With Luke and the rest of the team out of the office today, I get the honor of pushing the button and setting a new record for the earliest Friday update release ever. Enjoy it while it lasts, I'm sure by next week we will return to our more traditional so-late-in-the-day-that-everyone-other-than-the-west-coast-is-already-offline model. For now though, enjoy this update that Luke so graciously whipped up before leaving town...
An Embarrassment of Riches
Guerilla Creed asks: Why are you going to be offsite this Friday [today]?
Today is the Bungie Summer Picnic. With all of the post-E3 talk on the web about various people taking vacations, we figured we might as well get in on the fun. We’re offsite hanging out, enjoying adult beverages, hopefully-cooperative weather and the women and children of Bungie are probably on-hand running amok as well. Where? Well, that’d just be creepy to tell you – wouldn’t it?
Mr Megabucks asks: Is there anything being done to get rid of the people sending those screenshots that make your Xbox freeze up? And maybe ways to keep screenshots like this off Xbox Live permanently?
Our detection tools have located the files and have been pretty vigilant about erasing them. Once things like this are found, we’re as nimble as we can be in eliminating them. This particular issue was traced to one single file and one particular bug which has been resolved. However, anyone who is found to be propagating this file is subject to the banhammers wrath.
Alec9224 asks: Will anymore maps get the Hardcore overhaul? And just wondering, who is this new publisher Bungie is working with?
Shishka has some nifty overhauls planned for the existing map layouts in Halo 3. He’s not quite ready to take it out of the oven, but rest assured, the center is delicious and gooey.
Microsoft remains our current publisher and partner. We’re not currently working with anyone else.
Chunky_Lover asks: When will we expect a new podcast, man?
We had one ready to go during the week of E3, we’re back now and have another one in the can that should be out sometime next week.
Trentesis12a asks: The Dark Knight: Awesome or Amazing?
Hmmm, I need a more hyperbolic word to describe how glorious it was. Thoughts?
Govnor P A Z E asks: Is there a chance that Bungie can put a Social Swat in as a playlist instead of Rocket Race?
Not to be cagey or evasive, but semantically speaking, sure there’s a chance. Is it a good chance? No. It’s not.
A Deaf Boy asks: Do you really ban people from Recon Armor when they spam your inbox?
In some cases, definitely. All that spamming my inbox does is force the valuable, informative posts deeper into the message queue and decrease the likelihood that I’m going to read them. All of the folks who got scammed into PMing me something about a Hotdog stand? Sigh. That was a glorious waste of everyone’s time.
Yugor1000 asks: Did you finally figure out an appropriate name for the new ban power level?
I don’t remember if it was here at Bungie.net or at another forum on the Internet, but yes, the full power of the Banhammer sends users to Banadu. Kudos to the Internet genius who invented it.
Duardo asks: How’s the Bungie Podcast theme song contest going?
Ask Sketch; that contest is his, not mine. (There are some really sweet entries coming together over in the Bungie Podcast Group. I already have several solid candidates that I expect to make their way into a future podcast! - Sketch)
X Foman123 x asks: The forums have been abuzz with requests for a new “Foundry”-style map that is larger, outdoors, and better suited for creating maps for large parties, are there any discussions about a larger, more open map for from-the-ground-up Forge creations?
Last time someone asked a question about this there were entire legions of upset e-folks because we didn’t give them a straight answer. Thankfully, your question is so laser-focused on the “discussions” about a new Foundry-style map so I can give you an answer - Yes, there are discussions about Foundry-style maps.
Zanramon Elite asks: When you say there’s no new Elite Armor, why isn’t there honor guard armor, that is old armor, just add it in.
When I say there is no “new Elite Armor,” I mean there are no, and never will be new Elite Armor permutations or permutations of any kind in Halo 3 the interactive entertainment experience from Bungie Software Products Corporation.
Sure, the Elite Honor guard appeared in Halo 2, but it’s much more complicated than it sounds to just “take it from Halo 2 and ship it in Halo 3.” I joke around at the office with coders and artistic types that “It can’t be that hard, just ctrl-C and then open up H3 and press ctrl-v and then ship it.”
These jokes do not amuse them.
Oneshot3236 asks: What are you/were you planning to do for Auto Update 2?
Next week, I will tell you all about AU2. The only thing I’ll give you to chew on until then is that the Battle Rifle will NOT be changed.
Insanitarium89 asks: Was it really finding the code for IWHBYD that caused you to lock up Recon armor?
Nope. We figured that the Hayabusa helmet was going to be pretty coveted until the hex files revealed the way to unlock the armor. We assumed once a handful of people figured out how to unlock the Hayabusa helmet that everyone would. We planned to hold one of the armor permutations back throughout development, what happened after the game shipped had no bearing on it.
Thelastonestandn asks: Will we ever get a decent Weekly Update again?
In these lean times you should probably read a little bit closer.
HawkJay44 asks: I sent an email to Bungie Studios a few years ago asking if I could do Summer experience with you guys, I received no reply. I was interested to find out, why I never received a reply? And when is Luke giving out the steak dinners then? He must owe the Community a few million by now.
We don’t really do a lot of summer internships here at Bungie .They are incredibly rare, but in the past, when we have done them they have been very fruitful. One of our recently-departed designers, Francois was a former intern and one of our sandbox engineers, Jon Cable started here as an intern (while in college) before finishing his studies and joining up full-time. It's also worth noting that in general, due to the vast piles of mail we receive, it's usually impossible to reply to everyone.
Outlaw999 asks: What are the chances of PMs being read (and responded to) by Bungie employees? If no response is given, does it always mean the employee isn’t interested?
Say I created some “Bungie Podcast Intermission Music” especially for Luke, because I was too busy with personal commitments to enter the podcast competition but wanted to do something. Let’s say I spent a considerable amount of time producing this music, hosting it, and writing a perfect private message to lukems.
I’m sure many people have also made things for Bungie or have taken time and effort to produce something worthy of their personal or professional interest. Would it not be sensible to set out some clear guidelines for what will and what will not be read/responded to, what Bungie can use or desire, where to send it, and what to expect in the way of an acknowledgement?
This is definitely a question we get pretty often in some fashion or another – but, usually it’s the less polite “OMG WHY HAVENT U RESPONDED” version of this question.
It should never be assumed that your messages will be read, and by the same token, it shouldn’t be expected you’ll be responded to. Folks here are busy chasing their own professional interests – the creation of great games – and expecting them to read or respond to each message is a bit unfair.
We understand that a lot of you would like to play online with folks from Bungie, and your best bet for that is catching someone online in matchmaking not sending them messages about it on Bungie.net and definitely not spamming their gamertag with invites, chat requests, screenshots hoping for Recon, et cetera. For obvious security reasons there’s no address we’re going to give out to send things to Bungie.
(We do try to wade through as much mail as we can but usually the sheer volume of messages that we get means that inevitably a large percentage slip through the cracks. We try very hard to at least read what we are sent, but replies are far more rare. We don't like that any more than you but if we spent all day reading and responding to fan messages we'd never be able to do things like update website features or make our next game! For what it's worth, I have just under 2000 unread Bungie.net messages right now. :( - Sketch)
W00tiness asks: The custom content limit; is it possible to increase it to more than 100?
No, it’s not possible and unfortunately there’s no really efficient and easy-to-use way of deleting existing content. This is definitely something we know frustrates folks, but it cannot be addressed with an Autoupdate.
Tentimook asks: Do Bungie employees have any pets? What are their names?
Yes, tons of us have pets, actually. I asked the guys to send me the names of their pets in an email so here are the names of the Bungie Pets: Colby, Mr. G, Mr. Maybe, Quinn, Dutch, Zulu, Marty, Bagheera, Snakey, Fishy, Captain Keyes, Dolly, Arbiter, Ivan the Horse, Tano, Maxine the Beagle, Simon Le Roy Brown, Mimi (but she’s called Butters for short), Asher the Banpuppy, Sadie, Evie, Nigel the English Bulldog, Chippy AKA Pep Pep AKA Beaky, Cinder, Shadow, Meowcolm X and Chairman Meow, lab who retrieves whatever his owner shoots – Chief, Roxy, Scout, Chai-su, Pewter, Louie, Wicked, Punky Brewster, Allie, Bailey, Kira, Keiko, Jake , G, Blackie, Tella, Chloe, Anton, Finnigan, Maya, Milo, Emma, Bean, Gordon, Daisy, Newton, Leibniz, Cloud, Kirby, Tara, Rorschach, Harley Quinn, Katara Katara of the Asha Clan Clan, Winston, Recon and the puppy I need to buy (if you breed Golden Retrievers let me know) Maple.
DS Kristoba asks: I’ve noticed that there is an increase of people who are “stuck” at a rank in a certain playlist. Does this have anything to do with the many “new accounts” that are quickly making their way to 50s?
As I’ve said before, ranking up is not a linear experience. Just like Shishka will never be a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, I will never be a 50 in Head to Head. Trueskill is trying to get you to a skill level where you face opponents who have skill levels closest to your own.
AN XSV PLAYER asks: Is it possible to get some more in-depth descriptions of the new maps? Maybe even a sketch or something?
This is Purple Reign. I did the freehand on computer paper using a Pilot G-2 7 and the "coloring" in Photoshop.
(Note : Luke was so fond of his drawing that he was certain you'd all want a super hi-res desktop wallpaper version. If that sounds enticing to you, download it HERE. )
Sketch's Penny Arcade Expo Update
In case you missed yesterday's news story about our plans for the upcoming Penny Arcade Expo, here it is again, shamelessly copied and pasted for your convenience (weekly update word count FTW!).
We've been talking up PAX for a few weeks now, asking our fans to mark their calendars and prepare to be showered in Bungie Love as we hunker down in our booth amidst the craziness of the show floor. We're just over a month away from the magical weekend so it's worth reminding everyone that Bungie will be there and we would love to meet you at our booth.
We'll be there in full force in booth #752, conveniently located right next to our friends from Rooster Teeth / Red vs. Blue. Visitors to our patch of real estate can expect to find some brand new Halo 3 multiplayer conent, including chances for hands-on play (crowds permitting of course). Hardcore fans will also have an opportunity to compete in multiplayer matches against Luke and Shishka for a chance to win Recon armor. In addition, many members of our team will be on hand during the three days of the show to mingle, sign stuff, draw stuff and spread Bungie Love. Of course we also plan to make it rain with prizes and swag on a daily basis.
The FanFest party that was mentioned a few weeks ago has unfortuantely fallen upon hard times. It saddens me greatly to find ourselves in this situation but we have decided to postpone the FanFest for a later date. Our plans and some dependencies leading up to this party have not materialized as expected so we've been forced to delay things for now. I realize this will come as sad news to many of you, just as our team is bummed out over this turn of events. I can say that the grand return of the Bungie FanFest will happen when the time is right and it will be glorious. I guess if there's any upside to this, it's that we now have even more loot to distribute at the actual booth.
For the record, we have no plans to make any big announcements or huge reveals at PAX this year. While we will have some Halo 3 multiplayer stuff for you to check out, this is not going to be the "big announcement" many of our fans are clamoring for. Rest assured that when the time is right, we will be making announcements and talking about the stuff we're currently working on. At the moment we do have three distinct projects underway within Bungie - some familiar, some not. Some on a closer horizon, some quite far off.
In the meantime, I encourage any Bungie fans in the area to please stop by our booth and say hello. In the coming weeks we will post a more definitive schedule of the various actitives taking place in our booth at specific times so you can plan your PAX agenda accordingly. If you have special requests, people you'd particularly love to meet or anything like that, please share your ideas in the "Discuss This" link attached to this story. Stay tuned for more updates as PAX gets closer....