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Destiny Weapons Podcast Summary

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Hylebos from Bungie.net's Super Good Advice took the liberty of summarizing today's Podcast. If you would like to listen, click play: http://downloads.bungie.com/podcasts/Bungie_Podcast_092413.mp3

 

His summary notes are as follows: 

 

Hosted by DeeJ, Urk, Halcylon

Recorded in the same place where the sound effects for Destiny are recorded.
Today they will be talking about Weaponry, the guns of Destiny, their purposes and the history they boast.
For guests today there will be Josh Hamrick, one of the sandbox designers, and Tom Doyle, their local gunsmith as it were.
Tom Doyle is an Art Lead at Bungie and the first in the hot seat.
He is the artist in charge combat sandbox, weapons vehicles sometimes abilities.  Predominately industrial design objects and working on the objects that players get to use as tools.
When he first came to Bungie he was an environment artist and he went to school for Industrial Design, he loves mechanical things, and he just sorta found a home on the weapon and vehicle team.
From Halo you had a very different pallets of weapons between the UNSC and the Covenant, how did the art team deal with moving out of these very well defined pallets into a sort of clean slate as it were?  How do you approach that daunting task?
 When you make anything new it’s very exciting, with Halo it was very much a military space fantasy game, and Destiny is also space fantasy but something that was important to the team was that there was a polarity of “I know what this is, I know what it does, and I know how it behaves before I even pull the trigger for the first time.”, a thing they call affordance, the warthog is a classic example of that, “Can I run a guy over with this?  Yeah, yeah I probably can.”
You want those things to be intrinsic, in Halo there were the good guy guns and the bad guy guns, and there’s a certain amount of that in Destiny, but they’re trying to tell a much larger story with a much richer fiction and the weapons are the first thing you see and are one of the more persistent kinds of artwork in the game.  It’s one of the louder channels to tell these kinds of stories.
The only other art that is more persistent in the game is the User Interface.
Many of the Halo weapons became really Iconic, they were elements of the sandbox that had to be there, players would tell stories about them, when you approach the design of a new weapon how do you frame that up?  What’s that process like?
Something that Bungie has always done really well is having people collide, people come to Bungie because they are passionate about art and games and design, and when it came to “What is Excalibur?”, it came from multiple sources, sometimes simply from a name like “Red Death”.  You ask “what does that mean?” and try to do something that represents that.
Josh Hamrick and Tyson Green will have certain investment or sandbox design goals and they have their input, and they’ll come to the group with awesome ideas and those printed orders will get the juices flowing.
Sometimes (especially with the exotics) it comes completely from the art and the art crew, “oh man we want to tell this visual story in the game”.
DeeJ has been showing off a lot of the exotic weapons, but even looking at some of the more common and mundane weapons like the Duke, all the weapons have this really cool and rich history and game feel.
It’s like a lightsaber, it was built and cared for by someone.
They thought of different parts of the world, like up in the Towers of the Last City and down on the pedestrian levels of the streets of the Last City, and tried to think of what a weapon down there would be like compared to weapons in the tower.  Maybe there’s some master craftsman that put together your Duke.
Do you flesh out those stories?  There’s different manufacturers in the world and they have different styles and visual language, are you sorta pursuing that fiction on your own?
Yes, obviously they have guys like Eric Rab who helps to corral it into something that’s approved and appropriate, but there’s a lot of implied fiction in the guns like the craftsmen who are underneath the city crafting away and on your duke you’ll find his mark, almost like a Katana maker’s seal.
From the drawing board comes more than just lines and shapes and colors there’s imagination, what story does this gun tell, just like a character or a space station.
They’ve been deliberate about not putting together a number to represent the amount of weapons in the game, but what sort of process does it take to make them, are they procedurally generated, are you guys hand crafting every single one?  What’s the process like to get a big pallet that satisfies design and players?
In order to get Bungie qualities with the weapons they had entertained a procedural construction method and they thought it helped expedite the creation of the weapons but at the cost of the uniqueness of the weapons.  They definitely reuse parts and pieces and finding shortcuts, but with some of the pieces it feels like a different weapon altogether.
They’ve lost count of how many guns are in the game, but each one is a hand crafted present that is exciting to discover.
They aren’t guns that are just laying around, you earn and own these guns.
It’s a different feel from halo where everything felt fresh and new and industrialized.  It’s all about exploring and taking weapons back from your enemy’s cold dead hands.
One of the cool things Urk has noticed is that with Halo things were well established, any time the team tinkered with or introduced a weapon the team was worried about “Why didn’t they have DMRs in Halo CE?  What happened to the CE Pistol?” and that’s important, but with Destiny they’re being much more free with the ideas.  Are you guys able to think about any crazy shit?
We’re constrained by our own imagination with this game, in the Halo games it was very much binary between the UNSC and the Covenant.  They’re trying to make every weapon in Destiny a legend, and the only way to do that is to make them as distinct as possible.
What’s your favorite weapon?  Tom Doyle likes the “Last Word”, he watched John Ford movies with his dad, sandalwood grip, gunslinger type weapon apparently.  The Last Word is like the badge for the Hunter.
Thorn is pretty badass, it’s the exact opposite of the Last Word, they’re the Yin and Yang in pistol form.  It’s a hand cannon carved out of Obsidian Dark Heart, it’s menacing and evil and you don’t want to hold onto for too long it’s an omen.
The Last Word is a lawman’s trophy in comparison.
He enjoys the gameplay of the hand cannon, this is the first time they’ve done a tried and true revolver in a game with really kinetic animations like the hammer cocking and the chamber rotating with each shot.
They talked about doing cool animations with some of the exotic weapons, like visibly locking the hammer on Last Word whenever you look at a friend.
So far they’ve just talked about revolvers, but they could talk about so many of the other weapon archetypes, it’s a very deep pallet with customization branches and such.
The weapon itself can be a reflection of the player psychology, knights carry Gjallerhorn, bandits carry Red Death, etc.
You go to every well you can to draw inspiration for weapons.
They talk about drawing influences and making it your own so that your pieces can inspire future people and so on and so forth for a while.
They really want to lure people out of their comfort zones to send them off on epic quests to search for new weapons that they’ve might have seen someone else carrying.
When you see someone in the game with a weapon, it’s a metric of how far they’ve played but what sort of activities they’ve played, one of the weapons they showcased for E3 was a PvP weapon that you can only get by fighting in the Arena, you see that and you know that they are a dogfighter.
36 Minutes in Josh Hamrick takes the hot seat.
Josh is a Gameplay Designer, he has a focus on the weapons.
There are people that make them pretty, physical, he makes them work dammit.
He has his fingers on the dials that control their balance and power and all that jazz, blame him.
Halo had the two weapon system, now we have a new world order where you form a relationship with your weapon in a way you couldn’t with Halo.
In Halo there were like 7 weapons that were on a map, they were always different weapons but they were the same weapon.  They’re going a different way so that everyone might find a AR and have completely different ones.
They want a balance in the turnover rate of weapons, they want you to explore the breadth of the sandbox but they also want you to spend quality “DeeJ time” with the weapons.
You’re giving people control over what weapons they have when they step onto the battlefield.
Destiny has a three weapon system (and everything is still in flux / development), but you can carry more than three weapons onto the battlefield, it’s just that only three of them are going to be easily accessible at a given time during combat.  They definitely don’t want you walking into an encounter with every gun in the game on hand.
You can definitely change between encounters, they just want to discourage you from changing out what type of AR you are using in mid combat.
There’s Primary, Special, and Heavy Weapons.  It sounds like with some of the weapon types you don’t start off with ammo, so you have to go out and find ammo for it first, the conversation is sorta going all over the place and keeps getting interrupted >_>
Josh likes to play as a Hunter, but Danny (the lead sandbox designer) keeps giving him excuses to switch every once in a while.
Fusion Rifles are laser guns.
They’re talking a lot about their personal builds, but nothing specific, a lot of general stuff.
They “Jason Jonesed” the Hand Cannon before Jason Jones could.*
DeeJ brings up the topic of Map Control and how in Halo you have to control specific territories to control the rockets and that was the big incentive to move around the map and not turtle up.  How are you going to keep people moving around the map if everyone has their own weapons?
Instead of looking for a rocket launcher spawn, you look for ammo for your Rocket Launcher.
At the moment when you die you lose some of your Heavy ammo and you’ll give it away to the people who killed you, apparently killing with a heavy weapon gives you heavy weapon ammo and such.  Apparently it is implied that ammo drops onto the map so there shouldn’t be any long term starvation problems from everyone eventually using up all the starting ammo.
Ammo is divided by weapon class, so you shouldn’t need to worry about picking up Rockets and not being able to use them with your sniper.
It’s no longer the Halo method of first guy to the Rocket Launcher probably wins, you have to be more careful about making sure that you can get away.
Destiny is still pre-alpha and they are still exploring what they want this to be and how they want this to work, so don’t be terribly outraged about work in progress things.  They know what they are doing and they playtest and iterate every day.
The Bungie Day build was apparently really snowbally and didn’t have heavy weapons.
There’s some smack talk and small anecdotes about slaughtering the User Research team in matches and so on and so forth.
A lot of the feedback that comes in from the community is echoed in the studio, there’s a lot of different players with different views on how the game should be.
DeeJ comments about how they’ve seemed to have found the best of both worlds where you can develop a relationship with your gun, but you have to keep moving to find ammo.
There’s a level of predictability they can maintain, it’s not like Fiesta despite the breadth of the weapons sandbox.  Silhouettes are maintained and audio is consistent amongst weapon classes.
Nobody has the Plasma Pistol against someone with a Rocket Launcher, everyone has their own weapons.
They’re excited to hear people ask “Where did you get that gun?” and then they go “Oh that was from my favorite mission on Mars, come with me I’ll show you!”
They’re hopefully going to pick up speed and try to release these Podcasts every couple of weeks or so whenever they have something to talk about.
 
*Could be a reference to the infamous last minute double damage buff to the CE pistol. Could the hand cannon be its return? 
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Interesting, ammo drops to incentivise map movement. I am glad their is still some on map objectives in Destiny, and its still worth it to run over someone's dead body and T-bag while you get their heavy weapon ammo lol.

 

This game is kind of the perfect storm for alot of players, who might not be super L33T at MP shooters or are more Single-player guys but they can at least bring their own customized weapons in from the other modes and maybe they will feel more incentive to get better if they see the cool "Gladiator" weapons you can earn from the Arena, and get some frags with their own special weapons. I definitely see potential in this game if its balanced, has skilled mechanics, and the meta-game/strats could be constantly shifting like WoW does as people find better weapon combinations and class builds. I know for sure I am going to be addicted to this game with all the hours I put into Halo+WoW lol.

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Sounds like competitve MP has a chance at being competitve. Still too soon to tell. I'm excited though either way, even if it is just a casual experience.

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