Bungie Weekly Update/09-14-01

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This is the Bungie Weekly Update of September 14, 2001, written by Matt Soell.

Bungie Update[edit]

I saw how bummed out people were this afternoon after MS launched and then retracted their Halo website. Peter suggested I could cheer you guys up with a new screenshot. As you already know, there's not a lot for me to talk about these days, so screenshots sounded good. Besides, other people had suggested back in the day that I include a screenshot with every update, and I never said I would, but I never said I wouldn't either. Peter happened to have several lying around, so we took a look at them. Some were not up to snuff, but several were great.Unfortunately they are all 50-megabyte TIFFs and converting them into something easily downloaded over the net is turning out to be a problem. Half the fun of a Halo screenshot is the ability to zoom in and see the ridiculous level of detail involved. So we won't be able to do anything this week, but we have an idea...keep your eyes on the sites where the Halo Updates appear.

In other news:

  • Work continues on optimizing framerates. We're at the point where we can run through the game watching for drops and then use a variety of tools to pinpoint the problem, be it a bunch of textures loaded off the disc or a cinematics script creating fifty objects at once. Once we know what the problem is, we can fix it. Sounds simple, doesn't it? And yet we must call upon the mad skillz of Chris Butcher to make it happen.
  • There have been a few changes in the Banshee as well - the AI now knows when it's hitting things, or is about to, and can take the appropriate evasive action - which is occasionally quite visually stunning.
  • Various team members have played a series of multiplayer games to build up a decent library of footage for Halo's attract mode. Much trash-talking has ensued around the office.
  • According to Marty, my work here is done. Not all of it, actually - he'll still be fixing bugs and adding a few things here and there - but the vast majority of music, sound effects, ambience, and dialog are finished and in place. The thing I like the most, said Marty, is that the music is a seamless thing.
  • Diamond Dave Candland was absent yesterday, which meant the rest of us on the Online Team had access to his dev kit. At least one of us was playing Halo at any given time. I took over for Peter after he'd walked off in frustration at his seemingly hopeless position: stuck in a room filled with Elites, Jackals and Grunts, with no health and little ammo, and the game set to Legendary difficulty. I played a careful but tenacious game of cat-and mouse - jumping around corners, drilling enemies with the weapons I'd lifted from their fallen comrades, falling back when necessary. I died many, many times - but I seemed to get a little farther, or learn something new about my enemies' reactions, each time. Some time later, I glanced at my watch and was astonished to see that it was now 7 PM, several hours after I'd started playing, much longer than the fifteen or twenty minutes I'd expected to play. Peter took over once more after I went home; he ended up playing until 2 AM. I don't really have a point except to give an example of how engrossing this game is, even to those of us who've had daily access to it for a long time.
  • For those of you who enjoyed the Halo footage that was available for a short while earlier: there's more where that came from.