343 Offers Early Look at Halo 4’s Forge Mode
This has been an uneasy time for Halo fans. Bungie, the creator and keeper of the franchise for a decade has handed the reigns to 343 Industries, and fans the world over have been wondering how their beloved game series would change. We’ve been given previews of campaign and multiplayer, and this past weekend, 343 gave an in depth look at a third fundamental aspect of any Halo game: Forge. Read on for the details, and to take a look for yourself at what has changed, and what has stayed the same.
For anyone unfamiliar with what Forge Mode is, here’s a quick rundown. Forge is a map editor that was originally released with Halo 3, back in 2007. It allows players to customize maps, save them to their hard drives, and share them with other players. Anything in the game world can be changed, from simple adjustments like adding different weapons and vehicles, to creating entirely new play spaces with the building blocks provided in the Forge editor. It’s proven to be immensely popular, and has even led to fan-made maps being included in Halo matchmaking on XBox Live. So fans were eagerly waiting for a look at 343’s take on Forge, and this past weekend, they finally got their chance.
The footage was part of a presentation at the Rooster Teeth Expo, and included over 10 minutes of footage set in an enivroment similar to the Forgeworld of Halo Reach. There are apparently three such open enviroments available in Halo 4’s Forge mode. While the Forge editor on display was incomplete, and featured a UI that will be vastly changed in the retail version, some major improvements were already evident. First of all, every interactive object in Forge now becomes labeled and highlighted when selected, which all but eliminates the possibility of grabbing the wrong object. Also new is the ability to lock objects in place after putting them in the map, eliminating the chance of you accidently bumping it out of position later on. Another new feature is something the developers refer to as “duping,” or duplicating any object in the map without having to go into the inventory menu and select it. This greatly reduces the time it will take to build structures like bridges that require using the same building block repeatedly. Also new is the “magnet” system, which allows pieces to snap together seamlessly, like (you guessed it) magnets. All of this is meant to allow the player to focuse more on creativity, and less on the actual mechanics of building structures.
Another big new addition to Forge in Halo 4 is dynamic lighting. All objects placed in a Forge map will now accept shadows from the enviroment, and cast shadows of their own. All objects in Forge has been redesigned and updated to take advantage of the new lighting systems. Also new is something called a “player trait zone.” Within the zone, whose size and placement is fully customizable, any player trait from damage absorption to jump height can be altered. In previous versions of Forge, these traits would have to be adjusted for the entire map. Zones give players unprecedented control over the enivronment, and should make for some fantastic fan-made creations.
You can view the Forge presentation below. The first 10 minutes is all about Forge, while the reminder focuses on Halo 4’s other multiplayer modes.
Halo 4 will be released on November 6th. With the unveiling of a vastly improved Forge, the wait just got a little harder.