Seasons Greetings Fellow ForgeHubers!
Today we have a special announcement thanks to some brilliant work from our friends over at the Alliance Testing Network (ATN) to share with you all with the announcement of a brand new, competitive game mode called EXTERMINATION.
We all have our favourite minigames in Halo, be it Race, SWAT, Infection and so on, but Extermination is something that from initial viewing seems relatively simple, but as you play becomes devilishly deep and surprisingly competitive.
I'll let ATN lead Duke of Mearl take the reins for a moment and tell you a little more about it:
Duke of Mearl: Hey guys, this is Duke of Mearl with the Alliance Testing Network and today I’m excited to announce a new competitive game type that we’ve been working on called Extermination. This game is something I’ve been working almost exclusively for the last couple months and it is finally at a point where it can be presented to the community. I’d like to acknowledge two other individuals that have been instrumental in creating this game type: Scrub Mee, for a lot of the initial ideas regarding the game type, and Max Extra, for optimizing the game type and creating the scripting that has helped bring the game to the next level. Now, without further ado I’d like to present to you Extermination!
ForgeHub Video Feature:
Extermination is a multi-round 4v4 competitive game mode created by Scrub Mee, Duke of Mearl, and Max Extra. The goal of Extermination is to eliminate the enemy team, just like in slayer - Sounds easy right? However, in Extermination, the entire enemy team must be dead at the same time. Players will respawn 15 seconds after being killed - meaning that once the first enemy is dead you have 15 seconds to kill the rest of the enemy team. That, my friends, is where things get interesting.
For the most part standard Halo 5 settings apply, with the main exception being that the respawn timer is set to 15 seconds instead of 8. This means the game type still feels like regular Halo, which is something the ATN team have told me they really wanted to focus on when designing the game type. Another key difference is that both power-ups and power weapons (or weapon pads) will spawn after 1 minute (power-ups 1 minute since it had been last picked up). Worth noting that both Power weapons and average pick ups tend to come with less ammo than you’d typically find in most game variants.
Each round lasts for 2 minutes with the power weapons and/or power-ups spawning on a minute timer. A team wins a round when they get an Extermination, which means they have successfully killed all of the members of the other team within a 15 second time period. The first team win 5 rounds will be the winner. A game will also end after 3 ties occur.
When I first played Extermination, I was strongly reminded of Breakout, but with none of the negatives associated with that mode. I think it's fair to say Breakout as a mode was not the "hit" that 343 and the design team were hoping - Extermination feels like a mode that IS something that could successfully take that title, and I for one think the Forge and Halo community at large will really embrace it. ATN have taken their job seriously, and with the launch of the mode, there are of course purpose built stages on which to play. Let's take a look:
The maps for this game type are a bit different than your average map; maps for this game type are more what you would expect to see in a typical 1v1 match. Maps should allow a lone team player a chance to survive but, at the same time, don’t lead to scavenger hunts to find the last player; for this reason many maps do not feature nooks, crannies and hiding spots.
From the mouth of Duke of Mearl
The small maps allow players to be found quickly which leads to exciting, fast-paced gameplay. Engagements happen constantly meaning you need to be prepared to fight as soon as you respawn. Being the last player alive on your team can be a scary experience as you try and stake it out until more of your teammates can respawn.
This game type works for both symmetrical and asymmetrical maps. Every round teams swap initial spawns; this is designed to make asymmetrical maps more fair.
Remains is a symmetrical map that set in what seems to be an area that has been deserted from some time. The map features a damage boost, plasma caster and needler.
VIEW MAP PAGE
Harbinger is a Forerunner style map. The map features a scattershot as its main weapon as well as a power up; the power up changes from an active camo (at map start) to a damage boost (at the minute mark).
VIEW MAP PAGE
Inspired by the Vex architecture from Destiny, Timeframe is built and bred for Extermination. The map blends close quarters fights with niche longer sight lines all with the ability to weave in and out of the weathered and ancient ruins.
VIEW MAP PAGE
Face to Face is a simplified version of the Halo Map “Narrows”. A Sniper Rifle spawns under the Bridge.I'm sure you'll agree, this is sounding pretty good, so in an effort to glean even more information from the ATN crew, they agreed to sit down for a little chat about how they brought Extermination to life:
VIEW MAP PAGE
Sikamikanico: Did Breakout (and perhaps it's somewhat muted reaction) inspire this gametype?
Duke of Mearl: It's funny because throughout the testing process many people have told me that "this is a better version of breakout" but Extermination was never inspired by breakout. I think a lot of people make the comparison because of that muted reaction Breakout has as you mentioned. I've always focused on this game type as a slayer alternated more so than a Breakout alternate but over time I think I've realized Extermination really a combination of the two.
After a few tests somebody said "Extermination is what Breakout should have been", and that something that stood out to me. Breakout, generally, does not feel like its Halo and there can be minutes of waiting after you die. On the other hand when you play Extermination it does feel like you are playing Halo; health is normal, you start with the regular load out weapons, its a fast pace game, etc. I think thats why people have latched on to Extermination so quickly through the testing process. You know you have found something special when a bunch of people tell you they want to forge a map for the game after only playing the game once or twice. (Editors note: I like the mode so much, I'm making a map for it - Sik)
Sikamikanico: Does the team that developed this and the maps for the mode have aspirations for matchmaking going forward?
Max Extra: At first I don't think we did. We just got pretty excited that we had a game mode that felt solid and competitive without the stigma you get from most mini games. It wasn't until we started to test it out and show it off to others did we start receiving feedback on it like "This is better than Breakout" (which isn't saying much now lol). We then took that and began to make changes to the maps and the game type so that It would be as close to a core game type and would not require users to change maps much or at all in order to make a map for it, so that it could be a matchmaking game type. We often joke that it should be in matchmaking, but I'm not sure we really expect it. If it does go up for consideration, I wouldn't complain.
Sikamikanico: Do you feel there's a place for this kind of mode to catch on with the main Halo playerbase and going forward, the pro scene?
Duke of Mearl: One of my favorite things that I've seen during the production of Extermination is how quickly people have latched onto the game type. I think what has drawn people into Extermination is that it feels like a new competitive Halo game type, one that offers fast pace gameplay where every life is crucial. It's almost like you are playing the last two minutes of an intense and close Slayer game each time you load into a round. I may be bias but the only reason I pursued the game in the first place is because I really enjoy playing it. It became quite easy to pursue because as other people played it they enjoyed it too and started making content for it.
As for whether it is something that can catch on in the pro scene I wouldn't say no. I mean in this game type communication and strategy can be just as important as having a good shot. Each round there are moves, and counter moves, and countermoves based on other people's counter moves. On the base level it is a fast-paced fun gameplay, but it really does have so many intricacies that I believe it could definitely catch on at the highest level of playing at some point.
Sikamikanico: How would you describe developing maps for this mode compared to traditional Forge Halo map design? Any do's/don'ts?
Max Extra: Since the firsts tests of the game type people have said they wanted to make a map for it. It seemed to get pretty infectious the more tests we had, so we tried to come up with some guidelines fairly early. The game type focuses on as much combat as possible, constantly throwing you in the fray with little chances of catching your breath. Maps should be within the size of a 256 x 256 and made small enough to encourage this much combat. While you're playing a 4 on 4 the map sizes should be closer to a 2 on 2 or a large 1 on 1. While not required, the best maps for the game type feature at minimum 3 lanes of approach. We have found with anything less it becomes a bit nade spammy and matches are over far faster than we would like or consider fun. You also don't want to go to large. The idea is to eliminate the entire enemy team at one time. and you don't want to have to search the entire map constantly for that last person. While a bit of soul searching is still required for the game type to get that last man, The maps still need to be small enough to comb it quickly and thoroughly. Maps also do not need to be symmetric since we have created a side swapping script you can play both asymmetric and symmetric maps. Height elevation is a great way to add space to the map without stretching it out and typically is pretty needed, so lets avoid pancakes. The weapons of the map are all designed to speed up game play, but not so fast that the game is over once some one gets it. So have fun and make a map, try using these as just guidelines but go wild and make it your own, cause if it works it works.
Sikamikanico: What's been the most challenging aspect of getting everything together for this? Has scripting the game type been difficult? What kind of bugs have you seen as you've playtested going through?
Max Extra: At first we used the stronghold game type and the game played fine, so why break it... but then the new scripting update released and we saw a lot more potential for the game type. I then broke our game type as a I tried to put it together requiring only scripting. This would have allowed us tons of more options down the road as we develop the game type further (i.e. including objective game play on top of elimination). Agent Zero really helped pull the game type together in scripting at the start since I got caught up in stockpile, but then we came back and broke down the scripting to optimize it to allow others to look at it and change it if they want to make their own variety of Extermination. Some specific bugs:
Other difficulties came from not knowing where we wanted it to go. There was a huge debate over the use of overtime but we also wanted it to stand out and we wanted to reduce you to one life during it, But scripting didn't allow for this and created a spawn box for you seemed to take this away from the core game play we wanted and make it feel like a mini game. Plus adding a spawn box would eat in to a map makers budget and we didn't want to have the map maker change too much. The only changes now for creating the maps for the game type are setting up two sets of spawns one with spawn order 1 and one with spawn order 2 on each side for each team, and then just import the prefab and you are set to go.
- Spawn swapping not triggering (half was bad coding, and half was you need two people to test... for some reason a 1 player game wont side swap.)
- Ties gave red team points and skipped a round( just needed to send a tie game message if neither team won)
- Even if blue team won red team would get a point for the next round and skip it. This wouldn't happen if red team won.(I forget the fix but it doesn't do that anymore)
Duke of Mearl: We luckily haven't really run into many difficulties in producing Extermination. When I started forging a map for the game type I really had no idea where to start in regards to map size, verticality, pathing options, etc. I just kind of made what felt right to me. If you were to look at the block out I made and compare it to the finished product of Remains you will see two almost identical map layouts. Having a map that felt almost perfect for the game type since the first play test started us way ahead in getting this game up and running.
We also lucked out that the Monitor's Bounty updated happened right as we were starting to create content for Extermination. Max's scripting skills allowed us to utilize the MiniGame mode to make Extermination more modular and perform even better (and have sound cues). We've really gotten lucky when it has come to creating Extermination.
Original Extermination Post (including more maps)
Unfortunately MiniGames are not viewable on HaloWaypoint.com due to a bug with their system. To download the correct Extermination gametype you must do so on Xbox only. (Note: Do not download the old 'Strongholds' version as it is not as feature rich) You must be friends with ATN (Alliance Testing Network) to download their game mode via the in game file browser.
HALOATN PROFILE PAGE
DUKE OF MEARL PROFILE PAGE
MAX EXTRA PROFILE PAGE
REMAINS - Download Map
HARBINGER - Download Map
TIMEFRAME - Download Map
FACE TO FACE - Download Map
WATCH - Download Map
SORCERER - Download Map
PERENNIAL - Download Map