Bungie Weekly Update
Posted by KPaul at 2/16/2007 3:21 PM PST

What a week. Bungie has been hit by the lurgy, hard style. Flu, Bronchitis, Pneumonia and one case of Mono! Spectacularly however, all of the sick folks continued to work irregardless, with one brave trooper hauling home an entire Desktop rig to work on, and many others using laptops. Nothing can stop the sexy monkey juggernaut that is Bungie, not even viruses, bacteria or crazy stomach parasites. The people on TV continue to claim it’s just a normal flu season, but I am gonna go ahead and say what everyone is thinking. SPACE GERMS.

Oh, Cortana is here. Yup, her soft blue loveliness is recording dialog today in Jay’s booth. Jen Taylor, as she’s known outside the world of UNSC virtual AI projections, is an accomplished actress in her own right, with dozens of game, movie and theater roles under her belt (she’s also the voice of Princess Peach from the Mario series), but we love her best as Master Chief’s right hand girl.

Her reprised role in Halo 3 will probably be a challenging one, since Cortana’s circumstances are considerably darker and more terrifying than in prior appearances. One thing you already know from Halo 2 – she’s not with the Chief now, but rather, in the clutches of the Gravemind on the ruinous High Charity. I got chills listening to some of her dialog, but not when she said, “The damn popper-stopper ruined everything!” Don’t worry, that’s not Cortana dialog.

Jen Taylor, actually recording Cortana dialog for Halo 3. Add it to your Wikis now!

Actually, we asked Jen what she thought of the “new” state of Cortana in Halo 3 and she said, “There’s a lot more drama and a lot less technical jargon this time around. I actually just finished a couple of lines that nearly had me in tears. For an actor, more drama is always good.”

Jay Weinland agrees, “We had chills.”

Marty, CJ and Jay, absorbing Jen Taylor's chilling performance.

Tom Doyle, 3D artist and Street Fighter cheapster extraordinaire, is finishing up work on a new weapon – a weapon which had previously consisted of a bent green box. That was the placeholder graphic. The new version is no longer a bent green box, and frankly is unlike any other Halo weapon ever, both in aesthetic influence and a couple of other ways I can’t go into yet. However, I have to say, it still looks “correct” to the universe and perhaps more importantly, it looks scary and powerful.

And an old weapon looks significantly more powerful now, thanks to a couple of new animation and graphic effects. The trusty rocket launcher now features a fiery blowback from the exhaust port, and an accompanying Spartan animation that you’ll enjoy watching (or not) in Multiplayer games. It looks cool, as hot exhausts spews out in a cloud of flame, followed by wispy smoke.

A subtle touch, but an important one – much like the inclusion of moving vegetation I just spotted in an early Campaign level – walk through a low-lying leafy plant and have it react physically to your presence. Radness.

Multiplayer UI is coming along beautifully. We’re meeting today about some manual stuff, and honestly one of the big problems with making the manual this time around will be fitting everything in. There are so many options that explaining them all will be a tough thing to compress into a little manual. Luckily the UI itself is incredibly self-explanatory – like the new “A-Hole Button” as Colm Nelson jokingly describes it.

Anyone who’s played MP on Xbox Live knows the following is true: Teenagers, plus anonymity, plus microphone = idiot. Xbox Live already gives you powerful tools to mute, well, tools on a case by case basis. The “A-Hole Button” in Halo 3 lets you exact instant, silent vengeance. These kind of vocal buttmunches, as it turns out, are exactly as fun to play against as normal people, as long as you can’t hear them. So now, you simply press a button (back button, for the moment anyway) and up comes the score list with everyone’s tag on it. The right stick lets you highlight the miscreant and you can then instantly mute them for the rest of the game. These morons continue smacktalking anyway because they can’t help themselves, but if you don’t have to listen to it, you can simply enjoy killing them over and over again, knowing that as their Ritalin wears off and their frustration builds, it’s less and less fun for them. Aaaah. So satisfying.

Any muted player you have selected in your Xbox Live account overrides Halo 3’s new system, but that should actually enhance the choice of maroons you’re editing out of your gameplay. Best of all, it means fewer wasted or frustrating gameplay sessions. We’re doing our best to come up with lots of smart solutions for stuff like this, but honestly, we can’t be parents to some of these poltroons. We’re much more concerned with giving you guys the tools you need to silence them.

TRUE STORY: Alta came bounding in this morning, as perky as a dew-kissed kitten, and starts demanding we take pictures of her in her, I HEART MASTER CHIEF T-Shirt, and that we pimp the Valentines’ Day limited edition tees (including a slightly more manly I HEART CORTANA tee) now available at the Bungie Store. Click here to buy ‘em.

No caption I could come up with was SFW.

Eric Nylund’s latest, Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, is now available in Audiobook form. You can listen from the comfort of your own bath, rather than bother with all of that tiresome page turning. To get the Audiobook, clicky HERE!!

We asked Eric what he thought of this new-fangled “audio” technology.

Bungie: Eric, who’s doing the narration for the Audiobook version of Ghosts of Onyx?

Eric Nylund: A mellifluously-toned chap named Jonathan Davis.

How does it “feel” to you as the author hearing it read back in a different voice?

I’ve read my own stuff aloud before (maybe the reason I don’t do many public readings). This is very different. Having a voice professional give life to the story is simultaneously a humbling and stratospheric ego-boosting experience. There are a few glitches in the narrative—but I felt patriotic in all the right spots, got goose bumps, even misted up a few times.

How come Audiobook narrators can’t do sweet sound effects like See Threepio?

We can’t all be Joe Staten!

Where do I download this thing and how much will it cost me?

It’s at Audible.com for $20.97 if you’re not a member. Less if you are. And there’s a cryptic link up there: “Find out how to get this for $7.49.” I don’t know what that’s about….

(Note to the fans: I’m not pimping Audible.com per se; heck I don’t even get royalties on the audio version of GHOSTS. I’m merely pointing out that it exists for people who enjoy audio version of their books. –Eric)

Who would win in a fight, you or JK Rowling?

Rowling. No contest. Chick has mad skillzs!

PS: Big shout out to Allen on my website for pointing me to Audible.com when this came out!

Thanks Eric! And we’re going to have more news about Halo fiction coming up soon. Or it will leak on the interwebs first as usual. But we’ll try to tell you first, we swear.

And finally, a couple of weeks ago, we mentioned that Ninja was going to be making some significant Halo 2 matchmaking changes. Well, they’re almost upon us. And just like you asked, Team SWAT is back. Ninja loves you! Yay. I am personally glad, since Team SWAT is fun even when you’re losing. Remember though that when we take out game types, it’s for good reason.

In addition to all that, we're also updating some gametypes to address community feedback regarding some starting weapon changes and removing a few entries from various playlists to optimize your gameplay experience.

Here's the lineup for the new Team SWAT playlist!

SWAT Carbines Ascension
SWAT Carbines Midship
SWAT Carbines Warlock
SWAT Classic Beaver Creek
SWAT Classic Elongation
SWAT Classic Ivory Tower
SWAT Classic Lockout
SWAT Classic Sanctuary
SWAT Classic Turf

SWAT Magnums Ascension
SWAT Magnums Beaver Creek
SWAT Magnums Elongation
SWAT Magnums Ivory Tower
SWAT Magnums Lockout
SWAT Magnums Midship
SWAT Magnums Sanctuary
SWAT Magnums Turf

SWAT CTF Classic Elongation
SWAT CTF Classic Midship
SWAT CTF Classic Warlock
SWAT Multi-Flag Beaver Creek
SWAT Multi-Flag Sanctuary

For detailed information regarding other changes in this update, or to inquire about specific issue, please visit the official discussion thread in the Optimatch forum of Bungie.Net! This update is currently in the test phase, as usual we are not announcing a release date, but if all goes well we should be able to release sometime next week!

You can read more about the February 2007 H2 MM update HERE.

And then there's the reason why nobody likes my T-Shirt ideas.

Bungie Weekly Update: 06/10/2011 

Posted by urk at 6/10/2011 2:57 PM PDT

The night is always darkest...

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Bungie Weekly Update: 06/03/2011 

Posted by urk at 6/3/2011 1:50 PM PDT

It's not you, it's us.

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Bungie Weekly Update: 05/27/2011 

Posted by urk at 5/27/2011 1:19 PM PDT

We will show thee things which must be hereafter.

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Bungie Weekly Update: 05/06/2011 

Posted by urk at 5/6/2011 4:26 PM PDT

Seis de Mayo!

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Bungie Weekly Update: 04/29/2011 

Posted by urk at 4/29/2011 2:29 PM PDT

A Garden of Earthly Delights!

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