Reverse Mail Sack 2.0

Back by popular demand: we ask, you answer…

No good conversation is one-sided. There are times when listening is more important than talking. We spend a lot of energy at Bungie listening to the passionate gamers in our community, so it makes all the sense in the world to put them to the question from time to time. At their request, the inquisition for this week has been inverted. When gamers talk about what motivates them, there is no wrong answer. The entire spectrum of answers can be browsed on our forum, but here are some the highlights…

Noah George, Sever Ninja
Do you think the game community could be doing more to cut down on harassment or unsporting behavior in general?


antony X1000 I don't think so. With the anonymity that comes with online gaming, people can act like jerks without many consequences. Although with features like muting, blocking communications and submitting player reviews, it's not a massive problem in my opinion. The community has the tools to deal with harassment and unsporting behavior. They just need to use them.

Kickimanjaro If games are to be treated as sports, and that certainly has been happening, then sportsmanship must also play a part. The people who organize the competitive events have the duty to enforce rules that encourage good sportsmanship.

Jujubes Yes, but not at the expense of playability in games. In my opinion, social gaming structures like clans help a lot.

DE4THINC4RN4TE We should have things to do that for us. Algorithms. Big ass, fancy Algorithms.

Telec There can never be too many positive role models.

cortana 5 Absolutely. A better attitude in gaming, be it causal or competitive, is going to start with the attitude of the gamers. Developers can only do so much to quell the bad behavior of the masses. Gamers, you need to call it out as you see it. Don't stay quiet when some jerk is verbally ripping someone to shreds online. You're making that victim feel alone and helpless.

Jay Thaler, Engineer
The zombie apocalypse is upon us. Most of humanity has already fallen to the hordes of flesh-eaters. You have survived because of your ingenuity, cat-like reflexes, and dashing good looks. As you travel in search of food, you find a grizzled old man who offers to give you a powerful weapon. Now is your chance to make a difference in this battle against the undead. You can choose any one weapon, real or fictional. What do you choose and why?

Khirna Something that doesn't need ammo, or a power source, and won't break or need repair: The ability to control the force!

Frag Ingot I would choose the illustrious "Cure Spell." Nothing does more damage to the undead than a cure.

Dropship dude The Iron Man suit. "But that's not a weapon!" I hear you cry. Well, the United States Government would disagree. No zombie will be able to bite through the powerful exoskeleton and the ability to fly away from danger and defend yourself is the perfect combination of assets. It boasts enough firepower to defend a small population too, so it's not all for my own survival.

Xplode441 I choose a crossbow. If you have the ingenuity, you can create bolts from the materials around you and it's quiet.

MightyMarcher01 Does it count if I say Batman's utility belt? I'm sure I could find some zombie repellant if I looked hard enough.

EuAn1196 Weapons are over-rated. I would take a zombie Halloween mask, so I can blend in.

coolmike699 I would choose a machine gun that fires chainsaws. Do I really need to explain this one?

Ryan Klaverweide, Graphic Designer
What do you think is missing from video games right now?

welder1stdegree A sense of purpose beyond reaching the next checkpoint or gaining credits and rank. I'd like to know that I was having an actual affect upon, or helping to shape the world I'm in for better or worse.

LordMonkey Your Mom.

Disambiguation Replayability. Too many games are coming out lately with a $60 price tag that are really only good for one 10-12 hour experience, and I can't help but feel ripped off.

ToastyWaffles Bold, new ideas. Most developers seem content to "play it safe" and conform to all the popular genre conventions, making only a few minor changes to the trusted formula. I'd like to see a real game changer in the industry; a radical new take on gaming.

catman6 Customization for most FPS games and creativity for non FPS games. FPS games seem to be single minded with a singular direction but they generally offer creative elements. Non FPS games seem to offer customization and freedom but the quests seem to be very repetitive.

A 3 Legged Goat Challenge and innovation. A lot of games are just playing it safe these days and they don't want to stump the player or force them to apply practical skills to play. This takes away a key strategic component that I feel gamers once had to master.

Sven Nietzsche The Zebra Battle Wagon. Make it happen!

Brad Loos, Engineer
How and when did you first fall in love with Halo?

Bricypoo It seems so, so long ago. I first got into Halo when I played it at a friend’s house, which made me want it. So my brother and I ended up getting Halo and Halo 2 for Christmas. I remember getting together with 15 other guys just to play Halo. Those were the days that really turned me from Nintendo games to Xbox games.

SkilPhil Halo 2 multiplayer. This was the first time I could sit in my living room with a friend playing against other people sitting in their living rooms playing with a friend. No AI can beat the uncertainty and camaraderie of playing with and against real people.

jyrine Early 2007 before Halo 3 dropped. I started playing Halo CE non-stop: broken arm, best six months ever. Still got a 4.0.

Bulldawg61 My wife bought Halo with the original Xbox when it launched. Judging it by its cover, I didn't care much for playing it, but she insisted that I keep it. Upon crash-landing in a pelican on Halo, I was able to head-shot my first grunt. Now she wishes she hadn't convinced me to keep it.

WestCoastRonin When I was 14, I traded all my PlayStation games to get store credit to buy an Xbox and a game I had heard about called Halo. I was in love the minute I used the M6D Magnum and the SRS99C Sniper Rifle.

Kr1egerdude My first experience with Halo was when I was at my cousin's birthday party and all of his friends were gathered around the TV. They were playing 4 player split-screen on Coagulation. Instead of playing Slayer they were doing rocket jumps, super jumps, honor-rule Infection, and running each other over with Warthogs. I never saw people having so much fun without playing competitively. They handed me the controller and I crushed people with the grill of my Warthog.

BC1096 When I was 7 I was looking through a disk of game demos my brother had and I saw the Halo CE demo. Looking at it I was like, "This green robot dude looks awesome!" so I started it up. The mission in the demo was Silent Cartographer, my favorite halo mission ever. As a kid, storming a beach with a crap load of soldiers was a dream come true. My god, was I hooked.

BONUS: This came our way via email. I had to share.

Matthew In 2008, my first fiancé passed away after a car accident. I was devastated. My college roommate had introduced me to Halo. During times of stress, we would immerse ourselves in that universe. After my fiancé died, I tried to think of things that would help me escape the harsh reality. I remembered the joy that Halo brought to me when I was stressed out in college. I went out and bought an Xbox 360 and Halo 3. I played Halo 3 whenever I was feeling down or sad. I would just like to truly thank Bungie and all of the employees that had helped create Halo. I believe it helped me and saved me from slipping into depression. It truly was and still is a magical experience to this day. Now I have a beautiful wife who also loves to play Halo with me. I own every Halo game. They are all remarkable, but Halo 3 will always hold a special place in my heart. It will always be my favorite video game. It is very sentimental to me.

Matthew Ward, Cinematic Designer
Which movie would you most like to play as a video game?








Michael Williams, Engineer
What is the most memorable positive experience you had with a stranger while gaming online?

joe campbell Meeting my old clan leader. One day, I joined a random friend's custom game in Halo 3. I had a conversation with the person who would eventually become my clan leader and long-time friend. Years later, we were still playing tournaments. He taught me most of what I know about competitive gaming. To this day, we still text each other. It's funny how you can meet such a good friend from the most random occurrences.

Kalriq I was playing Zombie Panic Source with some friends. They all got wiped out early on, and it was me and a few randoms left in the game. With the undead clawing at our barricades, we did an inventory, formed a plan, and tried to break out of our predicament. One member of our party selflessly chose to stay behind and hold off the hordes of undead, while the rest of us ran. When a member of our group was infected, he told us, rather than waiting for our backs to be turned when he transformed, sacrificing easy kills for our safety! It was like some totally clichéd zombie film, but I don't think I've ever had so much fun. I still play with some of those guys now. There's nothing like a horde of ravenous zombies to bring people together!

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI It would have to be playing Battlefield 3 with a group of Bungie guys during the Pentathlon. I had this most inspired moment when Stosh pwned everyone as a gunner when I was the driver. Stosh and I were the most powerful players, better than a squadron of tanks, and we eventually knew about teamwork without voice.

AutobahnRacer This one time, I was playing Modern Warfare 2, and I invited a bunch of my other pals (if you were there, you're awesome). They all joined, and we loaded up a game of Team Deathmatch. All of us equipped Riot Shields. Our team spawned, popped smoke grenades, and formed a phalanx with our riot shields while shouting "THIS IS SPARTA!" into our microphones. The post-game banter with the opposing team was probably one of the most entertaining conversations that I've had with anyone, ever.

Statefarm98 I met this one random person on Halo 3. We played one game, and for some reason we ended up working together really well. Now, we've talked for three years straight (without even meeting in real life). He's pretty cool, and I had never met someone online who I've actually become friends with.

I ColdEmbrace I After getting the game winning kill in Halo: Reach with a Needler, I received a message from someone on the other team saying, "Nietzsche wouldn't use a Needler!" (I have a Nietzsche reference as my motto.) We had a good chuckle over it and ended up playing a few games together. Personally, I think Nietzsche would use whatever weapon you would least expect.

Kiarah94 I was playing with someone online who is really good and I was not doing so well. I was doubting myself when this guy said I could do anything if I try hard enough. I decided that, in the next game, I would go all out. I finished with my first Perfection medal. There was a guy complaining in game chat and my teammate said “You just got beat by a girl.” Everyone just goes quiet. I felt so Powerful! Now, I never doubt myself - and we are really good friends.

Ben Wommack, Production Engineer
Which do you think makes a better e-sport: Dota / League of Legends or Starcraft 2? Why?

SpAmMer Despite LoL's booming popularity and excellent developer support for e-sports, as a ten year veteran of Starcraft, I'd say it still takes the most skill to master - and is hands down the most entertaining.

Hylebos I think it's pretty cool how League of Legends has over a hundred different champions to master. Each professional has their preferred roles and their preferred champions that they become renowned for, and following the metagame is both easy for spectators and very interesting.

Geegs30 I would have to say League of Legends because, unlike Starcraft, it's a team sport, and it's easier to pick up compared to DOTA. People who watch it for the first time can understand what's going on, and there's rich, deep strategy behind what each team is doing.

MasterSin StarCraft 2. It's an amazing game with a great option to create custom maps and toy with all the units of the game.

spawn031 Starcraft 2. You can't beat this...

Austin Spafford, Engineer
If you could easily teach a thousand people one idea, what would it be?

Disambiguation The scientific method.

Verachi If you use the bathroom in an all-girl house or apartment, DO NOT leave the seat up. Female species are not amused when you do that, Bad things happen. *shudders*

ChorrizoTapatio I would teach people that “your” and “you're” do not mean the same thing. COME ON PEOPLE.

Krimm117 “Half for one's own happiness, and half for the happiness of others.” -Doshin So
While this sounds an awful lot like the Golden Rule, the meaning goes a bit deeper for me. The Golden Rule asks us to "treat others the way we would like to be treated," which can be superficially interpreted. For example, the Golden Rule allows room for undue selfishness and hatred, as long as you outwardly appear to be a decent person. That’s not good enough. “Half for one's own happiness, and half for the happiness of others,” on the other hand, advocates a deeper sense of consideration and respect for others as part of your being, rather than simply how you behave in public.

Queens Knights Seek first to understand. Then seek to be understood.

GrandmasterNinja Do what you love to do. Why? The best painter is the one who loves to paint, and the best runner is the one who loves to run. You usually do your best work when you love what you're doing because you enjoy every second of it.

SPRTN One One 7 There will always be someone better than you at something.

Mike Forrest, Engineer
Is there one game (other than Halo) that you can point to that really hooked you and turned you into a gamer? What was it and why?

jacob crawford Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic. When I first got an Xbox, I was watching my friends play WoW, and liked the idea of character leveling. The plot twists in KOTOR totally blew me away, and I loved the different features reminiscent of the movies.

RigZ Boi Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance II. It was something about becoming an angry ginger dwarf wielding a battle axe larger than my character that appealed to me. The joys I had playing that game with my older brother will be a memory I hope I never forget. Brilliant stuff.

Unanimate Objec Trials: Evolution. That game contains one of the most revered and acknowledged contents of any good game: A Challenge. The Challenge is what makes you feel satisfied at the end of a game. It is the reason you keep coming back, and the reason you will never leave.

Odd Hacker World of Warcraft. Before WoW, I was a very casual gamer. After WoW came out I spent thousands of hours preparing for raids, reading forums, and performing spreadsheet-Kung-Fu to sort my gear. Why? It feels amazing to work with other people to take down a boss.

LC o MagiikZ Mario. There is something about that overweight Italian plumber that reaches my heart, and will always have a place there. The first game I ever played was a Mario one, and I own a lot of the games. In my opinion, Mario is an iconic symbol in gaming.

IonicPaul Marathon. Watching my dad play it almost every night when I was young interested me, and getting to shoot aliens with a variety of weapons is a little boy's dream. Marathon was, quite literally, a dream come true, and I've played it consistently through the years. Its Bungie origins led me to Halo, and by extension, every other game I've played via the online community.

DeeJ Adventure on the Atari 2600 sank the hook pretty deep, but it was Halo 2 that turned gaming into a hobby that stayed with me even when I was away from the console. From then on, leading a clan became my own private MMO - and a more rewarding experience than any solitary engagement ever was. I know, I know... I'm jumping the fence here to answer this question, but all this role reversal has me so confused as to where I belong.

We'll be getting back to business as usual next week. It will be your turn again to put us to the question.  The Mail Room opens again, in its usual fashion, on Monday.

Community 9/21/2012 12:54 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - David Henry

Bring the noise...

Listen… Can you hear that? Well, of course you can’t. This interview makes less noise than a silent film. Now, just imagine if our games were like that. They’d be pretty boring, wouldn’t they? We’re in luck, however, because guys like this are on the team…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

Why hello! I’m David Henry, and I’m a Senior Audio Designer here at Bungie. Basically that means I make noise – weapon noise, vehicle noise, character noise, ambient noise, junk-sitting-around-in-the-world noise, and any other noise that might be called for. Then I work with the rest of the audio team to help mix all the noise together and end up with a beautiful, rich, and compelling aural palette for the world we’re building.

What are your interests outside of work?

Spending time with my family is the big thing – life is too short not to prioritize the people you love over everything else. Apart from that, I’m a pilot (private, instrument rated for those that understand and care what that means) and love flying. I play a bunch of games, do all the requisite outdoorsy stuff that we are drawn to in the Pacific Northwest, and participate in a few of the Bungie sports teams. I’ve also been getting into gardening in the past couple years – I’ve got this dream or growing a bowl of salsa from seed, although in Seattle that’s probably a fool’s errand. So far I’ve had the most luck with cabbage. People around the office can vouch for that because a lot of them have been given gifts of cabbage. Anybody want some cabbage?

I’m good, thanks. Where else have you applied your green thumb to the act of bringing the noise to games?

I’ve been in the industry for a pretty long time – 18 years, 17 of them creating audio for games. I started at Sierra On-Line making adventure games in the 90’s, moved over to Microsoft for about 10 years, and then joined up with Bungie for about the last year of Reach. Who remembers the grenade launcher? Or the Falcon? Or the assassinations? I made those noises.

Were you a noisy kid as well? If we went back in time, and asked him what he wanted to do with his life, what would he have said?

Astronaut, fighter pilot, studio musician, superstar jazz guy, lawyer. Totally depended on who asked and when.

Well, at some point, someone had to have asked you to declare a major in school. What was your answer?

When I was in school there was no such thing as a game audio program, so people from my generation needed to learn how to take the skills we learned – mostly as music majors – and adapt them to the gaming industry. There were no classes in Pro Tools, nothing about mixing or mastering, no introduction to recording studio technology. There were a couple classes that involved MIDI, but not many and we don’t use MIDI much these days.

I’ve got a music degree in Jazz Studies (Arranging) and a minor in Music Theory from The University of North Texas. Clearly I’m not arranging jazz as part of my day-to-day responsibilities, but a lot of what I picked up in school does cross over nicely to game development. That would include critical listening, striving for perfection in everything I’m creating, and adhering to aggressive schedules all while being willing to work hard on something and then throw it away and start over when it’s not headed in the right direction.

That’s something I see people new to the industry struggling with all the time – spending a great deal of effort on a thing that may be a good thing, but isn’t always the right thing. Then falling in love with it and trying to manipulate it into being the right thing. Sometimes the ticket to success is throwing away the thing you love and starting again. For any creative person this can be a really painful process. It can feel like tearing out a little part of your soul and tossing it aside. In the end, though, letting go of that initial creation is often the path to discovering a better creation.

Honestly, people coming out of a lot of these game audio programs that schools are offering now are a lot better prepared to work in the industry than anyone was back when I started. I think that’s a good thing.

You’re really on a roll. Keep it up and tell us how you started to build your relationship with Bungie.

I’m going to assume people won’t be interested in my real answer to this question (I’d been successfully shipping games for 15 years and was well known among industry-folk), so I’m gonna answer a different question.

Wait. I’m asking the questions here…

“David Henry, please tell the people of Earth how you got into this highly competitive industry with no real experience at all? Sure, you were OK at writing big band music, but what does that have to do with sound for video games?”

Okay. That is a better question (although the “people of Earth” thing was a little over the top). You may proceed with talking to yourself. How did you break in to this business?

I got lucky. It was somewhat directed luck, but it was luck nonetheless. I was working in the Corporate Sales department at Sierra Online and trying to figure out how to wrangle my way into doing music for their games. At the time, they were just starting to move some of their development teams to their new Bellevue office (the one where I worked), and one of those teams signed Michel LeGrand to write “thematic musical material” for the game (drop his name into Google, young people – he’s one of the greatest living composers we’ve got and you should know who he is).

Mr. LeGrand delivered a DAT (look that one up too, kids) of about 10 incredibly wonderful pieces of music performed by himself on piano, sometimes also singing a melody. Nobody on the team really knew quite what to do with this – the music was fantastic, but in a format that couldn’t be used in the game.

It turned out that there was this kid from upstairs in Corporate Sales that had been pestering the Producer of this game and given him a tape of all these big band tunes he written and arranged. Maybe that kid would have the chops to transcribe this fantastic music and turn it into a game score.

Let me guess…

That was me, and I did. It was an incredible ton of work in a very short timeframe, but also hugely rewarding.

I guess the moral of the story is that you never know what an opportunity is going to look like, but it pays to be ready when one comes along. And don’t discount the long-term value of directed luck.

Well, it wasn’t all luck. You did pester the guy, after all – which is what we call “networking” in the modern job market. Can you share your experiences in pestering your way onto the team at Bungie?

I don’t think anyone wants to hear about my interview at Bungie. For one thing, it was about an 18 month process.

Fair enough. We’ll skip the long story and cut to the chase. What is it about working for Bungie that is worthy of an 18 month-long campaign?

The audio team here is truly a spectacular group. Having this much talent and creative energy in one studio – well, I’m not sure it should be legal. In all seriousness, it’s really rewarding to be able to be able to bounce ideas off these people and engage in a real creative exchange every day with everything we make.

How does that creative exchange unfold from day to day?

Arrive early, get coffee, work hard, go home late. Repeat “get coffee” part as needed.

Aside from all the coffee you can drink, what is your favorite perk associated with making noise in our games?

All my son’s friends think I’m cool.

You can't put a price on that.  It’s very likely that a lot of our readers think you're cool, too. Can you give them sound advice on how they might follow in your footsteps?

Get a good education. Work hard. Do something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Be prepared for a lot of rejection. Don’t give up. It’s every bit as rewarding as it seems.

I have pestered you for long enough. Let’s close out this duet with a final question: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Work ethic, talent, experience. Experience means nothing by its self, and both talent and experience are useless without a solid work ethic.

David’s story may be rare, but even the largest body of work begins with one chance. There are many dance steps that lead to Bungie, but many of the first ones are planted elsewhere. To see where many of us started, check out the Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 9/20/2012 6:30 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Mike Forrest

Buffing the Banhammer...

When our next game is released into the wild to be played by the masses, we hope you’ll all play it the way it was meant to be played. None of you would ever try to hack our code or cheat the system. Right? Wrong! Bungie knows all about the evildoers who will try to bend our rules to their advantage. Some of you might even pull it off. Fortunately, it won’t be easy, thanks to unsung heroes like this guy…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Mike Forrest and I’m a new Senior Engineer at Bungie, but I’m also known around here as “The New Security Guy.” I was hired to bring extra firepower to everything security-related, and that covers a lot of areas: game code, servers, design & code reviews, networking, cryptography, hack/cheat detection, beefing up the banhammer, and so on.

Nice to meet you. Tell us about yourself before you tell us about your work in terms that are vague-enough to deprive would-be hackers of clues about your secret weakness. When you’re not fortifying our new game universe, what might we find you doing?

Gaming, programming, and exploring the area with my two dogs.

Can those doggies sniff out a cheater as well as you can? Where did you develop such a sensitive nose to guide the hands that wield the dreaded Banhammer?

I’ve worked as an IT guy and software developer in a bunch of non-game-related industries. My most recent job was at a hedge fund writing financial trading systems. Part of my responsibilities there included security design and code reviews. Before that I worked for an online auction site writing code and doing anti-fraud work, and prior to that I worked for a software startup that builds authentication systems.

So you’ve gone from busting actual criminals to helping us root out video game villains? Did you always want to be a digital crime fighter?

I’ve always wanted to be a programmer. I started with Apple II Basic in probably around 2nd or 3rd grade and never looked back.

You couldn’t have learned everything from that Apple. Where else did you hone your skills as a coder for the forces of good?

When it comes to programming, I’m largely self-taught with some more formal education scattered around. I learned a lot at computer camp: including Pascal, C, and 6502 and 8086 assembly language. While in high school I took more advanced classes in data structures and algorithms, things no programmer can do without.

How did you first approach us about lending your counter-fraud skills to keep the world safe for honest gamers?

Like many, I emailed in my resume through the link on the web site. It’s hard to say what caught their eye, but the best advice that I got was to focus on what I’m passionate about doing and make sure that it came through in my resume.

Passion will get you started, but it doesn’t win the race. Are the rumors true about the marathon that is the Bungie interview loop? How did you go the distance?

It’s a long day, so staying focused and in the moment can be difficult. It’s not always easy to clear your mind of what happened earlier in the day. It’s also important to not get flustered when the solution to a problem doesn’t immediately pop into your head. I’ve conducted enough engineering interviews to know that the interviewer is often more interested in seeing how you work through the problem than they are whether or not you get to the solution correct. How you think is very often more important than what you know. But it’s easy to lose sight of that when you’re on the other end of it.

I like the way you think, and the fact that we’re having this little chat is evidence that Bungie did, too. What’s the best thing about your new role on our team?

The knowledge that I’m helping make life more difficult for cheaters and more enjoyable for honorable players.

You make writing code sound so glamorous and exciting, but what is one day really like inside our secure location?

I started the day before Bungie Day, so my first week was pretty interesting. But it turns out that getting knighted and playing games all afternoon isn’t your typical Tuesday.

You’re right. We usually save the knightings for Wednesday. Aside from being issued a wooden sword, what’s the one thing we do that makes you feel noble and mighty?

So far it’s the mountains of Bungie swag. And they pay me to work on games.

We pay you to defend games from malicious attacks. I still have nightmares about the Halo 2 weapon that launched trains instead of rockets. Have you made progress in locking those ne’er-do-wells out of our next game?

I’m still getting my feet wet so my contributions have been limited so far. My favorite work so far has been learning about the low level architecture of the Xbox 360 while optimizing various bits of encryption code. I’ve always enjoyed squeezing performance out of systems and working within the confines of a console game engine is a great excuse to exercise that muscle.

Pardon me while I extend your metaphor just a little farther. How do you exercise that muscle until it reaches super hero levels of strength?

I try to stay current with what’s going on in my field. “Security” encompasses such a broad variety of areas that being an expert in all of them is impossible. So I try to keep up with the latest developments and techniques so I at least know what to look out for and where to look for assistance if there’s something that could help or hurt us.

If hackers never stop adapting, than neither can we, eh? Imagine that an aspiring programmer is reading these words, and has become inspired to join your fight. What sage lessons of mentorship would you provide?

I’m new to the industry, but it seems to me that game companies are pulling in people with an ever widening variety of backgrounds. Games are transforming into online, multimedia, social experiences. There’s a need for a lot of different skills so don’t be discouraged if you don’t fit into one of the traditional game developer roles.

We’ve kept you from your crucial work for long enough. I can almost sense the hackers getting stronger while we jabber on like this. Before you go, give us some perspective on your priorities: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

Security is a mindset more than anything, and that mindset is built up with experience. If you’re in a security-related field and you’re not constantly learning, then You’re Doing It Wrong.

Sitting still is obviously an occupational hazard for Mike, so we will release him to his post. His story reveals that there are many in-roads to the industry that makes games, and not all of them are obvious. A pretty comprehensive roadmap is emerging in the form of the Breaking In archive, if you’d like to explore all of the unseen highways that lead to our halls of justice.

Breaking In 9/18/2012 1:15 PM PDT permalink

The Mail Sack Saves the World

Or at least it has some good ideas...

Hot damn! Sometimes the reaction in our studio to your mail is like a pin-prick at the end of a finger. Every once in a while, for reasons I have yet to discern, your questions open a jugular vein of community love. Check out the virtual riot mob who lined up to bleed out their wisdom and sardonic nonsense for your reading pleasure this week.

Jonty Barnes, Production Director
Chris Butcher, Engineering Lead
Derek Carroll, Designer
Andrew Davis, Artist
Mike Forrest, Engineer
Tyson Green, Designer
Josh Hamrick, Designer
Alexis Haraux, Engineer
John Hopson, User Research Lead
Andy Howell, Test Lead
David Johnson, Engineer
Dave Matthews, Art Manager
Troy McFarland, Artist
Jim McQuillan, Visual ID Director
Dan Miller, Designer
Mat Noguchi, Programmer
Chris Owens, Test Engineer
Matt Sammons, Designer
David Shaw, Producer
Austin Spafford, Engineer
Michael Strein, Engineer
Alan Stuart, Engineer
James Tsai, Designer

Just look at that panel, teeming with chatty developers! I think I just set back the reveal of our game another month. At least we get to open the Sack.

So, Bungie Community, now that we’re all here, what shall we talk about?

Achilles1108 #Dragons

Oh, c’mon! Are you guys still forcing that flaccid attempt at a meme down our throats? Give it up. It’s not gonna become a Thing. All you’re doing is angering the Forum Ninjas. In fact, every time one of you stuffs a mention about dragons into a conversation where it doesn’t belong, Foman assassinates a noob.

realcommando8426 Let’s talk about the new games you guys are gonna make.

Wow. You new here? Have a seat - I’ll get to you in a minute. If you overhear someone talking about dragons, I recommend you run for your life.

DE4THINC4RN4TE How would you make the world a better place? (realistically)

I would revamp the Driver’s Education curriculum in the State of Washington to place more emphasis on urgent freeway merging and how to negotiate a four-way stop – but these are just selfish musings of a recently transplanted, overly-aggressive motorist. I am sure our panel can do a better job of healing the world…

I’m struggling to come up with an answer that balances equality, individual achievement, mutually beneficial shared sacrifice, environmental stewardship, fairness, kindness, and happiness without being politically divisive or controversial. So… cats?
James Tsai

In an effort to reduce crime (or at least create more intelligent criminals), each city gets one cell for its jail. If you commit a crime in that city and are caught and sentenced, you wait out your time in that cell. Should you reach the end of your sentence, you are free to go. Should another criminal in the same city get caught and sentenced to jail time, you, being the cell’s inhabitant, is executed. I think most criminals have faith in their own skills (believing they won’t get caught), but few have faith in other criminal’s skills. If nothing else, we would end up creating a legion of super Criminals. Harsh? Yes. Effective? I think so. Oh yeah, did I mention I’m a manager at Bungie?
Dave Matthews

Help people have intrinsic motivation in their work.
Jonty Barnes

I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.
John Hopson

Have everyone spend some time re-evaluating their beliefs and goals. A day or two would probably do it.
Derek Carroll

Be nice to those I interact with, and give what I can to help those who are in need.
David Johnson

Be excellent to each other.
Dan Miller

Get rid of money.
Alexis Haraux

Mat Noguchi

So that was YOU at the four-way stop this morning!

defnop552 You're running for "Mayor of The Universe", what 3 policies will you introduce if voted into power?

1. The Spice must flow.
2. We will push our boundaries and explore other dimensions.
3. Free towels for all citizens.
Dave Matthews

1. The ability at the age of 16 to choose 3 super powers.
2. The ability at the age of 18 for your parents to choose 2 powers to take away.
3. The right of the intergalactic space government at the age of 21 to apply one random super power to you.
Andy Howell

When confronted with so much possibility, all I could come up with is making it mandatory for people’s actions to always be in the interest of helping or entertaining others.
Jonty Barnes

1. Earth is home base.
2. Pluto is out of bounds.
3. You’re it
Alan Stuart

1. Don't be a jerk.
2. Don't be a jerk.
3. Don't be a jerk.
Austin Spafford

1. Transformers are a real thing.
2. Everyone gets a puppy.
3. No more pants.
James Tsai

1. Mandatory corporate naptime.
2. Require that proper spelling and grammar be demonstrated before a license to the Internet can be obtained.
3. Universal ice cream Thursdays for everyone.
David Johnson

I am officially volunteering to be Johnson’s campaign manager. Unfortunately, before we can start kissing babies, we'll need to establish dominance over the whole universe so that we can actually elect a Mayor.

Thrasher Fan Any hidden talent(s)?

I am a former improv actor and I love to sing.
Andy Howell

The ability to pick my nose in public and suffer no embarrassment whatsoever.
James Tsai

Come find me on the track and I’ll show you.
Dave Matthews

All my talents have been revealed and tested since joining Bungie, or they’re hidden from me too.
Jonty Barnes

I can lick my elbow.
Derek Carroll

I can write backwards, both in print and in cursive. This is useful only for signing things in funny ways and writing “Help, I’m trapped in the whiteboard!”
David Johnson

I can whistle with my mouth wide open without moving my lips by shaping my tongue against the roof of my mouth.
Alan Stuart

Yes, but they are hidden for a reason.
Dan Miller

I can eat six saltines in under a minute with reasonable reliability.
Austin Spafford

I can become invisible (but only for 1/240 of a second).
Alexis Haraux

xfuzzlex Did you play Halo 4 at PAX?

Yep. It’s looking sweet. Thanks to Angel for letting me jump the rope, and thanks to Wu for giving me the courage to do so.

Brusah Would you say that the build of your new game looks decent yet?


Xd00999 Have Bungie employees ever donated to Kickstarter projects?

I was a Teenage Michael Jackson Impersonator.
Troy McFarland

Guts of Glory (STILL GOING!)
Josh Hamrick

Derek is the master of Kickstarter contributions.
Jonty Barnes

I don't consider it "donating", but I've backed a number of projects since Kickstarter, um, started. You can see my history here. I'm very happy with my rate of return (measured in tchotchkes, t-shirts, games, etc.), but I really enjoy helping other creative people bring their ideas to fruition.
Derek Carroll

antony X1000 What is your favourite fictional weapon in a video game?

The Drunk Missiles from Rise of the Triad. They just go everywhere without warning - great 90’s games fun! Also, of course, the “birthday party” skull from Halo. Don’t try to tell me it’s not a weapon.
Andy Howell

Zhang He wielded some badass claws in Dynasty Warriors. Simple, elegant, deadly.
James Tsai

Portal gun: It’s more of a tool than a weapon, but damn it would cut down on my commute times.
Dave Matthews

Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds.
John Hopson

A fully-powered-up bomb in Bomberman.
Derek Carroll

Of all time? Probably the Tachyon Cannon from Wing Commander: Privateer. Good damage, speed, energy drain and re-fire rate. And a pretty sweet price point as well.
Michael Strein

The Super Sheep in Worms: Armageddon.
David Johnson

It's not strictly a weapon, but you can't go wrong with the Slicecycle from Dead Rising 2.
Mike Forrest

Quake 1 Rocket Launcher.
Dan Miller

Shooting from the hip: Land Shark Gun.
Austin Spafford

RCP90 in Golden Eye N64.
Alexis Haraux

WSTE-M5 Combat Shotgun.
Tyson Green

 Kr1egerdude What's your favorite car chase scene? My favorite is from The Blues Brothers.

James Tsai

Jim McQuillan and Troy McFarland

Dave Matthews

Derek Carroll

Chris Owens

Michael Strein

Mike Forrest

Alan Stuart

Dan Miller

AxJARxOFxDIRT Now that everyone is "officially" back at school, what was your favorite class throughout all your school years? Coloring, US History, Advanced Petroleum Engineering? Could be anything.

DRAMA! It was great after stuffy classes to cut loose and just be silly.
Andy Howell

The computer class where I used the school network to get about thirty people to play Quake every day while one person in the class did all the work for everyone.
Josh Hamrick

Anatomy. The human body is a fascinating structure.
Chris Owens

Math or Physics – I also really liked band.
Michael Strein

Outside of my major, I’d have to say that I loved every class of Spanish that I ever took.
David Johnson

Although I’m an engineer, my favorite class was drama class. Change a few, small variables in my life and I might have been Bruce Willis.
Alan Stuart

Visual Communications (Broadcasting).
Dan Miller

Linear Algebra, with Ceramics following close behind.
Austin Spafford

“Oops I didn’t hear my alarm clock” 101.
Alexis Haraux

Tech Ed, which was like an introduction to engineering, metalworking, and mechanics all in one. We made everything from hot air balloons to actual get-you-expelled swords.
Tyson Green

In college, I took an elective ice skating class where you got an A as long as you showed up, and the instructors were all sorority girls. Kind of a no-brainer when compared against my engineering classes.
James Tsai

Colingo If Bungie started selling action figures based on employees, what cool accessories would your action figure come with?

A Mig welder, Mocap markers, and my Bungie ammo bag from Reach.
Troy McFarland

A bunch of exaggerated, fancifully colored guitars with gouges and scratches all over them from years of rough play. Maybe some leopard print underwear. And no pants.
James Tsai

Either a black t-shirt or a Gnome.
Josh Hamrick

Shorts, hackey-sack, Day-Glo yellow hoodie, and about 100 flaming skulls.
Derek Carroll

An Aussie hat, a wardrobe full of videogame-related shirts, and a narwhal.
David Johnson

An even smaller action figure of itself and a six pack of Diet Mountain Dew.
Mike Forrest

A giant coffee mug, a motorcycle helmet, an Xbox controller, and a picture of my wife.
Alan Stuart

A french baguette and a saucisson.
Alexis Haraux

Red Bull and Trident Gum.
Dan Miller

A boonie hat, and perhaps a shotgun.
Tyson Green

spawn031 If I keep my question less to than 140 characters, is it more likely to get answered?

The people at twitter believe that brevity is the soul of wit. We’re not so strict about enforcing a standard for chatter here on I pay a visit to twitter a few times a day to invite people to the party we host here, and to drop-kick the poor lost souls who are complaining to the wrong people about their Halo: Reach bans.

GoatGuy1 My goat gave birth to two twin males today. If you were to name them, what names would you chose for these baby goats?

Frank Capezzuto and Travis Brady.
James Tsai

Romulus and Remus.
Austin Spafford

Kodo and Podo.
Andy Howell

Pantysgawn and Brunost.
Dave Matthews

Milk and Cheese.
Josh Hamrick

Chewy and Han.
Jonty Barnes

Derek Carroll

The Furry Commodore and Captain G.
Chris Owens

Mister and Chief.
David Johnson

Kurt Göatel and Vincent Van Goat.
Mike Forrest

Farnsworth and Wommack.
Matt Sammons

Goat and Sir Samuel Franken Marbleberry III Esquire.
Dan Miller

Diablo & Mephisto.
Alexis Haraux

Vexlar the Insatiable Maw and Omnimagnus.
Tyson Green

arzeik If you could choose a fictitious world to live in, which one would it be?

The fan boy in me says Game of Thrones, but the realist in me says Futurama. Wait… is that backwards?
Andy Howell

Austin Spafford

Valhalla – fight all day long, then drink ant party at night… rinse and repeat… how awesome!
Dave Matthews

The Culture (“Duh!”)
John Hopson, Tyson Green, and Chris Butcher

The world of The Diamond Age is pretty cool. Most fiction has good places for certain people to live in, and the nature of drama means that not everyone has it so good.
Derek Carroll

The Quentin Tarantino Universe.
Chris Owens

Harry Potter, hands down. That world seems like it has all the perks of living in modern times plus all of the awesome bits of being able to use magic.
David Johnson

Alan Stuart

Dan Miller

In the Smurfs’ village.
Alexis Haraux

Sloanus When will we be getting a new podcast?

I don’t know. Do people listen to those anymore? Seriously. Someone asked me that question just this week.

St Major Dan What would be your Utopia?

A wise man once told me that our utopias are unknown – meaning to say that the concept is always just out of reach. That might sound a little cynical, but that dude saved my ass in a lot of combat on Xbox LIVE, so I trust his insight. Maybe our panel can dream up an impossible dream. That is what most of them do for a living, after all…

Cybertron, before the war.
James Tsai

Scuba School in Shark Alley.
Jim McQuillan

Calm seas, and the wind to guide me.
Dave Matthews

On the beach in Maui with my family.
Alan Stuart

Dan Miller

Rama, before it was ruined by the second book.
Austin Spafford

A world without money or Mondays, and with a lot of cheese.
Alexis Haraux

coolmike699 What is your favorite season?

New video game season, of course! It’s also the most expensive time of the year (sigh).
Andy Howell

Season 2 of Community.
Josh Hamrick

Snow season. The world is better for the white blanket and me skiing all over it.
Jonty Barnes

Chris Owens

Any season that comes with a Steam Sale.
Michael Strein

Season 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
David Johnson

Season 5 of “Breaking Bad,” but I’m really looking forward to season 6.
Alan Stuart

I prefer Ground Pepper.
Dan Miller

Plain Ben Are there any quotes from fellow employees that have stuck with you?

“Whatever the situation, dual plasma pistols are not the answer.”
John Hopson

"I just need 20 seconds to finish watching this video of the world's tallest cat standing up."
Derek Carroll

“Sure, I’ll call your All-In.” (Pre-flop, with a 7-2. He won.)
Chris Owens

“It is always an easy problem to solve when you aren’t responsible for the solution.”
Alan Stuart

“Always be closing.”
Dan Miller

Austin Spafford

“We have a lot of potential to put spiders on the other side of that river. And I am committed to delivering on that potential.”
Tyson Green

DesertStormer27 Will we have another fun challenge like we did last week? (Please say yes, PLEASE)

Some of you have a bizarre opinion about the notion of “fun,” but okay. Those of you get a rush from beating your head against a brick wall of maths will be delighted to know that the same puzzlemaster from the last Sack is back with another “misssinglink”:

The clock is ticking, and we are curious to see if you can beat your time from last week.

Community 9/14/2012 1:14 PM PDT permalink

Breaking In - Rachel Swavely

This interview is rigged...

The days of animating digital puppets that dance on the ends of virtual strings are a thing of the past. Real people move through the spaces of our games now. To turn them into the heroes that you play, and the villains that you fight, we must capture the performances of the actors who portray them. This evolving process relies on the rare skills of this young lady…

Who are you, and what do you do at Bungie?

My name is Rachel Swavely and I am Mocap/Rigging Tech Artist here at Bungie. This means I get to put people in those sexy spandex suits covered in reflective markers and capture their performances. Then I get to take it through the pipeline all the way to handing it off to the animators.

That sounds like tremendous fun. We’ll definitely learn more about your work, but only after we get better acquainted. What might we find you doing when you are not animating the actors we lure into our studio?

I love the outdoors, video games (of course), movies, theme parks, traveling around the world, meeting new people and anything that creates an amazing memory.

Do you have any amazing memories of your pre-Bungie career? What were you doing before your world-travels led you to the Spandex Palace?

More Motion Capture! In Los Angeles, I worked as a Capture Operator at one of the biggest studios for mocap in the world. The people that taught me were some of the people that were around since the beginning of motion capture. They improved my skills tremendously.

You’re dealing in some cutting edge technologies that are still very new, so it would be hard for you to tell us that you always dreamt of doing this. What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up?

A cartoon! I had and still have a huge imagination.

That actually makes a lot sense, given the work you’re doing now. How did you prepare yourself for a job that lets you turn people into pixelated characters?

I got a Bachelors Degree in Computer Animation and an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts. Problem solving skills would be at the top of my list of preferred skills. Most everything I learned in college still resonates in my mind. It just takes seeing it again to bring the knowledge back.

Joining our team is a challenge that requires a lot of problem solving. How did you overcome the first hurdle of getting our attention in the first place?

When I was in Los Angeles, three Bungie employees (now colleagues) came down the studio where I was working to see how we ran our shoots and get some training. I assisted with both of these. Guess I made an impression! They sure made a magnificent impression on me!

What was the hardest part about making an equally magnificent impression on the people who sat in on your interview loop?

Not going and hugging Master Chief in the Hallway.

That was a wise choice. The Chief is not much of a hugger, but there are other rewards for working here. Which ones do you enjoy?

All of them! I am surrounded by incredible talent everywhere! Plus there are the times when I get to put on one of the mocap suits and run around the Spandex Palace and get my moves recorded!

Is that your favorite part of the job? Or are there are other things about being at Bungie that you prefer?

Have you seen the kitchen filled with food!! Just kidding, even though this is an amazing perk, my favorite perk is my colleagues. They get to pick my brain about what I know and vice versa. Learning from them has broadened my knowledge, which makes me a better artist.

What is your favorite accomplishment as a member of the Bungie team? Describe that one moment in which someone appreciated your work, and assured you that you belonged here…

Wish I could but it is top secret. Makes me feel like a spy or CIA agent, until the big reveal of what we are working on.

Tell me about it. There are a lot of secrets to keep, right now. One thing that’s not a secret is that everyone at Bungie needs to be constantly striving to be better at what they do. How do you meet this challenge?

Learning all scripting languages and keeping up with Motion Capture software and hardware. Technology is always changing; have to be in the know.

If someone decided that they wanted to join you on that forefront of evolution for animation technology, what advice would you give them?

For the Motion Capture industry part of my career my advice is learn as much as you can about all the software and hardware out there that captures motion. Then pick up skills like animating, rigging and scripting.

It’s time for me to finish capturing your performance with this final question: Experience, Work Ethic, or Talent? Rank them in order of importance to your role.

All of these valuable traits are equally important. I am a firm believer about nothing is impossible, but ranking these three would be extremely difficult.

I guess we'll be left to solve this problem on our own. If you'd like to discover the answer to this question, check out the Bungie Careers page. We need all kinds of professionals to become Rachel’s coworkers. They will come in all shapes and sizes, and from many different backgrounds. To learn more about the various players that complete Team Bungie, there are profiles of just about every sort in the Breaking In archive.

Breaking In 9/11/2012 9:15 AM PDT permalink

Quality Time with the Mail Sack

Wrestle your demons...

It was great to meet so many of you at PAX. When a face steps out from behind the username, something magical happens. Forum avatars become actual gamers, and gamers become actual people. There’s nothing like some quality time to insulate us all against an Internet flame war. At Bungie, we love to unmask the people who make games, which is why we take the time to dodge your most serious questions each week.

Here are the living, breathing developers that I crowd-sourced up for you this time.

Lars Bakken, Design Lead
David Candland, Artist
Mike Forrest, Engineer
Zeke Garcia, Artist
Pat Jandro, Cinematic Designer
Scott Kankelborg, Test Engineer
Lorraine McLees, Graphic Designer
Chris Owens, Test Engineer
Austin Spafford, Engineer
Alan Stuart, Engineer
Jason Sussman, Artist

I have checked, and they all have a pulse. That’s all we need to open the Sack.

randomrosso If you could change the ending to any movie, what would it be?

They would never find Nemo in "Finding Nemo".
Alan Stuart

I enjoyed Rat Race right up until Smash Mouth stated singing “Somebody Once Told Me.” Ugh. Way to ruin that movie for me, Hollywood.
Chris Owens

I would change Return of the Jedi back to how it was... but with less YubYub.
Lorraine McLees

Prometheus would have ended about 15 minutes early, with the protagonist looking around the landscape in panic after both ships had been completely destroyed.
Austin Spafford

Unanimate Objec What's your favorite flame thrower from any game?

ALI217 How do I become famous?

It’s really hard to say. The adoring public can be fickle. There are people who are famous for all of the wrong reasons, and people who should be famous but are completely unknown to the world. Are you the housewife of a wealthy person? Those people tend to get famous for doing little more than falling off a log. Short of curing a dangerous disease or penning the next great novel that captivates everyone’s imaginations, you could always commit a colorful crime and become a media sensation. When I was in college, I used to conspire with a roommate about robbing banks dressed as Klingons, and then staying in character at our eventual trial. In the end, we just didn’t have the courage to risk taking a bullet in the guts from the barrel of some rent-a-cop’s gun.

Okay… okay… The powers that be want me to remind you that Bungie does not condone nor encourage criminal activity of any kind (or reality television). Stay in school and pay your taxes. Happy now?

THE DON WAN What's it like to work with XO Sancho?

Didn't he quit like 6 months ago?
Scott Kankelborg

He makes one fine first baseman.
Pat Jandro

XO Sancho, more frequently referred to as "Don Juan," is fantastic to work with - as long as he isn't distracted by those dating web sites.
Alan Stuart

I’m new, and he’s my direct supervisor, so I have to go with: Quite Enjoyable!
Chris Owens

He smells like a fresh pine forest filled with fairies and meat.
Jason Sussman

We are but lowly peons when XO Sancho is around. He has helped me ship every game since I've been here. It also doesn't hurt that he's a dreamboat and one hell of a snappy dresser.
Lars Bakken

He is a champion of the Great Dave Uprising of 2012, and one of the key powers of our empire. The Matts (the closest thing we have to a competitive faction) fear us, but are too unorganized to do more than grumble about how superior the Daves are. Without Sancho, we probably would not have our own T-shirts.
David Candland

Editor’s Note: As a Capo in the Dave Mafia at Bungie, I can attest to the shirts. They exist, but I cannot share them because they riff on assets from our next game.

lime013 Do you guys ever have parties at Bungie?

Nope. We work way too hard to party. If we were to stop what we were doing to celebrate, you might never get to play the game we are making.

XxShadowDonutxX What do you guys suggest to someone who wants to get into the video game design field?

The same thing I suggest every Monday. Fetch thyself a beverage and have a good, long read. For as long as I am gagged on the subject of our sweet new game, I am killing the time by doubling as a career counselor. I have to earn my keep with you fine people somehow, lest you kill me and eat me.

HOOBLA 911 How long do you expect these mailsacks will go on?

As long as I am the guy tasked with the privilege of maintaining your conduit to all things Bungie, we will open the Sack together, Hoobla. This ritual might become an aperitif instead of the main course, but that’ll be because we’ll have more red meat to serve up.

antony X1000 Have you ever had any strange encounters with fans? If so, how did you react?

Yes...several. However, I was the strange one.
Jason Sussman

Hmmm, I don't think I've ever had any strange encounters. It's usually just photos and autographs. It's normal to sign moobs, right?
Lars Bakken

I had one sweating bullets whilst I grilled him for the incriminating evidence on his person while his friend fled in terror.
Lorraine McLees

Why yes. During the development on Halo, my name appeared on our web site. Since we didn’t (and still don’t) have a main phone number, one fan decided to go with the first name he could find on our site and look me up in the yellow pages. He called my wife at home, who then gave him my work number. I then got a pitch for a product. It was a pull-down screen with a suction cup that you would adhere to your TV. You pulled it down when you wanted to prevent screen peeking, but it would only work if we split the screen vertically instead of horizontally. Well, so much for that plan. About 5 years later, we heard from him again. He had changed his name to something along the lines of “Clairvoyance Baba Ganoush” and sent us a 3 page manifesto about the end of all time. I’ve been called at home several times since then by fans asking for Recon. Once at 2AM. Since then, I have changed and unlisted my number.
David Candland

The first year at PAX I kept getting hugs. It was actually a nice surprise!
(NOTE: Huggability varies immensely from person to person.)
Austin Spafford

In Vegas, while poolside at a resort and soaking up some rays and football sized cocktails, I noticed a fan with a poorly botched Halo tattoo. He noticed me as well - more importantly the big Bungie beach towel I had. He lit up came bounding over, asking where I got it, which eventually led to him figuring out where I worked and inevitably asking for an autograph. As I was at a pool and not carrying any sharpies or anything, I could not come through on his request. Anxious by this, he got pretty desperate and asked me to "finger paint" my autograph on his arm with suntan lotion so he would get a tan line with my name on it. After a very long "uhhhhhhhhhmm...." of bewilderment from yours truly, I told him to go flag down a bartender and get a traditional writing utensil instead. He did as he was asked, got his autograph the traditional way, and I never went back to that pool for the rest of my stay.
Pat Jandro

Wow. Pat wins. I was really hoping for a good answer to this question after PAX, but everyone was super cool. No one freaked me out, or even smelled bad. I did manage to snap this pic at our lunch in the VIP Lounge in that sports bar, though. If you look closely, you can see everyone’s inner demon.

Its A Mirage What is your favorite lyric from a song?

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name
Alan Stuart

So take me back to Constantinople
No, you can't go back to Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Why did Constantinople get the works?
That's nobody's business but the Tuuuuuuuurks
Chris Owens

Happy Birthday To You
Happy Birthday To You
Lorraine McLees

My soul must be iron
For my fear is naked
Lars Bakken

Can't blame the stone for being cold
Austin Spafford

Llamaboy291 You guys are understandably super-secretive about your work, to the point where you check all photos if someone gets the chance to go through your studio. But how do you keep the people who don't necessarily work for you company quiet, like cleaning staff (who inevitably see secret stuff)? Does Bungie have an in-house janitorial squad for assured secrecy, or a sworn-to-silence cleaning service?

To get a job on our cleaning staff, all you need to do is…

Wait a minute. My paranoia is kicking in. This sounds like the sort of grift you would see in a heist flick, like Oceans 11. I can see what you're up to very clearly, now. You get a job on the inside and play our game every night while we wonder why the floors get dirtier and dirtier.

What I was going to say is that we don’t have a cleaning staff. We burn our own trash in the woods like the Comanche.

Th3 Invader What is your favorite Internet meme and why?

Zeke Garcia

It just cracks me up every time I think about it.
Lars Bakken

Chris Owens

Dog Fort.
Mike Forrest

This is a man of passion after my own heart. Songs about Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll don’t resonate with me these days. You get singing about good BBQ, though, and my eyes start to glisten.
David Candland

DE4THINC4RN4TE DeeJ, will you use this question as an excuse to market the Jobs page here on

Well, sure! Thanks for the softball. Bungie is hiring. Tell your friends. If we pick ‘em up, they’ll probably give you shirts and stuff.

ZippingFilly817 When the Bungie team is parted with its sarcasm, is there some sort of contingency plan that will go into effect?

You sound pretty confident that this is inevitable. In my world-view, the scenario you describe is impossible. It would be more appropriate to ask what sort of force could possibly part us with our beloved sarcasm. I would swear under oath that no such thing exists. And, if it does, how could we prepare for such a thing? Were the irresistible force to confront the immovable object, it would likely lay waste to everything you have ever loved. Better to wish for happier things.

Professor24 When times are tough, what do you do?

I get going.
David Candland

Must resist urge...
Scott Kankelborg

I remind myself that I’ve been in way worse situations, and I always manage to overcome it and end up in a better time/place. I do work at Bungie after all.
Zeke Garcia

When times are tough I work more, which results in higher self-esteem and less time to spend the money I don't have.
Alan Stuart

Take a deep breath, let it go slowly. Spending time with family is always the best thing to do when times are tough.
Lorraine McLees

Cry into my beer.
Jason Sussman

I hang out with my dogs. No matter how crappy your day has been, they always cheer me up.
Lars Bakken

I realize things could be a lot worse then get over it.
Pat Jandro

Go for a short walk (when I remember to, otherwise I just waste time getting frustrated).
Austin Spafford

Mostly I find myself spamming the grenade button.
Mike Forrest

pimpsta16 Can you have Marty create more Halo soundtracks? I love his work.

As much as I’m starting to feel a little more at home at Bungie, I don't think I'll ever be willing to boss Marty around. I’ll be happy to tell him that you love his work, but you’re going to have to follow us into our next game if you want to hear more. The trek will be worth it - Marty is getting by with a little help from his new friend.

GaRrbAGGE Truck What is one thing you know now that you wish you had known when you were starting out?

A programming language.
Scott Kankelborg

The more responsibility you get, the more time you spend in meetings and less time you spend creating things.
Pat Jandro

If you wanted to travel, do it sooner than later.
Lorraine McLees

Office politics can ruin a great job, and office politics are more common than I ever imagined.
Alan Stuart

Don’t Reply All to a company-wide email... especially if you plan on being sarcastic.
Chris Owens

Avatar Korra Can we get an art challenge this time, pretty please?

Solving a challenge can be an art form unto itself, especially when one of our Engineers helps me concoct the riddle. Remember David Johnson? Well, he was so surprised by the speed with which you solved his last puzzle, he went back to the drawing board. Time for a rematch. Let’s see if your guided missiles can intercept this in five minutes…


Your first clue is buried in the photo of the PAX demons. Beyond that, I won’t help you, but perhaps themisssinglink will. Post your answer on our Community forum. Good luck. You asked for this.

Something else you might not have asked for, but will most surely receive, is another Mail Sack. Letters get collected on Monday. You have a puzzle to solve, so I’ll leave you to it. Happy cyphering!

Community 9/7/2012 4:32 PM PDT permalink