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2 October 2013
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The Halo Bulletin: 10.2.13

10.02.2013 15:43

The Halo Bulletin

I've been looking forward to the upcoming stretch of months that all end with colder days, shorter nights, and "ber" for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is the opportunity and privilege to discover and highlight new community content each week. Doing so not only creates a chance for map-makers, screenshotters, and montage-makers to shed some light on their creative processes, but also gives all of us an opportunity to play and enjoy new custom game types and a wide array of incredible creations from across the Halo community. Additionally, we look forward to continuing to bring the best of the best content into Matchmaking for the world to enjoy. We started last week with a look at the Conversion game type, and we'll continue this week with a just-released remake, Forge tips, and more. Let's get into it!

Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition

As we announced yesterday, the Halo 4: Game of the Year Edition will be released on October 8th, and is now available for pre-order at the Microsoft store. As a refresher, the Halo 4 Game of the Year Edition contains hours of content including the Champions Bundle and the War Games Map Pass. We've seen some questions regarding the availability of pre-order content, and we're still looking at different ways, which includes the Game of the Year Edition, to make the content available for completionists. This edition of Halo 4 contains over 15 pieces of in-game and avatar content from the Halo 4 Campaign and the all-new Master Chief Avatar Cloak inspired by Halo for Xbox One. Head here to see exactly what's included.

Matchmaking Playlist Update

This past Monday, Team Snipers, Team Doubles, Team Action Sack, and more were updated. Some of the biggest updates included new maps and game types to Snipers, as well as new and improved CTF game types returning to Team Doubles. For the full details of this week's update, be sure to swing by Monday's Matchmaking Update.

In the next update, which falls on October 14th, Oddball will replace King of the Hill as the featured playlist. We've taken feedback from the Team Objective thread to update some of the game type settings and map pool, and look forward to providing these details, along with the specifics of GH057ame's upcoming Team Throwdown update, in next week's Bulletin.

Forge Ricochet Contest Update

Certain Affinity's Halo 4 Forge Ricochet Contest is ongoing through October 8th, which means there is still time to submit your own creation via the Official Submission Thread. If you'd like to get a sneak peek at some of the entries, feel free to pop into the thread and download maps that catch your eye (note that they may be works-in-progress). Later this month, we'll highlight the finalists on Waypoint and dub them masters of the Forge Ricochet Contest. Then, once the Community Forge Ricochet playlist launches on October 28th, I'll play nonstop matches on these maps and probably end up missing several days of work. Once again, best of luck to all entrants!

Ricochet to Race: How to create Race from Multi-Team Ricochet

While Race will be coming to Halo 4 Matchmaking in December (continue reading for details), we know that Race custom game types have been quite popular amongst the custom game community, so we're happy to let you know that the designers over at Certain Affinity have detailed the step-by-step instructions to make the Race game type out of Multi-Team Ricochet. First, you'll want to download the "Ricochet Multi-Team" game type from the "HaloWaypoint" File Share. Next, if you need a crash course on Ricochet game type labels, head here for all the info. Once you're ready to get started, follow the below instructions:

  1. Label a vehicle or vehicles as rico_forgeball to turn them into 'balls'.

  2. Use ForgeZones as the checkpoints for the race, and set up hill_marker objectives and label them rico_forgezone. These are set up so that they disappear and reappear in order that you hit them. Next, number the spawn sequence to set the order. You can award score for hitting each checkpoint, or only for particular ones. See the documentation for additional info.

  3. Who is awarded points depends upon the team of the ball and the team of the ForgeZone. If the team of either of these is set, and so is the user data, then whenever the 'ball' enters any ForgeZone, the team of the ball will be awarded the points set on the ball, and the team of the zone will be awarded the points set on the zone. This means you have flexibility in how you set up the race.

Scenario 1: A neutral ball and then a series of ForgeZones set to teams.

The players could fight over who is driving the 'ball' and whoever is driving can aim for the checkpoints of their team color. The map can be forged so that the checkpoints are next to each other instead of in the same place, so that players avoid hitting the enemy's checkpoints when they drive.

Scenario 2: Two team balls (vehicles), one for each team, or as many teams as you have on the map, with neutral ForgeZones.

Set the scoring points on the zones themselves to zero, and only use one set of zones. Set the scoring points on the balls appropriately for the teams. After everything is set up, it's then a question of who is in the lead and hitting the checkpoints so that they disappear first (and getting the scoring points from their ball.)

Scenario 3: Team balls, and team ForgeZones in the same locations.

With this setup, players score when they hit their checkpoint, but the other team's checkpoint is still available. Scoring points can be assigned to either the ForgeZones, the balls, or both. This can get a bit visually messy with all the different colored zones visible and in the same place, but is guaranteed good fun.

Be sure to share your Race game types (and other awesome stuff) in the Community Creations section of the forums!

Matchmaking Playlist Calendar

In the 9.11 Halo Bulletin, we detailed our rotational playlist schedule for the rest of the year, and our fantastic content team has created a new playlist calendar page which can be found here. Check out the below calendar for details on our rotational playlists as well as Community Playdates (details, times, playlists, and attendees of the Community Playdates are to be announced).

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To stay up to date on the Matchmaking schedule, bookmark the Matchmaking Playlist Calendar.

Community Map Spotlight: Countdown


Over the past few months, I've been following a Polish Korean (aPK) in his "Project: Rebuild Countdown" series on YouTube. The community Forger set out to remake one of Halo: Reach's most beloved symmetrical maps, and just yesterday the final version was of the map was revealed and released for download. After watching the announce video (below), I managed to catch up with aPK to discuss the project. Read on for some insight into what it's like to recreate an entire Halo map piece by piece.

Hey, aPK! Thanks for joining us today to talk about your latest project. First things first - How did you get started with Forge?

aPK: Thanks for having me! I started my Forge endeavors back in Halo 3, when I discovered the MLG Halo 3 Forge Forum shortly after Foundry was released, and I started to dabble a little in Forge once the Sandbox canvas was released. It was towards the end of Halo 3's lifetime though, and I didn't get around to finishing anything, so I started to look towards Halo: Reach. I familiarized myself with map design by reading various guides by game developers and using PC programs to make designs I would later forge once Reach was released, which is really where I hit my stride. I have Solo XIII (the creator of Rail and some of the best Forge maps ever) to thank for being so helpful when I got started, and for being a great source of inspiration.

What about Countdown made you want to remake the map in Halo 4?

aPK: The v7 update to the MLG playlist had me playing Reach a lot more than I ever had, and my favorite game type in that playlist was Countdown CTF. I really wanted to bring back those experiences to Halo 4 so that I and many others could enjoy them once again. However, the biggest reason I chose to remake Countdown is because I knew it'd be a very tough challenge to overcome, and a very tough challenge was exactly what I was looking for to spark more interest in Forge for me.

Exactly how long did the project take? Was this one of your bigger Forge projects?

aPK: I'd have to say this is by far my largest project, in terms of time and effort. I went back in Forge on Reach to measure every last wall, floor, and ceiling to ensure accuracy, which took a lot of time. But as much time as that took, forging it took even longer. At one point, I completely scrapped what had to have been at least 30 hours of work in Forge, and started over. In total, this project easily cleared 100 hours of work, and every hour was worth it. I'm very proud of the final product.

Countdown is certainly an intricate map, with ledges, support pillars, and important sightlines. What was the hardest thing to nail when recreating the map?

aPK: The lifts throughout the map were quite the challenge. I must have cycled through four different lift designs/systems before I arrived at the final one. Nailing down the lifts wouldn't have been possible without extensive testing sessions, in which I got a great deal of useful feedback from a ton of players, which helped me get them to function as close as possible to the ones in Reach. With a lot of the other details, it was just a matter of being conscious of them, which wasn't a problem for me considering I had played and loved the map so much.

Is there anything on the map that is significantly different than the original, due to Forge budget or otherwise?

aPK: In Reach, you could shoot through the wire fences that were at the top of each "Bubble". This was something I unfortunately couldn't replicate due to budget constraints and an absence of a similar functioning piece. Also, the doorways on each side leading to the streets were a bit more enclosed in Reach, which I chose not to recreate for the sake of flow. These two changes make traversing the top floor noticeably more fluid, which helps encourage more encounters in and between the power positions up top.

You also Forged Halo 2's Sanctuary earlier this year in Halo 4. How did these two projects compare to one another?

aPK: Strangely enough, the only comparison I can make between the two projects is that they were remakes. My approach for each project differed vastly. With Sanctuary, there was no Forge for me to utilize, so instead I loaded up Halo 2 Vista on my laptop while I forged in Halo 4 on my monitor. I started from the center of the map and worked my way outwards, walking and looking around on both in an attempt to recreate the same structure and feel. That was a luxury I didn't have with Countdown, but Reach obviously has Forge, which influenced and allowed me to make a near-exact remake.

What game types play best on Countdown in Halo 4?

aPK: From the test sessions, it appeared that 1-Site Extraction played the best. It was a fantastic mix of nostalgia (playing on a remake) and fresh gameplay (playing a new game type in Halo 4). The site locations really encourage teamwork and set-ups, which is something I always love to see when playing an objective game type. On the other hand, if you're a player that prefers chaos, then I would suggest Team Slayer or Capture the Flag. I can't speak on how well it plays for Ricochet, but it is a supported game type if that sounds like something that would get you all hot and bothered.

Everyone reading probably knows that Ricochet absolutely gets me hot and bothered [bs angel edit: Confirmed.], so I'm looking forward to giving that a shot. Where can everyone download the map?

aPK: Here's a download link, but if people would like to use the in-game File Browser, they can search for my Gamertag (a Polish Korean).

One last question: What's next for aPK?

aPK: For Forge, I have a few projects I have started working on and have my eyes on, but I haven't decided yet. One is a take on the beloved two-base two-tower design archetype, and the other two are asymmetrical 2v2 maps. As for other endeavors, I have a Youtube channel that I upload tons of Halo content to, and plan to keep at it with Halo 4 and leading into the next Halo title.

Thanks for talking with us today, and best of luck with future projects!

aPK: Thanks again for having me!

Next up, bs angel returns with another Screenshot Spotlight.

Screenshot Spotlight - Orange

Last week we shined the spotlight on Ricochet screenshots. This week we decided to go with the color of the month. Take a gander at the predominantly orange shots below, then capture your own for your shot at being featured in next week's Bulletin.

For your chance at being in next week's spotlight, take a screenshot of your impressive Forge creation. Then tag it with "Forge Art" and "Halo Waypoint", and maybe, just maybe, yours will be featured in the next Halo Bulletin!

With that, this week's Bulletin comes to a close.

Until next week,