August 12, 2005

Stubbs is stubb-elicious

I had the pleasure of visiting Wideload recently and was impressed with their progress on the game. It's coming along really well and the hints of multiple-platform simul-release seems like a sure thing. And if not simul, then near-simul. But the most important bit of info I gleaned from these talented folks is that they're having alot of fun, are full of ideas (that they would not tell me, of course) and feel real good about the future. This portends great things, methinks.

Here's an interesting NEW trivia question. I'll give anyone with a paypal account $5 if they get close to what I think is the answer to the following question:

"Stubbs the Zombie is based on a previous Bungie engine. In the history of Bungie (and now Wideload) technical sequels, what sets this game apart from past attempts?"

I'll give you a hint. My answer is sarcastic and smarmy.

Posted by bs at August 12, 2005 12:49 AM

he's dead just like that old bungie engine should be??

Posted by: Shady on August 17, 2005 10:32 PM

That's pretty smarmy, but no, that's not it.


My answer is rooted more in actual facts about the sequels and their technical nature.

Posted by: Miguel on August 17, 2005 10:45 PM

The difference is this time they got 3rd person to work!

Posted by: Cody Miller on August 31, 2005 10:19 PM

Nah, still not it. :)

Posted by: Miguel on September 1, 2005 10:49 AM

This time it's innovative? ;)

I didn't mean that!

Posted by: Djof on September 9, 2005 10:25 PM

Nope. I like the snark though. :)

Posted by: Miguel on September 10, 2005 8:49 AM

About 2000 miles.

Posted by: Stefan on September 12, 2005 6:20 PM

nuh-uh. And here I thought someone within the cabal would get closer. :)

OK, here's another hint: code.

Posted by: Miguel on September 13, 2005 11:08 AM

Stubbs lacks Yet Another Of Jason's Bugs?

Posted by: Djof on September 20, 2005 9:25 PM


Posted by: Miguel on September 20, 2005 9:29 PM

The "setting apart from past attempts" must be the sarcasm in the queston. Therefore the answer is something negative about Stubbs that is similar to past Bungie projects, however, anything DIFFERENT about Stubbs in the realm of code (which as previously mentioned is essentially the halo code) is a POSITIVE difference because of the originality of the game in proportion to past Bungie titles. So I have no idea =(

Posted by: SilverBrin**** on September 21, 2005 1:22 AM

I had a whole reply written here, with more hints, but I just erased it all. I want more eyes to see this because I think there are those that *could* answer it based on what has been written so far.

- M

Posted by: Miguel on September 21, 2005 1:18 PM

Umm... Bungie has since come up with yet another engine, but they decided to go with the older one?

Posted by: Septimus on September 21, 2005 1:30 PM

Everybody in the game speaks English?

Posted by: Mintz on September 21, 2005 3:26 PM

The AI has improved.

Posted by: Phantom on September 21, 2005 4:04 PM

Tube mobbish zest

No code-name for the release in progress.

Posted by: CYBRFRK on September 21, 2005 4:10 PM

Less dependence on DOS...

Posted by: zugy on September 21, 2005 4:33 PM

Even though you can see the back of your head(Third Person View), it's still full of bugs (aka rotting)?

Posted by: Dante on September 21, 2005 6:47 PM

The phrase "technical sequels" seems odd to me. I'm unsure if this is supposed to indicate that Stubbs is a sequel only technically because Wideload is not Bungie, or that it is a "technical" sequel because it is based on a Bungie engine.

A number of possibilities occur to me, however.

While previous Bungie games have always involved humor, this is the first I can think of where it is the foundation of the story. Halo, Myth, and Marathon are all pretty serious games that take themselves seriously, with a light moment thrown in here or there.

If "technical sequels" means games running on an engine previously made for another game, then we have to narrow the list of games we are comparing Stubbs to.

Marathon 2 ran on a modified Marathon engine, and continued the Marathon story. Bungie made and published it. Marathon Infinity used the Marathon 2 engine, but it was developed by Duality, a Bungie offshoot.

Myth 2 ran on an improved Myth engine, and continued the Myth story. Bungie made and published it. Myth 3 used a different engine, and was developed by Mumbo Jumbo after Take Two acquired the Myth rights in the Microsoft buyout.

Halo 2 seems to run on an improved Halo 1 engine. It continues the Halo story, and was made by Bungie Studios and published by Microsoft, as the previous game was.

So, what's different about Stubbs?

Well, it's the first time that an existing engine (Halo) has been used for a game completely unrelated to the original's story (Stubbs) but been made by a company with ties to Bungie (several ex-Bungie emplolyees at Wideload).

The Marathon engine was licensed to third parties for making games like ZPC and Damage Incorporated. These games had nothing to do with Marathon aside from the engine (like Stubbs has nothing to do with Halo) but those companies had no connection to Bungie.

None of Bungie's games to date really seem to have incorporated a love story into their plots. I've heard tell there may be such an element in Stubbs. That might be a first. But that would be a first for any game with Bungie heritage (that I know of), not just "technical sequels".

The perspective remarks about Oni are funny, but Oni isn't a sequel to anything, nor does it have a sequel, and to my knowledge, nothing's been done with the engine after it was ported to the PS2, so I don't think Oni is relevant here at all.

Myth 2 was a technical sequel. Perhaps Stubbs isn't going to have an installer bug in its PC version?

If "code" is a hint, it could be computer code or a code name.

Perhaps Stubbs' code name and real name are the same. Maybe Wideload figured if the game didn't have a code name, it couldn't be leaked! Or perhaps that's it. Perhaps it's the first game of Bungie heritage NOT to have its code name leaked prior to release!

If we consider Wideload and Bungie separately, Stubbs is the first game developed using a licensed rather than an in-house developed engine. But then again, that is rather similar to what Duality did with Marathon Infinity, so I'm not sure that works, either.

Posted by: narcogen on September 22, 2005 12:36 AM

What do we get if we guess the real answer, not Mig's?

Posted by: narcogen on September 22, 2005 12:44 AM

Narc is kinda on the right track. And *I* know the right answer. I only phrased it "what I think is the answer" to cover myself in case someone actually came up with a BETTER answer to the question. But so far no one has.

The first sentence lays the ground-work for what is meant by technical sequel. It means a sequel based on similar coding, not actual game environment. So, as I thought I was clear, Stubbs is technically a sequel to Halo 1 because it is based on the Halo 1 engine. Additions, revisions, etc to the engine mean it is not IDENTICAL to the Halo 1 engine, but a SEQUEL to it.

My hint 'code' is specifically 'programming code'

Think about the HISTORY OF BUNGIE CODE. You have to be a true Bungie freak to have followed the progress of Bungie's development 'style' to get this. And my other hint is that the answer is SARCASTIC and SMARMY. In other words, it's not something to be said with a straight face, but to bust Bungie's balls.

So Narc's kinda on the right track, but he's got to do less intellectualizing, and more snarking. :)

Posted by: Miguel on September 22, 2005 1:58 AM

Naturally I meant "Double Aught" when I said "Duality" above. Duality was their next, never-released project, after Marathon Infinity.

And I thought the uninstaller bug crack was pretty snarky. Nothing like creating a bug that necessitates selling your company to The Man.

Especially when you're already The Man. Or another man. Or something.

Posted by: narcogen on September 22, 2005 3:04 AM

But at any rate, I suspect you mean the true simultaneous release.

Marathon 2 came out for Windows, but late, and it sucked.

Myth 2 came out crossplatform, but had the Uninstaller bug.

Halo came out on PC and Mac long after the original, and it's likely Halo 2 never will.

So a bug-free simultaneous release of Stubbs would mark a return to one of the aspects that old school Bungie fans loved about the company-- the attitude towards platforms like the Mac as being worthy of at least the same if not better treatment than Windows.

Posted by: narcogen on September 22, 2005 3:08 AM

Or a return to not thinking that PC users need their entire hard drive wiped.

Frankly, I still believe that :)

Posted by: narcogen on September 22, 2005 5:53 AM

Hmmm...given the skull hunt and all those odd hippo nicknames and whatnot...Maybe variable names that actually make sense?

Posted by: zugy on September 22, 2005 9:59 PM

Nah, I'm betting that there are probably MORE weird variable names and colorful comments in Stubbs than in your average Bungie game.

Posted by: narcogen on September 22, 2005 10:39 PM

So....what IS the answer?

Posted by: zugy on September 27, 2005 2:56 AM

I don't know... either nobody's come up with it, or Mig doesn't have the five bucks...

Posted by: narcogen on September 28, 2005 2:44 AM

He doesn't have the five bucks...

Posted by: Mintz on September 29, 2005 6:42 PM

Oh, here's another possible (yet unlikely) stubb-- I mean stab- at it:

Wideload actually knows how to program -Application X- this time around.

Ok, ok fine... maybe I did come up with a bad guess just to say the "stubb" joke... sorry. =(

Posted by: Mintz on September 29, 2005 6:48 PM

No "maybe" about it...

Posted by: narcogen on October 3, 2005 5:51 AM

Didn't Bungie always dog on Jason Jones, asking "Exactly HOW much code did you actually write for Halo?"

So the difference is, this time he has a legitimate excuse.

Posted by: Cody Miller on October 3, 2005 10:23 AM

Well, I don't know. Regardless of how much code JJ actually did put into Halo, there's probably a good chance it's still some of it there-- so there's some code by him in a shipping game that his company isn't even developing or producing.

Besides, it's only natural that a company that expands the way Bungie has since the days of PiD will have people that grow from "pounding out code" roles to "thinking about the future of the franchise" roles.

I wonder if we can blame the DOA4 thing on Jones, then...

Posted by: narcogen on October 4, 2005 2:00 AM

OK, I ignored this long enough. Mintz got pretty close actually.

"Wow, you guys actually got Stubbs to work with real Halo code, you didn't lose the code this time, huh?"

- M

Posted by: Miguel on October 6, 2005 11:46 AM

So, by that definition, all Bungie games after Minotaur are technical sequels, since they all have some recycled code? Or does it only apply when the sequel's game environment is completely different? I'm thinking of the fact that the code for Mac M2 and Xbox Halo 1 was never "lost" in any way.

Also, did anyone here notice that Greg Kirkpatrick emerged from hiding?

Posted by: Document on October 7, 2005 11:40 AM

It's a matter of degrees of course. Look at it backwards though, when they had to actually *recreate* or were *unable* to proceed because previous assets were lost. code had to be recreated for Myth 2 because the original M1 code was gone gone gone. Marathon 2 PC code? Who has it? It's gone gone gone.

I'm not sure what you mean about Halo 1 Xbox code... the whole point to the 'snarky' comment is that indeed they DID have the original Halo 1 code that they could update and modify to make the game Stubbs.

Posted by: Miguel on October 7, 2005 2:24 PM

PayPal email:


Posted by: Mintz on October 7, 2005 4:09 PM

Mig, I know they lost some of Marathon's code post-release, and possibly some of Myth's-- but weren't those losses after the sequels were released?

The issue about the Marathon and Myth code losses were I thought that they couldn't do the open source releases when they wanted-- hence the open source release of only the M2/Infinity engine, and why the M1A1 project was such a big deal.

And I thought the Myth source code was lost after the TFL engine was modified to make SB... no?

If that's the case, the fact that Halo code survived to go to Wideload isn't the thing-- the question will be, when it comes time to open source the Halo engine, will someone have the code then? :)

Posted by: narcogen on October 11, 2005 12:31 AM
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