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The Mail Sack is Served

Serving the Bungie Community is like feeding a very large family.  You need to obey a routine – give people something to look forward to.  Fortunately, the people who keep us company on our website thrive on sarcasm, pop-culture, and the contemplation of gadgets.  In the process, we get to share a morsel of ourselves.  Do you want to see this tap dance in action?
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Very well, then.  Let’s open the Sack.

LegendaryFluffy  On a scale of one to ODST, how awesome is Marty's next masterpiece?
I’m no music critic – just a fan, like you – but I think it’s off the charts.  I’m listening to it as I type these words.  This is the last time I’m going to replay the track I've been stuck on for past twenty minutes.  The next one is just as good.


GestuarT88  Do the Mail Sacks distract employees for working on [code name: TIGER]. Or is it like an after-work punishment to answer our questions?

It’s lunch-time punishment.
Dan Miller, Senior Designer

Playing the game is more of a distraction than the mail sack.
Darius Keel, Production Engineer

People here at Bungie are not easily distr…
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

DeeJ is sitting here looking over my shoulder and I’m just transcribing his responses.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

It gives me something to do while I’m compiling on both my machines.
Andrea Fonger, Engineer

I answer these questions when I am waiting for a program to boot up or when I am praying that I did not just crash one of them.
Rachel Swavely, Associate Technical Artist

As much as time is spent making our workflows fast there will always be points where you are waiting for something.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

I’m typing a response right now, so perhaps a little.  But it’s good to take a breather.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Punishment?  No way!  I love answering these.  Our fans are why we work so hard in the first place.  You’re the wind beneath our wings, the fuel for our rockets, the uranium rods for our reactors, the.. well.. you get the idea.  
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Uhhh… [nervously glances around, looking for Harold] This is totally work. Totally. Work.
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant


dazfd  If you had the opportunity, and you could tell your younger selves anything, what would you tell them?

Sorry, man.  I’ve put this question to the Panel before in the hopes of tapping a gushing well of transcendent wisdom.  Instead, we get a rash of people who want to game the stock market by telling their younger selves to invest their allowance in Apple futures.


Steel Magnoliuz  Who's your favorite under-exposed artist in visual or audio media?

I tampered with your question, friend.  After enduring that deluge of 80s nostalgia that swept the Mail Sack last week, I don’t trust our Panel to tune the radio.  This just became a conversation exclusive to visual media.  These are the privileges of editing the blog.  So, who makes art we like to look at, Bungie?

Jonny Ostrem.  You can enjoy his work here and here.
Darius Keel, Production Engineer

Pee-Wee Herman.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

I can’t pick just one.  Focusing on 2D illustration, here are a few artists whose work I enjoy:
(No guarantee those will all be SFW)
Cameron Pinard, Artist

Billy Dee Williams. He’s quite gifted you know.
Rajeev Nattam, Senior Artist

Bankie Phones (aka Señor Gif, aka Frankie Crescioni).
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Bobby Chiu
Rachel Swavely, Associate Technical Artist

Frank Cho, writer and illustrator of Liberty Meadows. Think Bill Waterson (Calvin & Hobbes) plus Norman Rockwell, minus class.
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant

SB&HJ or Chris (Simpsons artist).
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist


Remorazz  How often do you feed Raspy? He seems hungry.

He’s starving.  You’re starving.  We’re all starving.  That hunger drives us into the kitchen every day, and the stew is starting to smell delicious.


burritosenior  So Bungie is in control of its own destiny now. Does this mean Bungie controls any extended universe content that might come out? For example, Bungie could release official piano sheet music for their future projects if you wanted?

You should wait to see the actual universe, before you start wondering about how we’ll extend it.  We'll dole out this feast one course at a time.  The only change I can illuminate right now is that anyone who gets a tattoo based on our work owes us some cash.


Oddi7y  The Oculus Rift.  What do all the guys in the studio think of it?

...I’m interested in what the girls think, too.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

All the guys love it. All the gals think meh.
Dan Miller, Senior Designer

VERY excited about it, but I was also excited about the Power Glove™ and Virtual Boy™ as well…  So I’m not holding my breath.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

I pitched in for it, after being wowed by the presentation on Kickstarter and the passion for the product that John Shaffstall felt over it.  I’m looking forward to trying it out and hopefully making something cool with it!
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

I’m excited to give it a try and interested in solving for the new problems it brings but I’m definitely skeptical of it becoming hugely mainstream.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

I’m really looking forward to when lots of developers and gamers get access to the device. Hoping to get my pre-order in March!
John Shaffstall, Engineer

I have been very excited since I first heard their latency numbers. I backed it on kickstarter and can’t wait for my dev kit to arrive. We are pretty busy, so I’m not sure how much time I’m going to get to play with it at home.
Michael Strein, Engineer

Our friends at Valve let me try one out the other day and it was simply magical. Yes, there are a lot of rough edges, but it was a life-changing experience. I can't wait to see what people do with VR in the next 5 years.
Chris Butcher, Senior Engineering Lead


Father Franklin  I have always been super impressed with the management of Bungie employees when I hear about all they plan for you guys: community gatherings/events, new staff initiatives, constant fuel to push towards the finish line, etc. Who is the person/people responsible for this vision and how have you kept the community together and moving forward in light of so many new staff and goals?

You’re right when you ask about people, instead of any one person.  It could be said that everyone here contributes to the culture that makes Bungie a great place to spend a huge portion of one’s life.  There are, however, superheroes who keep the citizens of our studio safe from exhaustion and nervous breakdowns.  The bravest of them is Brittany.  She rescues us from ourselves every day.


Puma Knight  If you could have any career typically found in a fantasy setting (alchemist, rogue, barbarian, etc.), what would you choose and why?

To insulate you from sarcasm, a very special custom Panel of experts was assembled to field this question.  It consists of our Magic: The Gathering enthusiasts, active members of a Bungie-only World of Warcraft guild, and other assorted gaming nerds…

I would be a Paladin.  The fantasy revisionism of the chivalric knight is much more appealing than the real life version was.  Actually fighting evil, healing with your hands, and generally riding in to save the day sounds like a good deal to me.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Paladins are creepers, dude. They get their magic from the same source as clerics. Why is it they have to grope to heal? Ever think about that?
Tom Slattery, Localization Content Manager

Wizards are the best! Why sully myself with melee combat when I can read books all day?
Cody Fichter, Tester

The obvious choice is a barbarian. One can crush his enemies, see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
Forrest Soderlind, Technical Artist

I want to be an Accountant.
Matt Priestly, Senior Producer

The answer is clearly a Summoner.  Why do something yourself when you can summon a huge demon to do things for you? [ed: Summoner?]
Tom Gioconda, Engineer

Arcanist, or something thereabouts. If I don’t get to wear goggles, why are we even doing this?
Ian Cox, Production Engineer

Mage.  What’s the point of living in a fantasy universe if you’re not going to use magic to set people on fire?
John Hopson, User Research Lead

Monk. You need your magic, weapons, or armor to be awesome?  Please, come at me Bro!
Darin Lantzy, Tester

Rogue. Why risk fighting and stealing from arbitrary NPCs and monsters when your party is guaranteed to be a level-appropriate Challenge Rating?
Daniel Hanson, Engineer

Mage.  Because inadvertently killing or maiming your fellow party members with non-hostile actions is the best.
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer

Paladin.  Because being inadvertently killed or maimed by a fellow party member via non-hostile actions is the best.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Shadow Priest.  What’s better than to mind-control your enemy to walk off a cliff and fall to his death?
Derek Shefveland, Test Engineer

Shopkeeper, you are unlikely to die, and stupid heroes keep giving you gold and loot that you resell at a ridiculous markup
Cameron Pinard, Artist

Innkeeper. I’d open up a combination inn + bar called “Journey’s End” where patrons could beguile me with tall tales of near death experiences with dragons, undead armies, and liches. Adventurers need a place to spend their gold after all, and I’d be happy to provide them that service with minimal personal risk of being burned alive, zombified, or polymorphed.
John Hargrove, Player Investment Designer

I’d be an assassin, because powerful women in leathers that can kill you with the flick of the wrist are frickin’ awesome. Not to mention the gold I’d make!!
Elizabeth Bergeron, Tester

I would be a chicken. If you typed /chicken enough, I would plop out an egg.
Isaiah Sherman, Artist

I'd be Dragon, because... well...  Who the hell wouldn't want to be a Dragon, amirite?
Will Lummus, Bungie Store Guy


And Im Here Too  If zombies attacked your building, who do you think would be the first to go down?

The Zombies.  Given a crowd big enough, they might overpower our defenses, but defenses we would mount.  Bungie wouldn’t go down without a fight.  This goes for Zombies as well as gatecrashers who stray from PAX Prime.


ChorrizoTapatio  How are you going to try and overthrow our evil computer overlords when they take over?

This is a rough week.  First Zombies, now Cybernetics?  Has this extended dark phase inspired all of you to imagine our terrified demise?  I fielded the Zombie question, Panel.  You get to defend the dock against the machine invasion.

I will join up with said evil computer overlords.
Dan Miller, Senior Designer

Why try? They’ve already won.
Darius Keel, Production Engineer

I’ll steal a robot built by the computer overlords, reprogram him and send him back in time it to protect the family of the resistance leader who will rise up and eventually defeat them.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

2 Words: Nerf Crossbow.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

Who says we won’t be your evil computer overlords?
Cameron Pinard, Artist

I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

I’m not going to bother. Instead, I’ll go to work for them in their underground sugar mines.
Rajeev Nattam, Senior Artist

I will try Zapp Brannigan’s tactic when he faced the Killbots.
Alex Gendron, Tester

Combine the DNA of Jeff Goldblum and Micahel Biehn and the problem should take care of itself.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

Remote in and throw a fork bomb.
John Shaffstall, Engineer

Dust bunnies.
Nate Hawbaker, Engineer

The question itself is a real shame.  Wouldn’t it be more productive if the robots were our friends?


NinjaGangsta13  What's your favorite robot?

That’s more like it, although the robots would most likely prefer that you had asked “who” instead of “what.”  Some of the most famous robots have been characterized by their endeavor to become more human.  Their programming gives them a sentience that many would consider a soul.  You can even see it when you look into the eyes of the artificial life forms selected by our Panel…
Jim McQuillan, Visual ID Director
Cameron Pinard, Artist
Rajeev Nattam, Senior Artist
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead
Alex Gendron, Tester
John Stvan, Graphic Designer
Rachel Swavely, Associate Technical Artist
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer
JayThaler, Senior Engineer
Andrea Fonger, Engineer
John Shaffstall, Engineer
Chris Butcher, Senior Engineering Lead


Kappus 000  Any more betas lying around needing somebody to test them?

Always.  The registration portal for willing crash test dummies who want to join the Bungie Beta is in one of the last boxes that we’ll be carrying over from the old site, but it still works.  If you’re not signed up to drive headlong into our brick wall, surrender those vital statistics.


Brian  What is the best way for someone to get their foot in the door at Bungie as a Tester? Would that person need to aspire to become a lead tester?

Whatever you do, don’t actually put your foot in Bungie’s door.
Darius Keel, Production Engineer

I got this one…  First, you have to apply.  Then, you have to bring something unique to the company - either massive experience or insane talent.  Or, just get lucky like I did.  You should always aspire to be more than your current position.  ABC (always be closing).
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

if you want to be a good tester attention to detail is vital, knowing about what goes into making a game will make you a better tester, being a good communicator especially in written form, and being able to put up with doing something over and over and over again.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

Show you’re willing to work hard, and also able to learn quickly. Demonstrate that you will do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Alex Gendron, Tester

Join the game dev soccer league and make a good impression playing against us on the field. (By this I mean, score own goals)
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer


DE4THINC4RN4TE  What are the chances of The Flood regaining its rightful place as the face of Bungie's #OffTopic Forum? If so, when can expect that change to happen?

None.  Never.  We build toward the future, and retain subtle homages to our treasured past.  Come along with us.  You’ll always have #Flood as a secret handshake to preserve your legacy of chaos and smart-assery.  The Bungie Community has been challenged to take up the tools they’ve been given and define their culture by their own design.


Anroll  What is life like in your studio right now?

We all seem pretty life-like, except DeeJ.
Dan Miller, Senior Designer

The sun is decided to make an appearance today so some people have their coats off outside even though it’s 46 °F.
Andrea Fonger, Engineer


Darius Keel, Production Engineer

Busy.
Alex Gendron, Tester

Everyone seems to be working on something….important….
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Cloudy.  Oh, wait… That’s outside the studio.  Sorry.
Jim McQuillan, Visual ID Director

Imagine a smoldering pile of embers, now throw a bunch of wood on and blow on it to set the fire to the wood. I think we’re about there with our excitement and the amount of work to do.
Cameron Pinard, Artist

Definitely in need of more bathrooms.
Pat Jandro, Senior Cinematic Designer

What is this “life” you speak of?
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Shooting and processing mountains of MoCap data!
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Amazing! But ferociously busy.
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant

The better question is ‘What is life like outside the studio right now?’
John Shaffstall, Engineer

It’s like helping a star get born.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*

Crushingly exciting.
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist


A 3 Legged Goat  Who is the one who first conceptualizes your ideas? Who actually created Halo? Who actually created Myth?  Destiny?  Do these begin as visions in one persons' head and then you guys expand as a group, or do you bring bits and pieces together to make it what it is?

These are all great questions, and they lead to the same single answer...  Bungie.  The creators of your favorite universes are still here and still creating.  We’ll introduce them to you all over again, once they have something they can point to as evidence of their recent imaginings.

That will come later.  You've just consumed everything that we have to dish out for right now.  Not a crumb remains on the table.  Keep stopping by, though.  We'll keep serving up love the best we can.  Over time, it will become tastier, and more nutritious.
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