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Q&A with Bungie's Max Hoberman

by Ferrex (Dead)

This chat log comes from a question and answer session with Bungie employees Max and, at points, Chucky. Most of the questions are related to the Microsoft purchase of Bungie, but you'll find that the topics stray fairly often. Our thanks to Max and Chucky for sharing this information with the 250+ who were logged into RHL during the session:

CyberBob (#4 : ok yeroen,are you ready?
      yeroen: I suppose I'll handle this so Matt can address those forums ;-)
CyberBob (#4 : OK thanks for the chat.
CyberBob (#4 : Question 1: :)
CyberBob (#4 : Durandal (M:R) asks:
CyberBob (#4 : Will Microsoft have the same policy against people trying to make Marathon ports to other engines that Bungie has had?
      yeroen: That wouldn't be MS policy, that would be Bungie policy. However, we've been lax in that lately, allowing Marathon ports to other engines.
      yeroen: I know there's an Unreal port that Doug keeps passing around, for example.
CyberBob (#4 : Do thoese people have anything to fear from the deal?
      yeroen: I don't see why they should.
      yeroen: Community generated content is a huge part of what keeps the community strong, so I'd like to do everything possible to continue to support these people, as well as others.
Manus Celer D: (some of us would like to know where we can get this port)
      yeroen: Wow, I feel like I'm swimming in peanut butter here, things are slow moving.
CyberBob (#4 : I am lagged beyond recognition, please guests do not pm me in the moment, other admins will take the questions.
      yeroen: I'm not sure Manus, but I'll check with Doug for ya.
Manus Celer D: from Spamboy - Will bungie be at macworld ny?
CyberBob (#4 : Were there Bungie employees who contributed to the rumor frag-fest here and on HBO?
CyberBob (#4 : from mnemesis (Tom Van Sinden)
      yeroen: Tamte is looking into getting funding for MW. However, it's still an unknown. However...
Manus Celer D: several people have inquired as to the circumstances and motivation for Doug's departure from bungie, if you are able to comment on it.
Manus Celer D: or if you are on the serverS
CyberBob (#4 : Manus: you first - rehi yeroen
Manus Celer D: wb max
Manus Celer D: Several people have inquired as to the circumstances and motivation for Doug's departure from bungie, if you are able to comment on it.
CyberBob (#4 : .
Manus Celer D: (for those that wondered, the link for the aforemtioned port is http://www.planetunreal.com/marathon/ )
CyberBob (#4 : yeroen, are you still with us? I dont have a Userlist anymore.. :)
Manus Celer D: doesnt look like it cb
CyberBob (#4 : thanks for noticing
Manus Celer D: he isnt in my user list
CyberBob (#4 : ok
CyberBob (#4 : It seems though our lag ha ended
*** CyberBob (#4 is Hope) wonders how to entertain the 200 guests
*** CyberBob (#4 is Hope) starts dancing (on demand)
        Jaime: heh
*** Jaime goes to check on Max's health
Manus Celer D: Jaime is here, we can torment him instead of max.
CyberBob (#4 : OK, let us tore Jaime
CyberBob (#4 : wb max
      yeroen: Thanks.
      yeroen: I figure we'll keep this going as best we can til I have to get on bungie.net.
iFreewill - H: guess I missed it, eh? heh
CyberBob (#4 : ok
CyberBob (#4 : MCD: start again
      yeroen: Did you catch the bit about Macworld?
CyberBob (#4 : yep
CyberBob (#4 : You were talking about the funding.
Manus Celer D: Several people have inquired as to the circumstances and motivation for Doug's departure from bungie, if you are able to comment on it.
Manus Celer D:
Manus Celer D: (for those that wondered, the link for the aforemtioned port is http://www.planetunreal.com/marathon/ )
      yeroen: Then I added that Matt and I intend to go to the show, and to support the fanfest in a big way.
      yeroen: Microsoft has a PR department, which Doug is interviewing with. However, Bungie Studios won't maintain its own internal PR department.
CyberBob (#4 : Were there Bungie employees who contributed to the rumor frag-fest here and on HBO as a way of helping to break the news to the fan community?
CyberBob (#4 : from mnemesis (Tom Van Sinden)B:
      yeroen: No, definitely not. Everyone here kept complete silence to avoid legal problems.
CyberBob (#4 : What are some major differences that we'll see in Bungie change now that Microsoft is in charge?
CyberBob (#4 : -JoeDaMac (Joseph E. Haake)
      yeroen: In fact, we felt horrible about having to ignore you all for so long. There were some very good legal reasons, however, that necessitated it.
      yeroen: The first thing that jumps to mind is publishing since we'll have a say, but no longer be in charge of things like the manuals, packaging, etc. Matt and I will do our best, however, to watch over these things.
      yeroen: Actually, I'm also predicting you'll see much better product web sites. This is something I'm personally looking forward to.
Manus Celer D: An inquiring mind would like to know How much did M$ pay to aquire bungie
      yeroen: As far as development, I hope there won't be any negative changes. One huge plus is the development of the online team.
      yeroen: I'm not at liberty to discuss finances, sorry.
iFreewill - H: is it my turn?
Manus Celer D: (the zdnet article mentioned estimates for the buyout for those interested, take them with a grain of salt though)
*** iFreewill - Hope checks the mic
CyberBob (#4 : yes free
iFreewill - H: ok, I'm sorry folks I lagged out a bit, but I have...
iFreewill - H: some qustions froma while ago
iFreewill - H: i hope they haven't already been asked
iFreewill - H: S What will happen to all the items/in at the bungie store after they are out of stock? Will production of them continue, etc?
     Noctavis: From Forensic: There's been mention of Bungie helping to 'shape' the X-box. What exactly does that mean? Can you be more specific?
*** iFreewill - Hope coughs
      yeroen: I'd like to continue to produce Bungie-specific items as long as there's demand for them. As for existing inventory, what's not going to Take2 is going into the online team's closet to be used to support fan gatherings. This should be cool.
      yeroen: I suppose that's pretty vague for good reason. Basically, being near and close to the Xbox team will allow us to influence their design. For example, we've already discussed a number of decisions they're making about online issues, and we've seen some problem areas.
CyberBob (#4 : Massa asks: Is Bungie involved only in the software developement for Xbox or are you also influencing the hardware specs. For example could you say: that stupid machine needs a keyboard and they produce one? ;o)
      yeroen: We're in the process of figuring out what we think would work and giving them feedback. Fortunately it's still early enough for this to matter.
      yeroen: I believe many of the hardware specs are already decided. I'd say we have more influence on OS type issues.
CyberBob (#4 : thanks, NOct your turn now
iFreewill - H: ok, I'm next
iFreewill - H: take this with as you will:Ques from Stryder:
iFreewill - H: Because of Microsofts shady business practices I boycott all Microsoft Software. Unfortunately, this will mean Bungie@MS too. What are your feelings toward this?
      yeroen: We were aware that many of you would feel that way about Microsoft. Unfortunately, there's not a lot we can say except that we plan to continue to make the games we like to play. If that's not enough for you I feel bad... we enjoyed having every one of you in our community.
Manus Celer D: Several people have asked why the sudden change from the former mac/pc target of halo under the privately owned bungie to the undetermined targets of halo under the new bungie$soft. They would also like to know when the solidified target information will be available.
      yeroen: First off, our new situation dictates new goals. We obviously can't ignore Xbox, nor do we have any reason to, as it's one of the things that drew us to Microsoft...
      yeroen: On the flip side, we have no desire to alienate our existing fans or force them to buy new hardware...
      yeroen: I suppose the reason we're unable to commit is that we're facing a ton of new issues that haven't been resolved yet.
     Noctavis: Okay.... here's a good question: What is it about
the X-Box that makes it an excellent platform? Many people take the specs and tend to think it's just a PC
      yeroen: Hopefully when they are resolved we'll be able to give a definite answer.
      yeroen: Chucky, one of Halo's programmers, can answer that one... he's standing over my shoulder...
      yeroen: Howdy folks.
      yeroen: <--Chucky
*** CyberBob (#4 is Hope) greets chucky
Manus Celer D: Hi Chucky!
*** Noctavis shakes hands with Chucky
Cannibal Harr: Hey chuck
iFreewill - H: notices chuck has a scar above his left ear :)
      yeroen: The XBox is cool mostly because it leverages the existing technology that PCs created. Nvidia's graphics cards are currently the best in the business (in my opinion obviously), the PIII is way more powerful than chips in the other consoles...
      yeroen: Also from a developer's point of view, it's easy to write code for because the hardware is familiar.
CyberBob (#4 : Are you saying that the PIII is faster than the ppc chips in the dolphin?
CyberBob (#4 : (question from unnamed)
      yeroen: Well, I can't say yet because I don't know.
         Tsao: Meg asks - how are you going to interact with your community now? will you still maintain the personal relations that you have had and community involvement such as tournaments?
Manus Celer D: (many people also wonder about the fire hazard issues involved in slipping a pIII into something the size of a console)
      yeroen: <--yeroen
      yeroen: We plan on interacting much more with our community. We now have the time and resources to really help it become something great...
      yeroen: I have some interesting plans for this, but I'm going to keep them a surprise for now. One thing, however, that I plan on doing is getting a ton more fan feedback on community issues.
      yeroen: <--Chucky
      yeroen: About the fire thing, I hadn't heard anything about that but they put PIIIs in notebooks so I don't think that should be a problem. ;)
      yeroen: <--yeroen
CyberBob (#4 : Several people have been asking if you are still allowed to use Open GL
      yeroen: We're allowed to do whatever makes the most sense for the Bungie Studio. On the XBox that's DirectX + hardware, on the Mac that's OpenGL.
      yeroen: (says Chucky)
Merkinjata (n: Many people want to know if their Bungie store coupons will still be honored.. they will, won't they?
      yeroen: I haven't given much thought to the store coupons. However, we have tentative plans to keep Bungie Points.
Cannibal Harr: How does Bungie feel about MacOS X? Any comment on the Macs future OS? Support? Etc.
      yeroen: I can't speak for Bungie on this one, and I'm sort of out of the loop myself.
      yeroen: Whatever Mac versions we do, we'll support the latest OS.
iFreewill - H: ok next question
iFreewill - H: From A-Bomb ~TMBM~: I have pre-ordered Halo from www.gamestop.com and now it is jeopardy of being published for the PC. Why would I be able to pre-order it without confirmation of what systems Halo will be produced for?
      yeroen: That's really out of our control. We don't give out info until we have an idea at a release date, but some of the stores like to jump the gun.
iFreewill - H: understood thanks
Ferrex ( bus : a question from Stryker: You keep saying that you'll make the games you always have. How do you know that? How will you be able to prevent MS from invading you dept? To you have any guarantees?
      yeroen: Bungie is people. Without the employees Microsoft wastes its money. If they don't keep their side of the bargain I don't know many of us that will stick around.
Ferrex ( bus : so Bungie employees are not bound by any contracts to remain at MS if MS fails to keep their side of the deal?

Originally posted June 19, 2000