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Bungie Weekly Update - 10/18/2013

This week at Bungie, we visited an old friend (for free) in a virtual arcade, and welcomed three new friends to check out our real one.

When a brave developer joins our team, their very first day at Bungie begins with the grand tour of our studio. The honor of inviting a new face into our inner sanctum used to fall to Pete Parsons. These days, this ritual of internal community management is mine to conduct. Yesterday morning, I joined a freshly badged soul in our lobby. I found him waiting on a comfy bench, anxious to take in the sights and sounds of our building, as well as the game we’re making here.

“Are you sure about this?” I asked him, following the challenge with a dare. “This is your last chance to run screaming into the fresh morning air. Once you walk through that door and see what we’re up to at the top of those stairs, you’re ours. If you try to escape, we’ll kill you and eat you.” Jerome’s gravelly chuckle escaped his fortified bunker.

The new guy jumped to his feet. “I’m ready!” he promised. A crisp nod conveyed his eagerness to come aboard. That’s the spirit we need from our transfusions of new blood at Bungie. We think Destiny is looking good. Community response has certainly been humbling, but there’s more heavy lifting to do. These additional hands make for lighter work.

Our shiny new Environment Artist joins us in progress. Since we last chronicled our progression, we made a waterfall look more like a waterfall. We brought our combatants up to speed, so that their appearance can keep pace with the evolving destinations they occupy. The Tower was infused with new life from the City streets.

And, Ben Thompson’s baby girl was born. She’s already grown an inch. Become legend, Adelia.

Location, Location, Location…

As much fun as it is to show people around our studio, there are even more exotic destinations worth a tour. The Moon is very much on our minds of late, as are the three rules of real estate. In the wake of the Moon trailer, there are still many nooks and crannies on its cratered surface that we can explore together, at least in words and pictures. A fresh batch of Moon concepts has been added to the Destiny gallery, including one that deserves a history lesson.

Welcome to the Moonbase.

“The Moonbase is a mystery.  The life spark of humanity has long gone out.  It’s now overrun by moon dust, meteors, and ghosts.  What happened here?”
Sam Jones, Lead Environment Artist

In a previous Weekly Update, we led you on a starside safari through the citadel that the Hive have cored deep into the Moon. They’re not the only visitors to have left their mark on our celestial neighbor. You'll find our own footprints there as well. This week, Sam Jones is our guide for yet another lunar excursion.

This concept by Dorje Bellbrook depicts one of the oldest ideas for a playable space for Destiny. We’ve been kicking around the Moonbase in one shape or another since 2009. Marke Pedersen and Ryan Ellis created a particularly notable early example for the Bungie Day of that year.  Man, was it cool!

The Moonbase is actually hinted at in Mark Goldsworthy’s original postcard for the Moon. This image was also used as direct inspiration for the Hellmouth location.  You can see the human buildings hanging out on a precipice depicted above, a tiny speck compared to the immensity of the Hive structure.

Jesse Van Dijk’s later vision is a complex interplay of concepts. It is hopeful, as it points towards humanity’s future successful expansion into the Solar System. It is also downbeat, as it has been abandoned.  The Moonbase is intended to be very familiar – akin to the International Space Station in nature – but the backdrop of Hive architecture and shattered tectonic plates makes it exotic.

Darren Bacon conceptualized the Comms Tower, the main focal point of the Moonbase complex.  During the Golden Age, this was a relay station between Earth and the rest of the colonial effort throughout our Solar System. The architectural design is important for two reasons. The use of color is very welcome amidst the subdued lunar color palette. The height of the tower makes it useful for player navigation.

The Comms Tower has seen many iterations – all useful stepping stones to where we are now.  Joseph Cross executed this paintover to sell the powerful graphic design that runs throughout Destiny. We also needed to indicate ‘final lighting’ – resulting in an entirely new direction.

You can see how the Comms Tower is constructed in Grognok, our awesome world editor. It’s composed from one of our main architectural palettes – Human Colony Outpost.  A palette is like a graphical Lego set that artists create and use to construct anything.  Human Colony Outpost strives to capture all the hallmarks of deep space exploration: vacuum sealed entryways, accordion tunnels for access, prefabbed panel construction, and lots of assorted hardware.

Finally, we arrive at a pic of the Comms Tower in our game engine.  Artistic contributors: Adam Williams, Marke Pedersen, Daniel Thiger, Coolie Calihan, Josh Markham, Noah Thompson, and Thad Steffen. Lighting by Madsion Parker, Ryan Ellis, and Andrew Baker.

This location is just one small step into the world of Destiny. Other destinations await. We’ll need Guardians to liberate them all from new management.

Is it really made out of cheese?

Your Moon tour will continue next week with the next episode of the Bungie Podcast. Our guests will be Lead Environment Artist Sam Jones, who you should be quite familiar with by now, and Technical Art Director Ryan Ellis, whose work has been speaking for itself since our reveal back in February. 

Check back next week, or subscribe to the Bungie Podcast on iTunes to listen when it goes live. If you want to sound off on last month’s podcast, or chat with some fans about what’s upcoming, you can jump into the official Bungie Podcast group on

On the road again...

While most of Bungie will be home for the end of October, Urk and I are prepping for another adventure. Planes, trains, and automobiles have been commissioned, and we’re heading to Milan, London, and Paris. Meanwhile, our teammate Chris Alderson will be in Sao Paulo. There are gamers who have yet to see Destiny up close and personal. Turns out, not everybody refreshes the Bungie Blog on Friday afternoons. They need for us to hand-deliver their invitation to become legend, and we intend to bring it to them. 

Passports have been expedited. Accommodations have been reserved. Plans have been made to keep the website updated. We’ll fan out to explore our separate objectives, and regroup later for a full debrief on our campaigns for world domination. You’ll receive a full report.

Before we close out today’s update and prepare for takeoff, let’s open the Sack.

Black Eye Hawk  If possible could you post the stats and comments of each Weekend Champion game?

A new Weekend Champion wasn’t crowned last week. We were too busy playing the latest milestone build as a full team. Perhaps in the future, we’ll check back with the people who frequent our competitive playtest lab, assuming they’re willing to break their first two rules again.

(Sourced from Facebook) Connor J.  I have a question: If I ask nicely for a free beta code, will you guys give me one?

Sure. Here: YT3-RMJ-64C.

That, however, is the unlikeliest way to get into the Destiny Beta. If you want to guarantee your reservation, you’ll need to take matters into your own hands and pre-order.
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