Hey there everyone! Ascend here here with a long overdue article and new community spotlight! For those unfamiliar with the series, Community Spotlights are interviews with members of the Halo community, whether it be an individual or a group of people. In these interviews we dial in on the person or group in question and set the stage for a cool 1-on-1 chat.
This time around, I spoke with Brusky0086, a long time Halo player, long time forger and a huge player in the Halo community. Some of you may already be familiar with Brusky, whether it be through his channels on Twitch or Youtube, his open customs lobbies or his involvement in groups such as iForge and the Halo Spark Forge Network (HSFN). I first met Brusky a couple months back, a little bit before I became really involved with Forgehub and right around when I started up my regular customs lobby. In fact, Brusky on more than one occasion helped me get the Thursday 13 rolling, whether it be through word of mouth or by showing up and playing a bit. It was nice to see someone in the Halo community be so friendly and helpful especially since we had hardly even exchanged any words prior. That type of dedication to community and positive interaction is important and it's good to see it in action in the community.
This interview is in depth and covers a broad range of topics. There was so much to talk about and hopefully you all enjoy!Ascend: How long have you been active in the Halo community? What/Who got you involved?
Brusky: I have been in The Halo Commuty since day 1 hour 1. I was living with my cousin Erik back when Halo CE dropped and we were blown away when we got home and turned it on. I was hooked as a player and as a fan. Customs was a long time away but the groundwork was laid playing 16 people on four televisions. With a team set up in each room oh boy it was killer. But a lot of work went into that type of thing and due to scheduling you couldn't do it everyday. Halo 2 and Xbox Live made it easier and Halo 3 really made what we now call the customs community in Halo. A majority of my Halo time is spent with the iForge Team or helping members of the community, and looking at maps. I don't use websites to find the maps I feature I go out in the community and meet the forgers themselves which is time consuming. Roflz and Blaze and stuff being made by PA1NTS and Valojiztov really inspired my early work. I tried to emulate their styles early on and use it as a template for my own style later. All four remain great friends to this day.
Custom Games...I can't honestly recall the first great customs lobby that made the experience so great and fun but after the release of The Master Chief Collection I met this rad guy named INFINUT and his buddy JA50N 0. They always had full lobbies going every night with new maps from all these random forgers I had not heard of and I thought" Yep"there needs to be more of this". About the same time I met my bestest forge buddy Raptor086, along with The222v, ImDahUnicornand N3gat1veZer0. They would become the core of what is now iForge and The Halo Spark Forge Network.
Our combined enthusiasm and love of this community and forge has kept us here ever since and doing our best to make it a better community to be a part of and helping new and veteran map designers craft their ideas, provide assistance and play testing, and provide constructive feedback and encouragement. We felt it was really lacking in the community before us and honestly is much needed.
Ascend: What's your favorite part about the community and those you play with?
Brusky: The feeling of camaraderie and teamwork in either tackling big forge projects or helping a new forger test out their creation only to find out its super rad he did awesome. That reaction you elicit from them is priceless and really makes you feel good inside. You honestly remember how that felt for you when you started. I also enjoy working with the next generation of forgers who want to be a part of our super rad community. It's so hard for them to find help theses days. Saying iForge is one of the easiest places you can go to get a test done or ask a question is a compliment and that says a lot about my team and how they interact with the community. There are other Forge Teams out there also being helpful and making a better community. The Gravemind Community, Forge Consolidated , ATN , Forge Factory , and more have had a lot of their members around me and their all very friendly and give feedback and testing to forgers outside their teams daily.
Ascend: How many maps do you think you've played in Halo 5? Do you have any personal favorites?
Brusky: 3000+ (It's true, you can check the service record) and of course I do and I hate to just name a few. I'd have to say Assault and Control by JA50N 0. Super fun and replayable as hell but the latest update has us reworking it. Drillsite by PA1NTS, Infinty Siege by WyvernZu, Fort Guilder by Raptor086 and MJRookie , Colossuss by TheRoflzDude , Stigma by SquallydaBeans
(Yep that's right haters ), Epigaurd by IKYLEIZBEASTLY, The Walking Dead Maps, all of em by Mr. Pokephile, The Hive by Daemon Knight, Spitfire by The222v, Prop Hunt and World War Forge by JoeAct20, and Wizards Duel by INFINUT, oh man I gotta stop cause their is just too much great stuff out there now days .The forging community as a whole is pumping out killer maps daily.
My favorite forger though is no secret and I think he is the best all around at map design and that's Creative Forces Who's Blaze. After that my top 10 favorites, in no order would be JA50N 0, WyvernZu , JoeAct20 , Raptor086, Ryouji Gunblade, PA1NTS, IKYLEIZBEASTLY, GreyMuffinBass, and N3gat1veZer0. But that's just a small portion of you guys and gals out there I pay attention to and am a fan of.
Ascend: How did iForge and HSFN get started? What do they do?
Brusky: It all started in the Master Chief Collection. The core group of players and map makers that ran nightly customs were very frustrated at what some would call "bias" in the upper levels of the Halo community. I'm not gonna get on either side publicly on the Forgegate stuff at all because it's done and over but back when we started the team not only was it hard to get featured on a popular YouTube Channel and get your map some exposure it was also a very negative environment in certain places, whether it be on sites or on social media even. Many people were discouraged from getting more involved because those in the upper-levels of the community seemed to be only promoting their own content and ignoring everyone else's. Instead of using their notoriety and status for good, they choose to belittle and over criticize. We felt these people were using this platform mainly for their own benefit and as a result, it ended up hurting the community. It created distrust and hard feelings that you can still kinda see even now.
Luckily Halo 5 has brought a lot of new faces to the community and they have a lot to offer us all. We needed to make sure that there was a positive group of faces in the community to help reverse the trends of the past and to also send a message to the community. iForge was established to do just that. We pulled in as many influential community members as possible and teamed up under that common cause. Now we have access to each other's skill sets and testing lobbies and we have a friendly community that can welcome new players, give advice, test maps and overall just be good ambassadors for this thing we all love and put so much time into. It's awesome because we've help get 10 maps into Matchmaking thus far. That puts us in second behind Creative Force!
The Spark Forge Network took this same approach to YouTube. It's comprised of Halo Channels that feature forge maps or tutorials. We needed to all be on the same page. We share the things we find and make sure we're all showing something different and cross promote. In order to make it easier to get all the great things out there we find and give all those forgers a chance to grow and get exposure.
We use the same HSFN tag in all our videos so that it makes content easier to find for enthusiasts and the most important thing to note and yes I am very proud of it is that The Halo Spark Forge Network Channels have featured over 500 different maps in 2016 and over 400 forgers. I believe that is higher than any other group of channels by far. Say what you want about quality, I'd rather be using that time finding more maps. We started HSFN with the channels Raptor086, Brusky0086 TheRoflzDude, Valojiztov,and MJRookieForge , later came D.V. Television and a few came and went. In 2017 we're starting with 10 channels under the HSFN banner
We should have a very exciting year with better quality soon for me and more outlets for forgers than ever before!
Ascend: Being a classic Halo player, how do you feel the community has changed over time?
Bruksy: The Forge Community has more talent than ever and it's awesome the HCS has made Halo a mainstay Esports Industry Leader. I feel 343 industries has done outstanding. And Tom French deserves a monument...and maybe a high-school named after him.
Ascend: If you could ask 343 to include one thing in Halo 6, what would it be?
Brusky: I'll narrow it down to these:
Host can kick player while the games in progress please
Stop breaking minigames with updates
More pieces always
Don't stop the updates, it was the best part of Halo 5
Keep rocking it Forge Team
Oh Sean said more fences
---------------------------------------------------Well there ya' have it folks! Brusky and his team put a lot of time and effort into the Halo community and honestly, are just fun to be around. If you would like to join in on some of that fun, speak with Brusky or just show some support for the group, and the proper links will be provided below. Brusk and the guys are always up to meet new faces and play new maps so don't be shy! He won't bite! Just try not to get ninja'd.