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Destination: Mail Sack

As I write the first and last words of this round table chat, I find myself sequestered in a conference room.{{more}} It’s a nice, bright place filled with nice, bright people. They’re talking about you. As the dust settles from reveal, we find ourselves hard at work, building the next salvo.  And the next.  And the one that we’ll launch after that. 

If you could be a fly on that wall, you would hear plans within plans within plans about how we’ll lure you deeper into our brave new world. While new glimpses of Destiny will have to wait, we can meditate on what it’s like to work at Bungie, and what it’s like to work on our next game.  To do that, we gotta go straight to the source.

We must open the Sack.



BrainsOverBronz You were very explicit with saying that Destiny was not an MMO. Why?
We’ve put a lot of thought into what genre Destiny best fits into. At its core, we’re building an action game – a Bungie FPS. As we play in a space we’ve always loved, we’re intentionally and gleefully bending and blurring genre lines, blending concepts, constructs, and features you wouldn’t traditionally fit into the FPS category.

We attempted to slap together a new acronym to capture all of the newness and nuance that Destiny’s pillars provoke, but the resulting string of characters was a Frankensteinian monstrosity which threatened to ruin our lives and confound even the most brilliant minds.

In the end, when we consider what we’re building holistically, it’s easiest, best, and most accurately described as Bungie’s next first person shooter. It would be terribly presumptuous of us to label Destiny a BNGFPS, but if you’re a fan of what we do, it’ll probably make a fair bit of sense.

Of course, we’ll be a lot more explicit and specific about everything Destiny in the months to come.


Don Shibz  If you had to pick one reason why playing destiny co-op will 'blow my mind' what would that be?
Why pick just one reason?  We can tap the Bungie Panel to come up with a bunch.

Co-op mode? Oh, you mean the whole game.
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist

You’re stronger in a pack.
Reed Shingledecker, Artist

Co-op in Destiny isn’t an afterthought.  Much of the world is built from the ground up with a social idea that exploring the world with your friends will be more visceral.
Adam Williams, Artist

Oh the places you’ll go, oh the people you’ll see!
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Every time I walk into a public space and randomly meet up with Bungie teammates, and we shoot evil guys in the face together, it’s a unique and phenomenal experience.
Leland Dantzler, Tester


GT Stryker  How much will your friends matter in Destiny?
In Destiny, “everything that's fun to do is more fun to do with your friends.”


Joyeuse7  Are we there yet?
Nope, but it’s going to be a great ride. Buckle up.


SwordsmanOfGlee  Can we go to Pluto?
Not if you’re going to ask us if we’re there yet every week. Don’t make us turn this car around.


LordMonkey  What are your 3 most important tools at work?
My tools are all websites, which is not what you’re asking. Let’s see if our panel can set aside their sarcasm aside long enough to talk about the tools they use to make games.

Trail Mix, Honest Tea, and Bonobo.
Reed Shingledecker, Artist

My computer, coffee robots, and those automatic paper towel dispensers.
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer

Grognok! Coffee! Spotify!
Adam Williams, Artist

A sonic screwdriver, good old fashioned human ingenuity, and my sarcastic wit.
Jay Thaler, Senior Engineer

Visual Studio 2012, OneNote, and Whiteboards.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

My brain, my eyes, and my hands.
Jon Cable, Senior Engineer

Your mom, your mom, and your mom.
Scott Kankelborg, Special Projects Assassin

Excel, OneNote, and my hat.
Tyson Green, Staff Designer

Visual Studio, Notepad++, and my Database management tools.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Stress ball, Banana Chip graveyard, and the Programmers.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Proprietary tech, more proprietary tech, even more proprietary tech.
Kevin Hart, Artist

Gasca, Gossett, DeeJ.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer

C#, Stack Overflow, and caffeine.
David Johnson, Engineer


Kempolazer  You have told us a little bit about the Fallen over the last few weeks, can you tell us anything about the Cabal?
Not today, but we’re pretty excited to peel back all of the layers of information about each race of enemy combatants. (Actually, we’re more excited about allowing you to do the honors, but that’s also a discussion for another day.)


Butane  Do the Harlem Shake.
Ninjas first.


SkilPhil  Is developing for next gen easier or harder than you expected?
Development questions get passed through to developers.

There is no spoon.
Michael Strein, Engineer

We have a great tools team to support the process, so as an environment artist it’s much easier than it could be.
Adam Williams, Artist

It’s great! The engineers are all “there’s no memory for that,” and then we’re all “next gen?” and they’re all “well… hmm.”
Tyson Green, Staff Designer

Server-side, we are building our technology to be as platform agnostic as possible.  So aside from wiring up platform APIs in different ways, the differences in platforms have not caused my team much pain (knock on wood).
Michael Williams, Engineer

Harder, because finding room for yet another console on all a desk already covered with Xbox 360s and PS3s is a total nightmare.
Scott Kankelborg, Special Projects Assassin

Fortunately I only have to worry about the current gen of Photoshop.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

Hylebos  Are Pikes fun to ride?
There a few things as fun as carving sand on a stolen Pike.


Stephen Laughlin  What's your favorite sound in Destiny?
My favorite chatter is missing from Destiny right now.  I’m looking forward to hearing the noise our community makes. Our panelists are playing this game every day, though, so let’s ask them.

The sound of my own cruel laughter.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

The sweet sound of victory.
David Johnson, Engineer

Definitely Marty, Mike, and Paul’s music. Aside from that, the placeholder audio we had of someone deadpanning “Throw Grenade” whenever you threw a grenade was pretty amusing.
Robert Engeln, Engineer

The ambient sounds of Venus.
Reed Shingledecker, Artist

Noguchi shouting at me from his desk.
Tyson Green, Staff Designer

Rocket fly-by:  the sound of survival.
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer

The shimmering explosion of the Warlock’s [redacted].
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist

Gunfire in the distance.
Adam Williams, Artist

If you kill a Vex unit correctly, they can make an amazingly satisfying noise.  I could shoot them all day long for that noise.
Michael Williams, Engineer

Reloading.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

For a while there were random surfaces you could hit that should have gone CRUNCH but went DING! like a bicycle bell instead. I was very fond of that.
Lily Yu, Writer

I love the sounds we captured in my driveway. At 9:00PM. I have very understanding neighbors!
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Nobody is allowed to have a favorite sound until we’re done sound designing the game.
David Henry, Senior Audio Engineer


Decom  Are the weapon sound effects heard in the PS4 trailer the same effects that will be in the final game?
See above. To punctuate his point, a cacophony of new sounds has been spilling out of our audio bays recently. In fact, I just padded past C Paul’s bay a couple of hours ago and heard a bunch of crunchy ballistics peppered with hits of something a little less traditional. Marty’s crew is busily building a brand new library of noise. It’s really great to hear, pun intended.


Gunny186  I'm curious about Destiny's backstory. During gameplay will we learn about how the last city came to be and what brought civilization to that point?
Our writers are laser-focused on building stories worthy of exploration and discovery. Some of those discoveries will come in an instant, others will be more prolonged, intended to lead you down intricate and carefully laid paths that we hope will make our revelations all the more sweet.


Tacktical  What have been the largest struggles in the development of Destiny? Has there been any "eureka" moments in overcoming those struggles?
Keeping secrets from you fine people has been a struggle, especially when less scrupulous parties started telling them. In the throes of development, the experience has been different.

I think the biggest struggles have occurred when we’ve explored across genre lines. Which lines will forever be secret, but they can be very polarizing. Sometimes an inspired idea can settle a design debate before it reaches Thunderdome.
Tyson Green, Staff Designer

The nature of the game we’re building means a daily struggle against seemingly intractable problems. It helps that the word “impossible” doesn’t seem to be in the lexicon around here.
Robert Engeln, Engineer

Creating everything from scratch with new tech has been difficult, but it gets better by the week as new tools and features come online.
Reed Shingledecker, Artist

Not saying “Destiny” for two years was tough, although not saying “Tiger” is proving almost as difficult now.
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer

The largest struggles on a team this big are always keeping people informed and excited while also keeping focused towards the same goal.  
Chris Opdahl, Design Lead

Handling mutli-level, non-linear, value inheritance from local, non-local, and layer overrides at any stage, in both shader and embedded particle systems – all wrapped up in a completely ground up-custom system that lets artists do what they do best, create worlds.
Nate Hawbaker, Technical Artist

Finding new ways to tell visual stories in the huge universe we’re creating.
Adam Williams, Artist

Knowing everything about everything and creating a cohesive User Interface for people don’t.
Kevin McGinnis, User Interface Lead

Figuring out how to extend the experience beyond the console and support it on the web and mobile.
John Stvan, Graphic Designer


matthedominator  Will we ever hear answers to random question that are unrelated to Destiny ever again?
Of course. The Mail Sack has always been a chance for the people at Bungie to sound off on all sorts of random things, but since most of you are focused on your curiosities about Destiny, that’s where we’ve been focusing our answers.


Krieger  Do you have a fallback game that you play when you're feeling nostalgic or want to bring your friends together?
My friends are always exploring a new virtual warfront. Right now, that means my friends list is dominated by Black Ops II and Battlefield 3. If you want nostalgia, you need to ask our panel…

Worms: Armageddon.
Reed Shingledecker, Artist

I don’t always have time for nostalgia, but when I do, I do it in a Tesla Pod.
Derek Carroll, Senior Designer

Left 4 Dead!
Adam Williams, Artist

My best buds and I play either Minecraft or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive almost every night. But if we’re feeling super nostalgic, a quick co-op “Nightmare!” run through Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders is the only fix. 
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Myth: The Fallen Lords.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Mario Kart 64.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Have you ever heard of a mod for HL1 called The Specialists?
Michael Strein, Engineer

My brother and I always go back to Ms. Pacman.
Rahsaan Green, Sandbox Test Engineer


All this talk of nostalgia has me longing for a time, long ago (days, it would seem) when I was free to move about the cabin. From my vantage point at the table in this fishbowl, I can see our people gathering at the bottom of the grand staircase for a team meeting. That means that the beer fridge will be open, and the kitchen island will be awash in snacks. The best treats, however, will be on the projection screen.

Yes, that’s a tease. And yes, I’m a jerk for teasing. But my job is to report the news, and the news is that we have a plan to share more with you in the coming months. Until then, we’ll always have the Sack. Follow up and stay close. See you next week.
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