Meet Hired Gun
Posted by KPaul at 10/26/2006 1:51 AM PDT

It’s about time we introduced Bungie.net to the crew working on Halo 2 for Windows Vista. The hard work is being done by a team within Microsoft Game Studios, codenamed Hired Gun. H2V is their first project together, but the group is staffed by old hands in the gaming business.

Bungie's role in this project is mostly advisory, but we shouldn't donwplay the importance of that. We’re helping with design decisions and making sure that Hired Gun has access to Bungie artists and designers when they need a second opinion. In all other respects, the folks listed here hold the reins to one of our favorite horses.

Without further ado… meet the team for Halo 2 on Windows Vista:


Jo Clowes – Project Lead

Hometown?
Stoke-on-Trent, England. Yes that little island on the other side of the Atlantic and no I’m not lost.

What got you into the gaming business?
A previously crappy job that I had to get out of or I would have gone mad. I loved games, and had programming skills, from my education and from writing small games on my own as a kid. There was a job at a local games company for a UI programmer on Soccer games, and I figured I would do that until I figured out what I actually wanted to do with my career. Turns out games was it, and I’ve never looked back.

What part of the game do you work on?
I am the Project Lead or Producer/Director, depending on what part of the industry you come from. I wear multiple hats when it comes to Halo 2 for Windows Vista; For some of my day I am the manager of the team, dealing with staffing, and career issues; then with my semi-director hat I look after the issues relating to the implementation of the project, design, dev, Art, Test, External teams, basically keep all the moving parts moving; and with the Producer hat I look after budgets and schedules. 

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Being a girl, the “sparklies” tend to get my attention first, and there is no disappointment with the graphics in Halo 2 for Windows Vista.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
I am the offensive line (yes I am talking about the American football kind) I will do anything, including throwing myself on the grenade to make sure my team mates make it with the flag or get the multi-kill they are on target for. As a result I get referred to as target practice by the opposition, but I maintain it is purely tactical.



Jim Geist – Dev Lead

Hometown?
Sarasota, Florida.
What got you into the gaming business?
I grew up playing games and always wanted to work on them. I got into the business by first working in the DirectX group; I transitioned into title development in 2000.

What part of the game do you work on?
As the dev lead, I work on whatever needs working on. 

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Watching it grow, in very few months, from a raw recompile that rendered in black and white, to a beautifully rendered game that’s a ton of fun to play!

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
I prefer free-for-alls; the most fun for me is all-out running around fragging people.



Matthew Van Gorder – Content Lead

Hometown?
Dallas, TX.

What got you into the gaming business?
I’m in the gaming business?

What part of the game do you work on?
The parts that look cool.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Text chat with the virtual keyboard.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
Target practice.



Evan Brandt – Test Lead

Hometown?
Kansas City, Missouri

What got you into the gaming business?
A roommate of mine in college got me a job testing Strike Commander at Origin Systems so I took “a semester break” from college and never went back.

What part of the game do you work on?
The entire game – testing.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
The increased screen resolution and the ability to use the keyboard/mouse instead of a controller
What role do you take in multiplayer matches? Defensive on team game types and up and close in death match games.



Kevin Weston – Network Dev

Hometown?
Downingtown, PA

What got you into the gaming business?
Weekly "test sessions" just aren't as fun in the Windows team.

What part of the game do you work on?
All the new online goodness. Integration with Live Anywhere, achievements, custom content security, that sort of thing.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Custom playlists. I fill them with every carney custom variant you can possibly imagine (and some you can't) and stick them on the server for our regular play sessions. Everyone else hates my selection, but I can't get enough team lowball with 3 balls, rockets, and invisible, extra-fast, shield-less ball carriers. It's more like the lottery than a skill game, but, to me, a day isn't complete until you've piled Master Chief carcasses 10-deep in the Midship courtyard.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
I'm the Loud One. The one that's always groaning, squealing, shrieking, or choking in tones that can variously be interpreted as "Nice Shot", "Eat it", and "What the $#@, you @#%ing #%@bag".


Dan Longley – Network Dev

Hometown?
Moved around a lot. Maybe... Bucks County, PA.

What got you into the gaming business?
When I was 6 my dad bought a Tandy 1000 EX for our family, and I spent a lot of time playing Sierra adventure games. From that point on I started learning to program so that I could make my own games.

What part of the game do you work on?
Networking and audio.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Playing at 1920x 1200 at 60 Hz with 14+ people on our dedicated server with a great playlist to keep things moving.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
In CTF, I like to play defense, but I'll go in and swipe the enemy flag if there's an opportunity. The best parts are when you get to play hero and save a teammate in glorious fashion.



Limin Gu – Audio Dev

Hometown? Shanghai, China.

What got you into the gaming business?
The first video game I played is the Mario when I was 10 years old. Since then I have loved video games. After I graduated in EE, I became a game programmer.

What part of the game do you work on?
Audio.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Multiplayer games.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
The role which the team needs the most.



John Ketchpaw – Graphics Dev

Hometown?
20904

What got you into the gaming business?
ZZT

What part of the game do you work on?
GFX

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
60HZ

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
BFF



Mike Scavezze – Generalist Dev

Hometown?
Chelmsford, MA

What got you into the gaming business?
When I was in High School, I wrote a poker game and sold it as shareware. When I got to college, I put that game on my resume and put my resume on the internet. One day the local game company called me up and offered me an interview.

What part of the game do you work on?
UI, Input, and everything else that doesn’t neatly fit into a category.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Using the mouse.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
Random killing.



Jaydeep Mehta – SDET

Hometown?
Bombay, India.

What got you into the gaming business?
I enjoyed playing Game-Demos in Magazines, played a lot of FPS, Racing, 2D console and Board Games. I always enjoyed graphics\AI in them. I did my internship as a Graphics programmer simulating environments for US-Army and I developed love and passion to be in this business. Staying a year away from it I was fortunate to return to Gaming and am enjoying every moment of it.

What part of the game do you work on?
My responsibility has a large spectrum to this game. I work as a developer on certain components (UI, Graphics, Bug fixing, developing infrastructure for test and miscellaneous Game-Installer features). Also work on integration and RI of map_editor and Live Anywhere with the game. Apart from this, I try to make my team efficient by helping in various SETUPS.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
My favorite part of Halo2 Vista is playing Halo2 in windowed mode and keeping an eye on other windowsJ. Well that’s Multitasking! What can I say? In the game I like to go on a killing Spree with a rocket launcher and sticking enemies with plasma Grenades. I am totally impressed with the sound and visual quality of the game on Home Theater system.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
I like to be a defendant in team matches. I like to weaken the enemy so my mates can feast on them. 



Tara Brannigan – Contractor

Hometown?
I
’m kind of a wanderer, so I don’t really have one specific place I’d call my home town. I’ll just say Lower Peninsula, Michigan as my home ‘town’, with a radius of about 40 miles around Detroit.

What got me into the gaming business?
It was either this or life as a professional hobo and I don’t really have the proper beard to be a hobo.

I’d always been interested in games, but it was with the introduction of Doom that I really became hooked. It wasn’t long before I started to get the idea that I might want to be involved with game development for a living, not just as an obsessive and often expensive hobby.

I spent some time doing QA for web based projects during a two year absence from games and spent a lot of time mentally whining. I had an interesting enough job that I was good at, decent pay and excellent benefits. Unfortunately I just couldn’t be fully happy there, as much as I tried. It just wasn’t what I was passionate about, and over time it really started to eat away at me. As if on cue, I got a call from a recruiter out of the blue and a little under three weeks later I was here.

What part of the game do you work on?
My job is to take this nice, happy, pretty little newborn product that the whole team pours their heart and soul into… and then proceed to stuff it into the whirring blender that is test.

Then sometimes I point and laugh as the rest of the team cries. Their tears delight me.

Okay, so I don’t really want to actively destroy anyone’s creation or make anybody feel bad, even if that’s what it seems like on the surface at times. What I try to do is ensure that the final product is as solid as it can be and something that’ll make everyone involved proud to have been a part of it, as well as something the end user is going to get a great experience out of.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Soooo pretty. Who knew blood splatters could be so beautiful? It’s also a heck of a lot of fun, particularly in large multiplayer matches.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
I’m just a girl, I don’t actually play games, let alone that horribly violent multiplayer stuff. They confuse me ever so much and wound my fragile feminine sensibilities.

As for the real answer: I’m typically a melee killer when I can get away with it. I can use long range weapons well enough, but there’s just something so fun and visceral about taking someone down with a melee kill. I like the little added insult to injury of beating someone to death like an angry monkey with a rock when they’re trying to line up the perfect shot with a sophisticated piece of weaponry.



Mark Mihelich – Contractor

Hometown?

Portland, OR

What got you into the gaming business ?
I was living in Bucharest, Romania and got involved with a startup game company there.

What part of the game do you work on ?
Graphics/General development.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
The sick graphics.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
I’m like a switch hitter, I play with the 360 controller and then switch to the mouse/keyboard as soon as I pick up the sniper rifle.



Deunan Berkeley – Contractor

Hometown?
Marcola, Oregon

What got you into the gaming business?
Love to play games. Seriously, I love computers and I love games. It’s a perfect combo. I’m also highly competitive.

What part of the game do you work on?
Game designer

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Sticking the sword carrier with grenades – multiplayer

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
Decoy/watch the birdie/roving distraction


Clint Levijoki – Contractor

Hometown?
Sylvan Lake, Alberta

What got you into the gaming business?
Making casual games as a hobby, and competing in programming contests.

What part of the game do you work on?
Code analysis (Improving ‘correctness’ of source code)

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Being primarily a PC fps gamer, I look forward to solving the mouse/keyboard vs controller debate

What role do you take in multiplayer matches?
Decoy I’m a camping bastard/awp whore/sniper etc. If the game has that one-shot kill weapon I’m usually all over it, spreading as much misery as I can.


Jay Vandewark – Contractor

Hometown ?
Long Beach, CA

What got you into the gaming business ?
Networking

What part of the game do you work on?
Networking

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista ?
KOTH with rockets

What role do you take in multiplayer matches ?
Fodder


Colin Riley – Contractor

Hometown?
Omaha, NE

What got you into the gaming business?
I heard chicks dig it.

What part of the game do you work on?
UI design and all things artisty.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?
Toss up between playlists on dedicated servers and Master Chiefs new freestyle slam poetry.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches ?
Long-range needler sniping


Shogo Ishii – Contractor

Hometown?
Seattle WA and Tokyo Japan.

What got you into the gaming business?
I was broke and needed a job so I took up a job in compliance testing for Xbox pre-release game titles over at VMC. I was just fortunate enough to have landed this assignment.

What part of the game do you work on ?
PM/PP for H2v and Live Anywhere.

Favorite part of Halo 2 Vista?

John Connor : You just can't go around killing people.
The Terminator : Why?
John Connor : What do you mean why? 'Cause you can't.
The Terminator : Why?
John Connor : Because you just can't, OK? Trust me on this.

The graphics are 10 times better than the Xbox version.

What role do you take in multiplayer matches ? The Black Knight guarding the small bridge in Monty Python “The Holy Grail”. I just run up to the opposing team and tell them “None shall pass…..”

Halo 2 Vista Update 

Posted by Sketch at 3/6/2007 6:09 PM PST

Hired Gun, the Microsoft team responsible for bringing Halo 2 over to Windows Vista, posted a blog update at IGN today. In this latest post you can read about the work they're doing on the new Live achievements being added to the game.

Halo 2 is still coming to Windows Vista later this year courtesy of the Microsoft internal team known as "Hired Gun." To read the latest game development updates, keep an eye on the IGN blog website. This latest entry is all about achievements - something that's new and exclusive to the Windows Vista version of the game. Check out the story HERE.

Halo 2 for Windows Vista News 

Posted by KPaul at 1/15/2007 2:22 AM PST

snowysnowcones, in The Maw forum, has rounded up a bunch of links to H2V content coming out of CES from the past week. The post is a good source of hands-on reports as well as several gameplay videos, shakeycam though they may be.

Lookin good, but more importantly smooth.

Tags: Halo 2 Vista

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Halo 2 Vista FAQ 

Posted by Sketch at 11/9/2006 3:01 PM PST

Since Halo 2 Vista is getting closer and closer, and certain things have changed since we last updated the Vista FAQ, we thought we'd give PC players some more details on what to expect from the forthcoming Vista conversion. New info inside!

Read Full Top Story

Tags: Halo 2 Vista

   

Halo 2 Vista Developer Diary - Sprint 7 

Posted by KPaul at 11/1/2006 2:54 PM PDT

This week we hear from Halo 2 for Windows Vista developer Shogo Ishii about the current state of the game. Shogo talks about a recent demo PC Gamer Magazine was privy to, where the game is from a graphical standpoint and about their progress on the audio front.

Read Full Top Story

Tags: Halo 2 Vista

   

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