Halo 4’s Forge mode—the popular creation sandbox from Halo 3—is still a thing and coming back for the inaugural 343 Industries entry into the storied franchise. It’s being handled by Certain Affinity, an Austin-based studio that also popped out Waypoint and the Defiant map pack.
Certain Affinity was founded by Max Hoberman, a former Bungie employees who had his hand in with the series until Halo 3. With lead designer Adam Crist and multiplayer lead Kynan Pearson, Hoberman showed off some of the new features today at the Rooster Teeth Expo in Austin.
A few things were still under development like the UI and copy, but the Forge still operates much the same as you probably remember. You are a detached floating reticle with powers to create, move, and remove set pieces, enemies, and whatnot while operating under a monetary budget metaphor for memory limitations. The shipped version of Halo 4 will come with four different Forge environment. The one shown at the 343 Industries panel was what looked like a meadow with a running river and some big ol’ gaping holes.
The first improvement we see is that it is easier to grab and differentiate things. No longer will you have to pick up and drop things over and over because you recklessly dumped a bunch of crates over a spawn point; now you’ll get to see the name of the item you’re about to select and have its name pop up by the reticle.
After putting an initial piece of a bridge down, Crist began duping the piece with just a single press of the button. There’s still no undo or redo functionality (due to networked systems), but now you can copy things crazy fast. This is combined with the new magnet mechanic which makes world objects slightly sticky so you don’t have to manually align things and drive yourself crazy.
Another nice touch is the ability to lock items to their current locations so you don’t accidentally move them and destroy another controller with rage.
Dynamic lighting is also a new feature where every time you switch to player mode, the game quickly calculates and renders the lighting and allows objects to both accept and cast shadows.
And now, eschewing the global gravity system of Halo 3, you can define Trait Zones. This allows you to set specific volumes of the map that undergo attribute changes. Listed were four overarching categories of Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta, you can peruse subcategories to change things like health and shield modifiers, gravity changes, speed boosts, damage absorption, and more.
You are also now able to set player challenges as well. In a demo with Rooster Teeth’s Geoff Ramsey and Jack Pattillo, players go through a series of challenges involving jumping a Mongoose through a purple Gravity Volume, leaping over a field of floating debris with falling, exploding debris coming from above, and pushing a Banshee off a cliff so you can flip and board it to fly it through a RTX logo. Also, Jack won 2-1 if you were wondering.
We’ll be digging for more information from 343 Industries and Certain Affinity so you can get a good look at the new Forge.