update

March 19 2004 We have a couple of important guests coming in today, so the update is tight and taut, not to mention shorter than usual. Environment! The environment artists comprise my favorite area at Bungie. Why? Because they speak in a language I can completely understand. "Look Frank, a building is kind of like a square with holes in it so people can walk in and out." Sure, they're patronizing me, and even making fun of my accent, but they still do cool stuff. Why just this morning I was admiring a building on an Earth level when I noticed that there was ivy hanging from it. It wasn't hanging there last week, and here it was, green and leafy. One of the artists pointed out something neat too the ivy only hangs on one side of the street, the shady side. That's because ivy won't grow in ferocious, constant sunlight, which is just one of those details that makes a place feel more real. Actually the shadows on one side of the street make for a compelling gameplay experience too, since your foes dart in and out of the shade, making themselves more difficult targets. Jerks! And that's just one example. The ivy in this case is just one of the things that are placed carefully in the world to make it more "organic," like shrubs and grass and plants and stuff. The ivy is actually a BSP (Binary Separation Plane) with an alpha channel to make the gaps between the leaves transparent, but not all decorators will use this technique, some will be 2D sprites, some shader effects and others simply textures. Basically whatever looks best in any given circumstance, or causes the least impact on processor overhead. The levels shown featured very nice lightmaps, but look even more impressive with the addition of dynamic lights, everything that's turned on improves the big picture. Animation! The Animators have been going through lots of different animations, tweaking, tuning and adjusting some for purely aesthetic reasons and some tied directly to gameplay. The short struggle that happens during vehicle boarding is just such an example. It has to be clear what's going on, and the animation has to be tied in directly with the pace of the game. All Bungie animations are hand-animated, and that's a time-consuming process. Motion capture has its advantages and disadvantages, but hand-animated stuff gives Bungie animators much more control over the process, and motion capture doesn't help when your character is a three foot alien with back problems.
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The Bungie Weekly Update is back in the HBO forum again this week. Among the tidbits this time around: Halo 2 lead Jaime "Case" Griesemer on the importance of flanking, and the inspiration for our new poll from Frankie:

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Gholsbane has broken a long silence on Myth.bungie.org and provided a lot of good news for players of Bungie's RTS series, Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth 2: Soulblighter.

Last Friday, Project Magma reopened with a new design. It has new forums and new bug reports and wish lists for each of their projects. Doobie also writes that further updates to all three Myth games are in the works.

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Umm. I have been trying to figure out the Master Chief's name now for about 2 months, and i think its time that i swallowed my pride and asked someone. So If anyone could help me out. It'd be much appreciated.
(man i feel like such a newb)

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[image:7135 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0]Those waiting for Frankie to dodge left or right while carrying his Weekly Update to deposit on some grateful fan site were bound do be disappointed when he dove straight down, tunneling through the earth to encsconce it Underground, on Bungie's own forum.

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Nof's site, Halo 2: Ninjas On Fire, seems to have reopened for business back in February, unbeknownst to us. Not much new since then, but the new design is nice.

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Frankie's Update this week is in the forum over at Halo Babies, and includes shots of one of the Nightmare Armor guys corpse-humping a cananimator. Seems like new movies and screenshots are just around the corner, though. Maybe.

We've archived this update in our update archive.

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Short and sweet this week, just the way you like it.

Nightmare Armor Guys!

Two of the guys from Nightmare Armor, Justin and Sid popped in to show us their latest build of the Master Chief Halo armor. They nearly caused a mass conniption. First we gave them a hermetically sealed tour of the office – where they get to see our microwave oven, Laffy Taffy stash and no Halo 2 whatsoever - and then Sid (who's pretty intimidating in the flesh) suited up and went on patrol.

With his giant Frankenstein shoes and vast hulking mass, Sid really looked the part. The suit was almost perfect, and we couldn't have been more pleased with how it looked in real life. The overall effect was awesome. Bungie old-timers giggled like sissies as he stomped around the office, posing for photos like some lethal Mickey Mouse. Sid was a great sport too, stopping to corpse-hump a fallen BentLlama.

We then took him into the Microsoft Game Studios Cafeteria, where he nearly caused a riot. People actually cheered when a seven foot Master Chief ringer unexpectedly popped in for a Pesto Wrap and a smoothie. Sid, sweating it up a storm inside the (un-air conditioned) helmet, continued to be patient as Justin begrudgingly adjusted a dangling crotch strap. The gun he's carrying is a one-off 3D model of the battle rifle we conveniently had laying around.

Seeing the detail and lovingly crafted accuracy up close, was kind of mind-blowing, right down to the brilliant blue LEDs glowing in the leg parts. Makes us wonder how they got that through airport security.

Magazines!

We've been preparing for two separate visits from two big gaming magazines. Each will run a story some time in the near future on different aspects of the game. We've got a lot of work to do preparing assets and taking screenshots (yes, it's laborious and sloooow) and as the game progresses, the people who can help us are getting busier and busier. The upside of that is that Brian, Zoe and I are able to get our hands on versions of the game with everything turned on.

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when is the next mac update going to come out that will fix the compatibility issues with os x and nvidia cards?
ANY1?

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...or when you're just busy with whole lots of other crap.

In any case, in the last ten days since R.net was updated (yes, yes, we know, we know) a lot has happened:

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Bungie Weekly Update March 05

Busy, busy week at Bungie! Tons of stuff going on! Number of deadlines all converging! No sleep for many! I managed to stick my head in the middle and glean some goodies though. Check it out:

* Michael and the other environment artists have been tooling around with some very human geometry. A gorgeous bridge, worthy of a glossy spread in any architecture magazine, has been profoundly torn up by Covenant attack. The futuristic surface of the bridge is composed of bonded interlocking panels of a space-age material, and the damage is being carefully honed so that it reflects the rending blasts of Covenant energy weapons and the warping of the structural panels and concrete elements.

The bridge can be driven on too, so the gaping holes have to be both obstacles and gameplay elements, so some of the bent panels can be used as ramps. That means there is a profound danger that you could eat it and plummet into the sparkling waters below either through the gap itself, or as the result of a poorly aimed jump.

And on the subject of water (a personal favorite of mine) the placeholder water I thought looked pretty freaking good, is being replaced with what the graphics guys say is a much more convincing wave-based shader system. It's so far below that most of it will go unseen – but the designers know that players will go take a closer look when they get a breather, possibly with a sniper scope, so they're making sure everything looks good from any distance.

Why bother with realistic placeholder water at all? The designers could make their job a bit easier by simply inserting a big blue sheet of nothing. It's so that when designing levels, and tuning graphics, everything has the correct context for color and geography.

* Over at the Cananimators' lair, things are progressing shockingly well. Looks finished to me boys! Ship it! But no, tons of work still to do, although you wouldn't know it to look at the brilliant new dual-wielding animations. Nathan has been tuning the idle animations and aiming stuff – and he's made a few subtle, but vital changes.

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The following comics had new editions over the past few days:

So now you know where is teh funni. Mb.

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About the Fake Weekly Update

Some Halo fan put up a reasonably convincing fake update this morning on a forum and caused a minor tizzy– needless to say, it wasn't us. Basically, if you're suspicious, just check out www.bungie.net – if we don't link to it from there, it's probably fake. Here's this week's short and sweet update.

Working on the lightmap farm.

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[image:6997 left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0]After a short detour caused by a fake update, the real one went up in the TeamXbox forum. Some of the more interesting bits:

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A few bugs in the 3.0 release needed fixing, so now there's SparkEdit 3.01. Don't spend the .01 all in one place, guys, and check HaloMods for the latest version. There's also a promotional video for the program.

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