Dear reader I’ve felt badly about being away for so long, really I have. To make it up to the small percentage of the population who come by the blog I have a nice large helping of one of my favorite things to talk about, Halo:Reach.
The San Diego Comic Con has come to a close and overly agitate geeks from all walks of life have returned to their homes fat on the latest info, toys, comics, and twice fried food. One of the most amazing things to come from this event was Bungie’s new ViDoc “Forgeworld”. In the video Bungie take us beyond the canyon as was promised in Rooster Teeth’s Bungie Day video, and that tease did not dissapoint.
For those of you not familiar with the glory that is Halo 3’s Forge mode, it is at its core a map editor which allows players to move some objects around the environment,place new ones, and control most of the options that before rested solely in the hands of the developers themselves. Over the life span of Halo 3, Forge grew into a creative powerhouse with an entire fan made site devoted to the map variations anyone with alot of spare time and some creativity could come up with. Bungie took the initiative to embrace the fans love of this map editor and even featured some of their personal favorites in the multiplayer playlists. To date, the stand out forge/gametype variation was the creation of Grifball. The team over at Rooster Teeth used forge to come up with an alternative use for the bomb in an assault gametype that was a hybrid of various sports combined with the explosiveness that is Halo.
With their newest title Halo:Reach, Bungie jumped at the chance to push the bar even higher making Forge easier to use, faster, and pushing the games limitations to give us more. What makes this progress even more amazing as that for the most part, no other game has even attempted to allow this level of creativity with their title as Bungie has, so the team are essentially besting themselves. While the other standard fare multiplayer maps also boast forgability, Forge World stands alone as the largest multiplayer map Bungie has ever created and quite possibly the gaming industry as a whole. Forge World combines five A-Typical map types and drops the borders between them. Players now have the freedom to move from one map to the other with no load times or boundaries. With the updated engine meant to use the Xbox 360 hardware more effectively, the look of the game as well as the amount of forgable objects have increased exponentially. To add to this already amazing setup, additional tools have been added for the Forge toolbox intended to make forging less an exercise in self punishment and more unbound creativity. The ability to set item properties allows the user to leave an item fixed wherever the player releases it, phase it through the environment to partially bury or combine objects, and leaves us the Halo 3 style placement options. The toolbox also will feature degree snaps which let the player select from a number of predetermined degrees to arrange the object with. In example, if placing a wall piece the player can select to snap the object for a 45 degree angle instead of trying to get that angle using only the joysticks. Another feature I personally have wanted in Forge is an option to delete everything of a certain type, making the task of removing spawns or a particular crate type from a map far easier. There are many features and tools that have been added, for a full run down of them you can check Bungie’s weekly update from last friday HERE.
To further demonstrate how these tools can facilitate creativity, the Bungie guys are shipping a small number of pre-made maps in Forge world that were all created using Forge itself. Pinnacle, which is essentially a remake/update of the Halo 2 multiplayer map Ascension makes its proud return as well as a spiritual successor to Lockout and Guardian. The classic addition to this map lineup is of course Hemorrhage which is a combination of Blood Gulch from Halo CE and Halo 2’s Coagulation as it was seen in the Rooster Teeth Bungie Day video.
Bungie could have easily rested on their laurels after this announcement, but they decided to continued to inspire shock and awe by revealing that in Firefight 2.0, players can take the role of Elites and fight alongside the rest of the covenant as they try and stomp the Spartans into submission. It was unclear at this point if this option is only available when playing against people, or if there is an option to play AI controlled Spartans. The elite players do not score points for kills they make, but they can step up and stop their opponents from scoring any, as well as whittle down the Spartan lives stock in order to end the round quicker. In related news, the recently revealed hologram armor ability was on display in full force in the firefight videos and looks to be a great tool for creating havoc. One of the best uses I saw in the video was a player used his hologram to assist him in flanking the enemy. While the Spartan was eagerly pumping lead into the figment, the real Elite came around the back and executed him like swatting a fly with a rolled up newspaper. It will be interesting to see how these armor abilities will play into the multiplayer dynamic, but you can be assured that with Bungie they have our best interests in mind.
To finish up this massive post, I wanted to end on something near and dear to my heart. In Halo:Reach civilian vehicles will finally be playable, whether this carries over into the multiplayer environment remains to be seen. One thing that is for sure is that intrepid players in Firefight mode can commandeer a forklift and proceed to drive around the environment, even hearing the tell tale beep when it goes into reverse. Sadly the forklift does not achieve a high enough speed to get splatters so my personal dream of skewering grunts on the loading arms and driving around the war zone insanely will have to be put on hold. If these vehicles are at least made available in Forge for players to set out, this new detail bodes well for Machinimators everywhere.
With that my intrepid readers, I must depart. Worry not for I will be resuming your regularly scheduled Trial and Error from here on out, until I’m not again at which point you can be mostly assured that you will get an apology post that is massively long. Stay tuned to this page as I bring continued coverage on all the major fallout from Comic Con and beyond.