This week on ForgeHub, we had the amazing opportunity to sit down with the project lead for the Halo PC Fan Game, Installation 01, TheChunkierBean. The Installation 01 team have been working on this project since 2013, and have been going strong ever since. I don’t want to spoil too much about the interview head on, so enjoy.
Alex: Hey Bean! Thanks for sitting down with me to talk about Installation 01!
TheChunkierBean: Thanks for inviting me, I’ve heard a ton of great things about ForgeHub, but never actually talked to any of you guys, so this is a great first time.
Alex: For those who don’t know, what is Installation 01?
TheChunkierBean: Installation 01 is a fan-made Halo game that has been in development since 2013. It is aimed to be the first cross-platform Halo-based game, on PC, Mac, and Linux. We want to provide a multiplayer-only Halo experience, and give players what they’ve been missing out on that’s been on an Xbox for 13 years.
Alex: What is included in the game?
TheChunkierBean: It is a basic Halo multiplayer experience. We want to have a big map selection, be able to play with LAN, split-screen, and over the Internet, with friends (and enemies). It’ll have a Friends system, and we want to have a Halo 2 Clan system, but I can’t make any promises on that. It’ll include a Server Browser, so you can join games very quickly, or you can use our Matchmaking system, so you can play with random players from around the world.
SIR IRON WOLF: So with the big multiplayer experience, I assume there will not be a campaign?
TheChunkierBean: Not at the moment. We don’t see it possible to work on such a large scale project as a campaign. There’s a lot of things that go into it that make it hard with such ambitions for Halo, what they want to see from a Halo fan-game, you know, if it should maybe follow Master Chief’s story, or do some kind of “fill in the gap” story, or something with Forerunner – there’s just a lot of options. Not only that, but it’s way too many resources right now for us to handle, and we feel that if we deliver a multiplayer experience for people to come back and play again and again, if we wanted to do a campaign, we’d have the time, and half the assets to be able to make it.
Alex: So with a focus on Multiplayer, what kind of experience can players expect from the game that you’re delivering?
TheChunkierBean: My team and I want to bring players back to classic Halo gameplay. We feel like that’s where it was the most popular, and where it started for a lot of us. However, the newer experience for Halo players is something that they’re used to, so, for I01, we want to make it the ultimate Halo tribute, so allowing people to play the default modes as the classic Halo gameplay, we appease all fans of the original trilogy, and maybe newer fans who appreciate the newer Halos. Not only that, we also have options in our custom games that can allow for the new Armor abilities, Spartan abilities, and stuff that’s really “controversial” to Halo now, but we have those options in case people want to change up the game, or make it play like a certain game, or do something completely new.
Alex: You spoke about maps and modes. What kind of maps and modes are you delivering? Are you bringing original content back? Are you introducing any new content?
TheChunkierBean: The newest problems with the newer games, is that they don’t include a lot of original modes, like Infection, King of the Hill, or, really original modes for us, from the classic Halos, at launch. We want to be able to have a wide variety of modes for people to play at launch, but also allow people to create intricate modes as well. In terms of maps, we want to have an equal balance – we want to bring back everyone’s favorites, but refine them a bit to the Halo 3 style of gameplay, because maps like Hang ‘Em High was never in Halo 3. You’ve already seen in our ViDoc that there’s a Hang ‘Em High remake, but how do we balance that with equipment, and all of that stuff. Regardless, there’s gonna be a good mix of maps.
Alex: A big part of the multiplayer experience in the Halo franchise is Forge. What are you looking to do with that?
TheChunkierBean: Forge has always been an option from the start from us – we’ve always wanted a mapmaker in the game. This was all before Halo 5, and Halo 2: Anniversary, so we were really pushing for scripted stuff, and asking ourselves “How do we make this better than Halo: Reach?”. With H2A, and Halo 5, Forge has just exploded with what you can do – you could make stuff with Pirate ships, and have two teams control Pirate ships, and it’s evolved beyond what anyone could’ve dreamed of. We want to bring that to I01, we want to have crazy-fun gamemodes and Forge maps. I can’t really say what we plan to do yet, as we’re still kind of developing new ideas, but you should expect all of the basic Forge features you’ve known to love. You’ve seen in our ViDoc where you can pick up objects and manipulate them. We’ve been working on map loading, and saving files too.
SIR IRON WOLF: With Forge being in the game, and matchmaking, and the ability to play custom games, could you tell us a bit more about custom games?
TheChunkierBean: At the moment, we’re still developing, in terms of gametypes, but you should be able to do everything you’ve been able to do since Halo 3 – movement, weapons damage, changing the game to be what you want to be. We wanted to have pre-sets too, so if you want it to play like Halo 2, there’s a Halo 2 pre-set.
Alex: Moving on, let’s talk about the team. How large is the team?
TheChunkierBean: As of 10/8/16, we have about 50 members. We’ve grown a lot since the trailer, and it’s been a blast. It’s a very international team – we’ve got all these guys from Sweden, Dubai, England, France, Portugal, really everywhere. It’s always a challenge working with an online team, when there’s no physical embodiment. It’s all through a chat system, a messaging system, if you will. Organization is a challenge, but we’ve been through so much, that the team is like a family to me. We’ve just had a blast doing it.
Alex: You mentioned there was a lot of challenge with organization – how do you organize?
TheChunkierBean: Using Discord, when people are brought onto the team, they’re asked basic questions – “What are you interviewing for?”, or “What kind of role do you want to play on the team?”. If they’re art, then we tag them as an art person, and then we usually assign them something we need done. We have spreadsheets – we use Google Docs A LOT, and we have separate channels where people can look at documents if they need to follow up with what they’re doing. Then we’ll put their name on a task, and ask them if they feel comfortable doing it, and we’ll give it to them, and they’ll start working on it. Then they’ll start posting in the chats, asking questions, and posting progress of what they’re working on. However, we’re moving away from that, and we’re developing this new email kind of notification system, sort of, where it’s a custom made app, and people are assigned roles, and they can push their actual content to this app, and it can be updated, and it’ll have a version number, and it’s just super helpful. It’s still in development, but when it’s done, it’ll definitely increase team productivity.
SIR IRON WOLF: You mentioned that you guys have a very large team – what’s the background for most of you guys? Are most of you still in college? Do you have anyone from the actual industry working with you guys?
TheChunkierBean: The age range for [the team] is about 15-28. We have a few people who work at game companies on our team, but a lot of us are hobbyists. However, a lot of us want to get into the industry, and just make games professionally.
Alex: Earlier, you mentioned about having a very specific engine. What does that entail? Have you developed an entire engine for Installation 01?
TheChunkierBean: I wish we could! That would give us a lot of creative freedom, but we use a free gamemaking tool known as Unity. It’s a major engine in the industry – The Forest, and Slenderman was developed on it. Unity is a very versatile engine, and it is one of the only flexible cross-platform engine, and it allows us to easily port between Mac, Linux, and Windows, and can run on mostly any computer, as long as you have a decent integrated or external graphics card.
SIR IRON WOLF: To circle back around to where we were before, how did the whole team come about? How did you all decide to get together and go on this adventure?
TheChunkierBean: Well, it originally started as a one man project, done by me. Back in late 2013, I was trying to remake The Pillar of Autumn, but with co-op, specifically 16 player co-op. I then switched over, and decided to make a multiplayer game, and so I came up with “Installation 01”, trying to make it Halo, but not naming it Halo. I was putting up videos, and people were like “Hey, you should make a team. We could help with making custom models and assets.” So I started looking for people, and those people knew people, and they got on the team, and the team evolved from there. We went to the livestream, that our ViDoc was on, and we went there two years ago. While it wasn’t an ‘embarassment’, it was definitely a reality check, that we needed to get our **** together, and get the game playable and fun, and then we came out with the November teaser, which was met with critical “acclaim”, I guess. And the project grew from there.
Alex: I read a few months ago, that you were planning a closed beta for this Spring. Is that still happening?
TheChunkierBean: With all of this college and school stuff, we lost time to do stuff, and it slowed development farther that I wanted it to go, so we had to rethink a lot of our plans at the time. I would say, right now, we’re not going to schedule a beta just yet.
WARHOLIC: How many multiplayer maps have been built so far and are there any original designs or are these remakes?
TheChunkierBean: At the moment, we have 4 maps completed and 1 map in progress. Two of these are original but the others are remakes.
WARHOLIC: If people wanted to help join your cause and contribute to this game, is there an open invitation for applications? Who should people contact for this?
TheChunkierBean: Our new website will be hosting our new signup sheet. ATM however, you can DM @I01Game on Twitter to join.
WARHOLIC: What are the hardware requirements to run this game?
TheChunkierBean: The game should be able to run on most laptops and low end PC's.
WARHOLIC: Where are the servers located for matchmaking? Are there multiple servers for the US to support East, Central and West coasts?
TheChunkierBean: The servers for the time being are player hosted because of no-budget.
WARHOLIC: How are assets for the game primarily built and imported?
TheChunkierBean: Blender, Maya, 3DS Max, Zbrush are all used to create 3D assets and then textured in programs like Quxiel and Substance Painter. Then they are imported into Unity.
WARHOLIC: How many level designers are you working with? Who are they, have they used forge and do they have a presence in our forge community
TheChunkierBean: We don't really have any dedicated level designers atm and we don't have anyone from the Forge community.
WARHOLIC: You mention that the multiplayer experience will present a more "classic" approach to gameplay. What classic mechanics are returning and what new mechanics are being removed for these settings?
TheChunkierBean: The base game will play like H3 but with tweaks (a bit faster movement speed). All the mechanics you know and love from Halo 3 will be the base of the game however the custom games will support new gameplay mechanics such as sprint, armor ablities, and spartan abilities.
Alex: Awesome. It was fun to sit down with you and have this chat. Thanks for spending so much time to make this game.
TheChunkerBean: Thanks for inviting me!
Thanks again to TheChunkierBean and his team for allowing us to discuss the game. Also, be sure to check out the work that the Installation 01 team has been doing on their YouTube channel. Once again, stick to ForgeHub for all of the latest news and community content that impacts the way you create.