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The last Bungie Weekly Update by Frankie, this one in video format and apparently subtitled "Sexy Girls Gone Wild Video Edition" is available for download. HBO has put up a mirror page; there are WMP9 and QuickTime versions, both in BitTorrent and in direct download formats.

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This week's Bungie update won't come until Monday, instead of on Friday as usual. Frankie mentions it at Bungie.net and explains it in the HBO forum, along with a peace offering of a new screenshot from the Ascencion multiplayer map. The gist of it is that this update will be in video format, and hosted at Bungie.net once they've got the server sufficiently prepped.

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The big news in the latest weekly update by Frankie is that, barring any serious bugs, Bungie is essentially finished with Halo 2. They've sent the game out to be certified ready for production.

While short, this update is full of quite a bit of interesting information about clans, about XBL, and even a tidbit about single player:

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Bungie Weekly Update, August 27th 2004 Although there's more than a month of actual mind crushing work left, this week is a real milestone in my mind, and so we bring you a special, extended update, because Halo 2's campaign mode is not only playable, it's fun. Actually, fun is the wrong word – since some of the levels left me sweating, awed and terrified by turns. Caveat: As well as an employee, I'm still part fanboy, so read this with that in mind. BUS STOP I've been getting up very early, coming in and playing the latest test build. It's always full of surprises. One bizarre way to tell how advanced it is is to look at the buses. They started as large oblong crates, completely flat but with the candy-cane default texture that's used for unfinished objects. One morning I loaded it up and the candy cane texture was gone. Replaced with a sort of vaguely instructional "Large Dias" emblazoned across it. A few weeks later, it kinda looked like a crate with wheels. Then, a passable bus. This morning, it wheels, glass, and does something very cool if you lob enough grenades at it. It's a bus. Keanu Reeves would drive it. But like, you can't really drive it. Before you ask. Surrounding the bus, which I admit is kind of a boring thing to watch over a period of months, is some dramatically detailed city environment and architecture. You've already got some idea of what the landscape of Earth City looks like, thanks to the year and a half old E3 demo, but there are varied elements to the city environment, and there are plenty of graphical and environmental surprises in store for you. You'd be surprised what a difference a few power cables make. BUILD QUALITY The system kind of works like this: We have a general resource at Bungie where the latest builds of the game are located. One is recommended as stable by the test department, while others may have been built to test or debug a specific problem. The testers get the stable build and rampage through it, looking for any problems, "bugging" them (that is, saving their exact position in the game, noting what the problem was, and entering it into a database.) and then play on, looking for problems. Parsons has asked Brian and me to get stuck into that process as well. He thinks I'm basically stupid though, so while Brian has been asked to look for "clipping errors, instance geometry problems and physics anomalies," Parsons told me to "watch out for colors that aren't pretty," or "scary things that make you want to go wee." Speaking of Brian, he's getting married today. So congrats to Brian from everyone on the team, except the hardcore dudes who're all like, "Dude, you're gonna be so whipped man," and "this is the end of the party, brah!" Harold the test manager, who's as evil as Carrot Top's Y-Fronts , explained that he's basically been staying until 3am and then arriving again about four hours later. He's opening and closing bugs at a ferocious rate. One horrible thing he did this week to the test team was open 478 bugs at once, using an automated process. That far outstripped the entire output of the rest of the test team. You could hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth. Still, they were minor fixes. Hundreds more will be opened and fixed between now and the game's ship.
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Note: Frankie is out of town this week and the Bungie Princess is our special guest author.. (I'm just posting it). Now brace yourselves for the most fact-filled top-secret-spoiling update EVER!...

BUNGIE WEEKLY UPDATE - August 13th

Frankie’s in Mexico and I’m in charge! So, listen up…we are taking a break from all that blah-blah about Halo 2 and we are discussing a truly important topic…HAIR! I will be devoting several hours of my Saturday to some serious “diva-time� along side my best friend at Joel’s salon. There will be lots of girly-girl talk and wine to be had for all. The only dilemma is what color should I do my hair? Anyone who has known me longer than about a month knows I absolutely love to change my hair color. It is a running joke around here. I am currently blonde, but am thinking it is time for a change. In the spirit of by-passing all that typical video game talk I think we should devote a forum to helping me choose my new hair color. But seriously, I am supposed to be giving you some weekly information about our big project over here in Bungieland.

Biggest news of the week involves the rancid Bungie refrigerator. We are bursting at the seams over here and need to find some space to sit some more people helping out on the game. So, I figured what the heck why not the fridge…that is some prime real estate. But seriously, the dev team doesn’t know it yet but they have lost the battle of the fridge and it’s pungent odor will soon be seeping onto their side of the room.

I ate dinner with the boys tonight (frightening). Have you ever had the pleasure of attacking a taco bar with 70 hungry men…hhhmmmm, let me be the one to tell you this is not a pretty site. Amanda has quickly learned that food is the precious commodity in this office. The way to a man’s heart is most certainly through his stomach. We will be making the ever dreaded Costco trip next week to stock up on goodies. The people at Costco, employees and customers alike, hate me. When I roll up to the check out lane with two industrial size carts stacked to the point of towering over my head and a flat bed stock piled with beer in tow…let’s just say I am not typically greeted with a warm “How are you?� but rather an overwhelmed look of panic.

So, my week has not solely revolved around food and nasty refrigerators. In addition to feeding the masses, Amanda has been hard at work helping Harold keep a running inventory of about a thousand computers…man, these guys are expensive. She has also called all over the world in search of elusive Xboxes from other countries…so if you have one that you don’t need, feel free to send it in…kidding. I just got the 2nd pass of the art book back…looking very cool guys...keep your eyes open come November 9th (oh yeah and Halo 2 will be on shelves as well). The rest of my time this week was spent modeling Dunn’s ever-growing collection of crazy hats. I have been a cowgirl, a gardener and Frank Sinatra so far.

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Here's a short list of items over the past few days:

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Frankie is in Japan at the Tokyo Game Show, running errands for Pete Parsons, discovering Korean delicacies, and in generally bemoaning how Halo 2 is so close to finished, there are even people at Bungie with nothing to do. Horror of horrors!

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The impromptu interview that SketchFactor and Frankie conducted with fans last weekend has been collected on a question & answer page that serves as last week's update.

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Bungie Weekly Update : Special Q&A Edition For the latest Weekly Update we decided to mix things up a bit and try something a little different. With poor Frankie stranded in LA going on his fourth day without sleep and everyone else in the studio madly crunching away on the game, a traditional update looked very unlikely. So, instead of Frankie's usual insightful and witty commentary on the latest happenings within the studio, the forums were used to take questions from Bungie.net members. The flood gates were opened around noon and within 2 hours we had over 16 pages of questions. Then, for the next hour, Frankie and myself went into New Mombasa and did our best to answer as many questions as we could. To make things easier to digest for those who weren't here to experience it live yesterday, I'm recapping the whole thing here in this handy top story. And, as an added bonus, I'm even going back and answering a few additional questions! (though obviously there are dozens and dozens that we can't or won't be able to answer just yet...) So, without further ado, here's the special Q&A addition of the Bungie Weekly Update!   Q KPaul asks: Does Shishka still have that evil look in his eye despite the fact that he's working at his dream job? A Shishka is as evil as ever.. in fact, he's got a new nickname courtesy of Frankie : Evil Lord British (look it up). Though his eyes are now mere narrow slits due to his lack of sleep and being overworked like a kid in a Cathy Lee sweatshop. Q TRfeuer asks: uhmmm...exactly how many guns will be usable in multiplayer? A We're not able to give a specific quantity for this, but if you do some research with all the coverage from the recent Beta, you'll see quite a few covered. (the latest reveals are things like the Covenant Carbine, the Covenant "Beam Rifle" (aka Cov Sniper Rifle), the Brute Shot, Magnum (pistol), etc..) Q Sticky Fingaz asks: Can I block the plasma sword? A No, you can dodge it, but there's no block button. Quick horizontal dodging is essential. And you need to remember that they can dart at you vertically very quickly.
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MacSoft has put out a patch to Halo on the Mac to keep pace with the recent update to the PC version. This one supposedly addresses issues with GeForce 6800 cards and patches to "exploitable code". Thanks Nick at Halo Mac Development for the story and HBO for hosting a list of mirrors of the patch.

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Frankie's update this week is at Halo Babies, where, like Andre the Giant in Princess Bride, Mister Chief is dreaming of large women. Except, in his case, it's a nightmare. In addition, Bungie.net has a roundup of all the Halo 2 previews that are going up all over the web. Some we mentioned before, some are new to us.

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We've updated some old topics and added a few new ones in our Halo 2 FAQ to reflect the information revealed so far in the many articles covering Halo 2 multiplayer. The new and updated entries are:

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Bungie Weekly Update September 10th 2004 I had to catch a 6am flight this morning, and it was full of giant chicks. Seriously. I don t know what the deal was, but there were about twenty women, of various ages and demographics, whose only common feature was sheer giganticness. Seriously, the smallest one was about six foot two. And they weren t basketball players either they ranged in age from about 15 to 70. But they were humongous. I was totally afraid. What if they were planning on jacking the plane and flying us to their giant Lady Kingdom? Speaking of flying I m lucky enough to go to Japan at the end of the month for the Tokyo Game Show so we may have a brief intermission between updates. The schedule is kinda brutal though I fly there, arrive exactly in time for the start of the show and leave exactly as it ends. Book-ended with 11 hours each way in coach, middle seat, near toilet in back. But as usual I will try my best to grin and bear it as I am crushed between a perspiring real estate salesman flying to Japan for the Grengarry Reads, and a drug-addled linebacker from the '76 Broncos. So if anyone from United can get me a free upgrade, I ll make it well worth their while As I write this, I m in a video editing studio in LA putting the last finishing touches to a number of projects. One of them you already know about the special limited edition DVD. The documentary stuff on there is really cool and perfectly captures the mood and drama of daily life at Bungie. It s 100% realistic with the following exceptions: Hardly any swearing and all of the really obscene graffiti from the whiteboards has been cleverly removed. The documentary was a real eye-opener even for me. It gives a true insight into the process here: The ups, the downs, the struggles, the triumphs, and the constant drive to make everything great. And Parsons' spastic-colon gets a whole chapter. I expect the FCC will kill that part. The documentary footage is being mixed, edited and perfected at a studio in Santa Monica, and I m just down here to make sure they get the latest footage from the game to implement in the video, and also help with a slightly weirder project the attract mode. Most video games have some kind of attract mode the part of a game s title screen where it starts some kind of footage loop, showing off cool moments and teasers from nifty parts of the gameplay. So I m down here to play, test and make sure the guys have everything they need. It s an awful lot of effort for a couple of minutes of footage, but like everything in the game, the Bungie team is obsessed with making sure all the details are taken care of. The attract mode will be cool, but pretty much what you d expect moments of single player, multiplayer and Live, strung together with some bangin' choons and fast paced cutting. What's more exciting (to me) is the nifty backdrop we've created for the main title screen. I heart it. And it goes beautifully with Marty's new music, all of which is composed (but still being implemented in the game and cinematics.)
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Thought PC Halo would never get patched again? Well you might think. But you weren't counting on the wonder that is Windows XP Service Pack 2 to create a remote crash possibility, did you? No. Well, after tomorrow it won't matter-- Bungie will release a hotfix for PC Halo to close this as-yet-unexploited hole.

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Frankie is back to doing the CENSORED on the CENSORED in this week's update, hosted over in the Halo Planet forum.

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