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Map Developing

How should 343i create Halo maps?  

107 members have voted

  1. 1. How should 343i create Halo maps?

    • Look at classic Halo maps for inspiration.
      82
    • Use map devs from other AAA title games.
      11
    • Use the Halo community forgers for design help.
      47
    • Keep doing what they're doing.
      5


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Halo 2 kind of had something else going for it, too...

 

Whats that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deez nuts!

 

lol sorry, couldn't help myself. I feel like I should know the answer, but I don't. I understand it was a different time. Very little competition as far as online shooters. It's not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but I honestly don't think we can attribute the lifespan of Halo 3 to forge. 

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I've said this before. Forge is great for weapon and player spawns, but anything past that is pretty much terrible. It's just a shitty excuse to not release a map editor for PC, which is better in every scenario except those two listed above.

 

I'm being serious when I say that too. There is nothing that can be done in forge that can't be done faster/better or any other positive metric by a PC map editor.

 

If 343 wants to make progress, they need to give us the proper tools to utilize our abilities. Enough with the Lego's.

Except map escapes would be unbearable.

 

Forge is much faster.

 

343 doesn't view forge as making progress.

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Except map escapes would be unbearable.

 

Forge is much faster.

 

343 doesn't view forge as making progress.

 

Map escapes? I don't know what those are.

 

Also, in regard Forge being faster: is it really?

 

Sure, you can prototype ideas faster, playtest, etc, but you will never have a production quality map. a PC editor on the other hand takes more work to get going, but allows the community to potentially make maps just as polished as the developer maps.

 

IMO, unless Forge could make maps of the same quality as the developer maps, it is completely unacceptable for customer usage. Reach sanc probably played great, but the uglyness of the forge blocks made the game as a whole look worse.

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Map escapes? I don't know what those are.

 

Also, in regard Forge being faster: is it really?

 

Sure, you can prototype ideas faster, playtest, etc, but you will never have a production quality map. a PC editor on the other hand takes more work to get going, but allows the community to potentially make maps just as polished as the developer maps.

 

IMO, unless Forge could make maps of the same quality as the developer maps, it is completely unacceptable for customer usage. Reach sanc probably played great, but the uglyness of the forge blocks made the game as a whole look worse.

Power pushing was a way to get out of map and hide. If you have the lead and hiding helps you wait out the game timer then escape becomes a real concern in matchaking.

 

Dev maps have holes. Lots of them. Forge maps would be worse. This is an artifact of the halo engine. I have never heard of any other game experiencing this problem. So you can readily see why far cry series using the cry engine would have no problem with a full map editor while halo prefers a set of prebuilt canvases and prebuilt blocks with all the collision meshes in place.

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Power pushing was a way to get out of map and hide. If you have the lead and hiding helps you wait out the game timer then escape becomes a real concern in matchaking.

 

Dev maps have holes. Lots of them. Forge maps would be worse. This is an artifact of the halo engine. I have never heard of any other game experiencing this problem. So you can readily see why far cry series using the cry engine would have no problem with a full map editor while halo prefers a set of prebuilt canvases and prebuilt blocks with all the collision meshes in place.

 

Lol @ an engine bug being a reason not to deliver a feature: Fix the bug and release the editor.

 

Seriously, why do people not want to use the industry standard tools that PC gamers have been using forever? Shit, you can go and download Unreal Tournament and start making maps now, and then reference those maps you made in your Resume to help you get a job in the field. That's real world experience right there. On the contrary, think of how badly you would get laughed at for referencing a Forge map in a Resume...

 

IDK man.

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I've said this before. Forge is great for weapon and player spawns, but anything past that is pretty much terrible. It's just a shitty excuse to not release a map editor for PC, which is better in every scenario except those two listed above.

 

I'm being serious when I say that too. There is nothing that can be done in forge that can't be done faster/better or any other positive metric by a PC map editor.

 

If 343 wants to make progress, they need to give us the proper tools to utilize our abilities. Enough with the Lego's. 

Spot on.

 

Forge is nice as a feature, but let the community fucking carry your game for real...

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I think the current H2A forge is great just if it was put in Forgeworld and given a wider color palette with maybe half a dozen skins for each item then it would be good for just friends to mess about and create silly maps.

 

However a PC editor on parallel to that of the CSGO one would be the best step forward. Allowing those who have the skills to leap forward and into a bigger pond where we could see some absolute beauties of online maps which then could be implemented into playlists and even HCS.

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I respect the community forgers, but they seem to hate the midship type maps for some reason,  because they are overdone. However the reason there are so many midship-like maps is because they work. Midship could house multiple gametypes, which is good. Other maps that take after midship (top mid two bases and two power positions) they work for competitive play.

 

Midship works for Halo 3 competitive play. In games with actual utility weapons, Midship should NOT take up multiple slots in the map pool of a competitive league like it did in H4 and H3.

 

I don't think most people do understand the limitations of forge. Those that have never used it definitely don't and those that do use it have trouble coming to terms with it.

 

Any map that has natural landscapes is impossible to recreate with the current state of forge. A good example is Hemorrhage. The only reason we were able to have that map is because Bungie created a space in Forge World where the actual landscape was already there. You cannot recreate that with forge pieces. Maps like The Pit lend itself very very well to Forge because it's flat and has a ton of 90 degree angles.

 

I completely disagree that Forge was the reason Halo 3 lasted as long as it did. Halo 3 would have had the exact same lifespan with or without forge. I realize that this is an unpopular opinion, especially among forgers, but I actually believe that Halo 3 could have been better without forge. I think the game could have potentially been better if good maps were released instead of Foundry and Sandtrap. I also think that both Onslaught and Amplified were harmful to competitive playlists (both suffered from the same issues I mentioned earlier) and that we would have been better off going with a multitude of developer made maps and gametypes. 

 

As far as Reach is concerned there are a number of things that could be blamed on it's shorter lifespan and honestly it was probably a combination of many of them. That said, the lack of content (a five hour campaign in which areas were recycled for multiplayer) was chief among them. The focus on Forge with Halo Reach was another problem in the list of issues that caused an early demise for the game. I'm of the opinion that as long as we are getting Halo titles with fewer 10 or fewer developer made maps then the idea of lasting appeal is a pipe dream.

 

My biggest issue is that we are giving up valuable content for a tool that for the most part has given us very little. Even when it does give us something we end up with environments that all look the same. If Halo 5 launches with 8 developer made maps then they could create the best Halo ever but it's going to have a short lifespan. 343 needs to quit investing there and really emphasize having a lot of developer made maps.

 

Anybody who played Halo 3 knows it was limited by mechanics, not by maps. I can't really say if it helped longevity, I wasn't apart of many customs communities back then.

 

 

I do not share the opinion that developer content is always valuable. I sincerely and wholeheartedly disagree, and I believe you couldn't be more wrong. You seem to think that developers will always make good maps, given enough time and resources, and I'm not sure why you think that way. What if, instead of Foundry and Sandtrap, we just got Sword Base and Backwash? Now we just have 2 shitty maps and no way to make any less shitty ones...Your whole theory falls apart once you take away the assumption that the developers are competent, and I'm here to tell you they haven't been in a LONG time.

 

Why are you assuming Forge takes a long time to develop each game? Where's your proof? All Forge is is a gametype with some extra scripting, and save functionality. It takes assets, sure, but not to the magnitude you probably think it does. Does having Forge somehow make Bungie completely shit at designing decent maps? If you think Sword Base wouldn't have happened if Forge hadn't been implemented in the game, I have some bad news for you.

 

Also, Reach had an early demise? What are you talking about? Terrible game mechanics did drag it down at first (bad game mechanics by bad developers, btw. I don't think you can blame Forge on that.), but competitive had a small revival with the coming of v7, which rightfully shed most of the shitty developer mechanics, shitty developer maps, and finally set a good template for future custom content in Reach.

 

 

 

Yes, that's exactly what I think. I actually think that the focus/reliance on forge in the past few games has done damage to those games. It has taken valuable time and resources away from developer made maps and it has divided the community. At the very least it is an excuse to launch the game with 8-10 developer made maps instead of a more reasonable 13-15 or a very good 15+. Like I said, I'd personally like to see this number over 20. As long as Halo is launching with 8-10 maps it's going to struggle to have lasting appeal. If forge is affecting this, and it is, then Halo will continue to struggle.

 

 

 
And seriously, what are you talking about? Halo:CE and Halo 2 had long term populations just fine without forge. In both cases those games had people playing them right up until the next game came out. You attributing the population to forge is honestly one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. Halo 3 was going to die off either way when Halo Reach came out and forge had very little to do with that. You're making a statement with absolutely no evidence when history shows us that what you're saying has no merit. If you want to say that there are still some people tinkering around in Halo 3 because of forge then I won't disagree with that, but who cares? For all intents and purposes the game is dead today. Forge isn't what made it last and it isn't currently saving it.

 

I don't disagree that custom games are an important part of Halo and I don't disagree that forge has been beneficial to the niche ways in which people play the game. That said, customs were around long before forge and would still be around without forge (or in a more limited forge). RvB, zombies, michael myers, MLG customs were all around long before forge. Acting like this would "kill" the customs community is a bit dramatic. Perhaps we should bring back equipment because I'm just not sure what the trick jumping community has been doing without it? Also, CoD releases yearly because of money not because of some necessity to keep things "fresh and new." In case you haven't realized there has been a new title with Halo in the name almost every year since 2008. This is also done for money. You somehow trying to connect this to the importance of custom games is up there with one of the dumbest things I've seen on these forums.

 

Your first paragraph has no proof that Forge is hard to develop, or that you wouldn't be playing on 20 Complex remakes.

 

RvB relied on a coincidental aiming glitch in CE. Zombies and MM required honor rules to play. The only reason MLG customs even existed in Halo 2 as the way we know it is because some Bungie developer decided to add the ruleset "No Dualies" into custom games. The lack of Forge is what prevented many other H2 maps from being added into permanent rotation, helping harbor the initial growth of people who think Midship style maps are the only way to play competitively.

 

Do you remember when Halo 2 launched? It took like 5 melees to kill someone. The BR was a complete disaster. People played 3 years of MM spawning on maps like Relic with an SMG. But you think that lack of competition and boring montages are what kills a game?

 

 

Yep, I'm honestly surprised Halo 2's biggest rival didn't overtake it during that time...oh wait.

 

 

 

I agree with Hootspa, Forge, ideally, should be further expanded into a full editor of some capacity. There isn't any reason to have to rely on terrible developer maps if we don't have to. 

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I do not share the opinion that developer content is always valuable. I sincerely and wholeheartedly disagree, and I believe you couldn't be more wrong. You seem to think that developers will always make good maps, given enough time and resources, and I'm not sure why you think that way. What if, instead of Foundry and Sandtrap, we just got Sword Base and Backwash? Now we just have 2 shitty maps and no way to make any less shitty ones...Your whole theory falls apart once you take away the assumption that the developers are competent, and I'm here to tell you they haven't been in a LONG time.

 

Straw man of the year. Who said developer content was always valuable?

 

 

Why are you assuming Forge takes a long time to develop each game? Where's your proof? All Forge is is a gametype with some extra scripting, and save functionality. It takes assets, sure, but not to the magnitude you probably think it does. Does having Forge somehow make Bungie completely shit at designing decent maps? If you think Sword Base wouldn't have happened if Forge hadn't been implemented in the game, I have some bad news for you.

I'll just quote this because I feel like I've already stated my opinion:

 

"6. I have to assume it does. Correlation does not imply causation, but there has been a correlation between how robust forge is and the number of multiplayer maps at launch. I assume that some amount of time and resources are being spent on forge that could have been dedicated to multiplayer maps. At the very least it is used as justification for a lack of content. Also, I find it ironic that you point out that these people aren't professional map designers but you're essentially advocating for turning every average Joe into a map designer."

 

I would add that I'm not sure about the magnitude of time and resources needed for forge. That's beyond the scope of my knowledge, but unless you have some expertise (which I assume you don't or you would have added it) I think that you are basically forced to conclude exactly what I conclude above.

 

 

Also, Reach had an early demise? What are you talking about? Terrible game mechanics did drag it down at first (bad game mechanics by bad developers, btw. I don't think you can blame Forge on that.), but competitive had a small revival with the coming of v7, which rightfully shed most of the shitty developer mechanics, shitty developer maps, and finally set a good template for future custom content in Reach.

Relative to previous titles Reach did not have the same longevity. Especially when you consider the install base of the Xbox and the number of copies and potential customers. Weird how nobody will argue this when they're arguing against sprint but now it's changed.

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I agree with Hootspa, Forge, ideally, should be further expanded into a full editor of some capacity. There isn't any reason to have to rely on terrible developer maps if we don't have to. 

 

I just want to point out the fact that they don't need to expand anything into a full editor. The full editor is part of the engine, i.e. they don't need to do any more development work to allow us to have full access to the full map editors. It would require a decent bit of work to allow us to share maps and stuff, but probably not much more than that required to make forge.

 

My point is that the reasons they were not included in the past is more to do with business pressures of the 2001-2012(?) era than technical limitations.

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Straw man of the year. Who said developer content was always valuable?

 

 

I'll just quote this because I feel like I've already stated my opinion:

 

"6. I have to assume it does. Correlation does not imply causation, but there has been a correlation between how robust forge is and the number of multiplayer maps at launch. I assume that some amount of time and resources are being spent on forge that could have been dedicated to multiplayer maps. At the very least it is used as justification for a lack of content. Also, I find it ironic that you point out that these people aren't professional map designers but you're essentially advocating for turning every average Joe into a map designer."

 

I would add that I'm not sure about the magnitude of time and resources needed for forge. That's beyond the scope of my knowledge, but unless you have some expertise (which I assume you don't or you would have added it) I think that you are basically forced to conclude exactly what I conclude above.

 

 

Relative to previous titles Reach did not have the same longevity. Especially when you consider the install base of the Xbox and the number of copies and potential customers. Weird how nobody will argue this when they're arguing against sprint but now it's changed.

 

 
You completely failed to address the issue of developer content being of poor quality. Your argument revolves around the idea that if they stopped developing Forge, we would magically get higher quality maps...but there is no reason to believe that maps would be any better or noticeably more plentiful.
 
The designs of a map have to made on paper and in-engine before the art pass can really begin. They have all the time they need to build good designs for these maps, and I doubt there is much overlap between those who make the mainframe of Forge and those who design maps. Forge's real burden on development is mostly art related. In a nutshell, most of the Reach maps would still be awful without Forge, but they might be slightly prettier.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I'll just quote this because I feel like I've already stated my opinion:

 

"6. I have to assume it does. Correlation does not imply causation, but there has been a correlation between how robust forge is and the number of multiplayer maps at launch. I assume that some amount of time and resources are being spent on forge that could have been dedicated to multiplayer maps. At the very least it is used as justification for a lack of content. Also, I find it ironic that you point out that these people aren't professional map designers but you're essentially advocating for turning every average Joe into a map designer."

 

I would add that I'm not sure about the magnitude of time and resources needed for forge. That's beyond the scope of my knowledge, but unless you have some expertise (which I assume you don't or you would have added it) I think that you are basically forced to conclude exactly what I conclude above.

 

"Correlation does not imply causation"- Self-debunking of the year.
 
The art and object geometry could take a bit of time, but assuming the developers have coded anything in their entire lives, it shouldn't take long to implement all of Forge's basic features into the game, especially since they're developing the games on their own engine.
 
I would prefer a fully fleshed editor capable of producing maps built by the community, as opposed to always risking getting a rotten batch of maps that we can't do anything about. Why would you want to put yourself at the mercy of the developer?
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You completely failed to address the issue of developer content being of poor quality. Your argument revolves around the idea that if they stopped developing Forge, we would magically get higher quality maps...but there is no reason to believe that maps would be any better or noticeably more plentiful.

 

The designs of a map have to made on paper and in-engine before the art pass can really begin. They have all the time they need to build good designs for these maps, and I doubt there is much overlap between those who make the mainframe of Forge and those who design maps. Forge's real burden on development is mostly art related. In a nutshell, most of the Reach maps would still be awful without Forge, but they might be slightly prettier.

That's because it's not an argument I was making. You have a knack for arguing against points that nobody has brought up. I never said that we would get higher quality maps. What I said is that we have to assume that we would get more maps. Several of my reasons for believing this have already been stated. I suppose you could extrapolate and assume that I believe that more maps would equal higher quality but I don't see how that would be the case. Typically more work and less focus equals lower quality. That said, sometimes when you throw enough darts at the wall a few will pop balloons.

 

But, since you seem so intent on getting into this, I will tell you my thoughts. Looking at the past we have had much more luck with developer made maps than we've had with forge. In fact a great deal of the "successful" forge maps have been remakes of designs that were already developer made. If we asked random Halo players what their favorite maps are we would unanimously get answers of developer made maps. This is true despite the fact that we are pitting a handful of developers against every forger ever. We are pitting less than 100 maps against hundreds of thousands (millions?) of creations. Personally I don't think that an argument for forge based on quality is a strong one.

 

This isn't meant as an insult to forgers or to anyone in this community. I won't hesitate to say that I do believe the vast majority of maps forged are complete trash and empowering your average casual does nothing to help with the map situation in the game. That said, I do believe that given the right tools there are some people who could create high quality maps. So while I've advocated for a number of things in this thread that center around nerfing forge if that isn't the route then it needs to be a full fledge editor in the vein that hootspa is advocating.

 

 

 

"Correlation does not imply causation"- Self-debunking of the year.

 

The art and object geometry could take a bit of time, but assuming the developers have coded anything in their entire lives, it shouldn't take long to implement all of Forge's basic features into the game, especially since they're developing the games on their own engine.

 

I would prefer a fully fleshed editor capable of producing maps built by the community, as opposed to always risking getting a rotten batch of maps that we can't do anything about. Why would you want to put yourself at the mercy of the developer?

 

 

Me noting that correlation does not imply causation was just me saying that I'm aware that because these two things happen together doesn't mean that one is the cause of the other. That said, if you notice a trend you might want to take a good look at it. If you took 6 shots of vodka and vomited maybe it was the vodka? It doesn't necessarily have to be, but a prudent observer would be inclined to make that connection. 

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@@Cadillac

People would name dev maps because most people don't know many forge maps. No matter how good a forge map is itll never get to that level of recognition. Ask forgers what their favorite dev OR forge map of all time is and see what their answer is. Seriously what kind of argument is this.

 

For the record, a majority of dev maps for Halo 3 are garbage. I'd say they're all bad except for guardian and citadel. I could link you to a hundred forge maps that are leagues better than anything on disc. You're acting like 343/Bungie map devs are something special when they're not.

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@@Cadillac

People would name dev maps because most people don't know many forge maps. Ask forgers what their favorite dev OR forge map of all time is and see what their answer is. What kind of argument is this.

 

1. Asking forgers would give you a very biased group. That's like asking baseball players if they like Mike Trout or Lionel Messi more. As for "what kind of argument is this," I understand that peoples favorite maps doesn't necessarily measure quality, but what other objective measurement could be taken? I'm not saying it's great data, but at the very least it would show maps that people enjoy.

 

2. Doesn't this present an inherent argument against forge? What good has it done in the past if the vast majority of players don't know the maps and don't care to know them? Doesn't that prove how little value forge has had over the years? @@Ling Ling asked, "why put yourself at the mercy of the developer?" The issue is that you're going to be at the mercy of some authority anyway. This community can't agree on whether the BR or the DMR should be the starting weapon. We can't agree on maps and game types when there are 13 developer made maps. What makes anybody think that there will be agreement when there are thousands upon thousands of options? In the past I have been just as displeased with the decisions of MLG, Ghost, Nexy (?), etc as I have with the developer. Not to mention the issues you run into with pros and map/game type selection. It becomes easier to be a pro when you have some say in the maps and you can tailor the game types to suit your skills.

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1. Asking forgers would give you a very biased group. That's like asking baseball players if they like Mike Trout or Lionel Messi more.

 

2. Doesn't this present an inherent argument against forge? What good has it done in the past if the vast majority of players don't know the maps and don't care to know them? @@Ling Ling asked, "why put yourself at the mercy of the developer?" The issue is that you're going to be at the mercy of some authority anyway. This community can't agree on whether the BR or the DMR should be the starting weapon. We can't agree on maps and game types when there are 13 developer made maps. What makes anybody think that there will be agreement when there are thousands upon thousands of options?

Oh gosh. You're really reaching here.  I only mentioned forgers because forgers would actually be able to tell you the names of forge maps.  You said to ask random Halo players what their favorite map is. Of course they're not going to name a forge map because not only do many players not know forge maps, but most wouldn't even think to name forge maps in general.  Not to mention they're not playing the same map repeatedly in matchmaking to evolve the meta and learn it in the same way they could a disc map.

 

What difference does it make if the vast majority of players don't know maps? Since when did how well known a map is determine it's quality?  That's not an issue with forge OR the map, it just doesn't have the same exposure. The Cage in Halo Reach is a map that a lot of players (sadly) loved.  ITS A FORGE MAP.  The simple fact that a map is pieced together with individual blocks instead of being created on a computer is so irrelevant.  I've seen 1 to 1 remakes of every single map from every single Halo game done on forge.  The geometry is identical and the map plays exactly the same, so what differentiates this from a dev map other than how it looks? Absolutely nothing.  Your sentence about agreement is so far left field I can't even begin to comprehend what you're getting at.  I could go in H2A forge and remake every single Halo 3 map but make improvements.  I can add more pathways on Narrows, add 2 extra ramps and a teleporter on Construct, I could remove walls from The Pit to remove the standoffs of the map, I could build a structure in top mid of Guardian to actually give players a reason to go there, I could fix the stupid line of sights Blackout removed from Lockout.  How could this EVER be a bad thing?  Have you not seen the wave of THOUSANDS of videos that have come out for GTA5 since they've released their editor?  Were you not around when there were 20+ forging forums during Halo 3 (which had a larger user base than any competitive Halo 3 forum for the record).  There is literally zero problem that forge cannot fix with map problems in Halo. Halo Reach itself proves that your whole idea is bollocks.  The game (up until v7) maintained itself through forge maps and mini games and all sorts of custom creations.  That was it's only redeeming factor up until v7.  And when MLG v7 launched how many dev maps were even in the circuit? Maybe 2, Zealot and Countdown (and I'm fairly sure one of those was removed) and the entire circuit was comprised of forge maps to compensate for the horrendous disc maps.  MLG would have never happened in Reach without Forge  because it would've been played on 2 maps.

 

Your entire argument revolves around

1: Having forge deters from the longevity of Halo, because

2: It deters them from focusing on creating either better quality maps, or more maps. Because

3.  Forge maps cannot compensate for dev maps, because

4.  Either forgers are not capable of replicating the quality of dev maps, or forge is too limited

 

In response:

 

1: Forge likely millions of custom games onto the lifespan of Halo 3, the same with Reach and 4.  I can justify this because for myself personally on my first account I had 1k ranked matches, 2k social, and 7k customs.  There were tons of people I played customs with through the years that had way more custom games than I had on my service record.  Likely less than 1% of these were played on vanilla/MLG maps/settings.  Forgehub alone had a user base of roughly 500k+ members, and was 1 forging forum of likely 20+.  You do the math.  I shouldn't even have to explain this.

 

2. You assume creating forge takes away from development time needed for maps.  Again.  Not only do programmers working on forge likely have absolute knowledge of map design and would have nothing to contribute, but even if they were reassigned to help the map process they would have no effect on the outcome of the map. The quality of maps is not an issue of not having enough manpower, I'm sure Bungie/343 has all the manpower they need to create maps otherwise they would hire more bodies.  Post launch Halo 3 when forge was already finished being developed, what were some of the maps we got as DLC? Rats Nest? Standoff? Longshore? Fucking orbital? Forge was already created at this point so why didn't we get a surplus of maps or at least good maps? The only single good map Halo 3 ever received in DLC was Heretic, which was a remake of a Halo 2 map.

 

3.  As I've said many times, Forge can recreate practically every single dev map.  With improvements.

 

4. As almost anyone on this forum has stated a hundred times, the quality of maps past Halo 1 has plummeted.  I could argue that the only good maps in Halo 3 are Guardian and Citadel, both of which suffer similar problems and could be improved upon.  The only single OKAY map in Reach was powerhouse, and there was not a single good map in Halo 4.  Map developers are not better map designers than forgers because just they do it professionally as a job.  The last two Halo games have convinced me that they're completely incompetent of designing even a small handful of maps that are playable past the first week a games launch.  Forge is certainly not too limited to create something of value now.  But even in Halo 3 with all its restrictions I believe the most original, creative, and outstanding map designs were forged, and I haven't seen anything like that since 2010.  Better than anything on disc since Halo 1.

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Honestly, I cannot keep up with all the lengthy replies to lengthy replies, but I want to say something about forge, dev maps, and the far cry map editor.

 

It would be nice to have a far cry like editor for Halo, everyone agrees. If i understand the issue correctly, 343 would have to do some work on the engine before they could go down that path. But to say that great maps cannot be built with forge is incorrect. From my perspective, the problem isn't that great maps cannot be forged in Halo, but that forgers don't care to make great maps. They care only to make great playing maps.

 

This whole topic seems to be centered around artistic features of the terrain, and how forgers lack the ability to create the terrain that works best for their maps. But really the forger needs to discover the maps that are great with the given terrain. That is severely limiting. Forgers need to give up on maps that cannot be great due to the conflicts that the forge and canvas offer, but they won't give up. They couldn't care less how the map looks.

 

I like the idea of the forging community coming up with great playing maps that are then translated (refactored) into mesh maps by developers with superior textures to bring it alive. I don't know if it has been brought up (because I just don't have the time to read all the posts), but the community isn't the greatest set of judges for what makes a great map. they are statistically the best weather bell of what they enjoy.

 

Developers should have degrees before they create a map layout because you want someone who has actually spent a great deal of time LEARNING (yes, reading and reading and reading... and then more reading and reading and reading) what makes a great map. In all the time I have ever forged (years), I have never heard anyone - not a single forger - ever say in chat, post on a forum, or write in a blog how CTF should be designed where the flags are in the open so that defenders with snipers can play offensively across the map, making the role of defender more entertaining. I learned that recently from an interview with Max Hoberman (I could be wrong it may have been another dev, but I remember listening to a lengthy interview with him on the web recently). This is one example of how the community doesn't have a clue and should never be in charge of map design. And I include community cartographers - EVERY ONE OF THEM - in that group.

 

I do agree with the premise that Halo has special requirements for map design, because it is unique in the first person arena-pseudo genre. Being able to sustain damage extensively is an amazing quality of Halo that makes Halo a shooter's shooter.

 

do I like the idea of forgers getting jobs as map designers? NO!!!!!!!!!

 

Do I like the idea of forgers getting paid for their map if it gets refactored and pushed into a playlist? ABSOLUTELY! That would encourage the forging community to come back with a vengeance. That would be the best incentive program that 343 could offer all players to dabble in forge.

 

And for the record, I am one who tends to argue that forge in H3 added life to the game. By how much is truly debatable, but I do believe it was a significant net positive.

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Oh gosh. You're really reaching here.  I only mentioned forgers because forgers would actually be able to tell you the names of forge maps.  You said to ask random Halo players what their favorite map is. Of course they're not going to name a forge map because not only do many players not know forge maps, but most wouldn't even think to name forge maps in general.  Not to mention they're not playing the same map repeatedly in matchmaking to evolve the meta and learn it in the same way they could a disc map.

No, you're really reaching here. I'm saying to ask the general population of Halo players. You want to specifically ask those who have a clear bias. I know why you mentioned forgers but that wouldn't stop it from suffering from selection bias.

 

 

What difference does it make if the vast majority of players don't know maps? Since when did how well known a map is determine it's quality?  That's not an issue with forge OR the map, it just doesn't have the same exposure. The Cage in Halo Reach is a map that a lot of players (sadly) loved.  ITS A FORGE MAP.  The simple fact that a map is pieced together with individual blocks instead of being created on a computer is so irrelevant.  I've seen 1 to 1 remakes of every single map from every single Halo game done on forge.  The geometry is identical and the map plays exactly the same, so what differentiates this from a dev map other than how it looks? Absolutely nothing.  Your sentence about agreement is so far left field I can't even begin to comprehend what you're getting at.  I could go in H2A forge and remake every single Halo 3 map but make improvements.  I can add more pathways on Narrows, add 2 extra ramps and a teleporter on Construct, I could remove walls from The Pit to remove the standoffs of the map, I could build a structure in top mid of Guardian to actually give players a reason to go there, I could fix the stupid line of sights Blackout removed from Lockout.  How could this EVER be a bad thing?  Have you not seen the wave of THOUSANDS of videos that have come out for GTA5 since they've released their editor?  Were you not around when there were 20+ forging forums during Halo 3 (which had a larger user base than any competitive Halo 3 forum for the record).  There is literally zero problem that forge cannot fix with map problems in Halo. Halo Reach itself proves that your whole idea is bollocks.  The game (up until v7) maintained itself through forge maps and mini games and all sorts of custom creations.  That was it's only redeeming factor up until v7.  And when MLG v7 launched how many dev maps were even in the circuit? Maybe 2, Zealot and Countdown (and I'm fairly sure one of those was removed) and the entire circuit was comprised of forge maps to compensate for the horrendous disc maps.  MLG would have never happened in Reach without Forge  because it would've been played on 2 maps.

What difference does the players knowing the maps make? From an actual quality perspective? Not much. However, from a game design standpoint it's very meaningful. It's especially meaningful when the game in question is inherently competitive.

 

When I wrote about community agreement I was bringing up an entirely separate issue with forge. First there's the issue of playing and testing the huge number of maps. Then there's the issue of selection and sorting in a way where the good maps can be found. This will create more issues because there will no doubt be disagreement about what maps are "good." It's all fine that we now have hundreds of thousands of options but it doesn't improve the experience if nobody knows or cares to know the vast majority of these creations. If you can't see how a mass of low quality maps, with perhaps a few average maps mixed in, don't help Halo then I don't know what else to say. If forge were creating a ton of high quality maps or if aesthetics (you questioned this above also) didn't matter then our competitive settings wouldn't still be overwhelmingly dominated by developer made maps.

 

You say that you could go into every single Halo 3 map and make "improvements" but what you fail to understand is that you're going to make what you see as improvements. Then we run into that issue of community agreement once again. Also, I'm not advocating for the complete removal of forge, just for it to be nerfed to it's original state. I think it should have the ability to change weapon spawns, player spawns, and small adjustments like adding a crate.

 

Last, you make some statements about Reach that are just flat out wrong. Of the 11 gametypes 7 were played on developer made maps. Another 3 were forge remakes of developer made maps (The Pit and Sanc). Only 1 was an original forge creation (Nexus). If anything, this proves my point. This is in a game that launched with 8 developer made maps (8! Can you imagine Bungie justifying that without the forge crap they released?). Most would generally agree that the developer made maps were some of the worst in the series. Even in this scenario where the competitive community had fewer dev maps than ever, fewer dev maps specifically tailored for competition, mass agreement on the low quality of dev maps, and years of forging in the most robust forge to date developer maps STILL dominated the competitive settings.

 

 

Your entire argument revolves around

1: Having forge deters from the longevity of Halo, because

2: It deters them from focusing on creating either better quality maps, or more maps. Because

3.  Forge maps cannot compensate for dev maps, because

4.  Either forgers are not capable of replicating the quality of dev maps, or forge is too limited

 

In response:

 

1: Forge likely millions of custom games onto the lifespan of Halo 3, the same with Reach and 4.  I can justify this because for myself personally on my first account I had 1k ranked matches, 2k social, and 7k customs.  There were tons of people I played customs with through the years that had way more custom games than I had on my service record.  Likely less than 1% of these were played on vanilla/MLG maps/settings.  Forgehub alone had a user base of roughly 500k+ members, and was 1 forging forum of likely 20+.  You do the math.  I shouldn't even have to explain this.

 

2. You assume creating forge takes away from development time needed for maps.  Again.  Not only do programmers working on forge likely have absolute knowledge of map design and would have nothing to contribute, but even if they were reassigned to help the map process they would have no effect on the outcome of the map. The quality of maps is not an issue of not having enough manpower, I'm sure Bungie/343 has all the manpower they need to create maps otherwise they would hire more bodies.  Post launch Halo 3 when forge was already finished being developed, what were some of the maps we got as DLC? Rats Nest? Standoff? Longshore? Fucking orbital? Forge was already created at this point so why didn't we get a surplus of maps or at least good maps? The only single good map Halo 3 ever received in DLC was Heretic, which was a remake of a Halo 2 map.

 

3.  As I've said many times, Forge can recreate practically every single dev map.  With improvements.

 

4. As almost anyone on this forum has stated a hundred times, the quality of maps past Halo 1 has plummeted.  I could argue that the only good maps in Halo 3 are Guardian and Citadel, both of which suffer similar problems and could be improved upon.  The only single OKAY map in Reach was powerhouse, and there was not a single good map in Halo 4.  Map developers are not better map designers than forgers because just they do it professionally as a job.  The last two Halo games have convinced me that they're completely incompetent of designing even a small handful of maps that are playable past the first week a games launch.  Forge is certainly not too limited to create something of value now.  But even in Halo 3 with all its restrictions I believe the most original, creative, and outstanding map designs were forged, and I haven't seen anything like that since 2010.  Better than anything on disc since Halo 1.

 

I don't want to dumb my argument down like that because I think it has been much more broad with many subtle, but important, points. That said I will respond to some of this.

 

1. Once again I don't believe custom game numbers have merit. I too have a lot of custom games. The vast majority of those games were spent loading and reloading forge. I know and agree with what you're saying about Halo having a pretty robust forge community. That said, I don't believe it matters. Forging itself is not Halo. Perhaps 343 should make a seperate game in the vein of minecraft? I don't know what to tell people who just really enjoy the act of building things in forge? I got my share of enjoyment out of it, but Halo isn't, and I don't want it to be, a game where people sit around and make things. I had some fun playing race in CE but that doesn't mean that Halo 2 needed to keep race or that it was some vital aspect to the core of the game.

 

2. Yes, thats precisely what I assume. Once again, I know that at the very least it justifies having fewer launch maps. I don't believe there's a chance in hell that it would have been acceptable for Halo Reach to launch with 8 maps if forge weren't included. Reviewers would have slammed the game. 10 maps in Halo 4 without forge? Barely acceptable. I agree that the vast majority of Halo 3 DLC maps were pretty bad. That said I would have gladly traded Foundry and Sandbox to see what we would have gotten instead. Just as with Reach, on the whole, developer made maps offered players of Halo 3 much more than forge did.

 

3. Forge maps haven't compensated for a lack of dev maps. You keep saying that you believe they can, but the reality is that they haven't.

 

4. I mean honestly if you feel that way then why do you still play the game? Most OG Halo players that feel like that have quit. I think Halo 2 had great maps in Midship, Lockout, and Sanctuary. Beaver Creek and Warlock were improvements on their predecessors. Although not a great design in general Elongation was also an improvement on it's predecessor. Ivory Tower was fun to play at times. While I personally don't think Halo 3 had a lot of great maps it did have a lot of good maps such as The Pit, Narrows, Construct, Citadel, and Guardian. But this is where we get back to my point on agreement. We can hardly agree on what dev maps are the best, how are we supposed to come to terms on hundreds of thousands of creations? While I also enjoyed playing Powerhouse I think that Zealot was the best Reach launch map. I also think that Haven was a good Halo 4 map.

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No, you're really reaching here. I'm saying to ask the general population of Halo players. You want to specifically ask those who have a clear bias. I know why you mentioned forgers but that wouldn't stop it from suffering from selection bias.

 

 

What difference does the players knowing the maps make? From an actual quality perspective? Not much. However, from a game design standpoint it's very meaningful. It's especially meaningful when the game in question is inherently competitive.

 

You've progressively spiraled downhill in your argument.

If you ask any random player what their favorite map is they will name a developer map. This is because forge maps are not widely distributed throughout the entire Halo community. They aren't forced on us like dev maps. In fact if you ask people who played reach extensively, "what is your favorite Reach map?" you will get answers that include "The cage." A forge map. why is that relevant? because it was an on disc map. Everyone had access to it, whether you're a vet, or its your first game. Your argument collapses on itself. Having more developer maps because of the removal of forge is the worst possible solution. You think it will give us a better selection of maps even though almost everyone here has proven most dev maps are subjectively bad. But if we have a general selection of dev maps in addition to millions of custom created maps, what are you even arguing? Forge gives us an abundance of maps. Limitless supply. The only real problem is that not everybody will experience the best maps. However if they were placed into matchmaking more often, people would play them more and find them more enjoyable solutions to a small map library.

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You've progressively spiraled downhill in your argument.

If you ask any random player what their favorite map is they will name a developer map. This is because forge maps are not widely distributed throughout the entire Halo community. They aren't forced on us like dev maps. In fact if you ask people who played reach extensively, "what is your favorite Reach map?" you will get answers that include "The cage." A forge map. why is that relevant? because it was an on disc map. Everyone had access to it, whether you're a vet, or its your first game. Your argument collapses on itself. Having more developer maps because of the removal of forge is the worst possible solution. You think it will give us a better selection of maps even though almost everyone here has proven most dev maps are subjectively bad. But if we have a general selection of dev maps in addition to millions of custom created maps, what are you even arguing? Forge gives us an abundance of maps. Limitless supply. The only real problem is that not everybody will experience the best maps. However if they were placed into matchmaking more often, people would play them more and find them more enjoyable solutions to a small map library.

Yea they def should add w/e comp forge maps that get used into the casual/ranked playlist too. This way more of the player base gets exposed to it and they'll feel more comfortable in the competitive playlist.

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Why can't the competitive players play on other great designs?

 

What do you call a great map "dev made" in the series?

 

And what do you call a great map design?

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Now I ask, what do you think of this?

 

I feel like Halo is a big enough franchise that they should release a REAL map editor and not this lego world crap. We got a proper map editor for Halo CE on PC (Kinda), so why the hell were we never given these tools for later Halo games?

 

They should let us import maps from PC or submit them to Bungie as free DLC. Everyone wins.

 

 

Shit, you can go and download Unreal Tournament and start making maps now

 

And the game isn't even out yet... I mean, I know the game is being developed in Unreal Engine but it blows my mind how Bungie and 343 gave us Forge but never allowed us to use a real editor to make maps. Hell, Halo 1 on the original Xbox has custom maps thanks to Halo PC yet here we are in 2015 and we STILL don't have dev tools. PC gaming is going to absolutely destroy consoles in the next few years thanks to Linux support and Steam Workshop while console developers are still trying to find ways to nickel and dime us for SKINS FFS.

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I am extremely interested in the map developing process, but I have a few questions.

 

First off, I would like to say that I enjoyed "The Sprint." It was a really cool insight to the map making world of Halo. There were some interesting conversations about which directions to go. So, with that being said...

 

I want to know the hiring process for creating Halo maps. I have looked into it in the recent past, and here is what I have noticed:

  1. Must have a degree in art, and or architecture.
  2. Must have previous experience in AAA game titles

Those 2 requirements were the main focus. They are certainly great things to consider, but are they necessarily the best option?

 

Okay, I can understand the art degree. It is important to have the skills necessary in order to make map designs, concept art, and themes for the maps. As for the architectural side, not so much. It would make sense for making detailed map layouts on paper, but video games do not need to make architectural sense. The previous work on AAA titles also has me concerned, as other AAA titles do not play like Halo.

 

Halo is its own game. It needs maps to support its playstyle. Halo needs map designs from the people who know it best. The community. People who play the game, and understand it. Looking to map designers from games like battlefield or Call of Duty is simply a mistake. Yes, they have the skills to create an amazing environment from ground up, but there is no gaurentee it will fit the Halo style.

 

I have been thinking for years now that 343i should have a contest. The idea is simple. Using the in game forge system, design a map for optimal Halo gameplay. The entire community is open to enter the contest, and finalists will be narrowed down by the community itself! This whole idea is based off of Halo 5, being the newest game to release, and having the most potential through forge.

Sticking with the classic Halo arena gameplay, while making something truely unique. Halo has the most unique map designs and locations of any other video game. The idea is to capture that same feeling.

 

3 of the best community maps to come from the contest could be rewarded in a few different ways. Any of these options, or a mix of them.

  1. All 3 maps go into matchmaking for their respected party size and gametypes.
  2. All 3 maps to be converted into developer maps made available through DLC (Community Map Pack) The winners could be tweaked or changed to optimize gameplay, and make the maps a more solid experience.
  3. A top winning map to be made into a developer map, made into stand alone free DLC for Halo 5, or a default map in Halo 6.
  4. Winners get interviews with 343i to become map developers, to help craft future Halo maps.

Now this idea is clearly still in the early stages of planning. It is an amazing idea not only for quality Halo maps, but an amazing oportunity for the skilled and dedicated forgers of the Halo community to join the creation process for their beloved franchise.

 

Now I ask, what do you think of this?

 

I spoke with Hardy Lebel (Multiplayer Design Lead for CE) briefly regarding what it would take to get into the industry, and his answer was fairly simple: make Halo maps.

 

Regardless of what the "Careers" page says on 343i's website, they could take someone with a strong portfolio over someone with an arts degree. 

 

With that being said, Forge can only get you so far. Despite its limitations, it can still be a great stepping stone for learning about map flow, item placement, etc. However, 343i isn't going to hire someone based solely on Forge capabilities. I highly recommend getting into Halo PC map-making to start with. The tools used are the same as Bungie's, and it forces the designer to establish a solid workflow and design pipeline. If CE isn't your jam, all the better: it will take you out of your comfort zone and learn to design around different gameplay mechanics. You can find everything you need to get started at hce.halomaps.org.

 

Alternatively, you could create maps for Halo 2 PC, however the tools are much more limited and much less documented.

 

Another thing I would strongly recommend to beef up a portfolio is making maps for other arena-based shooters (Unreal Tournament, Reflex). Sometimes design philosophies from other games and tools can influence your own map-making process for the better.

 

If you decide to get into CE map-making, feel free to PM me as I'm already experienced on the subject.

 

I feel like Halo is a big enough franchise that they should release a REAL map editor and not this lego world crap. We got a proper map editor for Halo CE on PC (Kinda), so why the hell were we never given these tools for later Halo games?

 

They should let us import maps from PC or submit them to Bungie as free DLC. Everyone wins.

 

The Halo PC editing kit is almost limitless when combined with all the 3rd party apps released over the years.

 

As far as DLC goes, it truly would be great if we could somehow import some of the better custom maps as free DLC (but it's pretty much a pipe dream with the way 343i's been handling MCC).

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To the question in this thread, I don't think any of the answers listed are the right ones.

 

As with all good job recruitment the people interviewing and hiring need to think outside the box a bit. If all you do is hire the same group of people, from the same limited pool, with the same set of experiences, and the same type of education...you will get, more or less, the same thing over and over. If all they look at papers that say "I have this education and have worked on X game(s)", they are really doing themselves a disservice. This doesn't mean you hire people with no talent, ability, or drive. Just that you don't create a process which leads to only 1 type of job hire while causing yourself to miss out on really great people. I don't work in the gaming industry so I have no idea how all these companies are handling hiring, but if that is how it works I suggest they come out of the stone age and get with the times. Look at other creative and successful companies for inspiration.

 

It is difficult for a recruiter/manager/whoever to take these changes however. The cost of games, expectations, bureaucracy (the managers, mangers, manager is watching), stress, and overall "machine" that is game development today makes creativity and risk taking far less likely. The job of recruiting and hiring is not a simple task where you follow a sheet of paper requirements, not if you want to really be groundbreaking. Look at how places like Google go about hiring people (as one example). If they didn't do this they wouldn't be as creative of a company, guaranteed.

 

No doubt in my mind that the large corporate machines (EA, Activision, Microsoft, Sony, etc) are stifling creativity and don't even realize it. In regards to Halo, since it has become a "franchise" game it will be relied upon to meet certain levels of sales and have a certain level of "security". Innovation and creativity aren't as likely. This is a price paid when something succeeds. This, in my estimation, is why you might see a job requirement list like you proposed.

 

It is very unfortunate.

 

 

I don't think there is anything specific to Halo that makes selecting and finding designers different. The idea that you need "Halo" designers is an odd one. Actually, the idea IMO is ludicrous. That is a good way to turn everything into a regurgitated stale mess. Look, Halo wasn't the first FPS and believe it or not Halo CE, what many still feel today was the best game in the franchise, was born out of a group of designers and developers that didn't have any "Halo" specific design principles. Believe it or not, they borrowed heavily from other FPS games before them (crazy right?). Even if they didn't explicitly draw from those games, I guarantee most played them and therefore subconsciously drew from those experiences. However that game was designed in a different time, with different expectations. I imagine Bungie, at that time, was a far more free and creative group of misfits trying to do something amazing. I feel confident in saying that environment doesn't exist today in AAA games. Some people in the industry are trying to find a way to remain viable in the gaming industry today while still trying to offer an enviornment like that. a major risk to take to hopefully result in creative people making something great.

 

People are more then capable of designing "around the goals of the game", be that Halo, CoD, Destiny, UT, Doom, etc. At least a good designer should be able to. Personally this seems more about you/others not liking the design decisions being made on maps, and pointing it at the game designers. When really I suspect the issue is the "game design GOALS" that are being laid out and placed in front of these designers. Again, they are being lead, not given creative freedom. This is what happens to successful "franchise" games. Halo isn't being developed by a relatively unknown Bungie with no real expectations. It isn't an environment conducive to allowing designers to do their thing. Is it no wonder Bungie wanted to leave the Halo franchise? Do people still not get this?

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