Bungie Weekly Update: 11.20.09
Posted by urk at 11/20/2009 4:56 PM PST
Word on the tweets this week is that Spike VGA viewers will get a sneak peek of Halo: Reach with the debut of an exclusive, world premiere video from the opening of the game. For all you first time visitors, Halo: Reach is an all-new prequel to the massively popular Halo trilogy from developer Bungie (that's us) which launches in the fall of 2010, exclusively on the Xbox 360!

I so stole that from the official press release, but marketing aside, it’s the honest truth – we are massively popular. And you’ve probably already put two and two together and figured out that this inbound sneak peek is part of the reason why we went dark on the Reach front over the past few weeks.

I’d love to have been blabbering on and on like a lunatic about all the crazy new hotness I saw splashed up just about every screen throughout the studio these last few weeks (‘sup animators and special effectors, can I haz your babies?), but I didn’t need to be told to let the team stay locked in and focused on completing their primary mission objective. It's implied.  And I ain’t dumb or crazy enough to get all up in their business right now.  The last thing you or anybody else wants to see in the update are actions shots of me with Marcus’ boot lodged straight up my ass.

But don’t worry—you’ll lay eyes on Reach soon enough. Twenty-two days from now to be precise. December 12th, 2009.

Oh, and two and two makes four.  I asked an engineer.
The Magic of Science
Earlier in the week I tapped on the Ivory Tower’s soundproof glass and bum rushed Marty when he came to investigate the source of the disturbance. As soon as I wriggled my way inside, I immediately unleashed an irritating barrage of begging and pleading so mind-numbingly annoying that he reluctantly agreed to placate me with a private screening of his latest score. Pulling myself up off the floor and tucking my shirt back in, I settled in for the first time to see the Reach video I've been jawing about harmoniously matched up with Marty’s music and the latest Foley mix.

Marty was adamant that what I was listening to was a rough cut. He was careful to remark that it was all still work in progress. He made it clear that it would sound much, much more powerful after he recorded the score using real instruments played by professional musicians.

I was already tuning him out, focusing all of my leftover energy on trying not to grin like an idiot while the score did all the right things to the super sensitive bits of my inner ear.

Fade to black and I say something monumentally stupid about how the way in which the score punctuates the video is a kind of magic trick—as if all the stuff that I already thought was awesome is suddenly made both magically and measurably more scientifically awesome. Marty smiles. He like the way I word things. He tells me that he might use “the science of magic” in an interview sometime.

That's a terrible idea, Marty.  Don’t quit your day job.
Marty's Day Job


Doing Work


At the Helm


The Players

As you can see, Marty checked into the recording studio today and oversaw the production of his score.  If you want to see some more shots of the session, Brian slapped some pics into our twitter feed earlier this morning. You can check them out there.
Merry…Shishmas?
Shishka told me he was going to punch me in the face yesterday and yet, my face remains distinctly and completely unpunched today. Looks like he had some other stuff to worry about. Like Matchmaking:

“Shishclaus has presents for good little boys and girls!

In November we released Team Slayer from the grip of DLC restrictions. This left more than a few people scratching their heads. Why did we do it? Was it some kind of mistake? Was it because of MLG’s new Halo 3 : Mythic requirements? Has Shishka’s Xbox LIVE message inbox finally driven him mad? Well, no, no, and that happened too long ago to be the cause, so no. Why, then, the sudden change in philosophy?

Team Slayer was an experiment. Would players see the latest content even if it wasn’t required? It’s been nearly two years now since Heroic shipped, so most people probably do not remember that the original reason for introducing DLC requirements was because we cannot match users preferentially based on DLC ownership. As such, unless the majority of users in a DLC-optional playlists owned DLC, seeing the new content was unlikely. This put us in a tough position. Ultimately, we decided to support the users that continually support us by integrating and requiring DLC into full time and Double EXP Weekend playlists. There was an ultimate goal, however. If the primary issue with DLC-optional hoppers was that new content wouldn’t appear unless most people owned the new content, the best resolution to the issue would be for most of the community to have the new content!

ODST gave us the push we needed. Thanks to Halo 3: Mythic, the majority of users in Matchmaking now have all the new content, including Heretic, Longshore and Citadel. As such, we’re comfortable with doing things a little differently, and will be removing all DLC restrictions from the following playlists as part of the December Matchmaking update:

  • Team SWAT
  • Team Snipers
  • Team Doubles
  • Squad Battle
  • Rumble Pit
  • Multi-Team
  • Social Big Team

That leaves Team Mythic, MLG, Team Throwback, Action Sack, 7 on the 7th, and the Double EXP Weekends as the playlists that require the latest content. These playlists are all built on a majority focus of new content anyway, so making them DLC-optional would just be silly. Especially Team Mythic.

Speaking of 7 on the 7th, we’re going back to the community playlist set up. No new maps in December (time constraints related to some other game we’re working on. Rhymes with Beach), but many of the existing maps has been updated by the authors after taking in feedback from the community. The Double EXP Weekends for December are:

  • Ranked Grifball (Heroic/Legendary Required)
  • Prepare to Drop (Halo 3: Mythic Required)
  • Mythic Brawl (Halo 3: Mythic Required)
  • Rocket Race (Heroic/Legendary Required)

Lastly, this is just a reminder that yes, Grifball in December will be ranked. This means that some restrictions (such as a max party size) are in place. It also means that the stricter Ranked Banhammer policies are in effect, and boosters are at risk of Matchmaking bans, instead of their usual EXP bans. This is a onetime offer, so Grifball fans will want to enjoy it while they can!

Merry Shishmas to one and all!”
Make-A-Wish
When we’re not ditching all traces of humility and catering to our own inflated egos with talk of Bungie being all “massively popular” and whatnot, we love to use what influence we’ve amassed over the course of Bungie’s existence to lend a helping hand to some great charitable organizations. Today, we had a representative from Make-A-Wish drop in to deliver a plaque thanking us for our “generous support” in helping them grant some “amazing wishes.” She even brought us some boxes of piping hot pretzels so we could commemorate the occasion in the best way we know how – by gorging ourselves into a delirious stupor on deliciously salty snack foods.

Now that we’re out of the carbo-coma, we’d like to spend a few words to say thanks to Renee and the entire Make-A-Wish Foundation, not only for the commemorative plaque and goodies they delivered, but also for facilitating our participation in the life-changing experiences they give to children whose wishes in turn grant us our own measure of hope, humility, and perspective.

If you want to learn how you can help Make-A-Wish continue to fulfill their mission, please visit their website to find out how you can make a difference. You don’t need to have a studio full of sweaty nerds to do your part—you can donate time, money, and toys to this great cause.

And you should. Trust us. It’s worth it.


I wish Lars wasn't standing so close to Shishka.
Also Worth It...
Led by Bungie Princess, Christine, Bungie got behind the local charity wheel this week and collected some cans and cash in support of a local food bank.  We're also working on some kind of crazy Zombie blood drive and a bunch of our crew are going to spend some time over the holidays helping feed some folks who need just a little bit of help this year.


Tagged and Bagged

Not a bad haul, if I do say so myself.  (And I do.) Thanks, Christine!
Ready…Break
If you counted yourself among those lamenting the loss of the kick ass cornucopia of wordplay present in the update as of late, you should steel yourself for yet another low blow to your bountiful expectations. We’re shutting down the studio in celebration of Thanksgiving next week. We’re terribly celebratory, ain’t we?

If some really profound, important, and unexpected information comes a-plowing into our shores, we’ll break away from the ritualistic feast and merrymaking to drop you a line, but you shouldn’t expect to sustain your current level of digital dietary intake.

But we don’t want to leave you hanging over the holidays. We’ve got a ViDoc prepped and ready to go in case you’re still stuck on your Road to Recon. Since we wanted to deliver this before we closed up shop, it’s YouTubery only for the time being. Expect it to hit ODST’s Intel menu and land in Marketplace after we return from break.



YouTube - Halo 3: ODST ViDoc "Road to Recon"

HD coming soon.
Cease and Desist
Speaking of people who can shove off, Lars Bakken received a letter in the mail this week. After confirming the absence of contaminants, explosive residue, and bacterial agents, he tore it open only to find this:





Dear Eric,

You were right to seek professional assistance, but after reading your letter and viewing the accompanying illustration, I’m not so sure that an attorney was the correct choice in order to help you resolve your “issue” and start you off on what we can only imagine will be a long, hard, and disgustingly bumpy road to recovery.

Godspeed,

Bungie

P.S. lol
Blame Stosh
Stosh has been carrying the update the past few weeks with his selection of screenshots. He’s become a big deal around these parts. We even made him his own t-shirt.


Smell Ya Later
Ferrex got himself a new bucket hat this week. I can’t argue that he wasn’t in desperate need; his trusty old gal was literally hanging to dear life by some hand sewn thread, but this new, finely crafted and completely intact cap just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s like his trusty yellow lab kicked the bucket and he immediately rushed out to replace it with a youthful and energetic pup. I guess I needed some more time, Tyson. I just needed more time.

See you the week after next, suckers.
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The night is always darkest...

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Posted by urk at 6/3/2011 1:50 PM PDT

It's not you, it's us.

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We will show thee things which must be hereafter.

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Seis de Mayo!

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A Garden of Earthly Delights!

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