The Halo 4 Forge Mode Diaries #1: what should we build?

Help us play God

"If you build it," somebody once told Kevin Costner, "they will come." I've just built a massive pile of Wraith tanks atop a huge floating hunk of UNSC bulkhead, and so far, the only things I've managed to attract are a host of collision detection glitches.

Costner would probably disapprove, the smug, smouldering little get, but then he only had to "build" a baseball court. I have to assemble a functional multiplayer map in Halo 4's Forge Mode, an editing suite which is exactly and precisely as capable as the person using it. In brief: we're all doomed.

There's been a lot of inspiring talk lately about getting into videogames development lately, a lot of heart-warming hullabaloo about user-friendliness and free online hosting and grassroots empowerment. According to Valve's Chet Faliszek, making the leap has never been simpler.


"Create something," he told attendees at the Eurogamer Expo this year, with what I imagine to be a tyrannical snigger. "There you go. And that's it. It's that easy. I'm being serious. There are no gatekeepers. There are no requirements. There is no prior experience that you need. Just make something."

At some point in the near-future, I'll email Faliszek a picture of my small, sad hillock of broken tanks and he will rue his words. In fairness, "Blood Squelch" is of some service as a means of catharsis. If you're feeling stressed, all you need to do is jump into the Wraith at the bottom of the heap and fire the main gun. Away with you, unwanted emotions! Away into the vortex of plasma death!

Over the coming weeks, I hope to transform Blood Squelch from its present state of woeful decay into a thriving metropolis of multiplayer mayhem. I'll also be documenting the process, deploying an arsenal of videos and screens, possibly with the help of battle-proven Youtube comedians Matt and Log. What I need from you people - yes, you, the unsuspecting fool who's fallen into the trap of reading this article - is a vision of some kind, a map idea to work miracles with.

I'm thinking tooling around with the new trait zones could be fun - you can have up to four per map, and each zone can be customised to dramatically affect anybody who steps inside it. You might set up a bunch of zones which confer invisibility around the map, dunk a cannister full of sniper rifles by the entrance, and let participating players join the dots. There's also something to be said for timed enemy spawns. Imagine, if you will, delivering a flag to the dropzone by riding a Mongoose through a region afflicted by unending Hunter spawns. Then there are the Gravlifts. Halo pinball, anyone?


I'll keep tabs on this thread as the week wears on and let you know what I'm running with. This could be the start of a long and beautiful creative partnership. Read up on the nuts and bolts in our original Halo 4 Forge Mode feature.