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Bungie Weekly Update - 12/13/2013

This week at Bungie, we’re feeling pretty lucky.

2013 is coming to a close and we’re feeling pretty great about our prospects. While the superstitious hunker down to polish their good luck charms, we’re making our own luck. As hapless campers are hunted through the woods by a raging psychopath wearing a hockey mask smelling of burnt pleather, we’re standing our ground.

There’s still a lot of work ahead of us to close out the year – plenty of time to trip and fall over an upturned twig and catch a machete in the face – but that doesn’t mean that we won’t take a moment or two away from the development floor to contemplate our good fortune while we stuff our faces with punch and pie. Harold throws a stiff jab in sparring practice, but he’s all heart during the holiday season.

Before we scatter away from each other for a long winter’s nap, we’re assembling one last 2013 build and we’re going to thrash the bugs out of it with machetes of our own. The Winter Build is coming. But that’s looking ahead. This past week, a lot of work went into bringing Destiny one step closer to the new year.

Engineers added a new component to stats we’ll track as you kick alien ass in the lost frontier. Our competitive multiplayer matches breached its boundaries and spilled out onto retail hardware; no devkits required. Progress.

The team built a magical mirror, so you can admire your own reflection, your riches, and your weapons, and your gear, even when you’re away from the Tower. 

We conjured the Banhammer from out of its slumber, and began to imbue it with some long overdue enhancements.  Listen. You can hear it on the December wind: Non facete nobis calcitrare vestrum perinæum.

Over in the community pod, we destroyed some birthday balloons to recreate our memories of the E3 stage demo, were it performed by well-armed chipmunks. Elliot nearly blacked out from oxygen deprivation. Don’t try this at home!

Beyond the Drawing Board

When Sloan Hood checks in at Bungie, he’s here to build worlds worthy of heroes. When he scores some personal rest and relaxation, he sometimes spends it BLOWING OUR MINDS. When I was 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, missing out on all the Halloween fun back at home, he was double-jumping around our studio dressed as a Hunter. To recapture the magic that I lost, I cornered him and made him share his memories of All Hallows’ Eve.

He’s badass, right? You should have seen him the year he dressed up as Adam Jensen from Deus Ex. Given the chance to create a new shell for himself, he chooses his heroes carefully. So I asked him, why the Hunter?

“Destiny is a costume/prop-maker’s dream,” said Sloan. “There’s such a wide variety of awesome things to make, from the hard-surface armor of the Titan, to the fabric-based garb of the Warlock. I chose the Hunter because it’s a mix of the other two classes. There’s a bit of armor, and a bit of fabric.”

It’s not all about replicating art, I would learn. “I also chose the Hunter because that’s the class I like to play. Quick, sneaky, lethal.”

A Hunter needs exotic tools to get the job done, and Mr. Hood’s are spot on. Ever since this concept snuck into our GDC presentation about creating brave new worlds, it’s been the stuff of legend. “The Thorn hand cannon was 3D printed from the actual assets created by our hard-surface artists.”

That’s how a game developer cosplays – with some heavy tech and a little space magic. Sloan started with a 3D model from our game. “I had to cut up the original models so that they had a flat surface from which the printer could begin printing.”

Sounds easy, right? Almost like cheating? Wrong. “Cutting and capping hi-poly models with up to a million triangles can be a pretty arduous task. I also had to make sure the scale of each piece was correct.”

Once Sloan had ported a gun from the last safe city on Earth into Bellevue, there was an adjustment or two that needed be made. “The first prints of the Thorn looked awesome, but a fellow artist who knows guns pointed out that the grip was way too small and was not quite the right shape.”

The end result is an exotic prop that would make any cosplayer follow Sloan on a dangerous mission into the wild.

Now that he has a process for raiding our toolbox for wonderful toys, this could become a habit. “For the next few years, I may just play real-life Destiny and ‘level-up’ my existing armor and weapons,” he teases. “Of course, I’ll have to make all that epic loot myself!”

Good things come in small packages, and some of the best gifts of all are absolutely free. We learn that every week we open the Sack.

ODSTJacob  Decembercast?

Maybe. Thanks for asking. We love doing them, and we’re glad that you like to listen.

December is almost gone, but we’ll see what we can slap together for you before the holiday winds scatter us to the four corners of the Earth. 

We do have something nice planned for you next week that’s fitting with the season.

Nordic Hero  Do Easter eggs have to be pre-approved by someone or they all made independently?

They need to be approved, lest one of us pull a crazy prank like hiding a pic of our naked ass in the game. That’s just an example. No one would really do that. No way.

ChorrizoTapatio  How does the damage system work in Destiny?

It’s all really complicated. Essentially, you’re gonna see these dudes, and you’re gonna want to, you know, do some damage to them. Maybe they’re extra-terrestrial squatters who have claimed your lost homeworlds as their own. Maybe it’s just that guy from that other private group who thinks he’s always right. At your fingertips, you’ll have an inventory bristling with weapons, not to mention all the powers of creation. You’re gonna use that stuff to attack those dudes, and they will become really damaged.

Sorry. I should really ask an Engineer to answer this question. Ask me again sometime.

MaxZ77  What is the story around the Traveler? Where did it come from and why is it protecting us?

Be sure to drink your Game Informer!

“A few years from today, our present, this alien intelligence, the Traveler, comes to Earth, and we don’t know a lot, we don’t remember a lot about this time, but we know a few things that are to survive. We don’t know if the Traveler was a ship, or a god, or a moon, or whatever, but we know this thing came and we know that it settled on Mars and that it began to share its amazing technology with us, and a city grew up around it, and all this. And it started what we now call The Golden Age, and humanity spread throughout the solar system, human lifespan tripled, we terraformed planets – it was amazing. It was the best times humanity had ever seen. But the traveler had enemies – one enemy in particular. And when that enemy caught up with it at Earth, an enemy that’d been chasing it for millennia across the galaxy, a horrible battle happened. We remember almost nothing about this, this is in the distant past of the game. That’s what we call The Collapse. So that’s the solar system we inherit, is one where humanity had spread to all worlds, all the moons, all the asteroid belts, had built great things, and then had to abandon them– being driven out of them and been killed. And humanity shrunk back after this battle against the ancient enemy of the Traveler, where the Traveler itself was crippled and fell silent above Earth. Humanity was driven back to this one spot underneath the Traveler – the one safe spot in the solar system – and built the city. That’s where the guardians come from, and the guardians’ grail quest is to drive back the Darkness and wake the Traveler. And then in fact, it just got worse than that because this ancient enemy of the Traveler – the Darkness – is returning, and so there’s even more urgency. And another battle is going to be fought, and the Traveler is crippled and silent. Without it, we’ll be defenseless.”
Jason Jones

Cobra  Tell me moar about swords.

No way. The last time I let slip a detail about swords, Luke almost used one to skin me alive. Yes, THAT Luke. Don’t thank me. You guys are worth it, and you needed something to cheer you up that week.

Spawn  Will there be more Destiny Trading Cards with codes for loot in the future?

Like you can’t even imagine. Your future is far from grim. You will, however, need to meet us halfway.

This year is not over yet. We have a few more tricks up our sleeve. Don’t stray too far, no matter where your travels may take you.

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