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When You Wish Upon A Mail Sack

We know what you’re thinking. Will Bungie be candid this week? Will they let slip some tasty new morsel of concept art?{{more}}


Perhaps you’ve been refreshing your browser today, camped on the familiar ramparts of Bungie.net, ready for this update. Maybe you were led here by your preferred social network. Or it could be that you followed a link that was dropped on your favorite fan-owned community portal.

No matter the road that was traveled on the information super-highway, it’s a safe bet that everybody has come here for the same reason. You’re hoping for more information about Destiny. And here we are, camped behind the safety of our studio walls, getting ready for what’s next.

We’ll come as close as we can to honoring your wishes without spoiling what we’re building. Let’s open the Sack.


Full Time Loser  We've seen lots of helmets... very few faces.
Try to find some solace in the fact that the scant few Guardians we’ve shown you are properly shielded from danger. When it’s your turn to explore a solar system filled with bad guys who want to shoot you in the face, you’ll be grateful for those helmets. For now, we’re not ready to unmask any more details on this front.


Euler  Who is the go-to guy for when you've run into a (metaphorical) programming brick wall?
Those walls aren’t as metaphorical as you might think. A common question among engineers is: “Is anyone blocked?” When the panel hits a wall of code, this is who helps them punch through.

A (metaphorical) Kool-Aid Man.
Jay Thaler, Senior Engineer

For me, it’s been Tristan Root.  He knows a great deal about the complex server code in regards to certain sections that I’ve been touching recently, and he’s at once wise, helpful, and patient.  He’s my personal hero of the past couple of months.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

StackOverflow.com. There is no other answer.
Jake Lauer, Web Development Engineer

Whoever doesn’t have their headphones on. Pretty much everyone here has a useful perspective on problem solving.
Damian Frank, Engineer

Code-Bot 5000.  He has all the answers.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Your Mom.
Scott Kankelborg, Special Projects Assassin

Christian Diefenbach, as he’ll just “bump the memory.”
Leland Dantzler, Tester

I explain my problem to a rubber duck. About half the time, as I’m reciting the circumstances aloud, I immediately notice a really bad assumption that I’m making.
David Johnson, Engineer

I'm pretty sure I built one of these walls, so I'm SOL.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*


Lord Visvas  Are you doing any work so that playing with someone of a higher or lower character level will be as fun and rewarding as playing with someone of the same level?
While we’re not ready to detail out character progression in Destiny, we will reiterate that we want everything in Destiny to be more fun when you’re playing with your friends. It’s incredibly important to us that seasoned Vanguards will find plenty of fun and rewarding things to do with other players who might not be able to commit the same amount of time to Destiny, or who may be just starting out on their adventures. 


QuirkyNate  Which would be better, to have the best group of people who work well alone but not so much in a group or a group of people who work well in a group but not so much alone. You can't have both.
Can, too! That’s why we have a recruiting team that’s as scrutinizing as the people who select astronauts to send into space. Okay, maybe it’s not that hard, but we don’t hand out contracts at the bus stop. Have we mentioned the job interview loops here? They make the Salem Witch Trials look like a hot tub party.

Oh, and if you’re asking about playing Destiny, I can only give you my personal answers. It should be obvious by now. I’m a team player.


Shaedren  If you could have any one question answered, what would that question be?
I’d want to know how the secret formula of wit, humor, and sarcasm that would lull the entire Internet into a dreamy state of harmony. I would then sell that recipe to community managers all across this virtual land.  Since we all know this doesn’t exist, I’ll turn this fanciful meditation over to our panel. You can have any question answered, friends.  Which one will it be?

This one.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*

Who’s on first?
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer

Is there anyone else out there in the depths of space?
Brendan Walker, Engineer

And, if so, can I borrow all of your tech?
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Can a man drown in the fountain of life?
Jay Thaler, Senior Engineer

Why do clothes companies still put itchy tags on clothing?
Dawn Vu, Graphics Tester

I’ve always wanted to know the punch line to Bender’s joke in “The Breakfast Club.”
Josh Eash, Release Manager

How much war could a warlock lock if a warlock could lock war?
Andrew Weldon, Designer

Where does DeeJ get his infinite patience and wisdom?
Leland Dantzler, Tester

You can’t bottle it, Leland.


Arbyit  It’s no secret that it’s kinda tough to describe exactly what Destiny is. So if I wanted to get a friend to buy Destiny and they knew nothing about it or knew nothing about the Halo or Bungie experience, what would you tell them in one sentence?
Secrets?  Us?  I think we’ve been incredibly transparent.

The truth of the matter is that no one can be told what Destiny is. You must experience it for yourself. This question was put to the panel, but this response put all others to shame:

William Jennings Bryan said “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
Jay Thaler, Senior Engineer

Wow.  Talk about inheriting the wind. If that’s too whimsical for some of you, we’ve already whipped up a brief, and more succinct description.


Cortana Five  May we have a "proof of life" for Urk?
You’re one of those Urk lovers, eh? He’s around, plotting and scheming to make sure that the next time Destiny steps out from behind its protective wall, it blows your mind. You can call off the kidnap-and-ransom rescue mercenaries that you hired. And, no, I will not post a picture of him holding today’s newspaper. Let him go. You’re stuck with me now. I’m slightly less ginger and extremely less sarcastic, but I’m all you’ve got – until I’m dead or they find someone better.

And, it seems that we’re still talking about inheriting the wind. Just a different kind of wind.


Sleepy  DeeJ, will you go to prom with me?
Sure. You were always my favorite dwarf. Warning: I’m not a cheap date (I always order the lobster), and I insist on wearing fabulous jackets that will inevitably make your schoolmates point and laugh. If you’re still game, send a private jet to fetch me to your ballroom of choice (no fair using Kickstarter).


Old Monarch  How has working at Bungie changed your perspective on video games?
We still play them, if that’s what you’re asking. I used to think that working in this industry would make games less wonderful. I was wrong. Mind you, I don’t write code, so they’re still a bit of a mystery to me. Panel? How has doing the “smart” work changed you as gamers?

I now believe video games actually exist.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

I always knew that games took a lot of effort – I never realized from how many disparate disciplines.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

It’s made me pay way more attention how an AI interacts with their environment and the player (it’s what I work on). In particular, telling the difference between good canned animation that plays exactly the same way every time vs. AI that actually reacts in new and unique ways.
Brendan Walker, Engineer

I appreciate the unbelievable amount of work that goes into creating them. There are so many types of things that need to happen that I never even considered.
Jake Lauer, Web Development Engineer

Every game I play, I now respect immensely more.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Everything is always more complicated than I think it is.
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant

These days, I tend to evaluate games as manifestations of the organization that made the game.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

I’m much more critical of games as I play, and begin to wonder what the designers or programmers were pondering in certain spots.
David Johnson, Engineer


Narstrom  Will it be possible to sympathize with the aliens over the humans?
Anything is possible, but when those Cabal Centurions charge at you through the sands of Mars, the crimson dunes trembling under their deafening footfalls, we doubt the emotion that you’ll be feeling will be sympathy.

Or perhaps you were referring to the Awoken, and in that case we definitely think you’ll share some common ground with them.


Player3Thomas  Would you please name a NPC after me?
Only if you change your name to Osiris. Or, Uncredited Robot #7.

It would be so nice, for a change, if someone were to grant us a wish.


Malfar  You're walking along during the dead of night. The sky is unusually clear. You gaze up at the stars and behold the wonder that is the Milky Way. At that moment, a bright shooting star streaks across the night sky. What is your wish?
Now, that’s more like it. I wish that our panel would help answer this question.

That the shooting star isn’t the harbinger of an impending meteor shower.
Drew Smith, Producer

That something I work on will occupy some small mindshare of another stranger, hopefully in a positive way.
Brendan Walker, Engineer

To have, and have complete control over, every Marvel mutant power.
Robert Kehoe, BVT Tester

For Nebraska football’s immediate and decisive return to national relevance.
Andrew Weldon, Designer

That Destiny was already released.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Wishes don’t come true if you share them. Noob.
Dawn Vu, Graphics Tester

Wait, or is that just birthday candle wishes?
Travis Pijut, Test Engineer

Anyone who isn’t asking for more wishes is making a novice mistake.
David Johnson, Engineer


OlegTheGreat  What programming language is the new Bungie.net written in? I really like technicalities.
I do all of my writing in English. Since our mono-lingual tradition on Bungie.net doesn’t exactly lend itself to a goal of world domination, we’re looking for people who broaden our conversational horizons. If you wield a foreign tongue, you may well find purchase on Team Bungie as a translator. They call that “Localization,” which makes no sense because it’s all about stuff that happens in other places.

I know. This isn’t what you asked. But, bro, we’re hiring!


Sir Dinkydruk  What is the craziest way you've seen a co-worker blow off steam during Crunch?
There used to be some pretty epic remote control helicopter fights. Sadly, the tradition didn’t last long. The combatants just weren’t tough enough to endure the bouts. Here are some other popular pressure release mechanisms.

I’ve seen people answering these questions from time to time.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

At my last company, we used to “borrow” my bosses Segway and chase each other around the office.
Brendan Walker, Engineer

Rap Battle. 
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Bungie Fit and Mad Madelyn’s Fitness Hour. Crunch crunches, ftw.
Mark Flieg, Artist

I watched Mike Lee repeatedly punch the bottom of the kitchen punching bag last night - the place where all the sand settles is essentially like punching a cinder block. He was wailing on it like a maniac and started laughing really loudly.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Watching Top Gun on the giant screen in the middle of the open office during Halo 3 polish. I don't think I'm allowed to talk about the rest.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*


Rosemints  If Bungie were to create a theme park, what would it be like? What kind of rides, and or attractions would it have?
There would be one ride. It would be a single-seated adventure that delivered the passenger into the nearest star. Admittance would be invite-only, with a very exclusive guest list. It would not be the sort of attraction with a line around the block, if you catch our meaning.


xgeua  Of the location revealed so far, which has your favorite skybox?
Looking up at the sky is a great way to leave yourself wide-open to attack. The Vex don’t stop to smell the roses, so choose your stargazing opportunities wisely. That said, there are quiet moments to enjoy the worlds of Destiny, and this is how the panel spends theirs.

The Tower, especially at night. At one point, I was considering leaving the game running as my desktop background.
Mike Forrest, Senior Engineer

The moon. It’s so mysterious. 
Thomas Wiley, Auto BVT Tester

I’m partial to Venus. Venus is for lovers after all.
Brendan Walker, Engineer

Gotta go with [redacted]. I literally sat there and stared at it for several minutes.
Jake Lauer, Web Development Engineer

Venus at night. It’s definitely worth it in Destiny to park your avatar on its keister once and a while to wait for the sun to set.
Robert Kehoe, BVT Tester

My favorite one hasn’t been revealed yet.
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant

Mars.  There’s a [redacted] in the sky that’s just awesome.
John Hopson, User Research Lead

Has the [redacted] been revealed? While I was running around, I turned around and stared at the amazing sunset, and took a couple screenshots of it. I’m a sucker for incredible sunsets.
Dawn Vu, Graphics Tester

[Editor’s Note: How’s that for proof of life?  – Urk]


R3BELxNOMAD  I like to feel as if I am my character. Will I get that feeling while playing Destiny?
That experience will be essential in Destiny. Wanna know who’s the main character in of this story?  Hint: It’s you. 


Grandmaster Ninja  What's the most amusing way your character has perished in Destiny so far?
Disclaimer: The following deaths, shared by our panel, were bug-induced. They have since been fixed, or they will be before your first date with Destiny. It’s highly unlikely that any of you will meet your tragic demise in a similar fashion.

It’s great when walls don’t have collision detection, and a stray projectile nails you from another area.
Thomas Wiley, Auto BVT Tester

I found myself in a room that I was obviously not meant to be in, full of enemies more powerful than I’d ever seen. They killed me over and over until I had to disconnect to escape from their terrifying clutches.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Getting splattered by an enemy AI. When we were initially tuning the ramming speed in a test, the player would go flying off into the sky.
Brendan Walker, Engineer

While capturing some sweet video for what became the big announce video, I managed to fall right off the edge of the Tower to my death.
Scott Kankelborg, Special Projects Assassin

Pantsless.
Kris Moreno, Senior User Researcher

I figured out a way to sling myself off of a Pike so hard that I could kill myself with the side of a building. I’ve got video, it was glorious.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

We had an issue with some doors a little while back where they basically bit you in half if you were caught standing inside the doorway.
Joey Gibbs, Production Assistant

I’ve been known to throw grenades into an area to weaken my foes and then go charging in after them.  Pro Tip: Make sure you wait for your grenades to explode before you start your charge.
Mike Forrest, Senior Engineer

Okay, that last one was not a bug. But you can never have too many Pro Tips when human civilization is on the line.


CReATOR  Have you guys at Bungie finished all the graphics for the character models, and the world,etc?
No, no, and no.  And, no.  Everything you’ve seen so far is work in progress. There is still a lot of work to be done. This is why you are made to wait, friends. Not because we like to tease you. Not because we know that you can take it. It’s because we’re still working. 

Fortunately, we’re not too busy to open a window and let you peer through our wall and look in our progress. We’ll do that again next week. We’ll open the Sack again, and make your wish our command.
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