August 20, 2004. Originally at HBO

Originally hosted at HBO
  • But today is actually a pretty big day. Harold, our test manager has mandated that we have to stay here until midnight to finish up some really cool milestones. That means tomorrow morning, extra cool stuff will be available for me to play around in. The graphics have taken a massive leap since I went on vacation. It was kind of nice to come back and see levels that I'd previously enjoyed with placeholder graphics, suddenly populated with dust, smoke, trees, grass, trucks, roadsigns - all the detail and drama that makes a level exciting visually. There are tons of new effects in the game that give it a new layer of flavor. Water, for example is a lot more detailed, while particle effects like the aforementioned dust and smoke add atmosphere and gameplay subtleties in equal measure. On one early level, the addition of distant buildings, telegraph poles and overhead wires and cables makes an astonishing improvement to an already pretty level. I often find myself pausing the game and just checking things out. More than cool looking, the buildings and objects look convincing, like this is a real, working city in the 24th century. Albeit one that's been smashed all to hell by marauding Covenant scum.
  • The pace here has picked up tangibly. Bungie people always put in crazy hours, but from now until the game ships, it's going to be hardcore. People will eat, sleep and breathe Bungie. Food will be eaten on site, people will sleep on beanbags, and hopefully find time to shower. It's going to get crazy. Speaking of eating here, Alta, the Bungie Princess, and Amanda, the Bungie Baroness, went to get a month's supply of snacks for the Bungie snack station. She took a photograph to emphasize the sheer amount of wanton snackoonery that goes on here. Note: Snacks may include beer.
  • Marty and the audio guys have basically gone into hiding. Although music scoring happens very close to the end of the process, there's now enough game for Marty to really get his musical (false) teeth into. We've already been treated to some sneak peeks (listens?) and it will not disappoint. A lot of the other audio stuff is near completion. All of the voice recording is done and dusted (there may be some teeny additions or changes) and has been implemented in game. That means the cinematics are in a watchable state. Some of the voice acting is a revelation - you're going to hear some quality acting in this thing without a doubt. After years of badly dubbed Japanese games, and plenty of lousy US ones, it's always nice to hear good acting in a game. It helps you forget that you're just playing. As far as the updates are concerned, that means that people will have less time to talk to me, and less bandwidth to report what they're doing. We'll try to keep these as detailed as possible but it's going to be insane.
  • Lorraine McLees Implied... I threw a kick at the advertising guy. In jest of course, but he didn't look none too happy. But apparently, the kick was authentic enough that his companion (who had been trained in martial arts) asked me if I presently studied. Sweet! I shouldn't have been honest and said that I study martial arts... flicks. However, the largest sharp-edged weapon in the studio is in my cubicle... I had to say good-bye to a very talented 3D artist and web designer on Monday. I hustled off reference material to the sculptor for the next round of action figures and am trying real hard to get through the second pass of the art book without passing out. The workload is not easing up. I finished the geometry to something that will hopefully make it in. Shi Kai was pleased to see it and hopefully will be able to mount it on a Brute's shoulder. With luck, the highest LOD of the little thing might make it into a cinematic sequence somewhere... Hey, we're averaging about 100 hours a week here!
  • Ryan Hylland Said... Doing some testing, you know Beta ends this weekend Played a lot of CENSORED 1 flag CTF Test team opened tons of bugs that we will close
  • Michael Wu Quoth... We're going to land without wheels. Making our final pass on some polish items. CENSORED work here and there. Lots of lighting added to several BSPs - to make it spooky. Earthcity gets it's final pass from me today and then it's on to CENSORED.
  • Robt McLees Whispered Softly... This week I suddenly realized that most of us are working 100+ hour work weeks - I put in 116 hours last week. I've been looking to the future, polishing weapons, stenciling crates, abandoning facilities, repurposing trashcans, bad-mouthing journalists, dredging up the past, juggling corpses, narrowing my eyes, crushing bugs and providing liquid refreshment for all my buddies.
  • Chris Butcher Starkly States... Been working on performance this week, trying to cram as much cool stuff into the buffer as possible. I am working on the game simulation side while Ben Wallace is working on the graphics side. We have a lot of new things in our game and with all the added stresses on our engine it's starting to creak at the seams. Still only a 733 MHz processor in this thing, but we will work it out. Our three biggest consumers are animation, AI ray tests for perception, and visibility / rendering. The test guys keep posting graphs of framerate over the course of a level and I'm going to make it all better.
  • Jen Martin Silkily Implied... So - PR is feverishly working away on any possible coverage at all...doing our best to ensure world domination by the Halo franchise. We've come up with a new campaign - which is to get Halo as an officially sanctioned sport in the 2006 winter Olympic games. We think it's actually a fabulous idea...and are ready to pitch to the IOC any day now...
  • John Butkus Grimly States... Okay, since I haven't contributed to one of these things in who knows how many weeks, I'll give it a shot this week. Since we last spoke, I've just finished my 12th minute of cinematic animation with an average of 6 characters in each scene. Naturally, my eyeballs are pretty much melting out of their sockets and I've developed this nagging face-ache in my right cheek/temple area. A tumor, perhaps? The animation is looking pretty good, but of course the perfectionist in me wants another six months to polish it to death. Bill and Mike are also working their asses off on cinematics, and Mike just finished a scene last week that looks $#@#$%!! sick. Actually, my face hurts right now and it's kind of a throbbing sensation, so for all I know a family of spiders could be living in one of my sinuses and they're just waiting for an opportune moment to erupt from my face in a geyser of filth and horror. Where was I....oh yes - Bill is working on what has to be the most difficult cinematic of all time, and it's looking great. The light is at the end of the tunnel, so soon it'll just be miscellaneous bug fixes and polishing work until we ship. After we RTM I plan to do three things... F, RT, DN. In that order. I think one person out there knows what that means. I'll let the rest of you figure it out.
And last, but not least, here's Mister Chief, unhappy at his latest hairdo, which we call, "The Scout."