Weekly Update 3.19.15 (Sound/Visual)

Published on: Mar 19, 2015 @ 15:25

This week at Bungie, we’re seeing (and hearing) things a little differently.

During the weeks to come, we’ll be talking about the next update for Destiny. Before the House of Wolves is revealed, we’re investing some more loving care into the game you’re playing now. As a very wise man recently said, “It’s a labor of love.”

Previously, we teased this as part of 1.1.2:

Audio and Visual – Not everyone wants to see or hear a game the same way, which is why we’re looking at providing more options.

Do you want to know more? We’re ready to introduce you to the artists, designers, and engineers who are working toward delivering on that promise.

Sound Logic (or “Turn down for what?”)

While you’ve been listening to the audio mix in Destiny, we’ve been listening to you. Along with the other features we’re bundling into 1.1.2, we’re delivering some new Settings you need in order to isolate the frequency of the people in your Fireteam – or pump up your own jams.

Jay Weinland is our Head of Audio at Bungie. He’s been at the controls as we’ve mixed Bungie games in years past. Now, he’s talking about how the audio team is changing the way you hear our game.

We’ve put a lot of thought into the best way to answer player feedback when it comes to audio. It’s been clear that there are times when you want to elevate the voices of your friends above the mix. Chat Volume is a setting that will let you adjust the players on your team in a range from 50% up to +125%.

Game Volume adjusts all in-game dialogue, sounds effects, and music as one cohesive unit in a range from 0% to 100%. Keep in mind that Chat Volume adjusts the chat volume out of your speakers but not out of your chat headset (you should have your own volume for that).


There’s also the matter of the award-winning musical score. According to Jay, if you really want to, you can substitute the anthems in the game with your own personal theme songs.

Some players have asked us for the ability to listen to their own music while they play. If you want to do that, we’ll try not to take it personally! If you select Muted, the music will be excluded from the mix altogether.


The audio team isn’t just handling the controls over to the players. In this final preview from Jay, they’re also putting you on the hunt.

To prove again that Destiny music can also enhance the time you spend with your friends, we’ve added a fun little audio Easter egg to the game. It’ll be in there, somewhere. Once the update is live, see if you can find it…

To understand the scope of work that was done to make this happen, we also need to hear from Daniel Hanson. Without our User Interface Engineer, none of this would have been possible.

I spend a lot of time reading player feedback, especially when it comes to the User Interface. Audio settings were something that people would ask for pretty frequently, so I approached the audio team to see what tools we could use to give some control to our players.

With some fresh engineering, it became possible to expose their existing controls as new game settings. I feel very strongly about improving our player experience, and I was glad to have the opportunity to provide something extra to our community.

Is this all coming through loud and clear? Keep listening to us right here for more details on when this update will be prepped and ready for deployment.

Color Commentary

We don’t all see the world the same way. This isn’t some existential statement. Some of our eyes literally see color differently. In Update 1.1.2, we’ll be making the visual feedback that guides you through the world of Destiny relevant to more players.

Brad Fish championed this cause. As our User Interface Engineering Lead, he led the effort to make Destiny colorblind-friendly.

Destiny relies on color to communicate some pretty important information to the player, particularly in the user interface. You may not have trouble distinguishing the red blips on the motion tracker from the red surface of Mars, for example, but chances are you know someone who does. Our solution for this subset of our community is a proper “Colorblind Mode” for Destiny.

Adapting the existing user interface to support various color blind modes turned out to be a fairly complex challenge, but we managed to build a flexible toolkit for our designers that helped them do just that with minimally-invasive surgery and no negative impact to existing functionality. I’m extremely excited for players to get their hands on this!


Nate Hawbaker is a Technical Artist who merges form with function. He’s created a solution that could mean the difference between life and death for your Guardian.

One of the largest challenges we faced in extending colorblind support to the third dimension of our game was getting the gameplay cues right. At any moment, there are many colors that can influence your decisions. This is no good when someone can only see two of them. Does that enemy have Arc or Void shields? Who knows!

To provide a better solution, we increased the contrast between the colors we do have in the perceived palette. We hope the new modes enable more players to make quick decisions about the elements in the game that are most important. Since there is no such thing as a blue ammo drop, prioritizing the difference in shades was easier.

Bonus Points: After struggling to find my loot drop from the remains of Sepiks, we’ve increased the size and brightness of the loot bauble to match the Grey engram. Hurray for readability!


Standard Mode: This is how most Destiny gamers see our world. Differences between loot and enemy shields are apparent to anyone with an eye for detail.


Simulated Dueteranopic View: This most-common colorblind spectrum is how some players see the world of Destiny. The lack of color variance means less feedback as to which loot to grab or which weapons to wield.


Dueteranopia Mode: Once Update 1.1.2 is applied, colorblind gamers will see higher contrast to provide better cues to detect the differences.

Shield energy isn’t the only datapoint you need to put down your enemies. Knowing their location is also important.

David Candland is the same User Interface Design Lead who spoke to us recently about the effort to provide you with rapid access to your reputation statistics. More recently, he tackled the challenge of upgrading this transparent interface for use by players equipped with different visual spectrums.

We took a lot of care to make sure our game shipped colorblind-friendly, but these settings will make things even easier for our colorblind friends. While the colorblind options may make the HUD look wonderfully colorful to many of us, colorblind players will gain a more distinct clarity, helping their environmental awareness – as well as helping them avoid that unintentional exotic dismantle.


From left to right, you can see Standard Mode, a simulated Dueteranopic View, and Dueteranopia Mode.

It’s all coming soon. If you’ve been craving a different perspective, hang in there. The fix is almost in.

“What about Vault space,” you say. Maybe we’ll throw that door open next week. Keep track of our progress right here on the Bungie Blog.


Check out forums.planetdestiny.com if you’d like to talk to others about Destiny in a friendly and welcoming community! :)


  • Chris Heroman


  • Petis17


  • Q-min4t0r

    Awesome. As for now I can’t really see the difference between rare and legendary engram drops, but I can – weird as it is – clearly see the difference between an arc shield and a void shield… Hmm…

    Anyway, vault space getting increased in 1.1.2? YAY!!! FINALLY!!!

  • You guys need to credit this stuff to the people who actually wrote it instead of editing it like it’s an original part of this site. I’d like to see links to the original article. Is there a reason why you rewrite and relink things?

    • saintyoo

      Ummm… It’s the weekly update… If people don’t know what the weekly update is, then they haven’t played destiny (They also have said before to visit the original).

    • WSquared88

      This is a news site and they will copy and paste the article so that they can show it to people here. Usually they have a link to the Bungie version at the top, but I don’t see it this time. It’s possible that they just forgot this time

    • If you want to read the full update, it’s always at Bungie.net, usually on the homepage

      Forgot to include the link at the top, fixed now

  • WSquared88

    I am really interested to see what the audio easter egg will be when the update comes out. Any ideas?

  • insanetrasher

    Being able to listen to your own music is a neat addition, but… why in the hell can’t they put in sfx/music mix options.. I mean, we’re in 2015, every game should have those basic settings, even more if you’re planning on letting your players listen to their own music that have not been mixed with the game….

    • Christian

      I think they whole reason is copyright law. MP3 software and players all have to be licensed especially in order to play copyrighted music. If Destiny had an option that allowed you to play music from your library, say you wanted to listen to Nickelback through a Destiny player. That would be violating a copyright law if Bungie didn’t have the software licensed, which they don’t, and which is incredibly expensive. That’s why “Mega upload” got taken down. People were storing things on their cloud that “Mega Uploaded” wasn’t licensed to store whatever it was people were storing.

      Either way, both Xbox360 and XboxOne have apps that allow you to play music over the game’s audio, so that’s basically what you are looking for (:

      • insanetrasher

        Well thats not what I meant, but you could do that in some games on PS3 like Gran Turismo (play your own ps3 music playlist) so I doubt its a copyright issue, and anyway it looks like we’ll be able to listen to spotify while playing Destiny so thats not likely an issue.

        What I meant is a simple “sound effects” volume bar, and distinct “music” volume bar. So you could adjust to sound mix in the game. That is game settings 101 that we are still not getting in this AAA game, it is absurd.

        I can’t be the only 1 playing it that want to adjust how the gun shots sounds compared to the music score and such.

        • Christian

          It’s not beyond the reaches of certain companies to acquire a contract to allow players to use copyrighted content in a game. In fact, with publishers it isn’t barely uncommon, as many of them will be associated with programs and developers that use that particular media. It’s just we can’t expect Activision to acquire such privileges with their track record. haha.

          And have you tried lowering the SFX bar and turning up the TV volume? That might work, but since I haven’t had a chance to play around with it yet I wouldn’t know if the SFX includes music. If it does I’d have to say I’m a tiny bit disappointed because I’ve had a hard time enjoying the incredible sound track this game has because it’s so quiet. I was honestly expecting “new sound adjustments” to include music adjustments, so I do hope that’s the case.

          • insanetrasher

            Well, I might have not expressed it properly, but the problem is that there is no sound adjustments at all :p No sfx, no music nothing. And with the patch there will only be a chat and everything else volume bar, which is 95% pointless on PS4 since players all uses the ps4 party chat systemsince the audio quality is way better.

          • Christian

            Don’t sweat it, it happens. And yeah, I honestly did expect a music bar with this patch, it would be nice if games like his had this feature, but the only issue is is that we are a minority. People are complaining about other things more so that gets deemed more important while music settings are swept under the rug. If more people wanted it, it would be a sure thing. But there is no reason for Bungie to implement things for such a minority. If there was a poll, I guarantee the sliders will be ground zero. Which sucks, because sound is my favourite thing in a game. Just not many people show an interest in it. Which is a shame, because I feel it is everything.

          • insanetrasher

            I totally agree that a lot of other things in the game are way more important than this. The problem is that EVERY single modern game (very few don’t and should) have this features :p It shouldn’t even be a question for them to add it or not since its already there in the game done by them (the sfx/music mix).

            There are dozen of things like that in every game that makes me hurt my head in the wall thinking “why the fu** did they do or didn’t do that?”. Basics and no brainer things like that are in every games.. it hurts my feelings of leaving game/level design school a few years back.

          • Christian

            Yeah. I’m in game development LV3 at the moment in college, I must say audio is just my favourite thing, it’s not actually a part of the curriculum until the last year. It’s such a shame it’s an overlooked feature, it has all the potential to make experiences so much better. It’s just a shame that players don’t appreciate the little things. Even tiny things that almost go unnoticed are some of my favourites, when you see a developer has such an eye for detail to make every little thing count, it’s brilliant. I truly hope more tradition breaking titles unveil soon, they are what I keep my eye out for.

          • insanetrasher

            Yup looking forward to that, I’m very glad that indie titles are getting more important in the industry putting more pressure on AAA devs for the attention to detail department among other things.

            WIsh you sucess in this path btw 😉

          • Christian

            I totally agree. Indies have to potential to deliver the most incredible stuff. It has all the chance to put Tipple-As on the ropes. Haha.
            And thanks, all the best for you too.

  • Alex Howden

    HALL F*** LOYA!!!!! Options for color blind people, HOORAY!!!! Finally the days of a Rare and a Legendary looking the exact same end. Finally the days of not being able to tell if an enemy is on a different level or not ends. HOORAY!!!! FINAL THIS GLORIES DAY HAS COME!!!! I CAN SEE!!!! I CAN SEE!!!

  • Kenshiro Genjuro

    Awesome work by Bungie here. This is the sort of thing that advances gaming on all levels.

  • Jerry Sköld

    Kudos on the options for colorblind people. This is something that really should be standard, but it is awesome of Bungie to show how it should be done,

  • Scherzl

    Really really great work, the first Game i ever played which has Support for Color Blinds like me!!!! It really is unnerving to always ask is it arc or void shield? After a while i knew in which mode which enemy would have which shild, but for me it is one of the best improvements ever in a game!

    • insanetrasher

      Its good to see that devs are considering this more and more, a lot do nowadays.

  • TheDaywalker

    Far from the only game offering this, but good that it’s there (finally)…
    Just another option that SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED FROM THE START!

  • ORB1T4L

    So… I should be able to continue collecting Raid and Exotic weapons with the next patch ? I hope it’s not gonna be like “hey guys, we’ve added 5 additional slots in your Vault !”