Bungie Weekly Update: 10.02.09
Posted by urk at 10/2/2009 5:33 PM PDT
How ‘bout that weather?

Around Seattle things have taken a turn for the fall season and everything's gone all cool and cloudy. Sweatshirts and windbreakers are being broken out, shorts and sandals are being packed away, and everyone is buckling down for the looming wet season Seattle’s become so infamous for. I can’t complain, it’s been one crazy summer and according to the seven day forecast, there are some more sunny days on the way. (Plus, Derek warned me over lunch that he's been given explicit instructions to face punch anyone who complains about the weather and I'm quite fond of my head and neck area.)

But enough about the weather.  Let's talk some shop.

Leading the Pack

In for some Chop

Actually, let’s talk some Choppers. Choppers and Lost Platoon. Choppers and Lost Platoon and eighteen Set Firefight games.

Last week we showed off an insanely high Legendary score and noted that it was snagged by a lone gunman. This week, the same player took it to a whole new level, amassing an unbelievable ten million points in a game that spanned more than twenty-one hours, start to finish.

Cheatz and Hax, right? Nah. But after digging in and seeing how the score was ultimately achieved (snagging a Chopper, parking as far away from the action as possible, and then mowing most of the opposition down at a safe distance), we’re significantly less impressed then we were when we thought it was one man going Death Blossom in the midst of a massive Covenant invasion force. From here on out, I’m personally adopting and enforcing a new rule: the Chopper doesn’t count on Lost Platoon.

Will we stop recording scores and serving up stats for games where you decide to churn up the chum by way of the Chopper's spinning Wheel o' Death (and its long range, anti-everything cannon fire)? Nope. But when I show you who’s rocking the best Legendary score, I’m simply gonna omit any offerings where the player clearly sat in one space with one finger on the trigger and another deep in a bowl of tortilla chips.

Like so:

If you’re out there doing big things in Firefight and wondering why your skills weren’t quite stacking up against the highest of the high scores we put on display, now you know exactly why. If you’re now thinking to yourself, “I’m so gonna hop on a Chopper and ride out the Firefight waves for twenty-one hours straight,” be our guest. Just make sure you pause every so often to take in some of the important things in life like nutrition, personal hygiene, and socializing with your friends and family.

No Chopz Allowed

And yes, this is a joke.  We queued up the films from the ten million point game and sure, the player in question makes liberal use of the Brute Chopper. But he's also damn good.  In fact, he's downright methodical.  Besides, just the thought of doing anything for twenty-one hours straight has me feeling completely exhausted.
Exchange of Hats
Our database guru, Michael Williams, tells me that as of about five o’clock Thursday, nearly sixty thousand players had already pulled the trigger and unlocked their coveted sets of Recon armor by completing all seven Vidmaster achievements. Good work.

Still, the vast majority of active players are still rockin’ their old and dusty duds. Seems pretty clear that most of them don’t want to be seen in what we’ve been told time and time again is “the new Hayabusa” (aka, the-really-sweet-armor-that-tons-of-players-elect-to-wear).  Either that, or they simply haven't snagged all of the Vidmaster achievements yet.

Everybody Wants Recon
What’s the Password?
Of course some players seem destined to never score a set for themselves. We’ve seen more than our fair share of angry forum posts, private messages, and news submissions blaming us for forgotten passwords and misplaced personal information.  Some go so far as to flat out demand that we make a special exception on their behalf or dig through the list, player by player, to unlock the armor for anyone with the achievements on record, regardless of the fact that they can’t harmoniously marry their Bungie.net profile and their Xbox LIVE gamertag together.

No dice.

If you’ve let your Windows LIVE ID password slip from your mind, the only way to recover it is by getting in contact with Xbox LIVE support. We have no access to your personal information and can’t view, alter, or reset your gamertag credentials.  That's your business. We're gonna stay out of it.

If you have no idea what data you originally supplied to Xbox LIVE when you set up your account and you can’t prove that you're the rightful owner of the account in question, you’ll have to make a new gamertag and start from scratch. For security reasons, it doesn’t matter one bit if your little brother originally set up the account - if you can’t verify your own personal info, you are out of luck.

Does that suck? Well, yeah. But it sure ain’t our fault.
A Few of Our Favorite Things
We know it’s a bit more difficult to setup and snap the special effects laden photos you’ve become accustomed to in Halo 3 inside of Halo 3: ODST's Theater Mode, but just as a heads up we’ve returned to the original format for selecting Halo 3: ODST’s Bungie Favorites.  Every so often (maybe as much as once per week) we're gonna be digging through the community content pile and plucking out half a dozen screenshots that make the grade. 

If you have some sick stuff you desperately want us to see, make sure you're uploading it into your File Share.
October Matchmaking Update
Playlist changes this month are mostly backend and for the most part nothing anyone's gonna notice. The November update should be more apparent, but for now just know that we’re silently tinkering away at various elements of Matchmaking. The most notable item for October will be the presence of Ranked Living Dead! Once again, the dead climb out from the cold, cold grave and walk the earth, searching for a visible TrueSkill™ ranking and some rare medals. Prior to those dark times, though, you will find a healthy menu of other Double EXP weekends that don’t hunger for brains:

Double EXP Weekends for October (in Order):

  • Mythic Brawl (Mythic Disk Required)
  • Grifball (Heroic/Mythic Part 1 Required)
  • FFA Fiesta (Mythic Disk Required)
  • Team Flag (Mythic Disk Required)
  • Ranked Living Dead (Mythic Disk Required)

Lighting Research at Bungie
float ComputeESM( float2 vShadowMapUVs, float fReceiverDepth,
float fCascadeIndex )
// Filtered look up using mip mapping
float fOccluderExponential = tCascadeShadowMaps.Sample(
float fReceiverExponential = exp( -fESMExponentialMultiplier *
fReceiverDepth );
float fESMShadowTest = fOccluderExponential * fReceiverExponential;
return saturate(fESMShadowTest);

Make any sense to you? Yeah, me neither. Mip Mapping, yo. Mip mapping.

The latest deck to hit our Bungie Publications page is up and ready for public consumption. If you’re way smarter than I am and so totally into graphics engineering, you’re probably gonna absolutely go nuts for this stuff. Otherwise, maybe you should just scan it for the purty pitchurs like I did.

The presentation was put on public display at this year’s Siggraph – an organization set up to create and discuss computer graphics and interactive techniques – and it focuses on the latest directions in lighting research at Bungie. Stuff like high-quality real time lighting with advanced atmospheric rendering and continuous time of day, as well as efficient prefilterable soft shadows. It also explores fast methods for generation of pre-computed global illumination using modern GPUs.

I plagiarized most of the preceding paragraph from the authors' description of the presentation in a sad attempt to make myself seem more smarter. If you want to shed some light on some of the research our graphics engineers are uncovering (see what I did there?), click on the link below and get your learn on.

Return of the Pimp
Back in January we were busy gently soothing sore butts and wiping away bitter tears over the premature loss of the glorious hustler, the Brute Pimp. We steeled ourselves and delivered the difficult news and did what needed to be done. It wasn't easy.  Never is.  But we swallowed hard and told you straight up that he’d been erased from memory - that he was no more. 

Turns out reports of the Brute Pimp’s demise had been greatly exaggerated.

Rain, Sleet, or Snow

Though the ever-so-sweet and ever-so-hairy Brute Pimp clearly struts again (as you can now see with your very own eyes), we should point out that this isn’t exactly the same breed of stallion we were talking about earlier in the year. The beloved pimp of update's past loaded out into the battlefield without any of his trusty weapons. No Hammer and no Fuel Rod. He didn’t even have a cane or a fat knot of cash. This contender you're seeing is new on the block and he comes well equipped for combat.

If you should run into this new Brute Pimp on the dark and dangerous streets of New Mombasa, my advice is to avoid eye contact.  Don't even smile (it's a sign of agression). Just keep on walking. If you do decide to engage, keep your chin tucked.

It Ain't Easy

What if Your Phone…Rang?
Last week we handed out some free wallpapers for those on the go, this week we’ve got a pair of MP3’s for the mobile set. Below you’ll find some Superintendent chimes that should suit you just fine no matter which fancy phone you have on your hip. Don’t be surprised if people stop you on the street and ask for directions.

Blame Stosh
Stosh found this.  Looks like sometimes the Choppers Strike Back.

Sweet Revenge!

We Out
That wraps it up. Short and sweet this week.  We’re gonna get wrapped up ourselves and head out into the rain. Maybe we'll stay indoors and get cozy with some Firefight tonight.  You should do the same.

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