Let's take a moment, right at the outset, to think a little bit about the concept of time. So often we travel along, footstep after footstep, breath after breath, without giving much thought to the inexorable tick-tock of our figurative clocks even though they dominate and drive nearly every aspect of our lives. But what is time, really?
It's simply a measurement, friends. And what once loomed on the horizon - a cavernous and impossible expanse too wide and too deep and too black to ever be filled by some ethereal and insurmountable count of days, or hours, or even months - is now nothing more than a thin almost inconsequential line carved into the desert's hard pan. Even the most shortsighted among us can see that our Mythic journey is now coming to a close.
Some say patience is a virtue. Perhaps it is. But time knows nothing of the proverbs we use to soothe our human longing. No matter, it doesn't require the gilded tongue of the soothsayer to tell us that the Mythic Map Pack is less than one week away. And whether you've waited patiently or spammed our forums and message boxes with eager questions and vitriolic demands, you'll be able to stand and count yourself among the virtuous in just six short days. We're glad you've stuck with us this far.
Mythic Map Pack
Finishing up our six week look at the custom Sandbox content we're going to be wedging into Matchmaking finds us taking a peek at "Vindicitve." Though we showcased six Map Variants in this space, that doesn't mean these are the only offerings we're going to put on display. We've got a few more tricks up our sleeves. But as we mentioned last week, the magician's hat is yours. Let's see what you can pull out of it once you've gotten your hands on Sandbox.
Once again, this week's Map Variant comes to us by way of Shishka. And once again, he graced us with a moment of his time to talk about his map, the process that went into it, and whether or not he's still selling his truck.
Q. What was the core concept behind Vindictive?
A. I wanted to do something that made room for vehicles, but wasn’t innately liable to vehicular domination. More often than not, vehicle play is only fun for the people in the vehicle. Meanwhile, the infantry is infuriated because they cannot move across the map without being destroyed by warthog turrets or speeding ghosts.
Q. What makes it “Vindictive?” I’m not going to make an emo joke like last time, because you just made fun of me. Sadface.
A. You’re learning! I’m so proud.
The map acts somewhat as a chance at revenge for people that are used to vehicles being doomsday machines. On foot, the map is fairly straightforward to navigate. In a vehicle, there are a number of pathways around the map that drivers find themselves drawn to, which can lead to dire consequences.
Q. Why did you choose the ground floor as the build site?
A. All for the vehicles. Having a Warthog duel on the sand or chasing an enemy Mongoose with a Chopper into laser country can be pretty fun. With the ground level, you’ve got the free surfaces for vehicles to roam on you wouldn’t have in the sky, and plenty of breathing room, which you wouldn’t have in the crypt.
It also meant I didn’t have to spend as much time moving blocks from one space to another. Vindictive started with all the default Sandbox geometry, and I just added on as I saw fit.
Q. Seems pretty symmetrical. Is it made primarily for Team Slayer and two-sided objective play?
A. Pretty much! Vindictive supports Team Slayer, Flag and Assault, and will be updated at a later time to support the other basic gametypes as well.
Q. During playtest, I couldn’t help but steer my vehicle toward the small ramp and tunnel sections along the outer edges. Does that fit with your design intentions, or was I being compelled by some brand of inborn idiocy?
A. You’re in luck, this time. The tunnels and ramps on the perimeter of the map are “by design,” meaning I actually intended for them to act as vehicle passageways. Why? Because it’s fun! Everyone loves sweet, sweet jumps. They’re very hard to ignore as you’re dashing around on the map, simply because of the allure of going briefly airborne. There’s no particular reward for driving through those tunnels (unless you catch someone off guard), they’re just fun!
Q. What about airborne assaults? Could the Banshee or the Hornet have a roost on Vindictive without breaking down the balance?
A. Vindictive doesn’t include aerial vehicles, because they’re harder to balance against for people on the ground. Ground vehicles are one thing, but air vehicles are a threat to pretty much everything. Maps can be made that counter the issue of death from the sky, but I didn’t find that to be in the cards for Vindictive.
Q. Since we already touched base with you on the differences between Foundry and Sandbox, we’ll ask a somewhat more individualized question this time out. Did you sell your truck yet?
A. Not yet, though to be honest I haven’t officially put it on sale, yet. I’ve decided my next ride is going to be something nice, which means I want to have a little extra cash set aside for when I make my move. Sorry, Awesome BMW Guy That Wants To Hook Me Up, but I’m thinking Infiniti. Anyway, the truck’ll probably be put up for sale later this year. No, I do not intend to sign the dashboard and then pretend that increases the value of the truck.
Well, now the Awesome BMW Guy is going think you're a little bit vindictive. Get it? We're making puns. So good
. Anyway, thanks for the quick look at Vindictive. It may be our last featured map for a little while, but don't expect to see a lack of Sandbox content on display in the coming weeks. As we've already mentioned, we're going to be turning our gaze to the stuff you've
whipped up in the months ahead.
Also, we have it on good word that Shishka's truck is cursed. Legend has it that it was not a group of interfering Senators that stopped Mark Antony from saving his Caesar, but a certain 1996 Ford Ranger that stalled as it sped toward the forum steps. Had its rubber wheels rolled on, the world could have been a very different place indeed.
And while we're on the subject of wheels...
Desks Doing Wheelies
We've talked about the concept of "desks on wheels" before in other venues, but since the studio is heading into a major reshuffling this weekend, we thought we'd talk to the man who helps make the transition as seamless as possible, Matt Priestley, one of Bungie's whip-cracking producers. We had questions, and he provided answers.
Q. What’s the core idea behind keeping the floor plan so flexible?
A. Bungie has an open floor plan. That means no offices, no cubicle walls, just…open. There are some problems with that, not the least of which are noise and farts and lack of privacy, but you quickly realize that people are more effective and just happier when they can glance at a coworker and ask a question.
The trouble is that people change jobs. Not literally, but every few months projects shift. Suddenly the guy in the corner under the Bungie banner needs to work with the guy in the center of the studio. It happens often enough that you’ll lose that team intimacy if you can’t slide the desks.
Q. As the current project winds down and the next begins to swing into full production, what sort of challenges are presented by making dramatic shifts to the workspace, beyond noxious fumes?
A. Yeah, Bungie isn’t a place where you can send everyone home at 5 p.m. and unplug boxes. I can just imagine Harold’s reaction to that. Our IT team works on weekends or late nights with volunteer help. There’s a ton of labor. Speaking of which Urk, are you available this Saturday?
At the end of a project we put special effort into cloistering the post-production team so they can focus undisturbed on the last stretch of polish. Meanwhile the main building’s a hive of activity as we rearrange things to prep for future work.
It’s like putting together a puzzle where the pieces have feelings.
We think we'll keep it brief and let Matt get back to overseeing this weekend's complex (and sentient) puzzle, focus undisturbed. As far as this weekend's plans go, unfortunately I've made plans to attend the 7th Annual Emerald City ComiCon
Emerald City ComiCon
As we noted last week, seven of Bungie's own amazing artists are going to signing a ton of their awesome artwork over in Artist Alley this Saturday and Sunday. If you want to meet them, get some prints signed, and get in on the entire Emerald City Comicon experience, check out the official site for the event by snagging your tickets now
Once again, here are the seven Bungie artists who will be on hand:
And if this isn't enough notice for you, Ken will also be heading off to Sakura-Con
the following weekend, April 10th through the 12th, at the same venue, The Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.
April Matchmaking Update
For those wondering what the upcoming April Matchmaking Changelist looks like, here's the scoop from Shishka:
• Default Orbital updated to address hiding spots and issue with players killing themselves when they touch the ceiling in the lower base
• Default Sandbox updated to address issue with Rocket Launchers spawning with different timing
Team Doubles (Mythic Map Pack added but not required)
• All objective gametypes set to skip after veto
• Added Assembly
• Added Sandbox variants “Cubed,” “Plurality,” “Tundra,” “Vessel”
• Team Flag on Smashed removed
Rumble Pit (Mythic Map Pack added but not required)
• Added Assembly (default), Sandbox (default)
• Added Sandbox variant “Cubed”
• Added infection gametype “Save One Bullet”
• Added infection variants “Dismemberment” (Assembly), “Andromeda” (Orbital), and “Spooky House” (Sandbox)
• Removed Hammerzeit
Team Swat (Mythic Map Pack added but not required)
• Added SWATssembly, SWArbital, Tundra SWAT
• Updated to v6 map variants
• Grenades removed from Team Snipers gametype
Double EXP Weekends for April (In Order)
• Team Flag
• Team Melee (Mythic Map Pack added but not required)
• Living Dead (Mythic Map Pack added but not required)
• Fiesta (Mythic Map Pack added but not required)
7 on the 7th
Avalanche (for the last time, I promise)
When you see a hopper with Mythic appearing as “not required,” expect that to mean that Mythic will be required the following month. For Double EXP weekends, this means that the next time they are used, they will require the Mythic Map Pack.
Team Mythic isn't going anywhere in April. You'll still be able to play all Mythic, all the time under its tweaked title, Mythic DLC, for the remainder of the month. From May onward, we'll be looking to integrate the Mythic maps into Matchmaking in a more permanent sense as noted above, with more and more Playlists soon requiring
the Mythic Map Pack.
HBO's Mythic Movie Contest
All of the videos have been thoroughly digested by a panel of esteemed and anonymous judges. If you submitted and emerged victorious, you'll be notified shortly. If you submitted and didn't come out on top, thanks for participating. If you submitted, haven't been sent an email in response, and spam up Louis Wu's inbox, you'll instantly rule yourself out of contention. The man's old. And cranky
If you have no idea what we're blabbering on about, choose your own adventure and skip ahead to the next section of the update.
'Chieftain' Mythic Map Pack Contest
Once again we got a really awesome pile of new content when we asked you to snap some screenshots of Brute Chieftains as you tore through Halo 3's Campaign, and once again we're going to protect the winner's right to privacy. If you want to take a look through the screenshots on your own to see what kind of carnage went down in the Chieftain Campaign Challenge, be our guests. In fact, we'll make it easy.
And since it wouldn't make sense to run a pretty picture competition without showing off some of the pretty pictures, here's a sampling of some of the Chieftain shots we plucked randomly from the pile.
Into the Great Wide Open
The Better to Eat You With
Thanks for playing.
We Dreamed a Dream
What happened to bungle?
Posted by at 4/2/2009 12:56 PM (-7)
BeamMeUp writes: Where is it?
"There was something about a pro gaming league on the homepage yesterday but now it's gone. When does the new playlists start?"
Bad news for our fledgling Pro League, we're afraid. What was once our grand unveiling is now but a grave reminder of the state of global economic affairs. Things are bleak for a lot of folks right now. Hopefully, you and yours have managed to weather the downturn as best you can and have remained relatively unscathed thus far. Unfortunately for B.U.N.G.L.E.™, that's isn't the case.
Those with a keen eye on the news (or HBO
) have probably already figured out what happened to our grandiose idea. For those who remain unaware, such as BeamMeUp above, all you need to know resides in the news article linked below.
Virtual Leagues Fold, Forcing Gamers to Find Actual Jobs
Though we never got B.U.N.G.L.E.™ off the ground, and though you won't be gracing the grand stage of our World Championship Event in Dubai when the sun rises high above all of our heads come summer, we still look forward to the day when B.U.N.G.L.E.™ itself will rise again, filling the world of Professional Gaming with a golden light, a beacon not unlike that which emanates from a Sentinel Beam on full display.
One day, dear friends. One day
Time Heals All Wounds
We're using the weekend to recuperate. You should too. But don't fall too deeply into a relaxing slumber. We'll be back on Monday morning with more.