Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Forging My Own Fun: Battle Stations

Lately, I've been playing a lot of Halo 3. Perhaps you've heard of it. Perhaps not. My friends twisted my arm into finally buying the new map pack (called the Mythic Map Pack) by basically saying they wouldn't play with me until I bought it. Pretty childish if you ask me, but there were about 7 of them and only one of me, so they were holding all the cards. I folded.

Included in this map pack is Sandbox, an exceptionally bad map with one good thing about it: you can Forge the hell out of it. All the structures on this map (yes, all TWO of them) can be removed or altered with Halo 3's in-game map editor. And then you can use their large but finite list of objects to make whatever you want. As a young child, I was fascinated with LEGOs. Forging in Halo reignites the same kind of creative spark I had back then. You can only use whatever blocks that the designers saw fit to give you, but half the fun is in trying to accomplish your goals using only the limited pieces. I've been Forging pretty much since Halo 3 came out, and now, with Sandbox, I've gotten back into it.

But I haven't finished anything on Sandbox yet. I'm in the middle of two new maps, but nothing ready to show off. However, since I have this blog here, I figured it would be a good place to pimp out my previously made maps, screen shots of which can be seen here. And if these maps look like they might tickle your fancy, download them for yourself and murder your friends on them. And if you do, please tell me how they play. Most of them haven't been play tested at all.

Battle Stations

The first map I made in Forge, on Foundry (actually, all the maps I've Forged are on Foundry, with the exception of these new ones on Sandbox). It uses all the space Foundry has to offer with it's symmetrical battle grounds. Originally, the concept of this map was two equally-sized sides that would be separated by a large, nearly impassible wall. The teams would fight long-distance, hurling grenades and power drainers over man-cannons to the other side. It was supposed to be a little like naval combat, I guess. You're stuck on your ship, fighting another. You can't really get at the other ship, but you can shoot at it. And you can hurl stuff at them. And maybe, every once in a while, someone would board your ship for some close-quarters combat.

This didn't really pan out because it wasn't very fun to stay in one place. People get impatient when they aren't shooting things, especially in a game where it screams out "Killing spree!" whenever you fell five foes. Eventually people would just go over the man-cannons themselves, which broke the flow of the map and made it unbalanced. Also, sending trip mines and power-drainers through the man-cannons was terribly ineffective. So the man-cannons were removed, and the big wall was altered to be a little easier to get over. It's been tweaked and refined over a course of almost two years, and this is the only one that has actually been combat tested, to my knowledge. I still think this is my most polished map to date.

So if it sounds interesting, give it a look, play it a little, and shoot me some feedback. Also, if you clicked those links up there, you now know my Xbox Live Gamertag, so we could potentially play it together. I think I would enjoy that.

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