Ahead of the release of Halo 5: Guardians this month, Microsoft today published a new video and an in-depth blog post for the sci-fi shooter's map-editing Forge tools. Forge mode was originally introduced to Halo in 2007 with Halo 3, and, as you'll see in the video below, it's come a long way since then. Unfortunately for fans, however, Forge mode for Halo 5 will not be available at launch on October 27; instead, it's coming to the game in December as a post-release update, 343 explained in a blog post.
"For Halo 5: Guardians, we knew we wanted to take a giant leap forward with Forge," 343 said. "The creativity of the Forge community knows no bounds and our goal was to give them more power and control than ever before. We wanted to remove as many constraints as possible so they can create high quality maps that rival the ones that we are shipping with the game."
After release, Forge will be supported as an ongoing service that Microsoft has no plans to charge for. Future updates to the service will introduce new features based on fan feedback.
"Halo 5's Forge is the biggest evolution of the feature since the original was released with Halo 3," 343 explained. "Rather than just tack a handful of new features on top of what's already there, it was important to examine every nook and cranny to make sure even the foundations for building with Forge were up to snuff."
In Halo 5, you can use Forge for any Arena or Breakout map, but 343 has also created three "large" maps that have been made specifically to "maximize Forge-ability."
Halo 5 Forge Mode Includes:
Descriptions written by 343
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.
1600+ Objects – Take that in for a minute. Previous iterations of Forge had a couple hundred. 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 ifyou 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.
I was a huge Forge user in Reach, and 4 ended up being a significant step backwards. That said, it sounds like 5 is fixing all of the problems 4 had and then some. All that remains to be seen is the quality of the canvas maps.
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