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Bungie Weekly Update - 11/01/2013

This week at Bungie, we plotted a collision course with gamers in four countries, on two continents. Two Fireteams left the safety of our city to divide and conquer. Our collective trot spanned the globe. We breached the borders (after some very polite adherence to customs procedures) of Brazil, Italy, England, and France. 

Our mission: To seek out gamers worthy of becoming Guardians.

The hunting grounds were fertile. Each destination was teeming with life that yearned to breathe the rare air of the Tower. Meeting people who are anxious to play our game is both thrilling and inspiring. We love nothing more than sharing public spaces with brave gamers who dream of venturing starside. To encounter a member of the Bungie Community – to shake their hand and look them in the eye and talk about what makes games great – reminds us of why we do what we do.

These visits weren’t just social encounters. The world is a big place. No matter how hard we beat our drum from one reveal to the next, we know those thunderclaps won’t reach every corner of the realm. So, we make housecalls. Destiny represents a bold opportunity for Bungie. Our ambition is deep, and our partners are mighty. We have a chance to wrap our arms around the world and share an epic adventure that we think will be meaningful.

The scenery on display in the destinations we visited wasn’t too bad, either.  

Meanwhile at home, the sprawling vistas that we’re coding into our game came into sharper focus. The Hunter earned some new threads worthy of their role as an assassin. is starting to chronicle the exploits of our Guardians, whether they triumph or are vanquished in playtest. We created new ways to let you shoot from the hip, and some helpful characters assumed their post in the Tower.

Location, Location, Location…

We’re almost done leading you on a tour of the Moon. Soon, it will be time to leave that destination to your imagination. The rest of the locations that shape its pocked surface will be left for you to discover. Before we bring an end to these off-world visiting hours, let’s take a look at a gun pointed at the head of the universe.

Welcome to the Accelerator.

“Accelerator: Just the name itself is cool. It implies speed. It’s inspirational. It sounds like something exciting from the future. It’s classic Sci-Fi.”
Sam Jones, Lead Environment Artist.

Did you listen to the last Bungie Podcast? If you did, you drank in the regal tones of our lunar curator. Once again, Sam Jones is historian as we wander around another location where you’ll fight to liberate the ruins of our golden age from vile squatters from points unknown.

Accelerator, Darren Bacon

The idea for the Accelerator was borne out of the simple design/art need to create a large and obvious visual anchor point on the Lunar surface – something players can use as an easy navigation point from all around the Moon. It’s a large, simple, and directional shape, very different from the main forms seen in Hellmouth and Moonbase.

Moonbase, Dorje Bellbrook 

From a functional standpoint, the Accelerator needed to fit cohesively within the visual language of all the Human Colony Outpost architecture.  Looking at the early Moonbase picture above, you can see that we share building elements between Accelerator and Moonbase.

Accelerator, Dorje Bellbrook

The Accelerator was built during the Golden Age of Human expansion.  It is a symbol of our power from long ago.  Now, of course, it is in a state of disuse. It is a pale shadow of a once pivotal and very active machine. Its main function was to fling materials at super-high speeds to achieve escape velocity from the surface of the Moon. The Accelerator delivered payloads to the outer reaches of the Solar System, where further outposts of Man’s colonial effort awaited its cargo.

Accelerator graphic design, Joseph Cross 

The Accelerator expresses many visual themes. It speaks overtly about nature slowly erasing man’s foothold with meteorite pockmarking and layers of Moondust. It also acts as a blank canvas for bold graphic design – swirls of color and giant marching text help give it a sense of vibrancy and identity. The appearance of signage further humanizes the location.

In Grognok

The Accelerator is actually referred to generally as a Fusion Coil Accelerator, coilgun, or railgun.  These all do basically the same thing – they accelerate conducting projectiles using coils of electromagnets to high speeds. The resultant action is remotely akin to a regular firearm – hence being called a ‘gun’.  We think giant electromagnetic space guns are cool!

In Engine

It’s actually a very real piece of tech that we Humans use already. The Large Hadron Collider in Europe is a great example. The main difference being that our Accelerator sits on the surface on the Moon. This is not really much of a stretch, though, as there have been on/off plans kicked about to do just this sometime in the future. A useful aspect of a Lunar Accelerator is that it can propel projectiles to escape velocity using magnetic power alone – no need to burn very expensive fuel here.

I’d like to shout out to the World design minds behind the Accelerator and much of the Moon that we see today in engine – Tom Farnsworth, Chris Carney, Alex Pfeiffer, Daniel Grafstrom, Aaron Steelman and Matt Sammons.

The next time you drink in a location from the Moon, chances are that you’ll hold the cup yourself – in our game, at least. We’ve pulled the curtain back far enough for now. Destiny is all about exploration, so we’ll need to leave some blind corners in the mix.

You don’t know Jack.

Did you have a nice Halloween? Many of us took a moment to get into character. Yesterday, our studio was even more of a freak show than usual. Before we donned our costumes, we invited you to get into the act of the reaping season. Your mission was to stab a vegetable until it resembled a vision from the world of Destiny. Here were the finest creations we received.

Remember that time we said that only seven of you would win? Yeah, that was a total lie. Anyone who took the time to meet the deadline gets a code for the Destiny Beta. Check out this gallery to see the intrepid sculptors whose bravery will be rewarded with nine digits of glory.

We'll be in touch with the spoils. Next week.

Jetlag takes a toll on even the bravest of travelers. My computer tells me it’s 3:15. My brain, still partially drunk on Parisian air (and champagne), could swear it’s the middle of the night. Next week represents a chance to get back on local time, and scare up some more content to keep you updated on our other quest for world domination.

Before we resume normal operations, we’ll open the Sack.

Cosha11  What happens to the unlucky guardians who don't survive and die?

If they’re lucky, they brought along some fellow Guardians as allies in their Fireteams to revive them. The strength of the wolf is the pack, after all.

KingInTheNorth  Many multiplatform games are often designed for what is colloquially known as "the lowest common denominator," meaning the engine and graphics are dumbed down in order to accommodate the least advanced system it is being made for. Is something like this happening with Destiny?

Not at all, Your Highness. We knew when we started on this game that we would want to release it on a lot of boxes. We also knew that, among all the trails that our Guardians would blaze, some of them would lead to the next generation of gaming. Thus, we built ourselves a new game engine that would let us bring the noise to a lot of consoles. Basically, we can envision a big, beautiful world in our development environment, and then deliver that world to consoles in a way that maximizes it’s capabilities to make magic happen.
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