat that could be accessed by wheelchair. To begin, he worked with Avalon, the boat manufacturer, to fabricate a boat to our specifications. Doors needed to be wide enough. Seats needed to be removable for a modular deck.

“Then I customized it and made it more awesome.”

By the time he was done, our flagship emerged with custom graphics, an onboard stereo system with sub-woofers big enough to send ripples across the surface of any lake, and a live-well bathroom. A fish-finder takes the guess-work out of where to cast your reel, and we would come to find that the dual hoses would come in handy in a water fight. It’s even got underwater lights.

You may ask yourself, as I asked Steve, why a boat needs underwater lights... “We don’t need any of this stuff,” he laughs. “It’s just there to make it unique and super-cool for the kids.”

With the boat ready to launch, it was time to make the 100 mile trek to the campgrounds. It was a trip that Steve made every day last week. Every mile was worth it.

“When I first pulled in, there were kids all over the place, cheering and screaming,” he remembered.

According to Steve, the camp counselors were also happy. “The thing is a mother ship. It’s eight feet longer than the end of their dock.”

To hear the stories, the week at Stanley Stamm was filled with boating and fishing to delight the campers. At the last campfire, the staff put on a show for the kids. Players costumed as giant birds embodied the winged theme of the campout. They chased each other around the grounds, taking to the water for the dramatic conclusion.

Our boat served as the set piece for the big finish. As the heroes of their little piece of theatre escaped on our boat, their pursuers following in kayaks. A dramatic water fight served as the thrilling climax, driving every pair of young hands to applause.

As the week came to an end, the campers were asked about their favorite part of the campout. For Steve and Christine, it was with enormous pride to hear them say “The Bungie Boat!” over and over again. “It definitely touched a lot of kids there,” Steve observed.

“We knew that it would be a fun thing, but I underestimated how important it was for them,” echoed Christine. “It was amazing to the smiles on their faces. It was also great to see their parents and volunteers be proud of them for braving the water and catching some fish.”

Community 8/23/2012 3:57 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack for the Natives

No rest for the wicked...

At least once a week, a particular Bungie Producer likes to stop by the Community desk and ask the same question: “How are the natives, DeeJ?”

It’s one of those rhetorical questions, like when someone asks if it’s “hot enough for ya” when the temperature reaches heights that make asphalt soft. I tell him the same thing every time: "The natives are restless."  Fortunately, he’s not the only one who cares about the mental health of the fine people who faithfully control territory here on Bungie.net.

Here are the other concerned citizens who paid us a visit this week…

Derek Carroll, Designer
Mike Forrest, Engineer
Zeke Garcia, Artist
David Gasca, Test Lead
David Johnson, Engineer
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Bungie.next Engineer
Lorraine McLees, Graphic Designer
Marty O’Donnell, The Elder
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer
Cameron Pinard, Artist
Tom Slattery, Localization Content Manager
Jason Sussman, Artist
Michael Williams, Engineer

Thanks for stopping by, you guys. Let’s open the Sack.

Viperconn How are you doing?

“Super, thanks for asking!”
Derek Carroll

Doing great! I just got a lot of work done today, so I don't have much to complain about.
David Johnson

I feel fantastic / and I never felt as good as how I do right now / except maybe when I think of how I felt that day / when I felt the way that I do right now / right now / right now
Alex Loret de Mola

Really well, thanks! Every day is an adventure!
Michael Williams

Excellent. Tomorrow I am going home to Australia for a short holiday.
Luke Ledwich

Not too bad, though knowing there is amazing weather outside is making me terribly anxious.
Cameron Pinard

Still Standin', Still Strong.
Zeke Garcia

Great! Just took a train up to Vancouver last weekend and gorged myself on amazing eats.
Tom Slattery

Enough with the pleasantries, already. Can anyone throw the panel a tough question?

KilteDKilleR93 What's the best way to get into writing code if you have zero experience?

Now that’s more like it. Allow me to make a suggestion: If you add a one to that zero, you'll have taken your first step into a larger world. I know, I know, I’m not helping. Pardon me while I yield the floor to my smarter friends…

I pretty much followed the Java Tutorial to teach myself Java (since that's the language I needed to know first). It was pretty good (and also free). These days, I'd still recommend learning C# over Java, but I don't know if there's an equivalently good C# tutorial out there. Besides, the languages are so very similar that your knowledge in one will drastically help your knowledge in the other.
David Johnson

Try doing some of the incentivized tutorials hanging around on the net! For instance, 4clojure is a totally fun way to learn functional programming in a "casually competitive" environment.
Alex Loret de Mola

I tend to do the same thing with each new language I learn. Find the most simple tutorial/example of code that is visual and remotely interesting to you (I always liked Triangle render tutorials). Run it and see that it is possible and then play with what is already coded to see how it works.
Luke Ledwich

Just do it. I'm old school so I’ll tell you to learn C, learn data structures, write quick sorts and bubble sorts, learn about hash tables. After you've got that foundation, jump right into C#.
Cameron Pinard

Khan Academy just launched a whole new computer science series. Don't worry too much about which language to learn or what you're doing with it - just jump in and start trying to figure things out. What you do in one language will translate pretty easily to others as you become comfortable with the concepts.
Mike Forrest

Taking a class from a local community college is a great way to start. Another great option is downloading Visual Studio Express for free, and getting a book on programming.
Michael Williams

Code Academy is a neat little site that my girlfriend has been using to learn Java.
David Gasca

Get adopted by a childless programmer.
Tom Slattery

Now you’re not helping, Tom!

triggerhappy964 Who is the best poker player on the Bungie team?

Poker night was just last night, actually. For now, at least, the best poker player at Bungie is Chris Owens.

Leprechaun209 Are any people in Bungie trained in the ways of the Force?

Halcylon thinks he’s a Jedi, and we love to indulge him. Whenever he makes that “Force Choke” gesture with his hands, we lay on the floor and gasp for air. Later on, we’ll have a good laugh watching him try to levitate stuff on his desk.

TrogDor404 What is the craziest thing you've done with your coworkers outside of work?

Sometimes we go deal some lead.

Our panel might prefer less violent forms of craziness.

What is this "outside of work" thing of which you speak? I find your ideas interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
David Johnson

Played unhealthy amounts of Magic: The Gathering!
Alex Loret de Mola

Luke Ledwich

Paintball. While 7 weeks from delivering my first child. Granted, I was the "war photographer", but I was still in full gear with riot shield.
Lorraine McLees

For a few years, we've had a chance to help out with the Fight Like a Girl Tournament. It’s a huge amount of fun to play with fans while making money for a good cause.
Michael Williams

We all feel like real heels now, Michael. Thanks for that.

A Pimpin Lady I'm going to ask the same question you haven't answered for the past 3 weeks...

Let me stop you right there. Did you know that the definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting a different result? I’m not saying that you are crazy or anything, I just love to define things.

relliK42 What's your favorite computer/console indie game?

I'll just go ahead and answer for the studio. Minecraft.
Travis Pijut

Minecraft. PC Game of the Year for several years running now.
Derek Carroll

Minecraft has easily held the most of my attention for the longest time.
Luke Ledwich

Hmm… The most recent game that I really enjoyed was Sword & Sorcery EP. I'd recommend it for iPad.
Cameron Pinard

I'll nominate the Commander Keen series.
Mike Forrest

I am really fond of Sequence, a rhythm RPG on both Xbox and PC.
Michael Williams

Skulls of the Shogun. I can't wait to play the final version. Just saw Super Amazing Wagon Adventure for the first time at the Seattle Indies Expo a couple of weeks ago, and it was super amazing as well.
Tom Slattery

Gravitronix, of course.
Alex Loret de Mola

CheckedBRUTES Is Jerome the only Security Guard that works At Bungie? Is there a night time Security Guard or does one of the Bungie Employees stay there?

It sounds a lot like you’re trying to identify gaps in our security. You won’t. There is a peacekeeper defending our front door at all times. Jerome is their Sheriff, but he has many deputies.

MightyMarcher01 School is starting up for some people soon. What is your favorite school memory?

Class is now in session, Panel…

Finishing that last exam each semester.
Luke Ledwich

One of those days where you're pouring yourself into something and look up and realize it's 2AM and you were supposed to have left the lab 4 hours ago.
Cameron Pinard

One of my favorite memories is the dinners with the community we formed there. We would cram so many friends around a dining hall table that trays would have to be removed to fit everyone. One of my favorite things about Bungie is that it reminds me of those days so often.
Michael Williams

What is it with all these incriminating questions?
Tom Slattery

How I missed getting my highest grade in Fundamentals class by 1/32 of an inch.
Lorraine McLees

Marching band! Actually, that's about the only high school memory I'd even consider living over. I miss playing music on a day-to-day basis (I played xylophone), especially the thrill of marching in the now-demolished RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
David Johnson

Winning a scrimmage against the #1 ranked Counterstrike team. I had an interesting first couple years.
David Gasca

Habah Would you quit your job at Bungie to be the President of the United States of America for 2 terms?

I can’t think of a better way to fast-track world domination. I accept. Thanks for the vote of confidence, man!

SPRTN One One 7 If you were to ever leave Bungie and have a new job, what would it be?

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a grass-roots movement has begun that will have me elected to the office of President of the United States through a groundswell of write-in votes. If elected, I promise to be tough on forum shenanigans, and reform the way we play games.

Oh, and barbequed ribs will be served with everything you order anywhere. DeeJ in 2012!

SkilPhil What was your most recent Xbox LIVE purchase?

Spelunky, which is brutally hard, but super-addictive.
Derek Carroll

Duels of the Planeswalkers
Alex Loret de Mola

Orcs must Die DLC pack.
Luke Ledwich

Downton Abbey Season 2, or did you mean games, Bastion, I'm a little behind on the games
Cameron Pinard

Mike Forrest

Lorraine McLees

That would be Fez. I had a lot of fun playing that game, even though it turned out to be a very different game than the one I had been waiting for years.
David Johnson

Duels of the Planeswalkers. It's like Magic, except you don't have to buy cards! Except that it makes you want to buy cards... And then you do. And then you feel bad about yourself as a person. You try to keep your wife from finding out what you've been doing, but she figures it out. She's a quick one. And how do you talk your way out of that? You don't. You just apologize. You get down on your hands and knees, and you pour your heart out. You tell her that you're weak and that you'll never do it again. And then they release a new version, those insidious bastards.
Tom Slattery

robby118 Might we see a return to the Average Joe/Know Your Ninja articles?

Once we have a new game to discuss (or even play together), I’ll be ravenous about recognizing the enthusiasm of people who (want to) play it. When that happens, I’ll probably make up my own brand new kick ass names for those interludes. The last time I let Urk name a feature I had in mind, we ended up with the Mail Sack.

Wikked Navajoe If you could learn a second language, what would it be?

I already know two languages other than English! Well... kinda. I studied Spanish for 4 2/3 years in high school and university, so I'm still rather proficient, though my knowledge is rusting with each passing year. I also took Japanese classes for about a year and a half, though that's hardly anywhere close to being fluent. I'd love to pick up Japanese again whenever I find time, though if I had to pick a new language to learn, it'd probably be French or German.
David Johnson

Alex Loret de Mola

Chinese, I would love to know what all the characters mean.
Luke Ledwich

Japanese. I took a few years of it in High School, and a year in College, but I've lost far more than I would have liked. The little bit I learned ended up helping a lot on a recent trip to Japan, and I'd love to be stronger at the language.
Michael Williams

Like, in an instant? I'd love to learn Klingon.
Lorraine McLees

Probably Japanese, since it would be the language I get the most use out of. I already know knew some Spanish from school, but I haven't used it in years so can't say more than "mi pantalones es rojo." (Enjoy the grammar correction emails Deej!)
Travis Pijut

Please do not send me grammar correction emails.  Mr. Red Pants there is baiting you.

defnop552 How different does "Bungie.next" look compared to "Bungie.net"?

A lot less finished, but the differences between the two visions are striking.

Neanderthal 487 If it were determined that an asteroid would smash into the surface of Earth next week, what edible substances would you stash in your subterranean survival chamber?

Chicken Teriyaki and lots of water. What more do you need?
Travis Pijut

Lots and lots of whiskey.
Cameron Pinard

Plentiful canned goods, seed-stock, dehydrated meals and meats, and twinkies.
Michael Williams

A couple thousand gallons of red wine vinegar, soy sauce, and several tons of garlic, black peppercorn, brown sugar and heaps and heaps of bay leaves, and good clean water. These would need to be accompanied by a few pots, knives and chopping blocks and large measuring cups. And of course, I will need access to a lot of meat and a very safe way to get at them so I can make adobo ‘til the end of days.
Lorraine McLees

What a minute. Don’t we get hit by asteroids all the time that don’t extinguish all life on the planet? Didn’t that happen last weekend, even?

Malfar How did you enjoy the Perseid meteor shower?

Yeah. That’s what I was just talking about. Did anyone venture outside to look up? I know Jason Sussman took some sweet pics of the night sky.  Anyone else?

Missed it. Thanks for waiting until after it ended to remind us.
Mike Forrest

It was pretty nice! I always love seeing the Perseids. My weekend was pretty busy so I wasn't able to head over the Cascades to get away from the light, but lying out on my apartment complex's boat dock still made for a pretty decent setting, all in all.
David Johnson

It was beautiful! I hung out at the base of Tiger Mountain to see it.
Alex Loret de Mola

I watched it in the best possible way: from atop a giant stone tower, while clad a medieval outfit. (Seriously)
Michael Williams

In pictures the next day. I'm old now.
Tom Slattery

Sitting up on our side deck until my neck ached, then curled up on top of the floor cushions under a blanket.
Lorraine McLees

I slept nicely, thank you for asking.
Travis Pijut

Not enough explosions.
Derek Carroll

Speaking of explosions…

SilverBulitt82 What's the atomic weight of Plutonium?

244 u.

Why? What’chu makin’? And yeah, I’m totally dispatching the NSA to your house. Remember, kids, no matter how pretty it might look when it glows in the dark, Plutonium is not a toy.

GoodBritinusa I am a wizard. I wear a blue wizard hat most of the day (even when sleeping) and practice my powers upon the many children I have in my cellar, mainly my fire ball spell...

I stopped reading that question and called the cops.  Fireball spells are not toys, either.  You people really are restless.

Dr Von Strangle If there was one thing you could take home from Bungie HQ, what would it be?

The arcade room (does that count as one thing?)
Alex Loret de Mola

As I just got a new beast of a PC I'd take that
Cameron Pinard

The Burnaroos! Who wouldn't want a multisceened, force-feedback Forza sim pod taking up all the space in their living room?
Michael Williams

The rad fireplace.
Tom Slattery

If I could just grab the theater in whole, and plunk it next to my house...
Lorraine McLees

Probably that sweet, super gigantic TV that we have in the conference room upstairs. I have no idea where I'd put it since my apartment isn't that big, but a guy can dream, right?
David Johnson

Derek Carroll

Anyone else notice that he finds a way to mention the wall almost every week?

Your MOM is MC What do a lot of the engineers and tool devs do once all of their programs and modifications have been made and sent to the artists and designers?

You make it sound like their work is ever done. It’s not. Sure, the guy who makes the hammer can hand over his creation and say “Go hit somethin’ with that…” The developers that make the tools we use work in an environment that is always evolving.

P.S. YOUR Mom is MC.

Hylebos What was the first program that you wrote that you felt proud of?

When I was 12, I was really proud of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” style game that I'd written in QBasic, even though I never did finish it. Did you know that QBasic cuts you off if your code file exceeds a certain number of lines? I didn't know either of those things when I was 12.
Alex Loret de Mola

I wrote a little visual basic form application that simulated killing an orc. It was awesome!
Luke Ledwich

I wrote a utility program at a previous company that was being used long after I had left, it was my first program to see heavy use outside of a very few people.
Cameron Pinard

I wrote a program on the Apple II that showed a robot zooming across the screen, hitting a wall, and exploding. That's all it did, but I was really proud to have figured out how to do animation and actually show something interesting.
Michael Williams

A sweet Tetris clone incorporating mechanics from Dance Dance Revolution that I made while learning C#. (It was cooler than it sounds.)
Tom Slattery

That's a hard question since I've been programming since back in elementary school. So while this probably isn't the first program I *really* am proud of, programming Blackjack for the TI-83 calculator was the first one that I really remember being proud of. A lot of my friends were downloading games onto their calculators, and my friends played mine quite a bit. I think that experience of sharing my work really made something to be remembered.
David Johnson

H4LO How long do you spend on average making sure the game sounds ok?

It should be obvious whom I would hassle to answer this question.

Marty O’Donnell said: We take the entire time it takes to develop a game to make sure the game sounds great. Almost all of our “polish” and final implementation of sound and music comes towards the end of development, which is due to the fact that the game isn’t ready for final mix or final music until it’s fully playable and design/art/engineering is finished and we can respond appropriately. We’re creating sounds, writing music, and figuring out how to get audio working in our engine right from the beginning.

ankerd123 What do you get most 'stoked' about when creating a game?

I just love concept art, the sheer potential during that phase is awesome. After that, the first playable build no matter how rough is just awesome.
Luke Ledwich

Anytime a new feature comes online that rush to try it out and make something cool with it, and then the point where you get to see everyone's work especially all that cool stuff you didn't even know was there because you've been head down dealing with your own stuff.
Cameron Pinard

Watching it all come together is really the best part.
Travis Pijut

I love deep-diving into the fiction of the games we make. The content our writing team creates always manages to get my imagination going crazy... enough so, that I regularly pester them with crazy ideas I've dreamed up.
Michael Williams

The art of creating new things. There's something about digging in and creating brand new code from scratch. It's like you're inventing something from nothing, and that feels pretty special.
David Johnson

Deloro501 Assuming for a moment there was a studious young lad with his desires set on someday helping Bungie achieve world domination, is Bungie currently accepting internship positions of any kind?

Should I assume that this lad is you? Or is this one of those questions about “a friend of mine?” I get this question a lot in my travels to know the hearts and minds of our community. Right now, the answer is “No.” We are not seeking any eager young minds to earn credits as a volunteer in our march toward world domination. That may change, though. All the paths that lead to our studio are clearly marked on our Careers page, so keep an eye on it.

Mythical Wolf Give us a REAL challenge!

Oh, I’m sorry. Have my weekly stunts been beneath you? Just last week, I asked you all to emulate the hairstyle of everyone’s favorite Curiosity Rover flight commander for a chance to channel your inner rocket scientist. This was the only brave soul who took me up on it.

You want something harder? That’s just fine, but I will not be your riddle master. When you mess with the bull, you get the horns. When you mess with Bungie, you get the mathletes. Earlier this week, I introduced you to David Johnson. He’s been kind enough to answer your challenge to create a real challenge with a challenge of his own creation. Here you go…

We will call this puzzle: "The Power of Seven."  Post your answer on our forum.

There will be no hints. I will not provide helpful nudges or drop breadcrumbs of any kind. What I will do is gift the winner with rare swag that will intrigue your friends and give you a chance to brag about your problem-solving skills.

While you chew on that, I’ll be planning my exploits at happy hour. The weekend is upon us. For a change, it will be a hot one in our corner of the world. Please join me in staying cool, Bungie Community. Hang in there. We’ll continue this conversation next week.

Community 8/17/2012 3:07 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack. In SPACE!

Get your ass to Mars...

It’s been an exciting week for lovers of science fiction – which we totally are at Bungie. Sometimes truth is even stranger than fiction, like when a band of scientists use a flying saucer to park a car on another planet. Curiosity Fever has gripped many an imagination in our studio. As a break in that action, we are obeying the usual ritual of addressing your curiosities – the ones that you so lovingly deposit on our forum every week.

Here are your arm-chair star-gazers…

Derek Carroll, Designer
Andrew Davis, Artist
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist
Scott Kankelborg, Test Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
Dave Mongan, Writer
Tom Slattery, Content Manager
Alan Stuart, Engineer
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Scott Taylor, Producer
Michael Williams, Engineer
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

We are now in orbit around Bungie.net. Let’s open the Sack.

MiloOmega First!!!!

You’ll regret that.

OIO CABOOSE OIO What did you guys think of the Curiosity Landing on Mars?

I have this recurring dream about journeying to Mars in which I become the hero of a colonial community of mutants by defying an oppressive regime and activating an ancient alien relic that ends up producing a breathable atmosphere. It’s exciting that we might actually get the chance to do that someday. I am sure the Bungie Panel has some less delusional thoughts…

People here were jealous – some folks in the studio would trade everything for a chance to go to Mars!
Ben Wommack

You can't prove I cried.
John Stvan

Go humanity!
Alex Loret de Mola

What a great opportunity for the country to, if only briefly, become once again enamored with the sciences.
Nate Hawbaker

How ironic it would be if it turned out it had landed on a Martian cat.
Tom Slattery

I am astounded by humanity's creativity and engineering prowess. I can't wait to see what we do next.
Michael Williams

Per audacia ad astra.
Alan Stuart

I found it bittersweet. I see the amazing things humanity can achieve, yet we spend so little money on it, compared to the ugly things humanity does.
Andrew Davis

Oh come on now, Andrew. Don’t be so cynical. Just think of how amazing “The Real Housewives of Mars” will be.

triggerhappy964 Will you answer this question without the use of sarcasm?

Nope. When you try to part us with our sarcasm, we get really defensive. It’s like trying to snatch a blanket from the hands of a child that is not ready to let go. To make this abundantly clear, I won’t answer this next question sincerely either…

AxJARxOFxDIRT This is a question for Mr. Martin O'Donnell (but I guess you can answer it). Besides the piano, what is your favorite instrument?

Marty is busy, so I got this. I find the Altimeter and the Geiger Counter to be pretty useful instruments.

Okay, okay… Marty told me that he likes the Cello, too. But only second to the Piano!

spawn031 As we made history this week during the Mars Curiosity Landing, we learned that the guys over at NASA have a tradition of eating peanuts for good luck. When Bungie Employees are crunching at work and need some good luck, what do you guys eat?

I don’t eat for luck. I do often wear my “Bungie, fix your –blam-” t-shirt when in bug crunching mode. More for irony than luck though.
Andrew Davis

Brotein bars. Also brotein shakes and egg white bromlettes.
Joey Gibbs

NASA engineers. You may claim it’s a silly superstition, but it works!
Derek Carroll

Fried chicken and red vines. Just kidding! That's our normal crunch fair. People chug the Red Bull pretty regularly during long hours, but I don't think that has anything to do with good luck – more like desperation.
Ben Wommack

It used to be Swedish Fish, until I looked at the back of the package and saw they were actually made in Canada. It felt like my entire life had been a lie.
Tom Slattery

Meat. In the kitchen we literally have a cabinet labeled "Meat" that is magically refilled every morning.
Alan Stuart

Soylent Green!
Alex Loret de Mola

That’s gross, Alex. Don’t you know it’s made out of people?

Kage24Neko Do the B.Net team feel like bees in a trap?

What exactly are you asking here? If you are asking if the Bungie.net Developers feel imprisoned by their work, the answer is “No, certainly not!” They love what they do. If you are asking if they are slicked in a delicious sheen of honey, the answer is “Most definitely!”

TheSpiderChief What is the longest amount of time you have spent awake whilst making games?

Exactly equal to the time it’s taken to make all the games I’ve made. (Or did you mean consecutively?)
Andrew Davis

I believe around 30 hours was my maximum, back during Halo 2.
Michael Williams

25 hours, back during Halo 3. Though this last year has challenged that record a couple times.
Ben Wommack

I remember being awake for 3 days during Reach.
John Stvan

I stayed up for over 48 hours during the crunch for MechAssault. I went to bed when I started hallucinating smoke filling the room.
Derek Carroll

While working on another game before coming to Bungie, I spent a solid six months with less than three hours of sleep each night (other than the occasional Saturday where I'd crash hard and literally sleep through the entire day). Kids, don't try this at home.
Alex Loret de Mola

MiloOmega Where do you get most of your ideas for your story? “Your Mom” is not an acceptable answer.

You again? Remember when I promised that you would regret being First? Skank, he’s all yours…

“Your Mom!”
Scott Kankelborg

a rascal cat Who is the funniest employee?

Travis Pijut. He’s the silent killer.
Joey Gibbs

DeeJ is by far the funniest looking.
Nate Hawbaker

While Bungie still worked at Microsoft, Mat Noguchi was kicked off the internal "Xbox Discussion Alias" for a multitude of policy infractions. I think Mat is hilarious.
Alan Stuart

Luke Timmins without a doubt. Sorry DeeJ. You're a Fun Guy, but no one tops the Sausage King.
Ben Wommack

Achronos cracks me up. He's so amusingly bitter! (Please don't hurt/ban/fire me Achronos!)
Alex Loret de Mola

On a given day many fellow employees will make me laugh, but the one of the most consistently successful for me is Mr. Rajeev Nattam.
Michael Williams

Stormkiller626 Why do you guys never answer my questions? Seriously, I think this is rigged...

You really don't want to treat the Mail Sack like an election or a popularity contest. We ain’t choosing a Prom King here. This is our chance to keep in touch as we fumble toward each other through the darkness. The best questions are ones that provoke sparkling conversation on a topic that doesn’t cut too close to the bones of the game we are creating.

coolmike699 They answer lots of my questions. If it's rigged, I like it this way.

Again, Mike, I’m not playing favorites here. It just so happens that you have a habit of asking cool questions that serve up some red meat for our Panel, like this one:

You're the head coach of a sports team that you have, through montages of training, brought from a fumbling bunch of novices to the state championships. What do you say to motivate these people to victory?

Allow me to fully appreciate the fact that you are measuring the density of training in montages, rather than time. Let's see how our panelists would inspire their minions to greatness.

“No slaughter!”
Andrew Davis

“It's not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home.”
John Stvan

“Free beer if we win.”
Alex Loret de Mola

"Remember, the enemy gate is down."
Michael Williams

Derek Carroll

WestCoastRonin Can I single out Dave Mongan? What book(s) should every writer read?

Paging Dave Mongan. Would Dave Mongan please pick up the nearest Mail Sack courtesy phone?

Dave said: If you are asking what to read to become a better screenwriter, I definitely have a few recommendations. “Story” by Robert McKee gives great insight into the process of crafting compelling characters and tales. It’s not a quick read, but it’s invaluable. “Save The Cat! Goes to the Movies” by Blake Snyder is at the other end of the spectrum – light on theory, but very easy to read and absorb because it breaks down story types using modern-day movies as a reference. Probably the best recommendation I can give, though, is to find screenplays for your favorite movies (either online or in bookstores) and break them down scene-by-scene, act-by-act, character-by-character. Not only will you (hopefully) learn the importance of structure in successful storytelling, you’ll also learn proper screenplay formatting and see how a story translates from the page to the screen, which is oftentimes quite an eye-opening experience.

Of course, if you just want to bend the spine on a great read, that’s another story entirely. I have a few authors from very disparate genres that I particularly dig: Iain M. Banks for sci-fi, Michael Connelly for mystery/thrillers, and of course the horror master himself, Steven King. Oh, and don’t forget comic books. I’m currently loving me some old-school Larry Hama “GI Joe,” and the newest “Dark Knight” series written by friend & former co-worker, Gregg Hurwitz.

Malfar What is one of your most cherished possessions?

My ’09 Sportster 883C. I call her Athena (my first bike was Boomer).
Andrew Davis

My Xbox 360 hard drive. Whenever I go on vacation I stash it somewhere in my apartment so that robbers won’t find it.
Joey Gibbs

A Spanish dollar (piece of eight) dated 1608 gifted to me by my grandfather. The coin is worn extremely thin by the countless hands that have touched it. I often wonder about the people that possessed it before me.
Alan Stuart

My Windows Server 2003 Leatherman pocket tool.
Ben Wommack

My coffee-stained copy of Atlantis by Mark Doty.
Alex Loret de Mola

I've got an intact "casino map" from an amazing puzzle hunt I participated in (my first puzzle hunt ever). Embedded in the map are a huge number of puzzles that eventually convert the thing into a 3-dimensional Indiana Jones style solution reveal.
Michael Williams

My mirror.
John Stvan

R0flc0pt3r What's the worst part about your job?

Facing John “Halcylon” Stvan in a playtest. He’s not bad at the game, and not all shy about reminding you of this fact if he kills you within earshot of your desk.

im am b0red What is the most difficult game you guys have ever played?

I probably only played the most difficult game I ever played for a few minutes, because it was too difficult. Probably some 80’s side-scroller where you have to dodge projectiles. Too hard!
Andrew Davis

The stock market.
Tom Slattery

I WANNA BE THE GUY. They basically threw all of the usability heuristics right out the window.
Joey Gibbs

Sunset Riders. I was also 9. Actually scratch that. After reading others responses, I'd like to revise that to say Trials Evolution.
Nate Hawbaker

First of all, let's invalidate competitive multiplayer. Second, any game which is only difficult because of bugs or poor design. That leaves us with Demon Souls / Dark Souls, and WoW raiding. Heroics are hard.
Ben Wommack

Trials HD.
Alan Stuart

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES (it was also available on the Amiga, from what I hear). I've actually beaten it fair and square, however. My childhood was sacrificed on its merciless altar for the sake of seeing its crappy 30 second ending.
Alex Loret de Mola

I tried Battletoads once... it did not go well. There was also this one time on Bungie Day when we challenged the community for steaks... it, also, did not go well.
Michael Williams

Sunburned Goose Do other game developers share their games with you before they are finished?

OJ (you remember OJ, don’t you?) made some friends at a development house called Squad. They hooked us up with some codes to play Kerbal Space Program. It’s a space exploration simulator that’s in Alpha right now. You should check it out…

Would you like to play? I can score you a code. If you want to channel your inner rocket scientist, all you have to do is emulate the haircut that has made Bobak Ferdowski (Flight Director of the Mars Curiosity Mission) an Internet sensation.

Seriously. Be one of the first three people to produce a “before and after” comparison photo (both shots taken on the same day), and I’ll get you a code to play the game. I’ll also feature you in the Mail Sack for next week.

(Kids, be sure to get permission from your parent’s before you mutilate their precious image of you. I don't want a flood of angry emails from mothers who are enraged over the fact that their little angel looks like a Mohawk spaceman.)

Mythical Wolf Favorite Olympic sport?

Beach Volleyball.
John Stvan

Archery. An admirable skill, and one of the few featured in the Olympics that would genuinely help in a post-apocalyptic world.
Alex Loret de Mola

10M diving. I used to dive back in high school. Did you know that people have been known to literally break their thumbs on the tops if their heads if they don’t keep their elbows locked on entry? Crazy.
Joey Gibbs

Gymnastics--unbelievably impressive.
Ben Wommack

I’ve been digging the bicycle sports this year. I hadn’t watched track racing, and it’s pretty fun.
Andrew Davis

I actually like curling a lot.
Michael Williams

Triple TiVo Fast-Forward.
Derek Carroll

I like the one where they go fast.
Nate Hawbaker

defnop552 What's the new site update codename?

We've been lovingly referring to it as “Bungie.next.”

CODE OF DEAD If you had three wishes, what would they be?

1. To be good at math.
2. To like math.
3. To have Spider-Man super powers.
Joey Gibbs

1. Infinite wishes.
2. Preview of results of each wish.
3. Unlimited undo.
Derek Carroll

1. World Peace.
2. Interstellar Travel.
3. And to have a live sitcom audience follow me around.
John Stvan

It would go down something like this.
Michael Williams

Hylebos Are there any good webcomics you'd like to recommend?

For the second week in a row, a Bungie Panelist has invoked xkcd to answer your questions. It’s "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language" – or so they say. Last week, I didn’t credit them (at least, not until I was corrected by Andrew Davis) for an image I pilfered from their site. This week, I’ll use your question to double-down on the credit they so richly deserve for illustrating the highs and lows of development culture.

MightyMarcher01 What is your favorite video game enemy?

Kefka, Final Fantasy VI. His schizophrenia was palpable.
Alex Loret de Mola

Frankystein Mark II. After beating that boss, it really convinced you of how strong you had become.
Nate Hawbaker

Marines in Starcraft 2, the cursed devils. (I play Zerg)
Ben Wommack

Kefka, but I'm a little biased. (Also my favorite video game character to write dialogue for!)
Tom Slattery

John Stvan

Ragnaros at level 60 with 39 other people working together to bring him down. That was truly epic.
Alan Stuart

The dude who challenges you to a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" in order to beat a level in Alex Kidd in Miracle World.
Scott Taylor

GLaDOS. A complex and interesting opponent who is also written brilliantly.
Michael Williams

Ryaanski What would you think if I sang out of tune?

I would stand up, and walk out on you.

Kidding! I kid you. What I would really do is harmonize with you in lovely dulcet tones that would make up the difference. Also, we would need to grow a mop of long hair.

We’ll sing some more of this duet next week. When I saw “we,” I mean Bungie and our Community – you know, the royal we. Keep your eyes trained on our forum Monday for your chance to write your portion of the sheet music.

Community 8/10/2012 11:04 AM PDT permalink

Your Favorite Mail Sack

Like a brown paper package, tied up with string...

There is no such thing as a Favorite Thing at Bungie. One truth on which we can all agree is that we like to play kick ass games. Beyond that, our preferences for movies, music, or even the sweetest fruits of our labor can be as different as the stars in the night sky. Don’t take my word for it. Just check out the galaxy of viewpoints that twinkled in response to the questions you asked this week.

Meet your panel of astronomers…

Derek Carroll, Designer
Mark Flieg, Artist
Andrea Fonger, Engineer
Zeke Garcia, Artist
Josh Hamrick, Designer
Daniel Hanson, Engineer
Nate Hawbaker, Artist
Pat Jandro, Designer
David Johnson, Engineer
Scott Kankelborg, Your Mom
Luke Ledwich, Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
Lorraine McLees, Artist
Travis Pijut, Engineer
Ben Wommack, Engineer

Polish up your telescopes. It’s time to open the Sack.

Khirna Does working in a building with so many talented people intimidate, inspire, or humble you?

All of the above. Everyone that works here is either smarter or more talented than me in their own way. It’s intimidating when they talk to me as if I understand the complex challenges they face every day, inspiring to see their creative solutions, and humbling that they would let me tell their story. It’s the reason why I devote so much time to luring them out in front of you so they can speak for themselves.

Ask them a question. Go ahead…

defnop552 What's your favorite animated film?

Pat Jandro

Travis Pijut

Daniel Hanson

Alex Loret de Mola

Andrea Fonger

David Johnson

Mark Flieg

Lorraine McLees

Derek Carroll

Xd00999 This a question to Ben Wommack: What is your favorite Pratchett book? Which would you recommend?

Congratulations, Ben. You’ve been singled out. Care to conduct a one-man book club?

Ben Wommack said: Well that’s cool, and on my birthday too!

Here we go: Sir Terry Pratchett has written several of my favorite books, mostly in his extensive Discworld series. All of his story arcs there are excellent with memorable characters, but I’ve re-read “Thud!” the most. Does that make it my most-favorite book? I also can’t get enough of the Vimes stories, as they usually try and tackle some meaty social issue while also providing a good mystery.

As for recommendations: If you haven’t read any of Sir Terry’s work before, start with “Men at Arms,” which is in Discworld, or “Good Omens,” in which he collaborated with Neil Gaiman. If you are already a fan, I’ll shoot three of the more obscure titles at you: “Monstrous Regiment,” “Nation,” and “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.” All are very memorable novels.

Mythical Wolf What did you want to be when you were young?

A ninja. Still a work in progress.
Mark Flieg

An artist. Go figure.
Pat Jandro

I wanted to be a game tester since I first saw an ad for Nintendo's Game Tester College in an old issue of Nintendo Power. Then they closed that down, and I moved on, until I had the opportunity to get into the industry and jumped on it. Now here I am.
Travis Pijut

At various points in my childhood, I wanted to be an astronaut, a landscape architect, and a money manager.
Andrea Fonger

A teacher. My mother, a teacher herself, totally swayed me away from that.
David Johnson

A Dragon.
Luke Ledwich

Race car astronaut spaceship driver.
Nate Hawbaker

Your Mom.
Scott Kankelborg

CheckedBRUTES Is Abe still there?

Abe who? You mean Abe Froman? Sausage King of Chicago? Founder of Camp Froman? Featured developer from many ViDocs? Shipper of many Bungie titles? He’s still here. You can even play “Where’s Abe?” with this photo, taken on Bungie Day…

(hint: third row, second from the left, talks with his hands)

Boss of OWNAGE What is the craziest/silliest thing you have witnessed while working at Bungie?

A scorpion attached to a banshee that had working recoil.
Luke Ledwich

An employee dressed up as Barney, wearing white go-go boots, serenading the company.
Andrea Fonger

Inaugural Rockband competition of Pentathlon 2008.
Lorraine McLees

Your Mom.
Scott Kankelborg

Frag Ingot Will Jason Jones ever participate in one of these Mail Sacks? If he does ask him this, "Besides kicking back at your desk with your feet up, what is your favorite part of working at Bungie?"

As Project Director for our work in progress, Jones has very little time to kick back at his desk with his feet up. It’s for this very reason that I don’t trouble him with Mail Room shenanigans. Never say never, but never say Soon™ either.

ALI217 What's the best thing that Bungie offers you as employees?

The chance to work for Bungie. Oh and I think we get paid and get benefits or something? I don't really keep track.
Travis Pijut

A better healthcare plan than the healthcare company I was working for previously!
Alex Loret de Mola

Amazing people to work with.
Luke Ledwich

More vacation than I really know what to do with!
David Johnson

Free games!
Andrea Fonger

The means and opportunity to live the life I want to live.
Pat Jandro

RedBull... and that whole working on an amazing project with amazing people thing.
Nate Hawbaker

Besides getting paid to do what we really like doing? Swag!
Lorraine McLees

Your Mom.
Scott Kankelborg

Derek Carroll

AcedannyK 7 How often is Bungie-related apparel worn in the studio?

Every single day. It’s pretty easy to sort the ancients from the noobs. They drape themselves proudly in threadbare swag stained by the sweat from shipping older titles. The rest of us stick to the colorful new designs that we shared with you on Bungie day. To the untrained eye, it looks like we have a really bad gang problem.

Wikked Navajoe How often do you wear a suit and tie?

About as often as we attend weddings or funerals (the former hopefully more than the latter). The Holiday Party is tie-optional, but that only happens like once or twice a year.

Particle Man Is there anything you would do to improve the work environment at Bungie?

Mass transportation devices... y'know... Man Cannons, zip lines, and moving walkways (especially to the washroom).
Lorraine McLees

Fire Pole.
Luke Ledwich

Nerf gun fight Fridays. Also a unicorn.
David Johnson

Supply everyone with these.
Pat Jandro

A retractable roof to let in the rare Seattle sunlight!
Andrea Fonger

Close the blinds, turn out the lights, and lower the temperature. Everyone else seems to like that cancer orb and warm weather.
Travis Pijut

Turn bagel Fridays into barbell Fridays.
Mark Flieg

Your Mom.
Scott Kankelborg

thenewxegk I can haz Recon? But seriously: I'd like to ask…

Let me stop you right there. The answer is “NO!” And, I am penalizing you for asking with my refusal to even acknowledge your more serious question. Had this been a question about Blue Flames, I would have had to ban you. Since a request for Recon is kitschy now, I’ll let it slide.

Ockeghem What movie do you quote the most in life's conversations?

Always be closing, always be closing.
Derek Carroll

You're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men.
Alex Loret de Mola

You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders!
David Johnson

I do not think that means what you think it means.
Luke Ledwich

Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Mark Flieg

Stay on target!
Lorraine McLees

Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
Josh Hamrick

We gave you the quotes.  Be the first to give us the titles of the movies, and you win swag.

Geegs30 What’s your favorite sight in the studio?

The over-the-shoulder view of my coworkers’ monitors is always a lovely sight. They’re like windows into a world that is evolving into something wonderful.

SlenderTheMan What is your favorite song to listen to while working?

Derek Carroll

Zeke Garcia

Alex Loret de Mola

Pat Jandro

Sundalius Has Bungie started reaching out for Beta Testers already?

We most certainly have! Our User Research team has very specific curiosities in mind when they tap a Beta Tester on the shoulder. The mazes that they build into their Laboratorium are meticulously customized for the people they choose to run through them. If you have yet to be selected, sit tight – and make sure that the email address attached to your profile is one that you still check. Your time may yet come.

Lobster Fish 2 If you could go back in time one hundred years and say one sentence to the entire world population, what would you say?

“Eat more vegetables, eat less beef, and start developing battery technology sooner.”
Lorraine McLees

“Can you hear me now?” (You can’t print what I’d really say.)
Derek Carroll

"There isn't much time, whatever you do, don't..." then vanish.
Travis Pijut

"I strongly advise you to regulate the stock market."
Alex Loret de Mola

The same answer you always give when traveling back in time: "Buy Apple stock."
Daniel Hanson

"Your Mom."
Scott Kankelborg

sacktapped Does Bungie have a surplus of weapons in case of a zombie apocalypse?

Only the virtual kind. There is a Day Z infection that is starting to spread here. We do have a whole display case filled with weapons in our trophy room, but replicas and props aren’t likely to do a lot of damage to the living dead.

UnderTheKnif3 What's the single most important piece of advice that got you to where you are?

"Don't buy Apple stock." It made me not-filthy-rich, so I have to work for a living. Luckily, I managed to land here!
Daniel Hanson

“Wherever you go, there is always going to be someone who will be better at what you are doing, so keep improving your skills and don't stop learning.”
Lorraine McLees

“Even if you don't know what you're talking about, lie like you do.”
Pat Jandro

“Always work your hardest, even if it seems like an unimportant task.”
Travis Pijut

“Never give up. Trust your instincts.”
Alex Loret de Mola

“Never settle for less than you're capable of.”
David Johnson

I'll offer two (sorry, my rules): "You can talk yourself into or out of anything." And, "Remember that you are better than no man, and no man is better than you."
Mark Flieg

MAC Blast How often do you see people from other studios?

Some of the best places to grab lunch are right between Bungie and Valve. Unlike the rival scientists from Aperture and Black Mesa, we cross paths every day whether we realize it or not. Sometimes the branded hoodies give us away to each other. Other times, we are like ships passing in the night.

ankerd123 If you had to choose any company besides Bungie, who would you work for?

Mr. Gordon's Chicken Shop in Neutral Bay, Sydney, Australia. I really enjoyed the people when I worked there.
Luke Ledwich

If I couple that wishful thinking with a boost in engineering skills, I would pick Lockheed Martin or Tesla Motors.
Lorraine McLees

Derek Carroll

I'd go film animal and ocean life for the BBC or Discovery Channel.
Pat Jandro

I am a huge mech nut, so I would love to be a simulator pilot for the first mech company. Come on Japan, hurry up already.
Travis Pijut

Initech. But only if I get to tell other people to file TPS reports and work on weekends.
Alex Loret de Mola

Somewhere I could have access to lots of sweet classic cars and supercars. Somewhere like Top Gear.
Andrea Fonger

The Discovery Channel, on my own crazy adventure/X Games series.
Mark Flieg

DE4THINC4RN4TE Why do more employees not have b.net accounts? Is it because they are not interested or they are not allowed?

Of course they are interested. Just look at all the people who have taken the time out of their day to run the gauntlet of this mass-interrogation.

wolfhunter9154 How does it feel to be released from your dungeon for a time in order to answer this?

Who says I'm not in the dungeon?
Andrea Fonger

I was compiling anyway.
David Johnson

My computer is in the dungeon. There is no release.
Derek Carroll

I'm answering this from work, not from home...
Pat Jandro

We were supposed to get released?!
Travis Pijut

The Mail Sack is kind of like our "visiting hours".
Daniel Hanson

And visiting hours are over. Back to work, you dogs. This game won’t ship itself.

Fear not, Bungie Community. The “dungeon” will open again next week, climbing wall and all, and let slip the interested parties that we allow to talk to you. Your chance to ask them a question will happen on Monday (or whenever I feel like it). Yes, that’s an apology for making you wait until Tuesday this time. It won’t happen again (unless I feel like it).

Community 8/3/2012 3:17 PM PDT permalink

Bungie Day @ Bungie

Making a game we want to play...

On Bungie.net, the seventh day of the seventh month of every year marks a special occasion. We celebrate the community that keeps us company while we work on our next game. That same community asks a lot of questions about how we celebrate Bungie Day inside our studio.

Within the safety and security of our walls, the affair is very different. Like the Pentathlon, we take a break from production to play some games. Unlike the Pentathlon, the focus of the day is on one game… ours.

You’re invited to relive the events of this day in the photos that were taken. Don’t strain your eyes looking for details. Those are still secrets for us to keep, but you’re welcome to spy on one of the more special days in the life of a Bungie employee.

Upon entering the studio, we were greeted with an itinerary that would span day and night.

Our morning began as any should – with the most important meal of the day.

With the buffet looted of its riches, all hands gathered for the opening ceremony.

Studio President (and fearless leader) Harold Ryan declared Bungie Day officially open.

Bungie noobs were lined up on bent knee to be sworn in.

With practice swords in hand, we commanded them to take the oath.

The ritual was complete. It was time for the celebration to begin.

The mob spilled out into the streets as we migrated to the show planned for the day.

The Meydenbauer Theatre was the venue for a presentation about our work in progress.

Joe Staten was first in the spotlight, to set the stage.

Jason Jones served as Master of Ceremonies, calling forward leaders from each discipline to inspire us with their amazing work, and show us their vision for our game.

(Most presenters not depicted due to the awesome contraband that was screened behind them.)

Hao Chen offered his prediction about what Ryan Ellis might look like after final crunch.
Hint: Not like that…

…More like this.

Marty closed the show with a musical number composed through collaboration with a new friend.

With the show over, we crowded the rain-soaked streets of Bellevue again to return home.

Yet another embarrassing mound of food was laid before the team to be devoured.

For the rest of the afternoon, we played.

Bungie Staffers were on hand to troubleshoot and shame us for our lack of prowess.

Crowds formed around desks to revel in what rocks.

Test labs were packed with refugees in need of a place to play.

All work and no play makes Corgi a dull boy.

This was a chance to share our work, and to dream about the future.

Graphics courtesy of Photoshop. Not representative of finished product.

Our final stop for the day was a local purveyor of drinks and camaraderie.

Like moths to a flame, gamers will always swarm around a game.

For us, Bungie Day was a break in the action of development. Our team came together as combatants and friends. Giddy smiles crossed every face.


Community 8/1/2012 1:33 PM PDT permalink

A Truly Exceptional Mail Sack

Constant as the northern star...

Another week. Another Mail Sack. It’s been said that no two days in the life of a Bungie Employee are ever exactly the same. To sustain our sanity in this ever-evolving landscape, we impose some rituals that provide the illusion of a routine. Like the bagels that graced our kitchen island this morning, a conversation with our community is among our favorite of those rituals. To prove that boast, just look at the friendly neighborhood video game makers who joined me in quilting this blanket of oversharing.

Nate Hawbaker, Artist
John Hopson, User Researcher
Pat Jandro, Designer
David Johnson, Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
Jason Minard, Engineer
David Mongan, Writer
Mat Noguchi, Engineer
Eric Osborne, urk
Eric Raab, Writer
Joshua Rubin, Writer
Ben Thompson, Engineer
Tim Williams, Engineer
Ben Wommack, Engineer

It’s time to bask in something familiar, my friends. Let’s open the Sack.

odmichael Based on this tweet, can you confirm that Bungie's next game is in some sort of playable form?

I can confirm that Chris Butcher did not spend his weekend playing an unplayable build.

TopWargamer So how's that game build?

antony X1000 What other games have you been playing recently?

Lots of Minecraft! On the PC. There's a private Bungie server and I have one with some outsider friends as well. Super excited for the 1.3 patch.
Ben Wommack

Diablo 3, Tropico 4, Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.
Tim Williams

Draw Something, Words With Friends, and daily rounds of fetch with my dog.
Pat Jandro

Tales of the Abyss (PS2), Tales of Graces (PS3), and Diablo III (PC).
David Johnson

Kingdom Rush, Lord of the Rings Online.
John Hopson

I've been playing a bit of Sins of a Solar Empire, Magic: The Gathering (of course!), and a certain secret and awesome project by a certain secretive and awesome company.
Alex Loret de Mola

Diablo III and some other super-secret game DeeJ won't let me talk about.
Ben Thompson

Sorry, Ben. Soon™.

cortana 5 Are you guys scared about how your new game will be received by fans and critics?

To say that we are “scared” implies a lack of confidence. As you can see, that’s not the case. We want to make something that will blow your mind, and it’s always pretty terrifying to let a project go out the door (so I am told). You’ll see. When we get close to launch, we will be very interested to hear your opinion. Pete Parsons says it best when he talks about why he wanted to work at Bungie. It was because we set the bar so high the fall would kill us. Don’t look down.

Halo biggest fan What's your most anticipated game for 2012?

Halo 4.
Jason Minard

Probably Guild Wars 2.
Tim Williams

The 7th Annual Bungie Invitational Golf Tournament.
Pat Jandro

Assassin's Creed III.
David Johnson

Tossup between Guild Wars 2 and Torchlight 2.
John Hopson

Resident Evil 6.
Mat Noguchi

I'm looking forward to Borderlands 2. I jumped on the Borderlands bandwagon so late the first time around that none of my friends played anymore by the time I got into it. I want to get in from day 1 this time around and actually play with some friends.
Alex Loret de Mola

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm! Barring that one being pushed back, I'd say Halo 4. I'm excited to see how it turns out.
Ben Wommack

Thrasher Fan Do you consider video games art?

I would say that most of us do. There might be a few of us who relate to them as pure science, but even the practice of science can be an art form. Everyone has their own definition of art, and everyone is right.

Xd00999 What was your most emotional moment in any form of media?

Tommy's return to Power Rangers to re-don the Green Ranger armor. You had to be there.
Mat Noguchi

Scrubs season 5, episode 20. Or the recent Batman movie.
Nate Hawbaker

No one mentioned the moment when Red found Andy on the beach of the Pacific (it has no memory), so I am just going to leave this here.

coolmike699 What do you think is the most important part of writing?

Had I tackled your question myself, I would have mentioned of a knack for cutting and pasting together the wisdom of others and peppering the dialogue with agonizing heaps of irony and sarcasm. Since I highly doubt that’s what you want to know about, I approached our coven of writers who toil under the spell of one Joe Staten. They spend their days boiling delicious fiction in their cauldron full of lies. Some of their answers were slightly disturbing, but it takes a twisted mind to conjure the story we are telling…

Killing your babies. I’m talking about ideas. Even if you think you’ve got the best idea for a character/scene/explosion/alien abduction/whatever, don’t get so attached to it that you won’t kill it if a better idea comes along. This goes hand-in-hand with another writing essential: Rewriting. Multiple drafts make everything tighter. And, as with everything other than belts and nooses, tighter is better. Trust me on this.
Dave Mongan

Not to be too much of an ass, but the most important part of writing is to keep writing, reading other writers, and letting people who aren’t your friends and family read your work. Your first 1,000,000 words are most likely going to be trash, but word 1,000,001 could be epic. (note: “could be”).
Eric Raab

One word: Peeing. No, honestly, I find that I can sit at my desk for an hour banging my head against a problem. And only when I walk away to relieve myself and I’m standing there thinking about nothing does the answer suddenly come clearly to me. One of the big secrets of any creative activity is the frequent taking of breaks. Go for a walk, have a snack, take a pee – but don’t bring a magazine along. The trick is to let your mind go to that empty zen place and forget all about what you’re doing. If (and only if) you’ve put in enough time banging your head against the problem, then chances are your subconscious will take over and offer up the prize. So, to be clear, the most important part of writing is: Stay Hydrated.
Joshua Rubin

SharkTooth__ What do the studio artists do for inspiration when they need to come up with something cool and new?

Oh, man. You should see some of the internal emails that fly around this place. Some of it is reference material that blows your mind. Some of it is visual collateral damage from an impromptu Photoshop war that spills out into the streets. Most of it would give away far too much about our creative process, but I can tell you that my Inbox has never been as colorful as it is at Bungie.

Mythical Wolf Can I have blue flames, please?

Please tell me you were kidding. What is this, twitter? Bungie can’t give you blue flames anymore. Bungie can’t claim responsibility for anything that happens in a Halo title anymore – past, present, or future.

beorn What was the most recent thing that made you laugh?

You mean aside from that last question? Sometimes, we laugh so that we won’t cry. And sometimes, a question is better answered by the panel.

Nate Hawbaker

David Johnson

ChorrizoTapatio Hey DeeJ, suppose some of us aspired to be the community manager just like you. What kind of degree do you have that qualifies you to do your job and what made you stand out above the rest of the candidates you were competing against?

You know what? I have no idea how to answer this question. To be honest, I am still not even sure why I am here. Let’s see if my boss is willing to shed some light on this subject.

Urk said: Here’s a version of the job description we posted on Bungie.net:

“Bungie is seeking a witty, self-deprecating wordsmith capable of using more than just soothing vowel sounds to fully engage our polite and passionate Community. In addition to creating and executing the existing editorial calendar for Bungie.net, this individual will be tasked with generating unique, fresh, never-before-seen content that: increases Bungie’s visibility in new and existing channels, aids in recruiting efforts, and challenges the ways we think about community engagement.”

The role breaks down very roughly into three areas of focus: community advocacy, brand evangelism, and content creation. Towards those ends, you could choose to pursue a B.A. in Creative Writing, Public Relations, or Multimedia. That’s by no means a comprehensive or required list, but they’re all comfortably in the wheelhouse.

Brand evangelism is a little more complicated. At times, Bungie’s Community Managers are expected to operate somewhat independently from the rest of the Marketing mix, so we look for people who understand our studio’s culture and heritage, and who are already effectively managing a community of their own. Just like artists, designers, and engineers, if you want a job on the Community Team – now two men strong! – you need to be able to prove you have the chops.

In DeeJ’s case, we knew he understood Bungie through our historical relationship with Halo and TTL, and we could read a few years’ worth of his writing through his blog (although we still gave him a viciously unfair writing test). But even though he was a strong candidate on paper, we also screened and interviewed a bunch of other great candidates, some of whom had more creative writing and multimedia experience. In the final analysis, though, DeeJ had just the right blend of all three facets, and he looked positively regal in his cargo pants and matching, monochromatic polo.

It’s a rare breed to be sure, and nearly every Community Manager has a wildly divergent, but remarkably similar path into the role. They get involved with communities and brands that they love, contribute their own proprietary blend of creative madness to the mix, and they set themselves apart from the masses through dedication, resolve, and a towering mountain of inappropriate jokes.

defnop552 What's your Superhero name? What's your Supervillain name?

Lord Phatrick. Not sure if I'm a hero or a villain though...
Pat Jandro

I know what you are doing. It won't work.
Mat Noguchi

I ZEROC00L I Is your current position at Bungie the same job you wanted while attending school?

Nope! I didn't even know Production Engineer was a thing while in school. To be fair, Bungie hadn't invented the profession yet.
Ben Wommack

Not me, personally. It wasn't until I actually got a taste of doing meaningful web development just after graduating college that I fell in love with the tech and interesting problems related to web development.
Alex Loret de Mola

Not at all. I went to college thinking I was going to be a high school biology teacher, then switched to philosophy (was thinking teaching or law) and then ended up in IT. It's been a strange and fantastic path to where I am now!
Jason Minard

No. Production Engineer is a made up job that only Bungie has and didn't exist when I was in school.
Tim Williams

It's totally better; I'd heard how competitive the games industry was, and there really wasn't any opportunity to get into the industry where I grew up, so I didn't even look into it!
David Johnson

I had no idea that games user researchers existed until Microsoft tried to hire me as one. (Btw, as your forum handle implies, Hackers is the best movie ever.)
John Hopson

Given that I could not even conceive of the idea of what I do right now, it would therefore be impossible for me to have wanted it to begin with. Having said that, the fact that I have stayed so long at Bungie implies that deep down in my subunconcious I crave something that I have been unable to find elsewhere. So insofarasmuch as one can attribute an almost preternatural need to align oneself to the cosmic vibrations of knowledge and learning to harness the fundamental structural fabric of the universe to desire, yes. Also, given your handle, I can only say "RISC is good".
Mat Noguchi

homocidalham Who is your favorite forum goer and why did you pick me?

You are, homocidalham. You are! And the warm barrel of the revolver you are pressing against the side of my head has nothing to do with my proclamation of undying love and devotion. My life for you!

Kalriq If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?

I already had the pleasure to meet Nathan Fillion. I think I'm good for now...
Ben Thompson

I think I'd have to go with Will Smith. He seems to be one of the few Hollywood stars that seems to find a way to lead a rather "normal" life amidst the seemingly chaotic turbulence within the Hollywood circle, not to mention that he's a huge philanthropist and does some amazing things with some charities that I really support, so I definitely admire him.
David Johnson

Terry Pratchett. Love his stuff and he's by all accounts a swell fella.
Ben Wommack

Celebrities aren't real... They're all just humans like you and me who happened to be put on superficial pedestals.
Pat Jandro

(Editor’s Note: Killjoy!)

CoRaMo What is your go-to brand of sunscreen during this shining summer?

Is the summer shining where you are? We find that the atmosphere that hovers over our fair city does the best job of screening out the sun. When the daystar does manage to punch a hole through the omni-present soup, people crawl from out of the darkness like Vitamin-D-starved groundhogs and bask naked in its rays.

Geegs30 What goes through your mind when you see a Bungie fan in the wild sporting some company apparel?

I usually gawk a little and point them out to anyone I'm with, which is ironic.
Ben Wommack

“When did we start selling that at the store?”
Mat Noguchi

I just get a huge grin on my face about the fact that I get to work here.
Jason Minard

"We shop at the same store."
Pat Jandro

“Is that one of our new hires?”
Tim Williams

Now you gone and done it, Tim!

Community, I know what you are thinking right about now: Those of you who helped yourself to Bungie Day swag have the perfect disguise to infiltrate our secure location. Don’t make that mistake. For your safety and continued survival, read on…

DE4THINC4RN4TE How does Jerome remember who to let by the front desk? Or is there some sort of high tech security system to identify who he should let in?

We have an unbeatable security system, combined with the steely gaze that Jerome and his peers train on the front door during every moment of every day. Remember that scene from Mission Impossible when Tom Cruise was hanging upside down so that the security system surrounding the terminal he was hacking wouldn’t detect his sound, weight, or body temperature? Our security system makes that one look like a bicycle chain tied in knots. Okay?

snipe champpppp SHOW ME YOUR WAR FACE!

xNiGhThAwKx19 What is the most impressive non-career related accomplishment you've done?

Your mom.
Nate Hawbaker

There was a complex World of Warcraft addon I created and put up on Curse Gaming back in 2006 before I started working here. It garnered a few thousand downloads and a bunch of feature requests, then was made obsolete when the game updated. I won't say which because the code is downright embarrassing six years later.
Ben Wommack

Probably a tie between hearing my music played on an international radio station, getting into the Tokyo Times newspaper, or the fact that I survived long enough to see the age of 28.
Pat Jandro

I help to organize the "Cookie Brigade," a group of people who get together every PAX to give out cookies and accept donations to Child's Play. We've raised well over $60,000 for Child's Play since we started in 2008. It's a blast!
Alex Loret de Mola

ALI217 Can you tell if questions are inspired by a thirst for knowledge or a desire to solely enter the mail sack?

It’s hard to tell. Take your question for instance. Are you really curious about what I think about your questions, or did you just discover a clever new way to see your name pixelated on the Bungie Blog? Fortunately, your sinister motives are not as important as your ability to sustain a good conversation, which is why Bungie.net is still a cool place to hang.

WestCoastRonin When did you know that Bungie was the right place for you?

When I stayed up 23 hours working on the Halo 3 Forge / Saved Films vidoc with Jim's team. I was just super impressed how dedicated he and all his guys were to showing the most engaging and exciting presentation possible, and he made me and the other tester feel like an important part of the process. Many of the crazy things you see shown off in that video are straight from the trenches of Test.
Ben Wommack

When I first played Myth: The Fallen Lords, I knew that it would be a place I'd love to work at. However, I never dreamed I'd actually *be able* to work here.
Alex Loret de Mola

During the last loop of my interview process here. My final hour was with Marty and we spent the time talking about horror movies and drum machines.
Pat Jandro

It was during my first week at Bungie. Watching all of the videos describing just what insanity it was that we were working on and realizing what a great challenge it would be convinced me that this was the right spot to be.
David Johnson

After I worked with Bungie on Halo 2 and 3, I took a few years off to work with other studios, particularly Xbox LIVE Arcade stuff. They were fun projects, but working with other teams really drove home to me how special Bungie is.
John Hopson

Well, I haven't been fired yet.
Mat Noguchi

burritosenior Can I have a free Bungie Shirt now?

“Not yet.” You have to win the weekly challenge first. Now all we need is a riddle or some sort of puzzle…

Eco Maiden Know any good riddles?

Yes. Quite a few, actually.
Mat Noguchi

What's in Ben's pocket?
Tim Williams

What's in my pocket? (Tim already knows)
Ben Wommack

Full Time Loser Do you really read this far into the Mail Sack thread?

Yes. All of the letters that are committed to the depths of the Sack provide their own valuable intel about the hearts and minds of our community. Even if I cannot answer them all, I read them all. Even this next one…

ConstantC4RN4GE I gave up on the Mail Sack. It's lame and offers nothing worthwhile.

I am never going to give you up. I am never going to let you down. (No matter how hard you might try to hurt me.)

I will, however, take the weekend off. You should do the same. Happy Friday, Bungie Community. We will see you right back here on Monday, fresh to embrace this routine of inquisition and spin all over again.

Community 7/27/2012 1:37 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack and Remembrance

In the corner of our minds...

The energy of the people on our studio floor is focused on looking forward, as we work to realize all that we have envisioned for our next game. The questions that poured from this Mail Sack invited us to look back instead, and recall a few fond memories. Please welcome the Bungie Panel that reached into the archives of their code-saturated brains to share with you some treasured echoes from the past.

Derek Carroll, Design
David Gasca, Test
Noah George, Tech
Nate Hawbaker, Tools
David Johnson, Engineering
Evan Nikolich, Design
Cameron Pinard, Art
Frank Robbins, Art
Tom Sanocki, Art
Michael Williams, Engineering

Hey guys. Remember that one time we opened the Sack?

Kalriq Let’s talk about Indie games, and aspiring game developers.

Been there. Did that in our movie theatre earlier in the week. It was good for us.

Lobster Fish 2 Favorite 80's movie?

Not so fast, Panel. We’re not just gonna shout out the names of our favorite movies from that long lost decade of gaudy fashion and ridiculous pop-culture. Instead, let’s share just a shard of the imagery that preserves them in our slowly failing memories.

Community, it is up to you to name these films, and list them in the order in which they appear. This is Phase One of your challenge for this week (the second to follow below). The first to complete both of them shall be rewarded.

Cameron Pinard

Derek Carroll

Frank Robbins

Noah George

David Johnson

Michael Williams

Evan Nikolich

AxJARxOFxDIRT Question exclusively for DeeJ: Who helped you the most with getting used to being at Bungie? And, is there a "Welcoming Committee" of employees that get new employees into the full swing of the Bungie party?

Awwww… A question just for me? It was urk that taught me most of what I needed to survive my “onboarding” at Bungie (that’s what the working world calls it). This included what not to say to Luke Smith, proper use of the all-powerful apostrophe, and competitive appetizer eating. The blanks were filled in by the kind souls who took me out to lunch. The whole studio operates as a welcoming committee, really. They don’t waste any time making you feel like a member of the team, and pointing out where the landmines are buried.

Sector Z 157 If Bungie held an internal arm wrestling contest, who would win?

Not me.
Cameron Pinard

Mark Flieg. He has the thickest muscle meat and eats Paleo. Although, I saw him eat a pile of cupcakes on Bungie Day. Regardless, my money would be on him.
Frank Robbins

Final showdown between Flieg and I. Revel in the solipsism.
Nate Hawbaker

I like to imagine an epic final match between Harold and Jerome... although our studio might collapse from the stress of the forces unleashed in such a contest.
Michael Williams

I'm new here, but I'm going to throw down the gauntlet and say I would win. I'm 6 feet 9 inches, 275 pounds, and welcome all challengers!
Evan Nikolich

Sloanus For a teenager who wants to get into the gaming industry, how much of a chance is there to actually work for Bungie in the future?

There is always a chance, I guess. We certainly feel as if our future is bright, and we're still on the hunt for kick ass developers to help us make it even brighter. Without a glance at your last report card, it’s hard for me to make a wager. Did you pay attention in Math? Have you displayed a startling aptitude for Art? Do you play well with others? Can you excel under the stresses of sleep deprivation and sneezes that rattle windows? All of these factors balance the equation that we would use to calculate your odds.

Pknubs4 Which of the shirts released on Bungie Day should I buy?

Only you can decide this, ‘nubs. What I can tell you is that you should act fast. Not only are supplies limited, but tomorrow is your last day to benefit the Bungie Foundation. You have 24 hours to make the world a better place for a kid that needs your help. If you honestly can’t make a choice without a nudge from some fashion police, read on…

antony X1000 Based on design alone, which is your favourite avatar that was added on Bungie Day?

Favourite? Are you British? Or just really fancy?

Anyway, I always defer to the Bungie Panel when the conversation turns to Design. I have been told that Design is Sacred. Here’s what they recommend…

Cameron Pinard
Evan Nikolich

Frank Robbins
Nate Hawbaker
David Johnson

Noah George
Michael Williams

x Foman123 x Can we get a Breaking In interview for one of your business development type guys? Maybe, if you have one around there somewhere, a former lawyer or something similar?

That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. Lawyers are crooks and bastards. All of ‘em.

Disclaimer: If anyone reading this is a lawyer, please know that Foman is one of your peers. And, with this question, he is pandering to himself. What you just read was a punch meant just for him. He can take it – he even likes it.

You may not sue me for mental anguish suffered at the hands of the Mail Sack – mostly because sacks do not have hands.

Malfar If in order to save all of humanity, you had to lose one sense, but would heighten another, which sense would you sacrifice, and which would you heighten?

I would give up my sense of shame, and heighten my sense of decency to untold levels.
Tom Sanocki

I don't know what I'd give up, but my sense of style definitely is getting heightened.
Cameron Pinard

I would sacrifice my sense of self-respect and enhance my sense of humor. It should make for an interesting solution to the apocalypse.
Noah George

(Editor’s Note: C’mon, Bungie! All of humanity is on the line here. Any chance we can lose the sense of sarcasm and heighten our sense of duty?)

With all of humanity on the line, I'll stay away from a clever answer and choose to sacrifice taste and strengthen my eyesight. It seems that touch and smell would still give me a subset of taste, and might help me eat healthier.
Michael Williams

I would probably sacrifice my sense of smell and heighten my sense of hearing.
Frank Robbins

Since one's sense of smell makes up about half of your taste, I think losing one's sense of smell but doubling your sense of taste would be a pretty even tradeoff.
David Johnson

Get rid of my sense of smell and fix my terrible sense of sight. I don't think that would save humanity, but not having vision correcting devices on my eyes would be great.
Evan Nikolich

Xd00999 How many bagels are consumed on Bagel Friday?

All of ‘em! Sometimes, a few manage to hold out until lunch (like the one I just put down). Bagel Friday abhors a surplus.

DMR plus magnum Are you upset when people find bugs in your games and post them to YouTube for the world to see?

For the answer you seek, I walked all the way downstairs to The Gauntlet.  There, I consulted an Oracle of Test...

Every bug that impacts people negatively makes me sad inside. So very sad. That said if it’s a bug that we didn’t find, I enjoy learning from it. We dig into why it happens, then figure out why we missed it. Then we use that to make our test process better.
David Gasca

snipe champpppp Sometimes, the inner corner of my eye itches really bad, and when I rub it, it turns really red and swollen for the rest of the day. How do I prevent this?

Don’t rub it. That advice is valuable in a lot of situations, actually. You’re welcome.

MAC Blast How taxing is crunch time for you?

This taxing…

Plain Ben What's the least-fun part of game making?

Waiting, though today it gives me a chance to answer these questions, so it's not all bad.
Cameron Pinard

As a world artist, I would say anything that takes me away from actual content creation. When I have to fumble with tools or broken stuff that always ruins my flow. Bungie has been best, by far, at supporting tools. I spend a lot more time being an artist as opposed to dealing with technical issues.
Frank Robbins

Spending hours being stumped as to why something just doesn't work.
David Johnson

Tracking down bugs that only reproduce intermittently under difficult to emulate circumstances. But it can be amazingly satisfying to finally find and squash them.
Michael Williams

Working with broken builds.
Evan Nikolich

ECOH Cam How many strangers walk up to the front door of the studio and peek inside every day?

I’m pretty sure we don’t track the averages on that, but if you give me a minute to check the place where Jerome disposes of the bodies, I will let you know how many we had today…

…it was four. So young, too.

coolmike699 Has anyone ever been injured on the job at Bungie?

I once got a hangnail.
Cameron Pinard

There are many employees with hobbies/activities outside of work like rock climbing, skiing/snowboarding, downhill mountain biking. You will occasionally see someone limping around here in a cast.
Frank Robbins

The worst I saw was when a sheet of glass from the trophy case shattered on someone from my team. He was cut up pretty badly. He wouldn't let us patch him up either, he ran all over the studio bleeding until we tracked him down.
Noah George

I've yet to see a dramatic programming injury.
Michael Williams

I tear up my hands on the climbing wall every week.
Derek Carroll

Professor24 Who at the studio has had the most drastic career change? In terms of their previous job, to the one they hold now.

Just about any of our people would profess that joining up with Bungie was a life-changing experience, even if they were lucky enough to be making games (or being otherwise creative) before they came here. I, for one, was working as far away from this industry as possible when I ran away from home to join this circus. None of my new coworkers would’ve recognized me before I conned my way onto their team. They wouldn’t have seen past the suit and tie that I used to wear every day. I think the standard issue Bungie t-shirt fits much better.

SkilPhil What do you think is the most unappreciated video game?

Time to heighten that sense of nostalgia one more time, Panel. What’s that one game you played that you felt was yours alone? Don’t just blurt out the name. Give me another swatch torn from that sentimental experience.

 We will let the Community name them. This is Phase Two of their challenge.

Derek Carroll

Evan Nikolich

Cameron Pinard

Frank Robbins

Noah George

Nate Hawbaker

David Johnson

Michael Williams

No, no, no, you don't want to ask this question. First I'm gonna go off about my favorite old-fashioned text-only games, like Zork III and Photopia. Then I'll rave about some one-trick-pony games, like Deathtrack and 688 Attack Sub. I'll start waxing lyrical about strafing AA sites with a chaingun in F-16 Falcon, I'll go on and on about Betrayal at Krondor, and then at the end I'll pull out something ridiculous, like Space Warp on the TRS-80, just to make myself look all hip and old-school. Then, to be truly obnoxious, I'll throw in some blatant, self-promoting lies about the terrible games I wrote when I was a kid (i.e. Wizard of Destruction). Let's just stop here, walk away, and pretend this never happened.
Tom Sanocki

I am benching you for this challenge, Tom. There is obscure, and then there is just plain cruel. You're welcome, Community.

Synyster Ricz Do you guys have like a nap center or something to that effect? Seriously.

After our internal celebration of Bungie Day (more on that later), I heard tell of a couple of people who slept on couches around the studio, or in their cars. Seriously.

mark117 mia2553 Who in Bungie has the best decorated cubical or office?

Once you have moved for the 3rd time in a year you learn to decorate your soul and keep your desk clean.
Cameron Pinard

Most of the desks around me have piles of art/ref books, empty coffee and soda cans, pencils, paper, etc. There is a shelf right by my desk that has some cool Star Wars and Anime models.
Frank Robbins

Considering that most of us don't even have cubicles, I'd say that honor clearly goes to the Audio Department.
David Johnson

Marty's office is better than some condos.
Noah George

My pod-mate’s desk is pretty impressive. He's got it covered in objects he has been making using a 3D printer. Each day, some new and interesting creation shows up there.
Michael Williams

My office is one giant converted movie theater, decorated with 200+ desks, filled with Bungie employees, and possessing enough computing power to run an army. Does that count?
Tom Sanocki

We’re all winners just for showing up.
Derek Carroll

GBD123 I would like you to talk about what marketing or business jobs are available at Bungie, since I am interested in pursuing a career in that field.

I would like you to go look at our Careers page.

Thrasher Fan What was your inspiration for joining the gaming industry?

The original Star Wars trilogy, though that was more inspiration for getting into effects/animation/art. Phforte and later Forge and Anvil are probably more to blame for the video games.
Cameron Pinard

Honestly, I managed to get into the industry on pure blind luck. I'd wanted to make video games since I was nine (and didn't know what "making video games" even looked like). Because I'd heard it was challenging to break in (and that there was really no video game industry in Ohio), I didn't bother to even consider it until a recruiter for the industry actually called me.
David Johnson

When I was young, I found a book in my school library that walked you through making a simple text based adventure game. From the moment I realized it was a possible career, I decided that making games was what I wanted to do.
Michael Williams

My Mom. She made games back in the day on the Atari 2600 and always has been supportive of me in pursuing my career in the games industry.
Evan Nikolich

Xplode441 When Bungie dominates the world, and after the enemies are slung into the sun, what happens next?

Cocktail hour! Actually, we observe that anyway. We don’t need to conquer the world to propose a toast, but it does seem like a logical conclusion to firing off the slingshot.

It’s Friday, and it is getting late, so that same hour is upon us. You have a challenge to tackle, so we’ll leave you to it. See you Monday, when the week begins anew and the mail room opens its doors once again.

Community 7/20/2012 10:39 AM PDT permalink

Bungie Screens “Indie Game: The Movie”

Spoiler: It’s anything but a game…

“If people want to play Halo: Reach that’s fine, because I think those games are -blam!-!”
-Tommy Refenes (Programmer, “Super Meat Boy”)

There were many quotes from “Indie Game: The Movie” that drew chuckles from the crowd, but this one provoked a chorus of laughter. It may have had something to do with the fact that the crowd included people that worked on the game that was the subject of such righteous scorn. Our laughter was not malicious, but rather born of kinship – and maybe a touch of healthy competition between artists.

Last week, we took a break from our own production schedule at Bungie to screen a story about making games. For a brief moment, we set aside our own development kits and retired to the theatre in our studio to enjoy a documentary about our industry, told from a very different perspective. We learned that many of the truths that surround the act of making a game are eerily similar, no matter the scope of the endeavor.

“Indie Game” follows an assortment of solo developers as they crunch on their own projects, very much alone and unassisted by producers or publishers. It’s a true story about sacrifice and passion, depression and inspiration, violence and love, madness and joy. Our story may unfold on a larger stage, but you could tell from the laughter and moans on our side of the screen that the experiences of our indie peers were all too relatable. The film made it easy for us to put ourselves in their shoes, and imagine the humbler origins of our studio.

So, as we watched them wield technology to coax their visions out of their imaginations, many of the bumps in their road hit very close to home. They poured themselves into their games, hoping that the world would relate to them as they did. They surrendered huge chunks of their lives to finish their work, desperate to meet a deadline. They wrestled with partners and anxious fans as they navigated the mine field between creativity and business. They nurtured their games like children, until it was time to send them away from home for certification.

As the end-credits rolled, the independent filmmakers who told this story appeared on the screen through the miracle of video conferencing. Our audience stayed rooted to their seats so that we could ask them about their own passion project. In the house were some backers from their successful Kickstarter push.

We passed wireless mics around the theatre, as if hosting our own post-modern talk show. Lisanne and James from Blinkworks took our questions about their own journey in crafting a message meant not just for gamers, but “for anybody who is creative and makes things.” Indie Game is not a travelogue about writing code, as much as “a film for people who love underdog stories.”

At Bungie, we do love a good underdog story. If you do as well, this is one you should check out. From the first line of code to the last spit and polish, there are demons to confront in making a game – any game. “Indie Game: The Movie” reveals many of them. If you are curious about those boss fights, you can view this gem on your own.

Any of us would risk a punch in the face to invite these indie heroes out for a beer to talk shop from opposite sides of the fence. Instead, we’ll just download their games. That seems a more appropriate gesture, now that we have lived several years of their lives in spectator mode as they suffered their own slings and arrows to introduce a game to the world.

Joshua Rubin, a new member of our Writing Team, did just that. “I went home to download and play Fez immediately after the screening. It was a more personal, intimate connection with a game than I’ve ever had before.”

Jolly good show, Blinkworks. Thanks for the conversation. And to the Indie Devs, good games.

Love, Bungie.

Community 7/18/2012 10:33 AM PDT permalink

Friday the 13th Mail Sack, Part Two

It's your lucky day...

Are your minds still on Bungie Day? From the questions you asked this week, it looks like the collective answer is “Yes, and tell us more!” On our Community Appreciation Day, the curtain was pulled aside for a shining moment, letting slip a few delicious details. That was then. Now, it’s back to business as usual. We work in silence and darkness. You speculate out in the open. Fortunately, one of our favorite items of business is trading letters with you fine people.

Here’s the Bungie panel that joined me in crafting the correspondence this week. Lukems suggested I let my hair down in describing them, focusing on disciplines more than titles. He also asked me not to quote him, so forget I mentioned it.

Derek Carroll, Designer
Zeke Garcia, Artist
Josh Hamrick, Designer
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist
David Johnson, Engineer
Lorraine McLees, Artist
Jason Minard, Engineer
Marty O’Donnell, Composer
Scott Taylor, Producer
Adam Williams, Artist
Michael Williams, Engineer

Artists, Engineers, Designers… Marty. Welcome to our Mail Room. Let’s open the Sack.

SilverBulitt82 What is your most memorable boss battle in any game?

Derek Carroll

Adam Williams

David Johnson

Josh Hamrick

Michael Williams

Mythical Wolf Will you allow the One of Seven winners to take pictures or record their studio tour?

No way. Our studio has a Russell Field generator. It emits a low-yield EMP that disrupts all media capture devices, rendering them completely useless! I can feel you asking then how we take the pictures that you see from inside our WorkPLace. Our cameras are equipped with a Russell Compensator chip that nullifies the effect. On the off-chance that someone smuggles in a camera that actually works, we cover our asses by making all visitors sign an NDA the size of a phone book that grants us permission to kick yours. Hard.

Dropship dude What are your thoughts on the Higgs Boson?

A bunch of our dudes have a big Hadron about it.
Lorraine McLees

Europe is doing great things with science. It's inspiring. Also, the tracking charts of the Higgs Boson particle look a lot like a flying spaghetti monster.
Adam Williams

Honestly, it's pretty cool! I remember learning in high school about Mendelev creating the periodic table and how he predicted the existence and properties of elements that had yet to be discovered based upon the patterns he was seeing. It's really cool to see the modern-day version of that... especially when it involves sciences that requires so much scientific creativity to really explore and understand.
David Johnson

I am in awe of the scale of technology we are using to do science these days. Seeing such a massive device built to detect something so tiny makes me very happy to be part of the human race.
Michael Williams

Science is pretty cool.
Derek Carroll

I find it particularly awesome... heh... hehheh.... heheheheh. Also, I like to picture all the physicists looking for it getting the Metal Gear alert over their heads when they found it. But that's probably just me.
Josh Hamrick

Xd00999 What is your favorite part of this community?

We are always amazed by the way you come together like a hive mind when there is a mystery in play. The speed at which you solve puzzles together is always impressive.

“Our fans are awesome.” -Achronos

SonOfTheShire If you had your own spaceship, what would you name it?

Science Is Pretty Cool
Derek Carroll

Lorraine McLees

U.S.S. Magnum
Adam Williams

The Dread Loofah
Michael Williams

I am Jack's Spaceship
Josh Hamrick

I bounce too close to a supernova. I kill Jack.

Gamer Whale What was the most embarrassing thing that happened on Bungie Day?

All compliments about your collective problem-solving skills aside, you super sleuths did sort of over-extend yourselves on Bungie Day. When you all put your heads together, you managed to extract a series of bogus phone numbers from the riddles we dropped into the water. A handful of poor souls had their phones bombed by blood-thirsty fans in a deciphering frenzy.

GrinnialVex Due to some sort of horrible catastrophe, Bungie is forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. Who gets eaten first and why?

It certainly wouldn't be any of us. There's camaraderie in these halls, and we'd look out for one another. (Right... guys? Don't look at me like that... please?)
David Johnson

Flieg (center). He seems to have the choicest cuts, if you know what I mean.
Derek Carroll

I'm new here, so it would probably be me.
Adam Williams

Josh Hamrick

Cheaters: In emergency situations, the banhammer is designed to double as a meat tenderizer.
Michael Williams

Sounds like a salty dish, Michael.

antony X1000 Will we see shirts in the Bungie store for the other avatars that were added on Bungie Day any time soon?

Soon™ is a slippery designation of time, friend. It’s terribly subjective, as you will find. As a Bungie newb, I had to be schooled by Marty the Elder in our use of that word to skirt all questions, large and small.

Malfar Complete the following statement: "How cool would it be..."

…if we could talk about what we’re working on here?
Derek Carroll

...if someday I got a chance to write music with Paul McCartney!
Marty O’Donnell

...if we figured out what gravity is.
Lorraine McLees

…if Day Z was recreated with full studio support and an updated engine?
Adam Williams

...in degrees Centigrade if it were 32 degrees Fahrenheit?
David Johnson

…if I could make you crap your pants with a single thought!
Josh Hamrick

...if we can double or triple the energy stored in batteries? As battery tech advances, we are going to see some amazing sci-fi level stuff.
Michael Williams

xNiGhThAwKx19 What can you tell us about the enigmatic symbols on both the shirts and in the Bungie Day announcement article?

I can tell you nothing about them that you don't already know, tenacious investigator: They exist. You will learn more about their role in our new universe Soon™.

And, I intend to tease you with them whenever they come up in conversation. Look! There they are again…

And if you start dialing your phone while looking at that, I will kick your ass.

GPK Ethan Is it worth pursuing a Master’s Degree in Computer Science?

Sorry, what was the question?
Derek Carroll

I think it depends what you're trying to do with your career. I've heard that any Computer Science degree is a ridiculously good thing to have - and that it can open just about any door for you.
Adam Williams

Bachelor of Science, yes... Master's... eh.... I dunno. What do you wanna do with it? Can you do it while you work?
Josh Hamrick

I have a Master's Degree in Computer Science, and... honestly, I suppose it really depends on what you're pursuing. In part, it DOES help make you more competitive and lucrative when getting into the workforce at the very beginning, and I'll admit that I learned quite a bit during my Master's curriculum (advanced networking, hardcore matrix multiplication, genetic algorithms, and the like). However, there does get to a point in the working world where your experience will inevitably trump your education in terms of what employers look for. Sure, it does help to be able to go back and draw inspiration from concepts I explored during university, but your mileage may vary drastically (plus or minus) depending on what sort of CS you're looking to do.
David Johnson

If you are asking about getting into the game industry, a Bachelor’s is usually sufficient to open doors for an interview. However, experience and relevant knowledge can be just as important as a degree. A Master's degree (focused correctly) is one way to get some of that experience and knowledge, and it can help you stand out from the crowd. In non-game CS fields, having a Master’s degree can be a much bigger advantage.
Michael Williams

ECOH Cam What did you guys do to celebrate Bungie Day?

This question is not about we did, as much as what we will do. Our observance of Bungie Day lands elsewhere on the calendar. On the Seventh day of the Seventh month, we devote all our attention to the Seventh Column. When it's our turn to celebrate, we will gather together under a cloak of darkness to reap the bounty of a Dionysian feast of food and spirits as we summon the elder gods to deliver a message about our progress in bringing something new and dangerous to life.

defnop552 They say you learn something new every day. What did you learn today?

It’s 2012 and web content management systems still kinda suck.
Derek Carroll

That the sweetness of watching the score being run up in softball with your Bungie co-workers is a fantastic feeling.
Jason Minard

TIL About bacon donuts.
Adam Williams

That not everyone keeps lunch appointments with you, no matter how sacred the lunch hour may be.
David Johnson

I don't want to ever have to resort to cannibalism at Bungie.
Josh Hamrick

While Rijndael encryption is the origin of AES, there are a few key differences.
Michael Williams

JScientia13 I don't believe I have seen anyone from Bungie's network staff on Breaking In. Any chance one could talk about what they do in the near future?

Sure. In fact, let’s take it a step further, and let you get in on the act of asking some of the questions. I have already solicited a volunteer to appear before your firing squad. He shall remain anonymous for now. What do you want to know about Network Engineering?

MAC Blast What TV show has the best intro?

Derek Carroll

Jason Minard

Scott Taylor

Nate Hawbaker

Adam Williams

David Johnson

Josh Hamrick

Michael Williams

callOFdutyFAN12 If I barged into the studio uninvited and started doing a series of flips, what would happen?

I don’t think you would get very far. That would be one flip, rather than a series of flips.

SPRTN One One 7 If you can give one honest, sincere, piece of advice about college and getting a job in the gaming industry, what would it be?

As I said in my Breaking In, the most important things are to make stuff, and show that stuff to other people. (Lather, rinse, repeat.)
Derek Carroll

College does not necessarily have anything at all to do with ending up in the gaming industry. I have a bachelor's degree in philosophy, a master's in history and here I am! Work hard, be passionate and become great at what you do.
Jason Minard

No matter how good, bad, expensive, free, reputable, etc. your college or your instructors are, it won't mean squat if you don't put in the effort inside and OUTSIDE of class to truly excel at your passion. This is especially true on the art side of things. Polycount. Is. Awesome.
Adam Williams

Do it, and unless you get extremely lucky and land a job you just can't do without midway, finish college. Honestly, the best classes (at least in computer science) are the ones you take during your junior and senior years because that's when you get to do your elective classes -- which means that you finally get to study what's interesting to you. And while it's not technically necessary to have a college degree to break into the gaming industry, it will make it all the more easier. You will almost certainly learn a lot in the process, both about your field and about you.
David Johnson

College: If you're going to spend all that money, make it worthwhile. Bust your ass and get something done.
Industry: Start making games now. Mods, home made, whatever... there are enough tools at your disposal to get things done. Every game you make will be better than your last and therefore, when you go for your first industry job interview, you'll have sweet experience to reference (and even show).
Josh Hamrick

Start building your portfolio right now, no matter what you want to do in the game industry. Draw or model environments, animate characters, compose, or program tiny games in your spare time. Ideally in collaboration with others. By the time you graduate, you will have the huge advantage of having some hands on experience with the industry you want to join.
Michael Williams

Whatever you’re studying just remember the goal is to try to make that into some sort of profession or career, it’s never too late or too early to learn that profession and be as professional about it as you can. If you’re truly following your passion this should come easy to you and shouldn’t ever feel like work; it should be fun and feel more like play.
Zeke Garcia

Don’t listen to these nerds. That all sounds like a lot of hard work. Here’s a tip from your Uncle DeeJ: Just play a lot of games and start a blog. Also, try not to leak sensitive stuff, should you ever happen upon it. That’s a great way to fire-proof your bridges.

devastat0r09 I want to see a new Bungie ViDoc.
robby118 The Community is hungry for another podcast.


See how that works? It’s a brand of tyranny that we have always enjoyed. Let me lower the hackles I've raised with a prediction for something that will happen sooner than later. We'll continue to open these Mail Sacks to make sure that we're never too far away from the conversation that you sustain in our home on the Internet. The next one will visit our virtual shores on Monday, true to form.

Community 7/13/2012 12:10 PM PDT permalink

Hey everybody, it’s Bungie Day!

Let the celebration begin...

Read Full Top Story

Community 7/6/2012 9:01 PM PDT

Mail Sack - Bungie Day Eve Edition

Twas the Sack before Bungie Day...

Bungie Day is coming. Have you heard? Every year, on the Seventh day of the Seventh month, we observe the greatness of the Seventh Column – that’s you. Before that revelry descends upon us, we must attend to the weekly ritual of answering your mail. Business before pleasure. Work before play. In keeping with the pattern that emerges whenever we contemplate our faithful community, we have assembled a Bungie Panel of Seven. They have rallied to answer Seven questions.

Derek Carroll, Senior Designer
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
Daniel Hanson, Associate Engineer
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
Steve Lopez, IT Overlord
Marty O’Donnell, Composer, Rock Climber
James Tsai, Senior Designer

Welcome to the pre-party. Let’s open the Sack.

ALI217 What will you do to keep the community entertained (after 7/7) since this is the last Mail Sack?

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Who has been filling your head with such crazy ideas? Bungie Day is a celebration. Aside from the steady stream of questions about what we have planned for Bungie Day, it’s not the end of anything. Your Mail Sack is quite safe.

MAC Blast What is your favorite YouTube video?

The seven songs remixed here:

Derek Carroll

GPK Ethan How often is the rock climbing wall used?

Marty spends a lot of time ascending its boulders these days. He’s actually getting quite good at it.

halo odst 117 MC What do you think is the most important development in video game history in the last 20 years?

You are about to discover that the number Seven is not the only pattern to emerge from this Sack.

The Internet.
Pat Jandro

Networked multiplayer over multiple game devices.
Tyson Green

Definitely the Internet.
Steve Lopez

The Internet and the continued proliferation of broadband connectivity. It has allowed me to buy tons of crap I don't need with two clicks of a mouse button. Does anyone out there want to buy a juicer? Used only once.
James Tsai

The Internet. Worldwide connectivity has allowed us to play games in ways that were not possible before. It has also enabled the resurgence of independent game developers by flattening distribution platforms.
Daniel Hanson

MiloOmega Can you answer a question in 7 words?

It really depends upon the question, dude.

HOOBLA 911 What is your daily routine upon entering the studio?

Mark carpool benefit sheet, get water, check email and news as fog clears from head.
Tyson Green

It’s different every day, depending on what's on fire. I guess the first thing I do is to figure out what’s on fire.
Steve Lopez

I'm a tough guy, so I drink the toughest of drinks: vanilla mocha coffee. And lest you think that makes me soft, let me assure you that I choose the *LARGE* serving size from the automatic coffee maker. Sometimes I go to the bathroom, but often I prefer to just stand uncomfortably at my desk with my legs contorted in an awkward position, holding it until lunchtime.
James Tsai

1. Stumble into the studio, mumbling something to Jerome that may be mistaken for a groggy greeting.
2. Try not to trip up the stairs.
3. Grab my usual cup of hot coffee/cup of cold water combo that wakes me up in the morning.
4. Drink said combo.
5. Sync to latest code/content, check email, and read Joystiq and reddit.
6. Zzzzzzz...
7. Snap awake as the coffee finally kicks in. Time for another day of work!
Daniel Hanson

Thrasher Fan How is Bungie Day celebrated at the studio? Is there a massive party or something?

We gather together to focus on where we have been, and where we are going. Our various teams are brought into concert on our common goals. We mark our progress on the march to world domination. Then, we retire to our desks to eat overly rich foods and perpetuate the biggest myth about the video game industry as we play the game we are making against each other for hours and hours.

Plain Ben What is your fondest Bungie Day memory?

7/7/07 Freedom!
Marty O’Donnell

The independence announcement.
Tyson Green

One year they threw t-shirts into the audience during a presentation. I almost caught one, but it tumbled out of my grasp and down the steps where someone else absconded with it. Damn you, stone hands. Damn you.
James Tsai

This will be my first Bungie Day, as I was hired in October last year. Ask me again when it's over!
Daniel Hanson

MiloOmega What happens after Bungie day?

Business as usual. We forge ahead on our current project. You ask us questions that we would love to answer. We continue to host the tenacious citizens who still call Bungie.net home, while bringing our plans to reinvent that home to fruition.

XoG Suppressor If the entire studio were stuck on a desert island, and each of you could only bring one thing, what would it be?

You would think that our esteemed panel might answer this question sincerely, reaching deep into their psyches to reveal something about their value systems.  If you did think that, you would be wrong.  Most of us don't believe in the no-win scenario.

 A boat.
Pat Jandro

Can I answer "cruise liner?" Because that could be considered one thing. There'd be enough room for everyone else and their singular possessions, unless someone else answered cruise liner also. In fact, I can already see that Pat answered "boat." Now I feel less clever and completely unoriginal. It's a familiar feeling.
James Tsai

Boats to return to the mainland.
Tyson Green

The Internet. This place would melt down without the tubez.
Steve Lopez

The conch.
Daniel Hanson

Something tells me that Steve and Daniel will be abandoning their choices when those boats set sail.

Andrew2p Will you ever be doing anything about Halo again?

Our days of developing Halo are over, but our days of being fans of Halo will continue.

SilverBulitt82 What was your favorite Halo 2 Multiplayer map?

Turf! (biased)
Tyson Green

Lockout. Madness.
Steve Lopez

I get destroyed on all of them, so I don't have a "favorite." Instead, I have favorite corners where I hide, quivering with fear before my next inevitable death at the hands of my foes.
James Tsai

Is this where I shamefully admit that I didn't really play Halo 2 multiplayer? I tend to be more of a campaign kind of guy.
Daniel Hanson

Shame on you, Daniel. I weep that you will never know the sweet joys of a Warthog assault on the tower of Relic. When our next game is released to the waiting world, you are coming with me on a Ride Along into the wilds of multiplayer.

Mythical Wolf Why have you stopped doing those ride alongs? Explain yourself!

We didn't stop the Ride Alongs. We just stopped talking about them. Just this week, I went for a ride with the Spartan 1 Project, an achievement-stomping mindshare that migrated from their cradle on Bungie.net to a fully operational war room off-world. We are always open to playing games with the members of our community, and we will continue to, as we always have.

SN068237264910 Does the diversity of the Studio help conjure up the insane ideas you implement in your games?

Yes. We often provoke bouts of insanity in one another, and then irresponsibly escalate it until it gets into the game. See: Forge.
Tyson Green

It definitely makes the Photoshop contests more interesting. Never thought I'd see pics of Dan Miller doing THAT in my lifetime...
James Tsai

As an engineer, it can get a little turbulent, since each designer has their own idea of the One True Design. But once you get used to the idea that code is not sacred, it can be fun helping designers prototype their crazy ideas. The goal, after all, is to help them make the right design decisions. (Ideally, before we ship.)
Daniel Hanson

HammeredTurnip Will Plain Ben ever properly win a challenge?

Someone inform Ben that he is developing a cheering section! For the uninitiated, the announcement of these features in the Bungie Community Forum is punctuated with a weekly challenge of some sort. What began as riddles and trivia that were all-too-easy to solve with a search engine have evolved into competitive feats of creativity and expression.

Not only do they stretch the imaginations of our community, they help us clear out a storeroom filled with swag that needs a home. Plain Ben has been a perennial competitor, whose best chance at victory was spoiled by some Internet election tampering. Ever since, we let the Bungie Team choose the winner.

This week, the challenge was to create a piece of design in any medium that supported the caption “Bungie Day is Coming.” As you can plainly see, Ben is included among the seven finalists.







And, the Grand Champion for this week, as chosen by a panel of Bungie judges…


Every finalist wins some rare loot, including Plain Ben. As the caption promises, Bungie Day is Coming. If you listen carefully, you can hear the roar of its approach. The party we have planned will be a chance for everyone to score some sweet gifts as a token of our appreciation for the passion that lives on our site every day.

Stay tuned. Stay close. And, be on the lookout for next week's Mail Sack to appear in the same fashion as the dust from Bungie Day is carried away by the wind.

Community 7/6/2012 9:57 AM PDT permalink

Blinded by the Light of Marty

Shinning in the dark...

"Headlined by some of the greatest scientific minds of our time..." is how the pitch for the Seattle Science Festival begins. Tonight, that includes Marty O'Donnell, our Elder and Audio Director, who will appear onstage in a discussion with a panel of Gaming Luminaries. We have always basked in Marty's warm glow. Now the scientific community can, too. Perhaps he can encourage Stephen Hawking to join him in a duet.

Please join us in wishing him luck.  Shine that light, Marty.

Community 6/29/2012 3:09 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 23

More of a stampede than a panel...

The ensemble piece that is the Mail Sack was almost a buddy movie featuring me and the only Bungie guy who braved the mailroom this week. Don’t let that hurt your feelings. As evidenced by the diary I published the other day, we have been working a little more frantically than usual. Looking down the barrel of an awkward duet, I shouted a more desperate plea across the studio floor. I may have also threatened to substitute this weekly ritual of sharing and caring with one of the more bizarre email threads that erupt in our inboxes when people are high on caffeine and low on sleep.

That touched off a stampede. Was it sympathy or panic? We will never know. But, check out this panel!

Jon Cable, Senior Engineer
David Candland, Senior Artist
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Brandi House, User Researcher
David Johnson, Engineer
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Jim Levasseur, Cinematic Designer
Steve Lopez, IT Overlord
Dan Miller, Senior Designer
Joshua Rodgers, Engineer
Tom Sanocki, Staff Artist
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Scott Taylor, Associate Producer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

Together, we could overrun a real postal service. Instead, let’s just open the Sack.

Spartan1065 You always talk about topics of conversation we can explore but, after the 22nd week of random questions that have nothing to do with your next game I have to wonder, what else is there to talk about?

It's no secret that we can’t explore the details of our next game, but that leaves a lot on the table. We can talk about the people who are making it. We can ask what inspires them. We can compel them to relive what brought them here, and explore how they prepared themselves for the work they are doing now. You don’t need to take my word for it. Just read on.

R3dDragon07 What is the most outlandish experience you've drawn on to help with your current work at Bungie?

That time in college when I stayed awake for 72 hours.
John Stvan

I've got a minor in history, which has helped surprisingly often when working on our games. It has applied when discussing the story with writers, but has also helped in thinking about social behavior in our games.
Michael Williams

When I was a kid visiting the homes of others, I was intrusive and nosey to a very rude degree. I would open and poke around inside any drawers, cupboards, closets - whatever I could find. In hindsight, this curiosity helped me become a good tester.
Ben Wommack

My previous CIA experience.
Dan Miller

I have to say that Dan has been extremely helpful in training me to resist the urge to divulge secrets under the threat of torture. You will never break me, Bungie Community!

Krimm117 Could you tell us about your most memorable experience with the Bungie fan community?

Every time a fan casually notices the badge hanging from my hip and asks if I really REALLY work for Bungie, it's an amazing experience.
David Johnson

All of those Xbox Messages asking for Reconz.
Dan Miller

We had a panel with fans a few years ago at PAX and autographed what seemed like a million posters, helmets, games, and other swag. Seeing the passion there meant even more than visiting the long lines at the midnight launches.
Michael Williams

The Halo 2 launch when we met the fans at Redmond Town Center. Amazing high energy crowd!
Steve Lopez

The time I attended a Bungie.org LAN party at Louis Wu's in New York. There were about 30 of us there, and I got to spend some quality time with each of them. I experienced everything from deep discussions about modern Sci-Fi, to brainstorming cool iPad games, to making Swedish meatballs. And, yes, we even played some Halo. While there, I wasn't a Bungie employee, I was a fan, just like everyone else.
David Candland

Minywheats If there is one programming language that the programming ninjas at Bungie really love, what is it?

I'm a production assistant. As far as I'm concerned, all of that stuff falls under the general catch-all of "the blackest of magicks."
Joey Gibbs

I've become a huge fan of C#. We use it for almost all of our tools and server work. It is incredibly fast, very readable, yet still powerful enough to get the job done.
Michael Williams

C#! It's like playing with Legos.
Joshua Rodgers

Oh come on, who isn't going to answer C#?
Nate Hawbaker

Editor’s Note: These guys…

Malbolge. It warms my heart and makes me happy.
Tom Sanocki

These kinds of questions start religious wars. Programmers love their languages of choice like they love their firstborn. I've heard some mumbled appreciation for Python.
Jon Cable

This isn't the correct answer, but I'll always say LISP, simply because our Halo scripting language was so LISP-like in syntax design. Parentheses, everywhere.
(Ben Wommack)

SharkTooth Do people keep their cool during crunches or are there usually a handful of fights (verbal or physical)?

Fights are usually Man vs. Machine, rather than Man vs. Man.
Derek Carroll

I've definitely noticed a lot more people wearing their "Stop Bugging Me I'm busy" headphones, including myself.
Joshua Rodgers

It's actually pretty calm and down to earth here. Yeah, the days can get long, but everyone tends to be so eager to be here and get work done that there really aren't problems, EVEN when there's the massive rush to the dinner lines!
David Johnson

On the last day of crunch, things can sometimes show the nature of two weeks of extended hours. We generally hold the big decision-making for the following Monday, after a weekend of rest.
Nate Hawbaker

We're cool cats, not barbarians – for the most part.
Dan Miller

No fights, but the atmosphere is definitely a little more quirky than normal.
Jon Cable

Brandi House

Patience can be limited, but crunch evenings can be quite jovial.
Luke Ledwich

With our carefully planned crunch schedule, morale tends to be high and tension runs low. Halo 2 was pretty rough, but most of our crunches since then have been a lot better.
Michael Williams

In all seriousness, people are supremely respectful to their coworkers around the studio. I've never seen an altercation, and rarely any harsh words spoken even in heated disagreement. We all need each other, after all.
Ben Wommack

SN068237264910 As a future Animator, what are a few things I should know/do in order to Conquer Animating?

Love your designers.
Dan Miller

Know that it is incredibly hard to find footage of bunnies running that don't end tragically for the bunny. You must harden your heart and have an iron stomach.
Michael Williams

Don't let the computer animate for you; it's a terrible assistant. Set a lot of keys and don't be precious with your ideas (try stuff quickly and throw it out if it's not working). Focus on the fundamentals of good animation (read The Illusion of Life for starters) and observe from life, not animated films. Find talented people and ask for their feedback, and listen to their ideas. And don't get obsessed with polish. What you're communicating, the idea itself, is more important.
Jim Levasseur

Looking good wearing a body suit covered in ping pong balls couldn't hurt.
Ben Wommack

PVSpartanL36 For those on the Bungie team with kids, how do they feel about having a Bungie employee as a parent?

My second-grader thinks it's cool, but since I don't let him play (or even really see) the M-rated games I make, he doesn't have the same appreciation that his classmates do. It must hurt to have your son call someone else "the coolest dad".
Derek Carroll

My Corgi thinks it's so cool. She brags about it to all of her friends.
Nate Hawbaker

My six year old loves coming to the studio and "seeing daddy's secret projects."
Dan Miller

Most weekends (and often during the week) my young kids ask if they can come to Bungie. On those special days where the answer is "yes", they race through the office, visiting each of their favorite corners (the game room, the comfy chairs, their favorite conference rooms, my desk). They barely know what computer games are, and they still love this place.
Tom Sanocki

My daughter is 20 months. Here's what she told my wife yesterday: "Daddy at work. They playing bideo games."
Scott Taylor

My kids love it. Our family pretty much plays everything but instead of the kids bugging us grownups for the next big thing, usually I beat them to it and bring stuff home.
Steve Lopez

Most of my kids are all "yeah, whatever" about it. However, when I go to high school functions, some of their friends and classmates totally brownnose me. It's pretty comical.
David Candland

xgeua What's the workload and stress at Bungie like compared to high school and university?

The transition from the academic world to the working world is a harsh one. You have less pick-up time to do your hobbies, but it's more concentrated free time (you don't have to take your work home). The demands are much higher, but the freedom outside of work is greater too.
David Johnson

It's difficult to compare those two things. The stress during school was for disposable goals. Every day, decisions are made in this studio that will affect our work for a long time. This makes it very easy to get excited about doing your absolute best. The most common fear would be letting down your colleagues.
Nate Hawbaker

I liken crunch to something very similar to end-of-quarter/semester exam prep. Except with more at stake.
Dan Miller

Workload: less. You don't have to do papers, problem sets, and programming assignments all weekend every weekend when you have a job!
Stress: depends. Usually less, but when it's make-or-break time, you don't have the option of bailing and settling for a bad grade -- people are depending on you.
Tom Sanocki

It feels a bit like my last year of college. But you only have one class, it's several years long, you have hundreds of teammates, and we are all the professor.
Jon Cable

For me it is similar. It’s a lot of challenging work that is hard to leave alone even once you go home. It’s a lot easier to stay motivated though with a solid team working in the same direction.
Luke Ledwich

It's probably comparable, but the important thing is that even the crummy, boring parts don't really feel like work. Also, it's tough to have homework when you literally are not allowed to take work outside of the studio. You know, flesh-eating NDAs and all that.
Joey Gibbs

I'd say the workload is bigger, but the stress is countered by the fun of the work. It is a great feeling to be excited to do your job every day.
Michael Williams

There is way more stress and way more time spent, but it all feels less tough than school was. The big difference, of course, is that I really enjoy all the work and effort Bungie demands of me. In school, it was easy to lose motivation.
Ben Wommack

Depends on where we are in the schedule. Some times are definitely similar to the sleep deprivation I encountered during finals week. Other times are super inspiring. Welcome to the real world.
Steve Lopez

Kvaener If you could go back in time and tell your 16 year-old self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell 16 year-old DeeJ to look both ways before he went diving into traffic. When I first learned to drive, perhaps as training to be a terror at the controls of a Warthog, I was a little reckless behind the wheel. This resulted in some collisions that earned me the nickname “Crash” at the dinner table. Perhaps our Bungie Panel has some more profound life lessons to send back through time.

"Things won't work out the way you planned, but they'll be pretty awesome." Either that, or "Buy Apple stock." My 16-year-old self wouldn't listen, though.
Derek Carroll

“People may think you're a nerd and totally unpopular now, but just wait 15 years; you'll be the envy of your classmates.”
David Johnson

“Take advantage of every opportunity anyone gives you.”
John Stvan

“Don't put that there.”
Nate Hawbaker

"You won't believe what you will be doing when you get older."
Dan Miller

"Try harder! Write more video games! Make them more fun!"
Tom Sanocki

"Video games are not soul-leeching man-absorbing manifestations of evil... well, at least not exclusively. There's some good in them too. Somewhere. Hand-eye coordination or something."
Brandi House

"No good will come of tequila."
Luke Ledwich

"It's time you started your training in the ways of the ninja assassin."
Joey Gibbs

"The further you go, the more people of like interests you will find. Keep a good attitude, and work hard, and things will always be ok. Also, here's some lotto numbers and stock tips."
Michael Williams

"Work harder. Don't slack off. Don't worry so much about girls; you're overcomplicating things. Try to intern at Facebook when it starts existing. Oh, and don't buy that Gamecube at launch--get the Xbox instead."
Ben Wommack

Buy stock in Apple, Microsoft, and Google.
Steve Lopez

Stay away from Melody. Dat girl crazy.
David Candland

Wikked Navajoe How do you control your anger?

I pack it up into a tight little ball inside me.
Joshua Rodgers

Type up an honest email response and then promptly delete it.
Dan Miller

I don't.

John Stvan

Go for a good run around.
Luke Ledwich

If I get really worked up over something I go to the gym and lift heavy things until my head clears.
Joey Gibbs

It's important to remember that our brains sometimes like to make us angry just for the rush of adrenaline it gives us. When I find myself getting angry, I take a step back and think about why I am thinking that way and try to see it from another perspective. Most problems are solved much better with a cool head and an open heart.
Michael Williams

I work out. Sublimate that rage, sublimate it!
Ben Wommack

Recognize what your anger is: it's how your mind has been conditioned to respond to what you experience. You have learned to be angry in response to certain things. Anger isn't forced on you. It is a creation of your own mind. It is an addictive mental poison that ruins and shortens your life. It has no upsides. Cold blooded determination beats anger every time. Understanding that anger is just an addictive response, and nothing noble or useful, you can unlearn those responses.
Tyson Green

mini0013xx What was your job before you joined Bungie?

I was at Zipper Interactive making different video games up until the studio shut down.
David Johnson

I sold cell phones in Chicago for about 8 years.
John Stvan

Testing at Nintendo. Yes, our building was architecturally designed to look like Block Fort from Mario Kart 64.
Nate Hawbaker

Making animated family films, nearly every one of which had something horrible and terrifying happen in the first sequence.
Tom Sanocki

I was a lifeguard.
Jon Cable

Freelance couch potato. Before that, Microsoft developer.
Luke Ledwich

Not Batman, for reasons previously enumerated.
Joey Gibbs

Game tester for Microsoft Game Studios.
Michael Williams

I wrote and did audio design for a bunch of Scene It? games. My work at Bungie doesn't involve as much movie trivia.
Scott Taylor

I sorted recycling for my school. It was pretty gross.
Ben Wommack

snipe champpppp What is the single most useful piece of information anyone has ever shared with you?

Be kind to others and don't burn bridges, even if you don't necessarily like that somebody else. Even if nothing ever comes out of it, being kind is its own reward.
David Johnson

If you're coasting, you're going downhill.
John Stvan

Don’t take refuge in the false security of consensus and the feeling that whatever you think, you’re bound to be OK, because you’re in the safely moral majority.
Nate Hawbaker as Christopher Hitchens

Always be closing.
Dan Miller as Alec Baldwin

The truth is not in the middle, and not in one extreme; but in both extremes.
Tom Sanocki as Charles Simeon

Connections are super important in your career, but as soon as you start seeing people as just a connection, you'll lose them.
Brandi House

Have you tried coffee?
Luke Ledwich as Juan Valdez

Go with the flow - avoid setting yourself against the world.
Joey Gibbs

If you try to view people in the best possible light and treat them accordingly, more often than not they will respond by living up to that expectation.
Michael Williams as his grandfather

Being ignorant of something is not a shameful thing. Asking questions about something you don't know is a fantastic character trait to develop.
Ben Wommack

Until you have children, you don’t know half of what you think you know.
Steve Lopez as an old neighbor

Duardo What would you say is the most difficult part of your job?

Trying to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Joshua Rodgers

As a programmer, it's so easy to want to do EVERYTHING. It's a necessary skill to prioritize what's important. There's an infinite amount of work that's waiting to be done, but not all of it is equally important.
David Johnson

The boss battles.
John Stvan

Rolling out a workflow change to our toolset when you have 200 people as your customers. If you move something 50 pixels, you will hear about it within minutes.
Nate Hawbaker

Dan Miller

Fighting with Father Time. That guy's tough.
Tom Sanocki

Not being able to share all the cool stuff we're making.
Jon Cable

To stop adding features and deliver the product.
Luke Ledwich

Designing systems to sustain the kind of load you crazy people tend to put on our servers.
Michael Williams

Trying to stay an expert on everything all at once.
Ben Wommack

Encouraging security in a large group of creative people.
Steve Lopez

mk LITE Are you ever afraid to open the Mail Sack and see what the community has in store for you?

Certainly not! I am a man without fear. Not only is the Mail Sack a great way to know what all of you are thinking about, it’s my chance to mine my coworkers for old stories and nuggets of wisdom. Enabling this conversation is the highlight of my week. Fortunately, it takes all week to do.

We will do this all over again next week. There is still a lot to talk about, so long as you all remain curious about what happens within these walls. While we might be silent about the “what” or the “when” of our next game, but I can still let you in on the “who” and the “why.”

And, let's not forget that Bungie Day Is Coming.

Community 6/29/2012 12:05 PM PDT permalink

The Crunch Diaries

A week in the life of a Bungie Princess...

Game development is a treacherous journey across a landscape scored with peaks and valleys. These past weeks, another milestone has loomed like a snow-capped mountain between us and where we want to be. With only one way over it, our friends have noticed our absence on their social calendars. Our families knew that we would be missing from the dinner table. With a stolen kiss and a pat on the ass, they sent us off to complete our trek.

Crunch is always a lot of hard work. When the days run into nights, we go to great lengths to recreate the comforts of home right here in our studio. This feat of hospitality falls to a loving staff of administrators. Brittany Lichty is one of them. Her goal is to make the incline ahead of us seem a little less steep.

For many of our weary developers, she is all that separates them from starvation or a psychotic episode. She is equal parts Morale Sergeant, Den Mother, Geek Wrangler, and Hostess. This is her story.

Let’s open her diary to see the great lengths she will go to so that our climb is just a little warmer.

Monday, June 11th
7:15 am: Here we go. I stand before the mirror and recite my daily affirmation: I love crunch. I can do anything good. I will buy enough food. I won’t buy too much food, maybe. This week will be great!

6:00 pm: I send the email to announce that the first crunch dinner is served. Stampede! First instinct: hide. Does Bungie have a fallout shelter?

Tuesday, June 12th
Made it out alive, barely. Now I have the Hungry, Hippos theme song stuck in my head. Hungry, hungry, hippos, we are hungry hippos.

Wednesday, June 13th
8:00 am: “How many doughnuts?” Yes. That’s correct, fourteen dozen. “Are you having doughnuts all day long?” No. These will last two hours… at best.

5:34 pm: I receive a call from a frantic pizza delivery man, “Yeah, so, I have your pizzas here but, I’m trapped in a stairwell and I don’t know where I am.”

Thursday, June 14th
11:30 am: “No, not normal people. Gamers. Do you understand?” They say “Yes.”

5:30 pm: I receive one lousy tray of Chicken Tikka Masala. ONE TRAY! You try telling 300 developers that there is not enough food. It takes a certain level of insanity to do such a thing.

6:05 pm: The trick to telling a hungry tester they can’t have a second helping? Never break eye contact. Stare them down until they slowly back away from the last of the Lamb Shahi Korma. If you break eye contact, even for a moment, they will pounce. Crunch brings out the animal in us all.

Friday, June 15th
Time: 1800 hours
Restaurant of choice: Ezell’s
Pounds of chicken strips: 75

Monday, June 18th
Dear Diary,
Everything went smoothly today. Crises averted at every turn. Did I just jinx myself?

Tuesday, June 19th
Dinner is ready. BUT there was a miscommunication on how much chicken I wanted. I said I wanted to feed a small army and they heard that I wanted to feed a baby bird.

Wednesday, June 20th
3:30 pm: Horrid smell emanating from the refrigerator. Time to suit up. There will be no mercy this time around.

5:30 pm: Pizza Wednesday is my favorite. Pizza night for me means an easy order and an easy clean up. More important, it means happy people. Ten million calories later a beautiful game emerges from a cocoon of bagels and pizza.

For Brittany, as well as us, all of this has happened before - and it will all happen again. We have more peaks to ascend before we reach the final summit, but we feel lucky to have the chance to do this work, though the hours be long. People like her make the studio where that work happens a nice place to spend our days – and our nights.

Here’s to you Brittany.

Time for ice cream.

Community 6/27/2012 1:21 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 22 - Return of the Urk

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...

When I started working at Bungie as your faithful servant and indestructible punching bag, one of our fearless leaders lured me away from the relative safety of our studio for some lunch. Seated at the eatery of his choosing, he told me that Community Managers have a shelf life. This seemed like a warning wrapped in a dare, peppered with a dash of sympathy. It sent a shiver up my spine. I couldn't help but picture my predecessors rotting in their chairs over time. Had each of them been discarded like spoiled vegetables, thus sparing our breathable air of their bitter stench?

Of course not! The throne of Community Management has seen a proud succession throughout our history. The pre-Halo era of Bungie was ruled by ancestral characters like Doug Zartman, Max Hoberman, and Matt Soell. Ske7ch holds the record for the longest-sitting Bungie Community Guy, presiding over the virtual nation that played every Halo game that Bungie ever released in one way or another. Frankie ran away from home after a colorful tenure to elope with the Master Chief.  KP took a turn at the helm, before joining Team Xbox.  Lukems still thrives at Bungie, concocting new and exciting ways for you to burn through countless hours of your lives like so many spent rounds of ammunition.

And, then, there is the bearded visage who hired me to inherit his crown of locked threads and franchised montages. This week, very much at your request and my insistence, I give you a Bungie Panel of one…


For some of you, the man needs no introduction. He was your face to the world for Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach. I, like many of you, used to pester him for free swag and some occasional love on the front page of Bungie.net. Now, I fetch him fresh coffee and stale content as he plots and schemes behind an iron curtain to make sure that our next game kicks equal amounts of (if not more) ass.

This week, our Phony Express collected only the letters that were addressed to him. I know how attached you grow to the stewards who serve the Bungie Community. From time to time, it’s nice to drag an old friend back to the front gates, so that you can see that they are alive and well.

Okay, Boss... Let’s open the Sack.

SPRTN One One 7 Why did you choose to work at Bungie?

Many miles and many hours after I’d packed nearly everything I owned into my white 1.7 liter 2003 Honda Civic EX coupe and started down the road, a man on the radio offered up some economic wisdom. Recession was on, he said, and he continued.

“If you’re in a home, stay in it. And if you’re fortunate enough to have a stable job, stay in that, too.”

I’d just quit my job and listed my home up on the rental market.

People will go out of their way to tell you not to take risks. They’ll tell you that what you really want to do won’t pay the mortgage bill. They’ll tell you to play it safe. Do yourself a favor and change the station.

adeckofcards77 What have you been up to recently?

It’s tough to offer up even a high-level account of my day-to-day machinations without blowing some of our cover. I spend a lot of time in rooms filled with people that are far more talented and intelligent than I am, discussing things that make my head spin in the very best of ways. Feels good, man.

nerd Who's better at Halo? You or DeeJ?

The answer hinges on how you personally measure skill in a game like Halo. If you’re in the camp that uses k/d as the competitive yardstick, then I’m more than twice the player he is. If you believe skill is achieved by sitting behind the wheel of a Warthog while other people hop out and do all of the heavy lifting on foot, well, I’d venture to guess you’d come down on Team DeeJ.

Editor’s Note: I hate heavy lifting as much as I hate walking, or even standing up. Team DeeJ has a much better motorpool than Team Urk.

Chewbaccawakka If you could change one facet or detail of your favorite sci-fi universe, what would you change/would you change anything?

I’ve always had trouble picking favorites.

I would set Ender’s Game inside of a second, superfluous simulation, casting Keanu Reeves in the starring role. (Apologies if I just spoiled the upcoming 2013 film adaptation for you.)

I would have allowed myself to be completely satisfied by Star Wars as soon as the credits for Return of the Jedi rolled.

I would have read Hothouse when I was younger and my mind was less encumbered by trivial adult things like scientific plausibility.

CrazzySnipe55 How much trouble would DeeJ be in if he showed up to work in pleated pants?

He’d be in no trouble at all. DeeJ prefers more fancy dress than the Bungie majority, electing to wear a wide variety of collared shirts that prominently feature breast pockets, and that’s okay. I keep asking him what he intends to place in those pockets. So far, he’s been suspiciously coy.

Xd00999 Which do you consider more important for a game, a good story or good graphics?

I’m hesitant to answer questions that could be construed as anything more than my humble opinion; I don’t make the games around here, and “good” will mean something different to everyone who reads this. It’s a subjective question, and the answer should depend completely on the experience the developer is attempting to deliver.

Caveat aside, the real answer is always, “More Trexels per clock cycle!”

mark117 mia2553 What do you like most about your new home (studio)?

Prior to our move, I predicted that the expanded bathrooms would be my most celebrated upgrade. Sadly, since we’ve added more than two hundred people to our roster, the bathrooms have become more trafficked than ever before. So, I’ll go with the two hundred people as the best new addition. It seems obvious to put this into words, but Bungie really is a collection of people, and looking around this place, I’m in awe of the talented crew we’ve assembled. They pay me to say that, though.

HOOBLA 911 If you could turn DeeJ into anything, what would you turn him into?

I’d turn him into a Golden Retriever. We’d brush his hair and feed him kibble and tell him that he’s a good boy. When he wrote a bad mail sack, we’d rub his nose in it and smack him with a rolled up newspaper. Come to think of it, aside from crawling around on all fours and butt-sniffing, that’s pretty much DeeJ’s standard routine, so let’s just leave things the way they are.

Editor’s Note: The kibble here is not all that bad.

Dropship dude What's the creepiest thing a fan has ever done in your presence?

I’ve had poems passed to me, the folded paper packed tightly with anticipation, clenched in a sweaty, shaking hand. I’ve had people write my gamertag into the pollen-coated windshield of my white 1.7 liter 2003 Honda Civic EX coupe. I’ve even had people sneak a seat next to me at the bar without saying so much as a word until someone brought the awkward, uncomfortable behavior to their attention.

Behavior like that makes me wonder if you’re contemplating my violent end, and salivating over the prospect of a new, freckled, Buffalo Bill-style skin suit. Just walk up and say hello when you see a Bungie dude or lady. Maybe follow up with your name and a conversational sentence or two.

SpongyMallard7 What makes your games feel so unique?

This is a great question for Jason Jones. He’s far more qualified than I am to answer design questions, which is a really nice way to say that I’m not qualified at all. Jones is pretty busy, though, and it’s been a while since he’s fielded community questions. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

coolmike699 What life lessons should we take away from your games?

Life lessons, by definition, are morals or instructions gained via experience. As you may already have learned, games are often described as experiences. So, jump high, respawn often, and never, ever, try to uninstall Myth 2.

Your mileage may vary.

x Lord Revan x Urk, what's the best prank you've played on the new guy?

If you’re talking about DeeJ, I have to be careful. He’s a bit sensitive to the prankish behavior that comes at his expense. We’ve pointed his browser to our favorite websites and tagged his desktop when he’s forgotten to lock his computer, showcased “hilariously” Photoshopped images of him on the big screen in packed meetings, and even threatened to fire him if he didn’t scarf down the final bites of the appetizers we ordered at The Taphouse. I’ve also punched him directly in the face.

We are children.

Mythical Wolf Do you miss writing the Bungie Weekly Updates?

I miss them very much – doubly so knowing that I’m more armed and dangerous now than ever before. I’d also like to rewrite a few dozen of them, and strike even more from the website forever out of sheer shame and embarrassment.

some1 with guns I heard somewhere that gingers will be extinct in 50 years. How do you cope with the imminent loss?

We’re not going extinct; we’re transcending. The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

You just read a poem. Eat it!

...You heard the man. Go ahead now, and eat your poem. Do it. Unfinished snacks throw urk into a rage, and that’s when the blows start to land – on the face.

If we have learned one thing today, I hope it is that Bungie Community Managers never die. Like said butterflies, they evolve from crawling forms into winged things. As much as you might miss them, you must take solace from the fact that they are putting to good use everything you ever taught them about players who play games. This doesn’t mean that you should start to worry about losing me anytime soon. I have always been a slow learner, and I hate change more than I hate having to move my desk.

Come back next week. We’ll be putting the band back together for a conversation with a more robust Bungie Panel.

Community 6/22/2012 9:59 AM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 21

Like a perfect hand at the Blackjack table...

Let’s be honest with one another. Shall we? We could write an amusing opening to this article to create the right mood, but you would just scroll right past that to see if your question got answered this week. Are we right? Instead of bending metaphors and arranging whimsical collisions of prose, how about if we just introduce you to the panel that waded into the deep waters of madness that washed ashore when we invited you to write us letters?

Danny Bulla, Designer
Zeke Garcia, Associate Artist
Noah George, Support Engineer
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
John Hopson, User Research Lead
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
Sage Merrill, Design Lead
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*
Cameron Pinard, Artist
Scott Taylor, Associate Producer

Put on your waders, boys! Let’s open the Sack.

I got my fingers crossed, on a shooting star....
Zeke Garcia

I know what you are thinking. That cryptic musing doesn’t seem to be in response to a question. I thought the same thing when I read it, but I couldn’t let it go to waste. Moving right along...

defnop552 What's the first thing that comes to mind when you see this image?

That's a pelvis.
Mat Noguchi

Giant Mantra Ray-Bat-Beetle.
Pat Jandro

“Man I wish I had more flechette ammo…”
Cameron Pinard

The Fallen that my Barbarian crushes like insects.
Tyson Green

That's a facehugger from Alien.
Noah George

It's [something that would get DeeJ fired if he let it slip].
John Hopson

Don’t mind our User Researcher, everyone. He just likes to be the one administering the tests.

I ColdEmbrace I What does your electric bill look like? Does your studio use alternate energy methods like solar energy?

We have a theoretical reactor in the bowels of our compound that is fueled by empty soda cans and nerd rage. It’s highly unstable. At least once a month, we have to eject the core into Lake Washington. Don’t tell the EPA. They are still trying to find out why all of the local fish are crawling ashore with night vision and a hunger for human connective tissue.

MightyMarcher01 What does Bungie HQ smell like?

Honestly? It smells like electricity... except for the fleeting moments when someone wearing cologne/perfume/cigarette smoke/indigestion vapors walks by.
Pat Jandro

Depends on crunch dinner, curry and fried chicken being the most distinctive.
Cameron Pinard

It smells exactly like Mezhgorye.
Noah George

Helveck Is there any way we could be graced with a vague – yet not ridiculously enigmatically vague – idea about how much longer we'll be sitting in the dark? I haven't showered or changed my clothes since you guys turned off the lights, and I'm not exactly sure what I've been eating off the floor.

First of all, never eat unknown entities that you find on the floor. The world is full of mutated fish that can crawl – not that we know anything about that.

Second of all, when we said, “See you in 2013,” we meant just that. Don’t go running off, though, we’ll have some fun, non-megaton-type stuff between now and then to keep you warm in the dark.

Lobster Fish 2 Is there something in store this year for us on Bungie Day?

But of course! The advent on which we celebrate our Community carries the same weight around here as a national holiday. This year may not be a hallmark anniversary, and Bungie Day has never been graced with a game reveal, but community greatness must still be recognized. Loyalty cannot go unrewarded.

CTN 0452 9 If you could only use one word to describe life at Bungie, what would it be?

Pat Jandro

Cameron Pinard

Noah George

CoRaMo If you could speak with the voice of anyone in the world, whose would you choose?

John “Halcylon” Stvan has decided that he has an amazing Morgan Freeman impression. For the past two weeks, he has been beating me over the head with it. If you cross his path on Xbox LIVE, be sure to ask him to give you a riff. I am sure he will be more than happy to oblige.

WestCoastRonin What happens at Bungie when you walk away from your desk and leave your desktop unlocked?

We were informed after this hijacking that Official Bungie Policy is to never molest the workstation of a coworker.

Kvaener What's your favorite Manga?

Lone Wolf and Cub.
Tyson Green

Death Note. I'll confess to reading Naruto too.
Noah George

dmg04 Why do you complain so much about Spartan Lasers?

I got this one, Panel. This question is in reference to a game that I played with Mr. 04 just the other night. I am being trolled here. Stand back, now.

Disclaimer: I, DeeJ BNG, veteran Warthog Pilot of sound mind and controller-wielding fists, am speaking for myself alone. This is not an official statement from Bungie. Spartan Lasers are the very worst thing about Halo. They were a mistake before they were ever imagined. The main purpose of a Spartan Laser is to enable cowards to destroy Warthogs from afar. Those very same cowards are supposed to be running around with a lesser weapon, trying to get splattered. Whoever conceived that implement of misery hates me, and I hate him. Who was that, in fact? Now that I am here, I would like to have a word with that bastard…

The Spartan Laser is fine. The real mistake was ever allowing vehicles to be destroyed… From a purely multiplayer perspective, the Warthog was much cooler when it was a mobile objective/weapons platform that both sides were fighting over. Also, we should have made you lock your target first.
Sage Merrill

It was a replacement for the lock-on rocket launcher in Halo 2, which had previously rendered vehicles obsolete. The laser at least gave you some forewarning and required some aiming. Though, players got pretty good at pre-charging it. I tend to agree with Sage. Indestructible vehicles (that transfer damage to the drivers) may make less fictional sense, but played better.
Tyson Green

 Geegs30 Do any of your coworkers have a skill that you are jealous of?

Yeah, a couple hundred of them. I'm jealous of all the Artists, Musicians, and Programmers.
Noah George

I think we have some pretty good drummers in the studio. Drums are rad.
Pat Jandro

Basically every one of the artists. Especially the concept artists.
Tyson Green

Xd00999 What does Bungie think of Prometheus, if they have seen it?

We saw it. In fact, we all saw it together, holding hands. Look at us. Aren’t we adorable? This was before the movie started, so don’t worry about all the smartphones depicted below.

Papa Bungie shut down an entire auditorium so that we could watch it as a team. He’s a nice man. As for the flick? It garnered the usual fierce debate that rages between us on any topic that includes awesome spaceships and people who take their helmets off way too soon. Some of us were Pro-metheus. Some of us were Anti-metheus. You would have to ask us one at a time. I dug most of it.

Jujubes What's your favorite space movie?

Office Space.
Pat Jandro

Space Hunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.
John Hopson

Hmm, probably have to go with 2001.
Cameron Pinard

Star Wars.
Tyson Green

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kaaaaaaaaahhhhhnnnnn!
Noah George

sacktapped I just got engaged to my womans. What theme should we make the wedding?

Womans? Did you mean for that to be plural? It doesn’t really matter. The truth is all the same: The theme for your wedding, no matter how many people you are marrying, should be whatever the woman(s) want(s). Trust me on this. You should prepare to listen and nod a lot. Always have an opinion, but be willing to abandon it at the first sign of resistance. If she says that she wants a Master Chief cake, you have yourself a winner. It would be foolish to suggest this idea on your own and suspect that it will be met with anything other than a cold, hard stare.

 Oh, and congratulations! Be sure to tell the people on your friend’s list that they will be seeing less of you. It’s just the way of things, man.

snipe champpppp Why was E3 so terrible this year?

Because you are a bitter young man who is already poisoned with rage. When are you going to learn that Bungie doesn’t crave sour bait like that? We prefer questions that let us be lovers, not fighters.

Cpl Crosseyes What were some of the Bungie guys favorite parts of this year's E3?

Much better. Thank you. Panel?

Resident Evil 6!
Mat Noguchi

Hearing that it might not be in LA next year.
Pat Jandro

Shootmania and Halo 4 look pretty awesome.
Cameron Pinard

There are a lot of new games I want to try, but I'm most excited for Hitman 5 and FarCry 3.
Noah George

DarkONI What kind of posters you have hanging around?

You would have to read the forum to answer this. It really varies. Some posters that hang around on Bungie.net are sarcastic. Some posters are sincerely interested in the free exchange of ideas and feelings. Other posters are just angry - about everything. But they rarely last very long.

JScientia13 What happened to the ninjas I sent to find out what you are working on? They never came back...

You fool! That was you? One cannot truly motivate Ninjas with money. A cash bribe might get them off the couch, but it will never win their loyalty. We offered your Ninjas a chance to swing our Banhammer. By their very nature, they simply cannot resist a chance to deal out justice to evildoers. Better luck next time. Even if you send proper mercenaries to capture our secrets, we will distract them with an invitation to playtest our next game. Bungie will always be one step ahead of you.

ALI217 How much fan mail do you guys get since you are dark and when was the last time you received a piece?

Every week, one of the Bungie Princesses drops at least one new piece of fan mail on my desk. It is not addressed to me, mind you. I am just the lucky guy who gets to tear into them. Most of what you can see is the result of some long-forgotten homework assignment in a unit on business writing. Every once in a while, I scan a pearl of joy and share it with the team. Bungie.net is still your best means of getting our attention. This Mail Sack is the one that takes first priority.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI What position in Bungie seems the most fun and relaxing?

The word “position” was assigned dueling treatments by our Panel. So that you don’t get lost in the shifting meanings, let’s herd them into groups.

position (noun): a physical pose

Getting a free 15 minute massage.
Mat Noguchi

Lounging in a beanbag chair with the sun setting over Bellevue.
Cameron Pinard

position (noun): a job title or role

I'm sure it's Community or Marketing. Those guys always seem so chipper and happy.
Tyson Green

I don't know of any relaxing positions here, but DeeJ looks like he is having the most fun.
Noah George

CheckedBRUTES Is AgdTinMan still working for Bungie?

Thanks to the miracle of The Internet, you can ask him yourself as often as you like.

SPRTN One One 7 If Jason Jones and Marty O'Donnell were stuck in the ocean surrounded by sharks, who would you save?

The Sharks. You are hardly describing a fair fight. The lack of proper pizza in this town keeps Marty in a perpetual state of ravenousness, and shark meat has been described as tasty.

Tookurdignity Since everybody always asks what Bungie is working on, I figured I'd ask the opposite: "What is Bungie NOT working on?”

Pretty much everything you saw at E3 this year.
Pat Jandro

Giant Laser Space Frisbees.
John Hopson

We are definitely not working on the microwave emulator, after an unfortunate incident that project has been shelved indefinitely.
Cameron Pinard

Sun tans.
Noah George

Ping Pong, sadly. But hopefully that will change. Soon.
Scott Taylor

Oh, Scott. You only have two shoulders, you know.

xNiGhThAwKx19 Will you ever answer my questions?

Maybe next week. This week, we found them to be self-serving, and rather flat from a conversational perspective. Next week, you will have another chance to put Bungie to the question. You all will. Until then, we want you to know how much we enjoy these chats.

Community 6/15/2012 11:38 AM PDT permalink

Mail Sack Twenty - Ninjas on Parade

Sweeter than high fructose corn syrup...

In simplest terms, the Bungie Community is a gathering of gamers who appreciate the games we make and the people who play them. When we imagine Bungie.net as a real place, we see a thundering mob of anonymous faces that outnumber us by a factor of hundreds of thousands to one. Without forms of control in place, they would trample us under their charging feet.

Our saving grace is an elite order of forum moderators. These volunteer crime fighters protect the innocent from trolls and ne’er-do-wells. With a swing of their might banhammer, they keep the peace and defend us from the chaos that threatens the very fabric of our community. From their secure compound under the mysterious “HFCS” banner, these protectors of harmony preside over the boards that host our discussions and mete out justice wherever it is needed. This week, we thought it appropriate to dedicate our mail room to only collecting letter addressed to these unsung heroes. They have assembled to answer those questions that don’t compromise their cloak of stealth.

 Meet your friendly neighborhood Forum Ninjas (at least, those that were available for comment).

just another fan






El Roboto

Recon Number 54



Dr Weird

x Foman 123 x

Gods Prophet

Butane 123

x Lord Revan x

Old Papa Rich


Ninjas! Materialize from within a sudden cloud of smoke. Let’s open the Sack.

ALI217 Which ninja is the most respected amongst you?

x Foman 123 x Personally, I respect Recon Number 54 the most. This message paid for by Recon Number 54.

evilcam Respect and fear are pretty much the same thing.

bobcast I've always had a crush on Yoozel.

odmichael I respect what every single one of these guys does.

Duardo I'd say anyone who spends time in the report queue definitely earns my respect, 'cept Butane.

El Roboto I respect all of them, more as one would respect friends and family than as colleagues.

x Lord Revan x We're all well respected, except Underdog. He has a love affair with baked beans.

just another fan In truth, they are a fine bunch of individuals whom I all respect. Yes, even Qbix. I'm proud to be part of the team. But seriously, I'm the most respected.

borrowedchief Not Qbix.

Qbix89 Judging by the other replies, it's definitely not me.

arch4ng13 What is the actual purpose for the "Welcoming Committee" group compared to HFCS?

We have no idea what you are talking about – and neither do you. What you are asking about does not exist, and you cannot prove otherwise. Move along… Move along…

Adamcunn Do you get a sick thrill from banning members? (Be honest).

just another fan A certain amount of thrill can be quite healthy, thank you!

BobBQ No, only chest pains and a facial tic.

Duardo Do I enjoy banning spammers and trolls? YOU BET! Do I enjoy banning those that made an honest mistake or those who come here regularly to have some fun? No.

evilcam I rarely ever even ban users.

Borrowedchief Honestly, if it's a spam attack, well known spammer, or just a silly alt, yes. The sickest of sick. If it's just a user that just doesn't seem to get the rules, then I feel sad panda-ish.

El Roboto No, but sometimes I do fell the creeping urge for a bottle of rum.

odmichael I banned Soulja Boy once. That was pretty entertaining.

x Foman 123 x It can get frustrating when members choose to learn the rules by trial-and-error rather than taking 5 minutes to read the rules. On the other hand, the sound of the banhammer whistling down onto a really bad user is so sweet.

Gods Prophet Of course not! I mean, I do laugh hysterically every time I ban someone but I'm pretty sure that's unrelated.

Butane 123 My actual hobbies would make any sick thrill I'd get from [banning someone] seem as tame as the merry-go-round in an amusement park full of roller coasters.

Old Papa Rich Without hesitation, yes. I even laugh maniacally.

The Yeti If you could permaban any Bungie employee without them figuring it out, who'd you ban?

We would figure it out. We can smell the ozone that accompanies the appearance of a Ninja from a mile away. Bungie employees are above the law on Bungie.net, and immune to a strike from the Ninja’s hammer. Nevertheless, your question is intriguing, so we will let it stand.

bobcast I'd make it a rotating ban. They'd never know when it would come or how long it would last.

BobBQ Stosh. It will be vengeance six years in the making.

Duardo Achronos without question. Well...him or Halcylon. I'm not sure who the bigger jerk is...probably Hal.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI Can I take you guys out for a steak dinner on the day before PAX?

That sounds dangerously like a bribe, Sir. You aren’t attempting to manipulate a law enforcement official are you? In the real world, that is highly illegal, you know. Fortunately, as we are fond of reminding people, Bungie.net is safely isolated from the real world. Just know this: It takes more than a slab of meat to make our Ninjas soft on crime. Let’s see who wants to take your bait.

Duardo You could take me out for a steak dinner every night (if you're paying).

evilcam Are you coming on to me? Oh, I answered your question with another question. Sorry about that. Answer: absolutely.

borrowedchief Steak is always welcome.

Dr Weird Steak is good and all, but I would rather have cake of some sort.

x Lord Revan x Whoa now, you aren't Luke Smith!

Qbix89 Medium done. (that means yes)

Can I come, too?

defnop552 What's the worst thing about moderating the forums?

bobcast Sometimes I see a thread I'd really like to post in. Upon entering it, I find spam and nonsense. By the time I finish cleaning it up, I don't feel like posting.

Duardo Sometimes I can't truly engage in a conversation due to my position. People either fear I will ban them for having a different opinion, or they just quote me and take the discussion off-topic. Also, seeing Halcylon around and not being able to do anything about it.

borrowedchief Nothing really. Sometimes you have to catch your tongue. Other than that, we are normal. We are ninjanonymous.

Dr Weird I don't like to ban people unless they really have it coming. Most of the bans I give out could have easily been avoided if people had read the rules.

just another fan Answering the mail sack.

evilcam When DeeJ tells us to keep it light.

So sorry to cramp your style. I though this question was a little heavy, so I made a simple little suggestion. Forgive me for trying to put a happy face on things! I should have just led with this next question…

Xd00999 Favorite part of being a Ninja?

Dr Weird Salmon text.

bobcast All the hate mail. It really shows how creative the community is. Also, it turns out my mother really gets around.

BobBQ Feeling the Schadenfreude.

odmichael Helping the my favorite video game company in the whole wide world of course!

Duardo Definitely the chicks, or having a brotherhood of sorts. I'm not sure which one is better.

evilcam There's a huge pic thread in HFCS. Some pics are tasteful, some are downright nasty. All are virtual treasures.


x Foman 123 x No-pants days. The best part is that every day is no-pants day

x Lord Revan x The sheer sense of community and the general feel-goodness of being able to help out.

Qbix89 My favorite part has to do with stuff that I'm not really allowed to talk to you guys about, which makes it even more awesome. (Typical ninja answer right here).

coolmike699 What's the best PM you've gotten?

bobcast I'm a "racist turtle snowman."

BobBQ Collectively, the death threats.

Duardo I got a PM back in 2008 from The Superintendent. His wise words of wisdom? "IN CASE OF FIRE, USE STAIRS."

Dr Weird Someone asked to be banned because they thought they spent too much time on Bungie.net.

x Lord Revan x Well, let’s just say the individual thought that I was in love with a pink bunny costume and that I belonged in an insane asylum. I think he was thinking of Slayer.

Kr1egerdude How well do you know each other in real life?

bobcast I've hung out with Foman once. I play on live with several others often. I've drunk dialed/text a few, too.

Duardo About as well as a mother hen knows her chicks.

El Roboto We have had meet ups at PAX almost annually now. Most often, it’s just casual online interactions.

x Foman 123 x I talk to a lot of my fellow Ninjas away from Bungie.net pretty frequently. I've met most of them at PAX and LAN parties, and I'd consider them to be real friends.

Qbix89 I'm proud to say that quite a few of the members of HFCS are my real life friends, just as I am equally proud that I have never met evilcam.

MsCadetUNIVERSE May I ask if any of you lovely gentlemen are single?

Oooooh... I really don’t recommend dating a Ninja. Their hours are long, and you spend a lot of lonely nights wondering if they will come home after their shift. It’s totally your call, but I think a nice girl like you might be a lot happier with a graphic designer or someone a little more harmless. At the same time, the heart wants what the heart wants, so let’s meet our eligible bachelors from the bunch. Prepare to put your best foot forward, gentlemen.

evilcam Yes, you may ask.

just another fan SMM L4 STR

bobcast Single Forum Ninja. Owns own home, has a good job, has own car. Wants kids, looking for long term relationship. Hobbies include swinging banhammer, locking spam threads, making trolls cry, and making vague sarcastic post.

Duardo Single guy living in his parents basement looking for someone to cut these chains off the desk so I can get out of here (For the love of God, help me!). Foman's Mom helps out some, but she's always leaving for other appointments.

Gods Prophet Sensitive and caring ninja (classified) years old with seeks female community companion, nonsmoker, for being stealthy.

Qbix89 Single Norwegian Master Moderator seeks lifelong companion. Do you have what it takes to melt my cold, Viking heart? Hobbies: Biking in the rain, pillaging friendly villages, wearing tights and petting cats.

BobBQ I'm single. I'm also completely uninterested.

antony X1000 What is the funniest ban appeal you have received?

just another fan Your older/younger brother is a terrible person. Whenever you visit the bathroom, he controls your account and spams these forums. Of course you, dear reader, are innocent!

BobBQ I've never actually received a funny ban appeal, only deluded, narcissistic and occasionally violent ones.

Duardo Someone once told me to use proper inglish, and then called me stoopid.

evilcam A bunch of people appealing to me because Foman apparently won't reply to them anymore. What's entertaining about it is I ALWAYS agree with the unpleasant things they have to say about Foamy. I've made tons of lifelong friends, based solely on the unifying hatred that Foamy spreads.

borrowedchief I remember a user saying he was going to eat my liver.

DE4THINC4RN4TE Do you get special access to BUNGIE info because you are a ninja?

BobBQ I got into the Pimps at Sea closed beta.

Duardo Getting to meet the crew at PAX 2010 in their new place was especially nice.

evilcam Bungie once told me that I'm a terrible ninja and that they all collectively hoped I die alone. That counts as special access to insider info right? I think it does.

Yoozel You mean besides the company car, weekly meetings on the rock wall at the studio, first class trips during PAX, sweet t-shirts, the occasional stolen item off of Marty's desk and monthly shipments of Pacific King Salmon delivered to our doors? There's also the occasional beta invite and occasional late night rendezvous to play games before their release and chow down on pizza.

Gods Prophet Officially, no. Just between you and me, we are made privy to certain information regarding certain Bungie black projects and what a certain gorilla-suited man ape has actually been doing all these years and why he can't answer the phone right now.

Butane 123 I always liked getting into the Halo betas super early. In the Halo: Reach beta, me and Qbix were searching for matches with the population counter reading only 40. We were running into pretty well known gamers and people in the industry every game.

x Lord Revan x They give us hugs and plenty of love.

Bobcast We have possibly the rarest Bungie t-shirt ever made, we get Christmas cards, and Brandi sends us emails.

When the time comes for you to be drafted into the service of the Bungie Beta, it will be Brandi that issues your orders. We use our Ninjas as test pilots for each experiment. Not only do we value their opinions, but we like to put them on alert in the event that another test subject starts violating their sworn oath once they leave the lab. Oh, and Bobcast suffers from delusions that Brandi likes him the best. He thinks that he is the only one receiving her messages. You know, like those crazy people who think the news anchor is speaking only to them? The guy is totally nuts, but in a way that we can use.

Khirna How hard is it to maintain moderation balance among all of the ninjas? Each person has a different interpretation of the rules, and I'm assuming that the ninjas are no exception. Is that something you guys decide in HFCS, or are you trusted enough to make a well-informed decision?

borrowedchief Not at all. I think we all have a central understanding of the rules. Believe it or not, there is not much disagreement. And if there ever is, we are always able to hash it out.

just another fan We are free to act as we see fit. I don't think there is whole lot of difference in interpretation, but more in how to handle a situation.

bobcast We often communicate with each other. We are connected by MSN, phone, PM, and in HFCS. When we see something we're not sure how to handle, we often will shoot a message to someone to get a second opinion.

BobBQ I'm unable to confirm or deny your assumption, but the pig is very happy and what's the harm in a sauna bath anyway?

Duardo While we may slightly differ in styles, the rules are still the same. We trust each other enough that we don't have to worry about what someone else may do. We are a team, and if we do have a problem, we discuss it as a team and then make a decision.

Evilcam They all know to stay out of my way. They all know it’s best to never question my judgment. They all know that I'm always right.

El Roboto Cohesion among us is pretty consistent, but we are human after all (at least most of us are).

odmichael We follow the code of conduct. Sometimes that may mean using our own judgment. Overall, we are a team. If there is a question, someone else will be able to address it.

Yoozel Besides getting face-slammed by Achronos and DeeJ, we take a very committee approach to issues that arise. We pull out of the Wheel-o-Phun and gather the brethren for top shelf liquor to see which dauntingly comical retort we can mask our true motives under.

Dr Weird We converse a lot more than people think so it really isn't a problem.

x Foman 123 x We generally trust each other to exercise good judgment. There is some difference in how some "gray area" posts are dealt with, but we really spend a lot more time and effort than some people realize trying to be consistent in rules enforcement.

Butane 123 It’s always been the idea that we are independent enough so that we don't have to be watched over by the powers that be. We trust each other to make good decisions and know that we can always ask for advice.

x Lord Revan x We are driven by the same code of conduct, and we're expected to maintain consistency between ourselves. When we're confused and lost out there, we support one another. We're a fraternity of sorts.

Old Papa Rich We don't try to be perfect. It isn't possible. Decisions are mostly the individual judgment you mentioned, but there is a fair amount of advice sought and given.

Qbix89 Being consistent with your own actions is one thing. To have a consistency between the different members of the group is another. We have a basic set of rules and guidelines that we follow. In the end, we usually have to trust our own instincts and our own judgment. I think we do a pretty good job at it, but we make mistakes.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI In before DeeJ locks this!

Are you still here? I figured you would be working a second job so that you would be able to afford all that steak you promised to buy. Save your pennies, because the Ninjas are sharpening their knives.

Recon Number 54 I offer the following reply to any and all of the listed questions: "I kind of like the swelling, but the itching is driving me insane!"

Thanks. That’s just super. Everyone is thrilled that you shared that, its amazing that your one and only comment got past the censors. I will make a mental note to evaluate our Ninja roster with urk. Unless anyone else has an outburst like that planned, it is time to bring this session of sharing to an end.

Bungie Community, please join me in thanking our Ninjas for the watch they keep over our happy home. While those of you who have fallen under the strike of their hammer may see them as villains, we see them as the heroes of our community. We hope that most of you agree.

Community 6/8/2012 11:19 AM PDT permalink

Historical Fiction

If only the UNSC had a wayback machine...

Every day, the brave developers at Bungie are harnessing their creativity to craft an entirely new reality. While we toil in the darkness of our secure location, our beloved online community keeps us company and teases us with questions we would love to answer (but cannot). On occasion, we like to provide them with momentary distractions from their various debates with a contest that dares them to unleash their creativity. This week, we challenged them to imagine an alternate universe all their own.

For the sake of healthy competition, let’s imagine that the United Nations Space Command acquired the ability to punch a hole in the fabric of space and time, and journey to any point in history that they wanted to visit. What scores do you think they would want to settle? How might our knowledge of the past be augmented with some twisted steel and sex appeal?

This very question was put to the patient gamers who rule our forum. We narrowed down the field of entries through a selection process that relies heavily on science, tyranny, and a bottle that spins. Seven examples of homespun historical fiction remain. It will fall to you to vote for the winner…

SpartainKen15 whipped up some recruitment propaganda, featuring everyone’s favorite uncle.

Adamcunn knows that the ladies like a man on a pale horse.

IrishFreak took one small step for Spartans.

HoffmanJ got medieval on our asses.

Plain Ben liberated Europe from the Scarab army.

mk LITE has a revisionist theory for who crossed the Delaware River.

Navweb3620 proved that capturing the flag is a team effort.

Which of these fine works of falsehood and fancy deserve your highest mark? Bungie will send secret gifts to the winner. Like the time travelers depicted above, you have the power to alter the course of history for one lucky citizen of Bungie.net. The polls are open, and the hopeful artists are breathless with anticipation for you to make your mark.

Community 6/6/2012 10:10 AM PDT permalink

Mail Sack No. 19

Our last, best hope for keeping in touch!

Life at Bungie can be difficult these days. We miss you fine people so much. Sure, it’s nice to have you lounging around in a network of private clubhouses on our site, but we long for the days when we can hunt you down inside one of our own dangerous games. Until that time comes, this Mail Sack is our best connection to each other. You honor us with your questions. We try to honor you right back with answers that are worthy of your attention. Take a look at who took a break from the grind of building a universe to sift through your letters this week…

Noah George, Support Engineer
Bob Glessner, Senior Engineer
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
David Johnson, Engineer
Scott Kankelborg, Associate Test Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Online Engineer
Sergey Mkrtumov, Super Awesome Server Dude
Travis Pijut, Associate Test Engineer
Tom Sanocki, Staff Artist
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Let’s open the Sack.

Malcolm Hi my name is Malcolm and I'm 15 years old. I want to work at Bungie and I'm a really hard worker. Can I get a job?

Whoa there, young man! Your passion certainly does you credit, but you still have a long road of self-discovery stretched out before you. You should focus your energy on a discipline that speaks to you, no matter where you end up working. Are you to be an Artist or a Programmer? A Producer, or just a sad wretch who answers studio mail? Read some Breaking In interviews until you come across someone who reminds you of who you would like to be in a few years. Before you can ask us for a job, you need to be able to ask a question like this…

Godzneighbor What colleges do any of the programmers over at Bungie recommend? I'm planning on going into server programming, and one day apply to work at Bungie.

 As long as you are determined, any college with a decent Computer Science program is a good one. I'd recommend looking at a few college rankings for engineering or computer science and finding a school that interests you. When looking at a school, make sure you check the Computer Science department's webpage. Does the department have interesting things going on? Are there interesting Computer Science related clubs? Does the school have an active ACM organization? These are all good things to consider. In the end, find a school where you think you will be comfortable, work hard, and you will find success.
Michael Williams

Pick a college where computer science majors have no social life, are constantly in the computer lab, and everyone complains bitterly that they're expected to learn new programming languages on their own time because class time is spent on other things. Bonus points if the systems programming class gives you a zero for programming assignments that leak memory or crash (for any reason).
Tom Sanocki

Many of my coworkers that I've worked with in the industry went to DigiPen to get a degree specifically in game programming, but by no means is that the only avenue open to you. Personally, I went to a university with a very strong computer science program, and that was enough to really get me in the door.
David Johnson

College, pfft. Who needs that?
Travis Pijut

You should be ashamed of yourself, Travis.  Go to college, kids.  It will be the best 5 or 6 years of your life.

I ColdEmbrace I What do your uniforms look like?

Every week, a team of Bungie developers pry their code-weary hands from the keyboard and brave the outdoors to experience what the real world has come to know as “Soft Ball”. Check out their threads…

According to Head Coach (and Senior Engineer) Bob Glessner, things that are to be expected from the recreational wielding of bats are shenanigans, looking good (as depicted), and the consumption of adult beverages. The things we should not expect are winning games, mandatory practices, or actual exercise. By that humble account, it’s been a perfect season so far.

xgeua What is the most shared first name at Bungie.

Careful. A question like that could result in a rivalry, in which people with common given names form up into Teams and battle for supremacy by amassing greater numbers on the company roster.

We do have two Jason Jones’s, though.

Khirna Are there any fun rivalries in the office?

The rivalry between Team David and Team Michael. (Team David is currently winning. Booya!)
David Johnson

There have to be rivalries, otherwise it wouldn't be Bungie.
Sergey Mkrtumov

Poker night brings out the best in the rivalries...
John Stvan

Cup stays here!
Tyson Green

My favorite has always been Joe Staten vs Marty. It is an unending source of joy.
Michael Williams

burritosenior Would the Magic: The Gathering players at Bungie be interested in playing with other enthusiasts and fans of their work?

Our resident Lunchtime Magicians were very excited by this question. You could say that a rendezvous to play that game is in the cards. We just need to figure out which platform we should use. If you play Magic: The Gathering, and you want to face Bungie in a battle of wits and sorcery, join us here.

HOOBLA 911 What was your most traumatic experience at Bungie?

Broke my nose... head trauma.
John Stvan

90 hour work weeks. Actually it's pretty awesome here, so I don't really have any tramatic experiences.
Travis Pijut

For the most recent Pentathlon, I trained with Blongo for weeks, only to be defeated by a team that hadn't made a single throw before the event. Probably not the absolutely most traumatic event I've experienced, but it was humbling to say the least.
Michael Williams

Bungie Vs the World. I was part of the team that played for the first several hours. We had practiced multiple times and went undefeated. I had a special playlist on my Zune, a giant bottle of A1 sauce, and I was confident I'd eat well that night. In the end I went home utterly destroyed by our fans and with no steak.
Scott Kankelborg

When we ran out of gourmet Root Beer. I had the bends for days from withdrawal.
Sergey Mkrtumov

The interview? (Actually, the interview wasn't THAT bad. But it still was fairly intense!)
David Johnson

jross1993 Sky diving or rock climbing?

Your question points to an interesting juxtaposition. It seems as if doing one of those things improperly could lead to doing the other thing very quickly. Rather than force our esteemed panel of slackers to conform to a bi-polar query, I will let them answer your question in a more open format, such as this…

MightyMarcher01 Name one thing that you have on your bucket list.

Fly as high as a human can.
John Stvan

Skydiving (It will happen soon!)
Michael Williams

Normally I'm not the biggest enthusiast of either heights or extreme sports, but I really want to jump out of a plane - preferably with a parachute on.
David Johnson

There you have it, jross1993. They want to go skydiving. Rock climbing, after all, is something we can do without leaving our compound.

TheSpiderChief What is the weirdest piece of news you heard this week?

Have you heard the one about the Spartan, the ODST, and the Space Marine who walked into the United Nations Security Council?

kudegras Are you guys working hard?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Tom Sanocki:

Wait, wait! Before answering such a seemingly straightforward and innocuous question, we must carefully deconstruct it:

you: This is ambiguous. Is this statement referring to DeeJ, a single entity, or is it the plural “you” referring to a larger group of people? And if the latter, to whom is it addressed? To whom must we ask this question? Could it be the entire Internet? How do we collect and consolidate the results? This cannot be known.

guys: A colloquial term usually referring to members of the male gender, although in some cases used as a generic term for “people”. Impossible to tell which the author meant in this context. Is the author only interested in the activities of the males of our company, hence forcing us to ignore the crucial role of those of the female gender? We cannot resolve this.

working: Normally considered a term of labor, implying unrewarding, monotonous, unremitting toil. Does this apply to activities done for a product of fun and joy, i.e. our game? Can one “work” in the classic sense on a product that brings fun to the world, thereby converting painful toil into joy and gladness? This astounding suggestion defies logic, implying there exists a sort of alchemy that can turn the “lead” of work into the “gold” of fun. We require further research.

hard: Easily the most straightforward part of this question, “hard” clearly refers to an object's density and strength – “hard” objects are more resistant to force and pressure than “soft” objects.

After our detailed analysis, we must conclude that this question is too ambiguous -- no answer exists. We offer our apologies.
Tom Sanocki

baile045 How many Bungie employees are aware of the existence of Pathways Into Darkness 2?

Well, let’s see. I am aware that you, baile045, are making a sequel to a classic Bungie game. The ex-lawyer, whose permission I secured so that you could proceed with impunity, is aware. And, now that you have gone on record in the very public venue of our imaginary postal system, the rest of us are aware. Consider your secret project leaked to the media. Don’t feel too bad. It happens to the best of us. Now, you get to enjoy the constant roar of questions about when you will be finished, while you labor to finish. As Luke Smith likes to tell us: “Get back to work!”

SilverBulitt82 Do you guys have any special talents?

There are actually a lot of talented musicians in the studio.
John Stvan

Jedi mind trick. But it only applies to playing Risk.
Travis Pijut

I can train cats to use toilets.
Tyson Green

I read Tarot cards: I don't believe in them, but I find it to be a fun activity... and I have a set of "Science Tarot" cards that are a beautiful trifecta of heresy: it maximizes the number of people that get offended by the concept, which is part of the fun.
Alex Loret de Mola

I can juggle, do orienteering, and I am decent at puzzle-solving.
Michael Williams

I'm getting really good at shooting rubber bands at people.
Sergey Mkrtumov

I can write in cursive backwards. I fully believe this is one of the most useless skills on the planet, but I'm super proud of it.
David Johnson

antony X1000 How many users have signed in to Bungie.net within the last 7 days?

Hundreds of Thousands. That makes the population of Bungie.net bigger than that of the evergreen Town that is home to Bungie itself, but not the State.

Geegs30 When people ask you where you work, what do you tell them?

John Stvan

“In the video game industry.”
Travis Pijut

If they play games: “Bungie.” If they don't: “Seattle.”
"Bellevue" inevitably leads to "it's by Seattle," so I just cut to the chase.
Tyson Green

It really depends on the audience. For older friends or relatives, I'll sometimes say "A software company named Bungie". For those who would appreciate it, I’ll say “A game company named Bungie,” and for those who are likely to be familiar with our work, I’ll just say “Bungie”. The range of reactions can be hugely diverse.
Michael Williams

“I work for the greatest company in the world.” And I just leave it at that.
Sergey Mkrtumov

Generally "Bungie" is sufficient for 95% of the people I know. If that doesn't sink in, I toss in a, "You know, the people who made Halo," just to see if it rings a few bells. Failing that, I just tell them that I make video games for a living.
David Johnson

DE4THINC4RN4TE Will you please respond to this question with a derogatory remark at my expense for the enjoyment of the community?

You are clearly desperate for some abuse, as evidenced by the 30 questions that you dropped into this Mail Sack. Since the Yes-or-No affair enabled by your question doesn’t leave me a lot of room to instill shame in you, I will sift through the raft of interrogatives that you saddled me with to find the one that deserves the punishment for which you are begging…. Ah, yes. Here is one…

Does anyone at BUNGIE play Minecraft? Have you considered a Minecraft-themed Ride Along?

Have you ever read the Bungie Blog before today? Did you just crawl out of a cave and decide to ask the first 30 questions that popped into your head?

Was that too derogatory? It felt a little forced. Being mean to you people is not my natural state.

OMARRCHR What do Bungie Employees dream of?

You mean, when they take a little Bungie snooze?

John Stvan

Electric Sheep
Noah George, Travis Pijut

It depends on how much Diablo 3 I played right before bed.
Alex Loret de Mola

During crunch times, it tends to be about endlessly fighting with code. During other times, it is the usual random dreams about trying to drive from the back seat, finding out I need to take more classes but I missed the exam, or completely random narratives.
Michael Williams

When we're deep in crunch and sleep is a luxury I'll often start dreaming about being in the game, but still testing. Example: Running around as a member of Noble Team killing Covenant when I see an enemy not moving. I quickly call up my commander on BNET and give him a "AI pathfinding can break in area X" sort of report before I continue on with my mission. That's normal right? Right?!?
Scott Kankelborg

I dream of flying.
Sergey Mkrtumov

Sleep is a vice! Don't fall to that tempting but deadly addiction!
Tom Sanocki

Bagel Fridays.
David Johnson

ddarkjames1 What is your ideal question that we should be asking you in these Mail Sacks?

You should reach deep into the darkest chambers of your hearts and bring forth your sincerest curiosities. This shouldn’t be a contest to see who can appear on the front page. This is our best chance to stay acquainted. Healthy relationships are based on trust and honesty. We heard that on TV, once.

MAC Blast Is it just me, or is anyone else starting to run out of questions to ask?

The guy that showed up right before you seems to be at a loss, too. Group problem solving is a fringe benefit of citizenship in a community of gamers. Why don’t you two put your heads together and brainstorm the perfect question for next week. Therein lies a promise. Have a good weekend, Bungie Community. We will talk to you again soon.

Community 6/1/2012 4:22 PM PDT permalink

Pardon Their Dust

Even darker...

Please remain calm.  Bungie.net may experience some downtime tonight.  The networking partner that helps us stay connected to the world will be doing some upkeep on their shop from 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM Pacific Time.  This may interrupt your ability to visit us in the middle of the night.

All should be back to normal before the sun rises on Tuesday.

Community 5/28/2012 10:41 AM PDT permalink

Mail Sack E18HTEEN

Completing the equation.

The Mail Sack for this week was sullied with more impassioned demands for comment than our inbox for official media inquiries. Now just isn’t the time, friends. And this is certainly not the venue. There are some people at Bungie who are willing to share some personal details, however. Let’s talk to them about life in our studio…

David Aldridge, Engineering Architect
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant
Jesse Hall, Associate Artist
Stephen Hodde, Senior Audio Designer
David Johnson, Engineer
Scott Kankelborg, Associate Test Engineer
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Steve Lopez, IT Overlord
Alex Loret de Mola, Associate Engineer
John Shaffstall, Associate Engineer
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Jason Sussman, Senior Artist 
Scott Taylor, Associate Producer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Let’s open the Sack.

HOOBLA 911 Other than the epic Rock Wall, what other cool activities do you partake in while not working on games?

Shredding on my bike and board. I love Stevens Pass.
Jesse Hall

Trips to the hospital count?
John Stvan

Internally: I'm part of the regular gathering of lunchtime Wizards and also run a game of Pathfinder about once a month.
Externally: I enjoy a good trip to the firing range (and playing Pathfinder).
Scott Kankelborg

Board games during the lunch hour. And not silly games like Monopoly or Parcheesi. Awesome games like Cosmic Encounters.
David Johnson

Trying to get into 1v1 platinum in StarCraft 2.
David Aldridge

The indoor soccer team is a good outlet with the Bungie folks.
Luke Ledwich

Photographing Dave Dunn in women’s cloths.
Jason Sussman

Muay Thai Kickboxing, going to the doctor.
Stephen Hodde

At work, I'm involved in some regular groups playing Risk Legacy, WizWars and Cosmic Encounters. On some evenings, we will play Pathfinder as well. Outside of work, I occasionally volunteer on a tall ship, and try to use my vacations to travel to other countries.
Michael Williams

Duardo Did anyone at Bungie suffer any side-effects from looking directly at the eclipse?

If by “suffer any side effects” you mean “took photographs”, the answer is “Yes!” Never ones to miss a notable starside event, a few Bungie guys actually crossed state lines to escape the omnipresent cloud clover that shields us from the daystar. Here is what one of them saw as the light left our world during its tango with the Moon.

Nephilim713 How does it feel to be out of the dark now?

You mean after the eclipse? It feels just fine. The sun was only gone for a minute or two. And we knew it would come back the whole time. During times like those, we find it reassuring to know that the darkness is temporary, and that all is happening according to a grand design – even if we don’t fully understand it.

coolmike699 What's the most clever way you can tell us that you won't be commenting on any leaks or rumors?

How did you like my answer to that last question? Clever enough for you? I have a very good friend (we go everywhere together) who observed how clever I was when we first met on a commercial airline flight. I can still remember him asking: “How’s that working out for you?”

Just so that you won’t accuse us of dodging every bullet in your guns…

Old Papa Rich Have you guys finished your new game presentation for E3?

Nope. We never started one, and we’re not going to be at E3 in any official capacity this year. Some of us will be there, lurking from booth to booth, but don’t expect any announcements.

Hylebos My question this week is to Alex Loret de Mola and John Shaffstall. In the 16th Mail Sack, they said that their favorite recreational activity at Bungie is Magic the Gathering. I was wondering what their favorite decks or cards were.

Calling people out by name now, eh? I think I might be able to conjure up those two lunchtime wizards to describe their favorite tricks.

My favorite card is the Ink-Treader Nephilim, a highly entertaining card for casual multiplayer games (which is pretty much all that I play). As you may have guessed from my favorite card, my favorite decks are multicolored combo decks… of whatever color combo happens to fit my unlikely combo of the week. Currently my Ink-Treader Nephilim is in use as a draw engine for an extremely unlikely – yet satisfying - Coalition Victory win.
Alex Loret de Mola

When we’re not drafting, we play super-casual with mostly older cards from all of the sets.
Favorite cards: Lightning Helix, Sunforger, Leatherback Baloth, and Garruk Wildpseaker.
Favorite decks: Red/White Boros and Mono-Green Ramp Overrun.
John Shaffstall

SPRTN One One 7 How often do you like to take part of the community here on Bungie.net?

It really depends on which part of the community I am taking. There are some parts that I like to take every day. There are other parts that I only take when I am called in to break up a good fight.

Sven Nietzsche What personal project do you think caught the Employment Manager's eye when he/she was looking through your resume/portfolio? Could you tell us a little bit about your experience with it?

I was told that my images of the Halo/Star Wars poster were something that caught my manager(s)'s eye(s). They were just something fun I wanted to do and wound up being a big part of my portfolio.
John Stvan

I'm going to cut across the grain here and admit that I don't do personal projects. Never have. I like to spend my spare time on activities that are as different as possible from my work challenges. I enjoy coding for work very much, but I can count the number of times in my life where I have coded for fun on one hand.
David Aldridge

A working game demo was definitely brought up the most in the interview.
Luke Ledwich

In one of my University networking classes, I ended up making a networked version of Connect Four. After the class was over, I kept working on it, adding graphics, a user interface, and a computer opponent. This project gave me a lot to talk about during my interview, and demonstrated an array of abilities.
Michael Williams

coolmike699 What's the strangest thing you've ever had to do in the name of making a game?

In my first game company job I spent my first 3 days moving furniture they had bought into their office. It was pink.
David Aldridge

Rescue a co-worker from a foam pit during a PR event.

Luke Ledwich

As an audio designer, pretty much everything is strange. Yesterday I swung a jump rope in front of a microphone. I often find myself abusing fruit, also part of the job description.
Stephen Hodde

Speaking, yelling, and whispering "watermelon, watermelon, watermelon, watermelon..." over and over again.
Michael Williams

Photograph Dave Dunn in women’s cloths.
Jason Sussman

One Word: Leopard Stretch Pants.
John Stvan

That’s more than one word, John. Let’s try to get our facts straight when we have company. Thanks.

Assassin 11D7 When can I get a chance to get a free steak again?

Never. That ship sailed when Luke Smith decided to tackle other projects at Bungie. I hope you got yours, because that promise is the cargo of another community manager who has voyaged into deeper waters of development. You are stuck with me now, Sailor. There will be a chance to put a price on my head as well, but you’ll have to wait for that day.

SlashingArbiter In Josh Poley's Breaking In interview, he described an example of how Bungie cared for him when recovering from his surgery. Can you describe a special way Bungie has cared for you?

When I broke my face playing on the Bungie Softball Team, a lot of people told me that I looked much better.
John Stvan

It's a lot of little things. Birthday cards, Christmas gift packages, generous PTO, and awesome no-BS company policies. I think the biggest single example for me was the care package they sent me out of the blue after I was hired, which I think contained all the Bungie games, and a bunch of swag. That was the point where I first realized that this company would be something special.
David Aldridge

A special bottle of rum and a crate of timtams definitely touched a soft spot during Reach crunch.
Luke Ledwich

During ODST development, I ended up working a lot of long lonely hours to help get the firefight and campaign stats up and running. In the middle of my crunch, one of my managers pulled me aside, thanked me for working the long hours, and gave me a nice gift. This was on top of the regular Bungie crunch perks, and it really made me feel valued.
Michael Williams

ctjl96 Has there ever been a fist-fight at Bungie's place of residence? I'd like to see some Dave-on-Tom action.

Uhhh, that would be Dave who and Tom who? Your choice of words makes it sound like you don’t really want to see a fistfight. Let’s be honest with one another. This isn’t about violence. Is it?

Jose291 Which Avenger from the actual 2012 movie would you like to be?

Booster Gold. Maybe Blue Beetle, but the good chubby one is dead. DC FOREVER!
Scott Taylor

Tony Stark - He's an engineer!
Michael Williams

Stark. I already have the glowing chest.
John Stvan

Iron Man, no question. Really, if you think about the day to day life of being any of the others, it's not even a contest.
Hulk: wrestle against inner demon, try to avoid killing people, no useful/controllable powers.
Thor: deal with Asgardian politics, be a stranger in a strange land, no friends.
Captain America: be a role model.
Hawkeye, Black Widow: be generally weaker than all of your friends.
David Aldridge

Who wouldn't want to be a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist? Who I ask you?
David Johnson

I read a Thor comic once in which the man himself had a great line vs. Tony Stark: "Let me show you the difference between a man in an iron suit and a god of thunder."
Joey Gibbs

Grab thy hammer and step lively, Joey. You have a whole squad of power-armored nerds who are descending upon you on plumes of fire.

Kr1egerdude Is failure always an option?

Yes. Always. Every day. We would even say that the threat of failure is a crucial ingredient of our creative process. You have to keep swimming, lest you drown. Jason Jones, as he has a habit of doing, said it best: "Bungie is like a shark. We have to keep moving to survive. We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins. Or manatees.”

Tookurdignity What World-Famous command did the first IBM PC Manual omit?

Is this one of those questions found in those pre-Internet PC games of yore where you have to look up the answer in the manual to make sure that your copy of the game was legit and not pirated? Hold on, I've got it around here somewhere... I... think...
David Johnson

I'm afraid I wasn't born yet. Ask me about obscure Apogee games in the early 90s instead.
David Aldridge

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure your handle is from a Puscifer lyric.
Stephen Hodde

It is hard to believe they chose to omit "Kneel before Zod!", but it happened!
Michael Williams

‘Dignity, I can relate to what you are feeling right now. I never know which question is going to result in a group-attack of unavoidable sarcasm. Wanna hold each other?

mister death Do you have a ritual (party) after a release of a game?

We normally sacrifice a virgin from the hills of Kirkland, but after the SWAT team incident, we've toned it down to drinking... a lot.
John Stvan

As a tester our post-release schedule is already laid out before us. Monitor the system 24/7 to ensure everything runs smoothly and make panicked calls to sleepy bosses at 3am when it doesn't.
Scott Kankelborg

My personal ritual is to buy some new toys and take some time off to enjoy them. After Halo: Reach shipped, the toys were a PS3 and Demon's Souls. The company has a ritual as well, but we can't talk about that with outsiders due to rule 19.
David Aldridge

Luke Ledwich

Mostly feasting on the flesh of the non-believers, mostly.
Stephen Hodde

My team likes to watch performance graphs and make wagers on the numbers they will hit, with fancy bottles of alcohol as prizes.
Michael Williams

mark117 mia2553 Would you rather ride a bike or drive to work?

No one here is going to win a bike by driving their car to work. This month, one lucky Bungie cyclist will claim victory in a contest that we are running to observe National Bike Month.

CTN 0452 9 What is the funniest YouTube video you have seen this year?

Justin Bieber singing 'Baby' with Ludacris.
David Aldridge

Some dude redid the subtitles to a Hitler freak out in a movie. You guys ever see that before? I can't believe no one did that before.
John Stvan

Steve Lopez

Jason Sussman

Michael Williams

Nolas Hammer Were my previous Mail Sack questions strategically misplaced?

Yes. They were misplaced with the same level of strategery as was the Ark of the Covenant, all aircraft that have ever plotted a course through the Bermuda triangle, the City of Atlantis, and the Titanic. Actually, Hammer, I am firing blind here, as I have no recollection of any specific questions that you previously committed to the Sack.

Muzza777 As members of the gaming community and developers especially, how do you think gaming has changed your life and the world today?

Yes and yes. Thanks!
John Stvan

I became a video game developer instead of doing something else with my life. More importantly though, it brought me closer to a group of awesome people (not to mention a very special someone!) around the world who shared the same love of games as I.
David Johnson

I met my wife through a game (a text MUD in fact), so it has changed my life quite a lot! Nintendo, Apple, and Facebook have mainstreamed gaming in a tremendous rush in the last 5 years. Now a majority of people value virtual achievements. After growing up in an age where playing video games branded you as a nerd and social outcast, this brave new world astonishes me every day.
David Aldridge

I have always loved a good story, I think gaming has added a lot of good stories to the world. And I don’t just mean the epic hand delivered game stories, there are some multiplayer moments my friends and I will never forget.
Luke Ledwich

We know from psychological research that gaming can satisfy short-term emotional needs and this is no small accomplishment. I grew up in social isolation, so gaming became significant to me. The worlds I inhabited, the imagination, the stories, were friends that enriched my life experience. Games can make sad people happy- that's pretty amazing. We now see a whole community of people virtually crossing the globe that would otherwise be isolated due to physical disability. That may seem trite to some people, but that kind of communication being so readily available continues to move me. It's a beautiful thing.
Stephen Hodde

I think that games have made us think of storytelling in a new way. In games, more than most other mediums, the player is a participant in telling the story. I like to think that this reminds people that they can be the creators of other stories in their lives.
Michael Williams

WestCoastRonin What is one piece of advice for someone trying to break into the video game industry?

Why ask for one piece of advice when you can have dozens of pieces of advice? Every week, another cast member in our really big show steps to the front of the stage to share the story of how they survived our audition. You can collect them all. I already have a writer of outlandish fiction all queued up and ready to sing for you next week.

Geegs30 What's your favorite place in the studio?

I really like the stress room. I've put a lot of blood (literally), sweat, and tears into building that room up to its current glory. In a nutshell: It's a room full of consoles and PCs, all constantly repeating tests over and over again on each little piece of content to ensure all remains stable. It's also a sinister death trap waiting to consume an unfortunate victim - occasionally Burnaroos will be doing testing on the HVAC system and the pressure between the Gauntlet and the stress room is great enough that you can't actually open the doors to get out for a minute or two.
Scott Kankelborg

The kitchen. Conversely, it's also the most dangerous place in the studio. Even more so than the climbing wall!
David Johnson

The mezzanine on the third floor where you can look down on the entire development floor and admire the might of our horde.
David Aldridge

Other peoples’ pods I haven't visited in a while. There is always something interesting on the desks and screens.
Luke Ledwich

The recording booth is freakin sweet.
Stephen Hodde

During the wintertime, I really like sitting next to the fireplace at lunch or on a break. Soaking up the warmth and staring at the flames helps clear my mind and gets me ready to attack my next problem.
Michael Williams

In DeeJ's arms.
John Stvan

You trying to antagonize me? Our fans ask these questions because they sincerely want to know about life in our studio, John. Please try to be more sincere in answering them.

SonOfTheShire How many people were killed in Halo matchmaking before you guys relinquished control?

More people than have lived on this planet. Ever. It was a bloodbath, friends. Thank you all for playing.

Khirna If the video game industry were to crumble overnight, what industry would you try to work in next?

Biotech, astronomy or physics research, or anywhere they need huge computing power. Working to find cures would be satisfying I bet.
Steve Lopez

I'd probably stay in software development of some sort, but if there were no video games, I'd certainly have the free time to work on that novel I've always wanted to pursue.
David Johnson

Gold farming.
David Aldridge

I would probably return to a previous career, Butchery or Robotics.
Luke Ledwich

I fancy myself a statesman.
Stephen Hodde

I'd try to find a project management job at an aerospace firm like Virgin Galactic and make spaceships.
Joey Gibbs

I'd look at the social networking industry. They are doing a lot of interesting things right now, and it ties in well with the stats, fileshare, and rating work I've done in the past.
Michael Williams

Being Awesome.
John Stvan

That’s not an answer, John. There is no “Being Awesome” Industry. That’s two strikes. You have one more chance to take this seriously.

Malfar Name a lesson that you learned the hard way.

Don't break the build. Or else.
David Johnson

All-in-one Shampoo+Conditioner products are a lie. One of these things is fundamentally a solvent, and the other is an oil. Putting them together simply does not work. I was cursed by dandruff for years before I figured that out.
David Aldridge

I am not a good soccer goalie.
Luke Ledwich

I once asked Dan Miller what he was thinking about.
Jason Sussman

Don't ask to see Ling-Ling unless you are ready to see Ling-Ling.
Michael Williams

Being Awesome.
John Stvan

That’s it! You’ve worked my last nerve, Mister. Want to learn a lesson the hard way? You’re banned from the Sack. Get out of my sight, before I figure out how to revoke the miracle of your gold text on the Bungie forum.

(deep breath)

Next week is a whole new week, Bungie Community. In observance of Memorial Day, we will be back with a whole new chance to keep in touch with each other. Well, some of us will be back. Others of us just never learn.

Community 5/25/2012 4:02 PM PDT permalink

Bungie's Bike to Work Challenge

Turning National Bike Month into a game.

"Wouldn't it be cool to do some sort of studio-wide give-away?"

Shauna Sperry was describing the brainstorming session that gave rise to a contest designed to put Bungie on the bike path.

“Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could give away a bike? Although, Bungie people are so particular, we would want them to pick their own bike.”

Shauna is a proud member of Bungie’s HR Team. You could say that makes her a people person. This wheeled gambit rolled out by her design, after a taunt from our Studio President. She does a lot to make our studio a great place to work. We believe that happy developers make kick ass games. It was because of that school of thought that the Bungie Bike Challenge was born.

It was Harold Ryan, our fearless leader, who suggested that we drive people to not drive their cars to work as part of National Bike Month. His idea was to find some gear heads to tune the bicycles that were sure to accumulate. At Bungie, the only thing we thrive on more than a directive from Harold is delivering a response that smashes his expectations. Fixing people’s bikes would certainly be nice, but tempting them with a reward for riding them would be even better.

“To encourage people to participate, you gotta have a competition” Shauna observed.

Truer words are rarely spoken, especially when it comes to inspiring people to ditch their vehicle. With a prize hanging in the balance – one that we could choose for ourselves – more of us were certain to saddle up and ride for it. Every developer at Bungie is also a gamer, after all. As we've learned from every title that has shipped, gamers respond best to an objective – especially one that is shiny and painted their favorite color. Since we deemed a helmet too small a prize, we raised the stakes.

Firing up the old competitive spirit was accomplished with the lure of a gift certificate to Gregg’s Cycles. This local outfitter also volunteered to fulfill Harold’s original request, and visited the studio to keep our rigs in fine tune. The winner of the new mount from Gregg’s inventory will be awarded to a lucky rider whose name is drawn at random at the end of the month.

Every day one of us pedals into work; we earn a chance to commit our name to the depths of a fishbowl. The more we ride, the greater our chances of claiming the prize.

“It really has worked,” Shauna declared. “There are so many more bikes down there. I think it makes us look badass.”

To accommodate this sudden increase in badassery, the receiving hall of our compound has been converted to overflow parking. The long walk past keepsakes from games past has started to resemble a motorless motorpool. It just so happens that Facilities Engineer Steve Burnaroos never shies away from the chance to create something from scratch that makes Bungie a better place to work.

“Steve built the bike racks in one night at his house,” said Shauna. It was revealed later that Burnaroos did have some help from his family. That fact makes the feat of improvised engineering no less impressive.

The benefits of the Bungie Bike Challenge are obvious to everyone who has been rolling into work. More physical activity means healthier developers. This makes our team happier, and all the more ready to pour ourselves into making our next game.

Shauna said it best: “What’s really cool is that everyone who is participating has a small chance to win, but everyone gets something out if it.”

Just ask perennial outdoorsman Brian Sharp. When he is not swinging from the boulders of our rock wall on his lunch break, he is engineering features that make our games that much better. For Brian, including his bike in the morning commute means that his work is that much better.

“I arrive calmer, more peaceful, relaxed. My mind is clearer. I’m seriously blissed out on endorphins, which is a good thing because otherwise I’d probably be yelling a lot,” he warns. “Also, a huge part of it for me is being able to eat more. My commute is a 23-mile round trip. That’s an extra hamburger every single day. On days I ride in, I love eating lunch.”

Bernie Yee agrees. His work in producing the team that is planning a whole new experience for the users of Bungie.net requires that he be of sound mind and body. A recent transplant from New York, where avoiding the steering wheel is a way of life, he relishes a chance to put some new scuffs on his ride.

“I did this throughout the winter,” proclaimed Bernie with bold pride. “All those bikes that showed up for the raffle ticket? They look immaculate. Perfect. In the bike racing world, an immaculate bike means 1 of 3 things. 1: New. 2: Just got back from a good mechanic. 3: All show, no go. We all know what’s going on around here. Burnaroos, I’m looking at you.”

Personal health is not the only upside of putting a would-be motorist on a bicycle seat. Aside from extoling the virtues of increased energy (and an expanded appetite), Brian also shed some light on the fringe benefits of Bungie’s Bike To Work Challenge.

“I hear biking saves gasoline. This goes back to the food issue,” he explained. “Would I rather pay for a gallon of gasoline or a porchetta sandwich at my favorite steakhouse? The sandwich is three times the price, but about a million times more delicious. Gasoline is disgusting. Even if I pinch my nose I can barely get a whole gallon down without retching.”

While his valuation on deliciousness may be exaggerated, never let it be said that Mr. Sharp is a gas-guzzler. Bikes burn calories, but they do not burn gas. With the exception of the scent of steak sandwiches on his exhale, the act of riding a bike doesn’t result in harmful emissions. I asked HR Manager Ga.yle d’Hondt if we had ecology on the brain when we hatched this scheme. Was a greener strategy for delivering our people to their desks all part of the plan?

“It wasn’t the initial agenda of rolling this out, but it has become a perk,” she said. “We’ve also got the Go-Green incentive plan, so Bungie is definitely aware of our carbon footprint.”

Go-Green is Bungie’s way of rewarding employees for carpooling, like so many clowns in one car. It’s just one more way that we promote good habits. As for the Bike Challenge? Bernie and Brian were not the only ones with rave reviews about the impact on their lifestyle. Ga.yle even forecast some plans to do more things like this in the future.

“We have had so much positive feedback from employees; it definitely has got us thinking about doing something similar during other months in the year.”

What form this may take is anyone’s guess. Snowshoes in December? Raincoats and roller blades in March? Time will tell. One thing is for certain: At Bungie, we will continue to cultivate an engaging environment where happy, healthy people can do their very best work. We know that you would demand nothing less of us.

Community 5/23/2012 5:08 PM PDT permalink

Well, that just happened…


So, yeah. While we’re not ready to show you what we’ve been working on, we can reconfirm that we are hard at work on our new universe. We can’t wait for you to see it.

See you starside in 2013.

Community 5/21/2012 7:09 PM PDT permalink

Community Write Along

Proving that the pen is mightier than the sword.

The Bungie Community can be a simmering cauldron of volatile passions. It can also be a deep well of imagination and creativity. To nudge them closer to their more noble instincts, we taunt them with the occasional challenge to solve puzzles or complete great feats of artistic expression. This week, the design tablet was set aside in favor of the pen. To throw in front of them a hurdle of creative writing, we set the scene with this fragment:

"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to…”

The challenge was to collaborate with us in the writing of a very short story. The pitch was to complete the opening, and write the middle and the end using only another four sentences (or less). Did we mention that this story was to be very short? Check out some of the more vivid contributions.

The Finalists (from which a winner will be selected by you)

hunkyandrich migrated to the right side of the tracks:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to move out of the playground," he continued as he noticed a couple of guys moving in on our position.
We could tell immediately that they were not up to any good when they started to pick a fight with us, which is when I realized it was no longer us, but I. All of my comrades had left me to take them on my own, but I didn't stand a chance. I returned home to my mother who was shocked by what happened to me. "You're moving with your auntie and uncle!" she exclaimed as she deemed the area we lived in to be unsafe.

Domi 233 envisioned a clash between titans:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to release the Kraken!"

And the fabled creature stirred in its cavern. It had been summoned: and it would answer the call. The sea heaved as it slowly rose from its watery depths and it is said that those who were enveloped saw flashes of ginger before they perished. Even the thought of such colour is enough to terrify the few who remember: so very few.

Zealot Tony subjected us to “The Talk”:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to circumvent the immune system and begin fertilization protocols."

With that, they formed up - standard 1,000,000 by 1,000,000 formation. This was nothing - the last group consisted of twice as many, and the one before ten times as much. It would be a long trek up the tube for this unit, and there'd only be about 100 remaining by the time they reached the target. It was there, however, where the cooperation tactics changed to a version of the hunger games; all in order to claim that eggy prize.

Helveck imagined some unconventional tactics for community management:
“We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to adorn yourself with dresses and wigs!" Upon the horizon, Commander DeeJ could see the angry mob a few short miles away, but the clock was ticking furiously, and he feared in mere minutes that the Bungie building would lie in ruins.

Urk screamed over to DeeJ while JonnyOThan zipped up Urk’s dress, "DeeJ, you mind explaining why the hell we're putting on dresses and lady wigs?!"

DeeJ screamed back, "Because they're angry about the darkness and they want in to know all our secrets! Everyone knows nerds are afraid of girls and if we're all girls then they won't come within a mile of this place and we'll be safe for a little while longer!"

da bomb drop channeled his inner blue-faced freedom-fighter:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to moon the enemy!" shouted William, throwing his shield down. "When they fire, raise your shields and protect yourselves! Except you, Patrick. Keep mooning no matter what. If this ever happens to be turned into a movie, you getting hit in the butt with some kind of projectile could be very funny!"

x Foman123 x advocated the forbidden dance as a tactic:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to dance for your lives!"

As the enemy combatants menacingly approached from across the battlefield, they broke into a dangerous-looking Lambada, synchronously turning and spinning with Archimedian precision. Bright sequins on melon-colored leotards bounced dazzling, multifaceted reflections of sparkling light in the same terrifying way that a hungry lion stalks an oblivious baby gazelle. Grimly, the team leader adjusted his pristine battle fedora to its jauntiest possible angle and double-checked the polish on his tap shoes. "Gentlemen," he announced as he slowly clasped his partner's hand and assumed a ferocious opening pose for the Cha Cha, "we have a date with destiny; and this time, we might get to second base."

CAVX took our sentence fragment rather literally:
“We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to ..."
"Didn't catch that - copy your last, team leader," Central Command muttered through the comms.
"Sorry, command, dropped the radio," the team leader said softly, embarrassment audible in his now less-menacing voice. "You weren't meant to hear that, anyway - we are at a LAN party."

Honorable Mentions (no parades, no polls – only our admiration)

chubbz provided an unexpected minimalist approach:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to run away in the other direction, screaming like little girls!"

coolmike699 continued the disturbing trend of his breakfast fetish:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to RELEASE THE BACON!”

Seven cannons filled with heavy, thick cut, military-grade bacon were loaded. The weapons stopped the enemy with large amounts of deliciousness. Victorious, the team leader ordered the finishing of the remaining bacon. Thanks to the power of the military-grade bacon, all was well.

Antonyx1000 grinded a familiar axe:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to activate Armor Lock.”

As a storm of grenades rained down around them, the team all activated Armor Lock. As they all emerged unharmed the team leader screamed "ADAPT!" The hostile forces were so mad they all fell into a rage induced coma.

TheSpiderChief reminded us all that quitters never win:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to abandon all hope and start betraying each other! Don't worry, you will all respawn after 3 seconds. This is Halo multiplayer after all!"

"Sir, we could use our secret weapon," one of the soldiers suggested.

The team leader looked at the soldier and nodded, "You're right. Bring out... the Ban-Hammer!"

Lobster Fish 2 put a maudlin spin on the exercise:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to, prepare to, prepa...." David punched the radio. It's busted. Listening to the audio recordings his father sent back from war was all he had left to remember him.

Viperconn committed the Blue Angels to a combat engagement:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to do numerous barrel rolls!"

Hooble 911 prepared us all to drop:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to fire the cannonballs!"

Everyone lined up against the pool and got into position, their skins crawling with anticipation of the cool water. Seattle was a rainy mess most of the year, but the couple months when the sun shined made it arguably one of the most beautiful cities in the country.

"Cannonballs, fire!"

One by one all the Bungie employees jumped into the pool and, upon contact with the refreshing water, filled their faces with smiles of absolute happiness.

MAC Blast sold his soul to Hollywood:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to do something!"

Before they could, Chuck Norris blew through their lines; followed closely by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, and many more celebrities who will be appearing in Expendables 2. What followed was the most mind blowing display of awesomeness that my keyboard melts trying to find words to describe it in sufficient detail. It can never be said that they did not create the craziest awesome movie of all time, but that is all that can be said because the keyboard is almost gone now and smoke is starting to come from my CPU and I don't think my computer will last much longe-

UnderTheKnif3 failed the challenge on purpose to subject us to wubwub:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to F-F-F-Fight!

Multijirachi seems to think that I have an office:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to switch urk's coffee to decaf!" The group of Bungie Haters swarmed the Snack Room of Bungie HQ, tainting it's sacredness. "Coffee has been switched sir!" shouted Jenkins, a young boy who hated Bungie because his Reach rank was reset.

"Move out BHate; we still need to trash Deej's office" the team leader transmitted over the comm.

Sliding Ghost visited the animal kingdom:
"We are wide open to attack!" shouted the team leader. "All available units, prepare to leap!"

The seven frogs all took off in a blaze of glory. The cockroaches began to show worry. In a matter of seconds, the cockroaches all quit. The frogs had won; not with a bang, but with a ribbit.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Thanks for the stories, Bungie Community. Don’t forget to select your favorite finalist. And please don’t lose heart if you don’t fancy yourself a writer. Perhaps we will conduct a challenge that will suit your unique talents; be you a singer, a sculptor, a painter, or a dancer. You never know what trials may await you on Bungie.net. Stay tuned…

Community 5/16/2012 1:33 PM PDT permalink

Reverse Mail Sack (17)

Because the information superhighway is not a one-way street.

Any good conversation relies on listening, as much as talking. If the flow of ideas and feelings doesn’t travel both ways, the result is not a conversation at all. It’s a lecture. At Bungie, we don’t want to lecture you. We like you too much for that. We all get lectured enough in life: when we sit in the classroom, when we don’t take our shoes off at the door, when we end up standing in front of the judge. That’s why we tried a different approach this week to our Friday ritual.

We can’t take full credit. It was, after all, your idea that we reverse the flow, with Bungie asking the questions and you providing the answers. And so it was. And so you did. And so, here is a snapshot of what most of you said. Far too much was said for us to share it all, but you can read the rest of it right here if this digest only whets your appetite for group sharing.

For those of you who don’t have that sort of free time on your hands, lets open the Sack.

David Candland, Senior Artist
What good books (besides the Halo novels) have you been reading lately that you would recommend?

Geegs30 "Altered Carbon" by Richard Morgan. Currently re-reading that series. I also can't suggest the “Ender's Game” series enough, I think people that like Halo would like that universe.

DarkONI “Angels of Darkness”, it's a Warhammer 40,000 novel written by my favorite author Gav Thorpe.

MsCadetUNIVERSE If you're looking for a lighthearted read with a great story, I would suggest the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series by Rick Riordan. It's considered young adult fiction, but it has a good amount of depth to it.

Jujubes “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. It has its weaknesses, but it's a pretty awesome journey through an emerging market and the successes/failures that Steve had to go through before he really succeeded.

Cobravert What's a book?

AutobahnRacer “Atlas Shrugged” has an interesting outlook on politics and human emotions, and “The Dark Tower” books are badass in general.

Kurt Nellis, Technical Cinematic Lead
When you aren't playing Halo or dreaming about what awesomeness we're concocting, what do you do for fun?

coolmike699 I wrestle for my college.

MsCadetUNIVERSE I'm an executive editor for a gaming website.

SpongyMallard7 I love to work on any type of movie, whether it's a music video or just some random thing thrown together.

Switchfoot4 I like to produce electronic music and code in my spare time creating small flash games.

Jujubes Coordinate amazing teams of amazing people to build amazing websites.

EZcompany2ndsqd The real question should be what isn't something you do for fun.

snipe champpppp I like to watch paint dry.

HipiO7 I body board. Which makes me special because I'm the only person who body boards here on B.net.

Josh Hamrick, Senior Designer
What was your 2011 game of the year?

DTA MoonDawg For me, it would definitely be Skyrim. The vast environments the player can explore are staggering. I'm still finding places there I never even knew existed.

antony X1000 Assassin's Creed: Revelations. It was a great way to close the story of Altair and Ezio, yet still set up the next game.

CHUD CHUFFER1 I'd have to say Gears of War 3, the game was amazing.

SPRTN One One 7 My game of the year for 2011 was Battlefield 3 because it had a great campaign and an amazing multiplayer experience that no other game has to offer.

Saint of Taint Limbo, by far and above all else. Great game with a dark gritty feel.

Spartan 891 Forza 4. With so many aspects from driving against your friends to creating car designs, it can keep you occupied for a good while.

Xd00999 Warhammer 40k Space Marine, because I am a big 40k fan. The game was a wonderful adaption.

CrazzySnipe55 Portal 2. It's better than the original in every sense.

JABBERWOCK xeno Minecraft. There really isn't any other candidate. The GOTY has to be so far reaching it becomes a part of gaming culture itself.

dmg04 As of late, it has been Battlefield 3. This is the only game where I can hop into a vehicle and recreate nostalgia comparable to driving someone in a Warthog. You guys at Bungie spoiled me. COD only cut it for so long. Ground combat is fun, but it gets stale without vehicles thrown into the mix.

CJ Cowan, Story Design Lead
What's your most memorable story moment from any game you've played, ever, and why?

DarkONI Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots ending. The story developed perfectly and it offered all the answers I was waiting for as a fan.

L00 When I fired up Mass Effect 2, it showed a summary of all the decisions I'd made in Mass Effect. That kinda blew my mind because I didn't know they were linking the games quite like that.

DTA MoonDawg It would be the Flood's introduction in Halo: CE back in 2001. After fighting the Covenant for so many levels, it was completely unreal when a new and more terrifying enemy was introduced to the game.

SPRTN One One 7 My most memorable story moment from a video game was probably the end of Halo: Reach. It was something that was sad, but very fun to see how long you could live.

Old Papa Rich The revelation of your true identity in Knights of the Old Republic. That game had an amazing story. In some ways, it surpassed the prequel trilogy.

defnop552 In Red Dead Redemption when John's body is buried on the hill overlooking the ranch with the inscription "Blessed are the Peacemakers".

Uriel S167 It has to be when Carter sacrificed himself taking out that Scarab Tank. For some reason that just hit me really hard.

TheHawk62 In Homefront when you come home expecting to return to your beautiful life-filled hide out, and find out everyone has been killed, and the place destroyed.

edableshoe Call of Duty 4, when you are killed by the nuke. The story behind my death was so chaotic and real, it has always struck me as a well-placed and well-timed event.

Ben Wommack, Production Engineer
Has playing a game narrative (story, characters, etc.) ever caused you to cry?

Khirna Yes. When I was playing Gears of War 3 and it got to the point of Dom dying, I admit that a tear found its way onto my cheek.

L00 At the end of Final Fantasy X, when *SPOILERS* Tidus was revealed to be a dream, and Auron had to be sent. Both were hinted at a few times throughout the game, but it really hit home in those moments.

Switchfoot4 Halo CE, the part when FoeHammer dies (11 year old spoiler) . I really liked FoeHammer throughout the entire story, and I was finding myself becoming more attached to her as the story unfolded. My 9-year-old self shed many tears, and my 20-year-old self shed many more.

Izak609 Not yet, but Mass Effect 3 was really close. If I was younger, I would have cried. It's setting the bar for video game storytelling... if you ask me. Wonderful.

HipiO7 No. But the most emotional would be the cutscene in Halo 3 where Chief got to Cortana. Also the ending of Bioshock 2. Loved it. The music was amazing in both scenes.

Andrew Davis, Artist
Why you gotta be like that?

ALI217 Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Khirna Why you gotta keep us in the dark? This works both ways...

Old Papa Rich I'm a man. Sorry.

Jujubes Being a malcontent is what keeps me satisfied.

Cobravert Because I'm old and I can be.

HipiO7 Because I'm a hardass and I'm not afraid of nothing.

BC1096 why you gotta be so nosy?

John Stvan, Graphic Designer

DarkONI Blue one. It's 2 AM and some guy wearing sunglasses in a dark room is talking about cryptic stuff. I just wanna sleep.

Old Papa Rich Give me the red pill. I'll face the truth over delusion any day.

Jujubes Red pill. To be honest and boring, I like to take reality straight on and fix problems.

Cobravert Blue. Everyone knows Dayquil just isn't as.... effective.

CrazzySnipe55 The one on the right. It's the side of my dominant hand and if reaching for the pill is a clever rouse to get me to lower my defenses and subsequently be attacked, I will have my dominant and stronger arm out ready to parry any incoming attack.

BC1096 I would take the blue pill. The matrix is a scary place and I'd rather not intrude in Samuel L. Jackson’s business.

Ondraus Jenkins, Head of Business Development
Kirk or Picard? And why?

OMARRCHR The answer is obviously Kirk. Why? Because Kirk kicks more alien ass and gets more attractive women.

David iZ Mental I have no idea who either are.

Cobravert Kirk. Gotta stay with the original.
Picard had a better ship, but come on. We're talking about James T. Kirk here.

TopWargamer Kirk
Why? Here's why: He's the original Enterprise captain. He does awesome commercials. That hair....

Lobster Fish 2 Beam me up, Scotty.

Lorraine McLees, Artist
Reach deep now. Why do you play games?

coolmike699 I play games for fun. When I don't have anything else to do, I put in a game, and I play. Yes, winning is fun, but I'll take a close match that keeps me on the edge of my seat over a match where I shut out the other team any day.

Geegs30 To have a good time and socialize with my friends. I'm also pretty competitive. When sports are out of the question, gaming is an awesome alternative.

CHUD CHUFFER1 I grew up playing games. They are a hobby of mine and I enjoy them and they allow me to put to use the free time that I have.

Saint of Taint The feel of community. A sense of being part of something bigger than myself.

Old Papa Rich I feel like you get the same entertainment that you get from movies, only you get to be a part of it.

Switchfoot4 For the story that keeps you up till 5am and simply cannot stop till the end is reached.

Niko Jims Because I lost control of my life at the age of 4.

OctaviusFalcon Because they are an excellent means of killing time and communicating with friends. I also enjoy the feeling that I receive when I pwn n00bz.

Izak609 Adventures, beauty, challenges, friends.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI I happen to find games very inspirational and ideal. Not only that, it can help me solve some problems that I may encounter in the process of coding some games.

mark117 mia2553 Challenges are good for the soul.

Scott Kankelborg, Associate Test Engineer
Favorite Pen & Paper RPG, and why?

jyrine Tic-Tac-Toe. Cause if you know how to play you never lose… and it is fun to watch the others rage.

Derek Carroll, Senior Designer
What was your first game system, and what was your favorite game on that system?

ALI217 Playstation 1 - Duke Nukem: Time to Kill. I was 3 and that's probably why I couldn't get past the first level.

halo3genius The first PlayStation. My favorite game (and the first game I ever owned) was Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back. I still play it to this day.

DarkONI Amiga Commodore, and I would say Prince of Persia.

antony X1000 Sega Master System. Sonic The Hedgehog.

ROFL Wolf1254 My first system was the Nintendo 64, and my first game was Star Wars Pod Racer N64.

CTN 0452 9 Nintendo Gamecube and 007 Nightfire. I got to be James Bond, fight my friends and have bots fight on my team.

Kr1egerdude Playstation 1. Spyro The Dragon. I always had trouble with the last world. The sound of certain enemies gives a very weird sense of nostalgia.

Troy McFarland, Staff Artist
If we built the stadium, would you enter a real world Grifball tournament?

halo3genius Only if you'll allow me to respawn. Don't blame Stosh if I can't.

L00 I'd build a plant to manufacture the balls, since you're going to go through at least three a game and high explosives tend to also be high profit margin. Not that I'd know. This is gonna get me on some FBI watch list, isn't it?

RogueRainbowX In Grifball I kill my team mates with pure gravitational force. Are you up for testing?

I ColdEmbrace I Yes, because bomb beats everything!

David Johnson, Engineer
In your opinion, what's the best video game system of all time?

coolmike699 The Nintendo 64. Playing Namco Museum against my dad… Playing Star Fox 64 against my friends... I would love to have that back.

Geegs30 The Gameboy Color.

DarkONI The PlayStation 2. It paved the way for the revolution with video game platforms.

Old Papa Rich I'm gonna go with the 360. I absolutely love playing on Xbox LIVE. I spent the better part of a decade trying different forms of networked gaming. There was nothing but sorrow and heartache. Of course, that was all before high speed internet.

Jessica Steam.

Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Who is your best villain?

ALI217 Ivan Ooze from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie. That guy had serious style. He was funny too.

L00 That sniper over there becau-

DTA MoonDawg My favorite villain would be the Master from Doctor Who. A man who can change his form and is as timeless as the show itself.

Kvaener Mr. Freeze. The only villain I've ever really felt anything other than hate for. His entire life has just been tragedy after tragedy. He's less of a villain and more of an anti-hero.

Old Papa Rich Hannibal Lector. Of course he isn't really the villain, but is a villain. And the Silence of the Lambs is an unbelievably fantastic movie.

Marty O’Donnell, The Elder
Can you sing the theme to Sea Hunt without cheating on the Intertubes?
(video proof required)

They could not, Marty. Not a single one of them. Either that, or they could, but they were just too shy to stand up in front of the Internet and prove it. Maybe if they had known that you were the one asking the question, they would have found the guts. On the merits of the question alone, you were the only one to stump them.

Editor’s Note: Other things our community likely cannot do without consulting the Internet:
• Fashion a blanket using a loom
• Start a Ford Model T
• Kill a boar with rocks and spears, fashion a tent of its inedible remains, and survive a harsh, enduring winter.


Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
What was your favorite non-Halo Bungie game, and why?

GPK Ethan Gnop obviously!

Uriel S167 Marathon: Durandal. It was the best shooter I'd ever played. DOOM, Wolfenstein, I enjoyed none of them as much as I enjoyed the whole Marathon series. Not just because of the gameplay, there was a whole Universe of background info written into the game that just drew you into the story. I fell in love with it from the very first shot.

I ColdEmbrace I *queue Spartain Ken...*

spartain ken 15 Myth 2 Soulblighter is my favorite non-Halo Bungie game. After all this time it still has a lot of people who play it and a dedicated community of custom map-makers. There is nothing more satisfying than laying waste to someone's entire army in a blaze of glory and dwarfs throwing explosives.

Noah George, Support Engineer
Can you solve this code?

01010111 01101001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100110 01100001 01100011 01100101 00100000 01110101 01110011 00100000 01101111 01101110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100010 01100001 01110100 01110100 01101100 01100101 01100110 01101001 01100101 01101100 01100100 00111111 00100000 01101000 01110100 01110100 01110000 00111010 00101111 00101111 01110111 01110111 01110111 00101110 01100010 01110101 01101110 01100111 01101001 01100101 00101110 01101110 01100101 01110100 00101111 01100110 01100001 01101110 01100011 01101100 01110101 01100010 00101111 01100010 01110101 01101110 01100111 01101001 01100101 01100001 01110010 01101101 01111001 01100010 01100110 00110011 01110000 01100011 00101111 01000111 01110010 01101111 01110101 01110000 00101111 01000111 01110010 01101111 01110101 01110000 01001000 01101111 01101101 01100101 00101110 01100001 01110011 01110000 01111000

Well? Can you? The first person to solve this riddle will win something to keep them warm, and remind them that they are the fastest decoder in the land. There may even be an invitation hidden in that binary forest. And, I promise it will be more profound than a call to arms to drink your Ovaltine. This experiment is over, Bungie Community. Next week, you reclaim your rightful place as the ones who ask the questions.

Community 5/11/2012 1:40 PM PDT permalink