For those of you who thought I was the venomous harbinger of doom, updates-are-too-short-where’s-the-information-fix-ur-blam-Bungle “Bad Cop” to Frankie’s whimsical, free-willing, overly loquacious “Good Cop,” things are about to change here at Bungie Towers and Corporate Headquarters. A blast from the past returns; a prodigal son reunites with his family, the man who created Shield Doors, changed the BR spread, included Equipment in Team Hardcore, nerfed the Halo 1 pistol, drew all the fog in Backwash, refuses to remake Midship, and turned off Team SWAT two days early in his first weekend on the job
because “it wasn’t Phantom Pistols on Waterworks,” Chad Armstrong AKA Shishka has taken his rightful place yet again at Bungie under entirely new auspices with more power than you could possibly imagine.
Shishka is back at Bungie, "fresh" from a cross country drive from Texas, and he’s going to be the Emperor of Halo 3’s Matchmaking experience going forward. As the Playlist Designer, a big part of his day-to-day will include reading (and occasionally attempting to translate) feedback from our users and users around the Internet, in addition to making high level decisions about playlists and then implementing those changes into Halo 3’s matchmaking experience.
You’re back, where’d you go? What’d you do there?
Shishka: For the past two years, or nearly anyway, I’ve been working down in Austin Texas for former Bungie multiplayer designer Max Hoberman at his start up Certain Affinity. At Certain Affinity I worked as the technical artist, which means I was put to work on all the non-programming tasks that the company didn’t have someone better to assign to. I did a lot; modeling, animation, special effects, UI, design, and more. I did a ton of stuff, but I learned a lot from it and that’s what matters.
You’re here now, what are you going to do?
S: Siesta, mainly. Whenever someone finds me in whatever cubby hole I’ve chosen for nap time and drags me out of it, it’ll be my job to keep the Matchmaking experience fun for the kajillion players out there. Adding new playlists as well as tweaking existing ones will be my charge. I’ll be doing my best to interpret player feedback as well as tracking playlist statistics to keep an eye on where the game is heading and keep it fun on its way.
One day, long ago, you inspired fear deep in the hearts of forum dwellers, with Optimatch as your new stomping grounds, are you going to still bring the pain or has age dulled your rage?
S: “No mercy” is how I USED to roll. Since then, I’ve found a way to show even less mercy than that. Less than no mercy. Step not lightly into my dominion, trolls.
With someone wholly dedicated to Matchmaking Playlists what are some of your ideas about what makes a good playlist? What do you think the people want?
S: Phantom Pistols on Waterworks.
Barring that, a “good playlist” is a very subjective question that will get you different answers from different people. With a community this big and the nigh-infinite possibilities for Halo gametypes and map variants, the potential for Matchmaking is simply staggering. To me, the trick is finding the balance in the mixture between “Classic” Halo gametypes and the specialized or unique games that are born from customs. The great thing about Halo 3 is that we have the option of planning weekend-long playlists, which is a great way to let the community sample gametypes they might not have heard of before, without forcing it on them when they’re expecting a more standard experience. I think this is key to Halo 3’s longevity; the Halo everyone knows and loves plus the opportunity to experience gametypes you wouldn’t expect to see, but are still awesome.
What would you like to change about the Matchmaking Playlists?
S: Phantom Pistols on Waterworks.
The Community is a mostly untapped font of ideas for Halo gametypes. Sure, a lot of the custom gametypes or map variants out there are atrocious, but every so often something really shines. Grifball is a great example. Similar to how the MLG is getting a dedicated playlist, I’d love to kick off a Community Forge playlist, where gametypes and map variants are changed on a regular basis. The hard part is the sheer logistics of gathering, testing, and publishing these gametypes. We’ll see what the future holds, though…
Aside from Phantom Pistols on Waterworks, which is woefully impossible because there is no and will be no Waterworks (exclusive scoop!), what kind of gametypes are you toying with introducing into Matchmaking?
S: Phantom Pistols on Waterwo—Oh, wait.
Wait, isn’t this the same as the last question? Who writes these interviews? Anyway, Team SWAT’s weekend was woefully cut short, but the success of the playlist was far too big to simply be overlooked, so a permanent playlist is being discussed. I know there’s a lot of demand for other gametypes, such as Infection and Team Snipers, and I’m going to make sure their potential is going to be investigated. I make no promises about anything, but it’s important that folks know I’ll be around the various communities, silently lurking about and taking stock of what people are liking and what they’re not. That hot breath on your back as you post your “OMG BUNIE FIX UR GAME” may in fact be me. Probably not, but at least it makes for good hyperbole.
Why’d you turn off Team SWAT your first weekend? What are you doing to fix it?
S: I didn’t do it! The Team SWAT double XP weekend was a huge success and it really sucks that it was cut short like that. Not to worry, we’re looking into ways to make it up to everyone. I hear the community loves non-answers like that.
“What’re you doing to fix it, Shishka?”
“To fix it, I’m looking at what I’m going to do to fix it.”
Yeah… I answer questions good.
Does this mean Bungie Favorites is going to be updated more regularly?
S: Hopefully. I’m situated next to Sketch and Luke, so when I have spare cycles that don’t need to be spent on building playlists, I’ll probably be browsing map variants and gametypes on Bungie.Net, looking for anything interesting. Again, I’d really love to see the community have a bigger stake in the creation of playlists, and the first step may be gauging popularity. So, keep on posting your games and maps to Bungie.Net!
Does this mean the community should spam your gamertag with film clips and map variants?
S: God in Heaven, no. Please no. Seriously, no. Sorry, folks, but do you realize how many of you there are? Even though I began this answer with three sentences ending in “No,” a billion billion people are going to be flooding my poor little inbox. If you try to send me your Halo 3 media, don’t expect a reply, or addition to Bungie favorites, or recon, even if you preface your message with “I know you probably get a lot of these, but…”
Will you put my awesome Foundry map into Matchmaking? It’s the best infection map ever made.
S: Maybe when I replace ranked Team Slayer with Team Phantom Pistols on Waterworks.
I jokes! Post your works ye mighty to your fileshare and show it to the world. If it’s popular enough, you never know what might happen.
Can I has Recon?
S: Hahaha, no.