Bungie Weekly Update: 10.23.09
Posted by urk at 10/23/2009 3:28 PM PDT
Hello and welcome to the Bungie Weekly Update.  It's a pleasure to have you with us today.  Your safety and comfort are our primary concern, so please pay close attention to the following important information.

Marcus fired off another Halo: Reach progress report earlier this week. His communique contained exactly five hundred and fifty eight words that charted the team's recent forward progress and then got down and dirty, digging into all the gory details. Fresh off the completion of a significant development milestone, the team just added tons of new awesome into the Halo: Reach mix.

Key takeaway: “...the team is kicking ass and the game is really taking shape.”

So, how many more words am I gonna be able to pluck out of this latest transmission and declassify for you this week?
  • Most environments are architecting complete, some have seen substantial finishing
  • Many encounters have received substantial polish
  • Cinematic script has been recorded
  • Performances are up and running in-game

That many. (You’ll have to count them yourself, I don't do math good.)

Tung thinks some of our readers won’t be familiar with the fancy industry terms “architecting” and “finishing.” Seems like a good call. I have no idea what they mean myself. Here’s his take on simplifying the developer's lexicon:

  • Many environments are out of the phase where core, structural geometry is being moved around and into the phase where everything is being made to look sweet.

Sweet.

And it’s not lip service coming out of the Halo: Reach team.  Far from it. This week they put their work on display and asked the full studio to take the latest build through the paces.  For me, this is the kinda stuff that fall directly into the “it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it” category. Jealous? Yeah, you should be, but it’s not all fun and games. In exchange for the early play through, the Reach team is looking for some good, solid feedback in return.

I talked to Sketch and he reluctantly agreed to allow me to give you an inside look into the notes I took during my play session.  We thought it might be valuable for anyone out there looking to hone their own analytical skills in hopes of landing an industry job.  See, playtest sessions are vitally important to the success of any title and I made a concerted effort this time around to step outside of my established mode while playing and truly think about the underlying motivations, mechanisms, and mental cues that shaped the experience.  Hopefully, my feedback will serve to shape the game itself as it continues to progress towards its retail release in 2010.  For now, here’s a small snippet taken from my own personal notes:

"ZOMG!"

Hope that helps.
Speaking of Feedback
Since you’re already here, we figure you just might have a little bit of free time on your hands. Want to help us, help you? Good. We’ve got a survey cooked up and we’d love your feedback about a few things Bungie.net. There are twenty-four questions in all over three pages and you’d be doing us (and possibly yourself and the community) a sweet flavor if you took a few minutes to fill it out. The delicious kind of flavor that leaves you feeling full and satisfied, but not all bloated and embarrassed about the ridiculous amount of food sitting in the pit of your stomach like a bag of sand.  Or maybe I meant favor.

Unirregardless, complete this sucker, make sure you include your Bungie.net profile info, and we’ll add your e-name to a drawing for some free Bungie Pro Video render minutes. If you don’t have Bungie Pro, we’ll give you a one month taste, free of charge. We’ll also take you off the list of people destined to take a one way slingshot ride straight into the sun.

Deal?


Keeping Score
I tugged on Michael Williams’ shirt this week in hopes of beggin' some new stats lovin’ for Halo 3: ODST out of him. He shoved me to the ground, made it clear that I’m never to touch him or his apparel again, and agreed to deliver the goods so long as I scurried back downstairs and let him get back to his work. By the time I slithered into the safety of my dark and lonely corner of the studio, my ego bruised and battered, he’d already made good on his promise.

Here’s a breakdown of your work to date against the Covenant, all numerical like:



That's roughly 25,614,095,868 points per day, 1,067,253,994 points per hour, 17,787,566 points per minute, and 296,459 points per second on average since launch.  And don’t worry; I had Williams check the math. I also had him check on the most frequently used Service Tags. Turns out some of you are really into yourselves. It’s always gotta be about you doesn’t it, Matt?

Top 9 Service Tags

  1. ODST
  2. S117
  3. NOOB
  4. 1337
  5. MIKE
  6. MATT
  7. KILL
  8. N00B
  9. ALEX
Why nine?  Hell, I dunno.  I'm not going back upstairs to find out either.
Been There, Done That…
…Dropped it early. Yeah, so we were all set to make good on our promise of exclusive content for ODST’s Extras menu when someone pushed the wrong button and prematurely released our ViDoc payload into the wrong dark and cavernous tube on the Internet. Caught with our pants down around our ankles and a decidedly dumbstruck look on our faces, we figured the damage was already done so we dun went and uploaded it to YouTube so everybody could get a good look at the mess we'd made.

But it’s not the end of the world (that's coming in 2012). We were already planning on giving everybody a look sooner or later. Just turns out that later became the the new sooner sooner than we'd have liked. If you haven’t seen it yet (and you’ve already played through the game because it’s so totally loaded with the spoilarz), there's no need to wait.

Halo 3: ODST ViDoc "Dramatis Personae"



If you want to watch it on your home theater setup, you can fire up Halo 3: ODST and check it out the way we intended, from the Intel menu. Or, if you're one of those freaky people who can't cope with even the slightest change, you can snag it directly from Marketplace and check it out via the typical channels. We’ll also slap some links below in case you’re into the Right Clickin’ and Savin’ As business.

Again, we got all kinds of variety, including the subtitled and mobile stuff.

Standard

QuickTime 360p

WMV 360p
QuickTime 720p
WMV 720p

Mobile

iPhone

Subtitled

QuickTime 360p (Subtitled)
WMV 360p (Subtitled)
QuickTime 720p (Subtitled)
WMV 720p (Subtitled)

And yup, we know this ViDoc doesn’t exactly cover the newest of ground. It’s just a nice little behind the scenes take from the kickass team who made the game. It was made with love and it's available completely free of charge. You can’t complain about that, now can you?  Nope.  Because that would be absurd.
Fight Like a Girl
The due date for the F.L.A.G. Tournament benefiting lovely ladies and their lovely lady parts came and went over this past weekend. Donations exceeded this year’s target goal for the organization’s annual online charity romp.

Looks like they drummed up over five thousand bucks.

Big thanks to Kari, Tasha, and anyone else who donated their valuable free time and hard-earned monies in support of this great cause.

And an extra big thanks to the two man squads who stepped up to throw down against me and Shishka on Saturday. Your terrible Halo skills made it nice and easy for me and Chad to have as much fun as possible.

If you played or donated, thanks for coming out.  If we put a thirty spot on you, well, them's the breaks.  We're just that good.  Just be thankful we spared you the old and busted steak jokes.
The Winds of Change
Alright, so maybe it’s more of a gentle fall breeze this time around, but we’re closing in on November and that means there are some more matchmaking changes in the air. Can you smell ‘em?

Those without the latest and greatest map packs looking for more love should be happy to hear that we’re opening up Team Slayer for everybody. Those with all the new stuff looking for some more Mythic make out sessions should find some playlists to cuddle up and spoon with as well. 

Details, girlfriend:

Ranked:

Team Slayer – All extra content optional (Includes Heroic, Legendary, Mythic, Mythic 2 and Cold Storage)
Team Throwback – Weighting on Valhalla, Standoff reduced. Weighting on Heretic, Citadel increased. The Pit replaced with Pit Stop.
MLG – Maps updated to MLG version 7. Guardian and Lockdown (Foundry) removed. Heretic added to Slayer, Oddball and CTF. MLG is now Halo 3: Mythic required.

Social:

Big Team Mythic – Removed.

7 on the 7th:

7 Player FFA on Cold Storage, Assembly, Heretic and Citadel. (Halo 3: Mythic required)

Double EXP Weekends (Listed in Order):

Grifball (Heroic/Mythic required)
Team Control (Halo 3: Mythic required)
Team Flag (Halo 3: Mythic required)
Social Living Dead (Halo 3: Mythic required)
Forge-O-Ween


Head Shot

Halloween is just about a week away and we thought it would be cool to hand out some sweet treats in exchange for your sweet holiday-themed screenshots. It is cool, right? Either way, all you gotta do to enter is post your best effort into your File Share and tag it with “forgeoween.” Both Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST screenshots are fair game.

We’ll accept any images uploaded from now, until the end of day next Thursday, October 29th.  Here's the fine print:

  • One tagged screenshot per player
  • Must be uploaded to your File Share (Gallery won’t cut it)
  • Take your best shot between now and 10/29/09
Winners get Recon. Okay, that's not true, but we will have some tangible goods to pass out to a select group of winners.  Maybe some signed posters and stuff like that.
Blame Stosh
Stosh did good work last week. Everybody really enjoyed his screenshot selection. Let’s see if the streak holds.  If not, there's only one man to blame.


He Must Love the Taste of Badass
We Out
Please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Thanks for choosing the Bungie Weekly Update. See you next week.

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