This week at Bungie, we went on the offensive in the bug war.
A wise man once said:
“Is this gonna be a standup fight, Sir, or another bug hunt?”
–Pvt. Hudson, Colonial Marine Corps (Deceased)
Sometimes those are the same thing. That’s the case in our studio right now. We’ve cleared every available table, and set up arrays of gaming stations for some aggressive maneuvers against the creepy crawlies in our code. As we prepare for the milestones that submit you to the trials, we’re refining the test. We’re seeking out the flaws on our construction site, and attacking them with extreme prejudice.
The room you’re peering into is the Hive. What you’re not seeing is the game that’s being tested. We’re talking about the scientific method here, rather than the results of the experiment. That comes later.
Usually, this space is an executive war room at Bungie – a secret lair where our captains plot and scheme around a seven-sided conference room table. Very few badges open those doors. Right now, they’ve swung wide to admit squads of bug bashers.
The fight is going well. Our hopes are high and our morale is soaring. Network Tester Jason Pate might not be chomping a cigar, but he’s keeping us focused on our prey with his watchful stare.
“The goal of the bug bash is to get producers, engineers, designers, and testers together. They’re battling the build, hammering over a set group of areas - trying to get to those bugs that we may have missed,” Jason says.
You might find yourself wondering why we’re putting designers to the test, since we’re rumored to have an army of dedicated testers on our team. The idea is that each developer takes the time to understand their own component of the game first-hand (or first-person, if you will). In Jason’s words, they’re tasked with “finding those sweet golden nuggets of build-blocking gloriousness.”
This can be painstaking work. That doesn’t mean it ain’t a ton of fun. The mood in that room is excited. The air is thick with the sound of “chaotic shouting, trash talking, and a sometimes life-threatening competitive nature,” says Sergeant Pate.
The buzz is all about the new sparkle. “They’ll pull half the lab over to their station, pointing out awesome locations and views that they’ve worked on.”
Taking pride in one’s work is requisite at Bungie. You may have heard that we make games we want to play. At this phase in development, that’s not just a cultural decision. It’s the tactic we’ll use to chase the bugs out of our system for good.
We have the weapons. We’ll keep fighting. And we’ll win!
Final Cake Boss
Earlier this week, a Fallen Captain invaded our kitchen. You may have seen his deadly countenance let loose on Twitter. For hours after his arrival, no one had the courage to approach him with a knife. This sugary confection was not the first alien boss to intimidate us enough to keep our blades sheathed and admire his ferocious stature from a distance.
The culinary craftsperson behind this delicious (and deadly) work of art is Tracy Gamble. She’s married to Glenn Gamble, who’s hard at work adding flair to the hallmark moments of Destiny. You’d have to admit that art runs in their family.
Let’s take a step into Tracy’s kitchen. Shall we? It’s strewn with enough concept art to make it look like the workstation of a character animator. Check out the progression, as batter and frosting becomes flesh and armor.
On a long enough timeline, each of us found the bravery we needed to take a stab at this vicious beast. He was as sweet as the loot he’ll drop when he falls to the Guardians in our game.
Thanks, Tracy! Your gamble has paid off handsomely.
An Informer In Our Midst
We reported this earlier in the day, but it deserves another mention for those of you who don’t follow us on Twitter or Facebook. (Shame on you, by the way.) If you’re thirsty for more information about Destiny, we’ve a suggestion to keep you all occupied.
Remember that Game Informer article about our game? Strangely enough, we still see a lot of Mail Sack questions that have already been expertly answered by the exploratory Fireteam of journalists they sent on a scouting mission that penetrated deep into the world of Destiny.
That article is free on their website now. They dig into almost every facet of our brave new adventure. You should too. They interview the guys behind our opaque curtain. Peel it back and reap the bounty of information for yourself. Your player’s journey awaits.
Now comes the time when we see who won the joust with non-disclosure this week. We won’t whisper secrets about your future discoveries into your ear, but we will give you just enough to prolong your curiosity about them. Let’s open the Sack.
Tokodo As we Guardians first step into the world, as we make our path for legend, will we find secrets and surprises along the way?
Yes. That is why you’re made to suffer the wait. It’s not a secret, nor a surprise, if DeeJ blurts it out on the blog. You’ll have time to explore, and room to stretch your legs. Just when you’re about to make a bold new discovery, vicious aliens will attack from above, below, or from every side. Be curious, but be vigilant.
BENDY917 Can you recruit NPCs or hire mercenaries to go with you on missions, raids, quests, or anything like that?
Why would you want to recruit a Non-Player Character, when the world of Destiny is populated with Guardians? Every hero from the last safe city on Earth will be driven by a living, thinking player with a racing pulse and an itchy trigger finger. You’ll come across characters bound to the software, of course, but your allies will be the other players who join you on your adventures.
ExpBountyHunter Will we have preset load outs that we can switch to when not in combat?
Your Guardian is your creation. When you build your hero, you will take her or him across every mode of the game. We need you to add a character to the story we’re telling, and watch as you evolve as a player on this stage. Josh Hamrick did a great job of explaining your combat choices when he sat with us for the Bungie Podcast. If you’re daydreaming about guns (lots and lots of guns), give it a listen.
SloTheKing How much of the full game are we going to be able to access during the beta?
Enough to tell us what we need to know, but not so much that you’ll be left with no more worlds to conquer. Ever served Bungie as a beta tester? This will be the biggest proving grounds we’ve ever opened up to you before we were go for final launch.
Dreaderanger As a Hunter, may one hold a pistol and a sniper rifle? I feel both are important for a Hunter.
Or a Warlock. Or a Titan. There are lots of character elements that are exclusive to player classes. Each breed of Guardian will fight and move and grow in unique ways. The weapon arsenal, however, is a free-for-all of firepower and mayhem. Your roguish Hunter can enjoy a Sniper Rifle in his hands and a hand-cannon in his holster. My regal Warlock can butt a belt-fed heavy machine gun against his shoulder, with a Pulse Rifle at the ready. Urk’s burly Titan can draw a Scout Rifle against his foe, holding a Shotgun in reserve. Each of can mix and match and repeat.
I’ve only mentioned a fraction of the options, and each of our weapons can be tricked out and buffed up. We’re gonna have some fun with these guns. All of 'em.
DBGames115 Is there going to be more in-game footage released soon?
Kyofunokami2 How will raids work?
Mercilessly, and with much cruelty. I saw them in action last weekend, and the deadliest killers I know were shaken and stirred.
MitchtheGuy Are we going to see crafting implemented in any way?
The Tower will be a place where you can restore and upgrade your weapons and gear. Some of the loot you capture on your missions will be items that you can equip or wield. Other treasures that you reap from the action you sow will be raw materials that you need to upgrade your inventory. The best thing is that your rewards will be pre-destined. The fates know what you need, and your fortunes will favor the brave.
ChicChico Are you hiring?
Always. What are you good at? What are you passionate about? Be warned, eight hours in our vocational interrogation chambers have been known to reduce seasoned professionals to tears.
BigEvilTurtle Can a Guardian's outfit and weapon set be changed in the middle of a competitive match, or are they stuck with what they entered the battle with?
The plan of record is to enable you to carry an inventory with you, and allow you to make changes on the fly. The mysterious science that fills your pack with such wonderful toys is our secret for now. It’s technology, indecipherable from magic.
As an aside, you should be grateful that Bungie lets me answer these questions. Halcylon was just looking over my shoulder, and his response was:
“If you want to get shot in the face, knock yourself out.”
While a bit crude, his words do convey the wisdom that goes against digging into your bag of loot when you’re in a hostile war zone.
AWOL DJ On one side you have the fans that want to know more about Destiny. On the other side you have the people you believe don't know enough about Destiny. I once saw a motivational poster with an elephant standing on top of a beach ball that read The Key to Life is Balance. My question then is this: Who is the elephant and who is the beach ball as it pertains to you and the community? I can't help but wonder that sooner or later that beach ball is going to pop. When it does, the elephant will come crashing down. You have two days to mull it over, but you're a smart guy. It shouldn't take you that long.
The elephant is us. On either side of us, we find a spoiled experience and a community that forgets we’re making a game. You’re right. The trick is not falling in either direction.
The ball is your patience. We’re pretty sure we can continue this balancing act before it bursts. We have plans. We think you’ll like them. Together, we’ll make beautiful music.