Hey everyone, its me again. At this point most, if not all, of you are tired of hearing from me and rather have Shooty Person be writing these articles. If that is the case, fear not, Shooty will be back to tackle next month's results. Regardless, you're stuck with me for this one. Let's take a look at the nominations for the month of April:
Once again, Ryley manages to capture a distinct and unique atmosphere with his latest map, Maluvai. Beauty envelopes the map sourcing from the creative piece usage. The map tosses you into an ancient coastal city sprawling with a plethora of sedimentary rock layers and ruins of a once blooming civilization. Grab a friend or two and give this map a look!
Grabbing 2nd place twice in a row is Foge with his newest map, Russet. Having been a long-standing project of Foge's, the map has gone through many different iterations and changes, honing in on a competitive core design. Combining a failsafe layout with a pleasant and different stylization, Russet is a must-play for any sweaty players out there.
Coming out on top for this month's Community Favorites is Descendant. An asymmetrical BTB map focused on a more "explosive" way of playing. Built with a version of BTB Heavies tailored better for Halo 5's sandbox, the map has countless power weapon and vehicle variants to spice up the battlefield while keeping a fine balance of vehicle and infantry combat. TimeDipper took inspiration from The Ark mission in Halo 3 and created a play space that features a combination of familiar looking structures and unique, personal aesthetic touches.
I reached out and talked to TimeDipper to hopefully gather more insight into the creative processes and map:
0micron: Descendant is inspired by The Ark mission in Halo 3 and its obvious once someone takes a look at the map's aesthetic touches. How did you managed to grasp the Halo 3 look and feel so well?
TimeDipper: In order to capture the unique atmosphere of the "Ark" campaign mission I replayed Halo 3 countless times to study what made the mission unique and of course fun. I documented pretty much everything (architecture, layout, props, weapons, vehicles, etc...) that I found defined and separated this mission from the rest of the game. Eventually I decided on the most definitive objects such as the forerunner wall and covenant sniper tower and recreated them in a way that I felt was more up to speed with the current Halo games. I also added a lot of my own ideas such as the tunnel and lift room with a design that I thought would integrate well into this existing environment.
0micron: When originally designing the map, did you always intend for it to be for a variant of BTB Heavies?
TimeDipper: My original design was always intended for a variant of BTB Heavies. However, the biggest challenge that I encountered was figuring out how BTB Heavies fits into Halo 5. In previous installments it just kind of meant throwing down heavy weapons and vehicles onto BTB maps and voila...BTB Heavies! This just doesn't work in the Halo 5 sandbox as it wasn’t fun and so I did extensive testing to balance all the weapons and vehicles.
0micron: Did you find it challenging to find a balance between all the heavy weapons and vehicles?
TimeDipper: To stay true to the Ark I wanted the map to feel open and give the players heavy options just as in the campaign mission. In the "Ark" campaign mission you pretty much encounter every heavy vehicle and weapon available in Halo 3. I value variety as it counters repetitive gameplay so I tried my best to add as many iconic heavy vehicles and weapons as possible but still keeping a fair balance between infantry and vehicle play. I started with having pretty much every heavy vehicle possible in Halo 5 on the map like a classic BTB Heavies map would. The absolute chaos of those playtests helped me narrow down what worked and what didn't. Descendant also has more weapon pads then the average BTB map as I wanted to make sure there was enough anti-vehicle measures to balance complete domination. By accompanying each SPNKr rocket launcher with a mongoose I was able to not only create an iconic section of the campaign mission but also give teams the chance to have a limited-time mini rocket vehicle to cause some serious damage. This worked out even better than I had imagined as the combination just naturally worked and encouraged cooperation among strangers.
0micron: Some forgers have a clear picture in their mind as to how their map will turn out when finished, can you say the same for Descendant? Was there multiple iterations?
TimeDipper: I started the conceptual stage for Descendant back in September 2016 after I had finished my other BTB map Dispelled. I knew I wanted to create a map inspired by the "Ark" but at the time I felt we just didn't have the necessary natural pieces for the level of immersion I wanted for the players. When we got the Barons objects in a later update I got super excited and I started gradually working on the map again. I did many sketches of layouts and structures but it wasn't until January 2018 that I seriously invested time in this project. I had somewhat of a picture in mind of what I wanted to include in the map but I like to keep an open mind and am open to change to make the good even better. The map layout iterated multiple times since I started and once I was happy with the layout of the map it was scaled down quite a few times. Descendant is currently pushing the capabilities of Forge and so I am very happy with where the map is currently. The months of dedication have been worth it and the map turned out even better then I had first imagined.
Do you have anything in the works currently? Any plans that you can tell us about?
TimeDipper: I always find myself jumping back into Forge with a new sketch on a sticky note. While I am not currently working on a dedicated project, I am always working on ideas. Most of the times I go back to the drawing board, but sometimes if I'm lucky, those ideas bloom into something special. Making a BTB map takes a lot of time and dedication so I will probably try something a bit smaller in the future.
Thanks to TimeDipper for taking the time to chat with me!
And there you have it! Remember that what gets put on ballot is decided by the Forge Critics! It's up to you all to nominate maps for the vote! Not a Forge Critic? You can make suggestions for nominations to any staff member or any critic as well! Your voice matters too! Congratulations once again to all our candidates and winners!
See you next time!