Bungie Weekly Update: 02/18/2011
Posted by urk at 2/18/2011 2:10 PM PST
Last week’s impromptu meditation on the Internet’s affinity for rumor and speculation turned out to be a rather lucid premonition, and on Wednesday evening I found myself shocked for the first time in a very long time by something I saw on the Internet. And yes, I have seen that.

Rumors about our future endeavors are one thing. Typically, they’re benign. We expect, and even appreciate, healthy fan speculation about our work. It’s great to see our fans interested and energized about the magic tricks we have hidden up our sleeves. We get it, even if we often have to respectfully decline to officially participate in the conversation. It’s nothing personal – when we’re ready to officially unveil our next title, we intend to make a whole lot of noise. Trust me. We’re more excited than anybody to bring you into our new universe.

But after reading the false claims that we’d just unceremoniously terminated thirty contract workers without cause or provocation, we felt compelled to respond. Our ability to conscript industry talent into our global siege engine is the single most important factor in our mission to make kick ass games. Until our synthetic neural network achieves a stable state of self-awareness, Bungie is quite literally made up of the people who work here. That’s not just an ideal. We made it a reality by earning our independence, and later by transforming Bungie into an employee owned company. When I say that I own this joint, it’s not just with a nudge and a wink – I literally and legally own a piece of Bungie. We all do.

Some people thought I was being “careful” with my words Wednesday night. I was. It was way past my bedtime, I was rocking a sniffling baby in the crook of my arm, and I had my laptop perched precariously on my lap. Let me clarify.

We did not experience layoffs of employees or group terminations of contract workers at Bungie. Activision-Blizzard has never asked us to terminate any of our employees or contract workers. There are still contract employees working here on site, and we are actively seeking more talented folks to come and join our family. In fact, we just recently hired a large group of contract employees, bringing them into the full time fold, and we are still on the hunt to add even more talented folks to our Bungie family.

Hopefully, that’s enough clarity to satisfy even the most enthusiastic rumor mongers out there. Going forward, we don’t plan on responding to any ill-defined accusations provided by anonymous sources. If concrete details are provided, we’ll choose to respond when appropriate, and regardless of what’s written about us on the Internet we will never stop finding ways to improve our work environment for every single member of the Bungie family.

Goodbye, Arena. Hello, The Arena!

Speaking of improvements, Jeremiah has been hard at work and the Reach sustain team has now begun working in earnest to bring some significant changes to the Arena. Next week won’t be graced with a matchmaking playlist update, so you’ll have to sit tight just a little while longer than we’d like. Since that leaves you with a little bit of time, ponder the list of proposed changes below, knowing of course that anything can happen between now and then (whenever then is), and that nothing is ever final until Ninja presses the big green button.

  • All of the existing Arena playlists will be replaced with a single playlist called…The Arena.
    • We’re simplifying the format of Arena and keeping the core 4v4 configuration.
    • A new competitive Double Team playlist will be created to replace the Doubles Arena.
  • The Arena will have Seasonal lengths of 3 months.
    • This will allow you to make a longer investment in maintaining your Divisional placement.
  • The Arena will still have Player Ratings to represent your individual skill in each game you play, but this rating will no longer be used to calculate who won the game.
    • Your skill will be judged by whether your team wins or loses.
    • You can still track your daily rating to see how well you’re doing.
  • The formula for Player Rating will be modified to reduce the value of assists and remove the effects of the loss scalar.
    • Loss scalar will no longer be necessary because the Player Rating will no longer be used for TrueSkill calculations.
  • The gametype used will have the following basic settings: DMR/AR/1Frag/Sprint, Evade, Jetpack, and Hologram with Motion Tracker ON.
    • This is closer to the Team Slayer experience, which is the gameplay experience that The Arena is intended to represent.

I have no idea what a loss scalar is. Jeremiah says it’s the thing that made the losing team’s MVP become even more frustrated with his teammates. Makes sense, I guess. There’s math involved, and numbers always make my head hurt.

Oh, and I can't take any of the credit for the new name. It'd take a certified genius to plop a remarkable re-branding like that out of his think box.

In other matchmaking news, we fired up the first batch of our Community Cartographer’s findings in an official playtest this afternoon. You’re going to be very happy with their work. Good times were had by all. Expect more explicit details in the weeks ahead.

Bungie All Stars Week 6

You’re going to have to squint your eyes to inspect this week’s collection of finely crafted offerings. If you're reading on mobile, I honestly don't know what's going to happen. You might want to set your phone down and run away to a safe distance while the images below attempt to load.

All of our submissions adhered to the minuscule format demanded by our forum software, which was all the rage back in 2004. Still, even within the exacting constraints, our community artists continue to shine.

Here are my favorite selections from this week's offerings:

Stosh informs me that some of the animated images might have to be scaled down if we ultimately use them on the site. When he decides which of the above live up to his exacting standards, you'll see it live in your profile options. I'll let you know when we pull the trigger. Until then, nice work. Seven of you should now be rocking the Star nameplate.

For those asking about Week 4’s winners, we’ve closed in on final selections and our Visual Design team is giving them all one final visual inspection before they send the winner off to the printer. Hopefully, I’ll have more concrete news next week. Keep your fingers crossed. (All weekend.)

Blame Stosh

Stosh has been busy on the Internet this week, too. Check out the clip he came across in his travels. Don’t be selfish, kids. Share your toys!

That’s all we have to share with you for this week. Thanks for reading. Bungie will be closed on Monday for the holiday, so don't expect to see much chatter out of us until then. Have a great weekend.
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