When Halo 3
launched back in 2007, it included a little mode called Forge that gave players the ability to create, edit, save, and share maps that could be used in custom games. This powerful level editor continued to be available with subsequent releases, each time with a number of improvements and tweaks. It comes as no surprise that the latest game in the series, Halo 5: Guardians
, will feature a more powerful Forge mode that will give players even more freedom. In order to give Community Cartographers, or "Forgers", the power to create maps that rival those of the developer's own creation, 343 Industries wants to give users as many tools as they can and remove as many constraints as possible. Unfortunately, for those itching to get their forging fingers working, the new Forge mode won't launch with the game; instead, it will release sometime in December.
The following video gives us a quick glimpse of some of the new and improved features that will be available in the updated Forge mode, and what can be achieved once its many tools are mastered.
Josh Holmes and Tom French, 343 Industries lead designer on Forge mode, took to Halo Waypoint to break down all of the changes and additions that the mode will receive, all of which can be found here
. While it would take far too long to bring all of these changes to you here, a selection of some of the stand out features can be found below:
Improved Control Scheme – Revised controls keeps users hands in the default “home” position so there’s less reaching for buttons which speeds up the building process. Don’t worry long-time Forgers, it took the Forgers we brought in a little bit to get used to but even the most hesitant were soon up and building maps at full speed.
Multi-Select/Edit – Users can select and manipulate up to 64 individual objects at one time (more if combined with Groups); movement, rotation, property editing, everything you’re able to do to a single object.
Free Camera – The camera no longer snaps to objects being edited. Users can freely position the camera to find the best vantage point to edit from. To orbit around selected objects like past Forges, simply click the right-stick to “lock on” to the objects and click again to cycle between multiple zoom levels.
Grid/Rotation Snaps – Switch between multiple grid/rotation snap settings quickly to help align objects perfectly with each other. The bulk of the Forge specific assets are built to a grid so they interact perfectly with each other, making building even easier. There’s even a very small grid snap that can be used to fix z-fighting without making “bumps” or very precise grid editing.
Grouping – Groups can be created dynamically with a single button press. Select more objects and press the button again to add to the group or press the button again to split the group up. It’s really that simple.
Welding – Grouped objects can optionally be welded to their “parent” object. This allows them to all physically move around together; make a soccer ball with traffic cone spikes that rolls around, or attach a weapon pad to a larger animating object. Our producer Mike loves to remind Ben that this feature is so important to make some of our Arena map designs work that it is LITERALLY the reason he was brought aboard. Good thing it happened because Forge is better because of the addition of both!
1600+ Objects – Take that in for a minute. Previous iterations of Forge had a couple hundred. Shaun, Randal, and Ryan on our art content team have been crazy busy building LOTS of pieces from primitive shapes, structure parts, accent pieces, detail props, and gameplay objects custom built for Forge. Mix them in with things like the weapons, turrets, and power-ups makes this Forge have pretty much the ultimate building block set you wished you had when you were eight years old. I’ve been working with our art lead Wade to try and squeeze in a few last assets before we’re done; that said we’re in pretty great shape.
Higher Object Count – We’ve increased the number of objects that can be placed in a Forge map to 1024. Higher object count allows for bigger maps with more detail than possible before.
New Object Types – We’ve added lots of new types of object types to Forge this time; FX emitters, decals, invisible blockers (big community request), chroma screens for machinima makers, objects for building map intros/outros, and yes, even a large adorable whale toy that we love dearly.
Object Enhancements – Lots of the returning objects have new features and improvements: Dial in the amount of extra clips with weapons. Man-Cannons and Grav Lifts launch distances and heights can be tuned in their properties and show the path where the players will go when used. Teleporters output directions can now be changed it displays which way players come out facing. We have commitment to improving everything Forge, not just the new.
Multi-Budget System – Multiple budgets based on real engine systems; max object counts, memory, etc. This means when placing something like a large terrain piece, its large texture will only eat into the memory budget once, and additional same/similar pieces will only use up the object count budget because their shared texture is already loaded.
Soft Budgets – Some budgets are “soft” meaning they can be exceeded but will cause visual artifacts/anomalies. This lets you keep building around these budgets to find the fun, then come back later to fine tune things and make the map look prettier.
Light Objects – Place real light objects in the world to light up interior spaces or just enhance a location on a map. Light objects have a whole slew of properties; point and spot types, light color/distance/falloff, light cone shape/size, lens flairs, and “gobos” (the pattern projected from the light); customize pretty much every facet of the light imaginable.
Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Colors – The vast majority of the Forge building pieces have tunable primary, secondary, and tertiary color change sections on them. This allows objects color variations from the blatantly oblivious to very subtle. Many also support changing the matte/metallic reflective properties of the color surface as well allowing for more visual variety from location to location.
Scripting Redux – Almost every object in the new Forge can be scripted to move around, change colors, send event messages to other objects, spawn itself, and all kinds of other fun things. Objects can have up to four scripts that with a condition that will trigger an action when the event conditions are met. We even include a “logic switch” condition type that can wait for multiple conditions to be met before the action is triggered. It’s all super powerful and we can’t wait to see the crazy ways it gets used by the community.
More details, as well as new footage of what can be done with this improved Forge mode, will be coming sometime in the near future, so the Forgers out there should keep their eyes peeled.Halo 5: Guardians
will hit stores worldwide on October 27th exclusively for Xbox One. As stated earlier, Forge mode won't launch with the game, instead it will be released sometime in December and will be an ongoing, and most importantly, free service.