Cool Community Interview: Buddhacrane

"but Auburn, Buddha's not staff! He doesn't deserve a QnA!"​

He most certainly does. In fact, there are several members that are deserving of a little highlight for their contributions to the community. Buddhacrane just happens to be one of those cool guys, having been a prominent member of the community during Halo 3. He was out of action for awhile, but he just recently made a great comeback with the H2A Forge: Scripting Guide thread. We thought this would be a good start to a potential thing, so we asked Buddha some questions about his history in the community.

Auburn: So, Buddha, tell us a little about the fella behind the keyboard.

Buddhacrane: How did you find out about him?! I could've sworn I kept him suitably locked up ... I used Caps Lock and everything... Oh wait, you mean me? Of course you did, there's no way you could've known about the other thing. I mean, what other thing? You won't get anything out of me! Except the answers to all of your questions of course. My real name is Andrew, I'm from the UK, and I'm a 28 year old professional (or so I claim) Software Developer. Facts are fun.
Auburn: You've been with the Halo community for awhile, right? Can you tell the world about your involvement in the community and using le forge?

Buddhacrane: I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I started early on the Halo scene, but then took a considerable hiatus - doing very little with Reach (I only released one map - Destructaur; which wasn't even a puzzle map), and nothing at all with Halo 4. I slowed down in Reach because I was working on a fairly large Puzzle Map project, but the map became corrupted and I lost it all; which put me off Forging for a long time, plus I'd also started a real working job, thus reducing my free time.

My humble community beginnings were in Halo 2, where I was part of a trick/glitch/jumping site known as HighImpactHalo, and I messed about doing jumps and stuff. In Halo 3, I switched from just jumping around all over the place, and instead started making Puzzle Maps - where I used my knowledge of the glitching scene and jumps to create some of my puzzles.

Paratroxity was a puzzle map with total of twenty-four challenges created by Buddhacrane and five others forgers.

Auburn: Ahhhh, forge in H3. 'Twas one of the greatest yet most agonizing experiences ever... well, experienced. What attracted you to forge in Halo 3 despite its tediousness?

Buddhacrane: I didn't start Forging in Halo 3 until Foundry came out - it wasn't until then that I felt I could actually "build" anything. To me it felt like building with Lego, but with more death and bullets! What's not to like about that?

It didn't feel tedious at the time, simply because it was the only way we could do it. It's only looking back after everything that's changed with Forge that you go "Oh lord, did I really have to go through all this trouble to sink a box slightly into the ground? What have I been doing with my life?!", but then I just drink myself into a stupor and everything is fine again
Auburn: I assume your designs have supported a variety of different game types, but you seem most known for your puzzle maps, which leads to my next questions: Why puzzle maps? What map(s) are you most proud of?

Buddhacrane: I decided to make Puzzle Maps for a number of reasons I suppose. For starters, Portal came out around a similar time to Halo 3, and I absolutely loved Portal - that was certainly my initial inspiration to try and bring puzzles into Halo. I'm also not the most artistic of individuals, but I have a keen technical mind, so Puzzle Maps were a good genre of map for me, where I could focus on making interesting challenges, rather than worry about it looking good. Finally, shortly after starting, I noticed other people made puzzle maps too, but the vast majority were "Find the turret behind the wall" and I wanted to bring something different to the table - I found most maps too easy/samey so I wanted to create maps that were more challenging/unique; that gave me the drive to continue, and fill a niche.

Looking back, I actually don't like what most of my puzzle maps were. I now realise (with age comes wisdom) that my maps relied too much on glitches, and weren't logical enough - but this came from my background in Halo 2, being so close to the glitching scene. In my strive to be unique, my puzzles became more and more obtuse. On the plus side, I've learnt from my mistakes, and my new maps are/will be far more sensible. No more teleporters hidden under cigarette packets!

The only map I look back on, and I'm proud of, was my final puzzle map Forger's Cell, because it was a puzzle map that you played in Forge, it actually worked without honour rules, it worked well, and the puzzles didn't feel as though they relied on glitches quite so heavily. It was an ambitious idea that I was surprised I was actually able to pull off.

Forger's Cell was a puzzle map designed to be completed in forge mode, utilizing the mode's tools to create an unique challenge.

Auburn: I'd made an effort to forge a puzzle map once upon a time, but eventually just gave up. They're much more difficult to build than most recognize. Having said that, lay down some advice for aspiring young forgers. I beseech thee!

Buddhacrane: Ok, some quick tips, from my experience:

Mess about with everything in the game, see how it all ticks. It's only once you know how things work that you can use them in puzzle ideas. I always mess about with all the Objects/Weapons/GameTypes/Traits, etc, and try to look at it all with a fresh pair of eyes. Forget what that thing is supposed to do, or was meant to do, and instead look at everything it does actually do, and how you could maybe leverage that behaviour in a challenge. Random example: a Plasma Pistol bolt takes time to travel, a charged shot travels even slower - that super slow shot could maybe be leveraged in a puzzle (Hint: It can be. I already did it. Trick question!)

Obstacle Course maps are not Puzzle maps. Focus on challenges that require mental problem solving skill, not technical ability. Solving a Rubik's Cube or winning a game of Chess doesn't require me to be particularly technically skilled, but it does require me to use that ol' thought muscle!
What's your fondest memory of the Halo community?

Looking back, the community was so large back in Halo 3. There was so much going on within the community back then. Lots of maps, lots of feedback (needz moar interlox). I think it was the shining pinnacle of the Forge community and I'm really glad I was there to be a part of it during that time. I'd like to be the optimist, but I don't feel that same magic will ever be captured again with where Halo is now, and where the gaming community as a whole is now.
What are you up to in forge these days? Any super secret projects you've been working on?

Well, it's probably no real secret, but I'm working on my next Puzzle Map. I want to do something a little different with this one; and so my ambitious idea is to create a Puzzle Map than can be played both as a Solo player map but also as a Co-Operative 2 player map - using Scripting to tweak each puzzle to work both as single player and co-op. It's currently in the planning stages at the moment; I'm ironing out what each challenge should be, although I have a rough idea of almost all of them now. Fun fact: There will not be a single point in the map where you need to jump off of the other player's head!
Anything you'd like to say before we wrap this up?

Promise me you won't tell anyone about the fella behind the keyboard.​
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Haha little fella :y:
You always make me chuckle, Buddha.
I'll no doubt catch you on your puzzle adventures sometime soon! :)
Very cool to see a community member recognized, and buddhacrane is definitely deserving of the recognition.
Buddha, it's been refreshing to see you be so helpful to your fellow forge enthusiasts, while also producing great forge content. Kudos to you sir!
buddhacrane?!? i never thought i'd see that name again, reminds me of a time long past. that's awesome he's back into halo shenanigans.