TLDR: Ancestor is a Big Team Battle map inspired by the Halo 3 and Halo:Combat Evolved Control room. The area the bases are located in have some inspiration from the Halo 2 map Waterworks. Ancestor has sort of a tug of war feel at times with its map design. The map plays excellently for Assault, CTF, Slayer, and supports Strongholds. There is a lot of verticality to the map with the size of the Control Room structure, but there are a lot of options to make the gameplay fast, fun, and very vehicle friendly while finding great sight lines and areas that provide balance.
Design and Research
In order to really get a feel and understanding for this map, we really looked at a lot of Forerunner structures, aesthetics, art designs, history, and lore. My friend and Co-Forger weeeeeman has a pretty deep understanding of Forerunner lore and helped a lot with great designs, feedback, ideas, gameplay thoughts, tedious issues, and much much more. We originally had a bigger map, with open bases that hosted some fantastic spires, but ultimately the map was deemed too large after our first playtest. The spires were cut, the bases were moved closer and put into the ground, and the boundaries of the map were crunched to support a more fast paced, fun, and ultimately more balanced playstyle. Ancestor's main structure went through quite a few overhauls and the bases did as well. The map itself had been upscaled, downscaled, torn apart, and redesigned on multiple occasions. This map idea was created on June 3rd, one month of 4-10 hour forge sessions with 2 or 3 days without forging. Every single piece of this map has been deleted at least once, discussed, playtested, and a lot of effort was put into this map for a quality experience that we wanted to share with everyone, but also wanted to have a lot of fun on it ourselves! To quote weeeeemann, "I want to create an environment that I would like to visit in real life." Me personally, I would be afraid of the Flood showing up. Alpine held the best art direction for what we wanted to achieve with the water, blocking out Alpine and having the cold dark water feel with the mountains back in the distance, which we were able to make them look snowy! In fact, it took many of our playtesters awhile to figure out the map was made on Alpine. A lot of our testers eventually made the comment, "Wait, water? This was forged on Alpine?" We went through every BTB map in matchmaking In order to get a solid feel for weapon layout, size, gameplay ideas, name values, and much more. In those maps, we counted every camera, weapon, grenade, vehicle, spawn, etc. I enjoy making BTB maps and this was a huge undertaking, we hope you enjoy playing on Ancestor as much as we do. *Post Update 2.0* After a lot of feedback from many different test lobbies and other sources, we deemed the map was too big and had a few routes that didn't have the game play we hoped for. These areas have been cut, terrain redone for a cleaner look, and everything moved in some to scale the map down a few notches. We feel this has been a great improvement and have received a lot of positive feedback with our last test lobby! Special shout out to Max Extra's Forged Fridays for some feedback as well!
Thoughts from the authors:
This was so much fun to co-forge, design, and playtest! So much thought was put into every area and we have done so much background work in order to be as educated as possible in each aspect of BTB and tried to capture the design for a Magnum start in promoting map exploration with the Magnum still serving as a good start choice. The piece count increase came at the perfect time! It really helped in adding named values, spawns, cameras, etc. We really wanted to recapture the larger vehicle based BTB of old, maps such as Sandtrap, Valhalla, Waterworks, Containment, etc. The word Ancestor is even a synonym for Forerunner. Ancestor to me also represents the community's history with Halo. This map personally hits me right in the feels. To me Ancestor brings me back to the old Halo games, but all the same brings a fresh twist with the Halo 5 forge.
When Ancestor was in the concept phase, prior to actual development, it began with the keywords “forerunner”, “nostalgia”, and “fresh”. We played through several missions in Halo: CE, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 4 and Halo 5 and took screenshots from forerunner buildings that inspired us. Although I had no intention of attempting such a massive, colossal structure, when D4rkDeath saw the screenshots I took of the Control Room in Halo 3, he said, “That’s it!”. I retorted, “No, that’s too big. I don’t think we can pull it off.” His response to that was “Exactly. That’s why we need to do it”. (Cue the epic, monastic chanting of Halo and repeat after me: “Do the thing that you fear most.”) I wanted to combine old with new, and so we threw in some of that new, promethean-forerunner art direction, with the orange lighting and epic forerunner weapons. We wanted to create a playspace environment that would allow players to run, jump, clamber and fight all over the outside of the control room structure. Our intent was to capture that verticality and epic scale that was in the Halo: CE mission “Assault on the Control Room” (Different Control Rooms can be seen in several Halo games…our creation most closely resembles the Halo 3 and Halo: CE structures). The banshee was the cherry on top of the cake. We decided to forge this map on Alpine because we wanted to use the canvas to create an environment we hadn’t really seen Alpine used for: icebergs, cold, dark water, frozen caves and frozen caverns! I had an absolute blast playing through campaign missions, discussing ideas with my friends, and forging this map, and I hope you have a blast playing on it too!
HUSKYLAPPER16 - For some design feedback, fun ideas, and challenging us in areas with a different outlook.
TimeDipper - For the great work on the new Banshee platform in update 2.2, feedback and map layout ideas.
WyvernZu- For help with the lighting, a few redesign ideas, and helping consider every option for lots of areas of the map.
Forge Factory - Supporting us in helping fill lobbies, provide feedback, and help test the map.
Thank you to all of our testers for all of your feedback as well!