Bungie Weekly Update!!!
After a long break - we decided to take the Weekly Update back to Battleground Halo. Even though some big kids were mean to me there earlier. Tons of little snippets this week, and an admission that we have been doing something for E3.
Yup, the Weekly Update has its usual collection of veiled secrets, half truths and zero screenshots, but it's still a fascinating peek inside the minds that brought you SPNKR and sticky grenades. And if you haven't read nay of the previous Weekly Updates, go CHECK OUT THE ARCHIVE
What a week. OK, we can finally admit it, since you'll find out next week anyway. We have been working on something neat for E3. And we sincerely hope you like it when it's unveiled. And as usual, it's been a juggling act between making something cool, and trying to interfere as little as possible with the game's ship date.
Harold and Mods.
Harold Ryan has been a busy chap this week, listing among his accomplishments the following:
- Making movies for marketing (his favorite thing)
- Releasing the HEK (Halo Editing Kit) into the wild, so that users can now make their own Halo-PC multiplayer maps.
- Quadrupled the IP address space of our network, to handle the gigaplex of Xboxes we need to test Halo2 multiplayer. (Though the change won't take affect until after E3)
- Caught a bass.
- Killing people for not updating their security stuff.
Harold says that at E3, he's looking forward to seeing Worlds of Warcraft, and finding out what Sega's been up to.
David Candland, our User Interface maestro has been doing what he refers to as "boring stuff." Which includes getting stuff fine tuned for E3 and attending meetings planning really cool things that dare not be uttered yet - Which again he alleges makes his comments boring. On a personal side, his Dev Kit contracted a serious terminal ailment, so David had Harold take it out back and shoot it. That Development Kit was responsible for about 90% of the Halo imagery on Bungie.net. Now it's headed to the glue factory.
As for what he's looking forward to at E3, David reads a big list: "Of course, everyone's looking forward to Doom 3, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Half Life 2 -myself included. What I want to see are some unexpected surprises: Duke Nukem Forever in retail boxes; the announcement trailer for Wizard of Wor 2004; seeing games based on movie licenses like Sky Captain, Casshern, or I Robot -and them not sucking; seeing someone announce a good side-scroller on the Xbox; I love getting surprised. Last year I was yawning."
Adrian "Cuban" Perez describes his week: "I've been building up my Halo rage a bit as we've been working hard 'testing' a new build. Also I was doing a slew of small little bugs that will make the experience even better. The multiplayer spawning rules (which trust me, are much more nuanced and hopefully much less exploitable than Halo 1) were tuned a bit, to work better with the changes we've made to how vehicles are put together. The logic that governs when the timer freezes in a timed CTF game works well enough that, combined with Carney's excellent map design, make almost every game end with an orgasmic, euphoric triumph or a spirit/bone crushing defeat.
We're pretty happy with the changes we've made to the in-game waypoints; you'll know much more about your teammates and what they're up to in the field, but without any of that annoying text cluttering up your screen. There's this annoying thing you get in FPS's where you can talk where people just panic and can't adequately describe their position. No more "help! I need cover!!" "where?" "over... over here! By that thing! With the glowy - shit I'm dead"; the game will take care of a lot of that for you.
As for E3, I'm looking forward to seeing how all the big guns are coming along - Doom 3, Half Life 2, Killzone; I hope that we get to find out a little bit more about MGS3 than that weird enigmatic trailer from last year. I'm also really excited to see what the Fable guys have been up to - of all the games trying to cash such novelty oversized checks, Fable's hey-I-think-I'll-get-a-haircut-and-a-Frappucino-then-slay-a-dragon check, is really on a whole different level. I'm really looking forward to it."
Parsons, Studio Manager and Whoremonger extraordinaire has been working on final E3 preparations, to make sure what we have to show there is cool. He's also been practicing total sensory and sleep deprivation by not going to bed, or even going out in the sunshine. He amusingly left the lights on his nasty-looking Ford hooptie on all night with predictable results. His car is so old and busted that not only is there no warning chime for lights-on, there's also no safety equipment. In fact, for a passenger side airbag, Parsons simply stuffs his glove compartment with bubble wrap and donuts.
Parsons says he's looking forward to seeing more on Half Life 2, Conkers, WoW, and Doom 3. For strictly non-competitive reasons, he says.
Task the Cananimators
John Butkus' odyssey of animation continues, as he explains, "Okay, this week I've been bouncing between three characters...Hunter, Marine, and CENSORED. I think the CENSORED will be a lot of fun because he's like this big CENSORED on a stick, so he's very top-heavy and CENSORED. I've also been working on kicking Carney's ass on an Earth-based MP map, although we have teamed up and become quite formidable at guarding the flag. As long as everyone remembers to 'do their job', then playing defense on that map can be quite fun and I would say it's easier than being on offense. Steve has also started on the new iteration of what was a fairly finished map, and we had a great lunchtime match yesterday with Carney and Ryan...you know you have a great Slayer map in the works when it's just a bunch of flat-shaded cubes and planes, and people are already screaming 'F***!!' after they lose a close-quarters SMG shootout. I think this new one will be a rage-inducing map indeed.
Back on topic, so I'm on the secret character, Mike has started on a new Marine, and Bill is back on the Grunt. We haven't really broken stride from the E3 crunch and I think we're going to have to keep this up 'till the end. It was good to see new people coming into the studio (and downstairs at the meeting) and playing the game and really enjoying it...it kind of gives you that extra kick in the ass to sit down and work extra hard to put more great stuff in the game. Oh F***, I almost forgot we were doing some cool shit with transitions between animations this week...so instead of a marine standing still and then suddenly popping into a run cycle, he now has a transition animation where he'll drop his weight and then get up to speed and vice versa when he's slowing down to a stop. It's working pretty well so far, and it'll definitely help add that extra bit of realism to the game. I did some for the marine, and Mike did some for the Jackal and the Elite.
So what am I looking forward to seeing at E3? Well, I'm not able to attend this year and I was really looking forward to telling G4TV's Tina Wood that I have a massive crush on her...next year, I suppose. Oh, you meant games. Well, of course I want to see how Half-Life 2 and Doom3 are coming along, and I hear Viewtiful Joe 2 might be making an appearance. I always like seeing what the new crop of hockey games are looking like (please NHL, let them include realistic fights...pleasepleaseplease), and I like seeing how the projects my friends at other studios are working on are coming along."
Bringing the Payne
Cam Payne, our little-heard from marketing guru, has been swearingly busy this week, as he explains: "This week's too CENSORED busy and crazy and CENSORED nuts to CENSORED even take the CENSORED time to CENSORED talk about it. Somebody please shoot me.
Last year I had tons of fun playing Conker on the floor, and can't wait to play the new build. There are also a few "big" 3rd party titles I'd like to see, whose names I need not mention here."
Butcher has been making sure we can do all the stuff we're committed to doing! One problem he pointed out with Halo One is that when you're the Master Chief, you face your head, point your weapon and turn your feet in the same direction when you run. The end result is that from a distance, a sidestepping player appears to "slide." This is especially noticeable after a player death, when you view the action from the brief "afterlife" cam.
So Butcher has connected Greg's cool animation system to the player control system, and now that little animation problem is all but eliminated. It seems like a small thing but it makes a heck of a difference when you're watching a lot of characters on screen at once, and it works brilliantly when Chief transitions from walk to run.
And for this E3, Butcher's looking forward to Full Spectrum Warrior and Riddick.
It's FanFest time again. And this year, the Bungie faithful are assembling once more under the hot glare of a closed E3 convention center. What will they see? Who will they meet? Who will faint first? Only time will tell. But we'll try to bring you a full FanFest report next week.
Expect a giant update next week, with lots of the stuff I can't tell you about this week. Until then, here's a preview of what's REALLY happening at E3 next week...