Anvil's Legacy, the next title update for Halo 5 arrives in a few days (Sept 8) and we couldn't be more excited. Our staff members have had the incredible opportunity to communicate with 343 industries directly about bringing the fantastic game mode, as well as custom games, to the PC community. Here are the official responses we received from Tom French, UGC Director and Nahil Sharkasi, Producer of Forge PC about this new launch.
Sir Iron Wolf: With the keyboard and mouse support that is being implemented as well as the optimized UI for those additions, will players be able to customize the controls to their comfort?
343: Yes, players will be able to customize the controls for both play and building. We don’t allow re-binding of Forge hot-keys, because we want to keep things consistent for the community so that all the tutorials will refer to the same set of controls. But most other controller settings (including thumb stick sensitivity for the controller, mouse tracking, etc.) are fully configurable. Additionally, we ensured a seamless transition between mouse & keyboard and controller, so you can go back and forth at any time. When you do, the UI will switch to indicate what buttons / keys perform which actions. This makes it really easy for people to use whichever input works best for them in any given situation.
Sir Iron Wolf: When forging what can people expect the experience to be like when they are moving around and editing in the environment? For example will it be like working in slightly simplified industry program like Unity and 3Ds max or more along the lines of Project Spark?
343: We took a lot of inspiration from 3D editors that are widely used in the industry, but we also wanted to keep in mind that this is a game and we want the experience to be fun and accessible. We took a balanced approach, adopting features like translation and rotation widgets similar to what you’d see in an editor, and tried to keep the rest of the menus and UI simple and easy.
Sir Iron Wolf: We know that you and some buddies will be able to hop into the same forge game and work together on the PC version and what is made can be exported to the Xbox version. With Xbox and Windows doing more with cross platform play, will people playing on the Xbox be able to join someone forging on the PC? If not, is it something that might happen in the future?
343: You can take a map you created on Xbox and load it up on the PC to play it, and vice versa. We currently won’t support cross-play between Xbox and PC, but with Halo 5: Forge being free on Windows 10 PC, it’s easy for your friends to download the game from the Windows Store and jump in and play with you.
Sir Iron Wolf: Many of us are grateful and excited that Forge is coming to the PC and if there is something that current forgers wish Forge was able to do is be playable when not connected to the internet, which is something we heard had to be done that way for technical reasons. You can probably see where I'm going with this, will Halo 5: Forge be available if offline?
343: Halo 5: Forge will require an internet connection. There are a variety of reasons why this is a requirement – some of them are indeed technical as part of the Xbox Live service that enables cross-platform sharing of content, but the most convincing reason for us is our goal of providing a seamless consumer experience throughout the game, including access to community content through the content browser.
A Chunk: Did you know early on in the developmental stage of H5 forge that it would eventually be coming to PC, and if so, did it have any impact on how you setup the control scheme or any other aspects of Forge?
343: Yes, we’d started development on bringing Forge to PC before we shipped Forge in Halo 5: Guardians. While it didn’t significantly impact the design of the interface (we wanted to optimize for the controller and how the existing community was used to Forging), we spent some time thinking about how it would work on mouse and keyboard. So when it came to implementing the control schemes, there was already plenty of thinking behind the advantages and opportunities it provided.
A Chunk: Do you anticipate any options being exclusive to either the console or PC versions of H5 forge in the future, or will they continue to mimic each other?
343: We want to keep these two titles in sync so that all the content and capabilities are available on both PC and Xbox. However, there are many functions and UI enhancements that could be considered exclusive to the PC, given implementation of the keyboard / mouse.
A Chunk: Is it possible in H6 and beyond that Halo's forge mode will take advantage of the greater capabilities of PC's and allow PC forgers to create their own objects and textures, or even that the PC version of forge will move more towards functioning like a traditional PC editing program like Maya, Unity, etc.?
343: We will continue to support Forge on PC well into the future, but we don’t have anything specific to announce at this time in regards to future titles. Moving forward, we will be listening to the community for features they want to see as they start using Forge on PC. In the case of enabling custom objects and textures, there’s a careful balance between providing core features to Forge that enhance the creation experience versus opening the door to content (or intellectual property) that… well, let’s just say it may not fit with our ideal Halo experience and leave it at that.
A Chunk: We know that content created on PC can be published on Xbox One. Is the reverse also true? Will we be able to download content to PC that was originally built on Xbox One?
343: Yes, any content you save in Forge (on PC or Xbox) is saved to the cloud and accessible on either platform. There are no extra steps to download or upload – the process is seamless. When you save your creation, it’s accessible from either platform.
A Chunk: Historically, it's not been possible to truly see how a map performs until you load it up in a custom game. With the performance between platforms obviously being different, have any specific measures been taken to allow someone building on PC to gauge how their map will perform on Xbox One (particularly regarding framerate)?
343: The same object limits that exist in Forge on console will still apply on PC. This will ensure that there are no scenarios where a map built on PC might include more content that is allowable on console. This will get us most of the way there when it comes to performance parity. The reality is that just like with the console, the true test will be playing custom matches on both platforms to see how they perform.
WARHOLIC: Online tournaments utilize custom games on Xbox as a primary means for players to compete. With the ability to host cross platform custom games, what measures are being taken to separate or identify PC players using mouse and keyboard from those using an Xbox controller?
343: We do not have plans to support cross-platform play between Xbox One and PC – you will only be able to play custom games with other Windows 10 PC players. At launch, custom matches will require players to manually find and connect to each other directly by creating Fireteams of up to 16 players, but we are working on a join-in-progress browser for a future update. Halo 5: Forge fully supports mouse and keyboard along with seamless support of the Xbox One controller connected to the PC, so in the scenario of playing a custom game with some players on controller and some on PC, we will leave it up the players to determine how they prefer to play the game.
WARHOLIC: What are the hardware requirements to run Forge on Windows 10? The Surface Pro 4 has an i7 processor with 2.2 GHz and 16GB Ram, would that be sufficient enough to run the game?
343: Our minimum requirement is an i5 processor with GeForce 650 Ti GPU at 2GB. The Surface Pro 4, falls just short of this on the GPU. However, we have several people here at the studio that have been using Halo 5: Forge on the Surface Book with the nVidia GPU, and have reported that it’s certainly playable.
WARHOLIC: Will forging on PC require an Xbox Live Gold account or will users be able to simply forge while connected to the internet?
343: An Xbox Live Gold membership is NOT required. Any user who has or creates a free Xbox Live account (which is easy to do) can connect and play.
WARHOLIC: What are some of the defining characteristics that make Forging on PC a more efficient or convenient experience than Xbox?
343: The precision you get with a mouse and keyboard is the biggest differentiator. You feel it with how quickly you can select and move or edit any object on the screen, or when you use the keyboard to type coordinate or property values directly into the UI. These features make everything from editing a map, to applying scripts much easier and more efficient than on console.
Given To Fly: Will the forge menu allow for more item choices to be visible than the current set up?
343: We’ve built a collapsible menu system that’s easier and quicker to navigate than on console, yes.
Given To Fly: Will there be a dimension filter? (typing in a size and receiving a list of all items of the relative size?)
343: No, there isn’t a filter, you still see all the available sizes of an object in a list.
Given To Fly: Are there going to be more color options for pieces? Perhaps a color wheel to select any?
343: There’s a color picker UI that makes choosing colors MUCH easier. Let us know what you think!
AlexVan123: Will there be support for direct /in-direct implementation of Maya models into Forge? If so, will this be available on Xbox as well? If not, is there any plans for support later down the road?
343: No, not in this release. This is the kind of feature requests we look forward to hearing from the community.
AlexVan123: Will there be any support for dual monitor set-ups?
343: No, not directly. We do support additional monitors in terms of switching between windows, but the game itself is constrained to a single screen. Also, we support multiple resolutions and aspect ratios to suit the broad array of display options out there.
WARHOLIC: The custom game browser is an amazing feature that the community has been dreaming of for years. When may we expect to see this feature fully implemented?
343: It will release on PC and Xbox at the same time later this year.
We are extremely happy to have had this opportunity to directly communicate with 343 industries, and look forward to having this opportunity again in the near future! Special thanks to Tom French (UGC Director), Nahil Sharkasi (Forge PC Producer) and Michale Wolf (Product Marketing Manager) for making this interview possible and for providing us with these images. Stay tuned to Forgehub for all your Halo Forge news and updates!