Render-to-Video Public Beta
Posted by urk at 5/12/2009 1:12 PM PDT
The Render-to-Video service has been on the community's mind since we mentioned its existence some months back.  Each and every update we published that didn't include news about the planned rendering service was met with Private Messages wanting to know what was up.  The answer was always the same, "We're working on it."  We still are.  But we're also ready to see how it performs in the wild. 

Breaking the silence on just what Render-to-Video is, how it will (and won't) work, and whether or not you'll be granted access to the public beta is our very own, Roger Wolfson.  You may know him colloquially as "The Wolf," but don't worry, though his bite is way worse than his bark, we've done the dangerous work ourselves, stepped into the den, and came away with all the details.  We also came away with bite marks (and quite possibly, rabies).  While we tend to our wounds, read on for details on Render-to-Video's public beta, straight from the keeper of "The Contraption" himself.

The Hydra Contraption

While that may sound like a 70's disaster movie, (The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, The Andromeda Strain, The Forbin Project, ...,) the particular Colossus I'm talking about today is Bungie's monster Render-to-Video setup, with some large number of render systems wired together (they won't stop writhing long enough for me to get an accurate count), and a 150Mbps tail hooked up to our datacenter. I've dubbed it the Hydra; everyone else calls it The Contraption in hushed tones as they creep by behind it, giving it a wide berth. The low growl emanating from its lair tells me that it's feeding time, and that's where you come in...

We're ready to enter the public Beta phase of this project, which is open to all paid Bungie Pro subscribers *up through yesterday morning*. We need to have a limited-size audience for the beta, so if you're reading this now and haven't previously subscribed, doing so now won't get you access to the beta, sorry. However, early Pro members whose subscriptions might have lapsed are included, as a thank-you for being an early adopter of our premium service. (Also note that I said "paid" - people who only have Bungie Pro via the Legendary or Mythic DLC promotional offers are not eligible for the beta.)

Q. How do I create a video?

A. When a saved film or clip is in your File Share (or someone else's) and you want to turn it into a computer-playable video file, you can click "Render Film" on Bungie.net and it will tell you the cost in "Bungie(R) Points (tm)", based on the length of the file and the resolution you want to render to. If you have enough points, you can confirm your purchase, and a little while later your video will be available for you to view and download. Simple! (Well, simple for you. We have to deal with storing 500GB/day of new content!) There are currently two resolutions you can choose from. Standard definition is 640x360 WMV at about 1Mbps. High def is 1280x720 WMV at 6Mbps. That's full 720p resolution!


Rendered for all of our Visual Learners

Q. How do I get Bungie Points?

A. We expect to make points available in a couple different ways: for light usage (say, one short clip a month), Bungie Pro members with active subscriptions (or, currently, beta testers as described above) will get one or more points dropped into their Bungie Pro account each month at no additional charge over the current Pro plan. You can think of a point like a rollover minute on a phone plan- you can redeem it for your short clip, or save it for a longer one. For more dedicated render users, we plan to offer a pay-as-you-go model where you can buy "point packs".

Q. How do Points work during the beta?

A. We'll start off beta users with 2 points each. For now, standard-def video will be set to cost 1 point per minute, and HD will cost 5. After we make sure that things have spun up smoothly in the SD world, we'll start topping off users' accounts to 5 points so that you can try out HD. Don't worry about saving up points right now, go ahead and use them as you get them.

Q. How do I watch my rendered videos?

A. After the video render is complete, you'll see a video player appear in the web page for your saved film. You can watch the video right there, or download the WMV to your computer. Currently, all Beta users can see the videos of other Beta users, but other users cannot. We're looking into getting enough bandwidth to enable public embedding of the player in the future.

Q. How long is the Beta?

A. We expect for the beta to run until sometime in July, and we plan that real post-beta points will start to accumulate on Bungie Day (7/7). So if you're planning to buy Bungie Pro for the video feature, mark your calendars, since that's the first date that will give you a full year of video service with your subscription!

Q. What's the fine print?

A. Render-to-Video isn't currently a paid service, it's a free Beta being offered to a limited set of testers. So, we can't guarantee any particular level of service, and we reserve the right to change any of the details we're mentioning, or to turn off the service entirely if we have to. (Though we certainly expect that everything will go smoothly, and lead to a great public launch in several months!)



For a few examples of the quality you can expect from the Render-to-Video service, we've prepared three Film Clips so you can get a good look for yourselves.   We recommend you save them to your local hard drive for best results.  If that sounds like a lot of work, we'll also throw in a Standard Definition streaming video for you.

HD 1280x720, Foundry Contraption - 39MB (Right Click, Save As)

SD 640x360 Nightfall Custom Game - 32MB (Right Click, Save As)


Get Microsoft Silverlight
Maption Sack Double EXP Weekend Live! 

Posted by urk at 9/10/2010 9:09 AM PDT

Oh, we're not done yet!

A 4v4 mix of Double EXP Slayer and Objective gametypes on a whole mess of your own community created maps.

Category: Double EXP Weekend
Max Party: 8
Max Team Size: 4
Heroic/Mythic Map Packs Required
Updated 12/03/2009

Gametypes

  • Team Slayer (33.3%) - First team to 50 kills wins. 12 minute match time limit.
  • Team BRs (21.6%) - First team to 50 kills wins. Players spawn with Battle Rifles and Assault Rifle secondary weapons. 12 minute match time limit.
  • One Flag CTF (11.8%) - Round based Capture the Flag, one team has a flag while the other attempt to capture it. Most captures after four rounds wins. Four minute round time limit.
  • Multi-Flag CTF (21.6%) - Both teams are attempting to capture the other team's flag. First to three captures wins. 20 minute match time limit.
  • Multi-Flag CTF BRs (11.8%) - Both teams are attempting to capture the other team's flag. Battle Rifle starts. First to three captures wins. 20 minute match time limit.

Maps

  • Actuality-Break (Foundry)
  • Apex (Sandbox)
  • Backdraft (Sandbox)
  • Battle Dome (Sandbox)
  • Ber Ber Creek (Sandbox)
  • Borderline (Sandbox)
  • Breakdown (Sandbox)
  • Bridgeo's (Sandbox)
  • Chimera (Sandbox)
  • Colonnade (Foundry)
  • Conduction (Sandbox)
  • Coup d'Etat (Sandbox)
  • Cryptic (Sandbox)
  • Cryptic Fate (Sandbox)
  • Deity (Sandbox)
  • Eighty Grit (Sandbox)
  • Elysium (Sandbox)
  • Emperor (Sandbox)
  • Exhibition (Sandbox)
  • Fortress (Sandbox)
  • Fracture (Sandbox)
  • Gauntlet (Sandbox)
  • Haven (Sandbox)
  • IZ9 Courtyard (Sandbox)
  • The Kingdom (Sandbox)
  • Lotus (Sandbox)
  • Neosho (Sandbox)
  • Nocticulent (Sandbox)
  • Onyx (Sandbox)
  • Pantheon (Sandbox)
  • Paranoia (Sandbox)
  • Pilaster (Sandbox)
  • Pivotal (Sandbox)
  • Rat Trap (Sandbox)
  • Ravinia (Sandbox)
  • Reflux (Sandbox)
  • Regicide (Foundry)
  • Reminiscent (Sandbox)
  • Renovation (Sandbox)
  • Requiem (Sandbox)
  • Salvation (Sandbox)
  • Sand Towers (Sandbox)
  • Sentiment (Sandbox)
  • Skystation (Sandbox)
  • Solarium (Sandbox)
  • Static (Sandbox)
  • Stonehenge (Sandbox)
  • Subversive (Sandbox)
  • Synapse (Sandbox)
  • Tartarus (Sandbox)
  • Topple (Sandbox)
  • Transgression (Foundry)
  • Tribal War (Sandbox)
  • Undulation (Sandbox)
  • Vengeance (Sandbox)
  • Workplace Bravo (Sandbox)

Tags: Halo 3

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Where's Mah Dooble EXP?! 

Posted by urk at 9/2/2010 5:52 PM PDT

Fix your -blam!-, Bungle!

So, yeah, This week's Double EXP Weekend is running a little behind. I blame Ninja 0n Fire. (He tells me that some fairly large updates are being deployed and as a result, we'll likely not see the Double EXP Weekend go live until tomorrow, or, *gulp* "later").

When it is ready to go, we'll let you know.

'Under Fire' - ubald Render 

Posted by urk at 9/2/2010 9:00 AM PDT

Feet first into awesome.

Looks like ubald unleashed another render over at HBO. This one's a WIP and part of a much larger collection that will ultimately serve as a webcomic. But you should check it out now.

ubald: Halo Rendered Comic

Tags: Halo 3: ODST

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Chronicles of ODS Steve #81 

Posted by urk at 9/1/2010 9:30 AM PDT

Faux Chief.

This week's Steve's getting all Batman on some Scarab carapace.

Chronicles of ODS Steve: Faux Chief (#81)

Tags: Halo 3: ODST

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Top 10 Halo 3 Kills on The Pit: Episode 59 

Posted by urk at 8/30/2010 9:00 AM PDT

You know the deal.

Anoj didn't submit his latest entry to Comm Chatter, but they gang at HBO picked up the slack. Besides, even without Anoj's familiar wordplay, we all know what this video's about anyway. There's like ten kills. You can submit your own for next week if you're astute enough to figure out how to make it happen.

Top 10 Halo 3 Kills on The Pit: Episode 59

Tags: Halo 3

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