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The Mail Sack of Love

Spring is in the air that hovers over the majestic Pacific Northwest, which has us aglow with warm feelings of goodwill.{{more}} Or, are we mistaking the sensation of renewed access to the daystar as it makes a triumphant return to our skies? No matter the reason, it’s a great time to be happy, healthy, and making a kick ass game together.

Some of us have even donned some daring spring fashions to observe the change in the weather. Or, is that the required uniform for what is becoming our annual foray in the Men in Kilts fashion show?  Last year, we were the decisive victor in a popularity contest to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. In a bid to extend our winning streak, we’ve put the band back together.

This is not about competition, of course. We will rock the tartan to help seriously ill children keep the company of their families. We love a good cause at Bungie, even if it isn’t World Domination. That said, this is a contest, and it’s natural for gamers like us to play for keeps. That’s where you come in, dear community. If you want to throw your combined strength behind our clan, make your way to their website and cast a vote in our favor. Did we mention this was a fundraiser?

A chance to help us make the world a better place is not the only thing to love on To reap the rest of the bounty, we must open the Sack.

SonOfTheShire  If we ask questions about Destiny, will we actually get proper answers, or are you still not allowed to talk about most of it yet?

Are we there yet?

We’ve only begun to introduce you to our brave new world. There’s a lot more to discover, and we’ll continue to lead the expedition here on over the next few weeks. While we’re no longer dark, it can’t exactly be said that we’re burning bright. Our hands are on that dimmer switch, though, and we’ll be turning up the heat slowly but surely over the coming months.

What was it that Joe Staten said to bring our GDC talk to a close?  Ah, yes.  Here it is: “See you at E3!”

In the meantime, we’ll have to do the old metaphorical dance.

Old Monarch  What meal would you use to describe Destiny?

A knuckle sandwich.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

Medium-rare filet mignon, but with marshmallows on top.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Macaroni and cheese with gold leaf foil.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*

A three gravy poutine flight, with watermelon lemonade and Snow Phoenix Scotch on the side. In other words: Savory, bright, and intoxicating.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Destiny is like having catering delivered from your favorite restaurant. The table is set before you with a ton of different entrée options, and you can have whatever you’re in the mood for at that particular moment.
Josh Eash, Release Manager

From my wife’s repertoire: Fried Rabbit. It’s the new black.
CJ Cowan, Story Design Lead

Dim Sum. You never know what to expect and it just keeps coming.
Jake Lauer, Web Development Engineer

Christmas Dinner with the whole family, there is so much to choose from, everything is delicious and there are presents to boot.
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer

An all you can eat wedding buffet.
Jonty Barnes, Production Director

A seven-course meal with portions of awesome, camaraderie, and victory.
David Johnson, Engineer

Hive Central  What can you tell us about the Hive? Are they an organized hierarchy? How did they establish themselves as a threat in the universe of Destiny? Are they Zombies? Cyborgs? Zombie-borgs?

These are all great questions. And we will answer them, but not in the Mail Sack. By the way, Zombie-borgs? C’mon, man. That’s just silly. And I’m being sincere when I say that. I’m not saying it in an ironic way, like “Zombie-borgs confirmed for Destiny.”

ibex1001  How much of an affect do new scientific discoveries have an effect on your games? For example what would happen if they found fish on Europa?

We would attempt no landing there. As for scientific discoveries, Bungie has an interplanetary scientist on speed-dial who is sworn to alert us as soon as new discoveries come to light. In all fairness, his Non-Disclosure Agreement is probably thicker than ours, so all we really do is swap snarky emails with each other.

xgeua  How much work do you do from home?

Only when I do the mocap laundry.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Does waking up count? That’s sometimes hard work.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

None.  Except for those ideas that manifest into being in that weird place between being awake and asleep that make me excited to go back to work and put them in to action.
Kurt Nellis, Technical Cinematic Lead

Regularly.  I typically bring my laptop home, turn on some smooth jazz, and work from my kitchen table in my underwear.
Drew Smith, Producer

I own several services that require occasional after hours attention, but the work is usually monitoring and minor bug fixes.  I heartily prefer doing real work at the office, so I come in for anything major.
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer

When we were supporting the Halo back-end, I worked from home quite a bit to help keep things stable.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

I find that I’m often thinking about how to solve difficult problems even while away from our pristine towers.
David Johnson, Engineer

Enrathe  When Destiny comes out, will we encounter Bungie Employees while we are adventuring like you?

Most certainly. Have you ever heard that we make games that we want to play? Destiny is being designed to deliver chance encounters on the road to adventure, so you can expect that some of our encounters will be with you.

GREEDY39  Is the "competitive" side of destiny getting as much work put into it as the campaign/live world? Or is it more of an afterthought?

Destiny will provide you with activities for every mood. Sometimes, you’ll want to form up a fireteam to rout the Cabal from the Buried City on Mars. Other times, you’ll want to battle against your fellow players to see who’s the fairest Guardian of them all. That mood gets ahold of us on a regular basis in the studio.

Justrec  During your after-work-Destiny-parties, who usually does the most trash talking?

I’ve seen Jon Weisnewski bring a grown man to tears with his vitriolic spew. 
Leland Dantzler, Tester

From what I’ve heard and seen, Nate Hawbaker. But he usually plays well, so maybe it’s deserved.
Jake Lauer, Web Development Engineer

Luke Smith.
David Johnson, Engineer

Mat Noguchi. Not limited to after-work, either.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

Luke Smith is the champion, but Mat Noguchi is louder.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Bolt Ons23  I want to buy the PS4 now that Bungie makes games for PlayStation. But I am worried that it will effectively mean I am starting with a blank slate. How will this affect everything I have achieved with Halo?

With the rebuild of, we’ve sort of wiped that slate clean for you. Destiny (and the online experiences that will support it) will provide brand new opportunities for you to distinguish yourself as a rare and unique snowflake who kicks ass in a living world. The great feats you achieved in Halo may yet impact your legacy as a player of Bungie games. We still have a database with billions of rows of player data, and we’re not afraid to use it.

Player3Thomas  What is love?

Love is feeling a little bit guilty when the landscape is littered with the corpses of your enemies.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Love is taking a brief detour from your objective to help out a fellow Guardian in battle.
Josh Eash, Release Manager

Love is a night on the Moon – the ultimate date destination.
Jake Lauer, Web Development Engineer

Love is ignoring the tantalizing prospect of new loot to go save your mate.
Luke Ledwich, Test Engineer

Love is fulfilling a mission on Mars as I softly whisper, “I’ll be back soon.  Promise.”
David Johnson, Engineer

Love is stumbling into a massive squad of enemies, only to be saved by a stranger on the ridgeline.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Modernarcher  How big will the destiny art book be?

You assume too much. However, were we to publish a book of all the art we’ve created to help us realize this brave new world; it would be heavier than all of our previous publications combined.

player 900709  Should the less awesomely talented community members (this guy) feel intimidated and not share their creative Destiny-related works?

Not at all. We only learn when we try. There are some amazing illustrators who are flexing their creative muscles in Art and Stuff, and their appreciation society is shaping up to be a great place to have your work critiqued by your peers.

Mfish125  Does Bungie use 3ds Max or Maya?

Both.  And Motion Builder.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

Max is typically – although not exclusively – used for environment creation and hard surface creation while Maya is typically used for character creation and animation. We also use software programs like Zbrush, Mudbox, and a variety of highly specialized software. And of course we have our own proprietary tools that our artists use.
Dave Dunn, Head of Art

EZcompany2ndsqd  What does it take to become a community manager or assistant community manager?

Practice, baby. Practice! 

Bungie likes to hire people who have already demonstrated an ability to tackle the work that we need done. In the absence of professional experience, personal projects are a great way to demonstrate that you pack the gear to serve on our team. I won’t speak for how my predecessors prepared themselves to man this station, but I was managing a community (a smaller, more intimate alliance of online warriors) before I was drafted into the service of the Seventh Column. As a recruit from the community, I’m not alone at Bungie. Our games provide gamers with a lot ways to express themselves, and those expressions tend to prepare them for the craziness that cultivates in our studio every day.

LordMonkey  What is your spirit animal?

This could have been an interesting exploration of our various internal expressions of power, but it’s a safe bet that everyone would have just said “Tiger.”

Hylebos  Human, Awoken, or Exo, and why?

Human! Cause we awesome!
Awoken. Cause blue!
Exo. Cause robots!
Francisco Cruz, Artist

Awoken, because getting destroyed by a female Edward Cullen is great bragging rights.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Human: I love the raw passion and heroism that humans bring to the table.
Michael Williams, Senior Engineer

Exo Warlock! An ancient rusted war machine in a tattered robe who wields unknown powers and carries a shotgun? Does it really need any explanation?
Christopher Barrett, Art Director

korokva117  What are the fates of the Giant Frogs, Grub Lords, and Giant Rat Piranha Fish?

You could only have learned of those lost visions from our GDC talk. They’ve been committed to a crate, and stored in a warehouse right next to the Ark of the Covenant (no, not that Covenant). Along with the Tiger Man, they are casualties in the battle for the best idea. It’s a war that we love to wage at Bungie, but it leaves a lot of blood on the field. 

It should be said that good ideas die hard at Bungie. You never know when inspiration will strike, and we start busting open those old and dusty crates. 

Progo  What is most important at Bungie, being able to self-manage or to be able to work in large teams?

At Bungie those two are inseparable; the work you do on your own self-motivation and management directly affects your [large] team.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Well, if you can't self-manage you can't really be effective with a large team. We are a large team. Therefore, by modus tollens, you must be able to self-manage.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*

By being able to self-manage, you come prepared and ready to work in a large collaborative team environment.  People know you’ve got your end covered and can count on you to deliver.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead

The most important thing is being able to work in a SMALL team, the ability to help your pod kick ass. Everything else flows out of that.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

While we do work in teams, and that is important, I’ve found that striking out and finding your own plot of soil and fertilizing that over time is the path to success.
David Johnson, Engineer

At Bungie and in life; both are of equal import.  Who will build a shelter for you while you hunt?
Joe Spataro, Senior Technical Designer

Social intelligence and the ability to collaborate are more important than both those things.
Jonty Barnes, Production Director

Jjswanson24  Can we get a picture of DeeJ in a MoCap suit?

Never. There are few promises that I dare make to the Bungie Community, but staying as far away from full-spectrum spandex is one of them. I like you people too much to subject you to that.

Jakaii  Are you going to show a new trailer at E3, or at least more game footage?

You’re going to have to wait for E3 to see what we have planned. All we can tell you is that it’s a show you won’t want to miss.

The Mail Sack is now empty. We’ve committed to your screen all the community love that is fit to pixelate. As we make our way into a restful weekend, we must take a moment for one final expression of solidarity. This week, Bungie learned of a kindred soul in need of some strength in the face of great adversity.  Joe Staten, as he is known to do on many an occasion, will do the best job of speaking for us.

Bring it home, Joe:

Friends, we learned some very sad news this week. Iain Banks, a tremendously inspirational author for many of us at Bungie, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. His open letter about his condition was clever and courageous, just what you would expect from the man who gave us the Culture series of books and so many other wonderful stories. If you haven’t ever read a book by Banks, or if you haven’t recently re-read your favorite, might we suggest: now would be a great time. And then, if you feel inspired, why not leave a message on his guestbook?  Many of us at Bungie certainly will, offering thanks for all the joy he’s given us—and hope and comfort for his days ahead.  

Be Brave, Iain.  Love, Bungie.
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