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Remake Spencer Mansion

Discussion in 'Reach Casual Maps' started by Cryptic Sin, Oct 31, 2011.

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  1. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

    Welcome back to the world of survival horror...

    by Frankie "Cryptic" G.

    As featured on
    Kotaku & The Escapist!


    • Video Walkthrough
    • How to play / Introduction to Survival Infection
    • Custom Survival Infection Gametypes
    • Screenshots
    Want to play Survival Infection customs with other players?



    • DISCLAIMER: This isn't a game-breaking issue by any means, but must certainly be addressed. Moderate/severe "disco-ing" and framerate issues in the Main Hall (when looking towards the dining room.) Waterfall problem. Not lighting. Sounds scary, but testing has proven this is only a minor annoyance in the big picture. The affected area is a small portion of what is a large and explorable map, so if you can look past that (experience it for yourself) then there's nothing to worry about.

      I'm more than confident that if I was able to somehow move the entire structure in one pick up and drop (I'm never building this piece by piece again until maybe Halo 4) to another area away from the waterfall, that would get rid of the problem almost completely. If only I had that power to pick up and drop everything that, maybe say, 343... Might have. Just sayin'.

    Claustrophobic. Dark. Terrifying.

    There's a lot of reasons why so many remember where the nightmare all began. The original Resident Evil (more specifically Rebirth) was a haven for those of us that dreaded what was around every corner. We felt vulnerable and uneasy. Very hard to feel as a Spartan, I'm sure.

    But what if we could experience these same or at the very least similar feelings in our favorite game, Halo? And in multiplayer of all places.

    My idea to recapture the essence of the Spencer Mansion in Halo has existed since Halo 2, which became an actual goal during Halo 3. For all I knew before Reach came out, this recreation had to compliment the original/rebirth in every way in order for me to be satisfied. I've been constructing this map as a 1:1 remake, followed by its series of Infection gametypes I like to label as "Survival Infection," for over a year now; Pretty much since the release of Reach.

    Aesthetics proved to be a goal I could reach. But what about gameplay? Would the survival horror gameplay of the Biohazard/Resident Evil series translate to Halo: Reach?

    This brings us to the question...

    What is Survival Infection?

    Ever wonder why we play zombie video games? I can speak for most of us when I say we do it for the trigger happy genocide we lay on the hordes. But there's really more to it than that for some. Strategy. Management. Survival.

    Now, I'm not trying to knock the whole Infection community when saying this, but Infection has changed since the way I used to play it back on Halo 2. Gone are the 10 minute "zombie" matches, replaced with 2 to 3 minute mindless rounds. Gone is the importance of survival. Now it's solely about kills and points.

    The general community's view on camping is also jaded. Most that think they know a thing or two about Infection outright eliminate camping instead of designing gameplay to counter it; while they could be making camping a choice, but less effective. There were horribly unbalanced things I didn't like about Halo 2 Infection back in the day, but more tools have allowed us to remedy that. You don't want to eliminate choice for a gametype that focuses on survival.

    I knew there had to be an audience for Infection that feels that it could be better, so while building this map I simultaneously tailored a gametype that would be fun and survival-focused, but most crucially: balanced.

    Spencer Mansion (Halo Reach) - YouTube

    The Mainstays & Balancing of Survival Infection: (Game Settings)

    The gametypes tied to this map within the Survival Infection series (Ex. Survival Horror, Umbrella Trashsweepers, etc.) have a similar template for gameplay that most of you will probably be surprised and quizzical about upon playing the map for the first time.

    Let me first explain the Survivors.

    • Begin each match with a Magnum. No sidearm.
    • Can only assassinate. (No melee damage)
    • Limited ammo and mobility.
    • Cannot see enemies or allies via radar/HUD.
    • Can pick up health packs and weapons.
    • No regeneration (aka, limited health.)
    NOTE: Against my wishes (but still technically allowed), Survivors are able to pick up E. Swords off of fallen Infected. To counter this, no Survivor health regeneration makes using the Sword a risky decision. Every clash with an Infected's attack damages the user, making the novelty of one-shotting zombies short-lived and, ultimately, should be your last option for survival.

    Your objective as a Survivor is to live 15 minutes before you are overrun and killed. Now, 15 minutes seemed to be the sweet spot during beta testing. When survivors are working alone, the game can end almost as quickly as most Infection matches do. Working with other survivors GREATLY increases game length and truly tests your weapon management as well as your aim once the match gets up to its last few minutes. Sounds obvious, but 'teamwork' doesn't mean you're gonna camp in a corner with some buddies and get away with it. Not for long on this map, anyway. There are multiple areas within the Mansion that I can recommend holding down for survival, but not one lacks its disadvantages.

    "Limited" health. It's just what it sounds like. 4 hits by any zombie and you're one of them.
    Can't wrap your head around it? It's kind of like this.
    For anyone unfamiliar, this is a similar way the classic RE series handled your health status. This adds a whole other element to Infection: Health management. Any injured Survivors must look for one of the few med kits around the Mansion (and they don't come back just like weapons don't.)

    "But that sounds SO frustrating! I'll hit the guy more than once and he just kills me! It must suck to be Infected."

    Think of it this way. You damaged that guy. He killed you, but that's health he won't be getting back. And they MUST survive 15 minutes with that. Be PROUD of that injuring slice and know you'll eventually finish the job.

    Because of the lack of mobility by the Survivors coupled with tight corridors, it's also much easier to get overwhelmed as a human than it sounds on paper. Speaking of mobility...

    Mobility (or lack thereof...) is the key to counteracting the fact Survivors hold weapons. If there's one thing survival horror gameplay taught me, it's the less you're able to do, the harder and tenser things get. For this reason, Survivors can't 'jump'. Another thing that sounds weird on paper, but it works. While this makes you an easier target, you can focus more on your aim. That's a plus.

    The headshot within the Infection community I noticed is a touchy subject. One that I early on thought I wanted to avoid as I can understand that these Infected we're shooting aren't enemy AI but annoyed, rage-quitting human... I.

    Zombies ARE killed by headshots (along with other means.)

    Let me better explain to those who don't understand with a counter-argument to the inevitable question...



    First off, download the Mansion if you haven't already and take a good walk around the place. It's a lot tighter than what you're used to in Infection and Halo in general, I'm sure. The common scenario you'll be getting yourself into during one of the Survival Infection gametypes is close combat; more specifically, the "Survival Horror" gametype which I consider to be the 'main' map option. Every corner you move around contains an opportunity for an Infected to pop out at you.

    Now let's say I (or the host) decided to turn headshots off from 'enabled' to 'disabled.'
    We'd be doing all these horrible things to the gameplay:

    • Discouraging exploration while promoting camping
    • Careful aiming & ammo conservation becomes pointless
    • Removing skill gap between all Survivors (not including Infected)
    • Zombies would have every advantage on the map
    • Restricting rich Infection game development (sounds fancy, huh?) to only quick, unsatisfying Infection gameplay for players on both sides
    That's the vicious cycle. Various corners and tight spaces combined with the advantage Infected have in speed and melee makes it easy for you as a Survivor to get attacked for the majority of the time. There's no way to quickly take out your foe before getting injured.

    This leads to players camping; not wanting to leave their "safe" haven (Zombies are quick enough for no room to be entirely safe, even the rooms with a single entrance).

    THAT leads to players without hope of successfully going out to scavenge for ammo.

    Which THEN leads to extra ammo barely making a difference in survival rate.

    THIS then affects the skill gap by giving Survivors no incentive to carefully aim or save their ammo because Infected take the same amount of hits to kill for every encounter. Survivors are then forced to explore the tight corridors without an effective way of protecting themselves.

    This brings us back to the beginning... See the pattern?

    All of these settings were made to reward both Survivors and Infected for their skill
    and punish them for their mistakes.
    Doesn't get more fair than that.

    Survival Infection is the hardcore player's Infection. It's by no means something I've pulled out my back side without plenty of testing and observation. Both sides give off their own sense of strength against the opposition. Gather a full party of willing players, teach them what I showed you here, and give it a shot. Playing with the right people can only help, too. (Feel free to add me!) Just know that Survivors ARE supposed to have the advantage... at first. Being a survivor wouldn't be a privilege if there wasn't some kind of perk, and successful Infected should get the prevailing feeling of overcoming a better equipped prey.

    Crimson Heads (The Alpha Zombies)

    • Survival Horror
    • Invisible Enemy Mode
    "There is now evidence that when the host loses consciousness, the body goes into a dormant state. During this time the virus becomes active and rapidly transforms and reconstructs the basic composition of the body. The host eventually mutated into a humanoid creature. (We call them V-ACTs). Its speed and amazing muscular development are particularly noteworthy. After transformation, it becomes more agile and aggressive. Already four of our researchers have died from trying to feed it, turning the place into an instant blood bath. (Ever since this tragic and barbaric accident, we have decided to call its kind "Crimson Heads")

    MORE DETAILS SOON!! Gametypes custom built for the Mansion:

    • Survival Horror - Survive the time limit using teamwork, limited health and ammo!
    • Umbrella Trashsweepers - Band against Umbrella's disposable soldiers and survive!
    • Invisible Enemy Mode - Fear can't kill you. But...
    • S.T.A.R.S.!! - Hide from the Nemesis T-Type. It's your only option!
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  2. Elite Warrior5

    Elite Warrior5 New Member

    You should have posted it 2 days ago. You could have entered the Hub of the Dead II. And by the way it looks great and what FX did you use? But you should have made it where there is no framerate issue.
  3. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

    When Reach first was released, nobody knew about the waterfall's impact on framerate. I started this map shortly after the game came out and was already too far in by the time I did my research. At first I thought it was the lighting, but after testing this proved not to be the case (as there was no noticeable difference). If I wanted to completely get rid of this problem, this would require me to move EACH and every item to another place within the Forge World, but it wouldn't have been worth it.

    The "issue" isn't as horrible as it sounds and isn't devastating to gameplay on the entire map, just a very small portion. I'd just rather be the one to say it rather than some critic. The map has been tested enough times with its corresponding gametypes to know that it both works and is a fun time.

    I used Purple FX, by the way.

    And I would have entered it in the contest if I knew about it. :/
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  4. Shik

    Shik New Member

    After sitting through the 8 minute video, I have to comment. This map is creative, and I like the tight hallways and space. It really resembles a zombie map, I wish you would have posted some game play too. I like your stair cases, how they had a area above and behind the stairs, like in boardwalk. Really sucks that you where unaware of the contest. Nice map though.

    SPL4TTERMAN Member

    I would make it so the humans do higher damage, and zombies have limited health, so it's a 2 hit magnum kill, 1 shot to take down shields, and another for a headshot, just gives the zombies an illusion of higher strength, and makes the whole thing feel just a little more balanced.
  6. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

    Not sure if you've played it yet with the recommended player count (or at all), but for this map, that's no more balanced than what is defaulted for the gametype.

    I'll explain.

    The reason why headshot weakness is necessary is because of how easy it is to get jumped from around corners. I promote exploration for ammunition in the Mansion and 'no headshot' would make it incredibly difficult and annoying for Survivors that want to get from point A to B as it would be nearly impossible to put enough rounds into a Zombie that just happened to move into your view. Even with headshot enabled, it's still difficult in most situations. If you go for body shots (5 pistol rounds for a kill in this,) you're more than likely gonna get cut.

    Combine the agility and speed of the Infected with the confined spaces (Crimson Heads [Alpha Zombies] can jump and sprint, while every Infected player including Alphas have higher base speed) and the successful headshot becomes more of a reward for the Survivor than a cheap kill. That's not even mentioning limited ammo and the fact there are plenty of flanks.

    I want to reward players for skillful aiming. Take that away, and there's no point. Balance must be experienced. Not simply read.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  7. CHUCK

    CHUCK Why so serious?

  8. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

  9. AquarianPhoenix

    AquarianPhoenix New Member

    This looks amazing.

    Brings back so many memories. =D

    I love what you've done with the place! Definitely a DL from me. Will bring up this map and gametype during our next clan gameday. Good job!
  10. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

    Much appreciated!

    Spread the word and don't hesitate to invite me along! I've barely been able to play my own map lately, haha.
  11. Ticky

    Ticky Member

    Once I saw this, it was seriously hard to look at any other infection map the same way. I mean that in a good way. Just by the reading, it sounds like you have mastered the survival gametype. Of course, I would have to play on the map a few times to actually know for sure, but I have strong confidence. The exploration in the map also sounds incredibly awesome. This has been enough inspiration for me to start making infection maps again! Thanks for that.
  12. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

    Haha, that's awesome and thank you. It took a lot time and thought to actually get what I was intentionally going for. I'm getting some customs for this going soon so feel free to add me and spread the word to any players that you feel can handle something a bit more hardcore than your typical Infection mode.

    Bungie Survival Infection community group (in the works) - Link
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  13. FlyingshoeILR

    FlyingshoeILR Active Member

    Very cool. I'm not often a fan of infection, but I'm pleased to see an infection map designer who knows what they are talking about. Most people who make them think it is a simple concept, but you've really done your research, and I respect that. Great job, if I do play some infection sometime I know what I'll want to try.
  14. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

    Thank you. The reception I've been getting from everyone, including yourself, has been flattering. You're very right about many Infection designers not thinking their design all the way through as they try to cater to the masses rather than to the players who actually understand Infection as a gametype.

    If you'd like to play some customs, there's a link to the Survival Infection group on Bungie on the original post. I made this as an easy way to get those interested in this map and the gametypes to match up with one another. I'll be hosting after the holiday. Spread the word to anyone you know as the fun but competitive type with most importantly, having an interest in Infection.
  15. AlbaRtros98

    AlbaRtros98 New Member

    Really awesome map !
    I remember me playing Resident Evil on my PC in 1997 and it's remake on the WII in 2009 =D
    Some details have changed but it still looks awesome even if I prefer other infection maps because if your friends did not play RE, they will never find you ^^
    Why don't you try to remake the famous Pueblo from RE4 ? That would be better for infection in my opinion.
  16. Cryptic Sin

    Cryptic Sin New Member

    Thanks. And good thing I pretty much made this for Resident Evil / hardcore Infection fans then.

    While you're right about it being confusing for those who aren't already familiar, it doesn't take too much effort for the average Halo player to get a sense of direction after a few plays... or maybe I'm giving the average Halo player too much credit. Any more series remakes I have planned won't come to fruition until I get my hands on Halo 4's Forge later this year, but stay posted.

    Out of curiosity, have you actually played this map and its gametype(s)?
  17. Gamer4PawZ

    Gamer4PawZ New Member

    You have built exactly what I want out of Infection...
    sadly with 343 in control, I can't download :( 
  18. REMkings

    REMkings The Rick Grimes of the Netherlands Flood/Infection

    Actually you can.

    Halo: Reach - Getting to Fileshares (AchHntrDotCom) - YouTube

    PS: Not trying to bump this thread, just helping out this guy and anyone else who didn't know yet. This map would deserve some bumping, though, heh heh. It's amazing. :) 
  19. Gamer4PawZ

    Gamer4PawZ New Member

    Yeah I figured this out about a day after posting, so Derp to me.
    Hope to play this soon...
  20. aNtiKkZz

    aNtiKkZz New Member

    great aesthestic use in this map i like it.. i have a map similar to this but its just a two story house, in fact i have a couple versions of them and there badically like hide and seek aspects were you have to run and hide from the killer inside the house.. anyways keep it up i like it..

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