Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 22:00:50 -0500
From: Mark Levin <>
Organization: University of Illinois
Subject: Transcript of Doug Zartman chat

Everything Doug said when he was on World Without Borders last night:

New Letters from the Webmaster when he's "back from vacation"

Q: "Doug, let's start with this question, what do Oni and Halo ha
ve in common?"

 They're both 3rd person action games.
Oni is more of a cyeberpunk, near-future sci-fi thing
with an anime setting and look
whereas Halo is more of a farther-future, hard-science sci fi

 What can you say about the Marathon logo appearing within the
 Halo logo?

 What indeed?...
Alls of our games have parallels
between the storylines
direct or thematic parallels?
mostly, some direct parallels
there are certain recurring names
recurring themes
but it remains to be seen how many direct parallels there might be in
the stories

 When do you expect to release the Marathon Source code, If yo
u ever do that is?

We've talked about it several times
there are some things in the code that would need to be changed
before we could release
and that would take time away from one of the coders making
one of the current titles
so we'll wait until we have some downtime ;-)

Not the serial coding, something else

>From our email, PB&J asks: In Halo if you can't come up with
a sidekick or two will a player be able to run bots for compa

The question about bots
I can't answer that - perhaps
it will definitely work as a purely single-player game
it's not like it's a multiplayer game with a bot option
there will be characters in the game helping you
in your war against the Covenant

Will there be editing tools for Halo?  (Like Myth2 included:f
ear and loathing).

That's the plan, yes
<general happiness>
I said the PLAN... ;-)

A while back, Matt Soell mentioned three things Bungie was wo
rking on. We now know what 1 and 3 was, what's #2?

#2 is coming up
We have more things to announce this year

bungie has always made games with the ability tocreate new ma
ps, so how hard will it be to recive new multi maps foroni, a
nd how many multi maps will be included in oni?

The trick with Oni is CAD
that stuff about us using real architects to make the levels
- it's true - they use CAD to make their environments
just like all other architects
so, yeah, we can't bundle CAD with the game

Doug, we've had a lot of discussion about the third person pe
rspective used in Halo. There's some infidels out there who c
laim that it's going to suck mightily and ruin gameplay. They
 are stupid. But I have to admit, I've been scratching my hea
d on how aiming a gun is going to be accomplished without a f
ps style view. Can you give us any insight, maybe settle the

Excellent question
might take some time to answer

Both Oni and Halo have a primary goal of solving the core pro
blems of 3rd person games
those problems are 1) stupid camera movement
2) aiming difficulty
oh, now I'm blanking on some of the other problems
but the point is
these problems are solvable
when we were making Myth
and told people "we're making an RTS with no resournce management"
they wondered how it was possible to make it a good game
we concentrated on something new, that people hadn't paid much attention
tactics, formations - the point is, there were a lot of things
that could be tried to make a fun game experience with an RTS
that didn't involve resources
aiming and camera stupidity are solvable
in a 3rd person perspective
it's a matter of thinking in a new way
about what you're trying to do with the gamne experience
transparent walls are one way, yes
Oni and Halo address the problem in similar
but slightly different ways
Oni is using a laser sight
on the guns, and Halo is using... something else

Doug, we have seen that Halo does alot more than the normal 3
rd person game.  Like interactive vehicles nad envirnonment,
will Oni freature the same interactivity like blow up walls a
nd bridges and vehicles?

There are still a lot of elements in Oni that are being worke
d out
Oni's environment is more urban
where Halo's is more outdoor
(they both have both, just different emphases)
in an urban envronment
you don't have the same freedom to blow up everything
because it causes serious rendering problems
the environment is more complex
there's more you have to show when something blows up
ans that's more of a burden on the engine
so they have to be trated differently

will the other movies, if any, be relesed at events as the fi
rstone was?

Yes, there will be more trailers for both games
who knows when they'll be released - not necessarily in conju
nction with events
def. on the net

I have two questions- a) How's the development schedule for O
ni going- still expect to have it out for the holidays this y
ear?  And what does Bungie think of the new iMacs?

(Notice me ducking the question)
Oni development is progressing nicely
but game development is always a ...
tough thing to schedule
Rest assured we won't rush Oni
to market before it's done
We're already working on Nude Konoko plugin
durn private messages!

The new iMacs...
We've got so many prototype machines in the office
I'm not sure what's new anymore
Talking about Velocity?
We've got Velocity code in Oni already
what about Halo?
Not yet
but it's just a matter of time

Doug, Miguel here.  How is Bungie 'maturing?'  It now has 2 h
its under its belt, and almost guaranteed 2 more.. with alot
more to come, I'm sure!  Not 4 years ago you were an unknown
entity to the general gaming world... so what has changed wit
hin the Bungie workplace?

and, pretend I'm a congressman that's about to sign a law mak
ing it harder for game developers to have violence in their g
ames... what would you say to me?

First things first

We're a lot different
we're a lot bigger, in terms of number of employees
and beleive me, that's a Good Thing
we were always seriously overworked
in the old days -
how many employees does bungie have now?
now about 50
changes from day to day
Yes, the parrot is new
so, it's really good to be able to put out more titles
and support them adequately
and have some investment like the Take 2 deal
so we don't have to break our backs
bribing retailers to put our games on the shelves
the atmosphere is much more relaxed
that it used to be
not less hardworking
but less stressed
No more barf bowls after a long day of Marathon eh?
No, we still have giant barf bowls

now, the violence question
There are all kinds of excitement people get from games
there's the time limit excitement of Tetris
a wonderful game
there's the larfs of You Don't Know Jack
and there's the excitement that comes
from feeling that you're going to be killed
These are all legitimate forms of entertainment
If there was a moratorium
on forms of entertinment that derived from violence
a vast part of our cultural heritage
would be off limits

I could say a lot more, but not in this forum

Will Halo be in any form at MWSf next year and why r their Ma
rathon symbols in Halo? *Phfors qestion was... Will Halo appe
ar at MacWorld Expo in January and what is the significance o
f the Marathon symobls?

I can't promise right now that Halo will be playable at MWSF,
 but there's a good chance

[Halo and Oni system requirements]

The system requirements answer is
they will both require a 3D card,
we will provide options for slower machines
and they're both far enough away that anyone with a semi-rece
nt machine
will be able to play them

Hey, Bungie and Apple have become pretty much partners, and a
 few months ago there was a rumor about a Halo commercial and
 iMacs or somthing, is there going to be a commercial for a M
acintosh game Based company anytime soon?

Boy, if there is, it's the first I've heard of it. I'd think
I would have