Halo 5’s Forge will be “The Biggest One Yet” but won’t be Available on launch
343 Industries have finally revealed details on the upcoming Halo 5 Forge mode, calling it “the biggest forge yet.” A blog post on Halo Waypoint has revealed a multitude of details including redesigned control schemes, changes and increases to the budget system but there’s one very interesting detail. Halo 5’s forge mode won’t be available when Halo 5 releases on October 27th. Instead, the mode will release for free in December.
As Halo 5: Guardians is the first Halo to be developed for Xbox One, 343 Industries have decided to rebuild Forge from the ground up for it. Such as a revised and improved control scheme.
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.
Contextual Control Helper – This lets the user see, in real time, what each controller input does. Users can change from “basic” settings to learn the ropes, “advanced” for the power user controls, or turn the helper off once everything becomes second nature.
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.
Precision Editing – Precision editing returns to enable fine tuning of object placement. On top of that, there’s a power user trick we call “double analog” precision that allows for even finer manipulation.
Smart Magnets – Magnets no longer snap objects while moving them around. Instead they draw connection lines between magnets that will snap when the input is released. Additionally the camera can be aimed at magnets to influence which ones will snap giving extra precision when building with magnets.
It’s not just control schemes either, with the more powerful hardware comes more freedom for level design, forge features an insane amount of objects, types and other tools
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.
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.
Projected Terrain Pieces – Our new terrain pieces sample textures from their position on one of our Forge maps which makes them blend in almost seamlessly with the prebuilt terrain of the level when you mix them together. Watching them move around the map for the first time generally breaks people’s brains for a few minutes because it looks like voodoo. I don’t think it’s actually voodoo but instead it’s a lot of complex graphics code which might as well be.
Unconstrained Objects – We’ve maintained keeping all of the objects in Forge “map autonomous” meaning any object can be placed on any map thanks to our engines new asset management systems. Now users can experiment and try pretty much any idea on any map. For example if you wanted to you could place a Scorpion tank in the middle of Truth. This doesn’t mean you should, but you could.
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.
On top of refined control schemes and increased item counts, the budget which limits the amount of items a player can place in their map has been changed to seperate objects, lights an other effects. 343 Industries have also revealed three forge specific maps that will be included in Halo 5: Guardians.
Alpine – A beautiful terrain with rolling hills sandwiched between a cliff side wall and lake front to rip a Warthog down. It has that classic Halo world look that feels like a chunk of the Pacific Northwest was transposed somewhere on a distant planet. We even left some space out in the water for building over which is fun. If you played our Halo 5 MP Beta, you would likely recognize this map from both Orion and Pegasus because they were built on top of it in different locations.
Glacier – A large snow and ice covered landscape with giant ravine cut down the middle. It’s pretty breathtaking to look at! So much that while it was up on someone’s screen today and Sparth randomly walked by it stopped him dead in his tracks so he could backup and say, “Wow! That looks amazing!” We agree.
“Space” (name TBD) – Space has no terrain because, well, it’s space. It’s a big empty map with nothing nailed down but the boundary markers at the edges of the map which go away at game time. It’s pretty much as blank of a map as possible so the sky (or space) is really the limit.
Each of these maps has three different lighting themes that change the mood of the map. The themes changes general level lighting, background skybox, and other various effects; several of which are tunable in the map settings.
It’s clear that 343 Industries are really putting some serious design in to Forge for Halo 5: Guardians. I wish I had that creative spark (and attention span) to be able to create some maps in Forge but I can’t deny that these new tools are opening up an incredible amount of possibilities for Halo 5’s forge level designers when it’s released in December.
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