Forge Fundamentals is a series of articles aimed at reviewing the fundamentals of constructing good maps in Forge from our friends at Halo Evolved. If you’re a seasoned Forger, or new to Forge and just want to understand the process of map design, this feature is for you!
THE TOTAL PACKAGE
When you talk about "the total package", to me, the first thing that comes to mind is professional wrestler Lex Luger. We're talking about something far different here though. This is the final article in the Forge Fundamentals series, and it's all about pulling everything we've discussed together and making a Forge map that kicks almost as much ass as the aforementioned grappler...almost.
In the course of this series, we've discussed:
Each one of those subjects impacts and interrelates with every other subject. Spawns are heavily affected by flow, cover, and weapons. Flow and weapons often work hand in hand. Aesthetics can be utilized to improve orientation for spawners, or to highlight weapon locations.
Once you load up Forge and begin constructing your potential masterpiece, be sure to remain flexible. If in the process of building your map you notice that something doesn't fit quite how you wanted, or an area feels too open or too cramped, don't just ignore it. Brainstorm possible solutions and imagine how each of those solutions might impact the rest of the map. While preplanning is a vital tool that you should utilize, it's the beginning of the designing process, not the end. I have never ever had a map that ended up exactly the same as its original design. Plan as best you can, and then adjust where necessary.
When the initial building phase is done, it's time for testing. There are some testing lobbies here at Forge Hub that will gladly let you join in and get your map tested, as long as you are willing to return the favor. I highly suggest getting involved, because thorough testing is one of the main ingredients that sets great maps apart from good ones. Test, test, and test some more. Listen to the feedback that the testers give you. The other main ingredient that sets great maps apart from good ones is the attitude of the Forger. For a Forger to build a great map, I firmly believe they must welcome and even encourage critical feedback, because it is this type of feedback that helps improve a map.
One of the most difficult things to learn is how to discern whether or not something is actually a problem. Just because somebody complains about being spawn killed doesn't necessarily mean you have a spawning problem on your map. Perhaps they were playing with too many people on the map. Perhaps the teams were uneven. Perhaps you even intended to include the possibility of being spawn killed. There are numerous possibilities, and just because somebody complains about something doesn't necessarily mean you need to fix it. Discernment is not something that I can teach through words - it comes through experience. One thing that I strongly suggest Forgers do is re-watch gameplay from their map in theater mode. Watch the same gameplay from each player's point of view. See if particular respawn points are consistently problematic. Are players disoriented by them, or are they being killed to quickly when they spawn in a particular location? Pay attention to power weapons - are they too easy or too difficult to obtain, are players getting kills too easily when they have them?
Once you've determined that something is problematic, it's back to what I mentioned earlier; brainstorm possible solutions and imagine how each of those solutions might impact the rest of the map. Try, fail, fix, repeat. This is the way to make a kick-ass Forge map.