Bungie Weekly Update: 02.26.10
Posted by urk at 2/26/2010 3:33 PM PST
To Alpha and Beyond
As you should already be well aware (because you’ve been spending a lot of quality time with Marcus and Joe over at their Halo: Reach development digs (which apparently is now eating comments faster than Joey Chestnut at a Nathan’s Hot Dog eating competition)), the team booted Alpha out the door late last week.

Smell ya later, hasta la vista, and thanks for all the fish.

Yup, the team’s work is done and now it’s time to kick back and bask in glory. Right?

*whip crack*

Wrong. Though Alpha is now heroically passing through the gauntlet of challenges required for glorious certification, we’ve still got a long and winding road ahead of us as we charge towards the multiplayer Beta in May. Now that Alpha is scheduled to be beaten up by a few thousand playtesters, much of the team’s focus has shifted over to the next big multiplayer milestone, the internal Beta. Internal Beta will eventually birth the Delta and Delta is what you’ll be experiencing as the public Beta over Xbox LIVE. Don’t even ask where Gamma went. Nobody here has a clue why we skip right over the third letter in the Greek alphabet on our way to Delta.

Joe Tung, “Ugh, I don’t know.”

David Allen, “Guess we hate Gamma.”

Jamie Evans, “No idea. Ask Charlie.”

It doesn’t make a difference. All you need to know is that no matter what designation each phase of the development cycle is ultimately tagged with, the team has it well under control. And of course, the campaign crew is kicking all sorts of ass on their end, too. All. Sorts. Of. Ass.
I Said a Hip Hop
And now that we’re moving closer to the public Beta, which begins on May 3rd, 2010 (invitation included with Halo 3: ODST), we’ve begun the process of solidifying plans for what your matchmaking experience is gonna look like when you jump in. Yesterday, a group of merry men and I met in a dark and dangerous conference room and filled a freshly cleaned whiteboard full of dates and details.

Vague? Yeah, we’re not quite ready to drop dates, times, and all the new details in public just yet. We’re a wee bit shy. You gotta woo us, man!

Okay, wooing won’t do the trick, but sure, we know you want to read all about it. Bear with us just a little while longer. Soon enough, we’ll be talking about all the sweet stuff you’re gonna come across in the Beta. I’ve already got a fancy guide cooking that will cover the control scheme changes, the pros and cons of each Armor Ability, all the gory details you can expect from the vehicular mayhem, and blueprints and pro tips that go over our hot new multiplayer spaces with a fine tooth and razor sharp comb.

You’ve got no need to worry. Before you ever set foot onto our Beta battlegrounds, we’ll make sure you have all the necessary intel so you can avoid getting your arse handed to you on day one.
Dark and Dangerous
Until then, we’ll do our best to keep dropping little breadcrumbs that’ll lead you slowly but surely to our deliciously designed digs. We’ve constructed them out of all kinds of yummy candy-coated awesome and we can’t wait for you to get fattened up on all this tasty Reach goodness.

The miniature version of this artwork made the rounds over at Noble Actual last week (starting to see a pattern?), but if you click this pic you can check out all the fine detail that went into this piece of concept artwork. It’s all dark and futuristical. So totally moody. And for inquiring minds, yup, that’s one of the interior spaces featured on Powerhouse, sort of the companion piece to this external shot we already released:

Technically, the top image above gives you a glimpse into “Powerhouse Level 1.” To get a better look yourself (assuming you’ve spawned in at Green Residence), you’d have to tread lightly through the Rock Garden, head straight past the Boiler Room, skip over the Concrete Walkway (unless you want to drop down into the Upper Spillway to snag some big firepower), and head across the Lower Powerhouse Bridge. While you’re in there, go ahead and smash up all those futuristic monitors. That’s what I do. It makes me giddy. In fact, Tung was trying to give an OMG Serious Face Presentation in Redmond yesterday morning and I made myself quite the nuisance by busting the room up real good while he was droning on and on about all kinds of important adult stuff like “The Production Cycle.”

If you choose to follow in my childish and destructive footsteps you might want to watch out for enemy fire. This little jaunt leading into the lower level is already becoming a well worn path for folks slugging it out in multiplayer. If you make too much noise, you’re gonna draw some well-deserved attention and the Lower Powerhouse Bridge isn’t the only way into this multilevel interior space.
Blinded by the Light
Also over at Noble Actual this week, an iPhone snapshot of a bunch of dudes looking decidedly awestruck and impressed.

‘Cept for Shishka. He appears to be staring into some sort of mind melting abyss. This is the moment of awe and wonder right before the Ark of the Covenant turns him into molten gelatin and plaster. Some folks on our forums have said that his expression reveals a deep sense of inner despair and deep-seated hatred of anything and everything good in this world. (Like Fiesta, which should clearly be the only Double EXP Playlist.)

But that particular look, dear friends, is a blend of unbridled enthusiasm and cockeyed optimism.

Okay, so maybe that really is inner despair.

So, what’s the object of the rest of this crew’s ample display of affection? Remember in the recent ViDoc where Joe Tung said that we were doing things that players have never seen before in a Halo game? Yeah. That’s what’s on screen. Stuff you’ve never seen in a Halo game before. And when you see it, your jaw’s gonna hit the floor.

Hopefully, your face won’t melt away like so much wax. But it might. I can’t make any promises. If you’re wondering what’s up with Cameron there in the background?

Well, the man just wants MOAR HOT WINGS.
Blinded by "Something Cool"
While Chad was busy peering into infinitude, Brian and I were over at Steve Cotton’s desk peering into something I assumed was impossible just last week. It turns out what Shishka had on offer when he was gushing about what Cotton was cooking up was already yesterday’s news.

What Cotton is playing around with right now is beautiful and alien and huge. Brian launched into a bevy of questions designed to break Cotton down and reveal all the holes and limitations in his master plan, but at each and every step, his efforts were easily foiled by Cotton’s expertly crafted construct.

“Yup, we’re doing that.”

“Yup, that’s in.”

“Already in the plan.”

We joked that what Cotton’s working on deserves a ViDoc all by itself, and as we walked away, Brian and I realized that the sentiment really was no joke. We really could drop ten minutes covering just this. Easily. But then again, I could drop a single image and it would probably be enough to send you over the edge.

All in due time.
Last Chance to Be a Hero
Our “Be a Hero” charity campaign is coming to a close this Sunday. This weekend is your last chance to pop by the Bungie Store, pick out something nice, and lend a hand through our charity efforts.

We’ve already mentioned that we’re over the $150,000 mark, and as soon as we get the final tally we’ll be cutting a giant check and whisking it away to the American Red Cross so they can get aid, succor, and support to where it’s needed most. We’ll update you with the final tally next week.

If you’re already rocking some of our threads in support of the cause, thanks for lending a helping hand. You’re awesome and we owe you, big time.
Emblems Up in the Air
I just stopped by Dave Candland’s desk while he was juggling Reach’s UI, a sandwich, and AgdTinMan to inquire about any headway he’s made regarding the Reach Emblem Contest. He says he’s sifted the pile and whittled the crop of entries down to a core group of finalists. Though he’s not ready to reveal the winner just yet, he’s definitely making headway.

In fact, peeking into the inbox, it looks like Candland’s identified a total of twenty-two finalists. I’ll let you know when he’s made his selection. In the meantime, STOP PRESSURING ME.
February Podcast Coming in March
Well, it was a grand dream, wasn’t it? A vision. One podcast for each and every month this year. Alas friends, ‘twas not meant to be. We had it all booked up tight, too. The candles were lit and the recording studio was set up just right when our gracious host came down with something that would have had the Gravemind reaching for a thick squirt of antibacterial. For obvious reasons, we didn’t want to drag our Audio Lead, Jay Weinland into the room and infect him.

But while the light stayed dark these past two weeks, we’re definitely planning on scheduling some time to lay down the sweet tracks as soon as we’re back in tip top shape. And who knows, maybe we’ll drop two podcasts in March to make up for missing February!

What’s that you say? Yet another ill-advised podcast promise? Yeah, but this time I really mean it. Maybe.

(I just talked to Jay and he’s pretty sure he can swing something early next week.)
Marty Goes to Hollywood 2: This Time it’s Personal
Twits following our sweet tweets already know that Marty and crew are down in Los Angeles laying down some vocals for a little upcoming title we’re calling “Halo: Reach.” It’s gonna be so huge it’s got Heroes star Greg Grunberg screaming for joy.

Get it out, Greg. Get it all out.

Meanwhile, Marty’s busy being totally transfixed by the multifaceted and mega-talented Aisha Tyler.

“Off to voice a character in Halo: Reach tomorrow. Dreams really do come true! Mean girls from high school: feel free, at any time, to suck it. At any time. Really."

Looks like Marty was doing some dreaming of his own.

“I think I'm in love...”

After exchanging a pile of inappropriately disturbing images over email indicating just how grossed out by Marty’s romantic musings we all were, Lieber weighed in from the muck filled trenches.

“You think you're creeped out? I have to sit here and watch it.”

Marty got the last word in, though. (And gave me an excuse to run this animated gif again.)

“For the record, she LOVES my air viola move.”

We all do, Marty. We all do. I think I might look for an excuse to run that image in every single update from here on out.

That’s it for us this week. No Blame Stosh and no Oonsk to close out the show. Sad to say we need to end this update on a more serious note.


“Today we have lost a long time community member. After battling an infection for about a week he awoke this morning with a heavy fever and shortness of breath. He was admitted this morning to the hospital. A short time later on he slipped away and they were unable to revive him.

Whether or not you hated him or loved him you at least knew where he stood on any topic you could find on these forums. Many of you will see that we have lost a long time community member. I myself have lost one of my closest friends. My thoughts go out to his wife and family.

I shall miss you my friend.”

BeserkerBarage was an articulate and intelligent member of our community and a great teammate that some of our own at Bungie were proud to play alongside and fortunate enough to meet outside the game. Most importantly, he was a loving husband and a great friend. He will be sorely missed.

Stay safe this weekend, Seventh Column. Spend some time with your friends and your family. We’ll see you all soon.

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We will show thee things which must be hereafter.

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Seis de Mayo!

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A Garden of Earthly Delights!

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