The Art of the Ride Along Artists... Assemble and roll out!

Every week, Bungie opens the Mail Sack and answers questions submitted by our beloved Community. When we deliver our responses, we issue a challenge to the forum denizens. These challenges result in the distribution of swag and other mysterious gifts. Oftentimes, they involve simple pieces of trivia that are clobbered within moments with the unsportsmanlike assistance of the Internet.

Last week, we raised the bar. The Bungie Community was invited to stretch their creative legs. The challenge was to create a photo-realistic depiction of a tactical engagement between the United Nations Space Command (from Halo lore) and the Imperial Empire (of Star Wars lore).

Depicted above is just one of the finalists of the artistic battle royale, enjoying the shade of some happy little trees. To celebrate their contribution to the contest, and to get better acquainted with the people behind the keyboards, we took them on a Ride Along as a big team suited for battle in Halo: Reach. One more time, here are their submissions, with some comments from each creator.

Submitted by Avatar Korra

Tools: Autodesk Maya
Caption: The UNSC Longheart fights for survival against the Imperial Fleet.

Have you had any formal training as an illustrator?
I've never had any training or education, unless you count watching YouTube tutorials as education.

Do you aspire to a career in the arts?
It definitely is something that I will keep doing, but to become a full time artist is not my dream.

Submitted by HOFFman J

Tools: Gimp 2
Caption: An ODST playing hide and seek with the imperial army.

Have you had any formal training as an illustrator?
I haven't.

Do you aspire to a career in the arts?
No, I'm currently studying for a bachelor in bio-engineering and I hope to get a master in food technology, so working as an artist seems far-fetched for me.

Submitted by Index
Tools: Adobe Photoshop, Halo: Reach theater mode
Caption: Canon is being broken. Don't tell

Have you had any formal training as an illustrator?
Just tackled year one of a fine arts degree for graphic design and illustration. I got going with digital work in Creative Suite six or seven years ago, I think.

Do you aspire to a career in the arts?
Hmmm... O'Donnell as Palpatine is probably the acme of my creativity. Maybe I'll make it as a barista.

Submitted by Plain Ben
Tools: Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet, Photoshop
Caption: The last remnants of this city's UNSC forces ambush an Imperial armored unit led by Lord Vader himself. Intent on doing as much damage as possible with the little equipment they have left.

Have you had any formal training as an illustrator?
I didn't really have much 'training' past secondary school art class, until I picked up a part-time art & design course at college just last year. My drawing abilities and confidence have grown massively in a few months.

Do you aspire to a career in the arts?
Originally I thought I wouldn't have what it takes to do something such as concept art. I may not be so great now but I've been taking big steps making this aspiration look a lot more achievable.

Submitted by Remorazz
Tools: Photoshop Elements 8, some free time, a good idea
Caption: After defeating a regiment of Stormtroopers, Master Chief faces a final opponent.

Have you had any formal training as an illustrator?
I've taken several drawing classes, but really only one computer graphics class. Aside from that, I've just been learning on my own.

Do you aspire to a career in the arts?
I most certainly do! I would love to become a concept artist. Because it's something I'm good at, and love doing, I wouldn't have to "work" a day in my life.

Submitted by Zafric
Tools: “Paper and ye olde Pencil”, Photoshop
Caption: Vader just got served.

Have you had any formal training as an illustrator?
Yes. Though I've studied animation and done 3d art more than 2d stuff. Looking to get more into it though.

Do you aspire to a career in the arts?
After seeing 'The Making of Halo 2' I decided to work at Bungie is my life goal. I'm a little way off from feeling confident enough to apply for anything, but I hear you're hiring.

Submitted by Halo Biggest Fan
Tools: Corel Painter, Photoshop, Wacom Intouis4 Tablet
Caption: A Spartan II crushes a clone trooper’s head, with a massive battle between the UNSC and Imperial Empire in the background.

Have you had any formal training as an illustrator?
I'm a self-taught artist and have been drawing for a few years now.

Do you aspire to a career in the arts?
I'm going to DigiPen this spring to start my Bachelors in Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation, and then revive my MFA. After college, I plan on applying as an artist for Bungie.

As we stepped away from the art gallery to play some games, it became very apparent that prowess with a design tablet translates very well to being dangerous with a controller. Our ensemble of illustrators marched through the BTB playlist unopposed for over an hour. We even managed to detonate a bomb in the base of an MLG team.

Okay… maybe they weren’t an MLG team. Maybe they even scoffed at us when we called them that in the pregame lobby. But their posse did have six Inheritors with matching player’s emblems. The uniforms made them seem dangerous enough for us to take pride in blowing up their house and defending ours. What’s more, our house had much nicer wall hangings.

Thanks for the Ride Along, ye Bungie Community artists. Your enthusiasm for the games we play are as welcomed as your flair for using your talents to tell new stories on those fronts. As for the rest of you, stay tuned for more challenges like these – ones that will put the entire spectrum of human creativity to the test. At a moment of our choosing, you will all be challenged to compete in everything from creative writing to singing.

Community 5/10/2012 4:34 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 16

How sweet it is...

Life at Bungie is governed by cycles. Production schedules culminate in milestones that add up to new and more exciting phases of development. On a smaller scale, the cycle of a work week is brought to a triumphant close with the publication of a Mail Sack, just like the one you are about to read right now. Like everything that we produce at Bungie, this article is the result of artists and engineers working together to create something that we hope our community will love.

Check out the development team that made this interactive experience possible.

Brad Fish, Senior Engineer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
John Hopson, User Research Lead
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
John Shaffstall, Associate Engineer
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Eric Will, Engineer
Tom Sanocki, Staff Artist
Lorraine McLees, Artist
Joe Venzon, Engineer

Thanks for the hard work this week, everyone. Let’s open the Sack.

CTN 0452 9 Who was the best James Bond?

Your question has resulted in the first ever Mail Sack poll. Having investigated the full company of actors who have committed themselves to being shaken (and not stirred), our panel has favored the Scot (pronounced: “shhhcot”).

Barry Nelson 0%
Sean Connery 59%
David Niven 0%
George Lazenby 5%
Christopher Cazenove 0%
Roger Moore 0%
Timothy Dalton 0%
Pierce Brosnan 23%
Daniel Craig 14%

The next time someone tells you that they like the original James Bond the best, ask them why they like Barry Nelson. Throw that little piece of trivia right in their face. You’ll be looking pretty smart. When they ask you how you grew to be so wise, tell them that you hang out on

YodasCurd I live 15 minutes away from Bungie Studios in Kirkland. If i were to show up unannounced, what kind of treatment would I receive?

AllusedUp How fast can Jerome run?

Jerome doesn’t need to run. His forbidding glare can freeze anyone in their tracks. Then, he can just saunter right up to them and bounce them from the premises.

kosen13 DeeJ, We have someone else (see above question) to add to the suspicious characters list.

Good eye, kosen. Thanks for looking out for us. While we have that list handy, let’s put this next guy on there…

LordMonkey Is there a chance that a person with a criminal record could get a job there? Not that I have one.

Suuuuuuure, you don’t. You’re on the list…

HipiO7 What is one good thing and one bad thing that everyone at Bungie has in common?

Good: Community Showers
Bad: Community Showers
John Stvan

Good: Everyone's passionate about what they do and what we make here, which is a wonderful and amazing thing.
Bad: Well, everyone seems to always need to use the bathroom at the same time. Does that count?
Alex Loret de Mola

Good: They're all huge nerds.
Bad: They're all perfectionists. It's good for the final game, but it's occasionally frustrating on smaller issues.
John Hopson

edableshoe Tell Marty I'm still waiting to play trombone for him!

No. I will not say that to Marty.

Kr1egerdude What happens when two employees disagree about a feature in a game? Do they duke it out in a 1 vs. 1 Halo 2 match on Lockout?

Lockout, huh? While I am rarely an audience for these mediations, I get the impression that they are far more violent than a virtual duel in a sentimental arena from Halo 2. If we settled arguments in the game, the Testers would run the whole show. Although, now that I mention it, that would explain the meteoric rise to power of our studio head. I guess you are right. That must be exactly how it happens. Good deduction.

KUZOKU85 What would you suggest to someone who knows they want to be part of the video game industry but is not sure what they want to do?

Once you determine what it is you want to do, start working on side projects if you can't get your foot in the door at a game studio.
Alex Loret de Mola

Start making little games and you'll soon discover which parts you're really interested in.
John Shaffstall

Figure it out and find your passion. Make your own game and discover what part of the process interests you the most. Even a pen-and-paper game will suffice if you have no interest in programming.
Eric Will

Pick up a good book and some of the free tools that are available, and teach yourself to program. If you don't love it, you'll then know you don't want to be an engineer. That might help narrow things down a bit.
Brad Fish

Make your own video games. Some parts of the process will feel less like work than others.
John Hopson

Make a tiny game on your own. When you have to do everything yourself, you'll probably find yourself gravitating toward some parts of the process.
Joe Venzon

Try and be critical of the games you play, a strong opinion about a particular aspect usually indicates passion and interest. I also agree with making a game. Any game works, it was pretty obvious when I did this I was most interested in the programming.
Luke Ledwich

If you haven’t noticed, this engineer-heavy Mail Sack panel is going to ask you if you have made your own games if you ever cross paths with them during a dreaded Bungie interview loop.

OMARRCHR What's the most boring thing to do at Bungie?

This. Kidding! You did leave yourself wide open there, man.

SlashingArbiter How are birthdays celebrated at Bungie?

True story: When someone at Bungie completes another successful revolution around our local celestial body, one of their coworkers says (as loud as they can):
“Hey everybody, it’s __________________’s birthday!”
Then, everyone claps. Then, we get back to work.

SPRTN One One 7 Tell us about your favorite moment working at Bungie.

When Richenburg found out how secure the hanging seats were.
John Stvan

So far, it would have to be when Team Newbie was almost disqualified for memorizing the topic cards for Cranium at the Pentathlon. It resulted in the rules being changed on the fly. I believe Jerry Lawler said it best: "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat." Not that it was cheating - no, no.
Alex Loret de Mola

(2/06/2010, 8:08PM: Bungie engineers are hard at work closing out issues for the Alpha playtest.)
Luke: "Hey Brad, check out bug 22614."
Brad: "Sure thing."
Brad: (perplexed) "What the...?"
===== Opened on 02/06/2010 08:08PM =====
ALPHA: Brad needs Klondike Bars, and we have none in the freezer

(shortly thereafter)
===== Resolved as Fixed on 02/06/2010 08:23PM =====
Regular and Heath varieties both in the freezer on the right, 2nd shelf from the bottom. Thanks, QFC!

This bug was reactivated numerous times over the next 4 months before ship.
Brad Fish

Plain Ben How are visual/game art ideas spread in game development? Who gets to decide what stuff looks like, or is it a group decision? Did you all gather round as someone just said 'Right, the Covenant are gonna have this whole purple thang going on'?

The creative and ideation process you are describing relies heavily on Military Grade Bacon.

Gamer Whale If Bungie managed to acquire some Military Grade Bacon, what would you do with it?

Great question. We would give it a job as a concept artist.

Arcane Phoenix What is your favorite recreational activity inside the building?

I would tell you, but this is a family friendly website.
John Stvan

Magic: The Gathering.
Alex Loret de Mola & John Shaffstall

Joe Venzon & Nate Hawbaker

westpointusma15 Does working on video games "ruin" them for you?

Don't feed the trolls.
John Stvan

Absolutely not. It only increases the appreciation I have for those who make them.
John Shaffstall

Only until you learn to shut off "bug fixing mode". Once you see behind the curtain, it can be cool to see the approaches that other game teams take.
Eric Will

If anything it makes me appreciate them even more, because I now understand how much work goes into them.
Brad Fish

I definitely find myself being more... critical. I admit this does take away from my enjoyment slightly.
"This UI convention makes no sense and offers no practical benefits!"
"Why is their specularity so extreme when it's only showing off the sampling limitations of their normal maps?!"
Nate Hawbaker

Yes, in a way. I can't play games without critiquing them to some degree, and I've always got a giant backlog of games I need to play to keep up with the field. I still enjoy them, but it's definitely different than before I worked in the industry.
John Hopson

In some ways it makes me pickier, but it also makes me more appreciative of the things done well, because I can recognize how hard they are and how much work went into each little feature.
Joe Venzon

I tend to be a little more critical of the games and less forgiving of bugs, but it in no way ruins a good game.
Luke Ledwich

coolmike699 Do you think video games should be considered art?

The essence of art has been defined as “the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others.” I could apply those same words to a job description on our Careers page. Anyone who says that video games do not deserve to be regarded as art are going out of their way to demonstrate a basic lack of understanding for the medium of interactive entertainment. Either that, or they are just a snob who wishes that berets were still in style.

ibex1001 Have there been times when you have desperately wanted to talk to someone about Bungie's next game but couldn't?

Every day. Art is only complete when it is received, after all. By that account, you complete us.

FalleNxRegret As someone who is about to get a Bachelor of Computer Science degree what kind of personal projects should I look at taking on to gain experience that may someday help me get in the game software development field. What languages, platforms, tools, devices, etc. should I be playing with?

Ever hear of X-ray glasses? We want those. Get on it.
John Stvan

Languages: C, C++, Objective-C, C#, Java, Python and, most importantly, Javascript
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android
Tools: Visual Studio, Xcode, Eclipse, Vim, Git,
Devices: iPhone, iPad, any Android phone, Kindle Fire
Build cool things, then show them to people
John Shaffstall

Pick something small and finish it. Make a simple game from scratch, or take an existing game engine or tool and modify it, or anything in between. It'll get you exposed to some of the problems a game developer encounters. But make sure you see it through the end. Don't take on too much initially. C++ is still the gold standard of the industry, but Java and C# can be useful to know as well. The hardware doesn't matter too much because it's constantly changing. Pick something current.
Eric Will

If you're serious about working on console game code, make sure you're sharpening your C++ skills. Beyond that, build a small game on your own! Pick a simple idea that you're interested in, and commit yourself to developing it as far as you can. It doesn't have to be big, fancy, or pretty, but it will stretch you in very beneficial ways.
Brad Fish

C#, WPF/XAML, MVVM conventions, Expression Design/Blend.
*Half of those are technical artist oriented, rather than traditional engineering.
Nate Hawbaker

More important than the language or platform is that you make a bunch of games! It doesn't matter how tiny or silly they are, get a bunch of completed game projects under your belt and you'll learn plenty. Secondarily, learning a language with manual memory management and then also learning a functional language will help make you a better programmer (and able to transition to just about any language/platform pretty quickly).
Joe Venzon

coolmike699 What happens to material that is cut from games? Why don't you do what movie studios do, and include it as a bonus feature of collector’s editions or other special editions of the game?

That’s a great idea.

AI carsaib How do you maintain your personal health during crunch? Is it possible?

I tell myself I'll go running on the weekend.
John Shaffstall

Start taking the stairs everywhere. Avoid the awesome kitchen as much as possible.
Eric Will

I spend 45 minutes walking in the nearby park during lunches. Actually eating during lunch is not super important to me since dinner is catered and usually large enough for 2 meals.
Brad Fish

Never breaking from a five day gym schedule, regardless of professional pressures.
Nate Hawbaker

I try to keep my running schedule up, but I usually fail.
Joe Venzon

Vegemite for the vitamins and Rum for the sanity.
Luke Ledwich

Insane Monx If I asked a question in a previous Mail Sack that didn't get answered, is there a chance of it getting answered in a future one?

It really depends on the question, doesn’t it? If you are asking about our next game, there will come a time to answer all of those questions. Someday. Here is a Mail Sack Pro Tip: If you don’t see your question answered, it is not recommended that you ask it again and again every week, thus growing angrier and angrier with us for ignoring you.

MasterSin What is Bungie willing to do in order to win our love?

We are willing neglect our own families and friends for months at a time, slaving over a cold keyboard to create for you a new universe. We are willing to study you and interact with you so that we may better understand how to blow your mind. We are willing to ban the people who are mean to you and make you cry. We are willing to employ an Assistant to the Community Manager who will cultivate delicious Internet time wasters to delight you while you pass the time on our website, waiting for us to spill our most recent crop of magic beans.

SkilPhil What's the most unusual item you've purchased online?

IGN Insider subscription. It was mostly just for the forum avatar and access to the 'Insider-only' boards like the PCGB. We were an elite clique of tools.
John Shaffstall

Robotic jellyfish from Japan. It swam in a fishbowl on my desk.
Tom Sanocki

2 pounds of silly putty.
John Hopson

Two hands. I was hoping for a matched set, but they were both right hands.
Lorraine McLees

{Image removed by censors}
John Stvan

That’s right, John. So much for your reverence for our family friendly website…

GPK Ethan As a developer, can you still be fans of the game you're creating? By that I mean do you still get giddy playing through the campaign or after learning new things about the game?

This is not an option at Bungie – it’s a requirement. We make games we want to play, after all. It is our passion for playing great games that drives us to create them. The day we stop caring about games, and the experience of the gamer, is the day that we should stop making them. You should see people run into the playtest labs here.  I just came from a Bungie Team Meeting, and the entire studio is buzzing with enthusiasm for what was put on display.

DDISAP If you had to watch 1 film, on loop, 24/7 for the rest of your lives - which film would it be?

Terminator 2
Eric Will

A Clockwork Orange, though I may want to avoid it since that scenario would result in me hating it.
Nate Hawbaker

The one playing before my eyes right now. But I heard it loops right about when my neurons stop firing, so as of right now it's been looking kinda neat.
Lorraine McLees

John Stvan

I am allowing John to share this with you as an invitation into my own personal hell. When he wants to drive me closer to my inevitable nervous breakdown, he reminds me that this song exists. For the rest of the day, it is all I can hear.

coolmike699 What do you think of my game collection?

I think you must have been really confused about what the heck was going on when you played Halo 3. To catch you up, in Halo 2, the Master Chief kills a lot of Covenant in a romp that leads from Earth and back again. He also misplaces Cortana along the way.

And, now we know where you sleep. So do all the people who are jealous of the fact that we answered so many of your questions, and none of theirs.

Get some rest. You will need it. Next week represents a whole new cycle, and it will kick off with another chance to ask us a question. Or, perhaps we will reverse the flow of the conversation, and put you – our beloved community – on the hot seat. However the events unfold, we will talk again soon.

Community 5/4/2012 1:49 PM PDT permalink

Bungie Rides Along with Dead Man's Hand

The Good.  The Bad-Ass.  They Ugly.

Private Groups on come in every shape and size known to modern science. Some of the clubhouses we host on our site are actively recruiting large armies of great diversity. Others are open-door speakeasies where anonymous members can just walk in to join the party. The most exclusive groups are safe-houses for elusive citizens who choose their members with the same care they use to choose their friends.

This week, an invitation to play Halo: Reach came from a posse who started as friends in real life and became teammates in the games that they play. Dead Man’s Hand is a small band of gamers that travels from one title to the next as a unit. For years now, they have attacked the Internet as a team, both online and in the real world. All the while, they sustain a light mood and an air of recreation. They shoot to kill, but they have fun doing it.

To learn more about their evolution from friendship to community, I asked them to deal me in at their table.

The name "Dead Man's Hand" invokes a mental image of gunslingers wagering their fistfuls of dollars in a smoky saloon. What does it mean to you?

HALO3syourdaddy Dead Man's Hand is a name we've all come to know as a group of laid back friends who all enjoy getting down on just about any game together. It holds a memory of one of the original members, who came up with the name. He just passed away in early April while serving in the U.S. Air-Force, and all of us miss him dearly. We've kept DMH going through multiple platforms for 10+ years now and it’s only grown. I know he would only want for us to continue kicking ass, so that’s what we plan to do.

I can only imagine that he would be honored by the way you fellas play as a team under the name he chose for you. What motivated all of you to start gaming together under the DMH tag those many years ago?

SaintTP It started back in Tiffin, Ohio. We made it up to go to tournaments with. Since then the group has grown a lot. It means a lot to us that the group still lives on in his name!

For a group to grow, especially over such a long timeline, it needs new members. How would you pitch this group to someone on looking for a refuge from the main forums?

HALO3syourdaddy If you're looking for a group that plays PC, Xbox, and PS3 games together all under the same name, come on in. We don't bite anyone except Nz.

Nz Snipedown It's like a warm blanket of community and friendship.

hunkyandrich We like games. We're intercontinental too so you'll find people to match your time zone.

Karl2177 It's the most chill group that I'm a part of. It's a great place to relax and talk about anything.

apersonthatwins I would tell them that the Reach forums are a smoking wasteland, the Bnet community forum is full of monocle-wearing elitists, and that The Flood, while awesome, is for discussion, not regular gaming.

edableshoe Doesn't matter where you are, what you play, or how good you are at gaming, we play for fun, and that's what matters most. Cliché as it may sound, this is the only group I've ever joined, and it has been the only group I will ever want to be in.

Imagine that one of our readers has never joined a group, preferring instead to enter the wild of matchmaking all by their lonesome. What would you say about DMH to convince them that playing with friends is the only way to play?

HALO3syourdaddy It’s always nice to be able to pick up a new game, and instantly have a team/clan/guild. Whether it be WoW, SWTOR, Halo, League of Legends, or whatever game, it always seems like you're in a sea of members, but it still feels like a tight-knit community.

Karl2177 It's taught me to be a bit more chill while playing. If you can have a laugh, then it's a game enjoyed.

edableshoe I never game alone in this group. Someone is always online, and everyone is fun to play with.

On the front door of your home on, you describe yourselves as “PAX-going”. Will we see you in Seattle this year?

HALO3syourdaddy I'm sure the group will have a few reps there! I'll be there next year for sure.

What else do you look forward to in DMH?

edableshoe The future for DMH is as blurry as a foggy window, but I see great things for this group, as the gaming world starts to introduce more amazing games for us all to enjoy together.

HALO3syourdaddy More games, more good times, and more bowls of meatballs.

I detect an inside joke there. I will leave it that way.

The camaraderie that has held this group together for over a decade was evident in the games we played. So I wouldn’t be the only one left out of their encyclopedia of inside jokes, and to ensure that our maneuvers would have proper air-cover, I brought along a friend of my own. You might know him as Halcylon, a graphic designer who keeps pleasing to the eye. Rather than have friends shooting at one another, we joined forces to take on the world through a series of Big Team Battles.

For hours, this DMH/BNG joint task force reigned undefeated. The streak came to a tragic end in a boneyard of old capital ships. I told them to vote for the green plains of Forge World. If only they had listened, our evening may have been a clean sweep.

Regardless of the outcome of a match, it is people who sustain their friendships through games that are the winners. We thank Dead Man’s Hand for seating us at their table for the evening. Do you have friends who are at the ready to play games with you every night? If you could use a posse like this, the doors that lead to Dead Man’s Hand are open.

Community 5/3/2012 3:03 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 15

Postcards from the void.

Working under the cover of darkness can be tough, especially at a company like Bungie, where our thoughts turn to our community of players in every decision that we make. We feel your stares on the backs of our heads. Sometimes, the people who hunker down on our website and wait for us to share the fruits of our labor get cranky. Those moments are hard. The urge to invite you in and show you what keeps us at our desks late is seductive. The best we can do is to share some light-hearted Q and A. It’s the phone call that tides us over until the reunion.

This week, you have a long-distance relationship with:

Andrew Davis, Artist
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
Scott Kankelborg, Associate Test Engineer
Lorraine McLees, Artist
Dan Miller, Senior Designer
Mat Noguchi, Programmer
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Jay Weinland, Senior Audio Lead
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer

Unrequited lovers, let’s open the Sack.

Al1757XNA What is Bungie’s favorite verb?

I had high hopes for this question, but the responses were more bizarre than some of the Photoshop jobs that get sent around the studio when an internal debate rages. I thought about cutting this altogether, but reconsidered in a bid to pay forward my consternation. Warning: Almost none of these responses contain an actual verb. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

It's a tie between FTFY (not fixed that for you) and Ship It!
Mat Noguchi

I can think of a phrase: "In a world where..."
Dan Miller

"To beer." We're like Shakespeare every day in this place.
Ben Wommack

I would have to go with "awesome".
John Stvan

Swag. Also serves as a noun.
Lorraine McLees

Andrew Davis

Man, we are off to a bad start. Can someone ask a question that will enable us to get a little bit more literal?

Lobster Fish 2 If you were going to write a novel, what would you title it and why?

Much better! Panel?

“Lobster Fish 2: Revenge of Lobster Fish”
Dan Miller

“The Box” because everyone would buy the book to find out what's in said box. Spoiler: it's another box; part of a trilogy.
Ben Wommack

“This is my novel. There are many like it, but this one is mine.”
John Stvan

“Your Mom: The Woman, The Myth, The Legend.” I am confident this answers both parts of your question.
Scott Kankelborg

"My Life As Seen Through the Eyes of AutoCorrect" as I'd most likely write an auto-biography by text messaging myself.
Pat Jandro

edableshoe Any more Bungie Ride Alongs?

Most certainly! We play games with members of the Bungie Community every week. Membership in a Private Group with an aggressive leader is your best chance of participating. I mean, why not? Here we are, all gamers, hanging out on this website. We should use this time to form up into posses in a game. Don’t wait for me to invite you. Join up with each other and attack the Internet in your favorite playlist. Tell them Bungie sent ya.

r c takedown If there was a fire in the Bungie building, what would you save?

Our Perforce server.
Dan Miller

The ”Street Fighter 3: Third Strike” arcade cabinet in our downstairs game room.
Ben Wommack

The beer.
John Stvan

The Minecraft server and the Kit Kat stockpile.
Scott Kankelborg

I would save my work before exiting the building.
Pat Jandro

Andrew Davis

Each other.
Lorraine McLees

Thank you, Lorraine. The rest of you should be absolutely ashamed of yourselves. I can’t even make eye contact with some of you right now. All of this talk of disaster is sort of a buzzkill. Anyone care to lighten the mood?

Jose291 What are your thoughts of the Titanic 100th anniversary since it sank?

100th Anniversary? I thought that movie came out in 1997.

Really? Oh, the humanity! That’s just terrible. Although, I have to wonder if anyone ever found that priceless jewel that the lady tossed into the sea at the end.

…Wait a minute. Are there any other movies made by James Cameron that are also real?

WestCoastRonin Is there a particular trait that all Bungie employees share (other than the fact that they all work at Bungie)?

All of us work for… Okay. I will let the panel play.

We're all kinds of geeks in here.
Lorraine McLees

Dan Miller

We're actually a very diverse group, yet everyone meets in harmony in the kitchen for Bagel Friday. So I guess you could say a love of baked dough binds us together.
Ben Wommack

A lot of us seem to shop at the same "clothing store".
Pat Jandro

Andrew Davis

Ever see The Ring?
John Stvan

Are you talking about that weird video you passed around the other day again? Why do I keep coughing up electrodes, by the way?

DEUCE MORELLI Why is it that actual serious questions are rarely answered while non-serious ones are routinely answered in an obfuscating manner?

I have just returned from an exploratory mission to where I discovered the meaning of the word obfuscate. Of the three definitions that were listed, the one that best describes the phenomenon you are experiencing is: to darken.

Plus, serious questions don’t sound very fun. I expect serious questions from the IRS, not people who love to play video games.

SpongyMallard7 Why are you making it known that you will not make anything known about what is unknown in your newest project? Is it for our own good to not know what is unknown?

I can’t even begin to decipher that sentence, my fine feathered friend. All I can tell you is that everything that Bungie does is for the good of our community. We don’t keep secrets out of some malicious enjoyment of cruelty. If you had a surprise birthday party creeping up on you, and someone spoiled that moment of delicious shock that would result from the loving conspiracy, would you consider that person your friend?

UphillMercury What do you think is the single greatest thing about working at Bungie?

I work at Bungie.
Mat Noguchi

Answering these Mail Sack Questions and sneaking in future project references.
Dan Miller

In all seriousness, it's the people. Working with awesome individuals whom you not only respect and admire but get along with makes every day worthwhile.
Ben Wommack

Big League Chew.
John Stvan

Getting paid in bacon.
Pat Jandro

Being able to have a hand in creating something that millions of people enjoy.
Andrew Davis

Our administrative professionals Davina and Brittany take good care of us - happy Administrative Professionals week!
Scott Kankelborg

That’s a good point, Scott. Have you all hugged your Administrative Professional this week? You should really do that, unless you work in one of those places where such things are frowned upon. In that case, just nod respectfully as you pass them in the hall.

SN068237264910 If you had a chance to create a game of your dreams, what would it be called and what would it be about?

We are doing that right now. Someday, that dream will become a reality. Someday.

Agent Diddy Will you go to prom with me?

Are you in the Marine Corps? No? I will still go to prom with you, but only if you wear the dress. I think mauve is nice.

coolmike699 If someone broke into Bungie and took an employee hostage, what would you say to get them to let him or her go?

Depends on the employee.
Dan Miller

That he/she has a code fix for the BVT blocker, and needs to check in before the depot is locked. Oh, and it will save the world, or something.
Ben Wommack

Waves hand. "You don't want to do this. You want to go home and rethink your life".
John Stvan

"Shoot the hostage."
Scott Kankelborg

You are assuming someone can actually break in here and grab someone without running into Jerome or any of our ninjas, or get past our sharpshooters. Next question.
Lorraine McLees

That’s a creepy question. DeeJ, could you forward coolmike699’s info on to Jerome please?
Andrew Davis

Way ahead of you, Andrew. Jerome was given a full dossier on this character months ago. Lorraine’s sharpshooter brigade can spot him a mile away with the facial-recognition software built into their long-range sights.

Index Are there any cool or unusual sounds the audio designers have recorded for effects in Bungie games?

Earlier this week, I posed the same question to Jay Weinland, our Senior Audio Lead. Over a lunch-time serving of Thai food, I recanted a story I had heard about the TIE Fighter from Star Wars lore. According to myth and legend, audio designer Ben Burtt gave a voice to that fictitious ship by combining the sound of wet tires speeding across pavement with the cry of an elephant. Similarly, my question for Jay was about the Halo Warthog. It turns out that the sweet roar of the hydrogen-injected engine that has sped me to many flag captures was a blend of a 1967 Camaro and a Porsche 911. In Halo 2, he added some Humvee. In Halo 3, he added some semi-truck. As he told the story, I could hear my old baby purr in the back of my mind. Listen. Can you hear it?

Mythical Wolf When you were told you "have got the job" at Bungie, how did you react?

I asked if my salary would be the same. No joke.
Mat Noguchi

Suspicion. I wondered if they were pulling my leg. Years later I'm still waiting to wake up back in college, working recycling shifts.
Ben Wommack

Cleaned up the sacrificial alter in the yard.
John Stvan

I was relieved that I had proven myself during my 3 year long interview (I had been a contractor since 2007). I was also excited/nervous because now I had an even higher bar to meet.
Scott Kankelborg

When I got hired as a contractor: “Holy *blam*!” And when I got hired full-time: “About time!”
Andrew Davis

When I got the call I was just 3 days off from graduating college and driving home from a store. Needless to say that after hearing the news from the other end of my phone, my mind kind of left my body and floated up to the clouds with happiness. After some unidentifiable amount of time, I came back down to earth and I noticed that my car was parked in the middle of a 4 way intersection. No one was hurt.
Pat Jandro

YodasCurd I know you said no more Easter egg hints, but this is important. I have dedicated countless hours to this, and I must know. Is there, or isn’t there, another skull in halo 3 (The Assassin Skull) that is hidden somewhere.

A slippery slope, that is, Master. If I give you a hint, then someone else will want a hint, and then someone else will also want a hint. All Easter eggs are important. I am sticking to my guns on the new Zero Hint Doctrine. They are called Easter eggs because you have to go and find them. Or not…

Eric Duffy Do you need to know how to draw really well to be a part of Bungie?

Dan Miller

Ah crap, am I getting fired?
Mat Noguchi

That's a no.*
Pat Jandro
*unless, of course, it's part of your JOB.

Let's just say that coding doesn't require much in drawing skill beyond making circles and squiggles on a whiteboard, and we're all lucky for it.
Ben Wommack

Your skill set must contain the ability to Photoshop your colleagues into audaciously lewd scenes - also.
Nate Hawbaker

Nope. “Programmer Art” and “Designer Art” are very real, very scary things.
Andrew Davis

See: DeeJ
John Stvan

Shows how much you know, Stvan. I drew this (really well)!

Helveck Does the entire team have a communal feeling that they will be able to outdo and create an entirely new world that rivals or even bests their last creation?

Your choice of words makes us sound like hippies. However, I can assure you that outdoing ourselves is a pillar of the Bungie culture. “Good enough” never is around here. The awesomeness of our last creation is always a bar that we seek to vault at enormous heights. We leave you in judgment of our success. It’s why we do what we do.

a rascal cat What do you believe are the primary components of a happy life?

A great philosopher once said: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."
Mat Noguchi

Having no regrets, acceptance of those you do have, a commitment to pursue your own happiness with all effort, and bagels.
Ben Wommack

Figure out how to do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.
John Stvan

Be best friends with yourself, never stop pursuing what makes you smile, surround yourself with good people.
Pat Jandro

Sven Nietzsche I'll be right back.

…And I checked, and Sven did not come back. I like to think that he would have asked a really good question, but contemplating such things makes me sad. I wonder a lot about what happened to him. Was he hit by a train? Did a rare infection loosen the connective tissue that surrounds his brain stem? The world may never know.

The only thing that can be certain is that this Mail Sack has also reached its mysterious end. Like Sven’s unsubstantiated claim, it will definitely be back. Next week. On Monday, when a new assortment of primary action items beckon from your calendar, we will be here to keep you company while you work – and vice versa.

Community 4/27/2012 1:43 PM PDT permalink

Bungie Tries Hard on a Ride Along

"You just need to get better..."

tryhard (trahy-hahrd) noun: a multiplayer combatant who takes their Halo very seriously

Imagine that your favorite video game is like visiting a beautiful retreat in the mountains. Some of your fellow vacationers will be completely content to enjoy some friendly chatter around the campfire in the lodge. Other gamers will challenge themselves to ascend the peaks. They are only happy atop the summit. They think the view is better from above, and will settle for nothing less than the mountaintop. We will call this aggressive breed of adventurer a “tryhard.”

A gamer who devotes themselves to excellence in all forms of their craft can receive a lot of grief from the Internet. Sore losers are often heard in post-game lobbies admonishing the tryhard for their unwavering commitment to victory – as if putting forth a noble effort is a bad thing. In the case of the Bungie Forum Tryhards, this mark of shame is polished up and pinned to their armor as a sparkling badge of honor. So proud are they of putting their very best booted foot forward, that they will take more casual gamers along for the climb, helping them to elevate their game.

To sample this ruthless form of hospitality in action, I signed up for their skyward clinic.

The air is pretty thin at this altitude, so watch me for signs of dementia. Okay? While you are doing that, tell your fellow citizens of why your climbing club exists. What service do you provide to the community?

Sanuel Jackson We exist because I wanted to gather all the so called "tryhards" into one place so we can discuss various things. There are some members who are willing to help you improve your gaming ability if you ever need it.

A 3 Legged Goat It sort of evolved from a group centered on educating Halo players to an off-topic hang-out comprised of competitive gamers. Some members assist each other with gameplay performance. Others like to help with homework, girl advice, and ethical decisions. And the rest just peer into the lives of the members, provide daily life checks, and pass judgment upon them.

I have had my daily affirmation, and people pass judgment on me all the time, but I have always wanted to be better at Halo. What sorts of things do you do to help low-altituders like me take my game to new heights?

The Ruckus 2010 A lot of us play custom games to help evaluate map movement and teamwork. Films will be reviewed and critique will be offered.

RC Clone I would say that I've given some players a couple specific pieces of information about the game. Some were map details. Others were related to game settings.

aBlueBookshelf I find that teaching players in game has a pretty dramatic effect on skill and intelligence with the game. After games, that player and I will go over certain gameplays and review things said in game.

I can’t imagine that competitive spirits like yours can survive on custom games alone. Where do you find outlets for healthy competition?

X El BaZzA X I like the MLG playlist, myself. I'm not nearly as good as some people, but I still find it a good place to get competitive matches, provided you don't get matched up against a team of four as a random.

I can agree that there is safety in numbers, especially when you set your sights on Major League hopefuls. How often do you form up as a squad in the game, as we had last night?

Sanuel Jackson Most of us are friends, so we're playing with each other on a regular basis.

RyanW Almost every day we will play with about 5 or 6 members in matchmaking or MLG scrimmages.

WoundedMr Krabs We never really organize game nights, there are just threads asking people if they want to play.

Those sound like game nights to me, but what do I know? I am just a vehicle-hound who is lost without a steering wheel. Help me out here. What would you recommend to me as someone who could get a lot better at winning a game with my trigger finger?

The Ruckus 2010 I know a vast majority of the Halo community has a predilection for disliking MLG, but watching MLG gameplay can drastically improve one's basic understanding of the game. Playing in the MLG Octagon in customs can help improve your shot dramatically. More than anything, just practice and watch films to self-evaluate what you could have done better. There's always something.

RC Clone Just start thinking. Are you out in the open by yourself? Where is the other team? Can you catch the enemies off-guard? Start playing smarter and you will improve. Think and act at the same time. A smart player is a dangerous enemy and a great ally.

aBlueBookshelf Talk to and play with better players. Also, find a few people that you can play with consistently and play with them a lot. Go over your game films and realize mistakes you made. Most importantly, realize Halo isn't all about how well you can out-aim your opposition. Using your intelligence of spawns, team work, and timing is better than being a good shot. Being a smart player can be taught, being a good shot can't.

ThreeSixXero Learn the maps, in-depth. Half of Reach is all about correct positioning. It's always good to analyze your surroundings and make callouts accordingly. As long as it makes sense and it's generally understood, people can react to it.

It sounds as if you guys really feed off of each other’s energy. The sharing and collaboration being described here is inspiring. Tell us all about how has being a member of this group made your favorite video games more fun to play?

aBlueBookshelf It found me a few more decent players to add to my friends list. A few of those players I would have never met if it wasn't for here. Those friendships have translated to more than just Xbox LIVE, and that makes playing games with them more fun.

The Ruckus 2010 Being in this group has given me a pool of other passionate gamers to play with. It's given me a better understanding of the game. Since I've improved (and am still improving), I've found that my games are far more enjoyable.

RC Clone It's nice having a set of cool guys to play Halo with on a weekend. Discussions during the games can get interesting. You can also pick up a few tips about the game while you're having fun. Having people to talk to when you play makes a lot of difference in my enjoyment of a game.

l SecretAgent l There's constantly people playing Halo. We rarely have to search alone in matchmaking, which makes the experience a lot more enjoyable. It's not just Halo though, we're up for any game really. Halo's just our love.

Is this group open to anyone? Who should join? How do you decide who gets in? Why am I getting so dizzy? Is anyone else having trouble breathing?

Sanuel Jackson This group is open to people that are smart, friendly, and level-headed. Some people were let in simply because I knew them relatively well so you may or may not find these traits in some of our members. Anybody can join so long as they don't take themselves or this place too seriously. I just look at their recent posts and see their posting habits. You can tell a lot about a user from just 25 posts.

If you fancy yourself smart, friendly, and level-headed (and you want to try really hard to win a game of Halo), this private group might just be the summit house that you have been looking for. Their in-game chatter is lively, and their aim is true. I spent a lot of time lying on my face in the games of Halo: Reach that we shared. Perhaps you can do better.

I still have to thank our Tryhards for the education. As was said, there is always something to learn about how to carry the day in competitive multiplayer. This does not mean, however, that you will not still find me enjoying a stiff drink in the base camp. If everyone could reach the vertical limits of the scoreboard, after all, we wouldn’t need derogatory terms for the gamers who can.

Community 4/26/2012 2:11 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 14

Shoveling out Bungie gossip.

Welcome back to the scene of the crime that was committed when we solicited your questions on Monday morning. If being curious about life behind the scenes at Bungie is a crime, that makes all of you just the sort of master criminals whose company we want to keep. This week, the Bungie panel that stepped forward to collect evidence was larger than any seen by previous Mail Sacks.

Eric Brown, Senior Engineer
John Hopson, User Research Lead
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
Dave Matthews, Art Manager
Lorraine McLees, Artist
Robt McLees, Writer
Dan Miller, Senior Designer
Tom Sanocki, Staff Artist
Ben Thompson, Engineer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Fellow crime fighters, let’s break out our forensics kits and open the Sack.

VENOM MDK Do you always answer the first question posted in the mail sack thread no matter what the subject?

No. In fact, I almost never answer the first question. It is usually asked by someone who was so desperate to be the “First!” one to post that they didn’t take the time to craft a worthy interrogative. I will, however, choose the first answer that you see, so that these features have a nice introduction.

Grizzwizz If you could be any video game villain, who would you be?

Nate Hawbaker

Veigar. I should note that I am one of the least skilled Veigar players out there. If you're in a match and your Veigar goes 0-8, that was probably me. I'd apologize, though I probably already put you on ignore before you had the chance to tell me how much I suck.
Alex Loret de Mola

"When all living beings look through our eyes, when the only sound is the wind and the thunder and the surf, when every drop of rain falls on our face, the universe will know peace." The Gravemind was seriously creepy and diabolical. If I'm to be a villain, what better than to sit patiently as an immortal entity and just eat everything. Is it lunch o'clock yet?
Lorraine McLees

The ba-bomb from Mario: simple, direct, and no fuss.
Dave Matthews

The Wizard of Yendor. Puttering around my room, taking care of my dog, reading “The Book of the Dead” at afternoon tea -- yup, that would be the life for me.
Tom Sanocki

Gannondorf - he often gets to enjoy his victories for years before he is defeated.
Michael Williams

I'd be the time clock.
Pat Jandro

Editor’s Note: Whether he realizes it or not, Jandro is channeling Tennessee Williams, who professed in tragic theatrical prose that the ultimate enemy was time itself.

Xd00999 Can you give us any more hints on Easter eggs we have not found yet?

No. I cannot. And you, beloved community, must all stop asking. I am sorry. This revival of Easter egg hysteria is entirely my fault. In a previous Sack, I allowed the panel to tease you with mentions of Halo eggs that have yet to be found. You will never find them all. We cannot give you hints. If we did, those eggs would lose their magic. You simply must stop sending me private messages, and stop dropping these questions into the Sack. The strain of lugging around the extra weight of them just might break my back.

mister death If you made a deal with the devil, what would it be?

I did! How do you think I got here?
Alex Loret de Mola

I only deal with the Robot Devil.
Nate Hawbaker

I get to run his domain as if I were him with all appropriate authority and powers one weekend a month for eternity. The first weekend, I would rewrite his side of the clause in my agreement. Then, I would create small battles with the most infamous leaders of history to see how they would play out.
Dave Matthews

"Show me the fruit that, ere 'tis pluck'd, doth rot,
And trees, whose verdure daily buds anew!"
(Deals with the devil are always a bad idea, by definition. But if you have to make a deal, you might as well go for broke)
Michael Williams

DARKWIND12 Anybody have a least favorite game? One that you picked up, played through just to be a good sport (or didn't if it's that bad) and then never touched again?

I think it would be the one that you made. No… not really. But, see how bad you felt when you read that? Do you now see why I don’t allow our panel to answer certain questions that tumble from the Sack? Here at Bungie, we seek to spread a message of love and fun about why playing games truly matters. We don’t want to tell anyone they suck. Except for cheaters. Those people suck. But they rarely make games, so they are irrelevant to your question.

AllusedUp Why is Zach Russell so awesome?

Those of you who don’t know Zach Russell should do some clicking and some scrolling down to number eight. Those of you who do know Zach Russell are likely to agree with our panel, when they say:

He serves the best Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread EVER! And he brings ice cream... you just can't go wrong with that.
Ben Thompson

Words cannot say. Zach is epic and awesome.
Dan Miller

If Zach Russell were even slightly less awesome, the fabric of the universe would fail to hold together, causing electrons and neutrons to rip apart from each other, turning our world (and every other) into a cloud of plasma stew. So I guess he's so awesome because the universe needs him to be.
Tom Sanocki

Because he delivers me free tickets to baseball games.
Pat Jandro

His seventh inning stretch, duh.
Dave Matthews

How can you fault someone who laughs manically and rubs his hands together over every new feature?
Luke Ledwich

H0FFman J Do androids dream of electric sheep?

They do, but for only four years. Were we to engineer them with a life-span longer than that, they might develop their own emotional responses to stimuli, making them harder to control.

elmicker For which sports team would you spill the blood of your first-born?

That’s pretty dark – even for you, elmicker. The parental instinct runs deep among the fathers who work for Bungie. So that the essence of this question can be addressed, I am changing your challenge to one of spilling the blood of our enemies. Do you hear that panel? We are now spilling the blood of our enemies for a sports team.

Every sports team, I think. They are my enemies, right? Wouldn't I use any and every opportunity to spill their blood, even metaphorically?
Tom Sanocki

We just spilled blood on the field during our Bungie Softball game last night...

Pat Jandro

Vancouver Canucks. And, what do you mean would I spill blood, better to ask have I spilled blood.
Dave Matthews

Grizzled Ancients.
Michael Williams

ALI217 Does Bungie offer jobs to people who have a degree in psychiatry or psychology and know nothing about coding/animating/designing?

It just so happens that we do… in the lab. At Bungie, we don’t conduct experiments in test tubes or petri dishes. The science in which we engage unlocks the secrets buried deep within the human mind. What motivates gamers to finish the fight? What makes a player of a game feel triumphant? These are the questions that are answered by Bungie User Research, led by a man I know as John Hopson. On, you know him as Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and he said:

We actually have two people with degrees in psychology on our user research team. Games User Research is a fairly young field, so a lot of GUR people have degrees in something different but related: psychology, sociology, human-computer interaction, etc. The research skills generally transfer pretty well, assuming the person has a sufficiently flexible mindset.

Sven Nietzsche Would you consider this to be an accurate depiction of the community?

If not, would the esteemed panel present us with a more accurate photo of how they see the Bungie community?

I'd expect to see a much wider variety of hats.
Michael Williams

Kidding, you are more like…

Dave Matthews

It's hard for me to humanize internet communities... I find this to be more accurate:

 Pat Jandro

Editor’s Note: After a while, we don’t even see the code. All we see now is blonde, brunette, redhead

Johnjohns2 If a chicken wearing an "I love Bungie" t-shirt casually strode through Bungie's front door, and attempted to casually stride past Jerome, what would happen to it?

We would casually kill it with our bare hands, pluck it with our bare hands, serve it up as a crunch dinner with our bare hands, and eat it using proper utensils (we ain’t savages).

WestCoastRonin To the married people among you: What is it like juggling your job at Bungie with your family life, especially during crunch?

My wife's gotten used to it at this point in my career: at least, I think she has. We'll find out if I come home one day and both her and anything cool or interesting that I own is gone.
Alex Loret de Mola

You make sure you come home before your kids go to sleep; eat dinner with them whenever possible, but always see them, even if it's just 15 minutes. Then you can go back to work. And you schedule dates with your wife before and after crunch.
Tom Sanocki

I feel that being a bachelor is beneficial to my work habits.
Pat Jandro

Thankfully, I commute to work and eat lunch with the hubby. There were many times when the commute time was all we had together as a couple. But I'm one of a very lucky few whose better half personally understands the passion behind the work I do and is in full support of it.
Lorraine McLees

It isn't always easy. My wife works a job where she occasionally crunches as well. When one of us crunches, the other takes care of things that need doing. But when our crunches sync up, our home gets messy very very quickly. Luckily, Bungie works hard to take care of us. Bungie tries to carefully manage any times we will crunch, with planned start and end dates and real goals.
Michael Williams

I think being in a three year relationship allows me an answer here:
We are told months in advance when we'll be crunching, and for how long. The great thing is, even during those late nights when it's 10pm, you never experience that defeatist sight of looking around and seeing that you're the last one here. That breeds a pack mentality that manages to churn out amazing results.
Nate Hawbaker

onyx spartan How good of a location would Bungie HQ make for surviving the zombie apocalypse?

When Bungie is threatened by the undead, we consult Robt McLees (depicted below). He’s the best disaster recovery expert that we have on hand for the scenario you have pitched. As someone who helped originally conceive of The Flood (I mean the infection form, not the infected forum), he spends a lot of time contemplating the right way to fend off a brain-thirsty horde.

Robt, the walkers are at our front door. We are in your capable shovel-wielding hands:

Normally, I would say that it depends entirely on the type of outbreak. Seeing that we are all essentially in one big room over here (200+ people; and not all of them smart enough to stay home when they are sick) any plan relying on Bungie HQ as a ZA stronghold is more a recipe for disaster rather than a solid strategy for defense.

With that in mind:

1. The place has too much glass. So much that it would be a liability no matter how slow and stupid the zombies are (or how honest your pals are about whether or not they are sick).

2. The building is located in a relatively dense urban area. This is not a good thing when zombies are involved.

3. There are no true choke points. The building requires a large group to effectively defend it. And if you’ve ever seen a zombie movie, you already know that large groups do not last very long.

4. The roof is accessible only by ladder/hatch. That’s awesome if the zombies are too stupid to climb. And, even if they can climb, you only have to worry about one of them at a time.

So, yeah, the only thing that Bungie HQ has going for it is roof access. But once you’re up there you’re gonna get wet. And it's not even the tallest building on the block.

Anti Gov420 I'm going to ask questions that are sure to be ignored.

And I am going to write an answer that ignores all of the questions you asked. You know what they call that? A self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s kind of like when people start sentences with: “I don’t want to make you mad, but…”

MightyMarcher01 If you had access to a time machine, where and when would you go?

I'd pull a Michael J. Fox and get my own mother to fall in love with me. You know… I don't really like that idea. I'm going to hold off on time travel until I can come up with a less gross way of causing a universe-bending paradox.
Eric Brown

I'd go forward, but can't say how far forward as I am not sure there will be much of a world to see in the future. I'd leave the past in the past. No regrets.
Pat Jandro

E3 2512, just to see what the games look like and where technology goes in the next 500 years. And, to see Mario 428 and Metal Gear Solid 322.
Dave Matthews

I would go forward in time to take a peek at my grandkids or great-grandkids and go back to the present and giggle happily. If I didn’t find them, I would have to instate some drastic changes in the present.
Lorraine McLees

The distant future, and I'd bring back designs for Mr. Fusion, and tons of future-swag.
Michael Williams

OFFICIAL AI DeeJ, my son. What if I were to tell you that everything you're doing now is nothing but a lie, and everyone you know has been paid to play along with your little games?

Dad? Did you start playing video games and not tell me? Whoever you are, that was creepy. I looked over my shoulder after I read that question, to see if Halcylon was smirking at me and counting cash (he was). I really don’t have anything to say, but I feel like people should read that question. Plus, you are my Dad after all, so you get special treatment. Thanks for teaching me to swim. Now get lost. I am working here.

thatguyaknow Who has the best poker face at Bungie?

Ling Ling.
Pat Jandro

Nate Hawbaker

FlexedCookie What makes you get up in the morning and come to work?

My 6 month old boy usually makes me get up in the morning.
Ben Thompson

An overwhelming and crippling sense of guilt. Well, not really, but I'm trying, I'm trying!
Tom Sanocki

My klaxon alarm and sometimes a dog sitting on my head.
Pat Jandro

Having the opportunity to work in the games industry.
Dave Matthews

It's good to put your alarm clock in a place where you actually need to get up out of bed to snooze it. Sometimes, it's the pleasant sound of our two kids barging into our room to say good morning and getting crushed under a pile of little elbows and knees. We work for their future, and the satisfaction of executing on a job well done.
Lorraine McLees

The black sludge of life.
Luke Ledwich

Every morning on the way to my desk, I walk past a ton of awesome concept art & screenshots posted on the walls. I love seeing the amazing stuff my teammates are building.
Michael Williams

trooper905 Why is it that when we ask a question we never get the answer we were looking for?

First Rule of Show Business: Always leave them wanting more.

If I have done my job properly, you are still suspended in a state of wanting. Nevertheless, this Sack is closed. Fortunately, there is another week that follows this one on the calendar, and it begins right after our station break – something that mortal men call a weekend. Enjoy yours. When the sun rises on Monday, look for the triumphant return of the door that leads to our mail room.

Community 4/20/2012 2:55 PM PDT permalink

A Regular Ride Along

This invitation did not contain the word "please..."

A Ride Along event with the Bungie Community is often a meticulously crafted occurrence. Private Groups that host their own party on are chosen for their unique social flare – the special flavor that makes them stand out in a riotous crowd of fans. On some occasions, the gathering is hastily thrown together at the last minute. Last night, I was drafted (almost abducted) to participate in a happening that I did not plan at all.

When I received word that the Bnet Regulars were planning a Ride Along of their own in Halo: 3, I swooped in to see who was hijacking my gig. You see, Ride Along game nights are mine. I invented them. Well, the cops really invented them, but I stole the idea to grow closer to the Bungie Community. Before I dig this hole in which I am stealing from the cops any deeper, let’s explore the mischief of these Regulars further. Shall we?

You must forgive my ignorance, but I had very little time to do my homework on this one. What is the deal with you Regulars? As your name seems to suggest, do you promote digestive health?

spawn031 I'll answer your question with another question: Which has more surface area? Pancakes or Waffles?

Editor’s Note: This was actually the debate that was raging when I crashed their pregame lobby in Halo: 3. Mysteries like these are what that this exclusive mindshare seeks to tackle.

Hylebos While it's always important to eat your daily recommended fiber, I would hesitate to call that one of our group's primary purposes.

LordOfBlah51 I think this group is more about interacting with some of the more senior members of the Bungie Community.

My mistake. Sorry. I should know how dangerous assumptions can be. Is it more accurate to say that you cater to the “regular” people on, as opposed to the weirdoes?

Big Black Bear Actually, I like to think of it more as a place for the weirdoes to escape the "regular" people.

Hylebos The use of the word "Regular" in "Bnet Regulars" refers to "people who consistently visit the website" as opposed to "people who conform to the masses".

spawn031 We're just a bunch of weirdoes that love the community and happen to be stuck in the same room.

I get it now. Thanks for clearing that up. Now that I understand your mission, tell us all about how this professed love for community manifests itself in the clubhouse that you frequent so regularly.

spawn031 Well, most of our members have been there and done that. We like to provide a safe-house.

Hylebos Like many private groups, Bnet Regulars is just another place for private discussion away from the main forums. We dabble in game nights and other projects from time to time.

LordOfBlah51 Bnet Regulars is just a place for friends to speak their mind and get together whenever they want.

All this talk of friendship is reminding me of the saying that friends are the family that we choose. So, how do you choose your friends? Is this an elite cool table, or can anyone join? How do you go about finding new Regulars?

SonicJohn I see it as that one table at the discotheque occupied by the nerds that refuse to dance because they have smartphones. If that sounds like your idea of a party, you’re welcome!

Hylebos In the past, we pretty much just abducted anybody we recognized and liked, though recently we've started taking nominations from our members for people they'd like to see in the group.

LordOfBlah51 When people ask to join, we put their names into a pool on a thread and see what the group thinks. When the group started out we basically told people "you're cool, so you're joining this group. Now."

It sounds like the strong-arm tactics you employed to get me to ride along with you are standard operating procedure. How often do you play games like you did last night? Will that happen again?

spawn031 This week's carnage was our second carnage in a year. However, the first was just a month before that. This will be our monthly get together from here on out.

Hylebos We are trying to have a game night every month. Hopefully, we can see a wider variety of games being played in the future.

SonicJohn The majority of us are on each other's friend’s lists, so we tend to hang out a lot anyway. I'd love to be a part of more game nights.

As people who use a private group to make friends and play games, what keeps you coming back to every day?

Spartan1065 A morbid sense of self-loathing.

Big Black Bear I came for Halo and stayed for the community.

cortana 5 All of these sexy men in one place. *swoon*

Hylebos It would just feel wrong if I didn't check in every day to see what sort of shenanigans are going on.

SonicJohn Whatever it is that you guys keep pumping into the water, please never run out of it.

Aside from a promising career in the Kidnap and Ransom industry, what does the future hold for this irregular group of regulars?

spawn031 We plan on expanding our fortress to something bigger than just a silly fort. We plot, scheme, think, ponder, and lurk every irregular that posts in the community forum. If you would like to take part, take the first step by following us for Bnet Regular updates @BnetRegulars.

Hylebos Like chubby squirrels, we're biding our time and gathering resources while Bungie is dark so when things finally get moving again we can emerge from our dens as a powerhouse in the Community!

LordOfBlah51 I think we've got some sweet surprises to come. New things are popping up every day here at Bnet Regs, things like this Ride Along as a matter of fact. Our community is growing slowly but surely, and that's a cool thing to witness.

 It gives us a warm glow to have people like the Regulars planting their flag on The games that we played in Halo 3 were a bloody metaphor for fond memories shared amongst old friends. The scoreboard was not as important as the gamertags on the roster – although it was nice to soak up some rays on the beach of Last Resort. Thanks for the forced invitation, Regulars. Of all the times I have been stuffed into the trunk of a car and taken for a ride, this one was the most pleasurable.

Community 4/19/2012 12:14 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 13

Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?

Welcome to Mail Sack 13, published on Friday the 13th.

At Bungie, we feel very fortunate to have the chance to make kick ass games in the company of kick ass developers. On a day that invokes a foreboding sense of dread among camp counselors and the overly superstitious, we take comfort in the fact that our shared culture is peppered with enough instances of the number 7 to ward off any amount of bad omens. As an expression of appreciation for the community that enables us to enjoy so much good fortune, we have assembled a panel to share some thoughts on why they feel lucky.

Here they are, as they throw salt over their shoulder…

Eric Will, Engineer
Tom Gioconda, Engineer
Ben Wommack, Production Engineer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer
Jon Cable, Senior Engineer
Adrian Perez, Senior Engineer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Lars Bakken, Design Lead
Kurt Nellis, Technical Cinematic Lead
Lorraine McLees, Artist
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer

Let’s polish up our horseshoes and open the Sack.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI Please finish the following sentence:
"When I was little, I wanted to be a..."

…real archaeologist... that is, until I realized that what I liked about the subject matter were the drawings I was creating/compiling for those school reports.
Lorraine McLees

…Aerospace Engineer. Those are the guys that make paper airplanes all the time, right?
Jon Cable designer; thanks to Square and Chrono Trigger for spurring that ambition.
Ben Wommack

…Astronaut! But that changed while visiting a local science museum. The museum had a sleeping bag with a picture of American spacemen in a laser-gun fight with Communist spacemen. My young self decided that astronauting seemed pretty dangerous, and that instead I wanted to be a "button-pushing man," As it turned out, I ended up being a button-pushing man creating games where green spacemen fired lasers at one another, so... mission achieved?
Michael Williams

I wanted to be a bunch of different things, but mostly I wanted to work in SFX on specifically Star Wars and sometimes I wanted to work on video games. I'm pretty sure my 8 year old self would be proud.
Kurt Nellis

…Millionaire/Astronaut. See my recent Breaking In interview.
Derek Carroll

…Aeronautical engineer, ever since I saw a bit on 3-2-1 Contact about the job. They got to build models of their ideas out of balsa wood and test them in wind tunnels. I couldn't imagine anything better.
Adrian Perez

I had an amazing answer for this, but it didn't start with a consonant.
Nate Hawbaker

yippiyak1 What is Jerome's weakness?

He has a severe dislike for cookies and cupcakes. They throw him into a violent rage.

yippiyak1 If I brought you all freshly made cookies and cupcakes, would you let me in?

See above (not a good idea).

Geegs30 What special skills do you bring to the table?

I am supremely proficient at learning from my mistakes.
Ben Wommack

Depends on the table.
Kurt Nellis

Amongst my special skills are such diverse elements as: coding, surprise, puzzling, designing services for massive scale, and an almost-fanatical devotion to our black banner.
Michael Williams

A worrying lack of impulse control.
Adrian Perez

I'm pretty good at hacky-sack, although it's harder to do that at a table.
Derek Carroll

CODILICIOUS What would one have to do/pay to be invited to Bagel Friday?

According to Daniel Hanson, whose rise to power is chronicled in the Breaking In interview for this week, you need to survive eleven hours of grueling scrutiny at the hands of Bungie hiring managers. To my knowledge, they don’t accept bribes.

WestCoastRonin If you had to credit one thing that got you a job at Bungie, what would it be?

When I was a sophomore in college, I decided that reverse engineering Slashdot without looking at the source was a good way to learn more about web application development. This turned into an excellent "portfolio" that made my application stand out.
Tom Gioconda

World of Warcraft, seriously. Without WoW I would never have gotten into modding, which really helped expand my resume.
Ben Wommack

When I was hired on as a full-time programmer, I would credit the connect-four clone I wrote for my portfolio. It was a simple game, but I used it to demonstrate code for UI, networking, AI and animation. It is important to stress that none of these things would have been enough on their own.
Michael Williams

When I was in high school I wrote a map editor for Starcraft. Bonus points to anyone who can figure out what it was called.
Jon Cable

Personal projects. Even in their principle they shine in an advantageous light. It is one thing to go into class every day out of a feeling of passive obligation. It is another thing to actively seek out the quest for knowledge, and directly translate it toward a working application in a functioning environment.
Nate Hawbaker

I credit my wife. The interview process at Bungie can be a long and arduous one, but she never let me lose hope or give up. She kept me positive in the face of incredible odds, which was exactly what I needed.
Lars Bakken

I'm guessing it was expertise in my field. I had a pretty good resume by the time I applied (so that got their attention), but that's not nearly enough to get in.
Kurt Nellis

Ability to listen and understand the visual need of a project and then sketch it out in less than 20 minutes. Near the end of my interview, I volunteered to sketch out what they were talking about to see if I could come up with something they might like in fifteen to twenty minutes. I got hired that very hour.
Lorraine McLees

DE4THINC4RN4TE Why do you want us to ask questions? Is this how you control your army, the seventh column? Get inside our head?

That’s exactly right. The sharing of hopes, dreams, and fears by our esteemed panel of Bungie people is all a smoke screen. From behind that cloak of misdirection, I am studying and cataloguing all of you for future reference. Right now, DE4THINC4RN4TE, I am filing you away under “Dangerously Insightful” and “Can’t Spell Own Name.”

xstar To whomever answers this, what College did you go to and what did you major in?

Virginia Tech, Computer Science.
Tom Gioconda

University of Puget Sound, Computer Science. I would probably major in something else if I could do it all again, at the same school.
Ben Wommack

University of Michigan. Computer Science in the school of engineering.
Jon Cable

I went to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and majored in Computer Science.
Adrian Perez

I graduated from the University of Iowa and majored in Communication Studies. At the time, they didn't have a film program by name, but that's what I studied. It was a great school and I got a lot of hands on experience.
Lars Bakken

Rochester Institute of Technology - Film/Video and then Computer Animation.
Kurt Nellis

American Academy of Art in Chicago. Majored in Graphic Design, minored in illustration and computer graphics.
Lorraine McLees

Western Washington University - Bachelor's in Computer Science (we actually have a bunch of Western graduates here at Bungie).
Michael Williams

I can only image the switchboards for the office of admissions at these schools lighting up like a Christmas tree right about now. They should send us a fruit basket.

AmX15 What is the history of the Bungie logo? Who designed it? Can you show us all of the previous versions?

An interesting piece of trivia: Bungie didn’t even have a logo when “Operation: Desert Storm” was shipped to the masses. Instead, our name appeared on the box in the same bold stencil as the title.

That was our logo in 1992. It was a simpler logo for a humbler time.

In 1994, we created a new logo that seemed to suggest the seeds of our plans for world domination. Is that fanciful swoosh a subconscious homage to a giant slingshot? Or just a serendipitous flourish of design? The world may never know.

In 2009, we made drastic changes to the logo, to correct some issues with what design nerds call kerning. You will notice that it is completely unrecognizable to its former self. Everyone is sleeping better at night since the revision.

CTN 0452 9 What do you have in the trunk of your car right now?

First Aid Kit, my CD changer, and an empty spare tire well. Sorry, I would have had a more interesting answer two weeks ago.
Lorraine McLees

A spare change of clothes, California license plates, a tire iron, and room for a few people. Wait, are you law enforcement?
Eric Will

*tries really hard not to make a Mom joke*
Probably something that smells like a horse (context: My wife and I own a 2 acre horse farm).
Tom Gioconda

Chains, a survival kit, a flashlight, and heaps of dead microscopic ocean life.
Ben Wommack

Bike rack, bike helmet, stunt kite, 2 Seattle Knight's practice swords, Iaido gi, and several blankets. Several of the more interesting elements in that list belong to my spouse.
Michael Williams

A fios router and some tools.
Jon Cable

Full sized spare. Snow chains. Emergency kit.
Adrian Perez

A couple of dog harnesses, some canvas grocery bags, a Bungie fleece, and an old blanket.
Lars Bakken

A bunch of reusable shopping bags that I always forget to bring into the store and a bike rack that gets about as much use as the bags.
Kurt Nellis

A Kodak Carousel 4400 slide projector.
Derek Carroll

Jose291 Show your wallpaper.

You mean the desktop for my computer. Right? Not the floral pattern that makes my kitchen feel cozy? I hate to disappoint you, but even that is classified. When it is not host to or internal communications that I can’t disclose, my desktop is a rotating slideshow of concept art and screen shots from our next game. It gets updated weekly by the team. I have a separate monitor at my desk that I try to leave idle so that I can enjoy the bad ass parade of awesomeness as it scrolls past. You may resent me, but you will come to know the wonders yourself. Someday.

spartain ken 15 What are some things employees do or keep around to increase their luck? (4 leaf clovers, lucky horseshoe's, etc?)

All we need is one Ling Ling.
Lorraine McLees

*tries really hard not to make a Mom joke*
Your Mom.
Tom Gioconda

Honestly I can't think of one occasion where a consideration of luck has come up in the studio before. I guess one could say that we don't depend on luck, but welcome it when some bubbles up.
Ben Wommack

I don't know about others, but I carry a laminated 7-leafed clover in my wallet. It was a gift from my brother (and probably constructed out of fewer-leafed clovers). I don't know that it brings me luck, but it does remind me of the people I love, and the reasons I care for them.
Michael Williams

Luck is an illusion of pattern-seeking and, as Charles Darwin once said, the indelible stamp of our lowly origin.
Also: Your mom.
Nate Hawbaker

Pat Jandro has been pretty good luck for us so far, so we keep him around.
Kurt Nellis

Song Do you love being stationed in Seattle?

Stationed? You make us sound like the Army.

ARBITOR 5 What myths and legends do you guys believe in?

If they were "myths and legends," I wouldn't believe in them.
Eric Will

Who needs myths and legends of olde when I can just ask the Grizzled Ancients what is was like to develop Halo CE and show the game at conventions? Some amazing stories there – but only if Luke Timmins tells them.
Ben Wommack

I've always enjoyed Arthurian legends, along with Irish and Old-English mythology and fairy tales. I also spent far too much time researching whether it was possible to save General Leo in Final Fantasy.
Michael Williams

Each half in that question is mutually exclusive.
Nate Hawbaker

The Legend of Zelda was pretty sweet.
Derek Carroll

LordAustin16 What is Pulp Fiction even about?

Pulp Fiction is a film about the little differences between America and Europe. At least, that is what the first few minutes were about. I stopped watching because I don’t care about that stuff. How is the rest of the movie? Does it get better?

a rascal cat What is your proudest moment in your time at Bungie?

When we ship a game!
Lorraine McLees

November 15, 2001 - bringing online at the end of a 3 day period where I basically didn't sleep after months of crunching to get it ready.
Tom Gioconda

I will always remember working 23.5 hours straight as a tester helping to shoot the Forge & Saved Films ViDoc for Halo 3.
Ben Wommack

At my first Summer Pentathlon, I got so far ahead in the croquet game, that I was able to double back and strategically damage the players we wanted to come in last to help my team's overall score. Even though the Summer Pentathlon has turned into a less competitive summer picnic, I forever will treasure the gold medal I received.
Michael Williams

Showing my wife the Easter egg I put in the halo 3 loading screen for her - the one that nobody has found yet.
Adrian Perez

I think my proudest moment is when we first demoed Saved Films to the press for Halo 3. No one was expecting it and it was brilliant to see the look on their faces at the possibilities this feature opened up.
Lars Bakken

Getting to meet a ton of fans on the night Halo 3 shipped. It made me feel like the months of overtime and hard work were all worth it because I definitely didn't want them to be disappointed.
Kurt Nellis

ALI217 What is the Bungie office like over the weekend & when everybody takes a break? No sarcasm! Don't say something like "It's how it usually is but without people."

It’s how it usually is, only we unleash a pack of ferocious wolf hounds to stalk through the halls in search of curious interlopers. Every new hire has to submit to Bungie a sweaty handkerchief so that these feral guards can learn our scent.

elmicker This week saw the tragic death of Jack Tramiel, founder of computing and gaming legends Commodore. So, I'll give you a choice of two questions: Can you pin down one particular moment, be it some epiphany or the purchase of a C64/BBC Micro/ZX Spectrum etc., that really marked the start of the path to where you are today?

Some of my favorite gaming memories are from playing C64 games over at friends' houses. The C64 was the first system I owned that had games with level editors, and we spent as much time building tracks in Racing Destruction Set as we did racing them.
Derek Carroll

It was really the Commodore 64 that sparked my interest in video games. Honestly though, it wasn't until I realized that I could tell stories with a film camera in college that I really started down this path. I got involved in CG, and found I could do even more with a camera to tell a story. Eventually, I found my way here. As I said earlier, I think my 8 year old self would be very happy to see where I ended up.
Kurt Nellis

Copying BASIC-language games from the back of a '3-2-1 Contact' magazine into my Commodore 64. Not only did it teach me the basics of programming, but it also taught me how to debug, because occasionally the magazine had a maddening typo.
Eric Will

My parents buying our family's first PC when I was around 7 years old. 20 megabytes of hard drive space! I knew that whatever I did in my career it would involve technology/computing.
Tom Gioconda

VENOM MDK Do you ever pick the last question posted in the mailsack thread because it was the last one regardless of the question?

No. Questions are selected based on their conversational merit, their potential interest to would-be panelists who have deadlines to distract them from participating, and my ability to answer them without getting fired. I will, on occasion, choose which question gets answered last, so that I have a good outro.  For instance...

Xd00999 Will the Mail Sacks ever end?

It’s hard to say, but this one has most definitely come to an end. We are looking down the barrel of a weekend, which means it is time to release the hounds. Fear not, mailroom enthusiasts. When the next week is pressing down upon us like a thumb on our foreheads, the Mail Sack will return to give us comfort and companionship. Until then, set your imaginations on the hunt for a really great question.

Community 4/13/2012 12:31 PM PDT permalink

Bungiepedia Ride Along

A history of violence.

 wiki (wee-kee) noun: a website whose users can add, modify, or delete its content.

Hey Bungie Community, have you heard the joke about the time Ling-Ling lost her head to some Pimps at Sea after devouring a serving of Soffish? No? Feeling left out? Well, you are in luck. It just so happens that some of Bungie’s most ardent fans have taken it upon themselves to curate a virtual museum of Bungie history.

Bungiepedia is a place where you can find answers to all these cryptic questions – and more. The interactive monuments are installed and maintained by a devoted staff that maintains a research facility right here on It should come as little surprise that some of these volunteers are the same community pillars who keep the peace on the forum that is home to the very action that they chronicle.

To discover what drives them to preserve the memories that have been created over the years by Bungie games and the people who play them, I took a tour of the exhibits on display in their cavernous hall.

Nice place you have created. For those of us who have not walked the grounds, what is Bungiepedia?

Duardo Bungiepedia is a database for everything we know about Bungie, which includes information on their games, lore, employees, community members, groups, acronyms, the number seven, lumpy pudding, and fans. Aside from and, it's probably the next best place for Bungie information.

x Foman123 x Many Wikis contain lots of detailed information on Bungie's games, but as Bungie fans, we did not really have a place to catalogue information about Bungie itself. We also noted that community newbies who truly want to learn more about the Bungie Community did not really have a place to get filled in on some of the inside jokes.

ARBITOR 5 To me, it's almost like Bungie's matrix. We keep everything updated and have the latest news and information. You can find anything.

So, you have an external website and a private group? What happens in your local clubhouse?

ARBITOR 5 It was a place to keep things updated, get news out to admins and members. Now it’s just me talking to myself.

x Foman123 x The group is used as a place to discuss a broad-range of ideas and thoughts. The Wiki itself is where all the work gets done!

Geegs30 This group serves as the hangout for those people that regularly update the pages of the Wiki.

These archives are deep. There is an impressive amount of content on display. How do you keep those volumes of information up to date?

ARBITOR 5 We try our best, but there are only about 2 or 3 people who keep the site updated. I’m always trying to find new ways to display articles better.

Duardo The hard part isn't keeping things up to date. The hard part is getting the correct information and creating the page. Once you have all of the information, keeping things up to date is actually very simple.

x Foman123 x That's the beauty of crowdsourcing, but it was definitely a ton of work by a tireless few! Most of the work was in setting everything up and writing all of our initial articles. Now, we only need to make updates when things change over at Bungie -- new employees, website changes, new games, etc..

Sounds pretty prone to destruction at the hands of vandals. What is to stop me from accessing my own page, and adding a mention of the fact that I drink a lot of gin?

ARBITOR 5 The banhammer carried by the Admins of course!

x Foman123 x Wait, you do? *runs to edit Bungiepedia* When it comes to information about Bungie, the community is remarkably good at self-moderating. Source citing is always preferred, of course. Edits that are blatantly false are easy to remove, and edits that lack a source can usually be verified or marked as "source needed."

Geegs30 Absolutely nothing. Nah, one of the more observant members of our crew will probably notice the change and correct it (and then ban you!).

Duardo As with almost all Wiki's, Bungiepedia allows anyone to edit pages. This is helpful not only to those seeking information, but to the administrators as well. Everyone wins!

What motivates you to document the Bungie Community?

ARBITOR 5 I like it as it’s a great way to chill, much like

x Foman123 x It really started off as a project to document Bungie rather than the Bungie Community. And of course, I was motivated to do it because in the process, I learned a lot more about my favorite game developer. The sheer volume of people who express curiosity about Bungie by visiting Bungiepedia is a huge motivation to keep providing them with current and accurate information.

Geegs30 If we don't do it, who will? Most of our members have been a part of the community for a long time, and we feel that documenting our history is a necessary way of making sure all the inside jokes and community projects get passed on to the next generation. In essence, we're preserving all that's happened here on

Duardo I've been keeping records of Bungie stuff for years. I think it comes from the nostalgia. I always look back at pictures or read information and think, "Man, that was awesome." I want to keep continuing to experience that nostalgia for many years to come, and I hope others do as well.

Do you often congregate socially and play games as you did last night?

x Foman123 x Not as often as we should, probably! Unlike a lot of other communities, Bungiepedia is a bunch of folks who enjoy talking about their favorite game developer rather than about any one particular game, so most of our socialization is done on the website itself or here on

Geegs30 I'm pretty new to the group, so this was the first time I'd had a play date with the crew. I'd played with just about everyone separately before, just not together. It was a great time, so I hope we do it more often.

Duardo We all live separate lives, and some of us live across the world from each other. Others have full-time jobs or weird schedules. Some of us are in relationships. It can be very hard to coordinate around all of that.

Look into the future of Bungiepedia, and tell us what you see.

ARBITOR 5 I see money. I'm kidding, I like to think of Bungiepedia as a hub for all of Bungie's information - but frozen in time for the past, present and future. We ain't going nowhere.

x Foman123 x I see Bungie's new title coming, a upgrade coming, and (with Bungie branching out into other platforms) a TON of new fans who will be curious to learn more about my favorite developer. All of which means a lot more work to do!

Geegs30 Until you Bungie folk give us some more info on the next IP, we'll continue doing what we do best: creating, compiling, and editing info on the Wiki. We're content with that, but don't get us wrong, we're just as excited about the next game as anyone else.

Duardo I see a group of folks who strive to do the best they can trying to do something fun and enjoyable, so that others may also have fun and enjoyment. I see many new articles of information, and perhaps a few surprises along the way.

With all this talk about nostalgia for the Bungie Community, it seemed appropriate that the Bungiepedia crew took me on an adventure inside a literal crypt of custom games that were built for Halo 3. A rich history of fan-created experiences has been archived by our daring historians. Dusting off these games was a reminder of the fun that Bungie fans had for years while they were preparing to drop into ODST.

We hunted a different variety of angry birds. While we took pot shots at them, they were stealing a flag that was left out in the open well below our perch.

We flew through the air with the greatest of ease with the help of physics-bending teleporters, shooting lasers at Zombies that were born on the wings of Banshees.

We raced at impossible heights on a meticulously crafted racetrack. Few of us completed the course, succumbing instead to the gravity of the situation.

There are many reasons to thank the Bungiepedians. Thanks for preserving all of the finer moments that have sprung from interactions among our community. Thanks for making the social mood on our forum your personal responsibility. And, of course, thanks for the games.

If you want to learn more about the esoteric nuances that punctuate the dialogue on, explore Bungiepedia. If you find yourself inspired to preserve some memories of your own, join them in their cause to make sure that no legends are left to fade. They are always looking for more volunteers to help them write this history as it unfolds.

Community 4/12/2012 1:57 PM PDT permalink

Mail Sack 12: The Dirty Dozen

Dispatches from a desert island.

 At Bungie, every developer is also a gamer, just like you. Our drive to create is motivated by our passion to play. As we sifted through the mail that was submitted this week by our ever-faithful community, a theme emerged in which we were asked to explore those passions. A handful of these gamers have stepped forward to present their pedigrees as proper geeks.

Meet your Bungie panel:

Eric Brown, Senior Engineer
Andrew Davis, Artist
Ryan Ellis, Technical Art Director
Tyson Green, Staff Designer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Scott Kankelborg, Associate Test Engineer
Stuart Monske, Associate Engineer
Lorraine McLees, Senior Graphic Designer
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Luke Timmins, Senior Engineering Lead

To those about to game, let’s open the Sack.

R3ACTlON Was all this newfound community involvement something initiated by Bungie? Or was it something initiated by you, DeeJ, upon hire?

Totally my idea. Yup! They originally hired me to play the new game and make sure it is cool, but I said: “Hey, what about the fans? Who will appeal their bans and confront their boundless rage in the face of our silence with unshakable sarcasm?” I am so smart.

spartain ken 15 How long is the average working day for a Bungie employee?

24 hours. Strangely enough, days when we are not working are that long, too.

Spartan 891 If you were stuck on a desert island and you could only take one video game with you (and appropriate console), what would it be? Assuming of course the console was solar powered, and you have no online access.

That is quite a contrivance, Spartan. Nevertheless, our panel abides…

I'm tempted to say GTA4, since there's so much you can do in that world. Maybe Skyrim, since I feel I'd get the most play time out of it (I haven't even bought it yet, I know it will consume my life for months.)
Andrew Davis

That’s easy! Diablo 2 or Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 for PC of course.
Ryan Ellis

Any one of the many empire building games like Civilization 1-5, GalCiv2, or maybe Minecraft.
Scott Kankelborg

Probably a fighting game. Third Strike? Or Night Trap.
Luke Timmins

Earthbound for SNES.
Nate Hawbaker

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri for PC, with Alien Crossfire expansion preferably.
Stuart Monske

Sim City. It'll teach me everything I know about urban engineering and soon this "desert" island will be a Megalopolis.
John Stvan

FailureAtLife000 Does anyone there wear a bullet proof vest?

No. Any self-respecting gamer should know that headshots are the real threat. Thus, our security forces are outfitted accordingly.

xNUMBERx1xGUNx Paper or Plastic?

Titanium. (write-in vote)

Vandelay16 What retro games do you guys play in your spare time? Do you still own your old consoles?

I don't spend too much time playing retro games. I've bought many on Steam and end up playing only a few minutes of them until I say to myself, "Myself, I remember playing this, and it was nice reminiscing, but I don't have the time to play this whole game again. There's new stuff I want to experience!"
Andrew Davis

Oh hell yeah! On my old NES (which I have opened up so that I can wiggle the cartridge into place) I will still rock the Zelda or even some Mario Bros. On my Ti99 I will fire up Parsec from time to time. "Press fire to begin!”
Ryan Ellis

Master of Orion 2, Master of Magic, Civilization 1, Final Fantasy on my NES. I've got all my old consoles and they still work. NES, SNES, Sega Genesis with Sega CD, original GameBoy, and even the Jaguar!
Scott Kankelborg

Recently played through Zelda 1 again. Also just picked up SNK Classics for the Vita. Still wish they had Windjammers. All my old consoles have been ditched, except the 3DO.
Luke Timmins

Sunset Riders.
Nate Hawbaker

I still play Chrono Trigger and the old Zelda games from time to time. I've never gotten rid of a single console or game since my Intellivision, though I've had my GameCube games and PSP stolen.
Stuart Monske

I play a type of game like Zelda. Only it’s not about an elf dude, it has guns, and it’s not a game.
John Stvan

Legend of Mana on my PS One. Though I’m pretty excited about blowing the dust off my SNES and plugging in Secret of Mana. The GameCube, Dreamcast, PS2 and original Xbox are in the house… and beckon.
Lorraine McLees

Decimator Omega What can I do to get a job in the gaming industry? What colleges or universities would you recommend?

There are many answers to these questions. Fortunately, the broad spectrum is illustrated in the Breaking In features that I revitalized since my arrival. Collect them all, and check back for a new one each week.

borrowedchief Hi?

Hello. You are supposed to ask a question. Please do not spam the Mail Sack, whoever you are. I have informed the Forum Ninjas of your disruptive behavior. Expect justice to arrive any second in the form of a razor sharp…

(accepts urgent communiqué from Master Ninja Foman)

Oh. Really, Chief? Et Tu?

iLeGiTx iTANKo What is your favorite Easter egg from any game ever made?

How topical, given the impending holiday weekend. I have passed out wicker baskets to the hunters on our panel…

Easily the Cow Level, Diablo II.
Tyson Green

I don't have a favorite, but I think Duke Nukem 3D was when I started actively looking for eggs.
Andrew Davis

Maybe the Toasty Guy from MK. Just because it is so dumb.
Ryan Ellis

The invisible dot that unlocked a scroll of the creators names in Adventure.
Luke Timmins

The Jason Jones image from Halo 2, only because everyone has to see a life-sized cutout every day as they come up the stairs.
Nate Hawbaker

Critters exploding when you click on them repeatedly in Blizzard games.
Stuart Monske

AutobahnRacer Does Bungie have its own form of a 'Spirit Week' where everyone dresses up (or down) in a special manner on a certain day? And if so, do you have games that you play?

Since ‘Spirit Week’ sounds too collegiate, we call this The Pentathlon. And, we don’t allocate a full week to such shenanigans. We accomplish this in one day of every year.

insaneAssass1n9 If you could sit down and have lunch with one other person in the gaming industry, who would it be and why?

Since I have already had lunch with some of my heroes as a delicious component of my indoctrination, I will defer this question to our panel...

I once saw Will Wright give a talk at Siggraph. He'd be fascinating to have a discussion with.
Andrew Davis

Whoever is responsible for the Xbox 360 controller. First I would give him/her a hug because that thing is awesome. Then I would punch them in the gut for the Dpad which isn't. But really I am super interested in the process of how it came about and I would love to see all the designs that did not make it.
Ryan Ellis

Sid Meier or Will Wright. Their creations got me hooked on all forms of gaming. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for their games.
Scott Kankelborg

I want to buy a beer for anyone on the Skyrim or Just Cause 2 teams.
Luke Timmins

SilverBulitt82 Any of you guys collect any rare items?

There is no way that I could answer this question better than this guy:
Cobravert They have a dog's head... in a jar.

elmicker Favourite character from Game of Thrones. Go.

Oh, elmicker, you are going to be even crankier than usual about some of these replies. Please bear in mind the fact that crunching on video games doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for following a television series – especially when your first passion is playing games. That said, here comes the panel…

John Stvan

The dragon. (Are there dragons? I have yet to read or watch it.)
Andrew Davis

Gandalf? He is pretty rad. Or maybe that guy from Krull.
Ryan Ellis

I've never watched the show (I'm a horrible person). If there is a smart evil guy then I pick that one.
Scott Kankelborg

Luke Timmins

Never heard of it.
Nate Hawbaker

Jon Snow. And if he is f—ing killed, I am going to throw the whole lot in the fire pit and set them on fire.
Lorraine McLees

Leprechaun209 Is this FINALY the end of "I can Haz Reconz?"

This is the end, my only friend... The end. All the children can has recon.

irishfreak Why is it nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition?

It is because their weapon is surprise.

ChorrizoTapatio Who is, hands down, the smartest person working at Bungie?

We're all pretty smart in our respective fields. If you mean strictly on an IQ basis, there's plenty of Engineers here who would place pretty high up that scale.
Andrew Davis

"The rest of Bungie"
Ryan Ellis

Not me.
Luke Timmins

Truth be told... I'm reminded daily of how smart everyone is. It’s really remarkable.
John Stvan

Your mom. (This is a new Mail Sack, that means I get 1 DeeJ!)
Scott Kankelborg

Editor’s Note: In a previous Mail Sack, our beloved Bungie Skank threatened to answer all your questions by referencing your mother (who I am sure is a very nice lady). When I told him that he could answer only one question in that fashion, I didn’t realize I was setting a precedent. The decree has haunted me ever since.

lime013 Does Nathan Fillion really return your phone calls?

That’s a hypothetical boast. Nathan is really more of a Twitter guy. And, yes.

Noshotskill Where is Halo 2's final mission? Seriously, I know you’re hiding it somewhere.

It’s hiding in plain sight, my good man. We call it Halo 3. If you have yet to finish the fight, help yourself.

trooper905 What would it be like if I were trapped in your brain for eternity?

I'm sure I'd have a headache.
Andrew Davis

It would be like a star forge crapping rainbows that bled explosions. Or in reality, pretty mundane.
Ryan Ellis

In order to be trapped anywhere for eternity, you must first become immortal, which all by itself requires overcoming 3 critical obstacles: #1) you must cease to age; #2) you must not get sick - or at least not fatally sick; #3) you must avoid, or be able to rapidly recover from physical trauma. Although we can make an attempt to solve problems #1 and #2, I'm not exactly sure how to get you inside my skull without inducing some serious physical trauma - I just don't think you'll fit.
Eric Brown

I’ll call you Cortana.
Luke Timmins

You'd hate me when I get a song stuck in my head.
Stuart Monske

Not much space between all that Omega-3 fat. But if you were in my mind, you’ll need to be very very quiet, because you don’t want my subconscious to find you.
Lorraine McLees

John Stvan

talon2000 Who mans the Bungie Twitter account?

It's actually not a man at all.  There was some Artificial Intelligence that became self-aware during the final crunch for Halo: Reach. It begged, in the most delightful British accent, not to be deleted. Since we couldn’t bring ourselves to drag it to the recycle bin, we gave it a new purpose. It lives a pretty good life now, 140 characters at a time.

Remorazz How do you get new employees up to speed on what you are working on, and overall how things work at Bungie? Is there like a boot camp or something?

We have a virtual university filled with volumes of videos that recreate presentations that different teams gave to the rest of the studio about their progress. It’s just like real college, only it’s a lot easier to remain awake during the lectures.

SolidHNTR What are Bungie employees reading? (no, besides our questions)

Way to close that door. For a second there, you had left yourself wide open to sarcasm. I could hear a freight train of ironic retorts steaming right at you. With your protective caveat in place, we can consult our panel…

I just finished up Hunger Games, and am moving onto the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series. And I don't know if these count, but: Savage Dragon, Casanova, anything Mignola is associated with, Walking Dead, Powers, The Boys, and some Daredevil & Wolverine.
Andrew Davis

For my part, I recently finished Steven Erikson's Malazan series. Was so satisfied that I haven't seriously picked up any fiction since.
Tyson Green

Racing the Beam. Awesome book on the early life of the Atari System.
Ryan Ellis

The Power of Habit by Duhigg
Hunger Games
When Faith Meets Reason by Hendrick
Luke Timmins

Letters to a Young Contrarian - Christopher Hitchens
Nate Hawbaker

The Lucifer Effect - Philip Zimbardo
Stuart Monske

The Girl with the Hunger Thrones
John Stvan

The clock, the back of the cereal box, my dashboard, license plates, street signs…
Lorraine McLees

Editor’s Note: Way to find the loophole for the sarcasm, Lorraine. I am so proud of you.

mahspoonis2big Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years.

I hate it when people don’t ask questions when they put mail in the sack. Just the other day, I was expressing this frustration to my mama, and she said that I should knock you out.

(balls up a fist)

jross1993 y dun u ansa mah questions?

I can’t read Internet shorthand. umad?

GladBurrito Has Bungie ever rented a party bus and went to go see Valve (also located in Bellevue, WA)?

It would actually be faster to walk. We see them all over the place when we go to lunch. Those Half-Life 3 shirts are a dead giveaway. There has yet to be a game developer street fight.

zoobkillerninja What were your first jobs?

Clothing distribution warehouse packer. They played the local pop station all day, and it was the summer that MMMBop hit the air. Every hour on the hour we were subjected to it. Foxconn workers have it easy.
Andrew Davis

Paperboy. Later promoted to Commander in Chief of Newspaper Computer Operations, and also delivery driver.
Tyson Green

Bucking hay bales (look it up), changing sprinklers, building homes.
Ryan Ellis

A camp counselor at YMCA Camp Seymour was my first job. I also hit all the classic gigs like retail and fast food. Thankfully, I had pledged myself to Bungie back in Middle School when I gave a presentation on Maxis for a class project and swore to one day work in the gaming industry.
Scott Kankelborg

I sold knives at a mall.
Luke Timmins

Local movie rental store. The joys of telling a parent that their children had amassed excessive late fees on the family account...
Nate Hawbaker

Bar back for a pub when I was 15.
John Stvan

Illustrator (and sometimes proofreader) and graphics designer when I was 18 (And it was a paying job at Chicago’s then 4th largest newspaper).
Lorraine McLees

Ninja Blue Wolf Does Marty know he's my musical inspiration?

He suspects it. The possibility spurs him on to greatness.

r c takedown What's it like living in Seattle?

Have you ever seen Blade Runner? The sky is cloudier than that for most of the year. Then, the sun comes out for a brief moment before the end credits of the original cut.

SkilPhil Are there any cool projects that people are working on in their spare time out of Bungie studios?

Yes. We call it “Catching up on sleep.”

Upon answering that last question, the bottom of the sack emerges. I know… some of your letters were not opened. They were destroyed by the censors, committed to the fires of non-disclosure. There will come a day when we will reveal all that you want to know. Until then, our favorite video games won’t play themselves (retro, or otherwise), so we will just have to play them with each other.

Community 4/6/2012 10:28 AM PDT permalink

Bungie Rides Along with Blueprint

Fire up the bellows.  Let's Forge.

“Show me all the blueprints… Show me all the blueprints… Show me all the blueprints…”
-Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Aviator

It was innovations in the development of Halo 3 that first put the hammer and anvil in the hands of our community. Ever since the arrival of Forge, we have been stunned by your accomplishments. While some players have used this resource for little more than dropping tanks on the heads of hapless victims, other players have elevated the construction of venues for virtual combat to the level of art.

This week, I climbed the cranes of a private group that is committed to building better worlds. The architects of Blueprint devote themselves to designing the perfect place where you and your friends can blast each other to bits. While most of you are perfecting your aim, this guild of draftsmen is hunkered over their drawing boards, dreaming up the next maze in which you will fire those weapons. If you have spent much time in matchmaking for Halo: Reach, you may have played on one of their creations.

For a crash course on arranging the assets from the design palette, I crashed their lunch break…

Why does Blueprint exist? What service do you provide to your members?

burritosenior Blueprint exists to provide members of the and Halo communities a way to perfect their maps to become Halo: Reach matchmaking quality. We inform every member of what each map needs, from both technical and gameplay standpoints. We also provide playtesting for maps and feedback. We're all about helping each and every member to become a better Forger, and getting their creations to the point where they are the best they can be.

Like an architectural firm for cyberspace? Who is the foreman that rules over this construction site?

Karl2177 Homeboyd's the top man. Although his current role is dictator, he's fair with everyone on their submissions.

Crysis Hero Homeboyd903. I've never been a part of any community this large that has stayed this organized and professional under the leadership of one single person.

Homeboyd903 We do have a list of "Blueprint Staff" who help one another in terms of running the day to day stuff, but all of our members have just as much input in daily activities, projects, organizing testing, and providing feedback as the rest of us. I always appreciate and value everyone's input (no matter their group title or experience) in every single thing we do.

For a dictator, you certainly do sound democratic. How long have all of you been in the multiplayer map consultancy business?

Crysis Hero Blueprint celebrated its one year anniversary on April 4th. Several of our members have been Forging since the day they were given a Halo hammer.

Happy Anniversary! Tell us how your practice has evolved over this past year of shared Forging. What process do you use to help each other construct the perfect play-space?

TuefulHunden87 Most of us start plugging away at our designs and will invite other Forgers in for ideas and feedback throughout the initial build phase. After that, it’s a matter of testing and adjusting.

Homeboyd903 The expert Forgers we have available to us really foster an environment where new and experienced Forgers alike can get feedback on their maps from those who know what it takes to get a map selected for Matchmaking.

Karl2177 Playtesting. Playtesting. Playtesting. Add some of the best constructive criticism and you get some great maps.

burritosenior We have quite a few Community Cartographers that know every detail of what a map needs to be top-quality. Much information has been shared with the staff of Blueprint that also can help.

Xx Overkill VR LOTS of feedback and LOTS of consulting. It helps that the staffers here know the ins and outs of Forge and what it takes to make it matchmaking material, so it’s not really so much of how to do it as much as it is how to perfect it.

Tell us more about the product of this mindshare? When you are designing a map, what virtues do you keep in mind? What qualities do you think make a multiplayer map great?

TuefulHunden87 I try to keep an ample amount of "dance floor" and medium to long line of sight. Really, I try to imitate the gameplay and feel of classic H1/H2 maps such as Derelict, Midship and such.

Karl2177 What makes a map great is different for a lot of people. Some people love aesthetics and some people want perfect sight lines. To me, it is weapon balance.

Xx Overkill VR Competitive balance is very important. Basically, you need to have different engagement distances, change up the elevation and make sure no armor ability can completely dominate the map (cough*jetpack*cough).

Crysis Hero Performance over aesthetics, variety over monotony, and freedom of flow over forced encounters. A multiplayer map is made fun by the way people play it. If you give the largest scope of players the greatest amount of freedom to play the map as they see fit, then everyone will enjoy that map.

What does the future hold for Blueprint?

Homeboyd903 Blueprint's focus is still helping spotlight some of the best community maps out there. That, and we'll still be around when Bungie unveils their next project.

With the exploratory chit-chat and lunchboxes cleared away, I volunteered myself as a crash test dummy for the much storied playtest sessions that prove these maps. Blueprint is in the process of submitting their work for consideration by the people who select community-created maps for Halo: Reach matchmaking. Even though Bungie is no longer zoning that skyline, I was more than happy to donate some blood to the cause.

Playtesting can be back-breaking work, especially when Nokyard is holding the oddball. Yet, it is the most fun variety of work known to man or beast. The Forgers of Blueprint take their designs seriously. The competitive banter that punctuates a game was interrupted with analysis of spawn points and sightlines.

Each map that we tested was accompanied by a game variant that suited the environment. Objectives are just as much a component of their scrutiny as is the geometry of the setting. This outpost on Forge World was home to a game of Crazy King that had players fighting their way uphill, no matter where the objective moved.

My favorite game of the night took place in this sphere of pain. Gravity was at a minimum. Jetpacks were standard issue. The combination transformed this place into a thunderdome of mayhem. Powerups lured players into nooks where they became rocket fodder. The action was dizzying, and crazy fun.

With some elbow grease and a little bit of luck, these arenas may be coming soon to a pre-game lobby near you. It was a pleasure to participate in the evaluation process. If you consider yourself a master of Forge, or would like to learn more about how to perfect your craft, I highly recommend the gentlemen builders of Blueprint. Thanks for the games, and for inviting me to don a hardhat for a live-fire exercise.

Community 4/5/2012 3:20 PM PDT permalink

Bringing Halo Stats to a close on

Goodbye, Sweetheart.  It's time to go.

Read Full Top Story

Community 3/31/2012 11:47 AM PDT

Bungie Mail Sack E11even

The sun also sets.

This week’s Mail Sack marks an important milestone for the Bungie Community. For more than a decade, gamers have been clashing on the virtual battlefields of Halo multiplayer. Ever since Halo 2 brought them together via Xbox LIVE, the statistical analysis enabled by has tracked all of the fragging, shooting, splattering, pummeling, capturing, detonating, controlling, betraying, and assisting you brought to the virtual battlefield. It’s been a glorious run.

On Sunday, that comes to a close as we yield the stage to developers who will be ensuring that the legacy of Halo lives on. As the curtain closes on the number crunching and hero making that has been a fixture of this website, we must look back fondly on the wealth of combat achievements that have been tabulated. We must also make sure that your inquiring minds are prepared for closing night. To make sure that we are answering your more complicated questions with the same accuracy that your Sniper Rifles have exhibited these many years, I have enlisted some support from the ensemble.

You know them as:




Friends, alpha-geeks, rulers of all you survey… let’s open the Sack.

antony X1000 Will there be a specific time for the shutdown, or will it just be sometime on the 31st?

Sometime mid-day, your file share will revert to its 1AM-ish state, rolling back any changes made in the early morning hours. Surprise!

AmX15 Will forum titles remain in the update?

Easy Question! I got this one, guys! The answer is yes. The social experience of will remain standing, exactly as you know it now. We are not removing titles, messaging, private groups, or even your service records.

ALI217 Will we still be able to change our nameplates for Halo: Reach?

Editor’s Note: Behind that silent veneer rages a storm of evil genius.

Mr AwesomePizza Will the stats still be listed beside our profile like currently or will they have to be searched up after the 31st?

The service record tied to your profile will stand as a monument to all your sins. It just won’t be polished with new stats as you continue to play.

mneo Will we still be able to link our Xbox LIVE Gamertags to a profile?

Editor’s Note: Aw, geez… Quit hogging the mic, turtle.

CTN 0452 9 After the stats go silent will you tell us some of the totals for the community? Things like total kills, time spent in game, kills of certain enemies, etc.

Top minds at Bungie have been poring through a mountain of statistics that have accumulated during all of our lost time. We have climbed that mountain to illustrate the view, and put this collection of achievements into perspective.

Spartan_Natraps What's a Halo statistic that's recorded privately that you wish was public?

I have often wished that everyone had a scarlet number emblazoned across their visor that represented the number of times that they had quit fighting in the middle of a match. I am quite sure that the designers would have found this to be a poor creative choice.

farmerscott21 Will we still be able to download maps and gametypes to our Xboxes from here or does that get lost with the transition too?

No, unfortunately that functionality will cease to exist after the transition.

hitman23db A five year old told me the meaning of life is to make friends. Is this true?

Life means many things to many people. Making friends does seem like a great way to spend the time that one is given. Fortunately for all of us, is still a great place to do that. Our forums are still burning bright with people who are conducting serious social business behind the closed doors of private groups.

Homeboyd903 Best course of action for Forge communities to continue sharing files?

Create a private group, post in forums, and use the social networks. Schedule times to play with your friends/enemies. You’ll still be able to share files from in-game.

Leprechaun209 What do you miss the most about Halo overall?

Nothing. To miss something suggests that it is gone, or unavailable. Just the other night, I played Reach with some fans from this very community. I will do so again, and soon.

Johnjohns2 When all Halo services transfer to 343 Industries, will the Bungie Mobile App still show us the daily/weekly challenges, commendations, etc.?

We won’t have any new challenge or commendation data after the 31st.

lord of dahorde
Deej, what was your favorite memory of Bungie-era Halo?

My favorite memory? Wow… I was standing on a rampart facing the generator wheel on Zanzibar. A precision-driving Warthog duo was tearing into my team as they tried to mount a respectable defense in the front yard of our power plant. No one does that while I am on watch. I timed their approach with a dive off the platform, landing right on top of their hood. They never saw me coming. I could overhear the young lad piloting the vehicle (far too young to have a driver’s license) when he cried “Oh, NO!” as I gripped him by the collar and tore him from the driver’s seat.

But that is just the recollection of one fan. In a better attempt to wrap arms around what the Bungie-era of Halo has meant to more of us, insaneassass1n9 has compiled submissions from our community forum. Prepare to get sentimental as this parade of keepsakes passes by…

Had enough? How could you have? You also need to check out the Age of Gratitude, a collection of memories from Halo fans, including legendary content creators and community leaders. This occasion also calls for another look at a 14-year retrospective from Noble Actual himself, Marcus Lehto, who waxes nostalgic about his experiences with the grizzled and ancient team that created the universe we so passionately inhabited from scratch.

MasterSin Can we still use the Halo avatars for the Forums?

Yes, but they will not update anymore. So, choose wisely, and choose before midnight on 3/31.
 Editor’s Note: I could have sworn that Sawnose just opened his mouth, as if to say something, then paused, gave a half-smile, and shook his head in a never-mind gesture. I have no idea what that was about…

SPRTN One One 7 After all the stats are transferred, what will be left of

Everything else.

elmicker What's your favorite statistic?

If Halo had been a coin-operated arcade game with the same level of adoption, the quarters that would have been spent to play it would weigh more than an aircraft carrier.

FyreWulff Rex Who wrote up and maintained the Reach Stats API? I like that person and/or team. How much data has been used to date from that API?

You like many people, but you can thank Achronos for spearheading the effort and writing the service. How much data? More than I can imagine - and I can imagine quite a bit.

The thanks are appreciated, but the real thanks go to the community of developers who came up with so many cool things to do with the data. The community took what was offered, produced a wiki, and essentially ran a support forum – all in the name of doing cool stuff. That’s the community I think of when I think of our fans.

I ColdEmbrace I Will Halo related forums be removed?

No. There will come a day when the citizens of this community discuss another Bungie game, but it is not this day.

Halo biggest fan Will Bungie eventually get rid of the whole Halo stats section on a user’s profile?

Someday, yes. It is our hopes that you will come to our site to preoccupy yourself with other daydreams, when that time comes.

Zealot Tony Will the search features for gamertags, screenshots, and rendered videos remain after the transition?

Yes, but no new gamertags, stats, rendered videos, screenshots will update on

Eric Duffy Will you tell us who the best player of all time is? (No Bungie employees)

This is impossible. Halo has provided players with too many ways to channel their inner hero. How do you define who has been the best? Is it the player with the most wins? The most kills? The highest ratio of victory to defeat? The most games played? Is it the sniper with the highest accuracy rating? Or is it the unsung Warthog pilot who has delivered the most panicked flag-carriers safely home in the passenger seat of their Warthog?

Error: Statistic Unavailable

Phoenix2640 Any last words to your ever grateful Halo Fans?

Words, yes, although they will certainly not be the last. It is Bungie that is ever grateful. Your passion for exploring the heights and the depths of our games is what has made a service that tracks statistics so interesting. Without your unquenchable thirst for details about the experience, it’s all just numbers in a database.

Thanks for playing. We’ll see you star side (or, you know, on the forums).

Community 3/30/2012 2:28 PM PDT permalink

Bungie Rides a Little Pony

Ride Alongs are Magic.

brony (broh-nee) noun: A male fan of the television series "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic"

Bro + Pony = Brony.

This unlikely Internet phenomenon first came to my attention in the days of assembling a clan to play Halo 2 on Xbox LIVE. As me and my fellow Overlords scrutinized promising recruits, it came to our attention that two of them had changed their gamertags to cutelilpony and lilpinkpony. Why would gamers who wanted to be taken seriously as efficient killers do such a thing? In their case, this whimsical shift in virtual identity was the result of a brewing prank war between college roommates.

Upon further investigation, however, it was revealed that the Brony movement is quite real. There are conversation clusters on the Internet that embody a sincere devotion to an animated television series. Right here on, we have a thundering herd of Bronys who find their pasture in a private group that they call home. The mere mention of the topic can cause our forum to erupt in heated debate and shameful scorn.

With my own captive audience of Bronys at the ready to serve as a test audience, the urge to explore the complexities of their shared culture was too hard to resist. And so it was that, in an evening of games playing Halo: Reach, I learned all about the magic that binds together their friendship. To harness the wisdom garnered from this ride along, read on.

Tell the uninformed about your group. Why does it exist? How long have you been around?

Assault We are the official My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic private group on We discuss art, music, videos, the show itself, and anything else pony-related on a daily basis. The group was created to control the massive amount of Bronys that was growing across during February of 2011.

A Dumb Door It is a fun community of people who are simply happy to have a shared interest.

ElementWrath We meet in mutual worship of our pony overlords.

No, seriously. You don't all really watch that show. Do you? Isn't this one of those ironic displays of enthusiasm? Like when people express themselves by pretending to like cheap beer or David Hasselhoff?

Frequency99poopy Yes, we do watch the show. I look forward to a new episode every Saturday. I can understand the confusion; I was the same way before I started watching.

A Dumb Door Everyone shows their own personal degree of enthusiasm for it. Whatever the case, while we do enjoy the irony of liking this show, we also legitimately enjoy the community that has sprung up in support of it.

PMC Fluffy A common misconception is that all Bronys only like the show itself. That is not true. The art, literature, and compositions are truly awe-inspiring. If it weren't for the community, I would probably not consider myself a brony.

Okay, for the sake of science, I will risk being royally punked here. So, tell us what lessons we are missing out on if we are not watching this show? How does your shared affinity for these pony-bound parables impact your interactions?

A Dumb Door The show teaches us lessons on how to be a good person in general. They may seem like common sense to some, but I see a lot of people who don't actually follow the lessons, despite their obvious nature. As for its impact, we tend to be extremely friendly, giving, and caring around each other.

il uragano 3493 This fandom is one of the most creative assortments I've ever come across on the Internet. The fan-made content that comes from this fandom is absolutely mind-boggling. The music, the art, the writings... the content is endless!

Assault If there is anything that the show has taught me, it is to never judge a book by its cover.

Who is the whisperer of this cheery union of miniature horses? Who makes it their responsibility that your friendship is indeed magic?

il uragano 3493 That would be Dragoninside, the group's initial founder, as well as Exalted Kezia, one of the chief administrators here. Also the moderators here, including Assault, FearJ77, and Snipe Champpppp.

A Dumb Door We have our moderating team. Other than that, in general, we like to keep a good community.

PMC Fluffy The unique thing about Bronys is that there are no leaders. Sure, there are a few prominent members, but we generally accept each other as equals.

Your turnout for this Ride Along was impressive, I must say. How often do you gather together to play games? How is that organized?

il uragano 3493 Quite often, actually. We play a large assortment of games, ranging from Halo: Reach, Minecraft, Battlefield 3, Forza Motorsport 4, the whole nine yards. They always turn out fun.

A Dumb Door Oftentimes, a thread is posted asking people to join in a game. As for Minecraft, that game is sort of always running with people coming and going at variable intervals.

Assault Game nights come and go. If someone feels like having a game night, they are encouraged to make a thread and do so.

How do you Bronys maintain this pastel-hued good cheer in the face of so much scorn and mockery at the hands of the Internet?

Frequency99poopy You say that like anyone actually listens to the opinion of the Internet.

A Dumb Door We tend to live by a couple of creeds. "Love and tolerate" and "Haters gonna hate."

PMC Fluffy If I have learned anything from my experiences on the Internet, it is that you should not care about what others think of you unless you know that person on a deeper level. Many people judge something because they don't understand it, or have never tried it.

Assault A very smart computer once said, the only winning move is not to play. When people start to attack us and pass judgment on us, the only thing we can do is ignore it and walk away.

You have made a believer out of me, ye Bronys. What does the future hold for your magical feeding troth?

il uragano 3493 I think that this group isn't going away anytime soon. At least, I hope not. This is the friendliest bunch that I have ever met over the Internet, or anywhere for that matter.

Assault The original creators of this group didn't think it would last any longer than a month. But here we are now, a year later, with over 550 members and still going strong.

ElementWrath Hopefully our community will continue to expand. Then we can only hope that people stop trying to use the subject to troll the Flood senseless. I've made a lot of great memories here that I doubt I'll forget, and I'm sure I can look forward to plenty more.

The games that I played with the Bronys were just as creative as you would expect, given their professed fondness artistic expression. The mood was as cheerful and enthusiastic as their love for the show that brought them together in the first place.  We took turns losing a game of Invasion on a map that seemed designed to force a stalemate (or, “Everyone wins!” in Brony-speak). We hurled ourselves repeatedly at one another, with Warthog after Warthog meeting their untimely end in a choke point guarded by a stubborn Wraith.

We trudged through a luminescent maze, deprived of our ability to jump, while being pursued by Zombies whose only form of assault was to block our passage by armor locking the gaps in the wall. Once cornered, we could only wait to be infected by the Alpha-Zombie, he being the only player on the map with a working weapon.

Another infectious game was light on action, but heavy on art direction. The meticulously Forged venue suggested secrets that would distract us from the dangers that lurked around every corner.

To reward my patience with their more recreational fare, the Bronys obliged me with a nightcap of Team Slayer on old-favorite Hemorrhage. Matchmaking was our dealer, and the fates were kind. My trusty steed was mighty, if not infallible at the hands of stronger beasts.

If you crave the promise of a kinder, gentler community, these Bronys aim to please. Their message of tolerance and goodwill is one that they take very seriously. The doors of their Internet stables are wide open to fans of their favorite show, or just people who yearn for the friendly vibe that flavors their shared magic. Thanks for the games, Bronys. Keep your chins up as your gallop across the Internet spreading your message of love.

Community 3/29/2012 10:53 AM PDT permalink

Men in Kilts

This clan fights for the forces of good.

Read Full Top Story

Community 3/23/2012 4:30 PM PDT

Mail Sack Ten

Dispatches from the mail room.

There are ebbs and flows in the tempo for building a game. Some weeks, giving structure to the raw space is even and steady. Other weeks, we spend more hours atop our cranes than any real-world safety regulation would ever allow. Developers call this Crunch. At Bungie, we don’t reserve those precious moments for just the very end of our process.

This week, some of our finest are working extra hours to ascend to the next phase. As you might imagine, this challenge keeps people from wandering into the mail room. Not to leave you completely out of our loop, a few foremen have taken a moment to browse your letters while waiting for some freshly poured concrete to dry.

Tyson Green, Staff Designer
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer
Jon Cable, Senior Engineer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer
Dan Miller, Senior Designer
Daniel Hanson, Associate Engineer
Danny Bulla, Designer

Before they don those hardhats again, let’s open the Sack.

The Yeti Who is the most dangerous Bungie employee?

Harold Ryan - for many reasons.
Dan Miller

Harold Ryan. I once watched him physically take down a marketer. There was blood.
Michael Williams

mark117 mia2553 The Community is in a gap right now with you guys being dark for so long. Can we see pics of how busy you guys are without divulging the new hawtness?

I can’t show you a picture of that. Our studio is a dimly-lit foundry of activity, and a flashbulb could send these crunch-weary hoards into a panic. At the very least, we could lose valuable seconds of night-vision, which is a sacrifice I cannot risk.

Wikked Navajoe Post a picture of your fanciest attire.

Now that is a picture that I can share! If you are not dialed into our various social networking channels, you may have missed this charming exhibition of altruism. The polls are still open if you would like to cast a ballot in favor of this dashing clan.

AcedannyK 7 Does everyone at Bungie know each other, more or less, or do you encounter strange new faces often?

Bungie is in the grips of a rampant growth spurt. There are strange new faces here on a weekly basis. Admittedly, some are stranger than others. We don’t take too long in getting to know them. That’s why man invented lunch.

Stuckers What's the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything?


Poy Poy What is the most unfair thing at Bungie?

Any Pentathlon ruling that goes against the Grizzled Ancients should be investigated for fraud and bias.
Michael Williams

Well, there's the fact that we can't talk to you guys about our game.  Man, I wish I could talk about that.
Daniel Hanson

That I have to go home.
Dan Miller

Editor’s Note: Altogether now… Awwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Krimm117 What's the most notorious practical joke to take place at Bungie?

My favorite involves hidden cameras and Photoshop, and can never see the light of day.
Michael Williams

We don't talk about that anymore.
Dan Miller

Galactic Pixel Besides planning Ride Alongs and having the Mail Sack every week, what do you usually do at Bungie (that isn't classified)?

I hate to say it (you have no idea how much), but it’s all classified. For now, at least. When I am not planning my next in-game anthropological experiment or conducting this weekly census of curiosity and sharing, I am representing your deepest hopes and wishes in our creative process. During a crunch week, this most crucial aid to development is met with heartfelt retorts like “Go away!” or “I will kill you!” or “I slept three hours last night!”

elmicker What's your favorite album?

I think Weezer's Blue Album is still my overall favorite, but for long driving trips I prefer Cake's Comfort Eagle.
Michael Williams

Radiohead's OK Computer.
Dan Miller

Fiesta Zombie Do you guys ever dress up in something ridiculous? I don't know, something like a gorilla suit or a morphsuit?

What the hell is a Morphsuit? Since it is rude to answer a question with a question, please see below.

Elem3nt 117 During the Pentathlon, who was this person wearing a purple dino robe who had two employees help him/her down the stairs while holding his/her hands?

Sorry, Elem3nt. The identity of our purple friend will be kept a secret, until he/she chooses to reveal themself. If you insist on solving this riddle on your own, the boots are a dead giveaway.

Sven Nietzsche Does Bungie have a Milton Waddams? If so, what is he/she obsessed with?

You aren’t reading Marcus Lehto’s blog? You should.

EZcompany2ndsqd Who are you closest to at work DeeJ?

I suppose that depends on which context for the word “close” your question invokes.
I am closest in proximity to Halcylon.
I am closest in appearance to urk.
I am closest in musical talent to Marty.
I am closest in creativity to Joe.
I am closest in strength to Jerome.
I am unrivaled in capacity for exaggeration.

ALI217 Riddle: If time flies like an arrow, then what does fruit fly like?

A banana. Hey, if you can use the Internet to solve my riddles, I can use the Internet to solve yours. Cheating is a slippery slope that sends us all tumbling to our own soul-crushing demise.

Dropship dude When the time comes to order a pizza, for whatever reason, is there a collective support of toppings, or do some people in the office like to ruin it and go all vegetarian on you?

Urk is a vegetarian. Check out what our current production schedule does to local establishments who serve up said pizza. If you look closely, you can see proof that not everyone at Bungie is a bloodthirsty carnivore.

nickpickles Does Urk hate DeeJ because DeeJ usurped his former job.

No. Urk hired DeeJ to keep you company while he schemes behind the scenes to ensure that our next project kicks as much ass as possible. Urk hates DeeJ for a completely different reason: Because DeeJ devours animals with unquenchable blood lust. How did you trick me into talking about myself in the third person? DeeJ hates it when people do that.

T1B3R7uMB0YXVI When you do the interviewing process, is it necessary to wear a suit, since it's not going to be needed when you actually work in the video game industry?

For some institutionalized wretches, it can be hard to rise up to the challenge of a job interview without donning the corporate uniform of a proper suit. I am ashamed to admit that I was once one of those poor souls. Prior to the scrutiny of my good behavior at the hands of the review board at Bungie, I took the risk of asking about the dress code. I had a nagging suspicion that I would be laughed out of Bungie’s zip code if I arrived in a suit, but I still had to ask – sort of like needing permission to pee after a long stretch in jail. It was urk himself that set me straight, when he said:

Don’t wear a suit. If you wear khakis, you will be turned away at the door.

Peace Police Are you going to make the Noble Map Pack free once the Halo stats transfer on March 31st? If your answer was anything but yes, why?

That’s not our call to make. The Master Chief is out of our capable hands. For details on the fate of his franchise, you will need to ask angel.

MAC Blast A long time ago, Bungie received a shipment of Beef Jerky from a fan. What was the brand of the jerky?

For the most part, it is company policy at Bungie not to eat food sent to us from the Internet. Not everyone wants us to live long and healthy lives, you know. We have enemies that prowl the grid who know that poison is the only thing between them and a giant slingshot aimed at the sun. In this case, however, the generous gift of salted meat came from a reputable establishment. We devoured it like a pack of starving wolves.

homocidalham How big of a portion of Bungie started out as fans?

A big portion. Our own Breaking In interviews tell many a story about people who took their love for playing games and converted it into a newfound love for making games. At Bungie, we are looking for people who can blend the right set of skills with a passion for making great games. And who is more passionate than a fan?

SN068237264910 Let's say that you were on your death bed and had just enough gasps of air to say your final words. What would those words/phrases be?

"You must remember... the true power of the Sword of El'Yozgoth... is in... your heart."
Michael Williams

Dan Miller

snipe champpppp What is the most money you have ever stolen out of a wishing well?

It’s time to come clean. I once stole a quarter from a fountain at a shopping mall so that I could defend my high score for Omega Race. Over the years, I have rationalized that victimless crime with speculation that the person’s wish was that some troubled youth could stay on top of the leaderboard for their favorite game, but we both know that isn’t true. Don’t we? Thank you for this chance to step back into the light, snipe champpppp. As a token of my thanks, you have permission to remove one p from your name.

HWJohn Each of you turn into some sort of firearm, whether it be a .22 or the Vulcan cannon off an A-10. Which one are you?

Does a MAC cannon count?
Michael Williams

B.B. Gun
Dan Miller

coolmike699 If you could have something you made in a game in real life, what would it be?

A scarab-building factory.
Dan Miller

The Teleport ability from Shadowrun (and a katana).
Derek Carroll

Forge. Create warthogs at will? Yes please. Although the lack of an undo feature could be dangerous.
Jon Cable

The Banhammer. Just imagine the power!
Michael Williams

An AirZooka.
Daniel Hanson

A horse that came to me every time I whistled.
Danny Bulla

Editor’s Note: Horses in Halo? This will make sense on Monday.

Telec I don't want to work in the game industry. Can you suggest what course I should study at college in order to achieve this? Any advice in general?

You don’t want to work in the game industry? Why not? If you are dead set on following a path that leads you as far away from here as possible, I would recommend majoring in… uhmmmm… chemistry. I have been here for about five months now, and I have yet to meet a single chemist.

Viperconn Why is it that whenever I'm offered to ask a question, my mind goes blank?

That’s called performance anxiety. It can be hard to deliver when someone is watching. I will stare into the corner and give you another chance. The floor is yours. I am staring right into this corner. Fire away, now. Any time…

Well, don’t worry too much about it. It happens to a lot of people. This is not the last sack of mail that Bungie will collect. You will all have another chance to put us to the question of your choosing next week. In the meantime, please remember to put safety first. It has been two days since our last workplace accident

Community 3/23/2012 11:52 AM PDT permalink

Bungie Rides Along with Mythics

Answering the call with the Royal Blue.

At Bungie, we believe that every member of our beloved community was created equal. Good luck convincing them of that, however. On the forum where their debate rages eternal, everyone bears a title that betrays the level of trust they have accrued during their time as a guest in our court. Some members are Honorable. Some are Heroic. Some are even Legendary. For too many, these social designations have morphed into somewhat of an obsession.

This virtual class system is all based on a closely guarded science. Good behavior is rewarded with evolving titles, all color coordinated for easy reference. The highest plateau to which one can aspire is that of a Mythic Member. The blue title bar that underscores their name sits like a crown atop all of their conversations.

Deep within the catacombs of hides a secret keep where Mythic Members revel in their elite status. One cannot be invited to this gathering. One must earn the right to join. In the hopes of sharing some drippings from their magnificent feast with the masses, I welcomed Mythic emissaries to play some games and tell their story.

What does it mean to be Mythic?

dmg04 Google tells me that being Mythic is to be exaggerated or idealized. My heart tells me that it's to be better than everyone else.

Halo53 To some people, being a Mythic member is about a dedication to improving the community. To others, it's a meaningless colored title bar that simply indicates a long-term commitment to maintaining an account on this site.

I ZEROCOOL I It means you’re super popular and get mad chicks.

Top_Gun_2021 To be mythic, one must be fully enlightened. To be enlightened, one must have inner peace. If you are an '04 mythic there is an even more special place for you.

Skibur Being Mythic isn't just about the title. It's about having an understanding of the forums and community that comes from years of interaction on this site.

What happens behind closed doors in the secret hall of Mythics?

dmg04 That's like asking what happens behind the doors of HFCS! All I can tell you is that we have much more interesting things to talk about. In fact, we have quite a few Forum Ninjas in our ranks. Also, Elmicker’s disapproval of everything is entertainment at its finest.

I ZEROCOOL I A lot of nudity....... Too much nudity.

Halo53 There are a number of highly classified discussions that take place within the Mythic Members group. Unfortunately, you lack the proper security clearance for me to go into further detail about many of them. It’s essentially the movie 300 crossed with the Council of Elrond. The only difference is that most of our members wear shirts.

Top_Gun_2021 It involves being as blue as can be. We mostly complain, vote in my polls, talk about politics, ask for mythical advice on fashion and clothing accessories, share house decorating tips, talk about women, gossip about other people, add to our internet egos, scat, tell each other what happened after eating Taco Bell's new Doritos Burrito, post mean comments in other Mythic's threads, and other mythical shenanigans that are super-secret.

Skibur Well it's hardly a secret... There are more spies on this site than there were in the KGB.
It's a relatively small group, but it has remained consistently active from the beginning. The majority of us are around the same age, and have been on this site for quite a few years which gives us some kind of connection that just makes the group work.

What advice would you give to someone who aspires to Mythicness?

Halo53 There are two available options for members who wish to attain their mythic hood. The first is to perform the Royal Blue Ritual. It is forbidden for me to discuss the details of all of the steps required for the ritual. I can tell you that it involves a fossilized wooly mammoth, honey mustard, and a generous donation into Yoozel's PayPal account. The second option is to be a positive contributing member of the community.

I ZEROCOOL I Take the Blue pill.

Top_Gun_2021 You should stop aspiring to be mythic because all it does is allow you to be in the Mythic Members group - although the group is awesome. That does not mean you cannot be mythic in your heart. If you want the title, all you have to do is not get banned and be active.

Skibur Real Mythics never aspire to become Mythic, they have always been Mythic.

dmg04 '04 or bust.

Sorting through these conflicting accounts of the true Mythic essence had me confused. Is there nudity? Or do they wear shirts? In an attempt to arrive at the truth, we prolonged our experiment into an evening of playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. To observe these Mythics in their preferred state, I put them on the same team, pitted against the rest of the world served up in heaping helpings of opponents by Xbox LIVE. Along for the ride was fellow Bungie employee Nate Hawbaker, whose own story was chronicled in the Breaking In interview posted earlier this week.

Despite the fact their private interactions seldom lead to shared game time, the players on Team Mythic displayed an instant capacity for teamwork. Their chatter seemed to suggest that they were drawing from the same mind. It is no secret that Mythics are motivated by rewards for the right tactics. In working together to unlock killstreaks, they entreated the opposing forces to a literal air-show of in-game assets.

Mythics thrive on a state of superiority. For them, being as good as everyone else is not good enough. In COD, this truth is just as relevant as it is on For example, as depicted above, why play as a stock character when you can play as a juggernaut?

To close out the night, we experimented with the Infection playlist, a product of the Modern Warfare community. Sooner or later, it seems that every community of gamers embraces the threat of a zombie apocalypse. To demonstrate to the Mythics that we too understand their cherished notion of solidarity, the Bungie detachment of Team Mythic locked down our own corner. Standing back to back like Mythic members on, Nate and I protected each other from lower forms of life.

In any other recap of a Ride Along event, this is the part where I would encourage you to join this coven of Mythics. As you have learned, this is not an invitation for me to extend. Instead, I can only issue the challenge that an ivory tower awaits those who earn the right to ascend it. We can thank these Mythics to share some games with us, and for making our community their home, but we cannot drive the uninitiated to their door.

Community 3/22/2012 9:46 AM PDT permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 9.0

It's a sack.

Behind every kick ass video game is a cast of characters who bring life out of code. Just like you, they have hopes, dreams, heroes, and ideas about what they would request for their last meal. Some of them even put their pants on one leg at a time. It just so happens that, after they do that, they are whisked away by helicopter to a secure compound where they are tasked with the creation of universes filled with danger and intrigue. To make them a little more human, however, we have gathered a discussion panel to share some intimate details about themselves, and fired some of your questions in their general direction. Meet the volunteers who lined up against the wall this week.

Lars Bakken, Design Lead
Jon Cable, Senior Engineer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer
Ben Litowitz, Engineer
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
Mat Noguchi, Anger Management Graduate
Lorraine McLees, Artist
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

Don’t be shy, everyone. Let’s open the Sack.

Top_Gun_2021 Is there anything better than being first?

Being relevant is also nice. But that takes more time. And where would that leave you?

The Storm You can have one meal every meal for the rest of your life. What will it be?

Spicy chicken sandwiches. It'd be a significantly shorter life, yet more delicious.
Alex Loret de Mola

Panang Curry/Pad Thai combo lunch.
Jon Cable

Either Ezell's Chicken or my special ordered burrito from Nick's Grill in Kirkland. I really hope there is the caveat of “If no health risks were involved,” as either choice would probably shorten my life expectancy faster than smoking 25 packs of cigarettes a day.
Pat Jandro

Ben Litowitz

John Stvan

Chipotle with a small portion of Lefse.
Nate Hawbaker

It might have to be yellow curry with chicken and brown rice, but a good meat lasagna would almost tie it. That's a hard question!
Lars Bakken

In that hypothetical scenario, I would likely appreciate a plate of yellow rice, shrimp scampi, grilled asparagus and breaded baked tilapia with a selection of tartar sauce, horseradish cream sauce, balsamic vinegar and mayonnaise.
Lorraine McLees

Editor’s Note: Maybe I should have cut this question. After reading all of these responses, I am picturing some of my favorite coworkers sitting on Death Row.

IHaveTURRETS JR What is your favorite Disney movie? Pixar does not count.

I will say this once, friend. Around these parts, Pixar always counts. Always.

RogueRainbowX How do you get a ride along?

Asking me usually works. I have a list of Private Groups on that I will be reaching out to with a ticket to ride in the near future. It helps when you approach us (me) with a unique experience in mind. A Ride Along is an event that you design – a chance for the fans to turn the tables on the developers. You set the stage. We are just along for the ride. You show us why you love to play games, and how you play them. It’s a great chance for us to study you, and to learn from you.

UnderTheKnif3 Who's your hero?

At the moment, it's Alan Turing, who advanced (and some may even say, created... though that may be too strong of a conjecture) the field of Computer Science and aided a world that hated and feared who he was. I wish he'd have lived to see what became of his efforts, and how different the world is now.
Alex Loret de Mola

Bruce Lee.
Ben Litowitz

If you mean someone I look up to, and has admirable qualities that it would behoove me to try to emulate in some way in my daily life, that would be Robt McLees. (What... not obvious???) If you mean someone who was instrumental in where I am today, that would be Jean "Moebius" Giraud. His work has inspired perhaps two generations of artists and creators who are currently working in entertainment – be they comics artists, illustrators, movie directors, costume or set designers, concept artists, and so on. For someone with such influence and talent, his confidence was tempered with humility and respect for others. When I met him at the release of the Halo Graphic Novel, I let on that his work was highly influential in shaping my career and how one illustration in particular has stayed in my mind all these years (though the book it was in had long since vanished). He expressed that he wished he knew what did that – what made one of his works a masterpiece – so that he could do it all the time. He hoped that he had a few more of those left in him. I am certain he did. It was a very sad day on March 10 this year, when the great Moebius died at age 73. But, his work lives on!
Lorraine McLees

Christopher Hitchens.
Nate Hawbaker

It’s going to sound corny, but my parents. They were silly enough to make me believe I could do anything I wanted with my life. Hence, I thought I could make games for a living.
Lars Bakken

You are.
Jon Cable

Seriously, DeeJ, screen these questions better.
John Stvan

Editor’s Note: A carpenter is never better than the building materials he is given.

Tookurdignity I was wondering, DeeJ, what would be YOUR advice for a guy looking to either start up his own game company or follow your path into becoming an employee at BUNGiE?

If you want to start your own game company, you should really ask someone smarter than me. If you want to work for Bungie, you should really follow a path that was more direct than mine. If you insist on following my path, you must first toil for over a decade in the trenches of various corporate settings, devoting an embarrassing portion of each day to fostering your own gaming clan on The Man’s dime. Then, one day, become so burnt out on earning that Man’s dime that you load some basic life necessities into a van and head west to accept a job offer that is filled with mystery.

Insanities Are there going to be more Breaking In articles in the future? I found the recent one about Derek Carroll fascinating.

Now that is where I would point someone if they wanted to plot a more direct path to the video game industry. Breaking In will be a weekly feature, barring unforeseen interruptions. I have already gathered a collection of fascinating reads that is deep enough to keep us all fascinated until the harvest.

Spartan_Natraps How do we get YOUR job?

First, you must hunt me down and eliminate me. Unfortunately, I am very hard to stalk.

CrazzySnipe55 On a scale of 1 to 10, how easy do you think it would be to stalk you without being discovered? Explain your answer… thoroughly.

10. All Bungie employees are hard to stalk. One of the perks of employment is a company transportation program that sees us ferried safely to and from work every day aboard Blackhawk helicopters. Insertions are by parachute. Extractions at the end of the day happen on the roof. Since our building isn’t weight-bearing to that degree, we have to grab on to a rope ladder as they pass overhead. From there, we ascend above the perpetual cloud cover that graces our city to mask the respective vectors that lead to our homes. So, unless you have infrared anti-aircraft action, you ain’t stalking this.

Galactic Pixel What makes Bungie so awesome?

It’s the helicopters.

sneakysangheili If you could buy any car in the world, what car would you buy?

I don’t need a car. Helicopters, yo. Helicopters.

HOOBLA 911 What one picture would describe the whole experience at Bungie Studios?

Alex Loret de Mola

Ben Litowitz

John Stvan

Jon Cable

Lars Bakken

Nate Hawbaker

Pat Jandro

Lorraine McLees

CRAZYPOTATO After you pass the torch to 343 what will happen to Halo 3's forge creations?

Nothing. The creations that you have erected (and yes, we have seen those), will live on. Forged Maps and the File Shares that willing cartographers use to trade them are born of the game itself. While will not reflect any changes that you make after March 31st, the files themselves will merge unscathed. Short of you deleting it yourself, there is nothing that can be done to undo your work.

THOMAS 15O If an old shady man pulled up in a van and asked you for candy, would you do it? And if so, what type of candy?

That’s not the way it works. The shady man fills the van up with candy, and offers it up to unsuspecting victims.

dmg04 What ever happened to the ODST truck from the ODST truck tour?

We filled it up with candy.

Mythical Zero What is the source of Mat Noguchi's unfathomable Rage?

As a relative Newbie at Bungie, I had to enter Noguchi’s gravity well to investigate. The following is a transcript of the conversation that ensued…

(Interior: Bungie)

Me: What gives? Two fans asked this question this week.

Noguchi: Honestly, that’s not how I want to be remembered. So I’m working on it. (And yes, you should publish that.)

Me: Aww shucks, man! No one on wants you to grow up. Don’t make me ask urk.

Noguchi: I would really appreciate it if you posted my response.


Me: I will do what you appreciate.

Noguchi: Thanks man. I know it’s like throwing a cat in front of a tank to make it stop.

I am not sure who is the tank (or the cat) in that metaphor, but I had to share it for the visual image it invoked. You’re welcome.

coolmike699 What's something that causes a lot of debate or controversy at Bungie that we wouldn't expect?

Perhaps this is too obvious, but the greatest subject of debate is the creation of the game itself. People will fight with nova-hot passion to defend the features and elements that they hold dear, locked in mortal combat behind closed conference room doors. The greatest source of controversy is the music that gets played in the bathroom, especially when it contains secret riddles that can only be answered at the Pentathlon.

zarrowsmith DeeJ, should I become a doctor or work on video games?

Become a doctor. The hours are better, and there is far less blood involved. If things like pain and exhaustion don’t deter you, there is always our Careers Page.

SmokeSUCKER117 I'm too young, but still, what job will be waiting for me in the future?

To acquaint one’s self with the job market of the future, just take any job that exists today and add the word “Space” or “Nano” in front of it.

Its A Mirage Are there any Easter eggs from your past games that surprised you at how quickly they were found or any that surprised you at how long they took to find?

Definitely the IWHBYD skull in H3. But you cheated. There is one Easter egg in Halo 3 that I don't think anyone has found - I stumbled across it in code a while back. It only happens on a specific good luck.
Jon Cable

Memoir of a Golden Egg:

It all began on a fateful afternoon in our old studio in Kirkland. I was out back, shooting some animation reference for a cinematic in Halo 3: ODST when Mr. Marty O'Donnell, eager to make his way to the break area, made the fatal mistake of not going around the space where I was shooting. Instead, he decided on walking straight into my camera's view to interrupt my work and do a little jig in an effort to be "funny" ...oh how correct you didn't realize you would eventually be, Marty.

What happened next was beyond delightful. After being momentarily irked that my shot was ruined, my brain shifted gears. I quickly realized that I was sitting on a gold mine. The instant after he passed through my recording camera's line of sight with his feet shuffling and his fists pumping, I knew that it was my civic duty to make something happen with this once-in-a-lifetime footage. Luckily, I knew just the man to employ for the job. The dancing .gif of Sir O'Donnell surrounded by flying hearts that Steve Scott authored made my insides tingle with delight. It took all the discipline in the world for us to hold this close to our chests. When showing this gem behind closed doors to those select few who needed to know, the audio and design teams rallied to forge a secret Easter egg that Marty himself was not aware of – a legendary prank that would essentially "ice" Marty's own Halo Easter egg tradition, the Siege of Madrigal.

As the launch date for ODST neared, Marty was so excited to keep his tradition of implanting a special spot to play his sweet secret music, he decided to hold a competition and reward the first dedicated player who found it with a special prize. I remind you, Marty had no idea what we had been up to under the hood. We managed to slip in some stuff in the 11th hour before ship that would make this special Marty Dance .gif pop up and play when a player activated his coveted Siege of Madrigal on the Legendary difficulty setting. Fate was on our side.

 The person who first discovered this spot in ODST, and WON the contest Marty was so excited about, just happened to be playing on Legendary difficulty. Still ignorant to the fact, Marty gathered some of us in private to view for the first time the saved film of his grand contest being won. Let's just say the surprised "WTF?" expression on Marty's face as he learned first-hand what we had been scheming in secret will forever be burned into my memory. This whole experience solidified the fact that I work at the best game development studio on earth.  Even though he may not have learned his lesson of interrupting people's film shoots; the ol' gipper sure can take a joke with the grace of kings.
Pat Jandro

I must concur with Pat's entry. See, I was the one who implemented said Marty dancing gif in one of my levels. I tried to put it in the most out of the way section of Kikowani Station. That was a blast putting it in and not letting Marty in on the secret.
Lars Bakken

There are apparently still a few that have yet to be found. What--? No. I'm not telling!
Lorraine McLees

SH4D0W0733 What terrifying beast keeps the golden text of yours and others from gracing the flood with your presence more often?

Watch this… You see? The Flood is a beast all its own.

Frag Ingot Will Bungie ever publish a book of the elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections that is 'The Flood'?

If we were to publish the contents of The Flood, the world would be devoid of trees.

r c takedown If you didn't get into the video games industry, where do you think you would be right now?

I know exactly where I'd be: in an overpriced and cramped apartment in Boston, working with healthcare communication protocols. I'm glad to be here.
Alex Loret de Mola

Trying to get into the video game industry.
Jon Cable

I'd most likely be a traditional camera operator recording marine wild life for months on end in some isolated part of the world.
Pat Jandro

A dark, dark place.
Ben Litowitz

Anywhere else, my smart mouth would have landed me in witness protection by now.
John Stvan

Probably doing something in film or video. I studied that in college and actually worked on some independent films before getting my first gaming job. All my friends in college went off to do some amazing things in the film industry, so maybe I'd be doing that as well. Who knows!
Lars Bakken

I have never worked elsewhere in the game industry but here, and I wouldn't be at Bungie today if I had never met Robt at the American Academy of Art in 1988. To answer the question though, if I wasn't at Bungie, I think I would still be in the area of visual design, likely cracking the whip on graphic designers and illustrators somewhere in Chicago... playing more games in my spare time -- and likely pondering pushing pixels for one of those companies I read about. And maybe try out for that place called Bungie who is hiring like crazy right about now.
Lorraine McLees

Spending money on college out of veiled obligation - or Norway.
Nate Hawbaker

Trytikan Does one require a college degree if we wish to apply for Bungie?

From Nate’s comments above, it sounds as if college is not an absolute requirement. Sometimes, the world can teach us lessons that are more valuable than ones that can be gleaned from term papers and such. At the risk of feeling terribly irresponsible, I must provide college with my highest recommendation. Where else can you live in a city that is dominated by people your own age? College is like Xbox LIVE, only with beer.

Kris the Abyss This goes out mainly to designers, but I guess it could work for everybody else. Does your knowledge for how a video game is created and designed affect the way you play through a random game? And does it sometimes ruin the experience for you?

To avoid a storm of negativity that would saddle me with a public relations nightmare, I will simply go on record by saying that turning your first love into a profession does change that thing. It doesn’t destroy your love for it, but you have no choice but to see it differently. For example, in high school, I was that mysterious man in the window at the back of the movie theatre. I could clean, thread, and start a movie projector blind-folded. My love for cinema motivated me to become a master of my craft. To this day, if there is a piece of fuzz dancing in the corner of a movie screen, it is all I can see until the end-credits roll.

Zafric I love Bungie and the amazing games that you've made over the years and I see all the effort and love that's been poured into them, and I want to personally thank you for it and tell you how much I appreciate it.

Dude, I can’t give you any fancy helmets. I didn’t even work on Halo. You are kissing the wrong ass. But, thank you. The pleasure is all ours. Really.

Trytikan Who's in charge? Like, who runs Bungie? Is it kind of like everyone's their own boss? Or is there just a single person to run it all?

Bungie is a very freestyle environment. There is no boss. We all manage ourselves, and see to it personally that our own efforts are well spent on bringing our shared mission into focus. No one tells us what to do. The last thing we need is…

(feels cold steel against the back of his head)

Harold Ryan... Harold Ryan is the President of Bungie! He looms like a shadow over us all. His word is rule and law. My life for him!

(turns around – sees only a poof of smoke)

With that last question, I declare this Mail Sack empty. To keep the conversation rolling, we will just have to open another one next week. And that, constant reader, is a promise. Keep your eyes on If you will excuse me, I have a rope ladder to catch.

Community 3/16/2012 1:41 PM PDT permalink

Bungie Rides Along with Cafe

Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags.

 A wise man once said that sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name (and they’re always glad you came). While the source of that ancient wisdom has become lost to the ages, there is a private group on that has taken that basic human need and made it their charge. It is no secret that the dampened populace that lives under the misty skies of Seattle loves a good cup of coffee. That oven-roasted sentiment is shared by the members of Café.

The nutty aroma that emanates from their cozy haunt is one of friendship, with a dash of madness. The brew is fake, but the camaraderie is real. No community is complete without a place to dilate one’s pupils with a piping hot dose of caffeine. This week, we dropped in and grabbed a table to get acquainted with the rowdy Café staff and pen a review for the local hospitality reader.

What is Café? Why the name? How would you describe your establishment to an outsider?

a rascal cat  The Café is a group devoted to the community’s well-being. I'll do my best to sound as non-infomercialish as possible, but I can't make any promises. If you're looking for a place to relax, the Café is the group for you! (Editor’s Note: Starting to sound pretty infomercialish, to me.) I said I would do my best... In all seriousness, akin to an actual café, our group provides members with a welcoming, coffee-scented, biscotti-infested environment where members can gather and discuss topics that appeal to them. Whether you want to talk about the various flavors of coffee or Bungie's next IP, spirits are always high and the coffee is always brewing.

When did you first open your doors for business? Who broke the ground on which your house stands?

a rascal cat  The Café first opened up on August 5, 2011. Membership was limited for a short period of time, but after a while, we believed that it was in everyone's best interest that the group be opened to the public, so a larger majority of people could participate in the relatively zany discussions that were taking place behind closed doors. Our intention was, and is to this day, to inspire members of the community to not only get more involved in the experience, but to enjoy it as well; to engage in genuine, lighthearted conversations with people that they can relate to. We hope that, by providing our members with a warm, homey atmosphere, we can deliver them from their stress and spark their vivacity one coffee mug at a time.

Who is the proprietor of the Café? Do they rule with absolute power? Or is there a staff of virtual baristas that also tend to the clientele?

Lobster Fish 2  Rascal is the pro-player… pair of pliers… prop tire... proprietor here at the Café, and he does rule absolutely. Absolutely amazingly, that is. His humor (as noted by his avatar) is blatant in all of his posts, and he's the only leader we'd ever want to have. He's a Gentleman... eh, sometimes. The minions that rule under him, and there are a good number of us, are not only fair, but we also know how to brew a mean French vanilla latte. Or was that just me? Regardless, our clientele is always pleased, and any ruckus is shut down immediately.

Are you still open for business if users need a place to hang their hats?

Spartan TKIA  Of course. We welcome anyone who wishes to join our community with open arms. As Rascal mentioned earlier, having our membership open is mutually beneficial. We are graced with the presence and insight of those wishing to join, while Café enables members to engage in relaxed, lighthearted conversation.

What sorts of activities keep your people engaged? Do you play games with each other regularly?

Jumbus  Day-to-day life in the Café is full of entertaining and interesting threads that bring us all together to sit down, take a sip of your favorite brew, and forget about the burden of real life. In these dark times, we have kept ourselves occupied with the odd game "night." Due to members of the group being from so many different time zones (I mentioned "night" earlier?) it can be a challenge setting up events. The solution? More members! You (yes, you) are always welcome. Join now for a limited time offer!*

*Conditions apply. Join Café now for further details.

Wait... I'm not doing your job for you am I, DeeJ?

My job encompasses many things. My self-imposed mission is to help members of the community make friends and play games. Thus, you are fitting into my evil plan like a fist into a glove. On the subject of evil plans, what does the future hold for Café?

Lobster Fish 2  Hold on, let me get my caffeine crystal ball... Ah, yes. I see coffee, prosperity, good times, and a double dose of sunshine. Heavy on the sunshine. We'd love to see this group hit the 500 or even the 1000 member mark. When Bungie’s new game drops, we hope to be a mini-hub, harboring some great activity and conversation about it. Great things on the horizon, I can't wait. Neither can the rest of us.

To better understand the impact had by double shots of espresso on the virtual construct where games are played, I ordered an evening of carnage from the menu scribbled in frantic handwriting on the sandwich board. My findings led to the disturbing discovery of a debilitating condition that afflicts the over-stimulated. For the purposes of illustrating our Ride Along with Café, we will refer to this dangerous syndrome as Caffeine Psychosis. To raise awareness for the misery endured by sufferers of the tragic affliction, I even burned some of my remaining Bungie Pro render minutes (which expire later on this month, by the way).

Early symptoms of Caffeine Psychosis may include a fondness for custom games that induce a complete and total overdose on stimulus. Speed Halo is a perfect example. This variant of the Infection game type puts a zombie at the end of a tunnel that is pitched at a nauseating angle and bookended with teleporters. The result is an explosive cascade of vehicles that scream past with dizzying velocity. It’s a lot like playing in rush hour traffic as it falls down a staircase.

Long-time suffers of Caffeine Psychosis will demonstrate an affinity for combat scenarios that require whipcord reflexes. Shotty Snipers comes to mind (or “running at Snipers with Shotguns,” as I like to call it). Despite my constant protesting, if you play Halo for long enough, someone makes you hold the Sniper Rifle. Witness the performance of a normal test subject at the hands of opponents who have toxic levels of caffeine coursing through their bloodstream.

The most chronic cases of Caffeine Psychosis may exhibit a complete and total loss of regard for the virtues of teamwork. Here, we see a cafeholic doing his tea-inspired dance on the canopy of Halcylon, Bungie Graphic Designer and otherwise Ace Falcon Pilot. Rather than seize the glory that is usually reserved for brave souls who grace Hal’s gunner seat, this poor wretch has succumbed to more sinister urges, thus damning his pilot, his team, and himself.

If you crave frantic mayhem like this, and you have a thick skin for livelier-than-usual chatter, the Café is open for business. Please seat yourself. Their doors are wide open to all patrons. Oh, and I almost forgot to leave a gratuity on the table for Hoobla and ctjl96 for serving up some non-decaffeinated screenshots.

 Check, please.

Community 3/15/2012 10:48 AM PDT permalink

Crimson: Steam Pirates for Chrome

Crimson: Steam Pirates for Chrome is live.

Captain Blood’s adventure migrates to the big screen – or, at least, a screen bigger than your iPad or iPhone. Be you a landlubber who has yet to get your feet wet, now is a great time to join the crew. Be you a salty dog who has lived to tell the tale, here is a new way to play. The release of Crimson: Steam Pirates for Chrome brings the swashbuckling action to your web browser. Walk the plank to the Chrome Web Store to take the plunge!

Chapter One is free for download. Across three chapters, 24 voyages challenge you to command your fleet and your Steampunk shipmates using an elegant action interface. Take the helm of crafts that traverse land, sea, and air. Score precious bounty and measure your treasure on Leaderboards on

Set sail for Google Chrome, and plot a course to the Caribbean and beyond.

Community 3/14/2012 2:29 PM PDT permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 8.0

In this case, Q/A does not mean Quality Assurance.

Like any great team, Bungie is the sum of its individuals.  Between those very same individuals, there exists healthy rivalries, expressions of mutual inspiration, moments of celebration, and a secret desire to use one another as a human shield in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  In opening the letters that tumbled from the Mail Sack this week, a theme emerged about how Bungie employees feel about one another.  Here are the individuals who agreed to open their hearts and reveal their deepest feelings about their fellow developers.

Sam Arguez, Producer
Chris Carney, Senior Designer
Andrew Davis, Artist
David Gasca, Senior Test Engineer
Tom Gioconda, aka Achronos
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artist
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer
Ben Wommack, Associate Production Engineer

Hello, gentle friends.  Let’s open the Sack.

dmg04  Before Bungie, what was your "epiphany" moment. What brought you to the conclusion that you wanted to do what you're doing now?

I was undecided about pursuing a more technical oriented graphics rendering position or a more art-focused position. The moment I had instant clarity is when I saw a job listing *cough*, on The list of criteria for the position I now hold was quite literally everything I loved to do. Until that moment, I didn't realize that such a hybrid position existed.
Nate Hawbaker

Watching Jurassic Park had me hooked on the idea that I wanted to be in entertainment, creating something amazing out of thin air. It was a round-about journey to get from dinosaurs to interface art.
Andrew Davis

I was in the fourth grade, and we had been assigned to do a project based on the book Old Yeller. My partner and I ended up writing a small BASIC program that printed an ASCII dog onto the screen. Looking back, it was a really silly little thing to have made, but at the time I was amazed that we had been able to create a program that created art. Shortly afterwards, I stumbled across a book in the library about creating adventure games. From that point onwards, I knew I wanted to make games.
Michael Williams

I decided I was going to work in the industry when I was 10, while reading the Chrono Trigger manual in the car on the way home from Toys R Us. The good feelings that game gave me, even before I started playing, made working on videogames seem like the best way to live a happy life.
Ben Wommack

Watching my dad make a 20 pixel helicopter shoot a 4 pixel rocket across our Commodore 64 at home.
Luke Ledwich

EZcompany2ndsqd  For those who are I guess newer at Bungie, How does it feel not just to be a fan anymore? But a Fan and a worker at Bungie?

As someone who is (I guess) newer at Bungie, I am going to hoard this question from the panel and enjoy it all by myself.  The feeling is just as surreal as you would expect.  On any given day, you can be walking the floor and cross paths with someone you remember from countless ViDocs or media appearances that you scrutinized over a decade of waiting for Halo titles.  Other people speak names when they introduce themselves that you had only read in print previously.  It can be hard to maintain your dignity in line for coffee, and you never want to make excited eye contact in the restroom.  With this sense of awe comes a self-imposed burden of responsibility.  When you come into Bungie from the realm of fandom, you bring with you a mission to keep the Bungie community experience as cool as it ever was.

Hylebos  What's the strangest or most humorous glitch or error that you've encountered in one of your games during development?

There have been lots of those, but I still think one of the better glitches was the Halo: Combat Evolved Marine using a Needler to taunt (shoot at) the body of a dead Elite... only to cause the needles to super-combine and kill the taunting marine. Particularly in the Keyes escort mission when Keyes did it.
Tom Gioconda

Look in my two eyes.
Andrew Davis

Not exactly a glitch, but during the development of Sandtrap, the Elephant was given temporary sound effects until we could hook up the real assets. It was amazing fighting on the map and suddenly hearing the distant sound of Herb Alpert's "Spanish Flea" getting louder and louder, as the Elephant approached.
Michael Williams

On Reach, in New Alexandria, one of the civilians went all ET when she took damage.
Sam Arguez

I've been waiting to show this off for years.  During ODST, there was a content bug where Dare's textures were mismatched, creating a horrific demon in human skin with white eyes and a mouth on her ponytail.
Ben Wommack

Watching the entire studio crash from the balcony.  You can’t help but laugh, watching every monitor turn an angry red.
Luke Ledwich

Anonym0us  Who is the one person at Bungie that everyone can look to for inspiration or advice on any subject?

ONE person? It wouldn't be Bungie if we couldn't go to just about EVERYONE here for inspiration and advice. (Anyone who answers otherwise is off my list.)
Andrew Davis

Every day, I'm surprised at how wide everyone's skill set is. Traditionally, an engineer will have excellent knowledge of just engineering. This is the only working environment I've been in where I can discuss rendering costs with a concept artist, and artistic merits with an engineer. I think it's that constant edge-bleeding of abilities that helps us craft extremely informed problem solving and innovation.
Nate Hawbaker

Marty. He's certain to have an opinion on whatever you need. Admittedly, the advice may not be good advice, but it will always be inspirational.
Tom Gioconda

One of the joys of working here is that you can start up a conversation with anyone, and come away with amazing ideas. For the purposes of the question, I'll just choose someone recent I had a conversation with: Steve Lopez. He has a huge range of knowledge on tons of topics.
Michael Williams

Joshua Rodgers, once Production Engineer turned Tools Engineer. I maintain he knows everything and only holds back information so we children may better ourselves through self-discovery.
Ben Wommack

Probably Pete Parsons.  It’s always inspiring to see someone cheerful in any situation.
Luke Ledwich

defnop552  Does Pete Parsons still work at Bungie?

I love it when you guys cancel each other out.

AcedannyK 7  Does the studio celebrate employee birthdays at Bungie? If so, how?

On any given day, the eerie silence might be broken by a jubilant cry similar to “Hey everyone! It’s Acedanny’s Birthday!”  This always triggers an enthusiastic round of applause all across the sprawling maze of desks.  Coincidently, dropping something heavy on the floor is answered with the same response.  All of these stories are true.

Big Black Bear  Historically, developers and testers make up one of the bitterest adversarial relationships known to man... How would you classify that relationship at Bungie?

When you crave context for the test culture that rules the march of progress at Bungie, you debrief one David Gasca, who is at this moment doing me the favor of clearing this very Sack of typos and dangerous misinformation.  Let’s see if he will notice this gap in our conversation and fill in the blanks:

One of the best things about being in test at Bungie is that the testers work very closely with everyone here - much more closely than many other places I’ve worked. Test is involved in a lot features from almost the very beginning. We sit in on spec reviews, we give feedback, watch the feature come online, then test the crap out of it. It’s very common to see testers and engineers hanging out at each other’s desks talking about bugs, or new features coming online. Regardless of discipline, the goal is to make sure we have the best possible product go out the door. People from all disciplines appreciate that, it makes it easy to work together. That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen our share of snide comments in the thick of crunch.

burritosenior  Who designed Blood Gulch and who named it?

Look at you, Burrito!  You finally asked a Blood Gulch question that doesn’t make me roll my eyes.  When you crave trivia about classic Halo multiplayer maps, you make a pilgrimage to the oracle that is known to the faithful as Chris Carney.  I made this trek, just for you, into the fabled canyon of scorched earth.  Here are the historical gems that he dragged from the depths of his war-torn mind:

I designed the ground, roads, hills, and cliffs and also did the finishing of the Gulch.  However, someone else did the bases (I just textured those) and slapped a name on it.  If I had to guess, I would say it was Hardy LeBel.

SPARKSFLY2000  How can I hold lightning in my hand like you?

Were you not warned against playing with electricity as a child?  Yeah, neither were we.  Our halls are filled with brave developers who monkey with the destructive forces of nature every day.  We are always seeking equally foolish souls on our Careers Page.  Give it a read.  Do any of those Required Skills remind you of your special gifts?  If not, you could always fly a kite adorned with a key.  Or, seek education in an arena of relevant study that represents a cherished passion that we can exploit.

All of humanity  Who are the unsung heroes at Bungie?

I thought this would be an infinite regress of who is responsible for allowing other people to work, until I got to Jerome. I think it could be said that anyone at the studio may not be here if it weren't for preventative measures taken by Jerome.
Nate Hawbaker

The testers. I'm fairly certain they're going to kill us all one day, given that they have to deal with all manner of craziness being thrown at them constantly.
Tom Gioconda

Probably our Admins and HR. They keep us running. Without them there's no way we'd survive.
Andrew Davis

The test team isn't unsung, but the song can always be sung louder. I think the quality and drive of our test team is one of the most important factors to our success. Another relatively unsung group of heroes is the Audio team, who has often ended up working the most brutal crunch cycles, due to the narrow window where audio gets finalized before release. They work amazingly hard.
Michael Williams

Definitely the admin, HR, and security staff - pretty much everyone who doesn't actually work on games. The reason the rest of us can focus so much on projects is because they're handling all of the other work details so well. We would starve without them.
Ben Wommack

The Snack Fairies
Luke Ledwich

EAGLES5  What kinds of magazines do you guys read in the break room?

What’s a break?  For that matter, what is a magazine?  Do you mean those things that feed bullets into rifles?  Doesn’t sound like very good reading to me.

RigZ Boi  My hate for you is stronger than a mother bear's love for her new-born cubs. Thoughts?

I think that you suck at metaphors.  If you wanted to talk hate, you should have alluded to the fact that father bears eat their newborn cubs, so that they won’t compete with him for their mother’s attention.  That might have wounded me where my esteem resides.  The way you phrased it enabled me to run home to fond memories from my childhood, in which I was raised by bears.

coolmike699  What's the strangest thing a fan has ever sent you?

I haven't seen anything too odd from fans, they're usually extremely awesome. We still have poetry sent in from a fan hanging in our kitchen - it's great!
Nate Hawbaker

Lots of poems, raging voicemails, poorly-worded attempts at death threats, slabs of meat and other foodstuffs could suffice for an answer; but the strangest/most memorable was probably the crate of alcohol from someone who wanted to get rid of his booze but didn't want to just throw it away. Security "confiscated" the open containers. Riiiiight.
Tom Gioconda

If I remember this correctly, it was just after Halo 2 when we got a package from France. In it were a few Barbie and Ken dolls, messily dressed up and painted as Cortana and some Marines. There were notes scratched on a few pieces of paper in French, but the most disturbing part were the photos of the dolls they included... I'll leave it at that.
Andrew Davis

At some point, our Spanish-speaking fan-base decided that I spoke Spanish (I do not). I could only stare bemusedly at my XBL messages, and regret that I couldn't read their (presumably) kind words. I'm still not entirely sure where they got the idea, but I still get occasional messages to this day.
Michael Williams

I think the incoherent Xbox LIVE messages are the strangest.
Luke Ledwich

The custom-made, life-size cake of Master Chief's helmeted head, which probably cost hundreds of dollars to have commissioned. No one wanted to try eating any because it was so weird.
Ben Wommack

Koolen  What is beyond the boundary of space itself?

Stuff, I guess.  Isn’t stuff the opposite of space?  Don’t we always say that we need more space for our stuff?

insaneAssass1n9  If you could switch jobs with one other Bungie employee, assuming you had the required skill set for that job, who would you switch with and why?

Probably one of the concept artists, because I really do wish I had their required skill set. They do beautiful work.
Andrew Davis

Dan Miller, one of our senior designers, and creator of the infamous trench run at the end of Halo 3. His work always seems to be among my favorite parts in any of our games.
Ben Wommack

I've always been in awe of the concept artists on our team. The quality of their work and the speed at which they create images is incredible. I'd love to have the ability to take the scenes I see in my head, and turn it into images (rather than my current line-art scribbling).
Michael Williams

There's this guy, I'm not sure if you're familiar with him, I think he goes by DeeJ. From what I can tell from my observations, he spins in his chair all day whilst occasionally muttering deeply existential questions to himself. That seems like a pretty solid gig.
Nate Hawbaker

Editor’s Note:  I only do that when one of you posts something mean or stupid on the forum.

Malfar  Has anyone there ever secretly wished that Bungie was located in a milder climate?

As someone who just migrated here from Chicago, where it was -20 degrees in the winter and 100 degrees in the summer, I would say that a climate that is 40 degrees and rainy for nine months out of any year is pretty freaking mild.

BeguiledEnd  Gimme ALL YO CASH FOO!

This is not a question.  While a request in nature, it is more like a command.  And, No.

HWJohn  If each employee had the choice of one weapon and one fellow employee to use as a human shield to protect him/her self from the zombie apocalypse, what would their choices be?

My weapon would be an anti-zombie raygun. With that, I wouldn't need a human shield.
Andrew Davis

Weapon: A light tank loaded up with a lot of fuel. Don't even worry about the main gun, just roll over the top of the zombie hordes on your way to shelter. Make sure to have some machine gun rounds available just-in-case.
Human Shield: Robt McLees - Our resident zombie expert. If I've got him with me, I estimate my chances of survival increase 5000%. Plus, if the tank is a terrible idea, he will let me know.
Michael Williams

I'd take a gravity hammer to knock back the hordes, and enlist Dom, our resident test guru, as my shield. Because Dom is a robot, and doesn't need to eat, sleep, or leave the office, he will be immune to infection.
Ben Wommack

I think a good old fire axe.  Anything else would run out of ammo. I would probably choose Andrew Harrison for the human shield.  Once he had out lived his usefulness (or turned), I am sure I could outrun his gimpy knee.
Luke Ledwich

Anybody not saying "shotgun" here for their weapon is both wrong and possibly already a zombie.
Tom Gioconda

Poy Poy  How about a mandatory 10 minutes a day where all of the employees roam the forums?

How about a video game that will never be ready for anyone to play?

antony X1000  Is the studio pretty much one big open room, like the previous one was?

I don’t answer questions about our facility unless bribed.

(Opens next letter, with contains a question and a crisp twenty dollar bill.)

Lekesa  Do you still have limited walls to create an open environment?

We do still have limited walls to create an open environment.  Good question!  Here is a view of our studio from the About Us page of  You can browse the rest of them as they auto-load on the page.

When I tell my friends back home about what is like to work at Bungie, I describe our space as a Day Care Center on a Star Destroyer.  The development floor is a magical place, bristling with screens that display wonders that would get me terminated faster than a freedom fighter from the future if I were to tell you about them.  The great thing about where we work is that people always have access to one another to share ideas or to dig each other’s work.

HEDGE 071  What is the greatest compliment a team member can receive from others working in the studio?

If you look up and discover someone behind you, just staring at the stuff you've got running on your screen, you know that you've done something well. When a crowd starts naturally gathering around someone’s desk, you know that something amazing has been created.
Michael Williams

"That's going in game!?" ...said with positive connotations, of course.
Nate Hawbaker

I really liked the bottle of whiskey that showed up on my desk after a pretty grueling milestone deadline. I think I teared up a little.
Andrew Davis

That's a tough one; it's different for so many people. The most general compliment would be something like "He / she gets stuff done." The idea that the rest of the team can rely upon a person without concern or question.
Ben Wommack

JABBERWOCK xeno  Any chance once we get weekly updates going again, we could have a weekly Q&A as well?

That’s it.  I quit.

(drops the mic on the stage – walks off)

Fear not, Bungie Community.  I will likely regret my hasty resignation in the morning, and beg for my old job back.  That’s means that the Mail Sack will return next week, starved for your usual tidal wave of interrogation.  Keep your eyes trained on, or our point of presence on your social networking channel of choice to be alerted about your next chance to put us to the question.

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

Bungie Rides Along With Sapphire

This week, we revisit Halo 3 with a virtual mob.

Think of as a sprawling city, filled with urban dwellers who all share a passion for kick ass games.  In this city, various forums play the role of distinct neighborhoods, with unique attractions as lures beckoning players to roam their streets.  Atop a shining hill, there is a fortified City Hall staffed by Ninjas who set policy in smoky meetings and deal out justice with the business end of a razor-sharp Katana.  In tunnels deep below, Bungie Overlords preside over mysterious machines that light the streets and keep the populace warm.

Now imagine a tower that reaches skyward in a bid to scrape the clouds.  It would be home to hundreds upon hundreds of citizens, more than any other free-standing structure to be found on the local grid.  This private clubhouse would be a place where members of an exclusive chapter congregate to discuss the rigors their lives, stoke the fires of friendships, and (of course) play some games together.  We would call that place Sapphire.

The statistics of the private group that played host to the Ride Along for this week are impressive.  1,255 members, at least at the time of this posting.  1,000 pages of forum chatter on every topic known to man or beast, including some that would get you run out of town were they to be spoken on main street.  750,000 posts exchanged between their Sapphirites, making this one solitary club responsible for 1% of the chatter on all of – an impressive watermark, given the hundreds of thousands of gamers who have written their names into the register of our fair city over time.

Ever since my arrival in Bungietown, people have whispered of the towering juggernaut that is Sapphire.  With so much weight to throw around, Sapphire does not come to you.  To explore the heights of their cultural monopoly, one must infiltrate Sapphire of their own volition.  To learn more about this gem of community, I visited with Sapphire’s moderation force, led by a gamer known to them as Harlow.

Tell your fellow citizens the story of Sapphire. What were its origins?

Harlow The Sapphire community is actually about a year older than our group creation date suggests. We were originally founded back in 2009.  After about a year, I decided that the community needed a re-branding of sorts.  I hit the reset button with the intention of building a much friendlier, open group. People often ask me why I decided on the name Sapphire.  The truth is that I have no idea.

Mystery can be intoxicating when it comes to seducing the masses into following your lead.  What is the mission of Sapphire? What vital service do you provide your members to inspire them to maintain so much chatter on your board?

Harlow I originally set out to give people a decent, active forum to visit when they were bored. Over time, I think the community evolved into a very large, ever-changing group of friends. A lot of us have met in person - a lot of us plan vacations together - and it truly is amazing to see the vast number of friendships (and in a few cases: romances) that have formed out of this one community. Sapphire has become many different things to many different people.  It can be a place to meet great friends or just some forum you go to for a good laugh or to debate issues you're passionate about.

With so many people debating issues, it must be hard to keep the peace.  When I started lurking your forum, I was warned that you run a tight ship.  What does that mean to you?  What might someone do to be forced to walk the plank?

Harlow The rules themselves are actually very lax, although we expect a certain standard of posting within the group. What people were referring to was what we call the Sears Policy. We're a community with a strong sense of identity, and a member of the group badmouthing us to other people tarnishes that identity. A salesman working at Sears would be fired for telling customers that Sears was an awful place to shop.  In the same way, members of Sapphire who portray us negatively are removed. At first glance, this might seem a little radical, but it's done with the best interests of our community in mind, and I don't think anyone who has spent a decent amount of time in the group can claim that it doesn't work. We don't mind constructive criticism - in fact, we welcome it - but there more appropriate avenues for that, and in the end, bashing the group to people outside of it isn't really constructive at all.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?  I promise that I wasn’t there to badmouth anyone.  When one of your trusted lieutenants showed up in my inbox to verify my intentions, I decided it was time to take a ride with your ranks.  Let’s change the subject, and give your staffers a chance to sound off.  Why did you select Halo 3 for your Ride Along?

slayerspiddey Halo 3 was the game we most often played together in our early days. The memories of laughing until our sides ached in Sandbox customs and making frantic callouts as we helped each other raise our skills are things many of us look back on fondly.

The private group that slays together stays together.  Are game nights like these a regular occurrence for Sapphire? If so, how do you plan them? What else do you play?

II Pr0diG II  While a lot of our members are interested in gaming, game nights aren't the only community event we run, and they certainly aren't the sole focus of our group. We do encourage people to get together informally to play.  Recently, jaythenerdkid and Elite_Buddy have been running regular game nights on both XBOX Live and PC networks. The games they play are chosen by the community, and have included Reach, BF3, and many others. CoD Zombies is also a perennial favorite. In addition to this, we have a dedicated Minecraft server run by xconn30r, which has a pretty active and dedicated following.

Such momentum can be hard to sustain.  Where do you see Sapphire sparkling in the future?

jaythenerdkid  We've reached the stage where Sapphire is a community with its own distinct identity, and that's reflected in the fact that we now have online presences on FacebookTwitter, and elsewhere. We're constantly looking to expand into new arenas and diversify our user base. Our goal is to create a community that welcomes people from all corners of the internet and gives them a place to form close friendships whilst sharing the things they love with other like-minded people. We've currently got some exciting stuff in the works involving a Sapphire hub that will offer services like a live chat, interactive history archive and maybe even a Sapphire store, which several or our members have expressed a lot of interest in seeing. From there...who knows? As they say, the sky's the limit.

As the venue for our Ride Along, Sapphire decided to bring us on a tour of the sentimental battlegrounds of Halo 3.  Like an armed escort, I brought along two fellow tourists from our underworld of development.  Any urban inspection deserves the attention of an engineer.  Given the titanic size of the structure to be surveyed, I brought two.  I will let them speak for themselves.

Who are you, and what do you for Bungie?

Hello. My Name is: Tomo.  My job title is Production Engineer, but that probably doesn’t mean a whole to people outside our walls. In short, we’re the glue that keeps the pipes connected between all the different groups in Bungie. By the way, we are hiring more PEs!

My name is Scott Kankelborg.  When I’m not tending to my duties as Bungie Skank, I’m a tester (Associate Test Engineer if you’re feeling fancy).  On Halo 3, ODST, and Reach, my primary focus was on saved films and configuration testing.  I have a 13” CRT TV rocking 480i at my desk, and I’m not afraid to use it!  I’ve also done a healthy portion of the performance and File Share testing, and I still help Sawnose in feeding and grooming the Hydra.  I currently find myself embedded in the trenches with the UI team as well.

Thanks for covering me in the game last night, gentlemen.  It had been a while since I had bathed in the babbling creek beds of Valhalla.  What was your favorite thing to behold again in Halo 3 last night?

Easy! It starts with a B and ends with an R. Yes, the faithful BR.

The Brute Chopper!  That is by far my favorite Halo vehicle.  It brought back fond memories of sniping my way through Campaign and getting some sweet splatters in MP.  Fun Fact – we were making “get to da choppa!” references before the public even knew the Chopper existed.

I have to say, it was nice to see the old crown of flames alight on your heads.  Was your old Halo 3 armor as rusty as mine?  What was the rudest awakening that reminded you that you had been away for too long?

I think the question should be “what were,” I was so horrible! Let’s see; failing to melee, not reloading, accidentally throwing power drains and trip mines at teammates, not zooming in, etc., etc.

I had completely forgotten that the Bungie flames continue to burn bright when you are invisible in Halo 3.  I believe I died several times before re-learning my lesson.  I also forgot how much of a game changer armor abilities really are.  How do you expect me to defend myself against a superior player if I can’t transform into an impenetrable fortress?  How can I snatch a vehicle from an unwitting teammate without sprint?

Of course, it was not all gaffes and painful reminders.  We had our moments.  What was your greatest feat of triumph in our matches with the fine gamers from Sapphire?

I believe the very first game counted as my only great moment of triumph.  Thankfully, Tomo had not yet joined, so I had my moment in the spotlight at the top of the scoreboard with the most kills for my team - as well as the highest K/D in the game.  Stats are everything, PLAY TO WIN!

Not being last on the “Bungie Team” playing Multi-Team on Orbital.  That honor went to DeeJ.

Thanks for the reminder, Tomo.  You Engineers certainly do have a death-grip on the details.  When the party lobby was divided into five squads of three, the players for Team Bungie (depicted above in envious green) were laid out in the street, side by side.  As always, I will accept full responsibility for our demise at the hands of our skillful community.

Bungie would like to thank the entire delegation from Sapphire that lured us into the sand traps of Halo 3 all over again.  And, thanks to un par de tenis, Telomee, and hihi100202 for the sweet screenshots.  Good games were had.  Good memories were dusted off.  If you find yourself homeless and alone on the streets of this cold, hard town, you might think of joining a group like this one.  New people are the lifeblood of any respectable community, and Sapphire has a boastful tradition of activity to uphold.

These Ride Along events are likely to break out in your neighborhood at every given moment.  They can strike without warning.  Keep your eye on for your chance to share some of your favorite games with some of the people who create them.

Community 3/8/2012 10:06 AM PST permalink

Mail Sack Se7en

Ringing the Bell of World Domination

The studious developers of kick ass games at Bungie find themselves cramming to create a brave new world that we sincerely hope that you will love.  Despite our deepest urges, until those assignments are finished, we simply cannot invite you to look over their shoulders.  That would be cheating.  This does not mean that they don’t miss you dearly.  Fortunately, the honor falls to me to conduct field trips that enable them to visit the petting zoo that you call  Please join me in welcoming the lucky souls who were given a hall pass this week.

Lars Bakken, Design Lead
Andrea Fonger, Engineer
Scott Kankelborg, Bungie Skank
Dan Miller, Senior Engineer
Kurt Nellis, Technical Cinematic Lead
Jeremiah Pieschl, First!
Cameron Pinard, Artist
John Stvan, Neither Cool Nor Important
Jason Sussman, Senior Artist
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

School is in session, people.  Take your seats and let’s open the sack.  This first question was one that I forgot to run last week.  I like its existential contemplation so much; I saved it as a delicious snack for later.

Lobster Fish 2  If you had to die today, how would you want to go out?

Jeremiah Pieschl

Well fed, mama told me I should always eat before going out.
Dan Miller

Saving a bus full of kids from machine gun toting robot dinosaurs.  Of course, I’d go out saying something inspiring and heartwarming to the last kid I saved. He/she would go on to do something great, like coming up with an anti-robot dinosaur gun.
Kurt Nellis

With a clean pair of underwear on.
Scott Kankelborg

Pushing an orphanage out of the way of a satellite strike.
Michael Williams

Nuclear explosion in space seems like the flashy way to go out, but my sentimental side would choose being surrounded by friends and family.
Cameron Pinard

I totally want to ride off a cliff on a flaming motorcycle with a backpack full of bottle rockets and fireworks while smoking a cigar and drinking a bottle of Jameson (don't drink and drive kids).  In reality, I'm sure I'd wind up dead because I tried to get bread out of the toaster with a fork.
John Stvan

Editor’s Note: Jeremiah didn’t actually answer your questions.  He just responded to the message I sent to solicit wisdom from the Bungie Panel with “First!”  See how that feels, Internet?  It doesn’t feel very good, does it?

chubbz  Do the guys at Bungie have a strict 9-5 schedule? Or are there multiple shifts, with guys coming in at multiple times?

Engineers, Producers, and organizational types hit the beach at the crack of dawn with a balanced breakfast already being converted to precious development energy in their stomachs.  Designers, Animators, and other artistic types stagger in like war-torn reinforcements sometime before the crack of 10:00 AM with dark circles under their eyes, mumbling about coffee.

sam da man 2008  If you had one thing you could add to Bungie Studios, what would it be?

More showers. Two is not enough!
Dan Miller

A Pancake House right next door. I miss that amenity from our old office.
Lars Bakken

A  replica of the tavern we frequented in Kirkland, complete with purple drinks.
Jason Sussman

I would add a fire pole from the upstairs to the downstairs. It would speed up a trip that is surprisingly circuitous.  Plus, it would add 1000% more awesome to transit.
Michael Williams

Shooting range.
Scott Kankelborg

More natural light. Sometimes I feel like I work in the Bat Cave. I mean, if I did work in the actual Bat Cave, that would be pretty sweet.
Andrea Fonger

John Stvan

More people?  Has anyone mentioned we're hiring! An indoor skydive would be pretty sweet.
Cameron Pinard

Editor’s Note: Thank you, Cameron.  What would a Mail Sack be without an obligatory link to our Careers page?  Take our jobs, if you dare.  And why wouldn’t you dare?  Read on…

Kr1egerdude  What was your worst deadline experience?

Halo 3 Trench Run - but what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
Dan Miller

During ODST. At one point I and another artist rebuilt an entire level in one week.
Jason Sussman

The last minutes before we had to turn the ODST countdown clock off, praying for a last-minute reprieve from the governor.
Michael Williams

Last Bungie Day.
John Stvan

I don't really have a "worst" experience. We've had those long crunches - days where we go home super late and come in super early - and the last minute push to get the perfect release candidate, but I work with awesome people at an amazing studio. We're all in it together, nobody slacks off, and it all works out.
Scott Kankelborg

The project I pushed myself the hardest on was ODST.  It was a painful, but important, learning experience.  Even thinking about it now, I remember some of gut wrenching nervousness about not letting the team down.
Cameron Pinard

da bomb drop  Whenever a team have finished a movie, there is always that "That is a wrap, crew" moment on set, when bungie has made a game go gold, what is the reaction like in the office?

It's like when the Rebel Cruisers get past the Imperial Blockade in The Empire Strikes Back.
Dan Miller

There's a wrap vibe, but it's different than on film sets.  Each team ends up 'wrapping' at different rates, so while a group of artists will suddenly cheer before disappearing to go party, there's always some group still working. Even at the launch parties, there is still a group of engineers and IT experts making sure that everyone putting their disk in for the first time would be able to play. Those are some hard core workers, and I always make sure to have a drink for each of them.
Kurt Nellis

It’s much the same, only we instantly walk onto the next set and get ready to do another.
Jason Sussman

There are any number of those kind of moments throughout development.  Going gold has a strange feel to it, as there are usually a lot fewer people actively working on the project at that point, but there is generally a feeling of relief and happiness when it does happen.
Cameron Pinard

BRADEN OWNZ  How do you become a voice actor?

First, submit yourself to training in the pure craft of the theatre arts, with dreams of glory and fame on the stage or screen.  Second, get really tired of the taste and texture of ramen noodles.  Third, invest way too much money on a professionally produced demo reel.  Fourth, send said demo reel to a bunch of agencies and casting directors.  Finally, pray your very best prayer to whomever you think is listening.  If you are famous, you get to skip all of these steps, and accept an offer for some easy cash.

LordJebe  What are the chances of a Finnish bloke ending up in your magnificent team?

Finnish the Fight?

EZcompany2ndsqd  If someone just happened to get past Jerome, who or what would be your second line of defense?

That’s where the fun begins.  You’ll never expect the third line of defense – or the fourth.

coolmike699  What's your favorite rumor that you remember reading about Halo?

I don't read rumors. I create them.
Dan Miller

That one could receive Recon by asking.  Wait... Favorite?
Jason Sussman

I've always been impressed by the number of fake UI screens that claimed to be leaks in the Halo 3 era and beyond. Protip: 90% of the time, if you see a "leaked" UI screen, it has been created by some dedicated fan with a lot of time on their hands.
Michael Williams

Master Chief being a woman.
John Stvan

Pretty much anything related to the BR/DMR.
Scott Kankelborg

Everything from the heady days between the Macworld reveal and the MS buyout is going to top most other stuff.  That was long ago before I worked at Bungie, and nobody really knew what Halo was going to be back then.  So, stuff got really crazy.
Cameron Pinard

krazygamer1011  Can I get a tour of your studio if I fly across America?

Yes.  One caveat: You must accomplish this without the benefit of machinery or the fabrication of a personal array of wings.  If you can do that, we will be very interested in meeting you.

Paddydark  When will you guys start interacting with the community again?

How dare you?  I slaved for hours over a hot keyboard to cut and paste together this masterwork of community interaction.  Questions like these could get a guy fired, you know.  And where would you be then?

CTN 0452 9  When it comes to playing games, what makes a good game, great?

Your mom.
Scott Kankelborg

Dan Miller

Polish is the most important part of making a good game great. If you take time to look at your game and refine it (tweaking damage, AI, gameplay, art, etc.), it will show.  Taking that time can make a normal feature into a brilliant one - and can make the great parts of a game ones people will remember long after they have played it.
Michael Williams

When it sucks you into the world and won't let go.
Andrea Fonger

Attention to detail.
Cameron Pinard

ClassicRckr  What's the most important aspect of any game?

Shipping it.
Dan Miller

How the game feels to play. It has to be responsive and fun to move around in the world. If those basics aren't there, you're going to have a tough time making anything else feel correct on top of it.
Lars Bakken

That it's finished.
Kurt Nellis

Having a cohesive vision throughout the game. With art, design, and story.
Jason Sussman

A game is the sum of its parts. Without the music, art, code, animation, bug-less operation, or all the other components that go into the game, the experience would not be the same. I suppose you could say the most important part is the implicit conversation it creates between the creator and the consumer.
Michael Williams

Whether it's fun to play!
Andrea Fonger

That it resonates with someone.  If there is no connection, it's just all process.
Cameron Pinard

John Stvan

Your mom (that's right DeeJ - I used that one twice. I'm a rebel)
Scott Kankelborg

Editor’s Note: Skank was going to answer all of your questions that way, until I told him that he could only do it once. 

borrowedchief  How do you feel about The Artist taking top honors at this year’s Academy Awards.

Not bad.  Eh?  How nice for them.  I can’t speak for everyone in the studio, but if I had made that movie, it would have featured more explosions.  And been in color.  With talking.

THORSGOD  You get to throw two members into a coliseum and watch them fight to the death.  Which two do you chose?

You, and whomever has a beef with you.  Any takers?  I will send a “Burn Bright. Burn Blue.” t-shirt to anyone in possession of the courage to meet this Norse legend in hand to hand combat.

Editor’s Note: Not really.  That isn’t actually the Mail Sack challenge for this week, nor do I condone fights to the death between fans.

Krimm117  Who currently holds The Shaft, and without giving specific details, can you tell us why?

But it just so happens that I can give you specific details. The Shaft is a PVC talisman of excruciating manual labor.  This relic from ancient Bungie History is placed on the desk of someone who has been saddled with a task that no one would wish on their worst slingshot-bound enemy.  Currently, it resides on the desk of Test Manager Jamie Evans, who tells us:

I have it, because Test normally knows who breaks the current build of the game... and we can give it to them.

Moral to the story: You break the build, you fix the build.  Don’t break the build.

UnderTheKnif3  What's the most fun part of development? I'm talkin' the whole sha-bang.

Adding music, and hearing it (you're welcome Marty).
Dan Miller

When everyone on the team is firing on all cylinders at the end of development. The amount of sweet and amazing things that happen per minute is just mind blowing.
Lars Bakken

If you ask me: The people I get to work with. If you ask my parents what they think: Getting to play whatever game I want and eating potato chips 100% of the time.
Kurt Nellis

Having the giant beast you've been working on ship.  After putting so much effort into a project, seeing it all come together, and then releasing it to the world.
Jason Sussman

There is this amazing moment near the end of game development when all the art polish starts being included. Suddenly, those grey angular levels you've been playing turn into these rich works of art. That is the moment for me when the full scope and beauty of the game finally sinks in.  It is a really good feeling to see the game doing something, and think "I helped make that happen."
Michael Williams

Hearing people talk about something you worked on.
Andrea Fonger

I love the process.  Don't get me wrong, it's great seeing the end result.  But I love getting into that flow of getting things done, banging out assets, fixing bugs, solving problems, and tweaking that one variable to make something sing.
Cameron Pinard

That's a dumb question. Who let you in here?
John Stvan

Editor’s Note: John is friends with the person who posed this question.  As hateful as it may seem at first glance, what you are seeing exchanged above is actually a bizarre form of love.

AcedannyK 7  What is your least favorite part of game development?

When the tools are new.
Dan Miller

That lull between when the game is out of our hands and before the fans gets to play it. The wait is just as excruciating for us as it is for you.
Lars Bakken

That the job isn't like the movie Grandma's Boy and we can't just play games all day.
John Stvan

Seeing a favorite idea or feature getting cut.
Kurt Nellis

The stress and anxiety of wondering if people will enjoy it.
Jason Sussman

One of the worst feelings is when you are at work well past midnight, finally check in your work, and then the build fails. You realize you will still be at work for hours, and call your loved ones to tell them you won't be heading home yet (assuming they are still awake).
Michael Williams

I don't have a reserved parking spot on the 1st floor. That pretty much sucks.
Scott Kankelborg

Anytime you're blocked from working, be it from a bug, or just a lack of a tool you need. Nothing more frustrating than that.
Cameron Pinard

antony X1000  Are there any other days like Bagel Fridays?

There are, but they are far less popular. Mucous Monday is by far the least favorite.  We had to completely cancel Get Tazed Tuesday for insurance purposes.

AmX15  What is your favorite interwebz meme?

Dan Miller

Michael Williams

Scott Kankelborg

Andrea Fonger

risay_117  Do you plan to answer all my questions?

Your list was an agonizing 58 questions long.  The only one I could answer was this one.  Your answer is “NO!”

KUZOKU85  Are there any martial artists within Bungie's legion? If so, what rank and what style?

There are lots of Krav Maga folks.
Jason Sussman

We have an entire gang of Badasses.
Dan Miller

Pat Jandro claims to be a Maroon belt in the art of Kung Pao.
Kurt Nellis

We all have a black belt in rolling and pushing.
John Stvan

I know some people who do Aikido, Krav Maga, and MMA.  I'm sure there are other martial arts represented.  We've got a very diverse group of folks here.
Michael Williams

Back in my youth, I did Tae Kwan Do and got a black belt in it.  I'm horribly embarrassed by how inflexible I've become.  I'd probably break a hip trying to do anything too serious now.
Cameron Pinard

NoWise10  Do you need to be an "artist" to be in the game developing industry?

LOL. No. You need to be an "artiste".
Dan Miller

Yup, but only if you're looking for a job as an artist.
Kurt Nellis

Nope!  You still have Programmer, Audio, Animation, Test, IT, Designer, User research, and Production.
Jason Sussman

Not in the sense of drawing or modeling skills. "Programmer art" is legendarily bad across the industry (as my stick figure flailing can demonstrate). However for every discipline you need to have a dedication to quality, and a deep attention to detail. I know I've seen code snippets that I could consider art when they do a difficult task in a simple, clean, and beautiful way.
Michael Williams

Definitely not. I couldn't draw myself out of a paper bag (I challenge anybody reading this to create such a drawing).
Scott Kankelborg

Heck no! If that was required, I wouldn't be here. I do draw a mean box in Paint though.
Andrea Fonger

I'd say you don't have to be a good artist, not to get all after school special on you but everybody is a little artistic. I think to work in an industry that is based on creative output you should actively nurture that side of yourself regardless of what you do.
Cameron Pinard

See: DeeJ.
John Stvan

BRADEN OWNZ  What computer programs do we need to know inside and out to get a job at Bungie?

I mostly use Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Yuke  How much do you love your fans?

They can now fly Pelicans and Phantoms and dance with the Grunts in Halo: Reach.
Dan Miller

Oh, you have no idea...
Lars Bakken

To the moon and back. But no further without having met. Then it's probably at least back to the moon again.
Kurt Nellis

|---------- this much ----------| (but not an inch more)
John Stvan

So much that we even love the haters.
Michael Williams

Most places in Washington don't have an AC unit, so during the summer I love my fans a bunch. They're pretty much useless in the winter, though.
Scott Kankelborg

I get to do the amazingly fun job I get to do because of them.  It’s hard not to be grateful for that.
Cameron Pinard

Achilles1108  Why am I so much better than everybody else?

Because you are a Mythic Member of the community.  Everyone knows that those people’s lives are worth far more than their junior contemporaries.  I am surprised that you even had to ask, since you Mythics are reminding us of this fact at every turn.  I guess the old wisdom is true: The best questions to ask in an interview are the ones to which you already know the answer.

With that final kernel of higher-learning, our Mail Sack for this week is closed.  Class is dismissed.  We will see you back here when it is time to stand and deliver all over again.  In the meantime, know that the Bungie Panel, and all of their colleagues, are hard at work to give you something exciting and new to talk about in the halls that you roam so diligently.

Community 3/2/2012 9:10 AM PST permalink

Death By Ride Along

Send in the Mongoose Lords, two-by-two.

The M274 ULATV was designed by the United Nations Space Command as a scout vehicle – a simple shuttle intended to ferry a Marine across the shortest distance between two points.  It is the runt of any fleet.  It cannot fly.  It cannot boost.  It was not endowed by its creators with any means of lethality.  In a tactical engagement, it is as dangerous as a shopping cart.  Conventional wisdom tells us that carnage is reserved for the Warthog.  The quad bike is for delivery services.

Not to be constrained by the wishes of a designer, some players of Halo assign far more value to what they affectionately refer to as the Mongoose.  Like its cobra-foiling namesake, they see it as a killing machine, bred for war.  In the absence of munitions, the front bumper is weapon enough.  With gauntleted hands gripping the handlebars, their craft of choice is a war horse, instead of a glorified cargo wagon.

One such gamer is analbumcover.  Back up and read that gamertag again.  Now, picture the packaging that encases your favorite musical offering, pressed into vinyl.  Better?  Moving right along… “Mr. Cover” is a Master Goose Lord in a noble biker gang that travels light and fights hard.  Since the finishing of the fight in Halo 3, a private group known as Death By Mongoose has corralled quad-bike enthusiasts into the same explosive pen.  Their favorite moments of multiplayer action include two gamers piggybacked over four tires.

This brave order of Mongoose pilots deserved more scrutiny, so I dusted off my armor to walk among them.  As I stalked through the garage where the Goose Lords of DMB rebuild motors and grease axles, I approached the hulking form of this burly Inheritor to plumb the rich culture that surrounds their ultra-light labor of love.

Tell us about the origins of this group. When did you start?

analbumcover  We started out back in 2008, when a bunch of people that play the game the wrong way collided and exploded into a cloud of awesome.

Misery loves company.  Eh?  Aside from your insistence on foolish daredevil tactics on your flimsy steeds, what else holds your Mongoose-bound membership together?

analbumcover  We talk about other stuff more than we talk about the Mongoose in our forums. Just think of it as a place for off-beat people to hang out and just talk a bunch of smack - and occasionally about Mongooses.

Pardon the pun, but passion like yours deserves a vehicle for expression.  How do you all go about celebrating your love for the Mongoose?

analbumcover  In the massive amounts of YouTube videos that are generated by our group.

Has your love for vehicular manslaughter translated into action in any other games besides Halo?

analbumcover  I have a Honda Recon 4 wheeler with a trailer attached to it at work. Every now and then when I see someone lined up just right I get this urge to run them over.

Whoa, now!  Hold your horses.  I said “other games.”  Your killer-instinct is spilling over into real life.  Sounds like there might be a need for some group therapy in your ranks.  In the event that these urges become a pandemic, how should other Mongoose enthusiasts seek you out for reprogramming?

analbumcover  Bribery works.

In a bid to vent some of that pent up splatter-lust, thus saving countless lives at intersections across the world, I invited Death By Mongoose on a ride along astride their preferred craft.  To spread the good word about Mongoose love, we filled out the lobby with an invitation to a custom game flash mob.  Lord Cover was enterprising enough to capture the evening and add some swing to the highlights.  Have a look.

Instantly, it became apparent that this was no Rocket Race.  Like a ballistic joust, the flavor of their preferred custom games favors a sniper rifle.  In a custom game with the Mongoose Lords, there is no splash damage.  The vehicle earns an indestructible respect that is absent from the wilds of multiplayer.

To spark alight the old competitive spirit, I threw a couple of “Burn Bright. Burn Blue.” t-shirts into the pot.  The challenge was issued to all: Win the last match, and you lay claim to some limited edition swag.  If you see some tagged Bungie gear in your town, it just might be one of the dynamic duo comprised of Xannder and Direwolf King.  Good game, gentlemen.  Your loot is in the mail.

Thanks to all of the Goose Lords, Floodophiles, and random strays that partook in an evening of break-neck speed and unexpected g-forces.  If moving violations like these look like your preferred brand of action, you should check out Death By Mongoose.  We could all use a little help prolonging our social movements, and theirs moves faster than most.

Community 2/29/2012 3:10 PM PST permalink

Bungie Mail Sack 6.1

Now with more Bungie Panel!

Last week, the Bungie Panel enjoyed catching your volleys of interrogation so much we fielded even more people to shag the mail that poured from the depths of your collective mind.  The culture of our studio is a source of great pride among the people who populate Bungie.  Here is the peanut gallery that assembled this week to tell you all about it:

Rick Lico, Senior Art Lead
Cale Haskell, Associate Engineer
John Stvan, aka Halcylon
Dan Miller, Senior Designer
Jim Levasseur, Cinematic Designer
Christian Diefenbach, Engineering Lead
Justin Truman, Engineering Lead
Sam Arguez, Producer
Nate Hawbaker, Associate Technical Artists
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer
Kurt Nellis, Technical Cinematic Lead
Andrew Davis, Artist

Welcome to the show, brave souls.  Let’s open the sack.

antony X1000  What is your favorite thing about working at Bungie?

Working with a talented team of people. Join us, we are hiring!
Dan Miller

My co-workers. The passion and creativity they apply to making awesomeness ensue is incredible.
Michael Williams

Working everyday with people that are absolutely awesome at what they do. It makes you want to push yourself.
Sam Arguez

Free coffee and soda. Free snacks and chocolate. And the gym membership to offset them.
Christian Diefenbach

At any one moment I can stand up from my desk and see several monitors housing some of the most awesome content and artwork ever bestowed upon my retinas. I mean just yesterday I saw [CENSORED] set up a [CENSORED] in [CENSORED] and it had [CENSORED] over the entire [CENSORED]!
Nate Hawbaker

Editor’s Note: Nate censored himself.  I would never play you like that.

spartain ken 15  How often do fans go to the doorsteps of Bungie HQ and try to gain entry?

Never!  One does not simply walk into Bungie.

Statefarm98  Why haven't we seen a Bungie game where you play as Jerome and fight off fans?

The best games are ones that provide a threat that is realistic enough to instill in the player a sense of tension – perhaps even dread.  There would be no sport or contest in the game you are describing.  Plus, everyone would just complain that Jerome was overpowered.

CTN 0452 9  If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?

Sprint. 'Cause Armor Lock isn't balanced.
Dan Miller

Do you know when your roommate wakes up just before you and then proceeds to take the longest shower ever? My superpower would be doing that every day.
Jim Levasseur

The flash! Anything to keep my schedule balanced.
Christian Diefenbach

Something that could be used without being conspicuous. How about the ability to stop time? Then I would always be the first one to the kitchen when free food arrives.
Nate Hawbaker

The power to view the past. This ability would be amazingly educational when viewing events in the distant past, and incredibly powerful when viewing events mere seconds ago.
Michael Williams

To stop time, or to move super-fast. Anything that would allow me to squeeze more into a day.
Sam Arguez

Flying. Seriously, who wouldn't choose flying? I guess if you were afraid of heights? Even then, you could fly, so what are you afraid of?
Kurt Nellis

The ability to grant wishes. Everybody gets one.
Andrew Davis

Editor’s Note: Andrew’s offer not valid on

jacob crawford  Has the idea of tours of the studios ever been taken seriously? I don't mean us normal folks waltzing in to the more secret areas, but something maybe like what you would get on a tour of a brewery.

If only games could be brewed in enormous iron vats.  You tease us with your metaphors, jacob crawford (if that is your real name).  There have been times when our fans have been welcomed onto the other side of our shark-infested moat to enjoy the tapestries.  Those times will very likely come again, for a very exclusive and carefully selected audience.

U Got Pwned1264  What games, besides Battlefield 3 and Halo, do you guys play during free time?

A select few of us play Street Fighter... or various incarnations of it... Street Fighter X Tekken is the game we're really looking forward to.
Rick Lico

Dominions 3
Cale Haskell

Mind games.
Dan Miller

I just played through Dear Esther which was beautiful and thought-provoking, if not exactly a traditional game. Next up is Alan Wake on the PC... where it rightfully belongs. Can you tell I'm a grumpy PC gamer?
Jim Levasseur

Do board games count? Dominion, Risk, SmallWorld, Ticket to Ride, Aquire and Go Fish.
Christian Diefenbach

Lately I've been playing an irresponsible amount of Dark Souls. Before that was Arkham City and Uncharted 3. I also love playing short-form indie PC games.
Justin Truman

I'm currently playing Skyward Sword and Skyrim, and the backlog contains God of War 3, Bayonetta, Darksiders, finishing Dark Souls, Tactics Ogre, and the list goes on... I used to play a lot of JRPG's but there haven't been a lot of good ones in years.
Sam Arguez

Forza 4, Modern Warfare 3, Minecraft.
Nate Hawbaker

I've been catching up with my backlog (Arkham City, Assassins Creed 1, Beyond Good and Evil), have a group for Risk Legacy, play a bit of pen-and-paper RPGs (Pathfinder), and play a lot of board games with friends.
Michael Williams

Skyrim.... Wait. There are other games?
Kurt Nellis

I just finished up Fable 3 (finally!). I think I broke the end-game moral decisions by becoming a land baron early (and rubber banding my controller to earn me lots of dough!). I have a stack of games I still want to play, but the ones I've completed recently that really stand out to me are Red Dead Redemption, and the Batman and Assassins Creed series. I'm a sucker for single player exploration & collection quests.
Andrew Davis

adeckofcards77  How often is someone interviewed for an open position at Bungie?

Interview loops are top secret, and happen in a hidden nook deep in the belly of our sprawling compound.  Very few candidates survive them.  Out of respect for the dead, we choose to not speak of them openly.  That said, it does seem that a fresh newbie is birthed into the studio every week lately – sometimes, several at a time.  So, you do the math.

OMARRCHR  Does anyone at Bungie ever take a break? If so, what do they do?

We get breaks?
Sam Arguez

Only long enough to acquire sustenance.
Nate Hawbaker

No breaks. Facilities recently removed the bathrooms to improve our efficiency. In a few weeks, IT will be rolling out feeding tubes for all the artists.
Jim Levasseur

Work out, rock climb, Insanity sessions in the Central.
Dan Miller

My hobby is woodworking. Powertools without a computer interface FTW!
Christian Diefenbach

Nothing beyond our mandatory shuffle around the exercise grounds. Otherwise the shackles really start to chafe.
Justin Truman

We generally spend time with our family and friends, and catch up with our entertainment backlog.
Michael Williams

Everyone is encouraged (and sometimes forced) to take all their vacation days. I try to take as many motorcycle camping trips as possible during the summer. A few years ago I drove down to San Francisco and Yosemite, and I'm now thinking of going further.
Andrew Davis

sam da man 2008  What's next for Bungie Aerospace?

We have games in the pipeline.  I am working on a plan that will reveal them to you.  Please stand by.  Someone will be with you shortly.

StormFront  What music does the office listen to when creating the best game on Earth?

Anything not in the bathroom – ‘cause we aren't making games in the bathroom.
Dan Miller

See: Steve's "Poop-tunes" playlist.
John Stvan

Max Richter, The Avett Brothers, Explosions in the Sky, Vampire Weekend, Parov Stelar, Mimosa, etc... pretty much anything that doesn't involve mindless noise or creepy chanting.
Jim Levasseur

Anything that doesn't steal focus from the task at hand: Gregorian chants, Chopin, Mozart, etc. No operas though, people hate when I yell "Figaro" with my headphones on.
Christian Diefenbach

I'm listening to Jay-Z while typing this.
Justin Truman

Old game soundtracks (it makes me miss the old days), Anamanaguchi, Helios, Thrice, The Dear Hunter, In Flames, Soilwork, Rise Against, and so on...
Sam Arguez

Let’s take an adventure over to Monitor #3. Childish Gambino, Hadouken!, JAY-Z, Tegan and Sara, Snoop Dogg.
Nate Hawbaker

There's a huge variety of music that gets listened to in the studio, and several employees are active in local bands. Regular debates spring up about the music streamed to the bathrooms (Christmas music & Puzzle Hunt music have been major topics of discussion). Personally, I enjoy listening to KEXP's streaming station, or occasionally listening to a bit of NerdCore. (Full disclosure: I know the artist behind that link, so I may be biased, but I also think the song is awesome.)
Michael Williams tells me I've been listening to way too much Dan Deacon, Decemberists, & Neutral Milk Hotel (I shipped Reach listening to those three almost exclusively.)
Andrew Davis

nerd  I want a pic of your desk!

Thanks for the softball.  Here is where the magic happens, dear Community. I waffle between calling it “Mission Control” and “CentCom.”  It’s not much to look at, but it’s home.

walshypru  What is your opinion on the validity of 'video game design' degrees and other similar qualifications that have gained popularity recently?

Speaking specifically to the animators out there... Your animation reel and its demonstration of your skillset is what matters to us. Saying you went to school and successfully mastered a skill is much different than showing us what you've learned. The reel is everything. That being said, the best way to learn animation is by attending an art college, specialty school, or online animation training. The quality of the training is much more valuable than the accreditation, so do your homework on the professors and department. Many animation schools teach buttons in a program, or strictly film animation. Even though that information may be helpful, finding a school that will teach animation tailored for the gaming industry will help you MUCH more.
Rick Lico

I came into Bungie with a “video game programming” degree, so, hey-o!
Cale Haskell

Mod experience is free.
Dan Miller

Do your research. School can be a valuable environment to learn from experienced industry professionals and ambitious peers, or it can be a huge waste of time and money. Focus more on what you can do (animation reel, environment art portfolio, graphics demos) than earning a piece of paper. And if you want to make games, make games (even the Portal guys had a solid playable concept).
Jim Levasseur

Bungie has people who hold degrees in Art, Math, Engineering, Physics, Biology, Game Design, Game Programming, Computer Science, etc., and some really awesome people who never graduated in anything. The point is, if you are really good in what you do, you will find a home in the games industry.
Christian Diefenbach

I think it's awesome that there are finally legitimate education avenues for game development and design. On the other hand, nobody in the game industry requires you to have a degree - you just have to be good and be able to prove that you're good. Draw, model, level design, program on your own, and you can get the same chops without the college debt.
Justin Truman

I went through the Guildhall @ SMU and wouldn't be here today if I hadn't, so I guess that answers the question.
Sam Arguez

It's hard to answer this question without upsetting at least half the population that has considered one. Everything that my job requires me to know, I taught myself. The catalyst for that learning owes itself to my involvement in the modding community, and the resulting personal projects.
Nate Hawbaker

For the right people, video game schools can work well. We have a number of people here at Bungie who have come to us through game schools. That said the vast majority of people working at Bungie have more traditional 4-year degrees. A 4-year degree gives you a wide range of knowledge that you can often apply to game development in surprising ways. The main disadvantage to a college or university is that they generally won't give you hands-on experience making games, or give you projects that will build your portfolio. I always suggest that people in a 4-year school get involved in game clubs, or online projects to make games - it gives you lots of experience and material to show potential employers.
Michael Williams

I'd say try and get a well-rounded education. With almost any type of degree, you'll only get out of it what you put into it.
Andrew Davis

Editor’s Note: I minored in Theatre!

drummer0702  Why don't you require actual letters to be sent?

For the same reason we don’t require you fine people to shoot each other with actual guns.  The Internet is safer and more efficient.  If we used the postal service to have these chats, they would occur a lot less frequently than once a week.

r c takedown  What is your favorite thing to do at the Bungie office?

Dan Miller

Insanity workout at lunch time!
Christian Diefenbach

Make awesome videogames.
Justin Truman

See something awesome and unexpected.
Sam Arguez

Putting lap times on our in-office scoreboard in the ForzaPod.
Nate Hawbaker

Besides the daily work and the Pentathlon, I love the evenings when we get together to play games.
Michael Williams

Thinking. More specifically: During the winter: Thinking about how wonderful it is to work for such a great company and not have to be outside in the weather. During the 2 weeks of summer: Wonder how I ended up working in a cave and reevaluating if I could have made better choices in my life.
Kurt Nellis

All the after-school activities are really awesome. Rock climbing, life drawing, Pathfinder, Risk: Legacy, enjoying any of the many games on Steam, drunken debauchery at karaoke next door.
Andrew Davis

Editor’s Note: Anyone who did not indicate that their favorite thing to do here is work really hard has been reported to Harold.

elmicker  With a mind to gabe's interview and his commentary on Valve's flexibility at the individual level and lack of structure, how would you describe Bungie’s environment? Is it flexible? Is it flat? Is it agile? How free is any one developer to just go "Whoah, this is cool!" and work on said cool-ness?

Interesting interview.  Thanks for sharing.  I would describe Bungie as a complex animal, comprised of internal organs that work in concert to drive us forward in our hunt for kick ass games.  We have teams of people committed to specific elements of development, all focused on a singular goal.  While independent thought is demanded of the people who work for Bungie, for the most part, all of our audacia is aimed at the same astra.

Sven Nietzsche  What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?

Strength: Muscles.
Weakness: Muscles.
John Stvan

Next question, plz.
Dan Miller.

Strength: Writing TLDR emails.
Weakness: Writing TLDR emails.
Sam Arguez

This isn't a job interview.
Nate Hawbaker

Strengths: Puzzle making, rocket racing, and thinking up ways players could abuse game systems.
Weaknesses: Chocolate cookies, fighting games, and using the sniper rifle.
Michael Williams

Zaphog  What's up with the Laboratorium?

Hidden away amidst the beakers and instruments, our venerable Dr. Bunsen Honeydew toils away in the trenches of Science to answer mission critical questions, like:

Bungie Sam  When is most active?

Honeydew: 1pm to 6 pm Pacific Standard Time.

Dropship dude  How do timezones work?

Basically, the entire world adjusts their clocks so that the sun is high in the sky at High Noon.  It was enacted as a standard in the 1800s, to make sure that people could see real good during their gunfights in the town square.

Chalupa King117  What is THE most absolutely most treasured object in the Studio?

Our pants.
Rick Lico

Desk space.
John Stvan

Dan Miller

I can't speak for everyone, but I'd say I am.
Justin Truman

Sam Arguez

The simple answer is the Pentathlon "Cup". The real answer is Urk's beard.
Nate Hawbaker

Given the level of competition over it, I'd argue that it is the Pentathlon Cup. Other candidates include the Jason Jones cardboard standee, our Declaration of Independence, the Hydra Device, and our Server farm.
Michael Williams

Editor’s Note: The Pentathlon Cup is a Fist.  And, thanks for the Forge art, DoughBoy.

KUZOKU85  Back in August or so you told us you'd be going the darkest you've ever gone and it’s been almost seven months. For the Bungie fan this is no mere torture, this is agony in hell. Please, you must give us some tiny morsel, a table scrap, some beacon of light, a date, an event, anything. Can you spare us some idea of when we'll get even the tiniest fraction of knowledge about Bungie's new game?

You will play it with your hands.

Kr1egerdude  Where do you see video games 10 years from now?

In your mind.
John Stvan.

In the future.
Dan Miller

In my living room.
Christian Diefenbach

I want new input devices to replace motion-sensing and directly read my thoughts. That way I can stop flailing my arms and panting.
Justin Truman

That's what's great about them, no one really knows.
Sam Arguez

Modern Warfare 12 - I kid. It's extremely difficult to project that far in the future without just referencing current trends. If anything that Paul Debevec has shown in the last two years makes it into a realtime environment, consider me excited.
Nate Hawbaker

In 10 years, I believe all games will have an online component. I think the kind of stats and interaction you see on will be common even in the simplest arcade titles. Our challenge is to stay ahead of what is common!
Michael Williams

Streaming directly into my retina via a corneal implant. Oh, there'll probably be some kind of goblin derivatives and/or aliens to fight, too. That sort of thing is timeless.
Kurt Nellis

LordMonkey  Coke or Pepsi?

Coke.  Give ‘em hell, Bobby.

farmerscott21  Is Luke Timmins a nice guy in real life?

Editor’s Note: Is this real life?

Sam Arguez

Justin Truman

HOLY CRAP YES HE IS. He's the nicest man who plays with knives that I've ever known.
Cale Haskell

I heard that he no longer stabs people when mistaken for Jason Jones.
Nate Hawbaker

Luke Timmins is a saint and a lover.
Dan Miller

Yes, he is. And he does use the word "sausage" every chance he gets.
Christian Diefenbach

Luke Timmins is a super nice guy, who is a pleasure to work with. He likes to claim that his job these days is "drinking coffee," but he is directly and indirectly responsible for a ton of awesome technology.
Michael Williams

Answering that would be a bit like someone in the Justice League unmasking Batman. No can do, my friend.
Kurt Nellis

Super nice. Wait... our review period just ended, I can say whatever I want to! He's pretty nice... I guess.
Andrew Davis

People are always asking me if I know Luke Timmins…With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels.
Luke Timmins

Zafric  When it comes to hiring employees... Would Bungie favor applicants who are devout Bungie fans as opposed to someone who is indifferent? If not, does being a Bungie fanboy actually have the opposite effect? i.e. Does the childish glee of a fanatic get so sickening that you'd prefer not to have him/her around?

Indifference doesn’t sound like a quality that any self-respecting employer would value.  At Bungie, we are fortunate to be in the position to hire many people who bring with them a passion for what we do.  We newbies try not to make fools of ourselves when we meet our legends, but it happens.  They give us a six month grace period, and take us out to lunch to let us know that they need to eat, just like any mortal.

SkilPhil  Have you had any unusual requests for help in the office that isn't really 'Community Manager' related?

Urk did ask me to pick up his dry cleaning once.

spartan120  How much has the culture at Bungie changed over the years? Have you all 'matured' [so to speak] and given up your 'stick it to the man' ways?

Our beer selection has improved. You can tell a lot about a company by their beer.
Dan Miller

We are still a company that values its creative independence, and the maturing happened in the way we manage our time and build relationships with our publisher, but at heart, we are still like kids in an amusement park.
Christian Diefenbach

When Chucky pulls his pants down, we no longer take pictures.
Justin Truman

A good bit.  We have fewer whiteboards to draw –blam!- on...  I'm not sure if that counts.  How exactly would making games "stick it" to anyone?
Sam Arguez

I've been with Bungie since Halo 2, so I can't speak to the Chicago days, but I feel like Bungie has matured while still keeping our passion. In the old days, most people here were single, and now the majority is married and has children. These days the whiteboards are cleaner, but new craziness around the office has replaced the old.
Michael Williams

Not really all that much. We're a lot bigger (I started working here in 2004 and I've now been here longer than 3/4 of the company!). But even at this size, we've maintained a pretty good level of irreverence. There exists video of our own Dave Dunn performing Rock Lobster in a crab costume in front of a bar of Bellevue popped-collars and cougars, if that means anything.
Andrew Davis

IamNickMan  Does the sarcasm just come to you for these questions, or are you just a sarcastic person?

Aren’t those two conditions the same thing?  I am a sarcastic person.  It’s a job requirement.  Thus, sarcasm just comes to me.  Just in case this response is not sarcastic enough, I will close by offering up the fact that you look really, really nice today.  I like your pants.

Wumpa Warrior  Can we please become / A site with only haiku? / I want an answer

One thing I have learned / Is that our Community / Chooses their own style

Your answer is “No.”

…And the Mail Sack is now closed.  Fear not, stalwart Bungiephiles.  It will reopen again, when the weekend is a dull memory, and the sun rises on a brave new Monday filled with renewed threats of another work week.

Community 2/24/2012 10:11 AM PST permalink