After last week's miserable performance, we're happy to announce a more interesting Weekly Update. This time we'll chat about dialog, sound effects, animation and Xbox Live!
- Bungie Depot
- Next week, we're doing something cool on the site. Tune in Tuesday for a small surprise. It should be cool - a little thing that the community team has whipped up.
- The Griespit
- Jaime has been very busy, finalizing Ghost and Warthog handling so the sound guys can work with confidence. The need to make sure that sound ties in correctly with motion is obvious, and all of the sampling, including the gravel on tires recording done with the poor Subaru Outback we abused, is ready to be applied and processed. The Ghosts in particular (in my opinion) are starting to sound brilliantly "alien" and cool.
- Jaime has also been finishing up the connections between rooms for one of the early levels with Paul and Dave. He wouldn't elaborate on which level, BUT I can reveal that you might have seen something like it already.
- Jaime is also figuring how CENSORED will work on (gasp!) a new CENSORED!
- When he wasn't doing that thing we can't talk about, he was working on new triggers for combat dialog. So that Marines and others will say cool stuff when they're supposed to, and won't just blabber away when they're not supposed to.
- But one of the coolest things Jaime was doing this week was adjusting the scale, type and shape of damage done by a new weapon. I've tried this one before Jaime's ministrations and it is BRUTAL. And no, that's not a pun on the word Brute. It's just a vicious bone hammering bastard of a weapon.
- The Animation Station
- John Butkus has been animating his ass, or perhaps more properly, his elbow off. Monday and Tuesday he was going through older (Halo 2) elite/marine animations and just making sure they worked with all weapons when sitting in various vehicle passenger seats.†Weird stuff happens with weapons in different scenarios, and as new ones are introduced, it's important to make sure that they look cool under all circumstances. John had a busy week, though...and probably created somewhere in the region of about 80 unique moves.† His aforementioned elbow is killing me and he says, "my eyes feel like someone has thrown sand in them, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
Our Princess is in another Castle
- Alta, the Bungie Princess, is working on secret goodies as well as a certain annual tradeshow, as she tells it herself, "This week has been chaos!† In addition to taking care of the boys as usual, I have been busy working with some different people on some cool things that will start showing up as we get closer to launch.† Fans will love what we have in store."
- But back to the tradeshow, as Alta continues,†"E3 is right around the corner...so I have been dashing around making arrangements for that.† We have some cool stuff planned and I am wrapping up details for a mystery guest at Fanfest.† There is definitely a buzz around the studio with E3 coming up and the countdown to Halo 2 launch.† In the mean time I am just going to get as much time in the sun (yes sun in Seattle) as possible before the true chaos hits.† That's all for me this week.† Cheers!"
- Alta, please, for the love of all things holy, don't put me in a room with a snorer.
- Max Power
- Max Hoberman is an exercise in frenetic activity, as he explains, "Sure. I've been swimming furiously, trying to keep ahead of the enormous tidal wave bearing down on me! We got a new multiplayer map playable for the first time yesterday, though the programmers decided it was a convenient day to make some major physics changes so we didn't get a stable build to test. Since this map is dependent on big moving geometry that pretty much screwed us. Everything is fixed now, so we're going to play the map for the first time today. I'll let you know when we do."
- "I've also been experimenting with a rocket warthog that tracks, fun (but deadly!) stuff. Oh, and planning for the in-game UI and HUD, something that has been a long time coming! Adrian and I are psyched and he's already started coding for it.†Besides that†more†gobs and gobs of planning for the rest of the summer," says Max.
- He continues, "At the same time Dave is working on polish to some of the riskiest, but coolest aspects of our Live UI, our new guy Steve is putting close to finishing touches on textures and lighting for another multiplayer map, and I'm trying to not let anything slip through the cracks. That means lots of meetings about Xbox Live features and a ton of thought into how we're going to finalize some of our most complicated features."
- Grudge Be-atch
- The Kiosk is back! You know those Xbox display units you get at K-Mart and EB? With the Xbox under a plastic shield, usually demoing recent games? We've got one, and of course, it's got a debug with Halo 2 installed on it. This is where, at any time, staff members can throw down for grudge matches on any of the new multiplayer maps. One such long-running rivalry is between John Butkus and Chris Carney - animator and multiplayer designer respectively. The smack talk is as voluminous as it is colorful.
- The most recent match between Carney and Butkus ended in what was described as "an ass-beating" by another staff. Butkus lost badly, but that's hardly surprising. Carney DESIGNED the levels, and rumor has it that he secretly hides geometry imperfections all over his maps called "CarneyHoles" and that he can pop up from these at any time, like an evil wack-a-mole to snipe otherwise superior players. Word also has it, that Carney fills these CarneyHoles with health kits, shield power ups, invisibility and weapons. That's the rumor, anyway.
- Staten Station
- Joe Staten, cinematic guru and friend of the poor, has been making story stuff happen, saying, "This week revisited Earth-City. I finalized the storyboards for a super-duper, "event" intro, and CJ began creating the videomatic."
- On other fronts, he's begun to work with the level-designers to organize and flesh-out their "mission-dialog" (basically, all the interesting things that get said in first-person that isn't part of the combat-dialog system) as well as help Jaime and Damian finalize the combat-dialog spec.
- Marty, Michel and Joe have also begun to plan for the second dialog-recording session (late May) that will cover cinematic pickups and all mission and combat-dialog. This is going to be a whopper of a session, and will likely necessitate a week or so of hotel-time with Marty (lucky Joe).
- Marty claims "lots of things are making noise." Little metal pieces of things get blown off of other things and drop in the mud, grass, or sand make little sounds like metal dropping in mud, grass, or sand. It's cool. The tires sound like they're rolling on gravel, mud, water, you name it and sound like they're skidding at just the right moments. Basically everything is beginning to sound like you think it should sound, which means you won't really notice it. Cinematics, combat, and mission dialog are coming along nicely. We like our cast - a lot.
- Music is bringing up the rear as usual. More on that later.
So, that's all for next week, until then, Mister Chief appears to be away, but he's left a clue...