February 13, 2004. Originally at Rampancy

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Frankie
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February 13, 2004. Originally at Rampancy

[image:6777 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0]

I get a lot of mail here. Some of it asks perfectly reasonable questions, about multiplayer Halo 2 features, or what it's like working at Bungie, that kind of thing. A lot of them are explicit or implied death threats, or impossible requests to store outlandish objects in uncomfortable places. I tackle it all with gusto, like a red-faced optimistic German tour guide. "Ha, ha, I am so jolly to enjoy your correspondence!" But a lot of the letters ask things like, "Why don't you put movies in the updates?" or, "Why don't you run this column on the front page of IGN?"

Well it's simple — the weekly updates are (and always have been) designed to be a window on the process and people here at Bungie. It is not some official geyser of Halo 2 information; for that very reason, we post in occasionally obscure Halo and Bungie fan forums. [Editor's Note: Obscure? Don't make me sic Tyson on you...] If we went up on the front page of Gamespot or MSN every week, people would have warped expectations of the weekly update. Of course, the update gets mirrored immediately, and that's cool ; we want lots of people to read and enjoy the updates, but they're here for folks who're curious about the process not so much the product. Nearer the game's release, there will be fountains of really gritty Halo 2 stuff, but until then, the Bungie Weekly Updates will continue in the vein they have been.

  • The Web Team is entering a phase that can only be described as ballistic. Long hours and brutal deadlines are just part of the process in our plan to bring you a new-improved Bungie.net, without sacrificing any of the charm, community or functionality you've come to expect. A lot of programming work has been completed (and we're excited to unveil some cool new features in the near future) but a lot of the time consuming work at this point is graphical, as Zoe and Lorraine work hard to create pages that look fully Bungiefied.

    Brian is heading out to LA on one of the biggest community events ever to happen in the Halo universe; it's the finals of the World Halo Championships, with participants from all over the world battling it out for ultimate Halo dominance. We'll bring you a full report on the events next week.



  • One of our readers decided to make an HOMAGE to Mister Chief, which is as I had feared, another reason to flesh out the Mister. You can check out the fully playable, 3D, Mister Chief's Mayo (do NOT want to know what Mister Chief's "mayo" actually is) and pick up ammo, blast Covenant only slightly better drawn than Mister Chief himself, and eat ribs to refill your energy bar.


  • The marketing guys take a lot of flak, but they really do work hard in some of the most unpleasant circumstances in the gaming world. This week for example, Cam and the guys had to make a trip to Manhattan, to choke down Martinis and steaks with ad execs on Madison Avenue, while discussing Halo 2 tie-ins: You know, like, "Viagra and Halo — the Two Biggest Things This Year" or, "Halo 2 Toilet Roll: Wiping the Galaxy Clean!"

    They are actually working on some cool tie-in promotions, and later in the year you'll start to see the fruits of that labor. This time around Halo is very well known quantity, so other products want to get a piece of the marketing action.



  • Tyson has been working on animation and AI issues on a giant piece of geometry. Since the geometry has edges and drop-offs, the trick is getting the AI characters — in this case Grunts — to fight and dodge successfully, without actually falling off, or getting confused by the boundaries of the object.
  • They don't work for Bungie, but two guys are racing those Minimoto bikes around the parking lot. We're very jealous. If only there was a Miniwarthog.
  • Marty and the audio guys are always a wealth of information. This week they've been tuning the script; a lot of the lead voice over work is being recorded in LA next week and everything has to be super tight. There will of course be some returning favorites, like the Chief and Cortana, but there will be lots of new actors and talent too, so Marty's going to be working with a lot of new people, explaining things to them like, "No, Grunts don't sound like James Earl Jones, squeak it up more!"

    He's also been trying to pin down final sounds for objects. The Warthog, for example, is being continually tuned for gameplay, so they're making teeny adjustments to acceleration and RPMs; problem is that Marty's sound effects are all tied into that, so anytime a tweak is made to gameplay, some slight overhauls of how sounds work have to be done. Marty's concerns are slightly different from gameplay — his Warthog has to sound satisfying while still accurately describing what's actually happening on screen. That's a careful balancing act.

  • Adrian, who I am basically related to thanks to an in-law in New Jersey, is working on lightmaps for the game. Specifically, he's fixed the "incident radiosity vector." Halo 2 has a ton of real time dynamic lighting, but a lot of basic stuff, like big stretch of open city or grass, can be lit using lightmaps — basically a way of applying "fake" light sources by coloring and shading objects rather than wasting pointless amounts of processor overhead doing it on the fly. If you know how an area is always going to be lit, there's little point doing it on the fly — especially when you want to save CPU cycles for more interesting stuff.

    Lightmaps are rendered an object or an area at a time — the color and light information isn't just painted on, it's carefully and painstakingly calculated (to be real-world correct) by a bank of (currently) 20 servers. The room they're housed in is a balmy 94 degrees right this second (and under constant supervision), but Adrian's very pleased by the exponential increase in rendering speed over the original Halo. A lightmap that once took three days to render can now be calculated in a couple of hours. On the last game, that meant that if a lightmap wasn't exactly perfect, good enough would have to suffice. This time there's opportunity to redo anything that isn't perfect.

    The lighting decisions also affect how bump-maps look, so Adrian's looking at what direction a bumpmap should "shadow" when the final light passes are made. In short, the lighting in Halo 2 is a heck of a lot more convincing than that seen in the first game.



  • Rob McLees was busy in his corner — too busy. When asked what he was up to, he looked up, barked, "More guns!" and went back to his screen.


  • Pete Parsons claimed that he couldn't tell me what he was doing this week because it was so top-secret. However, he later admitted it was because it was boring.


  • Bill O'Brien is in tunnel-vision mode, animating a new type of Covenant soldier. Can't tell you much more about what kind of Covenant it is, but you know it's alien and you know it's bad. This guy has actually been partially-complete for a long time in design and AI respects, but now Bill's challenge is to get his transitional animations, when he stops, slows down or changes direction suddenly.

    This particular varmint/critter/monster is presenting a number of fairly unique challenges for animation and AI, as well as some tricky problems for the player to contend with.

So until next week, check out what it would be like if Mister Chief had his own game! Even though now technically, he does...

rapture
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I can't wait!

Thanks for the update! Keep them coming!

rapture
cooked Gamers . net

Anonymous (not verified)
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2nd

do think this new badguy is really new? or is it just a brute and he doesnt know it? cause this guy didnt even know what a prophet was? i mean wtf?

Anonymous (not verified)
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More pics....

FrAnCeScO.... we need more pics... im getting bored... and i just found this site... thats pretty pathetic........ do somethin about it..................................................................................... ill be ur best friend....

GD
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Thanks!!!

The update was awesome! Thanks once again Frankie.

New Bungie site in the "Near future"... Nice.

*Can't wait for Halo 2*
GD

Anonymous (not verified)
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nice look forward to the next

nice look forward to the next update... should just be about 40 more to go before the game... ;)

Anonymous (not verified)
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Woot

Go Frankie!!

karrth
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what's w/ the �

why are there " � " all over the place???

Sniper rifles are NOT cheating...

narcogen
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HTML entities

I'm not sure how or why, but it seemed as if a number of entities in Frank's update were in a different character set than R.net's default (UTF-8). Some of them were obviously em-dashes, others I've had to make educated guesses at. Most of them should be gone now.


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Anonymous (not verified)
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I knew it.

I knew bungie wouldnt be able to resist it. The symbols wernt in the article at the beginnng. Lets notice that they come up 14 times. 7x2=14.

So, for the code. The first symbol is Iota, 9th letter of greek alphabet. i'm not sure about the other two yet. The thing might just not mean anything except to give you a little taste of whats to come.

When you view the page's source code, the symbols become little squares.

narcogen
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Woah

I think you're reading way too much into that :)


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Anonymous (not verified)
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lol

Can you blame me after Marathon? Bungie did it with that one cortana letter, the E thing. And it was because coding couldnt pick it up.

lol, btw, i'm Viper from BG:H, i cant figure out how to make it display my name.

While on the subject of 7s i want to point out that the date is entitled "Febuary 14: 00:07."

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User Accounts, timezones

Well, the date depends on your timezone display. You can set your timezone display (as well as your name in the forum) after you register an account. It's free, and we don't sell email addresses, send spam, or post your emails anyplace that anyone can see.

Just under "Help Support Rampancy" there should be a login box, and underneath it, a link to register a new account.

As for the Cortana Letters-- well, remember, those were done by Nathan, who left long before Halo was finished. I've long doubted their relevance to Halo as a shipped game.


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Anonymous (not verified)
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ur a loser....

WOW... ur a loser... who would actually take the time to sit down and do that.... loser....oo my god! blah blah iota, 9th letter of greek alphabet! WOW! im gonna look into this some more cuz im a faggot low-life who took the time to do that.... wow.....

yeaa...by the way.... frankie good job but we need some more pics if u could... yeaa....

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If you think

...that took too much time, be sure you don't go here and read about Bungie's last series of games about a lone cyborg fighting aliens:

http://marathon.bungie.org/story/

There are a lot of details in Bungie games that escape first notice; people don't pay this close attention to what they say just because they're bored.

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Anonymous (not verified)
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LOL

Me too. You get into it too much.

Anonymous (not verified)
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crazy sign thingys

Ok he points out that the 9th letter of the greek alphabet shows up 14 times. 9/14 is a tuesday when games are usually released, but it could just be crazy conspiracy BS since these symbols dont even show up when i read the post.

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Removed

They were unescaped HTML entities-- not sure which ones. I've removed them from the online post.

However, I've quarantined them in a secret lab where Rampant AIs are studied, in case these mysterious symbols should prove to be important... hmmm....


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Anonymous (not verified)
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HTL Entities

Heh, could be smart quotes from MS Word or any number of non-standard ASCII bits that app uses. Those didn't show up when I previewed the post.

narcogen
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That you?

That you, Frankie? Looks like you've misplaced your login cookie.

Yeah, even on my screen they didn't display at all, but there were obviously some bits of punctuation missing. I only ended up seeing the entities myself in BBEdit.


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narcogen
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No complaints

Well, there certainly can be no complaints of "not enough information" in this week's update. Great post, Frankie, thanks!


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Anonymous (not verified)
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Halo : The 2D version

I am making a 2D version of Halo. It is now in the making by me and to others, it will feature modified music not like the one thats in the game and will be for free on a site. There is a possibility that this game will be online, I will post the site soon.

---Dark Plasma Productions.
---DarkBlades

Anonymous (not verified)
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a 2d halo. that is going to r

a 2d halo. that is going to really suck. trust me. 2d games aren't that good and if you make that i doubt anybody would like it. it might be good for the first 5 minutes but it is probaly going to suck.

Anonymous (not verified)
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[Re:] A 2d halo...

A 2d Halo would really kick ass if it was anything like Abuse. Which was one of the best 2d shooters imho, and very underrated.

Anonymous (not verified)
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interresting

I love to see how my futur battlefield is constructed, and how it is my futur enemies will fall to their deaths

Anonymous (not verified)
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Thanks Frankie! I know that t

Thanks Frankie! I know that this update is still important to a lot of people, especially for the look inside the efforts of our favorite developers, but I think I may have found the problem with people expecting content updates. "...next week I will ask for some movies of new levels..." That's all people saw. They saw Movies, next week. Their minds nearly melted, and they stopped reading - NEW Halo 2 CONTENT was all they could think. I bet some of the people reading the comments just saw the Caps-ed NEW Halo 2 CONTENT and read this section of the comment, because people are so obsessed over the encrushenating, ensquishinating, burninating greatess that this game will be. So, we beg you, have patience with those less loyal fans, and keep those updates a-comin!

Anonymous (not verified)
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The good ole...

propaganda. Jeez, Frankie can't even come off honest. Why iesn't this thing even linked on IGN or Gamespot? Because they know it's propaganda and hype. These have no real info, or pictures or anything. The earlier screenshot was not released with the update, it was announced by Bungie, so Frank taking all the credit is sort of odd. As of right now, all he is doing is keeping the hype up. How much real info was released this weak? Not much? Try not at all. That's why these are never linked to other video game sites, except for Bungie/Halo sites and, Xbox propaganda sites (teamxbox.com)

rftd

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You're obviously...

...expecting the updates to be something they are not and have never been. Which might have been understandable if Frankie hadn't addressed that very issue in the first paragraph of the update.

But that's all right, if you consider linkage from IGN to be a stamp of legitimacy for gaming news then you're probably not used to reading more than a few words at a time anyway.


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Anonymous (not verified)
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Who is this?

Frank, is that you? Come clean man, is that you? Frankie?

Well, whoever you are, you can keep buying this as legitimate, but they have not told me anything that I did not know before (hence, propaganda). And sometimes, the reasoning for not releasing info is pitiful.

Last update, Frankie claimed that they could not release the names of the multiplayer maps that had been completed in the manual. Why the hell not? He did not even give a reason as to why they couldn't release the names. So what if a map is called "Hellwater" or "Tricity"? Why is it so important to keep those names under wraps. If he had released the names, at least we would have something to talk about. Instead, forums are flooded with "Gee I'm happy they finished the manual with the MP maps!" posts.

This is propaganda. Check the word out. Maybe you will know what it means next time you reply.

rftd

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No, it's not

No, this isn't Frankie, it's Narcogen. I administrate this site. I do not work for Bungie.

I am not arguing your use of the word 'propaganda' or its definition. I'm arguing more the connotation than the denotation. You seem to be suggesting that the updates are something bad because they are not what you want them to be-- media or level names.
If Frankie says things like he can't tell the community something, half the time this is tongue in cheek and half the time it's because once they find out something like that, such as that one level is called "Burial Mounds", that tends to lead to endless speculation. If Bungie feels that such speculation, with only the name and no other information, is going to lead people to be disappointed, then they probably won't release it.

Besides that, even a finished multiplayer level might get cut from the final game over the next several months, and so why mention it by name?

The use of the word 'propaganda' seems to insinuate that these updates are something perpetrated on the fans by Bungie only for the furtherance of their own goals.

But here's a news flash: Bungie is a game developer. They exist to develop and sell games. Of course everything they do is geared towards those aims. You may call it propaganda; others may call it public relations. It's call a question of connotations.

Secondly, this community was intimately familiar with the previous set of Halo Updates done for the first game by Community Guy Matt Soell. which were in a similar style. The community asked for them. People asked in the forums if the Updates were starting again, knowing full well exactly what they would be like. In addition, the webmasters of several Halo sites that had done the updates before also asked Bungie if they would be willing to do them again, just the same.

They're tidbits. You're not going to get a whole list of the new weapons or aliens or multiplayer levels through the updates. It sounds like you're accusing Bungie of abusing the fanbase with these, which is odd because.. they asked for it.


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Anonymous (not verified)
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Hmm

No, the Febuary 14, 00:07 thing comes up in the mainbody of frankies post; its not a timezone thing.

narcogen
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TimeZones

For a logged-in user, timestamps are shifted to show local time, and some timezones are shifted on half-hours, not just hours, so they will see that stamp as 37 instead of 7. (Only a few time zones are like this.)

If you're posting as "Rampant AI" and haven't registered a free account, then you won't be able to set a timezone preference, so you'll just see the server time, which is U.S. East Coast.


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Anonymous (not verified)
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The actual release...

OK, now we've been getting screwed over many many times now. You guys now are 'pretty sure' that it will release in the Fall. If you guys delay it again, that's just plain rediculous. We've waited long enough! It's been a YEAR since the first release date. So I gotta know,...it IS coming in the fall, right?

Anonymous (not verified)
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hasnt been delayed yet bro

look this is their first release date or time period. if bungie says its coming out in winter then its a delay. its never been delayed yet genius.

Anonymous (not verified)
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Coowell

Hey check out this. if you like halo then you'll like this.
its on www.blackartstudios.geahost.com but a direct link to the halo article would be
http://www.blackartstudios.geahost.com/reviews/halo%2Bts.htm

Check out my crappy pics. You'll like em.
Bungie Rocks

Anonymous (not verified)
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Update

Good stuff!!
CAnt wait till next week

Anonymous (not verified)
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Release Date for Halo 2

Do u guys even know when its coming out because a lot of people say its comin out in april is that true or just another rumor.

Anonymous (not verified)
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halo 2

Halo 2 is coming out November 1st, 2004

narcogen
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Also a rumor

All Bungie has said is "Fall 2004". Anything more specific than that is still just a rumor.


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Anonymous (not verified)
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Yes they do.....when its

Yes they do.....when its ready. Just like they said all along.
I Love Bungie for taking the time and effort this game deservers and M$ for letting them. Waiting might suck but that extra time goes a long way.

Anonymous (not verified)
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i think its true yo magasines everywhere

CROSS YOUR FINGERS THINK IT MIGHT COME IN APRILL 1st or 25th i know its aprill though

narcogen
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Nope

Read the faq: http://rampancy.net/halo2faq Halo 2 will come out in Fall 2004. This was officially announced by the developer earlier this year.

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Anonymous (not verified)
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halo2

Yo i cant wait 4 halo2 i got the 9min preview on my computer and guys let me tell u it is gona be guuuud!!!!! get these updates cumin
connor(15)

Anonymous (not verified)
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halo

his name is MASTERCHEIF

narcogen
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Close

"Master Chief". And it's his rank, not his name. His name is John.

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Anonymous (not verified)
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Halo 2

R U goin to release screen shots anytime soon

narcogen
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Who?

Who, Rampancy? We release whatever we get when we get it, no point in waiting :)

If you mean bungie, we aren't bungie, so you'll have to ask them at www.bungie.net

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