Bungie Weekly What's Update: 12.04.09
Posted by urk at 12/4/2009 4:16 PM PST
When you read the words in this space next Friday, you’ll be a mere twenty-four hours away from your first really good look at Halo: Reach. I wish I could get into the details with you today. Tell you about the swell of horns and strings that are bleeding through the wall right now as the finishing touches are being lovingly massaged into the Spike VGA world premiere video destined for next Saturday night.

But, of course, my tongue is tied and no amount of massaging is going to loosen the knot.

I know you’re anxious to see it. Or to even read about it.  “Someone, anyone…please respond!” We’ve been really tight-lipped over the past few months, hardly allowing even a droplet of information to slip past to moisten your thoroughly parched throats.

Don’t fret, baby birds, we’ve got a meal cooking and it ain’t regurgitated worm guts.
They’re Heeeee-er…
Brian’s been playing the role of gracious host and chaperon for more visitors this week. He’s been dropping really obvious “hints” about who they are on Twitter, too. Some of you have been asking if it’d be okay if you dropped by the studio yourselves and hopped in on the action, sidecar style.

All I’m gonna say is that yesterday morning I saw some light from someone’s flash bulbs bounce off of the overhead canopy and reflect back down into the studio from the lobby and Jerome’s eyes lit up like the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. Only that tree probably never wrestled a bear with his own bare hands. Hands that no doubt could crush a man’s skull with minimal effort.

So sure, stop on out. Why not? What could go wrong?

(Or, you could just patiently wait a little longer. The fruits of these visits should be blossoming by the mid part of January. Please don’t drop by uninvited.)
Shop ‘Til You Drop
You can stop by the Bungie Store, though. We’ve got some new stuff up just in time for the holiday season.

BUNGiE Ball Cap

Not that kind of ball. Put this one on your head.
It’s got the Bungie business in the front and the “don’t make us kick your ass” party in the back.

Septagon Hoodie

The Seventh Column has always been our Pillar of Awesome. Commemorate your undying loyalty, step up your fashion game, and slip into something a little more comfortable. Like this here hoodie we’re talking about. It’s been fashioned out of one hundred percent, all natural, honest to goodness bad ass.

Bungie Cloth Combat Cowl

This rugged all-season, seven-adorned scrap of supple Bungie apparel features full length sleeves, a sizable front pocket for snack food transit and storage, and a dual-position cloth head covering with a double dose of drawstrings. We think you’ll look absolutely fabulous in it.

Bungie Bunnyhug

Yeah, so maybe we’re running out of interesting descriptions for our hoodies. This one’s got a not-so-subtle seven slapped on the front of it and a Bungie crest centered on the backside. Now, are you gonna buy something or did you just come in here to run your greasy little fingers all over the merchandise?

Bungie Bonobo T-Shirt

What's a Bonobo? It should be pretty obvious by now, shouldn't it, Einstein? It's right there on the front of the t-shirt. I thought we were the species with the highly developed brain capable of complex problem solving. Well go ahead, take a look. It’s a little something AgdTinMan cooked up as a mascot for an internal Bungie dev tool, but since it’s so stinkin’ simian, we figured we’d slap it on a t-shirt. Primate use tool to make game, don’t you just love evolution? Don't make eye contact for too long though, Bonobo considers most human emotions a sign of primal aggression.
You’ve Got Questions
Considering I’m not doing a lot of squawking of my own today I figured I’d open up the floor and ask you guys to sling your pressing questions my way like a pair of shined up dress shoes at a George Dubya Bush press conference. I’ll try my best not to duck any of ‘em.

Old Papa Rich asks, "When does Halo: Reach Beta start?"

In 2010. You’ll need your Halo 3: ODST disc and an Xbox LIVE Gold account. Sorry for the indefinite answer right out of the gate, but it’s the only one I got for you today.

Sometimes it feel like you folks are asking me for just a little bit of spare change, but when I go digging in my pants I can only come up with a pathetic scrap of pocket lint. But you asked for it, so there it is. When I get my hands on something a bit more valuable, I’ll be sure to drop it in your cup.

Grunt Killa44 asks, "Why do you smell Urk?"

I can’t rightly not smell him. He’s me. Plus, he hasn’t bathed in weeks and the man is positively steeped in testosterone and irresistible pheromones.

Spartan_008 asks, "How long is the Halo: Reach screening for the VGA's?"

About two and a half minutes.

Qbix89 asks, "Will you marry me?"

Well, Washington State Senate Bill 5688 just went into effect yesterday. It’d be above board and all legal-like if you really want to make a go of it. You’ll have to move out here, though. And you best learn how to make a mean sandwich if you haven't already mastered the art.

Walshypru asks, "Any chance the Bungie store will ship internationally before Christmas?"

None. Coal for Christmas for all our internationally awesome peeps. We really do love you guys, and it would make a lot of sense to open the store up to as many territories as possible, but for the reasons we’ve already outlined we’re still not ready to ship our swag your way.

When we are (and we hope to be someday), we’ll let you know.

Verachi asks, "When will the slingshot be ready?"

A weapon with firepower of that magnitude isn’t exactly the type of thing you broadcast to the general public. You hide it behind something massive and roll it out all slow and ominous-like when your enemy least expects it.  Then you fire.

I’ll make sure we save you a seat though.

Lord Snakie asks, "Where the hell is my Average Joe, urkie-pooh?"

I told you never to use my pet name in public. I’m adding another week to your wait as punishment. I’ll learn you yet, Lord Spanky.

The Freik asks, "Do you like to party?"

You might want to try Craigslist.

Duardo asks, "What is Jason Jones up to? Will we ever hear from him again?"

He’s doing whatever the hell he wants to do. He’s Jason Jones. He’s still the Creative Director for all of Bungie and he’s still working hard on secret stuff.

We’re trying to get him to stop in for the year end podcast that we’ve started planning, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. (Because you might pass out on account of the wait, see?)

Guscon asks, "how is babby formed?"

Typically with a typographical error.

Master Chief asks, "What's 'Firehose'?"

It’s a specialize hose employed by the sturdy men and rugged women who volunteer to fight the dangerous fires that threaten to destroy public property and injure ordinary citizens such as myself.

Unless you’re talking about the Firehose present in the screenshot Stosh slipped into the Road to Recon piece we cooked up prior to our holiday break. If that’s the case, Firehose is the tool that Achronos built so I could whip up content for B.net more easily. The old stuff is like hand-mixin’ – it works just fine, but sometimes my wrist and elbow gets a bit sore from all the churning. The Firehose is one of those giant gleaming Cuisinart deals.

The Truth is out there, but man, sometimes it’s boring, eh?

ApocalypeX asks, "Will you widen my tube?"

Might want to try Craigslist.

Dropship dude asks, "What can we expect to see in this preview on the 12th?"

A video from Halo: Reach's opening cinematic.

Alfirin asks, "Was my mom worth it?"

Yup. Each and every second. All thirty of ‘em.

Headshot698 asks, "do you wove me?"


MATCLAN asks, "Does the "tube widening" of B.net involve improving the chances of Firefight games (particularly high scoring or long lasting games) uploading properly to the site in any way?"

Nope. We’re aware of the inconsistency in some giganto Firefight games that causes some extended sessions not to upload and display properly on B.net. We also know it stinks for the high-scoring and long-lasting players who snag monster scores and want to show ‘em off to all their friends online, but for now, we don’t have a solution and the work our online team did this week wasn’t intended to resolve any outstanding issues. Just general upgrades. I can only assume they unplugged a cable and plugged it back in someplace else.

Top_Gun_2021 asks, "What if I....

did the main page polls?"

I imagine you’d botch the formatting with superfluous ellipses, errant punctuation, and an unnecessary carriage return.

All of humanity asks, "When will I be able to pleasure myself to the sound a new podcast?"

The podcast is for grown-ups. You should get your parents’ permission before tuning in.

CrypticFate asks, "When will i become pro at Bnet?"

You just signed up less than two weeks ago! Give it some time. You’ll get there eventually. I believe in you.

It’s a Mirage asks, "how awesome will reach be?"

So awesome.

Goheels619 asks, "Will Halo: Reach still have 4-play split-screen?"

What do you mean “still?”

Telec asks, "What is the flight velocity of a fully laden swallow?"

I believe you mean “airspeed velocity” in which case I suspect you already have the answer. If not, Google dat shiz.

Burritosenior asks, "Why the heck would anyone want to make Qbix a Master Mod? It defies all logic!"

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Chunky_Lover asks, "When is the next Podcast? And what will it be about?"

Our swank little podcast studio got absorbed into the collective a couple of weeks back. It’s now part of the office space that houses some of our HR staff. For obvious reasons, I'm not allowed within one hundred yards.

Chalk it up to continued studio growing pains. Some hurt more than others, but we carry on.

That said, Steve Lopez, the dude who donates his personal time to mixin’ and masterin’ and makin' the podcast sound professional for us, has made arrangements to snag some temporary space and we’re still looking to get an year end retrospective in the can as early as next week so you have something to listen to over the holiday break (yeah, we got another one of those coming up real soon). No promises.

Pokezilla Linked asks, "Can we expect to see a lot more of these articles about, well, I don't know how to describe them, but the recent one about animation (the one with Bill O' Brien), and stuff like that?"

Hope so.

Burritosenior asks, "What are the chances of seeing Blood Gulch again in some game that is yet to be released?"

You already asked your question, sucka. One per person.

The_Merkon asks, "Did Lukems died?"

Nope, Lukems did not died. He’s still around here somewhere working on "stuff." And if and when we’re ready to talk about the "stuff" he’s working on, we’ll trot him back out and let him show it off. In the preceding sentence “stuff” is not a euphemism. We’re a family site.

Obi Wan Stevobi asks, "Will we be getting some sample audio like we did for ODST?"

Dunno. I’d have to ask Jay and he’s busy working on a multitude of tasks you don’t want him to stop working on. Like keeping Marty sane.

UPDATE!: One of those tasks just so happens to be mixing the VGA video's Foley and score so they both play beautifully off of one other.  And it just so happens that not more than fifteen minutes ago Jay treated Robt, Carney, and myself to a sneak preview of the trailer in all it's majesticness and splendiferous glory.  The visuals, orchestration, dialog, and sound effects were all in perfect harmony, damn near erupting out of Jay's surround sound speakers.

I'd already seen the work in progress way more than my fair share of times with the visuals and score both running in pretty polished and synchronized states, but this was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing it from start to finish with the complete audio package in place.  I don't want to go too far off the deep end here -- there's something to be said for letting you keep your expectations in check -- but let's just say that Marty and Jay are bringing the thunder on the audio side.  At one point it felt like the whole room was gonna shatter (and my nipples were gonna tear straight through my shirt).

Good news, my shirt is intact, I've got a massive grin plastered over my stupid chip-eating face, and you've only got eight more days until you get to see and hear it with your own eyes and ears.

Skibur asks, "Where do babies come from?"

Uteruses. (And yes, the Australian flag magnet is still flying high on the front of our Frigidaire.)

X Lord Revan x asks, "What is the all time favorite Bungie Studios snack food (basically, what does the majority of your snack budget go towards)?"

It’s just Bungie now. We dropped the “Studios” bit when we went independent back in 2007. Sounds much less formal, doesn’t it?

For the rest of the answer, I talked to Christine, our resident Bungie Princess and Philanthropist and the person in charge of, among countless other things, keeping Bungie stomachs from growling.

“Hmm, in generic terms, I’d say the majority of our snack budget goes to -blam!-. Everything we get is junk food. But if I had to pick one thing, I’d say chips. A loaded chip wall = happy campers.”

Yeah, so we might be a tad unhealthy -- stereotypical even. Whatever. You’re not the boss of us. We do what we want!  (Even if that means eating -blam!-.)

Yuke asks, "Coke or Pepsi?"

Coke. And not Diet Coke or Coke Zero or Cherry Coke or any of the fake, abomination Cokes either. I like the real, original, Coca-Cola Classic stuff in the red can.

Pepsi is for the deranged. It’s too sweet and it hurts my teeth.

Of course, that’s just my own personal opinion. The fridge is packed with all types of delicious drinks to help us all wash down the mouthfuls of chips in whatever way we choose.

undr zid asks, "I would like to know what vehicle you drive. Not kidding. What do you push playa?"

A 2003 Honda Civic with 127 snarling horses raging under the hood. I bolted a giant plywood spoiler onto the trunk because it was getting a bit too squirrely when I put the hammer down. At least half of this answer is a bald face lie.

Iggyhopper asks, "Will there be more or less stat tracking?"


Sketch asks, "Why won’t you tell or show us anything about Reach?"

Hmm ok, Sketch is asking me a question that he’ll provide the answer to? The short answer is that it’s… complicated. We’d love to pull back the curtain and share the love but the reality is that we’ve got to juggle a complex world-wide network of PR & Marketing plans laid forth by our publisher that are built with a specific pace and focus to maximize awareness and hype. That said, when the flood gates open, we will have you covered and we’ll find ways to sneak in some special treats for our Bungie.net audience along the way.  Stay tuned.

And that’s what’s up. Wasn’t as painful as I thought it was gonna be after all!
Zombie Blood Drive
So, we touched on the Bungie Zombie Blood Drive a little bit before the break, but today we’ve got a strange little web-comic-like-thing that Bungie Princess and Philanthropist Christine cooked up to help us organize our own internal charity blood drive set for next weekend. If you’re looking to get in on the act yourself, you should check with some organizations in your local area to see if you can donate some of your delicious blood. (Might want to call ahead to make sure they intake Zombie+ before you shuffle in looking like patient zero though.)

Hey, that's not a bad little story.  Creepy, but not bad.  Maybe I can get Christine to write the update for me next week if she's not too busy!
Blame Stosh
Stosh is dog tired of the same old same old. Instead of a screenshot, today he’s offering up footage snagged with Bungie Pro Video. This one’s a little ditty titled, “Naughty Spartan.”

We Out
Eight days.
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