Troy's Prop Workshop
Posted by urk at 6/2/2010 2:24 PM PDT
Answer: He makes them.

Yup, mad genius Troy McFarland has been staying busy in the shop. Turns out that there really aren't any legit Assault Rifles floating about, so when it comes to helping your mocap team turn out the best character performances possible, you gotta start from scratch, roll up your sleeves, and do it yourself.

Before we turn Troy loose to talk some good old fashion shop, we should note that you're better off not trying this at home. Any of it. Troy's what you might call a trained professional. The steps outlined below are not meant to be instructional in nature, but rather a look over the shoulder of our maniacal mocap maestro as he makes magical music by marrying metal and make believe. Come along, won't you?
To the Extreme
Troy here, the mocap guy at Bungie. One of the things I love about my job is the variety. One of the more extreme things I get to do on occasion is make props for the studio. A good prop will add weight and realism to a performance.

We were using a red gun AR-15 for our Assault Rifle in the studio for a while. While the weight of this prop was great, it had two problems:

  1. The shoulder and hand positions are not identical to those of our in-game Assault Rifle. (Not a huge deal, as our animators are awesome and fix this stuff up all the time.)
  2. The thing is a solid mass, and blocks my markers. Less cameras can see them. This slowed down my delivery, because I had to spend more time cleaning up the data.

So, how do you make a see-through gun that is still weighted realistically? Plexiglas won’t work for mocap. It’s essentially a lens and either reflects light or distorts it, adding even more noise. The best solution is to make a real world wire-frame prop.

I picked up about 30’ of ¼” cold rolled steel rod. Then, I found a pistol accessory for a popular console from the 80’s at Goodwill. That, along with some scrap metal in my shop, cable ties, gaffers tape and paint, was all that was need to make this prop.
Step 1: The Basic Frame

Heated up corners and bent wire frame with my oxy acetylene kit. Thought this would be easier than cutting and welding corners. It seemed like a good idea, but ended up taking a lot of time. Still, rounded corners work better for talent comfort.

I welded with my mig welder. If I had brazing skills, that might have been a better solution.
Step 2: Prepping the Grip

Gun’s gray plastic is completely ornamental. And part of it was in my way. Unscrewed and sawed off excess.

Used notch in gun to help secure it. Added spacer at that point.

Welded spacers into place.

Step 3: Fleshing Out the Shape

Added scope.
Step 4: Weight Balancing

Added barrel, and welded scrap metal inside if for extra weight.

Added shoulder stock addition and carefully added scrap metal weights inside to balance gun. Total weight: just under 6 pounds.
Step 5: Final Touches

Attached grip by drilling holes and using zip ties. Painted gun.

Gaffers tape on grip, pipe insulation on barrel grip.
Step 6: Profit

Leo, one of our kick-ass animators, shows off the finished product. Check out how we can see his clavicle and wrist marker from this location. The end result: Cleaner and faster data, better hand location, better base moves for the team to start with!

Of course, you won't see the real end result of Troy's hard work until Halo: Reach ships in September, but hopefully this inside look at prop fabrication inspires you to get off the couch and do something constructive with your hands. And no, we don't mean that kind of something. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Before we go, we wanna drive the point home - safety first. When you begin any project that could result in serious burns, impalement, or even death, you should consult with adult experts and take any and all precautions necessary to ensure a safe working environment. Troy also notes that if you want to scale the Assault Rifle blueprint up to the correct size, each grid square is measured at 1x1 inches. The full print out should measure up to 36" x 16.02".

Click to Make Huge
Bungie Mobile FAQ 

Posted by runningturtle at 6/14/2011 11:29 AM PDT

urk writes:

How dare you question us!

Confusion abounds, but we have the balm guaranteed to soothe your aching brains. If you’re perplexed about Bungie Mobile or that new boil on the back of your neck, scroll down to get it all sorted out.


Q: I got the update and it crashes on startup.

Synopsis: Some users have reported crashes during startup. Our investigations have found this to be an issue with the install process. 

Fix: If you experience a crash on startup try reinstalling the update via the iTunes App Store. If, after reinstalling, the app continues to crash please contact for additional support.

Q. Can you help me create a profile and link it with my Xbox LIVE gamertag?

We can and we will.

  • A lot of the process is already covered on our existing Sign Up page. Click the hyperlink and follow the instructions if you don't have an existing profile, or your profile isn't linked to your gamertag.
  • If you do have an account, but it's linked to the wrong gamertag you'll have to start from scratch. Unfortunately, you can't swap gamertags on a profile. You have to make a new log-in.
  • If you've forgotten your gamertag's password, you'll need to contact Xbox LIVE for support at 1-800-4-MY-XBOX. We can't do squat for you, man.

Q. What devices and operating systems are supported?

Supported Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Supported OS: iOS 4+

Q. I don’t have a compatible device. I’m just going to give my username and password to a complete stranger online. That’s cool, right?

No. That’s a terrible idea. Never give your security credentials to anyone for any reason. Even if they offer free candy.

Q. When will this be coming to Android, Blackberry, Sidekick, Palm Pilot, etc.?

We’re not ready to announce phase 2 features at this time. That said, we hear non-iPhone users loud and clear. Same goes for feature requests covering forums, more robust stat integration, and free puppies. We make no specific promises, but we will be updating the app in the future.

Keep the comments coming and hang tight.

UPDATE: Bungie Mobile for Android is live!

Q. Why is my Spartan model different on the app than in-game?

Give it some time! In some cases, it may take up to 72 hours for the app to sync up with Reach. In the extremely rare event that your model still hasn’t updated within that time frame, try playing another game or two.

Q. Wait. What’s a Bungie Mobile?

Oh, guess that would have been a great place to start. Click here.


Q. (After 1/4/2012) I receive a “connection error” when trying to use the app.

Unfortunately, there is an issue with all versions of Bungie Mobile on Android prior to build #119. Updating to the latest version of the app via the Android Market should correct the error.

Q. What devices and operating systems are supported?

Android phones running Android 2.1 and up. Push notifications require Android 2.2.

Q. Why can’t I enable push notifications?

Push notifications require you to be using Android 2.2 or higher, have a Google account associated with your device, and have the Google Marketplace app installed on your phone.

Q. It says my friend doesn’t have a account, but I know he does. Sup?

Users who choose to hide their gamertag in their profile settings will appear as not having a account when you view their gamertag via the apps friends list. This setting can be changed on the Profile page under Edit Profile -> Profile Info.

Q. How do I unblock a user who I have blocked?

In order to unblock a user, you must sign into the website from your computer. You can manage your blocked users from the profile page under Edit Profile -> Blocked Users

Q. When I try and sign in with my profile, I get an error.

Certain profiles on certain devices can have difficulty when signing in using the mobile version of the Windows LIVE ID site. When viewing the sign in page in (where you enter your email and password) click on the PC site link at the bottom of the page. From there you can enter your login information to sign into the app.

Q. I’m unable to launch the app via the widget.

The widget will recover after time, but you can also remove and re-add the widget, or sign out of the app and sign back in.

That’s it for now. If you already have the app, don’t forget to rate it and write up a glowing review. (Oh, and that's not a boil.)

Tags: FAQs and Info


Defiant Map Pack FAQ 

Posted by urk at 3/15/2011 9:23 AM PDT

It's official!

Defiant Map Pack FAQ

If you purchased the Defiant Map Pack from Xbox LIVE Marketplace and you haven't experienced a single, solitary problem, congratulations - you can comfortably count yourself among the majority. You don't need to read another word.

If you find yourself in the other camp, don't worry. We've been in direct communication with Microsoft and 343 Industries and they're committed to making sure all your Defiant Map Pack needs are met.

Here are the current technical support topics pertaining to the Defiant Map Pack.

Q. What is this “Defiant Map Pack” you speak of, and how can I get it?

A. The Defiant Map Pack is the latest pack of maps for Halo: Reach. Designed by Certain Affinity, in partnership with 343 Industries, it features two multiplayer maps, Highlands and Condemned, and one Firefight mission, Unearthed. You can get the Defiant Map Pack right now in the Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points.

Q: Okay, I gave you my hard earned monies in exchange for one brand spankin' new Defiant Map Pack, but after successfully downloading and installing it, none of the maps show up in the game menu. What gives?

A: Turns out that there's currently a technical issue tied to the number of Marketplace Content items you can have active for Halo: Reach at any one given time (this does not include Saved Games, Screenshots, or Saved Films). Right now, you can only have a total of three content items simultaneously active. Items that fit the bill include pre-order bonus or retailer exclusive armor, map packs, or your Bungie Pro confirmation.

Microsoft is working on a long-term solution, but for now, you'll need to delete one of the three items you have active. Here's how you do it:

In your Xbox 360 Dashboard, sign into your profile, and navigate to the System Settings tile in the My Xbox list. From the settings pane, select Memory.

Select Hard Drive as the storage device.

Select Games.

Select Halo: Reach.

Select the Bungie Pro Confirmation Marketplace Content item.

Delete it.

Deleting the Bungie Pro confirmation item will not impact your Bungie Pro Membership in any way.

Q. I can play the two multiplayer maps, but the Firefight map "Unearthed" gives me the error "Players failed to load content" when I select it in the lobby. This makes me sad. Bungie, you can make me happy again, right?

A. Yes! Well, maybe. You might have installed the Defiant Map Pack to a memory unit on a console that also has a hard drive. That won’t work. You need to install the Defiant Map Pack to the hard drive only.

Q. Hey! I can’t render Defiant Map Pack videos on yet. You hate me, don’t you?

A. Hate is such a strong word. Bungie Pro Video Rendering requires us to write custom code to our internal systems. Like you, we’ve only just received the latest version of the Defiant Map Pack. Our programmers are coding like the wind to ensure video rendering is up and running as quickly as possible. If you do submit a file for rendering, or already have, don’t worry, we’ll queue it up and spit it out in 24-48 hours.

Non-Defiant Map Pack video rendering is unaffected.

That's it for now. We'll keep in touch with Microsoft and keep a watchful eye on the community in the days ahead to make sure we keep tabs on any key issues you might experience.

Noble Map Pack FAQ 

Posted by urk at 12/1/2010 5:54 PM PST

A little light learning.

So, hopefully you're not completely confused about how to obtain and operate the Noble Map Pack, but if you do have a couple of questions concerning the ins and outs of how our three new maps work in the existing matchmaking environment, click the link to get up to speed.

Noble Map Pack FAQ

Carney's Crash Course: Map Design 101 

Posted by urk at 11/3/2010 1:34 PM PDT

Get your learn on.

Read Full Top Story

Are You The Keymaster? 

Posted by urk at 7/28/2010 8:57 AM PDT

Still have your Halo: CE keycode? Step inside.

Astute users over at HBO noticed that The Wolf did some clarifying on our forums recently. Remember those remarks he made on the podcast way back when? He's about to make good. Hit the link to find out how.

Halo: CE PC Keys

Tags: FAQs and Info



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