The process of making a multiplayer map begins with the "Shell Layout". Typically this is done by game developers by creating a CSG shell of the map, created by adding and subtracting geometery - which can be likened to a cardboard cut-out, bare bones version of what the map will later become, as seen below...
Unreal Tournament 99's maps, are close to what a CSG Shell Layout looks like.
Halo Forge, has to date offered players the ability to create something similar to a "Shell Layout" by placing building blocks together. While players have been able to create some good looking maps with these blocks the system is actually ineffective. For example the "Building Blocks" section within Halo 4's Forge features a vast range of cuboid blocks that range in size in all three dimensions. Yet if a scaling system was used, in which the player could scale a buildng block in any and all dimensions, then the plethora of blocks avilable in Halo 4's "Building Blocks" section would not be required. Furthermore, these blocks used in Halo 4 Forge are needlessly, and extravagently detailed. Yet if these building blocks were made in the simpliest form possible (we'll cover adding detail in the form of materials in a future post), whereby a cube would be made of 12 polygons, players would be able to use more of these blocks to construct their maps. Thus making bigger and more detailed multiplayer maps.
Halo Reach's Forge building blocks are a start but forgers need more!
In addition to Halo Forge's cuboid building blocks, there is a wealth of more complex, primitive, geometric shapes such as inclines, ramps and curves. By increasing the amount of these shapes to cover virtually all possibilities, players will be able to create any basic "Shell Layout" to match their multiplayer maps needs.
A remake of UT99's Facing Worlds is close to the limit of what is possible with Halo 4's Forge!
However, creating the basis for what will be a multiplayer map requires much more that just placing a few simple, scalable building blocks. There are rules, do's and don'ts, of which have to be taken into account while building your map at the this stage, and we will cover some of the more important ones in the next post...
Next time in Snorkelbottoms Workshop we will continue with Halo: Ultimate with Forge - Layout Rules!