Riding Along With Bungie in BF3

Piloting the other Warthog.

Remember that old war story about the drought of activity that gripped Bungie during the holiday break, and how the people who lurked about our studio passed the time by raising an army to play Battlefield 3 on our private server?  Yeah, that was fun.  While the urge among our ravenous community to fire up their PCs and sort their respective kits for combat was impressive, it did come with an obvious rebuke:

“That’s nice of you, but what about people who play on the Xbox?”

The answer to this burning question came from a longtime member of the Bungie Community.  Helveck has been an Average Joe in the neighborhood of Bungie.net for years.  When he saw his fellow shooters looking for action while they stake out their claims on our website, he sprang into action.  Thus, the Bungie Community Army was born to glory.  To learn more about his recruitment efforts, I subjected him to a full debriefing.

(Focuses a spotlight in Helveck’s face) Tell us how the Bungie Community Army came into being.

Helveck  I saw how Bungie, and you in specific DeeJ, began to harness the power of the community.  I thought to myself, "Why not support it in any way I can?"  So, I created the Bungie Community Army, partly to bring Battlefield 3 players who frequent Bungie.net together, but also to bring members of this site together to help maintain a sense of connection while we wait for Bungie's next big thing.

I can hardly take credit for your initiative, but it is nice to know that my total neglect of console gamers who love BF3 inspired you to take matters into your own hands.  Have you had much success herding people from Bungie.net into games?

Helveck  It was surprisingly easy to bring in a decent number of people to the Bungie Community Army group. Getting people together for games can sometimes pose a bit of a challenge. Keeping people’s interest when your group is not so much discussion based as it is event based can cause a bit of a drop in activity.

Sustaining activity is the trick when it comes to leading a team.  Allies can be a big help.  There has been talk about an affiliation with The Community Carnage. How has that paid off?

Helveck  The Community Carnage really helped our group get off the ground. Having a central HUB that affiliates with a few other central groups in an organized manner makes connecting with all sorts of members here really easy.  Having a structured way for a few groups to organize, host and post gaming events in the Main Forums is one more way for us to use the tool that is Bungie.net to connect with one another.  We enjoy the company of our fellow members on new common ground outside the confines of the forums to have new interactions, new experiences, and new memories.

If you are looking for gamers that call Battlefield 3 common ground, I would assume that you could find people with whom to play on a site devoted to the game. Why Bungie.net?

Helveck  I've been coming here for many years, and I've met many great people who share in the same interests and hobbies. I've forged many great relationships and friendships here and I wish to keep them.  So, why not stick our hands in something a little different while we all wait for the time where we can all gather under the single banner again that is Bungie's next big title?  When that time comes I know I'll be happy as hell that I stayed here.

You are a man of vision.  What do you have planned for the future of your private group?

Helveck  Hopefully, the Bungie Community Army will continue to grow.  The moderators and I are working towards making it more active, and more efficient. Our current plan to maintain a decent stream of activity is to host weekly game nights as opposed to the odd one here and there. Each week, a different moderator will host an event.  To keep people in the know, we will be issuing Private Messages to all of our Members.  Contests may be soon to come as well, and we are always open to new ideas, feedback and input.

If people play BF3, can they join the Community Army?

Helveck  If you play Battlefield 3 on the Xbox and are looking for solid teammates, I can assure you that joining the Bungie Community Army would serve as a way for you to meet people you can trust to make your gaming experience all the more enjoyable. All you have to do is visit The Bungie Community Army and join up. Hope to see you there!

To keep the bonds strong between Bungie and the fans that so diligently make their online home on our site, I drafted a member of our development team to accompany me on a Ride Along with Helveck’s battle group.  The volunteer for this inspection was a fellow enthusiast for all things Battlefield 3.  Coolie Calihan is also a Bungie newbie, just like your devastatingly handsome Assistant to the Community Manager.  That is not his gamertag.  His real name is just that awesome.  Recently, we have found it very difficult to keep our hands off of this game.

Tell the troops about yourself, Coolie.  What do you at Bungie?

Coolie  My fancy title is Associate Environment Artist, which essentially means I work with a team of superbly talented folks crafting the most beautiful environment game art possible. When I'm not forging polygons in the Iron Fires of Pentium, I'm just a dude that gets psyched about RTS games and shredding succulent powder at the local ski resort.

An environment artist should find a lot to love in BF3.  What do you think of the earth that we scorch in that game?

Coolie  The game is gorgeous. All the separate elements of the game are outstanding, but the environments bring it all together in a seamless sea of explosion. I think they (DICE) deserve a ton of credit for Frostbite 2 as well.  The engine is amazing.

Why are we so addicted to BF3 right now?

Coolie  With so much stuff to blow up, it's less of an addiction and more a sense of duty. Plus, you'd be hard-pressed to find a game better suited for teaming up with friends. You always have a few stories to tell after playing BF3 with your buds.

What is your specialty in this game?  What's the next unlock that has you licking your chops?

Coolie  I love the Engineer class for the rockets and repair torch, so I'm usually supporting armor. I unlocked the thermal scopes before the thermal nerf patch... the pwnage was uncanny, especially on the G36c.

What was your favorite thing about playing with our Bungie.net friends?

Coolie  Besides the epic, game-saving disarm during one of our first games, it's totally awesome to have people excited to play their favorite games with us. Playing with friends is always more fun. I hope there is more of it in the future!

As long as there are games to be played, and awesome people who will play them with us, the future will remain bright – even though we are dark.  If there are other groups bunkered on Bungie.net that play Battlefield 3, we want to know them.  If there are groups that play other games, I will seek out Bungie people to ride along.  Helveck speaks the truth.  There is still an amazing community on this site that cannot (and will not) be ignored.

Bungie would like to apologize to Helveck for injuries and damage to equipment sustained during our attempts at taking a team photo.  That is the nature of Battlefield 3.  The fight waits for no one.  This is not the first time that our shenanigans in profiling local recruitment officers has resulted in a charred Warthog.  They come in many shapes and sizes.  If the Warthog that you are currently piloting has wings, you are encouraged to report for duty in the Community Army.

Thanks for the ride.  All of this talk of Warthogs has ignited an old hunger.  Next week, more Halo.  The carnage will be a Flood.

Community 2/22/2012 4:04 PM PST permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 5.0

What marvels will tumble this week from the sack?

The conclusion of another week compels me to go all postal on your asses.  The trend for this cycle of interaction between developer and community puts more emphasis on quality, and less on quantity.  Translation: I am fielding less questions, but providing more answers.  Translation for the translation: In response to some of your more nebulous inquiries, I have distracted a panel of my brothers-in-development from their all-important labor in producing for you a new game so that they could ante up with their own opinions and insights.  Introducing my fellow letter carriers:

David Candland, Senior Artist
Ryan Ellis, Technical Art Director
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
Josh Hamrick, Senior Designer
Daniel Hanson, Associate Engineer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Joshua Rogers, Engineer

Thank you for joining me, Gentlemen.  Let’s open the sack.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI  During the Halo statistics transition, will the private BF3 server in Bungie be affected?

Why would a cessation of updates for Halo statistics on our site interrupt the fog of war that is enjoyed in our IT bullpen on a regular basis?  I will say this, and I will say this again (and again) until everyone is overcome with a cuddly sense of peace and safety: On March 31st, we will stop updating your Service Records here at Bungie.net with new statistics.  Those metrics for how awesome you are will be inherited by the folks at Waypoint.  That is all that will happen on that day.  California will not fall into the sea.  Mayan prophecies about our ultimate doom will not be realized.  It’s just a day when your heaping body-count starts being counted elsewhere.

antony X1000  How many employees does Bungie currently have?

We are currently larger than a Platoon, but smaller than a Battalion.

M94 Mushroom Man  Do you like bananas?

That is what greets all of us when we arrive for work every morning.  According to Brittany Lichty, our High Priestess of Snacks, we love bananas:

We eat on average about 80lbs of bananas per week (meaning Monday - Thursday). Lately I’ve had to buy closer to 100lbs.  Damn dirty apes.

Editor’s Note: Friday is omitted from Brittany’s assessment of a week because it is inevitable that our appetite for bagels will fully eclipse our hunger for any other type of food made available to us.

risay_117  What do you do with traitors?


Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew.
Ryan Ellis

Make them scrape the scum off the bathroom floor. With a toothpick.
Daniel Hanson

Keeeeelhaul them!
Joshua Rogers

Launch them into the sun.
Nate Hawbaker

We make them respond to questions from the community. When you’re really bad, you get all the questions about BoBs, bans, GRD helmets and the definition of “Canon”. I am indeed sorry for everything that I have done and promise not to do it again. Easter eggs are not considered canon.
David Candland

Editor’s Note: I am not a traitor.  I volunteered for this mission.

OOninja  What about making a game is so hard that it prevents doing a podcast?

Making a game is certainly hard work, but that grind has never kept us away from the microphone in the past.  The absence of a podcast to tantalize your ravenous ears with conversations about living and working at Bungie is more a symptom of our blackout on the next project.  There will come a time to tell you all about it.  That time is not now.  When that time is now (or then, I guess), I will plug that microphone back in so that we can raise our voices about the wonders that await you.

ian11214  Why are double sausage and egg muffins so good?

It really depends on how much you like to eat sausage.

SN068237264910  Will there be front row seats people can purchase when Bungie launches their enemies into the sun?

You mean like a public hanging?  That’s very medieval of you to even ask.  The best view of that ordeal will be from the inside of the vessel that we commit to the sun.  Ergo, watch your step.  Our list of enemies is long, but the reach of the slingshot is longer.

Steel Latch  How do you guys get your voice actors?

This question demanded that I ascend the staircase of the Ivory Tower to consult The Elder.  To satisfy your curiosity about how we lure talented men and women into our recording booth to breathe life into the characters that drive our games, here is what Marty O’Donnell had to say:

First of all, we’ve always had some talented voice folks right here inside Bungie. Of course we loved having Joe Staten as the voice of the Grunt, Dave Dunn as our Scared Crewman, and various other Bungie Thespians (including myself) over the years to pick up the slack. In addition, I was used to working in Chicago with some local voice talent that have shown up in our games, Steve Downes, Pete Stacker, Tim Dadabo just to name a few. Here in Seattle we’ve auditioned many fine voice actors and found some gems like David Scully and Jen Taylor. When it comes to celebrity voices we’ve used a company in LA, Blindlight, to help connect us with some great voice actors who actually wanted to work with us. Like, Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Ron Pearlman, Keith David, Zachary Levi and the list goes on.

nishu  Do you guys still keep in touch with Steve Downes?

Another voice actor question!  We can wake Steve Downes whenever we need him.  If you miss the Chief’s dulcet tones, you can always stream his daily address to Chicago commuters as they road rage their way into work to the sounds of classic rock.

DeadlyCracker  Has Marty been kicking out any sweet blessed music lately?

Now you are just pandering.

VENOM MDK  What game(s) are the fine folks there looking forward to in 2012, besides the new IP?


Diablo III, being able to play DOTA2 on a machine at home.
Tyson Green

Mass Effect 3, Diablo 3.
Ryan Ellis

Diablo III, Resident Evil 6, Darksides II, Hitman: Absolution, The Witcher 2 (360), BioShock: Infinite (If it comes in 2012).
Josh Hamrick

Grand Theft Auto V, Minecraft (X360), Trials Evolution.
Nate Hawbaker

Mass Effect 3. Also, the new Paper Mario might convince me to get a 3DS. AND WHERE THE HELL IS TORCHLIGHT 2?
Daniel Hanson

Heh, I see what you did there. Without divulging whether or not our new IP will be released in 2012, I look forward to playing Borderlands 2, Mass Effect 3, Diablo 3, Ni no Kuni, Journey, and Bioshock Infinite.
David Candland

petetheduck  Does the Bungie crew still take pleasure in the fan-made Halo creations that pop up at Halo.Bungie.Org?

Without a doubt.  Some members of the Bungie crew poured their heart and soul into Halo for over a decade.  It is always humbling when that body of work inspires you to unleash your own creativity.  Not a day goes by without me cruising Halo.Bungie.Org in search of a pearl of fan-created multimedia that tells a good story.

Malfar  If Bungie had 48 hours left on this planet, and had to choose one science fiction book to read. What science fiction book would Bungie choose?


Excession or Player of Games by Ian Banks
Tyson Green

World War Z
Josh Hamrick

I can't read that fast, even collectively!
Nate Hawbaker

48 hours? I guess that rules out Dune. Probably Ender’s Game.
David Candland

I wouldn't choose one book. I would choose seven books, and I'd pick I, Robot seven times.
Daniel Hanson

Starship Troopers
Joshua Rogers

Editor’s Note: Service guarantees citizenship.

TheRepoMan108  When are we going to get some info on Bungie's next game?

See below.

CTN 0452 9  When will you be able to tell us something about the next hawtness of Bungie.net?

See below.

TuffJuice  What can you tell us about the new project that is not vague and misleading?

See below. 

RigZ Boi  When will DeeJ be fired?

When I answer any of the three questions listed immediately above.  Keep on wishing, Rigz.  Sooner or later, you will all realize that I will not cave, and that you are all stuck with me until it is time to dance.

lord of dahorde  Do you believe in aliens?


Sure. I was one for around eight years after arriving from The Great White North.
Tyson Green

Yes! I see them on the highway every time it rains in Seattle.
Ryan Ellis

Absolutely, without Aliens we wouldn't have Sergeant Johnson and... Wait... What was the question again?
Josh Hamrick

David Candland

Nate Hawbaker

Editor’s Note: If aliens don’t exist, isn’t the universe an awful waste of space?

Canadian Bac0nz  What's Bungie's policy on hiring outside of the US? How would a foreigner go about getting a job at Bungie?

Another question about Aliens!  Bungie seeks the best of the best of the best artists, engineers, designers, and animal wranglers to help us reach the stars.  Nowhere on the careers page does it state a ”Yankees Only” rule.  We will journey to the four corners of the Earth to recruit the people we need to dominate it.  Round about the same time I came on board the good ship Bungie, a fellow newbie from Holland was relocating stateside to create concept art.

radical00edward  Are you a 'high-five' kinda or a 'fist-bump' kinda lad?

Tough question.  In either case, one runs the risk of having their gesture go unanswered.  In the instance of an unrequited high-five, you look like a fascist (always a mistake for someone in a position of real ultimate power on the Internet).  A jilted fist-bump leaves you wide open to a paper attach in a surprise game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.  This is why I usually walk around pointing both fingers at people and saying “What’s up, Chief?”  It’s safer, and no less silly a greeting than the first two options.

Valiant Outcast  Have you been given a semi-specific timetable as to when you will be allowed to give us the first glimpse into Bungie's new project?  Sarcastic answers are fine.

It comforts me to know that you are able to subsist on a steady diet of sarcasm.  For the time being, it is the only resource I have at my disposal to keep you warm.  The timeline about which you daydream is scribbled on a wall near my desk.  As soon as I am done wading through this mail, I will go in there and reserve space for all of you on that wall.

TheNuclearkirk1  Why do you always give such sarcastic answers?

Because Valiant Outcast says they are fine.

Neanderthal 487 What did you eat for your last meal?

Funny story.  I had ordered a Big Mac with fries when the Governor’s office called and said I was free to go.  Turns out the evidence was collected using tongs from the same all-you-can-eat salad bar that was the cause of the altercation that went so horribly wrong.  So, in a serendipitous turn of events, the need for a last meal was commuted.

MsCadetUNIVERSE  Why was Bungie thanked in the credits for Uncharted 3? Is it because Bungie is just that awesome?

Bungie cannot take any amount of credit for the pixelated goodness found in Uncharted 3.  Those accolades belong solely to our equally awesome friends at Naughty Dog.  As for why they thanked us?  For a brief moment in time, we might have pulled back the curtain that hides the mysteries of our creative process from the rest of the world.  Game credits aside, they were also kind enough to send us a poster for the awesome result of their hard work, signed by the awesome team.  It’s awesome.

spartain ken 15  What kind of pranks have you or do other employees perform around "the office?"


This one is pretty good, DeeJ.
Josh Hamrick

Prank implies abnormality, which eliminates day-to-day activities like Copter O' Clock and Bungie Spam Photoshop wars.
Nate Hawbaker

We installed a single bathroom for all the men in the studio and made the entrance and the exit the same door. Ha! You should see the looks on people’s faces every 30 seconds when they get a door smashed into their knuckles from the other side when they reach for the handle.
David Candland

Editor’s Note: For the sake of security, Bungie encourages all employees to lock their computer before they leave their desks.  When one fails to do this, the very worst websites that one can imagine greets them upon their return.  Think of websites that could get you fired from a real job.  Now, think of websites worse than that.

CAESAR XVI  What is the appropriate way to introduce oneself after years of lurking?

The Internet can be a cold, hard place.  There are people on Bungie.net who even assume alternate identities to ask what they think are stupid questions – despite the fact that such things don’t exist.  Were I you (Disclaimer: I am not), I would start a thread in the Classifieds Forum.  Let people know who you are, what you like, and how they can enhance the time you spend on Bungie.net.  Amidst the sea of trolls that emerge from under the bridge to shame you as a newbie, you might just find a kind soul who leads you to a good game.

MetalxTongue  What happened to this thing that you were going to be doing?; I remember that you posted in a thread saying that people that are good and help others out will be rewarded, I want to know if that is still happening?

I have no idea what you are talking about.  That does not exist.

Berend de Groot  Omdat je de vorige keer wat in het Duits hebt teruggeschreven, vroeg ik me af of je ook Nederlands kunt. Zo ja, wil je hierop antwoorden?

Ik spreek alle talen, van deze wereld en vele anderen.

Challenge:  I will send a "Burn Bright. Burn Blue." t-shirt to the first person who can translate that exchange.

Al1757XNA  What is in your closet?


I don't have a closet, just a filing cabinet. Full of neat stuff.
Tyson Green

Skeletons... of all the people that ever hated on Armor Lock.
Josh Hamrick

A portal to a faraway land.
Joshua Rogers

Tom Cruise.
Nate Hawbaker

New hires. When we run out of floor space, we start stacking them in there until the next desk move.
David Candland

ImTriForceGuy  Has anyone said anything to you as creepy as me yet?

I don’t find you that creepy.  You know who is really creepy?  Snipe Champpppp.  He holds the record for the creepiest private message I have ever received on Bungie.net (although not the creepiest of all the Internet).  We will keep most of the details between me and him, but the basic spirit of the message was that he would start a petition to have me fired if I did not abuse him more.

snipe champpppp  I honestly can't think of a question that is good.

I told you to stay away from me!  You are well within 500 yards.  And no, for the last time, you cannot lay face down in my dirty bath water.

xgeua  What did you do on your first day at Bungie?

I sat in a chair and watched video recaps of Bungie Day summits and presentations given by different teams to the rest of the studio.  I was brought into the fold of Bungie’s next game.  You can hate me all you want, but know that I can relate to the anxious anticipation that permeates this community like the overpowering aroma of patchouli in a Seattle record store.  I remember telling urk that I would have paid him to watch those videos – not the other way around.

Halo biggest fan  You have any tattoos?

Nope.  My belief system forbids it – which is to say that I believe that I would change my mind about what I wanted to have inscribed under my skin no less than a month after I got a tattoo.  This guy has a more confident sense of devotion.

Dunver  When will we hear about some more Bungie Aerospace projects?

Soon.  Ask me again sometime, soon.

Insane Monx  Is Bungie using Latin (Per Audacia Ad Astra) for their new IP because it relates to the new IP, or just because Bungie likes their Latin?

We have always liked our Schoolyard Latin.  Non Facete Nobis Calcitrare Vestrvm Perinaevm.

That concludes our chat, friends.  The post office is now closed.  Our doors will open again at a time of our choosing.  Regular business hours do not apply.  Keep your eyes on Bungie.net for the next random appearance of the Mail Sack.  Going forward, I will try to bring more and more people from the development floor into the party, Harold willing.

Community 2/17/2012 2:38 PM PST permalink

For Carnage, Ride Along

Myth fades to Legend.

In observance of the corporate bonanza that star-crossed lovers recognize as Valentine’s Day, I spent the night with a hoard of fallen lords.  There was no candy, nor flowers, but there was blood - literal buckets of it.  While the majority of western civilization was jockeying for elbow room (and their maiden’s favor) in some overcrowded bistro or other, I was being entreated to carnage of mythic proportions on an antiquated – yet still very romantic - landscape.

Huddled in their private castle on Bungie.net, the warriors of For Carnage Apply Within breathe new life into old games.  These are Bungie fans in the purest sense, unearthing titles long-forgotten by many gamers, and polishing them back to their original luster.  They play everything in the portfolio: Marathon, ONI, Pathways Into Darkness, and more.

For our Ride Along, they selected a tour of a blood-soaked map from which the name of their union was pulled in Myth II: Soulblighter.  The preparation for our big date was a march down memory lane in more ways than one.  Not only does the game depict fantastic battles from a fictitious past, the software is over 14 years old – ancient history in and of itself.

Thanks to some retro-engineering courtesy of Mariusnet, Myth II has been dusted off and hauled out of the museum for modern audiences to enjoy.  I was led down the obstacle-strewn path that leads to a pre-game lobby by Atom, a fearless leader of the FCAW crew.  Anyone who bemoans the occasional flaw found in the otherwise instant gratification of Xbox LIVE needs only to partake in that labor of love to fully appreciate recent evolutions in multiplayer gaming.  Those same hurdles are evidence of the passion that these gamers have for classic Bungie experiences.

To better understand that passion, I applied within with some probing curiosities…

How did FCAW come into being?

The Sorrow 1994  FCAW as we know it today is the offshoot of two groups called the Myth Jumpers and the Marathon Jumpers. The groups on Bungie.net all needed to get reset, so the groups combined and For Carnage Apply Within was born. Ghandi 2, GameJunkieJim, and Reiginko were the original Myth Jumper admins and BobBQ and GameJunkieJim were the Marathon Jumpers admins.

It would seem as if the torch has been passed.  Who leads this motley crew now?

Atomsk A33  I handle the day to day business in the group. Things like hosting games, scheduling, news posts, organizing special events, forum moderating, settling disputes, helping new members with tech support, and recording attendance all fall in my lap. Sard used to do more when he had more time, but these days he mostly handles Myth and Marathon lore and acts as the group's unofficial historian. Still, he steps up and helps with hosting and organization when I need him to. Placid and Cydonain (The Sorrow 1994) moderate the group and keep the peace, as well as helping organize events and occasionally handling hosting duties. Slayer moderates from time to time, but mostly he brings life to the group when things are too quiet.

What activities do you use to drive your interactions?

Placid Platypus  We have weekly game nights on Fridays, where we play monthly rotations of Marathon or Myth, as well as Tuesdays, which serve as a catch-all game night and has seen members play a variety of non-Bungie titles.  Aside from our regular line-up, we organize and host the annual FCAW Summer and Winter Olympics. The Olympics are three days of tournament style play in Marathon, Myth, and one of the more recent Halo titles. Each year we crown a bronze, silver, and gold medalist after the final night of games.  Throughout the year, we also topically host one or two other special events, such as a Bungie Day celebration.

What makes a game as time-worn as Myth so compelling to this day?

spartain ken 15  Myth is compelling to play because every encounter is so unpredictable. You never know how the game will turn out and who will have the last army left.  All the explosive-throwing dwarfs and giant Trow battles make the game even more exciting.

What do you have planned for the future of your group?

The Sorrow 1994  I don't really know if we do have plans. We are kinda sorta affiliated with Community Carnage, and plan to start doing community game nights.

How do other people join?

EL  My favorite part about this group is that the doors are always open. FCAW welcomes new members and their love for the old school games. New or old, everyone is treated the same. It is a rare thing to find a group on B.net with so few members and yet still be very active. I think it is proof of the unmatched greatness found in Bungie games and the love the fans give back.

What is your favorite thing about this sentimental clubhouse?

ZayneHumphrey  FCAW is an amazing group filled with a bunch of great people who hand me my ass every week. Without them, I most likely wouldn't have given Marathon or Myth a chance; which is a shame, since they're both interesting and great series that Halo owes a lot of its awesomeness to. Everyone here can look past anything that's "dated" and have fun. That's why I come back, not just for the people, or the games, but for the experiences.

Heed the words of Sir Humphrey, for he speaks the truth.  A cursory inspection of the Myth multiplayer experience reveals many seeds that grew into the forest of great player vs. player moments that the world came to discover in the Halo franchise.

Flag Contested!  These knights are the kings of their own hill.  They will battle to the last, by your command.

Myth doesn’t pull a lot of punches in the carnage department.  Did I mention the blood?  It flies.  It splatters.  It stains the ground red.

Archers man the ramparts to defend their territories from pigs driven by bad guys – or “people with different beliefs,” as we came to know them over the course of the match.

The Journeyman (also affectionately regarded as a “Jayman” and a “Shovel Hobo” by the hardcore) is a powerful character who heals his allies and beats his enemies to death with the business end of an entrenching tool.

We concluded our mythic visitation with a bang.  Marty the Elder stopped by to don my multimedia helmet (double-speak for headphones) and pay homage to the honor guard that had assembled for the evening.

“You guys are playing Myth? I think I can see my dad!”

Trivia: The Elder Elder provided the voice for the Surly Dwarf.  You can see him in the video below, along with assorted Grizzled Ancients from Bungie, "back in the day" - as well as fellow newbie Michael Salvatori, who recently succumbed to our ranks as an official employee.  Warning: The haircuts in this backstage tour don’t hold up nearly as well as the game.

Thanks to everyone at FCAW for being my bloody valentines.  As we lay the foundation for your next kingdom, your enthusiasm for all things Bungie drives us to the excellence you demand.  While you lay in wait for the fruits of our current labor to be revealed, it warms our hearts that the old campfires still burn brightly in the darkness.

If you find yourself missing retro multiplayer action like this, you should help yourself to the feast of camaraderie that is served up on their round table on a regular basis.  The invitation is clearly etched into their oaken door: For carnage, apply within.

Community 2/15/2012 2:12 PM PST permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 4.0

Another week, another mountain of questions to dodge.

It is always a treat to open the sack, and sift through the bizarre spectrum of treasures contained within.  You honor us with your rampant speculations and demands for information from within our inner sanctum.  Before your patience is eroded by all of this glad-handing, let's dance on the razor's edge of full-disclosure and answer all of that which can be answered.

Ktan Dantaktee  Will Private Groups be deleted? There are rumors of this feature going bye-bye, so I think it would be nice if you guys could clear this up.

As long as you are spending your precious time here and having fun, we’ll continue to give you the tools to make the most of your stay. We’re ethical landlords, and we’ll never kick you out of your home (until we’re ready to move you into a better one).

BREQ  The question on everyone's pizza sauce covered lips.  Will Recon still be unlockable after the transition?

As with all post transition Halo questions, this one should be directed at 343. Ask for angel. Tell her I sent you (we go way back). What we do know is that you won’t be able to unlock it through Bungie.net.

Alpha4O  Will the freezing of data mean that my stats like K/D and medals will not be updated? If so will this also affect the Bungie mobile app?

Yes and yes. The app will still display your historical record, let you send private messages via Bungie.net, and see what your friends are playing on Xbox LIVE. Oh, and there might be some new stuff for the future. Might.

Mereel N7  Any idea on what The Flood will be renamed come March 31st? Will there be a public vote if the name does change?

I will say it again: On March 31st we are not leveling any forums, imploding any private groups, or launching anyone into the sun.  Please quote me on that, in the event that any other doomsday conspiracies arise.

Its A Mirage  Can you give us a hint on the fun that will be had with the halo stats before they're frozen?

The only hint I can provide is that fun will be had.  Much fun has already been had compiling them, by all of us.  As we hand them over to the new stewards of the Halo warfront that rages every night on Xbox LIVE, it is altogether fitting and proper that we look back in sentimentality.

Elem3nt 117  During Halo 3's development, who created the Halo 3 Cradle of Life (llink here) comic story/art? Was it the folks among Bungie?

I stole an image from that link for those of you too lazy to click it (thanks, Halopedia). The artist behind that work is Ashley Wood.  A number of folks among Bungie were big fans of his work, so he was asked to lend his mighty pen to travel back in time and plant the seeds of Halo 3.  Challenge: I will send a "Burn Bright. Burn Blue." t-shirt to the first reader who can identity another Halo-themed work from his portfolio.

Big Black Bear  Are you just getting us to do your job for you? Shouldn't we be getting paid your salary?

You are doing only half of my job for me.  I am doing the other half.  The portion of your half of my salary that I didn't spend on controller batteries went to the tax collector.

coolmike699  What's the best food available at Bungie?

The blood of interlopers who crash our gates without an appointment.  At least, that is what Jerome is always telling me.

AmazingMaco v2  If I was curled up on Bungie's doorstep, in the cold and the rain, would you take me in and nurture me as your own?

(See previous question above.) Curling up on our doorstep is never a good idea.

Verachi  When will Luke give me my steak?

This is not a question you ever want to ask Luke to his face.  On this occasion (and this occasion alone) I have braved Luke’s haunt on the other side of the studio to see how he might react to your threadbare query.  Luckily, for both of us, he was feeling magnanimous today, when he said:

Verachi. I will never give you your steak. Your accomplishments in Halo, whilst not forgotten, no longer entitle you to dine on my dollar. All the best in your continued quest for meat.

Ah, Lukems. You haven’t lost your tender touch.

RigZ Boi  Why does my hate for you know no boundaries?

Did we not have this same discussion privately?  I will echo the answer you gave me.  You hate me because I am the community manager you need right now, but not the one you deserve.  Because I can take it.  The one you deserve will show up later, and you will find that he looks just like me (but with a larger, rubberized codpiece).

Cockburnicus  Is your current position with Bungie a temporary one? (and don't give me some wishy washy nonsense about just being happy to be here)  It seems to me that these community guys hang around for a year or so and then go and do something else.  It's a foot in the door type job.  So can we expect a newer version of you in a year or so?

Maybe if you were all nicer to your community managers, they would stick around for longer.  Did that ever occur to you?  All kidding aside, knowing the heart of a gamer makes someone extremely valuable to the creative process that drives development of great games at Bungie.  And, who knows the heart of the Bungie Community better than the people who have lived in the trenches with you?  Luke and Urk are doing amazing things to make sure that the next game you play with us will be the best it can be.  We should be excited that they are where they are.  As for how long you will have me to kick around?  I was running gamers through a maze of my own creation for six years before Bungie called me up to serve you.  I am passionate about games that spark alight the flames of community.  No matter where my adventure at Bungie takes me, you will find that I am very hard to shake.

TacoPizzaHunter  Who do you think will win the Super Bowl, Giants or Patriots?

First of all, I also love Taco Pizza.  It makes my wife nuts, because you can’t put tacos on half of a pizza and expect them to stay there.  As for your question: You asked it the day after the game.  Would you also like to make a friendly wager over who will win World War II?  I love easy money.

prometheus25  What numbers should I pick for tomorrow's lottery?

Now that is a question about the future.  If you win, I get half: 7, 12, 26, 32, 57, 79.  In the event that you need another number, just give them… 62.  Those of you who are reaching for your decoder rings to discover some cypher hidden in those numbers, the joke is completely on you.  Seriously.  If I see speculation in some hidden corner of the Internet about that, I will roll around on the floor behind my desk, cackling in ways that will send a chill up the spines of those unfortunate enough to be seated near me.

Top_Gun_2021  How are the employees desks organized in the building? A map would be awesome.

We cluster people together based on what they are working on, to make it easy for them to bounce ideas off of one another.  A glance over anyone’s shoulder reveals our project reflected through a similar prism.  Concept Artists sit near Concept Artists.  Animators sit near Animators.  There are no walls that separate any of us from each other – aside from the ones that provide privacy for the restrooms.  As a relative Newbie, I still come up with reasons to take the scenic route to the other side of the office.  For those of us that become lost easily, we do have a map that illustrates the sprawling layout.  Here is an extreme close-up:

risay_117  Did you ever have a party in the studio?


SkilPhil  What lessons did you take away from the Bungie Pentathlon?

That’s more like it, constant reader.  I learned some hard (and very valuable lessons) during the Pentathlon.  I learned that, in order to etch your name onto The Cup (that is actually a Fist), you need to be a gamer that possesses skills of great diversity.  You must be as competitive as you are social.  You can’t just shoot first and ask questions later.  You also have to be able to answer those questions.  You must be a problem solver, a singer, a riddler, a dancer, a tosser, a gambler, a soldier, a conjurer, a driver, and even (on rare occasions) a sculptor.  The winners of the Pentathlon are perfect beings who can crush all challenges in their path.  In that respect, Middle School put us all to shame.

Killa kella159  What is the codename for Bungie's next game?

Let’s just call it “Bungie’s next game,” shall we?

MKmiksaFIN  Who controls Bungie's Twitter account?

Several of us know the login.  You never know which of us is whispering 140 characters of sweet nothing into your ear – although odds are it’s me.  If you are not following us @bungietweets, you should jump on board.  I interact with people there almost every day.  World Domination requires one to leave home from time to time, after all.

ExquisiteDragon  How much bacon is stored at the studio?

The notion of storage implies surplus, which would suggest that we ate our fill, and left something for later.  When it comes to bacon, this is never possible.

Spartan_Natraps  Will videogames ever transcend their status as mere entertainment?

Are you not all evidence of the fact that they have already?  Every day, thousands of you make your way to this website to interact with one another on topics that have nothing to do with games.  Thus, videogames have become a social lounge where people make real and lasting friendships.

AngryFacing  When could we possibly expect a peek at Bungie's next project? Even the tiniest peek through a hole as tiny as a pixel.

Why do you make me tease you like this?

There is your pixel.  Don’t stare for too long at its brilliance, lest you ruin the vision that you will need to experience it in all its fully-realized glory.

shadow 2648  Are you excited about all the new hires coming in to the studio? And do you see yourself possibly hiring new networking and 3D Designers straight out of college? Or are you looking for more experience than that?

Slow down now, eager young mind!  One question at a time.  New hires are always exciting.  Just the other night, I rode the elevator with a new Environment Artist who was thrilled to announce the he had just finished his first day.  It reminded me of that glow of naïve excitement that enveloped me when I started working at Bungie, those long (three) months ago.  As for hiring people straight out of college, the Careers page does a better job than I could of explaining what we look for in a candidate.  I can tell you that we want the best of the best of the best – since you would demand nothing less from us.

CODILICIOUS  How is JonnyOThan doing?

JonnyOThan… JonnyOThan… Oh!  You mean Sandbox Programmer Extraordinaire Jon Cable.  He’s fine.  Just the other night, he accompanied me on a surprise inspection of a Minecraft server that is ruled by fellow members of your community.  He is happy, healthy, and laying the foundation for your next granular castle.

Kvaener  Kannst du mich verstehen? Es wäre so toll, wenn du mich verstehst!

Ich verstehe dich. Tut mir Leid zu enttäuschen.

GrinnialVex  Are you guys going to PAX this year? I'll be going for the first time ever and I'd like to stal- er, meet you. You know, hang out, tell stories, get close... totally not in a creepy way though.

I will most definitely be at PAX. Plenty of other Bungie people will as well, to embrace the gaming goodness as fans. We have a good group in attendance every year. It is in our backyard, after all, and Penny Arcade always makes it worth our while.  I might even host my very own panel discussion, which would include little more than me sobbing unintelligibly over a table strewn with empty shot glasses about how hard it is to keep secrets from thousands of people who just want to appreciate your work.

darkruby  Is it hard creating a game that no-one outside the studio knows about?

Bartender!  Another shot?

ecartman1214  Will those of us who signed up for the Bungie beta tester program awhile back be getting any more information in the near future?

I have just returned from the Bungie Lab, where User Researcher Brandi House had the following temptations to forecast:

We contact sub-sets of our beta pool regularly to help with a variety of research like surveys (yay radio buttons!) and on-campus playtests (gasp!).  Don’t lose heart if you haven’t heard from us yet!  We’re constantly cooking up new ways to leverage your delicious brains, and there’s a good chance we’ll need you in good time.  We love you.  Bear with us, you dear brave souls.

CheckedBRUTES  Will the Bungie Weekly Updates make a comeback?  Will there be a Bungie Day this year?

I update this site much more than once a week lately.  What more do you want?

CheckedBRUTES  Will there be a Bungie Day this year?

Man, you just won’t stop.  Every day is Bungie Day when you work for Bungie.  As always, we will invite you to celebrate with us on 7/7.

stephen087  It's known that Bungie has a variety of games in studio for employee recreation. Are there any notable rivalries among employees in certain games?

The most bitter and time-honored rivalries exist in Street Fighter.  That game has serious business at Bungie for years.  Our competitors in that game even have the fancy peripherals, and volumes of downloadable content to keep them sparring.  See the angry warning and the security cable?  Yeah.  I stole their box to mine screenshots for one of our Ride Along recaps.  Big.  Mistake.

DARKWIND12  How high will you count the Mail Sack? And will it always end in ".0"?

I will answer your questions for as long as you are inspired enough to ask them.  Someday, when I am writing more official weekly updates, I will still reserve a small section where you get to drive the conversation.  As for the numerology, there may be a .5 or something, in the event that I make a critical error in reporting, and have to issue a retraction.

insaneAssass1n9  What will happen if Bungie cannot find qualified people to fill some of the job openings that the site has listed?

Hypothetically, we would create them from scratch using crash test dummies, spare machine parts, animal guts pilfered from the dumpster of a local butcher shop, and just a touch of black magic.  Those creations are hard to control once set in motion, so we would really rather hire gifted professionals who can be manipulated with snacks.

Fortunately, we’ve had little trouble filling our open seats with talented asses.

The Storm  What do you (honestly) do whilst in the office?

I sit quietly, chained to my desk, sifting through volumes of insanity in the hopes of finding one insightful question that truly lets me express my inner joys.

homocidalham  Is Jason Jones ever going to tell us what the connection between Marathon and Myth is? Particularly concerning Marathon and the great devoid?

No. Not because he doesn’t want to, but because the 90’s are lost to him.

QuirkyNate  Can you please tell Achronos to stop being evil and start being merciful?

Achronos has power over all of us that is too dangerous to anger.  I crave the same mercy for which you would ask.  His reach extends to moderate my forum presence as much as yours.  We need a brave warrior to take up our cause, since it is clear that neither of us have the spine to face him alone.

SPARTAAA 117  Can I get a callout please?

This...  Is…  (nah, too easy)

Callout cancelled.

SunGlassed Skunk  Will you ever answer my questions? I’ve posted in every mail sack, maybe it's because I smell.

You smell just fine – a heady blend of sandalwood and game controller plastic.  It’s your questions that stink.  Or, perhaps you are just cutting too close to The Truth.  I am saying that without delving into the archives to investigate what you have asked.  The only advice I can provide is that you keep asking.

El Mequetrefe  What do you do with a drunken sailor?

It really depends on the time of day.  If it is early in the morning, you chuck him in the long boat 'till he's sober.  If it’s late at night, I usually just buy the bastard another drink.

m sghette  In an inexplicable tale stretching far beyond the boundaries of my own belief, I have acquired the gun pointed at the head of the universe and I have come to make my demands. I demand you tell us more about what you and Bungie are working on, a lot more. If my demands are not met this Friday, I will pull the trigger.  Also, if you could tell me where the phrase "the gun pointed at the head of the universe" came from, I would be very grateful. I can’t remember.

Well, it’s Friday, and we are all still here.  Consider your bluff called.  This unsuccessful con was not a total loss, since your question was compelling enough for me to lure veteran Bungie storyteller Robt McLees out of his fiction-fortified bunker to dig deep into the past and unearth some lost trivia about how that phrase entered our lexicon:

I can’t remember exactly when I heard it first, but its original author — at least here at Bungie — was either Jason Jones or Joe Staten. If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on Jason. Here’s the funny thing though — and the only reason that I included Staten in the equation — Jason did not refer to the universe actively as a rule. The galaxy was always big enough for him. It was already inconceivably large, without having to drag the whole universe into it. He hated the phrase “save the universe” because nobody could threaten the universe. Saving the universe would require defeating time at the very least. In fact, it may have started out as “gun pointed at the head of the galaxy” but Marty changed it to universe because it sounded more American. But memory is a funny thing. It is imperfect.

THORSGOD  Can you shoot urk with a nerf gun for me?

The Gun Pointed at the Head of the urkiverse?

He had it coming.  On more than several occasions, our conversations have been interrupted by a suction-cup-tipped projectile affixing itself to my screen.

Valiant Outcast  Is there a chance that I could get some advance warning to when Mail Sack 5.0 will be open so that I don't find out after it closes like this time?

No.  These sincere question and sarcastic answer sessions will strike without warning.  They will come at a time when I can maintain watch over the post office.  That said (starts whispering) Monday mornings are usually good for me.

Coda: No promises on the Internet.

All good things come to an end, friends.  This Mail Sack (it was good for me) is no different.  Your curiosity about life in the trenches of development is as appreciated as your willingness to keep us company on our website while we toil away on something we hope you will play.  Though we are dark, you still burn bright.  Talk to you again next week.

Community 2/10/2012 2:28 PM PST permalink

Community Mine Along

Building community, brick by brick.

The invitation came spilling out of a Bungie Mail Sack, hidden amongst a heap of demanding curiosities like a diamond buried under tons of rough earth: “Do a lot of you guys like to play Minecraft?”  As it turned out, a lot of us guys do.  And so it came to pass, in a break from the usual experience of trading gunfire and verbal taunts with the fine people who yet hunker down on Bungie.net, that we gathered a delegation of video game makers from our own construction site to inspect the mines that had been tunneled out by our faithfully community.

What ensued was not a Ride Along.  This was a community Mine Along.  Ever since this 8-Bit simulation of excavation and construction was in Alpha, a merry band of Minecrafters on Bungie.net have been braving the dangers of the subterranean to drag treasures and building materials to the surface.

As soon as we landed on the virtual landscape hosted by their server, it became apparent that not a lot of mining would be taking place.  None of us wanted to touch a thing.  The world they had created was a pristine gallery of monuments to all our sins - and not just ours.  Sprawling in every direction from their spawn house were vistas that included icons from many corners of geek culture.  The sheer volume of work was startling.  Assuming our machines could render them all at once, the eye could not possibly take them all in at the same time.

The band of creators who had agreed to host us in their own private three-dimensional construct buzzed through the air like architects born on the fiery plumes of jetpacks.  With their world set to creative mode, we could fly from one installation to the next.  Thankfully, their sun was rigged so that it would never set, sparing us from the dangers that creep out of the mines at night to prey on the craftsmen who raid those caverns by day.

Speaking of the craftsmen, let’s shine our hardhat-mounted lanterns in their direction, so that we may pile the accolades they so richly deserve upon them.  Together, they have erected (shut up – get your mind out of gutter!) works of art that immortalize the passions that united them in the first place.

Tell me how your group came into being…

RollinRollin13, Admin
The same way a lot of things come into the world. Some drinks, some laughs, and then a lot of panic.  The server started out small. There were really only five of us who were active, and it was rare for more than one of us to be on at once, but we had great times. Word got out about our humble gathering, and soon it started to grow and expand, and became the community we are now. We've gone through many incarnations (10+ servers, 3 admins), but we're here now.

Your patient evolutions are an example to be followed by anyone who seeks to cultivate community among gamers.  Throughout all of this steady growth and construction, what is it about Minecraft that has compelled you to build better worlds?

Gr33n Knight, Veteran Crafter
It has a lot to do with the sheer amount of opportunity. No other game lets you dig underground to mine for resources and build houses out of those materials. It's the ultimate sandbox, and every new idea makes you want to keep playing.

And how does an idea become a reality?  Or, rather, a virtual reality?  Describe the creative process that you use to create those installations.

lkp117, Crafter
After hours of Minecraft, I have the experience to just build. I don’t really need to plan out creations except when they are a bit challenging. While building, I ask myself does it look good? Is it practical? Do I like it?

You make it sound too easy.  Be honest.  What was the hardest part about erecting (I said shut up!) your monuments?

deserthawk950, Elder Crafter
If I'm in creative mode, sometimes I have issues getting the dimensions right. if you're not meticulous, one wrong block can -blam!- over an entire creation. In Survival mode, getting supplies to make a good looking creation can be difficult.  Who wants to see something made purely of Cobble, Dirt, and Planks? Nobody. That's who.

Anyone that lives most of their lives atop a crane can tell you that every construction site has its accidents.  Ever have one of your creations destroyed by a creeper?

badhitman008, Crafter
Oh man, the first time I started playing here, I built a house at a town we made. It was all wood, nice cozy little place. Go outside for a sec and right there staring me in a face was one. I swear I almost heard it say “Hi!” before it blew up.

As impressive as it is, there is still a lot of room in your world for urban sprawl.  What do you have planned to keep your server alive with such creative energy?

RollinRollin13, Admin
As of right now, we have a whole lot planned. We're going to be using a very nifty plugin called multiworld. What this will allow us to do is create the main world for our server, which will run the default survival settings.  It will also allow us to create a second world running creative mode. Feel like making some pixel art? Hop onto the creative world for a bit. Tired of being creative and just want to kill some spiders or go spelunking? Switch over to survival. We've learned a lot since we first started hosting our server, and we're looking to put it all together into the best experience possible for our players, because that's why we go through the trouble of hosting and maintaining this server. We could do it for ourselves, but it's not as fun.

You are starting to sound like the people I work with.  The miners that you so diligently host are lucky to have such a selfless foreman.  Your words remind me of another guild of architects and artisans who wield diamond-tipped tools.  I am speaking, of course, about the builders from Team Bungie, who are hard at work on the next game we hope you will love.  Let’s see what they had to say about the world you created for us to enjoy.

What was your favorite creation on display in the world of the Bungie.net Minecrafters?

The cycling 7-element LED display was pretty impressive.  My favorite artistic creation was probably the Megaman-style Chief.
Jon Cable, Sandbox Programmer Extraordinaire

The Tardis was really cool.
Mark Taylor, Associate Tools Engineer

Has to be the grayscale Pokémon characters from Red and Blue for original GameBoy. Didn’t see  MISSINGNO though…
Coolie Calihan, Associate Environment Artist (Minecraft Virgin)

The Tardis was just awesome, with the halo ring a close second.
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer

What surprised you the most about the world of the Bungie.net Minecrafters?

I've never been on a creative mode server.  The range and quality of structures was really impressive.

The perfect nature of the art. When I try to make glorious pixel art structures they inevitably end up looking nothing like the thing they’re supposed to. The Minecrafters have created some pixel-perfect stuff!

The vastness and creativity. I got lost multiple times and had to use creations like Goku, Clippy, and an epic battle between the Chief and an Elite to find my way.

All the art, I expected a more construction based server.

Before we return to our own mines, any parting words for our hosts?

Thanks for having us!  I hope I didn't spawn too many chickens...

Thanks for the sightseeing tour!

Hacka lök!

We left little creations; the sign reads “Awesome Work! Cheers, Beardy Wombat”

Before we wrap up this recap of our groundbreaking evening of art appreciation, allow me to lead you all on a similar tour of the sights on display in the realm of the Bungie.net Minecrafters.

Towering over their creators, the Master Chief and a Covenant Elite face off in a duel at the edge of a plunging precipice.

Not everything in this environment was a tribute to games people play.  Surrounding a central wildlife preserve is a great wall to keep local fawna safe from harm.

No online community is complete without a Mission Statement.  Upon arrival on the Minecrafters’ turf, all visitors are presented with placards that illustrate the preferred etiquette. 

Hanging in the ether is a tapestry that even a fallen lord would proudly display in his keep.

I am your shield.  I am your sword.

“It’s a me...”

Even the Forerunner maintain a base of operations on this server – although it is highly unlikely that their majesty will be inherited by that cow.

And, finally, what self-respecting inspection of Bungie-themed installations would be complete without a visit to Installation 04, led by The Chief himself?

To reiterate what has already been spoken, we would like to thank the Bungie.net Minecrafters for their hospitality.  They aim to please.  That same hospitality is yours for the taking.  If you possess the skills of a Master Craftsman, or have become inspired to take up a pick axe for the first time, make your way to their clubhouse.  This society of low-res architects is as passionate about building community as they are about building images from their own minds.

Community 2/8/2012 1:36 PM PST permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 3.0

Some of the news that is fit to print.

With the dust from the Bungie Pentathlon having been carried away by a cleansing winter wind, the highly classifed development timeline that rules our roost has returned to a normal state of fury.  As such, I can get back to the all-important business of answering your mail.  Wherever possible, a window is being opened into our world.  Once again, I have hounded my coworkers for comment on (most of the) topics that roll around inside your collective mind.  Let's open the sack.

Statefarm98 So who do you think is winning the Super Bowl?

I am rooting for Volkswagon.

acnboy34  Once again, got any ideas to revitalize groups - new features, etc. - that you're willing (or allowed) to share?

Once again?  Have I been ducking your furious inquiries?  (See next question below)

ECOH Cam  What are your thoughts on the sudden increase in community activity - all the community organized events and such?

All part of the plan!  A healthy online community is the sum of its citizens.  You are the most important ingredient in the concoction of spicy mayhem and carnage upon which we all feast.  As someone who is desperate to feed you meaty updates of our work-in-progress, I am thrilled that we can appetize on games we are playing, and maybe even play them together.  As for changing the way private groups operate?  I am not the head chef in that kitchen.  Top men are working on it.  Top.  Spicy.  Men.

THE SALTY CHIP  What do you think of the Bungie community?

(See previous question above)  I think you are freaking awesome.  I think you kick much ass.  I think I am most fortunate to have the chance to lead you all into a brave new world.  I think this is a glorious time that we can use to get acquainted and reinforce the social structures we will need to preserve the tightly-knit aesthetic of our community in the event that it is invaded en masse again by a new breed of fans.

antony X1000  What is your favourite event from this year's pentathlon?

My favorite competitive event was the Modern Warfare 3 tournament, in which I led a rag-tag and frantically-trained squad of Newbies to a field of battle from which they emerged victorious against seasoned warriors from far more tenured schools.  My favorite social event was Dave Dunn’s Photoshopathon.  The challenge was to build a work of art around the fearless leaders of our sprawling team.  The theme was Space – The Final Frontier.  Here are the winning entries.

David Candland  Senior Artist (Winner)

Anonymous  Senior Artist (Co-Runner Up)

Michael Zak  Senior Art Lead (Co-Runner Up)

Cpl Crosseyes  How crammed are the hours there at this early/medium point in development? Any of the employees starting to pull the overnighters yet or do the lights actually turn off every night?

The lights are turned off even during the daytime here, lest we wilt under the blaze of full luminescence.  Many hours committed to the cause of world domination have atrophied our ability to withstand the unfiltered radiation of the daystar.  Fortunately, the magic on our computer monitors lights the way.

Big Black Bear  What's been the biggest surprise / shock / eye-opener since starting at Bungie?

At my previous job, when my boss would catch me browsing a gamer forum, he would say “Get back to work!”  At my current job, when my boss catches me browsing a gamer forum, he says “Keep up the good work!”  Old instincts do die hard, however. Sometimes, I still minimize Bungie.net when I feel someone creeping up on my six.

jross1993  What's it like working for Bungie?

This question again?  Okay.  What else can I tell you?  This is the first job I have ever had in which I do not have a phone on my desk.  Also, I am surprised by how seldom I get “sick” anymore.

Bob Bobinson  What's urk up to these days, besides super classified secret stuff?

He spends a lot of time talking to super serious dudes in black suits and dark shades who roll up to our studio in unmarked luxury sedans.  (see next question below)

Dropship dude  Why doesn't urk return my letters?

According to urk, your letters are currently the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. As such, we are unable at this time to comment on said letters or acknowledge their existence (which I totally just did).

Editor’s Note: I asked your question sincerely. That’s what he said. Those of you who are always asking questions about what it is like to work here should try and imagine approaching your boss for an official comment for official release and being fed madness like that.

coolmike699  How the hell do you plan on world domination if a snow storm is enough to stop you?

Whoa!  What gave you the idea that we were stopped by the crystalized moisture that heaped itself so cruelly upon on our fair city?  Allow me to be completely clear on one point.  Snow didn’t stop us.  It may have slowed us down a little, but world domination is still clearly in our crosshairs.  We adapted to the hostility of our conditions and arrived safely at work through guts and ingenuity.  Challenge: I will send a "Burn Bright. Burn Blue." t-shirt to the first person (employees not included) who can correctly name the two Bungie Commanders depicted in this Halcylon original.

Editor’s note: Aren’t you glad that imperial legislation didn’t shut down that glimpse into our rebel base?

Kretos  How long did it take Jon Weisnewski and his band mates to come up with the songs for Sandrider?

Now you gone and done it.  Jon is rarely at a loss for words about his awesome band.  Here is what he had to say:

Some of the songs came together really quickly. I’ll get an idea for a riff or arrangement, figure it out on my own and then bring it to practice. Nat and Jesse are both very talented musicians and we’re all pretty like-minded with our music tastes so it’s pretty easy for us to all click together on an idea and bang out a song in one or two practices. Other songs take a long time, depending on how we’re playing them in the practice space.  All in all, that record took about a year to get to a point where we were ready to record.  Keep in mind that we are all busy dudes so we weren’t practicing regularly. Practice is key to getting good at anything and everything.

All of humanity  Are there any plans to bring back the Bungie Podcast?

I would certainly enjoy the chance to step to the mic and address each of you with exciting updates and exposing interviews.  Someday, friends.  Let’s wait until we get to a point where there are things we can actually tell you.  Right now, it would be an hour of dead air, or me describing what I had for lunch.

snipe champpppp  What happens if I don't ask a question?

You don’t get an answer.  And, I don't get to dole out the abuse that you, snipe champpppp, have personally requested of me previously.

HALO3syourdaddy  What is something I absolutely don't know?


Sonic343  Do you guys ever go to local restaurants as a company?

That question is just a little creepy, as if we might put our menus down on the table, only to discover you staring at us from the booth across the aisle.  Deepest fears of being stalked aside, if you pay attention as you make your way through the hospitality scene of the greater Seattle area, you can find evidence of our passing.

Ktan Dantaktee  Will we be getting any new merchandise in the Bungie store soon?
H0FFman J  Will products from the Bungie store become available for purchase in other countries in the near future?

Alright fellas, take a number and get in line.  Remember the last time we opened the Mail Sack and someone was asking about baseball hats?  On that occasion, Bungie Store curator Christine Edwards was gracious enough to step out from behind the counter to take a bow and let us know what was on back order.  On this occasion, she has been equally gracious:

Because the Bungie Store currently uses Amazon's WebStore, we are limited to the countries that Amazon allows shipments to, which is a very expansive list of countries.  We ship to the maximum number of countries available.  We introduced several new items in the Store for the holidays and simultaneously discounted clearance items that have been on there for quite a while.  We're currently planning new items to be put on the store, but do not yet have a date for when they'll go live.

spartain ken 15  Have you guys thought about putting a vintage section in Bungie store? (Like selling Marathon and Myth shirts, old soundtracks, etc.)

Oh, Ken.  You really do take every opportunity to stake out your corner as president of the old school fan club.  If I could harness your enthusiasm, I could power a small, idyllic town for a year.

CoRaMo  What is Jerome's favorite sports team?

Indianapolis Colts.

There you have it.  Jerome is a man of few words, but he was still happy to go on record.  He’s the strong, silent type, you know.  Any time spent answering questions like these distracts the laser-like focus he keeps trained on the constant threat of interlopers that looms over our front door.

Sniffy66  Does Bungie have any plans in case there are no bagels to serve on Bagel Friday?

This would never happen.  Ever.  However, in the spirit of sharing, we could always order up some Bacon Maple Bars.  As the name suggests, these are donuts.  With bacon.  Donuts Evolved!

Insane Monx  Why don't you or urk write Weekly Updates filled with useless information?

What do you call this?

x Foman123 x  Have you guys looked on the bottom of the Pentathlon trophy yet?

You know, Foman, we hadn’t looked under the trophy until you asked.  Upon closer inspection, we found absolutely nothing.  We looked under.  We looked behind.  We looked around.  So, either you were teasing us, or our late-night cleaning crew made off with whatever time capsule you had secreted away for us to find.  If you were teasing us, I must remind you that, with great power comes great responsibility.  Urk and I are very prone to your suggestions.  For now…

MightyMarcher01  If Bungie was a person, would you date it?

I suppose you could say that Bungie and I are in a very exclusive relationship.  So, yes.  My lonely eye no longer wanders to websites that promise a new career and a better tomorrow.

Stormkiller626  What's the point of these mail calls?

It's a Mail Sack.

I am studying you.  I seek to know what is on your collective minds, which of you require closer scrutiny, and which of you need to be watched at all times.

Muzza777  To be or not to be?

That is the question.  Isn’t it?  Given the choice, I would prefer to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  As anyone who has discharged a rocket launcher too close to their opponents can tell you, there is not much nobility in taking up arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them.  For those of you who are totally confused right now, stay in school.

Cranium Crater  Does the web team look at our suggestions for the site?

Yes.  All the time.  There is the proof.  To quote Achronos from our most recent ride along:

…We’re taking everything we’ve learned over the last decade and building ourselves a brand new battle station. I can’t wait to share it with you.

CheckedBRUTES  Is Jason Jones still around?

Of course.  Who else would knight us on the day of the Pentathlon?

xgeua  Who else outside of Bungie Studios knows what Bungie is working on.

It’s just Bungie. “Studios” was cast off the moment we become independent again.

Decimator Omega  Is Bungie still hiring?

Still?  We never stopped.  Are there any Engineers on deck?  I added about a dozen new job postings this week.  Bungie is looking for alpha geeks who can ascribe code to everything from animation to mobile applications.

Geegs30  Are you guys accepting community-made Crimson avatars?

We are accepting community-made avatars of (almost) all types.  User themes, too.  Rather than focusing on specific games, I would recommend creating forum assets that embrace a theme that is more universal to Bungie.

SirShadow  Are the "Breaking In" interviews going to make a glorious reappearance sometime?

Yes.  Sometime.  In fact, sometime very soon.  I have one open on my desktop right now, even.

Delta 15t  If you had a hammer, what would you do?

I would hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters, all over this land.  Short of people living up to that utopian ideal, I would ban some fools back to the Stone Age.  Ya dig?

R3ACTlON  Do a lot of you guys at the studio like Minecraft?  If any of ya do play, can we get together on one of the community servers to build cool stuff like this?

I have to admit, that is pretty cool.  To answer your question: Yes.  We play Minecraft.  We should arrange for a tour of your finer creations sometime.  The only problem is that the people I am inviting to ride along are threatening to start fires in all of the worlds that they visit.  So, keep a river dammed up and at the ready.

Professor24  I love free writing, but I am nervous to make it my career. Should I keep it as a hobby and go to school for something else? What does Bungie look for in a writer?

The oracle that I consulted for this wisdom is a member of the writing team here at Bungie who is working with Joe Staten to spin tales that will haunt your dreams.  Senior Writer Dave Mongan had the following pearls of inspiration for you:

I won’t lie, it’s not easy breaking into writing.  And a helluva lot of hard work goes into making it your career, whether you take a slew of screenwriting courses or toil away in a dark corner for years, honing your craft alone.  But – it is the best job I could ever imagine, especially at a place like Bungie, where the creative spirit is encouraged to go wild... or wilder.  That said, imagination and inspiration are the most important factors we consider when screening candidates: Does a writer blow our minds with his slightly-insane outside-the-box ideas?  Does her passion for storytelling jump off the page, scream obscenities in our faces, and demand we pay attention to the riveting tale being told?  If the answer is a resounding “yes,” then we know we’ve got a winner. 

Bricypoo Will you marry me?
im am b0red Will you marry me?
Sundalius  Will you marry me?

And... No.

It’s not that I don’t love each of you; truly, madly, and deeply.  My wife is just not crazy about sharing our marital home with three people that I met on the Internet.

SH4D0W0733  Will you marry the first poster on page 12?


Editor’s Note:  The discussion thread that issued the call to fill this Mail Sack was unceremoniously locked on page 11.  Crisis averted!

That concludes our fireside chat for this week, gaming fans.  Tune in next week, as I dodge more bullets and crush more softballs out of the park.  The Mail Sack is your chance to ask "What's up?" and for me to answer "That's classfied."  Thanks for playing along.

Community 2/3/2012 9:24 AM PST permalink

Achronos Rides Along With The Ancients

Grizzled Ancient, meet Ancient Warriors.

As the school-on-school violence demanded by the Bungie Winter Pentathlon approaches, the mood in our studio has become edgy.  Coworkers stalk one another around the snack bar, casting sidelong glances over shoulders to size up their opponents.  The tension between young and old hangs in the air like fog exhaled by the evaporating snowbanks that delayed our inevitable skirmishes.

On frequent occasions, the silence is shattered by proclamations of pending Fist ownership.  Sometimes, the talking of trash spills out into the streets, as it did last week on the Bungie.net forums.  These grudges have even lead to an abuse of executive power.

To all who frequent the social environs of Bungie.net, the wizened visage of Achronos should serve as a warning about the fate of trolls, as well as a reminder of the traditions that define our community.  He is the overlord of all he surveys, locked into a dangerous partnership with the Disembodied Soul itself.  When he posts to Bungie.net his word is as good as gold.  So mighty is his control over our domain, that not even your faithful Assistant to the Community Manager can escape its grasp.

On the fateful day of our class warfare, Achronos will fight alongside the most tenured of Bungie citizens as a student in the school of the Grizzled Ancients.  Seasoned by years of battle, he has smote many challengers on the mountainside of the Pentathlon.  To delve deeper into the history that shaped Bungie, I requested an audience with the benevolent overlord of our online community.

It was reluctantly granted on the eve of our Community Ride Along with the Bungie Private Group, the Ancient Warriors. (More on that in a moment.)

Based on the official warning that you issued to me via The Soul, are you truly confident that the Grizzled Ancients will win the Pentathlon?

Cup stays here.

You mean, Fist.  After our games last night, you rushed off to practice playing MW3.  How were your training maneuvers?

Practicing went well, except for the one particularly brutal game where we got owned by our random opponents.  However, our honorary team member and chief morale officer (my wife) kept things positive by providing helpful advice like “you should stop running into bullets with your face,” or “man, that helicopter lit you up…oh, look at how high your body bounced,” and even “did you just die by shaking?” (after numerous explosions nearly killed me and I died from a single bullet while in a slow-motion red haze) - all loud enough so that her commentary can be heard over voice chat, much to the amusement of my teammates.

As the leader of my own school in the Call of Duty tournament, I must ask if you really think you stand a chance against us Newbies.

We stand an excellent chance – we have solid teamwork, and I’m getting better about not running into bullets with my face.

Alright, alright.  Enough of this.  We have company.  During the games we played on our ride along with the Ancient Warriors, there were many expressions of thanks for all of the fun they have had playing Bungie games over the years.  Since I am new to the show, it was hard for me to take a bow.  How long have you been here, keeping the pillars of Bungie.net strong?

I have been employed at Bungie since January of 2001.  I used to be just the web developer guy, but over the years I’ve expanded my role to do all kinds of server-side engineering (stats, services) with a dash of community support on the side as Bungie.net has become much more than just a simple web site for posting news and forums.

That is a lot of lines of code and locked threads.  Throughout all that lost time, what is the biggest change that you have observed at Bungie

The number of people is easily the biggest change.  I knew everyone on the original Halo team, even if I didn’t interact with them as part of my job.  As the years have gone by, and the pace of hiring continues to be fast and furious to meet the demands of the future, it is really difficult to recognize people I don’t work with regularly that haven’t been here all that long.

On the flip side, what is the most important thing that has stayed the same?

The ridiculous amount of passion of the people at Bungie has never wavered.  I’ve been here through the furious crunch to get Halo to the Xbox launch, the trials of Halo 2, the amazing and scary additions to Bungie.net for Halo 3, ODST, and Reach (no ODST love?), and the online launches for all of those games (many of the server team visibly age for the first 48 hours or so of a game launch).  The one thing that has always been true is that people here put everything into their creations.  People stay late when they don’t have to, just to make the latest milestone a little bit better.  It’s always more than just meeting the deadline or the baseline expectations – it is about being our own harshest critics and pushing each other to be better.  Building a new game that exceeds our previous work after coming from Halo should be scary, but with the passion of everyone here… challenge accepted.

Speaking of unbridled passion, even with nothing to report, we enjoy a visit from Bungie fans every day on our website.  Can you tease them with something to look forward to in terms of an update to their clubhouse?

Bungie.net has changed a lot visually over the lifetime of Halo, but it has been fundamentally altered only twice during the Halo era – once in 2001 when we changed it from a Myth site to Halo site (and added the fanclub chapters), and then in 2004 when we switched to the code base that has been in use since then.  The transition to the post-Halo Bungie.net won’t just be a visual change with a few new/altered features.  It has served us well this last decade, but we have a window where we can build ourselves tech that will last us the next decade.  I won’t talk specifics, of course, but we’re taking everything we’ve learned over the last decade and building ourselves a brand new battle station.   I can’t wait to share it with you.

I can’t wait either.  We’re lucky to have had such a faithful monitor of this facility for so long.  Good luck to you and your fellow Grizzled Ancients on Friday.

Thanks, but it is my privilege to work here.  Not many people can say that they have fun and enjoy their job, but I do, and a lot of that is because of the community of Bungie fans.  Except for Achilles1108 - he’s kind of a jerk.

Right around the time that The Soul was being exploited to scold me for overstepping the boundaries of my youth, a similarly-grizzled emissary from a tribe of ancient Bungie fans came knocking on my door.  For longer than some members of our community have been out of diapers, the leaders of a private group called the Ancient Warriors have been hosting a virtual old folk’s home on Bungie.net, catering to a withering minority of gamers who hold onto the controller past the ripe, old age of (gasp) thirty.  One of their leaders games under the tag Maddog1953.  The number in his call sign is the year of his birth, betraying the true extent of his ancientness.

Having found myself suddenly surrounded by my elders on all sides, I decided to conduct some research into the psyche of gamers who refuse to go gentle into the good night.  Here was a chance to know my enemy.  If I could lure Achronos into a ride along with his decrepit kin, I could study them and learn of their weaknesses.  To peer into the mind of gamers who believe that age and experience overcome youth and vitality, I tricked Maddog into sharing with me his darkest secrets.

I would usually kick off a conversation such as this by asking if you have always been a gamer, but Video Games were actually invented during your lifetime. Tell us the story of how you came to be a digital warrior.

Maddog1953: (gets teeth off the table and puts them in) Well, sonny... All kidding aside, I'm 58 years old and I've enjoyed gaming since I was a child. It was a natural progression from pinball machines to arcade games.  Finally, I got an Atari 2600.  As my kids got older, we had to get a Nintendo.  Of course, I had to get in there and play along, so I always kept my hand in it.  I discovered the Halo-verse when I was at a meeting at church and happened to walk by the youth group...they had Halo: CE fired up and I was amazed how far home video consoles had come. Once they put the controller in my hand, I was pretty much hooked.

Your career as a gamer is a long and winding road.  It looks like you made every stop along the way.  Tell me about your current destination. What makes the Ancient Warriors a special place to hang?

Maddog1953: One thing we all have in common, other than our love of video games, is that we know what it's like to try to balance our gaming habit with the demands of our careers, family, and "life-taculars" that come along. We are a very diverse group - our members are from all walks of life and from all over the world. We have husbands and wives who are members, as well as brothers and sisters, and some of us are old enough that our sons meet the age criteria.

How long have you been gathering together the old guard of Bungie.net in the games of your choosing? How did your group get its start?

Maddog1953: The Ancient Warriors will celebrate our 4th year of existence this August. In the beginning, I did a search of Bungie.net and found a group whose purpose was to help people improve their game.  I met another senior gamer, BC Miltiades, and we figured that there had to be others who shared our love of the game, and that we could benefit from teaming up. We borrowed the name of the group from another "chronologically challenged" gamer we had met, anci3ntwarrior, and the group was born. We provide a fun, MUTUALLY RESPECTFUL environment in which to play and discuss Halo and life in general.

Congratulations on using the tools at your disposal to build your own castle.  Do you sit alone on the geriatric throne?  Or do you have help leading this kingdom of geezers?

Maddog1953: My good friend BC Miltiades has since moved on to other things, but he was very instrumental in the formation and continued survival of the group. We are led by a committee of eight - myself and Muad Dib, OCCR, Cease2xist, DadWithAGun, John McGhee123, airfalcon2, and Mauro Fire.

 A round table, even!  How do you go about finding new ancients to retire in your keep?

Maddog1953: We are always on the lookout for prospective members when we're online - you might spot something in their gamertag, or just in talking with them in the lobby. I also periodically post a recruiting thread in the Bungie.net Classifieds.  Referrals from our current members are another way.

You sound like quite the networker.  What sort of tactics do you use to bring your Ancients together in a game?

Maddog1953: We try to mix things up to keep the group vibrant and energized. Some of our members are very skilled, and borrowing from what we learned at the Halo 3 Academy, we have regularly scheduled events. Currently, Fridays are ODST nights, Sunday, we are having Map Awareness classes, and a staple for us has been Monday nights, where I host Maddog's Monday Mayhem (it's sort of a grab bag - one night it'll be Rumblepit, another we might re-visit Halo 3, another will be Big Team, or customs). We post sign-up threads in advance of the events and it's pretty much first-come-first served, and we always have a list of alternates.

What does the future hold for the Ancient Warriors?

Maddog1953: As I mentioned previously, we are a great group of friends - I've met several AW's in real life, as have some of our other members. Although we are Halo-centric, we allow discussions of pretty much any game or topic, as long as it's kept civil. All good things come to an end, but I hope we're around for many years to come!

As the setting of our ride along, the Ancients selected Halo: Reach.  Achronos and I (temporarily) buried the hatchet of our interschool rivalry to enter matchmaking on the same team as a squad of early arrivals from the Ancients’ camp.  Immediately, the benefits that Maddog spoke of were apparent.  These gamers move, shoot, and talk as a team that is well-oiled like a wheelchair axle.  Before it could even be spoken, we were holding the balcony on Countdown like a phalanx of Spartans in the pass of Thermopylae (look it up, kiddies).

As the rest of the ancients arrived to our gathering, we opened up the battle to accommodate a bigger team.  In a game of Neutral Bomb on Ridgeline, I was able to display my prowess as a community manager.  Practicing that which urk took the time to teach me about stoking the fires of fandom, I expressed my appreciation for the loyalty of the Ancient Warriors by luring them to a safe place where I could run them over in my car.  In truth, that folly was all my own.  Even though Achronos defended me with the observation that he was clearly in the way of a blitz, I am offering the public apology that was promised to Max Sterling for betraying him as a member of my team.

In a game of Team Slayer on a remake of the ancient Halo: CE classic Hang ‘Em High, the lead was swapped more times than an aging mind could count.  All the while, the mood was like a family reunion, stocked with cheery grandparents.  Tactical chatter was balanced by friendly taunts like “Maro, I know you can hear me!  And I want you to know you are NOTHING without that shotgun!”

To cap off the evening, we stress-tested the fading recollections of our elderly guests with a stroll down the memory lane that leads to a remake of Headlong, one of Halo 2’s most popular cityscapes.  As even the most “chronologically challenged” gamer might recall, the threat matrix for a game of Team Slayer on this map is highly vehicular in nature.  Unfortunately for Maddog, he forgot all about the dangers of standing in the landing-zone opposite the broken bridge.

This ride along of ancient proportions was enjoyed by all.  Achronos and I would like to thank our hosts for the honorary place in their ranks.  If you find yourself keeping company half your age in the wilderness of Xbox LIVE, you might want to stop by the clubhouse of the Ancient Warriors.  As for Bungie, one of the very few things on which all schools of thought can agree upon this week is that we love to see people using our website to form friendships that they will have for several lifetimes.

As for the Grizzled Ancients, our temporary truce ended with the party lobby.  The Pentathlon trophy is in play, and will choose the school that speaks their lesson true.

Community 1/25/2012 3:24 PM PST permalink

Stop the Stop Online Piracy Act

Make your voice heard.

At Bungie we tend to keep our collective nose out of state affairs. We can’t even come to a consensus on which bus line to take into Bellevue in the morning, let alone arrive at any unified conclusions regarding our equally congested political roadways. But we all agree that SOPA sucks. And we’re not alone.

In a clumsy effort to curtail online piracy, this messy piece of legislation will, if passed, negatively impact both the games we make and the people who play them. If that sounds like very bad news to you (and it should), we encourage you to take a few moments to learn more about SOPA by reading the bill itself, by visiting the Electronic Frontier Foundation for more information, and by contacting your representatives in United States Congress and the Senate to make your voice heard.

Bungie is opposed to any legislation that curtails free speech, stifles innovation, and prevents the open sharing of information on the Internet. SOPA fits that bill. If it passes, it will hurt our community, the gaming community at large, and it could very well cripple the kind of games we love to create and play.

Just like online piracy, that would be downright criminal.

Community 1/13/2012 2:56 PM PST permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 2.0

More Questions. More Answers. More Bungie.

Welcome to the first mail call of the new year.  On this occassion, I have broadened the conversation to include some fellow teammates.  Your curiosities ran a wide range of topics.  To tackle the broad spectrum of interrogatives, I got by with a little help from my friends.

  When is the next major B.net update?

As soon as I finish sorting through these questions, I will update the site with some answers.  How's that?

Onyx81  What did the Bungie team do to celebrate the Holidays?

We sacrificed a turkey at the altar of Rooster Teeth.

The Storm  Can we have a community ride along on a game other than Halo?

    HOOBLA 911: Didn't we have a CoD one recently?

I am the one answering the questions around here!  Community Ride Along events will showcase the games that we are playing while Bungie is dark.  What are you playing?  Tell us all about it on the forum.  Start a group with the other people who play it.  Play it together.  Make enough noise, and I am very likely to come knocking with a ticket to ride.

Sir Killalot33  Why are you on Bungie.net fraternizing with fans and not completely leaving us alone for the holidays? We must deteriorate your sanity on some level.

I gave up my last vestiges of my sanity when I accepted the challenge to manage the fanatical hoard that is the Bungie Community.  I no longer had any use for it anyway.

JBSpudster  Who would win in a fight between the Millennium Falcon and Godzilla? By answering this, you would be settling a 5 year debate with my best friend.

For an answer that is better than the one I could give, I have wrenched a laptop that is blistering hot from running Star Wars: The Old Republic for 12 hours straight from the death grip of resident graphic designer Halcylon, who says:

“I think it's pretty clear that, although Godzilla has radioactive breath and strength, the falcon can still make .5 past light speed - and can make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.  That should be adequate enough to escape a giant lizard that needs sunlight to warm his cold blood.  Space is cold.  Lizards are slow in cold, as illustrated here...”

We hope this lays the issue to rest.  Five years is a very long time to be debating such things.

Malfar  If Bungie were a test pilot, what type of test pilot would they be?

Only the very best test pilots can land a plane that is on fire.

Supernova33221  Do you have to be part of a group to be part of a community ride-along?

You do not have to be part of a Private Group to be drafted to ride along, but it does up your chances.  When I am planning these events, I try to match a notable persona with a group from Bungie.net that shares their interests.  From time to time, I might flash-mob a board on our forum for random participants, but those occurences will be far from predictable.

antony X1000  When are we likely to see the next site update?

This question again?  I will update the site in a minute.  These questions don't answer themselves, you know.

ExquisiteDragon  Why does Stosh hate toast?

You people are killing me!  This question is so 2011.

Moose427  What kind of snacks are you all eating these days?

All of them.

xgeua  How many employees can the new Bungie Headquarters house?

All of them.

Blue Jesse  How many people standing on each other’s shoulders would it take to reach the ceiling in the main (largest?) room at the new digs?

All of them.  Actually, we have not had to stoop to such crude tactics to reach the ceiling, thanks to our rock wall.

ECOH Cam  Any word on if the Average Joes interviews are coming back?

That’s was urk’s beat.  While I will continue to find new and exciting ways to recognize the pillars of our community, those celebrations of particular individuals may not be packaged in the ways that you have come to expect.  In other news, I am also changing the name of The Flood to “Mr. Giggle’s Happy Time Explosion Zone.”

HOOBLA 911  When will stosh be accepting Avatars and Themes again? I know many people wish to know this.

The discussion thread that was used to solicit these contributions was four years old.  To save me the confusion of trying to figure out where stosh leaves off and I pick up, I have shut it down.  The fanbase crowdsourcing department is back in business, under new management and with a new challenge in play.

lord of dahorde  Who is your favourite normal user on Bungie.net?

As soon as I find a normal user, I will raise them up on a pedestal as my favourite.  Each of you displays a dangerously abnormal love for the playing of great games.  For that, we are eternally grateful, and cautiously terrified.

YahwehFreak4evr  A few years back there was a Bungie baseball cap in the Bungiestore. Can we please see that make a return?

I passed this question along to Christine Edwards, the content coordinator who (among other awesome things that keep you entertained) stocks the Bungie Store with sweet offerings that let all of you express your commitment to our goal of world domination.  She said:

“We are definitely planning a grand return of baseball hats to our store in the near future.  We’re currently tweaking our designs and testing out the best production methods to make these hats as awesome as possible, so stay tuned!”

Izak609  What level are you in Skyrim?

Zero.  I used to play Skyrim, until I took a job offer from Bungie to the knee.  Actually, I have never played a moment of that game.  Many of my coworkers would be ashamed of me for not dabbling in their current favorite digital excursion.  I tend not to play games that lack firepower, spaceships, or Ferraris.  This is just one gamer’s opinion, of course.

GPK Ethan  Are there any new Aerospace games coming out in the near future?

I went straight to the oracle for an update on the Aerospace front.  Please allow me to introduce you to Bernie Yee, the producer of our mobile applications portfolio.  When grilled for comment, Aerospace Actual got all philosophical on me:

"Even for smaller games, the process is like giving birth. Not that I would know, since all I did was stand next to my wife while it happened - ready to help in whatever way necessary. I should have gotten a producer credit.  The short answer is “Yes.”  We’re working on a couple of small, interesting (and, as of yet, unannounced) projects, and some more ambitious ones.  When they are ready, you will be the first to know, and download, and play."

Bob Bobinson  What is best in life?

Being on the original Team Conan.

borrowedchief  Any chance of a Pentathlon preview?

An epic showdown will be described in graphic detail.  Newbies will clash with Grizzled Ancients.  Middle School will battle Old Skool for dominance and bragging rights.  Puzzles will be solved.  Cars will be raced.  Gunfire will be exchanged.  Yours truly is leading a competitive shooter team to the front lines of battle.  Hanging in the balance is a place in history, engraved onto a sweet, sweet trophy.  Achronos calls it a "cup," but it is clearly a trophy.

IliKEpOPtaRTs54  Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

Uhhmmm… No?  Having read that question four times, I took a guess. Don’t hold me to that.

Kboyz07  If one offered to lick a window in bungie studios clean, would they be given a full free tour?

No, but we would provide them with a tour of Bellevue, WA in an ambulance that would deliver them to a hospital to have their stomach pumped clean.

NobleBeat  Is Martin O'Donnell (Marty) good playing Halo?

I thought he was pretty good the other night.

UnderTheKnif3  What music genre is seen as the most popular at Bungie?

The last time I opened the Mail Sack, one of you asked what is the most popular game at Bungie.  Allow me to set the record straight.  Bungie is not unified by a singular mind.  Our big, happy family is more like a multi-headed hydra with colliding opinions and conflicting passions.  There are hundreds of us.  While we can all agree on many things, there is no way we can settle on one genre of music.

Butane123 Which class should I play in Dark Souls?

I don’t play Dark Souls.  You know who does?  Multiplayer Design Lead, Lars Bakken.  If you have paid attention when Bungie has marched employees in front of the camera to talk about their work in our ViDocs, you would recognize him.  When reached for comment on Dark Souls, Lars said:

“I would recommend starting as a Warrior class. Your initial gear is really quite good, and, most importantly, the shield you get early on will help immensely. If you really want to try magic, but still want to have access to good weapons relatively early, you could also try a Pyromancer. The great thing about Dark Souls is that your starting class is just that.  You can mold your character in any direction you want over the course of the game. Good luck!”

Kr1egerdude  How pumped are you for future Community Carnage and what are some of you plans for it?

I am most definitely pumped about The Community Carnage events that members of Bungie.net host for one another.  However, the plans are not mine to hatch.  That is a fan-owned and fan-driven event.  I have received some interesting messages from leaders of Private Groups that want to form a network of event management that keep the action in the Bungie Community steady, but I will leave that for them to announce.  Anyone who wants to know what they have planned, or throw their weight behind their movement, should join the group.  They host a great party.

talon2000  What’s the atmosphere like in the studio at the moment?

It’s a mix of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide; with minute, but pungent traces of methane.

Sven Nietzsche This is more for Lee Wlison: Can we expect any "ass shots" in the next IP's cutscenes?  (I know you wont answer this)

Shows how much you know, Sven.  For this priceless pearl of wisdom, I went straight to the source that was cited in your interrogative.  Lee R. Wilson, the cinematic design lead who is hard at work in our Spandex Palace, had the following tease for you:

“Absolutely. With our advances in character rigging and performance capture you can expect truly dynamic and expressive asses.”

Anyone who thinks they have what it takes to assist in this process should check out one of the newest job postings on our careers page.

Butane123 What does Marsellus Wallace look like?

What?  I will answer your next question in the same way, even if you double dare me.

MetalxTongue  When will there be sleepovers on bungie.net?

Bungie.net never sleeps, friend.  Our servers are as constant as the Northern Star.  Our network of Ninjas is global.  The sun never sets on our virtual domain.

Insane Monx  Do Bungie Employees (other than the Webteam) ever get on B.net? I know there is a few that do, but it seems like the majority of Employees don't even know we're here. That makes me :(

Don't be :(

Someone is always watching.  You might see some of us some of the time.  You might see all of us some of the time.  You will never see all of us all of the time.

RigZ Boi  What is your current stance on t-bagging?

Standing straight up.

MilesDude32  What was the first game you've ever played?

Space Invaders.  It was a game that told a story very similar to Halo, only with better music.

t0ast n jam  Can I rap battle the urk? Please?

I didn’t just approach any urk with this invitation.  As requested, I approached the urk with a track suit and some wicked bling to prepare him for your rap battle.  Alas, your passive approach didn't inspire the legendary freestyle fury that he uses to fill our studio with sick rhymes at the drop of a hat.  The urk said:

“Asking someone if they'll allow you to battle them is like asking a basketball if you can dunk it.”

Moral to the story?  There is no "please" when requesting a rap battle.  You have to step up and just bring it!

burritosenior  Do you have any more as-of-yet-not-unveiled plans to keep us occupied until the darkness is over?

Yes.  They are, as-of-yet, unveiled.

burritosenior  If I sent you another 50 PMs and finally got you to send me one back saying to leave you alone, does that give me the right to say we're best friends and I talk with Bungie Employees all the time?

I will never tell you to leave me alone.  I might ignore you.  And, you have the right to say whatever you want.  As to whether or not you are telling the truth?  Well, that is another question entirely.

ctjl96  Will our questions still be read even though this is the 8th page?

Yes.  Whether or not they will be answered is another question entirely.

IonicPaul  What happens if I ask a question that's already been asked?

I answer the version that is asked most eloquently, unless both questions are equally unanswerable, in which case I commit them to the dark void that is my desktop recycle bin.  On this occasion, you won.

MetalxTongue  Can you ask me a question?

I can and I will.  What motivates you to visit the website of a developer that has sworn to keep all of its secrets until a time at which they can be told?

Community 1/13/2012 10:25 AM PST permalink

Bungie IT Rides Along in Battlefield 3

An invitaton to a private party.

In the lull that gripped the world over the holidays, a member of the Bungie IT Team approached me in need for some fresh cannon fodder.   On Bungie.net, you know him as hdubya, and he manages the systems that keep you entertained on this site.  At Bungie, we know him as the Combat Commander.  That’s his title.  It appears on his emails and everything.  When I asked him for the official translation, I was provided with no substitute.  Bungie is as bizarre a place to work as you might imagine, friends.

“Do you have any ideas for how we can promote our Battlefield 3 server?” he asked.

Our IT Team is an elite squad of alpha geeks who keep the machines in our office – and the network that brings them together in smooth, working order.  When they are not tinkering with the gadgets that enable our collective magic, they are playing (among other things) Battlefield 3 on a private server.  As you might expect, people who make a living working with computers play it on the PC.

Until last week, their server was a lonely place.  The sprawling battlegrounds of Battlefield 3 were home only to them.  When the question was put to me where they might find people who were ready and willing to engage them in large-scale vehicular combat, the answer was quite clear.  The Bungie Community was likely to be home to gamers who could add some noise to the party they were hosting.  I warned them, however, to be careful what they wished for.

On most occasions, a Ride Along focuses on a specific private group hosted on Bungie.net.  On this occasion, we created that group ourselves.  The Bungie IT Team needed an army.  Fortunately, a pool of eager recruits lives right here as members of our beloved community.  The invitation issued on the forum resulted in a stampede to the front lines.

Even before I could conduct an official Ride Along, the games started to flow.  Several nights later, Bungie IT hosted a more formal evening of mayhem.  The party was hosted by Sergey, our Super Awesome Server Dude.  Did I mention how bizarre some of the titles are here?  That’s the owner of the server, piloting a fighter jet from his desk, a workstation that would make any villain from a James Bond movie burn bright green with envy.

To sweeten the pot, one of the only people who can beat Marty O’Donnell at a Bungie Poker Night taunted our fans with a dare and a bribe: Anyone that could collect his dog tags with their knife would receive an autographed collectible from his personal collection.

I told them to be careful what they wished for.  The first to collect this bounty that Sergey placed on his own head was scapegoat413.  Over the course of the evening, three more players claimed their prize.  Your loot has been shipped, gentlemen.  Good games!

What makes this event special is that the ride does not end once the evening is over.  The server is still standing, as is the group that filled it in the first place.  On the day of the Bungie Winter Pentathlon, the Bungie IT Team will be hosting fans all over again.  Details will be made available in the private group forum at the appropriate time.  Stand by for further orders.

If you play Battlefield 3 on the PC, you are invited to join the Bungie Army.  When we play games we want to play, we want to play them with you.  Keep your eyes on Bungie.net for the next invitation.

Community 1/11/2012 5:25 PM PST permalink

Marty Rides Along With His Army

Respect your Elders.

Our quest to recognize some of the most notable Private Groups on Bungie.net continues.  For the Holiday Edition of the Community Ride Along, we shined our spotlight on the ghosts of many games past to celebrate the very first Private Group that was created in this iteration of our domain.

In October of 2001, The Marty Army was founded as Fanclub Number One.  That’s ancient history in Internet years.

Like a present wrapped in ribbons and bows, this musical appreciation society was given an audience with their favorite Grizzled Ancient – elder statesman and master composer Marty O’Donnell himself.  That's him depicted above, clad in emerald armor and commanding a Warthog with all the poise of a symphonic conductor.  For over a decade, the artist behind the music that spurred us on while we played Halo has held court with the gamers that follow the beat of his drum in a private clubhouse right here on Bungie.net. 

To better understand the relationship that Marty has with his most dedicated fans, here is a collection of excerpts from a recent question and answer session that was conducted in their private forum.  The rules are simple.  The Army asks, Marty answers; so long as the questions do not give him a headache.

BlueBears50: What do you do when you are bored?

I'm doing it now.

walshypru: Which part of the process of creating audio (all aspects included) for a game do you find most satisfying?

Final mix on music.

Eraclio: What is your favorite instrument?


obbsesedwithhalo: What is it like writing for a new universe?

A bit scary.

MangudaiFritz: When looking into a possible new career-path writing music for video games, where are the great places to start looking for contacts?

Game Audio Network Guild.

Editor's Note: Here, have a link!

Elite_Buddy: What game (in your opinion) had the best soundtrack this year?

I'm currently on a panel that will determine that.  My own opinion hasn't been formed yet.

Doodlebox: If you could work with any contemporary composer for a game's soundtrack, who would you want to work with?

More on this to come.

paulmarv: What are your three favorite film scores?

Ben Hur, Lord of the Rings, Cool Hand Luke. At least today, it might be different tomorrow.

THORSGOD: You and Jason Jones get into a bar fight. Who wins? 

I win by body weight, Jones wins by brain weight.

Doodlebox: What's the strongest animal you think you could best in combat?

Depends on my firepower.

Top_Gun_2021: Does it mean a thing if it ain't got that swing?

It don't.

paulmarv: What is the best state in the U.S.?


obbsesedwithhalo: What mood is going around the office, now that you are "dark"?


PyroSporker16: What makes your poker game so strong?

My sweet face.

Editors Note: That same sweet face strikes fear into the hearts of all who attend Bungie Poker Nights.

EvilEye: Have a headache yet?


Im SteelAssassn: What's your favorite dialogue line from any Halo game?

I need a weapon.

J0man1: If you were to compose a theme song for a bungie employee, who would you choose?

Joe Staten.

Anelf3: What is the best scene in any Star Trek movie?

Death of Spock.

cortana 5: Does the sword that sits in your studio have a name? You know, the one behind you in the "O Brave New World" video.


paulmarv: What is your biggest life regret?

Should have been a CPA.

Top_Gun_2021: What is the most popular buzz word at work?


Editor’s Note: I really hate to contradict my elders, but this is a total fabrication of the imagination.

obbsesedwithhalo: Why wasn't I invited to the get together? Hope you guys had fun though!

Ask DeeJ.

Awwwww, man.  This bus under which I have been thrown is so heavy!  Sorry, obbsesed.  The ranks of your group are obviously too big to fit into a custom game lobby for Halo: Reach, the venue selected for this Ride Along.  On the last Thursday of 2011, Marty conducted an inspection of his private army.  The mood was kept light, playful, and 100% headache free.

One highlight of the evening was "SUMO," a custom game concocted by some Gunslingers I know.  As the name would suggest, the objective follows that time-honored tradition of territory control by brute force.  The object of the game is obvious.  Players must force their opponents beyond the boundaries of a court that is suspended dangerously high above Forge World.

The catch is that disqualification also results in a terrifying plunge to one's demise.  To make matters worse, the court is littered with mines.  The Warthogs themselves are indestructible.  The mines serve the purpose of tumbling drivers from the relative security of their rides, and turning them into splatterbait.

The name of the game, however, is not running over one's opponent.  The most honorable victory is obtained by forcing them over the edge.

Of course, this goal is best met without succumbing to gravity one's self.  Yet, all too often, literal stampedes of wrestlers were met with the same fate at the same time.

Here, we see The Elder leading his Army right off a cliff, like lemmings lured to the slaughter.  When you follow the leader of the band, it is always a good idea to check his compass once in a while - especially when he invites you to participate in a scored event.  Have we learned nothing from the warnings about his sweet poker face?

On the way down to the killzone that lies below, some players will refuse to give up.  They abandon their doomed vehicles to engage in aerial shootouts as the ground rushes upward to meet them.  While admirable in bravery, the tactic in practice is useless.

These parting shots are always fired in vain.  In SUMO, it is the soil of Forge World that claims the most victims.  What goes up, must come down.  The grotto awaits for the first driver who falls.  You can give this experience a dance on your own, or with some friends, if you like.  It's in my file share.

Thanks for dropping in, Marty.  And, to the members of the Army, thank you for all of these years of faithful service in the ranks of our first fanclub.  Your longevity sets a standard for which all others can strive.  This evening of casual play was more about mutual appreciation than healthy competition.  Your love for the score of the game is far more important than the score of the game.  Wait a minute... did that make sense?

Community 1/5/2012 2:25 PM PST permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 1.0

Your Questions.  Our Answers.

Welcome to the first installment of a new feature at Bungie.net.  As a series of random and completely unpredictable events, a mailbox will be opened on our Community Forum.  The questions and curiosities that pour in over the course of several hours will be painstakingly sorted in search of pearls of conversation.  Without further introduction, let’s open the Bungie Mail Sack.

CmdrScott1701: Should I submit myself to the gaming industry?

Your career path is among the most important decisions you will make in this life – right up there with who you will love and what helmet you wear in combat.  I can’t answer this for you.  Follow your passions.  If you want to see how other people have made the jump into the madness of the video game industry, take a stroll through our archive of Breaking In features.

spartain ken 15: Will more events like Ride Alongs be planned for the future?

Count on it.  I am here to keep you all company during this time of darkness.  Bungie missed you guys badly enough to abduct me from my former life and traffic me half-way across this country.  There will be blood.  There will be conversations.  There might even be candy.

kashinfist: Collectively, what is Bungie's favorite game?

Oh, man.  That question is like an incendiary bomb – a literal red-barrel of conversation.  There is no way I am asking that out loud.  Bungie plays many games.  We play the games we make.  We play games that other people make.  Some are on consoles.  Some are on PCs.  Some are on table tops.  At any given moment, you might hear debates about everything from Skyrim to Dead Souls.  We have designated servers for everything from Star Wars: The Old Republic to Minecraft.  There is no one game on which everyone can agree.  Everyone here is a gamer, and everyone is passionate about their opinions.

MURDUR 587: What's the next game about?

Don’t abuse my hospitality!

HC Swat Is Back: Why does Stosh hate toast?

Yeah.  What’s up with that?  As a Newbie at Bungie, I had seen many a mention of Stosh’s furious disdain for toast.  I approached him for comment, and he told me the story about how his breakfast preferences became a thing of legend.  When I asked “But, why?” he said:

Because toast sucks. Bagels are better.

There you have it.

Zee JollyRoger: How does working for Bungie change you?

At first, you think it won’t change you.  Foolishly, you think you can stay the person you were.  Then, they make you throw away all of your pleated khakis.  After a while, you don’t miss them.  Over the longer term, you can’t even remember the feel of them against your skin.  That’s what hurts the most.

Breadisgood91: Will you answer my question?

Hypothetically, no.  I will caution you to keep your username hidden from Stosh, however.

relliK42: What gaming genre, or genres, do you prefer to play/are interested in?

I have always loved first-person shooters.  I like to play the role of the hero.  Many games I have played in the past have also enabled me to pilot a vehicle of some sort – everything from a Perseus Intercept Fighter to an Apache Helicopter.  Halo rescued me from a GTA phase that started to manifest itself in the form of worrisome road rage.  I suppose this would explain my love for the Warthog.

Don’t read a lot into any of that.  There are better minds at Bungie making the next game.  I am here for you.  If I tried to advise them on their craft, they would march me back here to lock some threads.

OMARRCHR: How is Marty doing?

He is locked in his Ivory Tower.  When approached for comment, he told me that he had a slight headache - probably because of something one of you did.

Sven Nietzsche: Will there be some sort of write-up for the 2012 Bungie Winter Pentathlon?

Why yes there will!  Stay tuned to Bungie.net toward the end of January for a day filled with bulletins about an epic clash between new hires and veteran founders.  I will be splitting my time between covering the events and captaining the competitive shooter team for the Newbie school.

goldhawk: “A fistful of banana's” My question is, simply: What is the question to that answer?

What does the Webmaster have for lunch?  Next, I will take “Obscure Master Chief Trivia” for 700.

Raptorx7: What is a normal day composed of at Bungie?

0900 Hours: Passage through the metal detector
0915 Hours: Debriefing and reprogramming by Jerome
0930 Hours: Weapons and Demolitions training (live fire range)
1200 Hours: Lunch!
1300 Hours: Comb lunch crumbs out of urk’s beard
1330 Hours: Classroom Training: Forum Moderation and Mind Games
1430 Hours: Twitter Patrol
1500 Hours: Lock daily quota of threads in Community Forum
1700 Hours: Pretend to read The Flood
1730 Hours: Resist helping self to catered dinner for graveyard shift programmers
1800 Hours: Really bad traffic

Duardo: How can we occupy ourselves while you (Bungie) are dark?

I want you all to misbehave as colorfully as possible in an attempt to provoke all of the Forum Ninjas to quit.  This will allow me to install my own fanatically loyal force of killer robot police that will unflinchingly execute my every order.

Editor’s Note: I am merely harassing Duardo, a notorious Forum Ninja, with this response.  Don’t actually misbehave, Bungie Community.  The Ninja’s swords are sharp, and they operate with enthusiastic impunity.

EL: Can you guys give my mom back?

Not until she finishes her work.  Where did she learn to create such life-like shaders, by the way?  When I look over her shoulder, I feel like I am peering out a freaking window.  She asked me to tell you that she loves you, and to eat your vegetables.

Eraclio: How many bagels are usually consumed on bagel Friday?

All of them.

THORSGOD: Did you have a time period where you walked into the doors of the Bungie offices and you said to yourself that you can't believe you work there?

Every day, friend.  On the day when I become jaded about all of this, I will quit.  The people working on these games, and the people who love playing them, deserve no less.

cortana 5: How much of the company budget goes toward snacks?

I am unsure of the exact ratio, but our budget for snacks is the same figure that the United States Air Force spends on jet fuel.

Homeboyd903: Your initiation. Tell, please.

I have trouble talking about it without visibly shaking.  The horrors.

GPK Ethan: What is your favorite part of the day?

Whenever urk says: “Hey!  Come here and check this out.”

st3althsniper22: Truthfully, which Halo campaign do you enjoy playing the most?

Truthfully?  Halo 3.  I played it straight through in one night – something I used to mock people for in the past.  It would not let me go.  At the end, I was trying not to get all misty at the Chief’s tribute service.

Politically?  “All of the Halo games represent the finest craftsmanship in gameplay and storytelling.”

Personally?  Halo: Reach.  I have a non-player character named after me.  See if you can find him.

Sentimentally?  Halo: Combat Evolved.  That’s where it all began for me as a Bungie fan.

Xplode441: What non-Bungie game do you find yourself sinking the most time into?

For the past six years, I have had the pleasure of leading a clan of gamers that were born of Halo 2.  They were able to port their brand of teamwork and friendship into Call of Duty as well, so I followed them there.  In between Bungie games, I spent a lot of time on that front.  There were also some experimental forays into Battlefield, Gears of War, and anything else that let people play games as a member of a team.  When I game solo, it is usually in something that Valve made. 

Cay330: What is your opinion on CERN's finding of the Higgs Boson & the potential for humanity's progress?

I believe the jury is still out on the God Particle.  Discovering the quantum unit that is responsible for all mass would be a stunning vindication that our aesthetics and mathematics are genuinely connected with how the universe really operates.  Even without a watershed discovery, relativity and quantum mechanics underlie practically all modern technology.  I would hope that we will use those insights to improve our lives in the long run. 

Editor’s Note: I had to look that up. 

Leprechaun209: You guys should make a movie about Bungie and have Tom Cruise play all of you!  Thoughts?

All Hail Xenu.

Editor’s Note: If you are getting ready to make the accusation that these last two questions are straying toward the variety of religious discussions that are verboten on the Bungie forum, I would offer up that (A) the God Particle is a Theory, (B) Xenu is Science Fiction, and (C) you are not reading the Bungie forum.  Moving right along…

ChampRKO117: Where am I?

Look down.

IHaveTURRETS JR: What are your ideas for improvements to The Classifieds?

What are YOUR ideas for improvements to The Classifieds?  Until the Online Team tells us otherwise, we will use the tools that we have been given to amuse ourselves.  I think that The Classifieds could be more useful with some renewed attention on your collective part.  I see groups inviting people to join.  I see people inviting groups to recruit them.  I would love to see more chatter back and forth.  There are invitations to play games with people issued on that board every day.  The best thing about Bungie.net right now is the other gamers who flock here.   Y’all should form up into some parties and play some games.

Community 12/23/2011 1:07 PM PST permalink

Halcylon Rides Along With The WorkPLace

The Artist and the Board of Directors.

All work and no play makes a gamer a dull boy (or girl).  For the most recent edition of the Community Ride Along, we matched a new Bungie employee who turned gaming into work with a group that turned work into a game.  Sound confusing?  Read on.

The purpose of these events is to celebrate community – that phenomenon that occurs when gamers create something together that the creators of the game may have never even envisioned in the first place.  This week, a designer on the Bungie Visual Identity Team was drafted to ride shotgun.

He is known to us as Halcylon.  You see evidence of his work every day you visit this website.  Just like you, he started out as an impassioned player of Bungie’s games.  Now, he creates art alongside the people who make them.  To give you a sense of the contribution he makes, and how he arrived here, I cornered him under the hot lights.

Put that coffee down!  How did you come to work for Bungie?

Halcylon: The details of my life are quite inconsequential.  I actually got my start in the community doing fan art and screenshots, and eventually started working with BS Angel and Firestream on their sites (HawtyMcBloggy.com and HaloCharts.com).  As I’m told, when I did my “We Are ODST” Star Wars style poster (and the two follow up pieces), a few employees sent them around the studio and my current bosses took notice.  When a contract job opened up, I put together my resume and portfolio and applied.  At first I didn’t get the job.  It wasn’t for another three months that another job opened up and Bungie decided to take a chance on contracting me to help ship Reach.  I guess I did something right, because I’m still here – along with another amazingly talented artist who started on the same day.  He’s the guy who’s designed all the sick Bungie Store apparel you’re wearing.

People like urk, stosh, and agdtinman were paramount in helping me as well.  Bungie’s always been very transparent and open to questions about opportunities.  These qualities were crucial to my getting this job.

Glad you made it.  Now that you are here, what do you do at Bungie?

Halcylon: I make cool -blam!-.  Honestly, that’s the easiest way to describe what I do.  I work for the Visual ID & Marketing Teams as a Graphic Designer.  We work closely with how Bungie is seen both internally and externally.  My projects revolve around graphic design and animation for marketing, PR, and web.  We work internally with the Dev Tools teams, Recruiting, HR, and IT, but also on projects for Bungie Aerospace like Crimson and for our Foundation and even Bungie Day.

You were obviously inspired to create art about Bungie games before you were paid to do it.  What has it been like to work alongside the people that provoked you to pursue a career in the video game industry in the first place?

Halcylon: It’s ridiculous to think about.  I’m a fan boy.  I look up to everyone around me as giants in an industry packed with talent.  To be able to contribute to, and in a lot of cases work alongside with, some of the industry’s leaders in art and design is a dream.  Lorraine McLees is my senior designer and she’s a master of just about anything.  From print to web, sculpting to drawing, it’s humbling to see how talented she and everyone else here is.

What are some examples of your work that Bungie.net members might remember?

Halcylon: Well, DeeJ, your phone has my wallpapers on it… so that’s something.  But we touch so many facets of what fans see, to front and back of packaging, posters, in store signage, screenshots, Avatars on Xbox LIVE, the list goes on.  Bungie.net has recently had some facelifts, too, and with the guidance of the web masters, we have been able to help start the reshaping of Bungie.

What is your favorite accomplishment as a member of the Visual Identity team?

Halcylon: The Bungie Day animated banners were some of my favorite projects.  Actually, everything Bungie Day related – Bungie vs. The World, the web layout, and Steaktacular were all really fun to design and help layout.

Internally, I’ve helped design and develop a tool that is used daily now.  My team director and I had to come up with a solution for a project that went through almost a year and a half of iteration.  The internal site now stands as something that everyone at Bungie participates in.

What is on the horizon for you?  What are you working on right now?

Halcylon: Right now?  You know we aren’t working.  We are all playing games all day and eating turkey.

But other than being lazy and suffering from an overdose of tryptophan, I am currently working with Stosh and the web team designing some interesting new stuff.  But that’s all I can say.

What would you say to aspiring young gamers who dream of following in your footsteps?

Halcylon: This is the coolest and most rewarding opportunity I’ve ever had in my life, and it just keeps getting better. For anyone out there interested in the field of game awesomeness, my advice is to work hard, develop a “no-quit” attitude, and prepare to jump into the deep end without warning. It was literally months before I was hired that I was doing web work and some fan art and not really going anywhere.  On my first day at Bungie, I was working on a Dorito’s bag design and Reach assets that the world would see. 

Bungie recognizes talent.  If you have the skill, the tenacity, and the drive to continually challenge yourself and your peers, then you’ve got what it takes.  Oh and a little luck and timing doesn't hurt either.

The private group chosen to ride along with Halcylon has been a break room on Bungie.net since Halo 3, catering to working stiffs who just want to daydream about playing video games when they should be hard at work.  For years now, The WorkPLace has spiced their water cooler conversations with war stories and chatter about all kinds of digital engagements.  Their track record as a company of gamers includes architecture of better multiplayer battlegrounds, mass invasions at fan conventions like PAX, and staunch solidarity among its employees.  To gain an insider perspective on their operations, I audited JoeSki73, a stalwart member of their Board of Directors.

Take us back to the beginning, to a humbler time before a sprawling corporate headquarters home to 195 members.  How did the WorkPLace come into being?

JoeSki73: The WorkPLace started out as “Halo 3 in The Work Place” back in January of 2008. A few of our current members used to create a weekly thread in the main Bungie.net forums every Friday as kind of a hangout for older gamers juggling their jobs and responsibilities with their love of gaming. Someone suggested the bright idea that we start a group (because we would tend to get off topic in the various main forums) and TWP was born.

Speaking of juggling jobs with gaming, the theme of the command structure for your group is all business (i.e.: Desk Jockey, Middle Management, Supervisors). Tell us how the metaphor for the WorkPLace as… well… a work place flavors your interactions.

JoeSki73: It just naturally fit us from the first time they were implemented. We are comprised of all older gamers, holding down jobs and surfing Bungie.net primarily while we are at work. It's actually pretty ironic when you consider the fact that we use a business model structure for our goof-off place to escape from our business model structure places. Although, our WorkPLace BreakROom enforces a strict keg party on each day that ends with “y”... so we have that goin' for us.

Those keg parties might explain the odd capitalization in words like ‘WorkPLace’ or ‘BreakROom’.  Are those drunken typos?  Or are they a secret code that embodies some hidden intrigue revealed only to the members that stride the halls of your online club?

JoeSki73: I would love to tell you that it's something really awesome that has really deep meaning and anyone who knows it’s true origins has mysteriously gone missing, but...no wait... let's stick with that.

Your secret is safe with me.  Let’s talk about what has kept the WorkPLace strong since you first opened up for business.  What keeps loyal employees rooted to your offices?

JoeSki73: Halo 3 was the clear catalyst that brought us all together, but it didn't take long before lifelong friendships emerged, seemingly overnight. I couldn't brag enough about our members and the awesome ways they constantly step up to help out their fellow WorkPLacers. From something as trivial as helping someone get that last achievement to sponsoring a WorkPLacer's son's hockey team so they could play this season to pooling our resources so we could extend our love to the family of a dear friend. WorkPLacers never cease to amaze me and through all the ups and downs, good times and bad, everyone is always there for one another. We definitely have our arguments too, but that's just part of being a family.

“Family” is a bold comparison for a group that shares a common passion for playing video games.  Like other families, has your involvement with the WorkPLace reached beyond the virtual world that you all share?

JoeSki73: It may seem like I'm overstating the friendships we've built in The WorkPLace, but they are sincere. With that said, WorkPLacers tend to jump at the opportunity to meet up with one another and events like PAX Prime, PAX East and Comic Con have all played host to some of the larger meetups. Those are obvious though. What really sticks with me is how multiple times a year you will see in our forums news of WorkPlacers traveling, for whatever reason, and their desire to meet up with any other WorkPLacers in that area. It's not uncommon to see a thread in our forum with pics of a recent get-together of different WorkPLacers every couple weeks.

How does a group as tightly-knit as yours go about recruiting new members?  Do you invite anyone on Bungie.net join you?

JoeSki73: We do have a hard 21 years or older rule in place (for various reasons) but primarily The WorkPLace is open to anyone who an existing member knows them well enough that they are comfortable adding them to our family. We are always looking for great people to share in our shenanigans and BreakROom keg stands.

While I usually see The WokPLace abbreviated as TWP, during our games your squad was sporting a DP72 clan tag.  What is the significance of your dazzling team uniform?

JoeSki73: Unfortunately, we unexpectedly lost a fellow WorkPLacer and a dear friend, this past October. "Deathpimp" was family to many of us and the clan tag in MW3 is just a small tribute to our buddy.

Terribly sorry for your loss!  That tribute is a true testament to the strength of your friendships.

Since you chose Modern Warfare 3 as the game for your ride along, it begs mention that a group born of Halo 3 has evolved to play a lot of games together over the years.  Your forum has always been abuzz with talk about everything worth playing at any given moment.  Yet, when asked, members of the WorkPLace will defend the notion (rather vehemently, in fact) that TWP is not a clan.

JoeSki73: That's because we're NOT a clan!

By some appearances it seems we are a clan and honestly I'm sure we share many characteristics with some clans out there... but what we feel sets us apart from a typical clan is that we aren't as focused on "performance in gaming" and are more focused on just enjoying our hobby together in-between changing our kid's diapers and finishing up that PowerPoint presentation for our big meeting at work the next morning. That's not to say we can't hold our own when we put a party together, though.

Editor’s Note: That actually sounds like many clans I know.

As far as what keeps us playing... sure, we do various little things like in-house tournaments for fun or "Fustoms Friday" events, but day in and day out it all boils down to friends just simply enjoying games together.

To be sure!  Some of the better customs I played in Halo 3 came from your group.  And, I recall seeing a lot of your Forge creations loaded into Matchmaking as official venues for combat.  What does the future hold for the WorkPLace?

JoeSki73: Bungie's new hotness is obviously on top of that list, but honestly, we're going to keep on keeping on regardless of what the future holds. We are all pretty proud of the home we've carved out here on Bungie.net.

To see where the WorkPLace is currently conducting their hostile takeovers, we infiltrated a squad on maneuvers in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.  What’s that, you say?  Talk of a game not made by Bungie, right here on Bungie.net?  What treachery is this?  Bungie.net is home to gamers that play many titles.  And, it must be said that Activision is a publisher of some of the finest games available (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).  The WorkPLace is a great example of a group that was born in Halo, but ported their friendship and teamwork into other experiences.  Their adaptability will help them to remain loyal to Bungie's quest for world domination.

Answering the call of duty with the WorkPLace squad was a real pleasure.  Tactical chatter was mixed with the sort of barbs that old friends trade.  Despite the fact that their teamwork won them victory in match after match, the party line sounded more like poker night than war.  A variety of games were played throughout the evening.  Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Domination.  We even made an experimental foray into Hardcore Search & Destroy that was met with angry protest and spirited debate.

As a cap to the evening, we played a more social variant called Gun Game.  Every man fights for himself, and every man starts out with a lowly pistol.  As the bodies hit the floor, a player’s weapon is upgraded.  If a combatant is dispatched with a blade, however, he is sent back to the beginning with that same sad pistol in hand.

Which is exactly what Halcylon did to one of the WorkPLacers before the game was over.  Our killer instinct got the best of our desire to be nice to our hosts.  You just have to watch your six, even when you are wielding a really big machine gun.  These matches were great fun.  Bungie thanks TWP for the ride along, and for making our website a more meaningful place for their members.

If you cross paths with Halcylon, JoeSki, or any member of the WorkPLace, be sure to pat them on the back for their contributions to our community.  This website is what you make of it.  Each of us has a chance to create our own experiences here.  A grouping of friends like this one could be waiting for you on these forums.

Community 12/21/2011 4:42 PM PST permalink

Happy Holidays!

It's the Holiday Season.

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Community 12/19/2011 9:33 AM PST

Louis Wu Rides With Community Carnage

Pay tribute to the Godfather, and jump into the game.

For the most recent Ride Along, the organizers of a matchmaking nerve center on Bungie.net were taken on a pilgrimage to pay tribute to the Godfather of the Bungie Community.  Before the crowded grotto that you know as Bungie.net existed, there was Bungie.org.  In the days before this site provided a meeting place for gamers to discuss, converse, conspire, and debate, the fans of Bungie games were hosted by a man we have come to know and love over the years as Chocolate Thunder. (You may know him as Louis Wu.) 

Editor's Note: Yes, urk still has editing privileges.

Halo.Bungie.Org was where the Bungie Community was born.  Throughout the course of all our lost time, even before a game called Halo, a vibrant society of people who play Bungie games have been sharing their experiences and perceptions on the Bungie.org forum.  All the while, Louis Wu has operated as the fan of all fans, showcasing their finest creations and documenting their every move like a cyber-anthropologist on the front page of his site.  Every carved jack-o-lantern.  Every panoramic screen shot.  Every meticulously Forged map.  Every skillfully edited combat montage.

It was on HBO that your new Community Manager (that would be me) first addressed the Halo Nation with a link to a blog.  You could say that this is his entire fault, which is why I sought him out to play some games.  Partly to offer thanks – partly to expose Bungie Community newcomers to their true Forerunner.  Fan sites come and go.  Halo.Bungie.Org is the tent for the circus.

If your only involvement in the Bungie Community is on Bungie.net, we dare say that you do not know the full extent of the Bungie Community.  To put his long and illustrious campaign of nation building in perspective, I approached Mr. Wu slowly and carefully with some questions that would unearth some long-forgotten history…

What games are you playing these days?  What playlists or in-game activities are sustaining your interest in Halo?

I have pretty limited time for gaming these days – Halo: Anniversary and Halo: Reach take up 100% of my console minutes. I've been enjoying the new Anniversary lists - but my older staples (Squad Slayer, Team SWAT, Firefight Score Attack) still get some love.

Editor's Note: 4,500+ games and an Eclipse ranking does seem pretty limited. ;)

There has been a lot of love to be gotten at HBO over the years.  What do you think is cool about the Halo Community right now?

I continue to enjoy the amazing creations people manage to generate to show their love for this franchise - the physical and digital alike. Communities like the 405th have become mature enough to be able to support propmaking for a surprisingly large number of fan-made Halo films currently in production... and machinima continues to look more and more polished.

From the physical world, back to the virtual world, what interesting things are being done at HBO to bring your community together to play games?

We've got several regular Customs groups that get together weekly, we've got organized Co-op Campaign nights, and just recently the idea of a Secret Santa exchange was floated - and jumped on. All of this happens without any need for me (or HBO staff in general) to corral, cajole, wheedle, nag, or otherwise annoy regulars - they do it all themselves. It's a joy to watch.

What do you think motivates gamers to keep playing Halo after 10 years of service in the UNSC?

Gameplay has changed a bit over the years - but all of it, from the first game to the most recent, they're all Halo. For people who got hooked on any one of those games... it's not hard to fall back into it if you find yourself with some free time and a controller nearby.

While some things about Halo have stayed the same, what is the most profound change in the Halo Community since you first started hosting it?

Well, when Halo FIRST started, the biggest part of the community cared about the story, the universe, the (then) upcoming campaign.  Multiplayer for the first game was an afterthought - one that was nearly cut at the last minute.  It wasn't until Halo 2 that online multiplayer showed the world what Halo could do to bring people together. 

I think that marked the start of the biggest shift in the community. The average Halo fan today plays much more multiplayer than campaign, and many don't even realize there IS a 'universe' of stories out there. HBO has moved away from the mainstream, in this respect - a huge percentage of our regular userbase DOES care about the extended universe, and the immediate environment in which each game is played.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a game of Halo?

I still remember an incident that happened at E3 2001, 6 months before the game came out.  I've told this story before, but it STILL nails, for me, the glory that is Halo. We were playing on Blood Gulch, and I was out in the middle somewhere with a fully-loaded hog coming towards me. I threw a grenade and the hog took flight, spinning in the air above me. It landed on its wheels BEHIND me, and continued towards my base. Yes, I failed miserably at stopping the enemy - but the adrenaline rush from the moment was astounding.

2001 feels like a long time ago.  Doesn't it?  After all these years, why are you such a fan of the fans of Halo?

Because even after all these years, they CONTINUE to create truly amazing stuff I've never seen before. A Fistful of Arrows was finished up just a month ago. Operation Chastity is still in production. New maps come out - and within days there are new panoramas to look at. I'm STILL seeing new and cool Forged gametypes. It hasn't stopped yet, so I haven't stopped loving it yet.

Meanwhile, on the Bungie homeworld, there is a Private Group that upholds traditions all their own.  To bring the members of Bungie.net together in the games that they play, there is The Community Carnage.  These ringleaders of custom game nights and recreational tournaments seek to turn forum chatter into game-based mayhem.  I sought out The Community Carnage for this Ride Along to learn more about their efforts to turn Bungie.net into a place where people can make friends and play games.

For the unacquainted, what is the reason for the existence of The Community Carnage?

Index: The nomenclature is our guiding light. We provide the means to bring folks on bungie.net together and throw down in Bungie games. The community takes it from there.

The community is good like that.  And where are they taking it next?  Are you planning any events again in the near future?

MURDUR 587: We've started basing our Carnages around specific events such as the release of Map Packs, Title Updates, etc., but we do try to launch events if there's increased interest in the Carnage or increased activity. We usually try to set up Carnages within scenarios which have a high probability of us filling up the roster, preferably with new faces.

Believe it or not, new faces still show up at Bungie.net everyday, looking for people who share their love of games.  How can people join?

MURDUR 587: There will be a thread posted in the community forum whenever a carnage event is happening, you simply state that you would like to participate.  After you have done so, make sure to add the Gamertag "Carnage Event" or you won't be added to the roster.

This all sounds like quite an elaborate affair.  So who beats the drum that leads people to the front lines?  Who leads your group?

Rokit: We proclaim no leader. We work together in rotation with careful guidance provided by two of our acquaintances - Tom T and Qbix89.

Ah, a democracy overseen by Ninjas.  Sounds dangerous!  The lifeblood of any good online democracy is new members.  Are you recruiting? Do you need new “fungineers” to organize your events?

Rokit: We're always looking for input on other Carnages from the masses. The only major role we're actively looking for at the moment is Content Guru - if you have a capture card and can record in-game audio, let us know.

Combat Correspondents apply within.  How has your involvement in this group enhanced your experience as gamers?

burritosenior: The Bnet community is huge, so I consider it a privilege to bring together so many parts of it into one place. Everybody has something unique about them and it only makes the game that much more fun when I get to experience those things first-hand.

There can be no doubt that games played with friends are better than games played with hostile strangers who will turn on you for your favorite weapon.  What would you say to someone who is going it alone on Xbox LIVE?

burritosenior: Make friends! With so many different kinds of people here, if you look around in the Classifieds, Private Groups, etc., you're bound to find people you'll fit in with. And when you find those people, you're going to enjoy your games and this community that much more.

On the subject of enjoying games and community, I invited Louis Wu and the leaders (who do not proclaim themselves leaders) of The Community Carnage to enjoy some action in Halo Reach.  The outcome of this clash was a series of explosive games on elaborately Forged maps.

At this moment in any event recap, you might expect to be invited to feast your eyes on a gallery of screenshots intended to immortalize the simulated violence and actual glory.  Unfortunately, all of my game films were nuked by Bungie colleagues who accessed the Xbox in our Arcade to quench their thirst for Street Fighter.  Have I mentioned that Bungie plays lots of games?

Fortunately, The Community Carnage came to my rescue with a buffet of multimedia all their own.  Thus, I will yield center stage to Index, their current Content Guru, who operated as our combat correspondent for the evening.  Check out the highlights from our romp through their File Shares.  You can also visit Carnagenet, the YouTube channel dedicated to chronicling the Community Carnage experience.

Warning: The combat chatter is for adults only. Get your parents' permission before viewing.

In Your Base, a custom game played on a custom map named Stealing Your Flags, was my favorite engagement of the night.  I like the rocket-fueled action so much, I asked to play it twice – much to the chagrin of our special guest.  The premise is simple: Rush the base wall on a Mongoose.  Dodge the volley of munitions that rain down from the ramparts to steal flags and return them to your beach.

BUNGLE Pen Hill on 4 Corners was heavy on ‘splosions and light on strategy.  In keeping with Community Carnage tradition, the Hill was the Mongoose.  The battleground was… cramped.  The result was nine minutes in a slaughterhouse of plasma.  The hill traded drivers more times than we could count.  Perhaps you can come up with accurate number yourselves (LIke we said: Game experience may change during online play)

Special thanks go out to everyone who rode along on this matchmaking event.  To Louis Wu, thanks for enabling the best that Halo fans have to offer, since the time before there was even a Halo on which to crash land.  To The Community Carnage, thanks for enhancing the experience to be had by the people who visit Bungie.net in search of gamers who share their pastime.

To echo burritosenior, make some friends.  You don’t have to wait for an invitation from us to play games like these.  Bungie.net, and Halo.Bungie.Org are packed with souls who would love to make your acquaintance, and blast you all the way back home with a volley of rockets.

Community 12/14/2011 3:15 PM PST permalink

Bungie Community Ride Along

Attack of the Ninjas.

This ain’t no Humpday Challenge.

This is more social.  Selected activities that shape our interaction from week to week will be more varied.  We will pay attention to the notable players and private groups that make Bungie.net special, and make them a little less private.  So, we’re going to shine our spotlight on the people who comprise our ravenously loyal community, and we’re going to share the virtual experiences that we have in common.  Let’s use the time we spend on Bungie.net to enhance the games we love, and to form even stronger bonds with the people we play them with.

For this opening salvo of gunfire and ‘splosions, the private group of all private groups on Bungie.net was selected as the squad of honor: The Bungie.net Forum Ninjas.  Cloistered in their mysterious chamber, they secretly regard themselves as Team HFCS (whatever, that stands for).  This volunteer army of moderators and peacekeepers maintains a constant patrol over the forums that serve as the venue for our community. What better way to kick off our series of weekly ride along events?

To better understand the culture shared by these elusive regulators, I convened a meeting of their elite council and deciphered their cryptic code so that we all may understand them better.

What does HFCS stand for?

Qbix: Helt fantastisk creme saus
[Editor’s note: Q is Norwegian, not illiterate]

Lord Revan: Here For Commander Stosh

True Underdog: Having Fun Cracking Skulls

Old Papa Rich: High Fructose Corn Syrup

Who is the leader of your group?

Foman: I'll tell you who is NOT our leader: Qbix.

evilcam: Spartan Ken

Bobcast: Harrison's mom

Tom T: I just listen to the voice inside my head that says "ban", repeatedly.

How does one strive to become a Forum Ninja?

Old Papa Rich: You see the first part of Batman Begins? It's mostly like that.

True Underdog: It involves a toothpick, an empty bag of Big League Chew, a shot glass, and a sack full of dirty silverware.

Duardo: I battled my enemies to great snowy peaks of a mountain. I sought a magical element that would transform myself into a mythical force. I rode atop the great beast of legend. I was scathed and battered. Sweat pierced my eyes as though the great sun was mocking me. A coarse laugh was heard from afar. I turned to face my greatest enemy. Swords clashed. Bones were broken. Blood was spilled. I thrust my scabbard into his gut. My enemy had fallen. I climbed to the peak, and sitting atop was Foman's Mom. I claimed my reward. That is how I came to be.

evilcam: I don't know.

What is your favorite thing about the Bungie Community?

Recon Number 54: In a word? Diversity.  In more words? The fact that there is such a wide and varied group of people who for one reason or another choose to spend their time gathered around in this cluster of people.

Qbix: Every day is different! Personally the private groups, the Septagon and the Flood are what keep me coming back.

Tom T: When members come together, united around a goal, to create something awesome.

True Underdog: I like how passionate the Community is. When they get behind something, they are pretty outspoken about it, even if that passion sometimes makes them rage...it's still pretty cool.

[Editor’s note: Awwwwww...  See?  Despite all of the banishments, dismemberments, and halted conversations, the Ninjas love you.  All of you.]

Special guests selected to ride along with our Ninjas included a sampling of Bungie.net perennial citizens, selected at random from an avalanche of Xbox LIVE Friend Requests.  Within moments of issuing the call to arms, my inbox became the site of a literal flash mob of eager players.  The full power of the Bungie community rushed to my door, anxious for mayhem and thirsty for carnage (or maybe it was Doritos and Mountain Dew).

The fates were left in charge of the games we would play – at the click of a button, 15 players (we saved a seat for Foman) were thrown to the winds of Matchmaking.  Servers hidden away in the Microsoft industrial complex sorted us into teams.  Collective spamming of the gametype voting system turned map selection into a lottery.  Our 16th warrior ended up being mute, having deprived himself of an active headset – serving up yet another reminder that the best way to ensure chatty teammates is to take matchmaking into your own hands.

Over the course of 90 minutes, the bonds of community were defined and strengthened.  In all, six games were played (1 2 3 4 5 6). 

A recurring theme of the evening was panicked cries of "Get Foman out of the Wraith!"

Starving and outnumbered, but not outgunned, the blue team on Abridged waged a battle two players short, due to drops.

This did not stop them from sweeping through red team defenses to detonate their bomb.  Three times.

Did I mention Foman?  Next time, we will fill that guy's seat, instead of waiting for him to arrive and lay our precious vehicles to waste.

During the scuffles that ensued, forum chatter caught fire.  Alternative lobbies started to form, filling up with players looking to get in on the community action.  Those that remained on the boards were entertained with random updates posted by SonicJohn, who assigned to himself the role of combat correspondent.  He even compiled a morsel of multimedia to commemorate the night’s event.  

To all that braved the blind curve that led to our impromptu battle royale, we say “Good Game.”  Thanks for joining the party.  And, thanks for being part of a kick ass community, ready to pick up and throw down at a moment’s notice.

This is just the beginning. Keep an eye on the forum. Keep checking your favorite private group for chatter.  The call will come at a moment’s notice.  The games we play will be up to you.

Let’s ride.

Community 12/2/2011 6:05 PM PST permalink

Marathon for Free!

Happy Holidays from the Aleph One development community.

You might not have your head wrapped around the Holiday Season just yet, but the Aleph One development community is ready to drop some season's greetings on your unaware, slack-jawed face! Out of nowhere, they've just announced a new version of the Aleph One engine that not only makes playing Marathon a breeze on Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms, but also brings it up to date with the most modern bells and whistles.

Read on for the full press release, and hit the link below to travel back in time to a distant future where space-docking was novel, rampancy was in its infancy, and the only good Bob was a dead Bob.

Bungie's Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity; polished, packaged and ready for download with the brand new Aleph One 1.0 engine.

December 1, 2011 - The Aleph One development community is thrilled to release version 1.0 of the Aleph One game engine. Since the release of the Marathon 2 source code, the team has worked diligently to deliver a cross platform game engine capable of bringing the classic Marathon games, as well as fan-made modifications to the modern Mac, Windows PC and Linux platforms.

Aleph One, an open source project, enhances Bungie's original Marathon games with modern OpenGL shader support, Internet co-op and multiplayer, modern mouse-look and gamepad support and plugin support for modifications.

To celebrate the 12 year development of Aleph One, the original Marathon games have been upgraded to take advantage of the new engine features.

  • Marathon has been updated with a modern HUD, high resolution graphics as well as extensive changes to the scenario to create the most authentic Marathon experience since 1994.
  • Marathon 2: Durandal has been updated with the high resolution graphics previously only available for the Xbox LIVE Arcade game.
  • Marathon Infinity has been updated with high resolution graphics.

All three games can be downloaded for free!


CommunityMarathon Series 12/1/2011 11:34 AM PST permalink

The Beta: Still Super Awesome

Enter the Lab. 

As Bungie continues its quest for world domination, the opportunity exists for you to do your part!  Brave volunteers are still being conscripted as willing test subjects for the Bungie Beta.  The work will be dangerous.  The missions will be highly classified.  The pay will be minimal (in truth, it will be non-existent).  However, the honor and the glory will all be yours.

Sign up!

At this very moment, mad scientists are hard at work in the Bungie laboratory conducting experiments on willing gamers just like you.  Your preferences, opinions, perceptions, assumptions, and tolerance for electric current could have a direct impact on the next killer application that is currently in development at Bungie.  We need gamers of all breeds to participate – from the hardcore competitors who crave the rigors of matchmaking to the casual players who engage their imaginations in campaign.

To join the pool of willing test subjects, make your way to our enrollment portal.  If you have signed up, but have yet to hear from us, now is a great time to verify that your contact information is accurate and up to date.  Each test scenario requires gamers of different varieties.  Please remain calm, and await your orders.  Your number could get called up any day.

Surveys will arise to be filled out.  Questionnaires will emerge as a vehicle for your insights.  An elite band of test subjects may even be invited to visit Bungie and be subjected to a playtest of our next game.  You have to enroll to participate.  Report to the recruitment office and make your mark.


Community 11/29/2011 5:11 PM PST permalink

Bungie Store: Still Open For Business

DeeJ writes:

Sale Over.  Hunting Season Still Open.

Did you sleep through your chance to secure sweet loot at a discount from the Bungie Store?  Fear not, faithful gamer.  While the holiday weekend was the best opportunity to score mission-critical resources, our Black Friday sale was the kickoff to an entire season of swag hunting.

To the Bungie Store!

Yes, the sale prices are gone, having vanished like an off-brand DVD player from a bargain table in the midst of a raging department store riot.  Nevertheless, intriguing gifts still hang in the balance for your consideration.  There is something for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

The “See You Starside” Collection presents a unique opportunity to be the first Bungie fan on your block to sport the bold new look, before it was cool.  Gear and accessories are available to curb your insatiable hunger for new information.

Of course, this is not all about rampant consumerism.  Proceeds from the sale of selected items in the Bungie Store also benefit charity.  Expressing your solidarity for our goal of world domination is one thing.  Taking up arms to benefit the Bungie Foundation is even more meaningful, and it is never too late to “Burn Bright, Burn Blue.” 

Get in there and get yourself some while supplies last.

Community 11/28/2011 5:29 PM PST permalink

Bungie Store Black Friday Sale

New gear just in time for the Holidays.

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Community 11/23/2011 1:37 PM PST

Community Manager Plank Walk

Official Hazing begins now.  Plus, win codes to download content for Crimson Steam Pirates!

On the advent of my unmasking as your new community-facing punching bag, it was promised that you (the community) would have the opportunity to haze me (the punching bag) in the face.  Since then, several of you have been frothing at the mouth in anticipation – plucking feathers and boiling tar.

Why the wait?  No challenge is complete without a reward hanging in the balance.  This is more than an invitation to humiliate your new faithful community manager.  I am sweetening my rite of passage with a contest that will enable some of you to score codes to download Crimson: Steam Pirates for iPhone!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make your way to the Bungie portal on Facebook.  There, you will be subjected to several rounds of trials.  Don’t worry; this will be much harder on me than it will be on you.  The winners of each round will impress their friends by being the first kids on their block to play the explosive finale of Captain Blood’s saga of piracy and intrigue on the iPhone.

Why Facebook?

World Domination, my friends.  If Bungie is to conquer all that we survey, we must be willing to leave the relative security of our fortified base from time to time.  I am inviting you on an off-world incursion of the utmost importance.  If you have come this far, perhaps you can come a little farther.

This is an outrage.  I don’t even have an iPhone!

The booty to be won in this collision of creativity and cruelty is completely transferable.  With a code in hand, you could even run a contest of your very own.  Surely someone you know is in possession of an iPhone, and would be enthralled to partake in a swashbuckling tale by sea and air.

What are the details of the contest?

I am thrilled to tell you all about it!  No, really.  The razor sharp and slightly rusted tip of the sword that urk has leveled at my back has absolutely no bearing on my complete and total willingness to participate in this public act of shaming.  Here is the pitch: You are all be invited to superimpose my ugly mug on the body of a pirate.  Extra points will be awarded for the inclusion of elements of Steam Punk.  Content that is not safe for work or family gatherings will result in a ban from Bungie.net.  Host your creations somewhere online, and link to them in the discussion thread for this post.  I will take our favorite selections and migrate them to Facebook for voting.  The more people "Like" a photo, the more it stands a chance of winning a download code for the artist that created it.

Whoever wins, I lose.  For the purpose of illustration, the warning shot that resident Bungie designer Halcylon fired over my bow is featured below.  Samples of my face will be provided.  The pirates are for you to find on your own.  Good hunting and happy photoshopping.

Get thee to Facebook, ye scallywags!  Time to make the new guy walk the plank…

Community 11/18/2011 10:12 AM PST permalink

Crimson: Steam Pirates for iOS

The Adventure Continues on iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

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Events 11/17/2011 5:24 PM PST

Straight Outta Gotham

Unveiling your new Community Manager.

Unless you’ve been squatting in the Seventh Column to talk about how audaciously rugged my strapping ginger beard has grown, these might be the first substantial words you’ve read from me lo these many months. My apologies, my working hours have been monopolized by all this plotting and scheming, the fruits of which won’t touch your sweet lips for quite some time. So, I picked up a new guy to help out from one of those Bungie-stroking feel-good websites that saturate the Internet like so many drops of rain falling upon the streets of Seattle.

DeeJ is gonna be doing exactly the same thing on our forums and community hotspots that he’s been doing under the strikingly similar, albeit slightly more difficult to pronounce pseudonym over at Tied the Leader:

1. Kicking ass
2. Taking names

Literally. Short term, his handiwork will mostly involve applying heaps of his expertise and glops of elbow grease in private behind studio walls, bustin’ out the old studs to make way for a new Bungie.net framework that will boast an even stronger community focus.

Long-term, well, we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, here’s what our newest community dude had to say for himself. With perfect form, he’s asked and answered a slate of his own questions. (If you want to ask him some of your own, stop into our community forums, like our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter  – DeeJ will be running the show at all our external venues from here on out.)

What’s with the new guy?

Greetings, gamers.  I come to you in peace, basking in the glow of excitement about the privilege to address you as Bungie’s freshly minted Community Manager.

Accepts hand-written note from urk.

Very well... Assistant Community Manager.  Of course, titles are not as important as the mission-critical function that I will be carrying forward.  The makers of the games that we all love to play have seen fit to appoint me as the faithful emissary to their most prized ally: Their Fans.  If you’re reading, that’s you.

Back up.  Who are you?

They call me DeeJ, and I am at your service.  Ever since Bungie conscripted digital warriors to play Halo from every household that could connect an Xbox to the Internet, I have been fighting and dying [and gladly respawning] alongside the players of their games.  You could say that this is not my first blog post about the glory and agony to be found in multiplayer matchmaking.  If you are a veteran of Bungie games, you may have crossed plasma swords with me.  If you are a constant reader of this website, you may have seen mention of the antics I have been cultivating in my own field of the fan-driven landscape.

I have watched this community of skirmishing combatants grow beyond its borders with the release of every new title.  I have lent audience to your war stories, served up in explosive moving pictures.  I have thrown my lot in with the heroes of the post-game lobby and opposed its villains.  I have tracked the clans that have controlled their own territory on the battlefield, all while guiding my own.  I have dealt in lead. 

What can we expect from you?

As I am abducted by the mother ship, you can expect from me the same thing that you have come to expect previously from Bungie’s face to the world that plays their games.  I am filling the boots left by stewards of community who have come before me.  The torch has been passed to me by urk, but it has not been reinvented.  My role is to enable you, the gamer, to seek out your very best game through the interactions to be had on this website.

We are in for a great deal of fun together, you and I.  As the newest member of the Bungie team, it will be my distinct pleasure to peel back the curtain ever so slowly to reveal the universe that has been created for us to fill with our shared mayhem. I will bring you along on a fascinating journey of discovery and exploration.  A steady stream of official updates and communiqués from the development bullpen will bring you out of darkness.

But all of that will have to wait.  For now, I beg of your patience.

Where can we find you?

I will be around. You will see me in all the familiar places, shooting all the familiar faces. Stay tuned. My public hazing begins tomorrow.

Inside BungieCommunity 11/14/2011 12:06 PM PST permalink

Bungie Mobile for Android and iOS

Connect to your Xbox LIVE friends, Halo stats, and Bungie’s news feed. For free.

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CommunityWallpapersSite UpdateHalo: Reach 10/19/2011 10:22 AM PDT

Bungie Mobile App Updated!

Wallpapers, Private Messages, and Xbox LIVE Friends Status.

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Community 8/15/2011 2:03 PM PDT