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Inside the new Bungie.net

Like a mystical bird reborn from its ashes, Bungie.net has been completely rebuilt from the ground up – designed and assembled by a heroic team of web developers.  Ever since this site has housed the Seventh Column, we've been studying you; asking ourselves how we can better champion our legendary community.  
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Here are four brave men who tasked themselves with taking Bungie.net to the next level.

Chris Gossett, Engineering Lead (aka runningturtle)
Tom Gioconda, Engineer (aka Achronos)
Stosh Steward, Web Designer (aka Stosh)
John Stvan, Graphic Designer (aka Halcylon)

To make their ideas a reality, they have been leading almost a dozen coders, designers, and testers on the charge to this new frontier.  To acquaint you with their creative process, we’ve put them to the question about what they’ve been envisioning these many long months.

So gentlemen (and I use the term loosely), talk to our community about your main motivation in creating a new social headquarters.
 
Ease of communication and interaction with other members is the primary reason for the update. We want users to be alerted when there is something new, and make it much easier to find new content. Traditional forums and group systems work, but only to a point.  Our community has grown so large that these older technologies start to break down.
runningturtle
 
We've spent a lot of time in the last few years iterating on features using technology established back in 2004.  Starting fresh in the post-Halo era seemed like the right thing to do.  It allows us to create a more modern headquarters for you, with no anchors to the past.
Achronos
 
We wanted to make it easier to find a group of liked minded individuals. You’ll be able to customize your own view of the forum with tags.  Groups will have the power to publicly share their content with the greater community. Hopefully, this means that you won’t have to search for an awesome group of people.  Awesome groups of people will come to you.
Stosh
 
As a long-time community member of the Bungie community, being given the opportunity to start fresh with Bungie.net was something I have always wanted to do.  I only had to be asked to help once.
Halcylon


Even at a glance, the site looks very different from what we remember.  What inspired you to lighten things up around here?
 
Stosh, Hal? Personally, I like the lighter site. For me, it's easier to read. Also, it feels more positive and hopeful.
runningturtle
 
I tend to see things from the server-side of things, with no UI.  But in that vein, the UI wasn't the only thing that got lighter - the way the site works is more open than it was before.  Over time, this virtue will reveal itself.
Achronos
 
Readability. Your eyes will thank you later.
Stosh
 
I've spent almost ten years on Bungie.net.  I wanted to get out of the darkness so badly that my first instinct was to turn on the lights.
Halcylon


You can’t change things just for the sake of change.  Can you describe the ideal-world scenario that you're reaching for in changing the way Bungie.net lives and breathes?
 
Personalization. Not just personalization of your profile images and motto, but the ability to curate the people, groups, and content that you see. In one of our initial brainstorming sessions, someone said "I want to be able to troll."  Now they can.  They won't get banned, but they might get ignored by everyone.
runningturtle
 
We’ve always wanted users to be able to control their own experience, without the need for moderators.  Now, our moderators can truly be Ninjas, instead of Fun Police.   Some users will be scared of their new freedoms, but I think the change is long overdue.
Achronos  

[is a smart man and didn't even touch this question]
Stosh

The design is also more in line with what we’ll be doing in the near and distant future.  The foundation is there for updates to user interface, design, and art.
Halcylon
 
 
As our users take a joyride through their new neighborhood, what would you call out to their attention?
 
Following and Ignoring. Follow the groups and people you like. It's that simple.
runningturtle
 
Be sure to use your "hide" button often.  It’s much more powerful than the report button of the old site.  You’ll see immediate feedback.
Achronos
 
There is a follow button on my profile. Go click it.
Stosh

DUDE! Conversation-style messaging! It's been on the mobile app for over a year now and it's finally made it to the website.
Halcylon
 
 
Of all the new bells and whistles, what’s the one piece of new functionality that has you the most excited?
 
In a word, Notifications.
runningturtle
 
The Bungie.net Platform API.  Some users will remember that we provided a Statistics API for Halo.  Bungie.net has its own API that it uses it for everything. In the future, we'll may talk more about how it could be used by enterprising members of the community.  For now, just know that it’s there, powering everything.
Achronos 
 
I’m with [turtle] on this one: Notifications. Go to your profile and turn all that [stuff] on. Especially email notifications.
Stosh
 
DUDE!  Status bar!
Halcylon 

 
The Bungie Community loves their Private Groups.  What have you done to enhance the experience of clustering into bands of gamers?
 
Honestly, groups are still very similar. If you liked your private group the way it was, you can keep it that way. However, the new public features make it possible for smaller groups to have a large impact. Early on, Stosh created a public group in our test environment that just posted a weekly lol cat pic. I wasn't a member of the group, but I was able to follow it and see the funny stuff he was posting. Classic.
runningturtle

It wasn’t a lol cat group. It was a cats eating cheeseburgers group. Way different.
Stosh 

Groups are much more discoverable than they were before.  You don't need to be a member of a group to watch what's happening anymore.  Simply following them is sufficient. Combined with the ability of groups to project their voice into the forum, I think they'll be a much bigger part the social makeup of Bungie.net.
Achronos
 
This will also help recruiting and allow possible members to see how your group talks and interacts with each other.
Halcylon
 

Of all the things that the Bungie Community has asked for over the years, what new addition do you think they'll be most excited about?
 
The ability to make your private group more public.
runningturtle
 
Changing your display name is probably a big one.  With our fancy new account system, you can be who you want to be, without that typo in your name.
Achronos
 
Inline multimedia. I might have to bring back Blame Stosh.  
Stosh
 
Dude… messages… again.
Halcylon


You’ve said that this is just the beginning of bringing this new site to life.  What else do you have planned?
 
Oh man, there's so much we haven't gotten to yet. I'll just say that Bungie.net and our Mobile apps are an evolution, and I expect that the site you're visiting today will continue to change for the better in the coming months.
runningturtle
 
The development of Bungie.net has always been driven by community #feedback.  I suggest you let us know what we should be planning.
Achronos
 
The Disembodied Soul's interface to Bungie.next is currently broken. I was hoping we could get this fixed before the beta, but we just didn’t have the time. Hopefully we can get him back online and answering your support questions soon.  
Stosh

Designs are never finished.  Ideas and features got shelved so we could launch this beta, but they aren't deleted.  There are about a hundred new features (some big, some small) that will roll out Soon™.
Halcylon

Soon, but not today. Now, it’s time to jump into the new forums and features and tell them what you think. If you haven’t noticed by now, you’re the most important part of our Bungie.net Beta.  Get out there and tell us what you think.
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