Bungie Weekly Update: 10/17/08
Posted by lukems at 10/17/2008 3:45 PM PDT
Catching Up

Apparently, while Sketch and I were off in Japan trying on too-tight fitting jeans and t-shirts made for children, we forgot to set the post time on his File Share FAQ - so it appears now, lightly tweaked and gently massaged for its anachronistic release.

What’s New?

The biggest and most obvious change to the site is a complete overhaul of every aspect of the Halo 3 File Share section. This includes your personal file share, Bungie favorites, your screenshot gallery and everything in between. At the surface you’ll notice what is hopefully a more intuitive and easier to navigate layout that presents content in more manageable way and allows you to find and share content more efficiently. Beneath the surface you’ll notice all sorts of new tools to help you find new awesome content created by other people and share content you’ve created yourself and ultimately infuse these new elements into your Halo 3 game experience. We’ll break down a few of the main items of interest below:

  • Tagging  – Now every piece of Halo 3 content in anyone’s file share can be tagged with a variety of descriptors. Tags are fields that further help to define what your file is all about and help power searches and discovery of content items. You can add and create tags for content in your own file share as well as content in anyone else’s share. These tags can be created from scratch, selected from a list or if an appropriate tag already exists, you can further reinforce that tag by clicking the “+.” The more times a file is given a particular tag, the more likely it is to come up when searching by that tag.

  • File sets  – A file set is a grouping of related content into one overall “bucket.” This allows players to take a variety of related content items and make them all easily accessible and make sure they stay connected as one complete package. For example, Grifball is a popular custom game that requires a special game variant and a custom version of Foundry. In addition, there are video clips that illustrate the way the game is played and some screenshots showing some highlights of match. All of these content pieces can be connected and attached to the “Grifball” file set, allowing a player to easily grab everything they need. Any content item that is associated with a file set will have two small blue squares in the upper right corner.
  • Searching – There are a variety of ways to find custom files on Bungie.net. The navigation bar across the top of all file share areas allows you to select a variety of search criteria and immediately find the content you want. You can select from pre-defined lists for particular buckets of content (screenshots, maps, etc…) or you can type in a series of tags and look for content that fits the bill (arena; CTF; pistols, etc…).
  • Hot Files / Bungie Favorites / Favorite Authors – If you just want to quickly find some awesome custom content, these three tabs can point you in the right direction. “Hot Files”, by default, will give you a listing of all of the most shared items available on Bungie.net (you can also choose a variety of additional filters). “Bungie Favorites” is an index of all content presented in this area of the game – these are usually files that the Bungie team comes across that we feel are worthy of sharing. “Favorite Authors” is a quick listing of each person who has contributed a file to Bungie Favorites. From there, you can jump into their respective file shares to find more goodness.
  • Ratings – The user rating system for files has changed from a 5-star option to a 1-10 numeric value. 10 represents content you think is super awesome while 1 is stuff you didn’t really care for. Ratings and user comments are the primary way to help decide if a content item is worth your time or not.
    Jump in and get your hands dirty – check out your own file share as well as the file share of your friends. Once more and more people start to tag their files and share them, it will become easier and easier to find the specific types of content you are looking for.

Hardcore Screenshotting

There’s a nice secret feature available to hardcore users who aren’t averse to downloading a quick and free plug-in. Due to popular demand and requests on our forums, Bungie.net now supports “cooliris” (formerly known as “PicLens”) which offers a new dynamic (and super badass) way to browse through Halo 3 screenshot galleries on the site. You’ll need to do a one-time download and install of this plug-in and then you’re good to go.

This will work when viewing anyone’s Halo 3 screenshot gallery on Bungie.net or if you do a search of all screenshots (note: It only works on search results of just screenshots – If you have other content items sprinkled in, it won’t work). To activate it, mouse over a screenshot for a few seconds and you should see a white box with arrow appear in the lower right corner of the image. Click it and behold. Note that this little application is dependent on the specs of your computer.

Bungie Card

The “Bungie Card” is a cool way to take your Halo 3 stats and information with you anywhere you go on the interwebs. These banners can be displayed on your personal blog, website or favorite forums. These cards are not static - they are updating regularly in real-time to keep your latest Halo 3 stats on display.


In order to find your Bungie Card, you need to be logged in to your profile and then visit your Bungie.net profile page (this is the page you'll arrive at if you click your user name while you're logged in). Underneath your avatar on the left-hand side of the screen reads: "Get Bungie Cards here." Click that and you'll be greeted with a page showing you a the various Bungie Card's for you to deploy across the Internet.


Maximizing Your Halo 3 Experience

There are a few things you can do to get the most out of these new features on Bungie.net….

1. Make an account, Link your gamertag! Hardly any of these new features on Bungie.net will be of any use or value to you if you don’t have an account on the site and that account isn’t linked to your gamertag. Surely you’ve done this by now, but if not, there’s never been a better time. (p.s. it’s totally free).

2. Get Bungie PRO! This is by no means required, but Bungie PRO does greatly expand the maximum capacity of your file share, allowing you to upload and share more content than you normally would. Bungie PRO members can be identified by the blue background on their file share items. Lastly, the exciting new video rendering feature that was previewed a few updates ago is only going to be available to Bungie PRO members.

3. Tag your files! Go to your file share on Bungie.net and tag everything you have. The more accurate and detailed your tags are, the easier it will be for other people to discover your content and the more inclined they will be to try it out for themselves. Every tag you create will also go into your tag user history. Every tag you use and every file you tag will go into a handy list and is a great way to build your own custom searches. Of course, you need to have some files in order to do this so update your file share in Halo 3 and take some screenshots if you don’t have any handy.

4. Organize your Files! If you have related content items in your file share, group them together and create a file set to keep them all organized and connected. Files that exist in files sets also get a special icon in search results to further indicate that these are important files. Use File sets to make bundles of Map variants and Game variants that go together. A picture is worth a thousand words, include screenshots that display the interesting parts of your map or preview the key moments of a sweet film clip. Players trying to download your files will appreciate how much easier it is to download all of your creations in one place.

5. Rate It! If you check out someone’s custom file, be sure to give it a rating. Over time, the average rating for a file will help everyone determine what’s good and what’s not so good. It only works though if people take the time to rate. Feedback comments are also very helpful.

6. Comment!  Be sure to leave a comment for your files to include information you couldn't fit in the original file description. Also, add comments to other people's files to expand upon what you liked or offer suggestions for future revisions.

Stosh's Mini FAQ


Stosh has put a ton of work into this new file share update and he woke up in a cold sweat the other night terrified that people would have many questions that weren't answered and would be confused by some aspects of the new layout. To help make the transition to the new file share easier, he whipped up this handy FAQ (check his eminently helpful forum thread, as well):

Q. I don't want to search by tag. I just want to see all the files and sort them.
A. Select your file type and leave the search field blank. Search and then sort/filter. Easy!

Q. Cooliris isn't working!
A.
You have to do a search for all screenshots, gallery or fileshare screenshots. Then hover over the thumbnail. A mixed file search result won't work. Cooliris is also enabled in your screenshot gallery and recent screenshots.

Q. Where are the file forums!?
A.
The file forums have been hidden. We still use them for file comments. Tag your files! People will find your file if it's good and tagged correctly.

Q. Why do some files have a blue background?
A. We decided to spotlight bungie pro users because they're awesome! Want a blue background and bigger more awesome fileshare? Get Bungie PRO.

Q. How many tag submissions does it take before the tag is actually applied to the file? Can you report specific tag ratings?
A.
You can't report bad tags (you can of course report the file). What you can do is rate up the tags that are correct. Sure your file might get tagged incorrectly but that's ok--files are sorted by the numbered of times they've been tagged.EX: Someone tags your elite screenshot "spartan". Since it's only been tagged once your screenshot will be displayed on the last page of the search result (for spartan). We have tools to combat griefing as well. We display the top seven tags for a file first and you have to click on "show all tags" to see the rest. Think of the top seven tags of what the file actually is--and the remaining tags are what the file may or may not be. Over time, the tags should normalize with all the correct information bubbling to the top.


The Art of Halo 3

As some folks saw over at Amazon there is in fact a new Art of Halo book in the works. We don't know who this Fernando Bueno guy is, but pixelsmith Lorraine McLees has been wrangling horses and herding cats to collect a robust group of pieces that will populate this fine collection of coffee-table-topping literature. Here's the first look at the book's cover.

 


Fresh Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

There hasn't been nearly enough stuff to read on Bungie.net lately, so we decided to fix that. Joining Bungie beginning Monday as our Community Content Writer is Eric AKA Urk the Red, AKA The Urkitect, AKA The Urkstore called and they are all out of you. He's going to be filling in some much needed holes here on the Bungie.net side of things, handling things like Bungie Favorites, making sure the Bungie Blog is both spotlighting and reflecting the Community as well as funneling Top Stories to front page of Bungie.net. There's a story behind Urk's self-interview (below), but I think we'll wait till after his first day to have him tell it.

As for me? I'll still be here at Bungie. I'm not going anywhere. Sorry!


Um, who are you again?

Urk: I’m Urk.


Right. Seems self-explanatory. How about a little bit of background?

U: Sure thing. Apparently, I’m in the throes of what can only be described as a mid-midlife crisis. A quarter-life crisis, if you will. In the not too distant past, I found myself chugging around my little rut, making a name for myself in the ever-connected world of Information Technology. I had a nice corner office at a bank with an amazing expanse of glass overlooking a dumpster, a lone dying tree, a Wal-Mart parking lot, and an A&W/Long John Silver’s (hastily prepared fried fish coupled with root beer floats).
The majority of my workday was comprised of sitting at a faux wood desk with a tie tight around my neck, pushing papers around into neat little piles, and frantically typing away at a keyboard. But there was this nagging itch at the back of my brain. This was a job for me, not a career. Something I was doing to make mortgage payments. After doing some soul searching, I admitted to myself that I didn’t want to work in IT forever. Not for me.
So I hit the brakes.
I drove down to the local university, enrolled in their Mass Communications program, and pulled a full course load while I continued to work full time at the bank. I chose classes based on my interests, leaning hard into writing programs, enrolling in extracurricular fiction courses, doing whatever I could to explore my interest in creative writing and communications.
The rest, as they say…well, actually it’s not quite history just yet. There are plenty of blank pages to fill. Frantically.


Pardon me for interrupting your special little moment Urk, but I have to ask, just what do you think you’ll be doing here during the work day?

U: Um, I’m going to sit at a desk, push papers around, and madly type away at a keyboard.
Oh my God, what have I done? At least I can ditch the tie. :sadface.


Too late to back out now, Urk. I hear Microsoft is hiring. We know some guys over there. I can get you in touch with some IT peeps.

U: Hmm, well I am Microsoft Certified, but I think I’ll stick around for a few and see how things pan out here. I mean, I hear there’s free Starbuck’s downstairs. I once met a homeless man in San Francisco who was able to subsist on nothing but discarded mocha lattes he found in the trash dumpster. True story.


Sounds delicious. Also sounds like mouth sores. As much as I like to see you carry this ill-conceived plan to it’s bitter end, I think I’m going to advise you to stay the course.

And as for everyone else, stay tuned. There won’t be any slow acclamation for the Urkstore. His feet are going straight into the flames.



Questions, Answers

Even though last week’s Update, Live From Japan Edition, was a Recon FAQ, there’s probably a few more questions that we’re able to answer – both Recon relevant and otherwise – out in the Internet’s angry ether.

Note: For authenticity, the readers’ questions have not been reformatted, edited or fixed up and made pretty.


Slayer123222 asks:
first!!!!!!

ok now that's over so uh i heard that the forge is going to be different in halo 3:recon how different

For the millionth time. Nope, it will not be different. I think this was gently touched in last week’s Recon FAQ, as were most of the questions from our ever-enlightened readership. Peruse it again, maybe.

MixMasterOoink asks:

so we ask you answer? so like will the mythic maps be the same price as the others?

Like, when we know the price of the Mythic Map Pack, we’ll like totally like let you know.


Mysten asks:
Can we get a better explanation of how the multiplayer experience (maps) is going to work in Halo 3: Recon? Alot of us are still confused about that.

Halo 3: Recon will be on its own disc. The rest of the multiplayer aspects related to that product will work seamlessly with your existing Halo 3 experience.

Wh0 N0se asks:
are there any plans for new double exp playlists for next month or have you not decided?

Why yes, yes there are. Shishka is going to make it rain Double EXP playlists next month. The order is yet to be defined, but here’s a peek at the November lineup.
Double EXP (in no particular order) - Grifball, Team Flag (with some gametypes from Fourth of July), Legendary Brawl and a Thanksgiving Day Weekend of experimental gametypes.

Seven on the Seventh will be Icy Treats with featured guest-star, Blackout.


Liu Xuande asks:
Do the results of custom games influence the hosting system at all? That's the only reason I can think of that would make people repeatedly start and end games. Build up a good connection history...

Nope, all of that starting and stopping custom games over and over isn't helping your host record whatsoever. Just think of how many people have wasted so much time trying to improve their host record.

Now, laugh at them and their futility.



JackDaniels175 asks:
Any new weapons coming to the Halo Universe in Recon?

Did you see a different version of the trailer than I did?

TheCyberFreak asks:

How closely does the art direction in the Halo 3: Recon trailer match the intended look of the final game? Is the trailer meant to show what you think the game will look like when we play it or is it a loose representation?

There’s a bunch of questions here wrapped up in this one. First, about the trailer itself – The Halo 3: Recon trailer is a CG trailer produced by our friends at CafeFX – the FX wunderkinds behind Pan’s Labyrinth – so it is not meant to be “representative of final gameplay.” After all, it is a CG trailer.
Second, on art direction: The art direction shown in the video is very much Bungie-driven. The tone and aesthetics on display in the video are very representative of some of what players can expect with Halo 3: Recon’s atmosphere and mood. More on this soon, obviously.


FordCalvin asks:
Will the mythic map pack be prised higher due to it having 6 maps?

Why make so many assumptions, it only makes an…

Index asks:
Assembly has been revealed. Why not any other "Mythic Maps"? Do you guys have a set date yet with your publishers as to when you can tell us to mark our calenders, or are you still debating on a due-date?

Really, can you imagine what it would be like on the Internet if we revealed everything at once? The next week people would be butthurt and clamoring for more information. That’s lose-lose. We revealed Assembly first because above all else, it fits a hole that we recognize in our map portfolio – small-to-mid-sized symmetrical maps. We’ll certainly take a look at the rest of the maps before they come out early next year.

Nikitango asks:

Will this be the final halo game made by bungie?
What about halo: chronicles?

Like we’ve said before, as the creators of Halo, it’s a franchise we really care about and it remains dear to us. That man-hug on Halo aside, the only thing that we’re talking about right now is Halo 3 and Halo 3: Recon.

We’re not involved with any external Halo projects.


Riverfox asks:
Will we see any good recipes for pie's in the weekly update.

No, but thankfully we just saw a meme from five years ago! Thanks, Riverfox!

PNut d kidnaper asks:

Why will Halo 3: Recon not have a new multiplayer experience?

See the Assumptions answer above, but also, keep in mind that Halo 3: Recon, is on a shorter production cycle than our usual, all-hands-on-deck, three year long projects. It’s an expansion, and you will like it. Oh yes, you will, PNut.

H3CustomFinder asks:

In one of the recent bungie weekly updates, you said there would be a Render-to-video feature. When are we going to get this?

The database and engineering dudes are doing loads of stress testing right now on this feature. Once we’ve satisfactorily tested the load balancing, we’ll announce when the beta for this feature will begin.

Burritosenior asks:
Since the last question and answer update, people have been disappointed by the lack of Blood Gulch. Is there a chance for Coagulation to return?

Didn’t I definitively and categorically say in the last one of these zany Q&As that Blood Gulch/Coagulation was not returning? No amount of standing outside of the window with a boombox blaring “In Your Eyes,” is going to make it happen.

Vinnie7777777777 asks:

and will H3R have co-op campagin if so whats the max number of people?

Halo 3: Recon has full feature parity with Halo 3, so you’ll be able to play the Campaign with four players, just like Halo 3.

D3athSfriend asks:
Q: Will Bungie be making Halo themed items for your Avatar when the dashboard update comes out?

Nope! We have no plans to support Avatars. We’re flattered that Halo 2’s party system has become a feature-level
element of the New Xbox Experience, though.


Deep NNN asks:

How surprised were you by the communities reaction to the acceptance speech videos. All joking aside, did you guys learn something from the reaction? Luke's few comments seemed to indicate surprise at some of the imaginative ideas put forth.

Personally, I was not surprised that my conclusions were mirrored by others. Ideas like Campaign characters being added in some fashion through Forge was a common theme. Was this type of reaction not expected?

Ultimately, we were not terribly surprised. Taking things out of context is what the Internet is for.

Merguson asks:
Regarding the Bungie Favorites, It appears to have not been updated for a long period of time. Can you give us an update on what is occurring regarding the feature? Does Bungie have plans to update this in the near future or is there simply a lack of support for the Bungie Favorites?

Thankfully, Urk – the dude we just introduced you to above – will be handling Bungie Favorites from now on. The existing Community submissions will be handed over to him and put up. The new Tag system theoretically makes it much easier to find cool stuff.

Tons of Dudes asked:
We really like the new tune from Halo 3: Recon, can we get a download of it?

Oh yes, yes you can. Now, everyone say “Thanks, Marty.”

He’s listening.


Prepare To Drop (MP3)

OuterWorldVoice asks:
I love JJ Abrams. What would it look like if dudes from Bungie were cast in the new Star Trek movie?

CJ Cowan, like The Dude, abides:







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