343's released a load of new intel on Halo 4's recently unveiled Forge Mode, a nipped and tucked version of the famous level editor which dumps Halo: Reach's giant single map in favour of several, slightly less sizeable discreet environments.
"There will be some aesthetic variety [between these environments] we'll talk about later," wrote community manager Jessica Shea over on Halo Waypoint, "As well as the obvious inclusion of aesthetics and Forgeable objects from specific maps (Forerunner vs. UNSC objects, depending on the content of the environment), but most objects will be UNSC themed - although there's more to come on that front later.
Forge maps won't make the main Halo 4 multiplayer playlists at first. "We won't be putting Forge creations in the "main" matchmaking areas initially, at least. Certainly Forged variants may go in (rules, the odd object placement) eventually, but we're still discussing how to promote and enable Forge creations in a way that maintains a separation of that kind of content from the main mix.
Shea then went into more detail as to the maps themselves. "The environments will be large enough to accommodate just about any design you can think of, from a Lockout remake to a sprawling racetrack. There will be rolling hills, flat, sterile spaces, big, flat indoor areas and everything in between.
"The difference is that we'll use more than one environment - an aesthetic - rather than a giant contiguous space like Forge World. There will also be HUGE FLAT JUMBO Coliseum "walls" that you can instantly place as enormous floor tiles (or walls). All the spaces are being designed with flexibility and performance in mind.
"The inclusion of a new lighting engine and some unique palettes will make things look more varied and connected. Some simple examples - you can make Lockout and The Pit with relative ease and plenty of room. If you want to do something giant and meandering, you'll have to incorporate some of the environments existing features (hills, cliffs etc)."
There won't be any nocturnal maps, perhaps because this would lend a crippling advantage to Active Camo specialists. "We'll reveal more about the environments later, and while you won't be able to make a literal night time version, there will be an element that will enable a starkly different look than the bright daytime maps you're used to - and the addition of proper lighting and shadowing on and in objects will make a radical difference."
If you were disgusted by the interface visible in the Halo 4 Forge Mode unveil vid, hold your horses - it's a placeholder, representing a fraction of the full feature set. "Naturally the final menu will have complete feature parity with "old" Forge, plus several important new additions, and so yes, of course you will be able to place weapons - and vehicles at will. Custom games will also allow you to define your own loadouts so you will not be limited by your progress in the main Infinity progression.
One final thought before you go. "Coordinates and grids are returning and will be in some ways more useful thanks to other features like magnets and so on."