Forge Q&A: NOKYARD
NOKYARD is a well known member of the Halo community, praised for his pixel-perfect Forge designs – particularly Grifball courts. Recognised by the community as one of the few folks who probably know the workings of Forge as well as anyone from Bungie, NOKYARD is one heck of a busy fellow.
3)You are one of the lucky folks to have one of your maps played by thousands of users in Halo’s matchmaking. How was your map received?
I do not have a map in matchmaking. Grifball has a playlist in matchmaking which until recently contained only maps made by myself. Some of the maps like AGLA:Sandbox were extremely well received while others like Chichén Itzá are loathed by the Grifball community. I laughed so hard when a Grifball player told me he refused to go to the Chichén Itzá site while vacationing in Mexico because he hated the map so much. I did attempt to have Chichén Itzá removed but Shishka said the veto numbers were not as bad as i thought and recommended leaving it in. Overall, i would say that the new maps in the Grifball DXP Weekend were generally well received and that they helped maintain the popularity of the playlist.
4)What is your impression of the selection process used by Bungie to put user made maps into matchmaking?
Atlas was great in that it let Bungie now what was required to make the selection process work for Reach. Hopefully they take that knowledge and apply it to a new process which will actually work this time.
7)Now that Forge 2.0 has been revealed, does it live up to your expectations?
Forge 2.0 features almost every item from my wish list including the modern Forerunner architecture. Forge World goes well beyond my expectations. Hopefully there is a DLC evolution similar to the way Bungie responded to the community in releasing Foundry and Sandbox based on unforeseen communities needs.
8)Do you foresee any potential issues with the new feature feature set?
From what i have seen so far it looks to be a fairly solid and well thought out feature set so i have no complaints. On a personal note yes, i do foresee some issues. Maps can be built much too quickly now. This may seem strange like a strange stance coming from someone who has spent several hundreds of hours in forge so please let me explain. I do not plan or layout my maps prior to construction. I go in with a general idea of what i want to accomplish and build the map in my mind during the construction process. Some of my very best ideas have come to me while doing extremely tedious chores like pushing Double Blocks into the side walls in the Crypt (before Ghost Merging), or while trying to make a huge floor without bumps. The hours and weeks i had to think about the map while assembling some of the more complex strictures will be lost unless i impose artificial restrictions on my building process.
11)What dropped (or not implemented) feature would you have liked most to see in Forge 2.0?
Being able to skin items (wood, metal, glass, stone etc,) would have been nice but the big item i would have liked to see was programable/switchable barriers. They were going in the right direction with kill volumes and one-way barriers but they could have gone so much further. I understand there are huge technical hurdles which prevent their usage but there is nothing in programable barriers you do not see elsewhere in the game. If you are not sure what i mean, think Light Bridges. Light Bridges where you can set the size and shape (like Spawn Area Markers) and determine what they block (ie. Vehicles and/or Players and/or Weapon Fire are now blocked by Energy Doors, Invisibarriers and Bubble Shields). Then connect them to placeable switches using channels (like Teleporters), which can be activated by either Proximity, Action (Press X), or a timer. The possibilities for these items would be endless and would add a whole new dimension to Forge. Energy Barriers could be used as doors, windows, bridges, mazes, jails, traps, blast doors, security doors, safe zones, trap doors, a catapult, locked garages, safe storage containers, fully functioning elevators, switchable jumping platforms, trash compactors, referee platform, gerbil tubes, a sinking ship, slow release systems (a barrier can be placed above a battle area and slowly retract to drop weapons or vehicles). This could greatly increase the possibilities for objective and mini-games and just think of some of the creative games people would come up with. You could build a Spartan pinball machine or re-create the famous energy blast door scene from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan engage Darth Maul).
12)Forge 2.0 seems to simplify some of the more complicated original features, tricks and glitches from the original Forge. The intent seems to be to cut down on the time spent to achieve the same results and thus making it “easier”. How do you think this will impact the map making community and how big of a role do you think tagging content will play?
The highly skilled forgers who built fantastic maps, which also happened to play great, are going to benefit most from the new tool set. They already have the skills and can now apply them with greater speed and accuracy. For the rest, this is a double-edged sword. Now forgers can quickly create maps which look great, but play horribly. In Forge 1.0 bad maps tended to look bad as well because their builders didn’t take the time to learn the tools, and therefore didn’t take the time to ensure their map played well. Now you will have to actually play a game on a map to see that it is bad. The highly skilled forgers who built great looking maps that played like crap, well, nothing will change with them other than the fact that they can churn out maps much quicker now. The group i am most looking forward to is the forgers who truly have an understanding of what is required to make a fun map which plays and looks great, but were frustrated with the clunky toolset of Forge 1.0 and gave up. These forgers will rise to the top very quickly.
I have not yet heard the details of the content tagging system but believe it will be very important to properly tag your map if you want it to be found in searches. One of the problems is that anyone can tag their map with anything they want and can easily misrepresent their map. What would have been better is to have a tagging and stamping system where communities can apply for a stamp which they apply to their officially approved maps and variants. Stamps like: ForgeHub Featured, MLG Official, Rooster Teeth Grifball, Bungie Favorite, HaloGAF Custom, and Atlas Approved would ensure that players are using the officially recognized map. There should also be a voting system which makes the more popular maps visible to the masses, but i can foresee this feature being abused.