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Another Week, Another Mail Sack

What can we tell you about another week at Bungie?{{more}} We’re another week closer to putting on the show that we have planned for E3. We’re another week closer to the flash in the pan that passes for Summer in Seattle. We have another new hire who’s vying for a free lunch. And, we have another five crunch dinners and one Bagel Friday under our belts, literally.

The steady march toward your next date with Destiny continues. The development floor is abuzz over shiny new touches being packed into our game.  The Bungie.net team is working on another update to the site.  And me?  With the help of the Bungie Panel that joined me in the mail room this week, I’m opening the Sack.



EZcompany2ndsqd  So Bungie, what movies are you looking forward to this year?
It’s about that time again. Isn’t it a bitter irony in Seattle that as soon as the weather gets warm and bright, we’re depressingly inundated with fantastic reasons to retreat into dark, enclosed spaces? There’s enough buzz about Star Trek: Into Darkness at Bungie that we’ve rented out a theater for an early premiere. For me, though, the best part of the summer blockbuster season is the internal email debates that rage after opening weekend, as our first panelist can attest.

Individually, most of us love movies, but the Bungie hivemind destroys all movies.
Rahsaan Green, Sandbox Test Engineer

Star Trek.
Wesley Oleson, PS3 Tester

Much Ado About Nothing.  Shakespeare and Joss. It can’t get much better than that.
Garrett Greer, Engineer

The one where the muscular guy beats up the bad dude!
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Pacific Rim. Guillermo Del Toro + Idris Elba + GlaDOS + Lovecraft + Evangelion = Epic Nerd Awesome.
Joey Gibbs, Broducer

Elysium – I think Neil Blomcamp is a very talented director. I love it when I see Halo influences in his work.
David Candland, Senior Artist

Fast and Furious 6: The Furioustest. But, seriously, Man of Steel. I can’t wait to see what Michael Shannon does with Zod.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

Iron Man 3!
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

Before Midnight. The blockbuster trilogy comes to a shocking conclusion! Hopefully there will be a part 4.
Scott Taylor, Producer


Master Coy  It has been said that, if we had an outside force to fight against, we would put our differences aside and unite as a human race. Are you providing that outside force that could unite us worldwide?
Yep. That’s the plan. You figured us out. How better to dominate the world than to unite it against a common foe? The idea is that, if we make Destiny feel real enough, the world will forget about war and corporate takeovers and band together to make their last city safe again. Then, we can just swoop in and reveal our designs for Planet Bungie, a shining utopia where the virtual loot economy is fake, the sarcasm very real, and where all eager dissidents score themselves a one-way ride straight into the sun.


SonOfTheShire  What are your favourite boss fights from games?
So, I tried to have some fun with this question, and morph it into a mass-remembrance of actual fights that people had with their bosses whilst making games. The only person who took me up on the dare was Lorraine – probably because she’s been at Bungie for long enough to outlast several bosses. Since she followed the instructions, she’s the only one who gets to answer.

It went something like this:

Me: But she’ll be naked!

Max: No she won’t. She’ll be all covered up.  It’ll be fine.  She’s gonna be on the cover!

Me, giving Max a very dubious look:  I’ll do it. But showing Konoko with just guns is off-brand.

Hours later, the vixen that is the star character of Oni is glaring at us (and rightly so) past her bangs, carrying 100+ lbs. of loaded guns and a bandolier that were all strategically placed to cover her girl bits.

Max, looking shocked: Oh my god. She’s naked!!

Thankfully, I had prepared a layer that had actual clothing, albeit ripped to shreds in spots.
Lorraine McLees, Senior Graphic Designer


Ser Jergen  Have there been more Jason Jones sightings and is he a major player in communicating the overall vision of Destiny to the rest of Bungie?
We see Jason Jones every day. He is Destiny’s Project Director, after all. Sorry we keep him all to ourselves, but work makes him a very busy guy, and we are very selfish when it comes to our Jones time. Besides, we’re pretty sure he’s right where you want him to be.


Lord Visvas  Name a co-worker that inspires you and why.
I’m inspired by the two ladies who sit at the desks on either side of me. One of the few things that separate my corner of the studio from the average Cro-Magnon cave is the fact that our wall etchings happen on whiteboards. To protect the shreds of dignity that they have left, they shall remain nameless. I’ll let the panel out their more inspirational coworkers.

John Shaffstall’s youthful passion for excellence always inspires me. When I’m feeling old and curmudgeonly – or I need to be beaten at Magic – I go pay him a visit in the mobile development area.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Paul Gradwohl. He has almost 200,000 kills in Black Ops.
John Harris, Tester

Damian Frank. The dude is always chipper and laughing and chugging ice water from his massive mug. He’s like a happy Viking, laughing in the face of horrendous blocking bugs.
Leland Dantzler, Tester

Jerome. He’s just an all-around badass!
Wesley Oleson, PS3 Tester

Chris Owens, because he’s Chris Owens.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer


Bulldawg  Does Bungie have a company MacGyver? I'm not talking just software, I'm talking about, if anything breaks, this person can fix it. Who is this unsung hero?
We do. His name is Steve Burnaroos. He can build anything we ask for, and we love to keep him on his toes. He’s the physical manifestation of the Bungie fetish for going completely overboard on a design spec, and reaching beyond known boundaries of awesome. To date, he has built (among other things) a boat, a virtual race car, a rock wall, an illuminated pull up bar, an overflow bike rack, a haunted house, a custom camera dolly, set pieces for motion capture shoots, and installations to decorate our studio for various seasons. He even coated some of our toilets in hydrophobic paint to solve a problem MacGyver would have rightly refused to tackle. When reached for comment, he whispered something about a miniature golf course. Best job ever.


Oddball  Have you gained a friend in a fellow employee at Bungie, that you didn't necessarily know before, by playing Destiny with them?
We have yet to become meat world friends yet, but one of my most recent encounters in playtest featured our studio’s resident set of identical twins. Their reputation already preceded them. They  go to lunch together. They work together. They came to Bungie (at the same time) from the same company, where they also worked together. More than friends, they are as close to inseparable as you can come without literally being joined at the hip. 

Once, when I was brave enough to leave the protection of the Tower and venture into the wild alone, I found myself pinned down by a crew of scavenging Fallen raiders. I thought all was lost until the twins arrived. They rolled through my Fallen enemies like silent heroes. They saved my life. I haven’t had the chance to thank them for that. This reminds me though. I should take them out for a new hire lunch. 

And now the Mail Sack is bringing Bungie together.  Let’s see how the panel is making new friends while they “work.”

Mat Noguchi and I have been hanging out a lot lately, and I’d say that it was playing Destiny that brought us together.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

I got to know Jamie Evans better after driving him off a cliff. That’s what he gets for accepting rides from strangers.
Joey Gibbs, Broducer

Elliot Gray. I don't think we're allowed on the same team anymore.
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*

Only blood rivals in the depths of the PVP lab.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

Friends? No. Enemies? Probably. Playtests get intense.
John Harris, Tester

New Hire lunches are better for friendships!
Leland Dantzler, Tester


Ibex1001  What happens if the careers positions aren't filled?
If they are unwilling to submit themselves to our interrogations, we kidnap the people we need in the middle of the night, and convince them to stay with offerings of free snacks and weekly playtests. If anyone knows anyone who fits these descriptions, let us know.


ChorrizoTapatio  How was your first day actually stepping into Bungie studios as an employee?
Lars Bakken asked me the same question when I was fresh and new. I had just come off of a marathon session of viewing dozens of videos recorded at team meetings. I told him “I would have paid you to watch those videos....” 

Let’s see if anyone on the panel had a similar reaction.

It was like a koala bear crapped a rainbow in my brain.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

It was intimidating!  I could feel the small fish, big pond effect.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

Surreal. Part of me is still afraid that I’m going to wake up in a library back in 2010 after falling asleep on my LSAT prep textbook.
Joey Gibbs, Broducer

I was star struck. I was a fan and it took me a while to really absorb that these people I had seen and admired online were actually my peers now and I was actually one of them.
David Candland, Senior Artist
[Editor’s Note: Dave Candland started at Bungie in October, 2000! - urk]

Cold.  I started in the freezer lab.
Rahsaan Green, Sandbox Test Engineer

I didn’t have a desk.
Kevin McGinnis, Art Lead

Amazing – partially because it was much better than the 4-day cross country trip I took to get here. And maybe (absolutely) because it happened to be my first industry job!
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

Imagine what you’d feel like if tomorrow Bungie invited you into the studio, gave you a full tour, and then sat you down with access to more of Destiny than you could possibly digest. That was just the beginning of day one for me.
Josh Eash, Release Manager

I’d never worked in a place that had a climbing wall, fireplace, hanging chairs, and a life-sized DeeJ.
Drew Smith, Producer
[Editor’s Note: Our DeeJ model is actually only 1:3 scale and in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint. - urk]


Big Boss  What is something you've done at Bungie that you will never, ever live down?
It’s rarely one thing. Every piece of embarrassing or incriminating evidence of foolishness ends up in someone’s stockpile, ready to be unleashed via email at a moment’s notice. Here are some repeat offenders willing to fess up on their own, along with some of their more notorious offenses. Not surprisingly, most of them were committed at our Pentathlon.

Cher.
Marty O’Donnell, Audio Director.

Bon Jovi.
Alex Loret de Mola, Engineer

I walked right into the glass door at the entrance to one of our playtest labs. Yes, I had walked into this room before without issue. Our cleaning crew does one heck of a job.
Robert Kehoe, BVT Tester

Wound up on the Newbie cornhole team. Obviously I had to wear sweatbands. One said CORN. The other said HOLE.
Wesley Oleson, PS3 Tester

When I was hired, I’d never done User Interface for a game before. I got recruited to do the UI for Halo, so I built it to the best of my knowledge, learning as I went along. One day, Jason Jones comes up to me and says, “Dave! You’re killing me!” I’m all, “What’d I do?” Apparently, they found out why the game took a major framerate dive every time you zoomed in the pistol. It was because I was slapping up a texture to cover the whole screen. Very bad, and very, very naïve of me.
David Candland, Senior Artist

As retold to me by Luke Timmins, here’s a stream of words that I said while debugging: “Who's the @#$%ing idiot who wrote this %#!7? Oh my god, it's me! I'm an idiot!”
Mat Noguchi, Programmer*

Hosting the Annual Blind Whisk(e)y Tasting Competition at Pentathlon. Now, people think I’m a raging alcoholic.
Troy McFarland, Motion Capture Lead (and responsible consumer of fine spirits)

I made a coworker jump about two feet into the air when I loudly announced a birthday right behind him. My voice really carries in here.
Jami Jeffcoat, Tech Designer

Wearing skinny jeans every day.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer


Tartan 118  Let's forget about what you'd tell your younger self for a second; what would you tell your older self if you could talk to them now?
Contemplations of the impact of time travel on our future existence give me a wicked headache. Your question is intriguing, but definitely a job for our panel.

You’re Welcome!
Kevin McGinnis, Art Lead

I’d ask myself for money, since I will inevitably be incredibly rich and powerful by then.
Elliott Gray, Graphic Designer

I know you are a hermit living in the mountains somewhere, but look back at your days as a game developer and remember they were the greatest years of your life!
Wesley Oleson, PS3 Tester

Whatever you do, do not trust the younger me. It’s a trap. RUN.
Chris Owens, Test Engineer

If I could talk to my older self now, I would be asking her for the winning lottery ticket numbers so we can split off a parallel universe.  
Lorraine McLees, Senior Graphic Designer

You knew that I was going to say this.
Joe Sifferman, Test Engineer

I’d much rather listen to what he had to say.
Josh Eash, Release Manager


Player3Th0mas  How does one win a mailsack?
When you share with us the questions that come to your mind when you think about Bungie, and we share the answers that come to mind when we think about you, everyone wins.

We’ll play this game again next week, Bungie Community. The lull between exciting moments when you get to learn more about the universe we’re building for you won’t last much longer. We’re crawling through the underbrush, planning our next sneak attack on your mind. When the ambush is sprung, we hope you’ll agree that it was worth the wait.
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