Bungie Weekly Update: 12/14/07
Posted by Frankie at 12/14/2007 4:36 PM PST

We’re playing the next batch of DLC. This first trio has been very well received. Eventually your Halo experience will be so swollen and engorged that you’ll have a hard time even remembering what the original map selection was. In the future, we’ll be bringing you more fully custom built maps and they may include one or more of the following:


·         Symmetrical arena maps for competitive play.

·         Returning classics demanded by the fans.

·         Crazy new stuff you never expected.

·         Unusual maps with lots of potential for interesting game types.

·         Graphically spectacular settings.

·         More Forge objects to use on new maps.

·         Surprises.


But this week, we’ve been checking out a lot of Foundry/Forge creations from the Community and they are all amazing. We’ve seen a LOT of quick remakes – Foundation and Midship to name but two. But startlingly, while we expected a few cool ‘remakes” it’s the original stuff that’s surprised us the most. Wall of Death is one that stands out to me as an example of what can be done with a bit of literally lateral thinking. Normally we have high ground on the periphery (think Midship or Boarding Action) with the “killing pit” in the middle. However, Wall of Death neatly bifurcates that idea, and Foundry itself, with an enormous wall.

The wall blocks the line of sight to the enemy base and creates a giant natural barrier, but with plenty of simple shielded doors to pass through. Ramps and shipping containers let you reach the various storeys of the wall with minimum effort. The topmost doorway contains a Sword and an Overshield and tellingly, is a wee bit harder to get to – a grenade jump or use of a Grav Lift is the simplest way through.

Look – we’ve had it for one day and we have no idea if it has any long term appeal – but that’s the point in a way. After one single day, a map came along and made us say, “Wow, that’s cool, charismatic and upends many of our design conventions in an interesting way.” If that’s what we get after one day – what are we going to have a month, three, six months from now? I’ll tell you: Classic user-created maps.

We actually used The Great Wall in our Humpday Challenge on Wednesday and it’s safe to say that everybody loved it. Joe made some minor complaints about weapon placement and Luke would like to tweak a couple of minor items, but the fact is that it played superbly, first time out of the box.

For his efforts, Bryan “Lintendo64” Lin wins himself a sparkling new suit of I CAN HAS RECON armor. Well done, Bryan.

Luke has been playing around with some of the more creative Foundry maps – that is to say, non-shooter types. One of those is a motocross track, complete with some very well thought-out berms. Burnie, of Red vs Blue fame started trying to make a sort of Portal clone, using Teleporters and Grav Lifts. Meanwhile myself and a former MS marketing guy ran around the periphery betraying each other. Sketch was building a death cage (complete with inward pointing machine gun turrets) and folks kept popping in to see what Burnie was doing. This was all in the same map at the same time. It was an interesting social experience. It was like being at a party in the middle of a freeway.

But what Burnie did next is both the dumbest and most awesome thing we’ve seen in months. Grifball. Who better to ask about the most important sport of the 21st century than Burnie himself?

Because Inside-Out is Wiggedy Wack.

How would you explain Grifball to a new player?

Grifball is an extremely fast paced sport game type that’s played on an open court between two teams of four players. Each team has a goal and each player carries a gravity hammer and an energy sword. In the center of the arena is a single ball that can be picked up by anyone on the field. Each match consists of 5 rounds, with each round ending when someone slams the ball into their opponent’s goal. The team with the most goals wins.


It’s a very simple game by design, but it’s an enormous amount of non-stop action. At any point in time, you are either on defense with your 3 teammates guarding your goal or you are on offense as the ball carrier with three blockers. In a second, the game can turn and you have to be ready to seamlessly change roles.


Where did the original idea for this game come from?


It came about when we were making the Red vs Blue D.I.Y. video for the map pack release. There was an extended version of the script that had Donut and Grif making Forge creations on Foundry to go along with Simmons’ rail gun invention. Grif’s invention was going to be the laziest game type possible, where you basically walk into the middle of the room, pick up a flag and plant it two feet away. That scene really wasn’t that funny after the flying dumpster gag, so it was cut – but I had already made the game type. I started messing around with it while we were uploading the video.


After playing it a couple of times, it basically turned into a ten second race to the middle of the room, but something seemed fun about the frantic, simple nature of it, so I changed it to Assault, gave each team a goal and started everyone with melee weapons. After that, it was more like a hockey rink, and the original rush to the middle was now just the faceoff to start the rest of the action.


How many iterations did you go through before landing on the official “Grifball v1”? What kind of adjustments and tweaks were made?


We’ve modified lots of variants. For instance, we tried shotguns at one point, but it did not have the same feel. Most of the focus went into the ball carrier and his attributes. He’s essentially the only unique player in the match, so it’s great that the Assault game type lets you set the carrier’s properties separately from everyone else.  We have also tried various maps modifications with items like stairs and rolling wire spools, but we always come back to the classic court. We have some pretty staunch Grifball “purists” already, which is pretty funny considering the game is only four days old.


What’s with the name, “Grifball”? Why not Hammer Ball? Mega Bomb Ball? Happy Silly Funtime?


In Season 4 of Red vs Blue, Sarge is taking potshots with a sniper rifle at his orange soldier Grif, whom he hates. He’s having a great time and blurts out “This is the best game since Grifball!” That was written about two years ago and we always wondered what kind of game Grifball would have been. That’s why the ball carrier turns orange – everyone in the game is constantly trying to hammer-smash Grif and even if he scores, he explodes. Either way, Sarge wins.

Based on that reference and the fact that the game originated from a Grif scene that we cut, it only seemed natural that we call it Grifball.


The majority of the settings are default with the notable exceptions being the weapon damage (150%) and ball carrier speed/shields. What was the thought behind this?


There’s been lots of small tweaks based on gameplay. We wanted the hammers to kill in one shot, so damage went up and shields were taken out. We started upping the Ball Carrier’s shields and speed just to balance the offense and defense. We settled on 125% speed for a while, but after a few rounds tried 150% speed. It really gave the feeling of “possessions”. When you switch from offense to defense, it’s a definite shift. The ball carrier now has enough speed that he can move around to set up plays, but he’s not so fast that he can just constantly bolt for the score.

The instant arm and detonation of the bomb also add a nice dramatic effect to each goal. When someone busts through the defense and scores a goal, everyone explodes. It’s a great insult-to- injury bonus, like having built in trash talk.


What tips and tactics can you share with up-and-coming Grifball teams?


Learn when to use your hammer and when to use your sword. Goal line stops are what separate the good players from the great players. You also have to be able to identify the two types of rushers. Some people naturally use their blockers, and other people have a knack for leaping into the goal. People tend to be one or the other.

Also, friendly fire is intentionally left on, which can frustrate new players at first, but makes complete sense after a few games. The motion tracker is active for a reason and you need it to spot friendlies as much as you do enemies.


What’s next for Grifball? This is only V1… where do you see this game type evolving? What else would you like to try?


We’re still tweaking the initial rule set. We already know one change we want to make. After a particularly intense round, there were so many hammers and swords strewn about, it was becoming difficult to pick up the ball and clear it. One of the players, OboeCrazy (http://www.bungie.net/Stats/Halo3/Default.aspx?player=OboeCrazy), pointed out that we can turn off the ability to pickup weapons. Now, when you go for the ball, you get it every time. Once we get some more small tweaks like that, we will publish v2 of the Game Variant on the new Grifball file share (http://www.bungie.net/stats/Halo3/FileShare.aspx?gamertag=grifball). That’s where we’re going to post all the “official” maps and game types. We are having an 8 team tournament this Sunday, but we didn’t realize how many people wanted to play. We’ll do another tournament or perhaps even a full league shortly after the tourney.

"Playoffs? PLAYOFFS!!?"

For us, Grifball has already introduced new terminology not previously associated with Halo… “Wedge Formation”, “Coast to Coast”, “Floater”, “Sweeper. What type of jargon do you guys use and what does it mean?


“Catching an edge” is my favorite – when you’re the ball carrier and you string out the defense far enough that your speed lets you slip behind them and make a dash for the goal. These fast breaks are probably the most rewarding things in the game, next to a good stiff arm.


The beginning of a round requires clear communication. Each game starts with a huge rush for the ball in the middle, so you need to communicate with your team and only send one person into that mess. My file share has a video of an entire team being taken out by one swing of a hammer. After a few harsh learning experiences you learn to call “MIDDLE!” during the initial charge and everyone else knows to hang back a step or two.


Different teams have different signals, most commonly for calling a shot on a ball carrier. Often, the shield gives them just enough protection to get flung into the air by a poorly placed hammer attack. The defense is left staring up at the rusher, waiting for them to land. A good defense requires that someone call their shot in this situation. It allows the remaining defenders to clear out the blockers, who are more than happy to come in and bash all the goalies that have their eyes skyward. Throughout the game you’ll hear lots of “CLEARS!” and “LEFT SIDE!”. The best calls are made by the overconfident blockers who are absolutely sure they can clear a path through an entire team of defenders. They usually fail.


Should we assume that the cast and crew of Red vs. Blue may leave the confines of the Gulch and the intergalactic war and become professional athletes?


Nah. Too dangerous.


Thanks Burnie, you’re a man among, well, top men. And now back to regularly scheduled stuff.


Foundry Forging Tips

One question I get asked all the time and actually one I asked myself a while back, is why the default layout of Foundry includes immutable objects – especially the spar that juts between the two bases. The answer is simple but requires a small leap of imagination. The Foundry map does not contain that spar…if you block it off. If you assume that the absolutely malleable section of Foundry is from that point onwards and that everything behind there is a bonus – it makes more sense.

The default layout with the unchangeable bases was designed to give the map a sense of purpose for objective games so that “tinkerers” could quickly make something logical with minimal effort. It was always designed to allow players to block it off entirely and use the rest of the map as a true blank slate. The beauty of this approach is that it can, depending on what you’re building, save you enormous amounts of Forge “budget.”


And now that more people are using Forge, thanks to Foundry, there are more people having difficulty with controls and other concepts. So here’s some handy tips (with special thanks to Lars for his contribution).

Big things to remember about Forge Controls:



·         The most common way of moving objects around is just pressing A to grab it and then fly around as the monitor. Basically where you look with the monitor is where your object goes. This is only scratching the surface of object manipulation and proper placement. To really be precise, you must use the alternate modes with the Right Trigger held in.

·         Holding in the Right Trigger changes your controls so you are manipulating the object, rather than moving your monitor.

o   In this alt mode; Right Stick is rotating the object in 3D space.

o   The Left Stick actually controls two separate things. Up and Down push and pull the object towards and away from you. Right and Left on the Left Stick rolls the object around its center axis.

·         The best way to put something exactly where you want it is to master using both the Right and Left sticks in conjunction to rotate and roll the object getting into the proper position, as well as the standard movement. This usually requires you do be gentle on the sticks. The less pressure you apply, the slower the rotation and roll, making it easier to get the object into the correct place.

·         Don’t forget that the Left and Right Bumpers are the vertical controls for your monitor. If you’re trying to stack objects, it is easier to move your monitor up and down then to try to position it by “looking” at where you want to place it.

·         Each time you grab a new object, the monitor puts it in an optimum position. This can mean pulling things in close to you, sometimes closer than you want. Mastering the push/pull on the Left Stick Alt mode is key.

·         Why does an object not come towards me sometimes when I pull it? If you have been using the push mechanism and the object has been stuck against a surface; the game believes that it’s farther away than it really is. Just be patient and keep pulling it towards you. If you want to reset that distance quickly, you can just let go and re-grab the object too.


Foundry Tips:

·         Depending on what you’re trying to do, you may want to try and map it out ahead of time. It often helps us in the design process to sketch up a quick napkin drawing of how you want the map to look. You can use our template here:



·         What game types do you want to support? Are you trying to make a CTF map? Is it One Flag or Multi Flag? Think about these questions before you begin and it will help you decide how to tackle the map.

·         Try using objects in different ways. Trying to make a Soccer stadium, but there is no net? Use the Fence Box object and place it on its side. Need a lid for an indoor hallway you just created? Try using the Bridge piece as a cap for the top. Objects don’t just have to be used in traditional ways. Experiment and try something out, even if it seems crazy.

·         Don’t be afraid to just throw a bunch of things down and play around in it. It might suck, but you can keep playing with it.

·         Save multiple versions of the same map. Maybe you have a central location that you’re really proud of, but the rest of the map is not so hot. Do a Save As… and try out your new ideas on another iteration without ruining the section you like.

·         Try playing with a friend or two and bouncing ideas off each other as you are creating. Two or Three heads are better than one.


And finally, our own Dmiller360 (with lots of help from AlkalineProdigy and MDK x2002 xis carefully putting together an homage/parody of Pac Man’s maze, with custom power ups instead of pills, teleporters at the side exits and the use of Infection as the primary game type. You can check it out here:



And last but not least and also truly finally:


I can has Forge?




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